Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
Okay I'm finally here! I'm glad to catch this one early, as I always am ;D And as always, I adore your chapter, so let's get that on the table first! <31: YES more Jalil and Kerani interaction please. He's so wholesome and good and he realizes his faults and wrongdoings and oh no you're going to kill him aren't you—but he's just such an honestly good person, and I feel like Kerani needs someone like that in her life from time to time to remind her that not everyone is a backstabbing social climber or someone who wants to see her settle down and have babies RIGHT NOW put down those knives, forget saving people, babies. So I feel like Jalil is a healthy addition to her life and I'm terrified to see what she would ever be/will be without him as an influence for her.2: Okay so this is something you're not doing as much: Talking heads! It doesn't feel like a lot because you've mainly had interactions of two people in a scene, with very few having more main players with speaking parts, but you've been doing a lot better about including thoughts, feelings, and physical interactions between your dialogue lines. It makes me super happy. c:3: Another thing you're not... not... doing? But you're finally starting to make us realize the scale of the Empire. I think I mentioned a while back that yeah, your Empire is big. But we don't really get a sense of how big it is because Kerani stays in her family home, or she stays in the city, and we don't get that physical sense of "it takes two weeks to travel from Point A to Point B" or anything like that. You have a lot of potential for really cool stuff with this setting and I feel like you're starting to pull some more of the Empire's size into this chapter.Which leads into my first bit of critique, that it's good but it's still not enough. I think because we didn't get that scale early on, and we've been in Kerani's family home for basically most of the story, we just get the sense that the palace is the setting, the city is the side setting, and things outside of that happen but don't really matter or influence the story.We started this story with the Rat, a conflict, everything, and this really ties into my little gripes with the plot—that we're getting Kerani's plot, but it's not the plot we were introduced to, and we don't really go back and visit that now and then. It still feels like this scene is an intermission. I don't know how to fix this feeling, I just know that if I point it out when I feel it I might think of a solution. But legitimately, even if it just means the high risk of sneaking out before her betrothal, or having a Rat informant meet her under guise of anonymity, or some news coming in—anything to let us know that people are still dying and that conflict is still happening when Kerani isn't there to see it herself.Object permanence. That's the phrase I want. The setting, especially, is kind of lacking it. When we move from the city to the palace, we lose the plot elements of the city; when we move from the palace to the betrothal and poisoning, we lose the plot elements of tracking down poisoners. This chapter is important, and I think it does need to exist how it is, but I also think that the story itself needs some more plot-object permanence, even just mentions of a short scene here or there that reminds us that other plot hasn't gone away.My last point: While this chapter needs to exist, I'm not sure this scene needs to exist in the same way it does now.What happens in this scene?Jalil is on Kerani's side. Kerani's brothers will defend her. Kerani needs to go to the monks for a 3rd-level antidote. This is mentioned first in the scene and she's been poisoned for quite some time, and we found out in the last scene that this is still a very serious poisoning, so... why is nothing happening? More happens with tea in this scene than Kerani's poisoning. Why can't this scene happen while Kerani is trying to pack her things for a stay at the temple? Why can't this scene happen while she's trying to child-proof her room, weak as hell, and make sure that no one will hurt themselves while she's not there to keep them away from her poison samples? Why can't this scene happen on the way to talk to Father about going to the temple, or why can't it move there as the characters talk through their options?Kerani is physically weak right now, and we know this. But she's been pushing through being physically weak for basically the last chapter. What is keeping her from acting now? Why is she, a character who is usually pushing herself to her final limit, not pushing herself now? And once you've answered that question, what is happening in this scene if Kerani is not pushing herself?(She's sitting on a couch drinking tea.)Quiet scenes are incredibly important for the health of a story, but I feel like this one started taking us somewhere emotionally, left us in the same place physically, and didn't have as much impact as it could have. It seems a bit out-of-character up to this point for Kerani to be just complacently sitting on her couch sipping tea when she hasn't even made a concrete plan for going to the monks, considering she hasn't decided if she's going to ask Father before she goes or not.But that's just what I think. I really do love their interaction.Keep writing <3
Hey Rosey! I'm back for some more Let's get right into it, shall we?
It tasted like diluted antidote, enough it burned every sip I took.
"The antidote is made with the same.
That caused me to look down, cheeks burning. "I am not the best."
He rubbed my arm in gentle yet affectionate roughhousing.
He waited for me to unfreze after his blunt statement
As much as he was right, I pushed back.
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