Hi mint! Lim here with a review.
I’m really enjoying seeing more locations in Javaland. The way the library works is so interesting – it feels both magical and technological, with how they can retrieve the information about the books but also need to burn them when there is dark magic encoded there.
I was a bit skeptical when the librarian said ‘burn the book’ though, since it is Sunny’s only lead. Maybe she might find a way to sneak it out? Or maybe she would think it’s not very hero-like to disobey the librarian’s instructions and so let them burn the book after all. But I’d imagine she’d have to have gotten a lead on the author’s whereabouts before she’d want to do something like that.
Elsie comes across as intelligent and authoritative. I laughed when she decided Sunny had to help her shelve some books as a ‘fee’ for her teachings. Another line that made me laugh was:
But who needed classes or objects, unless that person was some kind of masochist who loved complexity in programming?
As a side note, I never got far into the object-oriented stuff in programming (it’s so difficult!), but what Elsie talks about here about only objects (and not classes) having attributes kind of reminds me of the Platonic Forms (a concept in Ancient Greek philosophy). Only the ‘imperfect’ instantiations of the Form can be seen / touched or have perceivable properties, while the Form itself is just an abstraction.
"Sorry, I forget that not everyone is educated on objects and classes in school. I thought even schools in the country taught that now…"
^ Huh, it looks like Elsie doesn’t know Sunny is from Earth? Or maybe she thinks objects and classes are taught in Earth schools as well?
I like that there is a concrete problem for Sunny to solve at this stage that spurs on the main plot, namely finding out the author or owner of the dark magic book. I wonder what she will try next now that asking the librarians directly doesn’t seem to have worked.
Grows – Description Ideas
I liked that the characters’ hair colours were described, and I especially like that Elsie’s gait was described. “stalked confidently” def conveys a lot about her character. I think I’d be able to picture them a lot better if I had a description of more things like maybe eye shape, face shape, height, clothes, etc. For instance, do the librarians wear a uniform?
I’m also craving more ‘fantasy vibes’ from the setting descriptions. There’s a lot of good stuff in the concept of the setting, as I mentioned earlier, and I’d love to see some more concrete descriptions of that which evoke awe and wonder. The “Rainbow Row” felt quite understated, since a book display like that is quite commonplace in our world as well, and neither Sunny nor Elsie seem very impressed by it, which colours the reader’s impression as well.
The humor and the story set-up stand out in this chapter. My main suggestions for revisions or future chapters would be to give more and a wider variety of details in descriptions. Maybe harvest random notes you made in your early character sheets if you have something like that – that’s what I do sometimes when I need to add more detail. This could be easier to do in a second draft rather than a first, though!
Hope this helps – and keep writing!