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for The Memory Holder

5/31/2014 c2 3She Doesn't Row
Hi! I find this story to be really intriguing so far, and I really enjoy your writing. The descriptions are nice and crisp without being overdone, and it all flows so well together! Seriste is a likeable narrator, and I think the sisters have also been characterised nicely for their introduction. I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing where this story goes; it seems there is a lot to be revealed! :)
2/8/2014 c18 v-n-ll-y
Many thanks for the recap at the start :'D I'm rarely even on FP anymore so it's pretty hard for me to keep up with the stories I follow.

1) After reading through this chapter I feel like the writing is pretty consistent, and on par with the better chapters so far. So I don't think the quality is too much of a concern here. :)

2) I thought the transition was pretty smooth, but I haven't been writing much at all lately so these things kind of elude me for the moment. I'm afraid I can't help much on this point.

3) Personally I think the chapter was pretty balanced in terms of detail, though again it might help to have some feedback from someone who's been a little more consistent with writing in recent times.

I think it's really interesting to see a place where Rogues are practically revered; kind of reminds me of that kid who more or less regarded them as angels (I forgot his name, heh...). I guess it's probably just the fact that it allows for a perspective from more than one side, and it makes you wonder who's in the right here, if there's even a right at all.

The mention of the Troubadours was pretty insightful as well. I like that they're portrayed as a relatively peaceful and harmless party that's more concerned with providing the truth, rather than a bunch of ruthless, violent protesters or something along those lines. This Tara who was introduced as well pretty much makes the same impression; a Rogue, but not inclined to violence, unlike her brother. Again, makes you wonder who's really right in these circumstances. The fact that they were executed also raises questions about (in)justice. It kind of reminds me of a webcomic I'm following, which has a lot to do with censorship, politics, the truth being concealed from the people and so on. It just came to mind as I was reading this chapter (Yuumei's comic Fisheye Placebo, if that means anything at all XD) .

I have no idea if any of what I just wrote made sense or if it was just babble, but I tried to get my thoughts on the chapter down. So hopefully it helps in some way. And thanks for crafting such an engaging story to follow! :D
2/1/2014 c18 DutchAver
I totally didn't re-read the whole story to make sure that I'd get everything in this chapter. I absolutely didn't. I mean, I have a life, and all.
Okay, I did. I'm having a week off from university(which is probably the calm before the storm, but hey, it's something) and I'm catching up on alerts. But, since TMH had been so long ago, I decided to just read the whole thing. I did it in pretty much one sitting, which is a testament to your quick writing. Have I said it before? Your writing style reminds me of the writing style of my hero Brandon Sanderson, who has the ability to make me read fifty pages before I've even realized I've picked up the book. Goes for you too, your writing reads deliciously quick.
Anyway. This (probably massive) review will have two parts. In part one, I'll make some comments about the story as a whole, and things I've noticed - after all, I've become a better writer and reviewer in the time between reading this story for the first time, and now. In part two, I'll review this chapter. So let's go!

What struck me most in the story as a whole, is how you tend to show-tell. You show us something first, like for example, the urchins and the common folk in Ellisen having it poorly. That, on itself, should be enough to show us the point you're trying to get across. And it does. However, what you then do is you let Seriste be shocked, and you tell us again how terrible it is. It's not necessary, it really isn't - I got your point the first time round, during the show. There's no gentle way to say this - all the tell does is kind of insulting me, because to me, it comes across as if you think I'm not smart enough to get the show the first time 'round.
Also, I think you might want to quiet down a bit on Seriste's emotions. I get that she's a teenager, and I get that she's found out that her whole country is on the brink of disaster, but all that shock gets a bit old after a while. Try to show her from a different side in a future chapter.
Enough about the story as a whole, let's zoom in on this chapter.
The first bit of this chapter('just answering as a servant should') was witty, but then you ruined it by letting Seriste explaining us how a servant should answer. Show-tell, remember? The joke worked very well on its own and showed that Lucien is a witty person. We didn't need the explanation that followed.
And near the end of this chapter, you have Lucien ask Seriste what will happen when Des Mars is executed. Seriste takes her sweet time thinking about it, which makes me question her intelligence. It's really simple - Lucien told her what happened in the past, and then asks what will happen when the exact same circumstances pop up. Anyone could figure that out, so why is Seriste taking so long to get it? Maybe you should consider Seriste getting it a bit quicker.
But it's mostly nitpicking. Again, this chapter reads very quickly. Although you do have gaps in your writing, this chapter didn't feel like you wrote it way after all the other ones. Your descriptions, as far as I'm concerned, are as excellent and as quick as I'm used of you. All in all, there's a reason why I read this in one sitting: though the story isn't perfect, the groundwork is there and I hope you'll consider watching out for the show-tell thing in future chapters. Keep up the good work!
1/26/2014 c18 5Whirlymerle
Yay update! I totally apologize for not noticing this earlier. But! I did all my homework, so I can review away!

Thanks for the recap; that was super helpful.

Vincent is a new character, right? Either that or my memory’s really rusty. If his name isn’t of major significance, though, I’d suggest changing it to something else, because it’s incredibly similar to “Vinchant,” whom we’ve met under some unpleasant circumstances. Edit: oh wait, when I got to the end, and Lucien started talking about Vinchant’s sister Tara, I’m wondering if that’s who you meant? Does Vinchant have a second name? Hmm… This chapter does contain a lot of fake names.

I love the description of Lucien in the opening, that she’s all these things because she has to be. In a way, I can definitely relate. We’re all bound by social norms and whatnot to act a certain way that is more acceptable than how we possibly want to.

[regardless of what lays waiting for us] I think it’s “what lies”?

[We were all actors, our roles the consequence of societal beliefs.] I really love this idea, and the touch of philosophy accompanying it. I think I unintentionally touched upon it earlier. It weirdly enough reminded me a little of the chicken and egg paradox. In this case, are we ourselves prior to our roles, or do we let our roles define ourselves. Seriste seems to believe the latter.

I really like the style of how you wrote the innkeeper section. It was an interesting and effective way to show a conversation without actually detailing it.

[I've had enough bread for life] I really like this line. I like how Seriste’s spoiled aristocrat self sort of shines through here. She’s been through a lot, but not so much that she’s lost her preferences for the luxury of variety.

[The government probably kept you aristocrats ignorant] I’m wondering, aren’t aristocrats all government people? Like dukes and earls and whoever who at least outwardly have a duty to govern. Or are they separate in your world? I can see them not caring, or keeping this stuff from aristocrats who aren’t involved (women/children), but at least in name, aristocrats can’t just be rich people without a responsibility, right?

[I searched my mind for any history lesson Lucien gave me. My brain latched onto the Troubadours.] I like how consistent Seriste’s character is, but I wonder if, this late in the story, she should become a teensy bit wiser. The words “searched” and “latched” are a bit strong, I think. They imply a lot of effort. I feel like she’s experienced and knowledgeable and naturally observant enough now that she can immediately get what Lucien’s talking about. Also, it would be good character growth, from her earlier stages.

Some other things I liked: Myrtle’s accent! I love how you spell it out. I was totally reading it out loud to sound out what it would sound like. A bit southern, I think? I can never do accents. But great job!

The discussion on the troubadours. I loved the way Lucien presented the situation and connected it to des Mars’ situation to show how non-black and white the problem presented. Reality is complex, and I think you do a great job of showing how this is an instance where no one wins and loses.

Author’s note: It’s great that you found your story’s focus! Even if it wasn’t what you originally intended, I think it’s even better that you’re following the progression of the story. That way your story develops more organically, as it clearly has, with all these chapters. Seriste’s personal growth is coming along really well, and frankly, I think growing up is more interesting than romance. Romance is sort of like dress-up. You go through the same motions with slightly different words and people.

1. I think I just answered that. But to confirm, yes. Seriste most definitely sounds like Seriste. :D

2. Transitions… honestly, I didn’t notice any jarring transitions at all while I was reading, so I’mma say nice job!

3. Too much or too little detail. I do remember, while reading, that I found the description of the sorry state of Seriste’s shoes to be a tad too long. I think you can make that more concise and still get the point across. Then again, I’m not very interested in shoes…

I appreciated Lucien’s character a lot more after Seriste’s note that she acts a certain way because she’s fulfilling her role. It gives her character a lot more depth, especially to me, because she initially just came off as a headstrong maid. And on that note, I think that major credit should be given to your work on Seriste’s narration/character. I feel like, my understanding of the characters around Seriste has evolved with Seriste’s understanding, which, in a first person pov story, is exactly how it should go, I think.

Plot- I’m totally excited to see what they’re going to be up to in their new jobs. And I think it’s a pretty cleverly ironic twist that Seriste’s thinking about everyone fulfilling their roles, and she’s going against that by doing the exact opposite and pretending to be a maid. Great chapter! Looking forward to the rest!

Feel free to shoot me a PM if there’s something specific you’d like me to address. Have a great semester! :D
9/8/2013 c17 v-n-ll-y
Totally not late to the party :B

I get what you mean about your writing not being as tight as usual, though I personally don't really have any suggestions to improve it. That is, I feel something could be better, but I have no idea what :B Yeah I'm sure that helped... XD Overall though I felt the chapter was more or less on par with previous chapters.

Frederic's voice does seem more focused on what's happening around him; he seems more analytical and doesn't have the same self-reflection and copious metaphors as Seriste's narration does. Not Seriste's metaphors are bad, but it distinguishes the voices from each other.

I think one thing I noticed the most, which someone else may have mentioned already, is that I don't remember if there's a reason that Frederic is so concerned about Seriste's disappearance. Their last interaction was quite a while back, if there was any (that or my memory fails, hurr) so I find that it's something that could use a bit more explanation.

I dunno if I'm looking too much into it, but the fact that Lucien made an oversight when forging the letter has me wondering if she did it on purpose or not. I mean it's like Frederic and Aron said, who even uses "willn't"... So I'm wondering if it's a mistake on Lucien's part or if it was deliberate or maybe I'm just thinking too much... /rolls into a cave

There's a lot more mystery around MH lately as well; they want to save Ellisen or whatever the grand scheme is, but it's actually kind of questionable whether MH is a 'good guy' or not. Until now I've kind of just assumed they are on the protagonist side, but it's almost like they're threatening Frederic here, so there's this hint of danger. I guess somewhat understandable though, since Frederic is someone who knows but doesn't really act on what he knows. It's also MH's general omniscience and how they seem to be everywhere, pulling the strings, that is pretty much the basis of their mysterious aura.

Some very minor nitpicks for you:
-[mostly because he was drunk when our alterations occurred] I'm assuming you meant 'altercations', but the C is missing here.
-[His walk was not straight. His body swayed left and right.] I feel like the first sentence is kind of superfluous, since if someone's body is swaying left and right you would assume they're not walking straight.
It could just be small things like this that might be why you feel the writing isn't as cohesive as usual. It was the case when you pointed stuff like that out to me :3

So yeah that was kind of a ramble and I'm not sure how much of it made sense. I hardly write reviews anymore simply because of time, but I hope this helps in some way. Good luck with college!
9/3/2013 c1 1Mwomnom
This prologue has a lot of promise, that I can give you.

I sincerely admire your writing style. It is fun and detailed and fits the narration perfectly. Speaking of narration, I usually suck at writing first person, so I have this whole idea in my head that whoever masters it (like you), it sort of equals sophistication. Your narration, unlike many others, entertains, creates a depth for your characters and is seriously funny. So, yes, you have done a good job in this regard too. Your protagonist is an interesting and unique person that has the potential to both amuse and entertain in many ways. I hope you'll develop the character well enough.

I know some people claim that one should "never underestimate a simple sentence" and you sure are a fine defender of this hypothesis. There were some sentences that were as short as hell, but put just at the right place to create the atmosphere intended. On the other hand, the longer ones were wonderfully written. They were just long enough to be sufficiently beautiful, yet not too lingering for the reader to lose interest in what's coming up next.

I however think that this was a little short, even for a prologue. But that is strictly my opinion on the subject. There were also several missed commas, but my personal understanding for being a great author does not involve being a robot when it comes to punctuation.

Overall, I find your beginning quite solid and therefore I'll stcik around to see what happens next.

Keep up the lovely work.

8/30/2013 c1 9The Golden Orchid
Your summary piqued my interest and I have just started reading this story. It looks very promising! Your word flow is impeccable. Can't wait to read more!
- The Golden Orchid
8/29/2013 c17 DutchAver
I'm very glad to see you're posting a bit more frequently again, even though this is going to be the last chapter for a while. It's a relief to find that the lieutenant has spotted that Seriste has actually been kidnapped, and I'm curious to see where you'll be going with that. For a while, I was confused and thought that you'd written this chapter from Sorel's perspective - but I think that that's just me. Now that I pay attention, I wonder how I missed it. (Exhaustion from biking for a long time, probably)
I also like how you put MH really in the story, apart from the blurbs at the end of every chapter, with those blue envelopes. So, the lieutenant is not MH, I guess. Sorel, maybe? Or is it Aron? Because, let's be honest, why else would he pay so much attention to the blue envelopes? He must be feeling the same, unless he knows who MH is. Or he just responds differently. I hate not knowing things. It makes me want to know them xD
The only thing I'm really bothered with, is Frederik figuring out that Seriste didn't write that letter simply by looking at one word. Maybe you could do something with the handwriting instead? This solution feels a bit cheap to me...
However, you've done great on the different voices D Keep writing and I hope to see some updates before late December, despite what you've said D
8/25/2013 c17 5Whirlymerle
Thanks for the recap on Frederic. It was really helpful in jogging my memory.

After reading the Memory Holder’s description of Frederic, the first new impression that I got of him was that he seemed like the “bad guy” played by Russell Crowe in Les Mis in that he's law abiding to a fault. (reminder qualities faded when the chapter continued)

I think, in the actual story, what might help in this chapter is if you have Frederic explain why he feels so connected to Seriste and Iavan that he’s losing sleep over their disappearance, because I don’t remember very well. He obviously has other pressing work, so why this case? Since you’re writing in his POV, it would be really interesting to see his thoughts and feelings about Seriste and Iavan. Personally I don’t remember much of his relationship with Seriste and Iavan to *get* why he’s this obsessed with the case.

[My feet fell of the desk] off

Ahaha! My favorite moment of this chapter is definitely drunk Aron reading the letter out loud in a high pitched voice to convince Frederic Seriste had indeed written that letter. It’s such a fantastic moment. I like how you show through the dialogue how he’s slurring the words. And I think it’s really clever how Frederic figures it out with the contractions.

To your questions:
1. Yeah, I definitely noticed the lack of metaphors/self reflection distinct from the other chapters. I think it’s a great move on your part. I did feel like this new voice is different. I have a few suggestions, mostly based on crude gender stereotypes, so take them with a pinch of salt.
[The staggering smell of alcohol made bile rise up my throat.] Is Frederic really that sensitive to the smell of alcohol? Don’t men in this age drink a lot of hard liquor?

[Sure, the news of Tavia de Lumerie's engagement was shocking….Jahn Ayers, though less handsome than his betrothed, was a fine man. At least that was what the gossip said] Sounds a little overly gossipy. Especially the handsome comment. Also, in my personal experience, heterosexual males (excuse me if Frederic isn’t heterosexual) rarely discuss the general attractiveness of other heterosexual males. I wonder if the line might work better if you say something like, “There could be no match for Tavia de Lumerie’s beauty, though Jahn Ayers was a fine man.” I think guys are way more likely to comment on the sexiness of a girl than the handsomeness of a guy.

What does a man like Frederic like to do? Maybe that’ll clue you in on what types of things he likes talks about.

2. Not really, I think your writing’s solid.

3. I honestly have no idea. I imagine Frederic is going to try and find Seriste. Or at least investigate more into the forged letter, which might lead him to Lucien and then Sersite. He’s also tied with the Memory Holder via the letters, so if he and Seriste ever compare stories… Hmm. I will say that I think you have a really ambitious plot (which is great)! So truly, I have no idea what you’ll throw at your readers. It’s kind of exciting. :)

Anyway, this review makes me all caught up on review returns (for the first time in a year, yay!). Have a great first semester. Happy early fall holidays to you too!
8/23/2013 c15 1mingsquared
I'm glad you're finally back. I really look forward to keep reading this story. I'm out of the country right now and the internet is really shoddy (I'm doing this on my phone) so I can't really go into a lot of detail. But I will say you haven't lost your touch at all. The chapter is really good.

Regarding the fight scene, I don't think you should worry about it. Frankly, I don't really consider that a fight scene because you mainly wrote about Seriste's reactions and feelings rather than describing actual action. But that being said, I think you did a great job with that part. It's very realistic.

Once again I'm glad you're back.
8/18/2013 c16 5Whirlymerle
Heyyy! So I saw this up a while ago (yay for update promptness!) but I just found some time to review.

[My heartbeats kept accelerating] Small and nitpicky: but if you’re talking about acceleration or anything “fast,” try sticking with one verb (ie, “My heartbeats accelerated”) to make the sentence less wordy.

[I was like a child in desperate need of guidance and support. Lucien filled that void.] Yeah, I definitely get the feeling that Lucien and Seriste’s present relationship is very complex (as if it ever wasn’t, haha). Lucien’s the servant, but Seriste is the less street smart one, and a lot more innocent, so I can totally see their relationship in a delicate place where Lucien is Seriste’s servant, but also in a way has authority because she is knowledgeable about life both within and outside the Ellisen aristocracy. But then Seriste reverts back to her aristocratic perceptions and Lucien, for all that she’s kicking ass, is the one who’s nervous (love the pulling her hair detail, by the way). It’s like they’re on a seesaw and rarely ever are they level on either side of the fulcrum.

[Her question made me realize my insufficiency in planning.] Lol! My words were echoing with authority… and then I realized I had no idea how to do it.

[It's not like I married you off to a beggar, right?] Ahaha. I think I mentioned it in my last review, but I’ll say it again. Lucien and Seriste are sooooooo bad at staying in their prescribed roles.

["I was acting as a servant should."/Her argument was weak—even I could see that] Yeah, absolutely. I was wondering why Seriste didn’t call her out on that. I kept on waiting for Seriste to ask something along the lines of, since when should a servant forge a letter and break off all relations with her family? But alas. Lucien’s actions definitely piqued my curiosity though.

[Just don't get me involved in this mess.] Didn’t Lucien say it was her family’s duty to serve Seriste’s family? So how can anything Seriste does NOT get Lucien involved?

Could I just say, I loved the bit at the end with the MH. The tone is so chilling but also his/her statement is so awesome! There’s a really nice weight to “my country”

In response to your A/N: to be honest, I really didn’t realize the chapter was dialogue heavy until you mentioned it; I was too absorbed in reading their discussion. I think you break up the quotations with Seriste’s thoughts and observations often enough that the scene was balanced. I also think the dialogue itself was fine. Lucien and Seriste sounded like themselves in my opinion.

The only minor thing that bothered me a bit was Lucien and Seriste flip-flopping roles and sentiments so quickly in this scene, but that also isn’t a huge problem because 1) it might be intentional, and 2) it’s first person POV and Seriste’s perceptions after such a traumatic experience is probably skewed. Nevertheless, while I was reading, I didn’t *quite* like how first Lucien went from humble to authoritative to what I feel like is typical Lucien in the end, and Seriste changes also in a similar fashion; the mood shifts were a little jarring. Again, reflecting on their behavior afterwards, I can totally see it happening. Though in earlier chapters, I never felt that Lucien felt the need to assume a subservient role, while in these last two chapters, she brings it up constantly, which I thought was surprising. I mean, she was the girl who, upon introducing herself, went into a whole spiel about how she had a boy’s name and how it doesn’t matter! That doesn’t seem like something a typical servant would say.

Congratulations on college! Are you planning on taking any writing classes? I'm sure you're gonna rock that school. Don't party excessively (lol just kidding ;D).

Anyway this is a morning after 3.5 hours of sleep review, so lemme know if you need me to clarify/expand on anything!
8/18/2013 c6 1Loraine Wentworth
I enjoyed this new POV; you've introduced someone who is clearly a complex character. I like the details about the messiness of Frederic's room- it adds some extra detail to his personality. The dialogue here is great for characterization, too. I feel we learn a few details about the characters, so that I now have quite a sense of what Frederic is like. His job sounds interesting- The mention of the Rogues has made me pretty curious!


strong built [Should it be 'build'?]

"I'll leave the scandal to you. I prefer to not have people interested in me too much. I hate the attention." [This is an example of what I meant above by details about Frederic's personality- I really like this.]

the grand social event thrown by the Marquis de Lumerie. [You've built this event up to be very significant, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how it pans out!]
8/10/2013 c2 4Lolitroy
Uwah! How come I forgot to read this earlier!?
But here I am now, so no worries... oof.

You leave me speechless. Really. It's got to be the first time in this site that I ever like a narration so much. No kidding. The way you use words gives everything a magical sense and it's just... wow.

*clicks fav*

Seriste sounds like the kind of character I'd cry for if she dies...
...that's all I really have to say. I found nothing I disliked whatsoever, maybe a typo or two, nothing serious.

Please continue to write like this! It's just plain awesome!
8/4/2013 c16 DutchAver
I loved this second part of the chapter a lot more than the first bit! Your writing seems to flow a lot more in here and I read it mostly in one sitting. Lucien really intrigues me - I guess she's much more fleshed out than we all think, I guess she has some ulterior motives. Lucien tries to save her country(which was Ellisen, right? My memory is a bit foggy...) which could make her M.H.
I am secretly hoping that Sorel is now feeling heartbroken because he really likes Seriste. Yeah, I remembered him - and I still ship those two and I probably will for a long time.
You end with a very impressive cliffhanger! They're going to have a lot of trouble in Ischemie, that town of rogues, I presume? It's going to be very exciting.
Please, please, don't wait so long for the next update! This story's amazing - keep writing!
8/4/2013 c16 v-n-ll-y
Luckily it is still the weekend so I have time to review :D

I think the writing's picked up a bit from last chapter; the narration seems to flow a lot more smoothly now, which is great. I agree that the chapter is quite heavy in dialogue compared to others but I'm not finding that a problem here. I did notice a lot of consecutive, almost fragment-like short sentences in the narrative though, and I'm not sure if it's a stylistic thing since it's not really consistent with past chapters.

So, I can't really say Lucien's involvement in the events leading up to now really comes as a surprise; it's pretty evident there's a lot we don't know about her. At this point I don't know if I like or dislike her; from Seriste's perspective, I imagine she's quite frustrated by everything she's been through since Lucien intervened and basically severed her main hope of connection back to the life she knew and the blessing(?) of ignorance. On the other hand, like Seriste, we don't really know what Lucien's objectives were in forging the letter and such, so it's a little hard to decide how to view her as a character.

In terms of pacing, things are progressing very nicely, I think. Now that it's been revealed Advisor Kivlan is being taken to the town of Rogues, it seems like things are only going to become more complex for Seriste, and maybe even Lucien, given her reaction to the information.

My attention span is shot so I may have said stuff that doesn't make sense. Sorry D; But I'm really looking forward to see how this progresses, and hopefully I'll be free enough to read and review next update!
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