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for To Sleep Perchance to Dream

2/17/2013 c8 8Adrenalin
The opening paragraph has an eerie, dreamlike quality that I enjoyed. Your descriptions and adjectives were spot on and it felt like Brynhild was in a sort of trance.

The way Brynhild reacted to Oren was very harsh, I liked that her manner reflected her state of mind. I feel sorry for Oren that he has to deal with her, when his mother's dead and he's looking for comfort.

Throughout the chapter, Bryn sounds feverish and a little mad, and I liked seeing her slip into insanity in a more obvious way.
2/16/2013 c2 2Chancer On The Scene
To begin, I think it's really interesting that you're writing a story like this from the perspective of a servant girl. Often times these stories focus on characters that are in some way directly related to a line of nobility and as thus, it gives the story a completely different feel. The drama between Bryn and Frederick was also an interesting touch because you never really see relationships between the King and people below him characterized from the perspective of the subordinate individual.

I think the biggest drawback for me was the writing stile. That's not to say that it's inherently bad - it's not actually, it's actually very good - it just doesn't really fit with the time of this story would've taken place. It's extremely modern and doesn't create the same atmosphere when the reader is trying to get into the story.
2/16/2013 c20 5Dr. Self Destruct
I really love the opening image of this chapter, where Aurelia is sitting there with her top half exposed so Oren can see it. His reaction to her swollen belly is a very touching image and it shows how much Oren really cares about her, because he's willing to raise this baby together with her - but not only that, he really sincerely*wants* to do it. So I just think it's cute, although the entire situation is pretty disturbing considering they're siblings. Sometimes I forget about that, haha. I also think you do a great job developing the setting in the beginning of the barn, and I especially enjoyed the line about the darkness coming into the barn like spilled ink on parchment. That was incredibly unique and easy to picture.

This might just be personal preference, but I was a little disappointed that Aurelia didn't put up more of a fight or argument against Brynhild. After seeing how much Aurelia loves Oren I just thought she wouldn't have been swayed that easily... especially when Aurelia and Oren were planning on leaving, and Aurelia seemed so into that idea. I'm not saying you should change it, but it really makes me disappointed in Aurelia as a person and not like her nearly as much as I did. Instead of feeling sorry for her I just feel angry and frustrated with her choice and sudden betrayal.

I'm wondering if Brynhild is going to tell Aurelia the truth about her baby's father. I really can't wait to see if that comes out in the open. I wonder what Aurelia will do... or if she will even understand what that type of thing means for her baby considering how naive she is.
2/14/2013 c9 4lookingwest
Hmm interesting. I wonder what Bryn means about the sleep analogy. At first I thought it was just poetic language to kind of liken death to sleep, but when she talks to Patrice it feels different this time, like she knows the poison does something special. But then, since the mother was pu tinto a tomb and most of these people will be buried I'm just going to keep assuming that it's just a death analogy. We really get to see Bryn's indifference in this chapter too, with the way she treats Patrice. She does offer some advice to handle death but honestly I thought the whole setting and everything was spooky - and I liked that.

I liked the mention that the corridors were empty and stuff because it made sense with the oncoming death that the kingdom will face. I wonder if Bryn will be freaking out that the King is walking around the kingdom among those who are dying - hopefully he doesn't drink anything while he's out and about. I really doubt he would, thought. Overall, a good chapter, though! There were good moments here with setting and Bryn's character. I have to say though, I am kind of looking forward to moving on from her because I feel development wise we've kind of gone as far as we can go with her archetype. I'm curious to see how she finally does manage to wrap the king around her finger. And oh! I also liked the moments with Bryn and the children - we can already see the bitterness that will probably assume their relationships. I can see her banishing one of them or something. Probably the daughter - again with the theme of being afraid that the king would love someone more than her. THat kind of thing. Looking forward to seeing how things develop!
2/13/2013 c7 8Adrenalin
I liked the description of the Queen's burial, I was able to imagine the mausoleum quite well. I would have liked more focus on Frederick, though, because I feel Brynhild would have been watching him eagerly. I'm also not sure about the bit concerning the villagers not coming. I'm not exactly sure about the size of the realm and the court (and I think maybe you should describe it a bit more in the previous chapter), but as I said in another review, I don't think royalty would really mingle with commoners this way. The villagers would have little to no business being inside the castle in the first place, and why would they have been invited to the ceremony?

I also liked Brynhild's desperate attempt in the second part of the chapter. She has absolutely no qualms about trying to seduce Frederick right after she murdered his wife...
2/13/2013 c6 Adrenalin
I think you need to be careful about the way you use commas. Some of your sentences are very long and could be separated into two different sentences without a problem.

[It worried her, she had not expected panic, but she stilled herself by the thought that even if some of them did leave, they would surely return in a few days when no one else succumbed to the disease.]
'It worried her' is not really necessary here, but if you want to keep it, it should stand on its own.

["No!" he shook her off quickly, she felt suddenly discarded again, like she had when he rebuked her in the corridor.]
Period after quickly.

I liked the way Frederick reacted, chasing her away. It's a great way to show how attached he was to his wife, and how little he cares for Brynhild now. I'm a bit surprised Brynhild doesn't insist more, though. Her set of mind should be explained a bit more I think, especially the very end of the chapter. "Not understanding why the child didn't believe her" could be developed further, because it's a bit strange and we don't really understand why she doesn't understand. How and when did she convince herself that she was not killing people but making them go to sleep?
2/13/2013 c8 4lookingwest
His was like a language she was familiar with, but ultimately a stranger to. [I don't really understand this line as much - how can she be familiar with something but also a stranger to it? Kind of like saying something is similar but different. I know the answer might seem an obvious one - but at face value and literal meaning, it doesn't make much sense to me.]

Opening - I really loved that opening paragraph. You do a really good job of balancing the poetic with the narrative. I dislike it when things get into really purple prose situations, and I didn't feel that you were doing this here, we just got a really good sense of rich vibrant setting and imagery. It's probably one of my favorite openings in this story so far.

Character - Ah, so we start to see something pretty evil lurking in Bryn when she snaps at Oren. He's interesting. I thought he was a total brat and I really disliked him in the first chapters of this story, but he's kind of shut up and got quiet since his mother's death. Very well behaved now - most likely by trauma, which is sad, but it makes me wonder what he'll grow into (an asshat, or someone nice, haha - it could go either way). Bryn is her usual one-track-minded self here, which I see working a bit better here than where we left off in the last chapter. Things are starting to make more sense of what might happen between them and I can understand her motivations better.

Setting - Wooonderful use of setting in this chapter. Got a great sense of the well and the darkness and the night. I think this chapter has the best use of setting and attention paid to it that I've read yet in this story - at lest from the batch I've read recently. Lots of good moments. And I liked the reminiscing that Bryn did again, remembering Fred too. The second to last paragraph where she spills the mixture into the well was good. I'm wondering though - only one bucket of water between three people? That seems a little sparse to me. I had to question that a little.

Enjoyment - I liked this chapter better than the last one because like I said, it clears up my motivation with what might happen to Bryn. That being said, I now can totally see that everyone might die and that might even push Fred further from her. I don't think this is a good idea - but it makes better sense after we get that line about him loving his people. I enjoyed seeing what she actually wants, which also encompasses the children - I thought that was interesting. Overall, another good chapter!
2/13/2013 c7 lookingwest
I have to say - I definitely saw this reaction from the King at the end coming. Though I like Bryn and I'm liking the originality - it kind of fell flat here in the retelling for me at this point. I just felt like the archetype was too expected and I could see it from chapters away, so this didn't surprise me when he reacted just the way that I expected hm to. At the same time - I think it's really bold for Bryn to actually come at him like this on the day of her funeral. Bryn seems smart sometimes but other times she seems like she's just playing the role of the villain, and that was disappointing. I want to see her as more of a dynamic character in this first part. I know that we probably depart from her POV into the second part, or at some point in the future, but I don't think that's an excuse to entirely marginalize her with the step-mother stereotype. I would've enjoyed her character better here if she had appeared with more devious wisdom - to come onto him subtly, with the air of seductive patience. She doesn't come across as entirely evil - just kind of silly and caught up in her love. Perhaps that's one thing I'd also like to see in her - this slight inkling for want of power.

I did really like the speech she gives Fred about their youth and the love they once shared because there were some nicely done lines of dialogue, like the sky line, that I appreciated and found very poetic. I also thought the opening procession of describing the queen's death was well done. It was very period and formal and believable - you always do a good job with that so far in this story. Another well done chapter! I look forward to reading more, especially to see Fred ever comes around. For now, my prediction is that he kind of turns a cold shoulder to Bryn as far as being an ideal wonderful husband, and instead might marry her and only use her for sex. OR Bryn might be so shunned and shocked by his rejection that she kills herself. But then I wonder where the conflict will stem from. Many possibilities from here, it's very intriguing!
2/13/2013 c19 5Dr. Self Destruct
I like that whole concept Aurelia invents about her father's bones being the cause of her swollen belly, like death is growing inside of her. I think that's a believable excuse to how she doesn't know she's pregnant or how her body changes when she's pregnant. I'm wondering, though, does Aurelia take the effort to hide it? I'm just wondering why Brynhild hasn't noticed yet. I saw mention of a large wolf pelt she's wearing because it's getting cold, but I'd still imagine Brynhild might see Aurelia's growing belly when they're together during the day. Maybe going a little more into Aurelia taking efforts to making sure her mother doesn't know might help make the situation more believable. Just that she's hiding it or something. I hope that makes sense.

I'm not sure if I like how Oren says he feels like something terrible is about to happen so they need to leave. I feel like that might be too much foreshadowing. As of right now I can tell something bad is going to happen just because of the sudden discovery Aurelia has had of her father, and the dreams she's been having. I think Oren saying he knows something bad is going to happen is just beating the reader over the head with this feeling of imminent doom. I think they already have more than enough reason to want to leave. Downplaying that feeling of doom might be something to think about just to make it not so obvious - now I'm sitting here just waiting for something bad to happen. It's been mentioned the past few chapters, so I've been expecting it for awhile.

I really like how excited Oren is that Aurelia is having a baby. This makes me wonder what the child is going to be like when it's born, though. Like if its going to be deformed or something... and I'm also wondering when they're going to find out they're brother/sister, if they ever do. Maybe Brynhild finds out Aurelia is pregnant and tells her. Either way, I think this chapter does a great job setting up the oncoming climax - I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I enjoy the suspense.
2/13/2013 c18 Dr. Self Destruct
I really like how you handle the dream sequence by putting the dialogue in italics. I think that gives everything a lofty feeling to it, and it helps the reader understand that she's just dreaming and this isn't really happening. I also think the dream does a good job pushing the plot along. It sounds like Brynhild might try to kill Oren pretty soon. I hope Aurelia is able to save him - I'm really growing to like Oren. I feel really sympathetic toward him now, which is a huge difference from what I thought of him when he was a child.

I have a question, though. I think I remember Brynhild saying a couple chapters back that Oren could stay the night in the barn, which made it sound like he was only welcomed there for one night. Does she know he's still there? Did she change her mind and decide to let him stay so long as he stays in the barn? Might be something to think about exploring a bit further, because I'm not sure if I'm the only one wondering that.

The descriptions of her father's decomposing corpse are so gross, and I really love the detail you put into them. Especially when Aurelia feels that stuff in her throat - Ugh, that grossed me out, haha. Same with how you mention the bed is caving in because of the fluids secreting from the body - eeeeuuuurrrghhh. I wonder what this discovery is going to mean for Aurelia and Brynhild, and I wonder what exactly happened to Aurelia at the end, there. I like the sort of cliff-hanger ending because it really makes me want to keep going.
2/13/2013 c17 Dr. Self Destruct
Just like with the previous chapter, I feel like some setting description closer to the beginning of this chapter might be helpful in grounding the reader, because the first few lines of dialogue I'm having trouble picturing exactly where they are. I don't think it's until about halfway through the first scene that I see mention of grass once again, but still, I think going more into their location in regards to the castle will be helpful considering they end up having sex. I'd think Aurelia would be worried her mom might see them or something - that might be a subtle way to include the setting and location without it seeming too intrusive.

I really like how you handled the sex scene. There is a lot of emotion between them. I think you do a great job handling it without being too explicit, just like the scene where Oren is masturbating. Instead of making it seem like just pure indulgence, you really show the wonders of sex and how climax has the potential to set you free. I really enjoy that theme surrounding Oren - he seems like he's trapped in this shitty position, and he's finally found something that can help him escape it. I'm still trying to remember if Aurelia and Oren are brother/sister, haha. Which of course complicates this whole situation...

Oren's description of his time with the whore is really well done, too. It shows how overcome with emotion and desire he can be, as well as how vulnerable it makes him. It makes for very good characterization.
2/13/2013 c16 Dr. Self Destruct
I think this chapter could do with a little more description and detail. I had a hard time grounding myself in the scene in the beginning because it's only mentioned that they're lying on grass, but I would've liked some details about the setting and where exactly outside they are in relation to the castle. Same thing when they go into the tomb - there is some description, but I think it could do with a bit more to really help the darker tone and mood. Maybe address the other senses some more, or provide a few more details. The thing about the stone slabs is nice, but that's all I could really picture.

I liked this scene near the end where Oren ends up sick and Aurelia has a moment of strength. I think it goes back to what she said near the beginning of the chapter about how she's strong. I can definitely see her being a strong female protagonist, and I like that break away from convention that she mentioned where perhaps the legend saying a prince is the hero might be wrong, and maybe instead it's a princess. I'm looking forward to seeing if that is foreshadowing something.
2/13/2013 c15 Dr. Self Destruct
I really like the scene near the end where Aurelia is peeping on Oren masturbating because I think you handled it really well without having to be explicit. From the moment she heard him grunting I had a feeling I knew what was going on inside that barn, but I was still surprised when Aurelia discovered that Oren was... well, masturbating, haha. I think it shows a lot about his character; although he's in a house where he's obviously not welcome, he's still unable to control certain desires. Aurelia's mixed feelings are also handled really well; I could see confusion, desire, surprise - pretty much everything in the way she reacted. Your body descriptions do a wonderful job showing this, too, like how she pressed her legs together and whatnot.

I really like the transformation Oren has taken throughout the story. I remember when he was just a snot-nosed brat, but he's seems to have taken quite a transformation in personality and character since then. He's quite a respectable young man... even if he likes masturbating in people's barns. :P
2/12/2013 c6 4lookingwest
Scene - Eep, the death scene! This came on very quickly, but I don't think I mind that. The fact that Oren and the baby were still in the room while she died was heart-wrenching. I liked that they were included if only because later we'll probably see development from this. It was truly a family affair, which fits with the Queen, I think. I thought you did a good job describing the actual paragraph where she dies and also what she looks like when Bryn comes into the room. Very frightening and vivid.

Relationships - Mostly, this chapter makes me wonder what the relationship between Fred and Bryn will be like from now on. It makes me wonder if maybe Fred will be very stoic and Bryn won't really get what she actually wanted - his love. It also goes with that whole thing about how in these fairy tales the fathers/kings always basically try to replace their dead wife with the second one (Bryn), until their daughters are old enough - then they want to replace the daughter with the second wife, which then makes the second wife paranoid and wanting to kill the daughter. So I see kind of all of that starting to get set up here between Bryn and Fred and I wonder what will happen. There's a lot of good moments in here - I like when he yells at her to leave the room and his voice breaks. Really emotional.

Other/motifs: I like the motif of dreaming you pair up in this chapter and parallel with death. That of course plays a big part in the entire fairy tale that you're re-telling, and you did a good job showing it throughout with Bryn then mentioning it in the last line and also when she comes into the room and the Queen actually dies. I was suspicious there for awhile that maybe she would actually succumb to some unknown sleeping sickness before Bryn's poison would actually work into her - but I see that isn't the case now. It makes me wonder how that sleeping-beauty theme will play into this retelling, or if it will only be a motif throughout. Anyway, enjoyed seeing Bryn's take on death.

Enjoyment: Overall, I enjoyed this chapter and I also enjoyed what I read today from this story. It has a really good flow and pacing, and it's engaging too. I wasn't bored while I was reading. I also appreciated the smaller chapter chunks and where each chapter started and ended. If there was one thing I would suggest that you just keep in mind, it would be the setting. We do get a lot of foundation that works just fine, but it's definitely a place where I could see there being more of a poetic language at work and a little more description. Like I said though, overall, really enjoyed the retelling qualities and I enjoyed the perspective from Bryn, too.
2/12/2013 c5 lookingwest
Scene - Ack, poor Bryn! That ending scene was intense! I liked the language of it though, you did a really good job with describing the sexual relations and such. It was tasteful and used all the right words, I think, and I definitely was feeling for Bryn that she had to be stuck there watching that. Then again, she did kill two innocent people today, so meh, she probably deserves it and worse. Anyway, I liked that scene and it's a good teaser for stuff that might happen later. It was also really believable as to how Bryn got stuck there...

Characters - Which makes me want to talk about Bryn's anxiety. I really loved that in the beginning here - it was really convincing. I was going to mention in an earlier review I think, last chapter, that I wanted to see Bryn more worried about what she was doing or more uneasy about it, but I held off and I'm glad that I did, because we definitely get that here and I think it works really well. Her worry feels right at home and believable. I liked that she left dinner and Oren and everything - again, I got the hint that there was some sort of strange thing happening with the sleeping comment and how Oren was upset. I dunno if it will come together at all - but we shall find out. At any rate, the Queen is pretty much dead at this point - I'll be surprised to see if she does fall into some sort of eternal spell sleep or not.

Plot - So far, so good. Because this is a fairy tale retelling, it's not going to be the most original plot in the book, but so far it's very well executed as far as motivations and the carrying of the story. I like the inclusions of moments when we get to see the relationships between the characters - Fred and Aurorette for instance, before one of them dies. We have a nice origin story right here. And again - I'm interested to see where you take this retelling.

Pacing - Good so far too - I don't feel like it drags in any points and it's pretty steady. The added sex scene here at the end showed us relationships but I think it also makes the reader more interested, haha, so it speeds things along. I like the progression of the poison and how Bryn is taking care to cultivate it. I'm glad that not everyone just dropped dead at once (that would've pushed the pace too quickly, I think) and we get to see this trouble that Bryn feels in this chapter that Fred might drink it. Also the fact no one else has died yet. Lots of curious things happening here!
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