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for To Sleep Perchance to Dream

9/5/2012 c4 17amavian
i like how you show the queen as the 'beloved lady' in your summary. cant wait to see what happens next.
9/5/2012 c3 amavian
i like the connection you show between bryn and the queen, and the comparisons between the two. i don't want bryn to kill her - happy ending?
9/5/2012 c2 amavian
i liked the development of bryn and the kings characters. i liked the hints of their past relationship.
9/5/2012 c1 amavian
wow what a powerful opener. i love all the detail.
9/5/2012 c11 19Anihyr Moonstar

Alright, on to some more rational analysis...

Definitely a chilling chapter. If there was any doubt left in the reader's mind that Bryn is insane, it was knocked out right here. On the other hand, I think it was very smoothly portrayed. What started out as a rational-seeming woman has slowly, through the chapters, degraded into something else, leaving the readers with a tortured shadow of what she once was, and a very gloomy picture by the end indeed.

I'm very curious to see how you wrap this up and if, in fact, there will even *be* a "happy" ending. I know fairy tales didn't used to always end happily, and maybe this will be a tragic one.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c10 Anihyr Moonstar
Yes! Okay, so, I haven't read the full chapter yet, but I figured I would kick this off by saying that: a.) I love the opening and b.) I'm so happy to see a chapter from a different character's perspective. I've kind of had the itching want to see this story from another perspective or two for a while now, but since it's so far been told for nine chapters from just Bryn's side, I didn't figure it would ever switch up.

My enthusiasm for Frederick is ever stronger. I love that he went to take care of Lord Guerin (sign of a good king, taking care of those "beneath" him simply because they're important to him) and I think the dialogue between them did a good job to set that mood.

Even in that tiny blip of space that he appeared and was lost, I felt for Guerin and already want him back. Talk of becoming "grandfathers together" is just one of those things that pulls on one's heart strings.

[There was a pitcher of water beside Guerin's bed, and lifting the cup to his mouth Frederick took a long drink from it.] AHHH. Okay, plot twist. This is what I get for reviewing as I go along. Did *not* see that happening, but maybe this will cause Bryn to decide to find the antidote and reverse it all after all?

Fffffff- What a way to end it. And of course, this is the fourth chapter and therefor the end of this review string, eesh. Well, you certainly have me on the edge of my seat wondering what's going to happen next this time. :)

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c9 Anihyr Moonstar
Aha! So it IS a dream sleep. But she keeps referring to them as dying, too, so I'm a bit confused. Perhaps that'll be worked out later.

I think the opening nicely cements the idea that Bryn's gone off the deep end, calling the baby her own "daughter" and obviously trying to fill shoes she doesn't belong in. I like this line, too: [Brynhild approached her, but she seemed as if in a daze, not noticing Brynhild until she was standing over her, shading the other girl like a dark cloak.] The "like a dark cloak" bit definitely adds an ominous vibe to Bryn's presence (one that was already there some, but is now being emphasized by the text).

I wonder where the King has gotten off to. Perhaps to get to the bottom of this massive poisoning? I hope so. :)

Technical stuff:

[Brynhild arraigned herself for the day.] "Arranged"? Arraigned is a word, but since "arraign" means to impeach or prosecute someone (if I'm not mistaken), I don't think it's the word you're looking for in this instance.

["There's no many now," the girl explained...] "Not" many, I think.

[...she received now answer in response.] "No" answer.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c8 Anihyr Moonstar
[It would only take a few days, she reasoned, just a few more days, and then they could be together. She, and Frederick, and the children; they would be a family, and she would raise them as her own. It will be as it was meant to be.] *shudder* Yeah, this woman officially creeps me out. Then again, she's fairly clearly by this point the "wicked witch" character (with a pretty big twist, but still), so I suppose it's appropriate that she's unsettling. There's obviously a big disconnect in her mind between what's she's hoping for and the reality of what's going on, but ah well.

That said, I think it's interesting that you're telling the whole story from the "villain's" perspective. It's a great way to give the reader a chance to sympathize/empathize with her (it certainly worked that way in the beginning - I really felt for her as a person and wished things could turn around for her). I guess it's a little bit disappointing that I'm not longer "torn" (that is, I definitely hope that she fails in the end because she's clearly going about this the wrong way and I've lost my sympathy for her) BUT it's good that she's not pure "evil" (because those type of villains are the worst).

I love the last sentence of this. Very poetic (and I can't help but think that the word "spent" in this instance sounds vaguely sexual, but it doesn't detract from the line). It makes for a nice close.

Oh! Before I forget again, here are some technical errors I caught last chapter (I didn't scribble down all the ones I saw, but these stood out because they're mostly issues of missing or added possessive apostrophes):

[...a pale marble mausoleum on a secluded part of the castles grounds.] Should be "castle's" because it's possessive.

[...and all other Queen's that would follow after her.] "Queen's" in this case does not need the possessive apostrophe, because it's simply plural. Should be "Queens".

[...Oren was held up by his father to kiss his mothers cold forehead one last time.] Should be "mother's" because it's possessive.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c7 Anihyr Moonstar
Some of the wording in the opening paragraph read a little awkwardly, but I liked the funeral procession scene and the interaction between the (again) the King and his late wife and Oren. To me it's so clearly emphasized that the King loves(ed?) Aurorette that it irks me that Brynhild refuses to see it. The King's behavior, for the most part, seems very realistic.

The interaction between Bryn and the King at the end, though, made me cringe. It's probably partly just me, and I know (to steal a quote I heard somewhere) "there's a lot to be said about self-delusionment when it comes to matters of the heart" - but it still feels so incredibly awkward to have her pushing herself on him so obviously, immediately after he lost his wife.

I suppose it's simply because I would be a much crueler king, and if I had just lost someone I loved and had the kind of power he did, and found myself having to deal with someone like Bryn, the kindest course of action I might take would be to have her sent far, far away. So I find it hard to relate to taking that much of it in stride in such a time of loss.

- Moonstar

P.S. Oh, and I haven't commented on this yet, but there's a tiny part of me that *is* wondering if the victims from this "poison" really are dead. The part where it was mentioned that it was used against enemies makes me think that it must be a real poison. But other things, like the fact that the Queen is named "Aurorette" much like Aurora, the actual Sleeping Beauty, the mentions of her looking like she was asleep and Bryn's telling Oren that she was simply having a long, deep dream, etc..

Particularly because, though this is a Sleeping Beauty retelling, it's not actually blatantly obvious who the sleeping beauty is. While at first I thought it would be the baby girl (usually, the SB story starts with the princess as a baby, and then has her grow up and meet her tragic end), now I'm starting to wonder if it isn't the Queen after all. I would be extremely happy if it turned out this way (way to bring about a happy ending), but I'll try not to put all my eggs/hopes in one basket yet.
9/5/2012 c2 5Author-K-J-Lee
It's quite interesting, the only thing wrong with it that I can see is the literary rule that - new speaker equls new paragraph. You have a few paragraphs where they both speak in the same line and it gets confusing.
For example : "No," she countered, "You're a man!" She came toward him again, but this time he pushed her back against the wall hard, her head slamming against the rough stone. "Never again! If you persist in this, you will be sent away, never to return here!"
9/5/2012 c6 19Anihyr Moonstar
The Queen's death was painful to watch/read. She's been built up enough as a character that I don't *want* her to die, and the pain of everyone around her as she was lost was very real. The poor children. Whatever sympathy I felt for Bryn's character is gone. I can understand the pain of losing a man you love, but it doesn't justify her actions.

I like Frederick more as a character, too. It would have been extremely unrealistic (or felt so to me, anyway) if he'd suddenly warmed up to Bryn for whatever reason. From his treatment of her I almost get the *barest* sense of suspicion from his end (which, grounded or not in any fact, is totally understandable).

This portion confused me a little, though: [...and Old Bess from the opposite side of the bed raised an incredulous eyebrow up at her.] Why is Old Bess so readily suspicious? Bryn's reasoning sounded fairly logical, and since there are multiple people falling to this illness, it seems strange that anyone (other than say, the King, who has irrational, emotional reasons to blame her) would jump to being suspicious of her.

I don't like that she's calling the King "Frederick" in the presence of other people. It feels far too familiar, and doesn't seem like something a servant should do, even with their history, unless they were completely alone together. It felt out of place.

I'm also a little uncomfortable with how immediately Bryn jumped in to try to soothe the King "like a child" and guide him away. Maybe it's her own foolish fantasies guiding her actions, but it just feels like a horrible, jarring time to try to win him back over when his wife just died *moments ago*.

[...not understanding why the child didn't believe her...] This also is a little implausible. Yes, he's young, but many people have already died, the prince has probably heard of those, he knew what was coming, his mother looked awful, she was choking and bleeding... It just doesn't seem like the sort of situation where it would be even remotely easy to convince a child (who had *watched* the whole thing happen) that she was "just dreaming".

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c5 Anihyr Moonstar
Ahhh, and *here* so many things come to a head. Before I get started, though, I feel like I should say something I meant to say way back in chapter one. This story should not be rated "K". Technically, by FP's rating system, it should be rated "M" because while the sex isn't explicit, it's definitely there and fairly obvious. You could probably get away with "T" if you wanted, but it's not K. Far too adult.

With that out of the way, there's a bunch I liked this chapter. For "relationships". When Bryn is initially driven by her fear for the King's life to go back into the Queen's chamber, it reinforces the strength of her feelings for him: she'd rather fail now at killing the Queen than accidentally kill the King in the process. She's even worried about little Oren (which I find a bit surprising, but hey). There's compassion there and bonds between the characters.

I think the scene when the Queen comes sleepily into the chamber is very well handled. I can almost hear the dramatic music picking up in the background. There's no doubt in my mind in that instant that she's going to drink the poison, so it's tragic, but still suspenseful on some level as I wait for the axe to drop.

The pacing felt very natural, too. I liked that each event seems to build off of the last and you keep the drama/suspense high through the whole chapter. When the King walks into the room, the fear that he's going to drink the poison too stays all the way until he leaves.

I get a sort of sadistic pleasure out of the fact that Bryn had to watch all that, and I really *hope* it made her suffer because the King and Queen obviously have a rare, positive relationship, and she's tearing it down for her own purposes. The whispered love confession from the King to the Queen feels like the last nail in the coffin, just drilling home that pain that I want Bryn to feel.

The part where the Queen cries out that she wants another baby, too, is a nice touch to add to the reader's sympathy for her (and makes the loss of her more painful).

These chapters are so short, though, that I feel like I have to comment on everything just to give an in-depth review. :P I wouldn't mind there being more meat to them, but obviously we have different preferences in that regard.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c3 Anihyr Moonstar
I really like the character-building done with the queen in this chapter (I never know whether I ought to capitalize that or not, perhaps I should start). In any case, when I accidentally skipped a chapter, I felt like I was still getting that over-arching sense that she was kind, but still didn't feel fleshed out. Here, particularly in the paragraph where she talks to Bryn about becoming more familiar with each other, my heart goes out to her a little. She feels like a *person* and it hurts more to know that Bryn's going to just try to poison her.

The scene where Bryn just gets out of the Queen's chambers and is struck with sudden indecision, I think, is great for adding depth to the encounter, too. (And depth to Bryn's character.) She's not this heartless machine driven by a sole purpose; she's only *doing* this because of false hope for a man she loves and can't have any other way.

The details you add in about the plant are great for world building. Especially the idea that they were woven into blankets made for enemies' beds (clever idea). Little details like that can add a lot to make a plot feel more real.

I think the end, too, leads more smoothly into the next chapter (now that I know what happens in the next chapter). It's funny; the entire story still *worked* without this chapter in it (that is, I skipped it without feeling out of place, and it even felt like a reasonably smooth transition), but with this chapter there, even if it's not absolutely necessary to keep the reader on track, it still feels like it's a lot stronger as a story.

You keep using those colons when you don't need them in dialogue tags, though. And just fyi, here: [When the Queen sat at her dressing table she poured the mead herself, taking the cup to her mouth and drinking deeply. "Will you go down to meal this morning, majesty?"] This sounds like the Queen is saying that until I read "majesty" because the sentence preceding the dialogue is all about the queen.

Anyway. I enjoyed this chapter.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c4 Anihyr Moonstar
I think you open this well. By the end of the first paragraph, I instantly have a sense of what she meant at the last chapter, but by the end of the second, I start to get the hint that it's going to be much larger scale than simply poisoning the queen. At first, I was confused, but curious, as to why should would poison her own fellow servants. In the larger scheme of things, though, it makes sense.

[ The Queen put the glass to her lips, but she stopped herself from drinking when she heard the sound of yelling from outside the corridor.] The ever classic technique: cut off the moment of the victim's downfall at the last instant with some chance interruption. While it's been done and done and done again, I still think it's fairly reliable for getting the heartrate of the reader up, and keeping their interest through the next few passages as they wait anxiously to see if the crime will go through or not.

As a character, I like that Oren in this chapter manages to not only uphold his reputation as a snotty brat, but also almost (unwittingly) makes himself into a "hero" for his mother. No matter how awful he is (and how much he needs his bum whipped), if he hadn't come in, his mother would have been dead in the next few hours, so that makes him (at least in my book at this point) much more bearable.

Technical grammar/spelling wise, here's a couple things I caught:

["...I think I shall stay in bed until the evening meal." Said the Queen as the child unlatched herself...] Should be a comma after "meal" and "said" should be lower case.

["Alright Lady," Brynhild said: "Let me take the Princess then...] Don't need that colon. Make it a period. (There are a couple other similar errors along those lines, where when there's a "said" tag, it should be a comma, not a period in the dialogue, and whenever I see a colon in the dialogue tag it needs to be a period. Both of those come up more than once.)

Here: [His tutors would eventually fine him...] I'm fairly sure you meant "find" not "fine".

Pacing wise, I like that you manage to keep it moving briskly and make it *feel* like it's clipping along simply because you keep the suspense about the queen there right up 'til the end. Unfortunately, maybe because of this or maybe not, other than Bryn and Oren, none of the characters feel very real to me. I realize the maids are only minor characters, but the whole string of dialogue at the end feels a little...dry? Even though it's supposed to be dramatic?

Not bad though. Onto the next chap.

- Moonstar
9/5/2012 c2 4lookingwest
"When we were younger, before she came here, before you were married" He moaned... [Typo, I'd either put a question mark or a comma after "married" - something to punctuate it correctly as dialogue]

Ah, I can already see where this is heading with the hints at the ending and the circumstances of their affair, but throughout this chapter, despite its ending predictability, I was immensely engaged with it. You tell a story very smoothly and the scenes were complete and well written. I really liked the scenes you created between Oren and Brynhild and then the scene similar when Fredrick slaps her at the end - they're reminiscent of one another and I think that says something.

Again, I loved your tact with language, everything is well described - not overly so, but in a professional clean cut manner that gives the story great flow. I liked the dialogue and thought you did a great job with that too, in these situations I've seen people attempt a more formal voice for aristocracy, but I'm glad you didn't go that route - they sound well balanced. I think you created a rather convincing setting and cast of characters thus far. Perhaps the only thing, towards the beginning, that you could work on is getting rid of some of the asides and working them into their own sentences. Having more than one parentheses for one paragraph can get a little distracting - but other than that this was another excellent read!
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