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9/5/2012 c2 76The Autumn Queen
[his wine cup held high and full, the room was bloated with guests and each in turn echoed Lord Guerin and stood, their wine goblets high] - I think the comma after full should be a fullstop. It reads like two separate sentences. On that note, I don't particularly like how you worded the second part of that sentence (the bit I said belongs on its own) because it reads somewhat forced into the middle of the paragraph. If it was the first phrase, it would flow a little better, but is it even necessary to say "the room was bloated with guests" at that point? It seems that would belong before the dialogue.

On a note of consistency, why is there a line break between the chapter title and the chapter and a page break everywhere else?

[took the boys hand] - boy's.

That's an odd way of phrasing it. [Oren clutched tighter to his mother.] - I think it works better as "Oren grip on his mother tightened" or, closer to your original statement, "Oren clutched his mother more tightly". You have more awkward phrasing in this chapter than I normally see for you work.

[She watched the blackness of night spread across the sky, no moon, no stars, and she knew what needed to be done.] - while I like the sentiment of that, I don't like the way you've divided it by commas as the breaks read differently to me. Particularly the one after sky - that needs to be made more prominent, eg. a colon or a dash. For that matter, I don't see why you felt the need to use a dash before it. It's a tad disruptive when talking about the courtyard.

I like how you've described the child's snores as "harsh" because there's some nice symbolism in it, and particularly the fact that you're using a children's fairytale as a basis for this fic.

On that note, perhaps a little more detail with the summary?
9/4/2012 c6 1parisi
Such an interesting take on the classic story. The wording and vernacular are spot on for the era. I'm curious to see your take on the fairy godmothers.
9/4/2012 c2 19Anihyr Moonstar
Many interesting developments this chapter! Or, well, I suppose this is the first "real" chapter, anyway. Still. It caught me off-guard in a number of ways as I was reading through - not that that's a bad thing. I enjoyed the surprises.

First off, I think I could talk about the characters forever. Oren definitely surprised me. Since this is a Sleeping Beauty story, I was expecting him to be "Prince Charming" at a young age, so to speak, but it seems like he's the baby princess's brother, so that can't be right. And, the spoiled brat attitude was a nice addition. While in the typical story the prince certainly doesn't glom onto the idea of having a little baby as his future bride, he's at least fairly well behaved. Oren has a character all his own.

Frederick and Brynhild's relationship was another of those big surprise moments. In the beginning, when she locked eyes with him, I thought "Oh, well, *that's* interesting - poor woman has a crush on the King, tsk tsk..." but it never occurred to me that they would have "that" kind of a history already. Even when she was waiting in the hall for him, at first I thought she just wanted a chance to see him again, and it didn't occur to me until very late (almost as it happened) that there might be more to it than from a distance, hopeless romantic attraction.

So, the plot's definitely going in ways that bend/break the traditional SB story. (Which is great, because in general, I'm rarely impressed with fairy tale retellings - they're *so* overdone - and to be interesting they have to break new ground.) It does leave me with a little sense of virtigo, though, trying to figure out who's who (i.e., at the beginning, Bryn struck me as a kind character, but now I'm wondering if she's the witch simply due to the end - more on that in a second).

THE END. I think the closing of this whole little scene definitely did a good job of leaving the reader wondering. It dangles a bunch of questions out there. Yes, it leaves the reader with Bryn in a position of rejection and heartbreak, but there's a darker element to it (emphasized nicely by the "no moon, no stars" blackness of the scene, by the way; nice job tying that in). Clearly, there's more to Bryn than a simple nursemaid, and I have to wonder what exactly it is that "needs to be done".

- Moonstar
9/4/2012 c1 4lookingwest
In the first two sentences I'm not so sure I agree with your passive voice. In some cases it's fine, even preferred, but here I wanted to read the sentences a little stronger. Like, "The messenger arrived hours ago", instead of the "had arrived", or "Preparations were made starting a dusk" instead of "had been made". This is me being nit-picky though, and in the end the style is entirely of course, up to you.

The fires in the dining hall were lit, meat turning on their spikes by the many kitchen boys with fingers already burned black. The house maids scattered herbs... [In this section, I'm wondering about parallelism in the verbs. We have "were lit" and then later "maids scattered", but in the middle description it's in present tense and I'm wondering if maybe it should read in past instead. Something like: "The fires in the dining hall were lit, and the meat turned on their spikes by the many kitchen boys with fingers already burned black." Something like that maybe.

I love this small snippet of writing - you can really tell that the writer is a poet of sorts, and the descriptions are rich and lush. I love that about this. That second paragraph is superb with imagery and sensory information, and you don't overdo it. I always fear there's a fine line between purple prose and poetic writing, but you find an excellent balance here that I really appreciate. For a prologue this works to establish the scene really well. It sets the stage brilliantly. I'm wondering where this plot will take us as a retelling, but I think this is a great story to re-tell and I look forward to how you will make it entirely your own and how to make the story unique, which I think can pose an interesting challenge to any writer. This is ambitious and I look forward to getting the chance to read more! Wonderful start.
9/3/2012 c1 19Anihyr Moonstar
Spelling/grammar: [The fires in the dining hall were lit, meat turning on their spikes by the many kitchen boys with fingers already burned black.] I might change "spikes" to "spits", as that's generally the word used for turning meat over a fire. Also, the "...meat turning on their spikes by the many kitchen boys..." reads a little oddly. You could make it "meat *being* turned on spikes by the many kitchen boys..." since as it is there feels like there's a bit of a disconnect. Finally, I can imagine the boys' fingers being sooty (and therefor black) and possibly the occasional burn, but the way you have it, it sounds as though their fingers have literally been cooked to charcoal, and I don't think that's what you meant.

Writing: As an intro, this is very short and thus difficult to review in "depth", but you do put in a good number of details. Plenty enough to set the scene, in any case. Here: [First she pulled the necessary ingredients up from the garden, fist scattering lavender under her cot and then against her fingers...] I'm expecting there to be a "second" or "afterwards" or "next", but that never happens, so it feels a little like it's been left hanging.

Technique: I like that the perspective is a little off from what one might expect. Specifically, the focus on "Brynhild" (whom I assume is her nursemaid, since she's working, but also "helped bring the child into the world". Her attitude towards the little princess is touching and realistic. In those days, a wealthy mother (such as a queen) probably wouldn't have nearly as "close" of a relationship to her offspring as a nursemaid or nanny.

Characters: In addition to Brynhild (who presents an interesting and relateable character on her own), I think it's neat that you're already alluding to the princesses future. This line in particular [The princess didn't stir, as though she were in a dream she hoped not to be released from.] reminds me potently that this is "Sleeping Beauty" we're dealing with, and I think that it's neat that you can work that into her character in so few words, so early on.

- Moonstar
9/3/2012 c1 76The Autumn Queen
I don’t particularly like the way you’ve opened up this story because, while the scene sounds quite common (particularly with Macbeth springing to mind), there’s nothing that stands out in it. All it tells was the time difference between the messenger carrying the message and the entourage arriving, and there’s little value in that. It might be important later, but you haven’t really set it up. If you’d said, for example, that something was waiting, prepared, like the second paragraph, then it would have been more effective. As it is, the second paragraph gets a little drowned, particularly since you’ve got so much going on in that paragraph.

I like the use of light in this, because while it’s so sort, you show time passing quite reasonably. On top of that, the use of fire as opposed to candlelight or something heightens a sense of supernatural (again, Macbeth – you used herbs after all).

["My sweet one," she began to rock the bassinet, "my sweet darling… "] – I think the “she” should be capitalised and “sweet one,” should be “sweet one.” It’s not really a speaker tag.
9/3/2012 c2 1Callah
Hello! I found your story on The Review Game thread, and let me just say this now -I'm glad I did. I'll attempt to give you as honest and constructive a review as I can, in hopes that I can help you possibly better yourself as a writer.

First off, I'd like to say that I enjoy the way you worded this piece. You gave us vivid imagery concerning the surroundings, and I enjoyed that you managed to retain a sort of 'olden style' feel to it when it came to your descriptions and such. I truthfully saw only one spelling mistake in the prologue, but I believe it was only fault of typing fast and skimming over on the re-read.

I suggest embellishing the latter part of the first chapter -adding description to interaction between the two. Possibly even some more background? Or perhaps drop a few more hints as to their secretive relationship during the feast?

Honestly speaking, I did enjoy the setting and characters very much, and I hope to read more of this in the future as you continue to improve and hone your skills :)

9/3/2012 c2 5Dr. Self Destruct
Hello again! This is for the Rule 10 debt. :)

I like how the beginning of this chapter contrasts with the ending. It all starts with a party and a toast (very lovely opening, by the way. I really enjoyed it because just like the prologue it pulled me right onto the scene), then progressively gets darker and darker as it goes on. The image of the serving maids being pressed against the wall with their skirts being lifted was a great way to kind of foreshadow what was going to happen between Frederick and Brynhild.

And speaking of which, it was interesting to see a woman so swept up with her lust. A very interesting role reversal. I like how I could tell Frederick wanted to act on his impulses and it took every measure of his self-control not to. I also enjoyed how you imparted some of the information about their relationship, like about how he's married and that they're done this type of thing before, through their dialogue. It was very effective and sounded realistic - made me think "No waaaaay, he's married?" while I was reading, haha.

Some edits:

["You've had enough!" She barked at him, "No sit quietly like a good Prince.]

Edit: The 'she' should be lowercase since it's part of a speaker tag, and the comma after 'him' a period. Also, I think that should be 'now' instead of 'no.'

["No please father," Oren clutched tighter to his mother.]

Edit: The comma after 'father' should be a period since the following text is an action.

["At least, you came!"]

Typo: I think you meant "at last."
9/3/2012 c1 Dr. Self Destruct
I really love your attention to detail, because I was able to picture everything perfectly. The way you address the sense of scent was wonderful, too. One of my favorite images was the one of the petals being scattered under the table so that when they're crushed the scent will waft upward. A very cool idea; I've never see that before, though I could totally see it being done in the past. I also enjoyed the "bursting lights" in the first sentence - I thought that gave another really vivid image and helped hook me into the prologue.

While this is rather short, I think you do a great job setting the tone of the story. I'm looking forward to seeing how you'll approach the Sleeping Beauty story, and especially what you'll change and what you'll keep the same.

Some edits:

[so that once crushed under foot the scent would waft up at the Kings guest.]

Edit: Missing an apostrophe for "King's."

[First she pulled the necessary ingredients up from the garden, scattering lavender under her cot and against her fingers,]

I could be reading this wrong, but because of the -ing ending in "scattering" it makes it sound like the pulling up of the ingredients and the scattering of the lavender are happening at the same time. You may want to put a "then scattering" in there just to clear that image up a bit, unless, of course, they really are supposed to be happening at the same time (I wasn't sure and just wanted to bring it to your attention).

["There now, little one" Brynhild cooed,]

Edit: Missing a comma after "one."

["My sweet one," she began to rock the bassinet "my sweet darling… "]

The comma after "one" should be a period, and the "she" capitalized. Also need a period after "bassinet" and "my" should be capitalized. Unless these two line of dialogue are supposed to be read without pause, then you're just missing a comma after "bassinet."
9/3/2012 c1 5Persevera
I like the idea of re-telling Sleeping Beauty. You've done well at introducing some of the characters.
I like the atmosphere created, with the description of preparations for the feast. The solitude of the mother-daughter moment is a nice contrast
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