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5/21/2013 c12 CyhAnide
It's interesting to see things from the perspective of someone other than Brynhild, especially the aftermath of the epidemic. There's a real sense of abandonment, that the entire region has, rather suddenly, become a lost cause. I'm truly amazed that Lisbet and Gesine managed to avoid the disease, actually. I hope they come out of it alive. *sigh* Ah, it's nice to have a normal, totally-not-horrifying chapter to chase away the nightmares I expect to see. (Well, the horse things is bad, but I saw something similar on NatGeo involving a cow, so maybe I'm desensitized? The cow didn't die, though. Poor Sarpedon. He had such a cool name!)

Now I'm wondering, did everyone consider Bryn to be a "witch," or is this just something that the kids came up with? Or is it just because of how totally insane Bryn was when she busted into Lisbet's house and stole the King back? Maybe a little bit of clarification here would be a little bit good for the reader, especially since she's been seeing things through Bryn's eyes this whole time.

Ah, and of course, my endless nitpicks:
[Despite the witches' small frame...]
- "witches'" should be "witch's"

[...and once they had gone, Lisbet took hold of her younger sister, "get your cloak!" she instructed, "we'll go to the castle! Be quick now!"]
- You should start new sentences after "sister" and " instructed"
- Also, this feels like it should be the start of a new paragraph, since Lisbet is talking now, and "the witch" is no longer dominating the scene.

[Once they had been stripped of their valuable belongs, and thankfully stripped of nothing else. Lisbet pulled her sister into the old baker's shop, locking the door behind them.]
- "belongs" should be "belongings"
- This whole string should actually be one sentence, with a comma after "else" (You could also remove "Once" and replace "and" with "but" in the first sentence.)

[The tracks where her earlier tears had fallen gave her pale face and ethereal sheen...]
- "and" should be "an"

[How could see – daughter of a Lord...]
- "see" should be "she"

[They slowly creped along the edge of the courtyard...]
- "creped" should be "crept"

[...the depths of the forests dangerous ranks.]
- "forests" should be "forest's"

All in all, this is a good way to end the first part of the story. It breaks away from the usual POV, giving you a different perspective on what's happening, and prepares you for the changes that are bound to happen in the next part of the story, presumably after some time passes? (I don't know yet - I'm trying not to peek!)

I can't wait to read it!
- Cyh
5/21/2013 c11 CyhAnide
I like that you have thoroughly freaked me out. No, really. Wow...just wow. I have to write words here, but honestly I'm sort of speechless. There are so many terrible things going on in this chapter, but you've executed them so well that I kind of froze up at the end and had to wait a minute before I could actually start typing...

Actually, I think I need a drink...

Well, here's one oddity I noticed concerning the pitcher of clean water:
[Finally she found it in the abandoned, and darken great hall, and it looked to be untouched and unchanged from when she original left it there.]
- "darken" should be "darkened"
- "original" should be "originally"
- I feel like this sentence needs to be reworked overall. Maybe trim off a couple of adjectives and try to adjust the flow of the words. Sometimes rearranging the clauses is enough to fix stuff like this.

Okay! So there's my praise. I'm horrified, especially at that bit with the cold blood and at the beginning... *cringe* Oh, man, I need to read the next chapter. Hopefully I'll be a little more coherent then.
5/21/2013 c10 CyhAnide
Ah, this was such a good chapter! The imagery of the bodies growing so numerous that there weren't enough left to gather them...it feels like I'm reading a description of the Bubonic Plague, which is completely appropriate for this story. Yet despite that, there's so much emotional backdrop with Guerin and Frederick, and the water pitcher and the bit at the end. Wow, it's getting so good!

So once again I was too distracted by what was happening to the characters to really pick up on anything negative. Even though this chapter is about the same length as the previous one, it's so emotionally charged that it felt complete. Ah, but there were some odd bits/typos to point out, so I'll just do that.

[Guerin's faced grimaced, and he clutched Frederick's hand tighter.]
- "faced" should be "face" (You could also just say "Guerin grimaced" and that would be fine.)

[...his throat felt thick from not forming the sound of her name.]
- The wording of this line is just a little bit awkward. Does he want to say her name, but can't bring himself to do it? Or does he just miss saying her name?

That's it. Other than those two things, this chapter was very well-written. (I have to go read the next one now and find out what's happening next!)
5/21/2013 c9 CyhAnide
I'm really enjoying this twist on the Sleeping Beauty theme. I'm curious to know if this is just a precursor to an actual sleeping illness, or if the strict interpretation of the original story's "sleep" is going to be "death" in this version. That aside, poor little Aurelia's new "mommy" is crazier than a bag of cats! I thought we had hit a peak in the madness department, but I can see that the bar is still climbing. I'm really impressed with how you've managed to gradually alter Bryn's mental state throughout the story so far and surprise me at every turn. Bravo!

Now, this is only half a negative, but I feel like this chapter was a little bit short - more like a prologue than a normal chapter. Maybe you could add a little bit more description of the state of things to help transition between settings as Bryn searches for Frederick? I think it would help give the reader an idea of how hopelessly vacant the castle and village have become. A little punch of despair would be good here.

Lastly, typos:
[When Aurelia was back in her bassinet, Brynhild arraigned herself for the day.]
- By "arraigned" I think you meant "arranged" (The former means she was formally charged with a crime.) "Prepared" would also be a good word to use here.

[Brynhild signed loudly...]
- "signed" should be "sighed"
5/20/2013 c8 CyhAnide
Watching Bryn completely lose her marbles is such a fascinating ride. I love the break she makes from pretending to care about her duties to throwing herself into her crazy schemes. The final straw had always been in sight, but now that it's here it still feels like I wasn't really expecting things to fall so far into dark territory. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't expect it to happen so completely, so soon. This story just gets better and better.

The one weird thing I noticed was actually in the very first paragraph, when you describe the moon as having a "bovine circumference." The imagery that the word "bovine" conjures is actually a little bit more comical than I would have anticipated. I guess the argument could be made for the cow jumping over the moon, which sits well with the style of a long-told fable, but at the same time the word just sort of jumps out and makes the reader pause, wondering what the author meant.

Typo-wise, this is what I picked up:
[If someone didn't drink the water than you were still apt to eat the food prepared from it.]
- "than" should be "then"

[...and had one of his groomsmen fetch a pale of water from the stream...]
- "pale" should be "pail"

Anyway, I'm really having fun with this story and the strange twists it's taking through what would otherwise be a familiar storybook setting. I hope to be reading more soon - after I get some much-needed sleep. *laugh*

May the muses bring you more brilliant ideas!
- Cyh
5/20/2013 c7 CyhAnide
This is excellent. Again, we see how desperate and obsessed Bryn has become. Clearly, she can't be thinking straight. Otherwise, she would be a little more cautious about how she approached the King on the day of the Queen's funeral. I'm liking the pacing and the mood in this one. Things are going quickly, but we still get these reminders of what's going on in Bryn's head. Plus, we see that Frederick truly loved his wife, but he's still conflicted over his relationship with Bryn. The way the story shifts around to accommodate the varying viewpoints is wonderful.

Just one nitpick that I have is that I wish some mention had been made describing the state of Aurorette's body after she died. After all, the main indication of the "disease" is this splotchy red marking, and in the previous chapter she seemed to be in an awful state. Perhaps some makeup was used to hide the marks? It would be good to get some of that imagery to help transition from that scene in the last chapter.

And just a few typos:
[...a pale marble Mausoleum on a secluded part of the castles grounds.]
- "castles" can either be "castle's" or just "castle" (personally, I think "castle grounds" sounds more natural)

[Her hair, arraigned long, was pulled up around her face...]
- "arraigned" should be "arranged"

[...and all other Queen's that were destined follow after her.]
- "Queen's" should be "Queens"

[...his kiss was both tender and soft against his wives frore cheek.]
- "wives" should be "wife's" and I'm not actually sure what "frore" is supposed to be. Seems like a typo.

["Enough," he said more gentlely...]
- "gentlely" should be "gently"

["You must not punish yourself, Lord, "Brynhild touched his cheek.]
- The quote is moved a space over to the right, after "Lord", but it should come right after the comma.
5/20/2013 c6 CyhAnide
Ooh...are we seeing a dash of crazy? Ah, I love where this is going. I'm sad that Aurorette had to die, but the progression of Bryn's character is so impossibly fascinating. She's likeable in the sense that you can see the cracks starting to form and you feel some sympathy for her downward spiral, but she's still just enough of an antagonist that you're searching for someone to stop her. It's a real page-turner at this point.

Negative-wise, not much in this chapter, either. I found a couple of typos, I guess. Well, maybe the reaction that everyone has to Bryn's rehearsed speech about immunity was a little bit on the odd side. It really depends on the time period, but if we're talking about the medieval period, or any period up to the invention of the smallpox vaccine, then maybe immunity isn't the best phrasing. The concept doesn't bother me, but that word specifically feels just a little bit out-of-place.

Anyway, here are the obligatory typos:
[Some of the others are packing up to leave the castl, and head back out to their family's farms.]
- "castl" should be "castle" and the comma afterwards isn't necessary.
- "family's" should be "families'" (Plural possessives generally get an apostrophe after the plural "s" unless it's an irregular plural, like "children's" and "women's".)

[Had she had enough strength her bones would have cracked from the angle from the strained angle her body took.]
- Looks like you did some editing and forgot to delete the part that you didn't want. Man, that happens to me all the time! Glad to see I'm not the only one.
5/20/2013 c5 CyhAnide
Oh, snap, I don't think I could have seen any typos with all that saucy action going on. (Well-written, by the way. *smirk* ) I was so ready to forgive Brynhild and let her just dump the pitcher out, but I guess that was a doomed hope. I love how you toy with the reader's emotions in this. You feel for Bryn, and you want her to be redeemed, but then she sort of alienates you at the end. It's like she just doesn't want to talk to anyone, doesn't feel that remorse anymore and doesn't care what we think. (I know she can't see us reading, but it's got that sort of effect, at least to me.)

Huh...negatives...well, it's not really much of a negative, but when Bryn excuses herself from the table with Oren, she says that she'll be right back. I'm sort of left wondering what on earth is going on with the little prince during all of this, since you say that the two of them were alone at the table. He seemed upset, and I was curious to know what was wrong with him, but at the same time I guess it's a testament to Bryn's distracted state that she would totally forget about him. Who knows? Just a thought. Heck, maybe the next chapter will answer all of my questions. Let's find out...
5/16/2013 c4 CyhAnide
Dislikes: Hmm, there were a few more issues in this chapter than the others, so I'll just list them and make suggestions.

[Steaming loafs of bread were aligned on the cooling stones...]

Two things here: "loafs" should be "loaves," and rather than saying they were "aligned" on the cooling stones, it would flow a little better if you say that they "lined the cooling stones."

[To disguise any taste her mixture might leave she added rose petals and mint leafs.]

Here, "mint leafs" should be "mint leaves," but of you don't like the sound of "leave" and "leaves" sitting in the same sentence, you could just call it "mint." Most people would just know what mint is.

["She was a maid and comfort to me when my daughter was born..."

You could either write it as "She was a maid and a comfort to me" or "She comforted me," but the way it's written now sort of feels like she's implying that being a maid and being comfort are categorically equivalent...I really hope I'm not being vague. It just reads funny to me, I guess.

["Your knowledge of herbs may help in understand what this is."]

"understand" should be "understanding"

['Brynhild, will you please follow me back to the castle, I want to change before the evening meal?"]

This should just be split into two sentences at the comma. Otherwise, the question sticks out oddly.

Likes: Wow, things managed to leap forward pretty quickly, yet it doesn't feel terribly forced. Your writing style is very concise, which probably comes from all that poetry, yes? (Sorry, I took a peek at your portfolio. XD ) I wasn't sure if I would really take to this story, to be honest, but your hook was good and you managed to keep the tempo up throughout these four chapters. Bravo!
5/16/2013 c3 CyhAnide
More nitpicking: (I guess I just dislike errors/typos/grammar problems - which is totally normal, yes?)
[The butchers didn't care is she shortened her walk by passing through their shop alley's.]

It sounds like "is" should be "as" and "shop alley's" should be "shop's alley." (Or you could change it to "alley by/behind their shop.")

[Overtime the foliage became as fine as dust.]

There should be a space between "over" and "time." Also, maybe the word "foliage" is a little too much. "Leaves" would be more than enough. (Or "leaves and roots," as the case may be. I've never worked with that stuff, so I wouldn't know. *laugh* )

Likes: I'm liking the characterization so far. Oren is a little snot, Aurorette is kindhearted and sweet; Bryn is desperate, obsessed, and just a little crazy; and Frederick is paying the price for having that Y chromosome, yet doing pretty well in resisting temptation. Everyone's personality is obvious, but it avoids becoming a caricature. It's all very well balanced, which is impressive considering how little I've read so far.
5/16/2013 c2 CyhAnide
Dislikes: Again, this was very good, so again, I'll nitpick. XD

[She had concocted a mixture of herbs that she always kept in a vile tucked inside her skirts...]

I think you meant "vial."

Likes: Normally, I'm not much for gritty erotic scenes, but this chapter does well to portray Bryn's desperation. I actually feel bad for her. The prologue set it up, and now we see the depth of her obsession. Excellent work!
5/16/2013 c1 CyhAnide
Dislikes: I think I'll just point out what seems like an error, since I'm pleased overall with the chapter.

[The messenger arrived hours ago. But the first barely visible lights of King Frederick's entourage were only just marking the horizon as the King and his triumphant soldiers approached the kingdom. ]

It's usually inadvisable to start a sentence with a conjunction, so here you could either connect the two sentences with a comma, or rework it so that the word "but" isn't starting the second sentence.

Likes: I don't know what it is, but that last paragraph does an awful lot to foreshadow the rest of the story, doesn't it? It's eerie and mysterious, but innocent. All in all, it's an excellent prologue.
5/15/2013 c41 4lookingwest
WHOA. I think this will be the first story I've read on Fictionpress exclusively through the Review Games. Not to mention - this is one of the longest ones I've ever finished, too. That's awesome! It's super rare that I ever actually get to see the endings to stories, so this is going to be a cool moment, I'm sure. Really interested to see what this epilogue-ish thing will entail...

Ahh, that was very cute and it really feels like it rounds the story out. I was kind of wondering if there would be some sort of surprising reveal of Aurelia's life or something in the end, and was waiting for something to jump out at me, but I think that last line definitely does the trick and I really liked that. I get the sense that she isn't writing this story, obviously, but she's writing maybe the more traditional Sleeping Beauty? and that seems like a really cool prospect. I clicked back to the prologue to check your first sentence, and I like how the first and last sentences contrast with one another, that was great, and I think it was also very clever.

Getting to see that things in the end worked happily ever after for Aurora was wonderful after all that struggle that her mother and Oren had to go through. I still really think their story is tragic and even more tragic because of that loss of justice and knowledge on what actually happened, but I like that aspect overall about this story that it leaves that hanging for Aurora and the rest of the current characters. It's also cool that there's a break in the names and it's now Ellie instead of an A-name. That's probably still some variation, or maybe I'm not picking up on the exact reference, but I still really liked the visual break, at least.

The journey and scope of this story, detailing the lives of several generations, is incredible and probably the longest I've seen on Fictionpress regarding generational characters. I think now that you have the first draft all written out, this has great potential in a second draft and if you come back to revise sections, I think I would approach special attention to perhaps Aurelia's character development. That was where I felt perhaps things were a little too rushed, or that her naivety made her less likable. Yet the birth of Aurora was a big highlight in this story of a good spot, and I also liked the beginning sections detailed Bryn's descent into her madness, the killing of Fred's horse being another big scene I remember. Let's see...overall romance - the sex scenes between Oren and Aurelia were by far the most intriguing to me - Oren's little stint in the barn with Aurelia watching him was probably one of the strongest and maybe the one with the most kink, haha. I think, even though the entire time I felt conflicted because the two of them were brother and sister, Oren and Aurelia had the most tense and conflicting of the romances, and I liked Oren overall. I didn't think that I liked him though, when I was reading him - but looking back, I think I do.

Perhaps also if/when you ever come back to this to revise, paying attention to your message regarding the female characters might be worth thinking about, too. Bryn as an antagonist had the potential to be strong and resolute and I think knowing her backstory with Fred actually might have caused me to like her a bit more - but I think what she did in the end to Aurelia was irredeemable, no matter what her past was with Fred and how awful he treated her. I like how this story stayed so matriarchal, though, and I like how it ends on Ellie and she's the one who has the power of the storytelling. That's a great place to end on and I think it shows strength in her characters as a woman - they kind of grow throughout the generations, and Ellie feels a bit more independent and less naive (which makes sense because she's raised in more of a traditional sense than Aurelia or Aurora).

Anyway! Thus ends my reading of this novel :3 It was a fun ride and it inspires me to actually finish something for once (as you can probably relate from the author's note, I too, have finished little after my prolific high school years, haha). It's also really cool to read one of your prose pieces - you've been around the RG probably longer than I have and I always knew you as a poet, now I read so much of your prose, I think it's amazing that you're well written in both! You should consider poking around the RG Off Topic some time, it would be cool to chat with you :3 Good luck with this story, I hope it goes far! And thanks for the unique fairy tale read! (I almost feel kind of sad now that it's over, haha!) See you around the Games, as always ;D
5/15/2013 c40 lookingwest
"You have many customers here." [customs]

"That Ranulf will rebuild. I am glad my home will go one, even..." [on]

Aurora could feel the kiss echo down her spine... [I really liked this line!]

For a last chapter, I was surprised that indeed, it seems that Aurora never does find out the truth about Oren and Aurelia, which I think actually makes this story and romance pretty unique. I thought for sure she might find out, especially when she was told that Ranulf found bones in the barn, but still nothing unfolded - which realistically makes sense I think too, considering they would have no idea. I find the mystery that's left in Aurora's life very intriguing, especially when she leaves the story thinking lastly of her mother - and her mother being Bryn. I really feel awful for Aurelia because I feel like no justice happened for her - her murderer was never put to justice, and neither was Oren's. They really have a tragic story, made even more tragic by Bryn's accomplishment and honorable death, when theirs were so disgraced. I like in the end how you mix that happy ending with a very bitter and not very happy ending, at least, in the regard of Oren and Aurelia. That moment where I just visualized Oren's bones made me sad.

The wedding and the customs was interesting to see, especially how some of them are different than how weddings are nowadays and what's changed. Again, I felt like some research was done for some of this, and I liked that attention to detail, especially the moment when they describe why the ring is put on the certain finger - that was a good moment and highly realistic.

The sex scene was good, too. I think you handled Aurora not knowing much about sex well, though it did lack in some description of the actual anatomical parts that I would've thought maybe she would've been more shocked about (seeing a man's dick for the first time, for instance), and we didn't get much description on her thoughts on that. I think it came across as very instinctual for her, and that was a good way to take it, I think. kaspar's treatment of her was also good, and I'm glad to see how gentle he was because I think it attributes to that happy ending for Aurora. I feel good about her relationship with Kaspar, and assured that it will be a good one after that scene.

I also liked at the end how she thought of all the different people going about all their business and how that kind of swooped and showed us a bit of the whole kingdom. I could see that working for an ending in like, a film, per say, so it was very visual as well. Overall, this was a good ending! I see there's another chapter but I'm thinking maybe that's more of an epilogue? So if this is the actual ending to the novel, I think you did a good job encompassing everything together and even showing the theme of the briar rose that worked well. It incorporated quite naturally. Great last chapter! Looking forward to seeing what the next might be and who Ellie is!
5/14/2013 c39 lookingwest
Reaching ever-closer to the end! Eeep!

The girls hands carefully... [girl's]

"...in the red cloak she had warn when..." [worn]

"...She will play her own rule in this fairytale, just as you will." [role]

Hmm I wonder why Aurora wanted the ladies in waiting at the end, I may have missed something, but it might be explained in the next chapter. Anyway! I really liked the details concerning Bryn's funeral here. I think it's really ironic overall that she's going to be buried with the nobels and given honor in death and everything, and I definitely didn't see that coming when I first started reading this story.

She was a hugely complex character compared to others and I really like how you also complicate her death with her funeral. I'm not sure how I actually feel about it - she killed so many people, massacred an entire town, killed Aurelia in her bed and stole her baby. I don't feel like her flashbacks with Fred really justify any of that behavior, and I'm not sure she deserves the funeral she was given - but I like that it happens that way because I think it also shows a lack of justice and even a lack of reveal, Aurora may never know the truth.

The details of the funeral were well done and I wonder if you did research for it, if so, that's great, and it came across as detailed and had an air of authenticity to it as well. I liked the inclusion of the poem and Aurora's unawareness of the religious practices because I think it also better highlights her upbringing and her characterization. She still never comes off as naive as Aurelia did, and I like that about her development and how that separates her from her true mother. The end scene with Dirk provided some nice background into the legend and then also into the other cast, and I thought it was good to start seeing those ends getting tied up since we are approaching the end of the story. I can't wait to see if she finally does learn the truth, or if she just lives in ignorant bliss about her true parents!
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