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5/13/2013 c38 4lookingwest
I liked that we saw another Fred and Bryn scene because I think it makes it clearer that Fred was kind of selfish in his own love of her and wanting her to stay, even though it clearly pained her. In that regard, I think this is the clearest chapter as to why Bryn stayed behind in the castle and did what she did even after she left the first time. Seeing her desire to leave and the reasons why she couldn't makes a lot more sense and explains her character really well, and I liked that dimension of this. The scene between her and Fred was tense, and I liked that it was interrupted by Oren, I thought that was a good technique to build tension in their relationship, especially before he leaves. I understand a little better why she might have resented the Queen after having to spend a full year with her, and I feel sorry that she was interrupted before she could tell Fred about their own child.

The ending disappointed me in Bryn's death. I didn't think she'd die this way, and after all that fighting, all that evil, all that resolute standing tall and taking charge, for her to die so quickly after seeing that vision and not even getting a chance for the people in the story, namely Aurora or Kaspar, to find out who Oren was or what happened between him and Aury was disappointing as well. I think I wanted to see her go down with more of a fight. At the same time, she definitely did go down not as shamed as I thought she would either, and I did like that aspect. It makes me wonder if they will actually find out the details of Aurora's mother and father or if it will just be something that sticks with the reader and not the characters at this point. At any rate, there were some great developmental explanations for Bryn's character in this chapter, I thought, and I that was definitely a big plus!
5/12/2013 c6 2Jalux
Interesting developments.

Dialogue was done quite nicely this chapter, especially when Aurorette was talking about taking care of her children or when the man was panicked because people were dying. Generally it adds a lot to this chapter.

Good blend of plot and characterization this chapter, the plot got going but we did get some more insight into the characters. I still would've preferred to see more of the latter but what you have here is good too.

Also that ending was quite well done I must say, touching and deep.
5/11/2013 c16 44professional griefer
I really liked the dialogue in this chapter. You really show the sibling relationship well, I really enjoy reading Oren and Aurelia, and I think you definitely characterized the awkwardness of Aurelia dealing with seeing Oren jerking off pretty well.

I also really like how you're incorporating the fairytale. It's really interesting, because it keeps the reader guessing about how it's fully going to tie in. Honestly, while I have guesses, I have no idea overall about what's going to happen, and I really love that.

Just one nitpick: ["—the woman I saw yesterday before you found."] Think you're missing a 'me':)

Awesome work.
5/6/2013 c37 4lookingwest
I liked the frame narrative of the painting of the queen because I thought it portrayed the relationship between her and her brother really well, which then lends itself to the heartbreaking news at the end regarding his death and how he died. I think that was all developed and shown to the reader in great ways through that commission of the painting and even his reaction to it. I'm glad to see we got Bryn's reaction too. This was another chapter that threw me off with the direction you were going in Bryn's narrative, and I liked that because it keeps me on my toes! I'm wondering what will happen in the details of the war, and I think it's interesting that this story is starting to loop back around to the very beginning when we opened, that's a very cool technique that I really admire.

The only moment in this chapter where I think I would've wanted more was when Bryn talked about how sad it made her to think of leaving everything she'd ever known behind. Because she's already done that before, why does it hurt so much this time? The paragraph you have regarding that is good, but I think it could go further. This is a huge moment for Bryn and it is shaping her completely towards her evil path, give us more of her justifications as to why she can't leave this time, when she left last time and arguably more pain of leaving (since her father was even still alive). I think it makes sense, that she just feels awful leaving a second time because now she sees Fred everyday and has realized how much she missed him - but I think you should confirm that in the writing/explanation.

Other than that - another great chapter! And I was able to infer the above concrit too. Overall, I loved the frame narrative of this and the way you conveyed the action, I felt Bryn's overhearing everything was a lot more realistic this time around!
5/5/2013 c36 lookingwest
Getting the details from this scene was great, I liked that we got to see how things played out not only during Aurorette's birthing experience, but also between Fred and Bryn, that was a side of the story we didn't get when Bryn was telling this story to Oren. It was great to get that different dimension. The descriptions concerning the birth itself were also great and well done and I got a very realistic feeling from all the moves Bryn was making to deliver the baby correctly. I liked that she has such skill too, and that at the end of this scene she seems to be in a good place with Fred. It's good to get the feeling that she did at least at some point in her life get over Fred. I liked the extra detail about her liking the name Oren because I think it reflects a good amount of irony considering how much she despises him in the future - it was good to see she did like maybe one thing about him. Also fun fact about it being the masculine form of Aurorette's name, I liked that, it's definitely unique and follows her name theme!
5/5/2013 c35 lookingwest
"Get out!" She spat at her father. [Uncapitalize "She"]

"Get out." She said again [same as above, comma after "out"]

"Aurorette?" He began hesitantly. [uncapitalize "he"]

There's a lot of grammar stuff that isn't right in this chapter - since you're done with the story as a whole, it might be worth it to at least in any spare time or once in awhile return to it and clean up the typos and problems with the grammar. Interestingly enough, I've been noticing them more and more recently, where as in the second and first part I barely saw any. Not sure why, but - just make sure you clean up your speaker/dialogue tag grammar since if you don't punctuate it correctly it can really lurch around the dialogue and the speaker tags and mess up the rhythm of the flow. It makes for a chunky read.

I found the part where Bryn overheard Fred and the future queen talking together a little too forced and unrealistic for the story. It seems like she just gets up and then quite conveniently for no real reason, she overhears the two talking at the precise moment of character development and plot movement regarding their romance. It didn't feel like it came about very naturally, just there because it has to be and this is a story, it was a moment where I was very aware I was reading and wasn't immersed in your world. The pacing in this chapter also felt very rushed again - we slowed down to a good pace the last chapters, but now we're speeding along over months and years. I realize this has to happen to kind of develop Bryn, but maybe going into more description with the transitions between scenes (especially when she just leaves the castle), would be good.

BUT. There were some great developments in this chapter too - it's good to see that Bryn tried to resist Fred and stay away from him. Still, though, it' s a shame that she reverts back to her old self. I kind of got the sense that she was over it by the time she got back on the horse, since we don't get any description of her actual feelings or something, just that she gets on the horse and doesn't say anything. More development there would've been nice - what was she thinking? I couldn't tell at all. She was trying to convince herself not to go, then she does go - does she hatch her plan now or later? We might find out, but it just felt a bit lacking since a lot of this flashback focuses on Bryn's emotions.

Really liked the attention to her living alone though, and I liked the descriptions there, it made for a good setting. I also liked your opening and the way you described the horrors of the prior night that Bryn can remember losing the baby. You did a good job with her collecting her thoughts right before she overhears Fred and the future queen in the garden. Nice to see that! As always, interested to see what else will unfold about their past. This detail in Bryn's life was a good twist I wasn't expecting at all!
5/2/2013 c34 lookingwest
Character - I'm not sure that I agree that "Brynhild" suddenly becomes "Bryn" now in the narration - why, when it hasn't been before? I'd keep calling her by her full name in the narration. Even if it's supposed to be a signal that we're in her flashback, I don't think it really needs to be there to indicate that for us. It just felt odd after almost thirty chapters of narration that use her full name, to suddenly change.

Anyway - so this development concerning Bryn's father and what he did to her is very tragic. I think this gives away a little more of her insane emotion - as this story also has a very big tie to a mother/child relationship, the cult of the mother is pretty big. This reveals a lot of her past and I like that you've been providing these scenes from her background for us now. I mean, I think since Chapter 1 it has always been arguable that this is not a story about the Queen or King Fred, this isn't about anyone but Bryn - this is her story, and maybe even her story of redemption. She's been the one person constant through all of these parts, and the one person I feel like we're finally getting a lot more to work with to understand her. I would've loved more of this dimension early on, but then, I've always felt she's a very complex anti-hero. One of the really sucky things about her character though, is that her entire worth she thinks was in a man. That's just...bummer. It keeps me from liking her or sympathizing with her completely. Like, gosh Bryn, a woman is not defined by a man or the ability to bear that man children - yet she is completely driven insane by the fact a man has scorned her. BRYN. A woman without a man is a fish without a bicycle! She should've told herself this every day of her life. And I kind of think it's BS that her insanity was hinted to come from her mother. Sometimes I gotta admit, I'm not so sure about the women in this story, haha, or what kind of message is being conveyed. But then I'm a feminist English major so I tend to over-analyze! ha!

Setting - I think you do a good job in this chapter giving foundation settings. I think the biggest highlight moment was while Bryn was lurking in the shadows waiting to see Fredrick and no one else saw her, and she was kind of observing everyone going about their business, especially the King. Her snide comments about the Queen fit her character well, and it was good to see her mental processes kind of spin out of control by the end of this part. I think we see her having some hope and sanity left here because of her pregnancy, but I suspect we're going to see her really lose her mind after her loss of the baby and everything. But oh yeah - settings. Good setting deal at the end when she's having the stillbirth. You describe the cold stone floor and everything well, and I really got a scary dark atmosphere from it that worked great.

Enjoyment - Overall, I enjoyed this first section of this chapter- and wow, yeah, that's a long one! I think it's interesting that this novel overall starts out with shorter chapters and they kind of grow longer and longer until we get to this point, it kind of reminds me of a Freytag's Pyramid of overall rising action that brings us to the climax of the novel - I feel we're going to come into that very soon, and I think narrative-wise that's a fun structural move to be making. But yeah! Anyway - great reveal at the end, and it's scary to see this happen to Bryn, I was wondering if maybe she just had a stillbirth, but this reveal changes the game a lot. I'm wondering how she'll react at this point and I'm going to go out on a limb and say NOT GOOD at ALL.

Pacing - The pacing was good on this chapter, as was the last one. I've really liked these longer moments that we're getting with the characters, and I think you balance out the action and the dialogue well. The transition into the flashback worked great, and I also liked the time you spent with the introduction of the Queen, the wedding, and the night of the wedding. I think each of them got varying attentions that were ranked by their importance. The moment between Fred and the Queen when they first meet was a nice fairy-tale moment that I liked. The imagery was fun with the wind description.

Spelling/Grammar -

"When she was a child Ranulf I used..." [and I]

"Thank you." She said... [comma after "you", lower case "She"]

"I must admit it is unusual." Guerin went on. [comma after "unusual"]
5/2/2013 c33 lookingwest
It seems odd that Aurora would have to bathe herself if she's considered a princess in the eyes of Kaspar - traditionally that would always be the job of a servant, and it's odd that no servants at least come to do her bidding. That might be a good scene to add in - sending them away, etc. her identity crisis between being a princess and her humble background when she was growing up. It seemed odd there wasn't anyone there to take care of her or dress her for bed or wake her in the morning, especially because this story appears to keep a fairly traditional idea of what monarchy acts like and their statuses.

Overall though - the opening scenes of this chapter were some of the best I've seen in this story regarding character development. It realllly slowed down the pacing compared to what you've been writing up to this point, but I think that also reflects that her whole life is changing and she's having this deep crisis, so it was good to see her look inward. I really liked the way that you paused and gave us enough time to learn about Aurora more, her inner thoughts, her memories, what scares her, etc. I don't feel like I got enough moments of this with her yet - but overall she's being developed a lot better than her mother, I think.

"And Ranulf?" He asked. [lower case "he"]

The furious look on her mother's face made Aurora take several more steps away from here. [Maybe "her" or "there" at the end, whichever you were thinking]

"You must be famished." Kat began. [comma after "famished"]

"...some of the only people who escaped. There were others, of course, but my mother and her sister Gesine were the only two of noble lineage to escape." [These lines feel really repetitious because they both end in "escape", the dialogue doesn't feel quite natural, would consider revising this for style purposes.]

Like I mentioned above - I think character-wise this is one of your best chapters. I really enjoyed seeing Aurora interact with a lot of these characters on a deeper level we didn't really get with Aurelia, and I loved the moment between her and Bryn in the room when Aurora is backing away - we're gaining some developments on getting closer to the truth. The moment with Kat stealing her away was also good, and their conversation felt natural, as did Aurora's questions. Her confusion about matters of marriage comes across, but she still doesn't feel as naive as her mother was, and I like seeing her natural curiosity as the stories unfold. It was sorry to see that Kat would be leaving and that Aurora will lose her kingdom - she doesn't seem like she has the voice, boldness, or agency at this point to demand otherwise, but it really does become a big metaphor for traditional marriage in general - the woman loses everything, and in Kat's case, even identity. I'm not so sure there's really a happy ending at the end of this story, at least not one that isn't riddled with some lurking sadness about Aurora's loss of her self that she was never even able to find, but I'm definitely interested to see how things will play out, and I hope that she can at least find a happy medium!
5/2/2013 c28 5Dr. Self Destruct
I like the way the plot seems to be going in this chapter. It'll be interesting to see if Bryn and Aurora leave the castle, because I'm pretty sure that except for some of Oren's stories, this entire thing has taken place inside the castle and the forest surrounding it. So I'm excited to see how you handle other areas and towns, if they do in fact end up leaving.

I do have a more technical suggestion, in that maybe separating the dialogue from all the action might be something to consider. When you have it formatted "Dialogue" and then two sentences or so of immediate action between the characters, instead of putting that action into its own paragraph or something, I feel like it makes the reading a lot more choppy. I don't get a chance to really absorb the conversation before I have to picture all these different things the various characters are doing to each other, which is what the pause in a paragraph break would give me.

I'm glad we get some more background on the actual land and history of the surrounding nations, because up until this point, since we haven't really seen any of them, it feels like this castle exists by itself. Now that there's talk of surrounding countries and all that, I feel like it opens this world up a lot more and things no longer feel so secluded. Just talking about them before actually going and visiting them is also some really nice build-up. The Prince's arrival with his men also casts aside that secluded tone, and I think it really broadens the entire story in a really good way.
4/27/2013 c32 4lookingwest
Opening - I liked the scene that you set up when Aurora finally comes into this urban area, and all the wonders that she sees right away, including the people. The moment with the shop windows was cool. It was good to see her taking everything in, and I also liked the attention to how she stayed close to Kaspar because I think that in turn develops the two of them better. Her reactions were pretty realistic considering the things she didn't know or found fascinating, and it was nice to see a happy reunion of family for a change!

Plot - This was a very productive chapter! I think I was most pleased regrading Lisbet and how the Duchess called Bryn out. Her inclusion was really great in this chapter and I think it comes at the right time. It's unfortunate we didn't get all the beans spilled, but hey, I'm not going to complain when so much truth has finally come to a half-light! I wonder if Aurora will find out who her real father is from Bryn or not - the secret might die with her, and I wonder what she might think when or if she finds out about it. I'm not sure how brother/sister relationships were regarded back then, but ah, anyway. I just think you did a good job with this reveal plot-wise and the way that you still leave some mystery to carry the story forward at the end. I also liked the idea that Bryn is staying because I think that will create further conflicts for sure!

Characters - There were a lot of characters that appeared this chapter, and I'm not sure I'll be able to keep all of them straight at once, but I like how you narrowed down the cast until at the end it was just a scene with Aurora and Kasper. I think that was clever and also showed more development between them. Aurora feels like she has made progress at the end when she finally, after so much mounting evidence, realizes that Bryn is not her real mother. It's interesting that up to that point she still believes with out a doubt, then when she sees the picture - BAM. Maybe what you might want to do is drop more larger hints towards her doubt during the Duchess's story and explanation? The psychic distance of the narrator in that scene really zoomed out for Aurora.

Enjoyment - Overall I really enjoyed this chapter. You're doing the proper building with Kaspar and Aurora so that I'm looking forward to their actual marriage, which is nice. I really hope it happens and that Bryn doesn't try to murder him or something, which I would reallllly not like, but since she's still around I'm very wary. You're setting up a good romance between the two of them. At first I was a little afraid she might go for Dirk or something and create problems between her and the king, but I don't feel that will happen anymore and that's a relief. We're really booking along to a happy ending, and I really hope for Aurora's sake that she gets one, it has been a long time coming!
4/27/2013 c31 lookingwest
Ah so, right away, we find out that Bryn has actually undergone change and now regrets all of her actions. I'm wondering if we should've known that before this point or not. I think her lucid dreaming in the previous chapters makes it a little ambiguous towards what it might all mean for her though, and I do like that you make it really clear that she at least in some state of regret voiced an apology towards the people she's harmed. It isn't much in the grand scheme, but I think that's a big step for her characterization because we definitely haven't heard her voice that until this point.

Hmm, so we also find out that Aurora has never seen sex before. This makes sense - but I'm wondering, though if she might've noticed elsewhere. I remember when I was reading Clan of the Cave Bear, even though the woman in that was very reclusive, she still knew about sex because she was a hunter and had observed animals having sex, or at least, she had some understand of what happened because she wold watch the same animals season to season. I think maybe Aurora could pick a little bit of that up from her careful observations of her surroundings growing up, if you did want to go that route because, like I mentioned before, I think she comes off as much less naive than her mother for some reason. Maybe the way she cares for Bryn and actually has taken on the mothering role? Unsure. But at any rate, the tent scene was still a good development, and it mirrors her mothers observations of Oren that first time too, I think. I can see the parallels.

I can't help but notice with this chapter, your pacing has really really slowed down. We were whizzing through the first five chapters and have gotten Aurora up to this point, which I think is a lot for only five shorter chapters - but when we get here, we suddenly get the most details on their movements than we've gotten so far, including her description of going to sleep and waking up the next day. I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing, but it would be cool to also get this kind of detail earlier on in some parts of your story too, I think.

I liked the wolf development because we have yet to see a real battle in this story, and I think that provided a good opportunity with lots of tension. I also really love that Aurora took charge! She's definitely really brave, and that's exciting. It was nice to see her rescue her man for a change instead of the other way around!

"How do you feel?" She asked him. [she should be uncapitalized]

Ah, it was nice to get the kiss towards the end! Good healing scene on Aurora's part too. Like I mentioned, I feel like the pacing has finally slowed down in this chapter enough where we get to see the most development from all of the characters in this Part Three so far, and I loved that! Looking forward to what "home" might end up being for Aurora!
4/26/2013 c5 2Jalux
That ending is a great cliff-hanger, honestly it's simple but given the circumstances with the royal family and everything, it just makes the reader want to read on which is obviously a good thing.

I'm going to level some criticism at the lack of content in this chapter though, I felt something was missing compared to your other chapters. For one, the descriptions of your characters surroundings was not as strong this chapter, I felt a bit lost at times. Also the overall chapter was a bit too short, yes we got some good plot movement towards the end but I really think you could've fleshed out some of your character's thoughts and added more description.

Overall though I enjoyed all the new developments and looking forward to seeing what will happen next.
4/26/2013 c4 Jalux
Well there wasn't a great deal of plot here but I felt the chapter was good nonetheless.

I liked how this chapter gave us a glimpse in the character's normal lives, chatter between people/baking break/customary kisses. It really is a "calm before the storm feel", it also brings some more characterization in for Brynhild and Aurorette which is good to see. Dialogue was fantastic and conveyed the emotions of the characters well, something like Oren begging him mum to let him go goes a long way to making your characters not only more believable but dynamic.

As for criticisms, nothing really so far although I am worried that this pace is too slow and some readers might get bored. I think a little more plot movement and action could go a long way.

Thanks for the read.
4/23/2013 c30 4lookingwest
Ah, so the moment of initial scorn is revealed! Now we know what happened to change Fred's mind so much from when they were young to his fatherhood in the opening chapters! I think you place this well and give good justification for why Bryn is thinking about these events - she is, after all, on her death bed, so it doesn't surprise me that she's kind of reliving all of these moments, and I liked that.

I really like Young Bryn - she seems really cool, especially her father. We get hints about her mother throughout this too and eh, I'm not so sure about that because it sounds like everyone, including her father, is blaming her mother for her faults. Or at least - the message is "don't be like your mother" - again, a lot of the themes in this story are very conservative towards women. Bryn is especially villian-fied and she's set apart from her father by relation to her mother. Her father seems kind and wise, and she doesn't seem to share these traits. Their relationship feels broken. And then there's Fred and his mother - his mother of course being the reason that Bryn becomes unhappy, her enemy, as the next Queen then becomes. Anyway, haha, I think I've told you before that I have a women studies minor, I can't help looking at these relations! ha!

Anyway - the sex scene was an added bonus, haha, I think you handled them well. They were unexpected in a good way and I think they contrast with Aurora and Kasper's strained relationship in the opening. It seems that Aurora is not actually all that interested in Kaspar, so maybe she's cheat on him with Dirk and then get herself killed for cheating. Who knows - but I'm excited to see how Dirk progresses - I didn't think much of him before, but he was characterized well in this chapter and I especially noticed the moment when Aurora details her feelings when he lifts her onto the horse. I feel like we could be seeing a setup for a romance between them! We shall find out! The little nugget of detail you put there though does a great job making me more alert to what is happening between Aurora and Kaspar, though. Still super interested to see what might happen - you've veered off track with my progression of plot here, I can't wait to see how everything ends and is tied up! And also what else might be revealed about Bryn's past!
4/23/2013 c29 lookingwest
Ahh, I really liked the whole past-scenes with Bryn and her memories with Fredrick because I think this is a good point in the story to return to why Bryn did all of this and her obsession. This is definitely a fairy-tale of women ruled by men - loving men, obsessions with men, letting men direct their hearts and their actions - and Bryn has done that to the extreme. She's let her love for a man basically ruin the lives of those around her, and I think in that sense your women characters are somewhat problematic, but complex nonetheless, both Bryn and even Aurora's mother both met their end because of men. I wonder if the same thing will happen to Aurora or if she will get the happy ending that her grandmother once had before it was taken away from her.

We shall see - but the progression is there and it does keep with the fairy-tale tradition of how women are portrayed. I think a lot of the time when people do retellings they try to create really kickass stronger females who are independent, etc. (think Brave), but sometimes it's good to return to the traditional, I suppose, and I think we see that here with everyone - and relating back to Bryn's original obsession. It's very true he has ruled her life, lorded over it, even though he didn't intend to.

Bryn still didn't put up much of a fight for being taken from the home where she's lived since she was a little girl. She didn't cry, didn't scream, didn't throw a fit, didn't try to poison anyone. She just kind of kept her mouth shut in defiance and then just acted grumpy. I dunno. Part of me feels that this is okay, she is old, after all, but another part of me wants the same passion from her that we glimpse in the opening of this novel. That hint that she's still there, biding her time, maybe even as she attempts to kill Kaspar somehow. Right now I just feel like she's got no fight left in her - no grand last stand, nothing. And I don't know if that does her character justice in the end - but of coures, the story isn't over. I'm interested to see what her future might possibly hold from here, since it seems Aurora is well on her way to her happy ending already. All we're waiting for is Bryn to finally die!

Oh! And I liked the details about the litter and the way that you handled the lulling into this past-scene with her, because I thought you handled the transitions very nicely!
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