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for To Sleep Perchance to Dream

4/23/2013 c28 4lookingwest
Wow! Things have definitely taken a big turn! I like the plot so far, again, it keeps me on my toes because I feel like something unexpected is happening in each chapter, and I like that. It also keeps with the fast-paced fairy-tale plots too, so even though yes, your pacing is pretty fast, I think that it suits the genre with which your exemplifying. Again, though, I think we're leaving behind a little bit of characterization. I think Aurora's character might come through the most when she's speaking, though, so in chapters like this, I got a better sense of her than in the last chapter when she didn't speak as much.

I like that she kept kind of repeating the things that Kaspar was saying, as if trying to absorb them. This is probably a huge amount of news - it's interesting at the end that she says Yes without even consulting Bryn. I think that shows that she's a lot more independent than her mother was - for some reason as well, she doesn't feel as naive as her mother. I don't know why or how though, since they seem to have had the same upbringing and Oren isn't even here to teach Aurora sexual stuff - so I really feel that maybe she just has a much different personality than her mother, which is cool that you're able to do that!

I'm wondering if I believe though, that even in Bryn's old age, she still isn't trying to verbally fight a little bit more with the men. It's interesting that Aurora just kind of walks off with Kaspar and Bryn isn't screaming at her to "come back this instant!" in the background like the would've if her mother went off with Oren. Maybe that's because Bryn is in shock? Not sure. I'm really interested to find out what her scathing reaction might be when she finds out she's moving! I did like the bit of spark about Kaspar, etc. being the enemy though - the old Bryn was definitely shining through, and I liked that for those reasons!
4/23/2013 c27 lookingwest
I liked the build-up in this chapter to the ending because I thought the tension did a good job mounting the conflict - I also like how you paralleled the fear and stuff with this image of Aurora preparing supper, that was a really good image to evoke, I think, with the hanging of the rabbits. I was curious to see where this chapter was leading as far as what might happen between her and Bryn, and I'm glad to see the plot move forward so quickly.

Yet at the same time, I feel like where I knew Aurora's grandmother very little, I knew her mother less, and I know the least amount about Aurora. She doesn't really have feelings - she's just performing actions. But whereas I think one can do that with characterization (I'm purposely trying to do that with one of mine), I'm thinking perhaps there needs to be a reason *why* the narration his narrating her emotion or feelings. Is it because of trauma in her childhood? I mean, she had a very traumatizing birth, but is she as emotionless as this narration is letting on - or is it merely just telling us her actions and she's actually a person full of emotion and fear for Bryn? She doesn't feel fear in this - she doesn't seem to feel anxiety or panic - we only see that maybe by the way she shouts Bryn's name when she comes in from the bank. We do get little bits - that she might be feeling relieved the Prince didn't follow her, etc., but I really would've liked to see more emotion from her as this fast-paced plot progresses. It's speeding along - and I fear maybe we're leaving her characterization behind in the dust. Yet if there is one character that I know the most above all others, it's Bryn. And this story is as much hers as anyone's, I think.
4/19/2013 c3 2Jalux
Good amount of characterization and setting up the next chapter here.

I liked all the inner monologue in this chapter, especially Brynhild's opinion of the Queen. It gives the characters a better voice and we can understand her better. I think the pace you got here is good as well, plot moves along and there's ample characterization. You shows us all the important parts but keep the pace going along nicely so it never gets boring.

I don't have much to criticize here since it's quite short (but good). I'll just say him doing some of the inner monologues and perhaps extend the chapters a bit. I feel a bit more content in each chapter will keep the reader hooked on more.
4/16/2013 c16 9Infected Beliefs
[She tilted her head toward him, broken suddenly from the string of her own thoughts, "nothing," she breathed listlessly.] - You should put a period after "thoughts" and capitalize "nothing."

And I see now how the Sleeping Beauty theme will be worked in. Something you do very well which I have appreciated since the beginning is the way in which you examine the realism behind fairy tales and the cruel little twists you put on them. Your evil witch is just a vindictive, spurned, jealous girl with a sick mind and little regard for those around her. She has no real supernatural powers. But the death of so many by her hand would, of course, start rumors and legends amongst the superstitious commoners.

If where you are going with the "sleeping" princess is where I think you are going, and the prince is who I assume it is, then I am only wondering if they will discover the terrible truth about each other before or after he rescues her. Nice, evil little twist. Again, a good examination of the truth behind the legends and stories.

Good chapter, well written as always.

As usual, best of luck to you and your writing,

4/16/2013 c15 Infected Beliefs
["Very well," he mother said] - I believe you mean "her" mother.

["Aurelia," he breathed again, more desperately this time. She could feel the ach and need in his voice from where she stood.] - I dub you the queen of writing fucked up, cringe-worthy material (also the "ach" in there should be "ache"). Not only do you dabble in incest, but also stretch into underage/child romance (Aurelia is like 13 right? Which would make Oren like 17? 18?). On top of that you have, essentially, genocide, adultery, graphic sex...Way to tackle difficult subjects.

As much as I commend you on tackling hard subjects, I do find the whole budding romance between Aurelia and Oren slightly disturbing, and it is hard to make me feel that way with writing. Likely this is what you were aiming for, and if so, good job. I am sitting here trying desperately to find something in this chapter to criticize, and I am struggling to do so.

I liked that Oren finally stood up for himself, but I am wondering why it took him so long to do it. That just doesn't quite add up to me. I am also slightly confused as to why he feels entitled to "rescue" Aurelia. If he actually believes that Brynhild his her mother, then he would be kidnapping, which is fucked up. If he knows that Brynhild is NOT the mother, then why the hell hasn't he told Aurelia before hand? And he was old enough to have memories of his mother and father when they died...what is going on? I feel he would at least to be able to remember his mother and the fact that he had a sister...who is still with him. Traumatic events (which the whole "plague" bit certainly was) have a tendency to stick in memory.
4/16/2013 c14 Infected Beliefs
[She wondered if that meant something, or if, like always, he maintained a brotherly affection for her.] - Wrong XD on many levels.

[her own dislike for the orphan she had raised clouding the unwelcome truths they dealt with now.] - I am still struggling to figure out why Oren let himself be bullied by this psycho-bitch. As much as I gathered from part one, Brynhild is not actually magical, rather, she is just equipped with a sick mind and a vast knowledge of herb-lore. I really don't get why Oren wouldn't just spill the beans on everything!

[When spring finally came Aurelia was relieved that winter had ended.] - I really don't think you need this sentence. We learned basically everything that we needed of this in your first sentence. Snip-snip, I say.

I really liked the little sonnet you tossed in. It was a nice break from the rhythm of your syntax and quite well written on top of that.

Aurelia and Oren are really brainwashed, but I feel like Oren has a lot that he is not sharing (or maybe I just want to think that.). Anyway, good bit here. On to the next.
4/16/2013 c13 Infected Beliefs
["he said,"] - "He" should be capitalized.

[...she found him filling a duffle bag up with a blanket and a flask of spring water.] A duffle bag (and I think you mean "duffel" bag)? That seems a bit too modern. Maybe a burlap sack? Saddle bags? Something a little more fitting?

Why does she refer to Brynhild as Mother? Surely Oren would have told her that Bryn is a fucking psychopath and is not their real mother? And he is a big dude now...why wouldn't he just beat the fuck out of Bryn and/or kill her, then leave with Aurelia? (because that would be boring and the story would be over I suppose).

Anywho, I am loving the dialogue that you are bringing in, as the lack of dialogue in the first part was my biggest overall complaint.

I am getting a very "Tangled" feel from Aurelia and Brynhild's relationship; not sure if that is what you were going for.
4/14/2013 c26 4lookingwest
Ah, so this is where we finally get to the more traditional spin of the fairy tale. I can see where you did need a lot of setup to kind of deviate from the tradition, and I like how you incorporated the notion that the princess had been sleeping for a hundred-years, that was very interesting and a unique spin. I felt that perhaps with this chapter the pacing was a little quick, but I do like that you did show us Aurora's usual activities and her visit with the huntsman. That being said, I think it would be cool to see a little more of her routine before the routine is broken (and admittedly I wish I had slowed things down with my Woden draft too in that regard). Because this is only chapter one, I don't get a really good sense of Aurora's personality at all or how she might be different than her mother - instead, she just feels kind of like a stand-in archetype and not as original.

I'd love some kind of spark from her. Her reaction to the prince and seeing strangers was curious - she acted very matter-of-fact about it, and like it was no big deal, but if Aurelia had this kind of contact she probably wouldn't been more curious (or I get that sense from her character in part two) - maybe it's just that Aurora sees strangers, like the huntsman, so this isn't a big deal for her? Unsure. She did mention she doesn't usually venture far from the castle with the exception of the huntsman visits though, so if anything, I think her characterization could use a little work. It's only a chapter in and things seem to be taking off to a strong start plot-wise, I'd like to see her personality do the same!

I really enjoyed the moment where she described the collapsed barn though - that was very symbolic and it made me feel sympathy for her and even her father Oren. It seems that Bryn has raised Aurora right this time - she doesn't feel for some reason near as naive as her mother Aurelia either. Very matter-of-fact. Interested to see what will happen regarding this siege and if justice will finally come to Bryn! Something tells me there will be complications, or that Bryn might die before anything is revealed!
4/14/2013 c25 lookingwest
Mmmmm what's this? A huntsman? Innnteresting. I wonder if anything will happen there *thinking of traditional fairy tales* At any rate, maybe I should've waited a bit before I jumped right into this from the epilogue of the other part. It felt a little abrupt to me sine we miss out on sixteen whole years, but I think if I hadn't jumped from one to the other, I would not have noticed. I liked that you answer right away the idea of Bryn's oncoming death and her age because I think it's realistic and I'm reallly wondering where the story might go after her death, especially because I fear that her secrets will probably die with her, and anyone outside of their little bubble also probably has no knowledge of what went on here and what happened to Aurelia, let alone that she even existed. It's depressing. But I've really got my fingers crossed for a happy ending with this part, haha!

I also really liked how you framed this chapter with Aurora's domestic activities and the wheel. That's another kind of fairy-tale prop and I think it's executed well here. The correlations you make between it being like a lullaby, dream-like, etc. tie in well to the overall theme of this story, and I thought it was a good symbolic move to open with, so I liked the opening paragraph for those reasons as well. Great attention to setting and detail in this, and in such a short prologue! You've really got my interest spiked with this part of the novel, especially on the cusp of Bryn's death. The mystery of what might unfold does a great job of hooking the reader by this point!
4/14/2013 c24 lookingwest
**For other reviewers: there are hardcore spoilers in this review, so creep with caution**

I probably should've Depth reviewed the other chapter and EF'ed this one, on second though, because this is a really shocking chapter and I read it the whole way through without stopping once! My mouth literally was hanging open through some of these events _

Plot - I really have like - no clue, where the plot is going from this point onward, other than me really wanting Bryn to get some sort of justice done to her for murdering two women and stealing away the next generation. This poor child. Luckily - she has no other brother or relative to marry, so at the very least, her bloodline will live on pretty strongly I'm guessing, as long as she doesn't have any disorders either. On second thought, it is kind of strange that Bryn named her Aurora because it's so close to her mother's name and her grandmother's name - wouldn't she want to distance that - in a sense, this new baby is even more hers than Aurelia ever was, because she did get to pick the child's name. I just think that's really powerful. Anyway - I'm not really talking about plot anymore, am I? haha. Coming back to plot - I just think overall you do a great job making this story really compelling while following a pattern of horror and working with the same themes that were worked with in the first part/book. The plot really does thicken here, it makes me excited to see what might happen regarding Aurora and how she might be raised. Bryn is getting on in years too, so who knows what might happen - perhaps when Bryn dies Aurora can be free and learn the truth. Or at least, that's what I hope!

Character - You do a really good job physically with Aurelia in this chapter and paying attention to her bodily functions, but I think perhaps you could emphasize more of that "revelation" that was alluded to in the earlier chapter. Psychologically, we do get that she's breaking, because she sees Oren - but again, I'm not sure if she really did ever make that full connection that he was her brother. If she did, she never confronted it in her reality or in her dreams, and I think in her dreams that's kind of from a theoretical standpoint, where we see the "Truth" that we are afraid to face. So that would be a good moment to elaborate further with her making those connections. She never stops calling Bryn mother, even when she's terrified of her, but I think we should have some sort of mental narration that alludes to why she's doing this because it's left a little ambiguous, and after the "revelation" line in the last chapter, I'm not sure if I like that. Either 1) she's still ignorant of Bryn's true evils, or 2) she's trying to entice Bryn to let her hold Aurora. I see it as being either one, but I want to lean towards 2.

Enjoyment - I think this is one of my favorite chapters in this book because of the twist. I really didn't think she'd kill Aurelia, so this took me by surprise, and I liked that we get that moment when she has her drink the water and the welt forms on her body. At that moment my mouth really did hang open - I couldn't believe she was poisoning her the same way everyone was poisoned in the prior book! It was a really scary moment, I really liked it - in like, you know, a narrative way, not a bad way, haha.

Pacing - Looking at this book as a whole, I think it was actually paced pretty well. This chapter was shorter, but I think you managed those two days and the passing of time well. Again though, she does have a lot of time to think while she's half-conscious, and we could get more of her hate towards Bryn within that, I think. Or at least - I was left not even sure if in the end Aurelia actually did hate Bryn or not. That would've been good to see, maybe as a last dying line - something. Overall, I think Aurelia was (and I don't mean to offend) a bit of a pathetic character. Her life was ruled by Bryn and Oren, and she was very much a slave to their commands - she never really got to live independently or for herself. I really hope I get to see that more with Aurora and there's a bit of a contrast. Anyway, not talking about pacing again... Pacing! Pacing at the end of this chapter when Bryn is preparing her body for death was also well done. I think it ends on a chilling note, and the snow setting added to that. Also, I made some correlations with your book cover too, at least at the mention of the dress, which I thought was cool! Looking forward to reading more!
4/14/2013 c23 lookingwest
It has been awhile since I've gotten back to this! I'm glad you give my the opportunity to continue with it in the games! :3 Also, I just got done writing six of fifteen pages on an academic research paper, so if my review-voice sounds a bit weird and rambly, that is the cause this time, ha! I've still got close-reading mode on, I think.

Turning back to Aurelia she could see her daughter was having another contraction. [This is an interesting narrative moment reflected from Bryn - she calls Aurelia her daughter, and there's no tension with their prior identities before Aurelia's mother died. I kind of like seeing that certainty in Bryn here. And I also think it's very interesting to see that Bryn has no qualms about Aurelia as being her flesh and blood. Whereas some "step"-mother-like figures are usually repulsed by their husband's first daughters born of other women, this becomes quite the opposite, and I think herein lies on creative moment of a retold fairy tale that goes more than surface-deep. I really like it.]

This pain is curse. [A curse?]

Bryn's complexities are really showing in this chapter - the moment where she says "this is a curse" as I quoted above, and then talks about when Aurelia was born and how proud her father was, there's a sense of irony there. Bryn was not proud - only her father. And it's kind of a biting remark that I wonder if Bryn meant as a verbal-slap for what she's done. It was subtle, but I think it was effective.

She looked down at her hands, mud and dirt still smeared on them from burying the boy near the barn. [Really good moment, I like this visual and I like the parallels between Oren and Aurelia in this scene - I think it further characterizes Bryn and adds to the frightening atmosphere of this painful process.]

"It wasn't supposed to be like this," Brynhild stammered, she began to mutter inarticulately. [I think before we get this reveal, there should be more of a narrative moment when we understand that something within Bryn has broken psychologically. It's obviously apparent through her speech here, but maybe you could give us more of a nod to the "oncoming break" in the paragraph I quoted above this one. Just a thought.]

"Yes," she smiled when Aurelia's mouth opened at her mother revelation. [This is a confusing moment for me - Aurelia doesn't seem to react verbally in any way to this, I mean - she's distracted with her pain, which is obvious, so does she really have this revelation on the circumstances of her own birth? Does she make the connection that she's talking about Oren's birth? I didn't see it transfer over very well, and even at the end I'm still not sure if Aurelia has fully had this startling moment. For the "big-reveal", this didn't happen as climax-like as I'd hoped it would, and there was little aftermath regarding the information since it was distracted by the birthing process.]

"Ahh" Aurelia screamed. [Since she's screaming, I would put an exclamation point after "Ahh" and not a comma (but grammatically, it should have a comma)]

When I finished this chapter I made an "Euewgh!" noise, lol. This is scary. Birthing scenes have always kind of freaked me out on a narrative level, and this was chuck full of them. I like the realism with it, and I don't doubt any of the methods or ways in which this baby was birthed, or Oren for that matter. You do a fantastic job with that, so good job! Very compelling. The end is super frightening considering that Bryn kind of kidnaps her baby - I'm reallllly feeling like maybe Aurelia won't make it out of this alive. The cycle continues! Really scared for Aurora. I think this is the first time where I've really felt heartfelt sympathy towards Aurelia and Oren. But your writing was definitely on its A-game in this chapter for sure! I'm going to head to Depth so I can continue reading!
3/31/2013 c39 19Anihyr Moonstar
I like the attention to setting in the opener. I feel like the chill and the gloomy drizzle both do a good job of setting the tone to match Aurora's grief and shock that carries through the chapter.

I enjoyed the scene where Dirk discusses how Aurora's 'legend' will be remembered. The not-so-subtle reminder to the audience that this is a Sleeping Beauty story fits in perfectly there and emphasizes again how this feels like a more 'realistic' and/or gritty version of what might plausibly have happened to give birth to such a fantasy. This story has characters in every shade of grey with backgrounds and histories and depth to them that all weave together in complicated ways, as opposed to the clean, cut and dry black and white and magic of a traditional fairy tale, but in the end it works out.

I liked the closing to this chapter, too. I think the whole scene with Dirk provided a gradual lifting of at least a little of the weight weighing down on Aurora, and the end highlighted that change from grief-stricken and suffocated to something more lighthearted in the midst of darkness. It also shows that she's clever and picking up on things and showing a little of her character. It made me smile and was a positive note to finish on.

Dirk's character is also just a lot of fun. He's a great balance of protective, loyal, awkward, and reserved without being distant or unpleasant. I think I've enjoyed most of the conversations he's had with Aurora and it makes me feel sad for him and Kat, but hope for the best regardless.

Technical/Grammar: [The {girls} hands carefully arranging Aurora's hair in braids] *girl's (assuming it is just Kat - if there's more than one girl, than it ought to be {girls'}...)

[The loss of her mother felt like a growing hole {was} festering inside of her.] I don't think the "was" is strictly wrong here, but the sentence sounds better without it to me, and getting rid of it eliminates the passive voice, making it a stronger statement in general.

[Kaspar has escorted her to her room] *had

[Despite the late hour, Aurora found herself embolden.] *emboldened

- Moonstar

P.S. So sorry, I almost forgot I even made a play in MC - Depth.
3/30/2013 c38 Anihyr Moonstar
Characters: FREDRICK YOU ASSHOLE, I HATE YOU. That is all. Okay, not really - but seriously, at this point in the story, he is definitely the unwitting villain. While not being "evil" per se, everything is basically his fault. The war is his fault (he could have been a rational man about it and decided not to go to war). Bryn going mad is his fault (if he hadn't been so selfish as to cling to her and tease her between the margins, he could have damn well found another healer and hoped for the best). And by consequence, basically everything bad that happens in the entire story is HIS FAULT, because if he had let Bryn go and not gone to war...none of it would have happened.

And yet, like I said, he's not even evil. He's just selfish (to an understandable degree - dis-likable, certainly, but no where near unrealistic, and for a king...he's not exactly the worst man ever for the job). It's kind of...fascinating, that such a man with normal flaws could tear so many fissures in his family and his kingdom. But then, I guess being the King makes that easier. Sorry, I'm rambling; what I'm saying is, I think you did a really interesting job of making Frederick human, making him make (reasonably/debatably) simple mistakes, and using those mistakes to domino effect his kingdom into disaster.

Plot: Bryn's death surprised me, but I didn't feel as...happy about it as I expected to. She murdered Oren, and Aurelia, and so many others, and I'm furious with her for that (but mostly for Oren because that made me so upset at the time), and yet, I think you've done a masterful job of showing all the different sides to her tale. She is in no way a 'hero' here, but once upon a time she *was* a good person, and it was her love that tore her apart, by no real fault of her own. So, while I can't really forgive her, and I'm not 'sad' to see her go, I do feel bad for her by the end, and I almost hope she's 'in a better place' since the world was certainly not kind to her when she was alive.

Technique: The transition (or almost lack thereof) between Bryn's flashback/dream/delusion-induced memories into "present" events was abrupt, but I think it works better than any other way you might have handled the switch. I think the moment of disorientation is appropriate, even, for what's going on. When I first read Aurora's dialogue of, "Momma?" I was like, "Wha...? Ohhh..." and it all flipped over within a fraction of a second.

Technical/Grammar: [The responsibility of Oren's upbringing became Brynhild's sole {responsibilities}.] "Sole" implies single, so this should be "responsibility" not "ies" - although as a stylistic choice I would cut out the beginning "responsibility" because it gets repetitive and make it simply: [Oren's upbringing became Brynhild's sole responsibility.] (Although this implies that it is her *only* responsibility as well, not just that it was entirely hers because Aurorette was becoming negligent, so...you might just want to re-word and say "Oren's upbringing became her responsibility entirely"?)

["He is the best part of me, Bryn." Frederick said] Comma after "Bryn" not period.

["Bryn," her voice on his tongue was instinctive and natural] Her...voice on his tongue? Do you mean her name on his tongue? This confuses me.

- Moonstar
3/26/2013 c37 Anihyr Moonstar
The relationship between Aurorette and her brother fascinates me. Whether or not it was intentional on your part, I immediately see parallels between her relationship with her brother and Aurelia's love for Oren. I don't know if Aurorette's affections for Abelard go quite that deep, but she is certainly extremely attached to him, and it is interesting to see that particular relationship manifesting itself in earlier family history.

I'm continuing to enjoy the developments/further fleshing out of Bryn's character this chapter. It's distressing to watch the seeds of her grief - and eventual insanity - be planted when she is still a good woman and know that eventually they will corrupt her entirely.

The fact that they go to war over Abelard's death even when it wasn't the kidnapper's fault prickles me, even though it probably makes sense given the times. Still. The ransomer attempted to show that he had some honor by refusing the gold payment and yet Frederick is going to insist on going to war, sacrificing the lives of countless young men over something that wasn't intended as an act of provocation at all? It makes me respect Kaspar's ancestors more and Frederick less. Obviously, he's too easily swayed by passion and too caught up in his own feelings and those immediately adjacent to him (his wife) to see a bigger picture (his people, Bryn).

I like how the ending echoes previous mantras of Bryn's in so many earlier chapters. This is definitely one of those fatal moments in her past that has haunted her her entire life - her always telling of Frederick bravely going off to war to each of her kidnapped 'daughters' and still crying out about it in the midst of her feverish delusions.

- Moonstar
3/25/2013 c26 76The Autumn Queen
I think the first few paragraphs are a little threadbare; as single sentences, they feel like they're simply telling instead of showing me as a reader anything. Perhaps you could try combining those paragraphs together.

["Dmitri!" She hollered when she was nearly there. ] - I think the first "She" should be lower-case. You've done that at the end as well.

After this line ["My Prince," Dirk interrupted, "we must continue on, the day is almost spent."] - the "he" in the following isn't particularly clear, particularly as it is Kaspar who sighs. In this case it would be good to mention the name.

I especially like the dialogue towards the end; not only does it reflect on the prologue in terms of Aurora's relationship with Brynhild but it also has a good foreshadowing of future events. I also like the unique twist here in that it's very difficult to distinguish between the "good" and the "bad" side from the dialogue alone, and in fact from the story as a whole, because you've made Brynhild a very human character - which is one of the things I really love about this. The humanity of each of your characters while taking away from the original fable of Sleeping Beauty really puts dimension onto your piece.
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