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for To Sleep Perchance to Dream

3/12/2013 c33 19Anihyr Moonstar
[Her lips here dry.] *were

I love how eerie the opening to this chapter is - not so much because of the tone itself, but because of all these familiar things that hearken back to the earliest chapters. The pitcher of water, her feeling of sickness, the spinning wheel...all of these things - the scene where she gulps down water from the pitcher in particular - really strongly hearken back to the opening act of this story and instill a cool sense of dread in the reader's gut. Assuming you're going for that, that's a very neat trick and I think you made use of it well.

Poor Kat and Ranulf. Forbidden love - for all stripes of different reasons - seems to be a powerful reoccurring theme in this, and I appreciate the...irony (?) in the fact that Aurora's relatively innocent eyes (in terms of the ways of romance) are slowly being opened by these various secret affairs when the origins of her own birth were also a class one taboo romance. It adds a whole 'nother layer of depth and drama to the unfolding situations.

I enjoyed the scene where Brynhild goes briefly mad crying out for Aurelia. It is interesting to watch Aurora's shifting actions as the lie she's been told her entire life is chipped away at and she struggles to re-accommodate herself.

- Moonstar
3/10/2013 c35 Guest
This explains so much of Bryn's detachment from everyone in the castle and village. Her entire world was Frederick and when she lost him, she had nothing.
It's interesting though how much regard and confidence he actually has in her, that he knew she was the only one who could save Aurorette and deliver the baby.
And he didn't try subterfuge to get her to come back. He was very honest that he was asking her to save the woman he loved.
[Aurorette laughed, the sound high, almost like bells tinkling in the wind. "No, I did not." Frederick must have looked as if he didn't believe her so she continued. "Who am I to fault a man who cannot handle his drink?" Frederick laughed in response. "My father used to say: 'Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.'"]-This paragraph should probably be broken into two. I was confused at first whose father was being quoted.
On to Part 3 of Chapter 9
3/10/2013 c17 4lookingwest
Ack when I was double-checking to see what chapter I left on yesterday, I think I saw spoilers X_X I have to be careful when checking, haha! It was spoilers of like, Ch. 34 though so I have literally no idea what will happen between here and there, ahaha. Anyway, onward with 17!

In the opening convo between Oren and Aury in this chapter, I have no grounding on where the conversation is taking place. I get the little tidbit that Oren moves on his back or something - but little else to give me a good foundation up to that point. I think adding in something setting-wise at the start would be wise. Because they're alone and he rolls on his back, I want to picture that they're in some sort of meadow area or something (what Twilight has done for meadows and couples talking is forever solidified in my brain), but I'm not 100% sure about it at first. Would love more from that opening! The actual content of the dialogue/conversation is good though, and I like Aury's reflection on the grave visit.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Oren is interesting when he describes the passage with the whore and losing his virginity. There's kind of this weird moment where we get this image of masculinity as something that can't be "stopped". I'm not sure how I feel about that since it alludes to the idea that men don't have control over their urges and their actions are, as Oren puts it "out of his control". I would be wary of him if I were Aury but then Aury is naive and this is her first boyfriend. But in my opinion, any guy who claims they can't control their dick is probably not the best guy for me, ha! That might lead to some bad situations. BUT, on the other hand. I'm sure that this wasn't supposed to intend to show weird forceful animal "uncontrol" on Oren's part and is just a description of him losing his virginity, so I think I'm just using too much of my women studies mind and reading into things, lol. ANYWAY - My point is that I find the way Oren speaks of sex here very interesting, whether it was intentional or unintentional. The message lurking underneath might be a scary one.

I'm glad we get more of a direct reason for Oren's return in that scene, though. Glad to see that worked in and so honest.

During the sex scene, while I get the visuals of their body movements (well done, by the way), I was still lost on exact setting description. What did the grass feel like? Leaves? Were they in a forest setting or was it open? There might be something there you could work with as far as body positioning to - having sex on the ground can't be all that comfortable and you could probably work with this more fantastical image too (the two young wild forest-y lovers entwined in a forest/meadow like sprites, what have you).

Looking at the sex scene itself - heh, I feel weird critiquing it, but I almost think that Oren's climax wasn't built up enough to the actual line when it happens. I actually had to back-read because I missed it. I think you did a lot better with him when he was in the barn as far as the sounds he made, etc. I think once we get past the "I'm close" line it kind of loses momentum in that sense. But it was well written with the attention to body position, and I think the events leading up to it were justified and realistic. Another well done scene - but not as climactic as the first. The "smoking the cigarette in the bed after sex" scene in the last five paragraphs could've maybe slowed down a little too, and I feel as though we miss out a little on Aury's own feelings. I think it's very realistic that it's more Oren-centered and she doesn't orgasm (at least - I didn't think that she did, and I give kudos to you if she didn't), but as far as a sexual partner Oren is a little self-serving - he could've at least asked how to pleasure her at the end. Although maybe he's ignorant and doesn't know that women can be pleasured (I don't think Aury would know). Still, I was waiting for a queue there, and I think this reflects also with your plans for Oren. Is he really supposed to be her prince charming and the ideal man - or are you setting up for him to turn and perhaps become a villain or painted in a lesser light? I think what you have (with him being self-centered) is realistic insofar as it shows character flaw in him regarding sex. BUT, if that's not what you want and you would like to paint him as being the flawless prince charming - then you might want to rethink his reactions, etc. Does that make sense? Let me know if you have any more questions for me via review reply or PM and stuff, I'm finding this setup fascinating and while I like the whole scene I hope I could provide some ideas for improvement as well.

Annnd yet again I go a bit overboard for EF, ha!
3/9/2013 c34 5Persevera
Frederick was much more honorable than I'd originally thought. Bryn's earlier recollections had given the impression that he continued sleeping with her after he was married then dropped her. I like it that he's trying to do the right thing, keeping himself from both women until he's ready to do his duty.
[A young man who broad shoulders]-I think you mean with, rather than who.
You've made me feel sorry for Bryn again. She was never a nice person but she only loved one person and did so all of her life. Her father's tricking her when she thought they were having a nice moment will of course make her crazy and it explains why she was so interested in taking Aurorette's baby as her own. Your description of the abortion is nuanced and emotional.
All of that compared to the almost perfect situation that Aurora has is poignant.
3/9/2013 c9 9Infected Beliefs
[When morning came, everything about the castle seemed very calm, and serene.] - Eh, you don't need that comma right thur after "calm."

["Drink darling girl," she waited, feeling Aurelia's tiny lips suctioning on, kneading desperately with her delicate coin-sized mouth. "Drink… drink, my sweet one," the child was dissatisfied, her efforts fruitless, and she unclasped herself from Brynhild, and erupted into a steady cry of displeasure.] - Brynhild is truly in a world of her own. I love the way you have developed this sort of secret, closet madness that she has developed (or started with). She is eerily naive and dangerously ignorant, while at the same time being frighteningly callous and manipulative.

[Sighing, Brynhild said, "If you're going to be difficult," the baby wailed on, "Then you shall have no milk today! No milk until you learn that mother's must be minded!"] - Like I said, fucking crazy!

I don't entirely understand why Brynhild hates Oren so much but adores Aurelia. I also don't understand why she would mistreat the King's children when she cares so much about being with him. What if Oren told his father how psycho Brynhild acted towards him?

[Brynhild {signed} loudly, and getting up from the floor...] - I believe you meant {sighed} rather than {signed}

[Last I heard miss, half the village was dead, so I'll be leaving before the curse takes me too.] - Well damn, that spiraled out of control fast! And such an ominous end to the chapter!

Although this chapter was short I think it was one of my favorite yet. The reason being: Dialogue. You finally have a chapter with a significant amount of dialogue throughout, and look how good you are with it when you actually use it! I enjoyed the colloquialisms and nothing sounded out of place or time. I thought it was quite well done. Good Job.
3/9/2013 c16 4lookingwest
"—the woman I saw yesterday before you found." [Typo]

Characters - I get the sense that Oren at the end of these feels that something is wrong by having his physical attack after seeing the decayed corpse. I like that we see that development and at least a hint of what might be happening to him, or what at least trauma has blocked out from his childhood. It's a good moment - sad, but necessary. The fact that Aurelia ends up being the one providing support for him was also nice to see, I liked her feelings of guilt towards the end I think this feels like a moment we might see her musing over in the future.

Setting - It was good to revisit the old part one haunts here. I liked the details about what Bryn told Aurelia to do to the stone marker once she died - how awful! I think it makes sense, however, given the nature of Bryn's insanity over the King and taking his wife's place. Even in death, it seems. So those developments worked in really well. I also thought overall the setting was well done in this chapter - the path to the tombs was well described and I think the corpse inside was also well described. Feels realistic. Got some chills working for sure!

Pacing - I liked this chapter because it slowed things down a bit plot-wise, I think. Or at least, what I mean is that you incorporate the plot (trying to figure out who the ghost princess is) by doing it in a way that has good pacing in this chapter. I like that they don't find any definitive evidence and don't find what they're looking for. This exploration is good. So far I think connections are being made quickly so I was glad to see that not all the connections are correct. It really makes me wonder though because Bryn didn't seem to know or narrate anything concerning a curse in the first part. Very mysterious - you have me intrigued indeed!

Relationships - Oren and Aurelia certainly have one of the more vibrant relationships of any Fictionpress story I've read in awhile. There's a lot of sexual tension there. I wonder if it might be realsed somewhat soon and I like that you have a tendency to cut to the chase about the sexual stuff - it's a good thing, I think. In this case, it makes me wonder if Oren will actually act on his impulses with Aurelia or not. I could definitely feel some tension there in the opening when all she can think about is his masturbation the night before. Realistic, I'd say. I wonder what will happen between them if she ever tells him what she saw! Intrigued to see where this might go if the "prince" gets involved that they mention - Oren has a good point about that worry, haha.
3/9/2013 c15 lookingwest
She could feel the ach and need in his voice from where she stood. [Typo]

Well, haha, I suppose I'll start this review the same way everyone else has started their review for this chapter - voicing my opinion about the masturbation scene, XD. I also liked it. I agree with Sica (Dr. Self Destruct) and her opinion on the whole scene about the display of reactions you've given Aurelia during her watching Oren. This was a fun moment. The descriptions were handled well and the reactions of both of them were realistic. I like that their relationship pushes the envelope as far as what's decent and not decent, and I agree with Tooth (Moonstar) that it brings up a good conflict in the reader about what is appropriate if the two don't even know their true relationship as brother and sister. Anyway - it was handled well. I liked the boldness of this, it was unexpected and I do like that it parallels with Bryn's watching of Fred and his wife in the first part. There's something to this story about the female gaze, I think.

I think the masturbation scene was the strongest scene in this chapter. The scene with the fighting at the beginning fell flat for me and I didn't like it as much. I thought the argument was a little bare boned in the writing-style and I missed some of the descriptiveness that you can usually add to a scene. Bryn especially feels a little too archetypal for me here, her argument one that seems basic and without a lot of logic, plus she's repeating a lot of the same points she brought up in the previous chapters. I'd like to see more variety there. She started out as a very dynamic character but I think she's basically been placed back into a stock foundation.

But overall - I liked this chapter more than the other one for sure ;D You handle sexuality really well - I'm jealous of the talent!
3/9/2013 c14 lookingwest
"Aury, I'm sorry" he reached... [Typo]

Character - I don't really like Aury as a character - I find her hard to relate to and a little too dreamy as far as what we expect princesses to sound and act like and think about. I found Oren occupying most of her thoughts a little disappointing in the beginning of the chapter, and though I agree that it's good she's naive in a sense because of her youth, I'm surprised Bryn raised her to be so archetypal and almost...too naive? I don't know - when I look at retellings, I'm not really asking for you to pull a full twist and create a character like the princess from Brave or anything, BUT I feel that as a character in a retelling of this fairy tale, Aury appears stuck in the same princess mode, and her thoughts and actions are kind of annoying (personally, lol). But I'm hoping perhaps as the story continues, she'll also grow up a bit, and I look forward to that.

Relationships - I like that you explain her relationship with Oren a little better in this chapter, at least kind of mentioning that the infatuation is one sided. Which is actually kind of just sad and I wish that Oren wouldn't lead her on or at least she would find some sort of fault in him. I suppose that's hard to do when he's the only man she's ever met. It's interesting she doesn't harbor any dreams of leaving the castle though - she seems to want to know about what Oren experienced at the village, but makes little comment on the idea of joining him and leaving with him together. At any rate, this chapter definitely showed their relationship in its developments and I liked that.

Pacing - This chapter was a bit weird in its pacing. I didn't expect Oren to come back so quickly and the moment with the vision was a little hurried and unclear. It could've used better language to convey the vision, I think, and I'm not sure I agree with the mysterious woman's reactions to Aury's questions. It seemed a bit odd - though in part that's probably because she mysteriously might be a vision, haha! I just mean, it felt a little rushed - especially when Oren showed up and conveniently already has heard a story about "sleeping beauty". I found that a little too convenient for my tastes and would've liked more time to get to know the characters before this kind of bombshell is dropped and we're already accusing Bryn of being a witch. The end of this chapter especially could've been slowed down and crafted with a little more measure.

Plot - The vision of the woman intrigues me and I think it's interesting that Aury so suddenly makes the connection between what she literally just saw (realizing it's a vision in the first place) and the story she's just told. The woman's appearance to the proximity of the story is another moment of convenience I'm not sure I like either, but it at least forwards the plot and I think that's a good thing. I'm curious to see if the story is referring to Aury's birth mother or not - if so, this could turn into an interesting retelling indeed! I like that you keep us on our toes. Since the plot seems to be taking off so quickly (it's only the first chapter!) it leaves me to wonder what the rest of this novel is about. I'm eager to find out!
3/9/2013 c13 lookingwest
Aurelia always loved these parts of her mother's stories, "tell me what he said...

Byrnhild smiled broadly, "he said," she suppressed a giggle...

With the above two instances, the first letter of dialogue should be capitalized as per grammar rules. Just thought I'd point that out - you can probably look up more details on Google. I know that it just has to be capitalized if there isn't any dialogue before it, if that makes sense.

"You're my dearest friend." she told him. [Typo]

I think this transition into part two worked well and worked as I expected it to. One thing I will say - obviously there's something going on between Aury and Oren that's more than just brother/sister love. I'm not sure what I think about that as a reader. But hey, as a watcher of Game of Thrones I guess it's better if they just never know about their true relationship, ha! That'll be a real Luke/Lea moment if that ever unfolds, but I like that you set up some tension in the relationship there that only the reader knows for sure. Really interesting technique.

I like how you characterize Bryn in this as a mother. Very interesting. We see the kind of "wicked step mother" archetype in the way that she treats Oren for sure, but I'm intrigued by how she took in Aury as her own and how she's treating her with kindness and everything. I mean - about as much kindness as she can. It makes me wonder how much Oren can remember from that night and time in his childhood or not. Obviously, Oren was younger than I thought it was in the first part (I think I was placing him at like four or five). I think it's intriguing that Oren can't remember his birth mother for sure, but since this is only the prologue of the second part, we don't know how much he remembers for sure.

I'm not sure what I think about Oren leaving at the end of this chapter. There just wasn't enough tension built up for Aury's reaction to seem...authentic enough? Like - I would think she would act more hysteric if he was leaving since he's the only friend that she has, but she doesn't seem to have that much of a horrified/grieving reaction at his leaving. Which I suppose is fine for me because I guess it shows the strength of her womanly character as far as not relying on a man - but I didn't really get that sense about her either. It just kind of felt like it happened and she felt sad but not insistant that he stay. Maybe incorporating more dialogue or narration along the lines of, "She knew he had to leave and she had to let him go" would aleive some of my feelings towards the end scene.

Excited to see these characters unfold in their newfound age!
3/8/2013 c1 2Zachary Fice
I didn't like that this opening was as short as it is. It felt like very little to latch onto and encourage the reader to keep going, or like it could be easily integrated into the first chapter without needing to stand on its own.

I did enjoy the writing itself, though. You do a good job of setting up a strong opening scene and giving a panorama of the characters we'll be dealing with, the protagonist, I assume, Brynhild at the forefront.
3/8/2013 c32 19Anihyr Moonstar
Score for Lisbet! I'm surprised - but glad - that she was able to recognize Bryn after all these years, even in her aging state. It felt like a minor victory, even if no one took her seriously enough. At least they have that piece of information to think about. I still wish they'd just dragged Bryn away and beheaded her or something, but I suppose that's too much to ask for.

I liked the way you're keeping that ominous tension in the air, though. Between the repeated references to cold and mysterious chills to the physician saying he might be able to restore Bryn's health, you have me worried for the worst.

I'm impressed with how you've tied in all your characters and their lineages, though. I feel like I start to get clumsy and indecisive when it comes to manipulating too many players at once, but you have everyone in their place coming in at the right times to fill their roles and it works out smoothly.

It's also nice to see Aurora finally putting together the pieces about her past. Maybe she can come around to see what a horrible person Bryn is - or at least the horrible things she's done - before it's too late. *fingers crossed*

Some grammar/technical stuff:

["It is there way. The old Duke—my uncle—was a cold man."] *their (not there)

["The fabled Princess has finally been released from the witches curse."] *witch's (possessive as opposed to plural)

[It was she who dragged him away when he took became ill.] *too (not took) Or did you mean to say when he took ill? I suppose it could work either way.

- Moonstar
3/7/2013 c2 1TawneyEverett
I really like the concept of the story, a retelling of Snow White. All the royalty and the names of the characters make it a challenging read, but this is part of your story and I do appreciate your writing style. What I found most interesting in this 1st chapter is the affair that is going on between the king and Byrnhild. I wanted to know more about it. You probably have done this in the following chapters but if not I would definitely elaborate on this story line. Hope this is somewhat helpful! Great work.
3/7/2013 c12 4lookingwest
Cool decision to show us a different perspective than Byrn's (have I been calling her Bryn in other chapters? oops! D:). Anyway - I think this perspective is unique and it also makes me wonder if Lisbet and Gesine will come into play in the later parts of this novel or not. I like Lisbet as a character - she's a lot different than Byrn's lifestyle and perspective and it was a nice change of pace to see this chaos happen from someone looking in from the outside. Byrn is crazy as ever in this chapter - it makes me wonder why or how Libset kept calling her "the witch" - like how did she know she was a witch right away? Makes me wonder if everyone has always known that Byrn is a witch. If so - why didn't anyone say anything? That was a little odd that if everyone knew she would get away with so much. But perhaps it was just a realization that Lisbet put on her when she started taking the king's body away. And also maybe it was just a woman's rumor of some sort.

The whole scene with Sarpedon was sad but effective to show how far Byrn has cracked. At the same time - it also showed us that she realizes the king is dead and he won't be coming back. So that's progress, I guess. The battle-armor breast piece was a cool image. I want really bad to like Byrn but she's done some terrible things to people and for that reason I can't like her completely - but she's a conflicted villain, I think. Let's see - this epilogue really made me wonder what might happen to the king's children. I'm guessing she doesn't kill them since there's still a lot of story and I doubt this story is all about Byrn, but I think it's realistic that Lisbet wouldn't think of them as she's trying to get out of the kingdom. Hopefully they lived at the end. Overall though, this was another good addition to the story! Looking forward to the next part of this novel and what changes await!
3/6/2013 c33 Guest
[glower of her new found daylight;]-I love this phrase. It perfectly describes her unhappy enlightenment.
[Her lips here dry]-That should be were, I think.
[the sky turned pick with dawn]-pink
I like that you have an attraction between Katrina and Dirk. That eliminates the possibility of a triangle between Aurora, Kaspar and Dirk or Aurora, Kaspar and Katrina. It was a pleasant surprise from what someone else might have written.
It's funny that Aurelia has been mentioned by the people of the kingdom but not Oren. The poor guy has been forgotten in every way possible. I wonder if Aurora would still be a possible bride for the future king if someone does figure out that she's the product of incest.
Can't wait for the next chapter.
3/5/2013 c8 9Infected Beliefs
[...its ghoulish light looked to be overflowing from the edges of its bovine circumference.] - I really enjoy this sentence, it flows magnificently off the tongue.

I like how you depict Brynhild's descent further and further into madness. Each little thing just seems to pick away at her sanity, driving her deeper and deeper into the "Evil-Witch" archetype. She is getting sloppier and sloppier with her work. It is really interesting to see that, though she may be playing the villain role, she is not one of these 'bad' evil-genius characters who's plans go perfect and unmolested. She struggles, as you or I would, has setbacks, doubts, and mishaps. She seems a "real" character.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Great chapter. I only question how much of this crushed leaf she would need to poison the entire well. While the amount she put in would undoubtedly be quite fatal and/or toxic to most, but is it enough not to be diluted too much by the well? It is your poison, you know best.

I still am missing dialogue, and no, Brynhild talking to herself does not count. I miss banter, chatter, a little bit of back and forth. Right now I get the distinct impression that I am reading an elegant prose poem, which I have no issue doing, but most prose poems are not thirty two chapters long (and counting).

Well, those are my thoughts on this chapter.

Tata until the next!

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