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for Ace of Spades

1/20/2022 c4 aliziahnoor
Dear author. I really like with your work. I feel interested with your story and I want to keep in touch with you because I want to give you something related to your work. Perhaps we can talk better via mail. Thanks
11/8/2018 c1 3Chantel Royal
Underground shuttles and zeppelins? I’m feeling this vibe. It was already so intense within the first couple sentences. The emotions really come through in your descriptions. They’re so good. GRACE IS A ROYAL. Oh, no, she had to leave baby Alix. I had tears in my eyes during that part, not gonna lie.

I don’t like Zammiel. NOO, GRACE. I knew this was coming but I was still not prepared. My heart is beating so fast right now. “...stared at the stars with unseeing eyes.” Was so powerful. This was so amazingly, good. I just. Wow. Your descriptions - the raw emotion of a mother’s love and need to protect her baby. I am in PAIN. I’m already incredibly invested. I cannot wait to keep reading.
6/12/2017 c6 slcjnk2008
So where does this leave Ruby? I can't wait to find out. Your writing of this chapter was superb as only you can do. - Shelley
6/4/2017 c6 DayStorm
Oh, god! My lovelies have had life breathed back into them; woke up early this morning. Logged into Tumblr for no other reason than force of habit and saw your update post. All fresh and clean and waiting and I swear my heart gave a hard double-tap. I was so happy! :D

Now, onto the review!

Ivory’s response to a stranger just appearing in her bedroom – in the heart of Heart palace – gave me a bit of a pause. I swear when I read that first line: “she had no patience for people sneaking into her room” I was like . . . um . . . ? . . . no patience? That’s it? lol And then I kept reading. Her quick assessment followed by breaking the mirror immediately made me go: “Ahhhhh. I get it”.

LOVE that you didn’t go the obvious route and have the mirror smashing as a clumsy attempt to drive the assassin back, or the equally overused distraction. Nope. She did it to sound an alarm. In the middle of Heart Palace, that noise would draw attention – or more specifically, the Guard. Refreshing, actually. Small moment in the middle of the scene but I liked it a lot.

I told you this already, but I got a feeling. Whoever M really is, I think people are looking for him. Assassin saw him and just abandons whatever else she was meant to be doing, grinning like she stumbled onto something. Launches herself clear out the window. Arrg. Now THAT’S interesting and something to keep an eye on methinks.

M is important.

Important enough so that the memory machine thing sounds like something he should avoid. At all costs. I sense a conspiracy and even if Pieterson doesn’t have his throat cut just for glimpsing what’s in M’s broken memory it might not be something any of them WANT returned. Does M really want to know what’s buried in there? Twenty years is a long time for his brain to suppress a think. It might just be gone. And that’s only if his amnesia isn’t caused by physical trauma. In which case . . . wouldn’t that actually cause damage? Trying to retrieve memory from a part of his brain that’s damaged?

BTW – wonderful metaphor, ending the Ivory/M scene with him picking the broken pieces off the floor. Beautiful.

Glad Ruby’s realized the potential menace of Chess holding a birthday party. I was just thinking the same thing, wondering who in their right mind would present such a clear target for another attack so soon after the bombing at the Centennial Ball. Okay, so it’s been a while – not like it happened yesterday – but still. Might as well crown Chess with a big red bow and march him out onto the lawn.

And then I got to thinking: King of Diamond. 21st birthday. A celebration wouldn’t only be expected, it’s practically mandatory. Ah, hell. Even if Chess has the sense to recognize the danger, he might not have a choice or risk appearing frightened. Heart isn’t the only one that needs to keep itself strong; present an unshaken front to public scrutiny.

You got the basic political game, which is mostly the normal shuffling, double-dealing and backstabbing that’s so forward they might as well take an add out in the paper. One tier down: more dangerous, darker, but still not exactly a secret. Everyone knows there’s stuff happening below the surface. This is a kingdom with four separate factions, each vying for control of the whole.

And then you have this third tier of goings-on. All smoke and ghosts, no one’s quite sure what’s going on or who’s pulling the strings here but there’s the feel of a greater game being played.

Ruby as Heart’s champion is just lovely. :D Father doesn’t like it, and he has his reasons. But Ruby isn’t wrong in asserting herself this way, in pushing forward. She’s being a little childish, but she is not a child. Not a delicate flower, to be defended. Honestly . . . I’m more interested in how the others will respond to this. Lol Drama, drama everywhere and not an out in sight. :P This’ll be fun.

Show ‘em what you got, Ruby. Just remember that now they’ll know . . .

Alix was brave. She knows what she wants, knows enough to go and get it. But she was so timid! Princess of Heart she may be, and she IS trying, but that girl needs to speak up. Right now she’s a small bird in a very big cage and I don’t think the fact has really had time to sink in yet. She has lighting – I definitely didn’t overlook her sharp snap-back when she felt she was being dismissed. What she needs now are claws. lol

Actually, I might have criticized Ruby a little too hard. It occurs to me that with that snake Adrian, Chess and Pieterson as the champions from the other three houses . . . what would have happened to Heart had Ruby gone with Connor’s plan and sent some faceless Ace to represent? She’s right. They would have looked weak.

PLEASED that Ruby won the intelligence challenge, but absolutely overjoyed with the free for all at the final Tower phase. Pieterson definitely didn’t expect to be set upon. He helped, actually, by getting the medallion first. Means none of the others had to exhaust themselves climbing straight to the top. :P Let him get it, then snatch it away. hehe Wasn’t her plan but doesn’t mean she couldn’t benefit from his speedy recovery of the item once the opportunity presented itself.


She’s alive though. Proving that Adrian is a damned idiot. He just tried to murder the Queen of Hearts. This won’t be forgotten. Forgiven. And it won’t be quick. Ugh. You sure we can’t just murder him? I mean, a couple paragraphs is all it’d take to make him “accidentally” slip in his bathtub. How he managed to strangle himself on his bed sheets from wayyyy over in the bathroom is a bit of a mystery though. Wide-eyed innocent stares all around. Nobody’s quite sure how he managed that . . . hehe . . .

GREAT chapter! :D
5/8/2017 c5 slcjnk2008
Hi Maddie, great chapter. So many unanswered questions. I know that this story is still just beginning but it continues to capture my imagination. I do need to say that following the politics has my head spinning, just like real life. I still love your writing and very happy that you found the time out of your busy schedule to give us readers another chapter.
And because I can't get enough of your author awesomeness, I'm going to get caught up with 'Tainted Crown'. - Shelley
2/22/2017 c5 DayStorm
I read the chapter title and right away I was like: “okay. “sigh” okay. Weaponise. Let’s do this!” lol

I get why Ruby’s not exactly thrilled with Alix’s arrival. Too new to be sibling rivalry. Nope. Not that. She’s uneasy at this stranger in her home, this girl she doesn’t know and has no cause to trust. So soon after the bomb, an attempted mass-assassination of the city’s elite. Her father’s injuries, serious enough to have the royal physicians place him in a chemically-induced coma? . . . Ruby’s smart and tough as nails, but there’s only so much any one person can stand.

She’s wound too tightly to view any new person with anything less than blatant suspicion (and hostility lol) Never mind that Connor Thorne has been Ruby’s beloved father, trusted confidant and friend in a place where you trust no one totally. And he’s already accepted Alix as that daughter he lost years ago. lol Alix has a way to go before she’s welcomed home as this long-lost princes of Hearts by the ruling queen. Sister or no.

Ah! So the Mad Hatter has a name! :D Max and Conner can even tell him who he is. Not what happened to him, of course, but he knows him at least and that’s somewhere to start. I find it interesting that Max was in the “Zenith” division. Is that a deliberate choice (the name of his unit?) Zenith means peak or top. Like when the sun reaches its zenith, it’s at its highest point in the sky.

Oh, jeez. Marriage proposal. Another one . . . lol . . . these people still don’t see just how powerful the Queen of Hearts really is. Figure marrying her would unite two sections of the city and increase the power of their own Family. Ruby’s going to skin these dickheads alive.

Adrian’s a snake. Look how subtle that was. He accepts Ruby’s refusal of marriage, with the promise that if she changes her mind . . . he’d still be amiable. Then very smoothly inserts that he’s aware of Alix’s presence. He knows the princess is there, and she is – by blood – another viable royal consort.

It can’t be only me who thinks that sounds like a threat. “I’m going to marry one of you.”

The Cat’s got a bit of a problem. For an assassin who never fails, he’s failed twice now. Although I think Prix is wrong: Alix isn’t untouchable in the Heart Palace. Adrian comes and goes, almost as easily as if he lives there. So does Chess. And those are just the names we know. Guards can be bribed. Maids paid to poison food or bathwater. There is ALWAYS a way in. Alix isn’t safe at all . . .

I feel that The Cat’s minor rebellions are foreshadowing. He’s only back-talking now but it shows his growing dissatisfaction. His loyalty to Diamond is wavering. This one might be open to being swayed. Hmmmm. :)

Great chapter!
1/1/2017 c4 slcjnk2008
Wow, there's a lot going on in this chapter. I love the intrigue and mystery and can't wait to see where you take us next. - Shelley
12/28/2016 c4 DayStorm
I’ll be honest. I was so stoked when you said Ace of Spades would be updated soon that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. :P And LOOK! It’s HERE! :D :D

Okay, to start. Chess is sweet, but I still don’t trust him and I’m totally with Ruby keeping her Queenly persona firmly in place while her father is still so weak. People would know that hurting those she cares for would be rough . . . but she can’t afford to let anyone see her wavering. She needs to be stronger now than ever; show them she won’t break no matter how much it hurts.

Chess acted so quickly in the last chapter, didn’t he? Out of everyone he kept a cool head and O_O AMPUTATED a leg. I really don’t think he’s BAD – not like Zam or Adrian – but he has a stake in all this. Chess is not a minor player in the intrigue plaguing the city and his motivations are not entirely benevolent.

He’s bold af though . . . to so carelessly touch the Queen of Hearts. (when he tucked a curling strand of hair back behind her ear)

Something in this chapter stuck out for me – it was just a single line, but I got a bit of a thrill when I read it: “Peace is a ticking clock.” How can something so deceptively benign be this terrifying? Because it’s true. Peace is an uneven balance. All it’d take to plunge them all into war is a push. That’s it. One small push. Peace can’t last so long as there’s malcontent. So long as there’s ONE person who wants something . . .

Zam came across as clever, if not intellectually intelligent but I’m starting to think his impulsiveness stupefies him. -_- wtf Diamond King . . . ten seconds of actual thought goes a long way; you can’t have people killed willy-nilly and if you’re assassin tells you it’s a bad idea – IT’S A BAD IDEA! Who the F shuts up their advisor?

As for the Alix/Ivory scene . . . there’s such a feeling of something pending. Somethin’ dark and a little dangerous. And I’m not talking about the assassin. I think I enjoy Alix’s scenes the most. :)

The Cat seemed QUITE unprepared to be electrocuted! Haha What’s he going to tell Zam, being sent in place of someone who failed to finish the job and missing too? Nothing. He’ll tell Zam nothing. The Cat is coming back.

Alix is surprised she’ll be meeting the Queen of Hearts, assuming that she’d instead be brought to Connor it took me a second to get why. lol But I get it. You don’t bring a lost, wide-eyed barroom waitress to meet the monarch. You bring her to a member of the Queen’s cabinet.

THAT REVEAL THOUGH. :D Can you imagine? Alix learns just NOW that she’s younger sister to the Queen of Hearts . . . by blood, an heir to the Crown . . . and while that little unimportant revelation is still echoing around the room . . . oh, yeah. You’re destined to either make or break this city. Our Fates are in your hands, honey. Everyone wants you dead or subjugated – no pressure.

Lol Okay, I’m going to finish this by point out it just NOW occurred to me where your assassin, the Cat, comes from. The Cheshire Cat! :D There we go. I get it.
10/28/2016 c3 slcjnk2008
This chapter was so exciting and full of information. It also has me feeling very angry that Conner was hurt. Give me a gun and I'll shoot Obadiah and Prix myself. And what about Alix and Ivory and the stranger that helped them?
Loved this chapter. - Shelley
10/17/2016 c3 DayStorm
“I may be the queen of Hearts, but I rule with my head.” Such a straightforward line, but I swear there are times I’m just enchanted by the way you write. I got a happy little thrill when I read this! lol

Eeee! I know I said this already but the grunge is so exciting! You don’t shove it down our throats; it’s just part of the background. The stage where the action is set and the rainy, dirty, dark is exactly right for this sort of story!

It got me thinking; Alix belongs to this backdrop. She moves through it invisibly. Even through her fears, she won’t stand out. Practical clothes. Dark hair and eyes. But Ivory does not – at all, really. She makes a deliberate effort to mask herself and hide how badly she does not belong; but she’s like pearl sitting in the mud.

She can’t hide. Not totally.

Zammiel. Zam – what do I say about him other than he was there when the queen killed herself in a desperate attempt to buy her daughter time to disappear. This baby spirited away in the middle of the night. The sheer brutality – to stand there and actually smirk at Alix – like he has any right. Can we strangle an imaginary character? *evil grin* No? Okay, fine. He gets kicked in the head, at least, so I guess I’ll just have to settle and be happy. lol

BTW – M Hatter? Hehe Not critiquing. I just found that funny. M as in Mad? The Mad Hatter? :D

Okay. Enough about that. Now, on to the second part of this chapter. I can sympathise with Ruby’s distaste for all the formality. The expectation of beautiful and very expensive clothing. I’m very much a jeans and sweater kinda girl, but I’ve gotten dressed up a few times. And even though I do enjoy the novelty of it; of a dress and made up face . . . I hate the amount of time it takes. Not to mention that Ruby’s dress would be quite a bit more restraining. Heavier, too. Ugh.

Antisocial might be problematic for a future king (Chess), but sociopathic seems like a bigger one to me. Adrian is the one Ruby’s going to need to keep close, not because he can be trusted but exactly because he can’t. This one smile is like a shark’s: all teeth, no soul. He’s the one who’ll circle around and slide a knife between her ribs.

To be fair, Chess is no angel either.

Obadiah – bombed – the Centennial Ball. :O

Is he REALLY that dumb? Ruby and her father weren’t the only ruling class there! There are powers he can’t afford to unite.
9/28/2016 c2 DayStorm
Crazily well developed characters, with such rich backstories made interesting in that those histories aren't spoon fed to his. What matters - what we need to know now - is stated without any leery hinting at what's important. We're told.

Ruby. Fiery and passionate, intelligent and very much a Queen . . . but still a child. Nineteen years old, what she lacks in maturity she makes up for in sensibility.

Absolutely adore how this world has been set. Using the Cards as a reference for sections of the city, the various kingdoms. Makes it easy to visualize because we don't have to "remember" some exotic name. And it keeps things organized. The Aces as the top tier of their policing - is it me or do their lawkeepers seem distinctly more military than cop?

"For such politically powerful people, Senators weren't much when it came to a tangible threat." . . . that's it exactly, isn't it? Weakness and cowardice masquerading as power and poise. A politician's masterful deception.

Nobody wants to go to that damned ball but everyone is definitely going to be there, and each family - and by extension each member of those illustrious families - has their own motivation to attend. This is fantastic. lol

Alix; unknown living heir to Heart? Living on a meager wage, paid by room & board and a few coins to make the difference. Lost. Unaware of this terrible destiny and a history shrouded in secrets.

You sure know how to hit all the right buttons. I really, truly love stories like this but it's so rare to find anyone writing them! Court intrigue. A princess hidden away to protect her, unaware of the menace. Dangerous and rough and unforgiving; a combination of the elegant glitter of high society, the deceptive shine of political talk against the grit and sweat of the streets.

Ohhhhhhh I love this!
9/28/2016 c1 DayStorm
What I wouldn't give to be able to paint a scene as effortlessly as this. I could see it. Mild details, only references to what the world she moves through looks like . . . but I could still see it so clearly. Grimy and urban. Dark. Wet, with the glow of electric lights reflecting off rain-slicked streets and buildings towering high into a sky boiling with unspent clouds.

The combination of magic and technology. The worlds you create are just astounding. Real places that drag you straight into the setting.

Sorry. By "effortless" I don't mean it took no effort on your part, but that it comes across easily when read. Talent is a lazy compliment. This is skill. Hours and hours of effort, over years to hone an ability that just blows my mind.

I'll admit, I love stories like this.

Royalty stealing out into the night, a baby hidden away. A murder; a suicide. Treachery.


Call it whatever you want. Stories like these are just exciting and intriguing and the sort you can't put away.

AM-AZ-ING start.
6/20/2016 c2 slcjnk2008
Oh this is getting very exciting with all the political intrigue going on behind the scenes and who is the cat? Is he a good guy or bad? I'm excited to read on and find out. - Shelley
6/20/2016 c1 slcjnk2008
Oh my god. This is a great way to start your story. Although very violent, frightening and sad, I need to read more and find out what happens to the baby and why people are after her. Fantastic chapter. - Shelley
9/20/2014 c2 2nelso555
Great story, I loved it. It continued on from the prologue very well and the cat was simply just awesome. I've written stories with assassins before and they just make the most interesting characters. You're a really great writer, and I'd like for you to check out some of my stories. Thanks.

- MN
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