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The twist is great. I didn't see it coming, and the build up to the moment was fantastic. I loved the focus on details before the twist occurred, which obviously lent it that much more power when it happened.
In this case, the power of that twist is all about the build up. It's done quite well. There could be some work done on the transitions between the subjects, however--the switching between discussing the master and the stranger is a bit confusing and requires a lot of focus to keep them separate as a reader.
Great work! Keep writing!
Great, solid and descriptive writing
Love the style and the pace. Very well done and really quite polished. Moves quickly and each sentence conveys valuable information and doesn't seem extraneous or lazy. Active voice and easy to read.
However, I was a bit at a loss for the MCs motives for actually crawling into the canvas--why did he do that? Was he just curious or compelled and couldn't stop? That didn't seem to make sense to me. And then, just what happened to him? I wanted there to be something more evident, and perhaps that's just me and that I'm not clever enough to deduce what happened. The horror comes through with the repetition of the delivery man's words, but the gravity of what's happened was slightly lost on me because I wasn't certain what was being referenced in that phrase.
But maybe that's the horror of it?
So in short, I feel like the story is ALMOST there, but falls short just barely. It's so good, but I just wasn't sure what happened.
Great work otherwise. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff!
Intrigue and world-building galore!
First of all, I echo a sentiment from another comment somewhere that the initial "fight" scene is a bit difficult to follow, which is strange because it's pretty graphic. I think the issue is that in an attempt to make the throat cutting scene brief, we're left with weird placement of the bodies in the room. I'm not a skilled assassin by any means, but it usually SEEMS like a good throat-cutting happens with the assailant surprising the victim from behind (or maybe I've watched too much TV?). When the scene is described with the attacker shoving the body backwards, it sounds like the attacker is standing in front of the priest, which makes sense because then we also get a description of the priest's eyes as his throat is being cut.
To make things simpler, so that readers don't get confused as they try to visualize what's going on, all it would take is a word here or there to straighten it out. The attacker could be moving forward as he slashes at the priest so that when he shoves the priest backward, it's not like "Wait, what?" Because my automatic assumption is that the attacker has come at the victim from behind to do the evil deed. I understand there are stylistic reasons why the author has done the opening paragraph the way he has, but if the following paragraphs are overly confusing, the risk is losing the readers attention immediately.
That said, I loved my glimpses into this world. I have only read the first chapter, however, so things I might say here could be addressed in the next chapter.
I loved the names in the story, the sense of the larger world, like the Chop, that just sounds fantastic. The House of Humboldt is a great name too, and Little Mille, etc. I loved all this stuff. The Machine was actually the weakest name. It works, of course, I'm just saying that it pales in comparison to the other fantastic ones so far.
Which, speaking of names, I'm not sure why the character we're following in the first chapter isn't given a name yet. For me it makes the story clunky, but perhaps this is addressed later on. I do think there should be a really really good reason to not name a character the first time we meet them. Even Brandon Sanderson names Szeth the first time we see him slaughter an entire wedding party (if my memory serves me).
There's some really great description going on, and excellent details, which definitely make me want to read more. Keep writing and posting! Can't wait to see how much this develops!
Couldn't stop reading!
Everything about this story (or chapter, if there is more) is well done. The voice of Eillie is engaging and relatable, and plus she talks like a child, which lends it verisimilitude. I normally don't like stories where children are in terrible positions like this (I stopped reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, for example), but I was quickly invested in Eillie's plight and wanted to see her through. The pacing is great, the dialogue rings true and the twist at the end was done perfectly--I didn't see it coming. The bread-crumbs lead me totally in another direction so that when it happened, I was surprised (though a bit sad, while at the same time being impressed...confusing, I know!).
Great story built on traditional folk tale elements!
Short and sweet. I really loved the British, peasant-town feel to it. The details were quite well done, plus they were delivered quickly and succinctly, in a way that didn't feel sluggish or burdensome. I loved the characterization of the barmaid and the adjectives that accompanied her, like how her eyes gleamed and she grinned wickedly. Houndel was sweet and fairly innocent and I felt attached to him immediately (not sure about his name and I'm wondering if that's a nickname purposely meant to relate to a hound...? Is it a British thing? I need to look it up).
The only thing was that I was a bit confused about the description of what she became. It sounded to me like she turned into a rat--what with the long, yellow teeth and all., but then it calls her a mongrel. I get it that she should be a hound (right? I think...), but the details in general struck me as a tad off.
All in all it was a great story that worked quickly and fairly seamlessly!
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