Jonathan DeLacuso

A writer in the beginning searching for inspiration where it may take me.

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It shows a lot of potential so far.

This is really my type of fantasy. The style it is written in, the attention to detail you put into the whole story and the way your world-building seems to be taking off really have all the right elements of a magnificent work of fantasy. There are some things, mostly technical in nature, that I think you should take a second glance at, but overall this is a fantastical piece of work that I am glad to start reading.

Without further ado, let's get into the criticism portion of the review first:

There were some misspells and grammatical errors in this work. I tried to make a mental note of them, but the work was quite engrossing enough for me to forget the exact place where I had seen them. I would suggest a quick read through to catch them all.

You could stand to shorten your paragraphs a bit when posting here. Maybe try to break some of the larger ones in half so that they are easier to read on the site. None of them were "a wall of text" bad, but I still think it would be serviceable to the overall flow to shorten those that you can at least.

This one is more of a personal preference, but I would have halved the first chapter. It seemed slightly too long which can be an issue for something that a reader that is starting off with the story. THere was a bit too much happening in it and the reader does need some time to process all of that information. Personally, what I would have done is to have the first chapter be the meeting between Siofra and the warden, him showing her his family heirloom and then stop the chapter as she goes into a trance so that the two memories she experiences are in chapter two. It builds up the memories and makes the first chapter easier to digest a bit.

Now onto the praise portion of the review:

We don't know too much about Siofra yet, but from what could be seen in these two chapters she seems like a very interesting and powerful character. Her physical and mental strength indicate a very powerful warrior combined with a mind of a clever strategist as she clearly does hold a high position within the ranks of her group, as indicated by the second chapter.

While I cannot comment a lot about the other characters as I need more of this story to make my feelings known about them, we do have really interesting hints about their roles in this wicked world. Same goes for the whole world building as I still lack more information about it (though, there are some great hints of a really interesting world. I especially like your take on the Siren's mythos and where that could take us).

My biggest praise goes to two things in this story that I found so far: the memories (more so the ones pertaining to the three siblings) and your writing style.

The scenes with the mirror and the music box were clever and very well done which is why I think they deserve to be their own chapter. They gave so many hints about the bloody past of tied to them and Sofria's ability to unlock these secrets made her own past and power seem very high.

The scene with the Siren song of the music box and the interactions between Arthur, Noline, and Aleta were interesting to read about. The way the box skipped around was also cleverly done and very vividly explained and the transitions flowed effortlessly. Same with the mirror. The Siren music box also gave me an insight into your world building capabilities, capabilities that I wish to see more of going forward with this story.

Your writing style is really what makes me want to read more. You have a very vivid and colorful imagination and you have a firm grasp of the English language to express these imaginative images into words. The level of attention you pay to each and every single scene really makes it a spectacle to read. However, as I too use a similar style, I must warn you: Your style can be a double-edged sword. If overused, the descriptive style can become tedious and you can get yourself lost explaining things that aren't important to the story. This has not occurred yet and it may not occur ever in the story, but it is something to keep in mind.

What I really fell in love with in this work were the subtleties you used to describe the surrounding. This was especially evident in your description of the warden and his treatment of the women around him. Slight bruising that spoke louder than their screams or stories spoke in hushed whispers about him ever could. It was delightful and if I am being brutally honest, refreshing to see. An experts usage of show don't tell.

So after all this, why did I give you only four stars?

The main reason for this is the fact that I do not have enough of a story here to give it a proper five stars. Same reason for the plot being four stars. I don't have enough to go off on here for that rating. This is not my final review of this piece. I do plan to return to this review once the story is finished and to add more to it, depending on how the story goes.

I do, however, believe this is a five-star work so far. It has everything I like for it to work. An interesting mystery, a potentially kickass MC and a world unknown to me. It is writting on a very professional level and it shows a lot of potential for future growth in its early stages. It has earned its spot in my "Beautiful Fantasy" reading list for these reasons alone and I intend to follow this story as closely as I can.

Good luck, keep writing and keep being awesome! You have a truly wonderful gift here and I hope you cultivate it into something great by the end of our journey.

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Have you considered turning this into a play rather than a book?

I want to start off this review by saying that this book has something interesting behind. I liked the idea of two characters born in a shitty place to rise above and lead a better life is relatable. I can see Boris easily as the grounded type while Jack's head is in the clouds. He truly believes there is something out there, beyond the hellhole they were born in while Boris clearly doesn't see it that way. It is an amazing concept and one that is actually much more suited to a play than a book.

The reason I gave this book three stars is because it needs quite a bit of work to make it better. However, and please don't get me wrong for saying this, I have a feeling that you are writing in a completely wrong format for you. You may not see it, but do hear me out on this one.

The majority of these four chapters has so much dialogue that keeps telling us about the characters and their plight. We don't see some scenes that we really should see but we are told more about them. I think Cynthia really put it best in her review about this issue, but it really does grate a bit. In the third and fourth chapter, this is much less of an issue though so I am glad to see you are improving. I would honestly advise you to take her advice if you want to continue this as a book.

However, in my eyes, this would make for a spectacular play if you wrote it as such. The way you write is much more suited for that style. The usage of dialogue and the issue of you telling us the plot would be mostly excusable since that is how we are seeing it. The characters would be more than allowed to talk about their world while quick descriptions would be placed to just give us a feel for the setting. I would suggest you take a look at Hamlet or Plautus' Pot of Gold (Aulularia) to get a feel of how your story may proceed. A play focused on this type of fantasy could be done rather well.

The play within a play angle could also be done with the kid actors you had and the mysterious narrator. I think you could easily adapt it as a play by focusing more on the dialogue and adding some descriptions to the scenes just so we can see where this is happening around and such. Also, the reason I mentioned that you should read those two plays is also to see how a play is structured as it might help you to bring this in that light. Plautus has a more traditional setup, though Shakespear has a more dramatic angle.

If you want to continue making this a book then you will need to do a lot more establishing at certain points. You will need to slow down your pace in the prologue and the first chapter and add more descriptions to the certain scene. And I would advise you refrain from using words like "crappy" if you are going for a medieval theme. They just make it sound very juvenile.

Either way you decide to move forward I would suggest you get wither a proofreader or someone who can help you clean up your grammar. There were quite a few grammatical errors and misuse of the comma. I would suggest you look up some articles on that issue as I too had a big problem with it. Also, you tend to say "your" when you mean "you're". Your is if something belongs to the said "you" while "you're" is an abbreviated form of "you are". Also, there are some confusions I noticed with "their" and "they're". Again "their" is a possessive noun while "they're" is an abbreviated form of "they are".

Oh, and refrain from saying "then this happened, then this, then that". It gets somewhat repetitive and I have seen it happen in chapter four when it was used three times in a row.

Overall, you do have something interesting here. I know I was a bit harsh in my review and that the rating probably isn't as good as you may have hoped, but I do think that this has somewhat of a format issue. Like I said, if you want to proceed with this as a book you should take Cynthia's advice fully to heart, because those are the same issues I have found while reading this. However, on the off chance you decide to change this into a play format I would be happy to expand on what else could be done to make the transition (though it would most likely come through as an email).

Have fun, take care and continue on writing. You do have talent here and it is through practice and constant trial and error that you can be better.

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Sheer brilliance.

For the last half an hour I have been sitting here, thinking of a proper way to start off this review. I waited for my emotions to settle after that last chapter and still I feel them creeping up on me as I write this. The journey this novel has taken me on was more than exhilarating. It was breathtaking. I have been a huge fan of mystery novels and crime dramas. They were my third literary love (right next to fantasy and horror) and they were a genre I treated with respect, due to the hard work that authors must have when writing them. In my opinion, they are the most difficult genre to write. To see one written so expertly and topped off with a human touch really makes me stare at it in awe. I saw that one commenter wrote that he felt guilty for reading this for free. I think I am feeling slightly guilty myself after finishing this. However, more on that later.

In these reviews, I tend to deconstruct the work to showcase all the things I liked and disliked in order to show the author all of my thoughts about the piece. I will do so here, though I already feel that this will be quite the lengthy review. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's not waste any more time and let us venture forth.

One of the few things I really like to criticize in my reviews is the usage of grammar. Every work I have read seems to have some grammar mistakes that do become grating enough for me to remove a star (my work is not an exception to this). However, what mistakes I did find, I quickly forgot as the story engrossed me fully. There were some misspells by they were soo few and far in between that it wouldn't be worth even removing half a star for. I would suggest a quick read through to straighten them out.

The language you used in this novel seemed very easy to understand. You were not over verbose, quite the opposite actually. Your style was very down to right and even a bit cheeky in some parts. Given the narrator, the style fits splendidly well and it really brought a sense of realism to the story. It felt like I was reading private memoirs that Phil kept.

As someone who has a slight aversion to first person POV stories, I was slightly hesitant when I saw that you used it as well. I have noticed that first person POV seems to be a somewhat preferred style of writing here (or maybe it's just the stories I have read that make it seem so). It's not an easy style to pull off and many do seem to stumble with it, so it always makes me precautious when I read a story that utilizes it.

Your story, on the other hand, makes the POV integral to it. Third person (even if it were limited) would not be good enough for this type of story. Phil's emotions, charm, and quips would be quite lost on us if it were written in any different way. I love how we get to experience this exciting tale through his eyes and we feel every moment as he does. We have a permanent residence within his mind and it draws the reader in as if he were a Yithian possessing Phil's body while his mind was still there. It's not an easy thing to pull, but you managed to outdo every single one of my expectation by the time chapter two ended.

The literary devices on display here were great. The most predominant ones that I saw were: symbolism, Chekov's gun, and similies. I will leave symbolism for the last part since it will lead to my next part of the review.

The similies Phil has really help to bring this book to life and show off his quick wit. There were a lot of ones that had to do with spaceships and spacecrafts which, for a realistic story like this one, really made me laugh. Others helped to accentuate Tyrone's horror and helped to really set the tone for the story. It was enjoyable to see what Phil would come up with next to describe Manny or Mackie or any other character and I have to give credit to you on that front.

The usage of Chekov's gun in this work was unbelievable to the point that around chapter 9 I had to stop and write this down:

"The usage of Chekov’s gun in this story is
simply marvelous. The number of callbacks and tie-ins is rather large and it
rewards avid readers and even encourages a reread just to see if you can spot
them all. One of my favorite jokes was when Phil was talking about how rich Tina was and he says “for fuck sake- her parents bought her a pool for her birthday” and right on cue in chapter 9 we see that party take place. Seriously, I would suggest that people take notes when writing callbacks because this was pretty clever. You never know what’s going to be important in the story so you better keep your eyes peeled and you better memorize as much as you can when reading this because chances are it’s going to come back."

I still don't think I did it justice because there are even bigger scenes that come into play and all the puzzle pieces come along. The smoking gun was always there, we just needed to look a bit harder. I think that if someone were to reread this they would be slapping themselves silly with all the clues this work used to convey its message. That is a sign of a great mystery novel right there. The mention of Hercules Poirot also served as somewhat of a hint since in Agatha Christie's stories the reader is capable of resolving the mystery as they read them if they look hard enough.

And finally, the use of symbolism in this work was spectacular. The ripples that repeat themselves were quite powerful and we see how far their waves truly reach. The title itself is one great symbol for the whole work as one can see it as they read on.

From this point on I will be using spoilers for the story. There are some things I want to discuss and if anyone is reading this review before reading the story itself, I would suggest they stop at this point. Because the first impressions hit the hardest in a work like this. Now let's discuss the plot of this work.

The plot is surprisingly complex and yet very easy to follow. You may not understand the full scope of the whole situation, at first, but as it goes it starts to fall in place and you are left with your mouth wide open by the end of the ride.

The story is separated into two segments and two mysteries. These segments I like to call: the kid segments and the JAYDEE segments. The kid segments are highly important to the story as they provide us with context to it all.

Stevie's death, which occurs in the kid segments, and its true cause are hidden from us at first. They are the stone tossed into the lives of these characters. They, alongside with some other events in the past, are the progenitors of the ripples that travel throughout their past and come crashing down on the shores of today. Tyrone's evil is also explored here and his revenge represents the waves that are catching up to Phil, Wayne, and Tine. It befits his nature which I will explore later.

As far as the main mystery goes, it is amazingly interesting. As the story goes on more and more parties are introduced and it just becomes a larger and larger deal reach the ex-mayor, councilor and the incompetent MP. The deeper it goes, the more danger arises from it and Phil is caught in the middle of it all. Just because he got caught up in Tyrone's sick game. Truly bone-chilling.

Speaking of all these characters, let's discuss the brilliant characterization that you have going on here. I wanted to shorten my list as much as I could (as I wanted to originally give every character a paragraph) so I will focus on seven characters so far (starting from the ones I have the least to say about to the ones I have the most): Simon, Slattery, Erin, Alasdair, Tina, Phil, Tyrone and Wayne.

Simon Walsh is a very interesting character that has my feelings split. He is a terrific rival to Phil in every single way and, as much as I don't like sensationalists, he does possess a certain courage that Phil simply lacks. This courage leads to him ending in a body cast, but even then he does not let up. And any man that has so much passion has at least some respect from me. He is arrogant and a sleaze, but man is he tenacious as well. He very well deserves his position and SOME of his arrogance.

DI Slattery is one of those characters that has done a double flip in my eyes. The way he was introduced, his love of greasy food and easy women, really made me slightly cautious of him. His suspicion of Wayne was founded though, and even back then he showed some signs of his ultimate moment of redemption. his germophobic nature made me laugh and his tender moments made me believe that he was not such a bad guy after all. His meeting with Mackie proved to me that this was a man to be feared and revered. Slattery is something every detective can only dream of being and he has earned my respect. I could go on and on about him as I truly grew to enjoy his intellect, his cynicism and his harsh delivery of truth. All six that I have mentioned before are characters that have impressed me in one way or another, but Slattery has blown me away.

Erin was a character that I too fell in love with at first. She seemed to be kind, curious, and generally a wonderful shining beacon in Phil's light. After his disappointment with Tina, I truly hoped he would have hit it off with Erin and that I would be witnessed to a double wedding by the end of the book. Unfortunately, that is a fairy tale ending and this is not a fairy tale after all. Her motives were ultimately good, but we do not live in Machiavellian times where the ends can justify ANY means. Playing with Phil and with Simon like that was a rotten way and I could completely understand Phil's rage with her. Her father was a blind fool that let all this chaos happen. Sure, he wasn't evil, but you know what they say: all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing. Her character as a whole was wonderful and wonderfully dubious to read about. Flawed human beings are my favorite after all.

Alasdair Riley was an interesting character that also invoked quite a bit of sympathy from me. He was also a good character for social commentary, representing a consumeristic lifestyle that wishes to portray themselves as the best, even if it means that they have to sign their souls over to the Devil (or Tyrone in this case. Same difference). His stupidity and extensive greed remind me of a couple of characters I saw in a show I am currently watching. These people were nobles under an old rule, but the new King chased them out of said position because he saw them as useless. Even impoverished they kept buying things to show off their nobility which only served to drive them deeper into depth and lead their daughter to Death's door as she tried to save her sisters from that fate (unfortunately that story did not have a happy ending). He has the same mentality as they do, though he comes off as much more human then these guys ever did.

Now onto the main trio, and who better to start off then Tina.

Tina was a very welcomed ray of sunlight in this novel. The way she behaved in her childhood indicated a very strong person with a strong moral compass. You really can't pull the wool over her eyes as she seems like the type of a girl that can easily peer into the hearts of anyone that surrounds her and see if they are a friend or a foe. She has also proven herself to be quite strong as well, remaining brave even when Tyrone stared down at her. Her loyalty to her friends is also very well expressed in her past as she stood by Wayne's side no matter what happened. She was his rock and not even Tyrone made her waver. She truly was made for Wayne as much as he too was made for her. Quite the uncanny couple, yet they make so much sense.

Phil was an interesting narrator. I loved the arc he took in the novel and how he slowly became braver and braver as the story progressed. He became a stronger character with the same level of sharp wit and funny quips that he always had. He was a blast and a half to follow and his thoughts provided a great insight into the whole situation.

Tyrone was a perfect villain for this piece of literary brilliance. A total psychopath, a criminal mastermind, and a horror that truly feared no man. Much like a tsunami, he was a destructive, malevolent, force that left nothing but destruction and misery in its path. Unlike a tsunami, he relished this misery and destruction. He drew excitement from the daily torment he inflicted upon Wayne and he was utterly amoral as a human life was worthless to him. He even tried to mess with the shady Mackie, which ultimately led to his demise. He was bound to crash eventually and I suppose he couldn't have found a better shore to wash upon.

And now, for my personal favorite character in this entire novel, Wayne. Wayne was something I did not expect to see. He was a man followed by misfortunate. Misfortune by being born in the worst house on their street. Misfortune to have a tormentor like Tyrone as his brother. And misfortune of losing his best friend at such a young age. This misfortune leads him on a dark path which even followed him into his adult life. And behind all that misfortune, behind all those shady things he did, lied a truly noble and loving heart capable of caring and protecting his friends. As annoying as he could be, Wayne had such a laid-back facade to him and such a wonderful heart behind it all. A heart that only wanted to stay home, watch rugby with his friends and be happy with the girl of his dreams. Tyrone's evil followed him like a shadow and he never truly escaped it until the very end of this novel. He was a character I was rooting for the most and I am happy o see that his bad luck had come to an end. He earned the trust of Thomas Oldfield as well as the love of his life Tina. It made me really happy to see that.

And with that, my review has come to a close. I mentioned in one of my comments that I feel slightly empty to finish this. Perhaps that was not the right word to use. It's more a feeling of melancholy, a certain happiness mixed in with a hint of sadness that it truly is all over now. I feel like I have just watched a great movie and that a lot of other things will pale in comparison. I truly believe that this deserves to be in the bookshelves today and I believe that a lot of authors can learn so much from this work. Lord knows I have learned quite a lot.

I thank you for providing me with this amazing experience, Barry. It was truly an exhilarating journey and I wish you all the luck with your career. I truly hope to see this work in my bookstores one day. Keep it up and never stop! You have a wonderful gift here.

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A tale of revenge that would make Lovecraft proud.

Well, well, well. This is quite delicious so far. I must admit I adore horror stories like this. Vengeful spirits brought back by a mistake combined with their powerful emotions. It's quite the set up you have here and I would be excited to see more of it.

When I write a review I like to begin it with either criticism or praise. For a work like this, I'd like to start with the criticism first since there are only a few things I would like to note in that portion.

First off, you're beginning was very interesting, however, I feel like you could have set the mood slightly before letting the priest speak. Maybe describe the atmosphere a bit to ease the reader in before hearing the preacher's booming voice. Just something I would have personally liked.

Your punctuation in this work needs a bit of work though (which is why I have deducted a star there). There were some misspells as well (most of which I have sent to you in my feedback mail), the most egregious one being the confusion of jugular and jugglers.

Saying that he "sliced jugglers" of his foes makes me think that Beren sliced in half a small man juggling balls on their neck and that's not the image you want to envoke in a horror story.

Try to work on your comma usage as well. It's something I struggle personally with as well, so I would suggest looking up its usage in literary works more. And please watch out for run-on sentences,

I know I had quite a few things corrected in the feedback email, but they were mostly minor mistakes that I know a lot of writers make. They did add up though so that's why I removed a star on that front.

Now that we have that cleared out of the way, let's get into the praise portion of the review. And boy oh boy is there a lot to praise this work for.

First off, let's talk about Scorn. Scorn has got to be one of the rare beings that I can fully call Lovecraftian horrors. The term itself is thrown around a lot these days, but Scorn actually feels very much like a Lovecraftian creation.

Scorn is an entity that may or may not exist outside the dimension of life and death. He is represented by dark tendrils coming from a bright tunnel or at least that is what we are lead to believe. The possibility of something like that existing far beyond our knowledge, far beyond our dimension, removed from the world we know is terrifying. We don't know what Scorn truly wants nor what his ultimate goal is, but we do know two things 1) we know that something like it exists and 2) we know that it cannot be good (considering all the blood sacrifices it requires).

A creature like that is what made Lovecraft's works truly terrifying and maddening to read and to see such a being reappear after all this time is truly refreshing. Many claim his title, but rare authors actually capture his essence especially in the monsters they create. Scorn has the potential of rivaling Cthulhu with his description and I truly hope you keep him in the dark and maybe add to his power as the story goes.

The cult surrounding him only serves to testify to his brutality and horror and we fear this creature that lives beyond our mortal plain. A true cosmic horror like that deserves all the praise it can get.

Your style of writing is very beautiful and highly descriptive. Every image appeared right before my face, every foul, wretched, stench of blood and gore oppressed my nostrils. Just thinking back on it gives me goosebumps. It really was a marvelous job.

I have to give you credit as well with your usage of gore. While this work had enough blood for a blood bank, it never felt out of place or jammed in to make the work seem grittier than it truly is. It was used sparingly and at the right moments, making it fresh and gruesome each time it appeared. It was quite impressive and I loved it!

The characters themselves were very intense and interesting. I liked the description of Beren's backstory and especially the second chapter. it really felt depressing and dark and I could feel my heart break as he watched his desolate village. It was truly beautiful in the most macabre way. The pygmy was also an interesting addition as well as her decaying steed. Really sets the tone for a dark fantasy.

Overall, I really liked this piece. I think if you continue you could make it even more terrifying as his vengeance consumes him whole. As it stands it is a wonderful piece of dark fantasy mixed with cosmic horror and I would really wish to see more of it. Best of luck to ya mate.

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Lovely start, though it requires some meat

I will start of this review by saying that you have a very interesting story developing here. A quest like this one certainly seems quite interesting and it can lead to a lot of harrowing trials and tribulations.

William as the main character seems to be very interesting. I like the idea of an "ordinary" man raising up and assuming the throne. The idea itself reminds a bit of Tolkien's views which is always a huge plus in my book. He does seem at least somewhat intelligent and well read and such a brain would serve him well in his journey.

Eleanor is a very interesting character herself. She seems very intelligent and her deadpan and no-nonsense attitude really make her an enjoyable rival to William.

I also want to compliment your descriptive nature. You have a very good sense of description and scene set up and I wish you do more with it. You have an interesting style and I like the tongue in cheek comedy approach to the whole situation. It really makes it more unique and enjoyable to read. I really like it when authors have their own unique voice in the story.

With that said, there are some things here that I truly think you could work on.

I did notice some smaller grammar mistakes, mostly regarding misspelled words. I think a quick read through could help you out to iron these issues.

The bigger issues I have are your world building and the pacing.

The world building in this story feels a bit confusing to me. You talk about kings, ancient heirlooms, dragons, sphinxes and all this mystical stuff and in the same vein you mention helicopters and television. Without a proper explanation it comes off as incredibly jarring and I felt slightly disoriented. Are we in medieval times? Are we in modern times? I don't know.

A way to fix this issue would be that you give us a feel for your world. We could have spent some time with William in his house and to see more of his surroundings rather than just being plopped in medias res. You mention he read about the Choosing in a newspaper although I feel like it would be better than we saw him read that newspaper. Maybe add another chapter in which you introduce us to this world and the setting and then you get into the Choosing. Show us William in his workplace, hanging in the local tavern (or pub if you want to combine fantasy and reality).

You should also slow down a bit in some respects. Let us take in the atmosphere of your story, allow us to get a feel for your characters before going into the adventure. Remember: in fantasy, it is always about the journey rather than the destination. Don't be afraid to slow down and give us more description.

Also in chapter two, please put quotation marks when William thinks. It was slightly off-putting to read that part.

Overall this is a pretty good start to a very interesting story. I am excited to see what else you have in store and I would love to follow William and Elanore on their journey. They are fun characters to follow if the Sphinx encounter is anything to go by (just make sure Elanore doesn't lose her sharp edge as time goes on).

Keep up the good work!

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Very promising, though it requires some work.

I would like to start off this review by saying that this book has a very interesting idea behind. A maze, like this, offers many creative turns and rooms that could exploit both the physical and psychological strength of the characters. It is truly something that can get the reader's blood pumping and make them excited as they follow Kadence through the story.

You have quite the interesting cast here. Kadence seems very competent and quite intelligent, even if she can be a bit of a hardass at times (which is understandable for the context of the story). Pascal seems like a very humorous and likable character and he does well to balance Kadence.

You also seem to have a good grasp of the descriptions and it can be very imaginative and beautiful. I advise you to use more of this style and to pace yourself more.

Unfortunately, there are some problems that weigh this story down. These issues are rather common in new authors and, with a little more practice, I think you can make something great here. You have a strong base you just need to work a bit more on the rest of it.

There were some grammar issues I noticed with certain words being misspelled and some of the words you used tend to be slightly clunky. These issues can be fixed with a quick read through. I would advise that you proofread or get something like a Grammarly extension (which I use and it has helped me in my spelling) to help you out with grammar.

I have mentioned the formatting issue in my comments, but it bears repeating: shorten your paragraphs! A wall of text can be incredibly jarring on the eyes, especially when it isn't necessary. Some key points on paragraph separation to keep in mind would be the following:

1) Whenever someone speaks, separate it in a new paragraph. Even if you described that person, you should separate their speech in a new paragraph always.

2) When describing someone, try to separate their description. In one paragraph you could describe their look, in another, you can describe how others perceive that person or you could say something about their history, personality etc. It makes it easier to read.

3) When you want to emphasize something it would be good to separate it into a new paragraph because it visually represents the importance of said something.

The other much bigger issue that I have noticed is the pacing, particularly in chapter 2. You really need to slow down when you are introducing new characters so that we can feel for them. This issue is mostly seen in chapter two where you introduced four new characters in rapid succession (I am technically counting in Hale as well though you did give hints about him in chapter one). Which brings me to the biggest issue: a larger portion of chapter 2 is very hastily written.

You introduced all these characters and gave a small description of them and just glanced over who they are and hints to their personalities. The time skip really hurts you here as 1) it is quite the long time for no one to talk to anyone 2) it basically reads like "nothing happened and nothing of interest was done" which can come off as lazy and 3) you miss out on so much characterization.

You tell us Hale "made out for an uncomfortably long time" with the goth chic (which, minor side note, I think you should give her a bit more of a description rather than just "the goth chic". She is important to one of the big players in this maze and so that description doesn't do her justice), but you glance over it. It is an incredibly big part of Hale's story and you just mention it in passing. There is no emotional investment for the reader there and thus we don't care about Hale or gothy since we don't see how strong their relationship is. Yeah, Kadence tells us they cry holding each other, but it's pointless less we see it and feel it for ourselves.

Kadence tells us something, but it seems like it is just brushed off. If you don't show these moments, we feel nothing and thus we are incapable of connecting with the characters. If we don't care about the contestants then we slowly stop caring about the story as well and that leads to a lot of issues.

I am sorry if I come off as too harsh, but it just disappoints me because there was so much potential there for us to see another side of Hale and we just didn't.

You also said that Arisollia commanded that they call her Aris. Again, hearing this from her muzzle would be so much more effective as it would show off her character and gives a hint to her personality.

Instead of a time skip, which damaged the story more than helped, try to give us some character interactions in there. Show off Arisollia, Hale, Frost, and Gompers. give us a peek into their personalities from themselves. Play them off with Kadence or Pascall, show us the scene where Gothy and Hale say their tear-filled goodbyes. Build up to the Maze itself rather than going Leeroy Jenkins into it. Really I think you should rework this chapter a bit more.

You do have an interesting story developing here, I can see that. And I have a feeling that you are rather new to writing so I want to offer you as much help as I can. You have quite the imagination and I like that you deviate from the usual fantasy races and that you mix it up a bit. I can see glimpses of a unique and interesting world forming here and I want to help you achieve that in the best possible way. The only way to improve is to keep on writing and keep finding new ways to express yourself. Good luck and may the star smile upon you evermore. You do have a wonderful gift and I hope you keep working on it.

Keep it up and stay strong.

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A Different Kind Of War

I have to preface this by saying that I am not the biggest fan of romance. The genre can be appealing, but it, unfortunately, suffers from cliches that I cannot stand. I suppose I am of Morana's opinion when it comes to such genres. However, this story has managed to capture and hold my interest through and through. It is a story that starts good, gets better and by the time the last chapter hits, you begin to wish there was so much more. So, let's begin with the review.

First up, the criticism portion: there were a few misspelled words and some grammatical issues in the first few chapters. I have also noticed that at some points some words were repeated, which is a common mistake when uploading stories, so just look out for that. These mistakes were minute and they seemed to only become scarcer as the story progressed which is a great plus.

Now onto the praise and let me tell you, there is a whole lot to praise this beautiful story for.

One thing I really like about the plot is that you do treat like an actual war which is why I fell in love with it. The grueling battle between the princess in order to get to a higher status or simply to win the affection of a handsome prince is truly interesting to see. The cast system between different races adds another bonus element to the world we see and adds hints about the world in general which is amazing for a world building fanatic like myself.

The descriptive style is fully on display here, even more so than in your other novel. The amount of detail you put into describing every dress is incredible and it is even better when you place it in the context of the story, However, your strongest point was definitely the scene where Cael showed the winged horse to Liliya. I really felt her emotions at that moment and it just left me speechless. Truly you have a gift that you need to cherish and make it grow as you write more.

As for Liliya, I could not have asked for a better narrator. Seeing the way her mind works, how calculated and intelligent she truly is, just makes me like her, however, her bravery and resilience and her passion to save her kingdom makes me look at her in awe. She is truly an amazing creation.

As for other characters, Morana was awesome. I like the way her mind operates and how great of a strategist she truly is. She would be a most formidable foe and a most useful ally. Jelena is adorable, though I think she is unprepared for this kind of cutthroat competition. She still has too much of her innocence and I fear it may be taken away from her too quickly. Both princes seem interesting and yet I can't shake the feeling that there is something twisted in their design. Daneel seems a bit too aggressive and dominant, not to mention possessive, while Lian seems a bit too withdrawn. Which is interesting to see.

Mare really does terrify me and as a villain, she is very calculated. Someone like that should not be taken lightly.

Overall, I loved this. It is a fantastic read for all romance lovers and it is quite unique. I cant wait to see what else the author has in store.

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Are you truly happy?

Where do I even begin with this beautiful work? Seven chapters and I am already quite hooked. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest as I read and I really have to applaud you for that. So let's get the criticism out of the way first:

There were some spelling issues in the story which I believe could be cleared by a quick proofread. Recently, I have been using Grammarly as an extension to my chrome browser and it has helped me to clear out some of my own mistakes. It doesn't get rid of all of them, but it is a good tool to find misspellings quicker. +

And that's about it for the criticism portion because this story really has a lot of things going for it.

Firstly, the intrigue. Now, as I have mentioned in my comments, I love these types of plotlines. A beautiful, glimmering, radiant paradise, built upon corpses is one of my favorite subgenres of fiction and you have executed it marvelously thus far.

Secondly, your descriptive style. You have an amazing way of describing everything in such a dynamic and exciting way. I really felt like I was leaping across the rooftops with Luca, chasing down the Phantom and I could almost feel myself choking on the horrid smog that filled the streets. My heart was racing quickly during the action scenes and I could feel the oppressive aura of the black fog in the last paragraph of chapter 5. Truly it was an exhilarating experience.

Thirdly, your usage of the first person point of view was excellent for the story. It really added to it and I am glad you didn't use it as a cheap gimmick for the story.

And finally, the characters. I simply adore Hop and her interactions with Luca are absolutely adorable. They act like genuine friends and their antics provide a small moment of relief in a world as bleak as theirs. Felix was also an interesting addition, a mole that managed to slip under the vigilant eye of the Nox Knights, and Phantom was incredibly fun with her appearance. Her cocky attitude really reminds me of Ayla from my own stories which made me like her that much more.

Overall, I had a ton of fun reading these 7 chapters. I can't wait to see more of the story. Wonderful work!

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The Puwandese truly are he embodiment of the old saying "One man's trash is another man's teasure". These hulking war were a huge threat in Lux Locus, but seeing them here makes them even more terrifying. Their scrap metal ships truly can give even the humans a run for their money, because of the war hungry mentality they possess.

The fight between the two ships was truly exciting and it left me glued to my screen. The level of detail that author provides is breathtaking and you can see the two ships, clear as day, battling it out right in front of your eyes. And the ending of the chapter hit hard like a brick.

Marvelous work! Well done!

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