jeidafei

Tokyo, Japan

I come from Thailand but I'm now working full-time in Tokyo, Japan! I'm a big fan of YA, high fantasy, and thieves! (especially when ALL are combined!).

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Good start!

Current position: Chapter 2
(SPOILER ALERT)

Interesting premise! Starting off with the present day and revealing the love interest has already died leave readers hooked to know what had happened. The narrating voice is also good; simple but poignant. Bite-sized chapters would be convenient for smartphone readers.

As the story is just beginning, I won't be able to conclude much yet, but personally I feel that the gist/events of the first two chapters should be rolled together into one prologue. as they both happened in the present (or near-present).

For example, the female lead could be visiting Braxton's grave together with Seram, her current boyfriend, and his family, (providing they know he's dead) and only leaving a rose for him behind everyone's backs. But if that's impossible plot-wise, then please ignore this comment.

And although I say short chapters are convenient, it could also be tantalizing as we wait for updates; chapters should be a little longer once we got into the main body of the story.

Other than that, I have no complaints. Looking forward to more!

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Great prose & style!

Oh wow...this is much darker than what I usually consume.
Detailed review:
- Your techniques for exposition are very neat and interesting! I love that you incorporate character descriptions seamlessly into your prose instead of describing it directly.
- The opening paragraph is awesome! It hooks me in right away. Short, darkly witty and poignant. Who'd think "helping with the family finances" means selling your virginity. /That escalated quickly...
- Your prose and grammar is almost perfect. With a few spelling errors which makes me wonder whether it's actually Hlynn or Hylnn, Lenoa or Leona (because both works as uber-cool names!).
- The first half of the first chapter has a different quality and writing style than the rest, in my opinion. I could sense multiple revisions and careful selection. It was beautiful. It was the same with my first fanfiction. So, it's a bit jarring when the style seems to change when Elena left the house.
- Names. I suspect "Seidon" might be short for "Poseidon" (if say his different-colored eyes foreshadows his merman descent), but if not, his name along with Mika's seem a bit out of place in the Victorian England setting. Considering everyone else has normal Western names.
- Elena's relationship with her friends. Seidon seems to be the most fleshed out already, while we barely know anything about Lucas and Mika. Will Seidon be an important character later? If no, then dedicating this much paper to him alone then having him just drop away in the background to be replaced with Mr. F***boy-merman is a little unbalanced, in my opinion.
- The trope of Brooding-supernatural- hot-f***boy-with-heart-of-gold is found a lot in romance, imo. It's not bad. But it will be a challenge to make him stand out from the crowd. And also...rape is bad. Kidnapping is bad. No matter how handsome the guy is. So it would be challenging to give Elena legitimate reasons to love this guy, if she ends up with him, that is!

That's it for now. Looking forward to the next chapter!! Please don't feel discouraged by the critique. I think you have done well overall and I see good potential!

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Good premise, but prose and structure needs an overhaul

Current position: Chapter 4

Usually I would read until the latest updated chapter before reviewing, but in this case I didn't, because I just couldn't finish it.
Here are my reasons:

1) The prose is terribly difficult. And weird at times.

Please remember that you are writing a contemporary Young Adult novel. Your main characters are teenagers who act like normal teenagers, and your target readers are teenagers, who might not even be native English speakers.

I've never seen vocabulary this difficult even in an encyclopedia or thesis, let alone in YA fiction, before, and I assure you I've read my fair share of YA. Even adult natives would find it taxing.

I actually just saw a comment from a non-native reader who said they have to consult a dictionary while reading because your vocabulary is so difficult and flowery.

This is not good!

Since it is a novel, readers should be able to focus and immerse themselves in your plot and characters, instead of being sidetracked by rifling through a dictionary every two sentences.

Simple vocabulary, simple descriptions, witty comparisons and similes invoke a clear picture in the readers' minds, much better than vague, flowery, sky-high words.

Also, some descriptions are flat-out spooky.
"Rotate one's neck/face/body", for instance, could be replaced with "turn" "whirl" "spin" "pirouette", take your pick! There are many simpler verbs that give a better picture.

I suggest selecting a YA Fantasy title set in a contemporary world (Harry Potter, for instance.) that you like for reference, and revising your prose to better resemble a book for young adults.

2) Continuity
There is no continuity of scenes, events and character development. Characters frequently announce they would do something (explore the Manor, do some sleuthing, etc.), then simply return to their rooms and roll about eating chips, or dress up for dinner.

Valuable page space that should be spent unraveling the mystery of the Apions are wasted on banter between the children, making the story incredibly slow and confusing.

Consider the horse-riding scene, in which nothing happens at all, except for some back-and-forth between Lele and Atticus, and Atticus being protective of Lele from Hunter. What about exploring the Forest? You seemed like you wanted a look? You're going back to the Manor just like that? Aw nooooo! Come on!

Don't get me wrong; it's not that character development and dialogue isn't good, but when done well, plot progression AND banter could go together in one scene.

Much of my critique is because I actually see potential and freshness in the premise of the story, that's why I would hate such a great, intriguing plot to be bogged down by clunky prose and confusing structure, and for the ceiling-high vocab to spook readers away. I would understand if this review is scathing, angering and frustrating for you, but I really wish to see this story shine. Please keep up the good work.

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You dream, you die

Current position: Chapter 2

Plot & Structure: First impression? The Matrix meets Divergent. Two chapters in and I'm already raring for more. With all the tropes of a Dystopian/Sci-fi, but kept interesting by a unique premise and right balance of mystery and foreshadow Vs revelation.

However, I already know, like Jen knows, that she will fail the Test but survive. After this, I expect she will either escape/get banished, meet the outcasts, go on to expose the truth behind the apocalypse, and join a rebellion of Millennials vs Boomers, yet the mystery keeps me reading on. For now.

So, my only critique is though the mystery behind Kalderon will hook readers in at the start, most elements are reminiscent of well-known dystopians (authoritarian government that exploit apocalypse to usurp power, class segregation, a system for weeding out potential rebels, Soma-like suspicious drug, etc.). It will be a challenge to deliver a plot that is not easily predictable, and stands out from all those too-famous dystopians.

Prose & Style: The story is fast-paced, and dives in to the action right away, but readers will bond with the heroine quickly, thanks to simple yet beautiful and vivid descriptions, and a compelling narrating "voice", which is vital for a first-person POV. I can really feel Jen's fear, and at one point, the prose draws me in so completely I forgot it was (SPOILER ALERT)...Jen's dream.

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Madam Austen, is this you?

(Current position: Chapter 2)
I have almost no complaints apart from a few typos, and archaic vocabulary that would hinder smooth reading at times. Your prose and style reads as if you're channelling Jane Austen! Dialogue is witty and fits the characters, setting and times well, character descriptions are simple yet give a clear picture for stereotypical supporting characters, and more detailed for main characters.

The story is fast-paced, with most vital info efficiently revealed within the first two chapters. The introduction of Caroline and the Earl are smartly done, and the events leading up to their meeting are natural, logical and in-character (Caroline's tendency to wander off alone stemming from her country upraising and naivety, etc.), nothing contrived or convoluted as in many romance stories.

I also feel the chemistry between the two characters right away as they banter. So it does make me wonder how come the Earl fell for Miss Winscott at first sight; he seems to be a very picky man who hates shallowness. Another point I'd like to confirm is...how old is the Earl? You described that he's a Young Gentleman. In Pride and Prejudice, I remember Mr. Darcy is much older than Elizabeth (who's around 17?), right? But he treats her as an adult anyway. So the Earl calling Caroline "brat" seems weird (and Caroline seems fine with it!?).

That's all for now. Overall, this story looks very promising! I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

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