|Reviews for Court Spy|
| Lorki chapter 2 . 6/25/2008
I thought of the My Sherona song, when I heard her other friends name. Also I love Damae's name too. Once again I was a few little errors but most of them just looked like simple mistakes you can probably catch them if you read over the chapter, none of them take away from the story. I like where this is over, and Ela's way of playing with her slave-friends is amusing.
| Lorki chapter 1 . 6/25/2008
Well,” he says smiling, “I should not wonder if you are curious to why you are here.” He pours himself a cup of tea...
Missing a " Before the Well
Also theres a few paragraphs where I don't think they are meant to be... like in the middle of sentences. hehe, but thats all easy stuff to fix. All and all I think this is a very nice beginning. Have you read the Claudi series? The books are called 'Wolf Star and 'Wolf queen' and 'Wolf-something or another' This sort of reminds me of them.
I like the characters, i think it was a bit confusing how it went from her being a slave and misbehaving then went back to explain how she became a slave and then came back to her in present time. It didn't take away from the story at all but it may have seemed a bit unorganized. Overall good chapter, I wish my chapters had the length yours do!
-Lorki (Ps. please check out my story The Dog King.)
| Kyllorac chapter 3 . 3/14/2008
I'll be reviewing as I go, again, though this time I'll have some comments on the entire story thus far.
"from any sources he does not let on" You need a comma after sources.
"After all, what need have they of courtesy when they control the means of wealth." There should probably be a question mark instead of a period.
"deign to appear he makes" Need a comma after appear.
"will be what the norm" Omit the what.
"House., but, Dae says to me," A random period has popped in there. Also, you don't need a comma after the but.
"talk about, even" A period instead of a comma as they are two distinct thoughts.
"lands of the south their gossip will" Need a comma after south.
"Needless to say Dae has" Need a comma after say.
"leave him dangling" I would suggest omitting this part all together. It's a bit redundant.
"High Harbor Sherona" need a comma after Harbor.
"I muse on how much I have enjoyed myself immensely" A bit redundant as well. I suggest omitting either much or immensely.
"Sherona and Dae, on the other hand, suffered from seasickness for the first week of the voyage. However, I am a daughter of the ocean,and I love being on the sea more than being on land" 'On the other hand' and 'however' make this section a bit repetetive. I suggest modifying it to something like "For the first week, Sherona and Dae suffered from seasickness whereas I, as a daughter of the ocean, thrived. I love being on the sea." I would also suggest omitting 'more than being on land' as it is redundant.
"for one thing it brought memories" This should be the start of a new sentence. Also, you need a comma after thing.
"Ela the Illustrious Singer of Songs No Lady Should Know" What a title. XD The memory is cute, too.
"I think, and have given me a grudging liking" Omit the and.
"I come from one only salutes" Comma after from.
"When we board off two carriages await us." Not sure what you meant to say with this sentence.
"and to arrive at our inn" Omit the and.
"the sign on the door, boasts" Omit the comma.
"the Swooping Eagle’s Coronet" Parentheses or m-dashes would work better than commas here.
"My mother’s gold necklace still hangs as a bracelet upon my wrist" I thought it was a locket? (In my mind, lockets and necklaces are two very different things.)
"two room" Room should be rooms.
"waters flicker" Synonym confusion here. Water glimmers or shimmers. Flame flickers.
"Spying the steaming copper bathtubs" Are the bathtubs in the room? If so, you should have mentioned their presence in the room description.
"Soaking in the tub leisurely, I stepped out of the bath" You can't do both at the same time. Preceed the 'soaking' with an after.
"An indigo silk dress with a teal broad teal ribbon at the waist I already owned" Omit the 'teal broad teal ribbon at the waist' as it clouds the meaning of the sentence.
"the patrons of the establishment" 'Of the establishment' is redundant. Omit it.
I don't believe you drink vinaigrettes straight. They're usually used as a sauce or dressing.
"It is a habit of mine, cracking trite jokes when I am nervous." The phrasing is a bit odd for the type of setting this story takes place in. Cracking in the manner you used it is a very modern term and doesn't belong in a medieval/romantic type of setting, especially since you follow it with the word 'trite'. Also, "Making trite jokes when I am nervous is a habit of mine." flows a little bit better.
"plucking each string to see if it matched what it should" 'plucking each string to see if it is in tune' is much
more concise and gets the point across more effctively. It also describes his actions in music-related terms as befitting his occupation.
"What an odd think to note." A very awkward sentence. Think should probably be changed to thought.
"And Damae did look quite handsome in his gold doublet with gold and brown puffed short trousers complete with high white stockings and wide lace ruff, and the black mask which hung from his wrist, I figure, could do little to disguise his brilliantly green eyes." This sentence is overly long. I suggest dividing it up after 'ruff'. Also, instead of could, would is a better word choice.
"doubt the thought this" I think you meant for it to read 'doubt this thought".
"chandeliers polished and sparkling" 'polished to sparkling' would help prevent confusion since you follow this phrase with ands referring to the banners.
"A candle is lit to my right" Omit the is.
"Seeing Damae lower himself onto Sherona’s bed, gathering her in his arms and kissing her, I conclude that there could be no more auspicious time to ‘wake.’" Oh! How deliciously devious! X3 I do so love Ela's character.
"good rest and this pattern continues until the town bells ring for dawn." Separate into two sentences after 'rest' and omit the 'and'.
I feel that the summary and title combined spoiled much of the suspense and speculation about future events. Rather than a teaser, your current summary just tells us readers the plot straightforwardly which kind of circumvents the whole point of reading the story.
I would suggest modifying the summary to something along the lines of "For the past five years, Ela has been a slave to Princess Aerielle. However, all of this changes when she is given an opportunity to earn her freedom, but is it worth the complications that follow.?" This summary introduces you to the main character, tells us her status, and hints at the plot of the story rather than telling the reader outright, leaving more to be figured out by the reader as they go along.
Overall, while this type of plot has been done before, you've done quite well with the telling. It is nice to see a strong female narrator who isn't about to fall in love with every handsome man she sees. I also like Sherona's character. She is understandably bitter, though there is more to her than just that bitterness.
I'm curious to see what role Ardel will play in the future, if he returns at all.
| theflyingcrabsareeatingmyhair chapter 1 . 3/14/2008
First of all, I was reading the summaries of your stories on your profile, and I really have to applaud you on both them and your names. The former really piqued my interest in all your work; and the latter were incredibly creative.
However, as I read this piece, I had to keep myself from wincing from all the grammar mistakes! Is English a second language for you or something? Either way, if you edited this and still managed to miss all these errors, then you really ought to get a beta. No matter how good you might make a plot or how well you design your characters, if your sentences are this incoherent, you're going to have a tough time getting people to keep reading.
I would also like to note your gratuitous use of adverbs. There comes a time where you need to condense your descriptive language- sometimes, you need to say less to say more. You use so many words to say everything that I can barely understand you!
Not only do I have difficulty giving you a review on the content, I also feel that any attempt would be almost useless because fixing the grammar mistakes would probably cause you to edit the whole thing... I'll give you a little, though.
A lot of the notes I have to make here are just nitpicking, and as I'm not betareading here, I'm not going to go into all of those. However, I do think that your language is overly ornate. The whole piece sounds very pretentious. For one thing, a slave would *not* speak like this; for another, the way you've dressed up all of your sentences seems to have contributed to your bad grammar. It's better to speak plainly, but speak well, rather than be overly descriptive and ruin your piece because you didn't convey your meaning as clearly as you could have.
However, it is a good touch that you have the princess speaking this way. (It doesn't make sense to have Ela speak like that too).
Also, I can see (sort of) why giving Ela bad grammar would add to her image of being a slave. I wouldn't do that, personally, because it's easy to go over the line of character touches and stray into the realm of bad writing, but you might make it work if you really try.
It's a little inconsistent that you refer to the Princess at first as a sort of nameless monster, and then suddenly begin to call her by her name with no obvious warning. I liked the touch of making the Princess a creature not to be named unless absolutely necessary- naming her made the slave seem too close and personal with her. Also, the unnamed princess seemed much more oppressive.
However, I enjoyed the way you described the princess's attitude. You give her lots of character and make her easy to dislike- which makes it easy to sympathize with Ela.
Why was Ela so silly as to throw a glass bottle at her mistress? That just seems downright stupid on her part, and more than a little improbable. Why would she do that? She'd probably be killed!
I know a lot of people aren't fond of description, but I actually don't mind that too much. In fact, I enjoy the experience of seeing the character clearly in my mind, so I enjoyed the scene where Ela sees her room for the first time very much. I will say that you don't need to repeat yourself so much, or be so roundabout with your language.
Um...is there any other type of cloth besides cotton and silk? Either pick some different fabrics, like linen, or don't mention what every piece is made of. It's little redundant.
I think I've talked your ear off enough! I hope this was helpful...a lot of what I didn't like had to do with the way you wrote this, so I'm not sure whether you would notice the same errors I do.
| Kyllorac chapter 2 . 3/14/2008
I'll just be pointing things out as I see them.
"That is where you come in you and I will be sent to spy there…"
Run on sentence.
"and feed us fall information" Fall should be false.
"there is know way" Know should be no.
"you never ever ever forbade me" I would suggest getting rid of all the evers. It will flow better that way.
Ela's fainting seems a bit out of place to me. She hardly seems the type to faint nor the type to close her eyes in the face of a threat, considering her strong will.
"which she dabs none-too-gently on my dreadful wound" How can Sherona dab the wound if it as at the base of Ela's skull while she is lying down on her back?
"liftsthe" Missing a space.
"of my head off of the bump" It flows better without the second of.
"If I were ignoring him would I answer his ridiculous question." Need a comma after him and a question mark instead of a period.
"Of course I am ignoring him, he deserves it too" Colon instead of colon and you should have a comma before too.
"Unfortunately, I made an executive decision and I came to the conclusion" Omit unfortunately and the second I. He's a prince and in charge of the mission, so he need not apologize (or so one would think).
"If anyone asks me at this moment to swear on anything that the prince has lost his wits down the bathtub drain, I will gladly do so with an amazing lightness of conscious." Omit 'on anything'. Has should be had since the prince has already performed the action. 'An amazing lightness of conscious' sounds quite awkward. I would suggest coming up with a different way of phrasing it.
"counting to ten, to gain" No need for a comma here.
"flourishing temper" Flourishing is generally used to describe a living thing or idea that is growing nicely. It sounds a little strange using it to describe an emotion.
"in a somewhat strangled tone, “Your majesty," In a somewhat strangled tone, Ela did what? While it is obvious she starts speaking, there is no transition between her previous actions to her speaking.
"Well, twenty-three, but at least twenty, without a doubt." This should be divided into two separate sentences along the lines of 'Well, maybe twenty-three... Without a doubt, though, at least twenty.' Also, I would suggest putting these two sentences in parentheses to separate them from the rest of the story as they are more of an interjection than actual narration.
"down glance he agrees" Need a comma after glance.
"There are going to be a few ground rules…" I'm curious to find what those ground rules are.
| Kyllorac chapter 1 . 3/13/2008
I'll just be pointing things out as I go.
"I have discovered a person could become habituated to anything if it were forced upon them long enough." Have should be have.
"and scrubbing a hand through umber waves of hair" This sounds awkward. I would suggest using a word other than scrubbing since scrubbing usually denotes someone vigorously cleaning.
"awakened equally unceremoniously" Too many adverbs. Instead of equally, I would suggest simply using "as".
"These are the girls I have spent every day of my life with for the past five years since I had become a house-slave." You should probably rephrase this to make it rambling. Something like "I have spent every day of my life with these girls since becoming a house-slave five years ago."
"As far as I can see" Need a comma after see.
"we have but one advantage over the common kitchen slave" should be changed to "the only advantage we have over the common kitchen slave". The rest of the sentence is fine.
"Ever-prompt is Marsa." While this is grammatically correct, it feels a bit jarring to so suddenly change sentence structure with so short a sentence. Maybe incorporate it into the previous sentence?
"I stand up from my crouching position." "from my crouching postion" is not needed since you already told us she stood up.
"“Yes, Marsa?” I groan." It seems more logical that she would groan before standing. Also, since you have her comment grumpily on the time of day, you do not need "I groan."
"Seasons accursed time of the day." Omit the "of".
"Marsa’s pale blue eyes twinkle with the question." This is much longer than it needs to be. "...eyes twinkle questioningly" is much more concise.
"Oh no. They are usually so horrible. Usually? I stand corrected." Her monologue sounds awkward. I would suggest having Marissa saying "Usually?" to make it more natural-sounding.
"for a couple of more hours at least" Omit the of.
"The dresses were the Feast of a Thousand Nights" Missing a for.
"drunkards and sweethearts, and the biggest festival in the Kingdom of Hademer" You don't need a comma after sweethearts.
"It is the type of satin that if you were it you could easily slip down an expanse of well-polished marble floor." This sentence doesn't make sense. I think you're missing a few key words.
"Do you think that‘s why we feed in house you?" I think you mixed up a couple words in here.
I think I'd best stop with the review as I go. .
"of which I dqn" I think you meant to erase dqn.
The dialogue was smooth, for the most part. I like Elanora's character; from her actions and thoughts, I've gathered that she's a very determined and cautious young woman. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to future situations. In some areas (a few of which I pointed out), the writing was a little too flowery and/or wordy and caused a bit of confusion. Overall, though, this chapter was nicely written.
| A.S. Leer chapter 3 . 3/7/2008
Eventually, even I run out of things to say, so I will do my best in this chapter. (I must obey the rules!) This is an addictive story, although with this chap. it's sort of back to what I was saying with chap. 1- I'm not freaking to find out what will happen. Just wondering. And I think it's going to be nice to find out (but I'm stopping after this chap 'cause I'm tired).
Characters. Sublime. I would never keep reading if I didn't like them. Ela is funny, and seems sorta full of herself now that she's not just a normal servant. The Prince is just interesting and I'm waiting and waiting to learn more of him. *crosses fingers* Sherona… Wow. She seems bitchy if you ask me. Very bitchy.
Dialogue! *happy dance* This chapter's dialogue is amazing. Ela and Sherona and the talking about the masque that night, and then at the masque with the flirting guy and the talking to the prince after the flirting guy, and the… I'm finished with my run-on now. Your dialogue pleases me, because you are good at it. I don't see why you didn't use more of it in chapter 1. Oh well.
"Fair apparition". I like it- a lot. Mostly just because apparition is a great word that I would never think to use. I swear, normally I enjoy being made to run for a dictionary (or in any case, or the fictionpress dictionary), and you made me do that earlier. The l-word that you used in chapter one for how she stretched. So I love some of your word choices.
I will read more in the morning. When I'm awake.
| A.S. Leer chapter 2 . 3/7/2008
Ah. I like the way she thinks she's back with the maids, and almost panics at the beginning. Next I'm a huge fan of the way she messes with Marsa's head. I have always enjoyed when people joke around like that, even if it's a little mean.
Hooray for more dialogue this chapter! It makes me so happy! I just feel that dialogue always shows emotion and the like so much freaking better than narrative. Except in special cases, and I can't think of one off of the top.
Oww. All right, one thing I could never say to you is that your writing is gentle, and sweet, and needs more OOMPH. There's so far been the violence of how she was taken, the evil ways of the princess, and now the paragraph about Cessie and whipping and salt being rubbed in. Good God. But I love it. So far I haven't seen any sweet aspects- it's all… Not exactly violent, but violent-ish.
In one of your lines you say something that I think isn't necessary, because it's said before. (“How are you?” he inquires absentmindedly, but quite clearly he has other things on his mind.) I think maybe you should cut off everything after absentmindedly, or just remove the absentmindedly, and leave that comma you placed after it. If he's saying it absentmindedly, it becomes a little bit apparent that he has other things on his mind.
One other thing I officially like about Ela: Her apparent lack of an ability to keep a secret.
Interesting mission. I can't wait to see how it goes. (Though I should sleep, or work on my history project… Oh well.)
| A.S. Leer chapter 1 . 3/7/2008
I absolutely love how Ela's character is made so obvious from the first paragraph. And I particularly love a few paragraphs in, where she's talking about the dresses, and how horrible they're always been. She's so honest, even if she doesn't say it out loud (i.e. directly after the dresses, with how she's not going to verbalize that she'd prefer them to not feed and house her).
The writing is marvelous, without many mistakes that can't be explained away by a wrong movement of fingers. In the "Gingerly holding it up" paragraph, the last sentence should end with a '?'. And there are places that I think maybe you meant to have a semi-colon, and there is a comma. One of them is the "I vow to myself" paragraph. ; would fit well right here: "Perhaps it is foolish of me; actually, admittedly, it is foolish of me, but when that tiny thing inside me snapped the line between foolishness and intelligence was blurred beyond recognition."
Your style is… Not one of my favorites, I'll admit. But that's just because I prefer dialogue to anything else, and you have a fair bit of narrative. Not complaining, of course. It's just a preference… I'll admit I skimmed a little through some of the more descriptive paragraphs, and that was mostly the ones about Ela's new room. And one thing you have reminds me of what my Drama teacher tells us- "Marsa and I sprint"- that paragraph, near the end, when the princess says the duke is "horribly handsome". He says those are contradictory statements, such as, "You have a wonderful stench." Well, wonderful, is a good thing, but stench… So handsome, is a nice thing, and horribly… I know what you meant, though.
This chapter, at least, didn't have me excited and flipping out wondering what was going to happen. It did make me curious in regards to her future, and her past even more. So I really liked when she was dreaming. The insights made me see more of what your character was, and convinced me that maybe this was more interesting than it seemed to me at first (no offense meant.)
Your ending left me frustrated as hell. I want to know what happens! A good reason to keep reading though.
| clair-a-net chapter 6 . 11/25/2007
You must update soon. i have to find out what happens. and what did the prince have to say the was so important?
| blake chapter 5 . 11/25/2007
elixandra, i don't like so much, but your story is so great. update soon!
| blake chapter 4 . 11/25/2007
i really love the humor in your story. it keeps everything so lively!
| blake chapter 3 . 11/25/2007
oh, she burned 'em good. that ela's feisty!
| blake chapter 2 . 11/25/2007
...so the plot thickens!
| blake chapter 1 . 11/25/2007
wow, this story is so well-written! kudos.