|Reviews for To Sleep Perchance to Dream|
| lookingwest chapter 4 . 2/12/2013
Ending - The mention of something "unnatural" makes me wonder if there is indeed any sort of magic in this world that might be at work. We get the mention of old witches, I think, in the prior chapter, but it does make me curious. I'm also curious about the Queen mentioning she was ill before she even took the drink. I'm suspicious that maybe there is something else going on, and I think that suspicion is a good think. I also like how in this ending the little girl in the yard shies away from Bryn - it shows her turning point, I think, that she's turning evil.
Setting - Pertaining to what I've read so far - the setting in this story is well done. I think there was more care to the setting in the last chapter, though, with this one focusing more on characters and the sickness. I like that we get to go to the different places on the castle's grounds, like the stables and the kitchens, etc. but maybe a little more as far as sensory description would've been nice in some places. A little more grounding in where they actually are in the end scene with the outbuildings would be cool - I get the moment when Aurorette is in the front entryway but I don't think I made the connection of who exactly they were visiting - Meg's family?
Dialogue - Once again, I enjoyed the dialogue work you do here. It's formal in an old fashioned way that works really well for your time period. I also enjoy the Queen's dialogue, and her little speech when she finds out that Meg is dead. I wonder though if it's a little too unrealistic that she would be around the kitchens? It kind of makes me think of Downton Abby and the barrier between the servants and the upper class - and how scandalous it might be if someone from the upper came into the lower circle, even if for a moment. Maybe one of the characters could tell her to get out of there and she would insist that she wanted to stay and know what happened. Something like that. But anyway - I did like the dialogue where she shows concern for Meg though, because that just does more to characterize her as a loving/kind queen.
Characters - We haven't seen much of Fred in awhile, not since the first two chapters, and I'm wondering if we'll see him soon here. It makes sense though, since he's probably frustrated with Bryn and we're very much getting a woman's sphere in these chapters with the Queen and her handmaid. I'm just interested to see what will happen now in the next chapter when he finds out about this sickness. It also makes me wonder if he'll be suspicious of Bryn at all - I'm guessing not, if he marries here. But still, ha. Anyway - onward!
| lookingwest chapter 3 . 2/12/2013
The kitchen maids all busy with their preparations The stable boys... - typo, period
Relationships - I like how you characterized both Bryn and Aurorette as both formal and informal. You did a good job also painting Aurorette as a kind queen and person, and that makes the entire death more chilling. It goes with the normal fairy tale motif, but I like how you set it up here. It seemed to ease into the story really well, and there wasn't anything I found unbelievable about the way they treated one another - especially Bryn. I also like how you have Bryn doubting herself after their exchange, I thought that was another realistic moment for their relationship.
Character - I like that Bryn is taking charge of her own life - but of course, she's the villain, and the fact she's so ruled by a man is annoying (in the best of ways because again - she's the villain). I think you make her reasons for killing the queen apparent, and I like how you had her visualizing Fred during her moment of doubt - that really shows that he's her center and everything that makes her tick. I'm interested to see how she goes from being a handmaid to the king's wife, though, so that progress should be an interesting one after Aurorette's death.
Writing - You're doing a good job balancing dialogue and writing as far as seeming convincingly period. This is the type of setting I could never write in my life (most of the reasons I stay "modern" even when not sensical), and I really appreciated the little nods to the castle setting, the king's forest, and the language that you bring to their daily lives. The writing is also smooth and well done, nothing too jarring. It's a very traditional way to tell a story but the images are very clear (the mark of a poet, I think).
Enjoyment - After not reading this story for awhile, I'm glad to get back into it and read further, and I liked what I read in this chapter. I wasn't sure I was going to do the Depth thread, but I just started reading leisurely and got into this - I'm looking forward to more. I also enjoyed the description of the poison and how Bryn heaped so much of it for her plan. Getting a little background there was also good. Enjoying the development so far of the plot and characters.
| Henry Palmetto chapter 2 . 2/11/2013
This is actually an extension/rerevision of your Prologue:
You have some very fine imagery in your opening paragraph: the "snake-like" ranks of soldiers; the lengthy descriptions of cooking and food preparation; all of these details make for a very visceral experience and allow the reader to be at once admitted into your world.
Opening with the character of the messenger doesn't ispire much drama; I would suggest that you give the reader the princess in the first paragraph: this way, the reader will know that it is this character who carries the emphasis and not the messenger. And speaking of the messenger, you might consider giving the message in this prologue, as a means of heightening tension and drama-there does not appear to be too much urgency in the way that the messenger is received: "hours ago", which I think slows down the pacing of this opening prologue.
Concerning names, you might consider giving the characters purely fantastic names instead of Germanic ones. These inspire many Wagnerian/Nordic connotations that may bring the reader out of the fantasy of your atmosphere and into reality.
The phrase "a few short months" sounds awkward; consider revising it. What's more, starting your story after the messenger has arrived and several months after the child has been born doesn't seem to make much sense. Instead of starting your story after these events have happened, why not start just before, or just after, as a way of heightening urgency? Maybe start with Brynhild's birth scene or with the scene of the king receiving the messenger.
And speaking of scenes, there is a bit of a lack of scene in this prologue. Plenty of details and events, but nothing really enfleshed notwithstanding coddling the young infant, which doesn't appear to be a terribly important scene. I think it would be of benefit to your story to play out a scene you only really foreshadow here: the messenger delivering his news to King Frederick. Giving your reader this scene will enable you to establish tension with whatever the message is, and also enable you to characterise Frederick who, being king, seems already to have a large role in this story.
Nicely laid out and good luck with your future revisions.
| professional griefer chapter 9 . 2/10/2013
I saw quite a few typos in this. Just letting you know.
Okay, I loved Brynhild in this chapter. You show her going off the edge really well, the way she dealt with the children was really entertaining and generally terrifying. I was actually kind of freaked out, reading it. So I definitely thought you handled her really well this chap.
I also liked how you dealt with the castle being struck by the sickness, you showed the emptiness of the castle and the growing lack of hope in Patrice really well. It was definitely kind of eerie.
So, I'm really looking forward to seeing how this is like Sleeping Beauty. I think I'm starting to see it, and I'm definitely excited to see it come full circle.
(Also, is it bad that I only just realized that Aurorette is Aurora?)
I think I was too harsh on this before. I'm really enjoying it now.
| Adrenalin chapter 5 . 2/10/2013
I liked how Brynhild started worrying about what could happen to the pitcher. I'm not surprised she thought of Frederick, but that she also included Aurelia and especially Oren in her worries kinda amazed me. I thought she wouldn't spare the last thought for Oren.
I am especially fond of that peeping tom scene. First of all, I think it serves Brynhild right, because, let's be honest, she's an awful person and she does deserve the pain. I was also glad to see the relationship between Frederick and Aurorette, and I felt sad that she was going to die after knowing they have such a relationship in the first place. I also felt it was a great way to add to Brynhild's motivations for what she does, and that it helps to break her sanity a little further.
| Adrenalin chapter 4 . 2/10/2013
I don't like the way Aurorette is addressed as just 'Lady', it sounds strange to me. 'My Lady' or 'Lady Aurorette' would be better I think.
Again, I really enjoyed seeing Oren so spoiled and so mean to Brynhild. I'm a bit surprised he hates her so much, though I guess kids sense when you don't like them. I also liked how he went to his mother for support but ended up obeying her rather quickly (ok, reluctantly, but still, he obeyed), which sort of shows that Brynhild's hate is rather irrational.
I'm not sure about the size of the castle and its population, but I still feel a bit strange seeing the Queen enter the kitchen... As close as she might be to her people and her servants, I wonder if she'd really have the time to be wandering there when there are probably kingdomy things to do?
| Adrenalin chapter 3 . 2/10/2013
[When she was seated and it was unkempt it fell all the way to the floor, which was a custom of royalty amongst her own people.]
I suppose the custom was that royalty never cut their hair? It's not very clear from the way you phrased it.
[Here is your book of poems, Lady, and I shall have one of the kitchen maids bring up more mead, would there be anything else before I see to my other duties.]
I feel there are too many commas here. Breaking it in two separate sentences would be easier I think.
I liked the way Aurorette tried to bond with Brynhild, though I feel it's strange that she would mention that just now after at least four years frequenting her...
I also think that part would have benefited from a more detailed description of Brynhild's unease and maybe jealousy. We only realize she's nervous when you tell us so at the end of the scene.
I feel that this chapter is, overall, a little fast-paced. In my opinion, it would be better if the pace was slowed down a bit, and an extra scene added between the queen's bedchambers and the part where Brynhild's getting the plant, or maybe just more of a view into her mind.
| Adrenalin chapter 2 . 2/10/2013
I read the whole story, so my reviews will be taking into account the events about to come as well as those occuring in each chapter.
First, I didn't really like the beginning of this chapter and the lengthy toast. It feels a bit like infodumping... Can't Lord Guerin just toast to their victory? Maybe the fact that it was against Igor the Great can be discussed after, during a normal conversation?
Oren makes a very convincing spoiled child. Can't help but feel sorry for him re-reading this chapter, in light of what happens to him afterwards. Anyway, I can understand Brynhild's annoyance with him.
Just a remark:
[harsh sound of the child's snores]
I know Brynhild really don't like Oren, but still, I doubt child's snores could be considered harsh in any way.
I also liked how you portrayed the relationship between Frederick and Brynhild, and his rejection of her. I feel that Brynhild gives up too quickly at the end though, and choses the desperate mesure a little too easily. There's not enough clues about her mental state yet for the reader to understand why she does it. Maybe if you explained in this chapter how she anticipated the King's return, and how he rejected her last time, that she's anxious because she knows it's her last hope... Things like that.
| C.S. Blue chapter 2 . 2/10/2013
Review for prologue and chapter one.
All though I can tell this is probably not my kind of book, I don't think it's that bad. I like the way you describe every scene and situation until the reader has a fully detailed mental image of the story. Top marks for writing style.
But it also feels a little heavy, like a proper plough-througher. And the plot seems slightly predictable, all though I've only read up to here, so that mite change.
All the best
| Adrenalin chapter 1 . 2/10/2013
First of all, I love fairy tales retellings, so I'm very interested in seeing what your take on Sleeping Beauty is gonna be.
I really like the way you described the settings and slowly moved to Brynhild. Though the prologue is so short, you managed to convey both the bustling activity of the castle and the separate bubble of calm and quietness in which Brynhild and the princess stand.
[But the first barely visible lights of King Frederick's entourage were only just marking the horizon as the King and his triumphant soldiers approached the kingdom.]
This sentence felt a bit too long and wordy for me, especially the beginning of it. But hey, that's nitpicking.
Seeing as how you describe Brynhild as ready for anything to gain the King's love, her description surprises. Though you paint her as an efficient servant and affectionate towards the princess, I can't help but worry about her actions in the future.
| Jalux chapter 1 . 2/9/2013
I liked the description of your all the activities people did because I thought the way you described it really got the meaning through. Things like 'so that once crushed under foot the scent would waft up at the King's guests' and 'onions in the garden were as big as her closed fist' went a long way in helping in reader envision your world. The prologue was short but a good hook. It makes you want to continue.
One thing I felt was a little off was the dialogue.
- "My sweet one," she began to rock the bassinet, "My sweet darling… " felt a little off.
- Perhaps just "My sweet," she began to rock the bassinet "My sweet darling… "
But just a nitpick, in general it's fine.
Excellent start, I'll be reading this.
| lackadaisicality chapter 1 . 2/9/2013
I love the description and the way the writing flows in your prologue, and I think it provides a nice introduction into what seems to be an intriguing story. The one thing I would do to improve it would be to read your sentences out loud at various stages, as some are quite long and clunky-sounding.
For [the messenger arrived hours ago] it should be [the messenger had arrived hours ago]. Little corrections like that can really improve how your story flows. Good luck!
| Henry Palmetto chapter 1 . 2/9/2013
This is quite a detailed and dynamic opening for a novel-I think the slowness of the beginning and the inclusion of all the details (particularly the third paragraph in which is described all the elements of cooking) do well in building a slow-moving drama towards teh introduction of Brynhild's child. What I might suggest, however, is to introduce the child in your first sentence and then retreat into the details from there. As it stands, the messenger has little to do with the opening action; you might save this character for your last paragraph so that the reader will be curious as to his purpose and will want to read on. Concerning the name Brynhild, I might advise you to go with a more general name; there are simply too many Wagnerian/Norse/Germanic connotations associated with it for your character to gain much autonomy-the same could be said of King Frederick, who instantaneously brings to mind that renowned German ruler. One must, I have found, be extremely careful in choosing names; you have to find one that not only fits the character's personality, but also won't be misconstrued by the reader. Being that this appears to be the opening to a medieval fantasy series, there are several works I can recommend you so that you may see how you may differentiate your opening from others: Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule" begins with an ominous, biting plant-not exactly your typical fantasy image! The late Robert Jordan's "Eye of the World" starts you out in the bloody chambers of a king's post-madness; a very dramatic scene which quickly fades into a more prosaic setting of farmland and so on. Also, to learn how to grip your reader's attention within the first paragrah or page, I would suggest that you turn to short stories, where one can really learn the craft of writing. Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" ranks as my favourite short story, followed closely by James Joyce's "Araby." I do hope some of these suggestions have helped. Good luck on your future writings and feel free to email me concerning any questions or comments you may have. Cheers!
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 14 . 11/6/2012
I feel really bad for asking this, and I know it's not any fault to you it's just what happens when I read a story over such a long course of time, but are Aurelia and Oren really blood related? I only ask because near the beginning I feel like there is some strange relationship going on between them, of which even Aurelia seems to notice and mentions. Maybe something incestuous (or something leading up to that possibility). I just can't remember if the two of them are blood related or not. Either way, even if they are, I think that would be an incredibly interesting spin on the tale if the Prince ended up being her brother who kissed her and woke her up.
Again, I like how you address the passing of time, this time by using the seasons. I'm also glad you went into detail about the livestock they have in the castle, because I was beginning to wonder where they were getting their food from and how they were surviving up there all alone on the mountain - which, from what I've seen in this chapter (especially with the mention of the wolves) living up there isn't exactly the best place to be. Sounds rather ominous and dangerous.
I really like how this chapter ties into the first part of this story. Once again, it really serves to show how long it's been since Brynhild went crazy and poisoned everyone. And I'm also excited to see the allusion to Sleeping Beauty; I'm wondering where you'll end up taking this and how you'll make it different from the previous versions floating around out in the world.
One last minor thing: I really liked that detail of the wolves' claws scratching along the entrance to the castle. It was very creepy and got across the foreboding tone of winter and desolation.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 13 . 11/6/2012
I like how you handled the passing of time. It wasn't too lengthy, and you just came out and said it. Sometimes I think people put way too much effort in dealing with their time shifts, but you didn't. You also added subtle hints that a lot of time has passed, like Brynhild's graying hair and how much older the children are, now.
I also like how you kept Oren's character very consistent from how he was like in the past. He used to be such a brat, and even now he's still a liar. At first I felt kind of sorry for him when Brynhild just went loose on him and started insulting him, but then I saw the way he reacted when she brought up the spoiled meat... and I didn't feel very sorry for him anymore, haha. I think that was a great detail to insert at that moment to make the reader unsure whether to sympathize with him or not. Though, I'll be honest, from what I know of Brynhild, part of me wonders if she was just making that whole thing up (about how Oren found the animal already dead before bringing it home).
Brynhild telling Aurelia the story of her father and what happened to their kingdom was quite interesting, considering I know what really happened. I was curious to see how she'd cover it up, and it seems Brynhild is clever as ever. I wonder if the children will ever discover the truth.