|Reviews for Dead Craft|
| Sjoorm chapter 1 . 2/9/2016
This reads oddly to me, there is so much back story I am obviously not privy to in the first chapter. But besides that, the narrators grammar itself is odd, I find myself correcting or coming to full stops as I read and it really takes away the "bang" of the story you're telling, so to speak.
Things like "they catch me shaped fox" (literally the first sentence) or "my cut cheek scrapes with dirt" and "constricting by the weight" basically scream out to me in my mind. It did end up detracting from the overall story for me, as these are not the only sentences I can see that are like this. Is your main character uneducated, is that why he narrates in this way? It's really the only viable explanation I can see to forego proper grammar, though if that doesn't matter to the overall plot I would seriously consider editing those grammatical errors.
I think the thing I liked most was the dominance they clearly asserted over him with the placing of that ring on his finger (some sort of talisman I'm assuming), and how our MC detaches himself completely from the situation, even while they insult him with vile names. It's really disheartening to have this happen to our MC so soon, and I hope it creates an undertone that carries throughout the rest of this story.
Is his totem a symbol of his power?
| Solemn Coyote chapter 1 . 12/24/2015
Alright, here with a Review Game Review (tm). These are a little outside the way I normally give feedback, so my apologies in advance if I sound stilted.
Oof, that first line. I get that it's establishing the way your narration works, but it's almost too much at once. Changing "shaped fox" to "fox-shaped" would smooth it out.
Hell of an intro, though. It's potent with emotion, with implied culture, with a kind of narrative charge that makes it compulsively readable. It's strongly flavored, and like anything strongly flavored can be overwhelming if the reader's not used to or prepared for it. I think I'd like to see a counter-perspective, a human instead of a shifter who thinks more rationally/narrates more normally, as a palette cleanser to Kit's first-person view.
"The feeling of its shy just a hint" should be "The feeling of it's shy just a hint".
Magnificent line to close on. In fact, if you don't mind reworking a few things, I think it would be worth trying to open the book with it too. It's stronger than your current intro, and echoing it back again at the end of the first chapter would just anchor in the themes and emotions it's pulling up.
As far as culture and worldbuilding go, I don't have much to say other than that this seems to be consistent with the creatures and cultures in your other projects. I'd like to get a clearer look at them through some simpler narration, since sometimes it feels like the content of your writing is hidden behind this wall of impressionism and beautiful turns of phrase. Witches and shifters and vampires are a consistent motif, as is people not understanding each other, intolerance, and discovering what it means to be someone else.
I don't know that I necessarily have the time for it, but I'd love to read more of this. I might criticize the way your narration is worded, but I'll definitely say this for it: it makes me curious to know more about the setting.
| InkWellWisher chapter 18 . 8/26/2015
Great physical description of Jude in this chapter, his real appearance no longer a ghost, but also no longer covered in filth—also reinforced by Charlotte’s comments about him “cleaning up good”. This implies a significance in how he represents himself, and a new sense of open vulnerability/honesty—since he’s no longer relying on a representation of himself that Char can recognize. It also reveals a valuable concession by Charlotte: he may be dead, but his intentions are better than previously expected.
There are some more fantastic passages here, of course, like:
“His skin’s gone tricky like the moon.”
“My boots crunch gravel. I pause. Too close, maybe. Edge in the purples.” –Very Margaret Atwood.
“Behind him, the outline of the Hills stalks. Both of us washed out in an inky blue pre-dawn while we stay close, tangled up in our stares one too many moments.”
Great use of patterning character action while using flames, embers, ashes on the cigarette, they are great indicators/amplifiers for Charlotte and Jude’s emotional states. It also ties back into the earlier descriptive language—the flakey wood ash veins around Jude’s eyes. These devices, along with the rhythm of the dialogue, structure the emotional turmoil Charlotte and Jude are both experiencing, intertwined with the overbearing presence of Jude’s unruly magic.
The tuning gets a little redundant in this chapter, maybe make sure to hold it back a bit more since we are more familiar with the language Charlotte uses when feeling after Jude’s magic. It’s beautiful, of course, but just a little much.
| InkWellWisher chapter 17 . 8/25/2015
This is a very progressive chapter, in terms of keeping the engine of the plot moving at a time where it is easy to get lost or stagnant.
Beginning—I am a little lost about Charlotte’s question “Do you know what looking glass looks like?” I think this is the first time in the story we’re hearing about it, unless Jude has mentioned it before, and I simply can’t remember—but I swear there was a reference on my first read through. Regardless, I am just not sure if it is intentional—as there was no discussion about what Jude needs from the witches. Despite this gap of time, information, we can still infer what took place. We also can assume that it’s daylight, since Jude is not with them.
“I yank at it in silent angrily frustration (typo: angry frustration?), then fuming, I whip around to scold—catching on his smile. It suits him. Not hungry and edged like the prince’s grins, but like a mischievous dog—I discover the fox in him too late.”
I love the whole passage, but that last line in particular is excellent, a great development in Achitophel’s underlying cunning and for once, a backbone. It works well with the foreshadowing from the introduction. Charlotte’s character is always quick to dismiss Kit as a runaway coward, something pathetic and pitiful, and to see him do that makes us more aware of the changes that will be coming (but of course, we also know a strategist will do anything in their own best interest).
Next, we encounter something else—witches are not just witches—they’ve become boys, nearly children (Char already identified children as being under 13, she also ventures into more adult themes around that same age). She feels morally compromised and resorts to calling them Bad Guy 1 and Bad Guy 2. They humanize themselves in their actions , they have identities and she’s finding it almost impossible to justify her feelings or actions. This train of thought continues into chapter 18, along with the questions surrounding Jude’s death, and why the boys were there to begin with.
There also these lovely little snippets of information, such as the photographs of who we assume is Jude’s mother, before and after ritual/marriage. We can surmise the reason for the presence of witch braids behind their ears, and why Jude’s is so much longer than the others Charlotte has seen. The colored thread/embroidery floss—not sure of the exact meaning for this detail, but in a world covered in garbage and bone dust and rot, the colors really sing something beautiful and reinforces the language of spells/magic.
Also—we get a little Peter Pan in this chapter, with the lost boys once led by a boy who now will never grow up. Leans a little saccharine, but sincere, kind of like that jar of honey Achitophel found.
| InkWellWisher chapter 16 . 8/25/2015
We start off this chapter beautifully: “Dad used to say that any god’s just a means of coping with The End of All Ends. Your Horizon Line. Where beyond it, you’re turned into nobody’s nothing and don’t know it because you’re no longer you…” This opening paragraph is stunning and gives Charlotte a lovely sense of self-awareness in her own reactions, behavior. I think I already mentioned in a previous review about how a character deals with “coincidence” and/or “chaos” is a reflection of how they see the world—Char is a solid, consistent character, a stepping stone from the difficulty I had in the previous chapter.
It happens again, later in the chapter. “So I wait. Hating how he was right. Because I don’t believe him. Because I can’t. Not about any of it. Not able the caches or the notes. Not about the sigils breaking by some stupid chance. Fate. Bad luck….”
Tension builds up wonderfully, and I like I said before, I enjoy that that Jude is not precious—he can even take the brunt of Charlotte’s violence. Carries along that theme of switch-blade crossed lovers you often have in prose, Nancy punching Sid in the face when he leans in for a kiss.
In the previous rewrite, I had a hard time connecting to Char’s sense of loss, it had felt too distant. So far in this version, you’ve successfully remedied that estranged sense of loss not only in Char’s relationship with Patrice, but also in her connection to the humans hiding in the mains.
“There were two-hundred and sixteen of us,” I say. “Twenty-one children under the age of thirteen. Leave. Fine. Were? Roam the Hills? Get picked off by the bad—by your kind and his? We stayed—“ My voice strains and I blink, letting the wave of emotion pass. “We stayed because we had to stay.”
Despite the listing of numbers, which would normally dehumanize the dead, Charlotte’s voice shows us the emotional loss. She’s already listed names of the dead. It feels personal and accountable.
Jude’s confession is great, I like the set up just before, explaining the difference in the spoken and non-spoken voice. This would help to alleviate any confusions other readers might have about the function of the writing. It does not feel overly prescriptive, either.
One thing I haven’t touched on yet is the now reoccurring theme of traps—traps which Kit engineers himself into, and traps Charlotte now admits to herself. They are self-saboteurs, as if stemming from a deeply rooted fear of survival; given the nature of this world, death sounds like a better deal, but it also portrays the paradox of their situation.
| InkWellWisher chapter 15 . 8/25/2015
I’m going to keep this review light so I can keep moving through the rest of this. For some reason, it feels difficult for me to get through this chapter, and I can’t tell if it’s me or if it is something in the story. If it is something about this chapter, I’d like to pinpoint it. So many of the previous chapters had established a strong rhythm between plot and character that I feel a little lost without the more overt presence of literary devices. They are there, but perhaps they need a different emphasis or structure, because I don’t get to really feel the tension until the end of the chapter—but perhaps we can attribute this to Achitophel’s experience. Maybe I just need to reflect on this chapter a bit more.
That being said, this is still a great action chapter with a lot of effective descriptions going on, and great character interactions.
…arms up like crossbones hiding his grimace. –I’ve never heard that one before, brilliant.
But the third is drug screaming off me by the prince….
“He’s—goddamn—drinking from them—again,” she gulps, breathless.
Good dark humor here, I think I remember laughing a bit during my first read through. A few paragraphs down, the humor dissolves and sets up an emotionally tense scene between Jude and Char, just before we jump to her perspective again. Good set up, but this chapter pales a compared to Jude’s earlier interactions with Kit and Charlotte.
I'll PM you if I figure out what it is about this chapter...
| InkWellWisher chapter 14 . 8/15/2015
Wow. This dream is still completely horrific, even though this is my second read through—and it melts seamlessly into a bewildered wakefulness. There is just enough detail provided between the restless sleeping and the nightmare that it disrupts our expectations while simultaneously fulfilling our suspicions in the highly psychological dream. And the moment Kit gets his bearings, there is a living nightmare on the edge of his periphery.
Really great descriptions of the vampires, we can finally see them (or at least just one). Previous chapters, we were given barely anything beyond a glimpse or a gesture of the vampires—which works, since their flighty, erratic movements are best depicted in the absence of prolonged physical description while emphasizing how they move, how they sound, and lack of autonomy, which is more authentic to a survivor’s experience. Now we finally have both, with moments like “a giant black stain,”, “Humanoid thing with wide lidless eyes”, and “pedals on all fours”. It really sells Kit’s visually impaired human form, and once again, carries along that same sense of continuity and authenticity with the character. The description of the first vampire stalking Kit, however, has brought attention to the fact that it also seems to move differently than most vampires, something more naturally predatory.
I love the new details we are getting braided into the narrative during this chapter, details that either inform plot or character, such as the inclusion of Ruth and her symbolic significance in the dreams, or the memories leached out of Jude (especially since Jude’s POV is used so sparingly here, we have to rely on the reflections portrayed in Char and Kit). The “tuning” is becoming more emphasized, Jude’s connection with Kit and Charlotte is continuing to break down barriers of the “self” within the characters.
This line is everything for me in this chapter:
“I looked the direction he looked, can smell her blood—I can feel the sliver of something that’s been stuck in his heart since this very sighting, this memory he can’t quite remember—this memory he might lose entirely like the street signs. His father.”
Though I can’t quite put it to words, it makes sense in my head. Love it.
Another powerful line, “ ‘No—far, far beyond that—you’ll finally recall why you value your life!” –Love this kind “tough love” quote, melodramatic but with a different aftertaste, coming from someone who is no longer among the living. Really unexpected for Jude.
One typo—I think it’s paragraph 11, “hoping” should be “hopping”. Not sure if someone got that already.
| InkWellWisher chapter 13 . 8/12/2015
Kit is now drifting into memories, he is wandering out of the now and into the past for the first time in the story. He has entered the abandoned witch ghettos, sealed against the undead (supposedly), exploring the rather amorphous and dream-like streets and rooms and cabinets of a former life haunted with the familiarity of his own culture. This is a chapter in which Kit visits his subconscious, a part sealed away by the desperation of his “escapist” form.
One of the best parts of the story so far is Kit finding that jar of honeycomb. “The sweetness dredges childhood memories of my second mother….” Awesome paragraph. We’ve been starved of Achitophel’s past thus far, and we are savoring this with him. There’s something quite beautiful about his reaction—wanting more but immediately sealing it back up while the aftertaste overpowers him—a metaphor for compartmentalizing his emotions in order to survive. Also, great use of a natural food with an extremely long chemical integrity, a detail both credible and poetically loaded. This act of consuming and recalling memory is a reoccurring theme in a world stripped of easily available food and emotional refuge.
Compared to the previous revisions, it has become more increasingly aware to the reader that kind of madness Achitophel is experiencing under the limitations of the rune ring. In HTD, Kit references the fate of other shapers with a curse ring ( or maybe it was Bardolf?), but rarely to we see the danger he is in for simply just being bound to one form, since we are ultimately focused on the fact he can no longer escape into a safer animal form. By having his animal instinct take over, he has even less control and autonomy over his human form.
A GREAT chapter for Achitophel’s character development, and it allows for us to connect him to a phantom part of the plot we actually did not see, a part essential to Kit and Jude’s influence on one another. Fantastic layering, and perfect amount of information, nothing feels frivolous.
| InkWellWisher chapter 12 . 8/12/2015
Again, I’m really digging the upbeat Achitophel, with his brisk, shorter sentences—it more accurately portrays the desperation of the character by setting us into a rhythm where you can slip in little surprises without always creating a drawn out, melodramatic moment. You build up tension in a very different way in this chapter as Jude hunts down Kit, then let it decompress in a natural way as they unfold into a conversation, which once again, alludes to the fact that they know more than each other really expects them to, further intertwining their fates in the narrative. This is a testament to your understanding of your own characters.
I know that you’ve gotten some flack for being redundant with some of your verb use and other repeated words, but I see it not only as a part of your style as a writer, but also as a specific writing device stemming from your understanding of poetry and character. These words are not a stylistic flourish. They represent the character’s experience, and if certain verbs are repeated, I attribute it to the narrator’s characterization. Certain characters emphasize or recycle certain words because those are the ones that resonate with them the most, and when repeated words occur throughout the two—three narrators, they are usually specific to the description and actions of a particular character.
Example: moon, moon-skinned, waning, waxing, flicker, conjure, flash… etc., are all reserved for the characterization of Jude by himself, Kit and Charlotte. It is consistent and rational. I’d only prune these buzz words if they do not feel appropriate for the flow and rhythm of the story, but so far, nothing has really tripped me up.
The drumming repetition of words such as “drilling”, “I can’t”, “coward”, are really effective, along with other snippets of parallel structure peeking through the dialogue. It also reminds us that Kit is coming from a literary background—poetry.
Another thing that has come to my attention: “Shade” is a great word for Jude’s “glamour spell”. Instead of implying just an illusion, shade informs us that it is concealing something. Shade is also another term for spirit, or ghost—which is beautifully sad, now that I reflect on it. Jude is dead/undead, and when he threads a shade, he literally becomes a ghost, a haunting image of the past. Really clever use of the word, I didn’t even specifically notice it until now. Also, I am loving the detail you are putting in with Jude’s forbidden knowledge of woman’s craft. I have an idea where this is going, and I am very curious.
| InkWellWisher chapter 11 . 8/7/2015
How a character deals with coincidence reveals how they see the world, and this couldn’t be truer for someone like Charlotte. Everything up to this point has been sarcastic, an ironic accepting of fate that at the same time subverted what we consider a self-denying point of view. Charlotte shows a strong awareness of the irony, and never loses an opportunity to remind us of it, but she sees things in dichotomies. When she sees Jude’s shade and realizes who she is, she grapples with the 16-year-old boy at the punk shows and the blood spatter monster of just a moment before. “What Stupid Cards. Luck. Fate.”
She had to believe there is some kind of fate, because believing in a world interjected with chaos would dissolve any kind of meaning. Or it could be that Char is really a nihilist with a dry sense of humor.
In addition to the points made in my earlier review, I’d like to say that these chapters after the three protagonists meet provide a wonderful potential character depth and development. Identity now bounces around in a series of reflections based on the perceptions from one character to another. By having this revolving three person perspective, you literally add on more facets of complexity, and a natural device for unraveling parts of the storyline for more information.
Jude is disturbing as ever, with the eerie contrast of his calculated shade and his constant warring with himself. You want to find yourself trusting, sympathizing, but he always ruins it—you make us think he still has a heart of gold somewhere in there. Beautiful action-based character development with his mannerisms, it further defines the instability of his constitution and the desperation of trying to hold onto some sort of anchor. You’ve gotten less precious with how he is perceived by the readers, and it works marvelously. He is terrifying.
Great interaction between Kit and Jude—two, three short lines of super-loaded triggers implying Kit’s role in Jude’s life. It was his plan, wasn’t it, the assassination of the queen and the attempt on Eleanor?
| InkWellWisher chapter 10 . 8/5/2015
The story is braiding together, the second act has already begun. Three separate narrators (seemingly unconnected before) have been woven together through hidden causality, disguised as coincidence (as we will seen in Chap. 11), and the reigned in chaos of Jude has finally been unleashed in a strangely ceremonial ritual in which Charlotte appears to the catalyst.
Perfect survival voice, I feel like there’s something so much more present, alive with Kit’s narration, a great leap from his long suffering resignation and an attribute to your skill in shifting writing dynamics. There are a lot of great moments here, like Charlotte running from Kit, who is running after her only because he’s completely lost (I honestly love their reluctant chemistry). You have a good sense of situational irony and staging, often through the device of cliché and cultural reference in your work, and rarely ever go over the line of good taste. And the important part is of this is that your use of these comedic formulas actually serves a purpose—not filler, fluffy crack—but rather as much needed diffusers for the tightly wound situation the characters now find themselves in. Example: Kit just finishes having a super cathartic survival moment smashing a vampire’s face in with his foot and Charlotte almost immediately screams “Eat—a fucking—dick!”
And for some reason, I always seem to forget that shapers have bone magic, it’s such an intimate internal experience, unlike witch magic, which effects the external world in louder ripples (often invasive, penetrating)—I always like hearing loaded cultural phrases like “my bones tell”—it is little things like that that really drives the authenticity of both the character, and the culture they come from.
Nice technical use of action-based foreshadowing—first Kit scratches behind his ear. And then “She scratches behind one ear. Then digs a finger in it and keeps walking…. A low ringing in my ears that settles to a low hum—mumbling.”
| InkWellWisher chapter 9 . 8/5/2015
Jude. One of the most complicated voices of this narrative, next to Eleanor (who I will miss), and my favorite narrator to run a sieve through. Every time I read through, I catch another glimpse, reference to a character, or even taking place, with footholds of spoken dialogue to imply where he is and what he is doing through his bloodlust-stream-of-consciousness and internal struggle with his disassociated psyche.
We catch him seeing Charlotte here, in the very first paragraph— “Here’s holding onto you, blood-scent howling storm, skin so warm, do this for me let me in let me in—hair white rain, pinhole freckles sun fallow skin those struck pool blues I—“
At first it’s hard to figure out where these sensory descriptions are coming from, they are so desperately strung together it could seem random to a unfamiliar reader, but it isn’t when we see Charlotte’s name. This opening sets us up with a system of breadcrumbs to follow through Jude’s frantic, fragmented consciousness until his thoughts catch up with the events that are unfolding.
Now, there has been a standing tradition in vampire literature of connecting the consumption of blood to the experience of memories, perhaps some latent psychological intimacy assumed when you “take in” part of another person. What I appreciate what you do with Jude and his blood trips is that instead of experiencing another person’s memories, he is yearning for a connection with his own, and by proxy, his own autonomous individuality, which is slowly being eaten away by the vampirism. Jude is thus further at war with himself—trying to reject the vampire need to retain what humanity he has left, clinging to Charlotte like a life-preserver.
The vampire is not just sexy buzzword in your narrative. Vampirism has been condensed into a powerful multiplicity of metaphors (the most powerful symbols will never be ascribed singular meaning), referencing anything to memory stripping illnesses in our modern society, to drug addiction, to our underlying fears of being consumed by a society which claims our identity (not unlike the thematic significance of zombies and apocalyptic pandemics). Vampirism is also connected to our obsession with immortality and death, and instead of being powerful, acutely self-aware creatures with unearthly elegance, you subvert the connotation with old world mindless corpses, drooling lunatics who are frighteningly vulnerable to death.
Jude’s memory is short and perfect, a punch in confusing narration which swiftly describes his station in witch society—the unwanted son, the black sheep, and the tension between him and his siblings under an overbearing world of gender-politics.
“I face the yard, grinning too.
Waning waning, I’m grinning too.” –Great use of parallel structure to feed us that rhythm and slip us out of the trip.
And when the memory finally dissolves away: “But for now I only stay waning, waning. Waning. Grinning too, until the memory Nikolai’s blood gave me sinks into standing water, my trip fading, memory vanishing, who I was washing into someone else who is not me, not me, wait wait wait….”
-Excellent. This tapers the reader out, reinforcing the waxing/waning metaphor throughout his voice. It helps pin in the significance of what stays with him from that memory—that his magic has talked to him since a very young age.
| InkWellWisher chapter 8 . 8/4/2015
Chapter 7 and 8
Charlotte: diminutive form of Charles, from the Germanic Karl/Carl meaning “man”. Other sources site Germanic “hari”, meaning “warrior”. Is this a coincidence in your name choice?
While journeying farther into the remnants of the city answers some questions about the expectations of this apocalyptic world, the level of technology and social structure, however, it still leaves us with some musings about where this land is, and how humans became a frontier-like colonial presence. Where did they come from, if this land is so isolated from humans? I know it is not essential to the story, but areas of abandoned reality like this make you wonder exactly where the literal and figurative borders of this place are, or if it is hovering in some magical parallel universe or dimension. To be honest, the ambiguity works in your favor here—because it keeps me thinking about this world, and too much specificity would kill the mystery.
Once again, bravo on more jaded Nikki, who has become a much more palpable character (who somehow makes me think of Top Dollar in The Crow in his manner of speech). The scene with Charlotte and he in the jail cell had this lovely tension—it shows Charlotte being vulnerable, even flinching—something I’d never expect her to do. The capitalization in this area is particularly effective—Figure Him Out and the Real Reason Why They’re Here.
Continuity Question: is it intentional to have both standard and metric units of measurement? Charlotte has used both in this chapter, and in HTD, kilos were used over miles (particularly with the shapers). Parts of ourselves have a way of winding themselves into our writing, and I’m thinking you’ve done some of those 18-miler distances.
“—The longer I’m here, the farther Patrice strides ahead of me.”
“I scream. I scream angry screams. Angry screams I should’ve screamed days ago. Two weeks ago. This is Bullshit, This is Not fair. Why Her and Not Me? You’re All Devils and I mean Every Single One of You….”
“I’m in a cage—a jail cell. My Skin crawls. Jesus—I’m in the Uptown drunk tank.” –Love the humor here, my only concern is “Jesus”—so are some Judaeo-Christian belief systems are involved with the humans in this world, or is it just for effect?
“They have a whole royal family shapers love assassinating.” – I am so glad you kept this in during this rewrite.
“I feel my mouth draw open, gripped still with Total Fucking Horror What The Fuck—“
One thing struck me as a little awkward, in Chapter 8: "All of them look just as struck stupid as he does." -Is this implying Jude and the witches are equally surprised, or that they are struck stupid as he stares up at the crowd?
| InkWellWisher chapter 6 . 8/2/2015
Chapters 5 and 6:
Charlotte’s narration has really adapted well to the task of informing us of the human influence in this world. The almost facetious, sarcastic binary assessment of the apocalyptic situation (Good Guys and Bad Guys) breaks up the bleak prospects of the characters with some much needed dark whimsy—and more importantly, forces the reader into a new flow of energy after 4 chapters of Achitophel’s kill-me-now misery train.
Charlotte for me will always be a third wave feminism, post-punk rrriot grrrl in the vein of Kathleen Hanna and Kate Bjelland, (but looking like Nancy and Wendy O Williams) and there’s no more perfect female protagonist for this world rich in gender disparities. She is a character gripped in dichotomies—Good Guys and Bad Guys, Good Death and Bad Death, women and men—the lens in which she tries to make sense of the world, to identify it, someone determined to be unshaken by anything contrary to her morals. We see how this type of thinking plays out later in the narrative when we circle back to the death of one of the witches Charlotte stabs.
I am glad Patrice is "present" in this rewrite. In HTD, Patrice never made it into the story alive, and it was difficult to get a sense of Charlotte’s feelings. By having the two of them exiled through a failed plan of feminist vigilante justice, rejected by those who asked for reprisal, we see the complicated feelings involved here—Char’s brief reluctance to believe Patrice’s story, a mixture of anger, guilt and regret. I also love that kind of woebegone lover suicide pact lingering around Charlotte’s conscious.
Patrice’s attempt to take on Jaxon herself is what sets this part of the plot rolling—a contingent event that leads to their exile into the wastelands, and into another series of unfortunate events. There is something cruelly ironic that she dies in such a freak way, and somehow, fitting. The water reservoir bursting is a particularly pregnant moment, rippling into greater thematic metaphors throughout the narrative—a feminine symbol penetrated by the phallic arrow.
Patrice’s role has thus not only become more significant, but has played an integral part of the development of the plot and reoccurring themes within it.
Besides the character and plot development, I want to take a moment to point out some technical parts. The pacing in these two chapters is particularly nice—exposition is built up into thicker, slower plodding blocks of texts, while the really sharp moments are intensified through their spacing, which builds tension. The moment of Patrice’s death is a really great example of this—I was actually shocked.
| InkWellWisher chapter 4 . 7/31/2015
Our first encounter with Jude. This is the best Jude yet. You’ve compromised him much more than in the previous versions, you’ve made him more convincingly unstable and at odds with his kinder nature and his vampire nature, a struggle which is also portrayed through his magic. The simultaneous separation of his magic, cleaved even farther from his will than before (Jude’s magic has always been ill) suggests a deeper developing dissociative personality unhinged by becoming vampire. His magic seem rooted in the part of his conscious responsible for moral decisions; if we compare it to Freud’s model of the psyche, Jude’s magic is his superego, keeping the howling animalistic id at bay (and constantly undermining his attempts). The mediator, the ego, is absent, and I wonder how long it has been gone.
“Witch magic breathes with me, drawing in and out like it want to cling close to every part of me.” –How desperate this magic must be if it must cling to the only living thing it can find.
This chapter has the best descriptive language so far, verbs that do the work of action and metaphor, it makes up for Kit’s blindness in the dark.
“Ash plumes into a fine mist” is a particularly nice moment.