Reviews for Mage's Crest: Awakening
Timbo Slice chapter 4 . 11/10/2015
I feel as though you are moving the plot along at a solid pace, as this chapter is mainly dialogue driven by adds more to not only the story at large but also Irises character development. You do a good job of showing us why she is so cold and aloof through her background that really makes her more sympathetic rather than just being cold for coldness sake.

I think the fight could have been written to be more engaging for the reader, like building up the suspense more and using more unique action verbs to get their attacks across, even if it's a little purple prosey it would make a bigger impact on the action.
Ventracere chapter 4 . 11/9/2015
Opening: I like how you open up, but it reads like the opening of a scene/movie. It's picturesque, with the incoming train. Another thing that I liked was how you took a more global view before you decided to narrow the view a bit and focus more on the local. It gave this kind of a pyramid feel, haha. Nice

Quick note on the dialogue. When she's talking to Adrian about Zeitan, the dialogue read a bit staticy. In the sense that it read a bit stunted. This might be just the way I'm reading it, but it comes across as a low emotion situation instead of Iris coming across as confused and a little taken back that she has a brother. I understand that she isn't going to be completely surprised. Perhaps instead of just having her ask question after question (short questions I mean), put a bit more dialogue tags after her parts or lengthen her sentences a bit. "You're still growing and need all the rest you can get" - sorry, this made me laugh hahaha.

spelling/grammar "you seems rust" - you seem rusty?

Scene: I liked the fight though it feels like nothing went on. It's only the beginning of the flight, but already you've got the tension spiralling upwards at last. Something that I liked about the piece fight was how you took the time to explain how the magic worked, but at the same time, it doesn't detract from the rest of the right. It moved quickly but not so quickly that it was a complete blur.

Ending: This is a good hook. While we know what she isn't going to go down easy, you end at a spot right where the tension and the fight is about to reach new heights. That's the nice thing. You got your readers wanting and waiting to know what is about to happen. By cutting off right before the real fight begins you have people waiting to figure out the outcome, whether or not Iris is going to get hurt or if the plot is going to change from the previous mage's Crest.

Thanks for the read!
alltheeagles chapter 4 . 11/6/2015

Pacing-wise, I’m glad that you picked it up at the end with the action because at first I was thinking, oh great, more talking, I’m gonna be so bored... I’m not a fan of long dialogues, but that is definitely not your fault because the dialogue is fine and you get the information we need across efficiently. Maybe I could suggest a little less talk during the fight, is all, because while the exchanges between Iris and Erlos and Adrian serve to build up backstory, I don’t really think it’d be realistic to have wisecracking in an actual fight. I liked the fight scene itself, it was tight and easy to follow and I thought the interspersing of information about how the magic works was not too much exposition until it distracted from the action.
Timbo Slice chapter 3 . 11/5/2015
I think the best part of this chapter is the dialogue, as it's very natural in tone and helps to pull the plot along at a brisk pace. Having read the other version of this it's interesting to see the metamorphosis of Iris from the beginning again and her characterization really shines in this chapter as we see her transform from the hard nosed, cynical bounty hunter with a chip on her shoulder to an altruistic heroine who wants nothing but the best for her friends, all woven between a plot of magic and intrigue.
Encore19 chapter 1 . 11/5/2015
Yay it's in Australia! And yay it's in the future!

One thing I liked was your MC's character building. We see plenty of hints at what makes Iris in this chapter, but she's still a mysterious character. We have her beautiful mother and her strong father, their idealistic beliefs seem to have affected their daughter in some way even if she's a remorseless hitwoman now. And as a child we could see she had daring and a sense of justice inside her.

Ah one thing I dislike I suppose is the situation with the mother. Not only is it very sad :( (Although good job on creating more of an emotional connection) but I found it strange those remorseless Sanctum agents wouldn't just shoot the mother instead of leaving her behind? They wanted to experiment on her sure but when they decided to leave her behind it probably would have been smarter to kill the witness, just in case she could cause trouble with her supposed detective friend.

Still, good job!
Timbo Slice chapter 2 . 10/13/2015
I liked the hard opening of this chapter, using the news report to convey the plot works well to move the story along and offer backstory to the larger conflict happening in the story. Speaking of backstory I'm a big fan of dialogue driven plot and you did s good job of setting up the taxi scene as Iris does come across as a gifted conversationalists while driving the plot forward.

The one thing I really appreciate about this story though is the attention to detail and world building that's part of a bigger universe. You go a great job of establishing a larger society outside the conflict of the main story while having, smart and sharp characters like Iris and Edward give a unique perspective on this world you've created.
Ventracere chapter 3 . 10/12/2015
"your average 21st century apartment" - this is nitpicking, but I think since you haven't had any other inclination of addressing the reader, or mentioning "you" in that context, I'd change it to "the average 21st..." this way you're staying consistent.

Something that I liked was how this chapter is much cleaner in terms of description. You aren't giving us an overload of information that we don't need currently and it's light. This makes the chapter go a bit faster and definitely easier and more enjoyable to read. The cleanliness of the writing allows us to focus on the smaller things like the interactions between her and Erlos. For me, I think here we get to see how she feels about him a lot easier than previously. You clearly emphasize that there's something in terms of brother-sister relationship that can occur between the two of them through their banter, but at the same time, you define clearly that he is much younger than I had originally imagined.

That said, I also enjoyed the dialogue. It seemed genuine, with the way they interacted, the push and pull between Adrian and Iris. We can also clearly see how unwilling she is feeling towards her new assignment. She doesn't exactly want to hear what Adrian has to say on her line of work, but at the same time, she's absorbing it all in. We didn't get that in before, but I liked how you were able to worm in her tension so much better. The chapter is definitely more emotional than before.

Good job!
wisedec4u chapter 1 . 9/28/2015
I enjoyed the interaction between Jasmine and her mother. You showed there's a loving relationship between the two. Also, you did a wonderful job describing the city they live in. Your words painted a vivid image in my head. My only criticism is the tags you keep using throughout. They are somewhat distracting. I don't think you need so many of them. Sometmes its unnecessary to use tags when the dialogue alone is good enough to convey the speakers emotions.
alltheeagles chapter 3 . 9/28/2015

I don’t much like Iris’ attitude here. Why is she so snappy with Erlos? He was being reasonably careful, to me. And she was pretty snarky with Adrian too. I get the idea that you want her to come across as aloof, unemotional etc. but she just feels (unjustifiedly) cranky to me. Luckily she mellowed out somewhat in the second half, or I’d have been all bristly at her throughout.
The dialogue’s okay. Nothing very scintilating, but it all sound pretty natural. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the dialogue or anything. Just that there was, for me, rather a lot of it. To be fair though, I don’t see how you could have reduced it since this chapter’s about exchanging backstories and getting to know each other, so how else could you do those? You did a creditable job, so it's just me I suppose.
Ventracere chapter 2 . 9/15/2015
I liked the way you spaced out the worldbuilding so it wouldn't slow down the pacing of your story. This way you made sure the chapter stayed at a consistent level and that one certain part doesn't drag on. Your dialogue also worked in a similar way.

I liked that it served a dual purpose, that you were able to worldbuild through the first conversation she has with the taxi driver. Later on, the conversation she has with Edward focuses more on the plot - which was something I liked. Your dialogue wasn't just filler, but also helped move the chapter/story as a whole forward.

Compared to the original piece, I'm a bigger fan of Iris. She isn't as cold as before, which makes me more likely to be sympathetic to her as a character. This chapter made her seem a bit warmer than the previous chapter, which was something else I liked, since we get to see that she does have a lot of room to grow.

Thanks for the read!
alltheeagles chapter 2 . 9/12/2015

I like that this world is still recognisable, even with the mention of megacities and ‘quaint’ LEDs, as well as plausible – dictatorial rule is almost inevitable if you apply the ‘absolute power corrupts’ theory. Still, it isn’t so bad that the man on the street (taxi guy) doesn’t dare to speak his mind. At least there aren’t hidden bugs to sniff out dissent and all that.
I said before that I found Iris rather vanilla. She still isn’t all that colourful, but at least now that I know more about her lifestyle (solitary, kind of boring outside jobs) and background (abandoned child, the poor thing) I guess I could feel a little more for her. I still don’t particularly like her, sorry, but I do agree with her pragmatic view that it’s not very realistic to hope to bring Sanctum down and basically just ‘grin and bear it, the world’s a horrible place so deal with it.’
Steven seemed to know that the guy was dead. Was the mirror proof that it was indeed her who’d done the job? I’d highlight that.
Hannah Hooton chapter 2 . 8/30/2015
Like the news report as a way to move story along and give the reader information.

“Even in a modern day bullet train traveling close to the speed of sound, crossing from one side of the city to the other still took around fifteen minutes” – I’m being pernickety here, but I think it’s worth mentioning since these are the sort of things people would like to catch you out on. The speed of sound is approx 340 miles per second. To travel at the speed of sound for fifteen minutes works out as 306,000 miles traveled. (340 miles x 60 sec 20,400 miles / minute. 20,400 x 15 minutes 306,000 miles). Given that USA is only 1,582 miles long from top to bottom, and even the Earth itself is only around 25,000 miles from pole to pole, Atlantis is way out of proportion.

Good dialogue with taxi driver. Characters are well-defined. You could even lose a couple of the tags, they are that well individualised.

“Since the police had become ridiculously long as you had the money for it.” I’d be tempted to leave this sentence out completely. You set up a very intriguing scenario in the previous sentence with the restaurant serving a different purpose. It would work in your favour to keep the reader in suspense for a bit longer over what that purpose is.

Typo: “pine” of beer

Good descriptions of the bar and the flat – nice contrast too.

Atlantis is described again Scene 3, giving us information we already have about its architecture. Would recommend losing this and perhaps if you want to make a point of the city struggling just say “Given the city’s sleek facade of glass and titanium it was difficult to recognise the struggles going on underneath.” or something to that effect.
I find Pure Marble City a strange name considering marble is a material used in building but Atlantis doesn’t appear to use it as much as glass and steel.

The explanation about district and ruling unions, representatives, etc. would be better placed during the conversation where Edward explains what Veras does. Where it is now feels a bit disruptive to the flow and gives an answer before a question is asked if you see what I mean. Where it is now it doesn’t appear to have any reason for being explained (yet) but if you move it to after Edward’s dialogue, then the reader faces the question “who are the unions?” and then you can answer that question with the explanation.

Good dialogue between Iris and Edward. Would think, considering her parents mean so much to her, that would be the first thing Iris would ask about. He can then say “We’ll come to that in a minute” and then carry on as you’ve done, but I think to intensify Iris’s character she should show a need to know first before settling into a cozy chat about politics.

Really enjoying seeing all these different magical elements that Iris can do.
Overall flow is good, the pacing doesn’t flounder on unnecessary details (although would have liked a very brief description of Edward) and dialogue is very good.
Looking forward to more!
Hannah Hooton chapter 1 . 8/25/2015
Intriguing start and straight into the action. Nicely paced. I would be tempted to use that first flashback as a Prologue.

"A band of crooks tried to kill him on his way home." Two things I didn't like about this. 1: a mother wouldn't be so tactless to say this to her daughter, regardless of how old/mature the daughter is. She would more likely say "attacked" or "mugged" or something. 2: By starting with "A band of crooks" you make them the subject of the conversation, whereas the father should be. So by saying "He was attacked by a band of crooks on his way home" you kill two birds with one stone.

Good description of the skyline and later of the office, where you've shown not told us what it looks like. Good job.

Dialogue is good, albeit a little expositional in places, for example: "It's why your father takes his job as a district representative so seriously." Presumably Jasmine knows what his job is so the D.R. reference is for readers' benefits. Unless it is absolutely crucial to the plot and cannot be slotted in somewhere else, I would take it out and just say "It's why your father takes his job so seriously." We already get that he is helping people and, as far as I can tell, that is all we need to know just yet.
Another example is right at the end "Looks like someone heard the commotion so the police will be here soon." Why not have them hear sirens and that causes her to look out the window and just "Looks like someone heard the commotion" and leave it at that.

The dialogue between Iris and the woman is very good. I got a real sense of Iris's calm and almost indifference to the woman's troubles as she concentrates on the computer. Whereas that contrasts very well with the woman's desperation, which you do very well.

"What reason would you have for taking him?" She has reached this conclusion very quickly, I dare say too quickly. As far as she and we, the reader, is aware, they have BOTH been taken. Perhaps add in something like "take me, leave him" sort of back and forth where Alfred can say "I'm afraid we can't do that. He is special" kinda thing.

"A woman with large spectacles wearing a lab coat entered." Consider restructuring this as it sounds like the spectacles are wearing the lab coat!

"She looked defeated like a pitiful animal who'd taken too much abuse" I like the metaphor here, as it is very vivid, but it contradicts the feistiness and the confidence with which the woman carries on speaking with.

Very good action after the explosion and the stand off between Iris and Alfred. Well done.

Is Iris Jasmine?

Typos: gazing at wailing baby; the Jason; who could hid well away; pos(s)ess; It'll painful you'll retain your sanity.

Watch out for adverbs. There was quite a few unnecessary ones that I spotted. Go through and take them out - they'll sharpen up your writing.

Overall, a good start. Straight into the action, there's something going on all the time which is good because I wasn't tempted to skip. The comments above are pretty minor overall. I think you've got a ripe concept which has plenty of potential.
Ventracere chapter 1 . 8/21/2015
"you don't see friendly faces on the street like you used" - I think you're missing a "to" at the very end.

Her mother stared at her for a moment then laughed under her breath - there should be a period instead of a comma at the end of the sentence.

You have a couple other places where I think you're missing a few commas, but other than that, I don't see too many grammatical errors that detract from the writing.

You use "Snorted" quite a bit in the second half of the chapter - maybe switch it up a bit.

As for this chapter, I liked how you were able to flush out Iris's past a bit, we got to see her before Santum happens. She's naive - maybe that's not the right word - she's innocent. It gives us a sense of growth, and will allow us to see that growth and change she's going to go through in the coming chapters. One thing I'd be careful, is that I still feel like you're lacking those emotional qualities throughout the chapter. You did make the chapter smoother, easier to read, but there isn't a lot of emotional attachment, even from the mother. Perhaps flush it out a bit (Iris's part is fine, considering it's her character that is detached. The other parts involving the minor characters is where it might help to boost it a bit).
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 8/15/2015
RG EF #7,616

I find this opening chapter of your new draft quite exciting and enjoyable. The writing definitely seems smoother and I like the shorter paragraphs and trim, iconic dialogue.

I have a few suggestions though if you want to consider some changes. I honestly feel the second part that takes place thirteen years later when Jasmine has grown up to become Iris is a better opening hook than the scene between young Jasmine and her mother. I recommend you reverse them. The ending with the sad, desperate mother who has just lost her child could easily prompt Iris to reminisce, to recall a snippet of her own lost childhood, and then you could go into the Jasmine/Mother scene, from Iris’ perspective (maybe when Iris returns to her safe house as she prepares a meal or tries to fall asleep, maybe the Jasmine/mother scene is a dream…?).

Just making a suggestion though. I do like the chapter the way it is. It’s just that starting with that snatching of the baby scene is more dynamic and sets up a world with horrendous problems that needs someone like Iris to change things (and requires less set-up and explanation from an omniscient narrator). :)

Here are notes:

“That's all seven year old Jasmine could discern as she watched her mother talk on the phone. *Though from the look of worry on her normally cheerful face she could tell it wasn't good.*”
I don’t think you need the second sentence. It just seems obvious that Jasmine would understand her father being attacked wasn’t a good thing. You could shorten the sentence so that it’s really just a quick visual description of Jasmine’s mother:
‘That's all seven year old Jasmine could discern as she watched her mother talk on the phone. Her normally cheerful face was pinched with worry.’
Or something similar.

This part doesn’t work all that well for me:
“Standing side by side the two of them looked more like sisters than anything else.”
It doesn’t exactly make sense if Jasmine is seven years old, unless you are saying her mother looks really young, like a teenager or a ten year-old. Also, the description of the mother doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the perspective of a seven year old. Young children don’t really see older people like their parents as looking ‘young for their ages’. Why not just have Jasmine think how pretty her mother is. Jasmine sees the sunshine play with her mother’s gold hair or something. Also, is it important that her mother is forty? Maybe leave out her specific age.

Like this quick setting establishment:
“They lived in a nice cozy townhouse a fair way away from the city centre. It was the only way to get a home in Avante that wasn't an apartment or penthouse nowadays.”
Good quick way to show that Iris/Jasmine started off in a stable happy home.

You use the word ‘cluster’ a lot in this passage:
“It was majestic, dominated by *clusters* and *clusters* of skyscrapers. Avante, the capital of Australia was one of four megacities on the planet. Although technically it would be more accurate to call it a giant *cluster* of smaller cities as each district housed millions of people.”
Perhaps consider editing this section some. Here is a rough, rough suggestion:
‘It was majestic, dominated by clusters of skyscrapers. Avante, the capital of Australia was one of four megacities on the planet. Although technically it would be more accurate to call it a *collection* of smaller cities. Each district was a large metropolis, housing millions of people.’
Or, you know, something like that. :)

This sounds a little out of place. The perspective/voice sounds like an omniscient ‘all-knowing’ narrator here, not a seven year old girl (or a twenty year old remembering her shrouded past):
“This was how the world looked in 2034. These cities were the byproduct of civil wars and global attempt to lessen humanity's impact on the environment through urban consolidation.”
Honestly, I think this setting information could wait until it fits in more organically with the story and we are familiar enough with the characters to care about it. Maybe work it in later through dialogue or inner thoughts…? We also get a sense of this simply from Jasmine’s mother’s words, you know?

I like this history and how you tell it here:
“"When we were younger the two of us dreamed of changing the world," she continued. "We travelled the world together, trying to help people.””
The setting background works better here I think.

Sounds like Jasmine’s mother is stating a theme here:
“We layer a façade on top of our true selves and use that façade to move up in the world.””

Like this:
“The man barely batted an eye as the door to his office was flung open and a tall suited man walked in. He was carrying a crying baby in one arm and an unconscious woman in the other.”

Would Alfred in this situation really take the time to notice the trench coat wearing woman’s “cute button nose”?:
“She looked fairly young, probably in her early twenties and quite attractive with her shoulder-length dark brown hair and cute button nose.”
Maybe just say something like ‘She looked young, maybe twenty, quite attractive.’

I like this dialogue a lot! Really works, intensifies the action:
“"Just one," chuckled Alfred as he looked up. "Now that I think about it, I remember you being extremely vocal about not killing people. What changed, little Iris?"

Iris stared at him briefly.

"Who knows?" she muttered. "Maybe I just grew up.””

Cool stuff!


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