Hi DeNine. As you know, I'm Dee. I'm a member of the WDC Power Reviewers also. I finally had a chance to read the first chapter of your novel, and I'm glad you asked me to review it! This is a story that kept my attention from the first word, all the way to the last. I plan to continue reading it.
The title is interesting, and made me curious about the story. Yet, while it is intriguing, the title and the description sort of give the story premise away. The moment you wrote Nephilim's Fall, and asked the question, What Am I? I basically knew what the story was going to be about, a fallen angel, or rather a demon with an agenda.
But please understand, I think the title and description offer much in the way of visual versus emotional impact. And I think the title is an effective choice. The only comment I would say about the description line itself, is that I think Kyle didn't comprehend the deal he made, but I don't know if I'd say he unknowingly made it, because he was aware of the deal he was making, and even asked questions about it.
Plot/Setting & Structure
What an exciting and mysterious plot this story has. It's dark, that's true, but it also has some wonderfully innocent moments, such as Kyle's reaction to Stella each time he's around her. Since I'm only on the first chapter, I don't know the exact plot, other than the Nephilim's desire to get something from Stella, and him wanting Kyle to bring Stella to him, as a part of of their deal. If that is the plot of the novel, then you've begun with a bang, and a great start! The story keeps my interest, and never once did it wane. Good work!
The setting could have been any town or place, since it wasn't defined or specified. This often works to the writer's advantage, providing the opportunity for reader association, giving just enough details to make the reader feel they know the place the story takes place in. Now, if the setting will become important to the story, then showing me that early is always best.
As far as structure is concerned, since this is only the first chapter, my comment would be that you set the first chapter up very well, and you do have a definite beginning, middle, and end to this unit, and you left the ending with a question that made me want to know more. In fact, I did look to see if you had more chapters written. So, if you follow through with your remaining chapters with the same structure you used for this first one, it will be a very well written story, no doubt!
Character/POV & Voice
Telling this from Kyle's POV was a satisfying read. If this was Stella's story, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. Kyle, despite being depicted as a weak individual both physically and even to some degree, mentally, is a strong fictional character with definite opinions, physical attributes, and desires. Several times your narration describes him in relation to his physicaI deficiencies, and how even he thinks about these same things, which make him feel like a real person to me-like someone from next door you know and feel sympathy toward. Kyle's voice is sympathetic towards other people, but also sarcastic, but he has a demoralizing voice when it comes to thoughts and opinions about himself. Since he has this POV about himself and his own life, you'd think he would have the same outlook about the world, but as I read through the story I realized he doesn't have that same attitude about life. In fact, he convinces himself (after dying), that life offers more opportunities he never took advantage of and how he would do things differently if he had the chance. Great job showing his POV and attitudes.
Dialogue & Descriptions
Your use of dialogue is excellent. I never once thought your characters sounded alike. Not at all. They are all unique individuals with a distinct "sound" to their body and verbal language. Kyle, with his blinking eyes, shuffling feet, and eyes looking down instead of at Stella's, compared to Derek, where he is confrontational, loud, and obnoxious. And of course, Stella, being kind, fun, and compassionate, as well as self-confident. And each of your characters have a particular style of language and thought also, with their own verbiage.
I must say, you truly have a exceptional gift at writing description/narration in a way that does *not* bore or tell too much, and it gives this story a wonderful flavor. I can see, hear, feel, and almost touch everything and everyone. From your description, I could feel it when Derek hit Kyle in the nose, and I could almost feel the blood, as if I was Kyle, touching my own nose. Just about every scene in this chapter came to life, and flew off the screen at me to experience.
Tone/Mood/Flow & Pacing
The tone and the mood of the story seem to be similar in effect. They both are on the dark side, and they both are somewhat depressing from Kyle's POV. This dark, depressing, "I'm nothing special, I don't have much to offer" attitude permeates Kyle's attitude in almost everything he does.
There are some places in the story where the flow and pacing is a bit slower, although the story isn't "slow," just slower. And there are parts of the story that flows and the pacing is perfect. But for the most part, they work well throughout the story. Each paragraph moved easily into the next, and never gave me the feeling of being choppy. It never felt as if they were randomly put together. Each paragraph had a purpose and an idea holding it together, which is exactly what a paragraph should have. Again, excellent work.
Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar
There were several things that caught my eye as I read along. Nothing that can't easily be changed, edited or reworded, if you choose to do so, but they did slow the reading down a little for me. This is the only area I saw many things that made the readability of the story a little more cumbersome. Some of the things that I noticed are:
- Unnecessary words or "telling" phrases (Examples: "started walking," rather than just using walking or walked. "Found myself shivering," instead of just using shivered. There are many words and phrases that can be deleted or reworded. A couple examples are: "begun shaking, be facing" and "beginning to feel, was so frightened," as well as many others.
- A lot of adverbs. While most editors understand people use adverbs in dialogue and in their narrative, it's still considered taboo to overuse them. It's always best to reword a sentence to use fewer adverbs. There are many of them in your story. I love using them, but I always run my writing through grammar checks to find them and I remove most, and opt to rephrase to do it.
- Passive verbs. I did find that you used many passive verbs. These absolutely need to be made active. This is something all editors will notice. Believe me, I know. I have seen the "red pencil" more than once on my writing. It's funny how it's easy to see these things in other people's writing, but we miss it in our own! But passive writing is a real no-no in publishing. I don't know if you're planning to publish your novel, but if so, it will require a grammar and punctuation edit. That's the only reason I rated your story 4.5 instead of a 5. This is a five star story, grammar withstanding.
I honestly didn't think I would enjoy reading this story when I first read the title and description, because stories with the nephilim and demons don't normally appeal to me. I usually tend to find them just more of the same ole thing. BUT your story was so well written, the descriptions so realistic, and the emotions displayed by the characters so natural and heartfelt, that I found myself wrapped up in the tale much more than I thought I would be. Very, very good work!!
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