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Hi Breach! Thank you for requesting a review. I'm Dee, as you know, and a member of the WDC Power Reviewers.
Genre/Title 10/10 Points
The decision to list this as a fantasy for your genre of choice, was perfect. There is no mistaking the fact that it has all the elements of a fantasy tale. I could also see you listing your second choice of genre as a War story, perhaps. Although, since I have not read Chapters 1-8, and you asked me to review Chapter 9, I am assuming this also incorporates war, or the possibility of war into the story, from what I've read so far.
The title is interesting. It would seem that it also encompasses the idea of this chapter as they work to make sure their camp isn't breached while they rest. If the title has some other significant meaning, I, unfortunately, didn't grasp it. I believe that not having read the earlier chapters will make many of the things that happen in the story, unclear to me.
The setting of your fantasy world speaks of several villages and towns, as well as the "wooded road" Tyollis and his company are traveling on. You have created your setting adding many details that makes it a vivid, and realistic place in my mind. With one chapter being read, it's difficult for me to know what the Theme of your story actually is, as opposed to what I might think it is. Honestly, I haven't got a clue from just this chapter. I will, for the benefit of the doubt, assume your theme is being nurtured throughout the story.
I liked that you used the Third Person Limited POV for this tale. It makes it a more rounded story. This is one of my two favorite POVs. And you stayed in Tyollis' head, keeping the story from his perspective, with no head hopping that I noticed.
Again, I must reiterate that you having asked me to review only Chapter 9, makes it very difficult for me to see if the plot and your opening hook has been incorporated into your writing. I have to assume it has been, because the story is really very interesting, and the writing is well done. So I will also rate this according to my perception of this one chapter. The plot for the chapter itself was exceptionally well designed, as you set Tyollis up for Branston's betrayal and escape. To me, the hook for the chapter would be when Branston and Tyollis discussed the stone fish-pendant saldacrosse and that Branston's father was a Wizard or a Breach Warden. That pulled me into the story much farther than the beginning.
Characters & Dialogue 9/10
Your characters, mainly Tyollis and Branston are fleshed out, well-rounded characters. I found them to be unique, with their own voice, speech patterns, and language. They were not cardboard characters in any way! These two characters jumped off the page at me, even in Chapter 9, where I had not read about them in an earlier chapter. They were real to me, in the sense that they felt like actual people, in a real world. Your use of mannerisms was excellent. Very good work with characterization.
Descriptive Writing/Flow & Pacing 10/10
Your use of descriptive writing is really very good! I enjoyed reading this because of the details. The story came alive, and you did little, if any, telling, showing me this imaginative world you've created. I liked that I didn't read much in the way of info dump, and that you used a lot of dialogue around your well-chosen details. One thing I especially liked about your writing was that many of the descriptions and dialogue was short and snappy, no long monologues or long paragraphs. With this type of story, I would have lost interest with excessively long writing for either of those.
The flow and pacing of this story is the elephant in the room. The flow was always handled well. It read easy, no choppy sentences, no difficut or awkard transitions, but the pacing often slowed down and speeded up. Sometimes it felt a bit draggy in places. But do not let that bother you, it was an excellent story regardless. Remember, I'm the one who normally doesn't read this style of fantasy story, so this element of pacing could simply be my preference, when in fact, there's nothing wrong with the way you've written it. I'd get a second opinion about the pacing. Don't rely on my comment only.
The Overall Feeling of The Story 10/10
The overall feeling of this story is tension. I felt an amazing amount of tension and even some controlled fear throughout the chapter. It also felt dark, as many fantasy tales often do when they involve wizards, war, territory, and other medieval issues of the day. I don't normally read this type of fantasy story. I tend to gravitate more to the lighter, mystical types of stories (even when they include warring elements or stories like GOT), however *your* story kept my attention and, more importantly, it kept my interest! Again, good job.
Grammar & Punctuation 9/10
Primarily, you did a wonderful job with the grammar and punctuation. I saw very little in the way of errors or misuse of grammar, although there were one or two items that could easily be caught with another quick check--nothing major, just tweeks to make it perfect. I was impressed. For as long as your chapter was, you did a commendable job.
The Most Memorable Part 10/10
This is a no-brainer for me. The most memorable part was when Branston grabbed back the stone fish penchant saldacrosse and disappeared! Almost like magic! Like his father would have used, perhaps? Or maybe he did use the magic to escape. Either way, it was an excellent scene.
Once again, let me just say how much I enjoyed reading this chapter. Honestly though, if you ask someone to review it, I would ask them to either review the whole novel, or at least start with chapter one. I was missing so much information from not having read the first eight chapters, that my review might have been somewhat different if I had. I believe I could have offered more in the way of reactions that could give you more feedback, or I might have had more helpful suggestions.
Good work with this chapter.