Chains (JadedElegance)

73 3 21

Reviewer: JadedElegance

Author: DarkRoyallty

Thank you for choosing me to review your story! Please note that I believe in honest and constructive criticism, meaning that I'll address both the positive and negative aspects of your work. I'm looking at your work through the eyes of a potential judge or publisher, so please do not take any comments personally or think I have a negative opinion of you as an author. My critiques are a little more in-depth, and therefore, perhaps a bit harsher than what you'll get from other reviewers. Please know I enjoy meeting every author and reading every work that comes my way.

Cover: 3/5 

The cover has an obviously strong correlation to the plot and theme of the book, which I like. Readers of romance and dark erotic fantasy will be drawn by the cover, while others may be clearly disinterested. This is not a negative thing, as it helps to identify the right audience for the book and not attract those unable to handle the subject matter. Unfortunately, the cover is made to look like a piece of stock art with words placed upon it. The blending and advanced manipulation techniques just aren't there. While the cover is acceptable enough to get by here on Wattpad, I wouldn't pick it up from a bookshelf.

Title: 4/5 

For those who like their titles simple and literal, this is going to score points. It has multiple levels of meaning; not only is it a BDSM-themed story, but it also deals with the idea of a young woman who has put her spirit in chains through a series of very questionable decisions. I tend to prefer a bit more uniqueness in my titles. When you search for a book, you want yours to clearly be the first one to pop up. This is never the case with common one-word titles. However, some judges and readers will appreciated the severity that is carried with just one word. I almost hear the sound of iron chains and a prison cell with the title/cover combo.

Blurb/Summary: 1/5 

This is a section that could use some work. You should think of your blurb as a way to pitch your work to prospective readers. While most authors make the mistake of long, rambling blurbs, this one fails in the opposite direction. It tells us exactly what the book is about in a very factual manner, and frankly, makes it sound less interesting than it is.

When writing blurbs, it's important to use catchy phrases that also make sense. "Ezmy was an almost average young woman" is an interesting hook, but you never describe what makes her not average but only "almost average". There's no world building or description of the settings, no character description, and no conflict that piques the reader's interest. Not every writer is a descriptive writer, but you need to create some mystery, appeal, romance, or emotion in this little box. You've merely stated a bunch of plot points in a relatively unappealing fashion. Put some work into making your blurb read like a mini-story, and you'll gain far more readers.

Chapter Review:

Chapter One: The first thing that jumps out at me is that you've labeled the POV. I realise this is considered technically acceptable, but it's a personal pet peeve. If you're going to tell your story through shifting POVs, use the story itself to indicate who is speaking. This is where descriptive writing comes into play. You don't need to tell the reader Ezmy is speaking. Instead, show the reader who Ezmy is, how she feels, how she walks, talks, and carries herself. It will be obvious the chapter is told through her eyes. If you have to label POVs, your character development is lacking.

Immediately, the grammar and punctuation are huge issues. I don't need to read more than the first sentence to know this book needs a heavy edit. "Charles ask me to meet at our normal spot." needs to become "Charles asked". The next sentence is a huge mess of a run-on sentence. Use italics to denote a character's thoughts to herself, or in this instance, a memory of what Elena had said. Alternatively, use quotation marks around Elena's words to reflect it as dialogue. You're missing punctuation marks, your thoughts tend to collide into one another, and you have difficulty choosing one tense and sticking with it. A judge or publisher would not get through the first page of this before casting it aside. Grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, syntax, and writing style are all major components of what you aim to do--tell a compelling story.

Elena quickly becomes a strong supporting character. She is almost more realistic and well-developed than the protagonist. I get little sense of who Ezmy is, although I clearly know Elena within the first chapter.

The transition to the second scene is well-executed, and I like that the reader finally gets any sort of glimpse of the protagonist's personality. It's made obvious at the very beginning that those around Ezmy believe she is unnaturally submissive and her boyfriend is controlling. Knowing what the plotline of the story is, I think this is the easy way out. The world has enough Bella Swans and Anastasia Steeles, but even those girls started out the story with an illusion of independence. If your character is immediately willing to let others make decisions for her, it's less shocking or interesting when she later becomes someone's submissive. Somehow, you have to give Ezmy life--a personality, a way of being that is interesting outside of those around her.

Also, why is she referred to as Layne?

The "dumped" scene reminds me strongly of a movie called "Legally Blonde", where the protagonist expects her boyfriend to propose after 5 years, but instead dumps her. There are some endearing moments and genuine reactions.

The first thing I'd do with this chapter is rework all the grammar, punctuation, and tense issues. After that, focus on your descriptive writing. Ezmy is the protagonist, but she captures no one's attention and seems to function mostly as a mirror for other people. Perhaps that's the point, but it's a hard sell. In order for a reader to invest in a story, they must care about the protagonist, whether she's a hero or anti-hero. Frankly, I'd rather read a book about Elena, who has a clearly defined personality and is highly-spirited.

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