Book Jacket


rank 968
word count 10150
date submitted 30.06.2011
date updated 29.12.2013
genres: Romance, Fantasy
classification: universal

The Binding (Chronicles of Azaria #1)

Sam Dogra


What do you do when you can't trust your heart?


All seventeen year-old Eliza Bryant wants is to avoid a Binding—the ancient spell that forces couples into a lifelong bond. It cursed her sister, and for the last two years it’s tried to claim her, too. Her monthly hiding ritual worked brilliantly…until the night she ran into Ryan, a mysterious bounty-hunter. Now Bound to him, Eliza must spend every moment at his side, else she’ll transform into an Unbound; a lifeless husk without mind or soul.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s not looking to settle, and Eliza is dragged into his crazy life on the run. Still, she’s not going to take this lying down. Between grappling with feelings that aren’t her own and fleeing an unseen enemy, she’s going to break her Binding; a feat nobody’s achieved in two thousand years. The key to her freedom lies closer than she thinks…and it’s deeply connected to Ryan’s past.

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, adam, ancient, azaria, betrayal, binding, curse, eliza, fantasy, goddess, holy, jen, kingdom, love, magic, romance, runes, ryan, spies, ya

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August74 wrote 468 days ago

Ye Gods I'm enjoying this so much. Well done you. I've just finished chapter four and I'm having a break to tell you that this is great. Well written, an excellent premise (made me think of the 'imprinting' that werewolves do to life partners in Twilight) and a very likeable heroine. The lustiness is funny and her teenage reaction to it very entertaining. I'd actually use the word lust at some point if I were you, just because 'emotions' starts sounding a bit twee after a while. I want to read all of this. Will you send me the remaining chapters please? I quite fancy Ryan. I'm 38 so that's a bit shameful really isn't it. Ah well. I hope you get published, you're without question a marvellous writer and a very competent story teller.
with respect,

Chaos Magician Andrea wrote 774 days ago

'The Binding' is a simply outstanding read! I found myself on the edge of my seat as I anxiously flipped the page to see what would happen next with Ryan and Eliza. I have no negative comments other than that it ended entirely too quickly.

Looking forward to more,

A Perception of Dreams

Marisa Elyse wrote 801 days ago

My computer ate my comment, so let me just say how much I loved this story. Not only did I keep on reading, but I am going to back this FOREVER. There are no criticisms that I can offer, as the story is just that good for me. The characters were well thought out and the dialogue was good, and you had me flipping through the chapters like a beast to find out what a Binding was.

So please consider me your number one fan. Never has a story on this site caused me such heartache when I came to chapter 21, because I want more.

Tower of Paradise

sassychick wrote 804 days ago

I read the 1st chapter and as soon as i have more time i am coming back to read every last chapter you have available to read..
This story is amazing and i have no doubt it will work its way up and end on the editors desk. It is captivating, full of description and lingering moments that suck you right in.
The story has a refreshing flow with a vivid storyline and fascinating characters. i want to keep reading but my husband is demanding i get off the computer.
great job and i look forward to reading more :)

J.L.McMahon wrote 977 days ago

I'm on chapter 9 and I don't know what to say. I absolutely love this story! This story world you've built is phenominal I can almost see it as i read about it. If you post any more chapters let me know if it weren't for the time i'd keep reading right now. The only issue I really had was what Eliza kept calling her "emotions" sounded to me more like unrelenting lust. Eliza is witty and a joy to read about. Can't wait to find out ryan's secrets. :D
J.L.McMahon "Order and Chaos"

Lara wrote 332 days ago

l like very much the whole tone of this story. It has a very good and immediatelY attractive opening. The writing style is straightforward, unembellished and all the more compelling because of it. I like the idea of the ancient spell or curse and the magical feel of the narrative. Backed
Rosalind MINETT

Lauren Grey wrote 379 days ago

Sammy, my promised read from the I'm Looking...thread.

Oh my Goddess, lol, this is truly an amazing book. Your writing is so fluid and effortless, an extremely carefully thought-out storyline and very real, likable characters. I am not generally a reader of YA, however this is one I can easily read.

There are so many wonderful phrasings where your words create such vivid imagery that I was actually there with Eliza in the forest. ‘A crisp wind cut through the branches, and thousands of leaves sighed as one.’ The description of the Galgiza forest was perfect, not overdone but just enough to help the reader become quickly engaged in the story setting. ‘Fear smacked me like a cold wave...,’ perfectly described.

Chapter two, btw, I love the quotes at the opening of each chapter, and the romantic tension set up in this chapter is particularly enticing for readers of all ages. The easy natural dialogue between Eliza and Ryan is flawless. You show so well and found little or no incidents of telling, there is a seamless balance of narrative and dialogue that moves this along at a perfect pace.

I like the reference made to Goddess instead of God; this is a switch that is most original making me want to read on and learn more about this world you have created.

I did come across a couple of inconsistencies that took me out of the read though, twice you refer to a wolf in the second chapter, ...and you couldn’t fell an alpha wolf with a ...’. I thought it was a bear that had attacked her and had to go back to chapter one to re-read as I thought I had read it wrong. Then when she said something about her wolf scars on her wrist, in the first chapter, you had said a fox?

I am going to keep this on my WL and continue to read all that is posted. High stars, very well done and a wonderful read. Thank you for inviting me to look at your work, being YA I would have missed it.

Fiona Haven wrote 392 days ago

I enjoyed reading The Binding very much.
Your writing style is fluid and accomplished and I am giving you high stars.
I don't normally read romance and was drawn to read by the fantasy element. Your story seems to be more of a romance than a fantasy, but still held my interest, so well done.
If I have one minor quibble it is that the plot and the imaginative fantasy elements sometimes got lost in the emotional rollercoaster of the constant romantic tension. An emotional break now and then to enjoy the scenery and see where the plot is headed would be nice.
Best of luck.

Robert Liddle wrote 405 days ago

I really enjoyed the writing of your story, but I ended the first chapter feeling like too much information was being withheld until later. Not necessarily a bad thing -- I know -- but because I felt no connection to the protagonist, I'm stopping here for the time being. That being said, I wish I were as talented as you are at crafting sentences, and will likely come back to read more later. This will be the first book I place on my "watch list." Good luck!

Seringapatam wrote 413 days ago

Sam, This is an awesome book and some of the best writing I have seen for a long time. You use your characters well and describe them in a way to get your readers hooked into the book. You raise the pace of the book very well and again by using your narrative in a way to keep the reader interested you have an ability to know when to slow it again. I am so impressed with this book and wish you luck. Well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you??? Many thanks. Sean

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 465 days ago

Fantastic read and I'm going to keep this on my WL so i can leisurely read it when i have some more time.

The premise of the Binding is enough to hook anyone, but more so - the unbinding. Maybe being bound wouldn't be so bad for everybody, but being unbound would be the most awful thing in the world. No wonder Eliza wants to avoid it all...

will be back for more
Jaclyn x
It Never Happened

August74 wrote 468 days ago

Ye Gods I'm enjoying this so much. Well done you. I've just finished chapter four and I'm having a break to tell you that this is great. Well written, an excellent premise (made me think of the 'imprinting' that werewolves do to life partners in Twilight) and a very likeable heroine. The lustiness is funny and her teenage reaction to it very entertaining. I'd actually use the word lust at some point if I were you, just because 'emotions' starts sounding a bit twee after a while. I want to read all of this. Will you send me the remaining chapters please? I quite fancy Ryan. I'm 38 so that's a bit shameful really isn't it. Ah well. I hope you get published, you're without question a marvellous writer and a very competent story teller.
with respect,

Lara wrote 470 days ago

Although I don't normally like romantic novels at all, I was impressed with this gently written work. It is delicate and sensitive. Backed

Andrea Taylor wrote 472 days ago

A really compelling story, very well told! Excellent.

happinessandlife wrote 473 days ago

I have to agree with other comments below, this book is outstanding and un-put-down-able! I cannot wait for the next installment - and I will keep hoping there will be one soon!
Can't wait to delve into the mystery of the binding,

Bella Luna wrote 488 days ago

I have only read chapter 1 so far, but you definitely caught my interest! You choice of words and description help me place myself in Eliza's place. The emotion and suspense that is evoked at the end of the chapter draws me in to read more! I'm really looking forward to continuing! Great job!

Fallen from the Stars

Bella Luna wrote 488 days ago

I have only read chapter 1 so far, but you definitely caught my interest! You choice of words and description help me place myself in Eliza's place. The emotion and suspense that is evoked at the end of the chapter draws me in to read more! I'm really looking forward to continuing! Great job!

Fallen from the Stars

CARite wrote 516 days ago

The Binding - well written, expressive and definitely I'm hooked. I just had to keep reading.
Good job...

CADreilling - The Line - Beginnings

musemeant wrote 528 days ago

Wow. This is amazing; simply amazing. You packed a punch with your first chapter, brightening everything with intricate detail and bringing your story to life through the vibrant emotions of your character. That bear fight was spectacular; I swear I felt my heart sprint. And the ending, when she knows she's been caught . . .

I'd like to give you critiques; things to fix, things to change. I find that I cannot. Your beginning was just too good. This will be WL'd so I can return to read more (I'd do so now, but I have things I must get done). Very high stars.


Di Manzara wrote 545 days ago

Hi Sam!

The Binding is the kind of book I normally read so right away it drew me into reading your chapters. I like the pitches. I thought they were written really well. The title is very good and matches the subject of the book. The events in Ryan and Eliza's lives are just something to watch for, not to be missed.

I loved Eliza's character. She's strong-willed and she knows what she wants and she doesn't stop no matter what. I loved that about female protagonists. I also enjoyed the minor obstacles she has to go through every now and then. It shows her kind of personality even more, a great way to get to know her better.

This is great and so I give you 5 stars. I wish you all the best and I hope you get to the ED real soon because you deserve it. Congratulations!

May I invite you to read and rate my book as well? Thank you in advance for your help!


chrissysm73 wrote 557 days ago

First chapter sounds great, I can't wait to continue with this story as soon as I have some more time!

Fated Dreams

Stan_the_Man wrote 571 days ago

Very good book so far. I will read more soon, along with the other books on my shelf, and try to give you my opinion. Backed and rated high.

Abby Vandiver wrote 587 days ago

This is a very interesting story idea. I like it very much. The story itself is drawn out and at times vague as opposed to mysterious. Editing would take care of that problem.

Good start.


Josh W Droefam wrote 593 days ago

Wow... your voice, your characters, your story; they are flawless. Every chapter that ends begs that you start just one more. Truly your work is entrancing and the tempo is astounding.

I honestly can think of nothing to fault this with. I only wish I could keep reading all night long.

ChristineRees wrote 594 days ago

Hey Sam,

Great long summary! I think we had a read swap, so I’m here for my side of the bargain.

Unfortunately when I went to read your first chapter… it said that an unexpected error had occurred. I think you may have to re upload it again.

Anyway, I moved on to read your second chapter instead.

I absolutely adore how you write! You have such a way with words. Usually I have plenty of things to comment on, but your writing is flawless. Your story is creative and captivating. The characters are endearing.

The Binding is such a unique and thoughtful idea. I love it already.

One thing that kind of threw me was your use of the word “Argh” it reminded me of a pirate, so maybe if that’s not the direction you want to go, you should consider taking that out.

“I [didn’t] even know his name and I [was] swooning like those village bimbos…” – needs to be changed to past tense. “didn’t” instead of “don’t” and “I was” instead of “I’m”

“I had to clench my teeth to stop my jaw [from] hitting the ground.” – from needs to be added

One other thing I would like to mention is your use of the word “Goddess” it gets a little repetitive

“I couldn’t give any hint [that] the only reason I needed to be close…” – “that” should be added

Besides those few minor problems, your writing is flawless. I really enjoyed watching the meeting between Eliza and Ryan. It was cute and believable. I’m not sure how you described the scenery in the first chapter, but I would have liked to have a better idea of what their surroundings were like as I read the second chapter. Don’t get me wrong , I know they’re in a forest, but maybe give details. Was there dirt all over her hands because the ground was moist from recent rainfall? How did the air smell? Was it humid? Just a few details would really help the reader to get a better idea.

Honestly, I thought the chapter I read was brilliant, easy to read, and interesting. I love green eyes, so I’m also glad Ryan has them (Damen in Spark has green eyes as well)

Anyway, you get six stars from me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Spark!

Christine Rees

chevalier94 wrote 624 days ago

...blinded by shrapnel of my own making' is MY favorite line*
Of all the fun, okay, let's just say that I can't stop reading. The first chapter is just enough to engage readers' mood to read more and more. It rushes the adrenaline that I forget everything around me.
Your premise is good, nice surroundings, nice mind of the first-person...
You have a good flow of sentence structure, making everybody to feel comfortable reading 'em.

Keep up the good work

Elizabeth H wrote 650 days ago

Hi Sam,

Thanks to the Alliance of World Builders, I found your gem. I see Lady Midnight has done a very good job of picking nits, so I will go for the overview.

I think what I need is more clarity, therefore more narrative in the extract that you have here and I did read all of it. The Binding is a wonderful concept and Eliza is a great character. I love that she is strong and she does try to fight against fate. Eliza also has a great amount of courage and this is making her stand out.

Ryan seems to be something more than he pretends. He comes from wealth, this is obvious, both from his horse and from his necklace with the flawless ruby. At this point I am thinking back to the vanished royal houses and wondering about both him and Eliza, given that she can see the runes. I also find it interesting that Ryan nearly busts a gut to get away from guardsmen when he is in town, and yet waves them down when he needs to save Eliza at the Sanctuary. Are they his honor guards?

Getting back to the Binding, how can Bound people function if they can't move more than a mile apart? Doesn't Eliza's father go off healing without his Bound wife? Also, her sister gets caught in the Binding of a noble stranger aganst her will. How do men manage to function if they are subjected to this curse? A farmer will be more than a mile away from his farmhouse during the course of a day. A guardsman will need to ride out with his company, or is this restriction just in effect untill the Bound couple have mated?

I get the sense Ryan knows very well that Eliza is Bound to him. He is being kind, but he is not pursuing her. What else is going on here? This is so intriguing.

The setting details are splendid. I particularly like the fire mountains where they found the boy. The sulphur caven was very clear.

Nicely done.

Lady Midnight wrote 653 days ago

So I’ve reached the end (sigh). Just one thing, when they return to the foyer, Adam doesn’t appear to notice the change in Eliza’s eyes. Is this deliberate, or an oversight? I‘d also add something about the perils of the journey ahead, just to make it clear this is the final chapter.

[He was sporting a serious expression.] The word “sporting” is rather too jolly and clashes with “serious”. Suggest: His expression was serious.
[Quickly he crept…] Quickly and crept contradict each other. Have either: He left quickly, or He crept out…
[... running a finger on its back.] …running a finger along its back.
Ryan [groaned,] gripping the mark on his cheek. I don’t think you should have him groan, it makes him sound weak.
[… Navinka could keep her gaze.] …Navinka could hold his gaze.
[…Ryan said, though it wasn’t like he could say anything else.] …Ryan said, though it wasn’t as if he could say anything else.
Ryan turned to me, looking as if [he’s] escaped a thrashing. …he’d…
[My doubts had resurged again.] My doubts had resurfaced again.
[I sighed, glancing to my lap.] …glancing at my lap.
[Perhaps the lady could provide her uses for the trip.] This is a bit clunky, suggest something like: Perhaps the noble lady had her uses after all.
My giddiness had [resolved,]… This seems a little too fancy, perhaps just: My giddiness had gone…

Lady Midnight wrote 654 days ago

Another great, descriptive chapter. Just a few little tweaks needed, IMO.

Chapter Twenty

Navinka encircled her arm around Ryan’s,] This a bit clunky, suggest, Navinka linked her arm through Ryan’s…
My heart leapt [to] my throat. My heart leapt into my throat.
[With a scholar to guide us, we’d find what we needed in no time. Since asking the library staff would result in bothersome questions regarding the entrance fee.] This should be one sentence. With a scholar to guide us, we’d find what we needed in no time, since asking the library staff…etc.
“Thank you.” [That must’ve saved several days of searching.] The word “that” mars the flow. Suggest: He’d saved us days of searching.
He glanced [to] the clock at the end of the passage. “You?” He glanced at the clock…
“I’m good thanks.” Ryan glanced [to] me…Ryan glanced at me…

Lady Midnight wrote 655 days ago

A little more of the mystery revealed. The characterisation is spot on. I can picture Navinka. Proud, haughty, possessive. I can feel Adam's jealousy and Eliza's intolerable position, caught between him and Ryan, is perfectly illustrated. There's the feeling that if she's cured of The Binding, which man will she go for? Will she find herself genuinely in love with Ryan? The relationship between her and Adam seems to be that of brother and sister, at least on her part.

[I glanced to the gardens.] I glanced at the gardens.
[I’m betting your father won’t be thrilled to let you out of his sight again…] This is a bit clunky, suggest: I’m betting your father won’t let you out of his sight again…]
[…I’m stuck with you and there’s nothing we can change.”] Either: I’m stuck with you and we can’t change that. Or, I’m stuck with you and there’s nothing we can do.
[Someone cleared their throat from the shadows.] This sounds as if they’re actually clearing shadows from their throat. Suggest rejigging along the lines of: From the shadows came the sound of someone clearing their throat.
[Eventually the warmth and darkness overtook]… Missing the word ”me.”Eventually the warmth and darkness over took me.
[That was on my eleventh birthday, where Fiona treated me…] …when Fiona treated me.
[Bemused, I looked to my arms.] …I looked at my arms.
Never mind he wasn’t more than a few metres away, [anyway.] Don’t need the bracketed word.
[“I didn’t know what happened.] I don’t know what happened.
[…would be a great dishonor…] …a great discourtesy…

[Her eyes fell to me.] Her eyes fell on me.
[…no matter your excuse.”] …no matter what your excuse.
[And with a flick to Sandy’s reins…] And with a flick of Sandy’s reins…
“What else could I say?” [he uttered back.]… he muttered back.

Lady Midnight wrote 655 days ago

Blimey – yet another bombshell at the end of this chapter. You keep up the tension so well. Is Eliza Bound, or is something else happening? How’s Adam going to react to Ryan’s declaration of love. It just gets better and better.
[…ushering] me to do the same. I think “gesturing” would be better.
[…bushes towered to Adam’s forehead…] “reached “to Adam’s forehead…
[I hissed, clipping my arm on the thorns.] …”catching” my arm…
[ “You’ve been giving me nothing than one word answers] Needs the word “other” You’ve been giving me nothing other than one word answers.
[…had left me stuporous,… ] Do you mean stupefied?
[Ryan was disappointed…] How does she know he’s disappointed. Suggest: Ryan looked disappointed…

Lady Midnight wrote 657 days ago

This story gets more mysterious as it goes on and I absolutely hated Ryan's father. The mystery of Ryan's ability to avoid becoming Unbound is a perfect ploy to keep the reader absorbed.

I glanced [to] the bar… at the bar
Ryan looked back [to] his mug… at his mug
[… and sighed. He pushed his drink aside,] “sighed” and “aside” mar the flow, suggest changing aside to away.
[The lamp lights were already lit…] Either the lamps were already lit, or the lights were already lit.

I sighed, [averting his gaze,] …averting my gaze?

Lady Midnight wrote 658 days ago

Here we go Sam. So Ryan's already Bound, to the mysterious Elle, perhaps? But that still begs the question as to why he occasionally displays affection towards Eliza and sometimes calls her Elle. It's also clear that Adam is in love with Eliza, but not Bound, as he went away to be a soldier. The more I read, the more intrigued I become. Great, great storytelling.

It was screened by scaffolding and netting-[ why I hadn’t seen it earlier.] Should be a question mark here, however she answers her own question at the beginning of the sentence: it was screened by scaffolding and netting, so suggest changing to: - which is why I hadn’t seen it earlier.
[Must’ve been about ten or twelve paces.] “Must’ve been…” doesn’t work for me, perhaps change to: Maybe ten or twelve paces?.
** I was already unfastening [my] laces before the thought fully formed. The man’s strides resonated, and I counted them out as I slipped [my] shoes off. Pins and needles shot into [my] feet as they touched the freezing tiles, but I bit back [my] hiss and knotted the laces together. Finally, I draped [my] boots around my neck…** Too many “mys” – five altogether. Suggest rejigging along the lines of: I was already unfastening my bootlaces…and I counted them out as I slipped the boots off…Pins and needles shot into my feet…but I bit back a hiss… Finally I draped the boots around my neck… Reduces the “mys” to 3.
[Fortunately the man’s footfalls drowned out my own,] Suggest replacing “my own” with “mine. [Crouched on my knees…] Either: I crouched down, or I knelt down…
[…only allowed a thin sliver of light inside. That played over the hole in the ground…] Should this be one sentence? …only allow a thin sliver of light inside that played over the hole in the ground…

My hands clenched [to fists.] Don’t need the bracketed words. If her hands clenched, then it goes without saying they formed fists.
I took a particular interest [to] the mud on my boots. I took a particular interest in the mud on my boots.

Lady Midnight wrote 659 days ago

Another chapter down, Sam. The story continues to grip. The pace is consistent
and the plot ever more intriguing.

The icy blackness pierced my skin, and bubbles escaped my mouth as the cold tore into my bones. However, it wasn’t only the chill that [had] Don’t need this.
[With dexterity] Would flow better by inserting “a”: With a dexterity…
[…the pressure around my chest and neck fell limp.] Fell limp doesn’t work. Suggest: went limp or fell away.
[…and I’d seen first hand] Should be firsthand.
[He gazed to the hole in the lake,] This is a bit clunky, suggest: He gazed over at the hole in the lake…
but they held [firm.] Don’t need this. They can’t be shaky and yet firm at the same time. Just stating they held is enough.
[…the Grand Councillor’s hall] Councilors’ hall.
[ “Can you find a vet anywhere?”] Can you see a vet anywhere?

Lady Midnight wrote 659 days ago

What a cliffhanger at the end of this chapter - superb!


[To rub salt into the wound, my scarf didn’t protect me from his musky scent, either, even though it was wrapped around my mouth and nose.] This might flow better as: To rub salt into the wound my scarf, even though it was wrapped around my mouth and nose, didn’t protect me from his musky scent.

[…my hand around Ryan’s cheek and bring his lips to…] Can one curl your hand around a cheek. Suggest: …cup his cheek in my hand.
“You just need a good teacher,” Ryan said,[oblivious to my blunder.] She can’t be certain he’s oblivious. Suggest adding: seemingly oblivious…
[Couldn’t say I missed the thing,] This would flow better by changing the “I” to “I’d”. Couldn’t say I’d missed the thing.
[Caught in his green eyes, my cheeks flushed.] This sounds as if her cheek’s actually caught in his eyes. Suggest: My gaze caught by his green eyes, I felt my cheeks flush – something along those lines.

Ryan snatched at my cloak [sleeve,]… Does a cloak have sleeves?
He grasped [for] the wound… don’t need the bracketed word.
[Get him into the lake!]
[…and my knife cut into the frozen lake.] You’ve used the word “lake” as above. Suggest changing the latter to frozen water.

Lady Midnight wrote 663 days ago

Only one nitpick, Sam. The chapter flowed smoothly. Eliza’s increasing agitation as to what she should do was well illustrated. The descriptions, as usual, were superb.

As I returned to the inn, I was greeted by [chatting voices.] Chattering?

Lady Midnight wrote 665 days ago

Hi Sam, here’s my feedback on Chapter 12. Could you email me the rest? I’d love to see how this is going to turn out.
[I ambled to the window.] Would flow better as: I ambled over to the window.
[The Councillor’s Hall] This threw me a bit. Are you talking about a single councilor, in which case the apostrophe is correct, or a place where councilors meet, in which case it should be: The Councilors’ Hall… It also has only one L, according to my spellcheck.
[…came out of no-where.] Should be nowhere.
[…couldn’t help but glimpse inside.] Glimpse as you know, means to catch sight of something. It doesn’t sound right here. If the sentence had been: …as I passed a door left slightly ajar, I caught a glimpse of… As it stands I think “glimpse should be replaced by “peek”. …couldn’t help but peek inside.
My eyes fell [to the building]… onto.
[“Please, let me delay you no longer. Follow me.”] This would flow better as: “Please don’t let me delay you any longer...”
[…and missed companionship of one their own age.] This is a bit clunky. Suggest: and missed the companionship of people their own age.
[…give clues to combat it,] Would flow better as: …give clues as to how to combat it.
“The honour was all mine,” Bergundy [smirked.] Why smirked? This word’s usually used to indicate a sly sense of humour or finding fun at someone else’s expense.

Lady Midnight wrote 667 days ago

The intrigue heightens. It seems as if Eliza and Ryan are falling for each other, without the help of the Binding. But what about Adam and the as yet unseen Elle? You’ve woven an intricate plot that’s both intriguing and beguiling.

[…the rough stone gnashing at my cloak.] This conjures up the wrong image, for me. The word “gnashing” makes it sound as if the wall’s actually got teeth. Suggest replacing with “dragging.”

[…gradually the ache faded.] “Ache” seems a bit mild, given the nature of the wound. Perhaps something like “throbbing agony?”
[…I squinted through the darkness to the staircase.] …towards the staircase.
[No time to ooh and ahh;]… Do you mean Umm and ahh?

Lady Midnight wrote 669 days ago

Here we go, Sam, just a few very minor nitpicks. I loved this chapter. It was a great mixture of action and suspense, plus the extremely clever way you gave the reader some back story in the form of Ryan’s “history lesson”. I usually find beta reading a bit onerous, but I’m really enjoying this.
[The streets were more lively,] A bit clunky, suggest: The streets were even livelier…
Two were broad-shouldered and sported red and [blonde hair] blonde with an e is feminine, should be “blond” if referring to a male.
He laid me [onto] on…

Lady Midnight wrote 670 days ago

Only one nitpick this time, Sam. Other than that this chapter is excellent as usual. The narrative is cohesive, dialogue spot on and the characterisation excellent.
Before my gaze [would]… should be “could”.

i love ryza wrote 671 days ago

This book is amazing.... can't wait to read the rest of the chapters

Lady Midnight wrote 672 days ago

Here’s my feedback on Chapter 8. There might seem to be a lot of nitpicks, but they’re only minor things – very minor. I’m really getting curious now. What’s Ryan up to? He seems to be almost returning Eliza’s “affections”, but I think he’s not yet come under the Binding’s spell. The intrigue is driving me mad, I’m dying to find out what he’s up to. As always your worldbuilding skills are magnificent, with the little touches here and there such as the Flametar and the fact it smells of almonds. It’s little details such as this that helps the reader become immersed in the story.
“Oh, it’s alright,” I said, trying not to pay attention to his thumb stroking the back of my hand. Or [to] Don’t need this.
Ryan said nothing, [but his eyes gave away I’d rattled him.] This’s a bit clunky, maybe rejig as: …but the expression in his eyes told me I’d rattled him.
He ran his hand over my scarf. [I swallowed, pleasant tingles racing down my neck.] This would perhaps flow better as: Pleasant tingles ran down my neck, making me swallow hard.]

And with that he stood up and [strode to Cielo.] …strode over to Cielo.
[…the board was used to advertise criminals for the freelance hunters.] Should be: …the board also advertised criminals for the freelance hunters.
[…and the road ahead was packed with wagons, carts, riders, and pedestrians. I tucked my scarf around my face and pulled the cloak hood over, the banter strange to my ears after riding in near-silence for so long.] This doesn’t flow as well as it might. Suggest: and the road ahead was packed with wagons, carts, riders, and pedestrians. The banter sounded strange to my ears after riding in near-silence for so long and I tucked my scarf around my face and pulled the cloak hood tight over my head – something along those lines.
“Ruthwall is about four miles that way.” Ryan pointed south-west, [taking his bearings from the aqueduct.] How do we know this? Does he glance back at the aqueduct? If so, you need to indicate this.
“The paper said they happened last week,”] What happened last week? I know it’s the fires, but Eliza’s comment is a bit abrupt. Suggest: “The paper said the fires happened last week…”
[Ryan didn't hear me.] How does she know he didn’t hear her? He may have chosen to ignore her remark. Suggest: Ryan either didn’t hear, or chose to ignore me.

[He burnt down one of my husband’s barns and lost a whole month of winter stores!”] Either: He burnt down one of my husband’s barns and we lost a whole winter’s store… or …he destroyed a whole winter’s stores.
“He lives here?” I asked, [hunching in my cloak so my shoulders didn’t rub against Ryan’s arms.] Would perhaps flow better as something like: …hunching my shoulders, so they didn’t rub against Ryan’s arms.
Ryan’s brow [narrowed.] Furrowed?

Lady Midnight wrote 673 days ago

Again only nitpicks Sam and few and far between at that. This book is proving to be a work of art, so far. The professionalism of your prose is wonderful. When it’s published, I must have a copy. By the way, I’m green with envy.
[At last Cielo’s ears flopped back]… I’d say it was more likely they’d swivel back, rather than flop.
…and soon I had the light [I wanted, too.] This seems a bit tame, given their dire situation. Suggest something like: I had the light I so badly needed.
Cielo had retreated from the entrance as far as he [would dare] This would scan better as: …as far as he dared.
With a final glance [to Cielo]… at Cielo

Lady Midnight wrote 675 days ago

Another great chapter, Sam. The pathos of Eliza’s farewell to Adam, her taking of the scarf worked really well. The intrigue deepens, with Ryan’s unexplained panic and his continuing to address Eliza as “Elle.” The narrative and dialogue flow. This is definitely my kind of read.
He’d lost to the man [who’d gone to win outright,] Missing “on”: …who’d gone on to…
[He took it to heart, as every day after he pushed himself with physical exercise.] This is a bit clunky. Suggest rejigging along the lines of: He took it so much to heart that every single day after that he pushed himself with physical exercise.
[The Major raised his hand in surprise.] I don’t know why, but this didn’t work for me. Maybe: Surprised, the Major withdrew his hand.
All this lying…[it was going to catch up to me, one day.] The syntax seems a little off here. Suggest: …it would catch me up one day.
[…the quill and papers on the desk were in an organized pile…] “organized” and “pile” seem to contradict each other. Suggest: …the quill and papers on the desk were laid out neatly – something like that.
It was my scarf; the one I’d [leant] Should be “lent.”
Before it [would] Should be “could”…

Lady Midnight wrote 678 days ago

I couldn’t find a single thing to criticize in this chapter. The relationship between Eliza and Ryan is totally believable and I get the impression Ryan knows more than he’s letting on. And who’s Elle, his true love? Does Eliza remind him of her? Questions arise with every chapter, drawing the reader on, eager to learn more.
I have to say you excel at worldbuilding. Your descriptions are excellent, not too much, not too little. I feel as if I’m there.

Lady Midnight wrote 679 days ago

Hi Sam, as always, not much to nitpick. The developing relationship between Ryan and Eliza – albeit reluctant and contrived by the Binding – is really well illustrated. The struggle Eliza undergoes, each time she comes close to him is 3 dimensional, I could feel it.

[Ryan crawled over, inspecting it.] A bit clunky, suggest: Ryan crawled over to inspect it.
[…before he removed something from his belt. With his hunting knife he hacked at the bark, until a straight piece broke away. ] A bit wordy, suggest: …before he removed his hunting knife from his belt. He hacked at the bark, until a straight piece broke away.
[“Well?” He took his hands away- Goddess, it was like releasing a pressure valve in my chest- and stood back. ] This doesn’t flow as well as it might. Suggest: “Well?” He took his hands away and stood back. Goddess, it was like releasing a pressure valve in my chest.
[Cielo lifted his head from grazing, curious to what was going on.] Should be either: Cielo lifted his head, curious as to what was going on. Or: Cielo lifted his head, curious to know what was going on.
This time he laid the cloth out on the log. [“There,] all yours.” This should be the abbreviation of “they are”, so should be: “they’re”.
[I watched the white horse trot to his master]… would scan better as: I watched the white horse trot over to his master…]
With [my] awkward steps… Don’t need the bracketed word.

Lady Midnight wrote 679 days ago

As You can see Sam, only had two nitpicks for this chapter. It flowed well, with naturalistic dialogue, tight descriptions and the story continues to intrigue.

I couldn’t detect his [own one.] Don’t need this.

[“I’ll cope,” Ryan shrugged. “You need your strength to help your ankle heal. We’ll get another one later.”] This is a bit clunky. Suggest restructuring as: Ryan shrugged. “I’ll cope. You need your strength to help your ankle heal. We’ll get another one later.”

Lady Midnight wrote 682 days ago

So far, not finding much to nitpick Sam. This was an extremely well written chapter. Eliza's personality continues to reveal itself in little snatches. The physical description of Ryan was smooth and seamless, without going over the top, as so many writers do. I found myself liking him, without quite knowing why, which is great. This can happen in real life too, so I feel your skill at characterisation is excellent.

You tend to use the word "to" where it's not appropriate and there were a couple of typos, all of which I've highlighted.

'...his touch renewed her senses, spreading warmth and life where there had been cold and darkness.'
--Tale of the Binding

Either he was painfully honest, or he was [more simple]… This is a bit clunky, perhaps replace with “Simpler”.
I was pretty certain my acting skills [led]… this should be “left.”

“You don’t need to be so formal, Eliza,” he said. He glanced up [to] the moon. Should be “at”.

Lady Midnight wrote 683 days ago

Sam, I’ve read the 1st chapter and can find very little to nitpick. It flows well and considering it’s mostly exposition, because it’s first person narrative, it works. The relationship between Eliza and the absent Adam is well drawn. It’s clear they share the same sense of humor and beliefs. This opening chapter gives the reader a clear insight into Eliza’s character. She’s young and strong willed. The tension during her flight from the bear’s great and the cliffhanger at the end works very well indeed. I’ll get back to you asap about chapter 2.
‘She hid her heart deep within, while the world begged to see its light once more...’
--Tale of the Binding

…he was due to home tomorrow. Either he was due home tomorrow, or he was due to come home tomorrow.... .
…I climbed back into the forest depths. A few feet away lay the familiar criss-crossing trail. I ambled to... should be "towards" it.

I almost slapped myself. Get a hold of yourself, Eliza! You’re seventeen... "myself" and "Yourself" jar a little, suggest changing the 2nd to "get a grip".
...was going on this particular night- and I had nothing to defend myself. Missing "with". I had nothing to defend myself with.

scargirl wrote 686 days ago

a great fantasy read. this is hard to do with so many on the market...greatly developed characters and chemistry...good read...
what every woman should know

Bug289 wrote 706 days ago


I found your book on the lending library. I really like the flow of the prose. Eliza has a little spunk, which I like and she also shows a bit of the fear she is feeling leaving everything she knows.

I like the mystery surrounding Ryan, although I am not always convinced by Eliza being able to figure out he's lying. For example, his first excuse of being a traveller rather than a hunter: why did she think a hunter is a more realistic excuse? Why does she think he's lying? Perhaps she sees it in the way he casts his eys down, or an off note in his voice. I don't really get to see what Eliza is seeing and therefore why she detects he's lying. Same at the end of chapter 3.

I also don't understand why Eliza is so scared to tell him until chapter 3. I would prefer to have her sister's story earlier to better understand why she is where she is. Just a suggestion.

Other than a couple of editing notes, which are more choice than anything else I couldn't come up with anything else to say.

Overall I enjoyed it, it's well structured and the characters are believable (it is just the description around their dialogue that I think could be worked on).

I enjoyed it!


Shelby Z. wrote 709 days ago

Your very good at painting pictures for the reader to view.
I think I read this before but I'm not sure. it sounds familiar.
It appears to develop very well. Your characters and plot are thought out well.
The title is different.
Good job!

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

P.S. Please take a look at my pirate adventure Driving Winds, when you have time.

jenniferkillby wrote 727 days ago

I found this wonderfully written. I loved the descriptions, the characterization, the narration. I found no fault in any of it. The storyline is great. The sense of mystery in this is enticing. I wish I had more to say, but all I can muster is "wow".

I wish you the best of luck with this.
Jennifer Killby - The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey

Adeel wrote 732 days ago

An amusing, descriptive and well written book. Your writing style is very impressive, dialogue are realistic with vivid charachters and narrative is at great pace. Highly rated.

Darkhorse_darksky wrote 739 days ago

Just scan read the 12 chapters (I love fantasy) and this isn't a bad story. It's a bit predictable in the sense we've got a sassy, "strong", argumentative female MC - the lovesick best friend and the awkward yet attractive love interest, but it's got potential!
The curse is interesting. It brings in questions of free will, manipulation and desire, I like.
First person is really hard to pull off - there were far too many paragraphs that start with the word "I" ... "I slouched" "I watched" and so on - this is all the way through but really really obvious in chapter 12.
Also, it's a little ... flabby(?) In places, the imagery could be tightened and more succinct.
The MC has an appealing voice, indeed, the cast are quite well developed and the world building isn't bad at all. At the moment it's a 4 star story - but I really think this could be a 5!

Good luck with it.