Book Jacket

 

rank 185
word count 22331
date submitted 13.04.2012
date updated 27.01.2013
genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Children's, Young...
classification: universal
incomplete

The Puppet Spell

Emma Adams

My sister's invisible, my uncle's missing, and the family cat's a monster. Do I wish life was still normal? Hell yeah.

 

NOTE - NO LONGER ACCEPTING REVIEW SWAP REQUESTS - sorry guys, but I don't have the time right now!

As of January 2013, The Puppet Spell' has been published as an e-book by Rowanvale Books and is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers. For now I'm leaving the first part of the book here for anyone who wants to read a sample (and hopefully be tempted to buy the book! ;) )

Unlike her rebellious sister Lucinda, fifteen-year-old Lexa prefers to spend her free time playing video games, fighting the forces of evil with her partner-in-crime Marlon. But when Lucinda steals an invisibility potion from their uncle’s storeroom, she unleashes chaos into their lives. Lexa and Marlon find themselves catapulted into a world far more dangerous than any video game, full of misleading illusions, sinister Conjurors and deadly Fey, and threatened by a man with a grudge known as the Puppeteer. Accompanied only by Lexa’s uncle’s unreliable (and rather dangerous) Chimera, Lexa and Marlon must navigate this world to find Lucinda- before they too fall under the spell of the puppet master…

Many thanks to Bradley Wind for the cover design!

 
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tags

adventure, children, chimera, faeries, fantasy, fey, illusionist, illusions, magic, magician, monsters, puppets, young adults

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122 comments

 

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Chris Whitson wrote 650 days ago

Hi Emma. You have a great idea and have written it wonderfully! Your writing is clean and consice. No wasted words which keeps your story developing with good pace. Your settings and circumstances are described vividly and placed me in the story. All of the characters have distinct personalities and their quirkiness is fresh. You are obviously very talented! This story is put together incredibly well. I will put this on my WL until my next shelf dusting, which will be soon.
Highly marketable, very highly starred, and most enjoyable.
Chris Whitson/ A SPICY HURRICANE

Robert Hinch wrote 659 days ago

Hi Emma,
Wow! I curled up into this book like a blanket on a rainy day. Interesting plot, great characters (I really liked the Chimera) and really well written. I've backed it and rated it very highly. I also think it's very marketable and would appeal to both sexes. If I was the editorial committee I'd be fast tracking the publishing.
You have set yourself up well for many sequels, but I Thought perhaps it ended a bit soon- I was greedy for more. But I'm sure you have a plan, and it was very enjoyable as it is.
well done! I hope it gets to the attention of the editorial committee.
Regards
Rob

upforgrabs wrote 724 days ago

Wow! I read the first chapter in no time at all (a good thing!) and loved every word of it. Very well-paced, no "flab" to your writing, an engaging style and voice and, so far as I can tell, no errors. I loved the "Narnia" reference and the juxtaposition of that with the cat talking (in a lion-like voice) was very clever. Good choices of names, though - Lucinda, Devon, Marlon etc aren't "conventional" names, which in a way is suitable for a fantasy story. I will definitely check back later to read on and I'm giving this six stars! If the quality holds up throughout, I'll be very surprised if HarperCollins passes on it. I'm confident that this will get to the Desk.

A fantastic read!

James
"Tamria"

Kayla H wrote 672 days ago

YARG review:
Chapter one:
The opening line is wonderfully intriguing: “The strangeness started the day we moved house for the thirty-eighth time.” It gives a definite sense of the story’s voice.
Your descriptions are wonderfully vivid and unique. Especially the description of Uncle Devon looking like a “bedraggled mop” and wearing clothes “the same colour as the pavement.”
Spider is a great addition to the story.
I’m a little unconvinced that Lexa and Marlon would give up exploring the corridor so easily, especially after Spider moves out of the way to scratch at a door. Later it is mentioned that this door is locked, but at the time when they approach the door there is no mention of it being locked.
Chapter two:
I like the development of Lucinda pretending to not remember anything about the laboratory. And then using the potion she found there to make a big scene.
The more I read the more I like your writing style—it’s easy to picture the characters and what’s going on in the story, but you don’t clutter it up with a lot of description. The pacing is fast and there is a constant hint of humor.
Chapter three:
I like Lexa and Marlon’s interaction with Spider.
Really, really great story. I can definitely believe you should be able to find a market for this.

upforgrabs wrote 668 days ago

Hello, I'm back with another chapter review. Once again, I couldn't find much to criticize - well, anything, really! This is top-notch writing. I'll add it to my space as soon as I get a free spot on my shelf - which will be soon, when Cara's book hits the Desk. Again, I suspect the fact I can't find much to fault is due to your writing being largely dialogue - dialogue's a lot harder to do wrong than prose.

I'd really appreciate it if you took another look at my first few chapters. I've recently done a major editing overhaul, and I think you'll find the new versions are much, much stronger than what you read before! At least I'm
hoping that's what you'll think. I am now seriously thinking about sending off to agents (some time in the next couple weeks or so) and I'm trying to get as much feedback on chapters 1-3 as possible.

Thanks again for another great read. Will be back for more soon!

James
"Tamria"

http://www.authonomy.com/writing-community/profile/me/

***

CHAPTER 3

LOL, your description in the first paragraph made me think back to my uni days. Throbbing music, pounding walls, constantly-ringing doorbell, people tramping up and down stairs all night… YEP!

You have two “constantly”s in that paragraph, close together: “The doorbell rang constantly”, “people constantly going up and down stairs.” Unless the word repetition is deliberate, I’d change one of them. –> “people endlessly going up and down stairs” ? Or how about "people relentlessly going up and down stairs."

“This is stupid, I thought.” – you had a speech bubble followed by “I thought” a few lines ago – so I don’t think we need the “I thought” again. –> “’No.’ I couldn’t keep a tremor out of my voice. *This is stupid.* It wasn’t as if they hadn’t disappeared before.”

I like this phrase: “over the course of the past day the outside world had transformed into something threatening, a place of menace and danger.” Good phrase!

I think is the first long paragraph you have! (starting “Maybe I’d been in too much shock…”) It actually sticks out, since nearly all your paragraphs are very short – your writing being so dialogue-rich. Although this is fine, I think you might break it into two chunks. I’d insert a paragraph break before “Strangest of all…” It’s up to you of course – it may be fine as it is.

“’Objects that have no place in this world,’ I said, quoting Uncle Devon.” – if she’s quoting him, should this be in interior quotation marks?

Spider the chimera/cat is quite a fascinating character! Sort of like an evil miniature Aslan... And the way his eyes turn red when he talks reminds me strongly of the villain Kueller in my story, who has green eyes (like many a cat) which turn red when provoked to anger. There’s something deeply unsettling about red eyes…

What a great chapter ending!

Kestrelraptorial wrote 379 days ago

This is a fun adventure, and I like the world of Ebony you’ve created. It’s interesting that Lexa wishes for something mystical to happen, yet when it does, she’s hesitant to explore. It’s more Lucinda and Marlon that draw her into the magical world, and Lexa, though I like the contrast between her and her sister, I think needs a bit more to her. I was excited when she asked her uncle Devon to teach her magic. That would be cool.

The scene where the meaning of the book’s title becomes clear is quite scary. Scariest actually was the woman’s scream – and then Lexa realizing what she had been turned into. Before this scene, I wasn’t very intimidated by a villain called the ‘Puppetmaster’, but the puppets shocked me. Well done.

I’m curious – wasn’t this story on the list for YALF? And like, next to be reviewed by that group? Why remove it now? Congratulations on the publishing contract by the way. I'll be buying this book for sure!

Spilota wrote 414 days ago

I remember looking at this and enjoying what I read some time ago, so was very pleased to be able to get the Kindle version. Just popping it on my shelf for a week or so.

carol jefferies wrote 423 days ago

Hi Emma,

Congratulations on the success of your book 'The Puppet Spell.'

I was drawn in straight away with Lucinda's disappearance following a house move.

I liked the way you described the houses passed in the car, 'They looked like cardboard cut-outs all identically tall and narrow, like lines of a blunt pencils. Everywhere around us was grey as if someone had forgotten to add colour to the picture. it matched Lucinda's mood perfectly.'

I liked the description of the eccentric Uncle Devon too.

Well written so I'm backing it,

Carol Jefferies
(Love for Lilian)

Seringapatam wrote 446 days ago

Emma. I love your idea for this story. I can see you have put a lot of effort into writing this but I can see also that you have probably put as much into the planning too. Well done. Great story, with great characters and used so well. The pace to the book is great too and you are clever in that you introduce a character to speed the pace up and then swap or remove them to slow it down again. I loved it and I score it high. 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

Cathy Hardy wrote 446 days ago

This is lovely and written with precision. It flows so well and I would buy it, even though I am old. Lovely dialogue and I wish you luck. 6 stars.

Lara wrote 471 days ago

Some interesting material here, not always totally original in feel, but gripping none the less/ Backed
Lara
A RELATIVE INVASION

John Philip wrote 541 days ago

The product of a lively imagination. Beautifully written, too.
Well done! John Philip

PolythenePram wrote 543 days ago

YARG Review

Oh my, I really emjoyed this. I love Spider by the way (love cats in books anyway, kind of a thing for me). But this is a great concept and a really easy read (in a good way. Found myself swept along.I like the fact its not overwritten which I think is really important for YA.
A tiny little nit (and this is so small its a bit silly) but the txt messages don't read like text messages. Seem a bit formal. That's all I could find though.

Highly starred!

Eve - The Art of Kissing Frogs x

Diane60 wrote 551 days ago

CHIRG
Hi Emma,

i've read all 7 and enjoyed it very much. great creation of another world and rules. so many familiar themes but they are handled very well. it is great for your age range and maybe beyond!
;)
diane
GRUMBLEBUG AND ME

Abby Vandiver wrote 584 days ago

Congrats on getting published. The story is good and a good read for any age.

Bravo!

Abby

Racheal McGillivary wrote 590 days ago

Hi Emma here is another YARG/ YAL review

Chapter 3

I love where the story is going. They go back to the room and talk to spider, who is really a chimera, surprise! And they now go through the portal! How exciting! I can only imagine right now what the other realm will be like. I found it very unique how the portal was a computer screen and I am wondering where Uncle Devon and Lucinda are!

Can't wait to read chapter 4!

Racheal McGillivary

Cas Meadowfield wrote 591 days ago

CHIRG
This is a very strong fantasy. It's full of individual characters and vivid descriptions.
Ch1 worn-out houses.. Worn-out gardens ..
In same paragraph
Ch2 dramatic stuff ... Loved the paragraph... The phone went dead.
Ch4 the plot thickens... The overseer leader has disappeared!
Ch6 scary ...
Ch7 the Fey Regent has also been kidnapped ...the puppeteer at work again?
six stars
Cas
The Wind Maker

klouholmes wrote 608 days ago

CHIRG Review

Hi Emma, It captured me - the centering of the situation in Lexa's perspective. Her voice is well-done, telling about the move with suspense. Although it takes awhile before we learn why the girls are with Uncle Devon, that comes along, as does Marlon's identity. I wondered how Lexa knew Marlon? Also, I wish you'd put her name, Lexa, in dialogue so that it becomes distinct early on. The description from her POV is good and the water balloon, the students, really brought out the frustrating strangeness of her life. "Chipped plate" - I wasn't sure what was meant by that. I liked how this is totally realistic at first while Lexa groans at how different her situation is to other kids. Lucinda is funny and real at the same time while the feeling about Spider reminds me of a girl I knew who resented the family cat staring at her. So all this suddenly goes to the lab and like chemistry, the real stuff switches. It promises to build on these parallel planes. There's a subtle brooding humor going on here. I think kids would be captured too by the style, Lexa's voice, and the odd things that might have explanation. Shelved - Katherine

Shasta wrote 612 days ago

This is witty, fun, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

mikegilli wrote 629 days ago

Hi Emma,
I've enjoyed your entertaining book. Great characters, Lucinda, Spider the Chimera, Uncle Devon.. all unforgettable and fun to watch. It's complete so no point suggesting changes, maybe update the details of computers and mobile phones? As for invisibility I've read that such cloaks may be really feasible in future, and dark matter plus particles that vanish in another dimension. seem to exist. maybe in your next book you could link your magic to such things and take in us sci-fi fans! Meanwhile your puppet master can sit on my shelf a bit longer.
All the best.............. mikegilli................... the Free

mikegilli wrote 629 days ago

Hi Emma,
I've enjoyed your entertaining book. Great characters, Lucinda, Spider the Chimera, Uncle Devon.. all unforgettable and fun to watch. It's complete so no point suggesting changes, maybe update the details of computers and mobile phones? As for invisibility I've read that such cloaks may be really feasible in future, and dark matter plus particles that vanish in another dimension. seem to exist. maybe in your next book you could link your magic so such things and take in us sci-fi fans! Meanwhile your puppet master can sit on my shelf a bit longer.
All the best.............. mikegilli................... the Free

Lenny Banks wrote 636 days ago

Hi Emma, I read chapter 5. I enjoyed reading this piece as it reminded me so much of the CS Lewis books. You have a godo idea and its is great to include mythological characters as it drives curiosity and excites the imagination at the same time. You have written the story well and describe the environment very well. Good Luck.
Kindest Regards and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: AT The Rock
I woudl appreciate a return read when you can find the time. (Hope you enjoyed your trip).

Oriax wrote 645 days ago

YARG review

Hello Emma,
I like your description of the rows of houses, instantly recognisable as very scruffy London or another English city. Lucinda is the kind of character who’s going to find trouble, and the narrator is the foil who is going to have to give the explanations and sort things out.

I’d like to know who the ‘I’ is, brother, sister, older, younger? I did wonder whether it was reasonable leaving it until the next chapter to reveal that they’re twin sisters. The reader forms a distinct impression of the two of them in that first chapter, and for me Lucinda was the younger sister, so it might be better to say they’re twins from the start.

First clue that Spider is no ordinary cat – he was waiting on a strange doorstep, and ordinary cat would have hightailed it back home.

One question, and it’s one I often ask, why is moving always so easy in books? Who brings in the furniture, sorts it out into the right rooms, hangs up the clothes, makes the beds? I like the idea of them moving about a lot, but this makes them seem like refugees moving into different rent rooms.

I don’t have a clear idea of the house. It must be immense for the girls to be confused by all the doors, and for them to have not noticed a whole corridor. This might work for younger kids, but I think older ones might need a plausible explanation.

In the sequence following Lucinda’s disappearing act, I got just a bit confused. Lexa and Marlon found her behind the sports block, with a smug look on her face. How did she stop being invisible? In the car Uncle Devon says they will have to wait for the effects to wear off, implying that Lucinda should still be invisible.

I like Uncle Devon’s explanation that he collects things that have no place in our world. It reminds me a bit of Uncle Andrew in Narnia, but nice where Uncle Andrew is repulsive. Opens up all kinds of possibilities for adventures. Sounds dangerous too. Which is why it’s surprising that when Lexa and Marlon go back to the secret room, it’s open. Why isn’t it locked? Why haven’t the students noticed it?

The bold font at the end of chapter 3 seemed to be Marlon, not Spider, which was a bit confusing. Also, Marlon seems to take charge, when it isn’t his house, his room or his cat. He takes it upon himself to open the gateway and go through it regardless of the problems he’s causing Lexa. Maybe the character change is intentional. He acts almost as if he’s possessed, which might be the effect you want to convey.

I saw from some of your earlier comments that you have condensed a lot of the story in the first chapters. The tone and the humour of the opening led me to think of a mid-teen readership, but by the end of the second chapter, the pace has speeded up and seems to me to be more geared to a younger age group. If you’re aiming for younger kids you’ve probably got the balance about right between backstory and plot. Young adults though would need more convincing in my opinion, and would maybe want the characters like Marlon and Uncle Devon rounding out more. And some of the backstory putting back in!
High stars from me – this is one of the most satisfying reads in this genre I’ve come across in a while.
Jane

Nancy Lopez wrote 647 days ago

Hi, Emma,

I just came back to reread your chapter 1 and see how all the editing was coming along.
Wow! What a difference. By bringing up more information and arriving at the house sooner, the story moves faster getting to the real crux.

I have added you to my shlef list for next rotation...
Keep up the great book. This is an interesting story.
Wish I could give it more stars :( but the galaxy is full

Nancy Lopez
Backward Glances


Chris Whitson wrote 650 days ago

Hi Emma. You have a great idea and have written it wonderfully! Your writing is clean and consice. No wasted words which keeps your story developing with good pace. Your settings and circumstances are described vividly and placed me in the story. All of the characters have distinct personalities and their quirkiness is fresh. You are obviously very talented! This story is put together incredibly well. I will put this on my WL until my next shelf dusting, which will be soon.
Highly marketable, very highly starred, and most enjoyable.
Chris Whitson/ A SPICY HURRICANE

sarahdalton wrote 652 days ago

YARG review

Hi Emma,

Love the opening. You dive straight into the action without it being over the top. I think you have a natural feel for writing and that comes out in the first few paragraphs. it relaxes the reader in, lets them know that they can chill with this book.

I noticed a couple of times when you repeat a word or phrase two or more times in quick succession - run down and elusive. I'm sure things like that would be picked up in a proofread so it isn't a bit deal.

The characters jump off the page and the dialogue is excellent.

Will come back and read more.

Sarah
The Blemished

ChristineRees wrote 654 days ago

Emma,

Sorry this read swap took so long, but I’m finally here for my side of the bargain!

You’re great at imagery. It’s easy to picture Lucinda sulking and acting angry in the car right at the start. It shows off some of her personality.

Interesting storyline. I have read your first chapter and really enjoyed it. You have a lot of hooks from the mysterious door, to the cat acting weird, and the new move. Also, how the Uncle barely talks about himself, which leads the reader to believe that there is more than what meets the eye with him.

I really like your writing style. It flows nicely. I found one or two grammar errors, but unfortunately can’t remember where they were in the chapter.

Overall, I like the idea. It’s a bit eerie, but I like that. Highly starred.
Looking forward to reading more and hearing what you think of my book, Spark!

Christine Rees
Spark

Racheal McGillivary wrote 655 days ago

YAL review

Chapter 2 (I had already read chapter one in a swap ;)

I like how the story continues. I love the realtionship bewtween the twins and the continuation of Uncle Devon's secret job and now invisibility! A few things cought me up, however, but are not a big a deal.

I could have done without the paragraph that talks about them moving to the school, and her and Marlon becoming friends. You already stated this in the first chapter, so I felt it wasn't neccessary to say it again.

It confuses me when you say they have been at that school since year seven (7th grade) and have been there for three years, but then it also sates that they are seniors? I think that's what I read, please correct me if I am wrong, so the times don't add up. But, I can totally be wrong about this! So ignore this if I am. :)

This line read a little funny to me, and I thought it could be written a little differently to make the reading smoother. "And, in a way that, looking back, was totally unlike me, I grabbed his arm...." The commas threw me off, though they are placed where they should be, it was just too cluttered. so maybe rearranging it to read like, "Acting out of anger, and out of character for myself, I grabbed his arm...."

"It's going to sound crazy, but..." could flow better as "This is going to sound crazy, but..." Just a thought.

Other than these things, the story read wonderfully like the first chapter and is very good. If I were to buy this in a store, I wouldn't have been disappointed. :)

Racheal

Robert Hinch wrote 659 days ago

Hi Emma,
Wow! I curled up into this book like a blanket on a rainy day. Interesting plot, great characters (I really liked the Chimera) and really well written. I've backed it and rated it very highly. I also think it's very marketable and would appeal to both sexes. If I was the editorial committee I'd be fast tracking the publishing.
You have set yourself up well for many sequels, but I Thought perhaps it ended a bit soon- I was greedy for more. But I'm sure you have a plan, and it was very enjoyable as it is.
well done! I hope it gets to the attention of the editorial committee.
Regards
Rob

upforgrabs wrote 659 days ago

Another great chapter, interesting with a gripping ending! The character of Spider, the Chimaera, is becoming more and more fascinating. Sort of an evil Aslan! Although I'm not sure if he's good or evil yet.... I guess the ambiguity's the point.

Not much really to crit here and there were so many phrases I liked - like "moonlight danced like liquid crystal." I have to confess, I might have to adapt some of these for myself! Consider that a compliment. I never mind if other people borrow phrases from my story; it's what all writers do, consciously or otherwise.

Thank you again for your support of "Tamria" and I hope to hear your opinions as the story unfolds.

James
"Tamria"
http://authonomy.com/books/42617/tamria-book-one/


***


CHAPTER 4


“my anger melted completely, to be replaced by fear.” – don’t think you need “to be”, the sentence flows better without it. –> “my anger melted completely, replaced by fear.”

I like “slither of fear crept down my spine.” Note to self: Do. Not. Steal.

“bigger than any rodent I’d encountered.” – don’t know if you really want the verb “encountered” here. Does one “encounter” rodents? One might encounter a bear, a lion, a dragon, a Ringwraith or a Death-eater or whatever – an encounter is a rare, big or important meeting. Rodents aren’t any of those things. –> “bigger than any rodent I had ever seen.”

I like “as if dug by particularly adventurous moles.” Another phrase I’m tempted to adapt. In the final chapter of my first book (in its current “short” form) there’s an underground warren with lots of tunnels. I could use it for that! (P.S. Feel free to borrow any phrases of mine you like. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

“the screaming rose to a crescendo” – a sort-of tautology. A musical term, “crescendo” is a gradual rise in volume. You can’t have a rise of a rise! Maybe you could have “the screaming crescendoed”. I know that isn’t a proper verb but nothing wrong with being inventive….

“Moonlight danced like liquid crystal.” – another brilliant phrase. I’m REALLY tempted to borrow this one. I think I’ll have “Moonlight danced like liquid silver” instead, so it’s not an out-and-out theft.

Can a cat “saunter” ? It’s not a verb that springs to mind when I’m thinking of cats. But a clever choice. And it gives the cat a human personality.

“Looking around, I saw that the visibility wasn’t much better than in the tunnel.” – a slightly tautological sentence. How can you *see* visibility? Maybe you could *notice* the visibility is weaker. Or just cut that part of the sentence out: –> “I looked around. The visibility here wasn’t much better than in the tunnel.”

“as if the stones themselves had voices.” – wow! I really like that.

Like the Lord of the Rings reference. But seriously, two people in fear of their lives and completely baffled as to what’s going on aren’t going to exchange banter of this sort, are they? Mind you, you could level the same criticism at my book! The Brothers still manage to joke around in the Twisted Forest…

“Marlon said, but was ignored.” – the latter half of this sentence is passive. I’d make it active. –> “’Rumours?’ Marlon said, but Uncle Devon ignored him. He looked at me…@

Before “Anyway, I can’t go back.” you need a speech mark, it’s missing.

“still looked less authoritative than a mop.” – lol! Great phrase. Occasional flashes of humour like this really make your writing distinctive.

Oooh! So Spider is a chimera! Now I’m interested…


“Marlon and I stared at it in mute horror.” – I like “mute horror” but I feel “at it” could go. There’s no question what they’re staring at. –> “Marlon and I stared in mute horror.”


“Yeah, that’s how cool we were.” – lol.

“some long- forgotten gods” – you have a space here after the hyphen which doesn’t need to be.

I like “tendrils of mist”.

AH! There is a BIG similarity between our stories. In the backstory of my series (revealed much later) there were also once two “parallel” worlds, Tamria and Sheoth, which were joined. A magical war two thousand years ago between the Ancients of Tamria and the people of Sheoth caused the two worlds to be split apart. Both races were nearly destroyed during the conflict and the survivors of Sheoth dedicated themselves to wiping out the last of the Ancients, in Jedi-purge fashion. As the number of Ancients dwindled, knowledge of Magic slowly passed out of Tamria and by the time of the story it is a dying practice. Aloria, the heroine, is the sole surviving Ancient and heir to their powers, and the objective of the villain, Kueller, a sorcerer from Sheoth, is to acquire her abilities and use them to overthrow his master, the god-like ruler of his world, Lord Sheogoth. Ooooops… am I giving too much away? Never mind – you won’t find out any of this until the second and third books!

Oh, good chapter ending! Is Marlon dead?

Brittany Engstrand wrote 659 days ago

YARG review/ return read

This sort of reminds me of one of Lemony Snkicket's stories, or Tim Burton, something dark but seriously fun. I only found one grammar thing that stuck out... "It too was locked" to "it, too, was locked". Definitely placing this one on my shelf and giving you some stars!

Brittany E.
Melaney and the Mirror

Penny Leigh wrote 660 days ago

The story is engaging. There are a ton of things that make the story stand out. This will go to the ed desk and happy to support it.

Millicent Ashby
THE GLASS SERPENT

Lucy Middlemass wrote 660 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Ch 19

The last chapter! Oh no!

Lexa and Lucinda sort of say the same thing about whatever of Uncle Devon’s they might have broken, although Lucinda adds “bloody”. Maybe that’s because they are twins? If not, I’d have them say something slightly more different from each other.

I wasn’t sure if Lucinda did a spell to free the people in the portraits or if Spider’s change releases them.

“noticed instantly” I think “noticed” suggests a sort of casual-ness which doesn’t go very well with “instantly.” I think just “saw” would be better.

They didn’t stay in the real world for long! I was expecting them to go back to their normal lives straightway. It’s good to surprise the reader, and this way there’s plenty of space for explanations and tying up loose ends.

You have bold for Lexa’s text to Marlon, but not for his to her. Also, the bold made me think of Spider straightaway, so I think it would work better if you only used it for him.

I love that Marlon puts Lexa as the lead in his game - that brings a good sense of roundness to the story. Lexa has learnt that she’s brave, and she’s found out who she is and what she‘s capable of. In a way, because Lexa has Marlon, Lucinda is the one who ends up isolated. Which is fine because she deserves it!

I’m sorry to have finished this, but of course it’s nice to have found out how it ends. There’s room for a sequel too, don’t you think?

Lucy

Lucy Middlemass wrote 661 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Ch 18

This is a climatic chapter. Lexa faces the enemy alone and is forced to look beyond the illusions. Really good stuff, probably my favourite chapter so far, although I do like any part where Uncle Devon is called a mop too.

“Pretend you’re somewhere else” and “Eliros said something else” are maybe a bit too similar to be next to each other.

The part about television channels blurring into one isn’t something I’m familiar with. Maybe scenes in a television programme are sometimes overlapped. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I don’t quite know what you mean.

“Steeling myself for the impact.” I like this, because I thought you meant she was going to jump and the impact would be physical. But you mean emotionally - that’s clever.

“You take things far too seriously…” The puppeteer is perfectly horrible! I really like this bit.

“like a death sentence.” Except that what he’s said is the opposite of a death sentence. There’s a problem with the death sentence they’ve been given. Maybe that’s deliberate.

Phew! Back to reality, and all together. Spider has sort of come good, which is nice especially if he’s going to carry on being a family pet. I’ll miss reading this but I‘m looking forward to seeing how it ends. More to follow…

Lucy

revteapot wrote 662 days ago

Sorry, I was delayed longer than I'd like, but once I got to it, I enjoyed this very much.
Your characterisation is good and your dialogue lively. You kept the tension up and the bait firmly on the hook of your story. I had to stop at three chapters because I have a reading list as long as my arm, but I could easily have carried on.
Very little interrupted my read, but I made the following notes:

"freak sailing accident " - shades of cliche. Perhaps just 'sailing accident'? (Or does it need to be freakish?)
I like the slow introduction of the otherworldly. Nicely done.
"nearly colliding with someone dressed as a giant carrot. Evidently it was a fancy-dress party" - I liked this aside :)

well done with a very good story.

Lindsay
A Priest's Tale

SRWENT wrote 663 days ago

Interesting story, a slow build up and introduction. The Cat I find mysterious and want to know more but it comes later. And the Narnia mention, nice touch. In chapter 1 You repeat words" Lucinda forever bemoaned the fact "that that" he couldn't simply find a normal job..." The second "that" can be deleted.

"He hissed at me paragraph: 2 "stared" close together. maybe replace the second one with, "our eyes locked and the contest began, until my eyes began to water and I blinked a tear away and the contest was over."

"And Lucinda very nearly fell flat on her face." No giggle or remark, play with this one, its your call. Nice story.

the dragon flies wrote 663 days ago

[The Puppet Spell]

Thanks for your kind words of A SHADOW IN A SHADY COUNTRY. Now, back to yours. It starts as so many books do: well written, fun to start reading but will it hold that promise? That was until I reached the explanations about Uncle Devon and I felt there was something more to him I needed to know about. Next, the cat starts talking and the story really takes of. I expected to be in for a little stroll in a familiar town - your lazy read on a Sunday morning, and before I knew it, I was halfway chapter 2 where the fun really starts.
This book isn't merely good, it is fantastibiculous (whatever that may mean)!
There is one question I haven't yet been able to answer. Lexa & Lucinda's parents are dead. Seeing that they were sailing, I would believe that they did have some money. Also, wouldn't they have closed a life insurance? With that money the girls should be set for life and so Uncle Devon could at least use that to get some proper accomodations. Or is there something I'm overlooking here?

Sara Stinson wrote 664 days ago

I have been captivated from the beginning. You started at a great pace and your story reads smoothly. Lexa longed for something fantastical to happen -- At some point in our childhood, each one of us has felt this way. Lucinda and Lexa are sisters. Marlon is Lexa's friend. Then we have the cat named, Spider. (Spider guards a door almost as if he were a guard dog.) I enjoy animals! And do not forget the different acting uncle, Uncle Devon. By the end of chapter one, I wanted to roll my eyes at Lucinda....irritating Lucinda. You did a marvelous job at making her unlikeable. I have no complaints about your story line. I give you a big thumbs up and a 5! I will for sure place you on my bookshelf soon!

Good Luck! SaraStinson

Sara Stinson wrote 664 days ago

I was captivated in the first chapter. You start out at a great pace and your style of writing is engaging. I could feel the emotions of the sisters in the car to the point I wanted to roll my eyes at Lucinda. Your intro to each character in the first chapter gives us enough of their personalities to set the stage. I am giving this book a 5! This book is definitely going places with HarperCollins!

Wonderful Reading! Sara Stinson (FINGER BONES)

Nancy Lopez wrote 664 days ago

Yarg review:

Hi, Emma,

I read your chapter 1. This first chapter has many emotions built in and that is something I enjoy.
I do have a few nit picks which I feel might help.

Way down you have a paragraph that starts with "All in all..." this paragraph I feel should be brought up higher and included in the first page. It is an emotinal attracter and a reader/story connector.

As it stands now, your first page does not connect effectively.

Your first sentence made me pause: read it out loud. My mind started to rewrite it and in my head this is what I heard: We were constanly on the move. We settled today in our new home for the 38th time in my short lived 14 years. Or however old she is. This sets up a question to the reader and, the 'all in all ' paragraph will hit it in the heart and bam, connect! Its information at it highest context so when you spend pages on this move, the reader will follow. This is just my opinion, this is your story and I do not mean to step out of bounds If I have.

--about the move, its too long and wordy. Reading it several times, it can be reduced into 2 paragraphs to move the scene faster. And i would end with the uncle saying 'here it is number twenty-seven.'
--try to avoid phrases such as looked like. You used that three times in one chapter
--there are places, especially in the opening where the overuse of commas hinders the rythm anf low and drags the scene.
--you also have in this first chapter numerous of: at that moment-just then-suddenly... Some of these can be removed and will enhance the drama effect of the passage.

My favorite part was learning of her past- learning of the constant moving- and the cat. The cat's personality wins the chapter over.
There's a lot to like here and it makes for an interesting story. I'm curoius to see how it unfolds in further chapters. I owed you a review and my list is getting long so I will return to read chapter by chapter.

Good luck with this piece.
Can't wait to see what the puppets will do- i read the tags
also, your word count is right on target--so good job with that.
Highly- highly starred. . .

Nancy
"Backward Glances"

Lucy Middlemass wrote 664 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Ch 17

I like “a girl from nowhere” and “it isn’t practical for you to remain alive.” The latter is so cold and nasty!

The puppeteer is such a good villain! He comes across as a bit unhinged, which makes him more frightening. I think because much of the horror (especially the puppet-making) has turned out to be an illusion, it softens it somewhat and this makes it more suitable for a younger audience. I also like that the threat of the puppeteer is going to spread to the normal world. Touches like this set it apart from some of the other other-world YA books I’ve read here.

Marlon is a good character too, and Lexa is right about him seeming to fit in. I hope that before the end of the book, Lexa finds her own place to fit as well.

“The next room was identical.” Do you mean to the empty ones or to the one with the trapdoor?

The references back to the video games Marlon and Lexa played in the real world give the story a sense of roundness. I might have said this before, if I did I must have really meant it!

I have to leave it here for now, with Marlon in danger once again. Only two more chapters to go, and you sure know how to build up the tension. I’m no longer sure my laptop is real…

Lucy

ELAdams wrote 664 days ago

I've had a couple of comments about including too much backstory/ narrative in the first chapter, so I've given the first couple of chapters a re-edit and rearrangement, and cut out some of the unnecessary stuff. I'd be really grateful for any feedback on whether it works or not! :)

maretha wrote 664 days ago

CHIRG REVIEW - The Puppet Spell - Emma Adams
Dear Emma, What a delightful, well written story. I loved the two sisters Lexa and Lucinda - typical of two siblings of course, always arguing. The cat, Spider was introduced very subtly - he had to be something different as the reader finds out - he speaks inside your head.
Your plot setting, development of the main characters, especially through dialogue is very good and makes for
thoroughly enjoyable reading.
High stars and I'll be back for more of Uncle Devon's magic and scares from the villains of the plot!
All the best in the days ahead on Authonomy
Maretha/African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends

Ms. Fiona wrote 665 days ago

Getting around to The Puppet Spell!
I've gotten to the first four chapters, and here are my initial thoughts:
First off, I think you've hit the tone just right for YA readers: There's lots of dialogue, and not too much narrative, which will keep younger, more distractable readers entertained. You dive right into the action. The writing is smooth and there's no pompous diction. Lexa has a great voice: cynical and sarcastic, I just imagine her standing and observing her sister with her arms crossed over her chest disapprovingly and her eyes high mid-roll! Lucinda seems suitably silly, and Marlon a good friend.
A couple of things that confused me:
1) Why don't they ever meet the "students?" - perhaps they're not supposed to though, so this might not be a critique just yet.
2) I found the bold font a bit distracting. I'm not sure if it wouldn't be better with just italics, but this is just a slight nit-pick.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed this, have rated it six stars, and will put it on my watch list to read a little more.

PenInHand wrote 665 days ago

Thank you so much for your review on "stains".

I read the first chapter, and while I like it, I do have a few criticisms. For starters, you use sort of a tired trope by starting the book when the character moves into a new house. I feel like agents will roll their eyes at this, every other novel starts either this way or with the character waking up on the first day of a new school year. While it's useful for introducing the cast/setting, it doesn't make for a hooking beginning.

Also, you need to show more and tell less with your characterization. You mention Lucinds'a personality traits very outright, and state in the narrative how thers react to her rather than showing. Showing can be a lot more powerful, and get the reader invested in a character because it allows the reader to develop a relationship with the character rather than being told how to feel.

Having only read a chapter I can't really give a valid opinion of the plot, but I will say that the slow pacing of the opening chapter may discourage other readers. The actual narration is also a little bit flat and tends to meander at times. While some readers may like a more relaxed pace, I personally am the kind of person who needs constant stimulation in some form. I didn't really feel the sensory details; you focus primarily on sight and sound but neglected the other three senses. Often, mentions of smell or texture can bring a less-sensory story to life.

But all in all, an enjoyable first chapter. Will rate highly and back :)

Chrissie B wrote 665 days ago

CHIRG review

This is well writen and moves at a good pace. The relationship between the sisters is believable and works well. To me it felt like a mixture between Narnia and Dr Who, whilst at the same time being very original and not easy to predict.

Chrissie

Lucy Middlemass wrote 665 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Ch 15

This introduces the idea of magic being a force as well as a skill. I like the distinction that for the Fey magic comes naturally but for people it has to be learnt. It’s good to address things like this, it explains a lot.
“They Fey…see magic” Just a typo - The Fey.
I like Marlon’s explanation about why Lexa is just as good as Lucinda. And the ending is pretty cool! I was hoping Lexa would find she could do it, all she needed was a confidence boost.

Ch 16

The description of Lynette being turned into a puppet is good and scary.
Black lightning is hard to imagine but I like the idea of it.
I’m surprised by what happens to Uncle Devon in this chapter. I won’t give it away but I didn’t see that coming.

I’m still enjoying this but I’m finding less to critique. It’s nicely bonkers really, just how I like it.

Lucy

Cyrus Hood wrote 667 days ago

Hi Emma this is Cyrus.
The Puppet Spell.
To be perfectly honest this is not my sort of genre, however the way you have delivered this tale is engaging and imaginative. I particularly liked the way you handle the dialogue which is at once authentic and riveting. I believe this work will do very well and have placed you straight on my watch list with 6 stars, and I will return for another dip into the story soon.

Perhaps I could tempt you to have a look at my tragic romance Hellion 2 - second part of a four part series but it can be read as a stand alone. I would appreciate a comment.

regards

Cyrus

Lucy Middlemass wrote 667 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Back for a little more. Some crit below, ignorable if you like of course.

Ch 13

I like the idea of the staircase being steeper on the way down. I think it should actually be steeper (magically) rather than just seem like it to Lexa.
“like frozen pools under moonlight” is nice.
“the size of pterodactyls”. And how big is one of those? I like the idea of the comparison but I don’t really know how big one is.
“a field of thunderheads.” What are these?
I love that Uncle Devon grounds Lucinda. Quite right too!
“but it did no help.” Either “did not help” or “did no good.” I think.
I like that it’s the detail of the green grass that tells us which world we are in.

Ch 14

I got a bit confused here somewhere. I thought they were back in the real world, but this chapter starts with them in Ebony.
“were colossal in size”. Rather than colossal in some other way?
I like that the lost keys vanish after an hour of being without their owners.
“as if yanked on invisible strings.” There’s nothing wrong with this, except it’s the image of a girl as a puppet, which might be too close to the puppet spell idea.
“as she stormed out of the room.” Can she go this far away?
“or what looked like an oven, anyway.” He’s cooked pizzas in it, and it looks like an oven. Why the doubt about what it is?
“She tried to escape.” This isn’t in bold and it doesn’t have speech marks.

This continues to be fun. My favourite parts are the little hints of the real world, especially Lexa’s observations about her sister.

Lucy

upforgrabs wrote 668 days ago

Hello, I'm back with another chapter review. Once again, I couldn't find much to criticize - well, anything, really! This is top-notch writing. I'll add it to my space as soon as I get a free spot on my shelf - which will be soon, when Cara's book hits the Desk. Again, I suspect the fact I can't find much to fault is due to your writing being largely dialogue - dialogue's a lot harder to do wrong than prose.

I'd really appreciate it if you took another look at my first few chapters. I've recently done a major editing overhaul, and I think you'll find the new versions are much, much stronger than what you read before! At least I'm
hoping that's what you'll think. I am now seriously thinking about sending off to agents (some time in the next couple weeks or so) and I'm trying to get as much feedback on chapters 1-3 as possible.

Thanks again for another great read. Will be back for more soon!

James
"Tamria"

http://www.authonomy.com/writing-community/profile/me/

***

CHAPTER 3

LOL, your description in the first paragraph made me think back to my uni days. Throbbing music, pounding walls, constantly-ringing doorbell, people tramping up and down stairs all night… YEP!

You have two “constantly”s in that paragraph, close together: “The doorbell rang constantly”, “people constantly going up and down stairs.” Unless the word repetition is deliberate, I’d change one of them. –> “people endlessly going up and down stairs” ? Or how about "people relentlessly going up and down stairs."

“This is stupid, I thought.” – you had a speech bubble followed by “I thought” a few lines ago – so I don’t think we need the “I thought” again. –> “’No.’ I couldn’t keep a tremor out of my voice. *This is stupid.* It wasn’t as if they hadn’t disappeared before.”

I like this phrase: “over the course of the past day the outside world had transformed into something threatening, a place of menace and danger.” Good phrase!

I think is the first long paragraph you have! (starting “Maybe I’d been in too much shock…”) It actually sticks out, since nearly all your paragraphs are very short – your writing being so dialogue-rich. Although this is fine, I think you might break it into two chunks. I’d insert a paragraph break before “Strangest of all…” It’s up to you of course – it may be fine as it is.

“’Objects that have no place in this world,’ I said, quoting Uncle Devon.” – if she’s quoting him, should this be in interior quotation marks?

Spider the chimera/cat is quite a fascinating character! Sort of like an evil miniature Aslan... And the way his eyes turn red when he talks reminds me strongly of the villain Kueller in my story, who has green eyes (like many a cat) which turn red when provoked to anger. There’s something deeply unsettling about red eyes…

What a great chapter ending!

Sara Walker wrote 668 days ago

I really liked your opening chapter. You have a good ear for dialogue, and you've set up an interesting premise with a spooky house with secret rooms (I love secret rooms!) and a cat that's something more. The story is vivid, fast-paced, and pulling me in. Well done.

I think the first chapter would do well to be split into two. I also would like to know the girls' ages within the first page or so. Especially with Lucinda leaving and no one worried about going to look for her.

Now I'm curious about the uncle and how this laboratory got there. They just moved in.

Looking forward to reading more.

OpheliaWrites wrote 668 days ago

Chapter One

This is fantastic!! I can imagine it translated into film and can definitely see it as publishable. Ah, now to narrow down what it was exactly that charmed me so... First off your characters are fresh and unusual. A cat named Spider really cracked me up. The sisters being twins surprised me and immediately opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities in plot as well as cinematic effects. The title is great too. Marlon is interesting but still typical "boy" and it's nice that her BFF is a boy. I must say through the whole opening of the book I was thinking the MC a much younger sibling. I loved the sentiment that followed the giving of her new address, "I wouldn't bother to memorize it. We'll probably move again in a month." This was hilarious and perfect character-building as well as scene-setting. Well done!

There were a few spots that felt too wordy, but nothing that a good edit and grammar check wouldn't fix. Your narrative voice is strongly Brit, but I still feel this would go over very well with an American audience. Lastly, I found myself disappointed when Spider "spoke". It seemed too soon. I was enjoying the suspense created by his strange behavior and wished you had waited a bit longer for that particular reveal.

Starred and watchlisted!!

SW
DEVIL WENT DOWN

Lucy Middlemass wrote 669 days ago

The Puppet Spell

Ch 11

The description of the place trapped under “eternal night” is great. Not what you’d expect from faery-ville at all.

I love the glow-in-the-dark flowers. Bat curtains are nice too! And there’s an exciting ending to this chapter. I was wondering if she’d turn up again…

Ch 12

“Was that a crown on her head?” This made me laugh. Lucinda isn’t just fine, she’s somehow become royalty!

I like that the sisters go on to have the same kind of argument as they would over the remote control, and also that Lucinda has convinced a human-hating race to like her. Lexa notes that she always was good at making friends! Lovely stuff.

I looked for typos and things but couldn’t find any. There’s lots to enjoy here and I’m glad I’ve read on.

Lucy

bobby144 wrote 670 days ago

This is a great story. I really liked the characters, Uncle Devon was very well described. The pace is very go, plenty of action right from the start. I loved the bit where the gateway opened from the computer screen. It's a great idea and I loved the way the two worlds are linked. So many fantasies are completely separate worlds but I like how in this things that happen in one world effect the other.
The cat is an amazing creation!

Bug289 wrote 670 days ago

Emma,

Returning your read on Blind Fate.

The Puppet Spell intrigued me from the start, despite my aversion to anything with the word Fey in it! Not sure where that prejudice comes from but I liked your pitch.

You describe things very clearly without spending time and words on it. I didn't feel I was missing anything throughout the two chapters I managed to read, so far. I like Lexa, I find Lucinda annoying and Uncle Devon gives me the impression of a wild, scatty man that isn't quite up to looking after two young girls but does it anyway.

The only issue that I had with Uncle Devon was that I had got used to the mysterious scatty impression I had of him and then, at the end of chapter 2, he has a very coherent conversation with Lexa and gives away quite a bit of information, for example he is an 'Overseer'. I suppose I could see him discussion Overseers as if talking to himself and then when he remembers she's there, tells her not to worry and doesn't immediately give away that he is one. When he tells her they're powerful people and that he's one it's almost a bit arrogant.

But I don't know if she needs that information for the story to continue on the lines you've taken. Hopefully I'll figure it out when I get round to reading more. It's just a thought that might prove useful or not to you. :)

Otherwise, the flow is great, the characters nicely defined and the description enough but not too much.

I picked up a few edit points you might want to consider:

Chapter 1
I would use more 'text speak' for the texts between Lexa and Marlon, considering your audience these days. Whilst I dispise text speak and my texxts are usually punctuated, 'kids these days' tend to use shortening whereever possible (or has that stopped now people have smart phones? I am not the most up to date person around).

'pester Uncle Devon and I' that 'I' should be 'me' think. I always split them and see how it sounds ie 'pester Uncle Devon' and 'pester me'. I would sound wrong in this instance.

'I wonder if she, likeme, had lost the ability to think' : How about 'It appeared she too had lost the ability to think'. Shorter and also, I wonder at someone's ability to 'wonder' if their ability to think is impaired :)

'I couldn't..........for the life of me': I would rearrange to 'I counldn't, for the life of me,.......'

'I walked mechanically......into the bedroom': I would scrap 'into the bedroom'.

Chapter 2
'But how could even she possibly......': scrap the 'even'. I know what you're trying to get across but it makes the sentence clumsy and difficult to read.

I hope some of that helps at least. I think I'm going to shelve this for a while at least.

Thank you for drawing my attention to it.

Danielle

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