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Message to Readers
Thanks for the expert review! This is the edited version
OOo, I absolutely loved the magic and mystique in this novel excerpt! The way you snuck in little hints that "Prince Marc" isn't who he seems, and revealed the plot at the end was super smooth, and made me wanna read on! I'm always a big fan of fantasy, and reading this excerpt, I'm sure your world-building will be wonderful - you've already hinted at a classic, big ol' Palace (always great!), some scary Swamplands, sorcery....I'm all for it!!
Considering how this story's omniscient narrator floats over the scene and focuses on multiple characters at a time, there isn't really a main character in this excerpt. You've described the actions of the three characters you've introduced here - the blacksmith, Prince Marc?, and the mysterious sorceress in disguise - in a highly vivid way, and I'd love to get a little more information about their appearance. This may be your intention, and I understand the word limit, but I would suggest trying to expand your descriptions of characters' physical appearance. Rather than just telling readers that the blacksmith "wore a leather apron and had a thick, untrimmed beard", try showing them how he looks. The bent of his nose? The shine of his eyes? The sheer voluminousness (okay, I sort of made that word up) of his beard? As you introduce these details, try interpolating them into the action of the story. Here's a dud example: "Admiring the crown was a burly man, whose sheer size near eclipsed the dainty metalwork. His hands were scarred and meaty, and the firelight reflected off his crooked nose. The man turned as the boy cleared his throat." This is only a suggestion though, and I'm sure you can write it way better than I just did.
Honestly, the story progression in this novel excerpt was just superb. Super smooth, super exciting! I don't think it's necessary to expand or cut back on some scenes, but I've noticed a few tense inconsistencies here and there. I've pointed out some of these, as well as some great sentences that could be even better with a little careful revision.
As I've said in the previous, previous section, you did an awesome job describing the action of the story, and I'd love to see you extend that detail to the appearance of characters, and the setting that surrounds them. For example, as you follow "Prince Marc's" gaze around the armory, try unfurling details of the scene slowly, like a blooming flower. You mention "gleaming weapons", the fireplace, and lastly the all-important crown, but I'd love to see a little imagery build-up. How does the floor look like? Rough-hewn cobblestone, shining slightly by the light of the....warm, crackling fireplace? Whose light reflects off the sharp blades of displayed weapons? What kinds of weapons are these? You don't have to describe these exact details, but descriptions as these will help ground the characters' actions in a more tangible setting.
Novel writing, especially fantasy novel writing with crazy world-building and magic, is really hard, but I think you've already gotten an excellent foundation in this excerpt. I notice in your bio that you mention Sarah J. Maas as one of your favorite authors, and same! As a serious TOG and ACOTAR fan, I can testify that this novel excerpt has amazing potential as one of my favorite fantasy books ever. And I'm sure there are countless other people who would say the same. Keep writing! But take plenty of rests and snack breaks as well. Best of luck to you in the competition and your writing process!!
This novel excerpt was marvelous, and I had an awesome time reading and reviewing it. Keep up the epic writing, and if you have any questions, just ask, and I'll be happy to help! :3