Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.
Message to Readers
998 WORDS!!! PEOPLE! I'M WITHIN THE WORD LIMIT!
MUCH THANKS to:
Stone of Jade
for their outstanding peer reviews and effort and time!
Brooks, duh. I love the kid. Seriously though, I was first interested by the intensity of the first paragraph. That's pretty hardcore, using a heroin analogy in the first line of text. The metaphor of 'life-giving water - books" does seem a little over the top, just as some food for thought. It is worth noting though that the mentions of running ground it in reality again. But if you're going for perfect, I'd think on it.
Well, for starters, he's pretty 3D. Nicknames, favourite coffee, flaws like anything. He's analytical and interesting and I am so down for it. Basically, everything I need to know about Tag is in the dialogue (dear lord, your dialogue is flawless, but I digress) meaning that, as a reader, I relatively satisfied with the development he is given.
I pretty much have the same response to this as the question above. Your level of writing is incredibly high (higher than mine, for sure) so be sure to take everything I comment on with a pinch of salt. Obviously, you mentioned you're near/over the character limit (same, honestly) so instead of remarking on scenes I would expand, I'm going to note down what I would restrict. First off, Elly. She's fantastic and so cool, but the description about her brother, though is very well done, does subtract from the overall pace and tension of Tag needing a book, also, it doesn't add much to the overall narrative. If you're feeling cut-throat, I'd remove it. If you've still got more to remove, and this is me getting really hardcore (maybe do this if you want to take the fire and sunlight girl moment further) but remove Elly entirely. Brooks' initial mention of her is fine, but it isn't necessary for you to introduce her to the reader in this paragraph. Not to say I didn't love Elly - I did! But she's not essential, so I thought I'd point that out. (sorry for the tirade...)
Crystal clear. Damn, perfect dialogue and description. Now that's a talent. As I mentioned, some of your descriptions of Tag's cravings are intense, but if that's what you're going for, I won't be the one to stop you. And as for setting the scene - "a cacophony of bagpipes and harmonica greeted him" - it was like I could literally hear it! So much fun to read. Your narrative voice is so impressively clear.
Uh, unless you missed it above, I love this book. And Brooks, but mostly your dialogue. I have half a mind to withdraw from the novel competition if this is applying too! In all seriousness, this is one of the best pieces I've read on this site. Don't let it go to your head.
As if you need more praise from me, I don't think so.
Please keep writing.