Peer Review by anemoia (#words) (United States)

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The Newly Found Princess Orion (Excerpt)

By: SofiaO24

   “Welcome to Richknoll Palace,” Queen Amelia smiled kindly at me. 
    “To what?” I asked, suddenly thinking I was in the wrong place. 
    “Richknoll Palace,” she motioned towards the castle. 
    “I-I thought it was the Barlow Palace,” I admitted.
    “Well I suppose you could call it that, but the actual name is Richknoll,” she explained nicely. 
    I didn’t know what else to say so I just nodded, the trickling of the water in the fountain behind me being the only noise for a while.
    “As you know, I am Queen Amelia Barlow,” she said. “This is my eldest son, Adam,” she patted the arm of the boy on her right. “This is my second son, Liam,” she smiled at the boy who was still trying to control his laughter. “And this is my youngest daughter, Melina,” she wrapped her arm around the girl. 
    I noticed that the queen was looking at me kind of funny. She was staring at me as if she couldn’t believe I was there. Neither could I. 
    “Shall we head inside?” she asked and looked away from me. 
    I nodded and walked towards them, the gravel of the driveway softly crunching under my feet,  and Queen Amelia embraced me warmly. She held on for a second longer than normal before releasing me. 
    Melina stormed away from her mom’s side and went to stand next to Liam who was talking to an unamused Adam. Adam gave Melina a sympathetic look before Queen Amelia told us to follow her. Melina glared at me as Queen Amelia released me and smiled. 
    We walked towards the large blue doors and they opened a second later. I was startled to see two men inside holding the large doors open for us. They were both wearing the palace’s dark blue uniforms and looking straight ahead with serious expressions stuck on their faces. 
    “Thank you,” Queen Amelia told them as we walked into the huge entrance hall. 
    A few steps ahead of us was an unbelievably clean grand staircase that had gold railings on either side of it. My eyes traveled from the staircase to the polished light wood floor of the entrance hall.
    On the walls beyond the staircase were large paintings in gold frames. As we got closer, I saw that the middle and largest painting was of the Barlow family. A younger Queen Amelia was in the middle holding a small Melina in her arms. Standing behind her was a handsome man who looked almost identical to Adam. On either side of them was a younger Liam and Adam, the only two who were smiling. 
    “That was the week Melina turned three,” Queen Amelia said when she looked at the painting. “Two weeks before Thomas passed away,” she added with a hint of sadness in her voice. 
    “How old were you?” I asked without thinking. “I mean, you both look so young,” I added quickly. 
    “We were both twenty-three,” her eyes never left Thomas’s face.  
    “Twenty three? But you two were so young!”I exclaimed, again, without thinking. “Sorry,” I felt like I should stop talking about Thomas and their ages. 
    “You’d be surprised at what you can do before turning twenty-three,” she laughed softly. “So,” she turned away from the painting, “this is the entrance hall, as you can see. Over here,” she walked over to a set of doors on the right side of the hall,” is the Great hall.” 
    She opened the doors and I audibly gasped. There were three small chandeliers in the room that were unlit due to the sun coming in from the circular stained glass window at the front of the room. Under the middle chandelier was a long table draped with a light blue tablecloth. Wooden chairs were placed proportionately around the table and I wanted nothing more than to sit on one of the chair cushions that looked amazingly comfortable. I couldn't imagine why my mom would ever leave this place and move to Unamite. 
    “We eat all of our meals here and sometimes we’ll have guests join us. During big events, two more tables are brought in,” she explained to me. 
    I could only nod, unable to think let alone speak. This room was bigger than my whole house. 
    “It’s nice, huh?” Liam appeared at my side wearing his crooked smile on his face. “It’s not even the biggest room here. Wait until you see the ballroom.”
    “There’s a ballroom!?” I asked, feeling like I was in a dream. 
    “Yes, but it is currently being renovated. You can see it when it’s ready by November, for Melina’s birthday,” Queen Amelia said.
    “Do you think I’ll still be here in November? Are my parents really gone?” I looked away from the Great Hall. 
    “They did run away but we will find them, alright?” she gave me a kind smile. 
    I could see Adam and Liam looking at me with pity on their faces and I wished they wouldn’t. My parents weren’t dead, they were just missing. I nodded and put on a smile again. 
     “Come on, I want to show you the gard-,” she abruptly stopped when she turned to face the entrance hall. 
    I followed her gaze and saw two of the solemn-looking people near the doors. The men at the doors were looking at the man and woman warily. 
    “Please help us,” the man spoke in a weak voice when he saw Queen Amelia. 
    “Kids, show Orion where her room is,” Queen Amelia sounded tense, her eyes never leaving the somber faces. 
    “Come on,” Adam lightly tapped my arm. 
    I followed him, Liam, and Melina upstairs. When we reached the top step, I glanced back and saw the woman sobbing and gripping Queen Amelia’s hands while the man spoke in a quick, hushed voice. 

Here is revised version of my first submission. Any feedback is welcome! :)

Message to Readers

Please tell me what improvements I can make! I'll publish the other chapters of the story soon so it'll make more sense :)

Peer Review

Royal stories are intriguing to me naturally because there's so much possibility. The protagonist's confusion is also a great hook, because then the reader wants to know what the mix-up is.

Orion's confusion and awe of her new surroundings are well done. She makes mistakes but also is confident that her parents will return, whatever happened to them,

I'm not sure. I don't know where you're at with word count, but I think that the beginning dialogue could be cut with no loss to the story (the confusion about the palace name).

I know it's at a grand palace, but I actually don;t know what the palace looks like from the outside. However, the inside is clearly described and beautifully done. The sounds and the people and the driveway details all give me good picture.
Not sure about the weather, but that's not terribly important for this story. Overall, great setting details. The palace sounds lovely.

Keep writing because you have a gift! Just the fact that you're here means you have a passion for writing! This story drew me in. Although royal family stories might sound overdone, there's such a world of options that you can do anything with this story.

Reviewer Comments

I'm also intrigued by Amelia and her story. What's she hiding? Her three kids also will prove important, I'm sure. Liam and Melina especially interest me.
Keep at it!
I love the intrigue and drama!