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Message to Readers
New draft. Was wonder if I conveyed any emotion from the character, Clovis, well. I also want feedback on if I'm confusing you by changing from present to past, past to present. Uh, what I could cut out. Etc.
The alternate reality of multiple Clovises. And the very first sentence. And the character of Alphard, and how he's different than the real Clovis knew him to be.
I'm not sure where Clovis works, what he did to get suspended, and who his boss is. I am also confused about exactly how the alternate Clovises exist or where they came from. But this is a pretty layered topic, so I understand how it would be hard to keep everything clear but not too clear, so the reader stays curious. I also love the Innovators and Ink idea. I will say that the flow feels a little jarring and "go-pause-go-pause-go." The very end feels suspenseful, like a cliffhanger, but I also don't fully understand what it implies/means. That's probably just me and my tired brain, though.
You managed the "two Clovises, one is unseen" thing very smoothly. That was impressive. It was always clear which Clovis was speaking/acting. But what happened to the successful Clovis, the one who was talking to Alphard?
Anyway, here's my overall impression: Clovis is intriguing, intelligent, calculating. He's a man of reason and simplicity and logic. He's cool and collected and handles the situation pretty well. Discovering he has a doppelganger doesn't faze him much. However, I also felt pretty confused through a lot of this. How are there three Clovises? (Where is the third one, anyway? The guy on the left side with wilted hair and sunken eyes?) Where did the other Clovises come from? Where did the successful Clovis go? What's up with that ARTICLE?
I do believe that leaving the reader with burning questions is a great feat—and you definitely did that! But there are a few that I think need to be made clearer—unless you're holding back for a reason.
But remember: these are only suggestions! Don't let my overtalkative, tired, grammar-loving self alter any of the fundamentals or messages you hope to convey in this story. ;)
I hope this didn't come across too harsh or critical. I really am intrigued by this idea, and it leaves so much room for character development as Clovis looks at his more successful self. In fact, Clovis' character arc could be incredibly complex if you wanted.
Best wishes, and good luck!