So it's been forever and a half, but I'm finally here to review your request from TGS. Sorry for the wait.
This was another excellent chapter, but what I'm most impressed with is your clear knowledge of the English language. (That was a poorly-worded sentence, but let me explain.) There were so many instances in this and the previous chapters where I just had to say to myself, "Hey, that was cool." For example: Her dreams had been riddled with mystery men, all dark-haired and handsome like her Rabastan... I look at that part of the sentence and I just have to sit here and be impressed by it. There's really no other way to describe my reaction. The word 'her' before 'Rabastan' is what gets me, I think. It's a tiny word but it makes all the difference. I won't go into detail about how it ties in the opinion of 'handsome' because you know that already. Just know that your little tricks are not unnoticed. =)
I really like that you use questions in the regular narration. I think a lot of authors here would say that questions should be reserved for first-person or italicized to show the thoughts of the characters, but isn't the purpose of writing to make people think? You're just quickening that process. And it certainly works. You're taking a direct route to the reader, which I like. Because this is both a plot- and character-based story, you need that. Good job.
Your house-elf writing was phenomenal. I am very impressed; it sounded just like JKR.
I don't know how I feel about the shift in Rabastan's mood in the end scene. Actually, I think it's because I feel like he doesn't have the capacity to call anyone dear, even his girl. It didn't bother me until later he 'demanded harshly' something of Pinky. Or perhaps you had him say dear as not a term of endearment but to amp up his... creepiness, I guess. This is difficult to explain. You know how sometimes the killers in the movies will try to coax out their prey by calling them sweetie or dear? If that's what you were doing here, it was over my head.
Overall, another great chapter. I can't wait to read more =)
Ganbare! Tanoshinde ^_^
Author's Response: Haha. "Hey, that was cool," is always a good sign. =]
I actually don't usually use questions in narration, not because I think it's ineffective, but because my narration is usually pretty distant from my characters. In this story, though, I wanted it to get as close into Alanna or Rab's mind as it can without using first-person. I find that, like you said, questions speed up and intensify the way her thoughts are expressed in the narration.
Ooh, now that you mention it, that "dear" does sound a bit out of place. I meant to write "love," I think - in previous chapters Rab is always saying that, which is a bit ironic. =] No, I wasn't amping up his creepiness. ^_^ He doesn't strike me as particularly creepy, though you'll meet a couple of those kinds in future chapters. ;)
Thanks so much for the awesome review! I'll be writing more as soon as life gives me a break. *sigh*