Yes! The Xenon chapter! I have been wanting to get inside his head for the longest time, but I figured I'd just wait till you requested the chapter. Now I'm so glad it's time for me to review! I can tell you put a lot of thought and detail into his character, and it was all very, very interesting.
I'll just go ahead and start with the beginning. My very first thought was that the chapter seemed to begin abruptly, and the transition from the last chapter to this was pretty jarring. Instead of starting with dialogue, I'd like to see a little paragraph setting the scene, and describing Rudolph a bit. I think something like that would help the reader get a better feel for the chapter, and ease the transition to a completely different setting and character.
Okay, I'm going to gush about characterization now, so be prepared :P
Your concept of Xenon's troubled past is very sad, and also very plausible. I'm studying psychology in college, and so I'm learning about the power that past experiences can have over who a person becomes. I thought Xenon's story was very realistic and well-told. He thought he shared a unique bond with his mother, and finding out that she shared the same bond with another son just uprooted his whole concept of life. Xenon felt betrayed by the most important person in his life, and he just couldn't let go of that hate. That, combined with the desire for vengeance he'd developed as a child, made him the deeply troubled person he is in your story. The whole thing makes perfect sense, and I love the detail and emotion you put into his character.
I see Xenon as a bitter, unforgiving, impatient person. I could hear all of these elements clearly in his narrative voice. He's a very interesting character, and the story of his past is a great way of humanizing him. I'm a huge believer in showing the vulnerable side of villians, and I think you do that very well here.
The hospital scene just broke my heart. I could completely understand Rudolph's anger, but I was so sad that he didn't forgive his mother before she died. That scene was especially emotional for me, and I thought it was just really well done.
I'm assuming Rudolph's little brother is a wizard. Is that accurate? After this chapter, I'm anxious to learn more about him. I'm glad you explain why he's acting as Xenon's accomplice--because of the promise he made to his dying mother. I'm also excited to see the two brothers interact with each other. That's going to be a very interesting dynamic, I can already tell :)
I like that you used the phrase "the other boy," but waited a while to reveal who he actually was. It kept my interest all the way to the end :) But I did think you used that phrase too much, especially in the last paragraph. It got a little repetitious reading "the other boy" over and over, so I'd suggest using another identifier for him every now and then.
I noticed a few errors in word choice here and there, so I'm also going to suggest asking a beta to go over it. Don't worry-the ideas and emotion got across very well, but fixing a few grammar issues would improve this chapter that much more :)
Another nice touch I noticed: the connection between chemistry and magic. It's a great was of setting up the reason he chose magic as his weapon (and why he chose Xenon as his name--that's a great metaphor for the independence that Rudolph takes such pride in.) I just really liked the way you did that.
This was such an interesting, emotional chapter! Thanks for requesting it. I hope this review was detailed enough--please PM me on the forums or something if it wasn't!
P.S. I posted a few questions in your MTA, so have some fun with that :)
Author's Response: Hey! Yes! The Xenon chapter =D I personally love this chapter because it shows who I am as a writer =D Thank you so much for coming by and reviewing this!
Yes, I agree with your point about the transition. The truth is that I wrote this chapter many days after I had written the previous one so I had trouble establishing the flow there. I totally understand what you mean about the transition being jarring and I promise I'll be editing this as soon as I have some time on my hands! =)
Oh. My. God! You just said everything about Xenon that has been in my mind! I can't believe the fact that you actually understood what I've been trying to convey about Xenon! =D Yay! Thank you so much! This shows that I've finally learnt to convey what I have in mind into proper words!
the hospital scene was a very hard on to write. I had to get into his mindset completely and I can't ever think of someone hating their mother as much as Xenon does; this part really stretched my imagination and I'm glad I was able to pull it off. When I think over how Xenon feels, I feel depressed and wish their was a way I could ease his pain and actually make him understand that his mother did mean well even if it doesn't seem like that.
Well, yes, you've got it right. He is definitely a wizard and I'm not going to be revealing his identity any time soon =P I like the fact that the suspense has grabbed your interest =D And yes, I have planned a conversation between the two brothers and I'm working on it in my mind; I just hope it comes across as I want it to.
I know, I know. I realised that the use of the phrase "the other boy" had gotten too much while I was writing the chapter. However, in the state of mind I and Xenon were, I thought that it would be alright to use that phrase for one continuous string of thoughts. That's why I din't substitute it. Plus, I couldn't think if anything else at that moment =P But don't worry, whenever Xenon comes up again, there will definitely be a nickname.
Yes, I know about the errors and I've been to edit those. I had my friend read this chapter over before I posted it and she said that it had a few grammatical errors but I was too excited to upload the entire thing that I did not bother going over the thing twice =P I know that's pretty careless of me but what could I do? =P After reading this, I'm sure you understand how I felt about updating this chapter =D
Yay! I'm so glad you like the connection with chemistry and magic! =D I wrote this chapter on the day when I had done a chemistry practical and when I saw the colours change myself, I could see Xenon seeing that connection too! =D Also, the name "Xenon" was chosen by me exactly for the same reason I've given in the chapter. I'm so happy you liked the idea! =D
Hey, it was the best review ever! Don't worry about it not being detailed enough; I loved it! =D Thank you so much for saying all this Maggie! You're awesome! =D I feel like I'm on cloud nine after reading this! Thank you!
*screams**jumps like a crazy person**laughs* YAY! Thank you thank you thank you! Thank you for posting in my MTA! It means SO much to me!