Greetings, Rin. I am here to fill your review request. I've read through the first two chapters and will cover them here before R&R-ing the next two chapters.
There isn't too much to cover via your areas of concern but I'll start there anyway and then move on to some general comments. First, the dialogue. Across both chapters, I thought the dialogue was very strong. It didn't feel unnatural at all and I thought it fit well with the general tone of the story. I think the back-and-forth between the brothers in chapter two was particularly well done. I thought there was a more noticeable contrast in the way the two characters spoke. It might have been nicer to see a stronger, more distinguishable way of speaking with Scorpius, but as we only met him briefly and it was a first introduction, I'm sure that will come with time. The banter between Lorcan and Lysander was great. I loved the bit about "how many guesses" and Lorcan telling Lysander he's "in a rut." You really used the characters' own words to say something about who they are and their relationship to one another. The only dialogue-related CC I would offer is to be careful not to go overboard with alternative words for said. It's not a problem for some readers but others can find it distracting (myself included). In chapter one, for example, you only used "said" twice, but there was a long string of alternatives (5 or more) all in a row. Obviously using "said" a thousand times can be even *more* distracting, but I think burnout like that is more from people using too many dialogue tags/identifying the speaker when not needed, then because the author failed to use an appropriate array of alternatives.
Description -- I thought this too was fine. I didn't find it overly floral or too poetic at all -- and I am really not a big fan of lyrical writing, so a little goes a very long way for me. The descriptions don't feel too heavy for the story; they enhance it instead of weighing it down. There was a lot you didn't describe, which works as a nice balance for the things you described more in detail. I particularly liked all of the rain-related bits at the start of chapter two. I really liked how you tied it into the blinds being left open, the brief encounter with the coworker, etc. It served a function as well as set a mood. IMHO, description is at its best when it serves multiple functions and I think you've hit on that perfectly.
Just a few other thoughts and comments before I continue on reading. I really like the character of Lysander so far. He is unusual, but in all the best ways. He has an actual personality, and not all of it is completely... I'm not really sure the right word here... relatable? Flattering? He comes across as a bit of an odd duck, maybe a loner. I can't tell yet if he is just quirky or if he actually has some sort of condition that compels him to count. Either way, it makes him distinctive and likable, not the traditional narrator, who is often meant to be a stand-in or placeholder for the readers to see themselves in. Anyway, I really like the choices you've made with him thus far. And I loved the references to him leaving the window open and bringing home some of the plants. Even without your explanation of the latter, I knew right away these were very small, maybe unconscious signs that Scorpius has already begun to creep into his life.
There were two small things I had questions on -- not really CC, but maybe just points of interest. First, I didn't really get the paragraph in chapter one that starts "But Tuesday was wrong..." More specifically, the part about "went unnoticed" and "without Lysander gazing after him." He *did* notice, didn't he? Isn't that the point? I like the part where you say it *should* have halted -- indicating this is an important moment even though it's small -- but I don't see where the "it didn't happen" part fits in. Also, in chapter two, you say at the start that it's been raining for three days, which left me thinking three days had passed since Scorpius left. But then Lysander tells Lorcan the plants are a week old, so I'm guessing it's actually been a week...? It might help to clarify the time passage a bit better, unless I just missed it somewhere, which is always possible.
Overall, I think this story is off to a great start. I'm a big fan of non-traditional pairings and the next-gen post-Hogwarts years so this is all sorts of up my alley. And *sigh* Your banner. Is there a man in the world more gorgeous than Michael Fassbender. Clearly, I don't think so, since I used him on my own banner! I'm really glad you posted in my thread. I'm off to read chapters 3 and 4 now.
Author's Response: Obviously Michael Fassbender is just gorgeous. We could swoon over him all day! Gah.
Anyway, your reviews have been extraordinarily helpful! I love that your critique is solid and straightforward: you don't make it fluffy, and you don't crush all my dreams. If that makes sense. I really cannot express how much I appreciate it. I've made myself a little sticky with some of the notes you mentioned, and I think I'll go back and work on all the little tidbits you included.
I'm going to try and tackle your points of interests one-by-one, because I'd really like to give this a proper response.
I think it's been ingrained in me by English teachers and the like to never, ever use the word "said" when I'm writing, but I just read Stephen King's memoir and you're completely right: the use of alternatives for said can be just as distracting and oppressive as the repetition of "said" itself. That's my number one thing on my list to fix when I go back through and edit these chapters, so thanks for pointing it out.
I am glad you liked their banter, though; dialogue is easily the hardest thing for me to write (at least good dialogue, anyway).
I'm also really pleased that you like my Lysander. You're right: he's definitely an odd duck, but I hope that it's not written in such a way that it screams, "look at my character! He's so different!" Because that, in my mind, is almost just as bad as cliches themselves.
To be honest with you, I've always sort of disliked that paragraph (the Tuesday one that you mentioned). It was sort of awkward and I didn't really know where it was going while I was writing that. I'm glad you've pointed it out because it gives me a chance to retool it, and I'm so glad you were specific, too, because I now know exactly what to fix.
And I'll also go back and clarify the passage of time - thanks again for mentioning it.
Anyway, thank you so much (again)! Your comments are extremely helpful and I cannot begin to thank you enough. You've provided a lot of much-needed insight.