Hi there! I was excited to see you requested again because I very much enjoyed Grizzled.
As for the writing style which you mentioned in your concerns. It was extremely clear and I was able to follow exactly what was happening. You did a really great job explaining what was happening without giving it all away. I wasn't confused at all about the characters. You did a great job with telling us right away how many was surrounding him, but did it in a sneaky way. This paragraph:
Because I know him I’m sure he’s taking his measurements of the room before showing he is alert. He will see that there are four large, dark figures surrounding him, wands pointed at his heart. Perhaps he has not yet detected me, watching, cowering behind his captors.
Was a really, really, awesome example of getting information across without making it seem like you're just blurting it out and telling us. That related to exactly what was going on and helped increase the anxiety. You made it part of the story by instilling the idea that this boy was alert and trying to asses, but you *also* got it across your readers that this is a boy surrounded by four death eaters/supporters, and that our MC giving us a view into all of this isn't part of this circle, but hiding off in the background.
Anyway, I'll stop blabbering about that paragraph. If I get really nit-picky, I can find a few places where your sentences got a bit wordy. Like:
“State your name, fool,” he snarls. “Now! Do not stay silent in the presence of the servants of the Dark Lord!”
You could clean this up a bit by doing:
"State your name, fool," he snarls. "Do not remain silent under the questioning of the Dark Lord's servants!"
That's not a great example, but you get what I mean. Again, this is just me being insanely nit picky.
I think you definitely conveyed what you wanted in this start. Seeing this through Astoria's eyes, realizing that she's not even safe despite the fact that these are men she's grown up with, is such a terrifying but cool thing. Not cool for her, but cool for the reader because it creates one of those 'chills up your spine' sort of moments.
Also! I think you need to go back and clean up your spacing again. Something must've gone wonky when you posted. If you're having trouble, I'm a huge supporter of using the 'switch to simple editor' option. You can find a guide in there on how to create all your style like italics, bold, the page lines, and all that. And the paragraphs always come out looking just as you want them.
Anyway, this was a really brilliant start and I'm looking forward to seeing your request for the next chapter!
Author's Response: Hi!! I'm so glad to receive another of your lovely, thoughtful reviews. :)
I'm really glad that you liked the writing style so far: it's a bit tricky because it was such a short chapter, but I'm so happy to hear that enough was put across. I really try to exercise "showing, not telling" when possible so it's great to hear that it was effective in both setting the mood and filling in the scene!
Ah, being wordy is definitely one of my difficulties. Also, I find dialogue really hard to write for some reason! I can have a huge section of a stream of consciousness flow smoothly, and then the moment I get to dialogue it becomes really awkward and clunky. :P Thank you for pointing that out, I'm planning on going back over these early chapters and doing some edits so your feedback is very helpful and much appreciated!!
I am really helpless with this spacing issue!!! :P I'll keep the simpler editor in mind for the next time it acts up on me!
Thank you so much for another kind and helpful review! I'll be keeping an eye on your review thread and will definitely be re-requesting when a spot opens up. :)