Hi again, likeness_of_a_seabird! I'm finally back with another review, and I'm so happy to have gotten the chance to reread this chapter! It's just phenomenal.
First, though, after having read your previous review response, I just have to bring this up: English isn't your first language?! Are you kidding me?! Wow. I'm blown away. You've honestly got just an incredibly grasp on the English language and I'm so impressed that writing of this caliber comes from somebody who didn't have it as a first language. You should be doubly proud of your work, in that case. I know I am! Just... wow!
All of your characters are still just so great; and now there are even more of them to love! Menna is fantastic. I love delving deeper into her and discovering who she is outside of the job. She's very intense and stubborn and strong-willed and not easily shaken, but she takes her job with extreme seriousness so that making a slip is detrimental (which makes sense considering what a slip up in her particular profession could mean). She has a lot of pride in her work and doing it well, which is so absurd seeing as she's an assassin... hehehe But it's great, she's very complex and I'm really loving her development! The whole family you built is very clear as well, though, and the relations between them, their dynamics, are so authentic. Ifan was great fun to be introduced to. He's a bit wary to pick fights or start trouble when it truly isn't necessary, but when something goes wrong, he takes his stand and doesn't allow her to bully him at all; it's great to see a character who only takes a stand when it's necessary, and not simply for drama. I love his and Menna's relationship as well; how he does his best to appease her simply because she's as stubborn and relentless as she is, and how even in their casual exchanges, like when she says, "Make sure you don't burn my eggs," she's still got that attitude about her. Rhian is great as well. I love the command she has garnered through her age and experience and how she can shut an argument down with just a few words gently spoken.
It's a very serious subject matter with a lot of drama and angst and suspense, but I love that even with all of that going on, you still managed a few moments of light humor, like the thing with the cat! You've got a great balance going on that keeps me intrigued without feeling tired or drained by the end of the chapter and instead wishing there were more to read!
I really loved this line: "If nature had wanted magic to be the solution to everything, he reasoned, it wouldn't have given them hands." It sounds like something you might find in a book of wisdom and proverbs for Wizarding folk.
The second section of this story with Harry and Ron is fantastic as well. It's great to see that your exceptional grasp on characters and characterization extends past OC's and reaches those in canon too. As fantastically written as Harry and Ron both are, however, the stand-out to me in this bottom half is Bea! My goodness, you have a way with crafting OC's that just paints a picture of exactly who they are without dragging it out or making it feel too explainy or boring. You created this image of who Bea is in just one paragraph and filled the rest in with her dialogue and Harry's thoughts on her. It's just wonderful.
The final section was a perfect way to end the chapter. Seriously, I am so intrigued due to the first glimpse at the magpies! The son of the last known Magpie is also so alluring and I can't help but wonder who it might be! My only potential guess is the morgue guy (who's name slips my memory at the moment), but I really don't know! I'm just excited to find out! Also, I simply adore how you tied in both the shrikes and the magpies style of warfare with their clan names; so very clever!
Here are just a few minor things!:
"Mornings where (were) hardly Ifan Goodwin's favourite time of the day."
"I take (it) everything went well?"
"And that's how we like it", Ifan replied as he took a seat across the table from her. "No extra fuss and nothing", he looked at the *other (or rather, the back of her book) sternly, "to tie it back to us." - *I'm a little confused here about the 'he looked at the other...' bit - the other what?
"She sounded close to tears, but Ifan thought (it) was just him hearing things."
"Besides, hadn't he himself been a long time ago in almost (the) exact same position as she was now?"
"Gawain Robards, the head of the Aurors, had decided to sent (send, not sent) someone more qualified with dealing dangerous curses."
"The victim's neck artillery (artery, not artillery) was severed and he consequently bled to death." - I would consider maybe using the technical term for the artery in the neck (carotid artery) rather than saying 'neck artery' considering it's a briefing; it sounds more professional, but that's simply my opinion! ^.^
"Had Aled not been born when he did (was, not did), she might have repeated her father's every mistake with Ifan."
"This was why Rhian knew that Aled was not merely concerned (with) his mother's health; he had come to talk about Menna."
I know you commented on this already in my last review, but I figured I'd point it out again just in case: Comma's and punctuation in general go inside of quotations. (Obviously, since it's different in your country, it makes complete sense why you wrote it this way, though! I'm still in complete and total awe of you.)
And that's everything! What a truly fantastic second chapter! I really cannot wait to see where you take this next! Your ideas and characters are so original and so well thought out that you've captured my interest so intensely! I hope chapter three is on the horizon because I'd love to see where this goes next! It's a fantastic story, it really is. Yay! ^.^
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your review! It means so much to me to know that people enjoy reading this story!
I do study English in a university, so that explains my knowledge about the language:)
First of all, thank you for pointing out the mistakes to me. I try to proofread the story the best I can before sending it to the queu but something always escapes me. I intend to edit these chapters according to your suggestions as soon as I progress a little further in the story.
You have grasped Menna and Ifan's characters so well. That's good! It means that I've done my job well! They are both very complex characters and not the easiest to write. They tend to have minds of their own:) I'm glad to hear that you like the OCs. I was worried about how people would react to them but so far the reception has been good.
I'm also happy to hear that you like my portrayal of Harry and Ron. I was a bit worried about if they were in in character and it's a relief to hear that they were. Yes, Bea is great, isn't she? Hopefully she can get more appearances in the future.
As for the magpie... Who can say? *smiles mysteriously* All I'm saying that it's not the person you're probably thinking about. More about the magpies coming in the next chapter!
Again, thank you so much for this review! It really made my day! Now I really must get the next chapter written soon!