Due to time & dayjob constraints, I’m unable to continue my series on Scrivener today. However, Scrivener is still on my mind. I added this to the Citizen in the Wilds project, and before I put it aside, interested parties may want to check this out.
Spoiler-tagged for your protection.
Asherian zan Alwred’s defining characteristic is that he’s intelligent. He’s not brave or willfully charming, nor is he arrogant or rude. He’s a bookworm, focused entirely on his magic and how it benefits him. Being thrown into the Wilds makes him apply his intelligence in different ways. Even then, he doesn’t begin really questioning who he is or the nature of his home until Danae is shot.
His sister needs to be downplayed. The loneliness and alien nature of the Wilds loses a lot when he’s in nigh-constant contact with her. The killing the seers subplot is also superfluous. Mention her, give Ash the means to ‘mind-meld’ with Danae somewhere in his notes, but don’t put them in actual contact until maybe halfway through the book. The change in Ash from shy, polite bookworm to someone determined to find answers and uncover the hidden nature of the world should be jarring to his sister.
The Cities need more initial presentation. The conversations among Ash’s classmates need to underscore that the way the Cities do things – the control of the Council of Elders, the sanitization of history and exterior cultures, the use and abuse of non-Citizens – is normal. Emphasize that Justinian allegedly founded the Cities as a haven for the study and protection of magic, which to Citizens is an essential part of the nature, the lattice upon which the world is built. By mastering it, they master the world, and without them it would run rampant.
Consider adjusting Harren’s motivations & attitude. He may be bitter and disillusioned with the Cities since they never came for him. When he finds out someone IS coming for Ash, perhaps through a whisper in his brother’s dreams (NOT A FULL-BLOWN CONVERSATION), he’s simultaneously jealous of this and willing to help his brother stay alive long enough to get rescued. Danae’s wound and Ash’s reaction to heal her pisses him off because it is, to him, a delay in getting back. When the truth comes out, he’s even more dumb-struck than Ash.
Danae’s fine, save that she should be conscious when Ash goes after her memory. After witnessing it, Danae’s in contact with Ash’s mind and knows he recognizes the guns. This means she’ll be less inclined to speak to him or flirt with him on their way to the dwarves. It’s only after days of contemplation and observation that she realizes Ash really had no idea of how his work would be used.