What I gleaned about the story: Va’del is an outcast, raised in a cave by gurra herders up in the mountains, but clearly not of their kind. When the Guadel come to test the village boys for the gift, nobody is more surprised than he himself when Va’del is chosen. And thus begins the adventure of his young life.
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Analysis: On the first page there are a pair of “The”-sentences, followed by a pair that echo on the protagonist’s name, and then a pair echoing on the name of his nemesis. Echoes on uncommon words are the loudest, especially when those words are invented names like Va’del and Jas’per.
Analysis: This time it’s a series of four successive paragraphs, all beginning with “The.” Aside from these occasional flurries of echo though, the writing is pretty tight so far.
Details: It’s a common enough trope – the young boys being tested for abilities and then selected or rejected for apprenticeships. I call it the “Pick a boy, any boy” trope. But it’s executed quite nicely here. It has the familiar hallmarks, but has enough mystery and intrique to keep me curious, despite the familiar steps. Like dancing with a new partner who knows the moves but makes them her own.