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Matchsticks and Cobblestones Jonathan Brett

Description

Edana’s father throws her out onto the streets of London in the middle of winter with nothing but matchsticks to sell. When she strikes a match, she finds herself looking into her future. But seeing the future does not make her any safer as she sees monsters, magic, and a war that is both new and ancient.

Length

  • 59581 words
  • About 238 pages
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Swoon Index Ranking

  • Heat

  • Tears

    6

  • Laughs

    6

  • Thrills

    10

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16 comments on "Matchsticks and Cobblestones"

Annika Brandt on June 20, 2017, 1:34 p.m. said:

Annika Brandt


A great start. Seeing the future in a flame from a match is a really unique idea, and Edana's strength and compassion come through beautifully even in just three chapters. I want to know what happens to her.
Some of the language is anachronistic for 19th-century London ("I'm not a fan of liars"), but that's easy to fix.

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Samantha Hastings on June 14, 2017, 10:56 a.m. said:

Samantha Hastings


I loved all of the action and magic. One of my favorite parts is when Ashstaff explains to Edana about not fitting where we used to and to respect the change. I liked Hans and wished there was more of him. I knew Ian was the rat from the start because Hans was too obvious. I think it would be more surprising if the traitor was one of the girls. I liked how the whole story, but some parts felt episodical. I think knowing sooner what the end goal is would help this. Then every time they fought a magical presence it would tie into the greater story, besides just training. I would also maybe get rid of the first chapter and only allude to what happened throughout the book. For some reason the first chapter didn't draw me in, but the second chapter had me hooked. Best of luck!

Compare to: A Victorian Steampunk Harry Potter.

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Samantha Hastings on June 9, 2017, 10:22 p.m. said:

Samantha Hastings


Intriguing...I'm dying to know who the Merlin Group are and what they do.

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Dorothy A. Winsor on April 20, 2017, 4:09 p.m. said:

Dorothy A. Winsor


There are some real possibilities in this book. I love the idea of a magical investigator going out on cases. The reshaping of the Match Girl story is also appealing. There's strong control of language. Exciting stuff happens. And yet, it was hard for me to stay engaged. It could be just me. Not all books are for all readers. I stopped reading one on this site recently because it was horror and I'm not a good reader for that.

But here are some other possibilities. See if any of them resonate with you (maybe they echo a nagging worry you've had?). If not, assume it's me, not you, and toss them.

The point of view is limited third, and it's well maintained, which I'd expect, given your technical skill. It's pretty distant though. We get Edana's perceptions but not her attitude or internal life much of the time. If this is aimed at middle-grade readers (10 and up), that may not be a problem. But a little more voice might be nice. MG tends to be less voice driven than YA. By voice, I mean the POV character's attitude as shown through vocabulary choices or comments. For example, in chapter 3, she says Ashstaff looks proper and straightbacked. Does she approve, scorn, find it comforting, mistrust? You can give that in her interiorization or by the vocabulary she uses. MG tends to have a lot of humor and the occasional flashes of it here are welcome. I'd like to see more.

There's a lot of backstory or education or explanation given in dialogue, as, for instance, at dinner in chapter 7. Can those be delivered in some other, more active way? Notice how Harry Potter taught lessons in a class where other usually humorous stuff was going on.

Can Edana have a more powerful goal that we know from the start? One that might connect the missions she goes on?

I hope some of this helps because there's a good basic premise and structure here combined with technical skill. I'd love to see this book jump more strongly to life.

Similar Stories : The Mysterious Benedict Society

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Jonathan Brett on April 23, 2017, 10:32 p.m. said:

Jonathan Brett


Thanks! That was super-informative, and I'll certainly incorporate that into the rewrites.

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Sara.Blevins on Feb. 23, 2017, 8:45 a.m. said:

Sara.Blevins


I definitely found myself completely enthralled by the world you created, which for me is the most important aspect of any narrative. Edana is a very well-developed character, not over-powered but strong and independent in her own right. I thought her growth was subtle and realistic. I think that in general it is a rarity to find someone who does action sequences well and I really appreciated how you handled the flow of the story--moving it from "lesson to lesson" as it seems. If I had a suggestion, it would be that Hans could use a bit more development. I liked the growing attraction that I suspected between Edana and Hans but I felt like it could have used a few more direct interactions to flesh it out. Overall, though, I thought this was an excellent story and would love to read more.

I actually thought that it had a flow kind of close to Harry Potter--very different takes on magic and world view, but I thought it had overlaps.

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Sara.Blevins on Feb. 21, 2017, 6:01 p.m. said:

Sara.Blevins


I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for a "revisionist" style story which is built upon a pre-existing fairy-tale or myth and I've thought for a long time that there was something that could be done with The Little Matchstick Girl, though with how tragic and terrifying the original is, I'm a bit frightened to read on. I really like the subtle allusions to the original, while simultaneously making it your own. If I had a suggestion, I would say that the time-jump without SOME warning between chapters can be a bit unsettling, but I don't see any real reason that it needs to be explicit. I'm anxious to continue unraveling your character development as the story unfolds. Looking forward to more at this point.

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MareneaM on Feb. 18, 2017, 5:18 p.m. said:

MareneaM


I really enjoyed the story line and would liked a little more detail about Edana's mother and her talents...behind the scene of Edna's training and how/why her powers are enhancing so quickly.
Will there be follow up book of this story?

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Jonathan Brett on Feb. 21, 2017, 8:35 p.m. said:

Jonathan Brett


I plan on writing a trilogy...if this one actually goes somewhere. Each one gets deeper into Edana's family's past and builds in more of the King Arthur legend.

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Maykathryn on Feb. 17, 2017, 6:14 p.m. said:

Maykathryn


I love the premise of this book. It reminds me of The Night Circus and Howl's Moving Castle and The Magicians. Mr. Ashstaff is awesome! His banter with Edana is very charming. I do feel like this manuscript needs more sensory details. When there was a lot of high action it tended to be heavy in dialogue and I lost some of the urgency of the moment. I do miss some of Edana's emotional responses - like when she cries after moving in that's such a strong moment but others feel rushed. I think with such a wonderful and expansive concept I'd enjoy a fuller and maybe even slightly slower paced approach. Again, I think this an awesome plot with great details! Best of luck.

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