Wowwowowow! You know, a lot of these I have read previously, whether I read them when you posted them, or else linked to them in other places; however, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all again! Which, for me, is a sign of a GREAT story. Something I can go back to and not be bored. Instead, I started making new connections with characters and asking questions about where they are going, and realizing how I very much want to know the answer to that question!
I like that you're putting them all together like this, because it is helpful, but I actually never had a problem with the non-linearness of how you put pieces together. I just went on faith that you would tell more later.
I think one of my favorite parts is the walking tour of the city. I can see the city, hear sounds, see light and shadow, and it is all because of the way you tell that particular thread. It is a very real, step inside my house, type of writing, and I enjoy that.
I also like watching stories unfold between the characters, because they are like real people. They say funny things, they go dancing, they cry. I like reading about Julia and her paths toward the city and her destiny.
There are times, when reading about Alanna that I want to hate her, to throw her off the nearest cliff because she's a real bitch, but there are others, like in the Death of the Master of the Hounds, when I want to hold her, to protect her...even though that protection is impossible to give. I cheered when, in seeing what Jeramie had done to Alanna, and to the other girls, Julia gave him a push to his death. I enjoyed her very real, very human action after that…throwing up. The reaction is so natural to what she had seen, and what she must have felt.
I was moved when Julia found Alice, told her the truth without making Jeramie seem like the monster he was. I like how she immediately took the care of Alice; how she convinced the young girl of the things she could have if she chose to live in the castle. Then again, I am partial to characters that take care of children.
I liked reading the full description of Shawn, of learning who he is and the trouble and sadness he will face. I want to know what!
In the bit with Napalm and Tessa and Johnathan, I like the camaraderie that you show, the silly teenageness of the idea of Napalm and Johnathan creating a reality TV show. I was amazed at how well you showed Tessa’s reactions, first to Napalm’s clumsiness, then to the warm, comfortable reaction of Jason’s call, to her distress at what he had to say. It is real.
I think, over all, that is my favorite part of your stories. The characters act like real people, in real situations. They are faced with real difficulties and pain and hurt and danger in their world, as opposed to being in some idealistically boring utopia. I can picture places in Shayara, even though some of them I have not seen. Characters' reactions are also very well written and described, so that the reader can emote with them.
Thanks for sharing your world with all of us, letting us take part in the process.