For sure, and that’s why I did take note of what you did right, I just also feel like critique is often mechanically sugarcoated? Rather than advice we see a lot of people repeat reassurances which isn’t something I can really connect to.
It’s important to note I’m just a single reader, too! Not everyone’s going to immediately fall in love with your story, that isn’t going to mean it’s any less good or read-worthy, just that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And you definitely shouldn’t feel feel like scrapping it because of one reader (in fact, you got amazingly positive reviews from everyone else, too!)
An introduction would mean getting to know the characters before we reach into what’s happening in their life. Essentially the exposition.
The most obvious example I can think of is the beggining is ‘North’ (a hilariously horrible movie from ‘94)
It starts with a narrator walk us through everything about the main character; North was having a difficult time with his parents who weren’t paying him enough attention. Otherwise he’s had a wonderful year- He was top of his class in science, the best player in football..
yada yada yada
Most series have a pretty obvious exposition phase too,
in Dexter we get the whole first episode as a long winded introduction to how he is. We also get to know his family, his coworkers, and everyone’s initial stepping stone basics. i.e.
Him - emo series killer who plays nice to have a normal life - Check
His boss - loves him more than she should - Check
His sister - underappriciated cop who’s a bit of a rebel - Check
We get simplified versions of their personalities so later on we can see them change and develop, we can see Dexter face real emotions, we can see how he uses his boss’ affections to come and go as he pleases, we can see his sister clean up her act and be given her dream position on the force due to her fiesty personality- and since we already know a bit about the characters and have that initial introduction to them, we care about what happens to them.
Not all introductions have to be this obvious, of course. Most are best done through scenes, you see this especially well with high-action scenes: we get a glimpse of who the characters are under pressure. If our character is being attacked while waking down the street- does he hand over his money? does he fight back? does he try and call the cops while talking to the attackers? does he hand over the money and then kick their heads in from behind to have them at a disadvantage?
there’s a lot of ways a single scene can be our stepping stone to know more about the characters and some of the fun is finding out how your world would fit best to introduce your characters.
In terms of your story I found that I lacked an exposition. I had nothing to hang onto when I was thrust into the first scene, which was a tad confusing on its own. From reading other people’s comments here, it was his imagination, but it also wasn’t?
I feel like I would’ve been a whole lot more perceptive to Eory’s struggles and consequential breakdown(?) if I knew who he was, what was at his core. Maybe he’s brave, or cowardly, a hero or an underdog, caring or sociopathic. Even after the second chapter which gave me a little more information (still not quite the exposition) I don’t feel like I could tell you clearly who Eory is. What his one-word personality is, as far as I know. That’s what bothered me at this point.
Hope that’s clearer!