"I think Dash has a point too, Robert - since you asked (in the other thread): you may be tending towards having a little bit too much fun with your reviews....which are witty, but at the storys' expense. Although the writers here are really good sports about it."
My main concern is primarily punishing people for having the guts to put their stuff out there--but I can't apologize for having fun when writing my reviews. For me, both reading and writing are joys; if there is no joy in it, then there's no love in it, and writing without love is the equivalent of writing VCR manuals.
Nevertheless, point taken; I've been told I only have two settings, and the other one is louder--but I'll try to see if I can't take it down from an '11' to a '10.5', at least.
"Perhaps I am asking too much patience from my readers. I have yet to introduce the final two main characters! After that everything starts to converge, and maybe I'm dragging this all out a bit too much and should have mixed these scenes in later in the story..."
Orson Scott Card once said something to the effect of 'Prologues are for punks'. I don't think that he's the final authority (or even a substantial authority) on what defines excellent fiction--everything after Ender's Game seems to suck--but he might have a point in this case. I'd at least give a little thought to dropping the whole prologue--with a single stroke, it removes nearly half the unanswered questions you're asking the reader to hold onto ("Who is Balan working for? Who is the Hunter? Who's that girl? Are there such things as demons? Why does Balan think the Hunter is just like him?"). It also gets rid of that one line (seriously, the phrase 'We're the same, you and I' should never be used unironically--utter it to strangers on a bus-stop, cackle it maniacally to your teacher when he gives you an F in your history class, but *never* have a character state it with sincerity in a work of fiction!).
There's also a major continuity problem with your scene involving the construction of the A.I. -- or maybe I'm just completely misunderstanding? -- either this is the first time she's ever built an A.I. (in which case, one is left to wonder how she and her father knew it would work, and why they didn't try building one *off* stage, then just present the finished product to the Royal Society--a far, *far* more sensible approach), or she's had some practice runs... which brings up the fact that those other 'practice A.I.'s' must have been destroyed. If this latter thing is the case, you should draw attention to it--if your plan is to use those 'practice A.I.s' later on (vindicative enemies, or consumed in the final A.I.'s core), you should, again, draw some attention to them. As it is now, the situation came off in a way that didn't strike me as very sensible or genuine.
On a final note--writers get away with withholding information from readers by making that information feel *valuable*. Offer me delicious BLT in an hour, and I'll wait that hour. Offer me a sandwich in an hour, and I *might* wait that hour. Offer me some vague, undisclosed food item in an hour, and I probably won't bother. It isn't so much telling us everything up front as it is making the mystery feel tantalizing (or distracting me in the meanwhile with all sorts of interesting things on the side). That's my take on it, anyway.
Congratulations on being a father! And good luck!