This little review has, believe it or not, nothing to do with either Sainsbury’s leaf tea or my own merciless conscience. No, it’s being written right now, and it will be posted, simply because the story deserves it. You don’t think I’d do anything for some Thornton’s, do you? *giggles* Well then, review it is:
I’ll be focusing on Draco of course, but I’ll begin with the mysterious man in the night:
“What do you think he’s going to do, Draco Malfoy? Do you think he’s going to congratulate you for making such a mess of killing Dumbledore? More like he’ll be ready to take your eejit head from your shoulders.” - these lines really gave me the creeps, I could feel the words affecting Draco, I could hear the tone of voice they were spoken in.
Onto Draco then. There is so much there, and all the things you blend lead up to the right character. Perhaps not the “perfect” character for everyone, as there are plenty of versions (and fans) of Draco out there, but the one and only Draco Malfoy I want to see in Severed Souls. You’ve given him a fire, built on the same flames that were presented to us in HBP. Because, when was Draco ever really excited over something in the books? Quidditch? No, not really. Rivalling with Harry? Well, perhaps a bit. But both of those things are really about proving himself, and his greatest opportunity to do so wasn’t introduced until HBP and the news of him as a newbie Death Eater (pardon the expression, but it felt fairly suitable…). We know that Slytherins can use all means possible to get what they want, but this also requires some hard work and determination, it takes passion - which we’re now shown in Draco. Excellent.
Yes, I’m continuing on Mr Malfoy. I would just like to state that from the way you write him, I do not see him as stupid or foolish. I think there is a clear mark of intelligence in the fact that he’s not just rushing into things, he is actually asking himself the right questions first – then it’s just sadly so that he gives himself the completely wrong answers, but only because they serve his own cause. He’s chosen the wrong path, oh yes, but not out of sheer stupidity. No one is that simple, especially not a Malfoy, and I think you clearly show us that there are more complex reasons behind his acting.
“I think another target could be found for you, if you really wanted to prove yourself. You see, I have long had a Malfoy working for me, and now that the older one is dead I think I can find it in my heart to offer the younger one a second chance.” - oooh, I can totally see this! Although Lucius became a bit difficult at the end of Daughter of Light, and although he’s always been slippery and put his own needs first, I’ve always imagined that he had qualities appreciated by the Dark Lord. Already after the re-birth in GoF, where they met before us for the first time, we got an idea that Lucius was pretty highly thought of by Voldemort – that is, compared to some other Death Eaters. Whether the monster man is actually telling the truth in wanting a Malfoy in his ranks, or if it’s just a way of playing with Draco, I can see him liking the type of the Malfoys. You know, a bit more sophisticated than Crabbe or Goyle, and a bit more sane than Bellatrix and Crouch JR. That also makes sense why Voldemort would be interested in Roderick – I suppose followers like him aren’t that easy to find? And, oh, before I move on – I think it’s über-creepy how you let Lord Voldemort refer to his heart.
“Now, you will kill Neville Longbottom for me.” - something else I find very, very interesting. Frankly, I don’t think that Draco will kill Neville. Hasn’t Neville still got a purpose? Yes. But then, what will happen to Draco, if he cannot (not due to his abilities, but because of the story) perform this task? Will he die? I don’t think so? Will he turn back to the “good guys”? Or, will someone else come in his way, someone who might be even better than Neville, someone that Voldemort would like to see dead? Someone who is not Harry… Interesting, very interesting.
A couple of words about two other characters. Firstly:
“Now why would you be wandering off?” it asked, and he turned to find a scrawny-looking man surveying him with a sliver of saliva escaping from the corner of his mouth.’ - please, give me a moment to go “Ewww!”. Jan, that was utterly, totally and completely disgusting! However, I really admire you for being able to write this at all, you create such an appalling imagine with sow few words. “Sliver of saliva…” *shudders*
‘Severus did not move an inch, keeping his muscles firmly under control.’ - I must say that I find Draco to be very composed for a man at his age, in his position. But this is nothing, nothing, compared to my mental image of Severus in the Dark Lord’s presence. He is just… Well, the control he keeps himself under, is (and so help me God, I never thought I’d write this) dead sexy. And seeing him like this, both connects to and completely contrasts to the next thing I’ll mention:
‘And, unusually, he reached for her first, pulling her into him with a need that was so apparent it made her heart ache for him. And as they fell together, entwined on the bed, she knew she had made absolutely the correct decision joining him.’ - two completely different versions of Severus, yet the same man. He’s got the ability to act so well, but I must say I prefer to read what’s happening to him back stage. What exists between Maeve and him are something to return to, a splash of vivid colour and warmth in the grey, cold world. Having them together is a perfect way for you, whenever you should feel like it or be in need of it, to give some sense of comfort, closeness and hope to your readers.
And, I can’t not mention my new favourite pairing, can I? Not when you give me such teasers, such excellent slices of it. Such as:
‘No one, that is, except the Rampton man. […] There had been genuine care there and something else.’ and:
‘There was no reason for her to see Rampton again, and he must have been twenty years her junior. But as she arrived in the dusty, disused hallway of Malfoy Manor she found she couldn’t quite get the man from her mind.’ - I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say here. Will it be sufficient if I *squee* very loudly and heave deep sighs of happiness? :)
I’ve got a few miscellaneous things I’d like to point out and discuss. First, two tiny things:
‘He extinguished his wand and looked up again, picking out the man’s outline against the branches. “And what do you want.” - shouldn’t there be a question mark at the very end?
“It’s not what he will do about it, it’s what I will do about it,” a new, deeper voice said’ – the full stop is missing at the end.
Then, concerning the term “meeting”. This is very likely just me, but if we look at those two examples:
‘Pettigrew had checked on him and told him the Dark Lord had meetings all morning and would see him just before lunch.’ - yes, I know, Voldemort might very well be seeing people, but when I read this, Pettigrew suddenly morphed into a blond secretary telling associates that her boss – the business man – would be in meetings all morning. *giggle* But, as I said, that’s probably just me interpreting the term in the wrong way.
‘She reached up to kiss him and realised that he looked even paler than usual. “Bad meeting?” - here it is again, that word doesn’t really seem suitable to me. I don’t know why, because I don’t think twice about an “Order meeting” or “D.A. meeting” – I never have. I suppose it is just not, in my eyes, connected to Voldemort. Here, Maeve and Severus are (in my twisted brain) brutally turned into Petunia and Vernon, and I can just see Maeve taking his briefcase… Yes, sillyness perhaps, but there is just something not right about it.
I’ve talked a lot about Draco already, and there is only really one thing I’m thinking about:
“Okay,” Draco said, his palms and forehead drenched in sweat. “I can do it. I will do it.” - the first “Okay” is a little out of place, for some reason. I do agree that Draco would probably use the word, but perhaps not here? As this is sort of his summing up and decision, I think I’d like to see something like “Yes, my Lord.” or whatever would be suitable.
And the last thing I’m thinking about is:
The impatient Pettigrew had hurried Draco along the corridors, wanting him out of the tunnels as quickly as possible so that he could get back to work. - impatient, yes, I can totally see that. But to go back to work? I would have thought it much more likely that Pettigrew wanted things out of the way so that he could be lazy? So, if he’s suddenly turned ambitious and hard-working, I’m wondering why? Is there something he wants? Is he on a mission to get closer to Voldemort, and therefore working harder? Or, has Voldemort suddenly put some more pressure on old Wormtail? Has he perhaps made it clear to him that do be a Death Eater, he has to make a little effort? :) Forgive me if I’m asking silly questions, but I generally see Peter as someone lazy, not like someone who would be impatient to get back to work…
*takes off her recently purchased pirate captain’s hat with a flourish and bows* Jan, it’s always a pleasure, and this chapter is no exception. And, review for the *gasp*-bringing Chapter Sixteen shall be along before you know it. ;)
Excellent chapter. Very nice,"how can I wait for the next update" ending.
Author's Response: Hee hee....and that update was a long time coming!
Evil, evil ending. Please be quick with the update. A chapter really about relationships- pushing the limits of Severus' and Maeve's now that they are together again, and Remus' and Felicia's in its beginnings. No huge plot developments- except Snape's revelation about Regulus, but that wasn't hugely unexpected. look forward to more.
Things are really starting to happen. I hope that Remus and Felicia stay happy. I hope that Remus makes it safely back to Hogwarts! That was a really nasty cliff hanger at the end though! I hope we find out what happens to Maeve real soon!!!!
I've been saying for months that I'd review one or the other of your epics, and seeing as how I stayed up until 3 am a week ago to catch up on this, I think the time has come.
I could go through the chapter and comb for small grammatical errors as I usually do when reviewing, but if I had any grammatical disagreements with you it would probably be about commas, and I doubt you want to hear about commas. My biggest quibble about anything is Draco thinking to himself that Eastwrithe is the perfect name for the village. Somehow it didn't seem to me a very Draco-like thought.But enough of quibbles. I've been following this plot for over fifty chapters by now, and I want to gush about it. The writing is beautiful. There is enough imagery to paint vivid pictures in my mind, but not so much that I get swamped in it. I love stories that manage to walk that fine line, and you've done an admirable job with it. Combine good writing with an excellent plot, and you already have me hooked. But that's not my favorite thing about this story.
What I love most about your stories are your characters. You write one of the most believable Dracos I have read. He is not a good person, but he is thoroughly believable. He looks out for himself above all else-quite the proper Slytherin! He has some attachment to his parents, but not a great deal. He has motives and motivations. He's not always incredibly smart or cunning, which is another pitfall I often see in Draco characterizations. In the context of the story, he is real.I also quite like your Voldemort. The idea that he hides himself away and lets almost no one access is both interesting and in keeping with what we know of him from canon. It's wonderful to see an author take a canon character and expand on what we know of him or her, and you do it beautifully.
Then, of course, there are Severus and Maeve. I'm a Snape fan (*gaspshockdie*), so I don't know whether it's that I read more Snape-centric fics or that the quality of writers who write Snape is better than average, but I've read several Snapes who are really quite excellent. Yours is certainly one of them. You write the best “Snape in love” I have read. I love reading your descriptions of his actions and mannerisms, and I constantly smile or even chuckle at the dialogue you write for him. Maeve is … Maeve. I don't think I can say more than that. I absolutely love how you write the interactions between the two of them. The tenderness is sweet, especially given Severus' acerbic personality. Their mutual frustration and worry makes their relationship real. When they interact, I feel like both of them are in the room with me (or maybe I'm in the room with both of them). They make me smile. They make me bite my lip in apprehension. And most concretely, they make me keep reading.This story (along with HPDL) is one of my favorite fan fictions. Thank you for sharing it with us!
I have always hoped, for some reason, that Draco could remove himself from his father's shadow and that he might even manage to break from the evils Voldemort imparts. I expect him to ultimately die for this, but I certainly wished that he might redeem himself, at least partially, before that messy end. Now, it seems that he will not do so and I admit myself to be disappointed. Not by anything you have done, however; don't misunderstand me. I am confident that Draco's emergence as Lucius' son has important and long-reaching ramifications. I learned in DoL to second-guess every apparent truth, just as I do with the books, but I never question the direction you take these characters. After all, you know how imperitive these personality transformations are and I can only speculate until they are revealed to me and the rest of us through the much anticipated updates. Thank-you very much for such a detailed, enthralling chapter (Severus' priority and Narcissa's revelation in particluar). Wonderful. ~Katie
This was real interesting. We've seen some Draco, but not this much, and I liked the darkness you've given to his character. I guess it makes perfect sense that he would want to come back after failing with Dumbledore. But poor Neville. Wonder how he's going to get to him. And sneaky Maeve and Snape, going to bed in the middle of the day! Great chapter, be good to see what goes on if they go to Grimmauld Place.
Very good chapter. I like the sympathetic Narcissa. I found it insightfule how Rodrick named himself as her Narcissa's friend. Snape showing his humanity only to his wife was wonderful. Actual understandable emotions and all. Keep up the good work.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving us back the real Ron. That was the highlight of the chapter for me, I'm afraid. (But I am biased.) There really was so much going on. I continue to adore any scene with Narcissa in it - so much scope for amusing jibes and cat fights. And Hermione has a little crush on my favourite man, does she? Lockhart with brains? Yes, I would say she's about right. I wonder where that will lead. Very enjoyable! Thank you.
Author's Response: I am guilty of making Ron rather immature in this so far...and it took Anne to point it out to me. So we're back to the Ron that appeared in DoL. *hangs head guiltily*
Ah, the eventful Chapter 14! What can a fan do but to love it?
The opening scene completely belongs to Ron. I’m not his number one fan, but I still appreciate how you give him the credit of finding the locket, for being useful for once. His arguments about going back to Hogwarts might well be thought up because he wants to see Hermione again, but there’s nothing stupid about them at all. You show us the serious side of him, but also the humorous one: “Or round his wife’s grand, scrawny neck,” Ron laughed.’ as well as the part some would call silly, but which I think is adorable: ‘…his mind now drifting pleasantly to thoughts of Hermione.’
And then back to Carrowdore Cottage, to one of the best mornings I’ve come across. You know already how I adore the precious Snape/Snape pairing, and reading any closeness between the two is like eating Thornton’s Treacle Toffee to me. It seems like each time they touch is carefully planned and thought through at the same time as it’s natural and spontaneous. Earlier this year, I would never have thought that the line ‘…enjoying the heaviness of her against his body.’ concerning Snape would have touched my heart at all, and definitely not that I would have smiled happily about it. Although I suppose this is still true, because this is not simply Snape any longer. He’s Severus, and even if you will never hear me say that I adore him, I have certainly grown very fond of his character.
“I will never sleep in a cave like some mongrel with only rats for company,” he hissed.’ - I’m reminded of Sirius yet again, and I wonder if that’s also what Severus had in mind… I can’t remember if he knew of Sirius’ hiding place in canon, although I think he didn’t, but the word ‘mongrel’ is to me connected to the word ‘dog’, and through that to Sirius.
You’re trying to make all of your readers fall for Roderick, aren’t you? Why else would you write things like: ‘His hair wasn’t its usual well-combed self and Maeve couldn’t help thinking it made him look rather more attractive than normal.’, ‘…his half-undone shirt revealing a smooth chest that was almost, but not quite, unblemished.’ and “I promise. I will take the utmost care of my personal safety so that I can always be around to harass and generally infuriate you,” he said into her hair, breathing in the soft scent of her recently vacated bed.’ I wish I knew just when Roderick turned from someone amusing at the best but most often annoying, to someone I’d gladly snog at any time. You must have tricked me somewhere along the road, and now I can’t see a way back. *pretends to grumble* But seriously, you have really succeeded to turn his character from something great into something amazing.
“RAMPTON!” Severus’ voice roared down the stairs. “Stop trying to seduce my wife and get that Malfoy woman out of my house and to safety.” - *giggles madly*
‘Ron was sitting in the kitchen simultaneously eating a ham sandwich and playing Wizard’s Chess against the board.’ - I really like the detail of a self-playing chess board, it’s like Muggles playing against their (or our, I should perhaps say) computers, just that it runs by magic instead.
A bunker! I must say, even if it’s not very nice, that it really suits Severus. Or at least the Severus he was before Maeve returned to his life. Tidiness, lack of details, a place ready to be inspected by some official at any time. It’s feels colourless and empty, but then Maeve enters and in my mind I can see how her presence and red hair lights up the dull rooms, just as she did when she re-entered Severus’ life. There is a new reality to everything when they speak, and even if Maeve has to stay put it’s clear to me that she was meant to be beside her husband all along, and not hidden away at Hogwarts.
“I love you, Maeve,” he said, before hurrying from the room and closing the door behind him.’ - so powerful… It’s really amazing what holding back those words most of the time does to the times when they are spoken. And you don’t have to add that he said it with feeling or passion because we already know that if he does say it, it’s because he means it. I’m very glad that you let Maeve make the observation that his words would have been very suitable last ones, because as she did I’m less afraid that might be the case. I know we’re not exactly at a point in the story where Maeve or Severus would likely die, but that doesn’t stop me worrying for them, constantly.
The boys (yes, in a story where men like Remus, Roderick and Severus are so important, Harry and Ron seem like boys) returning to the castle feels better than I thought it would. In canon, I think I would be disappointed at such a plot development, but even if Harry has got a major part of this story, there are other characters I’d just as well like to read outside the walls of Hogwarts. Hermione is very good welcoming them back, and very nice of you to keep a bit of tension between her and Ron. And speaking of young romances, I’m very glad you decided to include a bit of Ginny. I had certainly fooled myself thinking I just wanted it there for things to be correct. Truth is that I’m shamelessly fond of the two together, and even if there are more interesting and original liaisons to be focusing on, a part of me is secretly hoping for things to turn out all right for Harry and Ginny.
“Although he did say something about a family crest stitched to the person’s undergarments.” - *snorts* Excellent! You know, the world of fandom has its advantages sometimes. :) I’m glad that Hermione has decided to stick to what she found out about R.A.B. even if Maeve wasn’t very encouraging. I’m sort of hoping for a secret visit to the cemetery, but of course not until we’ve had to live through another encounter with Filch…
Draco is sooooo stupid!! He doesn't realize the sacrifices that so many people have made for him. He is truly his Father's son! I hope that he gets a wake up call before it is too late. He doesn't even show his mother any respect! SIGH Oh well. I think you write him very well though. I'm glad that Maeve is going back to Grimauld Place. That way the Order can reach her if needed. My only question, is how will Severus be able to get there if Harry is secret keeper....Harry hasn't given him permission to be there. Only Maeve. It will be interesting to see how Snape gets Filch to help Harry. :) It is very interesting to see Snape help from the back ground, even though no one believes in him, except Maeve and Remus. I can't wait to see Remus when he resurfaces!!! That should be fun.
draco is such a git. he's really putting his mother through it, and when she's sad over lucius too. And maeve's going back to grimmauld place,Yay!
They finally found the locket! all they've gotta do now is figure out what to do with it. i like snape and maeves new hiding place, the bunker sounds pretty secure for both of them. it feels like things are really starting to move along now.
YES! First again. Rats, I really hoped Draco was going to behave himself better...oh well. I really like how Daco almost got himself beat up by bunch of muggles. the possiblity being there was quite funny.
I like how Ron has come back into the story a bit, I thought hed been a bit absent lately. Roderick and maeve were real sweet with each other. I think that relationship has really developed in this fic. But the best bit was Snape and Maeve going on the run together. The bunker was interesting, wonder how long theyll be safe there.
Yipes! I was glancing back through the reviews (a frustrating and dangerous task lately, but I digress) and found that I hadn't reviewed in 4 chapters! I had no idea it had been so long and I am so sorry, Jan! Your work deserves so much better! ~Katie
Well, well, well. A very good chapter, excellent, quite like the last one (except this time I managed to read it through all at once. I became so infuriated with Narcissa in the last chapter that I had to stop reading immediately and snapped at no less than five people in a single hour.) It's amazing your how writing affects my moods. But I did manage to finish today, after a particularly grueling dance production week and was thrilled to be able to read on. I am extremely glad Harry and Ron are back (at least for the relationships I foresee developing as I can be a hopeless romantic at heart). I'm also extremely glad Ron found the locket because I had been wondering if and when it might emerge. Roderick is simply insufferable but I expected nothing less. As for my dear friend, Remus, I'm curious as to which woman he proposed to. I think I know, but with every twist is a corresponding leap from one assumed plot line to another and I'm a bit lost as to which I'm expected for my friend. I will confess, though, that I am extremely impressed with Filch and did not expect him to be a source of imformation at all, but now I cannot see how his darker knowledge cannot be useful. Wonderful! I eagerly await the next chapter! ~Katie
Loved Rampton and Maeve's relationship and Snape's reaction to it- very in character though Rampton is still a puzzle. Glad Harry's back at Hogwarts and look forward a little HG, HR romance. Would've liked to have seen Remus though!
Everyone is really moving around! I hope that Draco doesn't cause too much trouble for everyone. I like Rampton more and more. He is definitely two sided, but it makes things very interesting. He is still very likable. Hedwig can find someone anywhere! LOL :)