The world you’ve painted for us is very dark, yet also chillingly believable. I really like how you’ve translated the relationship between the Marauders into this world. The detail of Remus and Peter’s premature aging is especially effective.
The strongest thing about this story is the characterization. Marie-Antoinette is a complex, sympathetic, and human original character. You do a great job showing us what she is thinking and feeling, but beyond that you provide us with a sense of how she perceives the world around her. As a reader, we are discovering Voldemort’s new dark order through her eyes, which helps us to understand both the world she’s been thrown into and the young woman through whose eyes we’re experiencing it.
I feel like you haven’t shown us very much of James yet, and I want to see more of him. We can see that he’s angry, that he deeply loves Lily and Harry, and that he despises Marie-Antoinette for being the tool used by the ministry to separate him from Lily, but so far we haven’t seen very much beyond his anger. I hope you plan on developing him more as a character in the coming chapters.
The other character that I really, really like your take on is Sirius. That in and of itself is remarkable, since in general I detest Sirius. I can count on one hand the number of fan fictions that I actively like which feature Sirius prominently. You kept him entirely in character, but because of the situations that you show him in, it’s easier to see how Sirius can be charming and kind. I don’t think this will change my mind about Sirius in general, but in this story at least I have learned to like him. Your ability to change my (admittedly rather stubborn) mind like that is a testament to how well you have written his character.
The other thing I really like in this story is your description of the garden. It feels symbolic; its state seems to mirror both the lives of the house’s inhabitants (Marie-Antoinette and James) and the condition of wizarding society as a whole. The imagery of the garden is very strong, and it fits well with the story.
I really enjoyed reading what you’ve written so far and I look forward to reading later chapters as you write and post them. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Author's Response: Thank you for that long and wonderfully detailed review. I am especially happy you commented on the characterization, since that's what I work on the most in all my stories. For this story in particular, the characterization had to be as good as possible--an AU with an OC as the main character must at least be faithful to JKR's characters.
You're right, I haven't developed James' character much. The only passage in which his true character appears is the opening of chapter 2, when I write in his PoV. That's the only time when we get a glimpse of his first impression of Marie-Antoinette. Given that one of the main themes of this story is the relationship between Marie-Antoinette and James, his character will be unveiled quite slowly through his young wife's eyes. But you're right, of course, there is more to him than anger and sorrow.What you said about Sirius sounds strangely like my own opinion; I don't like him much in canon, and I usually find him exceedingly annoying in fanfiction. I am not trying to change your mind about Sirius, and as the story advances you'll also see the bad sides of his character--his rash, sometimes childish actions, his stubborn mind (if not prejudiced) about purebloods in general and his brother in particular, for example. But I also like him in my story, both for his indestructible loyalty to James and for his kindness to Marie-Antoinette.
And last, I am happy the description of the garden didn't feel boring or overlong; I liked writing it, but I have a knack for embarking upon endless descriptions and forgetting it could be boring to the reader :). Your analysis of the imagery of the garden was more accurate than anything I could've thought of to explain it myself.I am very happy to share this story with you, and it's extremely rewarding to get such wonderful reviews for it. Unfortunately, I won't update in quite a long time any of my stories--the explanation is in my profile. Believe me, I'm the first to be sorry about it. I'll miss writing.
Again, many thanks for the review!
Shame on me for not reviewing until now. Unfortunately, I've never been a good reviewer of stories I love (such as yours). So, uh, great job as usual! I'd really like to punch James in the nose if he wasn't already so distraught. Poor MA is starving and he's totally forgetting about her! Of course, I think I feel worst for Lily. Hmm...there's a lot of people to feel bad for here.
Author's Response: Yes, there is. I'm starting to be worried: in all the reviews I got for this story, at least one out of two points out it's utterly depressing. Anyway, don't worry about not reviewing sooner; I, for one, won't update before quite a long time. So thanks for the review :)
As I hope I've mentioned many times before, I adore this story, and look forward to every new chapter! I think one of the many strong elements in it is the fact that Marie-Antoinette's personality comes through so clearly by her actions - her flurry of ambition and creativity in this chapter shows her determination and optimistm in the face of so much change and adversity. The letters from her schoolfriends were also lovely, and sad too. Aimée's letter in particular was really well written, because it was really believable that this was a teenage girl writing to her exiled best friend! And the "Rosbifs" nickname was an interesting revelation! Just out of interest, Est-ce qu'il y a un nom francais pour les irlandais?
Author's Response: Thanks for the nice review :). I don't know any nickname for the Irish, but maybe there is one. I am very happy you liked the chapter, and you analysed it very well! As for me, I'm looking forward to the next chapter of "Red"...
Amazing chapter yet again! I must tell you that this story inspired me to read about the real Marie-Antoinette and I am now using her as my biography in English. I just need to find a good book about her.
Anyway, I really hope that her and James can sit down and talk about what really happened! Brilliant story!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review!... A good book about Marie-Antoinette d'Autriche is Stefan Zweig's biography. Highly recommended. Good luck on your biogaphy! :)
Write more soon please i love it keep up with the good work bye
Author's Response: I'll try to, thanks for the review!
Very dramatic and very good!
Keep On Writing;)
Author's Response: Thanks.
And I will :)
I love it! Your writing is markedly different in this story, though it's quite nice to read, in a different way. I love the delicate feeling of the prose, which I suppose goes well with your OC. I'm becoming very fond of Marie-Antoinette--she's so intriguing, but unassuming at the same time; she's simply lovely! It's interesting to note the parallels between the real Marie-Antoinette and her, which I think you intended. Also, I'd like to mention that this is the first time in along time that I've enjoyed reading in first person perspective; I really think it is one of your strengths as a writer, because it was appealing to me in My Worst Fear as well.
“No matter the time or place, people should never call their child Marie-Antoinette. There is no happiness in this world for a girl called Marie-Antoinette.” I LOVE these two lines. Just wanted to get that out of my system. ;)
Anyway, WONDERFUL work, and good luck on any and all of your writing endeavors!
Author's Response: I use a slightly different style of writing for each one of my stories, because they all have their specific "mood"... (*notices the puzzled expressions*)Makes sense?... I thought not. Well, all you've said is very true, the writing is supposed to go well with my OC--and I'm very pleased you like her, btw. The first person perspective isn't what I always use--far from it, actually :). You've read the only two stories in which I use 1st person PoV. My others 2 stories, which are significantly longer, are in third person perspective.
I'm happy you quoted those two lines--no one ever did before, and I love them too! :DThanks for the lovely review.
Excellent work. I was a little disappointed that it had to end where it did, though.
Keep it up.
Author's Response: Thanks. As for the end of the chapter, well, I barely managed to write the whole thing while struggling with my writer's block, and when I reached what looked like a decent end, I just had to stop there. The meeting with whoever-just-arrived is the purpose of the next chapter.
I loved the part when Sirius came for a visit :P
Update soon :)
Author's Response: Thanks! :) I liked writing Sirius and Marie-Antoinette's conversation, too. I'll try to update asap!
Joy, oh, joy... an update! :)
I was hoping for an encounter between James and Marie-Antoinette in this chapter to perhaps speed things up, but nevertheless, you had us readers gripped by our collars. As always, your work is magnificent... In this chapter I could fully appreciate your talent for characterization. Your characters, canon or original, have a very defining, very solid, an... impeccable outline to them, and I find their personalities absolutely realistic and amazing. Its difficult to do that when the characters aren't giving away too much of their emotion, such as in your story, but their personalities are so... crystal clear and well defined, that I have to bow before your greatness! :) For instance, I would never ever expect Aimee or Olivier to write their letters any differently, and I didn't know I knew that until I read what you'd written... makes sense?
I've been thinking for sometime now, why didn't Voldemort fix up the marriage between Sirius and Marie-Antoinette? How come he chose James instead, when Sirius has his 'noble Black blood' and is a very eligible candidate?
I was really impressed with the way you wrote the scene where the Marauders meet. Though we didn't get to see the entire meeting, I, as a reader, could sense their nervousness and the tension in the bar. It sort of makes sense that the oppressed half-bloods would feel hostility towards purebloods, whether they were involved in their ill-treatment or not. I have never thought of it or seen that side of the public mind when I read stories in which things go as far as they have in this one. I think you have a nice understanding of public psychology. :)
I can't wait to know who the mysterious visitor is... Please write more! :)
Author's Response: Thank you for the nice, lengthy review! :) I know what you mean about Aimée's and Olivier's letter (yes, that does make sense) and it's one of the greatest compliments I have ever received! About Voldemort choosing James over Sirius... James had just been forced to divorce, which undoubtedly doubled his hatred for the Dark Lord and his followers, and thus needed to be brought under control very quickly. This will be explained in a later chapter.
I'm currently writing more! :D
Poor kid!! Great story! I love the idea of what the world would be like if Voldy had won the first war! Marie-Antoinettes thoughts are very touching and realistic, too. Can't wait for more!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, and I'll try to give you more ASAP!
Nice plot development in this chapter! I don't mind the cliffhanger at all (I've done that myself). Aimee's letter was very amusing, and Olivier's letter was touching. And no, I didn't mind the "gardening lesson".
Yes, Sirius is as cheerful as ever! I was completely surprised when the Marauders - all four of them - met in that pub. The last flashback line made me laugh out loud. I tend to avoid Marauder-era stories because of the unearthly amount of clichés in them, but I can tell you with confidence that this is the only exception to that "rule" of mine.
Author's Response: Is it? I have another Marauder-era story, and I've been told it's quite good, but I can't tell you if it's cliché or not :). I thought there was no way that the Marauders wouldn't manage to keep in touch, even if they are separated by their new social status. But the plot isn't at all about them, so it can hardly be called a 'Marauders' story.
Thank you for the review.
yea! i have been waiting for this update for so long. i liked this chapter a lot. sirius makes me laugh. please continue updating because the plot is great. :)
Author's Response: Sorry for the long wait... I hope next chapter won't give me so much trouble! Thanks for the review.
I was a little uncertain about reading this story having read the summary, but I gave it a go and I LOVE IT! I can't wait to read more, you are an excellent writer. I love how you go in such detail to describe her feelings and thoughts--it adds a depth to the story that many other fics these days seem to be missing. You've really developed the plot well so far, and I am simply bursting to read more!
Author's Response: I can't write a decent summary to save my life... Anyway, I'm happy you gave it a try! Thank you for the nice review; and I'll try to give you more ASAP!
please do more more more more!!!!!!
Author's Response: I'll try try try try! Promise! :D
This story is just amazing! Marie has a lot of depth, and I'm sure that she's one of the best-developed OCs on MNFF. I found it a little strange that she has to nurse such an overt animosity for James without knowing him first-hand. Considering the circumstances, she is hardly to be blamed; especially with the likes of Rodolphus around ...
Your plot is definitely original and - from the effort you've put into this fic - I think it's obvious that you don't prefer the conventional book 6/ book 7 kind of stories.
It's hard not to feel sorry for her, though. Again, it's a very engaging plot! I'm sorry for being repetitive or for any grammatical errors in my review; English isn't my first language.
Author's Response: Thanks for what you said about Marie-Antoinette! I'm happy you think she's well-developed. She doesn't hate James... Actually I don't think I ever hinted she did... but she feels a bit abandoned and James is being quite unfair with her, though it's hardly his fault if he's upset.
Don't worry about being repetitive or making grammatical mistakes; English isn't my first language either, so I can totally understand that! :)Thanks for the review!
i absolutely LOVE this story. if we still had the rating thing, a 10!!!
Author's Response: Thank you! :)
loving the story! eagerly awaiting next chapter! x
Author's Response: It should be coming soon... as soon as my Beta sends it back! Thanks for the review! :)
Positively astounding. Once again, I love the artisticness of your writing. I wish I was that gangsta.
This story always makes me smile because I'm like...haha....I learned about her last year.
Keep On Writing;)
Author's Response: Thanks a lot, and I will :). Actually, next chapter is complete and has been sent to my Beta...
Hello! Today I read all 4 chapters of your story and I must say I was hooked. Your writing style is quite breathtaking - I can't tell what's different about it, but I assure you it's really good. :)
Though you explained the events quite carefully and slowly, I was never bored with the narrative. That's what I liked a lot - it wasn't rushed. I very much enjoyed reading about Marie Antoinette - she is an exceptional character. You seem to have given a lot of thought before writing her down, and I love everything about her.
Another major plus point to your lovely story is your characterization of James and Sirius. It's just... awesome, there's no other word for it. There are innumerable sides to Sirius that fanfiction authors cleverly and cunningly capture in their stories, but I've read few stories in which James is as three-dimensional. His grief is very well portrayed. Well done!
Now, about the villains. I'm simply... amazed. No other story about Bellatrix or Rodolphus has sent chills crawling up my spine. I must congratulate you for your powerful hold on them! I can't wait to see how you portray the victorious Lord Voldemort.
Finally, the part of the story which captured my heart: Sirius toasting Marie Antoinette. :) My heart just went out to them both at that point. It shows that though Sirius is upset for his suffering friend, he also understands Marie's feelings, and he acts in a kindly way. I could just see what made him a Gryffindor and a Marauder and James's best friend at that point. I'm completely entranced by this story. Please update to make us humble readers happy! :)
Author's Response: Hi, thanks for the great review!
First... wow. I'm so happy you liked the story that much. The style is very peculiar to this story, it's much more studied than in my other stories. Marie-Antoinette's character demands a special style of writing -- something that matches her personality and her social class. I simply can't imagine a rushed story and a 'brutally direct' style in this world of noble, haughty wizards. I'm also happy you liked Marie-Antoinette as a character. I love her, too, and yes, I thought a lot about her before starting to write her down.The Marauders' characterisation: considering I'm also writing a Marauders story (mostly in James' point of view), I now know them by heart :). I work a lot on their characterisation, it's one of the most important things in fanfiction for me. I'm glad you liked it.
Now, about Rodolphus Lestrange: he's quite absent from the actual books, isn't he? So I was able to write him exactly as I wanted. And I wanted to make of him a refined, haughty character, in the like of Narcissa Malfoy, and as opposed to Bellatrix the combatant. Rodolphus Lestrange is, actually, the only equal to Marie-Antoinette when it comes to keeping their rank as pure-blood wizards of the high society. They have much more in common than they both suspect, just as Bellatrix and Sirius have more in common than they think. Bellatrix, just like Sirius, doesn't understand the whole point of "acting noble". She's completely direct and hates beating around the bush, and that's why Marie-Antoinette beats her so easily in their verbal fight. I like writing 'my' villains, too, they're very interesting characters.Sirius toasting Marie-Antoinette was my favourite part of the chapter as well... There's more Sirius/Marie-Antoinette interaction in the following chapter, which is giving me quite a lot of trouble. Sirius is a kind-hearted man who is especially moved by Marie-Antoinette's young age; and he didn't fail to notice how indifferent or scornful everyone was toward her. I like him a lot more in this story than I usually do.
I, humble author, am currently struggling with chapter 4 and it seems to be in a particularly foul mood -- it just won't let me write it. It's about 50% done, and hopefully I will have finished it soon!