I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to welcome you to SPEW properly yet, so I thought that I would read one of your fics and hopefully get to know you a bit through it, and then leave a review so that you can get to know me a bit better. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think? ;)
This is a very enjoyable one-shot, and I can tell you at once that I’m very impressed by your language and your style. Your words are fairly formal, but they suit the mood of the story and they never seem forced. I love to see that you have used an original character; when they are well written I appreciate how much freedom they give to the writer. It was also interesting to read something from outside England/Scotland (meaning Hogwarts), and Ireland is especially exciting since it is a neighbouring country that would logically be affected by the war.
My remarks in the review below are all only nitpicks, because I have no general advice to give to you concerning word choice, grammar or style – it’s all lovely!
Fabulous Irish summer, isn’t it, he thought sardonically.
That thought really made me smile. Someone once explained to me that one of Enya’s albums is called A Day Without Rain because that is something so very rare on Ireland, and your story seems to agree with that. Your imagery is lovely in the whole fic but in the first paragraph especially; it was like seeing a beach scene from Tristan & Isolde being painted before my eyes. Senan’s ironic thoughts also says something about his character, and for some reason I find that I warm up to him instantly. (That could be because he’s Irish, though.)
In the second paragraph you mention the ‘radio’. It might be that you want it to be slightly different since the setting is Ireland and not England, but I believe that in the books, the radio is usually referred to as ‘the Wireless’ (short for Wizarding Wireless Network/WWN). Every reader will obviously know what you mean by a ‘radio’, but calling it ‘Wireless’ might give yet another HP touch to your story.
And in the third paragraph you surprise me completely. I had no idea what to expect, but not this:
If the Dark Lord won — which appeared to be the way things were going right now — all well and good;
With the way you have constructed the sentence, most of your readers will think at first that your OC is worried about Voldemort winning the war, and then be completely surprised when you add the ‘all well and good’. Nice work with the words, Brosna!
…apparently, she was not as yet trusted enough for her to have taken any steps to support the Dark Lord.
This is the only sentence (or part of a sentence, really) that I found to be a bit awkwardly worded. I can decipher the meaning easily enough, but I think there might be a better way to write it. Perhaps something like, ‘…apparently, she was not yet trusted enough to be allowed to actively support the Dark Lord.’ Just a friendly suggestion, because I’m sure that you can find a much better way to rephrase it.
Oh, I can honestly say that I love everything you have written about Genius. I’m a fully fledged ‘dog person’ myself (I have four) and everything you write is just accurate and so spot-on. Senan seems to be genuinely fond of his dog, but at the same time he’s willing to admit its faults. I also thought that this was an interesting observation:
Nothing that wasn’t of the purest blood would be allowed to grace the draughty manor that was his home. But Genius was living proof that good breeding did not mean good brains.
It never struck me before that pure-blood families would also be concerned with the purity of their animals. Perhaps there are even lines/families of house-elves that are more sought after than others? And Senan’s observation on the non-existent relation between breeding and brains is so clever, and again, shows us something about his character.
rather vertically challenged
I simply have to comment on the use of that phrase, because it is something we used to joke about in Linguistics class at university when we discussed political correctness. Here, though, you have used it very cleverly and I just wanted to note that I appreciate your use of it.
Oh, I have a small remark on your use of ‘house elf’. I was fairly sure that it is supposed to be ‘house-elf’, with a hyphen, but I thought it might be something that varies between the different editions of the books. But I went to look it up, and it is supposed to be ‘house-elf’ (at least, according to the HP Lexicon). I also looked at ‘You Know Who’, but apparently both that way of writing it and ‘You-Know-Who’ are accepted, so I won’t bug you about that. ;)
I want to give some special phrase to the two paragraphs where you describe Senan walking through the quiet house. Yet again you make use of some powerful imagery, and I can almost hear the silence and definitely feel a chill creeping up my spine. Lovely!
He backed slowly out of the room, and slowly climbed the main stairs, tensing at every creak.
In the quote above you have a fairly close repetition of the adverb ‘slowly’. I would suggest that you replace either of them.
…rounding up anyone connected with the Dark Side….
Here you should remove the full stop after the ellipsis, at the very end.
You have spent quite some energy at building up to the ending of this fic, and I think it was well worth the effort. Senan’s worry and fear is tangible and real, and his anger with Malfoy so justified; you make me believe that he is really on his way to make Draco regret what he has done. The very last line is so poetical in all its simplicity, and it is a perfect ending to the story.
To round off the review, I just want to add how I appreciate your Author’s Note concerning the pronunciations at the very beginning. I don’t know if you are familiar with Jenna’s/GringottsVault711’s Irish OC, Siobhan, but for the longest time I was mispronouncing her name. It was quite a relief when she finally told me how to use it correctly. Anyway, Brosna, here’s to a wonderful one-shot! Great work!
Author's Response: Wow. *rubs eyes that are hanging out of head at such a review* Thank you so much for this.
I have a habit of using long words when I'm writing, especially if I'm after reading a 'classic' book, such as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I can get a bit carried away, lol, but I don't generally notice myself.
Senan is Irish partly because I am myself, and it's easier to write about areas I know about. The weather in this fic is typical summer weather! As for winter... well, right now my garden is a patch of mud. I totally forgot about the radio/wireless - I'll definitely edit it.
I have to say I really enjoyed writing about Genius. It's funny because shortly after I wrote this we got another puppy whose behaviour is scarily like Genius'.
Senan's issues with Draco are vital for the other fic he's in (he was supposed to be a minor character, but... he's wangled a bigger part for himself now). I was seriously debating whether or not to include the last line - thanks for reassuring me on that! And thanks again for such an amazing review. Go raibh míle maith agat!
I really admire how you've written this from such an... unorthodox point of view, I suppose you'd call it. Senan's reaction to his family values and ways is really unique, and the fact that he's not particularly bothered about it adds this whole level of complexity and difference to his character, which I think you handled really well.
My favourite element of this story has to be Senan's relationship with his family - what can I say? Family relationships seem to be my thing. I thought you wrote everything concerning that element of the story particularly well, I thought, the way he, in the introduction, wasn't bothered too much by the War because, no matter how it went, his parents weren't likely to be harmed and neither would he. He finds the idea of their disapproval of his walking though the back door amusing, but then when they're in danger, most likely dead, he completely loses it.
So yeah - I don't know whether it's because, deep down, he really loves them deeply, or heavily relies on the security of his family (or both, of course), but whatever it is, you handled it in a way that was... yeah, just fantastic.
The other bit that really threw me was his relationship with Genius. I'm not a dog person. I, in fact, actually really don't like dogs most of the time, and I like stories about them or containing them a whole lot less, but in this story, you pulled it off. I could understand the value of this dog.
It seems you obviously have a very deep understanding of Senan, and you wrote him incredibly realistically - I think the relationships in this story really stuck out to me, because they revealed the richness and depth of his personality more than anything else. I'm very impressed; congratulations.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for such a postive and in-depth review. Senan was actually originally intended as a minor character for another fic, but he has taken over to the extent that I'm now planning a full-length fic on him! To be honest, something that was very much in my mind while writing him was the typical cliches found in characters of his type.
Mooncalf, i truley love this fic. way its ritten n how it confused me the first time, i love fics like that, make me think and all because my brain is usless lol. I would looooooooooooove u to continue
i also hope ur not to mad at me for putting so many xxxs on one of ur reviews it has ruined everything *sigh*
Author's Response: Thanks Sono for your lovely review. The xxs are no problem. I am continuing this fic; Prisoner of Conscience will be coming soon!
Oh, wow. How powerful. I don't understand the ending at all ... well, that's not true. I'm assuming that the Ministry came back to pick up Senan as well. :-( That's so very sad.
This reminded me of stories one hears of World War II. The missing family members, the Gestapo, everything... so very sad. I could almost imagine that the Death Eaters were to be taken to a concentration camp. Execution should seem just, but looking at this from Senan's (objective) point of view, I cannot view it as such. It seems like murder and the Ministry seems like Hitler.
The imagery was beautiful and the description of Ireland's wild beaches contributed to the feeling of gloom and doom instigated by the use of "grey" mood words: "grey water," "white horses," "drizzle," "grey clouds." All in all, a marvelous job with that. :-)
I also felt strangely attracted to Senan. I was devastated at the end when he was so frightened and worried about his family and especially his sister. He obviously loved her, and, at one time, might have been very close to her ... but for Malfoy. Great job on tying canon elements and characters into this as well.
Author's Response: Again, the confusing ending! Apparently, it badly needs to be rewritten. It's supposed to reflect Senan's own confusion and ignorance of what is going on, but I suppose it's a bit much.
I actually got a lot of inspiration from WWII for this story and for the upcoming sequel. Also, the reason I chose Senan to write about is because he would have such a different outlook on the war. Most characters are passionately on one side on the other, but Senan feels it isn't his concern. His only worry is for his parents. His connection with Draco is particularly important in my other story, Let A Serpent Sting Thee Twice, although he hasn't made an appearance there just yet.
Thank you so much for your wonderful review!
Mooncalf- that was wonderful! You perfectly captured the challenge element in this story! You also introduced a great character - two, including Genius. :)
I thought your sense of description was wonderful - as a reader I could picture everything very clearly. This set up a good emotional context. I also liked the backstory you created for Senan.
You did a good job of building things up. When Senan came home and found the house empty, I expected his parents to be dead of an attack, not taken by the Ministry. The end was a real tragic surprise! I assume the Ministry took Senan as well then? Are you planning on writing any more with Senan, or continuing this story? I could definetly see his story continuing after this!
Great job and good luck with your future writing!! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thank you very much, Gina, for your kind and constructive review. I loved writing Genius - little did I know that I would soon have my own little Genius soon afterwards *huggles puppy*. Senan was taken by the Ministry, yes. I didn't originally intend to write more on Senan, but after it was suggested to me a plot bunny began to form. Look out for A Prisoner of Conscience, coming soon!
Oh, I can't wait to see where this goes! Your story is enticing and griping and I can't wait for you to update!
Author's Response: Grrr, stupid computer letting me click submit without writing anything. Anyway, thank you very much for your kind review. I was intending to leave this as a one-shot, as Senan originally came about for my other fic, but I think now that I might update. I'll have to wait and see if I'm inspired!
I like this story also. Very good. Keep on writing.
Author's Response: Thank you! Unfortunately, this is just a one-shot. Senan will turn up later in another one of my fics, Let A Serpent Sting Thee Twice. This just gives him a bit of back story.
OMg this is a great story :P love it to bits and peices .. heheh .. any hoo .. xOx xOx samiie
Author's Response: Thanks samii! i wasn't expecting you to become a regular follower!