Hello, Serwen mine. After badgering you into posting so many stories here, I think it’s only appropriate for me to review at least one of them. I picked this one both because it’s one of your most recent and because you did, after all, write it for me.
Knowing you and your interest in forensic science, I really shouldn’t be the least bit surprised by this story. If anyone was going to write Hermione examining the dead day in and day out, it was going to be you. And yet, I really wouldn’t expect this story to exist at all, if that makes sense. It’s a dark story, even a chilling story. But it’s also great story, because it brings home the reality of war in a way that I’ve never seen before. The aftermath, the moments of quiet after the battle, the long lulls of frustration and fear –– they bring home the reality so differently (and often so much better) than even the most firey battle scenes. Your stories are collectively remarkable for how well they show war outside of the battles. Perhaps it’s because that’s what you know, but you write the fringes and aftermath of war better than anyone else I can think of; in all the months you haven’t written anything HP related, no one has managed to fill that gap.
You know SPEW, you know SPEW reviews: you know I’m about to nitpick. But war is busy, frantic, when Death comes to pay her respects, and Death rarely has much to say. Either you need something stronger than a comma or you’re missing a conjunction after ‘frantic.’ It’s a beautiful line –– or possibly pair of lines –– and very representative of your writing. If you’re going to bother editing at all, that sentence in particular deserves to be fixed.
And so this is what Hermione Jane Granger does; when all is said and done, and the Ministry leaves their dead in a cold, pale marble room, Hermione sits with them. It’s taken me a few reads to figure out how you meant the thoughts to break up, because at first it made no sense at all, but it’d all make sense if you just dropped the comma after ‘when all is said and done.’
Beyond those punctuation issues, I only have one other nitpick. I want to know why she always leaves her hair down. It just doesn’t make much sense to me. Hermione, ever practical, would be more likely to always have it back –– in a braid, possibly. You might have had a reason for it, but it’s not there in the story and I can’t figure it out. However, everything else is explained: the story fits itself like a Swiss watch. Why isn’t Hermione out fighting? A bad limp in her right leg, an injury that has taken her out of willing combat forever. And just when the story is getting a bit hard to take, a small aside pointing out that she has neither tea nor biscuits. Genius.
I love the choice of Padma Patil for the last victim. Everyone knows she has a sister, so every reader will realize she has left family (and crushing young men) behind. And of course Padma has special implications for me, outside of canon, which I know you’re aware of. But even without that she’s a good choice –– someone Hermione knew, but not someone she knew so well as to mourn for her own sake. Beautiful.
Thank you, Voice, for thinking. Thank you, Voice, for writing. And thank you, Voice, for sharing.