Penny finding her purpose is well done if breif its a bit too easy or not enough of the obstacals she faced told -did she miss Percy, did she write him I know this is not a romance but wouldn't you want to share what you discovered with someone
The discription of other wizarding communities could be more filled out
You could have also added native americian, aboriginie and central african setttings
Hi, Ilka! Sorry I’ve been such a horrible buddy this review period. We didn’t get to chat even once, and my review is barely making it under the deadline. But since I waited so long, I get to review your new story! I also suspect this might have stemmed from my study abroad class, which petered out at the end. Sorry for that, as well. You were one of my best students. One of these days, I’ll get around to grading … but I digress. *ahem*
I enjoyed this first chapter very much. I knew you already had a plot bunny for the final, and I was curious to see how it would turn out. I’m so glad you didn’t quit just because I did! I really like your premise for Penelope’s travels. As someone just a little older than she, and as someone who has felt as she does, I empathise with her feelings – they are very real for someone her age, regardless of whether they are a Squib, Muggleborn, pureblood, half-blood, or Muggle. And truthfully, I had forgotten that Penelope was Muggleborn, but that makes sense – why else would she have been Petrified? Good job on picking up that little detail.
And oh, I love your characterisation of her and Percy, and their relationship! Percy isn’t too emotional – he’s trying to stay detached – but it’s clear he cares about her. And good for Penelope for sticking up for herself and choosing to leave, even when there is stability right in front of her with Percy and a job at the Ministry. Many girls wouldn’t choose that, but Penelope does. *applauds*
Hmm. I’m not sure whether I like the different sections or not. I mean, I like the content – I can’t decide whether I like the format, how separate each section is. I really would have liked a little more story surrounding each vignette – what did she learn from reading Alberti’s diary? How did that impact her? It just seemed a little disconnected, as though it didn’t mean anything, as though it was just plopped in there to fulfil a requirement, but not as a part of the story. Since this is only the first chapter, maybe you’re planning to tie it in later? I hope so.
I was startled to see that you’d jumped straight from Alberti’s last diary entry to Penelope’s wanderings in Alexandria. There was no warning, except for the Roman numeral II, and it was a little disconcerting. I really would have liked to see some kind of conclusion to her time in Florence before moving on to another city. It seemed a little unfinished for those reasons.
I love, love, love your descriptions of the foreign cities. I’m there when I’m reading – you’ve captured the flavour and essence of each place marvellously. Wonderful job there. I can tell you’ve researched each locale thoroughly, and I’d be able to tell even if I hadn’t seen your research already. =) And whoa, the history in Alberti’s diary! What a fabulous technique. I love it! And the bookstore in Alex. Very nice. If I were there, I wouldn’t be able to resist either. Hee, I love that you mention her Ravenclaw affinity to learning, and how she just had to go in. It’s so true of us Claws – bookstores are irresistible. I also like that with this section, you applied her experience to her “quest”. Omar’s words sparked something within her. I really missed having that in the first section.
A few quick typos – “She had only stepped into the narrow corner store by chance, but it proved to be the best thing she had done since arriving in Florence.”
” This was the closest Penelope had come to wizarding Florence and she hadn’t been all that confident that she would actually get to meet another Florentine witch or wizard during her stay.”
“Penelope bent down to help her gather her things up at once, apologising profusely as she worked.”
There are also several places that could use a semi-colon, a comma, or a full stop, but nothing too jarring, and nothing that really distracts from what you’re saying. I’d let a really nit-picky beta look over this maybe one more time, but it did make it through the queue. ;) Oh, one more thing just occurred to me. How is Penelope able to read Alberti’s diary? Isn’t it written in Italian? Maybe it’s Charmed so that it can be read in any language … *shrugs*
Once again, Ilka, this is very well done. I’m sure you know that most people have issues writing settings that aren’t familiar to them, but you seem to have accomplished this flawlessly. I really enjoyed reading about Penelope’s adventures, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes next! This would have gotten full points from me if I had actually assigned the final. Sorry again about that. Good luck with the next chapter!
And OH! Happy birthday! Very belated, but I never did tell you. I hope you have a wonderful year! *hugs*
Author's Response: Abi! This is indeed what I wrote for your class, I simply couldn't let it collect dust on my desk and had to submit even though you never did assign the final. I'll look into writing some sort of conclusion for Penelope's experience in Florence and I'll make sure to pay extra attention to these conclusions in the next chapter. I actually have no idea how she could read the diary *facepalm* I totally forgot the language issue. Thanks for catching those typos. I'm very glad you liked the story so far, I'm quite fond of it and really did enjoy your class. *huggles*
Hey Ilka! :]
I really liked the dialogue you started with-- it seemed very natural. It also introduced Penelope well as her relationship with Percy.
I liked how you moved into your plot fairly quickly. That hooks readers and brings them in. Your introduction of interesting characters such as Marie and Giovanni also adds interest right away.
I would suggest that you add some of Penelope's reaction to what she has read in between each diary entry. That might work to break them up a little bit more as well as give readers more of a look into Penelope's opinions.
Also, maybe a transition between Penelope in Florence to Penelope in Egypt would be good as well. It was a bit abrupt and it took me a moment to realize that she had changed locations.
Overall, Ilka, I really liked this chapter. You have great characterization and dialogue that really gives the story personality and interest. Your plot is also so interesting and compelling that readers like me will want to read more and more. Brilliant job!
Author's Response: Thank you, Hanna! Like I told Abi above, I will look into writing some sort of conclusion/reaction to reading the diary when I edit chapter 2. It is a very abrupt anding to her time in Florence. I'm glad you like Marie and Giovanni. At first they turned out pretty similar, but I tried to give each of them a unique personality, or as much of one as you can see here. Thanks again for the review. *hugs*