My first reaction: awww. *snief, sob* My second reaction: look further down ;p
I’ll start this review off with three tiny nitpicks I found before fully commenting on the last chapter:
In the following sentence you misspelled two words. I added the missing letters in bold:
At the same time, I felt the strangest feeling of calm come over me
In the following sentence you chose a wrong tense. It should be as follows instead of “walking”, like you had it:
I walked out of the shed and easily found the road.
And in this insertion I guess you missed the bold written word – otherwise this part of the entire sentence didn’t make too much sense, at least not to me:
[…] I assumed it was my last real smile […]
And now: *applause – standing ovation* Alison, I loved your last chapter. This was so deep, so emotional, so fantastic – I can’t begin to describe what I felt about your final part. Rodolphus was still self-doubting and second-guessing his motives. Was he really doing the right thing? Yes and no at the same time. Exquisite, really awesome. I liked especially the following part where you showed beautifully what went on inside him:
A drop of moisture fell onto the photo, blurring John’s face. Horror began to rise in my stomach as I stared at the faceless man — it could have been me. I could almost see my own face in the photo, but then it was gone.
At first I thought the drop of water was rain, but there was an unfamiliar feeling in my eyes, and I knew it was a tear. I grew embarrassed, but was almost hypnotised by the faceless man… It could have been me…
It so easily could have been me.
I felt anger at the timing of this weakness. I had to be strong for once, if only for a few minutes. I sent a jet of fire from the end of my wand, and it struck the photo. The fire burnt my hand as well, but the only pain I was feeling was from deep inside of me, where my entire being was screaming in agony. This was the one good part of my life, and it had lasted only hours. Now it was gone, and I was without even the photo as a reminder. I stared at the ashes as they fell lightly. Then the wind came softly, and took even the ashes away from me.
This is my absolutely most favourite part of the entire story. *sigh* I love the picture with the ashes in the wind, this is brilliant. Also the titles for the chapters and the title for the entire story are just terrific. Really, really good. Exceptional work.
Nor to the other path I could so easily have chosen or the fact that I used to be so sure that I wasn’t meant to be a Death Eater.
All I knew was that I had chosen to be a Death Eater, and nothing anyone could do would change that.
This is just like what Dumbledore always said: It’s our choices that form us, not what we’re born to be. A choice defines a person, not what status he/she was born into. You’ve captured this truth to the very core, and Rodolphus has chosen to become a Death Eater, to be with Bellatrix, to follow her. Because – and I’ve kind of waited for this the entire time of your story – he had fallen in love with her. Romance in a relatively violent story – wonderful plot you’ve thought off there.
What I just now notice – at the end of the story *rolleyes* – is that you used first person narrator. I’m really fond of this technique of writing a story, because this allows you as the writer to delve into the story with your character, and the reader is able to experience everything from the main characters POV the entire time, feeling and suffering with the character. You did wonderful use of the first person narrator; I liked it a lot.
And to finally come to the very end:
I again felt a gentle breeze blow on my face, but forced myself not to think of the ashes the wind carried.
One of the best last sentences I’ve ever read in a story. Really fantastic.
Alison, I have respect for you having participated in the Gauntlet with this story, and two thumbs up from me – despite the part I discussed in my review for the first chapter. I nonetheless liked your story very much, and it was a pleasure to read it. Go on writing this fantastically.
Maybe I still couldn’t be fully trusted, but if the Dark Lord searched my mind and found I was loyal to his most faithful servant — and thus to him — he might let that be enough.
That sentence took me completely by surprise. What a decision Rodolphus made there. Wow, just a plain simple wow.
I’ll keep the review for chapter two relatively short, since I’m dying to read the third chapter and end of the story. You’ve got me hooked and very interested of how this turns out. Of course, one might now argue we know how it turns out – he’s going to become a Death Eater. After all, that’s what he is in the books. But still there’s the little bit of hope he might decide otherwise, despite the facts we have from the book and despite the above mentioned sentence that Rodolphus was going to be loyal to Bellatrix.
The second chapter was well paced and showed very well how Rodolphus thought, even pondered about his options, how he tried to find a way to see what was attractive in killing innocent people. He compared himself to Vaughn, and although he had seen similarities to begin with he soon found that both were completely different – and all only because of reading Vaughn’s diary. Well done, I liked this chapter.
One tiny thing though I’d like you to notice:
“You cannot be trusted to remain on your own.” she answered, rolling her eyes as if the answer was obvious.
“Answer” is singular and the “were” should therefore be a “was”, I believe. But other than that: Bravo-bravissimo.
That story starts off ominously – but very interestingly though. Alone in a field without having a clue why he’s there? *shivers in anticipation*
First of all, congrats to a good first chapter. I really liked it. You have it well-paced, very well described and even better written. I really could feel with Rodolphus. Why was he there? Why were the Muggles killed? What was the meaning of this all? Also, how you explained how he got to that field in the first place was done well although it could have been a little bit clearer in my opinion. But maybe that’ll come in the other chapters? I’ll see.
The way you described the little Muggle house was lovely:
It was directly over a small house, a whitewashed cottage with flowers blooming in the front and giving every appearance of happiness.
It’s really beautiful, the scene you’ve created with this. So peacefully – it really reminds me of little farmer cottage in small villages, way out in the countryside, nothing else around for miles. It’s dreamily. And it’s a shame that death had to destroy this quiet scene. But then again, the grotesqueness of the dead on this house which is untouched is a beauty in its own – it’s so contradictory. I really liked that.
And I always wondered who would kill them. Who would come and take the lives of these four, very friendly, so innocent people? No one else than Bellatrix of course. And this although she still was in school. I always knew she was a person to better not cross, but she fits completely for this killing.
What I had a problem with was this quick pacing you had with Rodolphus and Bellatrix’s discussion about killing the family. He’s strictly against killing innocent people up to that point, but she only needs to threaten him with his own life and he decides to kill the Muggles? That’s in my opinion a little bit too quick.
“No,” I choked out. “I can’t kill them. Bellatrix—”
“Either kill them or die.”
“Anything else. Please,” I begged.
“I will kill one, and you will kill the other. If not, I will kill you, do you understand?”
I nodded. “When?”
The beginning was really good; he contradicted, he pleaded – he didn’t want to kill them. But she kept pushing him. And sure, when it comes down to your life or those of others, you’re most likely choosing to save your own neck, but you could have written Rodolphus even more hesitant about it, making this discussion longer. Yes, he’s going to choose his life in the end over the ones of the Muggles, but he could have put up more of a fight against Bellatrix. She’s only a girl, after all, only 17. And he had his wand. Why didn’t he fight or maybe even kill Bellatrix? That would have solved some problems. No one would know he killed Bellatrix. He was – if I remember correctly – on the run anyway, so why not simply kill her and disappear completely? This way he’d prevent two things: killing the Muggles and having to join the Death Eaters. That’s of course just my theory, so I’ll stop the babbling at this point and go on with your story.
I stared as her eyes slipped back into focus, and she waited for me to speak. But I had nothing to say. I knew then that Bellatrix was, most definitely, all that the Dark Lord could want in a follower. She was cruel, loyal and strong. But it was more than that, I knew. Most people join the Dark Lord’s ranks because of power or fear. But Bellatrix had joined because of something else. She wanted to, which I knew was what set her apart and made her so desirable.
I really liked that paragraph. It showed in a really fantastic way what Bellatrix felt being a Death Eater, why she wanted to be one in the first place. This paragraph in combination with the one where she tells Rodolphus about first meeting Voldemort is just great, absolutely brilliant. Good work.
“Rabastan has requested to be the one to kill you if you should choose not to become one of us.”
These words by Bellatrix and at the end of the first chapter promise a very interesting second one, and I’m more than excited to read how the story goes on.
But before I continue, I want to tell you that relatively early in the beginning you missed a period at the end of a sentence. But apart from that I haven’t noticed one single mistake. Bravisimo.