Reviewer: GringottsVault711
Date: 08/31/09 17:36
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Ooh, this is a very well-pieced together story. What is most striking, I think is the precision of the words and sentences, as well as the way one paragraph leads to the next, one action leads to the next thought, that thought leads to the next action. It's such a sharp (no pun intended!) clear story. There's a sense of purpose and craftsmenship, as if I can feel you sewing the words together to match a vivid image in your head. It's wonderful to read, truly; there are many writers who just sort of write a stream of words that don't really lead anywhere, or use too many words or sentences to try and communicate one feeling or idea, but you are so far from that; I love the decisiveness of you're writing.

The story is quite defined by the imagery within it, and it's fitting that the imagery is sharp in the same way the words and paragraphs are. If I were to try and define this story to someone in a collection of words, it would be with ones such as broken glass, blood, and pain. Again, your writing has a ringing clarity, and it definitely plays a part in making these various elements tangible to the reader.

Re: imagery and pain, one of my absolute favourite things about this story is the way you played up on the contrast between Charity's fragility and the unyielding strength of the diamond. That was beautiful, it's really a powerful concept. More than just you're use of it is you're employment of it. You didn't beat it into the reader's head; it was actually a fairly brief mention, but just even reading the suggestion of it, my mind spun, thinking of the beauty of human nature in its weakness.

My favourite favourite part of this story is the Charity/Jack relationship. Even though we don't see them together at all, I can feel the power of it, and bond between the Witch and the Muggle; I find myself picturing moments between them, perhaps Jack's amusement at some of the things that come up in Charity's teaching, things he'd consider common knowledge or common sense. Often relationships with OC's, particularly Minor Charactater/OC pairings, don't really hit home for me when I read them. It feels like the author is trying too hard to invent something. But with your image of Charity/Jack, it's like you merely tapped into something that was already there, a love that exists, that is so natural that a reader can't help but not only believe in it, but also invest in it. Once more, I'll mention that sharpness and clarity. You're writing with no more or no less than you need; it just feels so natural and relatable.

I'm not quite sure about Dumbledore's letter. Yes, I imagine that Dumbledore would indeed be succinct and tactful, but the message was rather more brisk and less gentle than I would have expected. Not only that, but the words themselves seem pushy and somewhat condescending. An example, it makes me think of a parent telling a child "I trust you brushed your teeth."; they're telling the child, I assume you have, but if you haven't, you had better go do it. That's the sense I get from Dumbledore's letter. It seems as if he's impatient for a decision. I would expect something more openly sympathetic from him, along the lines of hoping that the month did her well and she had time to sort through her thoughts, and gently reminding her that, though it's a difficult time for her, there is a post awaiting her return and a decision to be made.

I can see why the letter is so brief, and how in some senses it seems what Dumbledore might say. But letters are such a formal, purposeful method of communication, with no tone to accompany it; even though in story format it's all writing, dialogue tends to project tone, and that fluidity of conversation that contrasts with the decisiveness of the letter, and the reader picks up on that when reading both forms of communication. Because of that, letters trickier to write in a story than a lot of people tend to realise, and I think maybe that's the reason that Dumbledore's letter strikes me as somewhat out-of-character for him.

The ending of this story really speaks volumes. The internal argument she has in her head is so real (your characterisation of Charity is so real-life human). And, just knowing the fate that Charity Burbage meets with – well, on one hand, it shows the reader the magnitude of what going back to Hogwarts really entails. I can imagine this would make a lot of readers sad for her, to know what she's heading into, to know that she's more or less doomed. For me, it makes me happy. Perhaps she's scared, but I think it's beautiful that she'll die doing what's right, and that, afterwards, she won't have to live without Jack anymore.

Overall, for me, this is story about righteousness and bravery and, "above all else", love. And that love is much more profound than what most "romances" manage to achieve. Beautiful ♥

Reviewer: inspirations
Date: 06/10/09 13:13
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Mere, I love this.

At first, I thought this story would’ve been better in first person. Just because you could’ve delved into her feelings further, and shown us more about what she was going through. However, by the end, I realised how perfect third person is for this, because in first PoV the inner monologue from Charity just wouldn’t have had the same effect, because it opens up a completely new pathway to the fic. Almost like a new perspective to view the story from, because we get the outside view, and then her struggle internally, as such. The monologue worked really well because the thoughts were kind of jumbled, confused, questioning... I like that in this bit you don’t tell us exactly why she is blaming herself for his death. That aspect of it made it feel even more like a series of thoughts, because she knows why she’s guilty, so obviously she wouldn’t explain it in her thoughts.

She had already cried so much, it was amazing that there was anything left to cry out.

This line really stood out to me, because I feel that it helps you get into the shoes of Charity a little more, as it is a situation that everybody can relate with.

A nit-pick I have is the amount you use the word ‘Charity’. Quite a few paragraphs and sentences began that way, and I found it a little repetitive – though I don’t like too much repetition in general, so... But, I think it would benefit your fic if you replaced a few more ‘Charity’s with ‘she’s, and/or rephrased some sentences so less begin with her name.

To round off, I’d like to comment on the beginning and end. The word ‘CRACK!’ as a first word very much struck me. Not so much because it’s capitalised and stands out anyway – because, honestly, I think it would work just as well in lowercase - but because it is very abrupt, sudden, and grabbed my attention immediately. It was a great way to catch the reader’s interest.

The ending, though. What captures me there is how simple it is. Kind of left open but final – I don’t think I can elaborate further than that. >.> And I could really imagine her just walking into the school and getting back into her routine./ random thought.

Anyway, great story, dear. –hugs-

Reviewer: XhayleeXblackX
Date: 10/31/08 9:22
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Hello buddy!

Mere, this was a pleasant, but sad, story to read. I really liked the inner dialogue and arguing with herself. It was truly something that sounded believable and consistent. I also liked the character that you gave Charity. She was strong, but weak, and that was interesting to see. I really liked Jack as well, from what we see of him from Charity’s memory. He seemed to be a wonderful husband.

This was perhaps my favorite part of the story:

She ran her hand over it longingly before kissing the man’s smiling face and whispering, “I’m fighting for you.”

I could just picture and hear her saying this and that made that moment in the story much more powerful for me, because I could see her doing it, saying it.

The way that you tell the story by describing her actions was well done. I liked the descriptions you used and thought that they were all well placed and chosen.

One slight nitpick; on the first paragraph, you start with the “CRACK!” and then continue straight into the paragraph. I thought that the crack might sound a little stronger if put into a paragraph of its own, but that is purely my opinion and not really anything to worry about. :)

The ending made me chuckle because I could see Dumbledore opening the letter in my head and reading it. Hehe. Good job, dear.

-Haylee

Author's Response: -squishes Haylee- Thanks so much, dear! You're review made me smile. :D

Reviewer: BertieBotsBeans741
Date: 08/12/08 12:41
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Hm. The beginning was quite the mix of things. I like how it started out with something interesting that jumped off the page. I’m always bothered when things start out exceedingly dull but it is so lovely when writers deliver with a ‘bang.’ Though at the same time, it had a very somber edge and I admire the blending of excitement and solemnity.

Though I do like the description here:

He brushed away her raven ringlets, tucking them behind her ear. Her brown eyes widened and sparkled with delight as he leaned over and trailed kisses along her cheek.

I think what would have really topped it off and made my heart melt is if you had something about how he regarded her with such adoration. Then again, maybe I’m hoping for too much. >.>

And with that came a tidal wave of grief, pulling her under, sucking her back and not letting go. She was drowning in sadness and had no one to pull her out.

Okay, I really like the idea you had going there. Something seems off with the first part of that sentence but I think the overall idea is enough to eclipse the phrasing being a little off. Truthfully, that was beautiful. It’s one of those things I can’t fully describe. The last line there was so meaningful and consequential. *sigh* I really liked it. =)

I thought her getting up was a little drawn out and perhaps included a little too much detail in that respect. I’d really like to learn more about her surroundings and where and what exactly she is doing.

away from the shards of winking glass that reminded her of diamonds.

For me, it seemed like that list bit could have been put more eloquently. It read like a fact, not poetry. Admittedly, it’s just one line but having read some of your work, I think you could have made it sound more appealing. Something like:

The dozens of shards of glass shimmered like diamonds as the colours reflected and bounced around the room.

Not saying that’s perfect but it could have been something more than what it was.

What I do enjoy at this point is your characterization of Charity. Her state is just utterly depressing and I truly sympathize for her plight. I’d like to learn more about her though. Some expansion on her character.

—not after it had sliced open her finger, broken through all her barriers and given her something that was real.

Something real. Something tangible. Something sturdy. Something frightening and comforting at the same time. Something that reminded Charity that she was alive.

Pain.


*squee* That is what I love to see from you. That’s amazing, to me and I love, love, love it. I love the emphasis on pain. And how you set it up. And I do love the word tangible. I also love your use of fragmented sentences to further emphasis. I enjoy doing that too and I think it makes it much more enthralling and gives it something special. Really enhances it. =)

Something that bothered me was the repetition of ‘satisfying.’ It was a eye sore for me and I think there are many other synonyms that would have worked in place of it. Nothing wrong, per say…

Something about the redness of her blood as it trailed down her finger and the back of her hand, contrasting with the paleness of her skin, was oddly satisfying.

I agree with this. There is something strangely stunning about the contrast.

Now, I know this is gross, but a lot of writers seem to leave out ‘snot’ when they write crying scenes. I commend you on including it because that’s what happens! Crying isn’t pretty all the time. At the same time, I was a little taken aback but I appreciated the honest tone in your writing.

Aw, I just feel terrible for her. I also feel a fondness for this line:

When her hand closed around the velvet box, it soothed her, creating a sense of inner peace.

It’s so sweet and adds a tinge of hope and light. It truly is soothing. Mostly, because you said it is. See the control you have over readers if you set it up and deliver correctly? =D

The two paragraphs underneath that were delicious. The imagery and description were spot-on and overwhelming. You can really tell this woman is suffering so enormously and it makes me feel even worse when I think of what happens to her. All of the detail after that is quite nice too.

The letter sent to her was so short and precise yet I could feel wisdom and understanding etched in it. Very Dumbledore.

I think Charity possesses far more gumption than she knows. I am assuming her husband or fiancée has died and I think she’s handling it maturely and her depression and angst is so appropriate.

She licked her lips and let out a shallow ragged breath.

There should be a comma between shallow and ragged.

He died because you were fighting, because you were making a stand.

The wording seemed off there too. I would suggest changing it to ‘because you were taking a stand.’ Making just sounds odd in that context.

I also praise you on the inner monologue. Often I find it annoying and overplayed but I think the reasoning in her voice and the small battle that takes place in her mind is plausible and interesting to read.

Aha! The plot both thickens and comes together at the same time.

When he’d heard about Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, Jack had wanted to fight. He couldn’t, though. What could a Muggle do against the most powerful dark wizard of all time? Against his wretched followers?

I suppose it sort of ties together, marrying a Muggle, teaching Muggle Studies. Clever, Mere, and everything clicks at this point. It does seem rather fitting when you think of it. Bah, the explanation is so terribly gloomy! One thing I think should have been included is what she was doing to take a stand.

She ran her hand over it longingly before kissing the man’s smiling face and whispering, “I’m fighting for you.”

*cries* Mere, that’s marvelous. I feel the little tingly, fuzzy feeling. *grins*

I interpret her putting the ring away as her stepping out and ready to take a stand again and really fight.

The ending was fabulous and really did come to a heartfelt conclusion. I adored this. Some parts were a bit bumpy but that was all cast aside by the story you told. *squish* I really think you did a tremendous job with this.

Brittany

Author's Response: -blinks- Damn, Brittany. This review is amazing! -squishes- It's definitely the best review I've ever gotten and way better than any review I've ever given. Thank you so much! I'll look back over at the parts you mentioned and see what I can do. You pointed out all of my favorite lines. =) I'm speechless right now... I don't know what else to say to such an awesome review. ;) I'm really glad you liked it... it's probably the story I'm proudest of right now. Thanks a lot, again! -massive elephant-sized hug- xo Mere

Reviewer: helz_belz
Date: 07/13/08 4:56
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Firstly I would like to say wow. That story was truly well written. It keep me intrigued the whole way though. When I first saw your banner on the Beta boards it caught my eye. I knew I just had to click on it. I am very glad I did. Well done on an excellent job. It really moved me.

Author's Response: Thanks so much for your review! That banner is incredible, isn't it? Laur is so talented. I'm very glad that you did click on it, and even more glad that you liked it. :D xo Mere

Reviewer: evester
Date: 07/01/08 23:48
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Awww, Mere, this was really really good! It was a lovely insight into the mind of Charity, someone we never heard anything about, really. This was just well written all around, the emotions seemed spot on, and the part where she was looking at the cut and all was really eerie, I don't know if that's what you were going for, but it came out really well. Good job, and I can't wait to see more of your writing!

Author's Response: Eve! -tackles- This made me smile. I'm really glad you liked it! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing. -hugs- xo Mere

Reviewer: mudbloodproud
Date: 06/30/08 16:31
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Mere, I have only one thing I can say, Wow. The emotions you captured were so real. And, I am speaking from personal experience. I have gone through this myself, and that is just what it was like. I completely understood the physical pain of the cut on her finger being the something that was real and made her feel alive.
Okay, just one thing that confused me. The letter from Professor Dumbledore said one month, but you say in the next part it had been one year since he died. If after a year she is this emotional still, how did she work before that? If she didn't then I think that needs to be explained a bit better.
I also thought the letter from Professor Dumbledore is a bit too short.
Overall, it is a very wonderful and emotional pace even if it did bring back a ton of memories for me.
Terri

Author's Response: Terri! -huggles- Oh, I feel bad that it brought back memories. -big hugs- I'm sorry that you've gone through something like that in RL. -hits head on desk- You know, I didn't even notice the month/year thing. -goes to fix that- I guess I just thought of Dumbledore's letter as a reminder... plus, I didn't know what else he would say... And he has written shorter letters before. Thanks so much for reviewing! -hugs- xo -Mere

Reviewer: fg_weasley
Date: 06/30/08 15:17
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

Mere, love! [tackles] I was browsing the most recent for a story to SPEW review and I found THIS. Now I can attempt to repay you for all your absolutly amazing reviews. [hugs]

nitpicks:

It left her slightly dizzy, nauseous.

There's nothing really wrong with it, but I would put "It left her feeling slightly dizzy, almost nauseous."

And with that came a tidal wave of grief, pulling her under, sucking her back and not letting go.

It might be just me, but I was taught that you should refrain from beginning a sentence with 'and' or 'but,' it you can. I think here it would work if you began it with 'with.' haha.

CRACK! The sound of shattering glass echoed through the small home, reminding Charity Burbage of just how empty it was.

Wow. What a great way to start out a fic. I love when stories begin with sounds; it really appears to the senses and the fact that you say it mader her realize 'just how empty the room was' makes the sound seem even louder.
Great job on that. I love it. Not only that bit, but that entire paragraph is a wonderful start. You've told the reader she's a professor, and the reader also wonders who the people are in the picture and why they make her cry, which makes them want to read on.

And with that came a tidal wave of grief, pulling her under, sucking her back and not letting go. She was drowning in sadness and had no one to pull her out.

Wow. The emotion is so wonderfully displayed here I just want to hug you. haha.

Something real. Something tangible. Something sturdy. Something frightening and comforting at the same time. Something that reminded Charity that she was alive.

Pain.


I love this as well. Making Pain its own line realy brings the focus to it and I love that.

What could a Muggle do against the most powerful dark wizard of all time?

Oh my. I was not expecting that. Ihaha. love it, though.

There are so many other things I could point out, but then we'd be here all day. lol. I just love the concept of this fic, and you were able to get the emotions across beautifully. You managed to show such a big picture in such a small amount of words and you did it well.

The other thing I really like was the double diamond thing. What I mean is, earlier in the fic you refered to the broken glass as a diamond, and I thought, "Oh. I get it. Nice." That wasn't the only diamond, though, as I later learned, and I really liked that. The title was very fitting, too, and each the blood, the tears, and the diamonds played their own important part.

All in all, I really like this fic. You wrote it well and its a great concept. Good job, kid!

xox
nikki :D

Author's Response: Nikki! -squishes- Now I know why you got into SPEW. :D I love when stories start with a sound too. I was rather proud of the emotion that came out of the line about grief. About starting lines with 'And' or 'But' I was taught that too, but as I moved up in school one of my teachers said that kids were just told that so they didn't write a bunch of incomplete sentences. lol. I try to only start sentences with 'and' or 'but' if I feel like it's really important to the sentence or if it flows better that way. Now of my teachers have mentioned to me, so I figure I'm okay. Thanks so much for your review! It just made my day like so much better. (And this day has already been pretty amazing!) -hugs- xo Mere

Reviewer: GryffindorGoddess
Date: 06/30/08 8:55
Chapter: Blood, Tears, and a Diamond

What a wonderful story, Mere! I love the way you characterize Charity, showing her emotions through simple yet descriptive events. Her emotions are so raw and real that it's like the readers can feel them too. You describe Charity's inner turmoil very well. I like the way the broken glass is used as a sort of metaphor for how Charity is feeling about her life, because it has literally just been smashed to pieces. It's so sad yet so empowering at the same time, the way Charity has lost her loved ones yet still decides to tough it out and go back to Hogwarts for another year....and sadder still knowing that she'll never make it that far. You have a beautifully written story and I wish you luck in the challenge!
hugs
~Ashley

Author's Response: Thanks so much! I really tried to get her emotions out in a vivd way, and I'm glad that my readers can connect to them. You know, I never thought of the broken glass as a metaphor to her life before... Thanks again! -hugs- xox Mere

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