Mere, dear, I'm keeping this review strictly to the first chapter though I do plan on reading the rest. =D
I thought the opening was standard, almost. It wasn't bland but it could have been more enjoyable. I would have encouraged more vivid description. I know it's the first paragraph but it really would have grabbed my attention.
I loved the eerie feeling that immediately settled in after that introductory paragraph. Very unsettling. The words and imagery really set the mood and prepared me for the ensuing events.
Even though Sirius couldn't find Lily right away, I thought it was peculiar that he was suddenly perturbed and had this feeling of dread. I never saw Sirius as particularly paranoid though I suppose it makes sense in the situation. I wish there had been more detail to lead up to it. Creepy little details, hehe. Like something knocked over or broken.
Luckily, he realised the scared rabbit in the mirror was only himself, before that embarrassing act could happen. He look around self-consciously, lest Lily be in the doorway laughing or someone was actually watching him.
I found it hysterical how human and normal his reaction was. And then as the realization of the blood-spattered chair hits. Oh, how interesting! I can just imagine the wash of horror and utter fear. Though I didn't know whether the period idea was for comedic relief of if that was a serious thought, either way, I emitted quite a few laughs. It just seems so ridiculous but still plausible.
Once again, I find it odd that Sirius jumps to conclusions and the 'death of Lily Potter.' Is he just overreacting or is this serious business? I don't think the line is distinct enough. I think the chapter confused me. I didn't understand why things happened so suddenly without explanation. Obviously, not enough to give away the plot but just to clear up the vagueness.
I'm particularity fond of this line though:
An anguished moan escaped his lips, clouds swirling in front of him, fogging up his mind.
The ending was a good cliffhanger. Now I'm really curious. Besides those little nit-picks, I really think the story and plot could advance into something really enthralling. I look forward to finishing this!
It's really good. At first I kept thinking it would become Sirius/Remus but i liked i so i read on anyway. the only thing i would like to add was i think James should have been a little more upset over Lily.
Wow. Amazing. Congrats :-)
Again, a nice chapter. You keep the mystery going and the reader drawn in. I still don’t really know who killed Lily and especially why; it urges me to read on to find out exactly that. What I especially liked in this chapter was Remus and Lily’s way of secretly communicating with each other, and that Lily – if it was her – left the message for Remus and that Sirius had to find it. It adds smoothly to the flair of the story.
Though, did you maybe forget a word in the sentence Sirius could practically hear the gears cranking around in his.? To me, right now, it sounds as if there’s missing a noun like “head” or “mind” at the end of the sentence.
All in all, another great chapter. :)
Mere, this story starts off interestingly. I really like the mystery you’ve created. What happened to Lily? Is she really dead? If so, where’s her body? Those are the questions that run through my head at the end of chapter one. I also like how you’ve written Sirius’ emotions, what he feels when he sees the blood. What he’s thinking, what he fears.
What drew me in was the light humour at the beginning. Being a mother hen, James had asked Sirius to stop by every once in awhile to check on his beloved wife – meaning he wanted daily reports that she was alive and coping without him. I laughed out loud when I read that. You might want to change “awhile” to “a while” though.
And then you dive into the angsty part, and the mood of the scene changes entirely. The change is done smoothly, captivating me right away. Awesome job. I especially liked those parts:
It looked as though Lily had taken paint and splattered it all over the chair.
Crimson paint. Scarlet paint. Blood red paint.
It screamed of eeriness. It screamed of stillness. It screamed of emptiness.
It screamed of death.
The death of Lily Potter.
They fit the scene so nicely, and the repetitive pattern of the sentences let a cold shiver run down my spine. It’s spooky, the scene and the way you set it. You’ve worked magic here.
Wonderful chapter to start off with. I’m looking forward to read the rest.
Once again, this story needs reviews... Another good chapter, dear.
Regarding characterisation: I liked the interaction between Sirius and Remus - their friendly banter and the way they work together. True Marauders :) I also liked the way Sirius conceded that Narcissa is not pure evil - though I'm not sure if that really fits in with his canon characterisation. I always got the impression that he saw Narcissa as being cold - not mad like Bellatrix, but not 'empathetic' like Andromeda could be seen as being. Of course, I do agree that she is empathetic, I just think Sirius is a bit too proud to see it? Hmm. Enough of my fussy musings.
At first I was confused as to why they are there, but that was soon cleared up - however, I'm still not sure where they are or how they got there. I think a little more detail linking this chapter and the last would have made it easier to understand.
You certainly captured the spookiness quite well, though. The way you juxtaposed humour with a sudden change to a rather grim scene was very effective. I think a bit more description could really have amped up the effect of this scary scene - a few more mentions of colours, sounds, smells, things like gnarled trees and whispering breezes could bring this to life. Just something to think about next time you're writing something with a creepy atmosphere like this.
There were a few places where I was impressed with the little details that enriched your writing. This line jumped out at me:
... the image of the skulls tattooing itself on their minds.
... Ooh, just like the Dark Mark is a tattoo of a skull! If you did that intentionally, it's very clever.
He had barely digested the scene before him when the contents of his stomach came hurling out, at the pace of a Snitch.
That sentence is also interesting, with the way you turned a metaphorical digestion into literal hurling, and managed to include a reference to the Wizarding world to give it that Harry Potter feel :)
And oh, a cliffhanger. You left off at the perfect place - I'm almost frightened of what they might find. Creepy.
Summing up: keep up the great hold on characterisation you have, dear, and just work on setting a great scene to support it. All in all, a good job :)
Clif hangers. It's a bit of a love/hate relasionship. At the moment I hate them, because I want to read the next chap sooooooo much it's killing me! please update soon?
Hi, Mere! Well. I’m surprised this only has one review -- you write really well. I’ve only read the first chapter, and I look forward to moving on. You’ve built up the beginning of the mystery well.
Sirius’ characterisation intrigues me. Not telling James right away seems somewhat deceitful, but I suppose he wants to know why Lily’s dead first … Hm.
The sense of Sirius being watched had me on the edge of my seat. I fully expected someone to jump out from behind that chair and ‘avada kedavra’ him. Even though they didn’t, I still feel as if the killer -- or maybe Lily in her spiritual form -- was watching him.
I liked that he didn’t jump to the worst until he saw the blood and went through the possible, limited, theories. I almost laughed when he wondered whether the blood was from her ‘time of the month’ -- and I probably would’ve if the scene weren’t so serious. It’s just so … Sirius. Or it’s a glint of the Sirius we see in a lot of Marauder-era fan fiction anyway, but more down-to-earth.
The eeriness of this chapter kept me interested. I could feel a sense of that building up as he got closer to the chair, which was effective.
It screamed of eeriness. It screamed of stillness. It screamed of emptiness.
It screamed of death.
I love the emphasis in ‘screamed’. It’s like -- that is the point in this chapter where your lips part in an ‘o’. If you know what I mean. :/
The character development for Lily, even though she’s gone, was great. I got a feel for who she is, and why Sirius could find no other solution.
I liked it - a great start. Good work. xx
Author's Response: O.o This story does seem to attract some great reviewers. Thank you very much for your wonderful review, inspirations! Sirius's reason for not telling James is explained later on...in the next chapter, I think. >.> I think my head has grown a size or two from all your comments. ;) I'm so glad you liked it and I hope you read on. Thanks again! xox Mere
Still no reviews, Mere? We'll have to fix that...
The first chapter is great - I can feel the tension building up after that nice description at the beginning, as Sirius scares himself in the mirror, finds the blood, frantically rushes around the house, etc. It's interesting how you don't have Sirius finding Lily's body, but just knowing that she's dead - it adds another mystery to this fic. And I love how you show the importance Lily had to not just James, but Sirius and Remus and everyone else in the order.
A couple of nitpicks:
This sense of being watched was so strong, that he kept sending suspicious glances over his shoulders. => No comma needed.
One thing stood out clearly to him, though: He would not tell James. Not yet. => Maybe replace 'thing' with 'thought', so it doesn't sound as though there's an object he's focussing on? And 'He' doesn't need to be capitalised.
I like the image of Sirius crawling on all fours, following a trail of blood with his nose, at the beginning of Chapter Two. That must have been an intentional reference to his Animagus form, right? It's good. Subtle.
And in that chapter, you emphasise again how well Lily, Sirius and Remus knew each other - not only does Sirius find clues because of his familiarity with Lily's habits, but Lily also manages to leave them a message. Nicely done.
But you repeatedly wrote 'letters' as 'lettres'. Maybe you were mixed up with British English, but unlike 'centre/center' and 'theatre/theater', 'letter' always ends with -er, dear ;)
In the third chapter, things really gain momentum. I love those short, snappy final two sections - but you've left us at a cliffhanger! The plot really is thickening... I'm intrigued...
The moon was bright last night. I hope your rabbit didn’t bite you too hard. Heehee - his 'furry little problem'. Nice code! It's good how you managed to do it so that readers can understand, rather than having to have Remus explain everything.
I think your characterisation of Sirius and Remus is good throughout, with their Gryffindor determination and the way they work to their strengths. And the hint of sarcasm coming out: “Yeah, that’d work out well,” said Sirius sarcastically. “I’m sure Narcissa wouldn’t mind me knocking on her door and asking, ‘Cissy, dearest, did you murder Lily Potter?’ at all.”
Your chapter titles and the quotes you've chosen fit so well! Although they're definitely getting more cryptic...
You seem to have a done a good job of weaving the prompts in smoothly so far, and this fic is constantly becoming darker and more complex. I can't wait to see what happens next, hon.
Author's Response: -tackles- Wow, Chels, have you ever thought about joining SPEW dear? Your reviews are lovely. I will fix those things in a little bit. And, yeah, I was getting confused with British English and the '-er' 're' thing. -rolls eyes- I had it all with '-er' and then I wasn't sure so I went and changed it all. >.> Oh,well. I can change it back. . . I'm glad you like the chapter titles and quotes - I had so much fun picking them out! :P Thanks so much for your wonderful review, Chels! -squishe- xo Mere