Reviews For Hold Out Your Hand
Reviewer: Equinox Chick
Date: 02/15/11 0:53
Chapter: Hold Out Your Hand

Oh, Mere, what a fantastic story. I love the raw emotions you deal with here. Sirius’ hurt and anger with his family and also his friends comes shining through.

I will start by saying that I’m not a fan of second person stories. I find they can be hectoring as they demand that the reader feels a certain way, so I’ll admit that my heart did sink a bit when I realised the ‘person’ you’d used. Having said that ... it does seem to work for this story. Partly because Sirius is a pretty self-absorbed character given to introspection, and also because it’s a reasonable lengthy fic. I doubt I could read a novel-length story in second person, although I could well be in the minority.

I think you dealt with the relationship between James and Sirius brilliantly. It was obvious they needed and wanted each other, but hazy as to how this would work long-term. Of course, in canon, we know it didn’t work long term – not least because James was chasing Lily and ended up marrying her. It does come across as two characters who aren’t necessarily gay, but do love/want each other. Did the distance between them necessitated by the Whomping Willow incident make their desire for each other far more intense? (Rhetorical question, I’m thinking aloud).

Even if James hasn’t said anything to you in weeks, even if he won’t for the rest of the summer,

I do have a timeline issue with the story; from Snape’s words and The Prince’s Tale we know that the Whomping Willow ‘prank’ took place before SWM. Lily is still talking to Snape after the WW incident because she talks about James ‘saving his life’. She was not on those terms with him after he called her a Mudblood. Now ... in the scene by the lake, it is clear that the Marauders are on good terms with each other. James, in particular, is very friendly with Sirius, so they must have forgiven him. I did, I have to say, have difficulty looking past that, but in the end, it barely detracted from the story because it was about far more than canon niceties. You could correct this, if you wanted to by having Sirius leave home at Easter.

I noticed a small typo.

Would it be so bad, anyway, if a care came right now? I believe you mean ‘car’.

And being a mean Brit-picker, I’d suggest changing ‘sidewalk’ to pavement.

I love the section where he’s first alone with James. It screams the awkwardness of teenage boys and the way they want to say things but can’t. The simple ‘thank you’ and ‘of course’ just speaks volumes about the discomfort they feel surrounding emotions. They are far more comfortable with actions rather than words – being Gryffindors and boys!

Mere, I know you were having some problems with certain points of the story, so please let me reassure you that this is a superbly written story. The emotions are powerful, the kiss is tantalisingly good, and I love the ambiguity of the relationship. For Sirius to not be able to admit he’s gay (and he might not be) was a masterstroke because it added a new layer to his personality and the relationship with James. I do wonder what on earth will happen next. Will they last? Or will they crash and burn?

Great story ~Carole~

Author's Response: Gah! You wound me when you say you aren't a fan of second person stories. I adore second person! It's definitely my favourite 'person' to use. I love how you can really explore emotions with it and yet there's this kind of detachment about it. And it's really challenging to write a story in second person that needs to be in second person, so I love the effort it takes too. :) Anyway, um, about the timeline issue--I didn't realise I was wrong. I don't have a copy of DH available to me and I didn't think about checking, so, yeah. I may change it so it is Easter. Thanks for that! And pointing out the typo and Brit-pick. :) Thank you for this lovely review though. I'm really glad that you liked it and you seriously made me blush when you said it was superbly written. <3Mere

Reviewer: jenny b
Date: 02/13/11 2:00
Chapter: Hold Out Your Hand

Mere! I am the worst SPEW buddy in the world, I know. So even though this is ridiculously late, I hope you can forgive me!

It’s been a while since I’ve read some of you work, but I’m pretty certain that if someone gave me a fic you’d written and didn’t tell me it was yours I would be able to tell anyway. You have a very distinctive style that runs through all your fics—I get this familiar feeling when I read something of yours, like it’s a book written by an author I know really well. And you write so naturally in second person, too—I had thought you had written a lot of fics in 2P, but looking through your author’s page it doesn’t seem like that, unless I am just remembering from SPEW drabbles and the like. But it flows so well, and I think this is the perfect fic to be written in second person. It’s so intense and wrapped around Sirius’ emotions that I just don’t think it would have worked as well from another POV.

The beginning of this is so powerful. Sometimes I am just in awe of your writing, seriously. The imagery is amazing—I know you’re a runner, so you’ve captured the feelings really well at the beginning. The slamming feet, the hum in his legs … it’s just a really great scene to open with, because you draw the reader in straightaway. I love how you’ve left out the actual fight with his parents. I feel like it would have overshadowed the rest of the fic, and this is much more about Sirius’ emotions than the reasons behind them.

It’s interesting how you’ve written it so that his friends are still angry at him. I’ve read plenty of fics that feature this moment in Sirius’ life, but never with the added worry that James might not take him in—it adds another element to their relationship, showing just how strong their bond is, and that really sets up their relationship for the rest of the fic.

That said, I do feel as if you rushed into the climax too quickly. Considering there is no backstory to their potential romantic relationship, it seems quite out-of-nowhere and I feel like it might have flowed better if you integrated it more slowly, and set it up over at least another couple of paragraphs. I know it’s much easier said than done, though, and for a short fic you’ve done really well. I just feel like it could have been developed a little more.

But, the kissing scene? Totally hot. ;)

The ending is also really well-written, which I am really pleased about—it really bothers me when fics start off strongly and then just wither at the end, but you’ve kept up the same strong imagery and emotion throughout the whole piece. I love the dark feel to it—I almost feel like I’m intruding on Sirius’ emotions, you’ve made it so intense and personal. And the last lines, I think, capture the whole fic perfectly.

You’re brilliant. That’s all.

Author's Response: I love you. I actually considered leaving the response at that. ;) But seriously. I don't think anyone has ever told me they're in awe of my writing or that it's powerful. And when you said that you'd instinctively know if something is mine? I don't know if I can tell you how awesome that is to hear. I think I know what you mean about the climax. It kind of felt rushed, but I couldn't really figure out how to slow it down, you know? Gah. Thank you so much for making my day every time I read this. :) <3Mere

Reviewer: Gmariam
Date: 02/12/11 18:53
Chapter: Hold Out Your Hand

You know, I quite like this! I wrote a James/Sirius story myself back in October (did not post it) and there is something about it that really intrigues me. I find it very believable and even a bit romantic. But I get ahead of myself. :)

First of all, I loved the beginning. You painted a very dark and dramatic picture of the night Sirius runs away. His desperation and defeat is palpatable. You added an interesting twist with Sirius being worried about James's reaction about the Whomping Willow incident. At least, I assume that is what you are referring to. I love stories that delve into that, because it had to have been traumatic for the Marauders. I thought it added another sad layer to his situation. I do wonder about the timeline though: in DH, Lily is still speaking to Snape about the Whomping Willow incident, and the incident in Snape's Worst Memory appears to happen later. James and Sirius don't seem angry at each other in Snape's Worst memory, which is at O.W.L.s, so it seems odd that now over the summer James is mad at Sirius about the Whomping Willow incident.

That said, I'm perfectly happy accepting this how it is because I like how you used its effect on Sirius. It always seemed odd to me anyway that something so deadly would happen at the Whomping Willow, and then James and Sirius go and pick on Snape afterward at the lake. So I'm curious to hear your take on the timeline. :)

I love that James just instinctively seemed to know something had happened and took Sirius in. I thought their talk was great - really, I'm impressed to read dialogue in second person! And their kiss was well done. I didn't give Lily a second though. ;)

The second person narrative - come on, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it, right? - really grabbed me. I really liked reading it this way and thought you did a great job with it.

The last line was brilliant. This is a great look at Sirius running away as well as a lovely James/Sirius moment - nice job! ~Gina :)

Author's Response: I agree, James/Sirius is very intriguing! er, honestly, with regards to the timeline, I didn't remember the order of events correctly. >.> I don't have a copy of DH available atm and it didn't occur to me that I was wrong and I wasn't really thinking that much about it when I was writing . . . so, yeah. I'm glad you liked the second person aspect! I love writing in second person. I think it's really hard to find a way to tell a story so that it needs to be in second person and I love the challenge, but I know some people don't particularly like to read second person. Thank you so much for this review! It's got me grinning like a mad woman. :D <3Mere

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