Although this story was dark and sad I liked it. What I didn't see coming was that Marley had killed her sister--by accident. As I look back that fact was strongly hinted at but I didn't put the pieces together. My brain hurt when I thought about everything Marley had been through.
Author's Response: Thanks for the reviews. Thans to Chante/C_A_Campbell this is probably my darkest and most angsty story. I'd never have come up with this plotline on my own. -N-
I hope Marley doesn't try killing Michael, although it looks like she is. I'm starting to wonder how Marley differs from the murderers she's killing. they're starting to look alike.
Author's Response: I admit I'm happy with your reaction. When is killing someone justified? Is it ever? What justifies it? -N-
It's too bad she can't tell Michael about herself and what she's doing but I do understand her reasons. I felt some satisfaction from Alecto's death. Ding dong the witch is dead!
Author's Response: This is certainly a morally ambiguous story, should you ever feel satisfied about anyone's death? I know several public figures whose deaths I've rejoiced at, isn't that wrong? -N-
Don't tell me that "the Girl" is Marley Brocklehurst. I guess I'd have to go back and check out how you described "the Girl's" room. If Marley is the killer what will she do to Michael?
Author's Response: I love this chapter, and the reaction it gets! :-D -N-
I could feel how frustrated the author felt when she tried and tried to kill Alecto but failed until fate took over. Alecto didn't seem to be in good health to begin with. Will the author feel the same if Alecto dies from a disease like pneumonia or cancer rather than at the author's hands? Does she want Alecto dead or does she care more about how she dies.
Author's Response: I really can't speak for the killer's motives, as I wrote the "Michael" chapters. You will get more insight in later chapters. -N-
Now I'm beginning to see who this mysterious woman is. Not really who, but why she's in the picture. RANDOM must be a very powerful analysis device if it's providing names of the next to die.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. Michael's invention is Divination by Arithmancy, it's magical probability theory, but it doesn't work that well. -N-
I'm not sure who the narrator was. Was it this person's job to execute people? If so, why did she not want anyone to know? I'm sure this will be explained later in the story.
Author's Response: Welcome to my only co-authored story. I hope that it makes sense to you. -N-
Excellent. This was a great story. I've been a fan of Northumbrian for a long time. But I really enjoy how you give minor characters who are barely mentioned in the book so much depth. I look forward to more.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review of this, my only co-written story. I have, unfortunately, been unable to contact my co-author, as I’d like to do a rewrite of this one but I’m wary of doing it without her permission. I’ll be continuing Michael’s story soon. -N-
I love it when a story is good enough to raise philosophical questions like "What is justice?" without bashing readers over the head. Who is right, Michael or Marlene? You and C_A_Campbell wisely only chose to hint, while leaving room for the reader to form their own conclusion.
Having Michael take all that time to seek out Mulciber first was an excellent way of melding plot and character. Certainly, it was crucial to the plot for Michael to know how to get to Mulciber. I don't think any reader would have expected Michael to warn Alecto first, but it does seem unexpected for the otherwise logical person Micheal is supposed to be to waste time on the least expected potential victim. That is, until we realize Michael was, in fact, trying to waste time. "It did not take me long to decide. It had to be Mulciber. It was easy for me to justify my decision." Yes, it certainly was easy for Michael to justify his decision. As we watch him delay meeting Carrow day after day, we come to realize that all his reasoning was just a way to fool himself. Certainly he feared facing Alecto, but possibly, just possibly, he was hoping the murderer would succeed. Extra kudos for having Michael question himself on that point. Does this make Michael a coward? Possibly. Does this make Michael human? Absolutely!
There is a couple minor discrepancies in the "Those with shattered souls list" of the final chapter. First, Mulciber is not listed at all, though we have reason in the story to believe he was on the list the whole time. Second, the first chapter clearly says that Alecto Carrow was added to the list; Marlene simply decided to kill her before the others already on it. One would think that, if the list is in order of her intended kills, Alecto's name should be between Lucius Malfoy and Marlene Brocklehurst.
The RANDOM system is a great concept; I hope you use it again in the future. Perhaps you should have revealed the note of caution attached to the system's prediction. I'm having some problems figuring out why the system predicted Alecto as the most likely next target considering Marlene's decision to kill her next was itself almost random (if you'll pardon the pun). Mind you, it makes perfect literary sense to have a chiastic prediction to warning order. It just seems to me that Marlene making the decision on the spot to kill Alecto next is exactly the kind of variable that should have thrown off the result of Michael's calculations.
Thanks for the review.
Given that C_A_Campbell (Chante) and I wrote this story in extreme haste in order to meet a challenge deadline, I’m still surprised how well it all fits together. In some ways it is a polite discussion between Chante and me about the nature of justice. We wrote alternative chapters, and passed them over to the other for correction. This was mostly beta reading, but I was allowed to rewrite Michael's dialogue and attitudes in her chapters, and she was allowed to rewrite Marley's in mine.
Until I wrote this, the only Michael story I’d written was his chapter of Tales of the Battle (Cornered) and that gave me the background I needed for my flawed and sometimes irrational investigator. We made the decision to keep the story morally vague early in the process of plotting, and I’m very glad we did.
The closing date for the competition was a few days after I went on holiday, and the final chapter was the only one we (sort of) co-wrote. I wrote the first draft (I think – it’s a while ago now) and sent it to Chante who rewrote it and submitted it in time for the deadline. This is one of those stories I would dearly love to rewrite. There are two reasons why I haven’t. First, I’ve tried to contact Chante and she doesn’t reply. It’s possible that the e-mail address I have for her is now invalid. I even tried to track her down via HPFF (she was a member there too but, like me, she was banned. I really hope that wasn’t my fault. :-( I gave her permission to post this story on HPFF without crediting me as co-author, because I’d been banned. I did warn her that she'd probably get banned if they found out. Second, to be honest, not many people read this story. A minor-character based mystery simply isn’t very popular. I keep looking at it, and thinking about a rewrite, but given the number of reads, and the fact that Chante hasn’t given me permission…
The RANDOM system makes a brief appearance in Strangers at Drakeshaugh, and it will be back in that story soon (when I again abandon Jacqui as a narrator and again give readers a glimpse into what’s really going on). Why did it predict Alecto? Would you believe it was magic? :-D
This was a really powerful and very interesting story. It leaves a strange taste in my mouth, an unusual mixture of emotions that I haven't gotten from a story in a long time. Even though it was written from two different perspectives, it felt like one unified story. Well done.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. C_A_Campbell and I exchamged dozens of emails and several draft plot outlines before we started and we agreed (pretty much) what each chapter would contain. I think that's essential if you're trying to write a unified story, and the mystery genre demands a tight plot. I really enjoyed writing this, and I can't thatk C_A_Campbell enough. -N-
That was a very good story. I don't know anything else to say. Change the names and make it a novel ;)
Author's Response: Thanks for the review.
It's impossible to follow your suggestion, and this story was co-written.-N-
wow, that was a haunting end to the story. I thought the concept for the plot was fascinating, and the character development was very believable. The twist at the end was very moving. You both made great co-authors! Great job!
Author's Response: Thanks. As I've said in other review replies. I enjoyed co-writing. It certainly concentrates the mind on the plot. With two "drivers" each taking their turn at the wheel, you need a decent map before you set off.The final twist was all C_A_Campbells. -N-
ANOTHER GREAT STORY WITH AN EMOTIONAL ENDING. (Left the Caps lock on). What have I been missing over here by spending time on just SIYE and Phoenixsong? I need more time to get through all the stories I have missed.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. i assume you've now found all of my non-H/G stories. -N-
Just by coincidence I found you over here. What a lot to read but how about updating some of your stories? We need more "Strangers"
Author's Response: Thanks.
I can finally reply, there have been several more chapters of "Strangers at Drakeshaugh", but it's never enough! :-D-N-
i liked it it is a sad anda dramatistic story
Author's Response: Thank you. -N-
I really enjoyed your story - the characters were so well developed and the changes in points of view really completed the story. I especially liked your take on Michael!
Author's Response: Thank you. This was a lot of fun to write. Marley was C_A_Campbell and I was Michael, we wrote alternating chapters, but read through them and we allowed each other to rewrite "our" character's dialogue. -N-
This is soooo scary!
Poor Michael will Marley kill him?
Poor Marley did her spell kill her sister or was it Clarissa Crabbe?
Thank you that the updates are coming so quickly.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review.
By now you know the answers (I hope)Competition deadlines forced haste, although as May 2012 approaches, the stories remain unjudged.
Author's Response: Thanks -N-
wait, is it still from michael corner's POV? so confused . . . and did corner kill anyone, or is it alternating between him and the murderer?
Author's Response: No, it's from the killer's POV. If you look at the top of each chapter, right below that chapter title, you will see the name of whose character's POV the chapter is in. Sorry for the confusion.
Good enough to put on my favorites list.
Author's Response: Thank you. -N-