Hi Russia! I was looking for a mystery to read and found yours. The title intrigued me. Is there really such a thing as a perfect alibi?
There’s a spacing issue at the beginning, your author notes are jammed against the first sentence, but I thought your opening was well done. You gave enough information to draw me into the story while heightening the mystery. Your opening read like a prologue, and third person omniscient point of view created an effective narrator tone. I wanted to know why the thief wasn’t done yet, what the thefts were practice for.
The use of third person omniscient pov in the main body of the story, though, wasn’t as effective to me. It created an impression of observing the characters. I felt like I was being told about them instead of experiencing the story with them. If these were canon characters, I think the style might have worked better. Nina and Cleo are original characters. I’m not instantly invested in their story. I wanted to learn about them the way I learn about new people in real life, bits at a time, getting to know their personalities so I’ll care about their school schedules and what their dorm mates look like.
When does the story take place? Their Transfiguration Professor is “Professor Ashfield,” but that could mean before McGonagall was professor as much as after. All I know for sure is it is happening in October.
There seemed to be a long setup to the trip to the kitchen. I did find it puzzling that Cleo seems to be a binge eater and Nina doesn’t remark on it past, “How have we shared a room for five years without me noticing?”
At the end of the first chapter, after one of the men says in the morning they’ll notice the store room broken into and “I’m sure someone will notice that that great big suit of armour has gone.” You have “Accidently accidentally” after the quotation marks. An accident?
The ending of chapter one was suspenseful. Would the men open the door and discover Cleo and Nina hiding? I liked that you didn’t just have the men be called away, that the girls hid in the cell beneath the grate and the room was searched before the men left. I also found it very believable that the girls would go back to their common room, although I would have liked some explanation why. They didn’t think anyone would believe them and they’d get in trouble: something.
Nina and Cleo became more “real” to me in the second chapter. Nina finding the place to hide and dragging her friend along, and Cleo the type who got a boy to do her homework because she considers herself terrible at drawing. Cleo characterization is less appealing because she seems a stereotypical fat girl, someone who overeats, is lazy, and dislikes learning (places of learning make her “feel dirty”). Cleo isn’t described as fat, so perhaps you were going for a Hermione and Ron type friendship/characterization?
I did very much enjoy the girls’ banter at the end of chapter two, when even though it’s not their business and they’ll probably get caught, they decide to go back and check out the storeroom anyway. It’s been months since the last chapter posted, and I don’t know when you’ll update again, but I hope you will, because want to find out who the thief is and how the girls’ story intersects with his (or hers).
Happy Halloween, and happy writing!
Author's Response: Did I ever tell you I love you? I'm pretty sure I did =P Thank you SO much for that review... it's given me so much to think about! I really need to progress this story beyond the provisional planning stages, I kind of rushed these chapters for the challenge. As soon as I know where *I'm* going with this, I'll be sure to post more and tell you! Thank you for your comments on characterisation, I'm really struggling with getting them balanced and believable, so your comments will help a lot. Cleo is really supposed to be a sort of contrast against Nina and I think she over-emphasises parts of her character to make herself seem more un-caring. for instance that piece of drawing homework, she has no problem getting someone else to do it for her, but if it comes to an important piece of work that counted towards a final grade, etc, she WOULD do it herself and do it well (although she'd complain a lot about it!). I'm hoping that as the story goes on (Once I figure out the kinks!) both characters will become more rounded and relatable. *squishes* Thanks again! ~Russia xxxxx
Intriguing story, Russia. I like the way this is linked with the Muggle world as well as Hogwarts, it makes it far more mysterious.
There's a bit of an issue with spacing the paragraphs in the first part of the story, just thought I should mention it so you can correct.
And also these lines here ... Since then, the kitchen has been a regular jaunt for the two best friends, as well as the scene of many dates between Cleo and Anthony. Cleo has broken up with Anthony after she found out that, at last year’s Christmas ball, he had tried to kiss Nina, mistaking her for Cleo.
and . Professor Ashfield had assigned his class four feet on the transfiguration from birds to fish, which Nina has only just finished late the night before (and not without help from Cleo’s roughly scrawled class notes). you've switched to present tense with 'has' rather than 'had.'
*Finishes the nit pickiness and proceeds with the review.* The two girls are good characters. I love how Nina has the perfect body clock and yet ... something is wrong! Will be sure to read the updates Good mystery ~Carole~
Author's Response: Aww, thanks, Caroleeee =3 I've fixed the paragraph spacing now and the tense mistakes are just typos I think, thanks for spotting them =D I'm about to submit Chapter 2 now, so keep an eye out ;) xxx