What amazing twists & turns. Very well done.
Author's Response: Thank you! Glad you liked it. :) ~Natalie
I hate giving things away to people like me who read reviews, but I have to say I really didn't expect any of that! I mean, I had a feeling Padma might be involved and that maybe, just maybe, one of them was the Healer, but I didn't think it would turn out so twisted and tragic for poor Theo. And yet, looking back, of course it did. The clues are all there! Wonderful job pacing out the reveal, Natalie. And more than anything, great job getting the readers to really, truly sympathize with Theo. I mean, I just felt awful for him at the end. And then the last bit with the Healer - guh! So dark, so bitter. Yes, I could see why you would write something like this for Jess, lol! It was very well done and she is a lucky girl to get her angst and her rarepair all in one.
Great job, Natalie! I hope you get more reads and reviews so people can appreciate how well crafted this was. *hugs*
Author's Response: Ginaaaaaa! Thanks for sticking to reviewing till the end. :') I am glad you found my little twists surprising, because I know you read very carefully. To be able to surprise you is a compliment. Thanks for all the lovely words, and looks like your blessings are working. :D ~Natalie
I think this chapter doesn't have any reviews because it pretty much twists everything I was thinking and makes me want to read the next chapter without stopping. Which I did, but I'm back. It's great foreshadowing, though, now that I know how it plays out! You really get us into Theo's character, and the buildup of the Healer's role - as enigmatic as it is - is very well done. So now I'm off to review the end!
Author's Response: Gina! Thank you for returning and writing down a few words for this, too! :) I completely understand why others wouldn't; I often skip reviewing the middle chapters, too, especially when I know the following ones have been posted. *cough*
I just realised that I never left you a review, and this story more than deserves it.
For most of it, I've repeatedly told you what I think about it, but I don't think I've commented on the ending at all yet (since here was the first time that I read that, you horrible tease).
This was... shattering. The last bits multiply the tragedy of this story. Theo's past is, of course, so sad that that alone would have been enough to make me seriously bite my lips and swallow very hard. But then the very ending – Padma will never know what really happened, and if she did, it would crush her. Part of me thinks that this is the best for Padma, because she would only have wondered if she could have helped her sister, and would probably be unable to comprehend the suicide. This way, it seems unfair to her, random, maddeningly out of her control – but at least she doesn't feel guilty. I wonder what might have happened with Theo if this had ended differently. But I don't want it to end differently, because it's so perfect this way. It's... just whole. It's such a whole story.
I know how long you worked on this, and yet it's still impressive that you came up with this in a relatively small amount of time.
If I ever get close to this, I'll be happy. You're an amazing writer, and this is definitely one of your best. But the most impressive thing about this is that I don't think that this is your ultimate best yet. You have this great talent to build stories in a way that just makes so much sense, and that makes them incredibly intense and powerful...
I love you, Natatat. This is beautiful, and will always be. I haven't been able to really get it out of my head for days.
Author's Response: Hey Kara! All I can say is, no matter how much brainwork I put into it, it wouldn't have worked without your constant encouragement! I still can't believe I managed to pull it off. :) Part of me really just wanted to love a tragic love story, and part of me wanted to add so much more. I agree about Padma. I think she'd have gone a bit unhinged herself if she'd found out Parvati killed herself. Apart from feeling miserable over not having been there for her sister, what would all her efforts have come to? Her sacrifices? Plus, what about Theo? The theory I have about Theo is that he didn't have the strength to kill himself. (Well, I am not sure if it is strength or weakness that makes a person commit suicide, but he opted to erase his memory earlier. If Padma didn't kill him, I think he'd have ultimately gone insane for real. Thank you for all the amazing compliments, Kara. It was quite a week, writing this.
Amazing!! I loved it. Your timing was perfect and the structure you used was exactly what the pace of the story needed. I will certainly read more of your writing. Thanks for putting this story down on the page. It is memorable.
Author's Response: Hello! I am thrilled you liked the structure and pace. :) I was worried that people would find it a rickety narrative. Thanks for the wonderful review. I really appreciate it. ~Natalie
Hi Natalie! Great beginning! I love the style, and particularly like these mysterious bits with the Healer than you've woven in. I have all sorts of ideas starting to form, but I know you've probably got some lovely twists planned so I'm just going to enjoy the ride. Needless to say, I like your Theodore, the writing is great, and your research is amazing! I'm looking to reading the next chapter later tonight!
Author's Response: YAY. I'd love to know what theories you have formed till now. :D I am happy you like the style I've adopted here. And thanks for the compliment on the research LOL. Ultimately, I had to drop what I was tearing my hair around that night, but I've retained the basics. :) Hope you enjoy the rest! ~Natalie
At the best of times, one may rely on words to nurse one’s way through periods of incoherence, despite not having a single orderly thought. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is one of those times.
Theo. Parvati. Padma. Death. Could this be any more sickeningly gorgeous? I don’t think so, because my mind = kablooey! I’m not sure how you’ve done it, but you managed to take everything I thought I knew about post-battle minor characters and topple it. Just the way it was written and formed with such certainty, it had to have happened. There couldn’t be any other possible outcome.
I think what struck me right away about the story was that, save for the memory lapses, Theo reminded me a lot of myself. He was quiet, didn’t talk to many people, and worked a job generally considered a waste of his talent. Whether you did so intentionally or not, it immediately wrapped me up in the story and made me care about Theo. I felt the need to know what he was missing in his memory just as much as he did, and I was trying to work out who both the ‘Healer’ and the dark-haired mystery girl were from the get-go.
The kicker for me about Theo is when his St Mungo’s record was shown. I couldn’t help but think that someone like him couldn’t possibly be capable of stuff like this. He just seemed so level-headed and mellow. Ironically, the only part of his ‘rap sheet’ I found plausible as you portrayed him was the killing in self-defence, since he was considered on the side of bad by many and could easily have been attacked. It also ended up being the worst thing he’d ever done in his life, which ends up a giant plot twist in the end. How fabulous. :D
What you did with Parvati-come-Padma was so subtle. I was so sure that she was the mystery girl. So sure! And Padma had to be the ‘Healer’, who was studying her sister’s supposedly unbalanced boyfriend. Normally, when I have an inkling of plot lines, I end up being right, so I can’t tell you how refreshing it is that I was completely wrong. It was a mystery of different proportions, unlike the gumchew stories typically associated with the genre. This mystery was about people and about loss and about wondering whether certain things are better left unexplored.
I think one of the most interesting parts about this story is the lack of other surrounding characters. There were a couple here and there, but the story was strictly focused on Theo and Padma/Parvati and their points of view. It really adds to the myopia of both of them. Theo really isn’t bothered to know or care about other people until he meets this girl he feels like he should know, and Padma is so attuned to her mission of getting back at him for what he ‘did’. Without the distraction of a supporting cast, I could really get into the main characters’ points of view and what they were feeling.
But the most victorious part of the story is the end. I mean… I am gobsmacked. I knew from the end of the second chapter that the Healer character was plotting to kill Theo, likely over the events that he can’t remember, but holy hell, what it was and how it happened was breath-taking. By then, I just KNEW that Theo couldn’t have done anything so terrible, despite what his medical history said. It didn’t feel right at all, but when I saw what all those things actually meant, I wanted to hex Padma. She never bothered asking him what happened, at the very least to see if he was willing to lie to her. Being a Ravenclaw doesn’t in the slightest mean that she is either fair-minded or into justice in the sense of the law. However, being distraught as she was, I can forgive her for not wanting to know more about what happened in favour of making him as miserable as she was until it was time to strike.
And then she killed him! Oh my ever-loving Prongs, she killed him! I almost thought he’d get through to her, explain to her what happened, but he didn’t. He just dared her to kill him and be done with it. It seemed like he was so sickened by what he remembered that he didn’t want to remember anymore, and her bloodlust was a quick means to that end. But then how will she know what she’s done? Gah, this will drive me mad, I swear. I feel this intense need to find her, shake her violently, and tell her what she’s done to an innocent man. You rob me of my sanity, Natalie, you really do! I love how I can be so worked up over the end of a story.
Overall, I have concluded that you are positively genius and that I will love you even more than I already do forever. I know how hard you slaved on this (in hindsight), so that you did it for me will always be a monument of the sort of person you are: genius writer, master plotter, rarepair aficionado, and above all, stellar friend.
I heart you so much!
Author's Response: I haven't responded yet because I couldn't think how to do it. This review is absolutely gorgeous and I feel like all the efforts were worth it. I knew I was going to write Theo for you from the start, although I hadn't decided on his lover. Quite a few have written Theo/Susan so well, so I thought I'd try something different. Perhaps, if I had been writing this for someone else, it would have been a romantic story, above all. But it was for you, someone who can off Teddy. Someone who has no problem reading gore. I decided I could just go no-holds-barred. When I finally got round to starting it, I had no plot on my hands. All I knew was that it had to be dark, demanding and tragic. It began with Theo as an amnesiac. Then Padma entered. Then it was Padma taking revenge for Parvati's death. But as I continued, the original story changed by about 90%. (Julia will attest to this ;) ). It got complex, and for such a complex plot, I had to do the best research I could. Sleepless nights were involved, and even my train rides to office were spent mulling over possible plotholes. All that while, I thought of you, too. Whatever happened, it had to be something realistic, something plausible. Without Kara, of course, this story would not be possible. She also stayed up, reading over the drafts, pointing out errors, and I am eternally grateful to her. By the time I was done, I knew I had written what could possibly be one of the best things I've ever come up with. :D Not sure it would have been possible if the - er - ghost of you weren't hovering around me. So, thank you for inspiring me, too! I am extremely thrilled that you liked it! That, and this fabtastic review were worth all the trouble! ~Natalie
Noooooooooooooooooo. Oh, poo, I don;t want to discuss the whole fic and give away 'poilers because I know some people (ginacoughcough) read the reviews first - ha ha ha. Okay, let me just say that this is fabulosa! I love it. So clever, complex but above all bloody well written and researched (wow, who is your Latin professor?)
Um .... I think Jess will bloody adore this, so well done. ~Carole~
Author's Response: YAY! No poilers for Gina, though she eventually got them hahaha. My Latin Professor is a mysterious male who goes by the name of "DH". Thanks for the reviews and the nomination! greetz ~Natalie
OOH wowowowowowow. Amazing writing, Natalie. OOOP's sorry, I'm trespassing on Jess' present, but I need to leave a review even if it is barely coherent.
Hmm, I'm suspicious about that book. And I'm also suspicious of Parvati - or perhaps Padma - he certainly seems to remember one of them. Are they blaming him for Lavender's death? (BY THE WAY SHE'S NOT DEAD!!!)
Okay proper review, starting here (sort of). This really is an incredibly clever and well written story. A mystery but also a lyrical D/A piece. I love the other side of Theo here, he's coming alive as I read him (although he's gay as well, but i think I'm the only person who thinks that). You have a lot of great moments and lines in this story 'painful bliss', So cool, so soft, so sweet to kiss' - exquisite lines that make me sigh reading them.
Poor Theo, I can't help feeling something horrible is going to happen to him, but maybe he deserves it - who can tell?
Sorry, bad review, but a glorious story. Can't wait for the rest. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Not a bad review! I love getting reviews from you. I am happy to hear you found it both mysterious and lyrical. Theo's sexuality is an interesting case, of course. And as for Lavender, :'(.