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Reviews For Storm and Stress

Name: the opaleye (Signed) · Date: 02/26/12 0:50 · For: Chapter 5: Truths
Oh wow this chapter really sent shivers down my spine. The scene with Meleia and her father in the forest was so chilling.

Name: Equinox Chick (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 9:35 · For: Chapter 1: The Littlest One
This will be fairly short and sweet. Although this isn;t my usual type of fic, I was steered this way by a friend (and saw this in Featured) so decided to give it a whirl.

From this evidence of this opening chapter, I think you have a great story here. Your plot is original, your characters fully formed and the writing is good. It's a shame this hasn't had many reviews (apart from the last surge from aforementioned friend - ha ha) but that's probably because it's an OC story set in Durmstrang. Very unfair because this deserves more attention.
,br> Intriguing start and rather spine-chilling. Well done - Carole-

Author's Response: Thank you for reading and thank you for reviewing!

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 9:10 · For: Chapter 7: Vampires and Trolls

I am afraid my reviews are mostly going to be squee-y from now on, as the story gets more and more exciting! Meleia does have that power she isn't really aware of as yet. I can't wait to find out how she's going to find out.

I must also mention that I like how you keep slipping in lighter moments in the story. I giggled a lot in this chapter, which was a nice break from the nail-biting suspense which is the general tone of the fic.

There are so many questions in my mind, and it's going to be trying to wait for the answers to be gradually revealed! Amazing story and world-building, Merlynne! I'm glad I clicked on it this morning. :)

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 8:56 · For: Chapter 6: Consequences
Argh! I want to read that book lol. As I said in one of my previous reviews, vampires fascinate me, and your use of their myth fascinate me as much. It's going to be quite an enjoyable and pleasant experience for me, finding out what else Radulescu has to offer on the subject. I have to say, his end was rather horrific.

Karkaroff. Hmm. What was he trying to prove with that little trick he did with the pipe? I kept thinking it was a smell that should provoke something in an infected person. The part about the Bears threw me off a little, if only because it has never been mentioned before in the fic, and not indicated in the scene either. Will we get more on this, and Karkaroff in general in the fic? I hope so!

YES! Krum's character development made me grin. :D Moving on to the next chapter, and a bit sad there's only one left for now.

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 8:42 · For: Chapter 5: Truths

I think it would be a heinous thing to say that the scene in the forest was beautifully written. :/ But, really, your writing was top-notch in this chapter in particular. I am too eager to read what is going to happen next to leave a longer review. I only want to say that the story continues to be as thrilling as ever, and the friendship between the three students is getting more and more interesting!

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 8:28 · For: Chapter 4: Broken Things
Before I review this chapter, I want to pick up where I left off in the last review. In this story, you’re exploring the darker side of the wizarding world. Without painting these characters as blatantly evil, you have humanized them. For instance, I can see it in Lotaria; she has an affinity with dark magic. She seems the envious and very self-centered type; she’d have made a great Slytherin, too. But not everyone who is good at dark magic is necessarily a Machiavellian character. Ileana, for example. This story is giving my brain a lot of workout :D

Okay, I do have a few stylistic/technical nitpicks here:
“Tonight,” Ghelb went on. “Leave nothing on the pitch.
“Please,” she begged Fedorov. “Make sure I don’t dream this time.”

I think the second could work as separate sentences, but I’d make the first one a single line.

”Tonight,” Ghleb went on, “leave nothing on the pitch.”

There is also a line in which Arctopolinatus has been spelled incorrectly: Of course, serious Seekers often brought their own brooms; faster, more expensive racing brooks. Krum and Actopolitanus, for example.

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with it, but you refer to the coach as Ghleb, and then Mr. Ghleb in one or two instances, which felt somewhat inconsistent to me.

The problem of being a beta-reader is that such things tend to jump out at me while reading. >.< I’m a bit preoccupied with your Quidditch teams, and I fear I’ve got them wrong. So, there are three groups, right: Bears, Wolves and Eagles. Each group has three divisions, with 1 being the best, and 3 being the weakest. From what I read in this chapter, Eagles appear to be the most coveted team to get into. So, is it that the divisions of each group will compete first and then meet with the winners from the other two in the finals? This is confusing me just a a tad.

That said, this is one of my favourite fics ever and I’ve added it to my favourites, of course! I love Meleia, too. How odd I’ve never talked about her before! I hope things shape up well for her in the following chapters. Sorin knows now, but I don’t think he’s going to abandon her.

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 7:58 · For: Chapter 3: Dreamer

Before I get to that, one more thing I forgot to mention in the previous review. -sigh- The thing about reading a gripping story in one go is that I keep missing details I should mention in a review. So, I wanted to talk about the rule about speaking Russian. I don't know enough Eastern Europe history, but it mirrors the real life conditions quite well. It also reminds me of the question of "privilege", something which I keep noticing in your fic.

The school point system, the fact that Squibs seem to be an insult and Muggles aren't thought of well either: without hitting me too much over the head, these aspects of your story lets me know which side of the wizarding world I'm reading about. And then, you dropped the bomb in the end. I cannot wait to see how this is all going to turn out!

Krum seems somewhat lacklustre so far, but I think he's fairly young in this fic. I am not sure which year he is in this story. Is he Meleia's year? That would explain the fact that he sounds like an average teenager. I wonder how he will shape up to be the surly, serious and non-talkative person of the books. :)

I adore Viorel! He makes me smile with his enthusiasm and affection for his sisters. Going to read the next chapter!

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 7:40 · For: Chapter 2: Someplace Cold
I forgot to mention in the previous review how much I like your rendition of the vampire myth. Without sacrificing the bare essentials, you've given it a twist to fit the plot. I'm quite excited to see what other symptoms are going to pop up.

Now, let me squee about Durmstrang. I've never had enough imagination to visualise the other wizarding schools, how they function and how different they are from Hogwarts. Your Durmstrang is fantastic, not in the sense that it sounds like a school I'd love to attend, but that it suits the idea that the books gave us. Details like the Privilege and Punishment points, which seem harsher than how things work at Hogwarts, the fact that Meleia easily uses dark magic against Isabel, the very Spartan structure of the dormitory, and the lack of a house system (unless I'm mistaken about the presence of one), all build up to a near-perfect picture of the school where the likes of Grindelvald and Karkaroff thrived. Great work here!

I came across a typo - which I think is a typo but might not be - Sorin's "Seeya". But, even if it wasn't a typo, I feel that "ya" is too casual and reminiscent of English to fit the general tone of your story. Another tiny nitpick I have is the characterisation of Isabel, who reminds me too much of Draco. However, this is the first time I'm reading her, so this might as well be a premature judgment from my side.

The last part made me tear up a bit. :/ Can't wait to read more!

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 02/18/12 7:13 · For: Chapter 1: The Littlest One
Wow. First off, I love vampires. Or rather, I used to until recent pop culture turned them i nto something ridiculous. This is exactly how I love them, though, and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

The thing is, it is incredibly hard to get into OC-based stories. Most of them are either undercooked or overdone. But with yours, I was easily able to get over my skepticism. The key reason is your narrative style. It doesn't overload me with information right away, and yet it tells me enough to get hooked to the characters and their story. I love how you keep everything unwritten but obvious: we don't see Mr Varias turning into a vampire. or Maria being sacrificed. But we still know they are events that have happened, and we cannot but feel horror and disgust at them.

I also find the pragmatism of Mrs Varias and Lotaria fascinating. Of course, the mother does it purely out of necessity, while the daughter looks at it as only a flippant child can. I don't know how this story is going to pan out, but I hope to see more of them in the later chapters, and how Maria's leaving affect them in a larger context.

This is a captivating story, Merlynne! I intend to keep on reading.


Author's Response: Thanks for reading and thank you for your very encouraging review. We will be seeing more of the Varias family as soon as I find the time to get down to writing. I hope you won't be disappointed :)

Name: h_vic (Signed) · Date: 08/31/11 13:51 · For: Chapter 1: The Littlest One
What an intriguing set up for a story! I've always enjoyed vampire-based tales, but in recent years they seem to have been everywhere and generally in a depressingly diluted form, so it's refreshing to see a story that seems to take vampires back to their Eastern European roots and contains the sort of vampire folklore that it's easy to imagine being passed down through generations.

The curse concept is a great way to tie vampirism to the magical world, and it feels like a very believable addition to vampire mythology. I think the concept of Original Infection is a very interesting one and the brief mention of the societal, moral and philosophical connotations that arise from it definitely makes me hope that it's something that you explore in more depth later, because I found it fascinating.

In fact, I really liked the brave narrative choice of injecting some of the vampire lore via that almost textbook-style interlude. That sort of narrative switch can be hard to pull off without sounding contrived, but I thought you made it work really well and it suited the tone of the rest of the chapter, even though the chapter was otherwise quite character-driven.

Meleia already seems like a compelling character, and I'm looking forward to learning more about her. It was a really nice touch how you started by introducing the closeness between her and Maria, and the way she soothes her sister makes her very easy to warm to. It also created an interesting distance between her and her family how, at the end, she is the only one unable to act as if everything is normal. It promises to create a lot of tensions and undercurrents, and I find myself wondering what effect those will have.

Actually, I find myself wondering about a lot of things because you do hold back enough mysteries to keep things intriguing and puzzling, but yet you also gave enough hints and details that I didn't find myself getting frustrated and confused at what was going on. Generally, I thought the balance there was really well handled.

I especially like how little you give away at first about the two sisters in the opening scene. It sets up the characters and atmosphere really well even though at that point I didn't know who they were, what the backstory was, or what that atmosphere was building towards. It was a lovely, mysterious start that got me hooked straight away.

The only place I felt there was perhaps a little too much information given all at once was with the introduction of Nicolae's tragic backstory almost as soon as he appeared. It may all be important for the reader to know at some stage, but it just felt a little bit overpowering to me all told together like that and I wasn't sure I necessarily needed to know it all that early, and I wonder if it might be the sort of character backstory that may be a little better suited to being woven in more gradually.

I did like some of the dark hints though in that scene that added a real sense of foreboding, like Nicolae seeing the tower for the first time on the night of Maria's birth. There was a great, brooding formless sense of menace throughout this chapter. Right from the start, I found myself sharing Maria's conviction that something bad was going to happen, but without knowing what it was I expected, merely that I was uneasy. I always really enjoy reding that sort of tense, claustrophobic writing and I thought you captured that brilliantly.

All in all, I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here, because I think it could be a very interesting journey.


Author's Response: Thank you for your amazing review, Hannah! I am honoured by time and thought you put into this SPEWly review. First I want to say I'm so very glad you enjoyed this chapter. It underwent about a million re-writes, but I steadfastly believe that the first chapter is the most important one. I'm almost glad that you disliked how artless Nicolae's backstory was--because you're absolutely right--it isn't immediately important. It's arguably never important. I know I could have developed his backstory differently, but I'm going to stand by my decision to include it now. In the short run I absolutely agree that this isn't the best way to develop a character, but if this decision of mine doesn't become at least defensible in the context of what's to come, then I haven't done my job well. I'll do my best to make it so! I'm always torn between being explicit about events and being subjective and vague. I'm glad you're enjoyed the suspense so far, and I hope that I continue to do all right in upcoming chapters. Thanks you! Merlynne

Name: La_Rubinita (Signed) · Date: 08/21/11 20:08 · For: Chapter 1: The Littlest One
I am so excited! You finally brought her back :D I can't wait to see where this is going.

Author's Response: In what I hope is an exciting direction! I'm so happy you decided to read this story as well! I had to tweak a few things between Skeletons in the Closet and now, but there won't be much overlap in any case so it shouldn't matter (I renamed Meleia's sister, but that is all). Thanks for reading!

Name: the opaleye (Signed) · Date: 08/21/11 3:24 · For: Chapter 1: The Littlest One
I can't believe this has no reviews! I will have to fix that :) Anyway, what an intriguing start! The premise, the characters... everything was so compelling. I must admit that I've always been quite interested in the vampires of the Potterverse. I loved the way you explained vampirism and how Nicolae was 'cursed' by magic instead of being bitten. It felt like it had a place in the world Rowling created.

All the characters felt very distinct as well. The mother and father and Meleia, they all stood out as individuals, through their actions and not just through words. I usually avoid OC centric fics but I'm looking forward to reading more about Meleia.

Anyway, well done! I'll stop now so I can go and read the next chapter. And I hope you get some more reads and reviews. You deserve them.

Julia :)

Author's Response: Thank you very much! The fic hasn't been up for very long yet so I'm thrilled with the positive reception so far. I'm glad you enjoy Meleia, she's one of my favourite characters of all the ones I've written, fanfic or otherwise. I'll do my best to keep the standard high for upcoming chapters!

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