God, this story left me shocked. It was… well, I can’t even call it dark because it was evil! I liked how the identity of the girl remained vague throughout the story, though. It definitely added, somehow, to how evil this story was. Two people in dire need of each other, rather than being in love with each other… and the girl, how she wanted power and control. It was all so… I don’t know, it must have been so difficult to write, because this was difficult to read. Though it’s not a very long story, it took me a while to read it because it was very, very heavy.
The OC was so well characterised. Her need to be in power, her twisted way of thinking… everything was so different. I also liked her entire dilemma about whether she cared for Albus, or if she just wanted to be in control of him. You’ve even written it so well; you’ve got into this girl and pulled out- and I’m repeating this- evil thoughts and words. Oh Merlin, she is so twisted! It’s always something that has amused her, and she always has to hide her smug smile as she realizes he is completely under her control. How did Albus fall for her?
Albus himself was a true Slytherin in this. James, being the Gryffindor, helped him out of the bullying, but I really liked that Albus just snorted at him and left, which shows the Slytherin-ness in his character. The importance you’ve given to his eyes is good, because I liked all those descriptions of his eyes. This, especially, was really good: His eyes open and full of emotion: full of pain. It’s terrifying to see her own eyes staring back at her that way. But it’s worse when he leaves. Because they go back to being dull. Lifeless. At least the emeralds shine when he’s in pain. And Albus’s thoughts were interesting to explore; his Sorting, and how he was considered an outcast, and how his siblings pitied him just because he was bullied.
The story progressed well, each scene more appalling (as in GOOD appalling) than the other, and I enjoyed the minimal use of dialogue. I was especially shocked at two scenes: the one where Albus is bullied and the other, where he abuses your OC. The bullying scene was violent and I felt sorry for Albus. I really hoped he would retort, and he did. So that made me happy. I was also glad James came to his rescue.
The abuse scene was as shocking as the one with the bullying and I didn’t feel the OC deserved to be abused, even though I didn’t really like her throughout the story. I wondered why Albus would go so far as to abuse her, but he provided me with the explanation himself. It must be frustrating to have no friends and just people who want to use you all the time. The poor fellow is an outcast in his own family and even at Hogwarts if he has to be treated this way, it’s really sad.
The ending was rather unexpected. I was happy the OC was bullied. But then, when I found out it was physical bullying, the happiness waned rather quickly. But in the end I thought, maybe, she’d help Albus. I wondered if she loved him, if she’d help him, but, oh God, she actually left him to die! It was so in character for her and yet so terrible of her to do that! I wanted to shake her by her shoulders and ask her to help Albus and there she was, revelling in the fact that once again, she had control over Albus. This added the cherry to the existing angst in the story and I found myself, hoping, even after I had finished reading that maybe, maybe the girl went back and that Albus didn’t die.
So yes, this was a wonderful read. It was a rather unique piece and you wrote well. The writing was clear and well-defined. I liked the vagueness of the story. It was like smoke swirling into the scenes- like one of those thriller movies. Some parts scared me, too. The twisted mind of the girl seemed so realistically written, I constantly wondered what she’d pull off next. You also left me feeling very bad for Albus.
So, yes, I loved this! All the best for this challenge, Ellie.
Author's Response: Pooja!!! Thank you so much for the amazing review!
I’m really glad this story made an impression, lol. I was really nervous about posting it, given its evil nature, but I’m glad it’s not come across the way I feared. The OC remained nameless because I honestly couldn’t think of a name to suit her. I kept feeling that it would take away from her character, because, in all honesty, before Albus, this was the girl that no one noticed. No one knew (or knows) how twisted her mind was, and no one really cared. That’s part of why she has such a desperate need for control. And … yeah. It was really hard for me to write. It took me a few tries.
The OC was definitely one of the hardest parts of this piece. Since this piece is greatly influenced by the song, or more accurately the music video for, ‘Filth’ by A Band of Buriers (it’s the one where Matthew Lewis cuts off his arm), I kind of drew a bit of the OC from the girl in the video. Mostly how she smiles when Matthew’s hurt. I had to really work to make her not pure evil, but just twisted. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am you liked that argument with herself. That was one of the hardest parts to characterize. :) I don’t think that Albus really, truly fell for the OC, though. He was feeling extremely lonely, and in my headcanon that didn’t make it into the piece, she ended up being there when he was at his very worst. And Albus latched on to that, and convinced himself he ‘loved’ her.
In my mind, Albus is always a Slytherin. :) I’m glad it worked, though, because sometimes it’s hard to fit my headcanon for Albus into a certain house. I obsess over Albus’s eyes as well- I don’t know what it is, but they seem to show most of his emotion for me. (Or in this case lack thereof …) I hope I didn’t overload you with information about Albus, though! I tend to do that …
Lol at the appalling bit, Pooja. :) I know what you mean, though; this was really a dark piece. In all honesty, those two scenes you mentioned were the hardest to write (perhaps in all of my stories). It was very violent because of two reasons for me. One, I think that if it was only mild that Albus would have been able to handle it. Two, because he’s been bullied for so long, it has slowly escalated. The bullies kept needing more and more of a thrill, and the old methods weren’t cutting it. I had to have James cut in, otherwise I know it would have become much worse very quickly. I honestly wasn’t planning it, until I realized just how graphic it would have gotten.
On the secret room scene: Albus just snapped. Like you said, he was an outcast both at home and at school, and everyone else either didn’t care, hated him, or wanted to use him. He just couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t sure how that scene would go over; I wanted to make the OC look slightly less evil, (and don’t worry, you were definitely not meant to like her) and make Al less of a victim. Everyone has faults.
I know the ending was unexpected. :) I’m really glad about that- I had actually written it both ways. But I just couldn’t picture the OC saving Albus. It never fit her, personally. And I’m so glad you liked it! It means a lot, especially from you, Pooja. I think one of your chaptered fics was the first fanfic I ever read. Thank you so much for the absolutely amazing review, and I hope you do well in the challenge, too. <3
Ellie this was incredible. Dark and twisted and ghastly and depressing and shocking and a million other things, yet somehow still something I enjoyed. The descriptions of Albus' eyes were so powerful, and I liked the fact you kept the identity of the girl ambiguous (though I can't deny I'd loved to have worked out who she is!)
I'm really not sure what to say, other than that you made what was really quite a disturbing plot into something beautiful and entrancing... Proud of you my fellow Slyth!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review, Fenella!
Wow. I'm so glad you liked it. It's probably one of the darkest pieces I wrote, and I'm so glad it didn't scare you off, lol. I love describing eyes for some reason, and I honestly don't have a name for the OC. I kind of felt it dulled what I was trying to say. That they were both 'nobodys', and she was just another face in the crowd, yeah? Thank you so much for the amazing review. (and 'she' can be whoever you want!)
I've just read though this piece, and I'm... flabbergasted? I don't really think I like this story, but that is the plot. Very well written, nice done to keep it emotionless, really makes the feelings so much stronger. All you've done is to say what they fell in very simple words, and kept from judging their feelings. But thanks for the read.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. I was told by one of my friends that I should try to write something a little simpler, to focus on the shipping and the emotions. I really tried to focus on that, and there is some plot. Albus and the bullying and his siblings, and his and her evolving relationship. I'm glad you read it, though, even if you don't like it. :)