"The world is dark, and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story." Kate DiCamillo
I am a reader. I love to read. As a child, I was often chastised and chased out of my house for reading instead of “getting fresh air”. When I should have been asleep, I was under the covers with a flashlight, reading. I have never been without a book to read, until now.
After being completely depressed by the end of the series, my book store clerk where yes, I was reading away on release day, told me about Muggle Net. My bookstore sells beer, too. What a combination Potter and Pints. Yahoo!
So, here I am. I am thrilled and consumed by reading the stories here every day. I have been accused of being addicted. I admit to being a bit obsessed. I have been up many nights into the wee hours of the morning, reading here. While I don’t do it often, I have found I love to review. I aspire for my reviews to be helpful and encouraging.
I have discovered the world of Snape fiction. I feel as the series went on, particularly with DH, the main characters were becoming a bit flat and predictable. Not that I didn't (and don’t') still love the trio, it’s just that the evolution and development of Severus is some of the most compelling parts of series for me. After reading DH, I have gone back and read the entire series, with an eye towards how JKR managed the development of such a complex character.
I am a freelance photojournalist and I sometimes write the stories that go with my photos. I have never written fiction, though. I have photo and word editing experience and I hope to be able to beta someday. I also hope to begin writing fan fiction some time in the future. I have even hatched my own plot bunny, so now I have to figure out how to write fiction. A bit daunting to me, I must admit.
“You don’t explain magic. You just fall for it.” David Bianculli
Wow! Excellent approach. Threadbare yet complex. It's the innuendo that makes the piece. It is filled with feelings. Of course the best stories allow the reader to project themselves into the role of protagontis and haven't we all been there in Ron's shoes? Ignore the previous review. They know not of what they speak. You have much talent and creativity.
Wow! Excellent approach. Threadbare yet complex. It's the innuendo that makes the piece. It is filled with feelings. The best stories allow the reader to project themselves into them and haven't we all been there in Ron's shoes in some way? Ignore the previous review. You have much talent and creativity. Carry on.
I like the story. I find Draco’s redemption satisfying. You have made his switch to the other side interesting because while he is able to have meaningful relationships with some Order members, (coming to respect Neville and regretting never telling him along with his drinking buddy, Zacharias Smith) he still admits to some old grudges. This makes your characterization of a post-Hogwarts War Draco one that has realistic dimension. You use good imagery and your dialogue is strong. I like a long story, and I came to read this one as the summary was intriguing and it had some length. Certainly the Meleia storyline and the coming war storyline will keep me tuned in (just who is Anderson anyway?). One bit of constructive criticism, if I may? You have some typos, tense errors, and grammatical errors that don’t seem like character jargon. Maybe a closer proof read is in order? I am looking forward to reading more.
Author's Response: Thank you for your fabulous review. I\'m sure I have some typos. I\'ll see if I can go over and nitpick a bit better. I\'m really glad you enjoyed Draco\'s character. I really wanted to portray, realistically, a \"good\" Draco--but still an in character Draco. Thanks again for taking the time to give such a great review -Merlynne
I want to tell you right off that I do like the story and don’t want to come off as harsh but sorry I am totally confused on the last dialogue run that closes the chapter.
I think Ravenclaw_ Soprano has it right. There is a dialogue error in the last exchange. You did use “Hermione said” where it should be “Stainthorpe said”. You also use “Hermione went on” when it should be “Stainthorpe went on”.
You are still in Stainthorpe’s voice in that bit of dialogue as you had not done the reveal of Hermione's name yet. You actually blew a great bit of good writing and suspense with some sloppy copy editing because you brought up Hermione prior to the shocking final reveal of Neville asking the question “Hermione?”.
I have read it and ran it through a French translator multiple times to see if I am wrong and each time it is just plain confusing.
If you intended it the way it is posted, it takes away the punch of the reveal.
With all due respect, it begs to be corrected.
Check out the below and correct me if I am mistaken. The caps are for emphasis so you can see what I am referring to not for yelling or scolding.
“Est-ce que c’est la Maison de Monsieur Victor K. Lontelles?” Stainthorpe asked. VOICE OF STAINTHORPE
The man eyed her suspiciously. “Oui,” he said. VOICE OF NEVILLE
“Je suis Professor Marianne Stainthorpe. Je suis partie de la révolution anglaise—Alsemore Academy.” VOICE OF STAINTHORPE, YES?
“Qui sont-elles?” The man pointed at Lottie and Andrea with his wand. Lottie wrapped her fingers around her own. VOICE OF NEVILLE, YES?
“Des étudiantes. Lottie Rowe et Andrea Woolbright. Elles sont ici avec moi parce qu’elles ont découvert quelque chose d’important,” Hermione said.
DON’T YOU MEAN STAINTHORPE SAID STILL AT THIS POINT? AREN’T YOU STILL USING STAINTHORPE’S “VOICE” HERE?
Lontelles furrowed his brow and squinted. Hermione went on,
DON’T YOU MEAN STAINTHORPE WENT ON? AGAIN, AREN’T YOU STILL USING STAINTHORPE’S “VOICE” HERE?
“Est-ce que vous connaîssez quelqu’un qui s’appelle Neville Longbottom?”
Lontelles stared at Stainthorpe, who smiled knowingly back at him. His eyes grew wide and he took a step out of the doorframe.
“Hermione?” VOICE OF NEVILLE
Also, a translation at the end of the text of the French would have been a nice and considerate touch so readers didn’t have to go to an online translator.
I couldn’t translate this sentence. Stainthorpe went on, You connaîssez quelqu’un that is called Neville Longbottom?”
Let me know what you think.
Author's Response: PIERHJFGOWIEUDJKCLSBHIRUEFIDJcls\r\n\r\n
HOW DID I NOT CATCH THAT? OH MY HUGO NOW I UNDERSTAND WHAT RAVENCLAW_SOPRANO WAS SAYING. *Inner angst* That was so stupid. So. So. Stupid. It\'s one of those things that I changed in my final draft and didn\'t send to my beta and AGHAHSGDLIWHJAFHIVLADJBKGDHFSX.\r\n\r\n*Heavy sigh* Well, thank you and Ravenclaw_Soprano for pointing that out. It\'s so embarrassing that I still have errors like that. I\'m going to edit that right away. Aaahhhh I\'m so dumb! I can\'t believe I did that. AGAHGGHG. Okay. I\'m going to edit that now.\r\n\r\n
Thanks so much for the review! I don\'t know what I would have done without that. Hahaha. And for the French translation--that\'s a good idea, I\'ll probably do it for the next chapter. I didn\'t put anything too important in the French, but it didn\'t occur to me that people would probably still want to know what it said.\r\n\r\nThanks for the review!\r\n
FYI, I left you a review regarding the same bit of dialogue at HPFF as I wasn't sure where you read the most. i am glad you didn't think I was being harsh. Just so you know I have been pimping your story on the various Potter lists I am on. I do think it is that good. Origonal story, great origonal characters, great world even if it is pretty grim. Well done, Cheers!
Author's Response: Ahh thanks so much! I\'ll go respond to that one too! I check them both about the same, but I got an email regarding this one.\r\n\r\n
Thanks so much! And thanks for pointing that out! And hopefully it won\'t happen again. xD\r\nEponine\r\n\r\nPS. You left my 100th review! Yay!
I was happy to see the recent update. I have enjoyed this series from the beginning. I think many writers could do well by looking to your writing for good examples of story development, character development, exposition, and descriptive writing of place, people, events and ritual. The very nice touch you have, combining the narrative with dialogue, is an example of how well this can be done. You have expanded on the magical world and made it with even more depth. Your writing adds new insight to characters we all thought we knew and have given them new dimension and interest. I find your OC of Alicia/Daniella original; not flat, one dimensional or stereotypical
I really did like Creating a Ghost. I especially enjoyed the scene atop the astronomy tower. I also liked your depiction of the Marauders and Hogwarts during that time. This was a very good story. I think I will re-read it tonight!
One thing though, I did think the tone of the writing for the first Severus/Alicia “love” scene at the end of Creating a Ghost a little mature. Not so much what happened but the style and tone of how you wrote. It felt like I was reading about adults rather than teenagers. The scene in Dumbledore’s office at the end also felt a bit mature as far as tone. I am not taking issue with the content only occasionally the tone/style. Otherwise, I think the tone and style of the story was right on.
With Life in the Interim, I was reading along when suddenly, I had the realization that, Oh no! I’m reading a romance novel and um, I like it? I think? Well, I did like it, especially the family bits with the Snapes’ at home. Some times it felt like you were writing a scene to use it as the mechanism to get to the sex bits; that maybe the story wasn’t advanced by it and it was sex for sex sake. But in retrospect, I think it all helped to add dimension to the characters, plot and story. And even though initially it felt a bit gratuitous to me, it was all just so well written I really couldn’t put it down. I stayed with the story and I was rewarded. Hmmm, I think I might re-read this one tonight, too.
Like many, I did not like that you killed Saxon. At first I thought it was an easy out, thinking you could have spirited the boy into hiding or some other plot device. But, I think I have come to an understanding as why you may have done it. I find you have written Severus as the ultimate tragic Hero. Beginning with Creating a Ghost, whenever something good comes into his life, it is stripped away from him as he slowly becomes more dark and bitter with each event. The only ray of light in his dark life is Alicia/Daniella. And it is doubtful how long even she is destined to remain. As Severus’ life grows darker and more dangerous, my compassion for him grows. Your writing presents him as dark and evil and strong and brave all at the same time. Your characterization of Severus is sympathetic and compelling.
With Life in the Shadows, things started out pretty sad and seemingly hopeless for Daniella. I liked how you added Remus and wonder if he is ever going to find out her true identity, although I don’t think it is necessary or important to the plot. I like the raven, Snark and I am glad Daniella has him as a friend in her sometimes lonely life. I am happy that Daniella and Severus seem to be finding a path back to each other.
I suspect that Severus is destined to die or at the very least there will be permanent separation from Daniella. I can just sense that the tragedy is not over for these two. , As you move towards the conclusion of your tale, maybe you can give one gift to a faithful reader? Could you let Daniella get pregnant and give us all a piece of Severus to go on with into the future? And think, you could do a next generation Snape family series.
The publishing of this series beginning almost 18 months ago, shows a deep commitment by you to your story and your craft. You are to be congratulated.
Author's Response: I\'ve tried three times to write a response deserving of such a wonderful review and each time the site logs me off before I can post it. Thank you so much for the comments and encouragement. You can\'t imagine what it means to have someone takes so much time to write such an indepth review. \"Life in the Shadows\" is up to 48 chapters and still not finished. It blends JKR\'s books with the story and takes it right to the end of DH. I hope you enjoy the rest and keep in touch. Dani
Oh, you are evil, evil, evil! Now I have to wait, again!
I was happily surprised to see the update. Of course I rushed right through the newest chapter and gasped at the end. Did I mention you are evil?
There is a quote from Kate DiCamillo on my profile that, I think, suits your writing style. It explains exactly why I read and why I like your stories.
I actually think I like the reference to Boccaccio the best. I know. That it sounds strange. Now, just so you know, I had no idea who Boccaccio was. I quickly went out on the net for some research, because if it is in your story, I knew you put it there for a reason.
“Boccaccio's characters are notable for their era in that they are realistic, spirited and clever individuals who are grounded in reality”. Well, isn’t that just the best description of Daniella.
I found the description of Boccaccio as a Renaissance humanist an interesting parallel to Severus. I read Renaissance humanism defined as the philosophical outlook which encompassed human dignity and potential and the place of mankind in nature, valuing the witnesses of reason, and the evidence of the senses in reaching the truth. Beauty was held to represent a deep inner virtue and value, and an essential element in the path towards God.
I found the invocation of Boccaccio as an allegory for Daniella and Severus really touching and compelling. Just that small reference added insight and dimension to the characters. Wow and Brava!
I enjoyed the dancing scene a lot. I could really see in my minds eye all the women fluttering around Daniella after her dance. It was amusing and sweet and funny.
I also enjoyed the valentines exchange with Stark and the presents. I felt you conveyed Daniella’s longing well when she discovered Stark actually spends time with Severus in his rooms. I loved that Stark calls Severus “the dark one”. I got shivers. And that spell, naughty, naughty. I hope you have a reveal on that in the future.
One criticism? And well, it suits me because it will mean you will have to write longer. Heh, heh, heh…..
I think the scenes where Daniella isn’t with Severus would be improved if they were longer. It would develop her and her life away from Severus more.
I was hoping that the Remus scene would be longer since they had been so close. I would have also liked to actually see a manifestation of a dinner scene with Colin and Emily, rather then just using the library as a vehicle for getting the owl. I think a muggle dinner could have been very funny. I believe you could write humor as evidenced by Yule celebration at the Society’s Manor House scene. I did laugh out loud during that one. I “know” Daniella has a busy and rich, albeit lonely, life away from Severus. I would like to hear more about it. I think it would give their time together poignancy.
I probably won’t be speaking out so much with each coming chapter. I mean, how much can you actually stand? If you don’t hear from me via a review, know I am reading and I support this story.
PS: I think I have figured out who is in the corner but the big question is “why”? The implication may be staggering and dangerous?
I can’t wait for more, but alas, I know I will have to.
Author's Response: *grins, grins* write as much as you want. I love hearing from you! Sending a PM. Hope you don\'t mind. Dani
After reading the two previous reviews about the time jump, I went back and re-read the chapter to check it out. The four year jump didn't really bother me. I think it was handled well, within the narrative, and I didn't find it jumpy or creating a continuity problem. There is certainly precedence in fiction and cinema for taking a time leap for the sake of moving the story. It worked fine for me.
I liked the parts about what was happening with Voldemort. I think it adds dimension to the story to see what else is up in the wizarding world while our hero’s parallel timeline takes place.
Thanks for sharing how old Harry is (in a review resonse) at this point, too. That places the ages of Severus and Daniella in their early thirties? I like knowing how old they are now. I found myself thinking about how "mature" they seem. It must be a “love in the time of war” thing.
I wish your chapters could get through the queue faster. I find myself trying to wait a couple of weeks before checking for updates so that I could read more than one chapter at a time. I actually don’t even read at MNFF other than coming back for your story.
The most fun part about coming to your trilogy when I did was that it was more than two thirds of the way finished. Although, reading them did lead me to staying up too many nights until past 3 a.m.!
Author's Response: Thanks for your support. I knew the jump in time would upset some people, but I felt that it needed to be done, and yes, it does place the couple in their early thirties. I once read that Severus was the youngest member on staff and that he was 36 when Harry is at school (during which year,I can\'t remember). So at this point, he\'s younger than that. More in PM Dani
Sorry I have been out of touch. Real life getting in the way again. I am just catching up on chapters now. I have a question. When Daniiella says "I instinctively cast Occlumency", Wouldn't she cast Occlumens? Similar to Legillimency and casting Legilimens? O know you do your research so I was wondering because I have never seen anyone "casting Occlumency.
Off to read the next chappie
Author's Response: Must have been a typo that got by me. I can relate to the \"real life getting in the way\". The past three weeks have been horrendous! Dani
Author's Response: Took another look. No, it\'s right. If the command was in quotations, then it would be \"Occlumens\" (italicised), but as it is referring to the spell, it\'s Occlumency. Take care and have a great week. Dani
On the Hitler thing, I took it as a joke. I thought it was funny. Very much Marauder humor, in my mind.
I don't think Wizards would have been ignorant of WW2. It was a world war afterall, with batlles all over Europe. And the Germans bombed the bloody hell out of London during the blitz.
Author's Response: Thank you! I was hoping someone would actually like it... How very true. Thanks for reading and reviewing!
PS: Leave the Hitler line as it is. See if your readers have a sense of humor. If they are Maruader fans, you would thing so.
Author's Response: Thanks!
Humming theme from Mission Impossible da da da da da da da da, do do doooo, do do doooo, do do do dodo
Cool fic. It really does remind me of Mission Impossible, in a dark, wizarding, kind of way. Very action packed with lots of gun battles and explosions.
Snape kinda Cruise like only cooler (and better looking?) he, he, he.
I like all the dark imagery. The muggle/wizard mix is good and very well done. I was a bit surprised that the agent was a woman, but I like that twist. I also like the addition of Tonks as the ally and former friend. The portrayal of the Order, particularly Kingsley, was very good. I like the introduction of Keith, too. The self mutilation portion was original and chilling.
I have favorited the story and look forward to updates.
Author's Response: Mission Impossible, eh? I was actually thinking of the Bourne series... ;) In any case, I\'m glad you\'ve liked the stuff so far, but Chapter 7 is the real bombshell - prepare for a climax...
"Part Three! Part Three! Part Three!" the crowd chants loudly.
I love how you set your scenes. I get the vision and mood right off. Your tone is also wonderful. The stories have such warmth. They are really quite lovely.
Author's Response: \"Settle down, adoring fans!\" shouts the author from atop her many bulging bags of fan mail. Haha, just kidding :D What can I say, your review was just so flattering. Thanks very much for your lovely comments, I sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm! It makes the writing even more fun. I\'m very pleased to hear that you enjoyed the mood of these stories. I was a tad apprehensive about the lack of action, but people have been very sweet and reassuring, so thanks again for the awesome review! Anyway, Part III is in the works, as is Part IV. But shhhh! Don\'t tell anyone. I may even have a Part V goin\', but I\'m not saying anything. : ) Have a good one! -Sue.