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Ennalee [Contact]

I'm 19 and a college student, which means that my writing tends to be produced very sporadically. I discovered fanfiction a few years ago, and have found it to be a wonderful place to grow as a writer. I'm a member of SPEW (Society for the Promotion of proper Evaluations for Writers, by readers), which provides all kinds of writing related (and non-writing related) support.

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Stories by Ennalee [6]
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Reviews by Ennalee

Predetermination by Noldo

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Outside, the sky was grey and gloomy and it looked like it was about to rain, but there was no wind and no movement and nothing except for the sound of your own footsteps and your own breathing. December 1979, Sirius moves into a flat.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/11/06 Title: Chapter 1: Predetermination

Joy! Noldofic! *is happy*

Um, okay. I have to shower you with much praise, because you are one of the few people who can actually sell me on second person, which so easily comes off as being totally wrong. And you never cease to amaze me by the way you can combine words and create poetry. You describe furniture as “unfortunate and desolate,” and I get shivers running down my spine. How are you so amazing?

You hadn't realized that you were laughing, but you were; a lonely sound. Did I mention the shivers running down my spine? Your words are beautiful things.

Every time I read one of your stories, I notice something different about the way you use words. Today it’s how you combine concrete and abstract descriptions, and how powerfully that works. Sirius falls “in an inelegant tangle of gravity and limbs.” Gravity is abstract, limbs are concrete, and yet you put them together without distinction, and it makes perfect sense. I don’t know why it works, and I keep trying to analyze it without coming up with anything, but works it definitely does.

You do it with verbs, too: “it lay there, open and slightly forlorn and spilling rolls of parchment.” You intermingle usual verbs and personification, and somehow the juxtaposition between the fact that the trunk is open – a normal thing for a trunk to be – and that it is slightly forlorn – personification, Sirius’ thoughts spilling over and being caught up in the description of the things around him – create a state of mind that is truly unique. We’re caught half-way between the two worlds, the concrete world around him, and the world that is Sirius’ thoughts. I’m getting incredibly garbled here, because I’m trying to describe what you’ve done and figure it out, but I can’t really explain it – your words speak best for themselves.

You are also a master of combining thought and action; you’ve found the perfect balance of when to be more explicit, and when a simple statement of action: “The air was bitter, bitter cold, and you turned up your collar.” As simple a statement as statements come, and yet it speaks incredibly poignantly – the text-book example of showing instead of telling.

The thing about your writing is it’s incredibly difficult to analyze; you write poetry in prose form, and it’s absolutely beautiful. (I know I’ve said that about fifty times already, but I’m feeling incoherent and it’s true.) I can’t help wondering what your writing style would look like outside of fanfiction. Here you’ve created a prose-poem around a background that we’re familiar with – would it stand alone without the background? Could you create a background without ruining the mood? Is a background even necessary? Random thoughts here, but your writing is so good I can’t help but wonder what it would be like apart from the context of fanfiction.

The end, and especially the last line – I have nothing to say about the last line, except that I am totally and completely in awe of you, forevermore. *fangirls like woah*

Ghost Town by Rita Writer

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: This story was written for a secret Santa story swap, and my challenge was to write a "slightly philosophical" story about "a lonely ghost". The ghost in this story is named Milo, and in an attempt to cure his loneliness, he travels to a town where only ghosts live. However, what he finds isn't what he was looking for.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 01/29/07 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

Well. I haven’t read one of your stories in a very long time, and you’ve grown incredibly as a writer since then. Your storyline, your syntax and diction, your writing style as a whole – may I please express my admiration? :)

Riverbend, having no historical significance or value, is a place for beings such as myself, lost philosophers who’ve reached the dead end. This line made me squee, for no apparent reason – I love his description of himself as a “lost philosopher.” Great image! Though you might consider changing “who’ve” to “who have.” This is not mandatory for grammatical correctness, since it’s meant to be coming from Milo’s voice, but he seems to me like someone who tends to speak a little more formally. I don’t know – just personal opinion.

Being with other ghosts drifting about feeling sorry for themselves sounded like a pretty lousy idea, even if misery does enjoy company. I suppose my final thought on that subject was that I’d rather depress other ghosts who’ve already lived their lives than people who still have the rest of theirs. Aw! I love how wry and skeptical he is – you did an amazing job of making me like him simply through the narrative style, aside from any considerations about his character. I tend to be skeptical when I start stories in first person, because it’s so hard to maintain a good narrative voice through an entire story, but you did a great job – Milo’s voice is wry and funny and reflective. Very ghostlike! Oh, how I love easy-to-remember names. Hee!

This story was oddly chilling, with the ghost-baby and all; what horrible people, to make that choice for their child! It’s something I’ve never considered at all – the existence of ghosts of various ages – and it raises all sorts of questions, which I think you did a great job at addressing.

Overall, have I managed to convey how impressed I am by this entire story? Great job, and I hope to read more from you!

Hide and Seek by Starmaiden

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: A few years after HBP, Remus and Tonks are married -- and expecting their first child. Remus is still working with the werewolves, but this proves even more dangerous than he thinks when a new leader is appointed, one much deadlier than Fenrir Greyback ever was.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/27/06 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Sorry I’m so late to give a proper review for this. [Insert bad excuses here.] What a lovely Halloween present this was – so dark and fuzzy and grey, all at the same time. *hugs* So, one squeeful review, coming up! (I’m afraid I’m going to be unspewish, because this story makes me so warm and happy – in a chilling, Halloween-y sort of way, of course.)

I love that the beginning is so ambiguous. Being unable to tell who is speaking leaves the reader in a delightful grey place – we’re not sure if we’re supposed to be sympathizing or worrying or actively disliking. I fell into your trap – I was absolutely convinced that the speaker was Harry, and that the departed leader was Dumbledore. He spoke of freedom from persecution, and I sympathized completely, in a way I probably wouldn’t have, if I had known it was Blaise. You trick the reader into placing their Harry-sympathies onto Blaise – the perfect beginning for a story full of grey characters.

This a side point, but I was fascinated by the way the knowledge of the speaker changes our view of Remus. “For him, young, newly chosen in as a trusted leader, it was easy to picture an ideal world. For Remus, who had watched too many friends die searching for that dream, it was not so easy to believe in.” It reads so differently the first and the second time. When you think Harry is the speaker, Remus is talking about the dream of a Voldemort-free world, and the friends who died are James and Lily and Sirius and even Dumbledore. However, the second time through, when you know it’s Blaise who is speaking, the ideal world must be something quite different, something he can’t believe in – though it’s interesting to speculate about whether he ever could have. And the friends he watched die searching for that dream – I wonder who they were? Is he still referring to James and Lily and the others? Or did he have friends who “went to the dark side?” Other werewolves, who chose to seek a life free of persecution? Friends who chose to follow Voldemort? Peter? Interesting train of thought here…

I love the premise that Blaise and Remus have a mentor-student relationship, even though they both (we learn) are secretly working against the other. Remus gives advice, and Blaise learns from it, even when both know that they can’t trust the other. “Everyone has ambitions — you made the mistake of thinking that mine blinded me to yours,” Blaise finally says at the end, and it’s so indicative of the relationship they’ve had all through the story. What a wonderful ground for character interaction you’ve set up; I’m fascinated by the concept of the relative importance of trust in relationships, and while this story is about other things, I love that you hint at it.

“This will cut right into the heart of the Order. A child always does.” I love, love, love this line. “A child always does.” So clear and concise and remote on Blaise’s part. He can see it objectively, he knows the power that children have over the hearts of the people around them, and he is not above using that. I just love how detached his statement is; it drives home the comparison between Remus and Blaise, because to Remus the child is a real being, the beginning of a human life, surrounded by love, while to Blaise it’s nothing more than a nameless child who will give him direct access to the heart of the Order.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love wifelyanddomestic!Tonks, spilling flour all over the place in her attempt to bake. So Tonks! And you include it so subtly, not drawing attention to the bit of characterization. “Tonks seized her wand, leaving a clean spot in exactly its shape on the otherwise floury countertop.” Just a throwaway clause at the end of an action sentence, and it hints at so much!

What you’ve done with Blaise is wonderful. “I’m not here to be noble.” Talk about lines that send shivers up your neck. He’s pure Slytherin, and yet also human – we can relate to him, and his quest for freedom and leadership. Also, I love the exchange between him and Remus about the importance helping versus the importance of leading, and Blaise’s reply that it doesn’t matter if they’re going the same way. Perfect! Also, Blaise is so sure that he can stay in control, make sure that they keep on going in the same direction – you’ve really done great things with his characterization, making him into a wonderfully plausible, sympathetic Slytherin.

I know I’ve said this many times over, but I really love what you’ve done here, and the character interaction between Remus and Blaise. It’s all I could have asked for in my Halloween gift, so thank you for the wonderful, spine-tingling read.

Author's Response: I am so glad you liked it! It took me a long time, but it pushed me as a writer, so I\'m very glad it came along. I came up with Remus/Tonks as probably the first thing, with the idea of her pregnancy adding urgency to the Person To Be Found. Heh heh. Yes. I love the beginning. You asked for grey, and I randomly chose a peripheral character -- thank you for that, by the way; it meant I could do whatever I liked and it wouldn\'t ever really be out of character! -- and I was having a lot of trouble making myself feel sympathetic towards him, until I decided that he did this partially out of ideology. Hence the speech that kicks this off -- I was pretty pleased with how much I was able to manipulate him to match what Harry might say. Remus is definitely thinking of Lily, James, Sirius, etc, but also the Order members who died (there were a lot of them), and really, of the hurt that the First War inflicted on the whole Wizarding world. He fought for a long, hard time, and it turns out that it never really went away -- and we all tend to get a little cynical as we age, even Remus. The bit about Tonks cooking was one that I actually invented quite early (I had to maneuver a bit to keep it, but I really wanted it!) I see her as zealous to be \"wifely\", but she\'s not really cut out for it. In happier times, she would have removed a sagging, burned cake from the oven, looked sadly at it, and Remus would laugh and kiss her. If she ever does learn to cook, she\'ll still leave flour all over the kitchen! I have to give all the credit for Blaise to you. I would never have been able to make him so grey -- so human -- if I hadn\'t had to. Remus speaks my own thoughts at the end, about liking Blaise but not being able to, because in the end, Blaise believes that the end justifies the means, and Remus cannot. Again, I\'m so glad you liked it! Thank you for a prompt that made me work. Oh -- and thank you very, very, veryverymuch for the one you wrote for me XD It was fantastic. Oh, and I have to give HUGE props to Amanda-Panda, not only for beta-ing at the very last second, but for making suggestions that cleared up a couple of plot holes and saggy dialogues. Her comments really made this what it is.

When You Do Dance by Connor Landon

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: There was a deep silence. It should not have been so, but he was growing used to the silence. On this day, however, he wished for any sound at all to prove that she was still in there. But there was nothing.

Life must go on, even after the one you love has received the fatal Dementor's Kiss.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/11/06 Title: Chapter 1: When You Do Dance

Wow! Not at all what I was expecting, but very good. I picked this to read because of the title – I happen to love that quote, and it’s sitting at the top of my own story, waiting to be worked into a chapter title someday, if at all possible. So kudos on the title! :)

I love the beginning; the heavy presence of the silence is almost palpable. Ron’s response – wishing desperately for some movement, some indication of life, to make himself feel alive again – is very well done.

The flashback is done very well also. I usually don’t like flashbacks in post final-battle stories; they tend to lose momentum, and bog down the flow. Yours, however, worked very well, partly, I think, because you didn’t give us the entire result before starting the flashback. We knew enough to have the proper foreboding, but had very little idea as to what was going to happen in the flashback. Also, the pregnancy at the end was unexpected, and made a very nice twist; so often, this type of story consists solely of waiting for the miraculous to happen, for the person in the bed to wake up. You shifted things around nicely – the story read entirely differently the second time, upon realizing that Ron isn’t waiting for Hermione to wake up; he has, in fact, accepted that it’s hopeless, and is instead focusing all his hopes and wishes on his daughter. The “her” he has been referring to is not, in fact, Hermione. Very nice twist!

Upon a second reading, I began having questions about the timeline. If the battle was almost a year ago, and Hermione has been unresponsive all this time, where did the baby come from? Also, when the mediwitches are saying that she’s not going to respond, are they talking about the baby or about Hermione? I would assume that after a year, the fact that Hermione wasn’t going to respond would be apparent. Unless, of course, I’m misunderstanding, which is very possible – you might want to clarify the beginning a little.

My one other critique is actually with the title. As much as I love it, I felt as if you never really tied it in with the story. I could make the connections easily; Ron watching Hermione, wanting her to move, or the connection even could be with the movement of his daughter. Nevertheless, I’d like to see you tie it in somewhere, more explicitly; I think you’ll find that it holds the story together, giving it an increased feeling of cohesiveness.

Overall, great job – very well written story, and a nice read.

Author's Response:

Author's Response: I have to say the same to you: Wow!! What an amazing review! I really appreciate it. In regards to the timeline, I figured that saying \'almost a year\' or \'nearly a year\' was slightly more poetic than saying \'eight months ago\'. Because Hermione was indeed pregnant at the time of the final battle. As for the mediwitches, they were talking about Hermione. I don\'t really know why I wrote that. Probably because I was thinking that the Healers were hoping that Hermione would in some way cooperate with her body\'s natural responses to labour, rather than make a complete mental recovery. And I did realize that the title wasn\'t as related to the story as well as it could be, but I preferred to leave the exact interpretation up to the reader. I like to work things out for myself, so I figured that I would leave the meaning vague. So, anyways, thank you again for the amazing review. It was really lovely, and probably one of the best reviews I\'ve ever recieved. I\'m glad you enjoyed the story!

Killed By His Own Brain by _Lily__Evans_

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Andrew is a powerful wizard who works in the Department of Mysteries, but when his sister is attacked by an unforgivable curse he isn't sure he can help her.
What is Andrew willing to do for his sister? How far can he push?
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/11/06 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

What is Andrew willing to do for his sister? How far can he push? I read your story based solely on those two lines in your summary, so congratulations on successfully doing one of the most difficult things in writing and putting out a hook for your reader. I’m fascinated by the idea of characters pushed past their limits, forced to make choices about what is most important to them, what they are willing to give up in order to keep something else. I love the idea of a Department of Mysteries worker willing to use all the resources available to him in order to save his sister.

That said, I would have liked to see more conflicts in the story. What was Andrew risking, throwing aside everything to work on those brains? Did he know that his own life was at stake? Was he pushing aside any ethical or humane concerns? What are the implications of creating a new mind for someone, and does he realize them? Your story touches on a lot of great and thought provoking questions, and I’d love to see you develop them more.

Interesting explanation of the brains, though – Ron apparently was not the first to make this mistake. At least he had friends around to take care of him. Poor Andrew – after all his work, he finds the solution, and then because of a stupid mistake he not only loses the chance to save his sister, but his own life as well.

A few nitpicks:

Everyone who spoke to him about his sister had the same sympathetic glance that he could no longer bare to see it. The “that” here doesn’t fit; try splitting it up into two sentences, or possibly a semicolon. “Bare” should be “bear” – one of those annoying things that spell check won’t catch for you. Also, “it” should probably be “them” – you’re speaking of the glances of multiple people, not one specific glance. Alternatively, you could say something along the lines of “he could no longer bear to look.”

He sighed heavily and, breaking into a run, he left the hospital. Drop the second “he” here; you’ve interjected “breaking into a run,” but the subject from the first clause still carries over.

The twist at the end was certainly not what I was expecting. It was a fun line, concise and humorous, but it changed the mood of the entire story. It seemed almost too fun; the humor felt out of place, as the story up to this point had been entirely serious. This may have been what you were intending – a story that leads in one direction, and then turns around and throws everything into a different light, ala Kate Chopin – but it took away some of the significance of the story, in my opinion.

You have a great plot here, and some really interesting ideas – a lot of potential for a great story. I’d love to see you expand on this, delve a little deeper into the ideas you touched on, look into the consequences of the Andrew’s decision. Thanks for the fun read.

Author's Response: wow, thanks so much for this review, i will seriously take this into consideration the next time i edit it! It means alot! Lily


Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/27/06 Title: None

I have to admit, I started this because from the summary I thought it was going to be a story about Muggles somehow finding themselves in Hogwarts and having to interact with the magic world. That said, I found myself interested even after I realized that your characters are Muggleborns, not Muggles, and what kept me interested was your characterization. I’m usually quite skeptical of diary entries – first person point of view is hard under normal narrative circumstances, and adding the element of writing makes it even more difficult to do convincingly. I think you do a wonderful job with it. Two sentences in, I was on the verge of hitting the back button merely on the grounds of it being a “diaryfic,” but I continued through the end of the first paragraph, and was caught by the sentence, “who has nothing better to do than write an essay in their stupid, unwanted, fluffy pink diary for a homework assignment? And an imaginary one, no less?” Beautiful characterization right there; what sold me on your story was the vivid picture those two sentences painted, of a young girl who can observe herself wryly from a removed standpoint, make fun of herself, and continue with her self-notedly silly actions anyway. And I absolutely love that she is making up imaginary homework assignments to justify herself, and that she’s able to laugh at herself for doing it and do it anyway. Right there, Regina became a character for me, and creating a solid character in the first paragraph is quite an achievement!

One nitpick: In the second paragraph you go into a very detailed description of the sisters’ appearances. While I think it’s quite natural that Regina would write about their physical appearances, I found the plethora of adjectives distracting – they pulled me out of the characterization of the narrator that you just set up so well. This may be a matter of personal preference, but the adjectives seemed rather overblown. How often do you look at a person and think that her eyes are turquoise, or ice blue? As much as these descriptions are found in fiction, they rarely occur in real life, and it’s important to remember that your narrator is living in real life. Of course, it’s perfectly possible that she’s being dramatic, trying to emphasize her point – I just wanted to bring it up.

You did a wonderful job of expressing Regina’s feelings about her parents and their relations with both daughters – her jealousy is clear, and it shows in her very tone and word choice. I would, however, have liked to see more of Regina’s feelings towards Vivianne; the more I looked at it, the more I realized how quiet she is on that subject. All of her bitter feelings seem to be directed at the people around them, the parents and teachers – she doesn’t say anything about how she and her sister get along. I wonder if that is significant? Also, it’s interesting that her description of Vivianne seems so positive. There are no “everyone thinks she’s really pretty, but I think”s in there. She admits that Vivianne is pretty, and she is smart, and I can’t help wondering whether she’s seeing the situation clearly and perceptively, or if there is some bias going into that. Hmm…

A very little thing, but I love that the two similes in the second paragraph refer to vampires and unicorns. So Regina is a fan of fantasy, is she? How will that affect her introduction to the magic world?

Anyway, I think I’m in danger of writing a review that’s longer than the story, so I’ll leave off. Congratulations on your characterization, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for Vivianne and Regina.

True Love Lost by nuw255

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: ONE SHOT: A woman sits alone in a cell, her thoughts consumed by her pain and loss. Finally, she gets a chance to face the one who took the life of her one true love.

The dripping had been constant from the moment she had been locked away; she suspected that her captors had placed her in this specific cell in hopes that it would drive her mad.

They needn’t have bothered. The only man she had ever loved was dead. She was already mad.

This is definitely not my usual style, so I’d love to know what you think.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/27/06 Title: Chapter 1: True Love Lost

I’m fascinated by stories dealing with the internal thoughts of prisoners in Azkaban, and I really like what you’ve done here, entering into the mentality of someone presumably surrounded by dementors. You never mention dementors, and yet the lack of any happy thoughts, any hope for the future or reminiscence of a happier past, sends a clear signal. Whether or not the dementors have returned to Azkaban, it is a joyless place, and you do a great job of showing this.

The refrain of the dripping is also done extremely well; you show how the seemingly insignificant physical details can pervade the consciousness to the point where they can’t be ignored, and the dripping somehow in her head becomes tied to the fact that her husband is dead. Irrational, maybe, but very realistic, and stylistically well done. I also like what you’ve done in reversing our sympathies for the characters by withholding their identities. I had guessed that the woman was Bellatrix, but it wasn’t until the end that I suspected that the man was Harry, and it definitely took me by surprise – a good thing, as it proves that you managed to play havoc with my loyalties, making me see through Bella’s eyes into a world where Harry is the villain. Well done!

Most of the story is written in such stylized limited third person pov that the few external references seem out of place to me. By external references, I mean places where you refer to “the woman,” as if given by an objective narrator. “A woman sat huddled…” “the woman whispered…” “the woman got slowly to her feet.” It’s such an internal story, based completely on Bellatrix’s feelings, that I think keeping the perspective consistent would be helpful. This is very much a personal opinion, and grammatically (and even stylistically) there’s nothing wrong with returning to the omniscient view of “the woman” – I just think that staying totally within her perspective would create an even more driving force, as we watch her descend farther into madness. Also, what come across as unimportant lines when given by an omniscient narrator can become highly significant when viewed from her own point of view. For example, instead of saying “the woman got slowly to her feet,” you could use the opportunity to describe what it’s like for Bellatrix to get to her feet. Get inside her mind, and describe the aching of her bones as she pulls herself up, leaning against the damp stone. Or perhaps describe her detachment, as she scarcely notices her body rising of its own accord. Right now, it seems as if all the action is described from an external standpoint, even though the story is about Bellatrix’s thoughts more than anything.

“She was already mad.” By her own admission – very chilling! This may be your first attempt at dark/angsty, but it was a very interesting read, so congratulations.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the very thoughtful review. I\'m glad I was able to play around with your loyalties a little bit, as that\'s exactly what I was going for. And I see what you mean about the narrator\'s voice sometimes getting in the way. *sigh* Live and learn, I guess -- that\'s the point of reviews, right?

As a sidenote, I read this story out loud for the first time the other day, and I creeped myself out! I don\'t think I\'ve ever done that before. It was a weird feeling, reading something so dark and depressing and knowing that it came out of my own mind. A bit scary.

Black Vow by tc015

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: This is the final assignment for DADA First Years, ProfPosky, Professor.

Orginally titled Her Vow, this is the first one shot in a series of three one shots about the Black Sisters and their weddings. This is Bellatrix's story.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

In general I don’t like stories about Death Eaters, but Bellatrix has proved a surprising exception to that, and I love what you do with her here. You do a very good job of showing her personality and individuality through the narrative itself. “If that was the only worth of a woman, than the world was sadder than she realized. She wasn’t going to stay home and be the perfect little house wife either. That was a definite.” Great sense of spirit right there – she is definitely determined to have her own life and keep her individuality, and you show that really well.

One thing to pay attention to is the sentence structures. Especially at the beginning, when you are describing the setting, the structures are all the same. The room was dark…The black silk curtains blocked…The furniture was…The walls were…” Especially since nothing is happening except description, it very easily degenerates into a list. Try to vary the sentence structures so that it’s not always “noun verb,” and it will force the reader to pay attention. This is something to think about through the entire story, but most particularly in places where there is no dialogue or action.

A few typos/grammatical things I noticed:

“She didn’t want to get married; she had too.” ‘Too’ should be ‘to;’ one of the easiest typos to make. Also, I’d replace the semicolon with a comma, since “she had to” isn’t a complete by itself.

“The days when her and Andromeda were still young, when they still were talking.” “Her” should be “she;” aside from that, I love that you show that there once was a close bond between Andromeda and Bellatrix; some stories assume that because Bellatrix is evil and Andromeda is the mother of Tonks, a good guy, that they must have always hated each other. You don’t go into the matter implicitly, but Bellatrix clearly had faith in her sister, and that’s a lovely detail to add to the story. I also love that their bond is important throughout the story, even after it’s been broken – Bellatrix feels that she has to make up for Andromeda, which is a beautiful and pitiful touch.

“Both of them didn’t want the traditional pureblood marriage, though Andromeda went about it in a more extreme way.” Instead of “both of them didn’t want,” this should be “neither of them wanted” – I’m not quite sure of the technical reason why, but it’s something to do with the negatives.

All in all, you do a great job of making Bellatrix a real, sympathetic, and pitiable character, without attempting to negate any of the terrible things she has done. You stay faithful to canon, all her failures, and yet you’ve made her real – great job!

Author's Response: Thanks! I\'m glad you liked it. I\'ve always figured that Bella did care a lot about her family. The scene in Spinner\'s End really showed me a more caring side. I\'ll fix the typos and such.

Virtú by Marzenie

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: "But he has been nothing but frozen for at least two decades, frozen into this being of truths and lies and an ultimate end. And this is simply a spell, simply mercy sacrificed, simply self forgotten for the others who will not understand and never forget, but none of that matters, he admonishes; he repeats, none of it."

(A glimpse into the mind of Snape; set during Half-Blood Prince.)
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 1: 1

I love what you’ve done with this; totally apart from the content, the form and language are beautiful. The beginning is lovely, with the repetition of what he is used to, followed by the one thing which is new in his life. In fact, the entire thing is lovely. “The lie is that he doesn’t care, that none of it matters; all of this is simply a means to that ultimate end, and he can endure anything, everything, all of it.” He has built up such an elaborate wall, and you describe it beautifully. I don’t even know where to begin telling you what you’ve done well; I feel like I should just quote your own words back at you and let them speak for themselves. Really good writing doesn’t need to be analyzed; it’s beautiful, and that’s all I need to say about it.

Just a few nitpicks that disrupted the flow of the writing:

”…used to carrying things through he swore he never would.” At first glance, I thought that ‘through’ was a typo for ‘though,’ but after rereading it a few times I realized that you probably did mean through. Nevertheless, it doesn’t quite make sense to me; if you mean carrying things through in the sense of doing them, it would be clearer if you just said “used to doing things he swore…” because otherwise I find myself getting lost in the clause.

“But grief is new, different; it stands out from the truths and lies that converge one upon the other, forming themselves into an almost tangible mass of the rather indefinable thing that is his life.” ‘Forming’ here appears at first to describe the subject, which is ‘it,’ his grief. Again, upon a closer look your meaning is obvious, but it forces the reader to stop and unentangle the sentence, disrupting the otherwise beautiful flow of your words. Taking out the comma and replacing ‘forming’ with ‘and form’ might be a possible way of clarifying this.

The repetition in this is beautiful; it is so easy to overdo repetition, but you’ve found a perfect balance. “he vowed to himself, all those years ago, that the ultimate good would take precedence over all: it’s the one vow he hasn’t broken, the one vow he’ll never break: this has become his routine.” How do you manage to include so many sentences that make me shiver? “Grief is new, and it refuses to be buried or drowned or stuffed into routine.” Here’s another, and I find myself once again degenerating into listing my favorite quotes, so I’ll stop rambling…lovely, lovely story, and I hope to read more of your writing.

Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much. I really don\'t know what else to say, other than that I really appreciated your comment. And I really appreciated the concrit as well -- it can be so easy to forget that not everyone is inside my mind and knows exactly what I want to say. So thank you for that... and everything.

In Different Constellations by crazy_purple_hp_freak

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: At the most difficult time of his life, Sirius Black reflects on what life used to be like (brothers, both alike), and how things changed to what life is like now - what it is like to be alone.

Written by crazy_purple_hp_freak of Slytherin for Just_the_contrary's Arithmancy class Final Assignment.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 1: In Different Constellations

I don’t usually read poetry in fanfiction – the line between beautiful and sappy is dangerously thin – but I clicked on this before I realized it was a poem, read the first few lines just to see and then kept going. I am definitely impressed, and may have to brave the poetry section more often. You obviously have a very good sense of the sound of words; you do some very nice things with rhythm and alliteration in here.

One of the marks of a good poem is that it puts words together in combinations that make you think about things differently. “Hushed stillness…is interrupted by a wail…” You describe stillness, generally a quality used to describe motion or lack thereof, in terms of sound, and the image evoked is surprisingly powerful. Later on, you refer to “laughter days” – it’s such a short line, but it’s so evocative; laughter isn’t typically an adjective, but using it as one comes as a surprise and makes the reader actually think about it, instead of passing quickly over the words as we might have if you had phrased it in a more standard way. Great job!

I love the theme of interruption you have going: he shakes his fists at life’s interruption, and then later, “thoughts interrupting,” and even later “thoughts interrupted.” Not all repetition works, but this definitely does. Beautiful!

A few lines didn’t seem to fit in with the flow of the rest: (all very personal opinion, of course)

tinged with regret/ that things had to be this way. “Things had to be this way” sounds rather informal, almost slangy, when compared to the rest of the poem; I hate to tell you to try to be ‘poetical,’ but something a little less colloquial might fit better here. Likewise, “Wind whips away nature’s goodness until it’s gone,” the contraction (“it’s”) seems informal; I know you don’t want to sound too formal, or stiff, but I think that “it is” or even “it has” would be better in the circumstances. Aside from that, I love the alliteration in that line – there’s something special about alliteration of w words, for some reason.

He breathes in sorrow-mingled hope, wipes away tears, but still, tearing apart inside. I love the “sorrow-mingled hope” part; my one critique hear is that the idea of “tearing apart inside” is rather cliché – you’ve done a good job in the rest of the poem of using words unconventionally, which makes us pay attention to them. The sudden jump into a cliché also makes us pay attention, but not in such a good way – unfortunately, since that is a great phrase – it’s been rather over used. Can you find a way to express his emotions that is less evocative of nineteenth century romance novels, and more in keeping with the rest of the poem?

Perhaps my favorite line in the entire thing: “faces alike with tears” . The idea that everyone is alike in their grief – it’s beautiful, and you manage to express it in such a short, pithy phrase. I think the poem gets stronger as it goes along – the end repetition is beautiful (I seem to be using that word a lot in this review). In fact, the entire poem is quite lovely, and I will definitely be paying more attention to the poetry section from now on. Great job!

Author's Response: Wow! First of all, thank you so much for the fantastic review!! *grins and hugs* As this was an assignment and I’d only heard of what sestinas were the week before, I really wasn’t sure how it would turn out! I found the line endings really hard to manipulate – it’s so difficult to make the lines end with particular words! “interrupted” was probably one of the hardest, and I wasn’t sure if it had worked in places, but I’m glad you liked it! Gaah! I know what you mean about the “things had to be this way”; it’s my least favourite line of the poem and I really wanted to change it but couldn’t think of anything better. *hides* I agree that it kind of sticks out a bit as too colloquial…I don’t know whether I should change it at some point if I ever think of anything better… *squee* The line about wind was one of my favourites because of the alliteration, I thought it sounded kind of ‘sharp’, and a bit like wind really. The only reason I wrote “it’s” instead of “it is” or “it has gone” in that line, was because I thought that an extra syllable made the line drag on a bit. The same with “no ceasefire ‘til the backwards door forever closes…” I have a habit of letting lines run away and get too long! I hadn’t noticed the cliché until now, but it does seem kind of obvious…hmm. It’s another one of those cases where I need to keep the motif of ‘tear’ as the last word, to make the sestina structure still apply. Again, I might change it if I think of something! Thanks! I’m glad you liked this poem. You should definitely check out some of the (better) poems on the site! *cough* Noldo and The Half Blood Prince *cough* :D I wasn’t into poetry that much until recently, and now suddenly I’m obsessed! No idea where that came from… Once again, thank you so much for the lovely review! ~Suzie

Author's Response: Damn. Um...where did all the spaces go??

Anticlimax by Noldo

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Padma Patil. India, England, mispronunciation, wartime, solitude, et cetera.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 02/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: Anticlimax

Guh. Noldo. I have no words for how much I fangirl you. Except for…guh. (Although I suspect I am going to come up with quite a few words over the course of this review, because I am wordy and verbose and like to write, really everything I want to say is right there at the top.)

I recently tried to write a story very much along the lines of this – not the storyline, but the structure and the tone, from the childlike sensibility to the way it’s divided into unrelated-yet-related parts. And now I just feel silly, because yours. is. so. good. You have totally captured the childlike feeling in every part of the story; the way she spends time on the little things that are to her so very important, the rambling tone of narrative, the way things that don’t seem connected connect.

Padma wanders around the garden and looks at the flowers and the dust and the black-beetles and says goodbye to each one as though it is an old friend, which it is. This, for me, is the quintessence of capturing the childlike tone; you really enter into her world, where these things are crucial, and even the way the words flow is beautiful. All the diversions, as Padma describes tiny details around her, are wonderfully done. (Have I mentioned that I fangirl you?)

The ongoing comparison between Padma and Parvati is realistic and sad and so very very familiar to anyone with a beautiful and much-loved sister. And I love the overall structure – going to England and leaving England, two goodbyes. I think my only critique (and it might not really be a critique, because it didn’t bother me at all while reading the story, but only occurred to me when I was thinking about it after) was that these two things never really tie together. Not that they necessarily have to tie together in a neat symbolic way, but for such a short story it seems to be about two very different things: the journey back and forth, and the way Padma compares herself to her sister. Though I didn’t feel awkward with the two while reading the story, upon reflecting it would draw the story together if they somehow connected, if we could see why the story is about both issues – why it’s one short story, and not two.

It is the first time that she has ever seen her mother cry. Another of my favorite techniques – after paragraphs of detail and description and long-windy sentences, you throw in something so short and pithy that it just hits me right where it counts. Power of understatement – manifested right here.

I am in love with the last sentence: (Though not, of course, with a bang; with an argument and a broken plate and four tickets towards comparative peace; and she can't really explain why she feels this way, because all she knows is that she does.) You are the master of combining things that oughtn’t to combine and making it work – the tickets and the broken plate somehow come to symbolize everything that it means for her to leave. Someday I’d like to learn how to do that. My one problem with this sentence – and I hate to find fault with a sentence I love so much – is the semicolons. The two semicolons automatically put my brain into list format, and I read the second phrase (“with an argument and a broken plate…”) as a continuation of the first, rather than as a negation. I’m not sure if this is really a grammatical thing or if it’s specific to my brain – just something to think about.

I have not by any means listed all my favorite things about this story, but I’m afraid of taking up too much space on your review page to say very little other than: I fangirl you muchly.

(Can I please borrow your brain?)

Just Penny by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Penelope Clearwater has a schoolgirl crush on Charlie Weasley, but he doesn't even notice. Will his little brother be able to make her forget him, or will she continue to hold a flame for the dragon keeper?
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 01/29/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Wow. Being a procrastinatory sort of person, I’m always really happy when I come across a great story while trying to get my reviews done at the last minute, because reviewing a great story really is a lot of fun. And this one definitely counts. You got right into the characters’ heads, and really made me care for Penelope, which I wasn’t expecting. Who hasn’t had a terrible crush on an unattainable person some point? You captured it perfectly.

And she let him drag her away from Charlie — who was too busy for her, anyway. Aww! I love that you manage to get her feelings across without being too explicit about them. Instead of spending time trying to describe her emotions, you show how she feels. The part where she thinks about all the compliments she could give him about his flying was wonderful too…poor Penny!

I also really love what you did with Charlie, who, as you know, is one of my favorite characters. He’s so lively and full of life in this story – you include little details, like the way he bounds around after getting accepted, or the way his cloak billows – I can imagine him perfectly, always in some sort of excited motion.

“Thanks, Penny,” Charlie said, his eyes on his notes. “You’re always so sweet to me.” Again with the subtle character hints! Charlie is looking at his notes, not at her, and she obviously notices this – without going on for a paragraph about how she likes Charlie and he doesn’t notice her, you manage to convey the same feeling in a single sentence of dialogue. Wonderful example of showing, rather than telling.

It came as a twist for me that Charlie actually reciprocated Penelope’s feelings – I wasn’t expecting it and I really, really liked it. I think that Penelope (I like it that you call her Penny – a much better name, IMO!) is often looked down upon merely because she dated Percy, while in reality we know almost nothing about her. I love that they got together at the end, which I totally wasn’t expecting from your summary.

The more I think about this story, the more I like it. I have a thing for brothers/friends who fall for the same girl, and you did it particularly nicely – this story is going onto my favorites list! Any chance we’ll get more? >.>

Author's Response: gasp yay nan reviewed me and gasp oh no i never managed to finish my review for her. I\'m so glad you liked it! You know, this story sort of asks for a sequel. Maybe sometime I\'ll have motivation to think about it....

So She Dances by Starmaiden

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: After the Yule Ball, Neville goes back to the Great Hall to retrieve his coat. Instead, he finds Ginny Weasley, dancing with no partner but her sadness.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 02/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: So She Dances

I really, really like what you’ve done with the tone of this story – the dreamy, floaty quality it has, almost like it might not have really happened. That’s a really hard tone to capture, and I’m still going back and analyzing and trying to figure out how exactly you did it.

Once, she raised her arms to the height of a fourteen-year-old boy’s shoulders, but dropped them a moment later. You caught something in this phrase that was just…guh. Without trying to describe complex emotions, you managed to convey them perfectly, without all the awkwardness of wordy description. Textbook example of showing rather than telling!

Neville thought of her, dancing at the Ball. She had smiled through the Ball, but she must have been faking it. The “faking it,” especially after the grace of the preceeding paragraph, feels rather clunky here – what about “pretending” instead? Likewise with the following sentence: Now, he watched her dance alone until the moon had risen to a less favourable angle. Some of your narrative, especially as you describe Ginny, is so floating and ethereal that the occasionally clunky line sticks out like a sore thumb. The “less favourable angle” stuck out for me, breaking up the flow; it just felt rigid and technical, compared to the floatiness coming before it.

She stared longingly out of it, but resumed her lonely waltz for the next song, back and forth, from the window to the shadows, from dark gloom to pale light. Another lovely sentence; I love the imagery of the light! It does seem a bit comma heavy, though – perhaps the one after ‘song’ could be changed to a semi-colon or a dash, or the one after ‘forth’ could be removed entirely. Actually, my only broad suggestion for the story is that you pay attention to the commas and try and limit their use. Watch especially for the overuse of the sentence structure of short phrases linked by commas ( Clearly, there was nothing that Neville could say, except for one thing, which might be entirely wrong, but was the only thing he could think of and Neville looked at her, at her sad brown eyes, at the tearstains on her young face and She was a wonderful girl, and the time would probably never be right to ask her out, but he could be there for her.). I find myself using and using and overusing these; they’re perfectly legitimate structures when used in moderation, but in combination tend to give a short, choppy feeling to your narrative. I sympathize, though – commas really are lovely things.

The ending…the imagery of the unreachable stars…lovely and poignant. He may have gotten the dance with Ginny, but she is still unreachable – something he can only look at and admire, but not really get close to. Really, really lovely story here – I think it’s my favorite thing of yours that I’ve read. Congratulations!

Author's Response: Wow!! Thank you so much! Hm, I\'ve got a really good atmosphere with short ugly lines sprinkled in...I will definitely be editing this in the near future.

I impressed someone by creating an atmosphere that they can\'t decode! Awkward phrasing there, but I\'m delighted -- I see that in other stories and so it really makes me happy to see that about mine.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to look at this so thoroughly!

Fred Gets the Girl by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: The Setting: Remus and Tonks' Wedding
The Dilemma: Mum will go ballistic if Fred and George remain single, so they've got to get dates for the occasion.
The Outcome: Fred gets very surprised by his brother -- and his date.
The Shocker: The author doesn't end the summary with a leading question. Or does she...?
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 02/26/07 Title: Chapter 1: In which Fred becomes twitterpated.

*smiles happily* What a nice, cosy story to run across when working on last minute SPEW reviews! I was feeling tired and depressed and not-happy about reading fic (which is a sad state of affairs) and this cheered me right up.

To start out with, the dialogue is right on. Everyone felt very much in character, even the ones who only had one-line appearances (aka Ron). And the interaction between Fred and George (and Fred and Angelina) is well done, and really fun to read. I love Fred’s shock at not having realized what was going on with George, and his halting attempts to get close to Angelina. (The line where he “casually” puts his arm around the back of Angelina’s chair was so realistic that I had to stop for a moment and think of events in my own life. Um.)

The one suggestion I would make is to pay attention to your transitions. Transitions are something I find extremely difficult, because you want to find the balance between the conveyance of necessary information and the setting of the scene, and yet you don’t want it to be too noticeable. A good transition is one that you don’t really pay attention to. Except, of course, in the cases where it’s not, but I think in general we try and avoid calling attention to transitions.

A very good transition: “The girls did know where to meet us, didn’t they?” Fred said to George once they’d been relieved of their burden. This builds on information previously given to effortlessly take Fred and George from one scene to another, without drawing any emphasis to the fact. As readers, while we know that we’re in a new setting, we don’t feel forced; the movement between scenes is natural and calls no attention to itself.

With that, the party dispersed. The Weasleys (including of course Harry and Hermione) decided to stay up for just one more drink. This transition is slightly more forced. It’s far from being a bad transition – none of your transitions are bad – but it’s clunkier than it might be. We’re obviously being fed information necessary to the next scene. Instead, you might try and work the information in ahead of time, or just try and make the transition sound more like the rest of the narrative. “As the party began to disperse, the Weasleys joined Remus and Tonks for a final drink.” Or something of the sort. Watch out for signals such as “with that” and “then” – not that these are bad, and can’t be used very well, but just because they sometimes signal clunky transitions. The more I look back over my own stories, the more I’m aware of these transitions – they’re necessary, I think, in the actual process of writing, and are something that needs to be edited out, much like an overabundance of commas.

Anyway. That really was a very long note for a very short point.

And, although I realize this story is really about Fred, I loved the little snippets of Remus/Tonks. I think my favorite moment in the entire story is when the knife slips (and of course Remus was holding onto her hand, not onto the knife) and the chocolate comes out, and all Tonks can do is hold onto Remus and laugh uncontrollably. So Tonks! Lovely!

Lovely story, and thank you very much for cheering me up!

Black Love by tc015

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: For the February One-Shot Challenge by tc015 of Gryffindor.

Ted Tonks thought that all was going well with his girlfriend, until a very eventful summer.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 11/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I’m on a Ted/Andromeda kick – I don’t know when I started craving them, but it’s been going on for a while now, so I was very glad to stumble across this when looking for something to review.

I like your characterization of Ted. He’s loving (obviously) and persistent (when Andromeda rebuffed his friendship) and forgiving (for being friends with her after such a rebuff). More than that, he’s obviously somewhat insecure about himself, not sure that he’s worthy of going out with Andromeda. Or maybe she had just decided to break things off with him. She might have wanted to be with someone better than him — someone who was a pureblood. Maybe she thought he was stupid for going out with her, for risking his life just to be in her presence. Aw, poor Ted. Insecure, but brave. Also, imaginative – he lists out the things that might be wrong with Andromeda to keep her from writing, the things Bellatrix might do to him – a nice, subtle bit of characterization, showing rather than telling this trait to us. Andromeda blushed. “I love you too, Ted Tonks. You are the most persistent, loving, and caring person I will ever have the privilege to meet.” By the time Andromeda says this at the end, we already know it – it’s not hard to figure out why she loves him. Good job with showing, rather than telling, the characterization.

We see a lot less of Andromeda than we do of Ted, but I like her characterization too. Rather than having her stay with her family because she’s too scared to do anything else, she’s staying because of her sisters – she loves her sisters, and doesn’t want to leave them (as ignoring her family’s marriage plans would certainly cause her to do).

One typo: “Yes!” screamed Andromeda. “I love them. They are best friends. And then there’s Sirius.” I think it should read: “they are my best friends.”

Other than the typo, I don’t have any grammatical nitpicks for you – you and your beta were paying attention! It was a clean, easy read – I didn’t find myself confused by your diction or syntax anywhere in the story. Congrats on that! I do have one general suggestion. You tend to write with the same sentence structure over and over, starting each sentence with the subject followed by a verb. “Ted Tonks was…” “He had not heard…” “He didn’t know…” “He really hoped…” “He loved…” “She mentioned…” “Ted knew…” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this structure – if you’re going to be using only one, this is a good one to use, because it’s simple and uncomplicated and gets the point across. However, when you use the same sentence structure over and over, it tends to have a lulling effect on the reader. They know what to expect, so they don’t have to pay as close attention to what you’re saying. Sometimes it makes the writing start sounding like a list rather than a narrative. Try switching up your sentences sometimes. For instance, instead of, “He nodded and patted her hand,” write, “Nodding, he patted her hand.” Another thing you can try is varying your sentence lengths – try not to have entire paragraphs made up of sentences of the same structure and same length. Obviously, this isn’t a rule set in stone – there will be times when nothing else works, or you may even want to do it intentionally. In general, though, things will flow better if you’re varying your sentence structure and sentence length.

One of the reasons I like Ted/Andromeda stories so much is because they lend themselves to themes of loyalty and sacrifice. You did a great job bringing out both here. Andromeda has to choose whether to be loyal to her family or loyal to Ted, and also whether she’s going to sacrifice her relationship with her sisters or sacrifice her relationship with Ted (and also her own happiness). Ted’s loyalty to Andromeda is unwavering, but even he has a choice to make – being with Andromeda will require sacrifice on his part, since it will clearly put him into danger. Great job navigating through that – all in all, a very well done story, and a fun read.

Author's Response: Thank you, Nan! I\'m glad that you liked Ted\'s characterization; I\'m always worried he\'s a bit Gary-Stu. I\'ll definitely try to work on sentence structure. Thanks again! ~ Teresa

At Fault by Vindictus Viridian

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Harry and Ginny run into a critical problem one evening as she works at her newest project: fair representation for Azkaban prisoners.

A Post-Hogwarts spinoff to A Different Sort Of Peace.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 03/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: -------

What really makes this entire story for me is the progression of the argument: how it changes, how it escalates, how real it is. It starts out about a single issue, and ends up being about their entire lives. This is the way real people fight – they don’t start out with an issue and work it through. Instead, they go where the argument takes them, and all sorts of irrelevant things get pulled in, and sometimes by the time they get to the end the issue that started it has been totally forgotten. You do a great job of showing that progression, how this argument isn’t really about Snape – instead it’s about Harry and Ginny.

Ginny is right, pointing out this fact about Harry. As many times as he’s saved the world, Harry has a tendency to be selfish in that he’s willing to put anyone and anything at risk in order to save the people he cares about, to pursue the people who have done him wrong. I love that Ginny calls him on this, and his apparent inability to see it.

They’d parted before, when he was saving the world, or while she was studying law, or while he was at work because professors didn’t have girlfriends, or all those other silly reasons for their breakups.

This time, Harry was pretty sure it was for good. And despite everything she had said, he couldn’t help but think it was because of Snape of all people.
I love the ending. Absolutely love it. Especially that looking back, all their past fights seem suddenly inconsequential, no matter how crucial they must have seemed at the time. And the last sentence is perfect – Harry doesn’t understand how the argument possibly became more than it started out as, because he can’t see that the real heart of the issue wasn’t Snape but himself.

Butterbeer and Beaches by joybelle423

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: It's been two years since Ginny and Harry broke up, and Ginny is now playing Quidditch for the Wimborne Wasps. When her teammate Dan Bristow invites her out for a Butterbeer, Ginny can't help but say yes, even though she considers dating a waste of time. Can Dan change her mind?
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 04/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: Butterbeer and Beaches

*grins* There, see? I wasn’t having that good of a day, and now I’m all cheered up. What a sweet story! It’s funny, because I usually don’t like sweet stories – not a big fan of fluff and stuff – but this really made me smile. It was well written, and just very… cozy, somehow. Exactly what it was supposed to be; not a moment in the middle of a war, not extremely emotional, but a sweet interlude in which Ginny spends time with a guy she likes. It shouldn’t be interesting, but it is – you have a smooth and unassuming style that’s a lot of fun to read.

I don’t have any stylistic criticism, which is rather unusual for me; no repetitive sentence structures or uneasy lines of dialogue that leapt out. My only concerns for the story were a few nitpicks about ideas. First of all, the story opens with Ginny toweling her hair dry. Not that people in the Wizarding world never use towels, but especially since it’s the first paragraph of the story, it might be nice to start off with something magical. I loved what you did later on, fitting the Apparation and Flooing so easily into the story – it felt perfectly natural, and it was really nice to see it portrayed as an unremarkable part of their lives. You could easily work something like that into the beginning, I think, and while it’s not necessary it would be a nice touch.

So when she exited, she was shocked to see Dan Bristow waiting outside, leaning against the wall.You made it very clear that she doesn’t think Dan is waiting for her – it seems logical to her that he is waiting for someone else; why, then, is she so shocked to see him? Is it just that she wasn’t expecting anyone to be there? You might want to tone it down a little – make her surprised, rather than shocked, since it’s not coming off a long inner dialogue in which she convinces herself that he’s not interested in her.

My only other criticism was with the idea that Ginny has been on the team for a month and not gotten to know anyone yet. I am most certainly not a member of a professional sports team, but I imagine that when you’re spending that much time a day working with people –physically working with them, touching them, communicating with them – you get to know each other pretty quickly in some ways, even if you never sit down and have a conversation about your lives. So…not really important, but I thought I’d bring it up.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this story. I loved the way they introduced themselves, spurting out a random list of facts, and the beach joke was very amusing and endearing. That’s the kind of thing you know is going to come up in their future relationship, a recurring joke, and it’s nice to think about. Also, I like Dan very much; are you possibly going to write anything further on this relationship? I’d like to see how their relationship develops, past mere sweetness, when they have to undergo other difficulties. Great job – I really enjoyed the story!

Nymphadora Tonks Loves Her Mother by Seren

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Her mother gave her her name? The madwoman? The one that, she now hears, cursed at her sister and disowned her? Seven cycles in the life of Nymphadora Tonks.
Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 04/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: Nymphadora Tonks Loves Her Mother

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to a lot of people tell me about all their favorite stories that you wrote, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone mention this one. Despite that, it may very well be my favorite thing you’ve written, and I’m a big Seren fan. I love everything about this story; the content, the way you put it together, the repetition, the circularity… seriously, I could go on for a very long time, but I’m going to try and keep this review manageable.

The repetition in this story is perhaps the most noticeable thing; it draws you in from the beginning, the gradual progression of the relationship between Tonks and her mother. Starting each section with the repeated sentence keeps us focusing on the right things, but besides that, it’s really a beautiful construction, even to the way the words fall together. (Nymphadora Tonks loves her mother – there’s a ring and a rhythm to it that’s absolutely lovely!) And of course we’re waiting for you to bring it full circle, for you to bring it back to the beginning again – and I love that you changed the last section. You reverse it, have the sentence come at the end (where it really needed to go) and the name change comes as a surprise, because I would have expected her to keep her name, if only for the sake of the repetition in the story. The fact that her name is different is symbolic of all the ways she’s had to change before she can get back to that place; in order to come back to loving her mother, she had to go through what her mother went through. I love the way you paralleled the two of them, the way – both marrying an outcast, both undergoing that kind of censure.

I could go on for ages about the three daughters, about the way you bring the story full circle, but I think you must know how well done that is, so I’ll focus instead on a few smaller things. Andromeda’s characterization. I love that you made her a Slytherin, and I love Tonks’ reaction to that (Mum was a snake?). Also, this line: laughing when daddy tells Nymphadora about a very odd lady named Rapunzel who spent a lot of time being bored in an ivory tower, before a prince in shining armour came to rescue her. Wonderful characterization. I love what you’ve done with Andromeda as much as I love what you’ve done with Tonks, which is a lot, but perhaps should go without saying because they’re so tied up together in this fic.

Now she had a klutz for a daughter, and a quiet, humble husband who worshiped the ground she walked on, but argued with more often than not. I don’t like to nitpick stories written a very long time ago, because from my own experience I don’t usually care enough to go back and go over things I’ve moved past, but this story is so wonderful that I had to point out the one line that pulled me out of the flow. “Argued with” is confusing, because it’s unclear at first glance whether the subject is Andromeda or Ted. On second glance it’s easy to understand, but it’s distracting from the flow of the story to have to stop and think about it.

Although she still thinks Nymphadora is a stupid, stupid name. This line is a stroke of genius, coming as it does right after such a serious, emotional moment. Without it the section would have been great – touching and sweet and sad and not at all sappy – but with it, it becomes real. It makes Tonks a real person. Also, it’s really funny.

I know you’ve moved on to other fandoms and all, but you know that if you ever decide to start writing HP again, there are a lot of people who would be made extremely happy. ;)

The Price of Perfection by HermioneDancr

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: "Everything has a price, Miss Granger. Do not fool yourself."
Hermione has been trying all year to get even an E on her Defense Against the Dark Arts essays. During a chance meeting with Professor Snape late one night, Hermione discovers that even making good marks is not as clear-cut as it seems. Set during HBP.

Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 06/24/07 Title: Chapter 2: In Search Of A Puzzle

This is Nan, reporting in for reviewing duty! *salutes* You’d think that after three hours I wouldn’t have anything left to say, and yet, somehow I always do. You may have already heard bits of it, but since when has that stopped me?

There are two things I really love about this chapter: the way the writing mimics and sets out the logicality of Hermione’s arguments, and the way you (and she) resolutely pursue the overall theme. For the first, the question and answer style works perfectly. It took me a little while to get into, to be honest, because that’s really not how my mind works – I tend to ramble away from the questions, and can’t keep things straight unless they’re on paper. I love how this chapter serves as an illustration of Hermione’s mind, the way she sets out the questions and then the answer. And I love that it is to some extent this very process which is in question; Hermione believes that all questions ought to be answered, but Snape forces her to look at the price. It didn’t occur to me before, but it’s slightly ironic that Hermione’s response to the warning that knowledge comes with a price is to run out and gather as much knowledge as possible.

If the theme of the first chapter is that knowledge comes with a price, the theme of the second is that before you find the answer, you have to find the question. I love Hermione’s methodical search for the puzzle. Again, I love how this is mirrored in the question and answer format of her thoughts, and I love that the chapter ends with the discovery – but not the solution.

Perhaps my only critique of the chapter is one you’ve already heard, and while I know you’re not going to change it, I’m going to reiterate it as something to think about in future chapters. This chapter is, as you said, a transition, a connecting chapter; it’s admittedly a bit heavy on the philosophy and light on action – something which is not necessarily a bad thing. Nevertheless, I love your dialogue – you have the great ability of being able to catch some of JKR’s quirkiness, which makes it a lot of fun to read – and I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of it, perhaps in the middle as a transition between parts. As I’ve been reading fanfiction, I’ve come to dislike section dividers (which pepper the early chapters of my own story). Though sometimes they are used extremely stylistically, very often they’re merely used instead of transitions, and sometimes those transitions can really push a story forward. I completely understand not wanting to write the breakfast scene in the Great Hall, but the more I think about it, the more I want some sort of transition, a place for some movement and dialogue.

But despite that, this was an interesting and thought-provoking read, and I’m looking forward to the next one (as you very well know).

Author's Response: You know, rereading this is almost enough to get me out of my post-DH \"I don\'t want to work on PoP anymore because now it\'s all AU\" funk. I do tend to tie chapters together with themes. I wish I was slightly more subtle with them, but they are what they are. You use them too, you realize, just more subtly.

I know you wanted more dialogue in that transition, and I agree with you that the chapter would be better for it. But... I was too lazy and impatient. *hangs head* Thanks for the review!

Reviewer: Ennalee Signed
Date: 04/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: The First Duty of a Teacher

Well, you already know most of my thoughts on the story, so this is mostly going to be me mentioning my favorite parts. You don’t mind, do you?

Twenty minutes later Hermione had removed an apostrophe, changed one comma to a semi-colon, and finished going over her translation. Her nose was most decidedly running.

This line made me smile – it’s Hermione personified; she goes over the entire translation and only ends up changing the punctuation around. Also, I love the way the references to her health are so abrupt and brusque – she is so determined to compartmentalize, and her annoyance with her symptoms comes out perfectly.

…down to the sixth floor by way of an unremarkable staircase that was never there on Tuesdays.

I know I already mentioned this to you, but I love the way you include tiny details like this that make the magic world come alive. You throw them out casually, rather than drawing attention to them, and it just makes the story that much better.

“Tell me, Miss Granger, has it ever occurred to you or your friends that wandering the castle at night might be unsafe? Not to mention detrimental to your health?”

There wasn’t really anything she could say to that. Hermione blew her nose.

This just occurred to me now, but Snape’s question doesn’t strike me as particularly unanswerable. I’m surprised by Hermione’s failure to respond, excuse her behavior, because she does believe that her midnight wanderings are justifiable (she only breaks rules when she has a justifiable reason) and there are all sorts of rationalizations she might use to defend herself. On the other hand, she’s sick, and might not be as secure in her justification of this particular instance, and might just not feel like arguing. Just thought I’d point that out, though.

I love your Snape dialogue. I find Snape a very difficult voice to write (to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever written him, but I have no idea where I’d even start). He’s so brusque and superior and there’s always something underneath his words. He never, ever says everything he thinks – whatever his says, there are always layers and layers underneath it. I think Hermione is like him in this sense – she’s not one to blurt out what’s on the tip of her tongue – and this is what makes them such an interesting pair, because there’s always a deeper conversation going on underneath what they actually say. You did a really good job in capturing this – I really, really like their conversation. Can’t wait to see chapter two!

Author's Response: Nan! *pounces*

As to why Hermione doesn\'t answer: there are many possible ways she could defend herself, but by sixth year she knows Snape well enough to know that none of them are likely to help her. I guess I see her ability to (occasionally) keep her mouth shut as part of her growing up.

Writing Snape is fun for me because it gives me an outlet for snarkiness that I generally shut off. I think you lack that kind of vicious nastiness, my dear.

As to chapter 2, you\'ll be seeing it before anyone else does, as you well know ;-)