Arabella is a normal girl, from a normal wizarding family. A worry is constantly sitting on her stomach, though, and soon that worry has to be confirmed.
*Profanity minor, and one incident only*
I really like this story. You have a wonderful way of creating very vivid descriptions which really bring your story to life.
Some specific comments:
‘Magic ...’ I breathe, enthralled by the moment.
This is a brilliant introduction, it really sets up the story and the relationship between the two girls. I was a bit confused as the story went on about whether or not Fiona knew (or suspected) about Arabella being a squib. From the “humouring” comment, it feels to me like she does, but then later on, I wasn’t sure.
Tears splash the page as I feel the injustice. The ink smudges in places, but I don’t care. This’ll just be a pinprick to Fiona’s perfect world. My world is crumbling before my eyes though – it’ll never be the same. I hope my tears serve as a reminder to my sister that it isn’t she who has to go through this. It’s me.
This is a wonderful, emotional paragraph.
I put on my jeans, while she goes off to buy it.
This really through me. The way the character’s talk feel quite old-fashioned, and though I’m not sure how old Mrs Figg is, I think jeans are far too modern. It kinda of pulled me out of the story, because I had to reevaluate the when the story was set.
‘I’m Arabella Lynch – Bella,’ I offer.
We walk into the building together. Never, when I was thinking about starting at St. Mary’s, did I think I’d make a friend – I hadn’t even thought about it. I have a feeling though, that Olive will remain my friend for a long time. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter so much that I’m a Squib.
…and I immediately thought ‘how sweet, she changed her name to her girlfriend’s!’ Ahem. Reading the other reviews, I see that is not the case. :D
I do wonder if her change of heart about being a Squib is a bit sudden – I would have like to have maybe had a further scene about Arabella’s time at her new school, (perhaps at the end of the year when she is coming home) when we learn that she is feeling less worried about being a Squib. Then again, I would like more of this story altogether, so there you go. ;) It's a really interesting idea that you have turned into a great story. Thanks for writing it! :)
Author's Response: Psi, hmm, I imagined Fiona seeing Bella as a child who didn't really know anything about magic and doted on her as a result... if that makes any sense :/ Thanks for your review :) xx
Hi Annmarie! :)
I really like the set up for this story. I think Severus is definitely the kind of person who would make a last ditch attempt to mend his relationship with Lily and then completely ruin it.
The opening is good, though is sets a very light-hearted tone, which I not entirely sure fits the rest of the fic. I really like the description of Snape as he is waiting to give Lily the present. Also, I completely believe that Snape would offer to get rid of Lily’s bad memories of him! I think he would be someone, particularly when he is younger, than would prefer to erase certain parts of his life. I found it a bit strange that Lily was asking Snape if he would let her keep her memories – I think Lily would be more someone who put her foot down and told him she wasn’t interested in getting rid of her memories, so he’ll have to put up with that.
At times Lily comes off as a little immature and childish, given that she is eighteen years old and about to leave school. In particular, calling Snape’s gift ‘puke,’ seems childish, and her being worried about being alone with a boy. That sort of attitude doesn’t seem to fit the Lily we see in the books – in the pensive scene she seems mature and grown up, perhaps overly so.
In the books Snape’s childhood social interactions often seem tainted with humiliation and embarrassment – the first time he meets Lily, his worst memory, and so on. I don’t think you need to put that into your story, but looking back, I find it’s a little odd that I don’t get a sense of Snape being embarrassed or humiliated by his conversation with Lily. He seems to be a person who feels those sorts of emotions very strongly, and I think it would make the story stronger we felt his embarrassment. It would also add something extra to his lashing out at the end if he is reacting to feeling embarrassed or humiliated about the situation.
In the second part, I think Snape’s dad, and his relationship with his parents needs more work. Tobias and Severus both talk about how Tobias is neglectful, sleeping around, and so on, but I think you need to show it a little more. Perhaps Snape could find his father lying around drunk while his mother is sick, or he could hear rumours from someone else about what his father has been up to?
I really like the scene between Snape and Lily in the library. I could really feel the awkwardness from both of them. I liked Lily being reluctant to tell Snape, and then telling Snape not to stare!
There are a few details that stand out. Snape’s mother having tuberculosis seems quite off for the time, as mass vaccinations against it had been around for a decade or two. Also, when Snape goes to the library he mentions looking things up on a computer, which wouldn’t have been around in the 70s.
I did find the use of capitals to add emphasis is kind of off putting to read, particularly in the first part. Personally, I’d use bold or italic tags, and maybe just pick one or two words out of a sentence to emphasise. The writing itself gets across the building anger as the character speaks, so I don’t think you need to put it in capitals.
Overall I think your characterisation of Snape is really good, but I think Lily needs a little more work. I like the story so far and I am looking forward to reading more.
Nominated for a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award in Best Dark/Angsty, Best Canon Romance, and Best Post Hogwarts.
Such a lovely fic. Very emotional without being overdone at all. Your writing is always fantastic: brilliant imagery and descriptions.
I like the different sections, and the different relationships George goes through as he works through his grief. My only small (tiny, miniscule!) nitpick is that the section with the muggle girl felt a little bit ... unbalanced? with the others, because it was so short.
As others have said, your Luna is perfect and amazing and just right. Have you written any Luna-centric fic? *goes to look*
Thank you for such a great fic! :)
I love this fic. Your writing is really beautiful with some lovely phrases, and you've created an intriguing plot as well. I haven't read many fics that play so creatively with memory charms and now I am all THINKY about them. Your backround for Theo was fascinating and well thought out as well. I also completely adore the title of the Niffler book - it's the perfect combination of childish, and yet really quite creepy that fits in well to the HP world. Thank you!
Hmm, what a fascinating story. It is clear you have put a lot of thought and research into this, although I am not familiar enough with Chinese culture and history to tease apart what it real and what has been added to create the magical element of the story. This echoes some of my favourite parts of JKR's writing - magic being a part of the ordinary world we are familliar will.
You've managed to keep a nice balance between developing the characters and setting the scene and details of this world. While on occasion I felt the balance tipped a little over into a bit of an info dump, especially towards the begining, overall it works really well. The main character is interesting in his own right, and his relationship with his parents adds a nice bit of tension to the scene.
A few times there were words missed, I think, which threw me as I was reading. For example: " a small cadre of house elves to he would be treated" I think there should be something between 'to' and 'he." Also, this sentence 'Even his clothing was plain as he had ever worn in his life.' feels a little repetative as he has already spent a paragraph contemplating his clothings.
A couple of small plot points kind of skipped past me - I don't know if I'm just being daft or if they need to be made clearer. You mention that his next oldest sibling is 10 years older than him, and then he wonders how his brothers and sisters dress at school as if they are still there. Also, I wasn't sure about the family set up - from the age gap and the different symbols on the wand boxes it seems like he has a different mother from his siblings? But I wasn't sure from the story itself.
I love this whole set up though, it's very original. (The wandlore here in particular is intriguing) and it would really serve as an excellent starting point for a longer story. (hint hint!) Even if there wasn't a long story to come out of this, I would love to read maybe a one shot or two set during Zai-feng's school years? You've created a really rich universe in a relatively short space and I would love to get another glimpse at it!
Hi! I like your choice of suject - I think you've translated the story into poetry and it definitely works well. I really like the altering stanza lengths, it serves to emphasise the repeating pattern of the brothers's stories.
You have rearranged sentences away from how they would normally be written, like 'never this man could Death disarm' but I think because the poem feels like an old fairytale it works well, and actually adds to the feeling of the poem as a retelling of an old legend.
I like the change to the final repeated stanza, however I did wish there was a little more to emphasise that the last brother embraced death, unlike his brothers. It's the main point of the story and I think would just make the ending that little bit more final.
I also wonder if a bit of punctuation would help the piece to flow a bit better. Not having any commas at all makes every line break a break in the poem, even though some of them flow into each other. I couple of times I found myself rereading a couple of lines to get the flow back.
I really like it overall though, this really fits the feel of the old story and I think you've used rhyme and rhythm reall effectively.
I think this is a really interesting start. I seems very much like a ordinary crush-on-a-teacher situation (who hasn't been through that embarrasing moment?!) However the reactions of the older generation intrigue me and I wonder exactly what is going to happen! There is of course the complication of the friendships between the adults involved.
A few small things: I find it can be helpful to put in some sort of break before the text of the story itself, just to stop the story notes running into the start of the story - visually I personally just find it neater and easier to read.
I also found it odd that they called the two recent wars the first and second wizarding war. There was at least one war before them and I can't believe they're haven't been other wars. I guess I would put an additonal descriptive word in there, even if it just the First/Second Great Wizarding War, to distingush them. I am interested to see how Lily learning about her parents/relatives actions in the war affect her and her crush. There is the potential for a fair amount of conflict and emotional distress given how fresh and recent the war will be for those who were involved in it.
The characters feel reasonably well fleshed out, particularly Lily obviouly! I think the first person will work well as I can see much of the conflict/plot progression happening around Lily's thoughts and feelings rather than a lot of action. I liked Lily's musing on Neville and his hands ... it worked really well as a kind of 'oops, that went further than I thought!' moment for Lily. ;)
Look forward to seeing more!
Fabulous imagery here. You make her feel so very insubstantial without every refered to her as a ghost. I particuarly like the moths wings and the idea of her as a little clump of dust - a very brief sentence that sums up their relationship and Helena's life even before she died. The combination of her wispiness and the heaviness of heart works really well. Poor Helena. :(
I did find the middle sentence (starting 'she passes unremarked' went on a little bit too long for me - I think I didn't take the time to appreciate the images because of it. I don't know if it would be better to drop a few phrases or split it in half, or perhaps I am just being nitpicky! I also found the last phrase, 'because she has never been otherwise' a tiny bit clunky, maybe in need of a little rewording?
I do love the image of a wistful thought, which is a lovely way to describe ghost in general and the grey lady in particular. I've reread it a few times now and I still find it really lovely and full of emotions and images, given it's length.
I really like this piece. The structure works very well for me and it tugs on my emotions. It flows well and the development of Remus's character and his relationship with Sirius builds up throughout.
My only niggle is that I felt the mention of Tonks felt a little out of place, (but then their relationship alway felt a bit like that that in the books, so it may well just be me!) On one hand I think it would have been good to have intergrated Tonks into more of the story, but on the other hand that would definitely have taken away from the focus and structure of it and made it into some other story all together. Sorry, this is an unhelpful paragraph.
Otherwise I love everything else. The dialogue of the first meeting is fab and convincing, I don't think it is always each to get the interaction of 11 year old to sound real. Remus and Sirius first kiss is adorable and lovely. I was a little bit disturbed by how much shagging Sirius had done by the fifth year (both in rumours and in reality) but then I was perhaps a little sheltered. Maybe just talking about snogging feel more realistic to me.
The funeral, both of them, were heartbreaking. This especially: "can’t bear to think about the rest of his life stretching before him"
I like the parallells Remus draws between his own friendships made on the train and the friendships Harry has made, and how both of them know how precious they are.
I liked Remus and Sirius's reunion. It was very subdued but that fits the place where they both are in book 5.
The final sections is more fleshed out than the rest and it did feel a little unbalanced at first. I almost wonder if it would work better by leaving their reunion to the imagination completely. I think having the background of how James first found out about them is a bit too much information at the very end of the story although it does give us a chance to see the older Remus and Sirius interact without the weight of the war on them.
It's lovely to see them all together again though at the end. I'm really glad I read this, thanks!
This poem intrigues me. I keep re-reading it and I'm not sure how to review it, but here we go!
I like that you've made me think about immortality and what that might be like. The mundane nature of your imagery (Flobberworms and lettuce!) sets an idea of how immortality might actually become something that is quite dull and uninteresting. What's more uninspiring than a Flobberworm? The first stanza has this especially. This phrase is particularly interesting: "Heads for tails and tails for heads,
It moves but does not quite." Nothing is quite what it seems, here.
The second stanza is a little confusing for me. Rhythmically it works and the words create some interesting ideas. I think I get the idea of the reflection being deceptive, but I'm not sure how to fit that into the rest of the poem. I might be being a bit daft though. ;)
(But all I really am is this:
Deceitful sixty-five cloaking
Two colossal centuries.)
My favourite lines summing up the whole idea of immortality - its all just a trick. This stanza starts to introduce the idea that the first two were leaning towards, that perhaps this wasn't worth it.
I like that the stanzas get shorter at the end. It feels like an idea gathering pace. The last line confirms this - there has been an epiphany and some sort of decision made. We don't know what, but we know it is just begining.
Overall this is a very quiet feeling poem but with a definitely, unavaoidable flow and rhythm. I think I'll have to keep coming back to it to try and understand it fully, but your wording it so beautiful that will be no hardship. :)
Author's Response: Hello there! :)
This is a really nice poem with some lovely contradictory imagery. I especially like the image of he lightning bolt 'arcing destruction.' The pattern of the poem works well for me and it has a nice rhythm that drew me along. I liked the change of rhythm in the last stanza, it added to the darker imagery you wrote and brought the poem to and end for me.
The last stanza (and the talk of sweets at the begining!) makes me feel like this poem comes from Dumbledore's perspective, I don't know if that is what you intended? It is a very effective poem though. I don't think I've read much about Grindlewald and this poem makes him intriguing!
Author's Response: Thank you very much. Hmm, it wasn't really from Dumbledore's perspective but rather it was how I saw Grindelwald's appeal to Dumbledore. That possibly amounts to the same thing. :) . Thanks again. ~Carole~
This is a really lovely fic. I really like the style of writing here, which completely drew me into the story and then at times was unexpectedly lyrical. The language you've used, particularly in the early scenes, is perfect for the time and place and really helps to set the mood.
Although this fic spanned a long period of time the scenes all flowed into each other. I really liked seeing the growth and change of Minevera's relationships. Her relationship with her father obviously had a big effect on her and you make that clear, but you don't overwhelm the reader. Simillarly her relationship with Albus - the contrast between their relationship earlier in the fic and the last scene says so much about how they have grown closer as friends.
I did get a little confused when they broke up, and I wasn't sure what had happened until I reread. Possibly I did skip a sentence, but I found the paragraph begining 'What happened next was inevitable, she reflected' a little too hard to follow. It's hard to strike a balance between showing the reader what has happened and outright telling them, and while most of this fic works really well and doesn't need to come out and state what exactly has happened - especially in the last scene, which is incredibly well done - in that part it could perhaps have used a little more clarity?
Although I've encountered this pairing before, you have really sold it to me. I really like how you don't delve into exactly what Minevra's sexuality is, she just loves who she loves at the point in her life she is at. This is definitely one of my favourite McGonagall fics. :)
Author's Response: Thank you for the kind words. Sorry for the confusing bit; as you say, it can be difficult to balance how much to show the reader, so it's good to hear from readers where things work and where they don't. Cheers!
It figures that he ignores the other side of roses. Thorns fit to draw blood are what remain after the flowers die off, far overshadowing the few months when they splay their gaudy plumage to the summer sun. They’re nice sometimes; for the most part, though, they are sharp and vindictive and unworthy of the attention they receive.
No, Rose thinks. Roses are ugly.
This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation Story.
I really like this story. I can see first cousin relationships being reasonably accepted in the wizarding world which has such a small population to being with. (Though I wonder if it might become more frowned upon post-series, as something associated with the pure-blood families?)
The story feels quite compact - it centres on a handful of moments, but the emotions and the characters feel complex and real. The switching between the two view points helps flesh this out and build their relationship. I particularly connected with Rose's emotions throughout the story - you definitely captured some of he difficulties of being a teenage girl! I wonder if Albus and Rose's relationship (in whatever form) will recover once the embarrassment and anger Rose feels about her actions fades a little. Sadly, that may take a little while and some maturity. (Not that Rose is particuarly immature, just still quite young in the grand scheme of things!)
I liked the musings they both had on their names. I found it interesting and perhaps a little odd that Albus had enough information about Dumbledore's actions/decisions to come to the conclusion that he was the master manipulator that he was. I imagined that Harry et al would want to shield the next generation from that as much as they can. It makes me want to read (or maybe write...) Albus finding out and coming to terms with why he was named after two people with such dubious morals.
Rose's reflection on her name was less emotionally complex, but oh so real. Any name that is also any sort of physical object is just a bad plan and particularly annoying as a child!
The story felt very complete, even though the ending leaves a lot of questions. I think by not going on to show how or if they can eventually reconcile it left me feeling that this is not something that is going to be easily or quickly fixed. I would be interested in reading more, but equally happy with the story as it stands. If that makes sense!
This is fantastic and a fantastic response to the prompt, although reading the prompt first did mean I knew where the story was going fairly early on. Nevertheless your writing was powerful enough to keep me going.
The countdown was very effective throughout, especially starting so far away from the event. The writing felt slowly paced and very deliberate so watching the countdown happening and Theo and Hermione stumbling into it made me feel a real sense of inevitable doom. Similliarly Theo and Hermione sort of stumble into their relationship. It felt very natural and I think you really captured their gorwing connection and respect for each other. I like the references to Theo trying to work Hermione out like a puzzle - it give a good insight into his own character.
One thing I really liked was how you fleshed out all of the characters as adults. The various ways most of the Slytherins from Theo's year had moved on, Hermione and Ron's relationship break down as well as Ron/Pansy's relationship made everyone feel a few steps removed from their time at Hogwarts. Having Pansy as a guest at the Burrow (whatever the tension) was a good way of showing they all being adults and Ginny and Hermione's interaction was lovely. Still, you give up a fair amount of darkness in their background which sets the tone for the fic - Goyle's imprisonment was a nice touch - it is stupid and trivial and yet so serious.
One small thing I disliked was how quickly the countdown sped up towards the end. While it does make the story race towards the conclusion it seems a little out of place with the pace of the first part of the fic. Also, the final conclusion is also written quite slowly and deliberately, so I think it might have worked better to have a little bit more going on between their break up and the finally resolution. I don't know what that would have been though- perhaps going back to Theo's POV like in the first section?
I love love love the ending. Very powerfully done. As I said, I had guessed where the fic was going to end up at the begining, but it still worked fantastically well as a conclusion to both the research and the relationship. It's intriguing to have a zombie outbreak fic that works it's way up to the outbreak and then stops. But it's a very complete story for Hermione and Theo and I absolutely enjoyed it. Thank you!
Author's Response: First, I must apologize for responding to this review so late. For whatever reason, this website apparently no longer e-mails me when I receive a new review, and I only checked them manually today on a whim! I'm so very glad you liked this story! It's a personal favorite of mine, as well, but doesn't get much attention because: 1) it's not the pair I usually write (and I feel like Hermione/Theo is a bit of a rare-pair anyway), and 2) it's horror and, even though it's zombies, the horror genre certainly not everyone's cup of tea. I really loved writing Hermione and Theo, and getting to flesh Theo out - making him human and lovable, as opposed to just a name JKR used every once in a while - was a real treat for me. I fell in love with him a bit, if I'm going to be honest, which made how I ended this story (or ended him, more appropriately) feel like the most satisfying kind of sinister. I prefer to read and write slow-burning relationships, and I don't think Hermione and Theo's relationship would've worked any other way. They were too separated in school to have built any kind of foundation, so I had to build from the bottom up, to be cliche. It definitely helped that they were adults. Hermione was always very mature, anyway, and I feel like Theo might have been a pretty serious youth at Hogwarts, but the whole House rivalry and blood prejudice whatnot still might have had its talons in him back then. He's certainly focused on more important things now. I love Ron/Pansy, and I will include them whenever I possibly can. Ginny's great to write, too, so having them as supporting characters just made sense, especially after Hermione's break-up. They're able to see and show more than one side of things, and give Hermione's pain some depth. I understand your criticism of the pace towards the end. I wanted to make it feel like Hermione's life was just zooming along, like she had nothing interesting to report on or think about now that Theo was out of her life. Her focus became her work and she settled back into her pre-Theo routine, though I hope I showed a bit of her healing process. I'm not sure what would've filled out the time, either. I didn't want to go back to Theo until the very end to try and keep the suspense up. On that note, it probably would've been much smarter of me to include the prompt as an end-note, rather than in the beginning. Kind of spoils the fun, doesn't it? Anyway, I'm glad that you loved the ending, even though you knew where it was going. I thought that working up to the outbreak would be a clever twist to the theme. Most of the time, you only see the aftermath, and what caused the plague is a mystery. Like in AMC's The Walking Dead. Gads, I *wish* we knew what caused that!! Hahaha This review was absolutely great, and - again - I'm so sorry I didn't see it until now! Thank you so much for leaving it!!