Hi, MJ. =) What would you say to a somewhat overdue review? Yes, I hope, because here is one.
I really like the scene with Arthur and Bill. You have written it yourself, for Arthur, towards the end: The boy had grown into a fine man, one Arthur was pleased to have as a confidant. Apart from the actual matter they’re discussing, this is such a lovely father/son moment. Not a traditional pat-on-the-shoulder-you-have-turned-out-well-my-son though, but something more original. They are not discussing either of their own lives, but Ginny’s, and I like how Arthur’s pride is about something Bill has understood, rather than something he has done.
Then the very last line of that scene: It’ll have to be up to Ginny and Harry to work this out, if it’s to be worked out. - Oh, MJ, that made me SO curious about what will actually happen when they finally face each other… Thanksgiving had better come quickly… Though I suspect waiting won’t be too hard, now that you have a plot and all. ;)
Ooh, and more Arthur. What a lovely, wise grandfather he can be like. You know… on the platform, I actually thought there was something Dumbledorish about him, and I found it to be so fitting. Arthur has his oddities, just like Dumbledore, but I also think that the still wisdom Arthur has would grow with his age. And the conversation with Sara was extremely well written, of course.
And then the young-man-Harry in America. There is just something in this scene… I don’t know if it would be that you’re especially comfortable writing Sara, but the image of Harry and her in the apartment just became so… so believable! You must know what I mean, that sometimes you read a fanfic where one of the most well-known characters appear at some other place and in some other time, and although it’s well-written you still get a very fanfictional feeling. This is different. Claiming that Harry is “in character” seems a little lame, what I want to tell you is that it really feels like it’s canon Harry sitting there and thinking and talking. And this line: “I mean really, Harry, are you gay? It’s not like you haven’t had your choice of leggy blondes.” - LOL! I love the way Sara says it, not judging but frustrated.
Hufflepuff! Yay! (And that’s about all I’ve got to say about that now.)
So he finally told her! What a relief! No – not for him, but for us poor readers! ;) It’ll be interesting to see what happens there… Sara’s “declaration” made me shout something in Swedish which would roughly translate to “You rule!” She certainly is a great female character, and reminds me of a mixture of several people I really like.
Now then, would this be a good point to send you a basket of e-inspiration-cookies for more Rhea? =)
Author's Response: *giggles* The next chapter is completely Rhea. Totally and utterly. But I have some work to do to bring it up to the standards that my very exacting betas hold for me. But it\'s written and I\'m working on it!
Thank you for reviewing, my lovely Anna. I never mind waiting when I am so exquisitly rewarded!
Oh, lookie, what’s this? It’s the Swedish review I promised you! Except, it’s just by a Swede, not in Swedish. Anyway…
I must say that I really like your basic idea, dear, to write your story in “the past”, alongside the original HP story your readers already (should) know. I think that if you had been writing mainly about canon characters, there could have been a risk of becoming repetitive (even if you were, let’s say, writing from Ron’s point of view and not Harry’s), but as you’re introducing and focusing on so many OC’s that JKR’s original story becomes more like a strong foundation that you can return to when needed.
I like the tone of the first chapter, and the point in time you decided to place it in. The mood is refreshingly light and that feels all right at this point, much more so than it would have if this had taken place during year six. The only thing I would have liked to see is some mention of Cedric’s death, which did take place at the end of the previous school year, after all. Andrea said something towards the end: …and he’s no, well, no Cedric… and that felt a little out of place.
George! I do admit that I don’t know Andrea all that well yet, but she does seem like the kind of girl that could fall in love with a sweet troublemaker such as Mr Weasley.
A lovely opening chapter, Miss Marie. Now I’m off to have a look at chapter two! =)
Author's Response: YAY FOR THE SWEDE!!!!! I\'ve really grown to love these characters. The whole idea behind this story is: what about the other characters? What about Fred and George? What about the other potential Gryffindor Girls? ...Well and the Lightning Bond. Looking back now, I wish I had dealt with Cedric\'s death more. But maybe my attitude was the same as the characters\' - too soon and too awkward to talk about right now. That phrase was supposed to feel out of place, just because it\'s so...hard for them. They knew of him, but they didn\'t know him, but it still really affected them. And who wouldn\'t fall for a sweet, dashing troublemaker like George? Thanks for the review dear!
Hee. Here I am, again. No, don’t worry, my self control is much too bad for me to be able to nicely read and review every chapter in reading order. There’ll probably be some more random reviewing after this, so no need to panic. ;)
The first thing I’m about to write should probably have been in my review for chapter one, but yes, there you go, this is Anna the Unorganised. What I wanted to ask you is why Andrea is adopted? What happened to her parents? Did she have any siblings? What happened to them? Why did she end up with the Bennings? There. Now I asked – not expecting you to actually answer, but I had to get those questions out.
I really liked the welcoming feast, and I must especially compliment you on the paragraph filled with food. There is just something about detailed descriptions of food that makes me so happy (and yes, I admit it, when written well like this they also make me hungry). You also keep leaning on OotP just enough to keep us firmly rooted in the HP universe while you introduce new characters and environments. You let us see a slice of Umbridge, reminding us that she is very much there, but you still focus more on your own story and characters – nice.
It’s interesting to learn more about Andrea and her past, and I think you’re still introducing her really, really well. It’s also nice to see how you put the little pieces together, like that on the one hand she has had a relationship with another OC, but on the other she is also friends with Hermione. I’m curious about why you have designed the girls’ dorm the way you have done, what purpose it’ll serve in the story.
I’m going to be a bore and pester you about three small things:
Andrea stayed where she was, drumming her fingers idly on the small table nexxt to her, needing to think before she went up to her room. - An extra x has slipped into “next”.
I couldn’t help overhearing, and I hope you don’t mind me asking what happened, but i didn’t know that you and neal weren’t a couple anymore. - “Neal” should be capitalised.
“Oh, I completely understand,” Hermione smiled. Neal Thatcher was about as handsome and popular as Cedric Diggory was, with just as many girls in his fan club. - I’m back on my Cedric issue. I’m not missing something, am I? He is still dead? Lol, if so, I’d like to suggest that you write “popular as Cedric Diggory had been”.
And exactly what is going to happen at nine-thirty? I’m intrigued, and I have no idea why I just asked you that instead of just proceeding to the next chapter. =)
Author's Response: Alas...I was a complete and unmitigated ass and didn\'t use a beta for my first eleven chapters. They\'re undergoing revision as I write this though.
I\'m going to surprise you and answer your questions about Andrea\'s adoption. Hee, spoilers that are not spoilers...
Why is Andrea adopted? Her parents couldn\'t take care of and protect her the way they wanted to. They later died. Andrea has an older brother, and he was sent to live with other relatives. Andrea is related, by cousin, to the Bennings. The Bennings actually lost a daughter at the same time that Andrea was born, and so she was raised exactly as that other daughter would have been raised.
I loved writing that feast! I tend to overlook setting a scene as well as that one was set, and I should really do it more often. I\'ve really enjoyed trying to keep it utterly tied to canon. There are two reasons the girls are split into two different rooms in their year: 1) Girls are filled with drama. They need to have just that little bit of extra privacy and space and ability to avoid each other. 2) I didn\'t want to have to deal with Lavender and Parvati all the time....but don\'t tell Patrick I said that. >>
Author's Response: In all honesty, I couldn\'t write it so that I had to include those girls all the time. The reason is because I couldn\'t write them then. I don\'t let characters make many appearances unless I can write them. Snape only makes one appearance.
Alright, I need to slightly change my promise - but from now on, I'll be a good girl and review after each chapter! ;)
I think this sequel actually overshadows your 6th-year-story, it's simply brilliant. I really admire your ability for small, but very significant details. Like you've mentioned Ron's Divination "skills" a couple of times, and here he is now, so clearly letting out a prophecy. For a second I was afraid it referred to him, but then my thoughts turned to Dumbledore - he's not looking well at all these days, is he?
The duel! It was amazing! I wonder if it was only "luck" that Snape should be the one to release this power, or if he had suspected for a long while that his tormenting could to exactly that?
I'm so glad that Ron and Hermione are back together, it feels more than right. *softspot* I also really like what you're writing Blaise Zabini to be... It's also interesting that Parkinson feels such hatred towards Harry, when Ron should be the one for her to blame for Draco's death... It's all very exciting, I'm like a little child expecting more here! I'm much in favor for the long chapters, and the speed they're coming at! :)
This is TOO MUCH! It's so exciting, it's breathtaking, I want MORE, and NOW!
Sorry for that outburst, but I meant it. I'm keeping a fairly close eye on your story at the moment, and I was well surprised to see two new chapters up today. Now I'm only hoping for a third, hehe.
It felt really nice that Harry and Dumbledore got some kind of "closure" before the end, I suspect it will make things a tad bit easier for our hero. I'm glad it was not the complete final for Dumbledore, he will still be needed. I just hope you don't bring him back as a ghost, it wouldn't be like you, nor would it suit the story. Perhaps a lingering mind connection between him and his apprentice? Well, it shall be more than interesting to see.
And Percy! Was he aware that it was a portkey, did he make it? And where is it going to send Harry? Oooh, I'm defenitely going to have to hang around until the next chapter appears! :) Thanks for this amazing story, Melindaleo!
My God, I'm crying like a little girl here. Your writing skill is enormous, every word is in the exact right place to bring out the most feeling, purpose and meaning of the story. In the last chapter, I didn't like the fact Dumbledore was gone, but it didn't hurt. It does now, and the ceremony in the tower was just... beautiful, and horribly sad. I just hope that's the last one of its kind you're going to bring to this story. When they were standing up there, I had a sudden vision of Ginny at Harry's ceremony - but I shook it off as soon as I possibly could. That is something that I hope you will not do, of all my heart.
I know perfectly well (or so I let myself think) why Harry recognised Snape's sketching, I just wonder what it means, and what it will bring to the story when Harry finds out?
I'm curious about who will be the new Minister, I can't wait to see some sort of reunion of Percy and his family, and I somehow expect something, a last tiny thing, that will put Harry's emotion in the right place. I completely trust you to make the best of it, whatever it is that will come. For now, I need to settle a bit about those unexpected sad feelings for Dumbledore. Then I'll be back to focus on what's most important - love and victory!
Oh NO! I thought that Ginny had been fairly safe during your story - how could I miss that you were keeping her, the most important thing to Harry, for the end? Because I feel the end is drawing nearer, it's inevitable and in a strange way I'm looking forward to it.
Luna. She's been suspicious for a while, so it was not unexpected. But then again, you might just be fooling us? Somehow I can't see Luna being falling for the dark side... She's too fond of her own opinions and I think she's fairly powerful. But then again, my feelings for her are limited and if someone fairly close has to be a traitor, fine, it can be her.
It's very nice of you, and the almighty moderators, to keep the chapters coming this quickly - I honestly don't know what I'd do otherwise?
Right, reviewing now is a little odd, because I'm completely shameless and couldn't resist reading up to chapter 29 when I learned that it was available. However, I'm going to contiune to leave you my thoughts here on this site.
At first I thought the "goodbyes" were a little ooc, but then I realised that it's hard to tell what would be ic in that situation - it is final, after all. They were all thoughtfully written and touched my heart, especially the Ron/Harry conversation - You’re the glue that holds us all together. - very simple, very true and defenitely something that Ron could say.
I actually smiled widely when Fred said A fan club that reaches into the Netherworld – now that’s power! - it was perfect!
No, I feel that my thoughts keep drifting over to chapter 29, I hope that one will be here soon so I can have my say on it. And then, more importantly - I'm dying for chapter 30, give it here! :)
That was... That was overwhelming! I can see how much work you must have put into this final battle, so to begin with - thank you for doing so! Now, let's see if I can dig a little deeper... (actually had to take short notes so to remember what to mention on this one!)
Firstly, I have mentioned before how nicely in characther almost all characthers are all the time, and now that includes Voldemort. When he spoke of the Curse of the Damned I was almost horrorstruck - it was so true, it seems to be natural for everyone to think of "old magic" as something especially nice and powerful, but his words about them could easily have been as true. (Thank Merlin they weren't!). As we're on to words, I really like Harry's realisation of them being weapons, he has been teasing Death Eaters and Voldemort before but this time it was in a full-fledged way, a more mature way. N-i-c-e!
Naturally, Luna's death was nothing I had ever wished for, but if someone close had to be sacrificed, well, then I'm not going to object to her.
Ooh, I didn't like the burning liquid - I hope whatever it was will heal properly without leaving any nasty scars - I think Harry has had enough worry about scars for a lifetime.
The brief line where Harry was struck and had to spit out some blood, for some reason it caught my attention and made it all much more real and colourful. I agree with the other reviewer, I'm not like Bellatrix who enjoys pain, but it does make the whole thing very truthful.
The result of the old curse was brilliantly written, but I have to mention that all of those people were not killed by Voldemort, especially Sirius. But if the explanation is that they were killed because of his evil, that's good enough for me.
I'm worried about the AK touching Harry's left side, for Merlin's sake don't let there be any lasting damage from that, please!
So far, this is the best Final Battle I've come across, right now I can't think of a better way to defeat him (the velvety softness and sweet bliss of her allowing him to continue… - p-e-r-f-e-c-t!). I really like how you kept us aware of the similarites between Harry and "Tom", and used it all to the end.
Honestly, Melindaleo, this was just GREAT! *only a little over-excited*
Now - I want chapter 30!
I'm reviewing here even though the last few paragraphs of the chapters are lost, I've read it all elsewhere though.
Oh, quite right with a tissue warning there! Not the worst one of your chapters though, I must add. :) Despite how sad, angsty and beautiful this was, I found it a little anti-climax. I had expected something with a hurried departure from the Chamber as all of it crasched down, so it took me a little while to fully appreciate the scenes in mid-life/death, and the rest of it. I'm relieved that the four most important characters made it, although I still hope that Neville won't meet the same fate as his parents - it would be so unfair. Ginny is... different from what I expected, even with what she's been through I would have thought her love for Harry was still as strong. Bad for Harry too, he chose to return for her, and she avoids him. What's Ginny thinking, she should be glad! (This is my own person scolding her, I still think she's well written and believable, I'm just angry with her)
Oh, the scenes with Sirius, James and Lily were wonderful, especially how you put them in the beautiful, colourful robes while Harry was all in white. Their words on Ginny (""And easy on the eyes," said James."), on life and death, and the jokes about their grandchildrens' names... *sigh* Where is that tissue, now? The short words on Dumbledore were comforting to me, especially in combination with Sirius' envy of the Headmaster's re-discovered mischief. Interesting, as well, that it was to be James who revealed the artist behind Lily's portrait. Harry's longing for both worlds was so obvious, clear, and expertly written. In one way, he knew that the only right choice was to return to Ginny, but on the other hand - "After a moment, he pulled away, knowing that if he didn’t, his decision would already be made."
Skeeter cow got what she deserved, thank you for that. What an awful character.
Now, I thought I was desperate waiting for this chapter, but I assure you it's nothing like how I feel about the next one. I need it! I hope that Ginny is going to come to her senses - soon. And again, thank you for sharing this story!
Ron comes across Ginny's diary, four years after the war has ended.EDIT: 1000 reads!
I think this is one of the best one-shots I've ever read. It's thought through, well written and SO touching! You've captured Ginny's state of mind so nicely and the grief that Ron is still carrying. The whole scenery shows that life did go on without Harry, but that he is still missed beyond words. And, yes, I did cry. And I will when I read it again - it's a favourite.
Lex, I’m finally reviewing, sadly not in a way that will do your story justice, but still. It deserves an in-depth review after each chapter, but since time will not allow me to write them, I thought I’d at least leave something here. Perhaps it’s worth to know that I’ve read properly until the end of Chapter Fifteen, after having read Chapter One a while ago and sneakily read Seventeen when I shouldn’t have. >.>
McKee… Oh, I have so many thoughts around her. The phrase “a well developed character” doesn’t apply to her, it would be like saying it about a real person. For example: “Hi Lex, nice to meet you, I think you are a very well developed character.” – see, it doesn’t work. So, how can I approach her then? As a human being, of course.
In the beginning of the story, she really annoys me. (Yes, she annoys me, not the way she’s written – you’ve done a marvellous job, which is why I feel so strongly about her.) She’s totally different from myself, and I don’t like the way she talks, her attitude towards my favourite canon characters, or the blade she carries around. I’ve met people who, on the surface, seem a lot like McKee, which is probably a reason for why I react this way. But to those people it was all a show, a way to protest against the world they lived in – protesting with odd and stupid behaviour which made nothing better, only worse. They had all grown up with a silver spoon stuck up somewhere, but still they felt they had been treated unfairly and had to take it out on the world. McKee on the other hand, might have a bit of a show going on, but it’s minor and to me it’s only a natural extension of who she really is. As the chapters move on and you show me slices of her past, my initial annoyance vanishes. Whether she wants it or not, I come to feel such deep sympathy for McKee, and I feel helpless. Helpless, because I just want to wrap my arms around her and tell her everything is going to be okay, when I know that a) it’s not that simple and probably not true, and b) she would be very likely to stab me…
To tell you the truth, I have no idea what I would say to McKee. I know several things I would be careful not to say, but in her presence I would appear to be a very quiet person. I would care, I do care, with all my heart, but I don’t think I could ever communicate it. And of course, why would she be interested?
See, this is why I’m so thankful for Bill. Even if I can’t do anything (meaning if I could actually meet the characters, I tend to forget that I’m just a reader and they are mainly fictional), I can still cheer him on inside and send my mental support. Sure, he’s not perfect, but why would I want to read of someone who was perfect? I can’t really see a Gary Stu ever noticing McKee. Because charming as Bill might be, he’s still an idiot at times (and all right, quite the hero now and then) and hey, aren’t we into a scandalous liaison here? :) Seriously, I think your work on Bill brilliant, not only does he fit his position and your story so well, he also has the right canon air about him. For some reason I also think that he is unusually “Weasley” in All’s Fair… I can’t put my finger on it, but here and there he reminds me of various family members.
I suppose I should mention something about all the other characters. Your own ones fit right in to the world of Harry Potter (or should I say McKee?), I really have nothing to add or complain about. I know since before what excellent grasp you have of canon people, and their actions and dialogue in the chapters I’ve read so far are no exceptions. I very much enjoy the Ginny you present, and Dumbledore is priceless – both because of himself and because of McKee’s view of him. Then there’s Snape, and once again McKee’s reflections – I love it.
As for the story itself, I know it’s categorised as “Romance”, but I’d rather see it in a category called “Advanced OCs” or something like that, the term “Romance” doesn’t quite fit and it hides all of what this really is. McKee and her story spins around each other, I like how you still keep the threat of Voldemort close at hand but have a step just long enough away from it to let her rule. All the events of All’s Fair, whether they’re directly connected to her or not, add something to McKee.
Lastly, let me mention the details. The Glow, “Ruturia Vitalia!”, Dump Truck and the completely creepy fish-head box. I don’t know if to compliment you on the idea of the box, it’s Stephen King class and just freaks me out. I’ve had a bad dream about it already and I know I’m not likely to forget about the existence of that box anytime soon. But I suppose that’s what’s outstanding writing is about, to imprint something on your readers’ minds that will never go away. Well, I have a box of fish heads fixed in my memory, as well has the amazing character of McKee. Lots of applauds and chocolate to you Lex, for this entertaining and touching story.
I’m being a good girl now, reviewing this chapter after I read it – and not after reading all the chapters that are up so far. =) It’s interesting, I think, to take an extra look at how an author sets the initial tone of their story, what parts they choose to present first. And I really like what you have done about this in Texture of Darkness - we’re transported straight into Theodore’s mind, we get to share his thoughts and you place out suitable pieces of his past, enough to make us get the basic picture, but also to make us start wondering. The tone is not just dark, but perhaps more… serious.
I very much like the idea of uncontrolled magic; it’s very original in this way, Mask! We have learned that it’s something that mainly happens to younger wizards and witches, and when it appears in fanfiction it’s almost always Harry having some uncontrolled outburst of love to finish off Voldemort (not that I’m generalising or anything, ehrm…). This is so different, and I wonder why this happens to Theodore? What is it that sets off spontaneous magic like this, to an almost-grown-up person?
It’s nice to see that you have taken both Nott’s body and mind into consideration. The worry of being physically sick awoke a lot of sympathy in me, because it’s one of the worst things I know. It’s interesting how he is determined to keep up his strength… it sort of shows me that he sees something beyond his confinement, that he has an idea of what is out there, what he can expect and needs to be prepared for. In the books, we have seen Harry locked up in a room several times, and by comparing how the two characters react on it, I believe that I can add another line to the mental sketch I’m drawing of your Theodore Nott.
There was barely anything to pester you about. But this sentence – I stare at the ceiling as I have been for the past two days. - looked a little odd to me. It’s often hard to say for sure for me, since things that are absolutely correct can sometimes sound strange to my Swedish ears, just because I haven’t learned it. But would it be different/better with - I stare at the ceiling as I have been doing/as I have done for the past two days. - ?
The other thing was this - There. Breath now. In, out, in, out. - I think it should be “Breathe”?
Lovely start, Mask. Now I will proceed to the next chapter. =)
Mask! This is definitely the best chapter so far. (And yes, being good again and haven’t read chapter four before writing this.) I was completely caught up in the rhythm of your words, and Theodore’s every emotion, every thought, echoed inside me.
Die. - And my mind instantly reflects that yes, Theodore actually wants the Healer to die, yes, he’s feeling enough hate. But at the same time, I could never have imagined that he would actually kill him – it came as such a surprise. And the act itself, Mask, it’s brilliantly written. This paragraph:
The thin string bites into my hands. They sting, and I pull harder against the pain. His breath rasps once, cuts short. His neck is thin, and the rope squeezes tighter. It saws at the skin.
- Oh My God. You really caught the effort it must take to… to strangle someone.
You are really making something of the “voice in his head”. It’s like you’ve given Theodore an extra dimension, it’s not just his actions and his thoughts, but also the voice. His own voice, yes, but it’s still adding another angle to the character. I like how it’s protesting against his violence, it shows that he is not just a simple murderer (if there is such a thing), but that he has feelings, that there is another part of him who doesn’t approve.
After he kills the Healer, after he flees, there is yet another face on Theodore. I found the simple action of him picking up the child very touching, and his words and calmness surprised not only himself, but me as well. And, oh - Her eyes are huge. - is this, perhaps, our first encounter with Sarah, the character you told me about? In any case, I really like how you placed that detail, it seems exactly like a simple observation that Theodore might make in the panic.
And then there is Penelope. Her care and her smiles must mean something. Why does she care about Theodore? How do they know each other, really? Why is she happy about him acting sensibly, almost as if she was proud of him? Why, Mask, why? ;) All right, enough of the questions. Sadly, (for SPEW purposes) I did not find anything to bother you with, so I will just say Thank You for such a lovely chapter!
*ignores the mile-long reviews already left for this chapter* Mmm, the tone has flowed perfectly from chapter one to number two. Part of me wants to just sit here and enjoy the quality of the writing, while another part cares nothing about the writing itself, but is busy feeling extremely sorry for Theodore.
That sketch I mentioned – wow, I had not expected it to have grown so complex already! But it seems that you have managed to share lots of details, details of different kinds, without cramming too much into one chapter. I like the variety, how you use soft words and weakness at some points, and then hit us with - If she hasn’t learned yet that life gives you nothing but shit, she will learn it soon enough. - and instantly reminding us that this is a youngster we’re dealing with, and a guy. Of course he would not hesitate to use a word like “shit”.
I become more and more interested in Penelope. I didn’t think much about her at first, being preoccupied with Theodore, but she’s really growing in the space you are giving her. But I wonder if she is just here out of convenience, to avoid creating an OC for the job, or if will she be important later in the story?
Haven’t I been humiliated enough already today, without sniveling too? - aw! You are really tugging at my heart to feel for him towards the end of the chapter. Not just his state here, but the whole situation, is so humiliating. Locked in like a child or a prisoner, not fed properly, not even allowed to keep clean. Yes! No more smell of soup! - the exclamation marks, the slight improvement of his mood at the prospect of a shower, oh, how cruel it is to keep him here! Why was this arranged? How are Penelope and “she” connected with Theodore’s mother? Is there no other way?
I’m afraid that incoherent questions are what I’ve got to offer you at this point, dear Mask. But let me continue to read, and perhaps I’ll be able to give you something a bit more constructive. =)
So, it was Sarah! I’m so glad to finally get to see her in writing, because I have been wondering what sort of character she is. There might not be any background in this chapter, but instead we get to see a bit of her personality through the way she talks and handles things. I like your way of introducing characters, Mask, you don’t spend several paragraphs on their appearance but instead you focus on how they act, on their thoughts and dialogue. Very nice.
Dear Theodore… I love how he is acting in this chapter. His logical thinking, they way to direct Penelope, talking to Sarah and caring for the children – it could all be the actions of a typical good-hearted “hero” of a story. But it’s not. Theodore is dangerous, his uncontrolled magic and the recent murder proved that. I’m glad to read his Whatever right and wrong are, for me there will be no more killing. but still wondering if it’s self control or lack of feelings that lets him be so collected, so focused and ready to hide his secrets from Ministry people. Theodore decides that there will be no more killing, but at the same time I can’t really see any real regret, and I find that very interesting.
I’m wondering a bit about the relationship between Nott senior and Nott junior. I get the disapproval from Theodore’s part, although there is also the Even if I don’t know which side I’m on. but I’m curious about what his father thought, if he had any intensions of leading his son to Lord Voldemort. It would be very interesting to see a meeting between the two, to read their reactions and dialogue.
So Percy is important enough within the Ministry to appear on a scene like this? Or are there simply too many similar happenings that the Ministry is using all the people it has? Anyway, he’s the first canon character that we know well enough for me to comment on characterisation – and what’s there is well written! Pompous, awkward, official – it’s Percy all right. And because of Penelope’s cold way of speaking to him, I’m guessing that they are not a couple anymore. Why? Because of him being stupid about the return of Voldemort, or something else? (Not that I think it’s a great loss to her, but…)
There are two things I want to look closer at. Firstly - He would have approved what I did this morning. - is that right, or does it have to be “approved of”?
Secondly - Before I think to distract them, a young boy asks, “What happened.” - I think it would look better with a question mark at the end there.
So, Mask, I hope that you’re still writing on this? =) Because I sure want to know what happens next!
*happy sigh* How have we deserved this? Well, we might not have deserved it at all, but I’ve still enjoyed it immensely. :) I know it’s not much in return, but perhaps you’d still like a review? Sure? Well, here goes then:
Liam! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I liked the piece of background story, and the beautiful brother/sister relationship. I found this part particularly emotional and relevant for the story we’re reading: ‘“Of course we will. Even if we have to wait until we’re grown-ups, we’ll see each other.”’ The scene is quite brief, but I still think you manage to capture Siobhan’s emotions well, her sorrow is clear but not exaggerated. Shannon gave me the creeps, I found her truly believable and she reminded me of my awful aunt. (And the general idea also reminded me of someone else, but that’s not for me to speculate on.) I started thinking when reading this part: ‘“Siobhan – come here before I make you!” she snarled, moving towards the two children and grabbing her daughter’s hand.’ - at first I just read it like a lot of mothers would have said it, then I started thinking of how a witch could force her children to do things, by magic. The thought was scary indeed… Lingering on the subject of mothers a little longer, I also only just realised that connection between Harry and Siobhan – neither of them as really had a pleasant mother figure to rely on, have they? Subtle similarity, but clever.
I like how you include this information quite early on in the story, because it is clearly something that has formed Siobhan. We talk story and character development when we discuss fanfiction, or just literature in general, but I think Sins is a good example of how neither could exist without the other. Events change people, and people change events. Who would Siobhan be if she had not been forced away from Ireland and her brother? What would this story be if she had not decided to fulfil her dreams?
Harry, lol! Are we living out our personal anti-fluff feelings through the alter ego? Although, I guess that would be the personal feelings of both of you then, or… Um… never mind! ;) He is adorable of course, but not that bad?
Jokes aside, I think you did some really nice work on Harry’s character in Hogsmeade, his responses to Siobhan were perfect. At first I thought I recognised this as the Harry you have polished up yourself through H6Y and BD, but then it struck me that this version actually had a clear HBP air about him. I can’t point it out though, because he resembles your own too much, it’s just a feeling I got.
I stop help myself from quoting this:
“It’s the day during the year when we give out gifts and decorate pine trees –”
“Siobhan – you know what I… never mind,” Potter said, grinning in spite of himself. “You’re not going to tell me, are you?”’
- Apart from making me laugh out loud, it’s so Siobhan to give that reply, and it’s so Harry to grin at it, especially in spite of himself.
*sighs* Do I have to say something about Draco? Couldn’t we just pretend he’s not there? Aw, I suppose that’s not very nice of me – or perhaps it is, because the reason I feel this way is because you’ve yet again managed to write him completely disgusting. *shudders* The way I see it, there are only two good things about him. Firstly, he serves a purpose, and Siobhan’s mission would be trickier if he didn’t provide a natural link. Secondly, it’s pure enjoyment to see Siobhan manipulate him. Hehe.
If there is something to thank the slimeball for, it’s possibly the fact that he did invite Siobhan to the manor for Christmas. I think it was both nice and necessary for you to include that in this chapter, because it’s a clear point to focus on, something for your readers to look forward to. (By that I mean readers who are not already obsessed with your writing and Siobhan, and who might need such strange things as a plotline… *wink*) That said, I’m still very much looking forward to the time at Malfoy manor. I have no real idea what I expect to happen, I just want to see some interaction – however minor – between the character who means the most to this story, and the person who means the most to her.
Silly review to rush away like that. There was actually something from the beginning that I wanted to highlight:
‘“There are many benefits associated with being his friend, Draco,” she said simply. It was, of course, an untruth.
“There are many benefits associated with doing so, Potter,” she replied simply. Of course, this time, it was the truth.
- CLEVER writing, my dear! I had a little shiver running down my spine when I read the second part of it, simply because I recognised an author in control of her words. It might seem like a simple connection, but in my eyes it’s not. It’s a glowing, impressive sign of someone who is just a little more aware of what is actually coming out of her fingertips, through the keyboard. I’m jealous of the ability, but at the same time I’m so glad you have decided to share your writing.
I only spotted a tiny error: ‘“It’s not usual such a full-time job, but when having a friend has certainly made it more difficult…”’ - I presumed it should be ‘usually’.
*looks above and snickers* All right, promise not to tell any SPEW:ers about this review? It’s not balanced, but what am I to do? It’s hardly my fault you deliver such excellent reading material, and I surely hope I back everything up enough for you to believe me. Because I mean every word of it.
A lot of what I'm channelling into Sins is that 'What would happen if...' type perspective. Because, this is AU after all. What would happen to Siobhan in Canon [Canon-Canon, not just BD-Canon], is far different than what would happen if Lucius never went to prison. It's an interesting question - what would happen if things were different? Would we be happier? Would things be worse off? In the end, I think Siobhan's life will never be totally sad, nor will it be totally happy ['This ain't no bed of nails, but they're not roses just the same]. But that's how most people live. Had she not moved to England, she never would have known Lucius, but she also wouldn't have known Harry, she wouldn't have been given Lucille - and despite all the heartache he does cause her, I like to think Siobhan's life is incomplete without Lucius. He's a part of her.
Hmm, I didn't think that I was living out anti-fluff feelings, but perhaps I was ;) Mostly, that was in there, because obviously it's going to come back to bite her in the arse... the things we say about what we cannot foresee, how interesting they are.
I'm glad you caugh that repeated sentiment ;) And thanks for the nitpick which, again, I'm sure I'll get around to eventually. I think I've talked to much, now. Hehe. Thank you!
Now that I have settled down a bit, perhaps I might succeed in making this review a bit less fangirlish. ;) I’ll be rude and not look at Caren’s review, mostly because I’m afraid she might have said a lot of things I want to mention as well. By pretending I didn’t see her review first, I can be repetitive with a clean conscious. Perfectly logical, don't you think?
Harry is too adorable in his concern. It’s just like him, wanting to rush to anyone’s rescue. But here, Siobhan’s not asking to be rescued. “And remember – I’m the scheming one in this relationship…” - too true, too true. I’m still with Harry a bit though, worrying just what Draco might get up to when, or rather if, Siobhan explains she has no further interest in/use for him. If he gets difficult, I don’t know what I’d rather see – a powerful Siobhan who gets rid of him on her own, or a certain Mr Malfoy coming to the rescue… Ah, pardon me for trailing off, my point was really that I very much enjoyed the Harry you have written here.
I’m going to mention that I’m always grateful for glimpses of less important canon characters throughout Sins. They might not be vital to the story, but people like Luna or Ron in the background has this piece of work firmly rooted into Potterverse. As for this particular chapter, I’ve never been the greatest fan of Luna although I do like her, but now I feel that we have got more in common that I first thought…
Narcissa… Oh, seeing her through Siobhan’s eyes certainly makes me despise her! Awful, simple woman! Wonderfully crafted of course, which is why I react this way. Yet you have not written her like someone who would be perceived this way by everyone she meets, no, I suspect that this Narcissa would appear rather intimidating to a lot of people, but in the company of her husband she becomes a joke. Her constant “darling” nearly makes me sick, I can’t believe that she uses it more than once, when she receives no response to it. I think I pity the Narcissa of Sins, not because of how she is treated but because of the sad person she is.
All parts of the Malfoy home, from the horse-drawn carriage and crunchy gravel to shivering house-elves and a black marble table, are beautifully described and fits in with how I had imagined things. Not only do you describe it, but you wrap it up and complete it in a very Jenna:ish fashion: ‘For once, Draco’s boastful banter was well justified.’
Siobhan… all of this belongs to her, which is why it almost feels difficult to comment on her part in the chapter. It feels more like she, as a real person, invites me to take a look at this, so reviewing her seems almost rude. But I will do it anyway, and I hope she will forgive me. I love to see how she is not hesitating on her plans for one moment, and I’m impressed how you let her honest words fit into the dialogue without it ever seeming forced, “You have no idea.” being a fine example from this chapter.
Her views of Draco and Narcissa are amusing to share, even if I feel sorry for her having to put up with the pair of them. I still don’t expect the outcome of Siobhan’s scheming to be exactly like she had hoped it would be, but however it turns out I do hope it will make up for what she has gone through. That said, what I enjoyed most of all in this chapter, was Siobhan around Lucius. She is… Well, being in the presence of Lucius makes her so alive, it leads her to such genuine feelings and actions. I can’t wait to see more of it – more in every sense in of the word.
No, I have not forgotten Mr Malfoy. No chance. I think the chapter title is both justified and very fitting, because it describes what this is all about – Lucius. And I love how you introduce him! I must confess you caught me off guard, because I had expected him to play his part of the ideal pure-blood family a bit better, instead of catching his every opportunity to mock Narcissa. I’m curious if this is his usual behaviour, or something that usually happens behind closed doors? In either case, Siobhan is witnessing it, proving that he’s not too concerned about letting people know what he thinks of his wife. Bonus cookie to you for making him point out that it is his house, and that everyone else is there only because he allows it. You’ve succeeded to portray him as a man fully in control, an arrogant king of his land and people. It’s interesting… you manage to write him as rather unsympathetic, but still I can see all the clearer why Siobhan is attracted to him. And, I want more here as well. More!
I haven’t got a lot to bug you about, although I seem to have turned into a full-blood repetition Nazi:
- ‘The grounds appeared rather bland, nothing but open field. Back at home Siobhan rather enjoyed the grounds, which had forested areas as well as a small lake; somewhat like Hogwarts but on a lesser scale.’ - you’ve got a fairly close repetition of ‘grounds’ there, perhaps the second one could be changed into ‘land’ or something similar.
- ’She grimaced slightly – if there was one food she could not stomach, it was oysters. Even the smell turned her stomach.’ - here it’s ‘stomach’ bothering me, even if one is a verb and the other a noun… Maybe the noun could be changed?
- ’And I’m certainly not going to complain about that, Siobhan thought as she followed Tessie to her bedroom – and she couldn’t stop herself from wondering where Mr Malfoy’s bedroom was.’ - here it’s the ‘bedroom’ I’ll whine about. If I might be so bold to suggest it, perhaps the end of the sentence could be ‘…wondering where Mr Malfoy would be sleeping.’ Although I like the ‘bed’ part of ‘bedroom’, so… Well, you’ll know what to do, I’m sure. I’ll stop bugging you now, I think. :)
Again, you’ve had me waiting for something, given me time to work my expectations up to want something really extraordinary – and then you give it to me, and not for one second am I disappointed. But, I think Haley said something like, “I think I’ve never been so satisfied, but still so unsatisfied, at the same time before.” – and I completely agree. We want more, we crave it, and now! If I’m not very much mistaken, didn’t you mention sometime ages ago, that the people of the Manor would be attending a New Year’s ball? Whether that is the case or not, I think you’ve given us enough teasers to prove that the next chapter will be even more outstanding than this. Thank you for sharing your writing with us, and for putting up with *dying* fangirls. :)
As for Lucius's treatment of Narcissa, it will generally be how he treats her all the time. Everyone knows the Malfoys have the smae 'arrangement' that most of the other purebloods do. And Lucius is rather condescending in general. Their relationship is fleshed out more as the story goes on ;)
Thanks again for the review. This one was especially smile-inducing :D
*sneaks in* I was here all along, I assure you. *tries to gather thoughts and re-establish herself as First Fangirl*
A second chapter without any Lucius/Siobhan interaction whatsoever? Are you trying to kill me? It’s working wonders for your story, of course, because I don’t think I have ever been this desperate to see the two of them together. Siobhan would have suffered even if you had just kept them separated for half a chapter, but now you really manage to make your readers feel her pain. *sighs*
Snape, that – that – horrible man! I don’t care if he’s good or bad or what he’s going to do, but he has no right to treat Siobhan like that. You’re picturing him exactly like he exists in my mind; perhaps loyal to the right people and ultimately working for the right cause, but such a bastard that I want to strangle him anyway. In fact, your Snape has always been perfect to me, because you don’t make him at all glamorous, but he’s still dramatic and… well, I was going to say ‘cunning’ or ‘intelligent’, but I suppose ‘scheming’ is closer to what I really mean.
And of course she’s not going to turn Lucius in. I say ‘of course’, because I can just not imagine that she would do otherwise. But if I step outside my own imagination and think about it logically, it really does say something about Siobhan’s feelings – maybe more than she realises herself. What is the one thing she abhors and will not tolerate or agree with under any circumstances? Murder. But is she going to turn in the person she practically knows to have committed murder? No. So, whether Siobhan is admitting it to herself or not, I think it’s quite obvious that she loves him.
Blaise! He’s so… would it be repetitive if I said ‘perfect’? I love that he appreciates Siobhan, if for a very selfish reason. He’s also got the right attitude towards Draco, and you’ve given him enough of the smooth wit (which you write so amazingly well) for me to completely understand why Siobhan agrees to go with him.
And how could I not mention this?
"Might want to do a better job covering the bruises on your knees, Pansy. Or at least tell Draco to be more gentle when he shoves you down on to them."
I don’t even have to say anything, do I? Amazing, Siobhan. And… Now I just thought of something to say, so I will. I think Pansy’s part in Sins is very useful. I’m guessing she would at least have been mentioned in the story in any case, being a Slytherin girl in the same year as Siobhan. But now her part is fairly prominent, and it gives you such a good chance to show us a different side of Siobhan. I can’t really think of anyone else she would speak to like this… So, yeah, well done you, keeping a Pansy handy.
Oh, dearest Siobhan. I’m so glad that she stopped Blaise. Not because I would have thought any differently about her if she hadn’t, but I think she would have been even more hurt from going through with it, and I don’t want to see our Siobhan in any more pain now.
And then, there it is.
Sex wasn't what she wanted. Lucius was.
Sure, she wants Lucius-sex too. But that’s not what it says. It says that she doesn’t want sex, but Lucius. She doesn’t just want his body, but him. Or just …she missed the man he was when they were together. I’m not going to rub it in anymore, but if someone out there doubts the fact that Siobhan loves Lucius… well, then they’re just daft.
*sighs* I hate this. All the pain, I mean. I love Sins, and you know that. I just want them back together. Please?
Gosh, Jenna… Do you really expect me to turn my thoughts on this into a coherent review? If so, I’m afraid that I’m about to disappoint you. As usual, you leave nothing for me to criticise, so all I can do is to tell you what I enjoyed the most, hoping that it will at least give you an idea of what I think you write best and what I want more of, instead of things you could improve. I’ll go through the chapter, mostly in quotes:
"No, my love, you know exactly what I like," Lucius replied with a smirk. - I’m in love with the familiarity in this whole scene. Yes, "in love" – the dynamics between them makes me feel as though I’ve fallen in love, my heart is tingling and burning when I read. And oh, that he is using "my love", it sent a silent squeee through my shipper soul. I did not only read it here, but in my mind I pictured it far into the future, in all kinds of situation. And, sooner or later, with Narcissa hearing it, of course. Hee.
"Yes," Siobhan murmured, approaching him and leaning against his chest, closing her eyes, "I think that can be arranged." - This took me by surprise. No, I didn’t find it to be unsuitable at this point, it was more the kind of surprise Siobhan herself experienced from his gentle kiss on her cheek. You keep moving their relationship forward, little things change even if the characters themselves don’t realise it, and now it seems that we’re at a point when tenderness is growing between them. Resting against a chest with closed eyes – such closeness, such trust. It’s one of the most relaxing and strengthening things I know of, however brief it might be.
Unless I’m confusing myself, it seems that in pretty much every chapter, Siobhan is reminding herself that what she’s doing is only something temporary, that it won’t last. But every time she thinks this, I think the opposite. Yes, perhaps I’m just a crazy shipper, but I still know that the love is there, that if she would only let herself, and if he would do the same and if the world was less complicated, they would have something extraordinary. They still do, but you know what I mean…
…wishing that she could be with her brother Liam or someone else who loved her. Gah! Is Siobhan reading this? In any case, I love how you wrote that, Jenna, because when I first read it I shouted out loud: "But she IS with someone who loves her!!!"
“You seem to have respect for the greatness that comes with age. I thought perhaps you might appreciate it for what it’s worth.” - Hee. That was just so incredibly well put.
When Siobhan opened her eyes, Lucius was watching her face intently. - Oh. My. God. (Yes, you.) This whole scene… it’s just… Jenna, it’s a gift you have, to give me an idea of what is happening in the hearts and minds of the characters, but not through overly straightforward, blunt words, no, through the way they act. And what’s even better, you make it just clear enough for me as a reader to grasp, but not for the other characters (with only their own point of view) to understand. And oooh, Lucius watching her face, it’s just… No, that’s not what I meant to say. I meant to say that I’m impressed with how you let Siobhan read Lucius’ reaction. With such a small, but incredibly well-placed, detail, you managed to turn a moment where they seemed so very close into confusion, misunderstanding and separation. It all felt very real, including the way that Siobhan thought Lucius’ reaction was her fault. The whole chain of events/emotions was just expertly written.
Guess what? I am going to mention one tiny little thing, just to be a tad bit annoying. After all, what are fangirls if not occasionally annoying? 0=)
You know I can’t help myself, little sister. I miss you very much, and I’m counting the days until summer. I hope to visit you, and hope you’ll return the favour. Happy Christmas, little sister. - There is a fairly close repetition of the words "little sister" there. Nothing to worry about, but I thought I’d point it out anyway.
*feels heart beating for Tiramisu ship* Honestly Jenna… I don’t know if the characters get much of a say in this at all. Their ship has a captain with such strong determination that they somehow will make it in the end – through hard weather, shark-crowded seas and no-tiramisu-starvation. We will make it. =)
Liam\'s \'little sister\' thing was purposeful. I think I felt a little uncomfortable, writing wise, with the close repetition. But since Liam doesn\'t have a Beta for his letters... I figured I could get away with it. He says it very often, and I felt that bothof those particular lines required the term of endearment. [Interesting to know Liam does something annoying, *laughs*]