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Reviews by Fantasium

All At Once by electronicquillster

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: As the Final Task approaches, Cedric Diggory begins to doubt himself. He knows he’s not perfect, and he knows he doesn’t have all the answers. Afraid of failure and disappointment, he questions his relationship with Cho Chang. Sure, she’s the ideal girlfriend, but is she right for him?
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 07/29/07 Title: Chapter 2: The Deliberation

Why hello. Yes, it’s me again. Late, but no less fangirly. Let’s get to it, shall we? =)

Her fate had been sealed with that kiss.

Some part of me says that I should be feeling sorry for Cho here. You know, I actually like her character, but here I simply couldn’t care less about her happiness. My point? Mar, you’ve done an excellent job of making me feel so strongly for Katie and Cedric that I just don’t care about any other character. You’ve managed to take command of my feelings and my loyalty, and cleverly attached it to this fabulous pairing. How tricksy!

Aha! I really appreciate an explanation as to why Cedric got together with Cho in the first place. Not only does it all make sense, but you’re also telling us a few important things about Cedric: not only didn’t he ask her out in the first place, but with this explanation we also know that he didn’t go after her simply because of her looks or because they’d have pretty babies look good together. Also, he was decent enough to ask Cho out to “make things up to” her. Now, this could have made Cedric look a bit too perfect and angelic.

But it doesn’t. Why? Because someone that perfect and angelic would’ve been content with Cho. Cedric isn’t; he wants more, and is quite prepared to hurt Cho in order to get it. Such a bad boy! *hides delighted face*

*GRINS* Ed and Porter are just SO adorable. You know, perhaps this is due to more recent events of canon, but all of a sudden they remind me a great deal of Fred and George. But Ed and Porter have… sweeter dispositions, somehow. They’re… cuddly, you know? Somehow, you manage to write them as very masculine, but still I can easily imagine both of them wearing aprons and making Sunday supper. They’re just so loyal, so dear, and SO Hufflepuff. And:

“Oh, really?” Cedric asked, his voice coated in sarcastic shock.

“Yeah, really,” Ed confirmed.

*giggles* Oh, Mar. =) And I don’t really have any grammar/spelling errors to point out or any improvements to suggest, but I did find this formatting error:

“Did you really expect us to stay up in the castle when we [i]knew[/i] you were going to come down here first?”

My only objection to this chapter is its torturing shortness. You can’t expect me to be content with that? No, surely not – so I shall go re-read and review the third and final chapter at once. Bravo, Mar!

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 07/29/07 Title: Chapter 3: Vivid

Of course I had to encourage you – if you hadn’t written/finished this, my life would have lacked a truly wonderful story! Ah, I only hope that I can give you a review worthy of it.

First off – it’s good that Cedric’s emotional range exceeds that of a teaspoon, with so much going on inside his mind and heart. It was when I re-read the very beginning of this chapter when I realised it – all the pressure on him, and how well he handles it. Jo has often shown us how her characters act under pressure (Harry being completely emo but later on composed and brave, Cho crying, Ginny yelling at Ron, Ron running away from Harry and Hermione, etc.), and by having Cedric appear so calm and secure even though he’s almost boiling over with emotions, you prove to us what a spectacular person he really is. Sigh.

He really had wonderful parents.

You know, I think that says more about Cedric than about Cedric’s parents. Some young people would have thought that their father was embarrassing if they had to see him act out memories from his own school years, and some would have thought their mother was meddling if she commented on their love lives. But Cedric appreciates his father’s efforts to be amusing, and his mother’s care. Aw. But by constructing the sentence like you did, you make us focus on Cedric’s parents and not himself, and as a result he doesn’t come out as über-angelic. ;)

Mrs Diggory is so sweet and concerned. It’s almost like she can read Cedric’s mind, but I think a mother of a single child can often be like that – she’s so used to “reading” her only child, and so focused on him/her that she notices every little change in behaviour. Scary, perhaps, but entirely believable. I also like how Cedric really respects both of his parents.

!!! Katie talking to Cedric’s parents! I don’t really know why, but that moment, when Cedric saw them, was really special to me. It’s like Katie’s already a part of the family, but Cedric’s just failed to realise it until now. There’s also the contrast, with how Cho wanted to be introduced to Cedric’s parents, and how Katie’s already familiar with them. Oh, Mar, I’m doing a bad job of explaining this, but I think I’m trying to say that this moment was another, and most excellent, proof that Cedric and Katie really should be together.

“Yes,” she whispered, refusing or unable to look at him, gazing off into the distance.

- perhaps this seems like a really random quote to you, but it’s important to me. See, Katie is either refusing or unable to look at Cedric, but she’s not looking down at her feet as if she was insecure, and she’s not about to cry. She’s gazing off into the distance, as if trying to see beyond her current situation, something that I recognise. She really is trying to control her feelings for him, isn’t she? Oh, precious Katie.

Oh, blabbering Cedric trying to explain his feelings is just… not exactly ‘sweet’, but his honesty and eagerness to make his sincerity understood are really touching. *nods* Cedric is very well-written in this scene, but it’s your Katie that impresses me the most:

“I know what you’re thinking, but you’re not speaking straight. Sometimes things just happen that we can’t explain, and we don’t need to explain them, either.”

Wow. She is – I mean, you are so right. That’s exactly how it is. So simple. So true.

He felt very content, like a part of him had slipped into place, and he felt prepared and energized, like he could now face the Final Task.

Squee! And not just because of the kiss, but because of that part of him that has now slipped into place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL for burning passion, but there’s something even more magical about that special feeling of contentedness and knowing that you’ve made the right choice. *happy sigh*

“Just in case it will give you an extra nose. The heightened sense of smell could come in very handy, you know.”

*giggles* (Yes, I can quote lines just because the brilliance of them makes me giggle.) And aw, when more flowers pop out of the shrub when they laugh – that’s just so wonderful, and so HP-ish.

Mmm, the end scene…

They all shared a guilty look, all but Ed, and Katie frowned at him. “Why are you smiling so much?”

“Because I prefer you so much more than Cho,” he said.

Bwhahaaa! Could Ed be any sweeter or more straightforward? Such a priceless reply. And then, when Cedric kisses her, I’m thrilled because he feels that he can do it in front of his friends already – as if Katie and he had been together for much longer, as if they’d always belonged with each other.

Then, the very last sentence:

That’s when he knew, as he glanced over to Katie and thought of the flower in his pocket, that maybe the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

Sigh. Apart from echoing Dumbledore and being perfectly HP-ish, it’s also such a suitable way to end this story. That Cedric thinks that thought now, and that Dumbledore will be speaking almost the exact same words at the memorial/end-of-term feast… it’s a little scary, but at the same time it gives a feeling of completeness.

Now then. You didn’t think that I had stopped pestering you for some AU to continue this, did you? Because I haven’t, and I will continue. /promise (threat?) This is a most excellent story, Mar, about an enchanting and yet so uncomplicated pairing. Also, I think that this is a time when all of us could do with some good AU, you know, to remember that canon death doesn’t necessarily mean fanfictional/absolute death. Right? *shifty eyes*

Harry Potter and the Untitled Book by InCompanyofFaeries

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: There have been a few alterations to the plot summary as I've been writing.
So, this is the basics of the new one:

Meredith Bradbury, a previously home-studied witch with a mysterious and tragic past, arrives at Hogwarts during theTrio's seventh and final year.

Things take turns for the worst, the best, the hopeless, and, of course, the unexpected.

Full of fluff, but a bit dark at times. --- Chapter 7 in process!!!!!!!!!!!! REVIEW and you will forever make me happy =)
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 10/28/07 Title: Chapter 1: Dawn

Oh, but what’s this? A lonely first chapter without a review? I think I’m going to have to do something about that. ;)

This chapter really does what I believe you intended it to – it introduces your original character (OC) and her background, and sets up a nice starting point for your story. I won’t use the word ‘cliché’, but perhaps ‘classical’, for how you have cut off a character from all that she knows and thrown her into the unknown where, I suspect, adventures are waiting for her. At this point I’m neither for or against that – it can be a good way of spinning things into action, but I advise you to be careful and use all of your imagination so that your OC never turns onto a ‘cliché path’ through your story.

As we’re already talking about her, I think that ‘Meredith’ is a well chosen name for a HP character. It’s not what people refer to as ‘Mary-Sue’, and, to me at least, it doesn’t bear any strong connotations. Thus far we only really know that she cares a great deal about her family, that she’s a bit bored with living in the countryside but knows to appreciate the protection – basically, an average girl, free for you to shape any way you like. I think this is good and I’m a little intrigued about what you might turn her into later, but I think that some readers would have liked a stronger introduction of her; something that stood out, something that was special for Meredith and made people want to read on about her.

What intrigues me even more is how you don’t really reveal whether Meredith is magical or not. The fact that she is aware of the situation of the wizarding world (…a time when there had been so much death.) suggests that she is a witch – but on the other hand you tell us that the Scottish countryside has been her home for all of her life. While I guess that Hogwarts qualifies as “Scottish countryside”, it sounded like you were referring to her family’s estate in particular, and so I’m wondering why she didn’t attend Hogwarts if she is indeed a witch? Answers will probably appear in following chapters, I realise that; I just wanted to compliment you for being so mysterious in the first chapter. ;)

I have some constructive (hopefully) criticism to offer, but not much. Firstly, your story has a bit of a rushed feeling to it – as if you cared about what you wrote, but didn’t work with it much once you had written it. Are you currently using a beta reader? If not, it is something I can most warmly recommend. They would be able to help you with little things like the following:

Meredith closed her thick leather tome she had been reading intently and climbed out of the tree.

In this sentence, it’s supposed to be “the thick leather tome”, as opposed to “her thick leather tome”.

Now in a full sprint, Meredith through herself through the few more yards of thick grass, that was no longer full of beauty and life, but dull and entangled her feet like vines pulling her weight into the ground.

Firstly, I think you meant that Meredith ‘threw’ herself through the grass. And do you mean, literally, that the grass was no longer full of beauty and life, or that it seemed that way because of how Meredith perceived it? Also, the word ‘entangled’ looks like and adjective there, but I see now that you’ve intended to use it as a verb. I would suggest re-writing the sentences like this: “Now in a full sprint, Meredith threw herself through a few more yards of tall grass that no longer seemed full of beauty of life, but dull and dead. It entangled her feet like vines, trying to pull her weight to the ground.”

It seems that you have a knack for descriptions, judging by your first paragraph. I really hope that you will stick with this, but also that you will use it wisely. As my own beta once told me, not many people will want to read 400 words about how a character removes his shirt, but some details thrown in here and there will give your story a feeling of completeness.

Good luck with future chapters! :)

Author's Response: First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really appreciate the help, it greatly helps me as a writer (and especially since it is my first fan fic!). I\'m definitely going to make a few alterations, as you suggested. Thanks again, and keep reading! I hope to throw a few twists and turns in--Meredith is, I promise, no ordinary OC ;)

Crosses and Garlic by BlackClaude

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: James suspects there is something more to Remus's absences than he's letting on. Luckily, James always knows just what to say.

Written for SPEW007, for the prompt "Cross".
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 06/24/07 Title: Chapter 1: Crosses and Garlic

I bet you thought you’d never see this review. Well, *shifty eyes*, here it is at last!

*giggle* Where to begin? Well, I’ll skip the oh-so-amusing parts for now, and start with James. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve chosen to let him be the one who finally decides to confront Remus about his constant disappearances. Out of the four Marauders, I would have said that Remus is the one who would do something like that, but when he’s the one to be worried about, I’d agree with you and say that James would probably be the one to step forth. My own opinion disregarded, it’s a good way of you to show us what you think of James’ character – in canon we have only really been told by other characters, not shown, that James is a good person. But here, you prove it to us.

“No, why? Are you saying Dumbledore does let you feed on students?” James asked, putting on an incredulous voice. “Wow. Well, that’s… sporting of him, I guess.”

Oh, I like that. It’s funny, and this young James is really doing everything he can to assure Remus that he really doesn’t mind his “werewolf problem”. He really is an excellent friend, proving that he cares more about the person in question, than about prejudices.

BC, your flow and description and word choices are all excellent and flawless, so it’s really difficult to offer some kind of critique on this one-shot. The only thing I would question is the basic idea – would James, pure-blooded and raised in a wizard family, really not know about the different characteristics of werewolves and vampires? I am certainly not suggesting you should change this, since the whole story is based on his misunderstanding, but I thought I’d tell you that I reacted on it.

Hee. It’s a wonderful little tweak there, at the end. Remus’ reactions are priceless, and it’s easy to tell how relieved and grateful he is, and the undetected-by-James-sarcasm is perfect for Remus’ character. All in all, this is an amusing little piece about friendship, with lovely language and grammar. The sort of story that brightens every reader’s day. Yay!

Cyrus & Ginny by FullofLife

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Her marriage has broken, her life is in shatters and there is nothing she can do but go on pretending and living... and always, always remembering.

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 05/02/08 Title: Chapter 1: Cyrus & Ginny

Hello Amel! What a wonderful story you have here; I feel like I can’t leave the page without reviewing it.

Wonderful, yes, in terms of mechanics like language and style; the tale itself would be more appropriately labelled as “heart-wrenching”, I think. A rather embarrassing part of me is currently on its knees, begging you not to let this story end the way you’ve left it here, because, surely, there must be a happy ending somewhere out there? The more sensible (and hopefully dominant) part, however, is busy applauding.

The first thing I must comment on his how well you’ve managed to puzzle the pieces of this story together. I wasn’t confused even once, which is unusual for me when reading fics that switch between different times and settings. ;) The whole piece flows incredibly nicely, and the rhythm of your words is captivating.

Something else that impresses me is how you manage to write third person so… intimately that it feels like first-person perspective. At several points in your story I came across the word “she”, and actually had to backtrack a bit to make sure that you hadn’t suddenly switched the point of view. I think this tells us that you have a great gift for making us feel the emotions of your characters.

Yes, let’s talk about your characters. It takes some effort on my part to look at your Ginny objectively, to compare her to the canon figure we know, when the character you’ve written is so alive and elaborate that she seems perfect. I will definitely not suggest any changes, because this person is what you need for the story – she is the story, in several ways – but I’m still going to point out that I’m not entirely sure that canon!Ginny would react this way if Harry disappeared. Though, in the amazing, heated argument with Harry, you have her perfectly pinned down, perfectly in character. It’s rather a rare thing to see, an author who has taken one of JKR’s people and shaped him or her exactly to what they need, and done it so well that characterisation isn’t really an issue. I couldn’t really care less if your Ginny would contradict Jo’s version (not that she does, particularly), because she’s still excellently written.

And, ah! Cyrus! I can’t decide on my major feeling for him – he creeps me out with the whole jealousy and possessiveness thing, but at the same time I’m sorry for him being a Squib and so often looked down upon, and I like him because some part of him seems to genuinely care for Ginny. To sum up, I suppose I could say that he is a wonderfully complex and realistic OC, and that I admire you for writing him.

The other canon characters you’ve included leave nothing to wish for. Your Ron is, for want of a more original word, amazing. I believe I even choked out an, “Oh, Ron!” while reading; he’s so loyal and wonderful and good.

We don’t see much of your Harry – in the flesh, at least. You have done an incredible job of including him in the fic, from the very beginning, without actually mentioning him. And it’s not just because I expect to hear or see something about Harry in every, single story about Ginny, no, I don’t know exactly how you’ve done it, but you make your reader very aware of the fact that he’s missing from the picture. All of the italicised him references work beautifully.

And when we’re already at subtle things that tickled my curiosity, I must also mention how I like the way you dealt with the ‘S-word’. It surprised me that I didn’t make the connection until I saw the whole word, ‘Squib’, especially since I have a Squib play a rather important part in a future fic of my own. I kept thinking, What does she mean? S-word? What?! while reading, and now I can only chuckle and compliment you on a nice details to keep your readers eager.

My reviews are normally full of quotations of parts I particularly liked, but I find that it’s hard to choose favourite slices of this fic when it’s all so good. However, this I thought was very clever and original:

She hinted at a proposal, once, at his home when he had asked her how she would like her rice: fried or boiled. She had told him she would very much like her rice thrown, but the suggestion had gone right over his head and he only told her he had never heard of thrown rice before, and since he was making dinner for her, she would have to settle for either boiled or fried.

For some reason, I found this sentence to be very powerful:

Cyrus had kept that job for more than four years… from the day they had met, to the day it all fell apart…

I know that the line is about his job, but at the same time it includes so much of their history, and it also pushes your readers forward through the story, curious to know why it fell apart.

Now, I don’t nitpick much these days, but I saw a few errors that I would have liked someone to point out to me, had I been the author of this story.

how Hermione had advised her to get on with her won life because boys were thicker than they looked and had to notice a girl themselves - a typo there, ‘won’ where it should say ‘own’.

He had smiled, and kissed her one last time, before slipping his hand out of hers and ensuring her that he would return to her, even after million days… - it should be ‘a million days’, I think?

You’re telling me you, the Great Chosen One, couldn’t have found a way to inform - here I thought that you might have intended to write, ‘You’re telling me that you, etc.’

I’m sorry that I couldn’t offer more constructive criticism on this story, but there is just very little, nothing in fact, that I think could be improved. Though, perhaps I agree with that earlier review, that the title could have been something to hint at the complexity of the story. But on the other hand, simplicity often works just as well. ;)

To round off, Amel, I will tell you that this is the best story I’ve read in a long while, and that the quality of your writing makes me a very, very happy reader. Yes, part of this reader is still at your feet, pleading for the happy ending, but the coherent part of me would like to than you for a deep, captivating and touching story.

Author's Response: Good Lord, how do I express my feelings over this amazing review! It\'s really rare to get such an in-depth one and I\'m flattered beyond belief. :) Thank you so much for all the nitpicks (I fixed them) and comments (I loved them!) and I\'m so happy that you think this is a good story. Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times over!

Deign by miss padfoot

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: HBP missing moment. After Ron gets poisoned on his birthday, Lavender and Hermione come to visit him.

This is for SPEW 007, prompt 'Deign'.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 09/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oh, Preethi, this is such a sweet story, and perfectly canon-compliant too! I know it was written before the release of Deathly Hallows, but it could just as well have been written afterwards. I’m impressed with how you’ve managed to keep it so innocent and yet so emotional – I know that I couldn’t have resisted at least a little kiss.

I only found one mistake:

“And I’m you’re girlfriend, not Hermione Granger!”

A classical you’re/your error there. =)

All thoughts of breakfast forgotten, he pushed the tray away and lay down, staring at the ceiling.

This is a great line to use! We all know how obsessed Ron is with food – so if something is bothering him so much that he’s not even touching his breakfast, then it must be really serious. ;)

I really like the contrast between Lavender’s and Hermione’s characters, and how Ron reacts to them. You do a very good job of showing us how Ron feels about the two girls, instead of just telling us. For example, how he’s bothered about Lavender’s attempt to feed him, but is delighted when Hermione helps him with the potions. Nice!

Your writing is quite lovely, Preethi, and I have nothing to remark on about grammar or spelling. Your flow is natural and well-paced, and everyone’s well in character and backed up by canon facts.

Again, I must mention how sweet this story is, and also tell you that I’m still wearing a grin on my face from reading it. Good job, dear! :D

Author's Response: Thanks for the wonderful review, Anna dear! :D Oh, and thanks for pointing that error to me. I\'ll fix it asap. :)\r\n

These Three Remain by LuthAn

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: 1692. A landmark year for wizards with the passage of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. The Statute and concurrent negotiations in Paris are at the fringes of every wizard's mind as wizards across the globe must change the way they interact with Muggles. But for three young students, a much more important event is at hand: The Triwizard Tournament.

One is an observer, torn between two worlds. One is a determined competitor, willing to do anything to make his father proud. And one is a shunned outsider, his family name fallen from grace.

These Three Remain.

Written by LuthAn of Gryffindor for the Summer Challenge: TriWizard Tales. Tied for third place in the Challenge!

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 08/20/07 Title: Chapter 2: Everything Changes

Hi Anna!

Yep, I’m finally back to review the second chapter of your fabulous story. I’ve had it printed and scribbled full of notes for a review for almost two weeks now, but this is my first chance to sit down and actually type it up. So here we go!

The overall feeling of the chapter is just as wonderful as your first one – and it’s so nice to see that you really are keeping up the good work. Some authors, I’ve found, put a lot of work into their first chapter but then it’s like they lose inspiration or think that they don’t have to work as hard, or something. But the quality of your writing is just as excellent here, which proves to me that you’re a writer who has found her style, and who knows what she’s doing.

The first part of this chapter is an excellent blend of Josephine’s personal feelings and her thoughts about the Statute of Secrecy. Through her, you show us so many angles and details, and the consequences that will come with the passing of this Statute. It is such a great and grand thing, and at the same time it affects her. As you write, The International Statute of Wizard Secrecy. It would be the end of her relationship.

Before I continue, there are a couple of things I’d like to quote from the very first part of the chapter.

But he was most anxious for the start of the Triwizard Tournament.

I like your rhythmic repetition of “anxious” in this part of the chapter, but I’m not sure about “most anxious” here. In my mind, it sounds better with, “But most of all, he was anxious for”, etc. But that, I suppose, could be a matter of taste.

She knew she loved Pascal, or at least thought she could, but the fact remained that she was a witch and he not a wizard.

This was a little confusing to me. The word I’ve underlined here, ‘could’ – did you mean to write ‘did’? If you meant to write ‘could’, as in ‘would be able to’, then perhaps it would be a good idea to clarify that a bit, maybe by writing something like, “She knew she loved Pascal, and she thought that she would be able to spend her life with him, despite the fact that she was a witch and he was not a wizard.” If that is what you meant, of course. =)

“They would put you to death and kill Pascal right along with you.”

This is wonderful. The words you’ve chosen – not “they would kill you”, but “put you to death”; I love it. Remy’s frankness on the subject tells us that he’s a sensible man, and also that he cares a great deal about his sister.

I’m skipping right to the next part of your chapter, and your magnificent descriptions of Beauxbatons. Not only are those descriptions rich and colourful throughout the chapter, but you’ve been incredibly clever in telling your readers that Versailles was modelled after it. Now, we can all go search Google images for a perfect picture of what Beauxbatons looks like in your story, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to visit Versailles (me, me!) will have a very special insight to what you’ve made the school look like in your story. Excellent!

Along with the information about Versailles, you give us a good idea of exactly how wealthy and important the de Tuileries family is. Good – I like how you keep adding details about the character, instead of giving us all of the information on them in the first chapter.

Sure enough, the gilded gold doors were slowly pushed apart, no longer charged with the lamentable duty of concealing the glorious interiors of the Palace Beauxbatons.

This is Word Art, and I’m grinning from the pleasure of reading it. The “lamentable duty” – yum. You seem to go with impressive words and sentence structures for impressive sceneries and situations in your story, and that is ever so fitting.

One tiny detail before I throw myself over the next part:

William Warrington-Hughes heard this statement spoke, but it floated around the outer regions of his mind, not quite fully registering.

Here it seems that you meant either ‘spoken’ or ‘being spoken’? Another way of putting it might be, “heard this opinion being stated” – just a suggestion. =)

George! Would it be awful if I let go of just a tiny little fangirl squee and say what a wonderful character you’ve created? Well, I mean, another wonderful character – but, guh, George’s dialogue is wonderful from the first word, and “It is truly an assault on the senses.” – lol, his indignation might be sincere, but you still present it in a humorous way. In a matter of four paragraphs, I’ve totally fallen for this character.

Back to William – the paragraph in which you discuss the House history of his family is particularly well-written. It’s full of gems, like “an errant Ravenclaw here and there”, and “practically bled Green and Silver”. The letter that follows soon after this shows another of your great qualities – all of a sudden, you stick a POTTER into your story, and firmly tie your story tighter to the world that JKR created for us. I almost keel over with excitement at this, but still I don’t make the connection – I expect the Potter in your story to be some random person you haven’t introduced yet. And then, when it turns out that he’s George - well, let’s just say that I gasped out loud at work. Of course, this wouldn’t have been half as overwhelming if you hadn’t just introduced George so brilliantly – and that’s the brilliance of your writing in a nutshell, how you make it all fit together so cleverly.

Though, a question: At the end of the letter, Mr Warrington-Hughes has signed his letter “Yours&c”. Is there a typo in there, or is it just me who doesn’t know the meaning of this?

After you presented the Potter Surprise so well, it’s nice with a relatively calm and “smooth” ending of the chapter. Alexandr is so full of determination, and touches my heart in a special way – you know, when I think of it, there is a certain Harry-like quality about him, which greatly appeals to me. (Harry being my favourite character, and all.) You’re doing an excellent job of keeping your readers on edge for more details about Alexandr’s brother.

I spotted something that I thought was a bit odd:

“Lord knows there will be little to no enforcement of the Statute, at least not in Moscow.”

I wonder which “Lord” Mr Gregorovitch is referring to here? I think that, typically, wizard folk would use “Merlin knows” or something like that instead. JKR never really discussed wizard religion in her books, but I can’t remember ever hearing a pure-blood (or any person who grew up with a magical family) use the words “God” or “Lord”, if not referring to the Dark Lord.

And… sigh. I feel such sympathy for Alexandr. Of course, the Tournament is important for everyone involved, but to him it’s dead serious – about life and death, even. I can’t help it and I don’t know why, though perhaps it’s because he’s the last person you write about in the chapter, but when I finish reading I’m quietly rooting for Alexandr.

As you can hopefully tell from my blabbering, Anna, I’m enjoying your story immensely, and I hope I’ll be able to write down my review for your third chapter soon. In the meantime, though, I would like to thank you for sharing such a lovely story with us!

Author's Response: My, oh my. Once again, your review has made me a very happy girl! I seriously think your comments are better written than the story!! :)

The Statute seemed like a perfect anchor to kind of base the story around, although you might find that it slips to the background as the Tournament intensifies. Rest assured that by the end, all will be tied together. ;) But of the three characters, the Statute will probably affect Josie most--at least in the most tangible way--so it was very important for me to try to convey her thoughts, and I\'m thrilled that they came through so well!

I think the changes you suggested are spot-on. I did mean to say something along the lines of \"would be able to love\" instead of could--that is exactly what I intended. So thanks for the suggestion! I will hopefully make that change--I want to go back and do some edits to the story sometime in the near(ish) future.

You\'ve understood my conception of Remy perfectly, too--or at least Remy as we know him so far. He\'s not afraid to be frank, and he and Josie are incredibly close.

Versailles. Oh, Versailles. What a magnificent place! I went about two years ago and was just blown away (although the Hall of Mirrors was closed for renovations! I was so upset), and I knew that it was perfect for Beauxbatons. From what we saw of them in GoF, it seems like they are pretty haughty and used to real elegance, so what better model for that than the craziest, most self-indulgent palace of all time?? :)

I\'m so pleased you like George. I considered not putting a Potter in the story, and then actually regretted it after I did, but I\'ve since warmed up to the idea. Like you said, it\'s nice to have some tie-in to JKR\'s stuff. A Potter keeps the story grounded in canon, and it was fun to imagine how Harry\'s ancestors might have acted! George is fun to write. :)

\"Yours &c.\" is the way that people used to sign letters--it\'s another way of saying \"yours, et cetera.\" The first time I read it (probably in \"Pride and Prejudice\") I was so confused, but apparently it was totally normal, so I thought I should include it!

I never considered that Aleksandr and Harry are similar, but I guess I can see it! They both certainly are determined, and definitely share some demons they have to overcome--haunted pasts, if you will. I wonder if the comparison will hold up as we see more and more of Aleksandr. I\'m interested to see what you think!

The \"Lord\" was actually a conscious insertion. I figured that this (1691) was a much more religious time than today\'s world, especially in Russia, so I wanted Gregorovitch to be holding on to an older time. Also, I kind of wanted to hint that maybe his faith in God is growing as his faith in the wizarding world is fading. That might be way too much to infer from a single word, and I agree that it might not fit in with the picture she\'s painted, but it felt natural for Mr. Greg. :)

I\'ll tell you a secret: Aleksandr is my favorite. If you\'re rooting for him, it\'s probably because I am, too! Don\'t tell the others! hehe

I am very nervous that the quality of the chapters won\'t be consistent. I had to write this story so fast because of the challenge deadlines, and I think some chapters work a lot better than others. That\'s just a warning for you, I suppose! But I do sincerely hope that you enjoy the rest of the story, and even if you hate it, I\'m sure the quality of your reviews will be enough to keep me going! Seriously, they are amazing. You are doing S.P.E.W. proud!!!

Thanks again,

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 08/06/07 Title: Chapter 1: Faith, Hope, and Love

Hello, Anna. Oh, you should see my face right now. It’s not all too often that I find a piece of fanfiction that is well written, that I like, and that hasn’t already got a ton of reviews so that mine seems unnecessary. I’m simply delighted! ;) Before I begin this review, I want to point out that I have only read the first chapter so far, and that I’m determined to review it before I continue. So if I seem a bit clueless about the upcoming chapters, that’s why.

So, why do I think this story is so great? I had to take a moment to think about it, you know, because there are so many parts that contribute. But let’s start with your language. Firstly, it’s very mature. I have no idea how old you are, and after nearly three years on this site I’ve learned that age don’t matter when it comes to great writing, anyway. But your English is wonderfully varied and you use several words and expressions I don’t know (not being a native speaker/writer myself), and you use them in such a way that they don’t seem pompous (and most certainly not ‘cumbersome’ ;), but instead they add a certain quality to your writing. Lovely. Plus, for very selfish reasons, I’m happy to learn some new words!

Secondly, your spelling and grammar are, as far as I can judge, almost perfect. Not only does this add to the feeling of quality, but it’s easier for a reader to concentrate on your story when they’re not distracted by spelling errors or comma splices. Not much more to say about that, I guess, except keep up the good work. =)

Okay, now I need to look at the actual story before I get too impatient. The fist thing that comes to my mind is the formatting. The text is very comfortable to read with correct formatting and even paragraphs, but I would like to suggest a change at the very beginning of the first chapter. I don’t know if it’s necessary to put the chapter title in the text (between the Author’s Note and the beginning of the chapter text), as it’s already in the scroll menu above and also on the overview page of the full story. But whether you want to keep it there or not, I would suggest putting a few blank lines and perhaps even a black line in between the A/N and the chapter. A small thing to bug you about, perhaps, but I think that a story as good as this one deserves to be perfect in every sense.

Ah, and for the next thing I want to discuss, please let me quote the following:

But it is not for them to decide. It is not for any of them to decide.

What an excellent example of good use of repetition! Unintentional repetition of words happen to be a pet peeve of mine, so seeing it used like this, where it really contributes to the flow and rhythm of a story, makes me so happy! And as we’re on the subject of flow, let me just say that These Three Remain leaves nothing to wish for in that area. Not once during this chapter did your sentences stumble over each other, and each word following another seemed to be the very right one.

Your dialogue flows just as well, and I’m pleased with your decision not to write accents but only include words from other languages. Personally, I always avoid writing characters like Hagrid, Fleur and Krum, because I just keep pulling my hair out while trying to get it right. Some fanfic authors do it though, and pull it off well, but a rather frightening number don’t put enough work into it and, to me, a badly written accent can ruin a whole story.

This story seems very well nestled in the magical world that J.K. Rowling has created, and yet it doesn’t depend on it too much. You set the tone and time of the piece really well already in the very beginning, and you’re very consistent with that feeling throughout the chapter. During the limited time we get to spend with the de Tuileries, you paint a clear and realistic image of the family dynamics. The parents come alive, and so does Remy, but Josephine really stands out. I thought about it, and if I hadn’t already suspected that Josephine would become a Triwizard champion, it could just as well have been Remy. Sure, his appearance is very brief, but his actions speak a great deal of his character.

You also explain Josephine’s situation really well, with the love she feels, the obligations towards her family and the expectations and pressure put upon her. Oh, if she really will be a Triwizard tournament, I’m sure I’m really going to enjoy reading about her fate.

A couple of more thoughts about the first part of the chapter:

“Oui, papa. He is Pascal. He comes from Cabriès.”

- judging by the rest of this chapter, you’ve intended to italicize all non-English words. Here you seemed to have missed the ‘oui’. And:

“Papa, I love him.”

“Well,” he said, hugging her tightly, “fall out of love.”

When I read this, I just had a random thought that if you had written “Papa, I’m in love with him.” instead, you would have gotten a nice little contrast between the “in love” and Jean-Batiste’s “out of love”. Just a thought. =)

Oh, dear, this review is getting so out of hand and I think we’re beyond all hope of some structure. But I just have to mention your lovely descriptions. You don’t overdo it by spending eight paragraphs on describing the pattern of the wallpapers, but you’ve got the details there to give your story a feeling of fullness and completion. There are too many examples of this to point out and praise, so I will pick a couple at random and applause at your description of Remy’s clothing, and her words muffled in the folds of his brocade jacket. Wonderful.

Onto the next part of the chapter. I realise at the very beginning of it how you’ve set up the three parts, and I must say that it really appeals to me. Again, it makes the chapter look thought-through and well-plotted, as if you’ve spent a significant amount of time working on it.

Then, ! Hee, I can’t even begin to describe what an absolute sucker I am for the English countryside. You use the father/son interaction so cleverly, both to describe their individual characters and tell us what kind of background William comes from, and how he’s managed to create his own opinion in spite of (or perhaps thanks to?) it. And would it be horrible of me if I said that I really want to pop into your story, marry William Warrington-Hughes and live happily ever after at some English estate? *cough*

The next thing that really excites me is when you introduce Henry and stir up the discussion about the Statute of Secrecy. I recall that you mentioned it in the story summary, but at this point I’ve been completely distracted by the other parts of your story that it comes as a surprise. Oh, I can’t wait to see how you’re going to weave this into your story and what kind of reactions it’s going to create.

I would like to suggest one change to this part of the chapter:

“Someone needs to put these Muggles in their place, and that someone today is me.”

- the word order there is a little confusing. I think it would sound better if you wrote, “…and today that someone is me.”

The third and last part of your chapter is also the most intriguing one. Not only because of the familiar names you mention (which are hotter than phoenix fire now, after the release of Deathly Hallows), but also because you let us know that Alexandr is “immensely powerful” and hint at the scandal/tragedy surrounding his older brother five years earlier. You don’t tell us if Dragomir is dead, or if he somehow let the school down. Yes, I am VERY intrigued.

Your description of the situation for the wizarding society of Eastern Europe is frightening and definitely puts things into perspective. It’s easy to see how they’re desperate for a bit of glory, for a hero to gather around at such evil times. Which, you know, leads my thoughts to Britain, some three hundred years later…

So, here we are. I’m assuming that you have introduced your three Triwizard champions to us, and I think it’s quite obvious that I like how you’ve done that. ;) I will definitely be reading the following chapters, though I promise that my reviews won’t be quite as annoyingly exhausting as this one. Great work, Anna!

Author's Response: I am stunned. I am speechless. I think this review actually made me dizzy with happiness. It\'s almost as long as the chapter! :-)

I hardly know where to begin. I guess I should start by saying THANK YOU. A review like this only comes around every once in a while, and I am SO pleased that you have decided to grace my day with it!

Let\'s start with the bad stuff first. ;-) Formatting: I totally agree that there should be some line breaks. In fact, I\'ll go add them in right now--I always forget to put in a few extra spaces. Your notes about specific syntax and/or diction were very helpful, and I think once the story is finished, I\'d like to dive back in and take a look at your suggestions! It\'s always good to have another pair of eyes point out things like that.

As for your compliments, I cannot tell you how floored I was by them. I am especially pleased that you like Josephine. I was hoping she didn\'t come off as too naive or childish or any of those things (though I suppose you could grow to hate her in forthcoming chapters...)

It thrills me to no end to know that I am exposing you to new words. I also love learning new words, trying them out, seeing what they feel like, and this story has expanded my vocabulary a bit, too! Trying to stay true to the time period has been difficult, and I make no claims that I\'ve done it accurately at all, but at least I\'ve tried. ;-)

Oh, dear, I\'m getting carried away with my smiley faces! I can\'t wait for you to keep reading and discovering more and more, though I am infinitely nervous now--I hope the next chapters are up to snuff!

I am just going to be incessantly repetitive if I go on, but know that I am positively beside myself at this review. If I could, I would write a comment about every single thing you mentioned. (Un)fortunately, however, I have to go finish the story!

Please note that this review was anything but \"annoyingly exhausting.\" I very much look forward to your reactions to the next chapters, be they good or bad!

Thanks again, SO much.

P.S: After this review, you are absolutely entitled to pop into the story and claim William for your own. Hurry, before someone else does!!

Mirrors and Their Practical Uses by joybelle423

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: CoS missing moment. Why was Penelope Petrified with Hermione? Did Hermione tell her about the Basilisk? What really happened that day?
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 10/28/07 Title: Chapter 1: Mirrors and Their Practical Uses

*shakes head* Silly people leaving such wonderful reviews for ALL of Abi’s stories! But I tried to pick a story that had gotten, by comparison, little attention. So, *rubs hands together*, here we go!

Mm, yes, I love me a missing moment fic. The very fact that an author has chosen to write one proves to me that they have a genuine interest in canon and are willing to spend some time and effort on researching the books and referring to them. (You know, not like me who only does so when it suits me and then bluntly ignore JKR’s work the rest of the time…) So, what I’m trying to say is that you get a shiny, golden star from me simply because you chose to write this type of fic. Yay for you. :)

I also believe that writing a missing moment fic puts the author in a particularly JKR-ish mood and that it’s easier to be true to her style and her characters when you’re consciously trying to fit your story into hers. Perhaps it’s because of this, perhaps not, but in either case I think you’ve done a splendid job of writing something that could well be by Jo herself.

I’m going to discuss Hermione for a bit, because while Penelope is very well written and I have no complaints there, she’s not very prominent in canon and thus I can be more picky about Hermione. ;) In fact, I had never realised what an untypical thing it must have been for Hermione to tear a page out of a book! Well spotted! Overall, you have written her perfectly – exactly how I want to read her. You’ve got the essential details plus a few you’ve added yourself; I loved the note on her facial expression when knowing she was right.

You’ve got Hermione’s brains right, and her faith in people like prefects and professors. She’s still very young in CoS, and I although Hermione was always very clever and advanced for her age, I think you’ve captured her youth very well. At the moment I can’t recall whether the book said that it wasn’t Hermione’s mirror, but if it didn’t then I’m glad that you let it be Penelope’s – I don’t think that 13-year-old Hermione would be carrying a mirror in her pocket/bag.

This is probably my favourite line from the entire fic:

‘That’s what I used to think,’ said Hermione. ‘And then a great big owl delivered a letter to my house, saying I was a witch. And since then, things just can’t seem to leave me alone.’

The tone is very Hermione, but also with a wonderfully familiar dash of Harry-ness (“You know me – I like a quiet life.” and “Trouble usually finds me.”). However, I might suggest a change to the last sentence. “Things” sound a bit too general, there. I realise that you’re referring to Penelope’s “those kinds of things” in the previous line of dialogue, but maybe it would be clearer if you wrote, “And since then, those kinds of things just won’t stop happening.”

The only other issues I had with the story also concerned dialogue. If you look at the following bit:

‘You’re probably right,’ Hermione agreed. ‘But oh no …’

See the last part? “But oh no …”? I just can’t picture someone saying that in my head. It’s not impossible, but I think it would be more like, “But… Oh no!” Or maybe, “But… Oh no…” Does that make sense?

And this was something I thought was a bit out of character for Hermione:

‘We’ll use it to look around corners and things,’ explained Hermione. ‘That way, if the Basilisk is there, we’ll at least only be Petrified, not killed.’

It’s evil old “things” again. ;) When you place it in her dialogue like that, it sounds like she’s blabbering, and while we have seen a blabbering!Hermione in canon (in Borgin and Burke’s, for one), I don’t think it’s very typical for her. If you meant it as a specific “things”, it might sound better with, “We’ll use it to look around corners and statues and other things.”

After analysing it a bit more, I get a feeling that this isn’t one of your fics that you’ve spent the most time on. Your style is as lovely as ever and your language is tidy yet expressive, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing some more description concerning emotions and setting. That said, I can’t find a particular place in the story to just squeeze something in – it’s a well-rounded and lovely little piece with a dramatic ending. Good job, dear!

The True Story of Luna Lovegood by gen_potter

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Luna says her mother died in an experiment. But is that the truth? And why is Luna hiding the real reason?
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 08/01/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi Gen! This is an interesting piece on Luna you have here, so I thought I’d leave you a review!

To begin with, I’d like to point out a couple of small formatting mistakes. At the moment it’s a bit difficult to make out where the Author’s Note ends and the story starts, so I would suggest either putting a line or several blank lines between the paragraphs belonging to the A/N and to the actual story. The other little formatting issue I stumbled upon was this:

The little blonde girl sat in her bed, looking through the tatty pages of an old book. A
blonde woman walked through the bedroom door.

- see? For some reason the sentence is split into three lines. This shouldn’t be too difficult to correct, though. =) But while I’ve already quoted those two sentences, I want to ask you about the repetition of “blonde”. Is it intentional, the “little blonde girl” versus “the tall blonde woman”? If not, I think it might work to write something like, “A tall woman of matching hair colour walked through the bedroom door.” – just to get a bit more variation and flow in your text.

Ha, I love that you named Luna’s mother Evanna! It’s a very pretty name, and it already makes your readers think about Luna since that’s the name of the girl who plays her in OotP. Lovely!

Hmm… I’m not sure I agree 100% with your interpretation of Lucius Malfoy. Yes, perhaps he joined the Death Eaters willingly, but when reading the books I always got the impression that he was more snobby and self-important than really evil. I think he might have offered to torture or kill someone if Voldemort had been present, to prove himself so to speak, but I don’t think he enjoys hurting people, like Bellatrix or McNair. At least not pure-blood wizards and witches – Lucius does have a serious case of pure-blood-mania, doesn’t he? Of course, he could well consider the Lovegoods to be blood-traitors… but, lol, now I’m just blabbering. My point is that I think that some other Death Eater would be more likely to step forward and do such a horrible deed. And before I leave the subject of Lucius, I would like to add that I really like how you’ve written that he speaks “smoothly” – that’s exactly how I imagine Lucius’ voice!

I have some thoughts on the “Crucio Muffliato” curse. I agree with you and think it’s a very clever thing of you to have thought of, that the Death Eaters would have a curse to torture their victims without a sound. But I don’t know if “Muffliato” is the appropriate spell to combine it with? Because, judging by canon, it only blocks out the sounds of the caster of the spell, not the person it’s cast at, and it’s also supposed to fill the ears of the surrounding people with a buzz, or something like that. This is of course no big deal, but it was something I reacted on. If you would like to change the spell, I would like to suggest Silencio, the spell Harry & Co used on bullfrogs and ravens during a Charms lesson in their fifth year.

Then I’ll move quickly forward to Luna’s and Harry’s conversation. The first thing that struck me was this:

Luna thought about how he did ask rather a lot of questions, but decided to answer them anyway.

Oh, that is so wonderfully Luna! Spot on! It’s wonderful that you don’t write, “Luna thought that all of his questions were annoying” or something like that, because I imagine that Luna would simply state the fact to herself, not be annoyed with or bothered by it. And this is also so her:

Luna longed for a best friend, and if she had some she would take every opportunity to be with them.

Such a simple line and such Luna-like logic. In fact, I think Luna, as a character, suits your style of writing very well, because both she and your style are very straightforward and honest. And, now, this I think is really interesting:

Luna looked at Harry, smiling desperately, waiting for him to say “I heard them too. You’re not the only one, I heard them too.” Was she the only one who could hear them?

In the books, we’ve always seen Luna as very sure of herself and her “odd ways”, and she’s repeatedly argued for the things she believe in. But here, all of a sudden, you write her doubtful and unsure of what she heard was real, or if she’s really “loony”. And while this may be different from the Luna we know, I think it works well for your story. This isn’t about something trivial like unknown, magical animals or a Rotfang Conspiracy, but about something as serious as her beloved mother. And perhaps it’s so that when Luna wishes, more than ever, that an odd thing is real, she also doubts it the most? Very interesting, I think.

I found only one typo/spelling error in your story: “What shall we do with the little girl who asks to many questions?” - that needs to be “too” instead of “to”. And then I found this, an unclear pronoun reference:

Seeing Lucius Malfoy and his son, Draco boarding the Hogwarts express, then seeing Snape as one of the teachers.

When reading that, it sounds to me like both Lucius and Draco are boarding the train. Of course, most of your readers will know that only Draco got on the train, but perhaps you want to rewrite it to make it easier to understand. A better way of putting it might be, “Seeing Lucius Malfoy on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters with his son, Draco, and then seeing Snape as one of the professors.”

Finally, I’d like to talk about the very last sentence of your story:

“Mum would be proud,” she thought, taking the first few steps toward overcoming the sadness.

I like the part about her mum being proud and that Luna finds comfort in that thought, but I’m confused by the “taking the first steps toward overcoming the sadness”. In your story, it’s been five years since Evanna Lovegood’s death, and I would think that Luna has struggled with overcoming the sadness since the day her mother died. Perhaps it would sound better to say, “taking another step toward overcoming the sadness.”?

lol, poor Gen, I hope you don’t think I’m too harsh? If I understood correctly this is your first piece of submitted fanfic, so congratulations! Your spelling and grammar are very good, and that’s an excellent starting point. Allow yourself to play with words and descriptions and you’ll soon see how your stories flow and grow and how your personal style develops. I enjoyed reading this story, and I really hope you continue writing!

Author's Response: Thank you so much, Fantasium. I\'m going to refer to your advice when I try and write again. You definitely weren\'t too harsh, I\'m going to need all the help I can get!

Coercion by LadyAlesha

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Seventh year at Hogwarts under Headmaster Severus Snape should have been easy for pureblooded Daphne Greengrass, but when both Theodore Nott and Pansy Parkinson take a not-so-passing interest in her, her problems have only just begun.

Written for Roxy Black's Romance class.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 09/29/07 Title: Chapter 1: one-shot

Oh, Ilka! What a lovely gem of a story you have here! Your writing is as nice as ever, although… I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something unusually mature and well-developed about your language in this piece, as if you’ve put extra effort and thought into all your sentences and word choices. Speaking of which, I couldn’t find a single typo or grammar error! So if you find this review to be sadly lacking in constructive criticism, well, I daresay it’s your own fault. ;)

Theodore Nott is an interesting character to work with, isn’t he? We know of his family’s connections within the Wizarding world and that he’s a Slytherin, but very little about his personality or beliefs. As such he’s in a perfect position to play with, to develop, and I must say that you have done this very well. Daphne Greengrass is a similar person, I think, although you’ve had even more space to make up her character and, again, you’ve done that so well!

I’m slightly in awe over the conversation you’ve written between Pansy and Theodore; it flows so well and naturally, and you express their feelings so accurately. Pansy’s character is spot on, and you make me dislike her just as much as I do when reading the canon works.

Now, what I find most interesting about this one-shot is that it focuses (at least enough for you to put it in a Romance category) on a relationship, and Theodore’s feelings for Daphne. It becomes very difficult to put him down as a good or a bad character; he does belong to Voldemort, but he’s so gentle and patient with Daphne. It doesn’t seem like he’s thought about opposing Voldemort, but I get a feeling that he’s mostly suggesting that Daphne should join his ranks for her own protection. Somehow, it reminds me of what Jenna does with Lucius Malfoy’s character in Sins of the Father - he’s one of the bad guys, but he has still got feelings and is more than just a mindless monster. And that, I think, is absolutely fascinating to read about, especially when it’s as well-written as this one-shot!

Thank you, Ilka, for sharing this story with us. It is beautifully written and leaves me thoughtful, in a good way. I daresay that this is the best I’ve read of your work! =)

Author's Response: No typos or grammar mistakes? Wow, that must be a first! Theodore was indeed a lovely character to play with. At first he was just supposed to pretend to like Daphne to get her to join Voldemort, but he ended up having actual feelings for her and then he just couldn\'t be a completely evil character anymore. I definitely have to read Sins one of these days, I hate it when people make Lucius cold and without feelings, so I will most likely enjoy Jenna\'s Lucius very much. *huggles Anna* Thanks for the wonderful review!

To Be First by solemnlyswear_x

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Petunia Evans had never been pretty like Lily, or smart like Lily, but she had always been first. First born, first to walk, first to cross the street by herself, and now, first to be accepted into Hogwarts. As the acceptance letter Petunia has been waiting for since she can remember doesn’t arrive, she battles the frightening prospect that she may not be a witch at all.

A submission to the Autumn Challenge’s Telling the Truth prompt by solemnlyswear_x of Gryffindor.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 02/24/08 Title: Chapter 1: To Be First

Oh, Melissa. This story really moved my heart. Even with what we learned in Deathly Hallows, I’ve never been able to quite forgive Petunia for how she treated Harry. But while reading your story, I momentarily forget about that, probably because you’ve been so clever and added that AU element about the Evans being a strong pure-blood family, making Petunia’s situation so much worse.

I want to take a moment to discuss your writing style. I found it very easy and enjoyable to read; you have that fine quality of writing just enough, with no excess description or awkward phrasing, where you seem to use only the necessary words to get out what you want to say. Not that your writing is plain or bare, no, you have just enough detail and emotions to make it interesting. Your style serves you really well for a story like this, where you’re trying to convey someone’s emotions without having to be too poetic.

Your fic has lots of lovely details strewn through it, one of my favourite examples being how Petunia crosses out the days in her calendar, just like Harry later did before returning to Hogwarts. I also really liked this part:

Lily would get the castle and Quidditch and spells.

By using the word ‘castle’ there, you make me think of fairytales and princesses, and I automatically relate Lily to the fair one who got the prince and half of the kingdom, while her sister was left with nothing. I don’t know if it was intentional on your part, but it works really well.

Something that didn’t quite make sense to me was the following:

As the end of December gave way to January, and the new year hurried along, Petunia memorized all the spells she could and practiced writing with her quill.

We have learned that all magical children receive some degree of basic schooling before attending Hogwarts, and since you’ve portrayed the Evans family as pure-blooded, I think it’s likely that Petunia would have used a quill from the very moment she learned to write. Of course, she could still have ‘practiced writing’ with one, but the way you phrased it made me think that she was learning to use a quill for the first time.

I’m also very sad to think that Mr and Mrs Evans wouldn’t have been straight with their daughter about her being a Squib, and simply decided not to tell her about McGonagall’s letter. Some part of me wants to object, to say that they should have talked to her and discussed other options for Petunia’s future, but of course, I know as little about the canon!Evans as any other fanfiction writer. We only have very incomplete information about Lily as well, and although her opinions and morals seem to have been in the right place, I suppose that doesn’t automatically make her parents perfect people who would do the right thing for Petunia. And I guess that even if we did know that about their parents, this is AU after all, ;)

Lastly, I would like to tell you that I’m very impressed with how you’ve written Petunia. Normally I try to illustrate my character interpretation praise with examples, but with your story it’s more of a feeling, somehow. I’m fully aware that this is AU, but still it really feels like I’ve got the actual, young Petunia Evans in front of my eyes when I read. All of her reactions and thoughts are completely in line with how I see her character, and it really pleases me.

As I said, a very moving piece supported by strong, clear language, by an author who clearly knows what she’s doing. ;) Good job!

Author's Response: *squees* Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful review! I was so happy when I saw this. :) I see what you mean about the quill thing; you\'re probably right that she would have already used one. If I can think of something to switch it with, I just might do it. :) I\'m glad you liked the story, and thanks again for all your lovely comments!

Negative Space by Denebola

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: The beauty of what isn't there... If Dumbledore had waited a little longer to relocate it, what might Hermione have seen in the Mirror of Erised? This nostalgic little "What-If?" takes place during Year One, and answers that question with a haunting twist.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 11/06/07 Title: Chapter 1: Negative Space

Ahem. *wipes eyes* I need to say something. Well, knowing myself I’ll be saying lots of things, but the thing that matters is - thank you!

To tell you the blunt and honest truth, I’m not a big fan of Hermione in fanfiction. Few authors write her the way I want to read her, and way too many turn her into a piece of meat with brains. There’s more to her than that, and I’m glad to find another person who recognises this, ;)

Ah, yes, that over and done with, where do I begin? Perhaps with characterisation. I already mentioned that I approve of how you write Hermione, but it’s the same with Harry and Ron. And not only do you write them well in character, including their dialogue, but you write them as if they were actually eleven- and twelve-year-olds. Most impressive.

I especially like Harry’s regret and concern as he worried about having exposed Hermione to something that might hurt her - in my eyes, that is so incredibly typical for him. Ron is his clumsy, blunt self, isn’t he? *chuckles* I love how you’ve included his feelings for Hermione, and how you prove to us that he did not, after all, mean any harm. What can I say? Ron in a nutshell. :)

But I need to return to Hermione for a moment. You’ve captured her so well, with her analytical self and appropriate reactions to the mirror. And when I say ‘captured’, I mean more than her character – I mean her heart and soul. Lots of people seem not to understand exactly how much she cares about Ron and Harry, but you’ve come up with the perfect way of showing it to us. Her heart’s deepest desire, to see the three of them without worries and grief and always happy, shows how tremendously unselfish and good-hearted she is. Ah, it makes me so happy!

Now, what also doesn’t hurt is that your language is excellent. I find that I often compliment authors because their styles are very ‘JKR-ish’ or clean, or because they use description cleverly, but with your writing I think it’s enough to mention the flow. I didn’t think about your writing at all while I read; I never stopped to consider it but was only captured by the meaning of your words. And while I like to be knocked off my feet by a stunning description of some random scenery, what you’ve done here is much harder to accomplish. It is, I believe, the kind of writing that can never be forced, but that flows from the fingertips of an inspired and naturally talented author.

Oh gosh, the gushing. I should probably stop now, shouldn’t I? I’m afraid I have no constructive criticism to offer – this is a true gem you’ve shared with us here. Thank you!

The Angels Come to Visit Us by social loner

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: “Yes. I’ll just ask an angel to watch over me,” Maura replied with steady certainty, like it were the most logical thing in the world.

Oliver laughed again, readjusting Maura on one knee so that he could face her. “Oh, I see. And where are you going to find this angel?”

Maura shook her head. “Everyone has an angel, silly. I already know mine. They just don’t show up unless you really need them.”

When Oliver Wood's daughter once again begs to learn how to fly, she makes a promise that brings Oliver's past memories back to life, as well as his belief in Angels.

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 11/06/07 Title: Chapter 1: The Angels Come to Visit Us

What a sweet little one-shot you have here, social loner! I’m glad that you decided to write your favourite character, because you have done it very well.

Canon doesn’t exactly show us Oliver Wood as very emotional – passionate, perhaps, when it comes to Quidditch, but he also considered putting his favourite sport before the safety of others, *cough* So, with that picture of him in mind, one might find it a little surprising that you chose him for a fic like this. But it works; you’ve taken the Oliver Woods you know, and through the challenges of becoming a widower and a father you have smoothly changed him into a different character – someone who cares for the safety of another person and realises that there are more important things than flying.

The father/daughter relationship is very nicely written and you have created a great chemistry between the two. Maura is fun to read, what a great personality she seems to have! You have used her faith as one of the main parts of her character, and while I don’t believe in angels myself, I think that it’s an effective way of writing a good, believable OC.

Your story has a very fresh and clean feeling to it – I couldn’t spot any errors. It’s very straightforward, and while I like that I also wouldn’t have minded seeing some more details. You tell us very little of the setting, and I must admit that I’m curious about where they live, what Oliver does for a living, and so on. Leaving out such details puts more focus to the essentials of the story, which is good, but it can also make it seem a bit simple.

The only other criticism I can offer to this lovely piece is concerning the name you chose for Oliver’s wife. When I read ‘Bella’, I immediately thought of Bellatrix Lestrange. I realise that Bella is a common name, but unless you want your readers spare a thought, however brief, for a particular HP character, I would advice you to be careful with using names that already exist in the books. :)

I think that’s enough of my rambling, but I need to tell you again that this was a lovely one-shot, and that your style of writing is very comfortable and easy to read. Well done!

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much for the review, I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me what you thought. As for the name, \'Bella\', I had considered that as well. I even thought about changing it, but I couldn\'t find a more fitting name than Bella. Of course, I was thinking of Bella being short for Isabella instead of Bellatrix. I based my brief idea of Bella on a character from another book that I love, so that\'s mainly why I couldn\'t separate from the name. But thanks so much for letting me know, I had a feeling that miss Bellatrix might come to mind for some readers! And once again, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I love hearing what other authors have to say, it helps me grow as a writer myself! So thank you! -Olivia

A Pair by electronicquillster

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Sometimes what you want is in front of your eyes before you realize it. Sometimes you realize it before you're ready for it, and just because you realize it, doesn't mean that everyone around you will realize it, too. Victoire Weasley and Teddy Lupin have their insecurities, but they also have the potential to be something great.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 01/24/08 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Finally. =) I’ve been meaning to read this story since you posted it, and I’ve been even more eager to do so since I saw the banner that Jenna made for it, but somehow I haven’t gotten around to it until now.

It seems that Teddy/Victoire is quickly becoming a new favourite pairing within our fandom, and it’s not difficult to see why. With parents like theirs, how could they be anything but interesting characters? And with that in mind, I think it’s interesting to see how authors choose to interpret Teddy’s and Victoire’s characters. Since we know their parents so well, it is of course tempting to pass on some of their traits, but I believe that this can easily be overdone. When you think about it, we rarely write other canon characters based on their parents’ personalities. They might of course affect the character, but more through the circumstances of their lives than their actual persons.

Ehm, yes, that blabbering was actually leading up to something. I really like how you have written Victoire, but I’m especially impressed with your interpretation of Teddy Lupin. I don’t know how you feel about Tonks’ character, but I know that there are many people who are not so fond of her and might not have “included” her at all when writing Teddy. She’s not overly prominent in your version either, but we have of course got the metamorphmagusness, and the way Teddy stumbles over his words around Victoire somehow reminds me of how his mother sometimes stumbled over more substantial things. ;) There is Remus, too, I think, in your Teddy, but what strikes me the most there is the contrast between his action and his father’s inaction. Didn’t Jo tell us how Remus often stood idly by when James and Sirius did things they shouldn’t have? But here is Teddy, all confident and brave and righteous, and it makes me SO happy. Because, you see, while I can see both of Teddy’s parents in him, there is someone else there, too – Harry.

And that makes so much wonderful sense! Teddy’s situation in life is obviously much more like Harry’s was, than either of his parents’. Yet you can tell from Teddy’s confidence and bravery that he has had good role models like Harry never had, and that he has grown up in a safe environment like Harry never did.

So, to sum up about Teddy – it looks to me like you have used your knowledge of his parents and godfather to write the base for a person we can recognise. But only the base – the rest of him is your own creation entirely, and I adore it. You have a knack for male characters, I daresay, keeping in mind how wonderfully you wrote Cedric in All At Once.

And now I feel like I have to say something else about Victoire. You have written her very well indeed, Mar, so when I say that I think you could have done it even better, I’m sure that’s just because you did such an amazing job on Teddy. I’m not sure how you could have improved her character further, but maybe you could have put a little more emphasis on some of her personality traits – when I look at her alone she’s lovely, but next to Teddy she’s a little… flat? No, that is too harsh. What I’m saying is not that you should rewrite this story and change Victoire, but rather that in the future, you should take an extra look at your female characters to make sure they match up to the awesomeness of the male ones. Perhaps, =)

Some nitpicks:

They laughed so much her sides were sore, and her cheeks were sore from smiling so much.

At the end of the evening, her heart was a little sore, too. She was happy, but there was still that acute yearning for something more with Teddy.

I approve of the repetition of ‘sore’ in the first and second sentence there, because it ties them together nicely, but I think it’s a bit too much to have it twice in the first sentence. I suggest keeping the second one so that it still ties up with the next sentence, and maybe changing the first to ‘aching’ or something.

That that is exactly what I want, and I’m shocked and thrilled that you want it to?

I think you mean ‘too’ at the end there, and not ‘to’?

And now I need to quote something that made me grin madly:

When had that happened? When had every action begun to revolve around him? She hated it. She hated how much it hurt to have him think badly of her.

How very Darcy/Elizabeth of them! But it’s subtle and lovely, dear, like so many other details you’ve put in this fic. I must say that the story comes across as very well worked through, and even though there are so many parts to it you have managed to create a lovely flow to the text.

I’m a bit torn about the ending – on the one hand, I like the simplicity of it, but on the other hand, I feel like if you had just waited a little longer, it could have been spectacular. I’m not sure what I would have liked to see before the ending, as I greatly approve of Teddy forgiving Victoire at once. Maybe a bit of confusion, where they both thought that the other was upset with them? But, yes, I also like the ending you did write. =)

Yes, it seems that I’m still incapable of writing a normal, short review, so perhaps I should try and round this one off, like, now? Mar, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this story very much, and that it really had… well, a Mar!feeling to it. Or a Mar!style, I suppose, which is something wonderful and highly enviable. Thank you for sharing it! :D

Redefining Sanity by Roommate of the Quillster

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Once upon a time it was three years after the war, and Percy struggled with life…
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 02/24/08 Title: Chapter 1: Redefining Sanity

Well hello there, oh mighty fine SPEW buddy of mine! It’s about time I get started with your review, don’t you think?

I actually read all of your one-shots before deciding to review Redefining Sanity, and I thought I’d mention that because I chose to review not the story of yours that I would have done the most squeeing about, but the one that actually felt I could say something helpful about. So, here goes. :)

As Jenna and I discussed only an hour or so ago, Percy is a very difficult character to grasp and write, but you’ve made an honest attempt and for parts of the story your interpretation works really well for me. I find it highly believable that after such a horrible event as you decided to put him through, the ambitious and pompous Percy we knew would turn into the numb person we see here. I especially like how you describe him in relation to his surroundings in the beginning of the story; he’s cut off, not only because he’s a wizard, but because of the guilt he’s still carrying.

However, I’m not so sure about parts of Percy’s dialogue. For example: “Gah! You’re infuriating!” and “Well, seeing as you’ve completely destroyed my restful bench, it’s time for us to go back to work.” - I agree with you that Percy may very well feel these things, but even though we have known him to be a horrible git sometimes, he always expresses himself very well and is polite and haughty even in his anger. It seems… beneath him, somehow, to speak to Luna like that. Of course, it might be that his character has changed over the past three years, but if that is your intention, then I would have liked to see some kind of mention in that in the text; sort of like, “He couldn’t believe how harshly he was speaking to her, what an impolite and unforgiving person he had become.” You know?

Something else that left me doubtful was: He had achieved the one thing that haunted his nightmares as a child: He was one hundred percent responsible for murdering someone. - Why would Percy have nightmares about murdering someone? Did he sometimes dislike his brothers so much he just wished they’d go away, and then have nightmares about killing them? Yes, I’m wondering why he would have such dreams, and I would have liked to see a bit more explanation about that.

Speaking of explanations, I think your story could have done with another dash of details. I know, I know, I’m a complete sucker for details and descriptions myself so I maybe you don’t want to take me too seriously on this, but sometimes I do believe it can be good for a story. One example is how you refer to Percy’s boss as, well, ‘his boss’. Why not give this boss a name, something we can relate to in canon and smile in recognition. This would also give you another noun to use, so that you wouldn’t have to repeat the words ‘his boss’. Another example is Percy’s flat and the office – I would have liked to know a bit more about the surroundings there, the atmosphere. I know you can do this so well, Shanae, because you prove it in the beginning of the chapter when you describe the outsides so clearly and poetically.

Oh, yes, I meant to mention ‘Hilda’. Does she share the name of your character in To Strike with a Vengeance for any particular reason? I’m not saying that I don’t like the name – it’s wonderful – but do keep in mind that there are people who will read all of your writing and perhaps be a little confused if you use the same name for different characters.

And on the subject of Hilda, I must admit I’m a bit confused there. Percy seems to think that he and Hilda never do any work together, and yet Luna claims that Hilda spends her days doing exactly what Percy tells her to. I think it would be great if you would clarify a bit here – is it Percy who is confused and doesn’t notice his surroundings (meaning that Hilda actually does what he tells her to) or is it Luna who’s got things upside-down again?

I can see that I’m being a real bore here, but now I’m going to move on to a few of my absolute favourite lines.

The one he’d come to refer to as his crying tree though it was a place he’d never shed a tear.

I love the contrast here – that it’s his ‘crying tree’, even though he’s never actually cried sitting underneath it. And I think it rings very true for Percy, too, to have a certain place to sit and do nothing, think nothing even.

It was too cold to cry; too bright to hide; too early to drink; too soon to forgive.

Ah! This is such an excellent line! Such rhythm and flow; it’s wonderful. But I’m wondering about ‘too soon to forgive’ – we’re reading from Percy’s point of view here, and who is it that he would forgive? If we are talking about Percy, then maybe ‘too soon to be forgiven’ would be clearer?

Your sister Ginny was the nicest girl at school – my friend, I think.

Another thing Jenna and I just randomly discussed. Well, actually, she was talking about how so many people don’t write Ginny very well, because she’s either just a talented and popular witch, or else she’s ‘fiery’, sometime to the point of being crude. And Jenna said exactly that, that many writers forget that there’s much more to Ginny; that she’s the person who always stood up for Luna, the person who always gave people a chance, even a second chance if they deserved it. And I think that here, even though Ginny isn’t even in the story, you’ve managed to capture the very essence of her so well, through Luna’s words. Well done!

“The other you is rather dull; I won’t be sane much longer if I have to work with him.”

*giggles* Because, yes, here I actually have to giggle. This was the best Luna-line of all the fic, I thought, because it’s so typical of her not to consider herself as insane or even strange. And I can just imagine Percy’s reaction at her words. You described that well, too, with this following line:

If he had to work with her much longer, he knew he’d be insane.

Very nice sane/insane contrast there, but if I were you, I’d put an italics emphasis on ‘he’d’ in the second line, to really string the two sentences together.

Percy and Luna is one of the most unlikely pairings I could imagine, because they are so profoundly different, but somehow, this still works. In the end, I think it’s all about finding that slice of common ground, no matter how thin it is. And you’ve managed to do that, through the loss of Fred and what I guess to be some kind of apparition of his. It was a difficult fic you set out to write here, my dearest Shanaslan, and I think you’ve pulled it off very well!

Foregone by Marauder by Midnight

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: After he thought all was lost, Percy was thrown a lifesaver - at a heavy cost.

Written for the Harry Potter Rare Exchange.

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 03/23/08 Title: Chapter 1: Foregone

Ha, it seems that I’ve managed to find a Beth!story that doesn’t already have lots and lots of reviews. Though, having mentioned that, I must say I’m surprised to see that there weren’t more reviews for this story; while perhaps not very… uplifting, the pure quality of the story still improves my mood.

I’m sure I must have mentioned it in a review for you before, Beth, but I’m going to say it again: your writing is a joy to read. Your command of the English language is impeccable and so mature; I somehow feel safe when enjoying your works, because I know that my reading experience is in good hands. I get the same feeling from reading your stories as from only a few other MNFF writers – the feeling that you are actually a more accomplished writer than the original author, even if you happen to be basing your stories in her world.

The formal tone of this story is perfect for Percy. It makes me aware of how important it is to build not only the story, but also the type of language you use for writing it, around the main character. You use more advanced words not only in the dialogue but also in the rest of the text, which, seeing as we’re listening to Percy’s point of view, is incredibly fitting.

I feel almost grateful that you took the time to explore and develop the Penelope aspect of Percy’s “betrayal”. It is something that we never learned about in the books, but something that must have been important to his character. I couldn’t agree more with your interpretation of Percy and your reasoning for his actions – which is what makes the story so heartbreaking. A non-convincing Percy’s break-up with Penelope wouldn’t have interested me much, but here, you make it a very personal sacrifice for him, and successfully make me hate and pity him at the same time.

The ending is, for want of a better word, tragic. A nice little reminder, I feel, when most fanfic stories revolving around romance tend to lean towards happier endings. And while I’m generally one in favour of fluff and peace and understanding, I also appreciate the kind of harsh reality of love that you show us here.

Excellent, my friend. :)

Fragmentary Blue by Hatusu

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story

The whole world has gone crazy, tipped on its side, changes happening so quickly that Harry can’t keep track of them all. He isn’t at the centre of it anymore – he’s drifting peacefully somewhere on the very outer rim, and he likes it this way, and he never wants to go back.

He has a dream one night. Soft hands lift him out of his bed. He opens his eyes and their faces are like maps of a country he’s never been to but has always wanted to go. They say they’ll take him to a place where all he has to is breathe.

He says okay.

After Voldemort's defeat, Harry struggles to come to terms with love, death, and the end of innocence. One-shot. Rated for very, very mild sexual implications.

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 02/24/08 Title: Chapter 1: Fragmentary Blue

I get two kinds of fic-cravings, Maddy. Sometimes, I just want to lean back on my couch with a light-hearted Ron/Hermione, perhaps some cheerful Teddy/Victoire or a Luna missing moment. But at other times, I want something with more meaning and depth, something to be enjoyed while perched at the very edge of my seat. Something like the story you’ve shared with us here.

This is ‘post-Hogwarts’ in its truest meaning, isn’t it? And, incidentally, it’s exactly what I was looking for when I ventured into the category for something to read; someone’s version of what happened to Harry after the war.

I haven’t read the Robert Frost poem and although I might have heard the song you refer to, I don’t have the lyrics memorised. But I don’t need that to appreciate the stunningly poetic quality of your writing. I’m guessing that you’re familiar with Noldo’s works? If not, I warmly recommend them to you, so that you’ll know I mean to pay you a great compliment by comparing your writing to hers. Just as her stories, this text is scattered with difficult words, sometimes too difficult for a poor Swede to understand, but I very much appreciate that – if my knowledge of English was never challenged, how would I ever improve? And I believe that goes for one or two native English speakers/writers, too. So thank you very much for that, ;)

While I greatly admire everything about your style and language, I’m a bit torn about your interpretation of Harry. I agree that he probably spent the first few months after Voldemort’s death in some kind of haze, but I’m less certain about the numbness that followed. It’s hard to explain; I think that it’s completely likely that Harry would make up his mind about going back to Hogwarts but then realise, at the last minute, that there is no going back. But I can’t really see him being very traumatised or ‘jumpy’ at Ginny’s touch. Yes, we’ve seen Harry despair in the books, yes, there’s been death and loss and grief, but remember how strong Harry was when he finally beat Voldemort, how confident he seemed? Somehow I have a hard time picturing a ‘breakdown’ after that. I do realise that your one-shot revolves around this, but an alternative might have been to put more emphasis on Harry trying to come to terms with his freedom. The ‘no going back’ part – which is what I like best from your story, by the way – could still have played a central role in that. Of course, this is just my blabbering analysis of sorts, naturally I’m not suggesting that you rewrite your whole fic. I see what you have chosen to write here, and I think that you have done it in a very appealing way.

I’d like to round off this review by complimenting you on the Harry/Ginny pairing you’ve written. It’s very relaxed, somehow; it’s nice to see how they trust each other, how, even with the dash of Harry!angst, you never mention a doubt about whether they should remain together. I thought this was very wise of you, because in a story with so much uncertainty, it’s nice to have something steady to lean on – which is exactly what Harry does in the end, isn’t it?

You’re truly a very accomplished writer, Maddy dear!

Love Is Just Hate With A Smile by jenny b

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •

‘Love and hate are quite similar when you think about it,’ James said thoughtfully.

‘What do you mean?’ Lily asked.

‘You can’t hate someone for no reason without loving them a little,’ he said.

Lily rolled her eyes. ‘That’s stupid,’ she said.

‘No it’s not. Why do you think guys tease girls they like? Most people use hate to hide the fact that they really love someone.’

Lily didn’t say anything, so James continued. ‘After all, love is really just hate with a smile.’

Lily Evans hated James Potter. She always had, and thought she always would. But people change. Opinions change. Sometimes the line between right and wrong blurs … as well as the line between love and hate.

ON INDEFINITE HIATUS. Check out my bio for more details.

Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 04/27/08 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter One: Friends and Foes

Jennifer! I can’t believe that you only have one chapter submitted for this story – please tell me that you’re still working on it?

I’ve never thought about it before, but it makes complete sense to start writing a Lily/James story after the release of Deathly Hallows. While we pretty much know what happens to Harry & Company, we’re still only left with a few details of his parents’ life – meaning that you’ll have much more freedom writing about them, but you still have enough from JRK to make it solid.

Severus Snape is a brilliant example of this, of course. Now that we know so much more about his and Lily’s friendship, you can do so much with that in a Lily/James story. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there wasn’t a single mentioning of James in the first chapter, and that, instead, her thoughts were occupied with Severus. Your reader already knows that this is going to be a Lily/James story, but by excluding him from the beginning, you make sure to present Lily as her own character – she’s not dependant on him; there doesn’t have to be a James in every scene.

I also never realised what a great tool Petunia is for Lily’s character. While reading this chapter, I was very aware of Lily’s reactions to Petunia; it’s a great way to define her, and if I were you I’d use this as much as possible. And I suspect the whole Petunia deal will come in useful when you work on Lily/James, because it’s something about her that he might not be aware of, and it’d be interesting to see what he has to say about Petunia, and how Lily might agree with him or defend her sister, depending on how you want to shape her character. Ah, I’m rambling, but it’s all so fascinating – you have so many possibilities here!

Through canon!Petunia, we also know that their parents were excited about Lily being a witch. I know she’s about to begin her sixth year now, so I’m not saying that owl post should surprise her parents, but I feel like a little “after five years, they had grown quite comfortable with post owls zooming in and out of their windows” would have been nice, sort of to reinforce the fact that they’re willing and happy to put up with various oddities because they’re proud of Lily. And while we’re on the subject of Evans parents, I’m curious about why you decided to call their mum ‘Penelope’. I love that name, but most writers tend to avoid using names that are already used in HP!verse; in this case, Penelope Clearwater.

I’ve jotted down some random notes of things I want to comment on:

For some reason, I really like that you gave Lily a messy room. I’m sure she can be a very organised person, or else she wouldn’t have been Head Girl, but it was still nice to see this “imperfection” to her, and it’s also a proof that she’s fairly relaxed at home.

The Evans family all knew talking about Severus was off limits, but apparently Petunia had decided to test Lily’s non-existent patience with the subject. - I really like this. In this short sentence, you let us know that Lily has a close enough relationship with her parents to talk about her friends (and boyfriends?), and for them to know that she’s upset about Severus. You also tell us that Lily has a ‘non-existent patience with the subject’; it seems very teenage-ish of her, but I also interpret this like she doesn’t lack patience in general.

‘Horrible?’ Lily shrieked, incensed. ‘Horrible? You’re the horrible one! Strutting around this place calling me a freak just because I’m a witch? You wanted to be just like me once!’ - I’d be very, very careful here, on the ‘shrieked’ part. Are you sure that your Lily ‘shrieks’? For some reason, it didn’t sound entirely right with the rest of what you’ve written of her. And… are you sure that Lily knew just how desperately Petunia wanted to be a witch? I always thought of that as a secret desire she kept hidden. And if Lily did know about it, she probably also knows how touchy the subject is – maybe you should have mentioned something about it being a “low blow”?

That Severus was evil, like all his Death Eater friends, and she had blindly followed him down that path. / Ever since Lord Voldemort had come into power in her first year at Hogwarts, it had been Lily’s dream to try and defeat him, and become a famous Auror. - These sentences raise a couple of questions in my brain. Firstly, was ‘Death Eaters’ a known name for Voldemort’s followers at this point? And, secondly, did Voldemort ever really ‘come into power’ during his first rise? Yes, he became increasingly powerful and gained more control over the wizarding world, but he was never officially ‘in power’, was he? It might just be my interpretation, but ‘come into power’ sounds very official, sort of like when someone is elected President or Prime Minister – or, you know, Minister of Magic. ;)

Maddi thought her mother was a complete embarrassment, but Lily thought she was amazing. - lol! That’s so often the case, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to single mums, I think. I just thought this was a wonderful detail, and it gives us a quick but very significant insight to Maddi’s life.

And while we’re on the subject of Maddi, I very much like the paragraph where you introduce her to us properly – it’s original and fresh, and you have me curious about her character. Though, I’d like it even better without the very first part, ‘If you didn’t know her’; the generic you is very tricky to use, I think, because it can give your reader the impression that you’re talking directly to them. I would remove that part completely, because I think it works beautifully without it, or else change it to something like, ‘To those who didn’t know her’.

I realise I haven’t really said anything about your writing style, Jennifer, but I that’s because it’s flawless and smooth. I couldn’t find a single typo, spelling or grammar error, so thumbs up for you and your beta. Your language is extremely pleasant to read, while I still feel that you could be even better – nothing is wrong, but I see a lot of potential in your words. And this is even better than reading “perfect” writing, because I would rather read the works of someone on their way to perfection – sort of like how I prefer these first days of real spring to the full bloom of summer; I know the brilliance that is to come, but I enjoy these times more, because there is still anticipation.

All in all, beautiful. As I said at the very beginning, I do hope that you’re going to continue this? I don’t know if this is a rational feeling, dear, but for some reason you make a very, very proud SPEW mum. :D

Author's Response:

*gushes* What a lovely review. :] I am still working on this, don’t worry. I had troubles submitting chapter two, and then I decided to rewrite parts of it. I’ll have to contact Beth to get her to put it through the queue. Your comments were all wonderful, though, Anna.


I actually purposely left James out, mainly because like you said, I wanted to show that Lily is completely her own person (and doesn’t have a secret crush on him), and I also wanted people to see that it was a Lily-centric fic. Penelope was an accident, I completely forgot about Penelope Clearwater. I like the name too.


I’ll revise the things that you pointed out to me, and fix them. Also, thank you so much for the last paragraph about my writing. It means so much to me to get compliments from you, because I think your writing is perfect. *hugs SPEW mum* :]



Gratification and Justification by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Victoire Weasley can hardly believe it herself. How is it that she's suddenly developed feelings for her best friend, Teddy Lupin, and in his last year of Hogwarts too? Now she must spend her sixth year not only adjusting her long-held sensibilities of how their relationship should work, but his as well.

There's not always a reason for everything that happens, and sometimes the reward for action looks more like a consequence. But that's just how life goes sometimes.
Reviewer: Fantasium Signed
Date: 01/27/08 Title: Chapter 2: The Christmas Party

*smiles* It seems that I can’t keep myself from writing another review.

In spite of Victoire’s (and also, I suspect, Teddy’s) inner turmoil, this comes across as a very relaxed chapter. Both because of how the characters act, but also because your writing style seems relaxed – and I don’t mean to say that it’s sloppy or anything, but that you write as if without effort; the overall impression is so smooth. =)

There were a few things in the chapter that didn’t make complete sense to me. I couldn’t quite come to terms with Bill and Fleur being written as ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mama’ in the text. I do understand that this is because we’re reading from Victoire’s point of view, and while I don’t question her calling Bill ‘Daddy’, repeatedly reading it in the chapter makes her character seem a bit childish. ‘Mama’ is better, but I still think the chapter would be better if you, in the text, referred to them as ‘her father’ or ‘Bill’ and ‘her mother’ or ‘Fleur’.

I’m also a bit confused about this Christmas gathering – so it’s only Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione and Bill/Fleur with children? What about the rest of the family? I wouldn’t question it if it had been the first two couples, but having Bill and Fleur there with no other family members… well, it came across as a bit strange.

I thought Teddy was very interesting in this chapter. He really seems to be at ease around Harry & Co, which both makes perfect sense, and also makes me very happy. His behaviour around Victoire… You know, Leslie, I find that very intriguing. I have several guesses as to why he’s acting the way he does, and I can’t wait to see if I’m right.

I’d like to quote two of my favourite lines:

“There’s no such thing as too late,” Daddy said, holding his hand out for Victoire to take. “We’ll get there before Ron, at least.”

This simply made me smile. Not because I recall Ron being late more often than other HP characters, but because it seemed like such a family thing, and it filled me with that special Weasley warmth. (And I assure you that it had nothing to do with the fact that my own mother is always late for everything…)

“Why aren’t you toads?” he demanded, shaking his little fist. “When you kiss under the missle-toad that’s what’s supposed to happen!”

And this was just utterly sweet!

This review might have been much longer and ramblier, had it not been for the fact that the third chapter is calling me. I believe I must go read it, and right now!