I'm 19 years old and just graduated school, which leaves me with four months of summer holidays until I will hopefully start university in October.
I plan to spend most of that time writing or around the beta boards. I really want to finish Wedding Complications this summer, but other than that I won't make any promises as to what I write. All my plot bunnies pop up randomly and I never know what I might work on next. *giggles*
I'm a member of SPEW and the SBBC over on the beta boards and always looking for new stories to readand review. So if you want me to review one of your stories drop me a PM or write an email and I'll try to review your story within the week.^^
Oh, I had almost forgotten about St. Walpurgis Night! Funny how all of a sudden the small hamlet is bursting with activity when only a small number of people were at the funeral. It once again shows how lonely Remusís father was in Sweden.
Itís just so typically Sirius to go to a celebration like this regardless of the danger he puts himself in. Sirius is just the type of person who canít stay confined inside anywhere, as can be seen in OotP, and you show that very well here. I like that you had him write a letter to Andromeda. Since both were disowned by their family, it only stood to reason that the cousins would keep in contact and become rather close. After all, who better to understand what theyíre going through with their family than someone who has gone through the same. Itís strange to think that Kingsley and Tonks donít know the truth about Sirius and Peter yet, but I guess they arenít members of the Order yet, so why should they.
Remusís father made me so angry in this chapter. How can he talk to his wife like that and treat his son the way he does? Where is the slightly stuffy, but loving husband and father we see in the first two chapters? Thatís not to say that his characterisation is bad, because itís far from it, but it makes me sad for Remus, whose childhood is not at all pleasant anymore.
I like how the roles have become reversed and Remus is reading to Evelyn now. They are still as close as ever and she still loves him and shows him she does. Remus wouldnít have become the gentle, loving man he is in canon if he hadnít had at least one parent who showed him their love. Itís hard to say who is worse off after the werewolf attack, Evelyn seems a mere shadow of her former self, but Remus now has to deal with his lycanthropy. Both have hard lives and Edouard certainly doesnít make them easier.
Like a clouds, dust rose up from where the boxes had been set. You put the article in singular and the noun in plural here, one of them has to be changed so they match.
Bjorn brushed the dust the boxes had deposited on his robes away with a flourish. Remus didnít even both with his gray, tattered clothes. I think you meant to write Ďbotherí here instead of Ďbothí.
I hope Remus can put aside his anger at his father and open the boxes for more than just putting Siriusís letter in one of them. He needs some sort of closure and the funeral certainly didnít provide it. Trying to forget about something never really works, he has to deal with it first before he can move on.
Like usual, great chapter and Iím looking forward to the conclusion of this story.
Author's Response: Edouard, at this point, is not the same man we saw in the first two chapters. He\'s really changed at this point, and there are several things that contribute to why Edouard has changed. First, he blamed Remus because he couldn\'t admit that it was his fault his wife and sone were attacked, but deep inside, Edouard is living with that hatred towards himself. Edouard\'s self loathing causes him to run from the world and end up alone in Sweden. So, at this point in the story, Edouard is trying to still protect his wife and son, but he feels he\'s powerless to do so. Edouard has also been around while Remus transforms, and while this isn\'t in the story, it definately is a huge part of why Edouard acts the way he does. He\'s sort of old fashioned, and Edouard just doesn\'t want to live with the guilt that his son, whom he put in danger, hurt another person. Remus also uses the reason that he doesn\'t want to put people in danger as an excuse to stay away from others.
A fabulous conclusion to a wonderful story. I love how the title of the last chapter is symbol for what happens not only in this chapter, but also in the whole story. Dawn, to me, symbolizes the beginning of something new, but also the end of something. For Remus this means that he can finally put his past behind him, in a way make peace with his father and start something new, allow someone new close to him.
Edouardís letter was perfect. I would have thought it unbelievable had he told Remus how sorry he was in his letter and tried to make excuses. The way you wrote it, it was in keeping with what you showed us of Edouard before. He might have realised some of his mistakes, but not the full extent, and he is, even while writing a letter he will never send, essentially still running away and hiding. I love how my prediction about Abraxas Malfoy came true, I truly didnít remember that. *giggles*
The hospital scene was very emotional, even more emotional than the rest of the story. It touched me deeply, but Iím missing the words to describe how exactly it made me feel. It was by far the most emotional part of the whole story.
The first meeting of Remus and Tonks was like a ray of sunlight in a dark room, it lightened this otherwise very depressing chapter considerably. I really like the way Sirius letter and Remusís request she read it with Albus Dumbledore present can be tied into canon to mark the point in time in which Tonks learns about and joins the Order of the Phoenix. That was a very good and unique idea. Tieing all of this in with HBP in the final scene was brilliant. Finally Remus allows someone in again and here he shows how different from his father he is and that Evey did have an influence on his character, even after all the badness he went through in his life.
A brilliant piece of writing that truly deserves recognition. Youíre a very gifted writer.
Author's Response: The hospital scene is something that is very personal to me, too. Again, rereading this chapter, I am pleased with how I wrote the hospital scene. As I finished writing this chapter, I watched someone finish that last weeks of their life. It\'s really hard to describe what I felt, which is probably why it\'s so hard to put a word to how you feel about the hospital scene. I\'ll try to describe something for you here, though. Death Cab for Cutie, in their \'Plans\' album, sings \'What Sara Said\' (Track 9). The song is about someone about watching someone die slowly in the hospital, similiar to the way Evey died. If you can listen to the song, great, but if you can\'t, the line that sums the hospital scene up is \'Love is watching someone die.\' Coming from experience, it really is true. You don\'t watch someone die because they can do anything for you, you can do anything for them, because other people want you there, or because that person owes you something. You watch someone die that slow death because you love them. I\'m glad you liked Tonks coming in at the end. I didn\'t know if that huge jump in time would work, but I guess it did. Remus accepting Tonks is him turning away form that life Edouard led. Remus had the potential to lead that lonely life, but he chooses not do it. Remus accepts Tonks, who is free spirited like Evey, and he lets that love back into his life, which brings him full circle. I will be so pissed if Tonks and/or Remus die in DH.
1983. In a world where Voldemort has won the First War, where hope has fled from an Earth moaning under the Dark Lord's iron hand, marriages are broken and others are arranged in order to preserve the sacred purity of blood. James Potter loses his wife; now they have to find another for him.
This chapter had two exceptionally well done parts: Sirius’ point of view and Aimťes letter. The rest of the chapter paled in comparison. I wanted to find out what James had been up to those two weeks and I wanted to see more of the Marauder dynamics, so I was kind of disappointed when you switched back to Marie-Antoinette’s POV and her gardening. I did like the plants’ resistance to magic though, that was a very nice touch, but the whole part about Marie-Antoinette was a little boring compared to the beginning of the chapter.
I love Sirius, although at first I didn’t realize that it was Sirius’ POV, it was only when Peter called him Padfoot that I realized that this wasn’t James at all. The more details about the world Voldemort created I know, the more I want to know about it. What are these factories Peter and Remus have to work in? I can’t think of anything Voldemort would need to produce in factories and couldn’t just conjure. Also I really want to know why Voldemort didn’t kill James and Sirius now, if not even Sirius knows the reason there has to be something big going on.
The Aimťes letter: I’m glad she didn’t believe what Marie-Antoinette told her about arranged marriages being normal. Marie-Antoinette has to stop just taking everything and start protesting and if she doesn’t I’m glad she has at least one friend (two if you count Olivier) in her corner who does just that. It would be fun to see James going up against Aimťe and Olivier’s little note was nice, too, I was afraid he would never be mentioned again and Marie-Antoinette would just forget him.
I wonder what will happen when James comes back.
Oh, finally Marie-Antoinette is fighting back! I never would have thought she could be this devious, asking her house-elf to do all the work so Pomy won’t have anything to do is bordering on being cruel. Pomy deserves nothing more though, she did nearly let Marie-Antoinette starve and treats her horribly, I have no sympathy for that elf at all.
And Marie-Antoinette and James finally had a somewhat civil conversation. So James has to tell Lestrange everything he does with his money? Sounds like Lestrange is afraid he might use his wealth to finance a resistance or something like that. What I don’t understand is why Lestrange would just leave James to his life if he is so afraid of what James could do when given half a chance, it doesn’t really make sense. If I were in Lestrange’s shoes I would have either put Sirius and James in prison or have them killed, the way things are they could do any number of things to harm him and his Dark Lord. I just hope he doesn’t have them followed and knows about their meetings with the Marauders, but if he keeps an eye on what James spends his money on I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he has him followed as well.
Lali is like a breath of fresh air in that cold, dreadful house. A house-elf is not as good as a friend, but at least there’s someone there now who talks to Marie-Antoinette and keeps her company. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live with a house-elf and a stranger who hate you with no contact to the outside world.
I loved the Gryffindor colours in the living room, I can’t wait to see Lestrange’s reaction when Marie-Antoinette invites him and Bellatrix over for dinner and they see it. James’s reaction, too, will be priceless, I imagine.
Wow. I have to say, I’m impressed. I remember reading chapter 2 and being disappointed that Marie-Antoinette didn’t show enough emotion with all that was going on in her life. Now in this chapter there was an abundance of just that emotion. I started feeling for her, especially when she wanted to tell Lestrange and James off for talking about her as if she wasn’t in the room. I would have loved her to actually go through with it, but just speaking up to tell them to shut up was hard enough for her, I guess. I’m beginning to really like her character and I hope she succeeds in not letting anybody look down on her, she deserves more than she is getting here.
On that note I positively hated James for treating her the way he did. It’s not as if she had a choice in the matter or as if she took Lily from him. Sure, he doesn’t know all that, but he was horrible to her. On the other hand I do feel sorry for him for the way he lost his wife and son and is now forced to marry someone else, someone much younger whom he doesn’t even know, but still, he was horrible. I’m not saying his characterisation wasn’t great, because it was, I’m just saying I wish he would and could treat Marie-Antoinette better, but I can understand why he can’t, with Lily having been taken away from him just the previous week.
He waved it around for a whole minute, his eyes half-closed, and a flow of old incantations came out of his mouth. The hangings fluttered more forcefully than before as the enchantment blew like a cold breeze around the room. I started shaking uncontrollably; Mr. Potter was pale, and beads of sweat had formed at the edge of his dark hair. Even the people standing behind the desk shifted uneasily as the cold wind brushed past them. I love this description of the old magic Lestrange uses, It’s very powerful, made me shiver when I read it. I like the whole scene with the contract, very nice use of elements we know from the books in form of the quill and a dark spell to make the parchment appear that is not there in the books. You seem to have a lot of great ideas how magic works. I also love the this chapter’s title. It’s perfect.
I hope James won’t hate Marie-Antoinette forever, but I fear he will. If at least Sirius could act the way he did in the waiting room again would be very nice.
I love the dinner scene at the Lestranges. Marie-Antoinette and James’s interactions don’t really offer much mystery anymore, but the interactions between the Lestranges and the Malfoys were fascinating in this scene. Compared to Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphus Lestrange seems even more refined and manipulative. I have always imagined it to be the other way around with these two and thought of Rodolphus as more like Bellatrix, but I enjoy seeing/reading a different take on their characters and the way you write them is entirely believable.
The more I see of Bellatrix the more I hate her, I have to admit. Not the way you characterise her, that’s great, but I hate her as a character. Somewhere along the line I started to feel for Marie-Antoinette and now I care for her so much that it makes me hate Bella on principle. I did very much enjoy to see her interact with her husband though, seems she really only hates Marie because she feels somehow inferior to her as she does to her husband.
I hope you don’t mind that I only comment on characterisation in this review, but there was so much in that area that stood out to me that I want to say, so bear with me, please: Narcissa is a delightful character. Again totally different than I usually imagine her, much less reserved and haughty, for example, but a joy to read. I’m glad Marie-Antoinette has finally found someone in whose presence she feels comfortable and who she can talk to without a fight. And I’ll be forever grateful to Narcissa for telling her that James and Sirius actually did end up in Azkaban for their involvement in the war, finally someone is giving us some more information to work with.
Lastly I have to say that I don’t quite understand how Marie-Antoinette went from wanting people to stop walking all over her to wanting power. That seems a very big leap to me and I can’t really understand how she imagines that she can actually get power much less why she wants it. And I don’t see why all of the sudden she wants to get close to James Potter, if anyone I would have thought Sirius would catch her fancy, but certainly not James.
Anyway, this chapter was really nice and I enjoyed getting an insider’s look into Lestrange’s thoughts and plans.
Poor Marie-Antoinette, how she made it through the wedding and the meal afterwards without starting to scream, I don’t know. I’m glad to se Sirius being friendly again, I would hate to see him hate Marie-Antoinette and treat her like James does. She does need one friendly face around, even if they don’t talk or are really friends, just seeing someone smile at her from time to time is almost a gift in her situation.
I loved how she stood up to Bellatrix and confused her with her polite conversation. I was cheering her on the whole time they were talking, hoping that this was the beginning of not letting people walk all over her anymore. It was a good start, even though she couldn’t keep it up with Lestrange and did get quite thoroughly beaten by the house-elf. I feel that she is on her way to becoming more self-assured and confident.
I’m curious to see how she plans to win Pomy’s affection as I really can’t see how she could go about that. Pomy seems to have adored Lily, why should she accept another Mistress unless James tells her to and the way he has treated Marie-Antoinette up until now, I don’t see this happening any time soon.
I have to say I’m glad Marie-Antoinette didn’t follow Bella’s advice and hired Lily, that would have been more than awkward and I don’t think Lily would have taken orders from Marie-Antoinette after finding out that she is James’s new wife. Obviously that was Bella’s plan, though, and it is for that very reason that Lily was the only single mother, but Bella didn’t figure that Marie-Antoinette would question her advice. I also agree with Lali that choosing a younger chambermaid is a good idea. I can’t imagine how someone would feel having to serve and obey a girl ten years younger than oneself. But I do feel sorry for Lily and James, had Marie-Antoinette taken Bella’s advice they would have been together again and Harry wouldn’t have to grow up without his father.
I feel very sorry for Pomy after reading this chapter. I wonder how Marie-Antoinette can stand to be so cruel to her. I thought the plan great at first, but Pomy is obviously miserable and close to crying all the time, I can’t imagine how Marie-Antoinette can stand looking at her and making her even more miserable.
And Dumbledore is back, I wonder how he will continue the fight and what role James will play in it, and Marie-Antoinette, of course.
I like this prologue, it leaves a few questions that I’m desperate to find the answers to. We’re reading your story in the SBBC at the moment, I probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise (I don’t read much HP fanfic other than what we read in the SBBC), but I would continue reading, even if it wasn’t our current SBBC story.
What I loved about your prologue was the introduction about queen Marie-Antoinette. Your writing there is so beautiful and poetic, every word seemed to resonate in my head. It’s amazing, the best part of the whole prologue, in my opinion, and it really catches people’s attention and draws them into the story. After reading this introduction I really wanted to know what happens to this particular Marie-Antoinette (the one in your story, not the historical queen) that makes her say that parents should never name their children Marie-Antoinette.
My best friend Aimťe, who had collapsed on her desk and was sleeping soundly with her head in her arms, jumped so suddenly she fell off her seat in a heap of blue silk onto the floor. In this and some other sentences I feel that you want to say too much, give too many details at the same time. It makes the sentence feel crowded, I had to reread it to get all the details into order in my head. It’s not that I think this many details are bad, I would suggest not putting them in one sentence though. If you split this sentence up, it wouldn’t be as overcrowded and you would still be able to give all the details you want and deem necessary.
Now, plot. I like the general idea of arranged marriages under the Dark Lord’s reign to keep the bloodlines pure, it’s something I can see happening. What did surprise me - and this is one of the questions I talked about earlier, that will keep me reading – is that Marie-Antoinette’s and James’ marriage is important enough to be part of official negotiations between France and Britain. Marie-Antoinette herself seems of little importance and other than her pure bloodlines she doesn’t seem special at all. And James, I can’t think of a reason why he would be important to Rodolphus Lestrange, I can’t see him not fighting on Dumbledore’s side, so he would be one of the wizards who lost the war, I’m really quite lost as to why he would be important enough that the Minister for Magic would arrange his marriage.
Anyway, I’ll keep reading to find out why that is and to get answers to some other questions and hope there will me more passages of poetic writing like the one to start this prologue.
Author's Response: Heh, thanks a lot for the comments, criticism and compliments alike :). The "crowded" sentence is a direct result of my thinking in French and translating in English; it happens very rarely now, but a few months ago it was still typical of my writing. Content-wise, your questions will be answered in later chapters -- particularly chapters 2 and 6, if I recall correctly. Hope you like the rest of the story!
I don’t have a lot to say about this chapter, I’m still curious to see what will happen next and my questions haven’t been answered yet .
I was very surprised to find out that Marie-Antoinette had a boyfriend. He wasn’t mentioned at all in the prologue and from what the headmaster said about her having only one friend in the school, I thought she’d be shy around boys and not dating at all. Then at first it sounded as if she and Olivier had been together for ages, when in reality it had only been three weeks. I’m a little confused about the time line here. How long after the prologue is the first chapter set? I had expected it to be three weeks to a month, but I can’t believe that Marie-Antoinette would start dating someone after Lestrange told her he would arrange her marriage. But if it wasn’t that long then everything happened quite fast. As I said, I’m a bit confused about that.
When Marie-Antoinette broke up with Olivier I would have liked to see a bit more emotion from him. He seemed to just accept everything without questioning anything she said. I would have at least expected him to feel betrayed when she tells him she’s engaged and ask her if she was only playing with him or what that was about, something like that. But he seems to know that none of this was her choice from the beginning, even though she doesn’t tell him. I think the scene could have done with a lot more emotions. And Marie-Antoinette, too, could have reacted less calm when she first got back to her dorm.
Wow, I’m really surprised to see James and Sirius all rich and powerful seeming in that waiting room. That is who the two men are, right? I want to know what happened with them and how they fit into all this more than ever now. I would have imagined them being kind of shunned after fighting with Dumbledore, but the more I see the more I doubt that they did actually fight with Dumbledore, although I can’t see why they wouldn’t
Seems I had more to say than I thought. So many mysteries to solve, so many questions to answer, I’m curious to find out what happens next.
Author's Response: ...First time someone points out I messed up the time line here. They've been dating since the beginning of the year, i.e. about a month and a half; I simply forgot the time gap between the prologue and first chapter. Needs correcting. The lack of emotions is precisely something I'd been aiming for, especially from Olivier. He's like that -- not showing at all what he feels, and not fighting much for what he wants. As for Marie-Antoinette, the emotional numbness was also what I was aiming for; it's an important part of her character. She's not very likeable yet -- too fatalist, too submissive, etc. She'll grow up. As for the mystery surrounding James and Sirius -- see you in chapter 6. :)
You weave a captivating picture with lots of beautiful imagery in this story. Ginnyís pain and her longing for Harry to return, even though deep down she knows he wonít and canít come back to her, were vividly shown in every sentence. Throughout you show, not tell, how she is feeling and what she is going through, which makes the emotions seem so much more real.
Was it weakness to cry? You need strength for it, strength to bear what you cry for, donít you? This is such a beautiful sentence. Everyone always says crying makes you weak, but, I think, you describe it perfectly when you say it takes strength to bear what you cry for, because when you cry over something, it means you have accepted it to be true, and that can be a very hard thing to do.
And she tries to tell herself not to think about that, that she doesn't remember that. In this sentence you use the word Ďthatí quite often and in consequence it sounds somewhat forced. It would sound better if you changed Ďthatí to something else in some places. How about: ĎAnd she tries to tell herself not to think about it, she tries to tell herself that she doesnít remember.í?
She knows that redemption comes with time but she didnít want to wait, the murderer's eyes stare at her in her mind overlapping with Harryís green ones, only the murdererís are dead and Harryís isnít, and there is always a red fire burning behind. Two small things here: First, you use present tense all throughout the story and then in this sentence you put one verb Ė didnít Ė in past tense and all the rest into present tense, Ďdidnítí should be in present tense as well. Second, you use the plural form Ďeyesí and then you use Ďisnítí when you refer to Harryís eyes again. It should be Ďarenítí, because you talk about both Harryís eyes, thus making it plural.
I have to thank you for asking me to read this story, I would have missed out on something truly good if you hadnít!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this wonderful review! *Eeps* Just noticed those descrepencies. I will go edit now.
*huggles Anna* Hi dearest SPEW-buddy! I really enjoyed reading this story. I especially liked the struggle for power between Bellatrix and Rodolphus. At first it looks like Bella is domineering and Rodolphus can do nothing but surrender to her, but in the end, when the box is empty, we find out that it was actually Rodolphus playing Bella, or at least withholding information from her, the whole time. She might have killed him, but in the end he won, because she didnít get what she came for and Voldemort will surely punish her for her failure to bring him the locket. I wonder why Rodolphus was supposed to have the locket in the first place. Did Voldemort send him to retrieve it, or did he want to destroy it?
I love how it all comes back to Rodophusís eyes. The other children being afraid of him and then meeting Bella who didnít show any fear, who didnít even seem to notice how strange his eyes were. I can imagine how that, as well as her fearlessness and strength, could have drawn him to her and made him marry her, even though he never loved her. At first I was wondering, why you would describe his eyes in so much detail, when he doesnít even have them open, but later I understood that his eyes and peopleís reaction to them, formed his character and influenced the choices he made. And since this one-shot is primarily about exactly those things, and the realization that he would have done things differently if he could, is at the heart of this story, it is only natural for his eyes to play a central role in the story.
I like how you start the story from an outsiderís POV, then change to Rodolphusís POV and end it with an outsiderís POV again. Although the first paragraph was a bit vague and slightly misleading, it created the atmosphere for what was following. However, to the inhabitants of the little place, it was more than ordinary. This sentence to me suggested that there are more than one inhabitants of the hut, but Rodolphus seems to be alone until Bella arrives, who certainly didnít live there with him. Or arenít you talking about the inhabitants of the hut at all, but about other people who live close by? This sentence really confused me.
He thought back to when he was a little boy, when he had wandered removed the out to avoid repetition foolishly outside his manor and met a group of males his age. This was another sentence that confused me. The whole middle segment from Ďremovedí to Ďfoolishlyí doesnít make sense to me, I actually have no clue what it says. This might just be me, but I felt that there were some words missing in there.
I enjoyed reading this immensely, especially the ending. It made me laugh, because Bella was so sure of herself the whole time, feeling superior and all, but she never even checked to see if the box held what she had come for. Serves her right!
Author's Response: *hugs back* Thank you for that lovely review, dear! I\'m very flattered that you payed special attention to the eyes and noticed how they prepare the way for the rest of the fic. I spent a great deal on them, because I wanted to reinforce how important eyes actually are. They\'re one of the first things a person notices. The hut was a special place for Death Eaters to seek refuge. It was one of many. Rodolphus knew he was doomed so he didn\'t go to extra lengths to hide himself. As for that other sentence that you mentioned...*blushes* that is just part of what my beta suggested and I didn\'t delete it when I sent the story in. *goes to fix that* Thanks again!
I think I just fell in love with your writing! The way you set the scene and create the atmosphere of your story drew me right in. I did not only feel as if I was right there, I actually felt like I was Harry, sitting at the lake, talking to Death and holding Ravenclawís wand in my hands. Only a handful of stories manage to take me out of my room straight to whatever place the story is set in, and even fewer make me identify with the main character like this one did.
There was only one instance, where I couldnít identify with Harry. The man who murdered my parents? I can see Harry sound derisive while he talks about being the Chosen One, I can see him ask his companion if he knows Voldemort, but I just canít see Harry refer to Voldemort as Ďthe man who murdered my parentsí. In canon his parentsí death is still a raw subject with Harry and from what I understood from your story, it isnít set too long after HBP. In such a short span of time I canít see Harry changing that much, his parentsí death is something he almost never talks about and when he does, he never does it quite in this off-handed way. It felt wrong, somehow. As if it wasnít Harry speaking anymore.
Having said that, I have to also say that I loved Harryís characterisation for the rest of the story. His spoken lines felt natural to him and I especially enjoyed the difference in his perception of the lake and Ravenclawís grave to Ron and Hermioneís perception of the same place. Harry has been exposed to death a number of times, witnessing it when Cedric, Sirius and Dumbledore died and subconsciously being aware of it when his parents died. Ron and Hermione havenít come into such a close proximity with death and will feel differently about it. Harry is much more aware of it, but at the same time, I donít think heís as afraid of death as Hermione and Ron are, in a way he would probably even welcome it. You show this beautifully in their reactions to the glade. While Hermione and Ron are uneasy and donít like the vibe they get from the glade, Harry feels at peace until after he had his talk with Death and figured out why the glade is the way it is.
Moving on to Harryís companion, Death. If someone had just told me that there was a character walking across water, I probably would have told them that I didnít want to read such a story, because I donít think itís possible to make that believable. Iím glad that no one told me and that your story got the chance to prove me wrong, which it did, if you couldnít tell. Death was characterised perfectly! I liked how he doesnít think anyone is special. Everyone is unique and special in his own way, but no one more than otherís and I think itís appropriate for Death to believe no one to be special, because in the end they all end up the same way, namely being sent on this mysterious route he talks about. I also especially liked the grass chains he was creating all the time. Even though Iím not sure of their relevance, they were a nice touch and somehow fit the mood of the story.
Last but not least: your actual writing. I simply adore your style. There is no word out of place, nothing that hinders the flow of your sentences. The atmosphere is tightly woven and everything you describe is incredibly vivid. Itís a joy to read your writing!
Beth, I canít believe this is your first D/A story. It completely blew me away. How you took those two tiny quotes and made such an exciting, dramatic story out of them is simply amazing. I had no images of these particular characters in my mind from reading the books and have never come across them anywhere else, but now Iíll definitely remember their names. Both were very well characterised and I especially liked how they contrast each other with Marlene being strong, courageous and fighting to the end and Travers being weak, a bit cowardly and with him giving up without a fight in the end. They played off each other very well. The bitter end of both of them just added to the sad and haunting atmosphere of the story.
I adored how you alternated passages told in 3rd person POV with those in 1st person POV and kept the identity of the 1st person narrator hidden until the very end. It created suspense and the 1st person passages made the killings seem even more horrifying than the account of the murders already had. Plus finding out at the end that the 1st person narrator who has just found the bodies and is disgusted with the display is also the murderer was a perfect twist.
On the subject of twists I also have to mention Travers trying to fight the Imperius curse when it is placed on him a second time. For a while there I thought there was still hope left for Marlene and Travers, that they could maybe escape or that at least one of them could. Travers not being able to fight the curse and thus sealing Marleneís fate was a brilliant twist and it made the story all that much darker.
I donít have any concrit to offer you, you did such a brilliant job with this story, I doubt I could find anything that could be improved. *huggles*
The Black sisters are among my favourite characters in the entire HP series. There should be a lot more fics about them, especially about Andromeda. So when I saw that you wrote a fic about her, I just had to read it.
I love how you portray Andromedaís mixed feelings towards Bellatrix. On the one hand she seems to still love her and admire her in a way, but she also truly despises all the evil deeds she has done in her life. I liked how Andromeda says that she never really knew her sister, and that Bellatrix never really talked to her or tried to get close to her. That sounds very much like Bellatrix, always on her own, keeping things to herself and not letting other people see who she truly is. What I donít understand is why Andromeda sits down and writes a letter to Bellatrix. Sheís already at her grave, why not simply talk to her? You know, the way countless characters in movies do it, sit down in front of a grave and talk to the deceased. But maybe Andromeda would have been afraid of her sister to tell her all this? Even though Bellatrix is dead she still seems to have a strong hold over Andromeda, so Andromeda might feel as if she was violating her sisters peace by sitting down and talking to her. Thereís still a choice to make with a letter, it can either be read or not, of someone talks itís hard not to listen.
She was different. This is the most important of Andromedaís thoughts while she decides if she should write the letter, to give it even more vehemence and importance, I would suggest using an exclamation mark instead of a period at the end of it.
It was as isolated spot, with hardly any tombstones occupying the vacant space. I suppose you meant to say Ďan isolated spotí not Ďas isolated spotí here, right?
Itís not like you would take the time to even if you could. I feel that there should be a comma in front of Ďeven if you couldí.
Now that youíre gone, you manage to do that to me still. ĎNow that youíre goneí makes it sound as if Bellatrix didnít have that power before she died, then later in the sentence it becomes obvious that she always had that power over Andromeda. ĎEven though youíre goneí seems to be a better opening for this sentence.
I enjoyed this story immensely and Iím glad that I found it. There really should be more good Andromeda stories.
Author's Response: *Squee* I love getting reviews from people in SPEW, even if they\'re not official SPEW reviews. It still makes me feel special! ;) The Black sisters are by far my favorite characters (besides Neville) as well. I\'m glad you liked this! The reason I had her write a letter was because she wanted to express her feelings, but she just didn\'t know what to say. She\'s never been able to flat out say what she wanted to her sister. So, she wrote it, because it needed to be said, but she didn\'t think that she would be able to say it out loud. Does that make sense? Thanks for the nit-picks; I\'ll be sure to make those changes. Thank you SO much for this review!!
I randomly clicked on your story in the most recent column, but Iím really glad I did. Even though only the first chapter is up, Iím already in love with your OC. The first few paragraphs and his slightly feral, almost animal like behaviour in his dream, intrigued me and made me like him, after that I fell more and more in love with him as the chapter went on. Thereís this awesome strength in him, but he also seems vulnerable and unsure of himself at times. I admire that he told Remus about his dreams and asked for help in understanding them. Itís not easy to ask for help, especially if you have great powers, like he seems to do, and if youíre used to doing things on his own.
Your plot is intriguing as far as I can tell from only reading the first chapter, but I will definitely come back for more. The atmosphere you created while Remus and Tim were in his motherís house is perfectly chilling. The emptiness of the house and then the mysterious cellar with the book, Iím really curious where youíre going with this. It promises to be interesting in the very least.
I like your writing style. It has a consistency to it that makes your writing flow perfectly. There wasnít one section where I had to stop reading or read a sentence twice, the sections of the chapter joined together seamlessly.
During the dream sequence you alternatively call the stranger Ďheí or Ďití. This is a bit confusing at times, so I would suggest either going with Ďheí or with Ďití, but not mixing the two of them.
His mother was a Muggle, she had known nothing of the magical community until he had been invited to study at Hogwarts, and yetÖ she mustíve have known something. ĎMustíveí is already an abbreviation for Ďmust haveí, if you use it you donít need to put Ďhaveí after it.
Torches burned on the wall and the wall were washed blue and grey, somewhat reminiscent of a storm at sea, in the silence the sound of water wafted over the room, though what made the noise was unapparent. First off, I would split this sentence into two, because it has the possibility of being a run-on sentence as it is. There is a perfect place to split it before Ďin the silenceí, because after that you talk about sounds and before you talk about colours and what your characters see. For the part about the walls I would also suggest not putting Ďthe wallí twice in such close proximity. You could for example say: ĎTorches burned on the walls, which were washes blue and grey, somewhat reminiscent of a storm at sea.í This is not perfect, but you get the idea of what I want to say.
I love this story so far and itís going straight to my favourites so I wonít miss any updates!
I think I love Tim even more now than I did after Chapter 1. Although he takes a more passive role in this and the Fachen are the main focus of the chapter, I found him to be simply adorable. His heightened senses are fun, but I like that he still canít make out Sorchaís true intentions, even though he has those heightened senses now. His mistrust of her at the beginning of their meeting was somehow endearing, but he does come around and trust her pretty fast.
Sorcha is an intriguing character, Iíd like to see more of her and find out a bit of her past. Her reaction when Remus told her that Severus killed Dumbledore made me think that Severus and Sorcha had some kind of a relationship, not necessarily of a romantic nature, but they were more than mere acquaintances or she wouldnít have reacted the way she did. This little remark was a brilliant way to tie the story into canon and tell us exactly when it takes place, which is good for someone like me who never reads warnings and thus canít tell if a story picks up after HBP or if it is book 6 disregard.
Dagnarus is love! I absolutely loves his appearance in the chapter. It provided a nice break from the general mysteriousness and impending darkness of the story. What is remarkable about this scene is that it fits into the flow of Sorcha and Remusís conversation, itís not forced, but sounds natural.
The history of the Fachen, while important to the plot, was a bit strenuous to read. I went through it twice to make sure I got all the important points, but I felt it dragged on for a bit without giving any new information in the end. Nonetheless Iím curious to see what this means for Tim and how his changes will affect his loyalty. Even in this chapter, we can already see Remus doubt him and his true allegiance. I wonder how the rest of the Order will react and what obstacles Tim will have to face because people donít trust him because of his heritage.
It was his own curiosity that had won him over though, if this Elf could tell him anything of the Fachen, then he was willing to meet. I feel that there should be a pronoun at the end of this sentence, generally after the verb Ďmeetí the person that someone is meeting follows, in this case Ďití would suffice.
Tim took that to mean that he had not fully entrusted such things to the Elf. I was confused who the Ďheí in this sentence is referring to, is it Tim or Remus? If it refers to Remus, which I think is more likely, you would have to put Remusís name in its stead, or it will confuse your readers.
Iím looking forward to the next chapter. Keep up the good work!
I love how you start and end your story with a letter, it ties up all the loose ends and, especially the part of the letter used as the beginning, made me very curious as to what this painting depicts and why it should be of interest to the Hogwartsí Headmaster. To end the story with the last part of the letter was a nice way to end an autobiography, because the narrator obviously canít continue telling his story until his death, thatís just not possible, and this way the story came full circle and left nothing to be desired, no loose ends to be tied up and no questions as to what happened to the narrator and the painting after its end.
So why did I feel like I had just sold my soul?
I was already curious after the unfinished letter at the beginning of the story, but after this line I couldnít have stopped reading even if I had wanted to, I just had to know what would happen next and if his less than positive feelings would turn out to be right and he would pay dearly for accepting the commission. This line created a lot of suspense and even though Mr. Fitzgerald didnít appear again, I wasnít disappointed, because in a way he really sold his soul seeing as there was as much of Helen in the portrait as there was of him and it was the best portrait he painted in his life and the most important to him, at least thatís the feeling I got in the end.
That also leads me to the magic used to Ďbring the portrait to lifeí. Breathing on the portrait to bring it alive seems such a mundane but yet magical thing to do, itís perfect. I also liked that no one knows what the spell actually means anymore, it makes portrait painting seem like an ancient, almost lost art.
I have a soft spot for beautiful descriptions and imagery and your story, especially the part when Phillipe sees Helenís home for the first time, was full of both. I loved how you compared the house to a lion and the butler just fit perfectly with the imposing image of the house your words painted in my mind. That was one of my favourite passages.
The way you incorporate the French Revolution and the problems French people had to face after flying to England into the story was truly magnificent. The way Phillipe tells Helen the story, combined with his memories that he doesnít vocalize seemed effortless and artless, just someone telling a story without looking for pity or glory or anything at all really. I liked that a lot, especially since he didnít try to make himself sound like a hero or his life seem like a great tragedy, it made me actually feel more sorry for him and his family than I would have if he hadnít just told a story but tried to gain something by telling it.
Two tiny nit-picks:
The track ended a plain wooded door painted a rather cheap looking, although expensive green. A small brass knocker with the gold plaiting slowly staring to chip sat in the center. In the first sentence it should be Ďthe track ended at a plain wooded doorí, I think. And in the second sentence I think you meant to write Ďstartingí, instead of Ďstaringí.
The sadness left her eyes in a blink so fast I could almost believed I had imagined it. After could you always have to put the infinitive, so this should be ĎI could almost believeí.
Youíve written a truly spectacular story here, congratulations on winning the challenge you wrote it for, you really deserved it!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for the lovely (and detailed) review! This is my favorite of my stories so I am always glad to know that it was appreciated. Also, thanks alot for the nitpicks- I must have gone over this a thousand times and my eye just skipped over those mistakes. (oops). I\'m glad that you thought Phillipe\'s retelling of his story worked. I wanted to talk about the revolution but I was really afraid of making it too preachy or like something out of a history book. People died, important and unimportant alike. I think that they all deserve to have thier story told. Anyway, thanks again for the kind words and catching my grammer mistakes! Merci beaucoup!
Hey Mar! *huggles* Iíve been sitting in front of an empty screen for nearly ten minutes nowÖ Badger chats are really distracting, but I promised you a review and I will finish it!
I love your story. Itís certainly different, but I especially like the quiet uneventfulness of it. The whole story has a tranquility about it that makes it even more beautiful. Itís just a normal day for Henry and Isabelle and you show that in your story. And while Iím on the subject, I absolutely adore Henry as a character. Even though your story is quite short he seems interesting and you show quite a few facettes of his character.
The job of the Gatherer is a lovely idea. I can just imagine all those imprints of different seers hovering over Stonehenge waiting to be collected. Itís a nice thought that thereís enough magic in Stonehenge to draw the imprints to it, itís the perfect place for the prophecies to be collected. The only thing I would have liked to know about the job of the Gatherer that you didnít tell us was how a wizard gets the job. Are they selected? Do they have to apply for it? Iím not sure how you could have incorporated that into the story, but I would have liked to know it.
Henry sleepily rubbed the head of the Snidget, eliciting a small coo from the bird and letting the bird know that Henry was getting up. The use of the same word this close together makes the sentence slightly awkward to read, maybe you could just put Ďití instead of Ďthe birdí the second time you use it?
You did a good job creating the position of the Gatherer and what life is like for them. I loved this little insight you gave us into the life of Henry and Isabelle, they are both interesting characters that I would really like to see again.
Anna! *huggles* I usually stay away from D/G one-shots, because I feel they donít do the pairing justice, but you just proved me wrong. You capture the essence of my favourite ship with such effortless, beautiful prose and put so much emotion in it, I seriously about died while reading the last line. Perfect!
Iíve said it before, when reviewing Fatal Remorse, how much I love your imagery. With Fatal Remorse it was the eyes, here it is the Tango. I can do the basic Tango steps and donít know much else about it or the steps you mention, but I could see them dancing in my mind and I still carry those images with me. I love how everything else just fades away once they begin their dance. I remember my dancing lessons, where everyone was watching the other couples and more aware of them than of their own partners, which is sad because it shows how little the dance means to them. But here everything around them fades and itís just Draco and Ginny and their dance, thatís how it should be.
Iíve read through your story twice by now, trying to figure out how you manage to create this strong emotional tension between the characters. This fic was one of those Ďread the next line or dieí Ė stories. It has a lot to do with your style and word choice, just everything put together makes for a compelling read and while reading it makes everything else fade away, kind of what Draco and Ginny experience when they start to dance.
What I really liked was that you donít explain their previous relationship. You donít tell us countless trivial facts, not even how they got together in the first place, but let the tension between the two of them speak for itself. Anything more than the few lines of explanation you give, would have disrupted the flow of your story, it would have taken away from the magic of the moment and the dance and shifted the focus to the past. Iím glad you wrote it the way it is, as just a moment in time, not the whole story of their relationship. Itís also lovely open-ended, and I have to admit that I thought it would be a chaptered story at first, but now Iím glad that itís not, because this ending is just perfect.
I feel like I havenít been particularly helpful in this review, but I hope there is something in there that is of use to you.
Author's Response: Ilka, this review totally made my day -- of course it was helpful! Thanks so much, love, for *SQUEE* writing such a wonderful one! *hugs* I\'m glad you liked it.