I have to admit that I am not a big fan of poetry Ė in fact, Iím pretty sure this is my first time ever even reviewing poetry. But the title of this intrigued me (yes, I will also admit that I was unaware the title was Cummingsí), and Iíve been known to click on anything with Sirius in the summary. Plus, I knew you were a great author, so I was hoping I might stumble upon something I enjoyed. And I did.
I think what I love most about this poem is the voice. It screams Sirius with every word. The whole tone seems to be very sardonic, which is perfect for Sirius in Azkaban. Itís not just sarcastic, which is what not-in-prison Sirius would be like; itís got more of an edge, and itís wonderful. I think my favorite part is the very first bit, about children of men being carbon-copies. I would quote it, but that would take up a lot of space. The reason I liked it so much was because the idea is Sirius down to the core. For his whole life, heís been trying to break the Black mold, and thatís stated so poignantly there.
Next Iím going to try to examine form, and hopefully it wonít sound too much like I donít know anything. The lack of capitalization is definitely worth noting. Itís almost like being in Azkaban has drained Sirius of all but the simplest skills; obviously that doesnít necessarily apply to the original poem, but still. Likewise, the fact that thereís no punctuation makes it seems like a stream of consciousness sort of thing. Itís an interesting dynamic, then, that the ideas are so heavy but the form is so simple.
Iím really glad you included a link to the original poem, because I was eager to read it and compare. And dare I say it, I like yours better. I feel like Cummingsí is a bit more positive, like itís more lighthearted. Where Sirius seems sarcastic and ironic, the voice of Cummingsí seems for a while like he actually does love humanity; Sirius is more mocking. When ĎHumanity/ i hate youí comes at the end of Cummingsí, itís a little unexpected, like youíre surprised the narrator doesnít really love humanity. But when that line comes at the end of yours, itís like a reassurance that you, the reader, were right the whole time Ė that no, Sirius does not love humanity, and yes, he was being sardonic. Lol, I hope that makes sense.
Iím definitely really happy I clicked on this, because it was wonderful. There arenít many poems that I truly like, but this is an exception. You captured Siriusís emotions perfectly, and you did Mr. Cummings some justice. Wonderful job!
Author's Response: Awww, thank you so much! I\'m so, so thrilled that you liked this poem! You\'re absolutely spot on with the way I made it more sardonic, and the capitalization/stream of consciousness... it DOES scream Sirius, doesn\'t it? I\'m glad you picked up on all those little things. That IS what makes poetry so special. And you know what\'s funny? ((I don\'t like poetry much, either. :P)) So, maybe I write good poetry for other people who normally don\'t like the genre, eh? Hehe, well, thanks again for reviewing! I\'m glad you liked it. <3
-splutters a little- SPEW buddy! Man, I adore this poem; itís absolutely wonderful. (And sestinas are quite difficult to write, I think, so major kudos to you.)
Of course, all the star/constellation imagery is lovely. I know that people use it a lot (including myself), but you just do such a beautiful job with it here. He blinks away tears, hums blindly at the sky I donít know why, but I really love that line. Something about the humming blindly at the sky just puts this picture in my head and itís positively wonderful. I really felt like you captured Sirius here, and Regulus as well. And, Iím quite picky about other peopleís interpretations of my favorite brothers, so really excellent job. You dived into their relationship and just understood it and wrote about it perfectly.
The second stanza is so poignant; I got a real sense of how things used to be, and how reflective and nostalgic Sirius feels. Enough to fill an ocean; they stand, dis-united, two sides spilt by Fate. I love that line. And, for once, I understood the formatting in a poem. (Unfortunately, I am slightly poetry-challenged, and I tend to completely miss why people format things the way they doÖ)
The mocking songs of breaking glass melt into more tears
about the family, that was really only two of us now long gone
Guh! Youíre killing me, Suzie dear. I really really love the words youíve chosen to use for this sestina, because they all work so beautifully together (I dunno if you were assigned a specific set of words or not, but these are great just the same). I love Ďreally only two of usí and the breaking glass imagery and guh. Lovely!
where they will lurk in enemy trenches firing bullets; no interruption,
I think interruption is one of my favorite repeating words in this. I donít know, it just seems so right. Interruption. And the enemy trenches is great here, too.
(He knocks, and the wind whips away his final fears as he hums to the sky.)\
I told you I really liked the humming to the sky. -wink- But, yes. I love how this is set apart from the rest, and in parentheses, and in italics. Because, you know, I am a big fan of parentheses and italics. -shifty eyes-
So, all in all, I love this. Siriusly. Itís a truly beautiful piece, and so wonderfully portrays Sirius and his relationship with Regulus. I really need to go read more of your stuff right this very second. -trots off-
Oh, how I love getting the email that Noldo has posted another fic. ^^
I havenít ever really read a Padma fic before Ė a result of her being a character I donít happen to be overly fond of, so I suppose I donít have much to compare this to. But I thought it was very very very wonderful all the same. The only fics Iíve read from you are Black-family-related, so I was eager to see your portrayal of a character Iím not so used to. I wasnít disappointed, to say the least.
The beginning is a good, if not completely natural one. Itís a good place to begin the story, with the event that essentially begins Padmaís life, as it were. I think your first set of parentheses (about the picture Ė lovely idea, by the way) might be a tad long. The reason might be the second set of parentheses contained within the first, but I think somewhere it becomes too long. Iíd say take something out of those parentheses and try and stick it somewhere else in parentheses, if you catch my drift. Break it up a little so that weíre not overwhelmed in the very first paragraph.
I love the mispronunciation joke. Heart it. It adds in that little taste of humor a fic needs, and it reminds me of my own dad in a strange little way (funnily enough, heís absolutely horrid at pronouncing things, especially foreign things). I love the description of the house and the familyís reaction to it. It just emphasizes that theyíre in a different place now, and including the bits about what people think of Padma and Parvati is great. Thereís inevitably sister-rivalry there, and seeing what Padma thinks of it sets up the relationship the girls will have later (particularly when theyíre sorted into different houses). The beach scene also helps to demonstrate how left out Padma feels, and I canít help but feel sympathy for her.
She thought, eating a pig is very strange. But the girl was nice, and played wonderful games, and so Padma didn't say anything.
I feel like Ďbut the girl was nice, and played wonderful gamesí would be better unitalicized. The Ďeating a pig is very strangeí is Padmaís thought, so that should be italicized, but the second bit I think is just fine unitalicized.
All it's supposed to be is a school (school, n. citadel of torture, generally.), but that seems not nearly enough. What a great line. (I agree about the citadel of torture, naturally.) One of my favorite things about this fic is the way you added touches here and there of the Ravenclaw in Padma. When she looks in the mirror Ė another great, though more direct, I think, way of separating Padma from Parvati. I feel like Padma seems a real girl in that scene, too, looking at herself and wondering about her appearance. And then the brief mention of the Yule Ball is also wonderful. All those middle sections are put together very well Ė in the right order. It all flows nicely and concisely. You always have a talent for flow, and creativeness as well. I just love your writing, basically. :D
I think the ending parts are my favorites, the ones about the coming war. I love love love Padmaís thinking that some questions have no answers. Itís so fitting, while at the same time a little chilling. And her parents leaving the country Ė again, fitting. Itís like this fic has bookends. First, leave India, finally, go back. Great. I donít what else I can say about this, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Abby! -squishes- You know, I've been meaning to read something of yours for a while now, because I've heard what amazing things people have said about Halfway to Infinity, and well, I had to get a taste of this amazingness. (Obviously, this isn't a review for Halfway to Infinity. But I so enjoy one-shots times infinity. Look, I connected to infinity! -is done blabbering now-) Right, onto the review.
I really love seeing things about Peter, especially around the time when he betrayed Lily and James, because there's just so much to explore with his character. I've seen it done different ways, so naturally I was comparing your Peter to other Peters I've seen. And I have to say, I was really impressed by your Peter. I could really see where things went wrong, why he chose to do what he did, etc. This fic isn't very long, but you packed in so much. You included the things that mattered without being too verbose. I think that's one of the things I enjoyed most. It's simple, but it conveys so much. This line particularly stood out to me: One man's traitor is another man's savior. Obviously that's where the title comes from, and I love it. Positively heart it. It's just so...Peter. It makes perfect sense for him, for what he did.
I do have a little bit of concrit to give you, though. The only thing that I didn't think was exactly spot on was James's characterization. The first flashback we get has this as the first line: ĒI hate to put you in this position,Ē James said, with a shrug. I don't like so much that he's shrugging, because that makes it seem nonchalant. Like making somebody your Secret Keeper is just no big deal, which it obviously is. I think maybe James would be a little awkward in this situation, but not too awkward. It's tough to really nail the James that's grown up from a teenager but is still a tad childish. I'm not sure you got there all the way. Then again, perhaps that's just my own opinion and view of James.
I adore the scene between Sirius and Peter. I think you really captured the relationship between them well. I love it. The bit with Remus and Peter is nice as well. A little darker, as it were, but in a good way. It's interesting to see Remus being a little down on Peter, because from canon it seems like it was mostly Sirius and James. But it does work here. I imagine Remus felt a bit left out in this situation, and taking it out (if only to a small degree) on Peter is a neat touch.
The description of Voldemort! Wow, it's so creepy, even though it's brief. -shivers- And finally, I love how you end this. For some reason, I think ending with a line of dialogue is really cool, and it works perfectly here. -shivers again- It makes me hate Peter, but at the same time feel a little sorry for him. So. Excellent job with this; I thought it was wonderful. I'm thinking I should go read some more writing of yours... :D
Author's Response: Oh WOW! Thank you soooo much for this review!
I\'m glad you liked this version of Peter; I was trying to shake up his character a little bit and I wasn\'t sure if it would work out. Haha and that line too. Thanks so much for mentioning it; it took me so long to think of! ^^;;I agree with you about the shrugging thing, actually. I couldn\'t think of what to put there, so I just added shrugging. You\'re right about James; I\'ve only ever written James once before. I should get to editing that.
The Sirius and Remus scenes actually weren\'t in the original draft, but I felt like they were necessary to make the point when I was editing. The Remus scene was especially difficult for me. I\'m glad you liked them both!Thank you soooo much for the review!
Despite my intense and unsympathetic feelings towards Peter, I decided to click on this. And I’m glad I did, because I thought you did a great job giving a little insight into Peter’s character, a character so often written not very well in fanfiction.
I have to give a little nod to the title, because it’s fabulous. I just really love it, and it so perfectly matches with how you crafted this fic. I’m always a fan of great titles.
Of course I have to talk about Peter’s characterization. I liked it and I didn’t like, to be honest. In the beginning, with the four of them in the dormitory, I thought perhaps Peter was a bit too timid, too small, too about-to-soil-his-pants. I think, though, that you can get away with a bit of that when he’s younger; but, still, I wasn’t crazy about his characterization there. The end of that beginning part was nice, though, about shining one day. I liked that line.
I liked Peter’s characterization a lot more in that second section. All of his thoughts about being as powerful as Lucius – rather frightening, but great. He’s already planning a traitorous future, really. I don’t know if I would have had Peter feeling so ambitious and…evil, I guess, that early on in his life (that’s still first year, right?). I don’t know that he would have been thinking about that then, when he was so young. It’s almost like Peter seems really childlike up above in the first section, and then down in the second section, he’s plotting and everything. I might’ve toned down the power-lust a bit, but it still works. It still creeps me out and makes me so angry about what he does. So, I suppose, job well done there.
On another note, I really liked the other Marauders’ characterization in this. I love when Sirius ‘attacks’ the bed in the beginning scene, that’s just a fantastic verb choice there. I love when Remus tells Sirius not to be stupid when he clearly wants to fight back against the Slytherins. I think you really conveyed the close-knit relationship between them well, and you did it in a short amount of time/space. Kudos for that, because I don’t think that’s an easy thing to do.
Finally, I have to say I wasn’t overly fond of the first person choice for the narrative. I tend to not love first person anyway, but…well, I don’t know. I’m probably just being overly critical (-eyeroll at self-). But I would’ve liked to see this in a third person narrative, or maybe even a second person one. I feel like with third person, you could have done a little bit more ‘deep’ digging (that is, you could have said things someone probably wouldn’t say themselves, if that makes sense). First person can be good for letting the reader get inside the character’s head, but I tend to think that second person does that job while also allowing the reader to identify more personally with the character. But, that’s just my opinion, and the first person is of course perfectly fine.
Overall, I thought you did a really nice job with this fic. You had a good handle on Peter’s character, and all the technical stuff was great, which always makes me happy. Keep it up!
Normally I probably wouldn’t read a Susan Bones fic, but I knew that you write characters like Susan Bones better than…well, better than mostly everybody.
You’re just really, really good at creating stories for minor characters like Susan whom we don’t know a whole lot about. You introduce new characters like Sally-Anne Perks, but you do it without overwhelming us with things and people we’re unfamiliar with. I think what happens a lot when authors try to expand on minor characters, they do so by creating completely new characters and situations and places and everything, so it becomes completely unlike the Harry Potter world that we’ve come to know. But, you give us a minor character, Susan Bones, and you just give us a couple new things (Sally-Anne, for instance). The situation isn’t totally new, and there are still characters with whom we’re familiar, at least to a certain extent.
I love the way you portray the Hufflepuffs in this fic. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a negative portrayal from you, but it’s just so nice to see them here. It’s clear what’s important to them. They form a study group for each other and tutor each other and are just…friends. They’re friends. I also think it’s pretty awesome that Sally-Anne abandons the study group when it was her idea in the first place. That just seems like something a Hufflepuff would do. We’ll form the group, but it might not last all year.
Back to the characterization of Susan. You put Susan in a situation that’s really easy for us, the reader, to identify with. We’ve all been there, trying to not fail our classes and experiencing that terrible feeling of taking a really important test. It’s easy for us to care about Susan, because Susan is us. Susan is a real person. And then – she doesn’t get the grade she needs in Potions. She isn’t perfect; she tries as hard as she can, but she doesn’t completely succeed. But she doesn’t give up, and that’s what’s so great. I admire Susan, actually. You’re almost teaching us a lesson, you tricky person.
Yes, so, lovely job with this short little fic. You pretty much win at writing Hufflepuffs especially.
Author's Response: Well, Leanne, as it turns out, Sally-Anne Perks is actually a canon character. But other than that, thank you so much for your review! I really appreciate that you looked up this story and gave such a thorough review! thank you thank you! Love, CA
Oh, this is wonderful! I donít read much poetry, and it seems like even when I do read poetry, I always go for something less conventional in style. But Iím really glad I read this, because it proved that I can like Ďnormalí writing as well. -shifty eyes-
The diction here is lovely. Everything is so nicely matched and chosen and it all flows very well together. It works so well as a ballad. I want to make it into a song so that I can hear drunken men sing it all the time. But aside from that silly notion on my part, I thought that you really did a great job of capturing Sirius in Azkaban, as well as his need to get out and make things better. I mean, itís a story in poetry form. /stating the obvious
At last, he burst outside the walls
That stole so many years.
The salty breezes filled his lungs
And stung his eyes with tears.
That was one of my favorite parts. Not sure why. I just really loved the image I got in my head. And I was so happy that we had gotten to when he breaks out, because itís so important.
With every stroke and every breath
He heard a dead manís voice,
We trust you, Padfoot. Yes, youíre right,
He is the better choice.
Oh man. Thatís lovely and haunting and wonderful. Itís placed so perfectly, and the idea of James being a Ďdead maní is incredibly powerful here. Iíve never heard him described like that before. It sounds so far off and final, almost.
I failed you, James, but this I vow,
I will not fail your son.
Definitely my favorite line of the whole thing. Itís such an amazing way to end it. And it just sums up Siriusís whole reason for living now. It pulls at my heartstrings, though, to think that he failed James. I donít want to think about it. But you did a lovely job with this. Iím impressed and very happy I clicked on this.
Oh, this is a lovely little fic. As much as I love the Black family, I tend to read more about Sirius and Regulus and not enough about the Black sisters. But I enjoyed this very much.
The characterization is spot on for all three sisters, in my opinion. I think you did an excellent job of telling and showing us what theyíre like; so many authors can only do one or the other. I think my favorite bit was about Andromeda: She was born in the middle and sits in the middle and looks in the middle. Itís a very nice sentence, really gives an idea of what Andromeda feels like and how she fits into the Black family (or how little she fits in, as it were).
I love that you talk about what theyíre thinking about, because itís such a perfect way to show us what theyíre each like. And, I love that they arenít thinking about what theyíre waiting for, because three young girls probably wouldnít be thinking about that. Bellatrixís thoughts were the most telling for me. I thought at first that maybe it would be a little unlikely that she was already thinking about finding a suitable husband, but then I changed my mind and decided that it wasnít that unlikely. Bellaís character is just soÖI donít know the word. Sheís just like that. Lovely job.
Narcissa to me had the most interesting character, because she doesnít really have a mind of her own yet, which is perfect. I think itís easy to see that in her even as an adult; clearly she isnít the strongest of the sisters, and that actually makes it that much more refreshing when she really is strong in Deathly Hallows.
Iím really glad you added in some dialogue to this, because itís important to see how the sisters interact. And they behave exactly as sisters would, I think. Even though theyíre so different and have different goals and different thoughts, theyíre still sisters, and they still feel like they need each other. They stand up, the three sisters, and link hands. This is traditional, almost instinctive: they do it without thinking. I love that.
Of course, I wonder what theyíre waiting for, but Iím sort of pleased you didnít tell us. It isnít really important Ė the focus is the sisters. Overall, very nice job!
Wow, this was wonderful! Everything was so well put together and the words were so poignant and Regulusís character was so spot-on and just guh. Really, I loved this.
Regulus is a character that I feel like I know very well, since Iíve written him so many times; heís pretty much a real person in my head. So naturally, Iím a tiny bit cynical and donít click on things with the full confidence that the author will do Regulus justice. But you did a great job here. I can hear Regulus in these words, all his doubts and confusion and aching. The star metaphors are particularly lovely, mainly because star metaphors rock when it comes to the Blacks.
I have to comment on the form, only because it is a little different. I like it. The words set apart by indentations stand out appropriately, and the spacing feels right. But then again, I am a huge fan of bending the traditional rules. I especially love the parentheses, as I use them quite a lot in my own writing (and I donít even write poetry). I think the things in the parentheses might be my favorites. The imagery is all just so beautiful Ė especially Ďblushing chrysanthemum of shattered sky.í I also love ĎWhat would we find if we looked through,í first because of the Ďwe,í and second because of the idea. The Ďweí brings Sirius in for me. The idea of Regulus and Sirius, together, looking through the stars is lovely. It tells us that they could have been close, maybe were once, but arenít anymore.
Moving along in the Regulus//Sirius vein, this line stood out to me as well: Could the dog star ever rise,/were it not for the sacrifice/of the king?. Itís interesting to think about Sirius in Regulus terms, as it seems like we always think of them the other way around. Iíve never thought before that maybe Sirius wouldnít seem so good if Regulus hadnít done all the things heíd done. Another line I loved (lol, I loved them all) was: Does the world spin/by the force of their fall?. Itís very powerful. For Regulus to wonder if the world is moved by the fallen is even more powerful Ė itís like heís giving himself some sort of assurance that his life wonít have been for nothing. The feelings of remorse here are so evident. And finally, the last line is great. It ties in with the idea of the fallen spinning the world. In that, Regulus will find eternity. I love it.
Iím not much of a poetry person (actually, this is only the second poem Iíve reviewed in-depth), but I loved this. You did an excellent job; I will definitely have to read more of your work.
Author's Response: Thank you for the wonderful review (I\'d never know you weren\'t a poetry person if you hadn\'t said so) I really appreciate it. I\'m glad that the characterization of Regulus came out well. I haven\'t really written much of him because I\'m not entirely sure what to make of him. The main way I understand his character is through his relationship with Sirius- hence the lines about the dog and king stars. As to the form, I\'ve always been most comfortable with freestyle poetry- but only conditionally. I am a firm believer in flaunting the rules, but you have to know the rules before you flaunt them. It doesn\'t mean as much if you only break them out of ignorance. I had actually intended this to read as three seperate poems- the contents within the parenthesis, the contents outside, and then the full poem. That is why the form is structured as it is. Thank you again for the wonderful review!
All around her, she observes conforming, and it scares her. So many people around her are so similar in their appearance, and sadly, a lot of them are more than similar underneath. Most of them are the same.
-squishes SPEW buddy like whoa-
I donít know why Iíve never read anything by you before, dear Steph. This was wonderful! I enjoyed it very much. -nods-
One of the things that really jumps out at me in this fic is the Hufflepuffs. I read something a while back about how Hufflepuff could really be the worst house for ďleftoversĒ because theyíre so close-knit that outsiders arenít welcome. I think thatís portrayed incredibly well here. Itís even difficult for a Hufflepuff to fit in with the Hufflepuffs. How sad, but how true it can be at the same time. And then, because Hannah ends up being friends with Luna instead, it just sort of shoves everything back in the Hufflepuffsí faces. Take that, mean girls! -skips off with Luna and Hanna-
This fic does an excellent job conveying the things that teenagers (girls especially) go through on a social level. Itís so easy to relate to, because I think weíve all been there. Weíve been Luna, or weíve been Hannah, or maybe weíve even been Megan. I felt the dialogue was really well done in this, also. Dialogue tends to be something I have trouble with, but yours flowed nicely. It felt like a group of teenage girls talking. I think this was one of my favorite bits: ĎDoes it matter?í Hannah asks, gasping and biting back the need to flee as the words escape her mouth and she sees Megan glare. Itís simple, but still very effective. Itís basically what every girl wonders, isnít it? Does it matter if Iím pretty enough, or smart enough, or funny enough, or rich enough? That Hannah is addressing it here is great. Kudos to Hannah for finally standing up for herself.
I love Lunaís character in this. I think itís really appropriate that sheís the one thinking people are all just the same, because she seems like the only one who doesnít conform in some way. And itís cute the way she twirls her hair at the beginning; that seems like something she would do. The beginning of this fic works very well as being centered around Luna Ė thereís not a lot of dialogue, itís mostly observation. Thatís what Luna does, observes. And then once we start to look at Hannah and the other girls more, thatís when the dialogue comes in.
On a constructive note, I noticed some tense changes throughout this. For the most part, this is in the present tense, but there are places where you shift. She barged through the door with a queer expression on her face, and Luna saw, somewhat sadly, that she looked like she was in the verge of tears. That sentence, for example, is completely in the past tense, where it should be in the present. Aside from that, though, everything seemed fine. I love the shoes bit; that was really great. Hannah taking off her shoes and giving them to Megan was likeÖsticking it to the man. How nice. :D
So. I thought this was an excellent little fic, and I hope to read more from you in the future. -squishes again-
Author's Response: Guh, SPEW buddy, Iím using word because I donít want to stuff this up :)
Iím so glad you picked that up about the Hufflepuffs! I know from experience the ďoutlawsĒ really donít have anything in common apart from the fact that theyíre differentÖ and theyíre ALL too different from each other :). So squee for picking that up!
The issue of being oneself is really important to me, especially when I wrote that, and it means SO much that you commented on it. Amazingly so. Thatís all Iíll say.
Oh. Right. Did I mention my tense sucks? *zips in to change*
And, pssh. Yeah mate :D rejecting regulation leather school shoes is so sticking it to the man!
I really like the idea for this story Ė itís interesting and intriguing and allows for a lot of creativity. However, I donít feel it was executed as well as perhaps it could have been.
Overall, I think maybe you could have done a lot more. The whole thing seems rather short and unfinished. We could have been given more to think about, you know? More to really connect it all together as one cohesive piece instead of four shorter, somewhat disconnected pieces. I think the idea that all four of them are at windows is wonderful, and a great way to bring them all together while still telling their individual stories. But I think maybe it would have been nice to go more with the window idea, really latch onto it; you did that well, I think, with Lily and Alice, but not as much with Narcissa and Petunia.
Some of the language felt choppy to me as well. I think that if you had just added more longer and complex sentences, thus lengthening the piece as a whole, then the shorter sentences would have been complemented (and somewhat counterbalanced). A lot of just felt simple. Also, some of the descriptions seemed a bit clichť to me, such as Ďraven-black hair,í and others seemed plain.
I liked the four women that you chose to write about. They each have such interesting stories for the time period. They also all have a rather sad quality to them, especially in what we know happened to each of them. I like that you sort of portrayed Alice as very happy and content Ė it really emphasizes the tragedy of what happened to her. And the fact that they all have young sons adds something extra to their stories. I think it mightíve been interesting to more fully connect their sons, so as to further the connection between the mothers. You could have hinted more to the future, I guess is what Iím thinking.
On the whole, I think this fic has a great idea behind it (oh, and a lovely title as well!), but I also think it needs a bit more work to really make it excellent.
Author's Response: The story behind the title is kind of funny, actually.. you know those fridge magnets? The ones with the words on them? I found \"behind\" and \"destiny\" on the floor. Hah, and that\'s how the title was born.\r\n\r\nThanks so much for your criticism! As much as I love positive reviews, it\'s always refreshing when some constructive criticism comes my way.
Sarah! UmÖI donít know why Iíve never read anything by you before. Well, I guess Iíve read drabbles and stuff, but never an actual fic. So here I am. And, like, Iím so glad you told me to read this one, because itís positively lovely.
Iíve written Lavender once, and I found her difficult. I think that we see a lot of shallow, teenage girl in canon, and people take that too far; authors forget Lavender is a real person, too. But you really pinned Lavenderís character down here. I feel like sheís genuine, and thatís great. Everything sheís feeling sounds exactly right. The not wanting to go inside, because sheís afraid it will make everything real, is especially great. Oh, and the idea that her parents have died is also great (I realize that sounds morbid, but you know what I mean, I hope). Thinking she was somehow immune from the deaths, wondering why it had to be them, everything in this is so heart wrenching. Perhaps she feels nothing because she has no reason to. That line stuck out to me in particular.
I adore the way you start this: Lavender Brown sits in the dark. Itís chilling, and it perfectly sets the mood for the rest of the fic. Your writing is so delicious. All the words fit together in the loveliest of ways. Itís simple, but so descriptive (completely opposite of my own writing, which is overly complicated and not at all clear). Youíre able to say so much in just a few words. I envy you!
Why me? Do I not get a choice? There seem to be subtle ideas of suicide in this fic? I think that suits Lavender really well here. And the fact that Harry is the one whoÖtalks her out of it, in a way, is wonderful. It just shows how one person, one moment, can really change your entire life. Lavenderís change of attitude at the end of the fic is great; it gives the whole thing a more positive spin. Itís like weíre worrying about Lavender the entire time, and then we can finally rest easy.
And if nothing and no-one else, Lavender can trust the stars. I love it. For some reason, I have a certain penchant for star references in writing, and so naturally, I loved them here. They just fit in perfectly. -sigh- I basically love everything in this fic. Youíre amazing, Sarah. I must insist you keep on writing beautiful things like this. =)
Author's Response: Squee! A Leanne!Review! I\'m so thrilled that you think I\'ve captured lavender character too - seriously, I was so worried about it once I\'d finished. *blushes* You envy me? Really? Hang on, let me rephrase. You envy me? I can\'t quite believe that, but it\'s made me so happy anyway! Finally, just some general huggles for all your complimentary and encouraging words, and thank you so much for the review!
Author's Response: Do you know what I\'ve decided? That response wasn\'t half of what is adequate in proportion to your review. So here I am again! I can\'t express how happy it makes me to see that I didn\'t screw Lavender up. Her character as we\'ve seen it so far in the books is just so easy to abuse and make shallow that it was important I achieved something different to the norm. I was actually pretty pleased with that first line myself, if that doesn\'t sound too bigheaded. >> << But of course that hardly matters if the readers don\'t like it - so I\'m very pleased that you liked it too! :D Yep, we do see a bit of a suicidal side to Lavender in this story, basically because that\'s just what comes when you feel like there\'s no-one left. I\'m happy that Lavender\'s turnaround seems natural, because yes, I was trying to convey the notion that small thingsdo make the difference,whether people realise it or not. Another fan of stars? Squee! Wwe should so form a fanclub. Thanks you like woah for this heart-warming review.
Aw, Ted and Andromeda are adorable. I donít read enough of them as I really should, so Iím glad I clicked on this. (And, congrats on earning the SPEWly author spotlight this month! Otherwise I might not have found this, which would have been sad.)
I like Ted in this. Heís so sweet and pretty much exactly how I pictured him. Better yet, I think youíve showed how heís what Andromeda needed; he was her lifeline when she was making the decision to cut herself off from her family, a decision that you portrayed as very difficult for her. In my head she isnít as hesitant to abandon her family as you have her here, but it does make sense and you conveyed it believably. And, it made Tedís character that much more caring and loving.
She had told him to go away in a very nasty way and she had called him a Mudblood. Oh, that makes me sad. I never thought about Andromeda being this mean to Ted at first, but I guess itís rather likely. One note: I think it might work nicely to have the bit of his memory of their first encounter in italics, just to more clearly distinguish it from the rest of the fic.
I really feel for Ted while heís waiting all summer for some word from Andromeda; again, youíve done something here I didnít have in my head for Andromeda Ė she was engaged to another man before she married Ted. I guess I just assumed she had run away with him before an engagement was officially set. But I like the idea of her having to really choose him over her family. It adds a more dynamic element to the story.
He knew that Andromeda was close to Bellatrix, and he knew that Bellatrix would do anything to keep her little sister safe. I like that you portrayed the Black sisters as best friends here, rather than Andromeda always being the odd one out or something. The fact that Andromeda has to make the decision to separate herself from her sisters is great for the story, and I think itís telling of her character as well. Sheís an incredibly loving and loyal person.
In addition Slughorn liked her, and that man could get anything he wanted from Dumbledore. Hmm, I didnít really like this sentence, mainly because I donít think Dumbledore would have chosen Andromeda as Head Girl just because Slughorn liked her. Iím not sure if thatís what you really meant by this sentence, but to me it came off that way. Even though Slughorn is a very manipulative man, Dumbledore was not easily won over like other people can be. Another bit of criticism: I felt like at times the dialogue in this seemed rather melodramatic, but I think part of the reason was a general lack of description around the dialogue. So, it would say that Ted was screaming, but I didnít get a sense of raised voices because there was no mention of anything like that before. Does that make sense? I guess what Iím basically saying is Iíd like to see some more descriptions in between the dialogue just to give the reader a better idea of what exactly is going on.
Overall, I thought this was a lovely little fic. Good job!
Author's Response: Thank you! Andromeda is one of my favorite characters, and I always love writing her. I\'ll try to work on dialogue; I always have problems with it. Thanks again. ~ Teresa
Let me just say Ė wow. This fic was incredibly original and well-written and interesting and wonderful. You did such a great job with the characters, plot, and idea that I find myself marveling at everything. And so, naturally, I have to go through and talk about it all. =)
I adore the introductions to our two main characters. First we have Merda, who Iím not ashamed to say reminds a tad of Ariel from Disneyís The Little Mermaid. She dreams of the world above the water, unlike her fellow merpeople, and she wishes to know more of it. (Granted, Disney ends a bit more, shall we say, positively, but thatís Disney.) I love the idea that Merda Ďimagines,í as you put it, because it presents such a nice parallel to Mark. And speaking of Mark, what a great character. You managed to characterize so fully in a relatively small amount of words. I think I mightíve liked to see some reference to the fact that this takes place during the foundersí era, just to give us an idea of the time period. The appearance of Godric Gryffindor later sort of caught me off guard.
The encounter between Merda and Mark, though brief, is lovely. Theyíre both fascinated by each other, and itís interesting how that one moment changes both of their lives completely. I like the contrast between Richardís and Merdaís reactions to the painting. Richard thinks itís odd, unnatural, whereas Merda finds it beautiful, and she wishes she could really be the creature Mark portrays. Itís terribly sad when Mark says that the creature in the painting is real, because when he does see later that she is, he is horrified. Itís almost like heís created a monster, in which case I see the connection to Frakenstein. ;-)
Öand Merda realized with a rush of joy that her desires had been granted, and she rushed to the water's surface and broke through the border. I adore the Ďbroke the borderí part of this sentence, because it seems to possess a double meaning. Yes, sheís literally breaking the border between the human world and the underwater world, but sheís also symbolically breaking it, if that makes sense. In my head it does. -is lame- I also find it interesting that sheís Ďbreakingí the border, when in a way sheís also melding the two borders into one. This line particularly caught my attention: At last, the water's surface smoothed out its ripples, and reformed into the very-solid border between two unbridgeable worlds. The reference again to the borders, and the way you so subtly said that sheíd died is perfect.
Just a small nitpick: Mark noted that she had all the features that were common to humans, though none of the beauty; and all of the strangeness of merpeople without their grace, or their exoticism. The semicolon doesnít really work here, because the part following it is a dependent clause. Anything that comes after a semicolon must be able to stand on its own a separate sentence. However, I do adore the idea of this sentence; itís beautiful, and really illustrates the strangeness thatís occurred with this mixture of a mermaid and a witch.
The ending to this is great. I feel a little sad for Mark, though, since he decides heíll never paint again. I think his reaction to what heíd created and his inability to handle it really showed how the interaction of human and nature donít always work. In this case, it was too unnatural for either of the characters to accept. And then, of course, you tied everything up well with the prefect putting the painting in the bathroom. That small bit just gives us something to really relate to in canon, and it was great. Overall, this fic was excellent. I really donít have any criticism to give you, other than that one nitpick. Everything flowed wonderfully, and the idea was refreshingly original. Great job!
Author's Response: Aww, thank you so much for such a deep, thought-out review! It\'s always a great compliment to see that a reader gets so much out of a story. :D Let\'s see... Merda - yes, she DOES sound a lot like Ariel! In fact, I didn\'t realize how much the entire story sounded like Anderson\'s fable until I read it, AFTER I wrote this, but the parallels were unbelievable! And Mark, well, I\'m glad you liked him, because quite simply, that was me. :D In male form, of course. :P I rarely let myself leak through into fiction, but all his ideas about finding excitement in books and being unashamedly \"intellectual\" and voracious in every aspect of life... yeah, that\'s all me. :D I think I decided to add \"me\" as a character after reading Frankenstein, and noticing how much Victor stood for the \"writer\" prototype, and how that type of person (me? I like to think :P) can sometimes lose sight of reality when focusing on the \"beauty\" of his/her creation. And, I must confess, I\'m a bit of a nitpicker myself, and while the \"big\" rule for semicolons is indeed that you mostly use them to combine two complete sentences, another rule reads, \"Use a semicolon to separate a series of phrases or clauses that are long or have punctuation, like commas, within them.\" I probably didn\'t NEED a semicolon there - it would have been clear without one - but if you have one of those long, Faulknerian sentences that are easy to get lost in, you can use semicolons to separate the main phrases of a sentence. If that explanation makes ANY sense... :D Anyway, I can\'t thank you enough for looking so deepy into my story. It just absolutely made my day! Especially since my British Lit. professor was abnormally critical of my last essay... Thanks again!!! <3
Author's Response: *deeply, haha
Narcissa wears a mask of lies and dances through life. One-shot.
Kal, Kal, Kal! Iíve been wanting another fic from you for so long now, and then you come and deliver this. This masterpiece! Itís absolutely amazing. Where have you been hiding this? -thrusts into spotlight-
I donít even know where to start. I guess I could start with the subject. Youíve captured Narcissa and Lucius so well in this, Narcissa especially. The characterization is flawless. Iíve never been a huge fan of Narcissa in the Ďoh, I love this characterí sense, even though Iíve attempted to explore her in my writing before, but this piece really makes me think twice about her. Her entire life here seems soÖfragile. You conveyed everything perfectly. And I know youíll be cross with me for saying this, but your Narcissa is just on a completely different level than mine. Yours is exponentially better and real and developed.
Itís hard for me to pick out any favorite line, because it all fits incredibly well together. Itís like poetry, the way it flows. And then there is an imperceptible shift of her waist, so his hand is just so, so that the two of them fit without flaw. But this line stuck out at me at once, because itís just so lovely. It really embodies that idea of love, doesnít it? Yes, it does. Here, love seems almost too perfect, which is so appropriate for Narcissa and Lucius, I think. And then this: She wonders how she can love him. She wonders if she does. Youíre killing me, here, Kal. In, like, the best way. (Iím so ineloquent right now. And itís your fault for writing such a gorgeous fic. -blames-)
The rose imagery in this is positively lovely. I adore it. And how you (or Narcissa, you know) keep going back to them. -sigh- Beautiful. Oh, and the small story about the doll was also great. I liked the brief mention of Andromeda having a heart Ďtoo kind for her own good.í It just really shows the contrast between the Ďgoodí Blacks and the Ďbadí ones. And then: Even if she does not want to remember. Chilling. I love it. I love everything. Your writing is so delicate in this. Itís like itís reflecting the story, like water that I donít want to touch for fear of disrupting it. Itís just so pretty. Thereís no other word for it Ė I may or may not be jealous of your descriptive skills, because theyíre simply amazing.
And the end! Guh. So great. Itís haunting in this really beautiful way. I particularly loved the Ďgreen, green, greení in parentheses. Which reminds me. You know how much I love parentheses, and how much I somewhat overuse them, and so naturally, I loved your use of them. You put them in all the right places Ė not too many, just placed here and there with pieces of gold in them. Oh, and this, too: Oh, Narcissa, such a deceiver you were. Such a great end to the fic, and I forgot to mention before, but the idea of Draco being like Narcissa is superb as well. It makes me wonder if he ended up more like his mother or his father. And I guess while Iím throwing in random thoughts here at the end, Iíll say that Narcissa trying on the name Fawcett like she would a dress was perfect. Itís a bit of a throw-back to the idea of arranged marriages, where itís almost like you are just trying on names, people, husbands.
Okay, before I go on quoting the entire fic, Iíll just end here. But this was fabulous, Kalmeister. You have to keep writing this stuff, itís genius.
I’ve never understood how people can write such lovely poetry, being rather hopeless at it myself. I don’t read very much poetry, usually because I’m terrible at understanding it, but I do like to read some once in a while, and I know that Suzie’s author’s page is always a good place to go for some beautiful poetry.
I wasn’t wrong, of course. This is a lovely piece of poetry, and I really enjoyed it. Andromeda is a character I’ve always just wanted to know more about, because she seems really interesting. There’s so much to explore with her, and you did that in just a few lines of poetry. You immediately bring in the idea that Andromeda’s family is ‘behind’ her, which is a really interesting idea. Considering the title of this is ‘Dances, free,’ it’s interesting to look at the lines of this poem with movement in mind. But, her family is behind her, or unmoving, as I look at it. The Blacks remain behind, unwilling to accept things that don’t fit into their little pureblooded world (like Ted Tonks, for example), and that makes them stagnant while Andromeda moves forward.
And then, once she’s left her family, she’s able to see a future for herself. She can see something better, somewhere that’s really right for her. The image of Andromeda dashing into Hope’s embrace is a great one. Again, there’s that movement.
There far away she calls for one she loves, / The colour in her page of Black and white I love the capitalization of ‘Black’ there. Black is really just a fabulous name to work with, isn’t it? I love using it like that. And I love that Andromeda finds Ted, here. He’s the one who brings the color, who offers that new life for her. Almost an escaping movement, I think. I love the image of lightening life anew, it’s rather beautiful. How do you write this stuff, dear? You’re made of awesome. I only wish I could write poetry as beautifully as you, though I suppose I can content myself with simply reading it. Fabulous job, Suzie, of course.
Rachel, I don’t know why I’ve not read more of your fics. This is wonderful, I should have read it sooner. But I’ve read it now, so I must leave you a nice review. -smile-
First off, I really like how you incorporated the song lyrics into this. They’re so poignant, and they fit so well with the story. You know as well as I do how bad song fics can be (-beats back painful memories-), but of course yours isn’t. The lyrics match so perfectly that they’re a part of the story rather than just an annoying aside. So, points for you. (Also, points for using the word ‘surfeit.’ That was a new word for me.)
I think the best part about this fic is how clear and tangible the emotions are. You perfectly conveyed Ron’s feelings, and his relationship with Hermione, and…everything was there. I don’t know how you did it, but it’s beautiful. I think it’s got a lot to do with your fabulous prose. Your writing is so well-balanced. It’s not confusing, it’s not overly punctuated or rambling – it’s clear but it still has lovely descriptions and everything. I’m a fan. -wink-
And this may seem random, but I just loved that you didn’t make the ‘I’ll come back/I’ll wait for you’ thing clichť. People use it all the time, but here it didn’t seem clichť at all. Maybe it’s because you portray the Ron/Hermione relationship so wonderfully that it’s completely believable and beautiful and perfect. And then there’s the fact that Ron says, “I knew I’d always come back.” It makes me think of DH, when he leaves Harry and Hermione, only to return later (having wanted to return as soon as he left). It’s all very true to Ron’s character.
I love the, “Someday, I’ll figure it out.” Again, it’s so Ron. And the, “I waited too long.” Gah! Rachel, way to pull at my heartstrings. But, really, it’s perfect. I feel like it really reflects a lot of what Ron and Hermione were about before they officially got together. The love was there, but Ron and Hermione were both lame and took forever. And then eventually they figured it out, and…sigh, Ron leaves. It really made me ache to see him write ‘Don’t wait for me’ in the dirt at the house, but then you made it better.
Which brings me to the ending. I love it. It’s open to interpretation, but it still offers some resolution. It brings some hope into the situation, even if I want to read more, you cruel author, you. But that’s fine, because this fic is fabulous and so are you. -squish-
Author's Response: Gah. Two Leanne reviews in one night?! What exactly did I do to deserve this? Guh, thankyouthankyou for this review! You have no idea how much your praise means to me. *is huge Leanne!fiction fan* I love to hear that you think the Ron/Hermione in this fic works. And that it\'s not cliche. I get that a lot. My plots being cliched, that is. >.> Hee, my mom was reading something I wrote for school the other week and asked what surfeit means. God knows where I learned that word or where my affinity toward it came from. >.> Thank you, again! Your input means a lot to me. :)
YAY this chapter! Even though Iím sort of late in coming to read it, at least Iím here now because, hi, this story pwns.
The beginning of this chapter is great. It has a very melancholy feel to it, and the idea of Cedric remembering everything, and you using the word Ďremember,í specifically and repeatedly, makes me think of Dumbledore saying, ďRemember Cedric Diggory,Ē and I just get all sad. But in a good way. /rambling
I love how you portray Cedricís deliberation between Katie and Cho. I donít even like Cho, but I still feel a little bit sorry for her, if only because itís obvious Cedric feels bad. Cedric is such a real character in this; maybe thatís why I like him so much. Yeah, heís a Hogwarts champion, and yeah, heís good-looking, and yeah, heís got all these great things going for him, but in the end, heís just a normal kid. And you do a wonderful job of illustrating him in that light. I love the Great Hall scene, however small. He quickly excused himself from his parents and headed Cho off at the pass, not wanting to face what could only be an awkward introduction between his parents and his... and Cho. Ha. And then the bit of her just babbling Ė awesome. I can see her perfectly in my head, because sheís that girl who just has to say things for no reason, and be annoying, andÖyeah.
Ironic that he saved her from the Black Lake in February, and now he felt like he was constantly drowning in their relationship. I love this. You do this so well Ė your word choices are always so lovely. I donít think Iím ever confused by what you mean. Maybe itís because Iím your twin, but I always know exactly what you mean. And I think itís because your writing is just that amazing.
Up until Katie mentions meeting Leanne and Travis (muahaha, sheís meeting me -grin-), I had sort of forgotten about the final task. Katieís casual mention of it just stabs at my heart. Itís like I want to yell at Cedric, ďDonít you KNOW whatís going to happen?Ē The conversation between Katie and Cedric is great, of course. Katie telling Cedric she needs to time to just be his friend Ė oh man. She doesnít have time! Iím dying here.
The fact that Katie doesnít feel bad about kissing Cedric when Cho is technically still his girlfriend makes me selfishly happy. Because dude. Katie is just perfect for Cedric, and Cho is blah. And OH SNAP. Him saying heíll do it after the task, right after he comes out Ė holy fizzle. It all just makes me so much sadder that he had to die the way he did.
I adore Ed and Porter, obviously. I adore that theyíre such great friends. I adore that they like Katie so much more than Cho. Thatís 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. You know what? Iím not sure I realized at first that the title of this was a Fray song. But I realized it after this line. So now I realize how perfectly the song fits, and suddenly I love this fic even more. You just do such an amazing job writing the minor characters from canon. I wish there was more you could write. I vote Cedric doesnít die and he and Katie just live happily ever after. -nods-
Okay, Iím finally here to review this. And, like, dude. I love it. So much. Because Katie/Cedric is such fun, and you completely pwn at writing it. AndÖIíd just like to think that Jo was thinking of me when she wrote Leanne. Heh. Anyway.
I love how you start this, because itís so simple, but it characterizes Katie right away. I really feel like I can identify with her Ė as in: GAH SCHOOL. But here in this first paragraph, you tell us who Katie is. Sheís somebody who needs to be on the Quidditch pitch, free, away from binding things like school. And this immediately matches her up with Cedric, in a way. I think that maybe Cedric likes things like school a little more than Katie, but then doesnít that set up a dynamic? It does. Katieís perfect for Cedric, dur.
ďGuess who,Ē he whispered in her ear. Hee. Thatís adorable. I love love love the banter-y conversation Cedric and Katie have. You can tell that theyíre good friends, and that both of them probably have slight feelings for the other (or, you know, more than slight feelings). I think what I like most about how you wrote them together was that you didnít take all this time to set it up. You didnít sit there and give tons of background just to explain why Cedric is allowed to come up and whisper guess who in Katieís ear. You simply threw us into their lives, like weíre eavesdropping, sort of. I donít know if that makes sense, but I think what Iím trying to say is that this fic feels familiar, in the best way. You did give a little backstory, though, with the broom memory. That was cute.
I adore the little flower scene. Man, these two just belong together. Itís so obvious. Like, when Iím reading this, I canít even imagine how Cedric and Cho ever dated. The transition into deeper conversation was nicely done. Cedricís answer to what he fears most is absolutely perfect. And then the kiss! Squee! Itís so great. Every part of Cedric felt electric while he kissed Katie. I was never a fan of Cho, and here, I just feel like Cedric probably doesnít feel this way when he kisses her.
And that brings us to the choice Cedric has to make. Katieís reaction to everything is soÖadmirable, I guess, is a good word. Some girls would probably be all, ĎPick me!í but Katie isnít. Sheís fair, and I get the feeling that she just wants Cedric to be happy while at the same time wanting him to pick her. I love her. And him. And them. And with that, Iím off to review the next chapter.
Dude, there are no reviews for this chapter? Thatís silly. Iím glad Iím here, then.
I was wondering if we were going to see Cho in this, and Iím really happy we did. Not because Iím fond of her, but because I think she needs to appear. We have to see the differences between Cho and Katie, and you illustrate them for us perfectly. She seemed not to notice his indifference, flipping her hair over her shoulder as she turned to enter her common room, smiling brightly back at him just before she disappeared. I think itísÖwell, I think itís funny/sad that Cedric has been sort of avoiding Cho, and that she doesnít really notice it. On some level, they were probably never completely in sync that way, and you do such a great job of showing that.
Whereas before, Cedric had felt guilty and confused, he now felt... Guilty and confused. I love your writing. It just makes me smile. But poor Cedric, even though Iím sitting here going, ďWell, duh, Katie wins.Ē ButÖitís also Cedricís character to feel guilty, because heís nice and caring like that. Itís very in character, so yay.
I love how he goes to the Quidditch stadium to think/deliberate. BecauseÖhi, itís exactly what Katie would do. Nice parallel. Iím glad that you gave us some insight into Cedricís thoughts on Cho, why they even started dating, etc. Well, Cho was very nice, but she was nice to the point of boring. Yes, exactly! See, Katie is fun and exciting and perfect for Cedric, and Cho is just likeÖwell, what he said.
Iím in love with Ed and Porter! ďDid you really expect us to stay up in the castle when we [i]knew[/i] you were going to come down here first?Ē Ha. I love how they know where heíd be; friends like that are awesome. And I just thought Iíd point out that you have the wrong tags there, which Iíd imagine is because you posted this on the forums. I love how Cedric asks them who he should choose and, like Katie, they donít tell him. Because itís his choice. But itís still obvious who they like better. -grin- And the Ďo rly? ya rlyí moment at the end was great. Theyíre all just so cool.
So, yes, whereís the next chapter? Now that Iíve finally reviewed, Iím going to sit here and wait impatiently for more. -wink-