Hello! I'm Danielle. I'm also a proud Ravenclaw and SBBC-ling (and newbie SPEW-er).
Also, almost all of my fics were written pre-DH so please check the date...I swear that I wasn't just ignoring canon :)
I just have to tell you again, how much I love your writing style! It's positively addicting. :-)
The first paragraph is lovely, I just want to read it over and over again.
And this sentence right here, I love (sorry I can't be more concrit, but there's just something about it. Really captures your attention, lets you feel for Angelina):
But for whatever reason, she woke the next day with a sickness in her stomach and a ring on her finger.
This story is so sweet, and beautiful, but leaves such an impact...and I adore the last sentence, in my opinion, the last sentence always has to be done right, and you did it. It has a beautiful flow to it, and I love your characterization of both Angelina and Fred, especially when you Fred says "I haven't the slightest notion." You let us really connect with Angelina.
Again, touching, wonderful, beautiful! My only critique is that, while your reasoning on why she chose to marry Andreas was wonderfully, I think it might have been nice to know the reason why she did not love him.
Author's Response: Aw, thanks so much, Danielle! I adore your reviews, they mean a lot! And I\'m glad you liked the fic. You\'re right about the concrit, though, I\'ll have to think about that. THANK YOU FOR TEH AMAZING REVIEW SQUEE! ♥
AH! *tackles* Have I mentioned how much I love it! Aw, there isn't much I can say. It is written beautifully, and the ending is superb...the kiss is my very part!
Author's Response: *gets up and dusts herself off from Danielle\'s tackle*
Yes, you have but I like you\'ve mentioned it enough times so that my head had gotten big enough to not fit into a door. *lol* I\'m glad you\'re so happy with it...it was the bane of my existence for a couple of weeks but it fleshes itself out. The kiss...you\'ll have to thank Julie (myownmuggle) for suggesting I elaborate on it if I\'m going to \'say it is mindblowing\' *lol* *hugs*
My very *favorite* part. Sorry for the double review, but the delete button doesn't really work.
Author's Response: Lol. I\'m glad it was your very *favorite* \'cause I suck at writing kisses and stuff like that.
Aw, very sweet! I decided to read this to get a feeling for your banner, and I wasn't disappointed. Lovely, really. I'm not usually a Ginny/Draco fan, but this one was touching. Well-written, and I loved both the beginning and end. :-)
Author's Response: *luffs my prettiful banner*
Hey! I couldn't resist reviewing.
I love it! Very honest and true, clear and concise. A nice emotional piece. I love the style, it isn't strange at all! It's actually very unique. And the rhythm of it is lovely.
Author's Response: Aw, thank you! (yes, I GOT A REVIEW!!!!! *ahem*) Ha, strange/unique = same thing in my world. Thanks again!~ H_o_I_
Hey Fresca! I saw the title of this fic first, and I was immediately curious...and it did not disappoint!
It is absolutely breathtaking! But before I elaborate on the reasons why, I have to compliment you on how unique this fic is. My favorite MNFF fics are the ones that think outside the box, and I'm happy to say that this one doesn't seem to know or care where the box is (fantastic!). You chose a great topic, and your writing is so eloquent, just the right words in every paragraph, every
Gah! Sorry, accidentally pressed the submit button, and that silly delete button doesn't work.
Anyway...every sentence is perfect! Great writing, and so shocking! In a good way of course :-)
Your use of emotion was wonderful! Harry was so cold, but we could feel his pain...I felt it too while reading this.
I can't stress enough how terrific this is...I was on the verge of tears while reading it (which doesn't happen often) and I couldn't breathe either! Definately keep writing more stories like this one!
Author's Response: Thanks for your kind words, Danielle! I am thrilled that you so enjoyed this story, and it remains my absolute favorite. I will try to remain outside that box! :)
Perfect! Absolutely perfect. The different perspectives are fabulous, and very creative. The way you write flows so naturally...I love it! How you shifted into different perspectives so seamlessly was great...and ending with Harry was fantastic (never saw it coming!). My one critique is that it would have been nice if there was a great variation in the writing styles when you switched perspectives (so that each character has its own unique perspective/writing style).
Great work! Keep writing :-)
Author's Response: thank you so much! reviews like yours are very helpful. glad you enjoyed it =]
Hello! I’m Simply Being, and I’m participating in the Ravenclaw Review Circle. Let me start by saying that I am so glad I clicked on your story. This was absolutely phenomenal, and I hope my review will do it justice!
First, your writing style. You write like a seasoned professional and the words flow easily without being forced. It’s almost poetic: your descriptions are phenomenal, but never carrying on for too long. Like a poet, you know just the right amount of words to use to communicate an image to its fullest effect. I also love your use of one word lines. For example:
They moved feverishly, dancing about as his mind disappeared into a time so long ago when everything was good.
Because Lily was beside him.
This could have easily been one sentence, but the separation adds so much gravity and emotion to this statement. Wise choice!
Your writing style is also very cerebral, which perfectly fits the characterization of Snape. This leads me to characterization…
This story shows that you really know Snape inside and out; I feel like you really understand all of his subtle complexities. For example:
Though some part of him knew it would not aid him, he still sought solace in it, consuming not enough to be drunk, for these were too dangerous of times for his mind to be impaired. No, he did not aim to numb his mind, just his heart.
Even in Snape’s deepest despair, he can think clearly enough to know that he still has to maintain some control. This excellently demonstrates the fact that Snape is never reckless, and cannot bear when he is not in control. That is, with one exception. Speaking of control:
Just so she would smile more, but he would be unable to express it, would be unable to do anything more than let his lips move into a tiny smile and give a nod.
After all, who would want to embark in something that seemed to make people act like idiots?
Despite Snape’s deepest passions, there is always that part of him that will never truly let go. However, there is one person who can allow him to open up: Lily.
These lines demonstrate this:
He wondered vaguely how Lily always managed to make him feel uncollected in such special moments like this and remarkably comfortable around her at any other time.
Great job revealing that the only person that makes Snape feel out of control is Lily—he and loves her so much that he is willing to allow this to happen. You’ve really got unrequited love down!
You further portrayed his love for her perfectly, such as:
He didn't mind, though, because glancing at her every few pages was much more interesting than reading out loud from any book could have been.
From this, I truly get the sense that Snape loves Lily more than anything. His labor of love over the puzzle box is another great example. Your characterization of Lily was also spot on, just as I imagined her in the books: vibrant and full of life. This sentence really captures her spirit: She had always been like that—her emotions free and fascinating, but none that was more extraordinary than when she finally succeeded.
And now to my favorite part: the rose symbolism. This really was the icing on the cake. The rose symbolizes the evolution of Snape’s feelings for Lily. As a child, he loves her as a friend. As he matures, he loves her in a deeply romantic way. And finally, with her death, his love is silenced forever. This was absolutely stunning, bravo! It really communicates his love and loss, and its done with perfect poignancy.
Wonderful story, I’m so glad I had the chance to read it! You should definitely be proud of it.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a wonderful review! I was squeeing and blushing and laughing all the way through it. You complimented me so much, and I am so unbelievably flattered! Thank you again!
I’m back, reviewing for SPEW!
I really liked Kata’s opening discourse on magic. It not only works because its interesting to read and think about, but also continues to establish Kata as a three dimensional character. It shows her complex emotions regarding the subject and demonstrates the great insight that she has. Not only is Kata more fully formed for this, but she is also more realistic and human. This is how it works in real life, as people don’t usually have black and white feelings. I can tell that you’ve thought about Kata’s characterization and that you are trying to make her a fully human character, rather than a simple cardboard cutout.
Also, I know that I mentioned this in the first review, but I am put off by the American references. As a fellow American, I’m not an expert on this but I’m not sure if the British would have “Hello Kitty stickers” and “hot dogs”. The phrases “young grasshopper” and “crap” also stood out. I’ve also noticed a lack of British slang. I know how hard it is to try to write with British spelling and grammar, and especially how uncomfortable it is to include British colloquialisms. However, I find that simply slipping in a few “git”s or “prat”s can make all the difference. As I said, Americanisms can really distract a reader (especially a British reader) and take them out of the story.
Something else that seemed out of place was the mention of the diner with her friends. This raises several questions that aren’t given answers. I’m hoping that there will be an answer in the next few chapters. I don’t mind a slow developing story, but it is nagging at me. First, in the series it is hammered in over and over again that Harry doesn’t have any friends, any money, and is basically prevented from doing anything with the Dursleys. In the first few books he rarely leaves the house. Granted, by the fifth book he leaves without much argument from the Dursleys, but he usually just wanders aimlessly. So why does Kata have friends? Where does she get the money to go places? Are the Dursleys alright with her wandering around? I know this is an alternative universe story basically, so perhaps the Dursleys are more lenient. But I am very interesting to know why Kata has friends when Dudley clearly kept them away from Harry, and why she seems to have much more freedom than he has. Right now it isn’t a flaw in the story, but it will be if it isn’t adequately explained in future chapters.
That being said, I did like the new characters who were introduced. Their banter was sharp and witty, and reminded me of some of the funny and light-hearted moments in the series. Incorporating moments of humor into dramatic storylines lightens up the story and makes it a more interesting read.
Another aspect of note is Kata’s interest in religion. I was surprised at first, but it does make sense. She’s searching for answers as to where she belongs, and people often look towards religion for them. You’ve introduced another deeper aspect to the story, again making it a deeper and more interesting narrative.
While I like this new dimension and I hope you keep up with it, I feel like the story itself is slowing down a little. Maybe I’m used to the dramatic storylines of the series and in most fanfiction, but it feels a little slow. The assignment is interesting, but I worry that there isn’t enough action to keep the story’s momentum.
I also enjoyed the last lines. Mr. Millerton’s flower is a beautiful metaphor for Kata. It was very nicely phrased and I also liked Kata’s confusion about it. It helps remind readers that even though she is very quick-witted and insightful (such as her banter with Jeremy’s father, which appears advanced for a ten year old) she doesn’t have the answers to everything.
So in summary, I’m really enjoying the OC that you’ve created. She’s three dimensional and human, and she’s witty but sometimes rude. On the other hand, the Americanisms and unanswered questions take me out of the story. And while I appreciate character studies (Kata’s attempts to “find herself”, so to speak) the story definitely felt like it was slowing down. I hope that the plot picks up a little, as a full-length story that simply revolves around character studies can grow a bit weary.
Hope you found this helpful,
I’m Danielle and I’m reviewing this for SPEW, so here we go! I’m usually not into “Harry has a sibling” fics, but this one caught my eye.
You had a really, really strong opening (“Who told you that heroes have to be brave?” ). I’m a sucker for great opening lines, and this one was perfect. It caught my attention immediately. It’s a strong statement, and the paradox of it kept me reading.
“…and it’s been in my head ever since—like a scrap of a song you hear once, pouring from the windows of a passing car, but never again. I remember how the words touched me, how I grabbed for them with hands that had been desperately searching for something, anything, to grab. Her simple question, shattering the directives of everything I’d been raised to believe, seemed to glow; to shine like glass; golden as brandy.”
I love the imagery and metaphors contained within this paragraph. They aren’t overdone or cliché, and they’re beautifully phrased. Sometimes metaphors can be hollow, and they don’t quite ring true. This paragraph works so well because its insightful; it allows me to understand how Kata feels.
Now, this next bit is very interesting. I’ve never seen an author interject a character’s monologue to the readers in the story like this, and it’s very interesting that you set it apart in parenthesis. I think that this is actually very clever. Parentheses are reserved for little side notes and additions in writing, and that’s exactly what this monologue is. I’m glad you went for this instead of italics, they can be overused and usually make the reader think that the italicized passage is a flashback.
I have mixed feelings about Kata’s little introduction of herself. At first, when she began listing her qualities, it felt Mary-Sue to me. Mary-Sues are typically introduced in this fashion, such as, “Hi my name is Crystal Diamond Rainbow and I have shiny platinum blond hair, beautiful blue eyes, and everyone loves me.” However, when I reached the end of Kata’s little introduction I realized that this was not the case. It’s merely her quirkiness as a character. There are also a couple of phrases that I genuinely laughed at, for instance:
“…my hair is so unmanageable that if it does not try to kill me at least once every week, I grow suspicious that it may be planning something much more sinister.”
“On the list of ‘important people in this story’ Harry ranks in at number twenty-seven. I know. I have made such a list—for the record, I’m number three. But, to the point: if you’re looking for a story about a plucky, bespectacled young lad with “moral fiber” a scar that looks like Zorro screwed up his signature, then go somewhere else. This is the last time I’ll ever use the phrase ‘moral fiber’, unless I’m describing, 1. A breakfast cereal, 2. A really cool name for a band, or 3. Abraham Lincoln. Just thought I ought to clear that up. End of parenthetical rant.)”
These lines definitely made me laugh! Though very witty, as a small criticism it sounds much more American than British. I’m typically not big on Briticisms, but the references to Zorro and Abraham Lincoln seem distinctly American. I’m not an expert, but they stood out in a more negative way for me.
Moving on, this sentence blew me away:
“What you’re about to hear is only the first part of the very long, very complicated saga that is my life. Be warned, I will unabashedly bear all—you will see me break down, break apart, break bones, break hearts, be broken, and break through this hideous stigma that you need to be fearless to be important.”
Fantastic! Love the use of alliteration and play on words. Again, it really piqued my interest in the character and the ending statement (“you need to be fearless to be important”) is really intriguing. You have firmly established Kata as a witty and quirky girl, the kind of three-dimensional character whose virtues and flaws are equally endearing.
I did think that the next bit about Kata beginning her story was a bit unnecessary. I think that the story itself doesn’t need introduction, and it would be fine to launch right into it. Admittedly, I did skim over that bit a little. You built up great momentum with introducing Kata, and this slowed it down.
I found the exchange between Kata and her teacher amusing; it was both witty and helped establish her personality. She may not be the most obedient kid, but her sarcasm sure is funny. And though I love her witty humor, another problem arises with it. Kata is supposed to be ten. Much of this witty dialogue and advanced vocabulary seems advanced for her. I’m going to assume that she’s a kid with an extremely high IQ. However, it definitely feels unrealistic. While it’s not exactly fun to read a fic centered around dumb-as-a-rock characters, she doesn’t seem to be acting her age. I have an eleven year old sister who is still entertained by burp jokes. It’s quite a dilemma: on one hand, no one wants to read about an immature ten year old, but on the other, a ten year old this witty is very rare. Personally, I’d rather read about the latter and suspend reality.
I also ended up really liking the teacher when I didn’t expect to. He’s the right amount of inspirational and cheeky. I particularly enjoyed his characterization in this paragraph:
“Next year, you will all break apart,” Mr. Mendota began. “Some of you will stay in town, go to the upper school. Some of you will go away. In my class, I want to prepare you for the world. This is where you make a decision to learn. I want to see what you can do. What Alec can do. ” He gestured to the boy with the pudding-bowl haircut who enjoys sticking me with a pencil and hissing, Poke a Potter. “What Winnie can do.” Mr. Mendota waved a hand to Winnie, with her six little ringlet curls and eager mud-brown eyes. “What… er, Sherrie can do.”
The assignment is definitely interesting as well. I really enjoyed this character, and I’m excited to learn more about her and exactly how this whole “Harry has a sister” thing works. Good work!
Have you ever thought about those moments that really defined your life? The ones that were pivotal, life-altering? They can be as obvious as your wedding day, as defining as the birth of your child...or as small as a moment in time, as subtle as a glance between one person and another.
The greatest moments of our lives can sometimes be the shortest and simplest of them all.
A missing moment from the Half-Blood Prince and part of the "Moments" series.
I’m reviewing for SPEW!
I really enjoyed this story. I had a hankering for some Harry/Ginny, and this definitely quenched it. I always appreciate these little “missing moments” in fanfiction.
First, I’ll comment on the use of second person. To be honest, I typically go either way with it. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. While I really enjoyed this one, I don’t think that the second person helped it. It didn’t necessarily hurt it, but I would have preferred first or third person. I appreciate authors who try to do something different, but I always find that second person can be distracting except on rare occasions. Second person is usually meant to make the fic more intimate…but I felt that the fic was intimate enough already. I did like that you really delved into Ginny’s emotions, so to add second person on top of that felt a bit overkill. Mind you, I still enjoyed it and think that you are a very talented writer. I just felt a little alienated by the second person choice.
Second, I thought that you did a great job with characterization. Both Ginny and Harry were wonderfully written. I think that you really captured Ginny, while still adding more dimension than we get to see in the books. You still depict her as the brash girl who isn’t afraid to run around the castle after hours—but you also touch on her fears and insecurities. I think that you struck a nice balance in her characterization; she wasn’t overkill fierce but she wasn’t too sentimental. At first I was a bit wary about Hermione and Ginny walking to breakfast—I usually find it overkill when Ginny and Hermione suddenly become best friends in fanficiton—but upon rereading I definitely think it worked. Now that Ginny was meeting Harry every morning for breakfast, why shouldn’t she walk with Hermione, who would also be meeting Harry? And I also like that you added “Although Hermione is someone you wouldn't mind talking with”. The phrase “wouldn’t mind” makes it clear that she isn’t suddenly revealing all her deepest darkest secrets with Hermione. Sorry if this seems like a small nitpick, but I think it’s great that you avoided the “Ginny and Hermione are BFFs” cliché while showing that they are friends.
To further comment on your characterization of Ginny, I liked the diction you used in describing her. There are certain words that pop into mind when you think of Ginny (like fiery, for instance) but you avoided these clichéd choices and still managed to use diction that fit Ginny. I particularly liked when you described her “roguish” wink…it conveys her bold personality.
I equally enjoyed Harry’s characterization. Appropriately, you depict him torn between his desperation to enjoy a moment of happiness and his despair at what lies ahead.
Another aspect of this fic that I was intrigued by was your stream of consciousness style narrative. Your writing is beautiful, and I loved how all of the emotions seemed to together but still remained clear and concise. On the negative side, I felt that some sentences were a bit overlong. They weren’t exactly run-ons, but I think it would have been better to through in a few choppy sentences. Varied sentence structure (such as using a mixture of compound, complex, and simples sentences) really gives a fic more depth. I think it would have improved the narrative if you had broken up a few of the sentences, as many of them are quite long.
Finally, I absolutely adored the last two paragraphs. They were simultaneously bursting with emotion while remain succinct and concise. Very poetic! I love that you expressed Ginny’s conflicting feelings in the last two sentences with so much beauty and power.
Overall, I found this fic very enjoyable and satisfying. The writing was beautiful and the characterization was impeccable. Great job, and I hope you found this review helpful!
Author's Response: Hello!! First, I'm so so sorry for the late reply, because this review is fabulous and made me melt. I do understand where you are coming from concerning the second-person POV, from the intimacy thing. I think I was also going for a hidden, secretive feel- like there were moments between Ginny and Harry that no one else would ever know about, and that was very thrilling and special for her, so while the story was H/G, it was more about Ginny, and the 2nd POV helped make people understand how she was able to just let him go at the funeral...does that make sense? That being said, I do like it in that POV. I still very much like it myself, and if you like re-reading your own stories, then that's not too shabby. I'm glad you picked up on the Hermione/Ginny friendship, because I was going for exactly what you described in as few words as possible. I feel like Hermione and Ginny would naturally become friends based on their feelings on Harry/Ron- it wouldn't be a given, and they might not be BFFs, but they are hanging out at the Weasley house all summer as the only girls, and they share a room together. So once Ginny starts seeing Harry, I had this image of Ginny kind of...warming up more to Hermione? Not super best friends!, but as a foursome they'd hang out more. As much as I love Ginny, I find her terribly hard to write sometimes, so thank you for the compliments on the characterization! As you did point out, it was a bit stream of consciousness on purpose, so maybe in places I got too carried away with it. I wrote the entire thing just to get to the last 2 paragraphs, lol. So I'm glad they were what I hoped they would be and got the emotion across. Thank you so much for the read and review!! ~Amanda
I decided to browse through your quite intimidating author’s page when picking a fic to review for SPEW! Anyway, this one caught my eye (we do both love the Marauders, don’t we?) so here I go.
I really enjoyed this one. Not a surprise, coming from an author such as yourself, but it’s going to be hard finding flaws with this one.
First of all, I love that you chose to give us the Marauders’ career advice sessions with McGonagall. I always appreciate “small” scenes such as this. They are often found in Harry Potter (for example, I absolutely loved Harry and McGonagall’s career advice scene in the books) but don’t get much attention in fan fiction. It’s a tendency for writers to be attracted to the more dramatic moments, but I definitely recognize that successfully creating more simple scenes such as these can be equally rewarding.
As I said, even though on the surface these little encounters don’t seem to be very important, I think they add so much to the Harry Potter canon in the way of characterization. And I have to say, your characterization really stood out.
I think I have to give you the biggest compliments on McGonagall, who really shines in this fic. In the first few books I barely noticed her, but in the later books I realized how much I undervalued her. You really captured her stern but honest manner, and injected some of her amazing wit. I love that you didn’t give in the temptation of simply having her coddle, for example, Remus when he faces the idea that he is nearly unemployable. I for one was sending him telepathic hugs, but you kept with characterization perfectly. She’s brutally honest, but understanding.
Now it’s on to the Marauder’s characterization. Before I tackle each one separately, I would like to compliment you on keeping them who they are without become cartoonish. I think a few of them could have easily drifted into caricatures of themselves (more on that later), but each of them were perfectly rendered. For example, if you had removed the names of each of them I would have easily been able to pick out which student was which. On the other hand, they weren’t so bold that I was cringing from the amount of Marauder clichés being thrown at me.
First, young Sirius Black. When I first clicked on this fic, I immediately began wondering which career paths you would have the characters become interested in. I think your choice or Auror for Sirius fit perfectly. As we’ve seen in the books, Sirius is a man of action. I can see a clear connection between his interaction with McGonagall and his frustration at being locked indoors in Order of the Phoenix. You made him bold and quick to anger, but you made sure that he wasn’t out of control. I think you ended it perfectly—“Thank you for your time, Professor.”
I think Peter’s characterization stood out the most to me. I think that this is because you avoided a big cliché in the Marauder era—Peter as a completely worthless human being. There is absolutely nothing in the books that makes us pity him, but logic tells us that there must be something in Peter that made the other Marauders loyal to him. I love that you stuck with his usually characterization as a copycat of James and Sirius (the Auror career) but injected a new dimension to his personality through McGonagall. I think McGonagall’s comments about his potential as a Beater really made all the difference.
Alright, I’m trying desperately hard to come up with some kind of flaw. Curse you! I will say this about James: unfortunately, he was the Marauder who least stuck out to me in this one. The whole section felt a little strange to me, as the other interviews did much more for characterization. I thought that he was appropriately characterized (and I did love the line about him wanting to fight) but I don’t think you added much beyond what we know from canon. Ordinarily I wouldn’t consider this a flaw, but as I think that you really added to the characterization of the Marauders with the others, this one fell a little flat.
Remus’s interaction was really very heartbreaking. I’ve always liked Lupin, but I’ve never wrapped my head around how much prejudice he had to deal with. Maybe this was because I was turning a blind eye to the pain of characters I liked, but the realization really hit me with this one. I also liked that you didn’t succumb to melodrama here. I think that you could have easily turned this into a very Dark/Angsty piece focusing on the woes of Sirius and Remus (and really, it is unjust) but I’m glad you didn’t. I think this also made it very Jo-like…she rarely succumbs to melodrama like that. I think it’s good that you left their grief mostly unspoken, and ended it on a lighter note.
Finally, the last factor that made this fic so enjoyable was the writing style. It was perfectly JKR-ish. If Jo wrote a book about the Marauders in school, I would fully expect this scene to appear exactly how it is written now. It would not be out of place in the slightest. From other fics that I have read of yours, you have definitely mastered this style.
Author's Response: WOW! Thank you very much, Danielle. What a lovely review. This story was written for an MWPP class, so not using cliches was uppermost in my mind as I wrote it.
I do see what you're saying here about James. My feeling with James is that he's the least deep, most normal and generally the boy most on an even keel amongst his friends. I was aware as I was writing that James' section was really about light relief. It was meant as a polar opposite to Sirius because although they are both very alike in bravery and recklessness, Sirius is still a Dark character and James is the Light. (I go with this theory a bit in my Remus Tonks fic). So James' section is probably the least successful in the respect of adding to his character, but I think its presence in the fic as a bit of light relief was necessary. Plus I still laugh out loud that McGonagall shouts at him and he nicks all the biscuits.
I cried for Remus. I just think he had so much going for him, but everything else conspired against him. Very sad. McG couldn't protect him from that, no matter how much she wanted to. *sigh*
Thank you again. Lovely review ~Carole~
First of all, I was pulled into this story when I saw the title “For I Am A Mother” and the name Narcissa Malfoy. I was a definite Malfoy hater prior to the books. I never understood the appeal of Draco and I thought the whole lot of them were rotten and spoiled. After the seventh book, I found them fascinating. Though I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a Malfoy “fan”, I think that morally ambiguous characters are the best kind. I loved that the Malfoys were given a new dimension, and I love that you wrote a fic showing Narcissa’s side to the story. Narcissa’s decision was completely unexpected but it made total sense. She risked her life to save Harry. But she still did it to serve her own purpose, even if it wasn’t a bad one.
Let’s start at the beginning. The first paragraph was captivating. To put it into Harry Potter terms, it felt like I had been swept up in a portkey and dropped into the Forbidden Forest. I loved the intense emotion of it. I also liked your use of parallel structure (i.e. the repeated “and along with” and “we stand, we kneel, we crouch”). However, though it really puts you in the right mindset for this fic, I did feel a bit confused at first. In one way it’s cool because it reflects the turmoil in Narcissa’s mind. But on the other hand, I did have to read it twice to get the full meaning out of it. I feel like I’m the only one with that problem. Also, having to reread something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “wrong” or should be “fixed”—it just has such a big impact that I had to read it again to fully absorb it.
I also like how you built up Narcissa’s characterization in the second paragraph. In a fic about Narcissa in this specific moment, her desire to find her son must be addressed. It was expected but I thought that you kept it fresh by making her seem bitter and resentful. I like the added layer of defiance. And I also thought that you seemed to indirectly characterize Voldemort—you appear to insinuate that Voldemort won’t let her go because looking for her son, aka choosing love, is a weakness.
And you took it one step further by somehow managing to sum up Lucius’s and Narcissa’s relationship in one sentence:
In love, we have been equally culpable; in guilt, nothing has changed.
Brillliant. While Narcissa has seemingly always put her family above the Dark Lord (I surmise this from her meeting with Snape in HBP), she’s never actually taken control and broken free from him. You expressed this so eloquently and in so few words, it leaves me completely stunned.
Though I admit I liked the beginning more than these next few paragraphs about Narcissa weighing the decisions in front of her. However, I did think you made some pretty profound statements—I particularly think that this line is very insightful:
And if the Dark Lord wins? Will we be better off? After all, what is life lived with constant fear? What is life lived with death looking at you with hunger in its eyes? What is life spent serving a master who will never be pleased?
Going through this fic paragraph-by-paragraph has made me realized how thoughtful it is. When I first read it, I read it very quickly. When I started the review, I reread it bit by bit. On the surface it just seems like an interesting story from a different character’s point of view. Below the surface it’s deeply philosophical. What is worth risking your life for? And how should life be lived? Not many fics delve into this kind of thinking, and I applaud you for taking that extra step.
As the fic goes on, the tension builds appropriately. Unfortunately, as this is purely a scene straight out of the book shown from another perspective, it doesn’t give you much room for creativity as an author. It was very well written, but it doesn’t really seem new. Sadly, it can’t be helped with fics like these.
My favorite line of the aforementioned paragraphs is when Narcissa acknowledges that Harry is both brave and foolish. It doesn’t seem like much at first, but this small sentence again perfectly characterizes Narcissa. She believes in self-preservation, but another side of her realizes how noble it is to give one’s life for others.
I understand that the theme of this fic is motherhood, and how it compels mothers to risk everything for their children. However, I think this also shows how Narcissa’s humanity triumphed. I’d like to think that she was inspired by Harry’s own bravery and selflessness in giving his life for others.
All in all, a great little read. I do think it was a little on the short side, but it was enormously satisfying. Great job!
Author's Response: I never got the appeal of the Malfoys … until I started writing them. But even so, I don’t think I’ll fangirl them more than the good guys. Okay, that aside, let me get into the review. ;)
Hello, here is your Ravenclaw Review Circle review!
I love this topic. I think it's wonderful when authors choose small but significant moments in the book to expound upon. I particularly liked how you established a contrast between the upbeat tone of the story and the fact that readers know what is really occurring. I think this renders the story even more poignant. For example: Wendell put his hands on Hermione’s shoulders. “And if Little Hermione could turn out to be half as amazing of a person as you are, I think I would probably be the proudest father on the face of the earth.”
I love the dichotomy between Wendell’s cheerful attitude and the true significance of what he is saying. Another great example is:
This time, the experience was completely unique, fresh, and new.
This statement manages to be both hopeful and heartbreaking. Great job!
I also enjoyed how you revealed that a baby was to be born—it truly surprised me, but it makes sense within the context of the story.
Another strength is the subtle moments where you revealed Hermione’s ulterior moments—and her pain. Her subtle references her childhood, leaving when the baby was born…etc were all very skillfully done. If I were writing this fic I would probably have written it from Hermione’s point of view, but your choice makes it much more intriguing. And speaking of Hermione, I your characterization was very faithful to the books. I particularly liked this:
Those times dealing with Monica’s pregnancy seemed to be the only time Hermione appeared flustered in any way, and it seemed to be a great distress to her to appear imperfect in any way.
But Wendell actually found it rather cute. It showed that the great Hermione Granger was human after all, and frankly, made her a lot easier to love.
Overall, great start to a very intriguing story!
Author's Response: I'm glad you like it! The Ravenclaw Review Circle is such fun!
This is a great character study! I chose this one because I’ve written about Rita’s past too. Both my drabbles and “Becoming Rita” have found a consensus: Rita will use adversity to her advantage, even if it means becoming a monster in the process. I’m always very interested in different points of view, and this story is a great example. It is amazing how something as simple as a bit of back story and a change in perspective will illuminate and even justify a formerly hated character’s actions. I found this passage especially effective in conveying this duality:
Rita was no less surprised by the questions herself. However, she plodded on with them just to make the girl uncomfortable. “Nothing’s perfect,” she began dramatically. “In a group where there are so many students, things can’t always be hunky-dory. I mean, disagreements and competition must be there. It must be hard to survive all that, even worse to fail.” Rita finished her silly speech. It didn’t make sense to her; it was only an indication of how much she hated her life in general.
The brilliance of this excerpt is found in its ability to simultaneously elicit sympathy and loathing towards Rita. We can’t stand what she’s doing, but we have to agree it’s justified.
For me, the use of bullies was a very logical reason for her to turn into the monster that she becomes. I’m sure most people have witnessed bullying doing their school years, and I’m no exception. I know from personal experience that a person, however wounded by the bully, will do or say anything to hide their humiliation. It’s bad enough to be effected by taunting, it’s even worse to admit that it has hurt you. Rita needed an outlet for her feelings, and digging up dirty laundry was a perfect way to achieve this. I also enjoyed not only the emotional transformation into a monster, but also the physical transformation:
“You colored your hair and curled it just the way Margaret’s hair used to look like,” said Nathan mercilessly. “You started wearing all these showy clothes, painting your face and nails. You even changed your spectacles into those hideous bejeweled ones.”
Rita gaped at Nathan. Why was he being so cruel?
“You know what you look like? A breathing caricature of Margaret Thornton.”
The combined transformations really illustrate the change in Rita’s nature. With “Her own metamorphosis into a woman she donned rather than was” and her ability to become an animagus, the transformation was complete. I also love the beautiful metaphor in this line: “Henry was out of her life now, the fire had been extinguished – and all that remained were some charred wood and ash.” Overall, really nice character study. I especially enjoyed the transformation/metamorphosis metaphor.
Author's Response: Hey Danielle!
I can't believe I forgot to respond to this. >.< Anyway, thank you for such a fantastic review. And I really liked your drabble! :)
Yes, bullies. Bullies seem to play major roles in shaping people, and I do think in Rita's case, they were a good plot point to use. It's hard to imagine people go bad without reason, and I think Margaret was a good foil to Rita's transformation.
I am seriously happy you got what I was trying to write here. :) And your review is so thought provoking and amazing I feel like writing something right away. o.O
Hey Jess, reviewing you for SPEW. Typically I don’t read Next-Gen, but this one caught my eye.
First, I find your use of a very objective point of view very interesting. You tell the story in a very offhanded, matter-of-fact manner. Typically one would expect more bravado or emotion in a story such as this. Lines such as these:
After he emptied the contents of his stomach all over her shoes, a mere foot away from the toilet, he proceeded to knock himself out cold on the edge of the sink, falling into the puddle of his own sick. His shame did not stop there, however.
When he sat up, he realized that he was very naked, but that did not stop him. Like the foolish charlatan he was, he sloppily kissed her. After her head jerked away in shock and indignance, James realized his mistake as he saw her fist careening toward his face.
It caught me off guard a bit, but it does give the fic a kind of joking, tongue-in-cheek style that I like. I also enjoyed Harry’s mixed reaction. It seems in-character of Harry not to judge his son too harshly (he’d be quite hypocritical considering all of his own rule-breaking escapades) but it also shows his maturity. You’ve definitely characterized Harry as a mature father in this fic, although I’d be lying if I said that I’m not used to this kind of Harry. While he definitely matured enormously in the seventh book, as I don’t usually read adult Harry fics it still jars me. These lines particularly establish his characterization:
So, his oldest had discovered Firewhiskey for the first time. He was torn between relief that this one of many hurdles on the path to manhood was finally over and dismay, since the whole thing had taken place in Hannah’s bar.
Again, I also like your sneaky and humorous insertions, such as this line:
He made a mental note to himself to send the Longbottoms a thank you gift for not chucking James out on the curb, as he had probably deserved.
I also liked your characterization of James, which is appropriate to a young man, especially a young Potter. His anger at Harry’s laughter after finding himself naked is funny and reminiscent of his father and grandfather. I also enjoyed this cute and clever line:
Harry was incurably curious as to the identity of She-Who-Must-Be-Found.
The rest of the fic continues is a lighthearted, humorous fashion. I further enjoyed some funny lines, such as:
This was easily high on the list of stupid things his son had done. Of course, it wasn’t quite as bad as paying a First Year to fly a broom up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory in Gryffindor Tower to toss a Dungbomb, but it was close. Hannah was obviously not troubled by it, so Harry relented and chuckled along with her.
However, I did find the middle part to be on the slow side. The exposition with Harry and Hannah is unnecessary to the story, as it reveals what the readers already know (or have surmised). It’s cute to see old acquaintances talking, but it slows down the action of the story.
James’ brief bit about fooling with his haggard appearance was also cute, but seemed unnecessary as well. The story picks up again as Augusta and James finally meet again, and the dialogue is very cute and befitting of young wanna-be-lovers. I love that James can’t help himself from messing up so fantastically again, I did think that was quite funny.
You also showed off your descriptive skill when James and Augusta finally realize their feelings for each other, and this passage is very beautifully written:
When James touched her, Augusta felt like she had been burned. Fire coursed through her as if her veins were filled with lava instead of blood. She felt her whole body tingle, even in places she did not know beyond what the book her mother gave her when she was twelve had said those parts did. What were these feelings, and why wasn’t she still angry? He was touching her, and even after what he did last night, she liked it. That should not be possible. How was she supposed to stop it?
Finally, I love the last few lines and how you paralleled James’ attitude and behavior toward women with his namesake’s. Overall, a cute story a little inhibited by the dragging in the middle. However, I left satisfied!
Holy random story, Batman! I believe you've found my author page at its darkest. Eep. At least you didn't read my Gauntlet story. Crikey, it's really bad.
This story was written waaaaaaaaaaay back when I had no idea that head hopping was a no-no, and I suppose that I never bothered to reread it and make it better. I'm lazy like that. That being said, though, I do enjoy a story where not only one mind is being explored, and I think I did okay with making sure that the present narrative character was clear. That being said, from my extremely critical author's eye, this fic probably has more problems than strengths, but the parts you enjoyed are the ones I liked as well, especially the father/son chat part, hehe.
I never really considered it, but the part in the middle does drag on a bit. I might at some point go in and cut out Hannah and Harry catching up, though I wanted that bit where Harry surreptitiously paid a good chunk of James's tab, but it can still go. The part where James is trying to humanise himself by washing up is so going to stay, though, lol. It's so beautifully cliche.
Anyway, thanks for reading, reviewing and dealing with my rambling. I don't rightly know if you've ever reviewed me before, so well done! I'm glad you're getting some last minute SPEWing in and that you joined!
Hey Natalie! I was dutifully fulfilling my recommendation requirements, and I came upon this!
Wonderful job! I love the idea, to take a single event and turn it into a multi-character study. Very unique! The idea of death has different meanings to everyone, and you've applied this beautifully to the Marauders. All of them are spot on IC! The only weakness that occurs to me is the lack of overall action, it slowed down the pace of the fic a little. But otherwise, fantastic!
Author's Response: Hello there, one of my favourite people in the world!
(This has nothing to do with the review or the rec, btw.)
The idea this story was built upon - it neither allowed action nor dialogue. I had six characters to deal with in a single one-shot, and I wanted to show each of their reaction via how they deal with it individually. That said, I know how lack of action can become a bit daunting while reading something. :D Thanks for reading and reviewing!
First, I’ll start this off by commending you on your writing style. I’ve haven’t come across a style quite like this yet, and I really value unique writing very highly. It’s quite amazing, because you are able to take a very choppy style and make it flow very nicely. It is really almost poetic. Even in the opening paragraph, I’m reminded of poetry:
Smooth locks of auburn hair pulled away from her face, braided loosely down the centre of her back. Emeralds shine. Rubies pout. Elegant neck stretches, head tossed back in laughter. Friends surround her, watching her in pleasure, envy, love.
If you altered the format of this, it could very easily have been a poem rather than prose. I also enjoy the imagery here, it really pulls you into the story. It also establishes the rest of the work, and lets the readers know that this is about Lily. However, this fic is also very ambiguous, so you really have to search for what exactly is happening. For example:
This is my tree. No unwanted, unneeded boy in my tree. A hero lives here. He is braver than all the rest. He is strong and needs nobody else. They envy him.
I’m not sure who exactly you are talking about here. James? Sirius? I’m assuming it’s James, because obviously the speaker would be jealous of the one who Lily is dating.
Another example of ambiguity occurs here:
I look down. Grass, green shards stretch, each reaching high, trying to grow, outshine the others. No chance to shine; sun hidden behind long limbs that touch cloudless blue. My small, curved hand reaches out, touches green fringe like feathers, that whispers like silk, rustles like the wind. Curled fingernails grasp, tug. My hand retreats, uncurls. My line-marked palm, lines inked in with dirt, holds it close. In it I can see veins, lines, connections. Which one to take? The oldest? The fragile? The strongest?
I think you’re attempting to make a metaphor comparing a plant that receives no sunshine to the lack of attention that the reader receives. He never really “shines”. I think that this is a really beautiful and well-suited metaphor, but the ambiguity doesn’t let it reach the heights that it could.
There are a few moments where it is clearer who the speaker is, such as this: I don’t fit there; never have. Never as talented, quick, witty. Slightly different from the others, apart. Disposable.
This sentence is a clearer indicator that it’s Peter, as he mentions not being known for his talent or wit, and the fact that is he replaceable within the Marauders. This does help differentiate it from Snape, because Snape would not think of himself as lacking talent or brains, and he doesn’t seem to care for friendship as much as Peter.
I also enjoyed your frequent comparisons of Peter to a tree. It’s a comparison that I wouldn’t have thought of immediately, and it the way you describe it really does fit Peter.
And finally with this phrase it becomes clearer that Peter has been referencing James all along:
How can I measure up to him? He is perfect, no flaws. I am the hanger-on in our group, the one who doesn’t quite fit, like a puzzle piece placed into the wrong spot. He fell for her, I fell for her, but she didn’t fall for him. Certainly not me.
I’m glad that you don’t use clichéd details to describe him, such as noting his glasses or dark messy hair, but I think more clarification is necessary.
I also like your characterization of Peter as very simple and animal-like. I know that some think that Peter shouldn’t be trod on as much as he is in fanfiction, but I personally don’t see any redeeming qualities in him. I also like when you describe Peter in his rat-form. This part helped me realized that the speaker was an animagus, but then this bit confused me again:
Escape - soon. Howling, sounds of pain. They cannot find me, not here. They never did, never shall.
Worth it? He is gone, but she is too.
The boy, only the boy was supposed to die, not her. She would have been spared, treasured by our Lord.
She has been gone years. Only thing left is what should have been destroyed.
This part made me think of Snape again, because he was the one who bargained for Lily’s life. I don’t think it says anywhere in canon that any other Death Eaters knew that Snape was trying to save her life.
Also, towards the end I really love this paragraph:
He was no longer what he used to be. Change had followed his path, made him diver from what he had always imagined. Now he was the autumn leaf, frail, brittle, weak to the touch, breaking under slight pressure. The leaves would always change, season after season, year after year. But would he?
Beautiful imager, beautiful metaphor, beautiful characterization…everything. Again, I really like the nature metaphors/motifs in this fic. Combined with Peter’s animalistic/naturalistic characterization it all works really well together.
I really enjoyed this fic for its beautiful imagery. However, I do think this fic might have actually worked better as a long poem. The imagery and fragmented sentences would work better in poetry format. Also, I think the ambiguity hurt this fic more than helped it. I had to read your author’s note to know whose point of view this was from, and while I was reading it I thought that it was Snape. Maybe I’m just a little dense, but f you had added a couple more hints it could have helped a lot. That being said, I think that your writing style is gorgeous. Keep writing, Selina :)
Great job! I really enjoyed this. Like the other reviewers, I too was left wanting more. It was almost not enough detail at times, but I love that you took this plot line and turned it into a one-shot. I've never seen this done before, and it's a very cool idea. I really like the blunt nature of it, and the questions you raise about people's expectations/perceptions and really genetics vs. environment too. Great work!
Author's Response: I love that you liked the blunt style of it. Thanks for reading and reviewing. :)