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Marie-Antoinette by Tinn Tam

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Runner-up for the QuickSilver Quills Award, categ. Best Alternate Universe

“No matter the time or place, people should never call their child Marie-Antoinette. There is no happiness in this world for a girl called Marie-Antoinette.”

1983. In a world where Voldemort has won the First War, where hope has fled from an Earth moaning under the Dark Lord's iron hand, marriages are broken and others are arranged in order to preserve the sacred purity of blood. James Potter loses his wife; now they have to find another for him.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 01/14/07 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter One: Adieux and exile

Another great chapter! I am so loving this. There a lot of great little touches, like the clans, the battle painting, the way Madame Maxime's breath caused Marie's hair to flutter. :) And the sinisterness of the world is great, with Lestrange just dripping evil and the treatment of the half-bloods and Muggles. (Where did they all go? Dead? Relocated to Antarctica?) Again, no criticisms. Great job!

Author's Response: Thanks a lot! You\'ll know later what became of the Muggles. I\'m happy you love the story.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 01/14/07 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter Two: A contract of ashes and blood

Fantastic, of course! I absolutely loved James and Sirius in this chapter. Sirius's loyalty and protectiveness of James was perfect, and James story of Lily was heartbreaking. (I almost feel like he gave up too easily, though. Couldn't they have Apparated somewhere far away? Lily wouldn't need her wand for that.)

One thing that stuck out at me was using "their" for Bellatrix. I know you wanted to hide her gender, but I think that would have been better done by rephrasing: "The cloaked figure took a step forward, brandishing a wand, and seemed to hesitate for a minute or two. Then, to my utter astonishment, the wand pointed at me and a voice came from under the hood:"

All of your characters are so well-written, and I'm glad that Marie has finally decided to stand up for herself! I'm hooked, on to the next one. :)

Author's Response: About the Apparition: they were taken to Lestrange by Death Eaters, who had most likely \"secured\" them by anti-Apparition bonds/wards. You also need to take into account that James was afraid to get his son or wife hurt by resisting the Death Eaters.

About the use of \"their\": my Beta didn\'t seem to see anything wrong with it. Thanks for the advice, though, I\'ll try to avoid the use of \"they\" in the future.

Thank you for the constructive review. Hope you like the rest!

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 01/14/07 Title: Chapter 5: Chapter Four: A Black Ray of Sunlight

I am absolutely forlorn that the story ends here and you won't be updating for so long. I love that the story is turning towards Sirius! I didn't see how it would work with James when he'd never get over Lily, but I can see Marie and Sirius together perfectly. The way he thought about her in the beginning made my heart melt. Oh, this story is too good to fade away! Good luck in school, but don't forget to update eventually!

Author's Response: I won\'t! Thanks for the review, and you shouldn\'t lose hope about James... though I admit he won\'t exactly get over Lily... and now I\'ll stop before I give too much away =P. I\'m trying to update in the coming weeks.

Maia in the Mirror: Vol. 1 by MaiaMadness

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: When Maia's father dies, she finds herself believing that nothing is real anymore. So those letters that have been arriving must be a hoax, right? But Maia soon finds herself thrown into a new reality of wands and spells and potions, new friends, new enemies, a new life. She arrives at Hogwarts, only to find that the same prejudice people exist here too, even in her own house. Meanwhile, even though Voldemort was finally vanquished two years ago, there are still Death Eaters running loose, trying to start anew without their Master.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter One: An Unfortunate Event

Great beginning! Maia's written well: cold, emotionless, but also vulnerable and wistful. I'll be curious to see more of her personality after the shock of her father's death wears off. I love the tone of the story, too. There are subtle details, especially in Maia's dialogue with her mother, that say so much. The characterizations are well-written that way. And I love the closing line; it makes me want to jump to chapter two to see her realize it is true. Nice job!

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter Two: The Pencil-Eater-Lady

I love the psychologist scene! That was fantastic; I love how Maia toyed with that annoying woman. She had just the right amount of disdain and sarcasm. Also, the Instant Belief spell is a great idea. I was thinking there had to be more no-shows than just Maia, with so many Muggleborns, but that spell explains it nicely. I wonder why it didn't work on her mother, though. Is Maisi in that much shock or grief?

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter Three: A Fateful Decision

Nice! I felt like this was the chapter of Maisi. We've seen Diagon Alley from Maia's point of view through Harry before, but this was the first we've seen of a disdainful parent along for the ride. Maisi's character was showcased here, from her repeated "ridiculous!" judgments to her tendency to act bossy and overbearing in the face of uncertainty. It shows her own weaknesses, and also shows how Maia's life must have been growing up.

One part that confused me was when Maisi was going to open the door for her neighbor and then, next line, was staring at the map. On second glance, I saw that there was an extra blank line there, but sometimes those are hard to distinguish from a single blank line. I find that an asterisk on a single line between paragraphs makes those jumps clearer.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter Two: The Pencil-Eater-Lady

Oops, one thing I forgot to mention: there's a typo at the end, None and three quarters.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 4: Chapter Four, Meeting Friends

"No one would know her and everything would change." Oh, there's some tragic foreshadowing there! From what I know, I'm afraid she's in for rough times, but the new characters seem promising. I like how they're not overly friendly; Wiktoria being a little snooty and Kristiana being disappointed at first that Maia's Muggleborn. It seems that the two could easily become friends with Maia or just as easily turn on her, which really is the fear one has going to a new school. I can't wait to see which way it goes!

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 12/31/06 Title: Chapter 5: Chapter Five: Feasts and Hats

Ah, the trouble begins. Nice work with the Slytherin table; the danger for Maia there is almost palpable. I thought it was great that Kristiana gave her that warning before even saying hello or welcome. I'm curious how Maia is going to handle the adversity; whether she's going to be the tough girl in the pyschologist's office or the shy girl in unfamiliar Diagon Alley. You've introduced a lot of characters in this chapter and already given them distinct personalities. It'll take some juggling, but I think this story will end up with great interactions between all of them.

Possessed by the Imperius Curse by Dumbledore Prince

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: This story elaborates upon the day in Broderick Bode’s life when he was Imperiused by a Death Eater. As we know, he was forced to take the prophecy from the shelf, but he did not succeed.

Written for the Harry Hospital Wing Project: The Department of Mysteries by Dumbledore Prince of Gryffindor house.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 03/24/07 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

Great story, SPEW buddy! I'm sorry I didn't review sooner. I never thought of what happened during Bode's "missing day," but I like how we get to see how he was Imperiused, and also what the day of an Unspeakable is like. When we see the archway in OotP, it's completely unknown and mysterious, so it was interesting to see the Unspeakables talk about the research work they've done to try to figure it out. You made it practical and scientific, while still retaining its mystery.

I found the beginning sad, seeing him say goodbye to his daughter and also learning that he usually only goes in the morning. Was Lucius waiting for him specifically, or would someone else have been Imperiused if he hadn't gone in that night? There wasn't too much more emotional connection to Bode after that until he was put under the curse, but you did say it was more about the plot, which was quite well written. All your descriptions are realistic and visual, and the action is paced well. Sometimes the dialogue sounds kind of formal, but I think a few contractions would help that. For instance, I'd change "I do not know why Mr Fletcher wants to look at a few prophecies, Bode. I am sorry, but you should know... Nevertheless, I will allow you to look at them" to "I don't know why Mr Fletcher wants to look at a few prophecies, Bode. I'm sorry, but you should know... Nevertheless, I'll allow you to look at them" Contractions help make dialogue sound more natural, since we usually use them while speaking.

You said this was written as a suspense fic, and there are great elements of suspense throughout, when the woman gets on the elevator with him (did you make her look like Bellatrix on purpose?), when he hears the noise behind him, and when we see him helpless under the curse. I think a little more of a glimpse into Bode's emotions would help the suspense along too, but it was still effective as is. Lovely work!

Author's Response: The woman on the elevator is a random person. I didn\'t realise she looked like Bellatrix. Thanks for the review! I see your point about the contractions, but Alfred Cole popped into my head like an old man whose speech is more formal. I\'m thinking of tweaking the last few paragraphs ... I\'ll have to look into that sometime later.

Disregard for Safety by AlexisTaylor

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Missing scene in my year six story. Harry finally stops playing the hero and goes with his gut.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 05/28/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I found this while searching for good Harry/Ginny stories, and I was not disappointed! Many times I find that romance fics suffer from bad characterization, because let's face it, Harry's certainly not the most romantic guy in the world. But here, his feelings came through in a very real way (muddled, angry, confused) but still show how much he cares about Ginny. It's the un-smoothness of it all that makes his words ring so true.

Ginny is my favorite part of this, though. It may be sacrilege, but I really dislike JKR's Ginny, and your version makes her fiery nature seem real and admirable, not irritating. It's a great mix of "Damn it, I love him, but why is he being such an idiot?" Like Harry, Ginny's not particularly romantic, so what is essentially her grand gesture to win Harry back comes across as frustrated, unsure (of him, not herself), and wonderfully real.

I really couldn't find much to concrit, except for the flow in this one part: Her gaze drifted upward. His forehead was pressed forlornly into his hands. His lackadaisical hair peeped between his fingers. His aura pulsated with repressed grief. The four short sentences in a row interrupted the flow for me, but I'm not sure if you intended to do that for effect. In any case, that's not much to criticize, and this is a great view of Harry and Ginny's oh-so-unrestful relationship.

Pride vs. Prejudice by bittersweet_lullaby

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: I remember the first day I saw them together. It was sixth year, before Mum and Dad came and got Padma and me. I was walking up to the Shrieking Shack and I saw them, pressed up against a tree, kissing.

Two sisters; one too proud, one too prejudiced.

Parvati Patil reflects on her sister's girlfriend and how it affected not only her sister's life, but her own as well.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 10/28/07 Title: Chapter 1: Pride vs. Prejudice

This is such a beautiful, positive story. I love the ending; it was subtle but still powerful, with a wonderful message of acceptance. Actually, that can be said for the whole story. I like how you expressed the theme without ever going over the top. I think the last fight between the sisters was a little rushed, because they went from arguing to storming away unexpectedly quickly. But otherwise, the conflict between the two felt realistic. It's nice to see such a painful subject handled so well. Great job!

The Head-in-Sand Parade by Mind_Over_Matter

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: "In books, you see it, in war and in crusade,
Just to protect our calm, we hold: the Head-in-Sand Parade."

This came third in the December Poetry challenge! *Dance*.

It isn't exactly a 'warning', but this poem does carry some political undertones.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 08/26/07 Title: Chapter 1: The Head-in-Sand Parade

Wow, this is really an amazing poem! I have to congratulate you on working with such a difficult rhyme scheme. It must have been an incredible challenge to work inside of it without making the words feel forced. There were a few spots where I thought the meter got off, but it was hard to tell because the meter is complex too. The one that stood out to me was "Just to protect our calm, we hold: the Head-in-Sand Parade," which seemed a little long. Not terribly, but just enough to throw me off briefly.

There are so many good lines in this poem, but I think the last stanza is the best. It's such a vivid picture of the leaders withdrawing their heads, seeing the remnants of the war they denied and avoided. It's a really powerful image, for HP and the real world. Great job, you should be really proud!

Author's Response: Thank you so much; this is an awfully flattering review indeed. ^^\r\nI am, actually - proud, that is. Mostly because poetry and I have always gotten along like England and France.\r\nSome of the lines are, I agree, oddly long, but that\'s mostly just because of the pattern from the original poem. \'Tis tricky to stick to it without making everything awkward.\r\nAnyway - thank you again.

Wolves of Gomorrah by Lycanthropist

Rated: Professors •
Summary: When Greyback had first established the Underground, he had not anticipated the place to become so primitive and instinctual. He understood the wolves’ needs to fulfill their bodily functions and drives, but his need to infect was stronger.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 08/26/07 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

Wow, this story is wonderfully dark! I thought the creepiest and most menacing thing about it was Greyback's absolute and effortless power. The way he was completely unconcerned by Lupin's presence and that he merely found his attempts to win the pack over annoyingly pathetic... it gave me this hollow feeling knowing that Lupin was certainly doomed in his mission. And then the scene in the lake was just plain disturbing. The image of the bathing women and the watchers in the dark, the horrible old werewolf overseeing, and then poor Lupin, so nervous and uncomfortable in his surroundings. You created a great sense of unease, but I liked how it ended with Lupin relaxing at the woman's physical touch and her clearly "wish[ing] to mate with him." The phrase is so baldly animalistic, it shows that the only way Lupin is going to make it there is to give in to becoming animal himself. It made it all the more creepy seeing it through Greyback's twisted mind. His own sadistic thoughts are disturbing enough, seeing his pleasure at destroying that woman, but what really clinched it was the casual "and he hoped that the werewolves he raised would one day feel the same." His power and influence over them is so absolute, that this wish for them to follow in his footsteps is frighteningly likely. Dark and twisted; I love it! There were a few grammar typos, such as "these werewolves['] already made-up minds" and "he [would] much rather be pleasing himself." And I agree with Maeve; there's something slightly off about "those neutral and opposite." I think "opposed to" would work better there. But overall, the sentences flowed beautifully and the ideas were well expressed. Great piece!

The Ballad of the Bandon Banshee by Gmariam

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Though Gilderoy claimed credit for the Banshee’s final wail,
It was a witch who cast the curse, and here now is her tale.

This ballad was written by Gmariam of Ravenclaw for the January Ballad Challenge and received third place.

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 01/17/07 Title: Chapter 1: The Ballad of the Bandon Banshee

What a great ballad! It has a strong plot, good rhyme and meter, and I love how the first stanza introduces the subject like a real folk song. Nicely done!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I really appreciate you stopping by to read this ballad - this is the one I mentioned in Poetry Everyone. This is the fourth ballad I\'ve written since the new year, I think I\'m just about balladeered out. ;) I\'m really glad you liked it, thank you so much for the compliments on the rhyme and rhythm! See you around the forums! ~Gina ;)

The Beginning by LuthAn

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: We don't know anything about Harry's ancestors, but this poem paints one picture of what could have happened. Journey back to one fateful night on a cold moor in Scotland, not too far from Hogwarts...

This ballad was written for the January Ballad Challenge and received first place!

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 02/20/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oh wow, that was wonderful! The rhythm flowed musically, the story was touching and well-written, and I loved the introduction stanzas. And I can't imagine how much work it must have been to make it so long, too! Congratulations on the win; you did a great job!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the compliments! It was really fun to write, although some stanzas nearly killed me. :) And congratulations to you, too!!

The Voice Calls by Ron x Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Salazar Slytherin and the rest of the founders are in a dilemma, and a fight. Salazar only wants pure-bloods in the school, but Godric, Rowena, and Helga won’t stand for it.

Salazar heads to his own dormitory, furious, and finally falls asleep against the chatter ringing in his head.

A Voice wakes him.

I am Ron x Hermione of Hufflepuff, and this was originally written for the New Year’s Challenge, prompt, Dreams.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 02/24/07 Title: Chapter 1: The Voice

This is an interesting twist on the founders' story! It makes me wonder who or what the mysterious voice is, and also what its motivation is. It tells Salazar that he needs to accept that Muggleborns must be taught, but then it also tells him that he needs to go back and tell the other founders that he won't take no for an answer. I wondered if it was Salazar's own conscience, but the part about "hundreds of years from now" indicates that it knows the future. Hmmm, maybe it's Dumbledore's ghost? :)

Salazar and I are just having a bit of a disagreement like we always do,” Godric said. I think this says a lot about their friendship. The Sorting Hat told us that they were great friends, and I think you've shown how they can be, despite their differences. I also like that the other three wouldn't kick Salazar out over the argument, that it was up to him to be the one to leave; it shows their loyalty.

I found just a couple punctuation problems. A woman shrieked. “How dare you speak that way!” should be A woman shrieked, “How dare you speak that way!” and But then he thought, I’m not hungry,. has that extra comma at the end. Also, in this sentence, She had on a blue, flowing dress that resembled someone in olden times, that description is anachronistic. Since we're supposed to already feel like we're "in" that time period while we read the story, her dress wouldn't be of olden times, it would be modern. Maybe you could try looking up some dresses of that time and describing what it looks like instead.

Another part that didn't feel right to me was this: He only wanted the pure-bloods at his school, of course, but he didn’t know why. He figured that it had something to do with his own father always telling him, “Mudbloods are scum- they’re worthless, son. You need to have nothing to do with them, do you hear? It's good to show that Salazar is conflicted, but it doesn't make sense for him to say he didn't know why when you follow with such a very clear reason!

You've got a good premise here and a catchy character with the Voice, but I'd think there's room for expansion. I'd like to see a little more of Slytherin's conflict about Muggleborns. You could do a lot with his history and his father, and it would add more depth to his character. Good luck in your writings!

Author's Response: WOW! Thank you SO much for your review BlackClaude! Since this is actually for a contest, I\'m going to go back through it and change what you\'ve suggested. I hadn\'t even caught those mistakes, and neither had my beta. Thanks so much! The dress... I saw another thread started about olden times and their modern clothing, and I guess that I just ended up writing it from actually MY perspective looking in on Godric and the other three founders. Thanks for that catch, though. Thank you so much for your review! I\'m going back and doing those changes, now. ~Lindsey :)

Candles Burn by lily_evans34

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Hermione had never listened to the darkness. But now, it's all she can hear.

Written for Project SPEW 007. My prompt was "seven".
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 08/26/07 Title: Chapter 1: Candles Burn

I'm almost too depressed now to review, but I'll do my best. That was incredibly emotional; the first time I read through I was mostly trying to figure out who it was, but the second time I was really able to get into Hermione's mind. The hurt and despair rang so true, and it was all so beautifully written and captivating. I'm afraid I still wasn't quite convinced that Hermione would ever be tempted by the dark side, but I found this quite in character: "She doesn’t want to be any different. But she knows, in the back of her mind, that she is weak." Hermione is always so hard on herself, and she's never felt that she's good enough, no matter what she accomplishes. So it makes sense that even if she didn't really want to go to the dark side, that she would be so horrified by her own perceived temptations that she would feel more tempted than she actually was. But then again, I have the distinct impression I might just be talking crazy. :) In any case, whether or not Hermione would actually go dark, her despair that leads to her suicide is vivid and heartbreaking. All of her powerful emotions are quite believable; I would just suggest adding a bit more analysis and reason to make it more Hermioney. As it is, it could be anyone's story from the war. Of course, she's kind of beyond the point of logic being this far gone, but maybe a memory of her past thought processes and her feeling removed from them now would help solidify her character. Other than that, I can't think of anything else to suggest because this piece is so lovely and well-rounded. Beautiful work!

Author's Response: Thank you so incredibly much for this detailed review, BC! *huggles*

*nods* I totally agree with you about Hermione being not so... Hermioneish, but you\'re absolutely right when you said: \"As it is, it could be anyone\'s story from the war.\" That\'s what I was going for when I was writing this. Characterization\'s always a weak spot for me when I\'m writing, so I pretty much figured this could be anyone\'s story. I just made it Hermione because she was my SPEW 007 character. *shifty eyes* Your analysis was really accurate - that\'s exactly what I was going for! *huggles* Thanks again!

His Reflection Lost by wendelin the wierd

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: At a time, when the world is an uncertain thing, one man realises who he truly is.
Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 04/17/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Wow, this is so dark and beautifully written! I'm really impressed by your portrayal of Voldemort's fall. There are very surreal lines, combined with pointed ones, to get the meaning across. insanity is for the people whose eyes are barely slits of a fiery red. Insanity is not for him. I like how in the beginning he questions himself, but doesn't really believe for a moment that he's insane. And then this part was my absolute favorite: When one man realises who he really is, not who he wants to be but who he is, it is at that point the world stops. Then it turns around, no more than a stage for the man to live his life as a fallacy and any moment he expects someone to say that it is up, he can stop acting now. Wow... that line is simply brilliant, especially in the context of Voldemort's story. And the eyes, of course, are a perfect and true-to-canon way to symbolize his madness.

As for concrit, I would suggest capitalizing "may" here: when may blossoms float in the air. Also, I'ma bit confused on this part: he realizes that he is standing on the very brink of insanity and behind him is a safe world, a grey, boring world yet a safe one and ahead of him is an abyss where every shout and scream is lost in a flutter of the wind, faded away into the dull normalcy and monotony of the shadows. I'm not understanding how the abyss opposes the safe world, since even in the abyss of madness, there is dull normalcy and monotony. Is that to suggest that everything is dull to him, that it's hard to distinguish the madness from normal life? Or am I just not getting it? :)

Congrats on a lovely, poetic fic. You, my girl, do darkness well!

Author's Response: Oh yes, you got it alright. It did suggest that everything is dull to him and light and darkness makes absolutely no difference. Thank you for the review!

Envy by GryffindorGoddess

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Of the seven deadliest sins, Ron suffers greatest from envy.

Winner of the Character Petrarchan Sonnet Challenge!

Reviewer: BlackClaude Signed
Date: 04/06/07 Title: Chapter 1: Envy

Congratulations! This sonnet is really amazing; it works perfectly in every way. You know, no matter how sestets I read, I could never really "feel" the rhyme in them, but in yours, I read it and I thought, "Wow, that rhymes!" I think it's because your meter is perfect and the rhyming words are very distinct, so the rhyme really came through. Well done! :) You've also got the subject down perfectly; the octet and sestet contrast each other and the language used in both is so expressive of Ron's emotions. I'd give my favorite line, but it all works together so well as one fluid poem that I can't really separate them. There's only one word that I would change, but it's purely for grammatical reasons. "But temper and his anger does subside;" Since we're talking about both temper and anger, that's plural, so it should be "do" instead of "does." (But luckily that doesn't change the rhyme or meter!) Oh, and I loved you're ending it with Fin; that was awesome. :) Congrats on a well-deserved win!

Author's Response: THANK YOU, BC! I\'m so ecstatic to hear you like the poem and your wonderful compliments made me smile from ear to ear! I also highlyl appreciate your suggestion, because you\'re totally right! I changed it already and thanks so much! I just love Ron to death so this topic was easy for me, but I admit the rhyming and meter were quite a challenge. Thanks again! ~GG