Hey, Bibbs! It's Kristen :). I was so happy you requested me; thanks! :D Anyway, onto the review, eh?
Bibbs, I really enjoyed this. Alot. You're an incredibly gifted author, and I'm not just saying that because I can - I mean what I say. This was GOOD. And to be perfectly honest, I was one of those Harry Potter readers that when Sirius died (albeit, I knew before I started reading the series because my sister was a fan before me) I didn't shed a tear. In fact, even though I loved Harry gaining a father figure, Sirius was no great loss at all, not like Remus and Tonks - for whom I sobbed like Myrtle on a Monday for and FELT for poor Teddy and Andromeda at their loss (which made me cry even harder.) With this story, Sirius' emotions were so potent, I could feel them, and my love for the character grew a little more :)
Normally, I would say a bit of dialogue would help a story come to life, make the characters breathe, but I'm not going to say it this time because the whole gamut of emotions Sirius felt and your exquisite descriptions spoke for themselves, which few stories could pull off. And this did!
One thing (out of many) I particularly LOVED and that actually made me laugh on my first reading was when James and Sirius "get drunk off of firewhisky in his old flat, still smoke gillyweed when Lilyís not looking, just to stop themselves from falling apart." Now I don't really condone drug use and I'd never do drugs in a million years, but I loved your use of gillyweed - it was so creative! And I could picture them doing everything you described too, very in character.
And there's something about the writing style of this that was so poetically powerful and beautiful, honest to God. Before I continue, there is something I want to ask: why did you make your story/chapter title all in lower case letters? Was it for creative license? Anyway, yes, very well done. I think your use of the present tense increased the way your words have an impact on the reader. If it was written in the past tense, I really don't think it would have had the same effect. On top of that, there was a perfect smoothness to the way your long sentences went to the short ones, a perfect measure of power. Like "And still they do." BAM! "Remus and James. Remus and Harry." BAM! I hope this is making sense to you xD. Your use of anaphora and overall repetition were also brilliant; I thought it was really touching that you repeated the bit in the first paragraph to finish the story - it made for a strong ending. Imagery so vivid; yes, I stand by my previous point that you have a mastery with words, to twist them into so meaningful and heart wrenching.
Any criticisms? Honestly, I can't find anything, it's so damn good! Except maybe the one thing I'd probably change would be the very first sentence when you start of with "Memories are a wonderful thing..." the "a" is weak; if you eliminate it and just leave it as "Memories are wonderful things," not only is it congruent with the following sentences but it gives it more oomf.
Have you ever heard the song "Bookends" by Simon and Garfunkel? It sort of reminds me of this story.
Really, EXCELLENT job with this story! I am so glad you asked me to read this! =D
Author's Response: When I requested a review, I definitely wasn't expecting to get one so long and wonderful! Thank you sooo much! I read it last night, but didn't have time to properly respond until this morning. I'm really pleased that this has made you consider Sirius a bit more fondly.
I enjoy dialogue a lot, but as this story was more about Sirius's current inner demon, I thought his thoughts would suffice. I'm glad you agree, and it is funny you say "gamut of emotions" - I really did have him all over the place! It is no wonder it was implied he was touched in the head.
I would imagine James and Sirius would smoke a little gillyweed, but wouldn't want Lily to know! I don't do drugs either and definitely don't think it's okay. I feel guilty writing such things, but I try to be realistic, and these are teenage boys living a stressful life, and hey, this is the 70s. I have seen a few others use gillyweed as a drug as well. Personally, I chose it only because it had 'weed' in the name. Even though we both look down on the drug thing, its wonderful to hear that you found these things in character.
As much as I would like to say that there was some deep, hidden reason for making the title lowercase, there is not. It was originally uppercase. For stylistic reasons, I made it all lowercase when doing the banner, but I ended up liking what this did - it seemed to add something, somehow, that I still don't grasp. So I came back and changed the title to lowercase. As for present tense, I absolutely adore it. I wish I could write everything in present tense, but after trial and error, have come to learn that sometimes it just works better in the past... But for what it works for, you are right - it always seems to have more impact.
The long/short sentences is quite a compliment! I don't think I've ever had anyone mention that before! I don't really know how to respond, because I am not sure how it happens - I just write, and this is how it comes out. I don't make a conscious effort towards it. It's a heck of a compliment, so thank you! And I was trying to think of a way to end the story. How do you think of an ending to a story like this, where you know James will never be back, but you still want to leave it on a bit of a happy note? Eventually I started thinking that perhaps I should saved my beginning paragraph for the end... and that's when the idea came to end it where it started. It ended up being better than I imagined - I think it's the perfect ending now. I'm thrilled it turned out this way, and every time somebody mentions it, I walk on clouds!
I think I will take you up on that suggestion, because when I read it over, you are definitely right. That one extra little word sort of takes away from it. I have not heard that song! Regardless, it's lovely to hear people can associate music to this.
Thank you so much for this incredible review - it is rare to get reviews like this one anymore, and I'm sure I'll be coming back to reread it many times.