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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
Oh Gubby! *insert unintelligible spluttering here*

This is pretty awesome. Definitely worth waiting for. Speaking of which, congratulations on finishing your other story! It was great to see you finish another long-length story and I'm jealous of how quickly and persistently you did so. Just wanted to mention that. ^_^

Anyway, this chapter was fantastic with a lot of tension and depth to it. I can't remember where the plot is going (will have to re-read previous chapters - my memory's filled with all sorts of other things from school, hence my crazy review style today), but I just loved the interactions between Rose and Olivia, then Rose and Dominic, the way that Rose manipulates them both, or at least believes she is. One thing that made it for me was how you navigated the switch in Rose's focus from Olivia to Dominic within the classroom. Olivia easily fades into the background when Rose gets bored of her, and Dominic, even though he's behind Rose, suddenly comes into focus. There's a great cinematic feel to that which really appealed to me (who is writing a film essay at the moment :P).

The other great thing about this chapter was how Rose chose to respond to Dominic's question at the end, the way that she leads him on so skillfully - it just adds to my awe-inspired terror of your Rose. She's absolutely freaky, like Hannibal Lecter in her treatment of those around her, not only in her easy manipulation of their emotions and actions, but also in that she seems to consume their willpower and strength. Even she seems bothered by the extent of her perceived powers, unable to look Dom in the eye at the same time that she revels in what she's doing to him.

Yet I think a lot of her commentary on adolescent social life, and probably adult social life too, very true. She sees the world for what it is, definitely through a jaded lens, but she can see through superficiality in ways of which her peers can't even conceive. It probably makes her even more frightening, though I wonder how much of this story is being told in retrospect - I recall you mentioning something like that in one of your responses, that Rose can look back and see the facts of the case in a way that she wouldn't necessarily have at the time they were actually occurring.

She's definitely the most unreliable narrator ever. :P But that's why I enjoy reading this. It makes my mind bend in odd ways, and it's always good to find a story that makes one think and question everything, even the story itself. That's why you're brilliant, Gubby, because you can write things like this. ^_^

Author's Response: Susan, Susan, Susan, how you flatter me. *extreme blush*

Haha, thank you on both accounts! I was as shocked that Off-Kilter was finished at all, and so quickly, too! I can only hope a similar spark of inspiration will happen with this fic so I can actually get stuff done with it.

I can't remember where the plot is going, either, to tell you the truth. I have a general idea of where I /want/ it to go, but getting there is a whole other story and will consist of many narrative detours as I try to figure it all out :P But I started off this chapter knowing that I wanted to flesh out the connection between Olivia and Rose. I like the way you word that, btw, "the way that Rose manipulates them both, or at least believes she is" because of course, Rose is the least reliable narrator ever. And yes, I do think Rose was bored of Olivia, because at this point in time, she has nothing to offer to the narrative of Clara's coming downfall beyond mostly innocent jealousy of her boyfriend. Shifting to Dominic is more advantageous for her, on the level of that narrative and on a personal level. I never thought of that moment as cinematic, but I guess essays make you see things differently :P.

I feel like that answer to Dominic's question was a real coming-of-age moment for Rose. It was the point at which I was genuinely frightened of my creation, and after writing that scene I was kind of gaping; conversely, after this point, I started thinking of and describing the fic as "super creepy". I do think she's a bit taken aback at how powerful she feels and how much power she seems to exert on Dominic, at least, but she would think that now is not the time for questions of morality. Now is the time to act, and she realizes that she cannot act if she does not totally expunge whatever residual feelings she had for him.

I've said before that I see this as a play on the typical Next Gen catty-Hogwarts fic (which is a lot of fun to do, especially as I'm writing one myself), so the commentary on adolescent social life is something I really wanted to do. I don't know if she sees the world for what it is as much as she sees what she expects to see -- on one level, she doesn't trust anyone and expects them to be liars, but on another level, she sees most people (except Clara) as much stupider than her, and doesn't believe they (Olivia would be a good example) can even dream of pulling off the level of deception she, Rose, is. It's elitism and paranoia and condescension to others that makes her a bit intimidating when she chooses to reveal herself as such. As we see with her other roommates and with Olivia and Jamie, she usually comes off as mild-mannered, a bit acid-tongued but not malicious; she shows herself that way when she feels like it. That's another reason I look at this chapter as a turning point -- when you talk to someone as embroiled in scandal as Dominic is in that way, gossip starts to spread. The full repercussions of this conversation are explored in the next couple of chapters or so.

I like to think that all first-person past-tense narration is told in flashback, but I can't answer the question of how far ahead Narrator Rose is. :P

I love questioning everything, or at least making people question everything. It gives me a headache when I find something that also requires deep inquiry, but I love seeing other people do it :P I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for these reviews; your thoughts inevitably lead me to think in new ways about the story (which is helpful because I need all the insight I can get, teehee). Thank you so much, as always.

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