This story is probably the first HPFF which has really made me think. And not just think but think. And it's that last line that has me stumped. But I will get to that in a second.
I loved this. Good God, I am such a sucker for stories about misunderstood people, where the author begs the sympathy of the reader for the 'underdog'. I give it in spades. It's a weakness of mine. But even without that bias, I think it is difficult to not feel for Lysander in this. You make his situation a horrible on to be in but very real and therefore it is easy to feel for him.
His voice is really well done. It's clear and definitely in character and, dare I say, but mature in a sense? I mean that even with his anger and frustration towards Lorcan, it almost seems justified. I mean to say that it isn't just childish frustrations that he is piling onto his twin because he can. It genuinely seems like he is frustrated and it seems like he has good reason to be and it... makes sense. I suppose that's what I'm trying to say here. However I describe it, Lysander's voice was definitely well done. I loved his character. I have such a clear picture of him in my mind and I adore that picture. I definitely agree that it's a strength of this story!
Now, we move onto my confusion in this. In your areas of concern, you mentioned whether the memories were clear enough and whether they prepared the reader for the end. Well, the memories are definitely clear and make perfect sense. What I am not too sure about is the ending about this and how the memories 'prepare' the reader for the end. And what, exactly, is the end. And I don't put this down to poor writing on your part, I just feel like I'm missing something huge (believe me, it wouldn't be the first person I would have done so!).
That last line: "I wouldn't be the first one to get us mixed up." I feel like you are alluding to how Lorcan also has hatred towards Lysander. Or maybe not hatred, but ill-feelings, certainly. I get that sense. What I don't quite understand is the memories tying into that.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into it and it really is something as simple as their being unresolved tension on both their sides. Or perhaps there is a deeper understanding which has just gone straight over my head. Whichever it is, this was really well written. I especially loved the line "You spin empty conversation, thoughts that are sweet to the ear but bland if swallowed." I wish I could write so simply yet beautifully like that. God, that's a lovely line.
But, then, you should be proud of every line of this! I really enjoyed it.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you such a detailed review. I really appreciate that you not only took the time to read this, but to leave a review that I have to scroll down in order to read it all.
For this story to work (for any story to work) you have to be rooting for the character. Many of us know what it's like when someone has it all, while we're sitting there in the background wondering why we're not them. I intended the reader to pity Lysander, hope for him to figure himself out, so I'm glad you felt that way.
Thank you for putting out some thoughts on that last line. The confusion comes from my end. I aimed for the line to reveal that it was not Lorcan that Lysander hated (at least not entirely), but that Lysander hated himself as well. The hope was, since they were twins, that him mentioning physical mixups of the two would lead the reader to realize that Lysander also mixed up whom he was mad at: sometimes he was made at Lorcan, sure, but Lysander also hated himself for coming in second, and hated himself for lacking the courage to tell his brother how he really felt. Just typing that sentence required me to do some double checking, which means it's probably too big a leap to make in just one sentence at the end of a story.
About the way the memories tied in, I tried to show some of his frustration at himself but, looking back, it is not as clear as I'd thought it was. I also talked a bit about courage as he was walking away from the encounter with Rose and her fiance.
Either way, I'll look into it and see what I can do. ;) There are at least some parts that can be improved, as always. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and above all, I'm glad it made you think. When I read, all I want to do is be forced to think, so it's quite the compliment.