Pix! It's taken me forever, but here I finally am with your second review! *high fives*
So immediately: Ha! Can you ever go wrong with snow globes in the opening sentence? I think not. ;-) Really, though, I actually quite love the idea of these little Muggle souvenirs being collected on her desk, the pretty miniature versions of places she's never been, stuck staring at them from behind a tiny cubicle... It's a very simple paragraph, one that I don't think will play any further part in the story, but it's so relatable, and that's what makes it significant. You've made Dorcas such a real person to me, it's incredible.
Marlene is fantastic. Such a character, sarcastic and on the ball, but not so perfectly that she becomes unbelievable. The two of them fit so well together, too, in that way that somewhat opposite personalities tend to do. I just love how fun the dialogue is without being perfectly witty banter, which is what actually makes your choices perfect! Funny how that works, huh? :-p
Ah, I'm so jealous of how easily you transition from one thought to the next; how you subtly slip in background information effortlessly! The upbeat conversation that turns into Dorcas remembering her father's cowardly departure and how sadly the circumstance of her being the only one of her family brave enough to stay behind and do the right thing, only to swoop right back into Marlene's boy talk! Not only does it make Dorcas' history incredibly intriguing, because you only graze the surface with the information you provide here, but it also is great insight into your talents as an author - an author who knows how to show restraint - something that so many of us are just terrible at! I mean, the number of stories I've read where the first chapter is just a huge monologue of background information and explanations about the character... omg. I love you for your restraint.
"What I was going to say was his report was off. Things didn't make sense and I have questions." - Hmm... Well, maybe it's just me, but my suspicion flag just got raised! I'm having a feeling about biceps-boy. My ears will be perked up for any more suspicious behavior... It actually took me a few times reading through this to truly feel those suspicion vibes, though, so if it turns out he really is hiding something dark and dangerous, then you did an excellent job at just laying the information out there without hinting towards it at all. I HOPE I'M RIGHT! :-D
So I'm really in love with the reason as to why Dorcas can't get Severus off her mind: because he's the first person she's ever known personally to face a casualty of the war. Such a beautifully sad reason.
HA! "His office looked more or less like her cubicle, except for the absence of files. That's because all his reports are on my desk, she thought." - This just killed me because ever since I started working a desk job, this is just SO right. We have a joke in the office that the only job our boss has is deciding who in the office to hand his work to next! So spot on. I feel your pain, Dorcas.
The entire interaction with Moody was just entirely right. You managed to capture both the gruff, strict Moody while also showing hints of the side of him that truly cares about the people helping to fight and protect. And the fact that you made him so undeniably himself without even once using the phrase 'CONSTANT VIGILANCE!' is very impressive. Most people use that line as a fall back, but you understood his character to the core without repeating dialogue from the canon books. The combination of his dialogue and the way in which Dorcas interpreted him just made Moody so undeniably canon. Color me green! Oh, and I just adore how you slipped in the knowledge that Dorcas isn't so simple as just a paper pusher, but a very important part of the Order. It was the perfect contrast to the final section of the last chapter.
"I insist," he said, glaring at her now. "There's something I'd like to discuss with you and my friend here." - DUN DUN DUNNN! Alright, I'm curious. Even more so than before! Although it could easily be something very... inappropriate and slime-bally of him, but there's definitely possibility of a hidden dark layer in Josef... *ponders*
Adore the description of Severus when Dorcas first spots him at the bar: alone, head down, not scared or beaten like others she's met with, oblivious to the hectic bar scene, and scribbling in his note book. So perfectly Snape. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The entire conversation with Snape was so... gah, I don't even know how to word it properly! Every line was so effortless and fluid and fit together like perfect pieces of a puzzle! But, again, you captured the intelligent, witty, and/or blunt nature of the characters without the dialogue ever seeming too perfect; so perfect that it would never happen in real life. I think that's the most remarkable thing about your writing - that you've found a way to take these fantastic characters and make them beyond interesting to follow without making their speech so perfect that I feel like I'm watching a romantic comedy where the witty banter is just too precise. Does that even make sense? I'm rambling now, but I'm just so stoked on your brilliant use of dialogue! And again, you've snuck in tiny details about the characters in these subtle ways. For example, in this exchange: "Didn't your hair used to be greasy all the time?" - "And you are still in the habit of effortlessly insulting people?" HA! See, because now I've learned about Dorcas' past, but you stayed far away from doing that big monologue of background information, you just let that characterization happen naturally, and that's SO difficult for most writer's to do! Your ability to restrain yourself is both admirable and enviable.
Honestly, Pix, this is just a brilliant chapter in every way. Well done.
Author's Response: I'm flabbergasted is what I am! (I'd say speechless, but we both know that wouldn't be true. ;) )
I think you are the only reviewer so far that has made me re-read my own chapter before I can properly respond to you. Consider that an accomplishment!
Dorcas and her snow globes, what can I say? She loves those things. And I don't know if you've caught on yet, but no one in this story is perfect, so you can continue to expect imperfections all over the place. And who better than Marlene to knock Dorcas on her head once in a while?
As for the effortlessness... well... I wouldn't call it effortless, but if it comes across that way, then I'm staggeringly pleased. So thank you!
So, err... I hope that when you say you have a feeling about biceps-boy, that you don't actually go 'round feeling people's biceps. Because not only would that be weird, but I'd have to send Marlene over with a roll of parchment. She's good with those, you know. And of course, Moody isn't, which is why all his parchment is on Dorcas' desk. 'Tis the way of things, don't you know it!
No one knows just when Moody started using his signature line. This is the first war, after all. Maybe something horrible happened that made him say that over and over. In fact, there are some words I had absolutely decided that I was not going to use in this story. Those were two of them. Interesting that you pointed that out. And yeah, Dorcas has some important stuff going on. I don't think Moody would stand for a brainless airhead as his assistant, would you?
Just so you can sleep at night, I'll go ahead and tell you: Josef is a slimeball. There. The secret's out. Ponder away, oh mighty ponderer. There might be more to it, or it could just be another snow globe.
I had to laugh out loud at the "watching a romantic comedy" comment. This is definitely not that kind of story. And I'm really glad you are enjoying the dialogue. I had to listen to those two hash it out over and over again in my head. After a while, it got to be pretty annoying, let me tell you. So it's good that all that hashing paid off in some small way.
Wow! There's not much left to say except thank you for such a fantastic review! I'm not sure it garners that much praise, but it certainly makes me feel good that you're reading and enjoying the story.