Hey, this is Beeezie, at long-last here with your review! (I swear I'm going to get better about filling these in a timely manner - RL has been terribly busy lately.)
The first two paragraphs made the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Well, I'm not actually sure that they did, but they felt like it. Your prose and description was terrific. I could really get a mental image and a general feeling for the place; it was almost like I was watching a movie, the picture was so vivid.
I particularly loved the juxtaposition between what the muggle world knew the area as and what was actually going on in it. It would have been a nice touch in any story, I think, but because yours focuses so heavily on the mingling of the muggle and wizarding worlds, it wasn't just elegant, it was relevant. It actually kind of brought to mind that scene from a couple chapters ago where John was wondering whether shooting the scepter would work and Reynolds actually managing to do it. I mean, they're not really the same thing, because here you're just acknowledging the muggle world, not using it as a weapon, but the fact that you treat the muggle world as present and immediately relevant is really one of the things I like best about your story.
As you moved into the meeting Grindelwald had called, you were clearly in your element (or at least, it seemed that way to me). I loved the sense of tension you were able to convey, and all those who had failed him on the previous mission was now dead anyway in particular was just a great line (though I think you mean were now dead anyway, not was). You did a great job of portraying Grindelwald's philosophy and personality as a natural part of the narrative, and I really got a sense of how he and Riddle are very different, despite both being dark wizards.
Additionally, I thought that your introduction of all of the OC wizards was brilliant; it added a lot of depth to the world, at least for me, because it alluded to a lot of little details that probably won't be very important in the overarching plot but are incredibly important in creating a complicated and three-dimensional world - something you've done a lovely job with throughout this story.
However, I did feel like the mention of Grindelwald's carving the Deathly Hallows insignia onto the ceiling of Durmstrang was a little awkward - I just wasn't sure why that, of all things, would stand out to him about the Deathly Hallows insignia. A mention of something that we know from canon is a nice touch, but I'd have preferred it to have to do with Dumbledore or something along those lines. Durmstrang just feels a little random. I also wanted a little more explanation of why being the head of the SS meant being head of the magical archaeology division, because that was a connection I didn't really understand.
The second section definitely started out a bit less strong than the first one. The phrasing in certain places was a bit more awkward (e.g., More than anything, he wished he could be back in the classroom teaching, he much preferred the beautiful simplicity of the classroom to the harsh madness of the war - there should be a period after teaching, because both halves of the sentence separated by the comma are sentences in their own right), and there were a few errors around dialogue tags (Dumbledore calmly smiled should be followed by a period, because it isn't describing how he spoke, and I'm sure you have, Horace should end with a comma rather than a period because he assured him is a dialogue tag.
I also wasn't sure I loved the way that you brought the Chamber of Secrets into it. I mean, I liked the fact that you mentioned it, because that's something I never considered but is an excellent addition for this time period, but I felt like you didn't really devote enough time to it. Maybe Dumbledore wouldn't have heard about the students getting petrified while he was abroad - he probably wouldn't have - but the way you introduced the plot point just seemed a little rushed.
John's section was fun - I loved the bit about the Spanish Armada and Queen Elizabeth, and how the other men just didn't get his joke about the British Museum. Reynolds teasing John about Daisy also fit in really well with their relationship as you've established it thus far and the fact that they're young men and young people tend to tease each other.
However, I did feel like the mechanics in this section were the weakest of the three, particularly from the point that Doge walked in. For example, I think that there are smoother ways you could get across They listened intently as he explained further - something about the sentence just feel awkward. Even something like, They stopped and looked at him, and he explained further would have sounded more natural to me. As another example, he explained as he walked towards the door - "explained" just doesn't really feel like the right word choice to me. Maybe "called," but "explained" just doesn't fit. I'm having a hard time describing what feels awkward to me about either of those or a few of the other sentences, but there's something about them that just doesn't flow naturally to me.
I'm sorry again for the terrible delay, and I hope that I was helpful.
Author's Response: Hey thanks a lot for the review, and no worries about the timing.
I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the beginning. It was fun to make up names and personalities for Grindelwlad's followers since we know nothing about them.
In real life, Himmler founded a division of the SS called the Ahnenerbe that was devoted to tracking down mythical and historical artifacts, as seen in Indiana Jones.
The Chamber of Secrets presented a challenge because it is not really releated to the plot at all, however, I want to stay in canon so I cant just ignore a major event that happened. This was the best way to think of to include it without sidetracking the story too much.
Thanks for writing such an in depth review, its much appreciated.