Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review! :) Some of my double reviews have been deleted - tell me if you need me to PM them to you.
Some mechanical points:
I think I've mentioned this as a problem before, but there were points where the dialogue came across as rather awkward. I think that the major issue was that you often didn't use contractions - Harry says things like, "I have been tracking his activities all day" and "He has been to the Leaky Cauldron." That just doesn't sound natural, and it's also not really how Harry or Ginny talked in the books.
There were also points where I felt like your sentences turned into run-ons. I was a bad reviewer and didn't jot any down while I was reading, so I don't have any examples, but I think that part of the problem is that you sometimes try to include too many actions in a sentence, and it ends up feeling awkward.
Other than that, though, the mechanics were fine. :)
I think that you're continuing to do a good job with Harry/Ginny and the plot with Xenon.
I really liked the opening scene between Harry and Ginny in the Common Room. I felt like you captured them both very well when they were trying to figure out what to do about the wand - Harry's immediate instinct to ask Dumbledore for help made sense, as did Ginny's more sensible approach. I also liked their brief conversation about Sirius - I thought that the way you captured their differing feelings about him was excellent.
Minor thing, but I loved (loved, loved) the bit about Neville's parents. As soon as Ginny mentioned Neville's mum, I was ready to say, "Neville's parents were respected Aurors, they would be out of Hogwarts by now!" Then Ginny said it for me. It's never really been clear to me whether both of Neville's parents were Aurors or just his father (or whether his mother was, but not for long), so this is a completely reasonable interpretation, and I have to say, I liked the fact that you didn't make Neville's parents in the same year. Couples often aren't in the same year at school, but people seem to forget that sometimes.
I did question how Ginny knew that Alice was Neville's mother, though. Alice is a fairly common name, and I doubt that Ginny would have known Neville's mum's maiden name. I suppose Ginny could have recognised her from a photograph, but I'd have liked to see a mention of it if that was the case.
That scene as a whole was really good. I felt like you captured Dumbledore really well - you got his serious side, but you also captured his humour as well, which I think a lot of people don't.
When they got to Diagon Alley, I did question the idea that many of the shops were boarded up. For most people, this is how they make their living - how do they do that if they're only open for a few months a year? What do they do with the rest of the time? I suppose it wouldn't be strange for a few shops here or there to only be open during a specific season, but for most, I'm not sure why they would be. After all, in the real world, most shops don't just board up because the season has passed. I was also a bit confused by Harry's refusing to allow Ollivander to see their wands, but then admitting only a few moments later that the holly and phoenix feather was his.
Other than that, though, the scene was good. You did an excellent job of capturing Ollivander, especially at the end - I can absolutely believe that that would be his reaction to the idea of allowing someone to remove a wand from his shop because they didn't think he could protect it.
Which, of course, he couldn't, because as Harry points out, he's old and not really experienced for this. I'm interested to see what happened next!
So the overarching plot was good. However, I'm still a bit iffy on your portrayal of the Marauders.
The scene with Sirius when he's processing what he overheard, on the other hand, felt a little out of character to me. Obviously we don't know what Sirius was like when he was younger, not really, but based on everything that's mentioned in the books, I think he had very strong feelings about Voldemort and blood purity and all of that even then. The fact that his reaction after overhearing all of that is entirely focused on Ginny just didn't seem very much like Sirius to me. He was clearly a bit of an idiot when he was younger, but I never saw him as vapid. It could just be a difference in our interpretations of the character, I guess.
Quidditch tryouts were good, but there were times when the way you described it felt a little too much like JKR's description of Quidditch tryouts in Harry's sixth year. I'd have liked to see a little more originality in that respect. I also felt like you overdid James and Lily's fight - their dialogue felt a little staged to me. That's not to say that the sentiment is wrong - I think you actually did a really nice job capturing James really being rather insufferable, and at this point I absolutely sympathise with Lily. I just felt like the execution could have been a bit stronger.
It's not that I think your interpretation of the characters is bad. I just felt like you put it on a bit too strong and didn't really allow much room for depth or development.
I feel like this is a rather disorganised review. :( Sorry! I really hope you found it helpful anyway. :)
Author's Response: Hey! Don't worry about the late review, it's perfectly fine! =)
Well, yes, I've been having problems with the dialogues but I've been improving too; I know what you mean by the formality and everything as I've had another reviewer tell me that; so I've been working on it. I just hope that you notice the improvement (if there is any) in the upcoming chapters.
Ah, yes, I did love that scene too. I'm glad you like the progress with everything! And yes, I've always assumed Frank to be older than Alice. I'd actually forgotten it at first and only changes it when a very good friend of mine told me that Frank was older than her. I'm glad that you thought it was the appropriate thing to do. Thanks! Also, I didn't really think about why Ginny knew Alice was THE Alice. I suppose she had seen the picture of the Order or something like that?
Um, I thought that it was possible for many shops to be close because of Voldemort like it happened in HBP. I thought it would make sense; well, I guess it didn't. Thanks for letting me know; I'll change that once I edit this story.
Harry had initially thought that they wouldn't tell Ollivander anything, but then he realised that it would be of no use to try and convince Ollivander otherwise, as it would be hard to prove; there was not other option for him and he could see that so he decided to go with the truth all of a sudden.
Yes, the Marauders! I know exactly what you mean when you say that about Sirius. However, I don't think Sirius heard as much to make assumptions about everything. Of course he would get paranoid once he begins to learn more but I didn't think that moment was this. Right now, he only took it lightly and didn't think about it much as he got distracted pretty soon after that.
The Quidditch are too much like the sixth year tryouts, yes. I hadn't realised that when I wrote it. It was only when the chapter got validated that I noticed the similarities; so don't worry, I'll be changing that during editing also.
Don't worry about it, it was helpful. I'm actually having problems with execution and even when you didn't really tell me on how to fix that, I think I did learn how I should do it with this review. So thanks a lot!
Thanks a million, Beeezie! Always love your in-depth reviews! =)