Okay, I am here, finally. Sorry for the delay. You know my feelings on Snily so I had to work up the courage to tackle this. ;) Of course, I go into each fanfic as unbiased as possible so I knew I had to have an open mind while reading this while also remembering that it was you who wrote it.
I must say, you certainly have a way with words (as if I couldn't have told you that many years ago) but it still strikes me every time I read something of yours how intense your prose is. I feel a little bit overwhelmed right now and I love that your story - of a pairing that I don't even like - can make me feel so much emotion. Your imagery and description is phenomenal. I honestly don't know you paint such vivid pictures but it's beautiful and dark and awe-inspiring to read your words and to be able to imagine everything that I'm reading. Your words bring your story to life and I think that's a mark of a great writer.
I think Lily and Snape here are so unbelievably canon. I've kind of gotten over all those Snily fics were Snape pines for Lily from afar and laments his loss of her to Potter and blah blah, so it's interesting to see this take of Lily who has taken the initiative to kind of throw her feelings out there by kissing him and then feeling her emotional turmoil at his supposed rejection. It seems natural to me, especially considering the timeline, and how easy it is to develop feelings for your male best friend (it's a story we've heard so many times, and why should Lily be any different? She's still a girl...nothing extraordinary).
I think my favorite part of this was the contrast between Lily and Snape. Fire and shadow. It's beautiful and so true, not only in looks but in personalities and actions. Plus, the fact that she's a Mudblood and oh man, that line about how they would eat her alive if only her blood wasn't tainted...that was just so hard hitting and honest. That's what I like about your writing. You tell it how it is without glossing things over and making them all pretty, you know? It's truth in your words, like the truth in their silence.
My favorite paragraph in this was this one: He was becoming an object of horror, a shadow too fine for her fingers to grasp, a mere spectre among the monsters. To see him as follower when he could be so much more. He had a voice that could stir the soul, a mind as sharp as a fatal blade, but ever did he bury himself in the depths of these dungeons, a pawn in the games of others when he could be their king. It's just...gah, it's perfect. It's Snape and I love Lily's view of him here. It's just gorgeous writing.
I feel like I should have some sort of criticism, but I find no fault in this. I'm getting all gushy and flail-y in my age with every new fic I read. It's always refreshing reading something of yours and I should make a point to read more of your work - it's only fair considering how loyal you've been to my work for so long. But it's not an obligation that makes me want to read more of your stories, but your mastery of words and storytelling and your firm grasp of canon characters. You could write anything you want and you'd have people believing it was strictly canon. You have a gift and I envy your ability to write all these perfect stories. :)
Author's Response: For some reason, I mistakenly thought you didn't mind Snily, which was why I asked you to review this, so I'm sorry about leaving you a difficult story to review. It is, however, worth it to get your opinions on Lily and on the style. Your thoughts always mean a lot to me.
Wow, I'm still fangirling over what you've said about this story's style and my writing because they're what I would have used to describe /your/ writing, the powerful emotions and imagery, the beauty of the words. I really don't know what to say except for thank you because your compliments give me an indescribably happy feeling of accomplishment. So thank you, Missy. ^_^
The most interesting part about writing this story wasn't, in the end, the stylistic aspect, but rather the portrayal of Lily. I thought that whole Conrad influence would have a greater effect, but while it guided Lily's journey through the labyrinth of dungeons and influenced certain images - for instance, Lily's strange statement about blood purity and cannibalism - it did not have the same influence upon the characters. I think I've finally "got" Lily and written her in the "right" way, or at least in the way that best satisfies me. She's challenging because of the way that characters such as Snape have controlled her image in the books. He places her on so high a pedestal that she's no longer real, and I think that's where the Snily cliche of Snape's unrequited love comes from - we never hear her side of the story, nor can we because no one else seems to know it. I'm glad to hear that her reaction to Snape and her desire of him sounds natural. She is, in this story, a fifteen year old girl, with all of the issues of that age, including raging hormones and curiosity, so it just made sense to take that risk and make her the one in pursuit of something more between them.
I'm also pleased to hear that you liked that contrast I drew between them, though I'm surprised that it stood out - it seemed like something someone has to have written about before, and I worried that it wasn't very original. Yet, at the same time, it's a fascinating contrast because it works on so many different levels. Lily's life is short, quickly burned and easily snuffed out, yet in that time, she casts such a light upon many people and the memory of her light and warmth persists. Snape, however, is the shadow, a thing that always exists - when there is no light, there is only shadow. Snape lives the life of a shadow; he is the ultimate absence of light, even from the beginning - unwanted, despised - but he too feels Lily's glow because she is his equal and opposite.
What now creeps me out about the cannibalism imagery in that line is that it comes straight out of Lily's thoughts - it's not part of a separate bit of narration. Although Hogwarts in the 1970's would have been just as dark a place as Hogwarts in Harry's time - filled with conflict and danger, where people take firm sides, even before they're of age - Lily's experience in such a place greatly differs from Harry's for one major reason. She has a friend on the other side. It would be like Ron or Hermione being in Slytherin. Lily sees first-hand what the dark side is capable of because she watches her best friend be seduced by it and it horrifies her. It angers her. Perhaps it's no wonder that she could not deal with him any longer because she came to believe that he was no longer the same Snape - he's the one who betrayed her, at least in her eyes, but he never really understands.
I'll stop rambling. I could go on for hours with theorizing, when all I mean to do is thank you for your wonderful review. Those compliments... I don't feel deserving at all. Your work has been a huge influence on me for the last eight years - I really don't know if I could have made it this far without that influence and the inspiration that you've given. Thank you for everything, Missy.