Hey Shelby! It's Molly from TGS with your requested review! Now, I must apologize if this gets a little long-winded because I've got a lot to say about this piece.
First off, I really enjoyed the introductory paragraph. I felt that it set the mood for the entire piece, which is dreamy- not in a fluffy, lighthearted way, but in that terrible nightmarish way where you don't even realize that it's a nightmare until that prick of fear starts to slowly spread over your skin. It gave the rest of the piece a heightened sense of tension, and it really made me want to figure out exactly what had happened to Rose to make her get so lost in this world where she was so convinced that she couldn't be saved.
I will admit, the first use of the italicized text was a bit confusing to me. It was difficult for me to determine if I was supposed to assume that the italics were one of the characters speaking or if it was just a narrative effect. I'm still a little confused about that aspect, but the actual language contained within them is stunning. Very poetic, almost hauntingly, jarringly, so. If that was your desired outcome then congratulations, you achieved it. At any rate, even if I was a little thrown off at first, they, too, helped contribute to the overall dark tone of the story.
Another thing that threw me for a loop initially was the change of scenery. We went from this atmospheric dream-like scape to the Great Hall, without much of a transition; it felt a little too abrupt for me, but I was able to get over it when I read the interaction between Rose and Scorpius. First of all, good on you for making Scorpius a Gryffindor! It rarely happens in fics and when it does, I can't help smiling ridiculously, even when reading a piece as dark as this. Secondly, I felt you wrote their relationship very well. His worry and concern for his best friend is just the right amount - he knows there's something wrong and presses her for it, but he doesn't bully her; he comforts her, tries to take her pain away. Perfect reaction to me, really. And beautifully written, too!
This may sound a little strange, but the ending is probably my favorite part of the entire piece if only because it is so ambiguous. To me, her fall from the Astronomy Tower is her "fall from grace", at least in Rose's eyes. I know you said that it's really all up to the interpretation of the reader and that's the way I read it, which is by far more intriguing and satisfying as an ending than Rose actually dying. At least it is for me, so that's how I'm going to interpret the story because honestly? I don't want her to actually die because you've done something that very few writers have been able to do in the past: you made me like Rose. I really, truly cared for her well being and wanted her to be put back together, to be whole again. The fact you achieved in that in such a small amount of words is truly impressive.
All in all, this was a beautifully written piece, nicely crafted. I might suggest giving this another read through as there are a few moments where there is a little too much description and other points where there's not enough. It doesn't deter from the meat of the story by any means, but I'm a fan of balancing out the amount of description - either give it all and describe everything or just go with the bare minimum. As I said, it's just a suggestion and it by no means takes away from the content of the story.
This is a really stunning job, Shelby! You're such a fantastic writer! Color me green with envy.
Author's Response: Hello Molly! Thank you for reviewing! Don't worry about being long-winded - I think it's awesome!
Gosh, I am just so glad you like the introductory paragraph! I've been having a lot of problems with readers not understanding it, yet forgetting that it's stream of consciousness. You're very right about the mood being this dreamy, nightmarish sort of thing. I wanted to paint this picture of surreality, so I hope that came off well!
It's not one of the characters speaking, the italicized portions are more narrative effect. I put them in to symbolize something deeper, something more metaphorical. Honestly, I can't even pinpoint exactly who/what says them or what - I like to leave that up to the reader to decide that those pieces mean to them in the context of the story. I know that when I reread the story, I feel differently about them. I'm sorry they were so confusing!
Yes, a few people have mentioned that to me. My intention was to contrast the normalcy of everyday life with what Rose is going through emotionally, physically, and mentally. It's a bit jarring - I should probably work on smoothing that transition out. You're the second reviewer to have mentioned the house I placed Scorpius in! You know, I don't think I was even cognizant of the placement, it just seemed very natural. I'm really glad you liked his reaction! One of my biggest weaknesses is dialogue and so I'm really trying to work on that.
Oh my goodness, you're after my own heart, you are! I'm such a huge fan of ambiguity because it gives the reader so, so many options for interpretation! Your interpretation is one of many from reviewers and it is every bit as valid as anyone else's - that was one of my goals in this piece. I'm just so over the moon! It can be so difficult sometimes to get readers to connect with a story - I can see that I accomplished that with you!
Yes, I think it's time I push my pride back and do a bit of editing. I'm a fan of balance too, but I like to mix and match - maybe it's not working and I need to do some adjusting!
Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I really appreciate it! :)