|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
There's so much you've done in this chapter that I like that I could pretty much copy-and-paste the whole chapter into this review box and say "THIS". But that's not the kind of review you'll be wanting, I expect. ;) You've done a fantastic job with this chapter, developing both the characters and the plot with ease and grace. The plot is building in a wonderfully complex way as you add in new elements, new challenges, little twists where you offer snatches of hope only to whisk them away again. I can't anticipate what will come next - there's no obviousness about this story in the least - but you constantly make me eager to read more. Looking back at how you were writing in "At Great Personal Risk", you've come so far! It's brilliant!
It's always a joy to see an author include so many characters and manage to give them all a bit of depth. The young Death Eaters have dimension, from Rosier's dark maturity to Avery's closeness to Snape (I liked his mild defence of Snape) and Wilke's painful naivety. They felt like people, which is refreshing and wonderful to see - yes, I know that they become "the enemy", but you remind us that they aren't really that different from the Marauders except in chance, being sorted into Slytherin at a particular time. It's the outside forces that made them who they were, to a large degree, and this fits into JKR's questioning of nature vs. nurture throughout the series.
The inclusion of Peter was fantastic in its execution. The ironic foreshadowing was amazing - subtle, but striking, if that makes any sense at all. You portray Peter very well, too - directly in line with canon where he helps the other two with their pranks, yet maintains hints of hidden depths. You say so much with what remains unsaid with Peter - from Lily's perspective, it's a straight-forward conversation, but the lack of narration there points to so much more going on behind the scenes. He easily tells a lie at the beginning, so how many more does he tell? How much does he read through her own lie? It's a fascinating conversation, and while I loved the rest of the chapter, this was a particular highlight.
As for the plot itself, of the deal and its results, I feel for both Lily and Regulus that it's not working out. They want to try, but there's too many other things - external forces - involved for it to ever be a success (or so it seems thus far). The ill-fated timing makes this a very sad chapter - the potential for success was there, but the prejudices that those young Death Eaters have been imbibed with are too powerful, tainting even the good people like Regulus and Snape. I loved the ending of this chapter, with Regulus's realization that his brother despises him, that he will never succeed in "making up" with Sirius. It's too late, and nothing Regulus can do could change that. Or is it possible? I'll still harbour some hopes. ;)
Sorry if this review is largely incomprehensible - my cold medicine seems to have petered out, leaving me drifting a little in mind. I really enjoyed reading this chapter - the flow of this story is incredible, continuously driving forward with an increasingly addictive quality to it. It will be great to see where you choose to take this highly unique plot. ^_^
Author's Response: Aww, Susan :) Sorry this response took so long.
I do like to think that taking my time with these long pieces and really playing with the details in each chapter has paid off in terms of my improvement as a writer. It's so reassuring for you to say those things! Thank you for your continued support of my work.
You put it well when you said that Snape's friends are like the Marauders in that they each have their own personalities. They aren't as well-developed as the Marauders, but I do think they're each a little different, in terms of their quirks and allegiance to one another. It's been fun to explore each of them!
I was hoping you'd appreciate Peter! I wanted to allude to things from canon, things to come, but also make it clear that I'm not about to fall into that cliche where everyone has a funny feeling about Peter and just knows to leave him out. Lily's letter to Sirius makes it clear in canon that she is at least concerned about Peter, even if he's not her favorite of James's friends. You're right that telling lies seems to come easy for him. We'll have to see where he goes from here, hmm?
Isn't that always the way, that no matter how much you want something, there will always be the potential for things to get in the way? Don't give up hope just yet; it's only the beginning of this little journey for Regulus and Lily, and there's still much to come for them.
Thanks so much for this fabulous review! :)