|Review:||Cherry Bear says:|
Hey there! I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to reviewing this. And I can't believe I'm the first reviewer :o This deserves more praise than I can possibly fit into one review, but here goes.
I love that you chose to write about Barty Crouch Jr. Firstly because he is probably the last character I would ever associate with The Perks of Being a Wallflower (and with your quote in particular). And secondly because I can count on one hand the number of Barty stories I've seen on this site over the years. He seems like such a difficult, complex character to tackle, so I really have to give you mad props for doing such an excellent job writing him.
I love his characterization here. I love the idea that Barty Sr. neglected Barty Jr. a lot because of the war and how that led to his son's desperate quest for approval wherever he could get it (you write it so realistically that it seems almost like a given and I'm kind of wondering why I've never given their complicated father-son relationship more thought before...it's actually really intriguing!) And I love love love the ambiguity and complexities of the war that Barty identifies - the contradiction in their attitude towards Muggles - and how his own lack of concrete beliefs eventually leads to him adopting the popular beliefs that are thrust upon him by his fellow Slytherins.
I also really enjoyed how you showed Barty's innocence in the beginning, with his naive and overly simplistic perceptions of the war. It was an excellent example of showing instead of telling (: I think my favorite example of his innocence is when Regulus tells him that his father is getting a reputation, and Barty reacting in the way that he does: "My father was being hailed as the saviour of the wizarding world. I was proud of him, I supposed, but being the son of a hero could be rather trying at times, particularly when he kept making it clear he deserved a better son than you." I just found that part amusing and I'm not really sure why - maybe because Barty so clearly underestimates the severity of the war? At any rate, I thought it was a good contrast for later on, when he no longer considers his father a hero.
That being said, there were a few minor nit-picky things that I did pick up on. For example:
- In the sentence, "Whatever the famous Bartemius Crouch wanted from a son, it obviously wasn't me," I think you meant "for a son" instead of "from a son"...?
- In the sentence, "The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was one of the few that caught my young imagination; that and the Department of Magical Sports and Games," I think a dash would be more appropriate than a semicolon. A semicolon is only for when you're connecting two independent sentences ("Barty liked vegetables; his favourite kind of vegetable was a carrot") or sometimes in the place of commas in a list ("Barty listened to a wide variety of music that included pop songs by Rihanna, One Direction, and John Mayer; classical compositions by Mozart and Beethoven; and dubstep"). Hope that makes sense and sorry if I sound too preachy or anything!
- Your transitions between each scene were a little choppy in general; it seems like you jumped forward from one moment in time to another very abruptly and it was a little disorienting. I think it would almost be better if you divided the story into different scenes or sections or something, instead of trying to have everything flow together...? I don't mean to offend you or anything like that; this is just a suggestion (:
I think the focal point of this story and where you really truly shine is your character development. You make it shockingly easy to empathize with Barty and the rest of the Slytherins. I feel quite silly, but I never considered the argument that Muggleborns, with their inferior knowledge of the wizarding world, would slow down the learning of purebloods. I think that's a really fascinating point, particularly because it parallels some education debates in the real world today, about how teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator and whatnot. And it takes some really good writing to make me empathize with the Death Eaters, so good work hehe. Anyway, your character development: you did a really amazingly believable job with it and I loved Barty's gradual transition from loyal admirer of his father to loyal Death Eater. I thought it was especially intriguing that Barty felt this hunger to be admired and feared because that's how his father was treated - it's almost ironic, that his desire to be revered like Barty Sr. drove him to the opposite end of the spectrum.
And like I said, your integration of the quote was really unique and far from any context I would ever imagine it being used in, which I definitely appreciate (: It did feel a bit anticlimactic though. The entire ending, with Barty meeting the Dark Lord and becoming a Death Eater, seemed rushed to me, actually - especially compared with how much time you spent detailing his childhood and his initial relationship with his father.
But, overall, I enjoyed this a lot! I almost wish it was a multi-chapter story because I really did like your Barty, and his strained relationship with his father and his love for his mother and his friendship with Regulus and everything. Massive thank you for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this! :D
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the long and detailed review. I really appreciate it.
Yeah, Barty Crouch Sr. seems a rather contradictory character. He's so anti-Death Eater and yet, he treats his house-elf just as badly as they treat people, so I was trying to show how that influenced and confused his son, making it easier for others to influence him.
I totally agree with you about the transitions being choppy. It's something I noticed when writing it, but wasn't sure exactly how to fix, because I was going through a long period of time in a pretty short story.
No, I did mean "whatever he wanted from a son", as in whatever he wanted from me, I obviously wasn't fulfilling it. Maybe it's more of a common Irish sentence structure.
You don't sound nit-picky at all. I wish more reviewers would point out minor mistakes and problems with transitions and so on. It's helpful to know what you can improve on and the more minor details are even more helpful, as they are easily fixed. I have another chapter in the queue or I would change that to a dash.
Thank you again for the review and I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you for your comments about my characterisation and I'm really pleased I managed to make you empathise with the Death Eaters.
I didn't think of the education thing, but yeah, I see what you mean. Inclusion is a comparatively new thing in Ireland, so the whole question of how students with special needs can be included does arise.