Sorry this review took a little time in coming. The Dobbys have a way of sucking up all the free hours in the day! But I'm back now and will go through each of your AoCs in turn. So away we go again!!
Starting with the Bellatrix scenes... The simple answer is that I liked the addition. I like it even more knowing that these types of flash-sideways will be a recurring (though sporadic) concept. The longer version is that I like it in particular because it adds to the feeling of the larger world beyond the walls of Hogwarts. Not that the story so far has just been a "day in the life of a bunch of teenagers" kind of Marauders story, but it does serve to remind us that the stakes are bigger than just whether or not James and Lily will ever get together. I do so love stories with layers! In general, I thought you did a very good job of creating the mood/atmosphere you were hoping for (mysterious and unpleasant). The short sentences/paragraphs were a great style choice, as was Bella's hypersensitivity to her own pulse, to the sound of those breathing around her, etc. And I loved the part where she threw the coat on Dobby. It was so in character. It did feel like a whole new section of the book -- but in a positive way. It's consistent with they you've been writing but also stands alone (if that makes sense). In fact, I'd say the first scene in particular was one of the best in the story so far.
I have a few minor "nitpicks" on the two scenes, though nothing major. First, a very tiny slip in POV in the line: Her attitude did not faze Dobby, he was accustomed to the sudden anger when speaking to Bellatrix Lestrange. That sounds like Dobby's POV when the rest of the scene is Bella's. Also, I liked the way you had Bella calling Voldemort "Master," but that made the line "Bella put herself at the chair closest to the one Voldemort would sit" stand out. I'm not sure if even the voice in her head would dare to call him Voldemort :P Last, there is a line where Regulus calls his brother "Sirius Black." It just sounded odd that he would use his last name, since it's also his last name. Nothing major there, obviously. Just something I jotted down while reading.
The only other thing I'd say on the Bella bits were that I didn't think you really needed the scene split. Actually, the line "By the time midnight struck, He had arrived" would have been a SUPER one to end the whole section on. There wasn't anything wrong with the second scene, but push come to shove, all the big stuff was already hinted at in scene one. We know Bella's going after Peter (an idea I love, by the way. I've always had theories that she was the one who got to him!), we know they are gathering info about the school, we know Bella is going to get punished and continue to try and find ways to serve Voldemort, etc, etc. Since it was the first "switch" to the Death Eater side of things, less may be more here. Anyway, that's just a thought.
Moving on to the characterizations. Well, I already said I liked Bella a lot in this. I think you really captured her perfectly here. I liked the way the whole style seemed to morph just ever so slightly to match her personality. I also continue to like Alrek. I don't know what all his role will be in the future but again, I like the way his speech pattern is so distinctive and that he comes off as a bit of a likeable oaf, whatever it is he has up his sleeve, which I'm guessing isn't going to be great. I didn't have any problems with Peter's reaction to the question about his parents. I can't imagine a lot of teenage boys wanting to sit down and have a conversation about their home life -- even with their close friends. I don't think I would have given it a second thought if you hadn't pointed it out.
Just two specific points on the scene three: One is a POV change in the line "He waited to see Sirius's reaction, knowing his friend took great care to not be affected by his brother's 'career' choice." The second is that I just have to say how much I loved Sirius' "password" to get into the room, the bit about not having cursed the broom but only taking credit for it. I thought it was perfect!
To the point about skipping the meeting, I'm a bit torn. I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with skipping it. After all, we the reader saw what happened so we don't need to really relive it by listening to them describing what happened to Dumbledore. And in regards to how it was written, I also didn't have any problem with the final scene in the chapter. In fact, I really liked your depictions of both characters and the idea of them having this little chat. That said, I didn't think it worked so well with the flow of the chapter, and I'm not really sure it would work at the start of the next chapter either. By not depicting the meeting, you aren't really setting this scene up, so it feels a bit tacked on at the end. If this were a movie, I think this is one of those scenes that would end up in the director's cut; it's good and interesting but when you step back, it doesn't fit into the pacing of the movie.
I have a feeling I've hit my word count limit again so I'll just say in response to your last AoC: Yes, I do think the story is interesting and moving along at a good speed. This chapter has thickened the plot and hinted at where the story is going next. Overall, I feel like you're picking up steam here and this was one of my favorite chapters thus far. Sorry again about the delay in getting to this review. When I have more time, I plan to open my review thread back up and I hope you'll come back for more requests :)
Author's Response: Hi!!! Don't apologize for being busy crazy girl! I am just thrilled that you have a thread in the first place and let me stalk it ♥
Reminding readers of the kind of world that these people were living in at the time is so important to me, because it makes their strength just that much more amazing. Anyone can be a hero at that one moment. They can choose to die for someone they love, they can make the split second decision to throw themselves in the way of danger. Not that it makes that person any less amazing, but out of my fiance's unit of over sixty soldiers, I'm positive everyone of them would throw themselves on a grenade to save their unit. So, deciding to be a hero in a split second is amazing... but living through this kind of fear and choosing to keep fighting it. Making the decision to become part of the order knowing what it will very well could do to you, knowing you'll spend the remainder of this war looking over your shoulder... it's such a sacrifice. for a group of young kids to make. And I just really want this first book of the two to show the darkness around them, and show how much it matters that they aren't letting it overtake them once things really start to break loose. Sorry, I can't help but ramble when it comes to this bunch. Ahh!
Thank you so much for pointing out those two things, especially the Bellatrix once because that is such a small change that makes a big impact!
I'm happy that you picked up on the fact that Bella is going after Peter. They never wanted Peter for the sake of having him, they wanted James. But you never try and take a king down like that.. you start with the kings guard, or his knight.. or whatever Kings have. Haha. And you weaken him.
Alrek coming off as that is perfect! I'm so happy he felt that way!
Ahh, I'm really going to have to play with that scene. I guess my most important aspect of it was making it clear that the Order is currently running and strong. I will play around with it and try and figure out how to make it fit in with the flow without going over the whole meeting..
Thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews, and I just noticed that you opened your thread up again...mwahaha guess where I'm going :P