So, another story... and I really liked. It was very different to the other three Albus stories and seemed to mature a bit from the previous volumes.
The ending seemed to come to a rather abrupt halt and I found it quite unbelievable when you announced last week that this would be the last chapter. It really did sneak up on me, I guess that's because the tension this year was really different to those of years prior.
I think that as the series matures one of the things that I want to see is less "text book" baddies, like those that are completely evil... I think I want to see Laurentis truly believe that what she is doing is right or... even Albus question his Dad... I dunno... I think that's one of the things that could be worked towards, bringing in a few more shades of grey... and maybe not a happy or clean cut ending (I don't know... maybe Laurentis could do all this evil stuff... but support werewolf reform... making her a bit more three dimensional)
I really liked that this year's tension, perhaps similar to the previous years wasn't based around a big baddy (until the end... on a side note I question the need for Umbridge showing up) but more the perspective that Al gives us on what's going on in the wizarding world and how he's reacting to it.
It was great to get a bit more of a look at Amanda's character, I remember commenting on her lack of development at the end of the third book, so it was really great to see her passion and the impact of her being the Prime Minister's niece in this novel, it made a nice touch to have someone who seemed a forgotten part of the ensemble cast rise to prominence.
The Chamber of Secrets scene and indeed Scorpius' conflicted loyalties were one of the greatest parts of the book and I thought they mirrored the journey that Draco took in HBP and I really hope that you continue showing us that journey and maybe the grudging truce become a grudging alliance in future books... I know that there are Rose/Scorpius shippers out there... and I'd wonder if this could be a development of your series.
I can sense a series arc developing and that perhaps Laurentis' changes at Hogwarts will mirror the themes that Jo explored in her 5th book, so... I do hope it's not like a carbon copy.
So yes, thank you for another work well done, the presentation of the political world absolutely fascinated me and the intriguing plot developments did leave me hanging (I think I'd like to see more of Linda... it felt like she was kind of shoved to the side) and yeah... you've presented us with a story that really seems natural, you read some stories where it's Albus Potter saving the universe from Voldemort Mrk II, but you give us a story that's very real.
Good luck with nanowrimo (I'm doing it too :D) and all your other ideas, whatever you present to us here and by other means, I will seek out and read.
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was very different from the other three, which is exactly what I was going for. I wanted the characters to be more focused on what's going on in the world, rather than on what's going on in Hogwarts. The tension was quite different and there wasn't as big of a end of the year battle as there often is.
I want to use different types of villains, too, which is why I had the villains captured at the end of this and sent to Azkaban, with the dementors. They won't be escaping and won't be playing a huge role in the story anymore. Laurentis does believe what she's doing is right and I'll try to portray that more in the next one, although it's difficult since the story isn't from her point of view. Laurentis doesn't disapprove of werewolf reform, per-se (she did let Matt's dad keep his job, after all), but she doesn't believe it's worth the effort. Werewolf reform will be brought up again, though, so who knows what will happen. As far as Al questioning his dad, that's an intriguing idea!
I was a bit worried about the tension in this because of the lack of a big villain until the end. Quite a few people didn't like this one because of the fact that it was so different and so political, but I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Umbridge wasn't so much needed as just old villains in general were needed. I picked Umbridge because she's a familiar character, rather than creating new prisoners just to show up and then get captured again. Hopefully that made sense.
I really enjoyed developing Amanda's character in this. She didn't have a lot of "screen time" in the previous novels, so it was great to give her more personality and characterization. She's still the quiet girl she was in the first one, but she has ideas and beliefs and values that will cause her to become a stronger character as the series goes on.
Scorpius's journey in this one did mirror Draco's journey in HBP and I'm planning on developing him more as the series goes on, even though he called a truce with Albus. I will never, ever, ever pair Scorpius with Rose, though. It just wouldn't work with how I've characterized them and I'm not a huge fan of that ship to begin with. There is only one series of novels on HPFF that are Rose/Scorpius that I read and enjoy.
Laurentis's changes at Hogwarts won't be like Umbridge's at Hogwarts. There will be no Inquisitor and no Inquisitorial Squad. Kendrick will remain in control of the school. Don't worry!
I'm really glad you liked the political aspects! As I mentioned, a lot of people didn't like that. But I did, so I put it in. Originally I planned on Linda playing a larger role in this story, but I changed the plot a few chapters in and it just didn't work. I hope to put her in the 5th one more.
I hope you're doing well with Nano! I finished my novel a few days ago, so it's back to the FF world for me. Thanks so much for the long and detailed review! :)