Hi, there! I was excited to see you in the Review Tag thread because I really loved the reviews you wrote for Marked and Detox and I wanted to check out your writing. This seemed like a good story to jump right into!
There are a lot of things about this story that really draw me to it. First off, I love well-written Ron/Hermione stories. I also love a good mystery. The premise of your story is really clever and original. I don't think I've ever seen another HPFF story like it. Right from the start, you hit me in the heart strings with Harry and Ginny's scene. It's obvious that they were both hurt really badly by Ron and Hermione's disappearance, and the way that they're dealing with it seemed perfectly in character for each of them: Ginny following her heart with dogged persistence and Harry just trying to wall off the emotional pain. It's obviously a source of tension in their relationship, and I'm very curious to see how that dynamic works as the story unfolds. Mentioning Hermione's engagement ring was a brilliant touch, by the way.
You did a great job with Ron. I know from first-hand experience that he's really hard to write well. Preserving that child-like goofiness and earnest charm without making him caricatured is very tricky, and I thought you hit the nail right on the head in this chapter. The first original character you introduced seemed like a really good romantic interest for him. She's down-to-earth, playful and clearly infatuated with him. Is it way too early to start feeling badly for her? Because I already sort of do. Unless she's somehow part of the conspiracy that caused Ron and Hermione to go missing in the first place, in which case I hate her. Can you tell that I take Ron and Hermione pretty seriously? ;)
Let's see, what else about Ron? The difficulty he has with memories of his past suggests where the plot of the story might be heading. Clearly he can't remember much of this only-child life because it never actually happened. Making him an only child of deceased parents was an obvious move on the part of whoever or whatever has orchestrated this whole thing, because he seems to feel no compulsion to find out more. Overall, it makes a lot of sense.
OK, who's this suave guy in a suit who's mashing on Hermione? I barely know anything about him and already I don't like him. Grrr, you stop kissing Hermione! Getting over my personal hang-ups, I think you also did a great job of preserving the essence of Hermione's character in these fairly alien circumstances. She's obviously quite smart, very motivated and has a job where she helps other people. Just based on Sheila's off-hand comment about the "mysterious, departed pieces" of Hermione's soul, she's obviously suffering from some of the same difficulties as Ron.
But fate -- and a car accident -- are about to bring the two of them back together! I loved the way that you wrote Hermione's reaction when she sees him for the first time. So much connection there! Oh, this is going to be good!
I have so many questions swirling thought my head that I won't bother listing them all, but the obvious one is how did this happen? Is there some insidious plot at work here or simply one of those magical things that happen to these characters?
You are a very good writer. Everything in this chapter flowed so nicely. It had a really good mix of dialog and narrative and you introduced the characters in a very natural way, completely within the context of the plot. Your word choice was really good and you mixed up the tag verbs and phrases for the dialog so that nothing felt weird or singsongy.
I think I'm really going to enjoy this story. Nicely done!
Author's Response: I kind of fainted a little when I saw your review. I doubt I'll be able to process a proper reply to this, but let me try.
First off, it's such an honor that you read something of mine. I really liked Marked. I think it was a fantastic piece, and very unique.
I hate writing beginnings. I never seem to know how to make it work, so I decided to start off not with the main characters, but with Harry and Ginny so they could fill the reader in on what was the problem. I'm really glad you like their ways of dealing with it. Some people were upset that Harry would give up on his friends so easily, but it wasn't easy. It was a long fruitless search and he just didn't want to hold on to false hope anymore. Ginny believes in them being alive so strongly because of the sibling link she has with Ron. At least that's how I imagined it all in my head back in the day. :)
Yes, Ron's a tough cookie. He's one of my all-time favorite character, and sometimes he really made me struggle, but I love writing him. It's so great to hear you like this Ron. I hate bad characterizations of Ron where he's just this one-dimensional brute that loves to eat and crack lame jokes, or abuse Hermione or whatever. I really wanted to show him as the funny, charming and strong person that JKR wrote about. And I also have a huge crush on him, so there. Yes, Chelsea turned out to be pretty lovely I'm almost sorry she's not included all that much. I'm glad you like her, as opposed to Jonathan. I can't help but laugh because nobody likes him. And that's okay, because he's not too likable in my head anyway. He's not a bad person, just sort of different from what Hermione really needs.
Yay, yay, I'm just so happy you liked this. I'll be thrilled if you keep reading. This story is so precious to me, and there may be mistakes, but I'm always so happy when new readers come to it and enjoy reading. I don't know what else to say, really. I'm still so overwhelmed by such a lovely first review. Thank you for all your kind words and if you do keep reading, I really hope you'll like and enjoy it. Thanks so much.