OK, deep breath... For about an age and a half, Jami has been telling me, "You HAVE to read Over the Edge. It's amazing!" And, typically, I haven't gotten around to it. Until now. Without further ado, here is your Holiday Review Swap Thingee review:
I think I might have found a small typo, so I'll get that out of the way before diving more into the substance. When you say, "Viktor Krum gave no response, and the man in the suit was forced to watch as his captorís attention seemed to drift further and further from the business at hand." - do you mean to say "captive" instead of "captor"? Because it seems like Krum is the one being detained.
The only substantive criticism I really have for you is that you never really make it clear who slaps who at the very beginning. I'm going to guess that the man in the suit slaps Krum, an "attention getter", if you will. But a quick hint as to the truth would remove that small note of uncertainty, allowing the reader to focus on...
The big, intriguing, captivating uncertainties! For a first chapter, this was really, really good. You gave me enough information to get my head immersed in Viktor's frame of mind -- which is obviously very bad -- but you left me with plenty of questions that made me want to keep reading. How did one of Quidditch's greatest heroes fall so far from grace? What crime has he committed to find himself in this place? Has he committed a crime at all, or is this some sort of mental facility? Was Rose hurt in some way or killed, and is Viktor responsible? The way you wrote this really set my imagination spinning, and I'm really keen to find out the answers.
The way you characterized Viktor was really amazing. There's this haunted quality to him. He comes off like a man who's experienced so much pain that he's making every possible attempt to simply disengage from reality. The way that he stares at the blank spot on the wall so intensely that the man in the suit is finally forced to look was just brilliant. Then there's this:
"Vhy else is someone brought to a place like this? Men come here vhen they have nothing left to lose. Vhen there isn't anything left in them to kill. How disappointing that must be for you..." - I am completely in awe of those three sentences.
Everything about Viktor screams emptiness and resignation, until...
Wow. When the man in the suit mentions Rose, Viktor just goes bananas. Apparently there is something inside of him that is still very much alive. And angry, so very angry. If you ended the story right then and there, well, it would be a very short story. But there would be no doubt in my mind that something very terrible happened to Viktor and it involved Rose Weasley in a way that's left him deeply emotionally scarred.
The man in the suit is quite a piece of work. I can't decide whether he's some sort of law enforcement officer or a psychologist with the world's worst bedside manner, but either way he seems determined to get underneath Viktor's skin and push his buttons. And he definitely succeeds in this chapter. I don't find him to be so much a part of the mystery as he is emblematic of the questions in my own mind. He just has a much more brutal way of going about it.
"The heavy metal door that marked the only entrance into the room swung inward, opening just wide enough for a young man with untidy dark hair to stick his head through." - Albus? That would certainly add another dimension to the story.
Lastly, I wanted to comment on your author's note. Maybe this is just me, but I think I would have preferred to discover all of this information in the context of the story. It felt a little like an omnipotent narrator suddenly dropped out of the sky into the story, which disrupted the way I was getting really immersed in this world you've created.
Overall, your writing was really lovely. Everything flowed beautifully. You have quite a knack for stark imagery and very gripping, intense descriptions. I get the feeling that knack is going to serve you well in this story.
OK, I have to admit it, Jami was right! I really should listen to her all the time, not just when she threatens to unleash her fury upon me. Happy holidays and I hope this review was helpful!
Author's Response: First off, thank you for such a long and detailed review. I hope my reply here can do it justice. And I've already thanked Jami about a million times, but I should probably do it again. She's been so amazingly supportive of this story.
Ugh, yes! That is a typo, and I've gone ahead and fixed it. Thank you for pointing it out. It is very confusing otherwise. As for the slapping part, no one actually gets slapped. It's just meant to show they are close enough to touch and hostile enough towards one another that they've most likely thought about giving the other one a good smack. But I'll take a look at that part again and see if I can't make it more clear what's happening.
I am so, so glad you liked Krum. You're picking up from him all the things I hoped people would. He is haunted, and lost, and very empty. And yet there is still one person who can stir up some emotion in him, even if that emotion is kind of ugly. And I do think of the man in the suit as almost a personification of all the terrible things Krum already thinks about himself. He is a real person in the context of the story, but I'll admit to using him as a physical manifestation of Krum's past, which he just can't seem to escape.
I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that untidy dark hair line! Let's just say, you haven't seen the last of him.
Hmmm... do you mean the author's note at the beginning or the summary at the end. The one at the start I put in more as a member of staff than as an author. I didn't want to find myself getting reported for having an adult/minor pairing. The one at the end I included because I worried this chapter wasn't a good representation of the story that follows, either in quality or tone. In fact, I kind of cringe when I see that people have read it and worry that it will run them off. I guess I meant it to be like the blurb on the back of a book jacket, but I can see your point. It is a bit spoiler-ific.
Thank you again for such an amazing review. This was such a treat!!