How did I miss another update? I seriously need to pay more attention. Well, at least the timing is good. Without further ado, here is your Holiday Review Swap Extravaganza Thingee review:
Wow. I probably haven't made much of a secret about how much I like this story. I write long reviews and I pull quotes out of it and I gush about it and I make up half-baked theories about what's going to happen and I live in eager anticipation of Pippa and Albus finally having that moment where they drop the masks and connect. But this chapter, especially the ending, was more powerful than anything I've read in a long time. You bored so deep into Pippa's heart in this. You found new levels of pain and disaffection and even, I think, a little bit of hope. I know it hasn't been beta read and it was definitely rough around the edges, but once I got past that, it was really amazing.
There's something about your Lily that's fundamentally different from any other version of her I've ever read. Yes, she's pure and sheltered and nothing much seems to touch her. That part you find in most stories. But the flaws you've gifted her with are what really make her unique. She's naive, yet insightful in a way. She's sloppy; she pops bubblegum and gets her sticky fingers stuck in her unbrushed hair. She doesn't want to be treated any particular way because of her parents and she actually likes the fact that Pippa is obnoxious to her.
Something has definitely changed in Pippa since Damien, James and Fred's betrayal. She seemed drawn to Lily for all of the reasons that she would normally be annoyed by her. The same qualities that would usually leave her feeling disaffected and angry suddenly seem to pull the two of them together. She feels something toward Lily. Pity? Compassion? A desire to not see somebody destroyed by heartbreak who lives in this state of grace that she desperately wishes she could have? Whatever it is, she actually seems to take Lily's best interests to heart, and it isn't just because of her bargain with Albus.
Pippa finds hope, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've seen you write in this story. Of course, it's written in Pippa's usual self-flagellating inner voice, but I've really grown to like that voice, so I found it really moving. She is finally coming to grips with the fact that the person she was in love with was sort of an illusion. Something that she made up to suit her own needs, not the real person who was flawed and ultimately driven away by her behavior. Now she knows that she needs to find somebody who will embrace her for all of her snark and bitterness and insanity. Somebody who will love her for who she is. It's a really lovely sentiment.
“I’ve never known any cats that are into cannibalism.” Lily giggled and I frowned at her. “And anyway, you meet them cause of destiny.” - Oh, Lily. You are truly a magnificent creation!
The scene when she puts her hand on Lily's shoulder and actually attempts to comfort another person who isn't Scorpius was heart-warming. I'm not sure who this new person is and what they've done with old, self-centered, uncaring Pippa but, you know, she can stick around for a while. I guess she'll have to learn to hug another time, though.
The ending was the icing on the cake for this amazing chapter. Pippa came so far, so fast in this one. She actually manages to imagine a future where she casts off the chains of her broken heart, and then James and Fred come along with one last bucket of cold water to pour on the dying embers. And on Pippa, for that matter. I honestly never would have guessed that her relationship with the ex was so abusive. In her mind, it was always cast in such glowing, soft focus. Everything was wonderful between the two of them until her mental instability drove him away. This revelation really changes everything. Perhaps Pippa isn't inherently broken? Perhaps the damage had an external source.
I'm still sort of in awe of how great this chapter was. Like I said, there's a lot of spelling / grammar / typo stuff that needs to be cleaned up, but the brilliance shone through it all. I love this story more with every chapter. Now let's see what we can do about Pippa and Albus, eh? ;)
Great job! Happy Holidays!