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Review:Toujours Padfoot says:
Oh my God.

Seriously just sitting here in awe right now. I have tears in my eyes. Honestly, this is one of the best things I've ever read on this site.

I want you to know, first-off, that Sirius is my absolute favorite (hence my penname) and I'm very, very particular about his portrayal. I've read so many vapid playboy Siriuses that it makes me scared to try new ones. But I knew somehow, when I clicked on this story, that I would love it. I'd heard before that you're a remarkably talented author and your writing is quality, and am now kicking myself for not wandering over to read everything on your page a long time ago. Sirius was absolutely perfect. James was perfect - a mixture of childlike arrogance and good-natured friendliness. Remus and Peter were wonderful, as well. I could not ask for more realistic characterizations!

Everything was so lovely and canon, it was like a knife to the heart. It was just heartbreaking, seeing young Sirius gaze at the stars through the enchanted ceiling, then go back to him rotting in his cell. Your descriptions had me literally shaking in certain parts, when it was so vivid and so, so sad. I've always tried not to think about Sirius while he was trapped in Azkaban because it's such an awful thing to wrap your head around - an innocent man spending years and years in there, wasting away to nothing - and to be forced to watch him suffer was agony of the acutest kind. You have a way of pulling at my emotions that I rarely ever feel when reading fanfic, with the exception of a couple of stories. There were moments while I was reading this that I just stopped and reread several times, marveling at how good you are with words, shaping them to evoke just the right feelings in your readers, hitting us strategically in the gut. I'd like to quote back some of those parts that gave me pause:

How would it feel to walk, and know you never had to stop?

It was the first time the heavens had looked down upon a Black sitting at the Gryffindor table.

But as a pair of gleaming black leather shoes hurried past his cell, something swept into the cell and he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Summer, thought Sirius instinctively.

There was an unholy sound coming from somewhere nearby; some part of Sirius's mind managed to register that the noise was coming from his own throat, a bleeding, guttural howl of pure fury.

And Sirius was rotting, rotting and starving and lifeless here, in Wormtail's place... begging for old newspapers, and wishing for death, and the only company he had was a memory of James.

Just rereading that last sentence above has brought tears to my eyes again. I feel overwhelmed. I want to hurry up and read the next chapters immediately, but at the same time I just want to digest this, and emotionally prepare myself before going any further. I hardly ever get that kind of reaction with fan fiction before. You have such a wonderful talent, evident already from just one chapter, and I will definitely come back to read more. Please never stop writing.

And while I'm thinking about it, I want to add that I really like your formatting - like mini-chapters within the same story, with the line breaks and separate titles. It made it feel like I was reading different Acts in Shakespeare; it lent it a poetic quality, and the titles themselves were so fitting; and at this point I am just a blubbering pile of mush and all I can do is gush about your writing so I'll go away now before you begin to think I'm nuts.

Thank you so much for participating in my challenge! Jami has got to be over the moon to be the recipient of such an extraordinary gift.

Author's Response: Wow, Sarah! What a wonderful review! Thank you. I'm sorry it's taken me a while to reply.

One of the best things you've read here?! That's crazy kind of you to say! Ee. You've rendered me incoherent.

Even-handed, canon-based, realistic characterization is so important to me, so I'm very very happy that you feel I managed to capture each character in a way that felt right to you. Particularly Sirius, as I know he means a lot to you! And he's one character who is portrayed in all sorts of odd, often one-dimensional ways. But he's *such* a multifaceted character, I found myself seeing different sides to him with almost every word I wrote. I have to write him again some time, as I loved doing this so much.

You've picked out some of my favourite lines :D I'm glad you liked them too, even if they did physically affect you!

I honestly can't thank you enough for this review, your appreciation means a lot to me. I'm so glad you set the challenge because it meant I got to write this, perhaps the most fun I've had writing *ever*.

Have to say, I'm a little nervous about you reading the rest though - I hope it measures up!

Also, I really should get in touch with you about my 'prize'! I've been AWOL so long :(

Thank you again! Thank you thank you!

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