Can you forgive me for how inexcusably long it took me to get to this review? I'd promise to make it super long to make up for the wait, but since I always exceed my word limit with this story anyway, that wouldn't really be anything special. So I'll just say that I swear I won't take nearly so long with the next one!
Starting right at the beginning, I love, love, love the way you described Fawkes -- like he's less a bird that can burst into flame and more a flame that can become a bird. Just gorgeous... and kind of creepy in it's own right. Either way, it was an eye-catcher and a great way to start the chapter.
Writing Dumbledore is the worst! IMHO, he is easily the hardest canon character to write well, and the easiest to get so, so wrong. I thought you did a good job with him here. You captured the slightly more formal way he talks, and his tendency to keep his emotions close to his chest, even when discussing very heavy topics. At first, I was wondering to myself if I "bought" him being so open with a group of students, letting them in on so much information. But thinking on it, I do think there is some good canon support for it. Since they don't live very many years after graduating Hogwarts, and we know they spent time as part of the Order, James and Lily would have almost had to have at least started "working" with Dumbledore while still at school. So though I don't think he'd be this frank (lol, no pun intended) with most students, I can see how it works here.
I also thought the bits about the talking patronus origin was such a nice touch. You do that really well -- pulling in bits and pieces from the book and making them your own. I think your explanation was very clever, and what a great "trick" for the good guys to have in their back pocket. I can see that being helpful to them all down the road, especially since the Death Eaters won't have that same ability to communicate. It gets me thinking on the one Kingsley sends in DH. Does he learn how to do it during the first war, or is it something he picks up later on? Hmm...
You mentioned in your AoC about the Death Eater tactics. I thought you did make it clear that this was an escalation -- out of the norm for even them. And I like that fact a lot. It continues to ratchet up the stakes, slowly building up to how bad we know it will eventually become for all of them. And of course, I can't talk about the DE bits without talking about the ending to this chapter...
You know, it's scary, how well you write Bella. The parts about her are scene-stealers every time. From the very first line of that section, I knew we'd gone back to her. The shift in style is spot on. It completely changes the entire mood of the chapter, especially on the heels of the more tender moment of reconciliation. Once again, Bella swoops in and steals the show for me. I love it!
Onto the more technical bits, I have to say I'm totally seeing the improvement in your writing with each chapter. I know I mentioned it in my review for Hazardous, and I don't know if this chapter was written around the same time as that one, but you really are growing as a writer with each new thing you post. And I didn't notice a single slip in POV in this whole chapter :P
The only technical note I have is regarding a few instances where the matter of who was speaking just the tiniest bit unclear. Here are two examples:
-- "There has been an attack." Lily heard the breath catch in Alice's throat. She squeezed her friend's hand tighter, eager for Dumbledore to continue.
"A Christening was held for the twin daughters of Edgar Bones, who wed a delightful muggle woman." Their professor paused as Lily felt the words sink in...
-- "Ms. Christopherson, Mr. Longbottom is safe, breathe," McGonagall ordered. Lily looked over and noticed that Alice really didn't seem to be inhaling nearly enough. Her friend nodded her head and took in a large gulp of oxygen.
"And Mr. Potter, don't use curse words in this school." The very small patch of red strengthened in James's cheeks...
For the first, I knew "There has been..." was Dumbledore, but I didn't know right away "A Christening..." because of the separation of the two "paragraphs," which implies a change in speaker. Same is true for the second. Breaking them up makes it seem like it ought to be someone else speaking. Unlike when you break up a long speech by adding no closing quotation marks, when you're just making little narrative interjections here and there, I might consider grouping them all together for clarity. Also, and I *think* I might have mentioned this before, but if you're going to identify the speaker, it's best to do it as early in the "speech" as possible so the reader can picture the character saying the words, as opposed to attributing them back to a character at the end, like:
-- "It wasn't just someone acting up? It was actual Death Eaters? Has anyone... do we know if anyone was hurt?" Lily asked, unable to keep the questions in her mind for another second.
Another wonderful chapter, my dear. And just as a quick aside, can I say how much I loved the line, "Everything I do is for a good reason." Hahaha! I kind of want a t-shirt with that printed on it. I'm so sorry again for how long it took me to post this. I promise to be a whole lot more timely with my reviews in 2013!
*wow, I finally did it. I made it all fit into one review!!*
Author's Response: Okay so when I see the new review tab thing I cross my fingers that it's one of the requested reviewers, which is either you, roots or amanda. Minus Amanda now that her thread is gone. ANYWAY I was SO excited when I saw it was you!!!
And don't be sorry! I'm just so happy that you're still reviewing and not deleting your thread! I was getting scared that you'd just gotten to busy and might've had to.
I absolutely HATE writing Dumbledore. I always go over and read as much of his dialogue I can find in the books to try and get me in the mood. I'm glad that, after thinking on it a bit, his openness felt more fitting. I know a bit more obviously, but Dumbledore is already very certain he's going to ask this group of people to become part of the Order. You'll see that pretty soon... anyway part of me thinks he was almost testing them here. Treating them very much like adults and seeing how they act to it... sort of taking a terrible situation and using it to a bit of his advantage... which doesn't seem too unlike the man himself :P
The talking Patronus is something that definitely trickles its way into the Order... I just love the idea of them leaving that as an unknown sort of legacy. Bah. Now I'm getting sad remembering why they need a legacy and gah. I was worried about it not making sense, so I'm really happy you like it ♥
Hehehe Bella is probably my favorite to write sometimes. I can't or haven't been able to write a story just about her... but when she crops up in this I just love it. I'm so excited that the shift was so noticeable... I definitely want it to be like a bucket of cold water when you're dropped into her world.
I'll absolutely go through and tweak those dialogue sections to make them more clear, I think I'm improving on working with using tags only when necessary and better placed... but I'd rather you be the judge of that.
Hahah I'm happy you like that line! I think the fact about writing Marauders that I love so much is I do get a lot of places to add in a bit of one liners... they're such a fun group that sometimes I have to remind myself to ease up on the serious.
Thank you so much Becky for reviewing, you have no idea how much I look forward to these! And I believe I should be reading a new OTE chapter very soon... hmmm?? ;)