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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
It was hard to decide which of your remaining stories to take on for the review tag, but I'm glad I chose this one. Quality Gothic stories are always worth the read, and this one is no exception. It's chilling in much the same way as a Poe or Lovecraft, with that combination of psychological and physical horror, the character tearing apart from within at the same time that the outside world tears him apart. I'm amazed at how you've captured the Gothic atmosphere in a minimum number of words - you put forward the right kind of images and allow the reader's mind does the rest of the work. It's because of this that I wasn't surprised to see that you'd been influenced by Gothic horror. It's not weird or melodramatic at all - the style and mood are perfectly suited to the story.

You especially made fantastic use of the Inferi. They're oddly neglected in fanfiction, even stories about Regulus, so the way in which you associated Regulus with the Inferi throughout was fascinating to see. I hadn't thought about the connection between the Inferi and the Drink of Despair, but the drink has such a weakening power that one becomes zombie-like. For Regulus it's only the final step in the long process of his demise.

I especially liked section VI when even the sentence structure unravels (fragments, dissolves...), thoughts and images flashing through his mind. There's a logical randomness to his final thoughts, but I'll resist the temptation to (over)analyze and just say that this section was the most chilling. You don't need to describe what he's doing - it's obvious from the turn of his thoughts that the Drink of Despair has taken hold of his mind and only death remains. What did surprise me was that ending. It's brilliant. His identity is subsumed into this worship? envy? of Sirius - when he loses himself, he becomes his Other. Once again you include a novel's worth of material in a single sentence. It's freaking amazing.

I can't think of any critique, though I noticed in one of the recent reviews that there is a revised version, so I'd be interested in seeing that. I didn't have any difficulty with the divisions - although fragmentary, they leave many avenues along which to connect them, and they work together as a whole to characterize Regulus, revealing what goes on in the secret corners of his brain. The structure is what makes the story so effective.

It's great to have had the chance to read another of your stories. I admire both the complexity and the brevity of your writing style - it always makes for a more intense reading experience because the story stays with me afterwards. I have to sit and think it over, re-read parts, if not the whole, and to me at least, it's the mark of excellent writing.

Author's Response: Okay. So. This review has been sitting in my Unanswered Reviews for almost a month now; I kind of don't want to see it go, but c'est la vie... anyway, sorry about this late late response.
You just (presumably) unironically compared this fic to both a Poe and a Lovecraft, you know that? Wow. Jesus Christ. Even after all this time of reading and not responding to this review, that still floors me.

It's always surprised me that people don't write more about Inferi. I mean, zombies! In the Harry Potter universe! Is that not just the coolest thing ever? And zombies are just a good metaphor for anything, really.
The best forms of torture in the Potterverse are the purely cerebral ones, too - the Cruciatus, Dementors, creative uses of the Imperius curse or Legilimency or Veritaserum or Amortentia (and now you know what kind of fic I read...), as well as the Drink of Despair - and they all have this zombifying identity-stripping effect on their victims, which doesn't leave a lot of division between them and Inferi.

Section VI was probably the one I had to work the hardest on - it's got its own timeline and everything - so I'm really glad that that stood out to you. And that final line! It's probably my favourite ending to anything I've ever written because, quite frankly, you managed to pick up on basically everything I was trying to say. I don't know how you do it.

Anyway. I always love your reviews, and I'm thrilled that you left one for this, so thank you so, so much! :D


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