Amanda! I'm a terrible friend for not coming by your page earlier, but I saw you in the review tag and decided to swing by. I remember seeing this fic ages ago and sort of skimmed through it and was enamored by all the metaphors and the idea of watching Eileen Prince transform before my eyes, but I never had the time to really sit down and appreciate the story you've told here. Until now.
I'm continually amazed at how much you've progressed as an author. I feel like every time I read something new from you, your talent seems to have multiplied. I'm envious of the way that you can weave a story so beautifully with all these metaphors and references to Snow White. It's really gorgeous.
This is my first Eileen fic and I really adore how you've portrayed her as this dark princess who has fallen from grace and is this hollow sort of shell of her former life. It's an interesting contrast that you've done so very skillfully.
I love how controlled Eileen is at first. How perfect and pretty. Fairest of them all. She has this image of herself that she spends so much time trying to maintain and I really enjoyed how you made that take up so much of her time that she did poorly on her exams, except for Potions, of course. Speaking of Potions, I think the first paragraph of this fic is my favorite. Just the way that you've written Eileen and how natural potion-making seems to come for her, like being pretty.
The story you tell of Eileen and Tobias is wonderful and heartbreaking too. You can see how Eileen starts to decline. I don't know if I'm the only one but when I read this, at the beginning I imagined all these rich colors, you know? Dark hair, bright red lips, pale skin. Then as we transition to her life with Tobias, everything just feels muted and dull, grey, lifeless. The whole transformation is kind of fascinating, actually.
Ugh, there are so many lines in here that I wish I could quote back to you and tell you how much I adore them. It's little lines, like this: "clean like polished iron" that really help bring clarity to the imagery you've written. For me, at least.
Then that last line, "...and she was nothing at all." Wow, what a way to end this beautifully written story. I wish I had more things to say or something more constructive, but you honestly have such a gift with deconstructing characters and writing such beautiful fics, especially ones with such lovely metaphors.
Just, a really lovely fic. I'm glad I finally made myself read it. :)
Author's Response: Missy! I'm so happy to see you here. Thanks so much for tagging me and stopping by again!
This fic was just one of those bunnies that grabbed on and refused to let go until I just sat down and wrote it. I had wanted to do something Snow White-esque for a while and just had to find the right leading lady--and what an unexpected result! It kind of amazed me how naturally she happened on the page, transforming from a princess into a dark queen.
I definitely think of Eileen in this story as a perfectionist, though I haven't made up my mind about my head canon for her quite yet. Obviously, as you've pointed out, she can't maintain that academic dedication alongside the social perfection without something eventually giving way. Perhaps if she had worked harder on her exams, she could have found an independent future and not had to rely so much on finding her perfect prince.
I think the color thing makes total sense! I think of this Eileen as being a really classic beauty, and by the end she's very faded and gray and just... old. She's not that old chronologically, but in terms of the experiences she's had and the disappointments she's had to face--that's another story. I would imagine that existing in a totally loveless, resent-filled marriage day after day would really drain a person.
I'm happy that you liked the language and that the metaphors seemed to really accent the plot. I was concerned that maybe they would be too overpowering, but it sounds like you liked them, so that's great! I think this may be the most literal deconstruction I've ever written, but I really enjoyed it a lot.
Thanks so much for this fantastic review :)