|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Wow! I've sat here for a while attempting to formulate something. Even thoughts are difficult to put to words after reading this story. You've evoked so much emotion, painful, haunting emotions, that I've been left reeling, even before the story ended. It was the series of snapshots that hit me hardest, perhaps because they illustrated Colin's death in such a frank, bleak way. No figurative language, no softening the blow - you show the moment as Dennis would have captured it in his memory, that sight that can't be anything but horrifying. He may have died a hero, but like his father said, what does that mean to them? He's still dead.
While reading this, I couldn't help but see the parallels to your Lavender story - the way that you not only explore a somewhat minor character, but you also give equal weight to the people around those characters, the ones they affect in their day-to-day lives, like the Creeveys and Doris. Colin wasn't just a character in Harry's story, he had his own story. It's a step beyond what most writers do when they take on minor characters. Perhaps they'll show the minor character's side of the story, but they rarely give those characters this much depth. You pay wonderful attention to the little details of life, from Doris's liver spots and banal existence to way that Dennis can't stand the sight of the tape marks on the wall. They're little things, what some would deem unworthy of the story of a hero, but they're the important part of the story, the part that makes it real. It's something that's even hard to find in published literary fiction, so to see it in fanfiction makes me incredibly happy.
It was an excellent decision to make Dennis the narrator of the story. Not only did I like how you sprinkled the narrative with dialect, but I also liked seeing Colin from this point of view - it's at once close, yet far. There are aspects of Colin that Dennis will never understand, yet Dennis is the closest person to Colin, knowing him better than anyone else. This produces an interesting effect in the story, setting it apart from other first-person narratives - we see into Colin's life without seeing into his mind. Isn't that like what a photograph does? It's a snapshot of an existence, but what goes on behind the face is still beyond our reach.
This is one of the reasons why the end is perfect. I was at first curious why you shifted things back in time, but then with the last few lines, I understood. Colin was always the one taking pictures, but that's the only picture of him. He spent so much time recording the world around him, recording things that wouldn't normally be captured, but what he missed out on was himself. And now that he's gone, there's only that fragment - a happy one. It offers a bittersweet ending because there was happiness in Colin's life, and that's what's captured in the image - not the horror of his death, nor the emptiness of the time he was petrified. It's beautiful.
This review is not helpful - all I've done is ramble on and squee my way through the story. It's an amazing piece of writing and I wouldn't want to even try to think of anything to critique. I'm excited to see what you will post next - your writing is of a very high quality and it's a pleasure to have the opportunity to read it. :)
Author's Response: Susan ♥
So...THIS is the review that overwhelmed me so completely that I was unable to respond! So much so that I had quite a backlog of reviews to respond to! First, apologies for taking 102938 years to reply to your incredibly lovely review.
Gah! I'm just...absolutely floored by all the praise and compliments you've heaped upon my humble little story! Colin would be very happy indeed :D Dennis - not so much, he's a little indifferent, but I'm sure you understand :P
Ah, the snapshots bit. Yes, I wanted to portray Colin's death in the bleakest possible way - well, not really, but just in a sort of deadened voice - Dennis' voice every time he thinks of this. Dennis has a simple down-to-earth sort of voice, so I try to limit the amount of figurative language in this story :) I was even worried that the descriptive parts were a little too descriptive for Dennis. But he /is/ an observant kid after all.
That's such a lovely compliment you gave me, about giving equal weight to the minor characters (especially those who are OCs) in my stories! I certainly want to portray them with just a little more depth; they may not be fully rounded characters, but if I'm including them then I always feel the need to elaborate on them, to treat them fairly. And of course, I've gone on enough about details and how they sort of matter in this fic, the tiny random observations that do absolutely nothing except piece the fic together, bit by bit.
And yes, I already explored the POV of a character about to die/died as you've seen in A Lightness. Here, I wanted there to be some distance between Colin and Dennis - they're close as brothers, with Dennis being slightly in the shadows (though he doesn't mind much), but they aren't like the Weasley twins; there's stuff that Dennis won't understand about Colin, that frustrates him sometimes. I'm glad you like the POV of this story!
And I'm sososo happy that you thought the ending was perfect! It's one of the parts of the story that came to me so easily. Yes, I had to end on a moment of hope :) I didn't want the whole thing to be flat and angsty the whole way through. DENNIS WILL BE OK I PROMISE ♥
Thank you so very once again, Susan, for your stunning review. It's just absolutely made my day/week/year, and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to sit down and writing such a long detailed response! ♥