hey there, it's Whiskey from the forums with your requested review!
I don't think I've read anything so blatantly AU before, and I must admit it was fun! Sirius and Voldemort are alive, eh? (*fingers crossed* maybe Snape too? I guess I'll just have to read on and see). So, I suppose you'll explain this later, but what happened to the whole "neither can surivive while the other lives" arrangement between Voldy and Harry? It felt like a ticking time bomb (considering Voldy's obsession with not dying) and I'm curious to see how you will explain Voldemort taking his time to track down Harry instead of, like in the books, charging at him at his earliest opportunity.
Delvin seems like a very intense, unusual child, not only because of his genes (also interesting, by the way, how does a Harry/Voldemort child occur exactly? Is it because Harry hasn't removed the horcrux in this AU and passes it on to the child?). The way you described Delvin's perception of what was going on, as well as his relationship to his own magic was quite vivid. This: "There was a sharpness at the edges of his mind that he hadnít felt in a long time" was very abstract but strangely effective nevertheless. I also liked how you dealt with the feeling of torture, especially here: "The pain itself was dimming and Devlin wasnít quite sure where any part of his body was. He might even have been able to fall asleep, except that the sharp thing in his head wouldnít let him."
That said, I felt like the first part of the chapter had a pov switch that sort of confused the narrative. At first, based on the more simple words you chose, we are in 4-year-old Delvin's pov, but then this happens: "He was dead, Voldemort was sure, but he rose from his chair just to be certain. On his way to the body, he felt a pang of disappointment that the child had gone and died so easily - Voldemort had wanted to make him scream." And suddenly, we are in Voldemort's pov. Pov skips like that are rather alienating for the reader and make it difficult to get into the story. I think removing the brief trip into Voldemort's emotions and resorting to describing his actions from a more distanced pov might make the transition out of Delvin's mind smoother.
Let's see, I generally like the way you describe the subjectivity of magic. It's quite unusual and not at all like in the books. Here, for example: "Harry lunged for the man as emotions, so all-consuming that he didn't think he could ever identify them, exploded inside of himself and sent his magic on edge, humming all around him." I wonder if this description was intended to draw a conncetion between Delvin and Harry, implying that they are both "tainted" by Voldemort's magic? Just speculating.
Ok,moving on. I found the memory itself to be quite touching, although the fact of it being played for the Death Eater came accross as a bit forced. He didn't know that Voldemort stole Harry's son? Didn't Voldy make a big deal about retribution during the torture scene? He has to keep his Death Eaters loyal, after all, so I'm sure he used Delvin as another public display of his progressing feud with Harry. Also, I sort of had to sigh at Harry having a housewife...but I guess THAT gender assignment is rather typical for the HP cannon, so, oh well. :P
In terms of writing style, I mentioned that there were parts I found you described very poignantly. But there were other moments when you either had run-on sentences or, for example, descriptions like this: "with an unpleasant sound". And if it's supposed to be Delvin's childish pov, then there weren't enough similar word-choices to legitimize the undescriptive nature of the word "unpleasant". Also, when describing action sequences, I noticed you use a lot of words and "and then"s, as well as list many in-between details. All of this slows down the action, causing the subject matter and the rythm of its telling to be at odds with eachother. There were many other examples, but here is one I found scrolling back: "Harry leaned backwards and pushed the photo down onto the desk so that the Death Eater couldnít see it and then he turned back to the man, more furious than before." The "and then" slows down the action and also softens the impact of what came before and after it. Also "So that the Death Eater wouldn't see it" is superfluous information that, again, slows down the reading while telling something that was already quite heavily implied. "leaned back" is also, actually, not very necessary information. You could have used the same space to focus on his face expressions during the act, or that his hand was shaking or was unexpectedly steady, etc. Actions are generally easier for the reader to fill in than emotional details or surroundings.
Oh, one more thing that I really liked was the photo! I liked how you utilized the jif.-like nature of magic photography to express Harry's uncertainty! That was a great touch :D
I hope I could help and that I didn't come accross as too critical! I might come back for a few more chapters if I find the time :)
Author's Response: Whoa! Thanks for the super long review. I hope I can answer all your questions.
Snape is still alive. He'll actually play a visible role in this story, as well.
The "neither can surivive while the other lives" thing. Well I'll be honest by saying I started this story before the 5th book had come out, so I didn't KNOW about that when I started writing. I suppose in my story Voldemort actually took time to THINK and also, Dumbledore is alive. I think Dumbledore probably believes he has only one chance with Harry and that he might have missed it - in that Harry has something to live for more than just a girlfriend and friends. Also, Dumbledore grew too attached to Harry, even in is own opinion, and I tend to think HE'D have a bigger problem telling Harry he'd 'raised him for slaughter' rather than assigning Snape the job after his death. But again, these are all belated ideas that I have spinning in my head, because this is truly and entirely AU!
The whole Potter/Riddle thing. No, it's nothing to do with the Horcrux (once more, I didn't know when I started this, although I have incorporated that into the story now). It's a true blood connection and if you can't guess how THAT could happen when we already know Harry's father, then you'll get a big clue in the next chapter. I actually thought my summary might have made it pretty clear...so I'm glad I know it hasn't.
The POV switch...yeah I think I probably just got caught up in the moment. I need to figure out a good transition or as you said, just not delve into Voldemort's POV. The first chapter is a bit jumbled because I added the kidnapping scene and mixed up the progression - I am pretty confident you won't find the same issues as you go forward and I intend to fix them here.
**I wonder if this description was intended to draw a conncetion between Delvin and Harry, implying that they are both "tainted" by Voldemort's magic? Just speculating.*** Oooh, you're CLEVER! Yes, that's supposed to allude at the part of Voldemort's soul in Harry.
**He didn't know that Voldemort stole Harry's son?** Uh oh, obviously I didn't make things as clear as they should have been. No the Death Eater absolutely knows that the boy is really Devlin Potter and that he was taken from Harry Potter. I actually don't think Voldemort would flaunt it to everyone, because that would endanger the boys safety (from Voldemort's POV and he's possessive of the child). I can't give too much away here, because we won't know until Devlin comes to complete awareness of what actually happened to him, at the hands of Voldemort.
What Geoffrey is trying to do is make sure that Harry is really "Harry". The boy is valuable and he fears two things 1) that someone who the boy does not belong to at all is trying to get him because of his value and 2) that the man isn't really Harry Potter but a Death Eater or maybe even Voldemort, trying to trap him. You'll learn in the next chapter that he wasn't exactly supposed to be at that battle. He felt that if Potter could prove he had felt LOVE for the boy, he would know it wasn't Voldemort (or another Death Eater that wouldn't have known the boy well enough), because Voldemort does not feel love. I'll have to take another look and make sure his knowledge is clear.
Sentence structure...yeah I do tend to do that. I'm pretty good at cleaning it up when someone points it out though. Sometimes I just get caught up in the moment of writing. All of those things occur to me because I see it all happening like a movie so...sometimes I just tell you ~every single thing~. lol
Thanks for the photo comment. I thought it was brilliant when it flew out of my brain without warning too!
You didn't come across as too critical at all! Hope you won't mind if I re-request. Thanks so much, it was really helpful! :D