|Review:||Athene Goodstrength says:|
Oh my God. You are awesome. Seriously... I can’t believe you wrote something so amazing so quickly! Haha!
Each section of this story is fascinating, leaving me wanting to read on. The first section blew me away. There are so many questions raised, and the action is so horrific and frightening, with amazing use of imagery. I could picture the whole scene in my head - or at least, what I knew of it, because I only know as much as Scorpius does at that point. The imagery of the green light of the Avada Kedavra spell reflected in the baby’s eyes is just stunning. The line about reaching to stop the body from falling is just inspired; tragic, and realistic. The brain can’t take it in that there’s no point.
The next section really begins to characterise these people, and you do such an interesting job with it! The chip on Rose’s shoulder is so very like her father’s, although she’s much more outspoken (a legacy of Hermione’s, I would imagine). It’s interesting that in this case, it’s Rose who gets on the train with certain expectations of a relationship (one of enmity), in contrast to Draco getting on the train all those years ago and trying to befriend Harry because of who he is.
I always love Sorting Hat stories, and you’ve done a really excellent, canon-esque job of portraying that nerve wracking moment here. I absolutely love Malfoy accidentally going to the wrong table (I want to hug him), and I also love your idea of the Sorting Hat wanting to teach Rose a lesson.
In the next section, the characterization of a bold, brassy Rose and a somewhat timid Scorpius really begins to endear itself to me. She seems like a bit of a bully, actually... although I remember what it is to be that age and not realise just how scary you’re coming across. Scorpius with an inhaler and glasses! I want to hug him even more now. He reminds me of Mikey Way back in the day. The dialogue in this section is particularly fantastic. You made me laugh in a story that starts in the midst of terror!
And then there’s another shift in tone, time and space. You really kept me on my toes with this story! To go from a budding teenage relationship to this insane, unhappy young man in the cellar with unbelievable imagery... it all feels so acidic and exhausting. What a fascinating idea though - the life of a Squib, untended by his family. Poor young man. Although I do lose my sympathy for him somewhat later on.
The next section is another one that’s strong in imagery but sensitive in feeling. I like the idea that just because Scorpius and Rose got together at school, it doesn’t mean they stayed together throughout! Scorpius seems to have grown in confidence, and Rose seems to have turned her outspokenness to a more worthy cause. Honestly, she’s so Hermione’s daughter (“ It hadn’t made her popular, but it had made her proud. She’d accomplished something.”) and I love it. Although she seems to have continued her bad habit of wanting to ‘show the world’.
I love the next bit. Scorpius really is growing up and overtaking Rose. I feel like he’s showing her she doesn’t always have to have the upper hand, with his patience and his hard work, and his surreptitiously becoming rather good looking and cool. You’ve also written what I believe to be the most romantic thing I’ve ever read about an asthma inhaler.
And then section VII is when it all starts to come together for me. Oh my God, the imagery here is just stunning. I want to pick out a few favourite lines, but it’s just too hard. Oh, this one made me read it again a few times: “ You can feel the heat of the spells, liquefying your hair as they fly right over.”
It’s so horrifying! It’s so awful. It’s incredibly well-written. I really love that you’ve taken an integral part of the Potter (murder of parents, killing spell rebounding etc) and done it in your very own way, with time-travel, paradoxes, Squibs, Rose and Scorpius. The way you describe the protego shield is sublimely beautiful and actually made me put my hand to my own chest.
“ The last thing you see is a man who looks just like you, but bizarrely distorted, like a funhouse mirror. “Please,” you gasp, lungs seizing. “Please. Not Benjamin.”” - You are INCREDIBLE.
The section where Scorpius and Rose finally get together is so lovely. I really love that Scorpius is the one who finally takes charge, and catches this independent, scary, probably vulnerable on the inside (why else have a chip on your shoulder? And the moment where she heads off down the wrong corridor, wrong-footed by Scorpius is so endearing) woman off her guard. It’s such a romantic, realistic relationship moment amongst a really dark and twisted story.
The spell-firing gun is a stroke of genius. Benjamin... oh Benjamin. This story is so tragic. It was him! He made himself an orphan, and he made himself a Squib... and then my thoughts get all muddled up in the continuum and I’m not sure what happened first. And nor is he, I guess. He’s created an eternal loop, surely. Ugh. So although he wanted to die, or to never have existed, he has instead ensured that he will in fact live forever, making the same awful mistake over and over again. But if he hadn’t made it... he wouldn’t be... oh, my head.
His sense of disappointment is so sad. But I feel sadder for Rose and Scorpius, whose life flashed before his and our eyes. All of that hope and love and feeling, gone. And why? For no good reason.
The final section makes me wonder who the useless adoptive parents were - do we know them? Does it matter? They’re just going to be useless again.
Basically, this story is absolutely amazing. I asked for Scorose, I said to go with whatever genre... and you’ve just blown me away. Thank you so much for writing it. I’ve written a lot of words in this rambly review, but really - I’m speechless.
Author's Response: Eeep. Hi, Sarah! Sorry it's taken me ages to respond to this review. I get ridiculously nervous when I see long reviews and dither around for weeks before answering them.
First off: I am SO glad you liked this! When you said Scorpius/Rose my mind automatically went to witty banter fluff, since that's the typical ScoRose fare on the archives, but I wanted to do something different with them. Instead of living happily ever after, they die in a split-second with no time to register what is going on, murdered by their own son.
Bold, brassy Rose is indeed a bit of a bully. I based her somewhat off of my younger self. Young Toujours Padfoot was extremely abrasive without realizing it.
I've always been curious about how Squibs would deal with being so incredibly shortchanged. I imagine it would be difficult not to pity yourself when you're swarmed by magical people on a constant basis. To not be able to do anything the same way others do - doing it all the slow Muggle way, enduring teases because of it - it would be a nightmare. It would have been so much more humane to grow up in the Muggle world instead. But Benjamin doesn't make the best of his situation. He definitely lets all of his bitter feelings fester until he turns into a monster of sorts.
"You've also written what I believe to be the most romantic thing I've ever read about an asthma inhaler." - I can't tell you how hard that made me laugh.
The parallels to Lily, James, and Harry were important to me because it's like it happened all over again, but in an extremely warped way. This time it was the father protecting the child instead of the mother, which I did honestly because Lily gets so much more credit than James does when it comes to saving Harry. I mean, he died for BOTH of them just to give them a head-start up the stairs. But people only ever talk about how Lily died for Harry. So I wanted to give fathers their due here.
And then it turns out that it's all his own fault! What an absolutely awful fate. He was the orphaned Squib because he killed his own parents, and the younger Benjamin never got a chance. I hardly know how to explain which came first - young Benjamin or old Benjamin - because the nature of time-travel is so confusing. I think of it as a glitch in time, and now he has to play out the eternal loop of miserable Squib life and miserable death at his own hand.
There are so many people who are killed while they're not paying attention, while they're not looking, and that's what inspired this. Scorpius and Rose were both half-asleep. They weren't lucid enough to know what was going on, and had no time for last words to each other or to form a plan of sorts. It was an attack out of nowhere, in the middle of the night. The randomness of it, and the finality, really intrigued me from a writer's standpoint.
Thank you for your lovely review!! And thank you, once again, for entering my challenge. :)