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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
What's fantastic about this story, and this chapter more specifically, is how you've represented the Marauder era and its characters. They sound and act natural, each dealing with his or her own conflicts, be they internal or external. You take care to make each character human, rather than caricatures, and you also take the time to give each character the spotlight, even for a moment. I've never seen someone fit so many characters' perspectives into one chapter so smoothly and effectively. You've provided a fantastic snapshot of the Marauder-era characters at Hogwarts, and if anyone asked me what the era was about, I'd be tempted to point to this chapter as the perfect example.

By including so many characters, you show what's most important to this story - the relationships between them. The whole story is based on failed relationships and the desire to repair them, but you also show how new relationships build from the ashes of the old. I liked the interaction between Lily and James in this chapter, how it came unexpectedly and showed both characters in a positive light. James is mature here, and it makes sense because of what happened with Remus - this hasn't struck me before, but perhaps that event, rescuing his enemy/rival, either forced him to make the right (rather than easy) choice or it brought out the best in him... maybe it's a combination of both.

The one aspect of that segment of the chapter I'm less sure about is the way that James reveals his secret to Lily. Does he think he can trust Lily to that extent? Although she makes a very good point that no one would believe her (though Dumbledore would - he knows to believe most things, no matter how crazy they sound), I still think it's a rash decision on James's part. It's bad enough that Remus's secret is out - you'd think that James would be too worried about that to add yet another reveal, one that places all four of the Marauders into trouble. Have we seen enough of James by this point for him to realistically place so much trust in Lily? I'd like to see more narration in that part of the dialogue so that I can better understand James's side of things. Why does he want to assure Lily that Remus doesn't go alone? Why doesn't he try harder to cover up the Marauders' secret?

That's the only thing I could see potentially needing work in this chapter. Otherwise, it was a joy to read, right from the beginning with Peter - and I can't squee enough over his presence in this story. You've done a fantastic job with his character, giving him an interesting manipulative quality, a cleverness that is not ever attributed to him in other stories. It's also interesting that he uses his powers on James - the foreshadowing there is excellent, and details like that work together make this a quality story. Amazing work! :D

Author's Response: I think I just try to replicate the sorts of conversation styles I hear in everyday life in my writing. I often see stories where people seem to really overreact and that natural feeling isn't there, so I work extra hard on mine. It's also great to hear that you like the different perspectives; my favorite stories are the ones that wrap up different points of view into one narrative, and I felt like it would be boring to just stick with Lily and Regulus when I have so many interesting characters to explore. Who knows who I'll start with next?

The more time I spend with James, the more I like him--and yes, you did just hear me say that! I have tried to make his maturing process seem realistic and gradual, such that he doesn't transform overnight into the man Lily needs him to be before she'll say 'yes.' Obviously he still has moments of immaturity, given that he's a seventeen-year-old kid, but I do think he's making a change. Unfortunately, Severus is doing the opposite--he keeps turning further and further from Lily the more he tries to impress her and draw her back in.

You make a very good point about James. I think I got so caught up in making him earn her respect that I didn't attend enough to his need to feel like he can fully trust her in return, especially since she's a Prefect and all. I think I need to do some work to figure him out, and it would only be realistic for him to potentially regret letting her know later on. Maybe it'll come in the form of an edit for that chapter, or maybe it's something I can work into future chapters. Either way, it's very good feedback, and I appreciate you pointing it out.

I'm fairly proud of my Peter :) I wanted him to be included and to be just as competent as his friends--well, mostly. I'm glad you can start to see him disintegrating a little bit from the tough moral fiber that makes up the other Marauders. His presence will become more important as the story goes on, so please keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks again, Susan, for this fab review :) I'll be back to visit Black Sands again very soon!

-Amanda


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