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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
Oh, this is excellent! I enjoyed how the chapter began with very everyday type things and slowly developed into something quite suspenseful and mysterious. I don't know if I agree with Albus that their parents would purposely put them into a dangerous situation like that - though really, Ginny should have known that a locked door would excite the curiosity of at least one of her children (especially Albus - he's so nosy!). The Black house is a weird place in general, and you've depicted it very well in this chapter, capturing its strange combination of danger and dumpiness. It's like a haunted house, and I'm surprised that the Potters were successful in renting it out to wizarding families. But I liked to see how wizarding families can be as disturbingly messy as some Muggles - even magic can't help some people. This chapter felt very natural - the characters and setting were realistically portrayed with just enough detail to draw the reader in. Some stories feel like movies, but this one feels like reality, and I love that aspect of it.

Your characterization of Albus is something I have to note because, while he's not likeable, he's still an interesting character - someone to keep an eye on for sure. He verges on annoying (in an "he's such an older brother!" sort of way), but that contributes to his realism, as well as to the refreshing nature of this story. His relationship with Lily is interesting because they're close and comfortable with each other in some ways, yet there's also a sense of weirdness between them. Scorpius is certainly one cause of this, but it makes me wonder just what happened in the past with those three - there's something more there, and it's just another reason why I keep reading on. You have many mysteries going on at once in this story, and it's fantastic how you've intertwined them.

One part that potentially needs work is the clause "a man who had died many years before Lily was born but who her father still spoke of fondly". It's too wordy - if there's a way you can break up the sentence or include less explication, it would improve the flow of that paragraph. My question is whether it is really necessary to explain who Sirius Black was - if he's going to somehow play a role in the story, then leave it. Otherwise, the additional information doesn't add anything to the story - you can assume that readers will already know it. The sense of mystery that you add in that paragraph, however, is perfect - like Lily, I want to know why the Potters moved out of the house after James's birth. Was it that they wanted to live closer to the Weasleys, to get away from London, or to escape the memories of the Order?

There was another part where you had "unlivable", which could instead be "uninhabitable" - it's a matter of taste, but I think that the latter word is the better one to use.

Otherwise, this was a great addition to your story! I look forward to seeing how you continue to develop both the plot and the characters. There's so much that could happen! :D

Author's Response: Oh, yay! I'm so glad you liked the chapter. I love Grimmauld Place. It was such an interesting location in the books, it's almost like another character at times. The house and its mysteries will continue to play a role throughout the story, and though I've obviously added some touches of my own, I've tried really hard to keep it all as canon as possible. Hopefully it feels like the same place from the books while allowing for some changes over the intervening 25 years.

I've been told on more than a few occasions that my characters aren't always very likable, and I'm not always sure what, if anything, to do about it. I like writing characters that are as multidimensional and real as I can make them, but I don't want to alienate readers. If you have any advice or suggestions on that, I'd be totally open to hearing it. Al (I hope) redeems himself a bit in chapter 8, and he is meant to be kind of annoying in that sibling sort of way (at least from Lily's PoV), but I do worry that the general likability of a lot of my character lessens my stories at times.

Yikes, reading that sentence back, it's not pretty, is it? I've been working recently on handling past-perfect tenses and referencing past events in an already past-tense story in a way that isn't super clunky...and it's super hard sometimes! This one definitely needs a re-write. I guess I included it because if it were a non-fanfic story, readers wouldn't know from this story any history of the house, but you're right. I could just cut it. None of the Blacks play any real role in the story. I'll look at the "unlivable" reference too. Thanks for pointing both of those out.

And thank you, of course, for another lovely and thoughtful review! I'm so, so glad you seem to be enjoying the story.

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