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Review:Toujours Padfoot says:
H.O.L.Y. C.O.W.

This has got to be one of the most amazing one-shots I have ever read. I cannot fathom your dislike for it! There are so, so many things I am going to quote back at you because the writing left me so awestruck, and even though I am regurgitating basically a quarter of the story, I had to narrow down the list because it was so long.

I don't even know where to begin. Seriously - SPEECHLESS. So I'm just going to rail off some of the lines that I thought were particularly beautiful. Which was difficult because it's like searching for one star in a whole ocean of stars. There is nothing about this fic that I could possibly nitpick, nothing that could be improved. It is perfect.

And afterward she would lick the back of the spoon and kiss the purple stains off the sides of his mouth.

These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together.

She would pick off the papery shells of cicadas from the bark and show it to him and he would crush them, laughing at the crackle beneath his thumb, the golden flakes of desiccated insect skin drifting down to the ground.

I love how earthy your descriptions are. The imagery is impeccably placed. Nothing is extraneous. Everything has just the right amount of detail, and your use of sensory details is omg. The insect skins, the girl of clouded clotted dirt, transforming the act of drugging a man into loving someone into this simple, well-of-course-she-did sort of thing. It reminded me of a little girl chasing after a puppy, desperate to bring it home and keep it and squeeze it.

He opens his mouth to speak and his voice is different, too - slower, more tentative. "Is that - what you will call me?"
- Favorite part. Honest to God, that scene made me hold my breath. And when he turned around and it was Tom-but-not-Tom, and he uttered that one line in that marveling, sinister-under-the-surface way that only Tom Riddle Jr. can speak, I just sat back with my hand over my heart and couldn't even read on for another minute. I just wanted to absorb it. SERIOUSLY, HOW CAN THIS BE ONE OF THE LEAST-FAVORITE THINGS YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW JEALOUS I AM OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Sorry for yelling. I get carried away.

Merope's hand drifts to her head, fingering the bald patches where the skin is so thin and stretched that it feels like she's touching her wet skull.

Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together.

- I love both of these. It's not pretty imagery. It's kind of gruesome, and made me shudder a little, and that means you did your job. This is the pregnancy of the mother of the most evil wizard who ever lived. Intermittent flashes of ugliness, pictures that make us wince uncomfortably - are absolutely essential. It's the sort of tone that doesn't just lie flat on the surface. It sinks into the readers. It gives them chills. I hope you know how fantastically talented you are for being able to incite these reactions, because it's not a talent easy to come by.

Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass.

The small vipers and adders, slithering through the dead leaves, finding her as she chanted to them, laying their chins on her lap and braiding their bodies against her legs.

Perfect. Perfect and creepy and perfect. I am so sorry for the amount of gushing I am doing. I am honestly just so blown away by how amazing your writing is. Every single sentence is a gem.

Her family. She would sell them all for less than ten Galleons.

The sound of a woman gasping, calling for help and help is another pair of arms pulling her up as the world contracts around her, falling like a thin sheet and moulding itself to the shape of her body.

He tests his new voice and the soggy vowels waft into the space between him and Merope.

Just... *dies* This is unbelievable. Your word choice. You choose your words so deftly and they are just seamless, they pack the biggest punch. The world contracting around her brings to mind this chasm of pain, convulsing into darkness. And the 'soggy vowels' - once again, it's your word choice. You have such a way with the English language. Even Tom Riddle who is barely a minute old is still the canon adult Tom Riddle somehow. We can see it right there, stamped in him from the moment of conception: an evil that will claw its way into the world at any cost. Even if he seems nothing but beautiful and perfect. He's just this sinister little creature.

I feel so horribly for Merope, especially since she'd been planning to raise him as a Muggle and her son was the only thing she had left, but standing out there in the snow, preparing to slip away into death, it was sort of liberating. Merope is free.

Thank you so much for linking me to this! ♥

- Sarah

Author's Response: mmmpfffhh mmmphhdfhh

I have no idea how to respond!!!??!111!!

Honestly, this review just made my entire millennium. As you may know, I fangirl myself silly over your own amazing speechlessness-inducing writing, and to receive a review like this from you is just.just...can I just take the easy way out and smash my keyboard and let you gauge the extent of my feelings by yourself? AKLSFHBFAJKL

Right. I should probably edit out that author's note at the bottom; this story has been edited for minor things, actually, and I forgot to upload the newer version but anyway. I suppose I've never written a story that has so much imagery and description, that relies on these to drive the narrative forward. My other stories are much sparser and I hardly use figurative language and all. Also, I wrote this for a challenge and rushed through it and I honestly thought it wasn't very well-written at first. But I'm incredibly gratified that you found the prose seamless and the word choice deft, because these are precisely the effects I was aiming for. I wanted to keep the language relatively simple but smooth, and be really really picky about the words I used. It was an extremely laboured writing process (no pun intended). All the other lovely reviewers have gushed about the description and imagery, but I think you're the first one to point out things like diction and the individual sentences so thank you so much for that ♥

There are actually plenty of Merope stories around, but most of these tend to focus on the Tom/Merope ship, or on her abusive upbringing in the Gaunts' home. But I was especially intrigued by the period between Tom's desertion of her and her childbirth and subsequent death. I can only imagine what a truly horrible time it must have been for her. I suppose she was freed by death, but it wasn't an easy death :(

Can I just say that I'm ecstatic that you thought this line was lovely: /These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together./ OMG I HAD TO REWRITE THAT LINE SO MANY TIMES. And now it's my favourite line in the whole story. I mean I'm not the best in describing buildings and trees and stuff like that and that dream scene was a major headache.

Anyway. Thank you sososo much for this amazing review! Eeep. Still in awe of it and I probably will be this way for quite some time. Gonna leave some hearts for you before I sign off ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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