|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi Taylor! I'm here for the Gryffie review exchange!
I'm actually really pleased that we got paired together; I've loved everything of yours that I've read so far and I've heard wonderful things about this one-shot!
Somehow with this one-shot you've managed to both make me happy and feel all warm and fuzzy and bring tears of sadness to my eyes - there aren't many authors who can achieve that in about 5000 words. I'm just so impressed with this and so happy that I got the chance to read it!
You had me guessing from the very beginning about what was going to happen in this piece, and it was only towards the end that I actually realised what was going to happen. The opening was great - there was an element of ambiguity about who the main character actually was at first. I knew that it was a relation of Colin's of course, but that didn't tell us who they were. I also couldn't quite work out how Anslee felt at first about looking at the photos; at the beginning it seemed like she had mixed feelings as you kept us guessing and then as those sections continued the tone developed into a more concrete sadness and it was clear that she was drudging up memories that she'd prefer to forget.
The line that you included right in that beginning section "yet another person I know that left this world far too early." was the one that made me realise as I was reading that this story wasn't going to end happily. I almost didn't want to continue reading it when I guessed what was going to happen, but your writing of the other, happier scenes was just so great that I had to carry on!
Your characterisation of Hugo and Anslee was lovely. I really like the fact that you chose to write this with Hugo as the male character as there are so few stories featuring him - and I like it even more because he's not the perfect pin-up sort of guy. I loved him at the beginning, as the cheeky eleven year old, asking all these questions and being nosy. He reminded me of Ron on the train with Harry - a classic Weasley! The character development through the story was really good as well, which definitely isn't easy to manage in a one-shot.
The two of them are just so cute! I loved the way that he asked her out and was adorably nervous, and the way that you could see the relationship developing and evolving through the story. One of the things that's great here is that you don't really introduce anything unnecessary to the story. The camera's obviously the main focal point, with Anslee looking at the pictures, but the car is also important, as that brings it round to the end.
I actually think that this is the first time I've read a fanfiction where the wizard or witch was killed in a Muggle way. I really didn't want Hugo to die, but I knew that he was going to... it made me cry, and that's because of how well you wrote it. I could feel Anslee's pain and despair as she was taken from the car and had to leave Hugo behind. But I think the fact that you chose to have Hugo killed by a drunk driver is extremely effective and poignant - it's something that resonates with the reader because it's a tragedy that occurs far too often, and most people know, or know of, someone who has died in a similarly tragic way.
The ending was also brilliantly crafted. You weaved the quotes in really well - if they hadn't been in bold I wouldn't have noticed them at all - but I loved the way that you brought the piece full circle; at the beginning, Anslee says it should be therapeutic, and at the end she realises it hasn't been. It really helped me to feel like the story was complete and left me satisfied - if sad - with the ending. I'm so pleased we got paired together for the exchange!
Author's Response: Hi Sian! Wow, this review really left me smiling like an idiot. :)
This story was fun to write, in that it combines the really fluffy parts of a story with tragedy, and I'm glad you noticed them both here! I did use a little bit of foreshadowing throughout, as you seemed to notice as well!
When I was coming up with the framework for this story, I almost immediately decided that I wanted it to feature Hugo. I've always pictured him as a bit quirky and silly, so I really tried to capture that here.
As far as not introducing anything unnecessary, that actually came mostly from my fear of this one-shot getting too long! I knew from the beginning that this was going to be a bit longer than the usual one-shot I write, so I really wanted to plan it out well and make sure I didn't write too much.
Wizards always seem to die in these bold, magical ways, but in the real world, something as simple as someone who's had too much to drink behind the wheel of a car can cut off a life like that. I think that's why I incorporated the crash in here - to make it more human.
I'm glad you think the quotes were weaved in well, and that it wrapped up nicely. Thanks so much for this lovely review!