Hello again! I'm back with the final review I promised (though I'm sure I'll drop by again just for fun!). I was surprised and pleased to see a new story up, so I decided to read and review this one instead of one of your one-shots.
Forgive me if my thoughts are a little disjointed, but I'm going to try and be as complete as possible, so please bear with me! First, I think you're right. This is certainly different from your other works, but not at all in a bad way! It's lighter. And I got all the way through without crying once - pretty sure that's a first! But in all seriousness, I like your lighter tone. And by lighter I don't mean less serious - just, not as heavy emotionally.
I really liked the little bits of humour you threw in there. Like at the beginning...I could definitely feel the sarcasm behind "...had just about finished perusing her fifty-ninth Floo Conversational Transcript. It hadnít been a particularly enlightening read..." I chuckled at that.
It definitely is slower-paced. I think that you could actually do for a little bit more of that humour in your narration, so I wouldn't be afraid to use it. The situation is ripe for satire, which means it's also ripe for pointing out the pointlessness of it all.
I think you did well by incorporating your "conversational analysis" into the story. I do feel badly for her having to read the transcripts, and I definitely felt her frustration with the drudgery of it all.
I think there are a few things that could possibly - I'm pretty certain "be improved" is not at all the right phrase - I suppose, a few things that you could possibly take a look at, and that in my first quick read, as a reader, made me think...
First, there was her interaction with Cattermole. Since I read your description before I read the chapter, my first thought was "Aha! She's going to form a friendship with this man and that will make her question authority!"...but then...she wasn't very friendly at all. She was actually quite demeaning. And I guess I'm wondering how exactly she got to the end of the chapter thinking about him. Why he stuck with her. I think a little more demonstration of how that particular meeting impacted her, since, if that was the first time she met him, and he messed up so severely, I was honestly surprised that she almost seemed to think of him with neutral and almost positive feelings afterward. I would have expected her to dismiss him. So I think the whole set up of their meeting, though for the most part was wonderful and as always, you described your characters beautifully, I felt was lacking something...maybe a previous meeting, or some recognition, or some reaction, some flicker of something that would give away that she wasn't as much of a snobby jerk as she came across in that scene.
I was also unsure of why or where exactly she was applying the potion to her face. Just in the middle of the store? Or did she ask to use a restroom? Why didn't she just stick the vial in her pocket to apply at home? That, I think, was the only other bit that I was a bit confused over.
I really liked the interaction between Marietta and Cho, and I'm quite curious what Cho's story is. I thought it was really clever that she confounded her boss to get hired! Very smart, and nice to see since we don't see wizards using their magic against muggles very often, though they surely could.
Anyway, I don't really mind the slow pace, and something emotionally lighter can always make for a nice change now and again. ;) I'm looking forward to reading the next two chapters to see where this goes and oh! Before I forget. Good job again with your choice to focus and expand on the story of a minor character. You always have such an imaginative take, so well done!
Until next time, dear,
cypress aka Ella
Author's Response: ELLA! ♥
Honestly, my dear, you're completely spoiling me with all these wonderful, detailed reviews! I don't know what I've done to deserve them; I kinda feel bad for winning your challenge with a pre-written entry :P
Thank you so, so SO MUCH for this. Not only were your compliments so delightful as always, but your critique is so insightful, and you've hit on certain areas of this chapter that I wasn't too sure of, and you gave me some brilliant suggestions as well.
I'm glad you don't mind the slower pace and less emotionally-charged narrative; I probably won't be writing anything too grief-laden over the next few months...I think. :P Marietta's an interesting character to explore; she isn't at all likable from the books, and she isn't one of those memorable big baddies. That being said, she isn't completely insignificant a character in the novels, because her actions did actually influence some sort of change, and they brought about certain events in OotP. So I thought it would be interesting to explore her character and write from her POV. But with writing in Hogwarts era (a not very popular era, I think :P ), I didn't just want to rehash all the events through a different character's POV, so I thought it would be nice to just remove Marietta from the OotP context and place her somewhere else (right in the middle of events of DH). Sorry if this isn't making sense.
I did want her to come across as a bit of a jerk, slightly snobby. But you made a great point there about the abrupt change of attitude from her condescension toward Cattermole to the neutral-nearly-positive view of him toward the end of the chapter. It's of my opinion that she isn't intentionally malicious toward him, but she does enjoy having a bit of power over others, which she tests on Cattermole, and is possibly surprised and more uncertain when he doesn't retaliate or respond rudely or so. Anyway, thanks for bringing this up! I will really have to go and thread in more details and develop the interactions and relationship between Ettie and Reg a bit more.
And yeah, the application of the lotion in the middle of the store was a bit random, I suppose. She was wearing a balaclava when she entered the store (I didn't explain why she was wearing one, but in the books, Marietta wears a balaclava as well as heavy makeup to disguise her pimples), and I was thinking that this was because her acne had already begun to sprout all over her face. (She needs to apply the potion daily to hold them at bay :P I know! I'm being ridiculously complicated here!!!). So she was applying that potion because she just wanted to get rid of them immediately and couldn't wait to go home and do it. And wander around in a balaclava in the meantime.
*facepalms* I should probably explain stuff more, or make things less complicated. But this chapter is already soo long!
Ella, thanks so much for this gem of a review. You've made me think about my story in so many different ways, and your critique is invaluable, and I'll definitely be re-reading this when I edit the second and the third chapters. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR BRILLIANT REVIEWS ON MY STORIES I'M SO HONOURED AND PLEASED YOU ENJOYED THEM ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥