Wow this story is absolutely magnificent. It's definitely not an era I usually venture into but boy am I glad I did.
I am just in awe of the way you write. I don't even know where to start! I also absolutely adore the way you've characterised everyone - there are so many tiny details you've included, even about characters that aren't present often. I feel like this could easily be some sort of prequel to the hp series.
The thought of the smell you've associated with Riddle makes me feel a bit sick to be honest, just imagining that and also what he's been up to. Especially at such a young age! That is something I had definitely forgotten about him - just how cruel and intelligent he was when he was so young. Even though he hasn't often appeared throughout this story, I don't think I'll be able to read many other fics including him, as I don't think many people would be able to do him the justice you have.
I also love your portrayal of Tiberius and the way that, yes, he could be considered amazing and brilliant by others but he still has flaws (who knew people that seemed to have it together and be doing very well could have their own issues??) and it is so refreshing to read about that sort of person. He's normal!
Also got a bit teary eyed when it got to Hagrid being expelled :( I was really hoping it wasn't going to happen even though I knew it eventually had to. It does remind me though of just how dedicated and loyal he was to remain at the school that threw him out. (not that he had much of a choice really, I'm just so happy he had Dumbledore there to help him out. Gosh look at me getting emotional over fictional characters, it must be getting to late.)
I have so much to say but my head is all in a jumble haha it probably would have been better if I'd reviewed as I went along so you would have heard more of my thoughts (as muddled up as some of them probably are at the moment). But oh well, I'm here now and actually trying to give a proper thought out review - something I really need to do more often. Sorry I'm rambling, I'm sure that my fingers start to get a mind of their own as it gets later.
I'm not sure I've ever read any of your fics before despite having seen your name around plenty, but I will most definitely be having a look through them very soon! I've been missing out on some amazing writing.
Ugh, I basically just want to list everything you've done in this story and tell you I love it for some reason or other. I really don't know why I haven't read anything of yours before.
Anyway, next time I might get a little more detailed with thing since I know I've definitely left plenty of things out (such as how McGonagall and Grimm's relationship has progressed). Absolutely amazing story and I'm definitely eager for the next chapter! :)
Author's Response: Wow! I really don't know how to respond to this - it's fantastic to hear so much enthusiasm for this story, and I'm very glad that you took the time to read and review it. ^_^
It means a lot that you see this story as a sort of prequel to the HP series - it's one of the things I really wanted this story to be. It's certainly my own headcanon for these characters' pasts (which made Pottermore's biography of Minerva a very frustrating thing to read :P), and I see it as important to try and capture these characters' adolescent selves as accurately as possible. It's a fun challenge to speculate on what they would have been like at this age.
With Tom Riddle, it's almost more effective to have him off-stage - he appears from time to time, enough to renew one's worst fears about him, but when he's only there in passing, it's easier to fuel curiosity, leading to wilder speculations about what he could be doing. He was experimenting with magic in ways that I can only imagine as horrifying - how many failed horcruxes were there before he succeeded? What kind of other experiments was he attempting in advanced magic? I love leaving those questions up in the air, letting readers see only snatches of him looking through the Restricted Section of the library, stealing from the DADA classroom, smelling of the dungeons and damp. I'm very glad that you like how he's turned out in this story!
lol, you're right about Grimm. He's one of those people who appears successful and well-off while inside he's a complete mess, filled with insecurities and uncertainties, both of which will inevitably prevent him from reaching his full potential. It's fantastic that you find him normal - he's just a person, not too special, yet still in possession of particular talents and painful flaws. That's what important about making a character - you're essentially making a human.
Thank you very much for this review! It's been wonderful to hear from you, and I hope that you enjoy the next chapter once it's out! ^_^