|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi, I'm here with your requested review! I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to get here, but real life has kept me so busy in the last few weeks I've hardly had time for HPFF. I know you actually requested a review on chapter four, but if you read my rules then you'll see that I only review from the first chapter. So I'm reviewing this one and if you like my style, you can re-request :)
Okay, so as I started reading this I had to go back and check that you'd marked it as AU (you didn't include it on the form, so I was a little confused :P). Once I realised it was, I found it a lot easier to deal with the concept of people being brought back to the dead, James Potter having a sister and James and Lily having another daughter. I know that you've included it in your genres, but perhaps a mention in your AN at the beginning might help people have a better grasp of what's going on.
Having said that, I think you've got a really intriguing concept here. I haven't read a lot of AU so I couldn't really tell you if this is cliche or not, but I think I'd definitely click to read the next chapter to find out what is going on. The fact that all these dead people have come back to life and that there's this time portal, and that Grace has made some sort of pact with death - it really interested me and I want to know more about it. The deal with death, in particular, was a very gripping way to start your story. Her mention of it reminded me a little of the Tale of the Three Brothers mixed in with old folk tales, and I'm interested to see how you'll spin that into the world of HP.
Overall, however, I did find this a little confusing. There were times when I wasn't really sure what was going on - is Grace alive, or has she also come back from the dead? I think that establishing a date here would help as well. I assumed that, because of Kingsley as the Minister, it's set after the Battle of Hogwarts. Then when you began listing all the dead people that Grace was calling forward, there were names of the living included and lots of people there that I didn't know about.
At this point, with an AU story, you're already asking people to abandon canon and accept your version of events, so I feel like this might go a little smoother if you didn't throw quite as many names out there, because too much information at once is difficult to wrap your head around. If you could also add in a little more description, setting the scene in the courtroom and describing the appearances of various characters, it would give the reader a clearer picture of what is happening and also slow down the pace a little, which would help to stop us feeling as if information is being thrown at us.
Generally, you have a very nice writing style, and I found myself hooked by your writing as well. One thing I would watch out for are some of the more complex sentences you tend to use, as they become a little convoluted and confusing at times. Sentences like this, for example:
"The cowardice that had become Grace Potter, Marlene McKinnon, and Anne Smithville upon learning of their pregnancies had caused the women to not inform the fathers, feeling it best when there was no love present in the conception."
I think I understand what you mean here - that these women were all too scared to tell the fathers about being pregnant - but the way it's worded meant that I had to reread the sentence several times to work it out. If you could iron out a couple of things like that your story would flow much more smoothly. Maybe something along these lines would work better:
Upon learning of their pregnancies, cowardice had prevented Grace Potter, Marlene McKinnon and Anne Smithville from informing the fathers, all three feeling it was for the best when there had been no love present at the conception.
That's just off the top of my head, but though it's a little longer, the subjects of the sentence are a lot clearer.
I really like your characterisation so far, especially of Sirius. He's one character that I think you seem to have nailed in a couple of lines, which is really impressive. His reactions to Snape and to his uncle seemed to fit so well with his character that I could imagine it very clearly. Grace is a really intriguing OC as well. She seems quite strong-willed and is obviously a powerful witch of some sort, and I'm looking forward to learning more about her, especially this deal that she's made!
Overall, I think you've got a very intriguing concept for a story here and I hope I wasn't too harsh in my CC. Hopefully I was helpful, and feel free to re-request!
Author's Response: Oh hello! (Don't worry, I never mind waiting. It's a very busy time of year for me as well.) :)
Oops, I should apologize about the wrong chapter being requested. Apparently one day there had been some confusion (on my end) as to who had reviewed which chapter. Needless to say there were several mistakes made! Sorry about that.
I will definitely include AU in my author's not and I'm also very glad you found this chapter, if anything, interesting :). Also, you're spot on! There will be some references to some folk lore, specifically the Tale of the Three Brothers later in the story, so I'm impressed you caught that.
Ah, yes, the confusion.
This opening chapter has been giving me a world of trouble since I wrote the initial version of it. It needs some major revisions despite the number of times it has been rewritten (which is why I need all of the help I can get)!
Thank you for your suggestions about the pace and complex sentences. I know this chapter may be turning people off because of all of the muddled information and confusion. I need to clear this up so thank you, thank you, thank you for the CCs! (CCs are my friend!)
You have been extremely helpful so thanks again!