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Review:CambAngst says:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

So for as long as I've been part of HPFF I've seen you around. Which should come as no surprise to anyone, looking at your Archives birthday date, I suppose. But what's surprising is that I've never found a chance to read anything you've written before. It's a shame. You're plainly a brilliant writer.

This story was completely breathtaking. The way that you use color and sensation and sound, seamlessly blending the fine details of the senses together to paint a picture, is simply amazing. There are very few stories I've read on HPFF -- a handful, at best -- where an author has the kind of command over the English language that you're showing here. The way you set the scene for this story is just fantastic. I can't say enough about it.

The other thing I really loved about this was the pacing. At the start, we really only knew that James and Lily were hurrying to be somewhere. From there, you ever so gradually revealed everything we need to know about this scene without ever once resorting to having James overtly think about any of the particulars. Through descriptions and emotions and incidental bits of dialog, you made it plainly clear when and where the story was set and what sort of special moment we were privileged to witness. You did it all without breaking stride, keeping the story moving at a very deliberate and natural-feeling pace.

Your portrayal of James is great. You caught him right at that time in his life where he's finally realized that in order to have what he really wants -- Lily -- he's going to have to change certain things about the way he acts and treats other people. But underneath it all, he's still the same goal-oriented individual. Again, you don't even tell us these things with James's internal monologue. You let Lily deliver the message in such a way that she's obviously talking to James and nobody else.

James's perception of Lily -- the desire and the awe that he feels for her -- was complimented beautifully by all of your descriptions of her through his eyes. He seems to see her like a thing of nature. An extension of its beauty rather than something that stands alone. And the moment where he realizes that she sees him in a similar way... ah! Amazing stuff.

There isn't much more I can add. This was a beautifully written story about a pairing that I adore. Bravo!

Author's Response: Wow, thank you for that fantastic compliment! It means a lot to hear it from you, as you have quite a reputation of your own for quality writing (and I also had a similar experience with your stories, having seen you around, but never having read anything until recently).

It's hard to figure out how to respond to this review because it's so complimentary. It's exciting to hear that you enjoyed the imagery and the language, and that you also found the story breathtaking. I can't thank you enough!

It's excellent that you picked up on that aspect of the pacing - I wanted to avoid an information dump or clunky dialogue. Although it frustrates some readers, I prefer to reveal things gradually, which ideally allows the reader to come to the conclusions on their own, reducing the need for telling. In this story, it gives the setting the spotlight. The moment is of greater importance than what has led up to it and what comes after.

The challenge of writing James is that change he undergoes so that his motives don't seem petty. He wants to change to impress Lily, but at the same time, it has to be a change that he wants too for himself - he has to understand that some of his past behaviour has been inexcusable, and he makes it his new goal to improve his treatment of others. One of the lines in canon that always bothered me was one of Sirius's when he explained that James still treated Snape (in particular) poorly when Lily wasn't looking - that line made me worry that James had only changed superficially, and I wanted to take the opportunity to explore James's transformation in detail, delving into his mind to pick through his motives and thoughts on the subject. At the same time, it's important not to make James fully aware of this - he's not /that/ introspective a person. The amount of dramatic irony that ended up coming into this story was surprising.

Thank you again for your fabulous review!


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