I read Ignite first, now reading Starfall and one of the comments (something on Matt's privileged background) jerked me back to this series!!
And my, I am blown!! This is one of the best stories and the best characterizations I have ever seen. Over years of reading, I have learnt to value character development in a plot.. (sometimes even more than the plot) I hate it when the author concludes a judgment on a character - it is patently unfair and they are trapped and the story usually goes down from there on! But you've preserved and nurtured them and make them so real. And, by real I mean that I struggle to describe them in a few words just like one would struggle to describe another person in real life. Even the side characters. There are just way too many layers that define each of them! This is simply top notch.
I adore Tanith and they way you have handled her 'greys'(pun intended) and kept them from becoming black and white.. I love how she is the power and Tobias is the idea in their relationship - I love how she saves Tobias how many ever times!! And don't even get me started on Gabe and Jen - there is something so pure and honest about their relationship and so much of admiration, affection and respect!! Stereotypical writers would probably bring in an element of emasculation than acceptance and admiration.
And you know what, I can see a bit of Gabe in Matt - especially in the scene between him and Selena. I don't know much of Jen in her own right, but I suppose Toby's nerdness has been an influence on Matt?! I wish to see a bit of Tanith in that series as well - I don't know how or where, but just a bit, a small insight, to see how their worlds have intersected in the Nextgen! Cal is a bear! Such a generous person! :D
JK Rowling, undoubtedly has written an amazing series but she has never gone on in depth on the darkness that prevails in our minds and sometimes takes over / clouds the conscience. And you have. And it sort of makes the entire experience more rounded.
I love how so many of the conflicts and choices are thrown up in the air and not closed out completely. That is LIFE! You don't get what you want in the way and when you want it.
I read somewhere that you may write Nat's story too - I would love to read it and see how became what she is today from the "I reject your break-up" girl she was!
In all, I think you are absolutely brilliant and I am looking forward to reading your published book (the only reason I am waiting is I broke my kindle and am waiting for a replacement). I think, from the way you have written these stories (even minus all things magical from the Potter universe that initially draws people in), there is so much of contribution from your end and you really must write something similar, set in our world as well. I wish you the very best and hope you get the well-deserved break in your career! :)
Author's Response: I'm always happy if the Stygian Trilogy leads people to the Anguisverse. It was my Great Labour of Love in fanficton and I do think it's of higher quality, overall, than the Stygian Trilogy - my writing might be more polished these days but this had better issues to tackle.
I have always tried, in everything I write but especially this, to let the characters breathe, act for themselves, make mistakes and explore the issues before them, and I suppose it's because that was what this fic was about that it was so successful. We knew the intricacies of the plot from the canon, so this fic was here to flesh out the unseen aspects and experiences.
Gabe and Jen - I say this lots but I never get tired of it as a fact - were never planned. I threw them into the same plotline because Jen (as a REALLY minor character originally!) became a natural foil for Tanith, and her starting the rebellion was meant to be the road Tanith couldn't and didn't take. And Gabriel needed a place in Falls, and so I thought I'd show something which canon didn't, not just the occupation but the people fighting against it on the run. And then the two of them proved to have maddening chemistry. I'm so pleased you like the subversion of the gender roles - it really wasn't PLANNED, but it became natural with Jen in the leadership role and for some reason it never became bitter. Gabriel admires and adores her, and is perfectly happy following her lead while still being pretty awesome in his own right. And certainly Matt takes more after his father than his mother - while Jen IS responsible for a good dose of the nerdiness (she was Head Girl, after all!) as we may see in Starfall, Matt and Toby were close, too, hence Matt's love of history.
There will be a bit more of Anguisverse reveals to come in Starfall. Promise. Probably not Nat's full story, but we'll likely see more from her at some point.
Thank you for all the kind words, in short! I'm really glad you've enjoyed the piece, and enjoyed reading everything I enjoyed writing about. Also many thanks for looking to check out the book; it's something a bit different, but I do intend to turn my hand to urban fantasy at some point. I'd just need to fight the right aspects of the setting - it requires the real world but also the hidden war, and a hidden war requires a community beneath our own - it's tough work. But not impossible, and there are serious merits to writing that kind of real-world-based fantasy fiction. Some day!
Thank you for the review!