Hi again! Back for another requested review.
So rather than giving you one general review of chapters 2-16, I decided to resume at the next chapter. Partially because I doubt I could contain all of my gushing feedback of so many chapters into one review. (And to clarify, I left the review for c1 after reading it, and for 2 after reading it, and then just couldn't stop reading and didn't want to pause for reviewing. BUT, anything I picked up on in those 2 reviews wasn't the result of reading ahead--it's because you very effectively foreshadowed/transmitted!)
On to the good stuff:
I really like the framing device of the interview--throughout, it does a remarkable job of introducing levity in unexpected ways! These interludes are just meta enough to be funny, without breaking the tone of the piece (you can almost hear the DUN DUN DUHN! in them, and Mr. Walker is a great stand in for the reader).
Albus is definitely a lot of things, and I wouldn't want to reduce him to only one comparison, but sometimes he reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. At least in this chapter, brewing a potion with Rose, and "preferring" her to be there just so someone can see how clever he is.
Overall, he's just so hard to pin down, in a good way! He's at once a master manipulator, but can sometimes (in his more human moments) seem positively oblivious to how normal people think and feel.
Also, and I'm totally jumping ahead here, but it's something I sort of decided at this point: I think Albus IS *in love* with Rose, only he's so twisted, that being "in love" is something different for him. Or at least, that's one way to conceptualize it. The interesting thing about that interpretation: being a sociopath, therefore you can't love properly > better than straight up incest? "It's OK, because rather than wanting to kiss her, he wants to break her wrists."
Again, just one way of looking at something multifaceted.
"The only creature in the world with the power to immortalityÖ on the verge of dying out." There are so many smart ideas in this story, this is just one of them. I love how you use magic(generally speaking) to set up these ideas, almost like clever riddles of meaning and interpretation. It really enriches the experience of reading this story!
One thing I'd wished for a little more of though, was the Potters. You spend a paragraph describing how the family is crumbling, and I thought your examples were great and realistic, but I wished for a little more. If only because it's such a human, imperfect thing to go through. It would be interesting to see sociopath-Albus in all his genius and physical beauty trying to maintain his dignity against that backdrop. Also (to be absurdly nitpicky) you refer to Ginny as going through a "downward spiral" in a later chapter. I wouldn't take issue with the phrasing from another writer, but it's quite an easy and common metaphor. You have a tremendous way with words, and for writing that kind of thing in surprising turns of language, and think you could easily manage a better word choice. :)
Oh, and I haven't gushed about Hugo yet! He's so strong in the face of all of his troubles, but not in a stereotypical, stoic way. It's really realistic--his humor, his demand for dignity. That's REAL strength. I love that he isn't just a prop for Rose, or a sad little sick boy, but a proper character in his own right.
You tackle so many difficult subjects in this story, and many would be tough to get away with, but you always give them the respect they deserve. No subject is off limits if it's given proper realism and depth. Offense is, I think, borne of reductionism.
And AH! The scene about cursing the spiders! So potent, so telling. Albus' feelings about Rose are so convoluted. He clearly tries to mold her into someone colder, more like him. At the same time, he loves/needs her humanity (both to stabilize him, and also to make himself feel superior). I have no idea how you went about crafting this character, he's so very twisty, and fully formed!
And just !!! Their relationship is so manipulative, so abusive, but Rose isn't dumb or weak. Quite the contrary. I love that you were able to create a character who, really, has been quite psychologically (and physically) abused by Albus and the Head--and how that has distorted her mindset and sense of identity--yet you kept her a likable, admirable person.
"you took a life in exchange for the personís death"--what a brilliant, poignant concept.
And the hint about lightning to revive Hugo--very Mary Shelley. One could say this is works on many levels as a gothic novel.
And his owl is named Dudly. Just. Yes.
"In this way it was also more admirable"--HOW ARE YOU SO WISE???
All in all, a masterfully plotted chapter that really perfectly set the stage for Scorpius' introduction to the folds. There was just enough (really successful) humor to offset so much darkness, and you continued to craft fascinating relationships.
Author's Response: Hey! Glad you find the 'Mr. Walker channeling the reader' bits amusing and I'm pleased that they don't detract from the foreboding tone of the story (it's always been difficult to balance humor with the serious nature of this story). On another tangent, I was reading HP:MOR earlier today-it's extremely well done and I'm truly flattered by the comparison (although I don't think I can produce something THAT large in scope. 100+ chapters? yikes!). At any rate, I'm pleased by all the praise you've given this story thus far and I noticed you recommended it on the forums. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Really, it means a lot.
Haha I can definitely see the Sherlock Holmes comparison- Albus is pretty smug about his intellect, and at the same time isolated because of it. Your perspective of Rose/Albus amuses me greatly, (because I tend to get a lot of different opinions, ranging from intense platonic love to people actually shipping the two of them and wanting something to happen between them...Yeah, lots of different stuff) and your comment about it being ok, since "rather than wanting to kiss her, he wants to break her wrists." made me LOL. For a moment I couldn't tell if you were being serious. And of course I'm not going to tell you if you're right ;)
I do agree about extending the part about the Potters- what you say makes absolute sense, and I suppose when I was writing it, I was more concerned with moving the plot forward and didn't give the subplot enough attention. I will probably go back and fix it during a revision. And there WILL be more on the Potter family in the future, too. Just fyi.
I love your analysis of Hugo. It is EXACTLY what I wanted to convey about him. Having been, essentially, weak and powerless all his life- he dislikes being undermined by his older sister (typical teenage boy) and would really like to exercise his own resolve.
Ahh the spider scene is so telling, and really lays the groundwork for the emerging clash of personalities and principles. Glad you find Rose admirable-she's really the heart of the story while Albus is the brain.
That idea was TOTALLY inspired by Frankenstein haha. Oops, my sources are showing.
Yes, Albus would name his obnoxious pet after his obnoxious uncle haha. Glad you noticed!
Thanks for your, as always, AMAZING analytic review and I'll be sure to rerequest whenever you have a spot open. I look forward to finding out what you think about the rest! :)