I promise a review in your Featured Author thread, but my god Zoey, I just don't know what I could possibly say to you that would encompass everything that this story is.
I'm doing something for you that I almost never do to any other author (disregard how bad that sounds, I'm far too lazy for my own good.) I'm reviewing this stunning, breathtaking, heart-wrenchingly beautiful peace the moment I've finished reading it, because I don't want to review this when the way I'm feeling has passed.
I'm entranced. Really, I am. I read this the entire way through without distractions - I looked no place else but at the words on the screen, no sounds but the humming of my laptop and the sound of my fingers hitting the down arrow key, and now I'm sitting on the floor with my hands shaking and my eyes filled with unshed tears.
How did you do this? I don't know. I've never cried once whilst reading a fanfic, and yet you've almost gotten me to do just that. I can try my best to properly address what has me so moved, so incapable of writing out a decent review, but I'm doubting myself more and more as I write this.
I'm sorry...but I can't do it. There's just nothing I can write that fully explains my reaction to this, so I'll hop on the "few words to describe the beauty of this" bandwagon.
And, I'll say it...perfect.
Thank you for writing this ♥
ZinnyAuthor's Response: Zinny! Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I'm so sorry I haven't gotten to it until now... Life has been hectic and such... Anyways, I'm so glad you like it! You have no idea how much that means to me :)
a blurring blitz of blossom bits...
Never stop writing, this is breath-taking.Author's Response: Aw, thank you! I'm glad someone caught that alliteration :) Report Review
It was absolutely beautiful. So sad, but I've been through something like this - not my brother, thank god, but I know the feeling of wanting something back that I'll never be able to get back. The transitions between emotions were very well done and I loved the image of a little boy holding the sunset in his hand and being the harbinger of autumn.Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it :) Report Review
Words cannot describe how beautiful this is, Zoey. Seriously. It's just fantastic. I have nothing more to say apart from that I loved this and that you deserve some sort of award for being so good a writer.
Author's Response: Jenny!
Thank you so much for the review! I feel like I sound so repetitive, but it honestly means so much to me. I totally don't deserve such amazing reviews from such amazing authors, but being the selfish, greedy human being that I am, I'll take 'em ;)
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Zoey Report Review
I just don't even know what to say. This... This was so beautiful and poignant, and yet absolutely earth shattering at the same time. I've heard about people crying at this, Zoey, and frankly I'm not surprised. The depression section gave me goosebumps. It's absolutely roasting for here at this time of year and I was sitting here with goosebumps.
The picture you painted for us here was so stunning descriptively, but entirely fueled by emotion as well. I especially liked that you were drawing a comparison between Victoire and Dominique and their behaviour and characterisation. I almost feel like you have the same ideas about them that I do and it just made this even more special. It was like seeing the characters in my head being brought to life in a way that I could never manage to do.
The stages were very clearly illustrated and even though they sort of acted as breaks, the whole thing retained its flow. And I literally have no idea how you did it. I loved everything about it, but I've got to say that I am IN love with 'anger' right up through until the end of 'depression'. Just the way the emotions changed in such subtle stages, it seemed natural and you've dealt with the whole issue of grief indescribably well.
Honestly, there are no words. I found some, but they're not quite enough. This is a work of art.
Jane ♥Author's Response: Jane, I don't know what to say. I am just so thrilled you like this. I just... Thank you :)
Dominique and Victoire are two of my favorite NextGen characters. I often see them in a lot of romance fics, so writing them in a more 'sisterly' way was very interesting. When I started writing, I didn't really have an 'idea' in mind of their personalities. But after a while, they just kind of shifted and evolved by themselves.
Grief is such a touchy subject. It's so beautiful in it's delicacy, and writing it was a lot like running a race on a track made of eggshells. It is relieving to have made it to the finish line, but I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon :P
Thank you for the lovely review!
Zoey Report Review
When I found this story, the Cobra Starship station on Pandora Radio was playing (don't judge me). I didn't think to put it on pause when I clicked on it, because I'm usually really good at blocking out music when it counts. I started reading, and then began to feel like the music was actually detrimental to the whole experience. But I couldn't bring myself to click to the other window and pause it. I would not, could not, break the spell. I still haven't paused it.
The problem with me and reviewing isn't time, as I said earlier, it's a matter of supreme laziness. So it happens that I don't review unless I really, really, REALLY want to. I really, really, REALLY want to tell you specifically, in rambling terms, what I thought.
Now. I was confused for a bit because this is marked WIP and I don't see what else you'd do with this. As the others were talking about "your new one-shot," I'm guessing that's a mistake. But again, there is nothing else that you could feasibly say about this topic. I don't think this is the first time I've seen the stages of grief theme (but then again, I have a really bad memory), but this is just... extraordinary. The way you handled it is very delicate and yet very raw - delicate in the means and raw in the end. Your style could be seen as overwrought in places (kind of thought so in the very beginning), but I could tell you were settling more into the pace and the mood, and things became easier and more organic to handle. Otherwise, pitch-perfect. These really are my favorite angst pieces, who deal with the ugliness of the emotion in a truly beautiful way. I would kill to be able to write like this, no joke. The overall delicacy with which you wrote Victoire especially (her character resonated with me just as much as Dominique's) is astounding. You never blame anyone for feeling too much or too little, and that is something very important in something like that. You don't remove yourself from the equation and you're not partial, but it's the way that you handled this that struck me more than anything.
That's not to say that your grip on your characters was not good; on the contrary, it was very impressive. Again, not necessarily the first fic I've seen like this (in general theme rather than specifics, as I have read dead Louis before), but it feels revolutionary, it feels like the world could be thrown off its axis. Dominique's role as the 'you' in the narration made me squee a little bit (only a little, as this is so sad) because, well, it's Dominique and second person; what's not to love? You knew her well: you played up her good attributes as well as the not-so-good, and she never seemed the worse for it. Even as she refused to go to the service, we understood her, we felt for her. Victoire, again, I felt was even more adeptly handled. We begin to resent her, admonish her for what seems to be a minimum of emotion, even as we know that there's more to her. The way that Dominique begins to learn that is really just wonderful.
Also, the images you created. The flowers and the shades of sunset, the building of the sky - I wasn't crying before, but now tears are forming in my eyes as I remember it. The building of the sky really, really got to me. That image... oh, God, I'm about to cry now. There are no words that can properly describe how that image resonated with me, for no particular reason other than it was just that beautiful. The image and the way you put it in the words that are escaping me right now, that's what is striking me right now. Hands down one of my favorite lines ever. Ever. That line "but eventually you will run out of paper trying to give him the sky" - really, what else can I say about that?
Another little thing I noticed. I don't know if you've read Markus Zusak's book The Book Thief (you should if you haven't - absolutely my favorite book ever), but I saw parallels with that and the "Here is a secret" lines. His narrator (Death, oddly enough) does that sort of thing, which made it even more poignant for me. It probably was unintentional, but I thought I'd mention it just because.
Zoey, I... this is completeley, utterly, unfairly brilliant. I've read some of your pieces before but few things I've found - I mean in all my years of fanfic - have made me feel this way. I hope this has served some purpose, if only to show you what I mean when I say that my reviews really are all squeeful and happy and (hopefully) ego-boosting.
I'd like to say that you left me speechless, but this is clearly not the case.Author's Response: Oh my god, Gubby, I have no idea how to respond to this. So... I'm just going to write what I feel, and hopefully my rambling will make at least an iota of sense to you.
When I heard that you were going to take a look at this one-shot, I was - to put it succinctly - kind of petrified. You are The Angst Goddess, and I, a measly Fluff Writer. The very thought that you'd deem this one-shot even mediocre at best... It just knocks me off my feet.
It's interesting that Victoire struck you, because I think she is my favorite character in this one-shot. Obviously, I'm supposed to like Dominique since she's the main character and all, but let's face it - Dom's a bit on the bratty side :P
Victoire, on the other hand... She reacts to grief - to losing her brother - in such a normal way. She does exactly what she's supposed to; she cries, she wears all black, she goes to the funeral... Yet you could argue that she's even nuttier than Dom. In all of her normalcy, Victoire is completely and utterly insane. She's a walking paradox, and that is what makes her so fun to write.
I think the biggest goal, as a writer, is to make someone feel something. And it sends me over the moon to know that I managed to succeed in that - even if it's just a tiny bit, even if it's one person. Somehow, somewhere, someone felt something, and that's all that matters.
Jeez, look at me blathering on. I have no idea what I'm talking about, so I'm just going to stop now before I start speaking in riddles. Thank you for the wonderful review. It means so much to me - more than I managed to convey in this roundabout response. Thank you.
PS. Strangely enough, my aunt gave me The Book Thief for Christmas, though I've been putting off reading it for a long while. It's actually sitting on my dresser (most likely covered in a thin layer of dust) right across the room. I've heard amazing things about the thing, so I will definitely make sure to start reading it. Sometime. Eventually.
Oh my God...
Zoey, this is FANTASTIC.
Seriously. I have no idea how you do it. It's just so...well, it's amazing, to put it bluntly, but even then amazing doesn't quite capture the essence of this.
I experienced a whirlwind of emotions while reading this, from happiness, to anger, to depression, to, finally, like Dom, acceptance. It's truly a wonder how you could write about something that is so dark and dreadful and just terrible, yet there is a lightness to it. It's really hard to explain, but while this could've dragged me down and made me contemplate going into a deep depression, it didn't. You were able to express the sadness and the difficulty that accompany the death of a loved one without completely bogging the reader down.
This was wonderful, dear, and I really can't see what you put out next. Honestly, I have no idea how I'm going to match you on the Style Exchange - I might just have to admit defeat already.
MollyAuthor's Response: MOOLLUY!
I am so thrilled you like this. I honestly have nothing else to say except thank you for such a wonderful review. And I am very, very glad that I did not force you into a deep depression, lol. That would not have been good.
As for the style exchange, don't admit defeat just yet. I haven't even STARTED it (my word count: 0), so you're better off than I am, that's for sure.
Thank you for the wonderful review!
Zoey Report Review
Honestly, Zoey, I'm struggling for words and so I'm keeping this short. I've just told you the same thing so many times now and I'll say it again: you absolutely took my breath away with this piece of genuine beauty.
I could quote favourite lines but I'd be here all day. You have such a talent for this brilliant, delectable description and I am utterly envious of you for being able to write it. I just see the colour flash in front of my eyes every time I read a line.
You know what, I'm just going to stop because too many words will ruin it.
xxAuthor's Response: Rachel, this review makes me want to dance around my house singing at the top of lungs, just because of the fact that it's coming from you. That sounds weird and mildly creepy, but... You are one of the most brilliant, amazing authors on this site that I've had the pleasure of knowing, so hearing you say this just... It really means a lot :) [/cheesiness]
Thank you so much!
Z Report Review
Exceptional. Beautiful. Touching. Elegant.
All of these things. Your progress through her journey of grief was stunningly real and poetic without going over the top. Not once did I think that it was overdone.
Bravo to you!Author's Response: Thank you so much! I was so worried about making this overdone, so I'm thrilled that you liked it :) :)
Thank you! Report Review
I cried. I'm not even going to beat around the bush about it; this is the singular most moving piece of writing that I think I have ever read, and it got to me. I'm not quite sure how to even go about reviewing this. It's left me literally speechless. I can't understand how this story can only have one review when it is so powerful and just so...incredible. It was a completely genius idea for you to focus on the five stages of grief; I've never seen anything quite like this before.
Your writing is unbelievably poetic and beautiful. Every sentence - every word, for that matter - fit just perfectly; I could tell that you put a lot of time into this and the result was unbelievable. Your first sentence, although short and simple, immediately drew me into the story. In fact, all of the descriptions of the sky were absolutely perfect; they were so free of cliches that every sentence seemed to just pop with creativity. It's very difficult for me to pick a favorite, but one of my favorite parts of this story is this line: "You think: maybe there is a child out there who holds the five thousand shades of a sunset in his palms. And he is so beautiful that when he walks by trees, their branches droop down to touch him so that their leaves turn red and orange and crumpled. And maybe that is how autumn happens". And I don't think that any of my words can possibly do justice to what you've written there so that all I can say is that I can absolutely see this image in my mind - and it's beautiful.
The characters you've created here are exquisite. Dominique and Victoire - even Fleur and dead Louis – are all so utterly complex; they all seem like real human beings. Grief is a touchy and difficult subject to write about, and, having personally experienced myself, I think you captured the individual reactions of each character perfectly. Most importantly, you've made all the characters different and all their reactions different, which I loved. I loved when Dominique shredded the flowers and I loved when she tried to finish all the paper stars and I loved when she pushed Victoire in the bathtub and I loved everything about how she dealt with the death of her brother because she's so imperfect, and I thought that was perfect. And I loved how you used Victoire and her perfect composure and her perfect way of dealing with the death to contrast Dominique's imperfection.
You're probably going to get tired of me starting every sentence in this review with 'And I loved...' but I loved everything in this. And I REALLY loved the hundred paper stars and the bargaining because it's so childish and relatable. And the hundred paper stars just created such an incredible image in my mind; when her family walked in and she was there, standing on the bed, just trying to reach the ceiling - that scene was so poignant, I couldn't believe it. I could practically feel Dominique's drunken desperation, and that's why I call truly good writing.
It's difficult for me to pick a favorite stage of grief (that sounds slightly morbid taken out of context) but one of my five favorites is depression ;D I loved the line, "'You loved him the most.' Her words quiver in the silence, small and unsure, and you have to acknowledge their truth. Your father had loved his work, your mother had loved herself, and your sister had loved her endless string of eager boyfriends. You had no one, so when Louis was born, you chose him. Fiercely and unconditionally, without question, you loved him", because I think it really accurately depicted the different personalities of their family. What I loved about your sentence is that you didn't tell the reader what to think; you showed them the truth and let them think for themselves.
Another favorite line of mine in this section is: "'I know,' you say, laughing so hard you are crying. 'I know.'" It completely heart-breaking. I think it's because, after death, there's always that moment: those few seconds when you just have to laugh, because the only alternative is crying. So you laugh and you laugh and you laugh: you laugh because life isn't fair and you laugh because you can't change it. And then the laughter turns to tears, and I've been there, so reading about it here is really just gut-wrenching.
I've already mentioned how original this story is, but I really don't think I can mention it enough. There are many stories about Dominique and Victoire on here (mainly involved in a love triangle, which I'm guilty of myself ;D) but I've never read one that gives me such a strong idea of the relationship between them, and the relationship between all the members of their family as well. Louis is a forgotten Next-Generation character - mentioned in passing, if at all - but here, you remembered him, and you gave him a story and a personality. Even though he's not the main character here, I could still tell who he was through Dominique's grief, if nothing else. I also really loved that you used second person to write this; in my opinion, it's a vastly underused and under-appreciated style of writing, and you really did it justice here.
I have absolutely no critique for you. Although, I do think you made a technical mistake when creating this story; it's listed as a one-shot, but then also as a WIP. Just something you might want to fix, I think.
And, well, other than that (yeah, I know, that's ALL?), I have nothing more to say. This review is probably fairly incoherent at certain points and I'm sure that what you did understand has inflated your ego three times it's original size, but that's okay. After this amazing masterpiece, I think you deserve to be a little cocky. I can only hope that other people may stumble upon this brilliant piece of writing and that, maybe, someday, I'll be able to write something as incredible and poetic and heart-wrenching as this is. Wish me luck? ;)
And, yeah, I'm definitely going to check out your other stories.
Cherry BearAuthor's Response: Wow. Thank you so much for this amazing, wonderful, jaw-dropping review. I have no idea how to respond. The words 'thank you' don't seem like enough. I'm just so... over the moon right now, so I'm sorry if this does not turn out the least bit coherent.
I am so relieved you found this to be free of cliches. One of my worst fears was taking grief - which is such a sensitive, delicate topic - and completely butchering it. I am usually a fluff writer, so this angst was new to me. I was terrified of making it too overdone or dramatic.
I agree with you - Dominique and Victoire are almost always written in romance stories. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this is the first story I've ever written that doesn't involve romance. It was very different, to say the least. Writing about family is weird for me, seeing as I don't have any brothers or sisters. I don't really know what it's like to have a 'sisterly bond', so I sort of had to use the next closest thing - friendship - as a basis to write this. It was definitely a challenge.
Dominique was amazing to write, that's for certain. Her complexities and layers - even I don't fully understand her. But I would have to say that my favorite character here is Victoire. She is such a paradox. Weak, but so, so strong.
A review like this means so much to me. Especially for this one-shot. I wrote this thinking that it was going to be a simple 1000 word one-shot, but it just morphed into something so much more. This is going to sound really, really silly, but writing this was almost exhausting, in a way. Out of all my stories, this one is... not really my favorite, but... I don't know how to describe it. This story, to me, isn't just another piece of writing. It's a confession. Writing this was like putting a part of me on paper (or rather, screen). The very thought that you liked this... Well, it's amazing to me.
Thank you so, so much. Words cannot express my love for this review. It is stunning and beautiful and I definitely do not deserve it. I just... Thank you :)
Zoey Report Review
I can't believe that I'm the first to review this. It's poignant, beautiful and moving. I love the descriptions that you use. They really draw the reader into Dominique's pain. You write like someone who's experienced the loss yourself.
This is probably the best portrayal of grief and its stages that I've read in fanfic and one of the best portrayals that I've read in any fictional format.
You have a great eye for dialogue and for the mental state of someone grieving.
The 'Bargaining' section seems especially poignant to me. It really captures the way that someone grieving can fall into a fugue and try mad things.
It's so very beautiful. A very rare 10/10 from me.Author's Response:
Yes, grief is a very touchy subject, and it was quite difficult to find a happy medium between being too overdone or not done enough. I'm glad you liked the 'Bargaining' section, since - in my opinion - it is the climax of the fic, the highest (or lowest, depending on how you look at it) point of Dominique's grief.
Thank you so much for the lovely review :) I'm so happy you liked this! Report Review
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