I can't tell you how happy I was to see that you had updated - and the general story was much, much better than I'd remembered, which means I loved this chapter. Helen is both likable and unlikable, but even so, she's incredibly interesting and I can't wait to see where you'll take her in the end. I love the connection she seems to share with Moody (hm... Moody, eh?!) and I'm really hoping he will be able to thaw her heart, because she is still a bit cold toward him. And now I can't wait to read more about Emile Cadogan and how things will play out on that side. As for the mysterious events occurings, with the sand and all - well, it's amazingly described. I know I've already said it, but I love Egypt and its mysterious nature, and I think you've done a great job in capturing that particular essence. Anyway, enough of me rambling. I loved this and keep up the great work (:Author's Response: It's great to finally have this story back in motion again. I missed writing it. ^_^ I'm really happy that you enjoyed this and the revised story, Steph. It means so much that you like how it's turning out.
The way you've described Helen as likeable and unlikeable is so the way I feel when writing her. She can be really fun at times, then really annoying at others because of her Slytherin qualities. But she is interesting for that reason, and a bit unpredictable. :D She might thaw a bit toward Moody, it depends how the next chapter goes. ;)
So the sand descriptions worked? They're awkward to write for some reason, and I wasn't sure if they were actually successful in getting across the atmosphere I wanted. :) Thank you very much, Steph! It's wonderful that you're enjoying the story! Report Review
Hm. Very interesting chapter indeed. I am quite puzzled by Mr. Emile Cadogan so far. At the moment, due to Helen's suspicions, I am also leaning toward thinking he is a wizard, or at the very least a Muggle who knows about the Wizarding World. He's most likely a wizard, though. And he just might know more about the tomb than he lets on. I can't decide if he is good news or bad news. I really enjoyed your description of him, though, how tall and awkward-looking he is. However, his mannerisms are nowhere near as awkward as his appearance. Interesting. I am particularly intrigued as to how he found out about Helen. My first idea was that Moody had let slip that he knew someone who could do with a job, but that impression seems incorrect.
Helen was, as usual, delightful. She is a strong female character, yet she is completely human (or I suppose I should say she's not a "Mary Sue"). And for once, it's nice to see a story with a fantastic female protagonist that doesn't revolve around romance. There's the potential for it to develop, but it doesn't seem likely to be central to the story. I really have to laugh at Helen sometimes . . . she reminds me a bit of Tonks! She certainly gets into some interesting predicaments, and that interaction with the Muggle girl was so funny. And naturally, Moody had to make an appearance. That man is everywhere! It would be supremely irritating if it wasn't so amusing.
You mentioned that since you are re-writing this story, you were worried that there might be some rough patches or discontinuity with flow or plot, but I have not noticed that. On the contrary, you seem to be very much in control of your story. Your descriptions are fantastic, and I feel that I am just being swept along the Nile as events keep rushing past (I mean that in a good way - that your story isn't dawdling along but you are also developing scenes adequately).Author's Response: He is a puzzling character (to be honest, I'm still working out his role in the plot), and it doesn't help that Helen is more than a little suspicious of everyone around her. She seems to see spooks at every turn, whether they're there or not. Though it's funny that his description is enjoyable because I based it off of someone I know, so I have a real life image to work from. ;)
Romance is definitely not the centre of this plot. Some may arise later on, but it's still up in the air. I don't want it to get in the way of the mystery/adventure surrounding the tomb. It's refreshing to write something that's not a romance. Helen like Tonks... yes, that would fit (I wrote this chapter while writing my last Tonks story - guess I can't keep all the stories completely separate). Helen does get herself into hilarious predicaments, though, and those moments are a joy to write. And Moody just has to pop up when she's trying to avoid him. She's probably so obvious in her dislike that he might be getting suspicious of her.
Thank you very much for your reviews. It's really fantastic to know that the story is coming along well, both plot-wise and character-wise. I didn't want to go further into the plot if something was going the wrong way. I've loved reading and responding to these reviews, and will definitely ask for more when I update. :) Report Review
I always feel so petty pointing these things out when the rest of the story is superb, but . . . this chapter actually had a few minor errors in it. In particular, I would recommend that you take a closer look at the paragraph in which Helen talks about taking food from carts in Cairo. There are several been's that should be be's, I think. Also, you've used the wrong discretely/discreetly. Discrete has something to do with being separate or different or something like that (I remember it from math class) while discreet means being quiet or prudent. The second one is what you're looking for. Somewhere in Helen's conversation with Moody, you write everyday when it should be every day. And just before Helen is attacked, you use the word hinder, which should be hindrance.
I'm starting to repeat myself, but I again was struck by the voice you have given Helen. It is wonderful and so distinctive. It really brings her character to life. She feels like a real person to me, which may partly be due to the use of the first-person, so great job on her characterization. She's so proper and yet so improper all at the same time. She's really delightful.
Ah, Moody makes another appearance! He's an interesting character as well. I can understand why Helen finds him so infuriating, but as a reader, I like him. The interactions he has had with Helen so far have been very amusing to read since they are both so witty. In this chapter, I have to confess I felt a little stab of delight that she took advantage of him (though he knew she was doing it) offering a meal. As for the new characters here, Hassim was a unique presence, and I am quite suspicious of Mr. Cadogan.
So far there have been a few things in your story I'd never considered previously. For instance, the part about ancient Egyptian magic being lost. Well, of course that seems obvious now you've pointed it out. Naturally they wouldn't have used Latin-based incantations!Author's Response: Please don't feel petty at all! Those are some of the things I need pointing out. Usually I'm good at catching the errors, but sometimes, I get lazy and they slip through. :( I do really appreciate you informing me of them.
Haha, it's nice to hear multiple times that Helen is a well-developed character, and that the first person voice is working. It's not one I use that often anymore, having found it so limiting, but it works for Helen. She's perhaps the most amusing character I've ever created. No chance of her getting angsty anytime soon. ;)
Readers are sort of meant to like Moody, even with Helen's negative mediation. He's a bit on the slimy side, but there's nothing wrong with him. Helen's dislike of him stems mostly from her upbringing, and from her past experience with an American wizard (it's an undeveloped event, only hinted at).
About your last paragraph, yes, that's what I was thinking too. The Rosetta Stone would have affected more than just Muggle understanding of the Egyptian language. It would have been just as impossible for wizards to keep track of a forgotten language, especially with all the destruction of Egyptian culture by the Greeks and Romans. I wish that the books had talked a little more about Bill's work as a curse breaker, just to get a bit more insight into how much wizards know about the ancient culture, but oh well. Leaves more for me to imagine. :)
Thank you again for the amazing reviews! They're a delight to read and give me a lot to think about. :D Report Review
"Screw the tomb" --> this seemed a little out of tone for Helen, considering how stiffly and properly British you'd written her dialogue and actions during her encounter with Moody. Could this Alexander Moody be the father or grandfather of Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody? Or is the name merely a coincidence? I very much enjoyed Helen's reaction to him. I could just picture the look on her face . . . it must have been priceless! I bet we haven't seen the last of him.
Helen is very delightful, by the way. You have given her a fantastic, dry/witty, funny, and distinctive voice. I just loved that part where she says she left Hubert when his needs grew to include her! Also the part where she says she hopes she doesn't need to elaborate on the profession in which women are usually in demand. So far I am really enjoying her characterization. She has this matter-of-fact tone that is very pleasant to read.
Ah, and the plot thickens! At last we see Helen in Egypt! (I say "at last" when it is still early in the story, haha.) I like how she briefly touches on the various jobs she's had without lingering overlong on them. That helps explain her present interest in the tomb without distracting from the meat of this chapter: the appearance of the tomb guardian, or whatever it may be. I'm finding I can't predict what will happen next with the guardian, but I don't suppose it will be something nice.
Oh yes, another thing. I enjoyed the first paragraph as well, where you write about the "romance" of a bunch of tombs in a ditch in the desert! That was really funny! I liked also what Helen thought about men always naming things . . . I'd never thought about it before, but she has a point!Author's Response: That line does seem off, not necessarily because it doesn't fit Helen's character, but more that it doesn't suit the era. I don't think the slang definition of that word was in use yet. So I ended up changing it to "damn the tomb" - same connotation, better word. :) Helen is a bit on the rebellious side, particularly when faced with "not lady-like enough" comments, which is why I originally wanted her to use "improper" words, but "screw" isn't quite the right word either. Arg. Thanks for mentioning that.
The name is not a coincidence, but that's all I'll say for now. :P It's not that significant to the main story, but more to the reason why Helen is telling this story in the first place. And if you can imagine the most disgusted expression possible, you've probably pictured Helen's face at that moment. :D
It's so wonderful that you like Helen. I used to really dislike her (when writing the first version of this story), but now she's more quirky and fun, wanting to stand out from the crowd. It's also good to hear that the backstory section did not disrupt the narrative flow. I felt like I was telling to much there, and not showing enough, yet all that information is necessary to show how she's matured since leaving home.
Haha, that first paragraph! I re-read it after first seeing your review, and it is funny, but so true. Another reviewer described to me what the valley looked like, and it's so unromantic! Lots of rocks and rubble and all the tombs are hidden in the cliffs. I do wonder who named it, though.
Anyway, thank you very much for this review, and for all of your reviews! They're astounding to read and are definitely making me feel a lot more confident about this story. :) Report Review
Hello! =) I'm HogwartsMarauder over at the forums, and I am so sorry it has taken me so long to review!
First off- I was struck by your writing style. I love it. The way you write is positively incredible- I truly haven't seen many first person narratives this effective. It's descriptive, it's sarcastic, it's brilliant. "Small talk. The death of intellectuals everywhere." Pure genius =)
Helen is really quite intriguing. She isn't a Mary-Sue, and you've done a wonderful job with characterization. To me, it seems as if she can be profoundly astute- but at the same time has the potential to be overly dismissive. I hope that's a correct reading- very much like a Black.
And Moody is also fascinating! The whole plot is fascinating! And I loved the details of the way you described Cadogan- as a foreigner- the details were so vivid- it really added a richness and complexity to the plot. I wonder if he's a wizard *ponders* I see him as similar to Sir Charles- from the Golden Compass (I don't know if you've read it, but I thought I would draw the comparison anyway =)
And your grammar was wonderful. Kudos to you.
If I had to make one critique- and that's not easy to do with such a wonderful story =)- I would say that your sentence flow can be abrupt- and in places choppy. Perhaps adding a couple of longer sentences in between the shorter ones you use for emphasis would not go amiss.
But it was brilliant! I really, truly did enjoy it. I haven't read something with a plot this complex/connected in a really long time. It's wonderful.Author's Response: Don't worry about how long it took, I know how busy all the reviewers are and this wasn't the shortest of stories. :) I really appreciate that you were able to come and review this for me. ^_^
So the first person is working? I have a love-hate relationship with that style of narration because it's so limiting. It helps that Helen's so opinionated - without her character, I don't think I could pull it off. But I do see what you mean about using too many short sentences. It's a bad habit I've gotten into that needs to be moderated more. Thank you for mentioning it - I'll definitely keep it in mind for future chapters, adding in more longer sentences to even things out. :)
And it's wonderful that you like Helen. The great thing about writing a Slytherin character is that they can say all the things about the world I never could. XD Cadogan is very much like Sir Charles - I never realized it until you mentioned it, wow. An unconscious influence, I guess, since I love Pullman's books.
Anyway, thank you very much for this review! It was wonderfully helpful and insightful. :D Report Review
I am not at all well-versed in HP geneology, but I can't imagine you not doing your homework. The way you introduced various Black and Malfoy ancestors (I did recognize a couple of the names) sounded completely natural, not like a boring list of "so-and-so was my granfather's second cousin, and so-and-so is my first cousin once removed, and . . ." like I sometimes come across. I also liked the way you worked WWI into the story. You have such a richly detailed backstory! That is sometimes lacking in fanfiction.
The very beginning of this chapter was excellent. I loved the way Helen was talking about different ways to tell the story and then sequed into her own history. It was a real gradual easing in that I enjoyed. However, there were a couple of paragraphs where she is talking about her history - how she wasn't raised to be normal and then had an alteration of thought - that sounded a little too self-aware or something. Almost as if she's been asked to write a page about herself as a school assignment.
Overall, though, the flow of this chapter was excellent, in my opinion. You covered a lot of material here, but it all seemed to move seamlessly from one part to the next. I didn't even realize I was being moved from one thing to the next until I finished reading and stopped to consider. Often when I read fanfiction, I wonder, well, how did the character really come to be in this situation? Why didn't the author explain X? I didn't find that at all here. It all seemed very well explained and thought out. Impressive.Author's Response: It was a challenge to get the ancestry right since the Black Family Tree was released after I'd written this. Some manoeuvring was necessary to make this family a "separate branch" of Phineas Nigellus's Blacks. I'm glad what I have here sounds natural, though, and that the backstory interested you. I like putting a lot of such detail into a story so that it does sound more realistic, that the characters have had lives before the story starts and after it ends.
It's great to hear that this chapter turned out well, narrative-wise. I can see what you mean about Helen sounding too self-aware, and will look out for that in future chapters. The self-awareness does fit into how I'll be ending the story, but I'd hate to have too much of that going on, as it can be annoying to read. Thanks for mentioning that. :)
Thank you very much for this review! It has the best of all worlds: critique and uplifting words. :D I really appreciate you coming in to read this story. Report Review
I was so excited to see your request. I've never come across an HP fanfic that involves ancient Egypt before! In fact, it never even occured to me to look for one. In your request, you asked me to review chapters 3-5, but I'm going to review them all because this story really intrigues me. Five chapters, ~14K words . . . I can handle that. Might not get to it all tonight though.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I especially enjoy stories that revolve around ancient Egypt. I love what you've done here in the prologue. Although leaving this bit out might make for a better mystery, you'd also run the risk of confusing readers, perhaps. This prologue really connects the readers to ancient Egypt in a way that simply diving into the 20th-century archaeological aspect wouldn't.
The prologue has a definite Egyptian flair to it; you captured the flavor of the times well, at least compared to books I've read. I wasn't actually there, so what do I know for sure. Anyway, the mood of this chapter was excellent. The funeral, the grief, the intimidating vizier, the ancient magic (great way to tie in with the HP universe, btw!) . . . it all handily set a scene of foreboding.
I am not an expert of ancient Egypt by any means at all, so don't take my word as an absolute fact here. However, there were a few things I did notice (they actually aren't important to the story, though). For instance, you seemed to imply a mourning period of "two moons," but I've always read it being 80 days or sometimes one month. The pharaoh would almost certainly have merited an 80-day mourning period. Also, in addition to his mummified body, there would have been some jars containing various internal organs. The liver had its own jar, but I forget what other organs were placed in the other jars. The brain was discarded, I believe. The funerary rites also would have included touching the eyes and mouth (and maybe ears?) of the mummy in order to grant it sight in the afterlife. The final thing is that although I have encountered various ways to spell the names of several of the gods, I have only ever seen Set's name spelled that way, or sometimes Sekhet/Sukhet. I've never seen Seth in a fiction book, but it obviously is a reasonable variation. I'm sure you're correct there, as the rest of this chapter seems well-researched.Author's Response: It's strange that there shouldn't be many, but I guess fanfiction tends to focus more on the characters from the books rather than the history of the world JKR created. With all the mythology associated with Ancient Egypt, I thought it'd be fun to also slip in a big of Potterverse magic - the way of performing magic may have changed, but the magic's still there. :)
The prologue still remains touch and go for me. It will connect to the plot later in the story, but for now, it helps bring in the fantasy aspect right away - separating this from the historical and situating it in the magical realm. It'd be great just to write a story about ancient magical use, but I'm digressing.
The last paragraph of your review is fascinating and immensely helpful. Those details would be great to add, making it at least a bit more historically accurate. I feel rather stupid for forgetting the canopic jars. *hides* As for Set's name, it does appear as Seth in some instances. I might have to check my sources there to make sure.
Thank you very much for this review! I was hoping for a great critique, but additional help on the historical side of things was a bonus. :D It's wonderful to find other people interested in this era in history; it's always been one of my favourite to read about. Report Review
"Hopefully I do not need to be more specific" - I enjoyed that line :P I've just realised that you're not using contractions in Helen's voice, which is a nice touch giving us a better sense of her social class - even if the majority of HPFF writers and readers already know.
I will say that the beginning confused me a bit because something was repeated and I was unsure whether you were talking about the same person or two different incidents. It was the two paragraphs framed by: 'Yes, freedom...' and 'Dear old Hubert'. Are you talking about Hubert in both paragraphs? And some of the sentence structures in the first were a little strange and I wasn't sure at all at what you meant by 'Being also accomplished' - at what? Anyway, I felt these two paragraphs were getting at the same thing and it seemed to mess with the flow for me. That could, however, just be me reading it badly and missing something important!
Anyway, aside from that I loved the ending of the chapter. The appearance of Alexander (calling him Moody will confuse me) was funny, especially Helen's reaction. It was light-hearted and takes a little away from the otherwise quite dramatic and mysterious aspect which can sometimes get a little heavy.
I love the mystery of it all. Your description towards the end was just to die for, it sent shivers down my spine, it was amazing. I'm jealous :P
Helen's character is developing well and I really enjoy reading her. The complexity of the story (in historical and plot terms) is well balanced with you having limited the number of OCs. It's not an overpowering rush of them in one go, and it helps to give us a better sense of all the characters.
I loved it - you're an absolutely amazing writer and it was a joy to read these 3 chapters.
Please re-request for the next couple of chapters when you get chance (preferably after the 12th when my exams finish, though, so I'm not distracted :P )
xAuthor's Response: I've worked a bit on those paragraphs you mentioned - trying to straighten things out. By "accomplished" I meant that she had all the skills of a proper lady, rather like Jane Austen or anything 19th century-esque. I also clarified that Helen had two jobs before the story took place: the first at a souvenir-making shop and the second with an old professor. Hopefully that works better now, and thank you for letting me know about the issue. Sometimes I get so into the prose that it gets bogged down with incoherence. :P I have a bad habit of using Yoda-speak at the strangest of moments.
It's great that you like both Alex and Helen. I love writing OCs too much, and these two are exciting characters because they can do humour or drama well (mostly the former). :P I'm looking forward to trying out action scenes with them because I think they'd be well-suited to it. :)
I'm really glad that you liked the description near the end. This is like the second or third try I've had in getting it just the way I want, and it's great to know that it's effective. ^_^ That it sent shivers down your spine is exactly what I wanted. :D
Thank you again for these reviews! I'll be sure to request you again later in the month, and good luck with your exams! :) Report Review
First things first, I love Helen's persona. Everything about her is fantastic. She's showing no signs of ever becoming a Mary-Sue, which is a breath of fresh air. Her independence and self-belief is fantastically portrayed and I loved reading every little thing about her. You brought across her family's history really well, without it feeling like I was being lectured about her. It really gives the reader a good background.
The fact that she's not afraid to speak her mind, and not be submissive and weak is also good to see, and her departure was written very well. Yay, Liverpol! Quite a random place to go, I thought, but perhaps you know something about it that I don't. Unless it's for the docks which would make a lot more sense. I'm rambling. Sorry.
Backtracking to her family. I think you've kept very well to the traditional Black family attitudes, though toned down a little maybe, which is good to see since I'm sure most people exaggerate their actions, myself included. I quite like the relationship between her and her father, but the recurring thing that her mother will eventually win out. I know the feeling!
I really like the last paragraph. It wasn't really anything in particular, but the concise nature of what Helen has taken with her gives me a good sense of what she's about and what is important to her.
I really enjoyed this chapter. It was a great way to see into Helen's mind and that of her family.
xAuthor's Response: It's great that you like Helen. She annoys me to death sometimes, but at the same time, she's often easy to write because she's so different, very much her own person. I wanted her to be a Black, not one of the rebellious ones, but a "true" Black, all proud and prejudiced. The only thing she won't fall for is duty - she'd rather make her own choices. :D
The choice for ports was Liverpool, London, or Southampton - so Liverpool was my own random choice. I think I meant for Helen to be avoiding places where people who knew her might go - she was trying to escape without notice. Haha, so it was for the docks. :P
Yes, with her family, I didn't want to have another Mrs. Black, crazy and inbred. Helen's mother is very strict in her purebloodedness, but it's part of her cunning Slytherin personality more than insanity. ;) I agree that the Blacks are probably exaggerated, especially because they're always described by those against them, namely Sirius.
Thank you very much for this review! I'm glad that you liked this chapter, and the story so far! :D Report Review
Well I haven't done Egyptian history since I was about 6, so I have no idea if there were any blatant errors there. I may have to go and read up on it, though, because it sounds interesting. I also think by taking someone as well-known as Tutankhamun, you're probably increasing the number of readers, since everyone has heard of him.
So, I don’t know if there's a great deal to comment on, really. I think this prologue serves its purpose well. I'm interested to see where the story is going. Your writing is ridiculously enviable. I loved the first paragraph in particular. It really drew me in and got me interested straight away, which is always a good sign :P
Obviously I have no idea where the plot is going exactly, and that makes me all the more intrigued. I'm sorry that this is on the short side and that it took so long for me to get around to doing this.
xAuthor's Response: *feels guilty* It does work as a draw, doesn't it? I was more looking for the time period than the pharaoh himself, but I see what you mean as well. If one must use any pharaoh, it has to be him. :P
I'm still not sure what I meant to do with this prologue - there was something of the plot I was going to get more into, but have since forgotten - but I'm glad that it serves its purpose and draws in the reader well. The historical aspects of it are crudely skewed by me, but it is fun to play with history a bit, especially when adding in fantasy elements. :)
Thank you very much for doing this! When doesn't matter as long as it happens eventually - you are busy with exams, if I remember. I really appreciate hearing from you. ^_^ Report Review
I absolutely adore your characterisation of Helen. She may have run away from home, but she's still a Black through and through and doesn't shy away from her Slytherin qualities. I'm definitely not a fan of the hundreds of members of the Black family in fan fiction, who seem to lead on from Sirius' example. Despite her Slytherin ways she remains lovable and so her supposed flaws don't seem all that bad. I, however, am a fan of Slytherins and think they make some of the most interesting characters to write.
Mr Cadogan is a very intriguing character. I can't help but wonder why he is employing Helen and what he is in Egypt for. There's definitely some sort of mystery there.
I noticed a minor discrepancy in that in one of the earlier chapters you described Helen's wand as being made of mahogany, but now it is apparently made of Rosewood. Just a small issue.
You have amazing descriptive skills and you really do manage to show the reader things instead of telling them, something that I have yet to manage, but I dare say I could get a few tips from learning over your work. It seems to come to you as second nature.
Again, this chapter flowed nicely and had a great pace and I can't emphasise enough how natural your writing style is and how well it translates over to the page.
I have enjoyed reading this story immensely and I'm very glad that you asked me to review because I probably wouldn't have got round to reading it otherwise.
JaneAuthor's Response: You like her? :D It's funny because I used to hate her, she sounded so annoying when I wrote her the first time. She's less annoying now, but it's still a surprise to me when people like her. It must be her Slytherin side that I'm not a fan of, though that is her more interesting side, as you've said. Writing a Slytherin from the first person is a strange experience for this poor Hufflepuff. :P
I didn't want her to be another of those rebellious Blacks. She did run away, but for entirely different reasons - she wanted her freedom in a way that marriage would not have allowed for, especially marriage to a Malfoy. She's more like a pureblooded feminist. ;) I'm glad that you like her and how she's developed so far.
I fixed up that discrepancy, thank you. I could have sworn that I hadn't mentioned her wand type yet, but my memory must be worse than I thought. :P Those are the types of things I tend to miss, so I appreciate you pointing that out.
Thank you for the compliment on my descriptive skills. :D I wish they were second nature! Practise does make perfect, and it's a challenge to maintain balance in describing just enough instead of too much (the latter of which I always did). If it helps, I try to imagine a scene as though I was actually there - how it looks, sounds, smells, etc. - and that usually makes it easier to write about. :)
I really appreciate your reviews for this, thank you, Jane! When a new chapter's up, I'll be sure to request you again. :D Report Review
Hey Susan, it's Jane from TGS here with your review. Sorry that it's so late, but I wanted to read it all instead of just the ones I was reviewing!
There's not much I can say about your writing style, because in my opinion it's flawless! It's very elegant and your language is wonderfully suited to the time period and seems very natural. I think that you've struck just the right balance between historical accuracy and telling the story; you've obviously done your research, but you don't let little details govern the story.
It continues to be very well paced. Your pacing is perfect and I also think that you chose the perfect point to start introducing a bit of action and add more to the mystery. On the subject of the action, it was written very well and wasn't at all confusing for the reader, which is something difficult to achieve.
You mentioned that you had recently rewritten these chapters, but it's hard to tell that you have because you have sustained the flow of the story so well. Since you haven't written any more chapters of this story in so long there was a possibility of it being different, but you have kept to the style of the story.
You are also making a very good job of first person, balancing out Helen's thoughts with her surroundings really successfully and creating a 3D, lovable and interesting protagonist in the process. She comes across believably through little touches, such as her talking to herself and it really increases the realism.
My one criticism, well, it isn't even a criticism, Lol. Early on in the chapter when Helen is having dinner with Moody he replies to her saying 'Me neither', but the reply isn't a reply to what she says, rather a reply to what she's thinking. It's just hit me that I may have picked up a clue about Moody here, but Helen said that she can pick up the presence of other magical beings...
You've incorporated magic well into this story. It's very original and having it based in such a far off place and with no background in the HP books just adds to its merits.
In my opinion, this was truly wonderful and I'm definitely adding it to my favourites! You are fast becoming my very favourite author on HPFF, Susan; the more of your work I read the more fabulous I think you are.
JaneAuthor's Response: Whee! A long one! :D Those ones are always exciting to respond to. *rubs hands together* It's great you found the time to read and give such a thorough review. I really appreciate it because they're so helpful when I think about where the story will go from here. :)
Okay, now I have to blush. Your review is very glowing and positive, which is lovely to read, and quite heartening. It's great to hear that the style, language, and pacing all suit the story. Helen's voice comes way too easily (it's a bit disturbing), which helps, I think, but the pacing was something I was uncertain about. It seemed at times that there was too much of her talking to herself and not enough action. So thank you for the relief there! And I'm glad that even the action scene worked out - action is one of things I'm still experimenting with, not having written enough to be comfortable with it.
When I was editing this story, I started out light and with each chapter, managed to rework more and more of the plot to the point hat I had to delete two chapters, only one of which has been reposted so far. Maybe the flow continued because I worked on each chapter in succession - almost as though I was writing a whole new story. Anyway, I'm glad that the story still manages to make sense in this rewritten form. I've always loved the idea behind this, but it needed a lot of work to bring it up to par. ;)
Thank you for pointing out that criticism! It was a sentence inconsistency, and I've since changed it. Though, the way you've mentioned it here has given me an interesting idea for future chapters, so I doubly owe you thanks for it. :D
Thank you so much for this, Jane! I know I'm thanking you a lot, but you deserve it. ^_^ Report Review
I am utterly fascinated with this. Just so you know. :) I have been interested in archaeology for a few years now, and just recently wrote a paper on King Tuutankhamen. This greatly surprised me when I stumbled upon it; I am very happy to have do so, however. I will definately say something if it strays too far, however you're done a wonderful job already. :)Author's Response: Oh yay, another knowledgeable person in the field! I most definitely hope you can point out any too-distant strays into fancy, there might be a few as the story goes on *looks innocent* but I can't say for certain, of course.
It's great that you enjoyed this first bit, hopefully the rest also satisfies. ^_^ Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review! Report Review
I bet she was strongly tempted to Confund somebody into hiring her. :) This Cadogan guy (nice one there - Sir Cadogan) is suspicious, why does he want a guide if he's not paying attention to the monuments? Loved the Baedeker reference, classic Egypt there! And Helen didn't do terribly well covering up her wand there. Might've been better to just give him a wee Memory Charm. Oh well, can't hex everyone.
Two nitpicks: I don't think Moody would say the "parchments" he studied. He would say papyri (plural of papyrus) or just scrolls. Secondly, fiancé refers to a man. Fiancée refers to a woman.
There's one school of thought (in archaeology, there's always a couple of schools of thought on every issue) that believes KV62 was originally intended for Ay, before he became a Pharaoh and only held the rank God's Father. The tomb that he did wind up occupying, KV23 over in the West Valley, may have originally been intended for Tutankhamun. KV62 isn't just a hole in the ground, it's a series of rooms, and it must already have been constructed when Tut died, because they could not have completed it in the space of the few months that passed between his death and burial. Ay was quite old and would have already had construction begun on his own tomb.
I'm so glad you're continuing this! I really can't wait to see where it goes. And yay another Amelia fan! Carter's journals are fascinating, aren't they? He seems like he was a nice man, though he wasn't the greatest archaeologist (he did quite a bit of damage to Tut's remains, and to the artifacts).Author's Response: Knowing Helen, that was probably her next step! Wish I'd thought of making her say that, haha. It would be so her. :D Yes, I ripped the name from the insane knight - perhaps that says something about this Cadogan. He is a suspicious sort, definitely one to watch. ;) Helen didn't hex him then and there because she thought he had guessed what she was (she is more than a bit paranoid) - that will come up more in the future, though.
I feel so stupid about those errors. Thank you for pointing them out. The second one really makes me feel like an idiot - I didn't realise there was a difference! Oh well, one learns something new all the time. :D
You know, the idea that the tomb was intended for Ay would work very well in my story, since I have made him a wizard - perhaps, then, the tomb was equipped with something suitable for a magical being, even if it was instead the Muggle king buried there. The switching of tombs could explain a few things that were turning in my head about how to better integrate the events of the prologue with the rest of the story. Thank you - I really need to steal your brain!
I remember in the Amelia books how much she complained about him finding the tomb, that Emerson would have done a far better job (except he was still outlawed from the Valley at that time, I think?). It's sometimes hard to distinguish the realism of the novels with the actual history. Carter's journals were really interesting in how they described not only the objects, but the entire process of sorting through them and trying to understand what all of them were for. There were a lot of mysteries in that tomb, that's certain.
Thank you very much for your reviews, momotwins. I love reading them for all the knowledge you possess about Egypt and its history, and for your opinions. :D Report Review
Well, the story is progressing along nicely, I still have no idea as to what the end result will be, but I expect that you have it all planned out. (I do like Moody)
Keep up the good writingAuthor's Response: I'm glad that it's progressing well. Plots aren't my strong point, so I'm trying to work on improving them with this story. There is a bit of this planned out, but the details still need further expansion. ;)
Thank you very much for reviewing all the chapters. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts! :D Report Review
More interesting news. Is the job offer real, or is a a set-up made by Canis' henchmen? What will happen to Moody?
Keep up the good writingAuthor's Response: Yes, it's good to ask who Cadogan may be. :P Keep that in mind, haha. As for Moody, he'll be around, he always is.
Thank you! :D Report Review
Well, interesting developments. Alexander Moody is from Ohio? This is getting better and better. Keep up the good work.Author's Response: I needed a random state that seemed plausible. One is usually safe with Ohio. :P That is, if he's telling the truth (hard to say).
Thank you again! :D Report Review
Very nice plot twist. Is Canis as bad as he is thought to be? What will Helen do in Egypt as a supplement to her income? Will she meet someone there? And about her pureblood notions, what of those?Author's Response: The question about Canis is a good one. Helen's rather paranoid about his presence, and yet she never explains why. Whether or not he is actually good or bad is hard to tell. ;)
As for the other questions, the subsequent chapters will reveal those for you. :D
Thank you again for reading and reviewing! Report Review
This is a wonderful begining to the story. Very interesting choice of genre, historical fiction.
I will be following closely, keep up the good work.Author's Response: It's one of my favourite genres to read, or at least it was once, so I thought why not try it out myself? :D
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! I hope that you enjoy the rest of the story. :) Report Review
I like that you threw in a bit of Slytherin pride for her. It's nice to see a Black family black sheep who's not all Gryffindor-ed up, very refreshing change. I loved your bits of Arabic in here, and oh the Winter Palace! That takes me back. God that place is gorgeous. I didn't stay there, of course, they don't pay archaeologists that kind of money, but I walked through it, and it was incredible. You do a good job keeping a period flair in this story. Feels very 1920s. I hope she'll meet Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter... Do you plan to continue this story eventually? It's very good!Author's Response: Yes, I wanted to make sure that she was definitely not one of the "good" Blacks who ran away because her ideals didn't match up with her family's. She's rebellious, but not lacking in ambition or cunning, and certainly not a Muggle-lover (though she's learning to tolerate them and their weaknesses, especially as she keeps forgetting her wand at home!). I didn't want another Sirius or Andromeda, not even another Regulus, on my hands. Helen's still very much a Slytherin, however much she's forced to go beyond that designation.
Part of Helen's snobbishness is that she still frequents the Winter Palace even though she has no money at all. :P She complains about the prices and the attention, but she probably can't help but enjoy both! Which reminds me that I need to work more of that contradiction - being a Black vs. being dirt poor - into the story more. She's still not used to living off crumbs, and that comes from being a wealthy pureblood.
I'm really glad that the 1920's feel is there. I've read a lot of books from and about that period, which helps, but one does worry about modern language slipping in. I haven't yet decided if she will actually meet Carnarvon or Carter - she hears about them and sees them from afar, but being as inexperienced as she is, they wouldn't pay a spot of attention to her. However, Carnarvon's death will be a big deal, for the obvious reasons of the curse. :P I am continuing to work on this story. Having revised these first chapters, I'm now rewriting the next two, both of which needed more work in terms of plot.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review it! :) I really appreciate hearing from you. Report Review
Hm, very interesting. The curse being actually real? I love this idea. In reality it was all journalistic fabrication, but what fun to tie it in to the curse-breakers that Bill Weasley worked with. Fantastic. Very creative ideas. I'm intrigued by Moody here, any relation to the canon Moody? He's a fun character. There were a lot of Americans working in the Biban el-Muluk in the early 20th century, particularly before and just after WWI.
The valley at that period in time was not at all as it is now. There was scree all over the floor of the valley, and piles of backfill from other excavations, it was quite treacherous to get around in (didn't stop the tourists, of course). In fact, some tombs were found once all the backfill was removed. There were guards posted, but quite a lot of tomb theft went on. Now the valley's cleared and retaining walls built to protect the tombs. It's extraordinarily hot, but there's an incredible feeling of history when you're in the valley.
I wish I was back in Egypt, reading this story :) You're doing a good job getting that "local" flavor to it while still keeping it Potter-fied.Author's Response: A few mosquitoes and accidental deaths can go a long way, haha. But I hadn't made the connection with Bill as curse-breaker, so I'll look up more on that, to see if there's anything more of the Potterverse I can sneak into this story. It was initially going to be an original, but the potential for fantasy elements was too hard to resist. I'm still struggling with the idea that Helen is the only witch/wizard who would have attended the tomb's opening, since I think even the Wizarding World would have been interested in a complete tomb (unless they had opened it years ago, but still).
As for Moody, I don't want to give anything away, not that there is much to give away at all. This isn't a romance story, however much the two of them are thrown together, but the potential is there, I suppose. ;)
Now you've given me an idea for the scene I'm currently writing about the piles of debris and backfill, thank you. :D Wasn't Tut's tomb one of those found beneath a pile of backfill? I remember it being mentioned in one of the later Amelia Peabody novels. As for tourists, I've seen enough of them to know their tactics and desperation, haha. Anywhere they can go, they will, and anywhere they can't, they'll also go. :P
If you do see any horrible historical or geographical mistakes, it would be great if you could let me know. I've never been, though I've always wanted to go (even with the heat *shudders*). It's interesting trying to mould together the two favourite series of my early teenage years.
Thank you again for the review! It's wonderful that you're enjoying this story. :) Report Review
I looked through your other reviews - am I the first archaeologist to read this? Hmm.
This was fascinating. I love a Black family black sheep. It's funny how often they have a family member just run off and abandon them. Once per generation, almost. I like her character, and how you brought her into canon and right back out of it again into her own story. Great job.Author's Response: You probably are, not that many archaeologists in the fandom, I'm sure. ;)
The Blacks seem to have so many black sheep that it's easy to just insert another here or there as necessary. I did start his before the Family Tree was made public, so there was tweaking involved to make this more canon again (including making this family the lesser country cousins of Phineas Nigellus), but I'm glad that it still fits into the larger canon well.
Thank you again for the review! I really appreciate it. ^_^ Report Review
I see you're in the Ay-as-murderer camp :) There's one school of thought that believes he was father to Nefertiti, and another that believes he was a brother to Queen Tiy, Akhenaten's mother. Ah, the 18th Dynasty, my very favorite. Ay already had a Chief Wife when he married Ankhes. and may have done so only as a political move. She certainly was never his Queen, as his tomb is very blatant that Tey was his queen. The latest examinations of Tutankhamun's remains indicated he died of an infection/gangrene following a broken leg. Ankesenamun may have been Tut's half-sister, or his aunt, if he was related to the Amenhotep lineage as postulated. There's a lot of confused and conflicting archaeological evidence of the waning of the 18th Dynasty, thanks to Horemheb's determination to wipe out all record of Akhanaten and the Amarna period and many of the tombs have not been found.
Ah but I could go on and on... Have you read Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series? If you're into the Howard Carter-era of Egyptology, they're a good read, especially her description of the discovery of KV62. She's got a PhD in Egyptology and has written some of the best references on it in addition to her mysteries.
Okay really stopping now. I'm enjoying this so far :) I love your writing, so I expected I would. 10/10Author's Response: *jaw drops* Someone who knows about Egyptian history! Be warned that I might pester you for information; while I've read all of Elizabeth Peter's books (this story is inspired by both the Amelia and Vicky series), there's only so much they can provide. I've also read Howard Carter's diary of the excavation, which was a fascinating read. :D Egypt has been an interest of mine since elementary school, so anything Egypt-oriented tends to catch my attention.
I'm not exactly convinced myself that I want Ay to have murdered him. I've made Ankesenamun suspect murder, but it's more of a Muggle-Wizard issue than actual knowledge that Tutankhamun was murdered. Certainly Ay's magical power (in this story, not in history, of course) makes her distrust him because it gives him such authority. I didn't know, though, that she could have been Tut's aunt - I knew the half-sister possibility, but that was common enough among the royalty. Although it is frustrating how conflated and confusing the history from the 18th dynasty is, it does provide a fun route for fiction. ;)
Thank you for reading and reviewing this, momotwins! I'm really looking forward to reading your thoughts on the rest of the story. :) Report Review
Oh yes, I'm going to enjoy this story. It seems there's more than one Black with the guts to oppose the family matriarch. Good for Helen. I'm looking forward to further adventures.Author's Response: Haha, yes, the Blacks do create a rebellious one every few generations. :P Thanks very much for the review! I hope you like the chapters to come! :D Report Review
well written, concise anfd to the oint yet with the poignancy of the young queen's anguish clearly described. Appears historically correct except of course for the magical demon. I'll always wonder what happened to her, won't you?Author's Response: I've heard pretty terrible things about what did happen to her in the end. It must have been horrible for her to experience widowhood so young, only to become a political pawn. :( Thank you very much for the review! It's great that you're enjoying this so far. Report Review
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