Reading Reviews for Figurehead
38 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Calypso  One

2nd October 2012:
I really enjoyed this beginning!

I think it's an interesting idea to set a story during OotP, with all the drama and controversy surrounding Harry and Dumbledore is at it's height, and you started that off really well here with the anxious parent, and then the prefects meeting. Is Amelia really neutral about it all? Or will we have to wait and see!

Your main character seems very three dimensional- I think it's a really original idea to make her a Slytherin- it gives her much more depth. Plus, it's nice to see a Slytherin who isn't inherently evil!

I was impressed at the beginning with the way you managed to convey a lot of information about your character very subtly. Only halfway through the chapter, I knew a lot about your character without having it explained step-by-step.

I also liked Amelia's descriptions of the new prefects- it made me smile, especially the parts about Ron and Hermione!

Great first chapter- I really enjoyed reading it!

Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it! I think OotP is a fascinating book - it's always been my favourite and there's so much tension and uncertainty in it. I'm sick of seeing Slytherin characters as inherently evil, especially during the Hogwarts era, and I really don't buy that they were all like that. I really love just being able to slip detail about a character into the story without having to write a few tedious introduction paragraphs. Although I get the sneaking suspicion that after six chapters I still haven't described what she looks like...whoops.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reviewing (and for all the other reviews I see sitting above this one - you rock!)

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Review #27, by Akussa Six

30th September 2012:
Well, you weren't kidding when you said that the sixth chaper was coming soon! I really liked it, especially the opening when Dear Umbridge meets up with the Heads. I thought it was perfectly fitting for her to "use" the Heads like this; trying to get them to commit themselves and be a part of her decisions. That puts them in a situation where they are way too involved and end up looking like they are on her side.

The second part, about Penny and Amelia, I saw it coming (I mean, why would you have even brought up Penny's homosexuality if it wouldn't have involved your main character closely?). I thought you did a great job bringing it up and her own reaction to figuring it out was priceless. It will definitly be interesting to see how this will develop considering the fact that they are Slytherins and in a time such as this.

Once again, a great chapter. I really like this story a lot and can't seem to get enough!

Author's Response: Yeah, I'm a TA and the ideas for this story are coming thick and fast, so updates will be pretty quick. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter, and you're right about Umbridge wanting to get the Heads on her side, or at the very least looking like they're on her side. It's definitely a power play situation.

I was a bit nervous about this particular chapter because I know that some people do have a problem with homosexuality and Amelia's the first gay character I've written, but I'm glad I'm pulling it off so far. It's definitely a priority for me to portray everything as accurately as I can, and you're right about how them being Slytherins at this time poses a few difficulties.

Thank you for reading and reviewing, as always! Chapter 7 is already written and should be up shortly :)

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Review #28, by Akussa Five

28th September 2012:
One sentence. One sentence in the entire chapter and my blood is boiling. That is what I call great writting.

The first thing that really hit me with this chapter is the usage of magic. The descriptions and detailing of the school and its teachers really gives me the same feel that the original books do. The constant, ambiant magic was a nice reminder.

Other than that, I have to say that I enjoy the clash between the two Heads' vision of the world. The Ravenclaw that doesn't want to believe a war is coming and the Slytherin who believes but wants to leave. I'm not sure if I've mentionned it yet but I also really like the characterization of Amelia in terms of being a Slytherin. Not all Slytherins are evil and I like how you went with that. She is ambitious and competitive but not solely trying to curse everyone and want the world to kneal at her feet.

Well, so far I like it a lot and I do hope you will keep up this great story. It's going into my favorite's list as I want to make sure I won't miss the next updates! Great work in terms of originality, keeping to canon and especially characterization.

Author's Response: Oh, I would love to know what that sentence was!

Oh wow, that's high praise indeed! I'm thrilled I was able to pull off, at least in some sense, the feel of the books - I am writing straight from Order of the Phoenix so maybe that's paying off :) I do love the Hogwarts teachers, particularly Professor McGonagall.

It is an interesting clash, I think - especially since Slytherins are traditionally painted as the ones who side with Umbridge against Voldemort's return. She's not entirely convinced yet, but she respects Professor McGonagall a lot and the fact she thinks war is coming sets off some alarm bells.

Amelia, I think, is my attempt at exploring what it actually means to be a Slytherin - ambitious to a fault, definitely proud and self-serving, but not inherently evil, cowardly or obsessed with power.

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much! I'm planning to post the next update more or less now - I actually have chapters 6 and 7 sitting on my computer but haven't gotten around to posting them yet. Hope to see you back and thank you so much for the reviews!

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Review #29, by Akussa Four

28th September 2012:

The first part of the chapter, the insight on how the Slytherins ranking works was brilliant. The "Lords of Slytherin" bit blew my mind because this is exactly how I imagine things to happen in there! Alright, maybe not the little second year bit :) I thought that the small Draco moment, him trying to win the sixth years was very well executated and really showed an interesting part of the Slytherin's fonctionning (if that makes sense).

The second part was interesting as well. It was nice to get a larger view of the Slytherin seventh year girls en though I'm pretty sure, aside from Penny, they won't hold a major place in this story.

Lastly, I have to admit that I find the idea of Umbridge being a former Slytherin Head Girl very interesting. I had never pictured her in that position but it makes so much sense!

Oh, I spotted a little thing in this chapter. It's not much but it did break the rythm of my reading because I had to re-read the sentence a couple times to get it right.

"... But there was something about her ominous well see about that in class today that made me nervous ..."; I feel like the 'we'll see about that' part should be either between apostrophes or, er, something else because as it is right now, the sentence doesn't flow as well as the rest of your writting. It's minor but since I haven't really found anything else to comment on in the first four chapters, I've got to search hard!!!

Great work once again, I really liked this chapter!!

Author's Response: Thanks! I really enjoyed looking more into the Slytherin dynamic - we only see Harry's impressions of the Slytherins in canon, based on Draco Malfoy, and I found it unlikely that the entire house of Slytherin was either like him or one of his followers. I can imagine a lot of older, more talented students just treating him with contempt, and it occurred to me that it would be quite common in an ambition-focused house like Slytherin - having students who think they're the best. In the case of Tiberius, I can imagine Draco acting the same way when he was a second-year - not all kids respect an age-based hierarchy and I think that's the sign of arrogance that would most annoy the others in their house.

The Slytherin seventh-year girls do play a minor role, though you're right in observing that Penny will be in the story a bit more often. I'm not sure if you've picked up on exactly what capacity that is yet, but it'll come up in Chapter 6 :)

I did think that Umbridge would have been a Head Girl - she is, after all, a politician and a position like Head Girl would have definitely prepared her for it. And we do know she was a Slytherin. It creates a connection between her and Amelia - to a certain extent they're able to understand each other.

I did notice that when I was rereading - I didn't pick up on it when I posted it. I think that part was italicised in my Word document but I forgot to redo the italics when I posted. Thanks for bringing that to my attention :)

Thanks once again for reading and reviewing!

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Review #30, by Akussa Three

28th September 2012:
Oh how I loved that chapter!

First off, wow. You really did an amazing job with Umbridge's characterization. You managed to keep her sweet, evil tone all the while managing to have her true controling and power hungry personality shine through.
The confrontations between Umbridge and Amelia were very well done and forshadow an interesting year to say the least. Amelia sounds like a very smart student and she tackled Umbridge with facts and an attitude that proves she is a perfect match for the teacher and has already understood her game (though I doubt she has already).

Another great portrayal was the one of the twins. They were really well balanced in the sense that they weren't over the top trying to cause mayhem while still being able to find the fun in everything.

Great chapter, can't wait to see how the "relationship" between the two strong women will turn out!

Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it! Umbridge really is a loathsome character, but that makes her all the more interesting to write and I'm glad I pulled off her characterisation well - she's a unique form of evil. Umbridge and Amelia, while being very different people, have their similarities, which means that Umbridge knows exactly how to try and manipulate Amelia, but it goes both ways and Amelia can definitely hold her own. But it is a power play, especially in the early days before Umbridge has a lot of authority at Hogwarts.

I'm glad I pulled off the twins! They're so beloved in canon and are everyone's favourite characters, so there's always a bit of pressure to get them right. I have written them before, but it's a challenge.

Thank you for the review and I hope you enjoy the next chapters!

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Review #31, by Singularity Three

28th September 2012:
Sorry, I've gotten a bit behind on this story. I'm hoping this weekend to catch up on reading/reviewing the chapters I've missed.

You know, for some reason, it never dawned on me that Umbridge taught all 7 years the exact same curiculum. As annoying as that must've been for Harry and the other 5th years, it must've been even worse for the 7th years who had already passed their OWLS and were studying for their NEWTS.

Amelia is really starting to grow on me. I admire her confidence and love the way she stood up to Umbridge in class. The appearance of Fred and George in class was a nice touch. It seemed quite in character for them to speak up on the matter.

The scene between Umbridge and Amelia at the end is great. Again, I love that Amelia stands up to her and can see through her overly sweet persona. At the same time, Amelia realizes that Umbridge really could be a threat.

The little details that you put in to tie it to canon (like Harry walking in for his detention at the end)are great. I always love when authors are able to set their story into the context of canon like that. It makes them seem much more realistic in the HP realm.

You're setting up the story and the tension really well. I'm sorry this story isn't getting more attention. Hopefully it will as it goes on. Regardless, I'm continuing to enjoy it and will be sticking with it, even if it takes me a bit to review, so I hope you keep writing!

Author's Response: That's fine! I'm thrilled you're taking the time to read and review in the first place - I always love receiving reviews from you!

I think there may have been subtle differences in the curriculum throughout the school, but she certainly had the 'going through the basics,' theory-based approach for all the year levels and considering this particular crop of seventh-years had Lupin for their OWL year, Umbridge's approach is definitely on the patronising side.

I'm glad you're starting to like Amelia, especially since at the beginning you weren't sure whether you would like her :P Mind you, I was the same when I started writing her, but she's surprised me with her guts and you'll see more examples of that in later chapters. She's by no means a Gryffindor, but she does have a certain amount of courage and it's fun discovering that. Fred and George pop up on occasion - everyone in Amelia's year group would know them and they're the kind of guys who just tend to appear everywhere.

I find Umbridge and Amelia a very interesting dynamic, especially because Umbridge understands exactly how to get to Amelia and uses that to her advantage. I'm very careful with canon details when I'm writing in the Hogwarts era, and I want Amelia to realistically and seamlessly fit into the established canon.

I'm glad you're enjoying it, and once again thank you for reviewing! I hope you enjoy the next few chapters!

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Review #32, by Akussa Two

27th September 2012:
Hi again!

Very interesting chapter this was! I love these types of character development chapters and you really did it well. Having it going through dialogue was really nice for this story since this fitted nicely with the first chapter's style.

Both Oliver and Amelia are interesting characters and I like their relationship a lot. The type of true friendship where you can tell everything to the other; it's nice to read (especially when knowing that they are pretty much each other's only real friend).

Really interesting and insightful chapter as well as well written!

Author's Response: Good to see you back! I'm definitely very big on dialogue, and I think there's no better way to establish friendships and relationships - it's amazing how much I learn about my own characters just by writing their dialogue. I love Oliver and Amelia's friendship as well, and I find it very rewarding to write. Thank you for the review and I hope to see you back again for later chapters!

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Review #33, by Akussa One

27th September 2012:
Hi! This has been on my "to-read list" for a couple days now (since the last chapter poped up on the recently added, the page to this story has been open on my laptop) and I now finally have a bit of time to review it!

What attracted me to this story in the first place is the originality of the era as well as the characters. You chose to put this story in the turmoil of Voldemort's rise and yet, showing it from a point of view we have not seen very often (alright, it's the first time I see it from a Head). Another thing that called at me? Umbridge on the banner!

After reading this opening chapter, I feel very excited about this story. I like when an author jumps right into the action and sets the story right away, giving more details and explanation through dialogues. I really like how your main character is a half-blood Slytherin; really adds to the suspense of how this is going to turn out!

My only complain is that this chapter was very short. Now it's not really a complain, I know, but it's the only thing I can think about! I'm really happy that there are a few more chapters written because I think I would have been disapointed if this had been the only one up :)

Great work!

Author's Response: I'm flattered my story was such a priority, and thank you!
I know there aren't a lot of stories that deal with the Hogwarts era, but it doesn't seem very original for me because my other major OC story was also set in the Hogwarts era, so it's sort of familiar territory. I find it interesting that there aren't many stories out there about the Heads, unless you're counting plot devices to get James and Lily/Draco and Hermione together...but I digress.
I'm glad you're excited about it! I do tend to get into the story straight away and building characters from dialogue is definitely something I do a lot of. Amelia being a half-blood Slytherin is definitely important and there is a fair amount of tension in this story. It's definitely a contributing factor to it.
I do tend to write short chapters, that's my style. I do have a few longer chapters in this story (well, longer by my standards, though that's not really very long.) I hope you keep reading and enjoying, and thanks for the review!

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Review #34, by pennyardelle One

8th September 2012:
Hey! Thanks for being my first requested review in forever. :D I apologize if I'm slightly rusty.

You mentioned in your request that you have trouble with introductions, and I completely sympathize. I agonize over them, and never feel like I'm hitting the right balance of intriguing/informative/intelligible. I think this was overall a solid introductory chapter. I feel like I have a sense of what one of the conflicts of the story is (Amelia having to be Head Girl in a very turbulent time), and also learned some things about her (like her family issues, and that she's in Slytherin).

I thought your writing was strong throughout it, as well. The one thing I might have liked more, actually, is if it was a bit longer. I think it would have given you the chance to flesh out some of the moments with more description, and delve into Amelia's thoughts a bit more. I think you deliberately avoided explaining what her personal allegiances were to leave it on a bit of a cliffhanger, which is fine, but I think it would have been good to hear more of her inner monologue in the section where she's talking to the parents on the train platform.

So, intelligible (in other words, well-written, and I wasn't overwhelmed by information or confused)? Absolutely. Informative? Yes; I felt like I learned enough (but not TOO much, which can be a big problem for some authors) about Amelia and the challenges she's facing. Intriguing? That's where I think a bit of added length and more attention to detail could have really been effective. There were certainly moments where I stopped and thought, "Wow, that's interesting," but I often felt like those moments were passed over too quickly, when they could have been savoured a bit more. :P

I think it's really interesting that your character is a half-blood Slytherin, especially given the era of this story. And I also thought it was neat to see a different part of Hogwarts life when Harry & Co. were there. I never even wondered about who was Head Boy and Girl at this time, which strikes me as a bit odd, now that I've been introduced to the idea. :P It's an interesting premise for a story.

Well, I hope my comments were useful to you in some way! :) If they were, feel free to request for another chapter or story at some point when my slots are open.

Author's Response: You're very welcome, and thank you for offering to review in the first place :)

That's a good point about the length though. I do tend to write shorter chapters than most, especially while I'm working out exactly how much information needs to go into each chapter, but I will probably come back and revise it a bit at some point.

I would be interested to know which points were the ones you thought were interesting and could be developed more. I have Amelia's backstory all worked out, but it's just a case of figuring out where it needs to go.

I never really thought about who the Head Boy and Girl were either until I started planning for the story and realised I could fit Amelia easily into the canon. As for the fact that she's a half-blood Slytherin, I think it is important for the position she's in - it definitely sets her apart from the rest of her house, especially the way they're portrayed in Order of the Phoenix.

Thanks so much for the review, and you'll probably see me requesting again at some point :)

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Review #35, by Singularity Two

7th September 2012:
I actually really like this chapter. I'm a sucker for character development :P

I find it really interesting that Amelia and Oliver are each others best (and pretty much only) friends and are in different houses. Makes me wonder how that happened. I'm seeing a friendship evolving from rivalry and forged by hours spent together studying in the library. :P

I really like their relationship, though. The line about how Oliver could pity her because they were equals was a really interesting one. I have a feeling Amelia doesn't see too many people as her equal, so that's pretty high praise.

I think you're handling the tension between Amelia's blood status and her house quite well. It seems realistic. She obviously isn't the only non-pureblood in Slytherin, but it would definitely be something she would need to overcome.

Just wanted to stop by and let you know that I'm still reading! I just finished chapter three, but I'll have to review it later as I'm out of time.

Author's Response: I'm enjoying the character development too. It's a rare occasion when I'm writing a new character whose backstory I've already worked out - I tend to either wing it or write characters I know so well that I don't really bother developing them for readers. Characters are always my favourite part of a story, and I'm finding Amelia quite rewarding.
You've sort of hit the nail on the head with their friendship really. The rivalry was definitely there when they were younger, but it's not as strong now, as they're not in direct competition for their favourite subjects.
It is high praise indeed, Oliver is the only person she really sees as an equal. As for the blood status, she more or less gets by by pretending she's a pureblood like everyone else. They're aware of her heritage, of course, but she does her best to not draw attention to it.
Glad you're still reading, and thank you for the review!

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Review #36, by Singularity One

28th August 2012:
Hi! I saw your blog, and since I'm such a fan of your stories and OotP is my favorite HP book, I figured I should check this new story out!

I love the idea of looking at the events of OotP and the build-up to Voldy's public return from the eyes of someone who is more neutral. Amelia seems like a well-developed character. I'm not sure I'm going to like her as a person, but I think she'll be great to read.

I think this set-up the story nicely. We definitely get a feel for who Amelia is. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

Author's Response: That makes me so happy! I haven't been writing much this year, but remembering there are people like you who enjoy my writing is a massive motivator, so thank you :)
I think Amelia's pretty well-developed myself, which is an achievement because I only came up with her about two or three days ago. Everything just fell into place with her, so I think that's a good sign. And yeah, she's probably not going to be very likeable. I make no apologies, not everyone is sweet and gracious and funny and humble. I prefer my characters arrogant and with pride issues :P
Thank you for the review and I hope to see you back!

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Review #37, by xximaginairexx (who is too lazy to log in right now) One

28th August 2012:
Saw your blog on the forums and decided to check this out... and it's actually pretty good. I'll be back for more, that's for sure :) Update fast!!!

Author's Response: Thanks! Update shouldn't be too far away, hope to see you back for it!

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Review #38, by Niclovegood One

28th August 2012:
I think this is good! I saw ur blog on the forums and decided to read it... I like you charater and she seems original! Can't wait to read more!! :) Update soon!!

Author's Response: Thanks! A few people have come to this story through my blog - I should blog about my writing more often :P Update shouldn't be too far away, thanks for the review!

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