Reading Reviews for House of Cards
  
112 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Lululuna Nine of Diamonds

26th March 2014:
Hello! :)

Ahh, it's so bad but I actually did read ahead a little bit after the last chapter and didn't review - this last month has been insane between RL and school! :( But I'm really excited to be almost caught up, I enjoy this story so much.

Oh, poor Sirius. :( I'm not sure if I've said this before, but I really do love how you write him here. In so many stories he's this arrogant playboy, which is great, but this story really shows how vulnerable and mistreated he is, how his unhappiness comes from such a personal and private place. There is so much nuance in every action - kicking the floor to leave a mark, as if he wants to mark the house and prove that he was a member of the family after all while simultaneously destroying the fancy furnishings. The focus on Sirius leaving marks in the house reminded me of the tapestry which he was blasted off of - he wants to leave a mark to prove he existed since they are so quick to vanish him from the family history.

And then the comparison to James' father was quite interesting as well. I liked how Orion doesn't add "do I make myself clear" at the end of his statement - it was so interesting in showing how even though Sirius is the underdog (no pun intended...) of the family, Orion doesn't want to insult the family honour or pride in his own spawn or something by implying that Sirius is stupid. It's such a complex duality in their relationship.

Well I'm glad Narcissa isn't dead! :P Sad how everybody treats her so delicately, so preciously, while Sirius is both a possession yet also disposable at the same time.

The contrast between Regulus and Sirius is quite interesting. I like how Reg is so polished and held together, and how in comparison Sirius is a bit of a mess, both physically and emotionally. The moment where Reg woke him up was a perfect example of that, and who holds the power in the brotherly relationship.

Alphard! He's so funny, and I like how he's presented as a bit of a goofy character and the Sirius feels that he can safely laugh at him as well as with him. Seeing the exchange of wits with Barty was quite interesting as well - I love how so many people are hinting at some sort of more-than-friendship between Reg and Barty, and how it's a bit of a sensitive subject for Barty. Hmm...and Bellatrix is having a bit of a fit, it seems. She's never quite normal, but I'm very curious about how exactly her head is working.

I do love all the hints of Reg/Barty though, they're quickly becoming head-canon for me! I was actually quite sad that you guys didn't place in the Speed Dating as your stories were some of my favourites! :( (fan girl moment, haha).

Great chapter! :D

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Review #27, by MidnightBlue_x Seven of Hearts

22nd March 2014:
Hi again!

So, firstly. Very mysterious in the first bit there, that makes me think that maybe my theory could be right? Or that could be something completely unrelated...I really have no idea!

Secondly, I absolutely loved the interaction between Bella and Sirius in this chapter. I love how there's obviously feelings of hatred between them, but there's also something else. I really liked seeing that, especially as I think most fics seem to disregard that they are, ultimately, still family.

Even though there isn't much in this chapter, I love the small little interactions between Barty and Regulus. I especially love how Sirius picks up on them and what he believes is going on. So good!

I think the story itself is progressing very nicely. I think developing the family dynamics are just as important as developing the mystery. Well done!

x Ely

Author's Response: Hi there - thanks so much for stopping by again! :)

Ooh, maybe ;) As I said, it is a brilliant theory! But unfortunately, I can't say anything, you understand!

Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it! I've always imagined that Bella and Sirius might have been relatively close when they were both younger, since I always thought they're pretty similar in character, in certain ways, and so I liked having them in a room together and sort of 'ganging up' together. They are family, and I think in a family-bloodline-obsessed pureblood society, that would count for a lot, you know?

Barty and Regulus... yeah, haha. Little things ;) Sirius is picking up on some things, but he really is a bit oblivious, poor boy :P

Gah, thank you so much! I'm really enjoying developing the family relationships and the way they all interact, because it's something which I find really interesting, and really fun to explore so I'm so glad you like it!

Thank you so much for the wonderful set of reviews - they are always so great to get! Thanks again! :)

Aph xx


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Review #28, by MidnightBlue_x Six of Diamonds

22nd March 2014:
I am completely terrible! Really, I am. I'm so sorry that there was such a gap between the last review and this one. I really have no excuse. I'm finally going to finish my reviews today though!

I know I say this every time but I really do love how to write Regulus and Barty. I love them in general, but I just...can't deal, when you write. That kinda sounds like I'm criticising you...what I mean is I love them so much that I can't even put it into words.

I still have absolutely no idea who the murderer is. I can't remember if I wrote this in my last review, but I have a feeling it might be someone outside of the current casts of characters. There's just something that gives me that feeling. As for who that might be, I have no idea.

I'm sorry this review is a little bit shorter and again, apologies for such a late review!

x Ely

Author's Response: Hey there - and seriously, don't worry about it! It's not a problem at all - I completely understand! RL can be such a pain at times.

Gah, thank you so much! Haha, no worries - I love writing Regulus and Barty. They have this friendship and relationship which is so fun to write in this - like, they're so different, but somehow they get along.

Ooh, don't worry about that! I'd be devastated if you did, lol! That is a fabulous theory. I love it. No, genuinely, I do! It's amazing... the cast will be growing a little soon - in a couple of chapters, I think - so maybe that will answer your questions? ;)

It's fine - thank you so much for coming back and thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #29, by LilyLou Three of Hearts

17th March 2014:
Hi, here for the Ravenclaw Review Battle!

Wow, another suspenseful and haunting chapter. You are wonderful at writing these kinds of stories, I've noticed. You give it a fantastic atmosphere and mood, I just keep wanting to read on.

The suspects. Hmm... Bella, of course, I think could have something to do with Cygnus's death. I wouldn't put it past her killing her own father for whatever reason she finds necessary. Definitely not Narcissa, I'd be shocked. And Reg, I hope it wasn't Reg. Pollux is definitely catching my attention, what with his cool demeanor and rushing to get the Healers there. I suppose that's natural though.. Oh gosh, all the different theories!

I cannot wait to read on and find out more about the murder. This is definitely interesting. Great chapter, yet again!

-Janelle

Author's Response: Hey - thanks so much for stopping by again! :) It's so great to see you coming back, so thanks! :)

Thank you! It's kinda fun writing about old, gloomy houses, with sweeping staircases and annoying portraits :P I'm so glad you like it, though - sometimes I get worried people will get bored with the same setting and all.

Ooh, suspects! Sure it's murder? :P Bella is nuts, that much is definite, haha. So yeah, it's not impossible for her to do something like that. Funny how everyone hopes it isn't Regulus, haha - little, sweet Regulus ;) Don't worry about theories - I love hearing theories! The more the better! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely pair of reviews - they were really great to receive! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story - hopefully you'll stop by again! :)

Aph xx


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Review #30, by LilyLou Two of Spades

15th March 2014:
Here for the Ravenclaw Review battle!

This is so suspenseful and ominous. It have me the chills, listening to them talk about Cygnus as he lies there dead on the floor. You wrote this wonderfully, your details really adding to the dark mood of the story.

I have to agree with Barty when I say that Cygnus was probably murdered. Oh gosh, I wonder who did it! At first I suspected Barty, but now I'm not so sure. Orion gives me the creeps, I have to say.

Ooh, it's so odd seeing Sirius surrounded by all of these people. I cannot wait to see how you write him acting around these evil people! Sirius is often written as a smart-mouth and all of that, being snarky and all that jazz. Will he be like that in this story? Hmm.. The questions!

Brilliant job! I understand why this story won the Dobbys! You've got a great start here, and I will definitely continue in reading this fantastic story!

-Janelle

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Thank you so much! It was a difficult thing to do, getting the start right - I rewrote the first scene about three times, I think, just to try and get it right - so I'm so glad you like it and think it works!

Really? Interesting :P Yeah, Barty is very suspicious... and Orion... interesting idea, that! He is a bit creepy though... then again, I suppose they are all, haha! :)

Sirius is such an interesting character, and I've always found the most interesting relationships he has are with his family - to me, at any rate - so I love writing him in this. He will almost certainly be a bit darker and perhaps moodier than most Sirius's around, but I like to think he's still Sirius! :)

Haha, it didn't actually win the Dobbys - it was TGS Awards - but thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it - it really is my baby at the moment, so it means a lot! Thanks! :)

Aph xx


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Review #31, by UnluckyStar57 Ten of Spades

13th March 2014:
Yes!! More Bartegulus!!

Of the three sections of this chapter, I think that the Bartegulus section is my favorite. It's actually one of the only times that they've been outside the house, if I remember correctly! However, outside seems to be just as dim and gloomy as inside. I love your use of colors here--or rather, your use of colorlessness--the greens and greys of the world, combined with the mist, definitely indicate that the weather patterns match the atmosphere inside the House of Black.

Also, this was the first time that I saw Barty as a normal boy. Inside the house, he's creepy and sinister, a real devil when it comes to stirring up controversy. Outside, he becomes more playful and, it would seem, a bit nicer to Regulus than he has been up to this point. I saw Bartegulus emerging in the last chapter or the one before that, but in the solitude of the mist, I actually LIKE it. Before, I saw it as threatening and creepy because of Barty's penchant for being that way, which it might still turn out to be! With a nicer Barty comes a more pleasant scene.

It's really adorable that they sort of knocked into each other and ended up in a... um... compromising position. Reg's blush, Barty's footpreint-following, the grabbing of hands--all were pretty cute. Well, as cute as a Black and a Crouch can get--after all, Barty still may have dubious motives for flirting with Reg! But here in the outside world, I totally ship them. I am by no means an expert on the art of writing slash, but I think that you made their relationship seem very realistic: how they seem like pretty close friends in the presence of other people, but they have a different sort of relationship when they're alone.

Bellatrix's arrival kind of ruins the little scene, though (thanks, Bella...). Now Barty becomes a "did he, didn't he?" character again, and I'm still not sure that he didn't have at least SOMETHING to do with the murders. I think it's really funny that Bella, instead of choosing to ask why the boys are rolling about together, asks why Barty automatically assumed that Cygnus was murdered.

And of course, the last line of this section was like a punch line: ""Okay," he agrees blithely. "Shall we go in now? I'm getting cold and my socks are wet."" The little twerp!! I love how this line contrasts with the rather serious material of Bella and Barty's previous conversation. :)

Okay, I've spent A LOT of time on that section... I'll try to balance that with the other two.

So the elder Black men are holding council about the will. Alphard, in contrast to Pollux and Orion, is rather boisterous in his movements and speech. It seems to be rather jarring for the other two, who are reserved and calculating! The big question (to me, anyways) is: What is in the other two boxes? Pollux pockets the will that Alphard gives him, but why does he have two other identical boxes? Do they contain alternate versions of the will? Perhaps those wills (provided that they exist) are forged?! What is going on?! I definitely need to go back and read from the beginning of this story up to this point--it's been a good while since I started reviewing this story! Actually (I just checked this), March 31st will mark the one-year anniversary of the first review that I left on this story! *ah, nostalgia*

But let's not waste time on that...

The third section introduces EVEN MORE MYSTERY to the already-mysterious events!! This is incredible! When you tie up all of the story threads at the end of this story, I am going to be shocked and amazed by your genius-ness! Sirius, because he can't be still for more than five minutes without dying of boredom, goes to the library. *big shock!* The storybook that he finds sounds incredibly scary. Like, what does that do to a kid's mind, to hear those haunting tales night after night?! "Here, sweetie, let me tell you a bedtime story about thorns and poison and blood." Yep, that's a happy childhood memory. Perhaps that's why 100% of Blacks seek psychological help in the afterlife: they were traumatized as children. :P

I really think that the pinkish stuff in the vial is poison. What else could it be--pink lemonade?! Nope. That's something that the Blacks hate, because it actually brings happiness to people. There's definitely going to be a plot concerning this vial, I know it!! Objects in mysteries are supposed to hold extra significance, right? So this vial... OMG, MAYBE IT'S THE ONE WITH THE POISON THAT WOUND UP IN CYGNUS' DINNER!!! ...Sorry, I only JUST put that together in my head. But yeah, that's my prediction! We have found the smoking gun, and it's going to raise Cain!!

So, when I read your chapters, I get so caught up in the beautifulness of the prose, and then when I write the reviews, I forget to mention how lovely your sentences are.

I particularly loved this sentence: "A wind starts to pick up, soft fingers playing with the ends of Regulus' hair, longer than perhaps it should be, and Barty feels his scarf unravelling from around his neck, being stretched out in the space behind him." It's like the wind is another character in itself, and that's pretty darn magical!! Your writing style is delightful to read.

Oh yeah, and don't think I forgot about the mysterious house-elf at the very beginning of the chapter! Amidst all of the other hullabaloo, he/she almost got lost in the fray, but not forgotten! Was he/she playing in the flowers? I don't think so, but I have no earthly idea what he/she was doing. Or his/her identity, for that matter. Perhaps it was Kreacher?

All of that being said, I would like to add that I am very disappointed that this chapter has zero reviews, as does chapter 10. I feel that people might have something to say about all of the stuff that's happening!! So I hope you don't mind my mammoth review! I want to give credit where credit is due!

Out of space.

~UnluckyStar57

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Review #32, by toomanycurls Nine of Diamonds

7th March 2014:
The idea of Bellatrix slapping Sirius just seems incredibly awesome to me. I can picture it in slow motion with all the hate and drama going into it and the shock afterwards. I love the imagery of the black scuff mark on the floor - how perfect with Sirius having been a stain on his family tree.

I like the reference to James' father doing a talking to. Generally people write that James had free reign and never got any discipline but this small comment makes it clear that there was structure in the Potter household.

Oh god, I just want to hit Walburga. I've read a lot of stories where Sirius is quite abused at home and while you're not showing that here I get a vibe of dark punishments.

I do like that, despite his dislike/hatred of the family, the idea of accidentally killing his cousin weighs on him greatly. I mean, it'd be a bit disconcerting if he were excited about the prospect of offing her, but I would understand indifference to her pain.

Of course Remus is the voice of reason in his head! Go WolfStar!!

Tell me more about Sirius changing clothes. Were pants involved? :D

I'm incredibly curious about why he needs to be presentable...

Ooh, I really like how you've described Alphard. I like to think he has to be a decent guy to have helped Sirius out when he left home. I thought your comment about being brothers not meaning much was a great parallel to Sirius and Regulus.

Barty seems oh so oily and annoying. He can really turn on the charm when he wants to. I love Alphard even more for calling out the strangeness of having Barty at a family-only event. I really liked their banter back and forth (especially the biting comment).

The ending to this chapter was amazing! I'm so glad you had Alphard mention Barty/Regulus as their reactions kind of give away their relationship. Regulus' reaction to Barty's little rage was hilarious.

-Rose

Author's Response: Hey there - so great to see you back again! :)

It is a strangely awesome image, haha! You feel kinda bad about it because it is slapping someone, but ah well :P It's a very emotive, sudden thing - slow mo would be very cool! I honestly didn't think of that when I wrote it, tbh, but I do love the idea when people point it out to me!

Yeah, I wanted to put it in for a whole bunch of reasons - because people see James as such a free spirit but his parents must have told him off at times, and also because Sirius goes to stay with them afterwards, so I wanted to show the difference between them.

She isn't the best mother, that's for sure! I actually really disagree with the idea of Sirius being abused at home, haha, so that wasn't quite what I was going for with this, but they're not exactly the normal sort of punishments you'd get, perhaps. Harsher and longer.

Thank you! I know I portray his relationships with his family different to a lot of other stories, but I can't imagine that even if you didn't like your family, you'd want to kill them. Besides, Sirius isn't much of a killer!

Haha, it's mostly coz Remus is the only sensible Marauder! But feel free to read WolfStar into it if you want! (Though it's unlikely there'll be more of Remus in future, sorry!)

Haha, yeah, there were :P

I find it kinda ironic that you say that since in my head Alphard is just as bad as the rest of them, haha. Though there wasn't all that much of him in this so far... But yeah, helping Sirius out is a fairly nice thing to do... the brother thing.. I think it's both a parallel and an opposite, if that makes sense, because Sirius at least wants to have a good relationship with Regulus, whereas Alphard sort of couldn't be bothered.

Barty is kinda annoying :P He's so much fun to write though! Yeah, I kinda included it because people had remarked on it in reviews, so because I can't answer 'why' yet, I included it :P The banter was so great to write! Ooh, sure there's a relationship? ;) Alphard is definitely trying to stir things up, though, but their reactions definitely aren't exactly screaming 'no', haha!

Thank you so so much for the review - I really loved it! Thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #33, by Pixileanin Four of Clubs

22nd February 2014:
I love the set up you have in this chapter, the person crouched behind the painting, eavesdropping on what is clearly supposed to be a private conversation. Immediately, I want to know who it is, and more importantly, if she's going to be found out or if she gets away with overhearing them.

The thoughts in Sirius' head about how he looks at the people around him as unreal, that says a lot. It's almost like he knows they're all faking something, calmness, acceptance, anything. There's no emotion in the room. And the breathing thing. I guess when you're forced to sit around in silence, there's nothing much to do except breathe. So it makes some kind of morbid sense.

"Bella is just making absolutely certain that its' dead, like the sadistic cow that she is."

Really great characterization here! And I love how the description from Sirius' point of view isn't just pretty pictures. It says so much about him and how he's feeling in the moment. That's what great description does. It pulls you further in and locks you into the story.

And oh! What just happened in that last scene!?! What has she done?

There was a lot of underlying tension in this scene. So much that it could be cut with a knife. And then to top it off with that last bit, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat here. Your writing was just so beautiful in this. Everything was placed so well. I really enjoyed this chapter!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by again! :)

I'm glad you liked it - though unfortunately, you won't find out for a long while, haha, sorry! But yeah, it's a pretty private conversation... eavesdropping isn't great :)

Ooh, yeah, Sirius is such a fun character to write with his family! Like, it's so interesting what he thinks about them, and then how he feels/acts around them, because it's such a complicated set of relationships... and there is this sort of fake calm around. I'm happy you like the breathing reference! :)

Gah, I'm so glad you like it! Yeah, there's not much going on which is particularly pretty, though, haha.

Ooh, couldn't say :P

Thank you so so much! I'm so happy you like this and how it's going, and I always love receiving your reviews because you pick up on so many things and it's wonderful, so thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #34, by Lululuna Eight of Clubs

22nd February 2014:
Hello! :)

I lov how Sirius-centric this chapter is! Hmm, I'm a little suspicious about that note, and I'm not surprised that the adults weren't particularly curious about it. But if there is something going on between Barty and Regulus, then maybe Barty is attacking the family members to protect Regulus and get them away from Reg? We do know that Barty doesn't have a problem with killing his own family in the future... :P

I loved the suspense of the first scene though, and thought for a moment that Regulus really was the killer and Sirius was accusing him! Ah! It's interesting how if there is a killer, there's a good chance it's one of the adults in that room, but Sirius still goes to them anyway. Even though he's estranged from his family he still acts like he thinks the adults know best.

I loved the descriptions here of the house, and especially of the portrait of a woman who was indignant about Sirius. Her not knowing what a rude hand gesture might mean made me laugh. :)

The relationship between the brothers is so intriguing and upsetting. I think Sirius' behaviour towards Regulus and Reg's feeling of being abandoned and ignored fits very well with what we know from canon and how Sirius spoke about Regulus to Harry. This feels like the sort of rift which could inspire that sort of memory of his brother. I thought the fight was so realistic and a little terrifying in how Sirius said he hoped the killer got him next - that seems like one of the ominous statements which is impossible to take back, and I'm a little worried now. Regulus calling Sirius a ... word that starts with a B which I'm not sure I'm allowed to write ... was strangely perfect as well since that word symbolizes an illegitimate child or someone who is related and not really part of the family so it's kind of a double-fold insult which I loved.

Uh oh, I hope Sirius won't get in trouble for hurting Narcissa, even if it was an accident! I'm a little suspicious about this accident as well: it's almost as if there was someone else there in the way, maybe setting up Sirius to look like he's hurt Narcissa.

Oh, another thing I loved in this chapter was the mention of Lily and James! It was the perfect reminder. :)

Another great chapter, thanks for swapping with me! ♥

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by, and for the swap! I really love swapping with you - you're such an amazing writer! :)

I'm glad you like seeing a lot more of Sirius! It's strange, but whenever I have a chapter where he's not in it less than usual, I feel almost like I've cheated on him or something, haha. Like I've neglected him :P The note is definitely suspicious - but don't worry, you'll find out soon (I promise!)! Ooh, that's a good theory! I like it! Kinda like a weird, defensive honour-killing type thing? Barty's definitely weird enough and creepy enough for it...

Haha, I'm glad I confused you! I tried to write it to be confusing... not wanting to give anything away... :P Yeah, it's strange, but a bit of that residual childishness in him - he wants someone almost to tell him how he should react. Like, he's still young and they're two people he looked up to when he was a child, and it's this sort of panic...

Haha, yeah, Sirius even manages to offend the portraits in the house :P It's something of a talent, I think!

Yeah, it's really upsetting, and it was a pretty hard scene to write! Just so difficult to find the things they would never normally say, but would only say when they're angry - which aren't quite true, but sort of are, you know? And yeah, the fight really wasn't great! It is a really ominous statement - really cruel, too - but I couldn't say more, you understand :P I never thought of that other meaning, tbh, I was just looking for a word which wouldn't sound strange from Regulus' mouth, haha, but I love it more now you've pointed it out! :) (I just wish I could say I'd thought of it)

Hm... well, he did/n't knock her down the stairs, so... who knows? :P All will be revealed soon!

Omigosh, I forget about his friends, haha! But seriously, I go 2/3 chapters and then remember I haven't actually mentioned them for ages. So I have to find a place to slip them in... :P

Thank you so so much for this review - I really loved it, as I love all your reviews! And thank you for the swap - it's always so great swapping with you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #35, by toomanycurls Eight of Clubs

21st February 2014:
Poor, poor Sirius. He's going to his elders in good faith and is completely disregarded as a credible person with valid concerns. I mean, he's not articulating himself very well but they seem to disregard him completely. :(

I'm kind of glad I'm working at home. I laughed quite loud onced I worked out what seen-ee-mar was! you don't use a ton of humor in this but when you do it's incredible!

Hmm, Pollux's reaction (the slight smile at the paper) is a bit weird/suspicious. I do think it's a bit nice he tried to praise Sirius for his concern for Regulus. Though, I can't help but think it's all to obvious that Regulus is the favorite child. It's subtle and well excecuted but must be so obvious to Sirius. It's quite interesting that Orion is willing to show interest in the parchment after Sirius is dismissed. I feel like you've told us so much about Orion in just the few setences you use to describe him (especially thinking too fast for his mouth)

Oh I laughed so hard at "It is an office, Sirius," Orion says coldly. "Not Azkaban"

Partially because it was funny and partially because of the lovely irony in that statement as Sirius managed to escape from Azkaban. Though, it feels like a phrase wizards would use.

I really loved Sirius going to find Regulus (again). Regulus is quite astute to question his presence as they hardly interact. Their conversation about who's been ignoring who was sad. It's clear they're both bothered by the alienation but have drive a wedge so deep between them that neither want to try to make it better. I did get a bit lost in their shouting who was yelling when but the dialogue was brilliantly written. The entire time I was chanting fight! fight! fight! so I was glad when Regulus lunged at him. Oh no! What's happened to Narcissa!?!?

Incredible chapter!

-Rose

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by! :) It's so great to see you come back to this!

Yeah, it's really horrible! He trusts them (oddly enough, haha) and wants them to help him, and thinks they will, and just gets ignored and shut down. It's not great. Particularly since they're people he does kind of look up to, in a way, so it's sort of doubly worse, if that makes sense?

Haha, sorry? :P I can do humour - very little bits of humour, but some! Yay! I'm terrible at humour, honestly, so I'm glad you laughed!

Is it now? :P Haha, sorry, but I really can't say anything! He doesn't want Sirius to feel terrible, if that makes sense. He wants to let him down gently - strange for a Black, but whatevs :P Yeah, it really is so obvious Reg is the favourite. It's not really his fault, or Sirius' either - there will be a point where some of the favouritism will be explained (I have something planned ;D). I'm so glad you think he's come across well - I know people have a lot of different opinions of him, and I kinda like him as a character, so I kinda wanna make him grow a bit more and develop, you know? So I'm glad that came through!

Haha, yeah, I had to include the phrase when I thought of it :P

Regulus is actually pretty clever, and he knows Sirius better than the later would perhaps think or want to believe. It was a really sad conversation and actually pretty hard to write - I'm an older sister myself so it was sort of writing the kind of argument I would never want to have with my sisters, you know? Strange... I think a lot of their problem is their combined pride and bitterness. It's an incredibly bitter, almost jealous relationship, I think, so I tried to show that with this. It had kinda been building up for a while, really, and I wanted it to at least get close to a proper fight and all, even if it never quite got there :P

Ooh, Narcissa! You'll find out soon, don't worry! ;)

Thank you so much for this wonderful review! It was such a great thing to receive - thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #36, by MidnightBlue_x Five of Spades

21st February 2014:
Sorry that this took a little bit longer than expected. With speed dating and real life, it all got a little crazy there. Anyway, I'm here to review these chapters for you today.

Usually, I sort of take notes for each review while I read, but I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't notice I hadn't written anything down until I'd finished the chapter. And this is probably my third or so reading of this chapter alone. I think that's evidence enough that your mystery is working. I don't really like trying to work out who the murderer is in stories because I think sometimes you can ruin it for yourself, but I don't even know who is innocent in this situation. Okay, so I can't imagine it being Narcissa, but who knows?

I love how you write Regulus. I think the fact that he is so disturbed by his aunt's body really suits him. I know he's close to the age of becoming a Death Eater here but I can't imagine him ever really being 'fine' with death. I think what you've written here supports that, and while others may think differently, I think that he's perfect here- after all, he is only a child. I still love the presence of Walburga and Orion, I especially like how they do care about Regulus in their own way. People often write them as being completely cold to everything, so it's nice to see them like this.

As for the pacing, I think this chapter and the story up to this point is fine. The story is only really starting at this point and going to quick would destroy the mystery of it all as would going to slow. I think at this point, the story still has a unsure tone to it- none of the characters really know what's going on, so the pace suits it perfectly.

I'll see you in the next review!

x Ely

Author's Response: Hey - and no worries! I totally understand - speed dating was amazing! So many brilliant entries! :)

Ooh, cool - that's a good thing, right? :P Thank you so so much! I'm so glad you're confused (if that's not mean to say, haha) since it really helps. I'm honestly so terrible at knowing what people will get and what they won't put together, you know, so it really helps for you to say something like that!

Regulus is a child - I think that's a pretty significant thing when I write him here. He's fourteen/fifteen here, so he's close but he's still so young and naive and yeah, I can't imagine him ever just being fine with death either. Gah, yeah, I remember Sirius said in the books, or implied at least, that Regulus was Walburga's favourite, so I kinda played off of that in their relationship, and Orion does care, really, about both of his sons, he just really has no idea how to show emotion at all :P I'm glad you like them, though - they're strange but fascinating characters to write! :)

Thank you so much! I'm always so nervous about pacing because I know I'm just really slow, haha, and it's something I'm trying to improve on so it's so great to hear that I might be starting to succeed with that! :)

Thank you so so much for this! I always love receiving your reviews - they're such gems each time! Thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #37, by Lululuna Seven of Hearts

18th February 2014:
Hello! :) Ahh, I'm sorry for taking so long to get here! Dogs and pizza and people dropping in got in the way. :P

I have absolutely no clue what is going on at the beginning - who is the man?? What are the scrolls?? Why is there faux-snakeskin?? Of course, all this mystery is a good thing. I love the descriptions, as usual, and how mysterious and vague all of the clues are.

A flick of his wrist, wandless this time, and the sparks leap a foot high, morphing into crackling flames, lighting the whole room up as they consume the parchment. Ee I loved all the descriptions of burning the parchment and how you wrote it. And this guy can do wandless magic as well? I'm kind of leaning towards him being Barty at this point, but time will tell (well, maybe :P).

I always feel so sad for Sirius in these chapters and how he's an outsider in his own family. The idea of him taking refuge in the drawing room and lounging there to be alone is so vivid and so sad. Hmm, the house elf popping in and out was a little mysterious. This might suit my hypothesis that the house elves were commanded to commit the murders and that perhaps they're keeping an eye out for whoever was raiding the study.

Well, he's a bit creepy, to be honest, and I don't really like him, but. Haha, this made me laugh as well. Poor Sirius, being bullied by Bella... the whole exchange was a little funny however. Until THIS:

While he doesn't want to believe that she would - because she certainly could, if she can kill others - kill members of her own family, he can't be sure. Oh, no, the irony! :( Poor Sirius, if only he knew. This was so clever of you, and I love the examinations into Bella's character and how she balances loyalty. Here, she does feel like she would want revenge on somebody who hurt her family, but I also liked the suggestion that she wasn't quite sane. Maybe her parents dying and seeing their bodies has driven her a little mad as well.

Of course Sirius would be the first to eat - he is a Gryffindor, after all, and I like how he is trying to shock them a little. I love how you've written him here, how he compares having dinner on the holiday with being at Hogwarts, and how he's so concerned yet trying to keep things light at the same time.

Ahh, what's in the letter?? I'm so excited to read on, this is so suspenseful!!

You did a wonderful job with this as usual, I love how vivid your writing is and how it perfectly evokes that creepy mystery feeling. Amazing job, and hopefully I'll be back for the next chapter soon! :)

Author's Response: Hey there - and no problem! Pizza is definitely a priority one, haha ;) Not much you can do about people or dogs, either :)

Haha, good! :) I'm so glad you're confused - it means it's actually worked! :) It will all be revealed at the end, I promise, but it is something important. Ooh, the guy - Barty is a really interesting choice! ;) And yeah, I liked writing that scene, with the fire and wandless magic and all... I've barely used any magic in this, haha, so it was nice to include it!

Yeah, Sirius is something of a loner in the house. Part of it is self-imposed, but so much of it is just this rift between him and his family and it is really sad, you know, for all of them? The house-elf... yeah, I like the house-elves! They're surprisingly useful characters to include, haha - but yeah, they can definitely get around places others can't and do things others can't. No idea if that gives you anything... ;)

It is kinda like bullying, isn't it? :P Like a child being told off by a teacher or something... poor Siri!

Yeah, I've tried not to include too many 'spoiler'-ish things because it might be a bit weird, but I just had to include that one! And yeah, if only! But I don't think it would really make it any better if he did know. I've always thought of Bella as a really loyal person, perhaps surprisingly so, so I kinda wanna play on that a bit - there's more coming up soon too ;) She is a little mad... innate tendency, perhaps? :P I'm so glad you like it, though - I wasn't quite sure how people would take it...

Haha, yeah, of course! He's probably the boldest and least paranoid out of all of them - which doesn't really say much for the rest! I'm happy you still like him, though - that scene was so much fun to write!

The letter... ah, yeah, well you won't have to wait too long to find that one out ;)

Gah, thank you so so much! I'm so happy you're still liking this, and this review was honestly a really, really great thing to receive so thank you so so much again! :)

Aph xx


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Review #38, by adluvshp Six of Diamonds

17th February 2014:
Hey! Here for the TGS review exchange xD I am pleased I got paired up with you as it gave me an excuse to read the next chapter of this amazing mystery!

Ooh I love the Sirius-Regulus dynamic you have featured in the story throughout. The awkwardness between the brothers was especially palpable in this chapter and I loved the way you wrote it. Their interaction in the beginning was very strained and yet believable. Also, something seems to be going on between Regulus and Barty. I can totally sense it! Wonder how that's going to play out in further chapters. I, however, don't really trust Barty so I am not sure if that's a good thing for little Reg or not.

I also enjoyed the interaction between Lucius and Barty. I think it was a great way to emphasise both their personalities individually. I wonder what "game" Lucius is referring to that Barty is apparently playing. Is it just the whole "it's a murder" thing that Barty is spreading around, or is it something more that Lucius doesn't want talked about? And Barty's little secret eh... wonder if that's about him and his relationship with Regulus. This is all very curious and interesting.

I loved the conversation between Narcissa and Sirius too. It shed more light onto Narcissa as a character and she's one of my favourites so I was really glad to have gotten a deeper glimpse into her. I hope she's not the next one to go though, I've a special attachment to her, which could be a bad thing if in the end she turns out to be the killer xP. I also think that the part about Lucius and Bellatrix already being killers was a very powerful moment and you captured its intensity very well. I could understand Sirius' feelings on the matter and could connect with him very well there.

All in all, this was a great chapter and I enjoyed it. There was something like an ominous feel to it and it made for an interesting read. I loved how we got to see more of some important characters like Regulus, Barty, Lucius, and Narcissa. I think the plot is headed in an intriguing direction and I am very excited to see what happens next.

The only little CC I'll give is to watch out a bit for your grammar. The sentence phrasing is a bit off in some places, and some commas are misplaced. But it's not a lot, just in a few places here and there, so don't worry too much.

Apart from that, this was yet another gripping chapter and I am curious to read the next =)

Great going,
Cheers,
AD/Angie
(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Hey there - so glad to see you stopping by again! And yeah, it was so strangely nice to be paired up in the Review Exchange! :)

Gah, thank you so much! I really love the whole Sirius-Regulus dynamic and their relationship so it was something I really wanted to explore in this, so I'm so glad you like it! It's a very tangled, complicated relationship and you can't really say either one is wrong... it's fun to write! Ooh, Reg and Barty... can't really say, but it'll all become clear in the end if there is or isn't ;)

I felt this needed more Lucius... so I included some :P I love him as a character - it's so fun to be able to play around with him because of his personality, particularly with Barty since they're pretty much polar opposites, I think. Hm... you're the first person to think that about the game - and I do like it as a theory! It really works!

I'm so glad you liked it! I was a bit nervous about writing it, since it could so easily seem out of character, I think, so it was hard to write... I can't give anything away, but I can tell you that there will be more of Narcissa coming up! :) So hopefully you'll like that!

Yes, grammar - thank you so much for mentioning that! I know I mess it up occasionally (in all languages, haha) so thanks for letting me know! I'll go over it when I edit and all - make sure to look out for it! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - and thanks for the review exchange! It's such a great thing to do and I was so glad we were paired up together! :)

Aph xx


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Review #39, by academica Three of Hearts

15th February 2014:
Hey Laura, here for the review battle!

It's interesting how a chapter in which not a lot ostensibly occurred can hold such drama and raw emotion. I loved how the plot thickened here and suspicion grew, as if it became more restless the longer it was trapped in the house just like the physical family members there.

Regulus definitely seems suspicious. Like Sirius, I'm at first hesitant to believe him capable of such a crime, but his slip of the tongue about the coroners and the way he seemed to obviously concern himself with everyone else's whereabouts seemed to betray that something is off about him. It's like he wants to know where everyone is all the time, to keep track of the game's pawns, and yet he can't sit still--plagued by guilt, perhaps? He's very complex for being so young.

I like how you've given a lot of focus to Sirius here. It's interesting to see him conversing with these people because normally he'd be bullying, ignoring or yelling at them in many other stories. I wonder if the tension associated with this event will cause his eventual departure.

Your details are lovely, especially the way you describe subtle things like the way people look at each other. I love how you paint us a picture of the inside of the house and each of the rooms. It drips a dark elegance that's just divine.

Oh, and Bellatrix! She's usually not far from the scene of any crime, or so it seems. I wonder how she's involved, or if she isn't really involved but just wants to keep the family's dignity intact. The plot sure continues to thicken...

Great job! Can't wait to come back again soon :)

-Amanda

Author's Response: Hey Amanda - thanks so much for dropping by! :) It's always great to see you stop by since I love your stories so much!

Haha, yeah, I'm terrible at writing really action-packed stories! It's something I really struggle which and I'm trying to improve, but, yeah, this chapter isn't really breaking the mould, lol. I'm glad you liked it despite that, though!

Ooh, yeah, Regulus is really not helping himself here... he really does want to know what's going on and where people are - he's also definitely not his brother's biggest fan, at all. It's something I really want to explain to you, but can't in case I give something away, you know? So hard :P

Sirius! Yeah, a lot of people portray his relationship with his family, particularly Regulus, as really antagonistic, but I dunno... I did try to take it differently - and I thought a lot about how I wanted to go with that, so I'm happy you like it! :) Er... short answer: yes :P At least, in my mind it definitely does - if this can really be fitted into canon that way, haha.

Thank you so so much! :hug: It means so much coming from you, given how gorgeous your writing is! :) :)

Bella is slowly cracking - slowly but surely ;) Haha, all the family is involved, in one way or another, really :P That doesn't help at all - sorry about that!

Thank you so so much for this wonderful review - I'm so glad you like the story so far! :)

Laura xx


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Review #40, by Remus Three of Hearts

12th February 2014:
Hello! So it turns out that I already had read the first chapter of this back in 2012! So I re-read it before going to chapter 2. Gotta know what happens!

Barty here just...I don't know. He makes me feel a bit uneasy. To me, he's acting like this obnoxious child, asking very silly questions but questions that speak the truth. I had to do some digging real quick to get a time frame of the ages...since Sirius is still in "good" terms with his family, he's 15 or younger, right? And Barty is 3 years younger so pre-teen to early teen years? The reason I ask is because for some odd reason, when reading Marauder fics my brain tends to imagine them older...like 17+.

This sentence:

"Where are you going?"a quiet voice interrupts their conversation, and they both turn quickly, guiltily, Sirius forgetting about the clumps of dust still sticking to his robes and fingers, to see Regulus standing in the doorway.

Feels like a bit of a mouthful and a it breaks the flow you had. Perhaps breaking it down a bit might help. Something like:

"Where are you going?" a quiet voice interrupts their conversation. They both turn quickly, Sirius forgetting about the clumps of dust still sticking to his robes and fingers, feels guilty to see Regulus standing in the doorway.

Just a thought. :)

A cynical voice in the back of his head (which, when it shows up, he likes to call 'Remus') That line just made me laugh!! Love it.

Oh hey, Sirius is 16! Making Barty about 13 here. Hmmm...

Whoa, did Bellatrix kill her own father? Well...she IS indeed crazy enough to do it! But why though? Or maybe it wasn't her! Dun dundun!

The only small CC that I have is that Sirius doesn't feel 16 to me. I guess it's because I haven't been a teenager for a long time that I have forgotten...but he feels like he has a young way of thinking. His way of acting and feelings towards his family is the dead ringer. By this age he hates his family and their way of thinking, rebels in every way and eventually he runs away to the Potters. So him even trying to get the tiny approval from them by going to pay his respects feels a bit off. no one would fault him for it and it might even gain him some kind of grudging acceptance that he was. you know, still part of the family despite being a Gryffindor and all."

That's just my opinion though!

Alright, this review has gone long enough! Thank you so much for the swap! I appreciate it!

--Rosie/Perelandra

Author's Response: Hey there! Thanks so much for the swap - it was really great and I really enjoyed it! :)

Yeah, sorry, it's perhaps a little unclear! In this, Sirius is 16, Regulus is 14 and Barty (I manipulated his age a little, since we're never given an exact year/age, only an approximation) is 14/15, too, so he's in the same year as Regulus. Hope that clears things up for you!

But yes, Barty is pretty young - definitely seems younger than the others.

Ah, yeah, thanks for pointing out! I'll definitely take a look at that sentence and see about re-arranging it - you're right it definitely is a mouthful!

Hehe, I did like that line, too! But hey, I imagine it would be true, lol.

Bellatrix is definitely crazy enough to do it - though she's not quite so crazy here. Starting on the crazy wagon, so to speak :P But yeah, who knows? ;)

It's fine! I thought a lot before writing this about Sirius' character, and his family and things, so it's all pretty developed in my head. Teenagers often think they're very mature (I was one not that long ago, so I remember pretty clearly! :P) but they're not, so Sirius is like that. He thinks he's very grown-up, but he is still a child. I based a lot of Sirius' relationships with his family on the experiences my mum has had with her family. So, I think he doesn't like them, doesn't like their views, but they're still people (particularly his grandfather, and to an extent his father) he looked up to when he was young, and at 16 he still really needs a family, and he wants to be complimented and not outcast, because no one really enjoys that, you know? It's a very different characterisation of Sirius, I know, but I thought about it a lot and this was what seemed sort of best to me.

Thank you so much for the great review and the swap - it was so much fun to do! :)

Aph xx


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Review #41, by LightLeviosa5443 Three of Hearts

11th February 2014:
Hi!

I'm here for the review battle!

I really love this story, I think it's so incredibly clever and so unique. I really like the way that you portrayed Sirius in this, and Regulus and Barty. I've never read much on the latter two, but the way you write their manerisms in this story seem very believable. I also love your writing of Bellatrix. She's fantastic and her interaction with Sirius was wonderful.

I love the way his mind works, and how he goes through his thought processes. It's nice to see him be so genuine about his feelings and thoughts, especially when his family isn't exactly known for that.

I am really like what you've done with the story, I'll be interested to see how you write the next chapter.

xoxo Sarah

Author's Response: Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

I'm so glad you like it! It was a strange idea for me to have, since I'd never written anything like it before, but I just had to write it! I'm so happy you like Sirius - I think I write him a little differently to how most people seem to write him, and Regulus and Barty and Bella. They're all so much fun to write - particularly Bella and Barty!

Thanks! Yeah, I really wanted to show that, despite having differences, he's still similar to various members of his family, but he's definitely a lot more genuine and far less false!

I'm so happy you liked it - thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #42, by adluvshp Five of Spades

9th February 2014:
Hey! Here once again for your requested review from the forums =)

I quite enjoyed this chapter, with everyone's reactions and such. I think you captured them all very well and wrote it in an intriguing manner. The mystery continues to intrigue me and your writing style is as fresh and engaging as ever, so great job once again!

Coming to the characterisations and reactions, I think you've nailed them all. I loved how you showed that Sirius was still concerned and frightened hearing the scream and such, because it shows that even though he's somewhat a "traitor" he still cares for his family - and that is a very realistic sentiment there.

I also liked how we see Bellatrix's distress in this chapter as well - she does love her mother after all and cares about her and grieves for her death. I also like how she suspects Crouch of something fishy - it all shows she cares too, and It is a different but human side of her which I enjoyed reading.

I felt like Regulus' reaction had something fishy in it - he seemed a little too mortified - almost as if he was faking it. But then he did puke and all, so perhaps he is genuinely affected after all and my mind is just trying to point the finger at anyone xP

I also feel similarly suspicious towards Narcissa. She is crying too much - being way too sensitive - which again makes me think if she could be faking it. After all it was her who supposedly found the body this time. But once again it might be that my mind is forming random baseless theories haha.

Nonetheless to say, your writing was spectacular here, especially how you handled everyone's reactions making me guess which ones are genuine and which are not and I've still not come to a conclusion. As I said before, you've pretty much nailed the characterisations.

I am loving the direction in which the plot is headed - another one dead after all - making me wonder who'll be next and if it's the same murderer or not - and all kinds of crazy theories! One of them includes a house-elf being the killer but that's just absurd isn't it? haha.

I think over all this was a great chapter and the mystery is moving along at a smooth pace - not too fast and not too slow - and I am excited to see what else is in store for the Black family now.

I don't have any CC for you once again. I did notice a couple of typos here and there though. One of them was: "As one, you all glance up at the top of the house.." This sentence being in second person doesn't make sense so I figure it's a typo.

I think a thorough re-read (especially reading out loud) will help you spot all of them easily and correct them whenever you get the time. Apart from that, I think this was a nicely done chapter!

Good job!
Cheers,
AD
(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Hey there, Aditi - so nice to see you back again! :)

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked them all - particularly Bella and Sirius, since I was so worried about them as it's not really common characterisations of them. I've always thought of them as quite similar, so I liked being able to show both of them as human with real depth of emotions in this, particularly towards their family. They do actually care; it's not like it's all gone, and I think things like this do bring out those emotions, no matter how far down you thought they were, you know?

Yeah, Regulus' reaction is a bit fishy... a bit nervous about things, haha, but he is ill and shaken and very upset, so it's not necessarily something to keep in mind for later on! ;)

I do love Narcissa, and I do always think of her as certainly more delicate than the rest of the family, in emotional terms. So yeah, compared to the rest she is definitely a lot more drippy and over-the-top, but she has just discovered her mother's dead body, so it's perhaps a little understandable :P

Haha, I'm glad your confused, if that's not too mean to say! At least it means it's working! ;)

Ooh, house-elf being the killer? You're not the first to have suggested that, let me tell you! But no, crazy theories are great, tbh - I love hearing them so much! I can't answer those questions, but watch out for other things going on... :)

Oooh, thanks so much for that - I do miss things! I'm so glad you pointed that out - I'll definitely go back and look at it again! :)

Thank you so so much for this lovely review, this was such a great thing to get! Thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #43, by patronus_charm Nine of Diamonds

8th February 2014:
Hi Laura!

Hmm, Narcissa seems to be a little too fine after her fall down the stairs. I have a feeling that there might be something more to it, perhaps related to Bellatrix given how she seemed to know a lot about it with the size of the cut and the potion she took. I mean, they are sisters so I guess that could be why but I have a feeling it could be more. It was rather sweet how Lucius was now caring for her, as Iíve always liked those two and really like how youíve portrayed them in this story.

I really enjoyed Siriusí next section. My suspicions about Bellatrix possibly being to blame are thickened with the way she and the others were all talking rather secretively and it just seemed all suspicious. I really love how Sirius really wants to solve this crime and make everything alright because that passion in him is really lovely to observe. Then his conversation with Uncle Alphard was really great because I so rarely see them all talking with one another, but this was great. I know I sound soppy but it was just lovely to see someone talk to him and actually enjoy his presence because I do feel sorry for him a lot of the time!

Haha, I had been suspecting for a while now that there might have been something more to Barty and Regulus and seeing all the innuendos Uncle Alphard said strengthens my suspicions. Iíve never actually thought of them as a pairing because I never seem to think of them connected for some reason, but I really like what youíve done with them here and now Iím sort of wishing there is something more to them.

I canít wait to read on because it seems as if Uncle Alphard really is rocking the house with his arrival so I canít wait to see what more he reveals!

-Kiana

Author's Response: Hey Kiana, thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Yeah, she's not too badly hurt... though whether that's a plus point or a minus point is up to you ;) Bella did seem to know a lot, it is perhaps a bit suspicious. Lucius does love her a lot, and is definitely caring to Narcissa, at least. I'm really glad you like them, since there will be more of them coming up! :)

They are all talking secretively, leaving others out and all that! Sirius I think is a pretty passionate person in total - I think he's so emotive and that's both his strength and his weakness, you know? I'm glad you like him, since I know it's not perhaps a normal representation of him! :) Alphard... I wouldn't necessarily count on Alphard to have Sirius' back ;) But he is a fun character!

Mahaha, you're not the first person to say that, and yeah, Uncle Alphard is not really doing anything to suggest otherwise ;) Keep wishing - it may just come true! :P And yeah, they are quite a weird pairing, but I really like them... can't explain it, tbh, I just like how they work together.

Ah, Uncle Alphard is most definitely rocking the boat, so to speak! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Laura xx


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Review #44, by toomanycurls Seven of Hearts

7th February 2014:
Thanks for doing a review swap!! so sorry I've taken so long (work got a bit busy)

The beginning of this chapter is just wow. I'm dying to know who burned what. The what, I'm guessing was a will or other important item. But figuring out who is leaving my wheels spinning.

DUDE! Bella's quips about killing Sirius just sent chills down my spine. Well placed irony.

While she clearly thinks herself better than Sirius, it's so interesting that she's going to him for advice and councel. Maybe she thinks more of him than he lets on. :) Yay for team Siribella (yes, no?)

You know your family is messed up when no one eats for fear of being poisoned...

Can't Voldy wait until after dinner? There are so many demanding boss jokes to make here.

What was on the letter?!!?

I loved this chapter! You're incredible with tension and mystery.

-Rose

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for the swap, I really enjoyed it! :) We should do another one at some point ;)

Gah, thank you so so much! I really enjoyed writing that section, though it was difficult - writing without giving anything away as to who it is is harder than I thought it would be! ;)

Mahaha, I couldn't resist putting it in when it happened and I thought of the line! I did have a sort of smug, privately amused smile I'm sure :P Yeah, Bella's fun to write and I liked including it! She's not so much as asking him for advice as wanting... something. To talk to him, get him on side (possibly) that kinda thing. They would be quite a good team, haha, and yeah she does think a bit more of him than he thinks. It's sort of a grudging acceptance, lol.

I know! Weird, weird family... but they have good reason to be scared ;)

Ooh, the letter... the letter is important. Very important. Hence I haven't revealed anything much about it straight away. That, and that I like writing cliff-hangers :P

Wow, thank you so so much for that! Thanks for this review in whole - it was such a lovely thing to get! - and thanks again for the review swap! I really enjoyed it! :)

Aph xx


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Review #45, by Gabriella Hunter Two of Spades

7th February 2014:
Hello!

Hey there, its Gabbie from the forums with this awesome review swap! So, I was immediately drawn in to your writing style, I've never really read many stories that take such an interesting narration before and I really enjoyed it. The beginning left me really curious on what was happening and the fact that you opened this on such a dark note was really bold and very nicely done, it made the rest of the chapter flow so nicely as I tried to piece together what had happened and why there was so much tension. I think you have a great way of describing your characters, their actions and the subtle hints of hatred that are thrown around. I haven't read many stories that feature the Black family in this way but I really love this, I can picture them all, in varying degrees.
There were so many characters and relationships but I was able to follow them very well and I really enjoyed the tension and dislike that some of them have for each other.
I can't help but be a bit wary at that ending though...A murder is one thing but changing the will and keeping vital things from the family is another and you've got my curiosity going now! I really can't help but wonder who plotted the murder and how things will go on, now that there are so many secrets over their heads.
Loved the little mention of Andromeda too, I think that I was able to have some empathy for her family. They would see what she did as a betrayal and nothing more but I can't help but wonder what might tear them apart again!
Sirius was so silently powerful too, by the way. I really liked that you didn't have him speaking or acting so revolted by the others, his silence said it all and made him all that more interesting.
Thanks for the read!
Much love,
Gabbie

Author's Response: Hi there - thanks so much for dropping by, and thanks for the review swap! :)

Gah, thank you so so much! I'm so glad you like the beginning, since I rewrote it a couple of times because I wasn't happy with it before settling on this one.

I'm so happy you like the characters, as well! They're such an interesting bunch of people to explore - since we know very little about them other than generalisations and little bits here and there on some of them, it makes it so much fun and leaves so much room to add things in and expand on it. There's definitely quite a lot of them, though! One of the hardest things about this, but thankfully since it's a murder mystery, that number goes down a bit :P

I'm happy you like it - I wasn't sure about including it since it's a little dry, I think, compared to some of the other stuff in it, but it is pretty important part of the story. And yeah, haha, murder v fraud - always a tough call! ;)

I know! I've always thought it must have been such a hard thing to deal with, you know, since they're losing one of their own, and for reasons they just don't understand. Which is tough, tbh. I'm glad you liked it! :)

Sirius was so much fun to write - there'll be a lot more of him in the future ;)

Thank you so much for the lovely review and the review swap - both were really great to do and receive! :)

Aph xx


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Review #46, by Pixileanin Three of Hearts

7th February 2014:
Hey, I'm tagging you from Review Tag (hopefully) and back for chapter two!

Sirius trying to bend the fire guard all out of shape... I remember trying to do that once, thinking that I couldn't, and then still being disappointed when it didn't budge. It's such a child-like thing to do, or something to occupy your mind with when there are other things on your mind that you wish would go away.

Barty just kills me. He's so direct. No one else in that house is as direct as him. He's going to cause himself a head of trouble if he keeps that up. I'm guessing that's why you put him in the story. :)

I like the aside you threw in about Sirius' thoughts and his inner voice reminding him of Remus. I also like the way you describe Regulus as looking "innocent", where Sirius knows that his brother has thoughts going on inside his head that may or may not be so innocent. Still, I'm with Sirius. If there is a killer, I don't think it is Regulus.

And now, Barty seems a bit too eager.

I really liked reading about Sirius' grandfather, the way he handled himself with the coroners, and the skepticism you threw in about Regulus' lie to Sirius. Just when I thought he couldn't do it... but then at the end, Sirius is confronted by Belatrix.

I can't say that I'm surprised that she'd act that way, whether she's guilty of a crime or not. She'd be crass and demanding anyway. We all know she's capable, but did she do anything? Did any of them?

Hmmm...

Interesting chapter, and interesting characters. This was a great read!

Author's Response: Hey there - I'm so happy to see you back again! :)

Haha, yeah, it's very childish! It's also, I think, something you do when you're really bored and don't know what else to do... sort of, he doesn't overly expect anything to happen, it's just a challenge.

Ahhh, Barty. Gosh, I just love writing him! He's so much fun to write, so I'm so glad you like him! He's definitely a lot more direct than everyone else, and it may well get him into trouble ;) Putting him in the story, though... partly to do with the friction, but he does have a role to play. There is a reason for him being here, other than to annoy various family members! ;)

Thanks! I really, really love writing Sirius and Regulus' relationship. I think it's such an unexplored thing, and so complex, and so difficult to get across. Baby-faced Reggie! :P Yeah, his thoughts are not quite as innocent as Sirius wants to believe ;)

Eh, Barty's a bit like a puppy, lol. Always eager ;) Or is he? Something to think about at any rate!

I'm so glad you like Sirius' grandfather! I quite like writing him, just for the sort of presence he brings to it, you know? The serious, more mature, authoritative presence. It's the only way to keep these people under control, haha. Yeah, Regulus lied... poor Sirius!

Bella is just brilliant. I love writing her - and you're spot on with that! Always demanding, superiority complex and all... Obviously, I can't answer any of your questions, haha, but they're definitely good questions! :)

Gah, thank you so much for the wonderful, wonderful review and thanks so much for coming back! It really means a lot! :)

Aph xx


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Review #47, by Infinityx Four of Clubs

7th February 2014:
I can't believe I didn't get back to this earlier! Here for the BvB review battle, by the way.

Wow. There is so much suspense at the end of this chapter. It was so amazing, I don't even know where to begin.

I love this chapter. It caught my attention from the very first line. That was a very interesting conversation between Orion and Pollux. I like how there's the consistency in each of their characters from before. Orion seems like a really hot-headed and brash person though. I smell trouble brewing there...

I like how the conversation is interrupted by Regulus. It makes the scene more realistic, and I could imagine the whole thing happening in front of me. That was a small, but remarkable detail that you added there, and I can't help but wonder if it's more significant than it appears to be. One thing that I've realized after reading till here is that it's not possible to guess what's about to happen or what's important. I think that's an incredible way of writing as it keeps the reader on edge throughout every chapter.

Poor Sirius. I understand him feeling the way he does, but isn't the bitterness a bit too much? He tends to overreact all the time, and he's such an idiot to snap at Narcissa over such a simple question. But I think beneath the demeanor, he always has this protectiveness over his brother. I hope that's seen more in the coming chapters. Needless to say, I love your characterization of Sirius, and there always seems to be something new with him every chapter, which is lovely!

Then there's the death! It was so unexpected and the descriptions were so beautifully written. I AM SO CURIOUS NOW. WHAT IS HAPPENING? It seems like suicide but I think it could be murder. IS IT MURDER? Oh wow. The scene described is so serene. It gave me the chills. IT'S MURDER ISN'T IT?

I can't wait to see how you fit all the pieces together! This is such a thrilling story and I'm so glad I came across it. I love every single word here! Great job!

~Erin

Author's Response: Hey there - and no problem about waiting a while! ;) I'm just glad you came back to it! :)

Gah, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it - it's a little slower paced than others, I think.

I'm happy you liked the conversation between Orion and Pollux. It's a pretty important conversation - it'll come up again in the future! ;) And yeah, Orion is definitely, er, less cautious (to be polite) than Pollux, and a lot more decisive. I wanted to give him some trait vaguely reminiscent of Sirius, haha, seeing as he is his father! You may well be right about the trouble, though I couldn't say for sure... ;)

Mm... you may be onto something about that interruption. I can tell you, however, that it's not overly important, but might well become more important later. That's really confusing and practically pointless, I know, but it's all I can say without spoiling things! :P I'm so happy you like it - I try to mix things up so it's not so clear how things are going to pan out and so everyone gets an equal turn at being suspicious :P

Oh, Sirius definitely overreacts, and he's incredibly bitter. I kinda wanted to show that he's always sort of overshadowed by Regulus - I've always imagined that Regulus is Narcissa's favourite, you know - so that's kinda where the bitterness is coming from. And his own disappointment at not being handed an escape from the room. He is definitely protective of Regulus, and it will come up later - more scenes of protective-older-brother!Sirius, I promise! :D I'm so glad you like him! :)

Death! Gah, that was such a hard scene to write! Honestly, it was so difficult! Took me about an hour or so just to write that little bit :P I'm glad you liked it, though all your questions - good ones, though! - will have to wait, since I can't say anything! Good questions, though ;)

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #48, by UnluckyStar57 Nine of Diamonds

2nd February 2014:
Heeello! I read this chapter last night, so I can give you a really comprehensive review this afternoon, now that I'm reading for a second time. :)

At the beginning... Wow, Orion is so domineering and mean. No wonder Sirius hates his parents--they offer no sympathy or love or anything that parents should give to their children. (Of course, the kicking was really annoying. Repetitive actions like that usually are, unless you're the person who's doing the action. But still...) What makes this such a big deal to me is the contrast between Orion and James' father. Orion just assumes that he has complete authority over Sirius that his very gaze is enough to stop his son in his tracks. He doesn't realize that he is not a deity to Sirius, that Sirius hates him and that because of this, he has absolutely zero respect for him. It's kind of like leadership--if a leader is domineering and expects his peers to obey his every command, it will only breed contempt. Orion and Sirius have that kind of unhealthy relationship, and it's fairly disgusting.

The only complaint I have about that part is that when you said "Pollux" and then you said "his father" (referring to Sirius' father), it seemed like Pollux was his father. I really need a Black Family Tree in front of me every time I read a story about the Blacks, just so I can make sure that I know which parent goes with which child. I'm just a bit confused about the Pollux-to-Orion switch. Did you mean for Pollux to say "Would you stop?" and then for Orion to snap at Sirius? If so, a little clarification of that might be nice, if only for confused little me. :)

Oh good, Narcissa isn't dead! Another death is the LAST thing they need, but I'm sure that there will be more before we're through. I love the point about the Blacks not inviting the Aurors over because of their various objects of Dark Magic. Calling all the bluffs! :D And despite his bitter hatred of his family, I think it's good that Sirius feels remorse about Narcissa's accident. I'm still not even sure if it was totally his fault or not, but remorse is good. That's why he's not the killer, right?

And Regulus and Barty are having their little whisper sessions again--and I'm willing to bet that it probably isn't about Puddlemere. What's the deal there? Is it something that can be shipped? I've been naming a lot of couples lately, so I'm going to call their little interactions "Bartegulus" from now on. The ship seems to be getting stronger, ahaha, and so I'm sorry if you don't want me to ship them or name their relationship. It just seems like an inevitability, and a dangerous one, at that!

Going on to the next section... Regulus is a bit of a git. Not that Sirius isn't a git most of the time, but really, of all the cheap ways to wake people up! Sirius and Regulus display the stupidity of sibling rivalry at its finest, and no matter how mean my sister and I are to each other, I'm super glad that we're never THAT bad. :P

I'm particularly in love with this line: "In fact, if he didn't know better he'd say that they'd been frozen in time; a eulogy in tableau to the stiff, upper-class remainders of pureblood society." It's so well-written and just brilliant! Imagery abounds! I could totally imagine the Black family in a wax museum. That would be really creepy for sure!

Oh man, ALPHARD!!! His introduction just ups the crazy level of the Black family that much more. He is probably more likable than the rest of them, but still, he seems to have a hint of the Black evil in him nevertheless. All I know about Alphard from canon is that he got blasted off the family tree for giving money to Sirius, and his behavior at this point in the timeline definitely has him on a fast track to family tree extinction. He's brash and somewhat rude--that nickname for sissy Walburga, HAH! And I know that Cygnus was probably intolerable and horrid, but the fact that he brings up the death as a way to make everyone uncomfortable is just plain mean. He's a mixed bag of traits, I guess, and since I've never seen him in fanfiction before, this version of him seems to make total sense.

And now, let's talk about my favorite part: The part where Bartegulus totally becomes canon. HAHAHA. Leave it to Uncle Alphard to call them out on it!! I mean, I'm not saying that it's an actual thing, but the way the lads reacted kind of put a layer of ambiguity in there... What DO they do when there alone? Again, I'm sure it's not bemoaning the fact that the Puddlemere team is looking bad. If not canoodling, they're probably whispering secrets to each other--secrets that don't need to be told. I, for one, would like to believe that they're canoodling on the sly, and that Barty is a total jerkface who's going around and causing trouble in the already-troubled House of Black.

And Bellatrix at the end... Dear God, that's one of the creepiest chapter endings I've ever read. Yeesh. Why is she laughing so much?! Perhaps she's just really amused by the thought of Bartegulus (I know I am). Or perhaps she walked in on them while they were "talking..." Hmmm... I hope we find out what's up with that in the next chapter! Her maniacal laughter continues in the vein of "Bellatrix is a crazy psychopath, everyone please step away from the cage" that the earlier chapters have, but this is just so much worse than her earlier instances of mania. The fact that you wrote her like this is brilliant and... much too disturbing.

Another point of confusion: When Barty stood up with his fists clenched, who was the person that pulled him back down? I wasn't sure if it was Sirius or Regulus.

Ooh, this story just keeps getting weirder and more insane as it progresses! I hope that chapter nine is going well for you! :)

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hey there - I'm so excited to see you back again! :) And when you said it was a comprehensive review, you really weren't joking, were you? haha. This is slightly intimidating, but so so wonderful to get! :)

Yeah, Orion isn't the greatest father. He's not very hands-on, not very involved with them and he definitely thinks authority is the way to go! He's being harsher than he normally would be here because of what happened to Narcissa, and the kicking, so it is a sort of combination of annoyance and genuine anger at what happened and things, so it's not wholly insane, but it is pretty over the top in terms of reactions. And yeah, it's a pretty big difference between Orion and James' father - Orion knows it's understood, doesn't care whether it is or isn't, anyway, and just expects Sirius to obey. It really isn't a great relationship, but I think it's one which has deteriorated over time, you know, and it's only getting worse. It's kinda sad for both of them, imo. They should get on. They're father and son! :(

Ooh yes, yes I did mean that! Sorry - I'm so used to writing this and having all the relationships sorted in my head I sometimes forget other people don't so thank you for pointing that out! I'll definitely go back and look at making it clearer (if I haven't already - I tend to go back as soon as I get your reviews :P).

There... will be more deaths! That I can say with confidence! :D And you're right about them not needing any more deaths - it's not a great forecast for them atm... :P Yeah, I had to put that in! Like the Blacks would call the Aurors... particularly on one of their own! And yeah, I think Sirius has the capacity to feel bad, particularly when it's not like he particularly hates her or anything, really, so it's very much a good thing ;) As for that being why he's not the killer... well, remorse for one action does not mean remorse for them all. Truth! :P

Whisper sessions! Alone... oh! *wolf whistles* Mahaha, I think you definitely can ship it, and I lovelovelove the name 'Bartegulus'. Ah, brilliant! Don't apologise! It's fine! ;)

Yeah, they really do take it to a new level. I mean, waking someone up with water isn't that bad, particularly with magic - the worst that happens is someone gets wet and perhaps a little cold - but it's unnecessary, really. And same here - I have two sisters and boy I'm glad it's never been quite like that!

Gah, thank you so much! I did like that line when I wrote it, haha (which is pretty rare for me). And that... is disturbingly creepy. Reeally, reeeaally creepy. Black family wax museum... O.O

Alphard! I'm so glad you like him - I wasn't originally planning on having him actually turn up, just letters and things, but then I felt I should :P He's more charismatic, I think, though I wouldn't quite describe him as more likeable, perhaps... oh yeah, he's definitely going to get blasted off - he's not really a favourite family member, haha! I liked writing him, particularly since he's very much in opposition to a particular other character who I like very much ;)

Oh gosh, yes, haha! Uncle Alphard isn't quite calling anyone out on anything, but he's definitely stirred something up! :D They did react weirdly, hmm... :P You would like to believe that, and, if I may say, I would like to believe that ;) Buuut, you'll have to wait and see!

I'm so glad you liked the ending! I was so nervous writing it because I didn't think, honestly, it was very good... Eh, she's just laughing... she's a bit mad :P Can't take everything she does seriously...

Ah, yeah, I wondered about that bit... it's Sirius (oddly enough), but again I'll look it over and make it clearer! Thanks for pointing it out! :)

Thank you so so much for this wonderful review! It was so brilliant to get - and I'm really sorry this response is shorter than the review, but, gah, you were so lovely and I just don't really know what to say! Thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #49, by toomanycurls Six of Diamonds

31st January 2014:
Hello! Doing our review swap!

I'm quite enthralled with the way you write Sirius' apprehension in visiting Regulus' room. I love the build up and resolution of tension as he summons his (Gryffindor!) courage to barge in. I found his obersvation that Barty and Regulus are as close (physically and perhaps relationally) as Sirius and his friends quite interesting. I wish that he'd use that to relate to his brother a bit more.

I love the awkward brother talk! I mean, Sirius is trying so hard to connect and getting stone-walled by Regulus.Oh how I wish he'd opened up.

Lucius is wonderfully slippery and carries himself with the perfect amount of arrogance and power. I like that Barty doesn't cower to Lucius as so many do. I'm quite dying to know what Barty's secrety is!

Narcissa's poised and refined behavior is extremely well characterized. She's always seemed quite savvy to the environment and how to respond accordingly. I wasn't expecting her to open up to Sirius but it's great that she did. I guess I can see how she'd be quite scared given the deaths, Barty's proclamations of death coming from them, and Reg's odd behavior.

This was an awesome chapter! I was a bit surprised that he was going to ask permission just to send a letter.

-Rose

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for dropping by, and thanks so much for the swap! :)

Ah, thank you so much! I wasn't sure if it was too much when I first wrote it - you know, if it was a bit ott - so I'm glad you liked it! And it's definitely Gryffindor courage - though not the kind which comes in a bottle ;) It's such a shame they can't connect with each other - but, hey, Sirius tried! Once, but he still tried! :)

It's incredibly awkward! It was a bit weird to write, tbh, since I had to try not to use 'awkward', 'silence', etc. ad nauseum :P But yeah, it's such a shame Regulus didn't say anything... ;)

I did enjoy writing that scene with Lucius! It was like David v Goliath, in my mind, haha, with Barty just throwing Lucius for a loop :D Ooh, Barty's secret... all will be revealed in the end ;)

Thank you! I'm so glad you liked Narcissa, since she's so different to the other family members, it's almost out of place, I think. But yeah, she's definitely poised and trying to be held together and all that jazz. Opening up to Sirius... it is an important moment - well, not quite a turning point, but still relatively important ;) But yeah, she's really scared with everything going on, definitely! Barty's proclamations of death - I really love that, haha! :)

Yeah, it's not so much permission to write a letter, it's more permission to perhaps say anything about what's going on, though I'm not sure that came across totally... might go back and look at it again - thanks for that! :)

Thanks so much for the review - it was really great to get! And thank you so much for the swap - I really enjoyed it! :)

Aph xx


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Review #50, by MissesWeasley123 Three of Hearts

31st January 2014:
Hey there!

Wow, this was an excellent chapter :) I really enjoyed many things.

I think what was amazing about this chapter and the way you wrote it were definitely the ideas. Especially the one about the will. I found that truly mysterious. You captured the Black family's minds, and the way they work so well -- how they were able to notice that the accounts for the will were tampered with. You made that cunning base of their characterization wonderfully! But this was in the first chapter, which I reread because it had been a while :P

That brilliant characterization really carried into this chapter as well. I loved Barty's exchange with Sirius. It was thrilling. My heart wants to say that Sirius didn't do it, but honestly at this point - everyone's fair game. I think Barty is definitely mysterious and probably suspect 1 for me, only because he isn't a Black and it seems weird for him to be there in the first place, if he didn't have a motive. He's also been very upfront with Sirius, and is trying to stir the pot.

I truly love Sirius is this. He's very nonchalant, and it's super different and cool to see him with this particular cast of characters, without James, Peter, or Remus. It truly adds to the mystery and darkness. Regulus is definitely creepy in more ways than one. Especially that gaze Sirius was talking about, and even Barty couldn't avoid and had to blurt something out. Very well written!

This part, was golden:

Briefly, he wonders what could have Mr I-have-peacocks-in-my-garden-didn't-you-know Malfoy looking like he was sucking a slice of lemon... -- HILARIOUS, TO BE HONEST. Sirius ♥ Love love love.

I love your description throughout. Especially when you add the little details of coughing portraits and literally everything adds to the dark essence of this story.

Bellatrix was true to her character -- wicked and she gave me the chills. Excellent work on her!

All in all, this was an excellent chapter! Everything was thrilling and engrossing, and truly well written. Brilliant work!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for dropping by! I really appreciate it! :)

Wow, thank you so so much for that! :) I'm so glad you liked it - I thought the will stuff would be a little dry, compared to some of the other, more dramatic things (you know, like murder and stuff :P), so I'm glad you like it! And thank you so much - I'm so happy you like the characters! I really enjoyed writing them and working out their relationships with each other! :)

Thank you again! I'm so happy you like Barty and Sirius - particularly Sirius, since I know it's not the same way people usually write him, I think. He's definitely a lot, cooler, I guess, with his family than his friends. Kinda trying to fit in, in a way? I think is fairly common, to act one way around your family, and differently around your friends, so Sirius kinda does that. He's kinda alone, but not, and it's so fun to explore! :)

Barty - honestly, I love writing him. He's just so unbelieveably funny and so great to write. He is kinda mysterious and definitely suspicious - but I promise you there is a reason why he's here! ;) Yeah, Barty has a tendency to blurt things out - but Regulus' stare... creepy little boy. Very creepy.

Mahaha, I loved writing that! At first I was worried it didn't quite fit, but I decided in the end to leave it in, so it's so great to hear you liked it! :)

Thank you! :D I know I tend to write a lot of description, so I'm glad you liked it and the details! :)

I love writing her... she's a little less mad, haha, but still scary! I'm so happy you thought she was true to character! :)

Thank you so so much for this amazing review - I've really struggled to find words to reply to it, haha! It was such a lovely thing to receive! Thank you again! :)

Aph xx


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