Reading Reviews for Reason to Fight
  
114 Reviews Found

Review #26, by nott theodore Entrée par effraction

1st September 2013:
Congratulations Val! I can definitely say that you deserved both the Dobby and the Story of the Month with this beauty!

I'm so glad that we got to see what happened with Xavier, and that he seems to be alright. It was so tense at the beginning when Camille was calling Johanna for help and you wrote that section really well - I was so worried for him. It's great that both Camille and Johanna are strong and independent women who can sort problems out for themselves. It's brilliant to see characters like that in this time period. Like Jean says, they definitely aren't damsels in distress; if anything, they're rescuing the men here!

I liked the fact that Johanna knew what to do and was able to keep a calm head while Camille was getting worried. And she seems like the sort of friend Camille needs at the moment - she can see her feelings for Xavier and vice versa just like we can, but Camille still refuses to see it. It makes me ship them even more ♥

This may be me being completely obtuse, but is Xavier actually a wizard? I can't remember any mention of him using magic so far, and he seems to prefer using Muggle weapons... hmm, that may just be me being silly, though!

Haha I loved the fact that Camille automatically thinks the worst of Jean. I think you're showing that every single act of resistance puts them in more danger, and they've been lucky to survive this long without being killed. The plan that Camille and Johanna came up with to rescue Jean was a great one, and I especially liked the use of the potion to speak a different language - it's a clever invention, and I only wish I had access to it myself! It would make language learning a lot easier :P

The rescue was written really well. It was paced just right and there was this sense of urgency and tension as Johanna was going to rescue Jean. When they started questioning her I got worried she was going to be captured as well, so I'm really glad that they both got out!

I noticed just one typo towards the end of the story:
"Could take care of Jean's arm" - I think this should be "Could you take care"

This was a brilliant chapter, and I love this story. I know you only updated this yesterday or something, but I'm looking forward to the next chapter already!

Sian :)

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Review #27, by nott theodore Je ne t'aime plus

1st September 2013:
Hi Val!

The flashback at the beginning was really interesting, and it helped explain a lot of things for me. I felt so sorry for Camille when Xavier was telling her that he was breaking up with her because he'd found someone else. She went from being so happy about seeing her fiance to having her heart broken in just a few minutes. I kind of hated Xavier for a few minutes at that point, but afterwards when I realised that he was doing it because of the resistance, I could understand it more. He thought that if she was able to hate him for breaking up with her, it would be easier for her. The amount they have to sacrifice to fight this war is so sad!

I know I've already said that I love the way that you use French in this story (you might have guessed I'm a bit obsessed with languages), the inclusion of it in all the right places makes everything feel much more authentic. Just little things like the date being written in French make me smile.

Astrid's doing a lot better than I thought - at least, nothing drastic seems to have happened to her yet. When you mentioned the tall officer in the last chapter I had a feeling that maybe he'd come into the story more, and it was good seeing Maximilian here. He didn't seem like a monster, and it's easy to forget that so many soldiers were just normal people. But I can't decide what he'll do in the future yet, although I think we may be seeing more of him and Astrid together!

Aw, the scene with Camille and Xavier! ♥ I'm really shipping the two of them together, and I hope it isn't too early in the story to be doing that! I liked learning more about their relationship in this story, and seeing that even though they had been in love and engaged, they didn't know everything about each other. I think Xavier's surprise when Camille said that she wouldn't want children straight away helped to show that they hadn't discussed everything together.

I don't think that it was too rushed at all! The last scene was great - except for that cliffhanger that you left us on! I hope that Xavier will be alright, and I'm just glad that I've got the next chapter to read straight away!

Sian :)

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Review #28, by nott theodore La Rafle

31st August 2013:
Oh goodness, you're trying to break my heart with this chapter!

The beginning made me ask so many questions that I think have already been asked time and time again since the war. Is there something, anything that these people could have done to save themselves and their families? There were certain lines in the flashback as well that were so poignant: "The Nazis are violent, but they aren't monsters." and "We are French citizens, I fought for my country during the Great War, and nothing will happen to us" were some of the most touching. They're things that I know people at the time thought, and because of the propaganda around the time not many people realised what they were going to. I'm glad that you included those facts at the end in your AN as well, because I think they really helped to reinforce the context of this story.

And then, after seeing the poor family rounded up, we learn about how Simon's father died and that his little brother was born dead... it's just so heart-breaking. The rest of the family are in a concentration camp and there is probably much more tragedy to come. I just want them all to be able to get out of there, but I know that wouldn't be a real representation of what actually happened.

I'm still curious about where he lost his wand, and why he can't get it back. Are his family Muggles as well? I'm intrigued about why they hadn't been able to avoid capture if they were all magical, but I'm sure those questions will be answered in later chapters! Aw, his thoughts about Johanna as well... they were so sweet and touching, because he doesn't have any idea that she feels the same way about him. I'll be interested to see more about their back story.

It was nice to see some normality in the lives of the group as well, and what they are doing during the time they're not actually fighting in the war. Seeing that made me think that the others are actually alright at the moment because of the contrast between their lives and Simon's, but then the letter arrived and it all crumbled away. I definitely don't think that's what Jean was intending to happen when he said that Astrid was the best of the group.

I didn't want the group to be split up! I don't know how to feel about poor Astrid being sent off without the others to teach in a school led by a sympathiser. But at the same time, she's a Veela and probably a pretty powerful witch so I think she'll be okay. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing how she fares alone without the others, and how they fare without her. I've got a nasty feeling that they're all going to end up being split up eventually, and having to fight the war alone...

Sian :)

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Review #29, by nott theodore La Faiseuse d'Anges

31st August 2013:
Somehow this story just keeps getting better and better!

I thought you built up the suspense and tension really well in the opening of this chapter. I liked the way that you described the way that Astrid and Xavier looked after taking the Polyjuice Potion. It shows the level of planning they've put into this plan, and once again, your descriptions are lovely.

The way that they actually murdered Jean's uncle was really clever. Really they tricked him into killing himself - and again, it's an untraceable method. I liked the chaos that his death resulted in, and I felt like I could picture the scene so well.

Aw, I just want to give Johanna a hug! That was another really difficult scene to write and I think that you handled it sensitively once again. I feel so sorry for her and yet I think she's even stronger than I did before as well - I hadn't realised that she'd been through something so awful. It makes me wonder whether that is the reason for her choosing to fight, to exact some sort of revenge.

The moment between Camille and Xavier was quite sweet again - no matter how much they try to deny it, there's still something there between them, I think. I'm intrigued to find out what went wrong between them. It makes sense that they were really good friends before though, especially since they're both prepared to fight for their country. But to answer the question in your AN, I'm definitely rooting for them already!

Again, the descriptions of the Ministry were great, and provided a harsh contrast to the poverty that other people are living in. It's frustrating that some people will always look after themselves first, even when others are suffering.

I'm really not sure about Jean and I don't know what his motives for saying that about Astrid were. I think perhaps what Camille has said could be a part of it, since he seems to fit much more into the stereotypical attitude towards women of a male at that time, but I also think there might be something else behind it. I hadn't actually realised that this was Astrid's first misson, since she seemed so self-assured about things.

I'm not sure how I feel about Paul Goldberg either. I think he probably has the right motives for what he's doing, but has made the wrong decisions. Something about taking magic away from people who choose to collaborate with the other side just seems completely wrong to me... it takes away all semblance of free choice. I could probably go into a long rant about that but you don't need to hear that right now!

It's good that there are signs of conflict beginning to appear in the group. With such a big group disagreements are unavoidable, but also with all the stresses of the actual time and the war going on around them, it's something that's bound to happen.

I'm really excited and almost nervous to read about Simon in the next chapter!

Sian :)

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Review #30, by nott theodore Le Phare

31st August 2013:
Hi again!

I'm only on the second chapter and I'm already falling in love with this story and your characters, which is a serious achievement! I love the authenticity of it with all the details that you work into your writing, and the way that you use enough French to remind us that the story is set in France - and it makes me feel good since I understand it without the translations! :P

I'm so intrigued by Jean's character - I felt like we got to know more about him in this chapter, although I'm not entirely sure that I like his character. He's quite cold and cruel; a lot more detached than the rest of the group. Has he known the others for as long as they've known each other? His opinion of his uncle is really intriguing. He doesn't seem at all bothered by the fact that his own uncle has to be killed - in fact, he's tried to kill him already himself. I want to know how that happened and what it is that's happened in the family before to cause that.

I think the sections with Simon are probably my favourites at the moment. They're very easy to get wrong if you don't write them properly, but you handle them sensitively and make them really touching to read. It was so moving when he got to see his sisters and talk to them, and I like his determination to remain unbroken before his captors. I really hope that he does manage it! The details about the marks were really interesting as well. I didn't know anything about them before I read this and it was great to see the way that you incorporated them into the story.

I loved the back story with Camille and Xavier. Seeing that there's a past between these characters adds a lot of depth to them. And after reading that flashback, I may now be shipping them... There was a mention of Johanna in that flashback too, which leads me to think that most of them have been friends for a while, before the war started. But the two of them were so sweet, and the French at that point was used perfectly. I know the vous form isn't usually used, so to me it seemed like a bit of a joke between them, almost ironic... I might be reading too much into that though!

Jean's definitely the leader of this group, and I think that's clear from the group dynamics and the conversation between them. I'm still intrigued about why he's so determined to kill his uncle. This potion is an interesting idea, and it seems like they've obviously had to carry out these sorts of missions before, since they're all so prepared to kill someone should they need to. And apparently they're taking their orders from the French Ministry? That makes the possibility of wizards working on the other side of the war even more interesting.

Another brilliant chapter, and I'm reading on straight away!

Sian :)

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Review #31, by nott theodore Prologue

31st August 2013:
Hi Val! I've had this recommended to me by so many people and I've been meaning to come and read it for a while, but now that you're a Dobby winner I thought I definitely had to pop along!

Okay, so I can definitely see already why this won an award for Most Original Fic, because I've never seen anything like this before that's set during such an important period of history and deals with wizarding involvement in it. You've already got me hooked because I love history and will basically read anything set in the past, but your compelling and beautiful writing leaves me in no doubt about whether to carry on or not.

I love the fact that we're introduced to all the characters separately and then they're brought together at the end of the chapter, so that we can understand the connections between them. It made me realise that their resistance isn't a solely independent act, but that they're working together to fight this war.

And your description! Ack, it just makes me so happy to read such beautiful description, and you use it to perfection. I love the beginning of the story when you build up the scene in an almost dreamlike tone before bringing us straight into the action.

Camille's section was completely unexpected. The image that the clothes painted in my head featured an elegant woman, and I thought perhaps she was a bit of a tomboy because of her dislike of the heels. And then BAM - she gets her wand out and kills this German soldier. She's much more ruthless than her quiet appearance would suggest, and it's a very gripping way to start the story.

Astrid is clearly shocked by her sister's death, but it seems like she's using that grief to fuel her determination to fight on. And since her sister is Apolline... is she Fleur's grandmother? That would help explain her determination as well, and her attitude towards people she loves. She was really interesting to read about and quite the contrast to Camille's section.

Johanna is a real femme fatale. I love the fact that you've created such strong female characters in a time when women weren't expected to be independent. But I think it's also a time when women proved they were a lot stronger and capable of so much more than people believed them to be, and I like the fact it's reflected in this story.

Xavier's character intrigues me too, since he's the only one who hasn't been mentioned as being magical... I wonder if he's actually a wizard, or a Muggle working alongside wizards in the resistance?

Oh, Simon... his section was so heartbreaking. I still can't understand how people let the camps happen, but I thought you wrote about his experience there well. It makes sense to me that he's more concerned about saving his family than the country, in the way that Xavier and others are. I'm curious about his wand - was it taken from him, or did he lose it?

We didn't find out as much about Jean's character or his role in the war at this point, but his section helped to introduce some more important information about the French Ministry and the relationship between the wizarding world and the Muggle world at this point.

The ending was great, with all of them coming together to discuss what they're doing next. I'm impressed by how you've managed to introduce so many original characters at once but also give them a separate and individual personality, to the point that I didn't find it difficult to know who was who and what their role seems to be. The relationship between Simon and Johanna is interesting, and I thought the way you wrote her obvious concern for him was really touching.

Hmm, I'm curious to know who 'they' are, the ones that are giving Jean the orders. And that ending was just brilliant, with that sort of bombshell. I really love the concept of this, although I'm thinking that there may be wizards on both sides of the fight... Anyway, I'm adding this to my favourites and reading on!

Sian :)

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Review #32, by patronus_charm Entrée par effraction

31st August 2013:
CONGRATS, VAL! I’m so proud of you winning this award as I really love this story so much and think it’s one of the most unique ones around and then finding out this has been updated too! It was a brilliant double whammy!

Yay we got the follow up to what happened Xavier and Camille! I really loved all the tension when Camille was calling for Johanna! I really thought it was going to be too late for him, and after what happened in the last chapter between the two I was really hoping it wasn’t! Then Johanna came and sounded like a proper surgeon! I loved how you mixed Muggle and magical methods as I’ve never seen that done before but it was really great!

I really loved how Camille immediately assumed the worst of Jean! I’m glad you worked something like that into the story as they were around a lot then, and historical accuracy is always great! Except I’m sitting on tenterhooks now due to the fact he doesn’t have his wand, that does not sound good in the slightest especially with what Johanna was saying about what would happen if they found out!

Ah, why did I have to be right? That section was so fast paced I could really sympathise with Camille’s initial confusion, though it was a good fast paced! I could really tell how these guys were the professionals with how quickly they thought on the spot on how to infiltrate a Nazi base, it was as if they did it every day or something! The idea of the Polyjuice potion and the German speaking spell were really great and I can’t wait to see how they work!

Ok when they started questioning Johanna I seriously thought it was going to be up! I mean, they had managed so well for so long now that I thought they couldn’t carry on, but with magic on their side they managed to! Those action scenes were really great!

A wonderful chapter, Val! Also thanks for improving my French swear words as I didn’t know the P one :P Oh yes, and thank you for the shout it was no problem as this story really deserves it! ♥

-Kiana

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Review #33, by slightlyobsessedwithfanfiction Entrée par effraction

31st August 2013:
C'EST PAS TROP TOT!!!

Haha just joking. I'm just happy you're writing again :)
Loved this chapter; your story is just so believable. I like how Camille and Johanna are so strong and independant.. like Jean said "how with two girls like you around people still manage to tell tales of damsels in distress." very feminist indeed :P

I liked the part about the "language potion" if i can call it that.. nice touch ;) very original

I hope you'll write again soon. I miss talking about this stuff with you :)
...
You know who :)
(... the other you know who... i am not voldi as you very well know... I HAVE A NOSE) ... ok this is getting random ... as always

Author's Response: CLAIRE! I shouldn't be responding to this first because there are other reviews but I don't want it to be deleted, so, validators, 'C'est pas trop tot!' means 'About time!'.

If anything, I knew you'd pick up on that line! I kind of miss our shouting matches over different opinions...

Yes, I'll be writing and updating more regularly soon, I hope :) Thank you for still sticking around.

(YOU HAVE A NOSE?)


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Review #34, by Courtney Dark Je ne t'aime plus

19th August 2013:
Yet another amazing chapter! I am honestly in awe - I don't know ow you write so well and how every single chapter feels so beautiful and authentic and...I don't even know how to describe it, except to say that I've never read anything else like this on this site!

I loved the flashback at the start - poor Camille:( And poor Xavier too, for having to say all those things to her when he clearly loved her! Oh, and I adored the scene between them at the end, too - definitely not too rushed, although that cliffhanger! Oh my goodness, I'm both dreading and looking forward to seeing what will happen next!

I also liked the scene from Astrid's point of view. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I liked about it (probably because I loved every single thing about it) but I think it has to do with the way you weave all this French-ness into it. Wow, that made no sense. I apologize for my small vocabulary. Anyway, I think this scene was definitely important because it showed that even though Astrid is in a place that is supposedly safe, she still feels uneasy.

Oh, and your characterizations are all flawless. Enough said.

Can't wait for more!

Courtney:)

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Review #35, by EnigmaticEyes16 Prologue

18th August 2013:
This is a really interesting start to a story! I like the inclusion of the Second World War, although I don't remember everything, so any errors in the details I probably couldn't tell you. So far, I like the characters although I have no idea what's going to happen next. I assume the character related to a canon might be Astrid to Fleur, as Astrid is a veela and Fleur is in the chapter image...

But no, I don't think this is crap. I think it's really good, and I intend to read on so good job!

xxEnigmaticEyes16

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Review #36, by Erised Prologue

16th August 2013:
Hi Val! I'm so pleased I've been paired with you for the review exchange because I haven't read anything of yours before and clearly I have been missing out. This is the type of story I love to read on the archive and so of course I adored it!

So firstly, I've just GOT to talk about your style for this chapter and this fic as a whole. It's so perfect for it that I can't really write coherently my praise. Your almost descriptive but snappy style means that as a reader we get little snapshots of each character which give us just enough information about them that's needed before moving on to the next.

You fleshed out all of the characters so well with just a few words and honestly it amazes me how well you did it. I felt that each character had their own separate identity from the others and they were suitably different so that you couldn't be confused by any of them. I also really liked how you've hinted to deeper, darker things for each one happening but haven't gone into detail just yet. It leaves me very intrigued as to what's going to happen next and how it will affect the group dynamic.

As a group they work very well. As I mentioned before their different personalities make them harmonise very well because none of them are too similar, and Johanna's concern for Simon was very touching and well written. I really feel for them because it's such a delicate situation and I also think you wrote his deportation very well as it can often be a sensitive and upsetting subject.

I also enjoyed the more clinical and cold aspect to the story which all of the group have towards life and death. It really made them all much more multi-dimensional as characters and as I reader I really felt for them too, because that's just no way to live. Their lives seem so bleak which you describe perfectly through their actions and your descriptive sentences.

I just cannot get over how perfect this first chapter was! It has got to be one of the best I've ever read. You have done such an amazing job here and I am so so excited to read and review the rest of this.

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Review #37, by Beeezie Prologue

19th July 2013:
Hey, I'm here with your review! As soon as I saw the summary, I knew I was going to enjoy this - I love other era stories like this.

Description: Absolutely lovely. It's well suited to the time period and the setting, I think, and as you go from scene to scene, you always paint a strong picture without getting bogged down in too many details. Excellent, excellent work.

Characterization: This is terrific. None of these vignettes felt repetitive, and all told me a lot about the characters you were introducing in a short amount of time.

Camille may only have a short scene and no actual lines, but she made a major impact nonetheless. You communicated so much in so few words - I got a great sense of the atmosphere, her frame of mind, and her history. From the barren streets to her disliking heels to the soldier, it was quite clear that this was not a peaceful time. She's clearly ruthless, but I'm still trying to figure out to what extent that is.

Astrid is really interesting. I feel like she's a bit more straightforward right now than Camille - I know where she's coming from and what side she's on, and seeing her transformation indicates to me that she's not as jaded as Camille seems to be. That said, if Apolline is the same Apolline that is Fleur's mother, the letter intrigues me.

Johanna is great, too, in part because she and Camille both feel so similar and yet so different. She plays on her supposed innocence and appearance to get soldiers' guards down just as Camille seemed to - and, of course, because they're women the job of appearing weak is easier in the first place - but unlike Camille, she doesn't appear to be leaving bodies behind. In the last section, when you drew them all together, I liked the way she cut through the excuses about why they couldn't rescue Simon. She's not wrong.

Xavier intrigues me because he's the first character who isn't clearly magical. Camille and Johanna both use spells, and Astrid mentions vela heritage. However, since Xavier is focused on weapons, that makes me think that he isn't. I didn't get much more of a sense from him than that, but that's okay - I didn't need to.

Simon's section sets the desperation of the era of the story in a slightly different context. While the other four sections have all been about overt resistance, war-torn streets, and soldiers, this is much bleaker and sadder. His mother is probably dead, and his father is clearly going that way as well. My interpretation right now is that he's a Muggleborn, but that could be off.

Jean: I got a bit less of a sense of Jean's character than the other five from his section, but I'm okay with that, because you used his situation to answer some important questions in an elegant way. I also got a better sense of him in the last section, which tied all of them together, so that was definitely okay.

Flow: There was only one thing that didn't quite make sense to me. In the second section, when Astrid looks in the mirror, you say that "the gorgeous Veela is gone." I wasn't quite sure what that meant - cutting her hair doesn't change her identity that much, surely. It's not a huge deal, and I understood what you were saying, but it felt a tiny bit awkward.

Other than that, I have absolutely no complaints, and that's ridiculously minor. You transition between scenes beautifully and you didn't give me a chance to get confused while still keeping me very intrigued.

Amazing work, Val. Please feel free to rerequest.

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Review #38, by TheGoldenKneazle La Rafle

17th July 2013:
SIMOOON. Oh flipping heck I want to hug him so much right now - the insight you've given us to his life is shocking, real and raw. It's so unlike fanfic that I keep forgetting it's not some film, since it all plays out so fully in my mind! This extra info about him was really good though, and I am beginning to ship Simon/Johanna so, so much.

But I'm getting a bit scared for Astrid... evil boss, scary soldiers, creep assignment (which I don't understand quite yet in relevance to the War?) gah I hope to see more of her next chapter!

Seriously, your world- and character-building skills are so honed and wonderful, Val, I am getting so completely sucked in, it's ridiculous. It's been a long time (maybe since I read Violet's Out Of Time?) since I was this completely buried in their world!

I JUST LOVE IT OKAY
~Lottie

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Review #39, by TheGoldenKneazle La Faiseuse d'Anges

17th July 2013:
Aaah I loved the further insight here into how their unit works - the clever way that there's cover-ups and Polyjuice and all sorts to prevent their being tracked (although the measures being used to cover them up are slightly at odds with the fact that people will investigate random disappearances with no explanation?)

Also - Johanna's flashback was amazing, really throw-you-in-the-deep-end emotionally, gah. It was amazing, though, and I am definitely enjoying getting to know more about each character!

Jean's a bit irritating with this seduce-Astrid business, but I'm betting there's some other ulterior motives. Or maybe this is just because - as with last chapter - he's got that 'man of the 20th century' thing going on.

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH THOUGH
~Lottie

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Review #40, by TheGoldenKneazle Le Phare

17th July 2013:
OMIGOSH I AM ALREADY SHIPPING CAMILLE/XAVIER SO HARD ♥ No seriously, that flashback with them? Complete win. I really, really hope for more relationship development in the future!

Arrgh Simon! I look forward to this humungous flashback next chapter, because I really want to know more about how he got there. And his family. And everything, basically, because he seems lovely and you've got this whole scene-setting down to a T!

Eeeep more action coming, WOOHOO, and I love how you're characterising Jean so far - you've written him as this relic of the past, who I don't quite understand because he wouldn't fit in nowadays, but it works for 1943!

SO EXCITED
~Lottie

Author's Response: YAY, ANOTHER SHIPPER OF CAMILLE/XAVIER. I want everyone to board that ship (and then blow holes in it and let the pieces rot at the bottom of the sea covered in barnacles. Maybe. Most likely not.)

~EVIL FEVER INDUCED LAUGHTER~

Right, my rambling aside, it makes me happy (for lack of a better term) that Simon is the character you want to know the most about because I feel like what he represents is something no one should ever, ever forget about.

And yes, Jean wouldn't fit in today, but watch out for him -- he may surprise you yet!

Thank you for another super awesome review! ♥



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Review #41, by TheGoldenKneazle Prologue

17th July 2013:
AAH THIS IS SO EXCITING ♥ I completely adored this prologue, because we got such a beautiful introduction to each character, and I cannot wait to see more of each of them. I love how you can see the fight in each of these characters, and you've breathed life into them so completely that I already feel as though I know them personally.

I thought you explained this slightly complicated system of resistance really well, too - I can see how it works, and its gives a really good sense of the bigger picture. Also, that ending!! I am so excited to read on because it's so tempting and ARGH I want to know more about these characters so much :3

Onwards ho!
~Lottie

Author's Response: LOTTIE ♥

It really means so, so much to me that you like this story, and it means even more that you love the characters and feel like you know them.

I JUST. THANK YOU SO MUCH.


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Review #42, by charlottetrips Le Phare

16th July 2013:
Wow, I continue to be impressed at the depth that you've taken with this story and the premise on which it is based. This is like reading an Original Fiction because there are no known HP characters to fall back on. While there's magic evident here, it's also woven in such a way as to seem like we DID use magic during WWII.

You handle the varied characters here well. I was impressed at how you switched between POVs but in a way that wasn't confusing to me as a reader. You left off at natural points and even threw in a flashback that didn't feel random!

The past baggage of Camille and Xavier is intriguing. I think relationships based off of friendship are the best and they last the longest as there's always this underlying affinity there (no matter who says what on the matter *cough*Camille*cough*).

Jean and his uncle seem to have a pretty messed up relationship. I mean, the way he plans on assassinating him! That's pretty grim.

Since we keep cutting back to Simon, you make me wonder how he's going to break out and join the rest of the team!

Why must you make me want to continue reading?

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Review #43, by Courtney Dark La Rafle

4th July 2013:
Hey there!

Woah, this chapter was amazing, and so powerful and so emotional and pretty much perfect. Ha, who am I kidding? It wasn't pretty much perfect, it WAS perfect! I think period writing must be one of the hardest things to do, and you have mastered it - using the unusual combination of present tense and third person, too.

That's another thing I love about this story - it's so amazingly original! I can't remember if I've said this in an earlier review, but I've actually wondered whether wizards and witches were involved in the world wars and, well, now I know!

Okay, enough of my gushing and onto this chapter!

Aw, Simon! He's so adorable and your wrote that flashback absolutely perfectly - it all felt so real and intense and I really, really wish the whole family had Disapparated! I am definitely looking forward to learning more about Simon and what his life now is like. I think my two favourite lines of the flashback, purely because they made my lower lip quiver, and made me want to bawl my eyes out were: "Don't cry, Mama. They say they're taking us to a special territory east of Germany, a territory just for us. Pitchipoï." and also "I'm sure you will. The Nazis are violent, but they aren't monsters." Sob! Poor Simon! I just want to give him a big hug - he seemed so loving and caring in the flashback!

I'm definitely interested to find out more about this school Astrid is now going to be teaching out. I'm sure she is going to run into some problems and I'm now wondering what those will be.

This was a fantastic chapter - awesome work!

Courtney:)

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Review #44, by Courtney Dark La Faiseuse d'Anges

2nd July 2013:
Hey Val!

I am so sorry I haven't read and reviewed this story for so long - I have to admit, I had kind of forgotten how amazing it is. Your writing is pretty superb and actually kind of flawless. I'm very jealous right now!

I love how you are developing your characters without rushing too much. I was kinda loving Camille in this chapter, especially that final line she said in French :) And Jean is kind of adorable! I loved that he lied for Astrid and I thought his argument with Camille was written perfect - it definitely added a layer of tension to the chapter.

Have you ever watched a movie with a 'BOOF' moment? That moment when your eyes widen in horror/disgust/surprise and you clap your hands over your mouth and go "OMG! I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!" In my opinion, this chapter had a HUGE boof moment with that creepy mountain elf (am I allowed to be completely creeped out?) that can take away magic from wizards. That was a really smart idea and I am definitely looking forward to reading about the consequences this elf brings. And I definitely think I dislike the Mininster!

I also think (and I feel like I'm gushing a bit now) that your wrote Johanna's flashback perfectly - that must have been really hard to do, so I'm giving you a big pat on the back! Wow, that sounded cheesy. Pretend I didn't just say that. I guess I could always delete it, but...

Wow, getting off topic, sorry!

Anyway, this was an amazing chapter and I can't wait to read more! Definitely adding to my favourites. And I'm looking forward to the next chapter of the Calendar Girls;)

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hi Courtney!

Pah, you, jealous? Your writing has me fangirling all over the place so there's really no reason for you to be.

Oh, I'm so glad you like Jean! I didn't plan on making him likeable at the start, but the more I write him the more I get attached, so it's great to know you like him even when I didn't (I hope I'm making sense).

BOOF MOMENT. Yes, you're allowed to be completely creeped out -- the mountain elf is not a nice creature when Goldberg is the one giving it orders.

Thank you so much for your review, I'm really sorry it took me so long to reply! :)



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Review #45, by Calypso  La Rafle

29th June 2013:
Hello there! I'm finally back for the next chapter!

Oh the scene with Simon's family was so sad! :'( You really captured the panic and confusion of everything that was happening, and the way that their lives were uprooted by it all. I really liked how you explained the reason for them not using magic to escape- it seems totally believable that Joseph's status as a French citizen and First World War veteran would have led him to underestimate the brutality that the Nazis would show towards him. His thing about "the Nazis are violent but they aren't monsters" was so ironic it was painful.
Your description of Sarah behaving like a younger child was particularly heartbreaking too.

And I felt so sorry for him when he woke up in the camp with all that uncertainty and fear. I hope the rest of the group can find a way of saving him!

Another thing I liked was seeing a bit of everyday life for the group, just before the letter arrived. It was a little glimpse of another side to them, and displayed some of the everyday realities of life in occupied France...

Ooh and Astrid's going right into the lion's den...! I'm very intrigued as to how that's going to work out for her, and I enjoyed that little hint about her and the Minister... Her conversation with Mme Gauthier gave a rather dark edge to the end of this chapter, and showed what danger Astrid's resistance connection put her in (although hopefully being a witch will give her a bit of an advantage!)

I'll be interested to see what happens next!

-Bethany

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Review #46, by Crescent Moon  Je ne t'aime plus

19th June 2013:
I love this story.
It's really original and I'm finding it really interesting.
I really can't want to see what happens next and if Xavier's alright.

Author's Response: Hello!

By now, I think you must be reassured about Xavier :)

Thank you so much for the review!


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Review #47, by teh tarik La Faiseuse d'Anges

13th June 2013:
Hello Val ♡ ! Here with your requested review and ahem, apologies for taking so long yet again. I'm glad you re-requested, because this is such a unique story, very different from anything else on the archives, and I do enjoy reading this a lot.

Anyway, gah. This is a fabulous chapter. There's so much going on, and the plot is becoming more and more exciting. The scenes are short and terse, reflecting the action as well as creating a sense of narrative tension, and reading this, I was really held in thrall throughout the whole chapter. I love all the movement of the story and how the characters and the narrative never seem to remain static; the prose is light, subtle and descriptive in the right parts, and you instead of having your characters angst around, you convey their internal struggles and emotional states through their actions and reactions to each other e.g. this lovely moment between Xavier and Camille:

Xavier repeats the wand movement wordlessly, then, with another flourish, conjures a new pair that he hands Camille. Their fingers touch briefly, imperceptibly.

She smiles. "Thank you."


This was done gorgeously, Val. It's so subtle, the way their relationship or feelings for each other are implied, and yet there's so much clarity to that moment. The writing was very delicate and the words were phrased perfectly, and I'm glad you stopped there rather than carry on and run the risk of overdoing that scene.

Anyway, you mentioned in your areas of concern about emotions. There's a lot of disturbing material in this chapter: the murder of the mayor, the rape and abortion references, the characters' moralities being tested...etc. First, the mayor. That was amazingly written; it could have been just a generic action scene, Astrid handing him the poisoned handkerchief and running off, and him dying a gruesome death. But somehow you made it so disturbing by humanising the mayor, by writing those small details here and there, how he smiles kindly at Astrid and speaks well of his nephew (Jean, right?). And yet despite the fact that he appears to be essentially a good person, Astrid still sticks to her assignment and kills him. :( Gah. It's a really interesting moral dilemma she's facing, and I really like this theme that you've brought up: how the reality of war turns the clear-cut boundaries of morality, of good and evil into a murky grey area, which the characters are forced to navigate, to examine their own individual beliefs or to keep doing as they are told, "for the greater good". It's a very fitting war theme, and of course, this comes up in HP canon, so great work on this. Also, I loved that Ministry scene! All that luxury and splendour is such a great contrast to, say, Simon's prison camp. Paul Goldberg is a very intriguing character - a little shady, not entirely good. It's great that you introduced a character like him, and that all the protagonists are now embroiled in something much bigger - the reality of politics. I really enjoy fics where the political comes into contact with the personal aspect of life.

As for how you handled the sensitive topics, I thought they were very well-done. The knitting needles were a very striking and terrifying image, and I really felt for Johanna there, going through such traumatic experiences.

As for description, some of the other reviewers have mentioned this, but you certainly do have an eye for singling out memorable details of a scene or a setting, which really makes the writing so visual without going into a very detailed account of how everything looks, sounds, smells like etc. Descriptions like the chandeliers resembling pennies underwater, or the mountain elf being a creature all "knots and knobbles" (I personally loved this descriptive bit heaps :D ) are such small but striking details.

As for CC, one thing that stood out to me about your sentences was the use of adverbs. You seem to be using them quite a lot at times, especially with dialogue tags, e.g. 'Astrid questions disbelievingly', and 'Camille starts hesitantly' or Goldberg nods enthusiastically. Sometimes the adverbs aren't always necessary, because the verbs already convey the sense of disbelief ("questions") or enthusiasm or hesitance ("starts"). Too many adverbs can start to trip up the prose a bit and make your sentences a little clunky (I'm guilty of this a lot, too ahaha).

I loved your characterisations of Camille and Xavier and Jean here; they're all so real and distinctive -Jean is secretive and scheming, Camille and Xavier are both hot-headed and they interact with each other so nicely. But I am having a little trouble distinguishing Astrid from Johanna; their characterisations aren't so strong in this chapter; their viewpoints are so similar and I'm trying to think if you mentioned that they were sisters or something in previous chapters. And as this chapter contained Astrid's first mission and that horrible flashback of Johanna's, I do think that perhaps you could work on these two characters' portrayals a little more, at least in future chapters.

Also, this is not CC, but I would have loved to see that explosion Jean made in the beginning :P It would have been grand.

Anyway, this is quite a long, rambly review and I hope I've said things that haven't been too useless (it's 2am - it always is when I review). This was a wonderful chapter, Val, and I really enjoyed reading! Great work :)

teh ♡

PS: I notice you keep typing ' &hearts '. Is your semicolon key not working? Not sure if you already know this and I'm just being annoying, but to make a heart in reviews you have to type &hearts ; (with a semicolon at the end but without the space in between) :P

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Review #48, by Calypso  La Faiseuse d'Anges

12th June 2013:
Hello again!

Ooh, I really like the moral twist you're putting all of this- In a way, I'm glad that your team aren't going to get away with their actions without some kind of pay-off. It could be really interesting to see how any doubts the characters might have will play out, because ohmygosh they're ruthless aren't they? I almost felt sorry for the Mayor there, he really didn't stand a chance!

Johanna's backstory was just heartbreaking! I felt so sorry for her. (And the feminist in me had a nice little internal rant about how unfair and hideous the whole thing is!) It certainly puts an interesting slant on her actions in the first chapter...
I really like how we're discovering bits and pieces about these characters, and gradually building up a picture of them all.

Definitely rooting for Camille and Xavier here! (Xaville? Camier?) The little scene between them was perfect: very subtle and understated but none the less impactful for it. I get the impression that they still have some sort of feeling for one another...?

I think I'm reserving judgement about the Minister for the time being... I know they're in desperate times, but his plan does seem pretty awful, especially in light of what Astrid reads in the file. I like the idea of mountain elves though- it was very original and the description of it sounded as if it came straight out of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them!

I'm very intrigued by Jean's comment about Astrid too, and where that could be leading, too...

Another really wonderful chapter- I look forward to reading on! ♥

-Bethany

Author's Response: Hi!

They are quite ruthless, terrifyingly so sometimes, and even though I'm the one writing sometimes I have to pause, stare balnkly at the screen, and wonder where on earth what I just typed came from. But I also think this ruthlessness is necessary to their survival, in an almost primitive kind of way: kill or be killed. If that makes sense?

Oh, Johanna. Again, one of those moments where I have no idea why I'm so horrible to my characters...

I go with Camivier, but Xaville sounds good too! As for them still having feelings for one another, well. If I said anything, that'd spoil it, no?

You're absolutely right to reserve your judgement about the Minister, even I'm not sure where I stand. This story more or less writes itself, so everything can happen without me agreeing to it, which probably isn't very reassuring.

Thank you so much for yet another lovely review! ♥


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Review #49, by Calypso  Le Phare

12th June 2013:
Hey there!

I love the way the story's developed in this chapter... it's all very intriguing! I continue to be in awe of the way you can handle so many main characters and have them all feel so complex, and I just love the way the drama of the group's task is unfolding next to their personal dramas...

There's something very atmospheric- almost nostalgic- to the way you write, that makes me feel as if I'm actually there with your characters. I love that way you've included the little snippets of French which make it clear that the story is set in France and the characters are speaking a different language without confusing the reader- even one like me who only learnt French for three years!

I'm very curious as to what's gone on in Jean's family so that he's happy to kill his own uncle- and from the story of the attempt to stab him, it doesn't seem like the first time! I really like how you've continued to emphasise in this chapter just how ruthless these people are, even though we're coming to like them and everything.

As I said above, I like how you're bringing personal aspects of the characters into the story. The scene in the lighthouse between Camille and Xavier was so beautiful and romantic, and I loved the way you wrote them together, so that I'm totally shipping them now! :P Having read that scene, it was so sad to see their rather less pleasant feelings towards each other now, and I'm desperate to find out what caused such a rift between them...

Your descriptions of Simon's concentration camp are chilling- you really bring across how harsh and degrading it must have been, but at the same time how Simon has just become accustomed to it and taken it in his stride. And the way he looks after his sisters is really touching ♥ I really hope that they'll be okay!

And eugh that poison sounds awful! I can't wait to hear how their attempt at his life will go, and will definitely be back for the next chapter when I get the chance! This is such a great story :)

-Bethany

Author's Response: Hello again :)

Erm, well, I think me handling them all is a bit of an exaggeration, as the characterisations sometimes overlap (to the point where it takes me a while to realise), but thank you! I'm happy you think the inclusion of personal drama works well: a lot of WW2 stories (not fanfiction) seem to forget that the people who fought were human, with fears and hopes and flaws.

Jean's past will be brought up again later, I promise! Your comment about them being ruthless yet likeable is exactly what I was aiming for, so again thank you for the compliment.

Oh, Camille and Xavier. You find out in chapter five what drove the rift between them, and I hope you'll like the explanation! Don't worry about them too much, I really love them and don't want anything to happen to them quite yet (and now I need to stop before I spill everything, as tempting as that sounds).

Oh, Simon. The camp scenes are so difficult to write, but it's simply something I can't not write about. It wouldn't be fair to all those who really had to go through it.

Thank you again so much for another lovely review!


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Review #50, by Calypso  Prologue

8th June 2013:
Hey there- I'm here from the forums!

I picked this as I saw it won a couple of Diadem Awards, and having read it, I can say that I can definitely see why! This was just stunning!

I was intrigued right from the beginning, from that gorgeous description of Caen, and of Camille. I absolutely adored the contrast between Camille's elegant clothes, and her ruthless killing of the solider. The "Avada Kedavra" came as such a shock! But it certainly made me want to read on!
(The same thing was true with Johanna and her Imperius Curse actually.)

I loved that you didn't just explain everything straight off, but made the reader gradually work out what was going on- it's nice to be made to engage with a story like that! And I have to say that this is *such* an original idea for a story- I've never read anything like it, and I'm really interested to see what you're going to do with this scenario...!

I really liked the structure of this chapter with the snapshots of all the different characters. You seem to be able to convey a lot about a character in just few words, so I feel like a really know this group of people, despite not having been with them for long. You've also managed to give them a lot of depth- so far, they all seem very real.
Handling so many main characters can be tricky, but so far you seem to be managing it well!

I'm guessing that the link to a canon character is Astrid's to Apolline? I'm interested to see how that dynamic will play out- especially if Astrid's also part Veela...

I'm extremely impressed by this chapter! It's so beautifully written, and so original, and I'll certainly be reading on! A stunning chapter ♥

-Bethany

Author's Response: Hi Bethany!

As I respond to this, the Dobby awards have taken place so I just want to thank you again for your immense support to the story, it really means the world!

The contrast between being feminine and a murderer is present in each of the girls. I think that as a woman in such times, you can look a lot more innocent then use that to your advantage, which is exactly what these three are doing.

Aw, thank you for finding this so original, and liking it too!

I'm so happy you think they're very real! What I was really worried about was making them come across as a bunch of super-trained wizards saving the world, so it's a relief to know that's not the case.

Astrid is book!Apolline's mother, yes, so Fleur's grandmother. In my head, Astrid is the Veela grandmother whose hair is in Fleur's wand.

Thank you again so, so much! ♥


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