Reading Reviews for Year Five
  
232 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Slide Three Times Charmed

19th December 2014:
Somehow you've done the 'character looks at themself in a mirror' excuse to do a full description and made it work. I think it works cos you're combining it with 'action' of her getting ready, which stops it from being info-dumpy, but kudos! Much amusement at labouring over the issue of spots. Teenagers. Also much love for poor Isobel with her weight woes, and I rather appreciate that she cares about her looks and her grades.

Oh, Laurel. Counting down the days to your inevitable disaster. Ha, good for you, Tristan's old love life. Angelina's awesome.

The character assessments going on here are great. They're painting further pictures and yet are very much through Isobel's eyes. And she, while probably the most attentive and logical (by my reading) of the foursome, is also STILL a teenaged girl, with all of the biases and attitudes therein. It makes her flawed but not demonised, and you can kind of see the sort of person she'll grow up to be once the veneer of teenagerness is over. As such, I'm reserving judgement on if she's JEALOUS of Emily and Tristan, or if she's simply being a bit of a snobby, judgemental teenager.

Enjoyed the segment on Tristan changing his tune re: Filch, and Isobel's frustration with his attitudes. Very realistic. Young people indignant about things they should care about but also being undiplomatic! More apathetic friends not enjoying being told they're wrong for not caring!

Oh my God, the high antics of Laurel and Isobel are giving me life. Doilies are hilarious. ...socks knitted with plugs. That - I can see that. Never occurred to me before. I'm kind of upset by how much sense this makes. Just, this whole segment has got me ugly giggling.

TAPES. This is such a period drama. And Blondie.

I am going to run on the theory that Quirrel likes Isobel because she is justifying his inner evil.

Fun chapter! A really good one for the girls, especially, in terms of teenaged girl dynamics, mentalities, and friendships.

Author's Response: Bahaha, yes, totally guilty of mirror description! I'm glad you think I was able to get away with it!

And yes--there's a real coolness to Angelina (I mean, she ends up with GEORGE), so she seemed an obvious choice for a former fancy!

Eee! Rotating POVs is SO FUN because they do see things differently (and then since this is FAN FICTION, I can also toggle with all of the preexisting knowledge readers have!) As for the Emily+Tristan thing, there's definitely a mix of factors at play.

Isobel's definitely something of a sheltered pure-blood, with a decently liberal family. The sort of people who think Death Eaters are awful, but still far from social justice warriors. She's definitely complacent (I mean, she assumes Voldemort is dead after all, and that the worst is already behind them).

Those antics were SO fun to write! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading them. And yes, TAPES. This story is very 'hey look, the 90s!!'

I feel like Quirrel's reasons for aligning with Voldy had a lot to do with a desire for knowledge/being attracted to the power available in dark arts. So yeah, his liking of her is definitely motivated in part by his the opportunity for self justifications.

Yee, I'm so stoked on settling in and replying to these reviews! BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER THANK YOU!


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Review #27, by BellaLestrange87 Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

19th December 2014:
Hello! I just got out of school for our two-week Christmas break, so I'm going on a review spree to celebrate, and you're first!

I've heard so many good things about this story, but I haven't ever gotten around to reading it, and I don't know why. Anyways, I've finally started, and I really enjoyed this first chapter. It's obvious that you've put a lot of effort into this story, especially in developing the characters. Even though Sophie is a minor character who, as you said, will only appear in this prologue, I got a feel for who she was and why she was choosing to sleep with Tristan.

I like how you didn't make it immediately obvious that Tristan was a wizard. It was nice to have that Muggle point of view and see her reaction to his (failed) attempt to preserve the Statute of Secrecy. Her reaction to him trying to hide his house from her was exactly what it would probably be. Although, if they did drugs together, why would she think he would be worried about having druggie parents and having to hide the evidence?

Once I realized that Tristan wasn't a Muggle, all the hints that you'd been giving off this chapter coalesced. The fact that he hid his house from her, trying not to let her see his wizarding lifestyle, and his cleaning of his room. What she assumed was a 'massive pant and book-hiding spree' probably was - him hiding his robes and textbooks. It probably would've ruined the moment of her using him as a rebound from her ex-boyfriend if she had asked him just what the heck Charms was. Imagine: "What's this wooden stick for? What an odd-looking piece of paper!"

I loved her reaction to the moving pictures. If I didn't know what they were, I would be just as clueless as she was. The fact that she turned the picture frame over to see the back made me laugh. Her thought that they must be dozens of little televisions was a good one - relating it back to something a Muggle would be familiar with.

And when Tristan's parents found her! It makes a lot of sense that they would be more scared than anything, especially when Sophie explained that she knew him through a Muggle friend of hers, and therefore wasn't a witch. Tristan's father stepping in to tell her a lot of nonsense about digital technology was an excellent way to save the day. It would be a lot easier now - digital frames. I think my dad got my grandparents some for Christmas a few years ago.

The mix of wizard and Muggle in Tristan's house is good. I don't think either of them would want to lose their heritage, and the blending of the two is well done. I like how you have modern paperbacks beside older leatherbound wizard books, and a cauldron in the living room fireplace.

Another thing I liked was how you used a canon character in their Ministry-set role. As you noted, the wizarding world isn't that big, so you can't really have a huge cast of characters that don't know each other.

Excellent first chapter!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for this amazing review!

I definitely went back and forth on Sophie's character--I didn't want her to be totally unrelatable, since her POV opens the story (and I really wanted to use that device, to kind of reintroduce the magical world). A lot of this story involves mirroring devices used in canon, so I kind of copied how PS opens with Vernon Dursley's POV.

Thinking about, well, TEENAGERS, it seemed obvious to me that something like this MUST happen from time to time--muggle getting snuck into a wizarding house.

It's also really fun, because since this is FANFICTION, the readers already have a big knowledge base that the characters don't have (oh my gosh, me and dramatic irony--SO MUCH FUN).

Bahahaha--it definitely helps that this story is set in 1991, when flatscreen technology didn't exist yet! Nowadays that would seem way less shocking!

I really enjoyed writing the mixed muggle/magical house :) We never really got to see a mixed house in canon, and I loved the idea of it.

I definitely reused as many characters as I could! No OC is totally original--their last names are all pulled from canon and the like (and Tristan's mum is Mary McDoncald, from DH).

Thank you again sososo much for this review! *squee*

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #28, by AlexFan Cleaner, More Brilliant

17th December 2014:
Oh my goodness! This is the final chapter! I canít believe it! Itís been such a long ride!

I loved the reference to Doctor Who that you made! And if you were to look at it from a magical perspective, the show would be absolutely boring to witches and wizards because this is the kind of stuff that they can do and theyíd probably wonder why people are so fascinated with it. ďHis police box is bigger on the inside? My cousin did that once, it wasnít that big of a deal.Ē

Oh God, 90ís-early 2000 fashion was just an adventure, I look back at some of the clothing and I just cringe because of how horrible it looks, I canít believe that was considered fashionable once upon the time.

Iím so happy that Isobel is slowly becoming a confident woman again and learning to love herself for who she really is. Thatís really great to see and Iím so incredibly happy for her! She deserves to be happy, and I hope her family never puts her down about her appearance ever again (or else!) Iím just in general so glad that everyone is recovering and becoming better people and leading healthier lives (you know, underage drinking and smoking aside).

I canít believe that the story is finally over! I know I joined the crowds a little late on everything but Iím so glad that you requested from me and that I got to read this awesome story. Youíre a truly talented writer and youíre more than welcome to come and request from me again if you want (and to let me know if you start another novel!)

Author's Response: Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for being an AMAZING reviewer, and reviewing this WHOLE THING! It means the world to me!

Ahahaha--yes, making things 'bigger on the inside' is pretty par for the course in the magical world :p

I'm still super bummed that the movies were set in modern day! Part of the fun of this story was being SUPER aware of the era (including the ridiculous fashions!)

I definitely think that the Doge-Mostafa's learned their lesson. They aren't truly bad people, just sort of inconsiderate--now that they've seen their daughter nearly starve herself to death, they just want to see her healthy and happy. They for sure learned their lesson about body-shaming!

And yeah, all the kids aren't gonna just up and be super Reformed and all--they'll still party a bit. But moderation is key!

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and encouragement! You are the best!

XOXOXO
Roisin


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Review #29, by Nadja Troll in the Dungeons!

15th December 2014:
You have an impeccable taste in music and this story is amazing! Thank you for writing this masterpiece!!

Author's Response: *Squee* I'm so glad you like it! Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #30, by AlexFan After

12th December 2014:
Iím going to apologize in advance if I start making no sense throughout this review as I am sick and who knows what might happen.

Okay, first off, thank God that Tristan is alive, I honestly thought that he wasnít going to make it and like I had to prepare myself to deal with his death. I remember how in Philosopherís Stone Harry noticed someone else in the hospital wing with him who was curtained off and I like how you connected Tristan to that time in canon (seriously, I love how you connect every small canon thing to your story).

On another note, can you just imagine the rumours at Hogwarts about Harry after he killed Quirrel. Like, an eleven-year-old murdered a teacher with his bare hands, imagine how that mustíve terrified some people.

I never thought that I would read a sentence like, ďI snogged Voldemort is what happened.Ē Yet here we are.

OH MY GOD WHAT?! HE IS BELLATRIX AND RABASTANíS SON LIKE WHAT THE HELL I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING. I mean, I knew that his biological parents had been Death Eaters but I never thought to make the connection, at least we know why Narcissa was so willing to take Tristan in, and now the story that his father told him makes sense. Thatís just, wow, thatís a really big thing. Talk about a plot twist. Can you imagine how different Tristan wouldíve turned out had he lived with Narcissa and Lucius.

I feel like everyone is beginning to start over and get to know each other better now. Despite everything that has happened, I think all of the characters are in a much better and healthier place than they were at the beginning of the story. And I love how you added even more depth to Isobel by making her question her sexuality. Itís something that a lot of people begin to question and explore as they grow older and become more educated. I love how she came to acknowledge that she didnít like men the way that she liked women and how perfectly okay she was with that.

Oh my gosh Iím so happy for Tristan and the fact that he finally got some closure! He was really brave to go and see his father in Azkaban. And I can definitely see what he was worrying about, wondering if you would grow up to be as cruel as your Death Eater father had been. A huge weight has been lifted off of his shoulders now that he sees that he is nothing like his father. Iím so glad that Tristan finally sees and appreciates the parents that he has that replaced Rabastan and Bellatrix.

Author's Response: Yes! I'm sure there's another explanation for who was in the curtained off bed--but it just worked so well!

And yeah, we hear Dumbledore say that the rumors are running wild, but we never really got to SEE the rest of the school's perspective. So that was definitely fun to play with.

Aha! Yes, he's Rabastan's son! (He's actually Bellatrix's *nephew* though--his mom is named Belvina--because Bellatrix was married to Rodolphus, not Rabastan. But you are sick so I won't blame you for missing the 'auntie Bella' line!)

And YEAH; had he been brought up by Narcissa and Lucius... Terribleness...

I hadn't originally planned on Isobel being gay, but just as soon as I started writing her POVs, I realized that she was (which is why she was always vaguely wondering about other peoples' sexualities). She sort of had a crush on Emily, but didn't realize it--which motivated a lot of her behavior.

Understanding the basis of Tristan's self-loathing does rather validate the intensity of his angst, huh! And such a big part of early Potter was the idea that we are defined by our choices, and that no one can just be BORN evil. So I drew that out in Tristan in a big way (also, I just really wanted to examine the experiences of a Death Eaters child).

As I've said before, Tristan really is the anti-Potter. Both were adopted after losing their parents in the war, but Tristan loves his adopted parents while Harry hates living with the Dursleys. Harry loves Hogwarts and wants to live there year-round, while Tristan loves the muggle world and resents Hogwarts. The Potters are heroes, the Lestranges are villains. Harry grows up not realizing that he's famous, Tristan grows up knowing exactly how infamous his parents were (but lives in obscurity under a false identity).

Gosh, I can't believe there's only one chapter left! Thank you so much for coming along on this strange little journey with me!


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Review #31, by Moonyxluna Three Times Charmed

10th December 2014:
I THINK I'm on chapter five? YES. okay.

AH I LOVE HER. YOU GO ISOBEL ROCK THOSE EYELINER WINGS AND RED LIPS AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT THOSE OTHER GIRLS SAY YOU ARE FABULOUS♥

ahem. I have a lot of feelings about that topic.

AHH I have eyelashes just like Emily and it is miserable. I feel her pain. I totally understand.

I am going to stop rambling about makeup issues now.

I love Isobel's voice in the beginning. I love that she loves her friends and embraces their outsider persona and just doesn't give a (oh, twelve plus ratings) about what the people around her think. And I thought the little suspicion of Emily and Tristian was interesting, coming form Isobel.

hahah.. You've got to be pretty gone to get kicked out of a joke shop. I love the way the humor sort of writes itself here, with Filch, and then Tristan complaining/not complaining about Filch rapidly.

It's all so entertaining and so just.. REAL. Like.. I didn't know how much I wanted this story until I started reading it.

How many times can I say 'I love...' in this review? I really feel like now that I have each of these four fleshed out in my head, that they are some of the greatest really original OC's I've ever read. I want so much more of this.

Ah, Hufflepuff magic for getting coffee! I wish I had that :p

THIS IS WONDERFUL. For real.

Julie

Author's Response: *Squee* Thank you so much! :D

I AM SO GLAD YOU FEEL AS STRONGLY ABOUT THIS MAKEUP STUFF AS I DO!

And yes! The lot of them definitely have an anti-conformity thing going on. And I'm so pleased you liked the humor, and thought it was realistic and all! I really wanted to channel that sort obnoxious teenage behavior, but also recognize how FUN it can be while it's happening.

And just, that you think it's realistic, and think these OCs are good--THANK YOU! Part of it was that I wrote the whole thing out first, then went back and edited a LOT before uploading. So I really got a chance to kind of know them while I wrote, and could go back to tweak things to get their characters right.

I have INFINITE amounts of admiration for people who manage to write such excellent novels while doing it in an episodic way. I would NEVER be able to keep my story straight if I was writing and uploading one chunk at a time. (I like, went back and changed earlier things SO MANY TIMES)

Thank you SO MUCH for this amazing, joy-inspiring review! You are a day-maker!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #32, by CambAngst The Presence of Love

7th December 2014:
Hi! I was hoping I'd be able to help you get to review #200. Having kids often seems to get in the way of goals like that. Instead, I'll just get you started on the next 200 reviews. ;)

The past few chapters have been really rough on your characters, so this chapter was a really good change of pace for me. Secrets (some of them, anyway) were revealed, issues (a few) were confronted and conflicts (one or two) found at least the beginnings of resolution. It had a few bumps, like any of your chapters, but overall this was probably the most upbeat since the big party.

Poor Emily. The depths of her confusion where Tristan's concerned would be hard to overstate. You did a really good job of capturing the essence of her struggles and the way that it wears on her.

Once again, you wrote a scene featuring Dumbledore with a lot of finesse and sensitivity. You're really very good at it. You keep him so measured and circumspect. He never gets bent out of shape over anything immediate. It's all about the long game with him. The effect he has on Emily is profound and perfectly written. The wisdom in his words and actions feels perfectly like him. I also loved the subtle way that he gets his message across, both about Emily's transgressions and about her friends.

Yikes. The trip to Scotland with Isobel and her father was a frosty experience.

For most of the story up to this point, Emily has seemed a bit younger than her friends in several ways. This was the first time, I think, that we've gotten to see her as a brooding, disaffected teenager who rebels against the perceived hypocrisy of her parents. Although in her case, I think her parents' hypocrisy goes beyond perception. Still, it's easy to identify those teenage feelings of how unfair life is.

Laurel's confrontation with her mother was healthy in a very odd sort of way. Not that Laurel was right to say some of the horrible things she said to her mother, but that's just how angry teenagers react. Wow, I am NOT looking forward to that phase with my kids. I'll give her mother a lot of credit, though. For once, her mother was able to see Laurel's lashing out for what it really was. She was able to stay calm and let Laurel work her way through the anger until they were actually talking. The end result of the conversation was far from perfect, but it was an improvement. It had to start somewhere.

Seconds later, she appeared in the alley behind her neighborhood gastropub, startling a fox, and continued on her trajectory towards Orsett Street and home. -- I see what you did there. ;)

I feel almost as bad for Tristan's mother as I do for anyone else in this story. The self-destructive course that Tristan seems hell-bent on pursuing would be bad enough by itself, but she also sees the reason why. His self-hatred is heart-breaking, especially for the woman who took it upon herself to raise him.

It's nice to see the friendship between the three girls gradually knitting itself back together. You never wish anything like what happened to Isobel on anyone, but it seems that her horrible experience with Professor Quirrel has at least shown her that she needs her friends as badly as they need her.

Emily's back story was awful. To me, and this might sound odd, the most awful thing about it was how unexceptional it was. Older boy takes advantage of young, impressionable girl who revels in the attention and approval he offers. It happens all the time. That realization is a terrible thing in and of itself. The fact that her troubles didn't start with anything so exotic as being the orphaned son of a notorious Death Eater shouldn't make her struggles any less real.

Then again, with the Defense departmentís track record, Squirrel probably wouldnít be coming back next year. -- Ha. If she only knew...

I saw a couple of typos that have somehow managed to survive:

Thereís been an owl from Hogwarts explaining what Emily had done, and her parents were furious with her. -- There'd

Or because youíre lifeís gone in the bin, so it became my job to be so clever and get good marks so you could have something to brag about, and you wouldnít look so bad. -- your life's gone in the bin

It's been ages since I left you a review, which I definitely feel bad about. Especially considering how long it's been since I finished this story. I'll try to rectify that soon. Awesome job, as always!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello! Yee, thank you so much for pushing me over the 200 mark!

Something I hadn't planned for Emily, but really enjoyed developing, is how she's really The Philosopher of the group. I mean, Tristan does a lot of thinking and all, but it's not at the same maturity level that Emily does. She's the one seriously considering the nature of morality and reality, and the idea that experiences are really collections of narratives. She extrapolates Greater Meaning out of her dramas, and she grows the most, intellectually.

Speaking of which--SO RELIEVED you liked that bit with Dumbledore! That was one of the HARDEST parts of this WHOLE STORY to write! I nearly cut it, and scrapped multiple versions. Dumbledore is just so intimidating to write, because it's so inherently presumptuous! Like, I am a pale interpretation of a Grown Up--MILES away from being a Wise Old Man.

Oh yes, definitely Emily at her brattiest! As sort of the moral center of the group, and consistently the most stable, her behavior says a lot about where things are at.

And AH! I'm so happy about your analysis of Laurel and Betty's interaction! :D That was EXACTLY what I was going for! Betty took a pretty bad character assassination by being physically abusive. BUT, you know, NUANCE. A person can be a lot of things.

Wait--what did I do there??? I MEAN *caughs* yes, that was super intentional because I am very clever! (The Author is dead, so whatever. Something can have meaning even if I didn't consciously realize it... Now I just have to figure out what that was!)

Dude, yeah! Mary was actually probably the most directly modeled on myself (she's my Mary Sue, if you will). I really wanted a sympathetic character in her, and since I'm the one writing it, I thought I could best argue her case from my own perspective.

And I wanted all of the parents to be imperfect in some way--because teenager-dome is just HARD, and everyone's different, and there's no Right Way. Since I'm not a mom myself, my naivete came as an advantage writing Mary; I don't know what /I/ would do in her position, so neither does she.

So yeah--that brings me to Emily. That's also her parents' flaw. So like, I don't agree with parents who are really strict and obsessive about protecting their daughters from Boys and Sex (which causes its own problems, and doesn't necessarily save them from assault [see: Isobel]). Then again, Emily's are pretty permissive, and that happened basically under their roof. Which isn't to say they are really to blame--bad things just happen. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

I almost didn't write Emily's backstory (I cut it and put it back SO many times), but I realized I HAD to. As you said, because its maddeningly common. To leave it out would have been, I think, dishonest. And, it kind of plays an important role in her relationship with Tristan, and why they take SO LONG to get together. Her journey to finally OWN her sexuality is probably the most inspiring of the whole story.

As always, thank you for leaving the BEST REVIEW EVER!

xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #33, by TidalDragon The Big Thing

7th December 2014:
#200! What a milestone for your brilliant story! Enjoy it!

When you first started talking about psychic potions I thought we were headed down the type of trippy road I'm not typically fond of - a bit TOO deep down the rabbit hole I've never explored for my taste. But what you did with it (and the music) was in fact incredibly clever, making it a device to reveal such a huge part of Tristan (of course to the member of the group he's perhaps closest to). I'm intrigued to see what all the other revelations are that came out in the Corridor. It seems obviously that Tristan isn't reacting well and must remember what happened too. Perhaps he's staying away for fear his confessions were really all too much? I don't know, but you leveraged the high and its effects very well.

Obviously Isobel is indeed in the throes of a disorder (perhaps two) now as well, which is difficult. Hearkening back to my last review, I'm glad it hasn't been as overt thus far like Laurel's constant charms, as I think that would've been too much right on the heels of another catastrophe, but still I'm interested to see how it goes.

There was one typo I noticed at the beginning, but I think that's about it.

I'll be back for more eventually!

Author's Response: THANK YOU!1!1!!1 :D You rule!

Aha yes! Since magic is a thing and all, I couldn't resist the idea that South American folk magic might be LITERALLY real! I was interested in the idea of nonwestern magic, since all the canon magic comes from Western European mythologies. So yeah, looking at other forms and traditions and saying ALSO REAL to them was a lot of fun. And later in the Potter books, we saw these more sort of subtle, nuanced, and less formulaic types of magic (stuff beyond "magic word+wand=effect.") That was so fascinating to me, and something I really wanted to explore.

And then, music is magic. Even muggle music. It isn't that important to the story, but it is implied, that music is inherently magical.

For Isobel, I took a lot of cues from a New Yorker article that basically argued that no one should ever write about eating disorders. The author pointed out that in reality, EDs are Boring and Tedious--pretty much the opposite of what art wants to be. So yeah, most depictions are really inaccurate, take place over a short period of time, and engineer Dramas that don't actually ever happen. Or, they focus too much on the physical side of things. It's a mental illness and addiction more than anything, so that's where the real problem lives--not in a wasting body. And wasting takes a LONG time; starvation is a slow death.

Thank you for catching the typo, will fix it straight away! And thank you SO MUCH for this review flurry, and for helping me hit this milestone :DD

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #34, by TidalDragon Self-Spelling

7th December 2014:
Hello again!

Well, things have finally come to head with Laurel. I think the choice about timing of that was natural as I was wondering how long she could go without serious trouble and indeed it's struck. I'm interested to see how you handle her return and rehabilitation, as well as the effects of those things on the group and individual people. Challenging stuff that.

We've of course now segued more deeply into Isobel's own problems too. I thought you did a great job handling her own distorted thinking about her self-worth. I think many would consider her discipline a positive thing - she's overachieving really - but you've done well showing how someone with a problem would look at the other side of that coin. I'm interested to see if the purging increases on Isobel's part and if it becomes folded into her "discipline" thought regime.

What's also interesting about casting Isobel's demons more fully into the open is that it honestly feels like a lot. Naturally, everyone is going to have problems, and often people with issues seem to fall together, but on some level it feels like grappling with all these things openly in one fic may be a bit much. Obviously you have the writing skill to be up to the challenge and I'm interested to see how it develops, but it's just a thought I had.

See you on the next chapter for what (I think) will be your 200th review (CONGRATS!).

Author's Response: Oh yes, it will indeed be challenging. And your guess is spot on--it definitely ends up affecting both the individual AND the group.

Isobel isn't really bulimic, because it isn't something a know too much about. But I've known a lot of people to suffer from Anorexia Nervosa--it seems like for most of them, they end up purging out some point (sort of out of desperation). But AN is very much an addiction to starvation, so it usually doesn't become a habit.

I think you're right, because discipline definitely isn't a bad thing. I think peoples' greatest strengths can also be their biggest weaknesses. And especially when someone is young, they haven't totally sorted themself out yet, so many otherwise great qualities can also manifest as problems. (Like how curiosity and open-mindedness might also make someone more likely to experiment with drugs).

And your right, it is a LOT. It's very much a teen dramedy, and so in that vein, it's very ALL OF THE ANGST/ISSUES. I didn't do teen pregnancy, though! (a small mercy). I do try and pace things out, and pull certain things to the foreground, while others recede back. I hope you think that works out!


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Review #35, by TidalDragon Troll in the Dungeons!

7th December 2014:
Ahh what a happy return to your delightful story, with everything done so carefully! I knew from the beginning that Laurel seeming normal had to be a false dawn. Mixing charms is, I suppose, probably dangerous if done haphazardly (like mixing certain drugs) and certainly a gateway to more serious issues.

Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter though was the deeper exploration of Tristan's history at Hogwarts. We already knew he was a melancholy character, but now we know more of why. It certainly must be a burden constantly burying yourself in your own perceived inadequacies and I suppose this is another reason Tristan does and acts how he does. While I don't get the sense your tale is headed for any kind of perfect, happy ending (and rightly so), I hope he gets that issue addressed in some way.

On a minor note I did see this sneaky little failed deletion: "His resulting hangover was been so great that it had persisted..." No biggie, but I know you're updating with CIs and such so I thought I'd mention it.

All in all another enjoyable chapter of an incredibly enjoyable story!

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for the reviews :D

Yeah, I definitely play charms as being somewhat analogous to chemical substances. With the 'cheerful/tranquil' hybrid, I was basically trying to engineer something akin to opiates.

Heh--not sure if it was obvious or not, but Tristan's experience was in a lot of ways an inversion of Harry's. I tried to go with dramatic irony with his whole Sorting story, because basically, he experienced the same thing as Harry. But then Harry stood up and fought it, and asked for Gryffindor, while Tristan just resigned. And for that reason, he /wouldn't/ be a Gryffindor.

ooh, thank you for catching that sneaky sneak there! Will scurry and edit straight away!


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Review #36, by magnolia_magic Loose Lips

7th December 2014:
Hi Roisin! It has been far too long since I've gotten to pick this story back up. RL has been cray cray and I just sort of left my review thread to die...But. I'm so glad you took me up on my swap offer! I loved getting back into the swing of your story :)

Eeee, a Tristan chapter! I just want to give him a hug, even though I feel like he would hate it :P I can definitely relate to Emily's desire to just "rationalize him into being happy." But he's at a tough age, and even though Hogwarts is warm and fuzzy and magical (especially the way you write it), sometimes things just aren't okay. I really love the way you preserve that nice, nostalgic Hogwarts feeling while simultaneously getting into the darker, more complicated headspace of your characters.

So Tristan isn't a pureblood after all? That was a surprise to me. So...how exactly did he get into Slytherin with so much Muggle in him? Things are brewing here. I'm excited to dig deeper :) The altercation with Wood during Herbology class was well done; in fact, it's something I could see Harry doing during his angsty phase in OOTP. I wasn't expecting such a mean-spirited Wood, but then again he is a Gryffindor, and he has to protect his pride, I guess. Fred and George had a great attitude about it, at least, and you wrote their reactions and mannerisms so, so well.

I enjoyed this, as always! I hope I can carve out some more time to keep reading soon, because I'm dying to know what's going on with these kids. There are still so many questions and mysteries. Hopefully you will see me again before too much longer! And in answer to your question in your response to my last review, yes, you can feel free to use that line whenever your heart desires :) Thanks for swapping with me, Roisin!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hello!!!

Ah! I'm so happy you feel like there's Hogwarts nostalgia here, despite a pretty heavy thematic emphasis elsewhere. I really wanted it to feel like the same world, and have a tangible connection to the Philosopher's Stone. And then since I had zero familiarity with fanfiction when I wrote out the first draft, I kind of came up with my own interpretation of what that meant, so there are a lot of references to the books (sometimes by like, re-using a phrase or concept, but changing its meaning). Basically, its very aware that it's fanfiction, so meta references are common :)

'Rationalizing someone into being happy' is such a thing! I've done it for sure, and it's been done to me. Like, trying to debate someone out of whatever they are feeling.

Tristan is very much a Slytherin, but the traits manifest in him differently than what we see in the books. I loved the idea of a reluctant/rebellious Slytherin, who could be just as elitist, but in different ways (namely, being a music snob). There's more later about exactly how he came to be a Slythrin, wot with his parentage.

I was definitely channeling Harry's OotP angst in this story! I think it's a tough age, and Rowling wrote it really well, so Harry being super frustrating at times is very much mirrored here :)

Yee! Thank you so much for the swap!

xoxo
Roisin







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Review #37, by AlexFan O.W.L.s

6th December 2014:
Oh my goodness, their studying sounds absolutely terrible, I canít imagine how much pressure it must be to be tested on everything that youíve learned since you started Hogwarts. Can you just imagine how hardcore Ravenclaws wouldíve gone on studying for the OWLs, Iím not sure if they wouldíve been more hardcore than Hermione or equally as hardcore.

Iím happy to see that Tristan has at least put his time to good use and is studying. I was wondering when he was going to put his time to good use really, but Iím actually proud of him that heís managed to pull himself out of his despair long enough to focus on his school work. I canít imagine how difficult that mustíve been for him to do. I hope he does well on his exams at least.

What are the chances that the very first question on Laurelís test would be the one that sheís the most familiar with, itís almost as if the universe is laughing at her and the joke that theyíve just made. I definitely think Laurel will do well on her OWLs, I mean, sheís been studying just as hard as the rest of her friends so Iím sure sheíll pass them. And besides, Iím sure that thereís something that Laurel could do with in the wizarding world even if she didnít get as many OWLs as she hoped.

You know, when you really think about it, Hogwarts is really stressful because itís almost like, you do well on all of your exams and youíre able to get a good job, or you fail them and essentially end up with something that might not pay you all that well, and you canít go into the muggle world because you have no muggle education so you wouldnít get hired because you wouldnít have any muggle qualifications. But thereís also the option of starting your own company and that can work out really well, like in the case of Fred and George.

OH MY GOD WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS YOU CANíT JUST KILL TRISTAN LIKE THAT OH MY GOD WHY WOULD YOU HURT ME IN THIS WAY I JUST CANíT RIGHT NOW I DONíT KNOW WHAT TO DO. I mean sure, Tristan has his problems and his flaws but heís a good person underneath all of that. But at least they got to Tristan in time, I just really hope that he makes it through this. Poor, poor Tristan.

I did not know that I would be going on a feel trip when I first started reading this story.

Author's Response: First off, I KNOW! I'M SO SORRY!

Gah, I just... I realized it was going to happen, and I couldn't keep it from happening! I mean, Ian Curtis was the FIRST musical reference, and then all the Kurt Cobain stuff. And the Lake kept absorbing all this weird symbolism, and the idea of jumping into a dark unknown became a common theme.

The story and characters just really took on lives of their own! The original concept was this really funny, wacky little idea of writing about Hogwarts stoners. But then I realized I didn't want to glamourize substance use, so I had to put in its realistic consequences. And then, substance abuse is usually a symptom of other problems, so then THAT happened. And then the story exploded out from there.

As for the other stuff, I'm so glad that the study stress came off! I really wanted to capture that mania, and give it feeling, so yay! And hah, Laurel's charms exam was almost word-for-word how Harry's first exam went in the books (only his question was about Wingardium Levoisa). He smiled though, whereas she rolled her eyes. That reference and counter-point is basically this whole story in a nutshell ;)

I hope you feel this story comes to a satisfying conclusion!

xoxo
-Roisin



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Review #38, by casual_chaos Loose Lips

30th November 2014:
Hello again!

So, I've read through the next few chapters already (couldn't stop reading/didn't have time to review) so I was extremely pleased when I saw your request! I do hope you'll come back to request for the rest!

This is one of my favourite chapters so far! The beginning, with the four of them supposedly studying and Tristan musing about the paintings and then about the Muggle world - that was one of the best scenes I have ever read in fanfiction. I'm serious. I remember when I was reading this chapter about two weeks ago and I came to the part which begins with: ''Tristan's train of thought arrived at the same destination it always did: a pang like homesickness for the muggle world.''

I had to stop reading because I was so blown by this strange epiphany I had. As a kid, naturally I thought that being a witch in Hogwarts would be the coolest thing ever. And that notion had stayed with me ever since - I believed that if the wizarding world happened to be real, every Muggle-born who ever found out they were a witch or a wizard would be the happiest person in the world (which is normal because wands and owls and flying on a broom and, well, magic!). But after reading this, I started thinking about what it would imply - realising you're a witch/wizard. Like, what if some of them wanted to become scientists or Muggle novelists or actors or anything that requires some sort of Muggle education (perhaps actor wasn't the best example :P)? These kids would end up being sucked into this weird life they never planned on living and now that I really think about it, it seems unfair. They wouldn't even be able to listen to music, for heaven's sake! I feel so sorry for Tristan because of this - I know how I would feel if I had to wait for months to listen to music I genuinely love. All of this is what you said yourself through Tristan but the point is - this is the first time I actually thought about this. I have a Muggle-born character who was very scared when she first came to Hogwarts but she adjusted with time. But I never thought about the possibility of some of them not wanting to adjust. And since this is such a fresh approach to the subject of Muggle-borns, I am so incredibly happy you wrote this story. It is a true pleasure to read - it's smart and thought-provoking and fun and oftentimes sad and I love it all.

Huh, now the rest of the chapter. First, some quotes.

''While he did think owning a record shop would be cool, he didn't quite have the words for what he really wanted to do.'' This is adolescence in a nutshell, well done.

''She tended to get upset and combative whenever he gave voice to his misery, and seemed to think she could rationalize him into being happy.'' Oh and this. Such a lovely characterisation of Emily, one of my favourite lines in this chapter.

I loved the whole Oliver Wood kerfuffle! The entire scene in the greenhouse was so vivid and very respectful to the HP series (loved the plant references). I always thought Oliver Wood was a bit mad and I think he was very in character here.

And then the thing with Reece becoming more interested in Tristan because he jinxed Wood, and the irony of Tristan being as irritated with Reece as he is with Wood - just brilliant.

More questions arising concerning Laurel! I really like the slow build-up of her story line. Oh and her comment about the Gyffindors was pure gold.

Also, this: ''The prefect was mid-discussion with an exceptionally pale first-year and his troll-faced entourage.'' This was the perfect description of Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle from a stranger's point of view! And there's something very entertaining about the words 'troll-faced' and 'entourage' standing next to each other.

Ah! I had another small epiphany during reading! I'm from the Balkans and we use the word 'rizla' here so often that I always thought it was sort of our word. It sounds like it could be our word. And then I saw it written here and I googled it and realised it was a brand name! Like a Kleenex thing! Hah, I thought I'd mention it (even though it has absolutely nothing to do with your story.) Sorry, I love to rant when it's past midnight. :D

As for CC, there are some minor errors I found. You have a punctuation error in the chapter summary ('you're' instead of 'your'). And here you have a capitalization error: ''And Loose Lips? brilliant!'' said Fred.
Other than that, there is this segment here: ''privy to the entire, repetitive, story''. I would lose the repetitive here because it chopps up the sentence while not being crucial to the meaning (because later on you mention how Wood re-enacts the scene four times). It's really really minor but I am very critical when it comes to sentence structure and this really stood out to me.

Okay, CC done! I'm going to wrap this up and say thank you for requesting! This was a thoroughly enjoyable chapter and I'm looking forward to reviewing the rest!

Andy

Author's Response: Yee! Hello!

I will definitely keep coming back :)

That scene definitely got the most attention--the first 2 chapters were separate docs, but then the rest was all one, so whenever I went in to edit a later part, I ended up tweaking that scene.

Aha! I'm so glad you thought that :D So the concept behind Tristan's character, which I hope comes across, is that he's sort of the 'Anti-Potter.' Over course of the story, I tried to take as many things about Harry, and kind of invert them. Like a mirror image--identical, but opposite. The idea there, is that Rowling came up with Harry first, and then the rest of the story and universe followed, so I wanted to examine his inverse in the same context.

I definitely don't dislike Wood, but he has some intense characteristics that I thought would bristle against Tristan nicely :)

'Slow build' is definitely how Laurel's bit works--I'm glad you like it! And haha, Gryffindor just got so much play in canon, I super want to play around with other House's perspectives.

I'm glad you found 'troll-faced entourage' as funny as I did :)

Yes! I'm American, but I know in the UK, rizla is used like 'kleenex' or 'Q-tip'--had no idea that was true elsewhere! 'Skins' is another British-ism for rolling papers, but I think it's more contemporary, so I didn't include it.

Ah, thank you SO MUCH for your CCs! I will go scurry to edit now :D

I will be back to re-request just as soon as a spot opens up!

xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #39, by Moonyxluna Loose Lips

29th November 2014:
Hey I'm here with your requested review! As far as what you mentioned in your request, that's exactly what I've always had in mind. It happens all the time. So I'm glad I could stop by hopefully be a little help!

When I do multi-chapter reviews I like to talk a little bit about what I like in each chapter before actually leaving the big meaty one at the end. So with that, chapter one! I love the introductions of Sophie and Tristan. Sophie's being a Muggle is something that I always love to see thrown in the wizarding mix. They seem like these typical Nineties grunge kids that just instantly warm my heart to read about. You introduce them so flawlessly that the picture of Tristan's room and the magical house he was trying to hide just jump out onto the page so perfectly. Reading less critically than normal, the only thing I noticed editing wise in that chapter would be to capitalize 'Muggle' since it's something JKR invented. I love the use of minor characters, too!

Chapter two! I love the idea about the kids sort of using cheering charms, almost in place of another substance. It's so original, but now that I sit and think about it, I suppose it could legitimately happen! Isobel is interesting so far; she seems like the mother hen of the group. (She isn't a Prefect, though, right? I am assuming so from her monologue in the beginning, but chalk it up to my own reader verification/vacation brain. Also, like 'Muggle', Prefect should be capped.) I'm definitely looking forward to learning about her as the story goes on. You seem like you have an amazing grasp on showing as we go, and I'm really looking forward to reading more about her, and the other main characters. Again, loving those little connections to Canon; in two's case, the Weasley twins' intro.

They all have very vivid personalities, not even at chapter three, that I really love. It's really original to see such rebellious kids written so well; you take such a fresh spin on a well-loved character trait that they pop out of the page for the reader. Was definitely laughing during the 'Hufflepuff' jokes.

Was kind of surprised in chapter three that Tristan is in Slytherin, even with having a Muggle father. I know it definitely does happen (according to Pottermore :p) so I'm curious if he's going to hear anything about that. Though, it seems like he wouldn't really care all too much about his blood status compared to some of the other Slytherins. They all seem like they have a lot of other priorities besides being the coolest Quidditch star A+ students. Like Cheering Charms at dinner :D I love Emily. The little waving part with Dumbledore was HEARTWRENCHING (seriously), and I loved Tonks sticking up for her. Just LOVE.

And at chapter four! So job titles (i.e. Potions Master) should be capped. As would 'Seeker'. (basically the reasoning is that it gives credit to JKR for creating the wizarding world; it's not distracting by any means, but just something to take a look at for if you edit.)

I love the subtle jab at the wizarding world for being backwards about the word 'quaint' - they use inkwells! Made me giggle. The wizarding world just seems to be so stuck in its ways and could probably actually learn a thing or two from Muggles. (Like pens)

In four chapters, you've given me some serious feelings about these kids. This is just SUCH a fresh and new story, that I want to sit and read through it all in one sitting. (*sigh* if time permitted. Though, this is definitely going in my favorites for a rainy day. When I say I am unabashedly in love, I absolutely mean it.)

The way you incorporate canon PS/SS is wonderful. I love all of the mentions of the Weasley twins, and their habits. (I think it happened in a previous chapter, but Fred and George bringing some home for their dad was hilarious).

When I say this, I want you to know that I hesitated for a while and am only bringing it up because you asked for some C.C. With these 'coming of age' type stories, the one thing you want to be wary of is still incorporating some individual character plot. I don't have any doubts that as I read on in the story, but I'd like to point it out. The main motivation for the story is already coming through, but I'd like to see the individual character motivations/developments come up soon. They're the rebellious kids, and it's beautifully written, but I suppose I'm looking for a little bit more about what is making them the way that they are. Be it love of the music (shiny distraction for a second, I heart the Muggle music references), home situation, just something that is pushing them towards generally not adhering to the status quo. I see the start of it with Tristan and his general backlash towards his House, but I'd love to see the girls'.
With that, since the theme of a 'coming of age' and general nineties Perks of Being a Wallflower meets Hogwarts theme is the major plot line, I'm not too much looking to harp on finding that, so much as individual character motivations and developments. (whew. I rewrote that sentence like five times. Please let me know if I butchered it and you don't understand.)

I LOVE Tristan owning the 'Mudblood' term and throwing it back at his Slytherin peers as they try to bond with him. It was SUCH a brilliant way to wrap up this chapter. I am really excited to read more of this. Like I mentioned, definitely adding this to my favorites. I hope this was at least a little helpful through the endless gushing. Please do re-request for the next chapters asap! (though I can't promise they'll all be monsters like this one. heh.)

Julie

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for this review :D

And for the points on capitilazation--thank you! Will definitely fix that when I re-edit :)

Right--that would totally happen! If you have a group of 500-1000 kids, and you teach them all mind altering spells when they're 13/14, some of them WILL totally abuse them!

:] I'm glad you were surprised Tristan was a Slytherin--definitely was going for a !shock! moment there.

And yeah, I do love all the whimsy of the wizarding world, but someone who straddles both the magical and muggle worlds could easily resent it.

I agree with the character plot point--I think it takes too long for the story to come into focus, and I spend a long time on exposition. Then again, might be worth it--I definitely don't think this story would be to everyone's taste (so glad it's to yours!), and I think it might be good to let readers who don't dig it time to lose steam before I throw All Sorts of Gritty at them.

Eee, thank you so much for this review! It has made my day :D

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #40, by AlexFan The Presence of Love

28th November 2014:
It appears that being ďin loveĒ with Tristan is a lot more work than itís worth. Honestly, Emily needs to move on from Tristan because itís not going anywhere. Sheís pined after him for so long but nothing but hurt has come from it so I think itís time for her to move on. I get that love isnít always easy, but whatever Emily and Tristan have isnít even functional let alone hard, how are they going to work towards something that is so broken, Iím not even sure that it can be fixed anymore?

I have to agree with Dumbledore on one aspect, suspending students seems absolutely absurd because all that happens is that they use it as free time and do whatever they want, unless theyíve got strict parents, in which case, there would be severe consequences.

I kind of feel like Emily is seeing a whole other world in her friendship with everyone else than the rest of her friends are. I know that there isnít mutual respect between them, infinite loyalty is most definitely not one of those things either, or deep affection for that matter. It almost seems like she is so unattached to what her friendships are really like that Emily has created this idea in her mind where everyone is really close and having a great time, when in reality, itís anything but.

When I saw the length of this chapter, Iíll admit, it was a little daunting (but this was mostly due to the fact that Iím doing homework as I read your story so the idea of focusing on two things at once for a lengthy period of time was a little scary). But I can see that it was necessary, you covered the families and what kind of homes Laurel, Emily, Isobel, and Tristan went home to and what they had to deal with. Laurel has an abusive mother, and honestly, sheís come out pretty good considering how horribly her mother treats her. Isobelís family treats her as if sheís a stupid child that doesnít know better, and I get that theyíre trying to help her get back on the right track, but theyíre obviously not going about it the right way.

Oh my goodness, poor Emily! I canít believe what this girl went through as a child! Oh my God I want to punch Andrew in the face so much! (I want to do much worse things to him but I have to keep this twelve plus so I canít exactly go into detail, but I assure you, that it is in fact very painful.) Protect young girls at all costs, educate them on how to live healthy lives and how to be confident and most importantly, keep creepy older men away from them.

And as always, I am amazed at how much time, research, effort, and thought that you put into your story, itís what makes it so great and so interesting, you can really see all of the effort that you put into it shine in every chapter!

Author's Response: You are on FIRE right now! Thank you!

Loving Tristan is definitely a HUGE amount of work. And yeah, I once knew someone to get suspended for skipping too much school. Like... what???

Part of it, also, is that this story picks up during such a tumultuous time. They have some years of friendship behind them where Em's analysis might make more sense.

Ugh, I couldn't figure out a way to split or pare down this chapter--I'm SO glad you think it's ok as long as it is!

I agree--Laurel isn't so bad, considering everything. She's been pretty bad these last few chapters, so I'd hoped that seeing a bit of her home life would explain where she's coming from. And yeah, I think the wisdom of Isobel's parents' actions is very up to interpretation. In a way, it's good they are stepping in, and actually DOING something about it. Then again, you and Laurel both make good points.

I definitely wanted to show the flaws of different parenting strategies: the controlling-ness of Isobel and Laurel's, vs the permissive-ness of Emily and Tristan's. We mostly see the Madley's in a stellar light, but then here, we see that something terrible happened to their daughter very much under their roof.

I'm really glad you appreciate all that time and research! And I definitely put a lot of thought into these grittier and more sensitive elements, and pushed myself to write with as much accuracy and realism as possible (and it was often very difficult and uncomfortable and frustrating to do)--so I'm so happy you think it's worth it!

Thank you so much for another review!






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Review #41, by AlexFan The Question

27th November 2014:
Sorry for taking so long with your review but Iím here! And I must say, everyone has gotten a lot more aggressive since the last chapter, especially Emily, I didnít think that this girl had it in her to be so mean to Isobel of all people. And itís not like Isobel has done anything wrong either, sheís trying to help her friend and look out for everyone and this is how she gets paid in return. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own problems that they donít even notice that Isobel is slowly wasting away.

Iím not entirely sure how Tristan shows affection but I seriously doubt that he really likes Emily in the same way that she likes him. Iím sorry, but I just donít buy it. ďHmm, I really like this girl but I donít want to hurt her feelings so instead Iím going to get into bed with her best friend and not tell her about it because thatís really such a great idea,Ē like really Tristan, come on now. I get heís not one for affection but he had to try a little harder than just that.

I was about to say, wow, for someone thatís evil, Quirrel sure seems to get along with his students, and then he assaulted Isobel and my opinion went back to being normal lickity split after that. I canít believe that he would do such a thing! Itís absolutely disgusting that he would assault one of his students like this and it is absolutely horrifying to think that this couldíve happened to other girls other than Isobel. Itís horrifying to think of just how many girls this has really happened to, and they probably never spoke up about it either because no one would believe them. Can you imagine how many girls were probably terrified of going to class because they would be confronted with assaulter.

Oo, if I was there, Quirrel would need a place to hide!

And Iím not entirely sure that a place as shady as the Hogs Head is really the best place to take Isobel after what happened to her. The pub doesnít exactly scream safe if you get what I mean.

ISOBEL DONíT YOU DARE BLAME YOURSELF FOR WHAT HAPPENED. SHE IS IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT QUIRREL DID, HE IS THE ONE THAT SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HE DID! I didnít expect anything less from Hagrid, I just knew that he would defend Isobel and remind her that she is not at fault for the incident that took place. I love that he urged her to talk to someone and report it because it was important and something needed to be done. Hagrid is the best.

This was so great!

Author's Response: Hahahaha, I love your reviews. Like "everything is terrible, they are the worst, this is great!" You always pick up on all of the bad decisions and behaviors that go into this story, and I'm so glad you still like it!

Yeah, Emily had pretty much been the only consistently Good character, which is why I needed to make her have a little spat of immaturity. Everyone's going through a lot of changes and difficulties, and Emily definitely fell into the 'kill the messenger' behavior. Also, she's totally misdirecting her anger and frustration :(

Tristan't capacity for self-loathing and self-destruction is one of his most problematic qualities, because it ends up hurting people outside of himself :( I definitely agree that he doesn't like Emily the /same/ way, but I wouldn't say he likes her less than she likes him. But that gets examined later, so I'll zip it for now :]

I'm really glad you felt so outraged by Quirrel, that's definitely the right reaction. That bit is something inspired by RL. I get really mad when teacher/student stuff gets romanticized, because it's so inherently unethical and exploitative and abusive.

Yes, the Hog's Head definitely wasn't the best choice! (Not least, because Quirrel was THERE). BUT, I really wanted her to talk to Hagrid--I'm so happy you think I did him justice!

Thank you so much for your review!
xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #42, by my_voice_rising Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

23rd November 2014:
Hi there! I'm here with your requested review. You mentioned how the first 5 or so chapters have gotten a lot of feedback, but I am not very good at offering advice starting with the sixth chapter. Feel free to re-request from me for the next few chapters!

I'm already excited with your author's note, as I just started The Casual Vacancy and love it.

And...wow. I am convinced that I have a work of fiction in front of me. I see now why you suggested reading a later chapter--there's nothing to fix here. My apologies for my lack of concrit, but this is a job very well done. The fact that you opened the story with Sophie, and her wonderful back story and reasoning for going home with Tristan (to which he was sadly oblivious) is brilliant. It makes the erasing of her memory all the more sad because we got to know her in this short time, and I suspect that we won't be seeing her again.

But I think my favorite thing is the description of Tristan's home. The line as though someone from the middle-ages had decorated with an Ikea catalogue is perfect. You've blended the Muggle and Wizarding worlds so well, and I feel that their house is some kind of metaphor for the displacement that Tristan has felt his whole life, marginalized by straddling two worlds. How sad that his own "security breech" was dealt with so painfully when his own parents are from both ends of the spectrum!

All in all this is a wonderful start. I'm glad you asked me to review this story. I'll definitely be back to read more, whether you request another review or not ♥

Author's Response: Oh my, thank you so much! Eee! I'm just overjoyed right now! And yes yes, I definitely didn't expect you to *start* reading at Ch6--it would probably be quite terrible and confusing!

But just, ah! You got absolutely everything I wanted to convey in this first chapter--his home being like a metaphor, the impact of the memory modification--it is SO encouraging to read that it came off!

Casual Vacancy is my FAVORITE book, tbh--I get so excited for people who are reading it the first time!

Thank you so so so much for leaving this review! You absolutely made my day!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #43, by casual_chaos R

17th November 2014:
Hello again!

Reviewing as I go! The intro was filled with so many great details, each of them very successful in portraying Emily. She is obviously the most willing to express kindness of the four and instantly I can't help but like her. Tristan being in Slytherin is indeed strange, taking his heritage into account but it suits him somehow. Isobel and Emily also seem to be in suitable Houses, and Laurel... I don't have a good feeling of Laurel yet. I'm very intrigued to find out, though. :)

The bit with Tonks helping Emily out and Dumbledore waving at her were such nice details. And Emily gazing up at the ceiling... it's really something a Muggleborn would do. Personally, I found that ceiling to be one of the best things about Hogwarts. While some other things (like the moving staircases) appeared illogical and extremely counterproductive, the ceiling was such a nice way to use magic. AND it served the purpose of a quite literal weather forecast. So, that detail really resonated with me. :)

Backing up a little - Tristan's fascination with Neville is REALLY intriguing! And I have to appreciate the fact that both Emily and Tristan were completely uninterested in Harry's sorting. :)

The letter exchange was a nice way to shed some light on Tristan and Emily's relationship. There is some sort of gentleness between them, which I haven't noticed about the rest of the group. I'm suspecting it is because they are both from the Muggle world and seem to share the same taste in books and music - but whatever the reason, I'm finding their interactions quite enjoyable. I think it serves as a nice opposing force to the lack of such connection that I noticed with Isobel, and even more so with Laurel. I may be reading this wrong but I'm sensing some deeper issues with these two and again, I'm very interested in learning more about them.

I loved the music/books references! Not necessarily because of what you referenced to but simply because you did. Gah, why doesn't anyone in the wizarding world ever read actual books? Hermione may have read Hogwarts: A History an unhealthy number of times but I'd never seen her read anything, well, interesting. :P And music! Are The Weird Sisters the only magical band that ever existed? Everyone was constantly going on and on about Quidditch but what about art?! Anyway, THANK YOU for including those things in this story. Actually, thank you for making it part of the plot! :D

Gah, what does R. stand for?! Whenever there's something like that in any story, I instantly start obsessing over it, constantly looking for signs that might point me in the direction of finding out. But it's a great way to 'force' the reader to read on. Not that I'd need it for such a marvellous story! :)

A-ha! So they do get addicted on Cheering. I'm now even more curious about Laurel, you've created quite a mystery around her! It's funny how, even with the R. thing and the bit with Neville, I am equally curious about Tristan AND Laurel. And she said but a few sentences so far! And most of them when she was under a cheering charm, so it doesn't even count. Gah, can't wait for a Laurel chapter! :D

Oh, Isobel seems to be really careful with her food. And in the last chapter, she didn't buy crap food like the rest of them, and was sort of envious of Emily's figure... Wait, I think I've seen you comment in someone's Novel Nest, it was a novel about a girl with an eating disorder, and you said you had written about it... I think. So I suppose that would be Isobel's issue. It's such a sad thing to happen to a young girl and I'm already anxious about it. But I'm looking forward to her POV as well!

That's what I love most about this chapter, it has the air of a filler chapter but it's packed with these really important details that really bring your characters to life. Also, while the humour is still present, there are signs of some serious issues hiding underneath and I think that's a great way to really draw the reader into the story.

Oh and not to forget - Snape is such an idiot!! I mean, he's one of my favourites from HP but seriously, she prepared the potion and Tristan gets the credit for it? And for what? Stirring - and stirring badly! But why would Tristan be Snape's pet? Maybe because of his heritage? The black hair? Does Snape sees himself in young Tristan? Is it connected with the R., perhaps?! See, this R. haunts me! :P

All in all, this was a brilliant chapter. I am really looking forward to the next one! Also, I'm loving the end notes, especially the details about the wand and the hundreds-thousands paradox!

Last but not least, I wish you lots of success with NaNo, your novel idea sounds great! With this much talent you seem to have, I do hope your confidence issues will quickly disappear! ;)

Author's Response: Ah! Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this review!

Emily is definitely the sweetheart of the group. Hufflepuffs are so often written off as dumb, or uninteresting, so I wanted to have a main character who really exemplified 'Puff qualities :) And for Tristan being a Slytherin--that was one of the first ideas I had for this story: a reluctant and rebellious Slytherin. His Slytherin qualities show up as the story progresses, but they manifest in really different ways than we typically see (more of a music snob than blood-purity snob).

Ha, I definitely agree with the thing about staircases! And yeah, since Emily is muggleborn, she takes a lot less for granted.

And yee, the Neville Sorting. So yes, there are plot reasons for that, but also, this story is very, like, aware that it's a fanfiction. That Neville's Sorting got more attention than Harry's is for sure a meta reference thing!

Which brings me to the point about books and music: RIGHT?!?! No one like, EVER, reads a NOVEL in canon!!! The Potter series already had so much going on, and I think it would have gotten really busy to introduce too many other elements, but I wanted to focus on what was conspicuously absent in canon: drugs, sex, and rock n' roll! These kids are definitely the not sporty type, and would all be much happier in an art class than on a broom :)

Laurel's POV very intentionally doesn't turn up until the second act, but I hope you like how I play that out and pace it! I'm glad you're wanting one, though, as that's very much what I was going for!

Oh whoops! Didn't mean to put in spoilers for this story in the NaNo comments! But yes, you are correct in your assessment of Isobel :(

Aha, yes, Snape! He's one of my favorites too! It was really interesting for me to write him as *frustrating,* but I really wanted to write him that way, since he SO was earlier in the series. As for your analysis, I think you make a lot of interesting points about why Snape might feel some affinity with Tristan :)

Thank you so much for this review! Definitely a great confidence boost, and one I desperately needed!

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #44, by wolfgirl17 Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

17th November 2014:
Hello,

Wolfgirl here with your requested review. =)

In answer to your first question, this chapter did hold my attention. I was intrigued by the character you've made of Sophie, and I'm not really sure what to make of Tristan. She seems nice, though a little too easily distracted for my liking. He seems morose and edgy and I kind of want to prod him into giving up all his secrets.

As you mentioned, the chapter doesn't really lay any foundations for future chapters, so I'm not really sure if I can truthfully say I'm hooked. I'm mildly interested, but can't quite decide if I want to continue. Does that make sense? I like the characters you've created, yet find myself hesitating to continue on as I'm unsure if the rest of the story will be as vague and directionless. =)

I think if you were to edit and give it some more direction you'd have a ripper on your hands, but at the moment I'm just kind of meh, you know? I like the concept and the title, but have no clue on where it's going to go and no real urge to find out...

Sorry, that sounds harsh. I think it just needs some direction. Something to make me want to continue reading. You've nailed the characterization of OCs. I care about them and their lives, but with no direction or even a hint of where it might go, I find it easy to not continue with them.

This chapter is kind of like that person at every party who is mysterious and intriguing and grabs your attention, making you want to be friends with them, but a person who is so secretive that friendship is impossible and practically a waste of time. You know the type? I feel like that. I feel like your chapter is someone I've met who has completely hooked me with their personality, but will never let me in or let me know where I stand with them. The type that you can be 'friends' with for so long before winding up resenting them for their lack of actual friendship with you.

Sorry, that probably makes no sense. I just don't know where it's going to go and so I'm like a nervous freshman poised at the edge of the corridor, unsure if I should jump in for fear of what might happen.

It's very strange actually, as I never felt that way before, and especially not about a story. Kudos to you for that =)

Let me know if you want more reviews (I may need a little shove to get me into the corridor as my bravery is lacking). I hope this was helpful!

xx-Wolfgirl

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for your honest feedback!

One major issue that I don't know how to fix is Sophie. She's really meant to be something of a device. Just a character to introduce the story with, and a little bit of a Red Herring. But then I didn't want this throw-away character to be just lame and two-dimensional, but then it seems like she's an actual character in the story! I think maybe I'll re-edit to better explain that she's not turning up again.

So yeah, you're point about directionless-ness is EXACTLY what I was thinking might be a problem! Thank you so much for your analysis! Perhaps I could indicate that this is more of a prologue? It takes 3 chapters to do one full POV rotation, and after chapter 3, I think the story makes a lot more sense. But, how to retain people after the first chapter? That's something I definitely need to figure out.

I will think much on these issues, and definitely will edit, and SO appreciate your comments!

Thank you!
-Roisin


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Review #45, by casual_chaos The Hex Head Express

15th November 2014:
Hello! It's been a while since my review on the first chapter but I said I'd leave more reviews and here I am!

To start with the POV: I like Isobel - she sounds emotionally detached and cynical, always a good combination for an interesting narrator.

I like the part about Tristan 'educating' Isobel with Velvet Underground, that's exactly what I tried to do with my brother. Like, it's my responsibility for him to end up as a cultured human being. As an VU fan, I must ask: did you imagine him listening to a particular song for this scene? :)

I bet wizards and witches use the Cheering Charm all the time! It's just so simple and easy! I bet some of them even become addicted. Seriously, I love this concept of a group of friends using spells to cheer themselves up - like magical junkies.

Thirteen year old Weasley twins! They are hilarious and perfectly in character! Loved the whole conversation about Harry, the wizarding celebrity. And the bit when Hermione barges into the compartment, that was such a nice ' PS missing moment'. :)

Oh god, Arthur smoking hash with Fred and George, hahah. This is too good to be true. And all of the word plays with Hufflepuffs, aaah, such a fun read! Huff le Puff, seriously! And I love the 'each House has their own drug' bit!

But I feel so bad for Tristan. It's just a sad thing to happen to a teenage boy, no wonder he was so depressed.

You have created such an interesting world inside this universe that we know. And you incorporated so many canon details that everything sounds completely believable.

I know I'm the worst reviewer but I assure you that this is one of the most exciting and authentic stories that I have come across on this site. Your writing is great, the characters are intriguing and the humour is excellent!

Andy

Author's Response: Ee, hello!

The analysis 'emotionally detached and cynical' seems like a good one to me! I definitely wanted each character to have a different way of entering the world and observing/interpreting it, to give the reader different perspectives of the same situations :)

Ah yes, 'musical education' is SUCH a thing! I imagined that the bit where Isobel recognized the music would be the opening to Venus in Furs (because it's such a recognizable intro).

I know, right?! If you teach thirteen/fourteen-year-olds mind altering spells, at least SOME of them will figure out how to abuse them! It's just too easy!

I'm so glad you liked the twins! I was so intimidated writing them, but then they always seemed to kind of write themselves :) And I wanted this story to really fit in the background of PS without conflicting with canon, but to still really FEEL like its in PS - so the Hermione cameo was really fun for me!

Arthur just SO would. And it's funny to me to imagine that he thinks of it as this little muggle curio, rather than realizing the implications ;)

And yeah, oof, Tristan. That's definitely a really rough thing to go through :(

I'm so happy you're liking this story! I definitely spent a WEIRD amount of time on details and canon compliance, so I'm glad you appreciate it.

Thank you so much for this surprise review! I'm having a SERIOUS confidence issue with NaNo, so this has been really encouraging!
xoxo
-Roisin





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Review #46, by AlexFan The Disappearing Room

10th November 2014:
Weíre almost near the end! Only five more chapters to go after this! Oh how the tables have turned Tristan! Poor Emily, sheís liked Tristan this entire time and all heís done is just spit in her face and go at it with her friend. I know that theyíre technically not dating but when it goes on in a group as close as them, things get a bit more complicated. Iím happy to see that Emily is spending time with Hufflepuffs that wonít have a negative influence on her, her friends donít seem to inspire much positivity to be perfectly honest.

People in this story of yours seem to have a problem with learning from their mistakes. Laurel and Tristan hooking up was what broke up all of their friendships, like literally, this was like the last straw. Both of them know this, they know that what they did drove away their friend and made everything dysfunctional and itís the reason as to why they canít hang out properly anymore why are they doing it again! Are Laurel and Tristan expecting different results by doing this over and over, because you know thatís the definition of insanity.

On another note, as annoyed as I was with Laurel, I have a great deal of respect for her now, it mustíve taken her a lot to hand over her wand to Isobel and tell her to keep it away from herself. I think you got Dumbledoreís character perfect and I just knew that he would help out Laurel the minute that he showed up, Dumbledore just has that effect on people. He may not have been a very good man but Dumbledore did have his good qualities, I have a feeling though that if he were to talk to Tristan, it would take a lot more work to encourage him to make a change in his life, he might just see it as futile to make an attempt to make his life better than it is.

Yes! Finally, some more backstory about Tristan! Iíve been wondering what went on with him as a child and those blacked out files made me even more curious, I can understand why they were blacked out now (and if Iím reading this right, Tristan is related to the Malfoyís). Of course Narcissa seemed affectionate towards Tristan, he was a pureblood, if he had been anything but I highly doubt Narcissa wouldíve been as warm and welcoming of him into her family. All in all, Tristanís life doesnít seem to be going anywhere good anytime soon.

Author's Response: Hello!

Yes, the end is definitely near, and this chapter definitely sets a lot of things off.

And yeah, Emily is a lot more adaptive than a lot of her friends, I think. She can fit in a lot of different places more easily.

In a way, I think they *do* learn from their mistakes, but are just self-destructive. Tristan and Laurel know that it's a bad idea, but that's the reason they want to indulge it.

Man, imagine how awful it would have been had Tristan been raised by the Malfoys! All that trauma and neglect he experienced in his early childhood coupled with racist indoctrination!

Thank you so much for this review!

xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #47, by AlexFan Interrupted

31st October 2014:
Either something is so wrong that even Emily is picking up on her friends acting weird, no matter how hard they try to hide it, or her friends are being really obvious and sheís just a little bit slow to catch onto the problems that all of them are having. It feels like Isobelís friends know that sheís suffering from anorexia and yet none of them seem to be doing anything. I get the whole stay in your lane thing but I mean come on, your friend is clearly struggling here, they need to do something to help her out before any more damage is caused.

You know, for someone that is so hostile and disliked, people arrive at the most ridiculous conclusions whenever Severus Snape is involved. Like really, a love letter?

Why Laurel? Just, why? She knows sheís in the wrong, she had no right to go snooping through Snapeís stuff like that, why does she just make the situation worse for herself? Does she really think that threatening a teacher is going to make her case any better, and it was stupid to do as well because sheís right, everyone does know about Snapeís past, and of course heís got a tattoo. Albus Dumbledore is not an idiot, Laurel wouldnít be telling him anything that he doesnít already know about Snape. Honestly, thereís more evidence against her than there is against Snape. I just, I just wish sheíd keep her mouth shut. It sucks to be wrong but if you canít admit it then just keep your mouth shut before you do something stupid.

For people who are supposed to be friends, no one seems to be treating each other properly, I really think that everyone needs some time to themselves to figure things out and to prioritize. I feel like being friends is too much for everyone, if you canít take care of yourself, you canít look after your friends and everyone is just a mess right now. Those Hufflepuffís that Emily spent time with seem like good people, see, why doesnít she hang around them sometimes and pick up some good habits?

And I like how supportive Tonks was, I can see her giving advice to younger friends and helping them out, besides, she gave very good advice at that. Itís nice that Emily has at least one person that she looks up to and can talk to.

Author's Response: I sort of think that Emily is *usually* pretty in tune with her friends, unless she's at the center of something, then she kind of misses it. But that's the other weird thing about this story, you meet everyone knowing they've been one way, but mostly spend the length of the narrative watching them change/retreat into themselves. Like, it takes til about the end to get a sense of what Laurel was like *before*, because all of them are having *phases.*

Aha - yes, definitely a silly conclusion there :) And yeah, Laurel definitely doesn't have as much information as we do, and DEFINITELY didn't think through all of her behavior. I don't think she handles panic very well at all at this stage.

That is a very astute analysis! And I think Emily is leaning quite the same direction you are :) And yes! SOMEONE needed to offer some sage words in this chapter, and it was a great excuse to bring Tonks back!

Thank you so much for the review!! This is definitely the beginning of the most excruciating story arc yet :/ (always darkest before the dawn!)



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Review #48, by AlexFan Torture

31st October 2014:
Wow, sorry for taking so long but I was on a school trip and then I came back and had to catch up on four days worth of homework and lessons and itís just been crazy.

Oh no, poor Isobel. Sometimes I wonder why I like reading because I get attached to characters and then they start hurting and it just rips my heart out because my babies are not happy and I just gah! Reading your story is just a constant reminder of the fact that not all kids grow up in a family where their parents are supportive and encourage their kid to do their best. Not every child grows up in a family where theyíre told that they are enough and that they donít have to change and you can see it in Isobel and Tristan. You can really see how even the smallest things can affect someone and what it can lead to.

I am going to smack Isobelís parents, swear to God, I hope they eventually come to realise how harmful their words have been.

I think labeling Tristan as a womanizer seems to be a bit of a stretch to be honest. I can see where all of this frustration is coming from, and for the most part, Isobel is right about Tristan, he is definitely a bit a of music snob, but a womanizer is a stretch. I get that sheís upset that heís messing about with her two friends but come on now, be reasonable here. I can see everyone slowly drifting apart as they spend more and more times together. It doesnít even seem like they all share anything in common anymore, theyíre just around each other because itís all that theyíve ever known and they have no one else to hang out with.

Tristanís reaction the mention of the Cruciatus Curse was interesting. Maybe you mentioned this in the past and I just missed it or forgot about it, but if you havenít mentioned it then Iím curious to see as what went on to cause Tristan to have such a violent reaction to the spell. But hey, at least he and Isobel talked some stuff out and theyíre kind of okay now, she doesnít seem to want to kill him nearly as much as she did before.

Author's Response: No problem! I'm just super stoked you've gone back to your thread!

I definitely agree! My college has a lot of students who *mostly* had easy lives, and appear very privileged and all that. BUT, a lot of their parents just really weren't nice enough or supportive enough. And while they were never outright cruel, withholding praise and affection can really hurt a kid :(

I also definitely agree that Isobel calling him a 'womanizer' is a stretch. But she's also not in the best place right now, mentally (I mean, going without food to that degree for so long really messes with someone's cognition and emotions).

Your analysis about how they've drifted is super spot on. They're all just really self absorbed at this point.

Muahahaha - yes, I have mentioned something about that, and you did notice it at the time... VERY glad that that this pacing is working :D

And yeah, I think it was a lot easier to hate him when she didn't have to feel sympathy for him. She definitely has lasting affection for the boy.

Thank you sososo much for this review!!!

xoxo
-Roisin


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Review #49, by Spyci Cleaner, More Brilliant

28th October 2014:
The experience of reading this fic was amazing. I was really impressed with the anti-idyllic story line which so many unoriginal stories follow and I've become such a fan of your style of writing - you're really talented! Well done and thank you so much for introducing me to the making people that are Tristan, Emily, Isobel and Laurel.

Author's Response: Hello! And thank you so much!!! I definitely never felt like I had a 'style' before writing this, so it means a lot to me that you think I have one and like it :D Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review ♥

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Review #50, by Slide Loose Lips

26th October 2014:
Huzzah, a Tristan chapter. Looking forward to seeing him in his school environment. Though Isobel is fast becoming my favourite; I do love the snarky-stoic ones. I regret never writing more Sir Cadogan in my fics. Or any at all. Poor Tristan, with his stoned consideration of a portrait's life.

I love Tristan's ruminations on the perspective of wizard-Muggle relations, though. It's so true that most magic users, even if they're being kind to Muggles, treat them in a kind of indulgent manner, like cute pets. I've often assumed Muggle Studies at Hogwarts to fill a similar ground, though we have NO examples of canon, and considering Charity Burbage died for her job it's nice to think that she is actually teaching her students about proper Muggle society and history.

Ha, yes. All jobs connect to government in the wizarding world. With some exceptions, but it's the majority of what we see. Isobel's goals are curious, and I wonder what it's stemming from. But obviously magical theory is heavily western-based (with the root words of most spells being Latin, or Anglo-Saxon, or Greek).

Poor Wood. Though imagine knowing someone like Wood and NOT caring about Gryffindor Quidditch. You'd go absolutely spare. Though I like that this scene, while casting Gryffindors in the imperfect light, doesn't make Tristan seem like a poor, innocent Slytherin. Aw, I was afraid Sprout was being anti-Slytherin, but it's sweet that she'd be looking out for people - and would make perfect sense for the Hufflepuff head.

Okay, I take back my comments on Wood. Admittedly I can see why he'd view Tristan that way, but his slight on Emily loses my sympathy. Sigh. Silly teenaged boys.

And more layers on Laurel. She is quite the mysterious one of the bunch, hmm? I note not just her motherly issues, but the 'Ms' on her mother, which is... telling. Also, I totally reckon most of the rest of the Houses would be utterly sick of Gryffindor. Love 'em, but they are so bloody overbearing. Still! It's 'nuanced' teenager hijinks, as neither side is the absolute victim here, and both have precipitated this conflict. I like it.

'Brycey.' Poor Tristan. That's, like, the worst punishment ever. Oh-ho, not even half-blood! Good for him. Also that makes a lot more sense, a Muggleborn marrying a Muggle; not everyone would want to give up their entire Muggle upbringing to be so completely immersed in the magical world as it tends to demand Muggleborns become.

I like these end notes of little factoids not in the prose! It would be clunky to exposit about wand-types for more than one person, but *I* care, anyway! :D

Author's Response: Oh man, portraits! What a can of worms! I couldn't not throw in some examination there ;)

I definitely wrote this story at a time when I was deep into studying colonialism, racial constructions, prejudice, etc - so that's a thing! Definitely wanted to point out the paternalism even in Good Wizards.

And a LOT of this story is inspired by the fact that Rowling came up with the idea of Harry all at once, when he was an adult, and then reverse engineered him to create the story. So in a very real way, the entire wizarding world revolves around Harry, since she designed it to suit his story. I was interested in how it might affect different people, who don't quite fit. (Tristan is very much my Anti-Potter - kind of like a mirror image, in some ways identical, but inverted).

Isobel is of mixed ancestry (English and Egyptian Arab - her uncle is Hassan Mostafa from GoF), so she definitely gets ruffled by Western bias.

Tristan is definitely a flawed person, and hardly in the right in that situation - just lashed out. In the conflict between Wood and Tristan, my sympathy lies with the geranium.

Heehee, I'm a Gryffindor myself, so I figured I could get away with showing how some of their characteristics could be obnoxious. (And as Rowling suggested in PS, there's rather a fine line between Brave and Stupid).

"Reluctant Slytherin" was such an exciting idea to me! I'm so glad you like! (And I dunno if it totally came across, but his mum is Mary MacDonald from Snape's DH memories!)

And I'm so glad you like all my little end notes! I did like, an embarrassing amount of research for this story, and not all of it ended up in the story explicitly, but I couldn't resist sharing certain things! And the Pottermore thing about Ebony wands was just TOO PERFECT!!!

Yee, I am SO STOKED on this swap! Thank you so much for your amazing reviews! I'm gonna have to ramp up my review game :D


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