Reading Reviews From Member: Pookha
211 Reviews Found

Review #26, by PookhaAn Ordinary Day: An Ordinary Day

11th September 2009:
Wow! That's so sad, and so real. So many people die in so many stupid and useless ways. I feel for Sarah and the Weasleys.

You tell a story beautifully and with a grace that makes everything you write so easy to read.

The way that Charlie recounts his last day is so well done. His typical day that turned out to be not-so-typical really gives us insight into his personality.

Usually my reviews are fairly long and full of praise and CC for things I think need improvement. This one is rather shorter because I don't see anything that needs improvement.

A masterpiece.

Author's Response: Wow! Such high praise! Thank-you so much! (Sorry about the overuse of exclamation marks, but I'm honestly astounded you thought it was 'a masterpiece'!)

It is true that people die every day in the most silly and mundane ways. Poor Molly loses another son before his time, I feel kind of mean for doing that to her.

I'm glad you were able to glean insight into Charlie's character from this piece, as you mentioned in my blog he is really quite an interesting character to write.

Thank you so much for the lovely review! I can't wait to read your entry for the staff challenge :)

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Review #27, by PookhaPurified: Falling Through

30th August 2009:
I've read the story of Regulus retrieving the locket a few different times and from a few different POVs, and this is one of the best I've read. Your flashbacks add depth to Regulus' characterization and give the reader a way to care bout Regulus.

As a male, with two older brothers, I can assure you that you wrote from a male perspective just fine. You caught the 'brotherly bonding' with their fight just right. I also really liked the way that Walburga reacted, obviously treating Sirius differently than Regulus. It rings so true to the canonical stories and gives Sirius another reason to hate the Black name.

You do an excellent job showing the differences between the two with the Hogwarts flashbacks. I love the way the Sirius is so unforgiving. He just can't bring himself to see that Regulus is just a scared little boy at heart, trying to please his family. Only at the very end does Regulus have the strength to live for himself.

For me, the flashback parts of the story were what gave it the drama and interest and the lake with the Inferi was a good backdrop to present that. You do a great job interweaving the two to keep interest and to move the scenes along in time.

I don't usually like the Sirius/Regulus stories, so for me to enjoy this is unusual and a tribute to your skills.

Author's Response: Thank you! :)

I'm so glad that you liked it, especially since this isn't what you typically go for. That really does mean a lot.

Yay! It's a major relief to know that I managed to make Regulus sound like a guy and not a girl as it so often happens. :)

Thank you again! :D You're review is greatly appreciated and thanks for being detailed about it. :)

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Review #28, by PookhaMoonlit Silhouettes: Moonlit Silhouettes

30th August 2009:
There's an art to writing a drabble/short one-shot and you have this art. You have to give enough description to keep the reader interested and you also have to have a self-contained plot that makes sense. You have both of those here.

I absolutely love the poetic way that you describe things here. It comes across like a gauzy dream, which is what I think you were trying to do. I find that we have quite different 'mental vocabularies,' but, I can see and understand yours. You make every word count as you evoke your style from your words effortlessly.

I've noticed you love the word 'bedizen' and I commented on it the last time. I've got to comment on it here again. 'Bedizen' has a connotation of gaudiness or bad taste that I find doesn't fit what you're portraying at the start. I know you're interested in linguisitics, so I thought I'd mention it, as the denotation that you would in a dictionary might not mention the connotation of gaudiness. If this is what you actually meant, then it's what I mean about our 'mental vocabularies' being different. That doesn't mean bad or wrong, just different. (For example, I detest Whitman and love Frost; which in some people's mind would make me a simple plebe, incapable of understanding Whitman's deepers meanings, etc.).

I love the drabble art form and I think is a marvelous example of how to craft one. This description of a tender encounter would work just as well if it were het, but as a male slash, it works wonderfully as well-it shows that men have pretty much the same feelings as girls when they're first encountering those first few loves.

Beautiful, poetic and artistic.

Author's Response: An art to writing drabble, never thought of it that way. I'm happy you feel I have the gift of such an art though.

Yes. I admit it. I love writing things to have an almost dreamy or surreal demeanor, especially those concerning love. I suspect that it, love, would feel at first as something unfathomable and untangible.

I had never known that the word bedizen had a connotation of gaudiness. I think I'll have ot keep that in mind (how I do love words with the letter z.) And I believe you're right again: that is not the connotation I would want suggested to my readers, so that word may have to change.

I think I understand what you mean by mental vocabularies. I suppose it goes hand and hand with connotation: how an individual has learned to perceive a word will affect how much it describes to them. ~ Or something of that nature.

I suspect that everyone has the same feelings upon that first encounter, and I'm glad that you could take that from this piece. It goes to show that people, no matter how different, were made the same.

Beautiful, poetic and artistic. You compliment me so.

Thank you for yet another wonderful review.

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Review #29, by PookhaConstant Vigilance: Constant Vigilance

25th August 2009:
This story was really a mixed bag for me. I'll start with the things I loved. I loved your characterization of Moody. You presented him as clever, a bit vain about his abilities, and very paranoid, even at his young age. I loved the way that he interacted with his mentor and the way he sprang to action when needed, even against incredible odds.

I loved the detail of the actual duel itself. You didn't overdo or overexplain the action and the fight seemed believable based on the canon books. I also loved the coded letter; in a story I'm writing now, Harry's going to receive a coded letter from his chief, so I was interested in how you did it. My way's going to be different, but it will have some similiarities.

I also loved the aside about the Minister and the sticky fog. I love little details like this; they add background to a story.

My negatives. There are a lot of typos, spelling errors and strange grammar throughout. I would suggest getting a beta for spelling/grammar. I don't think you need a plot beta because your plot was fine. I only mention the errors because they were numerous enough to be distracting.

I found their dialogue to be a bit stilted. Use contractions more in your dialogue and it'll sound better. When writing dialogue, I often read it aloud to see if it sounds like conversation or if it's too formal sounding.

Since you specifically asked about the action. I found the duel itself to be great. I'm no expert in this, though, as I've only written one battle sequence myself. I thought your use of canon spells was interesting and made the battle seem real. I also enjoyed the way the Chief Auror planned the battle and divvied out the assignments. This seemed well-planned on your part.

The story's pacing is fine and it goes from gathering info to action seamlessly and smoothly. The ending was great and it shows a lot about Alastor's life in a way that makes us care about Alastor.

You also specifically asked about the plot. I think the plot is actually very good. It's well-thought out and the actions of the characters flow from their limited intel (knowledge of the DE's actions). I can totally see the Auror department operating this way (even though it's not my vision of how it works. We each have different ways of thinking and I like your vision).

So, overall, I enjoyed it. Your plot and characterizations were good and believable. The spelling errors and typos took away some of the enjoyment for me, as did the slightly strange dialogue at times. An enjoyable read of a canon character in his younger days.

Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review. As in for the spelling errors I'm already getting a Beta, because I know my grammar isn't perfect - far from it - since English is not my first language.

You pointed out a thing I've never noticed: how dialogue sounds. I'll pay more attention to it in the editing of this story.

Thank you very much for your time. :]

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Review #30, by PookhaFragments: Red Lipstick

24th August 2009:
I went to the recently added stories list to see if mine was near the top (yes, I do that) and saw this set of stories. I love your writing and had to check it out. Of course, I read most of these stories during the LDWS challeng at eHPF, but this one was new.

Imagine my surprise when I found it was from my drabble prompt! Imagine my further surprise when I read the story. No, not surprise that you had written an excellent story, because you always do.

My further surprise was Mr. Urquhart. When I gave the prompt, I must admit that I was picturing Narcissa looking for Lucius who had gone into hiding and going to a hard-boiled, noir-type detective. While this isn't exactly the same thing, it's very similar. I swear that you read my mind.

I love your characterisation of Mr. U. He wants what he wants and he's not afraid to say what he thinks. I also like that he's going to send the owl in the morning to take the case. That makes me think better of him than if he was a 'Mike Hammer love 'em and leave 'em type.'

I think you capture Hermione well here as well. She's very proper and doesn't want to give him the wrong idea so she's very clear. When she's annoyed, she's direct and cutting. I can totally see her reactions being just as you described.

Wonderful, and thanks for taking my drabble prompt and doing something with it.

Author's Response: I didn't think you would stumble onto this quite so quickly! I only just posted it moments ago. I've been meaning to post my drabbles from the LDWS challenge for some time, and thought perhaps before the queue closure might be a good time to do it. I've also been meaning to write a few drabbles in response to the great prompts you've been posting and got inspired this afternoon to have a go at the first one.

It is quite interesting that you had that same idea in mind when you gave the prompt, perhaps I really am a mind reader and I just didn't know it lol. It was a great prompt and the words just seemed to flow onto the page.

I'm glad you liked my characterisation. I think Mr. U. would have been a Slytherin at Hogwarts, well at least that's how I picture him. When I first started writing this I still didn't have a clear idea on which character I was going to use, but I could just see Hermione's indignity and thought she would be perfect.

Thanks so much for reviewing, and thanks for the great prompt! I plan to attempt a few more of them in the near future.

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Review #31, by PookhaSilver Lake: Firefly

23rd August 2009:
I love the opening three paragraphs of this. They set a beautiful, slightly out-of-focus mood that gives the reader a sense of a lazy day. The present tense adds to this. Present tense can be very tricky to use well, and I applaud you for both your guts in attempting it and the way you pulled it off.

There are a couple of small errors. When she 'shutters,' it should be 'shudders.' 'Bedizened' should probably be 'blazoned' or 'emblazoned.' tes-vous franaise? Is English a second language for you? If so, you write it very well.

I love the flow of the story and it unfolds at a very natural pace. Gabrielle is very likeable here and she treats Colin with great dignity and respect. Colin seems very in character for a boy of 13 who's run into something that scared him or disturbed him.

I'm very curious to see where this is going.

I really like that she gives the firefly to Colin even though it means a lot to her. There's one small problem in that there aren't fireflies in Scotland where Hogwarts is. This can be gotten around a bit by saying that Hogwarts and the forest are magical, but I thought you'd want to know about that.

A truly beautiful and moving start to the story. I'm honoured to have read it.

Author's Response: You're too kind. The first three paragraphs were suppose to show that kind of lazy, seemingly romantic, if you will, mood. A mood where she lays waiting and waiting.

Did I write shutter? Like window shutters? I'm so very silly! Thank you very much for pointing it out! Hmm Bedizend vs Blazoned... "Decorated with" vs "sewn with" right? Hmmm I guess (em)blazoned would be more appropriate, (but how I love the word bedizen.) I think I'll change that too!

Oh no! Je ne suis pas francais! Je susi americain! Mais j'ai suivi une classe de francais depuis 6 ans! I still have to change some of what I've written to make it more fluent! The French are very, well, demanding when it comes to grammar.

A natural pace, hmm? I didn't think of it that way. I feel rather complimented. Oh, by the way, this takes place Post-Hogwarts where Colin would be 16. Emphasis on "would be".

I'm glad you found it moving thus far and would be equally honoured if you would review the next chapter whenever it is up!

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Review #32, by PookhaIn My Last Breath: Mudbloods Sin Too

22nd August 2009:
I like the way that you start us 'in media res' with some things being left unsaid. It's an excellent way to draw a reader into a story and make them want to read more.

I believe you should get a beta who specializes in style. You have a slight tendancy to overdescribe: 'her white blonde hair flowing behind her' 'Her black skirt fell inches short above her knees, revealing her tan legs, and for a second he felt like ravaging her without any words spoken.' In the first example, we know that Narcissa's a pale blonde, so it can go unspoken and just be 'her hair flowing behind her,' in the second, it's overdescriptive and strange for Hermione to have tan legs-she's not really an outdoor person, so why would her legs be tan?

Also sometimes your word choice is very strange: 'awing the magical merchandise displayed at the front.' I think you might mean 'awed by the magical...' 'but her irritating questions were left stagnant after the interrogation upon greeting each other at the Burrow.' This sentence doesn't make sense. Did you mean 'she ceased her irritating questions after arriving at the Burrow and getting swept up in greeting each other.'?

I really don't like the sexy!Draco fanon characterization. Draco's not a sexy beast; he's weasely, skinny and pale. He's absolutely not a hard-bodied sex god. Hermione also seems OoC here and it falls into the cliched part of a Dramione where they can't keep their hands off each other, even when they might get caught.

This is more romance novel fantasy than Harry Potter to me.

I'm sorry, but this story just doesn't speak to me, but it may speak more to your target audience.

Author's Response: As far as description goes, you'll either love it or hate it. So I am sorry you don't love it =/

I definitely need to change it to "awed by the magical merchandise" but no, not the second correction you advised. Ginny's questions were left stagnant after she interrogated Hermione. Not because they greeted each other, but because her interrogation was over.

To me, Draco is not weasely. He can be skinny, but he's absolutely sexy. It all depends on who the heart throb is. I don't find Ron sexy one bit, but I'm sure there are hundreds of fanfics that portray him as that because that's who the author loves.

Thanks for reviewing anyway. I obviously won't be requesting from you again.

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Review #33, by PookhaHide and Seek: Identification

22nd August 2009:
I'm going to be slightly nitpicky first. Portkey is one word. 'I sat there shaking as he was lead to the elevator' should be '...led to the elevator.' Auror and Floo should both always be capitalized.

Now that the nitpicking is done, I thought this was another excellent chapter. You do a good job building Mary's terror and sadness at having to face her parents' killer and it really makes you feel for her. Remus is very likeable and supportive in the bits of him that we see here and in the first chapter.

I also really like your descriptions of the interior of the Ministry and the way the Auror's offices are set up.

I said in my first review that your writing seems polished and mature, and I'm sticking by that. Another excellent chapter.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for another excellent review. It's made me smile reading it. So thank you.

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Review #34, by PookhaHide and Seek: Running in the Rain

22nd August 2009:
Your writing is very solid and mature. You give great descriptiveness without devolving into masses of useless trivia and minituiae. Your opening three paragraphs are masterfully crafted and bring the reader right into your story and make us care about your OC. They humanize her and make us want to know more about why she turned her back on the magical world.

Your explanation of her family being murdered and her just not being able to cope feels true and gives the story a hook for the reader to grab onto. Her despair when she runs from the car is visceral and real and tugs at the heart.

Normally, I would be irritated to read a story with an OC who was friends with the Marauders, but you're developing the relationship slowly and revealing it piece by piece rather than just saying 'oh... she was friends with the Marauders.' You've managed to avoid cliche and your OC seems to be very real and interesting.

One small thing that I really liked was her boss calling to check on her. That tells you a lot about her boss (caring and worried), but it also tells you a lot about Mary...she's punctual, reliable, at least friendly enough to be on her boss's good side.

This was an excellent opening chapter and I'm interested to read more.

Author's Response: Poohka thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you've at least enjoyed yourself in the story I have begun to weave.

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Review #35, by PookhaLike Fire: The Feast

22nd August 2009:
Like I said in my review thread, I'm going to be honest. The girls here feel much older than 13 in their actions. Their dares are wholly inappropriate for the Great Hall and are better suited to a slumber party or mixed gender party. If Rose really is promiscuous at 13, then her mother (Hermione) would be really upset.

I believe you should find a beta to fix numerous small errors. There are some typos here and there (for example 'to' instead of 'too') and some of the paragraphs are not correctly spaced.

If Filtch Two is supposed to be related to Filch somehow, then there is no 'T' in his name. Why would they get another Squib to be his apprentice? His position doesn't require a Squib...I always got the feeling he was hired out of compassion for his lack of abilities. Since this is next-gen, he would also not be permitted to tie students up in closets; he would be sacked for sure.

The chapter works as an introduction to the two protagonists, but I find that I don't care about them one whit. If I went to school with them, I would find the vacuous, annoying and childish (even more childish than their 13 years). Hopefully, they grow some in the rest of the fic and develop some redeeming quality.

I do like the simple style the story is written in. It flows easily and draws the reader in. I think you do have a talent for writing, and you should keep writing and expanding your craft.

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Review #36, by PookhaA Beautiful Disaster: Tension

21st August 2009:
I enjoy your OC, Veronica and I particularly liked her dream sequence to start the story. I really thought that your description of the Dolohov mansion and the characterisation of her brother was very well done.

The story is extremely well-edited, which always makes me smile. I hate reading through typos and grammatical errors, so I applaud you.

I also really like the discussion in the train compartment with some of the Slytherins discussing what's going on and the otehrs being wary. I though the discussion was very in character for all of them.

I do have a hard time with the romanticised description of Draco. I think Tom Felton has really spoiled a lot of people. I don't think the Draco described in the books is particularly handsome; regal maybe, but not handsome. I also can't see him being so seductive toward Veronica, especially around the time of DH when this seems to be set. He just felt a little OoC to me with the situation that his family would be going through hosting Voldy. I really think that by this time he was disenchanted (pun intended) with the DEs.

So, a mixed review from me. I like the characterization of your OC and the writing. I didn't care for Draco's characterization. I liked the easy to read and well-edited style and I really liked the conversation and the way the Slytherins related to each other.

Author's Response: sorry it's taken me so long to respond, i've just been so busy!

thank you for the review. I'm really happy that you like my OC because I spent a long time developing her.

I know that Draco seems a little out of character, but one reason is because my story doesn't follow most of the last book. I started the idea for the story before the last book came out and before i read the sixth (a long time ago), so that's why he is a little different in that aspect. I cringe about that part of the story, but it would completely change the plot line if I tried to make it fit.

Thank you so much. I appreciate everything you said!

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Review #37, by PookhaThe Dragon Slayer's Story: The Dragonslayer's Story

19th August 2009:
This is quite a different tale of the patron saint of England (St. George). I really like his portrayal here. He's a glory-seeker and a publicity hound. In modern terms he'd be all over the tabloids. I like that while he's a likeable figure, he's also not above dirty tricks.

The main character, Sir Patrick is quite a delightfully evil git. Someone who would 'cheat' so much in his job, just to grab glory is pitiful and pitiable. Even so, even with magic, it still takes guts to face a dragon and fight it. The chance of something going wrong is still there, so he still has some bravery.

Patrick's painted in such a way that the reader is interested in him and wants to know more, but we'll never like him. I've had many people tell me that a protagonist should always be likeable, but I never understood why. Grey heroes and villains who are slightly dingy interest me more than a shiny hero, full of cliche.

A very nice story and I can't believe that I'm the first to review it.

Author's Response: Thank you very much for this first review! It gave me warm fuzzies to see it. :-)

Yes, I took great liberty with Saint George. I wanted a second character who could convincingly play the role of rival, so I had to do away with the pure, saintly image.

The way you reacted to Patrick's character is the way I hoped people would think/feel. He would make a downright lousy friend, he's rather frightening and nasty, and he's extremely vainglorious. He cannot see how immature and pitiful he is, but the reader can.

I think for a character like Patrick, it would have been slightly easier to accept a rival who really was snowy pure, rather than one who, while not as nasty, was certainly no saint himself.

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Review #38, by PookhaRaindrops: Raindrops

15th August 2009:
I like Charlie stories, so I had to check this one out. I enjoyed your take on Charlie here. I have my own theories about Charlie's bachelorhood, as I'm sure do many others.

Yes, you do shift tenses here sometimes and yes, it's not grammatically perfect, but I think that just adds to the charm of the story and it is a charming, sad story. You will probably have people tell you to split the story into a chaptered fic, and I say don't do it. Keep it a very long one-shot. It's all internally coherent and definitely one chapter.

I must disagree with the other reviewers about your author's note. I found it self-indulgent and slightly off-putting. But, that could be just my age. We don't all have to like the same thing and you don't have to listen to me. :)

Their romance is much more of an adult romance than you usually see on the site. Most fics are written by teens and reflect a very romanticised version of love in which the people do and say very sappy things constantly and never reach equilibrium. Your Charlie and Ari both have an equilibrium and a centeredness that gives both of their characters a well-rounded feel.

I always felt that Charlie was the most inward turned of the Weasleys and you present him that way too. When he finds love, it's someone who's not demanding and who loves Charlie for who he is. Charlie in turn is not demanding and loves her for who she is. It keeps both of them in a place where they can love but not change their natures.

A very interesting and emotionally moving story.

Author's Response: You think that my grammar imperfections add to the charm of this story? Hmm. Never had it put that way before, but... thank you? Lol. And don’t worry, I don’t want to split it up. I actually debated for a very long time after writing it about at least splitting it into two chapters, if not three. But I just could not come up with a decent place to split it. It just didn’t work. So, while I am concerned about the length, I don’t intend to change it... so I’m not really sure why I’m concerned about length. Maybe I’m just insecure. Insert eye roll.

Interesting you say that about my Author’s Note. And, you know what? I really do appreciate it. I wrote the Author’s Note ages ago and, now that you’ve brought it up, I like that you did. I’m considering getting rid of most of it. I just don’t think it fits with the story and... wow, now I’m second guessing myself here.
But don’t feel guilty! Honestly, you did help. You really did :]

I’m grateful that you said this was more of an ‘adult’ romance. I did try and go for a more mature look on the relationship between a man and a woman and you picking up on that really does mean a lot to me. Thank you.

I always felt that Charlie was a bit introverted, too. Yes, he did tame dragons for a living but he just seemed... he didn’t seem the wild person that everyone seems to think he is.

Thank you so much for your review. It really means a lot that you took the time out to review this!

-Ju :]

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Review #39, by PookhaSolace in the Scent of a Rose: A Tragic Twist of Fate

15th August 2009:
Again, a very well-written and intriguing chapter. I could see a lot of the readers being turned off by the ritualistic magic, but not me. It's not strictly canon, but if we all wrote strictly canon tales, it wouldn't be much fun, would it?

I like the explanation of Lucius being part-Veela and having a life-bond with his mate. I also like the backstory you provide for those of us who haven't read the other story (I presume it's from another story of yours).

I can totally see Draco going to Durmstrang under an adopted name and doing well.

Again, very well-written and edited.

Author's Response: Thank you. The veela thing was something that I always wondered about. Since JK never went into it but put Fleur in and then there are similar characteristics that the Malfoys share I often wondered. Per JKR Draco's paternal grandmother is never mentioned so that got me to thinking as well as the Malfoy males - features being described as hawkish. In the regular anthology, I expand on the known veela in great detail, pulling from various legends and such.

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Review #40, by PookhaSolace in the Scent of a Rose: A Mudblood By Any Other Name

14th August 2009:
This is a very different first train ride to Hogwarts for both Draco and Hermione. Both of their characters are well-done and the different world and slightly different upbringing account for the slightly different Draco.

I like Draco sending Crabbe and Goyle on a snipe...I mean wabble hunt. I also like the combat boots and Rambo-style tie. I think you capture the younger Hermione's pomposity well. She really developed as a character from what she was in the first two books.

It's very well written and I have no comment about spelling or grammar. Toward the end, Draco says But Moodbloods arent supposed to be as smart or as powerful as purebloods! Did you mean he was saying 'Mudblood' funny or was this a typo?

A very interesting start to the story that makes one want to read more...I think I will.

Author's Response: Thank you. All that change was from a not so stifling atmosphere. Plus, he always had a thing about pleasing his father so that creativity flourished and will continue. Though just fun, the wabble hunt was my way of showing his outside of the box thinking which he showed somewhat in JKR's world as well. That will play a HUGE role in his later year. Very good catch there. I will edit that one.

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Review #41, by PookhaLet Me Spin (Out of Control): Prologue: It Begins With a Goodbye

13th August 2009:
I'll be honest, Dramione's not my thing and I don't usually read them. I read the first chapter, because I believe in giving a story a chance.

I think you use words very well to paint a picture of the angst that both Draco and Hermione are feeling. Hermione's restless because she wants her NEWTS and won't feel complete without a complete education and Draco feels he needs to face something for once to take a stand. I can see a bit of where you're going with this and if done correctly it will avoid a lot of the Dramione cliches.

I also must say that I love the line '...mere puppets in Potter's game of generosity." I can totally see a canon Draco saying that.

I beg of you to avoid the cliches. Don't have them love each other at first sight (your summary makes it sound like a one-night stand, so that's much better, things like that happen). Don't have them share a common Head room, it's just not supported canonically.

I do think you have Draco's characterisation down cold, and I think you'll be able to have a valid reason for him being with Hermione.

Author's Response: I understand. I used to dislike them a lot, too. But thanks so much for giving the story a chance. That's real nice of you.
Yes, this story does take place in their eighth/seventh year, but I want to do it really differently. No Head Girl/Head Boy with shared common rooms, so I'll keep trying on avoiding the cliches. I'm glad it feels I am doing that for now.

Thanks so much for pointing that line out. I think it's something that would come from Draco's perspective, too.

Thank you for your honesty, Pookha. :) I swear I won't have them share a common room or fall in love with each other at first sight, lol.

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Review #42, by PookhaAnswered Prayer: Answered Prayer

12th August 2009:
What can I say? It was beautiful and touching. You capture the period wonderfully. It's totally believable and so in character for someone that you describe to stay and help as long as he's needed.

I think you have a real gift for writing children, especially gifted children. I see your own experiences as a mother coloring your writing with a sense of 'it's real, it's true.'

Your knowledge of the classics and the period give it a real sense of something that happened or could have happened. I truly think you are one of the best authors on the site.

I came to your author's page to get a link to nominate you for Best Reviewer and find a beautiful, well-written story about a neglected canon character.

Author's Response: I discovered this Staff Challenge about 4 days before it closed, so I wrote this story very quickly.

If memory serves, JKR had commented, in response to claims that Wizards could not be Christians, that one of the House Ghosts, who would in life have been a Wizard stongly connected with his house, was a member of a religious order. I was intrigued by that and wanted to write something about the Fat Friar. I made him a supporting character in a story that is currently in need of an update (Searchers), but as a ghost.

Even in the "ghost" challenge, nobody picked him. I think Sir Nick got a story, the Baron and the Gray Lady got several, and Myrtle got a bunch. The Friar seems to be like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Hogwarts afterlife -- no respect! Maybe it's that word, "fat."

I am still tweaking the story a little, because there are places that, to me, lack clarity.

All that said, I really appreciate that you took the time to read it. The story seems to have worked better than I feared it would. I wasn't sure how people would react to the religious content. Thank you for your generous comments.

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Review #43, by PookhaTheodore Nott: Exposed!: Theodore Nott: Exposed!

12th August 2009:
This is a very interesting snippet of a portrait of a not-so-well known canon character. I agree that all Slytherins can't be evil. In my own post-DH works, the new Chief Auror is a Slytherin who's not evil, but does believe that the end justifies the means.

I like the way that Nott relates with people well in this story. He's affable and eccentric and I can totally see him being friends with Luna. I also like the way he blows off Draco and the girl that keeps trying to get with him.

It also shows that nurture is not the only thing that leads to criminality. Just because his father and grandfather were DEs, that doesn't mean he has to be. An excellent story in breaking prejudices and stereotypes.

Author's Response: Thank you so much ^^ .

I'm glad that I succeeded in making Theo a likeable character and managed to break some prejudices. :)

Thanks for the lovely review. x)

~ Kristina

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Review #44, by PookhaLay Me To Sleep: Lay Me To Sleep

9th August 2009:
I know I read this some time ago, and I could swear I reviewed it then, but I must not have. I really liked the angst-ridden way that Regulus is contemplating his service to the Dark Lord (BTW, it's Voldemort, not Voldermort as you have it written).

What makes this story is the atmospheric way the descriptions draw you into the well-known story of Regulus. You make the reader care about Regulus. You make the reader want to know more about his story.

If things had gone differently or he had been just a bit braver, he might have been in the OotP with his brother. In the end, he was much like Snape, standing up to Voldemort in his own way. Very well-written and nicely worded.

Author's Response: thanks so much! and ooops. no more writing at 2 am. I will fix it! Thanks so much!

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Review #45, by PookhaWizard's Sabbath: Prologue: Tomorrow's Dream

27th July 2009:
You needn't apologize for a long chapter; it holds together very well from beginning to end and it composes one particular part of Sev's life. I would say that it was as long as it needed to be.

For any help that I give you, you are welcome and it's an honour to read your work. Your help with my writing has been invaluable, as well.

I did notice a few typos in this chapter. I know that now you're a TA, you're like me and enjoy fixing them right away. 'stook' instead of stool when Sev's being sorted (unless you meant he was sitting on a hayfield; joke!).
This sentence makes it look like Sev's the one speaking when I think it must be Eileen?

Quote: Severus started to pull it out. No! I dont want to look at it. Ill look at it when Im dead!

I truly enjoyed reading the parts with Lily and Sev as friends as youngsters. I think you captured a type of innocence with Lily that will soon be shattered as she sees what the world's about to come to. I can totally picture the conversation with the young Snape telling Lily about the Dementors and other wizarding things.

I truly like the way that Eileen was embarrassed about having to ask for charity from the school. I think that Minerva would be very sympathetic to Eileen's situation and would help her if Eileen could only bend her proud neck to ask for help. But, it also rings true for the abusive situation that Eileen's in.

Sev's sorting was great. I've always thought that the Hat had to consider Ravenclaw for him. Had his situation been different, I think he would have been one of the greatest wizarding scholars ever, right up there with DD or Newt Scamander (or Voldemort, even). Definitely would have given Hermione a run for her money in the brains department.

The end part with Bronwen tied up her part in the story nicely (unless you have plans for her later) and it also made her more sympathetic to the reader.

The wand that Snape picked up I think colours his thinking. I think that wands have some influence over their owners as well as the owner having influence over the wand. If I ever get my sequel to 'Graverobbers' up, then you'll see my take on that. I think that Sev's wand will have 'reflections' or 'sympathies' toward the Dark Arts that will help guide Sev's fascination with them. Truly a symbiotic match between wand and user.

Great job, especially on the characterizations of Lily and Sev. I can picture them as children and nothing rings false about them.

Author's Response: Sev and Lily were the first children like themselves that either of them had ever met, so they could really be themselves with one another. Those scenes were fun to write. I hope the scenes about the Grammar School exam worked. That seemed like an important rite of passage for some British youngsters, but it is alien to me (being American); so I'm not sure I got it right.

I remember those big cumbersome round merry-go-rounds at the playgrounds, which were just metal discs with a few handles to grip onto. They were completely child-propelled, got very hot in the summer, and were really fun. They probably don't exist anymore; too dangerous. (Kids might have too much fun on them and fall off).

I really appreciate your pointing out the errors. As I pointed out in my PM, I went to fix them and found still more.

I didn't think Severus would have had any spare money for school things, and he would have needed to rely on charity. I've always thought of Hogwarts as a very liberal school in terms of ability so pay, wanting above all to make sure that all eligible children are able to attend, whether they have the means or not. I could imagine Eileen, at the end of her rope, writing to Minerva and saying, we're doing our best but there are a few things we need.

I'm glad the scene with Sev's sorting went well. I took to heart your suggestion from some time ago that I emphasize his sorting, that the Hat would be likely to consider another house than Slytherin. I, too, always thought he belonged in Ravenclaw. (JKR evidently thought Gryffindor should have been second choice. Go figure.)

The end part with Bronwen and Terry is another bit that I had been contemplating for a long time. I wanted to reintroduce Terry. He will have a part to play in future chapters.

I didn't necessarily want the wand to be presented as sinister, although Eileen, who has suffered at her father's hands, sees it that way. I saw it as more of a legacy. I also liked the idea of Snape (whose wand is never described in canon) having an ebony wand.

Thank you so much for your review. I appreciate it very much.

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Review #46, by PookhaWizard's Sabbath: Prologue: Iron Man

27th July 2009:
You definitely have the alienation, anger, and depression that goes along with a situation like young Sev's. I like the way that he tried to defend his mother, even though he doesn't particularly admire her. His hatred of his father is deep and true and you can feel it resonate from the page.

I also enjoyed the canon, but different pov meeting between Sev and Lily. It really helps to develop Sev by having him in more situations than just his bleak home life.

Beautifully written as always and particularly good characterization.

Author's Response: I was planning this chapter in my mind for many months. I imagined that Severus' meeting at the playground would be part of a very, very bad day. The disaster with Lily would put him in a ghastly, dangerous frame of mind (given that he was a little kid); and he would come home to something that would make him explode.

The embargo on JKR quotations makes it a real challenge to write about familiar scenes. You have to tweak the POV as a matter of necessity, so you can make up dialogue without violating canon too blatantly.

One element I had long intended to include was to have Severus use an Unforgivable curse on dear old dad. He had been fantasizing about the Cruciatus curse for years, but that did not really fit his personality.

I needed to have him and Lily get together, hence the final scene.

Thank you for you wonderful review.

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Review #47, by PookhaBright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed: Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed

19th July 2009:
I saw your posting about your summary for this story. I think your summary is fine. It actually drove me to the story to read it. It's full of sly humour and the kind of 'everyone misunderstands everyone else' type of plot that I find intriguing.

You capture the awkwardness of the adolescent dating scene very nicely; a scene that could only be complicated by being a witch or wizard.

I love the title and the ending.

I needed a good laugh today and I'm glad that I came to read your story.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I usually feel like I'm so dreadful at summaries, so I wanted to get some help with this one. This is the second positive I've got on it, so I think I'll keep it now.

Thanks so much for reading! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)

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Review #48, by PookhaCup of Dreams: Buried Treasure

25th June 2009:
To me, this is the most complete of all the stories for Staff Challenge 2. It shows the most complete characterisations of the founders (with the exception of Rowena).

I can see clearly the unexpressed love between Helga and Salazar and how it impacted each of their lives. Helga's determination to do what was best for the students clashes greatly with Salazar's determination to do what he believes is best for the students and what Godric believes is best for the students.

And I thought you did fine in addressing the time period; you just did it in a subtle, understated way by by putting it in the background.

Very lovely and the emotions ring true.

Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much. I do wish I had delved into Rowena more, but there's only show much you can do with a one-shot. Maybe in my next Founders fic.

I'm glad you think I handled characterization well, because that's one of - if not the - most important things in fics to me.

I'm also glad you think I did well with the time period - I was worried about that!

Thank you so much for this review, and for delving into your thoughts of the story in your review. It really makes me feel good.

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Review #49, by PookhaResistance: Resistance

25th June 2009:
To be honest, if I were just reading this story on its own, without knowing that it was part of "Quadrivium," I would have been left wanting more.

You do a great job showing a young woman caught between a manipulative step-mother and her father. I like that archetypal 'evil step-mother,' because I remember the fairy-tale way that 'Quadrivium' is being told. This fits into that category very well.

I also like the archetypal way that the evil step-mother tells Rowena about her 'evil plan'. It's very villain archetype and it gives the story a real feel for the genre.

I have one question: You describe Rowena as fair, but then later when describing Kentigern you say,

"Like his daughter, he was dark with pale clever eyes and a smirking mouth."

Do you mean he was dark-haired?

I really enjoyed reading this story and I think it's a great example of keeping true to your genre.

Author's Response: Ah, thank you so much for coming to read this Carl! I apologize for how long it took me to respond :)

I'm glad you didn't find the stepmother angle too cliche, because I agree that it seemed to fit with the way Quadrivium is being told - as a sort of pseudo fairy tale. The stepmother is a very obvious villain, yep! She makes no apologies or pretenses about what she wants, and what she wants is for Rowena to get out.

Sorry for the confusion about the looks - I meant the "dark" to refer to their hair, but I will change it to have it make more sense.

Thank you very much for your kind review! :)

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Review #50, by PookhaWit Beyond Measure: Wit Beyond Measure

22nd June 2009:
This is a portrait of a flawed, but very human woman. Rowena's pride in her abilities borders on hubris. No, on second thought it's sheer hubris. Her disappointment in her daughter reflects the real world in so many overbearing and overcritical parents.

Poor Helena must have such low self-esteem, hearing constantly from her harping mother that she's not intelligent enough, or if she just tries harder that she could be so much more. I know someone who gave up on math because she was constantly told that she wasn't bright enough to learn it when in fact she's very bright, just not at math.

I felt the ending was missing something. Perhaps a small reaction from Rowena, or a note from Helena.

As always you do a great job keeping in canon, but also giving us something we haven't seen.

Author's Response: We all have flaws, and I think one of the traps of being highly intelligent is becoming conceited (or at least it can be). To further that, and to reflect the way in which parents can be overly critical and have too many expectations of their children, I wanted to portray Rowena as being disappointed in her daughter for not possessing the same intelligence as herself. I imagine that Helena must have grown continuously more resentful of her mother as she grew into adulthood, and probably asked herself numerous times why her mother could never accept her for who she was.

I agree with you about the ending, I wasn\\\'t happy with it myself. I wanted to leave off where the story picks up in DH, but doing it that way has made it feel as though it is lacking.

Thanks so much for your review.

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