Oh my goodness. I read all three chapters on the trot, and I'm abso-bloody-lutely in love with this. This is just all sorts funny, endearing, amazing etc etc. I've always been very much in love with James, but as often as not in fanfiction, I find it incredibly easy to hate his girlfriends. But I'm already in love with all the girls in this story. Wonderful, just wonderful.
Favouriting, and can't wait to read the next chapter.Author's Response: Wow, thanks so much! This review is kind of special to me since your Draco one-shot was one of the first stories I ever read and really loved on HPFF. I'm ecstatic that you liked this quirky, spontaneous story! I'll update soon with more girls and more anti-James propaganda.
Thank you so much for reviewing! Report Review
The last few paragraphs were sublime. It's just so refreshing to read fully fleshed out and well-rounded characters. Real people, in other words.
The story rang very true with some of my experiences. Not that I ever really was like James - au contraire I was perhaps a bit square - but a lot of the interactions between various characters resonated eerily well. I might've mentioned this before, but what was especially delightful about the writing was that it was peppered with wonderful nuances which more efficiently nailed a character in a single sentence than countless lines of dialogue or exposition would have ever managed to. The prose seems effortless and different sections segued seamlessly without too many bells and whistles, much to my envy because I've never managed to pull it off, lol.
I wouldn't be too worried about characters transforming way too quickly, to be fair. There were times when I felt had the story not been so "James Vs the rest", had the disparity between the two (James and 'the rest') not been so divorced, had he not been the only one to have made a total hash of things while the rest had managed to hack it, and had everyone not been so unanimously forgiving, the ending would've seemed a little less perfect. Only it's bit rich of me to say that, because I love happy endings. :) Also, sometimes the Weasleys did seem appear slightly homogenised; but there are so many of them that trying to flesh out every single Weasley cousin is like being on a hiding to nothing. And anyway, the writing more than countervails these things, so I've got no business being pernickety.
Congratulations on finishing the story. I remember being a little sceptical when I started reading this, fearing I might find the protagonist utterly unsympathetic, or even worse, too sympathetic. But the story managed to walk the tightrope between these two extremes and never quite tipped off balance. The fic is like a much needed breath of fresh air when the textbook "Nextgen" fanfic has in the space of almost four years devolved into threadbare and repetitive tripe. This is right up there with some of the best coming-of-age stories I've read.Author's Response: I'm not going to lie, I absolutely adore the end of this story. I was writing and writing this chapter and it just wouldn't end, then those last few parts came out of nowhere and I read it back and for the first time ever with my writing thought 'wow...yeah, that's right'. I was really worried about that dreaded last line but I'm really happy with it.
Oh wow, really? I think one of the best things anyone can ever hope to hear from a reader is that it rings true/is somewhat realistic for them.
I think I've definitely been told that before. I think I've got a bit of a knack for those single lines that say a lot...most of the time I don't even realise I've done it until I read back or even until someone points it out.
The wonder of the last 10 or so chapters of this story (from the Lily+Al chapter on) is that they basically wrote themseleves. I absolutely flew through them and read them back to find they weren't in need of a great deal of work - a few tweaks here and there but nothing I couldn't rectify. Chapters 5-8, however, were really tough, and getting my head around writing in a sort of omniscient voice, and with some proper canon characters thrown in really did make me worry.
Oh, happy endings ♥ I wish I could have gone on for more with this, fleshed out his changes a little greater but I wanted to finish it as soon as I could. I set myself a date to work to and this was what it became, and I couldn't bring myself to delete any of it.
Weasley cousin, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents - honestly, this story has so many characters that my head just about exploded trying to resolve each strand of their relationships with James. Stupid big family...
I was worried writing it for those exact reasons. I never wanted him to be hated but at the same time, didn't want him to overcome all his problems and become adored because even at this ending, he's not perfect. He might yet fall back into old habits but I'd hope Ella and Rose and all the others would stand by him.
Thank you so, so much. Your reviews mean the world. They're honest and detailed and hugely inspiring. I'm really glad I didn't disappoint with this and that you enjoyed it.
Thank you :) Report Review
I'd read this the day it was updated, but couldn't review right away. Anyhoo, wonderful chapter, as always. Interesting, the first section which casts light on the actual goings-on of the period. I've said this before, that though we get to read only very little about Grindelwald, he appears to be as important a character as the boys. I do wonder, though, that if Grindelwald was against war, then surely he could've taken some action to prevent it, if not fully then at least to some extent. Surely someone as powerful as he could've infiltrated the Nazi political echelon, couldn't he? It seems likely that he could've sat back and let the Muggles ravage the world, so that when they'd have done with it jaded and exhausted he could've taken over the world. But that didn't come to pass as Dunbledore put pay to him, but it's fascinating to theorise, lol.Author's Response: Grindelwald is actually my favourite canon character, so you haven't seen the last of him. I see him as being rather cleverer than Voldemort. Grindelwald would take advantage of situations and put his spin on things. Regarding the war, it may be advantageous to let the Muggles continue fighting...
Thanks for reading and for the review. And I'm glad I got you thinking!
~ Tim the Enchanter Report Review
For me this is like in medias res. I've seen this story and its prequel around, even seen it in the submission queue but this was the first chapter of yours I validated! And boy, this reminds me so much of Sammy23's Colossus series. Which is not to suggest this reads like an epigone - for one thing your spellings and grammar seems perfect; it's the tone and vibe that I get. So I read all the 6 chapters, and I'm glad I did! I love these plot driven fics over fluffy dramatic mush anyday. I'm not even in my reviewer mode nitpicking on small things as I usually tend to do, this is an amazing story, perfect for my 3 AM reading when I need to take a break from cramming for uni. Favouriting!
PS - You couldn't tell me who the Asian girl in the banner is, could you?Author's Response: Hehe, I've still got the validation messages and you're right, you did validate the first one. :P
You're the second person to say my stuff is like Sammy23's. Personally, I think his stuff is better but he hasn't updated in so long. :(
I'm really glad you're enjoying this and hope the rest is enjoyable. Oh, and the girl in the banner is Ziyi Zhang from Rush Hour 2 and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. :) Report Review
Was thrilled to see an update. Wonderful, as usual.
I'm not going to rehash myself and type some none too creative platitudes about how novel and refreshing and marvellous this fic is, but what I especially dig is your characterisation of Grindelwald. As often as not he gets portrayed an awful lot like Voldemort or as someone who influenced Hitler. Here we get to see him in slightly different light, the story hasn't explored Grindelwald's motives in earnest as yet so I may be quite wrong, but when studied in an historical context, the rationale which Grindelwald appears to subscribe to seems strangely convincing, and so does the slogan 'For the greater good', because the cornerstone tenets on which Nazism was founded is so ludicrous and odious that it should serve as the mainspring of the Zaubererreich's slogan and furthermore, to some extent extenuate and partially justifiy the Zaubererreich's motives seems convincing.
Have I mentioned this is my top favourite story at the moment and pretty much the only one I follow? Hoping you'll be able to update soon. :)Author's Response: Thanks for another review! I do get tired of reading stories about Grindelwald as just another Voldemort, or some evil mastermind behind the Nazis. This is not only overused and boring, but I believe unrealistic. Voldemort was merely a terrorist who could never muster any popular support beyond a core of dedicated fanatics. Grindelwald, on the other hand, either held or threatened all of Europe, proving that he had to have been much more powerful than Volders. To to have this much power, Grindelwald needed a broad, popular base. I don't want to give away everything on Grindelwald's agenda, but I believe he had his own unique ideology that had genuine mass appeal.
I have another chapter completed, and the next in the works. With school almost over, I'll be able to get writing again.
Thanks once more for the review!
~ Tim the Enchanter Report Review
Without a shadow of doubt, one of the finest fics I've read on this site. Really, this story is all sorts amazing. It's original and well written and well plotted and just so very entertaining it isn't true. I read all the eleven chapters on the trot, and that rarely, if ever, happens. Amazing, amazing, amazing... I've got nothing else to say. I only hope you haven't abandoned this story as it's been a while since you've updated.
Not to rain on your parade, but as a validator, I have to point out that the site rule deems that all sentences/dialogue/words/chapter titles et cetera that aren't in Engish will have to be translated at some point of time.Author's Response: Thanks for the great review, and I am very glad that my story has entertained you. I do apologise for my slow updating, but rest assured I have not abandoned this story. Classes are coming to an end, so I'll have time to write again.
Also, thanks for pointing out that I need to translate all the German. I'll have to do some editing...
~ Tim the Enchanter Report Review
Gosh, I haven't been reading much fanfiction lately and caught up with this fic only today. The last few chapters have been brill as usual. Wondering how many chapters are left and how it's all going to pan out. It's interesting, the build-up to the denouement what with Gabe's vision of Cal killing Toby. I don't think that'll come to pass, but one can never tell.
Amazing work. Update soon. :)Author's Response: I've been lax with updates, I admit, so being not reading much doesn't hurt so much! Not that many chapters left, we are approaching the end (I forget exact number). I think it might be no more than half a dozen.
I am glad the build up is working. Hopefully the pay off will as well!
Thanks for reviewing! Report Review
Aw man! And I thought Stephen was alive. :( That bastard, my own Uncle! He killed my father to prove a point. Wonder what point Albus wanted to make. I've said this before, and I say it again, all your characters are so mind-bogglingly ambiguous. Especially Albus - the murderer and the saviour. I still am wondering what could have driven such a huge wedge between the brothers. What do the two factions stand for and what are they fighting for? Surely, surely both Albus and James stood united to quell the Death Eater uprising? Just what went wrong, when and how is what we're left to ponder. Stephen Potter had died without anyone ever knowing what he fought for. What he stood for. And what Stephen fought for, would be the same as for what James fought, for what Toren fought, for what Clara and Goram and Fletch and Richter are fighting, for what the underground rebels Nora and Ciaran are fighting, yes?
I understand what you mean by these are only the introductory chapters. It's obvious - we're introduced to the characters, and there's as much forward progress of the plot as there are brief insights into the past, though something dramatic, defining is yet to happen. Though it'd be interesting to get a plebeian - by which I mean an objective - perspective on things; how does the common man interpret all this? I mean, the previous chapters have hinted that there was a general uproar upon hearing the rumours of the Watch's return, but why is the Watch so feared? A reader is still in the dark about what really happened or what went wrong, and getting a very coloured, subjective viewpoint results in the furtherance of the equivocality. There's the Grimmauld Incident perpetrated by the Watch where Rose was killed, and the the Hogwarts Battle where I presume James was killed, there's Scorpius who is the prodigy of Teddy Lupin, also that Lily and Dominique and probably the rest of the family side with the Chancery. At the moment I'm on the fence, and I haven't a bloody clue what to make of all this. Which is not to suggest that this is a criticism, because the story's an absolute stonker and it's all preposterously exciting and fascinating, ratcheting up the suspense progressively. :) Oh please do update soon. We've got, what, four more prefatory chapters, yes? And the little cliff on which chapter 5 is suspended; whatever happened to Goram? Questions, questions...
So yeah, update!
- ReneeAuthor's Response: Renee! I love you so much and I believe this is the first time I've been able to tell you. You're reviews are always so shiny and they always make my day! Believe me! I smile from ear to ear when I see your username up there.
Hahaha, well I guess just like Toren's story is far from over despite his being dead, Stephen's story is still pretty alive and active. Their stories are very very very very very intermingled and very important to the progress of the story. As for what the goals of each faction, they will be explained probably by the end of the introductory chapters. Or at least, explained enough so you can move throughout the story with some form of loyalty to one faction. Which one you chose, well that will be very subjective. Same goes for which brother you'd sympathize with. But fear not, the ambiguity will not lessen to any extent. You'll just probably like one more than the other. And to answer your question, yes. What Stephen fought for was what all the resistance is now fighting for, even if they use different means to achieve it.
It's actually funny that you say that. Very very very funny. So funny because you are spot on. The next chapter deals with someone out of government, out of politics though she is intimately connected. The next chapter deals with a neutral faction. One that's sworn not to take sides on the whole matter. But we can also see how they are slowly polluted with partisan sympathies and how they affect this faction.
Three more chapters and we'll be going into the thick of things. I can't be any more excited than I am right now!
Thank you so much for your reviews and thanks for following me despite my glacial speed. *hugs*
PS: As for what happened to Goram, it's in the chapter after the next :) Report Review
First things first, the typos. Very minor ones, actually.
1) he was not quite awake yet, but after splashing some water on his face, his eyes widened, realizing what the day was.
The 'h' should be capitalised.
2.1) "Mom, Dad, this is Cho Chang, my girlfriend," he said nervously.
2.2) "Mom, Dad, I'm so glad you're both here," Cedric said, smiling at Viktor Krum as he entered the room.
Mom=American. Mum=British. :)
3) "Good morning, Son," Amos Diggory said, smiling.
Not so much a typo/grammatical error as a minor technical flaw. See, you can't speak when you smile. Thus smile should NEVER figure in the dialogue tag. A bit of dialogue such as: 'Well done,' Harry smiled is wrong. Grin would be the right verb.
Those were the only three I spotted, and it was such a pleasant surprise to see your dialogue adhering to the correct syntax. Whenever I read random stories, I nearly always see dialogue punctuated the wrong way, so it was quite heartening to see it done right. :)
The linear, if simplistic, narrative style worked well in parts, though at times I couldn't help but feel that the narrative was wanting in emotional heft. Not melodrama - that's horror - but the story as a whole was a bit bland for my liking. Almost like a filler chapter where nothing much happens. Whilst reading about these details from Cedric's perspective was rather refreshing, there was nothing really new about it. The length could have been one of the factors;there's really not much one can do in the space of 1K words plot wise - which is one of the reasons why I personally believe these relatively short one-shots aren't very effective for plot/character centric stories. Like for instance the reader would've got a more detailed insight into Cedric's mind had the introductory paragraphs been more protracted, but the actons shifts so hastily to the next event that I felt as though these events were breezing past me one after the other leaving me no time to, as it were, plunge into it.
Another thing is that you've included a lot of quotidian details, which per se cannot be pigeonholed as banal, but I felt that these details monopolised the major portion of the narrative without adding much to it. Instead of which you could have included certain other details which would've given us a slightly more intimate insight into the dynamics. His interaction with his father, which I felt was slightly generic, could have been lent a more colourful flavour had we had a taste of their quirks or their individualities - I especially liked the part where Amos tells Cedric he can beat Harry again; that harked back to GoF and it was quite inspired - or had they - and thereby the reader - indulged in a bit of nostalgia that'd have seemed poignant in the light of what happened merely hours later. Something - anything - that would've leavened the stark indifference of the reader.
- ReneeAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for you review! I apologize for taking so long to respond, but I have been sick for the last week!
I am very grateful that you took the time to leave such a long review, and I definitely understand many of your points. Thank you for pointing out the grammatical errors; I had posted this without it being beta'd, although I have received it back from the beta and will be posting the revised version soon.
I agree that it definitely could have used some more emotion. I had a hard time writing this, and felt like I was just going through the motions to finish it for the challenge, instead of giving it my best attention. One thing on my to-do list is to go back and re-edit/re-work this as I have time, and all of your comments will definitely factor in there!
Thank you so much,
LJ :) Report Review
It's horribly remiss of me not to have reviewed this chapter before today. I read it the day it was validated - indeed, this is, if not THE then certainly one of the most addictive stories on this site- but couldn't review it then. And anyway, it's not like I have anything much to say other than patter away the usual platitudes: This story is absolutely brilliant; you're insanely talented and other such not-so-creative and hackneyed comments. But since I think it's wrong to enjoy something so extravagantly and not take a minute or two to compose a review of thanks to the author, here I am with this terribly belated review.
One thing I've noticed right from the very first chapter is the register in which your characters converse. It's formal, yet it doesn't sound... pompous or phoney or rhetoric. Lines such as:
1) But man stands on more than his two legs. He stands on principle as well.
2) When will they learn that the only judge man's actions will ever have is History
3)Being a soldier means more than taking commands. It’s a matter of justice and consciousness.
You have the narrative framework wherein these words hit home, that's certain. But what's incredible is that it sounds so very realistic. The atmosphere of the story ensures that these lines don't end up sounding empty.
Had we gotten there sooner, mobilized quicker, we could have saved Mrs. Malfoy and all the other innocent lives they took
YOU KILLED ROSE! ILY for that! I abhor the Scorose ship from the bottom of my heart (I'm very sorry if you're a fan); it's the scourge of nextgen fanfiction, IMO. This ship monopolises all the attention for no fathomable reason, and almost ALL the other nextgen characters get the short-shrift or are treated as playthings. I mean really, how many good nextgen fics can one think of that's not a Scorose fic?
Anyhoo, getting off my personal soapbox, have I mentioned how utterly intriguing the multifarious characters and their dynamics is? For once I think I'm not going to dread the Scorose ship in this story. I could be wrong, but their marriage seems more like a token of political consolidation. That, and the fact that she was killed by the Watch further blurs the lines between right and wrong. I've already said in a previous review that I find both the factions - The Watch and the Chancery - equally fascinating. I take it James Potter founded the Watch, and it's ironic that Rose should be killed (by accident, I'd like to think) by them. And the 'mark' Tremain was talking about is the lightning bolt mark, isn't it? All these tantalising little details strewn throughout the chapters makes me want to know what really the root of the conflict is.
Lines such as Politics was a business of masks and rhymes. Chose the right one and the world was yours. Albus was the Pied Piper of their times. make it impossible not catapult Albus into a class of his own. I've never quite cared for the character of Albus Potter - not in canon and certainly not in fanfiction. I know has JKR said that Albus is the character who's the 'one she's most interested in', but to me he was a wishy-washy, whinging wimp in canon, and fanfiction writers hardly ever subvert this image of his. Except maybe in the Colossus novels, he's always only ever the sidekick in Scorose romances. But even in the Colossus series, I liked the plot and the ideas more than the character os Albus per se. I admit it unasamedly, I'm a James fangirl through and through, and can read even the silliest, most clichéd story about James.
This story, however, subverts my preconceived notions about Albus. He's got a certain cachet, a certain charisma that transcends my reservations about his character in general. There's a dearth of these larger-than-life male characters in fanfiction, which is a real pity because they are infinitely more interesting to read about than the self-proclaimed 'quirky and eccentric' female OC's. Not that I've got anything against female OC's, it's just that I'm a wee bit sceptical of them. There are just so many of them floating around that after a while it's next to impossible to stumble upon a story with a radically different female OC. But your Albus is indubitably one of the best male characterisations I've read. He's dubious yet arresting, dangerous, but compellingly so, magnetic yet somewhat ambiguous, enigmatic and... just all sorts amazing. And snarky! Got to love him. :D
In short, I have nothing new to say. I will most probably be rehashing myself even in the future reviews. And these are only the introductory chapters?!? If these are this good, then I can easily imagine how brilliant the other chapters are going to be, besides, of course, being a total deflator of the meagre self-confidence I have in myself as a writer. Report Review
So I left you a super lengthy review which got lost in the crash. Anyhoo, in a nutshell, I just want to say - nay repeat - that I absolutely loved this story. I read it in the summer of 2007 and even now I look back at it with a lot of nostalgia. I've also read your other fc and remember how you kind of rushed to get it out before DH was published. I used to check for updates everyday; it used to be so much fun! I've never been so invested and involved in any other fic afterwards. This is THE benchmark story for me on HPFF and I honestly believe that it's one of the best fanfics written. Some of your plot elements surpasses even those of JKR's; parts of this story are even better than the canon DH. I've told you this before, but I particularly enjoyed your take on the Horcruxes. As against the canon version where the Horcrux hunt was all but put on the backburner and some other less interesting plotlines were focussed on, in this story the primacy was on the Horcrux hunt and consequent destruction. Also, your Harry was a lot more decisive and better fleshed out. And of course, that I'm a closet Harry/Hermione shipper is another contributing factor as to why I love this story so much.
I hope you wouldn't mind, but the Dobby's are here and I nominated you in the category of the HPFF classics: Best Author. Unfortunately I couldn't nominate the story in the 'Best novel' category seeing as there was a constraint that stories needed to be completed before Feb 2006.
Thanks again for the wonderful story. This is one of the very few - if not the ONLY - story I can still reread and enjoy as much as I enjoyed it the first time. :)
- ReneeAuthor's Response: Wow! What a wonderful surprise to hear from you, and my chest is puffed out at your extremely kind words.
Certainly you touched on my primary complaints with DH. While it had many good parts, the horcruxes inexplicably became a minor plot element after JKR spent so much time on them in HBP. Makes me shake my head in confusion. And then, as I have mentioned in many replies to reviews, Harry is such a wimp throughout virtually the entire novel. Just not very convincing, and in those respects, I admit that I prefer my story to canon.
Thank you for the Dobby nomination, which comes as a complete surprise. Do I need to prepare an acceptance speech? LOL. I am sure I will not win, as my story is not really typical for HPFF, which seems to love Draco-Hermione and Harry-Ginny stories. Still, I like this site and have not made any effort to post my story on a lot of other sites. Your nomination of me is extremely kind and very much appreciated.
I've been trying to get going on an original story. I started on it a year or so ago and wrote a couple of rough draft chapters, but for many reasons, I just haven't had the ambition to dive into it. Maybe your comments will give me that little push that I need. G. Report Review
It wasn't the digression from canon that bothered me so much as the fact that this really didn't have any kind of effect on me.
I really didn't get the significance of the memories you chose. I'm afraid it didn't really cast light on their relationship or characters. Charlotte has absolutely no individualism of her own and neither does Blaise. She's the typical, generic not-so-bad Slytherin who doesn't quite subscribe to the Slytherin beliefs and isn't a fan of violence and gore. These characters are lost to anonymity. There are hundreds of other such characters. Now I'm not against reusing a used idea, provided you're able to use it in a different context. Old wine in new bottle. Always remember that you two most important aspects of a story are plot and characterisation, and the characterisation is an instrument of the implementation of the plot. It's difficult to touch upon all the facets of your character, but contradiction, paradox and moral ambiguity are so much more fun to read about. They add flesh to the bones of your characters and render them realistic and interesting.
Another area where you could work on is your dialogue. I have to mention here that I really, really liked the dialogue in the second section of the story where they're kids. You managed to capture the innocence, naïveté and child-like quality very, very well. But the dialogue in the fourth section leant on the side of overly dramatic. Lines such as: “I don’t want you to join the Death Eaters,” I stated. “I don’t want you to join, but I know if you refuse you will be killed, so all I have to say to you is… I love you.”
It... it just doesn't sound natural when I read it aloud. It sounded like something a child would say. There are subtler ways of giving expression to the same feeling. Dialogue is hard and the best way to go about it is to read it aloud to yourself and see if it sounds realistic, or to imagine it like a movie.
There were also a few spelling and grammatical mistakes but nothing horribly distracting, and if you get this beta'ed you can get it straightened out.
These were just my personal views. You may not agree with me (because I know I don't always agree with all my reviewers), and I think it is the prerogative of the author to agree or disagree with the reviewer. Think about it, if you find any part of the review to be helpful, then keep it in mind for your future writing. :)
- Renee.Author's Response: It's okay that you didn't like this. At least you were honest with me, rather than giving me this great review when in your eyes I didn't deserve it.
And I did find this review helpful in that I know what I'll have to work on next time when I'm writing, like characterization. I'm glad you liked some of my dialogue, so I hope that means that my dialogue isn't bad, it just can be bad. I couldn't find a beta for this, but next time I'll definitely get one to improve my grammar and spelling.
Thank you for the review :) Report Review
This has a distinct first-person flavour to it. Though it's narrated in third person, some of the lines (for instance, But, oh, was she pretty. She looked so much better with a long, red ponytail than Bill did. ) read as if taken straight out of a first-person narrative. And then there are some lines which are written in a more formal register (eg. Those were the rules of combat for men. There was a certain code of chivalry ... supported by the foundation of the gentlemanly respect rules for fighting). There's nothing wrong about it per se, but my preference is that third-person stories (even the third-person limited narrative mode) be written in the writer's auctorial voice, and not in the voice of the character in question, even if it's supposed to be stream-of-consciousness. It lends consistency to your narrative (like Draco would be referred to as either 'Draco' or 'Malfoy'), and it even irons out the occassional abruptness in the narrative. Like take this bit for example: The echo of the final screech reverberated around the bathroom and nearly deafened Malfoy. There was a stillness in the air that made Malfoy uncomfortable to breathe in. He couldn’t believe what he had done. The tears came unexpectedly.
This reads perfectly all right in first-person, because as often as not, not a host of impressive and dramatic emotions flit through a person's mind after such an unexpected event. But when written in the third-person narrative mode, the author literally takes up the work of transcribing the events and emotions in a more articulate way. Given that, I'd have preferred a smoother transition. That, however, is but a personal preference. :)
I just noticed one small mistake. [... monumental consequences and what it would mean for the world, he would ring Dean’s neck.]
Should be: wring Dean's neck :)
I liked the action, I really did. It was neither too rushed nor too slow. The sentences were also quite choppy as action should be. Though I feel some of the sentences could've been shorter. The shorter, the better. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
Now to the actual review. I really liked the plot. I love LOVE it when authors take risks and aren't afraid of shocking the readers. Because let's face it, conventional stories are so boring. I also really liked the fact that this had a rather abrupt start and an equally abrupt end. It began with Harry's thoughts and ended with Draco's. Above all, the thing that stands out to me is that this is only a snapshot, as it were. Thank you for not going into unnecessary details for the readers' benefit, because that means you credit your readers with enough intelligence to catch up without much prompting. Initially I thought that you went slightly overboard with Harry's jealousy, but then on second thoughts I felt that his emotions were transitory. They would've dissipated gradually, but one thing lead to another. I think it served as a good foundation for your denouement. :)
- ReneeAuthor's Response: Thank you for your detailed review =) Did I mention I was a bit scared to request a review from you? XD
I understand what you mean about the first-person feel to it, but this is actually how I wanted it to be. I wanted to keep it third but have emphasis on Harry's thoughts. It would be easier for the fight scene.
Thank you. I'm glad you liked the action =) It was definitely a challenge for me to write it believably.
This is probably the biggest risk I've ever taken in writing, except maybe when I tried slash. That was a personal risk.
I can't thank you enough on your comment about unnecessary details. That is one thing I say in my reviews too - I trust my readers to understand what I want them to understand.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your review ^_^ Report Review
Where do I begin? The banner!
Kudos to your artist because it was the banner that brought me to this story. I didn't see the username or the genre or ship (it was a good thing that I didn't see the ship listing, because I don't read Rose/Scorpius). The banner warranted that the story be read. Full stop. And I'm so glad I read it!
I generally have issues with fics that deal with sensitive topics like suicide or abuse or pregnancy or abortion and such like. As often as not, these very sensitive subjects are oversimplified and given a very cavalier treatment. Or worse, exploited, romanticised and used as a device to bring two characters together. I think this is the first fanfiction that has discarded the rose-tinted spectacles and has taken a brutally honest stance on a very delicate issue.
The writing was immaculate. Just by reading, I can tell that writing this would have taken effort. The emotions were there, but there was a certain, for the want of better word, restraint about it. I don't know how to explain it, but some of the imagery were so unique, and unique because they were fundamentally very commonplace. Am I making any sense? I don't think so, but what I'm trying to say is that usually one is distressed or hs been through a harrowing, devastating experience, it's the very common and everyday things like the sun and the city that is unbearable, because it's impossible not to see it in the context of the tragedy. It's not like people whip up an array of impressive emotions from their emotional repertoire. There were metaphors and symbolism, but again you didn't go overboard, but used them efficiently with economy.
In other words, my ramblings in the previous paragraph can be summarised thus: it was beautifully, poignantly subtle. Report Review
First off, I'm so sorry I couldn't get round to reviewing this before. Just when I thought my schedules were getting less hectic, I was saddled with an avalanche of work at uni.
Anyway, here's your very belated review.
I think you started brilliantly; the opening was very effective. I say effective because it did what the opening paragraphs is meant to do: viz arrest the reader's attention. My absolute favourite parts of the story would be "vii" and "." It's just so... in congruity with the title of the story... very fairy-tale-ish. The opening paragraphs were wistful, melancholic, poignant and tragic without being overpoweringly angsty; it's your signature style. I don't use this word often, but the one word which describes your writing is 'beautiful.' You can write anything and it'll seem beautiful; you can string together a set of words into a wonderful, beautiful sentence. Words and phrases, which would seem thoroughly ordinary when used by other writers, is brought to life when you write them.
The flip side of beautiful writing is that, just like beauty, it can be admired only for so long. When you scratch beneath the surface, if there are no underlying layers of narrative, no conflict, no contradiction or paradox, if there is no substance, then the story unfortunately remains superficial and beautiful, but without character or flavour. And personally, writing that belongs to the aforementioned ilk does not make a great impression on me.
My main gripes with this fic are that the characterisations weren't forceful enough and that the array of memories didn't quite lend itself to the creation (and resolution) of conflict. Let me explain what I'm trying to say.
1) The memories you chose...
In part vi, Death says that she is reminiscing... During the last moments of her life, Astoria is sojourning to the past, reflecting on her life and the defining moments...I would've liked to see more powerful memories used, memories which would've have more impact, memories which would have created conflict...
There were some instances which set the stage for wonderful conflict, but you don't exploit them to their fullest potential...
“Umm... You wouldn’t mind if I stood with you here for a while, would you? I’ve got nowhere to go.”
I thought that line was powerful, especially when she says I've got nowhere to go... But instead on dwelling on this moment, instead of showing us how Draco reacts, you play it safe by skipping to the next part...
Another instance where you played it safe:
She had not asked about those times, and he had not shown any signs that he was going to tell her. She didn’t even dare ask of his family. She knew he would’ve mentioned them early if there had been anything to be said.
See, these are the places where you could have created wonderful conflict... all these awkward situations are the ones that are truly interesting... Don't skirt round them and don't avoid them; rather, if your characters confront the situation, it is far more satisfying for the reader. I'll talk about characterisations in the next part, but always remember this: dramatise your plot in such a way that it serves as a vehicle for the implementaton of your characterisation. Because otherwise, the characters get lost in the mire of anonymity.
2) The characterisation: The characterisation of Draco wasn't convincing. See, Draco is one of the guys of the HP universe who has a very, very strong and singularly distinctive characterisation in canon. He's not Seamus or Dean or some other random guy about whom we know next to nothing. Draco was, for the most part, a jerk. Spoilt and nestled in the lap of luxury, Draco gets a taste of reality only very late in the series, At the end of the DH, there was no definitive closure for Draco, unlike Harry who was at peace and was ready to start afresh. Draco hadn't turned over a new leaf, he was still indecisive, confused and overwhelmed by the crisis he was thrust into. In short, he's a bit of a wreck, and after the war, he would have had his share of demons. Whether guilt figured in the list of demons, no one knows, but Draco would have definitely had to do some soul-searching. And one really cannot skirt round these issues. They demand to be analysed, to be sorted out.
I'm splitting this review into two, because HPFF would not let me post it as a whole.Author's Response: I got the entire review at the forums and I've replied. But, as I said - thank you. Report Review
This is one of those fics which is so grippingly well-written. Your writing is eloquent and mature, and it's just so rare to find a truly well-written fic (at least for me; I have an amazing knack of reading the worst stories) with good characterisations and an intriguing plot. Especially one set in the next-gen era.
This one looks very promising indeed. Am I right in assuming that the Watch are the ones fighting the Cryllians. And if Toren had got his mark (lightning-bolt shaped? Isn't that a brilliant touch :D) from Stephen Potter, then am I to assume to Albus and James were not on the same side? Oooh, this is interesting, very interesting indeed.
I love your characterisation of Albus. I've always imagined Albus to be something along the lines of his characterisation in this story. Calculating, manipulative and as cool as a cucumber.
I hate to do this, but I'm going to ask you to update soon. Can't wait to find out what happens next, and more importantly, what happened till now.Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! I am glad you finally found a story you liked (and I am so honored it got to be me!). Believe me I know what you mean. I also have the strangest knacks for picking out the crappiest stories in history. It's refreshing to find something new in the pile every once in a while.
Yes indeed, you are right. The Watch and the Cryllians are against one another. Cryllians are the private guard of the Chancery (a concept explained in a later chapter), and as for Albus and James, you'll have to stick around to find out :) I am itching to give out details, but I won't because I am sneaky like that XD
Also happy that you liked the characterization of Albus. I was worried some people might find him too farfetched, but in my mind, I always imagined him as a mature man of sensibility and intelligence. The cucumber factor just makes him cooler!
Thank you again for reviewing and I will be sure to see you in the next chapter! Report Review
I feel Hermione is being utterly selfish... Maybe it's because I felt so sorry for Ron in the beginning of the chapter. God, I hated Ron in the previous chapters, but now I feel so bad for him. Hermione's betrayal has devastated Ron the most. Draco has nothing to lose, Hermione too seems happier with Draco than she was with Ron... But Ron... He may have an idiot, but he loved Rose and Hermione...
Also, I have some trouble wrapping my head round your characterisations of Molly and Ginny. Let me make this clear: I hate the character Ginny Weasley. I think she is one of JKR's most badly developed character. But that said, I do not think she'd ever get vindictive and do anything that would hurt Harry. Mrs Weasley too. Molly Weasley may be a bit narrow-minded and petty, but she is certainly not... venomous or cruel. She would be incensed with Hermione for lying to Ron, but I don't think she would ever do anything out of spite. But that's just my personal opinion.
I love your writing, I really do. Not every writer can elicit a reaction from me or sweep me along with the story. All your characters are so real and flawed and vulnerable. Good to know that you're working on your original novel, because you have the potential to get published.
One thing I've noticed in all your chapters...
“I sincerely hope not,”
“It’s not like he meant to,” she argued weakly, trying to dissipate his anger with a pleading expression. “Ron was never very tactful,”
Sentences which do not have a dialogue tag should end with a full-stop, not a comma.
It should be "I sincerely hope not."
“It’s not like he meant to,” she argued weakly, trying to dissipate his anger with a pleading expression. “Ron was never very tactful.”
You end a phrase/sentence inside a quotation mark with a comma ONLY when a dialogue tag (like he said or she said or he asked or she asked) follows it. Otherwise, it ends with a punctuation mark that is NOT a comma. A comma indicates that the sentence is not yet complete.Author's Response: Thank you so much for being honest. Your construtive criticism is very much appreciated.
In a lot of stories, Ron is the selfish one, the one who cheated and I wanted to twist the tables a bit and turn it around on Hermione. As for Molly and Ginny, I can understand how you feel. They are difficult characters to write.
Again, thank you for being honest and thank you for the review. I'm glad that you like my writing. Report Review
Tragic, evocative and beautiful are three words I'd use to describe your writing. It's just impossible to by cynical or critical of this unique style of writing, because every word, every sentence seems so heartfelt and sincere. What is really, really remarkable is that your writing is moving and heart-rending without veering into the realm of angst. Because once you're in the angst territory, the story gets depressing and that takes away all the beauty from the writing.
The starting bit of the story written in second-person is a masterstroke. Because, had you written it in first person, the voice would have sounded very girly. And if it were written in third person, then again I don't think you would have quite achieved the effect you achieved by using the second person narrative. You're really comfortable with this narrative, aren't you? And I liked the fact that a portion of your opening was reused again in part 3; that was a nice touch.
I didn't find the story to be unrealistic at all. Stranger things happen in reality. There was a bit of ambiguity concerning the man's identity and past, but I liked it. It gets incredibly boring when authors spell everything out and leave nothing to the readers' imagination. I especially liked your characterisation of the girl. Though we know very little about her, yet there's this joie de vivre about her which is a perfect foil for the man's irritable disposition.
The letter was heart-rending. Please take this as a compliment, because I don't use the word very lightly. I consider myself to be as unemotional as they come, and very rarely do I react to characters. I'm generally very indifferent. So when I say that the letter was heartbreaking, I hope you understand how truly moving it was. It again had that very beautiful quality to it, without being angst-ridden or depressing. Maybe it is because the characters - both the girl and the man - harbour no bitterness. Both of them seem to accept their fate without any rancour, and that adds to the beauty of the story. The ending was especially bittersweet.
I have only two criticisms.
As I said, I loved the fact that you didn't delve too much into the man's past. But I think had there been a few more... clues; then it'd have been so much more intriguing. In the beginning of the second part, the man breaks the glass in a moment of fury. Now I found that really interesting and was hoping that there would be more such clues which would tell me more about the man's past. I'm not asking you to directly tell, but you could have shown more.
Secondly, there are quite a few grammatical errors. Some of your sentences are run-on sentences and that is only because there is a comma or a semi-colon missing somewhere. By adding a comma or a semi-colon in some places and omitting certain other commas, you can sort this out. Also, some of your sentences are slightly awkwardly structured. Again, this can be fixed by using a different preposition/adding a pronoun/omitting certain words and by tweaking some sentences slightly. I suggest you get this beta-ed again, because you don’t want these errors to distract the reader’s attention from your beautiful prose.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading and reviewing this. Please feel free to request again; I want to read more of your work.
Renee.Author's Response: Wow, I'm kind of speechless. First, I'm going to respond to your question about the PoV: yes, I kind of am comfortable with tit. I really love writing in second person - it feels so personal to me. And I can't tell you how glad and relieved I am to hear that you liked the characters and that you didn't find their story unrealistic. You are right, stranger things have probably happened. As for your criticisms: I understand what you mean, about clues... But at the time, while I wrote this, I wasn't entirely sure who I had in mind, and if I wanted him to be an other canon character or an original, and because of that it was hard to make out his past. But, in any case, I'll keep that in mind 'til next time. And I'll take a look at those, or have it re-betaed. I've been aware about those run-on sentences, and I've tried to fix them, but I just haven't been able to. I'll make sure to try again though, thanks for mentioning it. All in all, thank you so, so much for this incredible review. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me :) Report Review
I was re-reading this story today, because you haven't updated in ages (no pressure, though. I know myself how hard it can get to juggle fanfiction and real life, and real life's got to take precedence, however infinitely more enjoyable fanfiction may be), and God, every chapter is simply so outstanding it isn't true!
You write better than many of the people whose first language is English. There is just the right amount of emotion, and your action/adventure scenes are out-of-the-world. Not many people write action/adventure, which is a pity because it is such an amazing genre. Generally speaking, it takes a bit of creativity to conceive a good plot for action/adventure, but once the plot is sorted out, the story is a treat to read. I chose to review this chapter because some parts of this chapter (the shape-shifting corridors, the gearwheels, the action) are scintillating. The confrontation between Harry and Hermione wasn't rushed and neither was it drawn out. It was crisp, fast-paced and had me at the edge of my seat. Have I told you how much I LOVE your portrayal of Harry! And it's so relieving to him with someone else other than Ginny. I personally do not ship Harry/Ginny, because I feel Ginny is such a half-baked Mary Sue-ish character who was rammed down the readers' throats in HBP where Ginny suddenly becomes the it-girl of Hogwarts. But I digress...
This happens to be one of my top favourite stories on the site, and I don't know if I've said this before and the review got lost in the server crash, but I stand in awe of your talent and creativity. You must have worked very hard on the story, and it shows; the time, effort, thought and joy that must have gone into writing the story is there for all to see.
I feel this story deserves more recognition and popularity; it's not fair that fair to middling stories get overrated and overhyped for no fathomable reason but something as original and brilliant as this goes relatively unnoticed. I hope you don't mind, but I nominated the story for the Ultimate Storylist. I've also recommended the story over the forums. It wasn't done to get you more readers or reviews (because review count does not necessarily have to go hand-in-hand with the quality of the story), but just so that other readers who are into avant-garde stories don't miss out on this.
Thank you so much for writing this; I look forward to an update, but I'm not going to demand for an update, because being an author myself, I understand how sometimes we have to prioritise and that fanfiction may not always be at the top of our priority list.
Renee Report Review
I just wanted to tell you that I really like this story. I think you've captured the friendship and love which formed the fabric of Marauders' lives beautifully. And thank God Sirius does not have a girlfriend in this story; personally, I'm inclined to believe that neither Sirius nor Lupin had a girlfriend during the time of the first war. I clearly remember reading an interview of JKR where she said that Sirius did not have the 'time' to fall in love with a woman, and thus Harry had no godmother.
I particularly liked the portrayal of Sirius. Generally, fanfic writers take Sirius a bit too seriously and they tend to forget that he was only a teenager at that time; in most fanfics, Sirius is more mature than he would have been in canon. I think Sirius in this fic is confident, loyal but not entirely self-assured, and that works very well for the story.
All in all, this is a wonderful story. I look forward to reading more. :)Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much for the compliments, because a lot of the things you said are exactly the things I go for. I really wanted to write just a "marauder" story about the war. So their friendship is definitely important in this story! And no way, no OC girlfriends or anything. I believe that if they had girlfriends or anyone special in their lives aside from each other, they'd have mentioned it at some point to Harry.
I'm surprised at what you say about Sirius! Because in the fanfics I see, Sirius is completely the opposite of what you've seen! He's immature, always joking, never taking anything seriously. He's an unfeeling shallow clown, and I hate that he's portrayed like that. Now i'm actually interested in seeing some of the fanfics YOU'VE seen,because I rarely see a serious sirius! But I love Sirius to death. After all that he's been through with his family, and rejection, I definitely think he would have some insecurities underneath. I think he'd be a dreamer more than anything. I could always see Sirius staring off into space ^.^
Thank you for the great review, it was a lot of fun to respond to. Report Review
After he was done arranging a silver and green bow he’d conjured on the box,
Hehe, silver and green bow... so typically Malfoy; so typically Slytherin! Aww, the puppy was so cute. I have a golden retriever myself, and those pups are the cutest!
I like the fact that Draco and Hermione did not get together right away after Draco comes to know that Rose is his child; that would have been very unrealistic. The Malfoys (all of them) have a certain flair, don't they?
I feel a bit sorry for Ron and Mrs.Weasley; it must be so hard for them to be told one day that Rose isn't theirs, and then to be snubbed by the Malfoys. I don't think the Weasleys will ever be able to forgive Hermione. :( Nor can Rose ever forgive Ron; sometimes childhood experiences leave a lasting impression on people.
Dramiones can be unreasonably addictive, if written well. Draco's insouciance and arrogance is the perfect foil for Hermione's skittishness, and my god, there is SO MUCH chemistry it's unbelievable. I've always felt that there is something fundamentally wrong about Ron-Hermione; whilst the bickering and all may be cute, I somehow don't see an intelligent and somewhat edgy woman like Hermione with someone like Ron; personally I think she would want to be with someone who is more... self-assured than she is.
Anyway, this was a great chapter, and though relations between Hermione and the Weasleys has become strained, I hope the story has a happy ending.Author's Response: Thank you, Whimsical Diva, for your lovely review.
Lol, I've always wanted a golden retriever, but instead our backyard can only accomodate two small dogs, not one large one.
The Malfoys certainly do have a flair and I agree with you whole-heartedly about Ron and Hermione. I know that a lot of people are expecting Rose to wonder where Ron is, want him back ect. But what you have said is right. Some childhood experiences can really leave a lasting impression. Even though it was an accident, Rose didn't see it that way...
I'm thrilled you like this story and don't worry, I'm a sucker for happy endings :)
You write the Malfoys ridiculously in character. One of the reasons why I generally stay away from Dramiones is because the Malfoys are as often as not portrayed as this caricaturish deranged lot who are uncaring and cruel.
But in this fic, Lucius, Naricca and Draco, all the three of them are so staggeringly real. They are so incredibly self-centred (the reason they want Rose is because they see her as their only heir), and this works so well for the plot, because it lends so much of plausibility.
I am a canon freak (which is odd, givent he fact that barring James/Lily and Authur/Molly, I pretty much loathe all canon pairings. Harry/Ginny especially (I mean, can there be a couple with any less chemistry than Harry/Ginny)), so Harry-Luna should have bothered me greatly. But I lapped up the ship without any qualms in this fic. Lots of writers have difficulty in writing Luna; she is either too eccentric, or she is too sane that she is OOC. But I think she is very nearly in character in this story. :)
Your grasp of concepts like parenthood, family etcetera are astonishing and magisterial. And your writing does so much justice to the plot and the characters; the story tugs at your heartstrings and the nuances of every relationship, every character is brought out so beautifully.Author's Response: Bloody hell, you made me blush! Lol, thank you so much for this wonderful review.
I will admit that it is extremely hard to write Luna's character. At first, I was going to write a section from her perspective. But then I realised it would be near impossible to actually do that, because I have - and so does everyone else - no idea what goes on in that head of hers.
If you go on Wikipedia and look at the black family tree, you'll see that a Septimus Weasley and Cedrella Black are married. These are assumed to be Arthur's parents. And if that is true, then Harry and Ginny are actually third cousins. I shudder at the pairing, I really do.
I'm glad you think that I've written the Malfoys in character. Don't forget that Draco does have more of a reason to accept Rose than his mother or father. He does care, just because she's his child. Other than that, you've hit the nail on the head.
I'm thrilled you like this story and again, thank you for the review. Report Review
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