Reading Reviews From Member: Whimsical Diva
30 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Daybreak

23rd November 2014:
Oh man! It's over? But ohmigod - that was a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant story, and what a fitting end.

It's funny, I rooted for Matt/Rose all throughout this story, but when it finally looks like a possibility, I'm just going meh. It's also nice that Eva is redeeming herself, after a fashion. It'll also be interesting to know what Albus is planning on doing - surely he's got to be more decisive and assertive in the next book!

I can't quite bring myself to believe Lockett was the spy - but I wouldn't put it past her to work with Thane to bring Scorpius back. Also, while I don't think the face in the flames was Draco, I'm starting to believe it could be Gabriel. It'll also be interesting see how Thane's story ends - while with Eva there's a definite possibility that during the course of the next few years, she might turn against the Council in full earnest instead of staying neutral, with Thane it's harder to predict. I guess he'll just see which direction the wind blows and plot his path accordingly.

Anyway - it's been one hell of a journey - literally. Starfall will always be special to me, simply because it's been a constant source of a much needed distraction and comfort during a chequered year in my life - completion of grad school, unemployment, infidelity, relationship breakdown, employment at a crappy place followed by employment at a really good place. The year's not over yet - it looks to end on a high, but it's been turbulent and there've been times when reading a new chapter made my day immeasurably better, so thank you, thank you, thank you for that. And just thanks you, for writing what's in my opinion the best HP fan fiction. Starfall's going to be a touch act to follow, but I'm sure Oblivion will be every bit as brilliant as this, if not more.

Happy Holidays!

Author's Response: Thanks. I mean it. For the praise, for letting me know my writing's had an affect on people - I do try to take it seriously, even my 'silly little fanfiction'; I try to make it solid storytelling. And I want solid storytelling to have an impact. Sometimes that impact's just to entertain, and that's enough, but if it's entertained in tough times then I'm proud. I'm glad you've found decent employment; I feel you on the toughness of life sometimes. 2012-2013 beat me up pretty good.

But with Starfall - you've been one of my sharpest critics and I want to say I appreciate that, genuinely. I've not always agreed with your critique, but I usually have. It's nice to hear when I'm doing good; but knowing when I've missed the mark makes me square up and aim better, even if it'll only do me good for next time. That you've been a sharp critic while still enjoying the story has been pretty much best of both worlds. All the better to work hard for an appreciative audience.

Matt/Rose - Selena might be observant, but Selena is sometimes also her own worst enemy, and does what she has to do to protect herself. Not to mention that Matt and Rose might not be the world's best idea with Rose's grief over Scorpius. Guess we'll see.

Thane always has his own agenda, which we'll get an explanation of in Oblivion. I guess we get an explanation of pretty much everything in Oblivion, and we will certainly be seeing more of Gabe. So... as ever, we'll see. Especially with Albus. In writing Oblivion-Albus, it's clear killing Scorpius is the best thing that's ever happened to make him more interesting.

Anyway, thanks a whole bunch, again. And happy holidays to you, too!

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Review #2, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Ashes, Ashes

4th November 2014:
I wonder why they need a pureblood to kick off Project Starfall? Golems don't kill purebloods, right? Yet Raskoph doesn't believe the old immunities will work. And why did Thane choose Scorpius, when either Matt or Selena would've sufficed? And I also wonder how Draco or Astoria are involved in all of this? Ah, questions, questions...

I knew they'd be back in Ager Sanguinis. What I fear now is whether Scorpius is going to die, as foreshadowed previously. Of course they have the Chalice, but then it'll all be too easy if they can bring him back to life with the help of the Chalice, won't it? I'm surprised though, why this place didn't affect any of Raskoph's or Thane's men the way it did the Six? And what about those Dementors? Totally see those making a reappearance as well at the denouement. Will Matt or Eva be able to cast a Patronus this time?

OK, I have to admit, I loved the bit where Eva was exposed. I mean, it's cliche and a bit banal, but enjoyable nonetheless. Albus deserves everything he's getting for being such a copper-bottomed muppet, but poor Scorpius doesn't deserve to die.

Part of me believes that Chalice will be destroyed by Matt's sword (it IS destroyable, right?) I still have a hunch that Eva might die, trying to save the Five. Also think either Thane or Raskoph is going to snuff it. And also think it'll be nice to read something from Albus's perspective - I think except that one scene in Ager Sanguinis with Lisa, I don't remember reading anything at all from his POV, which is odd, given how long this story is.

Anyway, this review was all over the place, and be a dear and put that next chapter in the queue. Only 3 more to go, right? Can't wait to see how this all ends.

Author's Response: Golems most certainly do try to kill purebloods! The defences in Badenheim didn't ACTIVATE unless a non-pureblood triggered them, but the golems were from there indiscriminate. And the ones in Ager Sanguinis originally, the ones Matt and Scorpius fought, were triggered by them, as the Templars didn't care about blood purity (especially as they worked with Muggles). Thane had his reason for choosing Scorpius, and some of these are personal and some of these are professional. Also, Selena is definitely not Sacred 28 material pureblood; she's got good ancestry but there'd be interbreeding in there. And while the Doyles wouldn't have been caught dead marrying Muggles, the Rileys, while a respectable wizarding family with no Muggles in their lineage in recent generations, would be similarly not Sacred 28. Malfoy? Malfoy's the purest of the pure. Raskoph's also not SURE the old immunities will work. It'd be a bit of a gamble to assume.

Ager Sanguinis had to make a comeback. It was almost happy accident in the planning; I intended on 'somewhere in Syria' and then there was going to be the final throwdown, and when I developed the castle I knew it had to be where all the chickens would come home to roost. And yeah, the Chalice is established as being PRETTY dang powerful. It makes death a rather more questionable issue.

Dementors are a problem, though the gang had no run-ins with them on Ager Sanguinis' grounds.

Albus has indeed trusted until it stabbed him in the back, and os he's getting everything he 'deserves' with Eva's exposure. It becomes theatrical because Thane is demonstrating his power over her, to HER as well as the rest. It's true, we've not had much from his POV. I think one scene just after Badenheim (with Rose, I think it was his POV, not hers?) and the immediate aftermath of kissing Eva. But otherwise we've not had much from his POV, mostly because other people have had more to give. And a lot of his personal scenes have been with Eva, whose POV has been more valuable.

Next chapter in the queue soon. Though I must do my NaNo writing of book 3 today, so... it'll be in by the end of the day. ;) Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #3, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: In the Pale Moonlight

28th October 2014:
‘I don’t love you! No! That’s not what I meant!’ Despite herself, she grabbed the lapel of his jacket. ‘I mean it. Not in the slightest. Not even a little bit.’

You know what, rectifying this deserves a sequel in its own right. Matt and Selena are my favourite of the Six, and it's just beautiful what they have.

In fact, it's interesting that the three relationships are wonderfully poised. There's Rose and Scorpius, who're well and truly 'in love', then there's Eva, who might very well be in love with Albus, even if neither of them has acknowledged this, and then there's Matt and Selena, who're at the beginning of something they quite bring themselves to accept or even identify fully.

I remember saying at the beginning of the story - before Monte Carlo, I think - that I find Rose a tad lacking. I do like her now, even if she does happen to be my sixth favourite of the Six. Personally, if I were her, I wouldn't have chosen Scorpius over Matt, but I'm not her, so I can only judge her choices. I also remember saying that I find Albus really bland - I still feel he's 'too good to be true', but in some ways, the way his relationship with Eva progressed has leavened the one-noteness. I think their relationship works (the last section of this chapter was achingly poignant!) , because his 'goodness' countervails Eva's sins, but individually, while Eva appears to have grown and developed a lot as a character and as a person, Albus simply hasn't. Then again, I suppose that is what the sequel in the offing would be about, and I do remember you saying that Albus's story doesn't really take off until the third book. But whatever happens, I guess one thing is certain - this lot aren't going to spend another idyllic two years at Hogwarts.

You really need to put the remaining chapters in the queue pronto.

Author's Response: This Matt/Selena scene was probably the hardest of anything I've tried writing in Starfall. Mostly because it was a complete PAIN to judge what remained subtext and what became text. They're neither in a position to make emotional assertions, they both have too much healing to do, but I didn't want to end their relationship arc of this story on an unsatisfying note. So it's had to wind up here; they're friends, but they both know it's more than that, and the rest is just... time. But I'm glad you're rooting for them. I genuinely didn't go into Starfall planning them as a couple (I wasn't oblivious to the possibility, they just weren't Planned like Albus and Eva), so I've tried to let the flow come as naturally as possible. And while I don't really know how it's going to wind up in the sequel, I'm really glad people find them compelling as a duo. Especially as Matt is such a Marmite character (though I'm happy that way).

I don't think even Eva knows what she feels for Al. It's kind of hard to separate feelings for the man from what he represents - though the former are valid and powerful - and so she's not thinking about it.

Albus's virtues are selling him up-river, as it's his virtues which have got him in this situation with Eva, in many ways. So that lightens the one-note-ness, I think. Then again, if I had my time again, I would probably shake up Albus' plot arc from the beginning of Ignite. I was perhaps too focused on making him Scorpius' foil, too amused by the idea of him being the heroic sidekick while Scorpius was the sidekicky hero. Also some of the Albus tropes out there irritate the bejeezus out of me, and I perhaps neglected them more than I should (considering how much I crow about how I use the Next Gen tropes and play them straight, it probably wouldn't have hurt for Albus' arc in Ignite to be resenting his position as a hero's son and then rising to the occasion). But I'm here now, and the way things will fold out in the end of Starfall and moving on for Oblivion will put more meat on his bones, so to speak.

While I have (obviously) a soft spot for Rose, I can see why she's the Least of the Six for some. She's the least dramatic, sensible without being a common sense powerhouse like Albus, down-to-earth without the snark of Selena, smart without the flair of Matt. In some ways I've found her the most 'everyman' pair of eyes, the most 'normal' in terms of emotional reactions, but that doesn't help keep her exciting. We'll see where her journey in Book 3 takes us and her, though.

I probably would have chosen Matt over Scorpius, too, but Rose isn't wrong that she and Matt just sort of fall into a black hole of heavy reflection while Scorpius lightens the load. ;)

Anyway, ta for the review! Going to go put the next chapter in the queue RIGHT NOW. The queue has been my bane, I wanted this all out by November... though I probably won't start posting Oblivion 'til the new year (time to NaNo a chunk and edit) and this way there's less of a wait.


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Review #4, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Leap of Faith

30th September 2014:
Never mind, I did find the right thread and voted for you. My, I have to admit, there are a lot of Nextgen tics in the Dobby's this year - it wasn't the case when I used to be a Validator on this site. Good to see this era getting more love - a well written nextgen is streets ahead of any Marauder/Hogwarts era fix - at least there's an element of novelty there, even if the tropes do get wheeled out pretty often.

Author's Response: There are some good 'uns up, aren't there? It's stiff competition, and stuff I'm proud to be up against.

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Review #5, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: A Star to Steer Her By

15th July 2014:
I've been reading JK's new writing about the 2014 Quidditch World Cup - and I think in one of the posts, she mentions that Hugo inherited his mother's bushy locks whereas Rose her father's 'unfortunate' hair. She didn't mention if Hugo was a ginger or not, but I'm leaning towards his having got his mum's brown hair. However, I'm guessing that Albus being sorted into Slytherin can now be considered to be canon - he was the only Potter wearing green and supporting Brazil, whilst his father, brother and sister were apparently decked in red. The writing is from Rita Skeeter's POV, and she wonders whether this is a public display of father-son rivalry, but she's then told by Ginny that Albus is only wearing green because he's a fan of the Brazilian chaser. However, I think this, along with the Epilogue of Book 7, does seem to lend more credence to the theory of his being a Slytherin. Or maybe I'm reading too much into this - Ron, Rose and Hugo were also in green, supporting Brazil against Bulgaria (Krum was playing Seeker - Ha!), and I think it's highly unlikely that Rose and Hugo will be SLytherins. Maybe Al was just wearing green to support the same team as Rose? I mean, I still think it's unlikely that he'll be a Slythein - he was terrified of the prospect, and only seemed to be assuaged when his father told him he'd have the choice to choose Gryffindor. For him to actually choose Slytherin over Gryffindor in a matter of a couple of hours after that conversation - I still find it unlikely. Unless, of course, something transpired during that train journey - like his befriending Scorpius where his father rebuffed Draco, or his just wanting not to be in the same house as his brother for the rest of his student life. Probably we're going to have to wait until the next world cup to find out the answers.

I mean, I'm bringing up this whole topic because, like I've mentioned once before, Albus being a Slytherin gets justified when he acts like a Slytherin. A Slytherin in all likelihood won't ever agonise over underhanded tactics. Albus seems too decent to be one in Starfall. Not that I object to that - he's really quite lovely, enough to even have wrought a change in Eva - but I guess at some point he's going to have to walk the tightrope between idealism and pragmatism. His default instinct appears to be to do the decent thing - but I think he'll change to be the guy who'll come to subscribe to the belief that the end justifies the means, and it'll be interesting to see how that pans out. Maybe uncovering Eva's identity will be the tipping point. I don't think she'll betray him after having come so far - not least because the Council comprises of an unhinged faction - but she can definitely get rumbled, and I somehow think Albus isn't going to be forgiving then.

Also, does the title of the chapter refer to Albus? There are a couple of chapters with this sort of titles - Lodestar, Guiding Star etc. Do these have any significance? And not to mention, the title of the story itself?

Author's Response: I kind of sit on the fence with 'Death of the Author' pertaining to JK's later canon updates. I've tried to roll with most of the immediately-post DH interviews but as time has gone on and the content increased, I find myself picking and choosing. Hugo's hair I'd go back and edit; Ron's job I'm not going to edit. I highly dislike the idea that he went into the business his brothers started; while in the Aurors he'd run the risk of being in Harry's shadow, I think the man needs to stand on his own two feet, not just take, well, another hand-me-down.

I think the status of Albus in Slytherin is hard to answer from the quotes. Rita could be completely making up father-son tension, and the Ron wing of the Weasleys being in green is another fair argument. Actually, wait a minute, this is before the Epilogue, Albus couldn't have been Sorted yet. Unless it's weird Foreshadowing from JK. Either way, I don't put this Albus in Slytherin because I think it's canon (just like I don't think, in canon, Draco would be this abusive and unpleasant). It serves the story and it serves THIS character. I reckon canon Albus would be a Gryffindor.

He's not All Slytherin. Just as Hermione would have made a fine Ravenclaw, he would have made a fine Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. Some of it is he's not the same as he was when he was eleven, and being friends with Scorpius in some ways made him MORE responsible. However, as will be addressed, courage is only true when it's tested by loss. Albus has not experienced true loss. Will he be such a stand-up guy when he experiences, REALLY experiences, the consequences of losing? Will the Slytherin side come out?

Then again, in this case he's saying he doesn't want to abuse someone's privacy and have their mind looted out of sheer convenience. I've written several Slytherins who are very definitely Slytherins who would balk at mind-looting. I suppose, in conclusion, he's not the most obvious Slytherin, but he isn't just a Slytherin so he could be mates with Scorpius.

The chapter title was honestly just taken from the poetry quote, in which the 'her' is the ship. However, I should be clever and pretend it was an entirely intentional double-meaning about Eva and Albus, shouldn't I? I try to keep the chapter titles thematic to the chapter itself as well as to 'Starfall'; hence why most titles are about night or dark. As for the story title... Eridanos was a reference, as cited in one of my Author's Notes ages ago. There are two more, but they have not yet come up.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #6, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Whistle in the Dark

6th June 2014:
I remember Rose telling Scorpius that they appear to be living off luck. Personally, I think if it's anyone living off luck, it's Eva.

If I remember correctly, the first time Rose read Paquet's mind, Paquet mentioned a 'woman' being there with Thane, but I think Rose got up to Downing but upon seeing his face, she baulked and that was that.

This time again, she gets to Downing and then is thwarted. Whilst it was always apparent that there was no love lost between Eva and Downing, she did harbour feelings for Thane. However, now that Rose includes Thane along with Downing, does that mean Eva's over Thane? I mean, she was still making a case for him in the previous chapter. It's also curious that Rose detects guilt amongst the emotions Eva felt when she confronting those people she killed - did she always feel guilty about it, or is that a result of running around with the gang?

I remember thinking the whole Albus/Eva thing would be pretty terrible. Like I hated it even before it happened. But you know what - I'm warming to the idea. I mean, it's sort of cliche, but it still WORKS because it's done well. What does one call a brilliantly written cliche - an archetype? Maybe they could go on to have all those maladjusted babies now, lol. I mean, he pretty much got over the fact that she's a murderer, I don't think that she murdered for Thane is really going to make much of a difference anymore to Albus. It might, to Selena though, and I wonder how SHE will react if she ever gets to know about Eva's past. Fly off a handle and murder everyone?

Anyway, can't wait for the next chapter.

Author's Response: Eva is pretty lucky, yes. You're entirely right on how Paquet almost outed Eva before she was ever known to the party, but Downing diverted her. Though Downing wasn't luck so much this time - Ager Sanguinis was. As will be addressed, Downing was an intentional Legilimens defence, because it was an easy enough thing to train herself into subconsciously. It's a genuine memory and it makes her look on the level.

Is Rose extrapolating that if Lisa hates Downing, she must hate Thane? Is she feeling something in Eva's subconscious that Eva herself isn't aware of? Shrug. As for guilt -Eva has repressed and compartmentalised whatever she feels about the people she killed. It's taken Ager Sanguinis for her to take a good look at her life (her choices). What she'll CONCLUDE - was it wrong, or necessary? - is still up for debate.

Certainly Albus/Eva would not be the most original idea in the world; my intention is more to play around with it firmly and honestly. But then, Starfall's a story about hunting a Holy Grail analogue and it included a break-in and theft from a casino. I'm not sure this story is anything but archetypes or clichés. :D

As for those two - we'll see. Though for Albus' forgiveness, it's important to note that HE thinks that Lisa is someone who HAD a bad past and is since working for the good guys - like, since before he met her. But if he learns that she never changed, that she was still the unrepentant murderer working for the bad guys? Guess we'll see. Someone has to have changed their ways before they can be forgiven. Albus thinks he's forgiven someone who's far down that road, not forgiving someone who hasn't really started down that road yet.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #7, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Dead of Night

29th May 2014:
I wanted to make my own choices. In my own right. Without thinking about what he'd think, without being limited by anyone else.

Strange she gives that reason. From what I gathered, she seemed to be enjoying doing what she did with Thane, and wasn't exactly being 'limited', was she, other than the fact that, well, Thane didn't allow her to kill when there was no need.

I fail to understand this girl, really. So terrible things happened to her, so she did terrible things to innocent people and seemed to enjoy it. And Albus is being sympathetic to a fault if he actually pities her for all that killing, instead of passing judgement. I surely think he should speak with the rest - or at least Rose and Scorpius about Lisa's past. By choosing to trust her, he's not only endangering himself but also the others. There's a fine line between his idealism being depicted as his Achilles heel and him coming across as a bit too good to be true. I remember you saying in one of your review responses that Albus's arc doesn't really take off until the third book, so maybe there are shades of grey there?

Ah Selena and Matt! I love those two, I do. I remember wondering if they'd be paired at some point, but I think I like them as friends better. Reminds me a bit of Tanith/Gabe.

And Scorpius. If anyone's got the right to milk an action for angst, it's Scorpius not Albus. Maybe Scorpius will do his nut and tell Albus off sometime in the not too distant future for wallowing in unwarranted guilt?

I remember you saying the gang's about to break up - though now I'm not sure if they'll break up because of an argument or otherwise. I hope it's the former.

Great chapter as always, and do update when you can.


Author's Response: In Paris, Thane explicitly has a conversation with Eva about how she pretends that killing people is all she's capable of because it's easier that way. Eva acted like she was perfectly happy with her old life, to the point where even she believed it. But there were allusions that it was not as simple as all that.

The reason she gives for leaving IS a half-lie. She's scrabbling for a germ of truth because that makes the lies convincing. And she stumbles upon a sleeping desire she didn't know was there - and she has no idea how strong it is.

Albus is being something of a Polyanna, yes. But 'child-soldier' isn't a far-off assessment of the truth. As for his idealism being 'too good to be true' - well, we know his trust is misplaced. Eva IS lying to him. As such, he can't really be being too perfect.

Stupid, perhaps, yes.

Selena and Matt - I'm specifically not making plans on the two of them and the nature of their relationship. If romance happens, it happens. But they have a nice, close friendship developing, and I will see that grow before anything else could happen.

Certainly Scorpius' misdeeds now trump Albus' misdeeds. He's not exactly one to make a habit of yelling at Albus, but we'll see how it plays out.

I was going to split the party; originally, the lead to Portugal would be two leads, one to somewhere else, and the gang would split to chase them both. I started writing it, though, and it became a pretty bloated and pointless 'side trip'. So that idea was canned/saved for later.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #8, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: A Snake Lies in the Grass

11th April 2014:
Whoa! That was a long chapter! But I like long chapters.

It was great to see the old faces back. Tobias... he really hasn't changed much, has he? It's a tad odd to imagine him as this middle aged dad in no small part because he appears to be the same guy we met about 25 years ago. But glad to know he isn't the spin doctor anymore - even though I do suspect the mainspring of his alacrity isn't so much altruism than well, just wanting to be the first one to get the right story out?

I found it a bit odd when Gabe sent his son off to this adventure without any hesitation. Didn't he See anything at all? Or does he secretly know his son is alive and well? Good to also know what he's been up to these years. Wonder if Matt might be able to call in on any favours during his globe trotting.

The Potters... it's definitely very strange that Harry isn't with Ginny. I mean, I know there are parts of Harry's life that he only ever shares with Ron and Hermione, but it was still odd. Also, it was odd to see Ron being the voice of reason. Any particular reason why you chose to characterise them in such a way? On the other hand,it was GREAT to meet James Potter. I love that character even more than I love the character of Albus. Is James going to only have a cameo in Starfall, or will we be seeing more of him?

I also wonder about what happened to the Invisibility Cloak? Was it destroyed in the fire? But wasn't it also a Hallow, and thus indestructible? Then again, part of me felt that JK only ever made the cloak a Hallow in the last fic, and it surely wasn't as impregnable as described in the last book. Moody's eye could see through it, Dumbledore could see through it - so maybe the fire destroyed it as well? And what about Rose's bag, and not to mention her books? If the gang had managed to escape with the cloak as well as Rose's bag, in addition to Matt's book and sword, then I guess they're not in TOO terrible a position. And can Matt's Book access newspapers?

Wonder when they'd let the world know that they are alive? Or will they take a leaf out of Lisa's book and chose to remain 'dead' for a while, just to throw the others off their trail? But then, if Scorpius is going to using the money he inherited, Draco would know, won't he? And speaking of Draco... what the hell is HE up to? I've always had this suspicion that he's got summat to so with the Council - either he's funding it, or he sympathises with their beliefs. And speaking about the Council itself - what DO they want? I might be forgetting something here, but what's their goal? Just who on earth ARE they and what do they really want? And if Thane isn't entirely loyal to them but has an agenda of his own, where does that place him? I'm recalling what Eva said in the first chapter - about whose orders they follow. If Thane's loyalty to the Council isn't set in store - not unlike, I presume, Eva's loyalty to Thane - then can we foresee a time in future when Thane might prove to be an ally? Ah, questions, questions!

The overarching thing about this chapter is that it's just shown how much the stakes have been raised. The gang's TRULY in over their heads now, as they are now directly being chased by the Council in addition to Thane. Do they have the nous to take on an international organisation like the Council and win? And just how important is the chalice in the larger scheme of things? Is it going to prove to be the cure to all ills? Guess I'll have to wait to find out.

Author's Response: This chapter was originally two, ending with the Doyle family (with Matt's sister getting a cameo) and the next one picking up with Tanith. But I didn't want to have TWO chapters moving away from the main plot, and so I hacked the hell out of the fat on the prose (something I should probably do every time!) and trimmed some incidental stuff, like Annie Doyle's scene.

On different days, older Tobias is probably a more different guy. Today of all days, he's back like feeling he's fighting a war. The issue of altruism versus expediency is one he wrestles with a lot these days; he's not wrong in that a good man telling the news is more likely to give the truth and give the answers. His critics aren't wrong in that this justifies him occasionally being just as abrasive to privacy and decency because, if he's not, his rivals will be worse. Who's right? It's a question which keeps him awake at nights. But I never figured on him staying in politics. Overall he has a streak of idealism I think government wouldn't sit well with once the Ministry ceased being about rebuilding and became about power. He probably had 10 years with Shacklebolt, at best.

Gabe's powers of Seeing have never answered his beck and call. His capacity to induce visions has never been reliable. Certainly in this moment, in this scene, he doesn't know Matt's all right. Whether he'll pull out some tricks and try to find out... possibly.

One thing this chapter was meant to play with was people damaged from a war finding themselves falling into old habits when 'under attack'. Harry's safe ground, in a war, isn't with his wife and children - it's with Ron and Hermione, in a friendship which ISN'T always healthy. There are problems in the Potter household - even if it's happy 90% of the time. The 10% is the vicious dregs of war.

For the scene with the Trio, I did want to show that the characters have aged and changed in their ways - I think Ron would have learned a lot of patience as an Auror, and I think that Harry's prior lack of a family would make him deal with the prospect of losing them with a lot more irrational fury and pain. Above all, though, I wanted that scene to be about Harry, with Ron and Hermione as foil. If Harry had been the calm one in that scene, he would have been pushed to the background, which didn't feel right. By being calm, Ron became less relevant than dramatic Harry, POV Tobias, or info-dumping Hermione, and that felt the most reasonable option.

I do kind of agree with you on the Invisibility Cloak's status as a Hallow having felt like a bit of a retcon, so I tend to avoid the issue entirely. In this case - no spoilers, really, the Cloak was never taken out of Rose's bag. A bunch of stuff which wasn't needed on the island was in Rose's bag, which survived the incident. But the bag, and money, and so forth, will be answered next chapter!

Draco has his things going on. What the Council specifically WANTS - good question. They've mostly run around being Nefariously Evil. I mean, they've gained some control of some nations, by Death Eater-esque campaigns of terror and seizing control, but on a worldwide basis. Which does sound like something which is going to get international attention, too.

Basically, good questions. I can't answer them yet!

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #9, by Whimsical DivaStarfall: Prologue

10th November 2013:
Favourited! Just had a very brisk trot through this, but am sure this is going to be the bees knees. Keep updating, and just don't vanish for months on end the way you did with Ignite. Cheers.

Author's Response: I'm hoping this one will work out. Of course, I don't intend to vanish for months, but who can say when real life. It's been an odd year (employment, unemployment, mental health, 70-hour working weeks). Thankfully I'm already 50k words into Starfall, so we have the Momentum already.

Cheers for reviewing!

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Review #10, by Whimsical DivaThe Heartache Squadron: SHE'S NOT EVEN JOKING OR ANYTHING

20th July 2011:
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!

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Review #11, by Whimsical DivaLosing Neverland: Chapter 19: Tomorrow

13th April 2011:
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 :)

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Review #12, by Whimsical DivaFür Das Größere Wohl: Chapter XIII: Treiber und Klatscher

15th June 2010:
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

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Review #13, by Whimsical DivaThe Octane Generation: The Second Barrage: The Good Bad Guy

15th May 2010:
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. :)

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Review #14, by Whimsical DivaFür Das Größere Wohl: Chapter XII: Meldungen

3rd May 2010:
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

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Review #15, by Whimsical DivaFür Das Größere Wohl: Chapter XI: Angriff ist Verteidigung

30th April 2010:
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

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Review #16, by Whimsical DivaShade to Shade: The Silence of the Grave

5th March 2010:
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!

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Review #17, by Whimsical DivaThe Wasteland Chronicles III : Severance: V: Herein, part 3

7th December 2009:
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!

- Renee

Author'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 :)

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Review #18, by Whimsical DivaLast Goodbye: Last Goodbye

4th November 2009:
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.

- Renee

Author'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 :)

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Review #19, by Whimsical DivaThe Wasteland Chronicles III : Severance: V: Herein, part 2

11th September 2009:
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.

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Review #20, by Whimsical DivaA Serpent's Sacrifice: You'll Never Be Normal

13th August 2009:

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. :)

- Renee

Author'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.

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Review #21, by Whimsical DivaDeparting: Departing

4th June 2009:
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 :)

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Review #22, by Whimsical DivaSweet Hereafter: Epilogue: Forgotten Angels

21st March 2009:
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.

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Review #23, by Whimsical DivaFairy Tales and Sunset Sails: of fairy tales and sunset sails.

7th February 2009:
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.

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Review #24, by Whimsical DivaThe Wasteland Chronicles III : Severance: I: Beyond

24th January 2009:
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!

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Review #25, by Whimsical DivaA Clandestine Reality: A Helping Hand

21st January 2009:
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.

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