Reading Reviews From Member: Debra20
  
347 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Debra20Awake and Alive : They Are Coming

28th December 2013:
Hey Sam! Not so secret Santa here to read another chapter of this very, VERY promising story! :D

I'm so glad I had another chapter to read, though, now I'm sad I don't have any more. I am really liking this Theo AU story. You are setting the stones for a very gripping, interesting story.

Your interpretation of Theodore Nott is warming up to me more and more. He seems very real, very human and very layered. I love the fact that you portrayed in him one of the essential Slytherin qualities, which is personal preservation. They do like to be cautious and take care of themselves, which you very eloquently shown when rather than making the hero and jump into the Ministry, you had Theo hide behind a wall. He is both cunning and aware. He realized that alone he couldn't do much if the took on the role of the attacker; that he'd be more useful spying for information that would later on come, undoubtedly, in hand. I am also curious to learn more about his Seer ability. I was just wondering, like literally a few paragraphs earlier what his dreams meant. It seemed like a recurring theme in your story, and I suspected it would be something more important than just plain dreams...and then the answer came haha. I am intrigued as to how his ability might have affected his father's view on him. Will we be seeing how the fact that he's a Seer (or potential Seer) might have affected his family relationships?

I can't wait to read the next chapter! I'm dying to see how you'll fit in Theo with the Trio and everything going on!

Author's Response: Hey! :D

Theodore Nott is someone I've planned for years, so he's very real to me, very layered and very complex.

Self preservation is an innate quality for Purebloods, I think, just more so in Slytherins. Theo is a planner, he doesn't rush into things unless he absolutely has to and so far he doesn't think he has to.

His dreams will play a big part in this story, both for the war and for Theo's personal life. He thinks his father views him as one thing, but he doesn't know the whole story.

Thank you so much for leaving a review!

Sam.


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Review #2, by Debra20Awake and Alive : Never Gonna Sell My Soul

28th December 2013:
Hey Sam! This is your Secret Santa speaking (well, not much of a secret now is it? :P)! I am here to leave you as many reviews as I can because I have just realized I've been a great fool for never reading something of yours. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this first chapter! I am literally dying to see what happens next.

As you may, or may not know, I am obsessed with reading about the more unknown characters. Those characters that rarely get the spotlight, both in Rowling's books (for obvious reasons..I mean, she couldn't have focused on all of the characters, right?) and in fanfiction as well. I must admit, this is the first story on Theodore Nott that I've ever tried and I am already fascinated by your style and your amazing storytelling. You are so well-versed in terms of vocabulary, richness of the descriptions and character building. Theo is more of an OC than an established character, so naturally, creating him and his voice from scratch mustn't have been easy, and yet, I felt he has a definitive note to his personality I like. And it didn't seem forced at all! His opposition to Voldemort felt very natural because you've established his past and his relationships with his father and other significant people in his life, which in my opinion is a very smart thing to do. I mean, in real life, you rarely see people taking decisions that are completely different from the way they were raised without a good cause backing them up.

Absolutely lovely writing Sam hunny. The only suggestion I'd have is to focus a bit more on the action sequence (that part when Theo runs away from the Death Eaters). Linger a little longer on his feelings as he runs away from them, make him take a few bad turns in his panic and haste to escape, etc. It would create a deeper sense of tension and gravity of the situation. I mean, if he's caught, he's done for. That's got to be terrifying for him.

Anyways, I can hardly wait to read the next chapter!!
*hugs from Santa*

Author's Response: Hey!

Unknown characters are love, I wish I could write them all. For now, I'll settle for Theo, as he is my favorite. :D Theo has been built up for a long time, so his voice comes very naturally to me. It makes me very happy to know that you like him and it doesn't feel forced.

Yes, I plan to go back and make the action part better, with his feelings and such. But Theo is a planner who knows Malfoy manor better than anyone except his father and, well, the Malfoys, so he won't make a bad turn because the way he needs to go is pretty much all he's focusing on. "Don't get caught." - That what he things until he's outside and can hear them. :)

Thank you so much for leaving a review!

Sam.


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Review #3, by Debra20Gravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 2

14th December 2013:
Hey there sweetie! I am so terribly late with this review, but now that I've started holiday vacation, I'll be having a lot more free time on my hands :D And your story is the first I came back to because it's been sitting in the back of my head for a while now. I've been dying to find out more because I really do think you have something very interesting going on here. The premise of the story is catchy and the way you write helps define everything so much better.

Let me just start by saying that this chapter felt surreal. There were quite a few moments while I was reading when I thought this was one of JK's chapters. And I have to tell you that this doesn't happen often. Your characterization of our beloved canon characters is stunning in its close likeness to their original selves. Especially the last part, how they all came together in Ron's room to discuss about Sadie. I was especially drawn in by Fred and George's characterization. I simply can't say anything other than SPOT ON girl! You nailed it beautifully :D

Can't wait to see what happens next and how everyone will be around Sadie and the dynamic she will set in the Weasley home

Author's Response: Hey! I'm even later with my response to it, so now it's my turn to say sorry! But I'm so glad you stopped by to read again. Always makes me smile when your reviews pop up.

Happy the story has grabbed you enough to make you want to come back, and that you think it is interesting!

Your compliments are so nice! That you thought you were reading one of Jo's chapters is the ultimate praise for a writer! I'm grinning so big right now it's crazy! Especially about the Fred and George part. I do try so hard to keep the characters who they should be, given that I write so many canon ones, but I never know exactly how well I'm doing. This means a lot, so thank you!

Hope when life slows down you'll have time to come back and find out more. Until then, thanks so much for this review!


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Review #4, by Debra20Time Marches On: ...tick...tock...

20th November 2013:
Helloo there! I am so very sorry for being this late. NaNo has completely taken over my life and coupled with the amount of school work I have, the fact that I had an active review thread completely slipped my mind.

I wanted to tell you that I loved this story! I don't think I've ever read a second person POV story before, and I honestly never thought impossible, but you proved me wrong in a big way! Not only did it seem appropriate, fit for the story you were telling, but in my mind, I just couldn't imagine it any other way. And believe me, that's a very hard thing to make me do haha

Concerning your area of concern (ignore my early morning repetitiveness please :P) I was not bored at all. It was a heartfelt story, the emotions and evolution of George's feelings and his healing process seemed perfectly natural to me (although I couldn't be completely sure, as I've never been something as harsh as he has). I especially liked how George coping with the events were in tandem with the clock's ticking slowing down, ever so slightly. I think that was an AMAZING touch to add. It was weird, but while I was reading those clock sounds, in my mind, I never imagined a clock, rather, I associated them with the beatings of his heart. At first they were powerful and fast and often because the loss was still fresh, but over time, as healing started to happen, he started soothing and patching himself up, so the tick tocks were less often, less powerful. Great job!

I think it's a very well written piece!

Author's Response: Hey! No problem I know how it is! :L

I am so happy that I have convinced you especially if that is a hard thing to do in your case :P

I never thought of it as the beating as a heart but that works so well, thanks for pointing that out to me :D

Thanks for the review, I don't know how to respond to praise tbh but seriously thanks for the review it means a lot.

:)


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Review #5, by Debra20Honour Among Thieves: an introduction, a party and the beginnings of a plan

19th October 2013:
Oh my gosh this is a marvelous start for a story. Not only did I ever imagine that a story could make me this enthusiastic, let alone this story being a Next Gen! Next Gen is like the last genre of HP fanfiction that I usually read (ignore the fact that I'll be writing one for NaNo LOL).

The premise is an excellent hook and may I say that I am thrilled you decided to use all the Next Gen characters in this, and use them with a purpose, not just filling in the blanks. I am SOOO eager to see how things play out!

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Review #6, by Debra20In Sickness And In Health: Healing in Hell?

19th October 2013:
Hey there! I'm here with the terribly late review request. School started and after a while I completely forgot I had a review thread opened lol. Sorry :(

Okai, so on my thread you asked me to give you my opinion on characterization, flow and the medical diagnosis. Let's get started then, shall we? :D

Characterization: I think you are getting better and better with characterization, even if there are some moments here and there that I am a little uncomfortable with (for example, when Draco startles Hermione at the beginning of the chapter and she almost swears the "f" word - that seems very unlike Hermione). She seems in character overall.

Draco. Well Draco is much like I imagine Draco most of the time, though a lot less brooding than I thought he'd be at this point in time. I imagined him to be sulking more than overtly lashing out at Hermione, especially if we consider the period this story takes place in (if I remember correctly, it's during DH). After the 6th book, Draco loses a lot of his snarkiness after he is introduced into Voldemort's circle. What he's lived isn't easy so it must have changed it. It must have been a rude awakening from his dream like life. I'd like to see Draco more tormented, more brooding and dark, rather than his previous self. But it's completely up to you of course :)

Flow: I think the flow was handled well this chapter. Since not much happened this chapter, the pace you chose was a good choice, slowly taking us through Hermione's eyes to the realization that she's cooped up with Draco in the same house for the next month. I wonder if they'll survive it haha

Medical diagnosis: I am no expert in medicine so I dunno if I'm the best to ask, but to me it sounded ok. Harold seemed very professional and you can always say that he tried to explain what had happened to them in terms they'd understand. You can go back to his speech and insert some pauses when he thinks how best to explain it to them. You know what I mean? That's the perfect getaway if you're not sure how to handle special terms that you don't know much about ;)

Overall it was a good chapter that moved the story forwards. In my eyes, there will always be a little OOC'ness to Draco and Hermione since this is a pairing I can hardly see getting together, but you are taking it slow and that's what matters. Slow but sure ;)

Author's Response: Hi Deb! I am so so sorry its taken me so long to get to these responses, i am only answering them in lots, have been crazy busy. But am here now!

Thank you for coming and reading my story! Lets get on to looking at your review :)

I had thoughts about that, but i really think that the shock would do a lot to her, and it kind of works. I am trying my best to keep their characters in orignal canon, but also have my on little twist on them, so hopefully you think it is working so far!


Glad that you think the flow is working well. I tried my best to spread out the dialogue, without making it too forced and stretched out. I am glad that so far its working!

I do know what you mean. It is hard to work out the information within breaks, so i will go through and try and break it up a wee bit more.

I am glad you think it is good for now. It will always be a bit OOC for some, but I am trying my best to make it a good story with the pairing going slowly, and not hugely cliche.

Thank you for reviewing!!

Grace :D




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Review #7, by Debra20The Orchard: Welcome

19th October 2013:
Hey there! I am so very sorry this review has come this late :( I intended to leave it sooner but school started and I got mixed up in so many things I forgot I had a review thread lol. But I'm here now, so let's get set!

I will first address the concerns you left on my review thread and then I'll make some more general and pointed notes. First off, you told me that you are worried that this first chapter might not catch the interest enough to keep people reading and I share your concern, but not in a high degree. It does read a little slow because there is not much action going on (and I don't mean "fight" kinda action). It feels like it's missing the much needed hook a chapter can't go without.

Luckily, the chapter as a whole is very well done. The pace is good, especially since it focuses on the coming back to school of the girls. When I said earlier that this first chapter lacked that certain 'something-something' to grip readers I wasn't completely true. You have that, and it's the conversation Mary has with Florence at dinner, after the Slytherin boys ram into Mary. That there is the perfect hook to keep readers wondering what it's about and come back for more.

You asked me how you can improve the chapter so that the chapter can capture more attention. Well, I have two suggestions. Move this scene between Florence and Mary at the start of the story. The way you set it up, it can easily happen on the Hogwarts Express as well. That way, not only do we have something to keep our attention drawn to the story from the first half of the chapter, but we will also be immediately introduced into the dynamics of the friendship these girls share. Imagine reading the story and in the first part of the chapter Mary is shoved aside by some Slyhterins. Florence jumps to her defense but Mary tells her to drop it. Why does Mary tone Forence down like that? What did she mean with "you are the same"? Also, what can we make of Florence? Is she just being a good friend or a good deal too nosy? In my humble opinion, I think this would be the perfect way to attract readers enough to make them come back for more.

Characterization is a bit slow in the beginning but picks up pace as the story moves forward. In the first part of the chapter there is no apparent conflict, so it's difficult to make out the girls's personalities. Characterization is another reason why I think that amazing, short interaction between Mary and Florence would fit the beginning better than the ending of the chapter. You can end the chapter with another hook, or some more hints. I don't know the plot of your story, but if you are a planner, I am sure you can drop more little hooks like these around. That's my second suggestion to improve the chapter even more: drop more scenes like this. Minor things that are major enough to make people wonder and come back ;)

I for one would continue reading thanks to that little scene. I see a lot of potential for this story :D

Author's Response: Hey! Sorry for the massively late response.

Thank you for everything you've said. I really appreciate your comments. I do agree that something is off with the first chapter. I've always been a slow started, but this doesn't really have a strong hook to keep the interest of people. Especially since this story is going to be quite dark and I think this chapter makes it seem like it might be a lighter story. Which is why i've been toying with changing the chapter up a little.

I do like your suggestion about moving the Slytherin bit up front and I think i may play around with that before the next update just to see if more people end up continue reading on after this chapter.

Also, with your note on characterization - I think it is hard to grasp our main characters characterization simply because she is so introverted and quiet. In RL it is sometimes hard to pick up on their defining traits because they are so quiet and withdrawn. Mary is like that, though with her history, it makes her stronger as a character to tell this story. I will try to highlight that a bit more so that it becomes clearer for the readers how they're like.

Thanks for your suggestions! I'm not a planner when it comes to things. When i started this story and wrote this chapter I had vague ideas of where I wanted to take this story and not much else which is why I think some of the hooks that could be in it now aren't there. I've got a clearer idea of what this story is, but that's because i've written four more chapters. I think I can go back and try to liven up the first chapter a tad. Though, not make it too dramatic for as a writer i like the slower, more subtle beginnings. :)

Thank you so much for your help!


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Review #8, by Debra20Gravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 1

18th September 2013:
There are no proper words to explain how sorry I am for this late review. Real life kidnapped me from online life very unexpectedly and only now could I truly sit down and pay the deserved attention this story requires.

After I finished this chapter, I remembered why I offered to read this story without you requesting. I remember the attraction I felt for the whole mystery that revolved around the Prologue, and thought this chapter did not help shed a lot of light on WHO this girl is, at least now we have a setting, some names and a plot that's set into motion. So, let's dig in!

Characterization: Something is quite clear about characterization - you are amazing at it! I feel I have absolutely no criticism to offer on this part. Minerva feels like a real living human being and is completely in character with her decision to stay at Hogwarts for the summer, her habit of poring over books in her spare time and the way she reacts to different events (like Ophelia revealing the whereabouts of this mysterious Sadie). She feels incredibly in character with her brisk, slightly impatient yet caring nature. There's no doubt that you have no problem writing canon characters.

As for the original characters, Ophelia is another example to stand for what I've said earlier about your undeniable skill at handling characterization. Her quirks and perks makes the reader connect to her instantly! She feels part of the story from the moment she appeared with her way of going around the subject and her bubbly speech. She uses knitting to keep Sadie from escaping? How brilliant is that?! I loved reading about her! I hope she is a constant character in the story because I'd love to see more depth to her.

Sadie is still a mysterious character that I can't say lots about. It's clear she is traumatized and the last seven years of her life have been anything but peaceful, but this shroud of mystery surrounding her prevent me from forming an opinion. However, I am eager to find out more!

Description: You knocked this out of the park as well. Your imagery is very vivid, very colorful with enough details to give us a view of everything that's going on. I especially appreciate the fact that you don't overly burden the prose with descriptions, just enough to allow us to immerse in the story. I find that reaching this balance is a tricky part of writing.

Plot: The seeds of the plot have been planted (at least some of them). This mysterious girl seems to be the center of something big that's about to happen judging McGonagall's reaction. It's clear that she's pretty important and I am very curious to know why! Can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: There is absolutly no need to be sorry. I'm quite slow responding myself, but more than that, I don't mind. I know all about real life and I am just honored you liked the story enough to return when you had the chance.

This review left me smiling a lot. It's so nice to request reviews and have people so wonderful and willing to read your stuff, but there is something truly special about readers who come of their own accord. I thank you a lot.

And I'm glad you are intrigued and wanting to know more!

You really think I'm amazing at characterization? WOW! Thanks! I try so hard with it and have to work really hard and sometimes I wonder if I'm just making a mess of things. So nice to hear I'm doing okay then. So, thank you very much!

I had a lot of fun with Ophelia, and it has made me very happy that most people have seemed to connect with and like her. Sadly, she's not intended to be a main character in this story. She'll be back, but not for a long time. :( Had I known how much people would like her, I might have plotted differently, but it's too late now. LOL.

I know my reveal of Sadie is quite slow, but I'm so glad you are still eager to find out more.

Aw., thanks again! Now I'm blushing once more. Description is something else that makes me nervous. I know my style of using it isn't everyone's cup of tea, so it is nice to hear when people like it.

Maybe Sadie is the center of something big (love it when people make guesses!) or maybe McGonagall's just having an emotional day? hehehehe

Thanks. I hope when life calms down for you a bit you'll come back and find out more about Sadie and this Plot. You are amazing. :)

- Farmgirl


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Review #9, by Debra20In Sickness And In Health: The Battle

30th August 2013:
Hey there! I'm here with your requested review :)

First of all, let me tell you that the concept of the story is an interesting one. It's certainly original and if developed properly, it can be held as a great device to bring Draco and Hermione together.

Now, I'll address the concerns you asked me to especially look out for in my thread. The flow of the story is quite okai, especially considering that the major part of the chapter takes place during a battle, but I would insist a little more on description if I were you. Even if the flow is al right, there are parts where it seems a bit rushed. For example, you could take more time and explore Hermione's feelings as she sees Hogwarts destroyed. Is she afraid? Is she confused where to go, what to do? Does she fear for her friends and teachers? Or Draco. We know that for the major part of his sixth year he was an agent of Lord Voldemort's. What does he feel now fighting for the other side? Is he terrified that he will be struck down by one of the Death Eaters as a traitor?

Which brings me to your next concern, characterisation. I think for the most part your characterisation is handled well, except some moments that I thought were out of character for some of them. For example, we know McGonagall to be a very strict, stern woman who does not have any particular sympathy for the Slytherins, especially Malfoy who is the first direct cause Dumbledore is dead. So that's why I find it difficult to believe that she would plead for him to assist them in the upcoming battle. If anything, she'd banish him as far as possible.

Hermione - for the most part she is very in character. We see she is brave when fighting the Death Eaters and you portrayed her close connection with Harry in a very sweet way, with him reassuring her like that. However, there are some points that I would either scratch off, or otherwise modify them. For starters, there is not a single moment in canon when we're lead to believe that Hermione was living a hell at home. If anything, she was one of the lucky ones who had two loving and understanding parents. Also, even if we know she is a very brave young woman, I just can't see her being this bold in regards to Voldemort. Even if she uses his name starting Order of the Phoenix, she has always shown a deep respect and rather fearful shyness when it came to him. She was always the cautious one when it came to the Dark Lord, so I think you can understand why I can't really see her referring to him like that.

Also, I have a very hard time believing that Harry would use the Killing Curse against anyone. He didn't used it against Bellatrix when she killed Sirius, I don't think he'd use it any other time. There is a moment when he almost makes use of it, when he is following Snape at the end of HBP, but that was because he had just witnessed him kill Dumbledore. He is furious and hurt and feels that the Professor trusted Snape too much, which led him to his untimely death. His feelings are turned upside down and that's why he uses it. But you made it sound like Harry was casually throwing the Curse in between Stunning spells and such.

As far as spelling, punctuation there are some small mistakes here and there (for example, "their determined looks on their faces" should be "the determined looks on their faces"), but nothing that couldn't be adjusted with another thorough read.

All in all, it's a pretty good start to your story. You have the right premises. The only part I'm advising you to be extra careful with is characterisation.

Hope this review was helpful enough! :)
- Debra20

Author's Response: Wow, what a long review! Thank you for taking the time to write so intricately about the chapter!

Thank you for that, i really do hope that my ideas take the story in the right direction and creates a gripping and enjoyable story :)

I understand where you are coming from with the description. It has always been my biggest weakness, and when i get my other stories' chapter up for validation once this stories third chapter is done i am going to go back and look at this chapter, because i'm still not happy with it, and will try and incorporate more description into it.

I believe that of Professor McGonagall as well (I'd fear having her as a teacher!) but i just believed that in such a stressful time she would try to see the best in people, including Malfoy. I believe she would see his attendance back at Hogwarts as one of a step away from the death eater scenario, but who knows?

I'm glad you like Harry and Hermione's connection- Their friendship, and that of theirs with Ron also, plays a big role in this story, and I want to make sure that is portrayed. In regards to Hermione's hell at home, I know that some people assume it to be domestic abuse. It isn't in that respect, Hermiones parent's love for her is still as strong as seen in the books. Its a different type of hell that is revealed in later chapters. I don't know if it will be an overly huge factor, and i will be looking at seeing if its worth cutting out or not. In reagrds to the Voldemort thing, i'd never thought about it in perspective, so thank you for clearing that up, i will change it when i go back and edit :)

I ohed and ahed over Harry using the Killing Curse for ages, i even wrote a pro and con list about it, but i decided to leave it in there. Purely because i think that being in a battle such as that would change peoples perspective. However i did not mean for it to sound like it was a spell he used often in the battle, so perhaps i should rewrite that bit to make it more clearer.

Oh awesome, thank you for pointing that out! Will go back and change those when i re-edit.

Thank you for a fantastic review! You have done a brilliant job and i have now picked up on things that will hopefully make my story better :)

Blondie


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Review #10, by Debra20Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood: The Greater Fool

29th August 2013:
OK, so what did just happen? I think my jaw dropped to the floor, literally, at the ending of this chapter. So like, Malfoy Manor got attacked and 3 Aurors died for nothing? So much for the Dark Lord's journal *face-palm* At least Flint got what he was asking for a long time now. I was just talking to Ral about this topic earlier today. If you get greedy, your downfall is guaranteed eventually. Flint wanted power, he wanted to be the top, the leader, and now he's not even alive. Oh wel...

Lady Tenebra is proving to be more intriguing by the minute. I love the shroud of mystery surrounding her. I am a bit scared to learn her real identity, but at the same time, I keep scratching the top of my head, wondering who she is. If she's an OC, let me tell you that you're doing an excellent job with her character. She seems cruel, analytical, someone who doesn't mind using others just so that she can achieve her goals, much like Voldemort. Which is what makes her scary. Because, how can you reason with someone like her? No conscience, seemingly heartless and totally brutal. That's just...frightening.

The Weasly family reunion was amazing! I got so much feels while reading that part, I think I teared up more than once. Molly must have felt very happy because being surrounded by family is what she's always wanted. And we cant pretend the Weasleys aren't a numerous family haha

But the scene that stole this chapter was the moment shared by Rose and Harry. When he jumped at her and demanded his bottle back, my heart shrank to the size of a mouse. His reaction to Ginny's death is very close to how I deal with hardships. I refuse to talk about them with anyone else, many times even with myself...which is not very healthy because there comes a time when you can't keep the memories and feelings at bay and they come crashing down on you at once. As much as it hurts, you need to confront your grief and I think Harry is finally starting to do so. I can't emphasise enough how touching the scene was. Having lost my uncle recently, it made me remember my own moments with him and I had this funny feeling that I can't explain exactly...but it was a good kind of feeling. A tender, loving emotions. I think you've truly outdone yourself with this scene. It's definitely the one I cherish most up until now from CoB :)

P.S: Told ya things would end up badly at Malfoy Manor.just...gah! But wait, I mentioned this before haha. Can't wait to read what happens next tho. The story is getting better chapter by chapter

Author's Response: Well, a few things just happened. You're spot on the basics: there was significant destruction and loss of life for very dubious reasons. As far as the Dark Lord's journal... well, keep the thought in the back of your head. That story line is far from over. Lastly, Flint got his just desserts. I usually feel bad about killing off characters, even the nasty ones. Flint? Eh...

When I was figuring out my mental model of Lady Tenabra, I kept coming back to a female version of Professor Moriarty. She's cunning, ambitious and completely ruthless, but also cultured, brilliant and genteel. Her lack of empathy is scary. People are merely pawns to her.

I'm really glad you liked the family reunion. I came so close to taking out that entire section because I felt like it made the chapter drag. In the end, I think it helps with the pacing and it gives a really natural entree into Harry's moment with Rose. At any rate, I'm glad that you liked it.

Harry still isn't good at dealing with his emotions, even after all the years. Rose is one of a very few people that he'll actually open up to, and I really enjoyed putting the two of them together in this scene, even though the subject matter is far from happy. I'm really pleased that you felt the emotions, because it was sad for me to write. I had to introduce a good bit of Rose snark into it to keep it from turning into a total tear-jerker.

And yes, things ended badly at Malfoy Manor. How how badly remains to be seen.

Thanks so much for sharing all of your thoughts and reactions. I really enjoy reading them!


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Review #11, by Debra20Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood: The Tangled Web We Weave

28th August 2013:
I iz back!!

Okai, so I usually offer my thoughts/feelings on the chapter I read of a story in chronological order, in tune with the events unfolding in the chapter but today is not one of those days. Today, I am bursting to say "OMG OMG OMG WHO IS WHAT WOMAN???" I am literally sitting here, biting my nails and jumping up and down in my chair from the excitement. I haven't been this excited about a fictional villain since HP and A Song of Ice and Fire! Especially since I have a haunch that Madam Tenebra is a canon character. I might be wrong, but when you described the moonlight highlighting her features, I immediately imagined Narcissa Malfoy. The gasp I let out almost woke up my family haha

Ok, so now that that's out of the way, I can make more sense of this review. Chapter by chapter, I am more and more appreciative of they way you're pulling Harry off. People don't list him as a difficult character to write because he's central to the canon books, but sometimes, that exact fact is what makes him not so easy to tackle. I think you're doing him a great justice. He still retains much of his adolescent feel, and his mature allure fits right into place with how I imagine him to be as a grown up. I love your Harry!

Just so you know, I am afraid to read the next chapter. I haven't read the preview of it from the description (I never read in advance), but since the plan Madam Tenebra and Flint created is ready to be taken out, I am sure it will happen next chapter. And I am afraid of what it's going to mean for Draco and Astoria! This may be silly, but I have a hard time distinguishing from Draco/Astoria here and Draco/Astoria from Detox. In my mind, the way you've made them work together in Detox is canon for all your stories and I am really, really scared about what's gonna happen to them here, in CoB. Not to mention if someone else is home with them at the same moment (I am thinking about Scorpius here). I just...gah! Your story is not an easy read when it comes to feels!!

I will not even mention Hermione, because only the thought of her and what she will most probably have to face is enough to reduce me to tears.

Also, I am looking forward to the Weasley family reunion! It's bound to be a fun moment, all that family reunited *swoon*

Author's Response: Hi, there! Sorry for Ral and I ribbing you a little about the mystery woman, but it's so much fun! Who is she? Well, it really wouldn't be much fun if I told you, would it?

I am relieved and overjoyed that you like the way Harry comes off in this. Out of all the characters, he's the one that I spent to most time on, obsessing over his thoughts and dialog and reactions. It is really tricky to preserve the things that make Harry who he is while aging the character realistically. So happy that it works for you!

The next chapter has some bumpy stretches for our heroes, as you know already. I don't think it's silly at all that you have a hard time keeping Draco and Astoria straight between the two stories. In fact, I was hoping it would work out that way. The Draco and Astoria you see in Detox are meant to be younger versions of the characters you see in this story. Marked, Detox and CoB show Draco at three different stages of his life, all very enjoyable to write.

Hermione has tough times ahead, but she's strong. Hopefully, she'll surprise you with her resilience. :)

Wow, you are moving right along. Thanks so much for stopping to share your thoughts and reactions!


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Review #12, by Debra20Gravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Prologue

27th August 2013:
Hey there! I'm here with your requested review :)

First of all, since this is the concern you've expressed interest in, I'd like to start with characterisation. To answer the question you've left me on my thread, YES, I would totally want to keep reading about her. Even in this short prologue, there is much to say about this girl. I'd really like to commend you on being able to create such a captivating, believable start for an OC.

I think the right introduction of an Original Character is one of the most important steps to draw in the interest of the readers. And you've definitely achieved this. From the get go we discover that this little girl (I have the impression that she is a little girl, so I will continue calling her that :P) is having a very difficult time, which instantly warms us up to her. Throughout the chapter I felt like hugging her and offering her something to cover herself with. I don't know how you plan on developing her, but she is definitely a character I'd love to read more about, especially considering how the chapter ended. In fact, I am so curious to read what happens next that if you don't re-request, I'm going to keep reading by myself haha

I also think that description is a definite forte of yours. The imagery was incredibly well handled. I could picture every single moment in my mind, which is yet another important aspect of the story. I've always thought that if one can't fully immerse in the story, there is no possible way that attachment to said story can occur. And this is done through the power of description, which you seem to be very good at.

I can't say much about the plot yet because we don't see much happening in this prologue, except the ending. I will venture and offer a wild guess here that the cat the girl had been looking over for the past few days is McGonagall, although I couldn't tell you why I have this sensation. I think the cliffhanger with which you ended this chapter is a very appropriate choice to ensure that readers come back. I mean, come on! Who doesn't wanna know what happens next with the girl? What did the witch do to her? Cause I wanna know haha

As far as spelling mistakes, grammar and stuff like this, I didn't see any glaring mistake or misspelling. Although, I will refrain from offering any advice on this side (unless there are some obvious mistake) because I am not a native English speaker and I might be wrong about it.

All in all, I am very pleased with the story you've offered me. It's catchy, the character seems likeable enough on the first impression and there is a definite feeling of something more happening that we don't see yet. Lovely job!

P.S: I hope this review was somewhat helpful. It's the first in my attempts to be more critique oriented, but I just can't be critique if the story is so good!

Author's Response: Beans are picked. I can now reply properly, :) Sorry about the wait!

You totally made me blush with this review (while a part of me on the inside was screaming "yes, yes, yes!") I am so excited that you are interested and intrigued by my character.

I agree with you 100% about having to introduce a character carefully. That's why I was so worried about this. In the first dozen drafts of this story, this prologue did not exist. I felt like something was missing, and finally figured out I was bring my character in with too much information upfront. Hopefully, the aura of mystery helped with that.

Little girl might be stretching it a bit, but she is young, and small, so she seems younger than she is. And it makes me want to hug YOU for saying such nice things about her, and for wanting to keep reading even if I didn't re-request.

I do try to work hard on my descriptions. Sometimes, like with this chapter, it seems to come easily. But other times I feel like my stories get bogged down in too much telling what's happening, who's saying what, where people are, etc... I lose the description, so if you ever see that happening, please feel free to tell me.

I know I don't give much plot for people to sink into in this, so thank you for the comments you were able to pull out anyway. As for the cat, you're on the right track...

I do try to edit the best I can, but even with English as my native language, I'm horrible at spelling, and stupid errors still creep in. So, if you see them, again, feel free to tell me. But, it makes me happy you seems to think it was clear of mistakes.

This review was wonderful! I'm so excited to have you along as a reader, if you want to continue. You really gave me a great big smile for the last few days.

Your critique was very helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this!



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Review #13, by Debra20Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood: Fortunes

26th August 2013:
Is there any chapter of CoB that doesn't leave me stunned and breathless? I was thinking about leaving this review for tomorrow morning because once again night caught up with me, but after the way this chapter ended, there was no way I was going to do that haha. I needed to express my feelings now, when they're still in full swing.

But taking it in parts, I want to commend you for another great chapter. We discover more about Flint and I am surprised at how well you've defined his personality and the role he has in this mysterious revolutionary movement. He's a nasty piece of work, but there's no doubt that despite his delusions, he's only a pawn in the hands of that cloaked lady. It goes to show that creating characters almost from scratch would not be that hard for you (and yes, this is a shameless hint at the idea of you writing an OF :P)

Speaking of the shrouded lady, I am more and more intrigued about this journal of the Dark Lord's. It seems like the key piece in the plot Flint and co. are planning and I am starting to be afraid of the moment they'll get it. You build up momentum in a very captivating way and I am sure the reveal will be mind-blowing!

Another thing that is keeping me on the edge is Harry's decision to call out some members of the team protecting Malfoy Manor. While I was reading that particular bit I kept thinking "NO!! But, but FLINT! He's gonna attack them...noo, don't pull them out - a!" and I stand by my reaction. I can feel it's not going to be pretty :P

The plot is thickening and I am really eager to find out more. How can I divide myself between CoB and Detox?! Why are you making my life so difficult? :P

Also, I was just thinking that the best testimony that this story is awesome sauce is that the last time I read a chapter of CoB must have happened 2 months ago or so, and when I started this chapter, it didn't take long to remember the story, the feel of the characters, the action, basically everything I had learned in my previous readings. Except the endless line of children. I am useless with family trees and relations. I have no idea who is whose child further than my first cousin haha

Can't wait to read more Dan! But first, I need beeed ;)

Edit: Okai, so I mentioned unexpressed, intense feelings at the start of the review, and I almost clicked the submit review button before addressing them. TELL ME HERMIONE IS GOING TO BE OKAI!!! You cannot imagine my reaction when I first read that. I think my heart stopped for a second from the shock. It was totally unexpected! I mean, everyone was going about how well she is recovering and that she's gonna be okai and then this...Cliffhangers are definitely your thing because now I feel more compelled than ever to continue reading!

Author's Response: Roxi, you're making me blush again! Haven't we talked about this before? Scarlet **totally** clashes with my eyes. OK, just kidding. No need to stop. ;)

I didn't find Flint all that hard to define because he's really just what you see. He's a complete mercenary who's been hardened by decades in Azkaban, but he still thinks of himself as pureblood royalty because that's what he was in "The Old Times" before the war. He's in this for himself. You're right, though. He has underestimated her badly.

The Dark Lord's journal is important to her, but for now the object is simply to get their hands on it. More to come on that front...

Harry is juggling a lot of things at this point. He's worried about how the world will react if they find out that Draco came to see him, so he's playing that piece of information very close to the vest. He can't look like he's **too** concerned about Malfoy Manor, or else people will realize that something is up.

Wow! I am actually quite impressed that you can keep the plot straight in your head for that long. Even I have to go back and re-read sections sometimes in order to respond intelligently to reviews and I wrote the blasted thing! Don't worry so much about the list of children. The ones who become important to the story will be fleshed out a lot more.

Hermione... well, she has a long, difficult road in front of her. All of the main characters do, actually. Her personal trials will be a bit different from Harry or Ron, but no less intense. You'll see...

Whee, responding to reviews is fun! I should really do it more than once a week. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by Debra20The Unsinkable Molly Prewett: Then He Kissed Me

17th August 2013:
Tonight I was really in the mood for some amazing fluff, and you were the first person I thought of :D I simply love this story for how you've written it and how happy it makes me feel. They're so normal and so in character that I sometimes have the impression I'm reading from Pottermore haha (well, a fanfiction based Pottermore :P)

Molly is just great. I was just thinking now, realising, that of course she would know everything Fred and George were thinking when they were planning their schemes. How could she not when she had grown up with two tricksters? When you go through that once in your life, you learn to read the signs. It may be a motherly thing as well though. I wouldn't know; I'm not a mother yet. But I do know that mothers have this instinct that helps them guess when their children are being naughty. At least I was never able to hide anything from my mother, even if there were times when I put a really good effort haha

We know that Molly knits a lot, so seeing her knit her own clothes this early on in her life made me smile. It's these little details that are so very canon that make me appreciate your story so much.

Also, I was very excited to meet the twins this chapter! I hope we will see more of them in the future, because I simply love them! I am curious to know more about the kind of relationship they have with Molly. I think it's their names, because on other accounts they are almost OC, that makes me want to know more about them. Or at least, your vision of them.

Lovely, lovely chapter as usual!
- Debra20

Author's Response: Aw thank you so much! I'm always happy to provide the fluff. ;) I sometimes hope Pottermore will give us more about Molly/Arthur and sometimes hope it won't, because my compulsion to remain canon would make me want to rewrite this. But I'm too lazy to rewrite this :p I like it how it is, I have to admit, so I'm always very happy to hear someone else likes it too.

Oh Molly's onto Fred and George anyway, she did raise them after all. Kids think their parents don't know, but half the time we're just too tired and pretend we don't see it so we don't have to deal with it. Shh don't tell. Molly's seen them since their not-so-good-at-being-sneaky younger days, so she knows and polices them as best she can considering she's got five other kids! My boys think they're sly sometimes but I know what they're doing. Or I find out as soon as things go quiet haha

I think Molly's probably a longtime knitter, so I made her one in school - she knits for herself and her friends. She's a giving sort of person, she would absolutely make gifts for her friends. I love canon details, I always appreciate when someone notes them :)

The twins will be back more! They are tough because we know so little of Molly's brothers from canon - them being twins is not canon, to be honest. They're basically OC, especially given that I'm writing them so young. They're not fully developed yet as personalities, so to speak.

Thank you so much for reviewing!


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Review #15, by Debra20Detox: Making Choices

12th August 2013:
Omg, Omg, Omg, an action packed chapter!!! I was beyond myself with excitement while reading this chapter :D I literally had my eyes glued to the screen and couldn't tear them away because I wanted to know what happened next and was afraid not to miss anything haha. Talk about gripping my usually divided attention :D

As I read more and more chapters of this delightful story, I find myself deepening into a frightening position: falling in love with Draco. I can't stress enough how much depth you're giving him. I LOVE, with all my heart deeply flawed characters (no wonder Snape is my favourite character eh?) and Draco is no exception. Only, throughout the HP books we never got the chance to explore his character outside of Harry's perspective and a psychologist, I should know that what reality is for someone, can be completely different for another person. No two stories about the same event are ever the same. The weight of this realisation really hit me this chapter when Draco called Hermione a Mudblood after she'd helped him. His reaction after the words escaped his mouth made me wonder whether in the past, he ever felt sorry for what he'd done (not before HBP however, because it's obvious he needed to go through the ordeal of everything that happened at Malfoy Manor to be able to start his change process).

I'm really savouring this story because it finally gives Draco the depth and layers he's always deserved (again, after the HBP because before that he was just a spoiled kid :P). I find myself picking apart his behaviour and lingering on certain paragraphs that to me show a lot of his inner essence (for example, how he instantly changes when realises that Astoria is in danger). You are making a remarkable job with Draco! Truly, truly impressed!

Also, Astoria is catching my attention more and more. I found another reason for loving her this chapter: the way she holds back judgement. I think this is one of the greatest qualities a human being could have because thanks to it you are not clouded by what others tell you, or sometimes even what you see. You prefer to wait and find out by yourself. Being non-judgemental goes a LONG way in avoiding conflicts. So yes, if you were wondering, my affections for Astoria are growing rapidly :D

I think this is one of those chapters I will have to come back to in terms of learning how to write action scenes, because it was amazing! The pace, the descriptions were really gripping. I completely lost track of everything that was going on around me and was staring avidly at the screen, drinking the words. Draco's confrontation with Ron was especially well handled. I could totally understand Ron for being so jumpy when Draco mentioned something that could have meant a jape towards his family, but at the same time I felt like slapping him because he didn't mean that!

Seriously Dan! I can never find any CC to give you. My reviews are pure gush haha

Author's Response: I guess I have to respond to this beautiful review and see it disappear from my unanswered reviews page, don't I? Such sweet sorrow.

I'm glad that the chapter captured your imagination. This was definitely one of the most fun chapters of Detox to write because of all the action. Even more than that, though, I am pleased as can be that you feel like I'm capturing Draco with his flaws intact. Because he isn't perfect. He isn't even trying to be. He still holds a lot of the same prejudices that he did before the war, he's just learned that they're not worth fighting and dying over. I'm not sure whether or not I think he was ever sorry for the way that he treated Hermione in the past, but he's definitely sorry for it here, even before she curses him. I've tried to give him as much depth and complexity as he deserves, because he is a very interesting character. Much more on this topic to come...

Astoria has so many things in common with Draco as far as their upbringing, yet they're very different people. Astoria is quiet, reserved and very patient in forming her opinions of people and situations. Draco is loud, opinionated and very quick to judge based on first impressions. It will make for some very interesting interactions later on.

Wow. I don't think I've had higher praise than that recently. I like writing fight scenes, but I'm not sure that I'm ready for the idea that someone thinks of them as something to study. :)

Thanks so much for all of the kind words and thoughts. Reviews like this really help me keep going when the writing gets tough!


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Review #16, by Debra20Before They Fall: Head Boy and Girl

6th August 2013:
Okai, so I know I shouldn't be happy about James and Lily fighting but wow! This was a very intense scene! I love what you're doing with the characters by the way. Lily's doubt that she should launch herself freely into the romantic feelings she's been having for James, both their tempers rising up when they aren't on the same page, are emotional reactions that people have ALL the time, thus giving them enormous depth.

I'm especially enjoying seeing Lily progress. I am beyond thrilled that you chose to take her slowly, rather than straight out abandoning herself to her love for James. Even if that could be a form of reaction, I know many people feel guilty if they start being happy after the death of someone important because they believe they don't have a right to move on, not now. Which is a completely understandable feeling, but silly nonetheless. If the someone we lost was dear to us and loved us, they'd want us to be happy and move on, not stay trapped in grief forever. So yeah, I'm very pleased with how you're handling Lily. Choosing to wait and sort out her feelings first shows a great deal of maturity on her side.

I love the detail you're pouring into your descriptions by the way. You take your time with every scene you're writing, so we can have a clear visual of their surroundings or their feelings, which I find is always greatly helpful for me to get in the real mood of the story. I think the setting of scenes is the first step to a successful chapter :D

Also, I'm very much enjoying the bits and pieces of information you're confiding to us as indication of the growing darkness outside the castle walls. I think you're doing a great job in mixing their daily lives at Hogwarts with everything else going on in the Wizarding War outside and I cannot wait to see what happens next!!

Author's Response: I'm so excited you like what I'm doing with them!!! I'm not someone that lashes out when I'm angry, more than anything i just retreat into a little shell, but I think Lily is. There's an old saying, something about how it's always easier be mean to the people who know who love you, because they're always going to love you. I wanted to sort of show a bit of that in Lily in this chapter. She's using this argument as a way to try and drive him off, and make herself feel a spark again, but he's not going to be shaken that easily. Come on, Lily, the guys been hanging around for years, did you really think that would do it? Silly redhead :P.

I'm so excited that their rising tempers through all the turmoil felt realistic!! I had fun writing their fight, hehe.

I definitely try and move their relationship at a realistic place. It's a huge deal to me to show that they fell in love and got married because that's how the *felt* not because of convenience or anything along those lines.

I'm a sucker for setting scenes. Once we're in there, i try to avoid bringing anyone back out with long winded metaphors or descriptive language, but I do get carried away sometimes, hehe.

Thank you so much for another lovely review, Roxi! You pick up on so many little details, and seem to just get what I wanted someone to feel while writing it, and that makes me so happpy!!! Thank you!! ♥


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Review #17, by Debra20Before They Fall: Hogwarts Express

5th August 2013:
Jami, why are you so intent on making me cry? This was truly a heart-wrenching chapter. I mean, as much as I expecting something like this from the way the previous chapter ended, what with Lily having recently lost her parents, there were moments while I was reading this chapter when I seriously considered closing the tab and reading it another day haha There were a lot of intense emotions flying around this chapter.

I have to say, I am falling in love deeper and deeper with your canon characters. I am sure the story will feature some OC's as well, and I am very excited at the prospect of reading characters written from your own imagination and heart, but until then I am thoroughly enjoying the canon ones.

Lily and James stole the spotlight this chapter. I know how much it means having someone by your side when you are going through such an ordeal like Lily is currently living, so seeing James being so supportive, giving his whole selfless attention to her, caring for her every needs and many times just being there for a hug made me tear up more than anything else. I've recently gone through a death in my family and the feeling of someone's comforting hug cannot possibly be expressed into words. It's like honey for a sore throat. He was just amazing, I wish I could have a guy like James one day haha

I don't have much to say in matter of plot because I can't feel there is much going on at the moment, apart from Lily slowly accommodating herself to a life without her parents. But now that think about it, that's a plot in itself, so I am eager to see how she evolves and how will her feelings modify with the passing of time and the roller-coaster of events that are nearing her life. It really makes me sad because I feel that Lily doesn't have much time to recover because the war is looming overhead. She will just have to swallow her grief and steel her heart against what will come because otherwise she has no chance of surviving. Can't waaait to see more of the story!!

Author's Response: HI lovely!

Hahaha I definitely wanted to do Lily justice with what she just lost. One thing I really don't like is when an emotional, life changing thing happens to a character but then it's not properly followed through. I want Lily's parents death to really, really get close to breaking her, and be another thing that strengthens her as she learns to handle it. I sound so mean, haha, poor baby ♥

Aww I'm so, so happy you like James in this chapter. Getting to show how, even if he hasn't always made the best choices, that he still has an amazing heart was something I really wanted to do. And you made me feel like I definitely got that across in this chapter!

I'm so happy you liked these first few chapters ♥ I promise, it won't stay too sad for long. It gets darker pretty soon, but not exactly sadder for quite a few chapters!

Thank you so, so much lovely ♥


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Review #18, by Debra20Spies: Trading Places

4th August 2013:
Amanda, this was A-mazing! I've always known that you're gifted with characterisation this from your previous stories, but I don't think I've ever read a Peter story from you. Our views about how he reacted to the moment of his betrayal of the Potters is so different, that it made reading his POV a real treat! I love it when I find stories that offer their own view of a character's inner workings that is different than my own. It makes the character a great deal richer in my eyes, it allows me to explore countless possibilities because everyone writes them differently.

If anything, you reminded me what it is to loathe Peter. I imagine him to be VERY bitter about what he did, and thoroughly hate himself for it deep down inside, but your story tackled the darker side of him. The side that is not sorry about his betrayal, that feels no mortification, no guilt, not even pleasure. He is so devoid of any kind of emotion at this point, so immersed in a kind of shock like state, that it's all he can do not to fall to the floor and never wake up. I see Peter like the weak, frail member of the Marauders who has been manipulated very easily into turning against his friends by Voldemort who deftly exploited his inner doubts. After all, Voldemort was a grand puppeteer. He was incredibly skilled at turning friends against each other and spreading disdain amongst people as was mentioned in OotP.

That is only my take on Peter however. This story allows us to explore the more evil, perverted Peter that actually chooses, of his won free will, to betray the Potters. Which in itself is a lot more terrifying than him being manipulated because in this instance, there is not excuse, nothing that could possibly absolve his cruelty in our eyes. You've handled his duality with great care. Even if he feels no remorse, we can clearly witness that this was not a choice he was proud of either. Especially because of Lily. Deep down, buried under his dark thoughts, still lies the boy that only wants to be cherished, praised, the boy that is appreciative of kindness when he receives it. And Lily was kind to me. Which makes everything that more tragic...ugh, I cry every time I read stories about Peter's betrayal because even if I try not to despise him, when I think that it was he who was set everything in motion, that he betrayed his friends in cold blood to Voldemort, my blood boils and I cannot possibly find any excuse for him.

Snape was marvellously handled, as always :D but the character that was briefly featured and yet it captured my attention is Regulus. I find him one of the most intriguing characters in the books, even if he is almost hardly mentioned. And your Regulus interpretation has that 'something something' vibe I get from the books. I cannot put my finger to what it is but he's one of the characters I crave to know more about. I mean, he was the only DE apart from Snape to literally go against Voldemort...of his own accord! That is HUGE!

Enjoyable read as always sweetie!

Author's Response: Hey Debra! Thanks for christening this story with its first review, and such a lovely one!

Peter is so interesting, perhaps because stories about him are too rare, and I think I always sort of knew I'd work up the nerve to write about him one day. I found dissecting his motives to be a fascinating and complex endeavor. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who actually really enjoys finding realistic character portrayals that differ from my head canon :)

I think my portrayal of Peter, in contrast to yours, stems from a couple of different notions. One is that I want to think of him as being a bit stronger than he seems at first glance. After all, this is a boy who got sorted into Gryffindor and somehow wound up being the friend of some of the most popular and talented students in his year. Obviously he turned out to be a different man from the one you'd expect given that trajectory, but I think of him as having little secrets, like a great intellect and a deep sense of self-obsession. Those traits come out a lot in Post Scriptum and I felt that they fit in well here. The other thing I wrestle with is that Peter ultimately decided to stick with Voldemort knowing full well that his friends would probably (and some, definitely) die because of Voldemort. There had to have been something inside him, in my view, that made him want to stay there, even if it was just a matter of selfishness or pride. As you mentioned, though, this is only my take on a richly multi-faceted character.

But yeah, I think after all the wonderful times he must have had with James, Sirius and Remus and the kindness Lily undoubtedly showed him as she got close to James, Peter would have had some regrets. He probably wouldn't choose to entertain them very often, but I doubt he could have eradicated them all.

Hah, it's great that you liked Regulus! I didn't explore him in as much depth as I have in Post Scriptum, but it was fun to contrast him with Peter here and show that he's learned the ropes as well as any good Slytherin would.

Thanks again for your wonderful review :)

-Amanda


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Review #19, by Debra20Before They Fall: Sirius Black

29th July 2013:
JAMI! I am here. There was no way I could keep away from this story for much longer :D

First of all let me tell you that you nailed the beginning. The description of the Potters's home, everything from the way the wind rustles through the leaves, the secluded home set apart from the others created an amazing eerie feeling. I think that set the mood perfectly for the rest of the chapter. Going in full circle, the chapter is opened by the description of James's home, which is away from the others (I think this is a brilliant motif to show that their family is condemned to never fit) and it ends with Lily confessing her parents have been killed. I think the way you set this chapter with it's specific beginning and ending is a stroke of brilliance!

I am very feelsy right now, seeing how much time and effort you put into highlighting the appreciation the Potters have for Sirius. Every time I think about this in the books (they taking him in their home) I am blown away. This is the biggest gesture of love someone can do, especially if you're taking in someone that has a family with not such a great reputation. They knew perfectly well that they risked being shunned, avoided because they were taking care of a son of Black, and yet they didn't care. This speaks volumes of their humanity and their love for their son, because I bet that first and foremost, they did it for James, so that he could be happy.

I can't wait to read more! :D

Author's Response: Roxi!!! I'm so excited to see you!!

I don't usually do much heavy description, but setting scenes is when I get carried away a bit ;). I'm so excited you liked it at the start of this. I had a lot of fun sort of writing from the outside in.

I absolutely agree with you about the Potters taking Sirius in and what a big deal it is. That's one of the main reason I protest so much to the idea of him using girls left and right and not caring, because Sirius has seen first hand what it's like to not be cared about and discarded, and then what it's like to be welcomed into someone's life. I'm sure he flirted plenty, but the idea of him just walking out of girls rooms all hours of the night and not batting an eye when he break their heart has never sat well with me. Look at the love he was shown by the Potters. He's not going to disgrace them by treating other humans like toys. Sorry, got into a bit of a rant there, hahahaha!

I'm so, so, so excited you liked this first chapter ♥ I always get so nervous when someone new starts reading. If feel like I'm getting ready for the first day of school with all the, 'oh will my teacher like me will everyone like me?' feelings, haha!

Okay, I'm making no sense, but thank you so much for this amazing review ♥ reading and responding to it has put a huge smile on my face!


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Review #20, by Debra20Detox: Regrets

29th July 2013:
Hello! I am back. I never thought the day would come when I'd say I am obsessed with a Draco story haha. It's not that there isn't the possibility that others could handle his character well, just that I haven't found them yet. In my opinion, he is a very daunting project, which makes me admire you even more for having plunged into the icy cold water that is a story focusing on Draco ;) In part because many people seem to have a fixed image of him and they're not willing to bend this image to give him more depth, to make him other than the ex silly, reckless, malicious Death Eater that now comes back with his tail between his legs. He is so much more than that, and it makes me incredibly happy to see you 'take him on' so to say :P

Wow. I am in complete shock. I mean, I expected Draco's return to Hogwarts to be rocky, but this is beyond even what I imagined. I actually felt really bad for him, and for the first time in history, I felt like punching some Gryffindors. When does that happen?? Never haha You're doing wonders with Draco, truly. I think my favourite part must have been Luna defending him. I think I even squealed in delight when I read that someone finally jumped to his aid *shy smile* It really felt like something Luna would do, because she doesn't forget a favour and she certainly doesn't sit back and let someone be bullied, even if her intervention is something mild and not hazardous like Harry's 'come to the rescue'

I LOOVED the moment when Draco jumped from his stool to follow Astoria. I am now giddy imagining their meeting in Hogsmeade.

Author's Response: Hi! Wow, you are threatening to make my head swell to unprecedented proportions. Seriously, I really appreciate all of the nice things you have to say. I agree that there's a lot more to Draco's character than the way that he's often written. I don't like stories that make him one-dimensional, whether he's cast as an evil, unrepentant Death Eater at one extreme or as a misunderstood story of redemption at the other. I think he's a lot more complicated.

I never thought for a moment that things were going to be easy when Draco decided to try to reintegrate into "normal" wizarding society. Hogwarts is a place that holds bad memories for Draco and bad memories of Draco. In my mind, I feel like there's a very fragile recovery taking root at Hogwarts, a return to something resembling pre-war normality for the students and staff. Draco's presence would certainly tend to disrupt that recovery and McGonagall doesn't want him in the castle. But the governors of the school have spoken, so she's limited to simply making his attendance as unpleasant for him as possible.

I was pleased with the way that Luna turned out. That's never a given. You just start writing her and hope for the best, because to me there's no "right" or "wrong" way to go about it. You just do it and then you go back and read what you wrote and it either sounds like her or it doesn't.

I'm glad you like Draco and Astoria together. You'll see more of that soon.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #21, by Debra20Detox: Getting Clean

28th July 2013:
I am absolutely speechless. I don't know where to begin to fully express how much this story has drawn me in, this early on. Everything from the idea, to it's execution, character portrayal, description, scene visuals and the overall handling of the plot you're laying ahead is masterfully done. I know this might seem like an over praise, but I have done my share of book reading, and your style is amazing, rich, so visual! It would be ashamed not to pursue a side career in writing. Have you ever thought about it?

Anyway! Going back to the story, this chapter is exactly what I imagined it to be after our first peek into what had become Draco's life. I am especially happy about how you're handling Draco's path of recovery. He is still weakened by his desire to immerse himself in a state of forgetfulness that alcohol brings, thus he feels the temptation creep on him again. However, he resists. Even if I sense that at some point there will be a relapse (or not?), the scene when he steels against his unconscious desire gives me hope that he will eventually overcome his addiction. Which makes me oddly happy. You'd think I'd be more happy to see Draco in such a pathetic state, but I'm not. I think he deserves another chance at a normal life, a family and a place in the wizarding world without anyone shooting him glares, muttering insults behind his back. It will be difficult of course, but totally worth it!

I am also very happy to see we're going to see Astoria's perspective! That could offer great inside into what kind of person she is, and I think we've started this chapter. Having a sweet, kind girl besides Draco is an image I can picture very easily. In fact, I think only a girl like Astoria could manage to steer him in the right direction. He desperately needs someone to believe in him, that he's more than who his father is and more than what his family's done, and Astoria is that person. I think her father will be one of their most difficult obstacles to overcome. He seems really set on hating Draco, and to a certain degree I can understand why. The legacy the Malfoy's left to Draco isn't one that he can be particularly proud, but Horatio is also very hasty to judge Draco just because he is part of the Malfoy family. I always try not to judge people by groups, rather by individuals. Otherwise, you can make big mistakes.

I am really, really looking forward to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Wow. I'm not altogether sure how to respond to your first comment. I did have a lot of time to think about Draco and Astoria before writing this, between Conspiracy of Blood and Marked. I guess it paid off. I really, really appreciate the compliments!

Draco has started the long road to recovery, but as you correctly guessed, there will be bumps along the way. I didn't really think it through to the point of affixing a label to Draco's condition before I started writing, but as I've gone on I've decided that Draco is suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress. He has most of the textbook symptoms: flashbacks, substance abuse problems, difficulty controlling his anger, depression and feelings of hopelessness and disaffection. Astoria finally offers him something that seems worth pulling himself out of his downward spiral. His path ahead will certainly be difficult, but we already know from canon that he makes it.

Ah, Astoria. I love her as a character, but I still have a bad feeling that she comes off a little Mary Sue-ish in these early chapters. Her father has definitely made his mind up where the Malfoys in general are concerned. It's actually understandable, from his point of view. He wasn't ever part of Voldemort's inner circle, so he has no idea how powerful and dangerous the Dark Lord really was. In Horatio's mind, Voldemort was more or less a crazy cult leader who would have remained on the margins of society if the Blacks and Malfoys hadn't elevated him with their money and influence. It's a naive viewpoint, but one that he comes by honestly. He just might learn a few things in this story, as well.

Ah, so glad that you're enjoying the story! It started out as a challenge entry and has sort of become a labor of love to finish it. Thanks for your lovely, supportive reviews!


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Review #22, by Debra20Detox: Sobering Up

28th July 2013:
Hey Dan! First of all, I know I haven't yet finished COB, but answering the questions asked by someone of the forums about Draco and how his life after the war was, really got me in the mood to read something about him. And then Detox came to mind. Again, I have heard a lot of positive feedback about this story, especially since it features a character that can be easily mishandled these days.

I'd like to start by saying that even if the first chapters of COB are amazing, there is a definite improvement in your prose. I'm not exactly a literary critic, so I don't know if I'll be able to express what I felt and thought while reading this chapter properly, but this first chapter was a great kick off for Draco's redemption process.

The whole scene with him drinking his life away was very poignant. I think description is definitely the aspect you've grown most at. His struggle to exit the bar, the state of low existence he has reached was greatly enhanced by your mind blowing descriptive skills! It really made me pity him, because I never thought as ill of him as of his father. I mean, during school Draco was still a teen. That's not an excuse for his behaviour, of course, but in a way this happens in real life as well. Kids don't really measure the consequences of their acts, and if a life filled of bigotry is all he's known, you can't blame him for acting on the basis of the education he's received. Lucius on the other hand, was an adult, fully capable of measuring the consequences of what he did and he consciously chose to be what he was.

Astoria has already made me root for her. I can imagine there will be a lot of struggle before they will be able to be happy together, because Draco has a lot to atone for and changing people's views on you isn't always an easy thing to achieve. But if she stands by his side, I am sure it's possible. Can't wait to see how Draco's new-found determination will influence his further decisions!

Author's Response: Hi! Don't sweat the order or timing of reviews. I'm always just happy to hear from you! :hugs:

You have no idea how happy your first critique made me. I mean, **I** like to think that I'm improving, but to hear it from another person... Gah! Thank you! It's been ages since the start of CoB, and I've definitely learned some things since then.

Maybe part of the difference in descriptiveness with the first chapter of this story is that I've had a lot more experience stumbling out of bars than having out-of-body experiences in King's Cross Station. ;) He's definitely at or near rock bottom at the start of this. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who sees a big difference between Draco and Lucius. Lucius should have known better, especially after the first war. Moreover, he should have taught his son better. I don't see Draco as completely innocent, but he's undeniably a product of his environment.

Astoria is a bit white-washed in this first chapter because you're seeing her through Draco's eyes. To him, she's sort of an angel of mercy who's descended into his gutter of misery to show him the way out. One thing that I try to do later in the story is balance her character out, considering that whatever else she might be, she's also a 16-year-old girl who has a lot of growing up to do still.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the first chapter! The story has been a lot more challenging to write than CoB. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #23, by Debra20At Great Personal Risk: Natural Talents

18th July 2013:
Things are moving forward. We finally see Lily and Severus in classes and I was greatly pleased to see that she was that talented at Charms. If I remember correctly, Lily had been good at it in the books as well. And of course Snape with Potions.

I can't shake off the weird feeling I have seeing their roles reversed. Severus being surrounded by a group of of people cheering him on and not trying to hex him makes for a strange image. However, it's an amazing way to read the story through both their eyes. As I am fond of "what if's", this has always been a big interest for me: what if it had been different? What if Lily had been the one to fall in love with Snape? What if Severus had been left in peace by the Marauders? It's a great opportunity to put ourselves in their placed and feel the story even deeper.

On the other hand, we know it didn't happen like this and it's disheartening to see Lily's struggles to fit in, knowing that in fact they were Snape's. I honestly love him so much as a character, with all his goods and bads, that it pains me to witness his hurt, more-so through the eyes of Lily. I'm very eager to see how they both develop, both as individuals and as a relationship!

Author's Response: Yeah, I kept the talents canon. It's hard for me to picture a universe where Lily isn't skilled at Charms and Severus isn't a master potioneer :)

It is bizarre for him to be accepted, huh? I agree that it can be fun to explore the "what ifs," and that's half the beauty of writing AU. Sometimes I have to force myself away from canon and really let my imagination run wild.

Trust me, it hurt my feelings to hurt Lily like this. I love her and see her as so innocent and good-hearted, and so this portrayal was truly a challenge. I guess being able to give Snape a decent life balanced it out for me, though.

I'm so glad you're enjoying the story so far, and I do hope to hear from you again soon! Thanks for your fantastic review!

-Amanda


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Review #24, by Debra20At Great Personal Risk: The First Years' First Test

18th July 2013:
Oh my this is sooo weird right now. Not 'bad' weird, just, strange. It's a queer feeling seeing the kids sorted in different Houses, which also makes me wonder how the story will go on from here. We've seen in the books that how the students are sorted have a pretty heavy influence on how they're going to be, what deeds they will do, etc. So I can't stop but think what's in store for Lily especially, since she's been sorted into Hufflepuff. I was genuinely surprised she ended up there because I'd have thought she would be put in any House, except that. From her personality in your story, I can see she's a feisty, fiery girl who keeps to herself most of the time, and Hufflepuff have always given me the complete impression. I'll definitely keep a lookout for the way her story develops!

I'm very intrigued by the development of this story and it's two major characters. I think having changed their background, their personalities, feelings will have a dramatic effect on how they play their part in the events that are bound to happen. Usually it takes only a little to change the future of a man, but having everything this different is a completely different story. At this moment the story raises more questions than offers answers, but I can completely live with it haha They motivate me to keep reading, dig for the answers myself. This is truly a gem. I've never read anything like it!

Author's Response: Haha, yeah, it probably is very weird to behold. I mostly put Lily in Hufflepuff because it was the unexpected choice and I wanted to be clear that all kinds of people can come from all kinds of Houses, but I also see her as an intensely loyal girl, which will become apparent as the story goes on.

I'm happy you're motivated to read on and try to find the answers to all of your questions! I'm not thrilled with the pacing of this one, because it was written before I really learned to slow down and take my time with a plot, but hopefully you enjoy seeing Lily and Severus in very unconventional roles here.

Thanks for another sweet review :)

-Amanda


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Review #25, by Debra20At Great Personal Risk: A Little Bit of Chemistry

18th July 2013:
OMG everything change after I read your A/N! When I thought there couldn't be anything else that could surprise me about you, you come up with this brilliant idea. It all makes so much sense now. Lily's parents arguing (who were supposed to be Snape's), her coming from a family of wizards (when it was him who was the Half Blood) and all the other elements. It's one of the most creative ideas I've ever read in fanfiction.

And now my mind is blown twice because of how well you're handling the plot. Even if we're not that far into the story yet, it must be difficult keeping track of everything, be attentive not to fall into proper canon. Both Snape and Lily seem very in character, despite their personalities switched. It's a queer thing seeing Severus this...cheerful? But it fits the theme of the story so well that you can't help but love him as you love sullen Snape (am I weird or what? LOL)

And they've met! I'm at the point of wondering if you've changed their feelings as well? Because we know that Snape was the one to love Lily in a romantic way, while Lily only cherished him as a very god friend, a brother. Will we see Lily actually loving him in this story? I'm incredibly eager to find this out. You have no idea how much this story has caught me :D

Author's Response: This idea was inspired by a challenge, and while mine ended up being the only finished entry, I still loved being able to just run with the notion of switched personalities and non-canon ideas. But yeah, it's not a perfect switch; some things remain the same, some change to their opposite, and some are kind of in the middle or just plain new altogether.

It was really weird writing Snape as a happy person, as sad as that is to say. Of course, it was also strange to write Lily as being so bitterly unhappy, but for some reason that came a lot more easily to me. Must be the angst.

Well, I won't answer that question--I'm afraid you'll have to read on, and I hope you do!

Thanks for another lovely review :)

-Amanda


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