Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,202 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Something Synthetic

28th June 2015:
Hi, Tori! I'm here for our swap.

I know that Devlin's small conceits are part and parcel to his character and he comes by them honestly, but they're also frustrating.

Harry did not understand; Devlin had Snape under control. Devlin had weapons. -- Sure, Dev. Whatever. We shall soon see who's controlling who.

He felt like that little lost boy as he stared at it all; certain it should have experienced the same level of change he had. -- You really nailed it with this one. I remember coming home from college to visit, feeling surprised that things hadn't changed much at all. And I wasn't even surrounded by murderous psychopaths at college. Devlin has changed so much -- been through so much -- since he left home to go to Hogwarts. Normality must be kind of jarring for him.

I love the way that you threaded Devlin's newfound knowledge of James and Lily's death through this chapter. It impacts his every interaction with Harry. Knowing is such a huge thing for Devlin and now he knows this very meaningful thing that Harry does not. It seems like it makes him feel powerful in one way buy wary and almost a little vulnerable in another.

"Hi, Mum." If someone at school dared to call him that, there would be blood all over them and Devlin's fist. He marveled at the fact that he had become so accustomed to her calling him that, that embarrassment no longer made his cheeks flush. She came over and ruffled his hair, planting a kiss into his scalp - an area that was hard to guard against her affection. -- I'm pretty sure that was my favorite paragraph of the whole chapter. I love the imagery and the feeling.

I really liked Emma's response to Devlin's reasoning for not becoming friends with Andrew. It's age-appropriate, which means a little simplistic in this case, but she also has a good point. Devlin can't go through four years of school isolating himself from everyone. Harry was putting his friends at the same basic risk, and that worked out pretty well in the end.

Hey, it's our old friend the wolf! I really love these scenes where you play with the dichotomy of Devlin and his wolf. Watching the wolf struggle to function in "the boy's world" is both entertaining and instructive.

It's pretty obvious by mid-chapter that something is very wrong with Devlin. Whatever's wrong also seems to be getting worse. His nightmare about killing Harry and Emma is eerily reminiscent of the scene in OotP where Harry was seeing through Nagini's eyes.

Harry's gift was pretty awesome and it says a lot about the near-term future that Harry sees for Devlin. I liked that he didn't bother with anything like an emergency portkey. Devlin would never use it anyway. But the "wizard survival kit" could come in handy in a lot of ways. Now the potions kit was another interesting touch, especially the part where he notes that Voldemort doesn't encourage him to take an interest in it. Duly noted...

I always feel strange when I'm writing a review and I come to the part of a chapter where Snape and Devlin are interacting. I feel like I should write more about it, because I enjoy the two of them immensely. But I never seem to be able to, because nothing I can say about them seems adequate. It's such a sublime pleasure to see these two magnificent characters spar and dance. It's even better, I think, when we get to see it from Snape's point of view. The last half of the story was a treat.

I'll say a bit about Geoffrey. It's fairly clear now how the curse that Voldemort used to tie him to Devlin works. I like Geoffrey's through process here. He has a small edge over Devlin, one that actually helps him to keep the boy safe. And he's not about to five that up.

The last scene introduced so many new possibilities, it had my head spinning. A synthetic ingredient, whose effectiveness seems tied, in some way, to either Voldemort's magic or the magic of the person who synthesized it. It does seem very unnatural, and the possibility that Voldemort himself was unaware of it means that it's possible that whoever the Dark Lord commissioned to create the potion betrayed him after a fashion.

"Of course you will, because you have chosen to play a very dangerous game. Foolish boy." -- That moment when you realize that Snape knew more of what he was talking about than you imagined possible.

"And yet, you took it. How powerful you are." -- My review would be woefully incomplete if I didn't highlight the best Snape moment of the story so far.

I believe I caught a typo:

He yanked a the door, making his imagine disappear, while revealing the potions behind. -- yanked at the door

Awesome job! I really enjoyed this one!

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Review #2, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bated Breath: Scorpius POV

26th June 2015:
Hi, Beth! I read this chapter a week ago and writing this review has been on my to-do list ever since. Let's see if I can fix that this morning!

So you've now compounded the mystery of who attacked Rose with the mystery of why the healers can't keep her heart rate under control. I'm looking all over for suspects here. Based on the blond hair from the last chapter, I didn't feel like I could completely rule out Scorpius. Whether he was possessed or under the influence of some curse or whatever the reason, the details would fit. But then we see the calming effect he has on Rose in this chapter and it makes me less suspicious. Then again, sometimes when you make me less suspicious, that makes me more suspicious. You see the complex relationship I have with this story. ;)

The next common thread that runs through everything bad that's happened to Rose (the attack on her flat, the attack on the pub and the attack at Grimmauld Place) is Selenia. In her case, the question would be motivation. She's obviously had plenty of opportunities to kill Rose along the way, without any interference from anyone, so why would she resort to such brazen tactics and then help to keep Rose alive. Unless, of course, her objective isn't to kill Rose but instead to draw Rose and Scorpius together. Perhaps more people than just Hermione understand that the prophecy likely refers to Scorpius and Rose, not Stannous and Rose. Perhaps there are forces conspiring to bring about the birth of Rose and Scorpius's child, but intending to kidnap and raise the baby for their own, nefarious purposes. So perhaps cursing Rose to raise her heart rate was a plan to try to force the healers to take the baby early? Or perhaps I'm overthinking this by a mile.

The last thread is the woman at St. Mungo's who also worked at the pub. She would be an untidy solution, since she wasn't around for the attack on Rose's flat. Unless... hmmnn... I can't remember which happened first, the incident where all of the splinched victims came to St. Mungo's or the attack on the flat. I might have to go back and check.

Anyway, along with this chapter. I really liked Scorpius's private little confession to Rose in the hospital room. It's pretty much everything that I think all of your readers have been thinking for several chapters now. It also reminds me a bit of a scene that you'll see near the very end of CoB, so we have some nice synergy working here. ;)

I'm a little conflicted about the way Scorpius's presence affects Rose's condition. Don't take this the wrong way, but it felt a little too easy to me. Throughout the story, you've done such a great job of detailing the struggles that these characters face and showing how they're able to overcome them. It's not that I wish difficulty on Rose and Scorpius, but it felt a little awkward in the context of the rest of the story.

Healer Lawrence seems like a great, thunderous jerk. By the time the big confrontation is filling the room, I was rooting for Albus to curse him.

Again, we see Selenia intervening at the perfect moment to prevent something from happening to Rose that might hurt the baby and to bring Rose and Scorpius closer together. Why does this character doing such a wonderful, selfless thing make me so suspicious??? This is what you do to me, Beth!!!

I liked the contrast you were able to create between the amusing chaos going on outside of Scorpius's silencing spell and the very touching moment happening inside of it. It's as though there were two separate worlds coexisting in the same room, divided by this semi-transparent barrier.

That's mostly all I have. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I am filled with suspicion. Whodunnit? Who? WHO?

I hope we find out soon. Can't take much more. :p

Great job!

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Review #3, by CambAngstThe Human Factor : The One Where Everything Changes

21st June 2015:
Hi, Keely! It's always a special treat when you come back around to update this story. It's also a special treat when Pippa experiences a big change in her life. So this chapter was a double treat!

Whenever I come back to this story after a long break, one of the things that hits me is just how well you write these deeply introspective scenes where Pippa translates emotional pain into physical pain. It's a special talent you have and I really hope it isn't based too much on real life experience because the way you write it is gut-wrenching. Pippa is such a tortured soul. I know there's a component of it that's over-dramatized. She's a teenager, after all. But there's obviously part of it that's horribly, agonizingly real and I feel terrible for her. Every time I come back to this story I'm blown away all over again.

When Pippa has these tender moments with Scorpius -- which Scorpius is usually not aware of -- I feel like it's one of the rare occasions that we're seeing her as she used to be, before her break-up tore her world apart. It's a different angle on the character and it adds so much depth and nuance. I also think it's striking how strong Scorpius really is, to be able to take all the abuse Pippa directs toward him but still see the person that she is on the inside. Pippa thinks she's tough, but it's a very fragile sort of toughness. Scorpius is, in reality, much tougher.

Ah, Slytherin girls in love. You did a really good job of capturing the complex emotions and relationship dynamics between Emilie and Damien. It's obvious that she went into things with one set of intentions and, well, love has a funny way of surprising you. Pippa both understands and doesn't understand. It obviously evokes some powerful feelings in her, and I felt so bad for her when she's gripped by the desire to go running back to her ex. One last thing, I thought it was perfectly in character for Pippa not to be able to accept or be happy for Emilie and her brother.

Since everything else is burning down in this chapter, I suppose it was a good time to deal with Cassie and her betrayal. Truthfully, Pippa took it better than I expected. Which is not to say she took it well, mind you. It's just that she didn't crumble on the spot or collapse into a fit of cleaning. Well, I guess that came a bit later.

And then comes Albus. This is definitely a moment I've been waiting for. That said, it happened in a pretty painful, emotionally overcharged moment. Which, I suppose, was to be expected. There definitely weren't going to be any sweet moments between these two. Instead, it was rough and aggressive and there was a definite struggle for control. That's what makes these two so perfect for one another, I think. They both have this burning need to be in control and dominate every aspect of their lives, yet they seem to crave giving up control. You write it all brilliantly.

I was so excited to see you post a new chapter. I really do love this story. There are so many Next Gen stories on HPFF that try to achieve the perfect mix of angst and humor and drama and sarcasm and confusing teenage romance that you have created. Like I said, it's often imitated but never quite equaled. By the way, this is my 1,200th review in the archives and I am very pleased that it went to your story. Until next time!

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Review #4, by CambAngstShattered: Chapter 1

18th June 2015:
Hi, Kaitlin and Theia! I saw the tweet about this story and it sounded interesting.

Bad people come from bad situations, or so the saying goes. I think you did a good job of showing the situation that gave us Barty, Sr. and Barty, Jr. It was heart-breaking to read, how the poor boy was neglected by his workaholic father.

The picture you painted here fits so perfectly with everything we know about this family from the books. Barty, Sr. is such a gruff, angry person. It's not at all hard to imagine him making snap decisions, like sending Sirius away to Azkaban with no trial. Given his violent nature, it's also not hard to imagine him allowing (probably even encouraging) the Aurors to use unforgivable curses against the Death Eaters.

Mrs. Crouch shows all the signs of being a battered spouse. It's also apparent that she's trying her hardest to compensate for her husband's pattern of neglecting Barty, Jr. Again, not hard at all to imagine her willingly taking her son's place in Azkaban.

The seeds of resentment are plainly being sown between Barty, Jr. and his father. A parent's attention means so much to little kids, and he isn't getting any. Then to hear his father say such hurtful things and physically assault his mother... awful!

I saw one thing that looked like a typo to me:

The smell of chocolate cake wafted through the air and politer chatter filled the room. -- polite chatter

Otherwise, lovely writing. Everything flowed nicely and it was an easy read that didn't feel as long as it was. Good job and good luck in your collab!

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Review #5, by CambAngstSirius Black: Escape from Azkaban: Chapter One: A Dog's Day of Freedom

17th June 2015:
Hi, Kat! I'm here for our swap. This is, for whatever it's worth, the first swap I've ever hooked up via Twitter. Breaking new ground.

I thought you did a fabulous job of capturing all of the thought and feelings that run through Sirius as he makes his bid for freedom. The way you wrote it wasn't overdone or emotionally monochromatic. (That's a thing, right? ;) It was subtle and complicated and nicely balanced. You hit on all of the events and reactions that would have been meaningful to Sirius and you gave us some really good context for what's to come.

I like what you did with the impact that the Dementors had on Sirius and the other inmates. Stealing a person's emotions, leaving them devoid of feelings is a bit of a different take from what I normally read. Being forced to relive your worst memories while being emotionally drained must be a terrible, hollow existence. It also sets the stage very well for what happens next. I didn't have any problem believing that Sirius would have preferred death to continuing to live the life he had in Azkaban. The only thing that seemed odd about him jumping off the cliff was that he took so long to do it.

Once he arrives on the mainland (more or less. Britain is an island, but you know what I mean) the rush of feeling and emotion was breathtaking to read. All of the sensations (warmth, energy, exhilaration) and emotions (joy, sadness, anger) that tear through Sirius were really well done. Even though he must have been exhausted and starving, it's not hard to imagine him taking the time to simply enjoy being free and able to think and feel clearly again.

I liked that you left some ambiguity around the dream, whether it was truly a supernatural experience or merely Sirius's mind struggling with his feelings. I'm quite sure this is exactly how the conversation would have played out if James and Remus had actually been there, and I'm sure that Sirius's subconscious mind knows that. So is it real or is it all in his head? Well, we all know the proper answer to that question. ;)

Your writing was great in this chapter. Everything flowed beautifully and I only saw one thing that I'd suggest editing:

He'd felt the wind blow across his face in the clearing, he'd felt James' arms wrap around him just as Sirius' own did around James after Prong's parents died, he'd felt the tears about to fall down his face just as he did the day he found Lily and James dead in their home twelve years ago. -- Prongs's parents

I have to assume that you're planning to edit it more for substance than style, so I'm sort of curious what you're going to change. Overall, great job! Thanks for the swap!

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Review #6, by CambAngstGrey.: Grey

14th June 2015:
Hi, Gabbie!

This story was a really powerful study in self-loathing. After the terrible things that Draco did in your timeline for Force of Wills, it's not hard to imagine him coming to dislike himself, but here we see him wallowing in pure self-hatred. It's not fun to read, per se, but you do a really amazing job of capturing the depths of his despair and all of the regrets and pain that go along with it.

First off, I loved the setting. Thunderstorms always go well with strong, turbulent emotions. You came up with some clever ways to capture the experience: the booming sounds and the splattering against the windows. It compliments Draco's mindset well.

Poor, old Lucius. I did something similar to him in Detox, although the timeline doesn't go far enough to see him degrade to this point. It's really hard for me to imagine that he escaped the war without being severely mentally damaged. He led such a posh life until he made the regrettable decision to enlist in the Death Eaters. I never thought of him as properly cut out to thrive among lunatics and killers. The time in Azkaban didn't do him any favors, either. All in all, it's a miracle that he made it to the end of the war in one piece and once his Dark Lord was defeated it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that he crumbled.

Narcissa is sadder to see in this situation. By the end of canon, I came to think of her as a strong woman. Far stronger than her husband, at any rate. She was the Malfoy family's rock through the darkest days of the war, the one how held things together and made the most important call at the end. It pains me to think that she came apart so.

All throughout this story, we see signs of Draco's physical decay. You did a good job of describing the carnage and capturing the damage that is alcoholism is doing.

It's also interesting to see the things that haunt Draco from the battle. It's curious to imagine Fred pushing him out of the way of a curse, but then again it probably wasn't always easy to tell friend from foe.

There was an unholy taint on his childhood home that no amount of time could wash away and he despised the man that he had once thrived to be, "I'll never be a man." -- Harsh, but understandable. Also, "thrived to be" is sort of an awkward phrasing. Maybe "strived to be"?

I liked the letter from Astoria. Time and impending motherhood have obviously given her some perspective that Draco is sorely lacking. Some perspective that he could definitely use. If only he can find the courage to take her up on her offer.

The section that follows was one where I had two diverging lines of thought. One line said that you needed to make accommodations for readers who are not familiar with the storyline of Force of Wills. In those terms, you did a good job. You laid out just enough information for the reader to get the gist of what happened without rehashing the whole thing. A reader who wanted to know more can easily go read Force of Wills now if they want to. And some might want to. ;) My other line of thought is that it slowed the pace done somewhat and maybe you could have gotten by with less. Just a hint of Draco and Astoria's past and a good plug in your author's note.

You just hinted at the possibility of Draco figuring out what love feels like near the end. It seems like it's definitely possible that Pansy feel some love for him. I'm certain his mother does. Amidst all of the gloom and heartache and despair, I felt the tiniest little bit of hope for Draco. It was a nice note to wrap up on.

I want you to find happiness. -- I have to say, I feel the same way.

I saw one other thing you might want to take a second look at:

He nearly smiled at the memories but pushed them aside, he was certain that his father would never be returning to this room any time soon. -- "any time soon" sort of contradicts the word "never" earlier in the sentence.

Aside from those little things, your writing was terrific. You did a great job with this!

Author's Response: Hello!

Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me this great review. I was feeling unsure of this one-shot but you made me feel a lot better about it. It's weird, but I have far too many stories that deal with depression (Like my one-shot Glass in which Teddy Lupin nearly kills himself) and it's really hard to get the courage to post them sometimes.


I think that Draco would really despise himself after the War. Now, a lot of people tend to sugar coat everything and act like he's some kind of savior but he wasn't necessarily a good person when he was in Hogwarts. Why would that change afterward? I know that I played around with that, especially with what he did so you can see how it's really affected him.

I honestly thought about starting this story with Draco out in the middle of the thunderstorm but I thought that would have been a bit much. He could have gotten struck by lightning and stuff...

It's strange how more people don't have Lucius being in a bad condition after the War. The fact that I put him in St. Mungo's for spell damage (I neglected to mention his stint in Azkaban so we had a brain meld with that one) is just a nice little tip off to my own universe. In my older stories, it's mentioned that he kind of went insane and because I wanted to keep track of what I write, I made sure to include this. Also, it's just so nice writing about Lucius Malfoy's pompous nature being broken down with decay. I am a petty person, I feel no shame!

I think that Narcissa might actually get more strength but during this particular story she was broken down. I wanted to show that Draco wasn't the only person suffering here and the fact that she's so weakened by it all really shows how much the War took her joy away.

Angst is my pride and joy so if I can't have you guys feeling awful at the end of it, I haven't done my job. Hahaha. Yeesh.

Now, the thing about Fred pushing Draco out of the way during the Battle is because of two reasons: Draco actually gave his son, Benjamin Fred's name (But try saying Benjamin Frederick Malfoy ten times, eh?) and I haven't gotten around to mentioning it in my other stories. There's also the point that while Draco was a horrible person and deserved to die in the eyes of many, a good man lost his life. It was a memory that amplified his self-loathing and guilt.

The "thrived to be" portion bugged me too but I think it works better. Draco doesn't think of himself as a living thing and thriving to be something other than himself is what he wants. But "strive to be" sounds better so I might change it at some point cause you're awesome and junk.

I struggled with the letter from Astoria because I wasn't sure what to put into it. I wanted Draco to understand that he was being thought of, even worried over and at the end, I hope that he can have the courage to speak with her.

Now, I got some criticism for the diverging thoughts. I looked it over and thought about changing it because while I give enough detail about his relationship with Astoria, it felt like too much. I didn't need to include the fact that she was married to Blaise either. You can kind of get the hint by her last name, right? Hahaha. The reason for his guilt though was something that I should have focused on more. Also, I hope that you do stop by A Force of Wills again, I do the most terrible things to my characters. Muahahahhaha.

You know, we get the sense that Draco MIGHT get better and I wanted to leave that with you guys. Now, I'm not going to spoil it for you and say he DOES but I wanted the hope to be there.

Thanks for the CC!

Hope to see you again!

Much love,


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Review #7, by CambAngstUnravel. : Blaise.

10th June 2015:
Hi, again! Back to review your second chapter.

You changed up the narrative voice nicely to fit Blaise in this chapter. He comes across with a different sort of arrogance, more forceful and dominating and dismissive. It fits the male persona better, the voice of someone who was born to be in control of their situation.

I loved the dark imagery that pervades the entire chapter. From Blaise's realization of what will happen to him if his secret gets out to his recollections of the Yule Ball and the Slytherin Common Room right down to his fixation on Theo's eyes, everything is dark and brooding and dangerous.

One really neat touch, at least for me, is the fact that Blaise doesn't really romanticize Theo or imbue him with love or tenderness. He sees Theo for what he is: strong-willed, physically assertive and almost violent. He doesn't imagine tender caresses, but rather having his arms painfully grabbed and wrestling on the ground.

You did a great job of capturing the disappointment -- disgust, really -- that Blaise feels with himself. I loved the way he relays the story of his evening with the Veela girl. He's crying out "what's wrong with me?" to an uncaring, judgmental world. But it's not done in a self-pitying way. Gay or straight, self-hating or not, Blaise Zabini is above self-pity.

The ending, where he ties his feelings into the way other people fear the Dark Lord, was inspired. You did a great job of bringing the premise home.

Again, your writing was fantastic. You use language incredibly well and typos? Ha! A typo would stick out like a sore thumb in this story.

Excellent job!

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Review #8, by CambAngstUnravel. : Pansy.

9th June 2015:
Hi, Theia! I read all three chapter of this story the other night and I really couldn't wait to get started on reviewing it. So here goes!

I imagine that a lot of people will find Blaise's chapter to be more sad and moving than Pansy's, but for some reason this chapter made a stronger impact on me. I think it has to do with the illusion of control that OCD sufferers feel. For Pansy, she feels like she's exerting more and more control over things as her obsessions spirals farther and farther out of control. It's a vicious cycle that eventually leads to a physical or psychological breakdown. Or both. And unlike Blaise, who's fully aware of his sexuality even if he chooses to continue to hide it, Pansy doesn't even realize that it's happening.

The methodical way that you built up Pansy's life and daily routine was spot-on. Her focus on numerical consistency and symmetry are hallmarks of the disorder. It seems that the disorder extends to nearly every aspect of her life, from her routine to being overly critical of her own physical appearance.

I can't completely decide what I think about the possibility of Pansy being a fashion designer. Her obsessive tendencies could certainly be an asset, but that could be a bad thing as much as a good thing. Being rewarded for your problems is hardly an incentive to get them under control.

She's even obsessively analytical about the way she suffers from bulimia. Every time I think her story has gotten as sad as it can be, you find new ways to highlight her affliction.

Then you bring in the final piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Pansy feels inferior to her mother. Unable to live up to the standard. That's certainly not to say that one caused the other. These things are rarely that simple. But it does round out the picture in a nice way.

Your writing was impeccable in this. I loved the narrative technique you used and the way that you used italics to draw out the central themes as Pansy herself perceived them.

Great job!

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Review #9, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: Meet the Wotters

7th June 2015:
Hi, Roisin! Tagging you once more from the Review the Person Above You thread.

You did something very clever in this chapter, the kind of storytelling technique that's far too rare on HPFF. You started off with Roxanne making her determination that Scorpius wasn't shooting up, then you show in a flash of "Duh!" how he would have covered the signs, then she finds him comatose with his track marks magically concealed. The whole thing comes full circle through the middle of a warm and familiar-feeling family gathering, the perfect way to set the reader temporarily at ease before the next punch lands. All in all, an excellent emotional play!

Once again, you've done a fantastic job of writing the "technical magic" aspects of this chapter. I loved the scene in the kitchen with all of the procedures and parlance and the logical tear-down of how certain things came to be.

This mysterious supplier had been one of the most careless and selfish people she'd ever heard of. They'd obviously added heroin to the mix in order to make it addictive. They'd used black tar because it was cheaper, even though it was deadlier. They hadn't even cared what was in it, and now, people were dying. -- Seems consistent with the business practices of every high-level supplier that I've ever read about. It's all about the Benjamins.

"The supplier won't be parceling any more to the dealers just yet. And I can manage the antidote. Go to the party." His earnest expression appeared weirdly distorted by the bubblehead. -- With the benefit of perfect hindsight, this should have been a huge red flag. Up to this point, Scorpius had been so ruthlessly, single-mindedly dedicated to the investigation. He would wake her up in the middle of the night and drag her through drug dens, for Pete's sake. And now he's casually telling her to run off and have a good time? Doesn't fit. He's already made the decision at this point that he's going to shoot up. The question that tugs at the edge of my brain is why? Why now? More on this later...

Again, you did a great job of drawing out the change that's taken place in Roxanne. She doesn't feel like she belongs in Diurn Alley any longer. With the new perspective that her investigation has given her, it all seems a bit silly and overdone.

I would be completely remiss not to comment on how wonderful it is to imagine that Lucius Malfoy's stuffy, snobby old social club has been transmuted into a rock concert venue. Warms my heart! There used to be a place in Providence, RI called The Strand. It was originally a theater, built in the 1910's. By the 1990's, it had become a fairly popular live concert venue, but it still kept some of that old-time vaudeville theater feel. There was something really neat about being in the middle of a mosh pit and looking up to see the box seats and the cathedral ceiling and all the other posh details of days gone by.

The Patil-Browns? Which twin did Lavender marry?

I thought Roxanne handled the fallout from the Prophet article about as well as she could have. Good thing everyone in her family is used to dealing with the paparazzi. Speaking of her family, you did a nice job of working a lot of characters into a scene without the pace feeling overly hectic.

Ah, drunken Ron! My favorite kind of Ron!

I loved the banter between Rose and Hugo. Sex-positive is always a great thing until it's coming from your parents or siblings. Then, not so much.

Finally, there's the conversation that Roxanne wanders into between Hugo and James. Sometimes we have to have things waved in our face before the point sinks in...

Now, I have a suspicion that I'll share with you at the risk of looking exceedingly foolish. The fact that Scorpius is an addict doesn't necessarily mean that he's a junkie. The way you've built up his character in this story, I wouldn't put it completely past him to have made a decision to get hooked on silver as part of his "research". A means of studying the drug, determining its effects, potency and danger. Or that could simply be what he's telling himself. He's a complex character and I think there are many degrees of truth and fiction and self-deception with him.

Gah! I've come to the end of your published chapters! Save me!

Awesome job, though. I'm really, really looking forward to the next!

Author's Response: OK, YAS. I'm SO glad that I might have successfully made readers second-guess Perry's addiction. I just didn't want Roxanne to seem DUMB for not cutting her losses or figuring it out earlier.

I just can't NOT nerd out about magic :p I tried REALLY hard in this story not to overwhelm readers with made-up magic jargon! A difficult balance for a nerd like me, so I'm stoked that it worked :) [but I guess we're all nerds here, so I'm safe!]

Roxanne's perspective also leaks through in that section. She's more angry that the drugs are DANGEROUS than that they're drugs. As a Healer, she would probably trend closer to a Harm Reduction perspective than a "Just Say No" one.

OK, again, SO glad that that moment is obvious in hindsight! I worried to no end about not being too obvious or too subtle. Like, I wanted things to maybe not raise flags the first time but then click after!

Oh yes, this is definitely Roxanne's story :) She's on her way to completing her to-do list from chapter one: 1) Find Yourself 2) Get a Life. The insulated, privileged, career-track life Roxanne has lead has, I think, kind of kept her from exploring and developing various aspects of her character. I mean, let's not forget, she's George Weasley's daughter!

Oooh, we used to have venues like that in SF on Broadway! Sadly, all gone now :(

HAH, it is a specific twin, too! To find out, check out "A Lightness" by Teh Tarik!

I'm REALLY glad that all the family didn't seem like a total self-indulgent dump of characters (which it was). I tried for a bit of self-awareness there by giving it this chapter title.

Hahaha, I feel like Rose and Hermione have really frank, honest discussions and Ron and Hugo are just like "AH!" (I headcanon Hermione as being really self-aware, sex positive, and chill. MOST people here don't see her that way, but I think it's supported in canon. Emma Watson played her as uptight and weird, but canon Hermione was more manic and passionate than anything. And when it came to romantic relationships, she was always remarkably solid and relaxed and aware. Like when she talked to Harry about kissing Cho, she didn't blush or euphemize or get weird like Ron.)

"--the point sinks in"--HAHA! (sorry, totally not cool to make a shooting-up joke)

Your theory on Perry is really good. I think it started that way. Maybe he told himself that was his reason, but really, he just likes drugs. I mean, going out and buying as much as possible isn't a great plan (as you pointed out), but in my experience, addicts just really like talking about drugs and interacting with them and being around them. It's an almost romantic obsession (I mean, "it's my wife, and it's my life"-Heroin by Lou Reed. Or how in ANY movie or book about junkies they compare drugs to sex). So yeah, I think Perry's addiction kinda clouds his judgement, making him make choices that aren't super good in the long run. Or the short run, as the case may be.

"Addict but not a junkie." Well spotted ;)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THIS FANTASTIC SWAPPING, DAN! YOU RULE AND ARE THE VERY BEST EVER! They next chapter should be up really soon (just doing some last edits) :)


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Review #10, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: Stakeout!

6th June 2015:
Hi, Roisin! Tagging you again from the Review the Person Above You thread.

Wait, Freddie is gay? Well that would have been useful to know before you made me guess whose letter was whose in the last chapter. Seriously, you can't go asking questions like that if you're going to hoard relevant information. My world is crashing down...

While my world crashes, I have to say that you did an excellent job with the Skeeter article. It was catty, mean, journalistically shoddy tabloid trash. Also -- and this might be the most important element -- even though the story is about Roxanne and her family, there's that persistent undertone that everything is really all about the author. The way that Skeeter the Younger coins nicknames for people, the way that she leans heavily on anonymous sources, the way that she alternately fawns over some actors and trashes others... all perfect Skeeter. Bravo!

Scorpius's reaction was interesting, as well. (Forgive me, but I'm really going to struggle to call him Perry.) You can pretty easily tell which parts of the article hit home based on his lack of enthusiasm for discussing them.

So many things lose their appeal in the sober light of day. Dumb ideas always sound so much more fun in the hazy darkness of night. Especially when inebriated and surrounded by friends in a similar state of sobriety.

I liked the little flash of insight into Scorpius's family life. Or lack thereof. There are so many different ways to imagine Draco and Astoria, each with its own implications.

Star Wars Episode LXIV -- Oh, no, you didn't! Oh, no, you didn't, Roisin! I can't believe you went there. This story would only be happening in, what, 2025 or so? The Mouse House can't have made more than 15 or 20 of them by then. ;)

Loved the verbal repartee with Skeeter. Neither side ceding and inch.

I get the sense that Harry and Justin are good cop/bad copping Roxanne and Scorpius just a bit. Not that Harry would do anything against Roxanne's best interests (Scorpius's either, for that matter) but his presence allows Justin to be more of a pushy jerk because of his calming effect. If that's what you were going for, it's a nice touch.

The discussion about formulating an antidote was brilliantly done. Not only do you understand the nuances of such a thing, but you made it translate really well into a discussion that felt appropriate to the characters.

Ha! I definitely read Scorpius's instructions to Roxanne as one, long sentence spoken without taking a breath.

Hmmnn... I'm still not sold on Skeeter's idea that Roxanne and Blishwick were having an affair, but it seems like there's definitely something Roxanne knows that Blishwick doesn't want to get out. Otherwise, I don't think he'd be quite so paranoid about her showing up in the press. I'm sure there will be more to come on that topic.

It's not all that surprising that Scorpius is an addict. You've been hinting at that sort of behavior since the beginning: the mania, the insomnia. That doesn't mean that he's actively using, of course, but the risk is always there. Roxy is definitely rethinking the idea of keeping a gigantic haul of drugs in their flat, I'm sure.

Another great chapter! This is a really good story!

Author's Response: Hah yeah--I made sure to upload these 4 chapters at once (TA WUT) so that readers who went straight through would be like 'ah, I see it now.'

I'm so glad you mention that the article is something of an introduction to Marga's character, and probably said more of HER than about Roxanne and her family. Bit of a give-away that should would became an actual character within the chapter itself.

It's weird because while writing he's Perry to me, but in discussion he's Scorpius. Perry is so much easier to type though!

I totally got myself in a bind because I was so excited to introduce the IDEA of a stakeout. But actual stakeouts are super boring...

I think my personal headcanon about Astoria is closer to Detox (Draco becomes much more mature, Astoria is pretty cool, Scorpius turns out awesome and ScoRose happens), but Nice!Headcanon isn't super interesting. Here, I needed Scorpius to not have a strong mother-figure, and divorced parents fit. In that case, I figured there had to be something a little off about her (probable autistic spectrum thing that stuffy purebloods can't understand), in order for the Greengrasses to ever CONSIDER negotiating a marriage with the Malfoys. Their reasoning being that while their reputation was destroyed, Lucius and Draco weren't sentenced and had managed to keep hold of their assets. Good enough. Both parties were basically forced into the marriage.

Star Wars Episode LXIV, hah. So yeah, it's actually set in 2030, but that doesn't make the joke less absurd :p There's totally absurdist humor in this fic, only it's gently nested!

I do think you're right about Good Cop/Bad Cop. There are a few things going on with him trying to navigate the Boss role, but certainly that too.

SO GLAD that his one-sentence-no-breath thing came off! I had SUCH a strong image in my head of that whole scene and wasn't sure if I got all the timing right.

"Young woman? Older man? Drama? MUST BE AN AFFAIR!" That is such a simplistic, and frankly sexist (to men AND women) conclusion to jump to. And it's the conclusion that ALWAYS gets jumped to. (For two years I worked in a politicians office and then on his campaign and I was a high-level person throughout--despite my age and not being done with college yet [I was very good at my job!] And of course we became friends, so ALL OF MY AUNTS suspected we were having an affair, even though he's about 5'4" and married. To a MAN).

I definitely had to have Perry be an addict. I wanted this story to be as different from BBC's Sherlock as possible, and use whatever Holmesian pastiche stuff they neglected, so "master of disguise" and "addict" got played up way more.

Thank you so much for the review!

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Review #11, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: The Huddled Masses

5th June 2015:
Hi, Roisin! Tagging you some more from the Review the Person Above You thread.

Nobody in the Black or Malfoy family gets off easy where names are concerned. Lucius did better than most in that department. As much as I'd like to believe that Scorpius is inquiring about Roxanne's relationship status out of romantic interest, I'd say it's more likely that the information is part of his attempt to more accurately profile her. To determine how she might react to his master plan.

Hmmnn... This is probably just me overthinking things by a large margin, but I had a little trouble getting my head around the idea of this drug being a threat to the Statute of Secrecy. I feel reasonably sure that other magical items have accidentally made their way into the hands of the muggle authorities in the past. This would obviously come with a higher profile, but it still seems like a bit of a stretch to imagine it outing magical society. It's certainly bad news and something that the Ministry would take very seriously, but I thought you maybe went half a step too far in this case.

I really liked the process of Roxy getting into her disguise and the ensuing trip to Diagon Alley. It contained so many moments where she had to let go of her gentrified past and deal with life "as the other half lives". Scorpius was a great foil for this process because -- whether out of dedication or general cultural tone-deafness -- he doesn't shy away from things that scare other people, like race and class. Granted, he pays a price for this in the form of an elbow and a punch...

"So we just... try to buy it all?" Roxanne clarified. -- I remember feeling really unsure about this element of the plan when I read this chapter the first time. (Yes, I read this one right after the first one. Couldn't resist.) It seems to me that, although this will reduce supply in the near term, it's also dramatically increasing demand. Being a commodities trader, I'm a firm believer in the forces of supply and demand. If the demand is there, supply will eventually rise to meet it. I guess all I'm saying is that it's a strategy with a limited shelf life. You can ignore me now.

"Fine. Malpractice and insubordination," she replied. "I got off on a technicality." -- Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Roxy was ordered to do something ethically questionable and refused? Why do I have the strangest feeling that this element of her back story is going to tie directly into the situation that she faces when trying to deal with the drug pushers and addicts that we meet later in this chapter?

I freely admit: I love the way that Scorpius deals with the dishwasher that they make their first score off of. I will neither confirm nor deny that I've felt the temptation to act out similarly in a situation closely resembling this one at certain points in my life.

Wow. The entire scene in the shop in Camden was so messed up but so recognizable. You did a fantastic job of making it gritty and real and not even a little bit glamorized. I think the most realistic and haunting detail was the fact that the dealer seemed like basically a nice kid. He wasn't fiendish or predatory or dishonest or any of the other stereotypes that always get applied to dealers. In a way, that's the saddest detail of all. Drugs don't just destroy bad people.

It didn't take Scorpius long to come to the same conclusion about his strategy. Glad to see that it wasn't just me.

Movie theater popcorn butter. That was a clever clue because it's so realistic. Nothing else has that distinctive smell. Precisely chemically engineered to invoke the sensation of binging on cheap carbohydrates in a dark room with your brain turned off. Ahhh...

Ugh. I see that Rita Skeeter is alive and well in your world. Doesn't seem like a good thing to me.

I'm not sure about all of the owls she receives, but I'm going to guess that the second is from Angelina. The fourth is plainly from Hermione and the last from Harry. That leaves the first, third and fifth to guess on. Fifth could well be Albus, since he had a reason to be in Diagon Alley. Third is obviously female. Rose?

Very enjoyable chapter! Looking forward to more!

Author's Response: Yayay!

Yes you're right to guess that Scorpius is just trying to guage her. There's a thing I heard of called 'queerbaiting,' where shows will sort of set up audiences to ship a (doomed) same sex pairing. Holmes/Watson might be the doomed pairing that set off this trend (it's had shippers for, like, a century) so I decided to reverse that and do some 'straightbaiting' here :P Roxanne/Perry is, alas, not a thing (I imagine him as asexual-homoromantic, as many have interpreted the original Sherlock Holmes), but there is undeniable awkwardness from the whole 'different genders' thing and their living together.

You have a point with the Statute thing--I should go back and re-work that. I figure that, unlike a one-off magical item, this is something bound to show up on multiple occasions in several muggle hospitals (with trained chemists looking at it), so the fall-out once it's discovered would be impossible to control, because they wouldn't be able to find /every/ person who knew about it before information spread even more. Something would rapidly make the news, and in the time the Ministry did obligatory obliviations and cover-ups/misinformation, someone would figure it out and on and on. Or maybe that's not workable, but I can at least throw more detail in and hope, right?

I love your point about Roxanne's gentrified past and seeing 'the other half!' VERY on point! And yes! Perry has something of a compulsion towards those things that scare people or make them uncomfortable. He's sort of an 'outside society' type that refuses to conform, and rather seeks out the strange and stuff.

Yes yes! Supply and Demand, well spotted! It buys them some time, but not much, and ultimately raises the stakes. A risky, desperate choice.

Ooh yes, Roxanne is a trained Healer, so ethics is a major thing for her! YOU ARE WAY TOO GOOD AT READING THIS STORY.

Oh good, I'm glad the thing with the dishwasher gave you as much satisfaction as it did me.

"Drugs don't just destroy bad people"--exactly. Since I went with a drugs plot, I decided I wanted to do as nuanced of an analysis as possible. It was definitely a shock to Roxanne to see what a kind of nice kid he was, despite everything. She's forced to confront there that maybe the issues around drugs are more complicated than she realized before (though, again as a Healer, her approach is a pretty good one: it's a public health issue).

Right! NOTHING smells like movie theater 'butter'! I'd recognize it anywhere, but Roxanne being a witch, it took her a bit longer to jog.

Right on Albus and Hermione! Nice one! The second is actually Audrey (I imagine Angelina as a bit of a blunter person--hence George in the first letter saying she's in a fit about Roxy's hair. But her parents aren't particularly worried about her, since they know she's solid. Just curious about what's going on, and yeah, upset about her hair, as Angelina would have doubtlessly spent a lot of time teaching her daughter all about textured hair-care). "Third is obviously female"--hah! Very close :) It's actually Freddie, granted, he's a total queen :P


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Review #12, by CambAngstAn Illusion of Sanity: The One Where Jelly is Jam

5th June 2015:
Hi, Rachel! Tagging you from Review Tag!

I started to read chapter 1 and it seemed really, really familiar to me. Then I got to the bottom and realized that I had reviewed it already! I don't know where my brain is lately. At any rate, it was a good refresher and now I'm back for chapter 2.

You brought your characters along nicely in this chapter. I know more about them now, but there are still plenty of mysteries left. I'm curious about the "incident" that led to Perri leaving the States and coming to Hogwarts, but that's a pretty obvious one. I'm equally curious about why she seems to know the Potters and Weasleys so well. Or at a minimum, why they know her so well. What's the connection here?

You did a good job of making Perri's late-night (early morning?) encounter with Freddy seem natural. I'm still sort of curious as to why he was out and about at that hour, but Perri's reasons were easy to understand. I like her as a character. She's quite typically American in the context of a school full of Brits. She's much more forward and free-speaking. She doesn't mind confrontation at all. She says some things simply for shock value. It all fits well with the characterization.

Your elves were adorable. Poor little things, working all hours of the day and night.

I felt a couple of moments with romantic potential between the two of them, but there's obviously plenty of time left for that.

Wow, Roxy is pretty protective of her brother. Or perhaps just jealous of him. Either way, she's quite chilly toward Perri in the morning. So much so, actually, that I was a little surprised that she let it drop just based on Freddy's say-so.

Your closing line was excellent. A great way to put it.

I noticed one typo as I was reading:

His finger lightly tickled the pair on the portrait. -- pear

Otherwise, lovely writing! I enjoyed the chapter thoroughly.

Author's Response: Hi there! I am so sorry for the late response! Thank you so much for taking the time to review for me. I will definitely go back and fix those couple grammar issues, and I'll tie up a few of the loose ends. I hadn't really realized how quickly Roxy let it drop. It might be more natural if I let it go on a bit longer! So thank you so much for pointing that out to me! Thank you again for reviewing for me!

xx Rachel

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Review #13, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: The Lodger

5th June 2015:
Ooh, Roisin! A new story, and one with a very interesting premise at that. Several interesting premises, actually. And a mystery. This is all very, very exciting.

Oh, first, one small administrative matter in order to keep track: Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

There, with that settled, on with the review. To me, the most interesting character in the chapter was Perry. And that was before the big reveal at the end. I saw the face claim you used for him in your banner, but to be honest I've never been much for letting other people's vision of their characters sway me. In my mind, he looked a lot like James McAvoy playing a young Charles Xavier. Only more manic and with blond hair. Something about the vibe he gave off made me think of the character in the seventh X-Men movie. Completely unrelated side note: Holy crap! That was the seventh X-Men movie! Where has the time gone???

Anyway, let's talk about the little things. A big part of your brilliance is the way that you bring in the little things. Diurnally! I'm proud to say that I got that right away, which shows how well JKR has conditioned me over the years. I was somewhere in the third book before I got diagonally. Nocturnally followed quickly thereafter. Diurnal was brilliant on a few levels, not least of which was the obvious contrast to the less fashion-forward locales of magical London. The contrast extends nicely to the difference between the life that Roxanne has been leading and the one that she now appears destined for. Let's see, other little things... The implication that DaVinci was a wizard was subtly and cleverly handled. Perry's line of "deductive reasoning" -- even though it's probably mostly bunk once we learn who he really is -- was definitely Holmes-ian, albeit in a manic, twisted sort of way. I think you nailed the Robert Downey Jr take on Holmes in this chapter. And lest you believe that I just commented on all of the things you mentioned in your author's note, I actually had all of this stuff highlighted as I was reading. Word is bond!

Moving on to Roxanne, I thought you did a great job of slowly developing her character in this chapter. We know the basics of her back story, but there's still a lot left to discover. You teased just a bit at the circumstances that got her drummed out of St. Mungo's, but there's obviously more to reveal. Excellent pacing.

Harry's appearance was written well. He's not the easiest character to write, and I thought you hit a really good balance. We see some of "professional Harry" in his dealings with Justin and with Perry. We also get a dose of "Uncle Harry" as he makes sure that Roxanne knows that he and the rest of the family are there to support her if needed.

It seems like Mrs. Hudson may be the real detective of the bunch. Not that Perry was doing an especially good job of disguising his magical side, but she seems to have figured out more than just the fact that he's eccentric. I'll be keeping an eye on her...

So, pixie milk and heroin. Interesting idea. I've obviously had no first-hand experience, but that sounds like a concoction that could rock somebody's world.

Lastly, the big reveal. Things have obviously changed for Scorpius since his school days. He's either lost in some sort of personal fantasy or he has scores -- real or imagined -- to settle with the dark wizards of the world. Could be some of both, I suppose. I'm very curious to see how he acquits himself.

Beautiful writing in this chapter! It didn't feel like it was over 7,000 words because it all flowed so nicely. In spite of all of the description and nuance, I never felt like I got bogged down. Lastly, your editing was impeccable.

Excellent job! I'm looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Dan! Yay! Thank you so much for checking out this story! You were such a huge encouragement during Y5 and I'm so stoked to see your feedback on this new venture :D

I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed Perry even before he's revealed as a popular character. I hadn't originally intended it to be a surprise-y twist and just couldn't stomach the idea of writing 'Scorpius' so many times and taking it seriously :P So yeah, I came up with a new nickname instead and then was happy for it, because I like the idea that this character isn't just riding on the Malfoy-curiosity coattails from the get go. You know I think your Manic-McAvoy might actually be closer to what I imagined than my eventual faceclaim choice! I haven't seen like, MOST of the X-Men movies but now I'm curious to.

Bah, 'Diurnally.' I've had that idea since FOREVER (it was originally planned as a location in the 'it-might-still-happen-one-day' Y5 sequel). And then it just stuck and became headcanon. Gigantic Bummer: I hadn't seen Elementary, but that iteration of Sherlock Holmes is weirdly close to this one :( Like, tattoed and grungy and all. Perry is a bit younger than most characterizations (outside of the guy in Psych), and I liked the idea of a messy, "twisted and manic" type :)

Sort of like Laurel in Y5 (except super different) Roxanne is also a character who we meet RIGHT after lots of things change. Like, she had spent her whole life being one way, and now she's going a radically different direction. That's something I didn't think I handled well enough in Y5, so I'm really stoked to hear that this character developed/was revealed well.

And I'm SO glad you liked Harry! You're really especially good at nailing Hogwarts-Era canon characters, and Harry is SUCH an intimidating person to write. I wanted him to seem realistically older, but still recognizable.

Hah, I love your thoughts on Mrs Hudson! I guess that's why she and Perry get along.

I have a really strong headcanon about how Draco Malfoy turned out (and what Astoria might be like), so while this Scorpius is not at ALL my headcanon, I thought he'd make an interesting counterpoint (and still fit) with my existing ideas.

UGH, this chapter is SO LONG, especially for a first chapter. I was really worried about that so I'm glad to hear you didn't think it dragged!

Thank you sososososo much Dan!


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Review #14, by CambAngstIvy Manor: Ivy Manor

4th June 2015:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

I really liked the vivid imagery and the heartfelt emotion in this story. I thought you did a great job of getting inside of the heads of both Harry and Ginny and working out how they would respond to the situation they find themselves in. You obviously have a good eye for natural beauty and the small details about the countryside surrounding the story added a lot for me. I felt like I could visualize everything and imagine the sounds and smells.

I have two suggestions for you as to ways that you can improve your writing. First, your use of commas is a little awkward in some places. For instance:

Harry grinned back, waving, too.

I know that you would normally put a comma before ending a sentence with "too", but it doesn't exactly work here.

My other suggestion would be to work on finding more of a "personal voice" for your writing. Everything you've written in this story is perfectly grammatically and syntactically correct. So much so that in places it reads a little stiff. I'm thinking of sentences like the following:

"This is the place where Lord Voldemort was born," Harry told straight, but he was afraid that she felt uncomfortable remembering she was once a marionette of Tom Riddle from the diary. -- There's nothing wrong with that sentence, per se, but it reads very formally. In a story like this, which is so moved and shaped by emotions, I think you do the story more justice by writing in a style that's a little looser. Something that flows along with the mood of the story.

I really love the back story that you created for Frank Bryce. We see precious little of him before he's killed in the book, but you took the character and made something special out of him. You gave him a way to inspire Harry to further good deeds.

Overall, it seems like you really got into the spirit of the challenge this was written for and you executed on the premise really well. Good job!

Author's Response: Thank you Dan for leaving review on this.

I've never forgotten the natural beauty of Scottish Borders, so I wanted to express them
in my story.

Not a few reviewers have left me review about flow things for me. I wish someone could give me advice for this. So that's why I PM you the other day. (Anyone who could do this please PM me.)

Thinking of Frank Bryce, I wish the world peace as John Lennon sang in his song, Imagine. We suffered the loss of precious lives of ancestors by war. So I put my soul into this story wishing the world peace.
I think J.K.Rowling tried to say the same thing, the world peace through Harry Potter Books.


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Review #15, by CambAngstDon't Forget Me: My Hero

28th May 2015:
Hi, Tammi! Here for our review swap.

Wow. This is such a dark, brooding and unsettling piece. It fits perfectly with the frame of mind and the other details you built up around Albus early in the story.

They used to say that I acted like I had the world on my shoulders, that I was carrying a burden that wasn’t mine to have. Their words had finally come true. -- It seems like this happened in the worst possible way.

You did a great job with the passive-aggressive tone. Albus cajoles and threatens his brother, but he willingly wears the consequences of his brother's crimes. He dwells in all the things that would happen, if only he could shrug off his own feelings of inadequacy and doubt and clear his own name. It's very sad, but at the same time you know that it's ultimately his own fault. I don't question that James manipulated him, but it takes two to make that possible.

I loved your writing style because it fit so well with the mindset and the subject matter. The blocks of short, punchy, very focused sentences sounded like a person making an argument they've made many times. (Mostly to themselves, but still many times) It sounds well-rehearsed and comfortable, as though the narrator has thought through this so often that he can't imagine anyone could see things any differently. Yet the whole world sees things differently. Very ironic.

The ending was heart-breaking. I think it more or less goes without saying that James isn't going to save him. The fact that he still holds out hope is probably the saddest touch of all.

Your writing was perfect in this. I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem and everything flowed beautifully. Great job!

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Review #16, by CambAngstHermione Granger: Ron Needed Her.

23rd May 2015:
Hi, Beth!

I love how much gripping realism you're able to work into relatively short chapters. In your first scene, you hit one of the quintessential notes of realism where I find that fan fiction often does a better job than the books. In the books, when children dueled adults, it seemed to me that children fared far too well by any reasonable standard. The battle in the Department of Mysteries was sort of the zenith of that silliness. I do feel like Jo kept the balance more realistic in the final battle at Hogwarts, but certain things still bothered me, like Ginny, Luna and Hermione being able to almost hold their own against Bellatrix. That didn't seem very realistic. I like the way you wrote Hermione's recollection much better.

Burnt hair and a dry cough. -- That was an awesome literary device. The best explorations of strong, complex emotions are always accompanied by some small sensory detail that grounds the whole scene in something the reader can relate to. Otherwise, it's just high-minded philosophizing. I love the way you blended her thoughts together with the sounds and smells and feelings of the funerals that followed the end of the war. It's just beautiful writing.

The kiss they’d shared during the final battle seemed years and years away. -- As much as I love Ron and Hermione having that "happily ever after", this is a much more likely scenario. They had both survived so much and lost so many people. I think it would have taken them a while to "reset" their emotions and start to be like normal teenagers again.

I think this sentence has a bit of a mismatch between the way it begins and the way it ends:

And after nearly a year of sleeping with one ear open, listening for the curse of a snatcher or worse - a Death Eater who’d discovered their hideout - simply couldn’t be switched off in two weeks. -- Maybe change the last part to read, "she simply couldn't switch that off in two weeks." Regardless, I get exactly what you're saying and it makes perfect sense. And I'm sure it wasn't just Hermione. The entire magical world had just endured an awful fall, winter and spring of worrying that every bump in the night could be a hint of approaching death.

You know my favorite thing about the way you ended the chapter? Actually, my favorite thing might have been the last sentence about proper society, but this other thing was awesome, too: I love that Ron isn't being a jerk about Ginny and Harry wanting to be together. There's far, far too much of that in post-war fan fiction. Ron seems wonderfully, refreshingly real in this story. There's nothing overly heroic or cliche about him. He's struggling as badly as anyone else.

This is turning into a very enjoyable story! I'm excited to see what happens next!

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Review #17, by CambAngstHermione Granger: Prologue: Harry Needed Her

17th May 2015:
Hi, Beth!

OK, deep breath. This is a short, opening chapter, so I'm going to try not to go overboard on this review. It's hard, though. One of my favorite authors is writing about my favorite subject matter in my favorite era. The struggle is real.

I really, really loved the way you wrote Ron. There wasn't anything dopey or clueless about him. He sees the woman he loves and he makes a beeline for her. There's no indecision or self-doubt, no waiting to see if Harry's there first. He's following his heart, plain and simple.

His reaction to her appearance was even better. After a moment of shock, he becomes immediately protective. He knows that something is wrong and he wants to take care of her. One thing I notice about the way people write Ron is that they always seems to include too much Arthur and not enough Molly in his character.

If it had been anything, anything but the one-year anniversary of the defeat of Voldemort, he would’ve lifted her up right there and whisked her away with him. Away to anywhere, anywhere but here. Anywhere safe and warm and calm for her. -- See, that's my boy! I always "get it" when people write Ron as an over-protective father who is menacing toward Rose's love interests. It makes sense. They just don't extend it to the other important woman in his life. ;)

I thought you did an awesome job of writing the after-effects of Bellatrix's Cruciatus Curse. Is that how the curse is supposed to feel or just Bella's twisted implementation of it? We don't really know, and I like the fact that you don't pretend that Hermione knew. She's living for one thing and one thing only in that moment. It's the drive that keeps her going, that helps her fight through he pain and the fear and the dread. Excellent job with this.

OK, I think I did a reasonable job of limiting myself here. The review was NOT longer than the chapter. That was definitely a risk. I really enjoyed this and I'm very excited to see where you take this story!

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Review #18, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Devlin Augustus Potter

14th May 2015:
Hi, Tori! Let's see whether work will give me time to knock this review out before my phone rings. It's always a race.

I like the way that Snape is able to get under Devlin's skin in ways that not even Voldemort can match. From a certain standpoint, Snape is actually scarier than Voldemort. Snape understands things -- emotions, motivations -- that Voldemort simply cannot.

I'm not sure exactly what Devlin's army of little clay wizards says about his psyche. Maybe it's an expression of his desire for control. Maybe he likes the idea of ordering men to fight, the way that his grandfather does. Or maybe he just likes playing with toy soldiers, as any boy his age would.

The interplay between Remus and Devlin's three facets is fascinating to watch. It seems like Devlin is wary of him, the wolf feels some affection toward him and the Little Dark One doesn't like the way Remus makes the other two feel. By the way, I noticed that this was the first chapter in ages where the name Dubhán doesn't appear at all.

I loved the way that Remus introduced Devlin's other grandfather into the conversation. Lily has been a focal point for Devlin over the past few chapters, between Voldemort's recollections of the murder and Devlin's taunting of Snape. Bringing James into the conversation rounds things out a little from my point of view. If you focus too much on Lily, it's easy for her to become more of a symbol than a person.

The scene in the Slytherin Common Room was a nice breather from the heavy, adult realities that govern most of Devlin's life. Seeing the other children marvel at his skill, and especially seeing the jealous little boy trying to save face, helps to bring the story back into Devlin's world when we've dwelled in Dubhán's world for too long.

"Maybe try to be less...demanding...and more encouraging?" -- This sounds nothing like Voldemort's approach to magic. I love the small differences.

The first time I read this, I didn't made the connection between Devlin taking Voldemort's potion and the sickness he feels the next morning. On the second read through, it's pretty glaring. Either Voldemort's new potion has some unadvertised side effects or perhaps it's even meant to subtly poison Devlin. Regardless, I wonder whether Devlin will eventually have to abandon his independence and go back to Snape. That would forge another interdependence.

I see that Devlin feeling under the weather has not escaped Snape's notice. He really does obsess over the students that he claims to like least. In the books, that always came off as a petty, mean-spirited trait. Here, you've made it much more complex.

Dumbledore hummed happily and Snape sneered... -- It's a small thing, but I love the imperturbable cheer that you've gifted Dumbledore with.

Ah, so Devlin has Snape's middle name. Fascinating. One thing I'm curious about is how Harry knew what Lily had intended to name him. I suppose he could have found out from Remus or Sirius, but it seems like the sort of thing she wouldn't necessarily have discussed with them. Throughout this story, your Harry has shown an interesting sort of quasi-camaraderie toward Snape. He seems to hold him in high regard, in spite of their past differences. I'm curious whether you're planning to expand on the connections between Harry and Snape at some point. Or perhaps it's Alexandra and Snape.

Severus had not thought he would care, but he had clutched at the card and howled with pain and justice. Emotions he had long buried had been torn to the surface. -- I love how complex and nuanced your Snape is! Brilliant!

The verbal sparring between Devlin and Snape was once again beautifully done. It's like they're having two different conversations, each of them trying to tear closely-held secrets from the other. Even as a three-year-old, Devlin had a knack for tormenting Snape over his betrayal of Lily.

I saw a few typos as I was reading:

The other clay figures, now alley’s, pointed their wands... -- now alarmed?

Devlin felt a bit nauseas, probably from not getting any sleep -- nauseous

"I do sometimes wonder, Severus, what you chose to occupy your mornings with while there was not a Potter child watch so closely over your tea." -- Potter child to watch

Devlin referring to Harry and Alexandra has his parents... -- as his parents

He knew that sensation of loosing something before he’d lost anything else so definitively. -- losing something

he knew was not ready to relinquish these secrets they held between them. -- he knew he was not

One last thing I wanted to highlight: You could fix that, the boy's eyes seemed to say, haunting him with memories. He slammed his door on them both. Am I correct in assuming that, in this timeline, Dumbledore has kept the truth about Snape passing the prophecy to Voldemort from Harry? Or at least Snape believes that Harry doesn't know?

Great chapter! I'm enjoying Devlin being back in "friendly" territory. Until next time...

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Review #19, by CambAngstGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 10

12th May 2015:
farmgirl! Seeing you post a new chapter is always awesome. I know I'm in for a treat.

I thought you did an awesome job with Olivander. You recaptured that mysterious, slightly spooky air that I remember from Harry's first visit to Diagon Alley. He's so fascinated with his work that he loses a bit of the broader moral context. That said, he's still compassionate and understanding.

Sadie's feelings were also described beautifully. I love the way you wrote the running battle between her fight and flight instincts, the way that flight comes close to winning on several occasions. I love how you expand her senses beyond the customary five so that she can feel the magic that permeates the shop and its contents.

Ollivander's dialog was really well written. It sounded like him and really reflected the passion he has for his art.

I love Sadie's change of heart, her first hints of reclaiming some of the control that was taken away from her. I'm really excited to see her begin to expand her boundaries.

You did your homework on the wand wood! Very impressive. I think that wand is a great match for her.

I'm very excited to see all of the characters return to Hogwarts and experience a new school year! Great job!

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Review #20, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Beating Heart: Scorpius POV

12th May 2015:
Beth, you sly, sly devil, you! It was probably too much to expect you to give up your secrets so soon. I have a lot of idea about why Rose fell, but you're not going to tell me. Not yet, anyway. The blond haired mystery attacker, the elevated heart rate... I have a strong feeling that this attack wasn't simply a matter of falling down the stairs. There's some dark magic involved here, I'm sure of it!

Wow. Sounds like James was a complete mess. He's become one of the more oddly sympathetic characters in this story. At times he acts like a big lunk, but other times I get the sense that he's more tuned in than he lets on.

"I didn't even hear her fall. She had all these photos and documents around her. I figured she'd tripped, but I swear – I didn't hear her. Sh - shouldn't I have heard it?" -- Maybe, maybe not. I'm suspicious that some of those photos and documents will be missing when Rose wakes up.

"I could've deflected it just into the wall next to her, but instead, I made sure it hit her square in the chest. Perhaps she shouldn't be so rude to upset fiancés." -- Or Auror trainees. Definitely not so rude to upset fiancés who are training to become Aurors.

I loved the family moment with Hermione and Ron and Scorpius. I wasn't sure where you were going to go with that one, and it was nice to see Hermione pull her family together.

"The heart rate didn't increase until after she'd been here for a bit." -- Peculiar, indeed. Cursed? Poisoned? Maybe those pictures had some sort of spell on them.

Again, it was heart-warming to see the extended Weasley clan supporting Scorpius. I'm sure that took him completely by surprise. He's been so disconnected from Rose since the party.

He steeled a look at us for a moment until his eyes met with Harry. -- Yeah, best not to go picking fights with the Head Auror.

You did a good job with the conversation between Ron and Scorpius. It didn't feel like it was easy for either one of them, which was certainly the right tone. Maybe I would have kept Ron's sentences shorter and a little less formal. It's hard to say how the characters age and everyone sees it a little differently. The subject matter was perfect, though. I feel like Scorpius needed to hear all of that and he needed to hear it from somebody who -- as he correctly surmised -- wasn't Harry.

Overall, an awesome chapter! I can't wait to see what happens when Rose wakes up!

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Review #21, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Blackout: Rose and Scorpius POV

8th May 2015:
Beth! You left me hanging by a thread at the end of the last chapter. And then it was a total head fake and Scorpius was fine at the start of this chapter. Well, not fine fine, but at least not dead or injured or taken prisoner by Stannous. Whew, what a relief. And then you leave me hanging by a thread again!!! Are you trying to shorten my lifespan here? :p

When I finally crawled up to our room in Number Twelve, Scorpius wasn't there. Al and Selenia, who'd escorted me home, found him sleeping in his original room on the top floor of Number Twelve - Regulus’s room. In fact, over the days following the engagement party, he basically moved himself up there. -- I guess I'll start by stating the obvious: This isn't how most expectant fathers deal with a problem they're having with their fiancee. Of course, I think we're well beyond the point of trying to understand anything Scorpius does in relation to how "normal" guys act. He's pretty far from normal.

It's still a little strange to me that Rose gives Scorpius so much time and space before she takes a small step toward forcing the issue. Whether or not he's admitting it, he is obviously in desperate need of her help. He needs her to tell him over and over again that his family's past doesn't matter to her, until he finally gets it through that 6-inches of depleted uranium armor he calls a skull.

Ah, I figured that you would have to bring Selenia into the fold at some point. It seems like Scorpius's problems are putting nearly as much strain on Al and Selenia's relationship as his own. Although this could also be drawing Al and Selenia together in a way. Common purpose and all that. At any rate, it's certainly cutting into their together time.

Then there's the unsolved case that's handed to Rose. I have a creepy, creepy feeling that the victims could be Draco and Astoria. That wouldn't be consistent with Scorpius's earlier recollections, but stranger things have already happened in this story.

Ooh! I have another theory that I've come up with. One that would explain a number of things. I'm almost afraid to go there, because the implications are all kinds of bad, but here goes. Is Scorpius actually Stannous? It doesn't seem likely, since Stannous was teaching when Scorpius and Rose were both in school. If there's some connection between Scorpius and Stannous, it would explain a lot of things, though. Like how Stannous managed to get through the wards surrounding the apartment. Your story gives me a bad case of Crazy Plot Theories.

At any rate, I loved the way you wrote the clues in the pictures. The way you described the spell damage and how Rose and Selenia were able to theorize based on it was great.

As I was desperately flailing my arms to grab on to something, I caught a glimpse of a fuzzy figure in a dark robes with light hair stood on the top step. Then everything went black. -- Again, you're feeding my Scorpius-is-Stannous theory. Or maybe it's my Stannous-is-controlling-Scorpius theory. Augh, too many theories!

Fly and forget became my mantra. -- For the record, I think this is a bad mantra. Very bad.

Scorpius is having a huge Remus Lupin moment in this chapter. Where is Harry -- or perhaps Al as his stand-in -- to knock some sense into the guy?

Not my whole world. -- Wow, is he confused. One minute he's making plans to skeedaddle, the next minute Rose and the baby are his whole world. Make up your mind, boy!

I'm really curious to see what sort of surprises you spring on us in the next chapter. I'm sure it will spawn even more theories inside my poor, overloaded brain. Til next time!

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Review #22, by CambAngstBlackwater Side: Blackwater Side

18th April 2015:
Hi! I appreciate the review you left on Tales of the Death Hunters and I didn't want to see you get shorted due to the mix-up, so I wanted to read and review something of yours. This one really jumped off of your author's page at me.

Given that this story was really about Harry reliving a special moment between himself and Ginny, I like that you kept it short and focused. You set it up well, so it didn't seem like something totally out of left field when they encounter the muggle playing the guitar. But you stuck to the minimum necessary narration in the present time.

Your description of the moment that Ginny and Harry share at the Burrow before the start of the horcrux hunt... whew! Steamy! You really have a talent for capturing the heat and passion of the moment. It exploded off of the page and burned itself into my mind.

I think I saw one small typo:

The song took him back in time to when she kissed him in her room of Burrow two years ago. -- her room of the Burrow?

Otherwise, your writing was terrific. Very vivid and detailed and everything flowed beautifully.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi, thank you for stopping by.

I'm very glad you left review. Your story was just awesome! I'll read your other works little by litte. I really respect you.

Honestly my past draft was needed to be fixed, so Kayla and Emily did a great job here.

The process of inserting the lyrics was fun for me 'cause I do music with my friends. And Sandy Denny's song gave me inspiration of this story.

I've avoided writing the mature stories for I had no confidence but with your encouragement and chinaglaze's encouraging comment, it may be not a bad idea to try some more...

Thank you, anyway!

:) Kenny

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Review #23, by CambAngstAtonement Is Coming: A Shadowy Threat

17th April 2015:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

Ooh, a mystery! And it involves the canon characters, post-war. Two of my favorite things!

I think you did a good job of capturing the concern McGonagall would have felt in this situation. She's just spent the past five years putting the Hogwarts "family" back together after a horrific and deeply divisive war. If someone is actually planning revenge attacks against pureblood families, it could destroy the peace and stability that everyone fought the war to achieve in the first place. I thought Minerva's dialog was pretty good, although it could have been a little stiffer in a few places.

I found Kingsley's reactions a little harder to get my head around. If he's just finished presiding over a series of trials filled with nightmarish stories of atrocities committed by the Death Eaters, I would have thought that he'd be a lot less dismissive of the possibility that someone was trying to rekindle hostilities. Especially if it involved revenge attacks, because I think that would have been a foreseeable outcome.

You wrote the action in Kingsley's office pretty well. It was easy to visualize everything that was going on in spite of the fact that it all happened quickly.

The only concrete suggestion I could offer is that I would have preferred that you created at least one or two original characters for your conspirators. There's nothing wrong with using canon names of relatively unknown characters, but when you use them exclusively then what little we know of their back stories can paint you into a corner sometimes. Original characters give you lots of freedom to develop a back story and grow and evolve the characters' personalities.

All that said, you did a good job with this and I'm curious to see what happens next. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi there!

Thank you for the review!

I'm glad that you liked my characterization of Minerva for the most part. I get what you mean about the stiffness, but I kind of wanted this to show her with her hair down just a tad. Kingsley is her equivalent and I feel like she might be able to be a bit more relaxed with him.

I agree that revenge attacks area definitely a somewhat predictable thing after what the Death Eaters did. I chalk Kingsley's attitude up to sheer exhaustion. I imagine him being a bit ground down after everything he's witnessed and presided over.

The action did happen quickly, but I usually find that that's how it goes in real life too, at least for me.

I do actually have plans to add a few OC's down the line, but for this first chapter I do have a specific reason for why each of the people that I picked for the Avengers has gone bad. It's something that I hope to unwind bit by bit as the story plays out. This story really will involve a massive cast, so each chapter will start bringing in different people.

Thank you for such good advice and thoughtful critiques. I will definitely keep this in mind as the story progresses!


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Review #24, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Secret Similarities

14th April 2015:
Hi! I am very hopeful that work will allow me the time to get this written up and posted. It's been quite a day.

You did a great job of writing Devlin's seizure. For a boy who normally exerts so much control over every aspect of his behavior and appearance, the sense of losing control was almost as painful as the cruciatus symptoms. Almost. Those were really horrible, as well. I also liked the way that you wove small details of what was happening in the real world -- Devlin falling onto the floor, having a potion forced down his throat, being carried -- into his seizure experience.

Reality and dream and memory consumed each other, whirling viciously and living vicariously through each other, inside of him. In moments such as this one, Devlin could never be absolutely sure wether it was a seizure or the true curse. -- That sounds like the worst kind of nightmare imaginable. Also, should be "whether".

Bit by bit -- and definitely not because Devlin wants him to -- Snape is starting to unravel some of Devlin's secrets. Or maybe Devlin does want him to, in an odd way. More on this later. I am also curious what magic Devlin felt like he was able to do that his wolf was not.

Your Dumbledore was spot on, as always. Serene, imperturbable, and seemingly a step ahead in the game that Devlin is playing. I still don't really want Devlin to completely trust him, but there are times where I find myself wishing that Devlin was a little more forthcoming. Dumbledore could certainly help, but trusting the old man can be a slippery slope.

"Did you often get obsessed over muggleborns, Severus?" -- Ooh! That was hitting below the belt. He's pushing so many of Snape's buttons on so many different levels. Just as Snape is starting to figure out Devlin, it seems that Devlin is also discovering things about Snape. It's worrying, in a way. Who's going to get who killed first?

So it seems that Devlin and Scorpius might have something more in common than their house and their near proximity to the Dark Lord. I suspected from the beginning that there might ultimately be an alliance of sorts forged here. It will be interesting to see that play out.

I really like the way that Devlin's dream about Voldemort ended. If I think about it, the Dark Lord does have certain things to fear from Devlin. Devlin has figured out more of Voldemort's secrets than Voldemort has probably given him credit for. Moreover, Devlin is like Voldemort but not like him. And that combination of similarities and differences could prove to be very unpredictable and dangerous.

The scene with Maria was really sweet. I love the way that she brings out the little boy in him, makes him feel loved and valued.

He did not want her to see him weak.

And yet, it felt so good when she did.
-- This! Also:

He wondered if she understood how preciously he protected her image of him as a normal boy. -- She and Emma give Devlin a reason to want to be Devlin instead of Dubhán.

The scene in Transfiguration class was more revealing for what Devlin was thinking than what he shared with McGonagall. I think this is the first time you've clearly spelled out how what the relationship between Devlin, Dubhán and the Sharpness really is and how it came to be. Then there was the other werewolf boy. I'm wondering if he's the same boy that Devlin bit while he was being held captive.

The last scene with Snape was brilliantly done. I love watching these two spar. But this conversation actually went beyond sparring! Was that a hint of vulnerability on Snape's part? A willingness to reveal just a bit of himself to bargain for more insight into Devlin? On one level, it's very un-Snape-like. On another, perhaps he's realized some of the mistakes he made with Harry? Knowing and understanding Devlin could be critical to Snape's end-game with Voldemort. If he discovers what it is about Devlin that kept him alive, it could be key to his revenge.

"Yes," Snape said, the word quiet but somehow rebellious. "Yes, that is correct." He had rearranged his face so that it did not betray him and now he leaned forward too. His hooked nose was less than an inch from Devlin's face. "I am exceedingly good at torturing myself, Devlin. It is an art I know better than potion-making." -- It's tempting to believe that Snape could be a little facetious here, but I'm sure he's not. Every time he looked at Harry, he was torturing himself, living his penance for what his desire for power cost him. Devlin wouldn't be that much different, I suppose.

I'm pretty sure I've figured out the part of Devlin that's missing. It's the part of him that's a normal boy. But we shall see how that plays out. In the meantime, it looks like we'll be treated to a lot more conversations between Devlin and Snape! I'm gleeful!

I saw a few typos while I was reading:

sensation that would spread out from the where the original curse had hit him -- from where the

so different from his father that Devlin feels almost-alright until he turned to look at him -- Devlin felt

It retracted from his perfect resemblance just enough -- detracted

"Tell me more about this missing part of you," Snape said, eying his critically, his dark eyes an endless tunnel -- eyeing him critically

Snape looked at Devlin alternatively as if he were a germ-riddle tissue -- germ-riddled

Snape’s palms came to rest on his desk and he lifted his hight onto them -- his height

This was a great, great chapter! So many things happened and so many neat interactions and thoughts and revelations. I loved it!

Author's Response: Oooh, you're early!

I'm not sure why I enjoy writing Devlin's seizures so much, but I do. I suppose it is something about a lack of landscape and supplying all the information through sensation, which I love.

Clearly Devlin knows a great deal about Snape. You can imagine what Voldemort might have said on the topic of him (and left out). But Devlin has been hinting at it for awhile, with his "you have the power to make Harry hate you" comment when he returned, to his jabs at Snape liking muggleborns. Every time Snape steps closer, Devlin brings it out like a knife.

Hmm - I thought it would be clear why his wolf couldn't help since we ended with the Killing Curse dream last chapter and that's what caused this seizure. When he killed the Auror the sharpness wanted to be there - to push forward and take the experience away from him - but Devlin knew he couldn't, because the wolf couldn't do the magic.

Scorpius will be interesting...

We already know that Voldemort sees only what he can comprehend. Right now he sees Devlin as himself and therefore that they share the same (nonexistent in his mind), weaknesses. But instead Devlin has known several times in his life how just being near Voldemort has made him unlike him. When you see what terror over death does, and you have been close to it so many times, the fear begins to see less valuable. Perhaps being the one to kill someone even took some of the fear away.

I wish Devlin would stop being so sure Dumbledore assumes he is like Tom and begin to see how Voldemort had corrupted his perception of other people. But that is sort of typical of abusers, right? The whole "they wouldn't understand. You're not like them. We're like each other. I understand you. They would just hate you." etc. etc.

It was SO MUCH FUN to write Tom Riddle in his dream. Glad to see I did it well. :)

Maria was a nice change in the tension of this chapter, although I think Devlin took this sudden illness a little too lightly.

The boy who Voldemort framed as Devlin was delivered dead at the Ministry shortly after Devlin's kidnapping. While Devlin didn't kill him, he did bite him (without a choice). So no, that boy is dead. But there is war, and I figure there must be more than one child bitten in a time of war when a Dark Lord is purposefully using werewolves as soldiers.

We are still missing some information about Snape and Devlin. I think Snape is strongly suspecting Voldemort has told Devlin that Snape is responsible, in a sense, for the Potter's death. And that he begged for Lily's life. Knowing that the boy knows but still desiring to keep him alive (probably for some variation of the same reason he did with Harry), he has to decide to dismiss Devlin or confront him. Because Devlin is going to use this against him. With that in mind, I think he thought that small reveal of vulnerability was an advantage in the situation.

No, I do not think Snape is being facetious at all.

:D Glad you liked it!

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Review #25, by CambAngstRemarkable : Remarkable

10th April 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

Ooh, I was excited to get a little more insight into the story behind Painful Bliss. It's really interesting to see Blaise's relationship from his own point of view. It's so different from how Draco and Astoria perceive them. To Draco, the two of them are symbolic of what he believes he wants with Astoria. But obviously there are many more struggles between Blaise and Isabella than anyone else realizes.

I think your vision of Blaise's childhood and his struggles with relationships fit with the details of his life and the portrayal of his character in the books really well. His mother is such a fiendish character. It's easy to imagine her giving this "advice" to her son.

I was curious whether you'd develop anything more between Blaise and Pansy. I wasn't really expecting anything, but it's interesting to see the contribution she makes to Blaise's gradual awakening. It's not really a good one, in my opinion.

And... then he discovers girls. Not in a good way. But he also grows close to Draco. Again, I felt like maybe you were going to go down a romantic path there. What's really interesting to me is the way that he and Draco become kindred spirits. They're both searching for something that appears unattainable during their school years and even after. They're prisoners of their own sense of self-worth. The standards they've set limit their choices to the point where they have essentially no options.

And... Blaise goes from being an amoral womanizer to being a globe-trotting amoral womanizer. This section is where you and I really imagine him in a similar way. Your version is a little more stuffy than mine, but the total lack of respect for the basic human dignity of the women he sleeps with is spot on.

The last section is really well done. You manage to convey so much about Blaise and Isabella's relationship in a relatively short piece of writing. I still don't think he's sure that he loves her, or even understands what love is. But he believes that she can make up the difference. I'm not sure I agree, but it's a place to start, I suppose. The final straw seems to be Draco's letter. Is it possible that this has become a competitive thing for Blaise? That he's unwilling to be "left behind" while his friend discovers something new in life? It's a really interesting way for someone who doesn't really understand love to make a step forward.

I know you were worried about tense, but I only noticed a couple of small typos as I was reading:

Some good its done them. What about your mother? -- it's done them

"I'm Isabella and your Blaise Zabini." -- you're

Nice job. I really enjoyed this!

Author's Response: First, I'm so sorry I haven't responded to this. Real life has kept me busy! Dan, you always surprise me with your reviews. I always feel bad I haven't gotten to finish Detox yet and move on to your other stories. Real life, you know, it's busy.

Anyway, thanks so much for the review and pointing out my mistakes. Between you and another reviewer I don't have to get a beta. Awesome!

Now let's get to the actual review.

I don't know where this idea came from. If I had written this story when I was writing Painful Bliss I can assure you it would have been entirely different. I see Blaise and Isabella having their own struggles without a doubt. Just because they seem on the surface to have a great marriage and relationship getting there was a process and staying there is a process.

I think Blaise would have wondered about love, you know? I think because he finally learned what love is he would have thought he could give Draco advice on his love life. However, I think it is a little haughty of him to do and he is still ingrained with certain characteristics from his mother. With that said Blaise is clearly a complex character.

HA! Pansy. No way. I don't think anything would have happened between them anymore. I don't see her talking to him after the war because he's kind of a neutral bystander. He believes in blood purity but he's not necessary going to pull out his wand and kill everyone around him.

I wanted you to believe Draco/Blaise were going to have a romantic relationship. For a moment that's where I was going. Learn about love from your best friend but then I said yes, he would learn about love from Draco but he would also learn about heartache. Haven't you ever loved a friend so dearly when something happens to them or they move away or something it just hurts? It's a loss. And Draco leaving is a loss to Blaise like he has never felt before. Yes, he loves him but he's not in love with him. There's a difference. I think if he was in love with him Blaise would forever be looking to understand real love because the feelings would not be reciprocated.

Hey, I had to add Isabella in there somehow. I figured traveling would do him some good and women are easy to find when you're rich, young and have gossip following you.

I'm not convinced he loves her either entirely. Not here anyway. I think the Blaise we see in Painful Bliss is entirely different. He's found...well, his bliss. Like Draco he undergoes a transformation. He finds Isabella and he finds love but I think at this point of the story it isn't real love, you know? It's on the surface. Very basic because he doesn't entirely know what it is. It's there he just hasn't figured it out yet. Love, Dan, can be very confusing.

Thanks for the awesome review!

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