Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
1,258 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 31. Closer to the Heart

1st September 2015:
Hi, Pix! I've come to the end of another one of your stories and I'm feeling that little pang of emptiness that comes with each one. That feeling of knowing that there won't be another chapter to read. That Wren and Albus's story -- at least this arc of it -- ends here. It's wonderful to see everything come to its conclusion, but it's also a little sad.

And this story has come a long, long way. I have some very old drafts of things in my email that would probably make you cringe. I'm thinking maybe 2 batches of cookies and we could make those disappear forever, eh? ;)

Joking. Let's actually talk about this chapter. Nice job capturing the confusion and swirling imagery of Wren's semi-conscious healing process. Relentlessly gnawing at her unrest with tiny teeth. I think tiny teeth are going to haunt Wren for a very long time.

Oh, wow, she's still at Hogwarts. Somehow I was expecting either St. Mungo's or some secret Vampire Council recovery facility. At a minimum the Hospital Wing, although I suppose with Madam Pomfrey also being enthralled there might not have been anyone to look after the place.

Aww, Wren still feels bad about having to leave Trudy behind. She's such a good egg.

Ten days! Wow. Albus must be near his wits' end. Good old Berkshire. He's a good egg, too.

"Ha!" Trudy shot at her, relief evident on her face too. "It's about time!" -- Yep, even the Quidditch-head knew what was up before Wren and Albus.

It's nice to see Rose and Scorpius achieving some sort of functional relationship. At least not wanting to kill one another. He even managed to get her to come and watch the try-outs. Sounds like the start of a promising teenage wizarding relationship.

Yay! They're finally coming around. And she kissed him -- at least a little -- and he kissed her back. And neither one of them screwed it up. And Berkshire didn't come bumbling around the corner and wreck the whole moment! Pix, I think you're losing your touch. Before this final chapter, you would have done anything -- hippogryff stampede, lightning strike, somebody fainting -- anything to wreck this moment. You're getting soft! :p

Everything clicked together, almost audibly, just above the breeze - leaves rustled above them -- I see what you did there...

Wren rethought that last bit. An hour. In the dark. With Albus. -- She's starting to get the hang of this.

Wow. Serena is such a weirdo. An artsy, hipster, voyeuristic weirdo. I guess that probably makes her a good photographer, in that Andy Warhol sort of way.

Wren thought she heard a cackle escape from Serena’s lips, and fought the urge to slap her. -- I'm relating to this so hard.

Still, it seems that Serena has a sense of decency about her. I love the rapid shift in Wren's emotions, from shattered to ecstatic.

The rest of the chapter read in kind of a soft focus. Very dreamy, with all of the sharp edges filed down. It was really sweet of Wren to want to spend a little time with Madam Pince. Poor old thing didn't deserve to go out quite like this. In fact, couldn't you have switched fates between her and Sloan? At least that would have shut him up.

Ooh! So Wren did take more away from the vampire rabbit experience than a new boyfriend and a lot of terrible memories. I like Smeed's implied warning, as well. I'm sure this "vampire invasion" of Hogwarts caused a lot of fear, anger and resentment among the wizarding population. I can imagine the vampires feeling uncomfortable about the possibilities.

I thought it was a really nice touch that Gran wants to see Wren for a bit and then wants her to go off and live her own life. She's a smart lady.

Gah, so here we are at the end. This story has frustrated the daylights out of me at times. And that's perfect, because teenagers are frustrating. Not just to adults, but it's just generally a frustrating time in life. You've stayed so true to your premise and explored so many aspects of this awkward, confusing, uncertain time of life. I can't imagine the temptation to have these kids snap out of it and behave like quasi-sane mini-adults, but you didn't do that. I'm in awe of how tough it must have been -- chapter after chapter -- to think things through from Wren and Albus's point of view and make sure that they were acting their age. You did a really amazing job with this. Congratulations on finishing another classic story!

-Dan

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Review #2, by CambAngstDon't Leave Me: 1.

30th August 2015:
Hi, Tammi! I made it to 50 in our common room reviewing challenge! I wasn't sure I was going to get here by the end of the month, but I did with some time to spare. I really loved the review you left me earlier, so I wanted to make sure you ended up being part of my reviews. Also, Happy Belated Birthday!

GryCReMo (Review #50)

It took me a while to piece together what you were doing here. And I think that's a big, big compliment. This is really tough challenge, no doubt about it. Trying to start every sentence with the right letter must have made it nearly impossible to maintain your rhythm and flow, but you did a great job making the story sound natural.

Lavender and Theo Nott as a pairing? Well... you and I might need to agree that we'll have to discuss this further at some point. It's certainly not impossible. Nott was never one of those Slytherins who gloried in Draco Malfoy's snobbery and Dolores Umbridge's tyranny. He's one of those characters that allows an author all kinds of leeway to make him turn out however she wants him to. It's good to have characters like that. He's not really the half that I'm struggling with. Lavender doesn't seem like the type to cross House lines for a relationship. Maybe I'm wrong. This is much, much less cringe-inducing than watching her pursue "Won-Won".

Wow. I just breezed through the whole story again and I'm really, really impressed with what a great job you did of making an actual, honest-to-god story fit with the rules of this challenge. Only one thing I noticed, and maybe I just don't understand the rules well enough:

Jovial cheers could be heard from what seemed miles away, causing her to tear her eyes away and look up.

“Lavender...”


Is it me, or did you jump from J to L without hitting K? Oh, no. I really hope that I"m just misunderstanding. :(

You did a beautiful job writing this! Congratulations on a fantastic entry in a very difficult challenge!

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Review #3, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! I'm all caught up!

GryCReMo (Review #49)

So... that was a pretty big mistake Daphne made there at the end of the last chapter. I take back anything kind I might have said about her in previous reviews. (Did I say anything kind about her?) She is an idiot.

Wow, even Olivia's owl is being awful to her at the moment.

At first I was sort of like Olivia: relieved to see her dad come along. But true to form, her dad takes care of that situation quickly enough. It's hard to fathom how the man can be this emotionally tone-deaf. I'm composing a list in my head, the topic being, "Things Olivia's Dad Should Have Considered". It's long. A few highlights:

▷ Does Olivia perhaps want to go to the hospital to make sure her mother is alright?

▷ Is Olivia tired or hungry?

▷ Why on god's green earth would Olivia want to immediately cosy up to the woman who just contributed to her parents' break-up?

▷ Is it possible that Olivia knows this woman's daughter from school and might or might not get on with the girl well enough to be roomies?

▷ Should I maybe act my age and not my hat size for just once and try to act more like a father?

I could go on, but you get the point. It's really no surprise at all when Olivia snaps.

On a side note, I guess this explains the "tough time" that Laura Brogan was going through. I'm in one of those "feel bad but don't feel bad" kind of frames of mind. Is it bad that her home life was going to pot? Sure. Do you fix that by betraying people you were obviously close to? Yeah, not so much.

You did a pretty convincing job of writing Olivia's splinching. I'm pleased to see that there are better solutions in the magical world that dousing her with ditany and waiting it out.

Hey, James knew exactly what to do for once. People usually write him as such a jerk in Albus-centric stories. I appreciate the fact that you gave him this moment of being an awesome friend and big brother.

I'm really curious where you'll be taking the story next. Do you have an idea of how long you mean for it to be? Maybe this would be a better MTA question. Until next time!

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Review #4, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which It All Goes Wrong

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! One more before my day gets going.

GryCReMo (Review #48)

Well, that escalated quickly. But let's start at the beginning.

Louis and Rose aren't as easy as Al, but they're still pretty easy compared to what Olivia is used to. Louis can be quite the gentleman, it seems, at least when there's something he's trying to prove. It seems that he was hoping for something more to have happened between Olivia and Al. Al's family is taking to her at a rate that must feel positively alarming to Olivia. I don't imagine that she has any frame of reference for this, coming from a relatively dysfunctional family environment.

Ah, the Laura Brogan plot expands a bit. I felt pretty sure that there was more to her than a shallow groupie trying to get famous at Al's expense. I'm looking forward to the next dollop of Laura plot. Also, Olivia is doing her homework here. I think she wants to feel more for Al, but she's making sure the way is clear.

Aww, all four of them were so adorable in the train car. Louis and Rose snuggling up for a long ride. Olivia's nightmare was rather... disturbing. But then Al is there to help her get back to sleep. I'm thinking for some reason that we'll be seeing Rose's picture of Al and Olivia again.

Interesting that Katie didn't know about Pansy being dead. I'm at least initially suspecting suicide. After things falling apart with Olivia's dad, I imagine that Pansy had to be in a bad way, mentally.

Poor Olivia. The family drama just keeps piling on. I have no idea what's going to happen next, but I have a suspicion that the Potters will factor into it somehow. The good news is, I can click "Next" and find out!

Good job! Can't wait to read more...

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Review #5, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Al Sits Still

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! Looks like I'm not going to make my goal of 100 reviews this month, but 50 is within reach! Pardon me for a moment while I keep count:

GryCReMo (Review #47)

It's been ages since I stopped by your story! I'm not really sure what happened there, but I do know that it didn't take long at all to get right back into the flow of it.

I think if I had to pick one word to describe Albus in this chapter, that word would be "easy". NO! Not "easy" like that, but just easy in the sense that he's fine with doing whatever Olivia wants to do so long as he gets to spend some time with her. In that sense, he's pretty much the opposite of Cassie, who's extremely high-maintenance and demanding. He also doesn't come with all of Scorpius's emotional baggage. I think it goes without saying that Olivia could use more "easy" people in her life at this point.

Ugh. Well, Scorpius didn't take that well at all. He and Olivia seem to be growing farther and farther apart. And the unfortunate thing for Scorpius is that he seems to be getting worse for the separation while Olivia is finally able to relax and unwind. It's not that she doesn't miss him or care for him, but it seems very nice that she doesn't need to deal with his moods and anxieties all the time.

Again, after Scorpius storms out, Al just makes things easier. He doesn't pry or try to get her to talk about what happened. He just asks how he can help and is happy to do something small to give her a moment to collect herself. Easy.

Wow! So this scene was sort of like Titanic in reverse, with Olivia drawing Al. "Draw me like one of your Slytherin boys!" ;)

And... they almost kiss. Maybe not that close, but there was definitely a moment there. For a couple of teenagers, you're pacing that aspect of the story well. Call me a pessimist, but I still think you're going to bring them together right before Cassie makes her return. And then things are going to go pear-shaped for a while.

Let's see, what else? I like the image of the red jumper that you threaded into this. It's the small things that show where the story is headed sometimes.

Great job! I've missed this.

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Review #6, by CambAngstPrecipitate: Solution

30th August 2015:
Hi, Kevin! Well, it seems that 100 is pretty much out of reach, but 50 is dangling right in front of me.

GryCReMo (Review #46)

No doubt about it, you nailed the creepy factor. Maybe this is just me being sentimental, but I also wanted to find it a bit touching. The lengths that Blake is willing to go to in order to not let his wife slip away from him. In turn, that can also be a creepy thing, his obsessive need for her and his unwillingness to let her go. But she doesn't seem to mind overly, at least not when she's young.

It's when his wife is near death, at the beginning of the story, that I actually feel the most creeped out by Blake. I felt a sort of distance between the two of them in the first scene. It's obvious that she's less than totally enamored with him and he's very perfunctory in his affection for her. It's like they're both going through the motions. I wasn't completely sure how to interpret that, but one possibility is that he only really wants to be close to her when she's young and healthy.

“Yes. Of course it is my fault,” the greying wizard offered, kissing his wife chastely on the lips before pulling back to regard her carefully. -- This line seemed to hold a couple levels of meaning, beyond just the light banter.

“I know,” she said flatly. “But I don’t like it here.” -- Another line that jumped out at me not he second read-through. Is she referring to the place or to the body she's inhabiting?

The murder scene was pretty gruesome. It seemed obvious to me that there's some very dark magic at work here, basically draining a living person of all life so that Elizabeth can be, I don't know, poured into a new, young body. I'm sure that's oversimplifying things, but still. Yuck.

Once Elizabeth is young and whole again, the creepiness factor really goes up a notch. I wonder whether she retains all of her memories from her previous "life" or whether she starts over each time? I'm curious whether Blake is aging naturally or does he do something similar to extend his own life? Lots of questions. Maybe you should turn this into a longer story.

Great job with the writing. I could tell you felt a little constrained by the rules of the challenge, but you made the most of what you had to work with. Also, I didn't see a single type or grammatical problem. Bravo!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan!

You captured in your first paragraph exactly what I was going for! I wanted people on some level to be able to connect with his desire to preserve their happiness, but then ultimately be repulsed by the obsession and the lengths to which Blake goes to "keep" her.

For the beginning, the situation between them is interesting and you've definitely picked up on part of why. She is rather distant because of the "I don't like it here" (which is referring to BOTH the place - the land of the living - and the body - basically a "fake" of her and not her own). And he is perfunctory because he knows then what it's time to do AGAIN, and decides no time can be wasted before doing it.

You're not oversimplifying things at all really, the idea was kind of that the magic Blake uses reanimates his victim with Elizabeth's consciousness - sort of like a zombie/Frankenstein's Monster meets the Resurrection Stone. The difference is, as you rightly pointed out, that she essentially "reboots" when this happens, to the point in her life she was when he lost her. With Blake, he goes to a lot of magical lengths to preserve the illusion that he's the same age as she reboots to, though I included the greying to show just how long he's been at this given the youthfulness of his victim. It's not so much extending his own life, because ultimately, when it's his time he'll be happy to go so he can be with the REAL Elizabeth, but he goes to a lot of trouble (until the cycle is winding down like it is at the beginning of the story) with stuff in the vein of dying his hair, glamour/concealment charms to fix aging defects, etc.

Sometimes I do think about making this a longer piece, but alas, I have so many things on the table already I doubt I'll ever get there.

I'm glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for the great (and detailed) feedback as always!


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Review #7, by CambAngstThe Harder Struggle: Heroes

29th August 2015:
I'm back again! I wanted to get one more chapter in before bedtime.

GryCReMo (Review #45)

I think you're pacing this story brilliantly. I love the fact that you're taking your time and allowing things to unfold in a very organic, unforced way.

Poor Ron. He's going to have a lot of hard days ahead. It's wonderful that he'll have Hermione by his side to help him through it.

Ginny's letter was well written. You hit on all of the notes that I would have expected from her: frustration, relief, affection, sadness and just a bit of that temper of hers. I think Harry has a very interesting conversation in his near future.

The conversation between the trio was vital to where it seems you're taking the story. In all of the best post-war stories, Harry's trademark humility and unselfishness shine through. Also, his desire not to be the sole center of attention. You did a good job capturing all three of them being supportive of one another and generally making the most of the few precious moments they'll be granted before things go completely crazy.

Again, beautiful writing. I didn't see a single typo.

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Review #8, by CambAngstThe Harder Struggle: We're Alive!

29th August 2015:
Hi, there! I've had this story on my "plan to read" list for quite a while. It seemed like a good time, since I'm in the middle of a reviewing event. Please pardon me while I do a quick bit of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #44)

I thought you did a really great job with this first chapter. You hit a really good balance with the emotions of all of the characters. The mood was somber and respectful, but it's obvious that the huge emotional toll hasn't fully set in yet. They're all shell-shocked and exhausted and they will need a lot of time to process what's happened and grieve. But for right now, they just need food and sleep.

Kingsley and McGonagall were pretty obvious choices for the "authority figures" in this chapter, but I thought Bill was a unique and interesting choice to round things out. He is one of the elder members of the Weasley clan and I imagine that Arthur and Molly are indisposed between their own grief and trying to help the younger siblings. He also brings a little more perspective, since he was at Shell Cottage with the trio as they planned their final assault on Voldemort's horcruxes.

I loved the thinly-veiled fury that was emanating from McGonagall when she talked about Hogwarts under Snape and the Carrows. In general, it was good to see real emotion in her words and actions. I can't imagine that she was immune to the consequences of everything that happened, although a lot of people write her that way.

The explanation of the horcruxes seemed about right. There was no way that Harry, Ron and Hermione had the energy or the time to go into all the details, but they got the key information across to Kingsley.

Overall, you write very well. Everything flowed very smoothly and this was an easy read. You did a really good job with the dialog. Each character spoke with a voice that was appropriate to their age and their mood.

I saw one small typo:

It hadn’t stop either Ron or Hermione from carrying on with their mission though. -- hadn't stopped

Great job! I'm looking forward to reading more.

Author's Response: Hi,
Thanks for the detailed review. As a writer you will know how much a meaty and considered review is appreciated.

You have my reasons for using Bill instead of Arthur down to a tee.

Thanks again,

Eric


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Review #9, by CambAngstDating Hannah : Liquid Courage

29th August 2015:
Hi, deeds! I need some good reading/reviewing material tonight. Aside from the fact that I just feel like it, I'm also doing my darnedest to get to 1̶0̶0̶ 50 reviews by the end of the month so I can f̶i̶n̶i̶s̶h̶ not completely embarrass myself in:

GryCReMo (Review #43)

I remember this story so well from before your hiatus. This was one of the stories that really inspired me to try my hand at humorous writing. Which works. Sometimes. At least a little bit.

“We’re playing poker,” Harry grumbled. -- Boo! I always get stuck with the Old Maid in that one.

These guys are awesome when they've been drinking. I have my suspicions as to why you gave Seamus something else to do. He's the only one who might be able to hold his liquor well enough that he wouldn't be entertaining.

Neville took it upon himself to answer Dean’s question. “I like Hannah,” he confessed. -- Good on you, lad! Get it out in the open. Your friends will help you come up with a plan to court her. It will be a terrible plan, one that's guaranteed to fail comically, but that's still a better plan than what you have right now.

“Come on Neville…let’s see…use that ancient language, you know, the one your Gran spoke when she was born,” he suggested. -- Dear god. Does Ron realize that he's taking his life into his sweaty palms?

It seems that we're well on the way to having the parchment-and-quill equivalent to a drunk text that you send to your ex at 3:30 AM. Only Ron could come up with such impactful prose. I anon him.

“You search for Horcruxes with him one time and he just latches on.” -- There, there, Ron. I'm sure that Harry anons you in a completely platonic way. Or at the very worst, it's a bromance.

Poor Neville. The boy isn't gifted with a strong array of conversation material. Also, he's surrounded by idiots.

Aww! I love the way you wrote Gran. Sure, she's sarcastic, but she genuinely cares for Neville and she wants him to be happy. Or at least not starve to death.

Yay! Somehow or other, Ron's idiotic letter actually seemed to work. You're committed now, Neville. Man up and go see Hannah.

Awesome start! I really anoned this chapter!

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Review #10, by CambAngstYear Five: Cleaner, More Brilliant

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! At long last, here I am at the end. This is going to be a weird review, I'll tell you that right up front. Not sure what the mix of substance and gushing is going to be.

GryCReMo (Review #42)

You managed to get a Dr. Who reference into the story. Many HPFF'ers I know will strongly approve. ;)

Apparently, when non-magic people dressed themselves, it signified what sort of person they were, or, at least, the sort of person they wanted to be. -- Isn't that the truth. I love the idea of witches and wizards struggling with the significance of muggle clothing. When you're used to mostly wearing robes, the decisions are probably fewer and less important.

I'm so happy to see Isobel and Lauren both doing better. I'm not sure I buy the idea of "starving the beast" until it's dead. I'm not sure it ever dies. But you can definitely make it a tiny, marginalized part of your life.

Only ten weeks old, so Charlie’s taking care of it until it’s old enough to bring to Norway and introduce into a preserve. Refuses to tell me where he got it from, though, except that it was illegally hatched. -- Cough, cough. Sorry, something in my throat.

Ha! I love the exercise of explaining animation to the two sheltered witches. Come to think of it, hand-drawn animation was a huge undertaking.

All in all, the good times were better than they’d ever been, and the bad times were further between. -- That's what I want to hear!

Everything considered, it sounds like they all did pretty well on their O.W.L.s. What I really loved about this scene was that there were no lingering feelings of envy and no recriminations for how anyone should have worked harder. They all made it through the year, and that was saying quite a lot.

OK, a couple of small typos before I wrap up:

“By way of Muir of Ord,” the owlish old driver muttered, annoyed, before shifting into gear. Scottland was hardly on the wa. -- on the way

his parents were glad for him to be spending time with his maters -- with his mates

Now... Whew, deep breath...

You can go a long time on HPFF without reading a story that falls very far outside of some fairly well-bounded norms. Next Gen teen romance with mismatched main characters that might or might not involve an unplanned pregnancy. Marauders-era story pairing Sirius or Remus with a female lead who's doomed to end up very disappointed or, in a worst case, dead. Missing moments stories from the Hogwarts years. The exciting lives of professional Quidditch players. Canon and non-canon characters struggling to overcome the trauma of the war. You get the idea.

What really attracts me to HPFF -- 99% of the reason I keep coming back -- is that every so often I find a story like this one. A story that parallels the books and is affected by the events of the books, but is truly, uniquely its own story. Your characters might share names with canon characters, but they are yours. You breathed so much life into them and made them so genuine and human. You made every part of them real: their strengths and their weaknesses, the good and the bad. You didn't celebrate their flaws, but you also didn't minimize them. You let them be four perfectly normal teenagers struggling with the things that normal teenagers struggle with, plus the added temptation of having magic at their disposal.

In doing this, you managed to replicate that rarest of feats that made the Harry Potter books so special: You allowed your readers to experience genuine empathy for these characters. To relate to what they're feeling and to want to see them be alright. It's no mean feat and my hat is off to you. This was an amazing story and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!

-Dan

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Review #11, by CambAngstYear Five: After

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! I don't think I'm going to make it to 100. But 50 would be nice...

GryCReMo (Review #41)

Tristan hadn’t planned on there being an after. It was humiliating, and terrifying, and he felt like a stranger. -- Unfortunately, I know two people who've attempted suicide. Both of them grappled with this exact thing. Nobody thinks about the possibility that they might survive and have to deal with the aftermath.

I love Eddie's story. It will probably take Tristan a little while to process what it means, but I really hope it helps.

“Machiavellian,” McGonagall shot back. “That’s what you are. I hope you realize that.” -- I'm glad that somebody is saying that to his face. Because it's true, and would only become more true as the years passed.

“Yeah I bet if young Potter got a headache the school would assume it was the Dark Lord behind it,” Laurel scoffed. -- Slow clap. Brilliant.

I loved the scene in Cadogan's Corridor. It was familiar and comfortable, but not. For a brief moment, everything felt the same, but everything was different. And lots of walls finally fell, especially for Tristan. Poor Isobel, as though the whole thing with Quirrell needed to be any worse. At least Tristan's friends -- his support -- finally know the truth. As Aunt Esther used to say, "And the truth will set you free!" Wow. That show probably went off the air fifteen years before you were born. I have to stop dating myself like that...

Wow. Tristan got a birthday present from the Dark Lord. That really puts the awkward hover-hands hug that Draco Malfoy received in perspective, doesn't it?

There were many ways a fragile body might break, and each of them were playing out in Isobel's mind. -- It's a really insidious variation on survivor's guilt that you've hit upon there. If a friend succeeds in killing themselves, you ask yourself what you should have done differently, but the scope is contained. All of the opportunities have already come and gone. If they try to kill themselves and fail, the cycle of second-guessing repeats itself every time you let them out of your sight.

Ah, it seems that Isobel is having an awakening of sorts. All it took was Emily stepping up to shatter these walls of envy and self-doubt that she'd built around her self-image. Now she's questioning more things. Good on you, Isobel!

I'm glad that Tristan is feeling... something along with the memories of his birth parents. He's the sort of person who could easily construct emotional walls around all of it and feel nothing. It seems to me that he needs to feel more if he's ever going to survive his teenage years. It's also good to see Snape continuing to try to look after him. If there's anyone who understands how a person can be victimized by falling under the Dark Lord's influence, it's Snape.

"Believing that child-rearing was the sole dominion of women, after your mother's death, your primary care fell to your aunt," Snape added tensely. "A most unfortunate turn of events." -- Snape has quite the gift for understatement. Bellatrix would have resented every moment of being forced to look after a child instead of carrying out the Dark Lord's will.

Wow. Tristan has memories of the Longbottoms being tortured. Which the Dementors obviously bring right to the surface. You've brought so many amazing things to light in this chapter that clarify and reinforce this enigmatic character. Bravo!

Your physical descriptions of what it's like to be inside Azkaban are brilliant. The place is chilling, dead and terrible in every respect.

“That man isn’t my father,” Tristan answered the decade old question that had lurked silently, never being asked. Mr. Shacklebolt looked for a moment like he might say something, but didn’t. -- I'm so glad that's clear to him now. There's a good chance he'll be able to move forward. Better chance, anyway.

I really, really love this story. I never have to read for very long before I remember all of the reasons why. You do such an amazing job with these characters and their world!

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Review #12, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 30. Into the Heart

29th August 2015:
Good morning, Pix! We've come to the second-to-last chapter. I'm really going to miss Wren and Albus when this is over. Just sayin' Ŏ‿Ŏ

GryCReMo (Review #40) {{-- Yay! 40!}}

Anyway, good to see that poor Minnie is still alive and kicking. She's obvious not lost much of her mind, because her first concern is still for the students. She even manages to spare a thought or two for poor, lost Dillon. Overall, you did a good job keeping her character consistent.

Stuffing their coats full of weapons. A couple of thoughts popped into my head. The first was Neo opening his coat after stepping through the metal detector in The Matrix. Something about that scene is way too polished and modern, however. Black leather and machine pistols just don't fit with Smeed and Burns filling their pockets with daggers, short swords and machetes. This is going to be a throw-down, 1700's-style. Well, except for the flame thrower...

Uncle Toby is such a calming influence on the process. Good guy to have around when tensions are running high.

Dillon has crossed the line into full-on "get me the heck away from this kid" megalomaniacal creepiness. His version of "friendship" and "sharing" have evolved into being exactly the way Wren described him: endlessly needy. I can only imagine why he needs the mingled blood of so many witches and wizards, and what I'm imagining isn't good. On the plus side, it seems like Madam Pince is on her last legs...

Burns fixed the group with a cold stare, holding the limp creature up for all to see. "That’s how it’s done. Any questions?" -- This line capped of a great scene. Scorpius thought that he was bad for having kicked one in the head. Burns showed him up with a quickness.

Dillon looked like a little prince of the library overseeing his kingdom. He was perched on a chair set on top of Pince’s circulation desk with a mob of restless thralls around him. -- Any chance you were thinking of the ill-fated King Joffrey here? That's how I see Dillon at the moment. He doesn't know enough to know what's in store.

Scorpius threw up his wand and hurled a red flash at the thralls. Ian caught his stunner square on the forehead and went down hard. -- I approve. Heartily. That said, it doesn't seem like Dillon and his thrawls have much of a plan here. They're sort of randomly throwing spells around, not accomplishing much other than trashing the room. I guess that makes sense for a blood-drunk little boy who only understands magic as a sort of abstract ideal rather than a practical tool.

Wow. The monster mutant rabbit emerging from the Restricted Section was a bigger deal than I expected, and I expected a pretty big deal. In my mind, the scene reminds me a little of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man attacking New York. If it's impervious to curses, James has the right idea, I think.

“Suffer, maybe die. You get in my way again and your fate will be more certain,” Smeed threatened before jumping from the column, another weapon in his hand. -- OK, it just got real.

I think you need to do a little work on the confrontation between Wren and Dillon. The part that wasn't completely clear to me was when he forced her to come to him. I think you need to make it more clear that she moves from wherever she was standing to be within arm's length of Dillon, because it took me a few passes to realize what had happened there. Other than that, I loved it! Wren has spent nearly all of the story doubting herself. Was she weak for letting her Gran's illness affect her. Was she losing her mind? Was she becoming a squib? In this one scene, she casts aside all of the fear and doubt and strikes a critical blow against Dillon. Bravo, Wren! Bravo!

When Wren realized that Bunny was truly lost, she gave Albus the means to kill him. I really liked the symbolism in that moment.

Dillon's final tantrum was pretty much perfect. In the final analysis, he's just a little boy, lost and alone and sad. Also angry. So very angry. And it was his undoing. His own minions turned on him. The line about tiny teeth scraping on bone was a fitting end.

Oh, no! What's happening to Wren now? I have to imagine that Smeed can help her, but no matter what, I loved her final line of the chapter. Beautifully done!

So now I wait. Eagerly, I wait. Wonderful job!

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Review #13, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 29. Secrets of the Heart

28th August 2015:
More, more, more!

GryCReMo (Review #39)

It's kind of miraculous that Wren managed to keep her thing for Albus away from Rose for this long. Maybe it's because she couldn't admit it even to herself. Maybe Rose isn't all that tuned in to matters of romance. Callie obviously is. All that said, I liked the way that Rose reacted. There was a release of tension there. She wasn't making light of Wren's feelings, only of the fact that it took them all so long to come to an understanding.

More… he’d probably have to get his pants adjusted again before Winter Break, maybe even before Halloween, which was only a week away. -- So impractical! That would obviously offend Wren's sensibilities. ;)

So while Rose and Callie are laughing some sense into Wren, James smacks some sense into Albus. Figuratively, of course, but in a typical brotherly fashion. Good on you, James.

Aww, he doesn't think she's crazy and she gives him some credit for being able to help. It's a start.

Sharing a rabbit. It's sort of like when couples decide it's serious enough to get a dog together, except for teenagers in a vampire-enthralled castle.

One thing confused me a little. Albus seems to just know how "personal" the thrall bond is and I'm not sure how. Observing Wren and McGonagall was really no different from observing the Prefects. I wasn't completely sure why it was suddenly such an epiphany.

Ah, so the full-blooded vampires don't appear on the Marauder's Map. Interesting. I wonder what that makes Dillon? Some sort of hybrid with an unfocused soul?

Oh, wow. There's a cliffhanger for you. It doesn't seem like Smeed killed McGonagall, but he wasn't very kind to her, either. What on earth will happen next? Tune in next time...

So close to the end! I'm excited, but also exhausted. I think I'll do the last one in the morning!

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Review #14, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 28. Reflections of the Heart

28th August 2015:
Moving along, moving along...

GryCReMo (Review #38)

Whew! At least Neville still has his wits about him. As long as Wren and Albus have Neville on their side, I think there's a good chance that things will work out alright.

Leaning back in his chair, he noted that Pince still had that wild glint in her eye, staring greedily at the mass of children like they were a tasty meal. -- Would it be entirely too much trouble for you to kill her off at the end of the story? Never liked that one. Pretty please?

Funny that the Ravenclaws are the ones who are cheering for Dillon loudest. Perhaps they're a bit too brainy for their own good.

Neville mentally kicked himself for not doing more than just passing along the information to the headmistress. -- I'm also mentally kicking him. Sheesh!

Even the Sorting Hat doesn't want anything to do with Dillon. The hat knows what time it is.

Scorpius squeezed himself in front of her. "What?" he snapped, affronted at their tight lipped faces. "She's clean. I checked."

"I bet you did," muttered Rose.
-- Brilliant! No scene is ever too tense for a little smutty humor.

Ha! Did you empty all of your unused (and gently used) British slang into a single passage of Scorpius's dialog?

So one thing is bugging me about this chapter. I think Neville seems far too OK with the idea of Wren continuing to be in harm's way. I know he's probably not as over-protective a parent as Molly Weasley -- who is, really? -- but still the idea of sending her off to the enthralled Headmistress's office seemed like a bit much. I'm still sort of surprised that nobody is trying to contact the Ministry or the Aurors. Granted, I know that would never work with the plot, but it seems like somebody should at least think about the possibility of contacting Harry.

Aww.. Rose and Scorpius are having a moment. Now's certainly not a bad time, since they could both be captured and enthralled before they get another chance. And it all started with talking about Wren and Albus's non-relationship. Now that Rose is clued in, I'd say it's only a matter of time. Neither Albus nor Wren is going to have any peace from her until they stop being so stubborn.

“A polarity-charmed banana,” she said softly, and the door slid open. -- Sometimes the simplest answer is also the correct one. ;)

Oh, boy. You are going to kill of Sloan, right? Seriously, this guy is nothing but bad news whenever he pops up. Now he's telling Dillon everything he needs to know to turn into some sort of over-powered psycho vampire. Maybe the giant, freaking rabbit from the Library could step on him or something? Please?

You're doing an awesome job driving your plot toward the big finale! At least I assume that's what's coming. I have to go find out...

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Review #15, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 27. Racing Hearts

28th August 2015:
Hello, again, Pix. Not wanting to give you wrinkles, but alas I do need to maintain some sort of pace here.

GryCReMo (Review #37)

So Albus in the Prefect's meeting... um, remind me why he thought this was a good idea again? He's nearly as crazy as his father, always needing to run right into the middle of dangerous situations just so he knows what's going on. I'll tell you what's going on, Albus: people are getting sucked dry and enthralled. Wouldn't you be better off finding Wren and a nice, quiet, safe place to talk instead?

Oh, man! The shoe phone scene was a riot to imagine. Here he is, surrounded by vampire thrawls, talking to Scorpius on his shoe. I'm adding Maxwell Smart to that list with Elmer Fudd and Vito Corleone on it. I can picture poor Albus, trying to play it cool.

Now he felt incredibly stupid. Yeah, of course he’d thought he was going to get away with walking into a room full of people who could read each other’s minds. -- Well, when you put it like that...

The conversation between Albus and James felt like it was missing something. For me, at least, I expected it to be harder for Albus to convince James of what was happening. I think the scene would have played better if the Prefects on the map were doing something more sinister. Either that, or play up what was going on in the Hospital Wing more. Just something other than Albus's word to make James realize that something very bad was happening in the castle.

Wren and Callie are certainly brave. They march right into the belly of the beast to retrieve Rose. Your descriptions of the Hospital Wing were pretty gruesome and creepy. Not a place I'd want to be.

I really liked the scene where they had to fight their way out of the Hospital Wing. Maybe "fight" isn't quite the right word, but it was no mean feat getting out of there, either. Poor Wren couldn't save everyone, but she has a pretty good group to work with now.

Oh, my. Dillon's coming in, isn't he? That can't be good.

Need to keep going. Story is so good now...

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Review #16, by CambAngstFull of Grace: It's Better This Way.

27th August 2015:
Hi, Beth! I know I can't fix your unfulfilled review swap, but maybe I can make your evening a little brighter. :) Or your morning, if you've already turned in for the night.

GryCReMo (Review #36)

You can summon some very powerful feelings of sorrow when you put your mind to it! I really, truly hope that there isn't much personal experience shining through in this story, because it's hauntingly, heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The type of beautiful that you feel very deeply in a way that hurts enough to remind you how good life really is.

I think you touched on all the right things to show how miserable Molly's life has become. The simple, little things that she always drew such satisfaction from have become burdens. Awful reminders of how life once felt. The food has no appeal and the table is forever imperfect because it will always be missing one place setting. Everything reminds her of what she's lost.

Children are meant to bury their parents, not the other way around. -- Ain't that the truth. This saying always seemed so cliche until I had children of my own. Now it's an invitation to ponder things that I can't bear to think about.

Arthur tries to help, but you make it clear why Molly is reluctant to want to let him.

Feeling better is dangerous, because it makes the next wave of emotion so much more intense. -- Again, perfectly explained. A severely depressed person feeling a bit of relief can be like a sip of water for someone who's dying of thirst. It only serves as contrast to make the lows feel worse.

Talking always seems to help a burdened soul, and I'm happy that Molly discovered her own form of therapy. It was a brilliant way to wrap the story up, along with all of her children discovering her standing in the snow, talking to a gravestone and perhaps wondering if she'd gone a little ways around the bend. But if they can all find a small smirk in it, so much the better. It's obvious that the whole family has a lot of healing to do, and sometimes that starts with a laugh.

Your writing was absolutely beautiful in this. You paced it very well and the words you picked were a perfect match to the mood and tone of the story. Keeping the dialog mostly out of it was a good choice, as well. I only saw one small thing that might be a typo:

The wind would rustle the leaves to deafening levels and the garden gnomes scampered through the crisp brush would buzz through her head. -- scampering through the crisp brush?

Awesome job! I hope this helped to brighten your evening just a bit.

P.S. - Not joking. D-E-A-D!

Hugs,
Dan

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Review #17, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 26. Straight Through the Heart

27th August 2015:
Hey, Pix! You definitely picked a good chapter title for this one. Blows to the feels happening all over the place.

GryCReMo (Review #35)

Oh, Wren. I'm not sure this is going to turn out to be a good choice she's made in the long run. I'm really curious, however, as to what happened to Bunny that came so close to killing him. Did he have a bad encounter with some of the other demon rabbits? Was it the separation from Wren? It didn't seem like that had bothered him so much up to this point. Was he simply starving to death from lack of blood? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ah, the Smeed and Burns story comes complete. And also neatly ties into Dillon's story. Wow, so Smeed and Augusta were a thing at some point? Crazy! I hope we hear more about that one later on. There are a lot of things happening here that I wouldn't have guessed, but that's the point of a Big Reveal. Dillon was a victim of a magic-drunk vampire, from the sound of things. His mother must have realized this, so if I'm reading between the lines correctly, she allowed Dillon to feed in order to save him from death. A very motherly thing to do, if not exactly a smart one. And perhaps she had no idea what Dillon could become. Ah, Uncle Toby has joined the party! One small observation: one of his names changed from "Travers" to "Trevor" between the last chapter and this one.

As I recall, you fell for the proper burial line from the grieving mother. -- Yeah, we've all fallen for that one at some point in our youth. ;)

He moved aside a chair full of rubble and swept half a century of dust off of the writing desk. -- Here's one more small thing I love about your writing style. Letting us know that Dillon has been a vampire for fifty years without somebody coming out and saying that he's been a vampire for fifty years. Bravo!

It's a good thing the vampire thrawls are sort of slow and clumsy, otherwise Albus and Scorpius would have been in even bigger trouble.

I've read through the last scene with Albus and Wren twice now. Something is still bugging me about it. I think it's that I'm having a hard time following the progression of Albus's feelings to the angry, disappointed place where he ends up. There's something -- ugh, is "disjointed" the word I'm looking for? -- about it. It just seemed to me that he was too quick to jump to the conclusion that there was something nefarious going on with Wren, or that her appearance was a sign of some personal failing on her part. My suggestion would be to mix up his feelings more. Let him be confused by the fact that he feels this repulsion toward her and let that confusion be a big part of his reaction.

Otherwise, another awesome chapter! I feel us barreling toward the conclusion!

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Review #18, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 25. Beating Hearts

26th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! It's me again, your suddenly motivated former beta reader turned serial reviewer.

GryCReMo (Review #34)

I really like how casual Nate and his uncle are about the whole vampire thing. I suppose it's no more casual than wizards are about the wizard thing or goblins are about the goblin thing, but the point is that the just take it all in stride. Apart from a few misunderstandings, there's nothing overly mysterious or menacing about Uncle Toby. And I love the name, for reasons we've already discussed elsewhere.

For his part, Nate kept really true to form. He feels badly for exposing his uncle to someone who might be prejudiced against vampires. Again, it's mostly a misunderstanding but it shows where all of the philosophical talk about vampire rights was coming from.

She took one of the sealed bottles of water and clutched it in her lap. There was no need to die dehydrated... -- That's my girl! Practical, to the last.

“I fell in love. Like you, Wren. And at about your age too. I was lucky enough to land a dream job at The Times, taking photographs of famous people, and we were never apart. Oh, she was a big, bony thing, all smoke and leggy tripods everywhere, not like the compact contraptions you use today.” -- Slow clap. This was completely brilliant. It took me two or three reads to figure out what he was talking about, and then it was brilliant.

Uncle Toby is pretty awesome. That line about looking forward to the children's birthdays brought it home beautifully.

“Smeed? Good man, he is.” Nate’s uncle looked her up and down. “I’d thought he had outgrown his tastes for a young thing such as yourself by now.” -- Ha! Yeah, that one made me laugh out loud. I guess it's a small world when you're undead.

Hmmnn... The line about what might happen to Dillon started me thinking. It seems fairly clear that the Vampire Council isn't simply going to leave him be. I know it's not the best analogy, but I'm thinking of how bears who've learned to attack humans have to be "dealt with". Not a pretty picture. Especially since we know that Dillon's motivations are basically innocent, if misguided.

Oh, boy. Nate is a thrill-seeker. If only he knew the kinds of "thrills" that Hogwarts students have stumbled upon in the past without even needing to seek them out. Perhaps he'd be less enthusiastic.

Albus is frustratingly thick. Or perhaps it's just that he can't focus on more than one thing at a time. Dealing with James or dealing with Wren. At the moment, he needs to be doing less of the former and more of the latter.

“You’re going to talk to her? As in, have a conversation, with words? What was in your juice this morning?” -- It's the new thing, Albus. Even Scorpius is doing it. You might want to give it a try, you ignoramus.

Well, there goes McGonagall's plan for dealing with Demon Bunny Zero. And it went so badly that Ackerly has gone from being the solution to being part of the problem. When will people at Hogwarts learn to stop trusting the creepy librarian?

Interesting. So it seems like Albus's rabbit got drunk on wizard blood and went rogue. Maybe Dillon will yet be part of the solution here and not just the problem. I have the strangest feeling as though Dillon's role in this story will evolve some more before it's over.

Great job! I shall return!

Author's Response:

What is this, Chapter 25?? How words fly by.

Good morning! If this is how you serialize yourself, I don't mind at all. Go right ahead. I'm enjoying all of it.

Haha, Toby's name was fun to come up with. I didn't know how to top the other vampire names in this story, already having 'Smeed' and 'Burns', but he got a good one, I think. He's also the only vampire with nomenclature options. I like that too about him.

Yes, Wren's practical. That was very important to me. It's a big part of her story.

Ah, I'm glad you liked that line about the camera. Still, if you had to read it more than once to get it, there's something wrong. I rearranged the sentences to lead-in with the camera. I think it clears it up a bit better.

I made you laugh I made you laugh! *bounces up and down* Do I get points for that? :P

It's sad about the bears. Now I feel sad. *mourns bears* And erm, yeah, Nate's enthusiasm gets tempered eventually. He doesn't know what he's in for until he gets thrown to the wovles... rabbits...? I just don't know anymore. My poor brain.

Naw, that line was totally supposed to be throwing it back in Scorpius' face. Albus is not anti-talk, he's just distracted by things, like James, and flesh-eating monsters. You know, the important things.

Don't you trust librarians? They are so knowledgeable and helpful, and full of information and... okay, maybe not so much here.

You hope for fantastic things, Dan. Thanks for another wonderful review!

Pix


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Review #19, by CambAngstLet Perpetual Light: A Communion of Saints

25th August 2015:
Hi, teh! You're right, this chapter has been a long time coming. But it was totally worth the wait! We're in the middle of a common room review event, so please indulge me for a bit of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #33)

I love the way you book-ended the chapter with the story of Marvolo Gaunt. I didn't expect to encounter him in this story and it was a really nice surprise. The physical attributes you gave him -- which could be taken as signs of inbreeding -- fit perfectly with his surly, entitled, arrogant demeanor. On the one hand I don't want Gellert getting his hands on the Resurrection Stone, but on the other hand I wouldn't mind seeing any number of bad things happen to Marvolo. What a dilemma!

You're doing a good job of working all of the angles to show how Albus is bored, unhappy and feeling very put-upon to have to stay at home and look after Ariana. Sitting around, writing tedious journal articles for money... it's obviously beneath him.

I love the way you write Ariana. It's hard to even come up with the right words to explain what I like so much about her. She's a little creepy, but also lovable. It's not at all hard to see why Aberforth is so devoted to her and why even Albus can't be cross with her when she's right in front of him. Nice allusion to the three women, by the way, even if Albus can't see or hear them.

Hmmnn... I wonder whether there's a bit of magic in that pine cone doll. Perhaps something that will come in handy when the final showdown between Albus, Aberforth and Gellert happens.

Another wonderful bit of color added to Gellert's back story. His mother's fascination with saints and martyrdom has definitely reinforced his feelings of being unfairly limited and restrained by a world that doesn't embrace his morally flexible views on the use of magic. The letter he sends to Albus makes his feelings abundantly clear. Why should he be the one relegated to the shadows of the world when he wields the power to change it?

The duel... I have to admit that I wish it had been longer. Two masters of the form could have made for such an incredible, mind-blowing, edge-of-your-seat experience. At a minimum, it would have been neat to see Albus use Transfiguration as a weapon, the way he does against Voldemort. Regardless, I loved the outcome. Gellert loses control and it ignites a fury within Albus.

Ah, the kiss! Very nicely done. I think you hit the perfect notes with that moment. And you even gave Gellert an odd sort of quasi-sincerity about the whole thing. Whether he's driven by his physical attraction to Albus or his desire for the unlimited power that Albus could help him achieve -- possibly both -- his infatuation felt completely genuine.

Great job! I'm really looking forward to more!

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Review #20, by CambAngstGoodbye: Charlie

25th August 2015:
Hi, Sara! One more...

GryCReMo (Review #32)

I thought the quotation went along really well with this chapter. And Charlie has a good point: you can read loss when it's felt by people you care about.

It was easy to get inside his head and live the surreal nightmare that he must have been feeling in the Great Hall. The scene itself was so chaotic and charged with adrenaline and emotion, and then to find his family mourning his list brother... it just felt like sensory overload.

I thought it was interesting that Ron was the one who found the momentary strength to answer Charlie's question. Ron has seen a fair bit of death by this point, however. He's probably better conditioned than the rest to be able to keep going.

The guilt that you wrote into Charlie's thoughts after the battle hit home just right. He couldn't have helped but to second-guess his life choices after losing a member of the family.

Fred's reaction was just about perfect.

There was only one little thing I could suggest. Instead of having Ron say "an AK", I think "killing curse" would have been a better choice. In the books, I don't remember the characters ever using the incantations of spells (or an abbreviation) to name or describe the spell.

Good job!

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Review #21, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 24. Guilty Hearts

25th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Poor Wren! Every time she turns around, something in this story is leaving her head spinning. Although I suppose the vampire rabbit apocalypse is worthy of a little head-spinning.

GryCReMo (Review #31)

Hannah hadn’t batted an eye when she replied, “I trust Gran, and so does your father. Do as the man says.” -- This line instantly made me think of Harry explaining himself to Aberforth just before the Battle of Hogwarts.

”I’m hunting a rabbit,” he said with a completely straight face. “I swear on my grandfather’s balding hairline, Wren. You better get that blinkin’ thing locked up in the Gryffindor Tower. Because if I find it first, it’s dead.” -- Love this! It’s a little bit Elmer Fudd and a little bit Vito Corleone and a lot of Pix. Try to find that in any other novel on the site!

I’m sort of hoping that Wren’s mindset was coloring her perception of McGonagall’s reaction. Otherwise, Minnie is displaying a Dumbledore-esqe level of, “Eh. I’m things will work out alright.”

OK, I realize there are Very Important Plot Reasons why you needed Wren to go to Hogsmeade, but honestly Scorpius and Callie’s reasoning makes a lot of sense. It’s not like Wren can sneak up on Bunny. Granted, it probably isn’t possible for anyone to sneak up on any of the vampire rabbits. I mean, no matter what else they are, they’re rabbits. Small, herbivorous prey animals whose only chance for survival is to never be caught unaware. But Scorpius and Callie obviously aren’t thinking so clearly.

“second-degree thralls” I love Scorpius in this story.

God, James is such a jerk. Remember how his namesake was a total jerk for five years and then changed? James Sirius is like a mirror image.

“If he’s such a good friend, then treat him like one. He deserves your honesty, right?” -- Nate, the Voice of Reason.

Ooh! So there are other vampires around. And Nate is related to one. No wonder he had such well-formed opinions for their history essays.

I’m gonna get there. Probably not tonight, but soon! I saw your status about the penultimate chapter and I was very excited. Til next review!

Author's Response:

Okay, so I tried really hard to let the adults in this story actually act responsible and not look like idiots, but here's the thing. If the adults fix all the problems in the story, then what exactly am I writing about??? Big quandry. I tried. I really really didn't want to have Neville look like a buffoon. I respect him too much.

I just HAD to put the "hunting rabbits" line in this story somewhere. It was on my mental list (didn't make the written list because it was just so off the wall) and I'm so pleased that Scorpius was the one to pull it off. I mean, come on, when ever do we get the chance to say something like that in context and have it mean exactly what we're saying? Unless we're writing actual hunting stories or something, which I'm not. That reminds me. What exactly was Seamus hunting in that lost draft of ours?

Again with the not-trying-to-make-adults-look-like-idiots, and flailing. This is hard.

I am so relieved to hear you say that you thought there were reasonable reasons for Wren to go to Hogsmeade. Yes, plot. But it can't be "because the author says so". Good point about the rabbits. Also good thing that Callie and Scorpius don't realize that.

I love Scorpius too, but only behind his back. I don't want his ego to get any bigger. I love Nate and his 'well-formed opinions' as well. I am so glad he worked out in this story. I had high hopes for him.

Oh, look at the chapter numbers. Where has the time gone?

Pix


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Review #22, by CambAngstGoodbye: Percy

23rd August 2015:
Hi, Sara! Let's do one more before bed.

GryCReMo (Review #30)

I really liked the reflections that Percy shared with George. He has a lot of reasons to doubt himself, after his actions leading up to the war. But his family never completely gave up on him, and that probably helped him find the strength to come back. The way you wrote his dialog was really good. It sounded like Percy, only an older, very contrite version of Percy.

The scene in the delivery room was just lovely. Such a precious moment for a new family, and you captured it beautifully. Percy doesn't quite want to let go of the baby, which is the way it should be.

Nice chapter! You're doing a good job with this story.

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Review #23, by CambAngstGoodbye: Ron

23rd August 2015:
Hi, Sara! I'm back for another chapter.

GryCReMo (Review #29)

Fred seems like a really good spirit for his brothers and sister to evoke when they're facing one of life's challenging moments. None of them seem to have any problems imagining what Fred would say if he were there. He'd make fun of them for taking things too seriously and then he'd crack rude jokes until they were laughing too much to be nervous.

It doesn't quite work with Ron in this case, but I do think it helped him to talk to Fred. It must have been cathartic, in a way, to share this moment with Fred would never get to experience first-hand.

"When she comes down the aisle, you'll completely forget you were even nervous," he says, before leading me to my place in the front of the alter. -- Very true. It's an experience no groom ever forgets.

Fred's confidence in Ron is inspiring, even if Ron can't perfectly feel it, himself.

Good job!

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Review #24, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 23. Hearts in the Flesh

23rd August 2015:
Hi, pix! One more before I call it a night!

GryCReMo (Review #28)

Not many people can keep two star-crossed love stories going inside the same novel, but you're not just any author. After the last chapter being heavy on what's happening (more what's not happening) between Albus and Wren, you gave Rose and Scorpius a chapter where they both spend some quality time pondering their feelings toward one another. You seem to bring them both to the same epiphany -- that they care -- but you wouldn't be Pix if both epiphanies happened at the same moment. Oh, no. Nothing that simple for you. Instead, they both reach this higher level of understanding in life-threatening situations.

Oh, Rose. You may be a genius, but thinking that understanding your little brother is a good proxy for understanding men in general will never be a conclusion that you look back proudly upon.

Good grief! Can't someone just drive a wooden stake through Sloan's heart and be done with him? Maybe give him a Holy Water facial or stuff garlic bread down his throat? Dude needs to meet a satisfyingly unhappy end, that's all I'm saying.

Gran continues to be completely hardcore in this chapter, and I heartily approve. Wren has been in need of some tough love for... how many chapters does this story have? Pretty much since the beginning, she's needed Gran's no-nonsense guidance to get past all of her doubts and troubles and deal with reality.

And it now seems that everyone is on the same page where reality is concerned. Smeed knows more or less who the rogue vampire is. Wren is over all the denial and has finally admitted that, no, Bunny is not a completely innocent little animal who needs her love and support to survive. Somehow I can't imagine her turning and running the other way when things get really hairy, especially if Rose, Scorpius, Albus or anyone else is in danger. But at least she's going into the conflict with her eyes wide open now.

I didn't feel completely satisfied with the idea of Gran packing up and moving away to someplace in Leeds. This is the woman who rushed to Hogwarts to fight alongside the defenders against the Dark Lord's army. With all of Hogwarts, including her grandson, in danger, it seemed odd to me that she wouldn't be headed there to make sure that things were alright. Maybe we'll see her again before the story is over.

Finally, there's Scorpius. I can't recall whether this is the first scene we've read in his PoV, but it was brilliant. He has an amazing combination of vanity and manliness, captured perfectly in this one line:

Why, he put the man in manicure, if he did say so himself. -- Slow clap.

He really is quiet infatuated with Rose. A guy like that is always going to be smitten with the girl who stands up to him and isn't swept off of her feet by him charm and good looks. He's drawn to the challenge, to a person who makes him work for it. When he rushed to her side, you could feel it all coming to the surface.

I'm not sure whether I'll be back again tomorrow. Work will be busy and I have a meeting after work. But rest assured, I'll be back soon!

Author's Response:

Aww, Dan. You are too kind. No of course I can't let TWO character arcs reach their peak at the same time in a multi-arc story, and I'm pretty sure you aren't suggesting that, right? Because that would be insane. Just as long as you don't throw anything at me when they resolve, I think we'll be fine. Or... or do they have to resolve at all... just kidding. Just kidding. I kid. Really.

This is what happens when I'm stuck in an endless cycle of revising. ONE revision per story. That should be a rule. Err... I think it is somewhere. Maybe I should start following it, or something.

LOL! Rose. She thinks she's smart. And I'll personally hand you the stake for Ian, but only after I'm done with him.

I bet this story would be so different if Gran were in her right mind from the beginning. Probably why I decided against that. Plot. Don't mess with it.

I've had a few comments on the way that Gran left. The only thing I can tell you is that in Wren's eyes, Gran was larger than life, and now Gran isn't so cool anymore. Also, Wren wouldn't be privy to any adult conversations that happened between Gran and Hannah and Neville. Realistically, Gran hasn't included Wren in any of her major decision-making, so it's sort of perpetuating that sad fact.

This is Scorpius' second scene. He wanted more, but I pointed out that we were only going to fulfill the minimum from our contractual agreement that I made all my characters sign after that near-fiasco with Smeed and hs "big ideas".

I would love to say that I came up with that line first about the manicure, and in fact, I did independently think of it, far from the maddening influence of multimedia. HOWEVER, I recently did a Google search on it, and I am sad to say that back in 2011, Forbes Magazine published that very phrase, and now it's all over the place, encouraging men to buff up. Their nails. Because it's a thing. I can't tell you how disappointed I was about that. Anyway, it's probably been used before that because it's a GREAT LINE and I'm not the most brilliant person in the world to have ever thought of it.

Thanks so much for your reviews! And suddenly, I feel like running off and polishing my nails...


Pix



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Review #25, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 22. Charmed Hearts

23rd August 2015:
Pix, you may be the best there is when it comes to building up a perfectly romantic moment and then dashing it on the rocks. Mist painting on the covered bridge in the early morning before the castle wakes up. Swirling patterns of blue and green dancing together. Wren trying to decide whether to slip under Albus's outstretched arm. And then a crowd of dopey Hufflepuffs featuring Nate, the Destroyer of Moments. Gah!!!

GryCReMo (Review #27)

Albus was right. She could do it without him, but she didn't want to. -- Well, that's progress of a sort. Now she just needs to let him know that.

Just when I thought that maybe, just maybe Albus was exaggerating James's persecution a bit in his head, this happens. I'll qualify the sentiment only to this extent: It's possible, I suppose, that James was somehow trying to hit Albus with a spell that would make him turn around and declare his undying love for Wren. I think that's unlikely, but it would be consistent with James's bizarre sort of logic. Mostly, though, I just think he was trying to make Albus feel like an even bigger fool. And the way he runs off after the duel? Just cowardly and weak.

Sigh. And I suppose now Wren is going to encounter this Lori girl all over Albus in a corridor somewhere? I actually don't remember whether that happens, I'm just guessing. Brilliant. :(

Serena is sort of... creepy, but in a sophisticated way? Is that a thing? Anyway, I don't think Wren needs to worry about her becoming a legitimate competitor for any boy's affection. Unless maybe he has really, really nice skin.

Ah, so Wren has learned something new about Bunny. Not sure what, obviously, but apparently it was enough to shake her badly.

Go, Gran! I love that crazy, old vulture hat-wearing lady! Not that I think Smeed was about to cause Wren any harm. Rather, I think that he simply wants to know what Wren knows. He's one piece away from solving the puzzle and Wren has that piece. I hope they're able to assemble the whole thing in the next chapter.

This story is getting so good now! I'm barreling ahead with reckless abandon!

Author's Response:

Romantic moment? Where?? Just kidding. I completely did that on purpose. We'll just give Nate his own black cape and some kind of freaky mask and call it a day, shall we?

You might be asking a bit much of Wren right now. That move would require independent thoughts, which is difficult when there's someone else inside her head trying to influence her every move.

I love how you're seemingly trying to justify James' actions by giving reasonable and logical explanations for his deplorable behavior.

About Lori, I had something like that in mind, but then squashed it in first revision when I felt like it was too predictable. Good thing. You'd have seen it coming from a mile away.

I don't know if creepy sophistication is a "thing" or not. But I will say that my endgame for Serena surprised my other beta reader. I can't wait to see if you are pleased or you end up throwing things at me... figuratively, of course, because of the computer screen.

Gran is indeed back within her right mind. She's one tough lady.

We're so close. I can feel it.

Pix


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