Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
1,121 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Boredom: Rose and Scorpius POV

1st October 2014:
Hi, Beth!

Ooh, a cliffhanger! Who is the mysterious person in the house where Rose arrived? Obviously it's somebody who's familiar with her problems. Very curious.

I was wondering whether something like this might happen, although I was thinking Scorpius was more likely to go stir-crazy than Rose. I guess it's actually an expected part of her recovery. Now that she's had a little taste of what life could be like, it must be hard to be smothered in the darkness of Grimmauld Place because of Stannous. I know I'd find that horrible. He's torturing her in a completely different way, not even needing to be present.

Honestly, I was a fan of Rose's central idea. She really could use to brush up on her defensive magic in a practical setting. Granted, she's probably rushing into things, but progress has to start somewhere. Trying to parlay that idea into a way to be outside, however, was a bit childish on her part. She should understand as well as anyone that Stannous has some way to get to her that the Aurors don't know how to counteract, short of placing her under unbreakable magical protection. All in all, it seems like both sides were being kind of ridiculous. Given the strain she's under, I can see how Rose would have reacted poorly to what she would see as further coddling/imprisoning.

The group lost valuable time while trying to overcome their shock and figure out what to do. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt them. I really liked Scorpius's idea of going directly to Ron and Hermione. Aside from their house being as likely as anywhere for Rose to be, he's building some additional trust with Ron. Rose probably won't like it, but she's not really thinking straight at this point. I just hope Scorpius doesn't talk himself out of being honest with them before he can tell them what's happened.

So where has Rose actually gone? My random guess is Harry's house, and the person behind her is Ginny. But hey, I'm probably way far off. We shall see.

I noticed one thing of consequence while I was reading: "Don't say anything to alarm Nana Molly or Grandad, just act like you came for a quick visit and send me a patronus." -- This line comes from Scorpius, if I'm reading it right, so it doesn't sound right for him to refer to Molly and Arthur that way.

Otherwise, brilliant chapter! I enjoyed it thoroughly and I can't wait for you to spring your surprise on us!

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Review #2, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Something New

22nd September 2014:
Here for our review swap!

Yay, your new story is off and running! Already we have some interesting new subplots and a couple of new characters. This is going to be fun!

Devlin gets his letter personally delivered by Dumbldore. I'm sure the intent is vastly different, but I can't help but think about the last young wizard who we know for certain had his letter delivered by Albus Dumbledore. I see what you did there...

It's interesting to see the amount of thought that Devlin had put into the exact circumstances under which he'd receive his Hogwarts letter and I confess to being very curious whether it would have arrived if he'd still been by Voldemort's side. As possessive as Voldemort is of Devlin, it really does seem to me that it would have been important to Voldemort that Devlin attend Hogwarts. For Voldemort to see his grand experiment play out to its natural conclusion, Devlin would have needed to walk that path. I'd be really curious to know how that scenario would have played out in your mind.

Are you planning to share, at some point, how Devlin ended up with the middle name Augustus? Caesar was Augustus's great-uncle on his mother's side, and he adopted Augustus and named him his heir. If you're somehow setting Devlin up to be the next dark lord, that was really, really clever.

"In fact, it has been proven to me over the years that students actually spend the majority of their time on other things while at school - as a whole, they seem to flourish despite their distractions." -- cheeky Dumbledore! Also, I think you meant to say "... students who actually spend..."

I really like what's starting to develop between Devlin and Maria in this story. They're obviously both young, so it's more of a protective brother-sister thing at this point, but I see huge potential there.

I really, really loved the scene in Olivander's shop. One of my favorite things throughout the first story was the little ways that life chips away at the things that Devlin thinks he's certain of just because Voldemort said so. The physical sensations that you wrote for Devlin combined with the mental awakening was awesome. "That, child," he said, "is how your magic is meant to feel through a wand." -- Great line! Your Olivander reminded me so much of the quirky, spiritual, enigmatic wizard from Sorceror's Stone.

I guess it doesn't really matter how Voldemort managed to get that note inside Devlin's book. The point is, he did.

I enjoyed the entire scene with Devlin getting up early and preparing for his trip to Hogwarts. Even though he's more playing at normality than actually feeling it, it was neat to see him experimenting with being able to joke and smirk with his family. The small details, like Emma's hilariously mismatched outfit, really helped to sell the whole scene.

A convertible? Nice touch! Again, it seems like Harry is going out of his way to show Devlin how confident he is that Voldemort won't be able to take him. "I'm so unconcerned, I'm going to drive a car that doesn't even have a roof!"

Ooh! A testy first meeting with Scorpius Malfoy. I think Scorpius was genuinely trying to extend an olive branch, but Devlin was far from ready to accept it. Given where Devlin ended up being sorted and given that both boys have been victimized by the Dark Lord in their own way, I wonder whether the two of them might find a fair bit of common ground in this story. Once they get past the mistrust, that is.

The conversation between Devlin and the Sorting Hat was interesting. I like that the hat was completely undeterred by Devlin's mental shielding. I could imagine it having a similar conversation with a young Tom Riddle, except for the brave and selfless part.

Ah, so Kendall Green is Voldemort's spy. I wonder whether he's an ordinary child who's been trained to do the Dark Lord's bidding, or something else? I guess we'll find out in good time.

A couple of things I noticed while reading:

-- Was there a reason that the Quinn boy was sorted before Devlin? P comes before Q.

-- He thought charms would be his favorite class, and he settled this book off the pile of the others, cracking the spin open. -- spine

-- This was all getting too far afield for Devlin, and he shook his head as he experienced that sense of not quiet being able to fully grasp his own train of thought. -- not quite

-- Maria Watson made it into Gryffendor. He wasn't terribly surprised. -- Gryffindor

Awesome start! I'm really excited to see how Devlin's story progresses!

Author's Response: Dan,

Thanks for the review! This chapter was actually relatively laid-back - or maybe that’s just in comparison to the chapters going forward. It IS going to be fun!

Yes, I had Dumbledore deliver it for a couple reasons. I thought Dumbledore would want to, not just because he is close to Harry, but because Devlin IS this not-Tom boy in his mind, but still somewhat Tom. I hope that makes sense, in a sort of Dumbledore way.

You always seem to pick up on my equal curiosity and when you’re interested in a What-if, I have usually started one already on that topic! I really do need to publish all these what-ifs... (I actually have a document titled just that, with about three hundred pages...) But yes, I think he would have gotten his letter even with Voldemort. I just think I’d be writing about a whole different year if that had been the case. I love playing with the idea of Harry finding Devlin far later than sooner.

Are you planning to share, at some point, how Devlin ended up with the middle name Augustus? Caesar was Augustus's great-uncle on his mother's side, and he adopted Augustus and named him his heir. If you're somehow setting Devlin up to be the next dark lord, that was really, really clever.
Hmm, that’s pretty cool. I’ll take credit for that. In all actuality, it means something slightly different that will be revealed soon. Things like this are how I know you’ve never found my other accounts and read the originals of these stories (this is a rewrite of a partially finished sequel). LOL

I think Dumbledore said what I meant him to say... *examines the possible typo* I meant the comment to apply to all students (not that it does, but we aren’t always precise in our language), and if I said “students who actually” I would implicating a portion rather than the whole...was that the issue or have I missed it entirely? Maybe I should have said “that THE students actually...”.

I make no comments towards the Maria thing


Writing the scene in the wand shop was painstaking (I haven’t written Freddie, Thomas, or August nearly enough to make it easy), but so worth it. There is actually more to that, which will come up soon.

Yes, the note. :)

I really, really, really enjoy putting Devlin in muggle contraptions - like elevators and cars. :D

"I'm so unconcerned, I'm going to drive a car that doesn't even have a roof!" YUP and Alexandra’s “Really, Harry” is basically in response to that message right there! ;-)





Once they get past the mistrust, that is. You do realize you’re expecting a Malfoy and Devlin to get ‘past’ mistrusting each other? I think you might be asking a little much. ;-) Or maybe not.

I went through about three different fully written Sorting Hat scenes before I was satisfied enough with this one.

Ah, so Kendall Green is Voldemort's spy. I wonder whether he's an ordinary child who's been trained to do the Dark Lord's bidding, or something else? I guess we'll find out in good time. In general, you might be onto something here. ;-)

I’ll look into the typos. Re-reading the chapter right now, I found like ten additional ones. It’s always this way with first chapters! :)


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Review #3, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Scorpius Is A Moody Cow

19th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I was excited to see your post from the Chapter Updates thread. I've been looking forward to this!

Before I hit on the major events of this chapter, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed the tone. The last few haven't featured as much of Olivia's snarky, irreverent inner monologue and as I was reading this chapter I realized how much I'd missed it. She really is a joy to read when she's in her element, people watching and commentating on them.

Rose seems to be doing as much to draw Olivia into the Weasley fold as Albus. She has that kind of personality in this story. She's forceful without being overbearing. She's hard to resist. And it definitely helps that Rose and Olivia are bonding over their mutual dislike of Laura Brogan. Seems like the basis of a beautiful friendship. ;)

Before I forget it, I think Scorpius is trying to cover something up with this oh-so-strong dislike of Rose Weasley that he's been vocalizing. A bit of attraction battling with guilt over his missing girlfriend, perhaps?

Louis amuses me. You write him in a way that's similar to how a lot of authors write James: flighty, self-absorbed and mostly coasting through life on the strength of his good looks. He's charming, but also pathetic in a way.

She has a strange quality of feeling guilty whenever somebody else is upset, despite it having nothing to do with her. It's like she's the polar opposite of Cassie. -- Well at least the contrast isn't lost on Olivia.

It was the dancing to prove that youre sorry that was confusing me. -- I have to say, I'm in Olivia's camp on this one. That confuses me, too.

Laura Brogan seems to exude waves of non-likeability that sort of roll off of my computer screen as I read this. There's an intense and purposeful type of fakeness there. A complete disdain for the intelligence of others. I've known people like her. Now, more than ever, I think I'd like to see someone hit her with one of those hexes that leaves boils all over her face.

I looked straight into Lauras huge blue eyes. Maybe her and Louis bonded over eye size. -- Favorite line of the entire chapter right there! Gold!

OK, I have to admit that what Olivia does to Laura might be even better than covering her face with boils. Olivia hits her right in the self esteem.

Part of me feels badly for Scorpius and part of me wants to tell him to buck up and stop being so whiny. I get that he probably spent a lot of his childhood suffering in isolation because of his family and I get that he's generally upset about Cassie, but still. He's taking it out on the wrong person and it's ultimately going to drive Olivia farther from him, not bring her closer. There, I'm done lecturing your fictional character now.

Awesome chapter. Like I said, this one felt really fresh and fun and very enjoyable to read. Til next time!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Wow, thank you SO MUCH for this review! And thanks for being so quick to get to this chapter!!

Olivia's people watching's really fun to write. I've been really enjoying using her voice, especially in this chapter, and I'm glad you still like her :) I think this chapter's got a little bit less drama than the last one so there's more opportunity for her thoughts to come through.

Rose is great. I'd like Rose as a friend, but she's not the type of person Olivia would usually see as a friend. I'm not sure what Scorpius's thoughts on Rose are right now, but it's always interesting to hear what you're thinking :)

Yes! I hadn't noticed how similiar Louis is to how lots of people write James. I guess I figured his veela genes combined with being the only boy and the youngest in his family would have this effect on him. James is a bit more toned down because he had Harry as an influence and has a brother who's close in age. But that's such a good observation! Maybe I've picked up some influences I hadn't noticed.

Olivia definitely understands Cassie's nature, she just doesn't recognise what's wrong with it. But she can see her friend accurately enough to recognise how Rose differs to Cass.

Laura's difficult and definitely not likeable, but I hope she's not coming across as too much of a cliche because (like everyone) she does have her own story that might go some way towards explaining (but not justifying) her actions. There'll be more of her later anyway.

And Olivia doesn't hold much respect for other people's self esteem, especially not somebody like Laura who seems to have too much confidence to start with.

Scorpius is difficult to figure out. I totally agree with you. I can't decide whether he's justified in being upset or not, and he definitely shouldn't be taking it out on Ollie. But it's important not to forget that his girlfriend's currently MIA so that's going to be weighing down on him.

THANK YOU! I really really appreciate all your wonderful reviews. I'll be back to 'Detox' really really soon (I may have read a few chapters without reviewing because I didn't want to stop reading, but I'll be reviewing those too...promise).

Emma xxx


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Review #4, by CambAngstYear Five: The Question

19th September 2014:
Hello, again!

There's one question that I'm dying to know the answer to after reading this chapter. I was also dying to know after the first time I read it, and foreknowledge has given me no closure. The question is, who decided to kiss Isobel, Voldemort or Quirrell? Or was Quirrell's self-control weakened by the presence of Voldemort? Or was Voldemort's disdain for most aspects of the physical realm weakened by the presence of Quirrell? I'm dying to know your take on this.

Oh, the poor elves! You manage to incorporate so many neat little touches like that into this story. They're all small things, but they add so much depth and texture.

I like Professor Sprout. She's kind, but also professional. She has expectations for the students and she's not afraid to show disappointment when they aren't met. I'm curious what she took away from her conversation with Isobel.

For once, we have a conversation (argument) between Isobel and Emily where I didn't see anyone clearly emerge as the better person. Emily seems to feel pretty ashamed -- and she should -- that she didn't even realize Tristan had been suspended. Isobel, for her part, first tries to mother Emily like always and then when she's rebuffed she hits on one of Emily's biggest insecurities. Don't be so dim! Before moving on, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this: "I swear," she said, sparing a backwards glance. "It's like you're in love with me." -- I see what you did there.

Ah, so like a couple of Ravenclaws to feel the need to deconstruct every aspect of the situation and analyze it in detail. But in the midst of it, Laurel drops this bit of insight: "I'd actually be glad of it if they got together. I suppose it's just that I'd like to be a person who could be loved like that." -- Sorry to keep parroting your words back at you, but this chapter is full of characters letting out their deepest fears and anxieties.

Snogged by a lisping man twice your age who has Voldemort embedded in the back of his head. I don't have words for how creepy that is. Again, you drip a tiny bit of "canon to come" into this chapter and I loved it!

I really thing you did a good job of capturing Isobel's shock and horror and sense of having been violated. She has so many emotions running through her at once, she more or less shuts down for a while until she can get past it. Very realistic. Good on Fred and George to be in the right place at the right time.

"Oh, we're not students," George calmly replied, their uniforms ever conspicuous.

"Yeah, we've just come from a fancy-dress party," Fred invented wildly.
-- My takeaway here is that Aberforth needed the money. ;)

Ooh, so I'm not the only one who was wildly speculating about Tristan's true heritage. Good observation by Fred and George on his appearance.

Hagrid was so kind to Isobel and the twins. Perfectly in character, I'd say. Now that I think about it, Quirrell probably really had to hustle to get from the castle to the Hog's Head in time to ply Hagrid with the dragon's egg.

Wrapping the chapter with another highly relevant question from the Ravenclaw common room door was clever, and I liked the parallels to last chapter.

Not much farther to go, but I know you're working on big things. Looking forward to them, as always!

P.S. - "ear off", never too soon!

Author's Response: Hello!

Ah! Ok, so as for whose decision it was. I did want to leave it a little open, but I imagined it as being pretty much Quirrel's decision. I mean, this guy is in a really crazy place at this point in the story (drinking unicorn blood and all that). Plus, he's sort of experiencing both EXTREME hubris, as well as massive anxiety, stress, and pressure from Voldemort (as well as some "punishment" that he tells Harry about, but never offers details). This confluence of factors is what leads him to throw himself at the pretty-if-too-thin girl who seems to admire him so much. (Because SCREW TEACHER/STUDENT. An AWFUL trope that should NEVER be romanticized!)

As for Voldemort: it all sort of depends on personal Head Canon as to how much mind-and-body sharing is involved. So, that's up for people to make their own decisions on based on individual head canon. I myself am not sure there's a telepathic link there (since they communicate vocally in canon), but Quirrel wouldn't have done it if it would make Voldemort angry. So, at the very least, we're left to assume that Voldemort approved of the decision for at least *pragmatic* reasons (keep his servant happy). That, alone, is pretty darn terrible and awful.

I'm so glad you felt for the elves! I have SO MANY FEELINGS about their exploitation! I mean, Isobel's reasoning was pretty solid, but that's the whole issue Emily had originally mentioned about "not taking advantage." There's a reason Hufflepuffs never told the likes of Ravenclaws about the kitchens before.

I'm SO GLAD you thought that neither Emily nor Isobel seemed like the better person! That's ALWAYS how fights go, but it's hard to recognize that when you're in one.

And it's been super interesting to see how many people pick up on my Isobel clues, and when! Some people expressed suspicion as early as Chapter 2, other people got through this without saying anything!

Quirrel may have been my revenge against a certain High School English Teacher >:( (seriously, that trope needs to die a HORRIBLE AND PAINFUL DEATH! I can't even BELIEVE the audacity of ABC family--a little bit of normal substance experimentation or casual swearing or consensual teenage intimacy is Verboten, yet they CONSISTENTLY romanticize wildly inappropriate and creepy relationships--so long as it's "just kissing").

Ugh, yes, it is a pretty tight timeline. I sort of justified it to myself my thinking he left RIGHT AFTER Isobel ran off, while she wasted a lot of time stopping and crying with the twins in the secret passage. But I'm really glad you liked Hagrid! I SUPER wanted him to be in character, and SO glad you liked him!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #5, by CambAngstMeeting Norberta: Reunion

19th September 2014:
Hi, Lauren! Post-Hogwarts Hagrid stories are such a rare and wonderful thing. You hardly ever find them. I was really excited to see this.

You did an awesome job capturing Hagrid's childlike eagerness upon arriving at the reserve. Guys that size don't bounce -- at least without seismic implications -- nevertheless I could almost feel him bouncing on the balls of his feet with enthusiasm.

I think someone -- probably Charlie -- had definitely given Douglas a heads-up on what to expect from Hagrid. The big guy must have felt so conflicted sitting through that two hour safety lesson, enjoying what he was learning but dying to see Norberta.

And then you brought us to the big reunion. I loved the way that Hagrid knew his baby better than the whole crew of seasoned dragon handlers. That was a really nice touch.

Your writing was beautiful in this. You did a great job of capturing Hagrid's accent and his unique point of view. My favorite passage, I think, was: "Wha'? She jus' wan'ed a bit o' love," he tells them with a laugh, wrapping his arms around Norberta's neck.

Great job!

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Review #6, by CambAngstYear Five: The Disappearing Room

18th September 2014:
Hi! It has been far too long since I've reviewed one of your chapters. I need to get back into the groove.

Poor Tristan. For somebody like him, isolation is a very bad thing. His self-esteem is precarious to begin with, and the way that his friends are avoiding him is definitely not helping. It's kind of endearing, actually, that he feels jealous of Cedric Diggory. And it was really sad that Isobel and Laurel simply ignored him. Especially Laurel, when you consider that so much of what's happened is because of the lie she told to keep Isobel from knowing about the pictures she found in Snape's office.

Wow. Just when I thought Tristan's exile from the group couldn't get any sadder, we see that he's buying drugs he doesn't even need just to have an excuse to talk to Fred and George. That's... wow. Things are really going poorly for him. While it's interesting to see Fred, George and Emily being so "enterprising", I also feel scared for all of them. I have a bad feeling (had it the first time I read this, even without foreknowledge) that this party is going to end very badly. I loved the mention of Sir Cadogan's war in the Internet, by the way.

Tristan and Laurel's mad rush through the castle had the feel of those movies made to scare teenagers away from drugs, one of those scenes with weird, jerky camera work where the protagonists are reeling about, getting freaked out by everything they see and heading for some sort of catastrophe in the end. Except we know what's waiting at the end and it isn't premature death or injury. It's another type of personal destruction, but one that's also purely self-inflicted.

Tristan closed his eyes, feeling the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated about Laurel: their friendship was destructive, and messed up in a thousand different ways, but it was always honest. Nothing was left to implication, nothing was concealed, and they never said anything except what they really meant. -- Can't argue with one word of that.

I thought the way you wrote Dumbledore was spectacular. He behaved exactly the opposite of what Laurel was expecting, which was perfect characterization for him. Spot on. You just nailed it! Dumbledore is strangely intimate with Laurel -- NOT IN THAT WAY!!! He shares some thoughts and observations with her that he didn't share with Harry until much, much later. "Now while that may seem a simple thing, the great flaw of this mirror is that it provides no instruction," Dumbledore stopped. -- Gah! How do you do it??? That line was perfectly, flawlessly Dumbledore!

One more, and I promise I'll stop repeating your own words back to you: Without stopping to think, Laurel turned around and hugged the headmaster around the waist. He did not appear upset or surprised when she did, and gave her a warm pat on the back. -- That was, perchance, the sweetest moment in the story so far.

Excellent job with what Tristan sees in the Mirror of Erised. I wouldn't have expected anything else, unless perhaps he'd seen himself as a muggle.

Tristan's life had become such an unbelievable mess by this point that it was hardly even surprising when he agreed to take the fall for everything his former friends had been doing. I'm still struggling to completely wrap my head around the way that Snape coddles Tristan and looks out for him. The reaction upon discovering all of the contraband... anger mixed with disappointment. I hope, at some point, you have a chance to explain the connection between these two, if there's more to it than meets the eye.

Ah, finally we have the secret of Tristan's birth and adoption! What a lucky kid! I can't imagine how awful it would have been growing up with the Malfoys. Lucius would have had zero sympathy for Tristan's disabilities. If he hadn't managed to catch up on his own, I think there's a fair chance he would have found himself abandoned in an orphanage somewhere.

I think I'm running out of characters here, so let me just say that you did a good job water-dropping a few more tantalizing details into Tristan's panic attack, and I think it's perfectly obvious that he would have considered disappearing into the muggle world for good. But even that is denied to him.

For a long chapter, this one flowed beautifully and didn't feel drawn out at all. It was definitely the best chapter yet. Great job!

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for these back reviews! I'm really impressed with your ability to offer feedback to the chapter as-it-stands in the story even with foreknowledge!

Isolation is definitely a really big theme in this story when it comes to Tristan--isolation and confinement. It was one of those things that I hadn't totally planned out when I started to write, and I kind of can't believe how naturally it all developed.

I'm so glad the mad dash through the castle worked! I worried over writing that sequence a lot, because I really wanted a specific tone, but I also wanted them to be so out of it that I couldn't offer a huge amount of information Laurel wasn't in the position to notice. I'm so relieved to hear you found it cinematic!

I'm really glad you pointed out the lines that you did! For the first one, I was particularly proud of "the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated..." I tried there to add another, more unconscious, layer to their relationship: one of a kind of emotional masochism.

DUMBLEDORE! I'm sososososo glad you liked him! He's probably the most ambitious character of all to try and write, and I had to think REALLY hard about Wise Stuff for him to say. This whole sequence with Laurel also wouldn't really have been possible if he weren't gay :) THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT! Since we all know he is, there is no question as to the propriety of the proceedings, and it let me do a lot in terms of gentle intimacy. (And teeheehee--Dumbledore gets the idea for the mirror to TELL Harry how to get the stone! I thought a lot about the powers of the mirror, and decided that must have been some clever enchantment that Dumbledore added later. Plus, you know, it's cool to sort of suggest that these kids were *just* off-screen during PhilStone, or running around in the background).

Snape's relationship with Tristan was definitely, in part, inspired by Snape's relationship with Draco. I wouldn't say it's the *same,* but that he has such a complex and hard-to-wrap-your-head-around relationship with Draco let me do something similar with Tristan.

Gosh, with all of Tristan's latent anger, childhood trauma, and predisposition to snobbery, he would have been THE WORST Malfoy!

Thank you sososososososo much for this review!!!


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Review #7, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Questions Are Asked

18th September 2014:
Hi, Emma!

I like the change in tone in Olivia's letter to Cassie. She's still a little "too cool for school" and she's trying hard not to sound too worried, but she's obviously worried.

"I, well, I can't think that she's not able to reply, so lets say she's capable. If she hasn't done it already it's because she's bored of us or whatever. She'll be enjoying the idea of us worrying and thinking about her, and she'll think it's mildly entertaining that she's caused a fuss, but she won't care enough to contact us." -- Wow. Coming from Scorpius, that's a pretty strongly worded condemnation. I'm sure part of it is because he feels hurt. His girlfriend has gone completely incommunicado on him. He's probably also a lot more worried than he's willing to let on. But there's also an edge of bitterness to the statement that I assume goes back to the night at the club when he tried to tell her that he loved her. Poor boy is all twisted in knots.

Interesting that her dad needs to speak with her about something. Apparently something he wasn't comfortable putting in a letter. He doesn't seem like the type to do things face-to-face when he could just send an owl.

Venemous Tentacula. Another facet of that grand Hogwarts tradition of surrounding young witches and wizards with things that could seriously injure or kill them. I understand Neville's affinity for them, though, considering how much they helped out during the battle against the Death Eaters. I really like the way you've written Neville, by the way. He wants to help Al, but he makes the situation more awkward, in a way, calling even more attention to Al.

Rose is trying to mend fences within the family. She's got a good heart. I assume Al will forgive Louis eventually, but it's nice to see Rose trying to help the process along.

The two Ministry witches had a vague Dolores Umbridge feel about them. Not that they were evil, but they were cloyingly friendly with an obvious underlying agenda. Some of that, I'm sure, is just Olivia's perception. Nevertheless, I'm sure she was thrilled to get out of McGonagall's office. When Joe asks her about Cassie, I was struck by how dismissing Olivia is. Kids this age struggle so much to deal with conflicting emotions. It's pretty obvious that Olivia is worried sick about Cassie, but she also feels as though she has to defend Cassie, in a way, by acting as though this is all some grand joke Cassie is playing on the world.

Ha! I'm not sure how I feel about Millicent Bulstrode agreeing with me on the topic of dangerous plants. I have conflicting emotions of my own. ;)

Wow, I love the way you set up and delivered this moment for Olivia and Al. Walls are tumbling down, yes they are...

Ooh, looks like Scorpius is the jealous type. Which is a little weird, considering, but I guess he's also under a lot of strain and feeling kind of put out at the moment. At least he comes back to his senses quickly. Olivia might have hurt him.

Wow, Olivia really is rethinking a lot of things. Slytherins aren't known for feeling guilty, and I think the fact that she walked away from Al combined with Scorpius's little dig about the Ministry witch looking like a Weasley is leaving her more than a little conflicted.

I agree with you, this was one of my favorite chapters so far. It's kind of bittersweet, coming to the end of what you have posted. So I'll join the chorus: Please update soon!

Author's Response: Thank you SO MUCH for all your reviews. They're just wonderful.

Olivia's control is definitely starting to slip, hence the slight change of tone in her letter. I'm enjoying writing her letters. It's a slightly more objective way to show her character than I can get through first person.

And Scor's definitely suffering a bit. I think worry changes people.

THANK YOU FOR LIKING NEVILLE! He's one of the characters I was most worried about because I love him and didn't want to get him wrong, but wanted to show that he's grown up a lot.

The dynamic between Olivia and Al is definitely changing, and so is Olivia. She's definitely conflicted at the moment.

This review made me so happy. Thank you thank you thank you. The next chapter's in the queue :)

Emma xx


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Review #8, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which There Are Prefect Patrols

17th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I'm ready for another chapter!

Ah, the simple pleasures of exploding snap. It must me amazing to have magic at your beck and call, allowing you to risk second degree burns over a simple game of cards.

One of the things I love about your writing is the way you make use of small touches to give the story that "Hogwarts feel". Wendolyn the Weird was one of those small things that really sets a mood.

Interesting. Now James is missing, too? And he was the one who was searching for Cassie on the train. As I recall, he didn't seem too pleased that Cassie was blowing off the prefect meeting. Perhaps a bit out of character that he would be blowing off this one? I like all of the tangled little threads of mystery running through this story. I feel like there are a lot of hints, possibly more than I'm catching onto.

Molly runs a tight ship. She seems like she'd be a good Head Girl to work for as a prefect. No nonsense, but also fair and organized.

I liked the way that Rose warmed right up to Olivia. All of the prefects seem to be able to put House loyalties aside in order to work together. The school has obviously come a long way since Harry's day. In spite of that, Olivia tries hard not to be friendly to Albus. Denial, not just a river in Egypt. But hot chocolate can fix anything. ;)

Oh.

Wow.

Well, I have to say, I didn't see that coming. Louis? I was half-expecting Al to point at him and scream, "JUDAS!" At the same time Louis is blowing my mind by doing... THAT, Olivia really surprised me by stepping into the breach and keeping things from spiraling into a bad place. That girl has some qualities that don't immediately shine through, especially when she's being overshadowed by stronger personalities like Cassie. In spite of her, um, estrangement from Cassie, Olivia is still really quick to defend her. So far in this chapter, we've seen the courage of a Gryffindor and the loyalty of a Hufflepuff. She's just full of surprises.

You're making Olivia such a deep and likeable character. And my hat is off to you on all the possibilities you've woven into your mystery. This is a really, really good story and I'm excited to see where you take it next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Great to hear from you :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed Wendolyn! I always really liked the portraits when reading the books and couldn't resist adding my own.

James definitely should have showed up for the meeting, but I don't think his absence worried anybody too much. And he'll have to answer to Molly now that he's not done his duties.

I think Molly's definitely a good Head Girl. She's a bit more relaxed than her father, and sees it more as a chance to work with the prefects than to simply lead them.

Haha, Al definitely should have called Louis Judas. It would be very appropriate. Louis's got his own problems but has unfortunately reacted to them in a way that hurts somebody he cares about. I think Olivia's taking control would surprise her as well as everyone else, but it's definitely an aspect of her character.

Thanks so much for saying she's likeable! It always makes me so happy when people say they like her.

Always appreciate your feedback :)

Emma xx


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Review #9, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Slughorn Makes A Choice

16th September 2014:
I'm back! You could not get rid of me at this point if you tried.

I've never felt closer to Olivia than I did at the start of this chapter. In addition to any other similarities, I also hate running. Passionately. I would not take well to Scorpius's health kick. I did, however, enjoy the mental image of him carrying her around on his shoulder. And stealing his food was pretty good revenge. Just annoying enough to matter.

Anyway, the story goes that the other potential Common Rooms they considered put up a protest and disappeared as soon as they were suggested. The Castle doesnt like change, so were stuck shivering together with the damp and the dark. Cassie says its a bonding experience. -- I loved this. Start to finish!

It eventually turned up underneath Cassies bed, beside a pair of discarded silver stilettos shed borrowed from me several months ago and a crumpled packet of fake cigarettes from Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes. -- Hang on a sec. Am I reading too much into that cigarette pack? Because I could have sworn we didn't see those for the first time until Scorpius and Olivia were hiding inside WWW over the holiday break...

I thought Slughorn was very Slug-like, with his blatant favoritism and glad-handedness toward Albus. Anything to ingratiate himself to the son of the Chosen One. It seemed like things were going swimmingly between Albus and Olivia until Scorpius decided to be, well, Scorpius. That boy needs to let go of the hate. The whole fiasco did give Albus another chance to show Olivia his noble side.

Ooh! So Cassie is completely MIA? That's intriguing. The obvious possibility that pops into my mind is the creepy Flint guy they went to the dance club with. Although he's a friend of Cassie's brother, so I'd think Andreas would figure it out somehow if Creepy Flint was involved. Or maybe I'm being way too quick to jump to nefarious conclusions. Time will tell, I suppose.

Again, you did a good job with the letter. It felt so personal and familiar, especially the way that she expects Cassie to laugh at her for being tapped to take over Cassie's prefect duties.

I'm really enjoying your story! Can't wait to find out what's happened to Cassie!

Author's Response: Hello again! I always get really excited when I see reviews from you :)

I absolutely sympathise with Olivia's hatred of running. I've been trying to work towards a 10k and EVERY SINGLE TIME I feel like I'm going to collapse and maybe die. I just don't know if it's worth it. But yes, Scor carrying Ollie is sweet and food stealing is definitely good enough revenge.

I don't know where the Common Room idea came from but I really enjoyed it so I'm glad you mentioned it :)

As for the cigarettes.it's good to see that you're thinking about everything, but no spoilers. But yes, we saw them for the first time in the break.

I struggled a bit writing Slughorn, because he was the first character I had to work with that we see quite a bit of in canon. I'm glad you found him convincing.

Scorpius should definitely go a bit easier on Al, but Al deals with it well (ish) considering everything.

Thank you so much for another amazing review! I feel like maybe you got a bad deal swapping with me because your reviews are much higher quality than mine, but thank you thank you thank you for all your feedback. I really appreciate it.

Emma x


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Review #10, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Cassie Misses The Train

15th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I've been itching to get back to your story, and I finally have a bit of free time.

Once again, we see poor Olivia slogging her way through a sloppy pit of sticky, squishy awkward with her mother. At least her dad isn't there to make it worse. Her mother's vanity hasn't been a huge theme so far, but it came across strongly in this chapter. No wonder Olivia struggles with relating to others.

So Cassie's not on the train. Interesting development. I'm wondering whether she's just decided to be fashionably late (absent?) or whether there's something more going on. If I'm gauging the passage of time correctly, it's been around a week that she hasn't been on speaking terms with Olivia? Seems like a long time, even for her.

I love the one-sided conversation where Scorpius isn't really paying attention to Olivia. And I really loved what it took to get him to pay attention. Seems like Albus is a bit of a sore spot for him. Is there perhaps more to the animosity than just the obvious reason? But just a bit later, Scorpius actually expressed a bit of sympathy for Albus. He's a complicated character. I have to say that I felt really bad for him when the Zabini girl was mashing all over him. He was trying so hard to make a point and she was completely impervious to it.

I think maybe you should emphasize the fact that Olivia plays Quidditch a bit more. Honestly, sometimes I forget. I did like the conversation, though.

Aww, two out of three of the pictures from Christmas were actually rather sweet. And then there's the third. Probably best not to speak of that one. It's too bad that Olivia doesn't get on better with her cousin. It seems like the two of them could find a small oasis of sanity in their otherwise insane family.

Ha! Scorpius knows just which buttons to push to guilt trip Olivia into running with him. He really does have some insecurities, or at least he plays at it well. All in all, I think you've made him into a very likable, sympathetic character.

The letter to Cassie was really well done. Part snarky, part sweet and kind of vulnerable.

I can understand why you wouldn't have felt completely happy with this chapter. It's one of those chapters that you need in order to move the plot along, even though not a lot actually happens. I did think that you made some really good character development headway with Scorpius. Unfortunately, they can't all be crazy barn-burners. Looking forward to the next one!

Author's Response: Hiya! Thanks so much for the review. I just finished reading and reviewing your wonderful story so any positive feedback from you really means a lot :)

Pansy's vanity will definitely continue to be a theme so I'm glad you mentioned it. You're right, it does help to explain Olivia's difficulty relating to other people. Especially combined with her father's unfaithfulness.

Cassie's disappearance is definitely supposed to stand out as strange. Given that she's such good friends with Scor and Ollie it's out of character to be out of touch with them both for so long.

And Scorpius has a lot of animosity towards the Potters, regardless of whether or not it's justified. Ollie knows this, obviously, and so knows exactly how to use it against him. I'm glad you said he was a complicated character. He's one of the characters I feel I understand best, and he means a lot to me. Thank you thank you for saying he's likeable and sympathetic.

I'll bear that in mind about the Quidditch. I think it generally gets mentioned a bit most chapters but I could definitely add in a bit more (love writing Quidditch...).

Thanks so much for this review. Since writing this chapter I think I've started to feel a bit better about it, but it definitely feels more fillery than most of the others. All your comments have been really helpful and reassuring.

Emma xx


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Review #11, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bombs and Bonds: Scorpius and Rose POV

14th September 2014:
Hi Beth! So exciting to be back for your new chapter!

I think it was brilliant to continue the mother-daughter conversation between Hermione and Rose. There's so much common ground between their experiences and it's definitely helping both of them.

Before we get to that, though, there's the scene with the Aurors. You did a great job of creating powerful tension and making it all very gripping and personal from Scorpius's point of view. If I was him, I'd have to wonder at some level whether I'm getting too close to this case to really be completely effective. His struggles and lapses of concentration weren't a good sign. Then again, Harry's demeanor tells me that Scorpius isn't the only one who's struggling. Ditto for Ron. The whole department is under tremendous strain here and I have a feeling as though something has to give.

Small thing, but I liked the fact that they're bringing in the Department of Mysteries to try to determine how Stannous is doing what he's doing. I almost never see the DoM used in this way in stories and I think it's brilliant. The DoM is such an underutilized resource. Most writers act as though the entire department does nothing but research secret things and make discoveries that never see the light of day.

Albus's observation on Stannous was as unsettling as it is spot on. Whatever Stannous is playing at, it's obviously personal for him, too. He's possessive of Rose, in a way. I don't think he'd take a chance of anyone hurting Rose except him.

I thought your ideas on what post-war life was like for Hermione, Ron and Harry were amazing. I especially liked the reasoning behind them. Harry suffered from so much misinformation being used against him during his school years. I do think it would have been important to him to see the real truth take the place of all the made-up stories that the Prophet used to sell copy. But that clearly came at a cost. The parallels between Hermione's story and Rose's were subtle and brilliant.

Way to go, Scorpius! The way to Ron's heart is through his stomach. Unless you're Hermione, I guess. She doesn't seem to cook much. That's how you know it was meant to be. ;)

So back to my pet theory about who Stannous really is. So much of this story has been about parallels between Hermione's life and Rose's, and I'm getting more and more suspicious that the theme extends into the nature of Stannous's obsession. If the elder Lestranges failed to destroy Hermione, maybe the next generation is going after the next best thing? Trying to destroy the daughter as a way of extracting vengeance on the mother? Or maybe I'm still just reading too much in. Who knows? Beth does, that's who!

One typo I saw while reading:

We also know that hes got several accomplices working with him, so he may choose to lay low and let his lackeys do the dirty work. -- lackeys

Great chapter! Props to Kenpo for the suggestion, because I think it added a great deal. Til next time!

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Review #12, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which There Is An Attempted Kidnapping

12th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I wanted to read one more chapter before time to get the kids settled in.

I'll start with the big picture observation this time: This chapter had some really good writing in it. I could feel the momentum building as you moved through it. By the end, I was really hanging on each sentence. I didn't know whether Albus would see Scorpius and Olivia hiding or whether this Clara girl was going to wander in and muck up everything. I definitely didn't expect Rose to come to Al's rescue, so to speak. And I really like the way that Olivia is gradually building this connection with Albus, sometimes without Albus even realizing it. I like what happened in this chapter as a complimentary plot development to Albus's "rescue" of Olivia in the last chapter.

I dont know how either one of them ended up in Slytherin. Theyre much too cuddly. -- A brilliant synopsis of Olivia's entire encounter with Joe and Oscar. I like the depth and diversity you're giving to your Slytherin characters in this story. Some of them -- Scorpius and Cassie and definitely Creepo Flint -- are very traditional Slytherin archetypes. Others, like our two goofball Chasers here, would go just fine in Hufflepuff. Cheers for not making the House of Snakes one-dimensional!

Ah, the Unbreakable Vow. I suppose that's a foolproof way to quit. If you relapse, it's curtains!

Scor looked at me, and then we both started laughing. Nobody says no to Cassie. She is masterful at getting what she wants. -- I don't know whether this was meant to be a really meaningful passage, but after the last chapter it really jumped out at me. There are a few one-word equivalents to "masterful at getting what she wants". Persuasive would be on the kind end of the spectrum, manipulative on the other. Where, exactly, is Cassie going to fall on the spectrum and how will that affect her relationship with Scorpius? That's what inquiring minds want to know. ;)

And then Albus comes along with his decidedly ex girlfriend. I really liked the way that you wrote their conversation from start to finish. An interesting contrast I noticed was how Laura attempts to manipulate Albus -- lying, equivocating, making excuses -- and he's having none of it. Compare that to how easily Olivia tends to be manipulated by Cassie. If any romantic spark develops between Albus and Olivia, I can see a lot of conflict brewing between Albus and Cassie. I'm not trying to guess the entire plot of your story after chapter 4... oh, heck, who am I kidding? Of course I'm trying to guess the whole plot of your story! My guess is that a spark of romance does develop between Olivia and Albus and Cassie doesn't like it at all, because she can't control Albus and she sees herself losing Olivia as a friend. My "dark horse" prediction is that Cassie leaks things about Albus and Olivia's relationship to the press, things that Olivia has told her in confidence, to try to break them up. You probably won't tell me whether I'm close or not, will you? :p

Let's see, what else? It was nice to see Al's family quickly rally around him. I'm not a fan of the version of Al that's very disconnected from his siblings and cousins.

Once again, superb writing! Great chapter!

Author's Response: I didn't expect you to be back so soon but this review definitely made me smile, so thank you thank you thank you.

I'm glad you saw this chapter as building on Olivia and Albus's relationship. That's what I wanted from it, but I'm not sure it's necessarily obvious given that they don't interact.

And I'm enjoying writing Slytherins so much! I figured there are lots of ways to have the characteristics Slytherin House values and still be friendly and loveable, and I hope my characters show the range of figures present in the House (although I'm not convinced that Joe Montague wouldn't have done a little better in Hufflepuff...).

Your observation about 'masterful at getting what she wants' placing Cassie ambiguously on the spectrum from 'persuasive' to 'manipulative' is an interesting one. I get the impression you might already have a pretty good idea where Cassie lies on that spectrum...

Albus is definitely one for straight talking. I thought Harry and Ginny would probably encourage honesty and straightforwardness in their children, especially Ginny. Plus you probably have to have that attitude when you're so in the spotlight.

Thank you so much for the wonderful review! You're also number 100 on this story so that means a lot :)

Emma xx



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Review #13, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Albus Potter Has A Hero Complex

12th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I'm here for the first installment of our September Review Exchange!

I've missed this story. One drawback to doing a lot of Review Tag and swaps and such is that you find stories you like and you say to yourself, "I want to come back and read more of that", and then for some reason it doesn't quite happen. Anyway, I was pleased to have been paired with you.

Olivia's parents are interesting pieces of work. They're so uncomfortable in their own skin. Even reading a scene with the two of them in it makes me feel uncomfortable, like I should leave the room or something. I can definitely see why Olivia has no desire to be around them, especially on New Years Eve.

Martin is officially very creepy. It started very near his first appearance in the chapter and only got worse as things went on. I imagine that he spends quite a lot of time in that nightclub, and a good chunk of that time doing to other girls exactly what he was trying to do to Olivia.

Which brings us to Albus. My goodness, he created a moment. Gryffindors are, of course, too heroic for their own good sometimes. They try too hard to fix the whole world, even when it doesn't want to be fixed, but I daresay Olivia will be very happy that he came along once she wakes up on New Years Day.

Cassie honestly annoyed the crap out of me in this chapter. I believe I remember you saying in a previous review response that she's difficult to get to know and not an especially likeable character at times. That came out in spades in this chapter. It was a bit shocking to see just how little she seemed to care for Olivia's safety and well-being. Maybe that's a theme you plan to build on some more as the story develops. Or maybe this was a one-time thing brought on by her being annoyed with...

Scorpius. I really liked Scorpius in this chapter. It's always hard to get a feel for characters in the first one or two chapters of a story, but here you started to round him out really well. From all appearances, he's a decent human being. He cares about his friends. And he wants to have what most would call a real relationship with Cassie, one where they openly and mutually love one another. I'm feeling like that's going to be a challenge to get to, owing to Cassie's aloofness and trouble dealing with her feelings.

Your writing was terrific in this! I didn't see any typos or grammatical errors and I thought it felt more polished than the first two. All in all, the story is progressing really well and it's starting to feel like you're more comfortable writing it. You seem to be in your element. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi! I just left you your review on your wonderful story too, so was happy to come back to see this :)

Thanks so much for all your feedback! That's such a good observation about Olivia's parents being uncomfortable in their own skin. I hadn't really thought about it like that but it's very accurate. Everything about them is supposed to be a little bit unsettling.

Your comments about Martin are spot on. He's pretty awful, but then sadly a lot of people in the real world are very similar to him. I think you're probably right that this is common behaviour for him.

Albus is so much fun to write, especially from a Slytherin's perspective because I can really criticise the Gryffindor traits, but yes, it's good he stepped in when he did.

I'm really interested by your thoughts on Cassie. I definitely agree that her behaviour's actually quite unacceptable, and I'l be interested to hear your thoughts on her in later chapters if you come back.

Scorpius is my absolute favourite to write at the moment, so I'm so happy that you're enjoying him. Of all my characters I feel like he's the one that comes most naturally.

Thank you for such a kind review! I'm really glad you enjoyed the chapter.

Emma xx


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Review #14, by CambAngstYear Five: Interrupted

7th September 2014:
Hi! First off, let me say that working for money is a horrible, debilitating thing. If you can possibly avoid growing up and living like an adult, I strongly suggest it.

"You really should tell them." Emily knew her eyebrows were arching at the middle beseechingly. -- Sometimes I think you should subtitle this story, "If they'd only listen to Emily..." In all seriousness, she's usually the one with the best perspective on matters. I don't think Tristan is anywhere near ready to deal with this situation yet, but she's definitely on the right track.

You know, for someone who prefers the muggle way and engages in so much self-loathing over his magical side, Tristan is actually a very powerful wizard. Not in the sense of excelling in his classes, although I'm sure that's only because of lack of effort, but when he wants to he seems capable of some really advanced things like this bubble he's summoned. I really wish I knew how to summon one of those when I was in college...

Oh, boy. So that's where Fred and George got the bottle of potion they gave Laurel. One thing I love about this story is how you can never take anything for granted, no matter how small. These little items and conversations and details weave in and out of the story and they always seem to come back at some really pivotal moment. You are an amazing storyteller!

Speaking of, the pictures! And here I thought those were only going to haunt Tristan directly. Seems as though the indirect damage will be problematic, as well.

Emily couldnt tell if Tristan was pivoting away from a difficult subject out of cowardice, or toward a difficult subject out of courage. He evaded as he breathed. -- Easily the most meaningful line of the entire chapter, if not the story to date. A huge part of this story, at least for me, is being amazed at just how hard Laurel, Isobel and especially Emily work at being Tristan's friend. In one sense he makes it easy, but in another he makes it so very difficult. It's incredibly hard being friends with somebody you don't really know.

Oh, no. This makes, I think, the third time that Laurel has left Tristan in a very, very difficult and/or dangerous position. First she kept getting hexed with him, then she slept with him, now this. If Laurel survives, the poor guy deserves some sort of medal. Gah! And to top it all off, she ruins his perfect moment with Emily! OK, that wasn't even the topper. Then she nearly tells Isobel that he's some sort of junior Death Eater and to try to recover from that blunder, she makes up something about him snagging Emily. And the coup de grace is going to the bathroom to get hexed by herself. I think it's going to be a while before I can completely forgive her for this chapter's performance.

Wow. The harder Isobel tries to "fix" things, the worse she seems to make them. I hate how much worse it all makes Emily feel.

In less than a year, Laurel had become a mess, Isobel had become a skeleton, and Tristan had become a tosser. It seemed logical that Emily should be allowed to change roles as well. -- At least she hasn't lost perspective, though.

Aww, she wrote to Tonks for advice! And it seems that Tonks had some pretty good perspective to share with her. As much as I want Emily and Tristan to, I don't know, launch themselves at one another, it would be wise for Emily to take things slow. If Tristan gets involved before he's really ready, things will get messy.

I loved this chapter, but when haven't I? Good luck in the Story of the Month competition!

Author's Response: WHAT? SotM COMPETITION???

OH MY GOD! Just checked out the forum-- *cries* THANK YOU!

Everything you and Kevin wrote--I can't. AH! It was so perfect, and flattering, and amazing!

Ok, after calming down a little bit, the review:
THANK YOU, AH. (must calm down again). It's so heartening to me that you really seem to *get* this story. I knew, writing it, that it wouldn't be for everyone, but I suspected it would be for some people. It means so much to me all the care and insight you put into these reviews!

I love your comment about subtext! There is actually one moment of omniscient narrator in this chapter ("he should of chucked in the lake right then"--followed by an audible "DUN DUN DUN"), and I think it was the first in the story.

It was super important to me to kind of introduce all of this information without comment, and from the differing perspectives of the kids themselves. But I really hoped that readers would sort of interpret the stuff, and I definitely hoped people would come to certain conclusions themselves, so I'm SO GLAD that's working!

And yes! Tristan really is quite clever and talented, he just resents the magical world so much that he puts in minimal effort, if any.

Having a tightly plotted narrative was definitely the benefit of writing and editing it all before uploading--I have NO IDEA how you and other authors manage such careful stories while writing in a serialized way. That other authors can track all the subplots and details is amazing to me!

And yee, that line! I was really proud of it myself, and it might be my favorite too!

I definitely learned, when I was this age, that sometimes when friends are being the most difficult and unlikable, it's when they need you the most. Someone would start being just awful, but it didn't take too much thought to see that something was going on with them. I'm really glad for your comment about their "working" to be his friend.

Speaking of which--Laurel really does behave pretty badly. I feel like all of her own problems have taken up all her available emotional space, so she's has very little left to consider how her actions affect others :(

And yeah, Isobel is something of a meddler. But then again, the longer Emily would go on not knowing, the worse she would feel later. Knowing these kinds of secrets is terrible, because there is no right way to go about it.

And YES about things getting messy if they started a relationship! Plus, things can't get to good for either of them too soon, or the story would be rather dull. And I just couldn't help bringing Tonks back :) And she looks up to Tonks, so it seemed the best course of action.

Thank you SO MUCH for nominating this for Story of the Month! I can't even deal with the flattery!


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Review #15, by CambAngstYou Are Part of Everything : Dear Prudence

3rd September 2014:
Hi, there! I'm here for our review swap!

Ooh, you've made Sirius such a wicked heart-breaker! I like the characterization. Most authors make him so noble, even in his younger years. They want to see the same Sirius Black who tried to be a father figure to Harry. Instead, you experimented with a younger, more selfish and carefree Sirius and I like the results.

Poor Prudence was a perfect target for Sirius's game. She seems like the kind of girl who views the world from a distance. She undervalues herself because nobody really knows enough about her to properly value her. All she ever wanted was to be noticed and, for a time, Sirius gave her exactly that. He gave her his affection and attention, made her feel special. Because it all felt like it was just for her, she never noticed the way that he was deliberately concealing their relationship from his friends. It's all horribly sad, but you sold the character so well from the outset that it's completely believable.

Those quotes from the Beatles song that you were given to work with were tough. They definitely sounded a bit formal to be coming from Sirius Black. If I could offer one suggestion, it would be to spread them out a bit. Because you lumped them all in near the beginning, it felt a bit like you were just trying to get them out of the way.

Aside from that, your writing flowed really beautifully. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems and there was maybe one bit of dialog that I thought sounded a bit awkward. The story had a nice pace to it and it was a very enjoyable read. Good luck in your challenges and great job!

Author's Response: Hiya! Thanks for doing the swap!

I know, Sirius was such a jerk! I was a little nervous about writing him that way, to be honest. That and, I absolutely love Sirius, so it was kind of hard to write him like this. I know what you mean, I'm guilty of writing Sirius that way as well. But I thought it would be fun to write him this way. I'm really glad it paid off! :)

I was *a lot* like Prudence when I was a teen. I was quiet, shy and kept to myself, for the most part. I know exactly how she felt, because I have felt that way in the past. I had a very similar experience to this when I was younger. Not quite this bad, but close. This is the first time I've written an OC, and I based her loosely off myself. It left me incredibly nervous and not too sure about this story because of that. So to hear that she was believable and that her character worked, is a major relief.

Yeah, I didn't realize how difficult the lyrics would be to work into a story when I chose them. I specifically asked for this song and as I sat down to try to write, I began to regret my decision. Just because a song might be your favorite, by that artist, doesn't always mean you should write a story using it. :-/ After reading it over again, I see what you mean. It is all just crammed in there. I'll have to go back and edit that a bit.

Thank you so much, again, for doing the swap! I truly appreciate your kind words and your suggestions! I'm really happy that you enjoyed it, especially since this is the story I've been the most self-conscious about so far.

xoxo Meg


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Review #16, by CambAngstRoar: A New Friend

31st August 2014:
Hi, Sam!

I am slowly returning from my self-imposed time-out. It was the only way I was ever going to finish Shades of Anger. Too many wonderful distractions around. Like this story!

Everyone who writes a story where Draco takes a job puts a different spin on Lucius and Narcissa's reaction, and yours is definitely one of the better ones I've read. Better in the sense that it's very plausible and not at all overdone. Lucius has his expected knee-jerk reaction based on his own self-importance and his ideas about the family's honor. Naricssa, by way of contrast, is thoughtful and supportive. And Astoria, well, it goes without saying that she supports him. She only wants what's best for him, it seems.

Narcissa sat back in her seat and gave his question serious thought. "Your father once took a few hundred thousand galleons with fraudulent accounts and one or two brilliant lies from behind his desk." -- Interesting. I always thought of Lucius as inheriting all that he had from his ancestors. I never imagined him lowering himself to scamming someone else for money. Definitely a different take on the character.

He picked the cheapest, simplest set of robes he owned, not wanting to appear like he was trying too hard -- Another interesting twist. It says something, I think, about his attitude towards his soon-to-be coworkers. This is how the Malfoys slum it among the commoners.

As soon as Draco arrives at work, you start creating some of the dynamics that seem likely to shape his fledgling career. He's been taken beneath the wing of the Head Auror, but the head of DMLE seems to hate him. For what it's worth, he hates him in a fairly egalitarian way. Harry's obviously not immune from whatever this guy has against anything that makes him think of the war.

Ha! It wouldn't be a Sam Story if Harry and Theo weren't chums. Perhaps even something more. I'm curious to see how that develops...

"Do you realize this is the longest conversation we've had without insulting each other?" he asked instead. -- The beginning of a beautiful friendship? Somehow I doubt it, but time will tell. ;)

I love the lines that you've dropped into this chapter for the various characters. Draco's thoughts on Ron were priceless, but this line was so good that I highlighted it while reading: "He works here? Harry," Theo wrapped his hands and both his shoulders and squeezed, "it took me eighteen years to get rid of him. He is not a frisbee and you are not a dog; don't bring him back to me." Gold, Sam, GOLD!

Demi Marslow is an interesting creation. I can't tell whether she has a specific thing for Draco or just a general thing for guys who annoy Harry. Regardless, I feel a bit of potential romantic tension arising. Not an inherently good thing for Draco and Astoria!

I saw a few typos as I was reading:

"They offered me a job," he told her, ignoring his father's gasped what and his mother drop her gardening magazine. " -- dropping her gardening magazine. Also the spacing is out of whack at the end.

e knew know that he had genuine supporters, that they cared about what he wanted rather than what he could do for them - she said 'your life' not 'our life'. -- He knew now

"I am happy that you are making you're own way in the world and you're willing to work through hard times now. -- making your own way

I'm really enjoying this! On to the next...

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Review #17, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Grand Finale

29th August 2014:
Hi, there! I'll warn you that parts of this review will read strangely because I struggled to keep it within the limit. There's a lot to cover and coming to the end of a story I love makes me a little sentimental. (sniff)

One of the things I liked most about the first section, where Devlin is almost begging to be allowed to go to school, is that Devlin is almost begging to be allowed to go to school. Dubhn would never do something like that. More and more, we see the Harry and Alexandra's son Devlin emerging from behind the walls of Voldemort's plaything Dubhn. It's happy in one way, but very sad in another, considering what happens near the end of this chapter.

"You're a werewolf." His green eyes were on him; searching his face for comprehension and dawning realization, but Devlin gave him neither, because he did not have them to offer. He did not understand. -- Probably one of the saddest moments in the story so far. One thing I love about this story is how true you've kept the setting to the "wartime" wizarding world we saw in the books. The characters are under a constant strain, and their lesser tendencies and prejudices are never far from the surface.

Interesting that Geoffrey starts to see the implications of Draco's death before Devlin does. Then again, Devlin has a lot more going on in his head these days, things that probably keep him from focusing solely on his own survival. Geoffrey hides his fears reasonably well, but not well enough.

Poor Sirius gets roped into so many awkward conversations with Devlin. "Eh, some of the boys your age don't even notice girls exist, some of them think they're a terrible sort of foreign creature, the other bit notices and wishes they were far older than ten." Sirius shrugged. "You're sort of normal any way you look at it." Wow, that's a succinct way of putting it. Maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. But I think his explanation of what fancying a girl feels like only confuses Devlin more. Devlin probably felt a lot of those things, but they had nothing to do with fancy.

He was frozen again, afraid that the least movement might wake her and shatter this transfixing moment before he had truly been able to make any sense of it at all.

Emma trusted him.
-- My favorite moment of this entire chapter, even more than the ending. It shows that Devlin is, in fact, connected.

"Voldemort knows the location, Devlin. We're not hiding our location. I've found such arrangements to be tedious and limiting - and hardly foolproof." -- Hardly.

I like how it suddenly dawns on Devlin that Harry's approach to keeping him safe is very different from Voldemort's approach to keeping him hidden away. If he could internalize why, that would be a big step.

Aha. So someone has implicated Harry and Alexandra in Draco's death. It seems like a fairly transparent plot to anyone who knows what's really going on, but since Draco hasn't been implicated as one of Voldemort's inner circle, I suppose the Ministry has to take it seriously. Especially if it gives them another excuse to try to pry information out of Devlin.

The "conversation" between Devlin and Voldemort was really well done. Devlin gets more than a little uppity and Voldemort responds pretty much the way you'd expect. He's dismissive -- correcting Devlin's spelling, of all things -- and merely acts as though the outcome is assured, so long as Devlin doesn't forget where his true loyalties lie. Interesting how a character who's as much of a control freak as Voldemort can take certain things for granted.

"I'm gonna tell Dad to come home, alright? I'll make sure he does, I promise." -- I obviously didn't see this for what it was the first time through. It really ties the ending together.

Interesting little bit of Legillimency between Devlin and Harry! I'm fascinated by the idea that Legillimency could work in reverse, "drawing" someone in instead of invading their mind.

I'm seriously running out of room, so I'll have to be brief about the meeting with the Minister. I love the cast of characters you assembled for this, and the roles that each one plays. Lucius is perfect, in all his self-important, demanding arrogance and the near-complete lack of genuine emotion he shows for his son's death. Susan was a very effective advocate for Devlin, which is the role I assume she was playing. She's a character that I have a huge soft spot for. It was great seeing her. Gah, Dumbledore is such an idiot! He stumbles headlong into Voldemort's trap, delivering the message that the Dark Lord couldn't deliver in person. That said, you wrote him very well, I thought.

In retrospect, Devlin felt entirely foolish to have missed it so thoroughly. -- Yeah, I'd have to agree on that point.

I realize that having the Potters arrive outside of the wards via portkey was essential to the plot, but wow! What a huge chance to take. And then to allow the situation to become a confrontation instead of just making a run for it... Harry, you're slipping!

I love Voldemort's arrogance in the final scene. "You offend me, Harry," he said, but he did not sound offended. He smiled in amusement. "I will not be moving at all." That line was absolutely perfect.

Mostly, he wished Harry wasn't watching. Humiliation flashed hot and feverish in his belly and he fought it down with a viciousness that left his head pounding. -- There's Devlin again.

The final confrontation was beautifully written. I could see it all playing out so clearly in my mind. The things that Harry is able to do for love and family... it was a perfectly Potter-esque ending.

In what little space I have left, I wanted to thank you. I honestly can't remember how I came across this story, but I have enjoyed it immensely. Your talent and creativity and clever storytelling are an absolute pleasure to read and I'm really looking forward to what comes next.

-Dan

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Review #18, by CambAngstBuilding Dollhouses In The Sand: Chapter Twenty-one

28th August 2014:
Hi, there! Back again from the common room August review exchange!

So there's one thing that drove me crazy about this chapter and I'll get it out of the way right up front. The spacing between the paragraphs was so wide that I could only see about 3 at a time on my screen. I'm sure this is mostly because of copying and pasting into the HPFF editor, but it's something I'd strongly recommend that you fix.

Whew. OK, so that said...

Katherine is surrounded by so many different influences in this story. It's always really interesting to see which one(s) win out in any given chapter. On one "side", we have Pierre and George and the rest of her friends. People who care about her and want to help her. Yet she's doing nearly all she can to push them away (George) or she's convinced herself that her troubles are not worthy of their notice (Pierre). OK, that's not the precise reason she's not talking to Pierre, but it's not too far from it, either. One the other side, you have Michael Blackwood, who's using her, and Eldon Burke, whose intentions are unclear at best. And she's gravitating -- at least temporarily -- toward both of them. Teenage "logic" can be really hard to follow, and I think you've done a really good job of capturing the convoluted thought processes that have led our heroine to the conclusion that any of this is a good idea. She's too caught up in her grief and guilt over her uncle's death to think clearly.

Poor George! He's trying so hard to be a good, supportive friend. At the same time, it's clear that he wants to be more than that. I'm sure he's as confused as a guy can possibly be at this point.

But as soon as the feast started Katherine walked out of the room back to her dorm as she had done at almost every meal for the past few days, she was going to review the files once more take a good look at the pictures. She couldnt just let Egils death fade, not when she was so close to his murderer. -- I've been thinking more and more about the fake Moody currently resident in Hogwarts castle and the scary truth is that she might be a lot closer to her uncle's murderer than she realizes. I couldn't help but notice how the characters keep emphasizing Moody's role in passing information to Katherine...

Antoine is another wildcard in this story. Now he's at Hogwarts, so he could play a role in how things turn out. Perhaps he'll amount to more than just an alternative love interest.

Aside from the development of your own story, I thought you did a good job integrating the plot with the events going on in Goblet of Fire. That made it really easy to put the story in context and make some interesting guesses about where things are going.

Good job. I hope you have more chapters in the works for us!

Author's Response: Hello before I start thank you for the review, I love your reviews (sorry I took so long to respond, I respond usually during my down time or whilst I'm procrastinating.) You'll see Eldon's intentions later on, when I thought of him at first I thought to make him a typical Slytherin yet he had the power to be so much more, which is what he'll be. Egil's murderer is close:) Antoine isn't a love interest and I hate the fact I had him come off like that XD I guess it's the way I wrote it, later on I'll probably end up editing this chapter after I'm done with Chapter 23.

Thank you again for the review :)


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Review #19, by CambAngstBuilding Dollhouses In The Sand: Chapter Twenty

27th August 2014:
Hi, there! I felt a little bad about being paired with you for the monthly review swap since I've already reviewed so much of your story. At the same time, I was excited to find that you had two new chapters posted. Let's dig right in!

Ooh, the mystery gets even deeper! Somebody seems to be taking a perverse joy in taunting poor Katherine about the death of her uncle. The timing is interesting, I think. So soon after the huge fights she's been having with her father, that definitely looks suspicious. At the same time, we know that Barty Crouch, Jr. is already in the castle and he's definitely taken an interest in Katherine. Lots of possibilities here...

... her best bet was to contact Pierre, he could investigate.

"I'm not going to trouble him" she whispered kneeling in front of her trunk.
-- Sigh. It seems our protagonist has a fair dose of Harry Potter-style, "I can do this all myself" stubbornness in her. Just like Harry had Ron and Hermione to help him through the worst of his troubles, I hope George and the others can help Katherine, whether she thinks that she wants their help or not.

Gah, the kiss! I love the way that you wrote that. It wasn't overdone and you captured a few neat little details -- like Katherine having to stand on her tip-toes -- that made it feel very real and even sweeter.

Oh, come on, Fred! You seriously have the worst timing in history!

Oh, no! Just at the moment that she really needs her friends the most, she's concocting schemes to push them away. You're pretty good at capturing the essence of "teenager logic". So many things make sense at that age that you look back at and slap yourself in the forehead. It's frustrating to read, but very accurate.

A tight knot formed at the bottom of her stomach, her love for George Weasley would have to wait. -- And so will I. :(

I noticed a couple of typos as I was reading:

As she laid her on the trunk she could remember how excited she was to be learning more about magic. -- was there something that she laid on the trunk?

"We wouldn't say a word" assured Fred as she turned her back on the walking out the Gryffindor common room towards the library -- turned her back on them

She knew what would happened, and if George ever found out he probably tie he down, but neither he or Fred had the authority to tell her what was right from wrong. -- probably tie her down

I think there might have been one or two more, but I can't find them now.

I'm frustrated, but that's mainly because I want George and Katherine to work out. I can't wait to see what you have in store next!

Author's Response: I know, I felt bad for the swap but at the same time I couldn't be happier since you're an awesome reviewer (I'm not as skilled at reviewing since grammar and such aren't my fortes)

On to the response:
I loved writing the kiss, I thought it was time for it to happen anyway, Fred does have the worst timing in history.

Oh no typos XD as much as I try to avoid them my brain thinks to fast for my hands sometimes (same thing happens with my art.) I really want these two to work out as well and hopefully the will only time will tell.

Thank you for the reviews, I really appreciate you taking your time to give me such detailed reviews, again thank you.


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Review #20, by CambAngstDoing the Right Thing: Doing the Right Thing

21st August 2014:
Hi, Roxi! Here for our review swap.

First off, congratulations on nailing the 1,000 word mark. I'm sure there was a huge amount of editing and hand-wringing choices that went into that.

Your Draco was pretty natural-feeling. He goes into his mission with a pretty clear objective, but then he thinks things through and comes to an epiphany. And his mother was one of the biggest drivers of that epiphany. He's very reminiscent of the Draco we see in Deathly Hallows, struggling to make better choices in the face of overwhelming pressure to the contrary.

Get in. Cause a diversion. Then get out of the way. -- Sounds about right. I can't imagine the Dark Lord would trust him to do much more than that with a mission as important as bringing down the Minister of Magic. This isn't meant to be a suicide mission like the one to kill Dumbledore, Voldemort actually expects this one to succeed.

The only real constructive criticism I could offer is that it felt really easy for Draco to make it to Scrimgeour's bedside. I think the story would have benefited a lot if you could have made it something specific about Draco or the Lestranges that made it possible. For instance, maybe they recruited the Death Eater inside the Ministry who betrayed Scrimgeour. All that said, I'm not sure what I'd cut to make it still fit in 1,000 words. There's a good reason that I've never attempted this or the 500 word challenge. ;)

I thought you did a good job with Scrimgeour's reaction to Draco. He keeps his wits about him and tries to stall for time. He's an Auror, not a terrified politician like Fudge.

Your writing flowed really nicely in this story and I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem. I can see such a big improvement compared to when I first started reading your writing way back when. You're come a long way, Deana! Great job!

Author's Response: Hey Dan! Haha, yes, there was a LOT of editing that went into this, for sure. You know me. You know how long my chapters usually run. So yeah, only being allowed 1000 words was HARDWORK! You are such an amazing writer tho, I'm sure you could do this with no problem at all.

And no, Voldemort really doesn't trust him with much. As you know from reading the beginning of "All is NOT Fair in Live & War" he only had until he was seventeen to get it right. But Lucius was in Azkaban, so he gave Draco an extra year to prepare with Bellatrix. This mission was meant to be a test to see how loyal and dedicated to the cause that Draco could be. Which he obviously fails miserably at.

You're right about it seeming too easy to get to the Ministers bedside. I thot the same thing as well. Although I trust you have it worked out by now who the Death Eater helping them was? (A certain red-haired villain we meet in chapter 6 of AiNFiL&W.) *wink* And since he worked for Scrimgeour, he would have had it set up with limited protection that night on purpose. Or that was my reasoning at least. I suppose I could go back in and try to squeeze in a little sentence somewhere to explain all this... Something like:
"Our man on the inside had done his part well, setting up as little security around the Minister as possible."
I think I'll go try to add that in now. That's an additional 20 words tho, but I think I know how to manage this! Thanks for the suggestion, Dan. Great catch!

GAH!! You really think that my writing has come a long way!?! OMG, that means SO MUCH to me, coming from you!! Seriously, that little comment just made my day! I suppose that being in college for a year and half, and having to write 2-3 essays each month may have had something to do with that, lol. Personally, I like to think that I have improved over the years, but I digress...

As my writing has improved so substantially since 2009 when I joined this site, I am currently in the middle of rewriting my Novel. Ive changed the title and made a new banner for it and everything, as you might have noticed... Its funny to me that you were 1 of the first to takeup my swap idea here, because YOU were actually kind of the driving force of inspiration for this one-shot, if I'm being honest. And I was going to PM you at some point, to see if you would be interested in giving this a read.

You see, in the process of editing each chapter, I have been reading over the old reviews, taking all suggestions from each one to make the story better. Anyways, Idk if you remember this or not, but in your review for chapter 6 (I believe it was) you had mentioned that you did not like the fact that I had skipped over Draco's conversation with the Minister to regain his freedom. At the time, I had no idea what that conversation would have even looked like, so I did just skim over it. But when I was rewriting everything a few weeks ago, that really got me thinking again; which lead to the changes that included THIS mission to take place right before the story picks up. So now this gives Draco something to exchange for his freedom besides just information, and I really think it ties up alot of my lose ends as well.

To make a long story short, I wrote this whole entire new chapter for AiNFiL&W (now titled: Love, Not War) and it includes the scene where Scrimgeour gives Draco his freedom back. It is intense, and full of drama, and I think that it is one of the best chapters I have ever written! I guess what I'm trying to say here is THANKS, Dan! Thank you for inspiring me to think outside the box, and write something that was outside of my comfort zone. Had it not been for that one review that you left me (2 years ago now, mind you) then I dont think this story, or the new additions to my Novel would have ever happened. Thank you SO much for ALL of your kind and helpful reviews; both now and in the past. I for one am glad to see that you haven't gone anywhere in my year-and-a-half absence, haha!


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Review #21, by CambAngstHow to Fly: How to Fly

13th August 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag. And though it will probably be a struggle, I'm going to try to keep this review shorter than the story, itself. ;)

I absolutely love the concept of this story. First off, because I love Hermione's mantra. It actually made the story a little mysterious until I got into it, because it could just as easily refer to Ron or Harry. That was a nice touch, a way of building a little suspense. Second, I love it because I can relate to it so directly. There are few things in life more daunting that being a parent. I find myself constantly reassuring myself that, yes, I'm up to the challenge. I've never ridden on the back of a thestral, a hippogriff or a dragon, but I do have my own laundry list of past accomplishments that I draw upon.

Oh, how I remember that trip home from the hospital and those first few days after. It was one of the craziest learning curves of my life. It's not that anything you're doing is so hard, but the self-imposed pressure to do everything exactly right is huge. Everything you manage to do feels like a Big Achievement and every setback feels like utter failure. You captured the whole experience perfectly here. Especially the part about growing closer and learning about each other.

Poor Hermione! She doesn't like flying at all, as I recall. But she puts that aside for Rose and she eventually finds joy in the learning process. This was a beautiful twist on her character and a great way to emphasize how much fun it can be to learn something silly with your child.

The last section was a clever little role reversal. Daughter comforts mother as daughter prepares to leave the nest. I haven't mentioned it so far, but I love the occasional moments where Hermione recognizes ways that Rose is like Ron. It keeps things balanced.

The closing two lines were beautiful. They perfectly summed up this story. I am in awe of your creativity with this story. Just the idea is brilliant, but the execution brought it home with a flourish! Great job!

Author's Response: Hey Dan,

This was a wonderful surprise! I love all your reviews, but I was so excited to log in an see you reviewed this story. I'm so glad you felt connected to it.

I didn't even think that the opening line could have been Ron or Harry, but you're right. To me, it was always Hermione. I did realize that I never mentioned either her or Rose's name in the entire piece (except in the story details) because I thought it would be obvious at some point who I was talking about.

I can't remember if she didn't like flying or simply wasn't good at it. To me, Hermione likes to excel at things, so her teaching Rose how to fly was a definite challenge on her part.

I wrote the last part because I've found that every now and then (or even more frequently than I care to admit) your kids surprise the heck out of you - usually when you least expect it.

Thanks again for these kind words - this review was a real treat!

Beth


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Review #22, by CambAngstLike So Much Red Wine: shattered glass, cracked porcelein, buckled steel

13th August 2014:
I'm here for our review swap!

This is really, really clever. I'm envious of the creativity and insight into Snape's character that it took to come up with the concept of him living mostly in the depths of his own imagination. It makes perfect sense, though. From a young age, he seemed to have a strong tendency toward denial. He believed that he could indulge his desire for power and control in the darkness without losing the light that Lily brought to his otherwise grim existence. He thought that he could maintain the wall between a happy life of love and comfort with his muggle-born best friend and a clandestine life of dark magic with "friends" who hated the very fact that she existed. The fact that he was horribly, tragically wrong doesn't seem to have dissuaded him from continuing to live in the fantasy. It's sad, but also kind of pathetic. Doesn't really speak well for his mental state.

The way that he measures the passage of time by watching Harry grow was also brilliantly done. And you hit the nail on the head during the confrontation in Myrtle's bathroom. Combined with the fact that Severus doesn't want time to pass, it leads to a rather grim conclusion. The idea that he could somehow "save" Lily by killing Harry was twisted and totally flies in the face of normal logic, but from Severus's tormented perspective it makes sense. His grip on reality is still firm enough for him to take out his frustrations elsewhere, but only just.

I loved all of the tactile and visual details that you used to illustrate Snape's perception of the passage of time. The story is so conceptual, but you also keep it firmly grounded in the little physical details. It makes the narrative gripping and very accessible.

You blended the storyline from the books with the inner workings of Snape's mind in a seamless way. The quotes that you pulled had an interesting affect, at least for me. They span such a short period of time in the books, and yet you've managed to fit this deep, rich story into that small amount of "plot time".

I enjoyed every bit of this story. I probably sound like a broken record because I always say this about your writing, but the way you paced and delivered the story was awesome. It flowed so nicely from start to finish that it was easy to get immersed in the moment. You started with a heated, poignant moment from the books and then you nailed all of the small details to bring it all together. Excellent job!

Author's Response: Ooh, yay, hello!

Thank you so much for this really wonderful, analytical review!!! It means a lot to me that my intentions here came off (Snape is my very favorite character from a literary standpoint!)

I have a truly absurd amount of headcanon for Snape--I'm rather obsessed, really (I found out, while referring to my copy of HBP for this, that my original book is ANNOTATED. Also, I pretty much called Snape/Lily in like, book 4, and Snape's memories in DH were already headcanon for me--satisfyingly crystallizing into real canon.)

For his interior world--in a weird way, I sort of borrowed that idea from David Sedaris (who wrote a thing about coming up with really detailed fantasies, but his story was more, well, FUNNY. One of the fantasies was that he was Monica Lewinsky, who was also the author of Lolita, instead of Nobokov).

I figured that, outside of working as a double agent for Dumbledore, Snape really doesn't have anything going on in his personal life. His whole world is just vengeance, so I thought that he needed a weird psychological place in order to throw himself so fully into his mission. Plus, I figured it explained why he was so moody, and short with students--if he resented being pulled out of his fantasies and into the real world.

I'm glad you noted that it was "pathetic," because "pathetic" is an attribute usually assigned to very specific types of behavior, none of which usually apply to adult-Snape. (BUT, young Snape got hung upside down and his boxers exposed to the school, and so on).

As for the "Harry marking time thing"--since this was also for the "unreliable narrator" challenge, I wanted to subtly imply that Snape, in his own convoluted way, kind of loves Harry. He, at least, watches him grow. (Plus, there were very little details about puberty in the books--and we never see Harry start shaving, start wearing deodorant, so I thought that was fun to explore).

And yeah, I think this story is a lot stronger if readers remember the original chapter. A lot of how this unfolds in a short stretch of real-time was actually because of the TOS (I could only quote like 4 lines of dialog). But I'm glad for that restriction, because I think it forced me to stay in Snape's head, rather than stepping out into what was literally going on.

Thank you again for taking the time to probe into this little story in such a meaningful way! I think this is a super good opportunity for me to stay in the same vein, and go review "Like a Rat in a Maze"--which I've been looking forward to reading!


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Review #23, by CambAngstThe Harder Struggle: Epilogue

12th August 2014:
Hi, there.

I discovered your story just by searching for Completed Novels in the Post-Hogwarts era with Harry and Ginny as the main pairing. If I were to offer one tiny critique, it's that I came to think of Ron and Hermione as being more of the main pairing, although Harry and Ginny clearly play a role.

Beyond that, I thought this story was brilliantly done. You did a remarkable job of capturing every aspect of these characters as I remember them from the books and then maturing them in a completely realistic and natural fashion. I think you have an amazing grasp of their strengths and weaknesses, their thought processes, their mannerisms... basically everything that makes Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione tick. Even the minor characters (George, Neville, Luna, Molly, Arthur, Kingsley, etc.) came to life in a vivid and wonderful way.

Your original characters also showed amazing depth and detail. Oliver Grantham, in particular, was a gem. You plainly put a huge amount of thought into him and it shows.

Your plot felt like a natural continuation of the world as I remember it at the end of Deathly Hallows proper. I could feel the fragility and grief of the magical world at the conclusion of the terrible war, but also the political intrigue and social intransigence that characterized the Ministry and other magical institutions throughout the last four books. It was a situation tailor-made for someone like Hermione to spread her wings and start to lead, but also for reluctant leaders like Harry and Neville to rediscover their commitment and purpose.

You did an all-around fabulous job with this! Congratulations on a very impressive accomplishment!

Author's Response: Thank you for your detailed and generous review. It is especially valued coming from someone who has written many stories in the Harry Potter world.

I appreciate your remarks on characterisation and yes I did give a lot of thought to Grantham's character including creating a detailed backstory for him. I wanted to portray an antagonist who wasn't a cardboard cut-out villain. I was also trying to convey that people can have very different views to you on matters that are very important but that doesn't necessarily make them evil. To many people today have difficulty with that notion.

To me this story is both a Harry/Ginny story and a Ron/Hermione one, but unfortunately I am unable to list it as both. I would agree that the story gives more weight to the Ron/Hermione relationship, principally because at this stage of their lives (immediately after the war) it has far more depth. I switch the classification around from time to time so that people into either relationship have a chance to discover the story. It is probably time to reclassify it again.

Thanks for the review. Having discovered your stories I am now looking forward to reading them.


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Review #24, by CambAngstRoar: A job Offer

12th August 2014:
Hi, Sam! Thank you so much for thinking of me for your challenge entry. I'm touched and honored and just all around grinning madly!

I love the thought that you've put into this and the back story that you've constructed. It's great to see that the Malfoys' actions before and during the war were not without repercussions. I tend to think of that as a gaping plot hole in a lot of post-war Draco stories. Also, the repercussions seemed proportionate to the crime instead of the lot of them having the proverbial book thrown at them. The world at large didn't just "forget" the crimes that got Lucius thrown into Azkaban in the first place and he goes back there to finish repaying his debt to society. Draco is not a prime instigator but he's not guiltless, either. Narcissa can't be accused of much beyond complicity, but she certainly still suffers consequences. Even Harry's considerable influence can't spare them completely. All in all, it holds together beautifully and sets a very realistic backdrop.

You also water-dropped a possible mystery into the setup. Where did Harry disappear to during the absences Draco recalls?

It was neat that you didn't completely wipe away every aspect of "the old order", installing a longtime friend of the Notts as Head Auror. Amusing side note: there are a large number of O'Dells on my mother's side of the family if you go back 4 or 5 generations. They were farmers in rural Virginia, however, not wizards.

Ah, I love the gradualism of Draco and Astoria falling in love. If I had one thing about Detox to do over, I think I would have slowed the pace down a lot. The first 5 chapters of the story really could have spanned a lot more time and depicted a much more realistic process of them developing feelings for one another if I'd had a different timeline in my head. The way you've described things here is much more natural and organic.

The animosity between Draco and Harry also felt really consistent with canon. All of their past hatred has been cooled somewhat by the passing of time and the perspective that comes from surviving a war. Each has saved the other's life on at least one occasion and while they'll never be pals, they've worked out a serviceable detente that still allows them to take verbal jabs at one another when they feel like it.

I think I'm going to need some more time and context to get my head around this job offer. The concept makes sense, but the timing and the particulars are very intriguing. Draco seems to still be trapped by the dark shadow of his past and suddenly this situation is thrust upon him. I get the feeling it's going to be both an opportunity and a challenge for him. He can rebuild his reputation, but he'll have to recall and in some ways relive some of the worst moments of his life to do it. It's a great setup for a lot of self-discovery and angst and coming to terms with his past and lots of other yummy things that will make for an awesome story.

On to some constructive criticism. I think it could be very beneficial to take a slow, careful read through this chapter with an eye out for overly long sentences. When I'm reading and I come across a sentence that's 4 or 5 clauses long, I find that it really slows me down because I have to pause and figure out how the different parts of the sentence are meant to interact with one another.

I also thought that the way you started the back story on what happened to Draco after the war was kind of abrupt. You're in the midst of a wonderful, compelling opening full of Draco's feelings for Astoria and then, bang, we fall right into "After the war..." I'd suggest easing into it a bit by finding a nice segue between the two. Perhaps have him think back to a time right after the war when finding love and happiness seemed like it would never be possible. I don't think you need a major change, just something to smooth the transition.

Finally, I saw a few typos as I was reading:

Three and a half months went by before his own trail, having gone through the Death Eaters they'd known where dangerous first, but by that time Potter had come back for certain trails. -- trials

The Auror would be a rookie, someone who had just graduated, and their first assignments was always looking after witnesses and people just out of jail or off probation if it had been a major crime. -- "their first assignments were"? Even with that change, this sentence feels a bit odd.

"I never said that," Draco said with smug smile, because he also never said that agreed with Potter, -- that he agreed with Potter

Being forced to wait alone because said Head Auror wasn't in and Potter clearly hadn't been able to wait was an opportunity Draco had relished in at first. -- had reveled in? I don't think you can relish in something. ;)

"Well, I got to sit in on some meetings and there were times when I could listen in on others because he didn't know all the secret paces like I did, so I knew plans and locations and names. -- secret places

"Good. That's good. So this job offer," Stephen began, "Is to go through our cold cases, missing persons and the like. -- Since the same sentence continues after the dialog tag, "Is" shouldn't be capitalized.

Once again, thank you so much! You're off to a really amazing start and I'm pleased as can be that you thought of me when writing this!

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Review #25, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Beautiful: Scorpius POV

8th August 2014:
Hi, Beth!

I'm thinking really hard about the ideal word to describe this chapter. What word really captures the lush depths and gripping sensuality of your descriptions? It feels a little odd, but "luscious" comes to mind. Reading this was an almost tactile experience. It's too bad that you can't close your eyes and still be able to read, because at times I felt like I could have closed my eyes and actually experienced the sensations that Scorpius was feeling. You wrote it just that well. Bravo!

His encounter with Albus and Selenia was a nice little mood-setter for what was to come. Scorpius obviously wasn't going to stick around for the show, but I think it put him in a mindset for the best way to celebrate being alive and all in one piece.

Based on your descriptions of the ash and sawdust covering him, it seems that Scorpius and Ron released a lot of pent-up frustration on the woods.

Wow. The whole shower scene was an amazing piece of writing. I don't think you could have done a better job of drawing the reader into a scene. It was so vivid. Losing yourself in it was effortless. THIS is how two people who deeply, passionately love one another interact. It was honestly breathtaking.

I don't think there's anything else to say. I certainly didn't see any typos or grammatical problems. It was short and beautiful and amazing. Great job!

Author's Response: Hiya Dan,

I'm still swooning over the awesomeness of this review. Wow. And seriously. Thank you.

Luscious. I love it.

I couldn't help myself with the Al/Selenia scene. They are just that 'madly in love from the beginning' couple that can be annoying, but you love them so you put up with it type. (Wow - seriously run on sentence, there - haha).

The shower scene took a few edits to get right, but I was actually pretty confident when I submitted it. The very last paragraph (that I wrote forever ago), I was the most proud of.

Scorpius needed this from her. He is really alone in this world - no parents or basically any other family. He does have his Aunt Daphne, but she lives in the Muggle world.

And Rose needed to do this for Scorpius. She 'needed to be needed' by someone for reasons other than Healing.

I know this chapter is so different from the others, but I really had fun writing it!

Thanks again!

Beth


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