Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,208 Reviews Found

Review #51, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Hope: Rose POV

18th January 2015:
Hi, Beth! Here for our swap. I was very excited to see your new chapter go up!

Cho Chang is one of those characters who intrigues me. I'm always curious to see how different authors imagine her post-Hogwarts life and career. Yours is definitely one of the kinder portrayals I've read, inasmuch as she doesn't seem to be hopelessly pining away after Harry. She seems calm, kind and professional, at least for Rose's appointment. I suppose it's possible she keeps a shelf full of Ginny voodoo dolls at home with her collection of Kneazles. ;)

Anyway, back to the substance of your chapter. The scene with Scorpius trying -- and mostly failing -- to comfort Rose as she pukes sure brought back memories. If there's one failing of the male half of the species -- there are many, but let's just focus on this one ;) -- it's that we feel like we need to try to fix everything. Rose also doesn't seem to be great at accepting sympathy. So she snaps at him. And then she immediately feels terrible about doing it, and poor Scorpius is just kind of confused. All very familiar.

He was so completely understanding and compassionate; it was aggravating me all the more. -- Yep, that right there.

Even when you are trying to be snippy, you are cute and sweet. -- Oops. Wrong move, loverboy. Don't even try telling her she looks sexy in pants with big elastic waistbands...

Scorpius is adorable at the Healer appointment. I want to give him a big manly hug around the shoulders and also shake him a little. In the heat of a moment like this, it's easy to forget that our species has been procreating for tens of thousands of years, the vast majority of that without the aid of professionals. Rose seems to get it, which makes sense considering her profession.

Not to mention the fact that I could've possibly been doing my rounds with this woman when the internship part of my training began, and I didn’t want to be known as the patient with the completely insane boyfr- I guess fiancé - who went off the handle because of a few pounds. -- I liked this paragraph in a lot of ways. Not least is the fact that it shows that Scorpius isn't the only one struggling a bit with how the change in their relationship has changed the ground rules and even the phrasing of things.

Aww, the first ultrasound. Very cute! The description of the magic was a little rough, I thought. I'm not sure you can "cite" spells. Everyone imagines these things differently, I guess. The meat of the scene was beautifully done. I loved the way that both of them are awestruck by what they're seeing. When you see the little bean move for the first time, it's always a life-changing moment.

Question: Was Cho unable to tell the sex of the baby or was she just preserving the mystery? You didn't think you were going to slip that one by without anyone asking, did you? :p

Due on Halloween. Due on Halloween... So the HP books don't have the best history with Halloween. Harry's parents died on Halloween. Rose's mum nearly died on Halloween. The Chamber of Secrets was re-opened on Halloween. Harry's name emerged from the Goblet of Fire on Halloween. Just sayin...

OK, so they're off to see Uncle Harry. This is a chapter I've been waiting for. It will be very interesting to see what Harry makes of all of the news.

I didn't see any typos in this chapter! Yay!

Awesome job and thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan,

Wow - I've gotten really behind on responding to reviews and I'm trying desperately to get to all of them tonight.

My head canon is that Cho NEVER pines for Harry. He was a REBOUND for her. Their first snog consisted of her bawling all over him. In my mind she is gay and happily married to Padma Patil - so I don't really see the voodoo dolls - unless they are Ginny's dolls of Cho (Ginny can be a bit jealous...) haha!

Yeah - the "I've gotta fix everything" thing. I don't exactly know why guys do that, but it IS fun to write :)

I'm glad it came across that Rose is a little more clinical and Scorp the emotional one at this particular doctor visit. Although they are both caught off guard when they see the baby for the first time.

You have an uncanny knack for zeroing in on any part of the chapter that I find off - and this was no exception. I rewrote the magic part of the ultrasound a few times and posted it as I was still a bit unsure. You even managed to find the single *word* that I was struggling with (cite). I waffled over that one for a while. That's just crazy. I'm going to take a look at that part again - so thanks for the cc :)

The sex of the baby... What baby? Hehe - Let's just say it will be addressed - sort of - in a future chapter :D

Thanks again - the chapter with Harry's (and Ron's and Hermione's) reaction is up!

♥ Beth

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Review #52, by CambAngstSticks in a Bundle: Anger

16th January 2015:

I'm at a loss for words. First and foremost, I'm semi-distraught that I never read this before. I'm upset with myself. I'm going to struggle to forgive myself for a while. But I'll get over it...

This story is amazing. The emotions that it evokes are unbelievable. Actually, it's very easy to believe now that I think about it. Without straying a hair outside of the ToS, you've created this amazingly vivid story that makes the terrible things that have happened to Harry plainly obvious. It's really incredible writing. I'm in awe and I'm angry. So very, very angry. At the moment, I want to tear Vernon Dursley limb from limb. I want to see the fat oaf suffer terribly. I want to paint "Magic Sucks" across his chest and hand him over to Bellatrix.

I saw that you picked this for the January Review Swap. That's how I found it. Please, please, PLEASE say that you're looking for the motivation to take up writing it again! I know it's been a long time. I know it's hard to get going again. But I'm begging you, please write whatever it is that George and Ron are planning to do to Harry's despicable uncle. Cookies, cake, pie... the world is your oyster if you do me this favor. Name your price!

I'm not sure I can add anything more to this review than what I've already said. This is a story that I'm dying to read more of. Remember: baked goods! Awesome job!


Author's Response: Wait I missed this one! And it was one of my favorites as well! I think I screamed a little when I realized you had read this poor abandoned story. :)

Don't be upset with yourself! For reasons we've talked about since, I don't advertise this story very much because I don't want to let people down when they realize it's not finished. Seriously, don't be hard on yourself.

But thank you SO much for the glowing compliments. I think my head grew three sizes reading this review, and you know it gave me the courage to pull the fic out again and start trying to work through it. Hopefully when school gets out for the summer I can really get to work on it.

This story was something I really wanted to write, but it was hard as well. That anger you mention and going into detail about the horrible things done to Harry was hard to get down on paper. As for the TOS - well, this is the edited version. I had to get help from several validators to make sure I did toe that line. It's a very tricky line to walk.

(Your creative way for dealing with Vernon is certainly one I've never thought of!)

As for motivation to keep writing, I think you know the answer to that now. I really, really DO want to finish this. I just have to make it all WORK. Who knew that such a small story could open up such a large can of worms. As for my price? LOL. Just help me whittle down that massive Idea Document I sent you into something that can be worked with. That would be amazing. (And no, I don't really mean that. You don't have to do my work for me.)

Thanks again for this review. I still can't stop smiling from it. You really made my day twice, once when I got it and just now when I got to read it again.

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Review #53, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: Too Little, Too Late

13th January 2015:
After teasing us with an easily recognizable scene from the book, you started to really branch off and develop your own narrative in this chapter. I love stories that retell portions of the books from a different point of view. There are so many characters in the HP books and yet we're nearly always seeing things only through Harry's eyes. Scenes like the ones in this chapter really help to fill out the rest of this world.

I like the voice you've given Hermione here. She seems well-balanced both emotionally and physically. While she's grateful to be alive, she's also deeply concerned for her friends. I liked the way she gets pushy with Ron when he tries to avoid telling her about Sirius. Lastly, her struggles with her feelings when Ron tells her the truth seemed very age-appropriate and true to her personality.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the arrival of Dolores Umbridge. I loved the idea of Dumbledore stunning her. Warms my heart. That said, I think I remember something about Dumbledore entering the forest unarmed to negotiate with the centaurs for her life. I could be wrong about that, and Dumbledore is likely capable of stunning someone even without his wand, but it jumped out at me as I was reading.

Ah, and she still has the Time Turner! Why do I get the feeling that "too late" won't turn out to be too late after all? OK, well, it's probably because the whole premise of your story depends on it, but let's pretend for a moment that I don't know that. ;)

I like the idea that McGonagall would have put a healthy fear of the potential consequences of time travel into Hermione before giving her the Time Turner. That sounds like her. At the same time, I see the seeds of doubt in Hermione's mind. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

Another very well-written chapter! I couldn't see a thing wrong with your writing. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan! Please forgive me for how incredibly late this response is. I am really terrible at replying to reviews.

I love any kind of stories that are 'missing moment' or sections from other characters' point of view so I really loved writing the first few chapters of this story.

Hermione is the character I enjoy writing the most, I'm so thrilled you liked her voice here.

I think you might be right about Dumbledore going in unarmed, I may have to fix that part. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

Thanks so much for the review, Dan. And apologies again for the delayed response!

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Review #54, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: The Last Time-Turner

13th January 2015:
Hi, Dee!

This is a tasty intro to what sounds like a very interesting, unique story. You captured the frenetic energy of the fight and flight -- or was it flight, then fight? -- in the Department of Mysteries very well. Embedded in your premise is a really interesting idea that I haven't seen anyone pick up on before. Hermione was, at one point, in a room full of Time Turners. She knew what they were. She knew how they worked. Why not grab one in case of disaster?

There's not much I can say aside from that. Your writing was lovely. The scene flowed quite naturally and I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems.

Great start!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan!

Thank you again for the reviews, they were really unexpected and just a lovely thing to see when I logged on. Random reviews are my favourite!

I always struggle with introductions to stories, so it's great that you enjoyed it! I definitely wanted a different premise to the time travel story, so, again, I'm glad that was something you liked too. I definitely think Hermione wouldn't have been able to resist grabbing the stray time-turner.

This was such a great review! :D

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Review #55, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Honor: Rose and Scorpius POV

12th January 2015:
Hi, Beth!

Wow. A small personal aside: after the doctor's appointment where we learned we were having twins, my wife and I went to the IHOP near the hospital and we both ordered breakfast even though it was early afternoon. So yeah, I could relate to that first scene.

I really loved the way you wrote Scorpius in the first scene, even though it wasn't from his point of view. That goofy smile that he couldn't get rid of sounded perfect to me. Combining that with Rose's overwhelming mix of emotions, I'd say that this scene was just about perfect.

"Scorpius," I commented, "you look like someone has hooked both sides of your mouth and tied it to your ears!" -- Yeah, that look.

"When I woke up this morning, there was only one Malfoy in the world – just me. And now, there are going to be two more..." he caught himself and cleared his throat. -- I promise I'll stop just quoting you now, but that line hit me right in the feels. Your story makes me miss Draco and Astoria.

I agree with Scorpius. I'd been waiting for Rose to break down, too. It's a heck of a lot to try to absorb in a short amount of time. Because you've kept this story so realistic for a pair of young twenty-somethings, they both have incredibly busy lives. I could feel Rose's anxiety creeping into me as she tries to make sense of it all.

"We can’t raise a baby here – not in this house." -- Why not? All the Black family members turned out so well... OK, I tried. Couldn't get that out with a straight face.

I adored Scorpius's heartfelt explanation of what the prophecy means to him and how Rose will turn it into a good thing. The boy is quite a poet. And his "one condition" was the crowning touch. If being an Auror doesn't work out, he should seriously consider writing self-help books for guys who want to be better boyfriends/husbands.

The conversations that Scorpius and Rose have with their little bean was one of the sweetest things I've read in a long time. So much heartfelt emotion! Gah!

I don't think I can quote it in a review, but I loved Scorpius's "Bill and Ted" moment of contemplating his impending fatherhood.

Then Selenia and Scorpius play "musical rambling". It's really hard to know exactly what to say from either side of that conversation. There are so many things to try to say, but the right words are so hard to find. So you just end up babbling. You have a good grasp on the dynamic.

Scorpius is going to need some time to figure out all of the random pregnancy-induced emotions. He seemed like he was on the verge of panic.

So I read this last night which means I wasn't at my sharpest, but I only saw one typo:

We could gage his reaction and then move on to Albus. -- gauge his reaction

Beautiful chapter! You nailed the moments, you nailed the feels, you just nailed the whole thing! Thanks for the swap! Until next time...

Author's Response: Hi there Dan!

I always get nervous with the really lovey-dovey chapters that either it's just too much or Scorpius comes off as a wimp - so this review was a big sigh of relief for me - thanks!

Haha - I haven't had the experience of finding out it was twins - but erm... we did have a couple of surprises - you would think an accountant and a biochemist would be able to uh, *account* for stuff a bit better.

Haha - quote me all you want! You found the ones that I was most proud of - so :)

Any way you look at it - becoming a parent is a BIG deal - and although Rose is well on her way to healing, she's got a lot on her plate at the moment.

Haha - Scorpius is really in tune with Rose - I don't know how well he'd be able to dish out advice to others - he's got all he can handle right now!

Yeah, I couldn't pass up the parents' chats with the little one. It was too cute - thanks.

I almost edited out the Scorpius/Selenia conversation, but I realized that I hadn't had those two characters interact one-on-one yet in the story. I wanted to show that they have a strong relationship as well, and that they weren't just friends because they were dating close cousins. Also, there's a *tiny* bit of story line in their conversation.

Thanks again for this awesome review. The next chapter has a bit more plot to it.

♥ Beth

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Review #56, by CambAngst'Till Death Do Us Part: Chapter 2

9th January 2015:
Hi, Tammi!

Another fun chapter! My afternoon was greatly improved. :)

The situation with James and Adam was really familiar to me. I've been on James's side of the table, moving into a different phase of life while trying to stay connected with friends who are still happily in the prior one. James is married, expecting twins and has a job at the Ministry that he likes. Adam is still dating, childless and working a job at the apothecary that doesn't seem to have a lot of upside unless the manager of the Hogsmeade store leaves. You did a good job of capturing the situation.

I think I meant to ask this in the last review. Is Adam's girlfriend Lucy also James's cousin Lucy? Seems like Adam is almost ready to make a life-leap with her.

Speaking of people who need to make a life-leap, Fred needs to get off the dime and make a move. It seems obvious to his cousins what he needs to do. I like Hugo's reaction, or more to the point his unwillingness to put up with Fred's distracted moodiness. Lucy took a gentler approach, although her implied threat is probably no more comfortable for Fred than getting knocked off of a ladder.

I saw a couple of small typos -- at least I think they're typos -- as I was reading:

They were silent for a moment whilst Fred actually done some work, -- actually did some work?

Oh come on Fred; just ask her to one of your sisters Quidditch matches or something. -- sister's

Good job! Thanks for the entertaining read!

Author's Response: Hey again!!!

Awww yay! I'm glad that I could improve your afternoon.

Thank you, I'm glad that you could relate to it and saw familiar situations. I wanted to try and keep this story as real as possible.

Yes! Adam's girlfriend is James' cousin. :D

Awww Fred, bless him, he really does, but he's so scared. Hugo is very straight to the point, so it's a good thing that Lucy was the one to help him out. Hugo would probably make it worse.

Ooops! Thank you! I shall sort those out!

Thank you so much! You're awesome!

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Review #57, by CambAngstThere's Water In Oil: There's Water In Oil

8th January 2015:
Hey, there!

This was a really clever and original take on what was going through the secluded depths of Snape's mind as he listened to Narcissa beg for his help in protecting Draco. It isn't at all difficult to imagine him thinking this way. There's enough self-interest involved to make it feel right, but also that odd sort of benevolence that you never see coming from Snape.

The first section was brilliant. I think anyone who's really read the books has had that conversation with Dumbledore in their mind. Each and every Defense teacher was flawed in his or her own way. The severity ranges from Lupin, who was certain to eventually be condemned by his own circumstances, to Lockhart and Umbridge who were nearly unforgivable choices. I liked the way that Snape gradually wears down from being personally insulted and offended to just blandly accepting the next in the series of catastrophes.

You did an awesome job of writing Snape's inner thoughts as he watches Narcissa break down in his sitting room. He feels a sort of sympathy for her, but there's much more going on. He's calculating and studying, evaluating circumstances and postulating outcomes. Such an interesting mix of emotional Gryffindor and cold Slytherin.

At the end of the story, he makes the ultimate personal calculation. Of course, things don't end up the way he's expecting. At this point, I don't believe that Dumbledore and the cursed ring have happened yet. Still, I liked the sense of closure he gets from making the vow. He's going to drive his personal situation to a conclusion, one way or the other.

This was a really great character study. I think you did an awesome job capturing Snape. Til next time...


Author's Response: OK, finally responding to this wonderful review! I wanted to keep it in here as a reminder to read your EXCELLENT Bellatrix story.

This internal stuff with Snape has been my headcanon since I first read HBP! I just like, NEEDED to share it! Snape's definitely a complicated dude, but there is some tragic heroism there. Like, given the timeline, I HAVE to assume he was planning to embark on a suicide mission *sobs*

Oh man, YES. Dumbledore's staffing decisions are pretty wack, so I really wanted to examine the subtle machinations behind them. And I'm really glad you liked the pacing of that sequence, with Snape just kind of getting worn down, and his desire for the post becoming more like about succeeding than about the reasons why anymore.

The sequence with Narcissa kind of had to be really internal, since there's a TOS limit on quoted dialogue, and that scene is straight out of the book. I was happy for it though, since it forced me to focus on what he thought vs what was literally happening.

And you're totally right that Dumbledore didn't have the ring yet! That is SUCH a critical point, because it means he didn't know he was gonna die anyway (I think there's a penseive scene in canon showing that reveal). So, again SOBBING, because he made the vow assuming he wouldn't kill Dumbledore, and simply die instead. AH!

Thank you so much for reviewing this ancient story! This was like my first ever one-shot, and I'm glad you think there's value to it!

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Review #58, by CambAngst'Till Death Do Us Part: Chapter 1

8th January 2015:
Hi, Tammi!

I saw that you'd marked this completed, so I figured it was a good time to read. No waiting! ;)

I really liked all of your characters, especially viewing them in this happy moment. The goofy, giddy sort of happiness that James and Amelia share on the way out of the hospital was instantly familiar to me. Been there, done that. Harry and Ginny's reaction also made perfect sense to me, especially after they learned that Amelia is expecting twins. I liked Adam and Lucy, even though I'm not completely familiar with the characters. Wanting to go shopping is definitely an "auntie" reaction.

All of the dialog and narrative felt very natural and it flowed nicely. I couldn't see a thing wrong with your writing. Great job on this.

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention James's big head. That was a great running gag. Poor guy. Even I had a laugh at his expense.

Awesome job. I needed a good read this afternoon!

Author's Response: HEY! How are you?

Awww I'm so glad that you decided to take a look at my story! Definitely no waiting now it's complete :D

Thank you so much! And I'm glad that they seem believable. They're all very excited about the babies, especially when everyone thought that it would just be the one.

Awww thank you so much! That makes me very happy!

Haha he has got a big head, everyone comments on it... poor James. :D

Thank you so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed!

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Review #59, by CambAngstInto Darkness: Into Darkness

7th January 2015:
Ooh! A very creepy story!

Your protagonist fell into a classic trap that snares the young and the gullible in even the mundane muggle world: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The ending also reminded me, in a rather morbid way, of the other truism of the modern Internet age: When something online is free, you're not the customer, you're the product.

Anyway, I digress. You did an awesome job of capturing the giddy enthusiasm of a young person who thinks that they've figured out something that everyone else in the world missed. I loved all the little touches that made the protagonist real in my mind. The first thing he/she goes out and buys is cans of baked beans! Classic post-college, young and broke food. High in protein and fiber, not horrible for you, filling and cheap.

All of the little details you worked in during the trip down the tunnel made the scene vivid and gripping. I had no problem at all feeling the anxiety and claustrophobia. An excellent piece of writing.

The ending came on quickly and brought an instant flash of panic. It was a good note to wrap up on.

Brilliant job with this!

Author's Response: This was definitely new territory for me, I'm so glad you think it worked!

And ah! That truism is like REALLY AMAZING/DISTURBING! I hadn't heard it before!

Since I had such a small space here, I went as personal as humanly possible. This is (very very) loosely inspired by a true story I heard that creeped the hell out of me, and then /I/ would very much like cheap rent :P And then I figured EVERYONE must find enclosed spaced creepy! (And yes, baked beans because: college).

Thank you for reviewing this odd little story! I've yet to review a bunch of your stuff, and totally owe you!

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Review #60, by CambAngst'Eyes' with an 'L': Boom

6th January 2015:
Hi, there!

I haven't reviewed anything of yours in a really long time, so to celebrate your newly-minted TA, I wanted to drop by and find something.

I don't know how much of the plot of this story arose from the prompt you got and how much was your own creation, but the overall effect was brilliant! I love the way that you were able to take an element like deafness and work it seamlessly into a canon-compliant story. You did it in such a way that anyone reading this would have to admit that it's impossible to say for sure that Lily Evans wasn't deaf prior to attending Hogwarts. That's a pretty amazing feat.

Your Lily had all of the fire of the original along with the new twist that fit perfectly with her personality. This is exactly how I would have imagined her dealing with deafness. She didn't want to be like everyone else -- which the cochlear was never really going to achieve, anyway. She just wanted to be herself, with her own unique set of rules. It hurt her that her parents wanted her to be "normal", as though there was something wrong with the way she was before. Overall, I thought you used her parents to great effect, especially their nervous habits like her mother scrubbing the countertops.

Severus became even more of a sympathetic character to me, at least in Lily's pre-Hogwarts years. You did not, however, take away or gloss over his most prominent character flaws, which I really appreciated. You kept him very well balanced, not at all unlike JKR's portrayal of him.

Lastly, we see a bit of James and how he's really willing to try to reach out to Lily in his own cocky, self-interested way. The seeds of what's to come are obviously there.

I thought you did an awesome job with this! I hope you did well in your challenge!


Author's Response: Hello! Yee, thank you for leaving me TWO unexpected reviews!

So the randomly paired prompt was "Lily Evans+Deaf"--andANDAND that's like, SUPER hard to play off within canon (so many memories at so many ages--so much of her unambiguously replying to auditory info). It was actually in trying to negotiate the prompt with canon that I ended up figuring out a plot. Without that struggle, it might have just been a bunch of commentary and messaging with no coherent structure :P

I'm glad you dug the characterizations, because this was my first time working within this era, and these are pretty precious characters to fans! And for the parents, I figured that Petunia couldn't have spontaneously developed crappy attributes. So while the Petunia described them as kind of indulgent to Lily, I thought that might indicate Parents of a Sick Child-ness, and Jealous of the Attention Sister-ness.

You know I weirdly love Snape and all of his CRAZY CONTRAST. I really enjoyed writing both ZOMG SO CUTE Severus and AH YOU ARE AN OBSESSIVE CREEP Snape.

Guh--toggling James' cockiness with trying to keep him likable was such a struggle! Ultimately, for the story, it isn't so much about James as it is about the concept of adaptation (and whose job it is). He's the only person that tries to meet Lily halfway.

Thank you sososo much for stopping by!


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Review #61, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Louis Weasley Dances

5th January 2015:
Hi, Emma! Back again for another chapter!

Olivia has settled into the Gryffindor common room pretty easily. One of my favorite things about this chapter was the contrast between the way that I, as the reader perceive her fitting in versus the way that she perceives herself fitting in. Sometimes, when you make a great new friend, you're the last one who realizes what's happened.

I loved the lengthy, hilarious and highly analytical discussion of James's love life. Leave it to Rose to need to list, categorize and rank all of the possibilities. The way that everyone kept jumping into the discussion was some very high quality Weasley family interaction. The line of discussion that Olivia kicks off with her question about whether James's secret lover is a guy was the icing on the cake. You created a nice little bit of tension with Al's initial reaction and then eased it right back out again. Brilliant writing.

Louis is, for lack of a better term, dense. Very dense. Like some sort of lead-uranium alloy with a bit of neutron star in the middle. I guess being terminally beautiful can mess with your ability to objectively decide why other people act like they're interested in you. I do hope he doesn't let this Laura character lure him in again, or things are going to be really awful between him and Al.

His solution to regaining Al's good graces was pretty clever. Personally, I think a burlesque routine could have added to the impact of the scene, but that's splitting hairs. He was willing to endure some humiliation to show how much he regretted his decisions and that was the important thing.

I felt so sad for Olivia that she felt like she was imposing somehow on Al and Louis's big moment of reconciliation. Obviously Al didn't feel that way, but we'll talk about that in a moment.

I am still trying to decide two things in my own mind: 1) what I think has really happened to Cassie, and 2) how things are going to play out if and when she returns. With regard to the former question, I'm still thinking that she just decided that she didn't feel like dealing with Scorpius for a while. Or a semester. Perhaps an entire school year. Regardless, my intuition -- which is far from perfect -- tells me that she isn't dead or in mortal danger. As to the latter question, I have a feeling that Cassie's return will create some major relationship drama for Olivia and Al, and it will probably be timed poorly. Cassie doesn't seem like the sort who shares well, and Olivia's letter is going to plant some seeds of doubt in Al's mind.

I liked Al's reaction. He was a little offended and angry, which I through was appropriate for his age and situation. They get over it quickly enough, but the fact that it wasn't instant and easy made the scene more realistic. Also, I think it plants another seed of possible discord for later.

Look at me, guessing like mad about where you're headed next! This is fun. Whee!

I saw a couple of small typos while I was reading:

Rosie’s helping out cousin go wedding dress shopping, and Louis will probably have a date. -- helping our cousin

I chewed me lip, feeling strangely worried about hearing his reply, but Al just grinned. -- chewed my lip

Awesome chapter! Thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I definitely wanted that difference between reader/narrator interpretation to come across. Olivia's clever but quite oblivious to things that happen outside her comfort zone so, where most people would obviously realise they had people that cared about them, she's managed to convince herself that she's intruding.

And I'm glad you liked the discussion of James. It ended up a bit longer than I'd meant it to but I had fun writing it.

Louis's definitely a bit of an idiot, but he's a well meaning idiot. And I actually originally intended a burlesque dance! But when it came down to writing it it just didn't happen. Anyway, thanks for mentioning that as an idea. I'm still very tempted to somehow fit it in so will have a go when I come to edit :)

I wanted Al to be a stable thing in Olivia's life at this point in the story, so where Scorpius would probably have blown up about the letter, Al manages to see where Olivia's feelings are coming from. But yes, it's definitely a possible source of tension for the future.

And thank you for giving all the guesses! I love reading them!

I've fixed the typos now. Thanks for pointing those out!

And thank you so much for the lovely review!

Emma x

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Review #62, by CambAngstEffortlessly Dead: In the Nest of Shrikes

4th January 2015:
Hello, again! I read this chapter last night, but it was late and I didn't feel like I could put anything particularly coherent together. Better to sleep on it, I think.

Another thing I really like about the way you're writing this story is the way you pace it. You're not afraid to introduce a scene and some characters and leave the reader wondering how they fit in for a little while. I think it's a really effective way to keep your readers engaged. When I started reading the first section, it took me a while to figure out that Menna was the assassin from chapter 1. By the time I had Ifan and Menna's roles cemented in my head, I was thoroughly into their characters.

I really love the family dynamic you've created here. It's so relatable and realistic. It would have been very easy to write this family as a sinister, fanatical bunch of caricatures. Instead, you gave them individual personalities and complicated relationships. It adds real depth to your story and keeps it from being cartoonish.

I like Menna a lot and I feel like we'll see a lot of her in this story. At least at this early juncture, she feels like someone who's been required to grow up way too fast and it's left some marks on her. She's tough, but also vulnerable in a way. In that regard, she reminds me somewhat of Harry. I'm curious to find out whether the two of them end up interacting with one another and, if so, how that plays out.

Ifan seems more complex. It feels like he's proud of Menna and what she's become, but he also feels a certain amount of competition with her for Rhian's approval.

The scene with the Aurors added a lot of context and new information to the mystery. I liked the way you've set up Harry so far. He seems a little war-weary and aged beyond his years, but not disproportionately so. There's still some playfulness to him, like when he's trying to coax the owl to give up the artifact.

I'm 99% sure this is the first time I've seen the character Proudfoot written as a woman and I like it. She'll be a very useful character, I predict. Characters who aren't afraid to call things as they see them and challenge the authority structure are always great to have in a story. They can get you out of some difficult situations.

I like the way you've set up Robards and his relationship to the rest of the Auror Department. I've never been a big fan of stories where he's written as the second coming of Scrimgeour, a pure office politician who sees Harry as a challenge to his authority and therefore thwarts Harry at every turn. Your Robards is a lot more believable.

The questions are starting to pile up a bit. Do we have a secret animagus in the mix? Did the Aurors learn what happened some other way? I'm very curious to see.

I like Aled, even though he's an odd fit for a family of assassins. Or perhaps because he's an odd fit. He has his principles, but he's also practical, like when he agrees to keep the possible Magpie interference from Menna.

I saw a few possible typos as I was reading, but I'm not sure about all of them. I'll point them out, just in case:

She trailed of and looked helplessly at her father who slipped a comforting arm around her shoulders. -- trailed off

Despite himself, Ifan felt a bang of guilt. -- pang of guilt

Unlike most of his family, Aled despised violence and killed only as a last result; -- last resort

Aside from those, your writing was really lovely. In fact, from now on, if I don't comment, just assume that your writing was awesome. ;)

Excellent second chapter!

Author's Response: Hello Dan!

Aw, thanks! I have to admit though that I'm pacing this story in a way that makes the most sense to me - it may not make sense to other people as well. So far no one has complained about the pacing so I suppose it works. :)

From the beginning, it was my intention to create a family of assassins who are at least a little bit likeable. I don't think I'd be able to write them as caricatures even if I tried, I've spent that much time creating their personalities and quirks. I'm also glad that you like Menna! You're quite right, she's one of the main characters so she's going to appear quite often. You're also right about her having had to grow up too fast. I have plans for her and Harry to meet at some point, although I suspect neither will be too happy about it...

Ifan is indeed proud of Menna - as he should be since he was the one who trained her. I've never really thought about him seeing her as his competition, though; that's an interesting interpretation, and quite a plausible one too!

I'm glad you liked Harry. That was my first time writing him and I wondered if I stayed true to his character. I can't remember how I first decided Proudfoot was a woman but it's possible I had a female Auror in need of a name and as I was searching for one, I came up with Auror Proudfoot whose gender was never openly stated and that was it. She's really growing to me as a character and already she's made herself more important than I originally intended (she seems to think she's Robards's right hand woman or something like that).

I never even considered writing Robards like that! In my head he's always been the kind of leader who is inexplicitly trusted by those under him and who is willing to listen to any theory, no matter who came up with it. He is also a bit of an oddity, as you'll see in chapter six...

It's a good thing you're asking questions. I would be very concerned indeed if you weren't. Everything will be answered in time, but in the meantime, keep asking those questions!

Aled is such a sweetheart. I think the Shrikes need him to balance out all those murderous tendencies.

Thanks for pointing out the typos and for reviewing! Hopefully I'll see you again at chapter three!

- Emmi

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Review #63, by CambAngstEffortlessly Dead: Death Comes Calling

3rd January 2015:
Hi, there! I've come to read and review your story, mostly because Tanya is a wonderful, wonderful person. She answered my trivia question correctly, but instead of having me review one of her chapters, she asked if I would review yours. Isn't she the best? All that said, I'm really glad that she gave me the opportunity to read this. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I thought you did a great job with your first chapter. As a reviewer, I'm often harsh on first chapters. I loved this not only for what you did do, but also for what you didn't do. What you did was move directly into the plot of your story without going into a whole load of back story or dumping a bunch of name-rank-serial number information on me that I probably wouldn't have remembered anyway. Even though I don't know much about the female assassin, her victim, Galen, Rosie or Mac, I'm already engaged with the characters because I'm engaged with their story. All of the other details will come in time, and when they do I'll be able to put them into context. To me, this is good storytelling. You got my head into the story first and foremost. All of the character back story can wait.

Your assassin is a seriously cold individual. I loved the way that she identified with the cat stalking its prey. That told me a lot about her without you needing to come right out and tell me about her, either through a narrative voice or her internal monologue. Again, this was good storytelling.

With Galen, I got a good sense of what sort of person he is based on his reasons for liking the night shift. He doesn't seem to like conflict. He uses his job as a means of avoiding the drama arising from his sister's upcoming wedding. He also seems to have a strong sense of propriety. He won't even disrespect a corpse by ignoring it.

I also thought that Galen was a good choice for the point of view in the second scene because it allowed you to maintain a certain amount of mystery around Rosie. I gather that I'm meant to wonder whether this is actually Rose Weasley. At one point, you indicate that Rosie is muggle-born, but I guess that could be part of a story that she uses to avoid unwanted attention related to her famous family. Or maybe she's a completely unrelated character, perhaps the namesake of Ron's yet-unborn daughter. I'm fascinated to find out more.

You gave me just enough information about the murder and the Shrikes to be very intrigued. A family of magical assassins would certainly be a daunting prospect. It seems that Mac also has a personal angle on this case. All in all, a very intriguing mix of possibilities.

I noticed one small typo that seems to have evaded capture up to this point:

With that, he disappeared back upstairs. Rosie lingered for a moment longer before following suite. -- following suit

You're off to a great start here! And I'm off to read another chapter. :)


Author's Response: Hey Dan! Thanks for reviewing this! And a thanks to Tanya for recommending this fic!

I'm really happy how the first chapter turned out. I don't care for overt description myself and try to keep it to a minimum. Keeping some of the information a mystery and the reader (hopefully) intrigued is always a plus. :) I'm glad you liked the chapter as well and that you find the characters intriguing! Hopefully you'll like them even after more information about them is revealed and the characters become more defined.

'Cold' is indeed a good way to describe her. So glad you like the storytelling so far (I really, really hope you'll continue to like it in the upcoming chapters as well!)!

You've got Galen's character pretty much nailed! While I wanted to introduce him in this chapter and give the reader a glimpse of what kind of a person he is, it never really occurred to me you could gauge so much of his personality by simply stating he likes the night shift.

Rosie (properly named Rosaline Ecclestone, although she prefers to be called Rosie) is indeed completely unrelated to Rose Weasley. The mystery surrounding her is partly due to me disliking overt description of characters when their looks don't really matter (sorry for misleading you!) None of Harry or Ron's children has been born yet as this story takes place in 2001. She's not meant to be a particularly important character, but that might yet change; after all, there is a character introduced in chapter two who ended up being more important than I intended her to be. :) We'll have to see what happens in the future.

I'm so, so glad you're intrigued by the Shrikes! That means I've done something right! You're right about Mac having a personal angle; keep that in mind, since it might or might not play a part in the story. ;)

Thanks for pointing the typo to me and a big thank you for reviewing! Hopefully you'll like the upcoming chapters as well!

- Emmi

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Review #64, by CambAngstVictoire: The Guard

1st January 2015:
Hi, Emma! I'm really excited for you. This seems like a great love story and mystery all wrapped up in one!

The first part of the chapter was chilling, in more ways than one. For starters, I really liked what you wrote about Cormac and the politics of the Auror Department. I assume that it wasn't really central to the plot, but it helped me connect with his character a bit and get mentally engaged. I think that was important because once he entered the bowels of Azkaban and all of the creepy things started to happen, I was right there with him. It seems like Lucius might have something to do with whatever's going on here. The things he says to Cormac don't sound like random bluster. Then Greyback dies. I can't find any fault with that. ;)

Again, you supplied a lot of context and detail for the scene in the Great Hall before the focus narrows to just Victoire and Teddy. I think it's a really effective technique for setting the scene. The newspaper article definitely sounded like something from the Prophet. It was heavy on details that everyone would have known already and light on actual investigative reporting. There was also that sort of uppity sense of entitlement, as if to say, "How dare Cormac McLaggen refuse to comment. The audacity..." I'm also zoning in on Hermione's Bill for Werewolf Rights. I may be reading too much into it, but you combine that with Lucius Malfoy's reaction and it makes me even more suspicious.

I liked the ambivalence that Teddy seems to feel about Greyback's death. On the one hand, it closes a very dark chapter in the history of the wizarding world that affected Teddy's life in a huge way even though the majority of of Greyback's rein of terror happened before Teddy was born. On the other hand, I'm sure there's a sense of emptiness. Greyback's death doesn't really solve anything. It won't bring back Teddy's parents or undo the prejudice that his father suffered. It won't fix Bill's scars. I like the way you wrote the strong, conflicting emotions.

The only thing I couldn't figure out with this chapter was how to place Teddy and Victoire's ages. If Victoire is writing home to her two younger siblings then I'm guessing it's earlier than her sixth year (Teddy's seventh year). I'm guessing this will get cleared up later on.

Your writing was beautiful in this. It was paced well, it all flowed nicely and I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems.

Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Thanks so much for the lovely review! I'm really excited about writing this story so it's great to have some positive feedback.

I quite enjoyed writing Azkaban, which I didn't expect, and I'm glad you think it worked. I got a bit carried away with Cormac's character, which isn't central to the plot, but it felt right to put Greyback's death in the context of its setting. And it meant I got to write Lucius which is fun.

And thank you for saying the article sounds like something from the Daily Prophet! I wanted that to come across. And I think Prophet reporters would definitely think a witness refusing to give them a statement was an offence.

I've given Victoire and Dominique a big age gap to fit in with my head canon. This story won't be set in exactly the same universe as 'Complicated', but I wanted to keep the central characters the same across my stories. I've written Dominique into James Potter's year, and Louis into the year below with Albus, which means Dominique and James wouldn't start Hogwarts until Victoire's seventh year (as Teddy had already graduated when Albus started Hogwarts). So Victoire is in her sixth year here :)

Thanks so much for the review and for the swap!

Emma x

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Review #65, by CambAngstThe Deathly Children: Of Blood and Intent

1st January 2015:
Hi, teh! I was very pleasantly surprised to find a new chapter. I obviously haven't been keeping up well.

I really liked the first scene with Gellert. First off, the description of Godric's Hollow and Gellert trying to get his head around the lay of the land was beautifully done. "broken fences teething through the ground" is one of my favorite descriptions I've read in a long time. It's absolutely no coincidence that this story won the Dobby for Best Descriptions. Congratulations on that, by the way! The scene with the young muggle boy, Creevey, was excellent characterization of Gellert. It showed how his obsession with the Hallows is redefining the way that he looks at everything, as well as his absolute need to control all things around him. He doesn't just defeat the Creevey boy, he absolutely dominates him and declares an end to the contest when he has decided that it is over.

You made Bathilda seem pretty lovable in this chapter, which is an unusual way to write her. Or maybe I just feel that way because when we see her in the books, she's dead and being reanimated using dark magic by a giant snake.

The description of Gellert's relationship with his mother fits perfectly with the way you've built up the character. There isn't any sort of authoritarian relationship there, merely an odd sort of camaraderie. A lot of the most Type A people I know come from that sort of family, now that I think of it.

I loved what you did with the piece of back story on Ariana's relationship with her mother. I instantly thought of Aberforth's warning to Harry about Albus and how he learned secrecy from their mother. This felt an awful lot like the Kendra Dumbledore that Aberforth was alluding to. So I'm guessing that this potion somehow uses Ariana's blood magic to help limit or contain her outbursts? Sounds like this might be a lot more than just a Pain-Relieving Potion. One thing I love about this story is you've never been afraid to be ambitious with your plot. Having Kendra dabble in borderline dark magic is the sort of plot device that could end up sounding very weird or cliche in the wrong hands. You've put it in a context where it's very believable.

Before I dig into the chapter's final scene, I wanted to say how much I liked the quick little mention of Albus moving into his mother's room. The cognitive dissonance of trying to act like there's no reason not to move in there even though it obviously bothers him a great deal was perfect for his character.

The back-and-forth between Albus and Gellert felt about right. Somebody is definitely leading somebody else along. Although Albus is a very willing participant in being misled. I like how you're dancing that thin line between "are they or aren't they?" Somehow it's more satisfying to let one's imagination wander in this case.

Among the three Dumbledore siblings, Ariana seems to be the only one who's mostly immune to Gellert's manipulations. Somehow her condition gives her an advantage. Or maybe she just has the benefit of a more detached point of view. Regardless, she puts him in his place, after a fashion.

Looking into her brother’s incisive eyes has a lightening effect on her, turning her demure and empty. -- Perhaps she sees enough of their mother in Albus that she feels the need to obey.

I'm curious what Ariana is planning to write.

This was a really beautiful chapter. I couldn't spot a thing wrong with it, and the whole thing flowed beautifully. Again congratulations on your Dobby! Looking forward to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thank you for your wonderful New Year's review! Aaand of course I have to apologise as usual for being sluggish with my responses. This review certainly caught me a VERY good way.

You're spot on with your analysis of Gellert; he's pretty much a downright bully in that part of the chapter. And the relationship between Bathilda and Grindelwald has always fascinated me since it was mentioned in DH. How did the two get along? Were they close at all? Did Gellert actually treat Bathilda with any affection at all, or was he just using her house as a way to escape his bad reputation in his homeland after his expulsion? There isn't much evidence of their relationship, so I had some liberty with writing the two together. I like to think that Grindelwald would at least not be so completely cold, or that he would display no empathy at all to a single soul. And I'm glad you like how I hinted at the relationship between him and his mother! Authoritarian parents are something of a common feature in stories on this site, I think. :P

Yeah, here's where I start to mess around with the boundaries of canon. Things can either go very wrong (in terms of plot) or they may just work. It is a little ambitious for me; but I sometimes like to work with a little risk in my writing. I'm hoping that this subplot will work, somehow!

Ariana does indeed see through Gellert! She is unaffected by his charms, and this is something that I found so amusing to write, that this 'poor damaged girl' can hold her own and see where things aren't right. Albus is getting a little infatuated with Gellert, and Aberforth is just all rage.

Thank you, Dan! Your compliments and your analysis are, as always, amazing and I'm really happy that you came back to this story. I've completed the whole story (finished it last November), but of course, there's a lot of editing to be done, and it's a massive task. I hope to be able to tackle the next chapter and then post it when I've cleaned things up a bit! Thank you once again! ♥


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Review #66, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Breakfast is Traumatic

28th December 2014:
Hi, Emma! I saw that you were looking for your 200th review. Well look no longer! :)

Slowly, gently and without much awkwardness, you're pulling Olivia and Albus together. I think you're pacing things very well with the two of them. Nothing feels rushed or artificial and they both seem really age-appropriate. Sure, I would have loved to see a kiss as much as anyone, but I don't think it would have been right for the situation.

Joe and Oz were sitting by the fireplace. Joe was asleep against Oz’s chest, and Oz had a lazy arm draped over his shoulders. -- Aww, such a cute couple!

Wow. Clara is pretty thick. She pushed it too far this time, though. I'm not even sure Scorpius will regret the things he said to her after he's had time to calm down. It needed to be said, although not exactly in those words I suppose.

Very different from the things he said to Olivia. I think he'll definitely regret those words. How soon is an open question, but he will regret it. He's burning down his own support system in grand fashion.

I kind of wish Olivia would talk to her parents. I get the oddest feeling that they might know something that would prove useful to her.

Lastly, there's Gryffindor Tower. You make it sound like a pretty wonderful place. I guess compared to a cold, dark dungeon, it could seem that way. I definitely feel like Rose and Louis are up to something here. The way that they specifically brought up Al cemented the idea in my head. Smart bunch, those Weasleys!

I saw one little typo as I was reading:

Scor spat out his words, hanger carved into his whole face. -- anger carved. Otherwise, your writing was lovely as always.

I agree with you that this one was a little light on content, but sometimes you have to kick-start the creative process. Looking forward to learning much more about Cassie's disappearance and Olivia and Al's budding romance!

Author's Response: Dan! Thank you so so much! I'm super excited to make it to 200 reviews and it's extra special for number 200 to be this lovely one from you :)

I agree about the timing for Olivia and Al. I keep worrying I might be pushing them slightly too fast, but I know in most stories they'd probably be together by now :) I hope they stay believable, because I really want them to come across as having a healthy, balanced, real relationship.

People mentioning Joe and Oz always makes me smile. Their relationship is maybe my favourite thing about writing this novel, and the amount of love they're getting from everyone basically fills me with joy.

And thanks for pointing out the typo - I think my proofreading slipped a little bit in this chapter, and will come back and give it a proper edit.

Thank you thank you thank you for such a generous review and for taking me to 200! It's always a bit of an honour getting such lovely feedback from you because I'm consistently in awe of your own writing :)

Lots of love,

Emma xx

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Review #67, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Love: Rose and Scorpius POV

27th December 2014:
Hi, Beth!

OK, so "barfing" probably should have been a dead giveaway, if I'd been thinking about it. And the weird thing is, I have been thinking about it. Quite a lot, actually, ever since the prophecy came out. It seemed like one logical way that the plot could have gone. At any rate, here we are and now there are all sorts of new possibilities.

I thought I'd change it up this chapter and point our your one little typo at the beginning of the review:

“Just dress warm and comfortable,” having one the debate, he hopped off the bed, grinning in self-satisfaction. - having won

It seems a little odd that Rose would be in training to be a Healer, yet dragging out of bed at 4:30 AM would be so unusual for her. We've all heard the legendary stories of non-magical medical residents. That said, if this was her day off and he was making her get up that early... off with his head!

Wow, so given what we learn about Rose at the end of the chapter, well, I'm really glad that she didn't have any flying accidents. Also that she didn't throw up while flying. You did a good job of describing the aerial stunts that they pull off, as well as the feeling of flight. Interesting to see Rose as a Seeker. She's much more often written as a Keeper or Chaser.

OK, putting the ring inside a Snitch was pure genius. I did not see that coming at all.

Ha! Poor Scorpius. Sometimes it feels like the guy can't buy a break. He pulls off the perfect proposal and Rose nearly pukes on him. Not his fault at all, obviously. I'm not sure whether that makes things better or worse.

Aha, so he finally confronts her. Good on him. He's barely got the ring on her finger and he's already trying to set things right with Rose. Not advisable in every relationship, but here I think it pays immediate dividends. It finally forces her to add it all up in her head.

I loved the scene at St. Mungo's. There was an awesome sort of frenetic energy to it. I really felt Scorpius's point of view, being dragged through the corridors, trying to find out what was going on, trying to work it out for himself.

I felt a rush of blood burst from my heart and into my ears. -- Hey, I remember that feeling. And it wasn't even a surprise in our case. Pound. Pound. POUND.

Awesome chapter. I'm 99% sure that Scorpius is the father, which fulfills the prophecy in a way that I don't think Rose was expecting. Really interested to see what happens next! Great job!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan!

Haha - you were so fast to review AND I've taken so long to respond that the chapter has a new name. I just couldn't stomach Barfing and Bloodrush.

Typo is all fixed - thanks!

I guess I'd always figured Rose was still in the coursework part of training (with rounds only in the afternoon)? Hmmm, but good point about the crazy hours.

My plan for this story was that Rose was always a seeker. I've even got a little side story about how her crowning moment was when she beat Gryffindor (with James as the seeker) in one of her Hogwarts matches. I just haven't been able to find a moment to tuck it into the story line.

Eep! Glad you didn't see the ring coming! I knew it was probable that most readers would've predicted the pregnancy (many did in their reviews), so it's nice to hear something was a surprise!

I'm gonna step in here and say that Rose almost puking on Scorpius could be *indirectly* his fault... (or at least he can take half the blame)

I really liked writing the Mungo's scene. I tried not to make it too dragged out, since I think it was obvious where it was heading to the reader - even if it wasn't to Scorpius ;)

Thanks again - this review really made my day!

♥ Beth

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Review #68, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bone Tired: Scorpius POV

22nd December 2014:
Hi, Beth! First review! Yeahhh, boye!

I had an urge to subtitle this chapter "Denial, Not Just a River in Egypt". I agree with your author's note that it was a little narrow in terms of scope and purpose, but I also felt like it was necessary. I have a guess as to where you're headed, and if I'm right then you needed to show us this in order to pave the way.

There's not too much to say about the first section. It made perfect sense that Rose would have struggled with Ruth's death and probably blamed herself to some extent. Scorpius and Al and the others were really forceful -- probably appropriately so -- in reminding her that it wasn't her fault. In spite of the fact that it's perfectly reasonable, I'm wondering if maybe the process of Rose withdrawing from them might have started in that moment.

In spite of the tragedy, real life doesn't stop. I like the way you maintain that element of realism. Your characters are busy people with demanding careers and lives. Personally, I've always thought that it's easiest to lose yourself in work when you don't feel like dealing with the stresses in the rest of your life. In a few short paragraphs, you managed to capture the oppressive mundaneness -- is that even a thing? -- that allows Rose to bury her feelings.

One thing I found a little odd about this chapter was the way that Al and Selenia were sort of dancing around Scorpius regarding Rose's emotional distance. Dom was more blunt, but that felt more like an exception. I could definitely see Scorpius making some of her excuses for her, at least at first. He's protective of her, after all. It just seemed strange to me that the other three would feel such reluctance to bring it up to him. At any rate, once they were over the hump I liked the rest of the conversation. Al, Selenia and Dom wind Scorpius up like a toy soldier and march him off to confront the problem head-on...

And he blows it. Well, not completely, but he certainly doesn't drive the conversation through to where Al, Dom and Selenia wanted it to go. For her part, Rose plays him like a finely tuned violin. You've brought her full-circle at this point, trading one avoidance mechanism -- Get up, wash, get dressed, class, rounds, study -- for another -- Get up, study, nap, study, distract boyfriend, sleep.

I'm kind of torn after this chapter. On the one hand, Scorpius is there for her and that's good. He's keeping her from sliding back into that dark, dark place where she started the story. On the other hand, because she has that safety net, she doesn't seem to be dealing with the underlying problem. Is her new coping mechanism healthier than the old one? Yeah, probably. But she still has a long way to go. I love your wonderfully imperfect characters. Their flaws help to define them and in the end the struggles make the triumphs so much sweeter. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Ugh! I'm sorry for taking so long to respond to this. Let's put it this way - I became a TA nearly a week ago, have had the next chapter ready to go - but I still haven't even uploaded it yet! Maybe tonight...

This chapter does lay a little bit of groundwork for the next round of the story, so I do feel kind of bad about a light chapter and then a series of fluff, but I really did try out several different avenues and I'm sticking with my original plan.

I agree with you about using work to keep your mind off serious stresses in your life. I definitely do that. :) It was an easy route for me to write that into the story.

I think you may be right about Albus and Selenia's reticence. It isn't very characteristic of Al to try to sugar-coat things, especially if he thinks someone he loves is in danger. I'm going to look at that bit.

So... I know you've read the next chapter to see that Rose's "mechanism" is probably symptomatic of another er... condition rather than finding another avoidance technique for dealing with the stress of her torture. In that respect, she's actually much further along than the group realizes. Perhaps I should've hammered that point home.

Ooo! Thanks for all the kind words - I really like the imperfect characters!

♥ Beth

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Review #69, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Impressions Left and to be Made

20th December 2014:
Hi! I was excited to see your new chapter up!

Devlin's monthly transformation seemed fairly low-key in Voldemort's company. The Dark Lord didn't seem to have any issues with providing Devlin with everything he needed to make the experience more bearable. In a really strange way, Voldemort was almost gentle. Like he wrapped another layer or two of velvet around the knife. I liked the euphemism, "the untested aspect". Lycanthropy is really the one thing that differentiates Devlin from Voldemort at this point. I guess that's one reason why neither one of them really choose to fixate on it too much. It doesn't confer a tactical advantage to either side in the game that they're playing.

Ooh, I'm so excited! We're finally getting around to dealing with the horcruxes. I thought you did a great job addressing a challenging topic. Since the entire first novel focused on Devlin and his "recovery" from his captivity, there wasn't a lot of room to take on a subplot that size. In turn, that left you with a gap to close in the sequel. The idea that Harry abandoned the hunt as an activity too dangerous for a family man was a sensible way to go about it. Now that Harry's coming to grips with the fact that Devlin will never really be free as long as Voldemort is alive, it makes sense that Dumbledore would begin to redirect him back to dealing with the root cause of Voldemort's immortality.

"There is something he's not telling us," she said, "probably because he isn't quite sure...but still, he's hiding something, Harry."

Harry shrugged.

"With Dumbledore, there always is."
-- I see they're both familiar with the man. ;) For a character who hasn't had a lot of screen time, I think you have a really good handle on Dumbledore. Even in the first novel, I could feel him occasionally pulling strings in the background. I get a feeling he's about to come closer to the forefront.

The idea of Harry and Alexandra sharing a night of passion after stealing a horcrux from Gringotts was awesome. There's something about it that's perfectly Harry. And then it seems that she broke his heart. And then she found out she was pregnant. It's a timeless Harry Potter fan fic love story.

Awesome! Finally, we get more of Alexandra's back story. Most of it, I think, unless there are some holes that I'm not thinking of right now. If she was looking for work as a Curse Breaker at age 16, it's obvious that she inherited quite a bit of her father's brilliance. Also his take-no-prisoners approach to life. Thank goodness her mother was there to temper Voldemort's influence with a healthy dose of maternal protectiveness. Alexandra seems to have come away with the best of both parents.

They were fighting for the same thing and that thing was even more important now. She would keep him safe by reigning in that recklessness just a bit. -- Most of my favorite romantic Harry stories have an element of this. Somebody has to slow the guy down and get him to stop throwing himself in front of curses all the time.

I have a question. The answer might be forthcoming, but I figured I'd ask anyway. Is Natalie still alive? Still in hiding?

Anyway, the grandmother-grandson interaction was really sweet. She's obviously fond of the boy, since she was willing to put aside her dislike of magic for him. And the big reveal at the end of the section was really well done. For some reason -- maybe just the fact that I won't think Voldemort would have sullied himself if she was a filthy muggle -- I had assumed Natalie was a witch. Still, the way that she reveals the wand had a lot of gravity to it. The bigger revelation was the fact that Natalie came from a Death Eater family, one that tried to leave the fold. Alexandra is a shining example of how your ancestry doesn't matter nearly as much as what you choose to make of your life. Hopefully Devlin internalizes that lesson at some point.

Hmmnnn. So I enjoyed Devlin's verbal sparring with Bellatrix. It's always fun to see him get the upper hand on her. At the same time, I'm curious what she's playing at. She must realize by now that Voldemort will never abide her harming Devlin in any way. I'm sure she feels very jealous of Devlin and the special bond he shares with her master. You've got my brain spinning between this encounter and Greyback's forthcoming appearance. Is there a chance that Bellatrix would try to use Greyback to eliminate someone she views as a rival for her master's attention?

Ugh. I'm not encouraged by the fact that Devlin is now running from Aurors in his dreams instead of to them. Then again, there probably isn't much an Auror could do to protect him from Voldemort.

"Morsmordre." -- Oh, boy. Looks like Devlin might be going on a raid soon. Things are really going downhill quickly.

I saw a couple of small typos as I was reading:

He stumbled to the table to join her, wishing this drunken feeing hanging about him actually had any guilty actions behind it. -- feeling hanging

She face still made it seem as though she would enjoy tearing him to pieces, but her eyes were like they had always been and though he did not know what it was they were, he knew it offered him a small fraction of protection from her other-wise brutal nature. -- Her face

This was a wonderful chapter, as always. You're drawing Devlin tighter and tighter into Voldemort's clutches. I'm really excited to see what happens next! Happy Holidays and thanks for the swap!

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Review #70, by CambAngstJigsaw: Piece #2

12th December 2014:
Hi, Sian! Happy Holidays!

I was hoping I'd get a chance to come back to this soon, and there you were at the end of the Gift thread. I had to jump on it!

Before I hit the substance, once again I wanted to say that your writing was beautifully done. The chapter read so smoothly, it was easy to lose myself in it. Your descriptions are beautiful and vivid and you capture Roxanne's emotions and reactions really well. She's obviously feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of what's been assigned to her, but she also has sparks of insight and desire to show that she can hack it.

You set the scene really well in this chapter. I like the way that you kept the visual descriptions kind of sparse and you kept in mind that Roxanne was outside at night. So you filled in the gaps of what she couldn't see with details like the stars and the salty air. I had an easy time placing myself there alongside of her, trying to piece together the blurry shapes of unknown figures moving around in the darkness.

Richard seems like kind of an enigmatic fellow. He acts sort of blasé about his job, but behind the act there was a seriousness and dedication to the way that he carried it out. The fact that he's Pansy's son -- at least that's what I'm guessing -- makes him even more intriguing. It sounds like his mother was mostly famous for being a vacuous sort of socialite, so that might leave him with even more that he feels he has to prove to the world. But, he's too aloof to want anyone to think that he has anything to prove. A very nuanced character you have here.

The thing that nobody ever told me – at least, the thing I never believed or truly appreciated – is how much waiting is involved in stories like this. -- I thought this was a really good note of realism. Even while I'm enjoying the fanciful nature of a story about wizards and witches and murder mysteries, you keep it all grounded and accessible with small details.

Hmmnnn... So I take it that a simple missing person case would ordinarily be the domain of the MLEP? Interesting twist that the Hit Wizards have taken over the case. I like the way you're gradually pacing the delivery of information.

My hearts sinks; I can’t help feeling inadequate when the only question I have asked goes unanswered -- I took it a bit differently than Roxanne did. It seems to be like her question wasn't answered because it's very relevant to the mystery.

I have to say, my first reaction was to see Roxanne's ex as sort of a jerk. I guess it's understandable that he'd want to maintain some distance after getting out of a serious relationship that plainly didn't end well, but his overall attitude is very dismissive. Looking beyond the surface, I can't help but wonder if he has other reasons. Does he expect this investigation to take more dangerous turns? Is he trying to steer her away from it?

You've really done a good job setting up your main characters and putting the story in motion. Both of the main subplots involving Roxanne are really interesting. I'm excited to see where you take them all!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan! I'm really happy that you wanted to come back to read more of this story!

Ah, you're too nice to me when you write these reviews - I can't stop smiling to read these things from you, because your own writing is amazing so it means a lot that you like the writing in this story! Knowing that my description here was good enough for you to be able to picture it makes me really happy.

Richard is certainly enigmatic - or at least, that's how I intended him to come across. You're right about the connection with Pansy too, being her son. He's definitely interesting to include and write.

I try my best to include those sort of little details that add a bit more realism to the story - obviously it's set in a magical world, so it can't be entirely believable, but I want it to seem as realistic as possible. I'm glad you picked up on that.

From my research and what I can find in canon, I think the MLEP would be the first people to arrive, but I didn't want this story to be just about Aurors like so many others, since their domain seems to be investigating Dark magic specifically. The Hit Wizards fit in as a sort of middle ground; the fact they've taken over the case is quite significant.

As for your reaction to Daniel, I'm going to say nothing except that your questions are very interesting and pertinent to the story, so it's good that you're asking them!

Thank you for this amazing review, Dan - I'm so pleased you're still enjoying the story!

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Review #71, by CambAngstYear Five: The Presence of Love

7th December 2014:
Hi! I was hoping I'd be able to help you get to review #200. Having kids often seems to get in the way of goals like that. Instead, I'll just get you started on the next 200 reviews. ;)

The past few chapters have been really rough on your characters, so this chapter was a really good change of pace for me. Secrets (some of them, anyway) were revealed, issues (a few) were confronted and conflicts (one or two) found at least the beginnings of resolution. It had a few bumps, like any of your chapters, but overall this was probably the most upbeat since the big party.

Poor Emily. The depths of her confusion where Tristan's concerned would be hard to overstate. You did a really good job of capturing the essence of her struggles and the way that it wears on her.

Once again, you wrote a scene featuring Dumbledore with a lot of finesse and sensitivity. You're really very good at it. You keep him so measured and circumspect. He never gets bent out of shape over anything immediate. It's all about the long game with him. The effect he has on Emily is profound and perfectly written. The wisdom in his words and actions feels perfectly like him. I also loved the subtle way that he gets his message across, both about Emily's transgressions and about her friends.

Yikes. The trip to Scotland with Isobel and her father was a frosty experience.

For most of the story up to this point, Emily has seemed a bit younger than her friends in several ways. This was the first time, I think, that we've gotten to see her as a brooding, disaffected teenager who rebels against the perceived hypocrisy of her parents. Although in her case, I think her parents' hypocrisy goes beyond perception. Still, it's easy to identify those teenage feelings of how unfair life is.

Laurel's confrontation with her mother was healthy in a very odd sort of way. Not that Laurel was right to say some of the horrible things she said to her mother, but that's just how angry teenagers react. Wow, I am NOT looking forward to that phase with my kids. I'll give her mother a lot of credit, though. For once, her mother was able to see Laurel's lashing out for what it really was. She was able to stay calm and let Laurel work her way through the anger until they were actually talking. The end result of the conversation was far from perfect, but it was an improvement. It had to start somewhere.

Seconds later, she appeared in the alley behind her neighborhood gastropub, startling a fox, and continued on her trajectory towards Orsett Street and home. -- I see what you did there. ;)

I feel almost as bad for Tristan's mother as I do for anyone else in this story. The self-destructive course that Tristan seems hell-bent on pursuing would be bad enough by itself, but she also sees the reason why. His self-hatred is heart-breaking, especially for the woman who took it upon herself to raise him.

It's nice to see the friendship between the three girls gradually knitting itself back together. You never wish anything like what happened to Isobel on anyone, but it seems that her horrible experience with Professor Quirrel has at least shown her that she needs her friends as badly as they need her.

Emily's back story was awful. To me, and this might sound odd, the most awful thing about it was how unexceptional it was. Older boy takes advantage of young, impressionable girl who revels in the attention and approval he offers. It happens all the time. That realization is a terrible thing in and of itself. The fact that her troubles didn't start with anything so exotic as being the orphaned son of a notorious Death Eater shouldn't make her struggles any less real.

Then again, with the Defense department’s track record, Squirrel probably wouldn’t be coming back next year. -- Ha. If she only knew...

I saw a couple of typos that have somehow managed to survive:

There’s been an owl from Hogwarts explaining what Emily had done, and her parents were furious with her. -- There'd

Or because you’re life’s gone in the bin, so it became my job to be so clever and get good marks so you could have something to brag about, and you wouldn’t look so bad. -- your life's gone in the bin

It's been ages since I left you a review, which I definitely feel bad about. Especially considering how long it's been since I finished this story. I'll try to rectify that soon. Awesome job, as always!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello! Yee, thank you so much for pushing me over the 200 mark!

Something I hadn't planned for Emily, but really enjoyed developing, is how she's really The Philosopher of the group. I mean, Tristan does a lot of thinking and all, but it's not at the same maturity level that Emily does. She's the one seriously considering the nature of morality and reality, and the idea that experiences are really collections of narratives. She extrapolates Greater Meaning out of her dramas, and she grows the most, intellectually.

Speaking of which--SO RELIEVED you liked that bit with Dumbledore! That was one of the HARDEST parts of this WHOLE STORY to write! I nearly cut it, and scrapped multiple versions. Dumbledore is just so intimidating to write, because it's so inherently presumptuous! Like, I am a pale interpretation of a Grown Up--MILES away from being a Wise Old Man.

Oh yes, definitely Emily at her brattiest! As sort of the moral center of the group, and consistently the most stable, her behavior says a lot about where things are at.

And AH! I'm so happy about your analysis of Laurel and Betty's interaction! :D That was EXACTLY what I was going for! Betty took a pretty bad character assassination by being physically abusive. BUT, you know, NUANCE. A person can be a lot of things.

Wait--what did I do there??? I MEAN *caughs* yes, that was super intentional because I am very clever! (The Author is dead, so whatever. Something can have meaning even if I didn't consciously realize it... Now I just have to figure out what that was!)

Dude, yeah! Mary was actually probably the most directly modeled on myself (she's my Mary Sue, if you will). I really wanted a sympathetic character in her, and since I'm the one writing it, I thought I could best argue her case from my own perspective.

And I wanted all of the parents to be imperfect in some way--because teenager-dome is just HARD, and everyone's different, and there's no Right Way. Since I'm not a mom myself, my naivete came as an advantage writing Mary; I don't know what /I/ would do in her position, so neither does she.

So yeah--that brings me to Emily. That's also her parents' flaw. So like, I don't agree with parents who are really strict and obsessive about protecting their daughters from Boys and Sex (which causes its own problems, and doesn't necessarily save them from assault [see: Isobel]). Then again, Emily's are pretty permissive, and that happened basically under their roof. Which isn't to say they are really to blame--bad things just happen. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

I almost didn't write Emily's backstory (I cut it and put it back SO many times), but I realized I HAD to. As you said, because its maddeningly common. To leave it out would have been, I think, dishonest. And, it kind of plays an important role in her relationship with Tristan, and why they take SO LONG to get together. Her journey to finally OWN her sexuality is probably the most inspiring of the whole story.

As always, thank you for leaving the BEST REVIEW EVER!


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Review #72, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Baffled: Scorpius and Rose POV

6th December 2014:
Hi, Beth!

New facts are tumbling out all over the place in this chapter. From big ticket stuff like the wording of the prophecy to small details. I loved the mix of heavy and light moments and the heights of mad love versus the harsh grounding of reality. All in all a very well balanced chapter.

I love how the dialog at the start of this chapter picks right up where the last chapter left off, except, um, things have happened in between. A lot of things, apparently. And then they happen again. A few more times, actually. I have to chuckle, because they sound exactly like a couple in their early twenties who are madly in love. If we could all maintain that kind of stamina later in life...

I see I'm not the only one who can get a bit nauseous if I'm too hungry. Then you add apparition on top of it, yeah I'd say you don't want to see goulash right after that experience.

James's girlfriend is a profoundly annoying human being. Leave it to the American girl to always be the more annoying character in a HP fan fic. ;) I'm not sure whether you're leading anywhere else with this. At this point, I find my suspicions aroused by a lot of small details in this story. Samara seems like the odd one out, at least socially, in the group cohabiting in Grimmauld Place. Leave it to James to be clueless enough to bring a questionable entity inside the protection of the Fidelius. Good thing Samara can't share the secret...

Hmmnnn... I guess there is no canon certainty as to what spell Molly used to kill Bellatrix. From the description in the books -- the emphasis JKR put on the fact that the spell struck Bellatrix directly above her heart -- I'd always assumed it was something more base and violent in nature than the Killing Curse. But, like I said, we don't know for sure. It could just as easily have been the Killing Curse. We know that they were both dueling to kill.

I kind of liked the "pensieve player". It's like a portable DVD player for magical folk. Only it didn't sound especially portable or user-friendly. ;) But it's definitely easier than having a handful of witches and wizards dive into a pensieve together.

The prophecy itself sounded very... um, prophecy-like? Is that a thing? I don't know, it's hard to explain. Prophecies in Harry Potter are like good pizza or being in love. You can't explain in words exactly how to recognize either one, you just know it when you see it. And this was definitely prophecy-like. I liked the combination of specific on some points and vague on others that you achieved. There's just enough said to point to Rose and possibly Stannous, but an awful lot that was not said. I still think the "child born from a family of death eaters" is much more likely to be Scorpius. "A lost soul descends from those who were the dark lord’s retreat" The Dark Lord lived in Malfoy Manor for around a year before the final battle. Just sayin'

Rose, Stannous thinks it is Stannous. We have no idea who it could be. -- Finally, somebody's talking sense here!

Good old Harry. He really seems to have a talent for getting to the heart of Rose's anxieties and putting her at ease. I guess it helps that he's the only other person who's been the subject of a history-altering prophecy.

Uh oh. Looks like the long reach of Stannous found poor Ruth. Especially considering the curse that killed her.

Suggestions? Not much of a substantive nature in this chapter. In the prophecy, I think you should have capitalized "Death Eaters" and "Dark Lord". Otherwise, you're in great shape!

Awesome chapter! I really enjoyed this one.

Author's Response: Hey there Dan.

As usual, your review has completely blown me away - thanks so much!

Yeah - this chapter is a biggie. Rose and Scorp are hot n' heavy.

As it turns out prophecies are *really* hard to write. I'm still not happy with it, but I couldn't hold up the entire story because I wanted to tweak the wording one more time. And I thought it was really important to have it written down as part of the story - rather than to just have the characters discuss it.

Haha - I get carsick really easily - so I imagine that I would have a difficult time with just about any type of magical travel. I can't decide whether apparition would be worse (spinning around, but arriving quickly) or floo (less spinning, but a longer, rambling trip). I would probably pick the quicker one - get it over with. Portkey sounds the worst - a hook around your navel? You might as well just take all the contents of my stomach while you're at it.

Yeah, Samara is ultra annoying. But we always have to deal with those types of people. She works for the Ministry - in International Relations, so Harry cleared her for having the secret to the fidelius charm - but I think you're right - it's probably a good thing she can't give it out.

I did research Molly's spell when writing this - and you're right - there isn't a certainty if she used avada kedavra or not. From what I've found, they just call it "Molly Weasley's spell." Now that I think about it - the actual spell isn't important, because she did kill Bellatrix and I wanted that point made in this story - that there is a different set of rules when you're fighting for your children's lives ;)

I know we differ on our views of Harry as an adult, and I'm glad you like him in this chapter. I've always thought he became rather Dumbledore-esque in his later years. Once he was no longer a moody teenager and had a piece of the darkest soul inhabiting his body - or the weight of the future of the entire Wizarding World on his shoulders, I think he would be able to act with more calculation and draw on his experiences - rather than passion and gut instinct. He's older, wiser and calmer. But - I like the different characterizations of him too ♥

Yeah - poor Ruth :( Just when it seemed Rose needed her...

Thanks - I've already got those changes put into the queue!

♥ Beth

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Review #73, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Battling with Fate

1st December 2014:
Hi! I'm here for our swap!

Poor Devlin. I don't think he has much of a chance of really coming to terms with what he's done. Not in his present company, at least. Voldemort is simply about doing. Coming to terms with consequences is something for lesser beings to worry about. He's right and McGonagall's also right. There's no going back, there's only acknowledging the change and learning to deal with the consequences.

You know what just dawned on me? I just realized that one of the oddest experiences I've had through reading your story is seeing Voldemort in the daytime. In the books and especially in the movies, Voldemort always appears in the dark of night. With the exception of the final confrontation with Harry, I don't think he ever appears in the same scene with the sun. So to envision him casually reading a newspaper over breakfast is a peculiar image, indeed.

Wow. Devlin's whole approach to Voldemort has changed. Somewhat by necessity, I suppose, but nevertheless he's playing an incredibly dangerous game now. The sort of familiarity he displays toward the Dark Lord, the conversational way he speaks to him... none of Voldemort's followers would dare. I don't know exactly how to feel about this, but obviously it's working well enough to keep Devlin alive.

Ooh! I absolutely love the subtle game of wordplay between Harry and Geoffrey. Geoffrey is able to tell Harry exactly what he needs -- but doesn't want -- to know.

The scene inside Voldemort's memory of killing James and Lily was really well done. I didn't like reading it, but that was for all the right reasons. I did like some of Devlin's reactions while he was inside the memory, but it kills me inside to see the way that Devlin was forced to cover his tracks once he's expelled from the pensieve. I have this horrible feeling like he's losing more and more of himself to this identity he's had to assume to survive. Will he be able to find himself again if he ever manages to return to Harry and Alexandra?

I loved Harry's rumination on how his children changed him. I could relate to all of it. Maybe not directly to the part about Devlin being taken, but I could definitely relate to all of the sentiments. It was really sad to read about the effect that Devlin's most recent kidnapping has had on Emma. Poor kid!

Interesting! So Harry never went on the horcrux hunt in your timeline? It seems as though he perhaps had the chance to do so, but declined. I hope we find out a lot more about how Harry's later years of school unfolded in your world.

I don't know what I found more unnerving, Devlin's nightmare or Voldemort's reaction to it. Actually, I do know. Voldemort's reaction wins, hands down. My hat is off to you for that particular way you write the Dark Lord that makes him very nearly human yet so far from it.

You just keep coming at me with round after round of this odd, running conversation between Voldemort and Devlin. He could feel the edge of the knife slicing through the velvet under which it hid. -- No kidding! It's almost as though Devlin is daring Voldemort to kill him.

"I am hurt that you think I would risk your life thus. I have not been experimenting on an adult, Devlin." -- Blank. I had other things I meant to say about this section, but now my brain is just blank. Holy Toledo...

OK, I did not see this coming. Not at all. So Voldemort is going to get into politics? And use Devlin to reinforce his relationship-by-marriage with Harry in order to make this happen? Did not see that coming at all. My mind is sort of blown. I think I might need to withhold judgment for a chapter or two before I comment on this.

Ah, my darling Astoria! I was wondering whether we might see her in this story, or whether she was married to Draco at all in your timeline. She does make an excellent informant for Harry at this stage of the game. She's lost her husband and she must realize that her son will eventually be killed. Voldemort is most likely saving him so that his death can occur at the moment it will have the greatest impact. At the moment it will send the most effective message. I do hope we see more of Astoria.

So your editing was rough in this chapter. I highlighted a number of typos, more than I have enough characters left for. I'll PM them to you.

This chapter was jaw-dropping. So much new information mixed with familiar scenes and memories. I am really excited to see where things go next!

Author's Response: That's actually an interesting observation about Voldemort and daylight! I had not really thought of it, but it is true! I think Voldemort is attempting some psychological strategy with Devlin - mimicking the home environment he's been in, distancing him from the camp so as to distance him from all the conclusions he may have been 'fed' (because Voldemort believes Devlin is his) about his time there. He's meddling with the line that divides Devlin and Dubhan.

I really enjoyed writing the scene with Geoffrey! :)

Voldemort's memory was probably my favorite scene to write recently. I've had the idea in the works for ages (Devlin had the knowledge already in the sequel to this) but I had been trying to figure out where best to place it. It sort of illustrates that no matter how much Voldemort makes an attempt to be relatively 'nice', he can't help himself; he likes to see people hurt. In some ways, he is just as pleased that Devlin managed to (falsely) not be upset as he is displeased that he didn't get to hurt him. In some ways, Devlin covering may inevitably lead to Voldemort trying harder and harder to get the reactions he can't help but want. After all, even Voldemort is afraid of death - yet in the face of Death, Devlin feels a calm sort of defiance. To think of how Voldemort perceives that, is where I sort of see how this could escalate.

You will really enjoy the next chapter. It mostly reveals Alexandra, but also Harry through her. :)

Voldemort is creepy, but I had to remember to be true to him. In Riddle and Rescue we get into his head a few times and Voldemort admits to watching him in his sleep, because it is the only time he screams and it is a half-satification that he knows there is SOME WAY in which he is able to torture him.

Devlin is playing a dangerous game. Lets just hope he's good at it.

HAHA - yeah, I enjoyed the potion conversation too. LOL

I think you *mostly* understand, but not quite. By connecting Devlin Potter to Lord Voldemort's blood publicly, people will begin to doubt Harry Potter - the savior who is now revealed to have married Lord Voldemort's daughter. Does that make it more clear? Voldemort plan would never be to piggy back on a better man (mainly because that would admit someone was better) but to destroy him.

I can't say more than that. :)

I had fun with Astoria! :)

Yes...the editing was rough. Not sure how that happened, but I guess I didn't do a great job rereading it as I thought I had. :)

Thanks for the awesome review, Dan!

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Review #74, by CambAngstThe Ruins of Hogwarts: Ruins

1st December 2014:

I saw your post in the new story thread and I couldn't resist. I love a good Harry/Ginny story.

I loved the bittersweet tone you created in this. There's so much for the characters to be happy about, but also so much loss. The engagement ring was a great plot device. The symbolism of a happy future that might or might not ever come to pass was perfect for the mood and setting.

Harry's reactions to his surroundings were spot on. You did a great job of juxtaposing the happy moments when Harry was a First Year with the devastation and sadness that fills the aftermath of the battle. I really liked the memories you chose for the comparison.

I think my favorite thing about the story was the idea of the rebuilding of the wizarding world -- Hogwarts as well as the lives of the survivors -- being done on top of the ruins of the old world. It was symbolic on a lot of levels. Nothing ever would have been the same after the battle. Everything would have felt like a recreation of a life that no longer existed.

If there was one thing I wasn't so wild about, it was Harry slipping the ring onto Ginny's finger. Something felt very premature about that gesture. Also a little inappropriate, considering that the ring was meant for someone else entirely.

Overall, this was a great story set in a very important moment. Your writing was beautifully done. The story flowed really well and I didn't see any typos or grammatical errors. Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing my story! I really appreciate your feedback :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed my story! This is actually my first one-shot in a few years, so it is encouraging to hear that I did a nice job. It helped that I was very inspired by the Euphoria and Heartbreak challenge by SecretPassion :) Also, I was inspired by the Titanic. Whenever I watch documentaries about the Titanic I get very sad because the juxtaposition of all of those ornate, high-end pieces of art and everything, and the complete destruction by water... I just get so emotional. So that's what I was hoping to convey here. I'm glad you liked the tone!

Thank you so much! I think the idea of rebuilding after tragedy is a confusing one, personally for me. Because on the one hand, it is important to get back up and move on, but I struggle with replacing that which was once there with new versions.

Thank you so much for your comment about the ring. I understand that it could be received as a bit inappropriate, but I wanted to convey that Harry wanted these young lovers' lives to live on, through another relationship that thrived on Hogwarts. If Lucy and Christopher could not get out alive and have their happy ending, at least their spirit could, in Harry and Ginny. Another layer of this, is that Harry has just been through so much, both with the battle and with looking at his old life in ruins. He now feels that waiting for frivolous things is not worth anything. Harry knows he loves Ginny, and he knows he wants to be with her, and he doesn't want to wait another second on anything, and he knows that Ginny loves him too, so he just puts the ring on her. There is also another layer to this gesture: Harry has lost a bit of himself in this war. They all have. So maybe before, Harry would have wanted to create a perfect, romantic moment with a nice proposal, but Harry doesn't see the point of those types of gestures anymore. It is rather sad, I think! But that is something else I wanted to get across here. This war has changed everything and everyone, including Harry's personality slightly. I hope this makes sense!

Thank you so much for your review! I really appreciate your time. :)

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Review #75, by CambAngstSeven: Seven is the most magical of numbers.

30th November 2014:
Hi, Beth! I thought I'd take in a little Sunday night reading after putting the kids to bed.

I'm really impressed with what you accomplished here. I'm sure this wasn't an easy thing to pull off, always being forced to bring your paragraphs in at a certain word count. I'm imagining myself wringing my hands over whether to cut one word that I really needed or try to come up with six more that I don't really need. Agony! My hat is off to you for making it all work so seamlessly. And I mean that, by the way. The story reads really seamlessly. It doesn't feel like something that was written to a specific word count.

At every stage of Sirius's star-crossed life -- no pun intended -- I thought you did a good job of capturing the essential things that define him. His rocky relationship with his family, his immense loyalty to his friends, the losses and torment that he suffered... all of it came through in great detail. I thought you had a good balance of things that we know from canon and things that you created to flesh out the story. The scenes from the books that you picked to focus on were all good choices, very poignant moments.

Let's see, what else? I liked the way that you touched on the conflicts between Sirius and Dumbledore. Dumbledore had a lot of failings as he tried to steer Harry on the correct path, and I always thought that Sirius was at the heart of a number of them as well as the main voice pushing back against Dumbledore in others. How much danger could Harry have been spared if Dumbledore had listened to Sirius's protests against Harry participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament? How much more prepared would Harry have been if Dumbledore had followed Sirius's suggestion and shared more information with Harry sooner? And face it, if Dumbledore had insisted on finding out Sirius's side of the story before Barty Crouch chucked him into Azkaban, isn't it possible that Wormtail could have been prevented from bringing Voldemort back from Albania? So many missed opportunities...

Great story! You did a really good job with this!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan!

Wow. This was a real nice surprise! Your reviews are always so awesome - so thanks for taking the time to write it.

Actually - I pre-set the word limit for each paragraph before I started the story. I was very specific and I wanted the story to crescendo and then wane back to the really short paragraphs at the end. That way, the story was exactly 777 words.

Wow. Seamless? Thanks so much. I was also trying to convey a different emotion with each paragraph, I'm so glad it came across! It was actually harder for me to pick which moments to flesh out from his life than to actually write them!

I'm so happy you noticed my Sirius/Dumbledore conflict. I also felt like Dumbledore really missed out on using Sirius to his full potential.

Thanks again - this review made my night!

♥ Beth

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