Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
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Review #51, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Befuddled: Rose AND Scorpius POV

8th June 2014:
Hi, Beth!

A couple of things to start off. First, I always read other author's responses to my reviews. I love the back-and-forth. Second, I'm really pleased that you're on summer break now, because I'm all out of chapters!

I really liked all of the little dynamics that you worked into the first section talking about the living arrangements and the Fidelius Charm. You managed to say a lot about how different characters (James, Ron, Hermione, Harry) were dealing with the situation without slowing down the story of belaboring the point. Ron sounds like a bit of a schmuck, but hey, Ron can be that way at times.

Nice bit of setup on the three mentees. I thought you used character archetypes effectively in that case to give us an idea of who they are without spending excessive time on minor characters.

Ugh. This isn't a criticism, just a personal preference. It drives me completely crazy when two characters do this dance where they can't get over their insecurities or misconceptions and therefore it takes ages and ages for them to get together even though they're mad for one another. After I got past the sort of opening section of this chapter, I really thought you were about to take us on a multi-chapter (mis)adventure where Scorpius and Rose would continue to agonize over the proverbial daisy petals. (He loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, he loves me not, etc.) Instead, you pretty much wrapped it up in one chapter. I applaud you for this in the strongest possible terms!

Holy crap, Scorpius is such a dunderhead at times! “You smell good,” I commented when I could detect the scent of lavender wafting off her locks. Did that sound weird? I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of a creep. For god's sake, man, that's pretty much the opposite of creepy! Somebody get these two some cocktails to break the ice!

I like Rose's therapist. She seems to really know what she's doing. In this intense game of progress and regression that Rose is playing, it's nice for her to have some good allies.

“Skurmis hi yow narken?” -- I think this is my favorite dialog I've read in an HP fan fic story this year so far. ;)

I love the constant way that Dominique pushes Rose toward doing what Rose really wants to do but can't quite admit to herself. At the same time, I have to nit-pick you a bit for her dialog being a bit stiff. To wit, "It is all coming clearer now.” and "Rose, it is blatant that you are hot for Scorpius!" In both cases, I think "it's" would have sounded more natural.

“Hie down yum wammy mummer?” -- This chapter just keeps on giving!

So part of me is kind of disappointed that their "big moment" didn't quite make it all the way to second base and part of me thinks that the pause was actually healthy for their relationship.

Now this healing talent of Scorpius's was interesting. So it comes from his mother's side and he's saying it isn't dark magic. It sounds like a very good thing. And because I read a lot of mystery stories and I'm kind of suspicious to begin with, it makes me wonder. I'm still trying to tie everything back to our boy Stannous who might or might not be a Lestrange.

All in all, a very enjoyable chapter! I love the fact that they've overcome this bump in their path and they're once again communicating with one another. I love that Rose is still getting a little better every day and that Scorpius is a big part of that for her. I don't know what other hiccups you have in the works, but it's nice to feel like they'll confront them together. Til next time!

Author's Response: Hi!

Sorry you are at the last posted chapter! I will do my best to keep it updated.

I'm glad that you liked the pace of the first part. I had a lot of details to fit in there and I'm glad it didn't play out as tedious. Ron is... a protective father who can't really see his little Rosie as a grown woman. She knows this and it can get tiring at times, but she loves him just the same and wants to protect him from her secret because she knows how much it will hurt him.

I agree about the super annoying dance between two people who can't get out of their own way. I wrote this story with the intention of writing a novel where Rose and Scorpius are together in a solid relationship and they have to rely on each other to get through other hardships. Unfortunately, the story kind of took its own path and this was my compromise. There is no way I could write a fic where they are together one chapter, then broken up the next, then together...

That being said, I can't promise that there won't be a few bumps a long the way!

I was particularly proud of Rose's yammerings around Scorpius. They were really fun to come up with.

I will fix those two lines. Dialogue is still a weak point for me.

As far as the "big moment" goes, there are two reasons for it being rather tame. First off, I am fairly unsure when it comes to writing love scenes. I feel like mine all come across as contrived. Secondly, in the first version of this (I actually had about 13 chapters posted and I took down all but three of them to change some major plot points), I had a much more intense reconciliation that got rejected, so I'm erring on the side of caution.

Not everything ties back to Stannous, but he is a pretty evil dude, so I can see where you are coming from.

So, of COURSE there are a few hiccups in the works, and Rose is far from better. Next chapter is in the queue!


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Review #52, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Back to the Beginning: Rose POV

3rd June 2014:
Hi, Beth!

After I read this chapter, I sort of thought of it as the "aftermath" chapter to the combination of the attack on Rose and Al and Scorpius's violent release of frustration. I felt pretty sure that there were going to be consequences on both sides of the relationship. Both of them were forced -- in a pretty horrible way -- to come to terms with some things that they've been avoiding dealing with since the beginning of the story. It felt about right to have a chapter where they were able to take half a step back and retrench a bit.

I guess it made sense that Rose would be a little freaked out about finding Scorpius in her bed. And hurling a Stunner at his head... I guess we'll write that off to still being completely on tilt after her near abduction. Honestly, I love what you did with the whole interaction. Again -- and I think I comment on this in nearly every review -- the pacing was fantastic. You gave both of them time to get past their difficulties and come back to one another in a way that didn't feel rushed or contrived.

The numbness that had acted like a bubble around me had been peeled away and I was raw and open. I felt too much at once and the aching was unbearable. -- Oddly enough, that's one of the most healthy-sounding things Rose has said or thought in the story so far. She's put off dealing with all of this for far too long.

I'm really glad that he talked Rose into telling Harry about what happened. It's another important step in her healing process, I think. She needs to stop acting as though she's responsible somehow for what happened. She needs to stop feeling like the world isn't interested or isn't willing to do something about it.

I just noticed something interesting. Not sure whether this is on purpose or not, but here goes. If you take Stannous's first name and add in a few letters, it sure looks a lot like LEstRanGE. In fact, the four letters you'd need to add are the first four of his last name. And the surviving Lestranges are Draco's uncles. Curious...

So Harry... Harry was the one part of the chapter where I felt like you needed a little more work. I don't want this to sound too harsh, but he came off flat. Here he is, finding out that his favorite niece and goddaughter was nearly abducted, that there was a fire fight in her home involving another one of his nieces, his son and his son's best friend, that the man who tried to abduct her was the same man who actually abducted her once before and also that her abductor tortured her with a modified Unforgiveble Curse. Given all of that, I didn't think his reaction was nearly strong enough. He just acts sort of shocked, dumbfounded and confused. I would have expected lots of emotions: anger, hurt, sorrow and frustration to name a few. I would have expected him to pull Rose into a hug the way he probably did when she was little, to make sure that she knew that he wasn't going to rest until Stannous was admiring the walls of Azkaban from the inside. Also -- and this is not the biggest part of the problem, but it contributes -- his dialog felt very stiff and formal. No contractions and kind of wordy in places. This sentence stuck out in my mind: However, I will honor your wishes, as I encourage you to reconsider. I did like that Rose runs back to him for that hug, but I wouldn't have expected her to need to do that, since Harry should have been all over it.

So, Grimmauld Place. I love the canon setting! Can't wait to see what's shaking there.

I think this chapter was a great change of pace after the past two emotional bombshells. Beautifully written, no typos or other problems that I could see. Be back soon for the next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

I'm not sure if you read my review responses, but I'm going to act like you do - haha! I like to respond to all of them (then I get sad when my "unanswered reviews" is 0).

I'm going to respond to your cc first to get it out of the way. I thought about this. A lot. When I was writing it I thought about it a lot, too. I think that Harry is a lot less hot-tempered as an adult than he was in the books. He was a teenager, for one thing, had the weight of the world on his shoulders and was harboring a piece of Voldemort's soul. As he got older and took on the role as head of the auror department (I never know if I should capitalize that or not), he becam a lot more wise (for lack of a better word). I see him as almost Dumbledore-esque. To me, this is a natural result of him being seen (whether he wanted to be or not) as a leader in the wizarding world. People would seek him out for advice on all sorts of things. While I don't think he particularly enjoys all of that, I think that over time, he has come to embrace it. Also, we are seeing this from Rose's perspective and although she can see Harry's facial expressions, she doesn't know what is going through his mind. It is mentioned in a later chapter that Harry does indeed, have an emotional reaction to this. (I don't think I'm actually giving too much away by saying that). He is processing it AND putting on a brave front for Rose. Given all of that - and all the thinking I've done over this - I think I will be taking another look at that part of the chapter.

Whew! - now that that is out of the way...

Rose and Scorpius are going to take a few steps back after all of this. They were in the "everything is great, honeymoon, rainbows and hearts" stage of their relationship and this *bam* lands them right in the middle of reality. There is not a quick band-aid for this one.

Now about the interesting part of Stannous's name. Hmm. Well, uh.. perhaps I've noticed the same thing. All I'm gonna say.

Thanks again!

Beth



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Review #53, by CambAngstTrying not to love you: Chapter twenty-four - The Broom Closet Incidence

30th May 2014:
Hi! I could not resist the urge to take a quick peek at the other reviews for this chapter before I sat down to write mine. The first thing I'd like to say is

I TOLD YOU SO!

I told you readers were going to be gathering in the streets, lighting torches and sharpening pitch forks. I mean, sure, they were going to be happy that there was a new chapter, but oh, once they read it... Chaos, I say!

Anyhow, you've once again done a brilliant job of twisting us around your little finger and yanking the rug out from underneath us. Calling Gwen and James "impossible" is probably giving them too much credit, because if it was truly impossible then we'd stop agonizing over the two of them. It is possible, we all know it's possible. It just never happens! Grrr...

The kissing scene in the closet felt like an absolute triumph. Yes. Yes! YES! This is the moment we've been eagerly awaiting for the past 24 chapters. You captured "their" moment beautifully. All of the feelings and sensations and little sounds... just amazing writing.

AND THEN YOU DID IT TO US AGAIN!!!

It all gets awkward when Gwen can't quite forget about Joshua for long enough to lose herself in James. Did you read what I just wrote, Hanna? Do you really appreciate what it means for a guy who loathes romance novels and romantic movies to write a sentence like that? You're turning me into a soppy fool here!

Gwen does an impressive job of reeling herself back in. It felt like she and James were going down a path with no return for a while. But she's been down that path -- to a lesser extent -- before. Joshua is the future. He's good for her, right? So why does this feel so wrong?

James Sirius Potter is a big, wishy-washy scaredy cat. I think I can state that without hesitation at this point. I think he knew very well what he was doing and at the moment he should have spilled all of his feelings for her, he chickened out. Isn't there somebody in your story who can smack some sense into that boy? Again, grrr...

I really, really loved the little plot thread with the paintings. It cracked me up. They lead such a boring existence, I could easily see them being very nosy and gossipy.

Of course, Gwen does her own share of damage to James's confidence, which is apparently somewhere between plate glass and balsa wood in terms of its breakability. "About that – that didn't really – that didn't mean anything, did it?" Smooth, Gwen. Very smooth.

And then real life intrudes on what was meant to be the private discussion where these two finally confess their true feelings for one another. At least that was what I meant it to be. Apparently somebody else had different ideas. Yes, I'm talking about you. :p

Alex is rapidly becoming the most annoying human being in this story. He always seems to pop up at the worst possible moment.

At least they get a brief respite from the awkwardness, hanging out with the kids. Viola was really cute. Gwen had some pretty good advice for her.

Wow. I think the conversation between Gwen, Joshua and James was one of the most awkward you've written. Definitely from the reader's standpoint, and from Gwen's. Probably from James's, and very possibly from Joshua's, too.

"No, of course not," he interrupted and pulled me into a hug. But even that felt a bit forced. "I meant it, let's just forget that whole stupid thing, no need to make a bigger deal out of it when it didn't mean anything." -- I highlight this line mostly because I don't want to imply that Gwen has a monopoly on "smooth".

Wow, what a roller coaster of a chapter! The highs and lows were crazy. Someday when you look back at this completed story, I think you'll find that this was one of the most memorable chapters in the whole thing. Great job!

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Review #54, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Far Away Place

29th May 2014:
Hello! Here to review your new chapter!

Interesting. Devlin almost allows himself to think of Harry as being as strong as Voldemort for a moment there. He quickly corrects himself, but I'm pretty sure at this point that it's more of a survival mechanism than anything else. Part of Devlin is really starting to admire his dad. Dare we even say like him?

I liked the parallels between how Harry's acting and how Devlin tries to act with the Healer. Harry's always the last to admit he needs help, too. Poor Devlin is having to expose his troubling scars to more and more of the world. He's having to learn to trust. That's got to be incredibly hard for him.

His birthday wish seemed very appropriate for him. Devlin wants so badly to control his own destiny, but he knows that's beyond his ability at this point. Let's just hope that growing strong for the sake of being strong doesn't become too much of an obsession for him. That would be dangerous.

I love the dichotomy Devlin sees between "Voldemort's Harry" and "his Harry", and I love the feeling it gives Devlin even more. Is "power" the right word? It definitely makes him feel special, like there are things that only he is privy to. That has to be a really good feeling for a little boy who's been lied to and kept in the dark for so long.

Curious. Why does the Healer try to use Legillimency on Devlin? It could be diagnostic, I suppose, or it could be something more sinister. I also wish that Devlin could have studied the man's face.

Ha! Our dog has the exact same habit when she yawns. It's very annoying when I'm trying to leave for work early in the morning and I'd like the kids to sleep longer. I see it gives Devlin a similar problem.

I can't imagine what Voldemort's favorite food would be. Needing to eat would feel like such a weakness to him. A physical frailty that needed to be conquered and controlled. Hungry. So very muggle.

I feel like your subplot with Voldemort taking Devlin to the cave where the locket horcrux was kept might be coming to a head at some point. It seems to come up more and more often lately. I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be a huge test of Devlin's shifting loyalties, if Devlin knows enough to realize how big of a secret he's keeping. I'm also curious to see whether you keep with "book canon", where Voldemort isn't really aware of the horcruxes being destroyed, or "movie canon" where he feels them die.

I'm guessing they're at Shell Cottage, right? It isn't really important, but that's my guess.

It's kind of distressing, the way that Devlin is speaking to himself in Voldemort's words in the bathroom. Although one could also interpret that as the part of him that's loyal to Voldemort -- Dubhán -- struggling to regain control. I think I like the latter interpretation better.

The we come to the final scene. I really love your Voldemort. He's so threatening and malevolent, but in an almost casual sort of way. As though there was never the slightest chance that he wouldn't have tortured Draco for failing, so why is it even a big deal?

I'm now thrilled for all of the menacing things that Devlin said and did during the battle. It seems like he sold Voldemort with his performance. Who knows, maybe he's even sold himself. The situation seems rather fluid, but I loved Voldemort's appreciation of the way that Devlin cursed Draco. I'm also a bit suspicious that Draco might not be long for this world.

I really enjoyed this chapter immensely! It feels like any number of plot threads are starting to converge. The next few chapters should be fun!

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Review #55, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bombarda Maxima: Scorpius POV

27th May 2014:
Hi, Beth! I enjoyed your new chapter immensely, so I figured I should come back and review another one. Soon, I will catch up!

One thing that strikes me again and again as I read this story is what good friends Rose and Scorpius have. I started to say friends and family, but, well, you can’t choose your family. Dom and Selenia have a strong sense of what Rose needs and how Scorpius fits into that equation. Al seems to have a pretty good grasp on what Scorpius needs and at least he stays out of the way where Rose is concerned. That’s about the most you can hope for in a guy. ;)

Poor Scorpius! I mean, I feel like I should say “poor Rose!”, but at least she wasn’t conscious for the post-abduction-attempt trauma. The last of Rose’s secrets is finally out, and it seems to have hit everyone hard. I’m usually not a huge fan of the f-bomb because I think it’s overused in Next Gen stories. Here, it fits the situation perfectly.

I know now that I am completely, irrevocably in love with Rose and I will do anything to keep her safe. -- Well it took you long enough, you big goof!

Albus was just brilliant in this chapter. Brilliant as a friend. Brilliant as an Auror. Brilliant as an exceptionally powerful wizard.

You managed to capture an amazing amount of raw emotion in the barrage of destructive magic Al and Scorpius unleashed. Anger and pain and inadequacy and just plain hurt. Brilliant, beautiful writing.

“Not if I get there first.” I promised. My voice was uneven from the tears and emotion. My Rose. My Rose. I resolved to make this up to her. If I have to, I will spend the rest of my life searching for him, and consoling her. -- I love the statement of unequivocal devotion here.

And my last, and probably favorite, quote from this chapter: ”Scorpius,” she paused at the door and fixed me with a hard stare. “She needs you. You can’t be a wishy-washy _ this time. This is not going to be fixed overnight. Please don’t play the hero for a month and then decide it’s too intense for you.” -- Wow, talk about cutting right to the core of the matter. Yet it seems that Scorpius is ready to hear that message. To embrace it, really. I take this as a very good sign!

Excellent chapter! I didn’t see a thing wrong with it, and there was so much right with it! Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Wow. This review caught me off guard. Thank you, thank you. I was having a hard time responding and I think that is why it has taken me so long.

So, confession time: This was actually the very first thing I wrote for this story. I started it here and wrote forward for about four months. Then, I wrote the chapter in Harry's office (The one with Rose and Harry that I accidentally didn't post) and then I wrote the beginning. I've already admitted that I have never written anything before and I am sure that people think this process is weird, but it just sort of happened.

I was really worried that Scorpius came off as a wimp here, so thanks for the vote of confidence.

As far as Al staying out of the way... well, you will see in future chapters that he isn't always so passive. I think, in this case, he is in uncharted waters and is willing to let Scorpius take the lead, for once.

This group is really tight-knit. As far as I see it, Ron, Hermione and Harry would carry their close bond on to their kids. The fact that Scorpius, Rose and Albus were sorted into Ravenclaw made them even closer. And Dom is Rose's closest female cousin, so they have that bond as well - although they are a bit opposite in personality.

Thanks again for such a wonderful review. I look forward to each of your comments!

~Beth


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Review #56, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Tangled and Dreaming of Better Ways

26th May 2014:
Wow! After a couple of relatively slow, introspective chapters, you blew the lid off with this one.

You really threw a curveball on Geoffrey's character in this chapter. He went from being sort of sage-like and protective and reassuring to being completely creepy in a very short space. It's hard to exactly say why. Maybe Geoffrey feels like he's been found out, that the game he's been playing is finally up where Harry is concerned. Or maybe he's just trying to teach Devlin a lesson about being more careful. Regardless, the effect was pretty chilling. I love how protective Devlin gets in the first scene:

"She isn't going to be like me. I'm like me so she isn't like me. Don't you understand, traitor?" -- It's a bit ironic that Devlin is referring to Geoffrey's betrayal of Voldemort -- I think, anyway -- but it's the betrayal of his family that he's most concerned about.

And just when I was ready to write Geoffrey off, he comes back with that line about Devlin being better than Voldemort. Gah, that guy is so incredibly complicated!

Emma just cuts Devlin to the bone in this chapter. She literally opens him up for everyone to see. It felt like she also reawakened something inside of him. That had been Devlin, clawing his way back into his own head; knowing he would have to be there to protect her. Devlin, who did not know about death. Yay for Devlin! Visit often! Stick around!

I'll confess that the exchange between Emma and Devlin was a bit hard to follow in places. It took me a few readings to figure out that Emma was the one talking about Scorpius Malfoy. She's an incredibly perceptive little girl to take that away from Devlin's unguarded comment in the last chapter. I guess "perceptive" runs strong in the Potter children. At the same time, though, there were bits and pieces that were unmistakably the "logic" of a young child. That arguing technique where you simply throw everything you have at the other person, whether or not it's relevant to the topic at hand.

Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist.

The whole story of Devlin being made to fight Scorpius... wow. There are so many neat things going on there, it's hard to know where to start. Maybe I'll start by pointing out one thing that might be a typo:

Malfoy didn't like it. Voldemort saw seen, and he didn't like it. So he said it. -- I'm thinking maybe the word "seen" doesn't belong?

Anyway, I love Devlin's analysis of Voldemort's cruelty. I love the fact that Devlin does things, or refrains from doing things, just to avoid pleasing Bellatrix. And I think this is one of my favorite descriptions of a look that I've ever read: "The one he gets when he has just thought of something interesting to do." I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. The point of not doing things -- fixing your hair, straightening your clothes, rubbing a cut... -- just because something even worse is about to happen was terribly sad. I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways.

Draco's dream was a really neat interlude in the middle of this long, tense chapter. I think it makes perfect sense that if Draco had it to do over again, he would have simply killed Devlin and spared himself a lot of struggle and suffering. Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long.

I figured that picture would pop up again at some point. It nearly sends Devlin over the edge, but it seems like Harry's figured out a way to rope him back in a bit. Interesting.

So I admit I got a little lost when Harry took Devlin out for a walk. They were in a forest and then it seemed like the sharpness sort of took over and then an instant later, they were back at the Potter house, which was under attack.

The attack itself was beautifully done. I loved the unspoken communication between Harry and Alexandra. I wanted to cheer for Devlin when he chose Harry over the werewolf Keen. Harry used some brilliant tactics to get out of the house, although it seemed like he played right into the Death Eaters' hand.

Devlin was awesome as he ordered Malfoy around and baited the Death Eaters into the critical error. Devlin's escape was really cool to read. I had almost forgotten about his ability to transform. It served him beautifully here. And then he curses Malfoy... I just wanted to stand up and cheer! He didn't run away, even when he had the chance. I felt like a corner was turned here.

So one more little typo: He had been feverish that entire day, in and out of seizures that had felt like someone were killing him. -- was killing him.

This was a blockbuster chapter! I loved every bit of it. Great job!

Author's Response: I think I will be really sad the day that Geoffrey finally revealed himself, because I do so enjoy keeping everyone on their toes about his motives. Perhaps, in this instance, he was warning Devlin of one thing, because he thought Devlin WASN'T actually as strong as he proved himself to be. Perhaps Geoffrey wanted Devlin to make the choice. Perhaps he merely reacted on gut instinct - to protect Devlin. We don't yet know all of their history and all the ways in which Geoffrey has previously protected him.

I'll take another look at Emma's scene; I certainly didn't mean for it to be confusing! I kind of felt these were cumulative observations that this once instance ("I just don't think you know anything" = always stupid thing to say, Devlin), brought of Emma in a sort of vindictive way. In my mind, she sort of stumbles upon the reason. She throws lots of things at him that - that he has a wand, that he likes her friend (Maria), that he has FRIENDS he doesn't share with her, and then this thing about the boy he was talking about comes out too. She knows him too - doesn't Devlin see how important she is? She knows someone he knows, and since he only speaks to Geoffrey about this boy, it must be one of the friends he won't share with her. She rubs his perceived friend into the mud "he's a stuck up jerk". In someways, I think she over generalizes and simply falls upon the truth. Sometimes, children say/realize things we think is so amazing that they have, and yet when asked about it later - they don't actually seem as conscious of this discovery as we would have thought. I admit though - it's hard to create those scenes in writing, because a reader assumes whatever you put in writing is a direct reflection upon the character's abilities/personality, etc. etc.

"Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist." YES, it has actually been referenced before, but not so blatantly. It's the story his grandfather told him so he'd remember not to be without a wand - he recalls it a couple times, very early on, I think.

The Scorpius scene was very fun to write!

" I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. " I'm laughing at this, because this will be Alexandra's sentiment to a conversation she ends up having with Devlin pretty soon.

"I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways." Thank you. :) It seems to be one of the only proper ways to capture it through a child.

I could hear your sarcasm practically soaking your words in this: "Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long." I laughed, but try to see it from Devlin's perspective and believe he has something less comfortable than a cold floor coming to him...

Okay, the Harry and Devlin photograph scene. It started out as this whole alternative plot, then I got midway through and it decided to throw me for a loop. It is meant to be a dream. He dreams of his magic pulsing against the wards as he tries to disapparate, when in reality he is sensing the wards being broken. His sharpness finally interrupts the dream when they find themselves in the woods that open into the field - and the sharpness wakes him by taking over. One clue is that Harry never gets the pajamas that Devlin was wearing, back. You'll note from Draco's description they aren't torn in the Potter residence. It is a symbol in Devlin's mind. :) I have an one-shot AU companion story written in which a slightly older Devlin finds Harry on his own, brining that piece of fabric as proof of his identity.

To make this clearer the text was meant to be italicized, but that apparently didn't come through... I will fix it in the morning. :)

Thank you for a brilliant review, as always. I'm afraid I've lagged terribly behind on replying to them, but I will try to catch up. :)




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Review #57, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Besieged: Rose POV

25th May 2014:
Wow. Things got really, really intense in this one. This Stannous guy doesn't go away, does he? I'm getting really, really curious about how he ties into her past and what his interest in her was or is.

But that's getting ahead of myself. The two of them were so cute, it makes you want to vomit. You know, Selenia and Al aren't the only ones who are acting pretty cute at the start of this chapter. I really enjoyed the secretive sort of approach Rose and Scorpius are taking to their relationship in the beginning. I've seen that play out several times when two people who are part of a larger group of friends start to date. They don't want to make things awkward with the rest of their circle, so they try to keep it on the down low until they feel "sure". At least as sure as you can ever feel about something like that.

"I was referring to my Uncle Ron, of course," James said, not missing a beat. -- Ugh. Yeah, there's that. Alluding to confrontations yet to come, are we? ;)

Ah, they're waiting around for that post-party snog. Definitely the sign of a couple with strong chemistry. If two people can make it through an entire party without annoying one another and they still want to snog when it's over, that's a good sign!

My one suggestion for this chapter would probably be to slow the pace of the first section a little. The thing I like most about the chapter is the contrast between the first section, where Rose is feeling comfortable and secure and excited and just all around happy, and the second section where she ends up terrified and exposed and eventually broken. I feel like you could have enhanced that by spending more time in the first section, focusing on Rose's feelings of safety and comfort and fulfillment.

On to the second section. I really liked the kind of hazy, mysterious, "is this really happening or is this a dream" quality that it had, at least at the start. Before Stannous completely reveals himself, I definitely would have believed that Rose was just having a nightmare. But the scene gets more and more real as the chapter moves forward. Terrifyingly real.

Interesting. Right up to the point where Stannous abducts Rose, he seems like a really good guy. He was obviously an excellent teacher, one that the students liked and I daresay admired. It's curious to imagine that all of this was an act, geared toward the capture and seemingly pointless torture of a single student. There's definitely something deeper going on here. A brilliant mystery!

You did an amazing job of capturing the paralyzing terror that Rose feels in his presence. For a while, she can't move or speak. It almost feels like an autonomic reaction when she finally cries out in panic. But her body sort of takes over for her. I guess it's tired of dealing with the physical abuse.

The things that Stannous seems to know about Rose made me even more suspicious. Either he's going to great lengths to keep tabs on her -- something that would be very difficult for a wanted fugitive -- or he has an inside connection to her life. Very suspicious, indeed...

And here comes the cavalry! That was a brilliant tactic on Dom's part, using her patrons to summon Al and Scorpius. Good on you, Dom!

I felt horrible for Rose at the end. She's so consumed by what just happened that she can no longer tell friend from foe. She's collapsing in on herself again, having another panic attack. At least her friends know now. I think that's where the next phase of the healing begins.

Excellent job with this chapter. Looking forward to the next!

Author's Response: Hey Dan,

Glad this chapter didn't disappoint. I'm going to go back and look at the pacing. I wanted the first part to seem like things were going a bit too well for Rose. It was just too easy for them. Their relationship wasn't completely based on honesty because Rose hasn't yet told Scorpius about her torture - that is bound to get in the way at some point.

It does seem like a lot of work for Stannous to build up trust, just to abduct Rose. He has his motivations ;).

That is kind of weird, huh? Stannous knows a lot about what Rose has been up to, although he has been in hiding for the past two years. He is a slippery one...

Dom has a cool head and at least knows when she is outnumbered.

Rose, of course, will view her panic and unconsciousness as weakness, no doubt. She would most likely have never revealed her secret to the others willingly.

Thanks again!

~Beth



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Review #58, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Better: Rose POV

24th May 2014:
Hi, Beth!

So first of all, yes, the next chapter does make more sense after reading this one.

After the pseudo-cliffhanger you dropped on us at the end of the last chapter, I was expecting this one to be a bit more dramatic. Instead, we see Rose just being Rose. Well, being Rose and also sharing some insight into her childhood and relationship with her favorite uncle.

That was definitely the highlight of the chapter for me. I love the idea of Rose and Harry being very close. I played with it a lot when I was writing Conspiracy of Blood, and the two of them are definitely one of my favorite non-romantic pairings to write in the fandom. The image of Harry being sort of mesmerized by this little red-headed toddler was absolutely adorable, and I like to imagine that they kept it up for many years to come.

I love the way she scolds Albus and inflicts some healing on him. Not all that gently, either. She obviously has his best interests at heart, but she's not shy about exacting a little price for his foolish behavior.

Yay, you pulled her and Scorpius a baby step closer to one another. Even Harry is getting in a bit of match-making. Good on you, Uncle Harry!

This was a fun little interlude. Now that I've read it, I'm looking forward to getting back into the meat of the story. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thank you for being patient and waiting for this chapter to get posted. I know that not much happened here in terms of the plot, but I needed it to establish a few key points. The first being Harry and Rose's relationship. My version of Ron is like a slightly older, larger Ron from the books. He has no clue about girls and having a daughter would downright terrify him. Harry, on the other hand, would cherish the next gen kids, never having had a family growing up.

I also wanted to establish that Lily is four years younger than Rose (instead of two years, as implied by canon). That comes up later in the story.

The last little part that needed to be established is that Rose heals the two duelers. This is the start of something bigger for her and needed to be set up early in the story. She loves to be healer, but thinks Albus is a dimwit for the way he got his wounds. I know you were already able to read/review the next chapter - so, yeah - you will definitely get to the meat of the story next!

Thanks, Dan!

~Beth


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Review #59, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Tangled Web

20th May 2014:
Hello, again!

There were a few things in this chapter I found a bit confusing. That's nothing new, per se. You've always been able to keep me on my toes with this story. Having to think -- sometimes a lot -- to sort out what's happening is one of the things I've come to enjoy about it. With this chapter, though, it might be a little more than normal.

The first section, however, was pretty straightforward and unambiguous. My dream came true, Draco was busted by the Auror Vincent. I can understand Harry's discomfort with Devlin finding out, or at least finding out from a newspaper article. The poor kid's head is so twisted up, I sort of feel like he thinks that everything that happens is part of some diabolical master plan of Voldemort's.

Ooh, so Devlin has recovered enough from the emotions of the previous chapter to get a little testy with Harry about how best to keep himself safe. Harry has his ideas, Devlin has his own.

The next section is the first spot where I got a bit confused. Is it Madam Bones or Hermione who's dropped by to visit Devlin? Or is Madam Bones's first name Hermione in your version of events? Based on context, I'm thinking it's much more likely that the visitor is Madam Bones, head of the DMLE. I liked the way you wrote her. She seems friendly, but it doesn't extend from her words to her facial expressions. There's plainly an ulterior motive, and she doesn't fool Devlin for a moment. The two of them engage in some brilliant and entertaining repartee, then he dismisses her with a combination of gallows humor and an almost casual refusal to help.

In spite of the way he tells her off, I liked the fact that Devlin actually took something of value away from their conversation. It seems to finally be dawning on Devlin -- maybe he's just heard it from enough people at this point -- that everything Voldemort taught him or shared with him was part of a carefully woven plan designed to cultivate and ensure his trust and loyalty.

Returning for his first appearance in a few chapters, it's the wise, old werewolf. Another thing that seems to finally be sinking in for Devlin is that Geoffrey's "loyalty" to Devlin is really more about Geoffrey's desire to ensure his own survival by following Voldemort's orders to their illogical conclusion.

I was a little unclear on the point of the exchange between Devlin and Geoffrey that begins with Devlin's observation about Draco being stupid. Then I reread it and I realized how it ties into the ending. So Emma was listening to their conversation from at least that point on. And Geoffrey seems to know it, too. I'll bet Emma was what he was looking at "toward the side out of the corner of his eyes". I'm quite curious as to what Geoffrey hopes to accomplish by allowing Emma to overhear the things she did. Perhaps he thinks that Emma is the one person that Devlin won't be able to emotionally shut out or lie to.

The rest of the exchange is brilliant, the way that Geoffrey illustrates how Voldemort used the appearance of understanding Devlin -- of knowing more about Devlin than Devlin knew about himself -- as a means to control him. Following on, Devlin starts to question who was really tangled up in whose head. Awesome moment for him.

And then the blood-chilling moment, when it becomes obvious that Emma overheard much more than Devlin first thought. That she overheard the conversation about Devlin and Voldemort, even if she's too young to really know what to make of it. I cannot wait to see the aftermath of that.

Three things I saw that you might want to take another look at:

There was an older lady where at the kitchen table, sipping at tea that afternoon when he came down to sneak a cookie. -- there at the kitchen table

Are you not than capable of those things since I would deem them unfavorable? -- not then capable

Geoffrey chuckled and rolled on the balls of his heels. -- balls of his feet?

I'm really eager to see what comes next. Knowing the way you've paced the story, I'm suspecting that we might see a setback for Devlin before he makes any more big steps forward. Til next time!

Author's Response: Gerr! The Hermione bit is simply an illustration of how two versions of a chapter do not always get cleaned and braided properly together. I meant to remove her from the scene, but clearly uploaded the previous, not proof-read, chapter. I fixed it a second ago. :) Thanks!

Yes, Harry doesn't want him to see from the newspaper.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Bones and Devlin interaction - and the thoughts it stirs in his head even after he dismisses her. I think she was pretty sure she would be dismissed - going in. I don't imagine Harry sugar coated it or suggested she might be successful - or perhaps did not actually want Devlin to tell her.

"Another thing that seems to finally be sinking in for Devlin is that Geoffrey's "loyalty" to Devlin is really more about Geoffrey's desire to ensure his own survival by following Voldemort's orders to their illogical conclusion." I do SO love Geoffrey for this reason. To the reader he seems to flip-flop quite a bit, and I cannot wait until we truly KNOW which it is. Don't judge him yet. You might feel differently in the next chapter - and differently again later.

Emma was listening yes. I won't yet say whether Geoffrey saw, and I urge you not to take his reactions/actions as evidence of his knowledge. We all know Geoffrey is tricky to pinpoint. :)

In the beginning of the chapter when Devlin sees the newspaper on the kitchen table, he notes "The boy had gotten bigger." This suggests he KNOWS the boy, and I hope you picked up on that.

""The boy didn't seem to have mastered such a facade," Geoffrey said thoughtfully

"The boy had a stupid father," he argued, his voice chilly."

These are further clues I dropped about Devlin having met the boy. In fact, he mentions it many chapters back too, but I can't recall which one. Anyway - more will be revealed in the next chapter. :)

I think you will really really enjoy the next bit. Remember that roller-coaster you were so fond of - well we've been climbing to the top of the hill and we're about to pick up speed here. ;-)

Remember Draco wanted a Time Turner? He brings that up in the next chapter. ;-)



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Review #60, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Unexpected

20th May 2014:
Hi, there! I was floored to find that you had two new chapter published. I've been horribly remiss...

It was hard to decide whether to feel badly or excited for Devlin in this chapter. I think he made it over one or two important mental hurdles, but it seemed like a very stressful process for him. And in the end, he still held back on some of his deepest secrets. Still for a boy who's survived the things he's been through, the progress he made was definitely a big deal.

I can see more than a little of Harry in Devlin, especially the shame and guilt he carries about doing the things that he had to do in order to survive in captivity. Just like Harry always struggles to understand why people think he's a hero when so many of his friends and family died, Devlin can't get his head around why anyone would admire him for the risks he took to save Maria.

"Because she can see things in my eyes like Snape and Dumbledore and Grandfather, and I only told you the words. I don't want you to see Maria like that." -- On the one hand, I really want to admire Devlin's knack for turning situations around and making things that he wants sound like they're a benefit for the other person. On the other hand, I've seen my own kids start to do the same thing, so maybe it's less impressive. ;) Also, it's funny that motherhood seems to have its own built-in form of Legilimency. Like the wizarding equivalent of eyes in the back of your head.

Maybe that was why the words slipped past both him and the sharpness, or maybe he had carefully created it all in order to make sure they slip past, like he did to make his magic feel a want as a need. -- Wow, that was a pretty powerful sentiment. I've felt for a few chapters now like Devlin is really starting to feel a need to get some of his secrets out. It's nice to see it finally happening.

You don't know how many chapters I've been waiting for Harry to finally hug Devlin without the boy pushing him away! It's one of the smallest, simplest pleasures of being a parent, hugging your child. I've wanted that pretty badly for Harry.

More revelations from Devlin, about the boy that he was locked in the dungeon cell with. So that was the boy that Voldemort sent back to Harry. It never occurred to me until just this moment that the "fake Devlin" would have had to be a werewolf in order to fool everyone. And since it would have been far too obvious to send the boy back with werewolf bites all over him, Voldemort must have allowed Devlin to bite the boy, then taken the boy away in order to kill him. Subtle, and genius!

They cried, not him. Tears were not for him. He was not supposed to be like them; like the people who Voldemort didn't find interesting and lifted his wand to whisper the brilliant green killing curse. He wasn't one of them. He didn't scream and he didn't cry and he didn't beg, because he did not want to die. -- I thought this was a really sad but appropriate ending to the first scene of the chapter. Devlin has come a long way, but not quite that far yet.

Ah, Malfoy. I loved the thought process, loved the sneaky, manipulative, calculating way he goes about his assigned task and I absolutely adored the fact that it blew up in his face. I don't know whether he'll actually end up being caught, but let's just say I can dream.

So a few typos that I notices while I was reading:

Dubhán something break in him, or release, or shatter - he wasn't sure... -- felt something break

He had only a cat - old and greying, which he could see form the window where it was lounging. -- from the window

Also, I saw a few places where you wrote "Auror's", the possessive, when I think you meant "Aurors", the plural.

Awesome chapter! Back soon for the next one.

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Review #61, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bitter: Scorpius POV

15th May 2014:
Hi, Beth! You make Review Tag fun and rewarding, you know that? There's no substitute for reading a story you really like.

You definitely kept Al's character fresh and complex and interesting in this chapter. He's telling Scorpius what Scorpius needs to hear, but he's also sort of immature and almost petulant where Harry is concerned. I like the idea of Albus as the "favorite son" who's been pushed hard to live up to his father's legacy for his entire life. On the one hand, it seems like he's excelled, but on the other it's clearly an impossible task no matter how well he performs. He's caught, and he behaves accordingly. Nice writing there.

I loved the description of the two days that Rose and Scorpius spend together. It all seemed so calm and low-stress and just... normal. I think witches and wizards, especially ones with turbulent histories, need a good dose of normal every so often. Aww, he kissed her good night! And he's such a gentleman that it sounds like he even asked first.

"Harry's" Auror training program fit his character to a T. Kinder, gentler, more team-oriented but still with the ultimate goal in mind. I don't think I could recommend a single thing to be different. I'm really curious to see who Albus and Scorpius are chosen to mentor. That relationship could be a little touch-and-go for both of them.

The only thing in this chapter that I felt a little iffy about was the idea that Harry would choose to call out Albus's disrespect and lack of attentiveness by dueling him in front of the entire room. To me, that didn't feel quite like Harry, at least not the way that he'd choose to solve a problem. The idea that he would deliberately call that much attention to Albus, when we know that he hates having attention drawn to himself, was a little off. Once the duel got going, I could definitely see the old Harry coming out. He is an incredibly competitive guy, and there was no way he was going to allow himself to lose to his son. Good thing Scorpius stepped in when he did.

"So, are you going to give me detention and make me clean the trophy room?” Al's voice dripped with sarcasm. "Or will I have to do that better than everyone else as well? Nothing I do is ever good enough for you!" -- This was definitely Al at his most petulant and childish. The guy is a third year Auror trainee. One would expect that he would have learned by this point that life isn't always fair. Isn't even usually fair when your last name is Potter. These Next Gen kids are so spoiled compared to their parents. ;)

S.N.A.K.E. Exams. Good one!

Ah, and then we come to the real crux of the issue. It seems that Harry has to constantly push Albus harder because Albus is just that good. It's nice to see father and son leave this chapter with something of an understanding.

Ha! Al throws Scorpius right under the bus without even missing a beat. I do hope he manages to untie his tongue and have a good conversation with Rose.

Great chapter! Looking forward to the next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I'm sorry that I haven't responded to this review until now (Bad Beth - BAD!), but I wanted to take my time with it and I have a silly rule that I have to respond to them in the order that I get them...

Al is a great friend to Scorpius, but he definitely has a bit of a temper. He really wants to be an auror - for himself, but he is realizing he will always be in Harry's shadow. It puts him in a tight spot. We will also see in the future that Al is ultra-protective of Rose.

I wanted Rose and Scorpius to have a few normal days - as you put it. But I also wanted it to seem like the start of their relationship might be a little too easy. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I'm glad that you mentioned about the next gen kids being spoiled. I am sort of working off of the premise that Harry, Ron and Hermione didn't discuss the war with their kids a whole lot. They wanted to move on and, in the process, chose (not necessarily on purpose) to shield their kids from the gory details. I thought about this a lot and I think that Harry especially would try to do this - to put it behind him. His one hold out is that he insists all the Weasley/Potter kids know decent defense skills in case of an attack.

As far as Harry dueling Albus: I figured that he would start off the program with some sort of a demonstration, his temper got the best of him - and he was embarrassed enough with Al (who is supposed to be acting like a leader) that he snapped a bit and wanted to teach a lesson. So, instead of a simple few dueling moves and tips - he chose to duel Albus.

I am rather proud of the S.N.A.K.E.S. exams. Thanks!

~Beth


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Review #62, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Besotted: Rose POV

14th May 2014:
Hi, Beth! It's me again. I have this awful feeling that I'm going to run out of published chapters soon. I hope you're cranking away behind the scenes. Anyway, I'm tagging you again from Review Tag.

I love the change we see in Rose right from the beginning. It isn't healthy, the way that she's walled herself off emotionally for so long. She let the walls down just a bit and, hey, look at that! She's feeling more than a little bit human again. I really hope this is the start of something good for her. That said, I think there's still some self-delusion going on here: Besides, it was under control, anyway. I think the jury's still out on that.

Oh, my. So we finally have clarity on what happened to Rose. That sounds like the nastiest curse ever devised. I thought you did an amazing job with the descriptions, conveying the terrible results without going too far overboard on the gory details. And in the midst of all that, you drop in this little gem: All I remember is a shock of white flyaway hair walking out of the room. Wow, that's pretty suggestive. Draco? Lucius? Wizard with white hair screams "Malfoy" to me.

I do have to nitpick you just a bit on the idea of "throwing off" the Cruciatus Curse. I don't think it's possible, at least not in canon. The point of the curse is that it causes "unbearable" pain. Just a thought.

Why are drunk people so prone to having sudden, deep bouts of honesty? Somebody should really study this phenomenon. I loved the raw emotions you were able to tap into with Scorpius's confessions. The pain and embarrassment and inadequacy and regret... powerful stuff. Rose has her own rejoinder to that, baring a bit of her soul to him, as well. The two of them came amazingly close, yet they still held back just a little. I admire the pacing. It would have been very easy to throw them into one another's arms at that moment.

I noticed one small typo while I was reading:

I knew how to throw of a crucio curse anyway, thanks to Uncle Harry. -- throw off

So do you mind if I speculate for a moment? I think Rose's scars are going to be a big hurdle for them to get over. They won't really matter to Scorpius, but it's such an emotional trauma for Rose. Beyond that, if it turns out that Draco or Lucius was involved in Rose's abduction... wow. I don't know how they're going to handle that.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Thanks for another wonderful review. I look forward to all of them! I fixed the point you made about not being able to throw off the crucio curse (and because I took it out, the typo is no longer there). It wasn't pertinent to the story and I try to be accurate, as much as possible.

I think Rose is tired of the emotional dungeon she has created for herself. Two years is a long time. This chapter ended on a light note for the couple, but it can't be completely smooth sailing for them now, can it?

You are dead on about Rose's scars. She can't really even look at them herself (until this chapter), let alone discuss them with anyone else. The scars will be a big deal - and I have something planned for that as well. I actually don't mind the speculation. If you had asked at the start of the story, I would've been more apprehensive, but that is because I feel like I am blatantly obvious about the clues that I leave.

As far as publishing the story goes, the next chapter is in the queue right now and I am going to try to do about one per week.

Thanks again Dan!

~Beth


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Review #63, by CambAngstBehind the Curtain: Snakes in the Snow

13th May 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

I really like the idea you have here. As Voldemort traveled the world, perfecting his craft and gathering allies, the Soviet Union would have been a really clever place to learn and recruit.

The Soviet Minister was a suitably stoic and ambitious character. I liked the way you framed the scope of his plans and the obvious parallels to the non-magical Soviets' own ambitions in the wake of World War II. The environment you dropped him into was spot-on for the Russian winter and the picture you painted was vivid and crisp.

So this is where Voldemort meets Dolohov and Karkaroff. Interesting. I'm not always a fan of using canon characters to this extent. Sometimes it feels like the author is using canon names just to avoid having to develop and flesh out original characters. In this case, though, I think it works. Both characters have obvious eastern European origins.

Voldemort's traversal of the obstacle course was the one place where I felt like you could have done a little better on the descriptions. In places, like describing the Manticore and the Devil's Snare, I felt like your delivery was a bit dry. More like narrative than action. I think it would have read better if you'd given us brief glimpses of the obstacles to begin with -- a swipe of a paw here, a wicked, clinging vine there -- and then allowed the protagonist of the chapter to figure out the nature of the creature or plant.

Aside from that, I thought your writing flowed really well. This was a smooth, easy read with no typos or grammatical problems that I could spot. Good job!

Author's Response: Thanks for the review!

I'm somewhat fascinated by this era of Voldemort's life. We don't really know his whereabouts, but I think somewhere in Eastern Europe would have suited him perfectly.

Vladimir was definitely intended to be something of a magic version of Stalin, and I'm really glad the winter imagery seemed to work.

There does seem to be some sort of Eastern European connection with the Death Eaters, and years of watching Bond movies have taught me that the best villains tend to come from that part of the world.

I get what you'rs saying about the obstacle course scene. It's one of those things that seems so epic when it plays out in my head, but it can be a little more difficult to convey that onto the page.

Thanks again!


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Review #64, by CambAngstHoping for A Heartbeat : Just a Dream?

12th May 2014:
Hi, Lindsey! Tagging you from Review Tag!

That was one seriously disturbing dream. I have to say that I really admire your courage, kind of dancing on a thin line with ToS compliance. I'm not sure I would have had the courage to go there. The effect was really powerful. Not quite as powerful, however, as...

Fred. Wow. I did not see that coming. I'll withhold judgment on whether he really visited Ginny in her dream or whether she simply dreamed it, but I don't think you could have chosen a more potent manifestation of all of Ginny's fears and anxieties. Putting Fred in Healer's robes, having him be serious and grim... it was a lot to visualize. He's even crying at one point. It wasn't easy to read and it really made an impact on me.

Ginny's, er, symptoms added another level of discomfort to the scene. And the ultrasound spell was the clincher. You created a truly horrifying nightmare.

After she wakes up, I liked what you did with her reaction. Initially snapping at Harry, then Harry snapping back, then having the two of them quickly make up sounded like the two of them. At least, it sounded like a version of the two of them that's a little more mature than they were in the books.

I'm really glad that she decided to contact a healer. I'm not wild about where things are probably going, mind you, but it's a good step for her. Her lack on certainty on the proper way to phrase the letter -- and the approximations she chooses -- added just a bit of levity to this very heavy chapter.

Poor Ginny. Even now, she can't quite escape the notoriety that she and Harry share. I hope the healer doesn't turn out to be some sort of awful Boy-Who-Lived groupie.

I think your writing continues to improve with each chapter, although there were a few sentences in this one that were kind of long and rough around the edges. If you keep delivering on the emotional content and impact and work on your editing, you'll be in awesome shape! Good job!

Author's Response: Hi there!
Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed reading and thanks for your advice!! I hope you come back for more. It is a disturbing dream and I tried to make it as emotional as possible because it is a very very emotional thing to go through. I thank you so much for reviewing another chapter! Hope to talk again soon!
-Lindsey


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Review #65, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bereft: Scorpius POV

10th May 2014:
Tagging you again from Review Tag!

OK, remember that thing I sad about a murder-suicide in my last review? Yeah, forget I said that. ;)

I could feel the guilt rolling off of Scorpius at the start of this chapter. Guilt over the way that he treated his parents -- especially his mother -- just before the accident. Guilt over the fact that, by whatever sort of tortured logic grieving people tend to come up with, his presence in the house might have prevented the accident. You took him very realistically through the darkest times of his young life.

Then Rose and Albus arrive to bring back some light.

“I just… I had to see you. -- You know, this was a perfect entrée for Rose. I think it helped Scorpius a lot because it was about her, not about him. When you're in the place Scorpius is in, I imagine you get rather tired of feeling like people are putting themselves out to try to help you. Rose makes it obvious that helping him means as much to her as she expects it to mean to him. It's a small distinction, but I think you got it just right.

I love the little adventure Rose and Al go on to find their way to Daphne's house. Not a small thing for children from magical households.

Out of the entire, ridiculous scene when Ron finds them in the bedroom of Daphne's house, I think Daphne's poor, terrified muggle husband was my favorite part. The guy is obviously scared out of his wits, and the little snippets of his phone call with Daphne were the perfect thing to balance out this very tense scene.

Ha! Rose sounds so much like her mother while she's "defending Scorpius's honor". I'm really glad that she was able to talk her father down. That could have ended... badly.

Aww, it seems like Daphne was actually trying really hard to look out for Scorpius. I like what you've done with her character. Most people write her as such an irredeemable airhead. I especially liked the fact that she was realistic enough to know when she was in over her head. Or maybe it was just that her poor husband was in over his head. Either way, I was really pleased to see Scorpius heading off to live with the Potters.

Wow. Rose is an amazing friend. She seems to have such an intuitive understanding of what Scorpius needs. Now I'm more curious that ever to know what happened during her abduction. What turns this warm, supportive person into somebody who became emotionally disconnected and struggled with personal interactions. What have you done to my Rosie, Beth? :p

OK, back to the present! This was a great two-chapter blast from the past, but I'm really eager to see how the future plays out. Great job!

Although that last sentence has me a little concerned...

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Don't worry about the murder-suicide prediction - I like that I can keep you on your toes...

Yeah, Scorpius is going to feel guilty about everything for a while. I needed him to be just as damaged as Rose. And I wanted her to be his light. I want to portray that they always had a deeper connection to each other - even before either one of them could see it.

As far as Aunt Daphne goes - thanks for the compliment about her and Uncle Phil. It was sort of fun to write from the perspective of a muggle bloke when a whole bunch of magical witches and wizards start showing up at your house nonstop - haha. I wanted Scorpius to have as little family as possible, so I figured that Daphne would have been totally turned off by the whole wizarding world after the second war. When she met a muggle, she saw her way out.

Rose is amazingly sweet and kind - especially to Scorpius. So - I feel that I must warn you... You probably won't be too happy at what is revealed about your Rosie in the next chapter...

Beth


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Review #66, by CambAngstIgnite: Steam Out

8th May 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

So I confess: I saw your username and I thought that you were probably a new member. Imagine my surprise when I discovered how long you've been around and how much you've written! I feel fortunate that you tagged me because I read the first chapter of your completed novel and I really enjoyed it.

I really like the version of Scorpius you've created. He seems to do whatever he's able to do in the world in order to vex his father. It's interesting to me that it seems like he inherited a bit of his father's patronizing sense of humor, only without the arrogance and cruelty. I guess arrogance and cruelty were things that Draco learned, however, so there's definitely a family resemblance here that goes beyond their physical looks.

There's an old southern saying, something about not letting your alligator mouth get your hummingbird behind in trouble. Scorpius definitely has that alligator mouth, and he chooses to exercise it in mockery of somebody much bigger than him. Oh, look, the muscle-bound guy is also Rose's boyfriend. Swimming! Good thing Albus is there to keep Scorpius from getting pummeled. Already, I like some of the things you're setting up. Rose's boyfriend is, at some level, a bully, but she obviously doesn't see that in him. I can almost see the tiny threads of "I hate you so much that I'll like you when everything goes horribly wrong" forming between Rose and Scorpius.

So I get the feeling that the reasons Harry acts awkwardly around Scorpius are not the reasons that Scorpius thinks. It doesn't seem like it's so much the fact that Harry is put off by Scorpius's family, but rather the fact that Harry sees some parallels to his own childhood. That's Harry for you. Still trying to save the world, even if he has to do it one person at a time.

Rose is quite convinced that she knows it all, isn't she? I can see so much of her mother in that one, although I think Hermione wasn't quite so pushy by her sixth year. I can also see some of her father's "I can't admit that I might be wrong" streak. She's a pretty well-rounded character, I think. Plenty of nuance and I'm sure that will only get better. When she throws the chocolate frog, that was pure Hermione, though.

Lastly, there's Albus. This is definitely the first story I've ever read where he wasn't written to be scrawny. It's going to be a challenge to get my head around Albus, the Gentle Giant. I love the way you wrote his interactions with other characters, the effect that he has on them.

For a pretty long chapter, this flowed really well. It had a nice pace to it and I moved through it with ease. I also liked the way that you didn't waste any time dumping extraneous back story on us in this chapter. Instead, you took the reader right into the plot of the story and only delivered the details as they were needed. I remember things much better that way.

Great job! Cheers!

Author's Response: Ha, not a new writer, just one who didn't get involved in the forums until recently.

This story started with a couple of compulsions - one to write an epic adventure, but the other was to write this Scorpius. He's the guy who burst into my head and demand I write about him now, right now, and as you can imagine he was not inclined to take 'no' for an answer. While different to his father, and trying to be different, I have tried to keep him with those certain Malfoy traits. He isn't devoid of arrogance, but it's an arrogance of a different sort; nor is he devoid of cruelty, but it's usually pettiness towards people who have 'wronged' him (rightly or otherwise).

That is an awesome saying. And very true of this Scorpius. He certainly couldn't have counted on Albus saving him from Hector, but he would refuse to let himself be intimidated into silence, even if it made things worse. And, belligerent tension with Scorpius and Rose? Say it ain't so! No, it's not a surprise, is it? :D

I hadn't intended to have Harry see himself in Scorpius, but then I wrote the scene and saw the parallels, and realised Harry HAD to see them, too. And his instincts to save a kid, save the world, AND to do his son's friend a good turn - those would run rampant.

Rose has, in some ways, inherited the WORST of her parents. The good traits are there, too, but she's right now an arrogant know-it-all who never went through the harrowing experiences her parents did which made them question themselves. Her father's pride and the self-importance her mother had at a young age have made a dangerous cocktail. While I'm glad you see her as well-rounded in this chapter (I mean, I'd like to think she is, and she has one of the most robust maturing arcs of all the characters), I am surprised. Most readers found her thoroughly unlikable, to the extent I had to specifically write a Rose-centric chapter to give some introspection and sympathy for her.

I don't fully know why I wrote this Albus as the Gentle Giant. Mostly, I suspect, as foil to Scorpius, which is his primary purpose for a lot of the time. Poor kid takes a while to find his own stride.

I'm quite happy with this chapter as an introduction of most of the major cast, and the minor-but-important-but-not-often-seen cast (ie, the parents - they influence the characters tremendously but won't be in the story). I'm not sure I could replicate this feat of introducing all I wanted it to introduce in one smooth swoop, though there would be more details to come in future chapters.

Anyway! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reviewing!


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Review #67, by CambAngstOutside: Prison

7th May 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

I really enjoy stories where the Malfoys or other prominent Death Eaters are finally forced to get a grip, so to speak. Lucius is a less common choice for the main character than Draco or Narcissa, but that made it all the more interesting for me. He was such a broken man by the start of Deathly Hallows, resigned to his station near the bottom of the Death Eater totem pole. I can see a lot of that in this story, even though he's struggling mightily to keep up that carefully crafted Malfoy facade.

You did a nice job with the storytelling technique, switching back and forth between current events and recollections of the past. The specific flashbacks you chose added to the heavy sense of regret that permeates Lucius's thoughts in the present time. We see him bringing Draco along, grooming him for the role he's expected to play and the station he's expected to attain after the Dark Lord takes over the world. Juxtaposing that with the humiliation he suffers made for a great contrast.

It was interesting to see Lucius being so honest with himself. It's a capacity that you were never sure that he had while reading the books because you were never inside his head and he certainly wasn't going to publicly let on to his doubts and insecurities. I thought you did a good job of writing him and balancing his private thoughts with the front he presents to the world.

I saw a couple of things that might be typos as I was reading:

There had been a time when the fear my word struck into their heart’s was second only to that caused by the Dark Lord himself. -- their hearts

Surrounded by bloodthirsty fools who had served the Dark Lord for far less time and far less effectively but now stood above him, the photographs mocked me. -- but now stood above me?

Otherwise, you did a great job with this. Good luck in your challenge!

Author's Response: Hello again!

I'm glad you liked the story and enjoyed the choice of Lucius. The minute I got the quote, for some reason he was the character I instantly thought of, so I went with it. The mix of resignation, regret, and his compulsion to keep up appearances was definitely what I was going for so I'm glad it came through.

I'm also glad you liked the switching back and forth. It's the first time I've done it and honestly I wasn't particularly sure about it, especially given that I was wrestling with whether I was getting Lucius right throughout.

For me, with Lucius, I think by this point he couldn't avoid being honest with himself, but that we didn't see it because he was still unprepared to be honest with anyone else, even his wife and son about the depth of his fall from grace. Obviously they feel it and understand it in their own way, but I think he would be too proud to admit it to them. I wanted him to be just slightly beyond the point where he had accepted it himself, so hopefully I got there.

As for the typos, you got me. Normally I am done well in advance of the challenge deadline, but I had to rush a bit to finish this one and so I've wound up with that dastardly apostrophe and horrific break in first-person - UGH.

But I'm glad you liked it anyway! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #68, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Blown Away: Scorpius POV

7th May 2014:
Tagging you again from Review Tag!

Beth, Beth, Beth... It was bad enough what you did to my Rosie, but now you go and do this to my Astoria! Harsh. I'm seriously in mourning at the moment.

Again, I have to commend you on your pacing with this story. Every chapter, it seems like another piece of the picture is being revealed. I wondered about Scorpius's brooding anger at the end of the last chapter. Now we get some very important context which complemented that beautifully.

I never imagined that Scorpius had an especially warm, nurturing childhood. His mother and grandmother were probably very supportive, but they do come from the sort of upbringing that probably emphasized emotional stoicism and maintaining a stiff upper lip. Then there's the matter of his father and grandfather. That unshakeable Malfoy facade combined with that Malfoy arrogance. Obviously they would have hated the idea of him taking up with the Potters or -- gods forbid! -- playing a muggle game with a muggle boy.

I really liked what you did with the muggle boy, Mason. It would have been easy, and definitely the most common approach, to try to use Mason's character to make some "deep" statement about how muggles and magical folk aren't so different after all. Instead, you used the character to show something important about Scorpius. Wow, that boy is stubborn!

The scene in the Malfoys' kitchen... gah! I can't believe you killed them! This seemed a bit like a murder-suicide. Maybe Draco lost control and then couldn't live with himself afterward. It's hard to say, Scorpius's recollection of the events is understandably spotty.

Why? Why did you do that to my Astoria? My poor feels!

Great job with this! It couldn't hurt me if I wasn't so into it. ;)

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Sorry I haven't responded to this until now. You obviously spend a lot of time writing the reviews and I don't want to just write a quick "thanks a bunch!" back to you.

As far as Astoria goes... I'm sorry? I have to admit, when I wrote this, I wasn't a huge Astoria fan. More like, I just didn't give the character a lot of thought. Since reading some fantastically written Astoria fics, I can see where you are coming from.

I really needed Scorpius to be damaged. Rose is damaged and I wanted their relationship to be more than just forbidden love. I also placed them both in Ravenclaw to give them an added closeness at being housemates, but, more importantly misfits from their own families. Hopefully, it plays out well.

Thanks for commenting on Mason. I almost took him out, but I wanted to show how isolated Scorpius was when he wasn't at Hogwarts. He is growing up and doesn't want to be with his parents all the time, but doesn't totally fit in with the muggle kids either. He feels the most comfortable when he is with Al and Rose. Yeah, he's stubborn, but he is also fifteen and not getting his way...

Sorry again about Astoria (haha), but she does live on in Scropius, and you will see some of that come out later in the story.

Thanks again, Dan. I really look forward to your reviews. I hold my breath every time!

Beth


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Review #69, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bent: Rose POV

5th May 2014:
Hi, Beth! Once again tagging you from Review Tag!

I still want to know what you've done to my Rosie, but I'm feeling a lot better about things after this chapter. I really enjoyed seeing Rose be able to enjoy this moment of connection with another person, especially since it was Scorpius. It's obviously something that's been missing from her life for too long, and even such a short way into the story it felt good to share that moment with her.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. I love the idea of James, Al and Scorpius rocking the bachelor pad. Al is obviously not as much of a bachelor as the other two, but James seems to more than make up for it. He invites the entire Cannons team, all of the Auror and Healer trainees AND every female in the Hogwarts graduating class to their party? I think you can't help but admire the ambition. And after all that, he lands the sexy American witch that his father more or less set him up with. He sure can put on a show.

I really liked the way you built up a nice, casual comfort between Rose and Scorpius. You let them be friends first, enjoying a few laughs at the expense of Molly, Wolfram and the other party guests. There was no animal magnetism going on, which was good because that wouldn't have felt very natural for Rose at all. It's sort of like the two of them are alone in the middle of this giant party. I've been there; it can be a fun place to be.

Dom and Freddy are obviously stone cold players. Especially Freddy. Three young ladies at once? The boy has game. ;)

I'm definitely curious about this brute who tries to grab Rose. Aside from the obvious, how on earth did he manage to disparate away after being put in a body bind by an Auror trainee? Is there something more going on here than meets the eye?

Aww, Scorpius really steps up and defends Rose's modesty. He's a true gentleman!

I like what you did with his characterization in this chapter, too. He has a few personality quirks -- some might go so far as to say flaws -- as well. Once he gets in this protective frame of mind, he doesn't seem to be able to dial it back. He gets completely carried away with his anger and only Rose is able to pull him back. In doing so, she opens herself up to him in a way that felt really healthy for her. Gah, it felt like we were so close to a kiss there at the end!

The only thing I would suggest for this chapter was that the f-bombs got a little excessive in places. I don't have anything against the word in general, it just felt a bit gratuitous in a few instances.

Otherwise, awesome chapter! You made my Rosie feel better. This makes me happy!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I love, love, love your reviews! As far as your Rosie goes... it might get a little more dicey before it gets better (fair warning)! The three guys are pretty much best pals, so they are going to have a blast in their bachelor pad - however, living arrangements might change at some point (hint, hint).

Thanks for noticing the characterization. I think that is the part that I worked on the most - other than the mystery plot, so I'm so happy that you noticed.

There may just be something else going on with that weird guy who grabbed your Rosie. How exactly did that wizard manage to apparate away? Weird, huh?

I hope you like a flawed (some might say damaged) Scorpius - because if you read on, you will not be disappointed. He has legitimate reasons for being moody and angry.

I went back an re-read the chapter myself (it has actually been a while since I posted it) and I agree with you about the language. I think I was just trying to figure how twenty year-olds would speak around their friends. I was trying to figure out where to land between being realistic and moving the story along.

I would like to say don't worry too much about your Rosie, but the story is mainly about her, and it can't be ALL perfect the whole way through, can it? However, I can promise you that I love her just as much as you do - so just keep that in mind...

Thanks again so much for this wonderful review!

Beth


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Review #70, by CambAngstDear Thelo: I

4th May 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag.

My overarching impression of your story is that you have a really interesting idea. You've taken a minor character -- one who we know suffered a tragic and premature death at the hands of the Dark Lord and his minions -- and set up a really neat premise around her. The idea of her retreating from the war-torn magical world, trying to hide with her muggle friend, seemed really clever to me. What I think you need to work on is your execution of the idea. I'll elaborate a little more below.

I liked your characterization of both Marlene and Keira. Marlene shaped up for me like a very smart, very cautious young woman with a few interesting twists. She doesn't want the attention that her association with the Marauders draws from the Death Eaters, so she gradually pulls away from them. Some might consider that a bit cowardly; she just thinks of it as being practical. At the same time, though, she spends lots of time around her muggle friend. If the Death Eaters have already taken notice of you, there's almost nothing more dangerous that you could do.

Keira comes from such a structured world. Her mother is so intense about maintaining their garden. Her records are precisely organized, as is the rest of her room. Her brothers know exactly how to get to her when she grasses them up for taking one of her mother's flowers. She even accepts the mystery of Marlene's moving pictures without asking too many questions, just agreeing to keep the secret. It seems like she has a strong capacity for compartmentalizing that which does not fit her structured world view.

I think you struggled a bit with the HPFF editor. I saw a lot of places where it seems like you lost the spaces between your words. It's tricky sometimes to copy and paste text in from other editors. I also had some problems following the flow of your writing, especially the transitions from descriptions of one character to another. If you went through and straightened out all of your formatting, I think the story would flow a lot better.

One other thing I really liked was the way you wrote the confusion of the Death Eater attack on Keira's home. First off, I'm sure that Dementors were involved, but there was no way Keira could have understood that. So you stuck with the physical manifestations that she could see. Beyond that, you maintained a great feeling of confusion and fear and franticness. Even the physical effects of her tumble down the stairs were well done.

To sum it all up, I think you have a good plot concept and you're definitely good with your characterization and descriptions. If you work on your editing more -- maybe find a good beta reader to work with -- then you'll be well on your way to writing a winner!

Author's Response: Hello!

Thanks for taking the time to leave such an awesome review, I really enjoyed reading it and I'm sure that Janelle will too.

Janelle (LilyLou) wrote the first chapter (and I wrote the second) so you can thank her for the really good characterisation.

I think that the gramatical and formatting errors have been edited by Janelle but I'm not sure. Thanks for stopping by!

MIssy


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Review #71, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Broken: Rose POV

3rd May 2014:
Hi! Tagging you from Review Tag!

So before I chose one of your one shots and I really enjoyed it. Enough that I wanted to try out your longer work. It seems from your author's note that this was the first story you started. For your maiden voyage, this chapter was really good.

That said, what have you done to my Rosie? You should know that I'm very partial to Rose. I really adore the character, thinking of her as this mix of the best and worst traits of her mother and father. She's a joy to write, and I get the sense that something terrible has happened to her and we're only beginning to scratch the surface of what she's dealing with. What have you done to my Rosie, Beth? //pounds fist//

All kidding aside, I really like the way you introduced whatever it is that's happened to her. For this first chapter, you introduced to the symptoms, you gave us an idea of when the trauma occurred and you gave us a name. That's plenty for a first chapter, and it gives me a lot of reason to keep reading. Excellent storytelling technique! You did manage to deliver quite a bit of information in this chapter -- who Rose's friends are, how their sorting went, etc. -- but you kept it tight within the flow of the narrative.

Rose's symptoms are textbook PTSD type stuff. She has the panic attacks. She keeps playing "what if" with herself. She seems to even blame herself to a certain extent. It's sad to read, even sadder because it seems like she's succeeded to a great extent in keeping it secret from the people closest to her. Such a shame, because I'm sure she could be so much better supported. At the same time, it's likely that she doesn't want to need their support. Thus, the cycle continues.

Get up, wash, get dressed, class, rounds, study. -- Her mantra makes it clear what her coping mechanism is. Stick to routine, keep yourself grounded in the familiar. It's functional, but eventually the familiar becomes its own sort of prison.

Selenia seems like a very intriguing original character. I'm sure Al's grandfather and his aunt Hermione were both thrilled to see him in love with a muggle-born. Especially one so inquisitive and eager.

I did see one lonely typo as I was reading:

Her long, straight black hair and made her look very serious, but I could tell she was really excited to enter the wizarding world by the shine in her bright blue eyes. -- There's something up with that first part of this sentence. I think maybe the word "and" doesn't belong.

One other thing that sounded a little out of character to me was McGonagall falling out of her seat. No matter how shocked she was, it's hard to imagine her losing her composure to that extent.

Very good opening chapter. It definitely made me want to read more!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Oh boy, I was nervous you would get to this one... Thank you for being so kind. I feel like my writing is a little better with the one shots, where I can focus on technique and imagery, but I get a little muddled when it comes to the novel because I work too hard to move the story along. I do like this chapter, but subsequent ones are more about getting the information than interesting descriptions.

Rosie. I know. She is my favorite character too. I think that is why I wrote about her first. This story just took shape in my head and wouldn't stop adding to itself. I had to get it down. I wrote most of it on my laptop six months before I even joined this site. By February, I had about 13 chapters up and then decided on a major plot change and took almost all of them down. Now I am editing them to make it all fit.

Rose is in a bad place, and, if you like damaged characters, I think you will be happy with the next few chapters as well. I have a different take on the Rose/Scorpius love story.

Selenia is awesome. She is Al's forever love and second half. She is also Rose's BFF, so she will be in the story a lot.

I know it is not very McGonagall like to fall out of her chair, but I had have something funny happen in the midst of the very serious panic attack.

I will fix that typo - thanks for finding it! I have stuff sitting in the queue right now and I am working on a novella, so I will get to it as soon as I can.

Thank you so much for the great review!

Beth


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Review #72, by CambAngstThe Brave at Heart: Counterstroke

2nd May 2014:
Hi, there! Tagging you from Review Tag!

A most interesting turn of events... It seems that both Melanie and Remus are catching a bit of flack from their respective sides for taking more than a hostile interest in one another. Gryffindors and Slytherins, why can't they just get along???

OK, well it's pretty obvious why they can't get along. James and Sirius inflating Snape's head and giving him feathers sounds like exactly the sort of juvenile prank they'd dream up. And the way Snape fights back is classic. One side deals in mockery, the other deals in blood. You've captured Snape pretty well, along with his propensity for inventing nasty curses. Also, the nastiness he directs toward Melanie when he sees her associating with Remus. I get the feeling that accepting Remus's challenge -- and his tentative offer of friendship -- will make life rather difficult for her.

"A bit more what?" I insisted. -- Honestly, I'm kind of curious where Sirius was going with that, myself. I can imagine a few choice insults, but it's interesting that he held back. I guess when the other three see Remus actually being friendly with a girl who isn't Lily, they sort of have to bite their tongues.

Sigh. Sometimes I hate being right. Especially the part about life becoming difficult for Melanie. This Elliot Jasper seems like a nasty piece of work. Definitely a Death Eater in the making there. He obviously has no problems with not fighting fair and a mean streak a mile wide.

Gah! Where are this poor girl's friends when she need them??? Hard to believe that something like this could go on without anyone stepping in.

Oh, wait, there's Lily. Good on you, Lily! Tell those nasty guys off.

I found it a little bit odd that Melanie continued to lay there for a while instead of picking herself up off the floor. It seemed to me like maybe it would be a tad bit more humiliating to keep laying there. But I suppose she has her reasons. Besides, it worked well for Sirius's sudden appearance.

Quite the banter between the two of them. He's obviously worried over whether she's alright, not that he'd admit it. She obviously appreciates the fact that he checked on her, not that she's willing to let it show. Gryffindors and Slytherins. Sheesh!

Ah, I see that she's developed a sudden following among the crowd. I have to agree with her, that was a weird day.

I still think you're pacing the story really well. We're four chapters in now and you've set up the main conflicts but you're not rushing to bring any fast resolutions to them. Interested to see where we go next!

Author's Response: Hi again! Wow, this is such a thorough and nice review, thank you!

I really wanted to explore the Gryffindor and Slytherin rivalry here - I think that overall it's not hostile, just unfriendly (hostile between certain individuals, of course, like James and Snape) So yeah, this tentative friendship makes both sides kind of scratch their heads. I'm glad you like the way I wrote each side of that skirmish there, it's so great to hear that you think they seemed in character!!

Yep, that's what was going on with Sirius. I'm sure he would have had a lot more to say if he hadn't seen that Remus and Melanie were actually on good terms.

Heh, yeah I think she was hoping to just melt into the floor and disappear. Which, despite being able to do magic and all that, was not possible. Alas. :p

I'm glad it is paced well so far! Heh, yeah there's no fast resolutions, some things take a while. Thanks for such a fab review!


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Review #73, by CambAngstPerfectly Pansy: A Proper Pureblood Witch

2nd May 2014:
Hi, Beth! Tagging you from Review Tag!

I hope you don't mind that I picked one of your one-shots instead of your main WIP. Sometimes I like to ease into things when it comes to an author I've not read before.

I saw that this was a challenge entry and I think the first thing I have to say is among the highest praise a challenge entry can receive: this didn't read like a challenge entry. Challenge entries usually have a certain awkwardness to them, because the author is writing outside of their comfort zone or trying to incorporate themes or prompts. This story felt very natural, like something that had been stewing in your mind for a while before its time came. After finishing the body of it, I honestly could not have guessed what the parameters for the challenge were. That's a very good thing!

I would also challenge your assertion that you don't have much of a connection to Pansy. I think you wrote her brilliantly. You captured her passion for perfection and propriety -- good lord, you even have me doing that! -- in a way that didn't seem cartoonish or superficial. This isn't a game to her. She really believes that she needs to be this completely artificial, flawless person if she's going to capture Draco's heart and live the life that she's meant to live. She lives it every moment of every day, seemingly to the exclusion of all else. Yet underneath she's obviously struggling, suffering. I love the way you tied the anti-swelling spell at the beginning of the story together with the ending. That was subtle and awesome.

Near the beginning, I could have sworn that the repetition of the letter P was going to be your downfall. I couldn't imagine how you were going to keep that up throughout the story without it starting to sound absurd. My hat is off to you, you did it. You seemed to know all the right moments to fade in and out of it, letting it be pronounced in Pansy's brief, punchy inner thoughts without having it dominate the narrative or descriptions. That was really clever.

I'd probably be remiss if I didn't mention poor Draco. You were really true to his book characterization in this, giving the reader a peek of that tortured soul be became during the events of HBP. It nearly gives Pansy the entree she needs to get past his emotional armor. I think she fails because she's trying so hard to help him succeed but on the inside, he doesn't really want to succeed. So she just becomes one more person putting uncomfortable pressure on him. Or maybe I read too much into that. ;)

I didn't see a single typo or misspelling in this. You wrote it really well and it flowed beautifully. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Wow! I said that I was nervous to write a review for you, but truthfully, I was more nervous that you would write one for me! I just feel that my writing is still very much at a developmental stage - but thank you!

I'm really glad you liked this! I was assigned Pansy as a part of a challenge called "A Normal Day in the Life of..." and I am pretty sure I was the only one who entered it! - not even judged. I did actually let it rattle around my brain for several days before I started writing it. I knew Pansy was portrayed as just plain mean and J.K. has even said she is one of her least favorite characters. No one likes the mean girl - especially me, so I had to reconcile that there was a reason behind her actions and I couldn't convince myself that it was ONLY because she wanted to be Draco's girlfriend.

The letter P thing just sort of happened. I was worried it would be my downfall, too! Thanks for putting my mind at ease. I spent the entire two weeks it took me to write this with the thesaurus open, trying to get the right words!

I was also really excited to see that you liked my characterization of Draco! I know you are a big fan of being true to J.K.'s version so I take that as a huge compliment. I wasn't really implying that Draco and Pansy fail because he doesn't want to succeed in his given task, but because he is too controlled by his family to think past his own problems. However, your analysis sounds much better - I'll take it! Haha!

Thanks again for the great review Dan!

Beth


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Review #74, by CambAngstThe Brave at Heart: Tricks and Treats, But Mostly Tricks

1st May 2014:
Hi, there! Tagging you again from Review Tag!

I'm really starting to like where you're heading with the plot of this. So far, it seems pretty balanced between your subplot of the prank war between Marauders and Anti-Marauders and the normal subplots of life, school and romance that always accompany stories set during the characters' Hogwarts years.

I loved the Black Hole Wall prank. That was genuinely clever and obviously non-discriminatory in terms of its targets, since it caught students and a teacher.

I'm finding your version of Mr. Filch just a little bit over the top. It's not awful to the point where it takes away from the rest of the story, but I feel like if you toned him down about half a notch, he would be a lot more realistic and natural-sounding. Specifically the parts where he's picking random students to heap abuse upon or arbitrarily detaining them because he doesn't like the way they look. The way I remember Filch from the books, he was usually all bark and no bite.

So... Melanie and Remus. I could see that. She's a Slytherin, but not one of those Slytherins who's obsessed with blood status and family lines. Remus is easily the most open-minded of the four Marauders. the conversation between the two of them was well-paced and I thought they both sounded in character. I did agree with Melanie that suggesting the prank competition was a bit out of character for Remus. That section might have read better if you'd written it so that she goads Remus into it. For instance, having her brag much more about the superiority of the Anti-Marauders' pranks to the point where he feels the needs to fight back.

I do sort of hope he keeps her scarf, though. It's like she's marking her territory. ;)

The prank itself was pretty brilliant. Actually, I thought the part where they transfigured Filch's cat was even more brilliant than the painting on the wall. If it was me, I probably would have made the dragon a bit more destructive, like breathing actual fire or maybe spitting orange and red paint on anyone who walked by. Still, it was very cleverly done!

Well, I'm excited to see what the Marauders come back with. Also, excited to see where things go between Melanie and Remus. Bravo!

Author's Response: Hi!

Wow, thanks, I'm glad you liked the wall prank! I had a lot of fun coming up with those :D And it's so great to hear that the plot is interesting so far.

You know, I had originally written the second prank with the dragon spitting paint (hence why Filch was so angry for the rest of the day) and then I changed it because it seemed like too much, but I didn't change the bit about Filch. So you're right, I will need to go back and tweak a few sections. Gah, these old, early chapters have so many problems :S thanks for pointing that out though.

As for Melanie and Remus. only time will tell I guess ;) At this point they're not quite friends because they don't trust each other but I'm glad you liked their conversation!

Thanks for your wonderful review!


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Review #75, by CambAngststanding in the way of the light: a series of trials.

30th April 2014:
Hi, Kiana!

I saw you post a link to this on the forums and when you mentioned that it was a really long one-shot, I wanted to check it out. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing.

I loved the story-telling technique you used here. Alternating back and forth between past and present, on either side of the event that permanently changed Astoria's life. I could see some analogues between the moments that followed one another, small similarities in theme or substance. All in all, it was very well put together.

I'm trying a new technique here: constructive criticism in the middle, like a sandwich. There's some editing that still needs to be done on this. Nothing too egregious, especially considering the length of the piece, but I spotted a number of little things like you're/your, to/too and a missing word or two.

The actual story you tell is so heart-breaking. Astoria is trapped in one of these star-crossed lives where everyone she cares for seems to leave her. Her mother's story was the worst. I had a great aunt who lived a similar life with my great uncle, although to a lesser extent. She died a death of 1,000 cuts, having her self-confidence, her self-worth and eventually her self-determination gradually chipped away by his constant criticism and devaluation of her. He spent all their money, she made excuses for him. He had affairs, she pretended it wasn't happening. It's a horrible way to watch a person go, slowly but surely. I felt so terrible for both Astoria and her mother. When she finally puts her father in his place, I wanted to hug her and jump up and down and celebrate. But it was too late...

Poor Lavender never emotionally recovered from being attacked by Greyback, I see. It makes sense. It's also horrible to imagine that probably be bravest night of her life completely destroyed her. The way she finally succumbs is horrible.

This story was so sad, but I did see perhaps a hint of hope between Draco and Astoria at the end. I find myself wishing the best for both of them.

You did a really amazing job with this. It's long, but it's full of emotion and feeling throughout. Your descriptions are vivid and beautifully worded.

Good luck with your challenge!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Thanks for stopping by it means so much to me, and yay, I actually found another fan of long one-shots!

I'm glad you liked the story-telling technique, as I felt inspired by the quote as Khaled Hosseini always tells it in a structurally different way, so I thought I would try my hand at it here and it was actually a ton of fun to do!

Thank you for pointing them out, it was sort of a panic edit as I needed to get it in for the challenge deadline, but luckily Nadia's extended it now, so I can sort them out after responding to this!

Yes, again, the story was influenced by Khaled Hosseini, as he always writes about the not so nice aspects of life which others tend to shy away from sometimes, so I really wanted to explore a life which never went well, and how that can happen to people too. I'm so sorry to hear about your great aunt too, I sadly have family members who do that to others so it's never a nice thing to witness, but writing this helped me understand how the victim felt a lot more. I know, I wanted to hug her too, because while we always think just fight back, it takes an awful lot of courage to do so, so I felt so proud of her for doing that, but then it didn't work out in the end.

I know, I am rather awful to Lavender because I never allow her to recover from the attack, but I think when you have physical as well as mental scars from an attack it just makes it so much harder to deal with, so you can sort of see why Lavender went down that path.

Yeah, I needed one bit of happiness, plus I love this ship thanks to Detox, so I had to include it, even if it was right at the end! Thanks for this amazing review, it's still making me smile so much and it means so much for me to hear you say this!

-Kiana


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