Reading Reviews From Member: monstrosity
  
55 Reviews Found

Review #1, by monstrosityTwo Words: Cold

18th October 2014:
Bah, humbug!

Sorry, I was just trying out new openings, but I don't think that one was quite up to the mark. Anyway, so apparently I was summoned from the dead to read this story, so I had an inkling that it was one worth reading. I guess I was right.

I must thank you, first, for a mercifully short story. I'm not too good at reading things, one the account of my eyes being in my head and my head...not exactly on my body.

I've always liked stories that are backwards. It reminds me of my head, which is always judged for not being where heads normally are. So what if the entire human population prefers to have it fastened on to their shoulders? I like carrying mine around in my hands, thank you very much. It's nice to see that some people do have a taste for the unconventional.

I do, unfortunately, have two problems with this story, and it pains me to have to point them out. Firstly, the fact that despite tons of people dying in this story, not one of them had their heads chopped off. It's a little disappointing to see that now that magic has come into fashion, people are using all sort of fancy spells to get things done. I know it's much cleaner and quicker, but...WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOOD OLD AXE, EH?

(sighs)

The other problem I have is that there isn't enough pie in this story. This is a question I get all the time:

"But Ned, how am I supposed to mention pie in a story filled with horror and murder?"

The answer is simple: use the power of subtlety. It's a complicated art to master, but surely someone who has the talent to write a story backwards would be able to do it. Let me give you an example using your own story.

"Rose Weasley is in her kitchen, cooking a delicious pie. it is cherry pie, the kind that attracts murderers from the neighboring continent. She can't really blame them, cherry pie does smell like heaven. There comes a thunderous crash from the direction of the front door. She's about to tell the intruder that the pie will be ready in fifteen minutes, when Draco Malfoy steps in. Five minutes later, Rose Weasley has crumbled to the ground and the pie has been left to burn in the oven, the biggest tragedy of all."

See what I mean? It's as easy as pie.

Anyway, this was a fairly interesting story and while I don't agree with the main character for killing his dad over the death of his wife ( I mean, if it was over pie, then that would be perfectly understandable) revenge certainly does have a beauty to it.

Happy Halloween!
Ned the Headless Horseman

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Review #2, by monstrosityMerlin! Stupid. What?: Brave

30th September 2014:
Hello Kevin!

Sorry for the delay, but I'm finally here for the review exchange! This was such heartwarming story and I had a lot of fun reading it.

The one thing that I really admire about the story is that you seem to retain the characters' personalities as they were described in the book. Of course, Hannah wasn't described enough to really give us a feel of who she was like, but I think that your interpretation of her was realistic. As for Neville, I really love that you did not make him Harry Potter 2.0 after the war as some writers tend to do. You made him retain that tiny bit of awkwardness that he is famous for and I think you painted quite a genuine picture of what life after Hogwarts could be like. Not everyone in the Dumbledore's army would have skyrocketed to fame and fortune after the war and Neville, irrespective of his heroic actions, could equally have a hard time finding a job that appeals to him.

Going a bit deeper into the characterisation of Neville in this story, I loved how the readers get a preview of the monologue in his head, especially when he was trying to follow Ginny's advice and failing miserably. It was the tiny things, I suppose, like the inability to have a normal conversation with Hannah without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious that really gave another dimension to his character. As the chapter is rightly christened, he managed to finally get over his nerves and, with a huge amount of courage, do what he always wanted. I also enjoyed how in your summary you sort of made a comparison between the bravery required to fight a battle and the bravery required to confess his love. It's funny how the amount is pretty much the same in both situations, right? ;)

Another character which you portrayed pretty accurately was Romilda Vane. I think that was probably the best comic relief I've read and really balanced out some of the romantic parts in the story.

I think that this is pretty good for someone who has never written pure romance before (although, to be honest, I'm not an expert at it either so I would not really know) because it flowed really elegantly without extending the really romantic bits until they became really sticky and unnatural. Your writing style is awesome as always, I guess irrespective of which genre you decided to take up :)

Hannah is somewhat of an OC because you were practically allowed to take your own perspective of who she is. I really liked her character, maybe even a tiny bit more than Neville, because she sort of comes across as a girl who is constantly getting the worst of everything and yet managing to stay strong and hope for the better. She's what I would call a typical Rowling heroine- a girl with a good, visible mix of flaws and strengths. She is witty, determined and not afraid to say it like it is. I honestly think that she's a perfect match for the Neville you've portrayed.

Lastly, I found the 'There he is again' utterly adorable. It's like one of those little catchphrases that sounds really ordinary to anyone else, but contains so many memories for the two of them. Really Kevin, you're on the John Green level in terms of writing romance, which is a great thing, trust me!

Overall, it's a wonderful piece that is short, sweet and thoroughly engrossing. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to read it and apologies for the delay!

Author's Response: Sathya! I am incredibly sorry about the delay in responding! This was an incredible review to get in the middle of an insane week and it's really just now that I've gotten the time to sit down and give it the response it deserves.

I'm really glad that you liked the characterizations. I definitely wanted Neville to come across as not completely changed from the character we knew. Obviously he made great strides by the end of the series, but I felt like he would never COMPLETELY leave behind that nervous, awkward kid who could still find bravery within himself from PS/SS.

I think for me that's part of the appeal of Neville/Hannah (a ship I like a lot). Imagining Neville that way makes them even more complementary for me because while Hannah can help Neville be a bit less shy and socially awkward, Neville can help her find the strength and self-belief to achieve what she's really capable of. People seem to only focus on the "cool factor" of Hannah becoming landlady of the Leaky Cauldron, but it would actually be an incredibly tough gig and take someone with a special blend to pull it off and I like to think Neville had a part in helping Hannah discover that in herself.

With the bravery comparison, what's interesting is that I think in many ways confessing love is braver than fighting a battle. In reality I suppose they're just different KINDS of bravery, but it seems to me that in battle, you have less choice about whether to fight. Often your life is on the line and you don't have another option, as retreating is just as likely to get you killed. In love though there's no such pressure. You could hold it in your entire life and the only thing you've lost is a shot at something that might never have happened. But if you admit it and your feelings are unrequited it's really gutting and often unrecoverable from in terms of keeping a relationship with the person (if you had one before).

The compliments at the end - the Hannah characterization, the writing style, good Lord the comparisons to a much loved published author - you are WAY too kind!

I'm really glad you liked the story though! Thanks so much for your wonderful, detailed, and thoughtful review!


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Review #3, by monstrosityForever Young: One

7th September 2014:
Hello!

I'm terribly sorry for how long this took, especially after the fabulous review you left on my story! Nevertheless, here's my review for the Gryffindor August Review Exchange! (I'm hoping that I've got the right story, correct me if I have not.)

The Marauders era is probably my favourite of them all (although sadly, I've never been very talented at writing in it) and when I saw the story, there was a little bit of squealing in my head. You clearly can pull of an amazing story in this era and one that I had immense pleasure reading.

Firstly, the length. One thing that I tell every writer who has attempted the Every Word Counts' challenge is that they are a master of concise writing. I mean, you used those five hundred words so cleverly, infusing the right amount of emotion that left me dumbfounded by the time I reached the end. I get the sense that this is Harry looking at a photo album, which is such a great idea, since it gives you the excuse to move as quickly with the story as you did. Short stories like this one have to move at such a rapid pace to cover so much ground and you managed to do that really well. I never got the sense that things were rushed, despite the fact that you were jumping past years of content to get to the end of the story. Fantastic job, hun!

Secondly, the idea of never growing up. I think that what you meant was that James Potter would forever be frozen at the age of 21, while his son would continue to get older. While you have not mentioned how old Harry is when he does look at the album, I think it could be taken in so many ways. The seventeen year old Harry, hardened by war and all the responsibility he had to shoulder would look at his father's playfulness as something of the past. The adult Harry (adult here used in terms of age and not maturity) would consider his father's behaviour on the borderline of childish, which would lead back to your opening line.

The story is unique in the sense that it provides Harry's perspective to his father's behaviour, something that I do not usually see in stories. Yes, we know that James was a wild child, but from his friends' or family's perspective, not his son's.

Your writing style is amazing, to be honest. The subtle details like how Lily admonished James when she was secretly amused or how Sirius was more concerned about his hair than his suit add depth to the story. The thing is, you've managed to convey in one sentence what I probably could not do in a paragraph!

Honestly, you should not have any problems about whether you like this story or not, because it's a brilliant piece of writing. It builds a connect with the reader in the sense that they travel with Harry into the past, they see the photograph and Harry's reaction to it. It shows how pictures speak thousands of words.

Finally, that ending. Seriously, is this 'Let us kill Sathya's feels day?' because I'm still reeling from that sentence. Issue a warning before you do something like that, for Merlin's sake ;) To be honest, I think that was what really clinched the story and the drama of it all really made an impact for me.

Overall, I think it is a really well written story that kept me engrossed throughout. I'm so glad I got the opportunity to read and review it! My apologies once again for the delay!

-Sathya

Author's Response: Hey there! Seriously, don't worry about the delay, especially becayse this has to be one of the nicest reviews I've ever had! Thankyou so much! I know, Marauders is probably my favourite era to read and write in (I actually have two plunnies for the Marauders, and I'm working on one right now)because I love the characters so much, but there's always that slight hint of tragedy to them because of the time they live in. I always wish Harry could have known his parents, but photographs were the best he had, and I always imagined he'd try to glean as much of them as he could from those pictures.
I never really gave too much thought as to ho old Harry would be in this piece - that part of it honestly didn't occur to me once. However, the idea I was going for was the sort of amused exasperation of, "Seriously? You're still doing that?" and then the realisation of, "Of course he is. He'll never be anything else." To me, the factor of age didn;t really come into the thought process on this one, but it's nice to have someone pick up on it.
I do love my subtle details ;) I often like to put them in, whether it be an object, a sound, even a word choice, just to see if anyone picks up on them and comments on it - it becomes something of a game for me! I put one in another one-shot I did (An Eye For An Eye) that nobody's commented on yet, and I often wonder how long it'll take for people to point them out when I slip them in. Okay, new topic, because I'm starting to sound like a psychopath ;)
Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to hurt your feels, blame my fingers for what they typed! I often like to plan the ending sentence or two just after I write the first - it gives me something to work towards, and I'm often asucker for wnating to go out on a big dramatic line, or a really sad or emotional one, becuase I'm... eccentric when it comes to endings. I like them to be drama-filled becuase I'm evil like that :)


Thankyou so much for your review! It's onlt noon and my day has already been completely made! *insert big hug here*

awesomepotter xxx


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Review #4, by monstrosityLumiťre: Lumiťre

3rd August 2014:
Hello!

I was hoping for first review, but clearly Sian beat me to that :P I think it was because of the few minutes I spent fingerling over the song. Still, this was such an elegant story. The words flowed like water as you intermixed description and conversation. I've read Rose/Teddy before, but this was something new. You've never mentioned their names in the story and I think that it lends a sort of universality to the story. I mean, it could be any estranged couple that you could be talking about and I would promptly believe it.

I think you hint at one reason why their relationship couldn't work. The age gap was enormous. Eleven years between them is probably no joke. Still, I wondered what could have caused such a magical duo to unravel. Like I said before, the unclear could make any sort of tragedy fit into this and that's what so beautiful about this story. it could make a couple a hundred years into the future say,"You know, that totally happened to us."

I think one thing the interested me is the bubble you mentioned in the story. Now, maybe I'm just overanalyzing the situation (which is normal) but it feels like the two of them sort of live in this snippet of time, filled with all those memories that they've made. When they dance for probably the last time together in such a situation, it feels like the bubble is slowly vanishing. They are going to have to live in the world that everyone else does and the thought of that scares them massively.

Then the concept of Rose being a light could be interpreted in so many ways. She could be a driving force to get Teddy to where he wanted to be. Or a guiding light provided him with direction. Or just a ray of youth and hope that motivated Teddy, convincing him that no matter how bad things may seem, there's always a pathway to a better place. That was a fascinating idea to me.

It was wonderfully written, almost like poetry to me. I loved the Dr.Seuss reference. I really hope that this won't be you last Teddy/Rose story because i will be the first in a long line of protestors if it is!

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Review #5, by monstrosityHogwarts Reclaimed: Ravenclaw - Leonore

28th July 2014:
Hello!

More than the plot, which I love, it's the writing style used in this piece that I can't help but admire. While you never explicitly say that Kreacher's loyalties had changed until the very last line, the entire story moulds itself into that one message. Small things in here mean so much more.

(And this is where I start my huge analytical rant.) The sandwich is a request and the fact that Kreacher brings so much more than just the sandwich shows that whatever Harry asks him to do, he's willing to do it and exceed his master's expectations. It's the first sign that Kreacher is on Harry's side, without Harry having to force him to be so.

Then the fact that they share food as if they were equals, shows how Harry views Kreacher. I mean, Kreacher did play a role in instigating Sirius' death by not giving Harry's message to Sirius. For something like that, I would be hard-pressed to forgive Kreacher. Yet here, Harry not only forgives Kreacher, but treats him better than any other wizard. This shift in dynamics is just really sweet to watch.

Finally the message on Freedom. What I get from this story is that freedom is not defined as a situation where creatures don't have masters. Freedom all depends on how you use whatever you've got. It's a scary and unknown thing for Kreacher who, in a strange sense, found comfort in being subordinate to wizards because it was familiar. Yet, he realizes that freedom isn't something to be afraid of because he doesn't need to be given clothes to feel free. He can make his own choices as Harry's house elf. Out of his true support for his master, these choices would inevitably coincide with Harry's wants, but not because Harry forced him to do anything.

Overall it is a fantastically written piece that really showed the relationship between two characters in a different light. Great job, hun!

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Review #6, by monstrosityHogwarts Reclaimed: Hufflepuff - evil little devil

28th July 2014:
Hello!

I think this is the first time I've ever read a story with Victoire as a protagonist, mostly because I'm not a big fan of Victoire/Teddy. However, this story is just mind blowing. I'm amazed at how much character, passion and life you've given to one name in so few words.

I like how Victoire really does seem like victory personified. The boldness, the untamable spirit and the fact that she lives life to the fullest without losing her head. I love that she travels the world twice: once to experience it's beauty and the second time to preserve that beauty by helping its people out.

Bill sounds like someone every father should aspire to be. His advice really hit home and showed that this was the technique people used to move on from the war. Instead of wallowing in the guilt and pain of it all, make a change. Help someone in need. It's fantastic. I love how he fights for werewolf rights now that he's got a taste for the kind of social treatment they go through.

What really intrigues me is that Teddy and Victoire are both products of parents who've fought in the war and experienced pain. Yet these two are so full of life, living in such a carefree manner that nothing can get them down. I guess it really fits with the last two sentences of the story.

Overall, it's a really well written story and I'm glad I got the opportunity to read it!

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Review #7, by monstrosityHandle With Care: Meeting Charlie

18th July 2014:
Hello!

I'm on this marathon of reading Charlie stories and when finished this chapter I was more than a little upset that there were no more to read ;) You must update soon!

I liked how you split the story into two parts, which allowed you to go into Charlie's history a bit before coming to the protagonist. Plus, you didn't introduce Charlie from his own perspective, but instead you used Rita Skeeter to shed light on who Charlie was working for and where. I'm curious to see whether Rita is going to make another appearance later on in the story and what exactly her role to play is.

Charlie as a character is really well developed. You've subtly shown how much he's matured from the time he met Rita Skeeter to when he meets Lottie. He's less awkward in conversation and gives the aura of someone who's a professional in the field, knowing everything that has to be done and when. I'm sure you'll flesh him out even more in the future (especially with the whole wedding ring issue) so I can't wait to read more about him!

Lottie initially comes across as a stuck up little princess, what with the whole lugging suitcases and muggle transportation preferences. However, in due course of the chapter, I get to see how she's being judged on the basis of her last name and that she really cares about the dragons. She's just determined, confident and that, sadly, can be misinterpreted as vanity. She must be really bold to be wanting to travel all over the world for the sake of her cause. She's outspoken, daring and a really refreshing OC, in my opinion. I can't wait to see more of her in the future.

The inclusion of Alfie into the very first chapter along with his tragic backstory leads me to believe that he's going to have a pretty important role later in the story. Reason #4 that you need to update soon.

This last line was a clincher. It added a whole new dimension to the story. Who is Charlie married to? Is he still married or is that just something to remind him of a wife he had? Argh, now I really need you to update. PLEASE.

Right, so if you've actually read through this rant and ignored the number of times I said 'update' then perhaps you can understand just how great I think this story is. I really love the elements of humour, suspense and a little mystery that you've weaved into this chapter, making it a very good start!

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Review #8, by monstrosityBurning for His Love: 1.

18th July 2014:
Hey! Saw this link over at the forums and I couldn't resist checking it out. Charlie Weasley is probably my favourite of the family, although the twins come as a close second. I've never really read many slash fics before, but I have to hand it to you and other slash authors. The stories are always so elegantly written and this one is certainly no exception.

I really like how you've portrayed Charlie as this awkward but at the same time amazingly awesome teenager. I can relate to him about the failing classes part and having that one annoying best friend who cares so much about his academic performance. He has this whole innocent vibe about him that makes me want to wrap him up and sort of use him as a teddy bear. He doesn't seem to have much experience in the field of love, which makes the whole thing so much more entertaining! I'm glad that you've already mentioned his love for dragons and Care of Magical Creatures, it's a wonderful step in terms of character development.

Moving on, I like how you've mixed humour into the story, making sure that the whole romance theme doesn't become too concentrated. Some of my favourite bits were about Pince's selective hearing, how she lets Michael talk in the library and not Charlie. It's a sort of sarcastic humour, and I absolutely love it. Plus the bit about how Charlie's worried about what his mother might say against his slight prejudices regarding Hufflepuff, was adorable.

Linus is probably my favourite character in the story so far. He's so quirky, almost like a female Luna in that respect. I liked the headband obsession and how his emotions rapidly change so that it's impossible to predict what he's going to do next. It also gives my the feeling that I cannot completely figure out his character, unlike in the case of Charlie. Linus is a bit more opaque. I really loved the line where he introduces himself formally to Charlie :)

The whole talk about favourite colours gives me the feeling that this will be a key part of the plot in the future. I'm not sure why, but I'm suspecting that you're going to pull something on us readers involving this. It adds a bit of suspense for the readers, in addition of finding out where this relationship between Charlie and Linus is going to go!

Ah, Bill. Now, I have a little brother who constantly complains that I act just like Bill in the sense that I'm constantly checking up on what he does, how well he performs and apparently stick my nose into his life. While I'm sure Bill means well, he does turn out to be a bit cloying at times (don't tell my brother I said that!) and I'm pretty sure it's because of his newly attained status of Head Boy. I'm curious to see how this sub plot plays out as well.

Overall, I think it's a fantastic start. You've got a bit of grammatical/spelling errors here and there like this one: [You missed fish and chips friday. You never miss fish and chips thursday], but nothing that can't be fixed with a quick read. I'm so happy I clicked on this story; it's been a great pleasure to read!

Author's Response: I actually posted the wrong chapter! I mean, the writing, plot, and such are the same, but the grammatical/spelling errors were fixed in the one I was meaning to upload. I'm a bit hesitant to fix them because of the queue wait.

Also, I'm lazy.

Also, also, I don't think anyone really cares enough to spend the time to care for it(I mean, they'll pick up on it, but they'll probably wave it off. It's fanfiction, afterall).

YOU'RE SO LOVELY AND I WISH I COULD PUT YOU IN MY POCKET AND TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE!

That's a bit weird, sorry.

The thing about the films is that Charlie isn't in them and it definitely frustrated me. He was the sick one with long hair and tattoos. I'm so excited to create him into that.

Linus is my favourite too (shhh, don't tell them). Mostly because I did base him off of Luna and Luna is a legend. Plus he's an important catalyst and love interest. Sooo he's kind of important.

As for slash fics, I've noticed there aren't a lot on this site. There's something of a bias? I think? Next Gen and Marauder fics are favoured, for sure. I have nearly six reads for this fic; whereas, when I posted this on a different site, I got hundreds within a day. A bit disappointing since I like this community of writers.

BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE IT BECAUSE IT'S ONLY BEGUN AND YOU'RE A GOOD MOTIVATOR!


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Review #9, by monstrosityThe Firework-Maker's Daughter: Songbird

8th July 2014:
Hello!

Aah, I think it's rare that we see a story from the perspective of a bird, a magical one no less. While the plot itself was rather simple, I think by you filling it with lovely description and characterization it formed a really awesome story.

I like how you took a bird that is actually canon and incorporated it into your story. I had to look up what a fwooper was and I had no idea it was part of the Harry Potter World. The way you coupled it's longing to go back to Africa to see its children and the bird's keen observation skills, you've developed an animal better than some people develop human characters!

Roxanne is a darling, and probably the savior of humanity, being one of the few who care about the plight of birds. I like how you portrayed her childlike innocence and showed that despite her lack of experience, she can still do the right thing. You don't have to be a trained professional to be concerned about the way animals are begin treated. A child can prove to be equally, if not more, impactful.

I think she showed a bit of her father's spirit by breaking into the store. And while you call her the Fire-work Maker's daughter (at least I suspect that's who you were referring to) Roxanne is more of a fire cracker herself. I think both the fwooper and her make an interesting team- one matured by the advent of motherhood and now with the ability to drive people insane, and the other a plucky girl who doesn't let anything stop her from getting what she wants. It'll be really interesting to see where this story leads!

Overall, I'm astounded by the way you've so easily managed to weave an entire chapter from a bird's view. It flowed really well and was utterly enjoyable to read.

-Sathya
HouseCup 2014 Educational Decree #4

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Review #10, by monstrosityFix: Fix

17th June 2014:
Hello!

First of all, I am totally amazed at the perspective you chose to write this story from. While every entry for the Gryffindor Writing Challenge was focused around Pansy, I'm in awe of the unique twist you added to it. If I were in your position, I would have totally messed up the I's and You's.

In my opinion, it's much harder to write a short story than a long one. The author is forced to cram everything into a small amount of words and make sure the reader gets the main point of the story. It's supremely hard to pull off and the fact that you've even managed to attempt it is a display of Gryffindor bravery.

It's a really action packed story, things just move so fast that it's almost as if I'm jogging throughout the scene. It's impossible to lose interest, really. I love the subtle ways you insert the key words given so that it doesn't hinder the flow. Rather, the story moulds its way around it.

Really, the only suggestion I could give you (and trust me, I'm not the best suggestion giver) is that the bit about Hermione seems a little abrupt. While it does add a rather shocking turn to the events, perhaps elaborating on her role a bit more, without revealing her until the end, could enhance the reader's surprise. Just a thought.

Also, I wasn't too sure where Draco was in this whole scene. Was he in the office or just observing Pansy from a distance. If so, how was he able to see what was happening both inside and outside the room?

That being said, some of the lines you've used are simply amazing I particularly liked 'Alas, you are not patient. You do not let things go. Only me.' because I felt the excellent use of short sentences really punched the message to the gut. Wonderful job.

Overall, it's a lovely story that I had a lot of fun reading! Good luck for the challenge!

-Sathya

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Review #11, by monstrosityObsession: Obsession

14th June 2014:
Hello Lauren!

My, I'm regretting taking so long to come and review this story. The writing is absolutely wonderful, flowing through my fingers like silk. How DO you do it?

I find it strangely coincidental that all four entries of the writing challenge are focused on Pansy, but it's amazing to see how many different ways you can interpret a character. This one is unique in the sense that you focus on Pansy's obsession with Draco, something which she'd rather not have. Most stories I've read here talk about how they are really in love and all that, but this one's a pure addiction in Pansy's case. Something which once she starts it's difficult to stop, because it's beyond her control at this point.

The first thing that I found was amazing about your story was the description. It obviously plays a huge role in the story seeing that there's one word of conversation and that's it. Description is what pushes the story forward, curling around the plot so wonderfully. From the couch, to her emotions considering Draco, to the emotions of the house-elf, it was all so palpable. I seriously envy your writing style right now.

Pansy's such a complicated character in this story, built with so many levels to her. You have the innocent girl who still believes, hopes, that Draco will love her as much as she obsesses over him. Then the girl full of anger and bitterness at being sidelined for someone else. Then the dangerously cool, collective woman who knowing that this is a pain she would not get over, allows for her memories to be removed. It's a whole bunch of personalities rolled into one that really makes my mind whirl at the thought of it. You've proved that every human being, even one commonly labelled as an obsessive girl, has many facets to them and judging them on one particular part of their character can never be an accurate judgment.

To be honest, I kind of saw the wedding invitation coming before hand, but I'm generally the overanalyzing sort (as you can probably see from this review) so I'm sure it was a surprise for other people. I personally found it a great way to tie up the story without a dragging conclusion. You've already ended Pansy's part on a very dramatic note, but the story did need a good closing and the invitation managed to do that.

Overall, it was a lovely story to read, rich and full of emotions. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it and good luck for the challenge!

-Sathya

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Review #12, by monstrosityPorcelain Marionette: Dance

14th June 2014:
Hello Kevin!

I'm embarking on a 'review all the writing challenge entries' quest, a bit late considering when the rest of the reviews are at least ten days old. Oh well, I'm here now, right?

I've actually just finished reading Sian's story and took quite the double-take when it came to yours. Still, Pansy being the main character is really all you two have in common when it comes to plots. Oh, and forgetfulness, that's a big one.

What was really new about this story was how you incorporated those lessons Pansy and Astoria learned...and how they followed them to the end. Even Astoria, a much weaker character than Pansy did embrace her weakness, just not in the way most people would expect her to. Those sentences in italics really provided the backbone for the story to be built upon. In fact, seeing that Pansy is the Porcelain Marionette, those lessons are the stings that suspend her, control her every move.

Come to think of it, the pureblood society is a Porcelain Marionette, dancing to their ideals of blood purity and cold courteousness. Especially Pansy mentioned that everything Blaise did was so predictable. It's only until someone like Astoria cuts the stings that the reader realizes just how fragile the entire system it. Underneath all those jewels and presents, everyone's just a plain backstabber in the end. Ah, what a wonderful thought of reducing the highest in society to petty criminals, fighting over the commonest issues. It's like the kings and queens actually just peasants in disguise.

John Green once said, 'What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.' and I think it best applies to this story. I mean you have Astoria and Pansy both consider Draco this embodiment of what an ideal pureblood husband should be when he's nothing more than a really self-absorbed idiot. Then the entire community considers purebloods high in society, the epitome of power and control, when in reality there just like everybody else with their own insecurities and wishes.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned queens somewhere in the middle of this rant and that brings me to the topic of Pansy's personality. She's this perfect pureblood, following all the rules and thus when Astoria implies that Pansy is so strong, it threw me off for a moment. Yes, Pansy's very opinionated, but she's never come across as strong to me. she's always more susceptible to what other people say. She's bowled over by that crown, stumped by Draco calling her the best thing in the house and generally coming off as very inexperienced when it comes to matters of the heart.

Then I wondered whether it was her determination to follow every rule no matter how painful it was that made her seem to resilient. Or to not lose her cool when Astoria was waving her wand about and crying. Really, I did find some respect for Pansy after that. Also, the moment when she wants bigger things in her professional life than posting letters. You kind of showed two different sides to Pansy's personality, and two definitions of strong, that while she's this majestic queen of a girl, she's also young and unaware of certain things about life- that love isn't always as sugarcoated as it seems.

*Takes a breath* To sum it up, it's a very well written story. I feel that the conversations were especially good, managing to change pace in accordance to the story. From idle chit-chat, to massive confrontation, you kept me glued to the screen. Awesome job and good luck for the challenge!

-Sathya

Author's Response: Sathya! Thank you for the very detailed and well-thought out review!

Isn't it crazy that we ALL wrote about Pansy?! I couldn't believe it. And they all turned out quite different in terms of plot and style and everything, but were all so well done. Wild.

My main aim with my story was to give Pansy more complexity, partly by addressing WHY she is the way she is - which of course is where the exploration of pureblood society came in first.

I'm definitely glad you liked the little "lessons" aspect. They were a bit challenging to incorporate as the story progressed, but hopefully I pulled that off. I wanted them to be fairly short, almost cult-like mantras that Pansy and other pureblood witches would have been indoctrinated with (though in my head canon there are similar mantras for pureblood wizards).

I also loved what you took away from the title. My hope was that someone would find how Pansy's character and the last bit about strength tied in with what is really a larger fragility. In terms of strength, I have actually always viewed Pansy as strong in the sense of how I think purebloods would consider the word. She's very determined to further their culture and ideals (and herself) but also SO proper in their circles because she's so confined by it. Hewing to tradition, suppressing displays of emotion (other than cold ones), etc. And indeed the crux of it is that she has achieved this ability to endure suffering while maintaining her determination to excel and to control her emotions when most others would break. Yet at the same time, as you say, Pansy is still naive in the sense that she still doesn't understand that these lessons and her upbringing and traditional pureblood ideology have controlled and are controlling her life. That while she appears perfect, like flawless porcelain, to herself and her insular little world - she is really just a puppet.

The thing I do still hope came across despite leaving their coming-together out of the story, is that as she did to Pansy, Astoria manipulated Draco. My vision for that aspect, left unexpressed because I wanted to focus more on Pansy, is really that Draco never actually broke up with Pansy. Astoria engineered it so they remembered each breaking up with the other in what they would view as the worst way possible - preventing them from ever discussing things and uncovering her elaborate scheme, which was itself based on her decision to embrace her weakness. Perhaps there's room for that in an Astoria POV that is a sort of companion to this. Who knows.

Above all though, thank you so much again for the review! I'm glad you liked the story!


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Review #13, by monstrosityAnamnesis: Anamnesis

14th June 2014:
Hello Sian!

I've decided to review all the Gryffindor Writing Challenge entries and yours is the first one on my list. I really love it when writers use fan fiction as a way to provide a backstory to a minor character and giving readers an alternate view to the people they thought were pure evil.

I've always thought of Pansy as an enigma of sorts in the series simply because JK makes her presence known, but doesn't give her much to do apart from being nasty to others.

You certainly have the knack for coming up with tragic backstories. I could have never seen this one coming. Three families? Poor girl, but you've never actually made her to be pitiful, which something I really liked. She's always been so strong (or numb) to really focus on the grief that it gives her. I can't stand reading resilient characters dissolved into puddles of tears so this works out well for me too.

What I've always liked about your writing, having read a bunch of your previous stories is that subtleness is always more. What I mean by that confusing statement is that you develop Pansy's character without specifically stating the obvious. For example, Pansy was bossy, but instead of saying it like that, you mentioned that toy kitchen where she was ordering her friend around. That gave you an opportunity to link the cause for her behavior as well, making her much more realistic.

One thing I really have to commend you on is for you use of short sentences. It's a very tricky skill to know when to use them and how not to overdo it and I feel that you've pulled it off flawlessly. You've managed to draw the reader's attention to the right places and wham! you give them a bucket load of feels. I think the best line to quote here would be...every short sentence you've written. Argh, they're all so good it's extremely hard to choose one. I hope you've got my point here, though.

Finally coming to the whole concept of forgetfulness. In every instance, from the rememberall to the name Letha (coming from the river Lethe, is that right?) all Pansy wants to do is to forget her past and reinvent herself into this perfect character from a perfect family.

Yet, as per the title, she can't help but recollect. Her past begins to haunt her when loose ends begin to tie up, like that one line where you compared her to her mother about not caring. It sort of hinted at an inevitable fate, that no matter how strong Pansy was, she would still end up like her mother. That's just really scary.

It's funny how Pansy has nothing to hold onto in the end except for her painful memories.

Anyway, marvelous writing as per usual! The story flow was excellent despite the fact that you were rapidly jumping from one moment to the other. The ending was great, making the connection of Pansy to the flower of forgetfulness is just a great way of pushing your main point to the spotlight. Amazing story and good luck for the challenge!

-Sathya

Author's Response: Hey Sathya!

You're so great for reviewing all of these stories for the challenge! I really enjoyed writing this actually; I love bringing out another side to a character that we haven't seen and Pansy was definitely someone who interested me from the books.

Yes, I like tragedy and angst far too much, I think :P I definitely don't make things easy for my characters! I didn't see Pansy as the sort of character who'd let herself be beaten by the circumstances she found herself in and tried her best to live through it all. Wow, that's such a compliment! Thank you for saying that - I try to show rather than tell and be more subtle in my storytelling but it's great to know that I managed it here!

One of my personal challenges in writing this story was to make it a lot shorter than the majority of my more recent one-shots, so I'm glad that you liked the impact of the short sentences and that they made you feel something!

When I looked up what pansies represented, that's when the concept for my story grew, especially with the prompt of the remembrall. I'm so glad that you liked it and the idea that she wanted to forget and reinvent herself even though she couldn't. I'm pleased you liked the ending as well, and the way that it tied up with the beginning.

Thank you so much for this amazing review!


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Review #14, by monstrosityThe Yellow Incident: The Green Incident?

14th May 2014:
WHY HAVEN'T I REVIEWED THIS EARLIER?!

Ahem, be prepared for a really long ramble. The first story I read of yours (which was also the first story I reviewed ever) was Puncture where you wrote in Second POV too. I thought that was the limit, the highest sort of work anyone on here could achieve. Then, with this story, you proved me wrong. Hooray...here are my feels :'(

Gellert is always portrayed to be the worst sort of villain (apart from Voldemort) and to see you take a realistic spin on him is amazing. It really is a glimpse into his mid to show that even the people we think are most evil are after all human as well.

I like how you never really mention Gellert explicitly loving Ariana but by his thoughts and actions it's portrayed better than plain words ever could. Those small details really clinch it, in my opinion. I never knew how much depth one sentence could possess until I read 'she was only fourteen'. It can be interpreted in so many angles, conveying Gellert's infatuation, sheer irritation with himself, Ariana's youth and innocence. Four words, dammit.

Other sentences were equally brilliant. 'She was so young she was almost old' and 'She was simply Ariana, and you her Yellow' are ones that I think I'll never forget.

The way you don't write, but show character emotion is truly outstanding. Albus' jealousy, Aberforth's anger and Gellert rapid mood swings. They're also so vivid that my head is practically reeling from the impact right now.

Finally the whole concept of yellow. From what I gather, yellow is a colour generally reserved for sunshine and victory and happiness, things Gellert never really possessed. Hence the fact that Ariana calls him Yellow shows her ability to find goodness in everyone no matter how deep she has to delve to find it. It's practically heartbreaking to see her try and develop a relationship with him only to be met with cool indifference and, on occasion, anger. Still, she perseveres, right until her death. It's tragically beautiful.

From what I gather, memories seem to be the worst sort of punishment for Gellert here. He doesn't seem to mind the prison as much as he's constantly reminded of what he put Albus and Ariana throughout. That letter was just breath taking. You could have easily overstepped the line and turned into a soppy tearstained affair, but you managed to retain Gellert's original character and not transform him into something completely unrecognizable.

That last para was just...oomph. I don't know how to describe it, so I'm going to just stick with that. How she should have called him green because he just kills everybody around him. Oh my gosh Nadia it's just...I can't even wrap my mind around it. Gellert's just a broken shadow of a man now. I want to hug him...is that a bad thing?

As per usual, your writing is just awesome and makes my self confidence take a nose-dive. I will get there one day, but I'm sure by then you'll be skyrocketing upwards to greater heights. This just grabs hold of my heart and squishes it into pulp. Brilliantly done, hun!

-Sathya

Author's Response: SATHYA OMG HI HI HI!

Whaaat. What are you even saying because I assure you there are so many other writers on this site that are FLAWLESS and their stories are so amazing and you are just way way way too kind to me and I want to just die gah.

Haha, I guess it's like of like the whole Sirius movie quote, about the world being split into good people and bad people. Everyone has good and bad in them, and so did Gellert. He was the ultimate manipulator and just really wanted something really really bad.

"Four words dammit" LOL *hugs super duper tightly so ribs break like Hagrid's hugsss* what are you even DOING to me Sathya oh my god *hugs*

"The way I don't write" SEE, FINALLY, SOMEONE WHO SEES AND UNDERSTANDS MY WRITING. I DON'T WRITE, EVER. I'm way too lazy to write. There are so many scenes for this fic in my brain but unwritten because lazy.

Omg, the way you talk about the whole Yellow concept makes me want to cry because I sort of meant it in that way and you picked it out and wahh seriously, I will cry if you continue to say such nice things to me.

Haha, that's funny because the letter was a tearstained affair until Sian was like, "ew Nadia that's so girly" and I cropped out half of it :P Glad that was a good move!

Nah, I'd want to hug him too (mainly because he is a hottie pants in the movies!!!) ♥

///
WAIT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
CAN YOU PLEASE NOT. ♥
HEY HEY HEY.
YOU WRITE MUCH BETTER THAN ME YO.
STOP./// I WILL PERSONALLY FIND YOU AND KILL YOU IF YOU EVER SAY THAT AGAIN AND WHAT IS THIS "makes my self confidence take a nose-dive" sorcery LIKE NO NO NO. ♥
damn.
I think I am crying now.

THANK YOU THANK YOU. ♥ ♥ ♥


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Review #15, by monstrositySpread Your Wings: Chapter 1.

14th May 2014:
Hey review exchange partner! (I think I waved too wildly at the screen and now my family thinks I'm weirder than normal.)

Ah, I love these friendship stories. They're so fluffy and warm and never fail to make me smile. This one is certainly no exception. I like the sort of easy relationship that Lily and Annie have. I have personally never dropped anything to go to someone's aid as quickly as that, which makes me awe the sort of person Annie is.

What I have deduced about Annie so far is that she's too nice for her own good. Really, just agreeing to go on a date with a person you've never met before, taking into account her supposed lack of experience? She must really love her best friend :P Either that, or Lily must be very persuasive. I'm guessing it's a mixture of the two.

Some of the lines in here are just hilarious, especially the ones where Lily's begging Annie to join her. I like how the story flows with a steady ambling pace so that it's really simple to follow. It's something I would really love to read when I'm relaxing or just before bed (which, incidentally, is what I'm doing). It's not something like a detective story where my mind is just flooded with possibilities and yet this story does have it's own element of suspense. I can't wait to see how you've portrayed the twins and how the date is going to go!

I love the whole father daughter relationship Annie has, which seems to be much closer than usual, perhaps due to the absence of Annie's mother. I mean, I would never have the guts to tell my father that I'm supposed to be going on a date out of the blue with a person I don't know. Nor would he find it amusing. Yet, obviously Annie's father has a lot of trust and confidence in her, which only adds other elements to Annie's personality: she's trustworthy and practical.

Lily and Annie, while they are really close, seem to be almost opposites. Lily is infinitely more outgoing, headstrong and not so nervous. The combination of different personalities between her and Annie is a perfect blend. I know can see why the phrase opposites attract cropped up, even in the case of friendship.

The only sort of constructive criticism I could give you (trust me, I'm really bad at this bit) is to expand on the situation a little more. Things are a little bit too fleeting. When you mention James, go a little bit deeper into Annie's relationship with him. Does he usually creep up on the two of them. Has Annie embarrassed herself in front of Lily's family before? Granted it's the first paragraph and things can't be dragging, but perhaps just a smidgen more of detail.
It would also help if you added a little more description, just so that the reader can get a better mental image of the whole scene.

Overall, though, it's a lovely story to read. You've nailed conversation, which can be very tricky to do, and made it a witty lighthearted banter that really puts the readers in a good mood. Great job, hun!

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Review #16, by monstrosityApogee: Waxing Crescent

18th April 2014:
Hello Kevin! *waves enthusiastically*

I love Remus Lupin stories and when I saw this one I couldn't resist checking it out. I'm so glad I did!

You are definitely right in saying that it's extremely difficult to capture a character in the last 24 hours of his life. You begin with his insecurities, as a father and as a werewolf. You aptly describe his helplessness in dealing with Teddy in a way that is almost amusing. I pity the poor guy, he isn't used to people loving him the way Dora does. He's so used to being called inferior that even in a place where he's loved and treasured he still feels that way. Slowly, as the story progresses, he really grows into a stronger person. It's not that he was changing his character or anything, it was more like evoking a latent fighter within him. He had been running for so long and now it was time to fight.

You've shown Dora as a more carefree person, not tied down by the worry Remus is facing. Or even if she is worried she's an expert at hiding it. Instead, she smiling with Teddy and generally enjoying the things a new mother would with her child. It's only towards the end that we see her fiery personality at its fullest. The readers get to know that her passion for fighting against evil and creating a better world for Teddy is just as great as Remus'. I think the exchange between the two when Remus is about to leave for the battle was probably the most emotional exchange between a couple I've read. Ever. It's just that there were no major proclamations of love, no dramatic kisses and yet the power of their words that translates into the love they have for one another is just unbelievable. The way Dora talks about Remus, insisting that he is just as important as everyone else, if not more. I've never been too big about Remus/Tonks but this story has heavily weakened my resolve against them.

Teddy was just adorable. I know how hard it is to write about babies and you just did a fantastic job. I love the little details about embarrassing him in the future in front of a possible girlfriend. It's something so typical of a father and completely shattering that Remus would never be able to do that. Curse you for being so capable of crushing the hearts of readers.

One thing which I really loved was the bit about Harry. Remus calls him James' son, never by his first name. It really made me think about how Remus perceived Harry, not only as the last chance the Wizarding World had, but as the last thing left of his beloved friend. It's heartbreaking to see how Remus desperately holds on to his best friend's memory, if not as openly as Sirius.

The last paragraph of your story is the one I enjoyed the most. To be honest I didn't really get the part where Remus says 'tell him about the moon'. Not until I got to the end and realized that aside from being a were wolf, Remus' personality is really entwined with the moon. He's full of scars, mentally and physically that run as deep as the craters on the moon. Yet he is the brightest thing in the night sky. While Sirius may be the brightest star, Remus was the moon closest to the Earth. Down to Earth, practical and filled with common sense. The similarities are startling and I'm left wondering why I didn't think of this before.

I absolutely adored these lines: Fought fiercely under shining stars and silvery moonlight, this battle would save our world. Though I would be remembered only amongst the fallen, it would be the linchpin of my legacy.

I felt that it truly showed Remus' strength during his last moments. Anyone could be lamenting about how they didn't have enough time with their wife or child but Remus thought about what they would remember him for. That in itself shows how magnificent he is. God, I think I'm going to cry.

Overall, this was a beautifully written piece filled with such powerful emotions. I'm so happy I got the opportunity to read this story and sorry for making you read through this rant. Half of it probably doesn't make sense but I just needed to put it out there. Anyway, I'll definitely be checking out more of your work as this one is just fantastic!

-Sathya

Author's Response: Howdy Sathya! Thank you so much for your incredibly detailed and thoughtful review! If it qualifies as a rant, I am definitely on board for more of them!

I am really glad that you ended up thinking the similarities between Lupin's character and the moon were real. When I wrote the line you mentioned, I was honestly pretty nervous that it would not come off right, people would think it was odd, etc., but so far it seems to have ended up well-received and I'm glad that it provoked you to think more about those similarities.

With the plot one of the craziest things for me was that I felt I needed to not just capture Lupin's complexity, but do so in a way that reasonably addressed Tonks and Teddy , his sacrifice, and of course his final moments. I really wrestled with it more too because I felt like I needed to make the story a one-shot, which I don't typically write, but I'm glad you thought I was successful. Perhaps I will try more of them in the future if for no other reason than to experiment with different things as a writer like I did with my foray into first-person here.

Most of all, I'm glad that you strongly felt the emotion behind the piece. Even more than the character stuff, I really wanted that to come through to readers so that the story was not just technically sound, but that people would actually connect with it and get an impact from it, so I am beyond thrilled that you did!

Thank you so much once again for the excellent review! It was awesome to wake up to and read first thing in my morning!

- Kevin


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Review #17, by monstrosityNever Too Late: Rest in Peace

18th April 2014:
Hello!
So a really really long time ago you requested a review and I, being the horrible person I am, have finally arrived to give it to you. I'm unbelievably sorry for how long it took for me to get here, I had to go on an unexpected hiatus and I totally understand if you never want to request for a review from me again.

Coming to your story, I think that it's definitely got the right amount of suspense to keep me reading. The plot is quite different from any other simply because while it's situated during the First Wizarding War, the protagonist's parents died soon after the war ended. You know, it never once occurred to me that they Death Eaters would rebel after the death of their leader. I sort of assumed that they would run into hiding. However, this violent out break is perfectly plausible and much more likely than my assumption.

I do have a couple of suggestions for you. You seem to be switching your tenses quite a bit. Here's an example:

I got out of the car and started walking up the small hill. It had stopped raining and the ground was very wet and muddy, with small puddles every other step. I didnít care. I kept going, puddles and muddy water donít make a difference to me.

I reach the top and stop. I look at the sky, gloomy, dull and gray and I feel exactly the same. Ι donít know if itís the sky reflecting my emotions, or if Iím reflecting the weather, but the connection is present and strong.

See? You started out with past tense and then moved into present. What I notice is that every time you delve into your protagonist's past, you tend to mix up the tenses. It's not a big deal and I'm sure with a quick read it can be fixed. Another slight issue is the POV. I see that you plan to tell the story from the First POV but somewhere in the middle you start using Second POV as well. While this certainly does involve the readers more, it adds a bit of inconsistency and sort of hampers the flow of the story.

One last tiny thing. I notice that you haven't included your protagonist's name anywhere in the chapter. While this does add a bit more intrigue to the chapter, I personally like it when the name is introduced at least halfway through the first chapter. Maybe that's just me, though.


Now that all the constructive criticism is out of the way, I can gush about that many bits that I loved. Some of your descriptions were BEAUTIFUL. I especially loved the bit about yellow walls and the universe laughing at her.

The one thing that truly impresses me is that, looking back, not much really happened in this chapter. It's about a girl entering a house she hasn't visited for five years. Yet the tiny details you include like the puddles and the shadows and the furniture really fill up the lack of action. All these details act like portkeys enabling the readers to travel into Rachel's past and effortlessly return to the present. Wonderful job, dear.

Another thing that I would like to commend you on is your use of short sentences. Short sentences are tricky to handle because if used in excess that can prove to be rather overbearing. However, I rather enjoyed some of the short sentences you included like how Harry and Rachel both became orphans that Halloween. The sheer power in that statement was mind-blowing, infinitely more effective than any longwinded explanation.

Overall, it's a really interesting story that I can't wait to see updated. I'm so curious as to know what Remus is doing in her house and the sort of relationship he and Rachel share. I hope that you found this review a bit useful and once again I'm extremely sorry for the delay!

-Sathya

Author's Response: Hello there! Thanks for reviewing and don't worry about taking a long time, it's absolutely no problem! I also take my time, with responding or updating or anything really, I understand, I'm never in a hurry! :P

First of all, I want to say that I will re-request a review for the next chapter just because you were so kind and helpful and the length of your review is unbelievable. It's so obvious that you put time and effort in reviewing and I appreciate it so much!

To my defense, English isn't my first language so I'm sorry for the grammar mistakes and any mistakes in general.
I see that I do have some trouble with the tenses. I haven't noticed it before, but people have been mentioning it and now I know.I'll try to fix it and be more careful in the future.

About the POV, I wasn't aware that it was a problem, or at least an issue for the reader. Thanks for mentioning it, I'll try to maybe make smoother transitions or change it completely. probably make it smoother, cause I like the changes. I'm planning to write the next chapter from a completely different POV and maybe it's too much. I'll be more careful about it, thank you.

I like that mystery of not knowing who the character is, especially since it's an original character and it's a total stranger to the reader. I actually like that to stories that I read myself.

Thank you for all your kind words and I'm very happy that there were small things in the story that you enjoyed. like the descriptions and the details about the house.I'm trying to improve and I've been told that I tend to skip descriptions and that I write really long sentences that make no sense, so I'm happy I could somehow change that and use the criticism in a constructive way!

Thank you so much for being so kind and helpful, really, I appreciate it!I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for reviewing!

-Vicky


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Review #18, by monstrositylow tide: a meditation

31st March 2014:
Hello!

This is just perfect. I can't imagine why no one hasn't reviewed this story already. The combination of the short sentences and second POV really just hit the plot home.

Byron, Keats and other romantic poets loved to connect every situation occurring to mankind to nature. They especially liked connecting death to the earth reclaiming us. For example in Byron's poem The Battle of Waterloo, he says how everyone on the battle field becomes clay or corpses, which the clay of the earth covers up again. I'm so glad that kind of writing still exists today. You and other authors really keep that legacy alive.

I liked how you mentioned algae on the beach dying. A lot of poets like to compare algae to life and to see you take an opposite stance is really interesting. It was also a fantastic way of introducing the characters without explicitly stating who they are. I just realized now (and I hastily went back to the story to check again) that you've never once mentioned George's name. I didn't even realize, which goes to show how naturally the story flowed. Wow.

The little memories that you included about Percy and Ron really show how much Fred meant to George. Fred is in everything George sees simply because there is a certain memory attached to it. I also love the way Angelina and Lee just sit and don't pressurize George to be happy and get better. They let him be and that's a sign of really great friends.

If it wasn't clear to you before, the story is rather like poetry (which is why I keep making annoying references to poets) in a sense that it has a sort of rhythmic flow to it (much like the waves and tides).

I think that your last line was probably the one that affected me the most. This is because I can make several interpretations of it (some of which will be so far fetched that you'll be rolling your eyes, I'm sure). A castle is like a protections, like a security blanket. I've always felt that Fred and George protected each other from everything. They were each other's guardians and without Fred, George feels all that security crumble.

Another interpretation is that George finally lets go of all that sadness associated with his twin and feels that its all a part of a circle of life and death. He finally lets the air, the sand and the water affect him. He comes out of his shell and his walls (i.e. castle) comes crumbling down.

Then again, it's probably emphasizing on the point you made above on the circle of life. The sand is reclaimed by the sea and deposited back on to the shore. There will life after Fred and death after Fred. Newer sand will be deposited on the shore over and over again.

If you've managed to read through all my rambling then congratulations, you have an amazing attention span! Not as amazing as this story, of course ;) In all seriousness, this is a great story that I had the pleasure of reading (and tearing to bits with my analogies) so thank you for taking the time to write it. Good luck with the challenge!

Author's Response: Wow, where do I begin?! This review is seriously amazing. ♡♡

A comparison to poets like Byron and Keats, wow thank you, what a huge compliment! I am not much of a poet to be honest which is why that means a lot to me - and I'm so glad you mentioned it flowed like the waves as that was my main intention in writing it!

You know, the smell of the ocean at low tide is actually one of my favorite smells - despite that it's really just dead, washed up algae. I've never heard of algae symbolizing life in poetry, that's really interesting. I'm going to have to go search for some of these poems now hehe.

I love - LOVE - all your interpretations at the end. I wrote it to be intentionally vague in that it could symbolise any or all of those things, how he is simultaneously coming to terms with death and the circular pattern of nature but still feeling his life crumble away - basically, everything you mentioned and I am so glad all of that came across and affected you and made you think. The fact that you went through the trouble of analyzing it in that way speaks a lot to me!

You pointed out all the subtle things I was hoping to convey in this piece, it's like you read my mind!

Thank you so, so much for this amazing and thoughtful review, I really appreciate it. ♥


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Review #19, by monstrosityTraitorous Hearts: A Changing Tide

31st March 2014:
Here for the review swap!

I was initially just going to review the first chapter (me being the laziest person in the world) but I started reading and I er, how do I put this politely? I WANT MORE!

I just love the whole grey situation in the story. You have two young people, both in a world where they are supposed to become adults and face horrors so soon. Yet they are smart and are able to think for themselves and question the values they are made to conform to. Astoria is obviously a more independent and renegade person than Draco due to the death of her mother and the ideals that her mother instilled within her. Draco initially comes across as a devout follower of the Dark Lord as well as a highly talented wizard.

However, within the short span of six chapters I can se character development in both of them. Astoria becomes a bit more relaxed after Draco reads her mind. She's no longer as well maintained and rigid as before. We get to see the real Astoria in action, with her guards somewhat lowered. As for Draco, he sort of develops a spine and us readers get to know a bit more about the things he thinks about. He's scared and a tiny bit confused as to what he's doing. He also hates people treating him as a weakling because of his age and demeanor. I can only imagine what a blow not being able to kill Dumbledore must have been for him, although I doubt he could have been able to live with himself if he had carried out the task.

Moving on from your brilliant protagonists, I really like how you introduce characters really subtly. For example, Snape coming in to heal Astoria where all you had to mention was the oily black hair and I knew who you were talking about. Your writing style is brilliant, it flows wonderfully. The use of high and polished language between Draco and Astoria clearly shows how forcedly civil the conversation is. The descriptions are gorgeous, my favourite one being the one of Draco's eyes *snickers*. Comparing Astoria's to water (first the Lake then a tide and so forth) are unusual and absolutely delightful for me to picture in my head. Sigh, you are so good at this. Please tell me that you write or are planning to write professionally. The world really needs to read stuff like this.

Oh and before I forget, thank you for making Astoria not the perfect spy in the world. I mean, I've read stories where these young kids are just brilliant at spying and know exactly what to do when. They're like these super sleuth robots or something. I really liked the whole wand mess up and the fact that Astoria does get scared for her dad's life. It makes her more realistic and relatable.

I sincerely hope that the next chapter will be up soon. I'm going to favourite the story so that I don't miss any updates. Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful story for me to read and review!

Author's Response: Hey! Sorry for the long wait on this response. Honestly, I appreciated your review so much that I wanted to really respond to it properly, and I fell into the "perfect chapter" trap. You know, when you put off writing your chapter because you feel like you're too tired/other excuses to write it well? I don't know if it happens to you, but it definitely does to me. Anyway, eventually I was like, "Okay, now I'm just procrastinating. Have some coffee and answer your reviews, child!" So, I did.

I am SO excited about this review. I couldn't stop smiling :D No, literally, my face is tired from excessive grinning. First off, the fact that you ended up reading it all the way through? That's like the best thing that you could tell me. Thank you so much!

I am delighted that you like the "greyness" of the story. That's what I really wanted to write--a story where people were complicated, where you don't always know what the "right" choice is. And I definitely wanted clever protagonists who would be aware of the nuances of their situation and could critically think about the difficulties they are navigating.

Astoria definitely comes into her own in this past chapter, and I'm glad that you made a note of it. I'm excited for people to see the real Astoria, which so far we've only caught glimpses of in flashbacks. But you're exactly right. Before, she was very controlled. The fact that she could maintain her composure and lie cooly says a lot about her, but not as much as her subsequent actions will, now that she's freed from having to pretend.

And Draco DID grow a spine! A little bit! Aren't you proud? ;) I really enjoy writing him, because he's interesting. We know the things he's done, but why did he do them? There's a lot of room for interpretation and exploration there that doesn't exist when writing the main trio.

Yay! I think you are the first person to mention Snape's cameo. I love including those little easter egg details.

And thank you for liking Astoria, even though she isn't a perfect spy. I mean, I love Astoria, and I wish she could always win at everything, but you're right--it isn't realistic. She's a better spy than anyone else her age would be, but she's also human, and 16, and dealing with some very difficult challenges. Plus, I wanted to really drive home that, beneath the often-icy exterior, she truly cares for her family.

Also, thank you for the myriad compliments sprinkled throughout this review, which have left me with ALL the warm-fuzzies in the world. I feel like a bunny slipper that's just come out of the dryer. :D Thank you so much for taking time to write this, which is definitely one of the loveliest reviews I have ever received. And just more thank you's, in general. Imagine thousands of them being tossed at you like handfuls of confetti. That? That miniature party right there? Those are my thanks ;)

--Penny


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Review #20, by monstrosityBedtime Stories: Bedtime Stories

13th March 2014:
Hi Lauren! Here for the Blackout Bingo, although I've been meaning to leave a review on this story for a while :) This the cutest plot ever! I really love the emphasis on the bond between a father and a daughter, it's not something touched upon too often here.

I can totally empathize with Ron on those fairytales. Barring a few, I really loath them all. The sticky sweet perfect endings are enough to make me sick. I can tell Rose felt the same way too!

Ron's characterization was absolutely stellar. You've portrayed him as a really doting father without loosing his character in the books. He's still that lovable dork with a ton of loyalty and all those lovely Gryffindor traits.

Although the retelling of the Battle of Hogwarts is primarily to keep Rose entertained, it does show the reader how much the Wizarding World has moved on after the war. If they can sit and joke and dramatize it now, then things must truly be better. It must be hard to pick up the pieces, but Ron seems to have done it and that again shows why he's such a true Gryffindor. He has no problems in saying 'Lord Voldemort' in front of his baby girl and that really shows how the past is slowly fading away. I really love the little editorials Ron adds into his retelling as well, like the barminess of Neville and his acting out of the fights. You've done an amazing job in mixing humor and memories together to make one awesome bedtime story!

I feel that Ron is a rather underrated character than people often tend to overlook not only because of his portrayal in the books but because of his personal under confidence. The first thing he sees in Rose is Hermione's intelligence. It takes him a while to realize that while Rose is a lot like Hermione, she's also similar to him. It's so sweet to see how much Rose admires her father, he's practically her knight in shining armor at the moment. No matter how much Ron thinks he isn't that great, his daughter will beg to differ. If only for a little while.

The ending was warm and fuzzy. It shows how Hermione thinks so highly of Ron, although she doesn't explicitly say it. The two of them have got to be the best parents ever. Rose is the luckiest girl in the world to have parents who are so proud of her and would do anything to make her happy. Every emotion that you've described, be it Ron's exasperation, Rose's fatigue, Hermione's mild amusement and the general love is expressed in such a subtle yet impactful manner. I don't read it, I feel it.

Once again, this is just a perfect story for Gryffindor, written so well. Sometimes the characteristics of the House are expressed in the unlikeliest of places, not a battlefield but a bedroom. The pride, the courage and bravery that one could ever possess could come from something as simple as raising a child. I really enjoyed reading this story and thank you for coming up with it in so little time!

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Review #21, by monstrosityRules of the Game: Things Could Be Worse

4th March 2014:
Finally here! Ah, it feels like coming back home ;)

Another flawless chapter! I really like how you shifted the focus to Hugo instead. It sure is refreshing change from a female perspective.

If I had to sum up Hugo in one word, it would be normal. These days it seems like every character has to have this completely unique and exciting character. If they don't have a disease they suffer from or some really weird quirk or some special power, then apparently they aren't worth reading about. These days a normal character is really hard to find. That's a huge shame considering that normal characters are the ones that readers relate to the most. None of us have amazing powers and no matter how much we envy or admire characters like that, it's the ones we can picture ourselves as that we really remember.

Hugo is a really thoughtful and nice guy. He's capable of escaping into his own thoughts, feeling awkward about starting conversations and generally being a regular teenager. You had expressed your apprehension about writing something for the first time from a guy's perspective, but honestly your unfamiliarity does not show at all. I've secretly thought that boys and girls aren't that different when writing about. Yeah, there's the whole girls are more analytical while boys are generally physically better, but they are after all the same species and capable of feeling the same emotions. I really don't see a difference in the way you've written about Hugo from the way you've written about Ivy. It flows really well.

One thing which I did notice was that seeing that the readers don't know much about Hugo's personality, you could have gone a bit more into what Hugo was like. This was more about his worry for Alice (the whole situation between them is so adorable, by the way) and he's so focused on what other people are feeling that we rarely get to know much about him. However if that's just the person he is then there's no point in changing that.

The pace of this chapter was really great considering where the plot is at the moment. It does leave quite curious to know why Alice is so terrified of Theastrals as it's something I've never seen before. I'm waiting for the tragic backstory about this ;)

The other characters although they don't play a significant role in this chapter are equally lovable. The bickering between Lily and Jimmy quite reminds me of James and Lily's famous arguing (and, coming to think of it, Jimmy is a nickname for James so I'm wondering what message you're trying to convey over here :P). Lily is, once again, proving why she's such a good friend with her talent to diffuse any tense situation by creating her own with Jimmy. She's also really great at distracting Alice without making her actions noticeable. For someone so passionate about quidditch, she's very aware and perceptive of what her feeling even amidst a large argument. Jimmy is still as adorable and oblivious to everything save his favourite sport. I think here is where you show the difference between having a girl for a friend as opposed to a boy. While girls can really tell what your thinking, the boys however oblivious they may be will definitely distract you from your worries.

I feel like I've ranted enough for now :) It's a great chapter and while I would advise you to make sure the pace of your story doesn't become to slow since they haven't even got to Hogwarts yet, I do think that this has been a good introduction the the different personalities in this story. Having so many OC's can make it hard to deal with, and you're writing in next generation on top of that, yet you've manage to develop them all. I don't know how you did it, but you've pulled it off wonderfully. I hope this review/rant was a bit helpful and feel free to request again!

-Sathya

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Review #22, by monstrosityMeissa: Regulus

3rd March 2014:
Huge apologies for taking so long with this review swap! My internet's been rather wacko off late and I it took this long to get it back to normal!

I'm just going to take a moment to say how much I love antiheroes. That's probably why I like Anibel so much. There's something really cold and calculating about her that really intrigues me. Despite her admitting that the entire thing is against her will and that she's just doing what's expected of her, I can't help noticing how cut out she is for her job. It shows how much of training the poor girl went through that she's much less a human that she is a specialized killing machine.

I like the introduction of all the new characters. I don't know if this was implied, but all the Slytherins in this story really show a side to the House that most overlook. Anibel shows how most of the children in Slytherin are under pressure to uphold a family honor and pride they don't necessarily believe in. Regulus shows that Slytherins are just as capable of loving and missing and every other emotion that other wizards and witches possess. Amber shows the side of the House that chose to remain on the wall without really acting on anything. They have their own prejudices but not all of them care to express them. Evan really shows how Slytherin loyalty rivals that of Hufflepuff. Slytherins stick together. It's as simple as that. No matter how cold and scary they seems on the outside, inside they are all just terrified children with large shoes to fill.

One more thing that I also noticed in this chapter. Anni and Regulus' relationship seems one step ahead of friendship. I understand that the horrors they've experienced tend to bring them closer, but this really has a romantic implication. I really apologize if I'm way off the mark, but that's the feeling I got from them. I think the two of them make each other very happy and they should really treasure each other's company during the dark times.

The Marauders are here! Hooray! Obviously they aren't portrayed in the kindest of light. I found it rather ironic that Anni even attends DADA since she's going to pursue a career in the dark arts anyway, but I liked the whole pairing up Gryffindor and Slytherin. Things are bound to get quite interesting.

Which brings me to your lovely ending. I always feel that every chapter requires an element of suspense to keep the reader moving forward and by Merlin this ending really took me by surprise. Of course, now I have my own suspicions on who might have trapped Regulus and Anni (the primary suspects being the marauders of course) but I guess that I'll just have to click on the next chapter to find out ;)

Overall, this was another awesome chapter and I loved reading it! Thanks for the review swap and once again I'm terribly sorry about taking so long to get here.

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Review #23, by monstrosityObliviate: Decisions

2nd March 2014:
Blackout!

The moment when I the obligate scene came up I was probably really close to bawling my tears out. I'm glad that you provided a happy ending to that sub plot. I'm really happy that Hermione was able to unlock her parents' memories.

For a first fic, this is really good. You've shown how brave Hermione was not only in making her parents forget her existence, but also in pursuing them and making them remember. You've shown how determined she is in covering up her weakness. We never did get to see Hermione side of the situation in the books and no doubt she must have gone through a lot. It's a miracle how she manages to always put on a strong front. That's a true Gryffindor for you.

It was nice to see how understanding Hermione's family were when they discovered she was a witch. That's what really made me believe that they would accept her when she came back after the war.

Kenzie was adorable. So unlike Hermione in retrospect with her outspoken ways and extroverted behavior. Yet, she's a lovable character.

I think the ending made me realize how little we see things from Hermione's perspective. She's always made out to be the genius, the brightest witch of her age, a member of the golden trio and no one but her mother would call her a little girl. It's both heartbreaking and absolutely adorable at the same time.

Overall this was a really cute story that I'm glad I had the opportunity to read :)

Author's Response: Hey Monstro! (May I call you Monstro? It sounds so cool!)
Thank you for reviewing, first off. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, and I'm really impressed that you picked up so much about it.
Yep, Hermione is definitely a Gryffindor, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to write this. Yes she's brave, but how brave? The film gives her a little more background by showing her ridding her parents memories, and how difficult she then found it to obliviate the snatchers. That's how the plot for this came around really.
Hermione is such a caring person that I find it difficult to imagine her family being anything but supportive of her. They want her to succeed, and would do everything they could to help her reach her highest potential.
I love Kenzie, she's a little plot bunny sitting in my head that I have yet to use. I thought it might be nice to show how she and Hermione were both very similar, but also very different.
Thank you for taking the time to review this, and I'm glad you liked it!


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Review #24, by monstrosityDying: Dying: A One Shot

2nd March 2014:
THE FEELS. Woah, that was heart shattering. I think I'm going to go cry in a dark room now.

I think Fred's death was possibly the worst of all deaths. He was so young with so much to live for. He had a twin, and experience has shown me that living without your twin is like living without your other half. Poor George. I cannot even express how sad this is.

I think the most tear jerking moment is when Fred wonders if his mother can fix this. It shows how young he still is. Percy's grief is almost palpable. To think that he actually got Fred to laugh only to watch him die the next second. I don't know how he can live with himself.

You've written this really well. The emotions sort of hit me in the face like a brick wall but I think that's exactly what a situation like this deserves. I am so mad at myself for reading such a beautifully tragic story that is sure to make me cry buckets but I would have been madder knowing that I missed reading such and amazing piece of work. I hope that made sense. Essentially this is awesome, you are awesome and I want to kill you for writing such a tear inducing story. Okay?

Author's Response: Go cry, monstrosity. Go cry! Muahahahahaha- *cackle**cough**splutter**choke*

*Ahem* I mean, I'm so sorry I made you cry! ;)

Seriously though, what an amazing feat and compliment! That's all I aim to do in writing stories like this! Really tuning into ya'lls emotional range.

Fred was the worst death! Him and Collin, but Fred because we knew him better, and he had a twin! :'( I'm writing a sequel one-shot to this about George ;) I might also edit this one a bit.

He is young! And he's a family boy. Mama fixes everything! I have a new love for Percy after that moment. I really do think he would have chaned.

Thank you so much! I love bringing out all sorts of emotions, and that you're happy with the emotions you felt ;). Haha, well can you kill me later? I have quite a few stories to finish! :D

Thanks again! This review made me smile and laugh and made me all giddy inside! I'm so happy you liked it! :D

~Mae


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Review #25, by monstrosityVox wuod Sanctimonia; Speed Dating Entry: Cupiditas

2nd March 2014:
Blackout!

I always wondered why the founders decided to set up Hogwarts. The books never provided an explanation and I'm glad you mentioned it. It makes sense as to why wizards would want to riot against the muggles with all the witch burnings and anti-hereticism. Perhaps it also provides a reason as to why purebloods hated muggleborns so much, seeing that their ancestors were responsible for a lot of wizards and witches dying. You really can't describe the whole blood purity issue as anything other than anxiousness of juggles reentering into the world wizards tried so hard to protect from them. I'm glad that Hogwarts was created in the hopes that wizards would be able to have a safe haven and a defense of sorts against the killing all around them.

It's nice to see some unity among the founders for a change. Despite the fact that Salazar makes some quick judgements on Rowena and Helga's characters, it isn't like he is deliberately nasty towards them. His argument with Godric about Rowena was actually pretty funny, even with Salazar's slightly chauvinistic approach to the situation.

Godric is a really intriguing character, whom I've come to admire. You've really shown the closeness between him and Salazar. Godric is the one who really implements his ideas, no matter how far fetched they sound. You can tell by all his efforts how passionate he is about setting up the school.

I like Rowena's character so much already. She's a feminist in the age of male dominance. You can see from all the rumors Salazar heard that the men aren't taking Rowena's bold character very well. When we do get to meet her, she's nothing like the rumors and I think Salazar realizes that as well. She seems like any ordinary lady of that time, albeit more beautiful than most. I was hoping to see some sort of reference to her intelligence that she's known for, but I suppose that if you decide to extend the story it'll be included. I can just imagine her fighting for better education for women. I'm also hoping that the relationship between Salazar and Rowena will be built up in the future.

Overall, it's a really well written piece that's simple to read and absolutely entertaining. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to read and review it!

Author's Response: Hello!

I'm glad that you like the idea of Hogwarts being established as a refuge for young witches and wizards, it has been my head cannon for a while.

I'd imagine that the founders were good friends before Salazar's blood-purity ideals drove them apart, so I'm glad that you enjoyed that aspect. Godric's a fun character to write, especially when it's in contrast to Salazar's.

I'd imagine that, with all of her knowledge and wit, that Rowena wouldn't be very-well liked in a chauvinistic society. My partner and I both decided to end our stories rather with romantic interest rather than invest fully into romance. It was much easier to write, so the stories did finish at the eye-contact and plausibility of Salazar being wrong. Unfortunately, that did leave out many interactions between Rowena and Salazar.

Thanks so much!

-Rumpel


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