Reading Reviews From Member: TidalDragon
  
736 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragonConstellations: Constellations

14th August 2016:
Howdy Gina! I am finally (very late) reviewing the challenge entries and fortunately I have arrived at yours!

I really enjoyed the structure that you used here - being a neophyte, I would have had no idea previously what a triptych was - but I thought it worked really well for what you were trying to get across. The beginning was the past, the end was the forward-looking present, and the middle (while also in the past) was the meat - the realization that despite the maxim across the animal kingdom that family is everything, that Andromeda's family wasn't good for her, that it was an evil that needed to be excised. I though the vampire analogy actually worked brilliantly for them as well as being part of the song lyrics so kudos on that too.

As far as Tedromeda goes, I've only read one other fic about them and it was longer, but I find that I enjoyed them again here too. I enjoyed your characterization of both of them independently and though the relationship is never overt, you accomplish through the details of their meeting in the middle segment how important they are to each other to put such planning in despite the dangers inherent in their meeting, let alone being in a relationship.

Kudos! Thanks for your entry!

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Review #2, by TidalDragonSanctuary: Sanctuary

11th August 2016:
Howdy! An eternity later and I'm finally here.

This was a very interesting story. Though I always enjoy your characters, Percy and Audrey weren't my favorites in the other stories of yours I've read so I was not surprised when, in the beginning, Percy just made me want to punch someone in the face. Not necessarily because of anything he did in particular, but because of the general sense of him that came across in the top half of the story.

But then you brought him back around - I think he started to trend up when he stopped being swallowed by loss, which, maybe I'm reading it wrong, but he seemed to experience awfully selfishly and when he had the stones to lose it with Bill, who while well-rendered, you've successfully made me hate in your universe because of how he is in Transparent.

I also really enjoyed seeing this different side of Audrey. I had wondered in the other story I'd read involving them how exactly a real relationship would work with the pair, but in the letter and the apartment scene you did a good job revealing the hearts of two people that it is otherwise very easy to judge and judge harshly.

In the way of CC, I did think the dialogue was significantly weaker in this story than your others with Kingsley and Percy's dialogue not seeming all that strong or differentiable. All in all though it was a good piece and another solid addition to the universe you've created.

Author's Response: Hello!

It's always so lovely seeing you and thanks for stopping by! No worries on the lateness or anything, I totally get how real life can be. Hahah.

Anyway, I know that a few people aren't really that keen on Percy/Audrey. My version of them is not everyone's cup of tea, I feel like they're very abrasive and hard to understand.

I actually like the fact that people dislike them because I don't want characters that you automatically enjoy.

You would probably gain a bit more understanding from them if you read Audrey's story but I doubt that you would like it either. Hahaha.

Percy himself is a very selfish person in some regards and you're actually the first person to really point that out. He focuses so much on his own pain that he can't really see how much he's hurt everyone else. Its one of the things that I wanted to stay true too, he is drowning in his own grief and its caused a disconnect with his family.

I think that there are some great moments in this piece and it's one of my favorites to re-read. I think that I purposefully started this story off as very dark and the shift towards the middle/end was done to show how there WAS some healing in his life.

I feel like I need to apologize about Bill at some point. Hahaha. He doesn't show up in Transparent for a minute but I'm happy that I've written him well enough that you actually can't stand him. Hahahah.

Audrey is a hard person to write, she's got this weird mixture of innocence/cynicism and sweetness that's difficult to bring to life. I think what's so great about her and Percy is that they're so different but so perfect for one another.

They get by on the fact that they blend despite their faults (or because of them) and it's why they're so enjoyable to write most of the time.

I feel like I dragged on the dialogue a bit so thanks for letting me know. It's never my strong suit! Hahaha.

Oh! There's a fresh chapter of Transparent that I think you'll enjoy, would love to hear your opinion on it since I'm a bit iffy.

Talk to you soon!

Much love,

Gabbie


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Review #3, by TidalDragonHow to tame a Marauder: Return to Hogwarts

7th August 2016:
Howdy! Believe it or not, I have never read this story despite the fact it's gotten so many recommendations from so many people I trust with this things. I'm here now though and trying to rectify that situation, even though I know you're editing (or contemplating it anyway).

I want to start by saying that I think the characterizations are excellent from the off. You give Laura a distinct voice and a background that makes it easy to accept her as the narrator as well. Though I'm not sure if this was a conscious choice (I think it was...), her half-blood heritage and the details of her upbringing that you described also give you this great extra latitude to explain a lot of what you do, whereas with other characters it would feel like too much telling. On top of that, though I'm not sure if you're from there and thus have an inside track on what Scottish speech reads and sounds like, Mary's dialogue read exactly how I've imagined the accent reading based on hearing it before (and being pathetically unable to capture it in writing myself) and so I thought that deserved a special shout-out.

As an introductory chapter, there wasn't a huge amount going on here plot-wise, but unlike many such chapters from many writers, it was egregiously short nor painfully boring. Even with background and history taking center stage for much of this, your writing bridged the gap, being more prosaic than simple at times, but nevertheless constantly retaining a delightful accessibility.

The two things I did notice that I wanted to comment on from another perspective were: (1) "diffuse" about mid-chapter and (2) the number of students you selected. For the first, I wanted to know legitimately if that spelling is the one you use in the situation described (because here we use "defuse"). Likewise, I was really interested in your rationale for the nine (9) Gryffindors in Laura's year. Was it based on JKR's rather odd canon math and portrayals or something more?

In any event, I thought this was an excellent start and though I've become painfully sluggish at reviewing, I'm hoping I'll get back to read the remainder of this story soon - it deserves every accolade and recommendation it's ever gotten!

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Review #4, by TidalDragonBeyond Repair: A Highly Unusual Day

3rd August 2016:
Howdy Renee! Because I am horrible, it has taken me...-frowns more deeply- over a month to get here. I'm REALLY sorry (especially since I know you were working on it for Camp) and if there's anything else you want reviewed, PM me and I'll do so ASAP.

As for your story itself, I think this is a really interesting concept. Petunia is an easy character to demonize - heck, I make her pretty mean and petty in my story - but it's later on and so I think it's really interesting to explore the nuance of the relationship from the earliest days on through to the end.

I know one thing you had expressed concern about is the consistency of Petunia's characterization throughout this chapter and I will say that on my first read-through, I really didn't pick up on anything that stood out to me negatively in that respect. I actually found it refreshing that there's a bit of oscillation in Petunia's thoughts and feelings about her relationship with Lily at this point. Though I don't have any siblings you seem to hit the classic touchstones of that relationship with the positive side of spending time together and shared activities, the dueling parent-child dynamics as perceived by Petunia, and the desire for independence that can come about naturally. I thought it was really helpful in fact to have laid that out at this point in their lives PRIOR to addressing the Hogwarts issue because it lays the foundation of a natural sibling relationship first, and THEN introduces the complication that really sends things over the edge.

In terms of other aspects of the story, I thought you did a good job with the dialogue of kids at Petunia and Lily's ages. Too many times (even in canon, honestly) kids are portrayed as having a clarity of speech and thought that are unnaturally advanced and instead, you made the interactions and accompanying speech both simpler and more impulsive and emotionally-tied than adults which made everything seem much more authentic.

Finally, perhaps my favorite part of the chapter was the end, where you turned around the dynamic of Petunia calling Lily a "freak" with Lily planting the seed that Petunia thinks she's odd and undesirable as a result of being a witch - something that I'm sure Petunia will later pick up on and in a way, the fact that Lily introduced the idea in the story makes the insult more cutting I think.

If I had any CC, which I really don't, it's that occasionally, when we see the breaks in dialogue that provide an opportunity to hear Petunia's thoughts, they are accompanied at times by an action, or description of Petunia that feels unnecessary. For example "Petunia didn't respond" is something that speaks for itself if you just insert Petunia's thoughts and have Lily speak again thereafter.

All in all though, I enjoyed the story and think it's a good and brave thing to take on that the fandom needs still more of.

Author's Response: Kevin, hi!! I had completely forgotten I requested this review, so this was a wonderful surprise!

I remember from past reviews that you don't shy away from CC (one of the reasons I requested from you!), so I'm flattered that you didn't have too much of it. I think I mentioned in my request that I struggled with this chapter for a long time. Simply knowing you don't think it's terrible is a relief!

"Petunia is an easy character to demonize"
--> this is so true! I have other stories where I demonize her, too. I think JKR was a bit cruel with her in canon. As you've seen in this chapter, I think her life was quite difficult in some ways, but she doesn't get any credit for that.

"I actually found it refreshing that there's a bit of oscillation in Petunia's thoughts and feelings"
--> I often ponder the dilemma between character consistency and the reality that people are not always consistent. I'm glad this came across in a way that, from what I gather, didn't feel unnatural.

This was a very helpful and reassuring review, thank you so much! And don't worry at all about the delay... you should see how behind I am with MY review thread! (EEEK!)

Thanks again! :)
Renee


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Review #5, by TidalDragonBreathe: ix. Breathe

18th June 2016:
I was wrong. The not-so-dramatic conclusion. But perhaps after all the drama in the earlier chapters, I should've known that it would actually be more fitting this way given that you were inevitably going to end (at least in my mind :P) on a upstroke.

I will say that from an overall story perspective I thought there was a delightful symmetry in the contrast between the beginning and end. In the beginning, by God, we think we KNOW the Marauders - fun, loyal, INSEPARABLE - but it's all wrong in the beginning because of the seriousness of what Sirius had done (yes, I deliberately wrote it that way - sue me :P). Here, it's what we'd expect - joy, ease, comfort in one another's presence in these dark times.

I also liked that once again you you didn't oversell a moment. I'm sure I'm not alone in having been waiting, waiting, waiting (to use some of your earlier style ;) ) to see the reconciliation between Remus and Sirius and I know it must've been tempting to make it grandiose, and have it rise to this enormous, flowing crescendo before that last period, but this was more honest, more real, and as a result, superior in my mind. It's ENOUGH for us to know that the process of forgiveness has begun and it gives it extra impact to end on that note.

This was an absolutely excellent story, Kayla and I'm appalled its taken me this long to read to the end, but I thank you for sharing it and applaud you for writing it!

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Review #6, by TidalDragonBreathe: viii. Celebration

18th June 2016:
Hello hello! This chapter felt a bit slower for me truthfully, like more of an interlude somehow after all the heavier stuff, but perhaps it was simply that it was more overwhelmingly positive that made it slide by so smoothly. While there were touches still in it (unsurprisingly so), there was so much less doubt and you could both read and FEEL Sirius's comfort level here and it was refreshing after the time he's been through. Despite that, I also think it was good that you didn't completely ignore looks and scrutiny from others because that likely would've defied realism, rightly or wrongly.

The one thing I'll briefly travel back to that I think I forgot to comment on last chapter was a relatively minor grammar thing. I noticed when you were referring to something belonging to James it was written James' but (at least under APA style) as odd as it seems it's really supposed to be James's (the exception being, bizarrely enough, names that end in "s" but the "s" is silent - grammarians...whatcha gonna do?). It's really minor like I said, but I just thought you might like to know!

Onward and upward for me, to the dramatic conclusion of Breathe!

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Review #7, by TidalDragonBreathe: vii. Acceptance

18th June 2016:
Well...I DIDN'T think it was clunky. For a moment, I'll confess, I thought you were going to undo all the good I'd said at the end of my last review (not undo it really, but slightly minimize it), but yet again, you dealt with it with nuance even as his understanding of himself seems to be starting to grow.

Despite everything, I do have to say I feel for Sirius. The chapter ends on a bittersweet note, with the excellent language of "Acceptance, but not forgiveness" and "He doesn't hate be because I'm queer, but he still hates me." I think it was really difficult on you to accommodate the continuing gravity of what Sirius did, but also keep the thread of acceptance running strong, but you managed to do it in that finale and that was strong. To track back to where I started this paragraph though, I suppose I feel for Sirius because I feel like if they could truly acknowledge each other face-to-face it would make a big difference and while no one "deserves" a second chance in a situation like this, I do think Sirius is worthy of one after how loyal a friend he had been to Remus prior and the closeness of their relationship. I suppose, looking at it from the other side, it makes what happened all the more monstrous a betrayal, but in the end I guess I can't help feeling like I do about it.

I can't wait to see how the story progresses in the remaining chapters!

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Review #8, by TidalDragonBreathe: vi. Awakening

18th June 2016:
And Chapter 6 brings home the other part of Sirius's departure that helps make it a success, the Potters as a whole. Perhaps even more incredible than a friend being there for him in the way James is, is the way that James's PARENTS care for Sirius and think nothing of him staying with them for an extended (and at this point indefinite) amount of time. I think even aside from the stuff I'll discuss later, you really portrayed that spirit of generosity and love masterfully, not just by telling us how wonderful and welcoming they were, but by showing us - and through small things too.

The next bit of excellence I have to comment on is the continued attention to detail you put into capturing James and his family as being from India. It's a popular headcanon for a lot of people at this point, but I see it too often in stories that it's just "BOOM. The Potters are Indian." And then nothing else changes. There are no cultural differences, there is no language addressed, no trips, no religion, no nothing. Just pointing it out and moving on and you have NEVER shied away from any aspect of who they are and have obviously done so much research to make sure they are authentically represented, which I think is exceptional.

The last piece I want to touch on is obviously the end, where we see Sirius struggling, without quite knowing (or at least admitting) yet that this discomfort with the dress robes, this issue with the hair and keeping it longer, this disdain for his appearance despite knowing that he looks objectively handsome by male standards - is an issue with his gender identity. At the age he is, I think there's this temptation that many authors succumb to (I even did it in my story, though Dom was a bit older) to make everything definite. To have the character have uncertainty about reactions, solutions, etc., but to have absolute certainty about their gender identity. Because of that, it's actually all the more refreshing for you to take us through the actual questioning and the emotions and uncertain associated with identity itself and I look forward to reading more of it in the coming chapters.

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Review #9, by TidalDragonBreathe: v. Drowning

18th June 2016:
Ahh Chapter 5 and one of my favorite moments in the James-Sirius friendship. As your first scene very capably demonstrates, it's obviously borne of some truly awful, despicable things (I had outright abuse be the impetus in Evolution too, because I truly believe it), but I think it's just so huge for a person to be so accepting of a friend in a time of need and to not judge or pressure with questions, just to be there - especially among male friends - truly rare.

I also thought from a mechanics perspective you did a really brilliant job with the abuse portions, especially given how the ToS is about it. I was lazy when I did mine and just cut away with the Hemingway "later" move, though not nearly as well, but you kept it retrospective, but provided enough snippets of what transpired, broken, like Sirius at the time of their telling and I think it made an enormous difference in impact vs. the purely retrospective or purely present-cut away-return model. Truly, it was really well done.

See you in Chapter 6!

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Review #10, by TidalDragonBreathe: iv. Mistake

18th June 2016:
I have made it (as promised) here to Chapter 4!

Perhaps my favorite thing about this chapter was the whole non-showiness of the kiss. You didn't make it extra-special earth-shattering, you didn't make it the catalyst for some final revelation. You made it a kiss. That happened. And then it was done. And I think that makes a lot of sense given the essentially NON-relationship between the two and the awkwardness of the exchange immediately prior. So kudos to you for gaining authenticity points there!

The earlier part of the scene was also effective at creating this distance between Sirius and others and I thought it was positive how you sort of patiently developed to this end-point with Frederic - though you cast in the idea that Sirius "noticed" him from a physical perspective, the entire thing still focused much more on his questioning of his identity and sexuality and less on some sudden lust or strong attraction. I am intrigued to see whether there is anything behind the query about James and Sirius (at least from Sirius's perspective) and whether that's a possible legitimate attraction he's been suppressing based on their friendship or not, but I suppose that will (or won't) be addressed in the future.

The one thing I did notice that just jumped out at me that I'd take a look at is the use by Frederic of "Suit yourself" in such quick succession. Granted, it may be young Mr. Macmillan's catchphrase - if so, cool - but if not, you might change one of them to a non-verbal reaction or different language just to mix it up. Anyway, there's my two cents.

On to Chapter 5!

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Review #11, by TidalDragonBreathe: iii. Trapped

18th June 2016:
Howdy! I have returned to make a return of my own of sorts - three cheers for getting back to regular reviewing!

It's been a long time since I read this story, but I have to say it didn't take long to get back into Sirius's head the way you've written him. His voice in this story is so unique and so unlike...honestly any other portrayal of him I've read. This chapter really showcases it even more, in his isolation with his own thoughts, but the one word I'd almost never use to describe Sirius in most fics is vulnerable, but he is here and painfully so.

I also like the allusion to the greater issues of identity he's dealing with from the hair scene. He doesn't quite understand it yet, but he understands that it "made him different from the other boys" (who he interestingly still refers to as boys at his age - I don't know if that was deliberate or not, but by this time I never in my life would've called another guy my age a "boy" - it seems much more common for girls to do, but then that's fitting, which is the point I took a long meandering time to get to). He also senses the loss of the hair acutely as a part of this loss of SELF he's experiencing in his isolation and so I thought it worked very well on that level too, contributing to his confusion and anchorlessness.

I also honestly liked the last scene. Though I don't have any siblings, it's still sort of heartbreaking to see how despite everything, Regulus still wants to be able to make a meaningful connection with his brother and gets spurned. It reminds me of the articles I've read recently about how in relationships of any kind, the health can often be judged on how often each party's "bids" to the other are accepted vs. declined. Here poor Regulus is really trying, but Sirius is having none of it.

Anyway, I am on to the next chapter now! Hoping to get caught up in full tonight!

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Review #12, by TidalDragonNot Fade Away: Year 1: A Storm is Threatening

18th May 2016:
Howdy Cath! I had hoped to get to more of your story (well, I'd hoped to finish it) but life conspired against me and I'm trying to get some last minute reviews in before voting closes.

I thought this was a great beginning structurally first of all. It's a challenging project you're taking on based on the summary, but you take a smart tack I think given that by introducing a lot of the different dimensions right off the bat and in a single chapter rather than going chapter-to-chapter with different POVs which would both absurdly elongate things and also get confusing or leave things behind.

As far as the details go, I think you also did an exceptional job making the characters have true and differentiable personalities, which is no easy feat when you have so many featuring so close to one another. It made everything feel much more authentic. If I had to pick favorites I think it would be the opening scene with Sirius and Regulus though - the dynamic you painted seemed so workable and yet quite different from what we normally see, where Regulus is so completely perfect as a "proper Black."

I'll come back and read more and finish! Just make sure to remind me ;)

Author's Response: Thanks so much for tackling this at all! I'll doubtless not at all nag you to finish it off, but I'd be pleased if you did.

Considering when I wrote this story I was planning on perpetually having 1 POV per chapter, this was intended as a necessary introduction of everyone right off the bat. Down the line I gave up on that scheme as too clunky, but I was still pretty happy with this as a setup so I'm glad it worked.

Sirius' intro definitely has the most emotional weight at this juncture; Lily's is shortest because we're about to get the whole first chapter from her POV and every other character I need to explain just who the hell these OCs (or near enough, in Alice's case) even are.

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #13, by TidalDragonStranger: 7 Years Old

18th May 2016:
Howdy Kaitlin! I'm trying to get some last minute reviews in for my (failed - CURSE GMT) quest.

I think it was a bold and impressive choice to start with this story with the character so young. It's undeniable that she's old enough to really start recognizing that the gender she's "supposed" to be doesn't match her true self, but I think it's such a challenge to get that across in a believable way at this age. You chose the perfect vehicle I think with the color of the robes and that really helped it feel effortless. A great inclusion was also the harsh reaction from her mother - it sheds light not just on how people with a non-cis gender identity find their sense of self rebuked roundly very early on, but also on how stifling society's gender constructs can be because even though now we're talking about color, it quickly expands when it comes to attire and interests and myriad of other things unfortunately.

An auspicious start! I'll try to come back and finish the story later (just make sure you remind me)!

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Review #14, by TidalDragonTransparent: Unlucky

17th May 2016:
Well, well! This chapter was back to your resplendent best. You carried on your tradition of exceptional characterization with the deeper exploration of Tiberius and it was quite a developmental milestone for Dominique to get so confident and flirtatious, even if it's still far from stable. She seems to be taking the "fake it 'til you make it" maxim to heart even if it took awhile.

I will say that I almost thought from the doorman scene that Teddy might be the rat at issue or at the very connected to him and I'm interested to see going forward whether this end-of-chapter drama feeds into that.

Ahhh...and how can I not mention the intimacy between Dominique and Teddy just before it happened. Who knows what will befall them next - but I wonder if perhaps Dominique and Teddy couldn't at least improve each other after all, despite your best efforts to make one desperately silent and the other easily hate-able.

Thanks for carrying on with the story and continuing to deliver chapters to believe in!

Author's Response: Hey!

Welcome back and thanks so much for this great review~! It's one of my favorites!

I think this chapter really relied heavy on emotion. Dominique is in over her head so I wanted to really suck you guys in and she proved to be quite the actress. Haha.

I wanted to talk about Tiberius more here because we get such a cliffhanger in the last chapter. I didn't go into a lot of detail about him though, I did reference another story (The entire line about Greengrass comes from my story A Force of Wills. The family are basically the mafia but that flew right over everyone's heads)

I forgot to mention the thing about the doorman in your last review. He was an awfully cheerful fellow, wasn't he? I need to make people smile more. Hahah.

Anyway, the rat issue will be discussed in the next chapter. Teddy is obviously not going to get out of this without some trouble. It's all going to come tumbling down.

I think we're really moving forward with these two. Haha. Emotionally, they're starting to get more and more dependent on one another. I'll write more scenes with these two exploring that, Dominique running from it and Teddy trying to understand what it might mean. You know, typical stuff.

I had another reviewer say that two broken things can make a wonderful relationship or something along those lines. I will keep thinking of Teddy and Dominique like this from now on.

Thanks!

Much love,

Gabbie


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Review #15, by TidalDragonTransparent: The Green Dragon

17th May 2016:
Howdy Gabbie! It's a pleasure to be back here to your fine tale!

As usual you did an excellent job of capturing the emotions, often oscillating, of this duo. And they are operating together enough nowadays that we might have to start calling them a duo - a scary prospect for Dominique, but perhaps some sort of positive for Teddy who continues to thaw now and again in her presence. Oh - and I'd be terribly remiss if I didn't applaud you for the doorman - he was one of the liveliest characters I've read of yours since Audrey.

On the CC side, I did think this was a little description heavy (even for a new setting) and a tad sluggish plot-wise. I think (and as, you know, the actual author - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong :p) the entire design was to use that as a sort of strategic lead-up to the big reveal at the end, but perhaps it was the length that did it to me. I don't know. Just a thought.

Anyway, since I'm so late, I'll hit you with a review on Chapter 13 as well. See you there!

Author's Response: Hello!

It's always lovely hearing from you and I'm so glad that you're still interested in reading this story! :D

I think it's getting to the point where we might have to start calling Teddy and Dominique a couple. Not in the romantic sense just yet but they're together so often now that it's kind of hard to picture them separated, which was my intention from the beginning.

Dominique isn't ready for more but she's falling into it the more this story goes.

Teddy will continue to thaw around her though and I think by the end of this story he might finally be "real".

I did think this chapter was really heavy on the descriptions. I will go back and tone them down some and while I was reading, I caught some other stuff that kind of disrupted the flow. It didn't move quickly enough for me either and Tiberius was supposed to actually show up and have a chat with them in this chapter.

I'll try and cut it down the next time I go in and edit, thanks for being so honest!

Much love,

Gabbie


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Review #16, by TidalDragonAll the World's a Stage: And One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts

15th May 2016:
Howdy Lizzie! I'm taking a break from the (many) novels in my reviewing quest and thus, I have been led here to your fine tale.

I thought this story was an delightful and amusing addition to the body of dad!Harry Next-Gen stories. While the play itself had humorous moments, I have to say my favorite part was the parental reactions by Harry and Ginny. Being a dad myself it's always funny to see what wild ideas and crazy schemes your kid will come up with for a good (or not) reason and yet, like Harry/Ginny, on those good occasions we of course indulge. I thought the back and forth between Harry and Ginny and stern!Ginny and laid-back!Harry were a good parenting type fit for the both of them as well.

Thanks for sharing this story with us - and phone aside, I didn't notice ANY typos in this bad boy - impressive!

Author's Response: Kevin!!

Thank you for taking the time to review this story!! I always love getting a review from you!

Hehehe, I think Harry and Ginny's reactions are what really made the story too! I really enjoyed coming up with the kid's shenanigans, but I know the feeling of watching something like that and being torn between ruining the moment or dealing with the mess afterwards. :P This was certainly a result of that!

Thank you so much for your wonderful review, Kevin! You're amazing!!


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Review #17, by TidalDragonUpside Right: Upside Right

15th May 2016:
Howdy Frankie! I'm trying desperately to read all the Golden Paw nominees before voting and I have reached your story while taking a break from the novels (there are SO MANY novels this year).

I want to first say that I think the light you shed on dyslexia with this story was really great. I didn't know the truth of it until I met someone who actually had a sibling with dyslexia in college and realized it's much more than just occasionally mixing up letters which so many people seem to joke about saying "Oops, I got a little dyslexic." I think Lily's character is a really positive one for people to read for that reason because it shows that true dyslexia is no laughing matter and what a struggle it is for people who deal with it every day - but also strikes a positive note with how much they can still accomplish.

If I had any CC it would only be that I thought Lily's character took a less independent turn after she started to date James, which didn't seem to jive for me with the character you'd created prior, but it only struck me in a couple of lines so it didn't detract much overall.

Thanks for sharing this story with us!

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Review #18, by TidalDragonKeeping Appearances: Calculated Risk

15th May 2016:
Howdy again Kaitlin! I suspect I'll be visiting your stories quite often as I race toward the finish in my Golden Paw reviewing frenzy, but here I am.

As I was saying when I read Dan's piece, I don't often read Bellatrix stories for two reasons: (1) I just hate her (sue me :p) and (2) they just don't often feel "right" to me. Here, I think by the end you nearly hit the mark for me at this point in her life.

What was missing? I think the only thing for me was a little MORE of her motivations throughout the story. Though we get a clear picture of who she is, there's a bit less of WHY she is that I think could've been helpful. That's the absent 10 percent though.

What was there? The 90 percent for starters. I think it makes it extra difficult for people to accurately capture Bellatrix when you're writing regarding the arranged marriage scenario because so many people seem to get sucked into the engagement and pre-marriage aspects that her personality (other than the occasional sharp dialogue and sneer) doesn't really come through. You didn't fall into that trap though because: (1) instead of embracing it, you made her disdain it and (2) you exposed the political motivation behind it at the very end - that it was all in service of her own ends and ultimately in her view, Voldemort's. You also showed us at least a glimpse of her capacity for fear so that she isn't a completely implacable force, which for me, I don't care who we're talking about, doesn't really ring true.

Thanks for sharing this story with us!

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Review #19, by TidalDragonBurning Inside: The Perfect Servant

15th May 2016:
Howdy Dan! It's been FAR too long since I read anything of yours. This was, truly, a masterpiece. I don't usually read stories that center on Bellatrix - primarily because I despise her, secondarily because most I've read don't really seem "right" to me somehow. The latter CANNOT be said of this.

This story (along with Bellatrix as its driving force) is intense from start to finish and it's intense in exactly the ways that Bellatrix is - her zealotry, her insanity, her determination - but it also doesn't fail to explore her as more than a maniacal Death Eather. Though she definitely becomes that, you make her character much more real by not just showing us the depths of her devotion or madness, but by showing her the very real building blocks that likely made it so - the family pressures and socialization, the fears and insecurities - and how Voldemort and serving him completely and perfectly filled those voids.

Though it perhaps goes without saying, I'll say it anyway, that I thought your descriptions in this story were also exceptional. It reminded me (though this was a much more...what's the right word...aggressive maybe, or violent (?) - it's just very thematically and in some ways stylistically different - story) of Sarah's (Gryffin_Duck) The Brightest Blue, where Alice Longbottom has chromesthesia. Which is kind of interesting on another level because there's obvious intersection between the characters.

ANYWAY - the point of all this rambling is to say that I thought this story was incredibly brilliant and I hope I'm not away as long next time because it also served as a reminder about how exceptional your work always proves to be.

Author's Response: Hey, Kevin.

I've been staring at this for days, wondering how to start to answer. At the beginning, I suppose.

Bellatrix is easy to despise and I don't honestly care for the way that most authors write her. If they're not trying to go totally AU and turn her into some sort of twisted love interest for Harry, they usually gloss over her mental instability. Neither one of these works for me. What makes Bellatrix such a powerful and interesting character is that she's the antithesis of the type of maternal love and devotion that's embodied by characters like Molly Weasley, Lily Potter and even her sister Narcissa. Bellatrix brings a completely different type of devotion, one that's driven by hate, prejudice, cruelty and -- I believe -- need. Bellatrix had a burning need for the Dark Lord's approval. He filled a void created by her sterile upbringing, her loveless marriage and her mental illness.

When you write Bellatrix, you have to be intense about it. She doesn't work any other way. In my first draft, this story was longer. In the end, I cut out everything that might be considered "filler".

I read Sarah's story after I read this review. I definitely see the similarity, even though I wasn't thinking of Bellatrix's condition that way at the time I wrote this. At any rate, thanks for pointing it out. It was a really good read.

I really appreciate you stopping by. This was a lot of fun to write.

Thanks!
-Dan


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Review #20, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years, 23 days

15th May 2016:
Well. I've now realized that in all the reviews I've left you, I've been that idiot who didn't read the summary to see that this is still a WIP. #failsauce But ultimately good because I'm pretty psyched that I'll have the opportunity to keep reading this for awhile on into the future!

Now that I've reached the end (of what there is so far), it's the best time to say that I think you've crafted something truly great here Gina! The characters are both impressive and intriguing, the dynamics authentic and believable, and it's all held together by this (I know I'm repeating this phrase) elegant simplicity that is SO welcome to read because it occupies this delightful middle ground between showy language and excessive minimalism - basically it's the type of writing that I love to read and I think it's incredible.

I'm adding this bad boy to my favorites list.

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Review #21, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years, 30 days

15th May 2016:
Well isn't DLZ just a motherlode of trouble? I am quietly hopeful that it won't screw up this whole Albus/Sophie thing you've got going though - I wondered if Joel was going to try to set them up, but you did a good job misdirecting it with the frosty relationship between those two owing to his Hufflepuff-hate (which how that's a thing, I just don't even know). In any event it's good to see Joel's machinations got Albus's head out of his rear.

Of course, the moments immediately post-realization gave you a great opportunity to put your more prosaic descriptive talents to work and it was very well done and very true really how in those minutes, days, hours, etc after you've developed an interest in someone you look at them differently, see more, etc. Well done.

Now I suppose all that's left to do is leave this chapter for the grand, post-memory charm finale...

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Review #22, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years 31 days, part two

15th May 2016:
Well...since you've inquired. I'm not at all convinced by Miss DLZ's appearance and explanation. I'm still thinking there's more to it, the note was a warning, something bad happened to Albus as a result (perhaps the something that created the scar?), and that somehow Miss DLZ went 'Claw mode and turned back the clock so that it could be avoided? I don't know...but I have a strong feeling that DLZ is behind the whole scar business because we note that it was burning strongest when Albus was nearest to her, which evokes the Voldemort-Harry connection (though I'm pretty sure DLZ didn't make Albus a horcrux :p).

Anyway, the chapter was a nice installment (especially learning about your conception of Next-Gen Harry and how he is as a dad), and I imagine, will prove to be quite the calm before the storm. I suppose I'll find out soon enough ;)

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Review #23, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years 31 days

15th May 2016:
Well, as you promised, the plot IS thickening. Even independent of the scars and the blackouts and the letters (which I promise to come back to :p), I really enjoyed seeing more of Sophie than we have so far. She's someone who we learned before is quite important in Albus's life and so it's good we got to see a bit more of her identity through her own words and actions. AND she doesn't disappoint. She seems quite caring and earnest and helpful and some might be tempted to bop one Albus Potter over the head with a wand for passing on that. Not saying who. Shrug.

As for the plot stuff (see, returning as promised), I thought it was cool how you connected things from the previous chapter to this one and continued the sort of slower, mysterious feel from before until then it was like BANG - Gone in Sixty Seconds style and we have a mystery girl, a searing scar, and a possibly lying nurse (I can't decide...).

Can't wait to see what comes next!

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Review #24, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years 32 days

15th May 2016:
Leading with something rather minor this time, but if you ever come back to make edits, I thought I'd point out that in the paragraph where Albus notices Joel and Vanessa PDA-ing on the couch, I was confused by your use of "former" on first read, because in the sentence prior Joel had been the former. Maybe it's just me and my addled mind, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

ANYWAY - I think what I liked most about this chapter (surprisingly) was not the development of Albus's character (though I did thoroughly enjoy another of his pro-con lists - the cons are always amusing) and the plot progression, but the way you set up each movement and scene with this elegant simplicity. I noticed it before in an earlier chapter (and I can't remember whether I mentioned it then or not), but for some reason it really stood out to me at the beginning of this one and I wanted to make sure I paid it tribute. You made it all come together so naturally and effortlessly and frankly its something I'm rather jealous of as I feel that's a part of my writing that comes across awkward or mechanistic or something.

I'm interested to see what happens now as the plot is truly beginning to thicken...

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Review #25, by TidalDragonHourglass: 3 years 35 days

15th May 2016:
I DO like the addition of more characterization through some extra interplay. While I was enjoying it fine before, I think more interactive scenes (done well, like this) can really serve to add another dimension to characters, even if we're already met them and feel as if we've got a good handle on "who they are" so-to-speak.

Of course I also like the extra insight we get into who Joel is (especially since he's come up before and I assume he'll be coming up again). Even if he's not hugely important to the plot (or IS he?), I always like a handful of more developed "minor" characters for realism and helping more clearly define the major characters vis-a-vis their interactions. Kudos on starting that here!

On to Chapter 4!

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