Reading Reviews From Member: TidalDragon
  
406 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragonThe Wandering One : England

20th September 2014:
Since I've never experienced it myself it was interesting to read Victoire's experience re-acclimating to her family and "normal" life in England.

Naturally it was not quite as exciting or interesting as the other chapters have been, but I liked it nonetheless and it had a very appropriate "comfortable" feeling as Victoire experienced it.

I did notice these things..."bushy eye-browed" and "relegated" rather than "delegated" up top perhaps?

I can't believe you're almost to the last chapter! It's unbelievable! A great finish is coming to a great story I think and I can't wait to read it once it comes up!

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Review #2, by TidalDragonThe Wandering One : Santorini

20th September 2014:
Hello again! I'm bouncing around like something of a mad man these days between work and writing and reviewing and everything. I promise I'll eventually catch up to the end of Sevenfold like I promised, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to read more of this!

First things first, I noticed this odd phrase: "...a large, open area open..." double "opens", but that was the only thing really. Now on to the good stuff!

I loved the scene with the sanctuary for magical animals! What a superb idea! And Valena was entertaining, calling them babies, especially alongside Sam going so ashen. I wonder if Victoire's scarred him for life...

I also liked the seriousness with which you handled Victoire's worries about things with Sam and his still slightly fearful and tepid reaction to the magical world. I thought that was all authentic when you could have so easily fallen into the trap of making everything hunky-dory.

The next chapter with going back to England should be an interesting take and I'm excited to see what happens! Catch you there!

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Review #3, by TidalDragonDeath on the First: Chapter Four

16th September 2014:
Well-played Sian...well-played. I never considered the murderer might reference themselves by name after the introductions so that's how you tricked my method! Oh well. I'll just have to content myself with the fact that the people I was looking at were the last two ruled out. Small victories...

Anyway, I really enjoyed the story and I think you did an excellent job with it. It was an immense challenge, telling it from the murderer's POV and still tricking people about their identity. I've said before the characterizations were great, and having Harry and the Aurors walk through this measured reveal was an enjoyable finish to a well done story.

You should definitely write another mystery!

Author's Response: Hi Kevin!

Haha, well I wasn't going to give anything away in my review responses (which was REALLY hard, by the way), but I'm pretty pleased that I managed to trick your method and keep you guessing at who the murderer was. But your method did work, and was kind of what I was hoping for!

I'm really glad that you enjoyed this and think I wrote it well! It definitely was a challenge to write a murder mystery from the killer's POV but still try to conceal the identity, but I'm so happy that you think it worked. Thank you for all your reviews and for keeping up with this story!


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Review #4, by TidalDragonSomebody Told Me: Somebody Told Me

13th September 2014:
Howdy!

This I think was the most up-front of the entries about the secret(s). What's been delightful to me as I read is how almost every author has had a different take on the prompt, which is exactly what I hoped for by leaving it open.

In terms of the mechanics, I thought you did a good job with characterization, especially in the beginning. Scorpius was a straight shooter (in his thoughts anyway) who was appropriately blunt about his situation, yet simultaneously conflicted. Lily was every inch the doting girlfriend, especially the fiddling with the tie. The characterizations diminished a bit in the second half of the story (post-reveal). I think part of this was the pace at which you proceeded from that point on and the other part of which was the first-person perspective, which didn't let us see "behind the veil" of Lily and Albus's reactions.

I noticed some typos and off verb tenses throughout, but they weren't terribly distracting.

Thanks for participating in the challenge!

Author's Response: HI! Thanks for posting this challenge. I was at first unsure about doing it, but I caved in b/c I just couldn't resist.

I wanted to be more blunt rather than create mystery surrounding the secret. I'm glad you enjoyed the beginning of it, but I definitely will need to edit the end, to make it flow better and have the consistency the same. Also to add more depth to the story.

Thanks so much again for reviewing..

P.S.- Congrats to the winners! =)


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Review #5, by TidalDragonNym: Into Focus

13th September 2014:
Howdy!

The things I like most that you did with this are big picture. First, it explored Charlie, one of the most under-explored characters connected to a prominent family in the series. Second, it did something unique with the idea of revealing a secret - leaving the revelation until it was too late to affect the world, but turning the impact back on the person who held it.

What was most effective in terms of your writing? I think it had to be the word choice and the clarity and distinct voice you gave Charlie (a distinct voice quite different from how he's typically portrayed).

Thanks for sharing this super story for the challenge!

Author's Response: Hello!

Thanks for such a lovely review. I've always felt like Charlie's a character worth exploring, and have a feeling this won't be the last time I write him.

I'm glad you felt it was a good interpretation of the challenge. I had slight reservations that it might not fully meet the criteria, given that the secret doesn't have an impact on the world. But the impact on Charlie is huge, and I'm really happy you like that.

Thanks so much for such a wonderful challenge! I had a lot of fun writing this.

Emma xx


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Review #6, by TidalDragonPainting Over: Painting Over

13th September 2014:
Howdy!

That was QUITE the secret! To make sure I'm reading it correctly, Rita Skeeter lost her daughter. It seems likely from your story she lost her husband (Jack?) as well and thus she became the bitter person we know from canon.

The description and internal thought in the story were impeccable, from the details of Rita painting her nails to her self-description to her unavoidable reflection on Posy. The tone and emotion were well-handled, building nicely from the tug of past pain she fights desperately to suppress and the fatigue it causes to the acknowledgment of the reality (once again) that it happened and cannot be changed.

You packed a lot into a quite short, tidy package - a commendable effort that you executed very nicely!

Thanks for sharing this story for the challenge!

Author's Response: Howdy! I'm glad you liked this story, and your challenge was so compelling I just couldn't say no to it! In my mind, Rita used to work for a smaller paper with neat, tiny articles, and took a hiatus because of her pregnancy. She was happy, and her beloved husband was supposed to be home before Posy's birth. Then she got the stillborn, and her muggle husband, Jack, was pronounced Lost at Sea. She came back to work, painting her anger in cruel slashes of articles, and worked her way up to the Prophet. So yeah, you read right :) I was worried about the execution of this all, and I'm glad to see that people enjoyed it. Thank you so much for the honorable mention, once again, and I'll PM you soon!

-Meena


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Review #7, by TidalDragonThe Letters to No One: a girl can dream;

13th September 2014:
Howdy!

Well! This story had more than one secret and while I normally don't like the infidelity angle in stories, you did something quite different with it, with the second secret making you wonder if he really was still married or if that's a type of strange delusion Draco clings to after Pansy's death (along with her body...creepy indeed). This is the kind of mature handling of infidelity (maybe?) that I can read.

I really liked the patience you showed in developing Astoria's character though and what ended up connecting her with Draco. The description of the post office process was neat and well-executed and having them truly meet the way they did was unique.

Astoria's character was also refreshing. So many people seem to paint her as this saint who makes Draco a better person, rather than as someone who might be similar to him (part of his world so-to-speak, by which I mean pureblood high society) or even someone with her own agenda. Boy oh boy does Astoria have an agenda here, as laid out clearly in her interaction with Daphne. You make Astoria and Draco two parts of an ultimately rather disturbed pair and I liked it. Astoria is so single-minded about ascending into the Malfoy stratosphere. I'm not sure if you're a Once Upon a Time fan, but in some ways it was very Cora-esque (given her simple beginning - despite her heritage - as a postal worker).

The balance between description, dialogue, and internal thoughts was well done and the word choice excellent!

Thanks so much for participating!

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Review #8, by TidalDragonEmpty Promises: A Lone Figure and a Dark Street

13th September 2014:
Hello again!

Well this was a much heavier turn than I was expecting. Not that it's a bad thing by any measure.

I thought the descriptions were stronger in this chapter overall, and that helped set the mood very well and it meshed nicely with Scorpius's more isolated and introspective portrayal.

Overall, the characterizations were sound too. Looking back over the whole story, I think the choice of "soldier" as a pet name was interesting and a nice touch. It proves to be excellent foreshadowing of the darkness to come and a possible future role that Scorpius could play if you re-open the story and develop it further.

If there's one thing I'd look at in this chapter it's the dialogue. Particularly in the break-up scene, it didn't feel as authentic as it could have, owing in part to the rapidity with which that was handled. I thought Scorpius's cutting line was excellent, especially versus his conflicting true emotions, but the build-up portions and dialogue made it a bit less effective than it otherwise might have been.

Overall good work though and I'm really glad I got a chance to read your story! Thanks for participating in the challenge!

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Review #9, by TidalDragonEmpty Promises: Out of the Shadows

13th September 2014:
Howdy! I'm currently working through all the entries and I've reached yours!

I'll confess that while I've read a number of Next-Gen stories, including Scorpius/Rose tales, I don't think I've ever read a Scorpius POV. That was intriguing from the start and it only got more so as it went on.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of this chapter was the comment that in the aftermath of the war, prejudice had essentially inverted. I've always thought that would be a very likely thing to happen and I liked that you addressed it, rather than having it just be an "all was well" world.

As far as the more detailed mechanics, I thought you did a good job overall, especially handling the balance of internal thought and dialogue in the first-person perspective. I think there's always a delicate dance when you've chosen that path of not making the character too introspective, but at the same time not overwhelming a chapter with dialogue to the point where they don't really stop and think.

I did notice one apparent typo in this otherwise great line "Her red tinted lips, from which so many promises have spilled from..." I think one of those "froms" needs to go. Another interesting point was the reveal. Based on the story up that point, the manner in which it happened seemed rather OOC for the relationship. While you make it clear in the second half of the chapter that this had been a planned reveal the initial moment was just a little off based on what preceded it, at least to me.

See you next chapter!

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Review #10, by TidalDragonOhana: Scum

12th September 2014:
Howdy! Dropping by to do my part for the exchange.

Overall stuff first! I enjoyed the story. It gave a different dimension to Kreacher than stories I've read before. Those I've read have primarily focused on Deathly Hallows forward, culminating in his "big change" - fighting AGAINST what the Blacks stood for by opposing Voldemort. However, it was refreshing to see how you delved deeper by exploring how he changed over time, and using the dynamic of changing masters to reinforce that.

On the micro level, there were a few typos and a couple of odd word choices. On word choice, the one that stood out most was at the very beginning, when Walburga is about to blast Andromeda from the tapestry. Perhaps it's me, but "fallacy" doesn't feel like the right word for her choice or the way Walburga quite clearly views it. It's not disgusting or borderline-criminal enough.

All in all though, I thought you did a nice job with the examination of Kreacher and the mechanisms you used to add impact to his life and growth. The symmetry with the beginning and end and his reaction to scum was also excellently done.

Thanks for sharing this super story with us!

Author's Response: Hi Kevin! Thanks so much for the awesome review!

This is a new sort of writing style that I'm venturing into in that its content is more of description than conversation. I was hoping that I could use this sort of style to portray Kreacher in a unique light. Rather than emphasising on his ability to fight, it was more about where his loyalties lay. He still considered Bellatrix and Narcissa as girls he help to raise and, after seeing the destruction, did not shift his loyalties but expanded them. He realised that while he still cared deeply for the Black family as people, he also began to care about fighting for a new cause he believed in that did not really coincide for the one he was accustomed to. I'm glad that you could notice how his depth of character increased with the changing of his masters.

To be honest, I would be surprised if there was a piece of my writing that was not riddled with spelling errors. I'm going back to check up on that fallacy issue right now. I'm sure a stronger word is required. Thanks for pointing that out!

Still, I'm happy that you enjoyed the story. It was a ton of fun to write! Thanks a bunch for the constructive criticism and analysis; I really appreciate it :)


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Review #11, by TidalDragonRose Weasley and the Chudley Chaser: Chapter One

11th September 2014:
Howdy! First off, thanks so much for participating in the challenge! It's my first one and I was excited to see so many people interested! Now let's jump in to your story!

I was initially struck by the setting and Rose. I don't read a lot of Next Gen, but when I do, I've seen her written as either a carbon-copy of Hermione or, interestingly, Lily (which seems to feed the hate-to-love dynamic people like to do with Scorpius/Rose). Here you made her an individual free of both those stereotypes, which was nice to read. Development of the other characters was relatively limited due to the first-person perspective, but I don't think this inhabited you since I'm taking fromt he title that this is (or may become) and introductory chapter.

In terms of plot, the only inconsistency I noticed was the party being introduced as a celebration for winning the Quidditch World Cup (which involves national teams), but then involving just the Chudley Cannons (a club team). These are the kinds of observations you get from the rogue male members of HPFF like me! Sorry!

The only big-picture writing stuff I'd look at would be a bit more showing rather than telling about other characters and also trying to make the descriptions more powerful with strong, evocative language.

Thanks again for participating!

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Review #12, by TidalDragonWhat next?: Chapter One

10th September 2014:
Howdy! Apologies for the delay, but I'm dropping by to fill your review request!

I will open by saying that the overall 'feel' was good. I think in terms of the description, internal thought, and dialogue you maintained solid balance and you also gave the two most prominent characters - Rose and Ruth - distinct characterizations in their speech, actions, and postures.

One thing I would look at if you edit and as you go forward is that some of the exposition is rather literal. You tell us a lot that could be developed either by extending the scene to show reactions or make connections between things via dialogue, or be reserved for us to learn later about the characters. I think this latter possibility is especially crucial in a novel. Here, you've peeled back a lot of the mystery about the who the characters are and how they came to share the relationships and dynamics they currently do. Because we know almost nothing about their personalities and connections from canon, you don't HAVE to do this, and in Next-Gen, I would encourage you not to. It can make developing those things throughout the story that much more compelling. One other thing I'd watch is parentheses. This just happens to be a pet peeve of mine, but I view using parentheses when discussing a character's internal thoughts as a sign that there's a better way to phrase what you're getting at.

As far as the language went, I thought you did fine. There was one typo early (leaving the second "l" off "enroll"), but I wouldn't have guessed English wasn't your first language if you hadn't said so (and I can usually tell).

To reiterate - overall, you have a great foundation and I think the core elements are all solid. The key now is figuring out how to make them next-level.

Hope the review helped! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

Author's Response: Hey, TidalDragon!

First off, this is the best possible review I could get! It was, obviously, satisfying to read that some aspects of this story worked well, especially the ones I mentioned in my areas of concern, but the CC is definitely the highlight of your review. I read the chapter again with your advice in mind and already I could spot parts which could have been left out. It's amazing how we sometimes don't notice such obvious things unless someone else points them out. This is the reason I'm so happy to have joined HPFF. I will work on my parenthesis as well!

The second chapter was in the queue when I read your review but I will certainly keep those things in mind for the remainder of the story (and eventual editing). I actually copied that part of your review and pasted it into my word document, as a constant reminder. :)

I have been writing for a long time in order to achieve some deftness in English so it was quite a relief to hear my foreignness didn't stand out.

Thank you once again for reading and leaving such a detailed review, it was very helpful indeed!

- Andy


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Review #13, by TidalDragonThis is Angelina: Blood and Defiance

8th September 2014:
Howdy! I've not disappeared after all!

Well...this story seems to be in a far different style than the others I've reviewed for you. For starters it's much more literal. I can't decide whether that was deliberate or not, but I think it came across as a bit more mechanical than your other pieces as a result.

The biggest thing that shocked me about this piece was how much dialogue there is in it. I get it in the build-up, but we're talking about the Battle of Hogwarts and Angelina, Alicia & company being relatively late arrivals (who encounter and fell a Death Eater before even making it inside), and they spend loads of time talking. Including romantic gossip about guys. It's certainly a different perspective on the battle, I grant you that, but I didn't get as much authenticity out of the scenes or characters as a result.

I was pleased with the way you handled most of Angelina's emotions throughout though. She has a realistic on-again-off-again fear/bravado tandem going which was nice. I also thought your discussion of Fred vs. George (while it felt like a bit of a forced insertion) to be welcome in its novelty. Most people take the approach of them coming together through their grief, so it was nice for you to eschew that here.

I only noticed one typo: "the shudders of many stores". I think you meant "shutters" :P

Your quest to have me review your collected works draws ever nearer to completion! Hope you found this one helpful. As always, feel free to PM or re-request.

Author's Response: Hello!

I was wondering when you were going to be stopping by, I'd just about gave up that you'd been taken back to your home world! Its good to see you again, as always. :)

This is the second fanfic that I ever wrote and also the first one that I'm going back and revising so I'm certain that it doesn't necessarily have that same "feel" that you're talking about. To be honest, I always hope that none of my stories have the same general emotion so this sort of makes me happy but then again, whenever you start off your reviews with "Well..." I know I'm in for a dissatisfied review. Hahahhaha.

I started this story with a much more literal feeling on purpose, I didn't want to drag on about what was going to happen. I hadn't thought of actually pacing this a lot slower because when I was reading DH I got this feeling that time was just running out, which is something that I'd wanted to try hear.

Well, you fuss at me a lot for dragging on and on so I'm surprised that you were surprised by how much dialogue there was! How..how dare you! Hahaha. This chapter is mostly just setting things up here and I personally liked it so your words mean nothing human! All joking aside, I wanted to really play on what was important at that moment because there was the possibility that someone or something could be taken away. Hence all the girls talking about love and the ones they fancy so often--I'm not exactly subtle either about the people that might die so there you go. :p Actually, most of the people that are mentioned in that scene end up killed or injured.

I'm just evil that way.

Anyhoo, Angelina is the sort of person that tries not to show her fear but I had to think about how the situation would really bother her. If I'd been in her position, I would have been scared beyond belief but I think I wrote her decently enough.

Eh, I never liked the thought of George and Angie coming together through grief. Why is it so hard to imagine that they may have already been in love with each other? That just boggles my mind...

I have taken note of the "Shutters" Haha.

Well...I have two more stories that you haven't tried yet and I just know that you're not going to like them. *Sigh* That isn't going to stop me from requesting though and I'll probably just stick with "Transparent" for you, you fuss at me a lot with that story but you seem to like it all right. Hahaha.

Thanks again, you're always a treat!

Much love,

Gabbie


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Review #14, by TidalDragonDeath on the First: Chapter Three

31st August 2014:
Hmm. I can't wait for the reveal! This chapter has just confirmed that I have it down to the right two people (I think) so the question is do I have the person right? Well, I'm not one to bolt on my first bet, so I'll double down on Dean. I think it'd be more surprising if he did something low-down and dirty too per the letter from Parvati. Plus Parvati's more likely to owl a fellow Gryffindor right?

Anyway, I enjoyed this chapter as well and I think you've done a careful and good job with both not tipping your hand (because there's more than one option for the killer still, despite the POV) and keeping a consistent characterization across the chapters.

The only thing I noticed a bit of is that before Michael splits up Seamus and Theo is that some of the language and ideas got a bit repetitive through that section. Something to think about if you ever edit, but not a big deal.

I wonder now who Parvati told. Could it be Harry, seeing as he's a character you've listed? But you've listed Dean too...what? I hadn't noticed that. Grr... I will get my answers Sian!

Keep up the good work!

Author's Response: Oops, I just realised that I responded to your reviews on this out of order... *blushes*

Hmm, Dean is a very interesting suspect. It's great that you're sticking by what you thought from very early on, though!

I'll definitely go back and have a look at that scene - I'm always looking to try and improve where I can! I'm glad you think the characterisation was consistent though and that I managed to still leave some ambiguity about the killer's identity!

Thank you for this review, Kevin, and I'm glad you're enjoying the story!


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Review #15, by TidalDragonHear us Roar: Growing Up Lonely

31st August 2014:
Well, normally I can be quite long-winded, but I really don't see a need here. I thought this chapter was exceptional. I'm not sure what it is about the length that you're worried about, but I don't see it as a problem at all. You're covering 5 years in 6000 words and all the while doing an absolutely splendid job of characterization. You let us get to know Ivy at her beginnings, to feel for her and to identify with her. You let us get to know her struggles and her suffering and it was sad seeing what befell her as she "aged" (even as a child). One of the most powerful things a writer can do is get you to identify with and FEEL for a character and you did that. The focus on characterization didn't even cost you in terms of descriptions. The physical appearances, the settings and especially the clothing and chandelier were excellent examples, buttressed by the contrasts from six years old to eleven. I thought it flowed seamlessly, and you'll RARELY find me saying this, but honestly - I wouldn't change ANYTHING.

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Review #16, by TidalDragonYear Five: Behind the Mirror

31st August 2014:
I enjoyed this chapter with the increased interaction between the core group and other individuals. It hearkened back to the idea of house unity that you brought up as one of their goals, and I thought having that be addressed the context of Tristan's birthday party with everyone contributing (even Oliver, who buried the hatchet) and dancing to Muggle music was a nice touch.

Still, you managed to sprinkle in some nice clues about Laurel's ongoing issues and demonstrate some of what you mentioned in the summary about the group teaching Fred and George things about Hogwarts. I missed the booze clue personally, but perhaps it will pop into my head later if it's going to become a thing.

My only bone to pick was how quickly Fred sobered up. I suppose strictly speaking he wasn't as drunk as George, but he was still drunk enough to throw up, which makes his return to relative sobriety a little hurried to me, but oh well.

See you next chapter (though I don't think I'll make it all the way through by the end of the day, I've added this to my reading list to finish up and follow as much as I'm able. It's very unique and enjoyable so far)!

Author's Response: Yay, thank you! I'm really happy that themes that got introduced earlier, and later get further examined or resolved, is coming through! I'd never written long-form fiction like this before, and the distance between "have idea in head, put down words, words make idea in other people's heads"--while BASIC, is fascinating to me! That it's working is amazing!

The booze clue isn't a huge deal--the answer is: compare the amount of booze left when Emily leaves the room for the kitchens, with the amount left when she returns the next day. But the story will get there anyway :)

Good point about Fred--I guess he puked out of solidarity, and sometimes people sober up rapidly after vomiting, but overall I think you're right. I'll try to clarify that when I revise.

Thank you so much for reviewing! Because of you, this story is creeping up to 100 reviews, which is a MAJOR milestone for me :)



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Review #17, by TidalDragonYear Five: Three Times Charmed

31st August 2014:
Back again! I don't know from your A/N if anyone has actually commented on the amount of exposition, but personally I think it's been fine. You've done a careful job of crafting these characters and you're doing it while things are actually happening (even if it's just primarily their social interactions or daily lives). It's been much more refreshing to read it done that way rather than the "BLAM - this is me" paragraphs that sometimes get thrown down early in novels.

Laurel - yikes - she's headed down a bad road it seems and I wonder if anybody aside from Isobel is actually noticing. It certainly doesn't seem that way, particularly where Tristan's concerned, since he seems to be the most indulgent. Isobel perhaps has her own problems though as it seems like the beginning of this chapter about her vanity and the tidbits about portion control could go in a dark direction if you so chose (though that might be a lot if you're going to explore Laurel's addiction too).

These kids are trouble too! Drugs, spell abuse, AND petty larceny! The Wizarding World needs to get a handle on this Hex Head reprobates!

I did notice one sure typo (second paragraph "rinsg" instead of "rings") and another couple words I questioned. In Isobel's description of her body you described her as generously proportioned in all "arenas". I didn't know if this was intentional or if you meant "areas". Likewise, when you mentioned Haitian "vodou", is that how they spell it historically? Since obviously here we know it as "voodoo" (I assume it's the later with your painstakingly accurate approach, but figured I'd ask, if for not other reason than my own education).

Keep up the great work!

Author's Response: Doing this super back-to-front, because it's a subject I'm really interested in:
YES, vodou is a creole spiritual tradition of the Afro-Caribbean based on West African religions (Vodun, Ifa) combined/disguised with western religion (similar to how Catholic Saints are repurposed in Santeria). "Voodoo" was invented by Hollywood, and is kind of racist. Vodou is still a major religion, and is practiced all over the African Diaspora!

Arenas was just a weird word choice I'll definitely reconsider! I wrote that, I think, because "arenas" are places where you either win or lose.

I suppose, thinking about it, the only comments I got on exposition were "it's a lot of exposition, but I like it"--and I just wanted to let readers know the story IS going places I swear!!! This plot is very slow-burning, and really meant to be character driven, so I'm SO GLAD that you think the characters are well done! If they weren't properly dimensional, the whole thing wouldn't work.

And YEAH, these kids are trouble. It's definitely not the *majority* of teenagers who engage in ALL of these behaviors, but this story is very much about the minority who do. A friend of mine read this fic, and he said this chapter was his favorite, because he remembered the situations it was based on. Shoplifting was, I remember, a very common kind of experimental behavior (especially among girls, for some reason). Age 15-16 saw a huge amount of petty theft from my peers, and I feel like it had a lot more to do with the adrenaline/process of it, than actually wanting or needing the stolen goods. This behavior ended up tapering off as people's identities and worldviews started to stabilize, and as they began to think critically about their place in the world. But being a teenager is, I think, to live in a world that you didn't make and can't control, and resent being affected by it. It feels like living underneath the adult world, and so kids go underground in various ways. They develop slang and new ways to use language, to distinguish insiders from outsiders, and bang against the conventions they inherited but did not create. Writing this story, and trying to be honest about what I remember, meant seeing objectively how messy and ugly growing up can be. And sure, not for all kids, or at least not in these specific ways--but for enough of them.


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Review #18, by TidalDragonYear Five: Loose Lips

30th August 2014:
I think perhaps my favorite aspect of this chapter was the different take we get on Oliver Wood and Gryffindor in particular. Obviously in canon Gryffindor is heavily glamorized - it's Harry's house, most of the major players are all past or present Gryffindors, and not much focus is given at all to the flaws inherent in members of the house (unlike characters from some others, particularly Slytherin). This actually reminded me that NONE of your truly central characters are in Gryffindor, and I think that's a very cool touch as well!

Though it's not part of the story itself, I've also enjoyed reading in your A/Ns about all the thought and effort you've put into characters and their wands. I'm interested to see how those things might come into play as the story progresses (if you plan for them to). Tristan definitely seems to live up to his wand wood, especially in this chapter.

I'm interested to see if we'll get an explanation for Tristan's typical mood as the story progresses too. Initially I thought he was less social than his friends and in darker moods because of the incident over summer, but now it's becoming clear he's typically rather...I don't know the word exactly, but not positive-minded.

I'm interested to see what happens with his group as the year develops and how/if relationships will change or how these little tidbits you've been dropping in about certain individuals and dynamics get resolved or addressed.

You're doing a super job so far! See you next chapter!

Author's Response: Haha, yes! Well you know that I'M a Gryffindor--so I definitely wanted to look at it from a different perspective. None of the qualities associated with the four houses are *inherently* good or bad (see: "very brave and very stupid"--HP:PS). Slythetins don't HAVE to be evil, and ambition/cunning are definitely valuable characteristics. Even the exclusivity of it could be seen another way, in that any circle of inclusion is likewise one of exclusion. With that in mind, Gryffindors (especially young ones), could easily be loudmouthed or needlessly aggressive.

The types of wands definitely relate to the story! I was SO HAPPY to find these combinations of woods and cores, that suited each character so beautifully!

Ah, the ever enigmatic Tristan--why the characters feel, think, and behave the way they do is definitely critical to the story. It's kind of the whole story, even.

I'm so glad you're picking up on all those little tidbits! Can't wait to see what you make of the rest of the story!


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Review #19, by TidalDragonYear Five: R

30th August 2014:
Well, per your note there were a lot of musical references dropped. I take it you're an audiophile? Or an extremely diligent researcher?

At any rate, I thought the quality characterization continued in this chapter. I think it's been a good choice to switch POVs with the diverse group of friends you've created in the story. I always admire authors who can create these very well-developed supporting characters in first-person or third-person limited, but sometimes it makes more sense to go omniscient and I think that's true of this story. It's given the group more depth and underscored their differentiation despite their friendships.

I also thought it was good to include the bit about Laurel seeming in "need" of Cheering Charms. I'm assuming this may be something that gets developed more as the story goes on, which I think would be realistic if she ends up having more pronounced problems with addiction.

Carrying on to Chapter 4!

Author's Response: Both! I'm a musician, and this story was a really fun opportunity to go through music that was popular at this times to these sorts of people :D (also, music was almost completely ignored in canon so I really wanted to do it up in this story, since it's so very important to a lot of teenagers).

The changing POVs were inspired, in part, but how Rowling shifted her focalizations in Casual Vacancy. Additionally, the show Skins (UK) was a major influence on this story, and every episode of that show switches which person it focuses on (while continuing to examine the overall story of the friend group).

Aha--yes, I insisted that my story about wizards be realistic! If cheering charms exist, some people are going to abuse them--and everything MUST have a downside. Otherwise, people would be doing that all the time!


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Review #20, by TidalDragonYear Five: The Hex Head Express

29th August 2014:
Hello again!

Well! It's definitely interesting to see use of magic (especially something as seemingly simple as a Cheering Charm) as a recreational drug of sorts. It's a very creative take on one of the MANY what-ifs associated with magic in canon.

Toward the top, I did notice what appeared to be some rogue capitalization ("Summer" and "Holidays"), but it wasn't really distracting. Just thought I'd mention it in case you return to edit (I don't as a general rule, but I know some people do).

It was also interesting to see Fred and George's reactions to Harry in their own right. They obviously become friends with Harry later, but I thought it was a nice touch to give them their own "pre-friendship" perspective on the arrival (and state) of the Wizarding World celebrity. Peppering in a bit of canon with the search for Trevor was funny too.

As far as the drug use/references go, I recall you mentioning they'd be prevalent and I definitely don't think it's entirely out of the question that magical folk would indulge in either their own and/or Muggle drugs. However, FWIW I thought the injection of Arthur, Tonks, and the Hufflepuffs being stoners (while the latter was humorous to a point, especially re: their name) was a tad gratuitous, given that it seems we're going to get plenty of that from this core lot (as well as Fred and George). Shrug. Just a thought.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the different perspective on this time in canon and the characterizations you're developing. See you next chapter!

Author's Response: Cheering Charms! They get mentioned all of once in PoA, and then NEVER again! The abuse potential is MASSIVE.

And thank you for noting rogue capitalization! I'm definitely going back and polishing based on review feedback, so it's a big help. Don't hesitate to point out anything you see that needs fixing!

As for stoner gratuity--I wouldn't go so far as to say that Tonks/Arthur/the Twins/Hufflepuff-in-general are ALL stoners. As with any substance, use abuse and addiction exist on a spectrum (someone can drink without drinking too much, someone can drink too much sometimes without being an alcoholic). It's also interesting to me how cultural attitudes about substance use differs (from categorical moral absolutes, to class or regional differences). These ideas come up again in the story, and the wizarding world has rather a different attitude about pot than American muggles (it's more like a little understood foreign novelty--like kava-kava or something).


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Review #21, by TidalDragonYear Five: Dozens of Little Televisions (1991)

29th August 2014:
Howdy!

So you probably were starting to get worried what with it being August 29th and all, but I never leave people in the lurch. Work's just been a bit more insane than I expected this week, even with what I had already planned on. C'est la vie, right?

I really enjoyed this first chapter. You introduced Tristan in a VERY unique way and showed right from the top that you weren't rating the story Mature for safety's sake with the casual smoking and obliviation-induced one-night-stand.

For her part, I'm a bit sad to think that Sophie's probably not sticking around. As a character she felt very authentic and her thoughts as an unknowing Muggle outsider on Tristan's actions that evening were particularly fun to read. It was amusing to get a Muggle perspective on the hurried preparations a wizard would have to make when the opportunity for an unexpected hook-up with a Muggle female comes along.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the slightly odd, but relatively seamless fusion of everyday objects in the half-blood home. The computer contrasting with the classic moving photos was a nice device and I loved how Eddie also tried to bridge the gap with a fantastical Muggle explanation before the Obliviator arrived.

Looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Hello!!!

Yes, most definitely: when I first began writing this story, I knew I wanted it to be 18+ (unfortunately, you can't go higher than 17+ on this site). I just really think the story resonates better if you have a little distance from the age represented :)

I'm really glad you found Sophie authentic! She was a very throw-away mcguffin, but I still wanted to write her with *pathos.* Hopefully, there are enough other authentic characters that you won't be missing her too much :)

And yeah, this story is VERY much about the intersection of teenage shenanigans and the wizarding world. I wanted to see how these kinds of scenarios play out, and how the specificities of magic influence the experience.

And, yee! We never got to see a half-blood home in canon, and I really enjoyed writing the descriptions of the house! (That's really why I needed a muggle POV to introduce the story)!

Thank you so much for the review, I'm so glad we got paired!


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Review #22, by TidalDragonKingdom Come: Hellfire

22nd August 2014:
Howdy! Dropping by to fill your review request (which upon reading appears to be only for this chapter? I hope I got that right...)!

At any rate, the premise is certainly interesting in theory. If I encounter an AU, I generally give the author a wide berth, but I suppose on the macro level, the only caution I would give re: believability is to be VERY careful with the transition from James/Lily to James/Narcissa. I think even in an AU, you're going to need a lot of very careful development to make that realistic (especially depending on the time frame you choose for the story). You're going to be in a really difficult place in that regard if we're at the point in canon where James and Lily are already together because based on the timeline we know of, they have a fairly whirlwind romance (start dating sometime in 7th year and marry shortly after graduation - presumably summer/fall 1978 - though "shortly" is certainly quite open to interpretation).

As far as the mechanics of the writing so far, one thing I'd look at is word choice. Picking one example, you wrote: "He knew that the commitment they were making was nothing of light magnitude; he wished to make sure that his followers were ready to fully commit." The first thing that is noteworthy here is that you use different forms of the same word in the same sentence - commitment vs. commit - which is one of my storytelling no-nos if we're talking about the written form. The sentence structure also seems overly complicated, but that's more of a stylistic preference.

On the whole, I think you want to inject more detail into descriptions and supplement what you have with stronger, more evocative language that draws the reader into the scene more heavily and helps them FEEL what Narcissa is feeling, as that will be crucial going forward to both characterization and believability of the plot.

What works well here? I think the pace you used in the scene where Narcissa is trapped in the fire was a particular highlight. Many authors might get tricked into bogging themselves down and drilling into this situation in much more detail. You avoided that, and I think it was the right choice because it helps us share the experience more like Narcissa would have lived it. Life and death crises like that happen quickly, not slowly. Not every detail is noticed and emotion heavily-felt or even remembered. Well done there.

As far as your last two questions, I think I'd have to read more to truly answer them. This chapter laid out part of what you discussed in your summary (the trauma and Lily connections), but I think I would need to see more development to discuss anything in terms of "jumpstarting" it or drawing more interest.

Hope the review was helpful! Feel free to PM if you have any questions!

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Review #23, by TidalDragonSevenfold: ember in your name

18th August 2014:
Wow. Creepy dream there at the end.

I thought the introduction of conflict between Louis and Emily at the end was nice. It added a new dimension to both their friendship and the fact that I think they're dancing around each other at the moment. They sure know how to cut one another if they want to (which brought Louis's temper to the fore a bit) and what will push the other's buttons as well. Fun!

As far as the Bones goes, I think it's interesting that most of her development isn't really happening THROUGH her. In this chapter for example, we get the revelations from Molly about her history and background. I'm not really sure how these particular ones could have come out another way, but I think it would be nice for Eugenie to grow a little more before us. I'm hoping this will be the spark to that since it adds some more flesh to her on which Louis can base thoughts and observations.

This chapter also really bulked up the mystery though. You did a good job throwing in potential clues about different individuals here. Bones is obviously implicated, which would be an interesting parallel being that she's female like Ada. Neville (with Harry possibly acting in complicity) is also out there with the borrowed-cloak bit.

Since I also was kind of picking on Louis and his rapidly changing thoughts on the ladies, I'll come back and add that I felt this was a welcome change. Even though that was still addressed, he seemed to settle down a bit in that regard here. What's interesting about it is that Lucretia, Bones, and Emily are ALL still featured in this chapter, yet unlike before it doesn't come off as moving too quickly. Perhaps that's the fact that you spaced them out more and used other characters to address his feelings toward them than just his own thoughts? I'm not sure (I'm getting tired...), but I thought it was handled better here, even if I'm so pro-Louis/Emily his indecision and ignoring the obvious is driving me a little nuts :p

Looking forward to the next chapter!

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Review #24, by TidalDragonSevenfold: something in the way she moves

17th August 2014:
Hello again!

I noted a bit of what you meant in your detailed request about the worry of Louis being a mouthpiece as the mystery deepens. He did do a bit of that in this chapter, but as long as it doesn't continue, I wouldn't worry. It happens in every mystery (and a lot of books generally - even HP, where Hermione was often a mouthpiece as well as a character). I think the key going forward will be whether Louis continues to have some professional dimensionality as opposed to relying on his mixed up romantic life to add that.

More on the mixed up romantic life. I'm getting the sense that Louis doesn't know what he wants exactly in this area. What's a touch concerning about the bouncing interests from chapter to chapter though is that not much time is passing. I think that could make sense if Louis had been characterized from the start as being something of a "player", but it doesn't quite ring true for me from his earlier characterization that he's just moving on in his romantic interests from witch to witch quite as rapidly as he at least APPEARS to be here. Something to think about.

As far as Bones...she is really coming off for me as the consummate professional. I'm not sure if we need to get her in a more social setting or really isolate her in a tight spot and zone in on she and Louis's dynamic, but I'm just not vibing on her at the moment as much more than Louis's partner. If that's the aim, cool, but I got the sense that you have bigger dreams for her.

On the whole the plot is progressing fine though, I'm trying now to start zeroing in on who I should be considering as the potential murderer and I have an idea or three, but I'm not ready to commit to a first guess just yet. I think you're definitely keeping everything intriguing as far as the mystery goes and I'm definitely interested in seeing it continue to develop.

Also, lest I give you the wrong idea with my comments about Louis or others in this or my last review, I think you're still doing a great job internal to each chapter with characterizations. You're primarily showing, not telling about them which is crucial and you're supplementing their literal actions and interactions with setting and description in a positive way, zeroing in on things of importance with appropriate word choice.

I'd check for typos in this chapter as well when you begin editing.

See you in Chapter 6!

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Review #25, by TidalDragonSevenfold: in the midnight hour

17th August 2014:
Howdy Jenna!

So, for starters, I'm a terrible person, breaking my promise. The House Cup cropped up, plus life and trying to get out of a period I thought would be easy in my own story, but turned out to be nightmarishly difficult instead - you know, all the standard excuses - but here I am finally to start on the remaining chapters!

At any rate - on to the story! I know you asked specifically about Louis so I figured I'd start there. I think I understand what you're after going through his...history...but it felt a bit off to me. I think perhaps it's the fact that it was the lead-in to the section about Louis and therefore just kind of jumps out at you, but I guess what I mean is it just seemed like - BOOM - there it was. I think it certainly rang like thoughts a guy might think, but for it to read more natural, it might be ideal to lead with something that forces his thoughts down that line.

Though you made them a bit more literal with the scene at the seniors' home thanks to James's commentary, I definitely saw the flirting from Emily. Shame for Louis he's so clueless or closed to the idea at the moment - she seems like a great character and a great fit for him. He appears to note that she's objectively attractive (and she dressed up for him right?), but seems to undervalue the comfortable conversation and protectiveness that comes with her friendship. But apparently he has a thing for Eugenie Bones? Interesting. I had wondered why she kept popping into his thoughts earlier in the chapter...

The opening segment was very well-written with Ada. I love the portions where you address her and address Nurmengard because you do such an exceptional job describing the conditions and conveying the emotions of cold hopelessness. This was particularly clear in Ada's desensitized reaction to the deaths of the family and the young boy. Her desperately excited reaction at Ruth's return was an interesting change-up at the end of the scene and I am definitely left intrigued by "the Erik incident."

On the whole, I did think some typos crept into this chapter - and more than just here and there. I think you mentioned coming back to edit, so I'd just read through carefully and you'll find them. I don't think any were particularly pernicious to spot and we all suffer them (I'm the WORST about proofreading before I post), but I just dropped the note about them so you might take a look here in particular when you're reviewing.

Overall it continues to be great though and I can't wait to see things continue to develop through to the end! Is the latest victim Umbridge? If so, nice parallel with the Doloreuse (?) lady from Ada's era.

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