Reading Reviews From Member: TidalDragon
  
725 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragonOpals and Fire: Cuckoo

19th April 2017:
Howdy Sian!

You have the distinct honor of taking my current Katie Bell fic and totally creeping me out. In a good way, of course.

I think what strikes me the most about this story is the contrast between the characterization and descriptions. With Katie's character - what she's going through - so much seems to be so challenging, so fluid and I think it's easy for those explorations of a character's mind, especially in second-person, to become muddled.

But you had a trick up your sleeve. You anchored it all with this spectacular, vivid descriptions that perfectly painted the portrait of the tortured journey she was taking from contact to recovery.

I really liked the symmetry of the story with the seeming loss of identity and its recovery I have to say and I really relished the way you leveraged second-person here to heighten impact and underscore both her instability and the disquieting tone of the tale as a whole.

My favorite part of the story though when it comes to Katie is how after encapsulating her in fear, pain, and uncertainty, you revealed her true Gryffindor strength in the end as she urges herself to fight and does fight to rediscover the light and herself and her family.

Brilliant, as always. Also - NEVER DO THIS TO KATIE AGAIN! :P

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Review #2, by TidalDragonPlay harmless: Play harmless

16th March 2017:
Howdy! Here fulfilling our swap - I'm sorry it's a day late!

In any event, I found this story spectacular. It really captures the shifting dynamic of a relationship over the longer term and particularly after the birth of a child. This fundamentally affects people in such a powerful way and I think it's accurate that it's most often the mother, though not always.

An interesting sub-focus of the story for me was also the way Hannah went through the rationalizations that are used when people feel their marriage or relationship "going stale". I think it's powerful that you leave the end result of it in this case something of an open question because it is, so often, a true tipping point. Here it seems like it's likely to tip negative, but there's a lot to be said for the many, MANY souls who fight through this and find each other again. Either way it underscores how couples can wind up operating on different wavelengths, seeing the same sacrifices very differently and the importance of communication and making sure both people stay focused on the present and the future.

I really feel for Hannah and Neville by the end of this piece - her because of the contrasting joy (as mother) and disillusionment (as wife) and him because he probably doesn't know this.

The only thing I saw amiss in the story was a "Who's" that should've been "Whose", but this was truly a brilliant piece!

Thanks for the swap! I hope to respond to your review soon!

Author's Response: Hi :) Thanks for the swap!
I'm so glad you liked this - and I've of course corrected the "Whose" typo, thanks for pointing it out!
I don't really know how to respond, you have me overwhelmed with all the positivity, basically you summarized the essence of the story better than I could have done ;)


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Review #3, by TidalDragonIn This Darkness: Chapter One

12th March 2017:
Howdy! Now that I've read the story, I'm even more disappointed in myself that it's taken so long for me to get here!

I think the concept you've created is swollen with promise and the way you've crafted it - with such detail - speaks highly of that promise being realized.

I understand that coming in, you chief concern was whether the chapter (and plot) make sense on the whole. I think the answer to that is an emphatic yes. You do a good job of establishing background for Xander and the reason for Harry's involvement and subsequent actions in relation to him.

Inside all that you do an excellent job with descriptions, both of settings and characters, and characterizations themselves. I think you captured Chapman's reaction at not getting what he wanted perfectly and Harry and Ginny's relationship nicely as well. It's a further testament to this that while leaving us with unanswered factual questions about Xander, you also, as intended leave us with questions about his very nature. Though some of this is accomplished explicitly, the other part is left to subtext and reader interpretation of the "Crucio" incident in that context. The direct comparisons between Xander's potential futures and Voldemort raise the question - is his reaction afterward genuine or has he already developed a Riddle-esque ability to manipulate those around him?

If there was one thing I'd change, I think it would be very minor - a run through to look at some of the language for internal consistency and typos. The chapter currently has a number of instances where the subject and verb don't agree, and separate and apart where there are missing or extra "S's".

Congrats on a sensational start! Good luck with the rest of the story!

Author's Response: Hey :)

Thank you for all your kind, encouraging words! You answered all the doubts I had as far as presenting a clear story line while also leaving unanswered questions.

I am going back to look at some of the typos you pointed out. It seems as if every time I re-read it, I find new ones, but I'll keep trying to clean it up.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to stop by and leaving a review!


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Review #4, by TidalDragonThe Harder They Fall: Left Behind

16th January 2017:
Howdy Bianca! I am terribly tardy, but I am leaving a review here for you for your holiday wishlist! If there's one thing my quest has revealed it's that I need to get back to reading more. Though I am not familiar with the references (to one of your other fine works I presume), I can still tell already that this story is going to be top notch.

Your descriptions are really excellent. Even when Finn is merely observing others that are mostly idle you have clearly taken a lot of care with them and it really pays, conveying subtle (and not so subtle) differences in attitude or reaction and reinforcing (particularly in Finn's case) notions of him as broken.

I also like the characterizations, which are strong and differentiable - something so often forgotten when writing quickly as people focus more on the overarching aims of the chapter and allow folks in similar groups to feel (at least for times) like they're simply cut from the same cloth. With Finn in particular I like the way you emphasize the contrast between his inner turmoil and outer personality and as (I hope) I continue reading, I can't wait to see the conflict in that develop.

If I had to be picky about something, it's that I think the "rule of three" gets a touch overused as a device in the first half of the chapter, but all in all it's sensational work.

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. Ragging hard on Hufflepuffs! Is that to throw everyone off the scent of your wonderful Puffdom? :P

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Review #5, by TidalDragonAlligator Sky: {O N E}

14th January 2017:
Howdy! This story was such a fun read! I had originally intended to leave you a million reviews which you totally deserve on both talent and kindness for leaving so many some time ago, but alas, life always seems to interfere and so I settled on this one.

Early on you immediately highlighted one of my favorite things about your writing, which is your powerful descriptive ability. Even when you're running down someone's appearance you have a real talent for word choice and making it flow not just within the description itself, but as a purposeful piece of the overall setting or plot. While they're excellent in themselves it's this last bit that makes them even more so to me because it avoids the trap that I often fall into - descriptions seeming more gratuitous or at least unnecessary in the scheme of things.

I also found the plot enjoyable. You reference it as a WIP and I hope you'll pick it up again if so because the whole concept of Lily (II) on holiday in America and being obsessed with astronomy and space enough to explore it in a muggle museum like the Smithsonian is so unique.

I also wouldn't mind seeing more of this potential pairing. David is written so appropriately for his age (and nerd status, which, as a fellow nerd I feel okay saying) and the early (space) interest-based connection you establish between them holds promise. Plus there's my affection for Next Gen pairings of Potter and/or Weasley offspring with a muggle :P

Keep up the good work!

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Review #6, by TidalDragonLong Live The Queen: I

31st December 2016:
WELL...after only a handful of months, I've finally made it. I really am the worst, but if I didn't keep my review thread open I'd never get to read stories like yours and this is - once again - exceptional.

I really enjoyed the continued characterization of Lily here (of course), but also the way you painted out the peripheral issues and subtly hinted at the current dynamics between different characters. Only the matter with Hugo was truly overt, but given the way it was feathered in between Lily's thoughts on the location and her "entering sixth" resolution it didn't stick out as strongly.

I also continued to really enjoy your descriptions. Not just the careful, non-generic ones of individual characters and appearance, but also the way you balanced them so well with dialogue and inner thought - always something I strive for, but never seem to achieve when I start writing longer chapters these days. Yours however really flows seamlessly from type to type of writing and makes for much easier reading than tales that don't have that flow.

I hope to be back soon to catch up on this (and Complicated for that matter), but thanks for sharing and good luck carrying on with it! It's off to a great start!

Author's Response: Thank you Kevin! I always love hearing your feedback because you think it through so well. And it means a lot when you enjoy the writing.

I'm glad you thought the description worked. I think description's an area I need to put some thought into to develop, because my stories tend to be a bit dialogue heavy, so it's good to hear you think it works here.

Thanks for taking the time to read and review! Emma xx


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Review #7, by TidalDragonStorm: Fix You

1st October 2016:
The conclusion! I really enjoyed this and in particular the note the story ends on after so much struggle. What intrigues me as well is the timeline. I suspect that there was a real purpose in the symmetry of making Harry's journey to defeat Voldemort be captured in seven years (once he became aware of the threat) and then his journey after defeating him to discovering happiness and family taking the same amount of time. So bravo. Part of me hates it, especially for him, but I like the symmetry :P

Speaking of symmetry, I also like the way the flashback weaves in a connection to Harry and Ginny's first kiss. Then, as in the flashback, she is the initiator of that physically deepening and connection and I thought it fit nicely both for that reason and because it makes her severing the old flame with Seamus more a desired, affirmative act on her part than something she was "cornered into."

In closing on all three chapters, I just want to say that I think it's rather incredible the way you were able to connect these across multiple challenges, across multiple months, and in spite of the fact that I have a strong sense you prefer Ginny with Seamus. Kudos! And thanks for sharing these with us!

Author's Response: I really wanted there to be some light at the end of the tunnel with these two - they are a canon pairing after all, and I wanted them to have some happiness after the war and all of that. As for the seven years; I was looking more for a realistic timeline, not something that could be cured quickly, but the symmetry does work quite well :P

Thank you so much for these reviews! They really have made my day, and... well... I have no idea what you're talking about *innocent whistling*. I've come to love Harry and Ginny as parents, so I felt I needed to give them a story that made sense in my universe, so I'm glad you thought it was believable.

Thank you so much for these kind words, Kevin! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

♥Jill


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Review #8, by TidalDragonStorm: Demons

1st October 2016:
I have returned and I heartily approve of this shift :P

Regardless, I really enjoyed the picture of Harry and Ginny's relationship that you painted here and the dynamics of it. There's no question that the parts of them that made each character "them" in canon still remain. But at the same time, you allow it not to be ignorant of the past and there are new shades and depth on those traits that I think have to be appreciated post-war. Though it may sound strange to highlight so much, I think what really drove these things home for me was the facial expressions and clarifications of tone you utilized in their conversation. So often, these are actually signs people miss (or ignore) in canon of the connection that Harry and Ginny have and you showed us how that connection has been restored and now persists using such signals similarly. I would say Harry's a lucky man with his "not anymore" business and seemingly lingering insecurity about that, but given that I don't know how fresh the break was maybe it's more understandable. I hope clinging to that here isn't a sign of negatives to come though...

Two things that jumped out at me that may be worth just taking a look at are these: (1) "...or Voldemort rising yet again and killing her out of spite of his happy ending" and (2) the mixed up his/hers in their kiss at the end.

The second speaks for itself, but the first, unless I'm tired, just doesn't seem as clear as it should. I think I understand the meaning, but the first part seems to obviate the third (i.e. if Voldemort rose again, did Harry ever have a happy ending for Ginny to be killed in spite of). I don't know, that's just how it struck me.

ANYWAY, I am enjoying this collection of companion pieces so far and look forward to the third and final. See you there!

Author's Response: Glad to see you back here!

I'm honestly so flattered by that, Kevin. Canon is important to me for canon characters, and I try hard to keep them who they are while giving them room to change, so I'm glad that you thought that. Facial expression and tone are something I'm trying to incorporate more as well.

Hmm... I'll have to look at those two now that you mention it. Thanks for pointing them out!

♥Jill


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Review #9, by TidalDragonStorm: Broken Dreams

1st October 2016:
Howdy Jill! So...as promised, you are getting reviews on this Hinny collection you've assembled. Though I came in expecting it, I might be as angry as Harry right now (kidding :p).

It's always interesting to me the way that people portray the characters post-war and what the particular reactions are. Given that Hinny is my OTP, I tend to disagree with the blame-game or moved-on ones on a headcanon level, but they always intrigue me.

ANYWAY, I thought the emotional language you used in this piece was easily its strongest element. We could absolutely feel Harry's emotions from beginning to end here, and even though sometimes he was telling us exactly what they were, that directness seemed appropriate to how raw it all still is for him.

Closely following the emotions was the description. This might be surprising (or not) because of how much of this piece is more in Harry's head, but I thought it strengthened the story that you didn't let that get you lazy about them when they were around.

If I had a bit of CC, it's that I didn't think the dialogue was as strong in comparison, but it was ultimately a minor thing in light of the whole story.

On to the next installment!

Author's Response: Hello, Kevin! I'm still surprised that you made your way over here, so thank you so much for the reviews!

I'm so glad that you could feel what Harry was feeling; I wrote this piece on a whim of inspiration, but I had a clear image of what I wanted to accomplish. And I've been working on my descriptions in all of my pieces, so I'm really happy that they were able to strengthen the story as well.

That's interesting, because I tend to pride myself on dialogue, but I don't normally write Harry - or one-sided conversations, so I can see what you mean in this particular piece.

Thank you again for stopping by!
♥Jill


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Review #10, by TidalDragonSaint of the Impossible: Saint of the Impossible

7th September 2016:
Howdy Sarah! I'm sorry I'm so late getting to your entry :(

Getting to your story though - I love that this Astoria/Draco dynamic, while totally dysfunctional isn't so in a high-strung or over-the-top fashion. And though it's not typical Astoria/Draco fic I find that really refreshing as well because I find the way they're typically characterized to be rather unrealistic.

Getting a little deeper, I think the background you crafted for the Greengrass family was so interesting and I loved the way you framed it around Saint Rita. Though I was raised Catholic (and recently returned to more active practice) she was not one that I knew much about and I think it was a really unique and apt comparison with Astoria even though she has kind of this unique family pressure added to it. It's interesting.

Draco...well, I thought you got post-War Draco down to a T at this point in his life. Just beyond messed up and self-medicating to the point of self-destruction.

Thanks very much for sharing this and participating in the challenge!

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Review #11, by TidalDragonThe Breakup: The Inevitable Argument

7th September 2016:
Well...I am going to begin with my guesses about the characters - Roxanne Weasley and...JSP?

The reason I led with that is because I also really like the ambiguity about the narrator. In the instant sense, it kept me intrigued as a reader trying to figure out as the story progressed WHO the narrator was. In the broader sense, it allows the story to serve as a kind of metaphor for this type of relationship, where who the narrator is doesn't so much matter as their conduct and its impact on the other party. I like it.

Mechanically, I thought it was sound and enjoyed the simplicity of the language and description which allowed the theme to rise more to the fore than the details themselves.

Thanks for participating!

Author's Response: I must say, that's a perfectly valid pairing, but not the one I picture. The clue for me is that he's not much like his parents. But it could be James, or any of the next-gen men

Thanks for the review and for running this challenge. I appreciate the amount of work it took to organize this and how the collapse of the forums took the wind out of it.

Simplicity of language and spareness is something that I usually strive for unless I have a reason not to, so I take that as a compliment.

I must admit that I wrote this in a rush to meet the timeline for the challenge, and I think it shows some in the writing, but I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.


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Review #12, by TidalDragonTell Me Who You Are: Phase Five: Tell Me Who You Are

4th September 2016:
Oof. For a minute there I thought you were really going to leave us with a brutal ending. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for brutal endings, but like I said last time, I was rooting for them.

Honestly, as a hopeless romantic, this story is incredible to me in its overall message - that love can truly beat anything. There are, of course, many stories with that message (the original series obviously among them, albeit in a different way), but in the magical world, beating repeated memory charms, and as is implied, ones going both ways seems awesomely transcendent.

Mad props for an excellent story. Truly. I'll be recommending it to people. And consider it favorited too!

Author's Response: I couldn't have a brutal ending, but a happy one didn't seem fitting either. So I settled for hopeful and I thought it fit rather well.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this story so much. Thank you for your reviews, your kind words, your recommendations, and your favorite. I can't tell you how much it means to me. You are awesome, Kevin, and I'm so glad my story entertained you. :)

-Liz


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Review #13, by TidalDragonTell Me Who You Are: Phase Four: Remember Strawberry

4th September 2016:
Well, Dominique is trying to muck things up for herself again isn't she? Hopefully she won't. You've gotten me invested in this pair!

I feel bad for Mark though. It's interesting the interaction with Donnie and though it may have nothing to do with it and everything to do with the ring and its impact related to the final moments before the obliviation, but I wondered if you had thought about perhaps the booze somehow affecting the brain as a depressant in a way that assisted. That's really far out there, so probably definitely not :P but yeah, these are the weird things I think about.

Though this isn't necessarily integral, I did want to point out that Donnie did a good job showcasing your ability to write accents. I rarely try them because I butcher them, so I'm impressed when people write them and seem to get them right/authentic (not that I'd necessarily know - maybe that's MY problem :P).

Anyway, another great chapter is in the books and I'm psyched to see what comes next!

Author's Response: Ah, yes, she is. Very much so! As they keep saying, she's not the brightest Ravenclaw. All while I was writing this, I kept thinking, "Well, why didn't she do this? It would have been smarter than what she's doing..." And the truth is that Dominique is rather impulsive. She can have a brilliant idea, but she will act on it before she thinks it through.

I did NOT think about that, but I wish I had. It makes a lot of sense!

Oh dear, I almost never write accents, so I'm glad that came out well. I'm working on a collab with two OCs and one is Scottish and one is Irish and I'm changing the Irish to just English because Scottish is hard enough to edit. XD

Thank you so much!
-Liz


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Review #14, by TidalDragonTell Me Who You Are: Phase Three: Burn It Down

4th September 2016:
Quick thingy: "Bought be a hot chocolate." Just a small typo.

So! Burn it down indeed! And I can honestly say, A+ for originality with this. I have never read a repeat dating a Muggle story and it's really cool how all these other breadcrumbs you left behind came together in that concept here. The Obliviator training. The "history repeating itself" (which I of course expected to have been a DIFFERENT person, but then that would be a little weird I guess, having it blow up with a Muggle, yet still dating another one).

Now I'm just darn intrigued to see what happens going forward (I'm assuming they'll find each other...AGAIN...but then what).

Author's Response: I will fix that as well!

Hahaha, when Rose read this chapter, she absolutely flipped out... "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BURN IT DOWN?" There's a tweet on Twitter where she shows off her impressive nostril-flaring ability over this chapter.

I had to go back and work in all those breadcrumbs so I'm glad you noticed. This story didn't start to take shape until Mark asked the BIG question and I was like, "Well, crap... Did I already say she was an Obliviator? I did? I can use that..."

Thank you for another review!
-Liz


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Review #15, by TidalDragonTell Me Who You Are: Phase Two: Tell Him You're a Witch

4th September 2016:
Alright! I'm back!

So, we got a lot more characterization here of Mark, and again, I like that he's quite different than others in this situation I've read. He is completely freaked out. But he doesn't totally lose it. He doesn't storm out and then beg forgiveness. He doesn't break up with her immediately. He doesn't go berserk on the family. He goes about listening to her explanation in (IMO anyway) the right way: trying to see if her magical ability changes anything about who she is.

From the "writing as a whole" side, I thought the choice to go into Mark's head here was a good one. While I'm all for subtext, and having readers have to interpret these things for themselves based on body language, word choice for dialogue, etc. I think it made more sense to go deep with him because we are more immersed in his overwhelmed state as a result and we get to see the things he's evaluating, not just that he is evaluating. It was cool. And you pulled it off well structurally with shorter sentences at points, etc.

I also like that in keeping with his reaction we didn't lose glimpses of their relationship dynamic during Dom's "EQ&A" period which is important.

If there was one thing I'd look back at here it's this sentence: "[s]he had gotten into plenty trouble growing up, most of it no thanks to her big sister trying to stay out of trouble." I deduced what you were saying on the second read, but it was an odd (in the U.S. anyway) use of "no thanks to" because in a way it (still) reads as if you're actually saying "thanks to her sister". Minor, but I noted it.

You're still off to a spectacular start and these cliffhangers at the end are currently working well for you.

Author's Response: Hi Kevin! I was going to respond to your reviews yesterday, but I was so overwhelmed by your words and recommendations, I had to take a step back. Please let me again say thank you so much!

I could not stand by and let the whole story be told from Dominique's POV when this is really Mark's story. He is the victim, he is the one being affected by it the most, he needs to tell some of the story. ^_^ I'm so glad that I managed to come up with a reaction you haven't read before! I myself don't think I've ever read a 'tell the Muggle you're magical' story before, so this was pretty interesting trying to figure out.

I will go back and reword that ASAP. I was trying to get as much of the story written and posted before the end of the challenge, so my editing of the first three chapters was not up to par... XD

Thank you so much for your review!
-Liz


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Review #16, by TidalDragonTell Me Who You Are: Phase One: Bring Boyfriend to Dinner

4th September 2016:
Howdy! I realized when scoping out your AP that even though I thought I'd started this story, it ended up that I had not and now that it's five (5) chapters in I'd definitely say it's high time I got underway.

First of all, I love the characterization of Dominique. It's so tempting to have all the Next Gen kids have this high-flying careers even if they have different issues, so it was refreshing to see Dominique, who is flustered and stressed yes, but comfortable with who she is and her choices - even if she's not quite comfortable with her boyfriend knowing it all yet.

I also liked that you didn't blast through to the main event right off the bat as so many of these "Muggle Meets Parents" fics try to do. It allowed us a lot more time to take in that excellent characterization of Dominique and to put it in a greater context so that the events of later in the chapter and the relationship dynamic between Dom and Mark didn't come out of the blue at the Ledbury.

Even though they weren't at the forefront here, I also liked the time you've obviously put into the characterizations of Louis, Victoire, and others behind the scenes too. It gave even the introduction an added depth that many such stories lack!

A great start and I hope to be back for more soon!

Author's Response: *deep breath* Hi Kevin! It's so good of you to stop by! Go ahead and take your time- five chapters is the entire length of this story.

Dom's situation ended up being a surrogate for my old Potter's World character who also became a seamstress after school. I actually prefer my characters not to have more glamorous jobs unless A) it's canon or B) important to the plot.

Honestly, it is because I am incapable of "blasting through" that this is a 5 chaptered short story rather than the one-shot it was supposed to be! Well that and because Mark asked a question... But that's another chapter!

Oh, gosh, Kevin, thank you so much for this review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the characters and it makes me happy that you noticed the little details here and there about the family and people in Dom's life. To me, those are things that make the story come to life.

I hope you come back, too! Thank you SO much! Between you and Lee Anne, you have both just made my entire weekend!

-Liz


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Review #17, 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 #18, 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 #19, 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!

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

Well. Where to start. I think you've hit on why I wanted to make Laura half-blood - it does give me a lot of leeway and besides it's fun to throw in all the Muggle references. :) I'm not from the UK so Mary's accent was a mixture of guesswork and research, but I've had people from Scotland compliment me on it so I must have done something right. That said, in the new version it's toned down a bit - not all of it, but some of it. When I came back to it after 5 years even I was finding it hard to read, hahaha.

YOu are right about diffuse/defuse, and that correction has been made in the new version. Funny thing is I didn't even realise I'd done that! So thank you.

As for the 4 boys in Gryffindor, well that's covered in a later chapter but essentially I figured that, if there was an option for Peter to hang around with someone else, he would have. So, it's just them. It may not be accurate but it's my reasoning, and I haven't seen anything to contradict that - though I haven't delved into all the depths of Pottermore yet so I may have missed something.

cheers, Mel


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Review #20, 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 #21, 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!

Author's Response: Hahaha! This cracked me up. And yes, this was always definitely going to end on an upstroke. That's kinda how I roll. It's either outright tragic angst or it's a happy ending.

Yay, symmetry! This was, in large part, a story about Sirius's journey to "how things are supposed to be", if that makes sense - so yes, at the start of the story, everything is wrong and difficult, and he works through it and that includes, obviously, repairing these friendships, returning us by the end to the Marauder dynamic that we all know and love!

I know a bunch of people really wanted the Sirius/Remus reunion to be grandiose, but for me I was really always planning for it to happen this way. I was quite certain of my ending right from the beginning, in that I knew it would end on the Hogwarts Express and that the Remus/Sirius reconciliation would be defined by possibility. I think that trying to completely 100% fix their relationship and have Remus forgive Sirius for the horrible mistake he'd made within the confines of this story would have been putting way too much pressure on myself what with everything else going on. And besides, like you, I like it better this way. :)

Thank you very much, Kevin! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this, and I really appreciate all your lovely reviews.

-Kayla


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Review #22, 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!

Author's Response: Hey Kevin,

If I recall correctly, I think this chapter was actually a bit slower for me too, writing-wise. I think I got quite stuck on it and began to worry about whether I'd be able to finish! I managed it though, and I personally feel the slowness works, because like you said this chapter is full of positivity and is kind of a breather from the heavier stuff.

Thank you very much for letting me know that! I was always so confused about the rules about names ending in S. I don't think I fixed this story up, but I have started doing it right in my new stories, so that's something.

Thanks for the review!

-Kayla


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Review #23, 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!

Author's Response: Yay!!! Glad to hear that your concerns weren't realized (Couldn't figure out how else to word that :P). I think the gender parts of this were the bits I struggled with the most. It's a relief when people say that I managed to do okay. Haha.

It really was tricky, like you said, to keep the thread of acceptance running alongside the actual seriousness (heh) of the situation. I like to think I pulled it off, and it seems you agree! I totally understand what you mean with regards to your feelings about Sirius deserving a second chance. It really is a complicated situation because you can understand Remus's perspective too (of it being even more of a betrayal). I think he would for sure need to prove himself as trustworthy again, but that he deserved a chance to explain himself.

Thanks for the review!

-Kayla


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Review #24, 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.

Author's Response: Hiya Kevin,

I really wish we knew more about James's parents because from what we see in canon they definitely seem to be amazing people. I actually had a bit of a hard time writing them and was worried that either they weren't coming off as generous/loving enough or that I was overdoing it and making them into weird caricatures. So far nobody's said either, so yay!! Haha.

It was important to me to make the Potters feel authentic without being weird about it, so I tried to do that through little details. I'm really glad it worked for you.

The uncertainty that you talk about is, I think, borne of several things - mainly a combo of the time period plus Sirius being quite sheltered. It just made sense to me to write it this way. And I really wanted the whole story to be a "growing as a person" type thing, so I felt like that fit nicely.

Thanks for your kind words :D

-Kayla


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Review #25, 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!

Author's Response: Hiya Kevin,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm honestly a fan of the way the ToS is about abuse because it makes you approach it differently. I don't have a problem with the "later" cut away method at all but in this case I almost feel it would've been hard to pull that off because of all the different elements (such as James being angry with Sirius). I think it might've taken people out of the story if I'd cut away to Sirius being at James's house and just gone "oh, he got kicked out, now he's here and luckily James didn't turn him away". So I did it this way instead. Haha :') I'm glad you thought it was successful, I know it's a heavy chapter and it's one I really wanted to get right.

Thanks for the review!

-Kayla


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