Reading Reviews From Member: TidalDragon
502 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragonThe Most Powerfully Magical Number: And One

15th March 2015:
Here I am at the end! I'll confess this chapter presented quite a jarring contrast for me with the previous three. It was far more literal in terms of literally providing an explanation throughout nearly its entirety, but left so much unresolved. If there's a sequel, that makes sense I suppose, but if not - it feel like perhaps this could have been developed more fully through multiple additional chapters. As done it seemed a little rushed to me.

Nevertheless, the premise is an interesting one and when we finally got around to understanding the prophecy (at least as Hermione understood it) it brought an added dimension to the family you set us up to like quite a bit through the previous chapters.

An interesting finish to an interesting tale. Thanks for sharing!

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Review #2, by TidalDragonThe Most Powerfully Magical Number: And Three

15th March 2015:
And now you've showcased your skill with the long action! This was a really well-rendered battle I think. Though a few typos slipped in - "which" instead of "witch" for example - you crafted a very immersive experience and included some great nuances for "team" fighting that I think make a lot of sense. It's interesting to see the dichotomy between your description of that style in action and most of what we see in canon, which is obviously one-on-one duels. There are references to fights that are mismatched in numbers, but we don't get any real detail so it made your perspective even more unique.

I will say that some of the action came at the slight expense of the "show-don't-tell" you'd established so well with characterizations in the first two chapters, but it was nothing I got broken up about on this occasion. Slightly more odd was the fact that the students could how the attackers at bay for a time, even taking some down temporarily, but the two highly-accomplished professors were unable to make headway and the students were unable to capitalize despite the attackers seemingly shifted focus. This rang a bit off to me as divided attention should have accrued to their advantage, but perhaps fog of war is simply obscuring the reason for me.

I'm carrying on now to the fourth and final chapter! Great work so far!

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Review #3, by TidalDragonThe Most Powerfully Magical Number: And Two

15th March 2015:
Well, seems you write action and mystery-based tension as well as you do family drama!

This chapter was a highly enjoyable read too. You maintained the characterizations for Adam and Emily you'd already established here and gave us more of Matt and Derrick within the confines of their first real mission. Again, this made some of the introductory stuff about the more seamless within the story which is always great. And you properly used a semi-colon! Hooray!

I only noticed minor things in terms of CC. The first and more important I think was that there were a few cases where you used the same word or words in back-to-back sentences. One example is the end of Emily's confrontation mid-duel with Toya where you use the word force a second time within five words of its first usage. The second is that, though well-described and paced from piece to piece, the duel felt a bit short to me. I admit that I tend to go inside duellist's minds though so perhaps that one's just me.

Great job again though! I'm on to the next chapter!

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Review #4, by TidalDragonThe Most Powerfully Magical Number: One

15th March 2015:
Though it's taken me FOREVER to get here - something for which I profusely apologize - I am very glad that I did.

So far this story is quite interesting. I like how you set up the family relationships and dynamics in more relaxed way right at the start, but without force-feeding them to us. The reason they came up at all was plausible and the fact that you used dialogue and body language to really underscore your descriptions made them that much better.

Speaking of dialogue: I think you did a sensational job with that! You dealt with a lot of different characters and put them in a familiar, yet complex situation and still managed to keep them all differentiable in terms of voice and delivery. That's quite an accomplishment.

The other thing I really appreciated was the way you used the Harmons to create the magical-muggle tension we know so well, but also to showcase some cultural differences between the United States and the U.K.

That family stuff also lulled us in quite nicely for the surprise that was to come at the end - I'm looking forward to reading on through the rest of your story!

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Review #5, by TidalDragonIn Fields of Poppies: Bite the Bullet

13th March 2015:
And of course just as I comment on the seeming hypocrisy, Lily acknowledges it in a sense. It's interesting to see the evolution in her character and the relationship with Snape deteriorating over the year. It's setting up the beginning of the end nicely, though I will say she still seems a little more pro-Potter than I'd have expected at that point given Snape's Worst Memory. However, the more I think about it that's actually interesting to consider because we of course see that from Snape's perspective, tinged with his view which is quite unlikely to be objective - so fair play to you there I guess.

It's also quite interesting how you have the Phil and Jack set up differently in their attitudes about the wars they're in and then Lily somewhere in the middle, with a visceral awareness and knowledge that she has to stand up, but much more bitterness and conflict about what's going on than Jack.

While we're not too far in yet, I definitely think the story shows loads of promise with the unique approach and style and the strong use of language you've displayed throughout!

I hope you've found these (very late) reviews helpful! Feel free to drop me a PM or re-request if you'd got any questions or want me to carry on (though I may just do so on my own if life calms down eventually)!

Author's Response: I really appreciate your thoughts on Lily. She's my absolute favorite character, and I always enjoy getting to talk to people about her. It's actually taken a lot of restraint to not respond to your reviews with essays about her character, but I figure this isn't the forum for that.

As for her being pro-Potter, I think she had to have been at least slightly more so than people think. I think the fact that she marries him two years after Snape's Worst Memory says a lot more than her losing her temper on him. A matter of personal opinion, I think. :)

I'm really glad you're enjoying this so far, and I really appreciate the reviews! Thank you so much! :)

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Review #6, by TidalDragonIn Fields of Poppies: War Stories

13th March 2015:
Hello again! I'll start by saying I don't think you have anything to worry about with flow or pacing. You've set up a nice block style that transitions very well from scene to scene, even across the boundaries of time, which is impressive. Stylistically, I think it's a great device, especially in light of the title and the overall thrust of the story - that Lily was the next in a family of fighters. I already like how the similarities and differences in their individual circumstances are developing and I can't wait to see how that continues throughout the story.

As far as Lily's characterization, I'd say she's a bit more generally aggressive than in canon, at least as I imagine her. It's not the hexing itself so much as the near hypocrisy. I suppose she can justify it based on the fact that she (sort of) has a reason for it, but given that she reads James the riot act for what he does in Spring 1976, it's hard to imagine her engaging in arguably similar (if less openly mean-spirited) conduct. Perhaps since you indicated that the long game for this story is some James/Lily, that's at play there, but it's just food for thought.

Moving on to Chapter 3!

Author's Response: Hello!

As you said, the thrust of this story is that Lily is next in a family of soldiers, and that is what I'm basing her characterization on. Part of my intention when I started writing this story was to show a harsher interpretation of Lily, one that really puts emphasis on the fact that she fought in a war right out of school and spent her whole life fighting oppression. It was born out of a frustration with seeing these parts of her (which are like, the MOST INTERESTING PARTS), pretty much completely ignored. I imagine she's a bit more aggressive than most people are used to imagining her.

And it's possible that the pendulum swung a bit too far in the other direction.

Thank you very much for your feedback, I'll keep it in mind for future chapters!

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Review #7, by TidalDragonIn Fields of Poppies: Prologue: Her War

13th March 2015:
Howdy! I won't bore you too much with a dreadfully inadequate apology, but just know that I really am sorry. Thus far 2015 has been absolute madness and everything seems to be exploding in mid-March.

Anyway - on to your story! I think this prologue is a very interesting start. I don't think I've read one where it mostly presents the unknown history of a character that we feel like we know and compares and contrasts that character with the history. It's unique. I like it as a device and I like it more that you used strong, evocative language to create the imagery required to really drive it.

I did notice a typo at the beginning - a "you" where you meant a "your" - but no big deal. We're off to an auspicious start and hopefully I'll have real answers for your substantive questions starting next chapter with the substantive story!

I'll repay you the review I owe you by hitting Chapter 3, which I don't think was up when you made your request.

Author's Response: Hello! Don't apologize for being late, life happens. :)

I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! I know it's very different than usually fanfic fare, so I'm always a little afraid people will just think it's weird.

Thank you for the review! :)

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Review #8, by TidalDragonTo Fear A Full Moon: Chapter 1

13th March 2015:
Howdy Kaitlin! My lateness is inexcusable I know, but I finally made it. With work really piling on my motivation for anything other than a diversion on the forums has really be waning recently, but I'm trying to get back up to speed. Anyway, on to the part you actually care about!

I think the story absolutely makes sense in its current format. I think the end is a little jarring in contrast to the narrative that preceded it, and that it might be wise to devise a softer transition, but it's definitely fine in terms of coherence if that's what you're concerned about.

Pansy's characterization is an interesting question. I would say she is believable. You demonstrate her ignorance through her actions and speech and her intensity through the lengths she goes to in order to track down John. The only difficulties I really have with her are: (1) her being in such a role in a "new-look" Ministry given her stances and statement at the Battle of Hogwarts and (2) how she gained the platform to get this piece published with The Prophet given what she writes at the end.

Still, I think the plot you've laid out here is a great one and the message you deliver about Pansy's growth (and through that how easy privilege makes it to ignore the injustice created by blind prejudice or empty acceptance of one's socialization) is also excellent. Exchanging some current language for stronger, more evocative words would amplify that message by immersing us more in Pansy's story, but that's only a matter of tweaks.

Thanks for putting this in my thread! I'm glad I got the chance to read it!

Author's Response: Hey Kevin,

Thanks for making it to my story! I totally get how work can grind you down. I have that same problem too.

I'm glad that the story makes sense in it's format and that it's coherent. I am a bit worried about the ending and am already in the process of adjusting it a bit.

It's good that Pansy is believable because I worked really hard at finding a natural way for her to grow. I'm not really sure what you mean by her "role" in the Ministry as she isn't in the ministry. Also, this is probably my fault from the review request because I mentioned that it was originally intended to be an article for The Daily Prophet, but when it was rejected due to it being an article...I re-wrote to be more like she was telling someone her specific story.

I will work on pushing the language for sure. As I get more comfortable writing, I'm working on finding different ways to say things. This was literally only the second thing I've ever written. :)

Thanks for the advice! I'm glad you liked it!


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Review #9, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: eight

5th March 2015:
Well, well - the intrigue continues when it comes to the relationship between James and Harry. It really makes me wonder what happened and when or what's going on between them that James doesn't even like to be around him.

Lily continues to be an independent spitfire too of course, and so it's little surprise she'd like Carlotta, who has more than her fair share of spunk and attitude as well. James would probably do well to see that they don't ever join forces and gang up on him - that could get ugly and FAST.

I have to turn in for the moment, but I'm looking forward to picking up where I've left off soon!

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Review #10, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: seven

5th March 2015:
Chopping the season in half?! That's downright criminal! I suppose that will give plenty more time for Carlotta and James's connection to blossom. She's certainly showing herself to be much more than just a bartender though, with the cooking skills and the helping take care of James. I wonder though, is she really going to prove that caring of a soul? I hope so - otherwise it seems awful quick for her to be cooking a freezer full of meals for him.

At any rate, I'm looking forward with interest to the next chapter - it's surprising how fast I'm able to read and enjoy this piece - KUDOS.

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Review #11, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: six

5th March 2015:
Despite the inclusion of the more drinking, partying, and innuendo this chapter was something of a change of pace in one major regard - the reactions of James's friends and family to the situation with Carlotta. Now, I'll have to confess straight out that I'm more on James's side. Statute of Secrecy or not, there really doesn't seem to be a problem with dating a muggle for witches and wizards. It's clear that plenty have done it over the years to no ill-effects. While I grant you that none may have been as famous as James, and accordingly, perhaps not as vulnerable (at least financially, but perhaps in additional ways), I don't really see what the big deal is.

I was right before though - smitten is definitely correct. James is all about Carlotta and it's nice to see that it appears to be partially for the right reasons - a matching sensor of humor, desire for adventure, and lack of fear when it comes to standing up to or interacting with him.

Well done!

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Review #12, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: five

5th March 2015:
Carlotta has definitely had an impact on James now. It's interesting to see him at the end of this chapter sliding into awkwardness more typical of "lesser beings." To her credit she doesn't call him out on the change with even a raised eyebrow though.

It was also interesting to see that he ISN'T entirely self-centered. Between trying to help Brigid and his detailed memory of every Weasley jumper, it seems like James is actually more "decent" (to use the word he used to describe Carlotta) than he wants to let on. Is he perhaps hiding his true self for his career or is he just changing?

I can't wait to see how he develops!

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Review #13, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: four

5th March 2015:
What's really driven this story for me so far are the dynamics. You've done interesting things with each that you've addressed so far and that DEFINITELY carried on with James and Ginny and the references to issues between James and Harry that first appeared in at the end of the chapter with Lily's birthday. I think what I enjoyed about the James and Ginny dynamic (aside from you putting the spunk in Ginny's character that is so often lacking) is their bond over Quidditch and the fact that she knows her son like an open book and tells him how it is. Great.

You also created quite a personality for Carlotta. I'm interested to see how she develops throughout the piece, especially with James seeming to be -gasp- starting to get smitten.

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Review #14, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: three

5th March 2015:
It's nice to see your characters in a different setting and to get a more personal dimension on Brigid outside her professional responsibilities and friendly relationship with only James. You do a good job showing that agents have hearts and needs too - I'll keep my fingers crossed for her.

I also liked the moments in the discussion about the Witch Weekly interview where you pulled back the curtain on what the media-side of Quidditch fame is like. Seeing it through the view of two insiders was also intriguing because it gave us a view of some of the cynicism and politicking that we know is at play in our world too, but exposes it for what it is.

One thing I did note at the beginning was some occasional repetitive phrasing, but that's about it.

Thanks for sharing!

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Review #15, by TidalDragonOff the Rails: two

5th March 2015:
Hello again! It's been since last year's Golden Paws, but I'm back as host of the book club to read and review the rest of this fascinating story!

This chapter was one of the first I've read with so much dialogue that wasn't completely overwhelming. Usually I find myself rather put off by such a skewed balance, but you handled the tags and characters so well within it that everything stayed differentiable in terms of voice and structure - quite a treat.

James continues to develop as the consummate professional athlete - living a fast life, trying to stay connected with family, but ultimately encountering obstacles between his career and his lifestyle. It's telling in this regard that Lily has more obvious affection for Bridget than she does James - and that she knows he wouldn't have bought the present himself. Something tells me even if it HADN'T been a dress, she'd have had the same thought.

I'm enjoying the story still so far and I'm looking forward to continuing on throughout this month!

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Review #16, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: Celebratory Drinks

28th February 2015:
Here we are at the end (so far)!

I was getting a bit nervous when the drinks started flowing and then you cut to a scene with a rather gruff first line of dialogue from James. Thought some of those "skeletons" Laney mentioned might come pouring out with the booze. Alas, they waited until the next morning with the arrival of her positively delightful mother.

I won't rehash my distaste for the Louis angle at this point, but I am intrigued by this new development on the political side. Other than the election, that piece has become very scant so it's nice to see that it appears to be picking up again now (at least to an extent). I say that not just for my own interest, but also because I think that aspect is something that is a real strength in the potential of this story and that it would be great to have that arc develop further going forward. Just my two cents on that point.

Anyway, I'm very sorry that it's taken so incredibly long to get to this point and pay out my prize to you, but things got crazy and then every time I got my head back above water, leaving 10 reviews in a row seemed like a mountain that was impossible to climb.

Thanks so much for participating in my challenge, for your wonderful entry and ultimately, for your patience. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read some more of your writing!

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Review #17, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: Election Night

28th February 2015:
Well, well, congrats on trusted status (belated though it is)!

I'll confess that after the end of the previous chapter, and this one, I'm left with a lot of distaste in my mouth toward Laney. Not for her previously omnipresent arrogance. Not for her corruption and shady political dealings. But for her playing James. It happens, yes, that is life, yes, but I think my issue with her clinging to Louis at this point is that we haven't really seen a reason for her to do so. She's confessed last chapter that she loves him, but we haven't seen why. I think that's an issue for her development and consistency here.

Outside of that element, I think the chapter was positive though - you definitely captured the grandeur and hob-knobbing that are part and parcel of political events and all the good and bad feelings and memories they can bring.

Now I'm on to your most recent update - Chapter 10! What awaits, I wonder, on the next page? A time-jump? A blow-up? The groundwork for a disaster? I suppose I'll find out in a few short moments...

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Review #18, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: The Breakdown of Walls

28th February 2015:
Hello again!

I'll start by saying that I think some of the best writing you've done in this story came in this chapter. You just did a particularly strong job of choosing the right words and crafting the descriptions to make me FEEL more of what Laney is experiencing thoughout. Until the very end of this chapter you almost had me feeling a bit sorry for her. I liked the glimpse into who she is and how she became so (mostly) hard.

But then we came back around to the end and she's revealing that she still intends on carrying on with things for the pure manipulation of it. That's real and authentic for her in the moment I think (even if it doesn't end up happening in the end), but it still destroys any pity I have for it. Liars and cheats are the worst. THE WORST.

The only scene that I thought could have gone a bit better was the introduction of everyone at the Potter household. Going through everyone almost immediately just felt a tad forced rather than organic. I think the awkwardness and order was certainly authentic though, so if you were prioritizing that over prose, I can't say I blame you entirely.

See you in Chapter 9!

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Review #19, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: A Couple of Firsts

28th February 2015:
As you may have guessed - I'm always up for more politics. I'm certainly intrigued by Louis and his machinations behind the scenes with Peters. Is he merely covering himself in case Laney loses or is it something more? He SEEMS to have had no qualms about casting her aside for "Karmen" though I also wonder if that was out of concern that she was actually showing signs of interest in James. I'd like to believe he's not THAT bad, but you know, there are bad cookies out there.

The biggest highlight of this chapter though was that we got even more of a glimpse into Laney's latent vulnerability. Even the toughest, most calculating folks have these moments and I thought it was entirely appropriate and well-handled for her here. Though it didn't make her look good AT ALL, a close second was the calculating way she decided to sleep with James. Revenge sex? Not a good look at all. Hope he doesn't find out - for either of their sakes.

See you in Chapter 8!

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Review #20, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: A Boyfriend and Something Else

28th February 2015:
Well, James has my vote. That's probably because he's more like me, but I'll say that Louis, even if his words were driven by passion, seems more the controlling-type which would be a deal-breaker for a person who wants to be Minister I should think.

To follow on from that point though, I think another part of why people may side with James is that we've simply seen a lot more of the traditional aspects of a relationship between he and Laney. If the drama surrounding the three of them is going to be central (as the summary implies) I'd be careful about skipping over too much of the relationship between Louis and Laney in the beginning as it can skew people's views. I suppose it's also appropriate to add too though that I believe you've done a good job so far handling Laney's persona and motives and tucking in bits of her actual feelings in the dates with James. The characterizations have been well-done for both of them so far.

Including the old retired pol was a good touch too. I'm thinking it's only a matter of time until Laney wins at this point (unless you're going to throw her a big-time setback unexpectedly).

Moving forward - ever forward!

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Review #21, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: All Hope is not Lost

28th February 2015:
Poor Jane! She seems like she's in for a rough life if she's destined to stick with Laney - though maybe that questioning look will turn into a popping-off one day and she'll find some stones. Only time will tell...

I did enjoy the way the lobbying component and cynical commentary on the tit-for-tat voting works too. I can't help but wonder if there's more to Broomwicks than seems to meet the eye though with all their intel and clandestine sort of behavior. Though they'd obviously be influential, it would seem that broom handles can't possibly be all they do to be THIS influential. The banter in the letters was also a plus.

One thing that rang a bit off for me was the article in the Prophet about James and Laney. For me, Laney's criticisms seem much more valid given the publication at issue because for all its failings, you would think that the Prophet would properly cover a celebrity athlete and a politician (and would certainly identify her title and election status).

Oh well, surging forward to Chapter 6!

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Review #22, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: The First Date

28th February 2015:
Aha! An intriguing interlude! Even if we still got Laney's running commentary on everything, this definitely put her out of her normal environs and if I'm not mistaken, she'll admit later that she actually quite enjoyed herself on this date with James.

James, for his part, seems like a nice guy. You're developing him as Laney's antithesis pretty nicely thus far (if that's indeed his purpose) - she's focused, he's laid back, she's two-faced, he's earnest - and so on and so forth. I'm interested to see how the dynamic works going forward.

As far as CC for this chapter, I might consider incorporating some stronger, more evocative language to make some of Laney's descriptions pop more than others as the story goes forward. If nothing else, this might be appropriate to helping distinguish the intensity with which she feels (or hopes someone thinks she feels) something (honestly or dishonestly as the case may be).

Now for Chapter 5!

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Review #23, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: The Quidditch International Foundation

28th February 2015:
Hello hello. Remy the lobbyist? A nod to House of Cards perhaps?

Though there was again a sizable time jump and what seems to be quite an early entrance to the Wizengamot for Laney, it was interesting to see things NOT going her way for once. We saw a little bit more vulnerability from her when her thoughts wandered after the confrontation with Peters and the moments with Louis this time around.

To answer your question from the A/N, I definitely think Laney is doing the wrong thing with James. She's doing the wrong thing personally and politically in my mind because if it ever got out that she had simply used him - if I know Ginny, Laney's going to wind up buried. Unless of course James has schemes of his own (which is quite possible, especially in a story like this).

One thing that I think could be a useful tweak here and there would be to include some additional body language in the story. A lot of what we're getting right now in terms of the dichotomy between Laney's spoken words/actions and her actual feelings is in direct juxtaposition of dialogue and inner thought. Sometimes it can be helpful to make this less explicit as it give the character a little more mystery and makes the reader wonder - does she really believe that or is it for show, with more subtle clues to guide them.

Just a thought. Onward and upward to Chapter 4!

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Review #24, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: Whispers

28th February 2015:
Hello again!

Well, Laney and Louis are just delightfully duplicitous aren't they? But that IS politics. So you've made a fair point.

In this chapter the two things that jumped out at me on the positive side were: (1) your clarity of vision and (2) your honesty. You have a clear hierarchy that you want your characters to fit in and move up through within a gargantuan entity like the Ministry and have obviously sketched out well how they're going to inter-relate. You also, at the start in particular, noted the down-side of the method of moving up that Laney has chosen (essentially using sex as a weapon).

On the flip-side, I thought that things moved incredibly quickly here. I understand you don't want to get mired in the day-to-day boredom of the lower-level positions, but that also doesn't give us as much time to get to know the characters, and unless the hierarchy you've established as some point is made explicit, it's undermined slightly by the pace because two (with a third in the offing?) promotions in this short time-span seems a tad unrealistic without that background information.

On the more minor side, I've noticed that at the start of chapters, you tend to have some repetitive language, and there was an element of internal inconsistency here - not paying attention to the case proceedings, but taking the trouble to read legislation that individuals have proposed. Both seem (politically) to be useful to be privy to and something that Laney would pay attention to for intel if nothing else.

All in all I'm still quite intrigued though - see you for Chapter 3.

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Review #25, by TidalDragonHow to Become Minister of Magic: A Guide: Let's Make a Deal

28th February 2015:
Howdy Mary! I bet you thought, after all this time, that I had forgotten about the reviews I owed you - but NOT SO. I suppose it's a stroke of good luck that this story has 10 chapters now so I can read right through to the end and deliver all the reviews I owe you!

To start off with, I think this is going to be an interesting story for me. Though I'm far too blunt and disdainful of the public niceties demanded, I used to have political ambitions and I'm still very interested in politics. Usually you don't get to see how people started on the literal bottom of the totem pole though in such sagas, so this should be a nice departure.

When it comes to characterizations, I think I'll need a little more time to get a feel for Louis - though I'm wondering about his sorting already - was he a Slytherin? As far as Laney, you've already set about establishing the kind of person she is - not-so-likable so far - but I can easily understand her and why she behaves the way she does. I'm looking forward to the increased complexity that will ensue when she starts interacting with other people and how she manages to maintain a consistent voice despite the necessary differences in her public persona.

See you in the next chapter!

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