Reading Reviews for Smoke and Mirrors
69 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Me(: The Broken Wand Ceremony

9th November 2010:
Okay. WOW.
You are an amazing writer. I absolutely loved the way you managed to create such disparate personalities for your characters in such a short story! Also, your style of writing is very interesting and SO. UNIQUE.
I LOVED it. (:
The very first chapter was my favorite, I think, probably because of your crazy awesome imagery. It was so incredibly HAUNTING.
And that ending? Yeah, okay, AWESOME. I totally did not see that coming. Hmmm, I really hope Donghai got away! I liked him. (:

Thank you so much for writing this!

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Review #2, by Billion The Broken Wand Ceremony

17th September 2009:
Oh. My. Gosh. I suspected that 9 was the Warden's brother ever since the scene with Rita Skeeter but the ending was a total surprise. Well no, not really since according to canon, the only ever successful break out of Azkaban was Sirius Black, so they had to fail. But I really liked 9 and Callum so it was very sad when they (and everyone) died. It was a short story but you did a great job - setting everything up from the setting to the plot to the characters - amazing. With Rita Skeeter the only non-OC you really created an awesome cast that really makes the reader care. I really hate that Warden - he's so evil! Vlad seemed to have got the short end of the stick on everything - actually the same could be said for Donghai and Callum too. And the last line? Chilling. It was a perfect ending. (Though reading the very next thing, which was your author's quote, starting off as "I had so much fun..." was like wait..wha? O_o). Once again Jules, awesome job :)

- Ruth (I remember you called me Priscilla in your reply to my last review which had me giggling for a while XD)

Author's Response: Ruth I am so, so sorry I called you Priscilla! LMAO!!! I had just been reading Priscilla's review right before I answered yours and I mixed the two up in my mind. Thank goodness I didn't say, "Thanks for reading Bittersweet and Strange" and completely mix up the stories too! I am so sorry darling Ruth. LOL - this teaches me never to answer reviews while half-asleep. Coffee first!

Yes ma'am! I'm glad you were surprised by the ending, it's always gratifying to hear that because I usually get the readers who are like, "Pfft! I could see it coming from miles away" and it's always disappointing :P Right, the only successful Azkaban breakout belonged to Sirius Black so this group of prisoners either had to fail or to succeed without it ever being documented. What a compliment! I'm thrilled that you cared about my characters :)

HAHAHAH! I will delete that author's note as it does seem a teeny bit incongruous with the story. LOL.

Anyway thank you so much for your awesome review RUTH (reading RUTH's review, answering RUTH's review) ... LOL. So happy that you liked this story and I appreciate your review! *huggles*

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Review #3, by allergictopink The Broken Wand Ceremony

28th May 2009:
Oh my God, this is probably one of the most well-written stories I have read in such a long time. It was interesting, unique, and completely and utterly addicting. I like the mood you set with the story, along with your writing style and amazing plot. The twist at the end was completely surprising, which I admit, doesn't happen often. It came off completely plausible and definitely original.
10/10, that was a brilliant short story.

Author's Response: Wow I loved reading this review! Thank you for your kind words, dear :) I'm so flattered that you liked this story since it was my first attempt at an action/adventure/horror story. It was very fun to write, but extremely challenging. I had writer's block for about three months in the middle of writing it and had to push myself on. The twist, however, was something I had planned before writing - it was just getting there that was tough!!! I'm so excited that you liked this, thanks a million for taking the time to review *hugs*

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Review #4, by Bella_Portia The Broken Wand Ceremony

28th February 2009:
First of all, it took me three readings (at least) to appreciate the ending.

The first two times, I was primarily disappointed that the escapees did not make it. I liked the cleverness, but I was still disppointed at a gut level. Their plot was so ingenious, the set-up so intricate, I wanted them to succeed.

This time, I think I got it. Oh, the irony.

Keep your enemies close," he says, eyeing the brandy significantly, "but keep your friends closer
For the record, I think the saying is, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." And this, of course, is what Anton did.

So at the end of the day, everything worked out the way this terrible, devious older brother had planned. His risky move in transferring Vlad from Siberia to Azkaban, to keep him under his own thumb, paid off in the end.

I was so rooting for poor Mr. Callum to get out of there. In retrospect, the clue of that stuff simmering on the stove when he had his interview with Rita (not cabbage borsch, but polyjuice potion, am I right?), was very clever.

And now, we must only hope that the completely unethical, but endlessly energetic Rita Skeeter will finally bring the Karma Train to the Warden's door and "out" him for the murderer that he is.

But Anton seems to have done everything right. By killing Vlad, he destroyed the only witness (hello there, Dr. Richard Kimble -- "The Fugitive"); but, to all appearances, he was inacting a lawful killing of an escaping prisoner.

Is it possible that Donghai actually got away? Might there be a sequel. Is there some way Anton might be made to pay? Wouldn't that be cool?

Thank you for an enjoyable and very thought-provoking read.

Author's Response: Hi Bella! Thank you for finishing this story! I considered having the prisoners escape successfully, but the base of this fic is the conflict between the two brothers and I thought it would be so much more interesting if the "bad guy" won in the end. After all, no one has ever escaped Azkaban (at least no one that we know of before Sirius).

Oops! Thanks for correcting me on that saying :D I have to fix that right away.

Yes, everything turned out according to plan for Anton. He is a very twisted little man! He was just playing a dangerous cat and mouse game with Vlad all along, allowing him to think he had escaped before clapping his paw around him again.

Absolutely - the "cabbage smell" that the assistant detected in the Warden's office was Polyjuice Potion.

I haven't decided whether Donghai really got away or not. I'd like to think so! And it would be really fitting if Anton had to pay for what he'd done, but I think I'll leave that up to everyone to decide for themselves *evil laugh*

Thanks so much for your wonderful reviews!

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Review #5, by Bella_Portia Sleight of Hand

24th February 2009:
This was a beautifully written, perfectly paced chapter. The settings were as vivid and near-cinematic as ever. Once again, I felt like I was there with the characters in the bowels of Azkaban. The watery end was a real thrill ride.

Author's Response: Thank you, Bella! This chapter was one of the hardest to write - strangely, I'm much better at descriptive passages and setting the scene than I am at the actual action. :D I'm happy you liked this chapter and found it to be well-paced! I hope you'll enjoy the final chapter!

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Review #6, by Bella_Portia Hole and Corner

23rd February 2009:
I read the first two chapters quite some months ago, when I had a reviewing thread. Thereafter, I checked from time to time, but I believe you were concentrating on GUTF and did not post a third chapter for a while; so I kind of lost track. Just recently I saw that you had completed this story. I was very happy to see that, because I thought the set-up in the first two chapters was ingenious.

This is so interesting, so fast paced, so readable, and the characters are so interesting, that I had to keep reading to the end. The prison atmosphere of Azkaban is vivid -- almost palpable -- you can feel the dark, damp, claustrophobic corridors. You convey the sense of a place that converts from a prison to an asylum, as the juice of life and sanity is sucked out of the prisoners.

You handle the Dementors more interestingly and creatively in this story than almost any author I can think of. Your Azkaban Dementors are terrifying and vivid and -- best of all -- imagined in detail. You have established where they come from. (I reread the last chapter. I don't remember if I commented on the Dementor aspect when I last reviewed it; but on the rereading -- wow!)

Polyjuice is the best friend of the criminal, spy, or escapee, isn't it? But the way you use it here -- superbly unique! To have Alicia turn herself into a despised Auror, guaranteed to force the prisoners' anger to the surface and touch off a riot. All to draw the Dementors -- like throwing meat to a bunch of guard dogs. I thought it was brilliant.

The idea of having Gregory disguise himself under a Dementor's cloak was daring and surprising and entirely believable, because it was so well set up.
The cloak is unlike anything he has ever held before. Again, I loved the detail of it all. The slight fear that someone might notice two pair of feet under his cloak as he walks along with Alicia -- so realistic.

This is a great story.

Author's Response: Bella, this review just made my whole week. Thank you for your kind words! This is my first attempt at the genre and I struggled a LOT. I couldn't write a third chapter for months. Although I convinced myself that it was because I was busy working on GUTF, it was really because nothing seemed to be good enough. It was either too cliche or too convenient, and I kept writing and erasing, writing and erasing. Finally I just pushed myself through it, knowing I couldn't let readers down - I hate following a story that gets abandoned because it feels like such a waste of time, and I didn't want to put people through that.

I'm so, so glad you liked the imagery of Azkaban. I did a ton of research before embarking on this story - not on Azkaban, because there is essentially nothing out there describing this prison, but on real-life prisons and prison escape stories. I got an idea for what the hierarchy and day-to-day life was like in a real prison and then I looked at pictures to get a feel for the interiors. Azkaban came alive in my mind as not exactly a wizarding prison. In my story there isn't much evidence of magic - but it's the idea of magic, the possibility of some creepy supernatural creatures (besides the Dementors) or punishments that make Azkaban scary to me.

So glad you liked my idea for the Dementors! Not many people were crazy about it when I first suggested that Dementors were Kissed humans - having Dementors come from nowhere and nothing is a lot creepier. But I like to imagine that this is a possibility...

I was afraid Polyjuice Potion and the Dementor's cloak would be too cliche. I'm glad you liked the way I had these characters use them, though!

Thank you so much Bella. You're one of my favorite authors and I deeply respect your opinion. Love this review! *hugs*

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Review #7, by Labby The Broken Wand Ceremony

15th February 2009:
Wow, great ending... I didn't suspect anything like that at all. I love the story and how it eventually played out. I definitely think you did a great job with this genre and you did a great job at making Azkaban come alive to me. That's something that's never fully been explained and I love how you described it throughout this story. I love your writing as always.. excellent job with this story and thanks for the great read!

Author's Response: Yay! You made it to the end :) I'm really happy that the ending has taken most people (the ones who review, anyway) by surprise. There was one person who actually guessed from the very beginning (like Chapter 2 or something) that the Warden and 9 were related. I was like, GR! Is it that obvious?! :P Thank you for your encouraging words - I'm really new at this genre and I had a great time writing it, but I definitely struggled a lot along the way (hence the huge long periods between updates). I appreciate all your reviews and I'm so glad you enjoyed this! *hugs*

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Review #8, by Labby Sleight of Hand

15th February 2009:
I love the adventure they're going through now in order to escape. Hmm.. I wonder if they've really made it out, if it's possible. And I wonder what was hidden in that other path. It's all so interesting, and I'm continuing on to read the next one. Great chapter!

Author's Response: Hey Jamie! Thanks for coming back to review :D I'm glad you're liking the adventure so far! Yes, there is a very strong possibility of either escaping or dying - it's kind of a 50-50 situation with this place. I can imagine all sorts of heinous things await them on the other path!

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Review #9, by Liam R The Broken Wand Ceremony

6th February 2009:
Wow, I actually couldn't believe this. I was expecting some kind of plot twist, but not on this scale.

Donghai is gone. He wasn't killed by The Warden, was he? I hope not, he's too awesome to die like that. Or at all.

I guess we'll never know what happened to Gregory and Alicia. I suppose they were killed by the Cave-Dweller? Or she drowned in the current? I wish we'd found out, but I guess I'll have to live with it ^_^

Gosh, I couldn't believe Vlad and The Warden are brothers. And then he killed Vlad ... Oh my God! I really didn't see that one coming.

This is amazing, definitely one of the best stories I've seen on the archives, and I'm being serious when I say that, this is just brilliant. The descriptions, dialogue, emotive language, it's all perfect, and I have no CC for you.

You should be immensely proud of this :)

Author's Response: Mu ha ha! I kind of left Donghai's fate a little ambiguous so you can interpret it as you will. I kind of hope that he managed to escape so he could go find that uncle and take his revenge. I'm so glad you liked him! I like him too :)

I think the Cave-Dweller got Alicia, and Gregory simply starved or drowned waiting there stubbornly for her to come back. I didn't add that in to leave the possibility of the two of them somehow finding each other and maybe escaping without the Warden knowing. :)

Yep! Vlad and Anton are brothers. Vlad had always intended to escape from prison to get revenge and destroy the Warden's reputation, and the Warden had to kill him to silence him.

Thank you so, so much Liam! What a compliment! I'm beyond thrilled that you had a good time reading this and I appreciate all of your reviews and kind words so much. It's very encouraging to hear :)

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Review #10, by Liam R Sleight of Hand

6th February 2009:
Back again.

This review might be abit shorter than the others, because I'd like to finish this and review it before I go to school in about twenty minutes, sorry about that.

I really liked your descriptions here. I also very much like the idea of them releasing prisoners into the labyrinth in earlier years. I take it none of them ever managed to escape.

Alicia is gone ... I guess chapter five will center around Alicia and Gregory? Awh, I want them all to live! At least Donghai made it! I loved Donghai, he's awesome.


Author's Response: No problem at all! Thanks for coming to review :)

Hmmm ... I think maybe one or two prisoners did manage to escape, but it was never publicized and I hinted that they would die before they ever reached land. Most of them got trapped or lost in the labyrinth.

Alicia and Gregory's story is, unfortunately, over for the both of them. But the others have a long way to go! :)

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Review #11, by Liam R Hole and Corner

6th February 2009:
Usually I sart with something from either the start or the middle of a chapter to comment on. With this, I just have to start with the bottom line with this chapter.

He locates a door and they begin to descend a winding stair, deeper and deeper into a consuming darkness that will either bring salvation or swallow them forever...

It's such a suspenseful, elegantly written chapter. It really makes the reader want to carry on reading the story, and you obviously have a way with words that is simply fantastic.

The escape must have taken ages to think of, though! It's so clever, and the Dementors wanting to "feed" on the brawling prisoners is something that would definitely happen. They're hungry creatures, and I don't think they'd stop themselves when faced with that much "food" for them.


Author's Response: Thank you so much, Liam! :) You're so nice. I'm thrilled that you're enjoying this story.

Seriously, I tore my hair out thinking about how they would escape. I did not want to use the Animagus idea because Sirius Black had already escaped that way, and it would seem a bit too convenient if all of these prisoners involved were Animagi :)

I went to bed one night and I sat up all of a sudden, kind of half-asleep, and the idea just hit me like a ton of bricks. Since the main obstacle in Azkaban is really its Dementors, I wanted to find a way to distract them. I remembered a passage in the books where they all went nuts because of a Quidditch game, because of everyone's raging emotions. I thought that if the prisoners got stirred up, this would send the Dementors running. They're wild creatures and I don't think they could resist that.

Thanks again, Liam! :) :)

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Review #12, by Liam R Cloak and Dagger

6th February 2009:
This is so interesting. It really is.

Your version of Rita Skeeter was spot on, by the way. Even when she was younger I can imagine her prodding and prying and taunting everyone as best as she can.

Shocking stuff about the Warden, though. So he found Nadia in bed with another guy and his brother murdered her? Did he ask him to? Ooh, this is just too good.

Interesting idea of what could happen when you're kissed by a Dementor, aswell. I never thought that they could transform into a Dementor, so I like that idea. It also sounds correct that alot of them would die before they turned into one, nice ^_^

There was only one error I spotted. Callum tells 9 that a car will be waiting for him by the shore on Wednesday morning, but when Donghai is talking to Callum at the end of the chapter he tells him that he heard them saying the car would be there on Tuesday.

Sorry, just thought I'd point it out. I'm gonna try and get the next chapterr read before school now ^_^


Author's Response: Ooh thanks for pointing out that mistake! I'll fix that in a jiffy :)

I pictured Rita Skeeter as being the same way she was when she grew up, and I like to think this is where she got her real start. A scandalous story about the Warden's love life would definitely secure her a position at the Chronicle, and then she could move on to bigger and more evil things :P

I was worried about writing the Dementors this way since it could be viewed as AU, but after asking a question on the forums and hearing people tell me to go for it, I did :) This is the way that I picture Dementors get formed. I like to know where things originate and it would make sense to me that Dementors make more Dementors.

Thanks Liam!!

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Review #13, by Misty_Rey The Broken Wand Ceremony

5th February 2009:

My jaw is literally hanging open. Holy Smokes, Jules! That was wicked awesome! I knew you had something up your sleeve, no way could this have had a happy ending. In a weird way, I'm glad it didn't, it just enhances the story even more. My favourite part was 9's telling of his story. It was so simple and yet it felt powerful at the same time. It reminded me a little of the Aberforth/Albus/Ariana/Grindelwald scene in DH when it was talked about. How it wasn't exactly elaborated, you could feel the underlying pain and mystery in it. Which was what you achieved here. Honestly though, I did guess in chapter 2 that the Warden killed his wife and hushed it up for his career ;). But you definitely threw me off about 9 being his brother! That thought never crossed my mind but it makes sense, through the Warden's sadistic reasoning. See, I knew Callum was acting OOC in the previous chapter. The tiny optimist in me likes to think that Donghai escaped his wrath to fulfill his retribution but somehow I doubt the Warden is the sort to leave any loose threads hanging. I just can't get over your ending though. It was very Jeffrey Archer. The perfect ending to a wonderful story. Great job, m'dear. I look forward to future Mysteries from you ;). 10/10 coz you got me.


Author's Response: *evil laugh* I definitely had this up my sleeve from the very beginning. I threw in a few clues here and there but I was afraid to reveal too much. Good guess in Chapter 2! The Rita Skeeter interview is very telling, isn't it? You should also reexamine what the Warden was doing just before Rita arrived...

You're so right about Callum! He was definitely "not himself" in the last chapter and now we know why :)

I haven't read any Jeffrey Archer but I'm glad you liked my ending! I suppose if anyone had really escaped from Azkaban, the news would be all over it and that just would not do for the Warden's reputation.

Thanks darling, you're so kind and I'm really glad you liked this story. It was difficult for me to write and I struggled a lot, but I'm pretty proud of my first attempt in the end. *huggles*

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Review #14, by Misty_Rey Sleight of Hand

5th February 2009:
Woah, that was a pretty fast update. ^_^

They do make quite the interesting motley crew don't they? 9 really has this quiet charisma about him that's really interesting. It's like you can tell he's the leader of the group even though he isn't bossy or outlandish or overpowering. Writing a charismatic character without resorting to over-the-top characteristics is tricky to pull off but it feels effortless with 9. Actually, all the characters are very well-written in the sense that it doesn't feel like you're trying too hard. It comes off as very natural and human. Callum seemed a bit... off in this chapter. He didn't strike me as an especially loud character in previous chapters. I thought of him as having more of a lethargic, quietness about him. Meh, maybe it's the stress of escaping getting to him. I thought it was a nice touch making Alicia missing. It added an element of 'Oh No! Something went wrong!' rather than everything according to plan. That wouldn't have been very fun xD. I do feel sorry for Gregory though, losing his wife like that. Again, I'm still in the dark about their motive in helping them escape. But maybe that's a good thing. Not everything has to be laid out black and white for the reader. Sometimes it's good to leave them wondering and curious. This was a really good chapter, Jules. If I had one complaint, I'd have to say that I was hungry for more imagery. I don't mean description though. You're amazing at weaving this incredible imagery for the reader, making them not just able to see the scene but feel it. I felt that was lacking here. I wanted to feel the creepiness, the danger, the fear. The pacing was just a bit too fast for me to fully grasp the feel of the labyrinth. That's my only CC for this chapter. =). I was still hooked.


Author's Response: Hello love! I had been working on this story for a while and I just wanted to get it finished! *wipes brow* I have a bunch of other stuff that I'm so excited to work on and I was happy to complete this at last.

They are definitely a motley crew, these strange prisoners who have been pulled together for the same common reason: escape.

I'm glad you like 9! He is very calm and reassuring, and I think those types of people make the best leaders rather than the loud, brawny types who are more apt to start fights instead of bring people together.

GOOD CATCH on Callum. You'll see exactly why he was OOC in this chapter...

I had never intended everything to go according to plan for these prisoners. Poor suckers, to be written into a Girldetective story (which usually has tragic endings...)

You're absolutely right about the no-black-and-white and there will be a lot of ambiguity in the end. When I read a story, sometimes I like to have a few loose ends that make me think about how the story would end, and I'm going to try that in this one.

Thanks so much my dear, I'm pleased and proud that liked this chapter!

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Review #15, by Liam R Prologue

5th February 2009:
Hello, I'm here to review as you requested :)

Have you ever read The Green Mile by Stephen King? Certain aspects of this story remind me of it. For instance, the man on the ninth floor (I love how his name is a mystery, by the way) reminds me of John Coffey.

Well, anyway, I have to say I have absolutely no CC. I don't often see many good present tense stories, but this is one of them. It's descriptive, with great dialogue, and a nice flow to it.

This part stuck out for me: If Azkaban were a court and the Warden its king, the Dementors would be the voiceless knights waiting in the shadows. The prison is a snake pit for everyone involved, from the inmates to the employees

I don't know, but I just think it's written so well, the similies were just fantastic.

This is very, very good. I'm really enjoying it :)

Author's Response: Hi Liam! Thanks so much for responding to my request :)

No, I've actually never read a Stephen King book before but thank you for the compliment! I'm not much of a horror fan, but I have seen a few movies that were based on his books and I like the plot twists that he has.

I'm so glad you liked the similes :) This is the way that I picture Azkaban and I was very happy to have a chance to write all about it when I came across this challenge.

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Review #16, by LittleZebra The Broken Wand Ceremony

1st February 2009:
Whoa. I wasn't expecting that! I thought that the warden would turn out to be good in the end. Did he kill Donghai as well? And poor Callum - I liked him so much! Anyway, I've really enjoyed this story and I definitely think you succeeded. 10/10!!!

Author's Response: I kind of left Donghai's fate open-ended as well, but I think Donghai managed to escape for real - although it would be very fitting with the Warden's personality if he threw Donghai back into jail. And poor Callum died all the way back at Azkaban - he never got to retire on a tropical island *sigh* Thank you so much for all of your reviews thus far and it's so encouraging to hear that you liked this story :) It was very tough for me to write and I feel like I gained a lot of experience doing this.

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Review #17, by LittleZebra Sleight of Hand

1st February 2009:
So it would appear that everyone except Gregory and Alicia got out. I guess I shouldn't cheer yet, a lot can happen in one chapter, after all. Was Alicia eaten by the thing that was following, or did she go the wrong way? I'll have to go on to the next chapter. I love the plot and characters of the story, but you're also a great writer. 10/10

Author's Response: Yes, the Inglethorpes both got stuck in the labyrinth. I left Alicia's fate a little ambiguous so you could decide for yourself :) Although yes, you could infer that she either took the wrong path (and ended up back inside that maze) or got eaten. Thanks so much for your review, I'm really glad you like this!!

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Review #18, by onestop_hpfan18 The Broken Wand Ceremony

31st January 2009:
Great story. I was completely shocked when 9, Vlad, said that the Warden was his older brother. And then Anton appeared before him in the place he had believed Callum to be. Anton is a ruthless wizard. Though I guess I saw none of them getting away as no one had ever escaped from Azkaban until Sirius Black. I enjoyed this story and keep up the amazing writing. 10/10

Author's Response: Yep 9 turned out to be Vlad and his escape was actually his final punishment from the Warden. He was just playing cat and mouse with him - pretending to let him go before crushing him in the end. Anton is definitely a very ruthless wizard. I agree, I don't think anyone's ever escaped from Azkaban before and if they did, it was kept very hush-hush or else no one knew about it. Sirius Black's escape was the first high-profile escape. Thanks so much for your review and I'm happy you liked this story!

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Review #19, by onestop_hpfan18 Sleight of Hand

31st January 2009:
Another great chapter. I especially liked the descriptions in this chapter as it seemed even more real than it has in the previous chapters. And that's a good thing since the escape out of the labyrinth was in this chapter. I'm off to read the final chapter now. 10/10

Author's Response: Oh thanks Leslie! :) Yeah this whole chapter was very focused on the "getting-out" part so I was afraid that I rushed it too much. The descriptions had to carry it and plot had to stand by temporarily. I'm glad you liked this!

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Review #20, by BarbaraPotty Hole and Corner

22nd January 2009:
Of course, this is a wonderful chapter, as usual.

The idea with infuriating the prisoners was really a great one, I'm sure the dementors would react exactly like this...

I can't help thinking about the men's pasts and wondering how it might be connected...I assume it must be, somehow, seeing your summary.

I wonder who are the immediate association was the first Hercule Poirot novel. I wonder whether you've taken the name from there or whether it was just a random name?

Author's Response: Thanks Barbara! I had a hard time thinking of how to distract the Dementors, but while doing my research for this story, I thought of one passage where they went crazy at a Quidditch match because of all of the violent emotions. I thought it would be a good idea to use that to my own advantage :)

The men's pasts are definitely connected to this whole escape and what will happen at the end :) I actually was just stuck for a name and "Inglethorpe" popped into my head randomly! I didn't even know it was from a Poirot novel - it's probably one that I haven't read yet.

Thanks so much for your review Barbara!

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Review #21, by Labby Hole and Corner

9th January 2009:
Once again a great chapter! I love the plan coming together, getting to see more details about what's going on, but not knowing yet exactly what the whole plan involves. I love just the description you had of the pregnant woman in the beginning, you're writing is so detailed and clear, just certain points stick out and I love it. Keep going with this story. I'm looking forward to more!

Author's Response: Thanks so much, Jamie! I will definitely be keeping up with this story. It's a goal of mine to have it done by the end of January, so I'll be writing a lot more this weekend. I'm thrilled that you liked the way the plan is going - hopefully it didn't seem too out there!

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Review #22, by listen_to_the_silence Hole and Corner

5th January 2009:
this is such a great story! the whole stoline is really interesting and i can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Oh thanks so much, I'm really happy that you're enjoying it! :) I hope you'll like the rest of the story if you keep reading!

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Review #23, by Misty_Rey Hole and Corner

4th January 2009:
Yay! A new chapter! Do you know how long I've been waiting for this? But as usual, you didn't disappoint.

It did surprise me that you introduced a couple of brand-new OCs to help with the breakout but at the same time, it intruiged me because now I'm curious as to what is their relationship with the other cast of OCs. Whatever it is, I did like the roles they each played i.e. Alicia as the Auror imposter and Gregory as the Dementor imposter. It was a very clever way to get rid of the Dementors. The idea of using the Dementor's cloak as a disguise did cross my mind but that on its own would have been a rather weak trick. But to serve up a frenzied prisoner buffet, now that was absolutely genius! It made sense, was believeable and wasn't too convenient. Thereby, the Dementor disguise worked on scale with everything else. While the Dementors and the guards are distracted, I can't help but have a feeling that those are the least of their problems. I mean specifically the Warden. I'm really excited to see how they outwit the Warden as he seems like the sort that won't be fooled all that easily. Now that phase 1 of the breakout plan is complete, I can't wait to see what else you have in store. Please please update soon! 10/10 of course ^_^.

P.S: Yay, 50th review! xD lol.

Author's Response: Hello dear! Oh, thank goodness I didn't disappoint you :D I had almost always intended this story to be carried by a cast of OCs, and these two outside accomplices were in the plans from the beginning. I'm glad you thought the Dementor-luring was a feasible idea! I agree that using the Dementor cloak would have been a really weak escape plan, so I stuck it in there as a way to get out while everyone else was being distracted. No one would think twice about an odd-looking Dementor with all of the real Dementors going nuts.

Yes ma'am! Lots more on the Warden as the story continues. Has he been fooled? Will they escape? *suspenseful music* Stay tuned...

Thanks for the review Misty! *hugs*

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Review #24, by GubraithianFire Hole and Corner

3rd January 2009:
I didn't review the previous chapter because I was way too engrossed in your mesmerizing writing (but let me say, the entire chapter was genius, especially the part with Rita and the Warden), and now that I've caught up... WELL. *dies*

Honestly, this is one of the most original stories I've come across in the longest time - I already squee-d about the beginning and the world you set up, but in these two chapters, we see the intricacy of everything... Donghai's ability to separate mind from body (which reminded me of The Princess Bride, except Westley can't physically leave his body, so forget I said anything), the Warden (and I'm so excited to see the significance of Nadia's murder), and 9 (will we ever learn his real name?)... and now, Gregory and Alicia! Merlin, this is crazy and dizzying in its scope and intensity. And naturally, this first part of the escape was very well-planned, what with the Polyjuice Potion and Mayhew and the cloak and everything... *faints*

So I'm basically in love. Which I think explains everything. Spectacular job, ten, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Author's Response: *squeals* Do you really mean it??! You're way too kind, this review is too much. Thank you so much! I love that you mentioned the Princess Bride, I've always wanted to write something along those lines (something like Stardust too) but I never thought this story would remind you of it! I see what you mean though, that the character kind of prepped himself for his future trials except this was meditation and not iocane ... but yeah I totally see what you're saying. Yes, you will see the significance of Nadia's murder and you will also learn the whole deal with 9.

I'm super anal retentive about planning things and this chapter pretty much took everything out of me. LOL It took me forever to update because I just couldn't get the escape right. But I'm so glad that you thought it worked out and you enjoyed reading this! Thanks so much for your encouraging reviews, I hope you'll like the rest of the story! :) :)

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Review #25, by GubraithianFire Prologue

3rd January 2009:
So, I've been curious about this for the longest time - an Azkaban escape plot (because I'm fascinated by these types of stories just as I am terrified) - and finally, I'm reviewing. I was doubtful at first because of the OCs, since in my opinion it's really, really hard to anchor a fanfic around OCs while keeping canon characters in the background. Nonetheless, I think this is pretty damn brilliant.

The plot, even if this is the first chapter, is something you've clearly thought about. It's really a wonder that no one else (that I've seen) has written about Azkaban, and more than just a one-shot or something about Sirius' escape; it's obviously not an easy topic to choose, but after this and all the depth of character and description (the man on the ninth floor is one of THE most intriguing OCs I've seen in forever), I think you can definitely pull it off. I think the problem that a lot of authors (myself included :P) with writing Azkaban is simply, how does anyone write a chaptered story in such an environment is really, really intimidating, but you've really seized the challenge by the horns and are going for it with a unique style and subtly terrifying tone. Your description of Azkaban itself, plus the idea of people like Callum and prisoners like Donghai and the man on the ninth level, is really... startling.

I look forward to seeing where this goes. Amazing start. ^_^

Author's Response: Hi! I've seen your penname around and your wonderful stories, but never got a chance to read your work or introduce myself. I'm so excited that you decided to give Smoke and Mirrors a try :)

I love escape stories too! I came across this story challenge at the forums and just HAD to give it a try. I've never written any mysteries or anything suspenseful (which is kinda weird because these are two of my favorite genres to read ever) and I was really nervous about writing something and having it completely suck. But I had promised myself that I would stretch my comfort zone (aka stop writing romance so much *sniffle*) :D So needless to say, I tiptoed into this whole story expecting not-so-stellar feedback but hey, maybe I would get some great advice on how to improve.

So to hear that you enjoyed this story is such an amazing thing! I'm glad you took a chance on it even though it's OC-centric ... I know what you mean about being wary when a story is all OCs. I originally wanted Sirius as a main character but we already know how he escaped, and the challenge was to think of another way to escape from Azkaban.

Eek thanks so much for this review! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the prologue and I hope you'll like the rest of the story!

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