Reading Reviews for Ashes of Dust
8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Lululuna The Constant Vigil

1st September 2013:
Hi there, here from review tag to read your story! And wow, what a story! :)

It took me so long to choose a story from your page to read, but I'm so glad I settled on this one. I've never seen Moody explored so beautifully and carefully, and seeing him through Helen's eyes was such a unique yet perfect characterization. The family dynamic set up was so interesting yet heartbreaking- how the love between them was unequal, how much Alastor worshipped his father and how his mother tried to become a hero in his eyes as well. I thought it was oddly touching and realistic to how parents must hope for their children to feel about them. The scene with Moody at the end- how his parents would hardly have recognized him, was so impressive in grounding the story into the Moody we know. I love how you started the story with the Moody from the books, then developed Helen's voice and memories of him to give a whole new idea built upon the familiar image.

I thought it was so interesting how Moody seems to still see so much of his mother in himself, when he looks in the mirror at the end of the story. Also, I feel like he's the type of character who is so hard to read and understand his thoughts and emotions: he is all about duty and vigilance, not about being soft or emotional. I think you captured that really well here, leaving the decision of what Moody was thinking and his precise feelings for his mother up to the reader to decide, not offered up clearly like Helen's emotions were.

Helen could be a real person from how much depth you've given her. I loved the snapshots into the lives of both parents and their relationship, like their bantering and how he called her princess. The whole squib dynamic was a very interesting one as well, and how the father resents the son for having magic while Helen is the peacemaker trying to mediate and compensate between them. Alexander's gruffness also reminded me so much of Moody, and he seemed like such a dynamic and round character as well. The little details you put into this story and the reflections and memories were so strong in creating a world.

Thank you so much for writing this lovely, illuminating story, and for focusing on the underrated Alastor in such a thoughtful way. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure the images of the little boy, the hardened father and Helen's voice will haunt me for a while yet. Brilliant! :)

Author's Response: Wow, thank you for choosing this story! It's one I really loved writing, so it means a lot to hear that readers also enjoyed it. I've never written a parent-child relationship quite like this before, nor a family dynamic this complex and realistic - it surprised me as I wrote and edited it because of the amount of feeling behind it. The Moody family became real, which is something I suppose every writer wants to achieve in some way.

I'm glad that you liked the structure of the story because that was a particularly challenging aspect of the story. To make it only from Helen's perspective distances one, not only from Moody - despite the intimate portrait one gets of him - but from canon, and that was too much of a risk. The story instead begins and ends with Moody and his letter, more effectively grounding the story as a whole in canon. But it also gives readers an image of Moody the adult, the Moody we know from the books - building on the familiar image adds to the sadness of this story. It's about parenting a child, creating a human being, and it often doesn't work the way one thinks it should and maybe one has no idea how to make it work - it's never perfect, and you never truly know what kind of person the child will become, no matter what you do, good or bad.

It's a great experience to write about an underrated or otherwise minor character because, not only does one have a lot more room to create a story, but one can also make them into something more - prove to people, in a way, why this character is important, even if they're often off-stage in canon. Thank you very much for your compliments! Your review is deserving of a much better response - it's fantastic that you liked this story and, even more so, that you found it haunting.

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Review #2, by Lunae Astrum The Constant Vigil

18th October 2011:
This is an incredibly powerful piece of writing. My emotions were everywhere while reading this; it was electrifying. I can see the depth of character you have put into Moody, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do seeing as J.K Rowling did not go into much detail of him. A breathtaking piece of work.


Author's Response: Wow. Thank you for this! I don't know how to respond to this other than to express my heartfelt appreciation for your kind words. Moody is a very difficult character to write, but for some reason, approaching him from his childhood made him more understandable - more human and less the caricature that we get in the books. I'm very pleased to hear that my exploration of his past lead to such a successful result! ^_^

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Review #3, by Kandy The Constant Vigil

9th July 2011:
This is simply beautiful. I'm speechless. An amazing story that meshes seamlessly with Moody's character and gives him a depth that I doubt even Rowling could parallel. This is a spectacular work of art and I applaud the author. Incredible work. ~K

Author's Response: Thank you very much! It's a wonderful compliment that you enjoyed this story to such a degree. I'm really glad to hear that what's here suits the Moody of the books - it was wonderful to give him both a history and a family, rather than leave him the paranoid Auror and nothing more. :)

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Review #4, by Marzipan The Constant Vigil

24th March 2011:
Susan, this is gorgeous. Everything you write is gorgeous, of course, but I still felt the need to point it out. I love everything about it - the way you can take such a minor, and fairly one dimensional, character and breathe such life into him; the relationship you create between the three of them; and your writing itself, which is such an absolute joy to read. It all combines to make something truly magical.

Moody is, as I said, rather one dimensional in the books themselves - the creepy paranoid eccentric. I love reading stories that give us insight into little explored characters such as him. The way you've pieced him together is kind of humbling to read - the thought and attention you've put into every characteristic, the way you take every small detail and use it to pull everything together in such a natural and believable way. I'm in awe, as I always am when I read something of yours.

Perhaps she should have felt pain that, because her husband loved her more, her son loved her less.

This line. OMG, woman. It's such a powerful yet simple statement; it really stood out to me the first time I read this, and it still does now. It captures the dynamics of this family so perfectly. The challenge Alastor can't refuse, to win his father's affections. Alexander's unspoken preference for his wife over his son; Helen's quiet acceptance of the imbalance of love in her family. It's all very disfunctional and heartbreaking and true. You don't just create a story with your words, Susan. You bring it to life. Every word, every sentence, is honed to flow perfectly, to literally paint the story in my mind. When I read your writing, I forget I am reading fanfiction. The way you have with words is so incredibly rare; most of the published authors I know of aren't nearly as good. Seriously, share some of those talent pills, yeah? The rest of the world could use a little bit of them.

I really have to take the time to read more of your stories (there are so many to choose from!), and to review more of what I have read (I'm so terribly slack in the regard D:)! Have to run for now, though!


Author's Response: This review is wonderful, Mary, and I'm sorry to have not responded to it sooner - I just hope that I can live up to its quality in my humble response. Everything?! It's comments like that which make my ego explode (very unhealthy), but I love hearing it all the same - thank you for such a compliment. It means a lot to hear it from you. ^_^

Minor characters are definitely great to write about - although characters like Snape and Sirius interest me a lot, they've been so carefully constructed by JKR that there's not much room to do more with them. But with characters like Moody, there's so much space, so much history that can be ascribed to him. He is rather one-dimensional, though I think it's mostly that he doesn't appear very often, then gets killed off before Harry has a chance to hear more of his story. I surprised myself with the story that I've ended up giving Moody - I originally gave him these parents as a way of connecting them more closely with the Potterverse, but then I ended up with this story. It was frightening to re-read it and realize just how much detail there was - I don't even know where it came from.

I'd wanted the characters and situation to be realistic, but I think I got rather more than I bargained for. O_O It's one really messed up family, but they're all so annoyingly /good/ about it, especially Helen. No bitterness at all, just the understanding that this is how things are. It's insane (which is why it scares me so much).

Your compliments are really affecting my ego now. :P I don't know what to say other than thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's just fantastic that you liked this story so much and that you found it so affecting. That alone means a lot. Thank you! ^_^

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Review #5, by ericajen The Constant Vigil

26th February 2011:
Hello there(:

This is a great story you have here. I really like when people explore characters that aren't as developed and Moody is definitely one of those characters. I thought it was great the way you portrayed his life and his background. It was like an explanatory story for the Moody we know from the books; it let us visualize how he became to be who he is.

The last lines are really powerful. "She had lived by it. His father had died by it. And so shall he." Incredible stuff there. They really resonate, which is great because since they're at the end, it makes the story all the more memorable.

Good work!

Author's Response: Thank you very much! :D Moody's a character who hangs around in the background of my stories, and I finally decided that, for this challenge, it was time to let him loose in my imagination. There are so many fascinating aspects to his character, so many questions, that I've always been drawn to him, and I've often wondered how he got his scars and why he went mad - there's a lot to explore with him.

I'm really pleased that you liked how I portrayed his background and early life. This story got out of control on me at times, making me wonder just who I was actually writing about. XD The last scene, though, is meant to be Moody leaving his house for the last time, not long before his death. Even though it meant for a sudden switch in POV, I liked the idea of finishing things with Moody looking back on his parents. I can't remember where those exact words came from, but it means a lot to hear that they make the story memorable. That's the best compliment of all. ^_^

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Review #6, by Pookha The Constant Vigil

18th February 2011:
This is beautiful. I love your style in this piece. You capture their emotions wonderfully, especially Helen's. They have a very real and complicated family dynamic and it directly gives the reader a view of what made Alastor what he is.

I can see the line from here to Mad-Eye. His monomania and paranoia are very well drawn out by you. I wish I could write in this style; you are beautifully evocative in your ability to be poignant without being cloying or over-the-top.

A very rare 10/10 from me.

Author's Response: This review has left me speechless - it's absolutely fantastic to hear that you think so highly of this story. When writing it, I was uncertain about the simplicity of Helen's memories and emotions - it's very everyday, which I don't usually deal with, so I really stripped away metaphor and description to find something surprisingly moving. It's not my usual style, either, I think I'm trying to say in a feeble way, but I am very pleased to hear that you liked it.

For once, I'd wanted to write a growing up story that didn't include grand tragedy or sweeping drama, but that was fairly normal (for the wizarding world, of course). I'm glad you could see the themes of paranoia and watchfulness slowly emerging in the young Alastor, especially inspired by his mother's warnings. His childhood and adolescence set him on the road to becoming Mad-Eye - the war with Voldemort ends up being the figurative straw that broke the camel's back for him.

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story. I really appreciate hearing any opinion from you, and that your opinion on this story was so favourable only makes it better. ^_^

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Review #7, by evil little devil The Constant Vigil

8th February 2011:
I just have to say that I absolutely love the fact that you threw in a mention of Grimm, and that it's a story about the characters of Black Sands - though it's left me dying to find out what happens. Moody is a character who isn't often explored, so it's fascinating to read about him and his background. The whole thing is gorgeously written, of course, but I have to say that the ending is my favourite. It's so heartbreaking, and such a perfect finish.

Author's Response: All of my stories are connecting together in my head, which shouldn't be happening - I must be getting lazy. :P Or maybe it's just my way of re-writing the Potterverse (that rather sounds better). But I'm glad that you like how the three stories are connected - this one rather bridges the two novels (the letter is actually from seventh year - dated sometime in January in the This Longing timeline - whereas the memories start from 1925, two years after Black Sands will end). I've actually imagined a whole sequel to Black Sands, though it's silly of me, but it gives me something to do before falling asleep at night. ;) It was interesting to stretch that story into this one, twisting Helen and Alex from adventurers into parents.

Anyway, I'm wonderfully pleased that you enjoyed this story, especially the ending. I wasn't sure if breaking to Moody's point of view by the end would disturb the narrative flow, but I wasn't sure how else to end outside of returning to the letter. Instead of continuing the adolescent Moody's voice, however, I vied for something a little different. ;)

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! It means a lot to hear from you. ^_^

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Review #8, by princessrapunzel The Constant Vigil

4th February 2011:
Oh my goodness, this is positively wonderful, love! I have never - and I mean ever - read a decent fanfiction about Moody, and definitely not one about his family for that matter, and the background from which he comes from either. The way that you started the story, with the letter, is a great touch and, personally, it really drew me into the story. I absolutely love it. The final paragraph, and those last two lines are brilliant. This is great, believe me.

Ten out of ten, for sure.

Allie x.

Author's Response: Oh wow, thank you so much for this! It's a strange story for me because it's not packed with odd metaphors and poetic stuff - it's a normal, simple kind of story - and I wasn't at all sure how people would react to it. You've really helped me stop twitching with nervousness. ^_^

Moody is one of my favourite characters - another of those characters in the Potterverse who have so much potential for fantastic stories - and I'm happy to have done him justice in this story. The letter was a last-minute crutch for starting things off, so it's great to hear that it worked to draw you in. :D

Thank you, again, for reading and reviewing this story! It means a lot to have heard from you.

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