Reading Reviews for Diamonds into Coal
294 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragon Desire

23rd August 2015:
WOW. Well, I did not expect that he would find her and accidentally (I think) kill her!

This ending was so powerfully and appropriately tragic for a couple of tragic characters. I still can't help but think that everything would've worked out for them if not for Rowena and Salazar hadn't had their falling out - at least in the near term, in the long term is difficult to know.

In the end I want to express that this is probably one of the most well-written stories I've ever read on the archives. It actually sucked me in deeply despite being in an era that I generally despise, with characters that have never interested me terribly and it's all owed to your writing. The descriptions throughout were impeccable, as were the characterizations and the inner thoughts of the characters that accompanied them. And the way you wove in history and the Founders Era magical world and its accompanying Hogwarts-related strife made it all the more impressive.

I am in awe, truly, of this story of yours and if it weren't for the time-cap this year for the Dobbys I'd be nominating it for something for sure. In place of that ability, you'll have to accept my promise that if I could, I would, and I'd vote for it against all takers.

Thanks for sharing this incredible work with us!

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Review #2, by TidalDragon Rowena's Last Hope

23rd August 2015:
Well, I was right about Rowena possibly facing
her deathbed. A shame for such a great mind to
be struck down so early, but historically
accurate to be sure. And she would have known
the risk of traveling so far in such poor
weather and the temperatures she did.

This chapter was short and there is not
overmuch to say I don't think, but I am
interested to see who Helena will find in the
brush - as I don't think it's going to be the
animal she expects. Her thoughts indeed seem
correct though preceding that rustling and I
have to agree that the marriage, with those
thoughts in her mind, would be ultimately
unwise. Even if not feeling that she would
compromise herself too much, it seems to me
that she isn't destined for it if she can't
adapt to finding satisfaction in different
affairs in life more typical of a married
person, even if afforded the books and solitude
she was so firm on early.

Looking forward to the final installment!

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Review #3, by TidalDragon Fight or Flight

23rd August 2015:
Well, this was a bit of a shorter chapter and by the looks of it the title was pretty apt. As I mentioned in my last review, it seems our dear Helena has quite a history of running and apparently that's going to continue.

Unlike last time, I do think Venn was hasty here. Though I don't know the timeframe between engagements and weddings, it would be at least a few months I should think given the earlier wedding and the timeframe we've seen with Venn and Helena's original wedding date, so I'm not sure why he's so concerned (other than his Slytherin lust for power, stoked by Slytherin himself) about brief delays to both events. Though his questions at the start about her sincerity in continuing forward I think are quite merited, the way he puts his foot down and draws a line in the sand on the date...meh. I suppose there ARE politics to consider with the ruler and his subjects, but my honest belief is that Slytherin was playing him with those remarks. Like a fiddle.

Two chapters left and seemingly no closer to certainty about what they will bring. I wonder...

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Review #4, by TidalDragon Pieces of a Dream

23rd August 2015:
First things first, I thought the way you handled the conversation between Gryffindor and Slytherin was absolutely top shelf stuff. Though it was such a small scene ultimately, it was so unique in that most people always seem to characterize Slytherin and boldly, but voluntarily leaving in a huff of some kind, rather than the others forcing him out. Interesting and compelling.

As for the remainder, the party was nicely dealt with too in terms of the public portions. There's nothing like a wedding to lead feuds to be buried underneath fake smiles and grandiose toasts is there? Slytherin's speech was truly the best example of it.

Helena, if she's truly going to play runaway bride, has shown that ought to be no surprise as this is her second flight from a major function in her honor. Though I can understand the first one perfectly well, this one, not so much. While her sentiments are wise and progressive, she should always have expected Venn to expect absolute authority rather than sharing decisions with her and I think that oversight is quite frankly more on her than it is on him, especially given the era. Unlike the other incident, there's literally nothing he's done that would suggest otherwise and seeing as she didn't give him notice AND tried to play it off at first on top of that, his harsh reaction is both individually and historically understandable.

With only three chapters left and Rowena seeming to rapidly approach serious illness at best and possibly the deathbed at her worst, I can't wait for the dramatic conclusion.

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Review #5, by TidalDragon Devil in the Details

23rd August 2015:
Hmm. There's the return of the Venn we previously knew well. There's some merit in his commentary, especially given the era, but at the same time Helena's thoughts ring quite true. He's an interesting character, capable of such displays of genuine caring and affection like the meadow, but equally capable of ignorance in other matters of the heart. Such is life though I suppose and none of us are immune to that!

Reading your A/N I have to say I'm definitely most intrigued by the catchflies that signify betrayal. From whence will the betrayal come? What will spur it? I simply must read on to figure it out...

As far as Helena's characterization goes in this chapter, you continue to make her feel for her. It's such a shame that she's first deprived of sharing the preparation with her mother (who would undoubtedly be at least a bit more receptive to her unorthodox ideas) and then gets so excited by the offer of help from Venn's, only to have her hopes and dreams of what the day will be crushed by all others' expectations of an affair that is ultimately banal in its desperation to hew to tradition.

Though I know you're very busy and still working on This Devilry, if the day ever comes (and I NEVER thought I'd say this, but...) I would love to read more from you in this universe. Your writing of the era, attention to detail, and the way you've woven in actual history with the societies and connections you've created is quite special.

On to Chapter 15!

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Review #6, by TidalDragon The Paths We Choose

23rd August 2015:
I suppose that Slytherin would like nothing more than for them to run away as well so that he might find a way to seize control of the Selwyn family in Venn's absence.

If I have one criticism regarding him though, I will say as written that I think he changes quite quickly. I sympathize in this regard because it's something I have to edit out of one of my own stories later, and I certainly understand that he would be clever enough to conceal this multi-year downward spiral into blood supremacy, but throwing a few more bones before the angry meeting Helena witnesses might just make it feel more natural. Of course, you've been done with the story for quite awhile now, so I can understand not returning to fix what's ultimately a minor issue.

What's most interesting about the characterization in this chapter though is how, even in their love, and though he's doing it for "the right reasons" (seemingly) Venn is still being dishonest with Helena. I would hope that the news from Helena that Venn is cutting ties with Slytherin would be enough for Rowena to thaw, but in the end I doubt it. And I'm not sure that Salazar wouldn't have some scheme in his back pocket to attack Venn with either.

I sense there is much intrigue to come in these final five chapters and I look forward to every moment of it!

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Review #7, by TidalDragon Salazar's Last Stand

23rd August 2015:
Well...I knew she had qualms, but my goodness Rowena has gone ice cold on us. She rightly despises Slytherin and indeed rightly calculates Venn and Helena's personalities, but for me her conduct is quite deplorable - and I say that having suffered similar, only to have the critique prove right in the end. For some, especially a headstrong pair like Helena and Venn, only reality can correct errors in judgment (if they are indeed errors), and Rowena's heavy-handed tactics are quite cruel to her daughter.

This was made even more noticeable and impactful by the fact that it was set directly after Venn's epiphany on his hunt with Cepheus. I've shared a lot of the criticisms that he expressed of himself and that Rowena expressed of him, but for me the hunt scene appears to be a sign of important growth on his part, and it's a shame to think it will be torn asunder by a hate that has evolved between family members rather than the failure of the parties (at least at this point).

I truly feel for the people who weren't able to read this all at once as I'm enjoying the luxury to run straight through a great deal. I'll see you again in Chapter 13. I wonder if given recent developments it will comply with the superstition that surrounds it...

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Review #8, by TidalDragon A Day of Surprises

23rd August 2015:
With this chapter a new and delightful detail has been revealed (or at least seems to). I think it's excellent how you've tied to attitudes toward the relationship and marriage on the outside and the changing tone between the families to the seasons. It is no surprise if the story is destined to end in disaster that we should be progressing toward the frost of winter eventually as things begin to truly cool here in fall.

As far as the characterization and in particular the fluff goes (since you asked about it in your A/N), I thought it was well-handled. It still had that awkwardness of two people who don't truly know each other well and who, though in some measure they've chosen, are in a situation not entirely dissimilar to an arranged marriage given how many members of the opposite sex they've each already rebuffed and therefore eliminated as potential spouses. Venn, almost made me laugh, earnest as he was trying to be, with his complete and utter inability to call Helena by her name. I think it's in keeping with his character and upbringing, but also indicative of the distance still between them and perhaps even the differences in what each are still looking for given how firm Helena is about being called by name, even going so far as to not acknowledge the grander sentiment Venn expressed because of his mistake.

I look forward to seeing how things continue, especially with Rowena now well and truly transferring her dislike for Slytherin to his nephew.

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Review #9, by TidalDragon Houses Asunder

23rd August 2015:
Oh the Founders' drama and Hogwarts politics bleeding over into the love lives of the seemingly star-crossed Helena and Venn...

With Venn it's sad how Slytherin continues to put him into these difficult positions, trying to force him to put family, heritage, and house over his bride-to-be. Especially given that Venn is relatively young and undoubtedly still immature and impressionable. But as disappointed as I was in his cheating at the tournament, I was proud of him for standing up to Slytherin here about the Chamber. It's interesting that anyone else was even told about it, but I suppose if anyone would have been in advance it would be someone who shares his blood and almost seems to regard as a son.

On Helena's part, it must be so frustrating for her trying to be decisive and satisfy herself and her family - especially in the immediate aftermath of the fight with Venn - when Rowena continues to deliver such mixed signals on top of misinterpreting her daughter's emotions.

Though I look forward to continuing to uncover what happens through the rest of the story, I also can't help but feel there's a distinct irony in the actions of both Rowena and Salazar - they seem as if they're going to be the ones who put Venn and Helena together in the first place, but then in the end they'll perhaps also be the ones to tear them apart and/or poison the relationship.

Time to see what awaits in Chapter 11!

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Review #10, by TidalDragon Houses Joined

23rd August 2015:
Well, well it seems for the moment that love has returned. And in fairness, it seems only reasonable that Venn, no matter how demanding Helena may be, would get a second chance - though with questions of trust it is always a much bigger issue - can you ever trust again?

I like the way you've feathered in the creep of the belief in magical supremacy into the story. Though I forgot to comment on it in my last review, one thing that really interested me was how the Muggles didn't really seem surprised by the brandishing of a wand. Was this a nod to Arthuriar legend and in a way canon, prior to the Statute of Secrecy, in that the practice of magic was more open? Just a question I had.

Though this chapter was ultimately shorter, I thought it also demonstrated just how callous Slytherin has become and how invested in his supremacist beliefs that he would encourage what seems like his favorite nephew to abandon love for him and his agenda. Not unlike the Death Eaters his views ultimately spawned I suppose, but still a stark contrast to the generally well-tempered and jovial, if cunning man we've seen thus far.

It's hard to believe I'm halfway home! I'm sorry I'm such a slow reader and reviewer (and so slow in getting here in the first place), but I'm hoping to reach the end of your fantastic story today (complete with reviews)!

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Review #11, by TidalDragon Feats of Bravery

23rd August 2015:
Well, I suppose it shouldn't be altogether surprising that Venn would cheat, including using magic against Muggles in particular, but somehow I was still surprised by it. A little disappointed, but it's fitting with his heritage and disposition. It will be interesting to learn who prevailed in the Selwyn-Peverell duel, though I presume it was Venn.

I definitely find myself feeling for Helena here. All her thoughts are too true and ring true not only for her, but for most women in the culture at the time, though obviously they're more accepting of "the way things work" than she is, something we already knew of her, but that you also took care to underscore prior to the tournament in the scenes with the Ravenclaws and Helga Hufflepuff. Helga being the progressive should certainly not be a surprise to anyone, but I liked that you emphasized it here with encouraging Helena to buck traditions and supporting her when she offers the idea of a white dress. It's a bit difficult to imagine brides not in white these days (not that I'd honestly care myself), but it's funny how traditions can change.

I think it was also fitting how you placed Helena's land on a pedestal and made the Selwyns' land swampy - much like Venn's apparent morals and the balance between the characters given the first chapter.

On to Chapter 9!

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Review #12, by TidalDragon Midsummer

23rd August 2015:
This will be my last review before I take a break for lunch, but...

I thought it was really interesting how you went into a couple of historical elements in the story here. One of the reasons I typically steer myself AWAY from Founders fics is these moments (and extremely formal language), but you handled it in a way that made it central without being central if that makes any sense? I suppose what I mean is that obviously the festival was the entire setting of the chapter and a trigger for a lot of things that transpired, not least of which the proposal, but at the same time, you wove it together so well with the Venn's thoughts and the progression of his courtship of Helena that it didn't feel like it had stepped in and taken over the story.

Speaking of the courtship, I'm quite interested to see (if we get to) Helena's extended reaction to this incredibly impetuous proposal by Venn. Personally, I think it was poor form on his part - stealing the thunder from the tradition, demonstrating unjustified arrogance (how is he supposed to win a jousting tournament when he's admitted to not being battle-hardened and strong like many men who could challenge him?), and overall between the two an incredible immaturity that I would think would turn off Helena (that discounting his utter disregard for her readiness, though I purposefully discounted that due to the time period, where such behavior was common place for men).

Interested to see what happens next...

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Review #13, by TidalDragon Second-Best

23rd August 2015:
I enjoyed the injection of some new characters in this chapter with our introduction to Cepheus, Roldan, Priscilla, and Emilia. Apparently Roldan is quite taken with Emilia - though he must be a hot-head to be reaching for his sword over a single dance unless there's something in the background we don't know about.

I also was intrigued by getting to see a little glimpse inside the divisions that have begun between the Founders. It seems obvious to me that Slytherin is trying to make his baser, more prejudiced objections more palatable by relying on a teaching-methods argument, but what is more interesting about him is his apparently pre-knowledge of Venn's visit. He has put himself toward bringing them together, but I have to wonder if he has some other agenda as he is now feeding the type of arrogance in Venn that Helena didn't really have a taste for. I feel it's not ideal that Venn would "regress" in this manner in his pursuit of her, but I suppose in this era the appearance of familial strength was incredibly important and perhaps I'm blowing mere politics of the time out of proportion.

In any event, I suppose I'll discover more as the story continues. I will move on now to the next chapter!

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Review #14, by TidalDragon Reflection

23rd August 2015:
Hello hello!

It was very interesting to see Helena and Venn interact for the first time. I think it would have been easy to make things simple and have the connection flow perfectly only to deal with issues later, but true to life and both their characters as well, things went in fits and starts. Both seemed unimpressed with the other at certain points, though at others completely taken. Though I have to say were I in her position, I would probably have been quite annoyed with Venn's arrogance and almost dismissive attitude, I think the fact that she's found an attractive suitor who professes an appreciation for reading and an understanding of the need for solitude has ultimately blinded her to that (at least for the moment).

This also allowed you to put Helena in an interesting position at the end of the chapter versus how she's been described previously. We know from the past handling of her character that she's generally been regarded as unattainable, and so in keeping with the "contrast" theme you set up in Chapter 4, it's interesting to see the contrast here where she fears that Venn is perhaps unattainable for her. Well done!

Can't wait to read Chapter 6!

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Review #15, by TidalDragon Vanity

23rd August 2015:
I'm back again!

We certainly got more of Venn here, and though his disdain for the courtship process seems to match Helena's well, he (I assume deliberately) comes across as far less mature than she is. While she was greatly concerned with depth in the last chapter, Venn is more consumed in this one with superficiality - her appearance, the comeliness of her estate - it already doesn't bode well, despite his being quite taken at first sight of her and her initial smile.

Still, I found myself absorbed in the way you wrote Venn's thoughts. Despite his seeming disconnect with and dislike for the ways of the world, he can be remarkably focused when he deems something worthy of his attention, unlike many generally directionless souls. I'm certainly eager to see how his recovery (or not) continues into dinner and afterward and whether a genuine connection appears or whether others wear down Helena to press the marriage forward given the end result.

The only thing I noticed that might need fixing was at one point you wrote "event's events" which I think was probably a mistake given how detailed and sensational the rest of the writing is here (and really always).

I'm on to the next chapter!

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Review #16, by TidalDragon Of Wit and Learning

23rd August 2015:
I am constantly impressed by the way you weave together all the elements - description, dialogue, and inner thought - without it having a deleterious effect on any of them. Truly, it is professional grade!

Here, based on the set-up for her we've had previously, I think you've done a masterful job bringing Helena to life. I really liked the fact that thought her greatest desire is for knowledge and an intellectual equal (or at least someone who can and wants to keep up), she DOES actually want to marry, which I have to imagine would be an even more mind-swallowing urge in the Founders Era than it still is for people today.

Though establishing Helena was obviously the main thrust of this chapter, I also liked the bits you injected of the parent-child relationships, and even the marketplace. The mention of the other men leads me to wonder if it really will prove a passing fancy for her or if she'll actually be lured away from Venn (as we already know she will be) by someone so unexpected.

The only thing I noticed in the way of CC was that there were a few a/an and ed/ing mismatches, but nothing major as I continue to thoroughly enjoy a Founders fic for the first time.

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Review #17, by TidalDragon A Birthday Feast

29th July 2015:
Hello again!

This chapter contained not only more of your impeccable descriptions, but brilliantly handled period dialogue. Like the subtleties of the preceding chapter, the dialogue didn't attempt to beat the reader over the head by using or now-obsolete words or sentence structure, but instead merely observed an increased, yet natural formalism that was more than sufficient - especially against the backdrop of royalty and court and political marriages.

Handling the latter from Venn's perspective was also interesting because rather than distancing the reader from it like most third-person renderings tend to, you still kept us immersed in his distinct way of thinking, his qualms, and his values, which draws us in not just to the story, but to him as a character.

This is incredibly impressive so far and I can't wait to keep reading tomorrow!

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Review #18, by TidalDragon Erised

29th July 2015:
Howdy Amanda! Though I know you haven't been around much recently, I'm sure you were beginning to think this day would never come. But I have NOT forgotten the reviews I owe you, so here I am.

This beginning chapter reminded me of the many things I so enjoy about your writing - the impeccable description, the realistic emotion, the air of mystery carefully cultivated paragraph by paragraph.

Though I don't read Founders' fics as a general rule, I nevertheless found myself here, both to give them a chance and because the number of chapters is almost perfect. I'm anticipating from the summary and the fact that this reads like a prologue that this "story-within-the-story" will become the focus of the rest of the fic and I'm intrigued to see it develop. Unlike what turns me off about a lot of stories from this era, you layer the time into the tale in a subtle manner - from the description of the uniform to the simple fact that the viewer of the mirror and Helena are now ghosts.

See you in the next chapter!

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Review #19, by moony Salazar's Last Stand

22nd May 2014:
I love this story. Your writing style is so amazing and I love how you fit it with the setting.This was one of my favorite chapters. I can't wait to see what Helena decides to do. Thanks for the great read!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind review, and hope you keep reading and giving me your feedback on the story.


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Review #20, by Rumbleroar goes roar Erised

19th January 2014:
Wow what an interesting start. You've gone such a good job of setting up the story and teasing the reader for me. Can't wait to read on :)

Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed this first chapter, and I do hope you come back for another soon :)


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Review #21, by UnluckyStar57 Of Wit and Learning

1st January 2014:
Happy New Year! I'm here from the BvB review battle, and since is reviewed the second chapter of this story a few days ago, I wanted to take a look at the third!

We finally get to meet Helena! Yay! As a bookworm myself, I love the fact that she wants to put learning and scholarship over marriage. The dreadful suitor that only talks of sports is no match for her! And yet, although she hides it from her mother, she sort of wants a wedding of her own. The wedding dress in the picture sounds amazingly beautiful, by the way!

When she goes to the bookshop in town, she reminds me of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. It's awesome that although she lives up in a castle, she isn't above running errands in the village (especially if books are involved).

Oooh, I'm excited for Venn and Helena to meet! I will definitely come back and read the next chapter soon!


Author's Response: Hey there!

I'm happy to hear that you felt like you could relate to Helena and liked that she was sort of well-rounded. I can see how you feel like she was sort of inspired by Belle, haha :) It's great that you're still enjoying the story and want to read more.

Thanks for your lovely review!


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Review #22, by CambAngst Desire

31st December 2013:
Hi, Amanda!

My feels are aching on any number of levels. I'm sad to see that even after centuries, Helena and Venn are unable to come to any sort of reconciliation. I'm sad that they both continue to inhabit this plane, searching for the closure necessary to move on. Mostly, though, I'm sad that this beautiful, well thought out and painstakingly researched story has come to an end. It's been an amazing journey and I'm glad that I was able to follow along.

I thought that you might have detailed the confrontation in the forest a bit, but this was a really clever way to end the story. It reinforces the idea that Venn was not in his right mind when he killed Helena. The actual circumstances surrounding their deaths felt blurry and disjointed, much like I would have expected if Venn was delusional from lack of sleep and over-exertion.

The details of the murder fit well with what little we know from canon, building on it to round out your version of events. The reason he killed her was much more comparable with your story. Even the small detail of how he came to wear his chains was well done.

I really liked the way that his uncle is the one to confront his spirit and welcome him into his afterlife in Hogwarts. It was fitting somehow. It also makes it obvious how Venn became the house ghost of Slytherin.

Helena was perfectly in character in this, her last appearance. The way that she chastises him for dwelling on the mirror's fantasies fit precisely with the way she always treated him. Her inability to forgive was so purely intellectual in nature.

When you stole my life, you showed me no mercy, no opportunity for vengeance. I take it now, and forever. -- I loved this line! So fitting.

Also this one: He only wished he were as ignorant and deluded as she thought. Sad to see that even the mirror's illusory comfort is unable to assuage his guilt.

This story was fantastic from start to finish. I am very glad to have found it and I've thoroughly enjoyed every chapter. Bravo!

Author's Response: Yeah, this chapter was tough to write. This story was tough to finish, really, because I got very attached to it and my characters, and beyond feeling sad that I couldn't give them a totally happy ending, I was just sad to have to let them go at all. It's weird to think now that when I started brainstorming this I worried about losing interest halfway through. I still mourn having finished this!

Part of my decisions about the actual murder/suicide scene were stylistic, as you mentioned, but part of it was honestly my worry about keeping in ToS compliance regarding spousal/romantic partner abuse. Ever since I became a TA, I've been a bit overly cautious about sticking to the ToS, which sometimes means that I really tone down potentially sticky situations or I go overboard with ratings and warnings. Better safe than sorry - I want to keep my status :) Anyway, I'm glad that the scene still worked stylistically despite leaving out some of the detail.

Venn feels a lot of regret over his actions, and I think Salazar understands that just enough to use his nephew in accomplishing his purposes. If he feels an iota of empathy for Venn, it's buried deep within his cold, black heart. I wanted Salazar to really be the villain until the end, and I hope I accomplished that with his little deal here.

Helena obviously learned a lot more about herself in the afterlife, and unfortunately she's got eons to take her revenge against Venn for what he did to her. Only time will tell if her heart hardens or softens for him, though she clearly isn't interested in reconciliation at this time (or in canon).

Glad you liked those lines! I was a bit proud of my writing in this chapter :) I think it all hearkens back to the initial prologue - Venn wants desperately to have a second chance with Helena, and yet part of him also wishes he could just fall away to dust in front of the mirror, just to have some sense of conclusion and escape from her.

Thanks so much for this and all of your lovely reviews! It's been so great going through this story with you, and I'm pleased that you enjoyed it so thoroughly. Hope to hear from you again on a different story!


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Review #23, by CambAngst Rowena's Last Hope

31st December 2013:
Happy New Year! I'm celebrating the arrival of 2014 by tagging you in Review Tag.

It's been such a long time since I've read and reviewed this story, but it was easy to slip right back into the flow of it. Everything you write is so memorable.

Poor Rowena seems to be on her last leg. Even as she stares death in the face, I like the quiet sort of determination you gave her. She seems to believe that Venn will succeed in returning Helena to her, in spite of the long odds. Venn, on the other hand, is more realistic about things.

I fear she will not listen to my counsel. She will perhaps accuse me of lying to her. -- Or perhaps simply refuse to return even if she believes he's telling the truth. Regardless, he seems to be more in tune with Helena's mindset than her mother. His heart's in the right place, however. It was interesting to see how affected he was by Rowena's plight, even after she's judged him an inadequate suitor for her daughter.

Helena... part of me felt badly for her and part of me didn't. After all, she brought this upon herself. I doubt she ever thought about how difficult it was going to be to survive without her servants and her father's money. I was sort of impressed with her initiative, the fact that she wasn't above engaging in a bit of manual labor to feed herself as she traveled. It was definitely consistent with the respect that her family showed for their muggle subjects. I also liked the fact that she was still thinking about Venn, wondering how he was faring and whether his coronation had happened. She obviously does care for the big lunk, she just can't handle his Captain Caveman routine where married life is concerned.

Although she missed Venn, the truth was that she would miss herself even more. -- That one line really says it all. It wasn't right for a lady as brilliant and talented as Helena to be forced to sacrifice so much of herself just to become Venn's wife. What's saddest about this story is that everyone ultimately pays for his inability to handle her true value as a person.

Since this is the second-to-last chapter, I'm pretty sure I know what the rustling sound was. I guess I'll find out very soon. I just can't stop here. ;) Excellent chapter! On to the next...

Author's Response: Hey Dan, thanks for stopping by! Sorry these responses are a little bit delayed. Oh, and a happy (belated) New Year to you, too!

Yeah, I think both Venn and Rowena fall short of understanding exactly how Helena feels right now and how frustrated she is by how the situation in her life has evolved. They can almost bond over their mutual interest in getting her back, but we know that even if it worked, they'd go right back to having at least some degree of animosity toward one another afterwards. No one wants to give up hope quite yet, though.

Helena is definitely a very naive girl, but she's learning some hard lessons. I'm glad you pointed out the line about her missing herself more, because I think that's the biggest thing she's learned--it's just not worth sacrificing her own happiness to please anyone else or fit any molds. I have to wonder if she would be doomed to that fate no matter what in this day and age, or if some other man who respected her a bit more might have one day shown up for her, if her mother had only been a bit more patient.

Thanks for your fantastic review :)


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Review #24, by BookDinosaur A Birthday Feast

27th December 2013:
Hello! I'm here for the first of the Twelve Days of Reviewing at HPFF - a chapter that features a feast. :)

I really liked this chapter. I think that your portrayal of the Middle Ages was very realistic, especially the speech. Previously when I've tried to write a piece that involved Sir Cadogan I found the speech very hard to get right without seeming stilted, but here it all seemed very natural and flowing, so well done there. It was easy t read and at the same time it felt very much like the Middle Ages.

I loved how Venn's mother was trying her best to get him married off and how she was appealing to him, to Slytherin, to anyone. The whole atmosphere of this chapter was very Old English, not just the speech. The way Venn and his mother treated each other and those less off then they were was very realistic. And I just have to mention how Venn's 'baser instincts' caused him to pause and say that well, Helena was worth at least a look. It was very believable and made him more relatale somehow, like he has faults too.

Since the reviewing task was to review a chapter with a feast I feel like I should at least comment on the feast in this chapter. Well, it was toned down and very dignified. If anything, i think I would have liked to see more mentions of the other guests in the room apart from the three main characters, Venn, his mother and Slytherin. other than that, this was very well written and perfectly paced.

Great story! :D

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for coming by! Sorry for the slight delay in my response :)

It did take some thought before I was happy with the dialogue, but I'm glad the style worked well and felt appropriate to the era. I agree; it can be hard to work it out!

Poor Edeline just wants to retire and get some grandkids, haha. Venn definitely has some faults--as does everyone in the story--and for now, all he sees with Helena is a chance to spend some time with a pretty face and get his mother off his back. Little does he know how much he'll grow to love Helena, and how she'll grow to love him.

Thanks for your comments about the feast. I don't remember if I mentioned other guests in the chapter, but I meant for it to just be the family. I'll have to have a second look at that. The family is definitely the focus, though there are servants present.

Thanks for your lovely review! I hope you return sometime and read more of the story!


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Review #25, by UnluckyStar57 A Birthday Feast

26th December 2013:
Hello! I have come for the Twelve Days of Reviewing over on the forums, and when I found this chapter, I couldn't resist reading and reviewing. I've read your work before, and you always do a magnificent job with every single aspect of the story. :)

This particular story interests me greatly because 1) It takes place in the Founders era, and 2) It's about Helena and the Bloody Baron! That's not something that I see every day, so it makes for a lovely change of pace. I really enjoy reading about how the Founders came to be, and Helena Ravenclaw has her own bit of history in the making of Hogwarts, too!

Venn Selwyn is a stubborn one according to his mother, I see! He obviously has ambition, and I have no doubt that he would be in Slytherin at Hogwarts (after all, it IS his uncle's House!). I can see how his drive to rule and have control over things will eventually cause his and Helena's ruin, but for now, I think that I like him! It is saddening to watch a character so richly described as Venn, only to know that his character will soon unravel. But that's the fun part about writing--you get to torture your characters! :)

For the Twelve Days of Reviewing, we were supposed to review a chapter about a feast, and although the feast in this chapter is not as extravagant as the Hogwarts feasts that we all know and love, it definitely plays a big role in the story. After all, this is where Venn hears the name that will haunt him for all of eternity... Helena Ravenclaw. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Brilliant story! Merry (late) Christmas, and Happy Holidays!


Author's Response: Hello! Sorry for the delay in responding :) And thank you for the lovely compliment!

You know, before I wrote this story, I wasn't all that interested in the Founders era. But I really fell in love with it, and these two characters especially, while writing this - and I'd love to write more Founders in the future. It just goes to show that you never know what you might like.

Venn is definitely very stubborn, and I'm glad you can already see how it will be his downfall, given that everyone already knows how the story ends. It really broke my heart to torture my characters, but at least I gave them a proper back story, right? Don't worry, it won't be all doom and gloom throughout the entire story.

Hope you come back soon to read more! :) Thanks for your very kind review!


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