Reading Reviews for The Last Gift
  
4 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Violet Gryfindor "The Last Gift"

12th January 2013:
Wow! I was not expecting to cry. This is incredible, but the best part about this story is that it creeps up on you, lulling readers into a false sense of security with the careful description of Snape's routine and his outward absence of emotion. He seems so logical and ordered, but the very precision of his actions as he unwraps the gifts reveals a frightening intensity of feeling that he's repressed for so long. That's an aspect of his character that many seem to forget, or at least neglect - he's caught between this overwhelming emotion and a brain that tries to resist the chaos of feeling. He even locks away the thing that represents his "heart" because it's a weakness, or so he regards it. But it isn't, not really. His love for Lily is his strength, and by repressing it, he's showing that he still hasn't forgiven himself.

The letter itself was the breaking point for my tears. Reading Lily's candid voice and her hopes for the future was painful because, and I'm sure you expected this, my mind would flash to the things that happened instead - how Harry and Snape did meet, how Snape was Harry's teacher, and what came of everything in Snape's life thereafter. It's amazing how you portray Lily because, just from her letter, I got a very vivid impression of her personality, from her optimism to her practical streak and her affectionate nature. You give her a strong voice, and it's easy to see why Snape feels so deeply for her. She would understand and appreciate both sides of him.

This one-shot is perfectly canon in its style and its way of including those little references to magical things that signal a quality Potterverse story. You capture not only the characters spot-on, but you also capture the world around him, and that's always a treat to find. I'm just thinking now that this is the first time I've read something of yours, and I'm wondering why I haven't before because you're a fantastic writer! Just in this thousand-or-so words, you do so much, and I admire that a lot. Amazing work!

Author's Response: Wow, how did I not notice this review? Sorry about that! I'm usually really quick about replying, especially when someone awesomely nice like you takes the time to write a long one.

I'm really just so honored that you stopped by my page, Susan. I'm a HUGE fan of your graphics and your writing (even if I'm not able to review it as often as I'd like due to darn real-life time constraints). Thank you so much for your compliments. Reviews are always nice, but when they're as unexpected and thoughtful as this, it really means a lot to me.

It's funny to me how I probably would have never written a truly canon Snape if I hadn't been asked to do this Christmas drabble for a friend. The thought of canon Snape at Christmas is really heartbreaking because we can basically assume from his "home" at Spinner's End that he's totally alone without even any family anymore. Because it was for someone else, it was important to me to have Lily be a part of it since she is his entire life, even after she's gone. Even though it's "only" childrens/young adult fiction, I think Snape is one of the most tragic men in literature, rivaling even someone more classic like Heathcliff. I barely ever wrote fan fiction before Harry Potter, and when I did in the past it was nowhere near the amount of time and care I've put into my Snape stuff. So, sorry this reply is getting long. Hahaha. I can kind of talk about him forever.

I never expected to make someone cry with this, so that's such an amazing compliment. Thank you :) I wrote this before I had any children of my own, so looking back on it, it's even sadder to me. I took note last year of the day when my son turned the same age as Harry the night Lily died, 15 months exactly, and I can't even fathom having to leave him at such a young age where he wouldn't remember anything about me. Now that I have a child I still wouldn't change anything about her letter, which makes me a little proud of myself a few years ago when I wrote this.

Anyway, thanks again and sorry for the delay in replying! This was such a nice surprise to stumble upon when on my way to answer a different review. I love love LOVED that doing some judging for the TGS awards last year gave me an excuse to put off chores to read "Out of Time" because it's a phenomenal story. I'm just tickled pink you liked something of mine as well :)
~Renny


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Review #2, by academica "The Last Gift"

21st December 2012:
Hi Renny! I'm here with your review for the TGS Exchange, just in time for an early Christmas gift :)

Okay, I admit that I'm pretty excited to get to read a Snape story for the exchange, especially one of yours! I love your characterization; he doesn't get too excited about Christmas, because he'd have little to no precedent for that (especially with Lily gone). I especially liked the line about how Dumbledore increased his bonus a tiny bit each year as if to make up for not giving him the DADA job. It's doubly sad to think that he would really have no use for money to buy gifts for loved ones :(

Time eventually took everything away from him. Oh, man, that hurt! I love how you used the fleeting, aged scent of the perfume to convey that sense of loss. Your imagery in this chapter overall, actually, was fascinating. I like how you compared Severus to a scientist in his thought about surgery and his precision with the note. I can see his rigid potions training shining through there. And what would he be more delicate with than this? Oh, also, the fact that he kept the scarf preserved there just broke my heart. It's like he's afraid to wear it for fear that it might tear or get old, or lose that scent that was uniquely Lily's. The saddest part is that I'm sure she intended him to wear it, to use it, not to keep it hidden in a box.

I don't know if you're a TA or not, but it seems like this letter might be pushing the limit specified in the rules for things of that sort. I would consider shortening it if you can, or adding more to the chapter, just to make sure you're in the clear there. Of course, I'm only eyeballing it roughly.

I love the letter, because it's very sweet and seems very Lily in terms of the sense of concern and the attempt to focus on the little happy news to be had. I am a little confused about the timeline, though. It seems like you're referring to things that would have occurred close to or after Lily's death. I'm assuming that the work she refers to in her second paragraph would be his spying for the Order; I don't think even she would summon so much concern for work that was done for Voldemort. I also wonder about the timing of the teaching appointment; I haven't looked at Snape's timeline in a while, but it seems like he was given the job once he had defected from the Death Eaters, so that Dumbledore could keep an eye on him and make use of him as much as possible. Furthermore, I have to wonder if even Lily, being human, wouldn't require more time to really extend fond feelings to her former friend, although I don't doubt that she missed him very much. Anyway, I'd love to get some feedback on your thought process in composing the letter here.

I love the ending. It's so clinical, so Snape, only letting himself have sentiment once a year. I also love that touch of obsession; he'll never be able to really, truly forgive himself until he's avenged her, and sadly, I don't know that he ever would feel like he did that unless he brought her back to life.

Well, I'm glad we got paired for the exchange! This wasn't a traditional Christmas story, persay, but I really liked reading it and I think it was good timing. Looking forward to getting your review :)

-Amanda

Author's Response: Alright! The review is still here so I finally got to read and reply!

I think canon Severus at Christmas is about the saddest thing ever. I mean, you've got to assume he didn't have very nice ones growing up in his neighborhood and with his parents not getting along. I would think he would also have gone home during his years at Hogwarts (to be near Lily at the very least) so he probably didn't have happy Hogwarts Christmas memories like Harry. Later he's a Death Eater, then his whole life is destroyed when Lily is killed. So yeah... kind of a bleak holiday for the guy. He can't even escape and go to Hawaii until the whole holiday blows over or anything because of his head of house duties :/

Thanks for the tip about the letter and the rules. I am a TA, but actually hadn't been made one yet when I first posted this, so a validator did think this was ok. I checked my word count and Lily's letter is 309 words so technically I'm good. I would expand this a bit, but it was meant to be a drabble at exactly 1000 words. But thanks for bringing it to my attention! I'm always mortified when I accidentally break a rule. I try to always keep up to date with them, but sometimes they change from what they used to be when I joined the site years ago and I miss the memo.

Your observations with the scarf are spot-on with what I had in mind. Lily would want him to use it and remember her, but he just can't handle having anything that was once hers suffer any more damage, even if it's simply fulfilling the purpose she had in mind.

Funny, I'm confused by the timeline myself now that I'm reading back through this, maybe it's because I'm re-reading the books at the moment. Problem is I wrote this over five years ago so it's hard to me to remember what I was thinking. Lily is definitely referring to his double-agent work here, since the "I forgive you" part is meant to show that she knows he's the one who accidentally sent Voldemort after Harry. I'm guessing in my mind I was assuming Lily and James went into hiding pretty much as soon as the prediction about Harry was made by Trelawney. Severus would have then told Voldemort before Harry was even born, meaning he could have joined the Order right after Harry was born when he figured out Lily was involved. I always assumed Severus wasn't given the job that year (you know, being a Death Eater and all eavesdropping) and started work the month before Lily and James were killed, going by him telling Umbridge he'd been working there for 14 years (and Trelawney 16) I guess I never understood why it took so long for Lily and James to go into hiding (since Fudge says in PoA they had only been in hiding a week before they were betrayed). Did it take Voldemort that long to figure out Harry and Neville were the babies in the prophecy? Did Severus figure it out earlier and agree to spy for Dumbledore and throw Voldemort off the scent? Hmmm. So I guess I might have bent canon a little... maybe I could make the argument that Lily and James were being moved from safe house to safe house before finally settling with the Fidelius Charm in October of 1981.

As for Lily's motivation for writing the letter, I think becoming a mother might have softened her somewhat and made her more understanding of how having a childhood without a pair of loving, supportive parents could have really sent Severus down the wrong path early in life. I think if she did actually learn that Severus was risking his life to try and help her, that would have suddenly reminded her of the good that was in him. It had also been over five years since the "mudblood" incident as well, so maybe that hurt wasn't as fresh and painful anymore. (and, on a personal note, if I had to spend all my time with James and his friends after marrying him, I'd really miss Severus too :D)

So wow, thanks for making me really think about this! This pairing was great! Thank you again!
~Renny


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Review #3, by SiriuslyPeeved "The Last Gift"

24th February 2012:
Oh, that was lovely... so, so sad and I could see it fitting perfectly into canon. I'm too verklempt to write anymore but wanted to let you know how much I loved it.

Author's Response: Aw, thanks, Mary! I actually wrote it for reallyginny (I think someone else was going to write a Snape Christmas drabble for her, but then couldn't so I offered to do it since I was randomly doing drabbles then for some reason). I hadn't even looked at this pretty much since I finished writing it years ago, so it was kind of cool to re-discover it. I thought my author page was a little sad looking with one story compared to everyone else who have so many great things they've written, so I figured I'd upload it for the heck of it. Glad you liked it! I definitely *never* thought I would ever write a Snape/Lily piece, that's for sure :)

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Review #4, by Timechild "The Last Gift"

2nd February 2012:
Interesting one-shot.

I like the emotions Severus showed as he opened the letter. It showed the right stuff.

A little short on detail, but that's just me.

Overall, nicely done

Author's Response: Thank you! I think it might be a bit short on detail because I believe I was trying to keep it under 1,000 words since it was a drabble. I honestly can't remember because I wrote it over five years ago. Thanks for the review! I didn't think anyone would even notice this little addition. :) ~Renny

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