Reading Reviews for Beyond This Place
  
53 Reviews Found

Review #1, by whykay Times Like This

23rd March 2014:
I read Ignite first, now reading Starfall and one of the comments (something on Matt's privileged background) jerked me back to this series!!

And my, I am blown!! This is one of the best stories and the best characterizations I have ever seen. Over years of reading, I have learnt to value character development in a plot.. (sometimes even more than the plot) I hate it when the author concludes a judgment on a character - it is patently unfair and they are trapped and the story usually goes down from there on! But you've preserved and nurtured them and make them so real. And, by real I mean that I struggle to describe them in a few words just like one would struggle to describe another person in real life. Even the side characters. There are just way too many layers that define each of them! This is simply top notch.

I adore Tanith and they way you have handled her 'greys'(pun intended) and kept them from becoming black and white.. I love how she is the power and Tobias is the idea in their relationship - I love how she saves Tobias how many ever times!! And don't even get me started on Gabe and Jen - there is something so pure and honest about their relationship and so much of admiration, affection and respect!! Stereotypical writers would probably bring in an element of emasculation than acceptance and admiration.

And you know what, I can see a bit of Gabe in Matt - especially in the scene between him and Selena. I don't know much of Jen in her own right, but I suppose Toby's nerdness has been an influence on Matt?! I wish to see a bit of Tanith in that series as well - I don't know how or where, but just a bit, a small insight, to see how their worlds have intersected in the Nextgen! Cal is a bear! Such a generous person! :D

JK Rowling, undoubtedly has written an amazing series but she has never gone on in depth on the darkness that prevails in our minds and sometimes takes over / clouds the conscience. And you have. And it sort of makes the entire experience more rounded.

I love how so many of the conflicts and choices are thrown up in the air and not closed out completely. That is LIFE! You don't get what you want in the way and when you want it.

I read somewhere that you may write Nat's story too - I would love to read it and see how became what she is today from the "I reject your break-up" girl she was!

In all, I think you are absolutely brilliant and I am looking forward to reading your published book (the only reason I am waiting is I broke my kindle and am waiting for a replacement). I think, from the way you have written these stories (even minus all things magical from the Potter universe that initially draws people in), there is so much of contribution from your end and you really must write something similar, set in our world as well. I wish you the very best and hope you get the well-deserved break in your career! :)

Author's Response: I'm always happy if the Stygian Trilogy leads people to the Anguisverse. It was my Great Labour of Love in fanficton and I do think it's of higher quality, overall, than the Stygian Trilogy - my writing might be more polished these days but this had better issues to tackle.

I have always tried, in everything I write but especially this, to let the characters breathe, act for themselves, make mistakes and explore the issues before them, and I suppose it's because that was what this fic was about that it was so successful. We knew the intricacies of the plot from the canon, so this fic was here to flesh out the unseen aspects and experiences.

Gabe and Jen - I say this lots but I never get tired of it as a fact - were never planned. I threw them into the same plotline because Jen (as a REALLY minor character originally!) became a natural foil for Tanith, and her starting the rebellion was meant to be the road Tanith couldn't and didn't take. And Gabriel needed a place in Falls, and so I thought I'd show something which canon didn't, not just the occupation but the people fighting against it on the run. And then the two of them proved to have maddening chemistry. I'm so pleased you like the subversion of the gender roles - it really wasn't PLANNED, but it became natural with Jen in the leadership role and for some reason it never became bitter. Gabriel admires and adores her, and is perfectly happy following her lead while still being pretty awesome in his own right. And certainly Matt takes more after his father than his mother - while Jen IS responsible for a good dose of the nerdiness (she was Head Girl, after all!) as we may see in Starfall, Matt and Toby were close, too, hence Matt's love of history.

There will be a bit more of Anguisverse reveals to come in Starfall. Promise. Probably not Nat's full story, but we'll likely see more from her at some point.

Thank you for all the kind words, in short! I'm really glad you've enjoyed the piece, and enjoyed reading everything I enjoyed writing about. Also many thanks for looking to check out the book; it's something a bit different, but I do intend to turn my hand to urban fantasy at some point. I'd just need to fight the right aspects of the setting - it requires the real world but also the hidden war, and a hidden war requires a community beneath our own - it's tough work. But not impossible, and there are serious merits to writing that kind of real-world-based fantasy fiction. Some day!

Thank you for the review!


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Review #2, by guilty_pleasures Times Like This

31st October 2013:
So, I just read all four of these anguis stories in awe of how amazing you are. I adore that bits of it carries on to Ignite, which is pretty much my favourite fic at the moment. I'm not sure why I never read them sooner but I'm kind of glad I read ignite first, truly loved reading Nathalie Lockett's backstory in full from when she really was positive and cheerful and had real relationships with people. You are the first author to have ever written a story set in Harry's hogwarts era that I've really enjoyed. Thank you. You're brilliant. x

Author's Response: I'm so glad you discovered the Anguisverse through Ignite! The references were mostly for my satisfaction and the fun of extant readers, the two stories were never meant to be RELIANT on one another, though more and more has crept in over time. I hope Nat's story is more compelling, though, having seen where she came from.

Very glad you enjoyed all of this. Thanks!


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Review #3, by Anonymous Times Like This

21st October 2013:
Just wanted to thank you for your Anguisverse. I thoroughly enjoyed it, one of the best of the fanfics I've ever read. I just discovered it a few days ago, and went on an archive binge until I reached the end. It was a great ride.

Author's Response: I am always bursting with glee when people enjoy the Anguisverse, because it is so very dear to me, and especially happy that people are still discovering it over a year since I finished writing it. Thank you for enjoying, and thank you for reviewing!

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Review #4, by water_lily43175 Times Like This

14th March 2013:
HAHA yeah, no chance of me not reading this one. Here goes, for the last time...

I have SO much feels on the whole Jacob thing. Because it genuinely didn't cross my mind before Tom brought it up - that Jacob did nothing. NOTHING. And I guess that part of the reason why I never considered that, is that Tanith never considered it. And the narrative leads us along. But because I, along with Tanith, didn't think about what Jacob was doing during the war, and instead sat back and took him for granted until you killed him and then realised how much I adored him - and when he was around, he was just "there", Tanith's partner, not out of the picture but not in it enough for me to notice what he was or wasn't doing - his complete lack of action has me torn in about three different directions in the same way that it has Tanith, because I still don't know what to make of him any more! But this is a good thing, especially for a plot which aims to blur the line between bad and good. And so I think that all there is to say about Tanith's "chat" with him ... is that I understand and agree with it all. A touching little passage, especially the moment when she finally allows herself to cry about it all.

SO MUCH LOVE for the Tanith/Katie conversation. I knew they'd end up partners, because you told me that they would, but it's nice to see it happen. "Imagine me naked." DEAD.

Said it before, but I'll say it again ... I like the whole kill-count with the Lions. Not the list itself, per se, but the theory behind it. Crude, but hey, they were in a war. I guess part of the reason why I like it is because I like the contrast between what you did in Shadow and what I did in Frozen. Back then, they wanted answers and leverage so aimed not to kill. This time round, they just wanted the bad guys out of the way. Both methods have their pros and cons, and throw up the most WONDERFUL moral debate which I absolutely love.

And Tom's corruption proved convincing throughout. Okay, I only guessed at him because of a remark which wasn't meant to be a clue, but had I not, his reveal would have been surprising but not altogether unexpected. The war left its mark on everyone, and his own struggles were hinted at numerous times. It was just that none of the others thought he had the capacity to be the vigilante, or realised just how serious things had gotten. But it really is realistic, and I don't think you should have any worries on the identity of the killer because I think the plot you have here produced a fantastic fic.

Shacklebolt's cat. You're projecting again...

War memorial. Cute touch. I like it. And I like that Toby still thinks of Annie; that he's not forgotten her. Because that would be unrealistic. They were what they were, and she may not have been Tanith, but that doesn't make her any less important or significant in her own right. :)

Haha, Toby's plans to surprise Tanith are thwarted by her own plans to surprise him! Marvellous. It's his birthday! That explains why Kingsley was SO adamant to make him leave.

Ahem. I would like to profusely object to Cal a) assuming that the Falcons will be smashed and b) getting immense joy from it. This is not on.

Such a cute ending. All of them together, with no fear for their lives, and indeed with their whole lives ahead of them. I love this very much. And now I've gotten to the end, I'm sad to the point of a little bit teary! Which is crazy, because it's just a fanfic! But it's not, it's far more than that. And I find it hard to believe that I only started reading Anguisverse less than a year ago! But it had me hooked from the start, to the point where I found myself reading all of Shadow as was posted at the time on the eve of a law exam, instead of revising. Good thing I passed, eh? But this whole series truly is one of, if not THE, best works of fanfic that I've come across. The characterisation has been superb throughout - each character is so distinct, and so well developed, and I love them all. And just the entire focus on the war, and the questions of morality, and all the politicsy stuff, I have enjoyed every moment of. I love the HUMOUR. Two of my all-time favourite moments of Anguis have to be the Cal!duck scene and the Yule Ball scene with drunk Cal and Gabe. Love them. But I think my ultimate favourite moments are those beautiful moments of dialogue which make the characters all seem so REAL and make me squee like a fangirl. "I know you're Tanith" (Even though Toby then failed to recognise when she WASN'T Tanith). "Fiendfyre". "There's one thing I can't do". I REMEMBER THEM. And I've found myself so engrossed in it all that it's began to become my head canon! Like the time when I saw the suggestion that nobody did History of Magic as a N.E.W.T subject and I thought "But Toby did!". I think that's down to how convincing and realistic and believable it is, right down to those nitty gritty bits of detail. And I can't say enough how much I love that kind of thing. If you do decide to write Into the Sunrise, or any other side-project, then I'm 100% here for that. If not ... well, I'm more than happy with where things have been wrapped up here. Nothing more is NEEDED, it's just I can't bear the thought of having to say goodbye to these guys. BUT IT'S OKAY because they live on in Ignite, with Nat and Matthias. Yay, another series to get completely wrapped up in! Still as keen on Original Novel as ever, too. :) Basically, GOOD SERIES BRO.

Author's Response: Oh my GOD I didn't reply to your review of the LAST OF ANGUIS? I'm a terrible ficcer.

Poor Jacob did have a tough time. Some of this is down to his own... apathy, in a way, but also a lack of opportunity. He probably would have done more if Tanith had involved him in her thinking, for example, though she knew that this would implicate him and she also knew she didn't strictly NEED him to incriminate himself on her behalf. That said, Jacob did mostly sit around trying to not be Too Bad. And it worked, and he didn't compromise, and in some ways he got lucky. But he was still a good man doing nothing. Thankfully Tanith does remember the former. And thankfully, now? She's able to cry again. Though I think she's cried more in this one fic than in the whole rest of Anguisverse put together.

Katie always stole the show in this story.

I sometimes find myself regretting how much I glossed over the Lions' stuff. I really only told Gabe's story with the Lions and even then only some of it (like, how DID he earn Jen's trust in the first place? How did everything go down before we saw him at the ambush at Azkaban?) when those guys could have had a whole series to themselves.

I do still sort of regret that I had Tom kill Jacob. In some ways it makes Jacob ambiguous, but it definitely shoves Tom into the level of "villain". It worked to tie the plot together and to engage Tanith on a personal level, but at the same time it made it hard for people to go "he's got a point". They could always add "but he's nuts". If he'd just been a guy killing people who'd legitimately escaped justice, that would be something else. But, it's done, and I'm overall happy with it! I just think I compromised some of my moral ambiguity for the sake of drama.

I liked the war memorial idea myself (obvs). But I did need something to go back to the beginning with this chapter. And, really, EVERYTHING which made the gang started with Annie's death. The rest was just build-up.

Cal is a Puddlemere dude. Not even sorry.

I've been rereading all of Anguis lately in quiet spots at work to try to keep my brain churning over fanfic as I try to finish Ignite. It's an odd feeling. There's so much there, so many stories told, and I am overall immensely proud of it as a tale, as an achievement. I have mixed feelings about Into the Sunrise. Only snapshots make it into my mind, moments, rather than full short-stories. I'd stand a better chance of writing another BTP-esque Big Tale, just for how my mind works, partly because the guys would need Plot to drive them (but I imagine I won't).

I guess it's cos they're done. They really have earned their peace after their adventures and now they have their whole lives ahead of them. And for the most part BTP wraps up the dramatic questions for everyone's emotional journey. The only real exception is Cal and Nat and that will be touched on in Ignite.

So even if I never write another word about these guys again, I am immensely proud to have written the ones I have. And very glad you joined in on this journey in this final furlong, our many discussions and your feedback helped cement and drive a lot of what happened. Gabe's story in BTP, for instance, would have probably been left entirely by the sidelines if you hadn't drawn attention to loose threads from Latet. And that would have been horrifying. Yikes. I keep remembering now BTP was originaly mostly a Tanith story about the serial killer and her relationship with Toby, JEN playing a bigger role as a prosecutor than Cal or Gabe on the sidelines. I'd in fact written up to the Manchester attack before I conceived of the Gabe plot and went back to write in the previous Gabe/Jen scenes. Madness. But I digress.

It's over and it's been an awesome run and I will miss these guys. But they deserve their peace. Thanks for ALL the reviews.


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Review #5, by water_lily43175 The Only Sign in the World

14th March 2013:
There's a part of me that doesn't want to read this. Because reading this means that Anguisverse actually comes to an end for real, and that thought is an utterly heartbreaking one. I suppose I could always read this chapter, and then leave the last one unread? FOREVER. Then IT WILL NEVER END.

Intriguing chapter image. Means that Cal goes back to Thanatos again. HO HUM.

Wonderful Gannifer moment. Jen says her piece - and I hadn't actually consciously realised before now that it HAS been all Gabe before. But then perhaps that's partly because more of their conversations have been from his point of view, not hers. Either way, so far things have been more about HIM, and how he's open with her in a way he's not with everyone else, and as he becomes more relaxed with her he tells her more. The focus has never really been on her, because it's never HAD to be. And now she feels bad about that. And I LOVE her little slip about children, especially because the thought clearly doesn't freak Gabe out at all. Whether that's because right now he already knows that he wants to be with her forever and have lots of babies including Matthias, or whether it's just that he's so relaxed and at ease and HAPPY with her that talk of the hypothetical doesn't freak him out, I don't know. Either way, they're adorable and I love them.

HAHA, Toby's comment to Cal about "you know what seven o'clock looks like?", my EXACT REACTION was "SEVEN? Normal people finish at five!" And then Cal said it for me. Bless Toby ... he'll never stop worrying or overworking, will he? That's just the kind of guy he is.

I think I've just hit on why I have a special place in my heart for Cal, even if in some ways he's the "lesser" of the four - he can be cocky and irresponsible at times, and he has a totally carefree attitude to life, and just wants to have fun, and makes mistakes - but he's got a big heart, and he truly loves and cares about the people who are closest to him, and he's loyal to a fault. That sounds pretty familiar to me. :) His and Nat's story is sad, particularly because I was holding out for marriage and a Quidditch team, but it's realistic, and it's actually nice to not have everyone settling down and being all lovey-dovey. It's all a bit bittersweet really, isn't it? I don't know whether you know what happens to Cal - I do like the idea of his and Nat's paths crossing again because judging by Ignite, they haven't done yet and I like the idea of him sweeping in and saving her from herself - but I also like the thought that he'll meet someone else who is just as good if not better for him than Nat, and that he'll be happy with his life. Not that he necessarily NEEDS a woman in order to be happy, but he's got a lot of love to give and besides, it would bring definite closure on his relationship with Nat. Which he deserves.

Anyway, enough exposition. THANATOS VISIT.

It's as though Cal has decided NOT to make a decision. And at the end of the day, now that I think about it - does he really need to? Visit as and when you want, Cal, it's as simple as that. Thanatos interests me as always, in the sense that he recognises his jail sentence as a fair price for what he has done, but still doesn't see what he's done as the WRONG thing. It's almost as though he's not completely lost his humanity - he sees that killing and torturing is wrong, but it's just that he views his victims as lesser beings and therefore in that sense it's okay. I may be wrong on this point, and he may just be a murdering tyrant, but I still feel like there's more to him than that. I guess there MUST be, given that he's always sworn that he's acted in Cal's best interests ... if he has the capacity to care about Cal that much then there must be some humanity in there, even if it IS twisted.

And Cal asks about his mother. YES. It's actually something I've always wondered - what was SHE like? Although I imagine that she was very similar to Thanatos but still, one never knows. The fact that he's now asking about her - and admitting to the fact that he DID have a mother once - definitely emphasises that he's finally come to terms with his parentage - yes, he was born to a couple of murdering tyrants, but he was raised by someone at the opposite end of the spectrum, who has had far more influence on the person Cal's grown up to become. But he shouldn't feel ashamed about where he's come from, because it's not HIS fault. It feels like this is closure for him, on this issue. Which is, I assume, the objective. ;) Big love for this one!

Author's Response: I've never written anything like the Cal/Thanatos plot in this story before. I've never had such a major relationship in the works and NOT known how it was going to end, not really. I usually had a vague idea how it would go, one way or the other. In this? I just sat them down and let them bounce off one another until Cal made his decision. And in many ways he decides... not to decide. And I think that's right for him. No absolutes. And he lets himself be selfish, to do it for him. I can't help but feel sympathetic for Thanatos as I write him, which is a dodgy sensation to have when you're writing a mass-murdering, torturing, bigoted terrorist. But the guy's life is literally ruined and Cal is the ONLY thing he has left in the world that matters. That can make his life have meaning. Cal is about the only thing he has left to live for.

I'd forgotten this last Gannifer moment was tacked onto the beginning of this chapter. It kind of belonged in the previous one. And, yet, didn't. Ah well. Yes, Jen has noticed the emotional imbalance and is keen to correct it here. And, of course, she brings up the future and of COURSE, it being Gabe and Jen, they both cope with it fine instead of freaking out unnecessarily (I'm looking at you, T/T). Gabe doesn't want kids yet, and neither does SHE, but they both know they're heading down that route and they have their whole lives to walk it.

And Ignite gives us proof with Matthias. ;) Anyway! Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #6, by Whimsical Diva Times Like This

2nd March 2013:
I've been pretty horrible for not leaving reviews for every chapter, but I've been reading this story (as well as it's prequels) and Ignite regularly. I think I discovered Anguis sometime in 2009 or 2010, and have been following the story and it's sequels as well as your other fics (Renaissance and Ignite), and they've all been an absolute pleasure to read. In fact, oftentimes I've even forgotten that these characters are actually OC's. I see them very much a part of the HP canon, and I think that's a testament to how ridiculously good the stories have been.

And also, crikey, it's been a heckuva long journey. I've been following these stories ever since I left England to work in Asia before moving to the States. I, for instance, can recall reading chapters of this story on Chinese trains, Indian cabs, in Singaporean restaurants, Californian beaches... I think I can sort of understand how wrapping up such a long journey must feel for you; it certainly feels pretty rewarding to me. I shall certainly miss this lot, and will be keeping ane eye out for any future spin-offs.

Oh, and BTW, Ignite is fabulous! I was a tad sceptical about it initially, as it's a Rose-Scorpius story and this is one ship I haven't been able to warm up to (actually, it's a pairing I pretty much loathe, second only to Draco Hermione), but I love Ignite, the pairing notwithstanding. Actually, I think I'll love anything you write, full stop. Please don't stop writing. And thanks for the marvellous series. The Anguisverse stories are truly some of the best HP fanfics ever written.

Author's Response: You've left a whole bunch of reviews and it's been more than enough. Even the littlest helps. Still, I do so thoroughly appreciate your long-term support in all of this - it's kept me going through the quiet times of low motivation, knowing there's a readership out there that's enjoying the story of these guys half as much as I have (woah, past tense crept in there).

This review in particular was touching. That my work followed you across the globe is pretty heartening to hear, and I'm just so grateful that you stuck it out, and so happy that it could be with you on the journey. The part about writing which isn't for myself is for reaching somebody else, wherever they are, and to succeed is an immense feeling.

Glad you're enjoying Ignite! I, too, dislike the many bad Rose/Scorpius clichés out there; Ignite isn't so much a rebellion as it is that I can see the possible drama and goodness in the pairing, without making it a (shudder) Draco/Hermione rehashing. That story will continue, and maybe the one after that, as there's a whole saga in there somewhere.

And, as ever, I write elsewhere, write proper things, maybe successfully, who knows. But the Anguisverse has given me so many lessons to take with me. Thank you for all the reviews, kind words, and support.


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Review #7, by sleepless_nights Times Like This

1st March 2013:
Wow, it is over. I can't believe it. I discovered the Anguisverse not long ago and I rushed through it because I enjoyed it so much. Unfortunately I've been an awful reader and never left reviews and I'm very sorry for that. But it was just too good and had to go and read just one more chapter. I fully intend to read everything again and leave my appreciation in reviwes then.
Anyway, it is an amazing story. So well written! I loved it! Congratulations! I'm really going to miss these characters!

Author's Response: A reviewer who leaves only one word is good enough in my book. I'm just glad that you enjoyed the story, because although I write for myself, it's great to find other people have taken pleasure from my work. I won't say no to any future appreciation, mind.

I am very happy with the story, and so glad other people are happy with it and its conclusion. We'll miss the guys together! ;)


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Review #8, by margravine Times Like This

28th February 2013:
Oh good God, whatever will I do now? I can't believe it's all over. It's been such an amazing ride, and they are all in the places they should be, but I will miss them desperately and love them always - I feel like these characters have become old friends over the span of the last several years, and I've never been good at letting go. I wish I could read about them forever, even though I know their story has come to a fitting, and hard won, resolution.

Still processing, still irrationally sad, but privileged to have seen this evolve, grateful for the hours of enthralment and excited to see where you go from here. Thank you. Thank you so much. And brava, for the terrific accomplishment you've wrought here

Author's Response: I can hardly believe it's over myself. These guys are done, their story is over, but I will miss them even if I have no regrets about sending them into the sunset. I'm just glad that other people feel the same way I do, that I've been able to bring them across to readers so successfully!

Thank you so much for sticking by the story so much, for all your kind words and encouragement and your enjoyment. It has been even the littlest word which has kept me going over the last ten years, and yours have been more than just a little!


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Review #9, by Saloho Times Like This

28th February 2013:
Not an author so no constructive advice, would like to say I really liked this series and thought you handled the conflicted oc's really well. A riveting view of the war and its aftermath from outside the tent & the school, you added to the canon and gave it more depth and grittiness.

Author's Response: Thank you very much for your kind words and for having stuck around to enjoy the story. It's a long ride and it's over, but I had indeed wanted to expand canon, not change it, and that it has succeeded is very satisfying. Cheers!

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Review #10, by Pattalack The Only Sign in the World

24th February 2013:
I love it! Gabe and Jen's relationship is so perfect and I really am excited that Cal is talking to Thanatos.

Author's Response: Gabe and Jen, who steal the show in this series. They were never, ever planned, not until I got halfway through Falls the Shadow and realised this little resistance subplot had some serious chemistry in it. And, at last, Cal gets to find about his mother. He'll be sensible, don't worry. He knows Thanatos is a monster. But... still his father. Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #11, by water_lily43175 Road of Sweat and Tears

13th February 2013:
Boy, do I feel stupid.

All the talk, all the exposition, I EVEN COMMENTED ON IT IN MY LAST REVIEW and I still managed to totally forget that Tanith and Katie had Shield Cloaks on! Serious head-desk moment right now. I'll be with you once I've killed all of my brain cells.

SO. Katie lives, happy days! And Tanith utterly loses it. Hard to say that Tom doesn't deserve being beaten to a pulp, though it's probably not the most diplomatic solution here. I like the comparison to Brynmor; the whole hostage thing DOES reek of Death Eater tactics. And Harry and Ron to the rescue, the beginnings of the Dream Team!

Tanith BANNING Tobias from having anything happen to him again, as though he a) chooses to get into these scrapes and b) has any ability to STOP them, so cute.

Oh, poor Jen. I LOVE her reaction to Tom being the murderer. They were friends, colleagues, HEAD BOY AND GIRL, it's only natural that this would be a huge shock to her. Poor thing. And Gabe is right; punishing EVERYONE for EVERYTHING isn't the right solution.

Naw, Toby's putting his life in front of politics now. I love him. He deserves to go to the party/morgue [delete as appropriate] though! Bless him.

Party. It's a party. Would it have been anything else? Yay for Kingsley! And yay for more Dimitri. I LOVE HIM. :) Oh. OH. Ariane and Melanie as well, happy days!

"So the least he could do was try to make an effort, and try to not think about how much Ariane Drake, purveyor of negligees, knew about his sex life." DEAD.

Dimitri, Ariane and Melanie in the same space, this is pretty much my ultimate Anguisverse set-up (after Tanith and Jacob's euphamism-riddled sex conversation at any rate, that was a thing of utter beauty). SO MUCH LOVE. Please, PLEASE, can we have a Dimitri spin-off?

I've said this before - but I love the Cal/Toby friendship. Cal cares so much about Toby's achievements that he doesn't want to cloud them with his problems, and yet Toby cares so much about Cal that he's willing to listen to his problems absolutely whenever. NAW.

"On some level he was a little disturbed that Cal noticed Tanith's legs, but then he'd noticed her legs too and had to concede that they were rather diverting". Again. DEAD. And oh, OH, Tanith's guilt at not voting is so adorable!

So much love for T/T right now. They've both realised that the sacrifices need to come from BOTH ends, and more importantly they're both willing and happy to make those sacrifices for one another. Ultimately that was what was needed; they BOTH had to budge. And they have. And so they'll be okay. :)

...running out of chapters now. THIS MAKES ME SAD. How many left? Two, three? :(

Author's Response: Yeah, the Shield Cloaks were a Chekhov's gun up on the wall. As was the spell deflection from earlier. But! Readers are supposed to forget about those until they happen!

And of course Tanith didn't kill Katie. She's not that nuts. She's a LITTLE nuts, of course, losing it as she does on Tom; her invoking of Brynmor does indeed mean that, well, she's letting out on him the anger she never got to let out on Thanatos.

The Jen/Tom friendship has always been a background part (considering they were both once very background characters) of things, but still there. She did trust him and believe in him and work with him, more closely than anyone. Worst isn't that she didn't see it coming, worst is that she can believe it now it's in front of her. And sometimes Gabe can talk sense in broader politics... though he probably did get the idea from Jen once. ;)

I would be super cruel to deny Tobias his political victory once all of this was over. Because once the adrenaline calmed down he WOULD care (again, Jen being right), but now he can go forward in much more sane and stable way in his career. With Dimitri to get him very drunk, of course; I couldn't give up a chance for one last hurrah with Dimitri, just as much as I couldn't give up a chance for one last hurrah for Ariane/Melanie. The last ever Hurrah, in fact, yipes.

A Dimitri spin-off would just be international travel, women, and a lot of vodka. Hmm, tempting!

T/T have earned their happy ending. It might be bittersweet in places but, as you say, they both learned to compromise. Right through they were that story of two people who could maybe grow up to be perfect for one another, or they'd grow in different ways, or they'd just refuse to grow. Lucky them, they knew when to give things up and how to prioritise and that the other person was the most important thing. Good for those two crazy kids.

Almost at the end, now. 2 more chapters. Though, of course, by now they're up!


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Review #12, by Margravine Road of Sweat and Tears

10th February 2013:
You know, I did notice you'd gone into unusual detail with the shield cloaks a few chapters back, I can't believe I didn't put two and two together!

Poor Tom.. You wrapped this all up nicely. I want to know more about Nat, and we can always have more cal. T/t have grown up such a lot, and really settled into their relationship beautifully. I loved this chapter, but I'm also a little sad, because this has definite whiffs of winding down to a finale and I don't know what I'll do without them! I've grown to love them well out of proportion to fan fiction: and that comes down to your continually excellent writing, characterization and plots. I've lingered in ff long after I stopped writing my own, chiefly to read about these characters and new chapters have genuinely been small bright points in my day. I'm not saying that out of lack respect for ff or because my own life is dull, far from it: just making a little testimony to the power of your writing: touching the life of someone across the other side of the world (I think!)

Author's Response: Shield cloaks AND the spell-deflection. Watch me put my Chekhov's Guns over the mantelpiece! You're right - this is the climax of the story. It's all denouement from here. Two more chapters of it, but aftermath nevertheless. Which does certainly include more on Cal. Nat, I recommend looking to Ignite for. Her backstory matters.

Although I finished writing this ages ago (well, August-ish? barring edits), it's still really, really strange coming to the end of this long period. I've been writing these guys on and off for 10 years now, and it's been one hell of a journey - emotionally, creatively. Fortunately, rather than sadness, I feel a bittersweet satisfaction at waving them off as they go into the sunset. They and their adventures have taught me many things as a writer and storyteller and in trying to do this for a living I will cherish these lessons.

But I digress. I always wrote these stories for my own fun and satisfaction (else, why write OC-focused fanfic??), but the idea that even just one person out there found these tales an ounce as compelling to read as I found them to write makes it all 'worth it'. More than worth it. A true pleasure.

And reaching the far side of the world is a bonus. We're not at the end of the road yet, but I've truly appreciated your support and readership through all of this. Thanks for this review and all the ones which came before.


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Review #13, by Pattalack Ashes in Your Mouth

4th February 2013:
The heck???! Please update soon omg

Author's Response: Update is in the queue, worry not. Thanks for reviewing! :D

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Review #14, by water_lily43175 Ashes in Your Mouth

4th February 2013:
Aha, Savage getting in the way, standard.

Oh. OH. A Memory Charm. Yeah, that would explain everything. Oh, thank GOD Jen's not involved at all because that would have killed me.

"'You know how all the protections at Stacey Whitman's office were ones you knew exactly how to break through, because they were done exactly the way you'd do them? And how the Scindo curse might have been popular amongst Death Eaters, but then the Lions picked up using it?'" I SAID ALL THIS AND YOU POO-POOED ME. But I forgive you because I know why you did it. And to think, I only leapt onto the idea of it being Tom because Tanith found being punched in the face familiar, haha. There were clues, but they were subtle. Enough to nudge someone in the right direction if they were noticed, but not in-your-face signs. Good work!

Anyway. Toby is in a bit of a pickle. Good on Tanith for having Wheezes at the ready, like a good student of Altair's. Ack, poor Annie. OH GOD if one of these kids dies then I will hate you forever, I hope you know that.

Everything Tom says has at least an element of truth in it. I mean, we excuse Tanith for killing Wilson because we know exactly what happened ... but at the same time he has a point, why should SHE get off for following orders? Why should anyone? And all of his points, all of them, even the points about Jacob doing nothing to stop the regime, are RIGHT, and have MERIT ... and then he starts playing around with Toby and Katie's lives and completely discredits himself because good god he's gone nuts. But seriously, kudos for creating a bad guy who's still believable and not demonised beyond belief, because it makes it all so much more REAL. And it's a genuine point - people got off last time when they shouldn't have, and if things are going to be different this time then surely people should be punished for their actions? But then, "only following orders" is always a minefield, especially when you add in the fact that Tanith wasn't just following orders, she was being threatened. DURESS YO (guess who's just learned about defences of criminal law!). So, yeah. Sticky situation.

And so much feels for the fact that Tanith still can't bring herself to hate the guy who killed her partner and nearly killed her. And on that note ... yeah, it was like a little punch to my gut when Tom pointed out that Jacob did naff all to help things and didn't come across too well in the June Enquiries. Because I adored him, and I don't think I realised how much I adored him until you killed him off. But he really didn't paint a very good picture of himself, did he? At least not in comparison to someone like Tanith, who like Tom points out, at least TRIED to resist as much as possible. And so, it's easy to see why someone like Tom would feel like Jacob was on the wrong side ... ugh SO MANY FEELS.

Oh god only Toby would try to correct his captor on an academic point. I love him.

And then Tom suggests killing Toby or Katie and that's the part where he loses one hell of a lot of credibility. He's nuts! Poor kid, the war's driven him crazy. He's so used to enacting justice and punishing the people who did bad things, that even now the war's over and things are done differently, he still thinks he has to do something more, to truly make sure these people pay. I have to say though, Katie's reaction to that part of Tom's plan was hilarious, and pure Katie.

Whoa Tanith WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Author's Response: Savage is just a pain, isn't he? He originally had a bigger part in the entire story but... that got cut and trimmed down and his jobs got given to other characters and now he's just there to be annoying. Poor guy. Except that he is a berk.

YEP memory charm. Don't worry. Jen is not evil. Glad I had you going there for a second, though! And yeees, I poo-pooed your idea! Of course I did, because you were right! Actually, the hint about Tanith being punched in the face being familiar was meant to be a MISLEADING clue because she'd been punched in the face by Jen earlier on that very day. It was, of course, also an allusion to Tom but I'd expected readers to remember Jen attacking her outside the courtroom before remembering Tom punching her at Gullsmere. OH WELL.

If I killed someone right now it would likely be a very mean thing to do, killing them off in the final moments of the entire series. I assure you I wouldn't do that without good dramatic reason.

I can't promise I don't have good dramatic reason.

Tom has points - people got away, people weren't punished for the horrible things they did, and some people just didn't fight, which was in its way letting them go. He IS right about Jacob, and it's not because Jacob was a bad man, it was just that going against the government, even one he hated, wasn't in his nature. He didn't think it was possible and so he didn't dare. But Jacob wasn't a bad man and was still murdered by someone's arbitrary judgment. And at the same time - so was Mulready, so was Lackardy, and when it's been proven that Tom's judgment IS flawed, can we accept "all's well that ends well" in that they died? But he still took action. And Tanith still can't hate him for it. Because Tom WAS broken by the war, in his way - and we will get to that, we'll get to more on how this happened and why.

Toby is a pedant. And will get himself killed if he carries on, bless him. XD

Tanith is... well, Tanith is the master of the third choice. But we must always wonder what Tanith would do when the third choice wasn't necessarily presented to her...

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #15, by Margravine Ashes in Your Mouth

4th February 2013:
.
What?

But seriously

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed Toby, at death point, being pedantic about quotes' origin and I did like the nuanced moral complexities but I also don't believe even for a second that tanith will kill Katie, even for Toby.

STILL AN UNFAIR CLIFFY. Surely ignite can skip a turn just this once?

Author's Response: It's actually BTP's turn next. 2 BTP, 1 Ignite. And BTP is in the queue. Soo... soon!

I had to look up the Burke quote because I couldn't remember it precisely off the top of my head. And of course found that it's likely misattributed - and figured that OF COURSE Toby would know this and OF COURSE would be a pedant even in a crisis.

Tanith often has a plan. This is true. Tanith employs the Third Choice as often as possible. Altair taught her well in that regard. The question is, what will happen when Tanith DOESN'T have a third choice?

Thanks for reviewing. :D


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Review #16, by water_lily43175 Weather the Storm

29th January 2013:
COULD Cal and Gabe be antagonising each other ANY MORE right now? Ugh, I totally get where Gabe's coming from here, but I also agree with Cal and what he's trying to do ... and at the same time it's easy to see why Gabe thinks Cal is being rather blase about the whole thing. MEN.

Ho hum, a visit to Daedalus. I like the game he plays here - "You rejected my offer, what do I have to gain in helping you?" It's sneaky. Very sneaky. But I like sneaky. And Gabe agreeing to go back to him is an interesting move indeed, though I guess he feels he doesn't have a choice. And oh god evidence isn't good. Jen, what have you DONE?

"Tobias looked as if he'd been told he'd failed the Minister and needed to commit honourable suicide at that exact moment." I love Toby, bless him. And I love Kingsley as well, if he doesn't win this election I'll be gutted! Love Tanith's unwavering support for Toby throughout the day, too. The election campaign may have proved a bit of a thorn in her side, but now they've both come to understand compromise she's okay with it and I LOVE HER for this.

That, and she knows it's going to be over soon.

Oh man, Toby visiting Tom? DON'T DO IT HE'LL KILL YOU! Seriously worried here. Because TOM IS GUILTY YO.

Jen denying alibi. Whut. OH. OH. Man is Tom. Oh lordy faeces hits fan. Well Tom MUST be guilty. He must be. Because otherwise, why would Jen try to deny the alibi even though she then faces charges? She could easily explain the visit off as Tom being a good friend or something ... but she denied it so she must have known that it wouldn't help her to say where she was so HE'S GUILTY. But ... that would mean she knows what's going on. Really? REALLY? Oh god mind is a mess right now. JEN CAN'T BE GUILTY. Ugh.

YES! I knew it! Guilty Tom! Oh no Tobias, of all the situations to get yourself into... I knew that visiting him was a bad move! But the truth comes out, Tom IS the guilty party!

And how ironic that Gabe, instead of procuring Jen an alibi, has just ended up finding incriminating evidence instead. OH GABE.

Why must every other chapter end with a cliffhanger - and more to the point, why must it be the second chapter EVERY TIME? You make me not want Ignite, and then you make me feel bad for not wanting Ignite when I then enjoy the chapter! Bleurgh, you've made me an excited mess right now. I hope you're happy.

Author's Response: This is a BAD Cal and Gabe talk. :( Cal is trying to help but, as he says, Gabe's NEVER been like this before. He doesn't know HOW to help. Note that in the past, Cal giving Gabe a clip around the ear has usually worked. This time Cal tries it and Gabe is just angered by it. The stakes are too high. It's JEN. And I am fond of Daedalus in this scene, too. As far as he's concerned, the case isn't over, and him giving illegally obtained evidence isn't exactly helpful to Tanith in a high-profile case where a lot of transparency will be needed. So him helping Gabe would just be a favour (if you're not Gabe, it's easier to believe that Jen's innocence will be found just over the course of the investigation), and he owes Gabe nothing. But he's still manipulative enough to reel him back in over it.

T/T are rather sweet in this scene. They're able to be one another's rocks in the Career Crunch Time. Which is huge growth for them and is kind of adorable if I say so myself. But yes, Tanith has an easier time because she knows it will be OVER soon; she'd be much worse off if she didn't think it would be!

*cough* Visiting Tom, going badly? Whatever would make you think - oh, well, YES, evidence, if you want to be picky. If Jen does know all about Tom and is covering for him, then yes, Gabe's managed to make this situation much, much worse. But we'll see come the next chapter. Which, heh, yes, comes after the next Ignite, still in the queue.

I promise the next Ignite is a DOOZY if that helps. And yes, I'm very happy. ;) Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #17, by water_lily43175 Slash of Darkness in Yourself

29th January 2013:
HERE. Finally. BTP yes.

It's so frustrating that Jen is imploring Tanith to believe her alibi because it's Gabe, when that's exactly what Tanith did before and it resulted in her cutting corners when she shouldn't have done. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, really. But I still can't find her guilty. And there is NO way I'm believing Tom's alibi. That's not even an alibi! Come on, guys, the neighbour could have heard anything, there's no guarantee that he was even in his flat! My theory remains open and valid, and I'm still sticking to it.

And Gabe, like Jen, wants Tanith to let Jen off based on gut feeling rather than evidence. Ugh, it's so hard, and I really do feel for both Jen AND Gabe because surely she didn't do it? But Tanith HAS to do it! She has to. Or she's not doing her job properly. And what Gabe says about Jen's character ... yes. YES. This is exactly why I can't believe her guilt, only Gabe (or rather, you) says it far better than I could. He has some truly beautiful passages of speech.

I love that conversation between Tanith and Jen about Nick. They seriously needed to talk about it, and I love that Jen understands why Tanith had to do it. But she's clearly not spent enough time round Tanith if she thinks she's only "occasionally" hypocritical and "sometimes" narrow-minded! No, I'm being cruel. I love Tanith, and I really don't think her flaws are as bad as Jen makes them out to be. But kudos to Jen, for ... not necessarily being the BIGGER person, but for not holding a grudge, which would have been the easy thing to do.

And then Jen tells Tanith to do her job as she should, and asks to be released in nearly the same breath. When Tanith CAN'T do that. Frustrating - but oh Tanith, CHARGING her? Eh, the alibi's dodgy and she has to follow it up but does the alibi prove enough to CHARGE Jen? But I guess she doesn't have any other choice (except for following up Tom's non-alibi but hey). It's a sorry state of affairs, it really is.

Tobias suggesting Legilimency, BAD MOVE GREY. If there's one thing Tanith will object to, that will be it, given her torture by Legilimency last year. But other than that, he does a good job. He can always make her feel better, when he's not the one causing the problem. Happy T/T times!

Author's Response: At the beginning, Jen isn't so much trying to wrangle with personal feelings so much as is telling Tanith that she already HAS an alibi, so why are they going over this again? As is by now clear, Jen thought the alibi was fine. So she's dubious about being questioned about it. But yes, Tanith is backed into a corner here, and it's a little bit a corner of her own making because she CHOSE to believe Gabriel even when she suspected he was lying.

Tom's alibi is not very strong, nope. But it's enough for him to slip through the cracks for now when they have a far BIGGER incongruity in front of them (and, as will become apparent, limited resources while everyone's focused on the election). And alas, that's all Tom will provde to need.

I forget sometimes that Gabe really does get some of the more eloquent soliloquys of these stories. You'd always expect it to be Tobias, but I think it's 'cos Gabe keeps stuff pent-up, sometimes it just comes tumbling out.

Yeah, I had to go back and write in this conversation of Jen and Tanith. Originally this was a much worse scene where Jen wound up being difficult for the SAKE of being difficult, which on reflection was out of character for her. So that got ditched and I realised I'd NEVER written a confrontation on the Nick issue. So that scene was actually the very last I wrote in the entire story! Which is good, I do enjoy the Jen/Tanith conflict; two people on the same side with similar principles who just don't/can't get on. Jen respects her, and in normal circumstances DOES trust her, and maybe CAN grow to like her. But she's not blind to her flaws, or as indulgent as the men who've been around her since she was a petulant eleven year-old are ('cos let's face it, Tanith gets away with MURDER in how she behaves towards Toby, Cal, and Gabe sometimes).

Jen's logic is that Tanith needs to play this by the book. She's not so much asking her to cut corners as to either do it right, or don't do it at all. It's over the top of Tanith to charge her, but it's what Jen's pushing for because she reckons that she'll be safest if everything is done in the Bright Light of Day; deals in back alleyways are what she doesn't trust after it almost screwed over Lackardy for a crime he didn't commit. The system is not perfect yet, even if it's Jen's own system.

Yeahhh, I couldn't quite make as much of a point on the Legilimency issue as I'd have liked, so Tanith's knee-jerk reaction will have to stand. Either way, he's making her feel better, and for ONCE T/T are the thing standing strong and mature and sensible in a time of strife! Instead of exploding when they have no reason to. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #18, by Margravine Weather the Storm

25th January 2013:
dun dun dun!

So all the Tom foreshadowing came through.. And I like that you didn't muck around drawing out the Jen is cheating scenario, I assumed there was explanation even before it got all curse-y.

I am liking the mature Toby and tanith days, Gabriel taking on Daedalus' mantle again and am scared for Toby! Poor man is never going to regain his prewar reflexes :(

Author's Response: Yep, it was Tom all along! Poor Tom. The infidelity angle was a red herring but no, I didn't think it would stand as more than a minor misdirection; it was there more to shake up Gabe and Tanith than strictly to be a Twist. Just as most people are convinced of Jen's innocence, people are convinced of Jen's fidelity.

Glad more mature Tobias and Tanith are enjoyable and convincing; I think those kids have been through silly times enough to be due some growing up and to enjoy it! But no, Toby is never going to be the duellist or fighter he once was. He could cope in a war but he was once upon a time a wizard who going go toe-to-toe with Tanith (the best fighter of the lot of them); definitely he couldn't do so these days. He'll just have to use his talents in other ways!

Assuming he gets out of this alive. Thanks for reviewing. ;)


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Review #19, by Pattalack Weather the Storm

24th January 2013:
Aaah I'm sitting on the edge of my chair!

Author's Response: More to come soon, I promise! Thanks for reviewing.

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Review #20, by water_lily43175 Heads or Tails

8th January 2013:
Our updates seem to be spectacularly well-timed at the moment! I enjoy this a lot.

I like the little touch with Tanith and Katie trying their best to get their heads around the Muggle world, and yet not quite getting there. Of course, it would possibly be best to let Harry do the Muggle-related investigating, given that he's probably got the most knowledge of the Muggle world ... but that would be letting him do the fun stuff, and that would get in the way of the girl power. So, Tanith and Katie struggle on!

THIS is how paranoid and thorough I've become with this fic and my theory - the protection spells are compared to the ones the Lions used, THEREFORE the person who set them up is clearly someone who knew about the Lions' protection. Therefore Tom is guilty. THIS IS MY INVESTIGATIONAL PROCESS.

Oho, they've found something. But WHAT? Intrigued. Scene change. I hate you.

Jen being particular about her coffee seems like you projecting again. JUST SAYING. Anyway, I'm a bit concerned about them visiting Lackardy. Because Tom is clearly guilty. And I am clearly paranoid. Reading on ... Jen is confident, and yet Tom is tense. HMM. You observed their body language for a reason, there is always a REASON for these things. My suspicions are heightened further. Not to mention, Tom clearly has strong thoughts on Lackardy deserving punishment - not that Lackardy DOESN'T, but that's the reasoning behind these deaths, so it definitely FITS.

Oho, so THAT'S what was in the post box. That means someone from the Ministry (so Tom basically). I guess that was pretty much the suspicion anyway, but this confirms it.

Whoa. WHOA. Lackardy's dead. Cripes. Jen's GUILTY? Or Tom did it without her NOTICING? Which sounds unlikely. Someone else may have done it, but in the space of half an hour? It's TOO coincidental that Jen and Tom visited the cell when they did; one (or both) of them is involved to some degree here. NOT GOOD.

High clearance rune. Right. This means someone important must have authorised it, for a start. Would Jen be important enough to get hold of one? I expect so... and they planted it when they were in there, and ... someone else Apparated in? Or one of THEM Apparated back in once they'd left with Harry? Either way, it looks bad for both of them. Tanith really has no choice but to pull them both in - my only worry is that they might have left the Ministry or something.

It's just ... Jen has no alibi. None at all. And it's very interesting that it turns out that Katie knew that, all along. But despite that, I just CANNOT believe that she's guilty. It's JEN! Yes, she wants justice as much as the next person, but THIS? It's just not her at all! And yes, that IS a gut feeling, and no, that shouldn't get in the way of the facts ... but I just can't line it up. Tom, yes. But Jen? Bleurgh. And calling in Gabe, too. Oh, TANITH. This really is a horrid state of affairs. They're right; if only they'd investigated Jen's alibi more in the first place...

I know Ignite should come next. But I'm begging, I'm BEGGING, please post the next BTP first! You can't leave me on this note!

Author's Response: 'Sorry', Ignite is already in the queue. You'll just have to have Ignite and like it!!

It would probably make more sense to bring Harry. And he's definitely up to hard work. But Katie isn't hugely clueless, she's just lacking in some personal experience - but TV can only teach one so much! Plus, they get by. Yes, the protection spells are compared to the Lions BUT Katie was the Lions' specialist in protection spells. So she's going to compare this to things she knows. It does, however, match your theory, yes!

Maybe I am projecting about the coffee. Good coffee's important, okay?! And yeah, Tom has issues. But, who wouldn't? Plea bargains and the like are a sticky wicket with justice. Jen doesn't like them, either, she just has to be more pragmatic than Tom. And you're right, it would be a WACKY coincidence for Lackardy to have been murdered in his cell within 30 minutes of their visit. So it definitely implies guilt of one of them. Which, perhaps, is the plan? Though only a narrow range of people could get those runes. And only a narrow range of people could legitimately get the files which were in that post box.

And Jen could be that person. But you're right, it's completely crazy to believe that she could have done it, which is why Katie and Tanith were wholly unprofessional. Tanith knew, deep down, Gabe's alibi was wrong, and Katie ACTUALLY knew it was. But it's Jen Riley - why waste time investigating a dead end when the biggest clue is an incongruity in a lovers' tiff? I'm glad it doesn't come across as completely stupid that Tanith and Katie chose to believe Gabe's lie and that Katie covered for Jen. Because it is unprofessional but at the same time it SHOULD be ridiculous to consider that it's Jen.

BUT they have to now consider it. And this means, if it is her, then there's certainly something unknown going on, below the surface...

...of course, it might not be her. Muwahaha! Thanks for reviewing.


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Review #21, by margravine Dangled Over a Tank of Sharks

4th January 2013:
Not sure when I last reviewed. But I sorely missed this during the que closure!! mwhaha the 'review and continue reading next chapter' message I see below me now also gives me hope!

firstly, I've been suspicious of Tom BEFORE the awkward run in with Toby. Pretty sure he dun it.


Secondly SO MUCH SQUEE FOR NAT AND CAL HOOKUP. Even though it goes *profoundly* against my breakup principles and is ironically exactly what Cal was worried about with T/T, it was just so RIGHT and natural and chemistry laden that I was cheering for them even though I know from your next gen fic that Life is Not Kind to Nat (if you kill Cal off, we will have Words).

What I really do adore about this fic though, is how you haven't shied away from the uglier side of humanity. We're heroic in the face of evil. We stumble when it comes to everyday life and mundane reality, and we never really entirely get over old loves.

Anyhoo. You remain my idol. I want to see our crazy kids finally get it together!

Author's Response: Everyone's so suspicious of Tom! This is Tom Everard, the man who was THIRD choice for Head Boy in his 7th year. Bless him, poor, maligned Tom!

Or he's evil. That's possible, too.

Yes, the hookup was... I didn't *specifically* plan for it when writing the chapter, I just kicked back and let the characters decide, but when I knew it was going this way I thought it would be a considerably worse idea than it turned out to be. I think they can only 'get away' with it because they don't live in the same sphere, they won't see one another for months on end (versus the awkward spiral of self-destruction it would become if it were T/T, with their mutual friends), so an entanglement is less likely to get them stagnant in their lives. Or for once I've got two characters with an ounce of emotional sense, it could happens. But yes, BTP is compliant with Ignite (though as the Igniteverse rolls on, I will deviate from my own personal external canon if needs be!), and so Nat's life is... going to get tough, poor girl.

Thank you so much for the kind words. This is very much the intention of the story, of showing the best and worst of humanity in the hard times and in the normal. We are scarred and flawed and brilliant.

And there's plenty more to come! Thanks for reviewing.


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Review #22, by water_lily43175 Dangled Over a Tank of Sharks

3rd January 2013:
NAT. NAT IMAGE. NAT IS IN THIS CHAPTER. Oho, am I excited!

Light fixtures. That makes me think - surely candles and lanterns can't be the ONLY forms of artificial light in the wizarding world? So do they have electricity anywhere? Hmm, ponder time.

Bahaha, I just had an image of someone living in a pillar box. This amuses me a lot. Nevertheless it's intriguing. A muggle-born presumably, but why use a PO box? Hmm. This is beginning to throw my crackpot theory of it being Tom out of the water, which I Do Not Like.

Unless she's his girlfriend or something.

Or it's him under a different name.

PONDERING.

Haha, I love that Tanith and Katie punish Harry and Ron for their Jen investigation by not letting them do the exciting investigating. Girl power!

OHO, here we go. Cal visiting Nat! In Paree, eh? The city of lurve. I love how he's clearly over-thought what he's wearing. He doesn't want to seem anything more than casual while he's Portkeying to a hotel in a different country to see his ex-girlfriend, NO BIGGIE.

Green hair? Nice touch.

Right, here we go. Time for Cal to have the sense knocked into him, and for him to LISTEN to it. And I utterly love Nat, because she knows when to talk and when to listen, and when she listens she DOES actually listen, and she doesn't judge, and is basically the complete opposite of the rest of Cal's friends. It will be a shame if they're not able to remain friends because he needs her around for that.

And of course she can pinpoint the issue when nobody else can. He thinks he SHOULD see Thanatos, and that's where the problem lies. And of course, he shouldn't think that at all, which I've near enough said; his best move is to walk well away and stop thinking of Thanatos as his father, because that's the only thing he deserves. And anything else would be a bad move for Cal. So, he may not KNOW whether he wants to keep it up or not, but at least he's settled what question he should be asking in the first place.

And then the kissy happens. Bless them. Survive a war, only to trip up when real life turns up. Because ... they both value their career over each other, it would seem. Or, rather, their careers aren't those which lend themselves to spending time with a significant other. In fact, it all seems quite similar to Tanith and Tobias' problem, just magnified by the whole issue of foreign countries.

And he went back. Oh, this pleases me in the sense that I'm still shipping them big style. I can't see this doing them any good, in the sense that I doubt they'll get back together, but ... eh. Is there much harm in it?

Knowing you, there probably is.

Oho. OHO. The man takes something from the box! Hm. Something is happening here! I'm really concerned about my theory now, it looks to be dying a death! Nevertheless, are we making developments here? Oh, Tanith, you and your stand of postcards. Intrigued, very intrigued! MORE PLEASE.

Author's Response: I considered it might be spoileriffic to have Nat for the Chapter image - but I thought the teasing for readers would be more fun. Plus she doesn't get one otherwise!
Logically, yes, a muggle-born would be the one to use the muggle post to get what they want, though if a wizard with reasonable knowledge of muggles wanted to be discreet... as becomes evident, the wizarding world is not so hot about understanding and intercepting muggle ways of life! Good way to operate under the radar. The name is NOT Tom's quite, but... who knows. ;) Tanith and Katie on the case, 'cos screw the boys.

Nat is great. I always forget how great she is (for she's very different by Ignite!). She knows how to listen, she knows how people can be silly and what's right and wrong but she doesn't judge them. So she cuts to the heart of matters. And yes, an entanglement was inevitable. These guys were the Dark Side of the problems faced by Tanith and Tobias, only their dreams and their relationship were absolutely mutually exclusive. One of them would have to give up on what they wanted to do in their life to be with the other. Nat would have to work in England instead of racing around the world, or Cal would have to follow her and give up Quidditch. They both know this, so - is there harm in one fling? Perhaps emotionally, perhaps it just makes it harder. Perhaps it's worth it!

Your theory is... suffering a little. But we are finally making leaps and bounds in plot. It doesn't calm down from here on!


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Review #23, by Rose Of Bloodlines and Ideals

21st December 2012:
I've just finished reading your entire series, haven't had time to review each chapter, but can I just say that it is AMAZING? I'm totally in love with your four main characters, especially Gabe, and I think you have something really incredible here. This is awesome because it goes along with the canon series, yet veers in it's own direction. I really like that you didn't just use JK Rowling's plot, but you moulded yours into something completely original, that still allowed the canon plot to happen. Your characters are consistent, yet they still grow through the series, and their relationships are believable. It really gives a great insight into what was going on politically in the wizarding world, and is very believable in the sense that the inner-workings of the government are just as complicated as in real life. I don't know if you got any inspiration from WWII, but I can definitely see some connections there. I also like that you get a real sense of the Slytherin character while staying away from the typical bad-guy sort of stock. All in all I think this is beautifully crafted and comes across as effortless. Thanks for an awesome story. As for this chapter, I love the relationship between Tobias and Jen, and I'm SO glad that Tanith and Toby have finally figured out their relationship. Daedalus's reaction is also believable in that his character is still stubborn and abrasive, yet it's still clear that he loves his daughter and wants her to be happy. All in all an amazing chapter, and a great story. Please update?

Author's Response: I'm glad people are still discovering this series, even so late on, and that you review at all is hugely appreciated! I have tried to keep it very tight with canon and yet its own thing; it makes it all more 'real' in its way, or that is my hope, to believe that these events could well have happened alongside the book.

I am quite a nerd for politics and history, and so yes, I have certainly drawn on real world inspiration like WWII for the developments I've made - but then, the WWII parallels were already there alongside JK's own work! I am happy that it's working in a compelling way, and I am very happy that you've enjoyed the work so far and this specific chapter. Yes, Daedalus is a difficult and cynical man, but he does at the end of the day love his daughter. He also knows it's not worth going head to head with her over some issues, he's learned his lesson!

Thanks for reviewing. Updates are forthcoming!


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Review #24, by water_lily43175 Of Bloodlines and Ideals

6th December 2012:
Okay, so this is basically Jen's chance to get all of her post-war woes out into the open. She's coming to terms with Tanith's actions and Gabe's lie of omission. This is good, and very healthy. And very Jen. I was worried that we were going to have a big Tanith/Jen showdown, but it seems that this isn't going to be the case now. Although we still await their next meeting obviously, and I'm now scared that it's going to be when Tanith is forced to arrest Jen or something. I'm not certain that that little issue has been put to bed yet!

And, of course, the Nick stuff. Of COURSE she feels guilty about getting with Gabe, but she can hardly confide in HIM about that, can she? Indeed, her and Nick weren't suited at all, and the mere fact that during the war she could let her guard down to Gabe and didn't feel pressured to stay strong and not show any kind of weakness just goes to show that they were made for each other. AND ALL ON ACCIDENT.

"Only following orders". Mmm, it all comes back to that, in the end.

Oho. OHO. "You think you know someone..." Bad reaction to Tanith's role at Gullsmere. Tom's guilty. HE IS.

Enter Melissa! Happy happy. She won't be lonely if she HOOKS UP WITH WILL. Or Dimitri. She could have a toy boy. Now THAT'S an idea.

Right, this Tanith summons MUST be related to Toby asking his permission to marry her (or not, as the case may be...) but that's where I get confused because I don't see why Daedalus would object; he's not anti-Muggle at all! Hmm. Fear in his eyes? What, like he's SCARED of Toby? Scared of what he's going to do with his staff if Daedalus says no? (Incidentally so much amusement at Toby carrying his staff because IT LOOKS BETTER.) Reading on.

Oh Daedalus. You've disappointed me.

Oh. OH. I take that back. It's not quite as clear-cut as "I don't want you marrying into a Muggle family", he has a REASON for it. And whether or not it's the RIGHT reason, it's hard to criticise him for it. Because he's seen a lot over the years, his role in the first war has been revealed to everyone, it's totally understandable that he'd worry about his family becoming targets ANYWAY, even without marrying half-bloods left, right and centre. And this explains the fear in his eyes. Fear for his daughter's safety. Oh, DAEDALUS. He's just a loving, paranoid man. And he's endeared himself to me SO MUCH here.

And now he's giving him the HOUSE. Amazing. I love the Pureblood pride shining through here, the total refusal to let the Sprague family absorb the Cole estate, that would be simply preposterous.

And of course he's still a little bit upset about his daughter marrying a half-blood. But he's still going to let it happen, and he's going to support Tanith and be happy for her and invite Toby round for dinner, and this makes ME happy. FANTASTIC characterisation, GOOD CHAPTER BRO.

Author's Response: Yes, this is where we go: Jen's mind, explore! And Tobias is one person she'll tell, because she can't confide in Gabe about these things. There will still be A conversation between Tanith and Jen, but it won't involve punching in the face. Not for those reasons, at least.

My accidents are awesome, apparently. But yes, Jen was pretty in love with Gabriel even while Nick was still alive, which chewed her up inside something rotten and has been worrying away there since Nick died. And that's why she's still that little bit messed up by it all.

I love your Tom theory. I really do. But then I cannot judge about crackpot theories, I am the MASTER of these!

Daedalus is, in fact, throwing a hissyfit and summoning Tanith and making her panic. Because... sometimes Daedalus Cole is crazy in the face. I am glad that his paranoia and fear are understandable; he is a little judgmental but not THAT judgmental, he's mostly just scared Tanith's going to make her life worse. It would be safer if she married a nice Pureblood instead of a high-profile halfblood. But he gets over it. He's not thrilled, but he's made his case, calmed down a bit, and will try to soldier on.

And people wonder sometimes why Tanith is so messed up when this man is her father! XD

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #25, by water_lily43175 Risk Life and Limb

5th December 2012:
Ah. Tanith and Katie visiting Gabe. Chasing up Jen's alibi. Which ... she doesn't have. Eek.

I love Tanith/Katie interactions. I love how nothing fazes Gabe. I love how he claims he Sees everything. Basically so far I love this chapter already. BUT we've not gotten down to business yet and I'm a bit nervous about what's to come.

And he's lied. Tanith's made him lie. Jen lied in the first place. Oh god if this comes out it could go badly, you have me very worried right now.

"'I like having you around,' said Gabriel abruptly." AW.

It's good that Gabe doesn't feel guilty about leaving his father. It's the right thing to do at the end of the day. WELL DONE GABRIEL.

Cal's asking Gabe for advice now? Oh, this kid needs to stop looking for someone to justify what he's doing. Because that's what he's doing, isn't it? If he didn't want to see Thanatos, he wouldn't be bothering to even think about it. But he's talked to Tanith and Toby and Will about it, and none of THEM think it's a good idea... and yet he's still thinking it over. He's not asking them to help make his mind up; his mind is near enough already made up and he just wants someone to agree with him.

...And Gabe's just said exactly the same thing, aha. Great minds and all that. And I know I shouldn't, but I found this exchange funny. Gabe getting angry that Cal's not asked why he's quit his job - to which my thought is "well he's got a point" ... then Cal says that Gabe would tell him if he wanted him to know - which I also agree with ... and then Gabe isn't going to talk about it anyway. SO TYPICAL of them.

Cal's going to go see Nat, isn't he? He'd better do, because I've missed her. She'll bang his head against a wall and make him see sense. JOB DONE.

Gabe apologised. Bless him.

Jen wouldn't have killed Jacob. That's that sorted. She'd have known that he was one of the good guys, she wouldn't have gone for him. I'm fairly certain on that. She has motive for the Mulready death, yes, but there's no reason that she would have gone for Phelps either, and she definitely wouldn't have targeted Jacob of all people. NOT HER.

Love the Tanith/Katie banter. They'd make a cute couple. Except, you know, T/T.

They're out of milk. I love the reference to Mulready's death, haha. IT WAS THE NEIGHBOUR.

Whoa WHAT? Cliffhanger? You can't do that! Has Toby been to see Daedalus? Oh god has he summoned Tanith home about that? Or has he found out about Gullsmere? Or has something else happened? I AM THINKING OF SO MANY POSSIBLE THINGS RIGHT NOW I HATE YOU FOR DOING THIS NEXT CHAPTER NOW PLEASE. Look, I said please. I'm being POLITE. You have to indulge my curiosity now.

Author's Response: Tanith/Katie are my runaway favourite 'couple' of BTP. I found myself stressing so hard over a new long-term partner for Tanith (I considered it being Ron but couldn't break up the Dream Team, plus it felt a little bit too much like messing with canon) but when I started, Katie was a runaway star. And I had to get my slashy undertones in there somewhere, even if, as you say, T/T.

And yes. They've lied. They've ALL lied, and that's what covering for friends winds up being. Jen has no alibi and they're all so certain it can't be her, so why waste time chasing up this thread when it will lead nowhere? Any other day and Tanith would have chased this one, but guilt's a powerful thing.

Gabriel Doyle: Sometimes quite emotionally smart, actually. Including on the topic of Cal who, well, you've pretty much assessed properly. He wants to stick around with Thanatos, everyone's told him not to, so he's trying to find the excuse. Or, really, the explanation. He doesn't disagree with anyone who's told him it's a bad idea, but he still WANTS, somewhere, to see Thanatos more, and is looking for someone to justify it and explain it for him.

Except Gabe isn't feeling happy about being used like this, and now they're being Boys and being in a stink over this issue. At least they're more capable these days of getting over it because by now they know when they're being illogical.

It is very true that, had Jen killed Jacob, that would be contrary to what we currently know about her as a character. Based on all information we have to hand, it is logical to assume there is some other explanation. But we are not at the end yet.

Aaand cliffhanger, go!


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