And it's me again, for your next review!!! :D
Once again, and sorry for going on about this, I love the descriptions you have of the house and the setting. They really add character and visual imagery (not to mention humour). I had no idea Phineas Nigellus was a painter and was inspired by the white cliffs of Dover! I also enjoy how prominent a role those house elves play.
I'm very curious to understand more about the will and why they're all so worked up about it. I guess in an aristocratic family like the Blacks possessions and wealth are quite important, and I feel as if more about this and the divides in the family will be described in future chapters. It could also add a motive to why someone would want to murder Cygnus. Maybe Voldy wanted one of the Black treasures to turn into a Horcrux?? haha, maybe I'm being a little over-paranoid, but some of his greatest Death Eaters are suspects, after all.
You have lots of clever little lines that I just feel I need to admire. For example: "Bellatrix declares, her voice loud and strong, smashing through the quiet of the room like a bull in a china shop. Then again, he supposes his mother has already killed the silence; Bella is just making absolutely certain that itís dead, like the sadistic cow that she is." BULL in a china shop... the sadistic COW... so good! :)
Oh no, poor Druella (assuming she's the woman at the end, as I can't imagine who else it would be!). However, I thought the last bit was a very beautiful passage. It gave Cygnus a little more of a presence, since we haven't learned much about him. I'd assumed he was arrogant and proud like the rest of the Blacks, but this paints him in a more sympathetic, romantic light which was very sweet. I also enjoyed Druella calling him her "swan king"-very appropriate considering his name! :P
I really hope you enjoyed these reviews and they were helpful for you! Please feel free to re-request when the next chapter of this wonderful story is validated! :) Report Review
Hello, me again for another review on your amazing story!!! :)
I really like the descriptions of Sirius and how he is uncomfortable in the family home. The description: "Siriusí reply is muffled; his head lying on his arms, heís staring up into the fireplace through the twisting metal in front, up the chimney, stretching his neck as though hoping to see sunlight peeking down the shaft." Is great, as it both gives the reader an image of Sirius and symbolizes his desire for light/freedom in the dark house-or at least that's how I interpreted it. :P
I think Barty is a hilarious addition to the Black family drama. Funny, I'd never imagined him as a teen before, but knowing his blood history it makes sense that he'd be friends with them. Also, I think his characterization is great: he's both brilliant and clearly a little mad.
I also liked: " A cynical voice in the back of his head (which, when it shows up, he likes to call ĎRemusí)." Too perfect. My other favourite line was: "Briefly, he wonders what could have Mr I-have-peacocks-in-my-garden-didnít-you-know Malfoy looking like he was sucking a slice of lemon." What an excellent way to describe dear old Lucius, who, by the way, seems a little suspicious to me...
I also think it's so funny and suitable that they have portraits of their ancestors EVERYWHERE, and they're constantly interacting with the characters and being just generally aggressive and snobby. It's such a subtle touch, but so effective. I wonder if any portraits know something about the murder...
So far, I think you're doing an excellent job with slicing up the chapters: in each one the reader learns a little more and the plot progresses just that much farther. It's not easy to write a story like this, but you're doing a great job!
Also, I was wondering about the use of the symbol of the house of cards. I love how it is described in the summary, but I was just wondering if the cards, whether physical or metaphorical, will come more into play as the story continues? If so, I think that would be very cool! :) Report Review
Hello!!! Here for your requested review!
Ok, so first of all this is a brilliant idea and I think you've pulled off a combination of classical murder mystery format plus HP plus intriguing family drama. I thought the descriptions setting the scene were very strong and gave me an excellent visual for the scene, as well as setting the dark, mysterious mood. I also think the use of present tense greatly adds to the tension of the story, which came across very well.
The only confusing part was the paragraph saying that the room could fit 30, but only 11 were there, but only 8 were sitting... it was a bit confusing as I tried to work out how many people were there, and in a potential murder mystery we want to know exactly how many suspects there are!
You have some truly brilliant descriptions, especially when it comes to the characters. A stand-out for me was: "None of them look at her, although whether this aversion is out of respect or embarrassment, it is impossible to say." The whole description was just perfect and so typical of the Blacks.
Also, you've done an excellent job of having the characters' physical spaces interact with one another's, which is sometimes difficult to write. For example: "A wooden chair leg lands on her back of her motherís rose-pink robes, pressing a rectangle into the soft fabric." The thought you've put into the visuals is very apparent: I also like how well the house is mapped out (again, key feature of the classic house murder mystery!), with details like a crypt which most would never have considered. It gives a very gothic vibe.
I do think that the characters are a bit confusing, especially Cygnus, Pollux and Orion, just because their names are all old fashioned and we don't know much about them from the HP books. A way that could be addressed could be to put more physical descriptions when mentioning them, just for people like me who have trouble remembering names! :P For example, "old Pollux" or "Orion, clutching his cane between his hands" (or whatever, but just something to help remind me of which one they are!) Just a thought :P
Overall, I am very drawn into this story, both by your beautiful and eloquent writing and by the exciting plot line. As for guesses of whodunnit, so far I am suspecting Kreacher (the butler did it? the house elf did it?) haha. I think both Bellatrix and Barty are acting rather suspiciously, but that would just be too easy, right? :)
Hopefully this review is useful! I'll be checking out the other two chapters and reviewing (probably sooner rather than later!) :) Report Review
Hoo boy, what a chapter.
I love that nothing is truly at ease in this chapter. There are tensions everywhere and sooner or later someone is going to snap. This business about the will still bothers me though, while Pollux and Orion are trying to keep the family together, it's already falling to pieces, bit by bit. Perhaps they should focus on why Cygnus changed things instead of trying to change it back.
And can I just say, I don't trust Regulus or Barty so much at the moment. I can't quite tell you why, but I have a feeling.
Bella's reaction to things is always interesting to read about. She's very casual about her father's death, or death in general. I suppose that's just the person she's become.
As for Walburga, well, she's just as unpleasant as JKR said she was. Well done. I would've given anything for her to not talk at all. You haven't written her as a complete fascist, but the little things she says is enough to remind me of the type of woman she really is.
And holy crap...Druella's gone! That is going to blow things up so much more now. Wow. Whoever set this in motion must have really known what they were doing, and I suspect more death to follow soon. Maybe it would be old Pollux Black (again, this is another feeling I have, though I think he's a formidable character too).
There's one thing I wanted to point out to you here: "...Narcissa murmurs softly, not looking up from her book." I thought she was doing embroidery?
Another great chapter,
Lia Report Review
Oh, the suspense!! Oh, the drama!! I might be going insane now!!
Insane in a good way, of course!! I loveloveloved this chapter, maybe even more than the last one!
Sirius and Barty... In cahoots together? It seems strange, but here, it makes a lot of sense. Why can't Barty trust Regulus? Why does he trust Sirius with the task of checking out the body? Why is he so creepy? Why, why, why?!
I feel like Barty has a lot of ulterior motives, as if he's trying to pit the family members against each other, dividing the house, you know? I could be wrong, but I just can't come up with a good reason to reconcile everything in my brain! This whole chapter has left me in a tizzy!
All the confusion aside, though, your descriptive powers have not waned any. I really liked how you started off the chapter with Sirius' fingers instead of showing the whole scene. It was like a movie, where they show the part before the whole, so that you don't really know what's going on until they actually reveal it.
I'm no detective, so I can't even begin to name the killer right now. This review is probably completely muddy and jumbled because I'm just trying to figure it all out. Barty is a creep, and he's plotting something, because that's what he does, but if he's the killer, he's a convincing liar. He makes everyone doubt themselves... Except for Regulus, of course. Regulus has his own agenda, and I'm not sure what he's doing in the Library. Or why he lied to Barty and Sirius. Mighty suspicious!!
But my mind is telling me "NO, that can't be it!! What reason does Regulus have to kill a member of his own family?! He's just a child!" And yet, you're probably laughing at me right now, because I'm so incorrect.
Regulus is manipulative. The look that he gives Barty that causes him to cave and share what's going on, the lie he tells, his constantly calm demeanor... He's very multi-layered, and I haven't read a lot of stories with him as a major character, but I feel like he's going to play a big role in this one!
And Bellatrix... What a schizo! She probably scares me the most out of all of the lovely, crazy characters you've developed thus far. She's like the Sphinx, so magical, but one wrong move, and she'll bite your little head off! The sugar-and-spice metaphor was SUPER amazing, and it makes me think that she's got a borderline personality disorder. (Sorry, Psychology has got me classifying EVERYTHING.) She has all these crazy changes in mood, even within the space of a few words! I think she's insane, but MAN, you write fantastically!! Most people couldn't pull off the type of mood swings that make Bella who she is, but I think you've got it just perfectly!
So, in short, the whole family is insane. And creepy. And I love them while also being afraid of them. Thank you, Aphoride, for making me feel so many emotions all at once, for a cast of characters that build their empires on dead bodies!
You're awesome. Just sayin'.
~UnluckyStar57 Report Review
First of all, I'd like to start by saying that I love how you've unified your chapter with the names of playing cards. It's a really neat way to grab attention. I also love the summary for this chapter... I'm a huge music nerd, so that's another plus about this story!!
(I haven't even read your story yet, and I already like it!)
Okay, I've read it now... And wow!!
Your voice is so strong, it's amazing. It's like I was reading poetry, intertwined with mystery and suspense and so much blood.†
I can't even begin to say how much I love it. I cannot wait to read the next chapter, but for now, I guess I should focus on everything you've done in this one.†
Barry Crouch... What a guy! His suggestion, the Funeral March, his future (which we know from J.K. Rowling)... They all combine to make him one creepy guy. And since you've put us right into the midst of the action, I can't help but looking for the whodunit. Did Cygnus die of biological malfunctioning, or was he murdered? What was the killer's motive, if there WAS a killer? Right now, I'd love to believe that it was Barty, but that just seems too easy... Gah! You've just woven such a fantastic web of doubt and suspicion that my thoughts are getting all tangled up!! (I'm sure that this only makes the review even harder to understand.)
The beginning of the story... What words can describe such perfection? The style immediately clued me in to the fact that something was wrong--very wrong. The girl in the painting, despite having an air of innocence, foreshadows the ruination of the Black family, I think. She IS deserted on a beach, after all, and maybe her hands are stained with blood. Maybe the undertow will consume her. No matter what, she'll die just as surely as the stain of corruption will fester in the Black family tree.†
My absolute favorite part if this chapter, though, was when the family members were climbing the stairs. It was as if they had repressed thus awful memory, of a death right before their delicate, noble eyes, and suddenly, it resurfaces. The gasp, the sigh, the departure from life... I saw it all so vividly, and you used just the right words to show me. And, ironically enough, I was just imagining blood staining everything--the walls, the floor, the table, the silverware, the white dress shirt of Pollux as he catches Cygnus before he slumps to the floor. But that isn't true. It never happened. Druella took that image away from me, and so nonchalantly, too! "There was no blood... I thought there would be blood." Her and me both, obviously. Death comes in mysterious patterns, and not all deaths are baptized in the crimson rain. One thing us for certain: the Black family is mystified, but they don't seem sorry. Are they all, even Sirius, heartless even through their tears?
Like a house of cards, they will fall, I'm sure of it.†
You've crafted such a brilliant (yet dark!) family. I cannot wait to get to know each and every family member's insecurities and possible motives. Mark my words, I'll be back to review your other chapters! This story is much too interesting for me to let it slip by my notice for another minute!
~UnluckyStar57 Report Review
And the plot thickens.
Being a Law graduate I'm really loving the part where they analyze the will and try to figure out what they could do. It left quite a mess behind but in a family as rich as the Blacks, I hardly think money is a cause for murder.
Sirius is really the odd man out in all of this. Locked in a house with these people, he's forced to come to terms with the loss while having to interact with them. Narcissa hasn't yet lost her humanity but Bella is well on her way. Something about the way in which she isn't as affected by her father's death makes me think she had a hand in it.
The end of this chapter! Oh my God! Reading that makes me think of another theory, that maybe some supernatural dark force is involved? A curse perhaps? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
I love your writing in this story, you create such an amazing and complex cast of characters and I'm very excited to see how it plays out! Good job! Report Review
Hello there! I'm here with your requested review!
I read the first chapter of this story a while back and I was instantly reminded when I saw your request and I was also so happy to see it was updated! I guess you could say it made an impression. Although I was too busy fangirling in that review to get anything proper across. Okay, I'm done with the chit-chat!
I love the style in which this story is written! It has that whole Agatha Christie mystery feel to it and I found myself reading very carefully, because I'm sure everything has some sort of relevance to the plot.
I loved Sirius in this. You know he's an outcast but it's more evident here, when he's stuck in a house with all of them and he just wants to get to the bottom of things. Barty is a really nice touch to add, like the crazy house guest that makes everybody uncomfortable.
I also liked the bit about Sirius calling the voice of reason in his head "Remus". It's so fitting and it's a nice touch to remind us that Sirius has other peers, unlike the rest of his family. Even the portraits give him the evil eye!
And true to the "butler did it" approach of these stories, I will say Bellatrix did it! No reason, it's just that she's evil and kills for pleasure. Maybe she was bored?
As I said, I like the writing style a lot, the plot runs along smoothly and I can tell you pay very much attention to detail! Good job! Report Review
I absolutely love the mood of this story. It is so unbelievably dark and mysterious and even slightly creepy. At the moment, I have absolutely no idea 'who dunnit' which I guess is credit to you, for keeping the mystery alive! At the beginning of this chapter, my suspicions started going towards Barty for some reason...but now I'm not so sure.
Speaking of Barty, I really liked your characterization of him in this chapter. Something about him - probably his attitude towards investigating the death - completely reminded me of the Barty from the books. The Barty that was obsessed with catching killers. I especially liked the line about Barty sounding saner that usual.
I think one of my favourite bits about this chapter were the subtle descriptions and imagery, especially at the beginning of the chapter. You really have this talent for conveying the mood to the audience through descriptions, and really painting a picture on our minds. even your description of the empty fireplace gave me a little shiver up my spine - it felt very foreboding.
The depth of your characters is great. I loved that this chapter was generally from Sirius' point of view, and I loved that we found out more about his thoughts and feelings about the death. I also like the little glimpses and mentions we got of the other Black family members, making the mystery even more puzzling and intriguing.
Overall, this was a great chapter.
Courtney:) Report Review
Kiana from Team Blue here! I rather liked this story, so I was glad to see that this was updated!
I really love the Black family, and I think that you caught the family dynamics brilliantly. I think this is one of my favourite families in the whole of the Harry Potter world, just because theyíre so varied, and different, and you seemed to have captured that really well.
I think it was the way they were quibbling over what happened over the will, just showed what you the family was like, if they were willing to deceive the ministry over what it really contained, just for the benefit of money. It was rather scary to see how ruthless and evil they all were, but I think thatís the reason why I find the family so interesting.
I really liked how you showed the differences between Narcissa and Bellatrix, as it just showed how you how they both ended up in life. It was quite touching to see how much Narcissa was affected by the death, and the fact that she was sewing seemed to fit her perfectly, as I can just imagine her doing that. Then Bellatrix was rather cold and emotionless towards it, and it fitted perfectly with her whole demeanour.
I really liked how youíve portrayed Sirius in this story, as heís included yet excluded at the same time. It was nice to see that Narcissa actually spoke to him, but then he of course gave a typical surly reply, but then he is Sirius ;)
I loved the ending to this chapter it was really poignant somehow, and I really liked how she referred to him as her swan king, as it showed the dynamics again, of how he ranked above her, like it was expected in most pureblood families.
I thought this was an excellent chapter, and I hope to read more soon!
-Kiana! Report Review
Hello there, Aph :) Returning your review from our swap.
I'm so glad to see that this story has been updated; I remember reading and reviewing it a few weeks ago and was completely intrigued by the story. Also, I might have mentioned this before - but I adore a good murder mystery.
It's really interesting that you chose to write this chapter mainly from Sirius' POV. And despite this being a mystery full of tension and suspense, your characters are all so complex and for now, are completely unreadable. I really love how you've written Sirius - the beginning where he's fiddling about with the fireguard showed him as someone who's rather bored and a bit dismal. Then there are all his feelings of detachment and isolation from his family, as a result of his Sorting into Gryffindor. You've really captured his situation, frame of mind and his emotions very well. And I love that cynical little voice in his head called 'Remus'! That was such a lovely little touch of characterisation, and it was a wonderful allusion to Sirius' relationship with his friend.
The characters are complex, and so are the interactions between them. I think you depicted the Sirius-Regulus sibling relationship in a very unique and striking way - there are certainly moments of understanding between them, but these are largely overshadowed by petty quarrels; there are darker more conflicting undertones in their relationship as well. And then there's Barty Crouch, who does indeed feel like he'll grow into the half-insane, methodical, ruthless Death Eater from GoF. I think I really really love your Barty (I know I mentioned this in my previous review, too! But he's just so well-written...), and the way he analyses and deduces things, gains trust from Sirius (though i can't really trust him fully). Cygnus' death actually seems to be a game for him; he really finds it fascinating. And he's such a chilling character, considering he's only about fourteen or fifteen - younger than Sirius.
I love the detail you've gone into to describe the setting. The opening scene with all the intricacies of the fireguard was really captivating, and I could really visualise Sirius running his finger half-boredly, half-curiously along the patterns and looking up the chimney. And then there's all the hallways and the cellars and the steps of the house, the sneering dusty portraits - all of these details really establish the tense, unnerving and somewhat morbid atmosphere of the story, which seems to be poisoning the relationships and interactions between the characters.
Alright, well, I really love your story. It's so incredibly engaging and intriguing! There's just so much suspense, and the pacing of the story is very measured, and instead of letting events fall into place mechanically, one after another, you space them out, and focus on smaller things, along with the characterisations e.g. the encounters and interactions between different characters like Sirius running into Bella.
All in all, a fantastic chapter. I look forward to the next one! Thanks so much again for agreeing to swap with me :D
-tehAuthor's Response: Wow - this is an amazing review and thank you so much for stopping by again! I'm so glad you enjoyed it enough to come back! And I love murder mysteries too - mostly why I'm writing this *guilty pleasure fic* lol.
Ooh, Sirius. Yeah, I didn't really think I'd write too much from his pov when I started, but I really wanted to explore his emotions a bit more after the first chapter. He's the black sheep of the family (since Andromeda 'doesn't exist') and he's an outsider who doesn't know if he wants to be inside or not. It's an odd situation. But fascinating, lol. Oh, he's very bored - and I have no idea where the whole fireguard thing came from... I wrote and was like O.o where did that come from? But no matter... ah yes, the little Remus voice. Remus-voice will make more appearances, I think. I've always imagined Sirius and James taking the mickey out of Remus for being the more serious one and joke about him being their conscience. Naturally, in this, Sirius has taken it a step further and Remus literally is his somewhat sarcastic, temporary conscience kinda thing.
The whole Sirius-Regulus thing really interests me and I love any excuse to include it. I'm an older sibling myself, so I know how it all works - and Sirius and Regulus definitely have one of the more complicated sibling relationships, lol. Barty... he views everything as a game. He's manipulative beyond anything, but then again, so are a lot of people in this... :) He's a lot of fun to write, though.
Whenever I write, I always picture it in my head like I'm watching a film, so that's what I'm always trying to capture. It's kinda difficult to know what to include and what not to and I'm trying not to stay too close to the stereotypical haunted-gothic type house... even though they're so cool.
Thank you so so much for this wonderful review - it really was such a nice thing to get! :) Thank you!
Aph xx Report Review
Hello I'm back again with part 2 :D
Though the place is rather slow in this story I feel it suites it as if you added more action it would take away the essence of the story:) It also flows well so it makes it easy to read :)
I love how you made the story and characters relatively complex and different to how you imagined. I said Sirius feeling sad was unrealistic in the last review but I take it back now as you've explored and described his emtions more deeply here that you can relate to how he's feeling. An outsider who's not sure whether he wants to come back in or not.
I think the rest of the characters are great and I don't think I've ever said this but I'm starting to like the Black family and all their quirks. I think you've achieved quite a feat of making them likeable, especially the older members of it who you always invisaged being the most evil.
Overall I think this story is excellent and I can't really see anywhere to improve as I enjoy the slow pace of it. Feel free to re-request at any time as I would love to read more :DAuthor's Response: Hey there again! Nice to see you back! :) And thank you for doing this chapter as well - you didn't need to!
Yeah, it is rather slow, but I'm not planning for it to take place over a long period of time, and most of it is more mind-games than serious, decisive action. That being said, I'm glad you think the slow pace suits it - I have trouble writing too much faster, lol!
Sirius is very much the outsider looking in in this, and that's kind of why I wanted to explore him a little more - because he's in such an odd position in his family. He's such a fascinating character!
Haha, I'm so glad you're starting to like them! And they definitely have their quirks, lol. I've never seen them as evil, honestly, more as having views which are very radical and dangerous and being not-altogether nice. But not evil. Or are they? Who knows? :P
Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)
Aph xx Report Review
Hey it's patronus_charm with your review :D
I think your description is great so there's no need to worry. You describe everything so vividly that it really draws the reader and captivates them.
I think the plot was a really original and excellent choice. You've already created suspense and mystery in the first chapter which is great as most people tend to just describe the characters which gets boring. However you managed to incororate this decription into the action which worked out brilliantly.
I also liked how Sirius is still in the story even if he is just lurking in the shadows. I felt it was a tiny bit unrealistic that he was grieiving over a relative who he supposedly. However as you don't say when it's set it's hard to know what Sirius's thoughts are at the moment :)
I think the dynamics of the Black family were great, though I was left wondering why Barty Crouch was there I guess he was just a family friend. I did like the murder accusation he threw out as it leaves you wonder whether it's true or not and if it is who the murderer is. I'm currently think Sirius or Bellatrix if that is the case ;)
Overall I thought it was a brilliant chapter and a great start to the story, I think I'll do the next as well :)Author's Response: Hey there! :)
Honestly, this is a bit of a guilty pleasure - I've always wanted to write a murder mystery and one involving the Black family was too interesting an idea to pass up. I'm glad you liked it - it's so hard to know whether it works, whether you're leaving enough clues, etc. Thank you!
Sirius is lurking in the shadows in this one, but he'll come into it more later, I promise! ;) He's not grieving as such, it's more the sudden shock that his uncle is never going to come back, and that's what's effecting him, more than any kind of grief.
Oh, Barty Crouch is there because he's Regulus' best friend - sorry! I'll go back and have a look at maybe making it a bit clearer when it's set and why Barty's there so thanks for mentioning those! Ooh... I'm so happy you picked up on the 'it might not have been murder' thing - seriously - keep that in mind when you read more of it ;)
Thank you so much for this review - it really was lovely!
Aph xx Report Review
I was so happy to see this story updated! Happy New Year, by the way :)
After reading this, there are so many questions swimming around in my head. But I'll get to those later.
Writing Sirius Black is very interesting especially when he's with his family. You've already hinted at him having differing opinions in chapter one, and again here where people still doubt his intentions - especially when it comes to the elder men in his family. I love that you've placed him in this position (I know this sounds bad), but you've given the audience a look at the type of person he truly is. While he might not have liked the man very much, the entire situation has altered his perception of things. It's made him feel something akin to grief, I suppose. A part of him still needs his brother, his parents, and his cousins. But he still has that need of being independent of them. It makes me wonder what sort of person he would have been like, had he been put into Slytherin.
I like that you wrote this chapter from Sirius' eyes. Compared to the rest of the family, given this situation, his perspective is the most honest. At the end of this chapter, you've given me reason to be suspicious about a few characters. For one, why did Regulus lie? Was Barty Crouch really being sincere? What about Bella skulking around behind locked doors? And what could possibly be in that letter to make Lucius' frown so deeply?
Naturally, you don't have to answer those, I'm just sharing my thoughts.
I really want to know now what the rest of the story holds.
LiaAuthor's Response: Belated Happy New Year! And sorry for not getting to the response earlier... life = manic, before.
I've never thought Sirius was totally disaffected by his family - I mean, they were his family and he's still only a kid, so they're going to effect him somehow, even if not much. And yeah, he's at that cross where he needs them but he doesn't and he does and doesn't want to need them as well. Oh gosh, a Slytherin Sirius would have been terrifying... I can't help but think he would have made a very good Death Eater - even from canon. Yeah, his family are sceptical of him and his intentions - and with good reason! He doesn't exactly (and hasn't, in the sort-of background to this) made it a secret that he doesn't like them, and you're not exactly going to leap to trust someone who you know doesn't like you, right? So yeah, he's in an interesting position. He's just a fascinating character, really...
Or is it? :P Couldn't resist... but yeah, he is kinda honest. He definitely doesn't have much of a filter, which is different from most of his family. Ooh suspicions, yes... I can't answer any of those questions (though I know the answers to all of those... :D) but I can say that they're good questions.
Thank you so much for the lovely review - it was such a wonderful surprise! :)
Aph xx Report Review
This was an incredible first chapter. It was so mysterious, dark, eerie and haunting, and really made me want to read on. Already I have so many questions. What happened to Cygnus? Was he really murdered by one of the family, like Barty thinks? I guess I'll just have to read on to find out!
I love your style of writing in this chapter! The way you don't focus on one specific character but use third person in the present tense...it's so different, so unusual and just adds to the mystery of the whole thing!
Your use of imagery is also great, and really drew me in. Even the first sentence; 'Thick, midnight blue drapes hang either side of the huge, arched windows which line the whole of the wall, metal candelabras standing between each one' showed me that this was going to be an excellent first chapter, with a very dark mood.
I am interested to see where you are going to take this, and am looking forward to seeing further characterization of each character. Great job!
Courtney:)Author's Response: Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! :)
Gah, thanks so much! I think eventually I'll answer all of your questions (one might not be... but I can't say which one ;D), but yeah, you'll have to read on... can't afford to give everything away, lol!
Thanks so much! I do intend to focus on a couple of protagonists as the story goes on, but since the story is really about the family as a whole, including them all is necessary (if annoying and difficult). I'm glad you liked it, though!
Hehe... imagery just creeps in into everything I write... can't live without it... thank youuu! Gothic style just suits the Blacks, I think, which was mainly why I chose it, but I'm glad you think it works with the setting and mood as well!
Thank you so much! I hope you keep reading - there is lots more to happen and find out about each one of them!
Aph xx Report Review
Hello there! Wow, this is a really intriguing story! A Black family gathering turned into a murder-mystery whodunnit? This is really wonderful stuff :)
I think you created the perfect murder mystery atmosphere through the descriptive details of setting and characterisation. The mood of the story was chilling, suspenseful and definitely full of tension and mystery. The imagery was great; the scene was very realistic and you have quite the eye for detail.
Another amazing thing was the characterisation. It isn't easy to begin a chapter with such a large cast of characters and make them different from each other, but you managed this rather effortlessly. There's Bellatrix with her cold boredom and utter inability for empathy (and probably made to look guilty as well), Pollux as the patriarch of the family with his commanding presence and sense of authority, Barty Crouch (my personal favourite :)) who is so manically intelligent, Narcissa who's all frail and vulnerable, and so on. You've really brought the Black family to life here, and all in the first chapter!
This has been a very thrilling and enjoyable read. Great work! I can't wait for you to update this; I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this story! Good luck with the coming chapters :)
-tehAuthor's Response: Hey there - and thanks so much! I love mysteries myself so I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you again! It's been a while since I read a murder mystery (Agatha Christie all the way...) and this is a bit more gothic (it's the Blacks, so of course it had to be!) than standard ones, I think, so I didn't really know what to do about the mood, so I'm so glad you liked it!
THE CAST. OH MY GOD, THE CAST. I swear, they're going to kill me. I never realised having such a huge cast would be so difficult, but it really is. I always forget to include someone and it's a pain to have to work out what everyone's doing at a certain point in time... Barty Crouch is kinda sinisterly adorable... but he's a little conspiracy theorist :)
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! :)
Aph xx Report Review
Hey! Perelandra here! :D
First of all, thank you for your kind review! :) It made me happy to wake up to see it! And second! It was hard to choose from your list! In the end, I chose this one due to being a mystery one fic!
Anyway, on with the review!
So many of the Black Family members that I don't know! Haha, I seriously had to stop at the beginning just to see who these characters were to Sirius. And then I got into this question about James' relation to Sirius...were they second cousins? Uncle/nephew? Hahaha, so thanks for that! XD
I just could not believe that Bellatrix would just be like "Well, time for me to go, see ya!" However, part of me agrees with the way you wrote her. She is a very heartless woman and doesn't care much for the others around her. So I give you kudos when it comes to writing her personality. Some people do an overly-crazy Bella while others write her as a misunderstood human being...I think you managed to capture that balance between that mad one just right.
This sentence reads a bit weird Well, and his gaze lingers for a moment on Lucius, on Bart, almost all. The one right before it was great but that one ^ just felt a bit awkward. There were some instances where the punctuation needed a bit of tweaking, some comas were missing while in some instances you had too many of them.
I'm a detail oriented person, and I absolutely loved the detail you gave us. I could imagine the Black family sitting down in a very fancy home, all of them wearing expensive clothes before all of the sudden one of them dropped dead. I love being able to picture that in my head instead of imagining a black room with the characters just talking. Kinda boring that way. However, be careful...you're almost at the point where it was way too much detail. You want to find that balance between narrative and details.
Overall thought, this was a very, VERY interesting read. I like mysteries and I enjoy the Marauders era so you mixing both to make a story...that, is considered awesome in my books! So please, do let me know when it updates! I want to know who did it! :D
Until next time!
-Rosie Report Review
Hello there from the Review Tag 2.0 thread!
I loved the beginning of this chapter, how you set the mood and the decorum for the murder and how you described each of them, through their reactions.
It's a solid line of characters you've introduced to the story and the lot of them thrown in together will make for a good mystery.
Can't wait to read more!
XoXoAuthor's Response: Hey there! Thanks for coming by!
Thanks! I love gothic novels and the Blacks, well... a gothic mansion just suits perfectly so that was kinda what I wanted to suggest... I'm glad you liked it!
Ah, the cast is so huge, it's annoying! I've never written anything with so many main characters. No idea how Agatha Christie did it - newfound respect here, lol.
Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)
Aph xx Report Review
I meant to review this story for a while, so here I am :)
I LOVE the idea of this story. I really do.
Your choice of tense was suitable for the tone of this opening chapter. It does enough to stir up feelings of foreboding as well as mystery. Usually, I see it used in different genres, but I think you've done well with it in this setting.
It's a brilliant idea to have a murder mystery within the Black household. It's in a time where the family is beginning to fall to pieces - with Andromeda leaving, and we all know Sirius is about to fly the coop as well. One might thing death brings people together, but as you've revealed at the end of the chapter, it may very well tear them apart. I love seeing old Pollux Black in action as the patriarch, but part of me wonders how long he'll stay there.
You used a type of fragmented approach in retelling Cygnus' death scene. Others might use the real-time approach then describe everyone's reactions. But I liked your way better. You haven't exactly given us everything, but you've given us enough to understand what happened.
Druella's line - 'There was no blood' - was chilling. She's right too. Most of these murders are the typical bloody affairs, but I don't think it might suit these characters. They are of the cold, calculating type, which makes Barty's suggestion much more valid. Interesting that he came up with it - could be strategy. Maybe Pollux had the same idea, while his face remained blank when Orion told him, I suspect he already knew. He watched them all very carefully as they left the room earlier. Now with the switching around the will, this could have been to someone's benefit, or they found they might be cheated out of what they deserved. Anyway, sorry for the speculation so early on. Some will come later - trust me ;)
A bit of advice, as passed onto me in the past by a reviewer - using words like 'although' kind of makes the narrative sound like an essay. For instance, where you have Bella glaring at her grandfather before giving in and sitting down, you could replace 'although' and what follows, by something else and still have the same effect.
I really enjoyed reading this. I hope you keep up the neat pace you had with this chapter with all the others!
Lia Report Review
Hey there itís GrangerDanger76 for Team Blue!
Iím going to sorta review as I read; because thatís always fun :)
Here we go.
Okay. Stop. First of all, this opening is wonderful.
Love the description, it sent chills down my arms!
Oh god. Oh god, stop. This is a Sirius story?
Just take my body awayÖ Iím dead.
I really love the characterization of all the characters, all very unique.
You have such a lovely style of writing, I adore this story.
The plot is really unique; I havenít read anything like it :)
"It is the first time Orion has ever called him Ďfatherí. He suspects it will not be the last."
That gave me chills. I donít even know why, it was just really well written. I applaud you.
WELL DONE! Author's Response: Hey there! :) Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for that - writing the opening was difficult, I have to admit. I re-wrote it a few times, trying to decide when to open it. Before or after? In the end, it came out like that. I'm glad you liked it!
Haha, yeah, Sirius is in it ;) Don't die just yet - he'll be in it a bit more later on, lol.
Thank you so much! It was such a pain working out who would have what sort of 'role' in the family and how that would fit in with what (little) we know of them in canon. I'm so happy you liked them all, though - even if they're not hugely likeable people, lol.
A discrepancy... yes, hold onto that thought ;)
Haha, thanks! It was intended to be a bit foreboding... good things are not about to happen, definitely not.
Thank you so much for this review - it was really nice to receive it and great fun to read!
Aph xx Report Review
Woo! This was really busy, there was so much happening it took me awhile to sort through all this!
I was really excited when I realized this was a Lucius/Narcissa, but I don't think it will really be a focus point since this is more of a detective story!
I'm not going to be able to use the usual set-up, so if I ramble, I apologize.
So, I realize you were worried about how you wrote this style. I think you can put those worries to rest because I think you did wonderful. The whole chapter was very eery and quite creepy. I shivered once or twice so I wouldn't be too uptight anymore;P I think you did quite a good job.
The characterization is definitely tricky with such a large amount of characters! I think what you had will suffice, but I do think that in the next chapters you should probably work on it! I really do think that you had a good amount for the first chapter, so I wouldn't sweat it!
I think the plot is terribly interesting! You really captured my interest and I was on the edge of my seat till the very end. I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.
I really like this and it is so, so interesting. I love how all the characters are connected! I think this is a great start to whats sure to be a wonderful story!
I don't really no what else to say, to be honest. Thats really all you mentioned in the areas of concern, but next time (and I do hope you rerequest) if you'd like me to elaborate on more subjects, I'd be happy to do so!
Ever Report Review
Oh my goodness this is brilliant! Can barely wait for chapter 2!Author's Response: Thank you so much! Both chapter 2 and chapter 3 up now - sorry about the long wait - so I hope you enjoy them! :)
Aph xx Report Review
hey there, it's Whiskey from Review Tag :D
So many things about this story make me like it: 1) the Blacks, I love the Blacks and its diffcult to come accross a stroy where they are not some cardboard villains. 2) Agatha Christie style detective story (!), that will NEVER get old ever 3) good character development and style, of course, also a major plus.
I loved how you honoured the detective genre. Secret conversations in dark rooms, suspicious glances, hints and red herrings...the mood is, on the one hand, very familiar, on the other hand still exciting.
I liked how you singled out Bellatrix, forcing the reader to become suspicious, then to realize that it can't be so easy, and then to start coming up with crazy theories of their own. Making the reader think, good for you ;)
I also enjoyed how you started not with the death, but with the immediate aftermath. This way, you managed to address the irreversibility and heaviness of death instead of releshing in the shock factor.
I'm very fond of character-focused stories, and this seems to be all about the relationships between the family members. I am really curious to see how you will interpret the Blacks and I want to get to know them just as much as I want to know WHO DONE IT (seriously, I need to know. gah, hooked again -.-).
Also, I suspect the motivation for the murder will be more than just money, since heirlooms were mentioned ;) Old magical objects are the best! I hope they play a vital role later on.
Basically, good job and I'll probably keep reading this one! Although some sentences were odd and the pace may appear too drawn out at times, you have something very promising here, go you!
9/10 Report Review
Hi, here with your review! Thanks for asking!
I think this is terribly. interesting!!! I haven't read much about the Black family, but I've always been kind of intrugued by the family of dark wizards. I throughly enjoyed your style of writing in this piece, I haven't read much with this kind of narrative. I myself perfer to write in a past tense, third person omnipresent fashion. I liked the present tense of this story. I was worried, because sometimes writers will get mixed up and start mixing two tenses, but you did wonderfully. It kept my attention to the very end. My interest is definatley piqued, and I want to know more. I'm also curious as to when this is taking place. Approx. how old is Sirius here?
I found just a minor thing that might help with the readablility. Now, I'm not trying to beta and I hope I'm not being too picky, but there's a sentence that I thought could use some tweaking:
(Quote:) They all look at him, none daring to question if they would be brought back Ė Pollux Black is a man who has means of accomplishing everything he sets out to do and his family all know it well Ė or how they would be brought back. (end quote)
I think it would read better like this:
They all look at him, none daring to question if they would be brought back or how. Pollux Black a man who has means of accomplishing everything he sets out to do and his family all know it well.
Looking forward to reading more of this story, let me know somehow when the next chapter is up, re-request and I'll come read some more :D
~AdeleShare Report Review
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