Reading Reviews for House of Cards
146 Reviews Found

Review #1, by toomanycurls Queen of Diamonds

25th January 2015:

The introduction of aurors was change an interestng change of pace here. The whole was different when Moody and Kingsley walked in. I also like Kreacher's introduction into the story. He's every bit as onery as we see later but happier with his masters. I love the way the James and by extension Sirius hero-worship Moody. The aurors must be a rather inspiring for younger people who want to fight against dark wizards. the disdain that meets Moody and Kingsley is really well done. The family is polite but not welcoming - great blend of reactions.

The conversation between Alphard and Walburga just blew my mind. I never thought I'd hear her defend him in any way. And I like that you're not making Alphard as much on Sirius' side as I thought he'd be. I laughed at Sirius' thoughts on Kreacher's cookies - having him think on his stomach is such a teenager thing.

No! What did you do to Regulus?!?! Part of me knows he can't be dead (unless this is AU) but gah, Sirius' emotions about it are devastating. You would never think this to be the same man who is later so indifferent about his brother's death. Everything is so dramatic!!



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Review #2, by adluvshp Ace of Spades

23rd January 2015:
Narcissa? Really of all people? Gah I can't believe it!!

Well, I'm glad the mystery has been unraveled now. I am still a bit confused by it all - Narcissa wanted to poison her mother with the overdose of the medicine, killed her father instead. And then her mother realised it and killed herself. After that Narcissa knew that Orion suspected her so she tried to kill him and ended up killing Pollux. But in all this, I didn't understand why Narcissa wanted to kill her mother in the first place? (Would really appreciate if you could answer this in the author's response).

I hope I understood all that right anyway. And then who attacked Regulus? That mystery is still unsolved and I wonder if we'll know in the next chapter or if it's going to remain unsolved.

This chapter was definitely very interesting, albeit a little confusing - if that was not your aim then I'd suggest smoothing it over to make everything a little bit clearer - as this is the chapter that solves (most of) the mystery.

Everyone's reactions were very nicely done and the ending was also intriguing and spot on. I am also wondering about the whole Alphard thing - why did he send Sirius that letter?

All in all, another great chapter. Trust you to solve the mystery and still leave the reader's mind buzzing with questions xP

I think this was great though and I'm looking forward to seeing how you tie up everything in the final chapter!


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Review #3, by adluvshp King of Hearts

23rd January 2015:
Okay what just happened? Is Alphard the murderer? But how could he be? And why? And oh merlin I hope Regulus is not going to be attacked again! This is all getting stranger and crazier. I really want to find out everything already xP

The chapter was as usual well-written and very interesting. I loved the way you described Sirius in the beginning - his pain was tangible and I could feel it and the descriptions painted a certain imagery that was beautiful in a way.

Ah so there is something going on between Regulus and Barty. I pretty much knew it but now Sirius has found out - and so has Alphard. I loved the way that entire interaction played out. Sirius' reactions were very well done.

And Bellatrix suspects Crouch ah. I don't think Crouch could attack Regulus - no way. I wonder whether the others would believe her - and what they're doing now about it all.

The ending scene was also very intriguing. We got to see inside Regulus' head and it was quite nicely written. I absolutely love your descriptions. They're the strongest point in this story apart from the wonderfully gripping plot.

All in all, another brilliant chapter and I'm itching to read more and find out just exactly what is going on here.


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Review #4, by adluvshp Queen of Diamonds

23rd January 2015:

Gah I can't believe Regulus has been targeted this time. I just hope he is alright and does not die.

This was another great chapter though. I loved the introduction of the Aurors here and the way the entire family stood together against them. I wonder who sent the letter to the Ministry though.

The conversation between Alphard and Walburga was also interesting. They're obviously talking about Sirius, maybe they suspect him of the murders, and Sirius' reaction to that is very touching and believable.

All in all, this was another superb chapter and the mystery continues to thicken. I feel like the climax is slowly building up now. Things just keep getting more and more intriguing.

Great job!

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Review #5, by adluvshp Jack of Clubs

21st January 2015:
Oh dear Merlin. What is this? Two bombshells in one chapter! Pollux is dead and so is the house elf. What really is going on. Who is the killer?! Now, for some reason, my suspicion keeps going to Walburga. Or to Orion. But I feel like it is definitely not Lucius, Regulus, Bellatrix or Barty.

This just keeps getting crazier and crazier and way so mysterious. I am really intrigued to know what happens next. And of course to hear how the house elf died.

As usual, brilliant chapter with amazing narrative and dialogue and turn of events. Can't wait to read more!


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Review #6, by adluvshp Ten of Spades

21st January 2015:
Hey again!

Ooh this gets more and more interesting. I'm curious to know what is in the vial. I feel like it definitely has some significance since it was hidden in such a manner. Trust Sirius of all people to stumble upon it.

I also enjoyed the interaction between Barty and Regulus here. It was great to see the two being carefree for once, enjoying each other's company, playing around and stuff. It was sweet and brought a smile to my face. Bellatrix's arrival was interesting as well and her conversation with Crouch was interesting. I loved the dynamics in the scene - the characterisations of Regulus, Barty and Bellatrix are all brilliant and strong and compliment each other well in the context.

Pollux and Orion's scene was also very intriguing. I'm a little confused with the whole Will business but I suppose it will come to light soon, especially since Alphard's arrival has stirred the matter. I do enjoy their portrayals as well and the way you wrote their dialogue.

All in all, another great chapter and the mystery just continues to get thicker. I'm glad I'm able to find time to read this story!


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Review #7, by adluvshp Nine of Diamonds

20th January 2015:
Hey again! I had some free time and decided to pick up reading xD

So, Bellatrix has finally started to show her insanity properly, lol. I assume the implication was of Barty and Regulus being a gay couple which must have been very amusing to Bellatrix and not so amusing to the rest of the family. This does me make think whether the two really are a couple or not, and I think they are. Interesting indeed.

This Uncle Alphard character is also quite interesting. If I remember correctly, he got blasted off the Black family tree as well, and that is visible with the way you've portrayed him here - he definitely is different from the rest of the Blacks and doesn't seem to be very popular in the family. No wonder Sirius kinda likes him. But then, he could be the murderer too - he is not someone who is staying with them 24/7 but there could be ways by which he has done the murders, and he's around now... so we never know. But my suspicion is not really strong on him.

Coming to the initial bit of the chapter, I'm relieved Narcissa is alright. It would have been horrid if she had died and Sirius of all people had been blamed. I also find the way you slip in little details is very nice - like Remus' voice telling Sirius that she could have died and Sirius searching for some kind of 'stain' on the stairs. They really add color and emotion to the story.

All in all, this was another brilliantly written chapter and I can't wait to see who is the next victim and find out who the killer is and see the mystery unravel. It's going great so far and I'm completely hooked.



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Review #8, by adluvshp Eight of Clubs

18th January 2015:
Hey again! It's been ages since I read this story so I'm glad I got a chance to stop by from review tag!

This story just keeps getting more and more interesting. I do hope poor Narcissa is alright - it looks like an accident on Sirius' part but it could also be a murder staged to look like an accident and to frame Sirius.

But coming back to the beginning of the chapter, it was also intriguing how the letter said one word 'Regulus'. It could mean two things: Regulus is the killer (I find that highly unlikely) or Regulus is the next target (but in that case why was Narcissa injured).

I also find it interesting that Sirius went to his parents and grandfather with the letter. It shows that despite how much he considers himself aloof from his family, he still harbours some amount of respect/love for them and considers them adults and goes to them for 'advice'. The adults' reaction didn't surprise me though - it looks like they are not considering all this a 'killing'. However, it was good that Orion paid some heed to Sirius and decided to consider the letter.

And then the interaction between Regulus and Sirius, oh my. The boys do have fiery tempers don't they? They care for each other but at the same time are at odds with each other and just fail to express their love for the other. It is kinda sad. The shouting match between the two was definitely an engaging read and I kinda had a feeling it was headed towards a bad 'climax'. Behold - the accident happens. I am also curious to see what Barty's role here is - he seems to be observing everything from the sidelines but it very well could mean he's 'calculating' and could be the killer. Unless it's someone altogether new whom we haven't even met in the story yet.

Gah this just keeps getting better and better and I'm glad I got back to the story. I'm excited to read more now and adding this to my favourites so I can come back to it when I have the time.

Great job as usual!!


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Review #9, by Veritaserum27 Nine of Diamonds

16th January 2015:
Hi there Aph!

I'm so, so sorry that I've taken this long to get to my half of our swap. I hope this review at least makes up for it :)

Your ability to spin this mystery is amazing to me. I still have absolutely NO idea who the killer is! I mean, everyone I think of, seems to have an alibi or not the right motive. And yet, I have the distinct feeling that you are leaving little clues all along and at the end of this, I'm gonna be like "Holy cow! I saw that, but I didn't realize it!" I mean, Bellatrix seems the obvious choice to me, because she is so crazy, but her goal is to follow the Dark Lord and build up the pure blood population, so I can't see why she would kill anyone who would help to further her cause... Hmmm - I guess I'll just have to keep reading!

I do have a quick question about Bella. In the very beginning of this chapter, Sirius is sitting in a room, waiting for news about Narcissa - and no one will look at him.

Bella’s glaring at him, gaze darting away each time he tries to meet her eyes, and Regulus shoots him sly, calculating little looks every now and then,

Then, at the end of that scene the door opens and Bella reports that Cissy is fine - so it would seem that she was inside the room with Bella. Maybe I just read it wrong, but I wasn't sure about that.

Your characterization of Sirius is so complex - I love it. He is caught between being a boy and a man, caught between his Gryffindor pride and his Slytherin roots, and caught between hearing the reasonable voices of his best friends and the inane ramblings of his family members.

Uncle Alphard makes an appearance. I'm relieved for Sirius, because he really likes his uncle and seems to find solace in his presence - but I'm still trying to figure out this mystery - and I can't overlook Alphard's timing here.

Oh no! And he outed Regulus and Barty! I'm wondering if Sirius already knew about them, based on his reaction to taming Barty. I'm also curious as to how the pure blood family will respond to this information. Clearly Bellatrix is, erm... amused by it, but I'm not sure that Sirus and Regulus's other relatives will be so open minded.

Great chapter - and fabulous story! I can't wait to find out how this ends!

♥ Beth

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Review #10, by toomanycurls Jack of Clubs

16th January 2015:
Hi Laura,

I've missed reading this. I'm so excited to see there's another story (along these lines) that you're working on.

I was surprised by Sirius' hesitance to give his parents the vial of potion. He is acutely aware of the accusation that could come his way at finding the potion. I feel that he would have been more forthcoming if he weren't such a low man on the totem pole. It's also interesting to see Sirius without a jaunty ego - his self awareness of an inadequacy in potions shows a very grounded Sirius. That could be due to his rather unfavorable position at home. This is the first time Walburga shows anything close to kindness to Sirius. I mean, she's sharp about getting his clothes messy but that came through as a general maternal reaction rather than her usual "I rue the day you were born" depiction. Part of me is suspicious of her because of this slightly nicer version of her.

Loved the dynamic in drawing room. Alphard might be my favorite member of the Black family with his sideways comments to Orion and reference to Sirius being a blood traitor (though I'm not sure he meant it as a mean comment like Sirius thought). One thing that struck me in this scene and with Sirius' reactions throughout is that if he had this kind of treatment throughout growing up (the inclusion and sense of belonging) would he have been less inclined to leave and more forgiving of the pureblood mentality. I felt a slight conflict in Sirius at being treated as an equal among the men in his family. After feeling conflicted by Alphard's words, it just felt like such a confusing moment for him.

Okay, Pollux's death was really well done. Whoever did it took such a risk with that many people in the room who were presumably not the target. it must have felt like such a weird and confusing time for family members to drop like flies. My guess is that Pollux died because he knew who killed Cygnus. What took me by surprise was the house elf's death.

I really love how you weave information in and out of this, presenting new facts as the plot needs them and always with such a feel of dramatic tension.

fantastic chapter!


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Review #11, by patronus_charm Queen of Diamonds

12th January 2015:
Hey Laura!

Ooh, this is getting really exciting and the plot certainly is thickening! I really like the idea of Moody and Shacklebolt working together as I don’t often see that done, but I can imagine them making a good duo. I have to say, you had Moody’s gruff manner down perfectly and he really wasn’t taken any nonsense when it came to the Black family. It was the perfect pureblood reaction to people meddling in their affairs, and I have a feeling Orion’s going to get very creative in how to get rid of them. I do wonder who sent the note though, my bet is that it was Sirius.

Bahaha, they really were all so scared when Moody had them gathered up like that, and it was just so funny to see as they are usually so proud and strutting around everywhere. Another thing I liked in that scene was how blunt Moody was and stated that he wouldn’t put it past them to off one of their family members given how weird they all are. So the note did come from the inside then? I thought for a moment that idea that a jealous family sending it sounded quite plausible, but I guess we’ll have to see who it was quite. I have to admit, it was quite creepy at the end of the chapter when Alphard is like well done family as it really does show how close they all are and how they would never betray one another.

Ooh I never suspected Alphard to have any negative views of Sirius given how he left him money, so I wonder what they were talking about. Though Walburga seemed quite firm that whatever it was was untrue, so perhaps it had something to do with Sirius loving muggles…. Hmm, I’m not sure.

No, no, no! I did not see that coming at all. Poor Regulus! Who would want to bump him off as he’s so innocent and lovely and tends to stay out of all of this madness. Perhaps he knew who the murderer was and this was the only way to keep him quiet. I don’t think it was Barty then, as he and Regulus were too close but it still doesn’t narrow it down that much.

Great chapter!


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Review #12, by patronus_charm Jack of Clubs

6th November 2014:
Hi Laura, here for the review battle and also because I really need to catch up on this story!

But wah so much drama with the way Pollux and the House Elf are dead! Who on earth is doing this? My current theory is that Bella killed the house elf because that just seems like the type of thing she would do as she can get annoyed really easily, and yeah, it’s just a Bella thing to do and it’s more a thing resulting from irrational anger than anything else. As for who killed the other two, I have a feeling that’s a separate killer, someone much more measured, controlled even, and they really do have a vendetta which is driving them to do this, so it will be interesting to see if the next few chapters give me any more cools.

As usual, your description and dialogue were really fantastic and helped give the story a mystery/dark feel that helped to keep up the suspense throughout. You just have this ability to focus on really tiny details so it tricks the reader into thinking that it’s something vital in discovering who’s behind this plot, again adding to the mystery.

More on the characters though! Alphard was fabulous and I can see exactly why he was blasted off of the family tree with the comment about controlling children as it really did make me chuckle. I also felt quite a bit sorry for poor old Lucius just after Pollux dropped down and he is being crossed off of my suspect list as he genuinely seemed shocked and scared by the death and really wanted to ascertain it wasn’t his fault. As usual, Sirius was fab. ♥

I can’t wait to read on!


Author's Response: Hi Kiana - so glad to see you back here! :)

Haha, yeah, a double murder! :D With all the theories some people had about the house-elf and stuff, she kinda had to die - plus, it limits the options again, along with Pollux. It's also kinda needless, which I like about some of the things in murder mysteries - not everything is necessary for the plot, or done by the killer ;) Ooh Bella, hm? Bella certainly would, and she's not the type to necessarily need a reason for it... a separate killer... you might be onto something there, though of course I couldn't say ;)

Thank you so much! I love writing the whole traditional creepy-manor-house sort of thing; it's one of those tropes I just adore! Plus, it just suits the Blacks so well, too!

Alphard... I actually really enjoy writing him! He wasn't originally meant to show up, but appear through letters and things, but I'm so glad he got into it now! He's so inflammatory, it's funny. You don't think Lucius has anything to do with it... interesting theory, interesting... though in a house of Blacks wouldn't you be scared if you killed one? :P I'm so happy you still like Sirius, too! :)

Thank you so much for the wonderful review - it was such a lovely thing to get, and I'm so glad you're still enjoying it! :)

Aph xx

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Review #13, by Moony Four of Clubs

5th October 2014:
It seems like whoever has done this did it for the sole reason of destroying the Black family. Because of this, I think the murderer is Barty. The will wasn't changed for beneficial gain, this means that whoever changed it wanted the Blacks to turn on each other. Barty brought up the murder theory and tried to enforce it with Sirius. It could defenitly be someone else like Bellatrixs or Regulus or even someone who hasn't been giving off any clues at all.

Author's Response: Hey there, again! It's so so great to see you back here again - thank you so much for sticking with this, it really means a lot! :)

Ooh, interesting theory! :P It definitely has merit - the events are definitely headed that way, that's for sure... Barty is very suspicious, I have to admit to that at least! Though I can't say whether or not there's anything in it, you understand ;) Yeah, Bellatrix is crazy enough to do it for definite, and Regulus... well, who knows about Regulus? So sweet and young, haha :P

Thank you so much for the review - it was so so lovely to hear from you again. The two reviews were such wonderful things to get - they really were a great surprise to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #14, by Moony Two of Spades

5th October 2014:
You have a great hook. It's a very interesting idea and I'm curious where you plan to go with it. Your writing skill are really good and there's great imagery. Can't wait to see what happens.

Author's Response: Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Thank you so much - I really loved writing this, though the beginning of this chapter gave me a LOT of trouble, I have to admit, so I'm so glad you like it! I hope you like how it goes, and hope to see you again! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review, too - it was such a great surprise to get!

Aph xx

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Review #15, by Veritaserum27 Eight of Clubs

3rd October 2014:
Hi Aph!

I'm here from the common room for the BvB review battle. You have so many wonderful stories to pick from, but I decided to stick with this one because I'm so deep into it.

You have such a beautiful gift for description - I can see why you've been nominated for so many Dobbys! The way you pull the reader into the scene is amazing. I always feel like I'm right there with Sirius, in the dark, dank Black Manor. It is sooo creepy and adds another layer to this mysterious story.

You drop so many subtle and clever clues - but still you've woven this mystery so deep, I can't guess it! - But I'm gonna try! I think the mysterious note is from Barty - he would probably be the only one that Sirius or his father wouldn't recognize the handwriting.

I must admit, I saw the confrontation between Sirius and Regulus coming. Those two just don't seem to be on the same page and it's been obvious since the beginning of the story that Sirius resents his brother.

I did catch one typo here:

It's just that you've never been interesting in sitting in the same room as me, and now you want to be all friendly or whatever -

I think you mean interested instead of interesting.

Another cliffhanger! Why do you do this? Gah, I can't wait to find out what happens!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hey Beth! :) No worries - I'm so happy to see you like this story and keep going with it. It means a lot to me because this is still kinda my baby even though it's finished :)

Gah, thank you so much! :) I was so amazed by all the nominations - I don't think I can ever think everyone enough! I love describing the house - it's a bit of a cliche in a horror story, haha, but it's so much fun to do! And so suitable for them, lol.

Ooh, Barty... hm... interesting guess ;) But yeah, it is dependent on who you think Sirius wouldn't recognise their handwriting - and the pool of candidates is perhaps a little wider. I feel I should point out that I said nothing about whether or not Orion recognises the writing ;)

Yeah, I know, it's been a long time coming! I loved writing it, though it was a hard scene to write, particularly the beginning of it. Once it started, it all sort of came quite quickly. But yeah, they really, really don't get on. Poor boys! :(

Ah, yeah, thank you so much for that! I always miss things, hehe, I'm so bad for that - I'll be sure to edit that out when I go through this next, so thank you so much for mentioning it! :)

I'm sorry... it's fun? *hides* :P

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - your reviews are always such great things to get, and I always love them and I'm just so glad you're still enjoying this story! :)

Aph xx

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Review #16, by Veritaserum27 Seven of Hearts

29th August 2014:
Hi Aph!

Sorry this took so long - but I'm here for the review swap.

Aaahhh! How could you do this? That was an incredible cliffhanger - I totally didn't see it coming! I don't mean to work backwards in this review, but WHAT DID THE LETTER SAY?!?!

You are completely brilliant at setting the mood for every single scene. I mean it's just amazing how I feel like I'm right there with Sirius. Your words make me feel his discomfort and pain and every emotion that he is feeling, I'm right there with him.

The contrast between Bella and Narcissa is subtle, but important. Narcissa is controlled and thought out while Bella is passionate and spontaneous. She's "just going to end it" without thought as to how she would carry that out. She is the only one to jump from the table and run to her master, while the others stay back and contemplate their next move. I know Lucius has the dark mark and I would assume some of the other Black family members have it as well, but I'm curious as to why they didn't run off as well. Perhaps they left after Sirius did and he didn't see them.

Barty remains a mystery to me. While Regulus is caring and sensitive, Barty seems to be acting like a sociopath - and Sirius is coming to realize this.

I also really enjoyed seeing the Gryffindor come out in Sirius. There is a murderer amongst them and he just dives right in to the dinner, poisoned or not. It seems that his family gets the best of him most of the time, but these little moments where he can claim a victory over their oppression are important to him.

Thanks so much for review swapping! I can't wait to see what happens next!


Author's Response: Hey there, Beth! Sorry about the long wait for the reply - I'm terrible about this, it's so bad! :/

Ahaha, sorry about that :P So many cliffhangers in this, unfortunately - the curse of writing/reading a murder mystery!

Thank you so much! I love describing the scenes, particularly through Sirius' eyes, it's so much fun to do - he's a great character! :)

Bella and Narcissa... yeah, I love putting them in contrast to each other - the interactions between characters in this are one of the best things in this to write! - and they're definitely incredible different, and so almost opposite in character. Yeah, Bella is very spontaneous and very demanding, in a way which Narcissa is very calm and almost sort of meek in a way. Bella is the only one who goes because, honestly, I always sort of assumed that Voldemort could call individual Death Eaters and smaller groups of them as he wanted through the Mark... so yeah, no one else is meant to have gone ;)

Barty really isn't the most normal kind of child. Really, really not :P But yeah, he's not quite as bad as Sirius sees him - or is he? :P He's so much fun to write, though!

I loved being able to bring out the Gryffindor qualities Sirius has, particularly in a house of so many Slytherins, and so many sly and cunning characters. Yeah, it is definitely a victory for him - and he does enjoy it. It was sort of a battle between him and the family, and the family and the tension, and he definitely won! :D

Thank you so much for the swap - it was so great to do, I really loved it! Thank you so much for the lovely review - it was just so lovely to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #17, by gigi Joker

16th August 2014:
Interesting take on the illustrious House of Black. Wickedly humorous albeit cliché whodunit plot, but surmounted by an incredibly genius writing style that sucked me in and had to finish this in one read. You know, I almost felt sympathetic towards the (generally one dimensionally evil in canon and other stories) Blacks as their house imploded here.

Author's Response: Gah, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, murder mysteries are a bit cliche - almost impossible to one totally unique after so many have been done, I think! - but I just had to write this when the idea came to me! I loved writing the Blacks and I'm glad you (almost) felt sorry for them ;)

Thank you so much for the review and thank you so much for reading - I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Aph xx

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Review #18, by aconite Joker

11th August 2014:
This is a really good story! I loved the characterization of the Black family, it's very realistic and believable :) I didn't quite understand who attacked Regulus and why, and why Narcissa wanted to kill her father, though... :)

Author's Response: Thank you so so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) The mystery surrounding Regulus is meant to still be there, don't worry ;) Oh, gah, thank you so much for pointing that out! I missed explaining that really in the chapter - I'll edit it in now! :)

Thank you for reading and following this and for the review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #19, by Veritaserum27 Six of Diamonds

7th August 2014:
Hello Aph!

I'm here from review tag!

I thought this chapter was one of the best so far! Considering that it doesn't have as much action as some of the others, it was really well written and gives us a chance to see (if we are looking at it just right) some really important things that are going on.

This chapter made me realize just how much this story is a coming of age for Sirius. Throughout the entire novel, he is being forced to grow up, but in this chapter there is some real growth with his character and decisions. He is finally acting like the eldest Black brother that has been expected of him.

Barty is still a very suspicions character, but I think it is too obvious that he is the murderer. And now you've hinted that he and Regulus are more than just friends. I'm wondering if that is the secret that Lucius was referring to. It is Barty Crouch, Junior, after all - he probably is keeping LOTS of secrets - haha!

I did catch one typo:

This time, though, he doesn't look away or stare at the floor - he's serious, for once in his life, and he wants to Regulus to know that as well.

I think you didn't mean to type the "to" in front of "Regulus."

Also, this line was confusing to me:

Narcissa never knows exactly what she's going to say before she's going to say it - every word, every pause, every inflection is planned.

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but should it read "Narcissa always knows..."

I think I just noticed these because the rest of the chapter was done really well.

Great job again - I love stories where the reader has to think through all the details!


Author's Response: Hey Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by again! :)

Gah, thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked it! It is a slower chapter, but I think the exposition was kinda necessary to help a bit with character development and sort of try and rack up the tension a bit more, haha.

I love writing Sirius in this! He's so childish and caught between wanting to be there and not, and it's kinda a tricky situation for him. But yeah, he does grow up a lot over this - kinda has to, in a way - though I'd never really thought of it as a coming of age type story before. Huh. Thanks for sharing that - it's always wonderful when reviewers do that!

Ooh, it could be - and Barty is very suspicious (then, isn't everyone, haha?)... there is definitely a secret, and it may or may not have anything to do with Regulus. Sorry for being no help, lol.

Ooh, thank you so so much for pointing both of those out! I'm so so bad at catching slips like that when they happen - I read every chapter over before posting and put them through an online editing thing, but I miss these things because it's so obvious to my brain that they should be. So thank you for that - I'll change them asap!

Thank you so much for the review - it was so great to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #20, by UnluckyStar57 King of Hearts

6th August 2014:
Oh look--another review! Just what you wanted, right? :D

No, but seriously, THANK YOU for helping me with the stupid coding thing. As with most of the things I do, it was much more stressful than it should've been. *smirks*

Anyways, here's your review!

YAY! Regulus is NOT dead! But Sirius is super sad about it all. The line "He wants to ask, wants to know what's going on inside the house, whether Reggie... whether his brother's still alive or not, but the words seem to stick in his throat, bunching up as he tries to force them out." made me sad because he's already starting to prepare himself for the dehumanization of Regulus. This is a pair of brothers who aren't as close as they once were--in fact, they're downright awful to each other--but Sirius still has to think in less-general terms when thinking about Regulus' death. Maybe they did love each other after all...

And secrets are still floating through the air as Sirius finds out about Regulus' alive-ness and goes with his father to see his brother. What are Orion and Alphard going off to talk about? Hmmm...

Haha, Bartegulus sees the light once again! Seriously, this is a ship that I never thought of, and it's super interesting! What a weird dynamic they have, especially if Barty was Reg's attacker like Bella seems to think! It is revealed that Sirius may feel some affection for his little bro after all, as he feels the need to punch Barty for being all kissy-kissy with Reg. :)

Alphard... Hmmm... He knows how to spot a closeted Black... Can I take that to mean that he himself is in the closet? He got really defensive about it, and the way he defended Reg makes me believe that he has a few secrets of his own in that area... What's the story there? Where did he get his "experience" from? Will that come to light in the next chapter or so?

The dig at Bella: "Probably shooting spells at passing birds."! I could definitely see her doing that! She's so awful, especially in Sirius' estimation, but her family loyalties are quite clear. She's got a vendetta against Barty and it isn't because he is Reg's boyfriend. Where did she get the notion that Barty attacked Reg? Did she see it? Did Reg say something to that effect?

I wouldn't expect Reg to be kissing Barty if he knew that Barty attacked him, though. But he seems to be clueless about the WHO of the attack. He knows the WHY, though. But HOW does he know the WHY?! Was he present for the conspiracy that started the chain of murders? Did he see something that he wasn't supposed to see? So many questions!

I had to read the scene at the end twice to make sure I got it right. So after Orion leaves, Reg enters the realm of memory. He remembers the figure slipping into his room and he reaches out, expecting Barty. (Is this where Bella got the idea that Barty was the attacker?) And he is frozen, trapped, vulnerable, dying again in the memory just as surely as he would have died in reality.

But Alphard's voice brings him back. And then he screams. BUT WHY?! Why are you torturing Reg so much? Everyone else just died, but Reg keeps going in and out--is Alphard going to kill him?! What's up with that mysterious pink vial? The poison is in there, right?!

I am so confused, but in a good way. As far as your prose goes, it was all very wonderful, very chilling, and very very excellent. I was a little bit unclear about that last part--but only about the exact moment when Reg started remembering. It fits in with the rest of the chapter--sort of stream-of-consciousness-esque writing. It reminds me of Virginia Woolf's writing (and that is a compliment, if you didn't know).

So. Favorite quotes:

"The appearance of his father has jerked him out of his calm, cold-induced trance, and dumped him unceremoniously back in the real, physical world, where he can feel and think and panic, where people can cry and bleed and die."

"It touches, curls around, grasps and twists downwards. The door opens."~About the door handle. It really showed me how far removed Sirius was from the situation. He didn't open the door, his hand did. Sirius is just as messed up in the head as the other Blacks. :)

"Outside in the hallway, there's a series of shouts, a thud, and then the long, slow shatter of the chandelier falling, crashing and splitting into a thousand and one diamond shards."~Such description! I can see it in my mind, and I feel like the characters who aren't even present to watch it fall can see it, too. The chandelier falls, the secret breaks. Incidentally, I need to talk about this: WHO cut down the chandelier, and WHY?! What were they trying to prove? Good distraction from Reg's room? Does that mean that Alphard IS going to kill his nephew?! :O

"For a moment, there's no sound save for the shifting of cloth as Alphard walks. Then, Regulus screams."~Simple, right? NOT. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON?!

Well, that just about covers it. All the confusion. All the terror. All the insanity. Gosh, this is such a good story. I can't even begin to imagine what the sequel is about! :D

Til next time!


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Review #21, by Veritaserum27 Five of Spades

6th August 2014:
Hello Aph!

I'm here for the BvB review battle. It is a good excuse to get caught up on your story. Although I have quite a bit of catching up to do and now you've started the next one!

I really love mysteries, but they are difficult to write and as such, many fanfiction murder mysteries are not very well done. This is definitely the exception. Not only have you managed to create a well thought out murder (or series of murders as it would seem), but the characters all have depth, flaws and possibly motive. I am really enjoying reading this and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Your characterization of Bella I think is my favorite. It would be so easy to make her completely evil and one-dimensional, drawing the reader to believe that she is or isn't the murderer because it is just too obvious. Instead, she has deep-seated emotions, especially regarding Narcissa, but also for her mother and their loss. I've never thought about it before, but Bellatrix obviously wasn't always the psychotic side-kick of Voldemort. She probably always had dark tendencies and was easily romanticized by his power and skill, but I'm sure it was a slow, downward spiral for her. You've painted her in the very beginning of this path.

Regulus, poor, sweet boy. He wants to be a man, but just isn't quite there yet. It was touching to see how the Black family rallied around him, without compromising his pride. As I read more and more of this story, I find myself caring about these characters that have always been so detestable. How could you Aph? I don't want to care about them - haha!

And finally, there is Sirius. Just beneath the surface, he seems to always feel like he just doesn't belong in this family. He seems to struggle with every move - uncertain if he should comfort Regulus, although he clearly wants to. Then when his father tells him to take his brother inside, Sirius seems almost relieved to play this role.

I love your little descriptions. There are just enough to move the story along and emphasize the nature of the dynamics working between the characters. For example "navigating the short staircase" and the "tock-tick" of the clock were beautiful narratives.

Great story!


Author's Response: Hey again Beth! :) Lovely to see you back again! Sorry about starting the next one - I just wanted to put the first chapter up and grab a banner and things before I forgot it. Still got some plotting left to do for it, so you've got time to catch up ;)

Gah, thank you so much! I love murder mysteries too and they're always best when complicated and thought-out so I tried to kinda duplicate that in this, with lots of potential motives and them all being shady characters and everything... it's so much fun to write, tbh! There's a kind of sense as the writer that you could do almost anything and it would be fine :P

Bella... honestly, she's one of my favourite characters to explore, but I have definite head canon about her, haha. I never thought she would be insane from the beginning - it is for her, like you say, more of a corruption thing (though she's still pretty mad in this). I loved showing the loyalty she has, because I think it's often an overlooked thing with her, but it is a huge part of her personality, her fanatical loyalty. So yeah, she's fun!

Ah, Regulus is adorable! :) He's really the baby of the family - and he knows it, as well. I liked writing them sort of protecting him, in my head they all think he's incredibly vulnerable, so that's kinda why. He's like a baby bird, haha. Sorry about that? :) They're not that bad, really? . maybe? :P

Sirius is so much fun to write - he's this wonderfully tortured kid who doesn't really know who he is and where he wants to be, and he's kinda trying to work it out in the context of family. But yeah, he likes being the big brother, even if their relationship is a little mangled...

Thank you so much - I love writing description, so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Thank you so much for all the compliments, and for the review in general - it's always great to hear from you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #22, by Lululuna King of Hearts

12th July 2014:
Hola! :)

Honestly, these people need to hire some bodyguards or something because clearly this house is not safe and there is one, if not several, traitors in their midst. I'm not sure about the ending: if Alphard attacked Regulus, or if perhaps the potion he gave him just induced nightmares or pain or something which might cause him to scream. It seemed quite carefully worded so could go either way really.

Ah, so frustrating how Regulus couldn't explain what was going on in time! I'm so curious about who is committing all these murders and whether or not they will be brought to justice. Bella's accusation of Barty seems pretty far-fetched especially because Barty doesn't really have much motive to hurt his boyfriend other than being a bit mad.

And Sirius finally realizes about Barty and Reg! I liked how protective he was, just like any older sibling over a younger one, and I'm curious to see whether he'd be accepting of the relationship or not since I don't think he's the greatest fan of Barty. I wonder if perhaps Alphard is also gay which could lead to the distancing from the family - I really don't know how I feel about him since he's quite manipulative but also seems like he has good intentions -he's just as slimy as the rest of the really, but shows it in different ways.

Another suspenseful and exciting chapter! :D

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hey Jenna! Thanks so much for dropping by! This was such a lovely surprise to get! :)

Haha, yeah, bodyguards would be a seriously good idea for them all! Though I think they'd rather they all died before that happened :P Sorry about that - it is meant to be confusing! Though Alphard didn't actually give Regulus the potion, just went towards him - sorry if that was unclear (I'll look over it again!).

Yeah, poor Regulus! He really does want to say something, and it really is important... he will eventually, don't worry! ;) Barty... depends on what you think of Barty, I guess, haha, but yeah, Bella may or may not be on the right track with that accusation :P

I have to admit, it was quite a difficult scene to write. One of my sisters is bi, which helped a bit, but it was just getting the right tone, you know, which was hard... haha, and yeah, he is more protective than he thinks he is and definitely wants to be - it's a shame because it kinda shows how rough their relationship is. Alphard... ooh, interesting theory ;) He is just as slimy, but his intentions.. well, they're not quite so bad as the rest of them, perhaps! :)

Thank you so so much for the great review - it was so so lovely to get, and such a great surprise! :)

Aph xx

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Review #23, by Lululuna Queen of Diamonds

17th June 2014:
Hi Laura! :) I didn't even know you had a new chapter out - I thought I favourited this story ages ago but didn't, so shall remedy that once I finish this review. :)

It was great to see some familiar faces with the Aurors in this section, and you wrote Moody perfectly. I think the first section also showed so much about the Black family dynamics, what with how despite there being a murderer on the loos, all the Blacks (as represented by Orion) wanted to see the trouble in the family because they don't consider the Aurors "pure" enough. It's so typical and illogical but fits the family perfectly. I also loved the line about gossip being currency and how even the portraits themselves are so involved in the inner workings of the clan. It made me feel almost claustrophobic in a way and see the Black house as a sort of haunted house or entrapped little world, since once you're inside the rules of outside don't apply.

I personally think that Regulus was the one who owled the Ministry about the murder, though it's tough to say! That might explain why he was harmed at the end of the chapter, and I can see him doing that with concern for his family trumping the family duty. Also, I know that because he's going to betray the Dark Lord one day he does have a rebellious side - and oh, he left a note for Voldy in the fake Horcrux just like he sent a note to the Ministry!!! (that was such a stretch but who knows, anything could be a clue :P).

Poor Sirius though. :( Though I know from canon that Regulus probably survives, it's pretty awful and I know that the brothers still care about one another a lot in their stifled, frightened way. I thought Sirius' grief and pain was written so well, especially tying in the house of cards he was making - amazing symbolism for the crumbling of the House of Black and for how fragile and restless Sirius is, as well, by the way.

Hmm, perhaps the conversation Sirius overheard had to do with hurting Regulus instead? I wonder if maybe they found out about Regulus possibly being gay, or if they thought by getting rid of Regulus it would force Sirius to turn back to the side of the family and step up as the Black heir. I'm really grasping at straws right now, but that's the best theory I can come up with for now! :)

Great chapter, Laura! :) I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one! :D

Author's Response: Hey Jenna! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! Yeah, haha, new chapters :P With the House Cup on and all, it's easy to miss things, though ;)

Gah, thank you so much - I'm so glad you liked the Aurors! I was so worried about that scene even as I wrote it, haha, because I just had no idea how it would go down so it means so much to hear you say you liked it! I really wanted to have something happen to connect with outside to kinda show the difference because you're absolutely right - it is so different inside. Nothing is the same as outside, or even similar. It's like their own little world, inside a bubble kinda thing... and I just had to include the portraits again :P

Ooh, could be, could be... though who knows? ;) It would be an explanation for that, though, and he does care about his family... haha, yeah the note for Voldy - he does betray Voldy later in order to do what he thinks is the right thing, so maybe that might help in some way? ;)

Yeah, poor Sirius - though poor Regulus, too! Does he? :P Haha, nah, he does survive in canon, but yeah either way it goes, it's pretty traumatic for Sirius. I really wanted to re-emphasise their relation and how these kinds of bonds tighten most when something like that happens, so Sirius is almost pulled back into the fold in that moment. The house of cards... people had been wondering if there would be an actual house of cards for a while, tbh, so I kinda thought about it and where I could put it in and I decided here for the symbolism. It could be interpreted as a bit of a clue, but maybe not... :P

Ooh, that's a really, really interesting theory. You know, you're I think one of only two people to suggest that, like, ever? It's a great one, though - and the conversation could go either way! ;) Possibly an idea to hold onto! :)

Gah, thank you so so much for the wonderful review - yours are always such gems to get, they're amazing, thank you again! :)

Aph xx

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Review #24, by LavenderBlue Seven of Hearts

14th June 2014:
Here with the final requested review!

THAT OPENING SCENE, THOUGH. Gorgeous prose! Mystery! Intrigue! Who was it that went into the study? And what did he burn? It gives me a sense of unease since we so often see the story though the eyes of Sirius. Is it Sirius who burns this mystery document?! And if so, WHY?!?! I like to think it has something to do with money. It always has something to do with money...

I'd like to take a moment here to just point out some fantastic wordcrafting in this chapter, like "gathered together in some semblance of safety they all maintain they don't need" and "he wonders, in those spaces between self-loathing and boredom, if there's something wrong with him. It wouldn't surprise him if there was." It's lines like these that lend extra richness and strength to your already strong narrative.

It's fascinating to see how differently Sirius behaves around Bella than he does around Narcissa. I love the line "he spent half his life trying to impress her and the other half trying to annoy her." I can totally see that being the case. Bellatrix may be psychotic, but she also strikes me as the sort of person you would secretly want to impress, especially if you're a family member like Sirius.

Omg, Bellatrix's "one day" line. UGHH. The foreshadowing! MY HEART. D:

I think you do an excellent job of showing glimmers of younger Bellatrix's instability. Even here, during her conversation with Sirius, Bella betrays a short temper and flashes of madness. And of course Bella WOULD use the thought of Regulus in danger to coerce Sirius into helping her. Very solid work here at painting a Bella that's both dynamic and fitting with JKR's portrayal of her in the books.

Yeah, how is anyone in the Black family ever going to eat again? With that much paranoia running rampant, I wouldn't even trust a breath mint to not be poisoned. o.o Sirius would totally be the first one to take a bite. He's a Gryffindor after all. YEAH. And it's so in character for his father to be vaguely amused by the whole thing, despite the gravity of the situation.

MYSTERIOUS LETTER. What does it say?! What does it mean?! Fantastic cliffhanger! You've left me wanting more.

I think you crafted some excellent character development over these past three chapters. Plot has tended to be a little on the slow side action-wise, but I think that you make up for it by injecting a lot of telling conversations and character insight. And as for the air of mystery...oooh yeahhh. You are certainly doing an excellent job of keeping up the suspense!

Great, great work, Aph! Again, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read more of this work. Life may be busy, but I hope to return to this story some time soon. After all, you've left me hanging, and I wanna know who the murderer is!

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Review #25, by LavenderBlue Six of Diamonds

14th June 2014:
Oh my WORD. I think that in my last review I said it'd take me a couple days to get to chapters 6 and 7. And now it's been a MONTH. So sorry for the delay. Things descended into madness here, but all is well now and I'm eager to read on!

Hurray! Sirius/Regulus development. I really love how much you've been delving into their relationship. I've always thought of the Sirius/Regulus story as a melancholy one, but I've never given much in-depth thought to what their interactions might have looked like until this story. I think you do an excellent job of showing Sirius' struggle to balance his guilt over not being a better brother with the stark fact that being close to Regulus might be an impossibility. Their relationship is, after all, a two-way street.

Sirius' concerted effort to reach out to Regulus is simultaneously sweet and heartbreaking. Heartbreaking, more than anything, because we know their future as a reader. It seems like Sirius' is trying to revive the heartbeat of something that is already fatally wounded.

Omg. Barty and Regulus. Omg, Lucius knows Barty's little secret. Omg, Narcissa is out of sorts and secretive. The plot thickens! I just LOVE how you continue to paint a macabre scene, seamlessly drawing in the other characters with their own vested interests and scandals. I think I've said it before, but your writing reminds me of Agatha Christie in the best possible way. :)

Which leads into my thoughts about plotting & the general aura of mystery. I think you've done a great job in this chapter. The plot doesn't lag, even though not much action occurs, which is primarily due to the intrigue of character development. You continue to keep all characters, even Sirius, enigmatic. I'm still on the edge of my seat, doing guesswork and formulating theories, all of which seem too stupid or ill-formed to mention yet, but the point is that I'm theorizing, and that's just what you want your reader to do when reading a mystery!

I love the exchange between Narcissa and Sirius about killers in the family. Though love seems like the wrong word? Haha. It's important that you bring that fact up since, in the midst of this murder mystery, it's been an unspoken thought until now that there are already confirmed killers amidst them.

Just a wee bit of a typo I caught. Toward the end of the chapter, at Narcissa's line that beings "And as if that's not enough," be sure to end the dialogue tag with a comma, not a period, since Narcissa is continuing a thought, not starting a new one, with "there's that Crouch boy."

Wonderful work in this chapter! I'm still very intrigued and excited to read on through chapter 7.

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