Reading Reviews for House of Cards
  
125 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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

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Review #2, 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

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Review #3, 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 #4, 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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Review #5, by Veritaserum27 Four of Clubs

6th June 2014:
Hello!

I thought I would read another chapter for the BvB review battle.

This story is so enthralling. I am so curious as to how all of it is going to play out. You are building and building to a very exciting climax.

There are so many characters with ulterior motives, it is really hard to guess who is trying to play whom. First, there is the mystery of the will. I think Pollux was trying to get Orion to take action and destroy it himself - and deal with the witnesses, that way he can claim innocence. At least, that is my guess.

I definitely think Regulus is up to something. He asked to go flying, but wasn't mentioned again. Perhaps he went to meet someone, OR perhaps he pushed his aunt off the roof.

Why would Barty go to the papers? Especially if he wanted to solve the murder on his own. He definitely has another agenda.

The scene in the drawing room made me groan in frustration for Sirius. That must be the exact LAST thing a teenage boy wants to do on a summer afternoon - sit in a stuffy room with three older witches and watch them read and sew. How awful!

And why has Narcissa been visiting her parents so frequently? Hmm.

Great job on another intriguing chapter.

~Beth

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Review #6, by Veritaserum27 Three of Hearts

6th June 2014:
Hi!

I'm here for the BvB review battle.

I went back to re-read chapter one because your story is so intricate that I wanted to make sure I was on the right page coming into this chapter.

I feel like Barty is a real sneaky fellow. He is tyring to recruit Sirius, but I'm not sure why, since he is Regulus's best freind. I have a feeling that he is trying to trip people up and distract them from his real agenda.

I really liked the part where Sirius trips on the stairs. We see how he is really still a boy in many respects and struggling with his identity. He seems to like being a Gryffindor, but still wants to be part of the black family.

You got Bella's character spot on. She is crazy and heartless - a bad combination. I really liked how you described her as not ever getting the proper balance of sugar and spice. Very clever.

Lots of questions about peoples actions here.

Where is Orion? He told Pollux he was checking on the boys, but is nowhere to be found.

Why did Regulus lie to Sirius about the healers coming? Perhaps he saw someone else enter the house and thought it was the healers, or maybe he was just lying.

Why did Pollux want the healers to come so quickly and why wouldn't he let Sirius see Cygnus? Is he hiding something?

What is Bella hiding behind the locked door?

I ponder as I head off to the next chapter.

Beth

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Review #7, by toomanycurls Ten of Spades

1st June 2014:
Hi Aph!

Thanks for doing a review swap with me. :D

I love the connection between Barty and Regulus - it's hard to tell who is more enamored with the other when they're together. In preivous chapters, it seemed that Barty was quite enamored with Regulus but here the concern and desire to impress feels quite mutual.

Bellatrix's appearance in this chapter is brilliant. I can imagine this exposure to Barty here influenced their quest to go out and torture the Longbottoms. She comes across with an amount of dangerous seduction that few other characters in HP could do.

Every scene with Pollux and Orion seem to wend deeper into strange family connections. I was surprised that Orion was so outspoken towards Pollux here. I did love this line: ďYou would risk everything on something as whimsical as hope?Ē

Of course they'd have some demented children's stories as heirlooms. bleck. Ah! I'm dying to know what is in the vial.

Congrats on your diadem for this story - it is very much deserved!!!

-Rose

Author's Response: Hey Rose! :) So great to see you stopping by - I really must remember to go back and get to True Romance, as well! ;)

Thanks - I'm so glad you liked that little bit! It was an odd section to write, if only because the tone and general feel felt so out of place in the rest of it, haha, so I was a bit unsure about it. I did try to make it seem natural and less one-sided than it maybe has done before, so I'm glad some of that seemed to come through!

Gah, thank you so much! :) Honestly, she's one of my favourite characters to write, lol. There's just so much you can do with her that you can't with other characters and I love that. Ooh, maybe - I didn't really think about that, tbh, but yeah the exposure will certainly have helped with the whole eventual-Death-Eater thing!

Ah, I'm so happy that came through! I really like playing up the family-oriented element, coz it's so fun to include and allows for things to be a little more personal and a little more spiteful, you know? Haha, Orion is one of the characters I've grown to love, oddly enough - and he is a bit more like Sirius than is obvious ;)

Yeah, haha, weird freaky children's stories in the library... :P Ooh, the vial - yeah the vial is important. Really important ;) but I can't tell you anything about it (obviously! :P)!

Thank you so so much for the review! I really enjoyed swapping with you (as always!) and thanks so much again for the congrats on the Diadem! I was so happy to see this do so well - it's kinda become something I'm actually kinda proud of :)

Aph xx


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Review #8, by teh tarik Four of Clubs

31st May 2014:
Hey Aph! Oh goodness, I'm so sorry for being so late with the review exchange! :( I'd quite forgot about it, until you left me your lovely review. Eep, apologies again!

It's been a long while since I last read this story, and I'm so, so glad I had the chance to come back! I had to reread the first couple of chapters to get myself back into the swing of the plot, and just like the first time I read them, I was once again arrested and intrigued by all the tension and mystery and the brilliant atmosphere you've evoked here. I don't think I've come across a murder mystery on HPFF which is so careful and so detailed as this fic, and it really does make it such a gripping read. And all your characters! Goodness, so many of them are so shady; too many of them seem to be hiding things, even if they're just feelings of resentment. And I love that you switch focus between POVs, because the entire narrative is like a puzzle, pieces that the reader has to put together, voices that whisper different things and also show just how conflicted some of the characters are. My favourites have to be your portrayals of Sirius, Bella, Barty, and Pollux, and even Regulus. These seem to be the most 'active' of characters; they're the strongest and the most striking, and definitely one of the most complex. Another thing I really love about the whole thing is that it's also a domestic drama of sorts; there's lots of family issues. Family drama/murder mystery is an amazing combination, by the way!

As for this chapter, whenever Pollux and Orion make mention of the mysterious will, I'm always reading very closely, and re-reading certain passages to make sure I don't miss anything. I'm not very familiar with wills and things like those, but I love that you've brought this up in your story. Could Pollux have read the will wrongly? Or has it been magically tampered somehow so that it seems to be changing by itself, if that's even possible? And gah, I'm just so intrigued to find out just how these changes could potentially rip the family apart.

I absolutely love that drawing room scene! I think you've captured the interactions between Narcissa, Bella, Sirius and Walburga perfectly. I find it so, so difficult to write scenes with more than two or three characters, and you've done an amazing job here, especially in conveying how some of these characters don't typically get along with others, i.e. Sirius. And yet during such difficult times like this, characters change, soften slightly toward each other, or maybe they go the other way and start viewing each other with suspicion and hostility. I love how different Sirius is; he's not full-on rebelling against his family, and I love that he does seem to show genuine concern toward Regulus, despite the sense that the brothers have drifted too far apart for things to ever be normal between them.

Druella's scene...gosh! That was incredibly unsettling, tragic and completely unexpected. You wouldn't expect a second death, especially a suicide, so soon after the first death. I'm kinda wondering if maybe it isn't a suicide? Maybe someone pushed her, or more likely, maybe she was under the Imperius curse? It's impossible to tell at this point, but I must say you have a great way of keeping your readers hooked! That's some cliffhanger!

I'll definitely be coming round to review your next chapter soon! This was such an amazing read, and it feels great to get back to this story - the premise is so original, and of course, your writing and your talent in establishing atmosphere with your lovely prose just makes everything so much better!

-teh

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Review #9, by LavenderBlue Five of Spades

13th May 2014:
Hello! I'm so glad that you re-requested, because I've been itching to read more of this story but have been beating back other obligations to get to it. I'm really eager to read more. :)

Omg. Omg, she DID jump. Of course she jumped, but when I left off in Chap 3 I had this fanciful notion that Druella would somehow survive. D: As tragic as another loss of life amongst the Blacks is, though, it does an excellent job of propelling the plot and the character development.

I think it says quite a lot about Sirius that, as tense as his relationship is with the rest of the family, he experiences dread at the thought of losing them entirely with no chance to make amends. And as for the death itself, it only heightens the sinister and macabre tone you've already set. It reminds me quite a bit of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None." I have the paranoid sense that any member of the family could be picked off next. o.o

"We could all do with a stiff drink or two." Wow, Pollux. What a very Black-esque way of dealing with tragedy.

I love the turn, however subtle, that Sirius and Regulus' relationship takes in this chapter. Despite the tension there has been between them, it's clear that Sirius genuinely cares about his brother's well-being. "It makes the part inside him which winces with every Bludger sent Regulus' way in school Quidditch matches and which let him crawl into his bed when they were younger and Reg had a nightmare twinge with that small stream of guilt which tells him he should have done better." Beautiful. I loved that passage. So well done.

At the same time, that affection is tempered by Sirius' dormant jealousy of his father's affections toward Regulus and of Regulus' attempt to keep his pride around his older brother. I think you've struck a great balance here between affection and resentment.

This line, too, was a gem: "whichever one of them Regulus inherited it from, it's a Black trait nonetheless." Haha. Oh, the glories of the inbred Black family and their cousin marriages. :]

Dude. Where WAS Crouch? Noble stock, indeed. I don't trust that kid as far as I can throw him, and that's not far. -suspicious eyes- Though I don't have any well-formed theory yet, I must say that you've done a great job of continuing to cast suspicion on all multiple parties--Lucius and Crouch Jr. in particular, this chapter. Not only does this keep the plot fresh and interesting, but I have a feeling those red herrings are all going to pan out in the end.

Here is the one theory I do have, and it may be entirely off base, but I think that the house elves know more about what's going on than anyone is giving them credit for. o.- They're the eyes and ears of the household, after all, and I can't help but feel that you've continued to weave them into the story for a reason beyond plot mechanics. But again, that might be totally wrong! :) What's so delicious about this story, though, is that your plot opens the door for plenty of speculation and theorizing--just like a good mystery ought to do.

I thought pacing was excellent in this chapter. You had a huge dramatic incident to center the action around, but you went the extra mile by fleshing it out with emotional development (Sirius/Regulus interaction) and ongoing mysterious behavior. Bellatrix's paranoia in particular continues to reinforce the on-edge ambiance.

Character development continues to go well, though because this was a more action-heavy sequence, I didn't see a ton of growth--and that's perfectly fine, considering this is just one chapter out of several. I will say that I'm beginning to have some difficulty differentiating between Pollux and Orion. I'll continue to keep an eye out for their differences/similarities in the upcoming two chapters.

As to nitty gritties... The narrative contains the sentence "As one, you all glance up at the top of the house," and I wondered if the "you all" is a typo, meant to be "they"? It seemed like an accidental shift from third to second person.

This was, as always, a very enjoyable read. My next reviews may be a few days' in coming, but rest assured I intend to write the next two soon! Fantastic work!

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Review #10, by patronus_charm Ten of Spades

2nd May 2014:
Hey Laura!

Wah, Barty and Regulus as a ship! How did I never think of this before as it just works so well? The beginning section of the chapter with them laughing and talking together was so cute and I was shipping them so much, and you wrote them so well. Ok, I had been seeing signs of it throughout, but this was the first chapter where it was really evident and I really wanted to kill Bellatrix for coming in and ruining it. Speaking of her, there was some fantastic characterisation with her, and I really thought she was going to have a go at them for being together but it was something possibly more sinister knowing her. Iím not really sure what to make of it, whether itís a sign of her being the murderer or thinking that Crouch is, hmmÖ

Hmm, so Pollux has a willÖ I always find that my suspicions almost naturally lie with the people who hold it because they are obviously either trying to hide it because it doesnít suit them or trying to prove itís there so they can claim their share on the inheritance. If itís the former, then I would be inclined to think that Pollux isnít the murderer but if itís the latter, who knows. Either way, Iíll be remembering this :P

I think Sirius is the character I always look forward to best because you show this fresh, new portrayal of him and it always draws me in no matter what heís doing. You really took care of your descriptions in this section too with the way you described the seals in his hands, and the wax too, and it was so vivid and great and I just loved it! I canít help but wonder what he found. The will which was meant to be lost in the fire perhaps? Or perhaps a note from the murderer? Either way itís very exciting!

A fab chapter!

-Kiana

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Review #11, by adluvshp Seven of Hearts

2nd May 2014:
Hey! Here for your (almost a month late) requested review from the forums! I am terribly sorry about the delay, it has been crazy busy!

This keeps getting more and more interesting. I loved the segment in the beginning - it made me so curious to know who this person was and what parchment they burnt. Was it the will? Gah you wrote it wonderfully.

I also enjoyed the interaction between Bella and Sirius. I like the way she is characterised and the manner in which she talked to Sirius. It's interesting she is set on finding the killer, and Sirius is going to help!

The dinner table moment was the best of all though. It was amusing how no one would eat and finally Sirius broke the silence lol. I also liked his characterisation, the way he was almost jealous of Crouch for not caring about what others say and how he wanted to do the same. Very interesting!

I am especially intrigued now to what the letter said which Sirius found that it evoked such a reaction. The mystery just keeps getting better and better and I'm super excited to keep reading. I hope to be able to come back for more soon!

Over all, I loved the chapter. It was smooth, plot is developing awesomely (though I'd like to see another murder happen sometime soon - yes I am weird haha), characterisations are great, and grammar was pretty okay. Good job!!

Cheers
AD
(AditiDraco95)

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Review #12, by Red_headed_juliet Queen of Diamonds

25th April 2014:
I still have no idea who it is! I feel like there's just one more piece of vital information I need, though the house elf being dead is certainly a clue.

This is a really great story, I love it.

Hopefully there will be more soon!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by! :) It's so great to see you come back! :D

Ooh, haha, yeah, there is definitely one large piece of information which will kick everything into place - hopefully it'll all make sense to you when we get there!

I'm so happy you're still enjoying it, though! :)

Unfortunately, the next update will be after my exams - so late May time - sorry! :(

Thank you so much for the lovely review!

Aph xx


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Review #13, by UnluckyStar57 Queen of Diamonds

21st April 2014:
No. Why would you do this?

Pollux, Mipsy, and now Regulus?!?!?! Just. WHY.

There aren't even any answers right now--or if there are, I'm way too dumb to see them. Who killed Pollux? Who killed Mipsy? Why is Regulus bleeding on the bed? And where in the world is frickin' Barty Crouch?!?! (See, I'm reduced to mild expletives because of my confusion.)

So. Let's go back to the beginning.

Well, send in the Aurors!! I loved seeing Shacklebolt and Moody pre-Harry Potter era. I wonder--does Moody have the magic eye in this time? I guess not, or you would've mentioned it. They've come to investigate, but the Black family won't take any of their nonsense! It was really interesting to view the two Aurors from a Black perspective--in this case, they were just getting in the way of all the drama that was happening, and none of the Blacks particularly liked that. (Except for Sirius, who is basically a Potter.) Who could've sent that owl to the Ministry? Was there a clue in an earlier chapter? Gosh, before I review the very last chapter of this story, I'll have to go back and read all of the previous chapters so that I can perhaps make a prediction that would make some sense!

Ugh, Alphard. His name is mud to me now. Blech. The more I hear about him, the less I like him. First he's all like, "Oh, that was fun, you guys," and then he's bashing Sirius, his favorite nephew. Is no one safe from the black hearts of the Blacks? Apparently not.

Haha, all of the Kreacher mentions kind of cracked me up. He was thinking about how the Aurors were not fit to enter the House of Black, and he makes good cookies! If it's true that everyone has a redeeming quality, cookies are Kreacher's. :)

Last scene! Lastscenelastscenelastscene!!! Oh my goodness. I read it twice, and the only thing that I can find wrong with it is that I was under the impression that Sirius slapped Alphard's hand, but when he shut the door, Sirius noticed that his cheek was bruised. Did I miss something? Sorry if I did. :)

I love how Sirius is building a house of cards on his bed. It really applies to the title of the story. ;) And you know what? I bet it fell down when he ran to Regulus' room. (Ironies. Delicious!)

Ooh, another thing wrong with this section: Regulus. And it's not anything that YOU did wrong... Oh yeah, except for WHAT YOU DID TO HIM. Can I be mad at you for this? Is that okay? I'm sure that Sirius is mad at you, and oh look! He loved his brother after all! But he's not going to be able to tell him that because they'll be in two separate states of existence soon! >:'''( I am sad and also mad. Arrgggh, it's so conflicting, because you wrote it so well-there's nothing that I can find wrong with your writing (there never is!)-and yet, WHY REGULUS?!

Also, why isn't Barty in this? Did he leave in the last chapter and silly old me forgot about it? If not, he'd better show up and do some explaining!! Right now, all signs point to him as the murderer, but you know what? I'm not buying that. There HAS to be someone else, because you, clever Aphoride, have probably been leading me on a wild goose chase all along, haven't you? Well, I must say that I want to think it's Barty, but I can't let myself do that in good faith. As for who it MIGHT be... I don't even know.

One quote that I especially liked: "There's a tension in the air as the Orion closes the door with a soft click; thick and heavy, it presses down on Sirius' shoulders, making his tongue feel like lead in his mouth and his heart beat loudly in his chest."

Can I just geek out about the way you write things?! Seriously, you're brilliant at juxtaposing action with internal emotion, and this quote just proves it. I love the way the closing of the door and the tension in the room affected Sirius--I could almost feel it myself! So that sentence is masterfully crafted, indeed!

However, now that I'm inspecting it with more scrutiny: Do you see that "the" in between "as" and "Orion"? Yeah, the first time I read it, I didn't either. However, I don't think that you intended for that spare article to be in the phrase "as the Orion closes the door." That's the only correction that I'd recommend for this chapter.

OH MY GOODNESS, WE'RE ON QUEENS. IS THIS ALMOST THE END?!?! WILL NEXT TIME BE THE LAST CHAPTER?! No, wait--you still have to do Aces. Please say that you're going to do Aces. I've grown too attached to this story for it to end in just one more chapter!!! D:

Please update soon! I really want to know what happens--will they solve the mystery? Will anyone else die?! I need answers!

~UnluckyStar57

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Review #14, by Infinityx Queen of Diamonds

16th April 2014:
Oh no! WHY. REGULUS. SIRIUS. YOU'RE KILLING ME HERE, APH. :'(

Okay, I've shed my tears for now. *sniffles*

It was obviously not Sirius who sent the letter to the auror, although Alphard and Walburga seem to think it was him. Poor Sirius. It's so clear that he just wants to be loved by his family. :(

I love the scene with the aurors, with the entire family against them. It was wonderful to see how they were sticking together and putting up a common front against the accusations. Which leads me to believe that it was someone outside the family who betrayed them..Barty?

No matter how many times they fight, or how many times they tell each other that they hate each other and wouldn't mind if the other died, the brothers have such love for each other. They just don't know how to express it. Sirius' desperation and anguish was so powerfully portrayed, and if anyone else from the family thinks that he would try to kill his own brother, then they are just plain stupid. I really hope Reg is alright. :'(

Update soon, please! I'm so hooked onto this story and I can't wait to see what happens next!

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: I AM SO SO SORRY. GENUINELY. BUT IT HAD TO BE DONE. :(

It's okay - I kinda almost didn't want to write it, because, you know, it's Regulus and it just seemed wrong... but eh :P

Do they? :P Writing that conversation was so fun, but so hard... but yes, poor Sirius! Everyone seems to be so suspicious of him, but not want him around and it's pretty tough! :(

I've wanted to write a family-united scene in this since the beginning of it, tbh, so writing this was so fun... I was practically cackling at my desk, haha. Ooh, nice idea ;) Barty's dad is, after all, the Head of the Aurors...

YES. Exactly! :) They're brothers. And no matter how much they argue, or how much they dislike each other at a particular point in time, they're still brothers and it still means something. I'm so glad you liked that scene as it was honestly one of the hardest scenes to write in the whole thing, because I wanted it to be right, you know? No, no one will suspect him, don't worry about that! ;)

Gah, sorry for the lack of updates! Exams got in the way - hopefully one will be up soon! I've got so many things to post, but this is second in the queue, so soon! :)

Thank you so so much for this review and all of the others - I've honestly never been randomly review-bombed before and it was such a wonderful thing to get! I was so excited and it totally made my day, so thank you for that! :)

Aph xx


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Review #15, by Infinityx Jack of Clubs

16th April 2014:
WHAT IS HAPPENING? :o POLLUX AND THE HOUSE ELF, BOTH DEAD. Wow. I kind of expected that someone would die when I read that description about the brandy being poured out, and Sirius drank it as well! Thankfully, it was just a couple of sips.

But the house elf. Dear Merlin, why? Hmm.. could it be that the house elf was made to help murder all those people? Maybe the elf sealed up the bottle again after the poison was poured into it. And then maybe it couldn't handle the guilt so killed itself? Okay, it's kind of far fetched but I can't think of anything else.

Orion refuses the brandy.. could it be that he knew it was poisoned? This so puzzling! I have no idea how everything is going to fit together! Anyway, moving onward to the next chapter.

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hi again Erin! :) Ooh yeah - double whammy in this one! Yeah, when drinks get poured out, it's likely something's going to happen, I guess :P I almost had Sirius keel over, tbh, but I changed my mind at the last minute ;) But yes, he's fine... for now!

House-elf... it's a really, really good theory! The house-elf could have helped easily enough - and it could have killed itself or been killed so as not to blab if asked... who knows? ;) But still, it's a really great theory - I love it!

Orion is very suspicious... I did try to leave clues as to why he didn't drink the brandy, but maybe they weren't quite as obvious as I thought... never mind! It's not all that important anyway :P

Thank you so much for the great review, again! :)

Aph xx


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Review #16, by Infinityx Ten of Spades

16th April 2014:
Whoa, what's with that elf? Really, that batty little thing was so suspicious. Maybe someone made the house elf do all the dirty work so that they would have an alibi! :o

Oooh, a Barty/Reg scene. Hmm, Barty certainly seems to have a romantic inclination towards Reg, but it's not clear whether the feelings are reciprocated. That was such a cute moment though!

Yeaah, you go Bella! Someone definitely needs to keep an eye on Barty. Someone needs to keep an eye on Bella as well...

Ohmygosh, what is that vial? :o The plot thickens and I still can't make heads or tails of it. Hopefully the next chapter will unravel a few threads. Great job once again!

~ Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hey Erin! :) Ooh yeah, the elf thing... that actually is kinda important, strangely enough, so I'm glad you picked up on it - not all that many people have so far ;) But it's definitely something worth hanging onto!

Haha, I did love writing that scene, though it was strange to have something almost fluffy in this, tbh... felt a bit weird. As for Regulus maybe/not liking Barty... who knows? :P

Yeah, that is the problem with this lot, haha - they can keep an eye on each other, but really you need to be watching all of them... they're equally suspicious... :)

Ooh, the vial... yeah, that is pretty big. Haha, er, sorry in advance? :P Still, I'm just so glad you're enjoying this - and enjoying it enough to review - so thank you so much for following this, and for the great review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #17, by Infinityx Nine of Diamonds

16th April 2014:
Oh poor Sirius! The extent to which his family dislikes him is just heartbreaking. He always knew he was something of an outcast, he just never knew it went this far. I just want to hug him, the poor thing! :(

I love the introduction of Alphard into the chapter. He really changes the mood of the story to something a bit more lighthearted, although it's always layered with heavier overtones by the other members.

Hahahaha, he voiced out what, I'm quite sure, almost all the readers were wondering. And Bella, was priceless. I'm starting to like her character, with the way you've portrayed her here. :P

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Yeah, Sirius really is getting a rough time of it in this fic... it's not necessarily quite as bad as he wants to think it is, though - but I like the idea that he kinda wanted to be lonely, and then didn't want to be when he was, if that makes sense. And he's a teenager, so he's angsty, lol. But yes, hugs for Sirius! :)

Alphard... I actually wanted to include him from the beginning, but it was too many characters with him, and there was no real need for him to turn up until now, so here he is! He is something of comic relief, though ;)

Yeah, the readers probably wanna know the answer to that one! :P (It'll come later, haha) I couldn't resist... Ooh Bella, I'm so glad you like her, as I love writing her. You can do almost anything with her and have it be in character if you portray it in the right way. It's just so much fun to play with!

Thank you so much for the great review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #18, by Infinityx Eight of Clubs

16th April 2014:
That letter was really creepy. It was no doubt some sort of message. Why else would anyone take so much trouble to put it in an envelope and seal it and then leave it for Sirius to find? I can understand Pollux wanting to keep the family together, but turning a blind eye towards this seems over the top. Orion is an interesting character though. I wonder what he thinks about it. Maybe he's trying to solve this mystery in his own way...

Once again, the relationship between Regulus and Barty is extremely interesting. I have a feeling that Barty was trying to tempt Regulus into becoming a death eater. He's such a creepy character, gives me the chills.

Oh Sirius, you and your temper. Right when he was trying to mend his relationship with his brother. This is so sad. :( And Narcissa, I hope she's alright! This chapter was focused mostly on Sirius. I'm incredibly interested to see what the next chapter will bring!

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hey again, Erin! :) Yeah, sorry about that ;) It is definitely a message, and there is a good reason for someone to go to that trouble - at least in their minds there is - but I couldn't possibly say anything :P Pollux... yeah, I get that - he's just trying not to allow panic to set in too much and that's why he's so sceptical. But to be honest, it's not the most terrifying thing in the world. Orion... ooh, interesting idea ;) Hold onto that one!

Factoid: Barty is not a Death Eater in this. Not yet, at least. Obviously he becomes one later, but not at the time this is set. So no, it's not that ;) He's definitely creepy, though - which is nice to hear, strangely enough!

I know, I know! But I think that's often how it goes with siblings - you're trying to make things better, but sometimes it really, really doesn't work out. And they haven't sorted stuff out for so long, there's a lot to go through. Narcissa... eh, maybe, maybe not :P

Yeah, a lot of Sirius recently... there should be a bit less later!

Thank you so much for the lovely review, as always! :) :)

Aph xx


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Review #19, by Infinityx Seven of Hearts

16th April 2014:
The mystery really builds up. I love the way you've begun the chapter with that unknown person burning the parchment. Your descriptions were astounding and they made me picture the entire scene in front of me. I love how you've lingered on the scene and taken the time to describe the setting and everything that's happening. The amount of detail you've put in is brilliant and it totally adds to the eerie effect you've got going on here!

That interaction between Sirius and Bella was interesting to say the least. That quip about Bella killing Sirius one day was just ksndfklsmfm. To him it's just her being Bella. If only he knew that it would happen one day. It was a great idea to add that there, and a strong indication to what happens in canon.

I love the way you've described the dinner scene. Once again, the amount of detail you've put in about the setting is fabulous. Also, with the way you've described it, I could almost smell the tension emanating from each of the table occupants. It was brilliant.

I love the way Sirius was portrayed here, as well as all the previous chapters. In this one, his Gryffindor spirit is so clearly seen, with the way he can't stay away from the mystery and him being the first one to take a bite to eat. I think it was a wonderful idea to focus on the family dynamics here, as well as slow the pace down a bit. Great chapter!

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hey there again! ;) And thank you so much! It was more difficult to write than I expected, since I wanted to make sure I didn't give anything away as to the identity of the person, which was hard knowing who it is as I kept wanting to include some clues, you know? And write his name, haha. That would definitely have given it away! ;) Thank you so much, though, it's so nice to hear you liked it!

Haha, yeah, I couldn't resist not putting it in! It just seemed to fit in, like something they would say, and something which would happen, so I kept it in. I'm happy you liked it! :)

Gah, thank you so much! It was actually a real struggle for me to write that scene, and I'm so so glad you liked it - it still feels a bit extraneous when I read over it at times, so it helps a lot to hear that!

Thanks! :) I've always tried to portray Sirius as a Gryffindor, since I really think he is absolutely one beyond doubt, but he has some characteristics which also aren't nice and stereotypically seen as Slytherin ones. But yeah, it really had to be him :P I'm glad you liked the family dynamics - it's one of the best things about writing this fic, tbh, getting to explore those relationships and things, so I'm happy you're enjoying them! :)

Thanks so much for the great review - I'm glad you're enjoying it so much! :)

Aph xx


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Review #20, by Infinityx Six of Diamonds

16th April 2014:
Another gripping and completely intriguing chapter! There are so many elements at work here, but somehow they all fit together neatly, I'm sure of it. I am unable to comprehend how though, my mind can only be stretched to certain limits. :P

The relationship between Regulus and Barty is interesting. I'm sure Barty isn't up to anything good and I hope Reg doesn't get caught up in it. I'm a little confused though. The last chapter ended with Crouch being missing, and now he's sitting so comfortably beside Reg, with nothing out of place. Am I missing something here?

I love the whole build up as Sirius prepares to enter Regulus' room. It just shows just how strained their relationship is. But at the same time, we also know how much Sirius cares for his brother, with his concern toward Reg in both the previous as well as this chapter. I think Sirius has a great depth to him and you're exploring that wonderfully.

Lucius knows Barty's secret... I sense trouble brooding. My curiosity is unbounded. I hope there's more to this in the coming chapters!
Walburga seems to be close to telling Barty something about the books but holds herself back. Every small action of the characters seems to hold some kind of importance in this story and I can't help but wonder about the significance of that.

That interaction between Sirius and Narcissa was so sweet. I can't imagine what her feelings must be to know that her sister as well as her husband were killers. I like her character though, she seems really nice. Poor Sirius. The pin has dropped and his suspicions confirmed. It's like he's lost that bliss of not knowing.

I'm looking forward to the next chapters!

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Eggstravaganza

Author's Response: Hey there, Erin! Thanks so much for stopping by! :) I'm so glad you're enjoying this, particularly enough to come back for more :P

Yeah, Barty is definitely suspicious! I think it's his default setting, lol. As for Regulus - well, we'll see ;) No, you're not missing anything, don't worry! This chapter is a while after the last one, so even though he went missing, and then came back later, they couldn't do anything to him, so they're just suspicious and keeping an eye on him ;) He, of course, is acting oblivious :P

Ah, thank you! I'm so glad you like it, as I love exploring the relationship between Sirius and Regulus so much! They are still brothers, and it does mean something, yeah, it's just... they don't get on. That was kinda how I approached it. I'm so happy you like Sirius, though - I'm really enjoying writing him!

Ooh, yeah, that is quite interesting ;) Not perhaps the most important element of the mystery, but still something of a clue! Yeah, I wanted to include Walburga a bit more in this chapter, so here she is! There is a lot of importance to things in this, but equally things (hopefully) seem important which aren't ;) Sorry about that! :P

I'm so glad you liked that scene - it was one of my favourites to write, but kinda hard because the characters are kinda, well, awkward in it, haha. Yeah, Narcissa is probably the nicest of the characters in this, tbh, and I kinda like portraying her as Bellatrix's antithesis, kinda sweet and innocent and outwardly fragile. Poor Sirius - definitely! :) I think he kinda always suspected, but having it confirmed is so different. I love the way you phrase it, though! :)

Thank you so much for the great review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #21, by Infinityx Five of Spades

16th April 2014:
Hi Aph! I already read this chapter before, but since I left off reviewing at the third chapter, I'm going to continue on from here!

This chapter was yet again, extremely engrossing and mind boggling! The mystery is getting so much thicker, and no matter how hard I try, I have no clue who the person responsible might be. Druella's death sure does seem like a murder, especially with the way it was described in the previous chapter.

You've got some fantastic imagery in this chapter and everything flows so perfectly without any hitch. Great job there!

Poor Regulus! I love that little familial, caring moment there with Sirius, Regulus and Orion. It's wonderful that you brought that in, in the middle of everything that was happening. It made things seem even more realistic and natural.

Bella really does seem distraught about her mother's death. It's a wonder that the crazed lunatic of a woman that we know could have once been such a youngster, with a shred of humanity in her.

Crouch's disappearance is really fishy. It does seem to suggest his involvement with the whole murder scenario. Well, only one way to find out! Onward to the next chapter!

~Erin

Huffleclaw - Ravenpuff Extravaganza

Author's Response: Hey Erin! Thanks so much for dropping by here - hope you enjoyed the Extravaganza! ;)

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you like it and think it's getting thicker - I'm really trying to build it up without throwing too much at it too quickly. Ooh, does it? Curious :P ;)

Gah, thank you so much! I'm always so worried about flow, since I know I'm generally quite slow, so it gets bogged down.

Reggie is adorable :P I love exploring the family relationships - one of the advantages of this story, tbh - particularly Regulus and Sirius. I'm so happy you liked it too and didn't think it was too out of character - I know the way I write Sirius is a little different to most people's, so it means a lot!

Yeah, I always figure she went crazy in Azkaban, haha. Making her too humane is always a worry, but I'm glad you liked it here and it wasn't too much.

Ooh, Barty Crouch... he is a naturally suspicious person. He just... seems to breathe it out, you know? :P Of course, I couldn't, possibly comment ;)

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #22, by Veritaserum27 Two of Spades

13th April 2014:
Hi!

Here for BvB review battle. Wow! This was so good! You are a very talented author and have done a wonderful job setting up a great story. I just can't wait to read on!

All of your details appear to be eloquently thought out. I love the characterization of each person - the way Bellatrix is always playing with her wand - so attached to it. Also, you've given the reader a lot to think about. I'm already trying to put together who the killer might be, but it is so difficult with the worst of the worst all in one room!

I can also tell you have some side plots going along - the part with the willl and Barty Crouch. I feel like they are all going to weave together at some point. Fantastic first chapter.

Beth

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

Thank you so so much for that! It's so lovely to hear, and I'm so glad you like it! :)

Oh gosh, thank you! I know I tend to give characters similar traits and habits and things, so I really try to make them different, you know - and here, I just had to make sure they were distinct characters, haha, since they're all Blacks and so likely to be similar in some ways! Ooh, the killer - yeah, it's a very suspicious bunch, lol - though I wouldn't immediately assume anything ;) Wait and see! :P

Oh gosh, I'm terrible at including other plots, haha, so I'm so happy you thought there were subplots and things going on underneath the surface!

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

Aph xx


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Review #23, by TidalDragon Jack of Clubs

7th April 2014:
Well well. Seems I was wrong about Pollux, seeing as he's dead. Though perhaps the same could've been said about Orion...

This chapter, again including another death seemed to return you a bit to your strengths of earlier with the description of the various people and their actions in the room prior to Pollux's death being well done. This time though you also mixed it with some solidly done internal thoughts AND dialogue. It all came together nicely and you tied it up with a surprising little second death - that of Wipsy. Thankfully that death explains why Lucius would serve drinks, so I'll forget that bit.

I'm not sure if you are truly planning to wrap this up in the next three chapters, but in terms of where we are right now and the speed at which you've progressed to this point, I have to say I'd be surprised if you could do so while writing with the same effectiveness you have thus far AND avoiding it feeling rushed. Though you are obviously a very talented writer, so I suppose if anyone could, it would perhaps be you.

Nevertheless, to summarize my comments on the story as a whole: generally excellent descriptions and well-done, differentiable characterizations. Some of the dialogue is hit or miss, but it is largely good and you do a very nice job developing the overall mystery, including various sub-plots as potential answers or red herrings throughout, though the pace does suffer in a couple spots for it. In total, I have very much enjoyed reading it though and I think you're doing an excellent job with a complicated story about a very complicated family, so bravo!

Hope the reviews helped! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

Author's Response: Haha, sorry about that! :P It wasn't, er, totally intentional? But yes, lots more suspicious characters to get through, lol.

Thank you! :) I'm so happy you think it's coming together - if only for this chapter, haha! I did enjoy kinda comparing it back to the beginning, and reflecting what happened then to now - it was strangely nice to write. Yeah, Lucius serving drinks is perhaps a little out of character, but Wipsy's gone missing, or so they think at that point, so it was up to him... I liked adding in Wipsy, as well, it is important, but I also wanted to include the house-elves in this a bit more...

Yeah, it's a bit hard to write. I've got it all planned out how I'm going to do it, so hopefully it won't feel too rushed, but we'll see when we get there, I suppose! Thanks so much for that - it's a really lovely compliment! :)

Thank you so much - I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading this and you thing it's going well as a whole. It's been so exciting to write and so difficult as well, because it's completely unlike anything I've written before, so to hear that it's actually working is so, so great to hear! :)

Thank you so much for the brilliant reviews - they've been amazing and so helpful - genuinely - so thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #24, by TidalDragon Ten of Spades

7th April 2014:
More Regulus and Barty...interesting. Also, Pollux seems to be an incredibly sketchy character. With him being involved in every scene with the will except the one where what I believe was one of the wills he had was destroyed in the fire, I have to feel like he's the architect of some scheme involving them. I don't know why yet, but he certainly seems suspicious.

My only bone to pick with this chapter is Sirius's reaction to the vial. Wasn't the wax that sealed the letter with his brother's name white? Isn't that something Sirius would remember and take note of more about this vial? I would think so.

Still, its introduction is an intriguing bit. Is it the poison that possibly claimed the first victim or something else entirely? You've introduced a new wrinkle here and I like it. I'm interested to see where it goes since we seem to be nearing the end of your pattern of chapter titles...

Author's Response: Haha, yeah, a lot of people have commented on that ;) Pollux is pretty suspicious, but then I think most of the characters are, so... and yes, he's definitely doing something with the wills, involved with them and keeping them close to him. Though there are other reasons/motives for people to scheme with the wills, and other people involved... ;)

Ooh yeah, I kinda didn't mention it coz I figured white wax might well be fairly common, because it's cheaper, so it might be used on a lot of bottles and things, so that's why I didn't mention it because it's not meant to be that big a thing.

Ooh, I'm glad you like it! I always wanted to introduce something like it - a sort of magic-ified version of the little clues and things you get in murder mysteries, you know - to add some flavour. Whether or not it's important... *shrug* ;)

I'm so glad you're still (amazingly) interested in this, and thank you so much for the really lovely reviews - they've been so great to get and so helpful, so thank you! :)

Aph xx


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Review #25, by TidalDragon Nine of Diamonds

7th April 2014:
Well, apparently I must have missed something at the end of the last chapter if Sirius knocked Narcissa down. I thought I had read that he heard the scream and then saw her and didn't notice anything about impact. If I did, then sorry about that...

As for this chapter, I think the introduction of this new character (however brief it may be) was a nice change of pace. I wouldn't go so far as to say things had gotten stale with the old cast, but Alphard added a different element to the dark story by injecting some life and innuendo and it would appear his last bit certainly had an impact on Barty and Regulus. Perhaps the closeness Sirius observed really was more than friendship...or perhaps your poking us as authors so often do. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

To dance away from plot (where perhaps I've been dwelling WAY too much the past few chapters) and back to things you asked about like characterization, I think you needn't worry about characters bleeding together. You have done a really good job so far at not just developing distinct character with distinct thoughts and personalities (dialogue a bit less so, but still fine), but keeping them consistent throughout a lengthy and deep mystery, so I think you're doing well there.

I do think we're getting a bit lost in Sirius's head recently at points though. Like I've mentioned, one of your biggest strengths throughout has been your description and when we get buried in your characters' minds, we lose as much of that. It comes in fits and starts here, but is not as consistent or impactful, so I think it would be helpful to have a bit of return to it soon or to intersperse it more throughout each chapter. Just a thought.

Author's Response: Haha, no worries! It's a bit I've been meaning to go back and look at again when I've got time, to check it over and make sure it kinda implies what I want it to imply, so it might well just be that it's not very clear ;)

Gah, thank you so much - I'm just glad you like Alphard and didn't find his arrival a bit out of place or anything. He is certainly, well, different to the others - and really pretty fun to write! :P Ooh... Barty and Regulus... would I do that? ;) Yeah, there may be something to say one way or another at a later date... we'll see! :)

No worries about dwelling on plot - it's totally cool with me! ;) And thank you! I'm so happy they're distinct - and yeah, the dialogue is hard to make different, particularly with the adults, who are perhaps a bit more similar to some extent. Thank you! :)

Yeah, I'm struggling to keep out of his head because, honestly, I find him such a fascinating character. I'll definitely bear that in mind for the future chapters, though, and when I edit, so thank you for mentioning it! I'm terrible at seeing things like that so I'd probably never have caught it!

Thank you so so much for such a wonderfully helpful review! :)

Aph xx


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