Reading Reviews for A Real Dark Night of The Soul
20 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Microwaved Marshmallow Peep A Real Dark Night of The Soul

2nd April 2015:
peep peep

Here to review you now, a sad pink marshmallow Peep. :/ The reason I'm sad is not because I'm in a microwave, nor is it because someone has turned the microwave on. It is because I read this story, and it made me very sad. :(

The beginning really fooled me. I thought it was for real, and I was rooting for the prisoner to escape. But then I found out that it was Sirius, and he wasn't actually escaping. My marshmallowy heart sank in sadness, because Sirius is a precious character who must be protected at all costs. :/

The flashback, though, was what nearly killed me. Canon says that Hagrid saw Sirius at some point on That Night, and that's how he got the motorbike, but seeing the scene unfold was just too sad and awful. And that's when Sirius decided to go seek revenge... :'( All the feels are happening now.


Uh oh, looks like my time is running out. I'm glad that I was able to read this story full of Sirius feels, because it makes me hopeful. I know that Sirius will soon escape from Azkaban and have at least a few years of happiness.

♥Microwaved Marshmallow Peep

*muffled explosions, marshmallows fly*

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Review #2, by TidalDragon A Real Dark Night of The Soul

20th April 2014:
Howdy! I am in the midst of my quest to R&R all the Golden Paw nominees before voting, and I have happily reached yours!

I'm not sure "enjoyed" is the right word for so dark and sobering a story, but I definitely found it to be excellently done.

You successfully meshed strong descriptions with the tortured internal thoughts Sirius experienced whilst in Azkaban and in the flashback and found a way via the flashback to also give us a bit of dialogue as well - speculative dialogue that I've wondered about since the PoA reveal of Peter's betrayal of James and Lily. Cleverly, the dream also showcased your ability to write movement and action from the outset in a story that many would have let remain entirely introspective.

Your word choice was also excellent. You consistently used strong, evocative language that not only set wonderful scenes, but made me feel for Sirius and experience a measure of what he must have been feeling.

The only negative I noticed was an early typo - "viscously" instead of what I think was supposed to be "viciously" but that's just nit-picking.

Excellent work!

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Review #3, by randomwriter A Real Dark Night of The Soul

18th March 2014:
Hello Alli :) I'm here for the blackout bingo battle.

I am SO incredibly glad for having gotten the chance to read this. It's so beautiful, Alli. I can't believe that this was your first story. It is so refined. It speaks of experience.

SIRIUS BLACK IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS ABOUT THE SERIES. Erm. Siriusly, I'm in love with him. (Okay, ignore this :S) Anyway, the characterisation was spot on. You didn't use much dialogue or reveal too much, but just the way he conducted himself throughout this, the thoughts, the determination and that flashback convinced me that is WAS Sirius and couldn't have been anyone else. The past where he used the non-12+ words and cursed the tree really captured Sirius perfectly. Hats off to you! I also loved how you captured the moment perfectly. How haunting it really must have been. I don't think I've given his escape much thought, but this one-shot has set the cogs in motion.

The flashback was so heart breaking. I could imagine the scene playing out and it really touched me. How different it would all have been had Sirius taken care of Harry in stead. However, we do know why Dumbledore sent Harry to Privet drive, so I won't whinge about this.

I loved your writing. It flowed extremely well, and was easy enough to read. It was so descriptive and the imagery was so vivid. I could imagine all of it happening as you'd detailed. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I think, you were able to hold my attention in a tight grasp from the first word to the last. I loved it so much.

All in all, this is splendid. I absolutely loved it, even though it killed me inside. Great work, Alli!

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Review #4, by ShadowRose A Real Dark Night of The Soul

14th March 2014:
Hi Alli!

Wow, this is such an interesting piece. The description is fantastic and loaded with details and strong imagery, which made Sirius's experience so much more tangible to the reader. It's hard to convey that kind of sensation, of being trapped with only a sliver of hope of escape, filled with regrets, but you've shown all of those experiences in such a way that the reader sympathizes with Sirius almost immediately, despite never having been in a remotely similar situation themselves.

I really like that you started off with a dream, but didn't make the fact that it was a dream obvious. It seemed like Sirius really could have been escaping Azkaban in that moment - the scene was very real, and emphasized certain characteristics, like his physical weakness and exhaustion, that makes it seem as if the scene is actually occurring. This creates an even bigger jolt for the reader when they realize that, no, Sirius hasn't escaped - it's all a dream and he's still trapped in Azkaban. It almost mimics his sensation of feeling like he's escaped only to realize he's just as trapped as ever, so the reader connects with Sirius immediately in that moment.

The flashback that the Dementors bring about is just fantastic as well. Gosh, that's such an emotional scene in and of itself, but you've just injected so much more into it as well. Sirius's grief is tangible - and he's struggling to find a way to express just how much it's hurting him and so goes about it in multiple ways, from cursing the tree to crying over James's and Lily's deaths to channeling his anger on finding Peter. I feel so bad for him and all that he's going through and I want nothing more than to give him a big hug and tell him that everything's going to be okay.

This piece was just so, so powerful. We don't really hear much about Sirius's time in Azkaban in the books, but I can only imagine just how haunting and horrible it could have been. You do an absolutely wonderful job of capturing all of that in this piece. Great job!

-ShadowRose (Taylor)

(Blackout Battle review 1/6 on staffer stories)

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Review #5, by adluvshp A Real Dark Night of The Soul

13th March 2014:
Blackout Battle review 1/6

Wow, this was absolutely amazing with its vivid imagery and sharp emotions.

First off, I loved the plot idea/concept. I think we sometimes forget that Sirius spent a lot of time in Azkaban and don't remember how hard it must have been for him. People go mad in that place after all. I have read a lot of Azkaban fics but none so far featuring Sirius. So great job on picking him as the main character here.

I also loved your descriptions. They really painted the entire picture in front of me. I felt everything along with Sirius as the story went along. The emotions were so raw throughout. I think you expressed his desperation for freedom, his grief, and his pain beautifully.

The flashback was very effective too and gave more of an insight into Sirius too. You really portrayed him how I'd always seen him, your characterisation was spot on.

All in all, this was beautifully written and very impacting. One of the best pieces about Sirius Black and Azkaban period that I've read for sure. Great job!!


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Review #6, by TheHeirOfSlytherin A Real Dark Night of The Soul

13th March 2014:
For Blackout Bingo.


So, this is new. I mean, I've read quite a few Sirius stories where he's in Azkaban before, but it's usually during the first few years, dealing with the dementors and the loss of James and Lily, so I'm used to them being dark and angsty and pretty void of hope. And I see the angst in this, remembering his rash actions after his friends' murder would be so sad, but with the dream in the beginning (which I admit, I thought was real, and then wished it was when I realized it was, in fact, a dream) and the smoke, I felt... hopeful for Sirius getting out, just as he was hopeful about getting out. And I thought that was very cool.

It was intriguing to see the how his plan to escape started out, it's something I wonder about sometimes, and I could totally see this happening. Sirius would definitely have to have faith in himself to get out in order to actually do so, after years of being around dementors.

I really enjoyed this.


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Review #7, by MissesWeasley123 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

13th March 2014:
Hey Alli!
First of all, I'm really surprised that you managed to write something so wonderful as your first story. It's really hard to write something like this, and you seem to have a talent for writing, honestly. For your first, this was incredible.

I loved it. I think your descriptions are so flawless, and wow. You used such little dialogue in the beginning, for so long, and your imagery really is great. A big part of this was the words you used, They were so impacting and truly great. I loved it. This line here, was so horrifyingly dark and beautiful:

Sirius inhaled and felt icy air fill his lungs. He was left breathless and could feel himself being pulled towards the heart wrenching memories that pervaded his thoughts.

Just, wow. You captured his fright so well. It was heartbreaking to see how he was then, since we know how he used to be in his youth, so free and careless.

The flashback was so amazing. It was heartbreaking and there were so many motions tied into it. Fright, and love -- heartbreak. You have a grasp of the language so well, and honestly, this is great.

Thanks for a great piece! You should write more, and soon too :)

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Review #8, by FredWeasleyIsMyKing A Real Dark Night of The Soul

21st December 2013:
Hello Alli!

This was such a gripping one shot! Wow. Poor Sirius, he doesn't have it easy at all.

It's strange, I know this happened to Sirius and I know it must be absolutely horrific for him but I don't think I've always appreciated just how bad it must have been. Maybe it's because the books are in Harry's POV and we focus on Sirius being there for him and stuff but boy, you've certainly brought the point home in this!

Alli, your descriptions are amazing. I picture every scene with such detail so easily as I read your work, I really feel like I'm right there with him, whether it's running for his life, being in his cell or grieving for his best friends every moment is written perfectly. You do it better than some published authors.

The concept of this though is so great and one of the things I love about it most. At the start I really believed Sirius was making his break for freedom and then you gradually take this away from him and us, sending him back to reality. It was very smoothly done.

The bit that really convinced me of Sirius character though was the part where he curses the tree over and over and then have it cracking open, just like him. It's a very powerful moment in the story and was perfectly written.

This whole one-shot though is great, you did a really amazing job, I actually can't believe this was your first story!

Lauren :)

Author's Response: Hi Lauren!

I'm thrilled you enjoyed the descriptions in the story since I really focused on using the descriptions to bring life to the story. There's not much happening in terms of action in the story, so using the descriptions to make it interesting and allow the readers to connect with Sirius was really my focus. I'm also glad you though the transition between the dream and reality was smooth. It took quite a few edits before I could get a transition that both made sense and that was clear enough to the reader. The part where Sirius curses the tree was where I really tried to show his impulsiveness and lack of control over his anger. Those emotions are what ultimately lead to his downfall, and I thought it was important to show that weakness in the story.

Thank you so much for your lovely review! I'm really happy you enjoyed the story.


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Review #9, by starryskies55 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

17th July 2013:
Oh Sirius you poor baby :(

This was so sad, Alli! Sirius must have been in so much pain after Lily and James were killed, it doesn't bear thinking about, but you've done such a wonderful job of portraying this, it's truly astounding.
Starting from the beginning- I was a little bit confused at first, but I thought it was a prisoner of Azkaban nearly straight away after you described the cliffs, and it sounded like a deliberate allusion to Azkaban. The fact that Sirius dreamt that, or hallucinated, it was painful for him to wake up and me to realise it wasn't real.
Again, you have some FANTASTIC turns of phrases- I loved especially how you described the prison walls as painted, like they weren't real. It was awesome.
And the flashback to the night at Godric's Hollow- that was some amazing description. It was very evocative, especially when you described the house as lifeless, and Sirius repeating that he just couldn't lose Harry as well- it was so so sad.

Amazing one shot Alli, well done!

Author's Response: Jenny,

I'm sorry I made you sad! What can I say - I'm a sucker for an angsty story. I can understand how the beginning of the story is confusing. It was really difficult to figure out how to transition from the dream state to reality without making it sound choppy. I'll have to go back and see if there's a way to make it a bit more clear. The flashback to Godric's Hollow was probably the most difficult part of the story for me to write since it's such an important moment and forced me to write dialogue which I always find to be challenging. I'm happy you enjoyed that part and that it didn't distract from the rest of the story.

Thanks for taking the time to review!


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Review #10, by nott theodore A Real Dark Night of The Soul

10th April 2013:
So I know that I didn't have to come and review this story as well for the swap, but after I read In My Dying Breath, I really wanted to see what else you'd written.

You have a really lovely writing style! The descriptions are so beautiful and I can picture everything you write so vividly. Your manage to add so much depth to characters we already think we know a lot about, and the stories are very creative.

I loved the opening of the story with the description of Sirius running through the forest. It gripped me straight away and I felt as though I was trying to escape with him. I loved the imagery of the lion running through London, especially with the ideas it conjures of Sirius as the brave Gryffindor.

Of course, the realisation that it is just a dream is very moving. I feel such sympathy for him and how bitterly angry he must feel, imprisoned in such a terrible place knowing that he is innocent.

The symbol of the smoke as a representation of hope was really effective, and it's good to think that there is something other than the memory of what had happened with James and Lily to help keep him same and give him hope.

I loved the flashback to the night that Voldemort killed James and Lily. It fits in so well with what we already know and yet it is much more elaborate and gives a deeper insight to Sirius' emotions at the time. The fact that he doesn't realise immediately that Hagrid is holding Harry rather than James and Lily's possessions illustrates his grief really well. The way that his rash nature causes him to seek revenge straight away, without realising that to Dumbledore and everyone else he is the guilty one, is so heart-breaking. I really wish, like Sirius does, that he had made a different decision that night.

The ending, as well - I feel like you have brought us full circle, from the dream of escape at the beginning to the hope and knowledge that he will escape at the end. It's just brilliant!

I only picked up on one (what I think) is a typo: you write 'he would look him the eye' and I think it should be 'look him in the eye'?

Anyway, I really loved this story (if you couldn't tell!) and I'm very jealous of your abilities, especially when this was your first story!

nott theodore :)

Author's Response: I absolutely love your reviews so I was so excited to see you had reviewed this story as well! I'm glad you enjoyed the descriptions. I personally think that is my strength so I try to focus on those when I'm writing. It was kind of fun to write about a theoretical escape from Azkaban. I can just imagine how thrilled Sirius would be, and I'm sure he spent a lot of time thinking about escaping while sitting in his cell as well.

I'm happy you pointed out the symbolism with the smoke as well. I was hoping it would be effective, and so far from the feedback it looks it was. Unfortunately one of Sirius's flaws is his rash decision making so I agree that it's completely heartbreaking for him to seek revenge without thinking.

Thank you for pointing out the typo! I'll go ahead and fix that. Thanks again for taking the time to leave me another wonderful review!


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Review #11, by soufflegirl99 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

8th March 2013:
This is such a beautiful, gripping and intense one shot!! :)

You created tension brilliantly by vivid description, with lots of relevant figurative language that gave the reader imagery of angsty images, e.g "Each stream felt like bloody slices down his cheeks." So many emotive words behind the similes, that helped create that bitter angry atmosphere and really helped us empathaise with Sirius.

I love how much depth you added to Sirius - a very thoughtful one shot too - leaves you wondering about how much Sirius was left to deal with, and how much trauma he's had to deal with. You described the emotional and physical burdens of the grief, injustice and imprisonment fantastically, making it so realsitic and believable.

Another awesome thing, was the symbolisation of the smoke - like the trail left over from the angry hot fire being set free. The flash back added to the whole scarred effect of it too - and it makes you realise finally just how effected Sirius is.

A fascinating and awesome one shot - an original idea with fabulous description :D

Author's Response: Wow, I am incredibly happy you enjoyed my story so much! Bitter anger describes Sirius's feelings perfectly during the scene at Godric's Hollow. I am so glad you felt the depth that I tried to put into Sirius's character and that you could see how much grief he was burdened with after the death of Lily and James.

I'm glad you liked the symbolism of the smoke! That's one of my favorite parts of the story so I'm glad I was able to describe that part of the story well enough that readers could connect with it. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind review!


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Review #12, by megthechef43 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

8th March 2013:

This was such a strong story. I really thought he was escaping in the first part of the story. I was hoping he would get away from the people who hunted him. The memory was heartbreaking for Sirius because he lost everything in one night. So sad and you showed that really well. I must say that this is great for your first fanfic! Great job and written like a seasoned pro!

Megthechef43 aka Meg

Author's Response: Hello, Meg!

I'm relieved it wasn't glaringly obvious I'm such a newbie to the fanfiction world. It is good to hear that you really thought Sirius was going to escape during the beginning of the story, since I wanted to make the dream as real as possible. I'm happy you were able to feel the sadness throughout the story, especially in the scene at Godric's Hollow. Thank you for your review!


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Review #13, by alicia and anne A Real Dark Night of The Soul

8th March 2013:
I really liked the beginning, I really thought that Sirius was outside, but then to have it turn around and just be him in Azkaban just imagining it was such a great idea!
You wrote Sirius's emotions very well and I felt so sorry for him, the way that the Dementors brought back that memory and how he looked out the window at the smoke and thought about life outside of the prison. It was good to see the determination filling him at the end of how he was going to be getting out of there.
My favourite part of this was when you had Hagrid appear with Harry and Sirius wanted to take Harry and raise him with Remus. I really wish that could have happened :-(
Anyways, this was a wonderful one shot and I'm so glad that I read it :D

Author's Response: Thanks for stopping by to read this story! I'm really glad you enjoyed the beginning with Sirius's dream and the transition back to his cell in Azkaban. I'm also happy you were able to connect with his character and feel sorry for him. It is difficult to bring out the emotion of a character in such a short amount of space, but hopefully I was successful. Writing the scene between Hagrid and Sirius was difficult so I'm happy it was your favorite part. Thanks again for the review!


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Review #14, by MissMdsty A Real Dark Night of The Soul

8th March 2013:
Hey Alli! Happy women's day!

I know posting your first story can be such a nerve wrecking experience, but you did good! Very good! I don't even know where to start!

The descriptions! You have such a way with words that I felt the woods come alive, it was like I was there, in the forest with him, feeling everything he was feeling. I like that you took your time with the first paragraphs, letting us into the mind and the emotions of the character, because when he woke up, the reader could really feel the pain and the shock of actually still being in prison.

I loved the flashback, the episode in Godric's Hollow. What gets me every time I read something like that is the fact that in that moment, in that horrible moment when he realizes his best friends are dead, he is so stricken with grief that he doesn't quite grasp the fact that in the eyes of the world he is to blame. And that includes Remus. I can't even begin to imagine that kind of emotional trauma.

This was an amazing story and the ending was so fitting. After 12 years of waiting, I guess it's the smallest things that can trigger the biggest events! I'm looking forward to reading more stories from you!


Author's Response: Hi Ral!

I'm glad you enjoyed my story! I did put a lot of effort into making sure the woods scene was lively and enticing to contrast it with the stillness of Azkaban, so I'm glad this was able to come across in my descriptions. I'm also happy you were able to feel the emotions of Sirius in both prison and in the forest since it was a strong focus of the story.

There are many wonderful interpretations out there on how the scene at Godric's Hollow happened, so I'm happy you loved my version of this scene. I agree, it is awful that during the entire scene he doesn't realize the trouble he is in and what the rest of the wizarding world thinks happened.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story and leave a review!


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Review #15, by HollyStone73 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

7th March 2013:
This was absolutely amazing. I daresay that it is the single best story I have read on this site! You have a true gift with words. The way that you manged to pinpoint Sirius's feelings of desperation in needing to escape and the vividness of his dream was incredible! The memory of him discovering the ruined house of James & Lily and encountering Hagrid rescuing Harry made me tear up of the spot. The way that you even was able to allow Sirius to find a spark of "life" in something simple and mundane and the smoke from a chimney fire is amazing. I absolutely loved this!! I can not wait to read more from you!!

Author's Response: Oh my goodness! Thank you for all your kind words about this story. Your glowing review has absolutely made my day. I am incredibly happy that you enjoyed the story so much and the wording that I used. I'm also glad you liked the spark of life that Sirius found in the smoke since it was such a major inspiration for the entire story. Thank you for reading and for your amazing review!


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Review #16, by Celtic_Dreamer7 A Real Dark Night of The Soul

7th March 2013:
Oh, wow. This has got to be one of the most powerful and moving pieces I have ever read on the archive. So detailed and imaginative. I loved how it flowed from a dream to reality to a memory, all in one story. Awesome. I often found myself re-reading bits of it to catch all the imaginative descriptions of his surroundings. I could only imagine this happening. Your next piece should be his actual escape! I loved the memory most. I love reading bits from the book from a different character's point of view. All in all, it was very moving and heart-wrenching piece. I do hope you continue to post your stories and I look forward to reading more of them in the future.


Author's Response: Hey Celtic,

I'm so happy you liked the descriptions of the images Sirius was experiencing in his surroundings. Also, I'm glad the flow seemed okay when jumping from all the different parts of the story. I was worried the different parts would feel stunted due to all the components in the one-shot though so far it seems that it didn't. The memory was actually the hardest part for me to write, but I'm happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to review!


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Review #17, by CambAngst A Real Dark Night of The Soul

6th March 2013:
Hi, Alli! I wanted to take a moment and check out your maiden voyage.

I thought you did a really good job of capturing Sirius's dream of freedom. All of the small details really helped to paint the scene in my mind, and the physical details of his exhaustion and elation made it easy to put myself into his place. After so many years of incarceration, his yearning to be free -- even under circumstances most people would find intolerable -- came through really clearly.

Once he wakes, the bleak emptiness of his cell provides a really nice contrast to the dream. The filth and the cold and his tattered clothes created just the right mood for the horrible conditions of Azkaban. I loved the way he focuses on the little plume of smoke outside his window, following it and imagining himself finding his own way to freedom.

The memory of the night James and Lily died was heart-wrenching. Something about including Hagrid in that moment always makes it more sad, I think. As Sirius foolishly rushes off to meet his destiny, I wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him. But I always want to do that when I read about this moment. ;)

I thought your writing was really terrific in this. I only noticed one thing that I think is a typo:

He was once again enclosed by the towering stone walls, separated from society like a wretched animal, posed to attack at any moment. - poised?

Everything flowed really nicely and I loved your word choice and descriptiveness. I hope this opens the gates and you let some more of your plot bunnies run free. Nice job!

Author's Response: Hello Dan!

Thank you for stopping by to read my story. I'm glad you enjoyed the details used in the beginning of the story to try to capture the position Sirius was in as he was trying to flee. After being incarcerated for so many years it can't be easy to try to put all your energy into escaping.

I'm happy you liked the contrast between the dream and Sirius's cell. I really tried to emphasize how full of life the dream was and how lifeless and still Azkaban was, so it's good that this came through in my writing. Isn't the moment that Sirius finds out about Lily and James just heart-wrenching? I also want to shake him and make him rethink his decision before he goes after Peter.

Yes, I did mean to write poised. Thank you for pointing that out! I hope to get some more plot bunnies as well, but I guess only time will tell. Thank you for taking the time to review!


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Review #18, by LovlyRita A Real Dark Night of The Soul

5th March 2013:
Alli!! I am so excited to come and leave you this review! I think that your chapter summary was great and I love the title of the story, it's just really interesting.

First thing of note: The imagery! Oh my goodness! I felt like when I was reading this, I could picture exactly what was happening. I love the way you mentioned the forest, and in the first paragraph whenever Sirius is pushing branches out of the way. It's just great with description.

One of the things that I really enjoy is your word choice. There are several instances throughout this where your word choice just...leaves me in awe, even though it's simple. For example, describing the jolt of exercise as "odd" which I'm sure it would have been for someone who was in Azkaban for so long! Oh and the way you describe the trees as swaying "viscously" I remember reading that when I was betaing and thinking DAMN I AM JEALOUS OF THAT DESCRIPTION. It was just brilliant, Alli, I loved it!

The thing that's so heart breaking about this too is the fact that the beginning section is totally a dream and of course Sirius wakes up to the drab walls of prison. I mean, when you're reading it, you're all caught up because you're like OMG this is the moment when he escapes! And the fact that he is still just rotting away in his cell, barely breathing, it's just so sad. I think you've done a good job with this transition.

I also love the metaphor you use about a lion running through London. I especially like it because of the symbolism of him being a Gryffindor, tearing through downtown London. That would be so frightening! But at the same time it would be much the way that I imagine Sirius running down the forest :P

Oh there's another word I like. "Boundless birds" genius.

I really enjoyed the detail of the plume of smoke that he can see from his window. Like just a hint of the outside world. It almost stands in for something you said earlier, something that makes him feel "human." Not that seeing smoke makes you feel human but almost like it was the reason for him to keep going, to know that eventually there would come a time where he could see something like that in person. Smoke gives him hope. It's such an interesting concept, and I really enjoyed the little exploration you did into that.

Ok, let's look at this heartbreaking little memory for Sirius. I love how he's like "Hagrid give him to me!" and Hagrid doesn't do it. IT's just so sad because I just think of how different Harry's life would be if he was raised by Sirius, you know? I like how Sirius originally thought Hagrid had a bundle of Lily and James' things and then JK IT'S HARRY!!! What a happish surprise! But again, reiterating just how very sad and broken Sirius is here, with all he's lost, and the fact that Harry can't come with him. It's so horrific and sad and you've done a brilliant job conveying that here.

Over all I think this is one of the best first stories I have ever read by any author ever! and you know that I read a lot of first stories :) You really have a talent for expressive description that doesn't go over the top. And again, I could gush about your word choice all day long. Perfect start to your writing career!!

I can't wait to read more from you!! :)

Author's Response: Ash!!

I really loved working on the imagery and word choice for this story so I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. I think picking the perfect adjective to help describe the scene in your story is really important, so I tried to focus on that in the beginning and really build up the setting Sirius was in.

It is so heartbreaking to watch Sirius sit in Azkaban and dreaming of the moment he will escape. Everyone always comments on how Sirius was able to remain sane in Azkaban after all those years, and the vividness of his dreams was a way for me to showcase his mental state and what he was doing to keep the dementors from destroying him.

I'm glad the transitions were improved! I tried to make the transition between the dream and present day more obvious by throwing in the 'lucid' comment, so hopefully that was successful.

I love that you mention the smoke! That's my favorite part of the story and really what ties the entire thing together. It's the smallest details in Sirius's surroundings that is giving him hope. I just love that it’s so simple.

Eep! Thank you for all of your kind compliments. You're too nice! You are such an amazing writer so it means a lot for you to say you enjoyed the story. Thank you for the review and for putting so much time into beta reading this for me!


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Review #19, by Jchrissy A Real Dark Night of The Soul

3rd March 2013:
I still can't get over how much I love the title you ended up going with. And the line you chose for the summary, perfect!

Alli! Your first story! Eeek! I'm so excited for you.

So many things really stood out at me in this story. One of them is that you managed to include a few different sort of time frames without it feeling choppy. I've read dreams written really poorly, mainly the part where it's time for the reader to 'wake' their character up. The style you used, the way you took it piece by piece to bring us back to the real world, was excellent. You took away the first thing you gave us in the story: the trees. You used them for your tool from the start to set our scene and draw us in, then when it was time to bring us back, you started blurring those. Then you took them completely away, and you ripped him from his mad dash for life and put him into an entirely new struggle for survival. One that is much more terrifying than being chased through the woods.

I loved that way that, just as he was beginning to lose the vivid mental creation his dream has made, you give him another vivid thing to dwell on, only this was so much worse. Actually telling us that the dementors were looming closer, showing us close in on them, was another really great choice because it gave the memory a smooth entrance. We know what he's reliving isn't happening this very second, but that doesn't make it any easier.

I loved, loved LOVED the way you compared Sirius's curse cracking through the tree to the way he felt, splitting open from the center. I think it would be really hard for a man like Sirius to deal with these kind of emotions. It isn't something he can walk away from, or something he can fix. But he tries, and the fact that he later in this story regrets that decision in this story was really powerful. Him trying to murder a man isn't right, but at the same time, how can you really blame him? I love that he fights for Harry, though. And again, Harry ends up being something he regrets most about his decision to go after Peter.

I'm so happy that you gave us that little fleck of hope through the smoke rising from the tower. I can't imagine what it would be like to feel the same torture, see the same walls, breath the same air day after day. But you did such a great job describing what those feelings, and making me just want to reach out and save Sirius from all the different hells he endures.

This was such a powerful one shot, Alli! I'm so happy you decided to post this. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Author's Response: Hi Jami!

I am SO happy with the title as well. I really think it fits the concept of the story perfectly, and I just couldn't resist sneaking a little piece of my Fitzgerald love in there. The choppiness of the time frames was something I was really worried about so I'm glad you thought the transitions went smoothly.

I'm glad you liked the dementor part of the story. The dementors are a huge part of life in Azkaban so I really felt it was important to feature them somewhere in the story. As Sirius is dealing with all of the emotions after finding his friends dead, I knew he would be a mix of angry and heartbroken. That mix of feelings is really where the cracking of the tree and splitting of his heart came from. When you experience something so traumatic like that you really need to release the pain, and Sirius sending the curse into the tree was the perfect way for him to do that.

I'm so happy you liked the rising smoke throughout the story. I've had that idea sitting in my head for a while now, and I was incredibly happy to feature it in this story. Thank you so much for your lovely review and for helping beta this story!


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Review #20, by accioHPFF A Real Dark Night of The Soul

3rd March 2013:

I really enjoyed reading this story and I can't believe it's your first story on the archives! I loved how you decided to write this, with the initial scene painting such a vivid image, only for it to be a figment of his imagination. Description was definitely a strong point of this story in my opinion. I think the images that you painted with this were so easy to imagine, and I can clearly see this story unfolding in my head.

I only spotted one mistake, a line in which it read "running lose". I think that it's supposed to be 'loose' but that was the only thing I picked up on, and it's being picky and minor. The grammar and syntax of the story was excellent, and generally the story flowed really well.

It was refreshing to read something that developed his thoughts from Azkaban and how he kept sane, especially the idea of being able to see the guard tower. I like the fact the fact that his longing for freedom is loosely connected to his innocence but that isn't the whole reason for his sanity. The idea of the land of the living and then Azkaban is also a really interesting concept, that amongst the Dementors and the other inmates, he feels as though he is almost in a land of the dead. I've never thought about it in that regard so much, but it's certainly an interesting viewpoint.

I really can't find much to comment on that's not so positive! I mean, you even managed to imitate Hagrid's speech, something which I find somewhat of an impossible task. Awesome job, and I hope to see something else appearing on your author page soon!

Author's Response: Hi Scott!

Thank you so much for being my first reviewer and saying you enjoyed the story! I'm glad the descriptions stuck out in the story as a strong point. I really tried to find a good balance between painting a vivid image and keeping the plot moving so I'm glad it worked. Also, thanks for pointing out that mistake! I will definitely go change that when I edit in my new banner.

I love that you pointed out that you liked the idea of Sirius's sanity being focused on him being able to view the guard tower. The idea of the smoke as a sign of life was where the entire idea for the story started from, and it worked itself out from there. I'm also glad you picked up on the emphasis on the dead feel of Azkaban which I tried to contrast with the dream and the lively forest.

All of your kind words mean the world to me! Thanks again for taking the time to review.


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