Reading Reviews for The Catalyst
8 Reviews Found

Review #1, by BookDinosaur The Catalyst

5th December 2013:
Hi Ash!

So I really enjoyed reading this. I think I might've read it before, but not left a review on it... Bad Emily. Anyways, I would honestly never have guessed this was your first time trying out first person POV, this was really well done!

You did an amazing job of characterising James here. And right now, my Jily feels are screaming at you for making James so obnoxious, so I'll get this out quickly. :P James really was a little obnoxious prat before sixth/seventh year, wasn't he? We don't see that side of him in FF often, but it's there, and you did a really good job of characterising that, so congratulations for capturing his voice so well! I loved reading this, really. We so often see Severus bitter and jealous over James trying to 'get' Lily, but it was really interesting to see it done the other way round, and it was really realistic as well. I like that James was completely aware of his good looks and his popularity, and he made full use of those assets.

It was quite sad, really, when James and Snape were arguing, that both of them were talking about Lily like she was just a thing, like she was a prize to be won or lost. Neither of them really seemed to like her as a person, and neither of them seemed to think she was a living person with feelings. I'm just surprised that Lily put up with Severus this long with him treating her like that.

I also really liked the little mention you threw in about James needing to live up to his parents' expectations - it reminded us that he wasn't just some perfect guy, even if that's the image he portrays - he's still young enough to be bossed around by his parents, haha!

Your writing style is amazing really, everything just flowed so well and it was all so smooth and really just a pleasure to read. It was all so polished and graceful. James really was a little obnoxious prat before sixth/seventh year, wasn't he? We don't see that side of him in FF often, but it's there, and you did a really good job of characterising that.

As you can probably tell, I really, really enjoyed reading this one-shot of yours, and I'm probably going to go off and stalk some more of your work obsessively now. Bye!

Author's Response: Emily!! Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start thank you SO much for this review I just don't even have words! I had no problems writing this because I have no Jily feels :P they are virtually non existent haha. I always saw so many stories that idolized James and I just thought wait. That is not what he was like when he was younger. Sure, he went through that transformative phase and Lily eventually fell for him, but starting out, things were not that way, and I think that people need to remember that.

Lily seems like a pretty levelheaded and reasonable character, so there really had to be a reason why she did not like him in the first place. So that's really what I set out to show. And as hard as it is for me, I also wanted to show that Snape is starting to turn a little here too. That was hard for me because Snily is my OTP :P But I also love canon so I can't ignore the fact that things were going down hill there too.

But you're right, they kind of fight over Lily like she is a prize to be won, and now I almost wish I had written another section in this where she comes back and is like, you both suck. Dammit. :P


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Review #2, by GinnyGryffindor The Catalyst

19th September 2013:
Awesome! Its just so... AWESOME! Also, are you going to continue with Brain Activity? Please do!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for this kind review!! :D I am going to continue it don't worry!

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Review #3, by Jchrissy The Catalyst

19th May 2013:
FINALLY. Hi Ash ♥ Iím going to try and erase me James mushy lovey feels and remind myself that this was back when he was a little brat. Hehe.

I love that you stared off sort of giving us a great look at where James stood. He realizes heís handsome, well liked, though maybe not as much as Sirius but itís clear that doesnít really bother him. And Iím melting over the description of Sirius.

ĎPerhaps not quite as desirable as my best friend, whose floppy dark hair and ignorant disposition give him that ďrebelĒ look, but I at least have the quidditch thing going for me.í

That could possible be my favorite part, but considering Iím still in the paragraph thereís a very good chance that could change. But who can resist a rebel? *Swoons over Sirius.*

We see a lot of Severus jealous of James stuff, and not as much of the other side. I think itís pretty clue through what we know of canon that James was jealous of Snape, at least of his relationship with Lily. And focusing on that widens the picture up so much. I wish I was sitting next to James so I could make fun of him for being so enamored, haha.

Their thoughts, James and Severus, are really similar in this. How we know Severus was often accusing James of paying attention to Lily just to make him angry. But here, itís James that suspects that of Severus. Poor Lily... with both of these boy obsessed she never had a chance, haha!

I also really like that this is taking place in the library with just James. Itís nice to see him studying, even if heís spending all his study time thinking about his hate for Severus and love for Lily, haha. But itís still a really natural place for the three of them to all be together, or at least near each other.

I really love the argument between Severus and James. Itís sad that neither of them realize that Lily is capable of making her own decisions, and that no matter what they think Lily will end up with and be friends with who she wants.

Most of Jamesís points are very true. He knows Lily isnít going to become what Severus strives for, that his desire for power and dark arts are too great and will eventually break them apart. But itís still sad to see such a conniving side of him. Someone needs to have his snack taken away :P

I really loved the more unique similes you had going through this. It was written in more of a formal tone, and that was so much fun to read. The way James kind of went on tangents of descriptions revolving around Severus seriously made me giggle. Creative mind, that boy has. And his author ;)

And first person point of view! You pulled it off really, really well - great - perfect. I feel like the biggest downfall of first person is a lot of people have trouble figuring out how to get descriptions in and paint a picture while keeping it natural. Being stuck in one head but still getting a picture of whatís going on isnít easy, and you did such an awesome job of it. I canít believe this was your first experience with it, because itís really, really awesome.

I also had a lot of fun reading the more snarky side of Lily. Not that she didnít have every right to be angry by how Severus spoke to her, but watching her take that anger out on James too made me giggle. Those red heads :P

This was really, really great Ash. Iím so sorry itís taken me so long to get here, but the writing was superb! LOVE YOU.

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Review #4, by FallenTruths The Catalyst

26th April 2013:
Hey Ash,

I'm excited to be reviewing this story so I can now officially gush about everything I love about it. It's hard to believe you've never written anything in first person before. Your writing always comes across as incredibly professional and well-seasoned, and this story was no exception.

First off, I love how arrogant you made James in this story. His personality seems to be spot on with what we see in the books in his interactions with the Marauders and Snape. You almost make him unlikeable in the sense that he seems very pompous, especially with his discussion of how all the girls fall for him. However, when James starts talking about staring at Lily and imagining spending time with her, we get to see a softer side to him like wanting to brush her arm gently or have meaningful conversations about classes. I liked this little glimpse of how James imagines his life with Lily because it makes it believable that James could better himself to be with Lily. It also suggests that Lily encourages James to be a better person.
You continued to show the great balance between James's arrogant side and the part of him that truly loved Lily. For example this line, "She can do with me what she wishes, whether that be scream, yell, or threaten. She's so absolutely perfect when she's threatening me" Seems to show that James just really wants to spend time with Lily. He doesn't care if she's yelling at her even. I also think it's common for guys to think it's attractive to see girls get a little angry and somewhat out of character, and I think that's something James would be attracted to as well.

I think you've really been able to pinpoint one of the causes of the strife between Snape and James in this story. James is clearly extremely jealous of Snape and thinks he is more deserving of Lily. He also thinks that Snape only wants to be with Lily to make James mad which seems very fitting. Since James is still very arrogant at this point in his life he seems to believe everything that happens revolves around him. When James briefly transfers his distaste for Snape to Lily I could see a bit of reflection of Snape's future behavior when he calls Lily a mudblood. I think one of the reasons Snape did that without thinking was probably that he had so much hatred built up for James that it transferred to Lily when he saw James and Lily together. Lily clearly doesn't refuses to put up with all this immature nonsense since you've written her with a bit of fire in her, which I love. The way that you had Lily reply to James with her feisty comment about James checking out Tatiyana was perfect.

Can we just talk about your wording choice for a moment as well as the incredibly rich descriptions? There are so many lines that I was just amazed by. First off "She is a goddess among commoners, and I am unabashedly an ardent worshipper," - this line is epic. This might be the best description of Snape I've ever heard - "A great oil spot on the pockmarked face of awkwardly forced evil." The little details you added in like this line, "I glance down at my charms text, the long, narrow calligraphy blending together in an unintelligible jumble of horrendous monotony," and this line, "His voice slices through my thoughts like a clumsy monkey holding a machete," and this one "His words are a cacophony in the nearly silent library," and finally this one, "Sirius appears beside me, his hair a wild nest of onyx curls," were all incredible. Your writing style made the entire story much deeper than most first person stories I've read that are typically very shallow in the sense that they only focus on dialogue and the main character telling us what is going on.

James thinking Lily is going to come back to him is so fitting, and I loved that it was Snape that had come to confront him instead. I'm glad to see Snape sticking up for himself to James since I donít think he would take all of the bullying that James inflicted on him. The way that James says he will always beat Snape makes it seem like Lily is still just a prize to James, and he really hasnít grown to appreciate her yet. "I am unstoppable, and he knows it." The arrogance he is showing, especially in front of Snape is perfect and probably reflects why Lily doesnít like him at this point.

This story was absolutely amazing, and possibly one of your best! I would love to see you write more in first person. I also thought your representation of the Lily-James-Snape love triangle was very enjoyable to read, and I would love to see how you see the relationship changing once Lily becomes closer to James.


Author's Response: HI ALLI. I know you left this review like a year ago but I am FINALLY responding to it!

Writing this story was important to me, because people so often focus their attention on how amazing James was in his late marauders days, how fabulous he was. And the thing is, in his 5th year and below, he really wasn't that fabulous. He was a JERK and people need to understand that.

I loved the part of the review where you said "James could better himself because of Lily" and that is so true. He has a soft spot for her, and I think maybe it's hormones or maybe he just doesn't know how to adequately express himself, but he comes off as such an arrogant jerk. But that was such a good observation!! :)

I think you made a number of good points about Snape in your review, during the whole "snape's worst memory" thing that happened, and the thing is, I think you're right. I don't think Snape would have ever really done that, had he fully been aware of what was going on. AS it was he was hanging upside down in front of the whole school...I've written a lovely editorial for all that on the forums not too long ago :P,

So, you've quoted all those lines up there, and since it's been so long since I wrote this story, when I read it back it doesn't even seem like my writing. I can't believe I wrote half those things! I can't even believe I can take credit for them? Hahaha but thank you so much. I think my writing has gotten worse because I don't even think I can do that anymore hahaha. But thank you Alli you are too sweet,

I'm glad you liked this story so much Alli, and I'm so pleased you reviewed it. I'm sorry it took me nearly a year to respond to it but it was such a beautiful review I didn't know what to say in response to it!! I don't know if I'll write again in first person anytime soon, but I do appreciate all your comments! you're awesome :)

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Review #5, by Lululuna The Catalyst

23rd April 2013:
Hello, here for your requested review!!! :)

Okay, first of all I am really glad you requested this because I really loved it. Your writing style is very graceful, and no word is out of place. You have a lovely clarity as a writer, I'm very impressed! :) Also, the first person fit flawlessly with this story, and I think it was certainly a good choice. I think this story would not be as amazing as it is were it written in third person, because this way you really got into James' head and extracted the thoughts in this short but poignant scene.

I think it's so important to show the other side in stories like these: James is so often portrayed as this perfect, noble specimen, but I think that your portrayal is spot on. He was arrogant, unreasonable, and a bully. He's very possessive over Lily, and I got the sense that part of the reason he wants her so bad is simply because Snape wants her as well. Even the line "she will be mine" shows how shallow James really is here. James and Sirius don't question if Snape really deserves to be picked on, they find it natural to bully him and the other Slytherins, which is unexpected but I think very believable.

The setting of the scene was also very strong: that typical Hogwarts scene of observing other people in the library was really well captured, and I could really see the Hogwarts library in my mind through your subtle descriptions. You do a good job of having the characters interact with the setting, not just exist within it, if that makes sense! :)

James was so well characterized, and very amusing. He's so dramatic and his language is very flowery and over the top, which I adore, and he really comes across as being a spoiled little jerk. However, the best descriptions were James' reflections on Snape, which I think embodied both his James' character and how Snape is reflected through his lens of prejudice.For example: "Snivellus is still glued to her side like a virus during the day. That is, as long as he isn't leering at other students like a creepy circus clown." These descriptions are so vivid and strong!

Oh, and I also enjoyed the subtle hints of the war brewing beyond Hogwarts, such as Lily's mention of Severus' absences from class, which implied to me that he might have been meeting with the Death Eaters.

I also really liked the reference to the Half Blood Prince's notes with crushing the root. However, I thought it would be cool if maybe Severus had been insisting on grinding the root, but Lily had said to crush it? Then it would be as if Severus put Lily's notes in the books for Harry to unknowingly use and discover later... just a thought though, I could have all those little details completely wrong :P

Okay, enough gushing. As you can tell I really enjoyed this one-shot, and am looking forward to reading some of your other work :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much Luna! I really appreciate you taking the time out to come and read my story!

First of all, thank you for your comments on the first person and James' thoughts. I feel like that was an area that I would struggle with, so your comments were really helpful and sweet.

Ah! yes! James is very shallow, that is a perfect way to describe him and exactly what I was going for. He is not the perfect angel that he is often portrayed as, at least not in his younger years, and it was so incredibly important for me to show that!

Ugh, thank you so much for your comments on my writing too. Seriously, they mean so much to me because I've really been doubting myself lately, and this has really helped kind of bring back my faith in myself.

You know what, I really like your suggestion up there, about Lily suggesting something that goes in the book. That's actually so cool, and not something that had even occurred to me. Yours is better than mine!!

Oh thank you so much seriously. I know you'll probably never read this because it took me over 6 months to respond, but it really does mean a lot.

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Review #6, by Drummergirlred The Catalyst

23rd April 2013:
This is the first story I've read in MONTHS. Since you've been pimping it I wanted to stop by for the read. I AM SO GLAD I did. This is brilliant. I totally get wanting to put James in the bully mind set because after all he was.
Your word choice is fantastic. You have a great gift for which I'm jealous. You always seem to make your characters sound so 'smart' and it's done flawlessly.
I don't know if you have any recording plans for this but even though I'm a girl I'd LOVE to record this, but if some has called dibs that's cool too. It'll make a great podcast too!
I think this was well worth the long wait. I hope you write more first person because I think your style really matches well with first person.

Author's Response: Awww I'm so glad you stopped by to read this story. I really enjoyed writing it! You are so so kind in your review haha. I don't even know what to say! When you left this review, I had already had it recorded by Maz :P But thank you so much, I can't believe you liked my first person narrative, sometimes I still have a hard time reading it, but this review really meant a lot to me so thank you!

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Review #7, by patronus_charm The Catalyst

22nd April 2013:
Ah this is the one-shot you were talking about, how exciting :D

Iím not sure how I lasted the whole one-shot with the way the first line cracked me up. It was just so James, and ah god, it was perfect. Then the way he started about the way all the girls threw themselves at him, it was so James. I canít cope, I am laughing way too much, and Iím barely passed the first paragraph. Ok I can do this!

Everyone thinks that Snapeís the weirdo obsessing over Lily like that, but if anyoneís being committed it should be James. I get that she may be good looking, but goddess, come on! I feel sorry for her having to put up with both of them being like that, it canít have been easy.

Did the head of Slytherin really write this? Ďthe morons have been and always will be the Slytherins. The house as a whole is completely rotten,í even though it must have been hard for you, it was still great and fitted Jamesí character. Iím assuming itís around fifth year with his thoughts of Lily being like that, and his views on Slytherins. I would like to think he didnít think they were that bad in the end. Oops should have carried on reading as it mentioned owls coming up soonÖ.

I really loved that scene between Snape and James, ah those guys are so obsessive over her. This is the problem of being both a James/Lily and Snape/Lily fan, I didnít know who to cheer for. I guess it should be Snape as James gets her in the end, so he deserves some love.

That was brilliant Ashley, and I will definitely be checking more of your work out :D And if this was your first attempt at first person POV, it was great!


Author's Response: Hello! I am so excited to see you!! Thank you so much for reviewing my story!

I know, I had such a blast writing the first bit because it was literally just so comical. To think that James is sitting there thinking so much of himself, yet I truly believe it is canon. I Really do think that James, at least when he was younger, thought that he thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and everyone around him played into his hands. He viewed Lily as a challenge when he was younger, so writing that was really fun.

I know I said some terrible things about Slytherin :( it makes me sad inside.

Writing the things between Snape and James was just so thrilling for me. That part of the story flowed so quickly, I couldn't believe how quickly I wrote it. As an avid Severus/Lily shipper, it was very difficult for me to kind of venture into this part of his head, because I truly believe that Snape was mistreated, and the bullying of James and Sirius kind of pushed him further toward Slytherin and evil, even with Lily's friendship. That's why I called it the Catalyst, since I think he just served to make that transition happen quicker.

I am so very glad that you stopped by to read my story, I'm touched that you enjoyed it. Thank you so so much!! :)


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Review #8, by TheHeirOfSlytherin The Catalyst

21st April 2013:
Hey, Ashley!

I was so excited when I saw this story, to read a story about James bullying Snape from you was... different.

The things he says about Slytherin... :O It sounds like James at 15/16, I loved seeing this interpretation, that he wasn't always the loving, caring husband and father, but selfish and greedy, wanting what's his. Arrogance comes with James and I think you wrote it awesomely, especially with the speech he gives to Snape.

This was a great one-shot, Ashley. I enjoyed every moment of it!


Author's Response: Sam!

Oh thank you so much for coming to review my story, I really appreciate it very much.

I know he says such terrible things about Slytherin it was so hard to write it :( you know I don't think those things, you know I don't!!

It was really important for me to show this side of James because I truly feel like it is over looked quite often, and he was quite a cocky jerk before he came to his senses, and I hate that fanfiction ignores that some times.

Thank you again so much, I genuinely appreciate your thoughts!

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