Reading Reviews for A Beacon of Light
  
5 Reviews Found

Review #1, by nott theodore It is Gone

13th November 2014:
Hi, Pheonix! (I don't know your name so Pheonix it shall have to be!)

Here's the NaNo fairy, spreading some much needed encouragement around HPFF! :P Don't worry about getting behind on your word count, there's still over half a month left and every little helps!

I really enjoyed this story - I thought it was a very original plot as well. I've not seen any stories set during this period and, even though it was for a challenge, I thought you did a really good job of capturing the period that it was set in.

Choosing to write from the perspective of a Muggle-born witch was really effective for that, I think, as her family would have been more obviously hit by the depression than a magical family might be, especially considering that they have different money and stuff. I thought you did a really nice job of building up the glamour and decadence that the protagonist grew up in - it reminded me a lot of Gatsby, although of course seeing the era from a child's perspective she doesn't have quite the same experiences! But I also really liked the way that having built that up, the protagonist was so used to being surrounded by all this wealth and splendour that she couldn't stomach the thought of not having everything she'd always known. I think that showed really well how young she is and the fact she really doesn't understand what's going on - to her, she's always had these things, so she should continue to have them.

You did a fantastic job of painting how bleak this period was for some people. The beginning really contrasted with the descriptions of what the girl's life had been like before, with the dirt and grime and poverty juxtaposed with the resplendent family. I thought that worked very effectively to show the changes in her circumstances and built up a real feeling of empathy with the protagonist.

For your first attempt using first person in a story, I think you did a really good job! You drew the reader into the narrative well, and I felt a lot more empathy with your protagonist because of that. She was so young to go through something like this and I feel like the injustice really sings out through this piece. She's started off not understanding and her reactions showed that, but the voice of the girl that's telling the story is much older and more hardened to the world and what goes on in it, I think.

I'm also really interested in your protagonist, Edith! (I just realised that I forgot to use her name throughout this review because it's not used much in the story, oops!) The imagery of the light going out for her when she had to leave Salem was really sad, although I really hope that things started looking up for her when she moves to England and finds herself at Hogwarts! I'd be really interested to see more about this character, maybe even tying her in a little more to canon so that we could fit her in with characters who were at school at this time, maybe?

This was a really enjoyable story, and I wanted to say good luck with your NaNo! You can do it! :D

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hello! You can just call me Pheonix if you'd like. Or Phoenix, if you'd like the word to be spelled right. :) I'll pretend that when I created my account I purposely spelled "phoenix" wrong... yeah, totally... *blushes*

NaNo fairy! That's a brilliant title!

And I'm only 2K behind right now, which is pretty good (Hooray!) so I'll respond to this now.

Yes, I wasn't sure whether wizards would be affected by the depression but I figured that muggle-borns definitely would, so I did it from the point of view of a muggle-born.

I've actually never read Gatsby before, but I've heard a lot about it.

I've used first person a lot of times since this, but this was my very first attempt! Of course, it was simple since i'd read first person frequently, so it wasn't a big change.

I had to slip Edith's name in the story somehow without saying "Hi, my name is Edith" because that would be a terribly boring opener. That's one thing that is annoying about first person.

What canon character was at Hogwarts in the 1930s? I think Dumbledore was out by then, and I don't think Voldemort is early enough... hmmm.

Thank you so much for this sweet review, NaNo Fairy (AKA Sian)! :)


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Review #2, by sarcastic elephant It is Gone

12th November 2013:
Vivid descriptions, good use of words, and I like how the magic is just taken for granted.

Author's Response: Thank You! I'm glad you like it.

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #3, by marauderfan It is Gone

15th July 2013:
Hello! This was a really cool one-shot. You captured the despair of a formerly wealthy family during the Depression really well. It's nice that the wizarding world uses different money and is able to not be drawn into the Muggles' Depression as well ;) I would have liked to see what the Salem Witches institute was like (but I suppose since it's for the decades challenge, maybe the escape into the wizarding world doesn't showcase the 1930s as well.) I liked that you wrote it from the POV of a Muggle born, so the comparison is really evident between the Muggle and wizard worlds in the time of the Depression. All in all a really great piece and you did very well with the historical aspect! Nice work!

Author's Response: Sorry it's taken so long to get around to answering this. I'm STILL trying to catch up on everything I neglected during the house cup!

Yeah, I think Salem is cool, but I didn't want the entire story to focus on that.

I wanted to make it obvious that it was from the 1930s, so I did it from a muggle-born perspective for that reason. No matter how much J.K. Rowling reveals, we will always be more knowledgeable about muggles than wizards.

Thanks for the lovely review!



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Review #4, by gingersnape It is Gone

15th July 2013:
This was a really great one-shot! You write description so well - the emptiness seemed to echo through the whole piece after you set it up so well. The relationship she had with her mother came across really well through her thought process and added a sense of accuracy within the story, since it seemed fitting of the 1930s? Even without much background about the Salem Wishes Institute since it doesn't come up very often in fanfic, I really felt like I got to know the school through her good memories, however brief. I would really like to read about how her reaction to going to Hogwarts would change after she went there - having this as a one-shot left me really wanting more! As a one-shot however, I thought this definitely showcased the period well and gave me a great view into your character's life without weighing the story down with background information - her reaction stands on its own and made for a great read! It all flowed together beautifully and I didn't notice any spelling or grammar problems. This was a treat!
Annie

Author's Response: Sorry it's taken so long to respond. Even though the house cup finished up a few weeks ago, I'm still trying to catch up on everything.

Yup, the story was for the 1930s! I tried to make it obvious it was from that time.

This was a really sweet review! You made me blush just reading it.

Sorry, this is just a one-shot. To be honest, I haven't even thought about her reaction when she gets to Hogwarts!

Thanks so much for the review!


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Review #5, by MargaretLane It is Gone

17th June 2013:
Really like the beginning of this story. You write description well. I don't, not physical description, I mean.

And the Great Depression. An interesting era to write about. It doesn't tend to be as big an issue in Irish history, not because the 30s weren't an era of great economic hardship here. They certainly were. But the 20s weren't much better. Or the 40s. And the 50s might have even been worse. *laughs* It's probably easier list the eras Ireland ISN'T in recession. The 60s and from the late 90s until mid-2008. That's about it, really.

I like your use of words like "parlour" which kind of give a sense of the era.

I also like the use of American terms like "grade". Some writers have all magical schools use Hogwarts' terms, but since that seems to be based on British Muggle schools, I'd imagine schools in other countries would be based on their systems.

And ONLY a few hundred students!? *cracks up* Here the average size of a secondary would be 300-400 students. 600 is considered large.

*laughs at witchcraft being considered great evil*

Towards the end of the chapter you've written that Salem was in America and she was to live in Boston. I imagine that should be Britain.

I'm kind of sorry this is only a one-shot. I'd like to see what happens when she moves to Britain. They were fairly badly hit by the depression too and then there was World War II and the Blitz. I'm not sure exactly when we are at the end, but if she was 8 at the time of the crash and she's now 14, it's probably around 1935, so war is only about 4 years away. Just realised I'm not entirely sure when things began to improve in Britain. Other countries tend to get out of recessions a good deal more quickly than we do.

I'd also like to see what she makes of Hogwarts and how it compares with Salem

Author's Response: Thanks for the comment on description. I used to never be able to describe things well, since I have a terrible vocabulary, but I am getting better. There are some authors though, like J.R.R. Tolkien, who gives 5 page descriptions of things and it makes me want to bash my head out.

The Great Depression is interesting, so I was glad I got that Era. I just enjoy history as a hobby, and I also like historical fiction, so I pulled most of the knowledge from that. I'm glad I knew enough, even though I know more about the 1800s.

I thought it would make more sense to use terms like "grades" instead of "years". Being on the American side of the pond, I didn't even know there was a different term until I read Harry Potter (I really lack in foreign knowledge).

I know a few hundred seems like a lot, but Hogwars does have 1000 students. Also, Salem serves a much larger area than most schools.

*Smacks self in head*. Mistakes like that are so much harder to catch than things like spelling errors.

I know nothing about British history. I don't even know major wars.I know they had a depression as well, of course, but I have no idea how bad it was. That's why I decided to have this set in America.

Sorry, it's only a one-shot, but that's all I was willing to write! She'll adjust eventually though.


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