Reading Reviews for Equilibrium
14 Reviews Found

Review #1, by marauderfan The Girl In The Fireplace

12th July 2014:
Wow, what a chapter! I'm not sure what I expected Eileen or Tobias to be like, but it certainly wasn't this. You've got a very original characterisation here for all of your characters. I felt so bad for Eileen in the beginning with her father dictating her life for her - but of course she's just as stubborn as he is so I was glad she stood up to him and eventually got her way!

I'm not sure why but I didn't expect her to be such a Muggle-hater. I mean, she does eventually end up marrying Tobias. I like the combination of pureblood elitism and being completely skint, because often the pureblood elitism usually goes with wealthy characters! It was a nice change. Also it was a really cool way to weave the war into the story, as that was such an important event that it would make sense that it was important even in the lives of wizards.

The conversation between Eileen and Tobias was really interesting - quite the clash in personalities. I can see similarities in the way Tobias acts with the way his son acts much later. Fantastic work on this chapter!

House Cup Review 2014!

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Review #2, by marauderfan Prologue

12th July 2014:
Isobel! I remember this story won Featured Story ages ago and I meant to read it then and never had the time. So I'm glad to have the time now to sit down and read this because I've heard such good things about it!

You have a lovely, effortless writing style. I love the use of second and first person together, it's perfect since Eileen will be telling her story to someone sitting across from her. I wonder who the writer is that she's talking to?

I also really love how this is set in the future and looking back into the past, I think that the nostalgia of memories and looking back always adds such a neat tone to stories and that's already evident in here, as Eileen reminisces about the important people in her life and about how cafes used to be, back in the day. I like the idea that someone wrote a biography of Severus Snape - and that it was mostly factual, discrediting whatever rubbish our favourite Rita Skeeter might have written :p

It's rare to find Tobias/Eileen stories out there so I am really eager to see where you go with this!

House Cup 2014 Review - Go Hufflepuff!! :D

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Review #3, by MuNition Prologue

30th June 2014:
Great hook, and I really love me a good origin story... still not enough written for a bowl of popcorn (I read fast and don't eat popcorn), but this has definitely piqued my interest

Author's Response: Ooh, thanks for that! I'm not entirely sure what relevance popcorn has to this chapter, but nevertheless, it's great to hear that your interest has been piqued! Thank you for reviewing!

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Review #4, by MrsJaydeMalfoy Night Terrors

8th April 2014:
*Gasps* Dun dun DUN!! :O What a clyffie!

I really enjoyed this chapter, because I feel that we got to see a whole other side of both Tobias and Eileen, and I definitely felt that some sort of attraction, even if it's only a small one, is starting to form between them.

I was really interested in Tobias' fear, when his father shows none. And the fact that he's telling Eileen the truth, even though it might not be in his best interest. I think it says a lot about his character and it's got me wanting to learn more about him.

And, of course, now I'm curious as to what the Snapes want with Eileen's magic! Another fabulous chapter and I definitely can't wait for the next, dear!!

Author's Response: I love cliffhangers >:D

I'm really happy that you picked up on the attraction between Eileen and Tobias in this chapter! When I was writing it, I was trying to keep it quite subtle because they still do largely dislike each other at the moment, and yet I was also worried it might be /too/ subtle.

Tobias' father, I think, is much like Eileen's. He's very convinced that he's always right, and I think that unlike his wife and son, he tried so hard to fit into upper-class society and shed his working-class background that he also lost a little of his respect, for himself and others. I'll definitely be expanding upon that in future chapters, if all goes to plan. And that is super, because this story, despite being narrated by Eileen, is still Tobias' tale.

Hehe, it certainly does sound ominous, doesn't it? ;) Chapter three will be up sometime in May! ^.^

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Review #5, by MrsJaydeMalfoy The Girl In The Fireplace

8th April 2014:
Whew! Eileen certainly is a handful, isn't she? :P She certainly is a complex character. On one hand, I found myself rooting for her in the argument with her father - I thought it was awesome that she was standing up to him like that!

But then, on the other hand, she says something about how Tobias is beneath her because he's a muggle, so that kind of counter-acted it. Haha!

I really like the way you've got their 'relationship' set up right now, and I can't wait to see where things go from here.

And also, let me just say that this is the first Eileen/Tobias fic I have ever read, so HUGE kudos to you for originality! :)

Great chapter, dear!

Author's Response: Eileen is definitely complex and contradictory! She's so much fun to write for those reasons -- for her dysfunctional relationship with her father, and yet she's more like him than she believes. Her attitude towards Tobias epitomizes everything she was brought up to believe, and yet with her behaviour towards her father, she's going against her beliefs. So it's very fun to write her :P

Haha, thank you! I find that quite a few people seem to think that Eileen was a rich girl who ran away to marry Tobias, the poor Muggle (much like Andromeda and Ted) and I wanted to flip that and have them in the opposite situation, because immediately that makes their situations more complex and interesting. And thank you so much -- I'm only aware of one other Eileen/Tobias WIP at the moment, so they do seem to be an under-written ship, which I think is quite a shame. :(

And once again, thank you so much! :)

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Review #6, by MrsJaydeMalfoy Prologue

8th April 2014:
Hi there, Isobel!

First off, let me congratulate you on winning Featured Story! :)

This is really an intriguing first chapter, dear. Right from the very beginning, you've got me hooked. You've provided a lot of information, without it seeming rushed, but you've also raised enough questions to make me determined to read more. And the description is absolutely amazing!

The thing I like most about this chapter is its conversational quality... if that makes any sense. You really have placed us in Eileen's head here; we're pretty much hearing her thoughts and I think that's an amazing touch!

I am so curious as to what Eileen wants to tell about Tobias, and also, WHO is this author?? Well, I suppose only time will tell! :)

Great chapter, dear!

Author's Response: Hello, Jayde!

Thank you so much! I'm so pleased to have won!

Ooooh, thank you so much! I'm glad the information flow didn't seem rushed to you, since there is quite a lot to include (as well as hints and foreshadowing of future events or in the case of this prologue, past).

Ah! Thank you so much! I'm afraid I can't take /all/ of the credit, though, since this prologue was inspired by teh tarik's narration in her one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, which I definitely reccomend.

Indeed, those questions will be answered as this novel unfolds. Only time will tell, definitely! :)

Thank you so much!

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Review #7, by toomanycurls The Girl In The Fireplace

21st February 2014:
I really just spent 5 minutes staring at your awesome CI.

I felt like I was reading a scene from my own life with the arguement between Eileen and her father. Everything from the way she insisted that being of age meant she should have freedom of choice to their battle of wills resonated quite a bit as an argument that teenagers have with their parents.

You've explained something in this chapter that I've wondered for a long time - why Eileen married Tobias in the first place as they clearly did not get along well in Snape's memories. I was at first confused by their marriage being arranged, as the books strongly hint that he was a muggle born, but you tied it together wonderfully with the explanation that his father had been a squib.

I'm fascinated by the idea of wizards investing in muggle businesses. of course WWII would have been horrible for businesses that could not convert to a wartime product line. I was surprised how Eileen was rather chill with the idea that they'd just poison Tobias after a few years.

Her visit to see Tobias was incredible! I love the disdain they have for one another. I feel like if either of them gave just a little there could be something nice and genuine going on there. His crisp behavior reminds me so much of Snape without being *just* like Snape. :) haha, I had to re-read what Tobias said to catch his language. :D I quite liked their bickering about calling Eileen princess. I really love how you've written her. So brash and yet old fashioned.

It is nice that she at least feels he's attractive enough to catch her eye. I'd hate for their relationship to be dislike all around.

Excellent chapter!


Author's Response: Woah, thanks so much! Ande is definitely a genius :D

Hehe, thanks! I actually used inspiration from arguments I had IRL for this one, although I changed the reactions to fit Leopold and Eileen's characterizations. I'm really pleased that you were able to relate to her, though -- her attitude problem and unusual situation are very far removed from normal people's lives, so it's great that regardless of that you could connect with the character! :)

Hehe, thank you! I do have an explanation for the reason Tobias behaves the way he does in later years, particularly in the flashback scene that we see in OotP, which will come in later chapters. Furthermore, I'm convinced that Eileen and Tobias married, maybe for love but definitely for like -- obviously, that isn't shown at this stage of the plot because they've only /just/ met -- I don't think Eileen would have abandoned everything for Tobias without a very good reason.

Obviously, with regard to the pure-blood elite, it would be difficult to invest in most companies. Investing in them would strongly hint that the investor approved of the business employing Muggle-borns and such, even though really it's mainly about the fact the business is making good money (with the obvious exception of angel investors, of course) and that would put the investor and his family in a bad light. There really don't seem to be many businesses that cater exclusively to pure-bloods -- I can think of only two from the books, Borgin and Burke's, which don't seem to need investors / make huge amounts, and Twilfit and Tattings (a dressmaker the Malfoys frequent) -- so competition to invest would be fierce. I think for people like Eileen's dad, the only options would be to a) invest in a magical company that supports Muggle-borns on the quiet, or b) invest in a Muggle company on the quiet. To Leopold, the latter would sound like a better option, as there's less risk of his secret getting out -- but what he ought to have done was kept an eye on the Muggle economy, because he'd have learnt about the upcoming war and been able to prepare for it even before it started. And that was a really long analysis, whoops :P

Oooh, thank you! I feel like Tobias and Eileen are more similar than they'd believe -- both are firm supporters of what they believe in, possess an overinflated sense of pride in themselves, and are reluctant to explore the possibilities of other lifestyles. They remains me of that saying -- when things are good, life's the best and when things are bad, it's the worst. I'm pleased you're enjoying Eileen at the moment -- she'll change eventually, to become the person in the prologue in later years, but right now she's Little Miss Hoity Toity and Tobias is Mr My-Way-Or-The-Highway and it's so much fun writing them both.

And yes, I didn't want them to /completely/ hate each other. They do get married eventually, after all :P Having something about Tobias that Eileen likes, and vice versa, is a foundation of sorts that can lead to other things they like about each other that they didn't initially realize and it's good to have a foundation -- even if it's based solely on looks :P

Thank you! ♥


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Review #8, by toomanycurls Prologue

21st February 2014:

One, I love that you dedicate stories to your friends. :) That's the sweetest thing ever. Two, I am so excited to read a story about Tobias Snape!

Your writing is beautiful. It flows and creates such wonderful images without being forceful or blunt. You cover so much content very fast but do it in a way that feels at ease and not rushed at all. I love that the 'you' in this story already wrote about Snape and that Eileen is hoping to have more added to the book. Eileen having cancer is a heartbreaking detail to put in the story.

Dog-earing pages is quite controversial. When I joke about doing my husband looks like I said I was going to hurt one of the cats.

I think I know what your favorite pens are! :D

Brilliant start!


Author's Response: Hi Rose!

Haha, thank you! They started off as Christmas gift one-shots that spiralled out into longer works :P My friends are incredibly lovely, so I thought they deserved presents! And ooh, I'm glad Tobias' tale is intriguing you to want to read on!

Awww, thank you so much! The style of narration I used in this prologue was inspired by the fabulous teh tarik and her one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire (a must-read) but nevertheless, I'm pleased you felt that I pulled it off. As for the cancer, I felt that Eileen wouldn't be too worried about telling Tobias' story if she wasn't faced with the prospect of her days being numbered, and I thought that since it's touched us all in some way or other, cancer would be more fitting than some convoluted, made-up wizarding disease that would detract from the story because I'd have to go off on a tangent to describe it.

LOL! I'm in the no-dog-earing-pages camp, but at the same time, my books aren't exactly in pristine condition. Your description of your husband sounds quite fun -- would you mind if I used it in a future chapter? With credit, of course! :)

Thank you for such a lovely review! :D


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Review #9, by writeyourheartout Prologue

10th February 2014:
Isobel! Hi! And also ugh! It's so good! I don't even know where to start!

*organizes sporadic thoughts*

Okay, first of all, I just adore the style you've chosen to write this in. It's immediately captivating and unique and feels quite mysterious even from the very first line, which is almost odd considering you're mostly talking about coffee at the start... And yet I'm all like 'WHO DAT?' about this cafe girl! The way you speak about her and the descriptions and details that piece her together have me so curious to find out who she is! I love that! And sort of hate it cause I want to know things... but LOVE!

Speaking of, I was actually going to start up a big monologue of pestering along the lines of, "WHO'S THE GIRL WRITING THE BOOK?" but as I was sifting through previous reviews to see what TenthWeasley might have said (cause after that dedication, I just had to see her response) and it seems to actually be Rachel herself that is the girl in the cafe with the coffee and the book and the Snape obsession - which totally makes sense now that I think about it. hehehe I just adore the way she was described; in particular the comment about dog-earing her precious book! LOL Not only did you paint a really clear picture of who this woman was without actually telling us who is she is directly, but you also snuck in some humor, which I always love to see lightly sprinkled throughout darker stories; it adds a really special element, in my opinion.

"Your blonde hair is tied in a ponytail, although a few stray wisps have gotten loose; one of them is millimetres away from your coffee and is curling as the steam emitting from the hot liquid heats it, but you appear to be so engrossed in your book that you haven't noticed." - This line is so great; I love the small details that piece 'the girl' together for us little by little. The description in the opening paragraph is to die for.

The plot, though only just touched upon thus far, is already so intriguing. To be honest, I have no idea where this is going, other than to the telling of Tobias Snape and his story, but you've set it up so that the only thing we know about him is that his story deserves to be told, and that alone is enough to have me desperately curious about exactly why it is that his story deserves to be told! I want to point out that this is particularly impressive because I don't generally gravitate towards Snape-esque stories, and even then, I don't think I've ever spared a second thought about Tobias. In fact - and don't tell anyone I'm admitting to this - but I had to look up who exactly Tobias was before I started reading. Seriously, he's never been a character I've particularly cared to learn more about, but this story, this prologue, has completely turned that around. I cannot wait to find out more about your version of Tobias Snape.

My knowledge of Eileen is about the same. I remembered who she was, at least, but never really spared much thought outside of what's spoken about her in the books; yet you've crafted her so well here, as if she hadn't simply had only a brief appearance in canon. You speak through her with this level of understanding and wisdom that, as a person much younger than Eileen, doesn't even seem quite possible. Perhaps you are simply an old soul? Regardless, the voice you've given her is just stunning. She feels like this perfect combination of gentle and fragile, but still strong and determined, which is exactly what I might expect from a mother who was beaten to the grave by her son.

I love this line: "It's ironic, isn't it, that of all the diseases a pure-blood witch could suffer from, I'm recovering from a Muggle illness I happen to share a star sign with?" Beautifully phrased.

What I also love about your choice to give a pure-blood witch a Muggle disease - and this is something that's totally subjective to me but that I'm going to mention anyway because I want to - is that it's a reflection of the personal canons we make for ourselves and how differing they can be from other HP fanfiction authors. What I mean is that in my own personal canon, I've decided that Muggles cannot get Wizarding diseases and pure-bloods cannot get Muggle diseases, but half-bloods are exposed and prone to both. Because of that, I think it's seriously unique from my point of view to see Eileen suffering in this way, and that it's just so beautiful and tragic an idea. I simply love the choice.

"When I suggest simply turning the corner of the page to mark your place, your head jerks up abruptly and you're looking at me as if I've just confessed to harbouring a secret desire to resurrect Voldemort..." hahaha I had to bring it up again; it's just that good.

It's a phenomenal beginning, Isobel. You're an author who knows her way around words and doesn't dare throw stray ones around; each serves a purpose and that's what makes your writing so exceptional. I'm so ridiculously intrigued by what the following chapter(s) of this story will hold because I know that based on how fantastically executed Eileen was, Tobias and his story are going to be just as - if not more - captivating. Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later to leave my next review on chapter two, but either way I definitely plan on reading it right now, cause I simply cannot wait! Just don't tell my boss, yeah? ;)

This is so great. Yay!
Tanya :)

Author's Response: Hi Tanya! That is quite a long essay you've written, and I just want you to know that I appreciate every word. (I'm also hoping that there isn't a review response character limit, haha!)

I'm so, so pleased that you like the style of this prologue! I'm definitely writing the interludes (where we go back to the present) and the epilogue in the same way, because all the lovely feedback is fabulous to hear. I'm afraid I can't take credit for the style, though; it was inspired by teh tarik's one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, which I definitely recommend.

I'm also really pleased that you enjoyed the balance of information I gave out and withheld with regard to that cafe girl. You're absolutely correct in your guess that she's inspired by Rachel - since this is Rachel's story, I wanted to give her a connection to the story and really tailor it to her, so I created a fictional character based off of some of her traits. Now you understand why there's so much coffee in this chapter ;) I will give you a little spoiler though - as if you don't already have enough - and say that this cafe girl has more to her than meets the eye. ;)

I'm glad you like the humour that I included! When I was a little girl, my grandma's OAP club used to organize day trips, and my mum and I used to go on those too. Often, I was the only child around, so I chatted often with the pensioners and I drew on my memories to create an elderly Eileen, who's clinging to the past in a changing world, and who's sorely missing the good old traditions of the past.

Hehehehe. My headcanon about Tobias is intertwined with a lot of spoilers, which is why I've sent that info through PM. However, I'm so pleased that my writing has made you want to know more about a particularly obscure character in canon, especially one you had to Google! :P As someone who likes a well-written Severus, I can tell you that often, Tobias is alluded to as an unpleasant man who isn't particularly nice to his wife and son, and I wanted to put a whole new spin on that.

This also applies to Eileen, who doesn't seem to get much attention in fanfic (I can only think of one novel about her right now) and again, I wanted to change that. I laughed when you called me an old soul; the explanation for that is above. Clearly, spending time with pensioners turns you into a very youthful-looking pensioner :P I'm really excited that you're enjoying her voice, because that's one of the things I enjoy most about writing this story. (It also probably explains why this was originally a one-shot and expanded into a novella, haha!)

Oooh, I'm going to share some of my headcanon with you, too! Basically, a Muggle-born child pre-Hogwarts would be susceptible to Muggle illnesses but not magical ones, because they don't practice their magic deliberately (Lily Evans was an exception). Once they're at Hogwarts, when they're practicing magic, they /can/ be vulnerable to magical diseases. With a Squib, it's vice-versa - growing up, they're surrounded by magic so they're susceptible to magical illnesses, but when they try to build a life in the Muggle world and leave their families, they risk contracting Muggle diseases. Using this theory, Eileen, although a pure-blood witch, hasn't been using magic for decades now, and has been living as a Muggle away from magic in general. I hope that makes sense, but regardless, I’m insanely happy that you love the choice! :D

OMG YES. It was actually an educated guess that Rachel would react in that way; I didn't realize until she said so in her review! I just knew she loved books and was blonde, and expanded that into a character :P

Thank you so much, Tanya! I'm so grateful for this absolutely lovely review, and I can't imagine how long it took you to write - especially at work! I look forward to your chapter two with eager anticipation (and chapter four of Lying Josephine ;)) and I'm so pleased that you're enjoying this story so much; I hope you continue to!

-Isobel ♥

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Review #10, by teh tarik The Girl In The Fireplace

26th January 2014:
Isobel! Hellooo! Finally got down to reading this newest chapter of yours and I'm loving how you portrayed Eileen! Waah, she's got so much fire in her; she's absolutely relentless and hell-bent on winning - winning over her father, or over Tobias Snape. It was incredibly satisfying to read about a girl who has been thrown into such unfavourable circumstances, and yet manages to wrest some form of control over the situation. I love how active she is!

Tobias on the other hand was such a surprise! He's casual, bored almost, a bit flirty and quite smooth really. Completely different to what I expected, which is great. Bahaha! I'm imagining him yelping and running from the room to fetch his gun and point it at Eileen. And watching her come down from the chimney! I wonder if he thinks of magical folk as some strange versions of Santa Claus or something. OMG THIS HAS JUST OCCURRED TO ME: SANTA CLAUS IS A WIZARD. FREAKING WIZARD WHO DELIVERS STUFF TO MUGGLES OR WHATNOT. *ahem sorry

I love the language you've used in your fic! It's wonderful to read, so complex and formal, and definitely very fitting for someone as haughty and proud as Eileen and the pureblood Prince family. asl;dk;vc I really need to write like this for TDC eep.

And yay, Eileen is going back to school! I'm very very curious to read about what she does in school, and how exactly the Tobias/Eileen ship is going to develop. Already, there's great chemistry and retorts with sufficient indignation between the two.

Great work, my dear! ♥ Am waiting for your next chapter!!


Author's Response: HELLO! Of course Eileen has fire in her, she's the girl in the fireplace! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist!) I love writing Eileen. In fact, there are some elements of my own stubbornness that I've given her (although her snooty nature is entirely her own :P) She's seen as quite a vulnerable woman in Severus' flashback, so I wanted to show a very different side to her.

Hehehehe. Again, I wanted to explore a different Tobias to the one Severus remembers. He's biased, and his memory is flawed, and so I wanted to take the opportunity to show a very young, carefree man. Severus takes after his mum in canon, so clearly Tobias would be a different character - and unorthodox, if Eileen would risk losing everything for him. He wouldn't be very appealing if he was exactly like one of the pure-bloods she knows minus magic, would he? ;) OMG I didn't think of that! SANTA CLAUS IS A WIZARD!! :O

Thank you! I'm so pleased that you felt it fits, since it is very different to the other fics I've written. Posh people speak an entirely different language, don't they? :P And nonsense; TDC is perfect as it is! ♥

You won't see Eileen at school in the next chapter, unfortunately; this chapter starts in 1940 and I've got to depict Tobias and Eileen over several decades (since this novella deals with the war, the consequences, Severus and his childhood etc) but there will definitely be a chapter of her at school! I hope I can continue feeding you excellent Tobias/Eileen chemistry! ^.^

Thank you so much for reviewing ♥

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Review #11, by magnolia_magic Prologue

30th December 2013:
Isobel, hi! I'm here for the TGS review exchange! I hope you get to feeling better soon, but hopefully this review will cheer you up in the meantime :)

At first I thought you were going to go entirely second person with this, and I was glad to discover that wasn't the case. Second person isn't my preferred style. But I think it's really creative of you to do it this way, having Eileen's narration directly address the biographer in the cafe. I've never seen that done before, and I thought you pulled it off beautifully.

I'm really impressed with your prose throughout the chapter. You've painted such a dignified picture of Eileen through your word choice and the flow of the narrative. The part at the beginning when she muses on how the dining experience has changed was one of my favorites, because it shows Eileen's proud, head-held-high air. And when we learn that her hair has fallen out from the cancer treatments, it adds so much depth and reinforcement to her character. Does that make sense? Despite her obvious illness, she still carries herself with pride. That's so telling about Eileen's character, and you conveyed all that with only a line or two. Fantastic characterization! I'm so impressed :)

Two nitpicky things. First, "madwoman" and "questionable sanity" say the same thing; it would be more concise to choose one in the first sentence of paragraph 2. Also, I never thought that cancer would be a disease exclusive to Muggles. I've seen authors take it both ways, so it's really just a personal preference thing. But I'm just not sure why it wouldn't affect wizards just as often as Muggles. But then again, I almost hate to suggest that you change it, because I love the line about Eileen sharing a star sign with her disease. I thought that was particularly clever and beautiful, and I wouldn't want to see it go.

That wasn't helpful at all, was it? Haha, sorry about my contradictory rambles. They happen sometimes :/

I am definitely excited to see you update this! Your summary pulled me right in, and you've done a wonderful job of creating suspense with this opening. I love the idea of Eileen going to a biographer with her husband's story; you've shown us a woman who values the truth highly, and doesn't want people to think badly of her boys without the truth being known. I'm super anxious to hear Tobias's story, and I can't wait till you update! So glad we got paired together for the exchange, Isobel! :)


Author's Response: Hi, Maggie! I'm really sorry for the length of time it's taken me to respond to this review, and I assure you that I'll be more prompt in future with responding! And yes, this review definitely did cheer me up!

Yay, thank you! I'm afraid I can't take credit for this style -- it was inspired by Nicole/teh tarik's one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, and if you haven't checked that out then you definitely should! Nevertheless, it's fabulous to hear that you enjoyed the style and that you felt I pulled it off beautifully! ♥

Ooh, that's great to hear! I have a really vivid picture of Eileen and her personality in my head and I really wanted to get that image across to the reader so your comments confirm that I did. I grew up with my mum's and grandma's friends forever talking about "the good old days when..." and I incorporated that into Eileen to help make her more realistic, particularly as a woman of her age. I'm really pleased you enjoyed her characterisation!

I see your point about the madwoman / questionable sanity thing, and I'll see if I can edit that out the next time I have the opportunity to. With regards to the cancer, my headcanon is that it doesn't affect wizards very often because they have magic, which helps their immune system to fight most Muggle illnesses (unless they're hereditary, from Muggle-born or half-blood families) and leaves them vulnerable to magical illnesses. Likewise, Muggles don't often suffer from magical illnesses because they don't have magic, which attracts the illness. However, there are exceptions -- Eileen has cancer because while she's a witch, she hasn't used magic or been around it for many, many years so she's become susceptible to Muggle diseases, just as a Muggle who lives full time with their magical family could be at risk of a wizarding illness.

I agree with you about the cancer line though, that's actually one of my favourites! I'm really pleased that you're enjoying this story and that the summary was effective in enticing you into reading, and that the plot's intriguing so far. Thank you so much for such a lovely review, Maggie, it really made my day!

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Review #12, by SilentConfession Prologue

11th December 2013:
Wow! This has already grabbed my attention right away. I love love love the style you've chosen to write this in. Second and first person is such a weird combination, but it can be done really well. I think (if i can remember properly when i read the book) that The Reluctant Fundamentalist is also told in this style. I think. Don't quote me when I say that. It is so interesting though that you've chosen to have Eileen tell this unknown person her story. I'm really curious to know who this unknown person is. Anyway, back to the style of this. I think it's absolutely wonderful that you've chosen to try something like this. Honestly, i don't know how it'll turn out for you, but so far in this first chapter, i'm intrigued. The only thing I can suggest is make sure you also flesh this person out and she doesn't always remain unknown to the reader as the story goes on. It isn't necessary now as I like the unknown bit of her, but eventually if she just remain an unknown entity I think it may hurt the story a little.

I think your description is lovely so far. I was really drawn into the story and how things looked. I think that you've done a really nice job with that and have nothing to worry about at all. Especially as an introductory chapter I think it's great. It gives me just enough to imagine things and you have a really nice tone to your writing that made it really easy to follow as well. The only thing that made your writing a bit difficult to follow is the paragraph lengths. I'm such a paragraph nerd, but these were really large and chunky. I found myself finding it hard to read and follow because there were so big. That's the only time I was confused with your writing.

About Eileen's motivation, I think there is adequate knowledge at the moment, but I think you would need to explore it a little more as it continues. Right now I think it's all that needs to be told. The style and the description of this keeps me interested to read on. It also is the unknown aspect of why his story is so interesting and makes me want to continue reading to figure out exactly what it is that makes it interesting. I like that unknown bit, the way it dangles in front of me. So lovely job with that! Honestly, this is good so far.

Another thing I really like is how you've subtly put in Eileen's character here. How she rambles, is steeped in the past, and how she's fighting cancer. There is a kindness in her soul as well that i've gotten the impression from and it makes me curious to see how she was changed by Tobias and what her relationship with Snape was during the years. Did he completely cut her off? Did he visit her every so often?

You raise a lot of interesting questions wit this really short prologue and I think this is really great that you were able to do that. It shows that there is going to be a a lot of meat to this story and I'm really curious to see were you're taking this. Thank you so much for requesting, i hope ou found this review helpful! -zayne

Author's Response: Oooh, thank you so much!! The style was actually inspired by Nicole's one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire -- if you haven't read it, you really must because it's amazing! As for The Reluctant Fundamentalist, I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that book. The unknown person is inspired by Rachel, the giftee of this novel, and don't worry -- I plan to include more and more clues towards her identity as each interlude of the story progresses. ^.^

Thank you so much! I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the description and that you felt there was the right amount of it. I see what you mean about the paragraphs, I'll definitely keep that in mind and see if I can go back and break up the paragraphs so they're easier to read.

I do plan to expand upon Eileen's motivations in future interludes -- I'm writing interludes, scenes in the café as Eileen takes breaks from talking, to go where there are large gaps in the timeline. I'm happy that you feel the current information is enough, though, since I didn't want to bombard the reader with information but at the same time they did need some information. It's great to hear you're enjoying this story so far!

Oooh, thank you for such lovely compliments! It's wonderful that Eileen has endeared herself to you! As for her relationship with Snape, unfortunately that has to remain under wraps until it's revealed in the novel -- I wouldn't want to spoil you ;)

Thank you so much for this review, Zayne, I really appreciate it, and I truly apologise for the unacceptable length of time it's taken to respond to this! I assure you that it won't take so long again ♥

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Review #13, by teh tarik Prologue

10th December 2013:
Isobel! ♥ HAI.

So, I just have to come along and read and review this, especially after you said that Sanguini's monologue-y style inspired you (aww, I'm so glad! ♥ ) And yeah, I can see the influences and I'm so so flattered that my style has inspired anyone at all, so yay!

Now, on to the actual story. This is such a fascinating beginning. Eileen Prince must be old, reallly old to have outlived her son, and to have lived long enough to be able to read his biography. And I love the little details about her character, and the way she speaks and how she rambles about cafes and good quality wooden seats in those good ol' days and such!

And I loved this bit of her narration: ...skinny little chits like this sullen-faced teenager barking at me for my order of a cup of tea even though I haven't picked up the menu...

Absolutely wonderful characterisation! Made me smile a little. It really is an intriguing start, especially as you've also revealed that she's suffering from cancer, and I would think she's trying to tie up all the loose ends of her life, to do all the things she wanted to do, including tell the story of her mysterious husband.

Anyway, this is a really short prologue, but it's got me interested and I can't wait to read further about the Eileen/Tobias ship. It's a rather rare pair, which is right up my alley.



Author's Response: NICOLE! HI ♥

OF COURSE your style is inspirational! You're such an amazing writer ♥

Ahhh yes. She would be in her 80s, if my maths is correct, at the time of the prologue. Her characterisation was based off my dad's reminiscing; he always complains about how things used to be better in the good ol' days :P

You're absolutely right - she's lost her husband and son, but she's fighting on to have treatment so that she has the time to tie up the loose ends of her life, so to speak. And yes, Tobias is indeed mysterious :P


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Review #14, by TenthWeasley Prologue

9th December 2013:
Fact: There is no better way to read a Christmas present than with a bar of chocolate when you should be doing something scholastic and productive. But on a more serious note, I can remember VERY well clicking on a random one-shot by a random member, and being so surprised at how good it was! And then moving onto SA and continuing to be blown away, and then being so pleasantly surprised when you turned up on the forums and we struck up a few conversations. And look how far we've come! ♥ I'll always be proud to have "discovered" you as a newbie, dear Isobel.

And this story. Oh my goodness, this story. I'm potentially going to be really, really selfish here but this story felt so completely tailor-made to me that even before the first paragraph was done, it gave me chills. I don't even know how you managed to get ME so accurately, but absolutely everything -- the hair, the book, the large mug of coffee, the hatred of bent corners in books, and the probability that I would someday write a Snape biography -- I want to cry with how perfect it is. And since this is my present I am going to hope that it is on purpose, and if not, I will pretend it is, because this truly made my entire week. I am blathering like an idiot, but it is the only thing I can think to do.

But Eileen was done so well too, and even though I've only written about her briefly, and hardly read anything else about her, it just seemed right, the way you told the story from her viewpoint here. Somehow it never occurred to me that she could very well have outlived her son, and that is very bittersweet. But I love that she sought me (yay!) out to have me tell Tobias's story too, and that more than anything is what makes me think you got her right: she clearly loved her husband, enough to want someone to tell his story. And I will never for a second believe that Eileen Prince did not love Tobias Snape, no matter what kind of a man he's hinted at being.

Your writing style is, as always, lovely. ♥ In a thousand words you're able to put me there in that coffee shop, and maybe it's the mix of second and first person that does it -- I don't know WHAT it is, but it works. It's been a long time since I've read fan fiction that's placed me so wholly in a location, and maybe it's just time for me to read more fan fiction, but it felt like you weren't pretending to write as anyone but you in this story. And that may be confusing, or pretentious, but sometimes I get the sense authors are hiding behind pretty words to paint their story false. Here, it's not that way at all. And I'm rambling again, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated it.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS, ISOBEL. ♥ I can say it until I'm blue in the face and it won't feel like enough, but honestly, I cannot tell you what it means to me that you were willing to write me a Christmas story. You're a truly wonderful friend, and even though we haven't talked as much lately, I want you to know that I still consider you one. :) We'll have to catch up VERY soon! Love you, and thank you again!!

Author's Response: Hehe, procrastination is always terribly fun! :P I still remember your reviews on the original version of SA, and of The Badger's Den, and they were so encouraging and positive that I credit you as one of the people who made me want to stay on HPFF and become a part of the family ♥

You aren't being selfish at all! In fact, the whole idea of you writing a Snape biography came from 350k words of Sneth; I just couldn't see anyone else as devoted to the topic, and since this is your present, I decided to create a character based on you. ♥ I'm really pleased that it made your week, although shush - you certainly aren't blathering like an idiot; your review is absolutely lovely. ♥ As for how I got you so accurately - it's well-known that you adore books, coffee and Snape; the way your hair behaved and the corners were educated guesses.

I'm firmly convinced that Eileen and Tobias loved each other, despite what we see in Snape's memory. Something that a lot of people tend to forget is that it was only one memory - if the only thing you knew of James and Lily was the memory where Snape called her a Mudblood, you wouldn't believe they got married and had a son, would you? Plus, I remembered you saying you found writing mental issues fascinating in Ad Venenum, so I sat down and used that knowledge to come up with a plausible explanation for Tobias' actions in that memory. (And yes, you can take that as a hint.)

Thank you so very much! ♥ The mix of second and first person, I have to credit to Nicole (teh tarik) and her one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, which inspired it - but I quite like it! And that comment is actually correct - I'm probably going to sound really pretentious here, but while I was writing the prologue and sections of the interludes and epilogue, I wrote as if I was Eileen talking to you - in fact, there's quite a lot of resemblances between her and me, and although I didn't plan it at all I'm still grateful that you like it! ♥

I consider you a wonderful friend too (yes, we'll have to catch up very soon!) and since you inspired so much of my writing and have been so encouraging all through the year, a Christmas story seemed an excellent way to express my thanks. I just hope that you continue to love Equilibrium! ♥

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