Reading Reviews for The Shadow and the Soul
  
4 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Humera Prologue

20th May 2014:
I feel as if reviewing this with my less than eloquent words will tatter and ruin this amazing thing you've written for us to read. It's beautiful and sad and tragic, and I loved it.

I have my concerns for the couple though.
I'm sure you'll banish them by the next chapter, so I'm not overly worried. ;)

Awesome job!

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Review #2, by teh tarik Your Eyes Close As I Fall Asleep

12th April 2014:
Hello there! I'm finally here to read and review the next chapter of your challenge entry. I've been awfully late, and I must apologise. That being said, wow. What an absolutely fabulous chapter. And honestly, I must say that I'm a little upset that you didn't finish this before the deadline :( And I only feel this way because I've truly, truly enjoyed your story, and this chapter in particular, has been absolutely mesmerising.

I absolutely love the abundance of letters and letter-writing in your fic. I really love epistolary stories, but unfortunately, these aren't allowed on HPFF. Which made this chapter, lengthy though it was, such a treat! Your pacing is so, so controlled, and you reveal things subtly and the details are carefully delivered. I love the way you wrote Hannah; it's great to see her appear in your fic after the first chapter, where she was a mere presence, albeit a very tangible one. You've portrayed her misery and melancholy in such a heartbreaking way, but in a manner that's very convincing. Her life is grounded in her love for the bar, her marriage, which can no longer satisfy her, and there are references to Neville's infidelity (if not physical, then emotional, certainly - Neville/Luna, omg!) and I think there were hints to her inability to conceive children? It must have been a terrible blow to her, and I think it's part of the reason why she feels her marriage slipping away, being lost slowly. There's a widening rift between her and Neville, and I'm thinking back to the first chapter (I'm convinced now that it was Neville going through her things in that chapter), and I sort of realise just how little Neville knows her. Even when he reads her letters, and thinks he gets glimpses into her dark, troubled mind, it's just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much sorrow to Hannah that he'll never be able to fathom. Her letters to Susan are beautiful, full of warmth, but sometimes I detect a sense of desperation in those letters. So much sorrow, and yet at certain moments, I think that she has the ability to feel joy that is just as intense. I can sense that she desperately wants to be happy, to be intensely happy.

Which brings me to the character of James II. I love your portrayal of James. Love, love, love. Injured Quidditch player, aspiring writer, one who is at odds with his mother, who finds no solace in his large family, one who is bitter and initially cruel with his words (and it was great to see Hannah step up to this, and set him back in line). Gosh, the relationship between James II and Hannah was absolutely riveting; I can just imagine the two of them at the bar late at night, her doing her own bookkeeping or other personal stuff and him sitting in his usual corner drinking. And sometimes their gazes will drift to the other. James will be thinking cynical thoughts about misery and company, but at the same time, he'll be intrigued in her. GAH. I LOVE THIS. I love the way their relationship develops, the anger, the hard words, the indignant slap, and the contrite letters. And Matisse, ha! The letters between both of them are wonderful, so full of passion and warmth, something that both characters find difficult exhibiting in real life, at least to their family and loved ones around them.

I was honestly so, so invested int his story, that when the revelation about Hannah committing suicide came, I was absolutely devastated. Even though, from the first chapter I'd already suspected that she's possibly killed herself. Seriously, you have the talent to get me so engaged with these characters and their lives, and by the end of this chapter, I was just so shattered. Had Hannah lived, I think the both of them would be happy. I honestly think they would be. :( :( :(

Thank you so, so much for writing this brilliant piece - this is exactly the type of pairing I love to read, and this is the kind of fic I'm always on the lookout for, and I'm so honoured to have this for an entry in my challenge. I wish it had been finished, but even though the challenge is over, if you DO post up that epilogue (I'm DYING to know what Ginny was going to say to Hannah), I will most certainly be back to read it. Absolutely fabulous writing!!

-teh

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Review #3, by Lululuna Prologue

11th March 2014:
Hello! :)

This is such a cool pairing, and I love how mysterious this first chapter is. I have no idea who is who and who I should be shipping, and I love it.

The msytery shrouding the story and the narration was amazing, and your writing is truly beautiful. At first I thought the man was Neville, but there are little clues - like that he didn't understand why Hannah would want to live in that home. I'm quite intruiged, and perhaps the man was James? I was also thinking that there seemed to be a rather passionate tone in Hannah's letter to Susan? Hmm.

It's very interesting trying to figure out who each letter is for. I thought perhaps the one mentioning the wilting garden might be for Neville away at Hogwarts. Then the one to Ginny is very tantalizing, and I'm thinking right now that perhaps something bad happened to James and Hannah was writing to Ginny, pretending to be a sympathetic outsider, but is secretly having an affair. The ambiguity about everything going on made it all the more exciting.

It's very chilling how Hannah is either absent or dead, and I like how you started the story speaking about her voice in her letters, but without her actual presence. It set the tone of tragedy and melancholy, perhaps unhealthy love for the rest of the story. I'm so curious to find out who the man is here, and about the other players in this story.

There were so many amazing images here - the room and the desk, the vibrant and vivid emotions and senses that carried through the letters. I loved every word.

This was an amazing start and I can't wait to keep reading! :D

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Review #4, by teh tarik Prologue

2nd March 2014:
Hey there! I'm finally here to read and review your very lovely challenge entry! Thank you so much for participating. :)

I've read this piece over twice, and I've got to say, wow! This is fabulous - such beautiful and detailed writing; there's a lovely mixture of tones in this one, from the overall sense of melancholy with Neville (I'm assuming it's him) going through Hannah's things and finding her letters to other people. And then there's the barely contained passions of the letters written by Hannah and by the mystery person, signed as S. I thought it might have been James II, but the S at the end threw me off a bit, and I was wondering if it was Susan writing (but would Susan refer to herself as a "man of letters"...?) Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, there's a sense of mystery to your first chapter, which made your story incredibly engaging and intriguing. I'm really, really curious to read on and find out what happened in the past - what happened to Hannah, what happened between her and James II, was she somehow unhappy in her marriage with Neville, and so on. From the careful little details in your narrative, I sort of got the feeling that Hannah might have committed suicide, but I could well be wrong.

As I was reading, I felt Neville's dull ache, and I do wonder what happened to the both of them. Neville/Hannah is usually a ship on the fluffier side of romance (at least in most of the fics with this pairing, which I've encountered), but yours sounds pretty tragic. Even though Hannah wasn't physically present in this chapter, her presence was still so tangible, so haunting; her voice really came through so strongly through her letters.

The marks on some of the words, where the ink had spread along the page told him that she had been distressed while writing it. Her tears were trapped in this parchment, he thought. He felt a sudden urge to pick the letter up and sniff it. The last scent of the woman he loved.

^These were such beautiful and sad lines. :( I loved how you described the tear stains as Hannah's tears "trapped" in the parchment. It's quite a striking image, Neville picking up the letter and sniffing it, and it's so unusual, because people always sniff clothes or pillows or whatever, and here Neville is inhaling the old scent of Hannah's tears on a letter. I'm beginning to sound a bit weird, but honestly, I loved it.

Anyway, this is a fabulous start to your story! I can't wait to see how you continue with this, and I really, really do hope you finish the story before the deadline in a week's time. Best of luck, and great work as usual! Thanks again for participating in my challenge. ♥

-teh

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