Reading Reviews for Calculus
22 Reviews Found

Review #1, by lumos_knox 11:57

3rd May 2014:
Wow! Just reading the first chapter of this I am already hooked. It's quite easy to see how you won the Murder Mystery Challenge.

You describe really well, and you leave space for the reader to imagine certain things for themselves... I am just sitting there, probably leaning closer to my computer than I should because it's literally got you on the edge of your seat in suspense.

When you first introduced Tobias, my first reaction was (oh, yes...) As the story progressed, I suddenly remembered what challenge you had entered it was (right, well he's going to die) which is so sad. It's a bit like Frank Bryce in the GOF, but he didn't have any idea what he was up against like Hughes did.

What else I love about it is your pacing. You didn't ramble on for ages about Tobias, and then just kill him, there was right amounts of everything.

Very scary, but brilliant! Love it.

Author's Response: Howdy! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I definitely wanted to start with a "bang" so to speak and address the murder straight away, but I also wanted to find balance as you said, with giving enough of Tobias to make people feel something about it when he was killed.

The fact you liked the descriptions also warms my heart. Descriptions are something I sometimes struggle with, so I have been focusing a lot on improving them and I'm delighted you noticed them in a good way!

Thanks again for the kind review!

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Review #2, by Rumpelstiltskin Proof

29th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: O.O *Gasp* (That's all you're getting for a review...just *gasp* ;)!) Talk about a plot twist, bravo! I've never been good at plot twists. Now, I knew that it wasn't Adalie, but I never suspected Hermione to set up Lucius (which is fitting AND he's one of my favorite bad guys) who then pinned it on Adalie. It took me a few minutes to gather my thoughts to even begin to write a coherent review after I learned that bit of information. (Ginny's pregnant, *squee*!) Gosh, I wasn't sure whether Harry was going to turn Hermione in or not for a while, she was making a very strong case for herself. Of course, then she erased his memory... so, I suppose it did all work out.

Characterization: Hermione -- She's been known for taking extremes with the propaganda of certain subjects that she believes in (take SPEW for example). I think that there is a possibility that she could be capable of something like this, all-the-while keeping her hands clean, if there was a good reason for it. You managed to also keep her rationality, so it wasn't as though she snapped. This was carefully planned and carried out murder.

Overall: This was fun, and shocking. From the beginning, you provided an interesting case from an angle that I didn't quite expect. I think you've done a fantastic job! You've also kept in line with cannon, while including elements of continued character growth.

Notes/other: I didn't see that coming! Thanks so much for entering the challenge, this was so much fun to read! I have to finish the other multi-chaptered entries, still, but results will be up as soon as I can get them.


Author's Response: Phew! I'm glad you liked it and found it decently believable. I really wrestled with this...had I laid enough clues? Would people buy Hermione masterminding a murder? Would the Lucius element work? I'll confess I originally had a different person in mind to carry out the murder but decided it would be OOC for them to have done it and would be too much in the reveal with Semi-Dark!Hermione. I'll leave it to you to guess who you think it was...

Ultimately I'm just really excited you liked it! Even though you were the...challenger (?) I really really appreciate you taking all the time to read the whole story and review every chapter. It was very thoughtful and you went into so much detail it was great feedback! Best of luck with the remaining reviews!

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Review #3, by Rumpelstiltskin Trial

29th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: There was certainly a significant case presented against Adalie in the courtroom. I wanted to close my eyes, as I'm still very firm on my guess that Adalie is innocent! Between Harry laying down evidence, and Hermione's expert interrogation on the stand, things were very intense.

Characterization: Ms. Busby, the stuttering lawyer -- that was classic and awesome. I do think she had a point when Harry called the murderer "she", however. It was fairly irrelevant, though, so having been overruled was probably due to the relevance that it had to the case.

Detail: Great job at the court proceedings, it was very realistic. The reflection at the end, where Adalie convinces herself that she was never meant to have freedom (and that's why she was being accused of murder), further convinces me that she didn't do it!

Notes/other: There's only one more chapter and I really, really, really need to find out what will happen!


Author's Response: Boom! Harry and Hermione drop the hammer right? Just like old times, but in a different way.

I'm glad you liked Ms. Busby. I felt a bit sorry for her, writing her as a lawyer really up against it in terms of talent and the case she had to defend, but as for her objection - it absolutely should have been sustained. Your first instinct was correct. Sometimes even judges get sucked in by the magnitude of proceedings.

Speaking of which, I'm glad you found the courtroom proceedings realistic too. I must confess, I would have been sorely disappointed if you didn't. Obviously I don't know how the Wizengamot would really do it or how things work exactly in Britain, but as an American lawyer I wanted to write a courtroom bit. I actually was grumpy afterward that I had to cut the trial into such a small section, but these are the sacrifices we must make to give readers something compelling and not just write way too long about that.

Thank you thank you!

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Review #4, by Rumpelstiltskin Adalie

29th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: If I can trust the narrator, then I would have to say that Adalie isn't the murderer. I could be wrong, but I think I'll temporarily cross her off of my list of suspects. I could very well be wrong, but she just seems so clueless and naive! Then there's the whole idea of her wand best fitting the murder weapon. I just don't think it's her...or is it? I love Harry and Ron playing "good cop-bad cop". That's really just fun. Oh no! I still don't believe that it's her, though the evidence is misleading.

Characterization: It seems that Adalie's life has been sheltered, which can be exceedingly lonely. Naturally, she's frightened as she's been arrested and hauled off to England where's she's being accused of murder. I still think she's innocent.

Detail: With evidence pointed her way, it doesn't look good for Adalie! Though, given her disposition and the narrative, I can't help feel that she's innocent!

Notes/other: Lovely job! My vote has been cast as to who didn't do it, but who did? It seems to me she's been set up by one of her new friends! My first thought is Pansy, but I won't jump to conclusions. It could very well be Blaise... but I would accuse Pansy first. I'll just have to keep reading to find out!


Author's Response: Excellent! You liked good cop-bad cop. I wanted to do it in the interrogation scene because: (1) it really can work and (2) because Harry and Ron seemed like a wonderful duo to pull it off.

As for Adalie - I can't spoil it in my response for any of those out there who read reviews before reading stories. But I hope you also liked her as a character. She was interesting to write and I kind of wish I could explore her more. Ugh...there I go again coming up with more story ideas when I'm behind on what I'm already writing...

I have to re-iterate that you're awesome for reading and reviewing the rest. It was such a great surprise to come home to!

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Review #5, by Rumpelstiltskin Interlude

29th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: Though this chapter didn't focus on the main plot, the bit of romantic filler was a pleasant break from the investigation. I just want to mention that the love scene was beautifully and tastefully written. I know from experience that scenes like that are difficult to write in such a way, without crossing lines but still capturing the essence of love between two people (and not being dreadfully cliche). I think that you did an absolutely wonderful job with it. It brightened my day a little, as I wasn't expecting a romantic scene to be tossed in ;). I believe that it further revealed more about Harry and Ginny's relationship as well. Well done.

Characterization: Luckily, Harry was caught checking out Ginny, and not somebody else ;). I think I've said it before, but I do really love their relationship in this. It's very sweet and I think that each of their individual personalities balances the other out. Furthermore, I think you've captured that balancing contrast nicely with your portrayal.

Detail: I do like that you included a bit about post-war life in general and that the heroes of the war represent the reestablished light and safety of the community. By adding elements of despair despite the war's end, I think you've continued to add more depth to the story. It's a realistic touch that lives are still being affected by the war.

Notes/other: Awwe! ♥ ...that is all.


Author's Response: Hello! I forced myself to scroll down here first and respond in order, but you seriously made my day by finishing this story and reviewing the last chapters today!

I'm very happy you enjoyed this chapter. I wasn't sure how people would respond to it, first because of the break in the investigation that had honestly taken a while to really gain steam and second because of the scene with Harry and Ginny.

I definitely wanted to include something that would address how society remembered the defeat of Voldemort a bit later and I thought that would be an interesting avenue both for Harry's perspective on it and for the natural segue to the moment that would give rise to James (II) - which I wanted to address (1) because of the timeline for the story, (2) to test my ability to write the scene, and (3) because Harry/Ginny :).

Thank you!

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Review #6, by Rumpelstiltskin Revision

28th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: The top two motives that Harry throws on the table (Hughes refusing a bribe, or having been found out to be corrupted) are definitely some solid instigators. Hmm...Helena Garrick ordered Maithwaite to revisit the autopsy? Then, he found new evidence! It may have been much easier if Maithwaite only would cooperate -_-. Then there's the Shafiq girl...oh boy, I can't wait to see where this is going. I still haven't made a guess as to who the killer is! ...I'll find out soon.

Characterization: Maithwaite is being particularly uncooperative! He must be hiding something, especially if he's trying to keep something from investigators of a very important murder case! Or, perhaps, he could have become defensive if he thought that he was in trouble for something. I don't know yet!

Detail: I just thought it was interesting that you included the small bit about the voting process! It must be intimidating to have to vote so openly in court -- it would definitely influence some people to vote one way or another, I would think.

Notes/other: We're starting to get into the thick of things now! I may have time to finish another review before work (I'll try, anyway)!


Author's Response: Ahh! I just got home from work! And it was awesome to come home to a review!

I'm glad the plot has the wheels in your head spinning now. I know it kind of took awhile to get to this point, but I'm excited to see you thinking - though you're too smart to guess just yet.

Re: the voting process, given the backdrop of the story I thought it would be a good touch to include the details of the post-war legal processes (and it also shored up the whole business with Hughes...but is that significant? Not telling :p)

I'm also glad you noticed Maithwaite. He's kind of hard to avoid as prickly as he is, but I enjoyed writing the little tidbits of him in the story. There's something about a curmudgeonly coroner that appealed to me.

Thanks for R&R-ing again! Hope you continue to enjoy it!

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Review #7, by Rumpelstiltskin Focus

27th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: The possible evidence that Hughe's decisions could have swayed the outcomes of several controversial trials makes for a fantastic motive. Since he never spoke about the cases outside of court, I'm curious to see how the murderer may be related to the court-case (but that's just me assuming ;) ). The history about the Shafiqs was interesting -- it seems that, although they were purebloods, they pretty much minded their own. It will be interesting to see if we meet the 'last living daughter'.

Characterization: I loved the conversation between Neville and Hermione (and I think this is an appropriate place to put my thoughts about this). Understandably, they are investigating everybody that COULD have a possible motive -- I just thought it was a bit humorous because it seems that she is ALWAYS at work! I'm also sensing a possible romantic interest between Neville and Hannah (since he's been spending so much time at the Leaky and the brief interaction between Hannah and Harry), though I could very well be wrong. Pansy is exceedingly unpleasant, as her cannon has previously dictated. She makes for a fun, miserable character.

Style: Since there are multiple investigators in this, I think that your method of hopping from scene-to-scene and from character-to-character is very effective.

Notes/other: This is exciting! As always, I can't wait to read more.


Author's Response: Hello again! Thrilled to find another review from you as I slog through the latest (and surprisingly vexing) chapter of my novel! Responding now seems like the perfect break.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Hughes bit. Intrigue right? As for the Shafiqs, there is certainly more to come...and I'll leave it at that.

It's also good to hear the characterizations and method are working for you. Geez. Hermione IS always at work isn't she? Though I don't end up exploring it in this story, you are quite right that there is interest between Neville and Hannah. And Pansy - I kind of have this idea of exploring her more as a character one day, but here I stuck with her as she is in canon, snotty and easy to love to hate.

As always thank you! Your reviews are super and I enjoy seeing you trying to work things out in the plot section too!

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Review #8, by Rumpelstiltskin Frenzy

23rd April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: The pure amount of tension from the very beginning was absolutely hilarious (though my sense of humor is a little off). I just think that the high tempers floating around from lack of sleep and stress made for some terrific dialogue and it was highly amusing for me. The list of suspects is very peculiar, but Neville's right: they have to examine both sides of who possibly killed the victim in order to be fair AND to ensure that they are covering all areas of the investigation. For all they know, it COULD have been Cho. Actually, with her association with Malfoy that we'd leared about in the last chapter and her appearance on the suspect list, I'll keep her in the back of my mind ;).

Characterization: Harry -- I love Harry's drive in this. It seems as though he cannot rest, nor can he allow his team to rest, until he's figured this case out. He's definitely a leader, and you've captured that nicely in this (not only in handling Ron and Neville, but also with his confidence with the press).

Detail: While there wasn't as much information in this chapter as others, I feel as though this was a transitional chapter. Therefore, it's being used to elapse time and unimportant events quickly, thus not requiring an overload of information, so that we can delve deeper into the investigation. Transitional chapters can be fun and effective techniques and I think you nailed this.

Style: You've been using transitional phrases throughout the story to effectively show either elapsed time or a change in setting (meanwhile, fifteen minutes later, upon their return, and etc.). It's not an unusual technique, but it is highly effective and I thought I'd mention it!

Notes/other: I'm very excited to see how this case pans out! I suppose that I can do that by continuing to read!


Author's Response: First off, you are definitely right about this being transitional. I pretty much intended it to lay out the framework for the remainder of the investigation (though I won't spoil whether anyone on the lists is actually even involved).

I also did want to inject some levity with the beginning, while emphasizing Harry's drive so I'm glad that came through!

Thanks again for the spectacularly thoughtful and detailed review! You are awesome! And you should definitely keep're almost halfway there!

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Review #9, by Rumpelstiltskin Intelligence

23rd April 2014:
Hello again! (I didn't realize that you were responding behind me last time!)

Plot/plot arch: I think you nailed the concept that, in early steps of an investigation, there is a ton of research that needs to be done about the victim in order to establish possible suspects, motives, and all of that fun stuff. What I really love is that you're taking the readers through the entire investigation, giving us more and more information about certain aspects of the investigation (as the characters learn). It's setting me up to start guessing as I get more information, and I love guessing! The brief breaks from the investigation, like Ron and Harry reminiscing, continue to be pleasant and realistic.

Characterization: Wendy -- I love this character already, and I've only just begun to get to know her in this chapter. While she experienced some of the horrors of the second wizarding war, she was just too young to have actually fought in it. I think that one of my favorite concepts was that she determined herself to be not as brave because she couldn't experience the fight first hand. Her mild confrontation with Hermione was perfect; Hermione's cannon-characteristics could make her intimidating for someone like Wendy, and the girl was only trying to do her job, afterall. Draco -- There are so many things I love about that last scene. Draco and Ron's fighting, Harry's attempt at intervention, Draco's distance from what he was in attempt to clean up the Malfoy name, and just the fact that he was considered as a suspect (or at least his father) for the murder all made for some terrific dialogue. There are so many things that remind him of his cannon but, like Neville, he's continued to grow from DH, and I think that's fantastic.

Detail: This overlapped into the plot category, but I continue to love the extent to which you are bringing the reader through the investigation.

Style: I want to mention your character introductions here -- not only do they flow into the story, but they give a significant and effective background on each character being introduced.

Notes/other: I want to mention the perfect last line here -- "Our investigation just got a whole lot bigger". It's impact is effective and it definitely leaves me wanting more.


Author's Response: Thank you! Your reviews continue to be incredibly detailed and thoughtful and they are much appreciated!

From the outset I decided that I wanted this story to be investigation-driven, so I'm glad that you think that choice has been effective. I wondered how people would react because most mysteries on the archives (at least the ones I have read) tend to take the immersive approach (which admittedly allows for a bit more constant mood of intrigue), and it's nice that it has been well-received so far.

With the characters, I am sad to report a small spoiler that you won't see Wendy again. When I wrote her here, down to some very fine details, I actually intended her to come up again later, but in contrast to my other stories, this one ended up being much more fluid in my mind and a lot that I originally planned on disappeared as I wrote further. But I'm glad you liked the bit of her that you got. The fact that she's been well-received by a couple of people for similar reasons has actually given me an idea of using her (or those reasons) for a story about that "caught-in-the-middle" group of youth in the wizarding world (though I already have WAY too many ideas given I have a novel still to finish).

I'm also glad you liked the scene with Draco. You definitely got most of what I was trying to get across there, and that which you didn't (as I acknowledged in another review response) is totally on me.

I'm glad you're liking it so well so far! Your reviews are very kind!

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Review #10, by CambAngst Intelligence

22nd April 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

I knew I'd be back soon! Maybe not quite this soon, but one doesn't pass on such a good opportunity. :)

I love the things you've been able to do with some of your minor characters in this story. Wendy Ellerbee not only drew out some of what Hermione's working on, she also helped introduce more context to the story in a way that felt very natural. If you have one of the main characters reminiscing about the war or pondering how it's still affecting the present day, it can feel a bit forced. Here, we have a character whose life and career were very much shaped by those events. It came across in a completely organic way.

The only thing I thought was a bit odd about the interaction between Wendy and Hermione was the fact that there was no test to be certain that it was really Hermione and not somebody else using polyjuice potion. Given the importance of the contents of the vault and the great lengths that the Ministry is obviously going to in order to protect it, I would have expected some precautions to be taken. Even if it was something as simple as weighing Hermione's wand or a mention of some enchantment on the gate to dispel the effects of polyjuice, I think it would have added to the feeling of completeness. Unless that was the point...

Poor Neville, burning the midnight oil. If only he'd paid attention to that note from Ron and Harry.

I feel like there is a reason you made a point of this foreign periodical Neville noted. Combining that with Harry's strong feelings that foreign influences were involved in the Hughes murder, it suggested a certain direction.

I also liked the little history lesson that went along with Hughes's back story. Blood purity prejudice is hardly new or unique, unfortunately. Oh, and lest I forget, the C.R.O.W. exams were really clever!

Interesting place to arrange a meeting with Malfoy. I like dripping in the occasional location that carries significance from the books. Your Draco was maybe a tad immature for my tastes, but he did have Ron there provoking him. Good to see that the two of them still can't manage to share a civil word; I never expect to see that change. Harry manages the situation well, however. He seems to have Draco's grudging respect even if they're not on cordial terms.

I saw one lonely typo as I was reading:

In the soft lantern-light, she could down the length of the enchanted wrought-iron gate separating the secure area from the rest of the Archives. -- she could see down the length?

Otherwise, very well written! I probably don't comment on this often enough, but your writing always flows really well and I think you're doing a great job of pacing the story. I'll be back...

Author's Response: Hello again! Glad you seized the opportunity to come back by! I always appreciate your thoughtful and detailed reviews.

First, I'm glad you liked Wendy. Obviously she didn't feature too long, but I did want to use her to give a bit of a glimpse about how those slightly younger than the group that actually fought in the Second Wizarding War might have been affected.

Your point about the security is very well taken. I think honestly I got a bit caught up in the fact of there being a guard like Wendy and that the person would surrender their wand to cover the other admitted oversight on my part which strikes me as odd given my real-life profession.

The foreign periodical DOES have a purpose, though I will leave it to you to discern what you think it is as the story goes on...

I'm glad you like the history and C.R.O.W.s too. It took an absurdly long amount of time to come up with that little name for the exams actually and I assumed that it would go relatively unnoticed, but I'm glad someone caught it and appreciated it. Making those names for tests is harder than it seems at first glance...

Re: Draco, upon reflection I think I didn't do enough to accomplish what I intended. My goal was really for Draco's frustration to be primarily at being tapped as an informant. The idea was that the Ministry has been tapping him for information since Voldemort's defeat and that he is growing tired of living life under that constant demand. I did also want to get across that he and Ron had still not entirely outgrown their school day squabbles, but ultimately I think I got too caught up in that and neglected using the dialogue to develop the former as I had originally intended.

Thanks for the comments on the flow and pacing. With the investigative focus, pacing was definitely a concern of mine with the story, so it's good to know you think it's moving appropriately for now.

Re: the typo...hmm. My point with that phrase I guess was to demonstrate that there wasn't just a small gate, but that it was kind of a long fence-like barrier that she could see all the way down in the light. I did struggle a bit with phrasing it. Perhaps this is proof I should have just broken up the sentence and been more clear. So thanks for pointing that out.

Thanks again for a super review! I intend to go back and make some edits to this once the judging for the challenge is over so I will absolutely keep these thoughts in mind!

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Review #11, by Rumpelstiltskin Paper

19th April 2014:
Plot/plot arch: As the major plot-line progresses, the brief moments of subplot that allow the reader to see snapshots of the character's lives is refreshing. It allows for some interesting pieces of conversation as filler, and I do love dialogue, as well as examines some interesting concepts about those characters. Harry's right to become irritated with the coroner. With such an important case, there should absolutely be a full examination, despite the fact that the coroner believes that the procedure is "unnecessarily invasive".

Characterization: Hermione -- Given the importance of the trial, and what kind of impact it would have on witches and wizards who are Muggle-born, I think it was extremely accurate to have her wake so early on the day of the trial. I also believe that it was very fitting for her to be so interested in a difficult case, it's just like her. Harry and Ginny -- The scene between the two was very sweet. I really love their relationship in this. Ron -- "No romance. No work. No complications. Just a man and his food. The way it was meant to be." - That quote was absolutely perfect for Ron, in my opinion!

Notes/other: You're really nailing the detective aspect of this; makes me feel like I'm watching, well, a detective show ;)


Author's Response: Well, it seems we are both going on a reviewing spree at the same time, which conveniently leaves me free to quickly respond to yours!

I am excited that you're enjoying the detective aspect of the story. Having never written a mystery before and not read many, I decided to "stick with what I know" which is the classic detective format. My hope was that it wouldn't be too boring and that I could mix it up a little with personal aspects like you mentioned so I'm glad you think that's working so far.

I'm also glad you are still feeling the characterizations of the canon players and that you liked Harry and Ginny's relationship. Nailing the canon characters and making their lives, even this small bit into the future seem realistic was a big worry for me so it's nice to hear you think it's on target!

I know as challenge-maker you have to read every chapter, but it's seriously awesome that you're reviewing each one as well. Your feedback is MUCH appreciated!

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Review #12, by Rumpelstiltskin Awakenings

19th April 2014:
Hey there!

Plot/plot arch: This chapter almost acts as a secondary introduction, as we move through the main characters and beginnings of the plot. By beginning with gathering the three men together, you've given us pieces of their characterization and their life, which I'll cover in the appropriate section. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the way that you used magical approaches to real investigative techniques when examining a crime scene, from as far as my knowledge goes from courses on forensic science, anyhow.

Characterization: Harry and Ron -- I combined them due to lack of anything significant to say other than you did a great job with cannon (which I love to see, especially in an AU), including their cannon pairings. Neville -- his progressive growth continues in this, which is pleasant to see. Robards -- he's definitely a quirky character, and he seems to know what he's doing.

Detail: The story moved through the investigation effectively. It definitely provided a brilliant picture as you took us through, step-by-step.

Notes/other: Fantastic job!


Author's Response: Hello again!

Secondary introduction is almost the exact phrase I'd use myself because I think it covers both the characters addressed and some of the evidence.

I'm really glad you noticed the magical elements of the investigation at the crime scene. That was something I hoped would stick out and definitely wanted to incorporate to give it a more authentic feel. While writing the spell was my favorite, I figured that Aurors would have to rely on things like trace evidence and physical examination just as much as muggles.

Thank you very much for the compliments! I hope you continue to enjoy it!

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Review #13, by CambAngst Paper

15th April 2014:
Hi, it's me again! Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

Given what a good job you're doing with this story and given how much I see you around the forums, I'm pretty surprised that it doesn't have more reviews. Don't worry, I'll do my best to fix that. :)

I enjoyed everything about the scene with Hermione and Harry. She felt perfectly in character, burning the midnight oil and working relentlessly to prepare for a hearing that was near and dear to her heart. There was also a nice, comfortable and productive dynamic between the two of them. It's obvious that they still rely on one another a great deal in their new roles in life. Felt just like reading them in Deathly Hallows, only older and on the "right side" of the Ministry.

The only thing I thought was a bit off about the first section was the way Hermione took the news of Hughes's death. If he was a key swing vote on the reforms that she's doubtless advocating, I would have expected her to be more upset.

I liked the mention of Neville's parents. That was a nice touch. Prior to being ushered into the coroner's office, I think you could have used Harry's discomfort to set the mood a bit more, kind of keeping it in the back of Harry's mind as he and Neville made small talk.

You write a good coroner. Everything about his appearance and demeanor felt really appropriate for someone who spends his days examining the dead. Not much of a bedside manor, but hey, I'm sure his patients never complain.


Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress! Try the veal!

Anyway, the details of the preliminary report weren't especially revealing. I'm very curious what will turn up when the coroner does a more thorough exam. Hopefully something useful.

Great job with Gawain. Now there's a leader. It's nice to see a department head somewhere in the Ministry of Magic who actually knows how to effectively manage people instead of being a useless, ladder-climbing bureaucrat or an enigmatic eccentric.

I loved the warm hugs and gentle together time shared between Harry and Ginny. You didn't mention it in your last response, so I'll bring it up again: based on your timeline -- 6 years after the death of Voldemort -- shouldn't James Sirius be coming along fairly soon? I think you need to get working on that. ;)

And Ron. Oh, Ron! You did a fabulous job characterizing him at the end. It isn't that he doesn't love Hermione, at least it doesn't seem that way, but when she's in one of her workaholic moods, he'd rather just be alone with his dinner. The boy will never stop thinking with his stomach.

Good job with this one! I didn't see a single typo or any other problems.

Author's Response: Excellent to see you again! And I very much appreciate your praise and your thoughtful comments!

I definitely wrestled with how much to incorporate the bit with Neville's parents. I wanted to note it, and my goal with the small talk was to show some awkwardness early on and get Harry talking about Ginny as if to pass the time so he could keep it out of his mind, but I think you're absolutely right that having some internal thought on it throughout that portion would've been more effective than letting the initial concerns just "hang".

I am glad you liked the characterizations too! Gawain is sadly taking his final bow in this chapter, but he was interesting to write and I am considering playing around with him more in the future. I feel like he would have to be a strong leader as Head Auror and of course if you write him surviving the War, to keep Harry and Ron in check. And speaking of Ron...your takeaway was EXACTLY what I was hoping for!

I do see though that I'm not going to escape this bit about JSP. Just know that if you keep reading you're absolutely going to see me go to work on that. I'll leave that to you to ponder.

Thanks again for the excellent review and the kind words!

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Review #14, by Rumpelstiltskin 11:57

13th April 2014:
I'm doing the first-chapter sweep of the challenge reviews (and I'll be back to review the rest of the story, ideally before the deadline, but definitely before winners are declared).

Plot/plot arch: This set up was positively delicious. Reading about a character, learning their habits, occupation, and general opinions invests my attention to them. While I believed that you were introducing a character, complete with occupation, you were instead introducing the victim, complete with possible motive. His position in the Wizengamot-- mainly the key role he has in deciding the fate of a notably controversial economic decision -- is a perfect motive for murder if the murderer suspected that his opinion had already been swayed one way or the other. I do believe that this is one of the only entries so far that has made me connect with the victim, only to have the character killed. Great job.

Characterization: Tobias Hughes -- I may not get any further characterization on this character, but what you've provided (especially for a victim) is incredible in this brief introduction. As I'v stated previously, I know a significant amount the victim -- even enough to already determine a motive! The murderer -- Based on what I believe is the established motive, though I could very well be wrong, the murderer could possible be an angry witch or wizard, determined to maintain the traditional "risk classification system". It will be interesting to see whether I'm right or wrong as the story continues.

Detail: There were several ominous signs that I missed, simply because my brain was tricking me. Since you had me invested in Tobias, there was no way that HE would be the victim. Of course, I was very wrong. Between the rain and clouds -- classic foreshadowing -- and the light in his room not working, I really should have known. The actual murder was gruesome and painful, and I say that in the most positive possible way (this is a murder mystery, after all). The sheer amount of imagery and descriptors in this short introduction was amazing.

Style: Another breif complement on how you've set up the introduction of the victim. I should have saved it for this section, but it was something that really stuck out to me.

Notes/other: This is a fantastic start, I can't wait to read the rest!


Author's Response: Howdy! Thank you so much for the wonderfully kind words!

I always wanted the first chapter to end with the murder when I started, and I never really contemplated the victim being anyone but Tobias, but the big battle for me was giving enough detail about him to make readers appreciate him as a character so that they would feel for him when he was killed just a short bit later. I am very happy you thought that came off.

Though he is dead, more about him will definitely come to light. I can't go any further than that at the moment... ;)

I am also really glad that you thought the murder was well done. While the set-up vs. killing contrast was probably the toughest part for me to get right, this scene caused me the most mental grief because I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. Like you said, it's a murder mystery, so I was obsessed that the murder HAD to be done well. I'm glad it panned out.

Thank you again for the feedback, especially it being so thoughtful and detailed given all you have to read!

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Review #15, by CambAngst Awakenings

7th April 2014:
Hello, again!

Second chapters are always harder than the first and I can see that you struggled a bit here and there with this one. You come off of such a high with the first chapter, unleashing your brilliant, gripping introduction upon the world, and then there's a bit of a let-down as you move into the actual delivery of the plot. It's nothing bad at all, just the normal course of things.

Ugh, poor Harry. I hate getting dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. And if I was getting dragged away from Ginny, well, let's just say that it would be that much worse. I liked the quick peek of insight into where their lives have taken them over the ensuing six years. If my back-of-the-envelope timeline is right, James Sirius should be coming along pretty soon.

I feel like I'm drawing a bead on where you're heading with Harry. He seems to be Robards's protege in a way, clearly very skilled with the detective-work aspect of being an Auror. Ron and Neville -- and even Gawain, to an extent -- seem very deferential toward him.

I like the way that you give us an idea of where Hermione is going to fit into the story without just coming out and telling us what she's doing. You infer it, letting me figure out for myself. Good technique!

Looks like poor Neville's love life hasn't gone exactly the way he wanted it to. In spite of the heartbreak, he seems to have turned into a bit to a flirt. I hope we get to see him together with Hannah in the story. Cute couple! I also love the way he sits there, nursing a drink without actually drinking it.

Ooh, I'm such a sucker for "technical magic". I love Harry's entire approach to the crime scene, using observation and insight and diagnostic spells. Excellent writing!

I noticed one small typo as I was reading:

the young wizard still feared the worst when he received this late-night visits. -- when he received late-night visits.

Also the following read a bit awkwardly:

Neville looked toward the door immediately as Hannah stepped away. Immediately he noticed his two old friends were not alone. -- When you have "immediately" in the middle of one sentence, then start the next with the same word, it sounds a little repetitive.

Otherwise, great writing. I really enjoyed this chapter!

Author's Response: Hello again! Thank you for more great feedback!

I know it's not some people's cup of tea, but I am always really glad to receive thoughtful CC like yours. I think you raise a good point about this chapter being a bit of a drop-off after the big finish in the first. I have read so many great stories on the archive that do a really good job of introducing the major players in a story in the early chapters so I know it can be done very well, but that's something that proves hard for me at times. While I did want to do it this way to better serve the development of the plot and pace of the story going forward, I also think I sometimes feel a bit of an urge to get everybody out there so that I don't have to do it as much over time. So erg.

I also appreciate the attention to detail you paid about the typo and word choice. It's a very good catch that I missed in my proofreading, which is a little embarrassing when it comes to the word choice since that's often a big piece of my own reviews. For shame!

I am glad though that you liked the characters and the approach to the crime scene. The actual "scene scene" was really my biggest worry with this chapter, trying to fuse investigative techniques with magic so it was nice to hear it came off. This is something that vexes me later on in the story too, so hopefully if you carry on, you'll find that those bits came off okay as well.

I'm glad you're liking the story and hopefully you'll continue to if you keep reading!

Thanks so much!

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Review #16, by CambAngst 11:57

7th April 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

I like this story! You know why I like it? Because I'm one chapter in and already I see that you're not afraid to tackle the nitty-gritty details that so many authors are afraid to delve into. Wizard credit risk profiles? You had me right there!

Seriously, though, I love stories like this one that show an author's take on the nuts and bolts of what makes day-to-day life in the magical world function. Goblins aren't likely to lend gold to just anyone; I'm sure they have standards. So do all businesses that don't want to end up bankrupt. And I love the conflict you've portrayed. If bankruptcy and homelessness are truly unknown in magical society then there'a an argument to be made against opening up those possibilities. But how to do it? Is it possible without marginalizing a large segment of your population? Gah, brilliantly philosophical stuff!

Moving along, I think you set a great scene in this chapter. I loved the abruptness of how you moved from a lone wizard taking a walk, pondering what most would consider a highly mundane subject, to a gripping moment of terror. There was no way that anything good was going to happen once the lights went out; it was only a matter of how bad it would be. Your descriptions were vivid and they painted a clear picture in my mind. Even the details of Tobias's untimely demise drew me into the horrors of his last moments.

Your writing was very well done. No typos or grammatical problems that I could see. It all flowed beautifully from start to finish.

Great job!

Author's Response: Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed review! It was great to come back home to after a long day of work!

I definitely tried to make a sharp contrast between the beginning, where I wanted to provide a little glimpse of Tobias and the world he worked in and decision he was facing, and the end where he obviously met his untimely end. I'm glad you thought it worked well.

As for the day-to-day issues, I wish I could say they will continue throughout the story, but I don't want to be disingenuous. Hopefully there will be some less overt procedural-type issues that will also provoke your thought, but the actual issues raised in this chapter aren't going to be explored heavily (at least not in my current vision). They are definitely things I always wondered about in terms of how pro-pureblood policies might have been allowed to continue (for reasons other than just prejudice and greed) and what reform would mean - who would oppose certain issues, etc., so I may one day write a sort of straight-up political/reform fic, we'll see. I'm glad you found the subjects believable and intriguing though!

I'm also very glad you thought the description was well done. That's something I struggle with as a writer, at least doing it consistently, so it's always nice to hear it went well.

Thanks again!

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Review #17, by adluvshp Awakenings

14th March 2014:
Blackout Battle 2/20

Hello again! So, I think this chapter was a superb follow-up to the previous one. The first chapter set the scene but here we have jumped into the investigation which is all the more interesting. I also liked how you've chosen Harry, Ron, Neville, on the head auror's team.

The brief insight we got into the three guys was nice and simple, and believably written. The friendship shared between Ron and Harry was the same and it made me smile. I also liked your portrayal of Neville and the brief mention of Luna & Rolf - and Neville's inclination towards Hannah. The way Ron and Neville were comfortable with each other, placing "bets" and all, was also a good touch.

I never pondered over how investigations and the like would be done in the wizarding world but you certainly captured it brilliantly! The tracing charm etc. and all things that Harry did were realistic and very interesting to read. I liked how they were trying to piece together what had happened.

All in all, another great chapter and I am excited to know more. Do keep writing. This story is certainly going into my favourites and I'm glad I got a chance to read it =)


Author's Response: I'm very glad you're enjoying it!

Aside from writing a story in a genre I've never attempted before, my biggest worry with this story is the canon characters. Even though they're some distance from the Battle of Hogwarts and where they appear in the epilogue, which gives me a little wiggle room, they mean so much to me (and everyone else here) that I'm just sweating not getting them right. I know the moment will come when I will inevitably read the dreaded "I did think x was OOC for blank", but for now it is incredibly gratifying to hear that you thought their first appearances were in character!

I'm also really glad you liked the investigation! I tried to make it both alike and different to "real" criminal investigation and the tracing charm was my first crack at a fan-made spell, so I'm glad you found it believable.

Thanks for sticking with it and reviewing! The next chapter is already in the queue...

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Review #18, by adluvshp 11:57

14th March 2014:
Blackout Battle 1/20

Wow this was a very good opening chapter for a murder mystery! I loved the dark and suspenseful feel that engulfed the narrative from the very beginning. I also liked the way you provided some backstory through Tobias' thoughts reflecting on the decision regarding the change.

The way the "murder" scene was written was also very effective and nicely done. The descriptions were somewhat chilling and I was anxious about what's going to happen. The way Tobias was treated by his murderer was also so painful, with the details so vivid, that I really pitied him.

It was also interesting how nothing more about the killer was revealed through Tobias' eyes - we don't know how he looks or acts at all.

The style of writing over all was also very good and I particularly liked how the chapter ended with the time of murder. I think this was over all very interesting and I am very curious to know how the plot progresses so I'm going to read the next chapter too =)

Great job! 10/10

Author's Response: Howdy!

I definitely wrestled with this because I knew straight out I wanted the murder to be in the first chapter and have it be high impact. Given that it is great to hear that you thought the murder scene was well done.

I considered so many different ways of addressing the murderer to in terms of the plot - revealing the murderer completely, revealing just gender, revealing potentially identifying characteristics, etc - but I ultimately decided to go with trying to reveal as little as possible because of my planned ending. When I sit down to write more I have been sometimes kicking myself saying "WHY?! Another approach would be so much easier!" but I am keeping the faith that it will all work out in the end and hopefully if you keep reading you'll ultimately agree. As always, only time will tell...

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #19, by Lululuna Awakenings

13th March 2014:
Hello! :)

This was a great continuation, and it really has that murder investigation feeling, if you know what I mean. I liked getting some insight into the boys and what they're up to, especially with Neville. I like how he was hanging around the bar, and how confident and slightly cheeky he is with Hannah - that was great, and I like seeing that side of him. I thought you wrote the characters very in canon, especially Ron: he had one line about Tobias getting "roughed up" that I thought was perfect Ron.

It's also funny how Harry bursts in on Ron when he's sleeping! I like how their bromance is shown, and also how they're a little goofy and... not slacking, exactly, but making bets and such on the job. That fits well with their personalities.

I think you did a really good job with all the investigative techniques! They felt very realistic and useful, especially with checking for magical traces and trying to imagine what might have happened. I really liked seeing this perspective of the crime and how it contrasted with the view seen from Tobias' perspective in the first chapter.

You've definitely intrigued me, and I'm excited for the next chapter and to figure out what on earth might be going on! I really like how you set up all the little details and the big law case - even with something as simple as Hermione not staying over at Ron's because she has to prepare, that says a lot about her and what she's up to at the moment. I'm looking forward to the next chapter! :)

Blackout Round 3 - 9/20

Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review!

I really appreciate the feedback on the story. I have been sweating this one a little because it's both my first time writing a mystery and my first time writing the major canon characters outside an AU setting, so I'm glad you felt both were handled well.

I am particularly glad you liked Neville. I wondered in the brief bar scene with Hannah if I had maybe taken him a bit far, but I figured his confidence had really grown by the end of DH and it's six years on from that, so perhaps it would play...

I feel like this story has been much harder to write for me because I am TRYING to keep it intriguing and keep people guessing, so I'm also excited that someone is intrigued! Hopefully I'll be able to keep it that way (and keep the story coming at a decent pace).

It's a good thing you like and notice the small details too. After all, you never know which small detail could actually be huge or which is just a red herring...

Thanks again for reading and reviewing!

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Review #20, by Lululuna 11:57

6th March 2014:
Hello! :)

I'm so intrigued by this! First of all, I love the world you've created for the mystery, and the unique perspective. I am already very curious about Tobias and why somebody might want to kill him, as well as the fact that he was a Wizemgamot member. You did an excellent job of characterizing him as this slightly resigned but seemingly well-meaning old man. I liked the little details about him - like how he was wearing wizarding clothing and worried about what the Muggles might think, and how he's a little self-conscious about his wrinkles. I was actually quite sad about his fate as I liked what we'd seen so far!

I love the idea of wizards reforming the system for equality after the war, and how this might anger some purebloods. You did a good job of explaining it and how the institutions might work. The inclusion of the goblins and the other bureaucratic groups involved were very detailed, which I appreciated.

You wrote the death scene really well. It was suspenseful, and tense, and quite heartbreaking in how Tobias pleaded for his life. I wonder if this was about the new negotiations and Tobias' place in the Wizemgamot - he didn't seem to be very radical, but it's difficult to tell the motive at this point. One thing I'm wondering is if the person might try to impersonate with him with Polyjuice potion, or is making a threatening example of Tobias to the other members of the court.

I'm very intruiged, and will keep an eye out for the next chapter! This was a great beginning, and I really like your writing style and situaiton so far! :)

Gry/Sly Battle Round 2 - Review 6 of 15

Author's Response: Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful review! Actually publishing stuff is a new experience for me so feedback is great to get.

This is a new genre for me to write too, so it's very nice to hear that you thought the death scene was believable. I spent probably the most time writing that because I figured, what's a murder mystery without a decent death scene? So I'm glad it seems to be panning out.

I'm also glad you liked Tobias and the sort of policy-background stuff. I tried to walk a fine line between setting him up as a character and addressing the back-story while still handling the murder scene, but if you liked him and are intrigued by the background idea, more about those things will definitely be revealed as the story goes on.

Thanks again for reading and reviewing!

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Review #21, by Pixileanin 11:57

3rd March 2014:
Hi there! I'm tagging you from the Gryffindor Common Room for Review Tag! And welcome, by the way!

This story caught my interest because firstly, it's a mystery and I love those, and secondly, I've been snooping around the challenges threads lately to see what other writers are up to these days.

So firstly, I am intrigued by your character here. Tobias Hughes already sounds like an interesting fellow, upstanding member of the Wizengamot with heavy thoughts surrounding him. He's eighty years old, looks older than he thinks he should, and likes to take walks. It sounds like he's had a hard life so far, and that his profession hasn't been an easy one.

You definitely gave us a realistic view of the murder. The way you described the brutal way in which poor Tobias is cut down, I gather that whoever is doing the deed is angry with him. It almost feels personal, the way he causes the older man so much pain, handling him roughly about the neck. You've very clearly set the stage for a dark, gruesome story that shows us all the ugly.

From the first section, I get a clear understanding of the case coming up and why it's important to a lot of people, but it felt very narrative-heavy, and was a little cumbersome to read. I think you could have made this first section a lot more personable by giving us more of a glimpse into Tobias' mind, how he felt about the upcoming vote, whether he was still making up his mind, and if he felt like he was in any pressing danger. This is the only part of the story where we'd get a chance to know this guy (since he's dead at the end of the chapter), and frankly, if you hadn't mentioned it in the summary, I wouldn't have known that he was the one with the final vote. I wouldn't have been able to piece together why this man was murdered.

From the time period you chose, I think it will be very interesting to see how you bring the canon characters into the story and wrap them up in the mystery surrounding this death. I'm already wondering who the murderer is, and how difficult it will be to catch him/her/them. And I'm dying (not literally :P) to know if the clock has a great significance in your plot.

Happy writing, and good luck with the challenge!

Author's Response: Howdy and thanks for the welcome and the detailed and thoughtful review!

I'm glad you thought the murder was realistic! I wanted to take a no-holds-barred (within the ToS) approach to the crime itself, so I tried to take a great deal of care to make it believable in feel and description, so it's good to hear you thought that showed.

I also really appreciate the CC about it being cumbersome at the start. I struggled a bit with laying out enough of Hughes and enough of the policy stuff and then decided to play a bit of kick the can with the details of Hughes's back-story and role in the policy battle described in the summary by leaving that to get fleshed out in the investigation. So hopefully that works out.

A number of the canon characters will appear in the next chapter and I'm interested to see what people think. I rarely write them outside of an AU and certainly not in this type of story, but I'm trying to keep their core traits true while still showing some growth that will hopefully not take them OOC. I'm kind of sweating this, but we'll see how it goes.

Thanks again your deep and thoughtful review!

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Review #22, by kareem33 11:57

28th February 2014:
Brilliant beginning, can hardly wait for more.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading! Hope you continue to enjoy it!

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