Reading Reviews for Avalanche
  
5 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Lady Asphodel 1

30th September 2014:
Hello! I'm here for the September Gryffindor Review Exchange!


First and foremost, let me just tell you, how you've blown me away with this story! The way you weaved this was so brilliantly!


The way of Peter's thinking. At first, it's really innocent... or pure of heart... He doesn't want to see people die - which you kept constant - until towards the end, where in Peter's epiphany, he - himself, does not want to die! That was a marvelous twist! A terribly great switch in the mind.

And this makes it so sad for me because you showed the beauty of Sirius, James and Peter's friendship. How deep it runs. James... had a lot of faith in Peter too! He entrusted his life of his own, Lily's, and Harry's... Then what Peter does anyway... It's so heart-breaking! You really stuck to canon! It brings me back to HP and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry realized that Hagrid was the one who accidently gave up information to the wrong people, though Harry knew that Hagrid would never betray him - though Remus believed Harry was just too trusting like James so... ya know... {Sorry, I am getting wordy there.}


There's this one little... nit-pick that I have... You had James say "You-Know-Who" instead of "Voldemort." I always thought James would never utter those titles people call Voldemort by because they fear him. Unless... there's something I don't know about? I mean... if it follows canon from Pottermore... or something..? I don't know. I tend to see statuses on how Pottermore disregards people's headcanons. I haven't been on Pottermore like that... So I wouldn't know...


Anyways, even so... it's not actually bad if James calls Voldemort YKW... It just stuck out when I read it.


Moving on! The overall story was just awesome! Completely outstanding! You did an amazing job stressing the importance in how the war took a toll on everyone. It changed them whether for good or for bad. I loved how you continued to remind not only to Peter, to the other characters like James, Sirius, Moody (whom Peter spoke to), but to the reader as well... as to everyone is a civilian in the war... no matter what side one's on. Everyone has family. Everyone has something to fight for. I love this! Really! Great job in writing this!




- Asphodel

Author's Response: Peter has indeed twisted himself from believing his intentions altruistic right up until he realises his drive for survival has overriden any morality, or any care for others. He did love his friends, he didn't betray them lightly, but at the end of the day, he still valued his own skin more than theirs.

It's a good point with James and You-Know-Who. I can't lie, I didn't think about it; by default I wrote anyone who wasn't Dumbledore calling him You-Know-Who. But Lupin does call him by name in PoA, so it would be entirely logical that James and Sirius did. There was no headcanon or Pottermore information to back this up; I honestly just assigned 'You-Know-Who' as a default. I think you're right, really!

The cost of war on a personal basis, the soldiers being people, and the soldiers being people just like the people they're trying to kill, was a major theme of the story. I'm glad that's shone through, as it's the core of Peter's primary motivation.

Thank you for the review, this has been lovely.


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Review #2, by randomwriter 1

26th September 2014:
Hello! I am FINALLY here for our swap, and I cannot tell you how sorry I am that it took me this long to get here. I knew that I needed to give this story, and this review some time, and I have just been ridiculously busy. I am so, so sorry.

Now onto your story. Woah. I am in a daze. The quality of the writing, combined with the complexity of the plot has left me speechless, and trust me, I almost always have something to say. I don't even know where to start, really.

I guess I'll go with what struck me hardest. For me, even when you step away from from the plot and the characters for a second and just look at this whole piece and what it conveys, it says a lot about war and morality. I'm not a complete stranger to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and your mention has made me re-evaluate the wizarding war using his philosophy. Of course, it isn't as easy as that, but don't be surprised if I write my own war time story inspired by this! (No promises though!) Anyway, I've strayed. What I originally meant to say was that I love your take on war, and I'm really impressed by the way you've manage to show the reader how it affects different people. Being able to see both the 'good' side and the 'bad' side from the POV of the same character makes it even more interesting and gives us a deeper insight into it. I also enjoyed how you've shown us that it's not all black and white.

Next, I want to take my metaphorical hat off to you for writing the opening part so well. Action sequences are so difficult to write, because there's always far too much going on and it can get a bit confusing at times. I thought you handled it extremely well. Your lines are so striking that they just drew me in and got me into the mood of this fic.

I want to go through this review without discussing characterisation at all, but I simply can't and I am afraid that I have far too much to say on the matter and will end up rambling. Sorry about that! James and Sirius ♥ were absolutely spot on. Brilliant characterisation there. I want to give you a huge hug for how well you've written them. They're my absolute favourites, and I love it when they've been characterised well. Yaxley was interesting. I've never read stories focusing on him and I thought you did a pretty good job there. As for Peter, boy. Where do I start? Okay, so Peter is one of those characters I will always blame, always hate and never forgive. Your interpretation of him may not be something I agree with, but I will say this with absolutely honesty, that it was the best chracterisation of him I've read yet. The best. I love his internal monologue, and the conflict that arises from his own thoughts. I found him a tad too noble and righteous for canon, but bah. This was too good. He was also a lot more forward than I would expect, some of these things would require a great deal of courage, but I won't complain. As I said, I don't agree with how you've written him at all levels, and I have some questions as to why he came back as one of Voldemort's most loyal followers after this if his intentions were so noble, and if indeed he felt guilt, but all this aside, I truly, truly enjoyed reading about him. His thoughts on war and the way he breaks down everything was so interesting and it made me almost consider that some aspects of this may certainly have been how it went down really. I felt a horde of emotions for him through the course of this, but in the end, when he realises what he has caused, it just broke me a little. Reading though this was difficult in terms of emotions, because you took me on such a ride (and I was acutely aware of how James and Lily might die at the end of it). I think ti takes great skill to write emotional transitions so well. You are very talented!

So, stellar characterisation, stand-out plot, what about the writing? I cannot fault you one bit. It was superb. Your word choices were so apt, the way you set the mood was perfect and the whole thing flowed so smoothly. Such things have a tendency to get heavy for the reader, but this piece didn't. Your writing complemented the story very well.

As for the dialogue, there are so many memorable quotes from this. If I were to quote things back, I would certainly run out of space here. However, the part where you called this a civil war, that one, it stood out for me. I thought that was very interesting.

Overall, great job! I'd certainly recommend this to anyone looking for a fic about Peter or the war. I really enjoyed the whole story, and I think it would be impossible to fault you. The only thing, as I mentioned is a conflict of opinions, and I can't say you're wrong or anything. Still, Peter's characterisation was amazing and fresh, and this whole story was incredibly unique. Keep up the good work. I should read more of your work sometime, because you're an excellent writer :) ♥

Adi

Author's Response: No worries! I'd rather wait on a big old review like this one than get something rushed and obligatory! And I get being busy, I do. So don't sweat it.

Considering The Art of War's focus on victory through avoiding direct conflict and the uses of deception, it's true, as a text it would probably be very applicable to the way Wizarding Wars work. I also envisioned that as a very stressful form of warfare (not that there's a low-stress form, but shadow wars would be additionally nerve-wracking) and that took its toll on everyone.

I have a good bit of practice in writing action sequences, so I'm glad to hear it's paid off. I found the essence is to just... keep it simple and rely otherwise on atmosphere. So thank you for your kind words, it's something I try especially hard to get Right (especially as an opening sequence).

James and Sirius were particular joys to write; I've not delved in the Marauder's era before, so they were complete unknowns to me but really stole the show. I admit, Yaxley was originally a non-specific OC Death Knight, but when I thought I'd tie it further into canon, he was a natural option and everything became sharper when I edited him in.

Peter - oddly I wouldn't see him as noble even in this story. Even his original intentions were in some ways very cowardly, because at no point does he address the fact that saving the lives of 'soldiers' is sacrificing the wellbeing of Muggles and Muggleborns. The ideology of the war never factors into his decision. So while he is assertive and makes active choices which lead to his downfall; while he acts with some physical courage, he is still morally cowardly even from the get-go. And as he went further down the path, more was that moral cowardice tested, and in the end he was found wanting. So while I wanted him to come to his decisions from a place which wasn't *just* weakness, I do think in this story he is weak and selfish even in the beginning. But besides, we do all have the differing opinions, and I can entirely see your point that he comes across as more heroic than he does in canon. I'd just envision him as being a lot more worn down by the time he shows up in canon, but I do suspect JK would have him as a bit of a weak-willed weasel in the past, too. And differing interpretations make the world of fanfic go around!

Anyway, thank you TREMENDOUSLY for your kind words, this has been a great review and I'm truly stoked by it. Cheers!


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Review #3, by Roisin 1

21st September 2014:
Ah! Oh my god this was so good! I genuinely can't even!

I've been meaning to read your stuff for a while now, having heard so many good things, so seeing this nominated for SotM was just the nudge I needed!

Anyway, this story, GOSH! This was both tremendously ambitious and stunningly well-realized. You looked at the war in such a new way, and it really makes perfect sense. I love the Civil War interpretation, which was precisely what it was. That people still interacted, even civilly, outside of battles was such a striking idea.

Gah, I don't even know where to begin, every single thing about this was so perfect and masterful! The way Peter starts with this very sort of noble seed of an idea, and how it ultimately develops to terrible ends, was just so brilliant! I've rarely, if ever, read such a compelling take on Peter's motivations.

And I just adored how effectively you set this in The Gray Area. You did such an excellent job of exposing the diverse motivations and worldviews of the characters, and examined every flaw and strength therein. It's genuinely inspiring to see how well you were able to juggle these different perspectives. That's something I really respected about Rowling, and the reason I love Potter so much, and you TOTALLY did that here! Like, I believe this--this is what happened.

Plus, all of the prose was just perfect--everything was flawless, and such a joy to read. Your every technical decision really worked to tell this story, and the only proper adjective I can offer on the quality of your writing is KGWEKHVHBFHKVNFWLJ!1!1!1!

I could seriously just go on and on and on about how amazing and smart this story was! You NAILED IT! This is quite possibly my favorite Marauders story EVER now.

I've always sort of had this vague headcanon about the tone of the first war, and you captured it just so perfectly here.

In closing: SO. GOOD.

xoxo
Roisin

Author's Response: I need to read your stuff, too! OC-centric stories set in canon are pretty much my favourite thing.

The Civil War interpretation was what keyed the inspiration for the whole story, so everything really came from there; that some people would view the enemies as 'just like them', that it was a shadow war fought outside the public view and behind masks and that someone who tried to kill you one day, you might pass in the street the next...

It did try to get away from me, though, and turn into something bigger, but I realised that'd drive me bloody mad, to write the entire descent of Peter Pettigrew, so I had to wrestle it under control! And I usually chafe under the limitations of a short story, so I'm glad this worked from a dramatic AND technical perspective!

I feel it would be cheap for Pettigrew to be all evil. If nothing else, it would be unkind to James and Sirius and Lupin, for their judgement of one of their best friends to be even more horribly wrong. At the same time, Pettigrew's a bad egg, no doubt about it. So I wanted him to start as the good friend everyone believed him to be - and end him as the weak-willed villain everyone remembers him to be.

Thank you very much for the kind words, and for reviewing!


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Review #4, by nott theodore 1

3rd September 2014:
Um. Wow.

Okay.

(I'm here for the review swap, by the way.)

This is, without a doubt, the best characterisation of Peter Pettigrew that I have ever read. Ever. And I've read a lot of Marauders era stories and even stories focusing on Peter, but this one was just incredible. Seriously, it blew me away.

It's going to be really hard for me to pick out my favourite parts of this story because literally everything was perfect. I can't see a single thing that could be improved in any way so... I should warn you that I'm likely to ramble. Sorry!

What I loved about this was the fact that you explored and explained Peter and his actions in this story but you didn't try and make us like him. You present him so realistically, and the portrayal is so believable; he does what he does but there's no effort there to make us like him or make what he did seem acceptable, and that makes this story even more believable for me. It's just become my head canon for the way that Peter Pettigrew gradually got drawn into spying and turning traitor for the Death Eaters.

The opening of this piece had such an impact. That first sentence grabbed my attention straight away and launched us into the action. I got a real sense of what the Order had to deal with during the first wizarding war, and I loved seeing Peter's role within that. I think so many stories cast him aside or make him the coward of the piece - which he was, in a way - but he wouldn't have been involved in the Order if he wasn't prepared to fight. And people must have known that he was in the Order because otherwise he wouldn't have been approached to become a spy for Voldemort. So I really liked the way that you showed him fighting, and managing, but at the same time he's not quite as brilliant, or ruthless, as Sirius is.

I really liked the fact that Peter's hesitation in fighting didn't necessarily come from his lack of ability, but from the internal conflict about what was happening during the war. I can see and sympathise with him for his views on the bigger picture - people are still dying, no matter what, and the example of the Hogwarts student who was working as a Death Eater was a great way to show how high the cost is. Just because they're fighting for a better cause doesn't mean that it's right to kill others, and I can understand why Peter would feel that. The celebration afterwards was so well written - especially Moody, who's such a distinctive character - and I could see both sides of the coin. The Order feel that they deserve a celebration as some sort of reward, but Peter's right that it does feel strange to be celebrating.

James! ♥ You captured his character incredibly well throughout the story and I loved the way that he tried to help Peter, but at the same time there was a touch of condescension there, with Sirius and James both calling him 'Petey'. It's not a massive thing but I can imagine that playing in the back of Peter's mind as time goes on.

The repetition of 'I didn't want anyone else to die' ties in so well. It sets up a reason for him to be open to becoming a traitor, because he thinks that it's going to be the best way to prevent more death. He sees the human cost of the war more than the others in the story, it seems, and I find it really believable that someone would try to stop the war by doing something like that - of course, he was too naive to realise, before it was too late, that he wouldn't succeed.

Yaxley was so well written as well! I really liked the fact that you included his character because he's familiar from the series and I can picture his normality and politeness in an everyday situation - from the scenes he appeared in during the books, he seems like the sort of man who's very good at keeping up a pretence. And we know that he was the one who helped infiltrate the Ministry, so being the one to get Peter to properly agree to become a traitor for them made a lot of sense.

My mouth dropped open when I saw Peter hand over the names and addresses of the Order members. I'd known, obviously, that as a traitor he would be responsible for more death, but the extent of this is so shocking. If anything, that made me dislike Peter more than before, and I want to shout at him because he just doesn't realise what he's doing!

And then Peter finally works out what's going on, and that his information won't save lives but it'll just end more of them even quicker. But by that point it's too late, and he's in too deep, and there's no way out. I loved the way that you wrote that realistation, and the moment when him not wanting people to die changed into not wanting to die himself. Preservaton of society become self-preservation and that ties in so well with the weak, terrified man that we see in the books, who goes back to Voldemort because he's scared of dying.

The end section, when James told Peter that they wanted him to be Secret keeper... it was so heart breaking! James was so sweet and trusting and loyal and had absolutely no idea that Peter was the traitor all along. It's just so sad that he placed his trust in the wrong person and that this had to happen! And the fact that the very reasons Jamse chose Peter to be the Secret Keeper are the reasons that he turned traitor... I was glad to see that Peter tried to get out of it and convince James that he wasn't the best person to do the job. I don't think he would have accepted it easily - he still cared about his friends, no matter what. He just cared more about surviving himself, and knew that he would have no chance of concealing the information from Voldemort. Gah, it's just so horrible.

Really, this is just a stunning piece. The characterisation of Peter was brilliant and your writing was flawless. Thank you so much for the swap!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Right, this needed my full attention for a reply and APPARENTLY that takes several weeks!

First, thank you for your kind words! I'm glad Peter's resounded with you and others; this is a story entirely about him after all. And I certainly don't mind rambly reviews.

This all started with the idea of Peter seeing the war as a civil war, and so seeing everyone as a life worth saving. From the get-go I saw that as a dangerous premise, if not a flawed one, so while this is meant to be a sympathetic portrayal I certainly didn't want it to be an exonerating one. Also I much prefer to write trying to lay out a character's actions and letting my readers judge!

In media res starts in a fight are cheap - and I love using them. ;) I'm glad it works a scene-setter. I don't think Peter could have got away being James and Sirius' friend without having a certain amount of physical courage, even if it was reluctant and quiet. Peter may have lacked chivalry or even loud Gryffindor bravery, but as a spy he had to have NERVE. Still, no, never the hero.

War is complicated; civil wars are worse. Especially in this case for wizards who are a part of the more magically-entrenched and pureblood-associated part of society; they are the ones who'll be fighting their former dinner guests. And yet, those dinner guests want evil things and to murder people, sooo...

James and Sirius were a joy to write. I've never dabbled in Marauder writing before, and while I knew exactly what I was doing with Peter (as the story was born with his headspace), to approach James and Sirius and find their voices was very gratifying - and fun. Yaxley was, I confess, originally a non-canon character, but I realised there was no reason to not use a named Death Eater. It tied it a lot together in the editing and tightened his voice once I chose him.

I'm glad you read the end of Peter's story here like you do - because it is absolutely his good ideas leading him to evil. And at the very end it's not an accident; he didn't mean to end up there but he still CHOSE, he chose to keep on supporting Voldemort rather than... well, yes, die, but at that point he became selfish, and he became wholly Voldemort's creature. He viewed himself as having 'no choice' once James made him Secret-Keeper, but he still chose to tell Voldemort and justified that to himself as it being for the war - no, it's because he didn't dare oppose Voldemort. He had good intentions, but at the end, he still chose.

Anyway! Thanks a whole bunch for this sterling review, it's been lovely to receive it!


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Review #5, by water_lily43175 1

3rd June 2014:
Um, so this is perfect.

I wrote a Marauder fic once, back in the day when I wrote Really Bad Stuff. And it's heartbreaking to both read and write, because in the back of your mind is this thought that he's just going to betray them all. And how do you portray him realistically when you know he apparently has the capability to send his best friends to their deaths?

But this. THIS. I swear, you should just sit down and whack out one-shots all the time, because the amount of depth you give Peter in 6000 words is just... GUH. The title is so apt, given how things escalate. It's heartbreaking to follow him through this, to see how his hatred of death, of seeing people die, manifests itself in SUCH a desperation to end things, even if that ending means his side losing. Means James DYING.

And it's so heartbreaking that all the way through this, people recognise him as being so human, so pure-hearted, and yet he's the one to turn. Because it's too much.

Sirius and James are both wonderful. I like the little nuances in their characterisation - they're both loyal to a fault of course, as we'd expect, but Sirius is that little bit immature still (being transfigured and stuffed after death, I laughed so hard at that bit) while James is more sensible, more observant, and knows how to handle people. I have a bit of leeway when it comes to Sirius, but I have a pretty clear-cut idea in my head of how I think James Potter would have been, and here he is perfect.

Yay Giddy P!

What I also like (apart from EVERYTHING) is how Peter goes from just wanting to stop the war to ending up being sucked into the traitor role full-on. The McKinnons die and all of a sudden he's in too far to back out, and he has no choice BUT to carry on, or die. And that's the bit where it goes from "I don't want anyone to die" to "I don't want to die". And then we're in the realms of self-preservation and from then on it's just a downward spiral.

That conversation with James at the end, oh god it broke my heart. Poor Peter practically begging James NOT to make him Secret Keeper because he knows what he has to do. And James thinking Peter is the best for the job because of his principles, when that's what's driven him to all of this.

But, Peter still had the choice, in the end. He didn't have to hand over Lily and James. But it was that, or death. And he's made his choice now. And so they die. :(

I still don't like Peter. I love a well-written Peter, but at the end of the day this is the person who brought about James and Lily's deaths. I'll never like him. But what you've done here is create such a powerful, empathetic character. It MAKES SENSE, that someone who could have been friends with James and co for years would go from being this person who hated seeing death, to someone so desperate for it all to end that he'd resort to even the most terrible of measures. He's not blameless, or redeemed - because he still could have said no, and while it's a pretty rough choice, someone like Sirius (or my Giddy) would have willingly given up his own life for any of the others ... but at the same time, DEATH. It's pretty bleak.

So, yes. Perfect. Love it. And I'm off to mourn over James Potter dying again.

Author's Response: Oops, I didn't reply to this.

I've always liked to think Peter had a long, involved, drawn-out corruption and fall to darkness that turned him from a decent guy and good friend and into the wretched creature we eventually meet. If he was always evil to the core, then either his betrayal meant nothing or our beloved Marauders are idiots.

It took this idea before I wanted to write something, though. Eventually, death can get to a point where who's right and who's wrong no longer seems as important as making it STOP. And it just took that pebble. I think in some ways people were wrong to view him as 'pure' in this, aside for the obvious reasons - I think he was naive, I think that was his biggest sin here.

And yes, he had a choice. He felt he didn't, which was why he wanted James to NOT make him Secret Keeper, because then the thought process he'd trained himself into meant he HAD to tell Voldemort - but there was a choice. There was always a choice. And he chose the path of self-preservation, over, as Sirius told him in POA, dying for his friends.

I really enjoyed writing Sirius and James in this. I like to think of James as a very empathetic person, very good with people, and since he grew up from the little berk of yesteryear, used that power for 'good'. And Sirius has to be the ridiculous, roguish, overgrown child - but quick to forgive, and a good friend.

Oddly, I don't like Peter much. I don't read the books and think, "Poor Peter," or even, "that monster". I kind of nothing him in the books. It's only when I sit down and think about it that I consider his story has to have a lot of good material in there, and it took the spark of inspiration to make this one happen.

Alas, poor James. Thanks for reviewing, as ever!


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