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Reading Reviews for Serenity
  
21 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragon Serenity

1st October 2015:
Howdy! I've done awful in my quest of reviewing Dobby finalists, but I'm trying to make as many educated votes as I still can. And I'm glad I didn't give up because if I had, I would've missed this story.

The way you not only weave this friendship between Padma and Isobel into a powerful relationship, but then unweave it is incredible. Typical of real life part of that unweaving is what can be seen, but isn't spoken and I think that theme throughout the story really reinforces the ending you've left us. The pair are obviously broken here, but despite that there's an air of ambiguity in the freshness and I wonder if it isn't salvageable. It's a credit to your writing that I yearn for it to be.

Your descriptions and characterizations throughout the piece were absolutely impeccable and emblematic of everything a Dobby finalist should be! Good luck in the voting!

Author's Response: Hey there,

Thank you so much for your really thoughtful review! I'm glad that you enjoyed this, and I'm really flattered that you were so invested in the characters.

Thank you again :)

Laura xx


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Review #2, by nott theodore Serenity

18th September 2015:
Hi Laura! I'm here reviewing as many of the Dobby nominations as possible, and I've been meaning to read this story for ages too because I've heard such great things about it, so I'm really happy that I finally made it here!

I think you already know by now that I love your writing style - it's just so fluid and the description is amazing, and each word of your stories seems like it's been chosen with so much care and attention that it makes your stories even better to read. There's so much detail packed into every piece of yours that I've read so far and I loved this too.

The relationship between Padma and Isobel was so realistic and believable. I could really easily imagine the two of them being friends from when they started Hogwarts and something developing from there. I really liked the way that you described the girls growing up together, trying to work their way through becoming teenagers and all of the things that come with puberty and getting older - including boys, of course. It was so easy to imagine them all staying up together to chat and giggle about different things.

I can also really easily imagine Isobel and Padma beginning to grow closer as they experiment with each other to try and work out what it feels like to kiss boys, and then from there it grows into something more as they begin to feel things for each other. The relationship between them was so well written and easily believable - the whole hidden nature of it was kind of sad in a way, because they shouldn't feel that they have to hide how they feel for each other, but I also really liked the way you could tell they both cared for each other so much, and that they meant a lot to each other.

I thought it was great to see the way that you managed to weave in Padma's culture and family so seamlessly to the story. Obviously her background and her family's beliefs play a big role in how she lives and feels about herself and in this case it's really difficult for her because her parents seem to expect her to marry a man and she feels a lot of conflict with what she's doing with Isobel and how she's expected to behave.

The twist at the end was definitely not something I expected to see! If anything, I could have imagined Padma trying to kiss Anthony and being found by Isobel because she would have been conforming with what she was meant to do according to her family's expectations, but this ending kind of felt even more fitting. In a way, I think that Isobel did do it for Padma - one last gesture, because after the conversation they had in the library it didn't seem possible to go back or forward with what they had, so it was like Isobel trying her best to do something for Padma to make life easier. I definitely wasn't expecting it though, and it was so sad to see the break down of their relationship the way it happened here.

One small thing that I also loved (as well as the rest of the story) was the use of parentheses to reflect Isobel's thoughts as she reached out to Padma, or tried to. And the title was really fitting, too - I loved the way that you made it work and fit into the story!

Sian :)

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Review #3, by Penelope Inkwell Serenity

16th September 2015:
Oh my! How painful. That just...ouch!

So, I'm here checking out the Dobby nominations--Congratulations! And man, this one comes with some very un-serene emotions.

You just really feel for Padma, who is so confused, and who wants her life to be easier--who could blame her? But it's clear how much that hurts Isobel.

Still, I think what Isobel did...that was really low. That was different. Padma never wanted to hurt her. She was confused and anxious and trying to figure things out. The pain that Isobel inflicted was 100% intentional. That's not to say that I'm not at all sympathetic--rejection of any kind stings. But still, that was really, really low.

I could swear she was always almost-completing her books. I had never seen her start one, I had never heard her complain of the dull middle. She was always poised, always waiting quietly, patiently, for the final turns of the pages.
--I just thought that was a really interesting character...idiosyncrasy? Is that the right word? Anyway, I love little details like that.


‘and you shouldn’t have read my letter. It was private.’

‘Like us?’

She said it so quietly, so quickly, that I almost missed it. I whipped around. She was very stiff, still gazing at her book. Her eyes no longer danced along the lines.


--Oooh. That was a moment. It was so sharp and quick and dramatic. I just think you did a really good job with that section.

On the breakfast table between us, just beside the plum jam, lay a neatly written letter from my mother. Her looped Hindi script sang of home, of dry heat and blessings. She spoke in old verses that trilled in the air like strings. She always finished with, ‘When you come home…’ and I could see her small smile as she wrote.
--I just love all the details in this--everything from describing the flavor of jam to the sound of her mother's voice and the way she began her letters. It's sad to think of how miserable her mother's letters made her feel, when it sounds like her mother really loves her and is so eager to see her.


CC:

I passed the Hufflepuff’s barely noticed, still chatting outside the classroom, and I followed.
--Hufflepuff's = Hufflepuffs



Your detail here is really good. The way you describe things--smells, expressions, emotions--is lovely. It has a sort of poetic quality. There were so many little passages that just glimmered. You have an excellent way with words, and you connect us to the characters. I really feel for them, especially Padma. Congratulations again on your Dobby nomination(s). They were well merited!

--Penny

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Review #4, by LiveBreatheNeedHP Serenity

12th September 2015:
Wow. That is my initial thought: wow. This is really really good.
I can't pinpoint what it is about your writing style, but it so fluid and you use ordinary words in a remarkable way. You have a way with words, is what I am trying to say here. I really enjoy your style of writing.
Both Padma and Isobel are such intriguing characters. You have written Padma in such an interesting and new light and I wish I could read more of Isobel. She is such a mesmerising character and you have done a really good job of engaging the reader and leaving them wanting more of both the girls.
A highlight for me was the description of the relationship between all the girls in the dormitories. That made me giggle, because it's exactly what teenage girls are like and I really saw and felt that in that part of the story. It was something that I think all teenage girls can connect to because it's so true.
Another highlight of course was Padma and Isobel's relationship, which I think you have written beautifully. It saddens me to see their relationship end in such a way.
This story was so believable and very well written. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Review #5, by HeyMrsPotter Serenity

11th September 2015:
Hi, Laura!

This won't be too much of a long review, I'm trying to work my way through all of the Dobby nominations before I go back to work on Monday which is a mammoth task ;) I just wanted to congratulate you on your two nominations for this one story. I can definitely see why it was nominated. Your descriptions are so beautiful and vivid. I really loved the way you built up the relationship between Padma and Isobel, it was so realistic that it would go from a group of girls experimenting to something more between them. The pressure from Padma's family was heartbreaking and even though it was inevitable that there wouldn't be a happy ending for the girls, it still broke my heart. And Isobel kissing Anthony was a twist I wasn't expecting!

Congratulations on the nominations!

Dee

Author's Response: Hey Dee!

Thanks so much for stopping by - sorry I'm so late in responding. I've been a bit awol recently!

I'm really glad you enjoyed this, thank you for your really lovely review! xxx


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Review #6, by Tonks1247 Serenity

9th September 2015:
Hiya!

I want to start here by saying congratulations on the Dobby Nomination! There are so many stories on the forums and it’s really exciting to see amazing stories getting recognized. Especially stories like this, which are so, so lovely and deserving of a Dobby!

That said, I seriously love what you did with this piece. Like, I’m at a loss for words as to where to begin with what I loved and what worked well because this entire story—the characters, the descriptions, the flow, the plot, the mixed emotions—all worked together to create this beautiful piece of work that made me feel things for a character I’ve never thought much about. It was really amazing to read through and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to stop by (this was on my to-read list as I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, but it got bumped up due to reading week for the Dobbys :D ).

I think I’ll start with a little talk about the characterization. Because I was amazed by what you did with Padma’s character, and how it was so intertwined with Isobel’s character. I’m pretty sure that’s actually what made this so much more emotional and heart breaking at the end, how Padma’s character was in part made up of these feelings for Isobel and how Isobel was this secret lover, of sorts, and how it was meant to be kept quiet, just for the two of them. And how, in the end, it’s not quite enough. Like, tragic really, but it really gives good perspective for Padma’s character, as she struggles not only with finding out she’s got feeling for this girl so early on, but that her mother would not approve and has all these expectations. When her character is then put under pressure, she kind of cracks, unable to make everyone happy. It’s such a hard position to be in because she can’t decide what she feels is right or wrong because everyone has different expectations of her. I really did feel for her there, especially when Isobel then ended up with Anthony, the guy she could be with and make her mother-and possibly herself-happy with.

That actually leads into the plot you’ve got going on. Which is so complex, just like the feelings Padma has for Isobel, and the ones that may even be there for Anthony. This sort of love triangle is so complex and I feel you put words to it in the best way possible. You really highlight moments Padma has with both individuals and make us see a possible future with both of them. It’s really beautiful, that indecision and how clear you’ve brought it across.

Another thing is the story flow here. I am honestly in awe of how you constructed your prose. Honestly, it was so easy to get into because it has this kind of rhythm to it. It almost read like a poem, as it was so easy to go from line to line and one line flowed into the next which worked with the following paragraph and it just went on and on and on. Seriously, if this would have went on longer, I could have kept reading because it was just so easy to read and so easy to feel things, especially with the voice Padma told the story in. It was really, really powerful.

I don’t even know what else to cover here, without just rambling. Because really, it’s so hard to put to words how much this story struck me and how it just sticks out in my head…it’s really amazing, what you constructed here, and there were so many sections that I fell in love with and just…this was really, really great. Really, really great job on this!

-Mikaela

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Review #7, by SunshineDaisies Serenity

23rd August 2015:
Hello! Making my way through the Dobby rec thread so I thought I'd stop by.

I love this so much. It's absolutely stunning. I love the lyrical quality of your writing, and it suits this story so well. It's a really beautiful love story, despite the lack of a happy ending. The interludes between the sections of story are so gorgeous. I'm always jealous when people can include such poetic work into their fic.

I really loved reading about the relationship between Padma and Isobel. I think you did an excellent job of building it, so the progression felt natural, despite the fact that they were already together in the beginning. I really love that you included Anthony and the internal conflict Padma has. I haven't read very many stories that include that aspect, and I think it's an important thing to address. And despite the conflict, the feelings Padma had for Isobel seemed so real. The relationship seemed so authentic, rather than the infatuation based, superficial flings that a lot of teenagers end up having. It was so nice to read.

Lovely work! )

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Review #8, by LadyL8 Serenity

21st August 2015:
Hi Laura.

Wow. That's the first thing I just have to say to you. I came here because I saw the story in the dobby recs. thread, and I can totally see why it was recommended. This is so tragically beautiful, so wonderfully written. It broke my heart, you broke my heart Laura! And this is just so amazing I'm not even sure I can find the right word to convey it, but I'll definitely try cause you deserve many, MANY more reviews.

I love how you characterised Padma and her struggles with accepting herself, her confusion, desperation and her sadness. In high school I was actually really confused about myself and my sexuality, but eventually I came to realise I'm aromantic. You see when you're never been romantically interested in anyone, you kind of start question whether you like girls or boys or both. And I've just reached the conclusion that I don't care. But this story really brough back memories of what it felt back then, when I questioned myself and who I was. It's painful, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone really.

I love the different parts. It's interesting to see it develope from something as simple as a kiss between two friends to practice, until it eventually ends up being a secret/private relationship. Padma can't really seem to accept herself, and it's must be especially tough because she battles the more traditional views of Indian culture - the pressures of finding yourself a future husband. And I really sympathise with her, and I can see where she's coming from and why she does chose to do what she does in the end. She's just lost between who she is and who she thinks she should be, and it's really sad to watch.

The scene with the boys breaks my heart. It's sad to think about the homophobia we still face in the world, even if it has gotten much better than it once was. This story, however, is set around 1997-1998, which obviously would mean that homophobia would be a bigger problem than it is today. But even now we still have a way to go. And I don't know how it is in other countries, but you can still face bullying and prejudicsm and other bad stuff here in Norway, even though we've had legalised same-sex marriages for like almost 8 years. The problem is biggest with teens, though, which is sad because most people realise who they are in their teens.

Anyway, there's something so beautiful about the style of this story. You know from previous reviews from me that I love your writing. It's out of this world, really. You're so talented, so amazing that I honestly don't how to say it in words. I don't think there are words for it, and what you did with this story... I'm so in love with it. There's a beautiful development of a relationship as well as Padma's gradual realisation of who she is, and her trying to accept that. You have such a beautiful language, amazing imagery and the story is just captivating, fascinating, interesting, lovely, indescribably good. Like every good adjective you can find really.

And I have to applaud you for the diversity. I know it was for the diversity challenge, but I'm still applauding you. I love to see different cultures, ethnicities, sexualities, religions etc. I don't think we mean to do it, but we tend to make most of the characters in our stories (I said "we", because I need to get better at it too) caucasian, British, straight and Christian (if they have a stated religion). And while that is good too, we do need to see more people from different places, different ethinicities and religions etc. Because magical people are found all over the world, not just in Britain

Now finishing this review I have to once again say that I LOVE this story. It's so stylistically perfect, so beautifully written, but tragic and heartbreaking at the same time. I can't even come up with one critical thing to say, cause it's that good. This is just flawless, perfection. I'll definitely favourite it, and I'm so glad someone recommended it so I got to read it, cause everyone really should read this. Thanks for sharing the story.

Lots of Love

Lotte

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Review #9, by casual_chaos Serenity

15th August 2015:
If this story existed in written form, if I had read it from a paper that I held in my hands, I would probably throw it out the window, and myself along with it!

Why, why, why did you make me feel this way?! It's so rare for me to find a piece of writing that manages to cause a real physical reaction, like some sort of subtle ache in my chest, but when I find it, it's almost unbearable. And I love it and hate it at the same time. (Just to ease your mind, in case you were confused, this story was perfect in about a billion ways!)

I wont even try to review this from a critic's perspective. Your prose is beautiful, your attention to details, your dialogue, it's all perfect. The passage about Isobel never starting a book, always waiting to finish, has got to be one of the most poetic things I've ever read.

I wish there was a way to type this out in a very small font, because it's private and I feel like I should whisper it, not say it, but this year has been very complicated for me, in terms of figuring out who I was. And so reading about Padma brought all those feelings back at once - I felt her exhilaration, and her sadness, and confusion (which is worst of all) and her fear of not being accepted - and all of it through a very personal prism. This is the power of words, the power of unspoken things between words, and the power of empathy, I guess. I'm still a bit overwhelmed, I didn't expect myself to react to a story in such way.

When you read a book, there is this invisible wall between you and the author, and it stops you from blurting out all of the things that their book made you feel to them. That's a good thing, the wall should be there. Right now, I feel awkward sharing my feelings about this story so honestly, and I almost wish for the wall to exist. But at the same time, it's so thrilling to be able to say to you: I have just read this, and it has truly touched me. Thank you for writing it, and posting it here for us to enjoy. Thank you for all the time you spent making this come to life. Thank you.

It's so immediate, so easy to do this. :)

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Review #10, by EnigmaticEyes16 Serenity

12th August 2015:
Hi! I really enjoyed this one-shot! I like how you played on the diversity challenge by writing Padma and dealing with the more traditional views of the Indian culture. Living in an Indian culture, Padma of course would have been pressure by her parents to find a suitable husband young, and anything else is practically unacceptable, as sadly as that is. So, of course, Padma is dealing with a serious dilemma with her feelings for Isobel on one side and her family's expectations on another. Plus, it's all still relatively new to her and she is clearly unsure of how to deal with her feelings. She hadn't put a name to it yet, not until her and Isobel overheard Michael and Anthony talking, and to hear it in some a derisive tone must have been awfulliy painful for her to bear. And poor Isobel, who has clearly been pained by seeing Padma's reaction to this is hurt and angry, no matter how serene she may pretend to be.

But I wish she hadn't of done what she did. To hurt Padma by going after the boy she knew Padma wished she could like. It justs seems cruel and purposely leaves Padma with no one turn to. I wonder what she will do after this.

This was such a lovely story to read. It was so interestingly written and I loved all the imagery and color you managed to include in all the descriptions. This is a beautiful yet sad piece of writing! And wonderful job on incorporating this to fit both of the challenges!

xxNix

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Review #11, by merlins beard Serenity

12th August 2015:
Hey Laura,
I came here because of the rec/review for the Dobbies.

How can you create prose like that? Show me?

This is beautiful and sweet and painful and filled with hurt and sorrow and doubt and expectatoons.
Somehow, I never once expected them to be together troughout this story. I really, really wanted it to happen, but I knew it just wouldn't.

Not being accepted by your family is the worst thing I can imagine... and being pushed towards something you don't want is equally as terrifying.

I don't even have words to tell you what this story did to me. The feels are so intense, I can't even describe them. Laura, you're making me feel stuff I didn't expect to feel.

I want to cry. And go hug Padma. And Isobel. And everyone. And tell Padma's mum to get over it. And kick the boys who laugh at Padma and Isobel.

This is a very beautiful, impressive story, and I'm so happy I came to read it. It's definitely Dobby-worthy.

~Anja

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Review #12, by cherry_pop94 Serenity

29th July 2015:
Hello Laura! I'm here for the BvB challenge!

I really love this story. Everything was just so beautifully written and you wove in Padma's culture so well! I can totally see why you won quote of the month, that quote is perfect and flows so well with the rest. This whole story is just beautiful.

The relationship between Padma and Isobel is so innocent and beautiful. It started out with friendship when they were young and blossomed, but stayed secret. The way you described the girls' friendship (in the whole dorm, not just the two of them) is gorgeous. 'Feminine unity painted in bronze and blue.' That line was just wonderful.

The reaction of Anthony and the other boys to just the rumours was quite sad. I think many authors can sometimes forget that this is 1997 we're talking about. Homophobia is still very real and very rampant, not that it isn't today, but it was much, much worse then. It was very subtle here, but it's clear that Isobel and Padma cannot be openly together. They feel shame for what they're doing, though they shouldn't in our eyes.

This was beautiful and I'm so happy to have read it!

Thanks for sharing!

Stefanie

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Review #13, by jessicalorewrites Serenity

26th June 2015:
hey! jess here, reading and reviewing so that I can (finally lol) get the results out for the diversity challenge. the results should be out within the next couple of days so keep your eyes peeled over on the forums!

first off I want to say I love this little layout you have going on and the switching between past and present. it sets everything up nicely and in a clear way, meaning I didn't get mighty conufsed between each part. the dates were a nice touch too - I love dates in fics idk why.

your writing is beyond beautiful in an etheral way. it's out of this world. amazing. I love the way that you open the story and that you immediately give the reader this romantic atmosphere to show that, clearly, there is a passion underlying between padma and isobel. honestly, all the imagery that you use keeps on adding to this magnificent painting I've got going on in my head and it's just HEAVENLY. you're truly talented.

the story in general fits the word serene so well. I love that you took something that usually reflects a tranquil state and linked it to such turmoil and pain. I honestly feel so bad for padma and everything she goes through in this fic. you display her confusion about her feelings for isobel so well and the conflict that surrounds that as well. likewise you didn't shy away from how difficult it would be to be found out/come out and you wrote this in such a tragic way. it leading to isobel kissing anthony... god, my heart shattered FOR padma I can't even imagine how painful that was to watch. isobel really surprised me in this reaction--I know that she felt padma was betraying her and didn't really love her because they had a private love, but still, it was a horrible and bitter revenge.

GOSH I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS OVER THIS I'M SO EMOTIONAL I WANTED THINGS TO WORK OUT AND THEY /DIDN'T/ WHAT TORTURE IS THIS

your writing is beautiful ♥ your characterisation is even better ♥ so much love for your writing this is so great

- jess, xo

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Review #14, by patronus_charm Serenity

26th June 2015:
Hi there Laura! Sorry for taking a while to get this but I’m finally here to review this for my challenge! ♥ I’m going to review section by section as they’re all so different and wonderful, I feel like this is the best way to do it!

Part 1, i – oooh your writing! ♥ It’s honestly so pretty and so wonderful and it’s making me feel a little jealous right now as it’s not overloaded at all but still conveys so much, like Padma’s letter from her mum just had so many feelings in it it was so sweet! Aw, the thing with Anthony was sweet! ♥ He seems to be very cute in a geeky way and the way he clearly has a thing for Padma is adorable too, though I am interested to find out more about Isobel and what’s with her and Padma as there does seem to be something there.

Part 1, ii – wah, wah, wah I think I was just flailing about because all of those feels were too much and too wonderfully and cute and wah! I really loved how you described the Ravenclaw girls as like some sort of sisterhood as it was sweet to see how close they were and how they had banded together and I really enjoyed getting some backstory to Padma too. With the kissing bit, that was so adorable and it was cute how even Oliver Wood couldn’t stand up to Isobel in Padma’s eyes. I am literally shipping them so much right now, so you’d better not go breaking them up, okay? This line - I had unknowingly, yet voluntarily given one piece of myself to her in that first kiss. – so perfect! ♥

Part 2, I – I really liked how you mentioned Jaipur as a lot of the time people forget that Padma and Parvati are from India so it was great to see it remembered here. The carriage ride with Anthony really was interesting just to see how much pressure Padma is under because her family want her to have a husband and a good marriage, and whilst she likes Anthony and gets on with him she can’t force it to happen. It’s just quite sad to see that Isobel is the person who will truly make her happy yet she can never be with her.

Part 2, iii – this section was just beautifully sad. Beautiful in that your writing really conveyed their dilemma and made me feel it completely and then sad as they had to keep it as a secret and no one could ever find out how happy they were and how much they meant to one another. Their relationship really does have an ominous feel to it :(

Part 3 – this was heart-breaking again, because Padma’s dilemma is also a cultural one which makes it so much harder as her parents would have to overcome a cultural barrier as well as a person one to accept that their daughter is dating a girl. I can kind of see why she pretended she had a boyfriend, but poor Isobel as it must be hard. The ending with Anthony :( I hope the laughter was just from shock and it doesn’t show his genuine feelings regarding lesbians.

Part 4 – what did you to me Laura? What did you do to such a perfect ship? No, no, no that was mean ending it like that. I just can’t, I can’t. Poor Padma :( She had so much silent rage in her almost, she was so calm and so composed but I could feel her breaking down inside and it was so sad and I feel almost as sad as she does. It’s too much!

The ending :( I feel like I’m in pieces because despite this being so short, I invested so much in the two of them and they were so perfect and wonderful and for them to finish it that way was just so sad. This was really beautiful and the experiment most definitely paid off!

-Kiana

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Review #15, by Dojh167 Serenity

21st June 2015:
(It feels weird not to write Hufflepuff House Cup 2015 Review at the top of a review) Anyway, I'm really here for review swap...

Anyway, this story has been on my reading list for a while and I'm glad I sat down and read it.

Your language and imagery in the opening is really fascinating and captivating. It feels so unusual, which really draws me in and makes me interested to find out more about the speaker.

Really, all of your imagery is breathtaking. I'm going to try to resist listing all the parts I love, because with the length of the story, this review would go on forever. But you get the idea.

You also did a great job establishing the romantic tension between them. From the moment their hands brushed, my heart was like "SHIPPING!"

I've read A Single Point In Time and know you do wonderful characterization, but HOW YOU DO ROMANCE SO GOOD. And breathe.

I'm really glad that you let Padma's ethnicity and background be a part of her here. I think that too often people try to whitewash characters to make them "easier" to write, and stories lose a lot of richness that way. I don't know if you wrote her this way because of the challenge or that's how you would have done anyway, but either way, good call.

iv was very interesting. It was so drastically different than the rest of the story is style that it really strongly stood out. Not only did the style it was written in do god job of drawing us into Padma's mental state, but the fact that it was so different really drew attention to the fact that this was a time of unusual emotional turmoil for her.

A few little picky things:
"I passed the Hufflepuff’s barely noticed" Hufflepff's should be Hufflepuffs
"On his lips I saw shimmering spit." Spit seems like a strange word to use when it's on his lips. Maybe saliva?

FEELINGS. I really wanted thinks to wok out with them. I'll go sulk now.

But really, you did a fabulous job here and wrote a really beautiful story here.

"Isobel, silence cannot be serene" was really wonderful and provocative, and tied the story together really well.

Sam.

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Review #16, by ad astra Serenity

12th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin

Hi Laura! I've been meaning to read and review this since you first posted it - I'm sorry it took me so long to get to!

Your writing is absolutely gorgeous - I'm probably going to gush a bit because I'm new to your work but your description is breathtaking and there's a real captivating delicacy to your imagery - the very first line is stunning and a perfect example of that delicacy. You have a way with words and your style and content complement each other perfectly.

The story, as well, is such a beautiful melancholic one and you've covered so much in a short space of time - the nature and timeline of the girls' relationship, the things that stand between them, the ending that you've somehow managed to make bittersweet - as if she had done this for me.

Padma's confusion, her fear of being found out, her questions - you've captured them all perfectly and created a compelling story, and the pressure and hints from her parents is a really good cultural insight and God, these lines: Her looped Hindi script sang of home, of dry heat and blessings. She spoke in old verses that trilled in the air like strings are absolutely stunning. I'm in awe of them. I'm in awe of so many of the lines in this story to be honest.

This is such a beautiful piece of writing and I'll definitely be reading more of your work!

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Review #17, by Aphoride Serenity

5th June 2015:
Hey Laura! :) Stopping by from BvB - and the summary for this sounded so good, so enticing I just had to stop by so I hope you don't mind! :) (Then again, tbh, most things on your page sound so good - it was so hard to choose!)

Oh my gosh, I'm so so glad I picked this one because the writing in this is so beautiful and the story you're telling is so lovely but so sad, too, because you know it can't end well, and even though you know that, the ending is still such a shock - I really, really didn't expect that from Isobel! :( Poor Padma...

I loved both the characters, too - Isobel and Padma. How Isobel was so quiet all the time, and words almost would have been more hurtful, but then perhaps serenity can hide the truth and true feelings - like with the end, when Padma thought that perhaps things could go back and then Isobel is just so silent, almost like it's an offer hanging between them, and Padma can't accept it. The whole theme of silence and serenity, and the two things mingling and not quite merging, really, was so so beautiful.

I loved Padma, too - how there was this sort of expectation for her from her mother and her family, which she was so scared of not living up to and so much pressure along with it, and yet it was so carefully written so as not to suggest anything potentially offensive, you know? It was just like the way things were for Padma and the way her mother was, and it made it so sad for her that Padma has to lie and that perhaps that is what in the end kills her relationship with Isobel :( Also, I loved that you included it so simply - I haven't seen that kind of unthinking, oblivious sort of pressure from parents much at all in fic, and it's I think almost more realistic than anything else.

I don't really know what to say about your writing in this. I really want to say something, because it's so good I can't really say nothing, you know - but what can I say about it? It was just so so beautiful, so descriptive and so stylistically perfect. It flowed perfectly, the word choice was perfect, the instances were you broke grammar were perfect... I have no idea how you did it, but this was amazing. Seriously.

I'm so so glad I read this. Favouriting. Going off to find places on the forums to recommend this because I don't really know what else to do... :)

Aph xx

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Review #18, by Shadowkat Serenity

1st June 2015:
Hey, sorry I'm late. I read it a few days ago, and was trying to figure out how to review. Then life happened, But I'm here now, right?

I really, really enjoyed this story. It was really unique, but that ending though! You see, this is why I just now started dating, drama. So much drama. Poor Padma!

I didn't see too many errors, and I loved all the bits of irony you put in. The way it all played out was flawless!

Padma's fears and insecurity came through strong, and I honestly got angry when Isobel did all of that to her instead of trying to help Padma get past them. I wonder though if the sorting hate would have considered putting her in Slytherin, because that seemed like a very cunning, calculated sort of move. She knew right where to strike to cause the most pain. Now they're both still sharing a room...that's going to be extremely awkward.

Thanks for the swap, awesome oneshot!

Author's Response: Heya - no that's okay, no worries! I understand how it can be sometimes! :)

Ahh, I'm so glad you liked this - thanks for such an encouraging review. I'm also glad that Padma's character came through quite strongly too, but nonetheless she is still absolutely insecure and an unreliable narrator all the same.

Thanks so much for your review!

Laura xxx


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Review #19, by Infinityx Serenity

1st June 2015:
Lauraaa I'm finally here! :D

Okay, so WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DESCRIBE THINGS TOO MUCH. THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH WHEN YOUR WRITING IS SO BEAUTIFUL. :O

Seriously, Laura, are you crazy? This is just so amazing and packed with emotion, and it's so surreal in a way as well. How could you say you don't like the way you describe things too much? The way you've written this is so gripping and powerful and OH THE FEELS. SO MANY FEELS.

I LOVE the way you've characterized both Padma and Isobel. The way you've brought in Padma's Indian roots and the way her family would disapprove of her being in love with a girl was just brilliant and so sad at the same time. I mean, I totally understand the pressure that Padma faces. Being from an Indian family isn't easy. There are just so many expectations and ideals about right and wrong, and the whole collectivist nature of the society makes it hard for people to go against their family since family and what the society thinks just means so much to them. On the other hand, Padma and Isobel are just PERFECT together and it's so obvious that are meant to be with each other. It's heartbreaking to read about how they are forced apart because of Padma's commitments to her family and culture.

Your writing is just GORGEOUS. The confusion that Padma feels is so clear and so painful to read (as is Isobel's) and your choice of words just adds a whole new dimension to the meaning of heartbreak. JUST GORGEOUS, LAURA.

And that bit about how Padma couldn't even kiss the guy. That made me tear up a bit because she KNOWS she loves Isobel. It's not her feelings towards the girl that are confused, it's just the whole situation with her mother. That really tugged at my heart.

And that ending. I don't even know what to say, Laura. I really don't. I've been sitting here for twenty minutes just to try and put my feelings about this into words. But I can't. Your writing has touched me so deeply and I feel like everything's just so poetic and otherworldly, and there's no way I can feel negatively towards either of the girls. It's just. GAH SO MANY FEELS.

YOU ARE SO AMAZING AND BRILLIANT.
I need to binge eat and watch something happy now.

This is going into my favourites, without a doubt.

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Review #20, by Roisin Serenity

31st May 2015:
Hello! Since the last chapter I reviewed was so short I thought I'd review a second one.

THIS. GOSH.

This is really really beautifully written, and so heartbreaking! You have a great knack for specific details and fresh word choices that I really admire. All of the analysis and introspection was just fascinating, and I felt so engaged throughout. At times I just had to stop and admire your gorgeous turns of phrase and the style of this writing is so amazing.

And GOSH that ending. You wrote such an emotionally complex story and I think that's why it felt so real and convincing. So I am crushed. CRUSHED. Padma (and Isobel's) confusion was really well-played, and you did an excellent job of Showing instead of Telling (major kudos).

Really eroticized language tends to throw me, especially in FF, but you did something really spectacular with all of the romance here. It never got icky or trite, yet remained lush and visceral. I think it worked because you didn't fall back on cliche or convention, and seemed to maintain a really novel approach and use of language. I guess it just felt so HONEST and REAL that it was impossible not to like it.

I am favoriting this story :)

Thank you for the swap!

Author's Response: Hey again!

Eep, I am so so glad you liked this! Thank you for the wonderful feedback! Also, thank you for your honest words about the intimacy in this chapter. I'm the same as you - I hate awkward sexualised language because it doesn't feel natural, really. I'm really glad that this worked.

Also, I'm sorry for the heartbreak! I was really unsure about this because once you've read over your writing a million times you start to doubt that the message your trying to convey is actually clear and also the writing itself becomes kind of familiar to you. I'm glad that this was enjoyable (and heartbreaking!) and thank you so much for your compliments. You are so kind.

Thank you so much for your review!

Laura xxx


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Review #21, by bittersweetflames Serenity

29th May 2015:
Oh, Laura. That was just heartbreaking... :O And it was so beautiful! I saw that you said it had taken you two weeks to get this done but, wow! It was worth every single moment you spent labouring over it. It was beautiful. It touched my heart, it touched my soul. I felt like I wanted to cry, I felt like I wanted to hit something but, in the end, I think I just needed a hug.

The way you detailed Isobel and Padma's relationship is just beautiful and painful. As this was written for the angst challenge all I can say is BRAVO. Angst? Definitely angst.. Then, I did not know how to feel about Padma -- should I feel sorry for her? should I get angry that she would question herself?

What Isobel did at the end was just one last heartbreak for me. Just one last moment of beauty and pain and ugh, how could you do this, Laura? HOW? HOW? HOW?
I am sorry that we live in a society that demands only one specific sort of love; immediately classifying anything that does not fit as different; as wrong. How many others exist out there who have been hurt as Padma and Isobel have been hurt? How can one be happy when acceptance can never be had? I feel this, deeply, for these two girls and for everyone else who have been in this situation.

Thank you for sharing, hunny. I really enjoyed it (although, enjoyed may not QUITE be the correct word. :O) I mean, really, it wasn't enjoyable (since it was not meant to be enjoyed) but it was really beautiful and I savoured and I certainly would not regret reading it again. (and again. and again.)

--Carla

Author's Response: CARLA I'M SORRY THAT I CRUSHED YOUR HEART :(

But thank you SO MUCH for this beautiful, amazing review. You're such a wonderful person and it really means so much when you review my stories because you're such a ray of sunshine. Thank you. I'm sorry I hurt you with this one shot :(

xxx


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