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Reading Reviews for Rise of the Phoenix Volume I
  
104 Reviews Found

Review #1, by beyond the rain The Gathering Storm

19th August 2016:
Hi there! Bex here, with a review that you requested :D

So let me say first of all, this is very different to what I usually read. I've never gone into the land of OCs, but I have to say - I'm very glad I did!

I think you set it up rather well, you showed the contrast between Aurora and Theo, even mentioning little deals such as his tweed jacket - those smaller things set the two of them apart.
For me, this world was very easy to become enthralled into, I liked the conversation between the two characters, even though it seemed Theo was starting to annoy Aurora a little bit - I liked that they weren't like best pals.

You set it in such a wonderful era too. I don't know if i just have a soft spot for the 70s or if you wrote it amazingly, but I could really picture all the 70s clothes, the dark night that they were in & the fight too.

My favourite part of the chapter, was when Aurora gave her opinion on voldemort's 'supposed' army. I like how she thought it was all a bit of fear mongering, and that she didn't think it would come to much fruition. It made her seem more real, that not every character is right and they can be wrong about things, such as the level of Voldemort's threat.

I think for a first chapter, it didn't lag too much. There were one or two points where I was reading, waiting for something to happen, but this chapter's here to set the scene - so that's not something I'd worry about too much. I'd just say, while there are some absolutely amazing bits of description (for example the bit about her scar was great.) I'd say cut down on how much description you need. You've got a similar style to Charles Dickens I think (who i love.) but sometimes he could get too in depth.

Lastly, the suspense was pretty good - as soon as that guy began pestering the little girl, I knew something was bound to happen but I didn't know what. As soon as he gave her the flower I knew some fighting was about to go down. It really set the tone of the intensity of the social climate in HP britain in 1976.

Overall, an amazing first chapter - you did really well! Like I said, just make sure sometimes your description isn't too heavy - otherwise; perfect! I really like Aurora, and you've written the period extremely well!

Bex

Author's Response: thanks so much for the wonderful feedback.

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Review #2, by victoria_anne The Gathering Storm

12th August 2016:
Hello there!

Whoa mama, what a nice long chapter! I'll be reviewing as I read so sorrynotsorry for the randomness that is inevitable to ensue. I'll touch on your concerns at the end :)

Ooh are they like curse breakers? Something to do with artifacts-ers? This is exciting already!

Theodore Morgan. Those are two of my favourite names ever. Oh and they're curse breakers, AWESOME. You've done a great job of slowly dropping backstory while the scene still moves, no info dumps here!

You have head hopped the POV a little bit. I mean, it's good to have the situation enriched by different perspectives and see each character from the eyes of the other, but this early in the story (and especially since it's a long one) it's important to give the reader the chance to invest their emotions and energy into the main character. Give me someone to root for! I'm not quite feeling it yet, so if you were to ever go back and edit, try to focus more on Aurora's perspective :) It's only really in the first half of the story, though.

Okay I'm really interested in her brother's story and the relationship between him and Aurora!

I really like your descriptions, especially since they all refer back to the wizarding world. The suspense was spot on, where clearly something isn't right with the train ride but we have no idea what. As for Aurora, I like her so far! I'd like to get to know her more, but from what I can see in this first chapter, she's brave and clever, if slightly and dark and broken inside.

All in all I think this is a pretty fantastic first set up. I like how it's set in the first wizarding war, and the storm really played well in the general darkness, fear and confusion that the country went through (or is about to go through) during Voldemort's first rise to power.

Thank you for requesting!

♥ Bianca

Author's Response: thank you for the wonderfully intelligent and insightful review :)

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Review #3, by BellaLestrange87 The Gathering Storm

9th August 2016:
Hi there! Olivia here with your requested review.

So right off the start I'm feeling very interested in your OC. This first chapter doesn't really give us a lot of information about her and her background and stuff, which only makes me more interested in her, and that scar. For some reason I feel like that scar was more than just a dragon and was actually something worse, although I don't know if it'll actually turn out that way.

I'm really curious about why Aurora is so worried about returning to Britain. Yes, her brother passed away, but that would make her sad, not worried, and she seemed very stressed about it. And with her brother being an Auror... "Uncertain" causes of death are always suspicious, and you would think that magic would be able to find out why someone died. If the Ministry told her that there was no explanation for her death it makes me think that they're hiding something from her.

Or there's nothing to it at all and you're laughing at me as you read this.

I noticed a grammar error:

Their presence remaining even after Aurora’s initial insistence that he shaved it off. - I think this should be "Its presence" or something similar as it's referring to a single moustache instead of "moustaches" that I've also seen used.

So I'm not quite sure about those two Muggles that sat on either side of her or the man who came in. There were probably plenty of other carriages on the train that they could have sat in. And the man guarding a door? Something is very wrong here. I feel like there's going to be an attack on the train.

Woah. I was definitely not expecting that. Greyback? It seemed like Greyback. That, and the ensuing fight, is going to be an enormous mess for Aurora and Theo. The Ministry is going to be very mad at them for using magic in front of a whole train of Muggles.

It was, however, a great way to end the chapter as I now want to see what happens next.

You also wanted me to talk about your description. I feel like there are a few instances where it's a bit much - where I think you use a more complex word when there's a smaller one that would serve just as well. Other than that, I like the description. It sounds similar to published works that I've read and it flows very well.

I really enjoyed this chapter. I hope this novel of a review is helpful to you!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Wow- you're a brilliantly helpful reviewer. Thank you for the constructive feedback.

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Review #4, by pathfinder Vengeance

18th May 2016:
Nick,

A long but well-written chapter here. It’s obvious that you took quite a while to edit and polish this chapter before publishing. As usual, my comments are limited to relatively minor issues. I’ll start walking through them and my comments:

“Most of it came through her mind [in] colourful flashes.”

I like how you contrasted the vividness that Aurora remembers from her dream to the haziness of a normal dream - it really reinforces the uniqueness and importance of what is happening to her. That - carried into the next section where she’s (hallucinating? having a vision? being haunted?) - introduces the idea that she is indeed going mad - where she’s not just seeing dead babies - she’s having active conversations with phantasms.

I only have a couple of items of cc here. This seems to be an abnormally slow lift. Minutes pass before she gets from street level to the main entrance? I’m wondering if you could make it clear that it only seems like minutes. I don’t think wizards and witches are any more patient with slow lifts than the rest of us. The second item was that it was difficult to follow the transition from the ‘phone booth’ lift to the ‘main’ Ministry lift. Aurora didn’t seem to ever leave the first and enter the second.

“Freya’s, Theo’s daughter[‘s], office too - she hoped none of what they had planned [today] would jeopardise her.”

“promise  this [to] be true!”

“He had been at dead ends in his investigation of Rupert’s murder until Aurora’s but now with some vigour in his stride he cornered Mundungus Fletcher.” [Delete ‘until Aurora’s’]

“What greeted them was a desert: vast and unforgiving, composed of harsh, trampled dirt and a merciless arid heat. The warmth was so tangible that steam from boiling water below ground rose from the cracks in the earth. For a garden it was rather mercilessly bear with no florae or faunae visible to the naked eye.” [Arid heat suggests there’s no humidity - but the steam would make it humid heat. Also, you might not want to duplicate ‘merciless’. Change ‘bear’ to ‘bare’.]

“Many minutes hopefully, I am sure of it.” [This seems a contradiction, either he’s hopeful or he’s sure - intentional?]

“R[u]dolphus had entered the garden [o]n foot.”

“Alice looked [un]concerned,”

I enjoyed how you have Aurora know the plan - but only reveal it to the reader in bits and pieces as they walk through the Ministry. It helps keep the chapter intriguing and allows you to introduce each section with a sense of mystery (no pun intended to the same department). Throwing in familiar characters (Umbridge, Weasley) also helped keep me interested in the story.

The scene at the end of the chapter was revealing - with the Aurors arriving to do exactly what Aurora and her father were attempting in trying to catch Lestrange - and then having the Death Eaters appear to give battle. Knowing how well you do with battle scenes - I’m certainly looking forward to that when you post it.

Thanks for the swap, and don’t worry about the time between reviews - I’m not going anywhere.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hello Drew,

Sorry for the delay.

Provided there is no further chaos in both RL and in the FF world, I should have Chapter 20 up in a couple of days.

Thanks for your typically thoughtful review.

I will post my final thoughts on your pleasant story as soon as I have finished chapter 20 and have the window to do so :)

Feel free to contact me on twitter.

Best,

Nick


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Review #5, by adluvshp Vengeance

17th May 2016:
Hey! Here for your requested review from the forums. I'm very much delayed with this review, so apologies.

So, I meant to review the third chapter but the story is good I couldn't stop reading, so I ended up reading through all the chapters, and decided to review this last one =)

If that doesn't tell you, then I'll say it explicitly: I am really enjoying the story! I think you've done a great job here. The plot is very interesting and your characters continue to grow and be relatable, and I like being in their heads.

My favourite characters so far are Alice and Aurora. I really like Gideon too. The way you have woven the story is very interesting and I'm definitely curious to see what happens next. Your descriptions are really good and I enjoy your dialogue as well.

The last bit was very nail-biting, and you ended on a nice cliff-hanger there. Dolohov is just ugh. You've obviously written him well. I honestly don't know what else to say except that so far this is a great story and I enjoyed reading all the 19 chapters that are up. Do keep writing. Great job!

Cheers
Angie
(Lost Muse)

Author's Response: Hey.

I can't believe you read so much, thank you.

Your feedback means a lot especially as the later chapters have less reviews so knowing that they work so effectively for the reader is lovely to hear.

Cheers for the swap, no worries about taking your time, I am always very informal about these sort of things. I like reading your work and I am glad you got stuff out of reading mine.



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Review #6, by pathfinder Trauma

2nd May 2016:
Nick,

So I thought more about your response to my last review about whether to include or not include potentially irrelevant details and I think you’re right in that there’s room for both paths. When I picture my own story being told, it’s long after the fact - and like normal life, all of the irrelevant facts are lost by the fog of memory. Your writing is more about the moment and the immediacy of being there. My story is more about ‘storytelling’ and yours is more an immersive experience, so cheers to that (as my friend Nick would say) and I think that ‘immersive experience’ was really on display in this chapter.

I don’t have much in terms of cc at all. I have a few typos and word choice items below, but for the most part, this was a thoroughly enjoyable chapter. I like the storyline - the pensive walk in the rain, the journey to Laurie’s, the tasteful application of smut (more later on this) and then the plot to leave him in the dust. I appreciate the careful thought you put into this series of events and because it’s so plausible and in character, it became much easier to get into the narrative and just enjoy the story.

My minor comments follow:

“she had found [it] difficult,”

“Aurora was certain of her uncertainty.” I love this phrase. The following sentences also carry on these opposing feelings and it really gives the reader the sense of confusion and inner conflict.

“...torment of rainwater...” [torrent?]

“...magically enhanced by Laurie to remain on one pieced...” [in one piece?]

“...whose sleeve stuck out from to order pile...” [another?]

“...in Hogsmeade a Fifth Year...” [during? or in?]

I really enjoyed Aurora missing the glaring detail of Laurie’s being bare-chested. Both from my own perspective of your writing and my perceptions of how Aurora sees the world, I found her inattention to the obvious very amusing.

“...his body had not been untouched his projects...” Delete ‘his projects’.

I was confused by the game ‘Chinese Whispers’ until I looked it up. We call it ‘Telephone’ on this side of the pond.

“...he reached squeezed her hips...” Delete ‘reached’.

“...she also wasn’t one for notions of female modesty.” This agrees with my perception of Aurora’s character and gives a little more weight to editing the ‘modesty‘ part in her battle at the Shrieking Shack.

“...as she led naked...” [lay]

I want to take a moment here and congratulate you on the excellent application of smut. I typically hate reading sex scenes and tend to skip over those details in books (too much ‘thrusting’ and ‘moaning with pleasure’, etc.). I found your writing in this section to be engaging, original, and detailed - yet not pornographic. I think you really applied just the right amount of sordid detail without crossing the fuzzy gray line, so bravo and thank you.

“...referred to as Vinegar, due to his bitter anecdotes and the fact he always smelt of p***.” Ha! Very clever bit here. (p*** being a 'forbidden word' on reviews).

“...devised to created climbing walls...” [create]

I originally thought that Aurora had taken the Wolvesbane potion back in Hogsmeade...but instead picked a sleeping potion, so that was a good set up and diversion.

“...he probably wasn’t going to take any “promises” of hers with a pinch of salt.” Change ‘wasn’t’ to ‘was’ - he was going to take them with a grain of salt.

So again, very little in the way of substantive comments. This was definitely one of your stronger chapters and quite enjoyable. This also marks the point where I caught up to your writing (at least for the time being), so I’ll check back each weekend to keep my eyes out for the next chapter.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hi Drew,

Apologies for the significant delay in my response.

I very much intend to write a review of Chapter 27 today.

The reason for the slowdown in my comments/reviews is that I have been busy in interviews and applications. Furthermore, I chose not to go on this site again UNTIL I had finished chapter 19. It was one of those "building the scene" chapters before I have three very fun and dramatic chapters. It took forever, I am still not overly happy with it, but it does the job.

As for this chapter and your review, thanks so much for the positive feedback.

I'm glad you understood what I meant about styles of storytelling. I really like how you have set yours out. Mine needs an editor in all seriousness, but I like how you set the Fifth House up. Furthermore, the clues are so intricately weaved throughout your narrative that I respect you as a writer very much.

Erm, this chapter took about 10 goes. Why? Well this site is pretty puritanical about sexual content. Considering just how violent this story gets, I find it all quite amusing.

The scene was very suggestive, without going to much into the details I wanted to make it very raw but also as it was FF I sought to add an element of smut in. Hence the shirt thing.

Cheers for all the typo observations, I will work on them for every chapter you assess. As this was so borderline from being beyond the M I am uneasy about re-submtting it in case a different moderator rejects it.

Oh - and we'll see whether this it the end of Laurie.

Best,

Nick


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Review #7, by princesslily_36 The Gathering Storm

23rd April 2016:
Hello there!

I know I'm incredibly late with your requested review, and I'm so sorry for dropping the ball here.

I'm usually not used to reading really long chapters, mostly because I review as I read and tend to lose track with longer chapters - but I have to say you've made it work wonderfully. The flow was amazing, and I was already halfway through before I even realized it.

One thing that caught my attention was your descriptions - I loved your choice of words, and could just feel the scene unfold in front of my eyes. Things like this - Breaking through the tan of her skin, like a foreboding mountain ridge, really caught my eye. There's something so poetic about it.

The way you write Aurora Meadowes has me hooked. There's something about her personality that screams independant, strong and everything you'd expect in a curse-breaker.

I also loved how you gave her such a rich background story. TBH, it did overwhelm me to have so much information presented to me in the first chapter itself, but looking at the nature of the story and it's genre, I understand it's important to establish all that before moving on.

I liked hearing the war situation and the rise of Voldemort through their eyes. We can actually picture what's happening, and the political agenda surrounding it all.

Regarding your concerns:

1. Interior Monologue: Yes, I do think it works. Although this is the first chapter, and there was more of direct narration of incidents, but I understand that is vital to set the scene. The narrative didn't intersperse her emotions, but it didn't need to at this point. So yes, I did think it worked well.

2. The OCs - I do think Aurora Meadowes works really well - a pureblood with a rebel brother who married a muggle - her prejudice, and her attitude to her family - it all seems so real... and I like how it further established her character. But her prejudice for muggles isn't the one that drove her to fight, but the fact that her brother was killed by Voldemort. I do find it hard to read OCs in general, because of the sheer unknown nature. And honestly there isn't much I'm able to tell about her from this chapter since it was all a narrative.

My only CC would be the length. I see that you've had a lot of feedback and I don't know if I'm repeating what others have said, but while reading on the computer screen, the length makes it harder. Plus the scene breaks confused me a little - how it switched from her internal reverie to her conversations, and then some action all of a sudden. While the flow was good, the pacing was a little off.

I'm definitely intrigued by the story, but curious to see where you're taking this.

~Ysh

Author's Response: Thank you for your great review and all the positive comments. I will take everything you said on board for sure. Best, Nick :)

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Review #8, by pathfinder Phantoms

22nd April 2016:
Nick,
I think you made a good move to put this whole chapter in italics - it definitely clues the reader in right away that we’re off in dreamland. The first three paragraphs are filled with colorful, often divergent phrases (nocturnal aspirations, radiating sagacity of contentment, etc.) that - to me - give off the feeling of ‘The Jabberwocky’ from Through the Looking Glass. Although you use all english words, it is put in an order that is bizarre and unfamiliar that gives the start of this chapter the feel of ‘slithy toves’ and ‘borograves’ (i.e. etherial and yet ominous).

Again with the roses - I’m interested to find out how they connect together.

After the paragraph ending “she realized what it was”, I’d recommend switching the order of the next two paragraphs (the first one in which Meridia talks should be after the second paragraph which explains ‘what it was’ that characterized Meridia’s speech.) This way, the reader also knows what it was and can imagine the speaking of Meridia’s next paragraph with the echo.

Word choice - “anthropomorphic menagerie of guests” implies that they aren’t human, but instead are (animals?) with human characteristics. I’d recommend either removing the term or (dare I suggest it?) expounding on the Alice in Wonderland table of talking rabbits and cats.

Glad to see the lyrist returning from the pub and Hogsmeade (also, as I remember, with rose tattoos). I’m curious to find out how she plays into the story too.

There were several locations where I (as a reader) got lost on the importance of certain items that you drew attention to throughout. Here are some examples:

-Aurora wouldn’t be able to see how her own hair was done - just that she had a plait (sp.) but even so, I couldn’t figure out the relevance of her dress and makeup.
-I’m wondering about the number 414 (for the tent) and whether that number has any significance.
-The grave scene at the end where everything is mirrored was also interesting - but I don’t know what to take away from it. The name Mrs. Marchbanks sounds familiar, but I don’t remember from where. Nor did I follow their ramblings about the ‘plagued nobleman’ or the conversation when Aurora felt she needed to listen. So either I’m missing something (very possible) -or- I’m supposed to be lost -or- you could make the breadcrumbs a little bigger for rather dense readers like me.

We’ve introduced the Ariel of Ariel’s beaker in the spritely 6-year old - another curious item which I want to see brought into the story. Also another two mentions of ‘devour’ which I know also ties into the Beaker somehow.

Without going back, I’m trying to remember if Meridia is the one who went crazy (Ariel’s beaker anyone?) in the previous dream and killed her baby. If so, this is a creepy ‘congratulations’. [Later: my recollection is correct (which is encouraging)]

“I knew I could trust my daughter to find our ancestor.” Wouldn’t Aurora be a descendant?

“You can call me ‘Betty’...” I quite enjoyed this witticism. I use the name ‘Betty’ all the time when I can’t remember somebody’s name.

“I am here to give you the power to save your world. In exchange you will destroy our world.” Hmmm... (Don’t tell me if I’m right) - but I think they are IN the beaker and Aurora has to destroy it to keep it out of Voldemort’s hands. [Later: aha! I was right.]

“...fell across her wirsts...” (wrists)

“Ariel’s tragedy is a dark one, as [are] the tales of all others...”

How does hair ‘knock’ against the handle of a blade?

“Both graves on the left were identical to those on the right, and vice versa.” I think the ‘vice versa’ here is unnecessary.

“...once more with [her] shovel but merely creating an indent in the turf, the grass scuffing under [her] blade instead.”

“Well, our fateful friend is wants to go home,” Remove ‘is’.

“...and finally breaking through the grass with [her] shovel.”

As you can see, most of my comments are relatively minor. The main cc I have for this chapter is to either make it clear that we’re not supposed to understand what’s up (by having Aurora be equally puzzled), or to be more obvious with the revelations and hints. This was an interesting dream chapter and - unlike the previous revelations - is entirely stand-alone, which I think makes it more powerful because there's no grounding reference of reality to compare with it and I think the danger is more pronounced this way.

I also thought it was interesting the way you alluded to what happened to Rupert - that he had somehow been ‘touched’ or haunted by the creatures in the beaker and had been driven to madness as a result.

So, great chapter and I’ll keep reading to see how the crumbs of the dream start tying into the story.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hi Drew,

Cheers for the review: it's been a week already!

I've been so busy lately that I've barely written a single crumb from the recesses of my mind.

So I should have a review of chapter 26 of Fifth House up tomorrow night along with a couple of others I owe to different writers.

Thank you for the feedback.

This was a weird chapter to write. A bit of an acid trip in some respects, and the preface at the beginning concerning why it was in italics is because staff rejected it twice thinking it was a formatting error. Ah well. Glad it works.

I don't mean this as a criticism, far from it, however I think we maybe disagree on how to present narrative. I don't think how you write is wrong at all, I like your story a lot. What I mean is I don't subscribe to the idea that you should only put things on the page that are relevant to the chief story arc.

Dreams are flipping random, and people aren't like that, and nor are any of what we remember. If it is badly written or a distraction that is one thing, but if it adds colour or depth to the world, or puts your story into the surreal then I am all for it. I mean, technically, I doubt the frizzy haired girl who mentions Meridia's name will re-enter the narrative. She's there as part of the world, it gives it authenticity.

I have no idea if I will use the horse and Bard again, I have no idea if the sky was remotely necessary to describe in such detail. It matters merely because of its existence.

That said, in terms of clues and hints, I agree I have basically thrown confetti in the air.

The reasons are threefold. 1) This story has got bigger and bigger and as its my first full length attempt at creative writing, I do think it is at the peak size for me to control. There are one or two plot contradictions already. When I do a big edit in about two months time - I will have to fix that.

2) A bit like what I said above - some stuff won't get resolved. In real life not everything does either. Furthermore, this is one witch in a mass civil chaos that is a Wizarding War in all but name. Not everything will be explainable or resolvable from her end. Some stuff will be hanging.

3) I should say that A LOT of my clues go somewhere.

Basically chapters 19-22 really do resolve maybe 50% of the things I have in the air and streamline the narrative considerably.

Oh, I have plotted it out in full, it should be 38 chapters.

You said some really intelligent stuff here. I am going to have think about how I present this chapter when I edit it.

Best, loving the swap,

Nick



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Review #9, by Penelope Inkwell The Gathering Storm

18th April 2016:
Hey there! Penny here for our review swap!

First off, I have to say that I was intrigued right away by your description. I've read a few stories set around Voldemort's initial rise to power, but they've always been about the Marauders, or other people who've been there the whole time, seeing it all happen. Aurora is in a totally different situation--gone from the country for years, only really realizing in hindsight that something sinister has arisen in her absence. It's really interesting to see her perspective on things, since she's only had word of mouth and the overly-cheery Prophet to go off of, but her intuition is strong. I really like that aspect. It's just something a little new and fresh.

Aurora also catches your attention right from the start. You can really see what kind of person she is from the way the story is narrated. You have an absolutely wonderful vocabulary, and the use of those words, even if she isn't the direct narrator, makes it seem like Aurora is a bit academic, and it seems you'd have to have some intelligence to do her kind of work. We also can tell right away that she's very observant and analytical. She's in a near constant state of reflection and analysis, and takes note, in great detail, of her surroundings at all times. She's also clearly brave, as she doesn't hesitate to defend the Muggles on the train when the werewolf bursts in on them. All of those qualities seem like they'd be necessities in a curse-breaking career, and I really admire how you've so clearly worked them in. It's obvious you've given a lot of consideration to what kind of person your character would be. Aurora is closed off at present, sure, and we don't have too much idea of what she's like emotionally, but we still get a quick introduction to several core character traits.

Also, describing her as a "a make-believe swashbuckling pirate playing in caves." was great. I loved that description :D

Another thing you did really well was that your dialogue followed her thought pattern. When she's talking to Theo, Aurora does a good job of being politely attentive while trying to disengage. It wasn't until she mentioned that she really didn't want to be having this conversation that I looked back and realized she had been winding down her responses, cleverly but politely withdrawing. It gives the idea that she knows how to handle people, or at least Theo.

Aurora isn't immediately likable/emotionally accessible--which is fine by me, I think constant likability in female MC's is way overrated--but she is immediately interesting. Her career as a curse-breaker in China sounds really fascinating, and the more she reveals about it, the more I find myself wanting to know about it, and her. And her heroic actions toward the end of the chapter make you think that, while she may be disengaged and grieving, Aurora could very well become a person you could root for.


CC:

I'm not an expert, but I'm fairly certain that all the places in which "whom" is used in this chapter, it actually ought to be "who". In all of these sentences, the person in question is the subject, in which case you use who. Whom is only used to describe the direct object, but I'm pretty sure all these cases are referring to the subjects of the sentences. The best tip I've found is, if you can replace the word "he/she", and the sentence still makes sense, use who. If it can be replaced with "him/her", use whom.

Like I said previously, you have an absolutely marvelous vocabulary. There are, however, a few times that I think it would be better to cut some of the adjectives and descriptions, especially towards the beginning. I say this knowing I probably do the exact same thing all the time. But the second part of your chapter is full of tension that keeps it moving full-throttle. The beginning, on the other hand, is so full of great words and descriptions that it becomes a bit slow. Sometimes the sentences have so many great words in them that they're almost bogged down by it. I think it might be good to trim the fat off certain sections, so to speak. Have some quicker, to the point sections between your areas of lovely prose to help keep the story moving. Like, for instance:

That being the dry, uptight little goblins, delegated on behalf of Gringotts to run a rather caustic, myopic eye over all of their efforts. Interested only in the finances, the miasma of monetary prudence would linger long after they returned home, their bitter, pedantic complaints
--dry, uptight; caustic, myopic; bitter, pedantic. There are a lot of adjectives packed in there! I love interesting words, and all of these are absolute gems, descriptively, but there are so many piled in there that it begins to distract from the point of what you're saying. Half the adjectives would still be wonderfully descriptive, but might paint a less cluttered picture.



As for other things I liked, "Theo began to chunter away once again." Chunter is a great word! I'd never seen that one, and I was glad to learn it. I'm gonna use that every chance I get!

Also, Theo was really enjoyable. He seems like an entertaining character, and he adds a bit of humor to a scene that is otherwise full of foreboding.

The other big thing, which I mentioned briefly in the CC, was what an excellent job you did of building tension in the latter part of the chapter. Aurora gives us hints that she's on edge: about her country, about the train. She's twitchy about Theo performing magic. She feels strangely about the storm. It becomes clearer and clearer that her intuition is kicking in and that something really is wrong. By the time she sees the vacant-looking guard, we know something is up. I was reading forward at full speed by then. I absolutely had to find out what was going on!


Good job on this first chapter, and thanks for the swap!

--Penny

Author's Response: Hey Penny,

Cheers for the review. I have had a bit of a rough patch in RL so the glowing feedback has cheered me considerably.

I will definitely take your CC about word choices seriously.

I just posted a review, I hope to write another to make up for taking a month to swap. I understand that isn't remotely acceptable.

Best,
Nick


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Review #10, by pathfinder Mortality

17th April 2016:
Nick,
Okay - wow: 14k words of exposition. You mentioned before that this resisted the axe along the way - and I understand why. There’s really no obvious section or sections that you could cut out - it just flows together in one long continuous story. I could only recommend a few cuts in this section (the backstory of the manticore-juice healing potion for example) that are entire paragraphs. Otherwise, any trimming you do from this chapter are going to be a sentence at a time throughout (which, of course, takes away from your style as a very descriptive scene-setter.)

Here’s what I liked about this chapter: with the big reveal in the last chapter of the murderer, we’re finally seeing some of the pieces fit together. Having the gap bridged between Aurora and her father is a great emotional piece and I think you pulled this off really well, and given us quite a bit of backstory on Rupert. This definitely feels like the right place to do this backstory too; sort of a mini-denouement to explain all that has happened to date and to set the stage for the next action after the substantial battle scenes that have come before.

We’ve solved the murder whodunnit, but we have the revelation about the dream and Ariel’s Beaker - including Rupert’s descent into insanity as a result (which is a great carry over from Aurora talking to the dead baby). I’m enjoying the dual plotlines you have running at this point - and the clear priority you’ve placed on them (revenge first and then the beaker).

Some minor cc and feedback for your consideration, walking through the chapter:

Again, if you were looking to cut, you might consider the section at the beginning when Fudge approaches the house. We already know from a previous chapter what a pompous blow-hard he is, so you might consider trimming this part back to just have them use the portkey when they hear ‘someone’ coming.

“I know that he is married-in to the Lestrange family.” If this is referring to Rudolphus, wouldn’t it be Bellatrix Black who married in?

“...you have become a junkie for this.” I love this description of Aurora’s attitude toward battle. This is a great observation by Laurie that we’ve seen several times before (the scene in the alley on her way to meet Laurie for the first time comes to mind.)

Having the ‘magic mirror’ come from the bric-a-brac store in France seemed like a strange aside. (i.e. why would a highlands brogue speaking mirror be in France?) The mirror itself doesn’t seem to be a significant story piece, so (assuming I’m correct here) could probably be one of those small parts that could get the axe.

“...biting her tongue both figuratively and literally,” Very clever wordplay here that I appreciate. I’m one of those people who gets twitchy whenever someone misuses the phrase “literally” to mean “figuratively”.

“Aurora said nothing, and instead flicked an isolated flicker of her off her forehead,” Word choice here: not sure what an ‘isolated flicker of her’ means...maybe there’s a missing word?

“Unfortunately, he was taking a long time, delaying the arrival of the antidote onto her ruptured skin.” This seems uncharacteristic of Gideon (or any father) who, seeing their child in pain would immediately act. If you wanted to keep the part about the manticore juice in (which is a clever idea by the way), you might consider having him tell her as he’s holding the potion on her skin - perhaps trying to distract her from the pain.

“...nullified to the point it was bow painless on her skin...” Again, word choice here; not sure what ‘bow painless’ is.

“they both waited for the wound to fully.” (add ‘close’ or ‘heal’ to the end?)

“...his pipers...” Typo: (pipes)

(“)No, you don’t sound mad. Clearly Rupert was plagued by the same dreams that you have experienced now, or similar ones. I can only assume that it made him insane.(“) Add quotation marks as this is Gideon talking.

“...she knew she was helpless (to) change anything.”

This was a very lengthy chapter and I did end up reading it in two parts - stopping after Gideon heals Aurora’s wound and then picking up again with the revelations. It might be worth considering breaking this into two chapters at that point. If you ended with “Dad, I know who did it,” you’d have two chapters of about 7500 and 6500 words, respectively.

Overall, I’m enjoying the direction you’re taking the story and there seems to be much more focus in the narrative now. I definitely feel like the parts of the story are coming together and that I can start figuring out what’s important and what isn’t at this point. I also really appreciate the depth of the characters you explore in this story and you’ve really developed Gideon quite a bit here to make him much more interesting and likable. As a reader, I'm looking forward to the manhunt for Rudolphus, more discovery about the function/effects of the beaker and Aurora's slow (or fast?) descent into the same madness that took her brother.

This is great. Thanks for the reviews of my story and I’ll keep going with yours.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hi there,

So thanks for completing the chapter. I get that purely in terms of its length it was a slog.

A concessionary note would be that although mystery of course remains, most the things I threw up in the air land over the next 5-6 chapters. How they land is the interesting bit. Chapters 19-22 are relentlessly dramatic. I can't presume they are well written, (currently midway through writing chapters 19-20) but they hopefully give big shocks and resolve narrative threads.

I will take your recommendation of splitting the chapter in two on board, and I also will say how heartened I am by your closing comments. It means a lot that the direction is interesting for the reader. I have immensely enjoyed reading the Fifth House and I hope that comes across in my reviews.

Cheers for the typo observations. :)

Noted and primed for an edit.

Your cuts are astute too, in terms of what you suggest.

Will have a review up on Chapter 26 of the Fifth House at the weekend. Will probably review a couple of chapters at that point.

Best,

Nick


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Review #11, by 800 words of heaven The Gathering Storm

17th April 2016:
Heya! I'm here for our review swap!

Oh em gee, why didn't I find this story earlier? I'm only a few paragraphs and I'm already in love. I love love LOVE your descriptions! I am actually ridiculously envious of them, because they are just so cool and amazing. One that especially stands out so far is that of Aurora's scar. Amazing. It was like you were describing a river or canyon. Too cool.

a hangover effect of being born in a country that wonderfully mixed emotional restraint with self-loathing. There's just something so British about this line, as well as a little bit sad.

Or, I don’t know, dabbling in black market floo powder. I hope Theo remains his wonderful self throughout the story. I hope he is in the rest of the story. He's a treasure so far.

OMG of course Dr Theodore Morgan has a white twirling moustache. I wouldn't expect any less.

I'm sort of sad that we won't be seeing the Far East in this story. Maybe in Aurora's recollections however? I'd love to read about the way magic would work there.

a make-believe swashbuckling pirate playing in caves This sounds like an amazing job description, just saying.

a mass grave of insects on the window sill, party amongst stubbed cigarettes and balls of used chewing gum. Eww, gross.

I am unsure if Theo is actually just an oblivious old dude, or a little but cagey. The mood of this story - especially Aurora's tenseness - has me jumping at shadows.

WILL THEY REALLY BE OKAY!??!? I DON'T THINK SO.

Thanks for the swap! I'll be back soon for the next chapter :)

Author's Response: Hey there,

The enthusiasm of your review was awesome to see.

It took me a while, RL kicked me in the butt recently, but I just posted a review. I hope to come back with another over the next few days.

Cheers for the swap :)

Nick


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Review #12, by Gabriella Hunter Nocturnal Illusions

16th April 2016:
Hello!

This is Gabbie from the forums here with your review and thanks for the awesome swap! I intended to read at least three or four chapters but real life has gotten in the way so I'll have to call it a day for now.

I think you did a great job writing the suspense and pain in this chapter. It's pretty long but you do a great job of getting into Aurora's mind and twisting her fear. I think I was most impressed with how you handled her emotional range while she was talking to Hagrid. I was surprised by their friendship but delighted by the history between them and at the same time, I loved how it bounced back from friendly banter to awkward emotional breakdowns.

I feel like Aurora, in her position has every right to be upset. She doesn't really know what's going on now that she's better but I can imagine that it feels like being pulled on multiple strings. The people around her know more or less than she does at this point and I think Hagrid, whom you wrote wonderfully, did a good job of visually expressing that point.

I wasn't sure what Dumbledore wanted out of Aurora and I think you wrote his lines amazingly well, he has such a great presence here but I can't shake off this feeling of foreboding. Not sure what's going to happen next but with Voldemort's mounting control, anything is possible right now.

I thought that Aurora was going to be introduced to the Order but that didn't happen! Agh. I am wondering what the heck happened to Rupert though, it sounds like a massive Ministry cover up and I wonder if we'll find out the truth soon. I'm curious about this orb that Dumbledore wants Aurora too look into, it has to be something interesting indeed if Dumbledore couldn't even figure it out. Hm.

You've left me with a lot of questions but as usual, your characters are rich and your flow is amazing to read. :D

Thanks for the swap!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Hey Gabbie,

Wow cheers for the lovely review.

Basically the real world kept me horribly busy so unfortunately I had to delay all the reviews I owed for weeks.

I am so sorry it took so long to get back.

Cheers for the swap, your words mean a lot.

Nick :)


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Review #13, by Gabriella Hunter An Unusual Party

16th April 2016:
Hello!

This is Gabbie from the forums here with your review and thanks so much for agreeing to this swap with me! I was honestly going to check back on this story today and now I can read a few more chapters ahead! :D

I have to say that politics will never be my cup of tea but I like how you've weaved all of that in for this chapter. Fudge is clearly only interested in tidying up the problem to save his own skin and I really just wanted to shake him. I can't believe he just disregarded Aurora like that! It doesn't surprise me, given what we know about him but I think it was a great nod to the books.

Theo was a pleasant introduction, despite what we were lead to believe about him earlier. He seemed genuinely upset about Aurora and he was rightfully angry with the Ministry and their officials for being so late. I hope he'll cool down eventually but I'm super, super curious about Kingsley's brother for some reason. Never read a story with Kingsley having a sibling and I kind of got a slight lump in my throat that I hope isn't going to wind up being something bad.

I'll just have to keep reading to see though, you've done such a great job introducing new characters and bringing more information to a story we already know.

I will say that seeing so many familiar faces and hearing about certain people who are no longer in the HP stories (Alive) really made me upset. I don't want to focus too much on that but it was like looking at that old photograph Sirius showed Harry, I can understand why he thought it was kind of grim.

Anyway, Dumbledore! I have never in my life attempted to write him before because he terrifies me. I'm not sure how you were able to capture him so well but you've done a wonderful job! I do wonder what his business with Aurora was before the train was attacked though but I figure we'll learn that in the next chapter so I'm going to hurry on and read it.

Thanks for the great chapter!

Much love,

Gabbie

Author's Response: Hey Gabbie,

I read the first three chapters of Transparent and will have a review up A.S.A.P

Annoyingly RL has taken me away from a computer for three days and I can't review until tomorrow morning as its 2.40 am over here.

So I am sorry about that. They will be up very soon though ok?

Your commentary and feedback is really heartening to read. You are so intelligent with what you write both in your reviews and novels.

I hope my tardiness doesn't put you off further swaps in the future.

This is a one-off error by me.

Nick


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Review #14, by PaulaTheProkaryote Tooth and Claw

16th April 2016:
Hello lovely person!

Confession time: I've actually read this chapter already because I read on after reviewing last time ~but~ I got caught up in the story and forgot to review. Excuse my rudeness!

Fenrir is such a narcissist. He gets too excited over the reaction to his own name. Jerkface. He's completely sick and twisted and I think that is 100% on character for him. Excellent job. He really takes pleasure in the tormenting of others. He'd be a phenomenal episode of Criminal Minds.

"Imperius Curse. Or at least on one of them. The other….was less…obliging." I interpreted this as he was resisting imperius. Was that the case you were aiming at or was it just for funsies that he killed him? Either is plausible, but I'd really like the idea of a muggle fighting the imperius curse to try to save the people on the train. That's what I've decided regardless of what you say so...

I don't know why but I really like Mother Moon.

I've said it before, but I love your characterization of Fenrir. He's completely savage, but he's also very entertaining. I could listen to his monologues all day long, no matter how awful they are.

Ew at Pleasant Percy. He's vile. The race reminds of the "The Most Dangerous Game"

Super minor CC: "Well, in a way, I guess it is noble of you _to_ die so soon after him"

She makes a really good point that Voldemort will dispose of him as soon as he's no longer needed. I understand that he's doing all of this for himself, but it's still something to consider. Definitely a good distraction technique.

He really shouldn't underestimate her. She's clearly powerful. He literally told her the one thing that she needed to know to defeat. One thing that I like about your writing skills, but dislike about her character is her major character flaw. To me, that flaw is that she's stubborn. She gets stuck on one spell instead of shooting out fifteen other ones until something, anything works in her favor.

You're an excellent suspense writer. The whole chapter was nail-biting, anxiety building awesomeness. Some of the more gruesome bits I personally could skip on (I'm a bit squeamish from time to time), but overall I really enjoyed your characters. Fenrir is straight from the books and Aurora is a force to be reckoned with. I could vividly visualize every scene you wrote and I felt like I was there, heart racing, right alongside Aurora.

Author's Response: Hi there wondrous reviewer,

Thanks so much for all the constructively encouraging words you have written.

I enjoy requesting from you, and I hope to do a swap perhaps of some sort in the future.

Best,

Nick


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Review #15, by TreacleTart Declared Bounty

12th April 2016:
Hello again!

Back for another chapter! And what an exciting chapter it was!

I absolutely loved that Aurora met Sirius and James. I think it's so wonderful when people write OC or minor character stories, but find ways to wind familiar faces into them. The appearance of Padfoot and Prongs in this was perfect. It was just enough humor and sass to break things up. It was very refreshing. I especially enjoyed the way Sirius and James showed up her magical talents by proving that they could preform high level charms at a younger age than she could.

Laurie is kind of a jerk for leaving her hanging for two hours like that. That is possibly one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate when people are incredibly late, so I now am starting to dislike/mistrust Laurie.

I am wondering what Alice Longbottom is doing trailing Aurora. I guess with the Death Eater threats against her maybe her father was worried and asked an Auror detail to keep track of her.

The ending scene was pretty epic. Once again Aurora's dueling skills have come in handy and she shows just what a talented witch she is. The way that she recovers from James' stupidity, gains her feet, and successfully beats her assailants is brilliant.

That being said, I do feel like she's being pretty careless. I guess all of these victories have made her feel invincible. The pictures in the Snatchers pocket is just proof that she isn't. I hope she starts taking things a bit more seriously now that she knows.

I didn't catch much. Just a few typos.

So obsessed had she been over her the nature of Laurie’s message, - take out the word her

to discuss something really trivia. – trivial

This time there was every possible – possibility

perhaps to use on each or indulge - each other?

looking at you for a while because thinks you are very fit. – he thinks

We are only having it because aren’t meant to, - we aren’t

All in all, I think that this chapter is one of my favorites so far. The introduction of spirited, light hearted characters was a good one. I also really liked the person Aurora was in this.

Good work! I'll be back for more soon!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Hey Kaitlin,

This was a bit of a "candy" chapter. Sure there is stuff of narrative importance here but largely I just had a lot of fun.

Writing Sirius and James was rewarding, and they will if I stick to my plan, matter later on in the tale. This was some nice foundation work.

Laurie is definitely a man that deserves to be contemplated rather than trusted :)

Nice to see you caught on that she is getting rather reckless.

Cheers for the typos comments and for continuing this review swap.

Nick


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Review #16, by Startafire The Gathering Storm

11th April 2016:
Hi there! Here for our review swap :)

Now I never really read post Hogwarts fics but I can say I am very very glad you offered for me to read and review this one.

You opened up this chapter with a very intricate and detailed beginning. The way you describe the scar on Auroras arm really painted a distinctive picture in my mind, that I too, like Theo, was in awe. You truly have a gift for detail.

Aurora straight away has a strong and unique voice, her personality is seems is strong willed and independent. And whilst you do not particularly point out prominent flaws we learn she can be vulnerable and weak at times, and seems ashamed by this; a very relatable factor.

As for the actual storyline I can truly say I am 110% fascinated by it, the chapter starts off slow but surely picks up towards the middle/end with a good amount of action. It's just about the perfect mix! And I must say as much I want to like Theo, he seems a bit of a nuisense bless him, which I found interesting.

I'm already a couple chapters ahead and intend to carry on reading till I've caught up. You'll definitely be reading another more lengthy review from me very soon!

Ella

Author's Response: Hey Ella,

Thanks for all the positive comments, I really enjoyed reading your work. I will definitely try and post another review soon.

Best,

Nick


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Review #17, by velajune The Gathering Storm

11th April 2016:
Hi Nick,

Here for the review swap! (Even though I would've been happy with just reviewing too without the swap.)

Theo? I thought it was Theodore Nott and was excited for a moment because he's one of my favorite characters to read about. I'm really bad at checking the AP and looking at the Era before reading. Once a summary gets to me, I just head straight for it. And even though you mentioned a specific year, I was still confused for a good while. Anyway, I'll get to the actual review.

I loved how descriptive the entire chapter was. For me, it created a clear picture and emotion, but every now and then, it became a bit difficult to read. There was a point during the first third of your chapter where I just felt a bit overwhelmed with all the information. Even though you write well and I loved the attention to the details, I would've loved to see a bit more dialogue to break it apart.

If this were a physical book, though, I think it would've flowed just fine because the pages break all the descriptions you had. So, I think, it really isn't your writing that's the problem. It's just the way it reads on a screen.

It used to be difficult for me to read OCs, but as long as I'm brought into their world, I'm always happy at the end. I did read this a few times, which is why it's taken a while to drop off this review. Twice was for confirmation. I needed to be sure how I felt about Aurora because I didn't quite connect with her the first time which I thought was strange. There's a lot about her that I knew stood out for me on a personal level. Still, unfortunately for me, Auror didn't feel all too lovable. I think, though, her annoyance towards Theo came across well. As the story progressed, I too felt annoyed. It first escalated for me when they were on the train.

The third time I read it, I actually stopped my first read because I got a little scared during the train scene. It was around midnight for me... things become creepy at that time of night especially with well written scenes.

I liked the chapter, I loved reading about the some of the different adventures she's been in, the mystery of her brother's death, the connection to canon events and so many more of your wonderful details piqued my attention. Again, you convey emotions very well despite everything I say against Aurora. I'm interested in finding out more. I don't think it makes sense that I didn't connect with Aurora, but still wish to read on, yet that's how it is for me at the moment. (Maybe the more I keep thinking of this story, the more I'll connect with her... Like getting to know a person.)

I look forward to Aurora's growth and how it'll transpire.
June

P.S. After seeing your review, I sort of wish that my review was a little bit more informative like yours had been.

Author's Response: Hey June,

Cheers for all the constructive feedback, especially concerning Aurora. I like that you read through it a few times and offered a thoughtful analysis from a reader's perspective,

Look forward to swapping again at some point. I will post another review of a Halls of Hogwarts soon.

Nick


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Review #18, by TreacleTart Whispers

10th April 2016:
Hey There!

Back for another review! Sorry I'm going at a snail's pace. Life has been keeping me insanely busy lately.

On to the chapter!

So this started out with a dream sequence, which shows Aurora dining with corpses. You definitely did a great job of creating a creepy atmosphere and your descriptions of it were quite vivid. I could clearly imagine everything that she was seeing throughout. That being said, I was a bit lost on it's purpose. Was it solely to illustrate Aurora's anxiety about her recent discovery and the tension as the world creeps towards war? Or is there some significance that I'm too dense to get?

Next we are brought to Theo's home and I'm quite happy to see him alive and well. After the incredibly scary ordeal on the train, it's nice to see him in a peaceful environment. The bit about him claiming credit for the soup even though his daughter made it was particularly amusing. It's sort of a shame that Aurora doesn't give him any more info on what happened in the train car. I'm sure he's been wondering about it.

It was nice to see a bit of reflection from Aurora on the things happening around her. I found her thoughts of her mother and brother to be particularly tragic. The paintings on the ceiling really were sad.

The voice whispering into her ear towards the end really caught me off guard. It definitely had the effect of making my blood pump for a second.

In terms of concrit, I don't have tons to say. This chapter was perfectly nice, but it's a lot more reflection and thought than outright action. I perhaps would've liked a little small something happening as a whole chapter of dreams and reflection can tend to be a little slow moving, but after all of the intense action in the last few chapters, I suppose a small break is needed.

I caught a few typos..

, but he looked relax in a way that made the genial Theo – should be relaxed

Aurora never been much of an occlumens – had never been

their meeting at Hogwartsm – take the m off of Hogwarts

I'll be by to check out the next chapter soon!

~Kaitlin

Author's Response: Hi Kaitlin,

So, this was an awkward chapter to write. Truthfully, chapters 12 and 13 were supposed to be one chapter and I overwrote as usual. Consequently, in terms of conventional action, it is a bit thin.

The dream is important. It's ok that the reader gets lost in it, I am glad you found it easy to visualise :)

It will make more sense the further in to the story. Right now it should be a mixture of baffling and disturbing so as long as it hit one of those beats it is ok.

Thanks for the comments on the horror element at the end, and the typo spotting is always appreciated.

Best,

Nick


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Review #19, by pathfinder Revelations

7th April 2016:
Nick,
Thanks for your patience. I had to take a couple of weeks off from reviewing. RL can throw some curveballs occasionally. I see you’ve been busy in the meantime, posting two more chapters. Thanks for the reviews on my story. I’ll follow up this review with replies on those, but I wanted to prioritize this critique first.

Definitely one of my favorite chapters here. The action is continuous and engaging and your descriptive power of every nanosecond of the fight draws in the reader to every detail. It also helps characterize the thought that when the adrenalin is pumping, time seems to slow down and every action can be noticed and remembered.

This is characteristic of your action sequences, remembering back to the fight scene on the train at the beginning of the story.
You do such an outstanding job describing the action that I didn’t have any concern with the chapter length - although this could easily have been two chapters broken where the fight scene ends and the after-battle torture session begins.

There were many clever witticisms in this chapter that I quite enjoyed: “…provoked like a territorial hippo”; the comparison of ringing ears to the whine of a sneakoscope; agonizing pain characterized as a ‘personal foible’; and grappling with one of the goons who smells of treacle tart. All of these things helped to lighten the mood of a grisly battle and gave little glints of light in a dark chapter.

I have some cc - mainly typos with a few substantive thoughts:

“Frnakly Aurora bemoaned…” (Frankly)

I had trouble with the lumos spell focused in the mirror. This may be because I’m an engineer, but mirrors reflect light - they don’t focus it like a magnifying glass would do - unless they were bent like a telescope’s. All it would do would be to shine a light in their faces no brighter than the wand itself. As an alternative, you might consider inventing a hybrid of the lumos spell that causes a blinding flash of light from the wand - with the same result.

“grazing her elbow as [they] scraped the floorboards”

“autumn uprdaft,” (updraft)

“Blood dribbled down her noise…” (nose)

“…in an Easter European…” (Eastern)

“…after shehad so easily dismissed…” (add space)

“Catching her dress to preserve her modesty.” This seems sort of out-of-character for Aurora. She doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of lady who is all that concerned with modesty. Maybe it’s the living in a tent in the far east image, but the way I understand her, she’d be much more concerned about keeping the dress out of her face so she could still fight.

I liked your idea of bringing the furniture to life. It had a very ‘sorcerer’s apprentice’ feel to it and I can see the chairs and tables marching to the fight. Your introduction of this as a NEWT transfiguration spell was also well done. I also noticed and enjoyed the ‘Easter Egg’ of using the spells that Snape created within the battle scene.

“…flesh from her tngue,” (tongue)

“…let out aconfused shrug…” (add space)

“B* please, I had it covered.” This seems out of place. I read it as a very contemporary phrase, but maybe I haven’t seen enough 70’s movies to appreciate it. (B* is apparently a disallowed word for reviews)

“…ans the dilution…” (and)

I also enjoyed the cleverness you introduced regarding the inconsistency of wandless magic. The quirks of when it works and when it doesn't are interesting and intriguing…I wonder if there’s more to come on that topic.

“Remember to keep your arms in the flume at all times, unfortunately there will be no ‘on-ride’ photo, though it comes with a knockout deal at the end.” I had more challenge with this section for a number of reasons. First, all of the action that’s written occurs in the 1 second it takes the crony to fall down the slide. There seems to be way too much going on to fit into that time. Secondly, the joke here comes off as a ‘cheesy action-flick’ quote. Third (and I’m digging here), on-ride photos didn’t exist until the 1990’s.

“She motioned her hand in Laurie’s direction, and with a click of her fingers said, ‘Deal with this rebel!’
‘Yes, my lady,’ replied Laurie with an ironic bow” This also seems out of place considering the very dark battle and near brush with death. I suppose it troubled me because Aurora has kept Rupert in her mind during the whole fight and now that focus appeared to vanish in jokes and playful banter.

“…just as he was about to inflict…” You might want to change this to “just as he was inflicting…” since he does get off the third ‘crucio’.

“…she pointed to Laurie’s…” Maybe change ‘to’ to ‘with’ to clarify she’s pointing with Laurie’s wand.

“…blues light shining…” (blue)

“…beaten away any rivals gangs” (rival)

“…not only was she get objective facts…” (getting)

I also really enjoyed how you had Rosier figuring out a way to get around the veritaserum potion by rambling, roundabout answers to every question. It draws out the tension of this scene in a way that I think works really well and yet stays within the canon rules of how the potion functions.

“I’d take two a few years of protection…” (remove “two”)

I really liked this chapter and as you can see, only have a few recommendations for improvement. There’s some clear direction in the story at this point and Mr. Lestrange is definitely in the crosshairs of Laurie and Aurora, so I’m interested to see where we go from here.

As I mentioned before, if you have concerns about chapter length, starting a second chapter with “I guess we’re even then.” would give you roughly two 5,000 word chapters.

I hope to be back on track with reviews now, so I’ll dig into Chapter 16 this weekend.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hey Drew,

Cheers for the feedback.

Oh, as you have been away for a while, you may have missed a few developments, check the message I sent if possible, as it concerns any writer on here.

Yeah typos ahoy! Really need to work on it, it's so sloppy of me.

Thanks for finding some of the many.

I enjoy writing action and though the second section of this story, chapters 23 until 35-40 (wherever the end is) have a few moments of humour, this whole segment is relentlessly dark so I tried to make this whole fight thrilling enough to read. I think largely it all works, definitely the most ambitious set piece I have done so far.

Thanks for liking the bits you did. I have no idea if people said b please to be honest, I just like the phrase.

Yeah some bits had an element of corn attached to them but I kind of, well, I guess I will think them over during my planned edit.

Best,

Nick


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Review #20, by cherry_pop94 An Unusual Party

7th April 2016:
Hello Nick!

I'm here for our swap. Thanks for agreeing to this, it was great study motivation for me.

This was a great wind down chapter. I didn't have my breath held the hold way through. I'm still quite suspicious of the Ministry's reasoning for not showing earlier. Fudge seems like an unsavoury sort of character. This tragedy has just occurred and he's thinking about the great headlines Greyback's capture will cause. I mean, Aurora's lying there almost dead on the floor! What the heck Fudge??

We got an interesting glimpse into Aurora's past here. Her father is on the Wizengamot? Interesting. I feel like that will be important somewhere down the line. And Dumbledore is in need of her skills? Well, she certainly has a formidable array of skills.

I'm excited to know Aurora's reaction to all this when she wakes up. Dumbledore was acting a little strange huh? But when's he not acting strange?

I also liked the addition of canon characters in this chapter. We saw Dumbledore, Fudge, Moody, Kingsley, Alice Longbottom, and Pomfrey! I'm excited to meet more canon characters too!

One thing I thought I'd bring up, is your use of the term 'Far East.' It's an imperialist term and very Eurocentric. Though it is the 70s in this story and likely historically accurate that they'd use a colonialist term in England, it does leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth reading it today.

A great chapter altogether though. I look forward to reading more!

Stefanie

Author's Response: Hey Stafanie,

Sorry for the delay in getting back. I am reviewing Areopagitica today.

So, I am glad you enjoyed there being a wind down chapter.

Yeah, the "Far East" thing is a hard one for me. The term is still used but I agree it is pretty eurocentric and really creates a caricature about half the world's population. I can understand why people would find it offensive.

I think the fact it is antiquated means that it sort of is justifiable to use it for characters existing in the 70s. I appreciate that logic would also mean I should use ruder, discriminatory language as well but I don't, and would feel uncomfortable doing so.

It's an interesting matter, however, and food for thought.

Thanks,

Nick


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Review #21, by SilentConfession An Unusual Party

5th April 2016:
Hi, sorry for the delay in your request review!

So, first thing I noticed while reading this is how you've characterized Greyback. I really liked how you included his ability to be theatrical (which was probably one of the reasons he failed here). It's also already clear his psychosis and demented state of mind. The tone that he (and the other werewolves liking children etc) sets for this story is graphic and dark, so the reader gets the idea quickly this story is not a happy one. Rather it's filled with darkness and the awful shadowy bits of a human being. I can appreciate this type of story. I do wonder though how his capture will turn out. I don't believe in the first war he was ever actually captured in canon so wondering if he's going to escape before they actually put him in jail and the Ministry tries to cover it up?

I also admire Aurora here. She is scared and you clearly show that she is terrified. I liked the human element because I've read stories where that is ignored or the author writes that the character isn't scared, but brave only. These things aren't mutually exclusive though. I think bravery and courage comes from being terrified, but rising above that to face the fear. You painted this quite nicely with Aurora and showing both her terror, her resourcefulness, and her courage. She also seems decently consistent with this and her behaviour fits in with who she is. I like her taunting Greyback as well. It works nicely for her personality. (side note: the fact that she feels so fleshed out already for only the 4th chapter is saying something!)

Here's a few things I've picked up over the last couple chapters:

After taking a glance out at the storm raging beyond the window, he stowed both of their wands in his chest pocket, their handles protruding from a forest of lycanthropic fur. - This bit is confusing as the way the sentence is framed it sounds like the fur is coming out of his pocket. I also thought it was a bit wordy and wondered if some of the words *lycanthtropic* were necessary. We know already he's a werewolf and just saying fur or rough, springy fur would probably suffice.

Life force: The whole conversation about the life force in the previous chapter seemed a bit out of place. One mention of it could have been okay, but it seemed a bit out of sync with the rest of your story. I think the main thing that I thought of this was it seemed like you were trying to be poetic, which didn't seem to fit with the chapter and took away from the grittiness.

Floorboards cracking? - we're on a train... not a house or deck.

How did the light not hit her as well? The ending didn't seem to quite work for me ( i liked the idea of it, but the logistics didn't work in my mind).

Okay, I'm done with the critique. I quite liked how you described things most times. You pay close attention to how you word things and making sure that you're clear so the reader can visualize your work. Things like freshly caught trout or the strong words you've used like corroding or searing help bring your story to life. I'm impressed and admire this and it's definitely a strength in your writing.

I won't talk a lot about this, but the Ministry, St Mungo's and the wizarding world in general seems quite confused and in shards. You've shown this rather than simply telling us that these things are corrupted or in chaos. It helps create the tone of this story and captures the essence of what the first wizarding war was. It also gives reason to why the Order was created because it doesn't seem like the Ministry could have any kind of control.

Meadows- related to Dorcas M??? Anyway, good work and thank you for requesting again!

-Zayne

Author's Response: The delay is fine, no worries. I am having to write this reply off a tablet, which is hardly convenient.

There is an element of nihilism that I am aimed for with this chapter, whilst also wanting it to be gory and in some ways, thrilling. Out of the eighteen chapters I have written in this story, it is probably the one I am happiest with.

So thanks for the observations as they coalesced with my interpretation of the story I was trying to tell - which is very reassuring.

Aurora is really fun to write, and I echo your sentiments on bravery/fear.

I personally quite like the lycanthropic fur sentence, and some trains do have floorboards such as the rickety types from the 1970s. However, I am glad you were keenly observing what was being written down and I think you make very valid points about life force and the light. Although she was under greyback when it hit him, the electricity may have passed through into her too I suppose.

And yes - Dorcas appears ;)

Cheers,

Nick

PS - If you'd like me to review anything, feel free to DM me on the forums. I appreciate reviews especially interesting ones like this and I like to read.


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Review #22, by cherry_pop94 Tooth and Claw

3rd April 2016:
Hello Nick!

Here for the swap! Wow this was gritty. The action here just did not end at all. I really like you characterized Fenrir. He's sleazy and slimy and absolutely terrifying. I can just hear his voice in every line of dialogue. And it really sent chills through me when he was talking about lavender. I know he was referring to the flower at this point, but I couldn't help but think about Lavender Brown. I wonder if that was intentional on your part?

It was a really interesting idea to have Aurora fight him wandless. You'd think that'd ruin her chances completely, but you used it to really show about brilliant she is. Wandless magic! What incredible talent!!

Aurora is not one to be outsmarted. I really like how tough she is. She manipulates Fenrir and wins what seemed like an impossible fight.

You made me ask a lot of questions in this chapter too. I feel that Voldemort must have someone in the Ministry! Why else would they have ignored this absolute MASSACRE. I cannot imagine how they'll cover this up. The train has been brutally massacred. I cannot believe that Fenrir is right and that the Ministry just doesn't care about muggle lives.

I'm excited to know what the next chapters hold for Aurora! Thanks for swapping with me!

Stefanie

Author's Response: Hey,

Cheers for the doing the review swap. I really enjoyed the exchange.

Yeah this chapter is pretty tough, and tries to raise a few questions. Thanks for being receptive to it.

Nick :)


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Review #23, by alicia and anne An Unusual Party

1st April 2016:
HEllo! Sorry about the wait on this, hun, but I am here now :D

And it's the aftermath of the fight! And Theo is overdramatic and I love it! Although I would be too if I had found my friend like that, especially with Greyback there.

I love that Alastor and Kingsley are there too :D I love them!

Although it makes me sad that they were just leaving her on the floor whilst she was injured, but it's good that the Healers were coming. I'm surprised that they're even bothering to help Greyback.

Woo! Dumbledore will help them! Go Dumbledore! :D

I love the ending, with Dumbledore just leaving after the train driver tells him he's not meant to be there :D

Another great chapter!

Author's Response: Howdy

Sorry for the big delay in my reply. Life and all that has set me bit off course with these reviews.

Thanks for all the kind words.

Yeah, I am thinking about altering how Moody and Kingsley respond to her. Yeah it is a chapter I am less sure of.

Glad you liked Dumbledore's little entrance though.

Look forward to more swaps :)

Nick


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Review #24, by Norbert Vigilance

25th March 2016:
Hi NPE,
I'm a new member, and I just wanted to say how addictive I'm finding this story. Since joining, I've been primarily reading stories from the first war, and I have to say that this story is like a breath of fresh air. The emotions conveyed by Aurora are believable and her desire for the truth is intoxicating. If this was a book, it would be a best seller. I should be studying but instead I think I'll carry on with my procrastination.

Regards,
Norbert

Author's Response: Hello Norbert,

I never have had an unrequested review before.

So let me say I am honoured you read my story, and have so far kept with it for about 50,000 words. I am rather humbled by that.

Chapters 11-12 are when fantastical elements come in and alter a lot of the stories' dimensions, so feel free at any point to offer any further feedback - good, bad, or indifferent.

Congrats on joining the forums. If you chose to write or submit anything and would like reviews, feel free to DM me. My name is Elderflowers on the Forums, which I recommend joining if you have not yet done so. It can be tricky to get reviews as a new member sometimes but I always try and help if I can.

Thank you for your comments about Aurora. She is my favourite character to write and I am thrilled you found her so believable.

Not sure this would get published (Rowling copyright issues notwithstanding) but thank you for being so positive nonetheless.

Hopefully see you on the site/forums again soon.

Best,
Nick


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Review #25, by pathfinder A Holy Affair

24th March 2016:
Nick,

Obviously a transition chapter here - connecting one battle with another...

Here’s what I liked about it: I really enjoyed the vampire priest - this was very clever and pokes a hole in the whole idea of being repulsed by a cross. The ‘superstition’ quote was great, and having him served by a vampire choirboy was quite dark and alluded to him preying on the children there.

I like how you’ve treated Laurie’s character in this chapter. He seems to know a great deal about what’s going on...almost too much, knowing everyone’s names and business being able to banter in another person’s voice convincingly. It's quite intriguing and it will be interesting to see what he’s been up to.

This was certainly a good setup to the next battle scene. Odds of 9 to 2 certainly aren’t in their favor and new wand or no, it certainly looks bad for Aurora, so you’ve done a great job setting up a seemingly un-winnable fight. I’m looking forward to the clever trick in the next chapter that gets her through (because she looks to be a goner).

Some cc for this chapter:

“The hymn had initially been conceived by an eccentric hermit, before it was polished and resuscitated into popular consciousness by a cobweb of Catholic intellectuals. It was meant to render the divinity of the almighty in worthy souls, whilst cowering the damned that had every reason to fear their mortality.” This reads like the omnipotent narrator and probably wouldn’t be something that Aurora (and therefore the reader) would know.

Not cc, but there were some phrases that I wasn’t familiar with throughout the chapter: “upping sticks” for example, but I see it as expanding my vocabulary rather than a concern.

Arnold seems like a strange non-sequitur here, especially after he turns the Lebanese travel journal upside-down. Is he important? It’s definitely hard to tell, but the attention paid to him makes me think he’s somehow part of the story.

“Maybe he is just a little shy, noted Aurora, her internal voice deadpan.” At this point, does Aurora know that the little boy is a vampire? - I know she could see his sallow expression and orange-tinted eyes, but did she make the connection at that point? I’d recommend at some point you clarify when she figures out that he’s not what he initially appears.

This is a subjective comment, but the trip to the church seems quite roundabout. They apparate from Hogsmeade to the church, visit the vampire, go to his hideout, and then use floo powder to go right back to Hogsmeade...probably a few hundred feet from where they started. I don’t know if that’s intentionally ironic, but it certainly would have saved them the trip if they had known.

The first three quarters of the chapter were pretty well edited, and all of the typos I found (just a few below) were from the last portion in the Shrieking Shack.

“...most the wallswere mangled...” (add space)

“...but visible frm where they,” (‘from’ and add the word ‘stood’ at the end.)

“...remained in a pill.” (pile)

“...joing Smithy” (joining)

“...stopped talked...” (talking)

“...could have coninced her” (convinced)

There are only a couple of continuity concerns I could find:

Earlier in the chapter, you have Laurie mention that “the signal to start firing will be pretty obvious." As soon as Aurora realizes that she wasn’t Mrs Hughes, and that they were discovered - this seemed to me to be the ‘obvious’ sign to start firing. The posturing that happens after this points seems more like Rosier gloating over a captured foe and that ‘obvious’ moment seems to slip away.

The only other one is the last line of the chapter when Rosier turns to Laurie and whispers in his ear from across the room. (Or is this supposed to be Aurora that whispers in his ear and it should be ‘she’?)

You did a great job with the cliffhanger at the end to pull the reader into the next chapter, and your pile of clue crumbs keeps getting bigger and bigger. You’ve introduced new characters, black market dealing, Laurie’s strange knowledge, odd bits here and there (like Arthur) that may or may not be important. I do know that I’m looking forward to the fight scene and I’ll dig into it this weekend.

-Drew

Author's Response: Hi Drew,

Cheers for the review.

Thanks for the thoughtful commentary.

I am glad the main constituent elements of this chapter worked. I am aware it was sort of a literary footbridge between the stuff at Hogsmeade, and the rather massive fight which is chapter 15.

I also appreciate that at this point, there is a lot to keep track of. I think I may be juggling too much so for future edits, your pioneering reviews are helpful.

I am very thankful as this must feel exhausting.

What with the intrigue over her brother's death, Dumbledore's disappearance from the scene, the weird dreams, the mythical beaker, Mundungus and Alice Longbottom allegedly trailing her, Ollivander being odd in the shop, and Laurie seemingly knowing way too much. Plus the addition of Gorgeous George, Top Hat and the crumbling nature of her family - it all seems a bit overwhelming.

What I will say is the "up in the air" reality of the story is at its peak. It only narrows from here I promise :)

I take your CC about breadcrumbs. That said, however, the thing is I don't fully subscribe to keeping stuff that is narratively convenient only. In some stories that works a treat, but not always.

This is set in possibly the bleakest period of the potterverse, chiefly in one point of view an I have tried to encapsulate a period as well as the story.

Most the leads go somewhere, not alays happily, but will be resolved in some shape or form. Others will tie in to the Rowlingverse proper (hopefully) and others will be dead ends, red herrings, or abnormalities that stay just as that. Like in real life. Very few things have a bow wrapped round them and are over.

I can say - and I don't think it is much of a spoiler that I change my mind too, and when I go through my big edit at chapter 22 - I may remove clues or a few devices or things that aren't relevant. Take the gramophone - I will keep it in for chapters 7 and 8 because its relevant but the bigger clue it was going to lead to has been changed in my head so it no longer has a purpose. Arnold is another, I have kept him in for now for whimsy purposes. But I agree that is indulgent humour on my part.

I agree it is a little odd to go back as I did from the church to Hogsmeade, but it was sort of joke and point of the haphazard nature of travel.

I think your continuity points and bits of CC concerning typos and the whole dynamic at the end.

This was all really helpful, should get another review of pathfinder up on sunday night I imagine.

Yeah I got exhausted writing


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