Hi Branwen! I'm here with your requested review :) I got behind on a lot of stories I meant to follow once school got crazy last month, but I feel especially bad for this one, since it did win my challenge and I did find the first chapter so brilliant. I see here that I haven't actually done chapter two yet, so I'll be doing that one this time, but you can certainly feel free to re-request for the third one. I may even get around to it on my own time. I really miss random reviewing!
You know how much I love Snape/Lily, but I really love Lily just by herself as well, and I think you wrote her so well in that letter. It was neat how she could go from being exhausted by her mother-in-law's careful treatment of her to being so kind and concerned about Jane and Remus. Your depiction fits in well with how I usually imagine her to be. Lily's situation also got me thinking about being a pregnant witch -- how do you think it would differ from being a pregnant Muggle? If you involve Lily much more in the story and kind of follow her through her pregnancy (and I suspect you might at least a little, given her proximity to Jane), that might be something interesting to explore. Just an idea.
Now, let me try to address your concerns. I don't feel like you're introducing too many OCs. You're writing during a time when there are probably going to be a lot of characters, especially Order members, that we are not familiar with, and so I think it's okay to introduce a few. The tricky part, as I'm sure you know, will be to give each their own distinct personality without typecasting anyone. I like Reagan so far, though I am a little worried that she might turn out to be a bit too much like Tonks (especially with her brazen attitude). She's fine for now, though, so I'd just keep an eye on it.
I also think you did fine with setting the tone. It did feel a little bit less dark than I remember the first chapter being, but if I think about it, the slight change makes sense to me. Even in the middle of a war, even with people you know dying and terrible things happening, people still have to go on and live their everyday lives in one way or another. Bills still need to be paid, groceries need to be purchased, children need to be sent to school. My point is that this chapter seemed to contain a little bit more of that "everyday" stuff (a letter from a friend, confusion about a romantic relationship, a visit from a co-worker), and so while I could definitely feel the tone in terms of your description of the events at St. Mungo's, I also felt like it was okay for things to return to a more neutral level in other places. I hope all of that makes sense.
Along the same lines, I think the description was fine, but if you're still concerned about keeping a specific tone, I think it could always help to add more. One way might have been to describe the photos that come with the newspaper articles. It will probably get easier to get into the grisly stuff once Jane actually begins working on her mission at the hospital. I bet things will get really, really creepy from there on out! :)
All in all, I think this chapter was very nice. The storyline seems to be flowing pretty well, and I like that you have multiple conflicts of varying severity (for example, Jane's frustration with the situation involving Remus compared to her fears about being attacked or seeing loved ones killed). I'm definitely very curious to see what will happen next!
Great job! I hope this was a helpful review :)
Author's Response: Very helpful! I'm so sorry it's taken me forever to reply to this - I wanted to give it my full attention, which I just haven't had a lot of lately.
Huh. I thought you had reviewed this one, too! Oh well, now you have, and it's an absolutely lovely review (which doesn't shock me in the slightest, of course).
I'm glad you like my Lily! She's really a great character to write - I feel like we know enough about her from canon to have a decent idea of what she was like while still having some room to be creative, which I love.
I'm not sure how being pregnant and a witch would be different than a muggle, but it's something I've been puzzling about lately. I've been thinking that the biggest issue might be travel - apparition or floo powder might not be a great call. I'm still thinking about it, though. It may not come up here, though - concerns about Lily's safety when she's less able to defend herself are valid, however much she dislikes them, and they override pretty much everything else.
Lily is definitely going to be a part of the story, especially once Jane finds out that Remus is a werewolf.
I hadn't thought about that with Reagan, but I see what you mean, and I'll definitely keep an eye on it.
I also see what you mean about the tone, and I'm really glad you said that - when you put it that way, it makes me feel much better about having this chapter be a little more light-hearted and a little less tense. You're right - the doom and gloom stuff gets old if that's all you have chapter upon chapter, and there should be a little variety. Otherwise it can get stale and unrealistic.
I love your idea of describing the photos with the articles - I'll go back and do that when I have the chance!
Thank you so much for the review, and I'm really sorry again that it's taken me so long to respond!