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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
This was amazing! I'm in awe of how much you fit into this chapter - there's a wonderful amount of character and plot development, so many little things that will inevitably add up to something very big. And you managed to develop all of your characters here, which blows me away - that scene at the end with James and Sirius was beautifully done, making the chapter come full-circle back to James. Yet you also included the deal between Regulus and Lily, as well as a scene with Snape... all without making the chapter feel too long or overwhelming. It's perfectly balanced.

To be honest, I saw this story sitting just short of 100 reviews for a few days, so it gave me the impetuous I needed to get myself reading again. But now, instead of writing a coherent review, I've actually had all coherence whacked out of me by the quality of this chapter. Wow!

I'm still reeling over its events, trying to piece together where it will go. With some things, such as Sirius's leaving home, we know what that will lead to, but with others, like Regulus and Lily's deal, it's up in the air. I suppose this is what you meant by the dashes of suspense - you don't make the suspense overdramatic, but rather make it subtle, just enough of a taste of keep the reader hooked without needing to resort to a cliffhanger or some other device.

One other impressive feature of this chapter is the characterization. James and Sirius stood out here because, if I remember correctly, they weren't winning any sympathy in the last chapter - but you remind us here that they're just teenagers. They have problems, and it seems like Sirius acts like a bully in order to make up for his own family issues; he feels threatened, so he takes it out on Snape, who is an easy target and a Slytherin to boot. James really isn't much different because you show how he, too, is threatened, this time more directly by Snape (through his friendship with Lily, though that's failed too, but James doesn't know it... *brain explodes*). Teenage drama is crazy, and you capture that in this story without the cliches and while keeping it nice and dark. It's just as a good, solid Marauder fic should be.

Thank you for writing such an amazingly strong story! It's a wonderful story to come back to with every chapter. You've done fantastic work putting the plot and characters and everything together! ^_^

Author's Response: Hi Susan! Thanks for another lovely review!

It was fun for me to write this chapter, in terms of switching back and forth between the Gryffindors and the Slytherins, and among all the little sub-plots. Tying up the pieces, of course, will be the hard part! I did enjoy telling all these different stories, though, and the way I've outlined chapter nine will see it running in much the same way, I think. I'm glad the length of the chapter and depth of the content seemed appropriate here, too.

Another challenge - albeit a very entertaining one - has been trying to fit canon stuff in with this little plot idea of Regulus and Lily cooperating for the sake of separate aims. There is meant to be a slight sense of suspense, because right now we don't know what will come of Regulus and Lily's deal. I have to admit that it was bittersweet to write about Sirius leaving home knowing that it will probably impact Regulus's part of the bargain.

I've worked equally hard on characterization and plot in this story. I think I already told you that I've been trying to challenge myself in terms of being hard on Snape, but I also wanted to be a little softer on James and Sirius, and to try to get the three boys to balance each other out. They're awkward and they make mistakes, and they can only be faulted so much for those mistakes. I did try to keep this from being too light (but also too dark, really) and to avoid cliches of continual drama and extreme emotion. It was great to explore the brotherly relationship between James and Sirius and the budding friendship between Regulus and Snape.

I'm not sure how coherent this response is at this point, but your review was wonderful. I always love trading commentary with you. Hope to see you soon for the next chapter :)

-Amanda


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