Hey,it's Whiskey from the formus!
When I read Snape/OC in your request form, I had to sigh. Most Snape/OCs are the most unlikely, fact-ignoring tales of teenage fantasy one can imagine. This, on the other hand, so far sounds like a proper story about Snape! I'm very glad that you've requested it and I'll be sure to read quite a chunk of it if it continues in the same fashion as this chapter.
I liked how it's actually about the wizarding world. Snape is a very political figure: a double spy, a convinced Death Eater, Dumbledore's best man, Hogwarts Professor, etc. His private world is a mystery that we only get a glimpse of during the books, no more. His life is a collection of difficult decisions that always take something from him and leave him with more responsibilities than freedom. It is refreshing to read a fanfic where that is taken into account.
I would also like to compliment you on staying true to the Harry Potter feeling. All of the characters and locations mentioned so far would make sense in Rowlings universe, even the ones you made up (the Guild! :3 I often had to think of video games during the chapter!).
Now some critique:
What threw me off immediately was Karkaroff swearing in Russian. I am pretty sure he isn't Russian. Although his nationality is never explicitly stated in the books, it would make more sense to assume he was Bulgarian (due to his favouritism towards Krum) or even Finish, due to the location of Durmstrang. Just because he is adorned with Eastern European stamps does not mean he is Russian. I just hate assumptions like that. *If* he was Bulgarian, then I suppose he would have learned Russian as a child, so I can grant you that he would know Russian, but it is a far stretch to assume he would chose to swear in it. But I will also grant you this: you managed to avoid any other national stereotypes when describing him, so I suppose that is redeeming :P
Next is this paragraph:"Death Eaters. Stupid name for the Dark Lord's supporters who were dutifully clearing the way for wizards all over the world. It was a war after all, and people had to die. No more hiding, no more coddling those lesser beings... exterminate them when necessary. Karkaroff had no problem sacrificing the Muggles if it meant a quicker victory."
It's kind of confusing, first of all, in terms of pov and point. All I get from it is "Karkaroff=bad", which is not very interesting. Black-and-white-ing your characters is sometimes necessary in order to save space and effort, but in a story about Snape, the most grey-area character of them all, I think it is allowed to show some more moral relativity.
You did the same thing with Snape, which really surprised me. He joined the Death Eaters to protect his family? As far as I know, he joined because he wanted to... After he lost all hope of getting Lily's affections, he chose to overcompensate his self-worth through Muggle-hatered, dark magic and elitism...Right? That doesn't make for a great hero or a romantic interest, but I don't see why you felt the need to change it...
Another thing that confused me was the function of Lucius. I think you characterized him very well and he was a nice addition to the story, but he just popped in to tell Karkaroff to go to Snape? At first I thought Lucius would have gone for him. There could have been a nice moment of hierarchy there.
Besides these few issues, the chapter was a real treat! I know I might sound critical, but I honestly enjoyed it. Snape's trip to the Ministry was described very well, and I really liked his thoughts on how "on the other side" the brightest and most talented only get an assistant job :D It was a nice touch.
Oh, one more thing. This sentence: "For Severus, forcing someone to make amends for their wrongdoing was like waking up to a field of snow in July." I just don't get it! :P This comparison is very, very confusing to me. Amends are...as useless as snow? As out of palce as snow? But why?
Well,I hope I could be helpful! I will review some more soon and I hope you don't hate me for all of the critical bits :P
Author's Response: Hellooo!!
I love you!!
Maybe I'm the only person out there who actually WANTS someone to pick apart my stories and give me specific examples of techniques I used or things I did that didn't work for the reader, but that was exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for. Though it's been revised, blah, blah, I never felt like I got the first chapter "right" in certain little places. You pinpointed those things perfectly.
I see you found some of my choices baffling, which is fair. I assumed Karkaroff was Russian and I made some decisions about Severus that are not commonly accepted. You're right: his characterization is neither heroic, nor romantic. I did take quite a bit of license with some things that I felt were merely "assumed" , yet "not fully proven". You can consider it slightly AU if that helps. And no, it's not a "ship" story. It's a story that happens to include one. I hope that makes you feel a little better... if not, meh. I'ts Snape.
I really wanted to show Snape as a more gray-toned personality. I didn't see that the way I chose to establish his specific back story derailed that until you pointed it out to me. Also, I totally agree that I missed an opportunity to establish Lucius' "function" here. I always felt like I didn't ground him well enough into the story, and you caught that too.
Wow. Please, please, please continue giving me this kind of critical review for as long as you can stand. This is excellent!
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