Hi m'dear! Here for review tag!
First of all, I really loved the cliff hanger.
Okay, I'm on the fence about what to say here. I didn't think I'd enjoy this a ton because it's a setting/era/characters I'm not crazy about reading about. I usually avoid Harry related stories since I already spent 7 books in his head :P
Anyway, there were a few things I recall, really liked. You have a very clean writing style. You choose words that describe the scene without actually having to spend sentences describing the scene, if that makes sense. And you have a really complex, well thought out plot it seems.
There were also things that sort of made it... hard to read. You've given Devin too much, I think. I know you said that he's gifted, and that you teach Pre K... but I'm just having a hard time with him being four. I work with that age as well, and I've met very intelligent children who would still stumble over their words, much less be able to articulate things so well. But even the talking I could handle, if there wasn't so much more. I think that it may help if you either make him seem more childlike with his speech patterns and thinking, and let him keep all of his super magic sort of things. Or take away some of those and keep his adult like speaking. He can still be just as gifted if he thinks things like,
"Devlin knew that the scary man wanted it to hurt him. He couldn't be a nice man, either. Because nice men didn't want to hurt people. Sometimes Devin did things that weren't so nice, too. Sometimes he'd steal Emma's binky and put it in his own mouth, and she would cry and cry. Mommy told Devin this was 'cruel'."
So, you still get all the things you wanted to, but it just feels more like you're reading something from a child's perspective. Even a gifted child's.
Sirius is still alive! Woot!! I was pretty excited about that.
I like the more cynical side you've given Harry. His threats to the Death Eater felt a bit weak when he continued to make them and not do anything, but he obviously wanted to get the information out. I think you need a bit of a transition between the man wanting Harry to prove it and Harry agreeing... even something as simple as it getting more and more painful for Harry to talk about his dead son and just wanting to get it all over with and find out what the man know. It feels sort of crazy right now with how quickly Harry changes his mind, and I think getting some more insight on is feelings and what he's going through would help us. Then I think you also need a transition between after the memory and the information the man told Harry. He almost seemed to get too kind too quickly. Which isn't bad, but again it just happened a bit too fast to make me believe it.
I loved the emotion we did see in Harry when he kept thinking about how none of what this man was saying could be true because they'd tortured and killed his son so quickly. It was like he needed to believe that, so that he can believe it ended as soon as possible. That was a really, really great touch. I also really liked the mystery around this death eater and am excited to see what his real story is!
This is a really great start, and i hope this review didn't feel harsh. I just think you have a great idea here. And I know you said in your AN your bit about Devin's speech so I hope you don't mind me commenting on that. Like I said, he just seems like too much. And I'm about as far from ignorant in the development and behavior of toddlers/young children as it can get, so if I'm having a hard time buying it, I'm sure other readers are too. And we all really do want to be able to connect with him!
Author's Response: Obviously all writing of this kind is flexible and fluid, and on the Devlin thing I have been giving it some great thought about making him older - simply because it is almost impossible for ME to write MY STYLE of writing and maintain the childishness a percentage of my readers want. As I said, the thought pattern is my now, not his - but I hear you and understand. So anyways, perhaps I will reedit the chapters and change that simple detail. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. When creating Devlin I tried to get him as close to accurate as possible for himself and his life - which is almost impossible to calculate seeing as we don't have children around magical wars with their father's as the main target. ;)
Thanks for the review!