Reading Reviews From Member: Violet Gryfindor
  
1,155 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Violet GryfindorOphelia: Autophobia

9th December 2013:
This is an exciting first chapter! You've done many interesting things with this, and it's hard to decide where to start. The introduction of the mystery was very well-constructed, and it's left me eager to read on. :D

I particularly like your interpretation of Scorpius's character - it was refreshing to see him depicted in a different way as the bookish, unpopular one who makes a mysterious discovery. While I've seen that kind of storyline before, I haven't seen it with Scorpius, and it'll be fascinating to see where you take it, and how you continue to flesh out Scorpius's character. I'm curious about how he became so unpopular in comparison to his father - and thank you for mentioning that point in this chapter - and why Ismene calls him a 'freak'. There's a history there - you can't call someone a freak at a magical school unless they've done something really strange. Additionally, I don't think Madam Pince would allow him access to the Restricted Section, even if he was the best student in the school, without another special reason. There must be something different about him, but what?

That book and the ring suggests that what sets Scorpius apart is a thing of great significance. There are so many possibilities... Time travel? A connection to dark wizards of the past? Is Scorpius named after someone, and this is their book and ring? There's a wrong-ness to these items, and yet of course he's drawn to them - who wouldn't be? The timing, though, is ominous because just when his mind was filled with a thirst for revenge, just barely repressed, he discovers these things. And what will vampires have to do with it? The plot and character development have a lot of potential, and it'll be fun to see what direction you choose to take this story.

This first chapter was well-written and very enjoyable to read. Please update soon! ^_^

Author's Response: Hey there!

Oh, I'm glad you think so! I've already finished writing this story, and I really enjoyed doing so!

I'm also glad you like my interpretation of Scorpius' character! From what I've read, Scorpius is so often percieved as either really popular or funny or basically a copy of his father who often turns 'good' so I wanted to do something different!

The book and the ring...all will start to be revealed next chapter! I do hope it won't be a terrible letdown, because some of your ideas are awesome and I want to steal them!

Thanks for the review!

Courtney:)


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Review #27, by Violet GryfindorA Halloween Visit: A Halloween Visit

8th December 2013:
The scene you've created with this story is a lovely one - one that is straight out of canon. This may be your first time writing Harry, but you capture his personality and manner very well, and that's a challenging thing to do. He's a very average sort of person, like an everyman, and he can be reserved and humble in his quiet moments, just like this. He needs to be alone in this moment because, like in the woods at Hogwarts in DH, he needs to converse with the ghosts of those he's lost, the people who gave their lives for him. I'd love to have seen a moment like this in the books - it would have made for a more emotionally powerful epilogue to the series.

There are many lovely descriptions in this story, though the ending line was the most striking for me. It evokes a beautiful image, filled with sadness, yet also with hope - that's an important combination for the series, and especially for Harry's life, he being the boy filled with sadness who gave hope to many. Even when he stands over their graves, he experiences both feelings. Though he doesn't lose himself in that sorrow as he did after Sirius's death - he's grown up a lot and demonstrates here that he can pay homage to what's been lost while also looking forward to a brighter future.

In terms of constructive criticism, I can only offer nit-pickings. The sentence starting with "The Ministry had never been..." needs some smoothing out, and possibly also needs to be broken up. The final part about the empty grave was already mentioned in the previous sentences, so to repeat it isn't really necessary. That's all I've got. It was a wonderful one-shot to read and a fantastic depiction of Harry after the war. :)

Author's Response: Hey! Thanks so much for reading & reviewing. Sorry it took me so long to respond.

I am glad you liked the scene and think that it fits in canon. It's such a relief to hear that you think I have captured Harry well. It is indeed very challenging. Such a moment would have definitely made for a more powerful epilogue but I guess JKR wanted to keep it light and happy and such a moment would have been more bittersweet. But really, I am flattered by your lovely comments, thank you.

I am pleased you liked my descriptions too. I wasn't sure at first on what note to end this with but when I finally decided on that sentence, it seemed right to me and I am happy to know you liked it too. Yeah, the combination of sadness and hope has been with Harry throughout his life and I think it will never leave him so it was important to emphasise it here as well.

Thanks for the CC too. When I go back to edit I'll surely look into your comments again. Thank you once more for your review, I am pleased you enjoyed this.


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Review #28, by Violet GryfindorThe Seams: They Bring Me To You

19th October 2013:
Fantastic work on this chapter! And on this story as a whole. It's an impressive work, and I can tell how much effort you've put into it. The characters are well-constructed, feeling very realistic in their behaviour, yet also nicely suited to the Potterverse (Lorraine in this chapter was adorable in her anxiety over serving Tobias, who, unfortunately, was a poor example of a Muggle). Your writing style is lovely to read, and it's steadily improved with each chapter - you bring the world of Eileen's shop to life and also take care with your descriptions with an excellent combination of practical detail and poetic turns of phrase. The plot is art - I'm envious of your plotting, and it's only the third chapter!

This is the chapter that has cemented my interest in this story and my love of your plotting, characters, writing, everything really. It's a perfect chapter, with just the right amount of suspense, a fantastic construction of atmosphere, descriptions that are cutting at times and beautiful at others. I also particularly like the sense of inevitability that weighs down this chapter, as though the hand of fate is clasped tightly around Eileen at this point. She tries to fight it by wanting Tobias out of her shop as soon as possible, but of course he has to appear again, of course they're drawn together in this almost horrible way. And the whole chapter builds to that final scene very well - the key is the short lull between the scenes with Tobias. It lets the reader drop their guard before the final moment of connection between Tobias and Eileen. By that point, at the end of this chapter, there's no going back - Eileen will marry him.

It's like a fairy tale, in this way, and with the curse that you introduced in the prologue lurking in the background, I think that's the kind of feel you're going for this story. As strong and independent as Eileen is, she's really not in control and can feel herself spiraling toward him with no chance of escape. What interests me is how realistic you make this driving fate - the two scenes are perfectly ordinary; the only earth-shattering takes place inside of Eileen, and she does her best to hide it. The way that you've grounded this story, curse and all, within a realistic, banal world is fascinating - it fills the story with undercurrents, a lurking darkness behind scenes, perfectly set against the contentment Eileen feels about her shop as well as behind the laughter at the party.

And then there's Tobias. Wow! In a few brushstrokes you characterized him better than I've seen before. He's realistic, curmudgeon-like but not a "bad person", just grouchy and impatient with the world that refuses to make things easy for him. Yet he's also very much like his son, both physically and in personality - just like the Professor of the first two books, imposing and displeased by everything. I'm not surprised that his eyes are his most striking feature - so striking as to be the only thing that Eileen notices about his appearance. They're hypnotizing, magical eyes in the body of a Muggle. I wonder what it means - it could be just that he has the eyes of a BrontŽ hero, but I have a feeling that there's more to it, that he's somehow part of the curse. Or am I ascribing too much to the curse's power?

I can't say enough how well-written this chapter is, and how well you've done with the whole story so far. It's wonderful to finally have the chance to read it, and I look forward to seeing what happens next! :D

Author's Response: Hello Susan! I'm sorry for such an extended delay on my response! I'm so exhausted when I get home from teaching every day that I do aimless things like watch Game of Thrones and dream about being a millionaire :P (And I WILL get to yours soon, promise!).

I'm really happy you enjoyed this chapter! You know, I've actually surprised myself. I fantasize about writing things that are very much out-of-this-world, fantasy-driven pieces (I never do these in fanfiction though) - but anyway, I can't quite believe that I went for a such a realistic approach. It's definitely out of my comfort zone and I think that's why it takes me so long to write each chapter. I'm struggle with that mixture you mentioned of descriptions. Glad you like the plot thus far - it simmered in my brain for over a year before I put anything down on paper because I wanted something good, something to keep readers coming back.

"...of course they're drawn together in this almost horrible way." - I really like the way you've described them. There's a real sense of deprivation and anxiety about the entire scenario like they can sense on some level that something is going to happen and it's going to end badly. "Eileen will marry him." - That literally excites me to no end and yet, saddens me so much. I love that even as the writer, they bring these emotions out. I'm so connected to them and that's what I want for my readers.

A fairytale? That's such a compliment, thank you! I never thought of it that way, but you're so intuitive and your insights bring so much to light. I love it! See, Eileen's a study in contrasts. I believe that as humans, we're all about contradictions; she's independent, but she's also fearful and anxious; she thinks she's in control, but nothing is really ever the way she wants it, not truly. I think it makes her most human, showing all these facets of her character.

Oh, Tobias. I love him so much. He is so grumpy and I think it's fantastic. The eyes of a Bronte hero - okay, now that is seriously the compliment of the year and I'm currently showering you with cookies and flowers and hugs! ♥ He is a part of the curse, I will tell you that much; however, his eyes aren't really a crux of the situation (at least, unless I change something :P).

Thank you so much for another wonderful review! I love all of your feedback and observations! ♥

Shelby


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Review #29, by Violet GryfindorYellow: Chapter X

19th October 2013:
This ending is very sweet, filled with lots of hope in spite of the war that continues around them. I liked seeing how happy you made the ending because there are a number of ways it could have gone differently - Cho did, after all, almost miss seeing him off - but you found just the right way to satisfy readers while also maintaining the historical accuracy that's a major element of this story.

Again, I love the details that you've included, such as the bottle of red wine - a great luxury for the nurses no matter how cheap it may be - and the difficulty that the car had in driving over the rough road (since the cars they'd be using in France at this time would not be in very good repair). You bring this story's world to life in a way that looks so simple and effortless, and that is also very vivid - this chapter is especially easy to imagine, as though it were playing on a screen. It was fantastic how the descriptions intensified in those final moments, both with the kiss and afterward when Cho is inundated with thoughts of all the work she still has to do. She's still the devoted Cho that we get in the series, but you've importantly given her more to look forward to - her life isn't defined by Cedric's presence or absence.

(I also love how Cho thinks of using the serum on other patients despite what the committee ruled. Hopefully this isn't an error because it shows how practical and assertive Cho is - she knows what's right, and she's just going to go ahead and do it.)

This story is both a lovely wartime romance and an exciting medical drama, which makes it stand out a lot from the other stories I've been reading. As I've said in just about every other review, the world you've constructed here within history for this cast characters is incredible. The attention to detail makes the history buff in me squee (too much published fiction I've read isn't even half as accurate as this), and I've also enjoyed the development of these two characters and their romance. It's been a great experience to follow along with this story, and I'm looking forward to finishing more of your longer works in the future. ^_^

Author's Response: This chapter was a little tough to get right because I had to tie up a lot of strings, especially the love story that was threaded along with the darker, more complex subplots.

Hah, you know how I love my details. I always reflect on real life, when there is rarely ever just one thing happening at a given time. I rely on details to really fill in the gaps in the world around my characters and their momentary interaction. As you alluded to, it was also important for me to show that Cho's life doesn't end when Cedric leaves. She still has a mission to complete here, and I'm sure he'll be waiting for her when her service is concluded. I'm sure, too, that canon Cedric would have wanted canon Cho to move on without him as well.

Oh, yes, her assertion isn't an error! I think it shows her confidence that everything is going to be fine and that any small problems that emerge can be worked out in service of the benefits that the medication can provide.

It was so fun to really dive into this world of historical AU and to explore some new characters, some of which have been much-maligned in fanfiction. I'm proud of how things turned out and pleasantly surprised that people other than me, especially you, enjoyed it so much! I'd love to write another story like this sometime. Thanks again, Susan, for your wonderful comments and for seeing this through to the end. Hope to hear from you again soon :)

-Amanda


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Review #30, by Violet GryfindorOnce More We Fight: Chapter One- Prologue

19th October 2013:
This introduction to your story is intriguing. Very intriguing. There's a lot of mystery here, bringing to mind something like the Potteverse version of the X-Files or Sleepy Hollow - weird, macabre crimes tinged with supernatural elements. It's not at all what I was expected based on the banner and summary - I like it much better because of the dark, suspenseful atmosphere that you construct in this first chapter. It's a fantastic way to begin because of the way it captures the reader's attention. There's a lot of potential here, and it's exciting to think of where you could take this next.

One major point you should consider working on in your writing are the descriptions because, while you're clearly trying to make them affecting and poetic, you are mixing metaphors and dangerously approaching purple prose. This purpleness especially comes through in the lines like "the fading light kissed the snow delicately" - it's a sadly overused image, so unless you're writing parody, it's something to avoid. Those first two paragraphs are overloaded with different kind of images and metaphors - there's light, colour, personification - and as a result, it's actually difficult to imagine the scene. What's going on in the first paragraph doesn't wholly match up with the second. Your descriptions improve a lot by the time you get to the final section - the image of Maggie Bagshot in the doorway was striking. There, you included just enough description and it made her feel very real throughout that scene.

My second point of criticism is very nit-picky, but when you say that Williamson wants to throw up, he can't actually do so from his intestines. It's only when the food is in his stomach and esophagus that he can regurgitate it. Similarly, in the last section, Maggie first says that Harry Potter lives down the road, then she says that he lives up the road - it's just one of those funny details that are easy to fix. :)

I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for more of this story because you've piqued my curiosity. If these strange occurrences are building toward the return of Voldemort, then what do they mean? Why would Voldemort use weapons instead of spells? Has he lost his magic? Or is there something else attacking people, perhaps a werewolf or some other magical creature? You've got a great idea for a story here - please update soon! :D

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Review #31, by Violet GryfindorYellow: Chapter IX

17th October 2013:
Oh, that ending! Cho doesn't care what the committee was saying about the ethics of human testing - she knows that what she did was right and that it saved Cedric. I love that she doesn't even stop to think about it at the end - she is confident with her actions and, furthermore, she's proud of what she's done. It's a great moment for her that reveals a lot about her character. She's almost a Gryffindor with the way she takes risks, but I also think that she wouldn't have taken the risk if she thought it too dangerous. In times like this, when so many are dying, one has to take on a certain level of risk to save lives - what Cho does reveals her to be a good Healer.

In this way, this chapter presents an interesting contrast between Cho - the field nurse, not yet completed her schooling - and the older, more experienced Healers. She takes initiative while they sit back and want to conduct tests. She improves Cedric's life while they want to test on animals and elves before allowing the potion to be used on humans. *cringes* You bring to light a significant issue that persists within medicine. They are very right to say that it could have gone very wrong and that human testing is unethical (and Cho using blackmail to make Cedric take it was definitely unethical - Cho the Gryffindor strikes again :P). At the same time, it's sad to see that the committee is preventing the potion from being used on others for such a long period. How many soldiers will suffer as a result of it? It's one of those questions of ethics that is impossible to find a perfect answer for. The way in which you've built it into this story adds a level of complexity that is astounding. This story has turned out to have a lot more to it than I expected.

Excellent work, once again! It's a wonderful experience to read your stories!

Author's Response: I was kind of torn between Cho's naivety, which I think was almost a given based on canon, and the sense that there's more to her and she has a lot of potential to be brave and competent and very generous (which is also represented in canon post-Cedric). I think she recognized here that she was at the forefront of something big and that her colleague needed her strength in facing the wrath of the human rights and ethics board.

Anyway, I like what you said about the side of the ethics board. I agree that they're not in the wrong; they're emotionally detached from the case and feel like the right path is one of caution and protocol. They don't want to be another story in the big book of medical ethics mistakes. To me, the fact that they allowed the trials to continue at all says that they believe in the same spirit Cho and Oliver believe, which bodes well for the future here.

Thanks for another lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #32, by Violet GryfindorYellow: Chapter VIII

17th October 2013:
This chapter turned out really well! It contains a lot of little details that are just wonderful, particularly Mariam's reference to Cedric as "lover boy" (I giggled in spite of myself at that). The description of the owl at the end also stood out - again, it's the level of detail that is impressive. There's something very tangible about its presence - it's not merely there as a messenger, but like the owls in the books, is a real creature. You take very great care with the story and the world in which it takes place.

This carries through into Cedric's melancholy and anger - he does not know how to express it, and thus lashes out at anyone who gets near him. He's so consumed by his grief that he doesn't seem to remember the kiss, nor does he think about the potion - the two things that are foremost in Cho's mind. All he can think of is what the war has done to him and his friends - even when he yells he doesn't realize that he has his voice back. It's fantastic to see that depth of emotion in a story, to have a character not even realize that his body has healed because he's overwhelmed by grief. It's a very realistic portrayal of grief, and while I'm not surprised that you would include this in your story, I still want to say, kudos to you. It's excellent.

The chapter as a whole is very well-written, doing a lot with both character and plot development. It's amazing how much you did in a chapter of 1100 words!

Author's Response: Susan, I'm so terrible for taking forever to respond to your wonderful reviews. I'm sorry! Hopefully I can stay on top of things a little better once I catch up again.

I loved writing Miriam so much. She was so spunky in the face of such dark themes, and I pictured her as this wise older woman who could be a role model for Cho. She's probably witnessed the pattern of a soldier and nurse falling in love several times and chosen to view it with a mixture of admiration and caution.

I wanted to show a contrast between the experiences of Cedric and those of Cho. Cho sees a very limited view--only what comes through the hospital doors, and most of the soldiers who survive their injuries seem to lead a relatively calm life while healing. Cedric, meanwhile, is haunted by his past and his regrets and hasn't told Cho even a fraction of what he's been through. Thus, it's difficult for either of them to understand what the other person is feeling. I'm really glad you liked seeing that and picked up on the contrast.

Thanks again for your lovely review :)

-Amanda


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Review #33, by Violet GryfindorSheer Abandon: Prologue

17th October 2013:
It's great to see you reposting this story! I wanted to read it the first time you had it up, but I never had the opportunity. You're writing in a time period I'm really interested in, and I'm excited to see how you write about Tom Riddle's time at Hogwarts. Your inclusion of Walburga and Alphard only makes me more pleased to read this because most authors tend to make Riddle friends with only his future Death Eaters. Walburga is as staunch a supporter of pureblood ideology as Riddle, and I'm interested in seeing how she develops into that horrifying mother of Sirius. One question, before I continue: why do you think that Orion wouldn't marry a witch older than him? It's actually something that occurred amongst the aristocracy and among "blue bloods", especially for those who placed breeding and family name above all else - a span of three years wouldn't be that big a deal (they don't have their first child until 1959 anyway). I'm just curious about that particular change you made.

Alphard's development should be interesting to watch because, at some point, he must change his mind, either about pureblood authority or, at the very least, about Blacks as Slytherins. Is this something that doesn't happen until he sees his nephew ill-treated by Walburga, or is it something that will develop over the course of his Hogwarts years? There's so much potential here! It's fantastic to see.

One thing that struck me about this prologue is the similarity to Harry's own entrance into the Wizarding World. You must have made these parallels on purpose because they're just too perfect, everything from the help he requires crossing the barrier to his sudden friendship with Alphard and Walburga (who are fantastically set up as mirror images to Ron and Hermione). It was all cleverly done - I love to see that kind of care taken in both the plot, structure, and details of a story. ^_^

I'm intrigued by Fiona, but there's so much more I want to know about her before I try to dissect her character. Although I liked being able to see her conversation with the Sorting Hat, there is a problem in how it's presented within the narrative - it's in the section that begins with Dumbledore's POV, then you switch to Fiona without warning and it's jarring. That's the only critique I can think of for this prologue - it's an excellent introduction for your characters, leaving the reader hungry for more. I can already tell that this will be a quality story and it'll be fantastic to see how you develop these characters. :D

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Review #34, by Violet GryfindorA Moment of Fear: James

13th October 2013:
Here from the review swap! I couldn't resist stopping by to review the next part of this collection - you did a great job with Lily, and I was looking forward to seeing your work with James. It was definitely worth looking forward to!

Your characterization of James and the other Marauders is very good. Your depiction of the scene was nicely realistic, with James experiencing this moment that hits him like a brick wall. He's got Lily, but this next step of their relationship clearly never occurred to him, and I liked how you showed him working through the problem. It's great that he was able to make that kind of confession to Sirius, knowing that, once, it would have lead to ridicule, but now that they're both older and more experienced, James knows that he can rely on Sirius to help him through it. What was perfect about the characterization of both of them is that you include the jokes and silly remarks even while they're discussing these serious topics - they're still the pranksters of Hogwarts, only the war has changed them, aged them. It feels quite natural, how you've shown them at this stage in their life. It makes this story a treat to read.

In terms of critique, consider going over the ending. There is a typo in the last line, but those two paragraphs don't have the same power behind them as does the rest of the story - part of me isn't sure whether that part is necessary. It's a little rushed. Perhaps expanding on the ending a little would make it fit more smoothly with the rest. It's a cute fluffy moment, very important to the relationship between the Marauders.

Great work on this story! It's a wonderful idea for a story collection, and your characterizations are fantastic!

Author's Response: I am so glad you were able to come back for the second part!

It's great to hear that James and the Marauders worked well. While I did see them as more mature I had to include the silly bits (they're still 20 or so after all). It was a lot of fun to blend in references to mischief at school and their still young personalities. I had been concerned about Peter being too likable but I'm glad that wasn't an issue for you! "Treat to read" is quite a high compliment - thank you!!

I'll definitely look at the ending a bit. I wanted to have a bit of happy/resolution for him. I have a few ideas I could add to make it tie-in better with the rest of the chapter.

Thank you so much for a well thought out review. Your CC and positive feedback were very helpful!!


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Review #35, by Violet GryfindorA Moment of Fear: Lily

7th October 2013:
This is a lovely look at Lily's thoughts on the day of her wedding. At first, I thought the "fear" aspect of the story would have to do with the war, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that, instead, it was about the marriage. And Lily is right to fear it, not because she's so young, but because of what's going on around her. This wedding to James is as much an act of defiance against Voldemort as was Lily's last stand to save Harry - she's a Muggleborn marrying a pureblood, and it's a union of love, as you were careful to show. That moment between her and James was brief, but it left its impact on the story. James was so incredibly James in that scene - restless, ever willing to take risks, and once he makes a choice, he stays true to it. I love to see when authors can bring a character to life in just a couple of lines, and that's exactly what you did with James, keeping him perfectly to canon.

It was also a treat to see Lily with her parents. I don't know why, but they so rarely make appearances in stories about Lily, and it's kind of sad because Lily needs a positive force in her life, especially once Petunia and Snape both turn against her. They reminded me a little of Hermione's parents - very average (right down to the words they speak), yet caring, wanting their magical daughter to be happy. They don't pay attention to the magic, as Petunia always does, but rather to Lily as a person.

There were a couple of things in this story that do need smoothing out. For instance, the line "Lilyís mind drifted to the Voldemortís to recruit them to his side" has a word or two missing (did you mean "Voldemort's efforts"?). I'm also uncertain about the dialogue - James's proposal is rather wordy. If someone actually spoke like that, they'd be left breathless, yet James's actions and behaviour at that moment sounds very deliberate. Perhaps adding more narration/description there to break up that speech would make it clearer how he's speaking - does his voice shake? Is he nervous or excited? It would be great if that scene between Lily and James could be longer - it's an important moment, otherwise Lily wouldn't having that flashback. (Sorry, I'm a greedy reader. :P)

This portrayal of Lily as a whole is well-done, offering a snapshot of a moment one generally doesn't see in fanfiction. I look forward to seeing what you do with the other characters from this era!

Author's Response: This review is incredible. I'm really glad you liked the slight twist of not focusing on the war as her moment of fear. I'm kind of dying of squee - this was my first time trying to capture Lily and James and it makes me so happy to hear that I managed it!!

The Evans were a lot of fun to write. There's close to nothing about them so it was a bit liberating to mold them from nothing (well, taking what we can see from the output of their family). I kind of wish I could say I was intentional with Mrs. Evans focusing on Lily rather than her magic, but it is a lovely parallel to draw between how Petunia treats Lily versus the rest of her family. ^_^

Oh my gosh thank you for pointing out those mistakes. (I am the worse proofreader, ever, so having people kind enough to point that out is extremely helpful). I'll also take a look at chunking out James' proposal. When I wrote it I was a bit 'fingers to the keyboard' trying to get the idea out.

I should have the James chapter up soon (tonight/tomorrow). His chapter is flowing a lot better for me. I felt this one was a stretch to write. It means a lot to me to hear that it's well-done. Thank so much for this review. ^_^


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Review #36, by Violet GryfindorThanatophobia: Falling Asleep

2nd October 2013:
Wow, I was not expecting that ending. Incredibly sad, but also very tastefully done, bringing together a lot of feeling with realistic detail that only enhances the effect. I think one of the things that makes it so sad is that one imagines that, with magic, one should be able to do so much more to cure disease and ailment, yet even magic has its limits, especially against an unknown disease. You're not afraid to show how Hugo's death in a long and painful process, and it's really important how you also show how he comes to terms with his fate - he's more courageous than most would be, but you made that crucial link between his death and those of Fred, Lily, and James. Hugo's death is just as important as theirs - if anything, he proves to be more courageous because he doesn't lose heart, never despairs throughout the terrible, drawn-out death he has to face. That's where your story is strongest: in demonstrating that you don't have to die in battle to be a hero.

Something that I think the story still needs work with is the narration. At the beginning, I was uncertain who was doing the telling - your narration hovered between omniscient and third-person limited, which resulted in more telling than was necessary. Once you add dialogue, the narrative flow improves and it was easier to fall under the story's spell. Is there a way of introducing Hugo's history of illness without relying on telling? What kind of narrative style are you working to achieve here? In the first line, for instance, is it necessary to add the ironically enough comment? It adds a strange tone that isn't carried through the rest of the story - it's too sarcastic and biting, and it threw me off because the ending is clearly tragic without any hint of irony. I hope that makes sense - setting the right mood for a story like this is crucial, and an important part of that is finding the right kind of narrative style.

This is a very original story and it, despite the sadness of the content, I really admire how you treated the subject matter - it's hard to write a story like this, and you made it work very well. :)

Author's Response: I'm going to start off by apologizing for taking so long and saying that I really appreciate this review.

Now that I think back on it, I agree with you and the fact that the narration really does need some work on it. I can definitely see where you're coming from with the point of view and such. I'll definitely go back and take another look at the beginning and switch things up so that everything flows smoothly.

Thank you so much for your criticism, it really was very helpful and I'll keep it in mind when I go back to edit. Thank you so much!


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Review #37, by Violet GryfindorFragile Bones: Fragile Bones

15th September 2013:
This is a lovely one-shot! It was great to see a story about Amelia and the loss of the Bones family, though isn't there another sibling, since Susan later calls her Aunt Amelia? I do like the idea of Amelia being the youngest sibling, though it's hard to tell how old she is when this story takes place - if there's a way you could give more of a clue, I think it would help. Otherwise, I really like your characterization of her, not only as a book lover, but as someone deeply affected by the death of her family - it's almost as though the coldness is coming from her and the shadows are the ghosts of memory and fear rather than part of the house she's in. She's very realistically drawn and sympathetic, and it was nice to see how recognizable she was even though you never gave her last name - it was clear right away, and that's often hard to do with a minor character.

At first it had this wonderful Gothic feel to it with Amelia in her nightdress, wandering in this old house full of shadows - I especially liked the way that you likened her to a cobweb because it made her seem part of this rather Gothic setting in addition to emphasizing her physical and emotional delicacy. Your imagery is very good, creating an atmosphere steeped in magic, like this was a fairy tale castle. In fact, I'm rather reminded of "Beauty and the Beast", particularly the part when Belle, lost and alone in the castle, finds the library, a place she can truly love - a place that works to fill the hole left by her lost family. Amelia's love of books is powerful, and what made this story beautiful was how she finds her mother again, first through the books, then through her uncle. The library is entirely unlike the rest of the house, warm and inviting, without any trace of shadows, and the change of scene perfectly mirrors the story's change of mood. I haven't seen an atmosphere this well-done in a while, and it was fantastic to revel in the fairy tale/Gothic feel of it.

One thing that I think still needs work is that beginning section, mostly because there is some telling and repetition present. For instance, you write that "The room was cold" - it's so quickly followed by "Amelia shivered" that it's not really necessary - it also takes away from the next sentence, where she feels the coldness coming from her heart. It'd be more effective to not also say that the room was cold, if that makes sense? Another one is where you write "it was full of shadows. They were everywhere" - the second part isn't necessary because if a place is full of something, then they will naturally be everywhere. Just watch for things like that because they break up the flow of the narrative.

Great work on this story! I'm glad to have had the chance to read it! ^_^

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Review #38, by Violet GryfindorMemoirs of an Object: Little Girl Lost

7th September 2013:
This was a great one-shot, Amanda! I loved being able to see Lily in this situation because it's what gets left out of most Marauder stories, perhaps because it's too realistic, or too everyday, yet it's a significant event for many reasons. It probably has to do with my pet peeve that people don't portray Lily and James's relationship realistically enough, right down to the fact that they were eighteen when they married and only nineteen when they had a baby - I was really glad to see that Lily was questioning these things and panicking at the thought of having a child, not only so young, but during a war. For someone as conscientious as Lily, all of these things pose a serious problem - she goes through with it in the end, but those moments of hesitation and fear, however brief, make her so human. You also make her a wonderful thinker, haunted by past and future alike, hungry for a return to her childhood and reaching for the hope offered by her son (the phrase "little selfish hope" was brilliant - she wants the child for herself, perhaps as a chance to relive her own childhood vicariously or to become to him what her mother was to her).

Another interesting aspect of this story was the clash between Muggle and magical, which is always an important element of Lily's characterization. She embraces the magical world, but like Hermione, she can't entirely abandon the world of her childhood - instead, she lives in between. So you end up with instances like this one, where she's tested herself magically, yet still needs the reassurance of a Muggle test. I don't think it's so much that she distrusts her ability with potions, but rather it's important to remember that she's only been part of the magical world for eight years - even though she knew of her magic before she came to Hogwarts, I doubt that she would have had many interactions with it beyond Snape. So she goes to the Muggle doctor because it's still the world she knows best.

There are many other things I could add about your characterization of Lily, but then I'd be rambling on forever. What you've done here is fantastic! The writing is likewise, though that's not at all a surprise - you write Lily's inner musings wonderfully, setting them in contrast with the clinical setting of tests, small details and measurements, and a careful order of things. Amazing work!

Author's Response: Hey Susan :)

You know, I usually don't find pregnancy stories interesting, but I sort of fell in love with the idea of Lily's vulnerability during this time. She's got so much pressure--the literal pressure of expecting a child, learning how to be a wife, trying to watch her back when so many people want to destroy her for learning to do magic. I feel like we as a fandom get so caught up in the idea of James and Lily as a perfect couple with their perfect child and it just washes away who she really was, at least for me. I really craved wanting to know the girl who was praised by so many for her many beautiful qualities and really good heart, but more than that, I wanted to see if there was more under the surface of that heart. I think "conscientious" is the perfect word to describe her, which is why I decided at the last minute to allow her to consider the possibility of not letting a child be born during wartime. In fact, the "selfish hope" line was a total afterthought, so it's great that you felt it was well-placed there!

Yeah, I really wanted to emphasize that Lily is still relatively new to the magical world and didn't grow up with this casual exposure to magic and spellwork like her friends did. I thought she might seek some comfort in familiar surroundings during this tumultuous and scary time, and really, that's part of the theme of holding onto herself here, too.

Thanks so much for your really sweet review! It's great that you think I pulled this off!

-Amanda


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Review #39, by Violet GryfindorEvery Song Must End: Bitter...

3rd September 2013:
Here from the review tag! ^_^

This story caught my eye because the structure was different from what I've been before, even for 500 word stories. It not only looks, but sounds like a poem - it reads like a song with its repetitions and regular rhythm, which perfectly parallels the story's title. The plot twist was also brilliantly done, turning the Doctor Who quote on its head - Draco's song was not his life, but rather his life alone, his life in the shadow of Voldemort. You took a creative interpretation of the quote, which is just what one wants to see from a quote challenge - you emphasize that when one song ends, another begins

It was after this shift that your story also took on new life, I think because the first portion contained information that readers already know - the usual elements of Draco's story as Death Eater. It was still well-written, but it was when you moved into Draco's post-war existence that the story became exciting and refreshing (there are so many angsty Draco stories). The part when you describe the Malfoys' new life is excellent - I love the repetition there and the idea that the Malfoys gain as much freedom as Voldemort's old enemies. Draco is able to turn his life around, yet I also loved the detail that he hated sweet - there's still that Malfoyness to him. He may be a respectable person, but he hasn't lost that edge. It looks like a small detail, but it's an important aspect of his characterization, one that really made this story for me. The way that you have Draco draw an association between himself - the bitter wizard - and Astoria's bitter coffee was fantastic!

There was one typo I noticed - dinghy instead of dingy - but other than that, this was a great story to read, and I'm glad I got the chance to do so. I really liked the creativity of the structure, as well as your portrayal of Draco and his happy ending. Well done!

Author's Response: Hello! *waves*

OMG! I really admire your writing, so this means so much to me, like you have no idea!

When I was writing this, I definitely didn't consciously make it poetic, but I'm happy that it's been so well-received because of this happy accident! Although, there are quite a few song-like elements throughout.

For me, that's what the quote represented, so I'm happy that came through. I really wanted to give Draco a happy ending, because it would be interesting to see what he'd make of it.

I'm grinning ear to ear right now! Thank you so much for this! It's completely made my day! XD


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Review #40, by Violet GryfindorYellow: Chapter VII

1st September 2013:
Another really good chapter! It's been a while since I last checked in on this story, but there's only a few more chapters left to go, and I'm curious as to what will happen with the potion (and, admittedly, with Cedric and Cho :P). What I still like best about this story, however, is the historical detail, and once again, this chapter hits the mark in that regard. I actually haven't seen trench foot used in WWI fiction, yet it was a major infliction for soldiers, resulting in what Dean now suffers. It's one of those injuries that doesn't have any "noble" associations, but rather comes as a result of the terrible conditions of war, which is why writers seem to avoid it. It's an awful thing for Dean, but kudos to you for using it because it only adds another layer of realism to this story.

I particularly liked how you introduced Seamus's shell-shock. It's perfectly set in contrast with his joking line that nothing's wrong with him - it doesn't show, but it's still there. They're all maimed, inside and out. And their dialogue is stilted as a result - how they say they're just "fine", or respond with "right", and Cedric's repeated "I'm sorry". They're still trying to sound polite and normal, and I think this is a very important thing you've taken into consideration - it makes their dialogue sound strange, but that's the point. There's no way they can actually talk about the war or about their trauma - it's a white elephant in their conversation, preventing them from sounding genuine. You did a brilliant job with this, bringing the period to life in a horrifying, but honest way.

The characterization is also perfect here, the AU world blending seamlessly with the Potterverse - it's great to see these characters in a story, and I think you do a wonderful job at situating them in the WWI era. What I would have liked to see more in this chapter is plot development, preferably more about the potion - you start out with Cho detailing the results, and it needed more along those lines. The ending of this chapter is rather abrupt, so perhaps you could go more into what Cedric feels about the potion, or recovery, or something. That would be my only criticism of this chapter - it does some amazing work recreating the period and developing the characters, but it needs to be filled out in terms of plot development.

This is a great story to read and I look forward to seeing what happens next! :D

Author's Response: Hey Susan, thanks for stopping by again!

I actually really enjoyed writing this chapter because of the opportunity to incorporate some legitimate consequences of trench warfare. It was morbidly fascinating to explore injuries like trench foot and to think about how PTSD or "shell shock" would have been perceived during this time. Now I kind of wish I had explored more of how those perceptions could differ between magical and non-magical folk. As usual, you're making me think, and I love it!

You're definitely spot on about the dialogue. I meant for it to be a little too basic, a little too polite, because there are obviously some issues that they can't really discuss without accepting the fact that they've been forced into manhood. It's sad to think that just months ago they were happily spending their days by the Black Lake or stressing about their exams.

I see what you mean about the plot development, too. I purposefully tried to keep these chapters short but I think I could have done more with how the potion was made or how Cedric feels about taking it. I think this is a filler chapter in some ways and in other way it's not really a filler. I'll make a point to go back and re-examine it when I have a bit more free time.

Thanks for your lovely review, Susan :)

-Amanda


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Review #41, by Violet GryfindorFlicker : Flicker

29th August 2013:
Wow! There's a lot to this story, and I've read it a couple of times so that I can take it all in. It's beautifully written, another fine example, not only of your fantastic writing style, but also of your work with minor characters, filling out their backstories in creative and complex ways that makes them come alive. This story, for instance, feels like it has a whole novel behind it of Dorcas's life and her history with Benjy and the things she did that lead up to these final moments. At the same time, this one-shot is perfectly contained, mostly because of the stylistic features - the repetition, the movement from "he was coming" to his arrival, etc. It makes for a fantastic one-shot.

This is a haunting story, its use of repetition and imagery forming a ghostly, surreal atmosphere. Nebulous comes to mind too because, even before the end, it's as though Dorcas is wandering in a fog, the world already fading around her before death comes. At first I read the "he was coming" as referring to Benjy, but when I re-read the story, it hit me that it was Voldemort coming to kill her. Yet I love how it's unclear, how she's also waiting for Benjy to return and how, in her mind, he does. Because of this, she accepts Death, reconstructing Voldemort as Benjy so that she can greet Death as an old friend, and thus, in JKR's world, die a hero. In this way, to answer your question, she is the kind of person Voldemort would want to kill himself because she proves herself to be stronger than he is, even in the midst of her weakness. Does that make sense? I even think that you portrayed Death as doubled, at once the negative, traditional figure of the Grim Reaper/ Voldemort and the positive, welcoming figure of Benjy. What's important for your story is that Dorcas chooses the latter.

The tragedy is that fighting against Voldemort and the Death Eaters breaks Dorcas down in this way. She literally fades or disintegrates as she wanders through Diagon Alley, waiting for Death, the world crumbling around her. Benjy's death has a lot to do with it, of course, but she also seems like someone under intense pressure who can no longer continue on. From what one can gather from canon, the First Wizarding War was even more brutal than the second, and I wouldn't be surprised if even the bravest broke down because of it - it was an incredibly dirty war, and until Voldemort's destruction, it was also a war the Order was losing. So your characterization of Dorcas is realistic as she unravels, recognizing that she's abandoning her cause at the same time that she knows it's a losing cause, and no matter if she lives or dies, it can only fail. And you capture this in the rhythm of her words, the broken sentences and dulled senses - like she says a few times to herself, she's already dying, already dead by the time that Voldemort kills her.

It's haunting - moving, too, the kind of story that sticks to one afterwards. You did amazing work in putting this together.

Author's Response: Hey Susan! I was really blown away by this review for some reason. I think it's because you're one of the few reviewers who really got this to the full extent that i intended it to be. I don't even know if i have the words to explain how excited I was to read this. You've always been a really thoughtful and insightful reviewer. I'm really pleased you read it a second time as I think it's then that the story begins to make more sense. :)

It does make sense what you said. The idea that she's accepted death, waits for it, wants it even because it's welcoming her to a place of rest. Welcoming her back to Benjy. She conquers death because it isn't a scary thing anymore and she understands that her time is limited and it doesn't scare her like it does Voldemort. She'd rather be out there in the thick of things, in the shadows and the darkness like she was in life rather than hiding away in a house, waiting for the inevitable. She would not cower like Voldemort would in the face of death. That's what makes her such a great character to me. That although she's faded, she still opens her arms to death which is really Benjy and for some reason she transcends the experience. She does die a hero in my eyes although she's given up on the cause and sees no more light. She steps out of the light because of that very reason.

It doesn't make what happened anything to be happy about though. As you stated, there is this fading of her, the darkness has overtaken someone who i've tried to portray as a strong person and that makes this story sad. It makes it seem like it's a failure. But, for me, it shows the causality of war. The chaos of it, and how it takes the strongest and destroys even that bit of light. In a way it has destroyed her and yet she choses to welcome the only thing that is left for her. Which is death and Benjy. She takes what she can, becomes better than the one who kills her.

I'm really pleased you read this and thought it was good. I'm still just so overwhelmed with this review because you put into words some of the hazy thoughts i had of this story ! Thank you so much for stopping by and reviewing!!


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Review #42, by Violet GryfindorCosmically Clueless: II. Love Story for the Ages

27th August 2013:
Well, it looks like James is more on top of things that Augusta gives him credit for, haha. She's definitely in for it if the rumour mill gets a hold of her, and I can just imagine the capers that will ensue as a result. There needs to be a rule about stories being too much fun to read because now my face hurts from ginning so widely the whole time I read this chapter. It's way too much fun to hear Augusta digging herself into the biggest verbal messes possible. I love how she keeps talking about how hopeless James is when she's often just as bad as he is. The whole lobotomy speech... I can't even think about it without laughing. Brilliantly done, Gubby!

This is one of the rare stories that needs to be written in first person for it to work so well. Much of it relies on Augusta's own brand of insanity, and you make the first person voice highly effective too, such as at the end, when Augusta's mortification sets in. I enjoy her digressions - which are all of just the right length, revealing fantastic things about both James, herself, and the world of Hogwarts at the time (I especially liked the talent show with the image of the cello spitting fireworks - perfect perfection right there). The style is just fantastic, both easy to read and engaging, with many, many laugh-out-loud moments.

That's all the rambling I can manage for the moment. Needless to say I'm loving this story and hope that you're able to write more of it soon. Your writing is, as always, the best of the best.

Author's Response: You know how I love my occasionally unreliable narrators hehe. I love undermining them because mine, at least, tend to be very put-together but secretly aren't at all. And teehee I can promise that many, many capers will ensue (I can't use that phrase without thinking of Gina's Capers, so thanks for that, Gina). I'm so so so happy I can make you happy with this story, Susan! It makes me happy to write too -- and reread, actually, which is a huge deal. That lobotomy speech was a coup, I must admit. I was so afraid it would be too over the top but I'm glad it worked.

Yes, I agree; I think Augusta in anything but first-person wouldn't work nearly as well. Her brand of insanity depends on her assumptions of others' respective brands of insanity, and we'll see it when we meet more people, but she has a lot of assumptions, and she's wrong as many times as she's right. I was nervous about all the digressions too, because there weren't nearly as many in the first draft a year ago. I just love thinking up new things crazy fangirls do in pursuit of their One True Love.

That's plenty of rambling, and it didn't even feel like rambling because everything you say sounds like an eloquent, amazing critique. I'm so so happy you're enjoying it! I have a few chapters prewritten but I don't want to post them all at once because then I'll run out very soon, but rest assured, an update is on the books for the next few weeks! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being an angel!


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Review #43, by Violet GryfindorThe Last Few Steps: ek~

27th August 2013:
Finally here to review your story for the TGS review exchange! I've managed to read it a couple of times and I'm still in awe about this first chapter. There's so much going on in it, but I really enjoyed the kind of humour that you used. Not only does it win awards for all the sarcasm (which I love to see), but there's this darker, not-quite-bitter side to it that's alluring. The birth scene was at once disturbing and an incredible way to begin a story (thank you for making it realistic, by the way) because it's the upheaval the marks the beginning of Nisha's story - not only is Pepper born, but the story is too.

What strikes me first is the strength of the narration - it sounds like Nisha is in the room, reciting her story with brilliant sarcasm. What you have here is a great example of effective first person narration - you don't overuse "I", but instead focus on the events and the (crazy) people in Nisha's life. It's a far more realistic use of the first person, actually bringing the reader closer to the story, as though she had come to tea and was talking about her terrible experience with the ex-boyfriend. Although there's a lot of action in those first scenes, the intimacy of Nisha's narration draws one in - it's clear that she's reached a new stage in her life, and I can't at all blame her for wanting to exorcise the demons from her home. :P It's also a great way of establishing sympathy for Nisha - she's not pleased, but she doesn't whine about it or let it get to her. In this chapter, we learn a lot about Nisha, not from what she says, but in how she responds to the chaos around her.

The pace of the story slows dramatically when you begin the final section of the chapter, and I wonder if all of those descriptions of Nisha's office space are completely necessary. Is it that you're establishing how different her chaotic home life is from the peaceful, slower pace at work? It's certainly a more orderly place, and I like the details regarding times, schedules - anything that alludes to structure. Although Victoire is this dragon-like presence in the background, Nisha still has a strong sense of satisfaction with her workplace - she belongs there. This is only emphasized by her relationship with Teddy, which is OMG-worthy. I really like the way they talk to one another, and how completely crazy they both are (in a good way, unlike Chutney's craziness), oversharing with snippy comments. They have a comfortable-sounding friendship - definitely beyond a working relationship - and behind the jokes and exaggeration are two people who just understand one another.

It's the kind of introductory chapter that makes me want to know more about characters and see what happens to them next - ergo, it's an excellent first chapter. The only critique I can think to give is in regard to those first 3-or-so paragraphs of the last section, where some of the words, especially the adverbs, could be trimmed to improve the flow/pacing. Other than that, the writing, characterization, and style of this are fantastic, and I'd love to read more! :)

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Review #44, by Violet GryfindorPost Scriptum: No Turning Back

23rd August 2013:
Ahhh, how can you do this? The first half of the chapter ends on the creepiest note ever and then the second half ends with extraordinary cuteness. They contrast each other in just the right way though because they demonstrate just how Snape and Lily's paths are diverging. There was a moment when I thought she would just walk away from James, when he says that he wants something more from her - it was interesting how that put into words what Snape has been trying to express. There are, however, two differences - James works at making himself more acceptable for Lily and, in the end, Lily makes the decision to kiss him. Meanwhile, Snape sees his only way to success is by removing James - his idea of "active vs. passive" has been twisted by his experience, by the constant struggle of his existence. That's always going to be divisive point between Snape/Lily and James/Lily isn't it? It's a fantastic example of doubling - Snape and James are mirror images of one another in so many ways, with Snape as the negative to James's positive. It's rare to see this doubling played out so carefully in a story. Even if you didn't do it intentionally, thank you for bringing it to light with this chapter!

It was also very good to see the aftermath of the scene with Voldemort and gauge Regulus's reactions. It was a relief that he was incredibly bothered by what he had done - so he was playing a role after all, but it's one that he can't step out of, even though he seriously regrets how he treated Wilkes. The prestige that he now possesses is frightening, but he needs it to survive - it's his ticket to safety, at least among the Slytherins. I like how Regulus is caught in this strange in-between space where he feels a great affinity with the Slytherins at the same time that he's almost disgusted by them - he is, and isn't, a Slytherin, just as he is/isn't a Death Eater later on in his life. It's what sets him apart from Snape - prior to this, there were still many similarities between them, but Snape has made his choice - the only reason he later backs out is when Lily's life is at stake. But Regulus was never "in" enough to back out. He's playing a dangerous game, and it's brilliant how you've taken the bits and pieces of his story in canon and expanded it into this - he's so multi-faceted and his story is incredibly complex. I keep shaking my head in wonder at how well you've developed him.

To be honest, I wanted to cry when Snape made his decision. This is what comes of being a Snape fan for too long, I guess, because your characterization of him is spot on. He isn't afraid of killing to get what he wants, nor is he ever afraid of the cost - his life, other lives, they don't matter to him. All the same, to hear him say that he wanted to kill James gave me the chills - it was the way he said it, so matter-of-factly. The fact that it also shocks Regulus to such an extent - and this is someone who had just met Voldemort - increases the impact of Snape's statement. You wrote it incredibly well - it becomes a heart-stopping moment that dramatically changes how one reads the second half of the chapter. Brilliant writing here!

The only issue I've noticed is that, in the previous chapter, Mundungus Fletcher had stolen a mannequin for Moody's use in the Order training, and here you've made him a first year Slytherin. Other than that, you've once again nailed it with this chapter. I love how much suspense and drama you work into the story, focusing more on these elements, but neatly breaking them up with romantic scenes - it's a difficult balance, but you achieve it effortlessly. ^_^

Author's Response: I think this is really where the story starts to come apart and you see that Lily's path leads to happiness (well, to a point) and righteousness and Regulus's path leads to his demise and the demise of others. The contrast you picked up on was definitely deliberate, because I also wanted to show that this deal is just really unrealistic. The wool is coming off both of their eyes now.

Thinking about it now, I suppose what I wanted to get at with James here is that he and Severus aren't inherently different in terms of how they feel for Lily. I think that was illustrated most deliberately in the scene where James watched her on the Map, and I had the thought that people would freak out if it had been Severus following her around the castle with his eyes. The difference, though, is that James was able to control his affection and bide his time, and ultimately his patience showed Lily that he was worth giving a shot. Severus wanted it all right then and refused to give Lily any time to come around to him. It's a stroke of maturity in James that even I have to respect, though I still don't ship them :p

Regulus is just so scared to commit to... well, anything. He's just such a baby and I kept coming back to that realization that these characters are so young and so not ready for what they've gotten into, be it of their own accord or because they were forced into it. I think that comes up fairly frequently now in good Order-based Marauder stories, but maybe it doesn't occur as often if you think about the Death Eaters, especially people like Regulus and Draco who don't even know what they're really doing until it's too late. I also agree that there is definitely a quality to his personality that makes him different from Snape, and for me that comes in the form of his privileged upbringing and not having to face the ways of the world up until this point. Sadly, the loss of his best friend will be the least of his concerns before too long.

Leading my Severus down this horrid path has been quite an emotional journey for me, too, but I just wouldn't be doing him justice if I tried to sugarcoat him. It's sad, but the best parts of him, the most interesting ones--they're the messiest by far. I think part of why I like him is that he feels so real compared to a lot of other characters. He's full of flaws and he doesn't always respond to them in the right way, not even often. I think that's something we all could really relate to, though hopefully most of us have retained a fuller arsenal of morals than Snape has here.

Ugh, I cannot believe I did that! I will definitely go back and make some corrections as soon as I get a chance -- thanks so much for pointing it out. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with trying to bring in familiar names and faces :) Anyway, I'm so pleased you're enjoying and continuing to follow the story, and I can't wait to relive the experience of finishing it along with you! Thanks so much!

-Amanda



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Review #45, by Violet GryfindorPost Scriptum: The Right Sort of Wrong

23rd August 2013:
This is a fascinating chapter with a lot going on, all building to that final moment - a moment that falls into my definition of epic. It had quite a heavy feeling to it, the atmosphere close and oppressive, yet the pace was quick - it left me breathless to read, hanging on every word.

What strikes me is how both Regulus and Snape have this two-sided nature, where they can be caring, though slightly selfish, teenage boys working through school, then they take on the Death Eater role and become cold, as though reflecting Voldemort's personality. It's chilling to watch that switch and it leaves readers questioning these characters' motives - what is the role and what isn't? If they're both of these things at once, then how can anyone ever trust them? You especially emphasize this for Snape because of the scene that precedes this one - although Snape in anxious in that previous scene, there is still a significant transformation in his manner. If I remember correctly, Lily mentions Snape's duality in "The Prince's Tale" chapter from DH - she interprets it as a form of hypocrisy, in which Snape treats her differently from other Muggelborns. It supports the way that you have Snape constantly want to spend time with Lily on their own - he distinguishes her, and I still wonder whether he understands the implications of that at this point in his life.

But that still leaves Regulus. I think it was important to keep a bit of a distance from him in that last scene because it would have revealed too much otherwise - it also lets you emphasize his numbness of both thought and feeling. When he uses the crucio curse, it's like another person takes over, entirely unlike the way that Bellatrix seems to use it - Regulus takes no enjoyment from the act. However, when he decides to leave Wilkes behind, is that just for show to impress his cousin and Voldemort? And certainly Wilkes won't forget the way that Regulus proved to be the better Death Eater, so I guess that would further bolster Regulus's position. Can we trust him? I'm looking forward to see Regulus's reaction to this scene after the fact - where will he go from here? How will he get from this point to his death in the cave? So many questions!

It contrasts quite interestingly with the first scene because Moody isn't less ruthless - he wants them to get hurt in order to prove themselves, but in a typical Moody-esque way, he uses the most complex means to do so, mimicking the Auror training sessions. It's a far more physical thing - while it requires cleverness and a quick mind, it relies equally so on stamina. For the Death Eaters, everything is in the mind - even the use of the forbidden curses relies entirely on the mind and heart of the caster, not their physical prowess. That's what makes it so much more disturbing. To join the Order, one needs an open heart and mind, but to join the Death Eaters, one has to be closed to everything but Voldemort's goals and desires. Voldemort is in control of everything that goes on during that scene.

Your depiction of Voldemort is particularly strong. The appearance you've given him fits very well, marking the long (painful) transition between Tom Riddle and the resurrected Voldemort - he's made about four horcruxes at this point, so the state of decay you've described, with this bloodless, emaciated man balding in the most disgusting way possible... it's right out of a horror film. Your description is so vivid that my skin crawled to read it - the whole scene played out like a film, actually. It was amazing how you did that.

You also continue developing Lily's story in an excellent way. I'm curious as to when she'll decide to join the Order - at this point, I'm guessing it will be after her exams because she's not the type to skip a step, especially not as important a step as the NEWTS. Her interactions with both James and Snape placed her, once again, in the active role - it's clear that she's in control of her life, even if the world around her is moving toward chaos. Your characterization of her is fantastic, and I can't wait to see whether she'll get a more action-oriented scene before the end of this story. :)

I know I've said it with every chapter, but this is a very well-written and exciting story to read. Often I have trouble finishing novels online, but yours makes me want to continue right to the end (so that I can complain that there should be more :P). Amazing work!

Author's Response: The ending to this chapter is probably my favorite in the whole story, though it totally rips me apart to make my Regulus so heartless.

Yeah, I think you made a keen observation there. For me, it goes back to Snape's simplistic view--in his mind, it's totally logical to treat Lily differently from other Muggle-borns because she's Lily and she's his and she's special, and that's just that. Regulus, I think, has a slightly greater comprehension of the potential ramifications of this allegiance, and yet he's also drawn in by Voldemort's power and the idea that satisfying his parents could also earn him respect among the people he admires. He can't help but love being treated as "special" by Lucius, Bellatrix and the others. Actually, now that I consider it, it's almost like he's the foil to Lily. Now that was totally unintentional!

Anyway, this contrast between Regulus and Wilkes will obviously mark a turning point in their friendship, and ultimately in determining whether Regulus is just an idealistic student or a potential Death Eater underneath it all. The story may not go quite as far as you mentioned, but you can at least imagine what it would be like given his personality here.

Becoming and living as a Death Eater is definitely a mental process, or at least it is in my mind. If you can't outrun the Order and Aurors, you have to at least be able to out-think them, and if that trait doesn't scream Slytherin I don't know what does. I love the quote about how the Death Eaters are basically a mixed bag of weak people, all of whom are seeking an escape from reality. They make it easy for Voldemort to use them.

I'm so pleased you liked my Voldemort! He's a challenge to write, but I actually find characters like him and Dumbledore to be less difficult as some people claim. It's fun trying to balance his utter, literal soullessness with his tendency to feign etiquette and speak calmly and professionally. I think it's that sense of calm that really makes him scary. (And your compliments made me feel less apprehensive about my current/next project, which is a horror story, so there's that.)

Hmm, you'll have to keep an eye on Lily. I do think her plot line starts to pick up a little bit and she gets to shine more in later chapters.

You're lovely, as always. Thank you! :)

-Amanda


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Review #46, by Violet GryfindorPost Scriptum: Small Favors and Large Tokens

23rd August 2013:
This is another fantastic chapter. Somehow you keep making them better and I don't know whether it's doing my self-esteem any good to read your work. ;) The quality of writing here is top-notch and I very much admire your characterizations and interpretation of the Marauder Era.

Oh, you did it! You've written one of the best scenes between Snape and Lily that I've ever read, taking into account many of the issues that too easily get brushed aside in other stories. I loved how assertive Lily was, speaking her mind, yet doing so in a way that was still supportive and positive - you captured the perfect balance between her famous strength and kindness. Your portrayal of Lily is fantastic throughout the novel, but this last scene goes above and beyond anything I expected anyone to write about Lily. You made her very real - one can see where the legend comes from, but you make her human and down-to-earth, like in the way that she hesitates before approaching Snape, having to remind herself of the promise to Regulus. Although she treats Snape with kindness and is even friendly toward him, she's still uncertain of him and his motives - this is why she has to assert herself and tell him that they've become very different people. Her line about trying to figure out where they can fit into each other's lives was perfect - it's the one thing that Snape has trouble doing, though, because he seems to want it all. (I do wonder whether he doesn't want to give up his friends because he fears what they do could to him if he's not their friend, or is it that he genuinely doesn't want to give them up, and thus change himself? It's an interesting question.) You demonstrate the problem with Snape's ideas because he unrealistically wants Lily and wants to be with his Death Eater friends, ignoring the fact that it's never going to work - he wants that childhood with just himself and Lily, but he doesn't take Lily into account at all. It's sad because I don't even know how much he listens to her in this scene.

But thank you for writing it. Someone needed to do it, and you did it beautifully, without bias.

There were other scenes in this chapter, weren't there? :P What struck me most was that, although Regulus did the right thing and made that overture to Sirius, it went unnoticed. How could Sirius not even think that maybe his brother would have done this for him? It's like he doesn't even think of Regulus at all, just lumps him in with their parents. It explains why he continued to harbour his negative feelings toward Regulus in canon, claiming that Regulus would just do whatever their parents wanted. The world doesn't seem to recognize that Regulus might have a mind of his own, and it's strange because other young people - even younger than Regulus - are constantly rebelling in the series, yet no one gives a thought that Regulus too might be capable of it. Is it that he's too reserved and quiet? Or that he's too good at playing the role of loyal Black son and Slytherin? He may be an enigmatic character, but the way that other people in the Potterverse see him is even more perplexing. You write him excellently, and like with Lily, you give him a lot of depth, emotion, and complexity.

It's what makes your story a joy to read - even after months away from it, I can step back into this world you've formed without feeling out of place. It's a wonderful experience, and something that's hard enough to get with published fiction. Brilliant work!

Author's Response: Oh, puh-lease, you're too kind :D I will say that it's been awesome hearing back from you as I attempt to grow in my writing, and your feedback has been really crucial to my growth over the past 2 years.

Oh, oh, I'm so happy you like my Lily! I keep getting feedback that she's too nice and clean, and I really tried to bring out her flaws and insecurities as the story wore on to show that the difficulty of trying to keep to the deal was starting to wear on her quite a bit. I'm sure it must have been extremely challenging to face Snape after what occurred between them, especially with at least a lot of suspicion about the magic he's learned to wield, and I wanted to showcase Lily trying to stick to her guns and yet feeling that hint of doubt throughout the exchange.

I viewed Snape throughout the story and especially in this scene as being sort of greedy at his heart--not necessarily because he's a "bad" character and it's just part of what you get, but because he's trying so hard to avoid living in deprivation like he was forced to do as a child. He's willing to do what it takes to keep Lily and his new friends, and he doesn't understand the idea of having to give one up.

Regulus, on the other hand, I see as still being quite young and earnest at his heart. He wants to prove himself, and yet he's not ready to give up all his freedom quite yet despite being fascinated by what the Dark Lord has to offer. I think you're right that Sirius casually lumps him in with Orion and Walburga, and that it's really quite unfair to do that when you consider his complexity. I became really attached to Regulus over the course of the story, and I think he and Lily both grew a lot.

Your reviews are always so wonderful, and I love how much they make me think. Thank you, Susan!

-Amanda


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Review #47, by Violet GryfindorCosmically Clueless: I. God's Practical Joke

19th July 2013:
A new Gubby story! It's fantastic to see that you're still writing! Your next-gen humour stories are always a joy to read. It's funny, though, because I don't read these kind of fics by any other author, but when you write them, I know they're going to include hilarious, but multifaceted characters who kick cliches aside and take over the world. :D And there's of course your perfect writing - you know all the right places to include one-liners and just the right amount of sarcasm. Your use of first-person is also fantastic - even though Augusta doesn't say all that much about herself, her voice comes through so strongly that I can hear it reciting the story. It has a great conversational tone about it that immediately drew me in. She has a lot of personality with plenty of snark to spare, but I guess that's what happens when you're friends James Potter. It's as though she works to make up for James's awkwardness - in this way, they already make a perfect pair.

I've never read a James/OC story before, but I love what you've done so far with this one, especially in the way that you've characterized James. The poor guy is as hopeless as he is dreamy. It reminds me a tiny bit of Sirius in the flashback of OotP where he doesn't notice the girls watching him, but in James II's case, it's more than he's absolutely clueless about it. He doesn't seem to know how to look at a girl romantically. From the anecdote about the family dog, I can see that he's got heart, and his strength in practical magic reminds me of his father - Harry was far from the best student and was pretty darn awkward in his social relationships. Augusta's narration makes it difficult to tell just how much personality James has, if any - he's the dictionary definition of a "nice person", and if he wasn't a Potter or incredibly handsome, he probably wouldn't be noticed at all.

There must be more to him than this. Augusta lists the facts, but I want to learn more about the substance. In other words, I'm intrigued by this story. And its characters. Thus I make the usual request of "please, sir, may I have some more?" It will be fantastic to see where you take this story!

Author's Response: Oh, I'm always writing! The question is just if it's worthy of posting. I'm still not sure this is, but I'm glad you have fun with my stupid next gen oc-centric humor stories because I do too! And yes, I realize there's not a lot from Augusta about herself (the original version from last year had a bit where she addresses this, not sure if I'll use it now) but I'm glad you get a sense of who she is anyway. Hehe I like the way you're thinking! She certainly babysits him enough that they are a very special pair already.

I've read... far too many next gen canon/oc stories to name, though not recently. And I knew from the beginning I couldn't stand to write a perfect, card-carrying member of The Hottest of the Hot Next Gen Canon Characters Club. So instead, he became a derpy idiot.

You've completely hit the nail on the head about the kind of person he is -- he's a totally ordinary Good Guy, thrust into a spotlight he doesn't know what to do with for reasons beyond his control. That's not to say he doesn't have personality (and it's not to say Augusta is the end all be all Expert in All Things James Potter). I'm thrilled that you want to see more of him and Augusta and the whole gang (there's always a whole gang) to come. I'm excited to see where this goes too, because I'm by no means sure... but hopefully it will be fun wherever it goes! Thank you for reading and sticking with me for all this time, Susan. You're a legend :D


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Review #48, by Violet GryfindorRoses In A Teapot.: Cracks In The Ice.

18th July 2013:
Oh wow! This has become a lot more complicated than I expected, but it's fantastic how you've written these characters and their relationships. There is a lot to take into account with the next generation, and I really like what you've done - it's unlike anything I've read before with these characters, adding many more layers and reminding readers that there are different kinds of love. Although Rose and Teddy have a deep connection, Rose is able to recognize that it's not the kind of love that she actually wants - it doesn't give her the security and joy that being with Scorpius does. Yet she can't escape that she has some sort of feelings for Teddy - I think it's that they're so much alike. To a degree, Rose is able to use their similarities in her favour - she can ensure that she won't make the same mistakes that Teddy did, that she won't run away from responsibility, from life. On the other hand, Rose fears the similarities and connection she shares with Teddy because it reveals more about herself than she cares to know.

Ugh, it's a brilliant portrait of the next generation. Even the characters in the background are wonderfully sketched out, from the rather dorky, but sweet Scorpius to the quiet, but eye-roll worthy Molly. It was easy to become lost in the world you've created here. There was just one thing I want to know in terms of critique - you mention that Rose was in sixth year when Teddy and Victoire first kissed, yet at the end of DH James reports that Teddy and Victoire were kissing, and this would be in Rose's first year. That's getting very nit-picky of me, though. ;)

As in the previous chapter, your writing is of high quality, making this story a joy to read. I really hope that you continue writing it!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I love your reviews, they're so detailed :)

I was planning to sort of go backwards through their relationship with a few side stories in between, so as it gets closer to the start the relationship between them keeps building up in the reader's eyes. Hopefully it'll work ^_^

Yeah, out of the two I think Rose is the one who has grown up more because she knows when to put things in her past. There are those inescapable feelings for Teddy but she knows for sure what she wants by the end of this chapter.

I know, I made Rose older for the purpose of the story but I forgot to add it to the Author's notes (stoopid me), so I will do that now! Thank you for pointing that out though otherwise I would never have noticed. :D

And again, sorry for the ridiculously long wait in updating. I am a ridiculous human being and the next chapter is being written now :). Thanks again for your review! :D


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Review #49, by Violet GryfindorRoses In A Teapot.: A Final Goodbye.

18th July 2013:
This is a lovely start to your story, and I'm surprised to see that no one else has reviewed this yet! Teddy/Rose stories may not be all that popular, but your take on the relationship is original and intriguing - I want to know so much more about how their history and how you're characterizing them as individuals.

This first chapter contains lots of hints as to their past, but it's only enough to make me hungry to read on and learn more - it's similar to what Rose thinks at the end about Teddy's behaviour toward her, how there are subtle compliments and light touches. There is a story between the lines, just behind the words, something that has left a deep impression on Rose so that she can't escape it - it's a story that hasn't ended yet, even though I kind of get the feeling that she has been trying to move on. But it's a case of the "lady doth protest too much" - everything in her actions reveals that she still loves him even while her thoughts say no. Her inner conflict is fascinating to follow, revealing a lot of about her personality and psychological state. It makes for a very interesting story to read. :D

This story is also very well-written, and I'm definitely going to add it to my favourites. The narrative flows wonderfully and the overall chapter looks polished, written with care. I'm also drawn to your writing style and the way that you vary your sentence lengths to really emphasize those short, full-stop sentences - it creates an excellent rhythm, which is why I liked how well the narrative flowed.

Now I'm beginning to babble, but it always makes me happy to find a great story from an author I've never read before. I look forward to reading the next chapter! ^_^

Author's Response: First of all, I apologise for taking the longest time to reply to your review and update. I love Teddy/Rose, they're possibly my favourite next gen pairing so i was really only a matter of time before I started something.

Yeah, they have quite a history together. I'm not going to go into too much detail because there will be more chapters but it's very much a vicious cycle kind of relationship (i.e. both looking at different times sort of thing). And they are never quite certain how the other one feels.

Honestly though I have been in love with some of your fics (especially "The Third Man", yay sirily!), so I squealed like a little girl when I read that you favourited one of mine! :D

Thank you for taking the time to say such lovely things :)


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Review #50, by Violet GryfindorAbsolution: Absolution

18th July 2013:
I've been meaning to review this one-shot for a while, and now I realize that it's been two years since it first came out! This is one of my favourite ships, and it's always wonderful to see someone taking it on, especially in such a thoughtful, lyrical way. It's a beautifully-written story with striking imagery and lovely use of repetition, creating a dream-like atmosphere that perfectly reflects Rose's state of mind.

What I particularly like about your story is that you depict Rose's struggle with Teddy's past relationship (I assume it was with Victoire, but really it could have been with anyone). She loves him, but she can't get past being the second woman he's loved. This has such a powerful resonance in her mind that she displaces it onto Teddy's words and actions - he doesn't at all sound or act disgusted, but Rose imagines that he does, and it prevents her from ever taking pleasure in his love for her. It seems that she has loved him for a long time, hence the repeated use of "dreamer, dreamer, dreamer" - Rose sees herself as the dreamer and this moment as the dream. She has probably lived it so many times in dreams that now that it's happening, she can't react - in fact, she reacts against it.

At least, that's how I interpreted it. There are some aspects of this story that doesn't quite fit, such as the positioning of Rose as the "jilted queen" - is she jilted because of Victoire's lingering presence? Jilted because she imagines that he'll never be completely hers? There's a lot of room for different readings of this story, and that's one reason why it appeals so much to me - I love having to sit back, reread the story, and try to piece it together. It makes for a more complicated, but also more fulfilling reading process.

This is an excellent story, and I'm glad that I've finally had the opportunity to read and review it! ^_^

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