Reading Reviews From Member: Pixileanin
  
485 Reviews Found

Review #1, by PixileaninDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Professor for a Day

17th April 2015:
Hi there! It's great to be back into this story!

It's also pretty creepy, the way that Devlin draws parallels between Dumbledore and Voldemort. I suppose it makes sense, because a boy would do that, and they're both supposed to be incredibly powerful wizards. But still... creepy.

Always questioning, this boy. I cringe at how his childhood must have been in order to end up this way. Gives me the shivers, in fact. And eek, all the suggestiveness with the Slytherins and what they were going to tell about him. Good lord, this poor kid.

And oh my god, the missing toe! I didn't know what to think of the whole knut/rat thing, and then wondered why Harry would go an pet the rat like that... like he cared about it... That was truly great. I saw what you did there. Not sure why or how it ties into the story, but I really liked it.

So this line had me wondering the most: "Dubhan wondered briefly if Potter knew why Lily Potter had been given the chance to step aside."

I have a feeling that you will be expanding on this little nugget, and I am very intrigued as to where you're going to take us with it. I have something (else) to ponder over now. Hmm...

I love the way that Devlin is so sure he knows what all is going on around him. He is, after all, a very perceptive and smart boy. But I love the way you turn things on their heads for him. He is still a child after all, and he won't get things as fully as he thinks. So when Harry explained his worries to Devlin, it just rang so true to me. There now, little boy. You're not as all-knowing as you think you are. And I also love the way you just cut Devlin off. He doesn't even get to retort back about anything.

Your writing is so thorough. I get so much internals and descriptives, and the action is all actiony when it needs to be. And the little things. Now you have me dying to know what the Galleon is all about...

Great chapter! So glad we swapped tonight!

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Review #2, by PixileaninThe Worst: Settling

4th March 2015:
Hi! I'm back for your last posted chapter, finally.

Dominique's transformation was appropriately wolfish. I thought you did a nice job with the description of the process. I was surprised to see that the wolfsbane acted like a sedative, in addition to keeping her mind human. I never thought if it working that way. Interesting concept.

The aftereffects of the transformation were interesting too. It makes sense that Dominique's body would be upset by the changes and not react so well the first time, and maybe even the first few times. The way she reacts to herself in the mirror, well let's just say that she still seems like she's not ready to face what she has become.

I like how you show us Julia's relationship with Dominique here. It almost feels like Dominique would have been in a better place if Julia had been around earlier. She warms up to her friend a lot faster than she has to practically anyone else. Julia seems to be the confidant that Dominique may need to come to terms with things.

"Are you better now?"

I cringed at that line from Victoire. After all the denial, that's probably the last thing that Dominique needed to hear right now. I was so afraid that she would keep up the act of being "fine" when she still had so much to work through. I can't tell you how relieved I was when Dominique actually talked about what happened with Teddy. I think that was an important discussion to have, and none of it felt like filler to me.

I really liked the last scene. She's settling into something that looks like "normal", and then BAM, something unexpected happens.

So, um, yeah.

Next chapter?

Author's Response: Hey! Thanks a lot for reading and reviewing! I am glad you liked this =)

I am pleased you liked the transformation and its aftermath. I was a little worried about it but your comments make me happy.

Julia is definitely someone Dominique heals faster around. Best friends after all =)

Haha yes Victoire is a bit clueless on what to say in such situations. Dominique I feel has come to terms with most of this by now and shall at least talk to two of the closest people - Vic & Julia about it.

I am glad you're enjoying the story. i'll try my best to update soon! Thanks!


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Review #3, by PixileaninYear Five: Troll in the Dungeons!

29th January 2015:
Aww, the whole Cagogan scene from last chapter was subtle, yet sweet. Emily's discomfort is telling. I wouldn't say that the whole of chapter six was "fluff" because it still showed character progression on several levels. I found it interesting that the Head Boy was at the party, and I loved how it kept growing into a bigger and bigger event than Emily had intended. I suppose that's how parties are at times. The big thing for me was how Emily goes through all the trouble, and how Tristan thanks her for it - it's something he appreciates, and he wants her to know that he appreciates it. Sweeter than an owl note.

"So long as it doesn't turn into Self-Spelling..." Uh oh. What does that mean?? I wondered why the kinds didn't just spell themselves to begin with. I have a bad feeling that there will be more coming on this, and that the consequences will be bad.

Hufflepuff as a password was fabulous. and now we know Emily's secret way with food and drink. It makes total sense, since they're so near the kitchens and all.

So Tristan's a Halloween baby. Symbolism? I guess time will tell. He's not keen on it, whatever it means. And I may have forgotten, or this might be Tristan leaking information, but I have no idea who Mary is. We're being thrown back into Tristan's head again, and he's such a reluctant puppy, with his undeserving attitude. But the thing that makes him adorable is that he recognizes the kindness in others, and (at the moment) isn't exploiting it. I wish he didn't give thanks by sulking in his unspoken inadequacies.

Laurel. You've put all kinds of flags up around her. If her friends are noticing, there's got to be something to that.

That was a well-placed lesson about Gamp's Law and Augamenti. I always had this theory that the water comes from somewhere, which is why it would be an exception. Scientifically, it can be pulled out of the air on a molecular level - not so with something like, say, fried chicken or cupcakes. It doesn't rain chickens... off topic... anyway...

I think I would pay money to see a class of students let loose in the middle of a bunch of pure-bred Kneazles, the way you described them. *stuffs morbid thoughts back into dark closet*

Ahh, and Flitwick is noticing something. I feel things turning. Okay, and now Laurel with her Tranquilis/Hilaris, and the girls see the happy/calm, and for now, are okay with it. I can completely see that. It's a special genius, a special desperate genius move on Laurel's part to mask the symptoms.

I'm glad Isobel lifted the Charms so we can see what's going on with Tristan and Laurel, but I'm wondering why she did it at that moment. Was it because that's when she noticed that something was off and she wanted to prove it to herself? I liked how it coincided with the announcement of the troll. was it some kind of protective move, just in case things went badly, so they'd be in their right minds? Ahh, I might be overthinking. Please excuse me.

"People! We're people!"

*crumbles under teen drama/angst/self-discovery/hex-induced-pseudo-epiphany-moment*

On the surface, it was a silly line. But underneath, I felt that.

I must admit that I learned something from Isobel about curly hair care when she helped/berated the girl who could only be Hermione - and yes, the insensitivity of the comment that was meant to be helpful... did I just say that twice? Ack!

This is such a character-driven piece, and you are excelling at that. You make me FEEL them, almost until it hurts, and by not using many words either. As a fanfiction, it's pulling in canon all over the place and everything is glued to the HP world.

Wonderful writing!

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Review #4, by PixileaninYear Five: Three Times Charmed

29th January 2015:
Alright. It's clear that you're building something up with Isobel here.

"Isobel laboured over her skin."

That line caught me right up, and I was all, "Yeah, she's labouring over all of her. I wonder how far she takes it?" Perfect word. "Labour". I also love that Isobel contasts her habits to Laurel's. It shows Laurel's disassociation with her appearance, Isobel's attitude towards that, and her growing concern for her friend.

Oh, that Tristan/eyeliner comment - is it bad that I remember teen boys becoming obsessed with eyeliner, and then being all, "WHY?!?" And yeah, it has nothing to do with gender. My daughter tells me they still do that at that age... of course she may be surrounded by it because it's a performing arts magnet program where eyeliner is conspicuously available everywhere, but still... No one can escape the identity crisis thing. We all have to deal with it on some level.

Oh gosh, Emily. Her backstory took me by surprise, and now I don't even know why. You're certainly good at playing with contrasts, and I am enjoying that immensely.

"Potion supplies... from my brother". Yeah. That's what Emily's calling it. I remember a few chapters ago what she said about that.

"Just terrible at being sneaky." Agreed.

I laughed about the Filch and cassette tapes thing. Also at the dig at Penelope during Laurel and Isobel's outing. Ah, and the Hog's Head intimidates them, even in the state that they are in! As it should. Bahahaha! I'm so glad they're not altogether senseless.

Okay, just a few more quote pulls...

"So that was the Doxies?" Snerff.

And that thing about Goth being the fashion where Muggles dress like wizards. Perfect!

Okay, so for the purpose of this being constructive... aww, forget it. I'll think of something when I... err... think of something. :P

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Review #5, by PixileaninYear Five: Loose Lips

29th January 2015:
So I was jotting down some notes while reading Chapters 3 and 4, so here they are, hopefully in chronological order.

Oh dear. What is up with Tristan and the name "Longbottom"?

The whole idea of notes between Houses by owl was a fantastic idea. And yeah, I am wondering how Tristan's magic owl manages to get into the Slytherin boys' dorm. But yeah. Magic. So... The notes themselves hold an undercurrent of affection that I love. It's so subtle, but it's there. I hope something comes of that.

Ahhh, "Super Baby Harry Potter" cracked me up. I wonder if they're going to dis him through the entire story. Hahaha!

This: "I suspect they might have distilled you as a person in order to make it." Emily's observations on Nirvana and Tristan. I remember this. Psychoanalysis through lyrics. Seemed so relevant and true at the time.

Also, Tristan and "R". Secrets. And it's offensive to him too. Mysterious.

Uh oh. Emily's detail-oriented skills give Slytherin points. I smiled at that. I'm not sure how Emily feels about this. Oh, wait. Here it comes.

She's mad. And rightly so.

You have really interesting commentary through Tristan's eyes on the Slytherin/Muggle thing and where he fits into the dynamic of Hogwarts - it's like he doesn't want to relate to them - how he straddles both worlds but wants none of what he's been sorted into. I'm sure you're going to use that later on. Can't wait to see where that leads! He's sort of like this anti-Harry in all aspects. Bravo for such a character!

"And a population who still insist on using inkwells and quills should really reevaluate their definition of quaint."

Indeed. I also want to mention how much I appreciated you bringing in Dumbledore's quote about music, and how you just ran with it in your story. It works on several levels. Cool!

You keep us connected to canon by this string that weaves throughout these words. The bits about Quirrel, the references to what Harry's up to, and all the background noise that was from the books. I love the distinct ways that it's still Hogwarts and how you've built up your world so this story could only happen here, all the while giving it a strong, subversive feel through the characters, particularly Tristan in this case.

Tristan's thoughts are clear when he wants them to be. He's avoiding this big "thing" in his mind that seems to plague him. His thoughts on Emily, not deserving her concern - so much self-loathing. Where is it coming from?? *bursts with curiosity*

Fred and George, I can't help but love how they brighten up the scene with their own flagrant subversive natures.

You know what? Tristan surprised me with his helpfulness towards Sprout in the after. It speaks to his character that he's not altogether uncaring, not completely unsalveagable... or maybe that trip to Hogsmeade is really THAT important to him that he can't blow his chance to duck out.

Ahh, the Slytherin lineage discussion ensues. I can see why Tristan wants to avoid this.

I'm sorry that this was an incoherent jumble of thoughts that I'm trying to pass off as a review, but honestly, what else can I say except I'm enjoying this, the references are spot on, the age-specific thoughts are incredibly relatable, and the writing is tight and engaging.

Oh wait. There's more!

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Review #6, by PixileaninYear Five: The Hex Head Express

29th January 2015:
Oh, hey. I bet you were wondering where I ran off to. Ahem. Anyway.

Isobel. I love the way that there's this general atmosphere of "I don't care". It permeates the chapter. So. Much Attitude, and she hasn't even done anything yet.

Laurel seems to need charms. That, in itself is scary. I get the feeling that Emily accommodates a lot. She does things for Laurel. She does things for Tristan - isn't it great that there's no need to explain the mechanics of magic/technology? We're all on the same page. I love that about borrowed worlds and fanfiction.

Laurel's food comments put up a red flag for me right here. And Isobel with the charms... hmmm.

"He's a ratty looking bugger. His clothes look like charity shop rejects, hair's all askew. And I'm a Weasley!" Love the honest snark about Harry coming from the twins here.

Can I just say that the duality of the way Isobel thinks about Hufflepuff was lovely? Okay, there. I said it.

I see hints of things that bother me about the characters, hints of things that could go wrong, things that could get out of control, but within the veil of teen-dom, it doesn't come across as threatening or worrisome. Yet.

Off to the next chapter!

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Review #7, by PixileaninThe Worst: It Is Time

24th January 2015:
Hi! I’m back for more.

I love the way you opened this chapter, with the failed notes to Teddy. The morning always puts a different spin on things that happen from the previous night, don’t they? I can feel Dominique’s regret and remorse over the situation, and also the deep isolation when she woke up without someone there to support her. It’s understandable that she blamed herself, especially after running out on him, but I can see how the whole thing built up to this big ball of crazy that she just couldn't deal with at the time.

I liked that Hermione was ready to help and had everything set up for Dominique that morning. That was the help that Dominique absolutely needed at that time. All hail Hermione and her ultimate wisdom!

I can completely understand Dominique’s gut reaction to the cottage, being so similar to the place where the whole ordeal had started. Your description was very strong in setting the scene and also in giving me a picture of Dominique’s emotional state. It all worked together really well here.

I was surprised and hopeful when Teddy showed up at the cottage, but my hopes were dashed very quickly. Gosh, they are both so hot-headed. Well, that ended badly. They both had valid points, but they are also both so hurt that they aren't listening.

The note right before her transformation was a good morale booster, I thought. It's nice to see that Dominique's family is still standing by her and helping her out in any way that they can. It's sad that Teddy has taken this time to bail.

Writing-wise, this feels like your strongest chapter yet. The prose is tight, the action moves, and everything in the plot is coming together. The emotions are still high, and I’m feeling the characters through their words. The dialogue felt relevant and natural (even though it wasn't what I wanted to hear :P) I've been waiting for the transformation and I'm curious as to whatever that’s going to mean for Dominique.

Great chapter! I think I'll have time for the last posted chapter, and then I'll have to bug you for the next installment to see how this thing ends.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. Your reviews really have made me so happy =)

I am pleased you liked the opening. Yes, the morning does open perspectives. I am also happy that you can understand Dom's feelings.

Hermione is definitely the person for such things - always ready to help!

I am glad you liked my description in the cottage scene and that Dom's reaction made sense.

Gah it did end quite badly didn't it? They both had their strong opinions and instead of having a mature discussion, they ended up fighting. Hopefully, things will sort out soon.

Dominique's family is certainly supporting her so I'm glad that you acknowledged that little detail.

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. I'm always worried about dialogue so to hear that it came across natural is a huge relief. Thank you once again and I hope you read the last chapter as well!


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Review #8, by PixileaninThe Worst: At The Burrow

24th January 2015:
What Teddy says about Dominique’s scar is very touching. It shows, just like he says, that he’s accepted it as a part of her. I can tell that he’s trying so hard, but as the rest of the scene unfolds, it’s clear that he has something else on his mind.

This feels like the first time that Dominique has tried to be herself around the family. The dinner seemed to be difficult for her, mostly because she wanted so badly to be okay with everything, and yet a huge life-changing event was just around the corner - and I’m talking about the full moon here, not the proposal. No one seemed to be addressing it - like this huge elephant in the room. I literally breathed a sigh of relief when Hermione brought it up in the kitchen.

I know you’ve been prepping the reader to think that there’s a possibility that Dominique can just ignore this werewolf part of her and go on living a normal life, but I couldn’t buy into it. I was really surprised that she hadn’t thought ahead of where she would stay for the transformation. She is such a meticulous planner in all other things, and she just wrote an article on the subject as well. I had assumed that she had some kind of plan, or made some arrangement. Anyway, I was so pleased that Hermione had thought ahead and was able to get wolfsbane for the big night, however she did it. She would be the one who would know how to do things like that.

Timing, timing, timing. I’m not sure what Teddy was thinking here. Sure, he wants to be supportive, but… all I can say is timing. It does make for a great way to end the scene, very angsty and cliffhanger-y and dramatic.

Author's Response: Teddy has definitely been very accepting of Dominique. That does not of course say that all is well - Teddy is scared too and we see more of that in the future chapters.

Haha yeah, it was an elephant in the room. Everyone was trying to avoid it to keep Dom as comfortable as possible but it kinda made Dom uncomfortable. Hermione is the rational person in the family and it made sense for her to have thought of everything for Dom. Though Dom is a planner, she avoids thinking of the full moon and thus things skip her notice.

Teddy is definitely not thinking straight xD I'm glad you're liking the story (or at least I think you are). Thanks!


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Review #9, by PixileaninThe Worst: A Ray of Light

24th January 2015:
Definitely the chapter title says it all. This was a ray of light in the story, where everything finally went right for once. It’s great that Dominique was able to resolve this bit of her troubles with confidence.

I was so relieved that Teddy showed up when he did. Having the two women in that office spitting nails at each other wasn’t accomplishing anything, and I was scared that it was going to turn out very badly until he stepped through the door. Great build-up of tension in that part.

I’m glad that Teddy had all the bases covered, and that the specifics of it weren’t revealed prior to that moment in the story. Even if Dominique had known about the setup beforehand, I loved that you only chose to show it where it mattered to the plot. It was great for the pacing, because the reader got to discover, along with Jones, the lengths that Teddy and the Auror in charge went through to make sure that the confrontation went the way they needed it to.

I loved the recurrence of the apparation blocking charm that the Auror used. It seemed like an important detail in the beginning of the story, and to have it used against the guilty party when Delilah is apprehended adds a delightful sense of symmetry to the plot. I’m a big fan of symmetry. :)

I had often wondered about Dominique’s high-strung personality, and now I no longer worry over it. Delilah was completely over the top, bouncing between sickly sweet, complete denial, unjustified anger and insane vengeance - which oddly balances out Dominique and makes her out to be far more controlled and rational. Additionally, I found myself liking the idea that two driven people in the same field had similarities in personality. It would just make sense that similar minds would be drawn to the same profession... not that Dominique is insane or anything... and it just makes me more curious about Julia and what her story is. So for what it’s worth, kudos to you for balancing your cast of characters. I don’t even know if that’s a “thing”, but it felt worth mentioning.

And one more thing, I think it was extremely important that you mentioned the procedures that would be used to prove or disprove the situation, mainly the pensive and the veritaserum, which are both cool and believable for the wizarding world. Because you detailed the methods, I was completely able to buy in to Dominique’s sudden relief and confidence that matters would be settled appropriately. Of course, after the verbal admission in front of the Auror, I can’t see how it would have gone otherwise. Delilah must have known that her game was up at that point, and felt that she had nothing more to gain by pretending.

This feels like it could have been the final chapter by the way you ended it on such a positive note. But there is still that Full Moon coming up, which, as good as she feels about it right now, will still be another challenge… on a completely different level for Dominique.

Author's Response: Hey! Thanks again for reading and reviewing.

I am glad you liked the build-up of the tension and enjoyed the confrontation. I am fan of symmetry too so I had fun writing the apparition thing.

I put a lot of myself into Dominique's personality and ironically (or not) I'm a journalist too - well I'm studying to be one. And most of the people I've come across in my field are somewhat similar in nature, so I put a little of that here. Of course, Delilah is an exaggerated version - I've never met someone as insane. As for Julia, I think she's less like Dominique or Delilah. I'm afraid I haven't explored much of her story in this novella. She is more like a supporting character and I don't do well with sub-plots.

I put a lot of thought into the procedures so I'm glad you noticed them. I love adding these little details and it's a pleasure when they're acknowledged.

It could have been the final chapter but Dominique is yet to face the full moon and I feel there're some things that need to be sorted between Teddy and her as well before the story can be over.

Thanks!


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Review #10, by PixileaninThe Worst: Meetings and more.

24th January 2015:
Wow. It's so quiet around here... off to do another review!

This first scene… okay. Obviously, these characters are in an extremely difficult and emotional situation with implications that run far greater amok than they could even imagine. I think I get what you were trying to do here, by having Teddy be the calming, rational side of the situation, but the scene felt weird to me. After re-reading, I think it came down to two words.

“Calm down” uhh… even coming from Teddy, if I were in such a worked up state, I would not want to be told to calm down, and I’d completely shut out anything else that was being said to me. I think if you remove those first two words, Teddy’s dialogue would carry the same amount of weight without sounding condescending, or belittling Dominique’s justifiable anger at her boss.

After Teddy’s blowup from the previous chapter, I’d have expected a stronger reaction from him as well. Possibly, he was trying to remain calm because Dominique was already so upset, and if that was the case, I would have liked you to show us that internal struggle.

I really like the renewed spirit of Teddy and Dominique in the next scene, where they’re given a lead, and they finally have something to do about the situation. From the feeling I got from the previous chapter, I was surprised that Teddy agreed to have Dominique go with him to meet this person. I was more expecting him to sneak off and meet with the guy alone, but frankly, I like this situation better. The only thing that I wasn't keen on was the first paragraph, where the narrative felt a bit “explainy”. If it was me, I’d try to shorten that, or eliminate it and build it into the scene as they move forward.

This:

“Teddy smiled as he saw a glimpse of his old Dominique beneath the tense woman he’d been seeing for the past few days, as she scurried across the room, yanking out her jumper and cursing under her breath almost every two seconds when unable to find something.”

I love this. It shows me how Teddy is feeling, and how he cares about Dominique, and it also shows Dominique’s progress through characterization.

This Young guy, man, is he despicable. Desperate, yes, but so very selfish. I’m glad you gave Dominique a threat that moved him to assist them, even if it was a lie. Sure, he’s in a tight spot, but he doesn't sound like he was a good sort of person, even before he was bitten. It would have been interesting to learn what he did for a living before, and why he took to roaming the forests so quickly. Seems like he was running away from his old life. Makes me think of unnecessary subplots… lol.

I am sensing all kinds of denial on Teddy’s part. I loved that Young brought the real issue to the forefront again: Dominique’s life has permanently changed, and she’s going to have to deal with that in a very real way, in a very short amount of time. Even with Teddy’s family history, I don’t think he gets that. Dominique does, and she’s understandably terrified.

Julia seems like a very interesting character. I can’t wait to see what part she has to play in the rest of the story. You've dropped some visual hints about her, but I will reserve my comments about her until I see more.

Ms. Jones. Ugh. I had hoped that Teddy would have arrived sooner, so they could face her together. Dominique running hot and cold all this time, I just wasn't sure she would be in a good state to do the confrontation alone. I sincerely hope that she planned out what to say to this vile woman, because I certainly wouldn't be thinking clearly at that moment.

Author's Response: Hey again! Thank you for writing such thorough reviews =)

I get what you mean by those two words. But my point here was that Dom is the hot headed one, she's not thinking straight and Teddy is the calm guy who's trying to think of solutions to the problem instead of letting his emotions get the better of him. But I guess it didn't come across so well so I might have to edit and rephrase that part.

I actually wanted to put the description there to kinda set the scene, thus the 'explainy' bit, but I guess it doesn't work for all of us.

I am pleased you like Dominique's progress through characterisation and Teddy's thoughts towards her.

Young is definitely no good. Haha I did contemplate writing a one-shot on Young and his miserable life... one day maybe xD

Teddy is definitely in denial. Poor bloke.

Julia is that steady friend that will be by Dom's side =)

As to why Teddy isn't arriving sooner, we see it later!


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Review #11, by PixileaninThe Worst: Decisions and Discoveries

24th January 2015:
Hi! Back again for more.

Fleur’s dialogue sounds quintessentially her, just like I would imagine. I think you captured her disposition and her fierce loyalty to family in those words.

I’m not loving the way that Dominique brushes aside the fact that Teddy knows and doesn't see the need to talk to him face to face. This might be the way she deals with stress, and maybe she needs to push the hurt away to make the decision, but it looks bad for Teddy, and as much as Fleur was supporting her, she seemed wary about bringing up Teddy at that moment. The whole thing makes me suspicious. Or maybe that's just how I am.

And then she avoids him altogether after the procedure. Not good, Dominique. I can feel her pulling away again. But I see that Teddy decides to bring it up himself later. That’s a good thing. Too much avoidance. Grr! I took Teddy’s reaction in stride. I didn't think it sounded forced or overdone. Given the way that Dominique reverts to shutting down, I think he needed to react strongly for her to realize that he deserved to know what was going on with her.

Okay, so then we’re back to plot again, which was a nice shift from the drama and came at just the right time, pacing-wise. Of course Dominique is going to overthink her situation, and it eventually leads her to dissect the moments before her attack.

Everything about her “source” sounded shifty to me. I almost expected this Mr. Dale to request some kind of monetary trade for his information, though he’s probably not THAT shifty. :P I like the way you reserved the name of the woman until the very end. I read it with a good sense of revelation, and it gave that nice little punchy twist to the last scene.

Dale comes across just as Dominique described him to Teddy. He’s extremely full of himself. The way that he writes so formally, and then asks her not to judge her attacker for what he did - the guy basically took a bribe to irreversibly curse someone else. In the best of situations, that’s just wrong. I hope the werewolf community has more than just a simple plan of slapping him on the wrist for that.

That being said, the revelation of the person responsible for staging the attack opens up a whole new set of questions. I hope that Dominique isn't going to let this slide. I have a feeling that Teddy certainly won’t. I think someone needs to go to prison…

So now that I’m well into the story, I feel like I can comment on characterization a little. Dominique feels very consistent throughout what I've read so far, and even though I don’t like how she reacts to things, her thoughts and actions are quite plausible for who you've made her out to be. I feel the same way about Teddy, that he's solid in character, and consistent. He seems to care a great deal about Dominique, and knows her well enough to push her when she needs it.

I spotted something that might be a minor typo:
“I am just glad that the Ministry authorized the making of portkeys by any wizard or witch off age; - “of age” ?

Great that we were matched for the review! I shall try to get in a few more before the end of the month.

Author's Response: Hey! Thank you for reading and reviewing!

I am pleased you think I captured Fleur well as she is a canon character and kinda hard to write.

I think you're a tad bit too suspicious, let's leave it at that xP

Dominique is definitely pulling away. That's just the way she's 'dealing' with things.

Mr Dale is not a character that many like, that's all I'll say on the matter for now xP

Dominique and Teddy definitely won't let it slide.

I am glad you're liking the story and that you are able to understand Teddy and Dom's characterisations now.

Thanks for pointing that typo. Will correct it!

Thank you!


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Review #12, by PixileaninThe Worst: More Bad News

21st January 2015:
Hi! TGS Review Swap Time!

It’s good to see Dominique apologizing for her earlier actions. She’s been taking her fear and anxiety out on the people who are the closest to her, and it wasn't fair. Teddy is a good man for standing by her.
And that Jones lady, I don’t like her at all. I’m with Teddy on this one. An article like this, especially when Dominique is in such a state, is a completely unreasonable thing to ask. It’s not worth the pain, though I don’t think Dominique sees it that way.

Oh gosh, that news was certainly not what Dominique was expecting. I like how you've made the lycanthropy a physical thing, and that you've put consequences to it that affect the characters more than just with the once a month change. It adds another level of gravity to the story, especially since there is another decision that she is going to be forced to make sooner, rather than later. I have a sinking feeling that it has something to do with the news that she was just given.

It makes sense now, why her mother was so upset earlier, and why this conversation would be traumatic for everyone involved.

It was interesting to see Teddy pull away from the conversation to give her family “privacy”, even after she asked him to stay. It’s almost as if he was pulling away from her at the end, and I get the feeling that his emotions aren't wholly in control about this revelation either. It’s obvious that he knew what this was about, and I can’t help but question why he pulled away. Judging from Dominique’s character, her gut reaction to distance herself from everyone when she's in pain, I think this will hurt their relationship later on, but that’s me just guessing.

Author's Response: Hey! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing =)

Dominique is just very stressed but she's not a bad person so of course she realised and is apologising. As for Delilah Jones, nothing can be said for her character at this moment ;)

I definitely wanted to make lycanthropy as difficult for Dominique as possible (yes I'm evil) so yes the whole baby thing added to the stress of it all. The decision is definitely something about the news.

Teddy's emotions are definitely not in control with the whole ordeal. He is trying his best to be there for Dominique but sooner or later it's going to explode out in the open - but for now Teddy will be by Dom's side whenever she needs him.

I am glad you swapped me with - I'll be reading more of Rabbit Heart for the swap and I hope you get to come back to this story =) Thanks!


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Review #13, by PixileaninYear Five: Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

21st January 2015:
Ahh, hello there! We’re paired up for the Gryffindor Review this month. Sorry it took a while to get here, but well, here I am!

I haven’t read The Casual Vacancy, or seen Skins, so I have no context for your inspiration. I love the way you explore the wizarding house through Sophie’s eyes, how she tries to reason through things, and then with Tristan’s dad explaining it all away as her senses are dulled through the calming potion.

The way that Sophie chose to be where she was, the way that she chose Tristan gave me so many angsty feels. It was obvious that she wasn't as much interested as curious, and not so much attracted as driven to prove something to herself. It makes me wonder what she would have ultimately thought of Tristan if they had perpetuated the notion that his parents were well-off and somewhat wealthy. I know her character is a device to introduce the incongruous world of Tristan, but I still wonder if she’d reverted to some kind of clingy, calls-too-much girl, just because of the situation.

I learned a lot about Tristan, and I felt his absolute defeat about the entire situation. And the reaction of the parents - very believable here. I agree; he punished himself quite effectively without their intervention. Such a broody boy.

I must comment on the perfection of the chapter title. I just love the way it peaked my curiosity about this introduction, and that you pulled it from Sophie's point of view. Also, the words on Tristan's chapter image really solidified the purpose of the chapter. On the first read, I didn't understand it until I got to the end, and then I thought, "Oh yeah, this is all about Tristan."

There was so much goodness in this, the metaphors, the descriptions, the character angst, oh my god, the angst of teens! Solid introduction, original set-up and all the little things that mean more than they should.

See you next chapter!

Author's Response: OK, I made a rule that I'm not allowed to reply to reviews until I have given my reviews owed! But yay now I can respond to this!

Oh man, Sophie was such a crazy device! You're right that she was designed just to be an intro to the story, but I was like "I can't just leave her without dimension or examination!" Her whole sequence was originally much longer and more detailed, but it made no sense for such a tiny character so I cut it. As it stands, your questions are good ones! I kind of like the idea of keeping that open for the reader to project whatever they want. The main thing is what you picked up on: Tristan is an object of curiosity.

I really enjoyed writing his parents, and it was interesting to see how they would respond to the situation. I'm glad it seemed believable! The memory modification is already such a trauma, why go further?

Heehee--I was SUPER pleased with this title! It might be my favorite of lot, if only because it doesn't make sense until you get there! I just really liked the idea of having a fresh introduction to the wizarding world.

YEE, thank you so much for this review! You were such a great swap partner and I was such a terrible one! I'm so sorry!



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Review #14, by PixileaninThe Writing on the Wall.: The Gryffindor Quidditch Team.

13th January 2015:
Hi! I'm back to read more of your story. Little Albus has me intrigued, so I wanted to know what he's been getting up to. Poor Albus and his house color confusion!

Oh hey, and Slughorn has returned to teach Potions again!

Haha! Albus’ brother pranks him here too, I see. Some things must be universal, like older brothers who like to pick on their younger, defenseless siblings. But James seems rather sweet later on. I’m glad he’s not as much into teasing Albus as that other James I know.


That was a lovely letter that Albus got from his dad, and it was sweet how he choked up a little and tried not to show how homesick he was, being reminded of home. It’s hard being away for the first time, and for so long.

I liked the way that you made the difference between Lucy’s father bragging so much about her achievements, and the way that Lucy acts. Still, it has probably rubbed off on her to be a little bit annoying. Sometimes people can’t help that.

It was very appropriate to throw in that suspicious vibe with Brian when Albus and Rose got to the pitch to watch the tryouts. It was awfully handy that Dominique was there to smooth things over. I like seeing these young characters have older family members to ease them into the transition of being at Hogwarts. Albus and Rose were cute, cheering James along during the tryouts.

Aww, and they get an unjustified detention on their first week of school. Albus is already living up to his brother's reputation, and he didn't even deserve it. And Rose too! I bet they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Blackburn seems a bit fishy. I wonder what she’s got going on?

Author's Response: Really glad to see you back. Thank you so much for the review.

Yeah, Slughorn's staying around a while longer, so I can introduce new teachers gradually. I didn't want to bring in new teachers just for the sake of it, especially if I didn't have parts for them.

11 is SO young to go away from home for months on end. I know people I knew were upset enough starting college and we were 17ish and going home for weekends, so it was only 5 days at a time.

Brian takes Quidditch practice pretty seriously.

And yes, Albus and Rose DEFINITELY didn't deserve detention there. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There'll be more about that in the next chapter, but I'll say no more about that now.

Blackburn has a pretty important part to play in this story. I won't say any more now except that I probably have more notes on her than I do on Albus or Rose. She has quite a lot going on, but it won't be revealed for a while.


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Review #15, by PixileaninLike So Much Red Wine: shattered glass, cracked porcelein, buckled steel

6th January 2015:
“clogging the corridors like cholesterol”

I love you. This was perfect.

Firstly, I love the the way that Severus Snape has retreated into his own mind for the large part of his otherwise dismal existence. It makes perfect sense for him to create this fantasy world for himself when everything else is so… so horrible around him, and when his waking hours have been reduced to being someone elses’, or in this case, two someone elses’ Boy Friday… on opposite sides of the war. A dismal existence, indeed.

Oh, I should confess that I had read this a while ago, but I tend to think about things before reviewing, and well, my thinking got the best of me, and then life, and… you get the picture. But that doesn’t matter, because I’m here now, and it’s just as great a piece as when I first read it.

“The child-turned-teenager was the physical manifestation of time passing.”

I can so imagine this being Snape’s thoughts on the boy. How many years had it been since his life had lost its meaning?

Just to be clear, I’m not a Snape fan-girl by any stretch, but I do find his character fascinating, and having written him as well, I do love a good self-loathing story. This one fits the bill very neatly. It’s just dripping with disdain and loss and hopeless self-torture. It explains Snape’s attitude towards Harry so very well.

And this:

“He wanted to say Avada Kedavra, so instead Severus said: “bring me your schoolbag." “

Oh my goodness. So simple, but yet so perfect. I always thought one could read double meaning into Snape’s dialogue, and you pull this out, and I’m all, “yeah, that’s what he meant!”

And then he takes out his frustration on the bathroom while Harry is away, and gets it out of his system so the kid can see another day. It’s so Snape. So much, “I’m in control for the moment, but if you push one more of my buttons, I’ll skin you alive with my bare hands” sentiment.

Such a great character piece, Roisin. I thoroughly enjoyed your take on Snape.

Author's Response: Hello! Ah, I'm really glad you reminded me of this story because I've been meaning to give it another editing once-over for AGES!

I actually got some of the idea for his 'internal world' from a (radically different) David Sedaris story. Because it's Sedaris, he wrote (hilariously) about what an intensely compulsive thing it was to do, and I was really taken with the idea of repurposing that into something darker. (I mean, we all have internal worlds, but to basically MOVE IN THERE is definitely worrisome).

I wouldn't call myself a Snape Fangirl either, at least in the traditional sense. But I'm definitely kind of obsessed with him ;) He's just so INTERESTING and complex and tricky and difficult to tease apart. I LOVE teasing him apart!

I wrote this story in part for the Unreliable Narrator Challenge, and was really interested in the idea that Snape's perspective of events might be radically different from Harry's. And also, just thinking how many times someone was like "IwannakillyouIwannakillyou" while seeming totally normal to Harry's face (QUIRREL! "MAD-EYE"!) was kind of funny to me :P

EE, thank you so much for the swap!

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #16, by PixileaninDetox: Clarity

3rd January 2015:
Happy New Year, Dan! Resolution #1: continue reviewing this story. Onwards!

Just because all is quiet on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s the same on the inside. Good observation skills, Draco. And it’s a good way to build Draco’s tension. He’s not about to let his guard down now.

“She might have been mad, but she was seldom wrong when it came to hurting people.”

Argh. So cold and calculated, but I can’t fault Draco for his actions here. He’s lived around dangerous people for a long time, and I think that finally, his experiences are going to be what keeps him alive in this situation. Although, if you’ve been climbing into Bellatrix’s head and having tea, you might require a little detox session of your own one day… worried, Dan. As a concerned friend...

Remembering your comments, I think you made the right decision to keep Draco focused on Astoria in chapter 13, because it flows on to here, where he has made her his single-minded goal. If you had showed him any other way before, his purpose-driven actions may have seemed a bit out of place. After the setup from the previous section, his thoughts and actions here are more than justified. It’s the whole reason why he’s driven, so it works really well.

Ahh, Avery is a surprise! I love the descriptions, “dangerously unstable” and “volatile brutish nature”. I almost cheered when he blasted Gamp across the room, except that with this kind of guy, you can’t take anything he says or does for kindness.

“He’d be expecting Draco to deny that the object existed and, since it actually did not exist, Draco couldn’t see a better alternative.”

I think this best describes exactly how dangerous this game is. Telling more lies isn’t going to help, and will probably hurt much worse if he’s found out.

You’ve made Avery out to truly be insane. I can only imagine what everyone else is thinking while he goes about making things personal with Draco. And the way you portray him, I don’t even think that dueling to the death is personal, it’s just something that he does, maybe even something that he enjoys doing. I almost thought he was being a little too perceptive when he caught Draco and Astoria exchanging glances, but then again, if he’s made a life out of hurting people, he’d be looking for an advantage like that to use against his opponent. And he’s been smart enough to stay alive all this time too, so bad on me for underestimating his comprehension.

One of the things that I have a difficult time with in fight scenes is all the names of all those spells? In the heat of battle, I can’t imagine having to double-think through my next move, AND remember what everything is called. It all seems so complicated in my head. I would be a very bad Auror indeed. I love how you described the furniture volleys across the room, and the actions, and resulting reactions, and the blasting. Blasting. I’d think of that. Beyond the explosions, I’d have been completely lost.

Oh no! Not Imperio! That man is insane! How long are the rest of them going to stand around and…

Okay. Never mind. And who is this new person who’s just arrived??

I would be remiss if I didn't comment on how brilliantly you were able to include Draco's emotions into the action. His anger management has been a constant theme throughout this story. You've shown how he draws strength from his fury when it gets out of control. Here, and in a few scenes preceding this, you've given him that strength, coupled with a focus, which brings him that much closer to control. He's fighting with a singular focus, and all is not lost as long as he has a hope of defending Astoria.

And poor Astoria, waking out of her daze to see her love standing over her with a kni... wand. I really like how you show Draco breaking through the Imperio curse as Avery becomes more and more distracted, and that we get to see it through Astoria's perception. She doesn't understand everything that's happening around her, but the imminent danger that she's in is not lost on her. And she's very aware of Draco's struggle to break free. It seems that they're both of the same mind here. If they could just sneak out the back when no one is looking and run like the wind...

Author's Response: Hi, pix! Happy New Year! I'm flattered that I figured into your resolutions.

Draco is pretty world-weary by this point in his life. One could argue he's also wiser than he used to be, although the wisest course of action probably wasn't charging into the Greengrass home by himself. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he learned from his Aunt Bellatrix? I guess if it keeps him alive, it can't be all bad. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I enjoy getting inside Bella's twisted head? This is left as an exercise for the reader. ;)

I'm glad you felt the continuity between Draco's thoughts and actions in the last chapter and this chapter. I really needed him to be believable here or the scenes just don't work.

As I'm sure you realize, an awful lot of how I envision Avery is based off of the way he appears in Until We Close Our Eyes. He's beyond just being fanatical. He's genuinely mentally ill. In some ways, he's higher-functioning than Bellatrix, in other ways he's even more dangerous. Dueling to the death isn't just something he does, he genuinely enjoys it. He enjoys all of the power games that come with life-or-death struggles and he's good at them.

Who is the new arrival? You will soon find out. ;)

There's nothing inherently wrong with being angry, it's all in how you manage it. I'm glad that you could see that progress in Draco. The way he marshals his temper here is a big difference compared to chapter 4, when he loses it and gets cursed by Hermione for his trouble.

Part of me does wish that I could just let them sneak out somehow and let Mr. Greengrass and Daphne deal with Gamp and Avery. They all deserve one another. But that wouldn't make a very good story. I hope you like the big finale in the next chapter.

Thanks so much!


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Review #17, by PixileaninChai, Samosas, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning: Chai, Samosas, and a Surprise

16th December 2014:
Okay, so since I didn't see an update for Like a House on Fire, (BIG big hint) I thought I'd see what else you've got cooking. LOL! This was so adorable!

Normally, I don't use words like "adorable". It's not in my general vocabulary, but really, what else am I supposed to say to this? I've grown to love Neville/Hannah fics over the recent past, and this one I think is up there with my favorites. I even love how it starts, like she has no idea what she is doing, but she does, just not exactly what her future plans are. Very natural sentiment, especially for a late-night muddled brain.

The thing about needing to quit a job is, you sort of have to get another one, unless you're mooching off someone. I'm so glad Hannah isn't like that, but she sees the sense in getting a job that’s not quite her skill set, but it's enough to get away from the one she was beginning to hate. Life's too short for crappy jobs, but a lot of people don't get the chance to escape that kind of torture. Luckily, Hannah did.

All the cool descriptives about cooking and the kitchen were so vibrant here! I could almost smell things, and I think I'm a bit hungrier than I was when I sat down to read this, so excellent job on the setting! It's no wonder that all the smells got Neville to come downstairs and see what was what in the kitchen. All the flirting was so cute, and you managed to pull it off with Neville too. His lines just seemed to fit his character so well. Loved the phalange bit!

"She felt as light as fluffy egg whites" and his laughter sounding "rich, but light, like folding melted chocolate into whipped cream" were perfect! Her thoughts relating to food brought out the subtle passion she had about cooking. I had that warm, satisfied feeling at the end of this, like a perfectly risen loaf of bread that's still steaming, right out of the oven. All in all, I think this was written as the perfect (re)introduction of these two characters who will probably end up spending a good bit of their future in the kitchen together.

Author's Response: The final chapter of Like a House on Fire is actually in the queue right now, so it should be published in the next day or so! So yay about that.

My love for Neville and Hannah is also recent, and I wanted to give writing a story about them a go. I also wanted to write a romance before it becomes a romance, since that's something I've never done. And I'm so flattered that this is one of your favourite Neville/Hannah stories! That means a lot ^.^

You really do need your next job lined up before you quit your first, especially with the current job market as it is. I'm very proud of Hannah and sort of inspired by her for making this decision though. I imagine it isn't easy becoming a Healer, and then making the decision to change your career after spending so much time on it is very brave. Go Hannah! More power to her!

My weakness is still description, but I really wanted to take advantage of all the cooking that was going on to "paint the scene". It was a good way to mix things up, and I don't think it really helped that I wrote this in the middle of the night when I was weirdly craving samosas :P So happy that I made you hungry though! Share my pain, muhahaha! I wasn't sure if the flirting was too toned down, but it seemed to fit them both the best. Glad you enjoyed it!

I wish I thought in terms of cooking all the time. Alas, I'm not a very good cook, so that doesn't happen all that often. I'm so happy you felt like freshly-baked bread after reading this! Considering the theme of this story, that's very high praise indeed! I'd love to write more about these two someday - we'll see. Maybe they can cook something else next time...

Thanks for the lovely review :)


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Review #18, by PixileaninDetox: A Break with the Past

16th December 2014:
"What are you doing here, Flint?"

Bleeding all over the panelling and messing up Narcissa's perfectly logical plan to put Draco back on steady feet. That's what he's doing! Nasty, nasty of you. Just when things were going to be so easy... Oh. Never mind. It can't be easy, or it'd be over already.

I love the word you pulled out for the Muggle weapon, "flintlock". It fits so well, and rolls off the tongue so nicely.

Draco's trying to draw information out of the crazy people while Nott's bleeding out, and it could have been funny, except there's a lot at stake here. I can feel Draco's anger simmering in the background. He's got a *plan*, and these people are going to muck it up for him. Again. Grumble grumble. But here, he seems to have a better handle on his anger. Good on you, Draco!

Narcissa is great here. I love the strength and the sheer intimidation factor you give her. She's obviously allowing Draco to make his own way. How she steps in and assists, it's like she's using everything she has to support Draco's decision without wrapping up her ego in the situation. Draco has a lot to learn from her. It's an impressive maneuver.

Oh, man. Goyle is thick. Which makes him hilarious. And dangerous, if he's with Gamp. All the posturing must be exhausting, on both ends. Gamp might be insane, but he's got brains too. what a terrible combination! And oooh! Lucius wakes up from his nap just in time to instill terror on the guests. Perfect!

"There was no way to be sure that the old man even knew what year it was. But Gamp and the others didn't know that."

And well they shouldn't. Your fight scenes always come alive and whirl around the page like a cyclone. All the details get messed around. Even the poor house elf had to run for cover, a tiny detail that I just love! I don't think anyone was paying attention to Lucius' words, there were so many blasts of light flying around the room. And finally, Draco's anger works for him in this instance, when Gamp is stupid enough to threaten his mother.

Uh oh. Lucius just couldn't stop talking, and then someone *heard* him. I guess it was just as well. He was quickly losing steam and wasn't going to be useful in the fight for much longer. From the last chapter, I figured that Lucius wouldn't be around much for the rest of the story, but I'm so glad you allowed him to have a last hurrah of sorts. He used to be so formidable in Draco's eyes, so powerful and uncrossable, and now, being just a shadow of himself, it must be hard. Fighters like to go down fighting. And poor Draco, doing the "my life is flashing before my eyes, but at least Astoria will have a better future"... I know that this story comes before your other story, so I doubt that will happen, but still. You gave him a very, very close call, and if he pulls out of this, he will have much to reflect on.

Okay, so I'm no longer worried about the floor. Narcissa unleashed some powerful stuff from that locket, and just in time. I loved the little aside about how things might have gone wrong if Bellatrix had gotten a hold of that locket. Wise man, this relative of theirs. Whew. If that wasn't edge-of-your-seat writing, I don't know what it was. You did a superb job with the fight scene. I have no idea what you were worried about. :)

Ugh, and Daphne! I am SO glad that Astoria has more than a thimble full of sense and is so much more aware of the world than her older sister. That door chime might have saved her from an uncomfortable moment with her sister, but I'm sure it's no one good.

Another fantastic chapter, Dan!

Author's Response: Nott and his bleeding. So inconsiderate! You're correct, if I wanted this story to be easy, it would have been a one-shot.

I struggled a lot to figure out what an aristocratic pureblood wizard from an old, muggle-hating family would call a gun. I wasn't perfectly happy with it because flintlock and Flint are too much alike, but it's the best I could do.

Draco can't ever stop being himself. He's a Slytherin, he always has a plan (scheme) and he's always tweaking and refining it in real time.

I really loved Narcissa in this chapter. I thought it was her shining moment in the story, except maybe for the conversation she has with Astoria at Gringotts. Draco could always learn more from her.

Goyle was my one small bit of comic relief in a chapter that was stiflingly tense.

I actually had a lot of fun writing Lucius. He's sort of the epitome of the stopped clock that's right twice a day in this chapter. Without really knowing what he's doing, he manages to play a pivotal role in keeping his family alive.

I nearly made some major changes to this chapter because I felt like Draco was getting too noble with his thoughts about Astoria being safe. I think I'm happy with how it ultimately turned out, but I'm also a relentless tinkerer. That means I'm never completely happy no matter what, I guess.

Narcissa's locket was a small thing that actually survived from my very first plot sketch of this story all the way through to the finished product. There aren't many things after chapter 5 that you can say that about. I was completely in love with the idea.

I think Astoria would agree with you that it was *almost* better to confront a group of murderous dark wizards than to listen to Daphne go on about the details of her love life. Not quite, but almost.

Whee, this is fun! Thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews!


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Review #19, by PixileaninThe Final Curse of Fate: Battle of Fate

15th December 2014:
Happy Birthday!

I found it interesting that Sirius allowed Bellatrix to escape from Azkaban on purpose. Is that canon, or did you do that just for the purpose of this story?

I'm glad that Andromeda finally told Nymphadora about her curse. It seems that as an Auror, she'd be more than old enough to be ready to hear about her past.

FlipKicks sound pretty cool, but I have no idea what they are. I assume they have something to do with transportation.

I love that you are using little details in your story, such as the names that were taken from The Tales of Beetle the Bard. Also, you went into some good detail in the fight scene. I'm trying hard to picture Voldemort signing people up with whom to duel at that meeting, and it sort of makes me laugh. I think it's because when Bellatrix tells him about the curse, he has to change his mind, like, "Oh yeah, that makes sense. Never mind, yo!"

Author's Response: Sorry about the Tomorrow is my birthday thing, it's a stupid shortcut I made. It is not canon, but I just think he would have done it. Andromeda didn't want to tell Tonks, but she did it in hope that Tonks would stop fighting and watch quietly from the sidelines. FlipKicks are the Auror mode of transportation. Voldemort would have killed anyone else, but he knows Bellatrix would win in a duel so he let it be. I have written the rest and will post as soon as I can.
BellatrixLover3


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Review #20, by PixileaninDetox: Climbing Back

13th December 2014:
It should probably go without saying that the life of a traditional high society pureblood woman does not appeal to me. Regardless, I am unfathomably happy that not only has Astoria's mother defended her in some way, but that the girl had the opportunity to overhear her do so. I think that made the scene all the more powerful, that, in the middle of her wallowing and misery, we got to hear the conversation between her parents and the effect it had on Astoria. Light. Tunnel. Hopefully not another train.

One of the things I admire about your storytelling is that you tend to follow up and show us the direct, and sometimes indirect consequences of the characters' actions. You've shown us Mr. Greengrass' attitude towards Draco's family. You've given us a clear picture of how even McGonagall had to struggle with her personal opinions of him when he returned to school. And now, because of his unforunate, yet unique and valuable experiences with the inner circle of the Dark Lord, the persistent, academic in Blishwick just pushes him farther than he's prepared to go. She even goes so far as to guilt him into proceeding with the experiment. Draco is trying so hard to put everything from the war behind him, and here, this woman, who probably thinks she's doing the world a great favor, is forcing him to relive his experience so that she can... disect an abused doxy? Wow. It's a good thing Draco has such excellent wand control, or he might have cursed the wrong target in the room. I was terrified that he might actually do it, too.

Ahh, he can't even escape his own family either. Such timing for a talk with his estranged father. They don't seem to want to do it, except that Narcissa wants them to, which in this case, clears up a whole lot for Draco, again, unpleasantly. Lucius' degrading state definitely takes him out of the running for the man responsible for the new uprising. But if not him, then who?? I love how this revelation puts Draco's mind spinning, not just about what his friends have been up to, but also his personal plans for his future. Making him realize that his father, as much as he thought he despised him, might not be around for much longer, and also that Draco would miss the old coot, really puts a heartening twist on his character. He doesn't want to, but he cares. That makes me want to care about what happens to him too. So humanizing, that moment.

I think Narcissa talks more sense than any of Draco's other contemporaries, even if they're all put in a room together to sort it out... which seems like another Bad Idea... but perhaps an entertaining one.

Except that they show up in the wrong house, and Nott has the audacity to bleed all over everything. Oh, Dan! Think of the stains! Actually, it's great timing for the story. Excellently placed cliffhanger to pull us into the next chapter, and it complicates the neat little solution that Narcissa and Draco just planned out.

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

Astoria's mother was a fun character to try to figure out when I was writing this chapter. I didn't want to change what she is -- a very proper pureblood lady with a romantic streak -- so I had to be very careful. She would never overtly tell her husband that he's wrong, instead she finds very subtle, cunning ways to make him rethink his opinions. Don't fear the light. In my stories, the train always sneaks up behind you. ;)

You didn't think Madam Blishwick was going quietly onto the dust heap of single-purpose characters, did you? Oh, no, she's much more useful. She's one more reminder that even people with the best of intentions -- in her own, bizarre way, her intentions are for the greater good -- are unable to let Draco move on. I think the target that Draco winds up cursing had as much to do with luck as it did with his wand control. That could have ended very badly.

In general, people always want to have Very Important Talks at the worst possible time. The Malfoys are no exception. Narcissa is the one who forces the issue; Lucius and Draco could have gone on for quite a while without speaking to one another. Poor old Lucius isn't faring well. So you're right, he's not the one who's been conspiring with Gamp, Flint and the others. Who? Well, you'll find out very soon. ;) When Draco realizes that his father's days could be numbered, it does force him to take a sobering look at his own situation. You're right: no matter now much he wants to not care, he does.

I believe that house elves have many secret tips for removing blood stains from marble. I hope they do, anyway. Otherwise, somebody will be ironing his hands later.

I was excited to see what you thought of the next chapter, and then you went and reviewed it right away! Awesome. Thanks so much!


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Review #21, by PixileaninCalculus: Awakenings

13th December 2014:
Hi! Tagging you from the Common Room.

You know, I enjoyed the introduction of the canon characters in this chapter. It was just enough to give each of them a distinct feel, but you didn't go on too long to belabor the point. And I already feel sorry for Neville, who seems to have had a thing for Luna. It made everyone seem alive and whole, and I appreciated that.

For me, all the procedural stuff was very believable. I don't think any of it would be considered out of the scope of what investigative Aurors would do. It's a nice twist to the normal Auror activity I see in fanfic, with all the shooting and chasing and apprehending the bad guys. You covered everything well enough that I understood exactly what was going on.

This chapter was definitely slower in pace than the first one, which is to be expected after the initial shock. I liked how the team was guessing what Harry's next move would be, which added a nice touch of levity to the situation.

Any crit for you? Let me see... Your writing is squeaky clean, and the flow is nice. I guess the only thing I can comment on is the punch at the end, when Robards reminds them how seriously this affects the hearing. I know you mentioned Hughes' name during the character introductions early on, and they got the significance, but when they were all concentrating so hard on the procedure of the investigation, who this man was and how important his role would be felt downplayed . I think if you bring in a mention or two of how his death impacts what is to come into that scene, Robards' line, "Welcome to our little piece of hell, Gentlemen." would pop all the more effectively.

That's incredibly picky of me, but I've been working on scene twists in my own story, so it's something I spend a lot of time thinking about these days. To answer your concern at the end of the chapter, I had no issues whatsoever with your delivery of canon characters.

I'm intrigued as to where this story leads! Must carve out more time to read this!

Author's Response: Howdy!

I'm glad you found the canon characters both accurate and differentiable. I think that's always one of the big characterization challenges so it's good to know you thought I did a good job with it here.

I'm also encouraged that you thought the procedural side fit. You'll see a lot more of that if you keep reading as one of my goals was make this story something of a Potterverse-meets-crime-procedural. I also definitely wanted to focus on the investigative aspect of things because I imagine that given the timeline of where we are, most of the consistent apprehension of dark wizards would have been accomplished and that the need for Aurors to focus so much of their efforts exclusively on catching them would have significantly diminished. I'm glad you thought their roles as investigators were also believable.

I definitely hear you about Hughes. I was, in some senses, worried that this chapter would miss following up the "punch" of the first chapter and you may have a good point about that as the drop-off from Chapter 2 to 3 is the biggest (outside the obvious Chapter 1 to 2 that typifies every fic). My goal was to leave room for that to be explored later on throughout the fic in order to keep the Wizengamot and the nature of Hughes' influence a bit more mysterious as well as avoid telegraphing any clear-cut potential motives too soon. But the stats seem to be in your favor re: impact. Something to think about if I come back and edit.

Thanks for tagging me and I'm glad you enjoyed the story!


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Review #22, by PixileaninDetox: Errors in Judgment

7th December 2014:
Okay, I'm not even going to start with how long I've taken to return to this story. Bad, bad me. Was there a review around here somewhere? Oh, look. There it is!

"If you bullocks this up, there'll be hell to pay, Malfoy. I'm supposed to be meeting my future wife today."

Oh, the irony. Yes, and yes, and it all twists back around to Draco instead of this horrid bloke, which by the way, the moldy sock/cheap cologne combo turned my stomach. Ergh! I can't even imagine drinking that stuff. I was going to say how much of a piece of work Emery was, but when I thought about it, that would be the exact opposite. That boy hasn't had any work done to him whatsoever, and it shows in everything about him, from the mustard stains to the unwashed hair, and the "whatever" he'll be getting up to... I don't even want to know.

I love how you've kept Draco to who he was in your earlier stories, still reciting things in his mind to keep himself in check. I agree with him entirely that his quandary isn't quite what he expected. Telling Astoria was a bad idea. Not telling Astoria that he was attending, and now here wasn't getting him what he wanted either. And oh no! Nott's been clued in, as well as being completely off his broom about this new plan. Apparently, so have a lot of other people. Once Astoria told Draco that people were talking, I knew things would end badly.

Ok, so that whole next part was extremely painful to read. You captured young desperation at its most intense, and gave Astoria an argument that is both real and ridiculous all at the same time. She doesn't know the serious issue at stake because Draco is too busy trying to protect her, so she can't possibly understand. Frustrating and emotional, and perfect for this story. It was like a train wreck. Gripping and messy. I couldn't look away, and I was so glad when it was over.

Unfortunately, Astoria has to live with her actions and the consequences of her outburst, and quite possibly the realization that she has lost everything that means anything to her. I love the way you made her try so hard to be angry enough not to care, but fail miserably. I'm not sure her family could have made things any better even if they did force the door open and attempt to console her. At least Draco got to unleash his anger on someone else's property, someone else's father (was he envisioning someone else's face when he blasted Mr. Montague?) and console himself with the fact that he's not only made a mess of his own life, but also create extreme difficulty for Emery. Somehow, that even makes me feel a bit lighter.

Awesome prose here, my friend. Dreams have been crushed, and doom has blossomed on the horizon.

Author's Response: pix! What's shaking? How's trix? Oh, wait, I know the answers already. Anyhow, this was an awesome surprise!

Emery lives in a world of old-money pureblood privilege, perpetual adolescence and deep, deep denial. You are correct on both fronts: he would taste absolutely terrible in polyjuice form and you really *don't* want to know what he'll be getting up to. Completely unrelated side note: do you ever get a quirky, momentary desire to write stories for a no-holds-barred site, where you could inflict those sort of mental scars on people?

Draco is in quite a predicament. He thought his plan though -- he's too Slytherin not to -- but there were some flawed assumptions underlying it. Chief among those was the assumption that Zabini would keep his mouth shut. Very bad assumption, indeed.

I spent a lot of time editing this chapter before it went to beta and a lot more time editing it to incorporate sophie's suggestions on Astoria's though process and reactions. I'm really glad that the effort yielded a good result. Astoria and Draco each have so many incorrect assumptions about what's motivating the other, but they're too young and stubborn and they don't quite have the emotional vocabulary to talk it out. "Gripping and messy. I couldn't look away, and I was so glad when it was over." Yep, I felt the same way writing it.

The emotional aftermath was another part of this chapter that went through a few revisions to tweak the tone. Both of them make a transition from shock to despondency to anger and finally just to numbness. It was fun to let Draco unleash his aggression on Mr. Montague. I don't know that he was thinking of anyone else at the moment so much as he was generally angry. And, yes, Emery has some very unpleasant times ahead. Which, I think we can all agree, he richly deserves.

Dreams have been crushed, but better things will arise from the ashes. Have faith, my friend!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! Until next time.


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Review #23, by PixileaninA Matter of the Heart: Three

6th December 2014:
Hi there! I decided to revive the Gryffindor Review Tag thread, and found you next. I noticed this short story with no reviews on your final chapter. It's such a shame too, because finishing a story usually leaves us on such a high and I know I'd want an opinion on my final chapter. So I chose to do a running review of the whole story and put it here. I hope you don't mind.

Hey, it's a WizTelly! What a wonderful contraption! I love this addition to the wizarding world.

Interesting that Cordelia seems to like Quidditch, when her little sister is so into it. I guess I'd expected a middle sister to pick some other thing to be into, if only to show that she was her own person. Unless there's really not much to choose from, or she really loves it herself, or her dad somehow encourages her because his other daughter is into it too.

Oh, and she gets paired with the dummy in the class! You've made Albus out to be a bit of a moocher when it comes to grades. I liked seeing that Rose had been helping him along, and I enjoyed her told-you-so attitude, without being mean about it. It shows that they are still close, but she has some integrity when it comes to classwork.

I love that Cordelia doesn't think Albus is good for Clara, for all the right reasons. It's clear she loves her sister and wants the best for her, and two slackers together just make for... more slacking, I guess.

I didn't get too much of a pull to believe that Albus really wanted Cordelia's attention beyond seeing her for the project. I sort of read his friendliness as just making sure that Cordelia would do most of the workload, not from any particular attraction. Maybe it was just Cordelia's hopefulness, but the whole idea seemed downplayed. When Juliet brought it up again in the next scene, I got what you were going for. Cordelia's argument, that they don't know he's NOT interested in her little sister, seemed sound. And she seems ambivalent about him here anyway. Looks like her friends are projecting onto her from the situation.

I really like the way you wrote the library scene. All of the things you set up came into play, and none of it seemed forced or out of character. Here, I completely bought Cordelia's ambivalence, and she stayed true to her sister. Obviously, both she and Albus were completely miserable about the whole deal. I very much liked the explanation that she was hoping Albus' friendship would break her out of her small circle of friends and broaden her social horizons.

Love, love the reference to how seventeen year olds are still struggling with the mundane, and the concept of love is so over her head at this point. It seems that part of Cordelia's problem is that she IS backing off of her talents so she won't be seen as competing with her sisters. And I think at this point, she has just realized that too. Good girl! Except then she reacts with complete denial again, which is all too appropriate, because she's not going to just spill her guts right here, right now in front of Albus. And certainly not when her friends are watching either.

Aww, and Albus gets her. I wonder if he talked to Clara about it, or if he's just that intuitive because he's been in the same situation. Cordelia seemed rather transparent in her reactions, so it's reasonable to assume that he picked up on everything... but I just can't shake the feeling that there has been some meddling involved. Hmm...

Okay, no meddling. I'm happy that Cordelia's friends are letting her be friends with Albus without interfering. It looks like Albus is taking it upon himself to be around her enough on his own. And just as Albus is convincing her to be on the team, Cordelia thinks the captain doesn't want her anymore. Uh oh. She's a stubborn thing.

Ah, and the flashback confirms that her sister is insecure about a lot of things. It's very appropriate for Clara to feel threatened, though I'm sad that she doesn't think about her sister first. But I guess she's been in the spotlight for too much of her life to realize that she's hurting Cordelia by demanding what she wants. I'm so glad Cordelia stood up to her. It looks like Cordelia is finally catching on that she's been in this position of second fiddle partly because of her own inability to look out for herself.

A little crit: there were a few places here and there where the tense jumped, and one or two places where you slipped into first person for a word or so. I didn't want to put quotes in here, but if you ever do an edit, I'd watch out for those to clean it up a bit. Your spelling stayed strong throughout. Huzzah! I think the overall characterizations felt solid and consistent, which was great, but sometimes Cordeila's thoughts were, I don't know, maybe getting ahead of the story in certain places. It's hard to describe exactly what I was feeling, maybe that her portrayal of her confusion with the situation was too vague, and sounded more contradictory than I thought it should. That usually ironed itself out when I read on.

So in the end, she did have a revelation, and she got what she wanted after all. It was lovely to see Cordelia come out of her shell and go for what she wanted without regarding her sister's demands. Everything you set up about her character fell into place and worked in the story.I hope that she would get to eventually talk it out with Clara and explain that Clara's drama wasn't going to interfere with her happiness anymore. But I can see how now wouldn't be a good time. Clara's going to have to cool down some before she's ready to hear what Cordelia has to say about that.

This was a sweet piece. I enjoyed reading it!

Happy December!

Pix

Author's Response: Thank you for the review on the whole story! I definitely agree that it helps to hear what someone thinks of the overall cohesion of the story.

I really appreciate your review, and I'll definitely look into the tense-jump that I do! Thanks again for reading and reviewing! :)


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Review #24, by PixileaninThe Writing on the Wall.: The First Night.

6th December 2014:
Hi there! I thought I'd come over and check out some of your writing. There was so much to choose from, and I really wanted to jump right into your current WIP, but I couldn't resist starting from the beginning, so here I am.

I love how this story starts right up after the epilogue of book seven. Poor Albus is so worried over his sorting, but then what magical kid wouldn't be?

"Albus jumped. He'd been so worried about being placed in Slytherin and so anxious for Gryffindor that he hadn't even thought of the other houses."

This was really great. I think I was just as surprised as Albus was when he found out which house he was sorted into. And then to see Lucy already there, we know he isn't alone. I loved how Lucy called him a Weasley, and then he knew exactly what she meant. :)

I'm happy you kept Rose and Albus together. They seem like they'd make a great pair and feed off of the extra security they would get from each other in tight situations. I also loved the little dig Rose threw out about Lucy, which I'm sure will make things interesting in their house. And ah, yes, James is a trouble-maker. This is fun!

Derek seems like an interesting character. I'd be missing technology at his age too. It's nice to see that the general attitude of the wizarding world has changed. But now I'm wondering if there are still some hangers on that may make life difficult for him. Though, it might just be that he's got a steep learning curve ahead of him. One of the things I enjoyed most about reading HP was discovering right along with Harry all the wonderful things about magic with him.

So then after Albus gets sorted and it turns out decent enough, and he's not separated from Rose, his new worry is that he's not smart enough to live up to his new house. Ah, the worries of youth! I'm sure he'll do fine.

This is a lovely start to the story. I don't read enough NextGen where the characters are young and inexperienced. I think that's where most of the magic happens, before they get caught up in 'other stuff'. You wrote the age quite well for my tastes, with everything looking fresh and new, and the general excitement/anxiety of being somewhere away from home. I really enjoyed this!

Pix

Author's Response: Thank you SO much for this review. It was really unexpected. And I do intend to catch up on Rabbit Heart. It's funny you reviewed this today, because seeing you'd a new chapter up had just reminded me I still haven't read your last one.

And yeah, while I personally prefer The Rise of the A.W.L. to this, it probably is a good idea to start here, since they do sort of follow on and some things The Rise of the A.W.L. might be harder to understand without having the background.

Oh yes! The wizarding world may have changed by this time, but it'll become increasingly clear across the series that not everybody is completely happy with that.

I'm glad you like the beginning of this story. Hope you continue to enjoy it.


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Review #25, by PixileaninDream Catcher: Patronus

6th December 2014:
Hi, I'm here from Review Tag to check out this lovely story of yours! I picked it because the summary intrigued me about how Molly is going to save her team.

Your first chapter completely drew me into the story. I loved everything about your setting, all the way down to the Charms professor who didn't give her a shred of encouragement during her NEWTS exam. How un-professorish! All the descriptions of the room, the way Wainwright made her uncomfortable, and the little tidbit about her vastly differing opinion from Victoire... which made me laugh... gave me a clear picture of who Molly is in school. And I was very impressed with how you used her search for the perfect memory to fill in a tidy package of backstory and still make it plot-worthy. Excellent setup here!

The memory of the game was so clear, I could tell that Molly was really getting into it and reliving it in her head, blocking out Wainwright's impatience. The little touches that you threw in with her uncle tearing up made the memory even more special, making me truly believe that the win was an exceptional moment for her family.

The way that the moment she found her calling had helped her to pass her NEWTS exam in Charms tied everything tightly together. The panda bear sounds adorable, and having it be a bit fuzzy and last just a bit before disappearing sounded perfect for a first successful casting, but enough to make it count.

Great setup, and great job reeling me in. I shall want to read more now!

Author's Response: Hi! So sorry for the belated response, but I want to take the time now to thank you for your kind words! I am so glad you enjoyed this opening chapter. This story has been a struggle for the muse at times (like right now for instance, I'm at a standstill), so it makes me extra happy to hear that you liked it. I was hoping that Molly's personality would come across clearly, as well as the roots of her love for Quidditch. Sports stories are best when they have a personal feel, I think, so I tried to go for that here.

Thanks again for your time and feedback! I appreciate it so so much!

--Maggie


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