Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,261 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngstAll Aboard the Hogwarts Express: Toot, toot!

11th November 2015:
Hi, pix! I'm trying to revive the Review the Person Above You thread in the CR. You've been tagged!

Wow. This just wasn't what I was expecting at all when I thought, "How about a little bit of reviewing today!" It's not too much of a struggle to imagine where you were at mentally when this idea came to you. All I can say is that my boys' fascination with Thomas the Tank Engine was blessedly short.

Do I remember reading something (Pottermore, maybe) about the Hogwarts Express having been, er, liberated from the muggle world to serve the magical children of Hogwarts? Whether or not I did, I'm certainly willing to accept this version of events. I like Sir PointedHat. Sir Topham would approve.

I'm not sure whether the lonely boy was Harry or Neville. Not the first time that things could have gone either way for the two of them. ;) I'm quite sure who the mean boy was, though.

Ha! I love the Express getting competitive with Arthur's Anglia. And the train gets the better of the argument in the end. Totally unrelated note: was anyone else disappointed that the Anglia didn't come tearing out of the forest during the Battle of Hogwarts and, I don't know, run down a few Death Eaters? Maybe knee-cap one of the smaller giants? Am I the only one who has thoughts like this?

Oh, if only the train had rained chocolate frogs after the Dementors stopped it. That would have been a great solution to the problem. I think it violates one of Gamp's Laws, unless maybe the Express borrowed them from the Trolley Witch. But that's neither here nor there. Chocolate frogs for everyone!

Ooh, such a mean trick to play on the carriages. Nobody would have forgotten the Dementors by then. I love the fact that Luna made her way into this story. She's actually a natural for a story told in this style.

Well I have to say, I had fun. This was a neat story and I love the fact that you're never afraid to try something new and different. And make a compelling challenge entry or two out of the idea. Great job!

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Review #2, by CambAngstThe Serpent of Slytherin: Mother

10th November 2015:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

It's always sad to see a story with no reviews. Let's fix that!

I really like what you did with the Basilisk. It's point of view is limited and innocent. It's a neat contrast to the deadly nature of the creature. The way that it imprints on Salazar Slytherin -- deciding that he is her mother -- was almost cute in a weird way.

obviously, Mother was strongest and it felt reassuringly safe. -- Again, we get that naive perspective. So many conflicting ideas going on here. I love it!

I thought you did a good job with Salazar's arrogance. He doesn't realize that his own blood -- the pure blood of a wizard -- tastes no different to the great snake than the blood of a more common wizard. It's all just iron to her. Nice imagery with that.

The Basilisk saw the man stand in front of her basin, looking for something nervously and reeking of incertitude and fear. -- Neat idea. Even Tom was worried about whether he'd be able to master the monster.

You did a nice job writing this. I like that you kept things short and focused. It fit well with the Basilisk's narrative voice. The story flowed well and I couldn't see a single typo or grammatical problem. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Yes, I know right? But I didn't feel too bad about this one because it's a re-upping from last year (I had a different account on the archives) :p

Indeed, the Basilisk is kind of cute! I find (almost) all animals adorable in the first place but I must admit I had difficulties with snakes (let's not get me started on spiders and bugs). This was written for the "not all creatures are of darkness and decay" prompt and I just didn't want to go for a traditional nice creature (although I did consider a unicorn, for fun ^^).

Most animals tend to imprint on the first being they see, like a duckling as it hatches. Of course, interaction and feeding plays quite the part, but the "mummy's the first one I see when I'm born" instinct is pretty strong.

Oh, yes. I really love the impossibility that is "pure" and "mud" blood. I mean, there's blood that tastes sweet instead of like iron, but clean and sullied blood? Puh-lease. It makes no sense and animals make sense.

Can you imagine if Riddle had done one thing wrong and been eaten by the Basilisk before "turning" into Voldemort? Haha!

Thank you!! I had a great, great help thanks to luvinpadfoot's beta-reading! :p
Your review was a wonderful surprise, thank you so much for tagging me! ♥


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Review #3, by CambAngstTrying not to love you: Chapter twenty-six - An Apology

2nd November 2015:
Hi, Hanna!

First off, I'm excited beyond words that you're continuing to write this story. I was really worried there for a while that maybe life had gotten so busy that (sniff...) you'd given up on it. I'm relieved that isn't the case.

Getting my head back into the story was a snap. I didn't even re-read chapter 25, I just re-read my review of chapter 25 and everything clicked into place. The way you write is so memorable and gripping. It's never hard to come back to this.

I'm really hoping that the first part of this chapter represents "rock bottom" for Gwen. Things have been spiraling down for several chapters now. The lies she's telling everyone -- including herself -- keep getting worse and worse. It seems like James is really struggling to keep his feelings for her in check, which is only making things more difficult. Every time they're alone together, it feels like they're on the brink of another kiss. This is probably due to how well you've conditioned me, but I'm just not in favor of that anymore. They both have things that they need to sort out before they can be a couple. Getting together at this moment feels like a move with a lot of potential regret.

I love the way you wrote the atmosphere for Gwen's visit to her mother's grave. The cold inside and the cold outside seem to merge. She's trying so hard to feel nothing and for once it's like she's feeling everything. It was a great way to set up her frame of mind for the rest of the chapter.

I thought you paced the scene with her and James really well. Nothing happens automatically. Nothing is easy. They both have to work their way through things, slowly. Gwen isn't instantly giving in to her desires. Gradually, they start to relax and ease back into interacting as friends. James hugs her through her tears. They talk. They ponder the meaning of what's going on with Gwen's father. For a while, things really do seem normal.

Not to jump ahead to the scene with Joshua, but I do agree with him about James's motivations. It's not too hard to believe that his genuine concern was combined with some selfish desires when he makes her stay for a nap. And it works... almost. She wakes up so late that it would have been easier in some ways to simply admit that she didn't want to go back to Joshua. Back to another encounter where she would feel like she'd let him down. But if she hadn't gone back, it wouldn't be Gwen. So she flees another potential kiss and returns to France.

Even the vomiting scene seemed to me like it served a purpose in this chapter. By the time Gwen reaches Joshua's study, it feels like she's completely stripped of any sort of false pretenses. She just lost her lunch on his front walk, for god's sake!

If there's anything in this story I'm still struggling with, it's trying to figure out what on earth Joshua's angle is. Maybe he really is just the world's most perfect and understanding "friend with short-term benefits". Maybe he's still so messed up over Maggie that he consciously puts himself through these doomed relationships. Or maybe there's more to it than that. There are still so many mysterious things about the guy and I still have a feeling that he's going to tie into the mystery surrounding Gwen's father somehow.

For the moment, however, he finally administers a huge dose of blunt honesty to Gwen. One that she's been needing really badly. Beyond that, he's a source that's simply too credible for her to ignore because he has NOTHING to gain and EVERYTHING to lose by being honest with her. Yet he tells her the truth anyway. Even Gwen, with her nearly invincible powers of self-deception and denial, can't rationalize away everything he's saying. She's still not 100% of the way to admitting the truth, but she took a big step here.

I'm really excited to see what happens next. I think you told me once that you were planning somewhere around 30 chapters, so maybe we'll start to see some of the plot arcs come together soon? Please? Pretty please?

Awesome job!

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Review #4, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: Babbling Beverages

21st October 2015:
Hi, Dee! It seems I've run out of chapters already. You're going to need to fix that. ;)

She watched him in fury, the desire to hex him overwhelming, outweighed only by the need to tell his friends what he would eventually do to them. If she was unlikely to ever return to her future, what was the harm in changing it? -- Now that's my girl! Exactly the way I would feel. The fact that 1976 Peter might not have even considered the idea of betraying his friends would not have a large impact on my decision. The rat must suffer!

I sense some serious awkwardness and perhaps romantic tension between Hermione and Sirius. He seems to be able to make her completely flustered without even trying. She was able to get him to be halfway serious in Potions. It's like providence at work.

I really like the way you've balanced out Sirius's character here. He doesn't take his own schoolwork seriously (gah! why do I keep using that word???) but he has an obvious appreciation for Hermione's talents. He isn't disparaging of her for being studious, in fact he seems very interested in figuring out how she learned the things she knows.

Ugh, she slips up again! I guess the existence of Sirius's brother was reasonably common knowledge, so it wasn't hard to cover up her slip. Still, she was to work on this.

Oh, no! Then she mentions Harry. You know, I think this whole "going back in time" thing would be a lot harder than it seems. You'd have to rework your entire small talk game. I bet it always gets you when you least expect it.

OK, now I'm really curious to see where we go from here. I still have the strange feeling that Dumbledore won't be able to completely keep his curiosity at bay...

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Review #5, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: Meeting Lily Evans

21st October 2015:
It feels like you've taken Dumbledore in sort of a Doc Brown direction. Or maybe I just have Back to the Future on the brain because today is the day Marty McFly arrived in the future in the sequel. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is doing an excellent series of Tweets on things we saw in that future and whether or not they panned out in reality. It's a fun exercise.

I already feel Hermione's resolve being tested. I have a feeling that she's going to struggle a lot to keep her knowledge of the future to herself, especially if she gets close to Lily and the Marauders. I mean, how on earth could you look Peter in the face, knowing what he would do? How do you not just curse the miserable rat as soon as you see him? Or Barty Crouch, Jr. for that matter?

Ha! I think she's going to struggle a lot with the fashion of the time. Can't you just see her in tight bell-bottom jeans and a blouse with wide lapels? Maybe some high-heeled boots to complete the look? Why do I feel like I'm imagining a character from a Dramione? :p

Oh, this isn't going so well at all. If Hermione doesn't learn to control her reactions to people that she knew in her own time, this mission gets exponentially harder. Plus people are going to think that she has some sort of social anxiety disorder.

All that said, I think she's way better off in the magical world than Marty McFly was in the muggle world. I think a lot less changed in the magical world between the 70's and the 90's. I doubt that there were a lot of new spells or potions invented and a lot of the purebloods probably didn't change the way they dressed at all over that time.

Let's see, what else? I'm enjoying the way you've written Lily so far, but I hope there's more definition coming to her character. Granted, she only appeared in this chapter, but she seems pretty cheery-huggy-kissy. Sirius is obviously a charmer. It's going to be fascinating to see how Hermione's interactions with him go. I'm also suspicious that you have something planned around the fact that Hermione knows Remus is a werewolf. Something that will risk blowing her cover.

Whee, fun! You're doing a great job so far!

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Review #6, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: Opportunity Arises

21st October 2015:
Hi, Dee! I saw your status this morning about your new chapter and it reminded me that I haven't stopped by for a while.

I like the way you set up Hermione's big decision. She missed her chance when Sirius was killed, so now she has a second catalyzing event that she wasn't willing to pass up on. It's interesting to sit where we do and realize that her plan, had it succeeded, would have thwarted Dumbledore's plan and probably condemned him to a drawn-out, painful death. It's very interesting to ponder how things might have gone differently.

I guess the time-turner didn't work quite the way she expected. Maybe it was damaged and that's why it was laying on the floor in the DoM. Or maybe it was some sort of experimental "Super Time-Turner". Regardless, I don't think she's in Kansas anymore.

I like the way you wrote her mindset. She's cautious and deliberate, even though she doesn't at first realize how far back she's traveled. She stays concealed, assesses her situation, then acts. Very Hermione-like.

It looks like she'll be taking Dumbledore into her confidence to some extent. I like this plot development. Much better than situations where the protagonist tries to go it alone for as long as possible, then ends up in the same situation.

I'm excited to see where this goes. I imagine that a much younger Dumbledore is going to feel very conflicted. Eager to avoid the mistakes his future self would have made, but tempered by the dangers of playing with time. Your story could go a lot of different ways, and I'm curious about the path you'll choose.

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Review #7, by CambAngstInstantly: Instantly

18th October 2015:
Hi, Gabbie! I'm here for our swap.

Well this was a bit of a surprise. Most people don't start a George/Angelina story quite this deep in the past. Some things seem fairly constant through the chronology of the stories. Percy is still overbearing and borderline insufferable. Fred still takes a lot of joy in pushing Percy's buttons. And George seems to find the whole thing very amusing. Perhaps not as amusing as Fred. There's a bit of reserve to his character here, which I like. He's not quite "all in" the way that Fred is. It's a nice bit of differentiation between the twins, who are written far too often as basically two characters sharing one personality. I like your version better.

I love your version of Alicia. There's a lot of fire there, and a great sense of humor. Definitely someone who'd be attracted to the twins. And she takes the mickey right out of Percy's girlfriend-to-be. Good on you, Alicia!

George's reaction to his first sight of Angelina was interesting. It was a little strange for me to imagine an 11-year-old feeling all of these things. Maybe not feeling them, actually. Maybe what seems strange is that he was able to name the feelings in his mind and have some sense of what they meant. Especially the part where he ties them back to his mother's words about a Weasley falling in love. That seemed a bit advanced for a boy George's age.

Angelina turned out really well for you, I thought. She has a combination of fiery and shy that worked really well for an 11-year-old girl on probably her first journey away from home. She can plainly take care of herself in the face of something like being bumped into by Percy, but she doesn't quite know how to deal with the friendly overtures from Fred, Alicia and George. It's cute and endearing.

“I swear, the day I see you crack a joke'll be the day I die,” he muttered. -- Oh, not cool, Gabbie. Not cool at all. You are not allowed to play with my feels like that. ;)

... although George had known he would be Sorted into Gryffindor, he was thrilled when Angelina joined he and his grinning brother. -- One small thought on this. I believe the First Years are always sorted alphabetically, which means that Angelina and Alicia both would have been sorted before Fred and George. Another point of continuity: Katie Bell was a year younger than the other four.

Ah, poor lovestruck George. I'm glad that he realizes that it will be a long time before he and Angelina properly declare their feelings for one another. It's kind of bittersweet to imagine the sadness and loss that both of them will face before that happens. But it also makes me smile to think of all the good times they will share between now and then.

I thought your writing was really good in this. The story flowed nicely and it didn't feel anywhere near its actual length. Contrary to your suspicions, I only noticed one typo:

Percy sniffed disdainfully as the Express took them pass green fields and pastures. -- past green fields

Nice job!

Author's Response: Hello!

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving the first review for this story! I recently decided that I wanted to write an entire new span of George/Angelina one-shots and maybe a short story. I'm not sure if you saw it but I wrote a semi-rant blog about diversity a while back that got me pretty fired up. I decided that I was just going to go on a personal crusade to fill the archives with as much interracial love and whatnot.


I thought it would be more fun and challenging to write George and the others while they were so young. I wrote about the first time he meets Angelina in her story and I thought it would be neat to show his version of it. I also really love writing children, especially around this age so it just kind of flew by without me really noticing.

Percy is still an insufferable know it all, Fred is an outspoken little prankster and George just merely takes it all in. I never understand why people always write the twins as if they share one mind (Even in the HP books it felt that way) because real twins are not at all like this. There are some that are really close and there are others who aren't or fall in between. I think that switching up and making George the quieter, more reserved of the two works. He likes to play tricks and he's not going to turn down an adventure but I think that he's a lot more responsible than Fred may be. If there were an opportunity for Fred to go completely insane with their pranks, George would probably be the one making sure he wore goggles first.

Oooh, I wasn't really sure if I captured Alicia well in this. I haven't written her that much and I certainly had no way of writing her so young either. I'm glad that you like her though, she's a lot like my version of Katie Bell but just like the twins, I think that she's the more responsible of the two.

I thought that George's reaction to Angelina was a little too mature as well. I looked back over the story and that section in particular because I thought that I was reaching a bit too much. George is a bit more mature than I think he realizes, which was more of the angle here but I may have described his feelings a little too much.

Phew, I was nervous about Angelina too. I have written her this age before in her story (This entire one-shot is just the same memory from George's POV) but I wasn't sure how to write her from George's eyes. I am glad that she had so much personality though, she's a tough girl but she's also extremely shy. She probably wasn't used to being around so many kids her own age. She is cute though, George mentions that she looked "mean as hell" but apparently that's not a bad thing. Hahaha.

Muahahah. I will play with your feels whether you enjoy them or not! Trust me, in "This is Angelina" I drop foreshadowing hints everywhere and they always make people upset. I am evil!

The Sorting thing is ALSO a mistake. You are right about them going in alphabetical order and I think I'll edit that because it makes absolutely no sense. Also, the thing about Katie Bell is that I've aged her up one year for my universe. I don't remember why but it just fit better that they were all together for me.

George is pretty astute for an eleven year old, it's really weird. Anyway, a lot does happen to George and Angelina before they actually become a couple. BUT this one-shot ended on a much lighter note because we all know that they had some pretty swell times before all of the bad things, which is most important.

Thank you so much for the review, it was remarkably sweet. :3

Much love,


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Review #8, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Brutal Agony: Rose POV

9th October 2015:
Hi, Beth!

OK, so I guess my theory on Selenia being part of Stannous's conspiracy didn't really pan out, did it? I'm sad to see her gone now. Poor Albus is... well, I guess we see exactly how he is. I feel like there's going to be a lot of emotional reckoning and the events of this chapter have only scratched the surface.

You did a really good job of capturing the shock that Rose is suffering at the start of the chapter. Gradually -- with more than a couple of setbacks -- she regains control of herself and manages to get some semblance of professional detachment back. The whole section is very stark and bumpy, which felt right to me. I liked how you picked out small, random details and kept the bigger picture hazy.

Then there was this:

As we approached, I recognized the two Aurors standing around the broken couple. Dom and Teddy. She was holding onto him as if she’d seen death.

She had.
-- This is the sort of writing that keeps me coming back. :)

One of the things I liked most about this was the job you did with Rose's dialog. Everyone's dialog, actually, but Rose's in particular. With little pauses and half-broken words, bits of punctuation here and there, you loaded a lot of emotion into the words.

Ugh, so Selenia was killed by the same curse Stannous used on Rose. Two possibilities occur to me. Either Stannous saw the blue cloak and assumed that it was Rose or he's trying to send Rose a message. I'd say that they're equally morbid possibilities. Either way, it would seem that Stannous is trying to reinforce the truth of the prophecy. I doubt he's much fun at parties, either.

We held each other and Al as if we were holding on to our last bit of sanity, to express our own grief and to just grasp onto anything solid. -- It's a gut-wrenching yet beautiful sentiment.

I've been really impressed by the way you've built up your catalog of nasty curses that Stannous's followers use in your story. In my mind, they're starting to make an impact similar to what I feel when I read the words Crucio or Avadra Kedavra. That sort of creeping, cold, empty feeling.

"She's gone Rosie. It'll never feel better." -- Sigh. I guess you had to go there. Poor guy.

I saw a couple of small typos as I was reading:

I peered around his head, still confused by the scene and . Uncle Harry hadn’t moved from kneeling next to Albus -- There's an extra period in the middle of this sentence.

The cloak? I’d given the periwinkle cloak Selenia. -- to Selenia?

Excellent job and congratulations on your well-deserved Dobby for this awesome story!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan,

I'm sorry your theory didn't pan out, but I really like that you keep making guesses as to how the story is going to go ;)

I'm so happy the initial scene played out for how Rose was experiencing the emotions and processing everything all at once. It was a bit tricky to write - and I never know if what's in my head actually came out in the words until I get some feedback, so thanks so much for that!

Gah! I'm smiling so much at your kind words (even though this chapter doesn't warrant smiles) - I always worry if I go *too* far with the dramatics of a particular part of the story - but I kept that part about Dom seeing death in there and I think it was a good time to be dramatic...

Aw, thanks so much about the dialogue comment. I was trying to be *in Rose's head* for this entire chapter and her words weren't coming to her so easily. I didn't want to say that outright, but I'm thrilled it still came across.

So, I like it when authors discuss different scenarios of their story, but I sometimes feel weird doing it - but here goes: My original plan for this part of the story was to have Albus be the victim. (way, WAY back in the outline stage of things) But (and I KNOW this sounds like I'm off my rocker), I just *couldn't* do that to Harry. Family was everything to him and I don't know if he would be able to come out on the other side of things from losing his son. Plus, then I'd be down an Auror who needed to help solve this case and a whole bunch of other issues that would arise from that plot point. Once I'd decided on Selenia, it just seemed to make so much more sense for this particular story.

Okay - we can now exit the warped recesses of my mind that thinks about this stuff *far* too much ;)

Gah! I can't get over your kind words. It make me feel so happy to hear that things I've put into this story bring about certain emotions in the readers. And I had that last line written for ages. Albus is going to be tortured by this for a long, long time.

And I fixed up all the typos - thanks for catching them!

♥ Beth

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Review #9, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Evidence

28th September 2015:
Hi, Tori!

You know, I don't care for this Kendall Green kid. Nope, don't care for him one bit. I'm glad that Devlin has at least made a firm determination as to who set him up. Once again, Andrew is sticking by Devlin's side. He's a good egg, Andrew. I just hope that doesn't get him killed in the end.

"You were supposed to be loyal to me," he said, while his chest pounded and his ears rang and his wolf screamed for domination. -- An interesting sentiment. I get these shades of Voldemort from Devlin every once in a while. The need to control and be in control.

"Don't touch me!" He said, and his gaze rose to look at her now. His hands were curled into fists, blood locked away from his whitening knuckles, pounding amply in his chest. "I don't like people touching me when I haven't said they could!" -- There's a flash of the old Devlin. Anger and fear taking away his self control. We don't see that often anymore. I wonder whether Snape would approve or disapprove? It's one of those rare moments where he's not playing the dangerous game.

Instead she seemed simply taken aback - an expression that appeared almost like realization filtering across her face. -- In that moment, I imagine that she briefly saw the wounded child and not the carefully crafted echo of a monster.

Dumbledore watched him with patience; infuriating because of the way it acknowledged his awareness of Devlin's internal struggle. -- I love the way you always capture the layers of subtle games that are being played whenever Devlin and Dumbledore share a scene. Subtle, but no less important.

Wow. Snape to the rescue. Sort of. Kind of. OK, maybe not as much as Devlin would like to believe, but it at least spared him from having to set a series of events in motion involving Kendall Green. I really liked the little drama that plays out between Snape and McGonagall. It's so rare in fan fiction to see any sort of situation where the two are portrayed as evenly matched or, as in this case, Snape has an edge when it comes to understanding a situation.

Devlin recovers pretty well after McGonagall is dismissed. One small thing I should point out is that it was a little difficult to follow who was speaking when Devlin asks about the letter M. I think it would help if you moved the words "Devlin did not move" into a new sentence starting the next paragraph.

"Because I thought he was my friend, but he never really was." -- Once again, Devlin manages to come up with a near-perfect answer for the situation. In an odd way -- whether or not he meant to -- I think he just gave Dumbledore exactly the information he was looking for. But he did it in such a way that there's really no action Dumbledore can take against Kendall Green. Except perhaps watch the boy more closely and wait for him to mess up on his own.

Ooh! Dumbledore's parting words weren't half bad, either. Once again, the chess match comes to a stalemate.

Maria has such an effect on Devlin. Somehow, she leads him to take the risk of trying to be normal, which is not trivial if you're Devlin. By managing to survive and reclaim something of her childhood, she shows him a slim hope that he could possibly do the same. Part of him doesn't believe it, part of him certainly doesn't want to. But I think there's a small part of him that thinks it's possible and she helps that part to come to the surface on occasion.

Speaking of chess matches, there's also the ongoing exchange of half-truths and carefully selected bits of information between Harry and Geoffrey. I think the both learn a thing or two they find surprising here. More Geoffrey than Harry, I guess.

Another beautifully vivid mind sequence shared between Snape and Devlin. Hmmnn... I wonder whether Snape knows about the Horcruxes in your timeline? Knows about them or at least suspects that they exist. His question certainly seems to suggest it.

Aww! One thing I've always loved from Deathly Hallows -- the reason that I will always believe in the Harry/Ginny pairing in spite of all the reasons that people have for why they don't like it -- is the imagine of Harry watching her footprints on the Marauders Map. Again, we see him keeping tabs on someone he cares about.

I saw a few little typos:

-- He did not recall his scarce years of childhood, and he was certain the behavior of a six year would be ill-received in such instances. -- six-year-old?

-- "I am always so pleased to see how much you care about your Slytherin's, Severus." -- Slytherins

-- If looks could kill, Devlin was fairly certain Severus' would be an unpleasant, drawn-out poison. -- Severus's

-- Of course, that hadn't been what Severus' had dared him to ask -- no apostrophe after Severus

Neat chapter! I'm hoping that you're building toward a major moment involving Harry and Devlin. The two of them have been rather distant in this story. Until next time...

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Review #10, by CambAngstThink of Funerals: Five Stories

25th September 2015:
Hi there!

This was a really neat story. I admit that I didn't figure out most of the techniques you were applying until I read your author's note. Some things made a lot more sense after that. ;)

I think you did a great job of rising to the various challenges and making great descriptions and imagery fit within some tight constraints. I didn't even notice the alphabetical arrangement of words in the Diary section until you pointed it out and I think that's a big compliment. It's really hard to have your word choice limited like that and you did a great job with it.

For some reason, I pictured the wedding in the first section as being Lily and James Potter's wedding. The narrator seemed like an ex-lover of James's who showed up solely to remind him of what he'd chosen to pass up on.

I really liked the Diary scene. I could imagine the sharp words of remonstration that Tom Riddle used to control and manipulate poor Ginny.

If not for the words "the last time I saw her", I would think that the narrative voice in the Narcissa section is Draco. Perhaps Lucius has written from Azkaban. Maybe I still think that.

How to be a proper heterosexual. Wow. Great job with the bitterness and self-loathing. I'm not a Wolfstar advocate, myself, but the sentiment is perfect for a one-sided version of that pairing.

I love watching you challenge and stretch yourself as a writer. Excellent job!

Author's Response: OK so I've still yet to reply to your last review on Y5 BECAUSE ERMGERD THAT IS SUCH A REVIEW TO REPLY TO.

But I can at least do this :)

This was actually only one challenge (disconnected short stories under 100 words each), and then I imposed the other stuff to make it interesting. And it is a HUGE compliment that the odd devices were invisible! Yay!

Ooh, I like your idea about it being James' wedding. I honestly didn't have a specific character in mind, though I kind of pictured Pansy at Astoria/Draco's wedding fitting after the fact. But yeah, it's definitely open to interpretation.

YAYAYAY so glad you didn't notice the alphabetization! That one was weird to write because I couldn't plan it, I just had to GO. Like, I started without any idea what it was then was like "after... buying... countless... diaries--oh, I guess it'll be about that." Doing it almost felt like automatic writing and was kind of trippy.

I had definitely imagined the narrator of "Narcissa" as Draco, and now I feel hella guilty because I'd imagined it that Narcissa had died after succumbing to crippling depression, and that was the last time Draco saw her. But I feel GUILTY because you always do such cool/strong/show-stealing Narcissas.

TECHNICALLY "How to Be..." isn't WolfStar, as I never named Remus (there are a handful of Sirius/James shippers out there). But yeah obv I imagined it as WolfStar. I'm not sure if I actually ship that ship, but I really like that ship. Then again, I'm not sure I actually HAVE any ships, I just like it when things are done in interesting ways.



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Review #11, by CambAngstIt Comes in the Night: 1

25th September 2015:
It's adorable, that's what it is! If there's a shortage of anything in the world, it's stories about the Slytherins just being normal kids when they were little. OK, there are shortages of lots of things and most of them are more important than this, but you can only deal with the ones that are within your control. ;)

I love what you did with the wee little snakes. Draco was absolutely perfect, being all hat and no trousers. Blaise was "too cool for school" and Pansy was eager to be one of the boys. They make for a great little gang of pureblood snowflakes.

So I'm curious, why was Theo in the hospital?

If there was one thing in the whole story that I would think to do differently, it was Theo's father. Seeing as how he was referred to as "Nott, Sr.", the name David threw me a little. Also, he was supposed to be much older than the Malfoys, so it was weird to see him calling Theo "buddy" and kissing him goodnight. Putting all that aside for a moment, it was pretty sweet to see the affection. Even marked Death Eaters love their children. Aww!

Neat story. I hope this little muse grabs you from time to time!

Author's Response: I love writing little Slytherins, I should do it more often. I actually find them easier to write than others - these Slytherins in general, not just as little Slytherins. But they are adorable when they're little.

He was ill. He's better now.

Normally, when I write Nott Sr he's a lot scarier, even around Theo. But he's all Theo has and it was hard maintaining that while keeping this adorable. So I gave him the night off, we'll say he's a little calmer with Theo being so young.

Thank you so much for leaving a review!

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Review #12, by CambAngstLet Perpetual Light: In Resurrection

23rd September 2015:
Hi, teh! How do I not keep going after an author's note like that? :D

I never feel like this story gets as much attention as it deserves. It can be really hard to build a following around a story that doesn't fit a certain mold on HPFF. The pairing of Albus and Gellert doesn't seem to draw the same level of readership as Next Gen or Marauders-era pairings. Another thing that occurs to me is that an awful lot of people would find your story somewhat intimidating to review. Your writing style is so unique and intricate. The imagery you create is unlike any other story I've read on the archives. You're truly one of a kind.

Another bitter, angry letter from Gellert to Albus. You can really feel Gellert descending into madness in this letter. He's losing control of his message, wandering back and forth between being conciliatory and spiteful and nostalgic and vicious. It doesn't have the same focus and obvious purpose as his earlier letters. Near the end, he even sounds somewhat desperate.

I felt like I learned quite a bit about the three apparitions who haunt Ariana in this chapter. We also learn quite a bit about Ariana's madness. Or rather the method to it. She isn't as helpless or lost as Albus and Aberforth seem to assume. She has found a purpose and she pursues it in ways that they haven't realized.

I loved the scene you created with the imaginary soup party and the trestle table. It read like a constantly changing swirl between moments of hallucination and lucidity.

So it was Ariana who lured Marvolo Gaunt to bring the Resurrection Stone. I was convinced it was Gellert. It's also pretty amazing that she discovered something that Albus and Gellert missed in spite of all of their intelligence and obsessive pursuit of the Hallows. Albus is leading Ariana toward her death in more ways than even Gellert realizes.

By the end of the scene in Ariana's room, I was starting to think that the three apparitions are starting to merge into some sort of personification of death. That would explain some of their comments, as well as the way they call out to her.

Albus is completely smitten with Gellert. So much so that he's become convinced he can have it all: his life with Gellert, their pursuit of the Hallows, taking care of his sister, possibly restoring her to health... The world seems pretty boundless when you're young and in love, I suppose. You did a really good job of defining Gellert's feeling for Albus. There isn't much there that I would call genuine affection. There's certainly lust -- both physical attraction and a lust for the possibilities that Albus represents -- but I don't feel anything more.

I really, really loved the scene where Ariana escapes from the house. The way that she coopts Aberforth's wand and the way that she circumvents Albus's wards were brilliant. They made my inner magic nerd dance (awkwardly. he's a nerd) with joy. Also, the way that she performs magic made perfect sense. She has no formal education. Incantations and wand movements are unknown to her. She simply lets the feelings flow out through the wand.

And she lays a beat-down on Marvolo. I can't say that I feel especially bad for the guy. He's the nineteenth century wizard equivalent of inbred mountain hillbillies.

The scene with the shades of Percival and Kendra is beautifully written and heart-breaking. It's just perfect. I read the scene and thought, 'Yes! This is how the second Peverell brother was driven mad.' The shades of Ariana's parents have a palpable sadness to them. The whole experience is filled with regret and unfulfilled expectations. There is no peace for Ariana. There are only the Crone, the Tall Woman and Glass Girl.

Send us back, Kendra seems to be pleading through her eyes. Send us back. You and your brothers are nobody to us any longer. -- This. Oh my god, this.

This story gets better with every chapter. Until next time...

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Review #13, by CambAngstCircles: Circles

21st September 2015:
Hi, Sian!

I enjoyed reading this. It was clever and pithy and grabbed a quick image or an idea or a reaction for each of the characters that gave us a quick glimpse into what the aftermath of the war meant for them.

Blaise's escapism fit well with the idea of him being a very reluctant participant in the war. In spite of his bluster and blood supremacist attitude, he always struck me as a lover, not a fighter.

Millicent has a different way of dealing with her scars. Fighting a losing battle against the condemning eyes of a world that seems determined to keep her scars from healing.

Poor Goyle. (I never thought I'd say that) I can't imagine very many of the Death Eaters' children chose to return to school. It must have been a horrifyingly hostile place, filled with awful memories.

Pansy sort of buries herself in her OCD. It isn't as though she's getting any other form of support.

Then there's Draco, answering the question that he must have heard over and over and over again. I'm sure he felt as though it would never end. I suppose it's also possible that -- no matter how long he lived -- it never completely ended.

You did a great job with this. It was very well written and I couldn't see a single typo or grammatical problem. Brilliant!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! I'm sorry it's taking me so long to respond to the wonderful reviews you've left me - I know it's a pet peeve of yours - but I'm just so busy at the moment that review responses are one of the many things that are being left. I'm trying to slowly make my way through them when I get a few minutes, though, and I wanted you to know that I do appreciate your reviews so much, so I hope you don't think differently!

I'm really glad you enjoyed this piece - it had been so long since I wrote anything new that this idea grabbed me and I think I wrote the entire thing in about an hour (and spent another two editing, I think :P). But I wanted to focus on the repercussions being on the losing side might have for the different characters. It's something that I'd actually like to explore in a longer piece after writing this (and something I love reading about, which is why I need to get back to Detox when I actually have time for reading and reviewing again!)

I have exactly the same idea of Blaise. I don't imagine him being that active during the war, apart from what he was forced to do (although from another of my one-shots, I do love the idea of him secretly working with the DA, however much it may not fit with canon) under the Carrows. But I see him being tainted by association and wanting to free himself from the images that linger in his mind, and I can definitely imagine him trying to separate himself from that as well and just get away. I'm glad you thought that snippet fit in with his character!

Millicent is actually a really interesting character - she always seems to be portrayed as someone who isn't very intelligent and she's more of a bully (from that tiny scene we see of her in the books), but I wanted to show that even if that's true, years later, she would still have suffered and maybe didn't know how to deal with it.

I don't think I'd ever thought that of him either, but I'm glad I got you to say something that surprised you :P I can't imagine that many of the Death Eaters' children would voluntarily go back, knowing what they would have to face there; some stories have them returning and acting as if nothing's happened but I can't imagine that would be possible. And I'd like to believe that, as awful as he and Crabbe (and Draco) were to other people, he did truly think of them as friends and seeing his friend die would be a terrible thing for someone so young.

I don't imagine that Pansy got much support from her parents, either - before or after the war. She seems like she's the sort of girl who's spoiled with possessions but not exactly smothered with love, and that's part of the reason for her attitude. Because of that lack of support, she turns to the only thing she knows to keep control over some part of her life.

Coming from a writer who's like a master at post-war Draco, I'm glad that you thought the tiny scene with him wasn't completely awful and that it fit with what might have happened to him afterwards. I hope that it would end at some point for him, that he could prove that he had changed. But I definitely imagine that, in the immediate aftermath of the war, he would hear that question so many times that he had no way of responding in the end.

Thank you so much for this lovely review - I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and thank you so much for your comments!

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Review #14, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Al Talks

21st September 2015:
Hi, Emma!

I felt like there was a natural-feeling progression to this chapter as Olivia gradually went from being devastated and overwhelmed to being calmer and more in control. Hopeful, even. She's had a lot of ups and downs in this story, but I'm hoping that the end of the last chapter was pretty much rock bottom for her. It would be nice to see her be happier and stronger for a few chapters.

It seemed that Al saved her from ending up as a puddle on the floor at the start of the chapter. She's clinging to him for dear life and he's just trying to get her to a place where he can calm her down or at least let her cry herself out. It's not a bad strategy on his part. Seems to work out well.

I think I saw a small typo in the first part:

I could feel his breathe in the movement of his chest more than in the air against my neck -- his breathing?

Al is such a gentleman! If there's anything I could possibly critique you on, it's that sometimes Al seems a little too good to be true. But, he was human enough to acknowledge the struggle in this situation. He obviously wanted to keep the kiss going, but he didn't want to take advantage of her in a vulnerable situation. Like I said, such a gentleman!

Aww! James and Jason are adorable. Well, James is anyway.

Oliver burned his hand in his rush to turn around and swore before nodding eagerly. -- He'll not only play, he'll give a big pep talk before the game and insist that everyone needs to practice when it's over.

I have to say, you set up a pretty amazing visual with Al and Olivia baring their souls to one another in the rain. Especially Al. He's been a little mysterious throughout the story, at least in terms of how he got to be so sensitive and such a good listener. That's doubly true when you compare him to James, Louis and some of the other Potter/Weasley males. Now it makes more sense. After what happened with his muggle friend, he's probably scared to death that it will happen again. That another person he cares about will be in trouble and he'll miss the signs. Nicely written, Ms. Emma!

You closed out the chapter on a really high note. Things aren't going to be easy, but I still felt good for Al and Olivia.

Excellent job! Until next time...

Author's Response: Hi Dan, sorry for the slow slow response. This review was lovely, thank you so much.

I think this chapter marks a bit of a change for Olivia. She's really been propped up a lot by Al, Rose and Louis, but this is the first time she's really made a conscious decision to start changing things. You're right that it ends on a hopeful note.

Ahh I know, Al's potentially a bit too perfect at the moment. More on him later :)

I now desperately want to write Oliver's pep talk.

Thanks so much for such a kind and thoughtful review.

Emma x

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Review #15, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bumps: Scorpius AND Rose POV

20th September 2015:

Hi, Beth!

Looks like Scorpius is making some real progress on this whole matter of "how to be a good fiancé". He not only came up with a great plan to make her feel at home -- OK, maybe he just went along with somebody else's great plan, but there's an art to knowing how not to get in the way -- but he managed to keep her occupied while the others executed on the plan. That was a great piece of work. This lad has upper management written all over him. ;)

Dom starting shouting louder, as if that would make Al and James move faster. -- Yeah, that always works. Weasleys...

Gotta say, it sounds like Dom, James, Selenia and Al crafted a pretty awesome nest for Rose and Scorpius. They'll be set for as long as they have to reside at Grimmauld Place. Still, I've got my suspicions that there's someone on the inside.

For the first time, it felt like this baby was real. -- For everyone I know who has kids, there was always some little detail that brought that feeling on. Something very tangible and immediate that suddenly made everything real. Good job writing the moment!

Aww! And they're back together in every sense of the term now. I'm happy for both of them.

Ah, the lengths Rose and Harry have to go to in order to get the Aurors not to be cavemen about looking after their physical well being. Sounds just about right.

I needed to clean out my locker at St. Mungo’s and, more important, I needed to finally get to work on my last medical records case. -- Yes, she has been putting that off for an awfully long time, hasn't she? Don't think I've forgotten about that, Ms. Beth!

But I don’t know if I’ll be able to completely escape a constellation name for this little one. Scorp is sort of insisting on it. It’s a really significant part of his family history. -- Don't sweat it too much, Rosie. There are sensible sounding constellation names, like... um... OK, yeah, there are no constellation names that sound even halfway normal. Leo is about as close as it gets. I hope they don't go completely nuts with Corvus or Vulpecula.

Ha! And you had Corvus in the very next paragraph. What are the odds that we looked at the same Wiki page?

I really, really like the way you wrote the scene in Diagon Alley. Or more to the point, the way you wrote Rose's perception of the scene. You walked the reader through a progression that felt exactly like the way she would have mentally processed her surroundings after arriving. I could almost feel her head turning, until...

Yeah, until that. I really, really hope that this isn't what I think it is. You've tricked us like this before. But somehow based on your author's note, I don't think it's a trick.

Well, I guess it goes without saying that I'm eager to read the next chapter. I hope for Al's sake that she isn't dead. Empathy for the characters is always a sign that you're doing a great job writing them! Until next time...

Author's Response: Hey there Dan,

I'm plowing through my unanswered reviews on my day off - and as always, I've saved yours until the end. I usually need a bit more time and focus to respond to you.

And *that* is why you won best quality reviewer!

Yeah, Scorp had a bit of making up for lost time to do in this chapter. I'm glad you felt he's on the right path. Hmmm... upper management - that sounds about right for him. I'm trying NOT to think about other story ideas right now - haha! I've got to get through all the WIP I've got going on.

The group *needed* to do something for Rose, here. She's been perfectly clear about feeling like a prisoner in the past. And although this time around the threats are a bit more real to her, I felt she deserved a nice place to bring the baby home.

Haha - you're right about that feeling with your new little one. For me, it was when I was putting together the carseat. It suddenly hit me that there would be a tiny little baby that would go into that seat. And then I felt whomped over the head with the realization that I most definitely did NOT know what I was doing... yeah - it can be scary.

I feel like I'm treading on some dangerous ground here - with Rose in charge of the Aurors' healing. I imagine it's much like a full contact sport - where they don't want their coach to know they're hurt so they can still play in the big game. I also think Harry is probably one of the worst at this. But, being a leader, he'll have to set an example.

Haha - the case Rose is working on is coming - I promise!

Yeah... those names are awful - I've looked on a few sites, and I've got one all picked out ;)

*Whew* I'm so happy the last scene played out the way I wanted it to. I played around with that part for a bit - and I'm relieved it worked well :D

Well.. the next chapter is already posted - so I guess you know the truth now. Perhaps I'll tidy up that Author's Note, so add a bit more suspense.

Thanks again for all the awesome words of encouragement!

♥ Beth

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Review #16, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 31. Closer to the Heart

1st September 2015:
Hi, Pix! I've come to the end of another one of your stories and I'm feeling that little pang of emptiness that comes with each one. That feeling of knowing that there won't be another chapter to read. That Wren and Albus's story -- at least this arc of it -- ends here. It's wonderful to see everything come to its conclusion, but it's also a little sad.

And this story has come a long, long way. I have some very old drafts of things in my email that would probably make you cringe. I'm thinking maybe 2 batches of cookies and we could make those disappear forever, eh? ;)

Joking. Let's actually talk about this chapter. Nice job capturing the confusion and swirling imagery of Wren's semi-conscious healing process. Relentlessly gnawing at her unrest with tiny teeth. I think tiny teeth are going to haunt Wren for a very long time.

Oh, wow, she's still at Hogwarts. Somehow I was expecting either St. Mungo's or some secret Vampire Council recovery facility. At a minimum the Hospital Wing, although I suppose with Madam Pomfrey also being enthralled there might not have been anyone to look after the place.

Aww, Wren still feels bad about having to leave Trudy behind. She's such a good egg.

Ten days! Wow. Albus must be near his wits' end. Good old Berkshire. He's a good egg, too.

"Ha!" Trudy shot at her, relief evident on her face too. "It's about time!" -- Yep, even the Quidditch-head knew what was up before Wren and Albus.

It's nice to see Rose and Scorpius achieving some sort of functional relationship. At least not wanting to kill one another. He even managed to get her to come and watch the try-outs. Sounds like the start of a promising teenage wizarding relationship.

Yay! They're finally coming around. And she kissed him -- at least a little -- and he kissed her back. And neither one of them screwed it up. And Berkshire didn't come bumbling around the corner and wreck the whole moment! Pix, I think you're losing your touch. Before this final chapter, you would have done anything -- hippogryff stampede, lightning strike, somebody fainting -- anything to wreck this moment. You're getting soft! :p

Everything clicked together, almost audibly, just above the breeze - leaves rustled above them -- I see what you did there...

Wren rethought that last bit. An hour. In the dark. With Albus. -- She's starting to get the hang of this.

Wow. Serena is such a weirdo. An artsy, hipster, voyeuristic weirdo. I guess that probably makes her a good photographer, in that Andy Warhol sort of way.

Wren thought she heard a cackle escape from Serena’s lips, and fought the urge to slap her. -- I'm relating to this so hard.

Still, it seems that Serena has a sense of decency about her. I love the rapid shift in Wren's emotions, from shattered to ecstatic.

The rest of the chapter read in kind of a soft focus. Very dreamy, with all of the sharp edges filed down. It was really sweet of Wren to want to spend a little time with Madam Pince. Poor old thing didn't deserve to go out quite like this. In fact, couldn't you have switched fates between her and Sloan? At least that would have shut him up.

Ooh! So Wren did take more away from the vampire rabbit experience than a new boyfriend and a lot of terrible memories. I like Smeed's implied warning, as well. I'm sure this "vampire invasion" of Hogwarts caused a lot of fear, anger and resentment among the wizarding population. I can imagine the vampires feeling uncomfortable about the possibilities.

I thought it was a really nice touch that Gran wants to see Wren for a bit and then wants her to go off and live her own life. She's a smart lady.

Gah, so here we are at the end. This story has frustrated the daylights out of me at times. And that's perfect, because teenagers are frustrating. Not just to adults, but it's just generally a frustrating time in life. You've stayed so true to your premise and explored so many aspects of this awkward, confusing, uncertain time of life. I can't imagine the temptation to have these kids snap out of it and behave like quasi-sane mini-adults, but you didn't do that. I'm in awe of how tough it must have been -- chapter after chapter -- to think things through from Wren and Albus's point of view and make sure that they were acting their age. You did a really amazing job with this. Congratulations on finishing another classic story!


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Review #17, by CambAngstDon't Leave Me: 1.

30th August 2015:
Hi, Tammi! I made it to 50 in our common room reviewing challenge! I wasn't sure I was going to get here by the end of the month, but I did with some time to spare. I really loved the review you left me earlier, so I wanted to make sure you ended up being part of my reviews. Also, Happy Belated Birthday!

GryCReMo (Review #50)

It took me a while to piece together what you were doing here. And I think that's a big, big compliment. This is really tough challenge, no doubt about it. Trying to start every sentence with the right letter must have made it nearly impossible to maintain your rhythm and flow, but you did a great job making the story sound natural.

Lavender and Theo Nott as a pairing? Well... you and I might need to agree that we'll have to discuss this further at some point. It's certainly not impossible. Nott was never one of those Slytherins who gloried in Draco Malfoy's snobbery and Dolores Umbridge's tyranny. He's one of those characters that allows an author all kinds of leeway to make him turn out however she wants him to. It's good to have characters like that. He's not really the half that I'm struggling with. Lavender doesn't seem like the type to cross House lines for a relationship. Maybe I'm wrong. This is much, much less cringe-inducing than watching her pursue "Won-Won".

Wow. I just breezed through the whole story again and I'm really, really impressed with what a great job you did of making an actual, honest-to-god story fit with the rules of this challenge. Only one thing I noticed, and maybe I just don't understand the rules well enough:

Jovial cheers could be heard from what seemed miles away, causing her to tear her eyes away and look up.


Is it me, or did you jump from J to L without hitting K? Oh, no. I really hope that I"m just misunderstanding. :(

You did a beautiful job writing this! Congratulations on a fantastic entry in a very difficult challenge!

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Review #18, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! I'm all caught up!

GryCReMo (Review #49)

So... that was a pretty big mistake Daphne made there at the end of the last chapter. I take back anything kind I might have said about her in previous reviews. (Did I say anything kind about her?) She is an idiot.

Wow, even Olivia's owl is being awful to her at the moment.

At first I was sort of like Olivia: relieved to see her dad come along. But true to form, her dad takes care of that situation quickly enough. It's hard to fathom how the man can be this emotionally tone-deaf. I'm composing a list in my head, the topic being, "Things Olivia's Dad Should Have Considered". It's long. A few highlights:

▷ Does Olivia perhaps want to go to the hospital to make sure her mother is alright?

▷ Is Olivia tired or hungry?

▷ Why on god's green earth would Olivia want to immediately cosy up to the woman who just contributed to her parents' break-up?

▷ Is it possible that Olivia knows this woman's daughter from school and might or might not get on with the girl well enough to be roomies?

▷ Should I maybe act my age and not my hat size for just once and try to act more like a father?

I could go on, but you get the point. It's really no surprise at all when Olivia snaps.

On a side note, I guess this explains the "tough time" that Laura Brogan was going through. I'm in one of those "feel bad but don't feel bad" kind of frames of mind. Is it bad that her home life was going to pot? Sure. Do you fix that by betraying people you were obviously close to? Yeah, not so much.

You did a pretty convincing job of writing Olivia's splinching. I'm pleased to see that there are better solutions in the magical world that dousing her with ditany and waiting it out.

Hey, James knew exactly what to do for once. People usually write him as such a jerk in Albus-centric stories. I appreciate the fact that you gave him this moment of being an awesome friend and big brother.

I'm really curious where you'll be taking the story next. Do you have an idea of how long you mean for it to be? Maybe this would be a better MTA question. Until next time!

Author's Response: I kind of enjoy writing a horrible Daphne, but the more I do it the more I want to write something Hogwarts era to explain her a bit. Maybe I'll get to that at some point.

Olivia's dad is pathetic and selfish and every point you've made is definitely something he should have considered. He kind of goes half way to doing his job as a father and then fails where it really matters. In some ways I'd like to develop him more but every time I try he stays a terrible human being.

You're totally right about Laura. It's not okay to be bad to other people because you have your own problems. It's okay to be sad and angry but not to be cruel, and she's been cruel.

My current plan for this story is 31 chapters in total but I've had a few times where I've split a chapter when I'm halfway through writing it so it'll potentially be a bit longer than that. I just put up 19 so I feel like I'm hopefully getting there (slowly but surely).

Thanks so so much for all your comments. I really appreciate the time you take to leave such careful, kind reviews.

Emma x

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Review #19, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which It All Goes Wrong

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! One more before my day gets going.

GryCReMo (Review #48)

Well, that escalated quickly. But let's start at the beginning.

Louis and Rose aren't as easy as Al, but they're still pretty easy compared to what Olivia is used to. Louis can be quite the gentleman, it seems, at least when there's something he's trying to prove. It seems that he was hoping for something more to have happened between Olivia and Al. Al's family is taking to her at a rate that must feel positively alarming to Olivia. I don't imagine that she has any frame of reference for this, coming from a relatively dysfunctional family environment.

Ah, the Laura Brogan plot expands a bit. I felt pretty sure that there was more to her than a shallow groupie trying to get famous at Al's expense. I'm looking forward to the next dollop of Laura plot. Also, Olivia is doing her homework here. I think she wants to feel more for Al, but she's making sure the way is clear.

Aww, all four of them were so adorable in the train car. Louis and Rose snuggling up for a long ride. Olivia's nightmare was rather... disturbing. But then Al is there to help her get back to sleep. I'm thinking for some reason that we'll be seeing Rose's picture of Al and Olivia again.

Interesting that Katie didn't know about Pansy being dead. I'm at least initially suspecting suicide. After things falling apart with Olivia's dad, I imagine that Pansy had to be in a bad way, mentally.

Poor Olivia. The family drama just keeps piling on. I have no idea what's going to happen next, but I have a suspicion that the Potters will factor into it somehow. The good news is, I can click "Next" and find out!

Good job! Can't wait to

Author's Response: All your observations about my characters make me so so happy because they're just spot on, and I'm so glad you think about them the same way that I do. The easiness was the main contrast I wanted between Al's friendship group and Olivia's, and even though they've both had their separate problems with their friends Al's group are much friendlier and happier.

Laura's going to appear a bit more in the next few chapters so I'm glad you're interested :)

Thanks again for another lovely review! Emma xx

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Review #20, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Al Sits Still

30th August 2015:
Hi, Emma! Looks like I'm not going to make my goal of 100 reviews this month, but 50 is within reach! Pardon me for a moment while I keep count:

GryCReMo (Review #47)

It's been ages since I stopped by your story! I'm not really sure what happened there, but I do know that it didn't take long at all to get right back into the flow of it.

I think if I had to pick one word to describe Albus in this chapter, that word would be "easy". NO! Not "easy" like that, but just easy in the sense that he's fine with doing whatever Olivia wants to do so long as he gets to spend some time with her. In that sense, he's pretty much the opposite of Cassie, who's extremely high-maintenance and demanding. He also doesn't come with all of Scorpius's emotional baggage. I think it goes without saying that Olivia could use more "easy" people in her life at this point.

Ugh. Well, Scorpius didn't take that well at all. He and Olivia seem to be growing farther and farther apart. And the unfortunate thing for Scorpius is that he seems to be getting worse for the separation while Olivia is finally able to relax and unwind. It's not that she doesn't miss him or care for him, but it seems very nice that she doesn't need to deal with his moods and anxieties all the time.

Again, after Scorpius storms out, Al just makes things easier. He doesn't pry or try to get her to talk about what happened. He just asks how he can help and is happy to do something small to give her a moment to collect herself. Easy.

Wow! So this scene was sort of like Titanic in reverse, with Olivia drawing Al. "Draw me like one of your Slytherin boys!" ;)

And... they almost kiss. Maybe not that close, but there was definitely a moment there. For a couple of teenagers, you're pacing that aspect of the story well. Call me a pessimist, but I still think you're going to bring them together right before Cassie makes her return. And then things are going to go pear-shaped for a while.

Let's see, what else? I like the image of the red jumper that you threaded into this. It's the small things that show where the story is headed sometimes.

Great job! I've missed this.

Author's Response: Dan! I wrote a really long reply to this review and then my internet disappeared and the reply was no more :(

THANK YOU for all your lovely comments. Your reviews are always so so thoughtful and I really appreciate it.

I really like that you've described Al as easy. That's kind of what I was going for with him. I think teenagers are very attracted to drama and kind of angsty friendships and relationships, and I wanted to emphasise the value of simple kindness. Al's just a good person and that's why Olivia's starting to appreciate him.

I'm absolutely going to edit 'draw me like one of your slytherin boys' into this chapter when I come back to it.

Thanks for the lovely review! Emma x

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Review #21, by CambAngstPrecipitate: Solution

30th August 2015:
Hi, Kevin! Well, it seems that 100 is pretty much out of reach, but 50 is dangling right in front of me.

GryCReMo (Review #46)

No doubt about it, you nailed the creepy factor. Maybe this is just me being sentimental, but I also wanted to find it a bit touching. The lengths that Blake is willing to go to in order to not let his wife slip away from him. In turn, that can also be a creepy thing, his obsessive need for her and his unwillingness to let her go. But she doesn't seem to mind overly, at least not when she's young.

It's when his wife is near death, at the beginning of the story, that I actually feel the most creeped out by Blake. I felt a sort of distance between the two of them in the first scene. It's obvious that she's less than totally enamored with him and he's very perfunctory in his affection for her. It's like they're both going through the motions. I wasn't completely sure how to interpret that, but one possibility is that he only really wants to be close to her when she's young and healthy.

“Yes. Of course it is my fault,” the greying wizard offered, kissing his wife chastely on the lips before pulling back to regard her carefully. -- This line seemed to hold a couple levels of meaning, beyond just the light banter.

“I know,” she said flatly. “But I don’t like it here.” -- Another line that jumped out at me not he second read-through. Is she referring to the place or to the body she's inhabiting?

The murder scene was pretty gruesome. It seemed obvious to me that there's some very dark magic at work here, basically draining a living person of all life so that Elizabeth can be, I don't know, poured into a new, young body. I'm sure that's oversimplifying things, but still. Yuck.

Once Elizabeth is young and whole again, the creepiness factor really goes up a notch. I wonder whether she retains all of her memories from her previous "life" or whether she starts over each time? I'm curious whether Blake is aging naturally or does he do something similar to extend his own life? Lots of questions. Maybe you should turn this into a longer story.

Great job with the writing. I could tell you felt a little constrained by the rules of the challenge, but you made the most of what you had to work with. Also, I didn't see a single type or grammatical problem. Bravo!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan!

You captured in your first paragraph exactly what I was going for! I wanted people on some level to be able to connect with his desire to preserve their happiness, but then ultimately be repulsed by the obsession and the lengths to which Blake goes to "keep" her.

For the beginning, the situation between them is interesting and you've definitely picked up on part of why. She is rather distant because of the "I don't like it here" (which is referring to BOTH the place - the land of the living - and the body - basically a "fake" of her and not her own). And he is perfunctory because he knows then what it's time to do AGAIN, and decides no time can be wasted before doing it.

You're not oversimplifying things at all really, the idea was kind of that the magic Blake uses reanimates his victim with Elizabeth's consciousness - sort of like a zombie/Frankenstein's Monster meets the Resurrection Stone. The difference is, as you rightly pointed out, that she essentially "reboots" when this happens, to the point in her life she was when he lost her. With Blake, he goes to a lot of magical lengths to preserve the illusion that he's the same age as she reboots to, though I included the greying to show just how long he's been at this given the youthfulness of his victim. It's not so much extending his own life, because ultimately, when it's his time he'll be happy to go so he can be with the REAL Elizabeth, but he goes to a lot of trouble (until the cycle is winding down like it is at the beginning of the story) with stuff in the vein of dying his hair, glamour/concealment charms to fix aging defects, etc.

Sometimes I do think about making this a longer piece, but alas, I have so many things on the table already I doubt I'll ever get there.

I'm glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for the great (and detailed) feedback as always!

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Review #22, by CambAngstThe Harder Struggle: Heroes

29th August 2015:
I'm back again! I wanted to get one more chapter in before bedtime.

GryCReMo (Review #45)

I think you're pacing this story brilliantly. I love the fact that you're taking your time and allowing things to unfold in a very organic, unforced way.

Poor Ron. He's going to have a lot of hard days ahead. It's wonderful that he'll have Hermione by his side to help him through it.

Ginny's letter was well written. You hit on all of the notes that I would have expected from her: frustration, relief, affection, sadness and just a bit of that temper of hers. I think Harry has a very interesting conversation in his near future.

The conversation between the trio was vital to where it seems you're taking the story. In all of the best post-war stories, Harry's trademark humility and unselfishness shine through. Also, his desire not to be the sole center of attention. You did a good job capturing all three of them being supportive of one another and generally making the most of the few precious moments they'll be granted before things go completely crazy.

Again, beautiful writing. I didn't see a single typo.

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Review #23, by CambAngstThe Harder Struggle: We're Alive!

29th August 2015:
Hi, there! I've had this story on my "plan to read" list for quite a while. It seemed like a good time, since I'm in the middle of a reviewing event. Please pardon me while I do a quick bit of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #44)

I thought you did a really great job with this first chapter. You hit a really good balance with the emotions of all of the characters. The mood was somber and respectful, but it's obvious that the huge emotional toll hasn't fully set in yet. They're all shell-shocked and exhausted and they will need a lot of time to process what's happened and grieve. But for right now, they just need food and sleep.

Kingsley and McGonagall were pretty obvious choices for the "authority figures" in this chapter, but I thought Bill was a unique and interesting choice to round things out. He is one of the elder members of the Weasley clan and I imagine that Arthur and Molly are indisposed between their own grief and trying to help the younger siblings. He also brings a little more perspective, since he was at Shell Cottage with the trio as they planned their final assault on Voldemort's horcruxes.

I loved the thinly-veiled fury that was emanating from McGonagall when she talked about Hogwarts under Snape and the Carrows. In general, it was good to see real emotion in her words and actions. I can't imagine that she was immune to the consequences of everything that happened, although a lot of people write her that way.

The explanation of the horcruxes seemed about right. There was no way that Harry, Ron and Hermione had the energy or the time to go into all the details, but they got the key information across to Kingsley.

Overall, you write very well. Everything flowed very smoothly and this was an easy read. You did a really good job with the dialog. Each character spoke with a voice that was appropriate to their age and their mood.

I saw one small typo:

It hadn’t stop either Ron or Hermione from carrying on with their mission though. -- hadn't stopped

Great job! I'm looking forward to reading more.

Author's Response: Hi,
Thanks for the detailed review. As a writer you will know how much a meaty and considered review is appreciated.

You have my reasons for using Bill instead of Arthur down to a tee.

Thanks again,


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Review #24, by CambAngstDating Hannah : Liquid Courage

29th August 2015:
Hi, deeds! I need some good reading/reviewing material tonight. Aside from the fact that I just feel like it, I'm also doing my darnedest to get to 1̶0̶0̶ 50 reviews by the end of the month so I can f̶i̶n̶i̶s̶h̶ not completely embarrass myself in:

GryCReMo (Review #43)

I remember this story so well from before your hiatus. This was one of the stories that really inspired me to try my hand at humorous writing. Which works. Sometimes. At least a little bit.

“We’re playing poker,” Harry grumbled. -- Boo! I always get stuck with the Old Maid in that one.

These guys are awesome when they've been drinking. I have my suspicions as to why you gave Seamus something else to do. He's the only one who might be able to hold his liquor well enough that he wouldn't be entertaining.

Neville took it upon himself to answer Dean’s question. “I like Hannah,” he confessed. -- Good on you, lad! Get it out in the open. Your friends will help you come up with a plan to court her. It will be a terrible plan, one that's guaranteed to fail comically, but that's still a better plan than what you have right now.

“Come on Neville…let’s see…use that ancient language, you know, the one your Gran spoke when she was born,” he suggested. -- Dear god. Does Ron realize that he's taking his life into his sweaty palms?

It seems that we're well on the way to having the parchment-and-quill equivalent to a drunk text that you send to your ex at 3:30 AM. Only Ron could come up with such impactful prose. I anon him.

“You search for Horcruxes with him one time and he just latches on.” -- There, there, Ron. I'm sure that Harry anons you in a completely platonic way. Or at the very worst, it's a bromance.

Poor Neville. The boy isn't gifted with a strong array of conversation material. Also, he's surrounded by idiots.

Aww! I love the way you wrote Gran. Sure, she's sarcastic, but she genuinely cares for Neville and she wants him to be happy. Or at least not starve to death.

Yay! Somehow or other, Ron's idiotic letter actually seemed to work. You're committed now, Neville. Man up and go see Hannah.

Awesome start! I really anoned this chapter!

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Review #25, by CambAngstYear Five: Cleaner, More Brilliant

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! At long last, here I am at the end. This is going to be a weird review, I'll tell you that right up front. Not sure what the mix of substance and gushing is going to be.

GryCReMo (Review #42)

You managed to get a Dr. Who reference into the story. Many HPFF'ers I know will strongly approve. ;)

Apparently, when non-magic people dressed themselves, it signified what sort of person they were, or, at least, the sort of person they wanted to be. -- Isn't that the truth. I love the idea of witches and wizards struggling with the significance of muggle clothing. When you're used to mostly wearing robes, the decisions are probably fewer and less important.

I'm so happy to see Isobel and Lauren both doing better. I'm not sure I buy the idea of "starving the beast" until it's dead. I'm not sure it ever dies. But you can definitely make it a tiny, marginalized part of your life.

Only ten weeks old, so Charlie’s taking care of it until it’s old enough to bring to Norway and introduce into a preserve. Refuses to tell me where he got it from, though, except that it was illegally hatched. -- Cough, cough. Sorry, something in my throat.

Ha! I love the exercise of explaining animation to the two sheltered witches. Come to think of it, hand-drawn animation was a huge undertaking.

All in all, the good times were better than they’d ever been, and the bad times were further between. -- That's what I want to hear!

Everything considered, it sounds like they all did pretty well on their O.W.L.s. What I really loved about this scene was that there were no lingering feelings of envy and no recriminations for how anyone should have worked harder. They all made it through the year, and that was saying quite a lot.

OK, a couple of small typos before I wrap up:

“By way of Muir of Ord,” the owlish old driver muttered, annoyed, before shifting into gear. Scottland was hardly on the wa. -- on the way

his parents were glad for him to be spending time with his maters -- with his mates

Now... Whew, deep breath...

You can go a long time on HPFF without reading a story that falls very far outside of some fairly well-bounded norms. Next Gen teen romance with mismatched main characters that might or might not involve an unplanned pregnancy. Marauders-era story pairing Sirius or Remus with a female lead who's doomed to end up very disappointed or, in a worst case, dead. Missing moments stories from the Hogwarts years. The exciting lives of professional Quidditch players. Canon and non-canon characters struggling to overcome the trauma of the war. You get the idea.

What really attracts me to HPFF -- 99% of the reason I keep coming back -- is that every so often I find a story like this one. A story that parallels the books and is affected by the events of the books, but is truly, uniquely its own story. Your characters might share names with canon characters, but they are yours. You breathed so much life into them and made them so genuine and human. You made every part of them real: their strengths and their weaknesses, the good and the bad. You didn't celebrate their flaws, but you also didn't minimize them. You let them be four perfectly normal teenagers struggling with the things that normal teenagers struggle with, plus the added temptation of having magic at their disposal.

In doing this, you managed to replicate that rarest of feats that made the Harry Potter books so special: You allowed your readers to experience genuine empathy for these characters. To relate to what they're feeling and to want to see them be alright. It's no mean feat and my hat is off to you. This was an amazing story and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!


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