Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
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Review #26, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Bit of Backtracking

7th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm here, as always, to enjoy the next chapter of your story. Also, I will selfishly claim a bit of credit for Gryffindor:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now that the formalities are out of the way, it never hurts to take a small step back when we feel as though something important hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. And the memory of Voldemort killing Draco was definitely important on a couple of levels. First, I think it cleared up the majority of what had been left unsaid about Devlin's original kidnapping. It seems to me like the process of Devlin's wolf taking over when Devlin needed to be protected probably started in the memories Voldemort unearthed. It's odd to think that, in a way, Devlin owes Draco a small bit of credit for his survival.

I liked the way you continued to round out Voldemort's take on his relationship with Devlin. The similarities he sees between his own childhood and the abuse that Devlin suffered from Draco were revealing. In spite of them, there's no sympathy there, only a possessive sort of interest. It infuriates him that Draco was able to get Devlin to scream and cry when he was never able to. Once again, you emphasized the fact that Devlin was mostly a curiosity to Voldemort, partly a reflection on his own youth and partly an academic sort of problem that he was never quite able to solve to his own satisfaction. And, wow, does that guy have a twisted idea of what makes a good birthday present!

Harry's own reactions to Draco's body were interesting, as well. I like how the feelings it evoked went beyond the pure loathing that he came to feel for Draco after Devlin's kidnapping. After all of the years that had passed, Harry still felt an odd sort of kinship to Draco. Like an appreciation of the mutual dislike they had shared for so long.

Nice little metaphor with the repairs to the house. Lots of things are changing, mostly for the better.

It's strange, but at times I feel like Emma and Maria are tangled up in Devlin's head in a similar way to how he thinks that he and Voldemort are tangled up in Voldemort's head.

Interesting, how someone like Molly can spot the similarities between a young Harry and Devlin so easily.

I like Maria's appearances because she seems to be one of only three people (Harry and Emma being the other two) who have an ability to make Devlin completely lose his cool and do/say/realize things that he would ordinarily suppress. This paragraph really jumped out at me:

"Maria!" Thomas shouted, easy and casual - as if talking to Maria wasn't a precarious affair. She turned her brilliant blue eyes onto Thomas and a smile curved her lips upward. He felt something clench in his chest that he hadn't known was there.

Ooh, are you teasing another big reveal that's yet to come? Biggest mistake. Hardest punishment. The red-eyed man's greatest weakness. I'm sure that Voldemort lost his mind if Devlin ever called him Tom. Here is this boy who's supposed to be this younger version of himself as well as his possession, throwing his muggle father's name in his face... Scary stuff.

Yay, Fred's still alive! I don't think you've ever covered this explicitly, but I'm very happy to see it. Freddie reminds me a lot of his father. He's irreverent and also innocent in a way. It doesn't really occur to him that his question might be hurtful to Devlin. To him, the Dark Lord is one of those distant, intangible, scary things that adults whisper about, so it MUST be really cool!

I loved the difference in perspective between how Devlin perceives the scuffle with Freddie and how Freddie perceives it. Once again, you've done a brilliant job of teasing out aspects of Devlin's upbringing and perspective through his reactions. Freddie hardly thinks anything of what happened. I'm sure he's had rougher rows with his older cousins and maybe even his sister. But Devlin has no concept of violence and aggression being used without the intent to seriously injure or possibly kill. He only understands "adult violence", as opposed to childish roughhousing.

Harry's reaction really reinforced what you've been alluding to a lot recently. Harry understands a lot of things about Devlin, some of them better than Devlin understands them himself.

Ooh, ooh, ooh! I can't wait to read this conversation. I sense, well, things coming from it. I was about to say good things, but nothing is ever quite that clear-cut where Devlin's past is concerned.

So a few small typos and other things I noticed while reading:

Harry's green eyes followed him and he could feel Alexandra's gaze pick him out at a moment's notice, her keen gaze assured without having to track his every movement. -- Not a huge deal, but you used "gaze" twice in the same sentence.

Maria's eyes were still on him, their conversation was still fresh in his mind, and these two things, happening at once, made him wish that the place wasn't warded against Disapperation. -- should be Disapparition

"Stop talking," Harry said, firmly. "Take breath." -- "Take a breath"?

Excellent work, as always! Looking forward to the next!

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Review #27, by CambAngstYear Five: R

6th July 2014:
Hi, there! Back for another chapter! Also, it's House Cup time and this is the one event I actually have some time to partake in, so:

House Cup 2014 Review

With the pleasantries and formalities out of the way, I do like the way that you continue to deliver the key plot points of your story. I would not have guessed that Tristan was a Slytherin. That puts a very different spin on the character as well as his apparent feelings of alienation and his mood swings. Coming from a mixed family and all.. awkward... No wonder he has such mixed feelings.

Ha! Although it's brief, I liked what you did with Cedric. We only ever see him through Harry's eyes when he's much older, already in the prime of his lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness. Here he's just breaking out of that ungainly adolescent phase and we're seeing him through the eyes of someone two years older.

Emily's "tradition" with Dumbledore was a really nice touch. All of these kids are the sort of teenagers who almost go out of their way to be disaffected rebels. I don't want to go quite so far as to slap the "rich, suburban white kid problems" label on them -- Tristan's problems are obviously real -- but it's not like they're suffering in the same manner as Harry or Neville. In spite of all that, there's this connection between Emily and Dumbledore. Something the two of them share that transcends age, blood status, academic aptitude and studiousness. Then again, I always imagined that Dumbledore had a bit of a rebellious streak. He probably just didn't express it by engaging in "recreational magic" and other such diversions with his friends.

Grrr.. Marcus Flint. Reading this makes me feel even better about having Draco curse him in Detox and then killing him off in Conspiracy of Blood. He didn't fare well in my stories. ;)

I love Tristan's plan for getting revenge on his roommates. In spite of the enjoyment he'll derive from it, living with that bunch of pureblood supremacist jerks has to be awful for him. At least he has his friends and his literature to keep him company. Slaughterhouse 5 was a favorite of mine when I was younger. I'm now curious whether those themes of predetermination and absurdity will find their way into your story at all.

Funny and completely unrelated side story: When I was in college, one of the dorms on campus used to have a big weekend party every year after the end of second semester classes and before the start of final exams. My freshman year, they hired a band from Seattle that not many people had heard of to play on Saturday night. The year was 1991 and I'm assuming you can guess who the band was...

Ooh, another mystery surrounding Tristan. I'm curious whether his middle name could relate in any way to his interest in Harry Potter. Or maybe I'm just grabbing at straws. The boy has secrets, and I like that about him!

Laurel's kind of a junkie for those Cheering Charms, isn't she?

OK, so there's really only one thing I found in this chapter that I can nit-pick you on and it's this: “Tristan. Cheer me. For the love of Merlin,” commanded Laurel, finally lifting her head. You keep everything in this story so marvelously canon, but in the books, Merlin was never treated like some deity whose name could be invoked or taken in vain. People would refer to his beard or his pants, but I don't recall it ever being implied that he was any sort of god. So there, my one possibly useful bit of constructive criticism.

Wow. I guess they've survived four years at Hogwarts already so they know what they're doing, but I'm not sure I could handle Snape in that mental state. Also, why does Snape love Tristan so much? Does he feel some responsibility for looking after his House's one half-blood? That doesn't sound much like Snape, but I guess stranger things have happened. The plot thickens further...

Another great chapter! I shall return!

Author's Response: Oh yay, so glad to have another review from you!

I'm so very, very pleased you didn't see the Slytherin thing coming! "Reluctant Slytherin" was the original central theme for Tristan's character, and then I worried that that was a pretty common trope around here and people would see it coming straight off!

"lady-killing sparkly vampiric godliness," hahahahahaha. Oh yes, couldn't resist giving Cedric an ugly-duckling phase ;) Alternate POV of canon characters is a LOT of fun!

The Dumbledore wave: I really liked the idea that Dumbledore has a personal relationship with ALL of his students.

Now I wish I HAD woven in Slaughterhouse 5 themes! I chose that book just because it was appropriate to the era, and Tristan's age (and I like it (; )

Aha, you lucky thing. My thought process: "hm, PhilStone look place in 1991-92. Lots of Nirvana is going to have to be involved."

Ohmanohmanohman, I wanna say something about Tristan's suspicious interest... but the spoilers.

Thank you for the Merlin comment, I hadn't thought of that! I will indeed think very carefully about how to revise that line.

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed review! You rock!


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Review #28, by CambAngstYear Five: The Hex Head Express

3rd July 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.

Very intriguing. I've seen this trope of "magic as an intoxicant" used in stories on other sites, but this is the first time I think I've ever seen it on HPFF. It's actually a really neat idea, along with all the other illicit uses for magic that wayward teens might come up with. JKR avoided the entire issue in the books, which probably makes sense from the standpoint of keeping them kid-friendly, but witches and wizards are human, too.

It was fun to meet some more of your main cast. There seems to be quite a difference between Emily and Laurel -- the happier, bubblier half of the foursome -- and Tristan and Isobel. It's a pretty nice balance, actually.

Tristan came off as someone who's desperately looking for something to be cheerful about, and not really succeeding. Small wonder that he takes his jollies where he can find them. After what happened in your opening chapter, I suspect he's ready to go back to school, although he's not completely ready to let go of the comforts of the muggle world. I would find it incredibly annoying to not be able to listen to music for months at a time.

Nice job with the Cheering Charms. I've seen the trope horribly overdone in other stories and I thought you kept it pretty believable in context. There was nothing ridiculous about the way the scene came off.

Isobel tried to remember what she had been thinking, but couldn't. She'd just been looking at Emily's hair. It fell in a mess of waves, interspersed with tight ringlets, like some muggle storybook picture of a wood nymph. Isobel had wanted to try tugging one, because she felt certain it would bounce. -- I loved that little bit. It was instantly recognizable as one of those little mental traps you fall into when you're... um... under the effects of a Cheering Charm. Yeah, that's the ticket...

I liked the introduction of the Weasley twins and I can't wait to see how they interact with the group. Although I can't necessarily see them engaging in all of the activities, they seem like the sort who would think of the foursome as a fun group to be around.

Now what is this not-so-subtle interest Tristan is taking in Harry? Do I sense a little something more here?

Ha! Poor Hermione! That sounds vaguely traumatic.

Wow. So Arthur Weasley... shed... battery collection... Bwahahahahaaa! I love it!

The foursome's observations on the four houses and their choices of sin seemed spot on!

I really enjoyed this chapter. It was well-written and I never seem to spot typos or other problems in your work. Bravo!

Author's Response: Oh hello again!

I'm glad that "recreational magic" worked--I had no idea if it had been done or not, but I figured thrill-seeking teens+wands=trouble. I mean, if you *can* someone *will.*

I always felt like there were more adult themes hanging round the periphery of the Potter series, and the periphery is where this story takes place!

What you said about the bubblier half of the foursom--I just looked it up, and they each perfectly correspond to one of the four humours. Laurel is Sanguine, Isobel is Choleric, Tristan is Melancholy, and Emily is Phlegmatic (which sounds bad, but is actually rather nice). I've heard that's common in western fiction; any group of four will correspond--be they Ninja Turtles, Sex and the City women, or Hogwarts Houses.

Your thoughts on Tristan are dead on! I'm really happy to see that all those things about his character are coming across.

I'm really pleased that you quoted the bit you did--I really like that idea, and re-wrote that section a million times to get it right!

I definitely think the Weasley's would be a bit more savory than the other four, but absolutely yes, find them fun to hang around. Fred and George are the token younger friends, but they're also a little better adjusted than the main quartet. Which isn't to say they aren't rulebreakers--more on that later ;)

Yay, you are the first person to mention Tristan's interest in Harry's upbringing!! Oh the foreshadowing.

Hahaha, Hermione and Arthur. I imagined Hermione's little trauma coming right after she met Harry and Ron the first time. And Arthur loves all things muggle--ALL things, amiright? I like the idea that he doesn't know about stigma or implications, just thinks it's a delightfully quirky muggle passtime. And of course F and G wouldn't tell him ;)

Thanks so much for your review, and I hope you update Death Hunters soon!

Cheers,
-Roisin



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Review #29, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakdown: Rose POV

2nd July 2014:
Hi, Beth! I hope you didn't expect me to take my time getting to this, because I've been checking every few hours since you said that it was in the queue. ;)

I really love the way that your chapters always seem to have sharply contrasting highs and lows. This was a pretty extreme one even by your standards. Rose starts off with something that feels distinctly like gradual progress, dips into the depths of shock and despair, then ends on one of the highest notes of the story so far. It was quite the ride!

I really, really like her therapist. Ruth is obviously very sharp and very experienced. She sees things in Rose's life that Rose can't see for herself and because her words carry the weight of an impartial, professional opinion, Rose actually listens to her!

"It… is very powerful and can only be done under certain - er - circumstances." -- Well, I obviously have my own guess, but we shall see whether I'm correct.

It's funny how quickly Rose gives herself away with her preemptive statement about where her relationship with Scorpius hasn't gone yet. You don't just blurt something like that out unless the thought was pretty close to the forefront of your mind.

And then things go south in a hurry. I'm kind of impressed by the way you pulled Cormac McLaggen -- psst, there's no "a" in the "Mc", I checked my copy of HBP -- off of the dust heap and made him the face of irresponsible stupidity in pursuit of glory. Even more so when you recall his history with Rose's mum. It's a small thing, but I liked it.

Even within this one scene, you served up some highs and lows to play havoc with Rose's emotions. From the Head Healer's vote of confidence in her to the horrible loss of her first patient to her discovery of the true nature of the injuries to the Ministry workers, poor Rose was being pulled in every direction. It was no surprise at all to see her succumb to all that emotion when it was over.

Yes, her knight in shining... um, shiny blond hair arrives! You couldn't have set up their big moment any better, I think. Well, their latest big moment, at any rate. And it was a big one. Rose opens herself up so unconditionally to him, relying on him emotionally in a way that definitely wouldn't have been possible a few chapters back. And he's finally up to the challenge! I think back to Dominique's warning right after the attack in the girls' flat. He's definitely acquitted himself of his past behavior, I think.

Now what's this about going out? On the one hand, I feel good for Rose. This seems like another huge step for her, getting back into what most folks her age would call a "normal" existence. On the other, I'm worried for both of them. Stannous is still out there.

Brilliant chapter, and I'm sort of holding my breath for the next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

So I must apologize for the lateness of this response. This is my oldest review sitting in my "unanswered reviews" pile for a reason. I really like to take my time in responding to you because you take so much time to write them.

I am very flattered that you check regularly for updates. It really motivates me - and makes me nervous at the same time. I always click that submit button with "What will Dan think?" buzzing through my head.

This chapter really did run the gamut, huh? I think it kind of needed to, for this point in the story. Warning: more dramatics ahead!

Yeah - the circumstances for the healing power are... very interesting. Even for this case.


As usual, Rose is too much inside her own head to have an actual discussion with Scorpius about such an important step. To be honest I completely HATE the name of this story. It is really cliched and over the top cheesy. BUT, I have to admit, as the story moves on, the title does ring true for the main characters. Ugh!

Cormac was always going to be the power hungry ministry executive. He probably hates it that Hermione (and Ron and Harry) are higher up than he is in the government organization. I will fix the spelling of his last name. Thanks for finding that!

Rose is ready. Ready to take the proverbial next step with Scorpius and ready to move on with her life. She just wants to be normal. Yeah... Stannous is still out there. I was pretty obvious with the "I want to go out." line. Everyone picks up on that. (All two of you who read the story and review).

Uh-oh. Something is definitely going to happen when they "go out."

Thanks so much for this review. They ALL make my day!


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Review #30, by CambAngstDon't Mean a Thing: Not the One to Stay Around

29th June 2014:
Hi, Rose! I heard you had a zero unanswered reviews problem and I'm here to fix it. ;)

I am absolutely in awe of the concept behind this story. The idea that Sirius would push Lily and James together in this way that only he could... it's beyond clever, it's brilliant. I love the slightly twisted altruism that you've infused his character with. He sees what Lily needs -- what he thinks she needs, anyway -- and he goes about trying to give it to her in a way that neither she nor James would ever approve of. I thought it was a beautifully accurate take on his character, both in terms of his loyalty and his completely unconventional approach to problem-solving.

In the beginning, it almost seems as though there's more to Sirius's attraction to Lily. In fact, upon a second reading, maybe there actually is. I love the scene you created in one of the castle's hidden places. It was a lovely complement to the clandestine and dangerous nature of their encounter.

Ooh, Lily is something of a naughty girl, isn't she? This is definitely not the stock characterization of Lily Evans, and I like where you've taken her. At the same time you're baring all of Lily's, er, less ladylike traits, you open up Sirius just enough to let us realize that the task he's engaged in isn't easy for him. He knows already how this is going to end, how it must end to accomplish its intended purpose. You didn't really elaborate on whether his discomfort stems from feeling like he's betraying James or knowing that he's going to break Lily's heart in the end, and I liked that. It could be either or both.

Then he does what has to be done. It's ugly and harsh and not at all pleasant to visualize. I definitely visualized it, though, because all of your descriptions were so vivid and real.

Brilliant concept, beautiful writing, great execution! I loved every bit of it! :)

Author's Response: Can I just say how much this cheered me up? I mean, really, I was surprised and elated by this review.

You're the first person who hasn't just told me how twisted it was at the end. Thank you for being twisted with me. It's a very Machiavelli move on Sirius' part - that he'd understand or think he understands how to manipulate people in just the right way. This was a very interesting side of loyalty. It's along the lines of hurting someone to help them out.

What I withheld from this story (and should go back and add) is Sirius' own feeling of unworthiness. Where he wants Lily but doesn't think he deserves her. Sirius knows that James wants her too but sees him as more worthy - which is why he would play out their relationship like he did. I'm glad you like the secret passage and that you saw the symbolism behind it.

I get bored with the stock characterization of Lily. That's fine if she's a background character or not deeply explored in a story (e.g. in A Moment of Fear I really didn't put a lot into her). I don't care for the use of Lily as some sort of Madonna to Harry's Jesus role. I did want to leave Sirius' actions and feelings up for interpretation. Was he being the ultimate wingman or was he being a selfish jerk that happened to help his friend out? Depends on the reader.

I'm so happy you liked my harsh Sirius. I was kind of using the classic move tough guy goes soft then gets mean again for how he played through this.

Thank you so much for picking me up out of the 0 unanswered reviews bucket and for leaving me such a squee-worth review!!

-Rose


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Review #31, by CambAngstHoping for A Heartbeat : Words No One Wants to Hear

27th June 2014:
Hi, Lindsey.

This is the chapter that I've been expecting since the beginning. In spite of that, it wasn't any easier to read. The chapter itself was short and kind of spartan, which isn't a bad way to capture the sort of cold emptiness that Ginny must have felt in this moment. It's horrible to watch everything you've been imagining and thinking about and hoping for disappear in an instant. I feel so awful that I want to send everyone cookies: Ginny, Harry, the Healer, you... everyone who's ever been touched by an experience like this.

I'm not really sure what else you could add to improve this chapter. It really says all that needs to be said. You did a really good job with it!

Author's Response: Well hello there! I am so glad that you liked it and that you don't see much that needs to be improved. :) Thanks so much for coming and reviewing, you have given me the motivation to continue it!

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Review #32, by CambAngstThe Deathly Children: Symbols and Stories

26th June 2014:
Hi, teh!

Another brilliant chapter in this awesome story! I'm really surprised that more folks haven't been actively following this. OK, maybe they are following it and they aren't reviewing, which would be a shame. Either way, I think anyone who's aspiring to write any story on HPFF -- especially one set in this era -- could learn a lot from the way you use language and imagery and your descriptions of physical sensations. You do an amazing job of conveying mood and moment using these things!

I love Gellert's letters from prison. They're high-minded and articulate, yet blunt. The Dumbledore he's addressing is exactly the flawed, regretful man that Harry meets in King's Cross station near the end of Deathly Hallows. Not that Gellert doesn't have plenty of flaws of his own. But in his letters he acknowledges many of them, and tries to hold Albus to task on doing the same. Interesting that even after his horrible misdeeds and his defeat at Dumbledore's hands, Gellert seems to view himself as a conscience of sorts to his former friend. A very angry, vindictive, mocking conscience, but nonetheless one who's trying to make Albus face his own worst tendencies and shortcomings.

I love the way that you tied Ariana's three women together with the three witches in Gellert's story. That was pretty brilliant. Death seems to speak to Ariana, which I guess isn't so much of a stretch for a story like this one. And she's unconsciously making the symbol of the Hallows. Weird, fascinating stuff!

I thought it was very sad that Albus isn't even following up to make sure Ariana eats any more. He leaves her food at her door and goes about his business. :(

I tend to agree that the meetings between Gellert and Albus are anything but accidental. In so many ways, Gellert reminds me of a young Tom Riddle. He charms Albus and gradually reels him in. Never revealing too much, always teasing with just a hint here and there of the true potential that lies within. I think he's also started to understand Albus's other interest in him. The one that Albus doesn't even necessarily recognize at this point.

Gellert's story was really well done, I thought. On one level, Gellert's right. There isn't some clever moral lying beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. The point seems rather simple, actually. Death's gifts are not gifts at all. For those who have everything yet cannot be satisfied and happy -- the villagers -- there are no magical good outcomes. The poor girl tries to "fix" them and only succeeds in killing them. It's an odd story for Gellert to share, but one that I think might haunt Albus later.

Ariana's insights into Gellert's character seem spot-on. Too bad Albus doesn't listen to her more. I loved the little comment about chewing on her dolls. You have a really neat way of bringing her back to being a somewhat disturbed teenage girl whenever I start to lose sight of that.

I really enjoyed this and no, I didn't think it was too long. Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hey Dan!!

I feel awful for taking so long to respond to this brilliant review. But thank you so much for coming back and reading and reviewing, especially since this chapter had no feedback at all, but you came along and changed that. I think I don't have many followers because these aren't very popular characters to read about, at least in a longer WIP? Also, I'm not a particularly fast writer, which might cause readers to lose interest. But thank you so much once again for coming back!

Ooh, love the way you described Gellert's voice in his letters as a "vindictive, mocking conscience". He does indeed know Albus really well, and I'm of the opinion that he doesn't think Albus deserves his fame and victory and all, or at least that Albus is the betrayer of the bond the both of them once shared.

Aah, I'm so glad you like the way I linked up Ariana's "hallucinations" with the story! I was seriously worried about that one, and I'm going to keep on worrying about it, but you've given me absolutely encouraging comments on this. I'm also quite excited to develop this aspect of the story a lot more. And of course, this is where my fic possibly begins to twist and turn a little way off the canon track. But I don't think this will go AU at all.

Albus is odd, isn't he? I believe that right now he's completely unable to see beyond himself. Well, he understands his brother and sister, he knows them well, but there's a barrier between him and them (there's a barrier betwenn each of them, in fact), and he's just unable to be completely empathetic with them. At least right now. Gellert is a refreshing twist for him in his dreary new life, so of course, he seizes on to this bright spark and hopes he can find a kindred spirit, somehow. Something to alleviate the boredom of his life.

And as usual, I'm having a ball with writing Ariana. No, she's not the completely destroyed girl I often encounter in fic. Certainly not.

Thank you for this amazing review, Dan! It's wonderful to see your continued support for this fic! ♥

-teh


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Review #33, by CambAngstTrying not to love you: Chapter twenty-five – News

25th June 2014:
It took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted to say about this chapter. I've been thinking about it ever since you sent me the draft of it weeks ago. As a beta reader and fellow author, I can't say enough about the pacing and character development of your story. I read the other reviews and I see the cries of despair and it's obvious how much your readers connect with your characters. As a fan of the story, I definitely feel their pain. We root for Gwen and James and we revel in their small steps forward and mourn their missed opportunities. This was definitely a chapter that didn't have a whole lot to celebrate.

Gwen's visit with the French healer set a mood of impatience and struggling with the unknown that carried through the rest of the chapter. It was a really good start.

Then it transitions from that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing right into Gwen and Joshua's discussion of their relationship in the aftermath of the Great Broom Closet Incident. Well, not immediately into that discussion, because it seems like they continue to do the awkward dance for another half day. I was oddly proud of Gwen when she finally snaps. It seems like it had been a long time coming and even though the crisis isn't Joshua's fault in any way, shape, form or fashion, she deserves at least the courtesy of knowing where his head is.

And I think his head was exactly where I would have expected it to be. He asked her the only question that really mattered, in my opinion. People get kissed by surprise. It happens. But when they return the kiss, that's different.

"Did it mean nothing to you too?" Joshua interrupted.

The question left me stunned. "I – I –" I stammered as a response, the words escaping me.

He let out a sad smile. "That's what I assumed."


And there it is, the only question that's really important. And Gwen totally fumbles the response and he knows it. After fumbling on a bit longer, she comes clean... sort of.

There, I’d said it. That was closest to the truth I could possibly tell him. -- Oh, Gwen. She can't really even admit the truth to herself, so I guess it's quite a stretch to think she'd admit it to anyone else.

So I did what I always did when someone questioned me about my feelings for my best friend. What I had been doing already too much in the short amount of time Joshua and I had been together. I lied. -- As a fan of the story, out of everything in the chapter, I think this was the paragraph that hurts the most. It hurts to watch somebody do something that's ultimately so self-defeating. Sigh.

And he accepts her lie. Accepts it, forgives her, says that it's in the past and he's ready to move on. Moments like this are the ones that make me suspicious of Joshua. He isn't this stupid. He must realize she's not being completely truthful with him. So why is he doing this dance?

And... she's kissing Joshua but she can't stop thinking about kissing James. Most people would see this as a big, red flag. Poor Gwen is still too much of a mess, though. Frustrating...

Oh, boy. When Harry Potter shows up at your door late at night, it's never good news. So just when you have my head spinning on the topic of "Joshua, the Impossibly Understanding and Forgiving Boyfriend," you hit me with another round of guessing on Gwen's father. It sure seems like somebody wants him out of Azkaban. So one of two things is probably happening here: A) the same person or people who convinced the other prisoner to kill the guard are also forcing Gwen's father to change his mind, or B) Gwen's father has changed his mind because he knows about something bad that's happening. I'm leaning more toward option B, but time will tell...

So I think it's fair to say that Gwen comes off like a crazy lady when she explains to Joshua why she has to go. Or doesn't explain, actually. Once again, here's why I keep thinking that Joshua has ulterior motives. How on earth does he just accept her non-explanation of why she's suddenly leaving to go see the guy that she kissed and oh, by the way, that didn't mean anything. He's either the most trusting human being alive or he already has an idea of why she's going...

I'm completely convinced that nothing was happening between James and Sam. I mean, they're planning surprise parties, after all. So either James was asking her to keep something secret related to the party, or... or James was talking to her about a girl that he might fancy. The possibilities...

Of course, Gwen leaps headlong to the worst possible conclusion. The last couple of screens of this chapter were incredibly hard to read. Gut-wrenching. Heart-breaking. Painful. Ugh. I need cookies...

Well, I honestly cannot wait to see what happens next. Gwen and James have obviously taken a few HUGE steps backward in this chapter. It will be interesting to see how they recover. Great job, you big meanie, you!

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Review #34, by CambAngstYear Five: Dozens of Little Televisions (1991)

23rd June 2014:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

After I read your story summary, I started reading this with a lot of fear and trepidation. I know not a thing about you -- aside from the fact that you review rather thoroughly -- but your story has the type of premise that I normally avoid. It's really, really hard to write a compelling novel that's set at Hogwarts, during the time of the books and involving major canon characters. So many things can go wrong.

All of that said, I really enjoyed your first chapter and I think you've got an idea here that can really go places. It looks like you're planning to write a story that sort of feeds into the story told in the books, but does it from a bit of a distance. This could definitely work.

I love the way you set up the start of this chapter. For the first few screens, there was nothing that even suggested I was reading a story about wizards and magic. Sophie was a fantastic lead-in to the character we're really meant to meet and get to know. She's flawed, age-appropriate and her issues are completely realistic. You didn't go overboard with the teenage rebellion theme, you just let her actions speak for themselves. Beautifully constructed!

Then you slowly begin to work in the little hints that Tristan is not what she thinks. I loved the pacing. Bit by bit, Sophie realizes that she's not in Kansas anymore. Her take on the magical portraits was great writing. You took your time and let her explore things in a way that felt perfectly natural.

Tristan's poor parents! I loved your take on how a witch would relate to a muggle appearing in their home. Mary seemed as frightened of Sophie as Sophie was of her.

Lastly, we have Tristan. You captured his angst and sadness about the double-life he leads in a very believable way. It didn't feel like some spoiled, rich, magical teenager whining, "woe is me!" His problems run deeper and the manifestations had a lot more gravity.

You write really well. Everything had a great flow to it and even though the subject matter was more teen-focused and angsty, you resisted the urge to dip too deeply into slang and over-the-top behavior.

I really enjoyed this and I'm excited to read more!

Author's Response: Wow thanks! It's really encouraging to hear that you liked this story despite some VERY understandable hesitation. (I did a truly obnoxious amount of research and planning before I started writing this--I think I've read the entirety of the HP lexicon and wiki. I can't imagine being able to write Hogwarts era off the top of my head (: )

I'm really pleased with the reaction to the Sophie-device. I fretted over her because if she wasn't compelling enough, I'd lose readers instantly, but if she was too likable/interesting, readers might be upset that she doesn't turn up again.

What you said about teenage rebellion/actions speaking for themselves--I hope that I was able to maintain that throughout chapters. I kinda wrote this for readers in at least their early 20s (like me), who can recognize things in the characters that the characters can't see in themselves. Sort of like in OotP (Harry's "Year Five at Hogwarts"), when you can tell he's being an angsty idiot even if he can't. I truly hope that that works, and would love to hear your thoughts going forward!

And I'm glad you identified with the parents! Writing parents from a teen POV is very potent.

Now I'm worried that the characters get to over-the-top later, ah! This story was inspired a lot by early "skins," and Rowling's "Casual Vacancy," so yeah. Aaaah!

Thanks so much for your review! Since this isn't the type of story you generally read, your feedback is especially valuable.

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #35, by CambAngstDream Catcher: The Burrow

20th June 2014:
Hi, Maggie! I'm back for chapter 2!

This chapter had an awesome life transition/coming of age feel to it. Molly is surrounded by the familiar trappings of her childhood, but at the same time she's experiencing the highs and lows of moving on.

I loved this paragraph: Lucy rolled her eyes. She was thirteen—everything embarrassed her. Your writing has real snap to it. You're great at using this sort of small aside or observation to break up the narration and lighten the mood.

You did a good job of defining Molly's niche in the family. She prefers not to be the center of attention, to observe from the periphery and pick and choose her moments. There's quite a contrast between her and Victoire. Definitely a situation of opposites attracting.

Poor Vic can't quite figure out what to make of life at this point, it seems. After being the social butterfly and the life of the party, it must be hard to see "that life" coming to an end and be faced with one that's full of uncertainty and doubt. Being overshadowed by her less popular cousin's achievement probably makes it even harder. I feel badly for her. I think I hear "Glory Days" playing in the back of my mind. ;)

Nice job! I really enjoyed this.

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Review #36, by CambAngstDream Catcher: Patronus

17th June 2014:
Hi, Maggie! I enjoyed your review on CoB so much that when I saw your post in the chapter updates thread, I wanted to take a look.

It did take me a little bit to wrap my head around the idea of Molly and Victoire being close to the same age. For some reason, I always think of Molly as being close in age to James. But after a bit, I was over it. If you want Molly to be one of the elder cousins then she is!

I love the memory she chose to fuel her Patronus. I'm not the world's biggest sports fan, but I can definitely relate to that feeling of being completely immersed in the energy and passion of a stadium full of cheering, chanting fans. It's a magical thing, one you don't get to experience very often in life. You did a great job of drawing out the intensity and the magic of the moment with all of the details and emotions you evoked. Especially Arthur with tears in his eyes. What a wonderful moment! And you gave her a panda bear for a Patronus. Adorable!

Your writing was pristine in this. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems or anything that distracted from the flow and rhythm of the chapter. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi, thank you so so much for coming by! I feel terrible for not responding sooner, but RL is attacking me at the moment. But this review makes me smile every time!

I had this idea of Victoire in my mind, and I knew she and Molly would balance each other so perfectly as friends. So I decided that they needed to be close in age. I'm really excited to explore both of these characters more deeply as the story goes on, and to flesh out their relationship. I'm glad it started to feel right after a bit, and hopefully as the story goes on it will feel more natural.

I don't know that I'm a huge sports fan either, but I do love the moment when it's down to the wire and the underdog pulls off something spectacular. It can be very inspiring, and that's what I saw as Molly's biggest motivation to pursue Quidditch.

Thanks again! I'm so happy you decided to come by, and I hope you continue to enjoy Dream Catcher :)

--Maggie


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Review #37, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakthrough: Scorpius POV

15th June 2014:
Well, well, well, what have we here? The Aurors are hard at work in a new chapter!

This is a very interesting mystery when you put all of the pieces together. There's something very deliberate about the way that Stannous abducted and tortured Rose. An agenda that's not immediately apparent. If it was a simple act of violent retribution against the Potter/Weasley family, there would have been no reason to return her alive. It obviously wasn't about money since there was never a ransom demand. If the point was to send a message of some sort to Harry, Ron and/or Hermione then it didn't work out so well because Rose concealed so much of what happened to her until just recently. What are we left with for possible motives?

I'm starting to think that Stannous's motivations are very personal and they're centered narrowly around Rose and very possibly Scorpius. I'm not letting go of the obvious similarities between Stannous's name and the surname of Scorpius's great uncle and aunt. Maybe the message that's being sent here isn't meant for the Trio at all. Maybe somebody doesn't like the fact that the only heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black is getting cozy with the half-blood granddaughter of the ultimate blood traitor family? Or maybe it's something else entirely. You see how intrigued and confused you've made me? :p

I like the power dynamic that's playing out between Albus and the mentees. It's not at all hard to see where Albus is coming from, but that snappish tendency you've been building up with him since the scene where he duels Harry surfaced again. You've done a good job developing his character and you've paced it really well.

Dom seems to feel most of the same things that Albus is feeling -- so does Scorpius, to a different extent -- but she handles those feelings much better. There's a lot more velvet padding the knife of her emotions than you get with Albus.

"We lived in a state of complete panic and then were so relieved that she seemed unharmed that we didn't ask these questions when we should have!" -- Excellent observation, Dom! And a lot of time has passed. The answers won't be any easier to come by now.

They're going to pretty great lengths to keep everything concealed from Ron, which is actually quite sensible. Ron doesn't handle stuff like this well. I think it would be nice to have Hermione's big brain on their side, but she'd probably feel bound to share with her husband.

Excellent writing! I didn't see a single typo or any other problems. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

Your reviews always make me smile.

I'm so pleased that I have intrigued and confused you! :) Stannous is definitely targeting Rose Weasley - and it is a pretty big mystery.

You have a great intuition, Dan. All I'm gonna say.

Al is a hothead. He is all passion and a little bit of ego, but he feels things deeper than most. Rose is his best friend and he doesn't always see things objectively when it comes to those that he loves - he is a lot like Ron in that respect.

Dom is a tough cookie and she doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve, but she is just as shaken about this as the rest of them. She just goes about things in a more methodical manner.

Harry doesn't like keeping this from Ron and Hermione. I think he could use their help as well, but he doesn't want to betray Rose's confidence. They are a lot tougher than Rose thinks. Rose just sees her parents as "Mum and Dad," not necessarily as tough, dark wizard exterminators. Can anyone really look at the people who changed their nappies and see a superhero?

Thanks again - next chapter should be in the queue soon!


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Review #38, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: The Best Birthday Present

14th June 2014:
Hi, there! Back again for your new chapter!

Harry's choice of bringing in the mind healer was interesting. It's pretty counter-intuitive to try that with Devlin, I would think. Well, let me rephrase that slightly. It's counter-intuitive to try that with Dubhán. Devlin needs all the help he can get, but I found it hard to imagine that Dubhán would willingly participate in such a thing. And he doesn't, at least not willingly. Some of what slips out by accident was pretty revealing, though.

The initial back-and-forth, the sort of "feeling out" period was perfectly awkward for such an encounter. As an omniscient reader -- one who knows what's going on inside Devlin's poor little head -- I have to question the wisdom of Harry not sharing a bit more with the mind healer. I get that he didn't want Devlin to feel like confidences had been betrayed and he probably didn't want to bias her thinking and all that, but he kind of walked her blindly into the cannon fire.

"It seems foolish to argue about liking a name. It seems foolish to even be discussing liking a name." -- This is sort of symptomatic of the problem, I think.

But from those shaky beginnings, I think some pretty useful and revealing things arise. Not that Devlin really shared all that much, but I think maybe he straightened a thing or two out in his own mind. I liked his explanation of the difference between being Devlin and being Dubhán. How being Dubhán sort of absolves him of the need to listen to his conscience and be limited by it. Dubhán was the one who survived Voldemort, along with the sharpness. Devlin was just a freeloader on the journey, a potential source of weakness that could have gotten all three of them killed. It's no wonder that Dubhán feels so disgusted and pathetic about the way he acted in the bathroom with Harry. The boy sobbing in the bathroom was pure Devlin, finally trying to come to terms with all of the terrible things Dubhán did to survive.

Then there's his reaction to the word typical. You played up that word brilliantly. I could never imagine Voldemort using that word as anything other than a derogatory term, and Devlin plainly internalized that message. The way he associates "typical" with "worthless" made perfect sense.

Somehow, some part of him hadn't believed Harry. Likely it was the same part that still doubted Harry's promise and reassurances from the night before. -- Alright, well there is that. Maybe Harry's more clever than I'm giving him credit for. He did what he said he was going to. That's a pretty big deal for Devlin.

"Harry calls him a monster. He doesn't really call Harry a monster, but he hates him as much as he loves himself. There's no one else that makes him so furious. No one else that makes him so...real." -- Now I simply could not pass up on this line! So being angry is being "real" if you're Voldemort. Perfect!

I loved the healer's parting advice for Devlin. Reorganizing your mind, putting events and thoughts in their proper context, can definitely be exhausting. Especially when you're doing it in such a way that you have to vocalize things as you go. I'm sure Devlin was burned out.

It seems like Devlin's birthday went more or less to his liking. Not a big, splashy affair. No other kids around to make him feel awkward.

I loved the paragraph where he's verbally agreeing with his mother but shouting her down on the inside. The part of him that's a "typical" ten year old is the part that lives on the inside. The part that Dubhán has to keep under control.

Wow. It kind of felt like you were going to kill off Draco at some point, but this wasn't at all how I was expecting it to happen. I would have bet on him having his own scene where he either goes out in a blaze of glory, fighting against Harry, or a scene where Voldemort kills him to make a point. Instead, he's sort of unceremoniously killed by Voldemort and left for the Aurors to find. It was a relatively quiet way to go.

And lastly, Devlin's reaction. Well, Dubhán's reaction, to be more precise. No, I can't imagine him shedding any tears over Draco's death. Truthfully, I can't imagine Harry mourning it, either. And neither one of them does. But I loved Harry's reaction, which really had almost nothing to do with Draco Malfoy. It had everything to do with the guilt he feels about allowing his son to be exposed to the level of inhumanity where he was actually laughing about another person's death. That was very well written.

Great chapter! Like I said, it's a bit of a setback for Devlin, but not as bad as what I'd feared might be coming. Your writing was fantastic, as always!

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Review #39, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: Whispering Hearts

13th June 2014:
Hi, pix! Back again to see how the Next Gen kids and devil bunnies are playing together. Not so well, it seems.

It starts off on a fun note. "You can burn those," Rose said, motioning her foot to the image of her tripping over herself and shoving people out of the way. "I scuffed up my new trainers for nothing." Poor Rose! She isn't doing a very good job of convincing anyone -- even herself -- that she isn't interested in Scorpius, is she? Wren stared at the last picture in her hand, where Albus' eyes shone brightly back at her. She smiled to herself, remembering those eyes from a particularly vivid dream a few nights ago. And Rose isn't the only one who's having some unrequited (or maybe just unacknowledged) boy issues. You're still doing an awesome job of keeping these kids age-appropriate!

Poor Wren is starting to have more and more issues with Dillon's mental tendrils, it seems. At least she seems to be finding ways to fight off his control. The tea was a good start, but getting him out of her head seems to be becoming more willful and less of a passive thing. Good on you, Wren!

I have the strangest feeling that Rose and Callie's adventure outside of the castle is going to end poorly. Caught? Enthralled? Providing Dillon with the means to sneak into the castle? I just don't see any good coming of this outing. Given what Albus already thinks of James, if Dillon manages to enthrall James it's going to take Wren and Albus that much longer to figure out what's really happening. Sigh.

Now this is interesting. Is Bunny somehow shifting allegiances here? Perhaps becoming more Wren's friend than Dillon's friend? That would seem to be a significant development. She and Albus definitely need allies in their as-yet-unrealized war against the demon bunnies and their creepy little boy overlord.

Wow! So even though the demon bunnies are messing with Wren's magic, it doesn't seem like the effect is entirely one-sided. You are working so many neat plot threads into this story! I love it!

For one, small moment, Wren allowed herself to believe that the butterflies in her stomach were a good thing. -- Yes, they are! Wren needs more small moments like this.

It didn't actually matter how long or short her hair was, but this way, it made her look more... she blew her hair out of her face again... yeah, like that. -- Ha! You are pulling out all the stops in this chapter with the subtle signs of infatuation. Also, I really have to stop with the pull quotes or I'm going to run out of characters before I get to the end of this chapter.

Albus is dissing the trampy girl in favor of Wren! Good on you, Albus!

I liked the little side track into the politics of vampires in magical society. I feel fairly confident that you're setting something up for later on, although I can only guess at what. Maybe Wren does become Dillon's friend again at some point. Maybe Albus, with his less "enlightened" view on vampires, won't be pleased by this. Speculation...

I loved the "moment" that Wren and Albus have in the middle of the chapter. His hand on her arm, her inner battle over whether to tell him all about Bunny... poignant stuff!

Get out of my head, Wren demanded silently, and pushed back, hard. Her mind jolted free, and she had to blink a few times to reorient herself to where she was. -- Ooh, rudimentary Occlumency? Achievement unlocked...

"Oh Godric, you're going to cry. Okay, okay," Albus said softly, almost sounding like he was saying it more for himself than her. He took her hands in his and waited. -- Ha! The perfect teenage boy reaction! I mean, it would have showed a little more game if he'd managed to not say it out loud, but still.

Then the pace of the chapter picks up dramatically. It seems like Albus's rabbit has grown into some sort of monster in the restricted section. Maybe eating dark magic books isn't so good for a rabbit? The thing was definitely scary. And poor Wren has a 3-party call going on inside of her head. This section reinforced the idea that Wren's Bunny might not be completely in the same camp with Dillon and Albus's monster rabbit. I'm so incredibly impressed with the way you've set up Albus from the very beginning of this story. His paranoia about being pranked by James led him to take so many precautions that he feels perfectly natural being immune from the effects of the vampire thralls.

Wrapping up with Ian Sloan, I'm glad that you already conditioned us not to like him. Here, he's part vampire-enthralled zombie and part obnoxious jerk. Can't say I'm wild about either one. I just hope Albus and Wren get to Neville before he does, but knowing you, I doubt that's gonna happen. :p

Awesome chapter! It was a pleasure to beta read and a pleasure to read for real!

Author's Response: Ah! Just when I thought I was catching up... but I'm not complaining. This is amazing. All those shiny words!

I think we'd have to be very worried if the devil bunnies start playing nice with the Next Gen kids. Though now that you bring it up, I could do a dark version, where the Next Gen kids are completely overwhelmed by devil bunnies and become their...

Maybe another time.

Rose is definitely not doing great in the denial department right now. Just for you, (actually, mostly for me) there's more on that coming up soon. As for Wren, she's made a bit of progress, but her situation is a bit more complicated than simply admitting to a crush. Oh, the interfering plot!

Speaking of plot, Wren is making some headway with regaining control inside her mind. So there's that. I just hope that I've presented it in a way that I won't confuse anyone. I suppose time will tell.

There is some significant development with Bunny here. I hadn't shown much of what Bunny thinks through all of this, and I wasn't going so far as to write a scene from Bunny's POV (though I had a few of those that got trashed from the first draft. They were too weird and even I couldn't follow what was going on... silly rabbits!) but I felt like I needed to at least show that the affection between Wren and Bunny wasn't... erm... all in her head?

If Wren could get a mental break, I'm sure she would be having all kinds of thoughts that she needs right now. We'll see how that goes for her moving forward. Wren's new discovery about her abilities should help.

Albus' bracelets come in handy with trampy whats-her-name, don't they? I resisted inserting more of the sidebar about the girls following Albus around in this story. It's there, but it's so out of his focus at the moment that he's just ignoring it until he can't. I laughed out loud about Albus' lack of "game". Still laughing, actually. If he had any, he might have asked her out a year ago, and it wouldn't even be an issue now. I suppose everybody's got a learning curve. That moment was a nice interlude, so I'm glad you liked that.

You've got some interesting speculations about the vampire/wizard situation and how it impacts the story. Let's pretend that I planned all of that out and it will be fabulous. :) Seriously, I do have subtle plans, but Smeed threw a wrench in one of my subplots that I'm trying to pry apart. Again. He and I need a serious sit-down regarding the outcome. I swear I had the entire plot finished a few months ago. That's what I get for over-developing my characters. Bleah!

LOL! Three-party call, indeed! You may be impressed with the way I set up Albus, but let me tell you that he is highly displeased with his situation. I'm glad it feels natural. I didn't want him to come off as some great evil rabbit know-it-all all of a sudden.

Obnoxious jerks make the best zombies, I think. Maybe that could be a literary rule or trope of some kind: make all the zombies obnoxious.

Thanks again for the use of your eyes and this fabulous review!

Wait, wait. Does that mean you only "fake" read it before??


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Review #40, by CambAngstThe Brave at Heart: A Message and a Mess

12th June 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

Can I tell you how stoked I was to get back to this story? Very stoked, indeed!

Melanie's brother seems to have one crazy owl. Like a larger, more dangerous version of Pigwidgeon. The letter that she brought was anything but amusing, however. I like how you're maintaining some mystery around Melanie's brother and parents. Are they or aren't they?

Mandy seems to be taking it all fairly well, considering her mixed parentage. I like the fact that you've introduced at least one Slytherin character to this story who isn't a pureblood. Or Snape, I guess. It really helps to balance the perspective out a bit.

Moving along to the prank. It seemed pretty clever in the state we first see it in, but it looks like things are only going to get more interesting. Three of the house tables look pretty and smell nice, the Slytherins are going to get a nasty rash -- possibly poisoned -- and Filch is going to have a major allergy attack. It seems well thought out and probably better than the broom closet prank from the Slytherin girls, especially considering that it hasn't fully played out yet.

My goodness, have the Slytherin girls been tricked into taking the fall for the Marauders' prank? I'm really feeling the need to move on to the next chapter, just to see whether Remus, Sirius and the others took off just before Filch arrived on the scene!

Another enjoyable chapter, albeit a tad short. Looking forward to more!

Author's Response: Do you know how stoked I was to see this awesome review? So stoked! Seriously, it means so much to me that a splendid writer like yourself enjoys this story.

I think his owl was sort of inspired by Pigwidgeon, actually. I guess when you get a new owl it probably has to adjust to its task of carrying letters, right? And the letter.. yeah. There's a lot Melanie isn't aware of outside Hogwarts just because she's shielded from it at school, so that's a reminder for her that she should be thinking about it.

Melanie is not a pureblood either - I think probably a lot of Slytherins weren't purebloods. There would certainly be fewer people with Muggle heritage but I seem to remember that the number of completely pureblood families is pretty low.

Their prank was probably much better planned out, yes - after all they are known for this sort of thing! And... well. They aren't exactly friends with the Slytherin girls yet, as it would take more time for them to drop such an ingrained house rivalry, so... perhaps they wouldn't be above doing that. We shall see. ;)

Thank you so much for your review!!


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Review #41, by CambAngstan interlude of you.: thoughts from a prison of stone.

12th June 2014:
Hi, Kiana!

This was really, really impressive! Especially if you pulled it together in a single night. Bravo!

I absolutely loved the metaphor of cartography. I never would have thought of that in a year of pondering and it's brilliant. It's really intriguing, the way that you've portrayed Grindelwald as feeling inferior to Albus, overshadowed. It's not the conventional way that people write his attitude toward Albus. Maybe people imagine him inwardly thinking of Albus this way and just don't write the outward behavior the same, but still it puts a unique twist on their time together.

It seems like even in their most private, intimate moments, there was a distinct imbalance between how much of themselves each chose to share with the other. Albus was essentially pouring his heart out about his family and all of the woes that accompanied his home life while Gellert barely revealed anything. To me, that plays well with the general admiration that Gellert seems to have for his friend. If Albus wanted to talk, Gellert listened.

Even with his noteworthy capacity for self-deception, Albus couldn't completely ignore what he sensed about Gellert's true intentions and his hunger for power. Even though this isn't told from Albus's point of view, I'm really impressed by the way that you've built up his character. Through Gellert's indirect observations and the way he relays simple events, you've told us so much about Albus Dumbledore.

Wow. I have to agree with your previous reviewers: you make Aberforth and especially Arianna seem kind of creepy. "Pulsating eyes" had me recalling imagery from The Exorcist. At the same time, though, it makes perfect sense. Aberforth and Arianna were watching Gellert steal their elder brother -- who also happened to be the head of the family by this point -- away. I imagine that they realized well before Albus was truly ready to admit it that Gellert's intentions were less than noble.

It's ironic that Gellert seems to worry about whether Albus would remember him when the reality was that Albus was constantly tormented by those memories and his thoughts about what could have been. Even near death, the wizard who nearly conquered the world has those feelings of inadequacy where Albus is concerned. Excellent continuity.

I saw one small thing that might be a typo: One day, they would ask what a sort of man was Gellert Grindelwald. -- "... what sort of man..."? Aside from that, this was beautifully written!

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan, sorry for taking an age to reply to this, life has been very hectic recently!

I'm so glad that you liked it! I'm a big map fan (geeky side coming out now :P) and have them pretty much everywhere in my room, so it just came to me naturally really. Yes, I thought it would be fun to show it that way, because I think that feeling of inferiority would only come to him later on life, when he was in prison though when the only thing he had for company was his thoughts and I would like to think that made him more reflective and realise that Albus was the better person.

Yes, that was another fun twist to put into the story because I imagine that Albus would have talked a lot about his family before it happened as people who had known him for ages did know of them. With Gellert though, no one really knows his story, he's a bit of a mystery, the only thing we know of him is that he's related to Bathilda Bagshot so it did really make me want to know his story.

Aw, I'm glad you got to know about Albus too. Even though I do love this ship I think both of them knew it was never meant to be, and Albus' reason for this was because he always knew that Gellert had that darker side to him. I really wish I could explore Albus now as it does make me wonder if that did happen when that trigger point was.

Ah, I feel so bad for them now as I didn't intentionally mean to make them creepy they just turned out that way, but I guess they would appear creepy to Gellert. I think they definitely did realise before Albus did, but it's often the case with the younger people realising before hand but they just never seem to be listened to really.

Ha, I think that's why I love this ship because it was so fleeting, so brief and happened in their youth but had such a profound effect on both of them it really is quite astounding so I had to continue it on here.

Yes, I think it is, and thanks for telling me! Thanks for this fantastic review and sorry for this rambly and repetitive response, I've had no sleep all week :p

-Kiana


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Review #42, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: The Little Dark One

11th June 2014:
Hello, again!

After the intense action of the past few chapters, I thought this one was an excellent change of pace. Not that any of your chapters lack a huge psychological aspect -- I think everything has a huge psychological aspect where Devlin is concerned -- but I really enjoy the ones where you set everything else aside and just focus on his inner turmoil and the way he's trying to make sense of a new life that's 180 degrees opposed to the one he lived as a captive.

Hmmnn... so maybe they're not at Shell Cottage. Or maybe you read my last review and you're purposefully trying to throw me off with Devlin's musings. Goodness, don't I think highly of myself? At any rate, it's plainly somewhere that Emma and Devlin don't know the secret to, since Emma can't even seem to recall whether she's been there before. That was a nice little touch.

Dubhán's approach to things is so quid pro quo. Harry keeps a secret, Dubhán emphasizes secrets he's still keeping. Harry opens up, so does Devlin. I like the consistency.

I'm not sure whether we've seen this particular nightmare before, but my guess would be that this was the time Devlin tried to escape and was caught by Voldemort. Incinerating an entire field seems like the kind of grand gesture that he would go for in that situation.

Then we enter into what I think is one of the best conversations you've written between Devlin and Harry so far. You can't help but feel for the kid and what all of the conflicting messages in his head and the lack of absolute certainty are doing to him. Young children don't like uncertainty anyway. Then you throw in the dire consequences that Devlin believes will happen if he makes the wrong choice... it's easy to understand why he can neither think nor stop thinking.

I love the way that Harry reaches deep into the darker recesses of his own personal experiences to try to help Devlin in this chapter. Before this point, I don't think that Devlin was ready. He might have heard what Harry was saying, but he wasn't ready to appreciate what any of it meant. Now that Devlin is struggling so much to sort out Devlin vs. Dubhán vs. the sharpness vs. all of the other personae he's taken on, it was a really opportune time for Harry to open up.

I had a few really intriguing thoughts about Harry's offer to extract the memories that are troubling Devlin so. On the one hand, it would be an easy path back to a different sort of normality. It wouldn't really solve Devlin's problems, though. Then I had another, darker thought. Devlin is so terrified of Voldemort finding out about his "betrayal". You wouldn't ever have Harry remove any of Devlin's good memories if he was in imminent danger of being recaptured by Voldemort, would you? Say you wouldn't! I don't think I could handle that...

Harry's analogy to Emma was brilliantly done. It didn't solve the problem, but it was a big step in the right direction for Devlin's understanding of love, I think.

Sometimes it was easier being the monster, he thought. Sometimes it was easier knowing what you were supposed to do. -- I loved that sentiment.

You have to admire Harry's unshakeable belief in Devlin's underlying goodness and that every bad thing he's done is a consequence of Voldemort's manipulations. I'm sure I'd feel the same way about my own kids, but it's different somehow when you read somebody else in that position.

Man, Harry really lays all the cards on the table there near the end. Again, it's something that I think Devlin was finally ready to face. Not in the sense that he deals with it well, per se, but in the sense that he actually deals with it. Or tries to deal with it, anyway. I guess the definitions of "success" and "failure" are debatable here. The point is that he didn't throw up his emotional shields and avoid the entire conversation.

So I think I saw one small typo:

In some ways, when Harry had told him, after his failed escape, that he would always be his Devlin, it had given Dubhán a kind of permission be his Devlin, without having to combine the two identities. -- did you mean "permission to be his Devlin"?

Fantastic chapter! I really enjoyed it.

Author's Response: I'm glad the relative 'calmness' of this chapter didn't disappoint. :)

Haha! This chapter was already written prior to your review, but don't think less of yourself. If you were onto me I might sneak a sentence in to throw you off. ;-)

I think the "quid pro quo" as you put it, is probably a pattern he's picked up from Voldemort. And yeah, I see him as the type of kid who would quietly do the oneupmanship sort of thing. When someone else reveals a secret there must be part of him that still thinks 'if they tell mine, I'll have something equally embarrassing to tell about them'.

Oh, interesting that you read it as a literal memory. I suppose I should have seen that coming since I do often have him dream of memories as a way to incorporate the background. In this case it was just a nightmare. You might notice that a lot of his nightmares are beginning with the pattern of trying to escape and finding something other than the woods that should have been there: the dream about the yellow curse (memory), the dream about hiding in the closet (memory), the dream about Voldemort with Maria (nightmare) - they all started with this same introduction.

I actually imagined that he really DID hurt his head, and probably suffered a jolt not just psychologically but physically, which leads to this sense of jumble in his head.

"Then I had another, darker thought. Devlin is so terrified of Voldemort finding out about his "betrayal". You wouldn't ever have Harry remove any of Devlin's good memories if he was in imminent danger of being recaptured by Voldemort, would you? Say you wouldn't! I don't think I could handle that..."

Oh my, how intriguing. You really shouldn't give me ideas like that. ;-)

"You have to admire Harry's unshakeable belief in Devlin's underlying goodness and that every bad thing he's done is a consequence of Voldemort's manipulations."

You know, I was thinking this same thing as I posted the chapter. Writing it I get into my character's heads so much that it seemed there was no other way to express it but to have Harry believe in Devlin's utter goodness. Proof-reading it before I submitted the story, however, I had the same idea as you did. It's a bit different to see it from an outside perspective, yet you know as you are reading it that, put in the same position, you would be unable to imagine something else.

Thanks for the typo warning! I found a couple more on a recent skim for a piece of information and will fix that one too. :)



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Review #43, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Befuddled: Rose AND Scorpius POV

8th June 2014:
Hi, Beth!

A couple of things to start off. First, I always read other author's responses to my reviews. I love the back-and-forth. Second, I'm really pleased that you're on summer break now, because I'm all out of chapters!

I really liked all of the little dynamics that you worked into the first section talking about the living arrangements and the Fidelius Charm. You managed to say a lot about how different characters (James, Ron, Hermione, Harry) were dealing with the situation without slowing down the story of belaboring the point. Ron sounds like a bit of a schmuck, but hey, Ron can be that way at times.

Nice bit of setup on the three mentees. I thought you used character archetypes effectively in that case to give us an idea of who they are without spending excessive time on minor characters.

Ugh. This isn't a criticism, just a personal preference. It drives me completely crazy when two characters do this dance where they can't get over their insecurities or misconceptions and therefore it takes ages and ages for them to get together even though they're mad for one another. After I got past the sort of opening section of this chapter, I really thought you were about to take us on a multi-chapter (mis)adventure where Scorpius and Rose would continue to agonize over the proverbial daisy petals. (He loves me, she loves me not, she loves me, he loves me not, etc.) Instead, you pretty much wrapped it up in one chapter. I applaud you for this in the strongest possible terms!

Holy crap, Scorpius is such a dunderhead at times! “You smell good,” I commented when I could detect the scent of lavender wafting off her locks. Did that sound weird? I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of a creep. For god's sake, man, that's pretty much the opposite of creepy! Somebody get these two some cocktails to break the ice!

I like Rose's therapist. She seems to really know what she's doing. In this intense game of progress and regression that Rose is playing, it's nice for her to have some good allies.

“Skurmis hi yow narken?” -- I think this is my favorite dialog I've read in an HP fan fic story this year so far. ;)

I love the constant way that Dominique pushes Rose toward doing what Rose really wants to do but can't quite admit to herself. At the same time, I have to nit-pick you a bit for her dialog being a bit stiff. To wit, "It is all coming clearer now.” and "Rose, it is blatant that you are hot for Scorpius!" In both cases, I think "it's" would have sounded more natural.

“Hie down yum wammy mummer?” -- This chapter just keeps on giving!

So part of me is kind of disappointed that their "big moment" didn't quite make it all the way to second base and part of me thinks that the pause was actually healthy for their relationship.

Now this healing talent of Scorpius's was interesting. So it comes from his mother's side and he's saying it isn't dark magic. It sounds like a very good thing. And because I read a lot of mystery stories and I'm kind of suspicious to begin with, it makes me wonder. I'm still trying to tie everything back to our boy Stannous who might or might not be a Lestrange.

All in all, a very enjoyable chapter! I love the fact that they've overcome this bump in their path and they're once again communicating with one another. I love that Rose is still getting a little better every day and that Scorpius is a big part of that for her. I don't know what other hiccups you have in the works, but it's nice to feel like they'll confront them together. Til next time!

Author's Response: Hi!

Sorry you are at the last posted chapter! I will do my best to keep it updated.

I'm glad that you liked the pace of the first part. I had a lot of details to fit in there and I'm glad it didn't play out as tedious. Ron is... a protective father who can't really see his little Rosie as a grown woman. She knows this and it can get tiring at times, but she loves him just the same and wants to protect him from her secret because she knows how much it will hurt him.

I agree about the super annoying dance between two people who can't get out of their own way. I wrote this story with the intention of writing a novel where Rose and Scorpius are together in a solid relationship and they have to rely on each other to get through other hardships. Unfortunately, the story kind of took its own path and this was my compromise. There is no way I could write a fic where they are together one chapter, then broken up the next, then together...

That being said, I can't promise that there won't be a few bumps a long the way!

I was particularly proud of Rose's yammerings around Scorpius. They were really fun to come up with.

I will fix those two lines. Dialogue is still a weak point for me.

As far as the "big moment" goes, there are two reasons for it being rather tame. First off, I am fairly unsure when it comes to writing love scenes. I feel like mine all come across as contrived. Secondly, in the first version of this (I actually had about 13 chapters posted and I took down all but three of them to change some major plot points), I had a much more intense reconciliation that got rejected, so I'm erring on the side of caution.

Not everything ties back to Stannous, but he is a pretty evil dude, so I can see where you are coming from.

So, of COURSE there are a few hiccups in the works, and Rose is far from better. Next chapter is in the queue!


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Review #44, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Back to the Beginning: Rose POV

3rd June 2014:
Hi, Beth!

After I read this chapter, I sort of thought of it as the "aftermath" chapter to the combination of the attack on Rose and Al and Scorpius's violent release of frustration. I felt pretty sure that there were going to be consequences on both sides of the relationship. Both of them were forced -- in a pretty horrible way -- to come to terms with some things that they've been avoiding dealing with since the beginning of the story. It felt about right to have a chapter where they were able to take half a step back and retrench a bit.

I guess it made sense that Rose would be a little freaked out about finding Scorpius in her bed. And hurling a Stunner at his head... I guess we'll write that off to still being completely on tilt after her near abduction. Honestly, I love what you did with the whole interaction. Again -- and I think I comment on this in nearly every review -- the pacing was fantastic. You gave both of them time to get past their difficulties and come back to one another in a way that didn't feel rushed or contrived.

The numbness that had acted like a bubble around me had been peeled away and I was raw and open. I felt too much at once and the aching was unbearable. -- Oddly enough, that's one of the most healthy-sounding things Rose has said or thought in the story so far. She's put off dealing with all of this for far too long.

I'm really glad that he talked Rose into telling Harry about what happened. It's another important step in her healing process, I think. She needs to stop acting as though she's responsible somehow for what happened. She needs to stop feeling like the world isn't interested or isn't willing to do something about it.

I just noticed something interesting. Not sure whether this is on purpose or not, but here goes. If you take Stannous's first name and add in a few letters, it sure looks a lot like LEstRanGE. In fact, the four letters you'd need to add are the first four of his last name. And the surviving Lestranges are Draco's uncles. Curious...

So Harry... Harry was the one part of the chapter where I felt like you needed a little more work. I don't want this to sound too harsh, but he came off flat. Here he is, finding out that his favorite niece and goddaughter was nearly abducted, that there was a fire fight in her home involving another one of his nieces, his son and his son's best friend, that the man who tried to abduct her was the same man who actually abducted her once before and also that her abductor tortured her with a modified Unforgiveble Curse. Given all of that, I didn't think his reaction was nearly strong enough. He just acts sort of shocked, dumbfounded and confused. I would have expected lots of emotions: anger, hurt, sorrow and frustration to name a few. I would have expected him to pull Rose into a hug the way he probably did when she was little, to make sure that she knew that he wasn't going to rest until Stannous was admiring the walls of Azkaban from the inside. Also -- and this is not the biggest part of the problem, but it contributes -- his dialog felt very stiff and formal. No contractions and kind of wordy in places. This sentence stuck out in my mind: However, I will honor your wishes, as I encourage you to reconsider. I did like that Rose runs back to him for that hug, but I wouldn't have expected her to need to do that, since Harry should have been all over it.

So, Grimmauld Place. I love the canon setting! Can't wait to see what's shaking there.

I think this chapter was a great change of pace after the past two emotional bombshells. Beautifully written, no typos or other problems that I could see. Be back soon for the next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan,

I'm not sure if you read my review responses, but I'm going to act like you do - haha! I like to respond to all of them (then I get sad when my "unanswered reviews" is 0).

I'm going to respond to your cc first to get it out of the way. I thought about this. A lot. When I was writing it I thought about it a lot, too. I think that Harry is a lot less hot-tempered as an adult than he was in the books. He was a teenager, for one thing, had the weight of the world on his shoulders and was harboring a piece of Voldemort's soul. As he got older and took on the role as head of the auror department (I never know if I should capitalize that or not), he becam a lot more wise (for lack of a better word). I see him as almost Dumbledore-esque. To me, this is a natural result of him being seen (whether he wanted to be or not) as a leader in the wizarding world. People would seek him out for advice on all sorts of things. While I don't think he particularly enjoys all of that, I think that over time, he has come to embrace it. Also, we are seeing this from Rose's perspective and although she can see Harry's facial expressions, she doesn't know what is going through his mind. It is mentioned in a later chapter that Harry does indeed, have an emotional reaction to this. (I don't think I'm actually giving too much away by saying that). He is processing it AND putting on a brave front for Rose. Given all of that - and all the thinking I've done over this - I think I will be taking another look at that part of the chapter.

Whew! - now that that is out of the way...

Rose and Scorpius are going to take a few steps back after all of this. They were in the "everything is great, honeymoon, rainbows and hearts" stage of their relationship and this *bam* lands them right in the middle of reality. There is not a quick band-aid for this one.

Now about the interesting part of Stannous's name. Hmm. Well, uh.. perhaps I've noticed the same thing. All I'm gonna say.

Thanks again!

Beth



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Review #45, by CambAngstTrying not to love you: Chapter twenty-four - The Broom Closet Incidence

30th May 2014:
Hi! I could not resist the urge to take a quick peek at the other reviews for this chapter before I sat down to write mine. The first thing I'd like to say is

I TOLD YOU SO!

I told you readers were going to be gathering in the streets, lighting torches and sharpening pitch forks. I mean, sure, they were going to be happy that there was a new chapter, but oh, once they read it... Chaos, I say!

Anyhow, you've once again done a brilliant job of twisting us around your little finger and yanking the rug out from underneath us. Calling Gwen and James "impossible" is probably giving them too much credit, because if it was truly impossible then we'd stop agonizing over the two of them. It is possible, we all know it's possible. It just never happens! Grrr...

The kissing scene in the closet felt like an absolute triumph. Yes. Yes! YES! This is the moment we've been eagerly awaiting for the past 24 chapters. You captured "their" moment beautifully. All of the feelings and sensations and little sounds... just amazing writing.

AND THEN YOU DID IT TO US AGAIN!!!

It all gets awkward when Gwen can't quite forget about Joshua for long enough to lose herself in James. Did you read what I just wrote, Hanna? Do you really appreciate what it means for a guy who loathes romance novels and romantic movies to write a sentence like that? You're turning me into a soppy fool here!

Gwen does an impressive job of reeling herself back in. It felt like she and James were going down a path with no return for a while. But she's been down that path -- to a lesser extent -- before. Joshua is the future. He's good for her, right? So why does this feel so wrong?

James Sirius Potter is a big, wishy-washy scaredy cat. I think I can state that without hesitation at this point. I think he knew very well what he was doing and at the moment he should have spilled all of his feelings for her, he chickened out. Isn't there somebody in your story who can smack some sense into that boy? Again, grrr...

I really, really loved the little plot thread with the paintings. It cracked me up. They lead such a boring existence, I could easily see them being very nosy and gossipy.

Of course, Gwen does her own share of damage to James's confidence, which is apparently somewhere between plate glass and balsa wood in terms of its breakability. "About that – that didn't really – that didn't mean anything, did it?" Smooth, Gwen. Very smooth.

And then real life intrudes on what was meant to be the private discussion where these two finally confess their true feelings for one another. At least that was what I meant it to be. Apparently somebody else had different ideas. Yes, I'm talking about you. :p

Alex is rapidly becoming the most annoying human being in this story. He always seems to pop up at the worst possible moment.

At least they get a brief respite from the awkwardness, hanging out with the kids. Viola was really cute. Gwen had some pretty good advice for her.

Wow. I think the conversation between Gwen, Joshua and James was one of the most awkward you've written. Definitely from the reader's standpoint, and from Gwen's. Probably from James's, and very possibly from Joshua's, too.

"No, of course not," he interrupted and pulled me into a hug. But even that felt a bit forced. "I meant it, let's just forget that whole stupid thing, no need to make a bigger deal out of it when it didn't mean anything." -- I highlight this line mostly because I don't want to imply that Gwen has a monopoly on "smooth".

Wow, what a roller coaster of a chapter! The highs and lows were crazy. Someday when you look back at this completed story, I think you'll find that this was one of the most memorable chapters in the whole thing. Great job!

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Review #46, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Far Away Place

29th May 2014:
Hello! Here to review your new chapter!

Interesting. Devlin almost allows himself to think of Harry as being as strong as Voldemort for a moment there. He quickly corrects himself, but I'm pretty sure at this point that it's more of a survival mechanism than anything else. Part of Devlin is really starting to admire his dad. Dare we even say like him?

I liked the parallels between how Harry's acting and how Devlin tries to act with the Healer. Harry's always the last to admit he needs help, too. Poor Devlin is having to expose his troubling scars to more and more of the world. He's having to learn to trust. That's got to be incredibly hard for him.

His birthday wish seemed very appropriate for him. Devlin wants so badly to control his own destiny, but he knows that's beyond his ability at this point. Let's just hope that growing strong for the sake of being strong doesn't become too much of an obsession for him. That would be dangerous.

I love the dichotomy Devlin sees between "Voldemort's Harry" and "his Harry", and I love the feeling it gives Devlin even more. Is "power" the right word? It definitely makes him feel special, like there are things that only he is privy to. That has to be a really good feeling for a little boy who's been lied to and kept in the dark for so long.

Curious. Why does the Healer try to use Legillimency on Devlin? It could be diagnostic, I suppose, or it could be something more sinister. I also wish that Devlin could have studied the man's face.

Ha! Our dog has the exact same habit when she yawns. It's very annoying when I'm trying to leave for work early in the morning and I'd like the kids to sleep longer. I see it gives Devlin a similar problem.

I can't imagine what Voldemort's favorite food would be. Needing to eat would feel like such a weakness to him. A physical frailty that needed to be conquered and controlled. Hungry. So very muggle.

I feel like your subplot with Voldemort taking Devlin to the cave where the locket horcrux was kept might be coming to a head at some point. It seems to come up more and more often lately. I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be a huge test of Devlin's shifting loyalties, if Devlin knows enough to realize how big of a secret he's keeping. I'm also curious to see whether you keep with "book canon", where Voldemort isn't really aware of the horcruxes being destroyed, or "movie canon" where he feels them die.

I'm guessing they're at Shell Cottage, right? It isn't really important, but that's my guess.

It's kind of distressing, the way that Devlin is speaking to himself in Voldemort's words in the bathroom. Although one could also interpret that as the part of him that's loyal to Voldemort -- Dubhán -- struggling to regain control. I think I like the latter interpretation better.

The we come to the final scene. I really love your Voldemort. He's so threatening and malevolent, but in an almost casual sort of way. As though there was never the slightest chance that he wouldn't have tortured Draco for failing, so why is it even a big deal?

I'm now thrilled for all of the menacing things that Devlin said and did during the battle. It seems like he sold Voldemort with his performance. Who knows, maybe he's even sold himself. The situation seems rather fluid, but I loved Voldemort's appreciation of the way that Devlin cursed Draco. I'm also a bit suspicious that Draco might not be long for this world.

I really enjoyed this chapter immensely! It feels like any number of plot threads are starting to converge. The next few chapters should be fun!

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Review #47, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bombarda Maxima: Scorpius POV

27th May 2014:
Hi, Beth! I enjoyed your new chapter immensely, so I figured I should come back and review another one. Soon, I will catch up!

One thing that strikes me again and again as I read this story is what good friends Rose and Scorpius have. I started to say friends and family, but, well, you can’t choose your family. Dom and Selenia have a strong sense of what Rose needs and how Scorpius fits into that equation. Al seems to have a pretty good grasp on what Scorpius needs and at least he stays out of the way where Rose is concerned. That’s about the most you can hope for in a guy. ;)

Poor Scorpius! I mean, I feel like I should say “poor Rose!”, but at least she wasn’t conscious for the post-abduction-attempt trauma. The last of Rose’s secrets is finally out, and it seems to have hit everyone hard. I’m usually not a huge fan of the f-bomb because I think it’s overused in Next Gen stories. Here, it fits the situation perfectly.

I know now that I am completely, irrevocably in love with Rose and I will do anything to keep her safe. -- Well it took you long enough, you big goof!

Albus was just brilliant in this chapter. Brilliant as a friend. Brilliant as an Auror. Brilliant as an exceptionally powerful wizard.

You managed to capture an amazing amount of raw emotion in the barrage of destructive magic Al and Scorpius unleashed. Anger and pain and inadequacy and just plain hurt. Brilliant, beautiful writing.

“Not if I get there first.” I promised. My voice was uneven from the tears and emotion. My Rose. My Rose. I resolved to make this up to her. If I have to, I will spend the rest of my life searching for him, and consoling her. -- I love the statement of unequivocal devotion here.

And my last, and probably favorite, quote from this chapter: ”Scorpius,” she paused at the door and fixed me with a hard stare. “She needs you. You can’t be a wishy-washy _ this time. This is not going to be fixed overnight. Please don’t play the hero for a month and then decide it’s too intense for you.” -- Wow, talk about cutting right to the core of the matter. Yet it seems that Scorpius is ready to hear that message. To embrace it, really. I take this as a very good sign!

Excellent chapter! I didn’t see a thing wrong with it, and there was so much right with it! Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Wow. This review caught me off guard. Thank you, thank you. I was having a hard time responding and I think that is why it has taken me so long.

So, confession time: This was actually the very first thing I wrote for this story. I started it here and wrote forward for about four months. Then, I wrote the chapter in Harry's office (The one with Rose and Harry that I accidentally didn't post) and then I wrote the beginning. I've already admitted that I have never written anything before and I am sure that people think this process is weird, but it just sort of happened.

I was really worried that Scorpius came off as a wimp here, so thanks for the vote of confidence.

As far as Al staying out of the way... well, you will see in future chapters that he isn't always so passive. I think, in this case, he is in uncharted waters and is willing to let Scorpius take the lead, for once.

This group is really tight-knit. As far as I see it, Ron, Hermione and Harry would carry their close bond on to their kids. The fact that Scorpius, Rose and Albus were sorted into Ravenclaw made them even closer. And Dom is Rose's closest female cousin, so they have that bond as well - although they are a bit opposite in personality.

Thanks again for such a wonderful review. I look forward to each of your comments!

~Beth


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Review #48, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Tangled and Dreaming of Better Ways

26th May 2014:
Wow! After a couple of relatively slow, introspective chapters, you blew the lid off with this one.

You really threw a curveball on Geoffrey's character in this chapter. He went from being sort of sage-like and protective and reassuring to being completely creepy in a very short space. It's hard to exactly say why. Maybe Geoffrey feels like he's been found out, that the game he's been playing is finally up where Harry is concerned. Or maybe he's just trying to teach Devlin a lesson about being more careful. Regardless, the effect was pretty chilling. I love how protective Devlin gets in the first scene:

"She isn't going to be like me. I'm like me so she isn't like me. Don't you understand, traitor?" -- It's a bit ironic that Devlin is referring to Geoffrey's betrayal of Voldemort -- I think, anyway -- but it's the betrayal of his family that he's most concerned about.

And just when I was ready to write Geoffrey off, he comes back with that line about Devlin being better than Voldemort. Gah, that guy is so incredibly complicated!

Emma just cuts Devlin to the bone in this chapter. She literally opens him up for everyone to see. It felt like she also reawakened something inside of him. That had been Devlin, clawing his way back into his own head; knowing he would have to be there to protect her. Devlin, who did not know about death. Yay for Devlin! Visit often! Stick around!

I'll confess that the exchange between Emma and Devlin was a bit hard to follow in places. It took me a few readings to figure out that Emma was the one talking about Scorpius Malfoy. She's an incredibly perceptive little girl to take that away from Devlin's unguarded comment in the last chapter. I guess "perceptive" runs strong in the Potter children. At the same time, though, there were bits and pieces that were unmistakably the "logic" of a young child. That arguing technique where you simply throw everything you have at the other person, whether or not it's relevant to the topic at hand.

Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist.

The whole story of Devlin being made to fight Scorpius... wow. There are so many neat things going on there, it's hard to know where to start. Maybe I'll start by pointing out one thing that might be a typo:

Malfoy didn't like it. Voldemort saw seen, and he didn't like it. So he said it. -- I'm thinking maybe the word "seen" doesn't belong?

Anyway, I love Devlin's analysis of Voldemort's cruelty. I love the fact that Devlin does things, or refrains from doing things, just to avoid pleasing Bellatrix. And I think this is one of my favorite descriptions of a look that I've ever read: "The one he gets when he has just thought of something interesting to do." I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. The point of not doing things -- fixing your hair, straightening your clothes, rubbing a cut... -- just because something even worse is about to happen was terribly sad. I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways.

Draco's dream was a really neat interlude in the middle of this long, tense chapter. I think it makes perfect sense that if Draco had it to do over again, he would have simply killed Devlin and spared himself a lot of struggle and suffering. Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long.

I figured that picture would pop up again at some point. It nearly sends Devlin over the edge, but it seems like Harry's figured out a way to rope him back in a bit. Interesting.

So I admit I got a little lost when Harry took Devlin out for a walk. They were in a forest and then it seemed like the sharpness sort of took over and then an instant later, they were back at the Potter house, which was under attack.

The attack itself was beautifully done. I loved the unspoken communication between Harry and Alexandra. I wanted to cheer for Devlin when he chose Harry over the werewolf Keen. Harry used some brilliant tactics to get out of the house, although it seemed like he played right into the Death Eaters' hand.

Devlin was awesome as he ordered Malfoy around and baited the Death Eaters into the critical error. Devlin's escape was really cool to read. I had almost forgotten about his ability to transform. It served him beautifully here. And then he curses Malfoy... I just wanted to stand up and cheer! He didn't run away, even when he had the chance. I felt like a corner was turned here.

So one more little typo: He had been feverish that entire day, in and out of seizures that had felt like someone were killing him. -- was killing him.

This was a blockbuster chapter! I loved every bit of it. Great job!

Author's Response: I think I will be really sad the day that Geoffrey finally revealed himself, because I do so enjoy keeping everyone on their toes about his motives. Perhaps, in this instance, he was warning Devlin of one thing, because he thought Devlin WASN'T actually as strong as he proved himself to be. Perhaps Geoffrey wanted Devlin to make the choice. Perhaps he merely reacted on gut instinct - to protect Devlin. We don't yet know all of their history and all the ways in which Geoffrey has previously protected him.

I'll take another look at Emma's scene; I certainly didn't mean for it to be confusing! I kind of felt these were cumulative observations that this once instance ("I just don't think you know anything" = always stupid thing to say, Devlin), brought of Emma in a sort of vindictive way. In my mind, she sort of stumbles upon the reason. She throws lots of things at him that - that he has a wand, that he likes her friend (Maria), that he has FRIENDS he doesn't share with her, and then this thing about the boy he was talking about comes out too. She knows him too - doesn't Devlin see how important she is? She knows someone he knows, and since he only speaks to Geoffrey about this boy, it must be one of the friends he won't share with her. She rubs his perceived friend into the mud "he's a stuck up jerk". In someways, I think she over generalizes and simply falls upon the truth. Sometimes, children say/realize things we think is so amazing that they have, and yet when asked about it later - they don't actually seem as conscious of this discovery as we would have thought. I admit though - it's hard to create those scenes in writing, because a reader assumes whatever you put in writing is a direct reflection upon the character's abilities/personality, etc. etc.

"Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist." YES, it has actually been referenced before, but not so blatantly. It's the story his grandfather told him so he'd remember not to be without a wand - he recalls it a couple times, very early on, I think.

The Scorpius scene was very fun to write!

" I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. " I'm laughing at this, because this will be Alexandra's sentiment to a conversation she ends up having with Devlin pretty soon.

"I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways." Thank you. :) It seems to be one of the only proper ways to capture it through a child.

I could hear your sarcasm practically soaking your words in this: "Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long." I laughed, but try to see it from Devlin's perspective and believe he has something less comfortable than a cold floor coming to him...

Okay, the Harry and Devlin photograph scene. It started out as this whole alternative plot, then I got midway through and it decided to throw me for a loop. It is meant to be a dream. He dreams of his magic pulsing against the wards as he tries to disapparate, when in reality he is sensing the wards being broken. His sharpness finally interrupts the dream when they find themselves in the woods that open into the field - and the sharpness wakes him by taking over. One clue is that Harry never gets the pajamas that Devlin was wearing, back. You'll note from Draco's description they aren't torn in the Potter residence. It is a symbol in Devlin's mind. :) I have an one-shot AU companion story written in which a slightly older Devlin finds Harry on his own, brining that piece of fabric as proof of his identity.

To make this clearer the text was meant to be italicized, but that apparently didn't come through... I will fix it in the morning. :)

Thank you for a brilliant review, as always. I'm afraid I've lagged terribly behind on replying to them, but I will try to catch up. :)




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Review #49, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Besieged: Rose POV

25th May 2014:
Wow. Things got really, really intense in this one. This Stannous guy doesn't go away, does he? I'm getting really, really curious about how he ties into her past and what his interest in her was or is.

But that's getting ahead of myself. The two of them were so cute, it makes you want to vomit. You know, Selenia and Al aren't the only ones who are acting pretty cute at the start of this chapter. I really enjoyed the secretive sort of approach Rose and Scorpius are taking to their relationship in the beginning. I've seen that play out several times when two people who are part of a larger group of friends start to date. They don't want to make things awkward with the rest of their circle, so they try to keep it on the down low until they feel "sure". At least as sure as you can ever feel about something like that.

"I was referring to my Uncle Ron, of course," James said, not missing a beat. -- Ugh. Yeah, there's that. Alluding to confrontations yet to come, are we? ;)

Ah, they're waiting around for that post-party snog. Definitely the sign of a couple with strong chemistry. If two people can make it through an entire party without annoying one another and they still want to snog when it's over, that's a good sign!

My one suggestion for this chapter would probably be to slow the pace of the first section a little. The thing I like most about the chapter is the contrast between the first section, where Rose is feeling comfortable and secure and excited and just all around happy, and the second section where she ends up terrified and exposed and eventually broken. I feel like you could have enhanced that by spending more time in the first section, focusing on Rose's feelings of safety and comfort and fulfillment.

On to the second section. I really liked the kind of hazy, mysterious, "is this really happening or is this a dream" quality that it had, at least at the start. Before Stannous completely reveals himself, I definitely would have believed that Rose was just having a nightmare. But the scene gets more and more real as the chapter moves forward. Terrifyingly real.

Interesting. Right up to the point where Stannous abducts Rose, he seems like a really good guy. He was obviously an excellent teacher, one that the students liked and I daresay admired. It's curious to imagine that all of this was an act, geared toward the capture and seemingly pointless torture of a single student. There's definitely something deeper going on here. A brilliant mystery!

You did an amazing job of capturing the paralyzing terror that Rose feels in his presence. For a while, she can't move or speak. It almost feels like an autonomic reaction when she finally cries out in panic. But her body sort of takes over for her. I guess it's tired of dealing with the physical abuse.

The things that Stannous seems to know about Rose made me even more suspicious. Either he's going to great lengths to keep tabs on her -- something that would be very difficult for a wanted fugitive -- or he has an inside connection to her life. Very suspicious, indeed...

And here comes the cavalry! That was a brilliant tactic on Dom's part, using her patrons to summon Al and Scorpius. Good on you, Dom!

I felt horrible for Rose at the end. She's so consumed by what just happened that she can no longer tell friend from foe. She's collapsing in on herself again, having another panic attack. At least her friends know now. I think that's where the next phase of the healing begins.

Excellent job with this chapter. Looking forward to the next!

Author's Response: Hey Dan,

Glad this chapter didn't disappoint. I'm going to go back and look at the pacing. I wanted the first part to seem like things were going a bit too well for Rose. It was just too easy for them. Their relationship wasn't completely based on honesty because Rose hasn't yet told Scorpius about her torture - that is bound to get in the way at some point.

It does seem like a lot of work for Stannous to build up trust, just to abduct Rose. He has his motivations ;).

That is kind of weird, huh? Stannous knows a lot about what Rose has been up to, although he has been in hiding for the past two years. He is a slippery one...

Dom has a cool head and at least knows when she is outnumbered.

Rose, of course, will view her panic and unconsciousness as weakness, no doubt. She would most likely have never revealed her secret to the others willingly.

Thanks again!

~Beth



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Review #50, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Better: Rose POV

24th May 2014:
Hi, Beth!

So first of all, yes, the next chapter does make more sense after reading this one.

After the pseudo-cliffhanger you dropped on us at the end of the last chapter, I was expecting this one to be a bit more dramatic. Instead, we see Rose just being Rose. Well, being Rose and also sharing some insight into her childhood and relationship with her favorite uncle.

That was definitely the highlight of the chapter for me. I love the idea of Rose and Harry being very close. I played with it a lot when I was writing Conspiracy of Blood, and the two of them are definitely one of my favorite non-romantic pairings to write in the fandom. The image of Harry being sort of mesmerized by this little red-headed toddler was absolutely adorable, and I like to imagine that they kept it up for many years to come.

I love the way she scolds Albus and inflicts some healing on him. Not all that gently, either. She obviously has his best interests at heart, but she's not shy about exacting a little price for his foolish behavior.

Yay, you pulled her and Scorpius a baby step closer to one another. Even Harry is getting in a bit of match-making. Good on you, Uncle Harry!

This was a fun little interlude. Now that I've read it, I'm looking forward to getting back into the meat of the story. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thank you for being patient and waiting for this chapter to get posted. I know that not much happened here in terms of the plot, but I needed it to establish a few key points. The first being Harry and Rose's relationship. My version of Ron is like a slightly older, larger Ron from the books. He has no clue about girls and having a daughter would downright terrify him. Harry, on the other hand, would cherish the next gen kids, never having had a family growing up.

I also wanted to establish that Lily is four years younger than Rose (instead of two years, as implied by canon). That comes up later in the story.

The last little part that needed to be established is that Rose heals the two duelers. This is the start of something bigger for her and needed to be set up early in the story. She loves to be healer, but thinks Albus is a dimwit for the way he got his wounds. I know you were already able to read/review the next chapter - so, yeah - you will definitely get to the meat of the story next!

Thanks, Dan!

~Beth


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