Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
1,248 Reviews Found

Review #26, by CambAngstObsession: Obsession

16th August 2015:
Hi, Lauren! I'm slowly moving along toward my GryCReMo goal and I decided to start with stories from the other participating authors. Ever since I got hooked on Roots In Water's Wilted Flower I've had an odd obsession with post-ear Pansy stories, so this one definitely caught my eye. Before I go on, please indulge me for a moment of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #15)

On to the story!

This was remarkably consistent with the way I think of Pansy. Her obsession with Draco (being his friend, dating him, marrying him, bearing the next generation of the House of Malfoy) was pretty creepy. And she's not exactly the deepest, most interesting person to be around. It seems that the majority of what she finds important in life (pureblood social order, presenting herself well and finding the best possible husband) are things that were drilled into her head by her parents, not things that she discovered through broadening her mind and experiencing life. Overall, it wasn't surprising to me that Draco never saw her as much more than a plaything and quickly lost interest in her once he became a Death Eater and had to focus on staying alive.

And then she has a tantrum. Again, not even a little bit at odds with the way I think of her. She grew up without ever wanting for a single material thing. She had servants at her beck and call and parents who doubtless treated her like a princess. People like that don't deal well with the word "no".

Poor house elf! In a sense, it's like he's been ordered to attack his mistress. It must have been very confusing for him and more than a little bit frightening. I like the way you wrote him. In spite of the fact that he obviously lives in fear and squalor, he still had a sense of ultimate loyalty to Pansy.

Your writing was really lovely in this. It all flowed very well as Pansy's depressing and anger increased. I did see a few small typos, however:

You finally find yourself stood amongst a pile of ruined possessions at a lost as to what to do next. -- at a loss

Every way you consider it, all the exits looks the same. -- all the exits look the same

Great job with this!

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Review #27, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 18. Hearts of Curiosity

15th August 2015:
Hi, pix! I'm making my way through the author pages of everyone who signed up for GryCReMo because... well, because I needed to start somewhere. Allow me to pause for a moment to keep my own little count:

GryCReMo (Review #14)

It's been quite a while since I've poked my head into your rabbity world, but you'd be amazed how fast it all came back to me.

Sloan. Man, that guy is a jerk! Now he's a vampire rabbit-enthralled jerk, to boot. I do not like him getting Wren and Albus in trouble. Not one bit.

I thought you did a fantastic job with Neville in this chapter. I love the way he struggles with the cognitive dissonance of trying to be an adult authority figure while simultaneously recalling the fact that all of the adult authority figures at Hogwarts during his own school years were -- to put it bluntly -- pretty much useless. Seriously. Aside from Dumbledore's "holy crap, how did that even work?" master plan for Harry's defeat of Voldemort, I can't think of a single situation where the adults in books one through six did anything other than slow Harry and his friends down. Now poor Neville is trying to justify to himself how he can follow proper procedure when his daughter is claiming to be confronting her own mysterious dangers and he can't quite do it. Good on you, Neville! Be the Hogwarts Adult who finally breaks the mold and doesn't end up looking like a fool.

Nigel Summers had yet to be given a detentionee, and even though he was technically an intern, he was also the part-time caretaker. He would have plenty for them to do. -- Gah! Neville, take off the Bad Idea Jeans, man!

"There really is a giant rabbit in the Restricted Section. Or it might not even be a rabbit anymore... if it ever was one. It's huge and it smells bad, and it's dangerous. We were going to tell you about it first thing this morning anyway. Please, you have to do something about it!" -- OK, yeah Putting myself in Neville's shoes for a moment, that is quite a bit to take in before breakfast. Maybe I'll cut him some slack here.

Moving right along, we find a small collection of creepy people being creepy together in a dark, claustrophobic, creepy place. Even when he's being enthralled, Sloan can't stop being an egotistical, self-important, whiny jerk. "Why do you need other friends, Dillon? Why not just use me up and drink me dry instead?" That actually sounds appealing, if only the consumption would stop with Sloan.

"Looks like you brought the fun back with you," Trudy said, sliding off her bed and scooping up a bottle from Rose's desk. She squinted at the label, and then dug around in one of her drawers for a tea cup. -- Note to self: Do not party with this Trudy girl.

Even though she's going about it in a very annoying way, I'm glad to see that Rose is trying to help Wren. She just needs to get over herself first in order to do it, which seems like a bit of a stretch when she's full of James Potter Rule-Breaking Glory. Oddly enough, she does seem to get over herself once Wren starts to spill. I definitely see a lot of Hermione in Rose. Turn something into an adventure and she gets excited about the project, even if it's not very safe.

Finally! Neville is armed with evidence and he's on their side. I'm really intrigued to see how that works out for him. He's definitely tougher than Pince or Summers. Hopefully he can start to put things right before they get a lot more wrong.

Lastly, we have the Smeed and Burns show. Have I mentioned that sometimes they give me this vibe that sort of reminds me of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show? I have no earthly idea where that's coming from, but it's a thing with me. Don't judge. Smeed seems to be one piece of information away from figuring out what's going on. He hasn't managed to tie the rabbits together with Dillon. Once he makes that leap, I think the rest is going to come together for him.

He thought back to the strange, yet familiar presence he'd felt when he met Hannah's daughter. -- This takes me back to Dillon's memories of his mother. What if she was in some sort of trouble with the vampire community. What if that's why Smeed finds this "presence" that he feels around Wren familiar? Just a passing thought...

Awesome job with this! I will be back as I try to climb this mountain of reviewing!

Author's Response:

Hi Dan! Fancy seeing you 'round these parts!

I'm so glad you're participating in the reviewathon. I've pretty much given up on maintaining a frenetic pace with it, and as you know, I have a hard time reviewing and writing at the same time. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue reviewing through the last of my revisions, since the writing bit is finished.

Ahh, balance.

Sloan = jerk. Yep. That's about it.

Neville. Poor guy. I hated putting him in this position. Of all people, he would understand from personal experience how difficult it is to get adults to take you seriously when things go square, but Wren's put him in a real bind, and her explanations taken at face value do seem quite ridiculous. Ah, I did that on purpose. Bad me.

Rose. I know I haven't made her the most sympathetic friend in the world. Actually, she's close to being a jerk herself, without the outward "meaning to be a jerk". I felt like I needed to do something different with her from what we usually see, and also giving her that self-centered vibe would make Scorpius think twice about trying anything. Either that, or he just goes for antagonistic girls in general. Hmm... stop making me rethink my story when I'm almost done!! :P

Ah haha! Trudy. You know those people that you have to be around so you just put up with them even though you have almost nothing in common with them and you don't hate them but you can't seem to warm up to them either? I think they're making the best of things.

Heeheee! The Smeed and Burns show. That should be my next fic. Oh, and there's a small reason for that familiarity. Now I have to go back and see if that bit was edited out, or if it comes up later. It was a small thing, but it popped into my head and made all kinds of sense later. *flips through document* ... I have no idea where it went. I'll look it up later.

Good luck on climbing that mountain! You are fantastic for this!


Pix


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Review #28, by CambAngstRaised Like a Pig for Slaughter : Raised Like a Pig for Slaughter

15th August 2015:
Hi, Cannons! I'm working on completing GryCReMo and I decided to start by reviewing stories from the other participants. Pardon me for a moment while I keep track:

GryCReMo (Review #13)

Now, on to your story! I thought you did a fantastic job with this. Really insightful and very well thought out. You darkened Snape's childhood story relative to what was in the books, but the books always did tread carefully when it came to certain themes like child abuse. It's definitely not hard to imagine that Severus's childhood went exactly the way that you describe it.

I love the house metaphor that you used throughout the story. It fits really well with the way I've always thought of Snape. He is not, in my opinion, noble. The things he did were either done out of obsession or guilt. I never thought that he loved Lily so much as he coveted her. She was as much an ideal to him as a friend, a symbol of a form of happiness that he desired but never truly understood. After she died, he carried on trying to do what he thought she would have wanted him to do, protecting the child she loved. But he never understood that love or felt the tiniest shred of it, himself. Otherwise, he never would have been so terrible to Harry. All of this is explained so well by the way you wrote his early family life. In the same way that Voldemort can't comprehend love, Snape can't comprehend kindness and affection except in the context of his relationship with Lily Evans.

The imagery of his relationship with his father was powerful and disturbing. There was no mystery here, but you still wrote it in a way that was subtle and evoked the images in the reader's mind instead of dragging the reader through all of the gruesome detail. I do sort of wish you'd spent a little more time on his relationship with his mother. I would be interested to see what you made of Eileen Prince.

The other really powerful scene was the one where Lily's parents take both children to Diagon Alley. Severus gets this one, brief dose of what it feels like to actually be part of a caring, loving, proud and supportive family. Unfortunately, it ends up being sort of like giving a small sip of water to a man who's dying of thirst and then yanking it away. It only leaves him more angry.

I guess I wouldn't go so far as to call Snape a pawn. In his own way, he manipulated the circumstances surrounding two of the most powerful wizards of all time. But in the end, the most important moves were not his to make.

Your writing was really, really good. You paced the story brilliantly and I thought you chose really great words to match the tone and the main character. I only saw one thing that I think was a typo:

You had heard the horror stories of his upbringing, not to dissimilar to your own and yet he arrived at Hogwarts with a love for the world and his innocence intact. -- not too dissimilar

Great job!

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Review #29, by CambAngstRace Against Time : Chapter 1

15th August 2015:
Hi, Meg! I am on my mission to complete GryCReMo and I wanted to start with stories from the other authors who are participating. Please allow me to pause for a moment to keep track:

GryCReMo (Review #12)

I really liked the premise you're starting out with. You have to wonder how Sirius's old friends and romantic interests reacted to the news that he'd escaped from Azkaban. I suppose I don't need to wonder any more because you're going to tell us! :)

Emmeline's emotional recovery after the Potters' deaths seemed to be paced pretty well. She still has a wounded heart, but it was mostly scabbed over until she saw the Prophet. And now the wound is raw and open again. Her physical and emotional reaction to his escape was nicely written. Not overdone, but appropriate to the magnitude of the betrayal that she (believes she) suffered.

I’m going to be a bit late today. Personal Matter. -- If Scrimgeour is any kind of Auror at all, it probably won't take him long to put 2 and 2 together.

You set up Remus's character in a pretty unique way. Basically everyone writes him as being isolated and down on his luck, but to have him living in alcoholic squalor is a twist I haven't seen before. To that end, I actually felt like he recovers himself a little too quickly. One moment he's passed out drunk in his bed and the next moment he's offering Emmeline tea in his kitchen. I think you might have benefited from making him more out of sorts until she shoves the newspaper under his nose. That could be the sobering moment for him.

Aside from that, I thought your writing was superb. Everything flowed really nicely and you did a good job of pacing the chapter and mixing dialog and narrative. It was easy to feel the emotion coming through. Good job!

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Review #30, by CambAngstAll the World's a Stage: And One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts

13th August 2015:
Hi, Lizzie! I'm on my quest to complete the GryCReMo reviewing event and I decided to start with stories from all of the other participants. Please indulge me while I take care of my scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #11)

Now, on to your story. I think a lot of people on HPFF know that I have twin boys, who happen to be 7 years old at this point. I don't know whether you have children, but you did an amazing job of capturing the sort of behavior, logic (or lack thereof), story-telling and enthusiasm that you'd expect from kids this age. You just nailed it. The kids seemed perfectly age-appropriate and I loved the way they played their parts and interacted with one another.

Poor Ginny. I could see a lot of Molly in the way you wrote her as a mother. She's keeping her frustration under control pretty well, trying hard to relax and enjoy this precious moment. But, dude! They're completely trashing the house! I thought you struck a pretty good balance with her character, making her tolerant but not too tolerant.

Harry was really good with the kids. He indulged them so much and played along so gamely. It's exactly the type of father I'd picture him being after his miserable and joyless childhood with the Dursleys. I could never see Harry being angry with his kids or denying them anything.

"Can't tell you," Lily said wryly. "Spoilers." -- Slow clap. Brilliant.

"Do you think anything is going to explode?" Ginny asked, eyeing the sheet covered objects nervously. -- Umm, funny you should mention that, Ginny.

Lily is adorable. She played her older brothers like violins.

It took me probably a little too long to make the connection between "Vicky" and Viktor Krum, but then it became clear that the kids got most of the story from Ron and it all fell into place. Nicely done.

Poor kitty! That image was hilarious, though.

With a loud bang, the cushion exploded, the white stuffing flying everywhere, covering the whole room like a layer of thick snow, as the room filled with the smell of burning fabric and hair. -- Definitely my favorite moment in the chapter.

You did a really great job with this. I enjoyed it thoroughly and like I said, the kids felt very well written.

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Review #31, by CambAngstYear Five: O.W.L.s

13th August 2015:
Roisin! I've embarked on my GryCReMo campaign and I decided to start with stories from the other participants. So here's my little bit of scorekeeping to start off:

GryCReMo (Review #10)

How long has it been since I first read this? Months? Where the heck does time go? Anyway, I was able to lose myself in it like I'd never put it down. I really, really love these characters you've created. I've been over and over this point, but I don't know if I can repeat it often enough. They're so real. So balanced. So perfectly flawed and fallible and human. Someday I think I'd like to see you try to write something with characters that are one-dimensional and cliched, just to see whether you're capable of it. On second thought, don't do that. It would be a waste. ;)

Sigh. I don't like seeing the four of them apart like this. Especially Tristan. I don't think he realizes how much damage he's doing to his own psyche here.

The studying and exam scenes are some of my favorite parts of this chapter. I love the amount of detail and creativity you put into little things like plants and spells and runes. You never get lazy and take a mulligan on the details; you make every one count. To me, that's one of the hallmarks of your writing. Did you hear that? You have hallmarks!

"I can't help it," Emily moaned. "Where do the vanished objects go? What if they make me vanish an animal? It's cruel!" -- She is so adorable! Hufflepuffs are such special people.

"Ballpoint pen," he scribbled on his test paper to demonstrate. "Like a quill, but less annoying."

"Casette tape," he jammed it into the portable stereo and pressed play. "Would play music under different circumstances."
-- OK, maybe I like this a little bit better than the studying. ;)

I absolutely adored Tristan putting Malfoy and his thugs in their place. Moments like that, you realize there might be a little Gryffindor in him after all.

The general consensus was that he’d fallen in.

Emily knew better.
-- Yeah, I think we all do. The small array of personal comforts that Emily found at his spot at the wall sealed the deal. I love the way you wrote that. You didn't say too much. You just left it to the bare minimum needed to tell the story. There's no joy or life in a moment like that.

The ending of this chapter was a beautiful kick in the gut. Succinct and perfectly matched to the moment.

I saw one little typo as I read:

Their friendship with Emily rekindled, the three spent most of their evenings on the seventh floor near the portrait of the little night, reviewing thick stacks of notes, and chain-smoking. -- little knight

I'm so sorry that it's been so long. I always tell myself I'm going to come back and finish reviewing this story and... yeah, stuff. Anyway, I have motive and opportunity now, so I will be back before GryCReMo is through. Lovely job as always!

Author's Response: WAIT WHAaAaAaAT?!?!?!

YESsSsSsS!

Oh man! Dan! I LOVED getting your reviews on this and I'd COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that there were more reviews coming! What a brilliant and fantastic surprise!

Now, sad face, because /this goddamn chapter/

I'm so, so sorry. Still. Just... My apologies. Back when I was first writing the first draft of this I had this like OH NO moment, where I just realized that Tristan was going to jump in the lake at some point around the History exam. I didn't plan it, I just realized he was GOING to do it as if it weren't up to me. It was totally unplanned, but the lake had become this weird loaded symbol, and kept coming up in these odd ominous ways. Like, it took on a life as a sort of character of its own.

And then Harry missed his History exam because of his Sirius vision, and I'd established early on about Tristan skiving off from that class, and the parallel and unintentional building just became a /thing./ So yeah, I didn't plan it. And at least I saved him (via squid).

But all that didn't make writing it any easier. It was a huge struggle to figure out what to say, how much to say, and how to say it. Restraint seemed to me the best option, because the tragedy sort of spoke for itself and didn't need explaining. I'm glad you liked that.

So now the fun stuff: oof, I positively /scoured/ the internet for every bit of fifth-year cirricula (and even threw in a bit of sixth year, since Umbridge's rules probably cut out a lot they would have learned), in order to get all the details right. And this chapter was the only one where I consulted canon. I reread the OWLs chapter of OotP and kind of diagrammed it, even doing plays on some of JKR's phrasing.

I think the "ballpoint pen" line might be my very favorite of the entire story :D Well actually, I'm revising right now and there's a new line in "Hex Head Express" I quite like too ("Isobel thought she best resembled a bowl of custard that had been left out overnight and developed a skin.") [I'm proud of that one because zomg I think Isobel's FC is the prettiest thing that ever prettied, and so I really struggled for an apt-yet-critical thing to say about her]

BUT NOW I'M RAMBLING.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this amazing surprise!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #32, by CambAngstBeautiful Mess: Beautiful Mess

12th August 2015:
Hi, Frankie! I'm trying to get off to a strong start on GryCReMo and I decided to go through everyone who's participating and review some of their stories first. First, so I can keep track of where I am:

GryCReMo (Review #9)

This story was really adorable. I was so pleased with the way you had Ginny react to the disaster that she finds after walking through the door. A lot of people write her as a parent in a way that's very similar to her own mother. If Molly Weasley had come home to a scene like this... well, I have to imagine there would have been some yelling. Ginny takes a completely different approach. She appreciates to fun moments that her husband and children have shared in her absence. If anything, I almost feel like she wished she could have been there.

I loved the footprints in the flour. That was a brilliant way of telling a story that the main character wasn't present for. The image was so clear in my mind.

The scene in Ginny and Harry's bed was heart-warming and sweet beyond words. It just makes you want to grab them all in a big hug.

There's not a whole lot I can suggest in the way of improvements here. I'm especially impressed because I skimmed through a couple of your older stories before picking this one and I can see a lot of improvement in your writing. Great job!

Author's Response: Hey

Thank you so much for your review. Especially the last comment! I've only been writing for a few months and that is a high compliment. I am happy with this and I am glad you are too.

Frankie


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Review #33, by CambAngstMeant for Two: You and Me

12th August 2015:
Hi, Kevin! I'm making my way through the list of people who signed up for GryCReMo, starting off with reviewing some of their stories. Let me get my personal scorekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #8)

I sort of liked that you left the identity of the narrator undefined. It sounds like either Katie Bell or Alicia Spinnet, although Demelza Robins is also a possibility. Obviously someone who played Quidditch with Harry and Ginny.

I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing the narrator's inner struggle and the way that she wants to perceive Harry's words and actions. There are so many little moments where it seems like she's reading something totally different into the situation because it's what she wants to believe. But you kept it very subtle, which I thought was a great bit of writing.

Her hands and mine are nothing alike. Chasers know these things about each other, especially when they’ve done each other’s nails before. -- Slow clap... This is not something that most male writers are likely to pick up on, let alone use it as cleverly as you did here.

She’d waited so long for you. How long had it taken? I could be patient too. Things always happen for a reason. -- Ouch. Denial, not just a river in Egypt. Following this up with the scene were Ginny stops by to show off the engagement ring had a lot of impact. The story is officially spiraling downhill for the narrator at that point, although she is still too deep in denial to accept it.

At the head table, I’m all alone. I’ve never been the life of the party and tonight is no exception. Nobody’s noticed the brown-haired girl, sitting silently in the fancy dress with her dull face resting in her hands and her eyes gone dim. Nobody ever does. -- That was a really sad image. I feel terrible for her, but obviously that's the point. Even faced with overwhelming evidence, she can't quite let go of the fantasy.

Your closing line was great, the perfect way to capture the hopelessness of her situation.

You did a brilliant job of writing this. Everything flowed really well and I thought you did a great job of picking the right words to compliment the mood of the narrator and the story. Great job!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan! Thanks so much for stopping by!

I'm glad you enjoyed the mystery narrator, though by your guesses I can see you picked up on the clues.

Part of what I definitely wanted to achieve with this was the misinterpretations that come with unrequited love, while also finding a way to give the piece a sort of ethereal, dream-like quality that simultaneously allowed readers to buy in with her.

And now for the great reveal...who WAS it? Your first guess! Katie Bell! Though it would obviously be quite different if I end up doing it, in some respects I wanted to use this story as practice to see if I could get myself tapped in enough to creating emotion around Harry and Katie in my own head to see if they could be an endgame pairing in an AU fic I'm planning. I still haven't decided, but writing this convinced me I could feel enough about it to make it viable, so I call it a success in that regard.

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful feedback! It is MUCH appreciated!


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Review #34, by CambAngstHarry Potter and the First Mission: Life Still Goes On

10th August 2015:
Hi, Kenny! I'm starting off my GryCReMo campaign with stories from the other participants and I finally made it to you. First off, let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #7)

It doesn't matter how many times I read a story where somebody picks up right after the final battle, I always enjoy it. It's so much fun to me to see different authors' takes on what happened next and compare them to each other and to my own thoughts.

I really like the fact that you didn't forget about Kreacher. He turned out to be a fairly important character in the books and it makes me smile when people continue his newfound loyalty to Harry. I think you can tell a lot about where somebody's head is by the way they write Kreacher.

"The heart-shaped mark club" Love it! I wonder whether that will be important as the story moves on? I also like the brief, manly show of emotion between Ron and Harry. Too many authors either make it really awkward or shy away entirely from having the two of them be happy that they both survived.

Harry and Ginny's reunion... hmmnnn... I tend to prefer that things be a little more complex. He did leave her, after all, plus she thought that he was dead. In my mind, that always left her feeling a lot of different emotions: anger and loss and hope and fear and love and... well, lots of stuff. But I always love it if the two of them get back together fairly soon. I guess you just made it sooner.

Looks like Harry's going to deal with the Elder Wand straight away. Probably for the best.

As far as constructive criticism, I guess one thing is that this chapter is very heavy on dialog and sort of light on narration, description and Harry's thoughts. Sometimes you can say more about what's going through a character's head by having them react, feel and think rather than talk. That's my main suggestion.

Cool start to your story. Now I want to know what happens next!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan. Thank you for stopping by. It's a great pleasure to find one of my fellow authors I respect, leave review on my story.

This is my first fanfiction in English, I'm sure there're lots of grammar things to fix.
Besides I know most of authors take much time writing their angst before jumping their Auror training, but you know, I'm very obsessed with Auror's tale, I might be in haste to the next step.

Your constructive suggestion is really right. This was my first, I had less experience in writing and reading other authors' good stories at that time.
Kayla was helping with beta on this and the next two chapters. And I got your opinion, I have a task to do next. I'll try fixing these little by little.

Thank you again for spending time on this before your housekeeping.

Kenny


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Review #35, by CambAngstGoodbye: Ginny

10th August 2015:
Hi, Sara! I'm starting off my GryCReMo attempt by reviewing stories from the other participants and you just came up next on the list. So first, let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #6)

You made Ginny's feelings completely relatable. The thing that people always associate most with Fred and George is laughter, and I can't imagine many things worse than trading that laughter for tears. Putting myself into Ginny's shoes -- you made that very easy, by the way -- I get that feeling like I'll never be happy again. On some level, we know it's not true, but it's so easy to become trapped in the moment.

The imagery of the tear stains on the wooden coffin was really well done. It has this terrible finality to it.

I like the voice you gave to Ginny's thoughts and feelings. She sounds like a young woman who's been aged prematurely, still showing some traits of youth but without the joy.

I saw one small typo as I was reading:

I want to remember to way you lived, not the way you died. -- I think you meant to say "the way you lived".

The only thing I felt a little iffy about was the last bit. I don't disagree with the concept of Fred looking down with a sad smile, but the phrase "could be referred to as heaven" sounded a little like you were trying to please all possible comers. Honestly, I don't think you need to do that. If you believe Fred's in heaven, I would say so. If you don't, then describe what you do believe. Either way, I don't think anyone could find fault with you.

You really did a nice job with this. I'm curious to see what you've done and will do with the other Weasley siblings.

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Review #36, by CambAngstthe earth and the sky: the earth and the sky

9th August 2015:
Hi, Adi! I thought I'd begin my GryCReMo campaign with stories from the other participants. Let me get my little scorekeeping thing out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #5)

I guess I could have picked something shorter, given that this is a numbers game, but shorter doesn't usually mean better. I'm really glad I picked this story. I think it gave you so much opportunity to show off your creativity and writing ability. It's obvious that you spent a really long time on this and I think that time paid off. This is an amazing story.

You paced this story brilliantly. The story takes Draco and Astoria from low points to high points and back again, and throughout it all you never feel like you're rushing or dragging. For a story this long, I know that's a really difficult thing to do.

I loved the running themes that you come back to again and again. Need vs. want. It's a simple, powerful concept that really goes a long way toward defining love vs. infatuation. There's also the idea of love overcoming hardship. Aside from it being one of the trademark Harry Potter themes, I think it added a lot to the impact of Astoria's death. You couldn't help but feel like their love was going to pull things out one more time and it really pummels you right in the feels when that doesn't happen.

The way that you wrote both Astoria and Draco was really, really well done. They're real, accessible people. They have good traits and bad, strengths and flaws. They make some good choices and they make some mistakes. Through it all, they're drawn to one another and that's what makes the story so powerful.

Your writing was simply beautiful in this. It felt like you weren't afraid to try anything, and that led to some really spectacular effects.

I've gotten to read some really great stories so far, which I guess is one of the major points of this event. This is definitely one of them. Great job!

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Review #37, by CambAngstThis Treasure: You Make Me Smile

8th August 2015:
Hi, Sian! I thought I'd kick off my GryCReMo attempt by reviewing some stories from the other participants. So I started going down your author's page and then I came to... to this story. OK, more on that in a sec. First, my quick scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #4)

This story. Honesty time: I read this story almost immediately after you posted it. I saw your status update and thought it sounded interesting so I read it. And shortly after reading it, I picked my feels up off the floor and tried to put them back into my chest. They didn't fit quite right -- swelling and bruises, you know -- so I waited a couple of days until they sort of fit back where they were before I read this. Then I tried to write a review, and all the anguish came rushing back in a second. I would guess that I've tried to write this review three different times and failed each time. I can never figure out what to say. So here goes...

I'll start with a question: How did you survive the process of writing this story? It's intense enough to read it. I can't even imagine writing something so sad and powerful. It would have been the end of me.

Your writing in this story was genuinely beautiful. Over and over, I found myself in awe of the way that you chose perfect words to match the mood and the setting of each moment. You were able to alternate seamlessly between the vivid details of Ron's memories and the stark, harsh relief of the present time. The way you set each scene went along beautifully with the content.

Gah, this passage:

‘You know, being here, with you,’ Hermione began, slowing her pace to meet Ron’s eyes. ‘And after everything that’s happened… well, it sounds silly, but it almost feels like we’ve got eternity now. Like we’re immortal.’

A second passed in silence as Ron considered what she’d said. ‘Maybe we have got eternity, Hermione. And,’ he blushed but held her gaze. ‘This doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend it. With you.’


It was the perfect expression of those small conceits of being young and in love and it was the perfect contrast to the story that's being told in the present time.

Every scene you picked from Ron and Hermione's past fit brilliantly into the overall story. In spite of how long this ended up being, I can't think of a single thing I would take out. Not a word went to waste here.

Bet you thought you’d got rid of me, didn’t you? Well it’s not going to happen that easily, Ron! I hope that everything goes okay with the kids; if you need me, I’m always here. Remember that, love. -- Another gut-wrenching line. At every turn, you remind us how Ron never had any reason to question that he and Hermione would spend the rest of their days together. And then comes another cold dose of reality.

The way you ended the story was so lovely. Perfect in its simplicity and devastating in its raw emotional power.

There! Somehow I made it through. Let's agree that you're never going to do something like this to me again, OK Sian?

Seriously, though, for me this is the single most beautiful story that you've ever written. I didn't think I could feel that way about a story where two of my favorite characters suffer such a tragic loss, but it's true. This was amazing.

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Review #38, by CambAngstTrapped: trapped

8th August 2015:
Hi, Kayla! I thought I would start my GryCReMo attempt with stories from the other participants. So let me get my little bit of housekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #3)

Like you, I've never suffered from PTSD, but I've observed it from a distance. I think you nailed some of the key symptoms: feelings of being trapped, feelings of isolation and the nagging feeling that other people are talking about you. The irrational bursts of anger and the struggle to differentiate reality from delusion were more extreme symptoms, but come on, the guy was surrounded by Dementors for 14 years. I can't imagine that experience doesn't leave a person with some heavy psychological trauma.

I liked the touchstones from Sirius's story that you used to draw out the nuances of his suffering. His terrible relationship with his family and his guilt over James and Lily's deaths were certainly things that gnawed at him. Snape's constant goading plainly didn't make things any easier. I have definitely seen people with psychological problems react poorly to other people's attempts to "help". The picture holds together very well.

Your writing was really good in this. I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. You do a really good job choosing the right words to make your descriptions vivid and your narrative tight and high impact. Nothing read awkwardly and the whole story flowed really smoothly.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! It's awesome to get a review from you :D

This is definitely intended to be a portrayal of a more severe case of PTSD. I actually even looked into what's known as "PTSD with psychotic tendencies" when writing this. The other thing is that Dementors are meant to be a physical manifestation of depression, so his very feelings of depression would act as a trigger for flashbacks (and in the case of PSTD with psychotic tendencies, hallucinations), making the frequency of these events much higher.

When writing, I was also very aware that Azkaban was not Sirius' only trauma, and that going through that experience could almost heighten the other bad experiences he'd gone through and take them from "bad experience" to "trauma" because of how long he would've spent dwelling on them - if that makes any sense!

I'm so glad that you thought this was well written :) Thanks so much for the awesome review!

-Kayla


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Review #39, by CambAngstThe Forest: Run

8th August 2015:
Hi, Kaitlin! I thought I would start off my GryCReMo reviews with some of the other participants. Allow me to get my scorekeeping out of the way:

GryCReMo (Review #2)

Your story was short, psychological and tense. I liked the sense of foreboding that you created and I liked the memories that Dean used to try to fight off the ever-present feelings of dread and hopelessness. You did a good job of setting up his past life with his muggle relatives and how poorly that life prepared him for trying to survive under the tyranny of Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

The protective spells he used to try to hide himself reminded me of Hermione, Ron and Harry casting spells to hide themselves in the woods. It seems like those spells worked better for the trio, however.

All of your details fit in perfectly with the canon surrounding Dean's time on the run. If there was one thing I would suggest, it's that I would have liked to see some more original events and details. I think I really would have enjoyed seeing you stretch that awesome imagination of yours and come up with new sub-plots to Dean's story.

I like your concept that Dean got his warning from Seamus to go on the run. It seems like the sort of thing Seamus would have done for his friend. Then you closed that plot loop nicely at the end.

Overall, your writing was lovely. I couldn't find a thing wrong with it. The story was a smooth, easy read.

Good job!

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Review #40, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Believing: Scorpius POV

8th August 2015:
Hi, Beth! I was excited to see a new chapter up and I read it right away. And I guess procrastinating on the review actually worked in my favor, since I will use this review to kick off...

GryCReMo (Review #1)

aka "Gryffindor Common Room Review Month". At least I think that's what it stands for. Wouldn't that be CryCRReMo? At any rate, neither here nor there.

There's that "crotchety old hospital aide" again. Astatine. It sure seems like you want me to suspect her. And it is very suspicious that she seems to be around whenever something bad is happening or is about to happen to Rose. Very suspicious, indeed. I was thinking back to the blond hair that Rose saw right before she fell. Astatine would have access to Selenia, possibly able to put her under the Imperius Curse. Again, that doesn't perfectly explain why Selenia would save Rose's bacon in the last chapter. Or maybe it just doesn't explain it yet...

Ron and Harry did a really good job of calming the situation and getting Ron to put his brains ahead of his emotions. I really like the way you wrote each of them in this chapter. Harry is a leader. Ron is an over-protective father/Gryffindor. Scorpius is a rational, supportive fiancee. It just works and holds together really well.

It feels like all the cards are on the table now. At least most of them, anyway. So the fact that Rose survived Stannous's enhanced Cruciatus Curse cemented the fact that she was the subject of the prophecy. It's not that she couldn't die, it's that she didn't die. "...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not..." Ooh, I also like the small detail of Healer Lawrence sending Astatine out of the room. If she's really working for Stannous, Stannous is now working with incomplete information. The parallels to Voldemort and Harry's story get even stronger.

So Stannous believed in the prophecy, but he had to prove it. And prove it repeatedly, it would seem. To me, this makes him a somewhat deeper character than your garden-variety madman. The way this is written makes him sound almost like a disciple of a prophecy that, to a dark wizard, would have semi-religious overtones.

Hmmnn... The picture frame. I see what you did there.

You sure know how to put a person at ease. Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione having dinner in the hospital room. Such a nice family atmosphere. And Rose is being so good about accepting Scorpius's apologies. They really are a perfectly matched couple.

And then the ending. Wow. Part of me believes that Scorpius is having a nightmare. I kind of hope he is, to be honest. It's kind of hard to imagine how that many Death Eaters could have gotten inside the hospital without somebody raising an alarm. But then again, it might not be a dream. In which case the next chapter will be very interesting. Ooh! One other possibility, I guess. Could this be part of Scorpius's S.N.A.K.E. exams? Seems way too cruel, especially to Rose. Hospitals aren't known for being great locations for law enforcement simulations.

Oh, who am I kidding? The next chapter will be very interesting no matter what. Already looking forward to it! Great job!

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Review #41, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: It's Time to Go Now

1st August 2015:
Hi, Roisin!

First off, I'm honored by your mention of Detox in the author's note. This is a great story and I'm really happy to have played some tiny role in it. The parallel is interesting, because neither Blishwick (yours or mine) ever saw themselves as a villain. Rather, they believed that the ends of their work justified the means, no matter how ugly the means might have been. There are differences in scale and scope (doxies vs. drug addicts) but the underlying principle is the same. Oh, and for the record, my Blishwick never killed Alice Longbottom. :p

Seeing Perry puke all over Blishwick's barrister was... satisfying. I was wondering how you were going to resolve that situation, and I definitely approve.

I really like what you did with the Wizengamot chamber scene setup. For me, it leaned more toward that harsh feel of the Wizengamot from Dumbledore's memory of Karkaroff implicating Barty Crouch, Jr. and less toward the pompous, aristocratic feel from Harry's trial. I like the former better. It's about one step removed from what you'd imagine for a drumhead trial being conducted by a secret society of evil sorcerers in their lair deep underground.

I thought you did a good job with Hermione. She's obviously more of a commanding presence at this age, but no one single individual can ever seem to silence a room full of entitled politicians. It's like trying to bring order to British Parliament. The illusion of decorum is always temporary. In spite of her age, she still feels like Hermione. When Roxanne goes off-script, I got that put-upon feeling from Hermione that I got used to whenever Harry and Ron would fail to study or dramatically change the plan in the books.

I guess if anyone was going to have a chance of imposing some sort of order on the Wizengamot, it would be McGonagall. At this point, there would be three or four full generations of Britain's magical population who would need to fight a subconscious urge to clam up and be on their best behavior whenever she glared at them. That said, there was just... something that bugged me a little about her being in this position. It's hard to put my finger on. Given my perfect druthers, I guess I would have preferred an OC here.

Blishwick! Gah, that guy needs some serious Dementor time to correct his 'tude. Unfortunately he won't be getting that, but at least he didn't get away with it. You did a great job making him a condescending, self-important ideologue with a hopelessly flawed set of priorities. His dialog was great.

Poor Rosie. Obviously she's not a completely innocent bystander here, but it feels like her heart was in the right place. At least she only got the community service, which probably won't bother her in the slightest.

Wow. So the spawn of Skeeter actually contributes something worthwhile to society. I admit, that twist caught me completely by surprise. Nicely done.

I noticed one small typo as I was reading:

"The right thing!" The Healer laughed. "Do not be so sentimental. Your conscious is not more precious, Miss Weasley, than the life saving innovations possible if my plan works." -- conscience, I believe.

I'm very interested to read your epilogue. I'm hoping that it shows Roxanne on the outside, after she's served her time. Hopefully there will be some greater good to come from this whole mess. Maybe she can even back-door her way back into Healing.

Great job!

Author's Response: Yes, exactly! Haha, when I was coming up with names for Blishwick I was like "well you know who he kinda reminds me of..." I'd go so far as to say that the two Blishwicks are related, only that's impossible. This story can't be in-universe with Detox because it's implied to have a radically different Astoria (and Scorpius, actually).

Oh the puking, I struggled a LOT to get the comic timing on that right. So glad you found it satisfying.

Oof, this court system was quite... Baroque. It seemed a bit loose and whatever in canon, so I kind of rolled with that and pulled in some stuff about the Italian court system (which I only know about from reading a weird amount of books on Amanda Knox [who was DEF innocent]). And then yeah, the chaos of Parliament too.

Aging-up the trio is very scary to me so I'm glad you though I did Hermione justice. Because yeah, I wanted her to be recognizable as the character from the books, but with the increased authority granted by age and status. She was always an easily frustrated person, which I think is partially the result of being very passionate. She probably would have had to learn how to compartmentalize a bit as she grew up and had decades of experience in the Ministry, but wouldn't ever become completely un-ruffleable.

OK McGonnagal makes sense, I swear! So Dumbledore if you remember, Dumbledore was actually chief Sorcerer of the Wizengamot WHILE he was headmaster! His title was briefly stripped during OotP, but otherwise, he held that position. So it would make sense that McGonnagal would have held the position at some point too (and she's definitely VERY fair). I felt like the person presiding here had to be some sort of major player, and McGonnagl just seemed to fit the bill best. Plus she's funny when she's not amused :P

Rose was definitely involved in order to show how complicated these things can be, and how even otherwise good people can kind of fall into making bad choices. Like, the drug trade isn't just composed of shadowy bad guys; it's a disorganized, chaotic network of people doing things for all sorts of reasons.

Yay I'm glad the twist worked! I figured that Marga wasn't really a /bad/ person, or at least, not totally immoral and evil. And she never exactly lied about Roxanne, and had some measure of evidence for everything she printed (even probably believed a lot of it herself). So of course she'd take the opportunity to get juicy information about a renowned healer out there. It's just that in this situation, the information is actually true and her help is actually helpful.

Whoops, edited! Thank you!

Epilogue will be up soon! Thank you so much for reviewing, Dan!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #42, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: The Game Is On

22nd July 2015:
In the event that you are currently having misgivings, know that everything is going according to plan.

You know, I've really got to side with Roxie on this one. "Plan" is such a strong word for what's going on here. I'll just take a deep breach and keep reminding myself: Gringott's, polyjuice, dragon... serenity.

One of your many cousins (ginger, if that narrows it down at all) -- Huge help, there, Scorpius. Were they also magical? ;)

You've made quite a case in this chapter for Healer Blishwick being the mastermind behind the silver. Which tends to make me suspicious. Is she trying to throw us off of the trail of the real mastermind? Probably not. The patent application is pretty damning evidence. Unless Blishwick was merely "consulting" for the real mastermind and saw an opportunity to make a fast buck for himself.

Perry must have gotten an excellent grade in Charms if he could manage psychic cryptography, Roxanne thought. -- This might have been my favorite line in the chapter. Call me nerdy. You know, because I'm nerdy.

I love the way you managed the passage of time in this chapter to drive toward the big crescendo. It was really well done and it gave the whole thing a great sense of urgency.

Poor Hugo. Sounds like a lost soul if ever there way one. So lost, in fact, that he's not even involved.

Rose lived on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, because of course she did. -- That one made me snigger, too.

Scorpius has quite the flair for chronicling his own (mis)adventures. I'm sure there's a book deal in this for him when it's all over, assuming he can get himself together enough to write it.

I also love the little digs Scorpius keeps making about Roxanne and Blishwick's affair. He knows how to keep her just angry enough to stay motivated.

"I suwwendow!" she yelled, cheeking the evidence. -- I really liked this as an end to a very tense, action-packed scene. A little humor always goes well with that.

Finch-Fletchley frogmarched her through the Ministry for all of her former colleagues to see. -- This line struck me as a little odd. It seems like her former colleagues would have seen her as he marched her out of St. Mungo's.

Hymn... so why did he swallow the evidence? Maybe he doesn't trust the Aurors who will surely do a halfway decent search on him at some point. Regardless, the evidence isn't lost, just... temporarily unavailable. And yucky.

Neat chapter! It feels (maybe I'm wrong) like the plot is starting to wind down toward a conclusion. Looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Gringotts-polyjuice-dragon! That was totally my inspiration for this!

Aha! The ginger thing, SO: actually. That was def meant to read as a joke, as you took it, but think about it. There's a reason I included a picture of EVERY SINGLE COUSIN in the CI for 'Meet the Wotters'--and if you remember correctly, only 3 are gingers (and Lily is said to be back in Germany), so that hint actually DOES narrow it down a lot!

Oh man, you are way too clever for me. You're getting all up in sEqUeL territory!

"So lost, in fact, that he's not even involved"-BAH! That is a HILARIOUS analysis!

I super enjoyed writing as Perry. I wanted it to still be good enough to read, but then sort of slightly flawed--like, some weirdly purple sections and odd word choices and a lot of adverbs. Getting the comic balance was a little tricky, but I had fun with it nonetheless!

'Just angry enough to stay motivated' is so on point. Perry is a lot better at reading Roxanne than she realizes.

GOSH, stupid MINISTRY line. YES, that was supposed to say St. Mungo's! I've edited it now. UGH, all through editing my eyes kept getting drawn to that line but I couldn't figure out why! THANK YOU!

And yes, you're absolutely right--there are only two chapters left, but one is the epilogue. So plotwise, we're almost at the end.

YEE! Thank you so much for this review!



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Review #43, by CambAngstPain Makes You Beautiful: Rated Mature for themes and content.

16th July 2015:
Hi, pix!

I guess I could nit-pick you over the canonality (is that a word?) of how Peter came to have the secret to share with Voldemort, but that's about as much criticism as I can offer.

Your range as a writer is amazing. I was re-reading some of Rabbit Heart last night, trying to ramp back up on that story and take in some of the edits you've made. It's hard to believe that I'm reading two stories by the same person. The depth of Sirius's anguish and the flippant disregard for everything as he crashes downhill are heart-wrenching. The raw, emotionally over-charged way that you wrote this tears at the heart strings. Heck, it tears the heart OUT and throws it down and stomps on it until there's nothing left but a red stain.

I've rarely seen somebody do such a good job with the physical aspect of a same-sex relationship. You manage to take those scant details and make them fit perfectly into the broader themes of attachment and need and disaffection and self-destructive dependency. Remus's affection has a drug-like effect on Sirius, giving him a pale sort of hope in the face of an impossible situation.

I have to mention what you did with Peter, and how you drew out the similarities between his behavior and Remus's. I don't think I've ever seen someone do such a good job of presenting the confusing and ambiguous situation that would have confronted James and Sirius as they tried to figure out who the traitor was. Two possibilities, both moody (no pun intended), mysterious and unapproachable in their own way.

You did an incredible job with this story. pix does it again!

Author's Response:

Dan! You read my angsty angst piece!

I seriously wanted this to be completely canon-compliant, but there was this idea I had and when I had it down, it was too rooted in this piece for me to alter it, so yeah. We'll just pretend that that's the way it happened... (squint squint) Although now, I think I could go back and edit to make it work... but I am loathe to do so at this point. I think I'm going to let it stand as it is.

Ah, well. I think I'm STILL allergic to this angst stuff. It felt like I was going into anapylactic shock writing this way. The language alone made me squick all over the place, but something like this just couldn't be censored and still achieve the same effect. I'm glad this was only a one-shot, or I would have needed serious fluff-therapy afterwards.

Actually, I need several hugs. This was excruciatingly hard on many levels.

You got it all. Themes, everything. I am so relieved that all of that came through. Also, with Peter. Thanks for bringing that up. I can't believe that he was part of the group without being a true friend on some level. He had to have had their trust, and the point of betrayal would have been a huge shock, completely unexpected, but more obvious in hindsight.

Thanks for reading this thing. I am now going to wrap myself up in something fuzzy and eat chocolate.

Pix


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Review #44, by CambAngstCold Blood: Light up the Dark

8th July 2015:
I... hmmnnn... You seem to really want me to suspect Hermione here. Hermione has as much reason to dislike Umbridge as anyone, which is to say lots. Although she's never been the type to hold a grudge, Hermione has as much reason as Ron or Harry to have ill will toward Xeno Lovegood. He tried to sell the three of them out to the Death Eaters, after all. Hermione also works inside the Ministry. But Xeno Lovegood is such an odd fit. It's hard to see it. So either it's someone I'm not thinking of, or it's possible that Xeno had reason to suspect the actual killer. Some piece of information. I'm very curious to see what's in those letters, and I'm honestly a bit surprised that Harry and Ron would allow Luna to simply owl them instead of going directly to Xeno's house to retrieve them.

If there's one thing I'd critique you on so far, actually, it's that the investigation feels loosely run. Ron and Harry's visit felt mostly like a social call with a couple of work questions thrown in. I know that they're friends with Luna and they wouldn't want to upset her. That's why it's also odd that Robards would send them to conduct the interview. It's hard to imagine they could be objective.

I have to admit that I had a hard time following Robards's character in this chapter. At the beginning, he's being so gruff and angry and commanding. He seems angry that Harry wasn't at the Ministry already when Harry was eating breakfast at home. But as soon as the meeting starts, all that changes. It's like he's still angry, but we have no idea what he's angry about. Then he turns sympathetic when it comes up that Ron and Harry are friends with Luna. I'm trying to figure out what makes the character tick and in that way he was confusing in this chapter.

I really like the second person voice you're giving to your killer. He or she is plainly a smart, shadowy operator. A planner by nature. Another reason to suspect Hermione, actually.

Let's see, what else? I love Luna's house. It sounded like the perfect setting for her. Harry is also a very good husband. He's figured out the tricks of the trade. ;)

Second chapters are really hard, so please don't take my critiques as suggesting that I didn't enjoy the chapter. I definitely did and I'm looking forward to more!

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Review #45, by CambAngstCold Blood: It begins with pink

8th July 2015:
Hi, Erin!

I've heard so much about this story. I wanted to give it a go.

I liked your choice of second person for the killer. Presumed killer, anyway. I suppose we don't know anything for certain at this point. At any rate, you can definitely feel the animosity and cruelty the killer feels toward Umbridge. It's not overly difficult to relate to, mind you. I always thought Umbridge was a less likeable character than... well, than any of the other characters. Is it bad that I sort of enjoyed her ignominious end and I wish that scene had gone on longer? :(

You know, I agree with Harry. Something was bugging me, too. And I actually know what it is. How did Robards know that Umbridge's mind was "in tatters" if she was already dead when she was discovered? I'm going to file that bit away for future reference...

I love the way you've built up Umbridge's cat lady pad. It sounds like a place that would give me a headache in less than 30 seconds. Like the love child of Madam Puddifoot's tea shop and, well... Dolores Umbridge's office from Deathly Hallows.

Ron has some sharp eyes. That's pretty impressive that he could pick out a single, black hair amid the chaos of a torture/murder scene. I wonder whether I'm meant to see him as a possible suspect, too? Anyhow, black hair... Cho Chang? Harry Potter? Pansy Parkinson?

I saw one little typo as I was reading:

She puffed out her chest and her eyes seemed to be trying to burn a whole through you, with the intensity of their gaze and indignation. -- burn a hole

Also:

She turned out to be a gracefully ageing woman of forty three, and a big bundle of nerves when the two Aurors turned up at her doorstep. -- is "ageing" a British spelling that I'm just unfamiliar with? It looked odd to me.

This was a very intriguing and mysterious first chapter. Your writing was really easy to follow and everything flowed nicely. I feel like I have the basics of the story, but you didn't waste a lot of time dumping back story on me, which I appreciate. Good job!

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Review #46, by CambAngstA Study in Silver: Such Savage Methods

5th July 2015:
Hi, Roisin! Savage, indeed!

Poor Roxanne has so many different perspectives to try to reconcile at this point. Her head has to be spinning. First there's her uncle, who views Scorpius with a sort of cautious pity. Far from dislike, and I think Harry would like to see her be able to help Scorpius, but he also wants her to be very careful. Then there's Mrs. Hudson, who seems to view him with a motherly sort of tolerance, tainted by a strong dose of financial self-interest. Draco doesn't make things any easier, combining his seemingly earnest gratitude with a strong note of warning.

Finally, there's Scorpius, himself. He definitely presents like a well-heeled addict living in a fantasy where his self-appointed role as investigator of the world's obscure conspiracies also allows him to justify his addiction. At the same time, he actually brings a very unique perspective to things that seems to allow him to make connections that the rest of the world misses. He's a complicated, nuanced and genuinely likable character, but I don't expect anything less from your stories. :)

You drew out another neat contrast in this chapter, one that we can add to the impressive list. Scorpius's drug abuse is so organized and measured and defined compared to the general chaos that defines the rest of his life. He's confident he knows what the "safe dose" of heroin is. Exactly the right amount to induce an unresponsive state without overdosing. He knows the percentage of solution for his uppers. His injection kit sounds immaculate. This is so true of most of the users and high-functioning addicts I've known. The drugs reduce their life to barely-controlled chaos, but they treat the management and administration of the drugs, themselves, like a science.

Wow, James is, umm... he gets around. Two hook-ups in the same chapter. That's impressive by any standard. And the couch. Yikes. At least I'm sure Roxie knows some great cleaning/sanitizing spells.

Harry seems to know a lot about Scorpius's drug abuse problems. There's obviously another connection here that hasn't been explained yet. I'm curious to see what that will be.

I really loved the back-and-forth that leads to Scorpius's epiphany about Blishwick. Possible epiphany, anyway. That solution feels entirely too tidy for this story, but I'll withhold judgment. The one thing that I wish you'd done differently would be to continue the conversation, with all of its little expressions and nuances, instead of fading into the alternating italics-plain-italics-plain format. I realize that it would have made the chapter even longer, but I feel like you could have gotten enough bang for the buck to justify it.

We finally get to the truth about why Roxie was drummed out of St. Mungo's. It strikes me as a situation where everyone involved has a certain amount of blood on their hands, and I'm not just talking about the blood from Blishwick's nose.

The woman was old - one of the first residential Cruciatus victims. A former auror. She'd been injured back in the first war. -- And suddenly I'm very sad.

Like I was saying, though, it seems like Roxie was complicit in Blishwick's experiments up to a point. I can see why this will be very hard for her.

Wow. So the plan is to set Blishwick up by having Scorpius overdose and then getting him on the inside? Well, on a scale of zero to "breaking into a fortress of a bank guarded by wizards, goblins and dragons", I suppose it's not completely ridiculous.

The dealer who sells Silver to Roxanne was another nice piece of writing. You find a way to make it so that even the most mundane, characters in your world still have a soul.

I really liked the way you wrote Draco Malfoy in this chapter. He still has a sort of dignity about him, the resolve needed to simply move past the war and try to live a quiet life where his presence no longer antagonizes people. It's obviously not been easy, and you can see the signs in all of his behavior.

The game is on, indeed. Things should get much more interesting from here. Looking forward to it!

-Dan

Author's Response: DAN!

But first, /facepalm/. I really should have titled this chapter Such Savage MEANS - just pretend I did!

One of my favorite things about HP, and Rowling's writing in general, is how different characters all have slightly different ideas and strategies about what the Right thing to do is. Even among the good characters, they don't always agree on the exact right course of action. And I do think, in complicated situations, there isn't necessarily ONE right thing, or not an exact right thing.

Your analysis of Perry is so incisive, and I think you really hit the nail on the head with that. I'm also infinitely pleased that you still find him likable, since I gave him a pretty heaping dose of flaws and nuance.

I threw in the bit about the immaculate order of his works last minute, and am so glad I did, because that really is such a THING. Addicts do kind of LOVE drugs - not just doing them, but the stuff itself. They like the idea of them and the aesthetic of them and being around them and talking about them. They could have found another way to go about this mystery, that didn't involved buying stuff on the street and then him using it, but of course, that's the plan HE would come up with.

A pretty common thing in Mystery novels is to kind of withhold the reveal until the end and have the investigators sort of showdown with the Big Bad and discuss their schemes ("And I would have gotten away with it, too...") While I love mysteries - like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie and Rowling's new stuff, I always feel a little disappointed by those endings, so I wanted to try and do it another way. So rather than reveal the Big Bad at the end, I reveal him earlier, then have a bunch MORE stuff happen before the end.

I'll definitely think about what you said, re: the italicized stuff. There was just SO much dialogue going on there. But I may yet revise that section. Hmmm...

As far as Roxanne's sort of mindset regarding St. Mungo's, I think there are two things going on there. First, she wasn't, historically, all that distrustful of authority figures. I think this makes sense, because her family BECAME much of the authority post-war, so she has a lot of trust in superiors and institutions in general. Then also, Roxanne DOES have a temper. While occasionally naive about things, and rather youthful, she isn't immature, so she's very capable of compartmentalizing and controlling her temper. But she's also a very righteous and moralistic person, which is why I think she lost it at that juncture.

Oh yes... I killed Alice... I felt VERY bad about that :(

And YES - I feel like feather-brained plans would be much more accepted, post-war, as there's a bit of a precedent for them :P

That dealer had a lot to do with Roxanne sort of peeling back the mask, and beginning to see that the drug underworld isn't just a faceless underbelly, but a disorganized network of actual human beings who are not all homogenous. And, the idea that there can be some degree of professional ethics even among dealers.

Oh man, I LOVE writing this version of Draco. I've taken everything Rowling's said very much to heart, but still feel this weird compulsion to redeem him, so my compromise is to to make his redemption slightly tragic. Like, he sort of lives his life in a self-imposed penance, and becomes a very mild person, to the point of almost seeming fragile. I think there's a canon justification for that fragility, and think it could make sense that everything he experienced during and after the war would have killed all his cocky superiority.

Thank you SO MUCH for reviewing, Dan! The next chapter is written, and should be up soon :D

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #47, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Something Synthetic

28th June 2015:
Hi, Tori! I'm here for our swap.

I know that Devlin's small conceits are part and parcel to his character and he comes by them honestly, but they're also frustrating.

Harry did not understand; Devlin had Snape under control. Devlin had weapons. -- Sure, Dev. Whatever. We shall soon see who's controlling who.

He felt like that little lost boy as he stared at it all; certain it should have experienced the same level of change he had. -- You really nailed it with this one. I remember coming home from college to visit, feeling surprised that things hadn't changed much at all. And I wasn't even surrounded by murderous psychopaths at college. Devlin has changed so much -- been through so much -- since he left home to go to Hogwarts. Normality must be kind of jarring for him.

I love the way that you threaded Devlin's newfound knowledge of James and Lily's death through this chapter. It impacts his every interaction with Harry. Knowing is such a huge thing for Devlin and now he knows this very meaningful thing that Harry does not. It seems like it makes him feel powerful in one way buy wary and almost a little vulnerable in another.

"Hi, Mum." If someone at school dared to call him that, there would be blood all over them and Devlin's fist. He marveled at the fact that he had become so accustomed to her calling him that, that embarrassment no longer made his cheeks flush. She came over and ruffled his hair, planting a kiss into his scalp - an area that was hard to guard against her affection. -- I'm pretty sure that was my favorite paragraph of the whole chapter. I love the imagery and the feeling.

I really liked Emma's response to Devlin's reasoning for not becoming friends with Andrew. It's age-appropriate, which means a little simplistic in this case, but she also has a good point. Devlin can't go through four years of school isolating himself from everyone. Harry was putting his friends at the same basic risk, and that worked out pretty well in the end.

Hey, it's our old friend the wolf! I really love these scenes where you play with the dichotomy of Devlin and his wolf. Watching the wolf struggle to function in "the boy's world" is both entertaining and instructive.

It's pretty obvious by mid-chapter that something is very wrong with Devlin. Whatever's wrong also seems to be getting worse. His nightmare about killing Harry and Emma is eerily reminiscent of the scene in OotP where Harry was seeing through Nagini's eyes.

Harry's gift was pretty awesome and it says a lot about the near-term future that Harry sees for Devlin. I liked that he didn't bother with anything like an emergency portkey. Devlin would never use it anyway. But the "wizard survival kit" could come in handy in a lot of ways. Now the potions kit was another interesting touch, especially the part where he notes that Voldemort doesn't encourage him to take an interest in it. Duly noted...

I always feel strange when I'm writing a review and I come to the part of a chapter where Snape and Devlin are interacting. I feel like I should write more about it, because I enjoy the two of them immensely. But I never seem to be able to, because nothing I can say about them seems adequate. It's such a sublime pleasure to see these two magnificent characters spar and dance. It's even better, I think, when we get to see it from Snape's point of view. The last half of the story was a treat.

I'll say a bit about Geoffrey. It's fairly clear now how the curse that Voldemort used to tie him to Devlin works. I like Geoffrey's through process here. He has a small edge over Devlin, one that actually helps him to keep the boy safe. And he's not about to five that up.

The last scene introduced so many new possibilities, it had my head spinning. A synthetic ingredient, whose effectiveness seems tied, in some way, to either Voldemort's magic or the magic of the person who synthesized it. It does seem very unnatural, and the possibility that Voldemort himself was unaware of it means that it's possible that whoever the Dark Lord commissioned to create the potion betrayed him after a fashion.

"Of course you will, because you have chosen to play a very dangerous game. Foolish boy." -- That moment when you realize that Snape knew more of what he was talking about than you imagined possible.

"And yet, you took it. How powerful you are." -- My review would be woefully incomplete if I didn't highlight the best Snape moment of the story so far.

I believe I caught a typo:

He yanked a the door, making his imagine disappear, while revealing the potions behind. -- yanked at the door

Awesome job! I really enjoyed this one!

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Review #48, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bated Breath: Scorpius POV

26th June 2015:
Hi, Beth! I read this chapter a week ago and writing this review has been on my to-do list ever since. Let's see if I can fix that this morning!

So you've now compounded the mystery of who attacked Rose with the mystery of why the healers can't keep her heart rate under control. I'm looking all over for suspects here. Based on the blond hair from the last chapter, I didn't feel like I could completely rule out Scorpius. Whether he was possessed or under the influence of some curse or whatever the reason, the details would fit. But then we see the calming effect he has on Rose in this chapter and it makes me less suspicious. Then again, sometimes when you make me less suspicious, that makes me more suspicious. You see the complex relationship I have with this story. ;)

The next common thread that runs through everything bad that's happened to Rose (the attack on her flat, the attack on the pub and the attack at Grimmauld Place) is Selenia. In her case, the question would be motivation. She's obviously had plenty of opportunities to kill Rose along the way, without any interference from anyone, so why would she resort to such brazen tactics and then help to keep Rose alive. Unless, of course, her objective isn't to kill Rose but instead to draw Rose and Scorpius together. Perhaps more people than just Hermione understand that the prophecy likely refers to Scorpius and Rose, not Stannous and Rose. Perhaps there are forces conspiring to bring about the birth of Rose and Scorpius's child, but intending to kidnap and raise the baby for their own, nefarious purposes. So perhaps cursing Rose to raise her heart rate was a plan to try to force the healers to take the baby early? Or perhaps I'm overthinking this by a mile.

The last thread is the woman at St. Mungo's who also worked at the pub. She would be an untidy solution, since she wasn't around for the attack on Rose's flat. Unless... hmmnn... I can't remember which happened first, the incident where all of the splinched victims came to St. Mungo's or the attack on the flat. I might have to go back and check.

Anyway, along with this chapter. I really liked Scorpius's private little confession to Rose in the hospital room. It's pretty much everything that I think all of your readers have been thinking for several chapters now. It also reminds me a bit of a scene that you'll see near the very end of CoB, so we have some nice synergy working here. ;)

I'm a little conflicted about the way Scorpius's presence affects Rose's condition. Don't take this the wrong way, but it felt a little too easy to me. Throughout the story, you've done such a great job of detailing the struggles that these characters face and showing how they're able to overcome them. It's not that I wish difficulty on Rose and Scorpius, but it felt a little awkward in the context of the rest of the story.

Healer Lawrence seems like a great, thunderous jerk. By the time the big confrontation is filling the room, I was rooting for Albus to curse him.

Again, we see Selenia intervening at the perfect moment to prevent something from happening to Rose that might hurt the baby and to bring Rose and Scorpius closer together. Why does this character doing such a wonderful, selfless thing make me so suspicious??? This is what you do to me, Beth!!!

I liked the contrast you were able to create between the amusing chaos going on outside of Scorpius's silencing spell and the very touching moment happening inside of it. It's as though there were two separate worlds coexisting in the same room, divided by this semi-transparent barrier.

That's mostly all I have. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I am filled with suspicion. Whodunnit? Who? WHO?

I hope we find out soon. Can't take much more. :p

Great job!

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Review #49, by CambAngstThe Human Factor : The One Where Everything Changes

21st June 2015:
Hi, Keely! It's always a special treat when you come back around to update this story. It's also a special treat when Pippa experiences a big change in her life. So this chapter was a double treat!

Whenever I come back to this story after a long break, one of the things that hits me is just how well you write these deeply introspective scenes where Pippa translates emotional pain into physical pain. It's a special talent you have and I really hope it isn't based too much on real life experience because the way you write it is gut-wrenching. Pippa is such a tortured soul. I know there's a component of it that's over-dramatized. She's a teenager, after all. But there's obviously part of it that's horribly, agonizingly real and I feel terrible for her. Every time I come back to this story I'm blown away all over again.

When Pippa has these tender moments with Scorpius -- which Scorpius is usually not aware of -- I feel like it's one of the rare occasions that we're seeing her as she used to be, before her break-up tore her world apart. It's a different angle on the character and it adds so much depth and nuance. I also think it's striking how strong Scorpius really is, to be able to take all the abuse Pippa directs toward him but still see the person that she is on the inside. Pippa thinks she's tough, but it's a very fragile sort of toughness. Scorpius is, in reality, much tougher.

Ah, Slytherin girls in love. You did a really good job of capturing the complex emotions and relationship dynamics between Emilie and Damien. It's obvious that she went into things with one set of intentions and, well, love has a funny way of surprising you. Pippa both understands and doesn't understand. It obviously evokes some powerful feelings in her, and I felt so bad for her when she's gripped by the desire to go running back to her ex. One last thing, I thought it was perfectly in character for Pippa not to be able to accept or be happy for Emilie and her brother.

Since everything else is burning down in this chapter, I suppose it was a good time to deal with Cassie and her betrayal. Truthfully, Pippa took it better than I expected. Which is not to say she took it well, mind you. It's just that she didn't crumble on the spot or collapse into a fit of cleaning. Well, I guess that came a bit later.

And then comes Albus. This is definitely a moment I've been waiting for. That said, it happened in a pretty painful, emotionally overcharged moment. Which, I suppose, was to be expected. There definitely weren't going to be any sweet moments between these two. Instead, it was rough and aggressive and there was a definite struggle for control. That's what makes these two so perfect for one another, I think. They both have this burning need to be in control and dominate every aspect of their lives, yet they seem to crave giving up control. You write it all brilliantly.

I was so excited to see you post a new chapter. I really do love this story. There are so many Next Gen stories on HPFF that try to achieve the perfect mix of angst and humor and drama and sarcasm and confusing teenage romance that you have created. Like I said, it's often imitated but never quite equaled. By the way, this is my 1,200th review in the archives and I am very pleased that it went to your story. Until next time!

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Review #50, by CambAngstShattered: Chapter 1

18th June 2015:
Hi, Kaitlin and Theia! I saw the tweet about this story and it sounded interesting.

Bad people come from bad situations, or so the saying goes. I think you did a good job of showing the situation that gave us Barty, Sr. and Barty, Jr. It was heart-breaking to read, how the poor boy was neglected by his workaholic father.

The picture you painted here fits so perfectly with everything we know about this family from the books. Barty, Sr. is such a gruff, angry person. It's not at all hard to imagine him making snap decisions, like sending Sirius away to Azkaban with no trial. Given his violent nature, it's also not hard to imagine him allowing (probably even encouraging) the Aurors to use unforgivable curses against the Death Eaters.

Mrs. Crouch shows all the signs of being a battered spouse. It's also apparent that she's trying her hardest to compensate for her husband's pattern of neglecting Barty, Jr. Again, not hard at all to imagine her willingly taking her son's place in Azkaban.

The seeds of resentment are plainly being sown between Barty, Jr. and his father. A parent's attention means so much to little kids, and he isn't getting any. Then to hear his father say such hurtful things and physically assault his mother... awful!

I saw one thing that looked like a typo to me:

The smell of chocolate cake wafted through the air and politer chatter filled the room. -- polite chatter

Otherwise, lovely writing. Everything flowed nicely and it was an easy read that didn't feel as long as it was. Good job and good luck in your collab!

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