Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,102 Reviews Found

Review #26, by CambAngstRecipe for Disaster: A Recipe for Disaster

13th July 2014:
Farmgirl! How on earth did I never see this before? Just goes to show you easy it is to miss things. Then I saw it nominated for Story of the Month and I knew right where I was headed.

The premise of this is nothing short of hilarious. Poor McGonagall! If she's not struggling to manage her unruly, mischievous students, she's struggling to manage her adventurous, sweet-toothed boss. I loved the panic that the elves brought to the start of the story and I loved the way that you very gradually built up Minerva's head of steam. For a short piece, the pacing of this was brilliant. You did such a good job of interspersing her thoughts, letting her anger grow and focus. Excellent work.

And the visual of Dumbledore and Dobby cooking taffy was off the hook. I can see it all so easily, the twinkle of barely restrained glee in Dumbledore's eyes and the earnest joy on Dobby's face as he helps with something that he doesn't understand in the slightest. One of the talented illustrators of the Potter fandom should seriously take this up.

I noticed one tiny typos as I was reading:

The topics those Muggles think off to write books on! -- think of

Awesome, awesome job! This brightened my day!

Author's Response: *Shrugs* I have no idea how you didn't see it. I really thought you had read everything of mine. But I was totally excited to see a new review from you so I'm glad you missed it until now! And Story of the Month? Me? WOW! Guess I should really go poke my head back into the Common Room and come out of hiding.

Writing this was really fun, even though my muse got derailed in the middle and it took me a year to get back to it. I love when I can write Dumbledore being quirky and a bit silly instead of all serious as he got toward the end. And Dobby is always a hoot.

I've developed a real fondness for McGonagall and it was so much fun to push her to the limit of her patience here. LOL. She really is the only responsible adult around sometimes, isn't she.

That would be amazing to see a picture of this! I'd draw it myself but it would look like a pile of sticks... But I am so very glad you liked the picture I tried to paint in the story.

There are apparently quite a few typos in this, though. I had several pointed out to me this weekend. Looks like I will be doing a careful edit of this story soon. Thanks for catching them though.

Thanks for a review that brightened my day! As always, you are the best.

- Farmgirl

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Review #27, by CambAngstWordless: Wordless

11th July 2014:
Hi, Sian! Just one or two more reviews before bed. Just one or two more...

House Cup 2014 Review

Wow, this was really, really lovely. You did an amazing job of capturing the true value of a lifelong friendship. The depth and the strength. And you picked two characters that are pretty near and dear to my heart. I'll let you in on a little secret, one that I don't think I've ever put in a review response or MTA response. A lot of people asked what happened to Hannah in Conspiracy of Blood. Why she wasn't part of the story with Neville. What I had planned on -- and I just never found a way to work it into the plot -- was for Hannah and Susan to be in a relationship that started after Neville and Hannah separated. I still have it penciled in to possibly include in a one-shot some time.

Anyway, this review is about your story, not mine. Your description of the funeral was very appropriate to the event: stark and empty and kind of cold. And things don't get any easier after the service. You captured beautifully how I've always felt that wakes feel to the grieving family members. It's supposed to be an uplifting sort of event, but it's really more of an ordeal. A chance for dozens of people to awkwardly attempt to comfort the survivors, but in reality it only forces them to wear that stony outward face for even longer while they're suffering on the inside.

It just dawned on me that there isn't a single word of dialog in this entire story, and I thought that was a fantastic choice. The story is all about quiet comfort through the presence of a dear friend. I don't think words were necessary at all. In fact, they might have detracted.

The little details about Susan and Hannah's lives that you introduced helped to round out the picture and ground the extent of their friendship and mutual dependence. It was a nice touch.

Your writing hit just the right tone for me: serious and mournful, but not weepy or hysterical.

Great job! Go Gryffindor!

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Review #28, by CambAngstFitting In: Heart to Heart

11th July 2014:
Hi, Kevin! I'm lumbering ahead with more reviews for the House Cup. I liked your first entry so much, I decided to try another. So:

House Cup 2014 Review

You are very brave. It is definitely not easy to tackle the mother-daughter dynamic. It isn't even like it's just one dynamic, after all. I'm sure it's very situational, depending on whether mom needs to be encouraging, stern, teaching, conspiring, soothing, or any combination of the above. In spite of the complexity, you pulled this off with apparent ease. I didn't feel like you were struggling with it at any point.

As to your thoughts in your author's note, I thought you did a good job of keeping Ginny in character. You really sold me on her from the start, when she doesn't hesitate to gently hex James and Albus in order to make her point. There's a thinly-veiled menace to the way she handles them, the unspoken fact that she is not going to allow them to get the best of her, no matter what it takes.

When she goes into Lily's room, I thought she handled it in a very sensible and consistent fashion. She didn't harp and cajole like Molly might have, but she gently and insistently offered Lily her ear (and her shoulder) until Lily decided she was ready to talk. When Lily breaks down and cries, I thought it was one of the sweetest things I've read all day. I like it when 11/12-year-olds actually behave like 11/12-year-olds in stories, not like miniature adults. Ginny shared her own life experiences to illustrate her point, which was very effective, it seems.

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

Suddenly the boys found their lips without making a sound. -- lips moving without making a sound?

To her surprise, the young girl curled inward like she hadnít in years, burying her face in her motherís chest a beginning to sob. -- and beginning to sob

Otherwise, this flowed very nicely and it was a fast, easy read. I definitely enjoyed it! Good job!

Author's Response: Hello again! Thanks so much for reading this too!

You're always so thorough noticing these typos. Most of mine come from rolling on too fast and skipping letters or words as you can see. Ugh.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the characterizations of Ginny and Lily. I was definitely worried about Ginny, probably more so than I might be for other characters because she's my favorite and I get really irked seeing people portray her in ways that she isn't and I just did NOT want to be one of those people.

Writing Lily was a challenge here too, because I wanted her to be difficult and set against getting any kind of support, but also be vulnerable so the interaction between she and Ginny could happen. Doing that when she was younger was also tough, because originally I had planned something different to be the catalyst (when she was older, and Ginny could go deeper into things) and so I had to walk that back and make her very different.

Thanks again for another great review!

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Review #29, by CambAngstAlways: Immeasurable

10th July 2014:
Hi, Kevin! Getting in a few more reviews before bedtime. The most important four words of this review:

House Cup 2014 Review

Just kidding, but they are important. Anyway, on with the review.

I thought you did an awesome job with this. This is a tiny thing, but you want to know something I really appreciated a lot? The fact that you didn't identify this as a House Cup piece in your summary or in a note at the beginning. Because in the absence of that, I honestly had no idea this was written for the House Cup. And that is high praise, my friend. What I'm saying is that this didn't have that "written in a hurry to meet some arbitrary prompt(s)" feel to it. It feels like something that you'd been thinking about and wrote because you wanted to. That's pretty rare in challenge and House Cup entries.

Your description of Remus's passing was one of the most non-cliche I've ever read, and I loved that. No sudden feeling of peace, no life flashing before his eyes, so sudden flash of green followed by nothingness. Just a simple passing over from one place to the next.

I wasn't sure at first why he'd come to James and Lily's house, but it came to me pretty quickly. He was happy there. Also, James and Sirius were already there. I loved the little details, like the arrangement of the furniture and Remus's almost absurdly practical wedding gift.

Random thought of the moment: Where do you think Peter woke up after Voldemort's silver hand choked the life out of him? I'd like to think maybe in a cage in Ron Weasley's room in the attic of the Burrow on a hot, stuffy day. For all eternity...

OK, enough of my pondering, back to your story. The introductions of James and Sirius felt perfectly in character for the two of them. I'm not sure what you would have done with Lily if she'd returned from her walk, but I don't think the story loses a thing without her. This is more about old friends reunited, supporting one another.

Gah, what an awful moment when the complete, horrible truth crashes down onto Remus. He couldn't bear the weight of it without his friends. But they're there: James offering spiritual support and comfort while Sirius summons creature comfort and some good humor to help the process along.

I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem in this and it all flowed really well. You did our house proud with this! Good job!

Author's Response: Howdy Dan! Thanks for another deliciously detailed review!

Not putting that House Cup bit in the summary was actually a mistake! At first I thought we actually HAD to have that in there, so your review kind of made me panic that this hadn't been counted, but looking back it obviously did so that was a relief! I appreciate you saying that it didn't seem rushed though! Ironically, this is actually the one I wrote the fastest, but I think that's just because I feel pretty "at home" with the Marauders and so it was more in my wheelhouse than my other two prompt pieces.

I'm glad you found the characterizations and the setting believable too. I definitely struggled with where they'd first meet because I didn't want it to be too elaborate or too cliche, but somehow James and Lily's house just felt right.

I'm also excited you liked the transition. When I thought about it, I figured that so much of what is depicted of that transition in art, film, literature, etc. seems so grandiose. My idea of the "afterlife" is something more of a "second life" and so I wanted to do something that was more of a mundane "phase switch".

As for Peter...I actually like to think that his life after death involved being on the outside looking in. That his "setting" would be basically being forced to watch how the people he betrayed strode forward, found solace, and thrived in new ways after their passing. Where was Peter in this moment? Watching the type of reunion he would never be able to be a part of. Aching unbearably.

Thanks for the great review!

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Review #30, by CambAngstLike His Father: Like His Father

10th July 2014:
Hi, Karou! Trying to wedge in a few more reviews before bed. So without further ado:

House Cup 2014 Review

With that out of the way, I liked the way you characterized Neville here. He's at that point in his life where he's finally starting to gain a bit of self-confidence and step out of the long shadow of his parents that he grew up in. Neville's always struck me as a guy who had to be pretty strong. His grandmother didn't give him any other choice. Here he gets a nice little moment to shine in front of the group, and he handles it the right way. He enjoys his success, but he doesn't go all "Aw, shucks!" over it. He's starting to expect to succeed.

In the corridor where they were being stalked by Mrs. Norris -- you have a typo in her name, by the way -- he assumed a leadership role. He gets them all safely back to the common room. Another small milestone for him.

The scene with his parents' picture was touching and poignant. You handled it really well, with a lot of sensitivity and finesse.

Great job!

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Review #31, by CambAngstYear Five: Self-Spelling

10th July 2014:
Holy crap! So I think I mentioned something in my last review about feeling like something big was about to happen. I honestly wasn't expecting it this soon. Anyhow, one small formality:

House Cup 2014 Review

So it finally happened. You'd been building up to it for a while with Laurel. I really want to commend you on your pacing of this story. Your plot lines move in a nice, even, natural-feeling progression. I can't really think of anything that's come completely out of the blue in this story, but it isn't as though you telegraph every last development, either. Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints.

I can't decide whether I think Tristan or Isobel will be the next to crash. Tristan doesn't seem to be as bad off as Laurel in terms of charm abuse, but I'm not sure how much more the kid can take mentally. If Isobel doesn't eat something soon, her body is probably going to start to shut down. Even Emily seems to fall off the wagon from time to time and take her substances too far. They're not a healthy group of individuals.

The Defense lesson was a great foil to keep drawing out Laurel's problems. It was interesting to watch all of the cognitive dissonance surrounding Laurel's reaction. Isobel and Tristan both should have figured out what was going on. At some level, I'm sure that both of them did. But they're also so caught up in their own problems that they don't seem to want to create even more difficulty and confrontation by calling her out on it. So the conspiracy of silence goes on.

Isobel's anorexia/bulimia is reaching scary proportions, as well. In general, I think you've done a very realistic and gripping job of showing the troubles that these kids are struggling with. You don't overplay it or blow the drama up to ridiculous proportions. All of them believe -- as I think most sufferers of such conditions do -- that they have things under control. It doesn't seem that serious to them, even though when we see it through another character's eyes, we definitely know it's serious. That's some really good writing.

The scene where Isobel finds Laurel in her bed had a very surreal, "this isn't happening" kind of quality to it, which was perfect. Everything about the rest of the school's follow-up reaction was also well done, from Flitwick trying -- and mostly failing -- to be helpful to the other Slytherins being complete jerks about it. Snape, oddly enough, seemed to be the only one who realized that sometimes less is more. Laurel is, presumably, where she needs to be now.

Second chapter in a row with no typos! Great job!

Author's Response: "Sometimes something happens and while you didn't see it coming, you realize that there were subtle hints." High praise, that!

Your "conspiracy of silence" comment was great! All these kids have stuff going on, but they only have eachother for support. And so their support systems are woefully inadequate. Kids go through these kinds of things at that age, even if they aren't at boarding school. But, I thought that in that context, it could be even more dangerous.

I'm really glad that you think her eating disorder was handled properly! I read once that people always fail when they write about that subject, because they end up romanticizing the stoicism and stuff. Which is irresponsible. The writer of this op-ed suggested that what eating disorders TRULY are, is boring and tedious. Now, since I'm going for accuracy, but also trying to write something interesting and engaging, "boring and tedious" is a difficult task to do in the right way. So yeah, really glad you think it's all coming off well.

And I'm really happy the overdose was surreal! It was such an important scene, I really wanted to get the tone right! And as for the fall out: YES. I lovelovelove Snape, and writing him from the perspective of students who hate him is really fun, but I also wanted to give him a moment to shine.

Thank you for these reviews! I can't say how encouraging it is to see all these little things I worked on coming through, and working out. It's an incredible luxury to get chapter-by-chapter feedback, so I thank you!

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Review #32, by CambAngstYear Five: Troll in the Dungeons!

10th July 2014:
Hi, there! I'm continuing my march through your story. It's an opportunity to enjoy it and feel good about it at the same time. Win-win.

House Cup 2014 Review

First off, love your chapter image. The model is perfect for the way you're been building Laurel up.

Poor Tristan is kind of a mess, emotionally. It seems like he comes by a lot of it honestly and I'm guessing that the highs and lows of repeatedly charming with Laurel and the others are affecting his moods, as well. Addiction is a harsh master, and I'm sure that he's in deeper than he realizes.

This new combination of charms that Laurel is using sounds like a pretty bad deal. You have one charm canceling the euphoria of the other, allowing her to function "normally". That sounds like the very essence of addiction if I've ever seen it.

Tristan's sorting brings up some interesting points. We know from history that the hat makes mistakes sometimes. Or as Dumbledore said, "Sometimes I think we sort too soon." Then again, it's possibly that Tristan wouldn't be happy no matter where he was. His self-loathing is reaching pretty scary levels. He doesn't even seem to feel worthy of a nice gift from his parents or a tiny check from his grandmother.

It seems like sometimes Tristan excels in spite of himself. With both McGonagall and Sprout, he makes a good impression and then almost immediately ruins it with self-destructive behavior. I feel badly for him, but ultimately the situation can only be considered his own fault.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals' -- Ha! Brilliant description of a class where the students were basically instructed to play with kitties for an hour. I wonder what they would have called Hagrid's class? 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger'?

This chapter gave a different view of more than just Laurel and Tristan. Emily seemed pretty out of control, as well.

"Wait, look," Isobel pointed. "People! We're people!" Isobel explained, indicating to the swarm descending on the Quidditch pitch.

"Letís go be people!" yelled Laurel, and she took off sprinting in the direction of the game.

Not a great sign when you're ambivalent on your personhood.

Interesting to see the Quidditch experience through the eyes of a non-fan. I guess all of the plays would be a bit confusing if you had no idea what was going on.

I feel like you're building toward something here. I can't say exactly what, but I don't see the foursome's activities being something they can sustain for an entire school year, especially with OWL's at the end. I'm really curioius to find out what. Good job!

Author's Response: Glad you liked the image! I spent a lottt of time choosing faceclaims for the characters. I ended up choosing actors who came to prominence as teenagers doing indie films. That way, they would have enough moody pictures (rather than glamor photos), and would look realistically young enough. I thought that image was incredibly perfect for the chapter, and even though she clearly isn't wearing robes, used it anyway. (In canon, they wear ROBES--I take this very seriously! I tried to only use pictures where they look like it could be robes, unless the chapter takes place in the muggle world.)

Oh yes, that charm blend is a monster. Honestly, I was basically trying to make it roughly equivalent to opiates. I'm glad that the VERY BAD IDEAness of it all came across!

Tristan's history with Sorting was, for me, totally tragic. He was basically in the same situation as Harry, with the hat suggesting he should be in Slytherin. But whereas Harry fought the idea, and ASKED to be in Gryffindor, Tristan resigned himself. One gets many opportunities for dramatic irony when writing fanfiction :)

"Tristan excels in spite of himself"--that's a really spot on observation! Cheers for that whole paragraph! I definitely wanted him to be sympathetic, and for readers to understand his behavior the way you do, but also kind of want to slap him.

'Free Time, and Also: Animals'--ahhh, so glad you found that as funny as I did! 'Animals, and Also: Mortal Danger' is so good that I wish I'd set this story in 1993!

And I'm glad for your reaction to their states-of-mind just before the match. I wanted them to have fun, but I didn't want to romanticize their charm-use.

As for the match itself, I've never really understood sports myself, and I really liked the idea of them all being fish-out-of-water at a game.

Aha, as you know, you were SPOT ON about their behaviors being unsustainable. So good on you! And I'm so pleased that that was paced properly!

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Review #33, by CambAngstYear Five: Behind the Mirror

10th July 2014:
Party! Party! Seriously, that sounded like a fun party. OK, quick formality:

House Cup 2014 Review

I read this chapter last night, but once again it seemed prudent to wait until I was a little less brain-dead before reviewing.

Ah, the Weasley Twins. Purveyors of fine mischief and mischief-related services to the Hogwarts community for just shy of seven years. I wonder whether they found the room behind the mirror on the Marauder's Map or whether it was genuinely their own discovery?

Interesting. When I read this last night, I missed the fact that it was Tristan's idea to invite Wood. Wow, that boy is complicated. Smart, too. I love Fred and George's reaction to being told.

This seems like a good spot to stop and compliment you on the way that you've sought out canon surnames to create original characters. Given the relatively small size of the British magical community, I think that approach makes a lot of sense.

Laurel didnít come at all. -- Is it just me, or do I sense a major crash coming up in her near-term future. Either a crash or an intervention, I would think. Possibly both.

Ha! Sir Cadogan is totally onto them! In fact, maybe he understands more than they do. I guess when you live in a school for a few centuries, watching generation after generation of teenagers pass by, you get to be a pretty good judge of these things.

"June," he improvised, throwing his arm around her shoulder. "And our chaperone only just stepped out." To Emily, he whispered, "play along, it'll make him happy." Hmmmnnn... Tristan, you sly devil!

"That was big of him," replied Oliver, unsarcastically. -- It really was. I'm glad to see that you made Oliver basically a decent guy in the end.

So I feel compelled to stop and ask at this point: How do these students smuggle so much booze into the castle? Bottles of liquor are one thing -- compact, easily hidden -- but entire cases of beer? Filch is slacking!

Every Hufflepuff years five through seven had turned up, as well as most of the upper level Ravenclaws and Gryffindors. Tristan was still the only Slytherin. -- I'll nit-pick you a smidge on that passage, because earlier you mentioned that the collapsed passage could hold around ten people. You might want to tweak that description a bit, because I do like the idea of a large party.

It seems that even some of the castle's "A students" have a bit of a recreational magic habit. I remember kids like that from college, using everything from caffeine to asthma inhalers to stay up and study just those few extra hours.

And then the Weasley twins start puking. Ah, the novice drinkers at their first big party. There's a story that transcends the muggle and magical worlds effortlessly.

The House Elves are so nice to the students. I love that throughout six books set at Hogwarts, nobody was ever once turned in by a House Elf for breaking the rules. Because there's little doubt that the House Elves knew everything that was going on.

I didn't see a single typo as I was reading this chapter, so kudos on your editing! It was a fun read, even if it was a bit fluffy. I think it definitely added to the story. Great job!

Author's Response: First off, your reviews are really thorough and insightful, and I super appreciate that you take the time to leave such good ones!

The collapsed passage behind the mirror crops up in canon, and is listed on the Marauder's Map, so they could easily have found it there.

And yes, canon surnames. With only 35-50 students graduating Hogwarts a year, it must be a tiny population! Also, it was fun finding a character for someone to be related to, and helped a lot with coming up with names (if someone had a brother or sister named, I looked up common sibling names--I also looked up most common English baby names in the mid seventies for naming the muggle teens).

Ah yes, their encounter with Cagogan--my attempt at shipping. Romance isn't my strong suit, so playing it as awkwardness and subtle comedy was easiest for me. Also, it let me bury yet another very big hint!

Yes, I definitely like the idea of seeing a basically good person from another POV (Tristan and Wood the first time round), but Wood is hardly a bad guy in the books. A bit of a jock, and passionate to the point of obnoxiousness, which I could play with--but ultimately a nice guy.

Ah, the excess booze. I figure the older students who are of age have an easier time sneaking things in, maybe? They know magic way beyond what Filch could detect, and they have practice.

Size of party: I will rewrite that bit, didn't mean for it to be confusing. I'd tried to suggest that the space was over-large for a party of ten, because that's all Emily thought it would be. But from my experience as a teen, word of parties tends to spread fast, and become ragers rather quickly.

And yeah, "study spells"--figured there had to be a magical equivalent to what kids at my college called "study drugs."

You make an excellent point about the elves never turning students in. The concept of House Elves was one of my favorites in the books--another statement about power and corruption, and how power is only ok when used to serve others. Also, the tricky issues of exploitation, but also Hermione's cultural insensitivity. Now I'm rambling, but yes, House Elves are potent!


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Review #34, by CambAngstYear Five: Three Times Charmed

9th July 2014:
Hello, again! Doing what I can to help with the big push, so for the record:

House Cup 2014 Review

I like the fact that Isobel owns her vanity. She does it and she does it well and she takes what most would consider a vice and makes it into a sort of personal virtue. In fact, this chapter really seems to be all about vices. Isobel is vain, Laurel is a charm junkie (gluttony?), Emily is a slag (lust) and Tristan has a real superiority complex where it comes to the muggle vs. magical (pride). That leaves out wrath, sloth and envy, but you can't have it all in a story with only four main characters I suppose.

And then, all of a sudden, Emily just gave up on boys, in order to wait patiently for Tristan to start paying attention to her. -- Ah! I'm pleased that I got this right in one of my earlier reviews.

It seems that they've planned out their trip to Hogsmeade quite thoroughly, obtaining necessary provisions and all that. A very realistic touch, based on my own experiences. To waste a day effectively, you need to make sure that everything is in place or you'll spend valuable slacking time addressing your wants and needs. That's way too much like productivity.

I love what you did with Filch. I wouldn't imagine a middle-aged squib who lives in a magical school would know much at all about muggle technology.

Laurel and Isobel are quite the pair as they make their way around the village. It's more often male characters who are written as this type of trouble-maker, and it was neat to see a pair of girls engaging in a devil-may-care day of recreational magic, petty theft and generally being obnoxious.

Hmmnn... who or what was inside the Hog's Head that chased Laurel away? Another small mystery?

You've done such a good job of keeping Tristan's music perfectly time and genre-appropriate. Kudos on all of your research and excellent taste.

Ha! Love the Hufflepuffs and their secrets to obtaining all manner of creature comforts.

I saw one lonely typo as I was reading:

She patted it once, and pinched the excess flesh around her naval. -- navel

Great job! I shall return soon.

Author's Response: Thank you for all of the reviews!!!

What you said about the seven sins is really interesting! Wrath and envy definitely make appearances, and even a little bit of sloth (although it's by far the least interesting sin.)

Writing their day in the village definitely involved me trying to channel my younger teenage self, and remembering all the ways intoxicated/giddy teenage girls can be obnoxious, and how they don't really care. I'm glad you found it realistic! And the comment that young women are rarely written that way was quite the complement.

Oh, I didn't mean for the Hogs Head to be such a mystery. Rather, Laurel just thought it looked very seedy, and that two teenage girls might do better NOT to go in.

And yes, lots of research into the music! I tried to comb through everything era-appropriate in order to find the songs that fit each person the best. And writing Isobel's distaste for the Pixies was fun, because I really like them.

AH, thank you for pointing out "naval"!!!

You're the best!

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Review #35, by CambAngstWho Killed Lucy?: Ruptures and Punctures

9th July 2014:
Hi, Nadia! Before I tell you how great this was, one formality:

House Cup 2014 Review

There, credit will be taken. ;)

You took a horrible, heart-breaking situation and treated it with a lot of sensitivity and finesse in this story. Poor Lucy was struck down by an invisible assailant in the prime of her life. There was no warning, no moment that anyone could point to and say, "If only I'd done this instead of that." It's a different kind of survivor's guilt, I think, from what people normally deal with.

Poor Audrey just seemed broken, unable to accept or deal with what had happened. Percy came across as desperate to do something to heal his broken family, except that there was nothing he could do. Then there was Molly, who was trying to find some way to make it all better. Each coping in their own way, taking a small measure of strength from one another. Very, very sad, but also realistic and very tangible to the reader.

Your writing was lovely. The details that you plucked out to focus on were exactly the sorts of things that add gravity and depth to an otherwise stark situation. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems. Nicely done!

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Review #36, by CambAngstPut On Notice: Put On Notice

9th July 2014:
Hi, pix! I'm here to win another valuable point in Ye Olde House Cup. Also, to finally read and review your story, which I have been missing out on. So first off, let's deal with the formalities:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, with that out of the way, may I say what a great job you did of nestling yourself inside Scorpius's over-inflated blond head and getting comfortable. The voice you captured in this story was excellent: smug, self-important and cocky, but with just enough self-doubt and introspection to make him interesting. Interesting and more than a little comical. To briefly and inadequately summarize: "Who needs Rose Weasley? Not me, that's for sure! I just like to stare at her, you know, from a distance. And do foolish things to make her annoyed at me. Because if she's annoyed at me, she's paying attention to me, not that I need her attention! Or even want her attention. I just enjoy knowing that I'm on her mind somewhere..." It's a bit pathetic, but in a cute sort of way.

It seems that he's turned into something of a Robin Hood, flaunting the Ministry's law in order to help the weak and powerless. It's funny how he wants Rose to not only know what a bad thing he's done, but also appreciate it for his noble intentions.

The only thing I can critique you for a bit is that sometimes the timeline of the events Scorpius is thinking about gets hard to follow. He's sort of bouncing around between different years they were at Hogwarts together, and the events are a little hard to put in any sort of order. Then there's an implication that he hasn't seen her since leaving Hogwarts, but it's pretty obvious that he has. There's almost a schizophrenic quality to it, which perhaps was what you were going for. In that case, bravo!

Good job, and I hope you did well in the challenge!

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Review #37, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Breakout: Rose POV

9th July 2014:
Hi, Beth! Back again for another awesome chapter. Even better, I will be claiming a valuable point for Gryffindor! Let's get the formalities out of the way, shall we?

House Cup 2014 Review

Now that we've taken care of that, I like the progress you made with Rose in this chapter. She seems like a new woman after finally giving in -- and convincing Scorpius to give in -- to the passion that's been growing between the two of them. She's getting all dolled up and going out to a crowded place. She's snogging Scorpius silly, both in private and in public. She's buying rounds, she's joking, she's laughing... just an all-around functional 20-something. It was beautiful to watch.

You did a good job of keeping her progress measured and realistic. She nearly has a panic attack in the pub, but with Scorpius's help she's able to pull back from the brink. He's so very good for her on so many levels.

All of Rose's cousins and friends were incredibly supportive, as well. You can feel how badly they want this for her, the recovery and the normality. They want her to be herself again, whole and full of life. That's the Weasley family written well!

One thing that I found a tiny bit odd was when you dipped into the fashion discussion with Selenia and Samara. There was nothing wrong with it, per se, just that you didn't do anything like that for any of the other characters. I remember reading it -- admittedly last night, so I wasn't at my sharpest -- and thinking, "what's the take-away here? Why is she emphasizing this?" Not a big deal, but it caught my overly-critical editor's eye.

Ha! Dom is awesome. And it appears that she can't hold her liquor very well. Either that, or she's had too much of it. Regardless, she has no problem shouting out what the others have probably realized and politely decided not to comment on. Good thing her boyfriend is there to rein her in just a bit.

Aww, Al is getting all sentimental on her. I like Al in this mode. It's much more fun and heart-warming to read than Al in Type A, brooding, overprotective jerk mode. Yes sirree, we are having a wonderful family night out. Love is in the air everywhere. Even the Auror mentees are getting in on it. What a great night for a...

DEATH EATER ATTACK!!! Aiieee! Everybody take cover!

Death Eaters have lousy timing, you know that? While the action here was fairly straightforward, it instantly sent my brain into detective overdrive. How did the Death Eaters know that Rose was going to be at the pub? Even Scorpius didn't know they were going to be there until just before they left home. I'm suddenly looking at everyone present with a very suspicious eye. Let's say for the sake of argument that we can rule out Rose's family, because god help us all if the Weasleys have been compromised. That would leave Selenia and Samara, who seem like unlikely candidates, Dom's boyfriend, the bartender lady and... well, Scorpius, himself. I rather doubt that Scorpius is plotting against Rose, but let's say for the sake of argument that his movements are being surreptitiously tracked. Perhaps by a long, lost relative. Hmmmnnn...

All guessing aside, you did a pretty good job with the fight scene. It was easy to visualize the chaos and the jets of light and hear the cracks of spells. Rose's panic and difficulty functioning also came through clearly. I was a little surprised that Albus would have sent her off to find Lily, given her mental state. She obviously wasn't in much of a position to take on the task, but I guess decisions get made in the heat of the moment. In spite of that, she's still worried about finding Dom and getting her out of there. I love the compassion and the way that she wants to protect her family, even if she's not really able.

And... you left us with a cliffhanger. That was mean of you, Beth! Very mean. I approve. ;)

I didn't see any typos or other problems with this chapter. It moved at a nice, fast pace and it was fun to read. Good job!

Author's Response: Hey, hi, ho!

So - first order of business is to apologize. It has taken me far to long to respond to this - and your other completely awesome reviews. I didn't want to send a perfunctory response and I got all caught up in my first House Cup, so my review responses (and writing and daily chores and life functions) have taken a back burner.

Thanks for all your comments - I especially appreciated the fact that you found Rose's progress to be well paced. There is no magic "off" button for recovery and Rose will continue to have progress and setbacks.

The super over-done fashion description is a big editing error on my part. I think that I mentioned earlier that I started this entire story from the middle - actually I started writing at Chapter 9 - the scene with Albus and Scorpius shooting up the forest. I don't have any good explanation as to why it started there, as I said this is my first go and the story just started to come to me from that point.

Anywho, with that as my start, this chapter was the first place where I could describe the two Potter boys' women - and I just left it in. I did edit this chapter (and edit and edit and edit), but I thought that I might have been incomplete in my earlier descriptions of those two fairly important characters. I also thought that it would show that Rose , for the first time, feels on par with these two (even though she claims she doesn't). She is with her man, all "dolled up" (to borrow your expression) and really happy.

Dom is a party girl. She works hard, plays hard. She just had a little bit too much to drink on this particular night - perhaps because she showed a bit of weakness to her colleagues at the meeting earlier in the day. I don't know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes (alright a LOT of times), I don't know why my characters do things. When I go back and edit, it makes sense and I'm like "Oh yeah! She drank to much and THAT's why she got hit with the cruciatus that is revealed two chapters from now..."

I like Al in this mode too. He seems to look just like Harry, but have quite a bit of the Weasley temperament. Rose doesn't seem to mind the overprotective Al, but she is just very forgiving of people and accepting of their natures.

Yeah, those Death Eaters are a huge pain in the butt, huh? How did they know? I'm glad you are trying to figure it out, but there were a LOT of people there - and you are right, it was a last minute decision to go there. I can't give anything up just yet. You will have to keep Hm-ing.

Thanks again. This was my first fight scene and I took a while to get it how I wanted - but me reading it over and over and over can't compare with feedback from an objective source.

Yeah, maybe Al sending Rose to find Lily wasn't the best move, but it was the heat of battle and he was worried about his little sister (who he had been told to take care of by Ginny), Rose seemed like the best option at the time.

Glad you liked the cliffhanger. I don't like to overuse them, but every now and then, they are just plain fun!

Thanks again, Dan. If I haven't told you before, your reviews are part of the reason I've continued the story - and have been posting the chapters as quickly as I have. It really makes a difference when you know someone is eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Thanks again!


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Review #38, by CambAngstBurn Away the Darkness: Shine

8th July 2014:
Hi, Sian! You're doing such awesome things in the House Cup reviewing competition, I definitely feel like you deserve some love as well. First, let's get the formalities out of the way:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, on to more pleasant things! I thought you painted an unusually balanced and realistic picture of Petunia. She's not an easy character to write because I find her motivations and emotions to be really complex and very different at different points in her life. You captured some of the bigger themes that run through her story: her jealousy, her fear of things that are different and her tendency to allow that fear and jealousy to twist into spite and bitterness. But you also included some unexpectedly tender moments. It seems that she really did love her sister and miss Lily after the world of magic took her away. I almost saw a moment of love for little Harry, at least until James's black hair and glasses drove her away from him. The idea that her doting treatment of Dudley was an attempt to compensate for the love that she could never feel toward Harry was a really neat one. I never thought of it that way.

Your writing was lovely. I didn't see a single typo or grammatical error and the whole thing flowed very nicely. Great job!

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Review #39, by CambAngstAll Grown Up: Looking Down

8th July 2014:
Sarah! I am here, scoring points for my house!

House Cup 2014 Review

This was really touching and sweet and even a bit funny in places. I liked the balance of emotions, even if sadness was the overarching sort of feel. Tonks is right, she does get to see things that other parents probably miss, but without having any ability to interact or affect anything. That has to be an emotional roller coaster, especially for someone as excitable as her.

You picked some really good moments in Teddy's young life for her to focus on. Things that definitely would have emotional weight.

Then at the end, when you brought Remus into the story, that closed a significant loop for me. It would have been really sad for her not to be able to share these moments with Teddy's father.

"You know, it's a good thing we named him, I can't imagine what mother would've come up with, given the chance." -- That was an awesome way to end the chapter! A nice, light note to offset the melancholy.

Your writing was lovely in this. It flowed really nicely and I didn't see any typos, grammatical problems or awkward wording. Nicely done!

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Review #40, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Alexa: When Ultimatums are Made

8th July 2014:
Ugh. I'm feeling seriously emotionally stuffy right now. I need some emotional air. OK, while I take a breath:

House Cup 2014 Review

If the last chapter wasn't fun to read, this one was even less so. It seems like Alexa has so many difficult relationships in her life at this point: Albus, her father, her brother... Somebody once told me, and I can't for the life of me remember who, that if you have a problem with everyone then it's unlikely that the fault lies entirely with everyone else. Which is not to say that everyone else is faultless...

It never stops, the screaming. -- As the parent of twin 6-year-olds, I can confirm that this is true. Horribly, horribly true. Oh, wait, this is a nightmare, not real life. Well, it's true in real life, too, except the screams are less bloodcurdling. Poor Alexa. She can't even escape it in her sleep.

Wow, so she's thought this pretty far through. I feel like she doesn't want to leave Albus, but she'd rather do that than see everything destroyed. I can't really relate, but I can follow the logic.

Ash seems like a good confidant for Lexi, one who can offer a hint of insight on the male perspective. It's really too bad she doesn't take him up on his offer. Somebody needs to kick Albus's, er, butt.

I agree with Ash. It's sort of hard to relate to someone who grew up in a sprawling pureblood estate. It sounds very cool, though.

Aww, Theo has another kid! That's awesome. He seems like the kind of guy who's made to be a dad. At least until they reach their young adult years. So there's a big fight brewing between the three Notts. Work related? Family related? Something else? You're spinning a lot of good mystery here.

Sigh. It's awful to see what's playing out inside Albus and Alexa's home. You did a great job writing Isaac's reaction. Parents always think that kids don't notice these things. They're pretty much always wrong about that.

The final confrontation between Albus and Lexi really needed to happen. In fact, I wish they'd spent more time on it. Instead, Lexi sort of storms off again and Albus is too much of a coward to really press the issue. So sad. I hope circumstances really force them to deal with this soon, because it doesn't seem like they're going to deal with it otherwise. Interesting, though. Who was killed? There are lots of characters from the first story that we haven't seen yet...

I saw a couple of typos while I was reading:

I managed to stop him before he got Gracie herself -- himself?

The last time I saw you for more than an hour was Kieron's birthday party two weeks ago and you were so lost in your own thoughts, so distant, that been ignored by you while... being with you felt almost cruel. -- being ignored by you

You're killing me, Sam! Killing me! Please let them be a little happy soon, OK?

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Review #41, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Albus: When the Damage is Done

8th July 2014:
Hi, Sam! I'm back again, getting myself all caught up. First, a note from our sponsor:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

OK, so maybe I'm a tad less angry with Al now. At least he has the minimal wherewithal it takes to know that he's acting like a jerk and feel badly about it. I'm really curious who it is he's chasing and why the case is so important to him. It has to be somebody pretty awful to get this kind of a rise out of him. It also sounds like the individual is not simply a garden-variety fugitive if he has a gang of thugs watching his back. A very interesting mystery you've spun here!

Al definitely seems to have some of his father in him, specifically the patent disregard for his own health and well-being when he's immersed in his work. When he's refusing to visit St. Mungo's, I could easily hear Harry, refusing a trip to the Hospital Wing.

You did a great job writing Isaac in this chapter. The admiration and need for approval was rolling off of the kid in waves. It's horribly sad to see him worry so much over things with his dad, and like I said earlier, Al at least feels badly about the whole thing. But not badly enough to change, apparently. Stupid Al! Stupid!

Lexi was solidly in character in this chapter, but I have to admit that I'm more than a little annoyed with her, too. Just like in the first story, they've both so stubborn sometimes! The silent treatment she's giving him as she builds up to telling him off really isn't helping the communication any. It's great that she inherited her father's strength, but some of his other traits are causing her problems.

Again, so much of his father in Al. He can take on dark wizards, but he's too much of a coward to face his own wife. Or his own feelings.

"Go. I can't stop you anyway." -- Sigh. Not a good note to end this chapter.

I noticed a few typos as I was reading:

sure we talk to the other neighbors, but Craig spends time over here, comes over opfor dinner, and has even been to the Burrow with his kids. -- comes over for dinner

Alexa, like Theodore, will wait it out, will think about the worse possible thing that can be done to you -- worst possible thing

The very idea of being fed soon as the boys running back in -- soon has the boys

Bobby goes on and on about a gamefowl football he played with some kids in the park the other day -- game of football?

Great job!

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Review #42, by CambAngstYear Five: Loose Lips

7th July 2014:
I'm back again! In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually read this chapter last night, but I was way too worn out to write a decent review. Here I am, ready to do it justice. First, a bit of boilerplate:

House Cup 2014 Review

Now, on to the substance and the glory.

Tristan is a really deep kid. Emily, Isobel and Tristan all seem like pretty deep thinkers, actually, but in that "too cool for school" way that prizes off-beat topics and irreverent lines of inquiry. The jury is still out on Laurel, I think, although she is a Ravenclaw so the potential is obviously there.

"'Ouch," teased Isobel. "You really know where to hit Snapey where it hurts: ethics." -- A brilliant line, although you have an extra single quote in front of "Ouch".

I love the idea of Sir Cadogan attempting to mentor and intimidate the foursome, it cracks me up. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you misspelled his name in the first mention: Cadoaon. I think that was the last typo I saw.

There was nothing Tristan hated more than being confined. -- You slip in a lot of small facts and observations about Tristan in this story. I'm almost to the point of giving up on trying to figure out which ones have a bigger purpose and which do not. Almost. This one seems like something that might pop up again later on.

I loved Tristan's nickname for Quirrell, but the description raised an interesting -- and exceedingly minor -- point in my head. I'm not sure that Quirrell stuttered before his encounter with Voldemort. The Harry Potter Wiki -- which always must be treated with skepticism, but is sometimes correct by sheer chance -- implies that he was always timid, but started to stutter and faint after returning from his sabbatical. Take it for what it's worth. Probably nothing to lose sleep over.

Tristan's meditation on the definition of quaint was completely brilliant. Kudos to Marauderfan for that one!

Interesting. Tristan has a point where his job prospects are concerned, although he overdoes it a bit. I'd never given much thought to what might happen for a witch or wizard who wished to reenter the muggle world after finishing their studies at Hogwarts. There are approximately three million fan fics out there -- mostly Dramiones; ick -- where Hermione attends a muggle university after Hogwarts but they all tend to skim over the topic of what she submitted for a secondary school transcript.

You are doing a marvelous job of slow-playing whatever it is that's developing between Tristan and Emily. They're definitely not romantically involved, but you can see the potential chemistry. She seems to get angry at him when she realizes -- perhaps subconsciously -- that he's beating himself up for no good reason.

Wow. It sure is easy for witches and wizards to cover their tracks when they're on the cusp of getting caught in the midst of some recreation. I envy that.

While I was reading the conflict between Tristan and Oliver Wood, I had this image of Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson chest-thumping it out in Breakfast Club. Tristan isn't quite the loud-mouthed rebel that Nelson played, but Wood would totally fit with Estevez's jock character. I wonder if he ever taped somebody's buns together in the Quidditch dressing room? Why on earth do I think of things like this???

I wonder what happened to Laurel to put her in such a mood? Could be Cheering Charm withdrawal, I suppose. Or maybe something more. I guess if it's important, we'll find out.

Tristan seems to have earned some respect for standing up to Wood and taking his licks. Fred and George weren't the first ones who came to mind, but it makes sense. The other Slytherins, however, were more of a surprise. And Tristan doesn't take it well at all. I hope that the lie he tells to get back on their bad side doesn't come back to haunt him too badly. Who am I kidding? Of course it will.

Your end notes are required reading for this story. The little bits of color and clarification you add are always interesting.

Great job! Be back soon...

Author's Response: Ah, thank you for catching those mistakes! I will fix them straight away! And the Quirrel thing too.

I'm really glad for your reaction to Tristan! *steeples hands and smirks, ideally while lit from below*

I definitely wanted Tristan to be a bit of a pain, a la Harry when he was in his fifth year. But, obv very different. Just equally 15.

And excellent Emily observation! Glad that came across!

Haha! From this point forward, I will imagine Oliver Wood as Emilio Estevez!

Is 'the lie' you mentioned that he said he was a mudblood? I thought I remembered Harry being considered a half blood because Lily was muggle-born...

Now that I think on it, there isn't a named PC term in the Potter series for the children of muggle-borns. Hmmm.

I'm glad you like the end notes! I wasn't sure if I was just being self-indulgent. There were just little bits of research I happened upon that were really neat, but couldn't be gracefully woven into the story.

Thanks for another wonderful review!

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Review #43, by CambAngstReasons to Smile: Alexa: When Emotions Break Through

7th July 2014:
Sam! I have been meaning to get to your sequel for ages and the House Cup is always a great opportunity to catch up on reading and reviewing. It's like getting something for free, really. So, to get the formalities out of the way:

House Cup 2014 Review

Whoa, what on earth has happened to Albus? He's gone from being a rather doting boyfriend to suddenly being absentee daddy workaholic. My initial reaction is that I want Alexa to hand him a verbal beat-down. I might even go so far as to want Keiron to give him a physical beat-down. OK, I should probably calm down. We haven't even heard Albus's side of the story yet. It had better be good, though!

I love the way that the Healer has to bribe Isaac to get him to cooperate. I imagine he gets that from his mother's side. The Notts seem like people who don't proceed without first understanding what's in it for them. I don't ever recall a doctor visit when I was little where the doctor bribed me with a bag of candy, and now I'm feeling like I got totally gypped. I should have been less agreeable. The entire scene was really adorable, with Isaac mimicking the Healer's movements and expressions. As annoying as it must have been to everyone except Isaac, it would have been hard not to laugh.

There's a whole story behind them - not the color, why my family have them in the first place - but that's not important right now. -- OK, so this is probably the most leading sentence I've read today. I do hope there's a fun story that goes along with this. :)

From there, the sadness takes over. Why on earth is Albus being such an idiot? I'm sure he has his reasons, it's just hard to imagine that they'd be anything compelling. At least compelling enough to leave a six-year-old in this sort of state. I have two six-year-olds at home and I can't really imagine treating them like this. It's the highlight of my day when I get home and see them smile. Makes me wonder whether Albus has hit that phase of parenthood where he's feeling "trapped".

It's always a little bittersweet to see Arthur and Molly at this stage of their lives. Sweet because they've made it and they've obviously enjoyed a lot of happiness watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren come into the world. Bitter because they're such lively, energetic people and time gradually steals that from you as you get older. I felt very sad for Molly, but I also commend you on the originality because it's nearly always Arthur who succumbs to Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia in fan fic stories.

OK, so I thought Albus was a huge jerk and then Hugo comes along. Wow. I remember him being this relatively innocent, sweet boy in the last story, finding his way as he sorted out his sexuality and whatnot. Now, he comes off like a mean, ungrateful jerk. What has happened to all of these people? Sam, what have you done??? :p

I liked the detail on the Notts' family business interests. That kind of detail always enhances my enjoyment of a story. It adds some context that keeps the plot out of the Friends zone, i.e. - how do these people afford this marvelous lifestyle with no visible means of support?

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

And Casey, being a relatively good and patient healer even if he is crap at it anywhere else, is allowing it to continue until Isaac finally let's him do the examination. -- finally lets him

between us two and them, we control a lot of businesses all over the word -- all over the world

In closing, I hope that Keiron beat Hugo up after Alexa left and then went to look for Albus. Just kidding, but you need to smack some sense into these character straight away, OK? Looking forward to seeing how you do that!

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Review #44, by CambAngstHeart(less): Heart(less)

7th July 2014:
Hi, Roots! It's been forever since I've read and reviewed anything of yours, but today is special! I'm here for:

House Cup 2014 Review

You did a really amazing job of capturing Narcissa and Bellatrix. For Lucius, I thought maybe you were a bit too kind to him, but we can quibble over small things in characterization without detracting much from my enjoyment of the story. You know first-hand how much I liked a good writing of Narcissa, and this was definitely a good one.

From a young age, it seems that Narcissa has been dealing with her elder sister's bloodthirsty insanity. The contrast between Bellatrix's ghastly potions and Narcissa's dolls was stark.

Would this have been Lucius and Narcissa's first date? It reads like such a prim, proper pureblood affair. I feel like there should be chamber music in the background. ;) I liked the little thrill that she gets from putting her homework aside and giving in to romance.

Aww, she's going to miss him while she's away for her last year! Again, it was the small touches in this section that really brought it alive for me: the cup of tea, the emptiness of words versus long conversations, the way that he pulls her trunk and holds her hand.

It seems like she doesn't really understand what it means for Lucius to take the Dark Mark in the beginning. Her answer was rather flat and unconcerned. If she only knew...

Lucius was such a dutiful husband while she was giving birth to Draco! Well, mostly. It seems like things got a bit too intense for him from time to time. But he was there. I'll give him points for that.

The scene with Draco getting hurt on his toy brookstick was Narcissa at her best, at least in the way that I always think of her. A woman trapped between the roles of pureblood matriarch and mother. She manages to be both, not without some effort.

Her motherly qualities really shine after Cedric's death. No matter how different their situations might be, she can't think of Cedric without seeing Draco in his place. I remember reading something once along the lines of "every mother sees their own children in every child". Seems very appropriate to this situation.

Then things change dramatically for the worse. I've always felt like Narcissa's greatest strength came to light after Lucius was sent to Azkaban. Life tested her again and again, and she always managed to rise to the occasion.

I like that you did show the changes that Azkaban and the war brought to Lucius. They're perhaps a little deeper than I'd imagined, but very real nonetheless. At the end, when they're tearing through Hogwarts, desperately searching for their son, that captured the real strength you've given the two of them.

Your writing was great in this. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems or anything else that detracted from the beauty of the piece. Great job! Can't wait to see you write some more of Pansy's story. :)

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Review #45, by CambAngstA Last Goodbye: A Last Goodbye

7th July 2014:
Hi, Lauren! Here to review your story for:

House Cup 2014 Review

This story was sad, but also really touching. You wrote it with a lot of subtlety and finesse. It would have been easy -- not emotionally easy, but easier to write -- to have Ron bawling all over the place. It also would have been easier to identify Ron as the narrative voice right out of the gate. Instead, you paced the story very deliberately. You dribbled in the key details alongside your vivid descriptions of the weather, the tree and all of the other tangible details that really grounded the scene in my head.

I love the idea that Harry lived a relatively quiet life to a ripe old age, surrounded by family and friends. Your Harry certainly has the same preferences for privacy as mine. He definitely would have hated going through life as "The Boy Who Lived", and all of the other superlatives that people heaped upon him.

Ron was such a good friend to Harry. I'm imagining that Ginny was devastated by his death, so it was incredibly kind of Ron to step in and arrange for the type of funeral that Harry would have wanted. It sounds similar to the way he lived his life after the war: a quiet affair limited to family and close friends.

Overall, I loved your take on Ron. He's humble, but he also doesn't underestimate himself. He feels comfortable in his own skin, and he's taking his time processing the events and letting his emotions catch up. I would estimate that his emotional range is at least up to a tablespoon by this point, if not a quarter cup. ;)

Your writing was beautiful. I mentioned your pacing above, and you did an awesome job of using detail and nuance to make it all real and gripping. Great job!

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Review #46, 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 #47, 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: ďTristan. Cheer me. For the love of Merlin,Ē 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 #48, 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!


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Review #49, 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!

"ItÖ 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 #50, 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!!


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