Reading Reviews From Member: ChaosWednesday
  
115 Reviews Found

Review #1, by ChaosWednesdayBehind the Curtain: New Discoveries

23rd August 2013:
Tag!

Ah, it's been a while, but I'm happy for the chance to come back to this lovely experiment in wizard history!

You know, I'm beginning to enjoy the heavy info-sections, although I do recall finding them slightly difficult to get through in the last chapter. You're setting up a complicated web of alliances, with many characters and relationships as well as political realities. These things do need careful explaining. Besides, I found that you injected the explanatory paragraphs quite elegantly in-between the action.

Anastasia's mission to kidnap the Polish Minister was the most interesting bit for me. While you maintain a similar geopolitical power structure in the wizard world as we know from the muggle one, the ideologies appear quite different. It's almost as if the wizards never went through any revolution at all and were untouched by the hopes of communism? The fact that the Soviet Ministry of Magic does not live by at least a narrative of equality (also between wizards and muggles) is quite interesting. It leaves me curious to discover how you envision the relationship between the two worlds and what sorts of themes communist thought and history will be connected to in this story. Intriguing!

I thought it was cute that Anastasia grew up in an orphanage (makes me think of the childrens' animated film of the same name, if you know it?). She's not a lost princess, is she? Oh, before I forget! I really don't mean to nit-pick, but I did notice this sentence: "here was much worth remembering about growing up in an impoverished Moscow orphanage during the Great Depression and the war that followed." Being communist, the USSR wasn't actually hit by the Great Depression. In fact, that was it's most prosperous time, with many Western experts moving to the USSR in the hopes of finding work and thus inadvertently helping the industrialisation process. Before the war, in the late 20s and early 30s the USSR actually saw a great increase in social welfare and general living standards. Healthcare was more widely available and there were many new programs for the socialization of youth. I'm not sure if you meant something else and I misunderstood, but it seemed like you bunched the war and the time before it into one, which was a bit disorienting. I just thought I'd point it out, since you seem to be interesting in this historical period and in representing it accurately.

I still think the characterization is great and I'm enjoying your ability to present the reader with so many different locations and characters without losing a sense of connectedness. I'm liking this and I hope I can come back soon for more.

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for such an in-depth review!

You raise some very interesting points about the ideologies involved; I didn't want to get too bogged down talking about political theories, so I just went with the basic wizard idea that the bad guys are the ones that hate muggles, which is admittedly a bit simplistic. However, I did want to maintain the same type of atmosphere and locations that would have shown up in cold war stories.

That's another itneresting point about the USSR in the 30's, and I admit that I kind of assumed the Great Depression was a global phenomenon. In my head canon, Anastasia comes from a Ukrainian background, and I know they had a really bad time in the 30's with the famines and everything.

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #2, by ChaosWednesdayThe Girl from Slytherin : The Slytherin Boys

20th August 2013:
tag!

I've been meaning to come back to this for a while. Glad I got the chance!

This chapter may be a bit filler, yes, but it's for the better. You take your time establishing the tone of the story and giving each character a proper introduction. I'm enjoying that because, well, I'm the worst at remembering characters and I get so *frustrated* trying to tell people apart when the main action has already started. So, trust me, I'm very thankful for the extra time to get my weirdly selective memory up to speed!

You do indeed have many characters. The way I see it, you're trying to set the mood of the time and the generation and you're succeeding very well! The Slytherins may be very different (as opposed to just the sickly green mass of petty evilness they were in the books), but there are certain things that define and unite them. All these teenagers emit a sense of confidence and a sense of mission - it's very seductive! You make it difficult to dislike any one of them (and I had to laught at "Girl Goyle"). On the backdrop of the turbulent environment you've outlined, these characters promise to kick against passive compliance with their parents and their old-fashioned views.

Daphne's party sounds promising! The explanation that Theo and Draco are over-compensating for being excluded from Slughorn's club is a good point and I can't wait to read more of that. Generally, what I enjoy most in this story is how you explain all of the Slytherin's views as some sort of symptoms of entitlement and just basic teenage needs for being provocative and clique-y. This sets the scene for many shattering world views in the future. I can imagine the Slytherins will soon need to formulate their opinions for themselves, and I can't wait to see how much of a tragic trainwreck that will be, and I mean that in the most possibly positive way ever!

Oh, but I have to point this out because I'm a crazy cat lady: cat's don't lick your face! The only scenario I can imagine of a cat doing that is if you have smelly perfume on your face and she wants to wash it of. Or, if you believe the internet, if she wants to kill you or eat your soul. Maybe change "laugh as her rough tongue licks my cheek" to something like "laugh as her wet nose pokes my cheek" or something else, you know? Haha, sorry, but I had to.

Well, I'll try to be back for more soon - I enjoyed this chapter!

p.s. I had to laugh at Tor's mother warning the girls in her letter to not date people too closely related to them. Something tells me this is an everyday sort of inconvenience most pure-blood children must grow up with. I wonder if they are drilled with specific criterea for how to calculate " one relative in common and not too closely related" along side with other basic things like how shoeslaces can be tied and what a Muggle is.

Author's Response: Hello! :) Great to see you here!

I'm so glad you enjoyed this chapter and the story so far, and didn't think it was progressing too slowly. I agree, throwing a lot of OCs at a reader at once is tricky, but hopefully you're managing to get a sense of each one. I think it was necessary for me as a writer as well, to get the character traits and histories a little more established.

I love how you find the characters actually likeable so far, and how they contrast the idea of the classic Slytherin. You're right, they are different from their parents, they just need the chance to realize it and grow as individuals.

Haha, yes I imagined Theo and Draco would be secretly very stung about not being invited to Slughorn's parties. Yes, I imagined the Slytherins as being quite immature and typical teenagers in many ways, with the need for respect and friendship, yet also with the possibility of growing and changing their views.

Ha! That's a good point about cats, I'm more of a dog person to be fair. :P I'll definitely re-visit that.

I'm glad you appreciated Tor's mother's warnings. It probably would be an issue for purebloods, since I don't think the pool of selection is that large. They're probably all third cousins or something! It would be an amusing situation, for sure. :)

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful review, it was a real pleasure to receive! :D


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Review #3, by ChaosWednesdayNot Normal: {Chapter the Third}

19th August 2013:
review swap!

Well, I just couldn't resist, so I read the third chapter too!

In case you haven't noticed, I'm thoroughly enjoying this story contrary to all my reservations against fluffy next gen.

I think what has me most is the narrative voice. Ellie (that's her name right? with first person narrations I tend to forget...) is fun and cynical. I think what she does best is reminise about her childhood. No one can make encounters with old lady ghosts and poison ivy sound quite as charming!

I must say, I would like to see more awkward Ellie (really hope that's her name or else this review will get awkward). She is quite the observant and clever one - I can imagine her heading a group of disillusioned geeks and misfits. Anyone who is slightly awkward would gravitate towards someone like her, right? Speaking of which, I'm proud that she has caught Ben into her little web. He is sort of shrouded in fog for me as of now, but I'm sure you'll develope him more soon!

I'm enjoying the hints of what is to come that you've been throwing in here and there - the premonition and the hat's song are similar enough to set a pattern and yet vague enough to get the reader's imagination running wild. I like things that do that to my imagination.

I'm sure you know that this story is kind of awesome, so I'll take the libery of offering a small bit of CC if you don't mind. This might just be me, but all the "teenage males" in this story are kind of the same? They are all smug, hot and annoying. I know that this isn't too far from reality (had to deal with that phenomenon myself not too long ago. Well, college guys aren't all the different, now that I think about it), but I'd really like to see some difference in character. Smugness and hotness and annoyingness come in all sorts of lovely variations, after all :D

thanks for the swap! oh, and update soon because I'll be back!

Author's Response: *grins uncontrollably* I'm super glad that you're enjoying yourself! For me, it means a lot that you like this story, as this isn't something that you'd usually read.

I want to write more awkward Ellie (haha, yes, that's her name, and I know what you mean)! I wrote a bit with that scene with Ginny, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And yeah, she is the type to collect the geeks and misfits! It is actually amazing that she caught someone like Ben!

The plot is revealed a little more in the next chapter (hopefully), and thank you for the CC. I was worried that might be the case, so I'll be extra careful to differentiate them as the story goes on. They are different, but I guess there just isn't enough of them on the page to see that yet!

PS: You're story was awesome, btw - I gushed a little (by which I mean a lot).


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Review #4, by ChaosWednesdayTruth Will Out: Breathe.

19th August 2013:
hey! I found this link in the forums and thought I'd have a look!

Congrats on trying something new, such stories are always more fun!

I think your story brings up a lot of interesting themes. First, the guilt and fear that many victims face. Her fears that Frank may hurt her family might seem a bit unfounded (he is just a teenager with no gang of hard boiled killers that follows him as far as I could tell). But considering what happened, I can imagine that she would feel trapped and helpless, and fearing just about any sort of threat.

Also, it's interesing how the power relationships have developed, with children of former heroes being granted social power and feeling tempted to misuse it.

In response to you A/N, I'd say that you can create both a one-shot and chaptered story out of this. But, in my opinion, for a one-shot you would need to adjust the tone of the story to something more consistent (for example not so many "ugh"s and humorous moments right after such a devastating flashback). If you end the story here, you would probably need to insert some hints at what will happen after she tells the truth, so as to give the story more weight.

If you make a chaptered fic, then I'd advise you to spread the reveal over several chapters and to build up Frank's character. I hope that helps!

Author's Response: Thanks for taking the time to read and review-I really appreciate it!

The OC is just a teenager when this happens so while an adult may not take his threat seriously, she most certainly would. In her eyes, if he can get away with what he did to AL and her, what else can he get away with?

Frank is definitely an interesting character study and I'm planning on doing a one shot on just his character.

Thanks for your opinion! I'll definitely take some of it into consideration.


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Review #5, by ChaosWednesdayNot Normal: {Chapter the First}

16th August 2013:
Tag!

I'll be honest - I really have a problem with Next Gen stories. I don't like them (and they don't like me - so that's fine I guess)

But every once in a while, I find a story and I GET IT! Suddenly, everything makes sense.

Like now, for example. I think your story hits all the right points. Feisty narrator, teenage problems, magic. It works! I suppose you've hit the golden middle of the genre with this one.

First, I really do like the narrator. She's funny and it's not forced. And you are lucky with her, because she has a knack of getting through facts really quickly.

My favourite part, though, is her family. The many languages, music room (!), quidditch field in the back yard, Golden Trio kids as friends. It's pretty much any teen's dream. Contrasted with the whole "seeing dead people" ordeal, I can really see potential for a real character arc...and I want to read about it.

I really did enjoy the crisp narration, the mysterious set-up and the characters. But I really can't go on without mentioning this sentence:

"There was a drum kit in the far corner, a double bass and cello near the floor-length window, at least three guitars scattered around, an open violin case lying on top of a hall table that Chris had “acquired” from the actual hallway where it belonged, lying next to a haphazard stack of music theory books, and what might have been a flute, was hanging precariously off a single timpani, all amongst other music-related paraphernalia, such as reeds, bows, various types of drumsticks, a broken keyboard, a very old amplifier, including electrically unsafe leads, a music stand or four, and sheets and sheets of music covered with Chris’ large, cursive handwriting in purple, and my much neater and smaller handwriting in green."

Uhm, so I get that you wanted to create a sense of abundance. But it seems like you couldn't really settle for a simple list, and couldnt find a place to put a period either. It's your story and all, but I'd really try to reign in that monster sentence up somehow. It's pretty wild :)

Right. Well, I'll be back for more, you can count on it!

P.S. are her eyes ever going to get stuck from all that rolling?

Author's Response: Thank you! Her family is amazing, I agree. I adore both Chris and her father. And yes. That sentence kind of ran away from me. I was going in with the idea of overwhelming the reader with all the clutter and haphazard nature of the room, but perhaps a full stop (or three) may not be amiss!

Thanks for dropping by! This was such a lovely review!


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Review #6, by ChaosWednesdaySpies: Trading Places

14th August 2013:
Tag!

Yeah, wow, long one-shot! But I can tell you enjoyed writing it because I enjoyed reading it!

One doesn't often come by a one-shot about the marauders that feels fresh and new, since we know every little thing by now. And yet, you managed to - subtly, with little to no melodrama - bring these characers to life again and make me care about what they are going through. That is a feat, as I tend to avoid any story with Lily and James and Sirius in it.

Something about the down-to-earth, realistic presentation of Severus and Peter's struggles really interested me. Usually, montages like this tend to get rather dramatic, as we know all characters are doomed. But you managed to focus on the immediacy of their choices, with hardly any judgement and without the romanticization. They still believe their fate isn't sealed quite yet, and your descriptions give the reader hope as well. Does that make sense?

So, in combination with the cold, down-to-earth descritptions, I enjoyed the fun little theme of mobility between "good" and "bad" that you had connecting the two stories. And it was nteresting how an unrequited love for Lily, depending on the purity of the love and character, can either push a man to be a better version of himself or a worse one. It was a nice way to tie things together, without going the way of metaphors or drama. Basically, a really wonderful story, glad I clicked on it. Cheers!

Author's Response: Hah, I'm glad that came across!

It's great to hear that this story felt refreshing, because I thought it was sort of an original plot line and it also revived my interest in the Marauders (which I thought I had ended for a while with the completion of my novel).

I'm big on details, and this story was no exception. I think you're right that I tried to seize that moment before everyone knew the truth about Harry's survival and Voldemort's demise into a creature less than human. It was neat to imagine the Death Eaters celebrating and the Order mourning before the morning light, before everything had quite been processed. I mean, this is even before Sirius and Peter had their showdown in the street. Everything is meant to feel quite fresh.

I'm so pleased that you picked up on the shifting definitions of who's good and who's bad--that was a central theme of the story. I don't know that I envisioned Peter as having love for Lily (definitely not in the way that Snape did), but I agree that the presence of a "good" person can shift people in one direction or another in terms of how they react to that.

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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Review #7, by ChaosWednesdayClash: Him

13th August 2013:
Hey, I'm back!

I think one reason why villains are so fascinating is that they possess something admirable, namely strenght. But also something dangerous, namely dillusion and a twisted logic that makes sense only in the mental bubble they have created for themselves. That is how I feel about your representation of Harry, and I loved it! Of course he would snap and acquire a strange one-track vision. That must be the onyl way to stay safe in a world with so much loss and uncertainty. I'm so happy we can finally see a non-angelic post-war Harry.

As to Albus, well, he does remind me of someone ;) But I suppose he isn't an actual, full-blown sociopath, just someone who has been forced into an existence that is very similar. Correct? I am very curious to see how you contrast his hidden emotional world with the hard and selfish exterior, since that is not often done with similar characters. Usually, we are just expected to marvel at their dark skills and feel torn by our attraction to something that can never return the favour. I always found Voldemort's characters to be boring and frustrating because of this. So it's refreshing to see a pseudo-sociopathic character that promises layers and humanity, even if it's a very twisted one. And I find it interesting how Rose has been the only thing that could get even close to that other part of Albus.

I like what you did with Scorpius, and I think it's funny how you do sort of ship him with Rose. I'm starting to suspect that the Rose/Scorp ship is so popular because they are basically the only non-related children of our favourite characters? Haha, kind of limits your options. It's fun how you play on this with the relationship between Albus and Rose. If you watch Hemlock Grove, maybe you would see how I draw the connection, and it's a good connection. The strange emotional relationship Albus has to her only adds to the tragedy and complexity of his character. It's pretty twisted yet realistic how the only "good" thing about him is bordering closely on something "wrong". I hope I'm not overanalyzing or missing the point!

I did have a comment on the structure of the narrative. While the jumps to the future colour the story and bring it to life, imo anyways, there is something off about them. The story itself is clearly not told by the pensive and not by Rose, which is fine, but maybe it should be made clearer that we have two parallel accounts running side by side? There appear to be hints intended at tying the two together (it was the pensive section that confused me most), but then they aren't structurally tied at all. It's best to avoid confusion like this.

That's it for now, I'll come back with one review sometimes soon (I hope)

Author's Response: Let me just say that I love love LOVE your analysis. I never intended for Albus to come across as a full blown "Tom Riddle" sociopath--just someone, as you said, has been forced into a certain existence by his father: the product of a harsh environment. I like "pseudo-sociopath" and prefer anti-hero more than villain. Rose and Albus aren't necessarily good and evil, or hero and villain (as that's boring and leaves little room for growth). Moreso, they embody (or will embody) the various shades of grey in between. Same with Harry, who as we've established, isn't quite right in the head (I love your explanation btw!).

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure whether I wanted Scorp/Rose when I started out with this story (still not sure yet) but I do intentionally treat it as a joke between Rose and Albus in this initial chapter---just because its so common to assume that they're meant to be. But my Rose is different and my Scorpius is different and I'm not a romance writer so there's no certainty of anything. I think I've heard of Hemlock Grove on Netflix. The M rating always made me nervous to try it, but maybe I'll give it a chance :)

You're not overanalyzing Rose and Albus. I think you've hit the point perfectly. There is a certain... unsettling attachment between them (more from Al's side than Rose) that could come across as borderline, and it's going to be explored more as the story progresses. I like how you put that the only "good" thing about him borders on something "wrong". That being said, I'm not going to violate any...readers don't have anything to be afraid of. It's not that kind of story :). But yeah, Albus has a softness for Rose he doesn't have for anyone else--and whether or not it spells redemption or disaster remains to be seen. I'm curious to know who he reminds you off though.

I will add a note explaining that the two accounts are running side-by-side. Sorry about the confusion. It was the only way I could explore Albus and other characters fully, rather than the limited perspective of Rose. I prefer and have always written in third person omniscient.

This is a fantastic review! You're a fantastic reviewer! I love all the analysis and insightful critique. Thank you for reviewing and I will be sure to re-request!


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Review #8, by ChaosWednesdayClash: Her

13th August 2013:
Hey! It's Whiskey with your review, first of three :)

You know, I really like me some rebels and evil guys! It's weakness, I swear. So you can imagine how happy I was reading this first chapter. The Head had me grinning the entire time.

First, I really enjoyed the gothic-style story within a story moment that makes Rose's tale more dramatic and already alerts the reader to the world-altering consequences (no more magic? What? -love it). I must say, though, I was slightly put off by the term "death row" as I am pretty sure England does not have the death penalty. I suppose, since this is the future, it could exist. Nevertheless, the term made the story sound like the beginning of an American thriller, and so it messed with the atmosphere. Also, the court-room scene was very, again, American crime-series style. I'm not sure, but I don't think the wizarding world has a judge one would call "Your Honour". Instead, I think the Minister presides over these issues? The scene when Harry gets called out for under-aged magic might be a good place to look for guide-lines. This is sort of nit-picky, I know. Sorry, haha. But these little things can make or break an atmosphere and I find that atmosphere is important for a story of such epic proportions.

And now, I have to compliment you on the stream of consciousness/faux-dialogue bits that you inserted (First with the historian then later with Rose). I'm sure there will be those that will disagree, but I found the confused format very fitting. It's a lovely way to mesh some exposition and some characterization together while drawing the reader in with the emotional side of the conflcit. I find that the way you inserted thsese bits into dialogue made the reading smooth and easy to follow. Bravo, basically :D

Lets see, what else? Oh yes, the German house elves! I think they are my favourite characters now. I hope you use them wisely. Concerning the German quote, I must get in there and nit-pick one more time. Unless you wanted the elf to have broken grammar (but I didn't see any wrong grammar in your transalted footnote, so I assume not), then the sentence should be "Meister bezahlt mir nicht". Hahah, sorry, I had to.

Ok, I'm off to the next chapter.

Author's Response: Sorry for the week late response. I feel bad. School started recently and things have been really hectic. Sorry!

Thanks for the nit-picky review :) I guess the secret's out that I'm not British haha, but I definitely see what you mean with it sounding like an American thriller. I will go back whenever time allows and rectify it. And the German thing hahah--stupid google translate.

I'm glad you liked the faux-dialogue bits. I've seen it used in a couple novels it's my most favorite thing EVER. It's so much more fun than a simple paragraph stating some facts. I dislike writing anything I wouldn't want to read myself haha.

I'm glad you like the Head. He's a blast to write and an absolute pain to be around.

Thanks for the in-depth review and so sorry I took so long with the response!


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Review #9, by ChaosWednesdaysoul of the city: soul of the city.

13th August 2013:
Hey, it's Whiskey here with your extremely belated review!

I'm very happy that you requested this story as it was to read some off-beat, original writing that I created the thread in the first place. And I did find this one-shot not only well-written, but also original.

You asked about themes, so I will tell you the ideas that went through my mind before I got to the end. First, religion and spirituality appeared important, and I did get a sense of unease at the repeating theme of traditional festivities, as they are often connected to death and rebirth. The fact that Ron was trying to get away in order to understand something traumatic was certainly clear. The fragmented stylistic choice only underlined the sense of trauma and detachment that clearly distinguished his travels from touristic interest.

But I must admit that I felt as if the issues he was working through must have been related to the war. It was the general organized nature of the festivities, the lights, the political issues of wizards and muggles...it all made me think as the flipside of war, the good side to conflict, namely life. I hope I'm making sense!

So when we reached the ending, I was slightly disappointed, as it did appear more cliché or sentimental than I had hoped for. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the idea of Hermione passing on an important lesson to Ron, as that was certainly their dynamic, always. Maybe you could satisfy anti-sentimentalists like me by making the lesson of "life is always worth living" coupled more with the losses of the war. I feel as if you go in that direction anyways with this: " But he’s starting to see, even if it’s a little slow, that there’s a lot more to this world than the English standard and Wizard traditions. Even if that sounds slightly blasphemous in his head, he thinks that it isn’t a bad thing.". There are interesting parallels between the world-shattering effects of the war and a sheltered Brit like Ron discovering other cultures and learning to put his trauma in perspective. I suppose what I am trying to say is, I would have loved to see you play both levels, the global, political one as well as the personal one. This way, Hermione's lesson would appear stronger and the story less sentimental. It's just a matter of taste, of course.

So you know, I really did enjoyed reasing this and I hope I wasn't too critical and could be of some help.

Author's Response: Char here with my extremely belated reply! Thank you for your in depth look at this and insight into a reader's perspective. It's interesting you bring up thinking that Ron was learning/healing from the effects of the war. I think I sort of had that in mind in writing this, but, you must know now that I'm a bit of a romantic. I do kind of have some plunnies regarding aspects of war though so I hope they come to fruition soon! Thank you again!

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Review #10, by ChaosWednesdayA Rodent Revealed: A Rodent Revealed

12th August 2013:
hey, it's Whiskey here with your really late review (so sorry!)

Well, I must say I really enjyoed the fact that the story was written in present tense. Just as the jumping from flash-back to present, there is a strong dynamism. The action is gripping and I think you did a good job!

Peter is such a nasty character - and it takes skill to portray him as sympathetic in any way, and you managed! Through his general smallness (on account of being a rat, of course, but also in terms of personality) and also through Ron's desperate attachment to what he believes is an innocent, furry pet, the reader cannot help but feel pity for Peter. I also enjoyed how Peter's thoughts never stray into an existential area but remain, like that of an animal, focused on avoiding only immediate danger. This adds almost an innocence to him, if you could call it that. Or at lease it removes the malice one might expect to find in the thoughts a villain. He doesn't even feel any guilt anymore. Really great characterization!

Another part I enjoyed was the flashbacks somehow merged with snippets of the present and revived the Marauders. Even though they are grown men now, there is a sense that neither had moved on. It's quite tragic and fascinating.

I must compliment you on the way you managed to refrain from having to retell the entire scene and resorted to jsut noting some sounds and some important details. If I may, I'd advise you to do the same for the flashbacks. They are very fact-heavy, although we kind of already know the facts. Having to read through info-dumps while smack in the middle of the crazy ride that is the present is frustrating for the reader and takes away from the poignancy of the actual flashback. It's your story, of course, but cutting down on the factual details and replacing them with emotional ones might add to the story. Sometimes it really helps to hint at things. For example, you could just hint at the fact that Peter was captured and brought to the dark lord instead of explaining how he was followed and that there was a second man etc. I hope you get what I mean :P

Cheers!

Author's Response: Hello! I'm here with your very late response haha!

I'm glad you liked the tense, I did start it in past tense but don't think it worked as well in terms of building the tension. I worried that switching between the two would be conusing so it's good to know you enjoyed it!

Characterisation is something I work really hard on when writing and the thought of writing something about Peter was a little daunting, he is such a complex character and I wanted to do him justice. I didn't want to portray him as a bumbling idiot as I think he would have had to have been quite calculating to trick his friends and keep the fact that he was working for voldemort hidden so I'm really pleased you thought the characterisation was good!

I do understand your point about the flashbacks. I need to go back and edit them and have been given some great advice (including yours) about how to improve them to keep the flow of the story.

Thanks so much for the advice and the wonderful review!


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Review #11, by ChaosWednesdayDetox: Getting Clean

14th July 2013:
Review Tag!

Well, needless to say, I loved the dream sequence in the beginning. My favourite paragraph was probably the one that ends with "Their fanatical devotion to the Dark Lord had bought them nothing in the end, just a few extra steps on the straight and narrow path toward death." First, I thoroughly enjoyed the way you went through the effort of giving each character their own morbid death expression ;) Also, it just made sense that the death of his own kind - the idealistic, power-crazed teenagers - would strike a most painful chord by Malfoy and I found that the build-up to that moment (and then the parents) was very strong.

I also enjoyed Astoria's father! I liked how practical and political he was about the entire thing, acting almost as if the country hadn't been ravaged by civil war just a year earlier but had instead just seen some unfavourable election results. It made sense and I could really imagine his working class, simple-life type of appearance.

The conversation between Draco and Blaise was a good way to introduce the after-effects of losing a war that these people gave up so much for - some can move on, while others can never admit that all they did was for nothing. Well, and alcohol plus joblessness (and never finished education) surely doesn't help become more politically or socially reflective either :P
Additionally, that scene was useful for establishng Draco as the smooth anti-hero type that is so popular nowdays, which is good! After all, he must have learned some moves while working for the Dark Lord, even if he didn't get to show off any in the books.

And now to Astoria...So she is in her sixth year now, huh? You really had me thinking she was fourteen - maximum. Well, I get it that you are going for the innocence saves the brooding hero type of story but, well, here's me hoping that I've judged too soon and that you will give her more qualities than being innocent and liking Malfoy. I've noticed that even wonderful writiers seem to forget how to write female characters sometimes, it's quite odd :P I'll be checking back on this one though, cheers!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I'm glad you liked the dream sequence. I've never felt quite sure that it came out right. Trying to balance the dark, spartan feeling of a nightmare with the need to paint a vivid picture was tricky. Poor Draco has all of his worst fears from the war laid bare. By the end, he was well aware that only Voldemort was meant to survive.

Horatio Greengrass is a rather practical fellow, although he comes from privilege and has a lot of the same prejudices as the other purebloods. He just didn't see any point in fighting a costly, destructive war over them when, as a practical matter, the purebloods already controlled magical society.

Draco did learn a thing or two from his aunt and the other Death Eaters. He probably wouldn't have survived if he hadn't.

Astoria definitely has more going on that just innocence and being rather smitten with Draco. That said, she also has quite a bit of growing up to do.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #12, by ChaosWednesdayPicking Up the Pieces: Loss

4th July 2013:
Review tag!

Oh my, this was unexpected! It read like the cold open to a horror film. There are certain narrative differences between film and literature, and I found that you employed the film style interestingly. It's a very action packed, very visual, engaging prologue! Once in a while we get glimpses into the inner world of Alexandra, but we are purposefully kept at a distance, like a spectator, and I really enjoyed it. I like that we know next to nothing about, well, anything. It's a great way to introduce the characters (I loved how her mother ran back!) and get the reader invested before they even know what they are getting themselves into ;) Basically, really well written chapter. You made use of typical genre-specific plot points without them seeming cliché - that is quite an achievement!

If I could offer you any CC, then it would be for minor things. You seem to use "in to" instead of "into" several times. Also,it helps to avoid starting too many sentences in a row with "She" if you can avoid it.

Glad to have come accross this, cheers!

Author's Response: Thank you very much! And yeah, I have a nasty habit of using "she" many times in a row. I also have the same habit with "in to". I just can't help it for some reason lol but thank you very much for the review :) you're awesome!!

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Review #13, by ChaosWednesdayIn His Heart of Hearts: In His Heart of Hearts

22nd June 2013:
Hey! It's Whiskey from the forums with your review!

Ah, Dumbledore! Such a complicated character! And so difficult to write! And yet I find that you managed the task well :D His inner struggle and his constant planning and calculating came out strongly in your characterization, which is what made his moment of weakess so much more poignant. I really enjoyed the way the crack in the ring took on such a strong meaning to him, at once a broken dream and a reminder of his own mortality as well as his moral flaws.

I suppose I enjoyed this one-shot particulrly because Dumbledore's best moments in the books where when he admitted his guilt at past actions. I always had a sense that his reserve of pain and darkness is so vast and deep, we can only get little glimpses of it- and those are already disturbing enough! As someone who has taken upon himself so many responsibilities, he is the only one who can trully understand the gravity of his own actions and I am sure that no one can be more critical of a brilliant and strong man such as Dumbledore as Dubledre himself. And I find that you captured this complexity and tragedy very well!

I also found that the flashbacks were well incorporated into the text and flowed easily. If I could give any CC, then it would be to add some more details. I find your descriptions to be good as they are, but the tone of the story is already very distanced and cool, so I think a few more details would help us connect to the text emotionally (like the crack in the ring, i really loved that one!) Also, I don't know how I feel about the last line. On the one hand, it really does tie up the story and it's quite heartbreaking, but, in my opinion, it's not very Dumbledore-y...kind of sentimental and also a bit cliché...Maybe you could turn it into a question? He is very inquisitive and aware of the limitation of human knowledge. Something like: Will I really see you soon? Or: Are you waiting for me to join you? EH, well, I'm sure you'd be able to come up with something better :P Basically, something that would underline Dumbledore's exceptional status even more, even in death. It would add some loneliness to the statement, I think, if we don't get the image of Dumbledore going into a white light where his dead family members are waiting, but something more complicated and uncertain, something that doesn't whipe his slate clean.

ugh, I ramble.

Ok, well i liked the one-shot, hope you can weed out something useful from what's I've said!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for doing this! I really appreciate it :)

Dumbledore is such a complicated character. This was my first attempt at writing him, and it's very reassuring to hear that you think I pulled it off. That makes me so happy!!! :)

I don't think that I truly fell in love with Dumbledore's character until the last book, when his family history was revealed. It's just so tragic and sad and impossible to imagine, so writing it certainly is challenging. Once again, I'm so happy to hear that you think that this story captured at least a little bit of that complexity - thank you so much!

I'll definitely look into adding some more details! It's something that I always notice and think a lot about when I read stories, which is why I included the part about the crack in the ring. So I'll try to come up with something similar to add a little bit more depth. Thank you for the suggestion!! As for the last line, I definitely see your point. Perhaps the story would be even more tragic if it had been a little different, as you say. You make a very good point and I will try to come up with something a little less cliché ;)

This was such a lovely review, full of encouragement and helpful suggestions! I appreciate it so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)


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Review #14, by ChaosWednesdayFalling into Darkness: Gellert Grindelwald

10th June 2013:
hey it's Whiskey here with your requested review!

I like Gellert stories, mostly because his arc is just so insane and tragic, and because his madness underlies much of what happens later, one way or the other. But we know very little about him - including any strong connection he may have had to stuffed penguins.

So, about the enormous stuffed penguin.Is that some sort of reference?
When you first mentioned it I had to go back and check if one of your subgenres was Humour.

Is there any particular reason you always called it "enormous stuffed penguin"? I suppose you must have done it on purpose because you were consistently not adding any other adjectives to it. And while I find that did add a certain creepy unrelentlessness to the image, I couldn't really get a grip on any thematic or metaphoric significance that it may have. What does it mean to Gellert? Does anything about it except its persistent presence bother him? It's just so un-harrypotter-y that I felt the penguin needed quite a bit of help fitting into the universe.

That said, I found your descriptions of Ariana trully haunting and wonderfully described! The way the visions rely on the movement of a cloud over the moon and the way her voice and her lip-movements don't match - those were some disconcerting details that really set the mood for me. I also liked the rythm towards the end where she just keeps on repeating that he should not lie. I could really picture it!

Also, the setting of the clearing that was being choked by the trees and that remembered a Dark Event was wonderful.

Ok, basically, what is it with the penguin!! I can't get over that penguin XD Everything else had this carefully constructed ghostly undertone to it - except the massive toy just standing there. I couldn't stop thinking of Miyazaki's Spirited Away. That sort of absurdity would fit very nicely with his style...But for the effect to work, you really need the rest of the world you create to support it somehow, you know?

Well, I hope this review is somehow helpful. And I hope I didn't make a fool of myself but not getting some cannon insider thing about penguins and Gellert Grindelwald.

Author's Response: Thank you very much!

The enormous stuffed penguin was the "Thing" for the challenge. I have reworked the penguin to describe it a little better rather than just repeating that it was an enormous stuffed penguin. :)

I was seeing the penguin taking the role as the physical manifestation of Gellert's guilt.

I will consider how to include the penguin into the storyline better and how to connect the penguin to Ariana better. I've also added in notes about showing what the penguin means to Gellert.

Thank you! I've done a fair bit of revision for Ariana in this story, trying to add in her child-like innocent view of the world.

It was intriguing to craft the setting. I wanted the reader to feel as if they were truly there.

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #15, by ChaosWednesdayThe Worst: The Worst Had Happened

6th June 2013:
Tag!

Ah, such a sad scene. Waking up and having to deal not only with her own shock but also with her family's pity must have been a trying experience for Dom. I enjoyed that you went full out with the grief. Having Dom push Ted away made sense and seems to foreshadow that their relationship will face some hard trials in the future.

I also found it interesting that you depicted Fleur as a weak/vulnerable kind of mother, whose emotions are more important to her than the desire to comfort her child. I suppose this fits Fleur and already hints at a certain distance that the two characters must have (and at a complex mother-figure, which is always great). I can imagine that Fleur's approval of Dom might have been strongly based on Dom's social and professional success. Now that that's gone, reconnecting with her mother might be Dom's greatest challenge as she disscovers the less perfect, less socially acceptible, beastly side of herself ;)

I did notice an inconsistency in Dom's outburst about Harry and Remus, though. First, she sais "Have you ever heard Uncle Harry talk about the night they rescued Sirius Black?!"
but then you seem to backpeddal and have her say : "I wouldn’t have known any of it either if I hadn’t accidentally stumbled upon that memory in his pensive. It's your story, of course, but I actually liked the image of Harry getting in a dark mood as all of the memories of the war catch up with him some late afternoon. I can fully imagine that he would tell the stories to the kids or - even better - the kids would overhear the adults reminisce over glasses of wine late at night during a family gathering at the Burrow. You covering your tracks in her dialogue like that broke an otherwise pretty great flow of Dom realizing what happened to her and, justifiably, freaking out. I don't think your characters will loose sympathy points if you have them say mean things about eachother once in a while - that's what people do when they are in pain.

Glad I had the chance to come back to this story and hope I could offer you some helpful feedback!

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

It was a trying experience indeed and I am glad you could see it, and that you enjoyed the whole grief thing. Indeed, there might be a few hardships but they'll survive =)

Yeah, I never imagined that Fleur could be a very supportive mother, though of course her extreme distress could also be because of something else (remember there's still something Dom doesn't know about). Hmm well I am not too sure about the 'distance' between Fleur and Dom, you'll see for yourself how their relationship is in the coming chapters.

Oh thanks for pointing out that inconsistency. I totally didn't realise I did that! I'll definitely amend that part.

Thanks for your comments and advice!


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Review #16, by ChaosWednesdayDetox: Sobering Up

3rd June 2013:
Tag!

My goodness, how did I stumble accross something so amazing? Did I just fly face down onto the pavement of Knockturn Alley after binging on magical alc? Phew, I feel dizzy...

Your writing style is wonderful, is what I'm trying to say! It really shows that you take the time to pick the right words and to evoke the right imagery, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant the details might be. I don't even know how to begin to put into words how refreshing that is around here.

I could really feel Draco's state of suspended animation. How do you set goals in life and, say, have breakfast and then spend the afternoon in the library or whatever after finding yourself on the wrong side of a world war? I guess you don't...

I must admit, thought, I enjoyed the story until the appearance of Astoria a lot more than after. First, the ideal, kind, unpredjudiced, slightly funny but not intimidating, pretty angel saviour role is a bit, well - I'll try not to sound like I'm waving the angry feminist axe around - but that's how a character stops being a character and becomes a plot device. I hope you see what I mean - add some more giggliness and maybe some petty theft, and you have the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope right there. It's only the first chapter and she has already literally dragged Draco out of the gutter and changed his life just by giving him a sandwitch.

The way she fits into the surrounding world is also a bit confusing. Why would she want to help the slobbering, smelly ex-death eater/former classmate that never paid attention to her? And in front of all those people when her family's reputation is probably shaky as it is, being Slytherins and pure-bloods and all? Is she on some sort of rebellious bad-girl streak? And if she is, then why does she seem to genuinely care about Draco? And if she is just a caring person that way, why was she so blatantly flirting? And if she just always found Draco attractive, then.wouldn't there be some sort of bitterness in her tone at the fact that the only way she could get his attention is by being the only one that helps him when he is desperate? These sort of inconsistencies stand out all the more the better the writing, so, uh, try to see it as a compliment!

Ugh, there I go again, rambling away! Where is that firewhiskey? Anyways, as this is review tag, I don't even know if you like CC, but I hope I could give you some new useful perspectives or something. And I'm actually quite convinced that you will take care to develope the Love Interest in the following chapters(which I'm ging to check out now! :)).

cheers!

Author's Response: Hi! I'm glad you had a chance to stumble across my story. It has been known to cause a bit of dizziness in the past, but mostly just to me.

I'm glad that you like the writing style. I really do my best to think thought how things are going to sound when read, and it's great to hear that it works for you. When I read other people's work, I often find that the "insignificant" details are the ones that help me connect with a scene.

Draco has found himself on the wrong side of pretty much everything, even his "own people", aka the other purebloods. The Malfoys are trusted by neither side at this point.

One thing to keep in mind about Astoria in this is that you're seeing her through Draco's eyes. And Draco is at rock bottom at the moment he encounters her, depressed, intoxicated and humiliated. So she does come off a bit angelic to him. Don't worry, you'll see more sides of her before it's all said and done. As far as why she's so nice to him, well, she's just a nice person. And she does enjoy the fact that this person who barely noticed her for 5 years is suddenly paying rapt attention.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #17, by ChaosWednesdayThe Girl from Slytherin : The Beginning

2nd June 2013:
hey!

I found that this chapter sets the scene incredibly well, despite being,as you say yourself, a bit filler. I enjoyed the dark sense of unease and frustration underlying the pretense of beginning just another year at Hogwarts. If anything, this tone connects the prologue to the first chapter effortlessly, so you have nothing to worry about.

Another connection to the prologue that was kind of neat was Tor reaching out into the mind of her friend. These little gestures show a lot about her. She cares enough to not only pry in others' minds, but also to try and help them. But the rigid social norms surrounding her both at home and at school do not exactly permit openness and intimacy, and so it makes sense that she would be so secretive. It's a nice metaphor for the strong divide between the personal and the political that, I always found, defined the life of the pure-blood families.

At first, when I read this: " They say that the Dark Lord is the greatest Legilimens that history has ever seen, but I am a natural Occlumens and Legilimens. As long as I am alert, He will never penetrate my thoughts." I had to eye-roll a bit because, you know, Mary Sue trait number 1 is that she has unusual abilities that distinguish her from the start. But as I read on, I began to warm up to the idea of Tor being a master mind-reader. Instead of useing it as a plot device, you use it to characterize her, and that makes a world of difference!

This made me particularly happy: "I think back to those younger years, sneaking down to the common room at night to meet with the boys, our other friends, and planning the great new coming of this next generation, the triumphant of mighty Slytherin, and the new world order we would lead. The feeling of being the ULTIMATE generation about to take over the world is not something that is explored often, but I'm quite convinced that that is how it must have felt to live during the Hogwarts era. The world was clearly crumbling in front these kids' eyes. It makes sense that they would cling to some grand narrative about the future in order to give meaning to all of the loss and insecurities they encountered. I kind of try to bring in some of that in my story too, so that makes me like reading this all the more ;)

Basically, this chapter was great in that it had a consistent tone and managed to explore the tension of the social environment. I liked how you threw in a few details from the books to keep us oriented. And you didn't do any info-dumping, but chose the right moments to reveal new information. Not many have the patience for that, so good job!

If I could offer any CC, then it would be to watch out for some inconsistencies in Tor's ideas. On the one hand, she seems to be disgusted by many of the things her fellow Slytherins like, but on the other hand, she seems to still be following along with the Muggle hate and the unquestioning respect for the dark lord, etc. I see that she is conflicted, especially after what happened in the flashback about her father (which was pretty great by the way - only i'm not sure if it's the best idea to itallicize it?). But Maybe it would make sense to address the conflicting emotions directly - explore some of the new ideas she must have been having since the summer. After all, she gew up in a world with no dark lord. he was always just a shadow that hung over her family history. having him actually come back in the flesh must have been a terrible shock.

Oh, and I loved the scene where the Slytherins praise the dark lord and then break down in a laughing fit! it was a great moment of realism - they may be the offspring of some seriously scary people, but they are also still very young.

I'll leave it here for now, but do re-request if you want, I'll gladly read more :D

Author's Response: Hello again! :) Thanks for continuing onto the next chapter!

It's great to hear you liked this chapter, and thought it set the scene and maintained the pressure of the prologue. It's great you're liking Tor so far, and I agree about her Legilimency skill being a little Mary-Sue ish, but I try to make sure she doesn't rely on it too much and has to work a lot to actually do well. She's just perceptive and guarded, I think, and it's a fun quality to add to the plot of the story! :D

Ah, I'm glad you noticed how powerful they feel, or try to feel, in the crumbling world and society around them! While they have a lot of visions of grandeur, they are quite young and haven't really realized the implications of these things they're involved in. I love writing them as both these terrifying, disillusioned people, but also a little immature and silly at times. :)

Thank you for the very helpful CC, I shall make a note of it! :) I really appreciate all your feedback and input, as I only want to improve this story! Thank you for another wonderful and thoughtful review! :)


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Review #18, by ChaosWednesdayThe Girl from Slytherin : Prologue

2nd June 2013:
hai! it's Whiskey, a million years late with your requested review :P

hm, well, as a prologue should do, this did draw me in! Two things worked for me in particular:

First, I was immediately intrigued by this sentence: " Because I know him I’m sure he’s taking his measurements of the room before showing he is alert." It's not easy to give a beaten up victim much depth of character, since it's such a typical (for literature, not for real life, I hope!) situation. I found it interesting that she would try to figure out what he is feeling and thinking. We simultaneously get a feeling for who this boy is and that there is an intimacy between them. Quite honestly, I'd add a few more such details, if I were you, just to intensify the experience.

Secondly, I enjoyed this: "Nott – the father of my childhood best friend, his mahogany wand pointed so menacingly at the boy on the floor, that same wand which made bunches of fireworks and stars ricochet out of it on my ninth birthday." It's a very powerful contrast that pinpoints how quickly things can escalate and how easy it is to get carried away without knowing what you are doing and where you actually stand. While she was a child, she wasn't old enough to understand the people she was dealing with, but as she grows up and begins to see more clearly, she is already in way too deep. It's very tragic and also quite realistic. I like that you tried to add a level of conflcit to our narrator - this removes some of the black-and-whiteness that is typical for such stories. If I could offer you any advice here, it would be to, again, delve somewhat deeper into her feelings. She is disgusted now, yes, but was she always? How is she handling the guilt? Or is she so strongly defiant against her family that she refuses to admit that she used to be (and still is) one of them?

Well, as you see you got me asking questions, which means that you have me hooked :P In fact, I'll just go ahead to the next chapter and review that as well hehe

Author's Response: Hello! :)

I'm glad the prologue drew you in, and I completely agree with adding more details! :) It's great to hear you felt the boy had some depth despite his brief and limited appearance, and that you could sense the tension between them. The story basically goes back to the beginning in the upcoming chapters and builds up to this one moment.

I'm glad you can already sense all the contrasts and complications of her world, and how her past and her individual thoughts are confused. She's already in very deep, and trying to escape is really dangerous. Again, that's an excellent point about adding more details, and I'll keep it in mind when I get a chance to edit this chapter! :)

Thank you very much for this lovely review! :D


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Review #19, by ChaosWednesdayThe Worst: Dreading The Worst

1st June 2013:
Tag!

For some unexplained reason, I don't often venture into the werewolf corner of HP fanfic. Which is a pity, as I quite like werewolves, and I very much enjoyed the beginning of this story!

You set the scene very well in the beginning, with the mud and the lonely cottage in the middle of a stormy night. This is just a matter of taste, but, thinking back to what happens in the end, accentuating the presence of the full moon might have been interesting, don't you think? I can just imagine her nervously glancing up towards the piercing circle of light as she hurries along the path, slightly loosing her composition and slipping as the fear briefly takes over. don't take this as critique - it's more a suggestion, really. i just really like me some horror!

I find the premise very interesting. A journalist (with a bordering on traumatic family history concerning werewolves) going out into the field to study the creatures - open mind and all. Then she gets carried away and pays the price. You have me intrigued, that's for sure. I must admit though, I was hoping for some flashbacks to what she actually discovered during that week - what is the main line of her story? It would make for an interesting contrast to the terrying night if, in the back of her mind, she could be remembering how she was trying to understand these people only days ago, that they have feelings and names, make jokes and are just like her - but now she must run for her life, because the beast has taken over. So, to put it in review-terms, i found that this chapter, although gripping, relied a tad more on telling than on showing, or even on action, than it could have. But again, it's all a matter of preference :) Glad I clicked on this, cheers!

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

I quite like werewolves too, and surprisingly I haven't read a werewolf fanfic before. This plunny suddenly attacked me one day and I decided to write it =)

I am glad you liked the way I set the scene. I think accentuating the presence of the full moon would actually be a great idea, I'll surely do it when I edit, thanks! I love horror too xD

I am pleased you find the premise interesting. Indeed, the journalist in Dom did get carried away and now she's paying the price, though everything may not be as it seems just yet. More on her article, the flashbacks on the story she was covering etc., are in chapter six (when she finalises the article)! I like your idea of including that contrast of them having feelings and names and stuff, and then running from them, I may just include it, thanks!

Thank you for your comments, I'll surely take them into consideration.


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Review #20, by ChaosWednesdayReason to Fight: La Faiseuse d'Anges

26th May 2013:
hey! it's me again!

So while reading this chapter I noticed that you actually ARE narrating in real-time (meh, did I already mention my terrible memory?). Nevertheless, the sentence I pointed out in my last review still seems a bit odd. I suppose it's a matter of choice, but maybe you could replace "will" with "is going to be"? I believe that would make it stand out less. And maybe not use words like "tomorrow" or "now" in the narration either...Gah, ok I'm getting really nitpicky. Sleep deprivation does strange things to a mind...

Moving on! So I really enjoyed this chapter. First, because I think I kind of know what's going on now? Not really sure about the details, but it seems to me that our rag tag group of misfits belong to a wizard organization of sorts that is cooperating with the Muggles in a common attempt to oppose the Nazis? ...Unless they are fighting their own wizard Nazis? I'm sure this will be cleared up in later chapters, but the political environment is a bit of a mystery to me. I know this is veering way off track again, but I do want to know. So, we are dealing with Nazi expansion over Europe. How involved is the wizarding world in all of this? Are there political tensions within the wizarding world regarding whether to oppose national socialism or to support it? From what I got in the HP books, the wizarding world has a completely independent economy from the Muggle world. Is this somehow different in your story? It would actually be kind of cool if we had wizards medling in Muggle affairs. There are a few stories where Grindelwald helps the Nazis for mutual power gain, and some where he is also involved in a few of Stalin's attrocities. Oh! and don't take any of this as criticism ;) I just like to speculate and your story did get me thinking! After all, if the wizarding world dislikes the political events of the Muggle world and follows some sort of interventionist philosophy, then getting rid of the Nazis should not be very difficult, you know? (I'm sorry if you had actually implied a lot of the answers to these questions and I just didn't get the hints :P).

Oh, and I liked the mountain elf! They can steal magical powers? My goodness!

I think that's it for now, but feel free to re-request, I'd love to see where this story leads :D

Author's Response: I'm really privileged to recieve so many lovely reviews from you!

The group is under the orders of the Ministry of Magic, fighting against all Nazis. The Muggles don't know about them, which is why they have so much freedom in their actions (the French government cooperated with the German one during WW2). I think I explained this in Jean's section of the prologue?

But in any case, the French wizards are acting under Ministerial orders, and against all Nazis, especially Muggle ones as they're unsuspecting.

I hope this helped, and thank you for the review :)


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Review #21, by ChaosWednesdayReason to Fight: Le Phare

26th May 2013:
hey! It's Whiskey back with another review!

I liked how this chapter was about the different relationships between the characters. This was quite necessary, considering how many names there are to keep track of :P (my memory is the worst!). It helps to know how the characters connect (or not) to eachother and pushes the reader to become more invested in their lives. And coming back to my ridiculously short attention span, I love how you use the parallel cut style to tell the story! Not only does it make it easier to get through the text, but allows each described event to appear weighty and intriguing. In a more linear structure, much of what you tell might have gotten lost or would have been skimmed through the way filler scenes often are.

Although in my last review I recall expressing some reservation about the way you line up seemingly unrelated events, I'm starting to change my mind about that, especially since there IS a structure...you have three parallel stories running side by side. The flash-back does appear a bit distracting, but I actually liked it. It added something innocent to the darkness of the rest of the chapter and tied everything together, oddly enough. Made me aware of the tragic contrast of the youth and hopes of our characters compared to what they have become. Although it was about only two of them, I felt that, in a way, the flashback related to the entire group. So good job!

In terms of CC, I did notice that you have a few rather awkward sentences where you use more words than necessary, thus breaking the rythm of the text. As an example: "Next to her, Xavier smiles slightly, but his eyes show the same reluctance at the idea of the mission he has just been informed of."

Also: this is actually a common mistake, but at some point you write "Tomorrow will be a long day." when it really should be "the following day was going to be long" or "would be long" since you arent narrating in real-time.

Additionally, I think - not entirely sure - that spells are written in itallics only when they are being cast. I might be completely wrong about thing, though.

Apart from that, I'd like to point out that I really enjoyed the dialogue at the beginning of the chapter and the scene between Camille and the girls. You generally seem to have a much better grip on the female characters - their gestures especially bring these characters to life for me. I haven't noticed the same with the male characters, but I'm sure I'll find more insight into them in the following chapters.

Author's Response: Hi again!

No worries about being confused by the large cast in this story, you're not the first to tell me. I'm really happy you think this chapter helped define them more.

Yes, there are three stories running parallel, though to be honest I'm not sure how long that'll last. Flashbacks are a finnicky thing, and I'm unable to include them all the time because sometimes they just sit there uncomfortably... I'm glad you thought it worked here though!

I am more familiar with my female characters, probably because I'm a girl too, but I'll try to give the boys more screen time.

Thank you for another lovely review!


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Review #22, by ChaosWednesdayAcanthus: Spectrum

2nd May 2013:
Tag!

This seems like an interesting idea that can offer a lot of room to experiment. I, personally, can't get enough stories about magic, and this one promises to introduce us to new wizarding mythology and maybe a different type of magic? Fun!

I really feel for Rose - being a Weasley must be so exhausting. I liked how you characterized her here: "Her hair fell in front of her eyes, momentarily obscuring her vision. She hated her hair. The infamous Weasley hair. It made her even more indistinguishable amongst the mass of her family. She had always sworn she would dye it; anything would be better than being a ginger. Yet, as much as she wanted to show she was an individual there was always that part of her which held her back, so the red stayed." I find that you illustrated the problematic of individual freedom of thought vs. heritage very well here. And you indicated that she has not given up on greatness yet!

If I were to offer any CC, then it would be that you could use a tad less "telling" and a bit more "showing" in the overall narrative, especially for a first chapter. For example this part didn't make it easy for the reader to feel into the story, because it's a list of facts we haven't "seen" yet: "It just wasn’t impressive by her family’s standards. They were all high-achievers, so if Rose wanted to match their levels of success she had to work twice as hard."

Overall, great start to what promises to be an excting and original story!

Author's Response: Hey there!

I think that's the reason why I decided to write it. I love Harry Potter, Egypt and history and bam all those things combined will hopefully be good!

I'm glad that you liked Rose's characterisation as it's kinda different to how she's usually depicted, but I figured it would be more fun to show her as the Weasley who isn't as sucessful and more of an individual.

I have that issue a lot, and I always end up falling into that trap one way or another. I'll definitely review the chapter and make it more 'showing' :D

Thank you for this great and useful review!

-Kiana


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Review #23, by ChaosWednesdayReason to Fight: Prologue

1st May 2013:
Hey, it's Whiseky from the forums with your incredibly belated review...You must have requested months ago, so I'm sure this will come as a surprise :P But here I am, haha!

Well, I do love a historical fic, especially since the role of witches and wizards in Muggle history remains mostly unexplored, to say the least. I'm very curious to see how you will tie the two worlds together!

I loved the way you structured the beginning of the chapter. As a film student, I could really picture the way the different character entrances would look on screen :D Your writing style supported this very much, since you made sure to give us only the kind of descriptive details that go a long way to convey meaning, despire being so brief.

As someone who enjoys giving as much CC as possible (I know I like reviewers to have a critical eye when reading my stuff, so I like to return the favour), I'm not sure where I stand on some of the decisions you made for this first chapter. On the one hand, there is an interesting progression of depth from section to section. You start out with minimal information and get the reader hooked on the sheer action of the proceedings. But as we read on, with every new character we get to delve deeper and deeper into the problems of the world they are in and their personal baggage. I think that is a great strategy.

And yet, I must admit I did get a tad lost among all the characters towards the end. I began swimming at Simon's part, to be honest. Suddenly, there was no location description to hold on to (at least not at first - and we never do find out what the room he is in looks like). And also, there are memories of some other people although we hadn't even met the one remembering them..

But, as I said, I like the idea that we delve deeper and deeper into the world with each character instead of just getting superficial introductions to all of them. But what seemed to be missing was a common thread. With the first three, we had a mission, a location and a few difinitive aspects of the new character. It was easy not only to follow, but also to connect to the previous section. I suppose a good cheat sheet when introducing many characters at once, it's important to contrast them against eachother, connect them somehow.

I know I'm spiraling a bit here, but I'm just not sure what to suggest...:P Maybe find something that would lead the reader from one section to the next - either an object, or a theme. Another things that helps is having the new characters each think/talk about a characer that remains "off screen" for the time being. This way you give the reader something to relativize the new characters against.

Yeah, so actually, I loved this chapter :P I think your writing style was wonderful, you pick just the right words and you've set a great pace. Your characters seem complex and intriguing, as does the world you've created for them. I think I'll review a few more chapters :)

Off to the next!

Author's Response: Hi, and no worries for the delay -- I mean, look at me answering three weeks late, I'm barely one to speak.

You're a film student? That's really cool! I'm even happier, in that case, that you thought the beginning worked well.

Right, Simon. We've already discussed this a little via PM, but I can see why his section would be confusing. Obviously, in my head it makes perfect sense, but I tend to forget readers aren't there with me. I'll see what I can do to clarify things a bit more.

The idea of a theme is also one I'll delve into, but after all, this is only the beginning, so things become clearer as the story moves on -- or so I hope!

Thank you for the review, and for all the very helpful CC :)


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Review #24, by ChaosWednesdayGrowth: dull as dirt

1st May 2013:
Tag!

I know you were probably hoping to get a review on a different story, but I've been meaning to have a lok at this since the challenge, so here I am!

I see why you would consider this to be your least favourite, but not because it isn't good! It just seems as if you picked up many themes and it was difficult to weave them together into something as compact as a 4000 word one-shot.

But, honestly, I thought some of the imagery was magnificent. And it spoke volumes to me as I am terrified of all things that go in the direction of body-horror. And pregnancy is probably one of the most surreal and distrubing things nature has ever come up with :P

My favourite descriptions would probably have to be the scenes in Borgin and Burge's, just because you really used the setting to magnify the horrors of Merlope's pregnancy and her physical disintegration. The way you describe Burke's eyes really defined the darkest side of the world Merlope lives in for me: "Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together" neutral gazes, corruption, abuse. Something about the delicate eyelashes sticking really completed the image for me. So good job on that.

Also, I loved this: "Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass." As a parallel to Tom wanting to break out of her belly, it really worked for placing him in all this filth that defines the world of dark magic and shady deals before he is even born. He is in a bottle, powerless but not miserable...his motivations are unclear but he is not pure. I think this was a very elegant solution and I admre you for coming up with it!

I enjoyed how you tried to look for imagery among the behavious of plants to illustrate Merlope's pregnancy. It's interesting that you chose to connect insects to that as well, and there were parts where it worked nicely. But I found sometimes that you overdid it a tad and began mixing insects and plants to a degree that became more confusing that illuminating. For example the first paragraph: "Something has changed in Merope Gaunt, a thrumming of insect wings, a pulse kickstarting into life. Her belly is a pouch of warm soil, crisscrossed with red veins. Seeds can take root here, splitting into small plants that will inch up and up her body, their tendrils will wrap around the soft masses of her organs and the trellis of her bones before sprouting out of her mouth and into the sun." if you are trying to describe the phoetus, then is it a winding plant, or it is it a winged insect? Also, maybe you could use the actual word "insect" less and stick only to the adjectives and verbs that would remind the reader of the behaviour of insects? Then maybe the imagery would be less confusing.

I suppose what could have tied up the story more tightly would be a reason for all the horror-imagery, you know? Tom is eating away at Merope from the inside, the burden of her guilt and the punishment for her decisions. Somehow, despite all of the distrubling imagery, he doesn't come accross as something unsavory. It's just a bit difficult to figure out what you are trying to say when everything (both the outside and the inside of Merope) are described similarly.

Well, I hope this could help! I wasn't trying to be critical and must admit I enjoyed your ever astounding ability for beautiful descriptions here as much as in anything else I've read by you :)

Author's Response: Whiskey ♥

Gaah, thanks for this amazing review and for all your critical feedback! It was really interesting to read your thoughts about this piece, and your interpretation of the imagery - because this story relies quite heavily (a bit too heavily for my liking, in fact) in imagery to illustrate a theme, and to carry the story forward. I myself am not a big fan of stories with heavy but generalised imagery; also, I very much prefer the literal to the metaphorical / figurative :) Hence, I wasn't too sure about this piece. Actually, now I remember, I edited this piece months ago, but I've been a bit too lazy to upload the updated version. Anyway.

I didn't focus much on baby Voldy in this story - except in the dream bit, and his influence on Merope. I meant him to be more of a neutral force in this story, but some reviewers including you have seen him as already unsettling and somewhat tainted - and I must say that yes, I think it's quite possible to interpret him this way. It really made me think about my own story and see it in a different light :)

As for the imagery - there's quite a lot of different things going on, isn't there? :P There are images of plants, insects, earth, eggs even (though this is extraneous and is purely there because...I dunno :P ). I didn't mean for them to be teased apart with each component analysed, but mmm, you're right. It is VERY TELLING that when they're taken apart bit by bit, it becomes a bit confusing. What I intended was for all these images to work together to create an overall motif/theme of natural life, or growth / flourishing.There's a kind of duality of growth in this story - Tom is flourishing well and dandy but at the same time, his growth is kinda parasitic on Merope, pretty much stunting her. Everything is flourishing about Merope, inside AND outside, except the essence of Merope herself.

ACK THIS PROLLY DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE *buries head under pillow*

Gah, I'm just floored by your compliment on the descriptive detail ^.^

GONNA TIE UP THIS RAMBLY RESPONSE NOW :D THanks sososo much for this wonderful review, Whiskey! You've really made me think about my own story. And that's always a good thing ^.^

-teh


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Review #25, by ChaosWednesdayThe Lonely Hearts : Chapter 2

29th April 2013:
Hey, it's Whiskey from the forums!

The first chapter was so short, I thought I might read on :)

I must admit this is my very first Dramione ever. I know, I know - impossible in the world of hp fanfic, but I've just avoided the ship like the plague, so I remained untainted until now, haha. But I'm glad I gave this one a chance!

I enjoyed that you didn't ignore the effects of the war and that a general sadness underlay Hermione's retrn to Hogwarts. Her breaking up with Ron didn't seem forced at all. Grief can both bring people together and let them drift appart, depending on the personality.

Introducing Malfoy's change with Luna's "auras" was a great touch! It's just very...Harry Pottery, you know? These little magical details that define the characters and scenery...Made me smile! (Although you did spell "aura" as "Auror" at some point :p)

I do wonder who in their right mind would make an ex-Death Eater and murderer of the most beloved wizard of all time Head Boy, though. But I suppose you will explain that in due time.

If I could offer you some CC, then it would be to maybe do more "showing" instead of "telling". The story does begin with a bit of an info-dump. Although what you tell is helpful, it doesn't exactly convey emotions that would draw in the reader. Besides, some of these things could be revealed gradually, thus creating suspence and curiosity. Just a thought!

Thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Thanks for the swap, I really enjoyed your one shot!
I'm glad you gave Dramione a chance, I think they're very well suited. I do love Ronmione too though, hence the amicable break up, I really don't like fics that make him a cheater or violent as he's just so loveable! This was the first bit of fanfiction I ever wrote so reading it back is a little cringey and I can totally accept your CC and completely agree! I do plan on revisiting this story very soon and doing some heavy editing for the earlier chapters so thank you for the feedback.
As for Draco being Head Boy, although it doesn't say so in the story (again, I'll probably change that in editing) I'd like to think that Draco would have written to or visited McGonagall before term started to ask if they would have him back and that Dumbledore's portrait would have convinced McGonagall to give him a chance to prove himself and also give him a bit of a confidence boost in returning to a school full of people who thought very little of him.

Thanks again for the swap!


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