Hi Branwen! This is prize review #1 for winning my challenge :)
I loved the beginning of this, with Marlene reflecting on a more innocent time when children could play without fear. I also really liked the metaphor of the bad weather and the darkness and how the war was like that, the enemy creeping up on her without warning. My favorite little detail was the line about the cold and wet seeping into a crack in her boot. It reminded me of the way that people sort of fell out as traitors during this time, and how one of your closest friends or family members could turn and stab you in the back.
I think this is a really interesting pairing, and it's refreshing to see Marlene paired with someone besides Sirius or Remus. She and Dorcas and the Longbottoms are supposed to be a bit older than the Marauders and Lily, right? Anyway, I think her vulnerability with Gideon was really touching. The way it made her uncomfortable and awkward demonstrates just how hardened she's become in the climate of war she lives in these days.
The ending here was touching. You had me a little scared with the repetition of the line about how the bad weather would keep the Death Eaters away, and while I think you used it effectively to demonstrate the atmosphere of fear that pervaded this time, I'm pleased to see that Marlene and Gideon enjoyed a happy ending, however temporary.
Excellent, just as I expected! :)
-AmandaAuthor's Response: Yeah, I always interpreted Marlene and the Longbottoms as being several years older than the Marauders and Lily - I usually see the Longbottoms being about 5 years older (maybe more), and Marlene as being about 3. I wanted enough of an age difference that they clearly weren't best friends in school, but I didn't want to make her so much older that they would have had no middle ground, especially considering that for all appearances, Lily cared a lot about Marlene.
I also have always really wanted to write a story or two about Molly's brothers - I think that they could be really interesting characters, and I'm very glad you enjoyed my portrayal of Gideon. :)
Thank you so much for your review, and I'm glad that you liked this so much - it's definitely one of the stories I'm most proud of. ♥ Report Review
Oh, this is lovely! Excellent work on this story, particularly with the way you carried the cold, wintry imagery throughout, letting it seep even into Marlene's emotions so that she became one with it. Not only did this suit the ending perfectly with the concept of melting, but it made the whole story feel cold - I felt chilly just reading it. The intensity of the imagery also made the story very easy to visualize - I could picture them walking up that snowy hill and, even better, I could feel the heat emanating from Mrs. McKinnon's room, a heat that suffocates Marlene, who seems to have embraced the cold in reaction to her mother's need for warmth. The heat also symbolizes love, which Marlene also tries to reject, or at least set aside - it is for love that she stays with her mother and thus endangers herself. The cold keeps her safe, isolated, unhurt.
I hope that I'm not reading too much into your story. I've a bad habit of that, unfortunately, but I very much admire your use of figurative descriptions within this story. It well-surpasses what I was expecting for the challenge, and I'm very glad that you've given me the opportunity to once again admire your talents.
As for other technical aspects of your story, there did not seem to be any problems in terms of flow, characterization, or language. I liked that you did not go overboard with descriptions and instead opted on conciseness - it goes very well with the emphasis on the cold, ice, and snow, winter not being a time of year conducive to "flowery" language (I couldn't resist the pun, sorry). The story is as cold as its setting in a metaphorical way. However, I have to agree with the previous reviewer that Marlene's life might contain too much strife - it could just be that she's had awful luck, but she's so downtrodden and then the ending seems a little too happy? I hate to criticize this because it works well with the binary of cold vs. warmth, but she gives in too quickly. Consider either expanding the ending to describe more of how she changes her mind or provide more hints of warmth within her earlier in the story - then the ending will seem less abrupt.
You have written an excellent story and I'm again reminded to read more of your work. You've captured the Marauder/First War era with great care for canon details and the atmosphere of the period, so I look forward to reading your other stories from these eras. Your next-gen work is great, too, but I've a bit soft spot for the Marauder/First War era. ;) Thank you again for entering the challenge!Author's Response: I am so sorry for the absurd amount of time I've taken to respond to this lovely review. :( I've been a bit stressed lately, and let this go for much much longer than I should have.
You're definitely not reading too much into the story - that's exactly what I was hoping would come across, but I was afraid I hadn't pulled it off well. I'm glad that you feel like I did!
I definitely know what you mean about there being perhaps too much strife - I actually went through and edited it a bit, so hopefully it flows a bit better now.
Thank you so, so much for your review, and sorry again for the wait! Report Review
First off, I think you fulfilled both challenges nicely here. I'll go into my own in a bit more detail, but you really used the figurative language to your advantage as well, and it certainly transformed this from what could have been a angsty love story into a meaningful one. So bravo on that.
Another area you did well in was characterization, specifically, the bits and pieces that make a character real. The line about Marlene being in the Order so that she could live with herself said a lot about her, and I can easily see others feeling the same way. You could write a whole novel about that, if you wanted: the not-so-selfless reasons people joined the Order. Another part that stood out was when Marlene's mother asked if there was news of Marlene's brother, and Marlene resented it, because her mother only made it hard by asking questions she knew the answers to. That speaks a lot about the hope Marlene's mother clung to, and also how Marlene saw the situation.
As for the repetition I challenged you to include, that was also handled well. It introduced an extra layer of tension into the story, that time was ticking away and would only hold out as long as the weather did. A lot of stories here take The War with a capital T and W and let it hang in the background and just let the reader make all the assumptions that go along with it, but you really brought the situation to the forefront by emphasizing how brief Marlene's safety really was.
It was interesting to watch Marlene's inner conflict, not the more obvious one over Gideon, but concerning the temperature. As you made clear, the cold was safe because it kept the Death Eaters away, and she obviously took comfort in the cold. But she was also attracted to Gideon's warmth, and as much comfort as she took from the cold, it still made her physically uncomfortable (such as when she made the comment about her hands cracking open). I'm not entirely sure if or how much of that you intended, but it made sense to me that she would be conflicted; all people are, in some form.
The only part that made me step back and say, "Really?" was when Marlene whispered, involuntarily, for Gideon to stay, and he didn't notice. Then she couldn't figure out if she'd actually said it. Now, I talk to myself all the time (don't laugh! :P) but it's not like the words slip out of my mouth without my permission; it's just part of the thought process sometimes. So personally, I found it a bit hard to believe that Marlene would accidentally ask him to stay. I could have bought her thinking the words, or purposely asking him, but I wasn't so sure about having a bit of both.
Occasionally it seemed like you were juggling one too many things: you had the figurative language tied into the repetition, you had her missing brother, sick mother, history with Gideon, and then Marlene's general state of being. For the most part you did well, and it's certainly a believable situation, but there were parts where it felt like you were just looking for plights to pile on. For instance, the beginning was more focused on her mother and brother, then you switched to Gideon and never looked back. You could've mentioned how she wished her brother were in the house to look after her, and woven that into wanting Gideon there, for instance.
But, to sum things up, you did a nice job here. You took a lot of the issues with the war and poured them in characters that I had no trouble relating to, because they felt quite real. You also brightened up a sad story with a bit of romance, which is always a pleasure. Well done.Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a lovely, detailed review. I really appreciate it, and I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to respond.
I read back over the story after I read this review, and I could completely understand what you meant about the missing thread connecting Marlene's feelings about Gideon from her portrayal throughout the first part of the story. I'd kind of meant to put the bit about her brother making her feel safer, but I ended up skipping over that without really realising it.
I went through and edited the story a little to make that transition smoother and to deal with Marlene not being sure that she spoke at all (because you're absolutely right, that was silly of me). Hopefully it will be much stronger once the revision gets validated.
Thank you again for the review. You have been so, so helpful, and I'm very glad that you enjoyed the story. Report Review
Aw, this is lovely. :) Your writing style is beautiful.Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! :) I'm glad you liked it! Report Review
Hello, Cierra here with your review, from the forums.
This story is pretty nice! I haven't really seen anything on it much, but it's pretty good. I've only read af ew things with Gideon in it, but I think I like him.
To start off, I'd like to point out a few mistakes you've made. The sentence here: "The process continued throughout the night, and Marlene felt her spirits sink when she heard the water trickling off the roof as she slept her fitful sleep, which was frequently interrupted by the hacking of her mother in the room next door and odd creaks in the house." Do you see what's wrong with that already? It's a complete run-on sentence. It could be broken up many ways.
Then, you have too short of sentences, such as "He was overdue. That didnít necessarily mean something." You could add a transition between those and make it into one sentence.
Also, you used "you" a bit in it. I only saw it once, but you don't want to use it in a story as such. I think "she didn't have the energy to..." was a bit overused in the story, but it was obvious that she didn't I guess :)
I think it's a bit...off, seeing as Marlene seemed pretty cold and unhappy, but when she talked to Gideon? I don't see how that happen, because she seemed like she couldn't feel anything like that.
Thank you for requesting! :) I did like the story! She sounds like the Marlene I write, which makes things easier for me to read ^^ Great job. Maybe get a Beta to check things out for you (x xx
CierraAuthor's Response: Thanks for pointing out the run-on - I always seem to miss a couple, haha.
I think that the other mechanical stuff you noted might just come down to personal style - a lot of the things you pointed out were deliberate choices on my part. I'm sorry that it didn't work for you. :(
Thank you for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed it regardless. :) Report Review
This was beautiful! I enjoyed the repetition in it - it wasn't too much that it was annoying, but just right. (I saw it was written for the Repetition Challenge)
I have a soft spot for stories about the war and the Order members' lives, and I think you did an excellent job portraying the difficulty of what they had to do, and the feeling of futility. She had no expectation of winning this fight. She stayed in it because she needed to be able to live with herself. I thought that was a perfect explanation.
You had so many gorgeous lines and themes here - from the idea of Marlene living on borrowed time, almost being pushed off balance going up the hill, how she wanted to think that the snow would prevent the Death Eaters from coming.
The attention to detail was also incredible - it was small things, like "the back of her hands would probably have cracked open again" and how a house could only take so much magic that seemed to really add something more to the story.
You also did a great job with Marlene and Gideon's relationship - it's sweet and believable and not over-the-top. It really was quite sweet. :)
This story was so well done - it flowed nicely, no grammar mistakes that I noticed, excellent imagery and description... truly an excellent job! I really liked this. ^-^Author's Response: Thank you so much! :) This is probably one of my favourite stories I've written, to be honest - writing it just felt so natural, especially since I did it while it was really bitter cold outside where I am (though no blizzard). A lot of the things you pointed out really made me happy, because those were things that I was hoping someone would see and say, "Oh, wow, I like that a lot!"
Thank you so much for coming over and reviewing - this is really a lovely review, and it really makes my day. :) Report Review
New OTP? New OTP.
Goodness, this is just brilliant. I love the repetition you used, the language and the imagery used to show Marlene's feelings. Really, this was just wonderful.
How do you do it? ^_^Author's Response: Oh, yay! Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! :)
♥ Thank you for the review. I really appreciate it. Report Review
Aw, it's so sad...so sad, but I still really enjoyed it. It was really sweet!
I've never read a fanfiction about either of these characters, so it was totally new to me. Very fresh and original, though I did nearly cry at some parts.
The foreboding Death Eater attack was probably what really gave this story such a great emotional feeling, as otherwise, it would have been good, but not so emotional. I love how you combined the romance and angst for...this! Defnitely 10/10, because it is just lovely!Author's Response: I really loved writing this (though I did cry a bit, too), and I'm very glad that it elicited the emotion I was hoping it would.
Thank you so much for the review - I'm so glad you liked it. :) Report Review
This was so sweet, and you deserve more reviews. I loved reading about Gideon and Marlene, and I feel so sorry for the McKinnons. You need to write more, because you're really very good!Author's Response: Oh, thank you so much! I'm definitely going to work on some more first wizarding war pieces - I loved writing this, and I'm actually really proud of it. Hopefully you will read and enjoy them, too! :) Report Review
Hello Beeezie :)
I'm here with your 1/10 review - sorry for the wait!
I... I really loved this chapter. No really, it was brilliant. The whole chapter was full of tension of war and her fear that she would be captured at any moment. The extra details, such as her mother's sickness or her brother's disappearance, added to the threatening atmosphere and really made this realistic. You made Marlene into an actual person rather than just a character with predicatable lines.
I really liked the theme of referring to the weather such as; 'Marlene was living on borrowed time, and she knew it. One more day was one more day. She hoped that the snow would keep coming'. This was a brilliant use of making the weather reflect the tense mood (I think it's called pathetic falacy?).
Gideon just made you want to go 'awhh' - you really got across that he is a lifeline of sort for Marlene. She is obviously scared and knows that she isn't likely to survive the war but links safety with Gideon and happier times. You really got this across well.
I just can't get across how brilliant this chapter is! None of it seems forced, the characters seem realistic and it's just spot on to how I imagine the first Wizarding War would be like.
Fantastic job - I'll add it to my favourites now!
Keira :)Author's Response: Oh, no worries. You know how I am with reviews - we all have lives, and those come first. :)
I'm really glad that you liked this so much. I really enjoyed writing it, and I'm actually quite proud of it! I think I'm going to need to start writing some more marauders era fics - especially first wizarding war ones - because this was really rewarding. I'm currently playing with one about Remus and an OC.
Thank you so much. Like I said, I'm really proud of this story, so this review and the favourite really meant a lot to me. :) Report Review
Awww, this was perfect! I was just thinking about this pairing! You did an awesome job (as usual)!Author's Response: Aw, thank you! ♥ Report Review
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