This is Gabbie from the forums and your darkest dreams here with your review for our swap! I haven't forgotten you!
I'm already pretty invested in this story and I am so glad that you wanted me to read it. I hardly ever see stories about Alice like this and I'm really curious about this backstory that you'e given her and Katherine. I always thought that she was such a sad case and to start this chapter off with her mind being fractured is just so sad. What I like about this though is that you get a good sense of how St. Mungo's works and how difficult it must be for a Healer.
I think a few people like to skimp over how hard it must be to become a medi-witch. I would imagine that it would be pretty hard and take a lot of dedication and you've shown enough of Katherin's character in the beginning for me to understand that she's still hopeful about helping her friend. I think that it says a lot about her but I'm curious about Alice's sister, Blue and what dark past she had going on for the Ministry to ignore the fact that she was framed for treason.
When we go back in time though, I like that you've shown us how close the girls are, simply through dialogue. It felt real, just hearing them talking to one another and you could sense all of their support through those sections. Alice seems level headed and rational, burdened with never being taken seriously because of her sister while Katherine simply wants to be her own woman. Two different women that blend perfectly well with one another and what's this?
Frank and Katherine? Well, well. I am curious about this now and how he ends up with Alice later on. I like your version of Frank too, he seems like a pretty solid guy and he shows how brave he is too by saying Voldemort's name. The threat of Voldemort is just starting to happen and it casts a really ominous feel over this chapter but that ending totally slapped me in the face.
What has Blue done? Is she being framed again?! What a great cliffhanger! :D
We should swap again!
I didn't spot any crazy CC's or anything so have no fears!
ISOBEL! MY LOVELY I AM HERE!!
I don't think that she killed her either, I am agreeing with Frank here.
Oh Alice, Frank knows that you're only snapping because you're worried abotu your sister. Aw that story about how he had loved flowers until that day made me sad. Neville is so much like him with his love for Herbology and it makes me so sad that he never got to witness the love that Neville had for the plants too. and now I'm making myself sad all over again!
Oh no, the press are there! That's not good at all!
AHHH BLUE IS THERE AND ALICE KNOWS THAT SHE DIDN'T MURDER ANYONE AND I NEED TO KNOW MORE! TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS ISOBEL YOU WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL PERSON YOU! I KNOW THAT THERE'S MORE CHAPTERS UP BUT I NEED YOU TO TELL ME RIGHT NOW WHAT HAPPENS AND IF SHE DID IT!!! AHHH I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I NEED TO KNWO!
Wonderful chapter! :D
Hi again, Isobel! :) I'm back - I couldn't resist, really, it was too good to pass up :P
Omigosh, you are way way way too good at this whole mystery business :P With every chapter you post, I just get more and more curious about what's happened, but you don't reveal enough of it! :P Nah, seriously, the balance is perfect - frustrating, but that's how it should be, you know? ;)
I love how this chapter goes back in time to Mikhail and Louanna's first meeting - and I like how she's an Auror, too, and how she and Claire are sisters, though most people don't seem to guess it. It's such a lovely detail to include - and I suspect Claire might come into it again? That or die, haha. But there must be a reason for mentioning that they're sisters... I dunno, I feel like I might just be picking at straws :/
I do love the way Mikhail's so worried about them being women - though a lot of spies and so on during the world war were women, you know, so it makes a lot of sense from that perspective, which I love that you tied it in - and about whether or not his sister-in-law and her mother (I think?) will continue to help him once he can't keep giving them money to do it. It's a harsh question, a harsh thing to think about someone, but there's a certain amount of truth to it, I think.
In fact, really, just all of your details are so on point and so right, ugh, it's amazing :) I just love it so much - all of the period details, all of the little things which build the atmosphere of the war and the terror people are living in, all of the details about people; they're all just so so good and always so perfectly placed and just right.
Your writing in total is just amazing in this, it really is - it really makes your characters come to life so brilliantly (and they all have such different voices, in the text and in speech which is just so good, and I'm so jealous of :P), and the time period, too.
I'm so curious about so many things in this story - The Shadow Prince, who he is and why he's doing what he's doing, what happens to Louanna, why do they think it's Blue, what happened to Alice and Blue's mother, how is Alice connected to the Gorbachevs (her surname's Miller, like Louanna Chase's mother after she married, but I don't know if there's anything there?), just what happens?!
I'm sorry this is a bit short, but my wrists are playing up so I'm going to have to end this here - but I love this and I'm so excited for the next chapter! :)
Hey Isobel! :) So it's been a long time since I dropped by this story - way, way too long and I'm sorry for it - and I missed it so much (I think you updated recently? Or posted a snippet? But I saw it's name around and it reminded me how much I loved this story), so here I am! :)
Okay, so I love your characters so so much. They're just all so amazing and so real. I love Alice - she's so strong and so frantic to see her sister, so loyal to her family, but at the same time I loved the niggling little doubts she was thinking over, and how she expressed them but only to Frank. It's so true to life, I think, for people to wonder and especially where there's bad blood involved already. All of the emotions in this are just so brilliantly spot on.
I love Frank and Katherine, too - especially Katherine, because I like that for once a pretty, clever girl is insecure, that she isn't the 'other girl' who's just there to split up the main pairing before they inevitably get together, and I really loved how she prided herself on being beautiful and struggling to cope with the possibility of feeling overshadowed. I actually feel so sorry for her for that; it must be so difficult to live a life where something as shallow as that matters, you know? :(
The Aurors are amazing - and I love how Fausta Accorsi is everything Alice wants to be, and is clearly incredibly competent and just very cool :P She's just awesome, full stop! :)
The relationship between Frank and Alice and Katherine as a group is so fascinating - as is the relationship between Alice and Blue and the Gorbachev sisters... there just must be some reason to it, you know, and it being passed down from their parents makes sense, but I want to think there's more to it ;) It's a murder mystery, there's got to be more, right? :P
I love your writing in this, too. It's so beautiful and so clear, all of your imagery is so perfect for what you're describing, your dialogue is just too. good. Seriously - this is really an amazing story. The way you weave the suspense in and the mystery is so clever, and I really have no idea where you're going with it next, only that I really, really want to know.
So yes. I love this :)
Oh my gosh this story is so interesting!
I loved the transcript device you used at the beginning--it was super engaging and hooked me right away. And you lay out so many mysteries with it! Like, so we know that Katherine becomes Katherine Sterling, and what a surprise to hear that she was originally engaged to Frank! I'm so curious to see how that story plays out.
Also, I can't help but be curious: Gorbachev? And I know that one of the chapters includes a "Mikhail." IS MIKHAIL GORBACHEV IN THIS??? THAT WOULD BE SO CRAZY!
This was such an amazingly interesting opening chapter. I'm already really curious about what happened with Blue, and where this is all going to go. Thank you so much for the swap! I'm down to swap again any time, so don't hesitate to hit me up :)
Hello!! It's been ages since we've talked, so I was really happy to see you post a swap. Everything you write is so fantastic... I'm sure this will be no exception.
Ugh, I could seriously just write a review about that intro. I've never seen anything written like that - it was awesome! It just... wow, it totally brought me into the story, and was so creative and wonderful and AH YOU'RE TOO FANTASTIC.
WAIT WAIT WAIT WHAT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH FRANK AND ALICE WHAT WHAT I'M CONFUSED OH MY GOD WHAT'S HAPPENING WHY AREN'T THEY TOGETHER WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!?!?!?!?!
Okay. I'll just keep reading. That's a good plan. I'm curious to see how this will end up, because Alice said that she loves Frank at the beginning...
This was a fantastic first chapter. Between the ridiculously awesome intro, the surprise about Frank and Alice, the interesting situation that Katherine is in (I'm always interested in Muggle-born stories, and her family's position makes it even more intriguing... I like that her friends are hanging out there, rather than at a magical household), and then the murder... yeah. This is an attention-grabber. I'm pretty busy right now, but this is absolutely something that I want to continue reading!!
Your writing, as usual, was fantastic. The entire chapter was smooth, and had a great flow. I can't think of any CC!
This was fantastic.
I'm here for our review swap!
Wow! I don't even know where to start with this. So many things happened and there's so much information in such a short set of words.
I thought the opening was brilliant. When I first saw the transcript format, I was a bit thrown, but it really piqued my curiosity. As the conversation progressed, I was immediately surprised to see that Alice did actually recognize some of the people she was shown. I liked the idea of her having a sister and I thought you brought up the mystery surrounding her sister in a very clever way. I honestly never would've thought of doing it this way (through transcripts), but it works really well.
The interactions between Alice, Katherine, and Frank are very well written. The dialogue flows smoothly and there is just enough description to keep it from getting dry. I love the idea of Alice pretending to be engaged to Frank so Katherine can see him, although it's quite ironic considering that we know they married later on.
The big reveal at the end was lovely. Everything seemed so peaceful and then you just go an drop a bomb on me! It left me with a ton of questions and now when I get home from work tonight, I'll have to read the rest to find out what exactly is going on!
This was a really good first chapter. It drew me in. It gave me an idea of the world and the characters and then it left me with a ton of questions that will bring me back for chapter 2! Good job!
I now even more excited because I ABSOLUTELY ADORE MYSTERIES!!
The file you wrote was brilliant. Maybe I sniffled a bit when you mentioned Neville. Maybe. That transcript was novel and incredible. You took me for a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. And now I have questions. Now I have many questions: Who is Louanna? Why would Blue kill Lou? What happened, Isobel?!?
Oh my! Younger Katherine and Alice! This is very, very interesting. Sister suspected of murder in the future and an Auror mother who framed for selling secrets? ISOBEL! What? This is getting more and more intriguing.
"For God’s sake, when will she realise that I am never in a million years going to marry Engelbert Sterling?" Bahaha!! "Who’d have thought it, Al? Me and you, engaged?" And I am laughing a little more here, but I my curiosity has increased. What in the world happened? Or what will happen?
I really like how Lady Cecelia called parchment 'papyrus paper.'
Goodness gracious! Isobel! What did Blue and Zasha fight about? Alice and Blue's mother? Why would she be framed for Lou's murder? What happened? What are they doing in Rome? Did Blue really murder Lou? if so, why? Holy cow, Isobel!
I am now absolutely in love with this story and your writing. ♥
Hello darlin'! Am here for the Hufflepuff May Review exchange!
Okay this was interesting that I got this considering how much I LOVE Frank and Alice and my headcanon on them seems to just keep growing hehe.
I REALLY loved how you started this out, setting down the basic groundwork. It was short yet nicely done, simple and effective and got the point down quickly. I have to admit that at the end I couldn't stop thinking of when a person's heart stops and they have a flatline situation--that was the feeling I got and that scared me eeks!
It took me a second to realize that it is from Alice's POV (I'm a bit slow lol) and I love how you've established the Longbottoms' connection to Katherine--it makes this assessment no doubt for her that much harder bless her.
I also really like what you did and how you developed the Auror hierarchy. I myself am no good at such things but I like how you did it, especially with this:
Clearly, she's forgotten that Frank has been working all day at the Auror Office, “catching criminals”, or more likely, if my own experience is anything to go by, fetching and carrying infinite amounts of parchmentwork and replenishing copious amounts of tea.
For some reason, I could picture Frank actually doing this! *lol*
Overall this was a beautiful and strong opening chapter and definately sets the stage for an awesome story! I'll have to pick this up when time is a little nicer to me but it IS on my reading list :-) . Thank you so much for a great story, continued success and good luck!
I am finally here Isobel!!! :D YAY!!!
I really loved how you had the transcript of the monthly assessment in the beginning. It breaks my heart that she can recognise Frank but can't, she just knows that she loves him! And she knows Neville! She knew his name (kind of) And she knew Bluebell!!!
Why did Blue kill?! I gots ta know!
Why did Blue do what she did? And who framed her? Also why did they frame her? I have so many questions!!
:O Frank and Katherine?! WHAT?!!! What about Alice?
:O So that's Louanna! Ahhh I still have so many questions!!
A great first chapter Isobel! I can't wait for more! I love your writing and you so much!!! :D
Oh my word, this is incredible. How do I even begin here?
I love the format of the start, how the first part is told through the transcript of a patient’s monthly assessment at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. “PATIENT IS ENTERING A STAGE OF UNRESPONSIVE DISTRESS.” I feel so sorry Alice – what she is going through really is terrible.
I love the structure of the medical systems in the Wizarding world that you’ve created: the medical forms, assessment procedures and the scientific measurement of 250ml of Calming Draught; how a four year course in Healing Magic qualifies you as a medi-witch but need to reapply to be accepted as a Healer-in-training.
I really like Katherine. Even though she has obviously has had a lot of advantages because of her parents’ wealth, she obviously has had to work hard to be accepted into Healer training, and is really scared that she might not be good enough to do the thing she wants to do with her life.
And Alice... poor Alice. She is doing the thing she always wanted to do, but is unable to be honest about why she wants to do it because the Ministry wouldn’t believe her. It is awful that she has spent her whole life running and hiding because of something that her mother was framed as having done.
Frank and Alice aren’t together? Frank is engaged to Katherine? Alice is wearing Katherine’s engagement ring to trick Katherine’s parents into letting Frank visit? Katherine’s parents don’t know that she’s engaged? Her parents think there is a possibility of her marrying an Engelbert Sterling? What sort of a name is Engelbert Sterling? Does she end up marrying him, as her name in the medical-y-transcript would suggest, even though she seems dead set against it? What happens between Frank and Katherine – they seem so in love in this scene? What does Alice think about their relationship? (Sorry – that was a lot of questions...)
Katherine doesn’t seem to have a very good relationship with her mother. I wonder how Lady Cecelia reacted when she discovered her daughter was a witch. It does make sense that Katherine is more scared about Voldemort than Frank if she is a Muggle-born.
Ah! This is why they have given Frank the case not Alice – Alice is connected to the suspect. But surely her sister didn’t kill Louanna? Surely Blue isn’t guilty of murder?
This is fantastic, and I cannot wait for the next chapter.