wow!! this is so good. I never really though that Andromeda would feel that way about Bellatrix. once again I really liked it.
Author's Response: thanks, glad you liked it!
I chose to review this story because I’ve taken an interest in exploring the lives of the Black sisters, mainly Andromeda. I was on your author page when I suddenly found this interesting one-shot that focused on the relationship between Andromeda and Bellatrix. As it was a Rachel!fic, I knew I was not to be let down. What I did not know was that I would enjoy it as much as I did! I love the emotions you gave Andromeda and her feelings towards her sister. She seems sort of torn with her feelings of Bellatrix. She wants to care about her sister, yet at the same time she keeps being pushed away by her. Her memories of her sister are only false fantasies and not true memories, and I like how you brought this out in the story. It’s hard to know exactly how Andromeda felt about her sisters, but I think you wrote it very realistically.
The setting you wrote throughout the story was perfectly eerie. I liked how instead of having one or two big paragraphs of description at the beginning, you sprinkled it throughout the story. This really helped keep the chilling atmosphere and the scene stayed fresh in my mind instead of fading away after reading for a few minutes. The graveyard setting was just right. You wrote in plenty of details while keeping it simple and not as melodramatic as some graveyard scenes tend to be. The season you wrote and the graveyard also were a great combination. The description you had with the first signs of winter and the details of the graveyard flowed together nicely and really helped create an amazing atmosphere and setting.
Andromeda coming to the realization that she never knew her sister was a great way to end the letter and it gave Andromeda the closure she needed. I liked how she began to let go of all those childhood fantasies she’d had of her sister as she was writing. She began to know that she never did have any relationship with Bellatrix and she never will. It’s almost as if she’s letting go of a dream she had of having a close relationship with her sister and accepts that she never had anything between her. She also began to see Bellatrix for who she really was and all of the fantasies faded away with the end of the letter.
Just one grammar nit-pick…
It was as isolated spot, with hardly any tombstones occupying the vacant space.
I think you mean ‘an isolated spot’ instead of ‘as isolated spot’.
You showed us a very believable relationship between Andromeda and Bellatrix. Andromeda’s emotions were as I would imagine them to be, and while I never thought about her longing for a closer relationship with Bellatrix, I could see her feeling that way. That’s one thing I love about your writing. You write the characters to do things or think of things in a way I never thought they would, yet it’s always believable and in character. By the end of the story it seems like it was almost a part of their canon personalities all along. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing this excellent take on Andromeda and her feelings towards her sister. I’ll definitely be back to your author page. Once again, great work! *hugs*
Author's Response: Teh SPEW buddy Katty! *tackles* Thank you so much for the FANTABULOUS review! :D:D:D And dude, I've been meaning to fix that typo for ages. *facepalm* But yes, thank you again, and I'm glad you liked it! *squishes*
I decided to read this story because I like character studies and the premise sounded intriguing, and I’m very glad I did. By now I’ve read quite a few stories about relationships between sisters in HP, including several about the relationships between the Black sisters. However, most of them (with a couple of notable exceptions) tend to ignore Andromeda, so it was refreshing to read a one-shot that not only included her but was actually about her. The relationship you’ve portrayed between the two women is realistic and believable, and I think you did a great job showing Andromeda’s struggle to let go of her cruel older sister.
The overall quality of your writing is very good, but I do have some technical nitpicks. The first sentence reads: The sky was a deep grey, obscuring any sunlight that the cold, November evening decided to present. First of all, ‘any’ doesn’t make much sense in context. The verb, ‘decided,’ is very definite sounding, and ‘any’ comes off as indecisive and confusing, because the verb informs us that the sun has decided how much light to give. Replacing ‘any sunlight’ with ‘what little sunlight’ or something similar would sound much more definite and sure of your description, which is especially important in your opening. Additionally, you don’t need the comma between ‘cold’ and ‘November.’ I’m afraid I can’t explain why it’s grammatically correct (since I learned grammar on my own, thanks to the American school system), but when you have an adjective followed by a proper noun describing another noun, it’s not necessary to put a comma after the adjective. I’m not sure if it’s technically wrong, but it sounds awkward to have pause there. And… I think that’s all I have to say about that sentence, except that the imagery is very nice.
You both were always closer to each other than me. I was always the outcast, constantly pushed away. Even now, I’m still that person. Personally, I think the first of these sentences would read better without the ‘both,’ but that’s a stylistic preference. Including the ‘both’ does add emphasis, so it’s actively serving a purpose in the sentence. I only mention it because barren simplicity can sometimes make a strong sentence have an even stronger impact, and this section is really the heart of the story. My real nitpick on this section is the last sentence: “Even now, I’m still that person.” This section is so strong, so immediate, so emotional. And… this sentence sticks out awkwardly amid that. It’s the abstraction that weakens it. Compared with the ‘outcast’ to which ‘that person’ refers, ‘that person’ is an empty abstraction. And… you don’t need it. If you undo the contraction and move the ‘am’ to after ‘still’ for emphasis and take away the noise of ‘that person,’ you get a shorter, stronger sentence: “Even now, I still am.” It’s similar enough to convey the same meaning, but I think it fits much better with the sentences around it.
Your writing is already very strong and very emotive. Between you and your beta, there are almost no actual mistakes in this story (and I assure you, I appreciate that). You’ve got all the mechanics under control and used them very well in conjunction with a strong plot, well-developed characters, and excellent exposition of emotions. The only general thing I can suggest is to tighten and polish more. Take the time to go over your writing and play with word choices –– and deletions –– to heighten the effect of your words. Think consciously about every time you choose to use a contraction –– and every time you choose not to. Consider not only what adjectives and adverbs you choose (which you are clearly doing, by your descriptions), but also where you choose to use them. An excellent beta can help you see opportunities to do that sort of thing, but only to a certain extent; only you can know exactly what kind of effect you’re going for. Anyway, this is a wonderful story and it was a pleasure to read and review. :: hugs ::
Author's Response: *DIES* Just...*DIES* *is honored to have her review page graced by teh awesome that is Lian* I honestly can't thank you enough for such a brilliant review. You know, you're completely right about what you said about word choice and everything. I'm more careful about that now, and looking back on this fic, I can see what you mean about my word choice contradicting itself. Thanks again, it was a real pleasure to read your review! =D *hugs back*
Wow. That was a powerful ending. I liked that part the best. I would think that if Bellatrix had the chance, even after death, to be more caring and considerate, she wouldn't do it. I like how you portray Andromeda as being sad, yet never having known her sister that well, not knowing why.
There would be controversy in her mind, just like you wrote. This story was a very good read and I can't wait to read more of your writing.
Author's Response: Wow! THanks for the quite lovely review! And I'm glad you liked it! ♥
I loved this story!! it was amazing!! It was so powerful and extremely sad to see these sisters torn apart. I loved the last line, it hit me the most. As if Andromdea never got what she needed. I loved it! Beautiful piece
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you for taking the time to review so many of my stories! And I'm glad you liked it--I like the last line too.
thiswasalso really good, y have i not had the need to reedthis before now is beond me... from Emily
Author's Response: Lol, thanks. Would you happen to be reviewing Let Go any time soon...?
Wow! I love how you use description, it makes the story. Andromeda is someone I have always wondered about and I think you showed her in a realistic way.
As a sister, I feel for Andromeda. You make the reader feel what she is feeling. It helps the reader connect to the story better.
Author's Response: I'm glad that you felt for Andromeda, and liked the story. Thanks so much!
I loved how you described Andromenda's emotions throughout her fic. The way she felt so strongly about her sister brushing her thoughts out of the way was very realistic. You always hear about the two sisters, Bella and Cissy, but do you ever hear about Andromeda? She seems like the forgotten one, the "outcast" as you put it.
I really liked how strained you made the relationship and how andromeda wasn't sure what to think about her sister's death.
The one thing I wasn't sure about was where was Bellatrix buried? Her being the big-shot pureblood, I would've thought she would've been buried somewhere big and dignified, but that's my opinion.
You should try writing a story about the Black sisters growing up, it would be very good!
Author's Response: Lol, I don't have a clue where she was buried. Some family grave yard, I s'pose. Thanks so much for the review, and I may just write a story on them growing up. Thanks!
I thought you had a really great opening to this fic, it really drew me in, firstly with the great description, then being instantly intrigued to find out what she’s considering turning back from. The second paragraph was really lovely with all the description there as well, definitely putting me at the place of the scene.
The letter was really touching, I liked your use of short sentences, like, “But they weren’t. And I can’t change that.” which showed how Andromeda felt, uncertain, angry and upset (at least, that’s how I perceived it!).
One thing I thought was that there was a bit of overuse of the word ‘right’ in her letter, it seemed like she was always saying, ‘That’s right’ or ‘right?’ where sometimes it wasn’t necessary. I also thought that maybe you could have the letter in italics, so it’s clearer that it’s not narration.
The bit about never really knowing her sister, the line between fantasies and memories having been blurred, were so sweet and so sad. Also, what a terrible predicament for Andromeda to be in, “Should she mourn for the loss of her sister, or should she rejoice that there was less evil in the world?” I thought that was another great line. I thought this was so realistic to how Andromeda would feel, it was really well written, with all the right elements for a story - great description, great emotion, great plot - everything. But I think the very last line was my favourite. Well done!
Author's Response: Thanks so much! Your reviews are amazing! I'll try to fix the 'right' thing. I used that to show that she was sort of uncomfortable talking to her sister, but I guess I overdid it. Thanks for the amazing review!
This was wonderful. I wasn't exceptionally fond of her tombstone, honestly. Saying anything positive about someone so inherently cruel and vicious seems wrong to me.
However, this story was very well-written, and particularly moving. The death of a loved one, no matter how unpleasant that loved one may be, is always a very difficult time, and you've handled Andromeda's confusion and pain beautifully.
Author's Response: I know, I hate the tombstone, too. I doubt that anyone who hated her would bury her, however. I think that this is the way that the people who knew her saw her. I'm up for alternate suggestions! Thanks so much for the concrit and the lovely review!
This story is really an amazing emotional packet, and you deserve to be very, very proud of it. I have written an Andromeda letter fic quite similar to this one, but it is nowhere near as good. The emotional punch you pack into this relatively short yet powerful fic is unbelievable.
She trudged on through the frost covered field, watching as her feet made the slightest of marks in the frozen grass. The imagry in this fic is unbelievable. I could perfectly picture the graveyard in my mind. Not only do you paint a wonderful, full picture of the setting, which is impressive enough, you also color your picture by using words that really set the mood. Your wonderful, expert use of imagry is astounding.
Turn around. Just leave. You aren’t gaining anything by being here. By using phrases like that, you really key into human emotions, especially emotions relating to death. While there is no dialogue in this entire story, the dialogue you use in Andromeda's head is absolutely wonderful. This story really is about feelings, and has the power to effect human feelings. That power in this story to make the readers feel is what makes this story so good and makes you such a good author.
I really like your letter (though I think you should consider putting it in italics to distinguish it from the rest of the story and make things easier on the reader) While it has a lot of emotional punch, it is straight and to-the-point. As I mentioned previously, I have written a fic very similar to this. However, my fic is just the letter. The fact you put scenes before and after the letter, and wrote your letter in a more concise way than I did, really marks the difference between the two stories. You have a great way of writing that keeps your story concise and straight to the point without taking away the emotion. That is a talent that I admire. Congradulations on such a wonderful story!
Author's Response: Why thank you! I'll take care to look at yours! Thanks SO much for the comments. I finally decided to italicise the letter, but I wasn't before because it got rejected since the majority of the fic was italicised. Now that I've expanded the fic, I think it's alright to italicise it. Thanks SO much for the wonderful review!
Poor Andromeda! I've always wondered what Andromeda would be like if she appeared in the Harry Potter books.
You captured the conflict within the Black family, and other pureblood families very well especially in this sentence:
Should she mourn for the loss of her sister, or should she rejoice that there was less evil in the world?
Very good and very expected characterization of Andromeda. The one Black sister (the sister most don't even remember) who married outside the pureblood society.
What I couldn't understand was why she was so desperate to have Bellatrix listen to her. What did she have to say? Andromeda merely talked about how Bellatrix had treated her; is that what she's always wanted to say?
It's very tragic how even though Andromeda knows how Bellatrix had been treating her, she still feels a need to be accepted by her sister. Would you say Bellatrix was Andromeda's role model when she was young? I wonder why Bellatrix always refused to listen to her when they was younger. I suppose Andromeda showed signs of Muggle-loving very young.
What's even more tragic is how Bellatrix continued to ignore her final plead in death.
I'd like to see a work done on Andromeda's thoughts on Sirius' death just as a comparison. After all, he was a cousin whom Andromeda very much liked and couldn't have thought was evil.
Author's Response: I basically answered this in my thread in the duelling club. Thanks SO much for reviewing!!
But there is no right and wrong. Life’s more complicated than that.
I loved reading this, because it is scarily ture. One person's values are not the same as the next, and one person may have a reason for their harm or meanness, while another may be on whim.
I liked how you had Andromeda jealous of her sister. Most authors portray Bellatrix as and ugly, evil child, who grows into an even more ugly, evil adult. But here, you have Andromeda, the one on the good side, jealous of her sister on the dark side. Bella was the pretty one, the favoured one, how could her sister not be jealous?
I also noticed that you have Tonk's mother alive. Most HP readers assume that she is dead, because we never hear about her in the books. But if you check the Lexicon, it clearly shows that Andromeda Tonks has not yet died. So, kudos, to you to paying attention to that.
Andromeda's reaction to finishing the letter was real. Emotions bottled up for so long, good and bad, take a long while to get out. She finally did it, and a large weight must have lifted off her shoulders.
I especially liked the last sentence. It kind of sums up the whole story. It was basically about feeling inferior to her older sister.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you! I'm so glad that you liked it! I've always seen Bella as the favorite, and Cissy as the whiney brat. Don't know why. And I've always seen Andromeda alive. I didn't think for a second that she was dead. Thanks for the amazing review!
Aww, I don't know what to say! This is written magnificently. I've always been so interested in Andromeda because she's the one sister who is often forgotten, and I love reading fics about her. The characterisation couldn't get any better, truly.
At first, I had to reread a couple of paragraphs in the beginning because I just couldn't concentrate on what I was reading... I was so interested in the title! I knew I had read that same exact title somewhere, but I couldn't remember where. Then it dawned on me... Jen made you that story banner, and I saw it in her gallery! Wow, I'm just glad I figured that one out.
Anyway, back to the actual story. Despite a couple of errors that I noticed, the writing in general is lovely. The thoughts are all tied together just so perfectly. My favourite part was definitely the end, and more specifically, the last sentence. It summed up the entire story, and title, absolutely beautifully. Great work!
Author's Response: Aww, I was completely unaware that you had reviewed this, and I was sobbing when I read it. Steph, I love you and miss you. We all do. I think that you know that. I know that you'll never read this, but thank you so, so, much. Rest in peace, hun. We all love you.
I was looking forward to to reading this fic from when I read the summary - I just love the Black sisters!
Although we don't tend to care about Bellatrix often, basing the story on Andromeda and her feelings gives us a different view. I felt sorry for Andromeda and Bellatrix, because they never got the chance to build a true sister relationsgip.
Andromeda's letter was very sad, but so real! The only nit-pick is, I think you used 'brushed away' twice, in very close areas.
The last few sentences were written well - delicate but harsh, sad but serene. It made me feel very lucky about my sister and I :)
Author's Response: *Hugs* I love the Black sisters, too. They're my favorites! You have a sister? For some reason, I've never seen you with a sister. Is the 'brushed away' thing in the letter or the end? I'll try to fix it! Thanks so, so, so much, Dawnie!
Well, I can see why you are so proud of this story. The imagery is lovely and the emotion comes screaming off of the page. I love the sense of desperation you have given Andromeda. You make me empathize with her sense of loss for the sisterly love she would have liked to have, but didn’t, and never will. Very touching. I love this: Should she mourn for the loss of her sister, or should she rejoice that there was less evil in the world? What a terrible conflict. I love that you have her shed a tear. It truly would be very painful to know that a family member, someone you probably loved at least on some level, took a path that lead to their destruction, even if they did it willingly and enthusiastically, as Bellatrix did.
Nit picks: First, I think you should make a space between the author’s note and the body of the fic. That was distracting and I didn’t know I had actually started the story. It is such a lovely story; it should look lovely as well, and have a definite beginning. Also, italicizing the letter would be a good idea. A minor typo: It was as isolated spot as should be an.
She couldn’t help but feel that it was Bellatrix, even in death, brushing her thoughts away once more.
On this line, all I can say is exquisite! You could not have ended on a more poignant and perfect note. Wonderfully done!
Author's Response: Thanks for the nitpicks, and glad you liked the story! I always put a space between the author's note and the fic; that must have gotten screwed up when I was editing something. I'll fix it now, thanks! So glad you liked it. The last sentence is my favorite, too!
Ohhh... Such description makes my heart tingle.
I am confused as to why she has a cheery tombstone... she's rather criminal.
I liked the way you handled the ending in particular. I got the shivers when you wrote, ' She couldn’t help but feel that it was Bellatrix, even in death, brushing her thoughts away once more.' That was an incredible ending, if a bit depressing.
A few nit picks.
The letter needed a comma after Bellatrix(at the beginning). Also I felt as thought the tombstone and letter should have been italiscised (sp?). Other than that It was wonderful.
Author's Response: I don't think that her enemies would bury her, so I think that this is how her friends saw her. If I ever think of a better epitah, I'll edit it. Thanks so much for the review!
That was a very interesting view of Andromeda. I can see her sitting in the back ground while her sister was always in the foreground. Knowing what I know of Tonks, I can see her being hurt by her sister's indifference. You seem to capture all of that in this story. The pain and the worry for a sister that never seemed to know she was there. The last line, where she feels her sister is "brushing her thoughts away once more" seems to complete the story. It really shows the feeling Andromeda has.
Author's Response: Thanks SO much for the lovely review. Quite glad you liked the story!
I remember I was very impressed with this fic the first time I read it (this was the one you wrote for Flourish and Blotts, right?), and I'm even more impressed the second time around. You should be very proud of this fic. Your characterization was really excellent. I loved the descriptions. You created such a clear picture in my mind. I think the last paragraph tied everything together really well and captured the mood of the fic.
The one thing that wasn't perfect about this fic was that I was a bit confused to where the letter began and ended. Maybe you should change the formatting of either the whole letter or just 'Bellatrix' and 'Andromeda'. I think italicizing would make things a bit clearer.
Other than that, everything was really nicely done. This was an excellent fic and such a great read. The emotions of a fic can be ruined if everything else is awful, but you preserved the emotions of your fic so well. Great job!
Author's Response: Why thank you! Yep, this is the very same! Looks different, eh? Courtasy of Sneaky_Rhea. Anyway, the reason that the letter isn't italicised was because before it monopolized the whole fic and got rejected because it was too confusing. Anyway, now that I've added quite a lot to this fic, I think I'll re-italicise it. Thank you for all of your lovely comments! They mean a lot to me!
I've never read a fic with this character, and I think you did a fabulous job portraying her situation. Having been basically thrown out of the family for marrying a Muggle, its no wonder Andromeda was so nervous about visiting her sister, even after she had died. I had always pictured Bellatrix as being a difficult sibling to live up to, and I think you showed that nicely!
"She let go of the letter, and it floated slowly to the ground before being swept away by a gust of wind. Andromeda watched it dance across the field and out of sight. She couldn’t help but feel that it was Bellatrix, even in death, brushing her thoughts away once more."
I think ending lines are your strong suit! I loved this, the imagery of Bellatrix in the wind, once again casting Andromeda aside. I only hope she brushed her lingering feelings over Bellatrix aside, as well! Nice work!
Author's Response: Lol, I was laughing so hard when you said that ending lines are my strong point, because I think the exact same thing! They usually have some connection to the title (though usually it isn't planned) and they usually come to me before writing the actual story. Take this one for example! I think that this is my favorite end line out of all my fics, so I'm glad you liked it, too! Thanks so much for your comments, and the lovely review!