Britt! I really liked this little fic. :) I think you’ve captured the feeling and attitudes of the first war just perfectly – it’s very real and refreshing.
The first scene was my favourite. At first I was a little confused as to what was actually happening, but I’m thinking you’ve written it that way on purpose. The mystery of it works well with how Sheelin is so confused and disorientated. The bugs were a nice touch, and I loved the imagery you’ve used. It sent shivers down my spine, it seemed that real. ;)
Sheelin is just wonderful; I think she has some great potential. I love how determined and studious she is, but she still has that fire about her. However, it’s a bit difficult to really gauge her character in this short fic, and it seems to me like there is so much more about her that you could have explored. The back story with what happened to her before she was captured would be interesting. You’ve got so many ends you could have followed up, and I think there is plenty of material for a companion fic, if you’re ever going to write one. It would be nice to see a bit more of Sheelin’s personality come through.
I liked how you’ve made Regulus an undercover member of the Order. It’s obviously not canon, but I think it would tie in well with his character and what he ends up doing. It could have easily happened, in my opinion. I do have my doubts about whether the Order would have accepted him or not – I can’t see Dumbledore being as assured of his good character as he was of Snape’s. Also, I don’t really think that Sirius and Regulus would be anywhere near so nice to each other. I don’t know exactly how much you changed of canon with what Regulus has been doing, but if he had been a Death Eater before a member of the Order, then I don’t think Sirius would have welcomed his brother back at all, and I can’t see him being able to talk to Regulus civilly.
The end scene was absolutely adorable, dear. It was a bit corny, but in the oh-so-sweet way and not the cliché way. :) It was a very Regulus thing to do – so we don’t really know his character, but it was very Regulus with how you’ve written him. And the last line was my favourite in the whole fic – it just perfected it.
However, I do think you’ve made a bit too much of a jump in the last few scenes. They’re all very well-written and work really well on their own, but it does seem to be a bit rushed after the slower pace of the first half of the fic. It almost feels as if you’re missing a scene – maybe one where Sheelin and Regulus could get to know each other a bit more, to make the last part seem a bit more natural. Because you don’t really see them together at all apart from the end, and it left me wondering where all this sudden chemistry came from.
This was a lovely fic, dear, and the perfect thing to wake up to. :) Thank you!
First, thank you again for writing this for me for the SSIV. You are such a dear. I’m aware that my prompt may have been a bit demanding, as I noted when this was first posted, because of the nature of it being holiday and yet also spooky. You did a good job handling it by having that kind of ‘and time passes’ element to the story.
I want to get my criticism out of the way from the beginning though. I felt when I read this initially and as I read it again this evening that there just needs to be so much more! I suppose that’s a mark that you’ve done a good job of drawing me in, wishing that there was more, but there were some parts that I craved more explanation or more action from. I wish I had been able to find out more about Sheelin, about who she is, who she was before she was captured, why she was captured, what happened after she was rescued. I wanted to know more about why Regulus rescued her. However, the story does still stand nicely as it is because of the way it ends.
I was immediately intrigued by what wasn’t there, though. It really worked for particular scenes, like when Sheelin is at the headquarters and Regulus and Sirius show up after being tailed by Malfoy. In that scene, the lack of information seems to be suited precisely for how it really would be in that situation. There are a lot of things that are going on in the Order that are secretive and there’s also just not time for people to explain everything that is going on.
That scene was my second favorite, but my favorite was definitely the end. The moment that really endears this story to me is when Sheelin thanks Regulus, saying she knows it was him who saved her, and you wrote that even though he said ‘your welcome,’ he looks tortured at the fact that she knows it was him. It just feels to epic, yet simple, and just utterly real. They live in difficult times, and they don’t feel like heroes, but the truth is that they are risking their lives doing all of this work for the Order, but no one, especially Regulus, wants to stand up and parade around about something they’ve done. They are just doing what they have to do. And you didn’t go on and on about it, you just had that moment, and it worked so well in its simplicity. Can you tell I loved it? Because I did.
(And then, of course, I wanted there to be more after the end, but there wasn’t, but that’s irrelevant other than you just knowing that I craved more story…)
Author's Response: It's okay. I enjoyed the challenge. =D Don't worry about it. Aw, I'm so happy you loved this. Exchanges make me anxious so I'm so happy that it turned out the way you liked it. Hehe, sorry to leave you hanging with some parts. Thank you for the review. *hugs*
This was a cute little one-shot. I’m not usually fond of Alternate Universe stories, but this one surprised me. I just adored the beginning. Your descriptions of Sheelin’s emotions and actions were just lovely, especially her reactions to the man who was trying to save her. You could really feel her distrust and fear. I liked that it started as a dream, I think, and then switched into reality. It was believable because of her situation; the torture could certainly confuse her mind as to what was reality and what was her imagination. Good job with that, dear.
The thing that confused me was that the action moved so quickly. It seemed that the middle of the story just moved forwards so fast that I couldn’t keep up with what was going on, and then all of a sudden it was the ending and Regulus was kissing Sheelin. It just seemed to rush through what was happening to the ending, which was slightly confusing to read.
Other than that, I liked this. Sheelin was a good character and the allusions in the story were lovely. The ending was super sweet. I could really picture Regulus saying that, so cute, and this totally took away from the Christmas-mistletoe-kiss cliché aspect it could have had. I was a little jealous of Sheelin in this moment.
Overall, it was a sweet, somewhat dark, read.
Author's Response: Yay! I adore you. Yes, sorry about it moving along so quickly. Really, I am. I feel awful because everyone seems to be saying that. =( I hope I didn't disappoint you too much. I'm really elated that you like Sheelin and the mistletoe twist. =D I hope you know I would never be that cliche. ;) Thanks. *hugs*
So I totally read through this and was thinking about my review, to find out I wasn't logged in. -grumbles-
I love you, Britt. You're so bloody brilliant!
-has no nitpicks-
Nikki must be a superb beta! -hasneverworkedwithher- Or you're fantastic at self-editing. ;)
Why? Sheelin thought miserably.
What could I have done?
GAH! This is so..amazing. I particularly like the ellipse on the last "crunch", it's such a small technical thing, but it adds so much to the sequence. It's when you find someone who notices things like that, that you realize what sets the good writers apart.
And Sheelin then knew it was really her; Sheelin’s body screaming what her feeble mind could not.
um, could you be any more fantastic? Like, seriously. The imagery is very well done; it's one of those lines that just jumps out and grabs you. It gives the reader a sense of her despair, of how far she's gone.
She made a whimpering sound much like a puppy and could feel her cheeks flame in mortification.
I love how she's in this awful place, being offered water by a person she can't even see, who she doesn't know if they're a friend or an enemy, and she's embarrassed. It shows how human she still is.
And just like the light had snapped on from seemingly nowhere, so did her vision.
This line really stands out to me. I think it’s the simile. I’m a sucker for them. =)
Her body was enveloped in warmth
-sigh- What I wouldn't give to be warm right now.... /random
A sad gaze confirmed what Sheelin had already guessed. She was alone.
I feel alone. Those two sentences leave me feeling barren, empty, alone, and sad. You have a way of crafting words and filling them with emotion. Kudos.
There was Alice and Frank, who were gone quite a lot, Lily and James, whom were also always on missions, Caradoc and Edgar, whom Sheelin had only heard of and never actually met, and many others, such as Dorcas, Marlene and the Prewetts.
I LOVE this line. (I think I pointed it out on lj, too >.>) It really brings home the Order, and what they do, and what it was like being a part of it. I particularly enjoyed the bit about Caradoc and Edgar. ;D Also notable: the lack of surnames. It's another one of those small-technical-detail things. It makes sense that Sheelin wouldn't know their last names, if she barely knows them. I'm sure Lily and James wouldn't sit around talking about their friend Dorcas Meadows, they'd just talk about Dorcas. It's amazing how you can really get into Sheelin's POV like that.
“Fuck!” she exclaimed.
Mild Profanity? 1st-2nd Years? What kind of cussing do you do, Britt? ;D
“Mistletoe.” Sheelin pointed up, smiling.
Sheelin snorted, peals of laugher coming from her. “I’m sorry, did you really just do that?”
heeheehee. You know, if I ever come across mistletoe in real life, the first reaction I'm going to have to it is a strange desire to set it on fire - no matter who I'm with. ~_^
“Sheelin, I don’t need an excuse to kiss you.”
So, I have an idea. I think we need a plan. A plan to fly to England, and break in to JKR's house, and change the part in one of her little notebooks that said a) Regulus was a Death Eater (I like your version of his role in the second war MUCH better) and b) he died. =( There's too much love around for him to die.
So, um, going back to the bit about Regulus's role in the war, yeah. You own. I like how you worked it into the story, too, it seemed very casual, very normal, not at all forced or thrown in hurriedly. And, also, that's the way it should have been. -sob-
I wish I could borrow your brain for a day, so I could write Dumbledore. His characterization, his speech, it's impeccable. He's a character I often struggle with, but it seems as if he flowed naturally from you. I admire that.
Although the burning mistletoe is quite amusing, I think my favourite part is the beginning. I love how real it seems, and how quickly it moves. It doesn't drag on and on when I read it. It's like it's really happening before my eyes. But it's not hurried. Like, I don't feel like I missed anything, I feel like I was there, with Sheelin, running through the bugs and having a blinding light shone on me and being rescued by a strange, handsome man/boy. ;) I almost felt out of breath when I got to the part about Sheelin sinking to the ground.
I love the allusion to Pandora's Box. With the title, the description of Regulus's face, and the bugs were part of that, too, right? It's been forever since I've read it. >.>
'Tis wonderful, Britt. And so are you. ♥
Author's Response: I like to think I'm not too bad at editing. But if I'm the macaroni, Nikki is the cheese. She does a pretty fantastic job, doesn't she? =) Oh my, you have flattered me. You are so sweet, Mere. I like that plan too. Let's act on that. Dumbledore? Really? That's a relief. I freak when I write him. I get really nervous. Glad to know it worked. As for mild profanity... I don't know, I guess I can't explain that one. *shrugs.* Thanks, again, love.
Love how the fic is starting with a spell. It immediately catches the reader's interest.
She rubbed her arms absentmindedly, too preoccupied to really be concerned about the sudden cold and springing goose bumps.
It clearly shows that things are very bad that she isn't worried about getting hurt or cold.
Sheelin was mashing her way through thousands of bugs.
I really like how you've made her have a dream about insects. It shows how she finds herself similar to them because of being scared of humans [aka pure-blood maniacs] because they have imprisoned her and can kill her whenever they can. Humans kill bugs because they are scared of them... or because they think of them as gross creatures [the latter applies more over here though]. The same why, the Death Eaters think that Sheelin shouldn't exist.
What could I have done?
The 'crunch' adds a very good effect.
She raised it to her cracked lips, greedily sucking in the liquid.
I don't know why but I like the 'cracked lips' effect... maybe another clue to show how she's not having the time of her life locked up in a cell.
He had a beautiful face, as if carved from fine clay and brought to life like Pandora.
Why do the Blacks have to be so damned hot? And he's got a fantastic voice too, as it says somewhere above. And I'm not complaining, of course. It just makes me wish they existed. ;]
She was in a rather dank and drafty cell. The walls were covered in some kind of putrid moss and there were no windows. Only bars. Sheelin was crushed as she remembered where she was, why she was here.
The walls were a plain shade of beige and there was a single mirror hanging from them with a few dressers and, furthest from the bed, was a door.
Shows how different the two places are. Evil vs. Good.
The cell did not have any light, it was bare, and unclean. There were no windows so she couldn't escape.
The room is a bit bright, has a little bit of furnishing. There's also a bed to sleep on comfortably. And a door through which she can walk out.
Though it seemed like an eternity, the name Albus Dumbledore had always instilled hope in her.
He does bring out that reaction a lot, yeah?
“Alice, perhaps, ah, I may speak to Miss Delegade alone?”
Half way through and we finally get to know her sir name. That doesn't mean that it's a bad thing. I just mean that you've not gone through the introduction of the character like a resume like... Name: this this, age: this this, etc. Appearance has also been described little at a time and not in one bunch.
...Lily and James, whom were also always on missions...
Uh, 'who' instead of 'whom' would sound better I think.
“Sirius Black,” he introduced himself enthusiastically.
“Malfoy,” the smaller Black spoke for the first time. “He was trailing us.”
He seemed to find this amusing and smirked.
I really like how Regulus is supposed to be all quiet and sober but he also has his funny moments.
“Regulus, you better get back soon. We can’t keep having these run-ins in public anymore. It’s not safe.”
And I also really like the fact that Sirius is very caring about his younger brother. It clearly shows how close they are. How much they love each other [in a strictly platonic sense of course]. =D Lol. I couldn't resist quoting that from a drabble by padfootdgirl1981.
A dark chuckle came from the doorway. “Scourgify,” Regulus commanded. The mess was gone. He walked into the room leisurely, his eyes fixed on her.
I notice how he never talks to her in company...
He looked as though he loathed the idea of her knowing.
Love the modesty trait.
“Sheelin, I don’t need an excuse to kiss you.”
This was clearly the best part. I love how they didn't kiss by accident... how they had a mistletoe right above them and still Regulus didn't kiss her by taking it as in excuse. Instead, he put it on fire and then kissed her.
I really, really loved this one shot. Sheelin's characterization is great, and on a random note, how did you come up with her name? It's quite different. =] Regulus' characterization was awesome. *loves Regulus* And I also liked how Regulus is the one who helps Sheelin to escape and how the two end up together.
All in all, excellent story! Just thought I should mention it again in case I haven't made it abundantly clear. =p
Author's Response: Thanks, fif! =) Glad you liked it. This was a great review! =D
What a lovely story. I really like it although I had difficulties getting into it at the beginning. I read the nightmare scene and wondered where it would lead, not seeing any link to the wizarding world at all. So in order to completely grasp the significance of the scene and find the missing link, I started again, and this time paid close attention to the details. It left me in awe. You wrote the first paragraphs so fantastically and detailed, it felt so very real, as if it was me in the dream, not Sheelin.
And I simply love your characterisation of Sheelin, especially when she is rescued. She doesn’t know anymore who to trust, and you portrayed nicely that misery and her responses. Again, it felt so real, as if I as the reader am in her place. Awesome job.
Sheelin tentatively stepped in front of the mirror, not sure what to expect. She found herself staring into the eyes of a stranger. They were dull but still contained the same colour. Her chestnut hair hung lifeless and dirty on her cheeks and all color was drained from her face. She looked a mess. Sheelin signed, disheartened. This girl was a far cry from the person she had once been.
The way you described her looks is simply but brilliantly done. I as the reader could visualise Sheelin easily, giving me something to fully imagine what she had gone through. And I think this is the right place to tell you that I loved the way you’ve woven in description into all the scenes and settings. Great job.
The scenes in the headquarters are written nicely as well. I felt relieved to know Sheelin was finally safe, under the protection of Dumbledore and the Order, and it gave me the link to the wizarding world I was looking for. I also very much liked that she had something to do to help, brewing potions. It added to her character, who she is and why she had been captured by the Death Eaters in the first place.
What confused me a bit, and what in my opinion was quite rushed, is the romance of Sheelin and Regulus, especially the last scene when they talk to each other. I didn’t understand how they got together this fast. I believe it could have been expanded more. You’ve so nicely woven a story around Sheelin that the rushing at the end kind of destroyed – for me – the feeling I gained with reading the story. It was especially the sentence “Sheelin, I don’t need an excuse to kiss you.” that ended the so far well written scene abruptly and made it rushed and artificial. I would have loved to read more small encounters between them before they were to kiss beneath the burning mistletoe – which, by the by, made me chuckle.
But on the whole, I enjoyed reading your one-shot. Great work.
Author's Response: Well, thank you! =) I'm glad you liked Sheelin and that the beginning scene was realistic. I actually started to write it in first person but that didn't quite work out. I'm glad that it was easy to relate to. I wouldn't quite say it was artificial and I didn't think it destroyed the story, but I see what you mean. >.> Eeep... that was one of my favorite lines. >.< Oh well, I can only do so much... Thanks again! Glad you liked it.