This is such a beautiful story. I don't read much of second person, nor much of romance, but I was looking at your fics and the first lines hooked me in. Which is very good, I suppose.
What I especially liked about this fic is the fantastic use of repetition and rhyme. You never try to use obscure, large words to make your writing look good-- you use simple language in such an amazing way that you pull your reader into the fic, bind him and hold him in a state of near-hypnosis.
Unlike Spire, I actually liked the fact that all the paragraphs where Marlene observes and introduces the people around her start with their name and then a brief introduction. The repetition was nice.
When I started reading this fic, I thought the “you” was Peter Pettigrew, and he was looking around at everyone, feeling guilty for betraying them... That is, until Marlene described Peter sitting around the table.
I have to agree with Jen-- you gave a face, and you gave a personality to all those people who, so far, have just been names to us. That was a very nice touch and, as Jen said, it helps the reader to connect with not only that character, but also with why Marlene cares and fears for them.
The photograph was a very, very nice idea. Though it might not have been picked up by every reader, it shows that Marlene herself is not going to live much longer. The irony that she is worrying for everyone around her when she herself has hardly a week to live is amazing. You don't say it outright-- it's a nice, subtle touch.
The fact that James, Lily, and almost everyone else around Marlene are so cheerful provides a good contrast to Marlene's gloom and insecurity. This makes the ending even better, when she's finally with Sirius and happy-- at least for a while.
The symbolism behind the clock-- showing the precious little time that Marlene has left-- is wonderful. I could practically feel Marlene's anger and insecurity and fear and tension rising with ever tick and every tock, till the peak, where she destroyed the clock. I could literally see the scene, the way you painted it out.
I personally think the “SMASH!” should be italicised, because it too is an onomatopoeia, and onomatopoeias are generally italicised... At least, I think so... Aren't they?
I thought I’d get something from Madam Puddifoot’s to share with everyone for Valentine’s Day, but everyone except Caradoc has left, and he’s on a diet. The repetition of “everyone” sounds slightly weird to me here, but then it may just be me over-reading things.
The cheesecake was a nice, unifying symbol for Sirius and Marlene. I loved the way their relationship evolved, and the fact that the story didn't entirely revolve around just their relationship.
And you feel, in the long minutes that you spend kissing Sirius Black, that not all hope is lost while there are still moments of bliss like this in life. This is such a bitter-sweet line. She feels hope again, and wishes for more “moments of bliss”... And then, a week later, she's dead.
Everyone needs someone to hold on to, especially in dark times like these. This is really true, no matter what the “dark times” are. Things are so much easier to face with some one you love by your side...
On the whole, Chels, I really, really liked this fic. You handled second PoV like a master, and it never felt forced or excessive. In fact, it added to this fic, and it helped visualise the scenes and emotions that much better. I really do admire you, and this fic. Now when is that next QsQ coming up? :D
Wow, BB - thank you so much for this fabulous review! I'm awed by all the little details you picked up on, honoured by the compliments, and I'll try to fix up those nitpicks. I think you're right, onomatopoeias would be italicised, but in my mind it was better visually to have it not italicised so it stood out from the italicised bits before it. That's the strange way my mind works >.< But the repeated 'everyone' is definitely awkward, thanks for pointing it out. And, just, thank you again for this wonderful review! :D
Hello! LiLu here. I couldn't read such a wonderful story and not leave a review, now could I? It's such a bittersweet piece, cruelly ironic how Marlene is sitting there worrying about all her friends, when she'll be the next to go. This is a really well-done example of second-person, so I'm glad Carole recommended it because it gives me a good feel for how to write it, so thanks for that.
I do wonder, is just me, or is the formatting a little off? It just seems that the paragraphs are too spaced out. That might just be me though, and I know it's a pain to fix, so don't worry about it.
As someone who has Peter on the brain recently, I liked your description of him here. In fact I liked that whole section, with the brief descriptions of all the Order members. Did Moody get accidentally bypassed, or was it only Marlene's particular friends who were mentioned?
It's a lovely piece, and now I feel ready to write my drabble. :) Thank you!
Hey, LiLu! Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you liked it (and are giving second person a shot)! I think you're right, there are extra spaces in between. I might fix that sometime >.> As for Moody, um... he was chairing the meeting, wasn't he? I'm not sure why Marlene didn't comment on him... probably a forgetful moment of the author's (*hides*). Thanks again, dear!
That was very yummy. I am not normally a fan of second person POV, but this was very well done. And I could almost taste the cake!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad the POV didn't put you off - I adore it. :)
Aw! You never cease to amaze me with your fics. It seems to me like the second person is your best and signature move. I love this one, with very little fluff and without saying the word "love" in context.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for yet another lovely little review!
Was this my prompt? I think so. :) Anyway, you’ve written an absolutely adorable LoveNote. I missed this one when they were posted to spewswap. You’re wonderful at writing the dark, slightly angsty mid-war romances, dear. Like The Broom Cupboard, you’ve managed to capture the atmosphere of that time so perfectly.
I’ve never really delved much into Marlene/Sirius, because I’ve never been too much of a fan of Sirius in a relationship anyway. But I do like how you’ve written it – it’s so realistic, and it keeps Sirius so much in character. The cheesecake just seems like something he’d do. Spontaneous, yet thoughtful. I’m glad you didn’t write them as a serious, ‘I love you so much’ Lily/James kind of love story, because in my opinion, Sirius doesn’t work like that. The little touches of romance you have just work perfectly with the setting and the length of this story. It’s more centred around Marlene caring for the Order in general, and I really like that.
You write second person so well. I don’t read much of it, because sometimes I find it tricky to read – all the ‘you’ and ‘your’ bits get a bit repetitive and it just starts going over my head. But you do it wonderfully, and it’s just very subtle and natural. It could easily be written any other way, and it doesn’t feel forced at all. With second person, it makes you feel like you’re actually there, and you pull that off better than anyone I’ve seen.
The beginning was beautiful, where you listed all the members of the Order. So many of those characters are just unknown names, and I love that you give them all faces as well, and all these little touches that turn them into actual people. Like Caradoc being on a diet, and Gideon and Fabian and Benjy being jokers. ;) Putting all those details in really helps the reader connect with why Marlene cares about them, and why she’s so worried, in my opinion. It was a lovely touch.
I liked the ticking clock that you worked in throughout the story. As well as being a good outlet for Marlene’s anger when she smashes it – everyone knows what it feels like to lose control and just want to break something – it has great symbolism behind it, with how every tick counts down the seconds left in all their lives. It’s a time bomb. It makes it all the more powerful because of Marlene’s looming death – if I remember my facts correctly, she dies two weeks after the photo was taken, so about a week after the moments you’ve captured here.
That just makes it all the sadder, because this has such a tragic ending. Which is why I think it’s a good thing that Sirius and Marlene just have this tiny fleeting romance, because that way it can still work in canon, and when fics fit well into canon it just makes them seem more realistic. To me, anyway. ;) But yes, knowing of her death just changes the whole feeling of this fic, even though it’s never alluded to in your writing. It just makes Marlene (and her relationship with Sirius) so much more delicate and precious.
Everyone needs someone to hold on to, especially in dark times like these.
This line was gorgeous. The simplicity of it, and just the feeling of how futile it all is just really struck me. It sums up the entire feeling of the fic and the mid-war feeling. One thing, though – it really heavily reminded me of the last fic of yours I read. The Broom Cupboard. Which is to be expected, really, since both fics have the same premise and the same tone. But I just thought it sounded familiar. ;)
I loved this fic, dear, and I have no criticism whatsoever. I love the simplicity of it, and it just really makes my heart ache to know the fate of all those people. You really know how to get through to people with your writing. Thank you for this, dear.
Wow - thank you, my dear Jen, for another fabulous review. You picked up on so many of the things I tucked in there. There is indeed just a week until Marlene's death, but I didn't want to explicitly state that, so I'm glad people are picking up on it. Gah, I just don't know what to say to this review, really. Just - thank you.
Beautifully done! I could almost taste the cheesecake myself...
Author's Response: Thank you! :)
Aw, Chelsea, this was wonderfully fluffy and dark! *giggles* I loved it. I'm not sure if Marlene it's an OC or not, but regardless, I loved her characterisation, and Sirius was a complete perfect gentleman, like he should be. ;)
Wonderful little one-shot, dear! *huggles*
Author's Response: Thanks, Samarie! I'm glad you liked it. Marlene is not an OC, but we don't know much about her either - it's Marlene McKinnon, and she was part of the original Order. Moody pointed her out in the Order photo, and said that she died two weeks after the picture was taken. I set this story after that photo was taken so she only has a few days left to live! How sad. Anyway, I'm glad you liked my Sirius, and 'fluffy and dark' seems like the perfect way to describe this fic! Thanks so much for the review, dear.
Um, I think the only thing that could have made the story better would have been the word "snog" in the last paragraph.
But seriously, this was like a checklist of all my favorite things in a fic-
Other, often unused characters
Clocks (I just... love clocks... the way they tick...*mumbles*)
You wrote this so well. I heartily give this a FANTABULOUS on my rating scale.
Author's Response: Thanks! You're so right, I should have used the word 'snog'. Anyway, all those things are some of my favourite things too... I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for the FANTABULOUS rating :)
I loved it! Even though it says its completed I think you should write more.
Author's Response: I actually hadn't thought about writing more, but I liked the pairing, so I just might do it... *plot bunny explosion* Thanks for the review; I'm glad you enjoyed it!
You know something, Chelsea. I'm not a fan of second person because I always have some mad Hollywood Announcer voice going through my head as I read it, but this was so brilliantly written that I didn't even realise it was second person until very near the end. This was such a good way of showing a small snapshot in time of one Order meeting. It's poignant, because the people she mentions, like Bejy Fenwick, the Prewetts and even herself are living on borrowed time - they just don't know it. Really well written and so interesting to read. Ah, and it's Sirius... what more could I want?
Yes! Once again I get the Carole stamp of approval for my second person. Thank you! I always know I've passed the test when someone says "I don't normally like second, but..." :D And Sirius, oh, I think I fell a bit in love with him while I wrote this... Thanks for the review, Carole!
Uh, wow. >.>
You handle second person, like, so well. It wasn’t even a little repetitive - a lot of fics in this PoV are all ‘you, you, your’ but not this one. I didn’t even notice the ‘you’s at times - toward the end especially, I could really quite imagine the scene.
I liked the link of the clock ticking throughout the story, and it was a good way to symbolise how quickly time moves. When she smashed the clock I didn’t expect it, but it showed how significant that ticking must be to people in that kind of situation.
The beginning… You went through quite a few names, and that’s okay, but you started all of those paragraphs in the same way, you know? You’d say their name, and then a few words of description - a little more variety in structure there would be good.
Right, well onto Sirius now. I liked your portrayal of him - he was balanced well. You know, he was serious, comforting, caring… but he had something else to him too. I suppose that’s because he could laugh and joke, and he had the ability to make Marlene do the same. /yeah.
He waves the fork towards your mouth like a parent feeding a child (“...and the Chaser flies towards the hoop...”).
Aw! I can remember those times. I like the wizarding substitute you’ve used for that method of feeding too, because if you’d used an ‘aeroplane’ or whatever, it would’ve been Muggle. So that was authentic.
The seriousness of this story caught me. And then it wound right down to a much lighter ending, though then there were the last few lines that remind you of how Sirius and Marlene even came to that situation anyway.
I have one nit-pick:
But other wizards and witches […] - I think it would be better if ‘witches’ came first.
Good work. xx
Uh, wow. Thank you for this review, Spire. I'm glad you liked my second person, and my Sirius, and my twist on that Muggle cliche. With the opening, I was aiming for that list effect... hmm, I'll look back and see how I could do better next time. And as for your nit-pick... well, I'm glad that was the only thing you could find. I'll check it out :) Thanks again, dear.