An allusion to Lady Macbeth, I love it. Although I personnally found this story to be slightly confusing (just like when I read Macbeth) it was certainly interesting. It was different than what you usually write, and it was a very good dark read. I was just proud of myself for immediately thinking of LMB
Author's Response: I can definitely see how it might be confusing. This was something quite new and different for me - present tense! First person! Alternate universe! EEP! :) But it was a fun challenge and I'm glad you found it interesting. Thank you so much for reading it as I am rather proud of it - I really appreciate the review! ~Gina :)
This is the sort of story that serves to remind me why I love the D/A category. It's so evocative, and chilling and heavy in mood – everything I expect from a good, dark story. Right from the darkly mysterious opening line, this story grabbed me by the throat and had me staring wide-eyed at the screen.
The opening paragraphs really invoked a Lady Macbeth parallel for me, which was wonderful as it foreshadowed the madness which was wasn't yet that apparent in the early stages.
I'm no psychologist, but I can only assume that what is happening to Hermione is essentially a psychotic break with reality, and to see that from the inside, from her perspective, is doubly chilling. As a reader it becomes as hard to distinguish reality from delusion as it is for her, which is an incredibly uncomfortable experience. That's why, in some ways, I found her moments of clarity the most chilling of all – particularly the way that Harry's arrival provoked her recollection of what had occurred only for the delusions to resurface, and then:
Green eyes—not grey. I am going mad.
The simple bluntness of her realisation gave me chills – not least because it must be a terrifying thing to suddenly appreciate and yet she is so far gone that she is almost matter of fact about it.
The brief, broken nature of the flashbacks/dreams adds to the picture of her mental state too. They are so fragmentary, as I would expect her thoughts to be, and they paint such vivid but incomplete pictures. I find the second set particularly interesting, because the narrative thread through the first set about Ron's death is clear, but I'm less sure about the second set, and that sets up all sorts of interesting questions for me as to what happened with Draco's death and how much of those second set of memories are real and how much is delusion, because I assume the break with reality must have occurred between the two deaths.
Bodies rolling across silk sheets, consumed by lust, desperate for revenge . . .
This line is especially powerful and leaves me torn between several very dark interpretations as to whether it's simply a corruption of her happier memories with Ron, whether she seduced Draco in order to get close enough to kill him or whether she actually did have some sort of particularly messed up desire for him (almost Stockholm Syndrome-like, I suppose). I really like the ambiguity here and that it can suggest so many possibilities, each darker than the last.
Something else that I found both unsettling and interesting was the way you used description. I'm normally a huge advocate of using setting to create a dark mood, and I was intrigued by the way, in contrast, you barely used setting at all. I found it unexpectedly effectively though that Hermione moved between two locations that weren't heavily outlined and what or where they were didn't really matter. Focussing the description in so narrowly on Hermione and her actions gave a very claustrophobic feel that added to the intensity. I love it when fics challenge the way I think about writing like that, and you've given me a new perspective on how to create a dark mood.
One piece of description that I really loved was, It is a swirling vortex of death, threatening to pull me into its dark depths. It's both vivid and yet very poetic, and again there's an early hint of her delusional state in there, creating a horror out of something simple and mundane. My only qualm with that paragraph though is that there is a lot of alliteration, and whilst it adds something in moderation, to me it just felt a little like overload there. That really is a tiny little quibble of personal preference though in a great story.
You've taken a very dark and potentially unbelievable premise here and persuaded me of it utterly and made me really think about and reassess a number of things in the process – it really is quite an achievement.
Author's Response: Wow, what a review! Thank you so much! I've always thought this was something oddly different for me and figured that was why it didn't have very many reviews. Yours made up for that. :) Thank you for all the compliments, wow. I'm not sure how much you want to know about the story, but I will tell you a few things, particularly about that second set of memories and Hermione's break with reality. . . the backstory in my head sees Hermione setting out to seduce Draco in order to kill him. This is what happened, although it wasn't as…clean as she had perhaps hoped, hence the injury. Really, I saw her break coming with the realization that she had killed someone, deliberately and methodically, and that's where I started the fic. It was inspired by a rather mysterious banner that had a picture of Draco on one side, Hermione on the other, and "When Love and Hate Collide" in the center. I didn't picture them romantically involved, as in her love for Draco turning to hate, but rather her love for Ron turning to hatred for Draco after Draco killed Ron. I know I had a vague idea of how that happened, but as it was a year ago and not really within the scope of the story, I can't remember. Anyway, I'm so glad you felt that dark, claustrophobic feeling. I do remember setting out to write in such a way quite deliberately - not only the story, but the style itself, and I'm glad it came through. When you think about it, there is somewhat of a setting in this story: Hermione's mind. That was the focus, which was why I didn't worry about her house or the cottage or any other place. And again, I'm glad the descriptive elements relating to that came through. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this little piece. You've made me smile today - thanks again much for the amazing review!! ~Gina :)
Incredible internal dialogue for Hermione! I believe losing the one person in the world that means the most to you would definitely send some into madness.
I love it!
Author's Response: Wow, I think I totally missed this review at the time (but I had house guests for almost two weeks in October so maybe that's why - sorry!) A very belated thank you for the review! I wrote this for a challenge, it was fun and a little amazing to see what popped out of my head. Quite different, for once. ;) Thanks so much for reading this story, I really appreciate the review!! ~Gina :)
Yes, very different from your usual style, and I have to say you do deliver the dark and the angst!
Author's Response: A very belated thank you, dear! I really appreciate you stopping by to read the story. Did you happen to see Sandy's banner around that inspired it? I'm glad I could stretch myself enough to deliver some dark and angst, I don't do that often and it's important to be able to write out of the box, I think. Thanks again!! ~Gina :)