Reviews For Before I Forget
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx
Date: 11/19/12 19:38
Chapter: Vow

Hi Natalie,

When I asked Jess for story recommendations the other day, she described this story as “flailfic”, and after reading it, I must say I certainly agree with her :) There are so many things about this story that make you shine as an author. I love your lyrical writing style as well as the effortless way in which you have managed to make this pairing, the rarest of rarepairs, work so naturally.

First person worked beautifully here in establishing Rabastan’s voice. I felt so close to him as a character, and that really intensified the emotions he felt from the outset. This, I think, is even more important because so much of this story is driven by the characters themselves and what they say, rather than the plot, and it was due to the style of the story that I was gripped, right from the beginning: Truth, when it comes to human emotions, is such an odd thing. Can you put a finger on it? No, you cannot. I loved how you managed to convey so much of Rabastan’s character through how he seemed to play with his own thoughts. Usually, I think the exploration of quite abstract concepts normally only work in poetry, but here, it is such a joy to read because it really is like I’m in his head and I can see him question himself, making me really understand Rabastan. Given he’s a minor character in canon with little to no lines in the books, I think you built on what you knew about him -- being a Lestrange, his brother being married to Bellatrix, his allegiance to Voldemort -- excellently and also added in some intriguing character traits that made his characterisation unique.

Rabastan’s view of Regulus is intriguing to read, not just of his attraction to Regulus but also his eventual regret for initiating him into Voldemort’s circle. I feel there is a lot more humanity in Rabastan through that, and it’s so interesting seeing Regulus through Rabastan’s eyes, because Regulus seems like the only person who can see through him. I love Regulus’s brutal honesty, too; his willingness to tell Rabastan the truth is admirable and makes him such a likeable character, especially when he says, “You aren’t calm or composed; you’re passive and callous and cynical.”. And by making both the characters so well-rounded, it adds so much to the chemistry between them and therefore made their kiss seem like the only logical thing, even if they were both on weed at the time.

That said, I do think that, at times, the space of a few months in only a couple of paragraphs meant the story was going a bit too fast, so perhaps bear in mind for the future (assuming you’re going to continue this story -- I hope you do!) how a lot of their backstory seems to have been told rather than shown. For example, I feel I would have been a little more convinced if there was an actual interaction before their first kiss so Rabastan’s attraction to Regulus could be shown in a clearer way, rather than simply being told that Rabastan is attracted to Regulus. But that’s quite minor, particularly as that chemistry quickly picks up, after the changing room scene. On another note, I really liked the use of italics when Rabastan and Regulus were meeting up. I know it’s something you use quite often in your fics, but it works really well here, especially because of the introspective nature of the story.

Also, I really liked how Regulus bought Rabastan a ring -- that’s a really romantic gesture, but also, I loved the use of Protego and the line Last time I checked, Slytherins could love, because I think that is a really valid point considering the usual stereotypes regarding Slytherin being the supposedly “bad” house and so on. The use of Protego also linked it nicely to canon, as did, of course, the mentions of Death Eaters and the entrance of James, too. I can see how Regulus and Rabastan’s exchange in chapter one might have been misconstrued by James, and I think that whole exchange was really tersely written; even though he only appeared for a moment, James’ characterisation was spot on, especially through Rabastan’s eyes.

Overall, I think this was an amazing start to the story. I’m not sure if it will be updated, Natalie, but I hope it will, because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am eager to read more. :)

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Soraya!!!!

I haven't replied to this review for many reasons, none of which has to do with the review itself! I tried to distance myself from the archives, stopped reading because I didn't want to be pulled back into writing, and stopped looking at reviews properly :( On top of that, I'd forgotten what I wrote here, what plans I had for the rest of the story. So, please accept my apologies! This has been very tardy of me.

You're great reviewer, and this is a fabulous review. I am not sure I'll ever finish this fic, but I'm taking away a lot from this review that I can use in stories that I'll write for sure :D Thank you for choosing this! ~ Natalie

Reviewer: Phoebe Silver
Date: 05/03/12 15:17
Chapter: Vow

I'm still waiting for the update...

Author's Response: This made me want to cry. :( I'd really love to complete this story, but I can't see it happening. I lost the outlines and draft when my netbook died and I don't know if I'll ever have the courage to continue it.

Reviewer: Phoebe Silver
Date: 05/24/11 4:59
Chapter: Vow

Please hurry up and update!!!!! I WANT MORE!!!!

Author's Response: I am afraid RL is stopping me from updating this. Might take a while. D: Thanks for the enthusiastic review, though.

~Natalie

Reviewer: LollyLovesick
Date: 04/30/11 0:47
Chapter: Vow

Wow. This is the sort of story that I'm always looking for and sometimes - in vain - try to write myself.

You seem to be able to describe anything perfectly: tenderness, longing, hopelessness, jealousy, heatedness and the cold yet intense relations between the different Death Eaters.

This goes straight into my favourites. I'll be impatiently waiting for the next chapter.

Author's Response: Hey there!

Thanks for all the compliments! :) I'm happy to know you liked it, and I hope to update it regularly.

~Natalie

Reviewer: Vampires Moon
Date: 09/14/10 2:20
Chapter: Chapter 1: Love

:D ooohhhh I like your style of writting :D It's really good you could easlily go pro with writting :D

-Vampires Moon :D

Author's Response: Oh My Prongs! Really? Wow, that really is a great compliment. :D:D Thanks for reading and reviewing!



~Natalie.

Reviewer: the opaleye
Date: 08/10/10 3:36
Chapter: Chapter 1: Love

Natalie, this is brilliant. You are such a talented writer. Everything seems to flow so well. I loved the way you told this fic. In my mind it was as if Rabastan was remembering this while in Azkaban, trying desperately to hold onto this one (not so happy?) memory. I don't know if that's what you intended but it really seemed like that to me.

Your characterisation was excellent. Rabastan felt so real to me. I'm not always a fan of first-person but it really worked for this. I didn't just feel like a spectator but as if I was in his head and that really stood out for me. Regulus was also incredibly well written. You kept him consistently mysterious (I suppose that is the right word...) and the way you ended the fic just drove his characterisation straight home.


And it astounds me to this day that all that time, I was discovering only myself, while he continued to be lost to me.


This ending really rendered me speechless and is probably the reason I'm leaving a horribly incoherent review right now.

Natalie, this fic is superb. I hope someone nominates it one day for the SBBC as it would be a fantastic discussion piece. There are so many layers to explore. I love it!

Greenleaf

Author's Response: JuliA!



Thank you so, so much for this lovely review. :) *I am late, but I thought I had already responded. How odd.*



To hear that you aren't a fan of 1st person narrative but still loved the fic is such an awesome compliment. :D I did want the readers to get inside Rabastan's head, and and to be unnerved because he is going to be a cruel DE, after all. *wink wink*



You have given me great encouragement and happiness with this "incoherent" review, Greenleaf. :) I will be sure to finish the second chapter as soon as I can.



~Natalie.

Reviewer: Gmariam
Date: 08/08/10 20:25
Chapter: Chapter 1: Love

You are such a gifted writer, Natalie! Your prose is just amazing at times, so full of depth and emotion. And then to take these two seemingly random characters and throw them together in such a powerful way and have it work - even better!
Writing from Rabastan's point of view really makes him sympathetic, which is ironic given he is a cruel Death Eater after all. But I like his voice here.
Regulus is wonderfully mysterious. Oh, there are so many things left unanswered, so many ways he could go! Very cool.
Great job including the other Slytherins of the era. And James, too, of course. ;)
Great start, this will be fascinating to follow! Good luck as you continue!! ~Gina :)

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
Date: 08/08/10 16:17
Chapter: Chapter 1: Love

Yay, the Slash of Doom is finally here!

First off, I will admit that I may or may not have raised a brow at the pairing. It just seemed so very random. However, after reading the story and the scenarios and circumstances that you put forth, it just makes so much sense to me.

Now, I’m guessing that these ruminations of a love past are taking place during Rabastan’s stint in Azkaban. Do correct me if I’m wrong. That would explain to me why he’s having trouble remembering—because of the Dementors.

Your characterisation of Rabastan is phenomenal. You have taken a character that I didn’t give a crap about a half an hour ago and brought him to life. Now, he’s a clear picture of darkness, calculation, and a prototypical Death Eater. Just the way you portray his thoughts and emotions was very vivid and poignant. I felt like I was going on this journey of self-discovery and uncertainty about things along with him.

Regulus is different than I had always imagined. I normally had pictured him as a boy so eager to distance himself from Sirius that he was sucked into a life that he didn’t fully know until it swallowed him. This is quite different. You show him as cunning, cold, and brooding. He knew exactly what he was getting into. He wanted it. It will be interesting to see how you deal with that aspect of him once you get to the Horcrux part. I’m sure you have something deliciously ebil planned.

Snape is an interesting character here. He’s a very minor character so far, but you have him nonchalantly breaking up fights. He does have that air of being like that, which might come into play later in the story. I do wonder if he’s going to play a larger role down the line.  

One part in particular did fascinate me, and that was this:

“Very. I expect Evan would be jealous if he heard.”

“Why so?”

“Are you seriously asking me?”

“No. I’m rather thankful he is too inebriated to come after us. Over-eager and a terrible conversationalist.”

So, did Rosier have a thing for Rabastan, or am I reading this wrong? If this is the case, then it just adds that much more to the differences between Rabastan and Regulus. Rabastan had no idea, but Regulus, ever sharp-witted, was surprised that Rabastan was so clueless. If there is a bit of unrequited Evan/Rabastan, I would be interested in seeing a bit more on it, or at least hear your side of the story at some point. I’m sure it all has a backstory in your head.

The meeting in the locker room was astounding. Regulus was just so calm and collected, whereas Rabastan was addled and on fire within. They make the perfect match of opposites. Just the way that Regulus listed all the things that Rabastan had thought no one else had known was great, and it was even a bit charming to watch Rabastan’s reaction. He was confused, hurt, and alarmed all at once, which lent him the aura of a little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and was not doing very well in denying it.

Rabastan’s feeling of dominance and comeuppance during the kiss was interesting. It wasn’t a kiss of love and lighter emotions at first; it was payback and passion and subjugation. This is what Regulus meant about the real Rabastan, and this was him. From there, Rabastan got to discover a new part of himself that he probably would never have met otherwise. He became familiar with what it was like to show tenderness and affection, and it was profound to him. That is one of the things that I adore when I read any kind of stories, and that is the feeling of awe and wonder when one has learnt of some sort of personal truth.

All in all, this is a great start to your epic chaptered fic. It’s a story of love, of hate, of longing, of anger, and of all sorts of passions. You captured your characters well, and both they and their stories really came to life. I can’t wait to read more, and I do hope you plan on updating regularly.

/update monster moment

Take care, O Hestia the Bestia, and I look forward to chatting with you later!

~Jess

P.S.—I have a minor thing to point out that you might want to fix. In this part:

It wasn’t long before I realised how much I had begun looking forward to those rendezvous.

The word ‘rendezvous’ is French, and it would properly be pluralised as ‘rendezvoux’. That’s it. :D


Author's Response: Is that what I think it is? A SPREVIEW? *flails*



Ha! I am so happy I managed to convince you. :) Yes, it does seem random, doesnt it? But thats what I like about it. Its a challenge trying to pull it off, and Im happy you think it is working. As for when this story is writtenahhhI cant dwell much on that now. : (



Writing Rabastan is fun, but tricky. I want him to be cunning, ruthless, and yet nave and vulnerable, too. I didnt want to create a sad hero because he is a Death Eater, and a Lestrange, and he was part of the group who tortured the Longbottoms. He also took part in both wars. Writing him as a tragic hero would take absolute brilliance, but would that be clich as well? I think that is one of the common fanon trends. What I wanted to write was a realistic, unapologetically Slytherin Rabastan, and to hear that you thought Id achieved that made me glow. Not dazzle. ;)



As for Regulus, I believe him to be a confused personality. In my version, there is a part of him which is exactly like what you described: the boy who rebelled against his rebelling brother. There is another part of him which is not so reckless: he must have been pretty intelligent, cunning and daring himself to do what he did as his final act of redemption. Also, I feel his relationship with his older brother is very complicated, and thats how I want to portray it.



Snape ahh! What a fun character to write. Hehe! I think Voldemort always valued Snape; Voldemort doesnt seem the kind of person to forgive any random Death Eater who pined after a Mudblood. We see Snape as a petty bully when confronted by the Marauders, and Harrys mates and Gryffindors. But I think he was different with the Death Eaters. They seem to admire and respect him, and they do it grudgingly. I do have a few plans for him. *rubs palms*



Youre right. Rosier did have a thing for Rabastan, but Rabastan being the generally apathetic person he was, he tended to ignore the other boy. And this love triangle will have a huge part to play in the coming chapters.



Oh! Your praise of my locker room incident makes me do a He got off! He got off! dance. That scene was so difficult for me to write, not necessarily because of the sex (you know how easily those scenes come to me *cackle*) but how their interaction builds up to the moment. You also felt exactly what I wanted the readers to feel, so YAY for me.



I intend to finish this story, Jess, I do! Lol. Seriously. : ) Thanks for the FANTASTIC review and encouragement and the Frenchpick!



~Natalie.

Reviewer: Equinox Chick
Date: 08/08/10 14:23
Chapter: Chapter 1: Love

UGHHH! MNFF botched my review and cur me off. Take two

I drove into that kiss a year’s worth of longing and ache. I took that kiss as payment for every second of anxiety and frustration he had caused me. But my own exacting hunger soon gave way to tenderness. I thought of his laughter, the way he cocked his head when confronted by something incomprehensible, the way he looked with his hair falling about his face, his rare smiles…and I knew…I knew I was neck deep in love with no way out. ... and that is why I love your writing, Natalie. The phrasing is sublime.

This story is great. Rabastan is such an unused character so you have free rein with him, yet you've made him recognisably your own and so very Slytherin. Regulus, too, is good. I think too many people try to write him as a hero from the start, but he must have been drawn to the Dark side from the start because he would never have joined the DE's. You show him as quite a ruthless character willing to use Rabastan's feelings for him to get what he wanted. Did he feel the same way? I don't think so. He seemed to be using Rabastan to get what he wanted. Brilliantly Slytherin.

Umm, nit pickiness knock if off, I think you mean 'it'. Oh and *cough locker room cough*

But that was all. This is such a good story, Natalie. (thank you, Emma, for getting her out of her block!) ~Carole~

Author's Response: GASP! The locker room! I need to change it before Neil sees it. LOL!



I am having such fun writing Rabastan. Don't much like the guy, but he's vastly entertaining in a morbid sort of way.



I agree that Regulus was interested in Voldemort's regime in the start. I've been rereading DH, and I am pretty sure he was fascinated by the Death Eaters. I don't know if he was evil - I don't think he was. However, I'm fairly sure that while he had the same cruelty which Sirius possessed, he was more cunning and subtle. I tried to show those traits in the way he uses Rabastan.



As for his relationship with Rabastan,you're correct. He does not feel the same way, though he is fond of him in a detached sort of way. And...I can't say more now. EEP!



I'll go and edit those things. Thank you for such a lovely review, Carole!



~Natalie.

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