Reviews For All That's Left
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx
Date: 02/12/12 13:24
Chapter: All That's Left

Hi Ellie :)

I’ve seen a lot on your poetry thread and your drabbles that you have a somewhat “dark” head canon for Albus Severus, so I thought it was about time I read this story. I thought the summary was rather intriguing, told in second person and, it seems, addressing Albus. Just in the summary, you established James’s voice, and I think that was one of the main strengths in the story: a bitter James, and a harsh person at that. Had the story been written in any other viewpoint except James’s, I don't think it would have worked as well, so that was a good decision on your part. The emotions felt by James, Albus and the rest of the family in this piece are really intense, and second person really brought that out. I also think that the choice in POV made it seem like James was almost accusing Albus, in a way, and it generally just had a good effect on the story in terms of narrative.

I think you dealt with the subject of suicide delicately and appropriately. It is, as you say in your author’s notes, a sensitive topic, and therefore one that can be mishandled easily. But you handled it very well and realistically so, and the extra details (the evidence given to the Ministry, the mentions of self-harm and the reactions from the Potter and Weasley families) really helped with that. Of course, the main focus is James’s reaction to Albus’s death, but I liked how you explored the backstory and what happened prior to it. It really emphasised how badly James was affected, in a subtle way that I really liked.

Onto characterisation. This, as I said, was a major strength in the story. The fact that James flits from one emotion to the next tells the reader how conflicted he feels, and I think you conveyed his feelings well in this way. I thought it interesting that James was sorted into Gryffindor and Albus in Slytherin. Unfortunately, Slytherin!Albus has become a bit of a cliché, and I think, for it to work in a story, there needs to be a well-argued case for me to believe it. I think you could have developed Albus’s characterisation more, because in the story, you’re only really telling the reader that he was Sorted into Slytherin, not why, and I found it was less convincing for me. I realise it is written from James’s POV, but I still think you could have portrayed some of Albus’s Slytherin-like tendencies in the story.

Something else I wasn’t entirely sure about was the return of a “Voldemort” three decades after the fall of the real Voldemort. Again, like with Slytherin!Albus, I feel that if you wanted to use what I think is an oft-used plot point in the fandom, perhaps you could develop it more. Who is this man? Why is he suddenly killing people? Where did he come from? These are just a few of the questions that arose in my head when reading about Albus’s killer, and I would have liked to know more. That said, I did like the ending. I felt it was necessary because it answered the mystery of Albus’s death, and I thought it was written very well.

Overall, Ellie, this was an interesting story, with an intriguing premise. The style in which it was written, as a monologue, essentially, by James, was one of its strengths, and it was a good read. I can’t really say it was an enjoyable one, because it’s difficult to enjoy something when the subject matter is suicide, but nevertheless, it was well-written. Well done, SPEW buddy :)

~Soraya~

Author's Response: Wow. Thank you for the wonderful review, Soraya. It was a dark subject, but I'm glad you think I handled it well. When I was writing it, I was trying to think of how I would feel if one of my siblings had died, (this idea came after a very disturbing dream) and I realized I would feel confused, especially if they had taken their own life. So I'm glad I did it justice.

As for Albus and his Slytherin-ness . . . I just can't picture Albus in any other house. I probably should go into it more, but I think I mention Albus having his "mask". He doesn't wear his emotions on his face, and he's essentially not brave enough to tell James or anyone he was bullied.

Ah, the new Voldemort. Originally I was actually going to have Al kill himself, but when Alex (Deathlex) and I were going through a month-long betaing process, we decided it didn't feel right with the character we had created for Albus. Also, (and I'm really not trying to advertise) a lot more is explained in the companion piece I just posted. He's not really a new Voldemort, but even in good times there are still bad people. That also, is another dark one.

Thanks again for the amazing review. I never thought of it as a monologue, but now that I am I like it. (I had no idea I was writing in 2nd person until your review) Seriously, thanks. It is definitely way beyond SPEW worthy, Soraya. :)

See ya in SPEW, Ellie

Reviewer: LoonyLupin
Date: 12/22/11 2:22
Chapter: All That's Left

It was wonderful! I never dreamed that could happen to young Albus. And that twist at the end... whoa.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. I'm glad that you liked it, but some of the real credit goes to my beta, Alex, or Deathlex, or welshdevondragon. She turned my very bad first draft into this. I really love the twist at the end as well, and am semi-seriously contemplating a companion piece. I may. . . I may not. It depends on how this goes. Thank you so much.

Ellie

Reviewer: Padfoot11333
Date: 11/29/11 23:38
Chapter: All That's Left

Ellie,

I just loved this. It’s basically an expansion of your poem, which, ahem, I also loved, if you haven’t seen my review of that lately. It was definitely extremely sad and surely a side of Albus we’ve never seen before. I loved that it was told from James’s point of view but it was still very clearly about Albus and what had happened to him. I thought it was definitely sad that James had had the wrong idea all along, and it nearly brought me to tears.

Yet the fact that it *was* told from James’s POV seemed a little…overdone. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that fact, and while Albus and James’s raw emotion is very open and sad, it was a little hard to believe that James would think that Albus had commited suicide without going further into detail….when, where, why? James certainly seemed to care about Albus enough to find out more about his death. One thing we can learn from Harry Potter…professionals rarely tell the truth.

I really sympathised with Albus throughout the entire fic, but strangely, I was almost angry with James. Like I said above, I thought it was terrible that James didn’t go look around into his death. And knowing how Albus really died made it even worse. I can understand this because of how grief-stricken James was”he might not have wanted to go digging around into something so painful”but thinking about what James would have discovered if he *had* poked around is sad.

This is also a refreshing look at James, too. It’s very different from the joking, cocky character we saw on Platform 9 ¾, but James is most definitely in character. Seeing someone that we only know as happy as extremely sad is a great way to explore characters.

All in all, Ellie, I really enjoyed this fic. The twist at the end had me…twisted, for a second, but like I’ve said so many times already, I thought it was well played out and, in my opinion, probably couldn’t be done much better. If you decide to expand on this, once again, I would really want to read what you write.

~Lily~

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your review, Lily. I actually wrote the first draft of this before the poem, so it's the other way around.

James's POV: I completely understand what you're trying to say. Alex and I talked about this, and we decided not to expand it. In the expanded version James would search. I believe, though, in a paragraph near the end there is a revenge part where James vows to find whoever made Albus 'kill himself'.

Characterization: I really love playing around with the Next Gen. people. It is always so open, and you can go anywhere with it, and I love straying from the common clichés, like a Neville or Hermione-ish Albus and a sporty, cocky James.

I really don't think I will expand on this. I might write a companion piece or two to this, probably one from Al and another one from James. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I did respond to your other review as well. Thank you for the amazing review, Lily, and I'll try to do the same once I come upon the next chapter of Winter. Thank you so much!

*Ellie*

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 11/20/11 7:53
Chapter: All That's Left

Perhaps it was just your comment at the beginning, but this story made me think of Alex's stories (and I mean that to be a very high compliment). You handle suicide so well in this, and something about the characterisation and subject matter just reminded me of her. Anyway.

Using James' perspective was an excellent idea, and I liked how you developed his character and his relationship with Albus. I liked how you showed them as almost opposing - Gryffindor and Slytherin, one not great with emotions and the other a great helper etc. James' character was certainly strong enough to sustain a fairly long inner monologue, and the story never dragged at all.

Albus was characterised so well, and differently to what I've read in the past. Often he's depicted as a Neville-like character, who finds his courage, or even a Hermione-ish type character, and I loved how you made him unique. I thought it was an interesting twist that Scorpius was in Gryffindor, and that Al, Rosie and Scorpius were all close friends - the connection to the trio was well-chosen and interesting. I liked how James thought of the bullying Al endured and the guilt James also feels, mixed with anger and sadness.

I thought James' progression of emotions worked really well - particularly his resolution at the end. Even though this fic works very well as a whole, there is definitely potential for an intriguing sequel.

I'm not quite sure what I think about the ending part - in a way I think the story might be more powerful without it - the line "That's not enough" would be a lovely ending, and I had certainly guessed that Albus was murdered, having seen James' description of him, and it would perhaps also leave the reader thinking more of how you can know someone and not know them simultaneously (if that makes sense). But it is well-written and does finish the story off... so sorry I'm sitting on the fence about that one.

And just one little timing thing - in the Epilogue, Albus is starting his first year and James is only starting his second, so the boys are only 1 school year apart.

Anyway, this was a poignant, reflective, thoughtful, well-written story.

~Katrina

Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for the amazing review. Alex: I'm assuming you mean welshdevondragon, yes? She was my beta, and she really helped me develop this story. I love her fics, and it was a real honor working with her, and it did remind me kind of about her fic where Lily's friend Jill kills herself. I love portraying James and Al. I think there's so much to work with, and I always pictured Al as a Slytherin, though I don't know why. I just think he's different, and that's how I write him. James: He was hard to develop. Alex said the most "real" moment was when he clenched his fist, and I agree. The revenge thing also seems like something the James in my head would do, and it adds emotion. The Ending: I'm glad you realized the true death of Al, most didn't. So props for that! :) Also, I thought it was an interesting twist, something to give the reader something more to think about, and the Albus bit was not in the first few (hundred) drafts, but I think it kind of works. I thought that as well, but some say it's different. I'll go fix it, and thanks for catching it! Thank you so much for the review, it really means a lot, especially with this story. Alex and I spent a good chunk of time working with it, and I'm glad you like it. Thank you so much for the review! Ellie

Reviewer: savvy33
Date: 11/20/11 3:51
Chapter: All That's Left

Oh my god, this story was so moving. I'm sitting her crying right now! James' perspective was written so well - I could feel his pain really clearly. You do a great job of conveying emotions. Suicide (or what was assumed to be a suicide) is a really sensitive topic, but you show a lot of insight as to how people who have lost people they loved to it probably feel. This is a good one-shot, but I think there's an amazing story here that you could develop if you wanted to. Keep up the AWESOME writing. :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. Somehow everyone seems to be crying. . . I wasn't sure about writing a story with this sensitive of an issue but I hope I did it justice. Alex and I worked hard on it, so the reviews me a lot to me. I've always wondered how people coped with the loss of loved ones, and for some odd reason all my stories seem to deal with death. I don't think I'll develop it, but I may write a companion piece. Thank you so much for the review! Ellie

Reviewer: littlewolf
Date: 11/17/11 6:38
Chapter: All That's Left

that was awesome. it would be fantastic if you could please add a story to explain who killed albus and why, and how they managed to get to albus (in harry's own house no less!). please! thank you!

Author's Response: I kind of like how it is part of the mystery. HE is really powerful, I guess, and I guess even I don't really know. I might try a companion one-shot, or maybe a longer one, I dunno. Thank you so much for the review! Ellie

Reviewer: HStetler
Date: 11/17/11 3:50
Chapter: All That's Left

Oh please please elaborate!!! I'm begging you! You could go so far with this! You have amazing writing skills!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. But really, go praise Alex (welshdevondragon). She is the reason this story is where it is. I'm not sure about elaborating. . . maybe after Christmas, if I decide to?

Reviewer: RonW
Date: 11/14/11 14:00
Chapter: All That's Left

oh you gotta continue it.. this is so intense.. James gotta find that his brother was actually killed.
you are amazing.. this shot teared me up :(

Author's Response: Thank you so much. Alex (my amazing beta welshdevondragon) has made this story what it is. Without her it would be nowhere. I don't know about expanding it- Alex and I decided we should leave it open; let the reader imagine it. Thank you so much for the review! (the idea makes me want to cry as well) Ellie

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