Neat story! Very out there, and it's nice to read something a little different.
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad to know that taking a risk here paid off :). Thank you again, so much, for this review. xx Ariana
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. Wow. It flowed so nicely, so delicately, so perfectly. Amazing job!
Author's Response: That is such an amazing compliment - thank you for reading and leaving such a thoughtful review! xx Ariana
I love the story, especially the way she speaks, and the use of parenthases...it brings it away from ordinary reality and makes everything seem deeper.
Author's Response: Thank you for taking the time to leave a review! I am so happy you liked the story :). xx Ariana
This is beautifully told, Ariana. I had chills after I finished reading it. The way that you’ve captured Mona in so few words and told her story when she doesn’t even know it is amazing. I could read this again and again.
Something that I notice throughout your writing is that you tend to leave out punctuation, especially commas. Somehow, this always seems to work well for you. In your story Love is Like a Wrong Turn on a Cold Night it gave the story a very breathless feel. In this, it’s like we’re really feeling what Mona is trying to say. She’s doesn’t always have words, but when she does, they are told in a voice that is chillingly her own.
Neville is wonderful in this. At the beginning, I was wondering why he was working at St. Mungo’s since he’s supposed to be the Herbology teacher, but as the story became clearer and Mona’s character began to come to life, so did Neville’s. And I wasn’t sure who Mona was at the beginning of this. I thought perhaps an older Pomona Sprout, and at some point I thought maybe an older love interest of Neville’s, but I think the mystery of her identity was one of the things that made the story wonderful for me.
When I first started reading this and I noticed that the dialogue was told in parentheses rather than quotation marks, I was a bit apprehensive. Yet, as I finished the story, I think that it was better with those parentheses than it would be without them. There are so many little things that go on in creating Mona’s voice, because it’s so much harder to speak the mind of a mentally insane person than it is to speak the mind of a normal character. But you managed to capture every single one of those little things--whether it’s the punctuation, the parentheses, or even just the way that she speaks--and it’s amazing.
That being said, I think if you’re going to use parentheses for the dialogue, you should use them throughout the entire fic, and there was a section, where Neville is telling Mona goodnight, where you suddenly switch to quotation marks. For me, I think that threw the style of the story off a bit, and it would probably fit better if you used the parentheses the entire way. I’m not sure if there’s anything different about that segment that makes it where you should use quotation marks, but if there is, please feel free to explain it to me. :)
The descriptions that Mona uses, especially about butterflies, are undoubtedly some of my favourite parts of the piece. If done right, with a proper amount of corresponding plot and with the right voice, descriptions can be even more beautiful.
A butterfly cannot fly if it gets wet. It will simply flutter its wings in vain for a few moments but the weight of the water is too much for the delicate wings and it will soon quiver and fall down, down, down to the ground.
This last line really packs a punch for me. And I think, as I’ve said on more than one occasion, that the last line can really be one of the most important lines in a piece. It’s what makes you think about a story for hours afterward or what makes it fall flat. And I think that this line was beautiful.
I don’t know what else I can say. I have no criticism for this story. It was one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Congratulations on the QSQ, and keep writing :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review, Lily! After being shut in a windowless room for 4 hours taking the SAT for the second time, this has brightened everything. Writing this story was kind of frustrating because I was never sure if I could attain the balance of giving enough information to not confuse the reader as well as keep the 'air' of Mona's insanity. I'm so happy you think it's amazing, that makes me smile :).
The deviation from the use of parentheses has to do with Mona's consciousness. With the parentheses, the things she 'says' are attached more to her thoughts than to her having a conversation with someone else in the room. But when she asks Neville who she is, when they have that small interaction as he tells her good night, there is a part of her that is actually there and present during the conversation. If that makes sense -- quite possibly this fic has ironically rendered me insane as well.
Thank you again for this lovely review! xx Ariana
"A butterfly cannot fly if it gets wet. It will simply flutter its wings in vain for a few moments but the weight of the water is too much for the delicate wings and it will soon quiver and fall down, down, down to the ground."
That part gave me chills. This was wonderful. I usually can't read fanfiction because the writing is generally terrible, but you've proved me wrong. I loved it, and this is not even at all my type of story. But it was lovely.
Author's Response: Ooh, thank you so much for this review! I am so, so happy to hear that you liked this, especially because you don't usually enjoy fan fiction. It's much different style-wise than what I usually write :). xx Ariana
Ariana, I'm actually speechless here. This is one of the most beautifully written, heart-wrenching, deeply, deeply moving fics I've ever read. At first I thought it was Pomona Sprout as an old woman but as you peeled back the layers I began to realise who Mona really was.
I feel like the voice you captured was just astounding. There is this fragility to it and yet a certain strength of will as though her former self is fighting to get through. I loved the way you used the butterfly throughout the fic, and it was not only symbolic in it's use but it also gave us insight into who Mona is, and who she was. Before.
The way you never explicitly tell us what happened was also very effective and I like being kept in the dark because, as a reader, we're really immersed in how Mona perceives what goes on around her and we can only glean what Neville (and Lysander) truly mean to her by what she decides to think about and what she observes.
Honestly, Ariana, I can only stare at the screen in awe. Keep on being amazing and, most of all, keep on writing!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for leaving me this fabulous review. I admire your stories so much and so your comments mean a lot :). I didn't even think about this being the story of Pomona Sprout as an old woman, but now that I reread it with your review in mind it really works (up to a point, of course).
I am so glad to hear that you liked the voice of Mona, as well. I've never written a crazy person before from first person, and it was really strange and I didn't know if it was going to make sense at all. This probably makes me sound like a pretend writer, but I didn't even know I was going to use the butterfly throughout the entire story until after I used it the first time…so thank you for thinking it was cohesive ;).
This review made me squee so much. Thank youuuu! xx Ariana
Over a month later and I'm fulfilling my promise to leave you a proper review. However, I fear this will be just as gushy and squee filled as the last.
Ariana, what can I say? This story took my breath away and I was so so touched that you dedicated it to me. The style and originality of the piece made me shiver with excitement - the excitement of finding so much talent in one beautiful story. *sigh*
When I first read this, the brackets were a little puzzling, I was thinking that it's what she's 'hearing' and although she is talking, she is talking some of them, they're sort of disconnected from her. I'm thinking that this is because she's disconnected from herself with the memory loss. And then ... wow, the words when she actually speaks as herself .... Seriously, Ariana, I'm getting real, actual shivers all the way through me as I read and type this. It's so good, so telling, and wow - I am incoherent again.
I am going to cling to the notion that she recovers. I'm saying this because there are some moments of lucidity, and I have decided she;ll recover - HA! That's my canon for Mona and you're not allowed to disrupt that. (A follow up happy story isn't required, btw, :) )
I love Neville here. You've painted such an accurate portrait of the older man, still diffident and caring, but now with all the confidence he lacked during Hogwarts. I could really see him sitting in that chair and hobbling on his stick, and you didn;t do that with reams of description, just a few well placed words.
Thank you, again and again, for this wonderful present. I ♥ it, and you, very much. ~Carole~
Author's Response: You are so kind :). Your other review was so lovely and I was so surprised and happy to receive another one. Because it was a very different style, I wasn't sure if it would be well-received (or even if people would understand what I was trying to get across). You're right about the brackets being about the disconnect between Mona's thoughts and reality. Some of it she's saying, some of it she's thinking and Neville is reading in her eyes; some of it Neville is actually saying, and some of what he 'says' is what she thinks he wants to say (Sorry, I think I just made everything that much more confusing.).
I haven't thought out a full canon for Mona yet, but I don't think I'll write a follow-up. Maybe she'll feature in a fic before the accident, or maybe I'll write a fic about the accident, but I don't think I'll write about her recovery (if that's what happens :D). And I'm happy you liked Neville - I love him so much, and it breaks my heart to write even more tragedy for this boy (now older man).
Thank you so much for leaving yet another fantastic review. Both of them left me smiling :). xx Ariana
Very interesting. Is there a story behind this? Or a story after this? If so, I would love to read it!!!! Can you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ? Thanks!!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! Unfortunately, as of now, there is no prequel or sequel. I will definitely let you know if this changes :). xx Ariana
I thought it was a beautiful and yet so, so sad. When she said "Good night, Dad" a bit of my heart broke. I still don't really understand quite what's happened, but I know it's tragic, and your prose is just so beautiful that it carries me along. Lovely job!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! The original draft had a small paragraph that gave more of an idea as to what happened, but both my beta and I agreed that it felt clunky in context. It was an accident similar to the one that killed Luna's mother, which is part of the reason Lorcan is having such a difficult time with it. Your review was so kind - thank you again! xx Ariana
This was beautiful, a really touching exploration of memory loss, you've left me desperate to know more!
Author's Response: Thanks for taking the time to review! I'm very glad you enjoyed it. I would promise to write a follow up, but I think part of the 'fun' with stories like these is not knowing :). xx Ariana
Blown away, my love. Absolutely blown away by the amazingness and utter AWESOMENESS of this story. Seriously, this is incredibly good and I am juts so honoured, touched and wowed that you dedicated it to me.
This is a very very bad review, and I promise a much better one later, but I had to let you know how much I loved it.
Wow, you're talented! ~Carole~
Author's Response: Eep! I am beamingly happy that you think this story is worthy of the a-word, and I'm just so very glad that you liked it. I tried (I really did) to write you something happy and day-brightening, but in the end I reverted back to giving you this. This is the Neville-fic-that-isn't-really-Neville-centric, by the way. Thank you so much for reviewing, and happy happy happy belated birthday! xx Ariana