Reviews For Quiet In Our Town
Reviewer: The Other Weasley Sister
Date: 07/05/13 21:43
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

WOW. that was short but spectacular. i love how you took it from present to past, the way the story unraveled like that made it much more interesting. Its really sad, but the way the puzzle pieces come together at the end telling how it started make it really interesting. Great job.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! It was very new and challenging writing in reverse but I'm glad it paid off.

Reviewer: teh tarik
Date: 11/22/12 8:39
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

There are so many things about this story that just...left me speechless. I read this some weeks ago but was unable to review because I wasn't sure what to say. And since then, I've read your story several more times over. It's brilliant. I was pretty much crying over my keyboard during my third reading of it :) And then marvelling at the reality that a HP fanfic about a zombie apocalypse (of all things) could make me cry.

So many fantastic things: first of all the structure. The wonderful reverse chronology. There was so much tension and tragedy building up simultaneously and at the same time it was chilling to witness all these dead characters pop back into life the further back the story went. Only that we know just exactly how they'll end up. And by the ending of the final section of the story I was struck by a deep horror, which is strange because the last moments of the narrative seemed to be full of lightness and hope and euphoria and excitement and I really don't know how you achieved this but wow! It's like there really is no escape from the ruined future.

I love the fact that you've chosen to really focus on your characters' emotional and psychological states, and how they cope within this new post-apocalyptic world. Your characterisation is stunning, even for the minor characters. Xeno Lovegood's third person POV was my favourite; you've paid so much attention to detail and the sentence structure is so sensitive and delicate and heartbreaking. The fragmentation of some sentences worked really well - especially these lines:

'If he brews enough Dirigible Plum Tea! If he spoon by slow spoon feeds her Plimpy Soup! If he grinds up Gurdyroots! If he does all this she’ll be fine, he knows, he knows! '

I think if you'd rephrased these words in a different order I wouldn't have been as affected by them. They are so carefully put together and they really do reflect poor Xeno's sense of panic and despair. This is such excellent detailed writing that I'm running out of adjectives.

And then there's Ron and Hermione. And Harry and Ginny. Again your characterisation is wonderful, and I could really feel their hopelessness and despair. I'm very glad that you chose not to focus on the bodily horror of the zombies, or to dwell on too much descriptive detail of the character deaths; these would have interrupted the intense level of emotional engagement the reader has with the characters. I'm also very glad you didn't focus on the other possible technicalities of AU genre fic, such as how they got Muggle weapons or why Malfoy Manor is a safehouse. While all these things would definitely have fleshed out your post-apocalyptic AU setting in greater detail, they would also have broken that level of reader engagement with the characters. I think you made the right choice in investing so much into characterisation.

OK, whew. I've rambled quite a bit. I meant to leave a meaningful review of some sort but looks like I failed. So I'll just say thank you so very much for writing this and I do hope there'll be more. This is my favourite story on the site.

-teh

Author's Response: Wow! I am so sorry I didn't notice this review until now. And such a wonderful review, too. Thank you so much! It is so nice to hear you say that about keeping to the characters and not worrying about explaining every detail. I really wanted to keep it about how the characters would act in such a situation, rather than going into technical aspects of the AU setting. And your review is not rambly, at all. It is wonderful and has me grinning like an idiot. Thank you so much :)

Reviewer: kheldar
Date: 10/08/12 20:16
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

This is excellent! A Quicksilver Quill Award very well deserved! I think it's incredibly creative to put these magical characters from a world we know so well into a zombie apocalypse that they don't understand themselves, and revealing it to us in reverse is genius. That darn Snorcack, and Luna as Patient 0 is brilliant! The only thing missing is I'd love to know what happens in your world between September 14, 2000 and June 19, 2012. Well done!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! This was very difficult to get right, especially since I'm not usually one for zombies, but it's so amazing to receive such positive feedback :) A lot of people want to know what happens in between but I'm not sure if I will expand it much or write a separate fic as I kind of like the mystery. It's another way in which to show how cut off and vulnerable the characters are. I did really enjoy writing this world, though, so I might write some drabbles set in the same universe eventually. Anyway, thanks for the lovely review!

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 07/16/12 13:39
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

I don't often actually cry when I'm reading, but I certainly did in this, because you just poured so much emotion into your writing. The idea and the plot were unique, but it's your beautiful writing that pulls this off.

I loved how you started from the end - I've read fanfictions with flashbacks or jumps in time, but I don't think I've read one entirely backwards before, and I think it made the story a lot more emotive than if you'd started at the beginning - that scene with Xeno and Luna right at the end certainly wouldn't have had the impact it does if it had come first.

I also liked how Rose's section at the beginning was full of questions, because as a reader you immediately start thinking about what the answers might be, and it's a perfect way for this story to unfold.

When Ron had to shoot Harry... you just wrote that beautifully. She smiles at Harry through the tears, keeps on smiling, never wanting to stop even as Ron aims, closes his eyes, and shoots his best friend in the head. It is just so sad because there really is no alternative.

Your characterisations were also excellent - Ginny was just spot on, fiery and determined to do what's best for those she loves. I liked that it was Hermione who had to drag Harry and Ron away from Ginny - I think the boys would be so emotional and would try to think there was another way, whereas Hermione would understand.

It's also an interesting idea for a story... I"ve never thought of a zombie apocalypse in the wizarding world. And usually I'm not really a zombie fan, but this isn't really about zombies, it's about the characters, and that's why I just loved it.

~Katrina

Author's Response: Thank you, Katrina! Wow, I find that one of the highest compliments I can get, to be honest. I'm quite an open crier but if someone else cries reading my fics (for good reasons haha and not because I've burnt their brain with terrible writing) then I feel very flattered. It certainly was an interesting structure to write and I found myself at the end going back and editing in certain details to allude to what was to come later in fic/earlier in the timeline. I'm also glad you liked Ginny. I don't write her often and have never been too fond of her as a character but after writing her I definitely have a new appreciation of her, and for you to say she was spot on gives me much more confidence to write her in the future. I'm not a zombie fan, either! I can't watch zombie movies or on TV, I don't even read zombie books. It was odd but I actually enjoyed writing it a lot. As you said, it was character focused so perhaps that's why it didn't turn my stomach hehe. Anyway, thanks again for this lovely review, Katrina :)

Reviewer: inspirations
Date: 07/03/12 19:09
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

I love love loved this story. I read this yesterday night, and all day it’s been popping into my head, it was that good.

The backwards structure was a really interesting approach; I don’t think I’ve seen it used before. It made the story so much more engaging than I think it would’ve been if you’d done it chronologically -- I was able to piece together what had happened to the world as we moved backwards in time, but this information was revealed gradually, so that you kept my curiosity throughout.

In addition, the build up to the beginning of the catastrophe made the ending so much more powerful in my opinion. By then, I’d seen the devastation that has been caused, and it makes it so much more devastating that it is all down to Luna (and her father) -- a character that I think you can’t help but love. This was supported by your characterisation of her, I think, as you capture her excitement and enthusiasm at finding the creature perfectly through her actions, but also her overall trust. She reaches out because Xeno believes it’s okay, and ultimately that’s her downfall. Their relationship was beautifully written, in that respect.

Elsewhere, I really enjoyed your characterisation of everyone -- particularly Ron. His bravery when he turned and shot Harry was in keeping with the bravery that Gryffindors exhibit. That scene could have easily been a show of brutality, but instead it shows how much Ron respects his best friend, by allowing him to escape the zombie-life.

Draco was also interesting. You showed his survival instinct by his willing to take Muggles into his home, but also a more sympathetic side that I don’t think we really see until the Malfoy Manor scene in the last book. It was ironic, really, that Hermione and Ron collaborated with Malfoy after years of being enemies -- it shows how dire the situation in the story is, and how they can’t afford to be enemies.

Finally, the third person present point of view is very effective. It pulled me into the story, to the point where I really believed what you were describing was happening -- and perhaps that’s why I’m still thinking about this story 24 hours after I originally read it (something that rarely happens with a short story). Alongside the dark language used, etc., each sentence is used in a way that every word is relevant to the story -- none of it is redundant. This is helped by the exclusion of the exact details like what happened to Molly and Arthur. You hint at what’s happened, but leave most of it to the imagination -- this just emphasises how alone Ron and Hermione are becoming in the world, and shows how they are doing their best to cope by not dwelling on what has happened to people they love. This keeps the focus on their fight perfectly.

Genuinely, I really enjoyed this. Thank you for the excellent read. :)

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much! I am flattered that this fic has stayed with you. Draco was a lot of fun to write, not just because of the snark but also because I found the dynamic between him and the situation and Ron/Hermione incredibly interesting. Like you said, it showed the direness of the situation that he was willing to live with Muggles and team up Ron and Hermione to survive. I wanted to parallel the scene in the Room of Requirement with the Fiendfyre. Anyway, thank you so, so, so much. Apologies for taking so long to reply but I was in awe of the responses I've got for this fic. This review made me smile like a maniac. Thank you.

Reviewer: iLuna17
Date: 07/02/12 22:15
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Wow, Julia, this really was a stunner. :)

I read the initial drabble, and I loved how this was an extension on that. I recognized lines here and there that I liked when I read the drabble, but when you put them into the piece it was just amazing.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this piece was the format. You started off with the wondering of Rose, slightly light-hearted, and ended with the wondering of Luna, who had no reason not to be light-hearted, and with all of the darkness in between, which I thought balanced the entire thing out nicely, as well as gave it closure. The timeline was also well chosen; I thought telling the story backwards told it better than it would have forward. (I read it again backwards) It added to the mystery of what exactly was going on, and I loved how you didn’t know how it all started until the end.

Another thing that I loved had to be the characterization. Despite being set in a (very) alternate universe, all of the characters were spot on. I especially enjoyed Draco; you captured his cynicism and sense of irony very well. Because the books end before this piece would have happened, we don’t get to see Draco post-war, but comparing this to what canon probably would be, I think Draco was perfect. He seemed like the type to have that dark humour, especially from how J.K. portrayed him in the series. I also thought you were extremely canon with all of your other characters, which is a major feat considering how AU the story was. Hermione was also especially well done with her intuition, and how she figured out what was going one before anyone else, and also Ron and how he coped with the loss and the struggle. I think captured Ron best in this line: Ron has never felt so tired in his life. I think that sums up perfectly how he would deal with grief. Brilliant job on all of them. :)

There were a few places that I was a little confused, though, specifically when Ron shoots Harry in the head. I believed what you were implying earlier in the section was that Harry was turned into one of them, a zombie, but it took me a few times reading it to be exactly sure. And then, I was confused as to why Hermione would be happy to see him. Did she not see? Or was she just happy he was back? Was she hallucinating? Another spot of slight confusion was at the very end. This was probably just me being thick, but I was confused as to what the animal, as it probably wasn’t a Snorkack, was. Was it the first zombie? Was it Luna who started the entire problem; whatever creature it was infected her with the zombie disease? After reading that again a few times, I thought the last question was what it was. It might be something you might consider clarifying a bit, though.

Otherwise, I really loved this fic. It drew me in immediately, and even though it was very AU, if it weren’t for the small bit about the zombie apocalypse, I think it could have fit very well into canon. This was mainly because of your stellar characterization. Also, the format made the reader think, made me wonder, just as Rose and Luna had, and I really loved that connection (though I might be reading into it a bit too much). Speaking of Rose, I loved how you kept the same name from canon, and showed a meaning behind it. The roses at Malfoy Manor were the first beautiful thing Ron and Hermione had seen in a while, and that was why they named their daughter Rose. (though I’m probably reading into it too much again)

It was just stunning. And if it wasn’t already nominated for the QSQ’s, I would go and nominate it myself. :) Brilliant job, Julia!

Ellie

Author's Response: Hi Ellie! Thank you so much for this review! Sorry for not responding sooner :O It's great to see that many of you really liked the structure of working backwards. I might have to reread it the other way like you did just to see how different it would be. Also, thank you for your lovely words about the characterisation. I had a lot of fun writing Draco's section hehehe! Hm, those bits you were confused about weren't mean to be terribly complex so sorry about that. When Harry is shot, yes, he has become a zombie. Hermione knows this. She's smiling because now they can give him a proper ending. During that section, I mention that the 'wait is over' for them because not knowing what happened to him was so painful. At least now they have closure. At the end, it is a Snorkack. I mention some made-up mythology (Xeno talks about how ancient texts say the Snorcack have healing powers which he misinterpreted) in there regarding the Snorkack which should allude to what really happened. And yes, the bite is what gave Luna the disease. The problem is, it would take the reader out of the moment if I suddenly started getting technical. I like to leave things a little vague and make the reader work it out for themselves. But I really am sorry that confused you! Again, thanks for the lovely review!

Reviewer: PeppermintToads
Date: 07/02/12 21:21
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Oh my gosh, this was terrifying. And so, so sad--I love Ginny and Harry! Even though I can't say that I liked the story itself, I can say that you displayed some superb writing in this piece. Good job :)

Author's Response: Thank you! I know, it's not an enjoyable read, at all, but it's good to know you liked the writing.

Reviewer: Karaley Dargen
Date: 07/02/12 19:21
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Oh Julia, this was so very, very worth the (short) wait. I love the way you've constructed this story. The backwards structure works really well, and makes the ending (of the story)/beginning (of the catastrophe) so much more meaningful.

I loved your characters. Hermione, who just functions, even though she's overwhelmed. Ron, who has hope, but is broken because he lost his friends and family “ those would have been so important to him, since he's always had someone around him at all times. Harry, who is reduced to a creature, and who has to be left behind. Ginny, who is so brave and practical and so very very stubborn. She doesn't bargain, she just knows what has to happen. And poor Draco, not only abandoned by his mother for possibly the first time ever, but basically assaulted by her. I loved the part from his POV “ that was hilarious. Xenophilius going to the Weasleys for help, because Luna trusts her friends... wow. That was so well thought out. I loved how it wasn't random at all, but everything was connected.

Every section had its own voice, and that just worked perfectly. (Also the dates really helped me place things.) I had a fairly vague picture in my head the whole time, and the only reason it was vague was that I never lingered for very long but had to read on.

There's so much I loved about this, but I feel like I can't go on forever, and I don't know how to phrase my amazement anyway :x One thing I have to say though is that I loved the gaps you left. There's so much other stuff that is possible, other people, fates, events... and that engages my own brain, which always makes stories very very cool. People should write missing moments fanfiction for this fanfiction.

I can picture them living at Malfoy Manor so well. It's a huge place, and they could set up those large rooms to accommodate hundreds of people, probably. It's fenced and walled in, so they'd just need guards to make sure nothing climbs the walls, and they might work with slashing hexes or whatever. Apparition could make things easier if you needed special supplies, but considering they can multiply their medical supplies and even food to an extent, that might not be necessary at all. They can grow food in a garden, and if they're very lucky, there's something like hunting grounds attached to the estate...

One last thing I wonder is whether other countries would ever take them in as refugees or whether they'd be too scared of an infection that might already have taken place. Probably a good thing that they were on an island :x

Wow, Julia. This was such a fast and thrilling read. I don't see any way this story could be improved.

Author's Response: Kara, Kara, Kara. Thank you so much. Really. You might not realise it but your enthusiasm for this fic is what kept me going, especially when I felt like I was going around in circles. So thank you. And thank you for this amazing review. It was so important to keep everyone in characters. AUs are much maligned because of their reputation for poor characterisation, so I'm really glad you loved them. I do have this weird little backstory with their life at Malfoy Manor. Maybe I will write it down sometime but it is very similar to the way you imagine it - like a commune. As for other countries taking them in, I imagine that other nations blocked the British Isles off with anti-Apparition wards, like a quarantine, to make sure infected people didn't try to escape. In my mind, the wards would eventually be lifted but not for many, many years so survivors would have to make do and try to rebuild their lives in constant fear. It's a very bleak world : But how could a zombie apocalypse be anything but bleak, let's be honest hahaha! Anyway, thank you so much for this review! It means so much.

Julia x

Reviewer: Equinox Chick
Date: 07/02/12 16:10
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

I KNEW SHE WAS NO GOOD!!!!

Okay, deep breaths here. Wowowowowowowwowowow

Almost incomprehensible as I try to calm down from the tension in the story. This is very gripping, Julia, and brilliantly written (of course). What I do really love, though, is that despite the AU tag and the fact that this is pretty Un Potterverse, you have NAILED the characterisation of them all. I love Draco so much - hahahaha - that was a moment of light relief at the beginning that I have to keep going back to read because it makes me giggle and thus relieves the bleakness of their situation. Gahhhhd, I'm pretty sure I'd just have given in and become a zombie.

This is constructed very well. (thank you for the dates, that helped me decipher the timeline correctly) I love how you traced this all back to the beginning because I was really unsure how this was going to work, and I needed it to not only work but to make sense. And, yes, you see my distrust of that Lovegood girl is totally justified.

I AM VINDICATED !!!! Mwahahahahah (yes, I do feel speshul now)

Oh, Lordy, sorry for the incomprehensible and rather stream of conscious review. I will comment on my favourite part which was Ginny becoming infected and killing herself. Not because I hate Ginny - because I don;t - but because it showed her in such a glorious light that we really don;t see much of in the books. So brave and fighting to the last. GAHHHH! Brilliant moment there. I loved that section even more than Draco, which I still have to keep re-reading because I die everytime I read him thinking the Muggle is fit - heh heh.

I shall end having run out of superlatives. Fab idea and well-executed. Amazing, but why am I surprised. It's your story, Julz, and you write so bloody well.

*collapses in wibbling heap*

~Croll~

Author's Response: But it wasn't her fault! She didn't know! Awww poor Luna. Anyway, thank you, Carole!!! I was a bit nervous about what you would think because I know you're not into bleak apocalyptic worlds. You know, Ginny's bit is all down to Natalie. Ron's section wasn't even in there at the beginning of last week until I sent it to Natalie and she said I needed something else. So you can thank her for pushing me to do that. I think Ginny's part may be my favourite now, too, not because it is very enjoyable to read, but because I really feel like I got her character right. In fact, maybe I now appreciate her as a character much more than I have in the past! Shock horror. Anyway, thanks so much for this review XD

Reviewer: welshdevondragon
Date: 07/02/12 15:45
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

This was fantastic Julia. Just--so beautifully written, and heart breaking, and so sad when you don't know why Ron doesn't like shooting, and then find out. And then at the end when you bring it back to how the infection started in the first place--I love that you explained that rather then just had it as there being zombies and making the reader accept that. It was just amazing.

However I am with the other reviewer in that, in a really nerdy way, I really want to know how they protect Malfoy Manor/ how they live there/ do they keep animals/ do they run a kibbutz type set up or what. Although I understand for normal people that detracts from a story's quality....But yes. This was beautiful. Alex

Author's Response: Thank you so much, Alex! I know it would have been nice to explain about the Manor but I really just wanted Rose as a brief introduction from the future, just a glimpse of what happens. And yes, in my mind they live there as a sort of commune-like set up, with a large vegetable garden and farm with animals etc. Again, thanks so much for this review :) I'm so glad you liked it.

Reviewer: baby54boomer
Date: 07/02/12 14:16
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Very interesing read! I like the way you used a reversed timeline. Wish you could have told us why Malfoy Manor was protected, though.

Author's Response: Thanks! Hm... I like to leave some details unanswered ;)

Reviewer: Nagini Riddle
Date: 07/02/12 7:25
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Wow! I don't know what to say! You built it up so much- and then I had to laugh at the end! It all started from that small bite from the Snorcack, or whatever that stupid creature was. Ha! See, Xeno, they can certainly wipe the world of something!
This story felt very "I am Legend"ish

Author's Response: Thanks :) Glad you enjoyed it!

Reviewer: nevilleherosnape
Date: 07/02/12 1:38
Chapter: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Oh that was bloody brilliant!!! Fantastic and awesome and wow! I love how you wove that all back to being Xeno's fault! Great job!!

Author's Response: Thanks heaps :)

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