I want to start by saying that this made me so emotional, not just because of the tragedy of Evelyn and Bernie, but because of the tragedy of Benny and Bernie. I'm a twin so whenever I read a fic where twins are separated, it feels so awful. And seeing how close Benjy and Bernie clearly are, it felt like a punch to the gut when I finally realized what had happened (even worse, knowing that their parents are dead).
This is a masterpiece in subtlety. Right from the beginning, the nonlinear structure had me hooked and asking tons of questions; I actually laughed at the first line, which is so very telling of Benjy's personality and made me inappropriately amused.
The description of the suffocating noise gave me chills. You so artfully captured her emotions in this section--Bernie feels disjointed and confused and as if everything is happening at once, and you captured this through her almost distractedness--first thinking that she just needs quiet, then that the curtains need a break, and then, of Evie. I like that all of her thoughts lead back to Evie.
I love how the characters have been influenced by this politically charged atmosphere, how this adds a layer to their characterization that makes them even more likable--and makes the tragedy even more tragic. Most of all, I love how effortless that was. Only 2000 words, and I still feel so much sympathy for Bernie, Benjy, and Evie. That's amazing.
What I loved the most was the descriptions of contrasts between Bernie and Benjy and Bernie and Evie. They both establish how now Bernie is separate from two of the most important people in her life and honestly made me want to cry! I also really loved how you captured Bernie's emotions in this situation; she feels this awful guilt but also this disbelief and denial, like her brain is rejecting what happened and wants to wind the clock back, as if it didn't happen at all. I think that is such a realistic reaction after a tragic mistake.
The ending, however, was my favorite part, especially the last line. It honestly broken my heart—the perfect tragic ending, establishing the injustice of all this, and making it even more painful.
Wow, I'm honestly amazed that through only 2,000 words, you can evoke such powerful emotions. Bravo!
I love the use of a nonlinear timeline in this! Omg, it built up suspense and left me hanging in all the right places! When I was reading the first part, I was initially baffled as to what was going on, but it ALL makes sense in the end! So much fun, in the most horrific way possible, of course.
So, yeah, in the first section, I'm immediately filled with all these questions. What has Bernie done? Why is Benjy freaking out? Why is there blood spilling onto the carpet and is it Evevlyn's? What is even happening?
And then we get to the next part and I really love the relationship being shown between Bernie and Evelyn. It immediately makes me root for Bernie, hoping that Evelyn will accept Bernie as a witch. And then I think back to the beginning, and I'm absolutely terrified about what will happen.
AND THEN when I got to the next part and I finally realize that Death Eaters have tortured Bernie, due to her association with Benjy and the Order -- even though she knew absolutely nothing about the Order-- and everything is so dark! It's brilliant, the use of blood (Bernie's inability to get her hands clean) and then Bernie's descent into madness over Evyln's death. I think you did a lovely job with this, especially the madness (you captured it so well). I think the kicker for this (for me personally) was that she was imprisoned (and as the last line alludes, wrongly).
This was so good! It was freaking and dark and a little twisted, but SO SO GOOD!
*Transferred from HPFF*
Swap! And I'm here to review this for the non-linear challenge.
That first section is so eerie. I can't tell what's real and what's not. Even though I'm really confused at this point, it's such powerful, visual writing and I'm so impressed. Whatever is happening, something's not right and Bernice's mind is in a different place than where all the action is taking place. She's either having a horrible nightmare/memory, or she's imagining positive things and convincing herself that they're real because what's actually real is too much to take in. I fear that it's the second one.
Bahaha! Evelyn and I would get along just perfectly - an activist, a feminist, and that valentine's day rant. Preach! :D
The second section with Bernie and Benjy was really heartbreaking because I know what happens to Benjy in the end, and their keeping secrets from one another just makes me wonder what would have happened if they had been honest. If Bernie had admitted she was seeing a Muggle, and if Benjy said he was doing dangerous stuff for the Order and that there is a real danger... all they're really doing is building up a false sense of security. Agh!
THE LAST SECTION WOW is so chilling. I had to really focus on all the details to pick up what was going on, which added to how brilliantly this is written omg. I am in awe. So, what I think happened is that she was found, unsuspecting, by Death Eaters and tortured for information about Benjy (now I'm furious that they didn't share their secrets with each other) and THEN as if that wasn't bad enough they put the Imperius Curse on her and she actually killed Evvie. Ah that's so horrible and sad. And the way she keeps thinking she's about to go visit Evie, even after it's been revealed that she is dead, it's like she is in shock. Or - she is reliving a happy memory, and then horrible things start to happen to it like blood and stuff because she's sitting in Azkaban and the dementors corrupt all of her happy memories into sad ones.
THE ENDING KILLED ME. "the innocent never do" ah I just... can't.
The non-linear narrative was brilliant in this as it really added to the way everything is so jumbled in Bernie's mind and it's not clear what's real or what's happening when until you really think about it. I think the choice of non-consecutive narrating really reinforces the mental state of the character and is largely what makes the story as eerie as it is. Brilliantly done. Thanks for the swap!
eee! Thank you so much for transferring your wonderful review. I loved getting your reviews the first time around and get giddy rereading them now <3
Hi, Rose! I’m here for BvB. :)
Wow. This was so intense and disjointed. I thought you did an amazing job of portraying Bernie, Benjy, and Evvie, as well as Bernie’s relationship with each of them, amidst the pain and anguish that Bernie is so clearly feeling after Evvie’s death. I’m not completely clear on what happened or how Evvie died, but I did cobble together some interpretation. (You can tell me whether or not it’s right!)
What I think happened was that the Death Eaters targeted Bernie and Evvie because of Bernie’s association with Benjy, or maybe just because Bernie was a witch getting romantically involved with a Muggle. (Or both. Evvie being a Muggle clearly entered into the equation at some point, since they call Bernie a blood traitor.) It seems like they were interrupted before they could have their romantic night and that they were both tortured... but from some of the things Bernie says (especially “It wasn’t me when I hurt you”), I’m wondering if the Imperius Curse was used on her to make her hurt (or even kill?) Evvie. That seems like it would fit with her being locked up in Azkaban - if they found that the spells came from her wand, it seems like there are plenty of Ministry officials who would judge her guilty then and there without holding a trial, and since the Unforgivable Curses earn you a one-way ticket to Azkaban, there wouldn’t be any getting out.
I don’t know. That could be completely off! Either way, though, this was amazing, and I’m so glad I clicked into the thread after you.
Thank you so much for the awesome review, Branwen! I'm so glad you enjoyed this and the non-linear style I used to write it. I loved reading your interpretation of the story -- it's a really good one.