Hi Jane! I’m here for CMDC Round 2 :D
Hector is sort of a mad genius—or at least, he would be, if he were to ever follow through with anything. This opening scene with him wrestling a lightening bolt is both hilarious and really impressive. Like, what sort of use could this be put to if he were to move beyond this stage of play with it?
Still, Phaedra’s life seems much less bleak than it was a couple of chapters ago. She has a companion now, and even if they mostly subsist on raisin bread, at least they do so together.
The morning glimpse of Diagon Alley waking up seems like something out of Dickens—the characters are all so colorful, both the canon ones that pop in, and the original ones you’ve added (hurray for Absalom and Delilah!).
Speaking of Delilah—who’s this tattily dressed wizard that is meeting her and wondering why she wasn’t in Gryffindor? Is it possibly Remus Lupin? Or is it some other new character? And, whoever it is, what’s Delilah wrapped up in now???
The whole sequence with the supernatural exterminator is delicious! I loved Mr. Shade and his ghostly sister who is (for whatever reason) still working for him from beyond the grave. Your descriptive powers of the setting and the characters are marvelous, and how thrilling to know that whatever the problem is at Phaedra’s house—it’s so awful that even the Knockturn Alley people don’t want to touch it. This does not bode well for Phaedra—but it’ll probably make Snape all the more eager to solve the puzzle, because he’d probably like the chance to show somebody else up.
I loved the moment when Proserpina pulled the book that Phaedra needed off the shelf—and the impulsive way that Phaedra committed her first crime. That is exactly the way it is done.
Hector and Phaedra’s evening discussions around the cauldron are so cozy. I enjoyed the use of Hector’s expertise on the book, as well as his clamoring for a pet owl—although I’m not sure he’s mature enough to take care of a pet quite yet…
Snape’s quip about not wishing to be disturbed during emergencies was perfectly Snapely.
I feel for Phaedra being torn about going out into the cold to possibly meet with Snape—and I feel for her that she’s chosen to do so. I wonder if he will appreciate the effort she’s making so that he might not have to endure a rainy Friday evening alone :P
Watching Phaedra decline Hector’s offer of accompanying her to meet Snape was very funny—somehow I doubt Hector would prove to be the right wingman for this occasion.
Oh dear—Snape is not quite dressed for company is he? His untidy room seems to dovetail with his conspicuous lack of self care. And his comment about ‘learning from the best’ made me assume he was referring to said untidiness—and my guess is that “the best” was his father.
Snape is deep in his cups and his melancholy and it takes him a while to shake it off when Phaedra comes over with her little problem. I’m very excited about this magical ruining of her house and look forward to finding out more about it. But at the moment Snape seems to need to unburden some of his pain onto someone—is Phaedra simply a convenient object, or does he feel he can trust her? Or both? Or neither?
He does get ahold of himself and act like a decent fellow to walk her home. I know she’s a witch and all but with her sickness I don’t feel her powers are consistently reliable.
And there’s that dude with the hat again!! Of course Mundungus would know him…
So excited to go to the Goblin Market!
I’m back for one last review on this excellent story for the CDMC Event - Round 2! I’m kind of bummed that this is the last chapter for now as I’m really enjoying this story.
Omg. Hector is too much. I both adore him and think he would be an absolutely exhausting roommate.
Who is this mysterious person Delilah is talking to? I feel like there may be some sort of romantic connotation just because of how they respond to Phaedra and the way she makes sure to walk him out.
Mr. Shade kind of reminds me of Lockhart for some reason although he does seem a bit more competent than Lockhart. His reaction to Phaedra is quite interesting though. It seems to me that the echoes have been created in a dangerous way, maybe by using black magic and that’s why he’s all riled up.
Why do I think Thoth is going to show up in this book that Proserpina pointed out?
Hector really has a thing for raisin bread, huh? You create such great imagery throughout this scene. I could really imagine their apartment, the two of them huddled around a cauldron and trying not to choke on the acrid smoke.
I love how persistent Hector is about the owl too. I had a good laugh about his ideas for care. I could just imagine him with an owl flying around on a leash as they strolled through Diagon Alley. I’m quite glad that Phaedra has a bit more sense...although I’m not entirely convinced that Hector is quite a clueless as he lets on.
Phaedra initially seems to resist the idea of going to see Snape, but to be honest, I think he’s her best option for figuring out what’s cursed her and how to cure it, if it can be cured. He’ll probably have more of an idea about what’s going on on the house too, although she might have to wait till he’s slightly more sober to get the answers she wants from him.
Phaedra seems to think the echoes were left behind by the Death Eaters as a scorched earth policy, but as far as we know from canon that hasn’t happened. That isn’t to say it’s impossible, just that I don’t recall a time when something like that was done. I think it was actually her father who created them. I think after his wife left, he created these echoes of his memories so he wouldn’t feel so lonely. Then when the Death Eaters attacked it created more accidental echoes.
I don’t know that I thought I’d ever see a drunk Severus Snape. In the books, we see such a flag version of him because he’d always through Harry’s eyes, so it’s nice to see him really come to life in this. Of course, he would drink and flirt with girls and cry about not being able to remove his tattoo. You make him much more relatable.
I wonder what this Crooked Peddler is up to that’s caused him to be following Phaedra so frequently. Whatever Is going on, I’m glad that Snape will be going to the market with her. Maybe he’ll be able to help her get some answers.
Another great chapter! Please, let me know when you post more. I would love to keep reading this.
I'm here to leave you a review for the CDMC event - Round 2!
I figured Snape wouldn't be showing up after their last interaction...at least not initially. His arrival the next day certainly is a bit nerve wrecking. I figured he was there to obliviate her, but it seems that isn't quite so.
Wow. So I knew something was a little bit off with Phaedra physically, but I just assumed it was residual dark magic from the spell from the book. The curse she's suffering from sounds atrocious. How could her father do something so risky in the house and worse, how could he allow it to affect his wife and daughter?
The story about his attempt to join the Death Eaters was interesting. Did he really think they'd accept someone like him to their cause? They just want to steal his research and be on their way.
I am glad that Phaedra will take Snape with her the next time she goes back to the house. I think he'll be able to help her immensely.
Aww. Her last conversation with her mother is so sad. I don't understand why she doesn't understand her mother's anger. I mean, her husband cursed her by accident and she's spent the rest of her life since losing her magic, her mental abilities, and her physical strength. Everyone thinks she's crazy and bitter, but really she's suffering.
I am glad to see that Pheadra is moving in with Hector. I think it's important that she have some company and someone to look after her if she starts to descend into madness. I think his companionship may yet help her quite a bit.
This chapter was good, but it definitely felt more weighty. It seems like she's on the verge of something big happening and I can't quite tell exactly what yet.
Good work on this! I'm looking forward to getting to the next chapter soon!
I'm here to leave you a review for the CDMC event - Round 2!
Well, this is interesting. I wonder why Phaedra felt it necessary to lie about Snape's presence during the accident with the book. If anything, I'd have thought she'd want to be able to blame all of the damage on him opening it. I feel like that would make her look less bad. Delilah certainly isn't having any of it. She seems pretty miffed that Phaedra lied by omission.
I really enjoyed the way you described the house passing from one person's possession to another. I thought that was a really cool visual and made the house feel like a living, breathing thing.
Apparently, Phaedra hasn't seen too many horror films. I feel like when you hear creepy laughter and someone calling your name in an old, abandoned house, it's time to leave. I feel like the fact that she's seeing an image of her mother even though she knows her mother is elsewhere only confirms that. Then add to it that she is now hearing her sister's voice and her own. Yeah, I feel like she should be hightailing it out of there. That feeling of a lonely house that wants her creeps me the hell out.
Yeah. That house is terrifying. I'm glad that Phaedra finally got out of it. I think it was sort of foolish for her to continue in it once she realized that something was off in it. And that crone sitting out front on the stoop. I feel like there's more to her than we initially see. I feel like she knows more about Mr. Morely and this house than she said to Phaedra.
Poor Phaedra. It seems she's always getting tossed around whenever Snape is present. At least this time he had the courtesy to invite her to join his table.
Wow. I don't know what I was expecting to happen between Snape and Phaedra, but it certainly wasn't this. She figured out his cover a little more quickly than I think he was comfortable with and I think his reaction to her guesses didn't help him any. He basically confirmed what she was saying. He has to at least have a connection to the Death Eaters.
I particularly liked this chapter because it was so full of beautiful, eerie description. The way you described the house and the echoes within it were brilliant and the interaction with Snape and how his face changed was also really good. I love that I can always very clearly envision what you are talking about.
Good work on this! I'm looking forward to getting to the next chapter soon!
I'm here to leave you a review for the CDMC event - Round 2!
Ooh. Does Phaedra have a crush on Professor Snape? That's so cute.
It's concerning that someone was skulking around the outside of the shop. I hope no one is about to attack Phaedra.
There are so many interesting goodies in the shop, so Nostradomus Nix's items must be super intriguing to attract so much attention from Professor Snape. And to have him squealing with excitement, it must be truly rare and magical.
Oh no! They're blind. I'm honestly surprised that Snape acted so rashly by opening up that book. I'd have expected him to be a bit more calculated, maybe check it for spells first, but I supposed everyone makes occasional errors due to excitement. I am glad that at least he is able to fix it with the spell he uses.
That Thoth name has popped up again which is very interesting. Convenient that Snape is there to provide her with some context for what it means.
I feel like it's no coincidence that the book in the library is missing exactly as long as Phaedra's father has been missing. I have to imagine that he must've checked it out and not returned it, so maybe his research has something to do with the book that Phaedra has back at the shop.
The library assistant is kind of snooty. I don't think it's necessary for him to be quite so snarky towards Phaedra. I have a feeling that Hector is going to square him away though.
What are the odds that Augustus Egg is an alias for her father? I feel like it would make sense that he gave them a fake name so they wouldn't come looking for it.
Hector really is the perfect distraction.
I'm a bit worried about Phaedra's sudden spell of wooziness. Is this a side effect from the curse she suffered earlier in the chapter or something entirely different? It almost sounds like she's having a panic attack, to be honest. I'm glad that Hector is looking after her till she gets to a safer spot at least.
This was another excellent chapter. I feel like I came into it with lots of questions and I feel like I'm leaving with even more. I honestly think I may sit here and read the entire thing tonight just so I can feel like I have a few answers.
Good work on this! I'm looking forward to getting to the next chapter soon!
I'm here to leave you a review for the CDMC event - Round 2!
Prospero P. Smith is such a great name.
Even better is the character you described. I felt like I knew him instantly. I can just imagine the sort. The way he speaks to Pheadra is so fitting to his character as well. Light and airy until he's pushed into an uncomfortable topic.
I'm really curious about Mr. Morely now. It sounds like he was into some shady business at the end of his life. I wonder what he was up to and what caused him to become so reclusive. By the sounds of it, it was something that made him and enemy of the Death Eaters too.
Ooh. I'm intrigued by this mysterious, bulging letter that Mr. Morely left to Phaedra. Maybe it's instructions of some sort about what he was working on. Based on Phaedra's reaction, that's my guess.
Ok. So I was way off. I have no idea what the golden leaf means, but I have a feeling it's important.
I really relate to Phaeda reading her mother and father's letters. When I was much younger, my grandmother had a bad fall and broke her hip. We decided to have a live-in nurse come to care for her and prior to her arrival, I was sent to the house to get things in order. I ended up uncovering letters between her and my grandfather from WW2. It felt like a horrible invasion of privacy to read them, but at the same time I couldn't stop myself. I'm glad I did too because she ended up shredding them all before she died. Sorry, this turned into a tangent, but all of this to say that I get how Phaedra feels about it. It's like meeting her own parents for the first time.
I like how observant she is of the people in the alleyway. I totally get her sort of having a sense of intimacy like friendship with them too. I mean it happens when you see the same person daily, even if you never speak to them.
Hector seems like a great guy though. A slytherin, but neither cunning nor ambitious. Kind of awkward and clumsy, but quite endearing. I like him and I'd like to think he and Phaedra will become good friends.
I know that Phaedra doesn't care for her mother's response to her father's letters, but I think she's maybe not as crazy as Phaedra thinks. I think there's more to her father's disappearance than she's aware of.
I'm really digging this story so far! I can't quite figure out where this is going in the long run, but there's a lot of mystery and questions to keep me coming back. And Phaedra is a very intriguing character. You really are a talented writer.
Good work on this!
CMDC round 2
Hello again, Jane!
This was another excellent chapter!
Is it me, or does Phaedra have something of a crush on Snape? I admit, it was nice when he helped her clean up in the last chapter. And of course he'd get so entranced in the idea of a dark magic book that he'd end up destorying half the shop. Oh dear. I hope Mr. Slug isn't too upset. Of course, i suppose with magic, they were able to repair a lot of it.
I know Snape if a very skilled and powerful wizard, obviously. It's not surprising he knew a way to restore their vision. Phaedra is clearly intelligent, but I wonder how she feels about her own magic. She doesn't strike me as particularly confident.
I just remembered about the lurking man. What was that about? Is someone trying to break into the shop? To steal the book, perhaps? Hmmm
The last section in the library was so fun. I love the idea of a great underground library - I have not read that particular work by Borges - it is so enchanting, and honestly, you'd think that would be a more prominent feature of the magical world. What I wouldnt give to see Hermione's face when she learns about a library like this!
I do love Hector. This stroy is a bit grim, but he livens it up just the right amount. I must say, hapsazard inventing is a much more plausible cause of injury than reading :P Unless it's the monster book of monsters, or an exploding book, or tom riddle's diary. So, perhaps reading is perilous after all, haha. Anyway, I am still team Hector over team snape, if this is indeed a love triangle. (I cannot forgive Snape for bullying his students the way he does.) On the other hand, I worry what else he might be hiding.
Also. I was so eager to see if it was her father's name down for that book. And then the name Augustus Egg.... why does that sound familiar? Or is that just deja vu? And what does the leaf from her dad have to do with Hermes?? I am so interested omg.
(I have never heard of the "real fake dude" Hermes Trismegistus. Now I feel like I should look him up. Or maybe not, becuse he seems creepy.)
Can I just say, I would pay to read an OF version of this story? Like, it's not set at hogwarts, it's totally convertible if you wanted. And it is honestly so genuinely excellent. Pease be proud of your writing, because you deserve to be <3
I'm here to leave you a review for the CDMC event - Round 2!
I love how you set the tone of this chapter immediately by describing how Phaedra's stockings have gotten wet and how that wetness has reached between her toes and how one toe sticks out through an undarned hole. It all sounds very uncomfortable and like the sort of annoyances that just build throughout the day.
I really like how you wrote Snape in this. He seems much more real, even slightly humorous. I liked how emotional he got when thinking about all of the reasons he needed to stock extra supplies, although I feel a bit sorry for the beetle. I did think it was a bit dramatic of Phaedra to fling her handkerchief into the fire after he used it though. Did she think he was hiding a flesh eating slug in there or something?
Your description of Phaedra's lunch setting was brilliant. There was quite the assortment of characters and I could really envision all of the chaos surrounding her. A mix of Goblins and wizards always makes for a good time.
I wonder who this peddler was staring at Phaedra. He seems pretty creepy and I can understand why she might've been a bit put off.
The dynamic between Delilah and Phaedra seemed very natural. It looks like they get along pretty well. I am curious about why she was so loathe to mention Snape having visited. I mean I know it's not his regular day, but he had a decent reason for his trip. Unless....does she fancy Snape?
I'm not sure I get exactly what is going on with Pheadra's mom (although it could be sleep deprivation at this point and not that it doesn't actually say in the story.) She's clearly having some mental issues and it sounds like there were some problems between Phaedra's mother and father. It's really sad to see her talk to Phaedra the way she does. She can't help which parent she looks like. I suppose that line to the orderly about not being who her mother wanted was pretty sad. I should have known that something bad was coming based off of her comment toward the orderly about her mum wanting someone else there besides her.
Oh no! And now it seems that whatever disease Phaedra's mother had, Phaedra also has too. The rash on her skin sounds very worrisome. I hope she'll be okay. Please, tell me she'll be okay.
CMDC round 2
I seriously am loving this fic.
For one thing, it's so witty and clever. I loved "Psmith" and so many of the little details made me laugh.
Also, I think you're getting the pacing exactly right. It felt like it took no time at all to read this, while at the same time I came imagine all the scenes clearly from the descriptions you give. There's a perfect balance of description, narration, dialogue, summary. It's so hard to get this exactly right.
Prospero was disappointing, but I can't help feel intriged by the ineritance (cue title theme!) Phadra's father left her. Why send those lettes to a wife who despises him? Why was he traveling? And what in the wolrd is the golden leaf thing? I want to know!!
The entire conversation with Hector was perfection. It's very quirky and bizarre, but in a charming way. I liked him. I liked how Phaedra seems to light up when they were talking. (Hexagon Alley! hehe) I suspect that, although she turned him down, she'll end up at Hetor's flat before too much time has passed.
ALSO, why was Phaedra homeschooled? At what point inher life did her father leave? When did her moter become ill? Where did she grow up? Everything about this fic makes me want all the answers!
I really need to stop reading because I'm falling asleep but I am honestly enjoying this so much so far and I hope I can read more soon!
CMDC, round 2.
Hello! I do not think I've actually read any of your work before now. I'm very sorry about that! But I'm excited to read it now.
You threw me into the scene right away, I liked that. I also liked how tangible the wetness of the day was. Who can't imagie the feeling of wet socks? *shudders*
Also, Phaedra is an awesome MC name. It's super unique but also easy to pronounce. I feel bad for her boss, on the other hand. Imagine growing up with the last name "SLUG" across the back of your jersey :P
Ah, so Snape is a regular. Well, that makes sense, I suppose. He must go through mountains of potions ingredients. He seems like kind of an annoying customer, because he wants so much stuff and he's kind of demanding. But it was very nice of him to help clean up the slugs. I wonder how he'll become involved in this story. Hmm...
There is no relief so great as a break from a shift in the service industry. I loved how you described her as drab among all this vivid chaos. It makes me really want her to have an adventure, to find some sunshine and brightness, if you know what I mean? And the descriptions of the other people in the area was so rich and fun. All those details about them were so charming, and it also showed that this is a routine for Phaedra, who has seen these people many times.
Except the staring peddler. What is his deal? Mysterious!
Oh, I like Delilah! She seems nice.
Awesome detail about the goats in the back and needing to kill them (though you were gentle with us and avoided that word). Doesn't sound fun but I guess maybe with magic it isn't so bad?
Why doesn't Phaedra want to mentioned Snape? What is between them? I'm so curious! Also, fun detailfor Delilah to know him from school. Her comments about that were helpful because it set delilah's age at about 35, so that means Phaedra is about 30. Anyway, bless Delilah for picking up that shift so Phaedra can visit her mom.
Oh gosh, but visiting her mom really wasn' what I'd imagined. I know she's mentally ill but still - what a mean woman. I take it Genny is Phaedra's sister. I wonder why their mother so strongly prefers Genny, and also if Phaedra and Genny have a relationship. Heck, is Genny still alive? Their mom is clearly out of it, so she might not realize.
omg that last line! Phaedra is sick too? What illness is it? I take it it's magical? Is it hereditary? Is it secret? I have so many questions!
I really loved how you captured Phaedra's character in this. Even after 1 chapter, she feels like a real person to me. Between a service industry job and her mother's cruelty, it seem slike she keeps a lot of herlself under the surface, subdued, because letting out her thoughts doesn't pay off. I hope that will shift as the story continues.
I'm really intrigued! Well done, Jane!
Hi, I’m here for the CMDC, round #1
Phaedra is so cute with her little slip about Snape being there during the disaster. I wonder if she was trying to save his reputation (and in the process almost lose her job) or if she didn’t want to share such an intimate moment with other people. Either way, Deliah is definitely suspecting that she’s crushing. (Not that there's anything wrong with crushing on a man with such a sexy voice.)
The house was just plain eerie. I think I would rather meet some ghosts than those memories. The house was an interesting blend of inviting her back/accepting her ownership but scaring her away. It felt almost like the house was sentient, that is was needy or desperate. I look forward to learning more about the house, what happened in it and particularly about that laboratory. There is a fine line between genius and insane and I question if her father crossed over it, perhaps several times.
Having her observe the memories in the house, however, was a great way to use a flashback strategy that wasn’t actually a flashback. I think it would be a great scene in a movie, definitely thrilling to watch.
The scene with Snape (great name for a dive by the way) exemplifies his paranoia but also shows how the pair are becoming more connected to each other. I don’t know if it will be a friendship, romantic or just business, but they seemed to be well matched. She isn’t going to back down and he needs that.
Hi, I’m here for the CMDC, round #1
I love the little descriptions, like Snape always being exactly ten minutes late and describing her thrilling nervousness at his arrival.
Was that a bit of foreshadowing with the man lurking outside of the shop?
I’m assuming that this takes place during the fourth year? (based on Snape said he had had 13 years of quiet until this year.) Maybe he should get that blood from the Hungarian Horntail that chases Harry all over the place. She was even egg bearing.
I can see Snape getting enraptured with the dusty treasures, oblivious to everything around him including the wide eyed girl and the dangers of a certain book. The blind leading the blind scene was a nice blend of humor, fear and giddiness (at least on Phaedra’s part.)
Ah ha! A book about Dark Arts written by the mysterious Thoth whose name is on a golden leaf of paper in her dwelling. The plot thickens and I’m betting that book is the centerpiece.
Hector is so sweet in the library, saving a damsel in distress. He reminds me a bit of Joey from friends, great at acting, spur of the moment, but don’t ask him to do any deep thinking. Still he obviously has a heart of gold and I can definitely see the friendship developing.
Hi, I'm here for the CMDC review, round #1
I love the little bits of actions between dialogue. They always help keep the conversation interesting and you do this with aplomb. It’s amazing what you learn about a character based on just a simple line. For example: “Phaedra half stood to shake his hand which was soft and moist.” She’s uncomfortable and awkward in this situation. He’s ineffectual but she needs information out of him.
Her father suddenly got more interesting. Was he working for You-Know-Who? And as a muggleborn? That’s a dangerous position. Again I have more questions. What dark spells or potions was he working that would connect him with Voldemort and inflict such curses onto his wife and daughter? I love a good mystery and you have certainly set one up with the mysterious curse and a page for “Thoth” (which I looked up and is, evidently, not a word in the English language.)
Hector is so clueless that he’s adorable. I love the way he shook hands (uh elbows) and his self-deprecating humor. Well, you can’t help but root for the clueless sap (“Bless his heart.”) He’s a nice contrast in her life to her mother who seems to flourish in grief and spite. (Making me even more curious about what exactly her father did to them.)
Hi, I’m here for the CDMC review, round #1
First, great job setting the mood of the story and Phaedra’s life. The rain and the hole in her stocking really demonstrate how drab her life is plus how she’s trying so hard but barely holding on and I love the red-potato nose. This plus his name, Doctor Slug, an instant picture comes to my mind of her boss. (Do they have doctors in the wizarding world?)
Also, loved using the idea of seeing reflections to describe the store.
Severus Snape is my absolute favorite character in the HP series and you presented him well here with his taciturn manner. I was surprised that he stayed to help pick up the slugs. Helpfulness in such situations is not his normal forte. It makes me wonder if he respects her more than we realize. However, there is no doubt she merely sees him as a customer and that she isn’t one of those swooning giggling Lavender Browns for the scarab ruined handkerchief isn’t tucked away for further wooing. It means a more practical end.
Okay, maybe I was wrong. She was way to nonchalant when telling Deliah that Snape stopped by, but it sounds like she has other things to worry about.
You’ve done a great job introducing the characters and setting the scene and the end of the chapter was a great cliffhanger. When I watched her add the salve to her own skin, well, I have more questions than answers right now and that makes a great beginning.
Jaane! I’m here with a review for you <3 Happy holidays and excuse the random way I tend to review <3
Okay your start sounds like awful. Like, awful for the char. I mean, being soaked wet (which i can relate to bc im an idiot who refuses to use an umbrella) is annoying. Being soaked in your shoes - even worse. When theres a hole in your sock/panties/whatever, that just hurts and that all together is just one big mess of awfulness. I truly feel for her.
Oh what a joyous start she has too. Truly, splendid.
It’s good that she doesn’t notice the smell anymore though. It’d be awful if you didn’t get used to it.
Of course Snape has a usual day. Of course.
Did he have to do that?
Slugs can be shaken?
Yeah I’d burn that straight away too.
I truly love how you set the scene of all the merchants having lunch together, but also not. Like, they know everything about another yet they don’t converse in this setting, so you’re left wondering how they knew that, or whether it was gossip or something else.
DO YOU HAVE TO BREAK MY HEART ABOUT THE GOAT? DO YOU HAVE TO?
Sirius is innocent. So much hate. ‘Not improved’ it had.
Why is it getting difficult for her to apparate? Is she sick? WAIT DOES SHE HAVE THE SAME ILLNESS AS HER MUM? WHAT IS THE ILLNESS? WHAT’S GOING ON? Damnit, so many questions. And i keep feeling worse for her. It’s truly heartbreaking what she has to go through :( Great first chapter!
Jane! Back again -- I read this chapter with a big old smile on my face, it was weirdly great to see it on the archives after reading it as i did, haha. You know I love everything about this, but I shall proceed to expand anyway :’)
Firstly -- and I know I probably sound like a broken record -- I LOVE the relationship you’ve built between Phaedra and Snape. The two of them are so reserved but there’s always so much going on in the deeper currents of their conversations and I always love following along. I am so excited that they seem to have come to a tentative sort of truce -- both because it means that the two of them are, slowly and in their own way, opening up to the idea of trusting each other, and also because I’m sure their teamwork signals some very interesting plot developments around the corner. Power in numbers, and all that :P
Also, “the sandwich was fortifying, despite its lameness” remains one of my favourite sentences ever. The recurring motif of the sandwich is incredibly amusing to me and I love it XD
I can’t help feeling a little sorry for Phaedra’s mother even as I’m glad that Phae stood up to her and put a stop to the visits to the asylum. She was obviously so horribly affected by the curse, and it must have had an effect on the bitter, nasty person she’s become -- it’s awful that she’s almost gloating about Phaedra being cursed, about having to hate John Morley, but at the same time the last look we get of her, clutching those love letters, feels so tragic. You do such a good job of intertwining the two things, how she’s both despicable and pathetic. I am glad Phaedra won’t be visiting her any longer.
Not least because -- Hector! Haha, I’m sure you know I was extremely happy to see Phaedra go to him. She has a better living situation and a friend now! She’s moving on up in the world :’) I would try and isolate my favourite lines of Hector’s but I suspect that would only result in every piece of his dialogue being copied and pasted here, so I shall spare you :P Suffice it to say that I love his daffy character and his silly mannerisms and I am incredibly excited that he is Phaedra’s flatmate now because it means I will get to see more of him! :D
A marvellous chapter as usual, Jane -- so excited to see what comes next.
Jane! It’s been far too long since I’ve read or reviewed this fic, so the Rager was just the nudge I needed to come back to it :D
Haha, poor Phae, being caught out like that! Delilah didn’t seem terribly pleased at hearing about Snape’s presence, which is a little interesting to me. But she recovers pretty well -- I think I’m in agreement with Hector that Phae would’ve made a good Slytherin :P
Ugh, the section where she returns to her childhood home was really well done. You evoked the creepy old atmosphere of the place so well -- the detail about the lack of lock really creeped me out for some reason, haha! The pressing of the hand against the door and the way that the old house seems to recognise her -- I am baby, and I am scared. I’m pretty sure that sentient houses fall firmly into the category of creepy, in my defence. And then the encounter she had with the spirits! I love that you left it ambiguous as to whether the spirits were some strange effect of the house, magic lingering too long, or whether they were all in Phae’s imagination. And you did such a good job with the glimpse we got into her childhood! I really loved little Phae saying, “Nobody has anyone to play with” -- it feels so true to her current character, poor girl :’)
The encounter with the crone was fascinating, as well -- I’m so curious as to how all the (Muggle?) neighbours heard the news and how much they know about what happened. Enough to recognise Phaedra, evidently! And of course, she resolves to go back to the horrible house. I can only wish her good luck -- somehow I get the feeling that the house and whatever she encounters within is not quite something she can prepare for.
And now for a completely different setting -- you know how I love the Flying Dutchman! I love that Phae’s haunt is this sticky, seedy pub that’s been open for a hundred years. At least she’s self-aware about the sandwiches :P I am very curious about what brought Snape to the pub, and why he’s so secretive about it. Phae’s interactions with Snape are pitch-perfect, as always -- I always enjoy how you capture the prickliness of his character, haha. The initial rejection and then the reserved offer of help were perfect -- I love that Phae takes a tiny wrinkle in his brow as encouragement, it’s so emblematic of Snape’s constant reservation. And then their conversation was such a great example of shifting dynamics, the banter about the crocodile, the way she gets him to help her with the book issue -- and then that sudden shift when they get to the topic of John Morley, that sudden strain. I really enjoyed seeing Snape pressed, haha, and found it interesting that he either felt he couldn’t or simply didn’t want to deny it. Phae’s right -- the conversation changed their dynamic, and I for one am extremely excited to see where they go from here. I shall be back soon to see, and hopefully to ramble more at you!
I feel that if I quoted everything I liked, I'd be copy-pasting the entire chapter here, but let me at least try:
This room was furnished solely by a sofa (holey, hemorrhaging stuffing)
That whole section about her in her old house and the echoes of her sister's and her voices was perfectly creepy and I want more!
You write dialogue so well! It just flows and is funny at all the right moments. I particulary enjoyed Phaedra and Snape's interaction, Hector's dialogue with the librarian, and the following exchange:
I couldn't help from reading on, and unsolicited reviews are always nice, aren't they? :)
You seem very good at writing mystery/suspense, because you're giving up just enough but not too much. It's pretty clear to me already that you've put a lot of thought into where this story is going (or maybe you haven't and you're just a genius - who knows!)
Hector seems like great fun, and I really like that you are subverting the Slytherin stereotype with him. Being repeatedly attacked and maimed by books seems like a very JKR-esque thing to do.
The bequest of the wand of her deceased sister was very interesting, and I'm wondering whether that will become significant.
I like that you made Phaedra homeschooled. I think that's a good tactic to use when you want your character to not have any pre-existing familiarity with other canon characters. No idea whether that's why you did it, but anyway. :)
There's something very gothic about your writing and I'm really loving it. Maybe even a little Dickensian? Maybe I'm losing my mind. Maybe I've been drinking too much and haven't actually read Dickens since college. Anyway, point is, I'm liking the story!
Hi Jane! I'm here with your review!
This chapter is such a compelling start to this story and I look forward to reading on! You have a skill at giving us just enough pertinent information to give a picture of what's going on and starting to st up what the issues are, without giving too much away. Such as Phaedra's illness and family dynamic.
You're brilliant at setting a scene, and I love your descriptions. They are just enough and woven seamlessly into the narrative, and unexpected details like what she ate for lunch and the random beggar doffing his hat to her make a story like this next-level.
I really adore reading Snape, and I love your characterization of him so far, so I eagerly look forward to seeing more of him. I also really enjoyed the little tidbit about how Delilah was Snape's potions partner but mooned over Sirius. In general, with stories like these featuring OC's I lap up all those little moments that somehow tie the story back to the central cast of characters we know and love.
I really like your subtle humor, wry little moments like the women talking about what to give Billy for his last meal (omg, poor Billy - he knows it's his time! My heart.)
Also I really like how your chapters are titled with quotes from the respective chapters.
here to spread some holiday cheer!
I didn't even have to start reading this chapter to see the quality of your writing. The blurb caught my attention straight away as being something interesting and unique and after reading the chapter it only got better.
I love your writing style with this chapter. It feels so professional and stylish. the imagery that you feel and the details that you weave into the chapter is so good. I think it really adds an amazing quality to your writing that it's so rich and vivid. you're really talented at setting the scene and setting up your chapters. I can totally see Pheadra's surrounding.
you've used this first chapter to great effect and set up a few interesting threads that'll carry the plot forward. I think Beth has steered you right with the scene with Snape. I thought that it was very well written and in character for Snape. I'm going to be very interested to see how their relationship develops over the course of the story as we know he'll be part of it.
The story had an almost gothic edge to it which I like. I want to know whats going on with her mum. They seem to have such a strained relationship. There were a lot of tension in those scenes. Even if her mother is ill, she doesn't seem like the easiest people to interact with. I thought that the set up for the chapter ending was really interesting. It is a bit of cliffhanger as such but the end reveal that she is also suffering with this illness (curse?) is such a good tease for the following chapters!
I really enjoyed this chapter. It looks like you have lots of really cool ideas for this story and it is so well written that I'm sure we're all in for a treat!
Hi Jane! I’m here for our swap :D
I read through this chapter as soon as you posted it because I was dying to know who he was—if it was Snape or the other mysterious figure who has been stalking Phaedra. Although I guess that other guy wears a top-hat—not the sort of thing that one can fit under the hood of a cloak. Which would mean that Snape is the one waffling at the beginning of chapter five, wondering if he should go in and talk to Phaedra or not. That’s my guess anyway.
Oh the tension in this scene at S&J. Phaedra’s all alone with a (cough) former Death Eater. She knows he’s a liar now and he’s been way worse in his day. I love that she gets her wand out right away—even though I shudder to think what a duel between the two of them would mean for her—in her cursed state I doubt it would go very well.
The ashwinder eggs—is he brewing Felix Felicis? Is he already talking to Horace? Or are we talking love spells here? Either way, it seems like a lame excuse. It seems to me that talking to Phaedra is is real reason for being here today. In this chapter I think we’re seeing a little more of what’s going on in Snape’s head (from the outside of course) and I’d say that he is very aware that Phaedra is a female. I almost wonder if he was showing off when he foolishly opened the cursed book earlier in the story—trying to get her attention and show off how smart and talented he is. I’m not surprised that he realized that she was cursed right away the first time he met her and I like the way he calls her out now.
This moment where they both reveal (at least some) of their secrets is so tense and well written! You can cut the tension with a knife it’s so thick—I loved it—the drama of the slow undoing of the buttons—first his then hers—revealing their secrets in this uncomfortable parody of a strip-tease—very well done.
I can only imagine what’s going to happen when Phaedra finds out that You-Know-Who isn’t dead and that Snape is a CURRENT Death Eater (sort of)…
Nice work getting out the need-to-know bits of Phaedra’s past. What a shame that her Dad caused so much harm to his family. Also good job using the sandwich bit to interrupt the tension with a little bit of humor. I’m glad that Phaedra finally ate something too :P
Their handshake sealing the deal of their uneasy alliance was perfect.
This next scene with Phaedra and her mother really got to me. I want to believe that Mrs. Morley was different before she became ill. And she’s been ill so long that her mind has obviously been affected. And, like people who feel like they have no hope, Mrs. Morley is nasty to Phaedra—even though all Phaedra has been the epitome of the dutiful daughter. It seems to me that Mrs. Morley is trying to get Phaedra to hate her—is trying to push her away on purpose.
It’s probably for the best that Phaedra decides not to see her anymore. And I was so very happy to see Phaedra abandon her lonely flat and go to the one person who can give her what she needs now—Hector.
I ADORE Hector—I know I keep saying that—but I wish he were my friend. I also love raisin bread. I digress.
Hector’s flat is everything I hoped it would be. The disorder—the gramaphone—the music—the experiments—all of it. And the easy repartee between Hector and Phaedra is to die for—and just the thing to balance the dramatic and angsty relationship between Phaedra and Snape. I thought it was very touching that Hector had already added Phaedra’s name to the address on the door by the next morning. I get the feeling that he likes her and is perhaps happy to have a friend who doesn’t hate him.
I’m so thrilled that Phaedra is gathering some forces around her!! It gives me a fuzzy feeling to know she’s not alone anymore. Great update! Really fine work!
It's been a little while *hides* so I read over my previous reviews to jog my memory, and everything amazing about this story came back to me and I'm really, really excited to be back reading this wonderful story!
Descriptions are done really well here, you have such a talent for them. And I don't just mean the showing of the apothecary's but also within the scene itself. This story is so vivid in my mind, which makes it strong and memorable!
Hm, we've got a bit of a blood purity clue, I wonder if this will be important later...
The librarian is hilarious. I love how even your background characters feel so alive. And clues, clues, clues! I love the development with the book and finding out who loaned it last! And having such a light, amusing scene follow the rather dark and serious one with Snape before is a really nice balance. I went from feeling tense to relaxed :P
I love how some of the elements in this chapter are inspired by real people and places! It must be what makes it so vivid and alive and a joy to read :)