Isobel! It probably won't surprise you that Laura was the one who reminded me that I need to read more of your writing, so here I am. I picked this one out because the characters seemed so intriguing!
Do I need to tell you that this was beautiful? Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyway. This was beautiful. It was so lovely to read some of your work again because your writing style is just so wonderful and easy to read, and the description that you manage to lace in throughout the story is brilliant. It's so evocative and conjures up some really vivid images in my mind as I read.
The characters are so fascinating in this piece as well! I actually really want to get the chance to read more about them - I know that you said this is connected to The Skull Beneath the Skin and I have to get to that at some point, but the characters seemed so well developed and interesting. I loved the fact that you chose to focus on characters who were on the "wrong" side of the war. It's so unusual to really see these characters explored, especially in the fact that they're not canon characters who we see in the books.
I found myself sympathising with Hortensia quite a bit, here. It was actually really interesting the way that she was on the side of the Death Eaters, in a sense, but she hadn't really participated properly in their activities. It's that kind of apathy, the fact that she was looking the other way and happy to benefit from the Dark Lord's activities, too. Then it was so interesting the way that she'd marked the time - they all had - with ideas of what they'd do when the Dark Lord won; it highlights that confidence they all had in their side and maybe even shows that they had further to fall when it was lost?
I can't imagine almost everyone I know being dead or in prison at that age, as a result of the war that people were dragged into - especially the young people. I know it's a small detail but it created this really stark sense of the world that she's been left in.
It felt very realistic that she'd kind of want to go back to the war, when it felt like her side were on top of things and her future seemed very different.
I was so intrigued by the mentions of Lys, and Thalia's appearance! Everything seemed to move quite quickly from there but I loved the ending, and the fact that she decided that she couldn't go through with this wedding that only really felt like a puppet show anyway. My only complaint is that there's not more of this story :P The ending was great but I think now I'm going to have to read more about these characters, aren't I?
I'm here to review your New Beginnings challenge entry! And yaaasss you've given me more naughty Slytherins! This what I love about your characters; they give us an insight into things we've probably never thought of before.
So this is fantastic - that the Death Eaters were so sure of themselves and their victory (because why wouldn't they be?) only to have it ripped out from under them, and then left to pick up the pieces. I love Hortensia's POV, how she wasn't actively engaging in any of the Death Eater activities, but she loved someone who was.
But, oh, what a relationship! She was so close to being stuck in it forever, so it's a happy(ish) ending that she did the right thing for her. I hope she goes out to find her Lys love. I do find myself wanting to know more about Hortensia though. Her being an Avery and a Seer are just too cool for a one-shot.
Your writing is as flawless and gorgeous as ever.
Thanks so much for your entry, Isobel, and good luck in the challenge! :D x
Hey Isobel! Here with your review :]
Okay, so first of all, it's seriously impressive that you wrote this in under 24 hours. Your descriptions and langauge are so wonderful, and I got sucked in right away and had to keep reading.
I love that you chose to look at the Death Eaters after the war. The last line of the first paragraph was jarring, but in a good way; it made me say "what" and was more of what hooked me in than the first line. I also loved that we got a really good sense of who Hortensia was while being inside of her head, and I don't think not saying her name changes anything. That way, it really felt like we were in her mind, reading her thoughts.
I also loved how she made the decision not to marry him. From her line of thinking, it definitely felt more of an obligation, although I do believe that they may have loved each other at one point. But the war changes everyone, and I also enjoyed (trying to not keep saying the word "love") the line about how there was a part of her that wished they were still in the war, or something along those lines. It felt very true to the fiance of a Death Eater to me.
In terms of jumping between reality and memory: the second half was very well done, when Thalia came into the room. I liked the ease of their relationship and everything felt natural, despite the fact that they hadn't been alone together in so long. Thalia being there even gave us more glimpses of Hortensia's character. In the first half, it wasn't quite clear; it felt more like we were just getting into her mindset (again, which I loved). I think my only bit of CC here would be to give her actions - unless you did and I skipped over them, then maybe just make it a little clearer, like rain hitting along the windows or something along those lines.
AND THAT ENDING THOUGH. Okay, so I was totally rooting for her to not marry him and I'm so glad she had the courage to tell him, but the ending begs MORE! I want to know how he reacted and what everyone thought! So if you were planning on leaving this on a cliffhanger, seriously well done there. The end was fast-paced to read, specifically from when Thalia came in, but it didn't feel rushed or anything like that. :)
Overall I sincerely enjoyed reading this. Excellent job! Thanks for sharing.