I love tres leches. Sorry, had to start with that. I just love it very much, so thank you for including that and all the yummy food in this. Your descriptions are wonderful, and everything just comes to life.
I love the world-building you're doing in this story. I absolutely love Isabella, and I can't wait to see what she's going to think of a magical school. I can't wait to see the school as well, and I am sure it will be just as wonderful as the rest of this. This chapter was such a perfect look into her life and family and I'm sure that she'll miss them very much when she heads off to school.
I'm curious about the school itself, mostly because I am that person who loves hearing about new settings. I'm excited that we'll explore it with Isabella, and I'm curious how it will be, seeing as it'll be in Mexico City. Hogwarts was a bit isolated from everything, and I have a feeling that this school will be a bit different.
Thank you for writing this lovely story! I read the earlier chapters before, and I was browsing when I saw it had been updated. I'm definitely going to be a regular reader.
Hi Kaitlin! Here for CMDC round 2!
Aha, so it was exactly like Hagrid! You know, even as I typed that in my previous review, I was thinking to myself, But isabella’s family doesn’t seem at all like the Dursleys… but there is a definite parallel, even though her father’s reasons for keeping it from her are infinitely more sympathetic than the Dursleys. What an awful, sad story about her father’s past, and so plausible a reason why he would have kept this from her. I’m curious whether his wife knew about the magic? She doesn’t seem so terribly shocked to learn about the magic; rather, she seems upset at the prospect of Isabella going off to school, like perhaps maybe she knew about the magic but it was their agreement that the kids would never know?
And we see that, as dutiful and content as Isabella seems to be, she must have an adventurous spirit, because she’s eager for this new opportunity. And she certainly is not having any of this, adults arguing over decisions she feels she should make for herself.
I think it’s interesting that up to this point in her life she’s never shown any indications of magic. Maybe over time she’ll think back to odd things that happened and put the pieces together?
I’m really enjoying this and looking forward to seeing where this takes Isabella!
Thank you so much for this lovely review! You're spot on with your comparison to Hagrid. Actually, this whole story will have a parallel timeline to Harry Potter, however, the events will be completely different due to the location. My goal is to sort of mirror the timing of things and use some inspiration from The Sorcerer's Stone.
Ah, but I haven't really confirmed one way or another that Isabella hasn't done magic. I just haven't shown it either. As the chapters about school get written, we'll see a bit more reflection on her life.
Thank you again!
Hi Kaitlin! Here for CMDC round 2!
I’ve heard much about this story and saw you posted an update so here I am!
Isabella strikes me as a conscientious sort of girl. I appreciated the slow, thoughtful start to this story featuring what this day looks like for her, a little glimpse into her daily life and family. Your imagery in this chapter is beautiful. She seems content in her life but also with that bit of trepidation that comes from becoming older, especially with a landmark birthday where you’re told that everything suddenly is supposed to change. From that perspective, her observations of the valley, all the details she notices, feels like she’s trying to hold on to something.
Not knowing yet where exactly this story is going, but having some inkling because we know it’s about the magic world, I have to say that this scene at the end with the old lady breaking in through the doorway is reminiscent of Hagrid busting down the door to inform Harry he’s a wizard! I look forward to seeing what’s going on.
Nice first chapter!
Kaitlin! I saw that you've finally been inspired to write again and I was so happy that you've updated Isabella!
I think the aspect of this story that struck me the most is how wonderful your descriptions were again in this chapter. You really play with all the senses, conjuring up wonderful visual images of the surroundings. The snatches of song that you included meant that it felt like I could almost hear the family singing together. And of course, the food. Honestly - I get the feeling that I'm never going to succeed in reading a chapter of this story without wanting to eat (I am now, you'll be pleased to know, snacking, and I think it's entirely your fault). You just manage to paint such vivid and rich pictures of each scene by drawing on all those elements and really showcasing the wonderful culture in this area of Mexico, and it's such a joy to read.
I really felt for Isabella at the beginning of this chapter - the fear when she came home and couldn't hear any noises, so different to what her house is normally like, and then began to panic that her mum had abandoned her. While it's understandable that she'd have those fears, given her mum's reaction to the news (not that it's exactly easy to process, particularly if your husband has hidden it from you), it's really heartbreaking that she would think that.
But I'm so glad that you took us (and Isabella, of course) from that low to a wonderful birthday celebration, with all of her family around and plenty of mouthwatering food. I'm so glad that she got the chance to spend some time with her relatives before she has to go away to school, and I thought you captured that sense of family so brilliantly in that scene. It felt really joyous and loving.
The final scene was one of my favourites so far, I think. It's really mature of Isabella to be able to respect her father's decision not to talk about magic, especially when she's so young, but I'm glad that he brought himself to talk about it. After all, it means so much to her, and she's the one who has to go away to a new city and a new school, all to discover a new life that she had no idea she was going to lead until very recently. It felt like a really special moment between Isabella and her father and I'm so pleased that they had that.
And next chapter, Isabella goes to school! I'm so excited to see how you've imagined the magical school there, and of course (inevitably) to read more descriptions of the incredible food!
I like in the first section when it really focus on Isabella's senses. I think she knows her family well enough to know that silence is a surprise. I'm rather happy that they were just in the backyard for the party and nothing else too sinister.
I really love that her family dynamic because they feel so realistic like the line about needing to get a man and that type of thing is really such a true family thing like honestly I don't know how nosy family members say things like that and think that's ok. The social norms go out of the way in a family setting. :P I like that her family seem close so I'm sure it's going to be tough for Isabella to see the changes now that her mother is lying to most of them.
I love the descriptions of food that run throughout this story. I think being an chef is such a advantage in getting those descriptions to be so real and vivid. The whole party scene is really well written, you've totally written this fantastic atmosphere between the family with the food, singing and fun. I think it's a powerful moment when it really hits her that she will be leaving and things will be different for her.
Oh gosh, the bond with her father is adorable. They have such a bond over Isabella being magical. I think they probably had in before they knew too. I think just all the dialogue in that last section was really beautiful written and just what Isabella needed to hear from him. I can't wait to see how Isabella is going to cope going to school now you've set up some really strong family ties for her even if her mother has chosen not to tell her extended family the truth about her ability. I'm sure that'll all come to a head in a while.
I can't wait to see what is going to come next. This story is totally picking up a gear soon in the coming chapters. You'll really teased it! Exciting!
I'm back again because I think Isabella was calling me to learn more about her story and I'm excited! I thought this chapter was really good, I love how much you are revealing more information as you go. It all seems quite natural and not too overwhelming or information dump on the reader. It's a good balance between 'getting meaty' as you put it and smooth.
I'm not familiar with Mexico so I wasn't sure how much of the scenery is from real places/things but what is your imagination/adaption. I love how you put some clarity on that in the authors note. I think you've done a wonderful job at describing those places that you know. It came across as really vivid, I love the descriptions particularly about how Isabella finds herself at wonder again and again. I think it's good when you know about a subject that you can really get behind that and write about so passionately as you do in this story. It's obviously really special for you.
The whole thing about the wands was so awesome. I love how they have carvings on and then they have gems in them, they sound so beautiful. I just loved the story about the tree that she was told at the wand shop. I really makes me so interested to see what is going to be like when Isabella gets to school. If she is special then what does that mean? how is it going to affect her? There are just so many interesting threads that you're weaving in these starting chapters, I'm loving this story so far. Very unique and creative!
KAITLIN IT'S FINALLY HERE! THE FOURTH CHAPTER!
I cannot get over your description in this story. From the hearty aromas to the festive melodies to the flowing movements of dancing, it truly feels like I am experiencing Isabella's 13th birthday celebration with her family. Your writing style enables me to be totally swept up in this world, almost like I am inserted into a really complex but really good dream and I can take time to focus on certain fascintasical elements before advancing the plot.
I can totally see how Isabella has that moment of panic in the beginning. It must be a shock to find out that your partner and father of your children has this hidden secret aspect of his life, which also affects your children. But I am just as relieved as Isabella to find out that her mother is only in the back garden with a bunch of relatives for her birthday party!
The interactions between Isabella's family is amazing to read. Even though we meet a bunch of new characters in this chapter, the way you present them makes it blatantly obvious that these are relationships rich with complexities and years of endearment and love. My favorite interaction is tia Carla's comment about Isabella's skinniness being a turn off to boys. Isabella's retort about her not being in a market for a boy is 10/10 CLAP BACK PERFECTION. You go, Isabella!
And then we get to the closing scene with Isabella and her father. Finally. This is what her departure from home has been building up to. Her father has a lot to account for. Yes, he has his good reasons as to why he gave up magic, but he's also Isabella's father and allowing her, guiding her, to go into this new magical world. It's a terrifying venture for anyone! The small ways the pair of them communicate truly speaks to their depth of their love for each other. And his piece of advice is so encouraging and steadfast. In this new world, I am sure that it will be easy for Isabella to get swept up into its rules and discoveries, and losing her sense of self might cause her great distress. I do hope that she'll remember her father's words throughout her upcoming school year.
Kaitlin, I love this story so much (in case you already didn't know, lol). It's so creative and gorgeously written. I love how you include the translation and cultural notes at the end. It adds so many layers to your well developed world, breathing life into your descriptions and characters. I so look forward to what's coming next!
Some things I'd like to see in the magical world of Mexico: sweets, games (like Quidditch or Exploding Snap), school subjects, school organization (do they have Houses like Hogwarts?), indigenous Mexican magical creatures, any magical traditions.
Is it too broad to say: everything? lol I cannot wait to get lost in this wonderful, wonderful world!
PS Now I really want some tres leches cake!
Oh, I'm so interested by this chapter. It's a story about someone going to a magical school like a lot of stories are but the setting and the characters are making things your own is amazing. I loved the details in this chapter, how it starts straight from the cliffhanger with the old lady. I'm instantly hooked on the story and wanting to know what happens next. The old lady is really mysterious. You've weaved some really brilliant threads through the old ladies tale.
I think you've played Isabella's confusion really well throughout the chapter. It is a lot to take in and I really got the vibes from what Harry first gets told his letter/magic. I really enjoyed those parallels between the two. I think it's really cool the changes that you've made for Mexican magical system like schools being thirteen and not eleven to create your own worldbuilding here. I'm so impressed with how you weaved the culture into this piece, it seems so natural too. It just all fits together and you haven't stuck random 'Mexican' sounding things in. You've thought carefully about your narrative. I know you're really familiar with the culture. It's really cool for me because I don't really know anything and having fic that I can also learn from is something I really enjoy.
I feel so sorry for Isabella's father. It was so emotional when he tells the story about why he doesn't do magic. It's so horrible to think that wizards can go through that type of thing (I guess that any human has to go through things like that really!). He seems really sweet and wanted to protect his family because it's obviously so important to him. Isabella is lucky to have a family like she does. I feel sad about her mother though that she isn't so supportive but it must have been a big shock.
I love Isabella's character because she is so spunky and bold. She feels like a Gryffindor but I know she isn't going to hogwarts. I loved the speech at the end about doing all the things that she has dreamed of and wanting to take chances. It was so beautifully written. This is such a interesting chapter and it makes so excited for more about I can't wait to see what is going to happen and what lies in wait for Isabella. Great job!
CMDC, round 2
oh no. I cannot believe she forgot about the party! I really can't blame her parents for being upset, yikes. Honestly, I think Isabella got off lightly here. I'm glad tio eduardo was there to help ease the tension.
The parts sounds phenomenal, anyways. Again, you have me at your mercy with the food descriptions. ¡Que rico! I also enjoyed all the cultural nuggets you wove in, like the toast and the birthday song. I didn't know either of those and it was really fun. (Of course there has to be that one auntie who is always up in your business haha) You were clever to follow up the trip to el mercado with the party in such quick succession, because it makes the stakes feel really high. We know exactly what she's losing no matter what she picks.
I'm glad her parents calm down. It would be terrible to leave for a year with your family mad at you.
The last section is maybe my favorite scene in the story so far. These are the conversations they could have been having for years. It's too little too late, but it's still really nice. And it's fascinating to get those little teases of what lies in store. I know hogwarts is supposed to have great food, but i would definitely prefer mexican everyday over english pub fare, haha. Sounds amazing!
Another great chapter. I really hope you continue this. I really want to read it!
Back again for the CMDC round 2.
Her parents both need to get over it and remember that it effects her life most of all. I mean, I do understand why they're upset but it isn't fair for Rosa to blame Isabella. None of it is her fault! And dwelling on the past does no good, in the case of her father.
oooh, I am so ready for el mercado de las brujas! Also, I'm excited it's at templo de santa domingo! It didn't occur to me before I started the story that there might be references to places I've actually been. That's so fun - and I do think you described it perfectly.
Aw, Marisol is so sweet to lend her money. I hope her dad really is willing to reimburse her, because otherwise that could get awkward. :P
The entire scene with the wands was SO interesting! I feel like wandcrafting is a profession that would draw eccentric characters, and Julio does seem a little bit odd. I'm interested in his freindship with Juan. It doesn't seem like he knows that Juan has been living without magic, but he aso didn't act surprised when Isabella said that she's shaken up about magic, which without context doesn't make sense. So that's interesting.
Your version of wands is so cool!! I like how the wands are tied to the land and the people of mexico. It was surrising that Isabella's wand was carved for the Zapotec people rather than the Aztecs. My theory is that her mother is zapoteca, even if the magic comes from her father's aztec side.
Also, omg, using wood from a branch of El Tule was a stroke of genius! And a quetzal bird feather for the core! I ADORE how your adapting the potterverse we know to fit this rich culture. I wonder what other cores they use, and if they are different from ollivander's wand? Now, the amythyst aspect of the wand really interest me because it seems the most different from wands as I"ve imagined them. It sounds beautiful. And being marked for clarity and problem solving sounds amazing. I don't think I'd get that one :P
oh my fucking god. your description of the tacos. i am so envious of isabella right now, they sound DELICIOUS.
Her nerves are endearing. Of course she's nervous, because who wouldn't be. But somehow I found it very sweet. I'm glad Doña Marisol was there to comfort her and reassure her that lots of students will be in a similar situation. I am also immensely curious about the school, and about life for magical families in mexico.
This reminds me, I think you said the DF school is the closest one in Mexico for her, which made me wonder where else in the country you imagine there being a magic school?
Here for CMDC round 2
OOOOH HERE WE GO!
I knew this was going to be good, but it was even more drama than anticipated. I assumed Isabella was Muggleborn and I was totally unprepared for her dad to have magical secrets of his own. I can't imagine what it would be like to hide such an important part of yourself for so many years. I can understand why he did it, though. What happened to his sister is truly terrible.Anyone would be deeply scarred by that. Still, I think it was a mistake for him to keep something so important hidden.
On that note, the mother's reaction at learning about magic is both sad and believable. I always think it's a miracle any muggleborns make it to hogwarts because the revelation of magicis is just so outside the realm of what we believe to be possible. I hope she comes around after the initial shock wears off.
One of my favorite things about this story is how many parallels and contrasts I'm seeing between this story and the original books.
- a halfblood not knowing about magic
- a boom, boom, boom on the door
- at the stroke of midnight
- on the main character's birthday
- not to mentioned the door getting knocked in
- the accidental death of a beloved sister as the result of confrontational magic
- a family descended from a famous powerful wizard
I am really curious about Aztec magic and how you imagine it being different from magic in the UK, or if it's the same. How has that magic been impacted by spanish imperialism and gennocide? How was magically traditionally learned? Modern western-style schools came with the invaders, if i'm not mistaken - but of course the magical community could have done anything and a mere muggle like me wouldn't know :P
I loved that Isabella showed her own fire and passion in this chapter. I didn't feel like I knew her yet in the last chapter, but the moment of her outburst - which those adults totally deserved- shows a determined, daring spirit. I can't wait to get to her her better!
Absolutely loving this <3
CMDC Round 2
Hello Kaitlin! <3
I really thought I'd already reviewed at least the first chapter of this, but I guess I hadn't. But I'm very excited to review it now!
The setting in this chapter is so beautiful. I want to be right there next to Isabella. Even though I didn't spent time in the paisaje oaxaqueño outside of the city and the beach, your description makes it so easy to imagine. You've really capitalized on sensory detail, and i can feel the air and smell the dampness coming on a cool breeze, which is honestly remarkable. You also make this place seem very safe, especially with the line about the Sierra Madre as protectors. It's the perfect starting location - a safe home to venture out from and return to, like the Shire.
There is also a timeless air to this chapter. I can't say whether it takes place in 1800 or 2000. While there's no mention of modern technology, there is nothing that's couldn't happen now, either. I enjoyed that effect. It makes the story feel almost like a fairy tale.
Isabella impressed me with her diligence caring for the horse, and attending to her work. At not quite 13, not everyone is so responsible. She also seems very kind and loving, and you've captured the essence of a loving family her. Her mamá working hard to make mole negro, her father having ordered the cake. It's such a contrast from our first moments with Harry, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy insider seeing it in contrast to that.
I suspect both her mother and the old lady are correct, and this year will both begin her journey toward adulthood AND uproot her from all she knows. Howver, even though I had this thought when the old lady was first mentioned, I was caught off gaurd by her attack on the door! haha! (I think maybe i've already read this, ages ago, so I might be cheating, but) three guesses as to why she's there :P
I hope Isabella is about to learn about magic. This is very exciting!
This story really is beautiful, Kaitlin.
I am back! (Really sad that it’s the last chapter for now though—please write more! This is such a stunning story!)
You said in your author’s note that the cultural descriptions might have gotten a little meaty, but I genuinely thought they were really, really good. I loved the richness of the backstory (especially of the ancient tree), and the beautiful descriptions of the church and the food (those tacos made my mouth water, seriously) and everything! I love especially when authors imagine the cultural differences between the magical norms of Great Britain and other nations, and I think you’ve done a wonderful job here, especially in your focus on the wands. There are so many more elements to each wand than we’re used to, so learning about each of them and the significance of the different parts was just so much fun.
I’m wondering how you select words that remain in Spanish for the story! Evidently all the characters are speaking Spanish always, and I think it makes sense to keep like prefixes to names—Don, for instance—as well as other personal addresses, like mija, and proper nouns, like Mercado de las Brujas. For other words, though, do you have a process for selecting which ones are kept in Spanish? I’m really curious about this! :P
Poor Juan Carlos, though, omg. Clearly he and Rosa are in a bit of a rough patch right now, which I hope can be amended! It would honestly be horrible if Rosa left the family just because of this—I mean, just because there’s a stranger history than she ever could have imagined doesn’t mean that suddenly her family is comprised of entirely different people, right? I REALLY HOPE EVERYTHING GETS FIXED AH.
I think you did a beautiful job this chapter with describing everything that Isabella sees! It just occurred to me that I don’t know what time period this story takes place in, which actually feels really nice because it kind of removes it from the Harry Potter timeline. I wonder what her destiny is to be? Does she have a Voldemort-esque figure arriving to disrupt the next many years of her life?
I love this story so much! I hope you continue writing more of it! <3
Hi hi! Since you’re not asking for any gifts yourself in the gift-giving event, I thought I would review the rest of Isabella! <3
AND THIS STORY CONTINUES BEING SO GOOD. I don’t think I mentioned this last review, but I really love the uniqueness of your story. Because Jo hasn’t really specified much about any schools apart from Hogwarts or Ilvermorny, this honestly reads so much like an OF—an OF that I am 200% here for! I love the authenticity of it; I know you’ve traveled a lot, and that you’re also a chef, and I honestly love your descriptions of the food and language and culture here. So I really, really appreciate the diverse characters you have, and I think that Mexico was a beautiful location to write about, and really just the existence of this story makes me feel very, very happy!
The reveal of Isabella’s magical abilities was just incredible. Somehow, I did not see it coming, even though I perhaps should have figured it out, haha. But I thought that the mystique surrounding Marisol and the knocked-down door was executed perfectly, and made it very very exciting to read about.
Juan Carlos’s story was so so heartbreaking! It reminded me of Dumbledore’s tale. I thought that his reasons for staying away from magic were perfectly legitimate—it’s horrible, the way his sister died. It’s not his fault for being so angry that the neighborhood boys were mistreating his sister and wanting to defend her, but I can definitely understand why that really messy scenario would have turned him away from using magic later on. It happened when he was really, really young, wow. So it’s been a long time since he’s used magic, then.
I do feel kind of bad for Rosa, though! I mean, this is such a shocking thing to discover more than a decade into a relationship with someone, though perhaps her reaction could have been a little more tolerant haha. Not a fan of the whole “devilry” talk, I gotta say. :P But to be angry about the silence and non-communication on the subject beforehand, I think is fair. I would also probably be angry, simply because it would feel like such a betrayal of the person you knew! Like, I wonder how many times he’s had to lie when he’s told her about his past?
I’m so excited to see where this story goes! Isabella is such a wonderful character—I loved the way she stood up for herself at the end there, and I am incredibly excited to see how she handles going off to school on her own. I’m a little curious about her magical abilities, because it doesn’t seem like she’s had any outbursts of magic like her father had when he was younger, so perhaps she’s a little calmer, better controlled than him? I love the family history of the Aztec lineage, and I wonder where Marisol fits into that. :P
Another wonderful chapter! <3
HAPPY HOLIDAYS KAITLIN. I’m here for our super-secret December review swap!
This is just the most exquisite beginning. Throughout this entire chapter, my senses were just so engaged! I loved the descriptions of the wind, which is one of my favorite elements—while reading the opening paragraphs, I could just imagine that rough feeling of the wind brushing past the face, and seeing the ripples of the wind within the grass. You described it in such a way that I almost felt like I could breathe in and smell the cleanliness of the world.
You know that kind of achy feeling that happens sometimes when you imagine something so beautiful that you’ll never be able to see? I feel like that’s what you’ve done with the opening to this story, especially with your masterful inclusion of senses other than sight, which I really, really appreciate.
I loved reading about the way Isabella interacted with the horse and cattle—it was all so quiet and peaceful, the way a routine usually is. Except, it felt almost meditative, simply because of how much Isabella I think appreciates the animas around her. I don’t know the first thing about riding horses, but I loved the way you described it! I could practically feel Isabella’s love for her horse, and the moment when she kissed him on the nose was just the most wholesome thing. I think your descriptions of her tasks in this first chapter really emphasize how comfortable she is doing all of it—this is her life, and she’s had years and years of practice handling cattle, which I could probably never do. :P
Something else that I absolutely love is how you incorporated food into your fic! I mean, obviously you know food well, but the way you described the mole made my mouth water. I learned about mole in Spanish class in school, but I never really got to experience it personally, so I feel like this story has brought me as close as I could’ve gotten to trying it myself. It sounds just absolutely delectable.
BUT WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THIS OMINOUS OLD WOMAN? Why is she banging on Isabella’s door?? You transported me to such a surreal, beautiful world that I almost forgot it was in the Harry Potter world, haha, so perhaps it has something to do with her magic??
THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL OPENING. <3
Hello, Kaitlin, my love! Happy holidays! :)
I know, I know... you didn't ask anything for yourself in your wishlist, but I think you deserve to get some love for yourself, so... Also, I was curious to read more of this story! :)
Looks like I wasn't wrong, and thirteen is the age when Mexican kids start school, and Marisol was there to reveal Isabella about magic... (Side note: I love the name Marisol, it's really beautiful!)
I can't blame Juan Carlos for hiding everything from his family... his backstory is so tragic and painful... the things people can do to other people when they can't understand something... it's just awful, but so real too! :(
At the same time, I can understand why Isabella's mother would have that reaction. It's a really big secret to keep from your own wife, she must've felt so betrayed... I really hope this won't break their marriage and that Rosa will forgive her husband... maybe not immediately, but...
And I was so rooting for Isabella when she spoke her mind! It is her life, after all, and she does have the right to express her will on it! It's all so new and exciting for her, I can't wait to see what adventures await her at school!
You really wrote the whole sequence so well, everyone's reactions felt just right for the situation and I loved the tension you created and all the emotions you showed in everyone. I especially "loved" (although love is probably not the best word) Juan Carlo's tale and his breakdown. It's such a heavy thing and I can imagine how much it must have affected him even after so much time... the guilt he must've felt... you showed that all very effectively!
Great job! This story is so original and your writing is always so good!
Snowball hug, and happy holidays again!
Hi, Kaitlin, my dear! <3
I'm here for our swap-that-never-really-happened! I promised you I would check out this story, so here I am! ;)
As always, your passion for food and cooking comes through so strongly! :P The description of Isabella's mother making the mole was just so good, I loved it so much!
Actually, I think your descriptions in general through the chapter were stunning! The whole imagery of the field, the mountains, the coming storm... it was all so good! I'm sure I've told you already in the past... you are a brilliant writer!
So, is the old woman from down the street a witch, and is she there to introduce Isabella into the magical world? This is how I'm interpreting it, although I might be way off base here. I'm still wondering what the whole 13 is unlucky meaning is... I'm so curious about where you are headed with this story...
This was such a great first chapter, and I'm excited to find out more! Hopefully I'll have a chance to stop by again soon! Wonderful job! Your writing is just stunning!
Kaitlin!!! Going to declare RvG now.
So I meant to do this review later (as in another day), but I really couldn't stop thinking about what was going to happen next, so I figured if I couldn't resist the temptation, might as well fall for it!
And I am glad for my weak will power because this chapter is SO WORTH IT!
It was like reading the wizarding world for the very first time. I loved going on the adventure with Marisol and Isabella. I really wanted to tell Marisol to SLOW DOWN, so Isabella (and I) could thoroughly inspect every detail of this magical, magical place. I absolutely love that the entrance to Mercado De Las Brujas is at the church. When I think of witchcraft, I do not think of it pairing well with the Church. I love, love, love how you juxtaposed them together. I can only imagine what the Mexican witches and wizards did to get a secret entrance to the market. A dangerous but thrilling tale, I bet!
And once we're there... to the wand shop! It's incredible how you adapted JKR's concept of a wand to Mexico. I love the carvings, the cores, and the gems!!! I think that Isabella's wand is PERFECT for her. It's a great way to world build and to characterize. I kinda want one of my own now, ahaha. Anyway, back to Isabella: I wonder how she is special? And if her newly unearthed lineage to the Zapotecs will mean anything significant in the future?
See what you did there? In one swoop, you answered questions (what the wizarding world is like in Mexico) but then left a large abyss of more questions! That is brilliant, Kaitlin. You're such a fantastic writer!
Your author's note said that you hope to update this weekly... well, I know you're working on other amazing projects (TNGA for starters), but I look forward to the day where you update this fic again, too! :D I'll be back on your AP very, very soon. Well done!
Kaitlin! Here for RvG (double points) and the story.
AHHHH. This chapter was everything that I hoped it would be--and MORE. Marisol is such an excellent character. I want to sit in her home and listen to her stories and try to solve her riddles.
Juan Carlos: his story is SO tragic. I was holding back tears. I can only imagine the fear and the terror and the heartbreak and the guilt. What an awful, awful situation. But from I know of more modern day Mexican history, I am not surprised that something like this occurred when he was a teenager. I totally get why he tried to put magic behind him and why he's so hesitant to let Isabella go away to school. Also, I was totally expecting Isabella to be Muggle born (or whatever the Mexican equivalent is for that), so this heritage has been a pleasant surprise! I am so curious to learn more about the Aztec magic and of this world you've built!
Isabella: she is so curious and a little cautious but overall she knows that this opportunity to learn magic is too good to pass up. I love how she advocates for herself, how she calls out the adults for arguing over HER future when it is, in fact, HER future. I see a lot of strength from her--in addition to her endearing child-like wonder and how caring she is (putting her younger siblings to bed while the adults bicker, what a sweetheart). I am such a fan of her, and I cannot wait to learn more about her and her upcoming adventures!
I also like how you sprinkle in Spanish words in the narrative. They give the story an authentic breath and really tie your story together. I will get to reviewing the third chapter, TNGA, and, let's be honest, your other fics very, very soon! :D
I've been meaning to check this story out for a while so I've using RvG (March) to get me started.
I thought this first chapter was just a wonderful introduction into Isabella's world. There was so much beautiful imagery in this piece, I just loved Isabella's narrative of the world around her. She seems so in tune with her homeland, all that nature around her. she knows the smells and just senses the land which is really cool. We know she only thirteen but she seems very wise too.
I think this chapter as a whole is really fantastic world building. You've really presented Isabella's world so well. It is always a treat for me to learn something as I go along. I know very little about Mexico as a country so it's great to see it through the eyes of someone who knows all about it. I enjoyed that translation bit at the end which was very helpful.
I think the plot line seems very unique too. It is not often that characters are written from this age range or if it is then it's only a scene or two. I think exploring a character this age is very interesting. I love how you've used your knowledge in this piece as thing is so detailed even your descriptions of the food is awesome as you're a chef yourself. You've used personal knowledge for this story which is always make for such passionate and vivid stories.
I like how you introduced the lady on her road saying that thirteen is unlucky then it really adds this element of mystery into the story on this cliffhanger. Why is she there? What is going to happen next?
I'm looking forward to seeing more of Isabella's story! this chapter has me really interested in Isabella as a character and getting more of an insight into the Mexican culture.
- Abbi xo
Kaitlin! Here for RvG and your wonderful, wonderful writing! :D
This has been on my To-Read list for a while. Oh my goodness! In 1500-ish words, you have built this incredibly beautiful world. I feel as if I am really in Oaxaca. The sights and sounds and smells, you do a marvelous job at transporting us to this world. It's amazing that you have captured your experiences into a fan fic like this. I am so looking forward to what you have in store!
Isabella seems like a delight! I love the connection she feels to nature and her family. It reminds me of some of the happiest moments of my childhood and the many daydreams have came as a result. I also love how the storm is rolling in on the eve on of thirteenth birthday, bringing suspense and mystery to the whole tale. I already like the old woman, from her first mention to her final act of destroying the front door in the middle of the night. I cannot wait to explore the magical world in Mexico!
The sheer amount of detail: from the language, the food, the landscape, is admirable, Kaitlin. Well done. I have never been to Mexico, and I'm stoked for this opportunity to learn more about it through this fic and to see your interpretation of a fandom we both know and love. Will Isabella go away to school? Is this older woman a witch? How will Isabella's life change? These are all great questions that you've elicited from your audience, inviting into the story and encouraging us to continue--both good traits of a talented writer! I'll be back for more soon! :)
Hi, Kaitlin! Back for chapter 3.
I can definitely understand the surreal feeling of waking up the next morning. Did that really happen? Probably similar to waking up in Vegas when the last thing you remember was ordering shots in San Diego.
To answer the question in your author's note, no, I didn't find anything confusing. You did a good job in this chapter of explaining the cultural history surrounding the story and of doing that within the context of the narrative so it didn't feel out of place. Relative to the last chapter, I thought you did a better job in this one of sticking to your... ugh, I can't find the right words. "Narrative flavor"? That isn't quite right, but it's the best I can do at the moment. You didn't drift into an Anglicized speech pattern in your dialog very often.
I really enjoyed your cultural twist on wandlore. It seems natural that every magical culture should have its own wand woods and magical creatures to draw on when crafting wands. On top of that, you introduced the gemstones and the symbolic carvings, which were a great touch. Don Julio probably had the most issues with drifting into Anglicized dialog, but it wasn't very distracting. You avoided the trap of turning him into the Mexican Ollivander. I was holding my breath, desperately hoping that he didn't start going off on how the wand chooses the witch.
You made some other neat choices. The magical community in Mexico seems more tightly integrated with the regulares than their British counterparts, at least when it comes to things like food and their economy. That was always a place where it felt like JKR went overboard to try to come up with unnecessary idiosyncracies. I dearly hope we won't be seeing "fire tequila" at any point in the story.
This was my favorite chapter so far. I'm excited to see where you take things next!
Hi, Kaitlin! Back for chapter 2!
Again, I'm seeing lots of interesting parallels to Harry's story, only in a very different place. Doña Marisol fills the role of Hagrid, albeit in a much less comical and oddly more threatening way. She's very intimidating, and the fact that she obliterated the door is only the tip of the iceberg.
Juan's reactions are initially similar to how Vernon and Petunia took the news, but ah, there's much more to it than that, isn't there? Poor guy. Horrible, what happened to him. No wonder he's not excited to be pulled back into the world of magic.
As she reveals the secrets of Juan's past, I thought that you drifted in and out of your narrative flavor a bit. At times, people are speaking as residents of Oaxaca might and at other times they're fading more into expository English. My suggestion would be to make it more uniformly ethnic, because I really like that feel you get. This line, in particular, read really strangely: "All my life I've been here on this ranch in this tiny town in the state of Oaxaca. I've never even been to another state."
Part of me wants to think that her mother's reaction is very disproportionate, but then if I put myself in her place, this is obviously a heck of a lot to take in. Your husband is a wizard. Your daughter is a witch. Your neighbor is also a witch. It's not hard to see how she's feeling like her entire life is a lie. She must be pretty freaked out about the younger siblings by this point. Here's hoping she doesn't do anything rash that puts Isabel in an even worse position.
I love Isabel's spirit of adventure. I'm excited to find out what's waiting for her in the big city. Onward...
You wrote a beautiful first chapter. Your descriptions of the scenery were lush and detailed and they appealed to all of the senses. So very easy to place myself there and take it all in. And I'll add, very cool on occasion to read a scene that isn't set in Britain.
Love that your main character is a farm girl. Fan fiction could use more of those. Again, you nailed lots of the small details of farming cattle. The sounds and smells and the way cattle behave... perfect.
I'm feeling a parallel between the crazy neighbor lady and Mrs. Figg. Perhaps there's more to your main character than meets the eye. And maybe, just maybe, the crazy neighbor lady is watching over her. Can't wait to find out!
On to chapter 2...