I am writing you this review as we talk and the first thing I have to say is how incredible it is that you're able to carry a parody through this many words - let alone additional chapters - so mad props for that alone.
You've also done an awesome job of not just making Peony a definite Mary Sue, but also baking in so many HP cliches into that identity you've created. Perhaps the best part though is that despite doing these cliches, making Peony and her story-line completely over the top, and inserting the crazy perspective shifts throughout, the story is very mechanically well done (obviously unlike most REAL fics written like this that, you know...AREN'T parodies). I think it takes a real talent to make that happen and am looking forward to the investigation of Squiggles's murder.
Here we are at the end. The last transferred review for Perfect Peony...
Ah, the never-ending bureaucracy of the wizarding world. I guess it is useful from time to time, seeing as how it seems to have saved Peony from a quick trip to Azkaban in this case. Her secret is out!
Draco is such a jerk! At least the way that you write him, he is. It seems that he has the right goal in mind, but using Peony as a perfectly manicured instrument of destruction is just wrong.
"He's coming here to kill Harry Potter. That seems to be personal enough for everyone else around here. Sheesh! What else do you need?" - I guess everyone else's obsession with Harry's well-being would get a bit old if you were Draco.
I love the idea of a gaggle of Curse Breakers. For some reason, that cracks me up.
"A crash drew their eyes up to the fourth floor window. They all watched, open-mouthed, as the glass smashed outward and the Headmaster dove out, transformed into a bat-like thing and flew off into the distance. Shrieks of 'Coward!' echoed off the castle walls." - You have no idea how long and how hard I laughed the first time I read this. And the second. I'm still giggling about it.
Peony's nightmare about her mother was... what would you have to do to have dreams like that, anyway? Gorge yourself on Mexican food and fall asleep watching Touched by an Angel? It would have to be something at least that traumatic. The albatross was a nice touch, by the way.
"I'm Italian. We pronounce everything correctly." - Perfect. Just perfect.
Her thought process as she comes around and decides that she wants to fight was quite uplifting, in that intensely Mary Sue sort of way. I loved the swelling of violins, her melodious voice, and especially the power nap to prepare for her ordeal.
Once the battle starts, the humor is just flying. It's too much to try to catalog it all here, but I'll pick out some high points. Terrence's alpaca patronus was absolute genius. Way better than what you had before. Zombie Roderick was a clever touch, and the way she turns all the boggarts into puppies was cute. Then they become "hell puppies" when they're flung at the attackers. Great idea, using boggarts as a weapon. The Secret Stiletto of Salazar Slytherin was an awesome send-up of the Sword of Gryffindor, and something about the idea of shanking somebody with a stiletto is so very Slytherin.
"Draco appeared to be too busy to help with the efforts around him, not lifting a finger to gather up the injured or count the casualties. Instead, he dutifully sulked at the edge of the scene with his family, who were inexplicably allowed to remain in the hall while all the other Slytherins had been shunned to the dungeon." - That always bothered me too, now that you mention it.
"She quietly faded into the backdrop of the aftermath, just another pretty girl with problems, and as she turned her back on the smoking ruins of her adolescence, she was finally ready to move on with her life. " - So mote it be.
You got some great parting shots into your tale of the anniversary ball. The new name for the Hog's Head must have made Aberforth so upset he could barely stand it, but I guess it was good for business. And Draco putting a toupee on with duct tape? Now that is brilliant! And she winds up with Terrence in the end. Happily (imperfectly) ever after!
I have sincerely enjoyed following this story as your took us through the dark depths of extreme Mary Sue-dom. Your sense of humor is amazing, and I love the life and depth you bring to these horrifically caricatured characters. I know you're probably sick to death of all of them by this point, but I wanted you to know that they always put a smile on my face. Wonderful story!
Hi, pix! Only 2 more to go...
Peony with violence in her anatomically flawless heart.
Oops, that was a carryover from the last review.
Hey, pix, how are ya doing? Shall we go again? On with it, then.
I have this amazing vision in my head of Peony's nightmare. It's a little like an anime movie and a little like Pink Floyd's The Wall, but a very frilly, pink version. A swarm of sugar quills mercilessly whizzing through the air, impaling anything in their path on sickly sweet but razor-sharp points. It's like falling asleep after gorging yourself on candy to the point of being ill. Or maybe I'm just over-thinking things.
Wow. You made Astoria repulsively adorable in this. She's almost more Peony than Peony, if that makes any sense. It's funny to watch Astoria skipping down the primrose path through Peony's eyes. A girl who was less bitter and jaded might have felt a bit of sympathy, perhaps tried to steer her wayward friend down a path not doomed to end in heartbreak. But Peony is past that now.
"Unrequited love only leads to binge eating, and a proper Slytherin girl should never be caught with her mouth full." - the first giggle-worthy one-liner of the chapter. Always a special moment for me.
Blaise was really awesome in his brief appearance. Vain, vapid and totally lost in himself.
I loved the fact that Terrence thought to bring a paper bag and some cookies with him. He's clearly figured his subject out.
Ah, so the plot continued to thicken! Somebody tried to murder Peony with poisoned jam, but Squiggles wound up eating the poison instead. (Someone with no taste who had clearly not bothered to learn basic French!) OK, I'll admit that I have no idea what the Wizard Chess Championship Tournament has to do with anything, but I'm sure it's important.
Once Pansy appears, the comedy value of this chapter kicks into overdrive. I loved all of the "bad cartoon villain" lines that she throws at Pansy. It's marvelously cliche. And she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a hex... from the inside. But it seems like she has gotten the best of Peony, at least for the time being.
Snape's appearance was awesome. His dialog was perfectly droll and perfunctory, with a hint of bitter sarcasm below the surface. But his message is terrible, nonetheless. Poor Peony.
Peony becoming somebody's prison b-.
OK, OK, I'll stop that now.
"Peony was sweet and kind, and a Slytherin with impeccable penmanship... but that didn't make her a killer." - Although it could be considered a strong indicator.
Aha! So Pansy is the one who tried to kill Peony! It makes perfect sense, I suppose. She had to be extremely jealous of her "perfect" half-sister, what with her being puggish-looking and basically incompetent with a wand and part-hag and all.
"Why do you think she got sorted into Slytherin in the first place? She holds grudges, she pees when she gets too excited and she even hates people, just like the rest of us!" - Baaahahahaha! Brilliant!
"Draco recoiled away from her. 'You’re revolting, Pansy, and your curses can't hit the broadside of a cow!'" - OK, I guess Draco and I see eye to eye on Pansy's aim.
I loved your description of Amycus Carrow, with all its toad-like adjectives and toad metaphors and subtle little references to toads. The man is so menacing, in a laughably goofy way.
So I see that your tale is about to come to an end. It makes me a little sad, as I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for the opportunity to be a small part of this marvelously caricatured story!
Review transferred from the old place:
I'll start with my favorite new feature that you sprinkled throughout this chapter, Peony's little one-line, third person meditations on her situation. Genius! I love them so much that I might have to include a few in this review.
It was really humorous and oddly heart-warming to see Peony gradually make her shift to the dark side -- which is actually the good side -- as the chapter moves along. Everything having to do with her "old" life has left her bitter and empty, and she's ready to set fire to some bridges. First she casts off the last of her affections for Roderick, then she shuts off her rule-breaking alarms and the next thing you know she's doing a striptease for a portrait of Dumbledore's younger sister.
Peony on her way to a career in Vegas.
I adore the way that you wrote Ariana, even if it was... well, unconventional just doesn't seem like a strong enough word, does it? On the canonical list of Tragic Consequences of Dying Too Young, "never getting to experiment with frilly underthings" doesn't normally crack the top 100. It's a shame, really. All those The Band Perry song fics could be so much more interesting.
Luna, Luna, Luna... I know you were worried about getting her to sound right. It's a really hard thing to do, and I think your rendition was spot on. The matter-of-fact way that she tells Peony that plenty of boys would be willing to kiss her, her deadpan explanation of Ginny's intention to rebuild Dumbledore's Army and especially the one-liner about eating a worm were all perfect Luna. There was one spot where she giggled that I thought was a bit out of character. You should kick your beta reader for letting that slip by. ;)
"And Peony’s Slytherin sensibilities told her that joining the other side would be the perfect payback for all the hurt Roderick had caused." -- That's my girl! If you can't beat 'em, betray 'em!
Peony in open rebellion.
The entire conversation between Peony and Draco was brilliant. So much amazing, deadpan humor. And her seething desire to lay a big smooch on him put just the right slant on things to keep it from being over-the-top silly. She's hot for him, he's fatalistic to the point of depression... they just go perfectly together. If I had to pick a crescendo, these two sentences almost made me fall out of my chair the first time and the second time that I read them:
"Peony stifled a squeak as Draco took a step back, undid a few buttons and whipped it out; the undulating snake tattoo covered his entire forearm."
"Wizards were forced to perform terrible acts to earn that mark – torture, tax evasion, teasing elderly people when they’ve fallen and couldn’t get up without calling for assistance…"
The first sentence made me think of Blazing Saddles and the second had me looking around for Mrs. Fletcher. Two brilliant cultural touchstones that I don't think any of our friends from the other side of the pond are going to appreciate. Thanks for doing that for us!
And then the ultimate betrayal! Roderick and Pansy, in the broom closet, making a love nest out of sugar quill wrappers. If Peony had any doubts before, they're now gone.
Peony on the warpath!
I absolutely loved this chapter. There were amazing things happening all over, and your signature humor saturated every bit of it. Well done!
Hey, pix! Another review arrives at its new home:
What can I say? You just had it in this chapter. It's hard to explain in words precisely what it is, but suffice it to say that when I feel like writing a review that mostly involves quoting my favorite lines of a chapter, that chapter has it.
Peony's conversation with her stuffed lamb while folding her unmentionables was adorable and weird and just slightly unhinged. Lambie is a little creepy.
"...magically infused with sound Slytherin logic by loving-yet-strangely-distant-and-cold stepmothers." - Now there's a rational yet slightly creepy idea if ever there was one.
"...but her Slytherin sensibilities told her that at times like this, personal agendas were more important than following rules." - Ha ha ha! Yes, that's a good Slytherin princess!
"Her lamb kept her on the path of questionable righteousness, even if the road map was inconveniently packaged." - You're just on fire this chapter!
"Saturday evening, Peony dressed in an I’m-sneaking-out-of-the-castle-so-no-one-will-notice-me-but-once-I’m-in-Puddifoot’s-no-one-will-be-able-to-take-their-eyes-off-me ensemble." - That line almost made me laugh out loud. This is bad, because I work in an open floor plan office.
"... then the Slytherins would have to find something else to amuse themselves with other than pulling the Hogsmeade Alarms and watching the old barman run out of the Hog’s Head Inn screaming..." - Aw, poor Ab.
The trip to Hogsmeade had some highs and lows for me. I know you needed a reason to put her there in Roderick's company so that he could deliver the death blow to their relationship, but I felt like maybe you could have tied Nott's speech together with Roderick's presence just a bit better. The two felt a little disjointed to me. And I was confused as to why everyone suddenly started to throw hexes and curses at one another.
Once she leaves Madam Puddifoot's, I got right back into things, though. The Hog's Head is such a terrible contrast to her, I love it! Little Miss Perfect and the Old Goat. Such a brilliantly mismatched pair.
“'So ya came from Puddifoot’s, did ya? Ya follow the Dark Lord?' He eyed her suspiciously.
"'No, I followed Draco down the hidden tunnel,' Peony told him..." - A brilliantly deadpanned line.
I'm kind of sad that I've run out of story. Can't wait to see what sort of mischief Old Ab puts her up to. Once you've developed a taste for rule-breaking, you never go back!
Hey, pix! I thought maybe it was just the first chapter, but all of them seem to have the dark font thing going on. Here's another transferred review:
I think my favorite part of this story is how, in the midst of all the absurdity and over-the-top kitsch, you're actually building up several interesting plot threads. By my count, we have two murder mysteries (the elf and the two Gryffindor boys), a potential love triangle (Peony, Pansy and Draco) and some sort of psychological thriller (Peony's strange visions of Roderick and her unusual dream).
"At this rate, she’d never keep up with her vigorous Triathlon training program." - Ha! She really does have it all!
The Slytherins have insult-trading matches over breakfast! I wondered how they kept their skills so sharp. Her attempt at sloth humor cracked me up. It was totally wasted on her housemates.
Draco is such an interesting player in all of this. Somehow you're managing to keep him very close to his brooding, overwhelmed characterization in DH, and I love it.
Good old Filch! Who else could take something as grave as the presence of dementors and reduce it to a solely practical problem?
Poor Terrence is going to get himself in way over his head. I can feel it coming. He's asking too many questions about things that should simply be left to lie. But he does have some practical skills, like baking.
"a single, perfectly tear-shaped tear slid from one of Peony’s beautifully two-toned eyes" - I'm at a loss for words. This was beautiful.
Now I'm more intrigued than ever what Draco is playing at. Is he the one who made it appear that Roderick was in the common room? Is he secretly Roderick? Does he want Peony for some nefarious (or not so nefarious) purpose other than romance? My head is spinning with the possibilities...
I'm afraid that two chapters is as much time as I can "borrow" from work today, and I really regret that fact. This is so much fun!
Hi, pix! Another review making the leap...
I loved your Snape. I wasn't sure what to expect after reading so much of how you characterized Severus in Until We Close Our Eyes, but you easily switched gears into condescending, irritable, darkly humorous Snape with relative ease, I thought.
"He pulled out a clean sheet of parchment and wrote 'Parkinson' at the top. A girl like that deserved her own page." - I don't know why, but this made me giggle.
I love the idea of Alecto turning Muggle Studies into a genealogy project. Of course, I wouldn't have expected Peony's bloodline to be one drop short of perfect, but I love the dig on Pansy. I actually forgot to mention the line from the previous section where she got smacked in the face with a broomhandle. Heaping abuse on her is so much fun! It was also nice to see Peony developing a report with Luna. Then two of them are very alike in a way.
So what is this with her long-distance boyfriend appearing in the common room and then disappearing? Either somebody's playing tricks on her (Peeves?) or she's hallucinating or maybe he's part of a secret resistance movement that's infiltrating the castle? I like the third option best. ;) It fits so nicely with a "perfect" story.
I think Draco is thinking of upgrading his girlfriend. He seemed so smitten with her bloodline in the Muggle Studies class. He even compliments her bird.
Silly muggle acronyms FTW! Ugh. That one is so tired.
You kept up the Mary Sue at a high level in this chapter. Yet there are these hints of a bigger picture and an interesting story around the fringes. I really like this! 'til next time!
Hi, pix! Just so you know, for some reason the font on this page is really dark. Anyway, another review being transferred...
Wow. There's Mary Sue and then there's **MARY**SUE**. This chapter was a towering achievement in Mary Sue-ism. Peone came across as sparkly and utterly flawless as a pile of cubic zirconia. It was like reading a vanilla soft-serve cone with rainbow sprinkles. I could keep gushing, but let's get on with this before it leaves a ring around the tub.
Using an eagle to deliver her post, treats for all of her housemates and her cage full of finches was a superlative touch. You dug so deep into the "13-year-old girl with zero life experience and a My Little Pony collection writing her first fan fic" playbook for that one. At the same time, I love how you started to water-drop just a bit of trouble into her perfect world with the house elf. I have a suspicion that you're going to tell the horrible tale of Hogwarts under Snape and the Carrows through Peone's eyes and the idea makes me giddy with delight!
She's using a time-turner to take classes! This is a brilliant send-up of what was, for my money, the worst plot choice that JKR made in the seven books. To quote my favorite take on the topic of all time, and I shamefully cannot recall the author's name, "You have a time machine. Go back in time and kill 10-year-old Tom Riddle in his sleep. And even if you mess up, YOU STILL HAVE A TIME MACHINE!!!" But I digress. An awesome assault on Hermione's shining moment of Mary Sue-ism.
Gee, Pansy doesn't pull any punches, does she? For her next devious trick, I bet she'll reveal to the Whole Common Room what brand of deodorant Peone uses!
“Quidditch practice tonight.” He backed up to the boys’ hallway. “Gotta polish my broomstick.” - Bwahahah!
Also: "…and that is why I will make the perfect Slytherin. You’ll see. When I’m old enough, I’ll be a Prefect, I’ll save the world, and I’ll marry the man of my dreams. We will all be such very good friends, I just know it!" - It's the perfect yearbook quote for every high school cheerleader whose life peaked at age 18 and commenced the long slide toward three divorces and a plastic surgery habit.
Ooh! And just a pinch of intrigue at the end. Squiggles is dead. Coincidentally right after Peone said something to Snape about the warning. This is going to be fun!
I'm floored. Amazed. After finishing Until We Close Our Eyes, I never would have imagined you as a comedy writer. Now I'm hooked! Will read more later...