AHH I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S OVER. What an amazing, incredible journey this has been! The intensity of this mystery continued throughout the entire story, and I was just hooked the entire time. The chapters, even though most of them are well over five thousand words, flew by! I was so absorbed that it felt like reading 1k chapters, which I think is such an incredible feat. You’re such a skilled writer, and wield figurative language and dialogue and description in such an impressive way, and all this is to say that I adored this story so much! I’ve grown so attached to the characters, and I’m so sad that this story is over.
It’s amazing that you wrote thirty chapters with such consistent-length chapters! How did you do it?? Even by normal novel standards, this is an incredibly long story, and I just want to applaud you for finishing such an ambitious project. (And I’m really glad you did, too, because this final chapter was everything.)
I LOVED how you framed the final chapter around this Quidditch match, something that heightens emotions and causes excitement, which perfectly fits with the emotional intensity of the previous chapters but in a much more positive way! It was so joyous and bright—the color and tone of the story shifted from a murky purple to a bright, iridescent sky blue, if that makes sense, and I think it was the perfect way to finish this story. You wrote the commentary for the Quidditch match in such an exciting way! I was genuinely invested in the game, and could also easily envision everything that was happening. I don’t know how you’re so good at communicating the swiftness of a game while still keeping the players’ positions and actions crystal clear, but I love it. Wow, I admire your writing so much. :D
It was also incredible how you managed to weave in a conclusive end to the story throughout the Quidditch match and the party afterwards—we received closure on all the characters who needed it, like Louis and Fred and Lily. I can’t believe that Fred was skulking around because he had a girlfriend! That is somehow the most wholesome thing ever! I’m so glad that he and Roxanne have bonded again and become closer, because that is genuinely the sweetest thing and now I can fully appreciate him, after he’s reconciled with Roxanne. :P It makes sense that Roxanne is going through counseling—she went through a horrid time, and I really hope that the sessions are helping her! <3
I’m just so happy right now, for everyone. I know some of them are still recovering, but I am so happy that the ordeal is over for them, and that they can enjoy wonderful things like Quidditch matches again. I too am looking forward to Roxanne’s new beginning—heaven knows she truly deserves one.
I realize that I was being stupid in my previous reviews, and that Roxanne managed to overcome the Imperius Curse herself! She’s so badass and strong omg, I LOVE her. I want to give her a hug. :P
I loved this story so so much, Sian. You’re just incredible. Thank you so much for writing this masterpiece. <3
This chapter was unbelievably satisfying to read. All the unanimous “Guilty”s came one after another, yet you still managed to keep it tense and suspenseful, from the first to the last. (Though the last one was not unanimous, obviously. :P) I genuinely feared that all of Pritchard’s wealth and connections somehow pushed the jurors over to the “Innocent” side of things, which I think is a testament to how wonderful your writing is. All the beautifully fitting similes that you fit into the story do so much to heighten emotions and drill anxiety into the reader, and it makes this story so so enjoyable to read! But anyway—I’m so glad that despite all his money, Pritchard got the punishment he deserved!
It was interesting seeing the difference in sentencing from one conspirator to another. It definitely makes sense, considering the varying levels of involvement—I’m so glad that Higgins got the whopping thirty-five years, for instance, considering how brutal and cold-blooded he is, and how high in the organization chain he was. And I think that Scarlett does deserve a shorter sentence, due to the circumstances of her participation, even though I really understand families’ protests and anger that the woman who indirectly destroyed their loved ones gets off so easily. After all, it’s much more personal for them than it is for others, and the grief certainly drives a sense of vengeance.
This chapter really made me realize how easy it is to want revenge on people who’ve done bad things… Even though I was not a part of this story in any way, I still automatically felt a strong desire to lock some of these people up for good—throughout my review, I’ve been using words like “deserved” and “makes sense” when discussing some of these sentences, despite the fact that I’m not even a confident believer in the idea that prison time is a suitable response for criminals, even for the organized, capitalistic kind such as these. It’s really difficult, and I didn’t expect when I walked into this story to be mulling over the ethical actions of imprisoning people by the end of it haha.
They undoubtedly did a horrific thing, especially Pritchard, but I think definitely for people like Scarlett, a better governmental system created to reform criminals would be much better. Maybe. (I am not well-versed in this subject haha.)
Roxanne’s confrontation with Daniel once again gave me massively conflicting emotions. I am so invested in Roxanne’s life now, but I’m still surprised that she loves Daniel so much hahaha. (That’s just my personal bias against him talking, though. :P) I’m so glad that she’s set boundaries for acceptable behavior, though, and that she’s not letting him off the hook entirely. And I did appreciate listening to Daniel’s side of the story—there’s a larger systemic problem when poor people need money so badly that they turn to crime. I really wish the best for him. <3
Did she break out of the Imperius Curse herself? How did that entire final battle between her and Pritchard go?? So curious omg.
I can’t believe this next chapter is the last!!
I KNEW IT WAS TOO GOOD TO LAST. When the story opened with the journalists swarming Roxanne’s home and her hiding away in Miranda Chittock’s place, I was lulled into a false sense of security. I feel like oftentimes mysteries end with the trope of reporters coming to ask tons of questions for the people involved, so I expecting three ending chapters of fluff hahaha (which, in hindsight, was a rather silly expectation). But I should’ve known! You take tropes and turn them on their heads slightly so that they become new and fresh, and paired with your engaging writing and dynamic characters, your story becomes a new and wonderful thing. <3
I love this new dynamic between Roxanne and Miranda! I knew that if you stuck these two into the same room, they could share their individual pieces of information and help each other brainstorm ways to take the whole system down from the top, because that’s what powerful journalists do! Miranda is such an admirable human—I don’t know how she managed to investigate all this stuff on her own, and managing to keep her sanity in the meantime while her story was continually rejected for publication. All the stuff she collected on Pritchard is so incriminating (or should be), and I think it speaks a great deal about the power of millionaires that he is still somehow walking free, unpunished. It’s no surprise that her digging put some unwanted attention on her (especially considering Higgins worked for the potion organization), but I was totally not expecting the consequences to arrive this chapter! It scared me out of my wits.
Pritchard I feel like is not an anomaly. Even though he’s a fictitious villain, billionaires like him exist in the real world, and I love how you managed to capture the errors of greed through him!
Roxanne’s instincts are honestly razor sharp. Even though sometimes her mind might miss connections, she has a beautifully refined sense of danger and disruption. I am fully confident that had I been in her place in Miranda’s apartment, I would have happily sat there on the couch until Pritchard arrived to kill me, and that would’ve been the end of it. There wouldn’t even have been those precious few seconds where Roxanne was able to connect to Lucy—and I’m so so banking on that to save her right now.
YOUR CLIFFHANGER IS BRUTAL. I just want to know how Roxanne survives all of this!! Pritchard is a straight up sadist—not killing Miranda outright, but forcing Roxanne to do it first. It was sickening. I’m so pleased that Roxanne had this little figure in her head telling her to do the right thing, and I wonder where it came from!! Is it representing her voice? Someone else’s? Is it Lucy?? (That last one feels like a bit of a stretch haha.)
Again, such an amazing chapter! I’m so so excited that we’re nearing the resolution of these problems, and that Roxanne can finally have a break haha. That moment when she was put under the Imperius Curse when she just basked in the relaxation of it all made me feel so sad for her—the past months of her life must have been unbelievably difficult and stressful, and I hope that she gets some well-deserved rest! IF SHE SURVIVES, THAT IS.
This chapter was so intense. The confrontation that went down between Roxanne and Daniel was unbelievably written—it sparked such conflicting emotions of both anger and disappointment in me towards Daniel haha. I’m going to be honest, I initially directed some of that anger towards Roxanne when it was clear that she kept Daniel’s location from Magical Law Enforcement, because I thought that she was still grasping onto that illusion of a perfect Daniel, and hoping to convert him back to his “old self” (if he ever really was a kind and lovely as she made him out to be).
But of course I should have had more faith in Roxanne! All her faults aside, she is such a determined, persevering person, and I admire that so so much about her. Her confrontation with Daniel was SO impressive! She really showed her Gryffindor roots I thought, by charging in without a plan but with a very ambitious goal, and managing to succeed and be completely kickass while doing so. I’m so glad that she arrived at the house in time; I can’t even imagine the consequences of what would have happened had she arrived even ten minutes later.
I thought this chapter did such a good job humanizing Daniel to some degree. I have spent the majority of my reviews being perhaps overly harsh towards the man, even though he is a bit of a coward. I was wrong about him not genuinely liking Roxanne—now I see that he likely stayed far away from her as a means of protecting her, which I suppose is better than just straight up using her to aid the potion organization! I’d imagine the threat of murdering Roxanne would be enough to scramble anyone’s brains, even though he still handled it in possibly the worst manner possible. One of the things I dislike most about certain romance stories is when one half of a couple does some self-sacrificial nonsense (like pretending not to love their partner anymore) in order to keep the other safe—and then they’re treated like a hero for it! So I really love that this chapter really turns that on its head, and that Roxanne even calls him out for it. Daniel could’ve just talked to her about it and explained himself, for goodness’s sake, instead of killing to save her! He’s a major dummy. And really needs to get his priorities straight.
I’m so glad that Roxanne managed to divert Daniel’s attention for long enough that Louis could cast a Shield Charm around himself—as soon as that happened, I could breathe a little better. And that both of them shot offensive spells at Daniel at the same time! That was pretty epic, I must say. :P
I hope that Roxanne doesn’t get in too much trouble for this, and that she’ll get closure with the various members of her family that have wronged her. AND that she can perhaps apologize to Paul Jordan, because I feel like he probably deserves that.
I keep feeling like the story is over, but there’s still that major mystery to solve—who is that man who gave the orders? I need to know!!
Such a good chapter omg.
Oh wow, I absolutely loved this chapter!! (I love all of them, but this one in particular.) There is something so immensely satisfying in having two women who particularly despised one another for very petty reasons end up working together, and being incredibly successful doing so. I love the idea of Miranda beginning the investigation way earlier than Roxanne—and it almost hurts to think about how efficient they could have been had they worked together and not suspected one another. Though, as Roxanne’s demonstrated, it’s really easy to begin suspecting everyone after getting involved with something as heinous as this drug gang. Goodness knows I very enthusiastically participated in pointing fingers in my reviews. :P
When Miranda said that Roxanne never was the brightest, I almost laughed hahaha. It’s so true to form, Miranda continuing to needle Roxanne even as life-threatening events are about to pass. To some extent, though, I don’t know that she’s wrong about this particular instance—Roxanne was so caught up about her discovery about Daniel that she didn’t even tell anyone about LOUIS BEING IN DANGER. What are you doing Roxanne!! Like, to some degree, I get her reasoning about how she assumed Daniel just couldn’t bear to hurt Louis…but she totally should’ve thought of everything that Miranda told her.
It’s okay, she went through a serious emotional shock. She has the right to be dumb in this stressful time! But in any case, I’m glad that as soon as Miranda talked sense into her, she rushed to call Dom and try her best to ensure Louis’s safety. I hope that she succeeds!! If Louis dies I will be so sad omg, he didn’t deserve any of this. No one deserves to be biologically manipulated by a scheming drug gang. (A thought on the previous chapter: I think Jane was mostly right about the people Roxanne had suspicions about, but she truly underestimates how greedy CEOs of companies can be. I mean, has she seen the world today? :P I still think that the two businessmen can still very possibly be a part of this whole situation.)
I really want to know what information Miranda has that Roxanne might not have uncovered yet—I really hope that they delve deeper into the matter in the next chapter! But first! Louis’s safety!
Last thing: it’s so ironic and funny how both the women assumed the other was involved with the group, and therefore they tried sabotaging one another. Hahaha, I hope they become friends, this would be such a funny “how did you meet” story. :P
LITERALLY RIGHT AFTER I DECIDED TO GIVE DANIEL THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT LAST CHAPTER, YOU GO AND PULL THIS ON ME. SIAN WHY DO YOU DO THIS. I am unbelievably furious with myself right now. I knew I should not have let that awful man off the hook! (As much as I can let a fictional character off the hook, anyway. :P)
Even while I was reading this chapter, I was beginning to doubt my earlier more charitable stance on Daniel. Because, while Roxanne and Jane were having their heated argument, I noticed that Daniel wasn’t at all on Roxanne’s list of suspects—she’s still hopelessly in love with the guy. And sometimes, I think that the omissions are the most telling parts of stories, because there should be no reason for Roxanne to overlook anyone. Especially if she’s so willing to believe that her childhood friend threw her to the wolves, and that Miranda, the woman who’s been consistently awful to Roxanne throughout her time at the Daily Prophet, just so happens to also work for this awful gang.
Something else that really struck me was when Jane furiously pointed out to Roxanne that her suspicious were ridiculous—it reminded me all over again about the whole Paul Jordan incident, and it makes me wonder… How much of that conversation did Daniel hear? He was certainly in the vicinity, and though I don’t remember the exact details very well, he could have easily been spying on her. And if not him, someone else who works for that horrific group. But I feel like it’s Daniel; he’s not above eavesdropping on his ex-girlfriend.
OH it just occurred to me that he might’ve chosen to get back together with her for the sake of spying! I was completely fooled; it makes no sense that he would’ve randomly decided he wanted Roxanne back after so many years. And if Daniel is with this gang, does that mean that Fred is a part of it, as well? Or was Fred’s skulking around in previous chapters simply a coincidence? I just have a really bad feeling about the two of them, and as we near the end I’m just sitting on the edge of my seat, so anxious to reach the final reveal of the entire story.
I have no idea who the leader of this group is, but I think this chapter confirmed it wasn’t Daniel. I wonder if we know this leader, though? Is the leader a part of the business duo that Roxanne mentioned to Jane?? AHH SO MANY QUESTIONS.
I think Jane is right about Roxanne. There’s so much about this investigation that she’s been blinded to, and it has overtaken her life. And though I really do think the investigation is an extremely important one, I think Roxanne thinking always of where she can go next to find the next piece of the puzzle, is perhaps not the healthiest way to live. Especially when there’s a friend who really wants Roxanne’s support for her relationship.
Thank goodness Roxanne chose to visit the Daily Prophet room, right?? I am not shocked at all that Higgins is a part of this. I am so curious about what her reaction to this information will be!!!
I have decided to give Daniel the benefit of the doubt for the time being, mostly because he vouched for Dean Thomas, who is one of my favorite Harry Potter side characters. I do hope that he doesn’t think that Roxanne stood him up though (he probably won’t, right?), otherwise my opinion of him will immediately plummet right back to where it started. :P
Walking sleepily into a flat and then immediately being on high alert for a possible intruder is the biggest emotional whiplash ever, haha. I was legitimately terrified for Roxanne for a hot second! I thought someone was going to ambush her from one of the side rooms and then that would be the end of Roxanne Weasley as we knew it. I’m really glad that she cast the Homenum revelio spell and got that cleared up, though. :P But then you managed to freak me out a second time because I thought that Roxanne lost all her valuable notes—but of course she keeps a second copy, thank goodness. So glad that Roxanne is clever!
Jane is actually so great hahaha. The more she appears in the story, the more I find myself liking her!! (Not that I ever disliked her to begin with.) But in the past few chapters, she’s been so instrumental to Roxanne’s investigation, providing information and questions that really only she could provide. She is already remarkably calm in the face of danger and anxiety, which is exactly what Roxanne needs at this present moment. AND Jane directed them to Harry, who was able to help them immediately!
At this point, I feel like they should just move out of the flat temporarily and perhaps live with Harry, or somewhere with the strongest protective wards cast around it. Like, as therapeutic as her session with Dean Thomas was, and despite the fact that I am really hoping that her information aids the Ministry in their investigations, I feel like going to them irritated the gang a lot more, though I have no idea how they found out! She got a second “T” after all!!
I am very scared for Roxanne’s life. Fingers crossed she remains okay!
AHH WHAT AN INTENSE CHAPTER. Of course Louis was struggling with the potion—at this point, there’s nothing else that causes so much physical and mental damage. I’m so so happy he decided to open up to Roxanne, and that he wants to be healthy. The description of his gaunt face sounded absolutely awful; it reminded me of that image from the film Seven where the man representing “Sloth” was starved. I got the same exact horrific image in my mind, except you managed to convey it through words, without any images whatsoever. (You’re a writing queen. I am beyond invested in this story!)
This chapter was particularly harrowing because it really hammered home I think the idea that people who produce drugs (such as opioids) often deliberately try to get vulnerable people addicted—and as a result, the drugs destroy the livelihood of the victims. It’s absolutely horrible, and listening to Louis’s story just reminded me of how much the plot of this story echoes real life. Except in real life we don’t have an amazing investigative journalist such as Roxanne Weasley who risks her life and body to uncover the darkest secrets of the drug dealing trade—and in real life the drug dealers are sometimes massive pharmaceutical corporations.
Roxanne is an incredible detective, and she deserves absolutely everything for bearing the weight of these drugs’ consequences. She’s so understanding of the victims’ individual situations, and I’m sure it’s with her influence that Bill and Fleur and Dominique will judge Louis less harshly when he comes out to talk to them. But again, I’m also really really proud of Louis for taking the initiative to talk to her in the first place—really good on him. <3
I hope that Dominique can rest a little easier now!!
That segment at the end is so freaking scary omg. Especially when you line it up with Louis’s testimony regarding loyalty to the drug gang. They demand absolute silence, or death. And their intensity when talking about looking into journalists frightened me a lot.
STAY SAFE, ROXANNE.
I love this so so much!!
I am practically twitching as we speak—that cliffhanger left me so anxious to find out what happened to Louis, and I absolutely need to know what goes down in the next chapter. Louis was the one who needed to go out for a smoke during Albus’s retelling of the Pilkington murders, and who came back feeling more refreshed, right? And I had my worries back then that he was dabbling in this potion business, but now I feel like this emergency has just about confirmed it. What if, back then, he hadn’t been going for a smoke but had instead taken a draught of the potion? And perhaps that’s why his countenance appeared more healthily colored despite his look of exhaustion underneath??
How did I not theorize these things sooner!! (Though it may very well be wrong still.)
Dominique’s panic made my heart ache—I don’t think we’ve seen her this distressed throughout this entire novel, and I’ve always regarded her as the calm, cool-headed Healer who knows how to handle everyone’s maladies, but this is her brother. Oh, I feel so so awful for her. Which seems to be a really common feeling these days, considering the rate that positively horrific things are happening. These potions are ruining so many people’s lives!! I’m really really rooting for Roxanne to knock this organization down as quickly as humanly possible now; seeing Dominique this way, following Roxanne’s comatose reaction after Jemima, is incredibly painful.
Before this, though, the chapter was so touching! I really love how you depict these sweet conversations between family members—Angelina seems like such a good mom, to both Roxanne and Jane, and I really adore her. It makes me miss having these kinds of conversations with my mom, the borderline gossipy kind, haha.
This was such an interesting chapter! Now onto the next one I go!
I LOVE WEDDING CHAPTERS. And you made this one reach all my expectations!! I expected nothing less—your writing is always brilliant, and so all the various emotions that come with weddings were conveyed perfectly. For instance, Roxanne feeling lonely and regretful of past mistakes with Daniel made my heart ache alongside hers, even though I’m not nearly as fond of Daniel as she is. Also, Roxanne drawing on the strength of the other Weasley women was such an empowering moment! When I read it, I made a silent gasp and then immediately rushed to make a note of it in my review document—even though she was just trying to overcome her emotions regarding Daniel being present at the wedding, all the images of the strong Weasley women battling through onerous tasks gave me goosebumps.
I really appreciated the generally lighthearted air of this chapter! I think after all the heaviness, drama, and excitement from previous chapters, a more laid-back vibe lets readers take a quick breather (though I suspect the next chapter will dive right back into the thick of the mystery—which I’m very much looking forward to!). I must say, Uncle Charlie certainly was the star of the show. One would think that the star of a wedding would be the newlyweds, but nope, it was definitely Uncle Charlie who made it the smashing success it was. (Just kidding, I am extremely happy for both Teddy and Victoire and I hope that they remain in love with each other for the rest of their lives!)
I had a good laugh over Charlie’s dragon story, so thank you for including that wonderful little plot in there. :P
I am very suspicious of this Mr. Smith character that Charlie brought up. Surely he was not there for the innocuous reason of expanding, right? Is he trying to spread the potion dealing trade to Romania, to let it gradually reach across the entire world? THAT MAN IS SUSPECT.
Okay, now about Daniel. I am also very suspicious of Daniel, mostly because of his past shadiness that really started the issues in Roxanne’s relationship with him in the first place! He has trust issues, as well, in addition to communication issues, so when you look at it analytically, it doesn’t bode well for him. But Roxanne really really seems to like him, and on the surface he seems like a genuine sort of guy, so perhaps it will all work out? I just have a bad feeling about this…I can’t help but think that he was involved in the potion trade somehow. Especially since he’s reporting to that Martha woman, who happened to do nothing—I wonder how much of that ‘nothing’ was contributed by Daniel??
I’m just spewing theories right now, but I’ll just say that I’m happy for Roxanne that she got back together with her ex! She’s been cut up about this from the beginning, so I hope that she feels better emotionally now. <3
Another amazing chapter!
Oh, poor Roxanne. What she experienced, I can’t even imagine, but it must be absolutely awful knowing that someone most likely died while aiding your escape. It’s no wonder she lay on the couch, unmoving, for so long. The amount of guilt that she probably feels seems paralyzing, and I feel so so bad for her. This level of violence and crime she probably wasn’t expecting when she initially delved into this mystery, and to have almost witnessed something so harrowing and disturbing, and to have no real closure of the fact, would certainly be traumatizing. Jane is such a good friend, though. I’m glad that she fusses over Roxanne, even though Roxanne doesn’t really want it, because otherwise who would take care of her?
I’m beginning to think that Jane is an incredibly valuable asset in this investigation—I mean, she has the same detective spirit that Roxanne does! She was also passionate about discovering the motive behind all the linked crimes! And now here she is, with these two incredibly noteworthy Muggle deaths. I wonder how they would’ve received this kind of potion? I’m actually a little surprised that the potion worked for them at all—based on the way Dom was speaking about the potion ingredients, I kind of assumed that the potion would kill them upon ingestion. But yeah, this is such a scary-sounding potion, and that it affects both Muggles and witches/wizards is extremely alarming.
I’M SO GLAD RICHARD IS OKAY. To be honest, I’ve also forgotten about him somewhat, given the recent excitement and all the discoveries, but! I was so so relieved when he appeared. Though I was also really freaked out and alarmed when he appeared looking like that, since it seemed to mirror Jemima’s state so similarly…but it was just prison that did that to him. I suppose that’s a testament to how horrid the prison conditions in the wizarding world are, still—someone really needs to get on that, don’t they?
So much was revealed about the Rhi situation, though. I don’t actually know anything about how addictive substances work in real life, but so far this potion seems to be a magical parallel of cocaine? And I wonder if using extremely extremely addictive substances when under the influence of other drugs and such does affect someone’s temporary tolerance of that substance? In any case, I’m really glad that he escaped the addictive pull of the potion. I’m really glad that Roxanne has something to show for all the work that she’s done, because I’m a little worried that Jemima’s death left her feeling really shaken and useless, even though it’s not at all the case!
Such a good chapter. I really loved Roxanne’s introspection throughout!
NOO, TAKE HER WITH YOU, ROXANNE. NOOO. Jemima was so brave and honest, coming out with that very personal and difficult story about her addiction to the potion, and how it almost ruined her. I really wish that Jemima could have been saved in some way! Though it seemed like she was resigned to her fate, since they probably wouldn’t stop chasing her down even if she did escape with Roxanne—and then Roxanne would likely be in even more danger. EVEN STILL. I was so anxious at the end of the chapter, because I just wanted the both of them to be okay… Alas, things cannot always turn out well, for both the characters and the reader. :P
Her story was just fascinating, though! Like the amount of secretive information she revealed was staggering! I never thought that Diagon Alley would have been the place for shady potion-trading, though perhaps that’s what makes it the best place to conduct those kinds of activities. Its pristine reputation makes it easier to overlook those kinds of behaviors, doesn’t it? Like, I never in a million years would have thought it would be in Diagon Alley, and clearly Roxanne didn’t either! I wonder how massive this network of underground potion dealers is, though, if it includes both this Scarlett woman from Diagon Alley and McLaggen in the Quidditch world. AHH THERE ARE SO MANY EXCITING TIDBITS EVERYWHERE.
Jemima is a really, really impressive woman. I can’t imagine the amount of self-control it would’ve taken in order for her to seal herself away from the world so as to avoid the temptation of the potion in the future. I know I have the backbone of a limp noodle, so if I had been in her place, I probably would’ve abused the potion till I withered away into nothing. Which makes her constitution so much more impressive to me! (She’s such a fabulously written character, Sian—well done!)
Poor Jane at the beginning of the chapter! She seemed so frightened and anxious, and very rightly so, considering the near-death experience Roxanne just had. Her expression broke my heart, though—I hope she’ll feel better upon Roxanne’s safe return.
But I wonder what will happen next! Will Roxanne rush immediately to law enforcement so that there’s no time for the underground potion dealers to strike??
THAT CLIFFHANGER SENT CHILLS RICOCHETING THROUGH MY SPINE, SIAN. I’m so anxious to continue reading—I can’t imagine how tense readers would’ve felt when this was the most recently updated chapter at the time!! How did they find Roxanne?? Is there someone in her circles who has spilled this information? Or someone from her old newspaper organization?? Though I suppose she hasn’t exactly been keeping super quiet about her research into these sequence of events…but still. How did they know she was still looking into it all? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, AHH.
Poor Jane, though, I can’t imagine how petrifying it must have been to be home alone and find that godforsaken note lying in the apartment somehow.
Onto slightly happier matters! I think Roxanne’s return to the family dinner on Sunday might have influenced James’s opinion of her for the better—or at least, perhaps Rose’s overheard tangent about the unfairness of cheating for the women involved influenced him. Either way, he was so pleasant to Roxanne, relatively speaking!! I was extremely pleased about this fact! And it’s always so so nice whenever her family supports her, like when Aunt Ginny pointedly said that she would’ve believed Lucy’s story over James’s no matter what.
I also really love how you showed that Harry and Ginny are still in their prime, being good-natured and flirty with one another despite having children in their twenties! I mean, he called her beautiful!! That’s serious relationship goals right there. Of course James likes the Big Bang Theory. And I think this chapter showed how Roxanne is a generous person—despite James giving her the cold shoulder for so long, she still feels fondness for him just thinking about how nerdy he is, haha.
Fingers crossed Harry can do something about these new revelations!! And speaking of revelations, Jane is SO SMART. I was just reading the earlier section, mouth hanging open at how amazing she is. She asks the right questions, doesn’t she? I love her. Wow. And her ending question about the Muggles who might’ve taken the potion!!! I want to know more!!
I wrote this review entirely backwards, but that’s just because the ending shocked me so much omg.
This story always gets my blood pumping, and as incompetent as I know I’d be, I can’t help but imagine myself as a detective working within this amazingly intricate story you’ve pieced together. Roxanne’s continuing curiosity into her previous investigation is very on brand hahaha—I wouldn’t expect any less of her! The more I read about the relationship between Simon Upton and Malcolm Armstrong, the more baffled I am about what is true and what isn’t. I’m really hoping that Roxanne will be able to delve further into the story soon! I am so so curious omg.
I really loved this family chapter. Aunt Audrey had a terrific entrance, appearing at Roxanne’s house in a relatively creepy manner and then pretty much just straight-up dragging her to the family meal hahaha. I think it’s genuinely really great that this massive extended family gets together so often, even though it gives cousin rivalries the chance to blow up (like it did a little bit this time). The uplifting note that Roxanne ended the chapter with was really sweet!! It really does seem like she has a lot of cousins still on her side (as well as her grandparents and aunts and uncles), so I hope that in the future she’ll be able to join the family like this more often. (I mean, Rose’s scathing attack on Molly was incredibly satisfying to witness. I shouldn’t enjoy watching Molly’s embarrassment, but she deserved it a teensy bit, I thought. :P)
Rose is pretty great, isn’t she? Not afraid to speak her mind, and providing Roxanne with the whole-hearted support about her ‘cheating’ issue that she needed, and also spilling secrets to aid Roxanne’s secret ongoing investigation? She deserves to win Best Cousin of the Year for that, really.
I loved the way Albus told the story about the Pilkington murders (so, really, I should be complimenting you for the way you wrote that in such an engaging, thrilling way). And now I’m really curious about that! I feel like it’s too much to hope that the Pilkington sisters who are alive are involved with Roxanne’s investigation at all, but I would really like for Roxanne to get to meet them at some point—I’m so curious about the remainder of this story!
As always, brilliant chapter, Sian. <3
Oh my goodness. I don’t even know what to think about what’s happening anymore; theories about who’s involved and everything are all sort of muddling together hahaha. (I suppose there’s a reason why I’m not a scientist. :P) It didn’t really occur to me before that there would possibly be multiple groups involved, but then Roxanne mentioned it, and suddenly it seemed really plausible?? Like, could there be a faction of people who are trying to make money off the potion, and then the faction of people trying to use it to torture Muggles and people who support Muggles? AHHH.
ALSO DID PAUL REALLY?? I don’t want to believe it, honestly. It also doesn’t seem to make much sense—I’m not sure about Paul’s financial situation, but it definitely seems like he’s faring far better than Roxanne and Jane. And in her list of people who knew, she immediately discounted Jane, but I feel like Jane did it?? And I feel so so terrible feeling suspicious of Jane, but she’s the one who actually needs the money, and I feel like, since she knows the details of what happened, she’s more likely than Paul to share the secrets with Miranda? I DON’T KNOW SIAN AHH. If it’s actually Paul, he deserves to be tossed into a dumpster fire omg.
Dominique coming in and sharing her information about the potions was really exciting; it confirmed a lot of the suspicions that we (by ‘we’ I mean ‘Roxanne and I’ because I am semi-solving this mystery along with her, as incompetent as I am, haha :P) had about the potions. The information about it being used to poison Muggles was new, though, and it was suuuper nervewracking to read about. I really, really want Roxanne to be able to solve this mystery!!! I hope that soon she can find a place to print it, though; it would be so satisfying if she worked for some smaller publication and her story ended up becoming incredibly popular. :D
I hope that happens hehe.
Wonderful chapter, as always!
Siannn omg I loved this chapter so much?? I love the way you write about the commonplace struggles of Roxanne, how it’s so hard motivating yourself to get up after you take a hit like that, and how hard it is finding a job without any proof of experience. I really want to know what Miranda Chittock said to Higgins initially that got Roxanne off the case—the fact that he listened to her without any proof whatsoever (and while turning a blind eye to all the terrible things Miranda did herself) just makes me really want Roxanne to never work there again. But it’s her dream job, so I can’t really do anything about that. I personally think she deserves better! <3
I’m so glad that Jane found a purpose in her life! Being an accountant sounds like it’ll work great for her, and I’m really glad that she has a plan to pay for her additional courses to become qualified as an accountant. It’s always good figuring out your life, no matter how late it is, and so I’m really proud of her!!! I hope that everything works out for her!
It was really hard reading about Roxanne’s difficulty in finding jobs. It actually makes me kind of stressed for the future haha, like what if I’ll just never be good enough to get experience in the first place??? So I could relate to Roxanne feeling stressed and dejected here. I thought it was really kind of Amanda to try and help Roxanne, and I hope that the two of them can become slightly closer in the future. (Amanda seems wonderful, honestly. I secretly adore her hehe.)
OKAY I TOTALLY DID NOT MAKE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PAUL JORDAN AND LEE JORDAN. I’m so dumb omg. Wow, everything makes so much more sense now—why these two grew up together, how they became such good friends despite the fact that Roxanne doesn’t seem to think about him too much… It really sucks that her relationship with Daniel is mostly what kept the two of them apart, like I feel like if a relationship is keeping you from keeping close friends, then there’s a slight problem there. I want to know what exactly Paul doesn’t like about Daniel; I’m sure a part of it is definitely influenced by the fact that he likes Roxanne, but he seems like a reasonable person. He didn’t immediately celebrate or anything after she disclosed the fact that they broke up and were in a difficult place, and he wanted to help fix things with them if he could. So I feel like he has to have some actual reason to dislike Daniel, right?
I have to say, I really really really like Paul. Like, perhaps not as a romantic interest for Roxanne, since she’s currently not feeling anything towards him right now, but as a friend? He seems pretty cool. It’s really nice that he’s still trying to maintain the friendship, even after the time of difficulty between the two of them—I wouldn’t have blamed him if he tried to move on and let her be, you know? And I’m glad that Roxanne is acknowledging how her behavior towards Paul wasn’t great, too. PLEASE LET THESE TWO BE THE BEST OF FRIENDS. AFTER JANE, OF COURSE.
Man after Roxanne spilled everything to Paul, I felt relief myself haha. It’s just so nice getting to let out all your feelings. <3
I really loved this chapter!
Oh good, at least nothing bad happened during the girls’ night out, and at least she got to really let go and enjoy herself. Every other chapter has been packed full of like reveals and surprises and stealthy sleuthing, so I think I read way more into the events of last chapter than I was meant to, whoops. It was a really good chapter though! I always love it when characters get to relax with their friends and enjoy themselves properly. <3
THAT FIRST SECTION. WHO ARE THEY? I loved the way you wrote this section, how it’s so dialogue heavy with minimal description, but the description that is there shows so much. For instance, “…as though the two stand in a bubble of unreality amidst the thriving, blaring chaos” is so vivid and it reminds me of why I love your writing so much; your description is always perfect. It also makes me wonder, where are they? Does it matter? Are they right in the middle of like an important investigation scene or something like that? Are they people we know?? And what exactly are they saying about Richard Parkinson, that he is somehow involved with the shadier aspects of the potion (and the crimes surrounding), or that by looking into Parkinson, the Hit Wizards have a higher chance of drawing a connection between the potions and these people? I’M SO CURIOUS.
I thought the interview was really well-written, as well; the discomfort that Roxanne had with the space was really interesting (and kind of stressful haha) to read about! I too would be stressed beyond belief if I were to walk into the richest area imaginable. I really liked Sparks and Pritchard, even though Pritchard gave me a slightly nervous feeling from how quickly he turned from cold to engaging, but I have my suspicions about them. OKAY THEORY: I have a feeling that Sparks isn’t as kind or charismatic as he initially appears, especially since he confirms at the end that Roxanne is the one who started off writing about the case and the company. He had to be the one to get her fired, I think, right? Which makes me suspicious about his intentions—he must not care for the investigation all that much, as it affects his company, and even if he’s not directly involved with the whole potions thing himself, his ambivalence and attempts to remove Roxanne are concerning. Assuming he was the one to do it.
I CAN’T BELIEVE ROXANNE GOT FIRED THOUGH. That’s awful omg. What’s going to happen to her?? Can she get it back???
This was such an interesting chapter!!! <3
I AM BACK TO REVIEW MORE OF THIS STORY. <3
Hmmm I’m not sure if we’re supposed to, but I’m getting some seriously suspicious vibes from both Daniel and Fred. (Well, obviously Fred, he’s like lurking around in shady areas, but I feel like Daniel is kind of guilty by association—in addition to his lack of enthusiasm about Roxanne’s theories about the potion.) I’m honestly somewhat convinced at this point that, somehow, Daniel and Fred are both involved in the illegal potion trading business (unless they’re involved in some other shady business together, which isn’t much better haha), which is why Daniel doesn’t really want to work with Roxanne too closely.
Either way, I still don’t want Roxanne feeling heartbroken over him. She can do way better. <3
I loved getting to meet the group of girls!! They were all so interesting, and Lucy’s drinking game ideas (and history) were really entertaining hahaha. I hope that Jane gets to meet a girl! I’m sorry that nothing’s really worked out for her so far. And I’m really curious about Molly?? I want to meet Molly so bad, I honestly feel like I would kind of like her haha. Good for Dominique, standing up for her cousin. I appreciate that kind of positive energy haha. Also, Lucy’s relationship with Ed sounds like a source of great entertainment for the girls, but also I wonder how two people can consistently break up and get together and not get tired of it?? Lucy’s honestly a bit of a mystery to me—a fun one, though! :P
WHAT IS FRED DOING??? I WANT TO KNOW.
I have a bad feeling about Roxanne getting very, very drunk. It seems like she really has no control over herself when she drinks too much, as show by that instance with Paul after she broke up with Daniel, and I’m worried that something bad’s going to happen to her at the bar. Though, she is with friends and everything, so she’ll probably be okay. I hope??
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, ROXANNE. <3
Awww, Jane. I feel so bad for doubting her, and associating her with the potions and all the sketchy messes that have been plaguing the news in this story. The timing just seemed so odd, and I was so suspicious of her, but now I see that she was really struggling with rent and wages and everything, which is really really sad. I wanted to hug her omg. And the fact that she thought she couldn’t go to Roxanne was also really sad—I’m glad that Roxanne offered for her to stay on her couch, and I hope she makes an effort to be more involved in Jane’s life in the future.
ALSO I DON’T WANT RHIANNON GRIFFITHS TO DIE. It’s really terrible that the people who were in charge of spreading this potion usage to begin with (at least, that’s what I’m blaming them for, dunno if that’s true :P) are now killing someone for bringing it to the public eye. I’m glad that Roxanne made the connection though! I wonder if it’s a shady underground trading business (which seems like it, considering the stuff that happened in the bar), or if it’s also used as a murder weapon… I guess we’ll see.
And Richard! Ahh! I hope that he’s okay? And that he didn’t actually do it?? But I don’t know, I keep doing this but every time you describe a character as looking awful (I had a thought about Jane in relation to this, as well), I feel like they’re automatically connected with the potion drugs somehow. And Richard has consistently been described as looking sleep-deprived and terrible, which makes me think that he at least uses the potions, if not spreads them around. Like, I think I might believe him that he didn’t give the potions to Rhiannon, but I feel like he also has potential for using them himself.
I DON’T KNOW. And for Higgins to react like that! It’s honestly terrible.
I wonder if this new story of Roxanne’s has anything to do with anything. :P
That is terrifying. I can’t even imagine what a person would look like after plummeting to the ground at eighty miles (or was it kilometers) an hour—the bones broken, head cracked image was really scary, and I thought your description of “like red berries on a Christmas wreath” was so incredibly fitting in how eerie it sounds, especially after the knowledge of Rhiannon Griffiths’s injuries. I love how Dom immediately ploughed through the crowd in order to reach the patient; it’s possible that her intervention saved Rhiannon Griffiths’s life, and I hope that she continues to live.
Louis took care of Roxanne really well, and I’m eternally glad that he kept a calm head after that. I actually did not know that chocolate (or sugar, in general) was good for shock! Though I suppose I should’ve learned that from the Harry Potter series, haha. I’m not a very good fan, am I? :P But yeah, it would definitely be really shocking to watch a near-death happen in front of you.
OH IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HAD MY THEORY TOO. Does this mean I’m right, or that I’m wrong? :P I’m glad that the Healers didn’t tell them anything, as that would be terribly unethical. I actually kind of wish that they wouldn’t write about the potential potion abuse, because I feel like that would just open discussion to how she “deserved” to fall because of her cheating the system. Some sports fans can get really terrible when people on other teams hurt themselves; imagine how terrible they’d be if people on other teams hurt themselves accidentally because of a really terrible decision they made. Ahhh.
Sorry I’m not coherent right now, I’ve been exhausted haha.
And what’s been happening with Jane??? Has she been getting addicted to the potion as well?? I’m so worried about her omg.
I’m really glad that the Prophet and Hit Wizards have finally acknowledged a connection between the two cases, and while I can understand Roxanne’s frustration that the Hit Wizards are not being entirely transparent with what they’ve discovered so far, it makes sense. After all, they’re the ones investigating the issue firsthand, and if they accidentally release something incorrect or uncertain into the public, or even if it’s true, there’s a chance that it would in some ways tip off the people that they’re looking for to begin with. Though, to be honest, these people probably already know exactly what the Hit Wizards have found out (but if I was investigating, I would want to keep the details secret so that the dangerous people don’t know what I’m up to haha).
It really really sucks that Miranda got Roxanne kicked off the story, especially since it seems like Roxanne’s incredibly talented, and that she’s been doing her best given the difficulties of working with Miranda. I wonder what exactly Miranda said to Higgins in order to make him think that Roxanne has been acting unprofessionally (maybe he meant her eyeroll?), but that was low, and unkind.
The Quidditch game was so much fun to read about omg; you described the action incredibly well, which is really hard to do. It was really scary when Rhiannon Griffiths toppled to the ground though. I HAVE ANOTHER THEORY OMG. What if she’s been using the potion as a way to boost her abilities, sort of like steroids? That would explain her sudden improvement in playing, and maybe she overdosed, or the excessive action was too much for her body or something like that.
I’m really curious about what happened to her!!
OH. SO THE POTION WAS THE SUBSTANCE GIVEN TO THAT WOMAN LAST CHAPTER. So it was an illegal substance of some kind? I’d imagine it’s some form of drug; I think the woman might have been using it for recreational purposes, but when it’s paired with these really disturbing disappearances and murders, it’s probably used to addle the victims’ brains, right? Good on Roxanne, though, for managing to talk to a Healer about it, and for gathering some information. Though, sometime that’s always confused me is, why do reporters do things off the record, if they can’t ever end up using that source’s information? Is it so that they know what to look for in further investigations?
I’m dumb and do not know how journalism works haha.
Hm I’m not sure if this is your intention, but I’m very, very skeptical of everything Daniel. So Roxanne just saw him holding a somewhat sketchy interaction with Fred, who snuck into an apothecary, which makes me think that Fred was looking for ingredients to make the illegal potion with. If it turns out that Potions is one of Fred’s best subjects, that will be my official hypothesis, haha. Also, I know Roxanne described Daniel as looking really tired, but what if it was from being addled from the drug? (Sorry, jumping into slightly conspiracy-level theories here.) What if Daniel’s been using it, which is why he was so shocked and weirded out when she mentioned it to him later?
What if that was what he was doing when he was out late? Going to bars and using the potion?
Also, I really hate how his reaction to Paul coming was to become furious and storm out. Like, Roxanne is not your girlfriend anymore. He’s made that so abundantly clear, and I don’t get how he can continue being stupid and jealous about it. It’s really dumb. Especially since he supposedly believes her now!!!
Get your stuff together, Daniel. u__u
This is such a well-written story though omg, I’m obsessed.
Eugh, I don’t like the ethics of Roxanne’s boss, Higgins, how he has his own personal hunch, evidence-supported or not, and wants his newspaper to push for it. In some ways, I’m also slightly unhappy with Roxanne’s willingness to go along with this sort of unethical behavior, though I do understand that it’s not really her fault, and that it is the first time she’s had a proper story, so she wants to do everything well enough for her boss to approve.
You know, Fred is really starting to irk me, and I’m sympathizing way, way more with Roxanne now—of course cheating is terrible, and if I thought that one of my siblings did it, of course I would be furious. But I would also at least yell at them, or give them an opportunity to respond to me, instead of getting on some high horse and pretending that my sibling is the scum of the earth. I thought that George’s “no intervention” policy was a little not great at first (parents who can’t intervene are, in my opinion, not super great parents), but he redeemed himself later when he made Fred shut up! And the way that Fred kept denying being around Knockturn Alley… That’s definitely suspicious, especially since he later accidentally admitted to it.
It’s definitely connected to these disappearances somehow, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be so funny and ironic if all this time it turned out that Fred was off doing horrible, immoral things, and had been ignoring his sister for cheating (which didn’t even happen)? WAIT I HAVE A THEORY. What if Fred is the man who gave the woman at the end those illegal-sounding substances?? Is the bar described at the end in Knockturn Alley? Is he using it as some form of illegal extra money, perhaps to pay for something or boost the business? And what does the glass do, exactly, anyway?
I see that Roxanne made a similar connection that I did with the Muggle connection things, except now I distrust myself because it seems like every time a character draws the same conclusions I do, that conclusion inevitably turns out to be wrong. :P
Oh my god. This is really, really scary to read about; I know that Roxanne feels detached from all of this and that she’s mostly preoccupied with writing her story, but I got serious chills when Roxanne overheard the woman saying “his hand” over and over again. It made me wonder exactly what happened with the dead body’s hand—at first I thought it had gotten cut off, or that the fingers had been mutilated in some way, but having a T carved into it is pretty dreadful as well. And what exactly does it mean? Is T someone’s initial? Do we know this villainous man who’s been kidnapping these people for some mysterious reason?
I tried desperately to think of characters whose name started with T, haha, but I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere with that theory.
Dominique seems so cute!! I feel like in most stories I’ve read, Dominique has been the loud, boisterous character, while Victoire is more mild-mannered, if not less frightening haha, so it’s really interesting hearing Dominique be a sweet, caring, moral character while she describes Victoire getting stressed over wedding preparations. (Which is understandable, I think, haha, considering how big a deal it is for most people.) I think that Dominique makes good points about Jane, though I still have a weird feeling about it; I really hope it’s just what they think it is, about her being slightly self-conscious about not having progressed as far in life as the rest of her classmates.
Jensen is weird and I don’t really trust him, though I have a feeling he’s just your regular asshole, but not as harmful as the people actually causing the damage here.
Chidiock Feist! What an excellent name! I assume this is the man who worked as a publicist for both worlds, and then disappeared along with those two men who Flooed directly into his place?
There are so many pieces to this omg.
What’s happening with Jane?? Is she okay? What reason does she have for avoiding Roxanne? I’m actually a little concerned about her, especially if she might be caught up in this whole shady business involving Malcolm Armstrong—I feel like the timing is too coincidental. Though maybe she doesn’t feel entirely happy that she’s still struggling while Roxanne seems to have found a way to success, and so she’s trying to find different jobs? OR, and this is a terrible theory, so I really hope it’s not true, but maybe she’s been dating Daniel and doesn’t really want to face Roxanne. (I have seen too many romantic comedies haha. :P)
I’m glad that Roxanne got to talk to Daniel though! Even though I’m not positive I want the two of them together—I mean, I still don’t know what Daniel was doing, working so late despite the fact that there wasn’t really anything for him to do (and not telling Roxanne about it), and the fact that Daniel still couldn’t trust Roxanne around Paul after so many years makes me very reluctant to put faith in him—I’m still glad that Roxanne got some closure, even if it wasn’t the result she wanted. Like, his defense throughout this conversation seemed to be, “Sure, I did break up with you, but you immediately went to him,” and it’s just like, the amount of distrust he has is staggering. Relationships should not have that!
Daniel does seem like a generally kind person, though; I don’t know that many people who would help random people on the street, and so it’s really admirable that he does this often. I STILL DON’T TRUST HIM. People who are nice to some people can be very iffy when it comes to other things!
Also, who’s the body??? AHH. Everything’s so exciting omg!!