Hi Laura! Here for our swap. <3
I literally got the shivers just from reading your summary. Just thought I’d let you know haha. As always, though, your stories are brought to life through the language you use, where the words always manage to enhance the story, and give it vibrancy and feeling and emotion. Your descriptions are just so beautiful, and you use them so breathtakingly that you could literally have a one-shot with no purpose other than writing descriptions of scenery, and I would gladly read it in a heartbeat.
Something else that I found to be powerful was the full force of the wrath of God throughout this piece. I think generally, religion and magic are kept separate, but here, you’ve combined both in a reflection of the religious fervor of the time, and the guilt, self-loathing, and hubris that consumed the three brothers in the end were all so staggeringly well-written. Their paths to self-destruction is so terrifyingly dark and twisted, and I absolutely loved how you managed to categorize the individual brothers into the different sins. Based on what we know of them, you matched the overwhelming sin to the person perfectly.
Ever since I read the Deathly Hallows, where the tale of the three brothers was explained for the first time, I always loved Ignotus, who managed to escape Death. However, what I absolutely love about your story is the darkness you bring to his choices, that by cheating Death this way, he is cursed to remain as the sole survivor of the three brothers, suffering from his ceaseless guilt until he chooses to leave the world at the end, once his son is grown. I loved your descriptions of his flight from home, how he ran and ran until he couldn’t anymore. And despite his selfishness and cowardice, he still manages to remain the most “successful” brother.
And you brought an entirely new layer of tragedy to Cadmus’s tale. Lust fits him so, so well, because it’s his lust that spurs him to bring back his lover from the dead. All the extra details you added, of the little son of the woman he loved, of his awe and worship of the church (despite being unable to break himself from the role of playing God), of the coldness of the ghost that ended up haunting him to his death... Ugh, Laura, how do you do it? How do you write these beautiful, haunting pieces that just make me think until my mind hurts? Even though I’m constantly worried that I’m misinterpreting your beautiful pieces, I just love reading them so much.
The eldest brother, Antioch, is Greed personified. He has a dangerous thirst for violence, receives his glory as the warlock with the most powerful wand, and then continues to beg for more and more and more, until his ceaseless bragging gets himself killed. His death is the most preventable, yet he still dies. I loved his sections the most because of how fascinatingly brutal his thought process is.
I don’t think I can tell you enough how much of an amazing writer you are. Sometimes I just sit here and feel so incredibly blessed that you’re a part of this community, so I can read your beautiful writing like this. Ahhh love this!
This read like a true Greek tragedy, from the poetic quality of your description to the repetition to the rises and falls in action to the deeply flawed humanness of the characters. I'm really in awe of your writing ability--I wanna be like you when I grow up (haha)! Really, I love how you use description to enhance the story rather than simply as a chore needed to set the scene. You understand that every word counts in a good story so every word must be chosen with careful deliberation--and it shows in the quality of this fic. I don't really know what else to say.
i will say that the level of description has left me feeling all the emotions of the characters. So I've got to go look at some cat videos or rainbows or something to cheer myself up (which is a very good thing--I'm impressed that you could truly make me feel such complicated emotions. Bravo!)
Hi there - thanks so much for stopping by! :)
Ahh thank you - I'm so glad you liked it! I initially worried when I wrote it that it would be too dark and tragic, yk, but it's kinda hard to make a story about the three brothers end happily, given what happens to them in canon. I love writing description and I tend to write a lot of it naturally in stories, so it sort of just... happens? And in this one, which was very much character-snippet driven, it worked well to avoid dialogue (which is good for me :P) and, well, a lot of plot :P I'm not really good at editing or keeping things short, haha, so things end up being longer than I plan and more in-depth and more emotion-heavy.
Awwww, yes, definitely go look at cat videos! It's really not a very happy story - it's the darkest thing I've written in a long while, and the longest, as well. It's just a mess of dark/horror elements, angst, and all sorts of angry, sad, hopeless elements :P But I'm glad you felt it - even if they're not good or nice things to think.
Thank you so much for the lovely review - I don't feel my reply did it justice, really, but thank you <3
So this was probably a dark story to start this on, but I have to do this either way:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR LAURA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
*sigh* Your descriptions, The picture you paint. If you ever start up a writing course, can you let me know AND I WILL JOIN.
I love how you cycle through the POVs of each brother, and how unique they and their voices are. I also love that you wrote each scene on one of the deadly sins, or something like it. And gosh it just fits them perfectly.
I'm sorry I don't have time to write more but just know that this is amazing, you are amazing, and I hope you have a wonderful day! <3
Ahhhhh thank you so so much! :) You're so so lovely, you know that right? (If not, you should do!)
Thank you! <3 I loved writing this one - it all just splashed itself onto the page surprisingly quickly, haha, which was great. Awwww, that's far far too sweet - I honestly have no idea about writing courses or the technical side of things, haha, so I think I'd be useless at teaching :P Writing the brothers was fun - they're so different, yk, despite being brothers: they have their own wants, their own beliefs, they think about things and conceptualise things completely differently, which was so fun to explore. Yeah, each section is based on the nine circles of Dante's hell - three given to each brother. I tried to mix them up so it wasn't always the most obvious ones for each brother, though I'm not sure how well I did with that :P
Aww no worries - thank you so so much for dropping by and for the review; it was such a wonderful surprise to get! :)
Hello! Yikes! I'm so sorry I'm late with this review swap :/ I had intended to have it done by the end of the morning, but, as usual, RL (and some misbehaving paragraphs) ran away with me. Anyway, down to business, as they say.
OMG, Laura; how long did it take you to write this story? This is absolutely incredible and the level of detail here is breathtaking - I think this is my favourite story of yours to date. Gosh, it's vivid and disturbing, but oh my, it's tremendous!
The concept of this story - bringing the seven deadly sins (or variations on) to meet The Tale Of The Three Brothers - is not only such an original one, it's very cleverly done as well. Your writing really captures the era and atmosphere so beautifully and there are so many parts of this story I want to quote back to you, but I shall sit on my hands and restrict myself to just a few. The sins work so well to break this story into sections.
Limbo had me confused for a brief moment, until I'd read the whole piece, and then it made perfect sense; Ignotus, the one remaining brother, awaiting a meeting with Death after handing the cloak of invisibility to his eldest son, thus beginning the tradition of the cloak passing down from generation to generation. I love the image of the road as a snake and your description of light lost into a valley. "Vanished in a weak sigh" is such a poetic way to describe how light blends and is lost into dark. I'm guessing Ignotus is still in the pre-death stage and "limbo" refers to his waiting, rather than it pertaining to some other plane.
The section titled "Lust"; oof. Such a graphic description of self-punishment, so much so that I was wincing at times (not a criticism, just to comment how powerful your writing really is)! I can understand why you put the warning at the beginning of this story; your words are incredibly evocative, especially how the meaning of lust is used and can be interpreted here (Lust for pain/suffering to mark redemption?). I felt so sorry for poor Cadmus, harming himself for his desires and any sinful thoughts. I adored this poignant line of "coaxed, cajoled tears ... a slow, languid lament" pertaining to his confession. I wondered briefly - had Cadmus originally wanted to become a man of the cloth and make the church his profession?
"No more soothing than the heat of a midday sun on burned, reddened flesh." Well, ouch. If that sentence doesn't make your eyes water in pain, nothing will. This section, entitled "Gluttony" must pertain to Antioch and is this the point at which he acquires the unstoppable elder wand. He's such a braggart. That he thinks the acquisition of this wand makes him invincible, or is this pre-wand, and these are facets of his personality which would make him seek out the wand as his Hallow of choice?
Ignotus sneaks away in the middle of the night to leave his brothers to their fates, but he's tempted by his brother Antioch's possessions before he goes, and I wondered if he was pondering the theft of the elder wand? Was that what was "calling" him from the trunk? However, as we know from the original story, he only takes his cloak, and resists greed. Is this the only sin to be resisted? Although, I could argue that the fact he left by himself is greed; to protect himself.
Anger next, and Antioch is getting beaten to a pulp, probably because he's far too full of his own importance. I'm kind of surprised he doesn't resort to using his wand to fight his opponent, but I understand his reasons for not doing so. That fight must have really knocked his self-belief though, and I bet he kept his wand close to hand after that as he must have grown to rely heavily on it. "For what merit did anger have, but for ambition?" Such powerful words.
Is heresy here in place of sloth or pride? My heart has broken for poor Cadmus; he is definitely the brother I feel the sorriest for. Having brought someone (a lost love?) back from the dead, he (wrongly) expected life to return to normal, but she is a mere shadow, and unhappy at having her eternal rest interrupted. The only logical way for Cadmus to deal with the anguish of being apart from her, is to commit suicide. Gosh. Your writing, as ever, is incredible here, but this hanging scene knocked me completely cold. I still have goosebumps after reading this. "The glory of falling." Oh goodness. I hope Cadmus found redemption in his ever after :(
Violence has to be linked to Antioch; I don't think it has a place in Ignotus's story. I loved the euphemistic references to wands! And Antioch meets his maker here too, although I didn't feel quite the same horror and revulsion at his death, probably because he was the vilest of the brothers and I couldn't feel at all attached to his character. Kudos to your writing for making each brother stand out so differently from each other, by the way! Was it the boy who killed Antioch, or was he the accomplice/decoy for the main culprit and presumed thief of the elder wand?
This only leaves Ignotus. He seeks redemption for his sins, but does he ever feel truly redeemed in this life? Is this why he hands his cloak to his son and bids farewell to his family before going out in search of Death?
Wow. This was a stunning depiction of The Three Brothers, with your own incredible additions. I'm sorry I've left you an essay :/ Just blown away by this; your descriptive style (outstanding as always), your storytelling, and how evocative this whole piece was.
Laura! I've been excited to read this since you told me that you were working on a story about the Peverell brothers (and let's face it, it's you who wrote it so the chances of me not loving it are zero). It's so unusual and I think I've only read maybe one story which includes any of them before? But this was so different to that story and so original and beautiful and - surprise, surprise - I loved it!
Do I need to tell you that your description in this was stunning? I say it in absolutely every review that I leave for you but I might as well tell you again, yes? This was beautiful - especially the beginning and the way that you painted such a vivid picture and completely drew us into the story with it. It's like you take words that are just normal words in any other context and somehow manage to mould them into something breathtaking. HOW? SHARE YOUR SECRETS WITH ME, I BEG YOU!
The sense of period in this was just so wonderful - you really captured the time that this is set in and made me feel like I was there when I was reading it. The descriptions and your choice of little details to highlight really helped to build up this picture of the setting and so did the inclusion of religion; I see it so rarely in stories that someone actually remembers the existence of religion, but at this time - especially since it's before the Statute and I imagine there's more similarities between Muggle and magical societies at this point. It was so original and felt so right for that to be included in this way, though.
I've read this several times, now, and it's just beautiful. The only tiny thing I'd say is that I think that in the first section it could be made a little clearer which of the brothers we're following. It's easy to tell in later sections, either with a mention of their name or the references to their nature and the gifts they've received from death, but I could only put my finger on which brother it was in Limbo when I read it through a second time.
The sections were so clever, though; I loved the way that you named them and the glimpse that each one gave us into the lives of each of the brothers. They're all so different and they react in very different ways to the gifts that death has given them, and it was fascinating to read about.
The questions that you included in each section (and often ended a section with) also did a fantastic job of building up this sense of uncertainty and questioning, because the gifts the brothers have been given are so unique and of course it would affect them. I loved the way that Antioch's sections had far fewer questions than those featuring Cadmus and Ignotus, and when they were included they seemed more to be questions to reassure him that he was making the right choice; it tied in so well with his character and seemed to really fit the arrogance and boastful nature that became his downfall.
Ignotus was so intriguing to read! I think I tend to expect to see him in a more sympathetic way because he's the 'wise' brother, the one who made the correct decision and found himself a way to escape death. It was so interesting to read his sections because, while he was still uncertain and questioning, and not really sure of the gift he had received, there was also a tinge of arrogance and disdain that seemed to come across in his thoughts when he reflected on the gifts his brothers had received - a certain sense of pride and superiority maybe, that he had the wisdom to make the better choice.
I think my favourite of the brothers was Cadmus in this. I loved the way that you tied religion into his section, because the way that he desperately clung to his beliefs but was so conflicted with them was fascinating to read, and so, so unusual. I couldn't tell whether he'd turned to religion after his fiancée had died in the first place to try and find comfort for his loss, but either way it worked so well. His sections felt so troubled and tortured (not to mention the self-flagellation) and it was so authentic and believable that someone of this time period, holding these beliefs, would struggle with the return of someone from death, and battle internally over good and evil.
Was Anselm a nod to St. Anselm of Canterbury? :P
(I loved the way you weaved in the imagery of souls being stained with sin throughout the story, too, even for Ignotus who has little to do with religion; the remnants from that lifestyle and belief system would certainly hang over into life "after" religion at that time.)
The way that death became a character in this story was lovely, too - it was as though you could feel his presence lurking behind each of the sections and I loved the way that he became linked with the devil and evil in their minds, too. It would be very natural for people in this period to believe that and it fit so well with the story.
The ending section was wonderful! Like I said, you really built up this sense of uncertainty and questioning throughout the story and death was a constant presence - even if Ignotus had the means to hide from him, he couldn't truly escape and that was really evident by the final section. I loved the way that his brothers kind of slipped out of the story and he got the news of them so detachedly, but it had such an impact and made him question his own decision to remain living and "defy" death. The ending after that - the acceptance (and probably at a younger age than I would have expected from the tale, but equally just felt right with this story and all the other details you've built into it) and willingness to meet his fate worked so well.
I've probably rambled for long enough now, so I'll let you get on with more interesting things than me gushing about your writing, but this was truly stunning and I loved it <3
Hello! I'm here for the BVB, but even if it weren't for the BVB, I'd be here because it really is about time I read something by you! I kind of thought I knew what to expect from the way everyone has been raving about the way you write, but it even went beyond what I was expecting.
There are SO MANY lines I would love to quote here because you write so beautifully and a lot of them were so moving, but more importantly, thought-provoking. But I narrowed it to my two absolute favourites!
"What was the greater sin - cowardice, or the expectation of divine assistance?"
"Love, he knew then, only ever damned you - what greater price would it ask, than his heart and soul entire?"
I would also say that all the questions that you ended each passage with were brilliant. If someone would make these into graphic designs, I could potentialy cover my walls in them. That's how brilliant they were! I'm not even exaggerating
I do like the structure a lot. And while I couldn't always identify which Pevrell it was, my the middle of the story, there were enough clues for me to manage to tie everything together (or so I hope.)
I love, love, love the description of the heartbeat in the first passage in Greed. It's just so stunning, and perfect, and if I can put it in a textbook after a scientific definition of water-hammer pulse (which is what came to my mind as I read that description), I would. That's how perfect it is. There was also another line describing breathing in the section titled Heresy. And I just cannot comprehend how you manage to make biological processed so poetic and captivating! It's mind-blowing.
Anger was perhaps my favourite section. The character-building in that scene is formidable. We see him progress from struggle, to anger, to a need to prove self-worth, and finally two revenge once the previous has been asserted. And from the way it's written, one should be scared of the outcome. Nothing good can come out of such bitterness and anger-driven ambition.
Heresy was quite interesting because one can easily tell it's Cadmus who is so self-conflicted, and this only helps explain why. He is so burdened, weighed down by guilt, and by the ghost he's brought back, and by his previous sins. And it is heart-breaking to see the contrast between him and the character in Anger, which I'm guessing is Antioch (forgive me if I'm wrong). He, too, has stuggled but he is not taking it out on the world, mostly because he is taking responsibility (perhaps too much of it) for his wrongdoings and he's taking it out on himself.
Overall, this was such a stunning story and like nothing else I have ever, EVER read before. I'm definitely going to read more of your stories soon (basically everything that's nominated for the FROGs). <3
Okay, before I even start the review I just want to say that I'm already so in love with just the premise of the story. I've never read anything like it! Also I’m sorry for how...involved this review will end up being because I started dividing things into sections and it got out of control.
Structurally I love how the story is set up! I'm getting some major Dante's Inferno vibes that I'm totally down for.
The thing that really sticks out to me about your writing is the way that you write such vivid descriptions without distracting from the actual plot of the story. I don't see that in many other stories.
This was a really strong introduction to the characters. I can’t tell for certain which of the brothers that we’re reading about yet, but I think the one that is coming along, the one who ruffles his hair with his breath might be the Ignotus because of the comparison to the wind which just for some reason reminds me of the cloak. That leaves me to suspect that the main brother so far is Cadmus. I’m wondering if Antioch is still alive here? Although this is all just speculation so far. There are so many ways you could have written it and if nothing else this section does a great job or raising my questions.
I’m dazzled by a lot of the lines, but my favorite in this section is "What was the greater sin - cowardice, or the expectation of divine assistance?" because I feel like it applies so much beyond just this story. From the idea of global catastrophes and the reluctance of some countries (mine specifically) to do anything to help for a variety of excuses that boil down to either not caring, or being too cowardly to make a stand, to my state having an issue with teen suicide rates and not addressing it, but sweeping it under the rug with a “how could this happen and I’ll pray for the families” instead of talking about why we are facing it, to even just the personal struggle of me wanting something to happen but not taking initiative so I’m just waiting for it to happen.
The self-loathing comes on pretty strong in this section and my heart aches for someone to tell him that he's okay just the way he is. Also purified and empty doesn't seem like a goal I'd ever chase after. All of that being said, I’m glad he didn’t follow through on that particular lust in this particular section. A boy. Not man. I don’t know how old the brothers are, but I feel like they are out of Hogwarts so old enough.
This is definitely Antioch's part with the wine and the free flowing laughter and the bragging. Talented, brave, gallant (with a penchant for self appreciation)–Definitely Gryffindor material ;)
The sense of betrayal really strikes me here. This greed of both the items and for more time than what was allotted to him seems to really come through in your words. I think he’s my least favorite of the brothers, but I also think that you’ve portrayed him fantastically. I think this section was my favorite of all of them.
I feel like in any story this line leads to the most dangerous of all characters: “one day he would show them all.” People with this mindset seem to be reckless and blind with rage and all around successful in spreading chaos. I feel like that’s why so many serial killers have rough childhoods. This line ”For what merit did anger have, but for ambition?” feels like it could be straight out of a Tom Riddle autobiography.
This is the brother that I feel like worst for. That depression, that feeling of already being half-dead. I know that one well and struggled with it in my own youth. I hate for him to have to suffer so much. Her having him suffer just as he had caused her to is just so much. And this section was really dark, but still really well written.
Um, lots of danger! DOn't tell secrets! No! I think knowing what happens to each of the brothers doesn’t ease my desire to plea with you that maybe it doesn’t have to end this way for each of them!
“I have played at God when I should not, upsetting the balance of life and death, and for nothing more than my own selfish lusts and wants.” All of this build up of shame and fear and guilt leads me to speculate on whether or not god would forgive him, even though I’m not religious. I think I remember that there are no unforgivables in the eyes of christianity if you repent and all sins are equal so he's done his bit and surely he should feel reassured that he can access heaven when passes. As long as someone doesn't use that blasted stone on him.
I feel like you did a really good job building up to this section with the deaths of each of his brothers feeling like a natural procession. The guilt. The horror at what their actions have done to their lives. His brothers call him a coward, but I happen to think he's the bravest one of them all. He went to his death in a way that was of his own volition and somehow (even though I don’t by any means justify suicide irl) it seems more noble in this story.
I LOVED IT. It was a story unlike any other and the writing was completely brilliant and fantastic and just wow. I’m going to have to take a break before I read the next story just so that I can let it all settle in.