Hey Sian! Here to review as promised! Also here for RvG February - Go GOLD!
I think this is the first Victorie-centered fic that I've read that hasn't been a romance. Who knew that this could be so refreshing? It feels like Next Gen authors leave Victorie out a lot, or she's the typical "mom" of the Clan, or she's in love with Teddy, or drama with Teddy. There aren't a lot of stories that are just her being her own, independent person. I think we need more stories about her like this. Nothing wrong with Teddy... but it's like we as a fan base just always clump her together with him. She deserves her own story!
This story also got me excited to write something similar. There's a whole world out there for ancient civilizations and runes that one could incorporate! We always think of Egypt and Greece - like you wrote - but there's a lot in England as well. It would be really cool to read a story about Victorie getting in deep with Celtic and Anglo-Saxon and then maybe Viking ruins. Provided you knew enough history and geography, that could be an amazing story..... and now I really want to read this!!!
I think you wrote the whole element of runes and the ruins and the tomb well. As the reader, I was convinced Victorie really was a curse-breaker/archaeologist in training. It felt real and believable, and not just fiction with a splash of history. Realism in writing is something that's important to me. My biggest pet peeve is if I don't believe in/not convinced of a character's behavior or actions or the consequences of their actions. But your writing was real, so yay!
Off to read some more of yours!
Hi there! I'm dropping by for the Magical Menagerie!
This was such a creative piece! I'm a history buff and loved all the historical references here. It's obvious that you worked hard to get the little details as accurate as possible, and that's something I always appreciate in a writer. I also thought it was great how much thought you put into what the job of curse-breaking would entail. Details like these are easy to gloss over, but you delved into a bit and I thought that really grounded your story.
Victoire is all of us at some point in our life, I think; we all have that moment of rebellion where we eventually regret it. XD But, I'm glad it worked out for her in the end. She's obviously smart, adventurous, and hard-working, so this seems like a good career for her. She's certainly Bill's child! I loved her determination to tough out her less-than-desirable assignment and keep working at it even when it got challenging.
Your writing itself is very engaging. You have a talent for describing the scene without getting too bogged down in exposition. It's a tricky balance to strike, but you handled it well.
This was so fun to read! I'm glad I clicked on it!
Yay for history! I've never studied it as a proper subject but I do love history, and definitely found myself getting sucked into far too much detail when I was researching things like Runes for this story (I did have the advantage of having visited the place that this is set in, though). Building up the Curse-breaking career path was also really fun - it was really interesting to imagine how you might train to become a Curse-breaker and what the training itself might involve.
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed Victoire's characterisation, too! I can't imagine that Bill and Fleur could have a child who didn't end up determined and headstrong in some way, so I'm glad you could easily imagine her to be Bill's daughter - and yes, maybe she should have listened to her dad's advice, but she's not about to prove him right here :P
Thank you so much for this review and the lovely compliments on my writing!
i think that it is quite interesting that you took curse breaking, a job that definitely sounds very glamorous, especially when you think about all the treasure that one could find if one is a successful curse breaker and turned it into a story that's decidedly not glamorous.
i love that victoire is so headstrong and totally doesn't listen to her father (who would obviously know what curse breaking entails) and that she decided to pursue her dream, even if that meant that she would end up in the english countryside instead of somewhere far more exciting and exotic. and she's still excited about the prospect of finally being able to do her job, even in a test environment is adorable!
you have really thought out the job itself and the way that the would-be curse breakers train for it and ultimately how they have to go alone to a place and show everything that they learned during training. i also found it really funny that the runes they learned at hogwarts were of no use for british burial sites!
i also think that the riddle you thought up for the story was quite creative! victorie is much smarter than i am and better at riddles because i couldn't figure it out at all :P
This story is actually part of my next gen universe/head canon, and one of the things I tend to focus on in those stories is the way that "dream" jobs often don't turn out to be quite as glamorous and exciting as they seem. So I'm really pleased that you enjoyed that aspect of it.
Victoire's character was so much fun to write! I imagine that any combination of Bill and Fleur would probably end up quite determined and headstrong, and of course a 17 year-old doesn't listen to her father's career advice when it stands in the way of her dream job :P But I really enjoyed writing about the different elements that her job might incorporate, researching the Runes that were used at this time, and how one might train to become a Curse-breaker, especially since we don't actually get any information on it in canon.
Thank you so much for stopping by with this review!
Hey Sian! It's been way too long! I'm here for the Menagerie and for RvG (Team Red!).
So I saw this story recommended in the Around the Campfire thread and it sounded really interesting. I love the concept of exploring these jobs that sound really exciting and action-movie-like in a more measured and realistic sort of way. I like that that's actually the core concept of this story and that you really get into it!
You had me smiling right off the bat at the idea of Bill trying to talk Victoire out of Curse-breaking. I can remember being 17 and thinking all of my parents' career advice was stupid. That definitely seemed very realistic to me.
Every time I read one of your stories, I'm just struck by how much I LOVE your use of language. Your syntax is amazing! Every sentence just fits together so perfectly, I honestly don't understand how you do it. "The reality was a lot closer to home. And, well... damp." is one part that for some reason just felt so perfect. It sets up the story so perfectly in so few words. It's sort of a "I bet you're wondering how I ended up here" moment, if that makes sense?
And then "the saffron glow of the town"? HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THESE PHRASES, this is so good, ugh. I am eternally jealous and in awe.
The idea of cursebreakers-in-training doing field placements/practicums is SO clever, well done there! Poor Victoire though, I would be so mad if all my classmates got to go to Greece and Egypt and I didn't.
I really liked that you actually went through some of Victoire's thought process and reasoning around the site and the meaning of the runes, it was so interesting. And I loved that you walked us through how she figured out how to open the tomb! And then the riddle! It was all just really engaging and clever.
More absolutely beautiful language with the sky/sunrise imagery! And I felt as though I could feel Victoire's excitement and joy as she got to work just rolling off of the page.
"Patience was certainly not her virtue, despite the instructors having spent two years insisting that it was one of the most important qualities for any Curse-breaker to have" HAH! Poor Victoire :') Also, Teddy insisting she stay hydrated is too cute, lol. Teddy's a mom-(boy)friend.
This review got kind of non-sequential, I'm sorry hahaha. But I really, really enjoyed this, I had a super fun time reading it! <3 You're so talented, seriously. I always love your work.
You've read Jigsaw, so you know that I really like making glamorous-sounding jobs seem... realistic? That's kind of what I wanted to do with this here, and it luckily aligned with the task that we had to write for the maze at the time :P But writing about Curse-breaking was so much fun, and building up Victoire's expectations and then having them shown reality :P I'm glad that you could relate to the way that Bill tried to dissuade Victoire from Curse-breaking - I actually listened to my mum on teaching, but I know so many people don't, and Vic's one determined young lady. Like boring old parents are going to stop her getting her dream job!
Ah, I'm blushing! Physically blushing. I don't know what to say to your compliments on my writing except thank you so much <3
I had so much fun writing about the field placement and coming up with the ideas of some of the things that they'd have to go through in training to become a Curse-breaker, and though I knew absolutely nothing about Runes before I wrote this story, they were fun to include, and to try and work out riddles and little challenges for her to overcome during the practice.
I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this, and that you liked Victoire and the writing - thank you so, so much for this lovely review!
Hey Sian! I'm here for October RvG - Team Gold
A Victoire-centered fic? Sign me up, please! And an exploration of the Curse Breaking field... yes, please! These elements are already so intriguing.
I love everything about this piece: the lack of glamor of curse breaking paired with the most thrilling aspects of it; the solitude of Victoire; her fondness for Bill and Teddy (their characterization through Victoire's inner monologue about them is amazing--from wise old dad to caring and cheeky [what I assume to be] bpyfriend); the ties of Anglo-Saxon Runes what the past... brilliant! Binchester and Escomb are now on my UK travel list!
"...it turned out that the Elder Futhark and Hieroglyphs taught at Hogwarts were of little use for British burial sites from the last millennium" If Hogwarts isn't teaching applicable Runes, then what kind of curriculum are they implementing over there? I wonder what their justification for the aforementioned Runes are, then. Maybe they're useful for another career field? I would love to see some of the sources you used for this fic. It all sounds so interesting!
Again, I love how you explore Curse Breaking in this fic. This is relatively unexplained in the Potter books. But I wonder about the ethical implications of removing treasure from tombs? Sure, those buried there don't need it, but exactly who's gaining from this enterprise? This isn't a critique of your writing at all. In fact, this piece has brought up something that I haven't thought about in a while: about the gathering of ancient artifacts in these famous museums in the Muggle world. What knowledge and power relations were utilized in retrieving these treasures of human history? Do these ends justify the means? This would be an interesting topic to cover in a follow-up fic, maybe (hint, hint). But anyway, this fic is a great expansion in the HP universe!
Wondering writing, Sian! I hope to read more of yours soon!
I'm so glad you stopped by this story, because I had a blast writing it and your thoughts on it are very interesting!
This story actually fits in with my next gen head canon (with the Jigsaw universe) and one of the main things I've tried to address in my next gen stories is the way that these characters always seem to land the most exciting and glamorous dream jobs right out of school - which those of us who've been there know isn't likely. So I really wanted to make curse-breaking seem more realistic and explore some of the negative aspects of it that Vic has to deal with, despite the fact that she does love her job.
Haha I did a little bit of research for this story (and I'll admit that I'm in no way an expert on Runes - at all) and found that there were different Runes used in Britain around this time; I imagined that the Ancient Runes syllabus covers the Runes that are mainly used on magical burial sites in other countries, which seem to be involved in a lot of what Gringotts does - so they are useful for Curse-breaking, just not Victoire this time, unfortunately.
Yes! This is a really interesting aspect that I'd actually love to explore more at some point. There's something very colonial about going to other countries, breaking into (possibly sacred) burial sites and taking their treasures, isn't there? A lot to think about for sure - I really want to explore that now! Maybe some day I'll write another Victoire based fic!
Thank you for stopping by to read this and leaving such a lovely, thoughtful review!
Hi hi hi! :) So I LOVED this to piece when I first read it, I think not long after you posted it, and I always meant to come back and review it so I'm so excited to get the chance to review it properly now :)
I gotta say first off that I really, really love the subverting expectations idea of Victorie, going into Curse-breaking - such a glamerous and exciting profession (both in-universe and in almost every fic ever about it :P) - and being so completely underwhelmed her first time out in the field, only for it to sort of redeem itself at the end. It's such a cool idea, and it's so fascinating to see something which goes into detail about British stuff - runes and forts and history -, rather than the usual hieroglyphs and ancient pharoah's tombs :P The detail you put into this on that was so cool - did you have to do much research for it? Because it felt like you knew exactly what you were talking about :)
I love Victoire. I love all the little details you put into her character - how Teddy gave her the flask of water, how Teddy taught her the wine spell at seventeen (lots of Teddy, I noticed :P), how Bill had tried to impress on her what curse-breaking is really like and she'd resisted, sticking to her guns, and, in the end, overcoming her disappointment at being sent to damp, boring, old England rather than Egypt or Greece. She's such a great character, she feels so real and fully-rounded - I kinda hope you have more plans to write with her, because she's so good and I'd love to see more :)
As always, your writing was amazing. You write action scenes so, so well - the whole thing flowed so beautifully and had this great pace to it. It's a real skill to get it right, but I'm not surprised because I don't think I've ever seen something you can't write well :P I loved all the description of the places and the detail with the runes and what they looked like, how they were hidden under the stones. The riddle, too :)
It was great - I loved it just as much as the first time I read it :P
Ah, you coming along and reading an Ancient Runes story is kind of nerve-wracking for me, but I'm so glad that you enjoyed this story!
Victoire was such a fun character for me to write! I have quite a bit of head canon for her, and she appears in Jigsaw, of course, but I've never really had a proper idea to write a full-length story about her before, so it was really fun to write this one-shot and explore her profession and her character ore. The Curse-breaking sounds so fun, but it's a common theme in my stories that glamorous, interesting professions aren't often all they're cracked up to be, so I really enjoyed this. Writing the British runes and including our history was so much fun, too - I feel like that's not often included in the stories which do feature curse-breaking, but it has to be done, right? I didn't actually know very much about runes beforehand - the history side of things, more so - but I'm glad that it seemed detailed enough!
Hehe of course there's lots of Teddy - they do get married in my head canon, after all :P (and in Jigsaw, too, haha) I really think that Bill would want to make sure she makes her career choice for the right reasons (in my experience, most parents try to be honest with their kids if they want to follow them into the same profession) and I'm so happy you thought Victoire's character seemed well-rounded, and that the action and descriptions flowed well.
Thank you so, so much for this lovely review!
Okay. Firstly, and most importantly, can we please discuss the fact that of all the stories I could have read tonight, I chose one with a RIDDLE!?!
Honestly, I got SO EXCITED. And yes, I absolutely paused and tried to solve it before reading through to find the answer. I was not correct, but I think my guess had potential! I thought perhaps it was the Wind or the Breeze. Something like that. Because there are old winds and new winds, so age and youth, as well as sweetness when the breeze picks up perhaps the scent of flowers or pies resting on windowsills, and it can never die, and it breathes life into everything, really, so... Anyway. I had fun! hahaha Great riddle, and the real answer fit perfectly, of course! Really well done (but you've always been great at creating riddles, so no surprise there)!
Anyway, about the actual story itself!
Girl. Your descriptions are genuinely gorgeous. I was originally planning to grab some quotes to read back to you, but I was getting so carried away because the entire thing is quotable! It's all so beautifully put! I especially love the imagery of the surronding area. Just lovely. You paint exquisite pictures with your words.
You've also completely made me want to write my own story involving Ancient Runes! This was so cool to imagine! So creative and fun and inspired. And you manage to make Victoire very three-dimensional within such a small block of words, so that I root for her from start to finish to solve all the mysteries.
Lastly, I love that your Author's Note talks about the location and the history behind the influences in this story. You are such an authentic writer, and reading that background information made the whole thing feel that much more special.
Ah, of course you managed to choose one with a riddle! Fun story: I was trying to write this at the same time as doing a bunch of other tasks for the House Cup finale, and writing the riddle was SO DIFFICULT. I can write them (ish - I'm not at your level) but coming up with something for this story was very hard. I'm glad you thought that the answer did fit, nevertheless, but your guesses were really good!
I'm so pleased you felt like I managed to paint a clear picture of the area; I've been there and it definitely helped to try and picture that while I was writing the story, because it makes it so much easier for me to write them. Including the ancient runes was fun, as well, and trying to flesh out Victoire's character was so much fun, because I've got a lot of head canon for her which I've never really had the chance to write before.
Thank you for this review! <3
Victoire Weasley. Check.
Not listening to one's parents. Check.
Glamorous lives being vastly overrated and overstated. Check.
Sian, this is just the best thing. You teleported me to the countryside with Victoire from the start, and it just got better from there. I loved this.
Ah, thank you so much for this review! I had so much fun writing this story - Victoire being a cursebreaker is one of my head canons, and although she appears in some of my other stories (very briefly), I've not had much inspiration for a full-length story about her, so this one-shot was a lot of fun to write. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this and that you felt like I'd managed to transport you to the countryside and on the adventure with Victoire!
Thank you so much for this <3