I'm finally here to review your story for my Fanfic Favorite Challenge (and also for the Gryffindor Red vs Gold Review Battle - June 2019 - Team Red!) I will be breaking this review down into the criteria that I've used to judge it.
The first piece of criteria and the most important of them all is how well you fanfic'd the story that you chose. I have to say that I was very pleased with the results. Cassie is a very complex character, torn between the past and the present. You can see her struggling between light and dark, for lack of better explanation. I thought you really captured that well in this one-shot. Her family and their actions seem to keep dragging her backwards regardless of how hard she tries to escape it.
Characterization is the second piece of criteria. As mentioned above, you do an excellent job of characterizing Cassie, but additionally, I thought you handled Dumbledore very well too. He's such a difficult voice to get right, so very impressive!
My third criteria is your own creativity. Fanfic-ing a fanfic is difficult because you have the constraints not only of the HP universe, but also of the universe the writer you're fanfic-ing has created. I thought you did a really good job of building on Deni's universe and taking it in a cool direction. Cassie's relationship with thestrals is a very important part of the story, so I was happy that you chose to explore that more.
Finally, the technical aspects of the story are the final piece of criteria. I thought the pacing and flow of this was really good. I did spot a couple of missing words, but there wasn't anything egregious.
All in all, this was a really well done piece! Thank you for entering the challenge! Look for the results to be posted soon.
Abby! Here for our swap, darling! <3
I've been curious about your Yaxley fic for a while, so finally I'm here! :)
But, aww... poor Cass... :( Is she a first year in this? She definitely seems very young... and also still believing in her family's ways, but you can see how she's already starting to question it... like when she corrected herself when she was calling her housemates Mudbloods. I really wish she didn't have to overcome all that in the first place...
Her experience with the Thestrals... they must look pretty scary at first sight... and of course the whole meaning behind seeing them, that wouldn't make it any easier to get comfortable around them. I love that bit about how everyone saw Emmeline killing a spider, btw... but of course seeing Death is something different.
I remember reading that particular chapter of Deni's story and my heart breaking for poor, little Cassie. My heart is still breaking for her here. What they did to her, what they forced her to see, is terrible and horrifying and not something a child should witness under any circumstance. The fact that she's still so loyal to her family, despite what her father did, is so sad... but of course he's her dad and she loves him and she's already lost him and she's just a child, so... it can't be easy to see things objectively... :(
The last bit, with Fawkes' reborn... I loved the contrast you created between the concept of Phoenixes and Thestrals, between life and death, and how both ended up making Cassie uncomfortable. It was all so powerful, and I can totally see how it would be just too much for her, but I wish she could confide in someone at least... she must feel so lonely right now... :(
This was so, so good (as usual, everything you write is so good...) Thank you so much for the swap!
HIYA ABBY!! (Full transparency: the all-caps greeting happened because I forgot I was on caps-lock at the end of my last review, but we’re just gonna roll with it now.)
Okay, so like first of all, can I just say that you absolutely killed it with this? This felt like such a natural extension of Yaxley and all the characters that Deni’s created, and you’ve slotted in all the little details so perfectly.
Young Cassie in particular is so perfect - she’s got that same stubbornness and refusal to pick a side that we see in the first few chapters of Yaxley. She hates the reason that she can see thestrals and hates being confronted with that fact (it’s interesting that she hated them so much at first and eventually starts liking them over time), but she also refuses to tell Dumbledore anything about why she can and to rat her family out. Even at this young age, she’s so conflicted about everything and it’s so intense to think about the fact that she’s been grappling with all of this stuff for SO MUCH TIME before Yaxley even began.
But despite the similarities, there’s also little details that show how much she changed from this point in time to where she’s at when Yaxley starts. The repulsion at Dumbledore offering a Muggle sweet, her having to stop herself from calling Lily a Mudblood in her own head, and her massive distrust of both Dumbledore and Hagrid - those little moments show that, even if she’s changed a lot in Yaxley, those decisions are really the sum of changes that’ve happened over years.
And then the minor characters don’t appear much, but they’ve each got their own special nod. Sirius is being his obnoxious start-of-story self (I, uhhhh, may or may not have called him, in all caps, “a four letter word that I am not allowed to include in a review but you know what I’m thinking”), Lily and Emme are being sweet and supportive, and Leila and Eddie are the first people Cassie would want to go to. The little nods were fun, even though the piece was so Cassie-centric.
This was such a great, well-written read! (Also props on writing Dumbledore so well. Writing Dumbledore scenes scares me.)
Written for the Magical Menagerie event and January RvG
Hey, I'm here for the Magical Menagerie Event (and because I totally love Yaxley).
With how much Thestrals play into the underlying themes of Yaxley, I think choosing this, in particular, was an amazing choice. Also, I'm really excited to see Cassie as an ickle First Year! I think you've done a lovely job in complimenting Deni's writing style in this, too. It feels very familiar to how she writes, which is really a feat all on its own.
I love that she's hanging out with Hagrid, who takes her out to the clearing to show her all the Thestrals (especially because there was a little foal there)! I appreciate Cassie's initial apprehension towards them -- they have got to be a bit of a jarring sight to take in at first. And speaking of Deni, that line, when Cassie is questioning to herself how Hagrid could know, and then reassures herself that he doesn't -- that's sounded straight out of Deni's writing! You did a really awesome job capturing her voice.
And I love how guarded and evasive she is (especially towards Sirius) -- just like the Cassie I know and love. Well, she's that way with everyone but ESPECIALLY Sirius. I also appreciate how well you captured Dumbledore (and mostly because I hate trying to write Dumbledore). But of course Cassie doesn't want to talk about it, not even with Dumbledore -- Cassie wants to run away from it like always ;).
Plus I love the final resolution to the entire piece, and what Cassie deduces after Fawkes goes through his rebirth. I think it's important to see her initial reaction and judgment to death as a first year, to how it grows and transforms as she gets older. And that leads me to say that I think you did a wonderful job tributing Yaxley!
So it's always so difficult to write someone else's character but I think this is really good. I think it's cool that you've chosen to do a younger Cassie so we can see how far that she has come. I think your Cassie and deni's Cassie are very believable the same character. I adore the way you describe them from Cassie's POV. In Yaxley, we see that Cassie is quite accepting of them but it's taken her a long to get to that point. It's interesting to see at the starting point of all of that.
you've really done a great job at playing her age. Cassie is only young here, a lot of her feelings are so mixed. It is hard to believe that she is still really in-line with her family at this point but she is only 11/12 here. I can't really imagine that Cassie but you've written her so well. You've made her thought process make sense. I feel really rather sorry for her.
The details for making up her characters are really well crafted, her relationship with Lily or lack of friendship at that point. Cassie doesn't let people in really so it made sense that she is holding back from them. It must be hard for her carrying all those emotions with her. I think you've captured that emotional state perfectly in this piece.
I think Deni is very lucky that someone has written her character with such care and class. It's wonderful piece. Good luck with the challenge.
- Abbi xo
For: Magical Menagerie
Hello my dear and welcome to the weirdest review I will ever have to write!
I've been trying to write this for a while now and still don't know where to start lol. It's bizarre but also totally amazing to see someone else write about one of your OCs!
I love the way you've written Cassie throughout this piece. She's similar to how she appears in Yaxley but you've added that cold edge to her that she would have when she was younger. Like, the line when she nearly thinks of Lily as a mudblood. OH MY GOD it's hard even for me to get my head around because my version of her wouldn't ever do that but this is way before she was my version, she's different, younger, scarier here and it shows. The fact that she's only addressing Emme, that she's still sooo cold with Sirius and doesn't really care about James is just so much attention to detail.
Also, I know that you were talking about mixing your writing still up a little but I LOVED all of the description you've woven through here. It's eerie and perfect and still revolves around Cassie and a lot of the themes that are going on in Yaxley! (I had a very stupid moment reading this again when I got really impressed at how well you know the story before remembering that you literally edit it and that I'm an idiot...)
It's the two scenes with the fantastic beasts that stand out the most though! You paired the dark, cold, gloominess of the forest and her first encounter with a creature that basically defines her compared with the warm, light study and a creature literally prone to bursting into flames. It's such a good contrast and the layered metaphors are amazing! Also i'm just here like WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!!!!
This whole piece was amazing to read and a complete honour that you would take the time to write something using my characters. You and it are both wonderful!
All my love
(Review left for Team Leucrocota and for January RvG)
Howdy howdy howdy!
I'm going to just start by saying that I ignore summaries and so I had no idea about the challenge. I did have the initial moment where I said - umm - I didn't think she wrote Cassie Yaxley, but it stopped there. So tribute to you for writing her so well!
Personally, I liked the thestral and phoenix pairing. The contrast, especially in light of them occurring at the beginning and end of the story respectively, made for a nice symbolic progression of the character. She's one step closer to moving on from her rigid misguided upbringing.
In the end, even though she's not yours, if she were, I'd want to see you write more of her. Good luck with the challenge and thanks for sharing!
Have a Happy New Year!