Reviews For La Bête Noire

Name: justawillowtree (Signed) · Date: 28 Dec 2017 12:13 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand l’histoire est née.

Wow. <3


This chapter's mood was somber, and very distinctly so. I really enjoyed feeling the once again large leap from the previous chapter's mood, and reading your beautiful, beautiful words.


To see the temporary destruction of Voldemort through Nicolas Flamel's eyes is so interesting. He bears so much guilt from his six hundred or so years, and despite his long, long life (though I can't be sure I'm interpreting this correctly), he has done nowhere near as much as a one-year-old baby boy. He stayed away for the Dark witch in France, and he stayed away for Voldemort. He stayed away for Dumbledore's tumultuous war with Grindelwald, as well.


(Meanwhile, I love how Fawkes is living through so many cycles of life while Nicolas Flamel clings to his single one.)


Here I'll discuss the concerns you listed when you requested these reviews, characterization and the timeline (Though, I find your writing so beautiful that I'm actually kind of embarrassed that you asked me for input, like, I'm still stunned at literally every word you put down aklsdjlsjgl.)


One thing that amazed me all throughout these three chapters was actually how you somehow succeeded in writing the enigmatic way in which Dumbledore speaks. He's contemplative and speaks in riddles, and is wise beyond his years, and I have no idea how you did it, but you did it, and it's amazing. As for Nicolas Flamel, since we don't ever actually meet him in the novels, you had a bit more creative freedom. And I think you characterized him beautifully, with his motivations, his guilt, his choices of inaction.


And with regards to the timeline, like I said last chapter, I could definitely feel something building. This story has a direction, and I am so curious to figure out what's at the end of it. Since the story is told backwards, we, as the readers, get to see the results but not what really caused it, and so the further back the story goes, the more is revealed to us. I think it's a fantastic way to tell this story.


This is so, so beautiful. Thank you so much for sending it me to read. <3



Name: justawillowtree (Signed) · Date: 27 Dec 2017 11:18 PM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit dit rien.

I am so unbelievably stunned at the complete difference in descriptive styles between this chapter and the last. In the previous chapter, everything was slow, more introspective, more grey, yet just the opening lines of this chapter display such a vibrant, vibrant array of colors. It's almost like you infused life into this chapter, which is amazing. I have so much love for your writing, you have no idea.


Slightly off-topic, but I read "La Belle Dame sans Merci" by John Keats in English class. I did fairly terribly on the quiz, but I absolutely adored the poem. It's so beautiful and haunting and whimsical. And I think that Nicolas Flamel using "belle dame sans merci" to describe Perenelle is extremely fitting (though judging by my quiz score, perhaps I shouldn't be attempting to analyze the poem again, haha); she did choose to leave him, after all, despite promises to the contrary.


I just want to say that your fic, in terms of themes, morals, and ideas, is worth ten times more than some of the literary works required at my school. (Like, I love literature and everything, but sometimes I just get confused as to why certain works are selected as "literary masterpieces" and some aren't.) If we had to study your fic in school, I would not only be absolutely delighted, but my classmates would be able to discuss so much, simply from these few chapters.


Anyway, carrying on. So here we have Dumbledore and Flamel a few years before the previous chapter, right before Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts. (You planned this so well, I swear, every sentence I read just adds to my awe of you as a writer.) And the difference a few years makes is huge. Flamel is healthy, relatively young, cavalier enough to be discussing the follies of youth in a lighthearted manner.


And he's still trying hard to protect his Stone, at this point. I somehow doubt it's for the greater good of the people, or to keep it out of the dangerous hands of whoever is killing the unicorns (*ahemQuirrell/Voldemortahem*), but a general sense of personal gain, that he doesn't want the power of immortality to leave his grasp.


I can feel a buildup. I don't know what it's pointing towards, but I feel this excitement coming.


I absolutely loved this chapter. I have a feeling this will be a common feeling with all of your works. <3



Name: justawillowtree (Signed) · Date: 27 Dec 2017 10:44 PM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

Hi Laura! I'll be commenting on each chapter individually, and in the third chapter, I'll address all of your concerns on characterization and the timeline all in one review.


I love your titles, to start. The fact that they're in French already creates an atmospheric expectation, which your writing style supplies in the actual story. (Your writing is beautiful, by the way. Every word is so important, and feels important, too. Reading this was such a treat; I made sure to read slowly to make sure I was getting everything I could out of it, haha.)


I see this chapter takes place after the decision to destroy the Philosopher's Stone. Nicolas Flamel's musings and regrets reflect the story summary, of how immortality is searched for by the greedy, the selfish, the proud. I loved the idea that a man who has escaped death and defied the natural laws of the world for so long ends up going in such a frail, weak state.


Even at the end, Flamel still clings to his ideas of glory: "What a group we would have been. What we would have said! What we would have done!" He's talking about meeting Grindelwald, in his final moments of delirium, isn't he? Grindelwald, who's a prime example of power taken too far, of greed being self-consuming.


All the scenes about Fawkes made me think a lot. Based on Flamel's words, Fawkes was not originally Dumbledore's, but Grindelwald's. And yet, despite Dumbledore defeating Fawkes' original master, the phoenix is unnaturally attached to Dumbledore. (I loved this line: "Nicolas wonders if he is thinking of him now, of Fawkes' best friend, of a single cell in a tall, dark tower, or perhaps of other, sweeter memories, older memories.") Were all of Nicolas Flamel's references to Dumbledore's power talking about his possession of the Elder Wand?


Wow, I loved this. This was so powerful, and thoughtful, and intelligent. It made me think. (And I'm so sorry if I misinterpreted any of it! <3)



Name: nott theodore (Signed) · Date: 29 Apr 2017 09:41 AM · [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

(Transferred from HPFF)


Salut, Laura! ♥ 

I have so much of your writing to catch up on (not that I'm complaining because I love it, I just need to find the time to actually read and review again) and I've been visiting your page and trying to decide what to read first because I want to read it all :P So more reviews on other stories will be coming soon, particularly on L'optimisme, but I couldn't resist this for now!

I've never read a story before that really features Nicolas Flamel and his friendship with Albus Dumbledore, and now I'm just wondering why. I saw the summary and title all in French (which may or may not have been one of the reasons I had to read it :P) and couldn't actually remember who had died in 1992 (*hides head as a bad fan*). I'm so curious to see where you're going to go with this story, though, particularly as you're linking Albus and Nicolas with Gellert, and I'm kind of assuming they're the same versions of the characters who appear in your novel, so I'm really intrigued by this!

Your writing, as always (how do you do it? Teach me, please!) was stunning in this. Every word in your stories just seems to be chosen with so much care and attention, and it's so easy to realise how much thought you put into your work because it just leaps from the page. This chapter all flowed so well, and I loved the tone; there was something almost wistful in it, as if they were remembering the things that could have been, as well as the nostalgia and the melancholy that's kind of natural in a moment like this.

The parentheses were so well used, too! They just seemed to fit in with the way the narrative flowed and added something extra to the story, almost like the hidden thoughts that they wanted to voice but couldn't really, not always to themselves.

The French ♥ You use it so well here - there's not too much of it (not that I'd ever complain if there was more, hehe) but it just fit in so well with Nicolas's character. I imagine Albus having learnt French and Nicolas having learnt a ridiculous amount of languages (because if you're alive for that long and you don't, I'd be so annoyed :P) but I love the fact that, in spite of them communicating in English, Nicolas keeps some of the most natural phrases and has a kind of pride in his accent. I feel like if he'd wanted to lose it in the time he's been alive, he definitely could have, so he's just clinging onto his beau pays with pride.

Fawkes was just an awesome addition to the chapter! I feel like he's going to have a lot more of a role in this story and I love that idea, because I've never really seen him used in a story before, so I'm excited to see how you're going to use him! I might have been reading things wrong but I got the impression that Fawkes didn't always belong to Albus here, and that he'd actually belonged to Gellert before, so the fact that he transferred his loyalties - and so strongly - is really intriguing. I'm kind of wondering if Gellert told Fawkes to go with Albus, or asked Albus to take care of him, and the bond has grown from there; like Fawkes is a living symbol of the relationship that seemed to die between the two of them. I'm also imagining that Fawkes goes off to Nurmengard to visit Gellert on those days he disappears without Albus knowing where he is and it's like a continuation of their relationship, in a way - something they have in common. But I could have read entirely too much into that and got it all wrong :P

The friendship between Nicolas and Albus was so intriguing. I feel like I've not been able to get a proper handle on it here, and that's probably your intention because there's more of this story to come, but in spite of Albus being at his friend's bedside when he dies, not everything is entirely easy between them. There were the apologies and half-spoken truths that appeared in their conversation here, and hints at all sorts of things that have happened in the past, but I feel like I don't really know what happened to them and between them properly yet. It's really interesting that there are things which might have overshadowed their friendship, though, and I also really like the idea of Nicolas having been around for all of Albus's mistakes, so he's someone who knows how flawed he is as a person. When we see Albus in the books, he's a really old man and he's been so powerful and well-known for so long, and worked so hard to repay what he did as a young man, that the wizarding world mostly seems to have forgotten that he could be considered anything other than a hero. Then when Rita Skeeter writes about him, it's all in a skewed, biased way - she wants to make him look like a bad person. So it's really intriguing to see a glimpse of the friendship between the two of them here, and to think that Nicolas is someone who knows and accepts Albus for who he really is, all he's done, and is still his friend.

I loved the parallels that could be drawn between some of the characters mentioned here, and their quest for immortality. I'm not sure if that was completely intentional, but I really liked it. Nicolas didn't ever really seem to want immortality, from the way I've read the books - by the time the Stone needed to be destroyed, he was happy to accept Death - to greet it like an old friend. He'd created something that could give the owner eternal life, for a while, but it didn't seem that he'd done it just to be immortal. Or perhaps because he'd lived for so long and been immortal, he was able to accept death for what it was? And then there's the comparison you can bring in with Albus and Gellert, who both sought the Hallows, and Voldemort, who sought any way to become immortal - none of them succeeded but the one person who did accepted death and it kind of shows that nobody really can be immortal. The chapter title tied in so well with that theme, too!

Now I've rambled enough and run out of space, but I loved this! 

Sian :)

Name: Veritaserum27 (Signed) · Date: 19 Apr 2017 11:50 PM · [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

Hey there Aph!  I just thought I'd take a few minutes and review some of my fellow Staffer’s stories I was looking for some fluff but Laura doesn't do fluff so I chose this story instead.   And as always you're writing is poetry and absolutely beautiful.


I immediately thought the beginning of the story that it was Albus and Gellert and then I found out that it's Nicolas Flamel and he's on his deathbed and I just absolutely love that you chose to write this scene.  I’m going to guess that it's after he decides to stop taking the elixir of life and that's why he looks so young in the bed.  Such a great idea to pick one of these scenes that are alluded to in the book but we're never written.


And I just love how you can write Albus Dumbledore.  I don't think very many people could get as deep into his character as you can — it's just really brilliant writing.


So now I am infinitely curious about what both Nicolas and Dumbledore are talking about.  I know it has something to do with the Philosopher’s stone and something to do with the fact that Dumbledore was able to deceive an entire people about something.  I just I need to know more!  I am kind of upset there's only one chapter of the story right now.   I assume the phoenix has something to do with Gellert and now I’m actually even more curious.  Oooh!  Did Fawkes belong to Gellert or is there some other story? Knowing you there is much, much more to the story.


It makes sense that Nicolas is french and I noticed that as he grows weaker, his English is getting weaker as well.  There are so many emotions, and so many allusions.  Thanks for the Author’s note.  I could translate all the words, but didn’t know that “The Black Beast” referred to a pet peeve.  


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Great job with this!  

Name: MuggleMaybe (Signed) · Date: 09 Apr 2017 04:02 AM · starstarstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

"Hello dear! I"m here to break Sam out of jail (seems to be a theme in my life tonight) and also to read your BEAUTIFUL writing.


I swear, you are like an HPfanfic celebrity for your description. I know that sounds tacky but it's not. Your writing is never tacky, so it can't be tacky. How do you make it all so beautiful? Hooooow?


I love your words:

"the waist of the hourglass"

"Skeletons there may be - skeletons there were, as he knew well - but shortly he would be joining them, so what should he care?"

"a shiver of dust on the blankets"


And I mean, all the others too. But I found these lines particularly beautiful


I suppose in a sense, this is a missing moment story. It's a brilliant idea to write this scene. Dumbledore doesn't tell Harry any details about his conversation with Nicholas (and why would he?), and Harry doesn't really carry much, given that he's eleven years old. :P Anyway, because of that, we never get any insight into this friendship. I'm quite glad that I encountered it through your writing because, honestly, no one in the world of fic can write Dumbledore like you can. You capture his voice and his demeanor so expertly every time. 


I loved that you gave Nicolas a French accent, too. I knew Flamel was French, but I hadn't given it any though and that added more resonance to his character as a distinct voice, especially since we hardly know him at all in canon. You'vemanaged to create a nice impression of him here.


The imge of the butterfly's wing was will placed, because Nicolas has a sort of fluttering, efermeral quality here. I mean, obviously, sense he's about to die. But still, that was a really nice echo.


As in many friendships, there's a lot they talk about while the topic of conversation goes unsaid. They never mention Grindlewald, and yet at the end it's clear who Nicolas is asking about, and Dumbledore's reply is crystal clear too. Either that, or Nicolas' question was nonsense but in Dumbledore's mind it could mean only one man, because there is only one "he" who really matters.


I think I prefer the second interpretaion, personally.


What a sad way to leave the world, with the idea that all the best things are also terrible, perhaps cruel. It's sad, but in that sentimental, golden way. I always have a feeling a golden sunlight, and that feeling of being very tired in a comfortable, hazy afternoon way, whenever I read your writing. It's like stepping into a different time, immersively.


What a treat to read your lush words. *swoon*


xoxo Renee 

Name: Dojh167 (Signed) · Date: 09 Apr 2017 03:27 AM · starstarstarstar [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

CtF Hufflepuff Review


A story by you that’s not impossibly long (for me?)? Sounds fake, but okayyyyyyy……


As always, your writing is breathtaking. I’m imagining spoiling myself with it by extra measure, imagining it was Hannibal fan fiction ;)


I actually don’t think I’ve ever read fic featuring Flamel, and I am glad that when I finally am it is by you and involving Albus!


I find it really interesting that Albus thinks that the items of a dead man become worthless once he’s deceased, while the way I see it they kind of become sacred. Those are definitely two very different perspectives, and I find Dumbledore’s interesting for him and it really indicates his weariness and his acceptance of utility.


Hehe, Fawkes impersonating a hummingbird. I wonder if he learned that himself or Dumbledore was bored and trained him ;)


Holy parallelism, batman! Your description of phoenix’s loyalty is far too poignant not to be directly applicable to Dumbledore himself, and I am a fan.


Waaaiiiiiit are you saying Fawkes used to belong to Gellert? Yikes, there goes my heart. And the symbolism multiplies itself.




[middle section of this review is diverted into be squeeing about favorite lines in below section]


Agh I love the ending dialogue!!!


I really like how you didn’t make this an overtly romantic relationship, and yet the relationship between Albus and Nicolas felt very powerful and interesting to read.


Favorite lines (I know this will have to be a list because you always have so many great lines):

“Mementos of another time, when one was young and the other was perhaps less old”

“things presumed, assumed, concluded” Lovely rhythm of words!

“Albus agrees gravely, blue eyes dull, the yellow powder mug in his hands still half-full of tea. It is lukewarm now - barely even that. He suspects he will not drink it; the sink will greet it soon enough.” I love this line because it feel very relevant, not just description for the sake of description, but layered and poignant.

"It would be most rude given how you have inconvenienced him for so long." So Dumbledore.

“The first lie that evening”

“but small mercies are too merciful for him, even now.”

“it is question which does not truly have an answer - not a single one, at least, and one which is far more complicated than it appears.”

“It is one thing to be a foolish youth; it is quite another to be a foolish old man, and death has not yet taken his pride from him.”

“Immortality has slain me, my friend, and handed me over to death.”

“he supposes that if he is to die he should do it properly and for that someone must be beside him to hold his hand”

“dignity is a concept in which he has long lost belief.”


Thank you for writing such a nice and manageably short story! I will always idolize your work from afar, my reading endurance is just so wimpy =P


Much love!


Name: abhorsen (Signed) · Date: 25 Dec 2016 04:43 AM · starstarstarstarhalf-star [Report This]
Story:La Bête Noire Chapter: quand ltrnit finit.

Hey, Laura! I thought about stopping in on one of your other stories instead - I feel like I've left about half of them half-finished - but this caught my eye and I couldn't resist, so I guess I've got another one of your stories to add to my reading list. ♥


I adored this. It's so haunting and beautifully written - you're such an amazing author. There aren't many authors on HPFF whose prose can match yours, and you're at your best here. You captured Dumbledore so wonderfully here - this fits perfectly with his conversation with Harry at the end of PS. There's a veneer of serenity, but I could also see hints of a deeper and darker undertone. That's Dumbledore as we knew him in a nutshell, I think, and you've done a wonderful job in every fic of yours that I've read that attempts to capture a very complicated man.


I also love the way you characterized Flamel; he's got a very strong personality, and it's interesting to see Dumbledore interacting with someone who's genuinely an equal. I don't think we ever saw someone pushing back against him in canon, not really, especially not to his face - maybe Snape and McGonagall, but even they deferred to his judgment in the end. Flamel is calling him out in ways that are a little bit uncomfortable, and I love it. What he says about Fawkes is amazing. I need to know more so badly!


This review feels so insubstantial, but I just don't know what else to say. You're amazing.


(originally left 1/28/16 at HPFF)

Author's Response:

Hi Branwen! :) Thank you so much for dropping by! Haha, sorry about that - I really need to start getting around to finishing some of them :P I'm terrible at actually following-through on WIPS :P 


Ahhhh thank you so so much - it's amazing to hear those kind of words from you, when you're such an incredible author yourself. I love everything you write, so it's so incredible to hear you say things like that :) I don't think the fact that I love writing Dumbledore is much of a surprise any more, but I do - there's something so fun about the intrigue he brings to any story, about how he keeps all his secrets so close to his chest and doesn't really let people in. It's harder writing him in this story than others, I think, because it's shorter and I'm really trying to aim for a lot of intrigue and secrecy - saying things without actually saying them - and it's so hard to judge where the line is for that :P 


Flamel is actually really fun to write. He's developed a lot since when I first started writing this and I definitely think you're right about the dynamic it gives: no one in canon really challenges him, or questions him, or even offers to help him. There's this kind of idea in canon that Dumbledore can do everything, handle everything and solve every prolem - and, well, what if he can't? If he's wrong or misunderstands something? Or if, simply, it's too far or too much or he doesn't have time? It's interesting as well, for me, because Flamel was his teacher, yk, so there's that element of Flamel still being the teacher every now and then - he still has some wisdom to impart and some advice to offer, and it's an odd change of roles for Dumbledore himself. 


Haha, well, maybe, maybe not? :P Fawkes is definitely going to come up again - I've never written an animal character before but he's so fun to do :P 


Thank you so so much for the amazing review - it was such a great thing to get and and completely made my day. Even now, it still makes me smile. Thank you! :) 


Aph xx

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