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Reviews by Oregonian

weary by justawillowtree

Fandom: Original Fiction · Rating: Teen Audiences · Completed Poetry (any length)
12 Reviews · 10 likes · 153 reads


| banner by starbuck @ TDA |

 

banner featuring a young black woman and the title

 

a sestina;



Characters: None

Pairings: None

Story Length: 1 chapters (368 words)

HPFT Forum House: Hufflepuff

Genre: Angst

Themes: Discrimination

Inclusivity: Black, Person of Color

Advisories: Violence
Series: just my little things

Published: 13 Dec 2017 · Updated: 26 Dec 2017
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 15 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: weary


Hi, Eva.

 

Wow, this is a great accomplishment.  

 

You use the six words so imaginatively, with such powerful images, and each word plays many roles: noun, verb, concrete, abstract, literal, figurative...  That's one of the strengths/advantages of a good sestina -- wringing every possible meaning out of a word, constantly surprising the reader with yet another usage.

 

I am tickled by one of your chosen words -- traipse -- because it's something of an oddity, as words go, and it captures our attention like a signpost every time it pops up amid the sentences. or like bits of candied fruit in a cake, surprising but welcome.

 

There are very many excellent lines here, but I will quote two that caught my attention right away: "Hard to imagine that America is still fighting real wars with real blood," and "Holes that the country would riot over were they in a flag."  This poem is very blunt and forceful.  I like that.  No wondering here as to what the author is talking about, nothing honeyed or smoothed over.  And you're not talking about some dystopian AU where Voldemort won the war.  You're talking about real life, and that really augments the impact.

 

I figure that if one is going to write formal poetry, it ought to be about something important, even dramatic, so that the strength of the form adds force to the idea being expressed.  And you have certainly done that here.  (Says me, who wrote a rather fluffy sestina, "My Noble Lineage". :p)

 

Good job!

 

Vicki




Feature His Favorite Student by cambangst

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe · Rating: Teen Audiences · Incomplete One-Shot/Short Story Collection (any length)
12 Reviews · 3 likes · 90 reads


A collection of moments, shared between Tom Riddle and his favorite Hogwarts professor.

 

 



Characters: Horace Slughorn, Voldemort/Tom Marvolo Riddle

Pairings: None

Story Length: 1 chapters (2028 words)

HPFT Forum House: Gryffindor

Genre: General

Themes: Law/Politics

Inclusivity: None

Advisories: Substance Abuse
Series: None

Published: 19 Oct 2019 · Updated: 19 Oct 2019
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: On Darkness


Hi, San,

 

Your Tom Riddle here is very well done.  You capture the voice of a teenager who is in love with his own sophistry and is sure that he has it all figured out.  One sees teenagers like that from time to time, and if we are honest, we blush to think that we sometimes indulged ourselves in the fallacy that we had it all figured out, in our younger years.  I can see Tom rehearsing these smooth lines of reasoning in his Slytherin dormitory room, practicing the calculated pauses, the false statements of agreement, the half-smiles.

 

I ask myself why Tom bothered to hold these conversations with Professor Slughorn.  To stoke his own ego by fancying himself a better debater than his professor?  To impress his professor with his devotion to intellectual questions, so as to gain Slughorn's willingness to tell him later about things, such as horcruxes, that he really wanted to know?  Or maybe it was just practice in the art of persuading others to his own point of view, a skill he used when creating his army of followers.

 

By one-third of the way through this story, Professor Slughorn is becoming uncomfortable with the train of Tom's thoughts and insecure about his own ability to counter Tom's assertions, and by the time the conversation is over, the professor is deeply disturbed, even fearful, but not ready to act upon that fear.  Reading the story, I find myself wondering how this conversation would have gone if the professorial party had been Albus Dumbledore or Minerva McGonagall at their prime.  Of course, Tom would not have participated in a conversation with either of them.

 

In this story, Tom and Horace, sit, sip mead, and talk at length.  My one suggestion would be to break up this pattern with instances of physical action (such as Horace standing up to get something) or something happening (such as a large spider that runs across the desk and captures their attention for a moment).  Those are dumb examples; you could think of something that fits your vision of the moment better. I coud see Horace breaking the focus of the moment if he starts to feel uncomfortable, and of course we can't control everything that spiders choose to do.  :)

 

Thank you for this interesting vision of what Tom would do in flexing his intellectual muscles against poor Professor Slughorn.  I would be happy to read more.

 

Vicki




Feature A Thousand Miles by Pixileanin

Fandom: Original Fiction · Rating: Mature Audiences · Completed Challenge Entry (any length)
10 Reviews · 1 likes · 49 reads


Janey faces her troubling past to save her son from a tragic future. 

Written for TidalDragon's Knockout Challenge 2019-20, Round 1.



Characters: Original Character

Pairings: None

Story Length: 1 chapters (6992 words)

HPFT Forum House: Gryffindor

Genre: Dark/Horror

Themes: Dying/Grieving, Family, Parenthood

Inclusivity: None

Advisories: Domestic Abuse, Substance Abuse, Violence
Series: None

Published: 02 Dec 2019 · Updated: 10 Dec 2019
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: A Thousand Miles


Hi, Pix,

 

Wow, what a story!  You certainly deserved the nomination for Best Family, because this is all family from the first word to the last.  I'm so glad I read it.

 

The action covers only a few days, but the backstory is slipped in so neatly, bit by bit, that the framework of the story fills out like blossoms opening up on a bare tree in spring.  As I slowly grasped the history of this family -- the tragedies, the bad luck, the abuse and malfeasance, the desperate survival of the orphaned children -- all the references and the isolated facts began fitting together to form one picture.  

 

At first I wasn't sure whether the adults were kooks, or a little daft, or what?  But then it turned into a genuine horror story when Janey is finally allowed by the author (you) to tell frankly what we readers had only been given glimpses of, stuff we didn't want to believe because it was too over-the-top.

 

Your description of the Banishing ritual and the frantic efforts to carry it off while everything was going wrong and falling apart was just great.  I was very impressed.  And despite the supernatural horror movie drama that unfolded, it was so heart-warming when in the end, the evil was vanquished, and especially because it was by the efforts of all the siblings working together.

 

In the world of stories about disfunctional families when nobody can support anyone else, it's really great to see one where familial love prevails in the end.

Very, very nice job!

 

Vicki




Past Featured Story Drabbles by VaguelyCreativeName

Fandom: Original Fiction · Rating: All Audiences · Incomplete Drabble (100-200 words)
16 Reviews · 2 likes · 151 reads


A collection of unrelated drabbles



Characters: Original Character

Pairings: None

Story Length: 2 chapters (505 words)

HPFT Forum House: Hufflepuff

Genre: Microfiction

Themes: None

Inclusivity: None

Advisories: None
Series: Hufflepuff Stories of the Month

Published: 02 Aug 2019 · Updated: 17 Apr 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: Rain


Hi, Julia.  

 

You have managed to fit such an abundance of images inspired by rain into a very small space of words, and have done it so gracefully, not at all like a random list of possible thoughts jotted down hastily.  The sentences flow smoothly and naturally from the one to the next, forming a romantic and ever-changing vision.  None of that annoying inconvenience of actually walking in the stuff, getting cold and wet.  No, it is to be admired from afar, from the comfort of a warm room, with blankets and hot chocolate and warm, dry feet.

 

Your character is an artist, seeing only the beauty of nature -- the horses running in a herd, doubtless over green hillsides, the disturbance of the rainwater puddles becoming miniature ocean waves crashing against miniature cliffs with great drops of spray and foam, and no doubt a pair of tragic lovers, he in leather jacket and boots and she in a great wool cloak reaching to her ankles, standing alone on a vast moor while the rain falls down on them.

 

He grudgingly accedes that rain is necessary, in times of drought, to keep the vegetation going, but he is no scientist, and not even the warmth of a summer rain can tempt him go out into it.  And he would rather not think about all the people who actually have to work in the rain.

 

An interesting little piece.  I can see it inserted into a longer story as a description of a character, a glimpse into his personality.

 

Nicely done.

 

Vicki




Feature The Great Crow Mother by crowsb4bros

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Rebuilding (1998-2009) · Rating: Teen Audiences · Completed Drabble (100-200 words)
13 Reviews · 4 likes · 258 reads


Luna Lovegood tries to join a cult. 

For the House Cup Opener

prompt: Write about a potion creation going wrong



Characters: Luna Lovegood, Original Female Character

Pairings: None

Story Length: 1 chapters (292 words)

HPFT Forum House: Ravenclaw

Genre: Dark/Horror, Fairy Tale/Fable

Themes: None

Inclusivity: None

Advisories: None
Series: None

Published: 12 Sep 2019 · Updated: 12 Sep 2019
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1


Yes, it is weird, and totally AU, but I like this little piece.  I'm trying to envision the Great Crow Mother -- is she really completely a crow, or a person/crow hybrid, or an animagus who has the power to take the form of a crow?  It is known that crows are very intelligent birds; maybe they have powers we don't fully recognize.  

 

I had to look up in my Chamber of Secrets book to make sure that all those listed ingredients were the recipe for Polyjuice Potion.  Then I was sure that the final ingredient (the onyx feather) was a black feather rather than a jeweled feather. But apparently poor Luna has accidentally picked up the wrong black feather.  Since it's just Polyjuice Potion, it's supposed to wear off within one hour....isn't it?  But no, when Hermione Polyjuiced herself into a cat, it took several weeks to wear off.  I guess it's different for animals.

 

Your story hints at some alternate society in which it is an honor, a goal, to beome a crow, a member of this exclusive group.  It hints at secret ceremonies, powers, tasks, and responsibilities, a whole different way of life.  A brief glimpse like this could become the germ for an elaborate world-building, the world of the crow society.  Who knows?  Maybe the crows already have that.

 

A cute drabble.  Many are called, but few are chosen.

 

Vicki




Past Featured Story Todentanz by Noelle Zingarella



dancing skellitons

Banner by Noelle Zingarella

 

When Eileen Prince met Tobias Snape, he felt like the answer to a prayer. 

 

Sometimes feelings lie.

 

Written for TidalDragon's TKO Challenge 2019-2020, Round 1: Dysfunctional Relationships; Round 1 Bracket Winner

 

Site-wide Story of the Month, February 2020

 

FROGS 2020 finalist--best angst



Characters: Eileen Prince, Original Female Character, Original Male Character, Tobias Snape

Pairings: Eileen Prince/Tobias Snape (HP)

Story Length: 1 chapters (9174 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: Sitewide Stories of the Month, The Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object Continuity

Published: 30 Nov 2019 · Updated: 09 Jan 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: call us what you will: we are made such by love


Hi, Noelle,

 

I can't imagine why I haven't read this story of yours before now.  Probably because I was worried that it would cover the period after young Severus was born and the marriage between Tobias and Eileen was so openly abusive, marked by the events that Severus remembered as a young boy.

 

But it's just as shivery to read about the very beginning of this marital tragedy, when Eileen was successful in her career but so susceptible to manipulation in a relationship.  And Tobias was so charming and self-confidant with his friends, but so lacking in moral fiber when the chips were down.  

 

I wondered why Tobias, who probably could have had any girl he wanted, gave a second glance to shy, inexperienced (in matters of love) Eileen.  I suspect that men like him are on the lookout for vulnerable women, and his remark that his own father had been a brute was a giant red flag.  It's fifty-fifty whether he'll be exactly like his father, or exactly the opposite.  And when he discovered that she had magic, one could just see the wheels starting to turn in his head.

 

Other people might have written stories about the marriage between Tobias and Eileen (although I can't recall having ever run across one).  But I doubt that anyone has written about this period in their relationship.  What a great idea for you, to realize how this period od Eileen's life could be explored, developed, and expanded so well.  

 

A great job!

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki! Thank you for coming by my story :D

You're exactly right about why Tobias wants Eileen--he has a sixth sense for the vulnerable and he likes to exploit people. 

I chose to write about how Eileen wound up in this marriage, because the signs of abuse are not always obvious. In this story, they're all there from the beginning (the subtle way that Tobias pushes boundaries, etc). And it's important to recognize them when they are present, because it's much easier to espcape at the beginning, than when you're engulfed in the cycle of abuse.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this--it was hard to write and it's not the most comfortable read. I really appreciate this thoughtful review!

Yours,

Noelle




Past Featured Story Inheritance by Bunbury

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Second Wizarding War (1995-1998) · Rating: Mature Audiences · Incomplete Novel (50,000+ words)
85 Reviews · 7 likes · 441 reads


Inheritance

 

beauteous banner by the inimiatble Beth/Mrs Darcy@TDA

 

Phaedra Morley leads a quiet, private life, working at a Diagon Alley apothecary and looking after her infirm mother. But Phaedra has a secret, and now she must retrace her father's footsteps through the Dark Arts and find out what he was working on when he disappeared in the wake of Voldemort's fall. Along the way she enlists the help of a feckless bookseller and -- much to his displeasure -- Severus Snape. 

 

A story of death, madness, haunted houses, true friends, and Cockroach Clusters. 



Characters: Borgin, Florean Fortescue, Garrick Ollivander, Mundungus Fletcher, Original Character, Severus Snape, Xenophilius Lovegood

Pairings: Severus Snape/OC (HP)

Story Length: 6 chapters (28763 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: Sitewide Stories of the Month, FROGS Winners, Slytherin Stories of the Month

Published: 14 Feb 2019 · Updated: 01 Feb 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 6: "Are you suggesting that I embezzle rodents?"


Hi, Jane.

 

It's too bad that there are no more chapters currently posted for me to read, because this chapter does not answer any of the former questions, and it brings up a lot more, so that many threads are dangling all at once.

 

Delilah's cryptic converation with the tattily-dressed wizard in the apothecary shop suprised me.  So Delilah is not just a cameo actor after all -- she has a role in the general intrigue.  She is going somewhere access-restricted, and it could be dangerous.  What's it all about?

 

When Phaedra makes a visit to Mr. Shade's ghost-busting establishment, he is horrified by her haunted home and refuses to help her.  But his ghostly sister gives Phaedra a clue in the form of an old book about 'Spookes'.  What's it all about?

 

Phaedra goes to the Flying Dutchman pub with the book, to show it to Severus.  He is bummed by something, perhaps a recent Death Eater meeting. As he escorts Phaedra back toward her flat in Hexagon Alley, they spot a mysterious peddler whom they have both seen before, a person who gives them the creeps, and they pursue him, but he gives them the slip.  

 

They see Mundungus Fletcher and are sure that the peddler gave Mundugus something (how can Severus be so certain about that?) Mundungus tells Phaedra that the peddler will be at the Goblin Market the next day and gives her a Portkey item to get there.  Is the Portkey the thing that Snape thought that the peddler gave to Mundungus?  Was Mundungus supposed to use the Portkey himself in order to show up at the Goblin Market?  Why does Phaedra believe that this peddlar has useful information for her?

 

There have been some lucky coincidences.  Hector was in the library when Phaedra was trying to find out who had checked out a certain book, and with his help she found out what she wanted to know.  Now she and Severus discover Mundungus in the alley at night because he betrayed his presence by sneezing at exactly the wrong moment.  But Phaedra has a long way to go before she can follow any of these lucky leads to their conclusions.

 

I will wait with bated breath for the appearance of the next chapter (and many more).

 

Thanks for the good writing.

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 5: "This isn't a Victorian novel."


Hi, Jane.

 

Ah, you are so sly and subtle.  I had to read the opening section of this chapter over, multiple times, to understand the hints you had slipped in and to assemble the pieces of the puzzle, to follow the narrative where the jewels are hidden within a sea of meadow grass.

 

Now I understand why Phaedra was compelled to go back to the old house, back to her father's laboratory.  She needs to find the source and the cure of this curse.  And it looks as if the companion that she will take with her when she goes back to face the shadows in the old house will be Severus Snape.  (Not a bad choice, compared to some of the other people she had been considering as companions.)

 

I've abandoned my previous guess that John Morley was married twice.  When Mrs. Morley was put in the asylum, the story must have been given out that she had died, which was why the crone said so.

 

So now, since Phaedra wonders if her father is still alive, I wonder whether Genny is really not dead either.  So much mystery created in so few words.  You are a genius with this story, both the plot and the expression.

 

I love to see Hector again, and in his own milieu.  He will certainly be entertaining for Phaedra, and she desperately needs a non-judgmental friend, although I'm not sure exactly why she is leaving her old lodgings to move somewhere else.  Maybe I have overlooked a subtle clue (highly likely), or else the reason will show up soon.  And I'm sure you have an important role for Hector to play!

 

Great story,

 

Vicki

 

 



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 4: "A pity -- I was enjoying that."


Hi, Jane.

 

Well, it looks as though I was wrong about thinking that Phaedra wouldn't be in a special hurry to go back to her childhood house in Blackwater (even the name of the town, Blackwater, is creepy).

 

You did an excellent job of making her visit to the house be as creepy as possible.  Phaedra seems to be determined to go up to the top floor and seek or find something in her father's laboratory, and yet the voices of the house's former inhabitants, including even Phaedra herself, become louder and plainer, frightening her.  Yet she bravely proceeds  -- what spunk she has! -- reliving the unhappiness and finally the fear, until she sees the shades of the long-ago Death Eaters and has to flee.  The ultimate 'haunted house'.  Well done.

 

Her conversation with the crone on the doorstep suggests an interesting idea.  The crone states that Mrs. Morley died first, the Phaedra's little sister Genny, and finally her father.  Perhaps he was married twice and his first wife was Phaedra's mother, and his second wife (still living in the nursing home) was Genny's mother.  That would explain old Mrs. Morley's favoritism towards Genny.

 

I was surprised to learn that Phaedra makes periodic visits to the Flying Dutchman for a night out.  The clientele there don't seem to be her type :)  I suppose that the food is cheap, and Art is congenial, and it's a change of scene.

 

Snape is interested in John Morley's supposed investigations into the dark arts, and Phaedra is quick to defend her father's memory, although she realizes that she doesn't actually know what her father really did.Poor Phaedra, you've really put her into a box.  She desperately needs to know how to cure herself and her (step?)mother, but the more she investigates, the scarier everything gets.  You are certainly the Mistress of Suspense.  I'm on pins and needles.

 

Must. Read. More.

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2020 · Title: Chapter 3: "There's no sense in panicking!"


Hi Jane. 

 

It looks as if Phaedra is going to focus her initial investigation on the gold leaf inscribed with the name of Thoth.  Her other two bequests, the keys to her old family home and her Gringott's vault, are less mysterious; she assumes that she knows what is located in those two places.

 

It is very accommodating of Phaedra to be willing to work at the apothecary shop on Sundays; I hope she gets some days off during the week.  But she strikes me as an introvert, able to be occupied with her own thoughts, even in the absence of other people.  And if the shop receives shipments from suppliers every week, it must be doing a booming business.  The picture in my head is of a small establishment, but I will have to revise it to be a much bigger emporium.

 

And it is quite in character for Snape to make a weekly visit in person to pick out the supplies (some of which I suppose must be purchased fresh) that meet his high standards of quality, instead of merely ordering by mail and accepting whatever is shipped to him.

 

It is a clever turn of the plot, and yet not straining our credulity, to have the shop be the recipient of the contents of a retired or deceased potioneer, the laboratoy of Nostradamus Nix.  I like your descriptions of potions in varying states of decomposition and broken or unidentifiable lab equipment.  It reminds me of what we often have in the backs of our refrigerators or our junk drawers.

 

Dr. Slug has a surprising faith in assigning to Phaedra, who has worked at the shop for only a few months, the task of separating the wheat from the chaff in this pile of Stuff.  Why does he believe that she is qualified to distinguish unfailingly between the valuable and the garbage?  Just what has she been occupying herself with for the past thirteen years?

 

This was an excellent line: "On his face ther was a greedy, avid look that Phaedra had seen many times before, but never on him.  It filled her with a sense of foreboding."  There's some backstory there, but we don't yet know what.

 

Your description of the aftermath of the book explosion is outstanding.  What a huge mess, not to mention the tension of Snape's and Phaedra's need to rescue themselves.

 

And how fortuitous that Hector showed up at the old library to help Phaedra get the information she needed when it looked as if she could never buck the bureaucracy. I just knew that he would be clever in some areas, even though he is so naive in others.  But it brings up as many questions as it answers (as any good mystery story ought to do!)  

 

And why does Phaedra have these uncanny feelings, first when Snape opens the old book in the basement, and then again upon leaving the library with Hector?  Dark magic at work, for sure!

 

Great work.  

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 29 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 2: "Books can be very dangerous."


Hi June.

 

I'm here for Chapter Two.

 

Your various quirky characters -- Prospero P. Smith, Hector Flourish, and even Medea Morley -- remind me of the kinds of characters that Charles Dickens created, distinct personalities drawn out just a little farther, and revealing themselves through their generous dialogue.  By contrast, Phaedra doen't really talk much.  She is keeping her secrets well within herself.

 

Phaedra's conversation with her (late?) father's solicitor disclosed a lot more of the skeleton of her backstory.  By putting two and two together, I finally know two things I'd been wondering about: how old Phaedra is and what year this is.

 

All of these things Phaedra is inheriting from her father -- the house, the bank account, the mysterious gold leaf -- open up avenues for discovery and intrigue and promise that the story will be a long one.  But you parcel out the clues so slowly that nothing feels like an info dump.  The facts all fit smoothly and normally into the narrative, and we readers must put the hints together like a jigsaw puzzle in which some of the pieces have not been found yet.  That's the kind of story that I like, intellectually challenging.

 

Mr. Hector Flourish is such a charming, innocent, guileless man that one cannot help loving him.  In the hands of a less skillful writer than you, he might come across as a buffoon, but in this story he seems absolutely genuine, and I can see why Phaedra would be pleased to have him as a friend, not expecting anything more (but because this is a story, we expect that he will come to play a bigger role -- stay tuned!)

 

And in case we start feeling warm and fuzzy, you end the chapter with another visit to the grim nursing home and the wreck of a woman who is Phaedra's mother.  Just to remind us to keep reading?  Well, it's working.

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 29 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: "Thanks for your help with the slugs."


Hi, Jane.

 

As always, I am impressed by the variety of your imagination.  I ask myself, "Where does Jane come up with these ideas?"  

 

Your settings and descriptions are rich, and your characters unique.  You do do not hold back in your work to create an amazingly detailed picture for us in every scene, woven together with th elements of the narrative in a completely natural way, as if we were there in the scene and gazing all around us to take eveything in.

 

Slug and Jiggers Apothecary Shop sounds fascinating in a rather repulsive way, with all the creatures and pieces of creatures pointed out to us by the routine events of Phaedra's working there. Even Phaedra herself, as we see in a glimpsed reflection in a windowpane, is not particularly attractive (small, dark-haired, sullen-looking).  She's not thrilled about her job, obviously not her life's ambition, but she deals with it in a matter-of-fact way.  She eats her brown-bag lunch in a nearby alley, surrounded by losers.  Before anything happens, we are seeing her character.

 

Hints appear of where the story will go -- Phaedra mentions having to meet with her father's solicitor, and of course Severus Snape is never a bit player or a walk-on in any story in which he appears.

 

The unique environment that you establish from the first paragraphs is enought to propel us further down the page, and then we go with Phaedra to the dark, dilapidated neighborhood where the seemingly abandoned apartment block turns out to be a nursing home containing a dark secret -- her sick, dying, bitter, half-crazed mother, whose ravings spill out hints of a destroyed family, a dead father whose unspecified work went horribly wrong, hatred, anger, fear, a cursed disease, a lost sister.

 

The ghoulishness of all of the above would seem to be enough, but in the final sentences you reveal that Phaedra is not only a witness to all this, but she is caught up in it.  She has the cursed disease herself.

 

Wow.  We think that we have seen a lot, but it's just like a crust over a seething magma chamber.  There's obviously a lot more to come, a huge backstory that we can only shudder to think about.  I can see that this is going to be a great story, not only with the very graceful, rich writing, but also the original and unexpected plotting.  Very well done.  Can't wait to read more.

 

Vicki




Past Featured Story Phineas Nigellus: Vampire Hunter by Bunbury

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Misc. UK (1100-1950) · Rating: Mature Audiences · Incomplete Novella (under 50,000 words)
24 Reviews · 7 likes · 187 reads


phineas

 

glorious banner by the incomparable starbuck@TDA

 

It's 1875. Phineas Nigellus, young heir to the House of Black, has had his future planned for him since the day he was born.

 

But when, on a dark and stormy night, he meets an uninvited guest at his engagement party, his life will change forever in ways he could never have foreseen. 

 

Before the end he will learn the price of duty, discover the meaning of true love, and cut down the legions of Hell. 



Characters: Phineas Nigellus Black

Pairings: Unlisted Pairing

Story Length: 2 chapters (8706 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: Sitewide Stories of the Month, Slytherin MFWHATA Winners, FROGS Winners

Published: 14 Apr 2019 · Updated: 18 Jul 2019
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 29 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 2: The Creature


Hi, Jane.

A change of pace.  After seeing one large, elaborate scene in chapter One, we have three scenes in this chapter, all quite different from one another and from Chapter One.

I appreciate the imagination.  Who would have dreamed that Cygnus Black would be a self-condemned recluse living like a hermit in a fifth-story room in his own mansion?  I have heard of people like that, but -- the patriarch of the Most Noble House of Black?  You have shown a lot of the old man's Slytherin character in this brief scene, but something is still missing -- the reason why he chooses to live like this.

Your use of just the right word, just the right detail, in sentence after sentence makes the story a pleasure to read.  

After treating his hangover by drinking again to excess at a low public house in Knockturn Alley where disinherited people hang out (Ursula, are you sure that marrying this guy is a good idea?), Phineas goes to Van Helsing's house and has a wonderful conversation at the door with the tough-as-nails housekeeper.  Surely his inebriation can be blamed for his conversational fiasco. I loved that conversation, even though I don't know why he went there.

It turns out that the battle-axe was not lying (my immediate assumption) when she said that her master was out.  Out he was, hunting a vampire.  The fight scene was nicely described, and that was a great image -- the vampire scuttling up the side of the building like a lizard.

Phineas has sobered up rather quickly, and his life has changed in an instant.  He thought he had troubles before?  He ain't seen nothin' yet.  Wow!

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 29 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 1: The Stranger


Hi, Jane.

 

I am starting to read your story Phineas Nigellus: Vampire Hunter (that's an eye-catching title!), and right away I am struck by your writing style.  It is plainly Victorian, as befits the time period of the story.  The author intrudes their first-person self into a third-person story in a manner common then but rare nowadays.  "I refer of course to...", "Our hero...", "I acknowledge them solely to dismiss them, for they are not important -- not yet."

 

The detailed, Dickensian style, in which each sentence is mined for the most possible elaboration, adds substatially to the period atmosphere.  I can see the palatial mansion in the city, with its elaborate interior decoration and many drawing rooms that lead ultimately into a sumptuous ballroom, all accessible by a grand staircase from the foyer.

 

You introduce us to many characters here -- Phineas, his mother, his brother-in-law Chesterton Fawley, the old Hyperion Malfoy, his bride-to-be Ursula --  and I don't yet know how many of them will prove to be major actors and how many will be bit players, but each of these charaters is characterized so skilfully with a very few sentences to give a clear, vivid picture, that the whole scene springs to life.

 

One example out of many possible: the crowd of toadies who surround Hyperion Malfoy, slavishly praising his every remark, while the old man "precarious even on three legs" happily holds court with his fawning admirers.  Many lines in this mini-scene could easily have been mistaken for Dickens' work, with its undercurrent  mockery of the social customs of the upper crust.  I loved it.  Your skill in capturing the spirit of the time by capturing the voice of its authors is admirable.

 

But once Phineas escorts Mrs. Lestrange to her carriage and then encounters the stranger with the haunted face, the tone of the story changes.  We begin to see behind Phineas' social mask.  The writing remains complex, but it, and Phineas' state of mind, become more serious, more sober, less artificial and more of a mystery and rather more modern in tone.

 

This is an enchanting and intriguing opening to your story.  I think we all enjoy a peek into a lifestyle very different from our own, as if to imagine how we ourselves would function (or survive) in such a milieu.  Supeb writing.

 

Vicki 




Tess Covenshire & the Highcross Scandal by KJ Cartmell

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe · Rating: Teen Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
16 Reviews · 9 likes · 3302 reads


Tess Covenshire, a First Year Slytherin, finds herself drawn to a mysterious photograph of a boy she doesn't know, who seems to know her. As Tess and her friends begin to discover the identity of the boy, they draw ever closer to exposing a long buried scandal. Originally published on HPFF as The Witches of Slytherin. Completely revised and expanded for its new home.

 

This can be read as a stand-alone novel or as Book Two of the Wren of Hufflepuff series.



Characters: Original Female Character

Pairings: OC/OC

Story Length: 22 chapters (66181 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Themes: Bullying, Divorce, Family, Friendship, Parenthood, Teen Pregnancy

Inclusivity: LGBTQA

Advisories: None
Series: None

Published: 21 May 2018 · Updated: 06 Apr 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 26 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 15: Chapter 15: Interview with the Headmistress


Hi, KJ.

 

I like the way you have portrayed Morwena in this chapter.  She is quite the girl for getting stuff done. I am impressed that she has managed to get her hands on Scott Highcross's student file, and has won Professor McGonagall over in the matter of the research project.

 

With Professor McGonagall on their side, the girls shoild not get any more outright opposition from the staff.

 

When you have Professor McGonagall talking about the long-ago Quidditch All-Star game against the team from Beauxbatons, I was glad to see that you were not having the professor talk as if she were a creative-writing author, spouting descriptive phrases.  Most people don't talk like that in real life, but I have occasionally read a rough-hewn character, such as a ranch hand, talking in a story as if he were an MFA candidate.

 

These mysterious letters are intriguing.  Is it a coincidence that McGonagall gave the photograph to Kaufmann after receiving the letter, or did the letter prompt her to specifically look for the photo amongst her papers?  Hmmm.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki  



Author's Response:

Vicki,

 

I re-read this chapter just now to refresh my memory. It is so full of subtle hints. I hope at some later date you re-read it and discover them. I'm glad you like my dialogue. It's a point of pride for me. I try with each character just to sit back and let them talk - to know them so well that the lines I write for them sound authentic for each person.

 

I don't have any ranch hands in my ensemble, but I hope that one day you can read my short story, "Peyton." Joe, from rural Michigan, and Peyton from Alabama meet up on the road and travel to California together. Whereas these stories are faux British, that one is genuinely Americana, especially in its dialogue.

 

Back to the book at hand. Everything will be explained in time, even the letters. 

 

I see I need to go back and add the "x" to Beauxbatons. Despite all those French films I watch, my French is still rather poor.

 

Thanks again for writing to me!

 

KJ



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 26 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 14: Chapter 14: Meadows and DeVere


Hi, KJ,

 

I see that the girls are following Robert's advice to try to learn something from the professors, but they've gotten almost nowhere.  Now they know that Scott Highcross has been dead for a long time and that the teachers are stonewalling them.  

 

Morwena is calmly determined, Tess is flustered and shy (she probably wishes she hadn't started this investigation), and Rhiannon is angry and believes they will get into trouble for stirring up an old scandal.  Pauline's few remarks are insightful, but I don't have a good feel for what her emotions are, about this investigation.

 

It is as if the girls have just about hit a dead end; their only step now is to take Robert's advice and ask Professor McGonagall about Scott Highcross, and , knowing Professor McGonagall, I don't have high hopes for much progress.  Does she even know tht they are undertaking this investigation?

 

I am quite curious to see what the girls come up with, expecially since they have so little to go on.

 

Thanks for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Vicki,

 

I'm glad you're back! Thanks for writing me a couple more notes. I've been reviewing chapters of this book on my own, and I'm eagerly anticipating your reactions to the later scenes in the story.

 

Yes, the girls get stonewalled at first, and it is probably only Morwena's stubborn pursuit of extra-credit points that gets them over the hump. At this point, the story becomes a more traditional mystery, with Morwena in the role of the detective, methodically collecting evidence and seeing where it leads. Rhiannon gets increasingly agitated by this mystery, as she knows (or guesses) more than she lets on. Pauline just wants to be part of the group. She is trying to be helpful, but she knows the least of any of them, being the complete outsider.

 

In the original draft, the girls questioned McGonagall as a matter of course. I heightened the anxiety, especially on Tess' part, of going to the Headmistress with this inquiry. My vision of McGonagall is not some kindly old lady, but a powerful and intimidating figure.

 

Thanks again for all your great comments!

 

KJ




The New Skin by Mottsnave

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Non-UK, Harry Potter Universe > Rebuilding (1998-2009) · Rating: Mature Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
56 Reviews · 0 likes · 492 reads


New Skin banner

From a narrow escape from death at the end of the war Snape embarks on a new life. Yet how can a single escape be enough when it's not over? How can he move forward when the past is close on his trail? Rated for language, some violence.

(banner by Mottsnave)



Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore, Original Character, Severus Snape

Pairings: None

Story Length: 36 chapters (131647 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: None

Published: 15 Dec 2018 · Updated: 23 Feb 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 19 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 32: Chapter 32: The Hunt


Hi, Mottsnave,

 

This is quite a story, and extremely well written.  I had to go back over it to re-establish the timeline of the story in my mind, what happened when and in what sequence.

 

Some questions remain for me.  Was it a coincidencee that Aberforth Portkeyed Snape to Boston and then Avery turned up in the same city, or did Avery know in advance that Snape was still alive and going to Boston?

 

I could see Avery fleeing England and going to a foreign country to establish a new identity.  Did he take the library job, assuming that Snape would come to the library sooner or later, or did he do that only after seeing Snape in Boston (walking down the street)?  Snape's final thoughts seem to suggest that Avery decided to make the skin man and set it to hunt Snape only after seeing Snape in Boston, but then why was Avery carrying around a vial of Snape's blood (salvaged from the Shrieking Shack)?  

 

Avery must have made the skin man right after obtaining Snape's fake signature from the library sign-in sheet because only a few days later the skin man was chewing up Snape's island hideout.  So when did Avery kill the real Charlie and take his place?  How long would the real Chariie's corpse have stayed fresh?  (I suppose Avery had ways of keeping it fresh.)

 

So now Avery is gone, and the Ministry will never know where he went or what happened to him, alive or dead.  And Snape will never go back.  He has a new name, a new job, a new home, new friends, a new life if he can hang onto it, though a life forever haunted by his past.  He describes himself as a wrecker of everything he touches, but in this regard I think he has just had very bad luck (in contradiction to my previous statement that he has very good luck).  Life has dealt him a lot of bad hands.  It's time to start over.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

 

There are still a few chapters to go before the end of the story, but yes, some of these questions won't be resolved because we're limited to Snape's viewpoint and he doesn't have the answers himself.

 

I feel like there are a few different possibilities that could be fairly equally weighted about how things went down. It could be entirely coincidence. It could be that when Avery picked up some of Snape's blood at the end of the war for future use, he used some of it as a directional tracker on Snape. It could even be, since Avery has known Snape for many many years, that he knew that Snape had an active correspondence with Dick, despite Snape's efforts to hide that by destroying letters.

 

With the library job, it could be complete coincidence, again. Or, as someone washed up on a foreign shore, if he tried to make contact with the wizarding world in the same way as Snape, it could have been his first point of contact. If he asked a helpful clerk for some information or directions, and that helpful clerk stepped outside with him and didn't have his guard up, well, Avery could have seized an opportunity there. Now Avery could very well have not killed Charlie right away. There's every possibility he was using Barty's old trick on Moody, of keeping him contained while using his hair and polyjuice to take his place. After Avery spotted Snape and had a good reason to need a fresh corpse, that could have been it for poor Charlie.

 

Yes, as it stands at the moment, Snape has every intention for all his ties to his previous life to be cut permanently and to have a fresh start. As you can see his luck is both good and terrible, or maybe his luck is his luck, and whether it's good or terrible depends on what he makes of it.

 

Thank you so much for your excellent reviews! Now that the last few chapters of this story are up, I'm getting ready to post the sequel, The Clear Cut.

 

Mottsnave



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 18 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 31: Chapter 31: The Joke


Hi, Mottsnave,

 

I see that things are starting to wrap up.  Almost six weeks after their return from Tepora's village, Snape's potion research is bearing fruit.  I love the descriptions of the theory behind his research, based on the four humours.  It is good that you give a lot of explanation of what Snape is doing, the wizardly counterpart of chemical engineering, but of course it can't be anything like moderrn Muggle chemistry.  What you came up with succeeds beautifully.

 

I'm thinking back -- where did we last see the skin man?  Was that when it was swimming down the river, trailing after the bloody lab coat being towed from the boat?  Did it trail Snape all the way to Massachusetts, and then back again to Brazil?  I guess so.

 

Snape is so incredibly lucky, given the life he has led and the company he has kept.  He is like a super-cat with ninety lives, not merely nine.  So smart to rescue Tepora's bundle out of the dirty bloody sock and keep it in his pocket.  He was right to fear that the skin man would no longer be distracted by bait.  (Well, no, maybe the skin man did eat that sock first, but maybe not.)

Snape was lucky that Mata was there, lucky that the skin man grabbed his arm first, not his head, lucky that he could remember the word in time, lucky that the bag worked as designed.  

Maybe there's something in Snape's makeup that gives him such incredible luck.. He should try distilling that.

 

So now Snape has decommissioned the tracking mechanism in the skin man.  It seems to have been a pretty simple procedure, compared to creating the potion or even manufacturing Tepora's sedative.  I can see a potential flaw in the proposal to send the skin to Svalbard -- a recent news article stating that the shrinking of the glaciers due to global warming is threatening the seed depository in Svalbard.

 

Poor Mata.  What a thing to have witnessed and been involved in. He's going to have a few nightmares about this.  Will Uli ever find out?

 

One more chapter.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

 

I wanted to give Snape the, uh, creative knack that the books hint to in how he relates to potions and magic in general. Snape is almost the only person in the original series who invents his own spells, changes established potions techniques, and uses particular forms of magic, such as long incantations. My interpretation is that he kind of has his own 'feel' for potions, a sort of natural understanding of how things can be altered. I decided to prtray that by throwing in some traditional alchemical terms, and having him relate to the ingredients as if they were different personalities he has to get on board with his goals. I'm glad it worked for you!

 

Yes, Snape is outstandingly lucky, while he regards himself as unlucky. Maybe part of it is his old Felix experiments. Part of it is his need for control of his situation at all times, so he wants Tepora's bag under his control too. Of course, that need for control has a definite emotional cost to him, but it does keep him alive.

 

Yes, the glaciers are melting at Svalbard (though that wasn't as widely known at the time of this story), but also, a skin locked away at Svalbard is not under Snape's direct control. He needs to be in control.

 

Thank yo uso much for you r very perceptive reviews!

 

Mottsnave




Tess Covenshire & the Highcross Scandal by KJ Cartmell

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe · Rating: Teen Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
16 Reviews · 9 likes · 3302 reads


Tess Covenshire, a First Year Slytherin, finds herself drawn to a mysterious photograph of a boy she doesn't know, who seems to know her. As Tess and her friends begin to discover the identity of the boy, they draw ever closer to exposing a long buried scandal. Originally published on HPFF as The Witches of Slytherin. Completely revised and expanded for its new home.

 

This can be read as a stand-alone novel or as Book Two of the Wren of Hufflepuff series.



Characters: Original Female Character

Pairings: OC/OC

Story Length: 22 chapters (66181 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Themes: Bullying, Divorce, Family, Friendship, Parenthood, Teen Pregnancy

Inclusivity: LGBTQA

Advisories: None
Series: None

Published: 21 May 2018 · Updated: 06 Apr 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 17 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 13: Chapter 13: Extra Credit


Hi, KJ,

 

I enjoyed this inside peek into the evaluation and scoring system in the History department at Hogwarts.  And apparently Robert and Roddy are the only seventh-year NEWT students in History.  I guess that they're obliged to grade papers as part of their curriculum.  (But who grades the papers for the Second- through Fifth Years?  Surely Robert and Roddy don't do all of it, do they?  Or are there other Seventh-Year NEWT History students who cover the papers of the other classes?  That must be it.)

 

I remember, long ago, exam scores being posted outside professors' office doors, but listed by students' registration numbers, not by names.  

 

We have two major themes now -- solve the Highcross mystery and help Morwena beat Calliope in History.  I see that Morwena does not aim to be the best in the entire class, just to be the best among the girls because she is vying for sex-segregated honors.

 

So Robert gives Morwena a bigger extra-credit assignment, worth fifty points, he estimates, although he doesn't really know because it wil be Roddy who grades it.  Which leads us to ask: does Calliope know about these extra credit assignments that Morwena is taking on?  Does Calliope realize that her top standing is in jeopardy?  Will Roddy tip Calliope off about what Robert and Morwena are doing?  Does Calliope even know that the papers are graded by Robert and Roddy, not Professor Binns?  What will be Calliope's reaction when, at the end of the term, she learns that Morwena has somehow surged ahead in points, even with lower scores on the tests?  This could be great.

 

Much fun.  Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Vicki,

 

This was a question I had when I stepped back from the Harry Potter series and tried to figure out how the school actually functioned: How does a ghost grade papers? Students must be doing it. NEWT History students made the most sense. It's not just Roddy and Kauff, but those are the graders that impact this story.

 

Calliope does not figure out until it's too late that Morwena has completed an extra credit assignment in order to close the gap between them in History. Had I continued and written stories about the Spring Term, I might have had a plotline like the one you suggest.

 

I do have a similar plot line planned for the for-now untitled book about Liam's Seventh Year. Due to some shenanigans of some younger Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, both Houses find themselves down in House Points. Morwena and Liam, who are now good friends, conspire together to do a special project to get more House points. Calliope gets wind of it and jumps on the band wagon. All the Houses end up with the same point bonus, forcing Liam and Morwena to come up with another way to win back the lost points. That book is some years away, still. By then, I hope to have a title.

 

Thanks as always!

 

KJ



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 17 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 12: Chapter 12: The Night the Men Came


Hi, KJ,

 

Another good and intriguing chapter.  The opening dream is well done.  At first it seems mysterious -- why are the door handle and the bed so high?  And then the obvious explanation, not even magical -- Tess is remembering how things looked when she was a toddler.  It makes perfect sense.  And then we have Pauline's (wrong at every point) attempt to explain why Tess might be dreaming these things and feeling morose about them.

 

It is a fact that a bad dream can dampen our mood for some time after we awaken, even though we realize that the depressing stuff in the dream was not real.  Because of the badness of the dream, certain chemicals are released in the brain (even though it's a dream and not a real experience), and these chemicals take a fairly long time to wear off, a few hours, so we feel bummed for a period of time after we awaken.  Unfortunately, the different chemicals that are released into the brain when we experience (or dream) something really wonderful wear off much faster.  Should be the other way around, don't you think?

 

I was glad to see you involving Madam Pince.  She's such a shadowy figure in the seven books, always there, but we never get a good look at her.  Other auxiliiary staff, such as Madam Hooch, Madam Pomfrey, and Mr. Filch, are better characterized in the seven books.

 

That was an unexpected revelation, the business about the alteration of records by people from the Ministry.  But now that the Dark Lord and his regime have fallen, was there no official attempt to restore the records to their original condition?  Or was the alteration too permanent?  Obviously Robert can't undo it, but someone older, with more exprience, might have a go at it.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Vicki,

 

This wasn't Ministry people who came to the school that night. It was the Dark Lord's men. They knew that the Dark Lord would be purging and arresting potential enemies. They were trying to protect members of their own famiies from this effort. After the war, even if these men were not in prison, there was no reason for them to go back and fix what they had done. I think this will be more clear when you find out whose name has been erased.

 

KJ




The New Skin by Mottsnave

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Non-UK, Harry Potter Universe > Rebuilding (1998-2009) · Rating: Mature Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
56 Reviews · 0 likes · 492 reads


New Skin banner

From a narrow escape from death at the end of the war Snape embarks on a new life. Yet how can a single escape be enough when it's not over? How can he move forward when the past is close on his trail? Rated for language, some violence.

(banner by Mottsnave)



Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore, Original Character, Severus Snape

Pairings: None

Story Length: 36 chapters (131647 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: None

Published: 15 Dec 2018 · Updated: 23 Feb 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 17 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 30: Chapter 30: Birdsong


Hi, Mottsnave,

 

So it's farewell to the jungle now. The scene of the men singing around the fires was pretty funny.  It made me think what song I could sing if I were caught off guard the way that Snape was.  Maybe "Old MacDonald" with all its animal noises, or a rousing rendition of "Deck the Halls". Not a scene that drives the plot line of the mystery forward, but a fun scene to read.

 

The description of Snape's experience (his "trip") after drinking the bitter concoction in Tepora's longhouse was vividly described but blessedly restrained, not "over the top" into uncontrolled flamboyance which would make it hard to follow.  The language you use here is precise and concrete, not so abstract and metaphorical that I would be left with no idea as to what Snape was actually envisioning.

 

That is as it should be.  The story is written in the first person, as if Snape himself were telling us this whole period of his life as a reminiscence some years later, and he would only tell it in his customary speaking style, with precise, concrete words, even an unusual experience such as this drug-induced trip.

 

As for the skin man, we are once again making visible progress.  Tepora's creation will hopefully put the skin man to sleep.  Not as much as Snape had wanted, but much more than Snape had expected.  And Snape cannot help being impressed by Tepora's success in making a functional bead with Dick's hair.  This feat may reassure Snape that Tepora's skill level is top-notch, even if he does not have the same magic as Snape.  Thus we can hope that the skin man sedative will work.

 

Great story.  Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

This singing bit, like the learning in the last chapter, is putting Snape in another vulnerable position. And he is able to get through it (with some alcohol aid, sure) safely.

I'm glad the description of Snape's hallucinations worked for you! I wanted Snape's little 'trip' to be something that could be read as either magic or as something completely physical and mental. These herbs aren't necesssarily showing him something new, he knows all of this already. And from back in his student days when he tried out experimental potions on himself, he does have some experience in acurately recording their effects.

Thank you!

 

Mottsnave




Tess Covenshire & the Highcross Scandal by KJ Cartmell

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe · Rating: Teen Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
16 Reviews · 9 likes · 3302 reads


Tess Covenshire, a First Year Slytherin, finds herself drawn to a mysterious photograph of a boy she doesn't know, who seems to know her. As Tess and her friends begin to discover the identity of the boy, they draw ever closer to exposing a long buried scandal. Originally published on HPFF as The Witches of Slytherin. Completely revised and expanded for its new home.

 

This can be read as a stand-alone novel or as Book Two of the Wren of Hufflepuff series.



Characters: Original Female Character

Pairings: OC/OC

Story Length: 22 chapters (66181 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Themes: Bullying, Divorce, Family, Friendship, Parenthood, Teen Pregnancy

Inclusivity: LGBTQA

Advisories: None
Series: None

Published: 21 May 2018 · Updated: 06 Apr 2020
·



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 15 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 11: Chapter 11: The Lists


Hi, KJ,

 

I like Robert Kaufmann.  He is so helpful to the little Firsties, running up and down the stairs so many times, just to answer their questions.  Almost Hufflepuff-ish, but of course it's just Slytherin loyalty.  He seems to think that this mystery is fun to investigate, and I think that he did enjoy being a little melodramatic in uncovering the alteration in the parchment.  In fact, he is wow-ing both the Firsties and Rebecca, and he's enjoying being in their spotlight.

 

Tess is eager to jump to the conclusion that the alteration in the parchment consists of someone's attempt to cover up the name of Esther.  That's rather a leap in logic, wishful thinking, but it's convenient to know that the Ravenclaws keep lists also, and Robert is hoping against hope that whoever altered the Slytherin list did not alter the Ravenclaw list also.  

 

Again, that's a stretch.  Whoever was skilled enough and motivated enough to obliterate a name on the Slytherin parchment would not be so careless or ignorant as to leave the Ravenclaw parchment unaltered, with all its damning information (whatever that turns out to be) listed clearly for all the world to see.

 

I see that Rebecca takes her job very seriously, sticking to all the rules.  I get the impression that she is worried that if she doesn't do a good enough job as prefect, keeping all her charges in line, things will go badly for her.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Vicki,

 

I like Kaufmann, too. I wrote a cameo for him in Prophecies, and I have a surprise in store for him in a later book, also.

 

Yes, Tess is jumping to conclusions, and yes, you are quite correct that the people who were so determined to alter school records would not stop at just one list.

 

Rebecca does take her job seriously. Though I never really explored the idea in my writing, I thought that Robert and Rebecca had some romantic history together. The relationship was brief, and Rebecca felt in the end that she had been taken advantage of in some way by the older boy. She is afraid that Robert will do to Tess or one of these other girls what he did to her. Robert dismisses this out of hand. He gets quite offended in some scenes by Rebecca's insinuations that he has less than honorable intentions. Yet, Tess does have a little crush on the older boy. He senses this and plays it up gallantly and dramatically. As you noted, he absolutely loves the attention.

 

You're right, also, in your previous comment, that Robert has made a conclusion which he does not immediately share with the girls. Instead, he guides them and eggs them on. He is as curious as anyone to know what is at the bottom of this.

 

Thanks again for reading and for these great comments!

 

KJ



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 15 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 10: Chapter 10: Esther


Hi, KJ,

 

I was happy to see that the older Slytherins praised Morwena and Umberto for their cool performances at the Slytherin Council meeting the previous evening.  Already the Slytherins are predicting noteworthy futures for these two.  So Slytherin-ish to be looking so far ahead.

 

Will Sir Cadogan play a part in helping the girls later?  You say he only serves as a comparison to animated photographs, but could there be something more?  Sir Cadogan is generally viewed as a comic figure, but I wouldn't mind seeing a fic someday in which his intelligence, such as he has, is put to use.  (Hmm, plot idea.)

 

Now the animated photograph is taking center stage.  Obviously the Quidditch player of yore is hiding a dark -- well, I won't call it a complete secret because Robert Kaufmann knows something about it that he's not telling.  I can see that Morwwena will seize this mystery as a dog seizes a bone and won't let go of it until she gets what she wants.  But, when she gets it, will she really want it?

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Alas, I didn't return to Sir Cadogan. The door is open for your own plot ideas, my friend.

 

You're definitely on the right track with your thinking, otherwise.

 

KJ




The New Skin by Mottsnave

Fandom: Harry Potter Universe, Harry Potter Universe > Non-UK, Harry Potter Universe > Rebuilding (1998-2009) · Rating: Mature Audiences · Completed Novel (50,000+ words)
56 Reviews · 0 likes · 492 reads


New Skin banner

From a narrow escape from death at the end of the war Snape embarks on a new life. Yet how can a single escape be enough when it's not over? How can he move forward when the past is close on his trail? Rated for language, some violence.

(banner by Mottsnave)



Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore, Original Character, Severus Snape

Pairings: None

Story Length: 36 chapters (131647 words)

HPFT Forum House: Slytherin

Series: None

Published: 15 Dec 2018 · Updated: 23 Feb 2020
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Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 15 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 29: Chapter 29: Friends


Hi, Mottsnave,

 

Again, as in chapter 28, we get a lot of information about how the Oi live, but no information on how to defeat the skin man.  Well, at least Snape's safe for now.  I can't imagine the skin man crashing through the jungle in pursuit of him!  (Humorous vision.)  I wonder whether Snape is feeling impatient or frustrated or worried about how long this visit with the Oi is taking, as the skin man problem has not been specifically addressed (to Snape's knowledge), and Tepora doesn't even seem to have any magic.

 

It's notable that Snape's first interpersonal break-through is with children.  I suppose that makes sense.  His career has consisted of working with children, and although he hated the Gryffindors on principle, he seems to have had kindlier feelings toward the Slytherins.  Perhaps he sees some children as less threatening.  But not all children, given how the Marauders treated him.

 

By bargaining with Viti and learning the new fly-manufacturing technique, Snape may also be demonstrating to the other members of his party that he is not just 'useless baggage' on this trip but can function to some extent with this tribe.  Only Dick knows about the skin man, and Uli and Grossman may be wondering why Doctor Ramson is there.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Thank you! Sorry for the long delay, but I'm out of the woods, work-wise, and I can answer more of these lovely reviews.

 

And thank you for pointing out how he's starting to be able to relate to others through children. And he's also making that breakthrough in the context of being intent on learning something new. Being a student is kind of a vulnerable situation in a way... he's trying to learn a new skill, and of course at first, he sucks at it. To the extent of his teacher falling over laughing at him. But something about being in this "other world" is letting him be that vulnerable for the goal of learning something new. Being vulnerable in front of others is a key way to make friends, though Snape doesn't quite want to acknowledge that's what's happening here.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Mottsnave



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 15 Feb 2020 · Title: Chapter 28: Chapter 28: Upriver


Hi, Mottsnave,

 

Now we see a close description of the journey through the jungle to reach the home of Dick's friend Tepora, with lavish detail of the things that Snape encounters in the jungle and has to cope with -- the flora, fauna, and terrain.  This gives lots of background, and the length of time that it takes to tell all of this emphasizes the length of time this journey takes.  One can imagine that Snape's attention is so occupied with the moment-by-moment challenges of making forward progress on this trek that it would almost make him forget the ulltimate reason for the trip in the first place --to find a way to defeat the skin man.

 

Concrit tidbit: 'larva' is singular.  'Larvae' is plural.

 

There is a lot of ethnographic description of this indigenous nation in the Amazon jungle, and description of Snape's effort to cope with an unfamiliar society, but not much furthering of the plot (how to foil the skin man), except to suggest that it is necessary to go through this elongated getting-to-know-you process before anything can be accomplished as regards the skin man.  Frustrating for us impatient westerners, and maybe for Snape also.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

 

Thank you!

Part of my emphasis on the length of the journey, the sights along the way, and the society they are visiting, is to give the feeling that we are entering another world, with different rules. Even though this doesn't directly address the skin man in this chapter, it helps set up the path to a solution in that by its own rule, there is no way to stop the skin, so we have to enter a place where the rules don't necessarily apply.

 

But I also wanted to serve a purpose outside of the skin... I think there are a few interesting parallels that Snape might see from the Oi's history, if he has the perspecitve to look at it. There own perspective on luck and survival has some bearing on Snape's life, for example.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Mottsnave