|Reviews for Blood Magic|
| croquant chapter 63 . 8/3
I have mixed feelings about this story.
First, what I like:
I love your writing. It's understated and mature. You get the rise and ebb of emotion across without the usual crutches (eg: misplaced metaphors, exaggerated paragraph breaks or dash, inflated diction). Your technical prose is A. Which already makes you stand out from the usual ff net writers. On a similar vein, I feel like your scenes are precisely written to the point that I can visualize them - like the controlled way a screenwriter writes for scenes to film. I'm impressed with the length of the story, and the continuity from one chapter to the next. Severus' characterization is excellent, and probably plays a big part in hitting over 2000 reviews - congratulations on that!
Onto the critique. I'm including it not only to be an honest reviewer, but also, hopefully, to provide some advice for any future writing. Of course, you can take it or leave it. Here's what I think could improve:
The biggest weakness in your story is pacing and tension. Specifically, I felt bogged down in the middle chapters. To the point where I skimmed the last twenty chapters instead of properly reading them. In fact, I have to admit, I am on chapter 63 (skimmed for novel developments), and I can't bring myself to go on and read the last two chapters.
I'm disappointed that nothing truly unpredictable is happening. The buildup is so long, sustained, and linear, that without the promise of new horizons in sight, I don't want to read more, and I feel dismayed and bored. But is this a problem of your writing or of the genre itself? I think it's both, but I leave it up to you to analyze further and decide. If it's a problem of writing, that may be resolved by keeping a more meticulous track of why the reader cares about each scene as it happens. Not the question of, What's going to happen? but these questions: Who's getting in danger? What ante is being raised? What new factors are coming in? What's going to make the reader click the Next button? These are the questions to keep in mind, particularly as you edit. And as you edit, I would vote for much more extreme editing. Rather than speeding up the plot so that much content is crammed into one chapter, or ending chapters with cliffhangers, I would suggest cutting out scenes entirely that repeat plot points already established. To give a specific example, I would have edited Blood Magic down by over 1/2. This prevents the linear buildup that can be a turnoff. Obviously, this kind of editing hurts. Especially because you probably are aware of just how good your writing is, and it always hurts to delete good writing. But in the service of a more compelling story arc, and a better reading experience, I think it'll be worth it.
Then again, the lack of tension/pacing could be a problem of genre. After all, character studies and slice-of-life fiction doesn't require the same tension/pacing as an adventure or drama story. So, is it a problem of your intended genre not coming out clearly? Keep in mind that if the reader goes into a story with certain expectations, and they aren't fulfilled, then s/he will feel discontented. Blood Magic is a huge fic approaching 250k words. Thus it's even more important for me, the reader, to take into account the story summary, and let that determine if I'm going to stick around til the end. What is Blood Magic really about? When I first stumbled across it, I thought it was going to be rather emotional and dramatic - "Blood is a bond, but so is the memory of hate - or love." that, in addition to the categorization in angst. The summary held well to the actual story for the first 10 chapters. Then, the story became something else. Now I would say this story is more like - "Harry's year in Hogwarts trying to keep a devastating secret, court a friend, and forge and strengthen new relationships." I give you this kind of content-oriented summary, rather than the abstract starting premise that your summary had, because this fic ultimately did turn out to be much more "slice of life" than "drama" (which is what I would have categorized it for the first 10 chapters.) Blood Magic goes through the mundane details of Harry's every day, his problems unraveling so slowly that their revealing can no longer be considered the main plot point. Instead, the main plot point becomes Harry's mundane life, because of the pace the story went at. Which is not a bad thing. It is, however, something that you need to be aware of, and plan to convey to the reader, through summary, classification, and perhaps even author's notes, though I understand that you don't really like them.
Therefore, I would suggest being careful with the labeling and presentation of your fiction. It's tempting to say, "well if something's good, then it's good," and demote the importance of the label. However, the accuracy of the label is really very important, and not just to increase reader satisfaction. It sieves out which readers are going to read your story. If your summary/label doesn't match your actual story, then the readers who would have very much enjoyed your actual story as missing out because they're not the ones who picked it up. Especially if you are going into original fiction - then the presentation and labeling is something that you want to control as much as possible.
Anyway, that's my take. I have more specific thoughts on some of your HP characterizations, but in the hopes of giving you a critique that could apply for writing in any fandom, I decided to only go into the issues of pacing/tension and genre.
In any case, congratulations again on completing such a long fic, and on getting over 2k reviews. It's really a fantastic achievement. I hope that you continue writing and wish you the best of luck! *follows*
| winter4869 chapter 11 . 1/21
I'm rereading a few of my collectionsand stumble on this phrase "lupin is fond of handsome, dark haired boys" I'm not sure if jk were doing this consciously or not...lupin did been surrounded by a few of them...James, Sirius and a not so handsome In The traditional way dark haired severus...kudos to gateway girl for using this piece to create a masterfully crafted scene...and I won't be surprise if remus like the dark haired boy's harsh and cranky biological father better...XD
| Lollypops101 chapter 65 . 11/5/2014
Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I read this whole story, including the part not on this site, after being referred to it by a friend. I loved it! The plot, the characters, the interactions... It was all incredible. :)
| marthapreston4 chapter 51 . 10/28/2014
I wonder why if they leave for so long thier childhood is not extended pass 17 if they live for hundreds of years wouldnt be a child last at like 30 or 40
| marthapreston4 chapter 11 . 10/28/2014
oh i have a bad feeling about this
| marthapreston4 chapter 9 . 10/28/2014
the whole about him not expecting affection is just sad
| marthapreston4 chapter 5 . 10/28/2014
okay seriously he saw a door with several locks from the outside and he still thought the inside would be nice. I thought he was smart. WHy didnt he just take the kid like an normal person would do
| coccinellee chapter 64 . 9/12/2014
I'm so glad I found the sequel "Blood and Choice". I love to read about that universe. I just love your humor. I've laughed out loud so often while reading both your stories. I'm at the age that I'm not getting into the "magic" of Christmas much and I also don't have kids, but I must say that your descriptions of Christmas excitement was so real, I was nearly teary eyed!
| coccinellee chapter 65 . 9/12/2014
Wow. Simply wow. I just finished reading the whole 84 chapters and that was one long awfully good story! I was sure I was reading on incomplete one and even after I saw your note, I was sure I would never find the ending of a story published 10 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised. I feel like I'm not writing anything worthwhile but anyway, thank you!
| amberwolf chapter 64 . 8/31/2014
We like to call it houncing when our ferrets do it. Its absolutely hilarious.
| Philodice chapter 62 . 7/6/2014
| cztelnik chapter 60 . 6/2/2014
Sad this is almost over and *groan* not complete! Oh well, it's been a great read while it lasts.
| cztelnik chapter 51 . 6/2/2014
Hmm, hope the RoR doesn't unlock his drawer, it would be a problem if Ron found the letter.
| cztelnik chapter 47 . 6/2/2014
This story started slowly but is getting less angsty and much more amusing with Draco playing a bigger part. Something about Hermione and Ron and Draco interactions and the misunderstandings with Harry's 'happy drugs addiction' versus sex addictions definitely adds humor and a few chapters back I caught myself laughing out loud...something I rarely do while reading.
| Aynessa chapter 65 . 5/14/2014
This is the most well done, believable "Severus is Harry's father" stories I have ever seen. I am thoroughly impressed beyond words.
For the most part, character personalities are spot on and the excellent plotline is done flawlessly. My only complaint is that Harry can sometimes be a bit OOC, especially towards Hermione.
Also, you should probably inform your readers in the first chapter that there will be slash later on.