Reviews for Born With the Devil
Obscure Bird chapter 17 . 11/26/2012
Epic! Not that that came as a surprise after reading "When Sweeney Met Lizzie," but still, it was fantastic.

Slightly different, though, in the enery that drove it, but that may be only because I knew nothin about Lizzie Borden except the rhyme. Throughout that story, I really had no idea what was going to happen, and so it was driven on by the suspense of not knowing. But I DO know something of HH Holmes. And so "Born with the Devil" did the same thing that really well-written historical fiction does, with a suspense of "Holy crap, I DO know!," where the fact that you know (more or less) what's coming doesn't take away from the suspense, but actually adds to it. You've worked very well with that. From the moment you mentioned in passing that Mrs. T was renting a shop in Holmes' building, it was like, "Oh no." And then every time he was looking at her, it was "Oh no no no NO!" And then when Johanna wanted a job, and then when he went in... It built up throuhout the story. It was very well done. I couldn't stop reading until she was safe.

The plot was great. The characters were fantastic - what you did with Toby was amazing. I loved it. I also like what you did with the newly married Mr and Mrs Todd. Rather, I didn't like it. It was so well done that it almost hurt to read it. Poor both of 'em. Way to go for exploring something other then a happliy every after for them. (Not that I'm not happy they didn't end up that way, but still. Fights and even big fights are more realistic.) I also liked Johanna and Anthony's marriage, and her doubts, and her new tentative relationship with Sweeney.

Well done again!
Prue27 chapter 17 . 7/13/2011
This... Is just amazing! I love it and I think it ended perfectly, though I did want to see what Sweeney would have done to Holmes, it would've been intense :D you are the best at describing each characters P.O.V. which makes this all the more fantastic U
eekfrenzy chapter 17 . 10/28/2010
Yes, I've reread this one three times as well. Again, you are a marvelous writer, with a great handle on characterization and actual human psychology. And wonderful on history and crime - H.H. Holmes was well written and researched, and chillingly presented.

I love how you presented Johanna - she's not a madwoman, but someone who's been thru too much and still has to learn good coping mechanisms to deal with them. Anthony is such a good-hearted stick in the mud, isn't he?

The only fault I had (and it was very momentarily!) was setting the stories in the 1890s, when the actual Sweeney story was set around 1846. However, you made it work very well, and considering the ambience of the movie, I'll gleefully go with the flow.

Off to read your other story - I only wish I didn't find your stories when I was at work!
silver and rubies chapter 17 . 7/25/2010
There are not enough words to describe how wonderful this story is, so a bloody brilliant will have to suffice.

Everything from the characterization and emotions to the smallest plot twist, was simply wonderful. A virtual standing ovation to you and all of your stories.

Silver
Charmingly-Evil chapter 17 . 7/6/2010
awwww gosh that ending was so sweet! i lovett! i loved the storyline, of how you found that killer guy in history and it reminded me a lot of criminal minds. but i loved the storyline and everything! oh and yeah i wasn't expecting you to reply to all the reviews, i just usually like reviewing bit by bit coz i review a chapter then come back to it another day. but this time i sorta read strait through. anyway great job! will there be a sequel or anything?
JamesLuver chapter 5 . 7/4/2010
Congratulations on being the first ever ST fanfic writer to make me like the Johanna/Anthony relationship. ;) Like I’ve already said, it’s just one of those facts that I accept but don’t give a damn about…you actually inject realism into this relationship. I always perceive it as a way of escape for Johanna, and you portray that perfectly here. I believe that they are too young to fully grow into their love for each other yet, and Johanna in particular strikes me as the character who has taken the opportunity because it is better than what she left behind, something which you’ve demonstrated beautifully here, especially through the part: “She only knew that her first reaction on hearing the fate of Anthony's fellow worker had not been fear over losing her true love. It had been fear of completely practical matters.” The idea of her still feeling trapped despite Anthony caring for her and despite him looking after her much better than Turpin did is a really interesting concept, and one I don’t think I have ever come across before. And now Johanna is looking for a job and has met Holmes. So this spells trouble entirely. Plus, with Anthony getting injured, he is not in the fittest state to look after her. This could be bad…

So yeah, onto Anthony’s accident. It’s rather ironic that Anthony has been trying to persuade Johanna that his job his safe…and this happens to him. And what a way to tie Sweeney and Anthony back together – I never actually saw this coming, it’s a unique twist and is much better than the ways of them reuniting that I had tried to come up with whilst reading this fic. I love the way you wrote Sweeney’s shock, and how his immediate reaction was to want to kill him so he could take his daughter back again…it mirrors the whole “that’s a throat to slit, my dear,” scene in the film. And I also love how he then thought of what Anthony had done for him and how it lead to him being able to get his revenge and joining him with Nellie. Anthony’s reaction to realising it was Todd was perfect, because of course all Anthony can see is the fact that Todd has made Johanna the way she is now by murdering the Judge and almost killing her, and he hid his intentions so well from Anthony himself. Anthony always strikes me as a “Benjamin Barker” type character, and you show this very well here. Also, to see him showing some courage and anger in face of a murderer was great, as he’s mostly portrayed as a cowardly individual – it gives his character more depth and I really like it. The way Sweeney persuaded Anthony to keep his identity secret was wonderful too – perfect blackmailing right there. I’ve often wondered if Anthony had some inkling that Todd was a convict (after all, why else would he be at sea?) and you bring that issue up brilliantly and satisfy my musings on the subject.

No! The argument! My heart sank into my stomach and stayed down there as I read through /that/ part of the story. I really like their reactions here, what with Nellie being frustrated over the fact that they can’t seem to live in peace as a family, and now it seems even more impossible due to Anthony and Johanna being in the same city and her fearing that it’s just going to bring the past up again and make her lose him; Sweeney getting frustrated because Nellie doesn’t seem to understand that Johanna is his daughter and that Anthony could look after her while he cannot. The frustrations have clearly been bubbling for a while, especially over the gin, and it was bound to explode soon. “My own flesh and blood! You don't know what that's like!" As soon as he said that, I knew it was going to be bad. I can understand both perspectives on the argument – Nellie doesn’t want Sweeney to have a constant reminder of Lucy around as it could lead to him thinking of her more often and the way she died, which was ultimately Nellie’s fault because she lied to him. And Sweeney wants to get to know his daughter because he’s missed her growing up and she is /his/. Only, Sweeney just made it about fifty million times worse than it was to start off with. When he called her Lucy I almost died because doing that is bound to kill Nellie a little inside. He definitely deserved the slap for that, even though he said it in the heat of the moment. ‘She laughed at that, bitterly. "Don't you? You really don't understand why you'd call me a name that's not mine? Perhaps it's because /that name is always in your head to begin with?"/’ that part, in particular, shows Nellie’s pain and doubts wonderfully. And then the whole “Liar” part just about broke my heart, to see them both hurting and Nellie refusing him…and when she threw the wedding ring I was ready to burst into tears for them. This line set me off: ‘She did raise her eyes to him then, and said softly, "You have no idea what you've done to me tonight."’ because it portrays her pain so well.

And I can’t believe she returned the sapphire ring too. “This, she'd had time to think about…It was as if, in returning /this/ ring, she was returning everything that had gone along with it – the words he'd said to her that night, how she'd clung to him, the way they'd made love – trusting, withholding nothing…He'd poured out his whole self to her like a libation, and here she was - taking it all back, throwing it in his face, acting as if none of it had ever happened.” – I love the anger and desperation in this sentence, and in the third to last paragraph too; it really portrayed Sweeney’s emotional confusion and hurt. To see him crying in a way he hasn’t for twenty years was ingenious because he didn’t even cry when he learned of Lucy’s fate; this shows just how much he loves Nellie.

So, in case you didn’t get it, I LOVE this chapter! Everything about it is complete awesomeness. Oh, and I apologise for the random changes in tense throughout the course of this review. It’s taken me a while to complete because I get distracted easily and now that I’ve finished it I can’t be bothered to go back and change the tenses so they are the same throughout. xD This chapter rocks though, you have no reason to be unhappy with it. :)

Finally onto the next chapter! :D
JamesLuver chapter 4 . 6/21/2010
I really enjoyed reading the backstory to Sweeney's medical knowledge - it was very interesting, and I've developed a soft spot for Mr. Sweeney. This is a genius way of incorporating how Sweeney came about his name too - I've often wondered why he chose that, of all things.

Reading about Sweeney being at work in his new profession was interesting too; I love how he can still command life and death the way he used to as a barber, even though death can thwart him much more easily now.

And, once again, the Sweenett was handled so well. I love how subtle you make the interactions between them, yet they're so realistic at the same time. I just wanted to melt when I was reading it because your descriptions are sublime. The imagery of Sweeney almost worshipping Nellie was beautiful; again, some of the best writing I've ever seen.
JamesLuver chapter 3 . 6/20/2010
Despite the fact that the chapter doesn’t focus on our much-loved characters, this was absolutely superb. I’ve never heard of this Holmes bloke before, but now that you’ve brought him to life, I’m definitely going to check him out further. Once more, I fully appreciate the effort and time you put into researching these historical characters, it’s something I myself would never be able to do because I don’t have the patience.

Holmes is a one-of-a-kind character indeed. He sounds like such a chilling man, and you bring this to life beautifully throughout the course of this chapter. The way he watches Nellie obviously can’t be good, and I’m already fearing for her. The way he so casually tried to kill Julia gave me goosebumps, and by the time Holmes raped Phoebe I was shivering. The rape scene was handled delicately without being disgustingly explicit. This part, in particular, was horrible to read (in a good way, of course!): '"You can scream all you like, my dear," he groaned thickly, the weight of his body holding her down, his hands ripping at her clothing, searching, grasping. "Please – scream."

And she did.’ is such a chilling way to end the scene, leaving the rape to our own imaginations, which somehow makes it even worse. And the way she died was truly horrific, and you portrayed Phoebe’s panic very well. Holmes is a sadistic character. I don’t like him, but he’s certainly very interesting to read about, and you’ve done such a good job at making him engaging. :)
JamesLuver chapter 2 . 6/18/2010
I can never get enough of the way you portray Sweeney and Nellie's relationship because you do it so damn well. I love the meloncholy beginning to the chapter, with Nellie reflecting on the gin and its reminders of Fleet Street as well as Sweeney hurting Nellie when he brings Lucy up, and I also adore the more uplifting part where Sweeney tells her he loves her. Made me smile no end to see that he'd remembered their seventh month anniversary too. There were far too many gorgeous bits in this chapter to pick them all out.

"But Eleanor…his dark fierce beauty, his all-consuming passion, the goddess of his ecstasy, the author of his pain: she'd overthrown his soul, flayed his heart, made him weak. She'd torn him open and seized his essence and bled him till he was raw from screaming her name inside, till he saw that he'd never known what love really was before he'd surrendered his life to the depths of her eyes." - I've never read a description quite like this before, and I doubt I ever will again. The absolutely most beautiful piece of description I've ever read in three years of reading fanfiction, no joke. Your word choices are exquisite, as is the imagery and it just brings the essence of love to life for me. I honestly can't find the words to convey my love of that.

Sweeney's new occupation suits him perfectly. Besides being a barber, this was the next best choice. :)
JamesLuver chapter 1 . 6/17/2010
Now the exam period is drawing to a close, I've found sufficient time to get round to reading this, which I've been looking forward to doing ever since finished WSML. ;)

Normally I just don't care about Anthony and Johanna, which is probably not very nice, but oh well. I mean, he seems quite nice and so does she, but they just don't interest me when up against Sweeney and Nellie. However, though the prologue was only short, I've found myself liking Anthony a whole lot more than the movie/production one already! The job you've given Anthony suits him very much indeed, and I really like how you've taken the time to think of/research a feasible way for Anthony and Johanna to leave the country with Scotland Yard swarming around. You also captured the essence of Anthony's feelings for Johanna very well; his love, his worry and his determination to protect her was conveyed wonderfully in a short space of time.
SweeneysDeviousLittleAngel chapter 17 . 6/9/2010
This is a truly amazing piece. It was ironic because To the End played on my Ipod as read about Holmes' torture house. hey can you tell me where they ended up, like what state?Please?
Inkfire chapter 17 . 3/31/2010
BRILLIANT
Inkfire chapter 16 . 3/31/2010
Loved this
Inkfire chapter 15 . 3/31/2010
It was amazing.

I personally think that you didn't get Todd OOC. You got him passionnately in love with Nell. That's different.
Inkfire chapter 14 . 3/31/2010
Loved this
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