|Reviews for The Black Family in Seven Parts|
| stefanie bean chapter 7 . 9/21
I like how the staccato opening phrasing replicates the slogging, clay-like feeling of deep depression. The opening also gives the strong sense of a very aged man, but then undercuts it with the phrase, "forty-nine going on ten thousand."
Maybe it's because I'm not up on the details of the Black family, but I found this passage confusing: ["He was one of the richest men in the world. He was in line to become the richest. Then he saw her again. She'd started to cry. Walburga tried to hex her.] Who is "she?" If there's no reason to withhold the character's name, might as well use it.
Alphard's internal struggles as he composes his will are shown well, as he goes down the line of each of his potential heirs. The characterization works well here as each candidate gets evaluated, then rejected. Alphard has a high degree of self-insight, especially with regard to Regulus: [Not when everything they were was dark and they had no more light left inside of themselves. Alphard was living - or dying - proof of that.] Also, it's a moving passage, which might flow a bit more smoothly if the “of themselves” was left off.
While Alphard's final choice makes sense, there was one thing I didn't get: why he passed over Andromeda completely. (Maybe there's something here about wizarding-world inheritance that I don't understand.) Marriages and jobs aren't always completely secure; Andromeda having at least some of Alphard's vast wealth would have ultimately given her more independence, not less.
It becomes understandable though why Alphard makes the final choice he does: [They had survived the nightmare together.] The parallelisms in the will are effective in their contrasts: [brave and strong ... I wasn't. House ... not a home. Belongings ... no value, and so on.]
The ending left me with a strong sense of justice. Alphard has made the right choice: personally he can die in peace, but his actions also indirectly help save everyone. This is a good thematic conclusion: the widespread, even “world-wide” effects of seemingly small actions done with the right motives.
A good read; thanks!
| rebecca-in-blue chapter 4 . 5/6
Hi there, here from Review Tag. I really enjoyed this one-shot and its storybook quality. Right from the opening lines, Cedrella's name (obviously similar to Cinderella) and the fact that she's going to a ball establish certain expectations, and the plot plays out in a fun twist on those expectations in that unlike Cindrella, Cedrella's life has always been perfect.
I really like how you begin the story with Cedrella's family's perfect perceptions of her ("beautiful and quiet and always, always obedient") while dropping little hints that she isn't exactly those things - her hidden ring, her repressed smirk. It's a good way to keep the reader guessing re: exactly what she has up her sleeve. But I do think her monologue to Charis feels too rehearsed and articulate. I'm sure Cedrella has been rehearsing these thoughts to some degree, but I think an italicized burst of emotion would make it feel more realistic. As is, it feels rather tell-not-show and fairly passionless. It's a lot of fun to reach the appearance of Septimus Weasley, and I think it reads almost like a punchline.
I also think you could explore Cedrella's feelings towards her sisters more. She describes Charis as "sweet though she was" - does she write her off along with their parents, or could her sisters still want to have a relationship with her despite what she's done? The story is fine as is and you don't really have to include this, but I think it could add another layer to the family.
To nitpick: "Everything was expected to go perfectly" - Hmm, this line made the setup seem a little too obvious to me. When do people not expect things to go according to plan?
| Rhodanum chapter 7 . 1/13
I'm in love with this story, honestly. The Black family has always fascinated me, both in terms of the real-world inspirations that J. drew upon, as well as their role in the backdrop of the Harry Potter world. They're so tightly enmeshed into the fabric of the British Wizarding World - blood-purists and reformists, elitists and libertines, status-quo defenders and rebels all in the same family tree - that I really can;t imagine the shape of the world or the story without their influence upon it.
You've also done a very good job keeping the voice of motivations of each character distinct, throughout every single ficlet. All of them had their own reasons, their own demons and misfortunes. Read one after the other, they paint a grim picture about what 'Toujours Pur' means in practice and how many lives have been ruined or changed forever in the name of such a creed.
| mpuppy4 chapter 2 . 12/15/2016
Ah, Harry Potter. Been a little while since I read the books. What with Fantastic Beasts out now, I should probably take another look at them.
This take on Phineas's story is an interesting one. It's brief, and gets out all the detail that it has to despite its brevity. Phineas himself manages to reach out as a very interesting character, what with his experience with his family always forcing him to carry a burden that he didn't deserve. His character is also very honorable, considering how he was willing to turn against his family to do what he believed to be the right thing. Not only that, but how well he took the situation was a strong representation of his overall attitude.
I like how this story paints the way that Phineas's treatment from his family impacted his growth as a person. In such a short time, it can explain how their negative views managed to eventually transform him positively. I enjoyed this.
I also like that the story is told almost entirely without the use of dialogue. It wasn't necessary, and the story flows much better without it. So, kudos to that.
I caught an error in the tenth paragraph: That should be "parents'", not "parent's". That was the only thing that I saw.
Overall, this is a good read, and when I have the time I might give a look at the other chapters. Thank you, this is a good story and I've been happy to review it!
| stefanie bean chapter 3 . 11/21/2016
I'm somewhat familiar with the Potterverse, although not the details of the Black family tree. The opening sucked me right in with, “Marius did not get his letter. He knows this is bad.” Rarely have two simple sentences carried so much freight.
The cruelty of Marius's parents broke my heart. I find it completely believable that pureblood families would act this way. Also, Marius's sister's love seems to be the only lifeline keeping him from complete emotional destitution. That he probably won't ever see her again is also tragic. Dorea's love for her brother goes a long way to set up Marius as a highly sympathetic character.
Marius hiding in the closet reminded me of Harry himself, consigned to the closet because, like Marius, he didn't meet adult expectations; was made to feel worthless because of it.
“Marius has never held anyone's hand before...” Like the opening, this concluding scene packs volumes into a small package. It upends everything we consider normal in child-rearing, from grasping a tiny hand to guiding a toddler's new steps. The phrase conveys a world so devoid of common fellow-feeling that it beggars imagination. So I took this ending as bittersweet; yes, Phineas is “warm and safe,” but what emotional price has Marius already paid?
| rebecca-in-blue chapter 1 . 11/15/2016
Hi, here from Review Tag. I really enjoyed this one-shot and how well it captured these sisters and this pivotal moment in their lives. I like that you open it with dialogue, especially Elladora's blunt declaration, and then write the physical descriptions of the characters afterwards.
"Elladora was looking cool..." I don't think we need this sentence to tell us this, because the next sentence shows it to us more effectively. I would suggest just making "Every hair..." part of the same paragraph as Isla looking at her. The paragraph describing Isla is a well-written show-not-tell, and I love that it also works something about her personality via "their poor house-elf." That she's sympathizing with the house-elf is a good early hint that she doesn't quite fit in with the rest of her family.
I really like the interaction between Elladora and Isla in the center of the story. So much good sympathy comes through in the mention of her hurried packing, and in her fumbling for an answer like "Because." I feel like I get a good sense of Isla's personality despite the brevity of this chapter, and I didn't even mind the fairly telly nature of "Isla wasn't good at a lot of things..."
"always had his hands in the dirt and constantly blew up things in class" - Haha, I love this description! I wish we found out a little more about Bob in this chapter, because just this description and Elladora's obvious scorn of him were enough to make me like him.
I also wish we found out a little more about their family dynamic. You establish very well that she doesn't feel like she fits in with her family, and I can understand her wanting to cut ties with her sister, but to completely walk out on her parents, as it's implied she does here, seems a little extreme. In this way, I think the brief mentions of her parents and brother in "Isla wasn't good at a lot of things..." creates more questions than answers. If you hadn't brought them up, I would assume that her parents were dead and she didn't have any other siblings. But now, I wonder where her parents are while this story is going on, and why they aren't trying to smooth the waters or convince Isla to stay.
| vapiddreamscape chapter 7 . 7/6/2013
This story is wonderful. I love the looks we get into characters both well-known and obscure. Also, I enjoy how the chapters are long enough for me to feel like I'm getting an entire story, but not their not long enough for me to get too bored and stop halfway through. The spelling and grammar is good and, in my opinion, the characterizations are spot on. It's well written as well. All in all, a great piece.
| The Unwritten Vacancy chapter 7 . 2/27/2013
Amazing! I think my favorite was the last one!
| InkandRoses chapter 7 . 1/1/2013
This is a lovely tale. I like the way you've explored the Blacks, who I have always found interesting.
| mainstreet52 chapter 7 . 12/18/2012
Acceptable. (See? One word. :P) But seriously, it was an enjoyable enough read. It fills in some gaps. Little bit simplistic, but it works.
| Batty Buttercups chapter 7 . 11/26/2012
Every single part of this fic has been wonderful and sweet and tragic. Most of these characters were never encountered in the books, yet they all seem perfectly in-character. I can't think of what else to say other than that this was a joy to read. I'll be reading more from you. :)
| Batty Buttercups chapter 3 . 11/25/2012
Phineas is the most amazing person ever. His kindness and compassion - forgiving his family for casting him out?! - are wonderfully shown. Excuse me as I sniffle in a corner from all these feels.
| almanera chapter 3 . 10/1/2012
It's very interesting that you brought up lesser known Blacks and the story of Marius is certainly very tragic. Had it been up to me I think I would have added more angst, for it must have been horrible for him to realize that he doesn't have magic and have his parents immediately turn their back on him...As far as I remember, it was never specified by JKR what eventually happened to him (correct me if I'm wrong), yet the very fact that a child is thrown out in such a manner is very sad...Moreover, it makes one think that in real life children end up in hopeless situations as well even though they're innocent and the latter is a horrible thing...So, in just a few words you sort of nailed the problem. Well done.
| Mei Ju chapter 7 . 9/24/2012
Wow I love your story. It was creative and well thought out. Each chapter had just enough of detail and back story. Well done!
| MuggleCreator chapter 7 . 9/5/2012
Nice stuff. Fits well. Like the way you've just done snippets...