Reviews for The Empty House
SaN chapter 11 . 1/26
Wow these stories are 5 years old and I still keep coming back! I do love me some Sherlock with Shiznat sauce on top. These are extremely well written stories to the point where (unlike most fanfic) the intricacy of the plot is the main draw rather than the romance, so thanks for taking the time to write them :)
Magic Blue chapter 11 . 3/18/2015
Hi !
It's the second time I read all the series you did and I enjoy it as even more than the first time ! (but that must be because my English improves)
And again, I have this urge to read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, to watch the BBC TV series...
Will you continue to write this project ? Did you finally write You Know My Methods Natsuki ?
I had to ask, even if you don't because... well you know when you love something, you don't want it to end.
I will certainly write something again if I read it again in the future !
Gold And Silver Bullet chapter 11 . 3/9/2015
As far as conclusions go, this story is quite solid, despite a few complaints. I'll use it as a springboard to discuss both it and the series as a whole.

The main focus of the story isn't really the mystery so much as bringing Shizuru back and bringing closure to their relationship. And the story does that splendidly- you don't handwave all the pain and anger that Natsuki would have naturally felt at being abandoned by Shizuru for six months, but actually have the characters confront it and discuss the matter, and help them recover from it and even get closer as a result. It felt somewhat rushed (although you do revisit the issue as the story goes on, to your credit), but that was really out of necessity and didn't annoy me to a degree that it dragged me out of the story. You never really strictly explained how Shizuru managed to get out of the burning building, which bugs me somewhat but in the long run isn't a big deal.

As I said in my Final Problem review, the Shizuru and Natsuki relationship on a whole is very solidly done. If you ignore the way it seemed to develop incredibly fast between Masques and Empty House, it builds quite naturally and realistically to an interesting climax. And the development in this story is quite well done too; Natsuki doesn't really have any sort of dramatic revelation that she loves Shizuru, but sometimes dramatic revelations simply aren't necessary.

I feel like you do a good job of capturing the way that Shizuru and Natsuki's relationship would evolve once they, well, got into a relationship. There is a new level of intimacy in their exchanges, but it still manages to feel natural and not different enough for it to feel like two new characters. And that's definitely a skill that a lot of people don't have.

And in general, I really did love Shizuru and Natsuki's characters. Even ignoring the way that they played off each other, they were both compelling in their own ways. Shizuru was a fascinating character- the way that she would continually be playful and witty, but always seem to be guarded and not actually want anybody to really get close to her. And I think you do a decent job of justifying that in the backstory- it honestly feels like a somewhat extreme reaction to me, but it's at least justifiable.

All of Shizuru's little tics were nice details and pretty entertaining, and used to great effect. (For instance, I honestly don't think there was a better way you could have communicated that something was horribly wrong with Shizuru at the end of Chapter 20 of Final Problem than having her abandon second-person pronouns like you did.) Shizuru's arcs were handled off-screen mostly, so I can't really talk about how well you carried them out, but the results were realistic and interesting. I definitely did like her struggle in this story to try and finally get emotionally closer to Natsuki; it felt realistic and was really interesting to read.

Natsuki was even better though. Her struggles with being consumed by revenge and yet slowly becoming more and more attached to Shizuru and more concerned about what she might think if Natsuki really went through with it was incredibly compelling. The entire arc her character went through was really interesting. You managed to balance having an amusing character with a good deal of personality and having a character with a good deal of depth, which kind be a pretty precarious balance at times.

The plot is, as I said, definitely more tangential to this story- the main mystery is solved pretty early on and while the final confrontation is definitely dramatic, it doesn't feel like as much emphasis was really put on it as in, say, Game is Afoot or Deep Waters. However, it still remains intriguing. Tomoe is a pretty interesting villain, if somewhat simplistic, and the parallelisms between Tomoe's motivations and Shizuru's motivations in Final Problem are definitely interesting, but you still manage to keep the two cases clearly distinct, and make it clear why Natsuki could find Shizuru's actions more understandable than Tomoe's. There wasn't too much of a mystery this time around, with most of the questions concerning the crime answered very early on. But the set-up was definitely interesting and the deductions always logically sound.

In general, you did a great job with the mysteries throughout. You made sure to properly clue them and add enough foreshadowing for the readers to be able to figure it out on their own, while still making the clues subtle enough that there'd be that "AHA!" moment for most of the people reading. The setups for the mysteries were always interesting and never really felt derivative of other mystery novels I've read, so that's a plus too.

The pacing was good, as it always is. Events flowed pretty well from one scene to the next and every chapter felt like it had a distinct purpose and accomplished something of value, which is something that seems simple but can be pretty easy to screw up. The dialogue is very snappy and clever, with Shizuru and Natsuki's back-and-forth being genuinely amusing, which is something very important when playful teasing is a key part of their interactions. You also manage to add a good deal of personality to the dialogue- the dialogue definitely does feel like something these characters would say, rather than things that you forced into their mouths. Which is very important.

In terms of descriptive language, you do that pretty well too. Not perfectly (there are a few cases here and there where more description could have been used, but they're usually in the case of places that we visited in previous stories), but I can typically visualize the scene and what's going on in it, which is definitely a plus. You definitely do have the skill of knowing which words can draw out the desired emotional reaction from the reader most effectively, which is a very useful skill to have, and you use it to good effect here. Not as much as in, say, The Final Problem, but then emotive language was probably a bit more necessary in that piece than it was here.

From a technical aspect your work is solid- there are some typos and missing words in a few places but they never really hurt my enjoyment of the story significantly, and I can pretty much always tell what you're trying to say regardless.

And this is all things that have pretty pretty consistent throughout. Your use of language has always been pretty good, and your work always feels pretty polished- around as polished as I can expect from a story that doesn't go through dozens of editors before being published.

I'm sure there's more stuff that I could think of to say, but none of it really comes to mind at the moment. But very good story; it's a very good denouement to a very good series.
Syein chapter 11 . 12/15/2014
I finally finished the full series of EMDN! My two favorite parts are no doubt, "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House". What can I say, they are the main story plot, romance, and characters development. They are exactly what I was looking for in Mai-hime fanfic.
That is to say, I'm also enjoy the thrill of mystery that surrounded the whole story despite how terribad I am at deducing them.
Oh, and I absolutely love Natsuki's reaction to Tomoe near the ending.
While I'm glad that I finally finished the whole series, I'm also sad that it is the end. Because you got no idea how absorbed I am when the story started revolve around the two main characters.
y1fellas chapter 11 . 10/6/2014
Eh. This last story felt a bit contrived to me. I kinda had to force myself to read it. Still, an excellent read overall. I've quite enjoyed Elementary My Dear Natsuki. I feel like the fourth was the best, with the first as the runner up.
xMisty chapter 11 . 4/29/2014
Having recently watched Mai-HiME for the first time, I blazed through your entire EDMN series over the course of the last few days, and must thank you for letting me have such enjoyable time reading them! The stories were very well-written, clearly well-researched, and the characterisation spot-on, and it was fun seeing a number of the franchise's characters popping up here and there in this Victorian setting. The various cases were interesting and convincingly Holmsian (is that a word?), and I was feeling a very strong desire to go off and revisit the original books while reading. In fact, I might just toddle off and do so tonight! One area in which you definitely did better than Conan Doyle, though, was how nicely the early cases flowed into "The Final Problem" - Natsuki's investigations into her mother's death provided a very neat entry point, I thought. On a side note, Natsuki and Shizuru's relationship felt extremely natural with its gradual, almost unnoticeable development (from Natsuki's point of view, anyway; Shizuru was always much better with these things!); I was reminded of NOIR's Mireille and Kirika, the finest example of relationship-building I have ever encountered.

What impressed me most, though, was how you wove the subplots into different cases, and in doing so was able to achieve an effect no other AU fic I have read could: the characters retained their core "shapes" despite being placed in roles, situations and a setting different to their original ones. I felt that despite the countless factual, textual and structural homages to Conan Doyle, this series was about Mai-HiME, an analysis and perhaps re-interpretation of the events of the series and the characters' feelings placed within a different frame. The entire package was excellent, a masterpiece that you have every right to be proud of. Hats off!
sammykhann chapter 11 . 1/15/2014
This is such an amazing story. I am so impressed by the author's ability to make this story so original despite its derivation from Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes". Moreover, taking on such literary masterpieces is always a gamble considering that comparisons will definitely be made; yet the author has produced work that is very well written and absolutely captivating. The plots are intelligent as well as intriguing. I have enjoyed every story within this series. The character portrayals were so touching at times that one could not help but get emotionally involved in the fictional world created by the amazing author. This had been a huge undertaking by the author and I know the series had been completed but this series is so amazing both in concept as well as execution that I can't help but hope there is more to come. The characters have matured do much through the series that it would be interesting to witness their interactions if further stories were added to the series. My sincere thanks to the amazingly talented author for writing and sharing such a brilliant series.
TykkiMikk chapter 11 . 6/10/2013
why must everything end? but i had great fun in reading it all
immo chapter 11 . 2/19/2013
and finished! This was an amazingly written series, all the way through. Really couldn't put it down and the way the last arc ended in a fiery blaze... wow. You caught the emotions right on. Loved it! :D
annoyingLONER chapter 11 . 1/7/2013
such brilliant writing, thank you for the fic
mars chapter 1 . 1/6/2013
Hey, so just saying what a lot of other people have said already, u have successfully gotten me into the world of Sherlock Holmes. Starting to watch the British TV series, will start from there and get to know the world some more. Thank you. I did finish your whole "novel" in less than a week. You are an amazing writer. Would love to read more of your Mai Hime stuff, or perhaps if you publish something in the future!
according2Angie chapter 11 . 10/30/2012
I can't believe I've reached the end of the EMDN saga! As a ShizNat then Shizlock-Watsuki fan, I thank you dearly for sharing the stories with us/me, DezoPenguin!
according2Angie chapter 6 . 10/29/2012
Yay! It's about time, alright! So glad they worked things out. I've always like Natsuki's candor, which can be touchingly romantic in this case.

Thank you
Michael S. Repton chapter 11 . 7/28/2012
Wonderful ending :) So hard to sum up my feelings, especially as these stories were so good I rather rushed through them (as you will have noticed!) Well, it was a good scene with Nao, the line about the clockwork devices and surprised goat was very funny, and the Shizuru/Natsuki was heartwarming, a beautiful rounding-off of the way they've been developed throughout the series. Nice to get the loose ends thoroughly tied up this time round, as well.

But, since this is my final review, I have to talk about the story as a whole. Overall, it fits together perfectly, and I love the way the cases are not entirely separate but link into a complex and mesmerising plot. I've already said that I love your writing style, your ability to bring out the characters, and the way you blend the two universes so well that an idea that sounds at first as though it just shouldn't work does work. And, of course, the charm of seeing the relationship between the two leads develop all the way from its improbable beginnings - their struggle to reach this happy ending makes it so much more satisfying :) I needed this story right now. "I have decided to accept Natsuki's professions of love for what they are rather than trying to overanalyze or doubt them just because they are everything I have ever wished for." - I needed that reminder. This isn't the place to explain just what it means to me, but rest assured that your story - and your Shizuru and Natsuki - will have a firm place in my heart for a long time. :)
Michael S. Repton chapter 10 . 7/28/2012
Very intense; an excellent climax. Just one thing wrong with it - "The reaction saved my life, I later realized". Not only does this moment of looking forwards break the narrative flow, but you mention Natsuki's realisation of this a second time, in the correct place, making it even more jarring. Still, nice build-up and a great pay-off; just have to hope it won't lead to things going horribly wrong in the next chapter...
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