Reviews for In Silent Shadows
Quasar-Hunter chapter 1 . 1/25
Sherlock is amazing. It's one of my favorite shows, even though I don't often read the fan-fictions. I'm glad I read this one.

You did a fantastic job at capturing the off-play of the brothers. The weird chemistry they have (in the brotherly/arch enemy way) would seem to be something hard to put into words, but you managed to artful capture it in your dialogue and their various reactions.

Mycroft seemed very real–– the careful distancing and observation you give him is golden. Sherlock seemed a little less fleshed out. While you did portray good emotions in him, it may have not been the perfect ones that will make the piece truly sing. Maybe you could delve a bit further into what made Sherlock come to these conclusions? It would be really cool to be able to delve into his head just a bit further to see what would have tipped this off for him.

Overall, your characterization was pretty good and your writing is excellent. I noticed no grammatical errors (I’m not good with that sort of thing anyways, but…) and you use powerful words that keep the reader reading and tucked into this world you’ve created. Good job!

Much Agape To You!
Quasar
StrawberryDuckFeathers chapter 1 . 11/29/2013
. Fandom-blind! .
I really liked the summary to this one- nothing unecessary, short and snappy and emotional too. I loved the introduction line to this one- I like it when stories open with dialogue, if it packs a punch like this does. We can already tell from the summary how Sherlock probably feels- depressed, bereaved, maybe hopeless- and that gives it a real emotional edge that absorbs you into the story straight away. I like the use of the warm day- it's original, I think. Whilst most would use a cold setting to reflect his thoughts, I like your idea- it's as if it's the only warm thing that's happened. Or maybe the warmth is how he felt so close to his mother at the funeral, and the rose-scented breeze as a symbol of love for his mother and also grief. I like how his grief is making him act in a different way as well- his usual large vocabulary isn't present; it's like bereavement is already changing him. I like the contrast between ages you create- her life was cut short, and Sherlock's been struck with death at such an early age. It really makes you feel sorry for them.

Wow, Mycroft... It's interesting that he and Sherlock seem to have completely different ideas. Sherlock seems generally upset, but Mycroft seems quite distant when he says it's not what she wants, but what he wants. There definitely does seem to be 'little in common' between them, and I think the secrecy surrounding Mycroft is interesting. There seems to be some distance implied in some of Mycroft's comments as well- his suspections that Sherlock wouldn't have a future 'career' that anyone understood makes me think he sees his brother as confusingly strange. Haha, I had a feeling it'd be Sherlock waking Mycroft at such an unconvenient time. XD I found Sherlock's catharsis to be very dramatic, and the shock in his dialogue is conveyed so well. Makes me wonder if the 'warm'-ness was a actually symbolism that sort of covered up the cold feelings of his mother's death- because now we know that he didn't seem to have any. Clever. ;) Although Mycroft says about 'ordinary' people, it seems like here, he appears to be embracing his brother's strangeness- saying that he doesn't want him to become like an ordinary person, or maybe implying that he has more mental strength than he thinks- and more than an ordinary person. I like the character development there. Although Mycroft's distance is very dark and unsettling, I do like how you've portrayed his ideas- you can see he's not just trying to be mean, but he does have reasoning. Great work on this one. :)

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Here is my critique/suggestions for you. :)

. (...would never have suspect you'd) In this part, it might be better to use '...have suspected you'd' to allow for more tense correctness, but then I suppose 'suspect' could work since it might reflect the way it's spoken. I wasn't sure if that's what you were going for so I'll include this anyway. )

. (If Sherlock he had to face...) Here, 'he' should be omitted: (If Sherlock had to face...) :)
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I really like how you've characterised them, and although I'm fandom-blind so don't know too much about Sherlock or Mycroft, you've definitely portrayed them to be interesting, and there's that sophistication in the dialogue that really gives it a Sherlock-esque flavour to it. Keep up the good work. :)
Certh chapter 1 . 10/29/2013
It's been quite some time since I've read any Sherlock fanfic - book-verse or series-verse - but I must say it's good to have stumbled on this. Nicely written, good imagery, good depiction of both Holmes. You captured both Sherlock's and Mycroft's voices quite accurately. In all, a fic that can fit into series-verse effortlessly, I think.

One tiny slip-up that caught my eye (don't know if anyone else mentioned it): 'If Sherlock he had to face . . .' (the 'he' needs to be removed)

And a bit of nitpicking.
Also in 'If Sherlock he had to face harsh reality- something he rarely did unless he had to- he . . .', I believe there should be a space before the hyphens. Same goes for 'didn't love me- didn't even like me.'

EC
gwenjm chapter 1 . 10/24/2013
I'm joining the review revolution as well, at least selectively. I enjoyed reading this piece, particularly the subtle rendering of the bond between the brothers. I did want a bit more description of Sherlock's reactions - something more than the dialogue to bring out the tension between Sherlock's stoicism and underlying grief. Great story, otherwise.
persevera chapter 1 . 10/24/2013
The Holmes brothers' unique view of life would be showcased with an event such as the death of a parent. Poor Sherlock, knowing that his mother didn't really care for him. Luckily, though, his brother always wonder that Sherlock was curious about whether their father had been heard from. Mycroft is much more jaded on that subject.
I like the description of Sherlock sitting with "steepled fingers at his lips." I could just imagine that as a new affectation of a rather pompous teenager.
"No, it's what I want. She's doesn't want anything now. She's dead."-Mycroft's cold logic is always either a breath of fresh air or slap in the face to normal human sensibilities.
["You'll do well, Sherlock," Mycroft told him in tones that bordered upon the affectionate.]-This goes along with the idea that Mycroft was the only family that really seemed to care. He's carried burdens beyond his years at least since Sherlock was born. It's good to see that he recognized that, even at sixteen. ["I would never have suspect you'd come down...]-That should be suspected. Usually don't address grammar in dialogue, but it isn't likely that
either of the Holmes brothers would have said it incorrectly.
The older brother didn't initially think much of Sherlock's plan to be a detective, eh?
It's nice that he changed his mind to the point that he would help with some investigations and even use Sherlock's services himself.
Esther Huffleclaw chapter 1 . 9/10/2013
Wow. This was intense. The emotions that bubbled just under the surface in the first half, and then broke free (at least from Sherlock) in the second half broke my heart. As always, Mycroft is trying to protect Sherlock, this time from the pain and suffering that emotions can cause.

Their conversation about emotions was just so much in character. The line “what’s wrong with me?” reminded me of the line “Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?” from canon. To which Mycroft replied, “All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock.”

You’ve drawn us a picture of his early adoption of that attitude here. Beautiful foreshadowing.
The question, of course, is ‘Is suffering worth it?’ Because if you care, yes, you will probably suffer, but if it was worth it, then well. I think this is something Sherlock is trying to convey in this scene, but he doesn’t really understand it himself; and, of course, Mycroft doesn’t get it at all.

I found one grammatical error: “If Sherlock he had to face harsh reality” has an extraneous ‘he.’ I think it is meant to say “If Sherlock had to face harsh reality.”
Rainie Skyes chapter 1 . 9/8/2013
"You sound so horrified, Mycroft."
"Not horrified. Rather bemused."
Both Holmes brothers had missed the mark: Mycroft had sounded disdainful. - You have a way of wording that cuts through, to simplify a very complex nuance, going right to the meat of the situation, without missing the mark. If I'm making any sense...This was pitch perfect. Very lovely.
RandomNumbers523156 chapter 1 . 9/2/2013
Well, well, while I don’t know anything of the series, who doesn’t know anything of the original Sherlock? The one that inspired the modern series.

Mycroft is Sherlock’s brother but I can see him as a foil to his calculative temperament, with having a certain aura of mystery, however even so he shows concern for his brother, but I found interesting that he tries to find an use for emotions, while restraining others, trying to make him boss of himself. That’d be interesting for a conflict in the future.

Sherlock’s early years seems to not be the happiest of all, granted it was his brother who told him, it seems that his mother didn’t like him enough. I’d have to see the series to see how it’ll develop, but the fact that he feels nothing for her death shows how estranged he is from her and add this to his father being absent, I can tell that Sherlock has a lot of issues that could make the conflict of the series.

The writing is good, no mistakes I could spot and overall a good introduction to the series to a non-fan, if I start watch someday, I’ll keep this in mind.
reminiscent-afterthought chapter 1 . 9/2/2013
An interesting question to start a story off with. Somehow, the story comes together even before you start giving us the details.

The warm day is an interesting one; it battles the more cliched approach of rain and overcast clouds. The open window on the other hand is a more relateable scene, so you do a great job in grounding the reader while adding something unique to it.

It's also interesting how late you introduce Mycroft's name, leaving it up to the reader to guess before that who is talking to Sherlock. His dialogue was an interesting one as well, particularly when you "His extensive vocabulary had faild him for once". Sometimes, all the words in the world can't describe what a person is feeling.

[Mycroft was - quite amazingly - taking time off] - I don't know why this wants to make me laugh.

Aww, appearances have done so much for Sherlock; it's a clever little bit of world building there, and relating back to your prevoius fic as well.

[No, it's what I want. She's doesn't want anything now] - that's an interesting outlook, but perfect for Myocroft.

[Both Holmes brothers had missed the mark: Mycroft had sounded disdainful.] - I love this sentence as well.

[Though secretly, ] - this sounds as though it continues on from the previous sentence, and I'm putting a comma after "though" mentally.

That second scene was an interesting one as well; I imagine it would be a cause for alarm in this stage of Sherlock's life to not feel what he defined as "grief" for his mother's passing, and Myocroft whose older and more experienced in some aspects of life but probably hasn't had the chance to face his /mother/ dying before...well, I guess that's the bitterness that accumulated over the years. It's an interesting discussion anyhow, though a little frightening if you take Myocroft's words to heart. :)

Well done. A gorgeous little piece as always.
jack63kids chapter 1 . 8/29/2013
And there's an adolescence in a nutshell! Sheesh, Mycroft, stages of grief and all that! Bottling it up doesn't feature, unless you count denial. Getting very involved in this continuing series... highest praise when I start ranting at the characters...
magentacr chapter 1 . 8/26/2013
Aw. They both do care, just in different things. Mycroft cares a lot for Sherlock, if nothing else.
MissScorp chapter 1 . 8/12/2013
Absolutely brilliant piece! You captured the characters well, identifying and separating each brother by giving them a different character voice and description that made them pop out at me (almost as if this was a vignette from the show). I really loved that you painted grief not as an overwhelming or over the top emotion but as a more twisted and angst-driven one. Having Sherlock admit that he should feel something but not and having Mycroft say it is not a useful emotion that produces anything might, to some, seem like it is demeaning a natural human process. But it really doesn't feel that way when you mention the mother not exactly liking Sherlock ( signifying a lack of maternal affection) and Mycroft essentially raising Sherlock and teaching him that lesson. I also loved Sherlock's quip about being a failed social experiment-almost as if because he does have emotions that he is a failure. Really awesome job!

Some other lines that I really loved:

((Sherlock was seated next to the open window, steepled fingers at his lips))-very lovely piece of imagery, gives us a picture of who Sherlock was at 16 and relates him back to the Sherlock we see in the opening of Season 1.

((at least, that Holmes was okay enough not to be (dunked) in the bathtub anymore.))-I love this flash image of Holmes being bullied at school until he grew big enough that the bullies decided to leave him alone. It gives us a picture of a not as quite capable of Sherlock.

(("You'll do well, Sherlock," Mycroft told him in tones that bordered upon the affectionate.))-A great line that represents that Mycroft does feel affectionately towards his brother (enen though Sherlock gets on his nerves and drives him nuts-as all siblings ultimately do.

((He wasn't used to one-on-one time with Mycroft anymore. He was so busy with school, and Mycroft so busy with whatever top-secret work he was doing. There seemed little in common between them these days.))-This actually made me more sad than the actual theme of your story. Really great line because of the reaction that it inspires.

(("I would never have suspect you'd come down on the side of the angels, Sherlock. Or at the very least, on the side of law, order and regular work hours."

This last was a good point. If Sherlock he had to face harsh reality- something he rarely did unless he had to- he knew that regular police detecting would, by-and-large, be pointless busywork and not terribly interesting at all.))-I love this type of compare-contrast of Sherlock's personality. On one hand, Sherlock loves the sleuth aspect of police work (deducing how the crime occurred, who the criminal(s) were, even the why aspect) but hates the order, structure and stifling rules that govern the law. It really explains Sherlock in a crunch and details he has always been this way. Brilliant.

(("What good would that do? Caring about someone has never brought them back to life. I try to restrict myself to emotions that are useful and productive. ))-I love this because of how it really shows the difference between the brothers. You honestly get a true feeling of how different the boys are with how they individually process their grief. Nice job.

A couple of minor critiques:

(("What do we do now?" Sherlock asked quietly. His voice was much deeper and richer than it had been the year before, and that wasn't the only significant change to him.))-I can go two ways on this line to really individuate the changes that young Sherlock has undergone:

A) His voice was much deeper and richer than it had been the year before. And that wasn't the only significant change to him...

Or;

B) His voice was much deeper and richer than it had been the year before. But that wasn't the only significant change to occur.

Either is a choice, obviously, I just feel that separating the two lines really draws attention to the second line. :)

((Since he'd managed to shoot up nearly a foot in height over six months, the other boys at Evenden Hall had abruptly decided that Holmes was okay by them.))-Correcting the above line means this line needs a minor correction as well. Just dropping since fits the two lines together for me.

((not to be ducked in the bathtub anymore.))-dunked in the bathtub.

Again, I really loved this piece. It was well-written and had a beautiful pace and nice easy flow that made the story a light and simple read. You have vibrant and rich dialogue and a beautiful writing style. Minus the few points I mentioned this piece was flawless. Absolutely amazing job!
warriorfist chapter 1 . 7/28/2013
I really liked how you tackled the story in here. Lots of subtleties at play, which brought out the fine contrast between the brothers.

I like how you show that while both brothers have constructed various degrees of armors to keep them focused on their particular pursuits, with Sherlock that's not as impenetrable or convincing as it is with Mycroft. He empathises with the important people in his life, even if they haven't been particularly nice to them, so a loss as big as this has left him unsure how to react. In contrast, even though Mycroft might be dealing with the situation in his own way, he doesn't let it show on the outside. He is chiefly concerned with being the big brother for him in here.

Which shows how his mindset is an unique blend of pragmatic and caring: he might have disdain for his mother, and of course his brother's tendencies towards detective work, but he sees things more as 'I can't do anything about what has happened (and probably what will happen, in regards to Sherlock) but I can still be a good brother to him.' Really loved this kind of nuance in here.

The banter was very low key in here, but that's to be expected, regarding the subject matter. It might also be because Sherlock hasn't wholly come into his element yet. He seems a lot more...normal than he will become, I suppose. With Mycroft though, it's clear that he's settled into his mold.

Good stuff. Enjoyed reading it a lot! :)
thats-a-moray chapter 1 . 6/17/2013
["How do you feel, Sherlock?"] Great question to start with. Sherlock is a character who never appears to feel much of anything, and what he does feel he doesn't understand, so I can immediately see how this would be a difficult, possibly even threatening question to him, even more so given the nature of this one-shot.

I love the way that you've taken such a terrible and universal event like losing a loved one and used it to show how different Sherlock and Mycroft are from normal people. Somehow, I suspect that Mycroft might actually be feeling more grief than Sherlock is, but he knows how to hide and control it. I think this is because Mycroft says he tries to "restrict" his emotions, implying that he does have them. Even if this is the case, it's obvious that he's still feeling less grief than a normal person would, because he seems to understand very well what Sherlock is feeling.

I like the juxtaposition between feeling and suffering. Sherlock seems to think that feelings have some merit - or at the very least, that not having feelings is a very bad and isolating thing - whereas Mycroft, the older and more experienced of the brothers, who has probably seen other people grieve, realizes that being cold can have its advantages.

[I can barely remember what those feelings are like.] This is an interesting line. So at one point, Sherlock did know what grief felt like? I wonder what caused him to change.

Another thing I like is that Sherlock is actually anxious to get back to school even though he doesn't need to be there - and even though he probably doesn't have any friends. I almost wonder if this is to take his mind off of not being able to feel anything. At least if he's in school, he can tell himself that he's "too busy" too feel grief.

Fascinating character study. Well done!

SPaG:

["I would never have suspect you'd come down on the side of the angels, Sherlock."] suspected

[If Sherlock he had to face harsh reality...] Missing or extra word?
patemalah21 chapter 1 . 6/11/2013
You know, the sad thing is, there really are people who are like this. How sad. This is excellent writing.
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