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Dumbledore's Army
Reviews for: Growing Up Black
Review(s): 16

Reviewer: Violet AzureDate: 2007-10-10
Reviewid: 149584Chapter: 1
From the opening sentences, this just grabs you. I love the narrator's voice that you've given Andromeda. It's both sad and wise and in the opening paragraph, you tell us so much about Bella [But Bella always said things like that] and Aunt Cassie in just a few sentences. Excellent.

I love the Tree Game. It sounds just like something children would invent and I love how vivid you make Bella as a child--her intelligence, defiance, and taste for the macabre shines through.

[“A good old name,” she informed us brightly, “He’ll shine this one--keep the old tree growing.”]

*sniff* Although I do love it when authors take canon events and show how the characters in the series really are ignorant as to how their fates are going to play.

[If Mama had looked tired, Auntie Walburga looked exhausted. Her hair and face were soaked in sweat. Her arms lay limp by her sides, like bits of string or a hair tie that’s been snapped. Her cheeks were white, and she seemed older than usual. But her eyes! Oh her eyes, they burned. Burned with triumph and pride and other emotions that I couldn’t hope to understand. She looked like a queen, one of the ancient ones like Boadicea, who won battles and shouted defiance at the legions of Rome. She looked as if she had won a great prize, but I had no idea what that was.]

This description is just perfect--vivid images and there's this weird creepiness to it that really suits the character of Walburger. I like how you describe her as triumphant rather than loving. It really captures how she sees her sons.

Awesome first chapter! I can't wait to read more! Andromeda has such a distinct voice and both Bella and Cissy are busrting with personality--I can't wait to see them itneract with Sirius!

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2007-06-04
Reviewid: 148196Chapter: 3
Oh wow, that brought back memories. That's what delerium feels like--it does. And through all the floundering helplessness, you moved the story along and kept the characters true through their words and actions. And always in your writing there is the feeling of really looking through children's eyes, in their bald statements of truth and heartfelt belief in impossibilities. Thanks for taking me back to my own childhood--and telling a good tale.

Reviewer: St. Row-a-CheckDate: 2007-05-19
Reviewid: 148062Chapter: 3
Sorry for the review-delay, I was busy burying websites. *woe* I clicked on this, and scrolled down, as is my way, to compose a review-as-I-read review (those are fun), and then I saw the sentence "You're shiny, Cissy", and blinked and now I need to scroll back up and read the whole thing at once, because... shiny!Cissy?!

*reads*

...

*blinks*

Oh MY. This chapter was MUCH more connected than the previous one. Very... poignant. Pointfull. Blackish. Brilliant.

The first paragraph was very prophety... actually, the whole chapter was much like a scene from a vision or the future. You showed sick!Meda's perception of confusing, unmeaning voices very masterfully.

About the Augury - very creepy. I was always interested in old Wizarding families' attitudes towards supersticion, because of Ron's Uncle Bilius story... very, very weirdy. It would make sense for everyone but rebellious teenagers to sorta-believe in the supersticions... and with reason. Or not. Well, your approach was extremely Rowlingian, anyway.

Uncle Reg also intrigues me. He's... is he maybe evil? Or just bohemian? Or do you not know? It would be thrilling if he were actually evil, a black Black sheep who wanted to get lotsa inheritance from Aunt Haron and didn't feel like waiting - asdjasjasiasdi. I don't knwo WHY this option is intriguing me so, 'tis a fangirly flight of fancy, surely

This review is falling apart, so just one more thing - angel Cissy. Leading Andromeda home. OH MY SDFJSDFSADJIASDKOASDKASDOasd. I loved your daringness with that, I loved this mysterious connexion of sisterly love - it's enough to kill a Voldemort, theoretically, would it be put to such a test. Yeah, finishing the review, seriously...

AND BABY SIRIUS. It's a detail, really but SO utterly perfect - I loved him as Hercules, I lovedlovedloved the social injustice and strangling frustration of The Male Heir - you electrified it to utter perfection and I wonder how much the him-induced trauma increased Bella's sociopathicity.

I loved the sisterly banter, too, though it kinda added to the sullen tension of pre-poisoning anticipation, The hallucinations were scary and and and

oh, heck, it was a lovely chapter. Except your commas are rather random. “Mama Dromy’s awake!” insinuates Mama!Dromy. That'd be a very squicky grandfather paradox. Now, I've no right to harvest this fic from my Grammar High Horse since in reality, I don't even have a mule (I still occasionally mix up then and than), but I could sorta pre-beta for you if you like.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I'd get my hands around the chapters a few days early. Nothing. Nope. At all. Really. Um.

Reviewer: Thorn of BloodDate: 2007-05-16
Reviewid: 148019Chapter: 1
Ylime: Oh glad you liked it dear and very happy to hear that Chilla is spreading the word! I’m one of three sisters myself so I’ve got at least some experience to base their childhood on and hopefully it helps me to get the mood right. The dictionary bit was one of my favourites to write as well! I’ve got this picture in my head of Andromeda being a very precise reader, who always wants to know how exactly to pronounce a word and what exactly it means, therefore a dictionary is always beside her when she reads.

bennedetto: Glad you like the chapter, hope that you like this one just as well.

mary ellis: Yes, little Dromy has those rose tinted spec placed firmly on her nose as regards to her family, but they are all quite young at the moment and things do change. I’m glad you liked Uncle Alphard, I’m rather fond of him myself.


St Row a Check: I am sort of holding Cissy back a bit at the moment, probably because well, at this stage (she is only about two or three) she doesn’t really do much and is quite happy to just let Bella sort everything out to her satisfaction. But she is growing up and will feature more, patience my child. Bella is sort of the centre of Andromeda’s universe at the moment, partly because, well my experiences at that age were focused around my sister and I am drawing some of the elements for this story from my childhood. Also because Bella has such a strong personality that she tends to dominate the scenes that she is in. But yes there is going to be a lot more interaction with The Gang in future.

And your review made me smile, and laugh and agree with you about Uncle Alphard in general.


Madam V. Hunter: Bella is fun (or rather was fun) as a child. She has all these interesting ideas for games and that adventuresome spirit… but of course she doesn’t particularly care about danger, to herself and others.

Reviewer: YlimeDate: 2007-03-21
Reviewid: 147565Chapter: 2
"Its full title was “Thee Beege Booke of Onedrof Thyngee”, it being written a long time ago when spelling was optional and there were a lot more Es around."

That made me laugh a lot. Brilliant line.

I'm Meelie from Unredeemed, St. Row-a-Check linked me to your fic a couple of weeks ago and I'm just getting around to reading it. I'm wishing I had read it sooner, now! It is wonderful, a great beginning. I really hope to see more soon! Your characterisation of Andromeda is fabulous, I have such a strong sense of her personality, I loved the episode with the dictionary! And her sisters, and her relationship with her sisters, and her family ... it's all perfect. It flows so well and I became really caught up in the story. The dreamy childhood atmosphere with all these clues to the big world beyond is a hard mood to create but you have really pulled it off.

As I said, I hope to see more soon - I'm hooked! :)

Reviewer: bennedettoDate: 2007-03-19
Reviewid: 147528Chapter: 2
Brilliant, as always.

Please, hurry up with the chapters!
I'm dying to read more. :D

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2007-03-04
Reviewid: 147356Chapter: 2
How delightful. I keep thinking Dr. Seuss's "Waltzing with Bears" when I read about Uncle Alphard. Darn! The Black family doesn't seem all that bad--even Bella--but then I remember this chapter is through Andromeda's eyes, so I can see it.

Wish this site had a 'Favorites' button. I'd be pressing it right now. Please update soon!

Reviewer: St. Row-a-CheckDate: 2007-03-04
Reviewid: 147349Chapter: 2
*has lost previous long half-written review AGAIN*

*will now try to remain few-worded and to-the-point*

*The title/starting paragraph*: so unexpected, after a single precise snapshot... like you'd moved on from an oil painting to a film. *highly impressed* you did it excellently, too, and this chapted was omg-just-so-rereadable and can therefor be called "your best chapter yet!"

*the first part:* I loved Uncle Alphard, he's usually SUCH a Gary Stu - you know, clich'ed Noble But Unable to Express it Gentleman - whereas here, he's a cranky old man who can somehow make them feel safe anyway. Lovedlovedloved it. I also liked your Bella... well, disliked, as is the point, but I think you've got a very realistic view of her as a little girl. (Though, of course, I shall forevermore remain a fangirl of the sentence "Meda, get your nose out of that book. Cissy, set the table. Bella, stop carving occult symbols on the cat.")

*second drabblet:* Teh BEST. Bestestbest part of the chapter, you captured a moment of the sheer hystericalness of living a closed life - like an explanation of Death Eaters... it's run away, go crazy, laugh until you cry or go around killing people for fun and profit.

*the third:* adorably weird (for some reason, Roddy Lestrange makes me giggle). This part seems to be somewhat less... er, beta'ed than the others, you have random brackets lolling around unpaired:
"(Personally I wouldn’t have minded that because I always become a Casualty of War" and "shouted down. (The Princess (Evey) always took so long to die."
you've got a few words missing here:
"just because he was the Papa Mermaid and that she was But then Stan interrupted"
But it was a truly awesome jigsaw piece, I loved Bella's protectiveness of Cissy and I loved the whole Big Marriage Debate. Very realistic, I'd say.

*the fourth:* read it twice to spot the utter brilliance. And oh MY, the symbolism opportunities. Losing teeth = growing up, the great divide from family, you know... Bella's was violent and meh, I think (in my interpretation, her parents never really approved of that running around in masks business), whereas Andromeda took her time and in the end, it happened through love. Ooooh! Love! Apple! The Muggleborn Prince Charming to her Sleeping Beauty!
The last sentence? TEH win.
(Also, masochist!Roddy? PERFECT.)

*the fifth piece* It completed the chapter, it truly did - I was slightly missing something more intimate about Bella's character. Nice. NiceNice. I love that she chose the Pommegranade Seeds story (she's more like a mother figure than a daughter, isn't she? Like Demeter. Yes. Patient and brave and... *perfect match*) I like Andromeda's parents, I truly do, and I like how you told so much about her character - inquisitveness, determination - through a simple vignette. Really, it makes a perfect whole. (Hee, you misspelt pinning here: "about pinning down a word - pining it down" :P )

Now, possibly the one thing I'd prefer - well, two things, is a tad more of Cissy, though I'm sure you're preparing for her glorious debut, and possibly a bit more about Andromeda's interactions with... well, people beside Bella. She might have been a bookworm, but she surely had to go through horrible soul-quelching auntie conversations, one-on-one interaction with her peers and so on.

But if you keep it up like this, I promise to be perfectly satisfied anyway!

Reviewer: Madame V. HunterDate: 2007-03-02
Reviewid: 147341Chapter: 2
Oh dear, Bella sounds like fun. I was fond of after bedtimes adventures myself. I liked this story loads though because it feels very authenic, and the discussion about cousins marrying was interesting as well.

Reviewer: Thorn of BloodDate: 2007-03-01
Reviewid: 147333Chapter: 1
Replies to reviews

Reader 2: Wish granted!

bennedetto: Thank you very much for your words of high praise. There is indeed a chapter two, as you can see, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as the last chapter. Hopefully chapter three should come a bit faster than this one has. I am quite lucky though as Andromeda seems to be quite willing to talk to me as of late and I am glad that you think that I have got her voice right.

mary ellis: Glad you enjoyed Sirius’s welcome into the world, he isn’t going to be in this story as much though, after all, he is only a baby in the girl’s eyes, and you can’t exactly play with a baby very well. And sorry that you had to wait so long for this chapter.

Eir de Scania: Oh yes, very hard, especially as Walburga is rather…obvious in flaunting her triumph at poor Dru (Mama).

MVH: Andromeda’s POV just came the easiest, I toyed at the start with alternating between the sisters, but the others didn’t seem particularly interested. Anyway, as you know from the drabble thread, I’m very fond of Andromeda.

Verin: I had fun working out their characters, and I’m glad you thought that I’ve done a good job. Although I almost feel that I shouldn’t take credit for the way that Andromeda’s voice worked out, somehow it just came to me like that, all chatty and everything. She is such a lovely pair of eyes to look through.

Reviewer: Reader 2Date: 2006-12-18
Reviewid: 146476Chapter: 1
More?

Reviewer: bennedettoDate: 2006-08-30
Reviewid: 145093Chapter: 1
Wow.
You really, really have talent.

I love how you made Andromeda sound just childish enough to be...well, a child--yet made it so that it was still intelligent and perceptive--like Andromeda, child or not.

Well, I would absolutely love to hear chapter two (seeing as there's a chapter one, I'm going to assume there's at least a chapter two) and any that may follow, so please, for my sake, keep up the good work!

:D

Peace forever
bennedetto

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2006-07-30
Reviewid: 144565Chapter: 1
Hoorah! Sirius from the very beginning. And no one paints the Blacks better than you, my dear Thorn of Blood!

Ten Little Unicorns--I should like to see that game--wonderful!

Waiting with bated breath for the next deliciously provocative installment.

Reviewer: Eir de ScaniaDate: 2006-07-21
Reviewid: 144312Chapter: 1
I really like this one! It must have been hard for the girls parents when Sirius was born...

I like your description of GP12, the horrible chairs and Walburgas bedroom!

Reviewer: Madame V. HunterDate: 2006-07-20
Reviewid: 144307Chapter: 1
Oh My. This is quite promising. It has an epic feel already and it's only Chapter One. I like that you're telling the story from Andromeda's point of view.

Reviewer: VerinDate: 2006-07-20
Reviewid: 144300Chapter: 1
Very good. I find the Andromeda's voice to be so conversational, it's as if I'm in the room with her. All the casual asides, the stream-of-consciousness feel to the narrative, gives it an engaging tone.
Beyond that, I like the characterizations: Bella, who even as a child is showing mild sociopathic tendencies, though nothing too dangerous, just a natural inclination; Narcissa, who is quite the narcissistic baby, pretty, perfect, and pampered; Andromeda, who is highly observant, self-effacing, and suffering quite remarkably from middle child syndrome.
Looking forward to the next chapter.

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