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Dumbledore's Army
Review(s): 20

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-05-01
Reviewid: 147896Chapter: 14
Oh this is really beautiful writing, Katie. Such imagery! It's fantastic!

I love the depiction of Castlewood and Spellsburg and the wonderful universe you lay out on this page for us. I felt sucked into the experience, with the majesty and magic of Neptune's Veil and then the sheer picturesque wonder of the the school's surroundings.

And, of course, the human is spot on as ever. Nice first glance at the chancellor. And briliant little mischievous triangle between Eric, Gwen and Anna. Perfect!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-05-01
Reviewid: 147892Chapter: 13
It's fun to see Anna's customary, child-like joy in new experiences coupled with the adult themes of coming of age. She starts thinking about her mother and trying to connect with her, empathising with the enormous responsibilities that she chose to take on. It's a wonderful reflection, really, because Anna is about to be taking on enormous responsibilities of her own.

Then, of course, the wonderful BB5 scene and the reunion with Gwen (who is very, very cool). And I really like the "about Eric" banter, too.

Finally finishing off with the musings on her future. The quintessential "what am I meant to be?" question. And I should say that I find the dynasties a fantastic invention. Making it about professions and callings rather than attributes creates a fascinating and useful inversion of Hogwarts. Wonderful work!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-03-22
Reviewid: 147577Chapter: 12
Hm, you know, reading this chapter again made me realise something I'd wondered about, namely why I emphasise with Captain Dunning so much. I reckon he dislikes the Graysons partly because he's jealous and I think I might be slightly jealous, too.

The bonds of love and honour are portrayed with incredible power. There's something uniquely special about the family. I also found Victoria's immense beauty fascinating, too. Most of us have to through life without wowing everyone we meet and there must be a feeling of jealous there, too. And yet I know from reading onwards the terrible, dark perversions that that power has been put to. The family's position of power and prestige has attracted tragedies of the highest order.

As you probably would expect, I love Anna's musing about the lethifold within. I really love the journey she is on here!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-03-05
Reviewid: 147373Chapter: 11
Ooh, another excellent chapter. I enjoy the image of the wizards outside the ground hearing this explosion of noise. I love the way this explosion seems almost visual and you can imagine the window shattering under the pressure.

I loved the twins response. We do see how much they care for Anna, don't we! It's great to see. Damon was as resiliently nasty as ever. I have to say that Anna's father's approach to the Damon/Anna situation is very interesting. He seems rather too accepting of their mutual loathing, saying he'd like to watch their duel. Does he think it's best to leave them to batter each other out?

And some very neat plot exposition through clever devices. The dinner table conversation was an excellent way to cover the ground on both the Tonnanarsus and the hints about Merlin. Also the dark history surrounding the Tonnanarsus provided some excellent depth to the discussion. I love these wonderful ideas you have about your Verse. It shows the depth with which you have thought it all through.

And finally, more plot teasers with the ally. As well as a very scary scene to boot!

I also enjoyed the double meaning of this line: “You are to embark on a crusade, little one. A struggle against madness.” It neatly reflects the internal struggle against madness that Anna is fated to fight.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-02-21
Reviewid: 147259Chapter: 10
My new favourite word in reviews is going to be "inversion". The family dynamics in this chapter were fascinating. The most interesting, for me, are the twins and the way they are perceived. In one of my early reviews, I talked about Anna being tormented by those stronger than her. And that seems to be Anna's own perception of the twins. 'course the twins only think they are having a laugh and don't seem to have any desire to hurt her.

'course, they are a rather good inversion of Fred and George, who are perceived in the Harry Potter as "only out for a laugh" even when they do torment other characters - particularly Ron!

Then we have Eric. There are two facets to this. Firstly the issue of his surety that Anna is a witch. It leads to an extremely harsh outburst from Mister Grayson (who seems to be feeling the pressure). To me, this reflects more on Anna's Dad who seems unable to allow himself to hope. It seems as if Anna's lack of magical ability has really hurt him. Hm.

The second issue with Eric is his defense of his sister. According to Anna's account, he stops the other kids from tormenting Anna. Because, of course, Anna can't defend herself against the attacks of those with magic. Mister Grayson may say she's strong, but there's definitely is this element of the strong preying on the weak. I find myself wondering whether this reflects the same weakness in Anna's father as I mentioned above. He has a problem with Anna being "weak" and doesn't want Eric giving her support.

Mister Grayson's other point - that Eric should try and support his other sibling more - is of course a valid and a good one.

Nice scene with Anna's "out of body" abilities. It's very good to set constraints on a characters powers and abilities early on, properly clarifying everything in the reader's head.

And a very neat, suspenseful build-up to Anna being revealed as a witch. Nice chapter!

Reviewer: Reader 2Date: 2007-02-18
Reviewid: 147234Chapter: 43
All of the Gods combined can’t force the understanding of truth or acceptance of knowledge upon one with overwhelming stupidity combined with unrelenting stubbornness; as Anna is portrayed in the later portion of this story. Interesting in the use of an ape for enlightenment – Grays o. That said – It is an absolutely wonderful piece of work, especially for one so young. I would have enjoyed following her growth in talent. Thank you for sharing.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-02-18
Reviewid: 147231Chapter: 9
It's nice to be back reviewing this story. I've missed it!

This is another good chapter of mystery-building. Going from one cliff-hanger to another! Some good characters, too. Doyle seems like a very decent chap. Although Hobbs seems a bit shudder-worthy and lacking in empathy!

I loved the story of Anna dancing with the Lethifolds. I find this a fascinating reflection of the journey Anna undergoes in the rest of the story. She needs to return to this integrated point where she can have a joyful acceptance and communion with her own inner lethifold (or shadow element, if one wants to get Jungian!). There is a great peace in the story and in Anna's eager listening to it.

And then, as I say, another cliff-hanger with the letter to keep the reader hooked. Nice job!

Reviewer: Reader 2Date: 2007-02-11
Reviewid: 147173Chapter: 2
You wonderful wicked genius. I’ve just started reading your story you posted complete. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The best part – It’s really vary vary good. I hope the rest is as good as the start.

Questions: Is Grayson a play off of Graystone? Damon for Damien?

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-02-04
Reviewid: 147086Chapter: 8
You should know that my attempts to review this story on the first attempt has failed! I couldn't stop myself from reading this all the way through, so I'll now review it on the second read from here on in. ;)

I like this chapter. I think it's very neat that Eric is the one to pull his father out of his despair. It's a nice sign of Eric's maturity and hints at the degree to which his father needs him there, as an equal.

Nice symbolism in the sanctuary of the chapel. Reminds me of the Old Testament and the way pursued criminals or suspects would run to the temple for sanctuary and justice.

But, at the same time, I like the way that the Lethifold is not a creature to which human ideas of morality apply. It is merely caught in nature's game of predator and prey, sometimes one and sometimes the other. Speaking of the deer's death as an "endless sleep" also helps us to realise that this is not an act of evil. Anna is actually very gentle with the deer.

Nice suspenseful build-up to the revelation that Anna's father has suffered an assasination attempt before. You are weaving a fantastic mystery,

Reviewer: JessamyDate: 2007-02-03
Reviewid: 147081Chapter: 1
Aww, I love this story! Just might have to read it again. Katie is certainly remembered. I was actually just thinking about her a few days ago, and went to fiction alley and noticed the scholarship that has been created in her name. It is such a lovely idea. DaveO, I think it is wonderful that you may continue writing the second part of the story even without Katie. It would certainly be a beautiful tribute to her memory, and I know I would love to read it. I wish you and your family the best.

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2007-02-02
Reviewid: 147054Chapter: 1
I love your description of their flight, especially when they come full circle and Anna feels the mist that her dream horse generated during the first plunge. Also you've expanded house-elf theory: losing their magic with age--intriguing.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-30
Reviewid: 147042Chapter: 7
First off, that hair clip is just the very epitome of cool. I love the appreciation of bravery, too.

And then, goodness, onto the tougher stuff. I have to say that the exploration of such pain and darkness speaks of a great deal of bravery, too. What I really love about this is the metaphor for empathy that you use. She feels Widwick's pain as if it were own. She feels the restraints and the agony, and you write the scene with such breathtaking emotion and desperation. It is extremely compelling. I adore the way that even as she feels these blows crush and break her (even if it's vicariously) she's still pleading for the victim. She doesn't make it about her.

But the wonderful insight is that this empathy lays Anna open to darkness. And love does do this. When we love something we want to protect it, we can get angry when it's hurt... we can lash out and open ourselves to madness. We can become vicious and animal and this is what Anna faces.

I like the way human connection and empathy is the road back from this place, too. She finds the strength to resist when she recognises Damon as her brother (there's a Christian message for you!) and when she feels the warmth of family in the room.

But it is fear that drives her away. Damon's fear of her, when he shoots the curse, and the creatures fear of attack. And then, finally, we close on the pain that love leaves up open to, in the powerful grief felt by Anna's father. I think you portray these conflicting tensions astonishingly well and your writing is powerful and gripping.

Thank you. Wonderful chapter!

Reviewer: DaveODate: 2007-01-28
Reviewid: 147022Chapter: 6
J Forias, You may certainly continue to write to my Katie in these reviews. You should know, however, I tried writing to your sister as a way of trying to get a message directly to you via email, because I couldn’t figure out any other way of doing it. If you would like to write directly to me (and then be as repetitive as you wish) you may do so at daveobrienasannagrayson@yahoo.com. I believe I can give you much more insight on Katie’s chapters and deliver to you her prologue for the second book if you write to me directly. In the meantime, thank you again for all the great reviews. Her family appreciates them very much. Dave O

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-28
Reviewid: 147021Chapter: 6
My goodness, what kind of a monster is Damon? How can anyone not like chocolate? (On this evidence, I have now decided that he's clearly going to turn out as a dark wizard.)

This chapter is a wonderful relief, packed as it is with silliness and humour and fun. There's a great deal of emotion, too, of course, but it doesn't have that dark tinge that surrounding chapter do. Great fun!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-28
Reviewid: 147020Chapter: 5
(I hope it's still appropriate to address my reviews to Katie. I don't really know any other way to review a story than with reference to the writer.)

Hm, I'm not sure this reviewing every chapter one by one is such a good idea. There are only so many times I can praise your writing style before it starts to get repetitive. Anyone reading these reviews is going to get very bored!

But my goodness, this was a stunningly emotive chapter. I adore the way you capture both the tremendous joy in love, from Anna's perspective, with the tremendous pain of having lost the object of that love, shown in her father's powerful grief. The two emotions seem to mingle together to this absolutely fantastic scene at the end, this (and again, I'm being repetitive) testament to the joy of life.

I love the role played by the water here, the wave that at once crashes down on her, flipping and rolling her, but at the same time can be ridden... the joy within it can be found. What a perfect metaphor for life. And then, instead of letting your poor reader recover from that emotion, you extend the magic further, working in these wonderful images of communion with fellow souls and these bonds of love and admiration, to use your own words.

I'm afraid I've used up my stock of superlatives, so I'll fall back on understatement, and say that that was a rather good chapter!

Reviewer: katerinabugDate: 2007-01-26
Reviewid: 147010Chapter: 43
I loved this story, you clearly have put time and thought into a storyline and setting that parallels the potterverse, while still being your own creation. The fact that I kept reading through all 43 chapters says something all by itself, this really is a full novel.

The only criticism that I would have is that at times I felt a bit bludgeoned by the Christian/family message. I understand that this is the message that you wanted to get across, but it was a bit overwhelming at times.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-26
Reviewid: 147006Chapter: 4
You have a truly fantastic talent for description. It's really tricky to properly convey extra-sensory awareness, because you are stepping (one assumes!) out of the range of human experience. You're trying to take your reader somewhere they've never been before and you do it beautifully.

Anna's voice is neat throughout. She has the childlike appreciation for life and beauty and for empathy with the creatures around her.

And then we have this darkness rise up in Anna. I like the depth that it adds to the story and once again it's described very well. The hungry desire to feed, combined with the human need to lash out in anger, makes for a powerful combination.

This emphasis on compassion in the end is powerful, too. It's a true message about strength and worth and a very valuable one.

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-25
Reviewid: 146999Chapter: 3
I love the thought and imagination that has gone into Mister Grayson's position. It's such a wonderful aspect to add and integrate into JKR's world. Of course there must be a monetary interaction between the muggle and wizarding world, but you've brought this out of the theoretical and made it real and touchable.

Nice work with Sidney, too. You captured the pressure he was under and his utter shock at what he was discovering. Great work!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-24
Reviewid: 146988Chapter: 2
I like the darker issues that you begin to look at in this chapter. You have created a heroine who faces a situation in which she lacks power and is tormented by those stronger than her. A difficult scenario indeed.

And she has a further weakness surrounding the depths of her compassion. She feels the foal's mother's pain as sure as if it were own. What a great message it is then, that Eric gives her. That compassion is also a great strength. As is Anna's empathy.

The adventures of Anna's clip were fun! It was nice to see some justice visited on Veronica, although I suppose that from another point of view it must have been pretty terrifying for the girl, not understanding magic and all. Still, it was very funny!

Neat chapter. Thank you!

Reviewer: J ForiasDate: 2007-01-24
Reviewid: 146987Chapter: 1
You have an excellent writing style and a talent for description.

I liked your introduction of Anna. You've captured a certain joy-for-life in the dream sequence, which is no doubt an important part of her character. You also hint at the sensory abilities which you later explore (I'm up to Chapter 4), when you subtly mention her desire to distinquish smells. She seems to be someone who truly experiences life and seeks out all the joy and beauty within it. Anna's control and appreciation of her dream feels magical, even at the same time as you introduce her as a Squibb. It's a wonderful tension.

The interchange between horse and girl is playful and fun. And that theme is continued with Anna's interactions with the elves.

And finally, we have Anna's resolution to do good, shown both in her showdown with her brother and in her challenging Widwick and helping him to see his own power and worth. She's certainly a very powerful character.

Good chapter!

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