Word Count: 8,400, Pairing: Harris Black/Bellatrix Black, Harry Potter/Luna Lovegood
My Thoughts: Alright everyone, here it is. Proof that I am, in fact, capable of criticizing authors that I like and respect, because I honestly wasn’t too big a fan of this chapter. But first, let’s go over a few things that I liked first. The opening scene was absolutely fantastic! I’m really enjoying the way Harris’s relationship with Bella is progressing, and I thought their picnic was really cute. The banter is top notch, Bella’s healing feels fairly organic and believable, and it was an all around great time. I also thought that, if you look at it in a vacuum, the action in this chapter was quite good too. Finally, Luna’s little diary entry at the end was very cute and made me feel very excited for future Harry/Luna stuff. Next, let’s talk about a scene that I felt was, overall, fairly neutral in the grand scheme of things, and that is the scene with Sirius and Narcissa. I suppose I bought that they had grown up together, and their interactions were interesting enough, but something just felt off about both of their characterizations in this scene. I can’t even really put a finger on it, but it just didn’t work for me. Again, though, it was fine. I didn’t love it, but it didn’t really bother me. However, I really didn’t care for the scene with Dumbledore and Harris. I’m still honestly stunned that I disliked it as much as I did, because it honestly felt as though a different author hijacked the chapter and stuck a scene in there. I wasn’t a fan of the dialogue, I felt like Dumbledore’s motivations were very unclear, and I felt like Harris’s taunts were especially off and weird. This scene just felt like it edged a bit too far into Dumbledore bashing territory, because it felt as though his actions stopped making sense. I honestly understand using him as an antagonist, and I’ve liked Apples’ interpretation of antagonist Dumbledore in other fics that they have written, but his actions just felt a bit too nonsensical in this chapter. Also, and this is more of a personal pet peeve of mine, but I’ve never been a fan of people calling Voldemort sarcastic names that are insulting versions of his name. It’s just never worked or me, and it reminds me too heavily of bashing, indie!Harry fics. So….look, I did not like this chapter. It’s not all bad, I liked the beginning and the ending quite a bit, but I felt like the middle was very muddled, and it really didn’t help that the mechanics in this chapter were much worse than they were in chapter six. I’m very lenient here, because I understand that dyslexia makes it very difficult, but it certainly didn’t help is all that I’m saying. This chapter on its own would probably fall somewhere in the low six out of ten range, making it land low on the Good Tier, and this chapter as a whole has changed this fic’s placement from somewhere in the 8.5 – 8.7 range, which is mid top tier, to an 8.2 or an 8.1, which is mid great tier. I have absolute confidence that this is just a one off thing, and I am in no way dropping the fic, but…yeah, I was a bit disappointed in this one. I hope I managed to lay out my concerns in a respectful, constructive way, and I sincerely hope the next one is better. I also feel like I really need to emphasize how good the opening scene with Bellatrix was, because god damn was that was a great opening!