I really liked this. It was an interesting insight as to how Draco and Astoria got together. Nice one!
'twas a happy cry hunny, smiley face. I loved it!!
Author's Response: Thanks.
Author's Response: Eh, thanks? Would have been great to know if you liked it or not. That crying smiley could mean that you either felt with the characters and are crying out of happiness, or you hated it and are crying that you wasted your time.
This was such a lovely, romantic fic, Bine. You’ve incorporated the prompt really well, but I like how you’ve gone beyond that as well and made it into a quite brilliant love story between Draco and Astoria. You don’t see enough of that pairing, in my opinion. But you’ve written them very well – Astoria’s sweet, charming innocence fits really well with how gentlemanly and old-fashioned Draco is. There’s almost an air of protectiveness around him when they’re together, and it’s really sweet.
I’ll admit the beginning of the fic threw me a bit. You go from Narcissa’s first line to a rather long-winded description of the sunlight, which just doesn’t seem to flow very well. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a beautiful piece of description, but it seems out of place where it is. It doesn’t really work with what’s before it or after it, and it affects the readability of the story. Personally, I think the whole first few paragraphs would work much better if you’d have the paragraph of description at the very beginning, and then have Narcissa’s line after that, so she is interrupting Draco’s train of thought about the sunlight. I know you might have wanted to start the fic off with that line to capture the reader’s attention – which it does – but then to follow it with so much description that isn’t necessary to the storyline contradicts that, if you know what I mean.
I loved the whole first section, though. It was just so Malfoy of all three of them. I love fics that highlight the old-fashioned ways and cold-hearted approach to marriage that the Purebloods all have, and you’ve done it brilliantly here. My favourite line in the whole fic was: “A Malfoy never ran away. We rescheduled, but we never ran.” Seriously. You captured the Malfoys perfectly with that one line. They worm their way out of things all the time, but they’re far too proud to admit that they’re avoiding it.
Draco’s characterisation in this fic is very well done. He’s still Draco as we know him from the books – scorning the girls (especially Pansy) when they get dressed up, etc – but it’s obvious how much he’s grown up. The war has matured him, and he’s no longer so naďve and insecure about his place in the world. How he stands up to his parents in the first section really cements his character, and shows that he’s no longer going to meekly obey other people’s orders.
Astoria, too, is a brilliant character. You’ve more or less created her from scratch, but she fits extremely well into the Potterverse and this fic. Her simple elegance works wonderfully, because it’s clear that’s what initially attracts Draco – and that fits him to a tee. Also, I love how adorably innocent Astoria is, especially in the scene of their first kiss. I haven’t heard anyone call it a French kiss in ages. ;) Her character could very well step into a Jane Austen novel and not be out of place, which of course relates brilliantly to the prompt. I don’t know if you intended that or not, but it works really well.
One slight problem I have with the fic are the lyrics you’ve incorporated. Using lyrics is tricky, and I’m of the opinion that when using them you should either go all the way and make it a songfic (which you weren’t doing, obviously) or just put them in there subtly, at the beginning or the end of major sections. With your first set of lyrics, they just seem out of place. It interrupts the flow of the story, and whilst the lyrics kind of relate to it, they’re a little bit generic for your plot. I didn’t see them as anything particularly awe-inspiring (in relation to your fic, that is, it’s a great song otherwise). The second placement of your lyrics works a little better, but again, it seems as if you’ve just put them in there for the sake of it, and they don’t relate terribly well to your plot.
Aside from that, I can’t find many things to critique with this fic. It has such a sweet, innocent feel to it, and it’s just one of those fluffy pieces that aren’t too fluffy but fluffy enough to put a smile on your face afterwards. Well done, dear. :)
Author's Response: Thanks for such a wonderful review, Jen. It made me smile. :) I changed the first two paragraphs; your reasoning makes sense. However, I won't change the placing of the song lyrics. In my opinion, they fit well where they are, but I appreciate your comments and can understand your point and reasonings. And yet, I put the lyrics there because they express what Draco and then Astoria are thinking in those situations. Also, the song inspired that particular scene, the star gazing.
You're also not the first to state that this particular line is your favourite and describes the Malfoys so well. I have to say though, that I got it from someone else and fiddled a bit with it until it suited my story. Can't remember anymore who the other author was, unfortunately. I also think that this line doesn't only fit the Malfoys but every pure-blood family that shares the same beliefs.
Anyway, thank you again for the great review. :) ~Bine
It was a beautiful story- I really liked the characterisation of Draco, and how, whilst still being a Malfoy (I particularly liked the line "A Malfoy never ran away. We rescheduled, but we never ran.") he's become someone we can warm to and respect. I also liked Astoria- particularly the description/ build up to their first kiss. Beautiful story
Author's Response: Thank you. I'm glad you liked the characterisation. :)
The rays of the rising sun fell into the room through the high windows, illuminating the dining room in an ocean of warm colours that ranged from golden yellow to flaming red. The beams of light danced over the walls and pictures of snoozing people who, from time to time, stroked over their cheeks as if wanting to brush off the sunlight. The tablecloth gleamed in a bright white that – if one looked at it too long – hurt the eyes. And yet, the already warming sunrays welcomed us lovingly into the new day, engulfing us in their gentle touch.
Beautiful description, Bine. It paints such a wonderful picture in my head. *sighs* You are one of the best people I know for bringing scenes to life.
Your characterization, of both Draco and Astoria, was lovely. They feel alive and real, and right. It doesn’t seem forced. You gave reasons for their feelings and actions, and the writing made it feel true.
But something changed. War came upon us, and war usually changes everything, even within ourselves. Draco seemed to have changed to someone softer, to someone who could feel affection for one other than himself. The way he had shown care for me on that one winter day, when I had fallen onto the iced surface of a lake, that had been a different Draco already than the one I had met months earlier in Hogwarts’ library. His eyes were less cold; they now held some shimmer of the most powerful feeling there is: love. Not necessarily love for me; it might be too early for that. But he was able to feel love which gave me the hope that one day he might love me.
There, see, that’s what I wanted to express, and you already had Astoria express it perfectly. The war affected Draco’s character, and this entire fic shows the results of those changes.
One thing you might want to look for is tense change. Sometimes the tense would change within a sentence, from past to present.
Author's Response: Thanks, Bella. :) *hugs*
A beautifully crafted tale!
Author's Response: Thanks!
Your skill in writing image-rich description is awe-inspiring. The first full paragraph alone grabbed me with such sensory input that I was immediately pulled into the scene.
I also like the way you use dialogue to characterize. This line is so Draco (and so twenty-something male): ‘I have lived without one for the last twenty years. What has changed that I suddenly cannot live without one anymore?’
I noticed some areas that you could address to strengthen your writing skills.
Some notes about commas:
She knew that I had understood her question perfectly, and that I would question it. (Here, the comma after ‘perfectly ‘ is unnecessary. The ‘and’ is joining a complete sentence with a phrase. You only need the comma if the ‘and’ is joining two complete sentences. )
Surely he had an own opinion on the topic? (Intro words like ‘surely’ ought to be followed by a comma. And I think that substituting ‘his’ for ‘an’ would make the sentence flow just a little bit more smoothly.)
My rumbling stomach steered my thoughts from work to food, and my nose suddenly registered a sweet, yet spicy smell. (In this sentence, the ‘yet spicy’ is an interrupter, so it would be enclosed by commas on both sides: ‘…registered a sweet, yet spicy, smell.’)
The street had nearly vacated, and only a few late shoppers hurried from shop to shop. (Here, ‘vacated’ is being used in the active voice. It should be passive in this sentence because the street can’t actually perform the action ‘to vacate.’ So, the sentence in passive voice would read: ‘The street had nearly been vacated…’)
Their house-elf opened and led me into the drawing room, where the family was gathered. (The use of the word ‘opened’ makes it seem like there is something missing in the sentence. It would flow more smoothly with a substitution like: ‘Their house-elf greeted me and led me…’)
She carried quite some heavy books, (‘Quite’ is a qualifier and should appear closest to the word it is modifying. Here, it is modifying ‘heavy’ to tell the degree of heaviness of the books. Therefore, ‘some’ and ‘quite’ ought to switch places.)
Food for thought:
You use the image of natural forces fighting frequently. For example:
Slowly, the night fought its way into the alley.
Winter had fought its way into the country.
I’m not sure if you’ve done it to reflect Draco’s current conflicted state, but if you have, it’s certainly a masterful way of describing a character without resorting to direct description. I like it. It unites the mood of the piece.
I like the way you use dialogue to characterize. This line is so Draco (and so twenty-something male): ‘I have lived without one for the last twenty years. What has changed that I suddenly cannot live without one anymore?’
Initially, I had been unsure about the shift between Astoria’s and Draco’s points of view. It did work; however, I wonder if the shifts would have seemed more natural if they had occurred more often throughout the piece.
I also liked your use of varied vignettes to demonstrate the growth of their relationship and the changes in Draco. This story is quite well-written, and I enjoyed it a lot!
Author's Response: Thanks a lot, Laura. That review is really great and helpful. Any help with grammar is always teaching me a bit more. :) So thanks a bunch for that detailed quality review. :D *hugs*