So sorry for getting here so late! Work is an absolute terror. Okay, before I say anything else, you have to realize that my thoughts are an utter swirling mess right now. Usually, when I review stories, I can pick out a few central things that the author did well, maybe recurring themes, or specific characters that I'd like to point out. But with you, everything… absolutely everything is worth its weight in gold, and if I had my choice, this review could stretch for miles. I could point out every other sentence and feel how much thought you put into choosing the words and phrases. So if this review seems vague at times, it's because I love this one-shot to death, and I'm unable to express it in words worthy enough for it.
Where should I begin… I guess just Draco. I have never read a fanfiction and liked him. Never. I admit that most are ridiculous Dramiones, but still, no one has put so much life and soul into him. When I read your Draco, I can forget Tom Felton for the blissful duration of the story, and instead, I can focus on what he's made of - the helplessness, the confusion, the numb pain, the overwhelming emotions he tries to suppress, his own mocking self-loathing hidden underneath, and his tremendous ability to start anew and love in the end. As he narrates, I can almost hear that low, quiet, bitter and slightly sarcastic tone, observing and analyzing everything around him including himself, but all the while tainting it with his own broken faith and hope. There's a small sentimental part of him that values simple things still like his old wand (for some reason, him missing his wand touched a chord in me), or a quiet smile on Luna's face, or just the soothing feeling of being near a human being who won't judge him. Every few sentences, it's like you peel off another layer of him and express someone more vulnerable underneath until there's nothing left. And then you build him up again with, of all the people you could have chosen: Luna. God, I never even considered the pairing, but after this, I think it's probably going to be one of my favorites.
How shall I describe your Luna? I think she is the bane of every author's existence, lol, except for the people who truly understand her nature. What I love best about your Luna is that you don’t merely tell what she's doing through tags like, "she said whimsically", or "she looked off into space dreamily" like other authors do. Instead, you speak through her actions, her matter-of-fact irritation, her exuberant un-held back smile at the end, her gentleness and iron strength beneath her frail surface. It's just so… real. When I stop to think, she IS one of the few who would give Draco a true chance to find his way in life again without passing any sort of judgment. In her own way, she's Draco's escape from the world, isn't she? Yet she also manages to be his link to the real world, someone there to guide him, someone for him to return to at the end of all things. She is absolutely stunning. I'm astounded by how you manage to create such multi-faceted characters within a single piece of writing. With most writers, it takes chapters to reveal the amount of personality you've managed to show here with each aptly-chosen sentence.
There are parts in this story that make me sit there, shivering and feeling so much pity and sorrow well up for Draco. I just have to point out these sentences and tell you how much they hit home. For one, the part where Draco muses about catching Luna's strength, where he wonders if there's a recipe for courage, analyzing it again, but not really seeing just courageous he truly is himself, especially at the end when he vows to keep on trying, when he's finally come in terms with his own flaws. He underestimates himself. And god, this sentence: "I was born wrong… never was able to please anyone, never was able to even kill one single person. And I tried so hard to fit." Just. Wow. It speaks volumes; in one simple sentence, you've capture Draco's torment in HBP, his inner-struggle and cowardliness in DH, his continuous self-loathing that we never get to see after the war ends, but one that we can guess. You've put it into words so eloquently, so heartbreakingly. Yet he was proven wrong, wasn't he? For once, he fits with Luna holding onto him, grounding him and giving him hope.
You have such an elegant style of writing. The words seem to melt into each other, and I can't tell the beginning of one scene from the end of a previous one. I just start reading, and I can't stop. There was this need to know, to explore what Draco was going through. There are no gaps that feel confusing; there's just an endless buildup of mixed emotions, crazy feelings, and pure, unadulterated angst. The angst! You are incredible; I've found myself a new hero(ine) This is going in my favorites, and boy when I get the chance, I really need to check out your other pieces of writing. I'm going to put that on my list of personal reviews :)
One last thing: beautiful banner, haha! Older Draco looks so sharp and stunning and, dare I say it, hot :]
Author's Response: Two things: First, Draco is my favorite character and my personal project. I'm saving him. ^_^ That's why he might be a bit deeper here than anywhere else. Second, I adore you for commenting the banner as well. It inspired me to write this (I was halfway through the story when I asked melihobbit to make it). Every time I felt like I'm never going to be able to finish this, I just looked at the wonderful banner and thought, "Melihobbit made this for me, I want to show it to people. I must write." LOL, that must be the silliest reason to write, but it helped me. This story wanted out. It was desperate to be written. ^_^ So the banner was definitely a good way to lure it out.
I am so very grateful that you took the time to write this amazing review. I am stunned by it. I'm so very humble before it. I feel so utterly happy. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to receive this. It made my day. It made my whole year. I don't care that my stories never get that much attention; all I care that the people who notice my work... feel strongly about it. I hope that someday I'll be able to write stories that will make people laugh through their tears.
And I'm so happy that you thought that my Luna was in character. I was a bit worried about it since my hubby said to me after reading the first draft: she's not really Luna. I had to go back there and write it all over again to give her more of herself. I'm glad that I managed to do that. I didn't add much, but I think I added all the things I had in mind but hadn't written down before. ^_^
And I'm just sooooo happy that you thought it was angsty. When I wrote this, I didn't feel anything. I was just a mere tool to get it out. I only cried at the very end when he says he was born wrong... there I started to live through it. But before that, I was just writing it. I'm a very emotional writer and it was very weird to write a story this way. I've never written anything like this. I guess that's why it's my favorite. It's completely different from everything I've written before. ^_^ Thank you, dear. I will remember this review always. Even when I start writing my own fiction, even when I'll be a struggling writer... I'm going to remember your kind words. Thank you, truly.