|Review:|| Whimsical Diva says:|
First off, I'm so sorry I couldn't get round to reviewing this before. Just when I thought my schedules were getting less hectic, I was saddled with an avalanche of work at uni.
Anyway, here's your very belated review.
I think you started brilliantly; the opening was very effective. I say effective because it did what the opening paragraphs is meant to do: viz arrest the reader's attention. My absolute favourite parts of the story would be "vii" and "." It's just so... in congruity with the title of the story... very fairy-tale-ish. The opening paragraphs were wistful, melancholic, poignant and tragic without being overpoweringly angsty; it's your signature style. I don't use this word often, but the one word which describes your writing is 'beautiful.' You can write anything and it'll seem beautiful; you can string together a set of words into a wonderful, beautiful sentence. Words and phrases, which would seem thoroughly ordinary when used by other writers, is brought to life when you write them.
The flip side of beautiful writing is that, just like beauty, it can be admired only for so long. When you scratch beneath the surface, if there are no underlying layers of narrative, no conflict, no contradiction or paradox, if there is no substance, then the story unfortunately remains superficial and beautiful, but without character or flavour. And personally, writing that belongs to the aforementioned ilk does not make a great impression on me.
My main gripes with this fic are that the characterisations weren't forceful enough and that the array of memories didn't quite lend itself to the creation (and resolution) of conflict. Let me explain what I'm trying to say.
1) The memories you chose...
In part vi, Death says that she is reminiscing... During the last moments of her life, Astoria is sojourning to the past, reflecting on her life and the defining moments...I would've liked to see more powerful memories used, memories which would've have more impact, memories which would have created conflict...
There were some instances which set the stage for wonderful conflict, but you don't exploit them to their fullest potential...
“Umm... You wouldn’t mind if I stood with you here for a while, would you? I’ve got nowhere to go.”
I thought that line was powerful, especially when she says I've got nowhere to go... But instead on dwelling on this moment, instead of showing us how Draco reacts, you play it safe by skipping to the next part...
Another instance where you played it safe:
She had not asked about those times, and he had not shown any signs that he was going to tell her. She didn’t even dare ask of his family. She knew he would’ve mentioned them early if there had been anything to be said.
See, these are the places where you could have created wonderful conflict... all these awkward situations are the ones that are truly interesting... Don't skirt round them and don't avoid them; rather, if your characters confront the situation, it is far more satisfying for the reader. I'll talk about characterisations in the next part, but always remember this: dramatise your plot in such a way that it serves as a vehicle for the implementaton of your characterisation. Because otherwise, the characters get lost in the mire of anonymity.
2) The characterisation: The characterisation of Draco wasn't convincing. See, Draco is one of the guys of the HP universe who has a very, very strong and singularly distinctive characterisation in canon. He's not Seamus or Dean or some other random guy about whom we know next to nothing. Draco was, for the most part, a jerk. Spoilt and nestled in the lap of luxury, Draco gets a taste of reality only very late in the series, At the end of the DH, there was no definitive closure for Draco, unlike Harry who was at peace and was ready to start afresh. Draco hadn't turned over a new leaf, he was still indecisive, confused and overwhelmed by the crisis he was thrust into. In short, he's a bit of a wreck, and after the war, he would have had his share of demons. Whether guilt figured in the list of demons, no one knows, but Draco would have definitely had to do some soul-searching. And one really cannot skirt round these issues. They demand to be analysed, to be sorted out.
I'm splitting this review into two, because HPFF would not let me post it as a whole.
Author's Response: I got the entire review at the forums and I've replied. But, as I said - thank you.