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Review:long_live_luna_bellatrix says:
First off, I think you fulfilled both challenges nicely here. I'll go into my own in a bit more detail, but you really used the figurative language to your advantage as well, and it certainly transformed this from what could have been a angsty love story into a meaningful one. So bravo on that.

Another area you did well in was characterization, specifically, the bits and pieces that make a character real. The line about Marlene being in the Order so that she could live with herself said a lot about her, and I can easily see others feeling the same way. You could write a whole novel about that, if you wanted: the not-so-selfless reasons people joined the Order. Another part that stood out was when Marlene's mother asked if there was news of Marlene's brother, and Marlene resented it, because her mother only made it hard by asking questions she knew the answers to. That speaks a lot about the hope Marlene's mother clung to, and also how Marlene saw the situation.

As for the repetition I challenged you to include, that was also handled well. It introduced an extra layer of tension into the story, that time was ticking away and would only hold out as long as the weather did. A lot of stories here take The War with a capital T and W and let it hang in the background and just let the reader make all the assumptions that go along with it, but you really brought the situation to the forefront by emphasizing how brief Marlene's safety really was.

It was interesting to watch Marlene's inner conflict, not the more obvious one over Gideon, but concerning the temperature. As you made clear, the cold was safe because it kept the Death Eaters away, and she obviously took comfort in the cold. But she was also attracted to Gideon's warmth, and as much comfort as she took from the cold, it still made her physically uncomfortable (such as when she made the comment about her hands cracking open). I'm not entirely sure if or how much of that you intended, but it made sense to me that she would be conflicted; all people are, in some form.

The only part that made me step back and say, "Really?" was when Marlene whispered, involuntarily, for Gideon to stay, and he didn't notice. Then she couldn't figure out if she'd actually said it. Now, I talk to myself all the time (don't laugh! :P) but it's not like the words slip out of my mouth without my permission; it's just part of the thought process sometimes. So personally, I found it a bit hard to believe that Marlene would accidentally ask him to stay. I could have bought her thinking the words, or purposely asking him, but I wasn't so sure about having a bit of both.

Occasionally it seemed like you were juggling one too many things: you had the figurative language tied into the repetition, you had her missing brother, sick mother, history with Gideon, and then Marlene's general state of being. For the most part you did well, and it's certainly a believable situation, but there were parts where it felt like you were just looking for plights to pile on. For instance, the beginning was more focused on her mother and brother, then you switched to Gideon and never looked back. You could've mentioned how she wished her brother were in the house to look after her, and woven that into wanting Gideon there, for instance.

But, to sum things up, you did a nice job here. You took a lot of the issues with the war and poured them in characters that I had no trouble relating to, because they felt quite real. You also brightened up a sad story with a bit of romance, which is always a pleasure. Well done.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a lovely, detailed review. I really appreciate it, and I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to respond.

I read back over the story after I read this review, and I could completely understand what you meant about the missing thread connecting Marlene's feelings about Gideon from her portrayal throughout the first part of the story. I'd kind of meant to put the bit about her brother making her feel safer, but I ended up skipping over that without really realising it.

I went through and edited the story a little to make that transition smoother and to deal with Marlene not being sure that she spoke at all (because you're absolutely right, that was silly of me). Hopefully it will be much stronger once the revision gets validated.

Thank you again for the review. You have been so, so helpful, and I'm very glad that you enjoyed the story.

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