Hey Jami! Here with your requested review :)
So I don't really understand why people would just read bits and pieces for review tag - especially since you get to pick the story you read for that - and I'm sorry if that's ever happened to you. Even though I ship Draco pretty hard with an OC that I have, I still kind of like Draco/Astoria, and I think it's cool when I get to read them, so I appreciate you taking time out from J/L and requesting this :)
I actually really like the theme here. I think the variable emotions and tension work well with this idea of having a facade on top of a lot of vulnerability. It's clear to me that Astoria liked the weakness in Draco but hates to see it in herself. The irony is what makes this interesting to me. My opinion is that if people are actually reading the whole story, or at least most of it, then the meaning should make sense to them. I don't even think the idea of someone leaving their partner and struggling to be strong is really all that uncommon. If you want to strengthen it even more, you could try weaving Astoria's weakness more into her early interactions - make her more afraid to see Draco (mixed with her feeling of triumph), make her hands shake when she's talking to the bartender, etc. That way, it will be crystal clear to the reader that she's finally breaking down at the end of it.
I think both of them came across as being pretty sympathetic to me here. I definitely felt bad for Draco, who seemed totally shocked by her decision, and also for Astoria, who worked so hard to "fix him" and then realized her efforts were futile. There doesn't seem to be a winner here.
I loved the imagery here - to me, it was the strongest part of the piece. Little metaphors like "The poisonous words dripped from her thick lips, making sure to insert themselves into Draco and twist, mercilessly" and phrases like "Check. They were back on track as she spoke her first lie, forcing the anger back into him" really made this interesting for me, above all else. Great job there!
The emotions here are good, and I can see why they're so intense. As I stated earlier, it might help to temper things if you show the cracks in the facade a little earlier. You could even use that to develop Draco a bit further - under his anger, he's probably a little concerned about Astoria, and showing just one tiny hint of that (so as not to pull him way out of character) might be the perfect catalyst to let Astoria fall down on the job a little.
The ending was good - for a while there, I was trying to figure out who Astoria was referencing, assuming it was Pansy, but I like the use of Daphne. You could always add a little more to that metaphor of the infection, just to give more context to their relationship. I really liked that line.
Great job! I hope this review is helpful :)
Author's Response: Aww thank you for this wonderful review! I really like the idea of very small signs that she's scared to do what comes next. When I edit this piece I think I'll add that in, and of course credit you for the help :).
I had so much fun playing with imagery during this piece. It was the kind of situation where I really felt like I could take things to the extreme. Like you said, there really was no winner in this situation. Astoria still loves her sister so much and misses her, that she can't even hate the 'other woman' for lack of better terms.
Sometimes I get the most amazing reviews from review tag and end up starting a review tag sort of relationship. That's how I got started reading CoB.. do there are those few times that it is great then more than not I either get a two line review or don't get reviewed at all. I guess that's the chance you take! And I need to remember that review tag isn't meant to be full of in depth CC and well thought compliments... it's a quick thing... but I get spoiled by all these amazing reviewers I request for (cough, Amanda, cough).
Anyway, I am so happy you enjoyed this piece. I'm experimenting with a new style for a Sirius one shot, and the next chapter of BTF should be up today or tomorrow, so you will be seeing me soon ;).
I hope to review another one of your stories later on today, if you have a certain one that you would like opinions on, you are more than welcome to message it to me :)!