Hello -- here with your requested review for this one-shot!
So, confession time: I don't normally like to read a lot about the Malfoys. They simply aren't characters that interest me, and I haven't written a terrible lot about them, either. That being said, when they're written well, I have no qualms about at least giving them a shot. And this -- you really wrote quite well here, Jami!
I can see where a lot of people are coming off disliking Astoria. I think throughout the first half of this, before I figured out what was going on -- why she was trying to break off her engagement, what her motivations were -- then I wasn't too keen on her character, either. I think it may just be a downfall of plot exposition, that disliking. At the end it did become clear that she was wary about the 'ghost' of her sister (as it were), but early on, when she's just smoking and drinking in the bar, it's quite unclear. Perhaps, if you didn't want that sort of adverse reaction, you might sprinkle clues throughout the first section. A brief reference to Daphne, or even a flash of the pain Astoria evidently feels at the end (which is somewhat lacking in the first half) might fix that very nicely. :3
Which sorts of leads me into talking about the emotions! Again, the first half of this story was quite different from the second in this department. Initially, in the bar, Astoria seems almost... empty of emotion, if that makes sense? She's so focused on what she's set to do, how she's going to make Draco angry, that we don't really get a sense of her pain or fear at all. By the time we do get this, the story has ended, and it's very hard to build up to the sort of pain I know that you're trying to achieve with this. If that makes any sense at all?
I suppose what I'm trying to say -- if you want your readers to feel Astoria's pain, then we must love her in some way, however minute. Her smoking and flirting and drinking without seeming cause doesn't allow for this; if you gave us an insight into her motives besides making her fiance angry, I think that might help a good deal. :)
This has potential, Jami -- it really does! Make us believe in your characters, and we'll believe in your story. ♥ Thank you for taking the time to request a review from me!
Author's Response: I am really happy that she comes off empty of emotion in the first half, I completely see what you mean by it ending before you get to see her pain. I think instead of showing her weakness before hand, I might actually lengthen it to give readers more time to adjust to what's actually going on. I don't think Astoria could have survived if she would have let herself think of what she was going to do for even a second, because hurting Draco is everything that she's afraid of. She loves him so much that knowing she's causing him pain is what will keep her in this relationship.
But, if she can make him angry enough that it over shadows his pain, then she can get out. I think that's really what I wanted the reader to be left with. Is yes, Astoria's earlier actions weren't exactly nice, but she's dying. Everything about being with Draco is killing her from not feeling good enough, to seeing her dead sister in his eyes, to loving him more than he can ever love her, and then of course to not being able to get out - because he does need her. And when she has tried to get out, his desperation pulls her back in and it's just the same cycle of her internal pain.
She's also not a great person. She's heartless to people who don't matter, as she demonstrates. I think that giving away more about why she was acting that way would is definitely the right course of action, even if it comes after. Thank you so much for the idea *hug*!
Or I could add a first chapter to come before this that just shows bits and pieces of their relationship...hmm. Now you have the wheels turning, Rachel!
Thank you so much for this wonderful review ♥ I'm off to enjoy Snape and Beth soon!