|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Oooh, the plotting of this story is excellent - in a short chapter, you moved the plot forward in a way that felt natural, with just the right amount of suspense at the end. There's an inevitability to Cho and Cedric's story, but the different setting and circumstances still leave things open-ended. He's still as likely to die, but how? When? Or will he? That's one of the most pleasing aspects of the AU, to play with readers' expectations in an entirely new and interesting way. You're doing wonderfully with the structure of the short story, finding the perfect balance of character depth, plot complexity, and narrative detail to make this world come alive without requiring the extended length of the novel. I'm very jealous!
I can also see your growth as a writer compared with At Great Personal Risk, and it's exciting how much more amazing you've become over the last year-and-a-half. This chapter struck me as extremely polished, so it was too hard to resist squeeing over your writing. Your descriptions, dialogue, everything is perfect. ^_^
The historical accuracy in this story is much appreciated. I liked that Cho's expectations of the absolute worst - the field hospital near the front housed in a tent, etc. - were not reality, but that doesn't change the fact that there are other types of problems, particularly with water supply and hygiene. Miriam's warning against falling in love with the patients because they were likely to die of their wounds, or in the case that they healed, they would merely return to the front, was an excellent way to emphasize the bitter realities of war. Stories of nurses and soldiers falling in love are too often romanticized, and you contend with that cliche in a satisfying way. Miriam wants to protect Cho, who's still so young, ensuring that Cho sees the difference between the romance and the real.
The integration of the Muggle and magical worlds in this story is fascinating. I'm sure you'll introduce more of the context as you go, but so far, it's refreshing to see a smooth integration - Muggle characters neither being afraid nor prejudiced against magic. Instead, Miriam (practical as she is) sees the benefits, the hardier health, the usefulness of the house elves and of magic as a whole. I wonder if this integration of the two worlds will impact how the plot develops, whether there'll be Muggles who try to take advantage of magic to turn the course of war, or just to make money off of magical advancements. I love the world that you've created in this story because it opens up a lot of potential for plot and character development. :D
I'm excited to see where you'll take this next - it's great to see someone taking on Cho/Cedric within an AU context of this depth and intricacy because it's a sadly neglected ship, just as Cho is a sadly neglected character. Amazing work with this!
Author's Response: Oh, that's great to hear! I wanted to attempt a short story where I could keep the plot at a reasonable pace and still tell an interesting story. I do like AU a lot, although I don't come up with good bunnies for it very often, because you really can make the world your very own and still choose characters and events that you love to include in that world. Some of the most interesting stories I've read on the archive have been AU, actually.
I still wanted this to be a love story, perhaps one with a sort of classic feel to it, but I purposefully set it against a very bleak backdrop. Cho's job is going to be to bring a sense of light to the atmosphere of darkness that permeates a place like this, and to try to draw Cedric out of it and onto a path of healing. I think part of the point of this chapter, besides merely introducing Cho, was to force her right into that dirty, painful place and ensure that she toughens up a bit. She needs to become a sort of crutch for Cedric.
As a side note, Miriam became one of my most beloved parts of this story. She's very hardy and no-nonsense and those tend to be my favorite sort of female characters. She doesn't play a large role, per se, but I still think she's important to the overall tale here.
It's really comforting to me that you like the almost seamless blending of the Muggle and magical worlds. There are still skeptical Muggles about, but you're right, I wanted to use Miriam's practicality as a vehicle for creating a little niche for magical medicine, just to introduce that idea as a possibility. I figured that things were so difficult here, many would be willing to take what they could get, even if it was a little unfamiliar or scary.
I also feel that Cho/Cedric and those two characters in general have been sorely neglected, which is sad, because I really had fun writing them and exploring their ship. Hopefully you enjoy the next chapter as much as this one. Thanks for your wonderful review :)