This story just keeps picking up speed! I love your pacing. It's definitely one of the best things about the story. There's obviously a lot of information that needs to come across, and you go about it in such a way that it gets delivered in the natural flow of the story. You never just dump names and places and facts and events on the reader. I always have good context for the information, which makes it much easier to follow along with a very intricate story.
The initial back story that Rose digs up on Krum was a nice little appetizer. It left me with some hints of how his playing career began and how it came to an end, but with plenty of questions that I hope you'll be able to explore as Rose digs deeper into the man for the book. He's such an enigmatic figure, and seemingly a cautionary tale of how things could have turned out very differently for Harry or Ginny, for instance.
Heart is such a bastard in this. He's perfect for the part, unburdened by much of a conscience and able to twist his narrative of events with ease in order to make it seem like what they're doing is moral if not downright imperative. I love the casual way that he directs Rose to essentially spend all of her waking hours and then some on the project, like the idea that she might have anything else to do in her life -- family, friends, eating, sleeping -- has never even occurred to him.
You're reloading a lot of new questions that left me wanting to read more. Who is Krum's mysterious friend who's given him this palace to inhabit? A former lover? Fan? Business partner? What will come of his trial? Justice seems to move swiftly in the wizarding world, at least a lot faster than in the non-magical world. Three months seems like a pretty long time relative to, say, the way that Harry was nearly drummed out of Hogwarts.
Krum seems totally casual about the idea of banging out a book in a couple of months, though. I suppose that since he doesn't have to do much of the actual work, it's no big deal to him. Answer the questions. That's more or less the extent of his involvement.
Throughout, you managed to keep Rose in a really nice light. She's mentally tough enough to tangle with characters like Heart and Krum, but there's also a naivete about her. She really doesn't realize how pivotal her role is in the entire process, or just how nasty the demons that torment the people around her seem to be. She sees everyone in a kinder light than they probably deserve. I suppose that will actually help when it comes to writing the book.
I did notice one thing that might be a typo: But it certainly wouldn’t hurt his case if people knew he’d spent that evening in the company of the daughter of two of country’s highest-ranking law enforcement officials. - ... two of the country's...
This chapter flowed beautifully. It didn't feel nearly as long as it was. I'll be back soon!
Author's Response: Hooray for good pacing! I really spent a lot of time fretting over it, and I still worry the opening chapters are far too slow, but I'm glad the story feels like it's chugging along at this point.
Since this is the chapter where the book excerpts stop, I thought I might be able to get away with a little more in terms of backstory. And I really wanted to lend some creditability to Quidditch. I think it could have been easy for Rose to brush off the whole thing, and by extension the books itself, as being silly, but sports is a big money maker and what Krum did mattered to people...at least for a while.
Heart is a blast to write, but he also really helps me to push the plot along. I tried to use him to help build immediacy by forcing this deadline on her, and also by giving her permission not to leave the man's side. Hopefully, he's both a voice of reason and the one adding the pressure.
Figuring out the timing for this whole story was the worst! Something like this could drag out for a year or more in the real world, so having it happen in a single week or month seemed like a stretch. I was also thinking that in a post-Voldemort world, justice might slow down a bit. Rule of law always seems the most blurred in wartime.
What you said about Rose is exactly how I wanted her to come across. She isn't helpless; she can hold her own with the likes of Heart and Krum. But she does see the good in people, which is exactly why Heart have her the job and why Krum is drawn to her. Hopefully her naivete feels genuine. As someone from a good family and a relatively comfortable upbringing, I can't imagine her not being at least a little sheltered.
Thanks you for this wonderful review. I'm kind of nervous about what you'll think once the more romantic elements of the story start coming into play!