I thought this story has a great concept. It's not the first time I've read about wizards being caught up in a war on the same side as the muggles, and historical fiction holds a spot very dear to my heart. If you haven't read 'The Traveller's Secret' then maybe you can whenever you have the time. Anyway, on to the review.
I like how you wrote this first chapter. Did you use stream of consciousness here? That's how it felt when I read it - very back and forth. When I got to the end and realised where Cedric was, everything came together then and it almost blew my mind a little bit. That was honestly really, really well done. At the moment, he wasn't quite there, perhaps drifting in and out of consciousness and nothing was quite clear to him...as if he was in a fog.
I like how you mixed his memories to give us an idea of what was going on, no matter how brief they were. Considering they came to the forefront in such a vulnerable time, I suspect we'll be seeing more of them. Less is more. It speaks about the realities of some things too - the drafting process, dropping out of school, the possibility of not living long enough to survive it.
I'm really jealous at your description here, it's very vivid but at the same time, it's not overwhelming. It also suits the tone of the story (another aspect of it I like) as well as the theme. War is such a sensitive and brave topic to tackle when writing. But it's not always about the fighting, I guess it's about the people and how they deal.
This has given me a lot to think about. I think you've done a good job so far :)
Author's Response: Hi Lia! Thanks for stopping by for the exchange :) I swear, your one-shot is on my to-do list. It'll get done over the weekend for sure, and that's if I don't find time to do it during the week.
"The Traveller's Secret", hmm? I'll have to check that out sometime. Thanks for the rec!
It's SoC-like, I guess. That was sort of what happened. I just wanted to kind of let Cedric's senses drag me around and go where they wanted to, to ensure that the reader would really feel like he or she was getting the information as he would perceive it. That's probably why you're getting the sense that it was a little foggy and disorienting, as it would be for someone in this kind of situation. I wanted it to drive the conclusion home hard, so I'm glad you were happy with the way the chapter wrapped up. This first one is still one of my favorites in this story.
The memories served two purposes for me: one, they were meant to remind people of the reality of war, as you mentioned--Cedric is still just a young man who is clearly in way over his head, no matter how brave or prepared he thinks he is--and two, they were meant to show his emotion in these moments. He's hurting and he misses home and he doesn't like not knowing where he is or why he ended up here. You can imagine that making a friend might help ameliorate that :)
I do think a lot of the fascinating parts of war-based stories are the psychological ones. Now, I'm obviously biased, but I like seeing people at their most and least resilient, and watching how their desperate situations affect them and change them--for better or worse. I'm proud of the imagery in this chapter, and I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed it, too.
Thanks for your fabulous review, Lia!