Hey! Here for the Gryffie review swap :)
Ok, first of all, I am going to try really hard to give you a nice, useful review but I might have trouble because this chapter was amazing! Seriously, how have I never read any of your stuff before? You're an incredible writer and just to prove it, I've never been a Draco fan, won't usually go within ten feet of a fic with Tom Felton on the banner, but after reading this chapter I think I may be on my way to becoming a Draco Malfoy convert! *gasp!*
Ok, so since I can't think of any CC, I'll tell you what I thought was particularly good so you can keep doing it :)
The start was great, it instantly drew me in and made me want to read more. I was actually curious for a while about where he was and what time it was etc, which sort of put me in Draco's drunken, confused shoes. The bit about him being sick...well it's not really my thing, but I can appreciate the purpose it served. It made me feel uncomfortable, and yet that also worked to help me understand just how messed up Draco was. It was a rather dramatic way to say "Draco is at rock bottom...he's completely stuffed!" And I thought that was clever.
Oh and the comment about how his family had been victims just as much as everyone else was so clever - it was one of those 'make you think' moments, where I actually warmed up to Draco's predicament a bit.
I also like how long Draco's attempt to find food took. You got the feeling that this was becoming a real problem for him and he wasn't going to get out of it easily, which re-enforced that whole 'rock bottom' thing I was talking about. And then it made Astoria seem like such a knight in shining armour when she came along! I loved the role reversal there - she was the one rescuing him. It was emasculating and I think that was good because it probably contributed to him later realising that he had to change.
Ok, so I'm not a fan of the whole 'love at first sight' thing, but I can accept it because she was rescuing him and being kind to him and that made it all the more believable. I liked the addition of the disapproving father...nice little complication there!
I liked the way you used the letter to his mother to show that he wants to change. It's sort of the action side of things, not just the character thinking about it, which has me hooked for future chapters, wondering what exactly he's planning to do etc. I did think the language in the letter was a bit formal, but then again Malfoy always was a bit poncey and I suppose it's very plausible that he would speak and write to his parents in a more formal tone.
As I said before, your writing is just fantastic, I love the choice of words, your deliberate characterisation and very vivid descriptions - I could see everything quite clearly in my mind. I only feel sorry for you that my story isn't anywhere near as good as this!
I'm really looking forward to the next chapter :)
Author's Response: Hi, there!
Hmmnnn... Not sure I'm trying to turn anyone into a Draco fan with this. He's still a bit of a ponce, with a lot of the same prejudices he held before the war. But to me he definitely changed a lot between the end of OotP and the end of DH. I started exploring the change with a story called Marked that covers the aftermath of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. And since Jami begged and begged for a story about how he and Astoria fell in love, this seemed like the next logical thing to try.
I definitely wanted the beginning of this chapter to have a very ragged, disoriented feel to it. Draco is at a very low point in his life, as you say. I'm not sure I'd call it "rock bottom" because I actually imagine he was closer at certain points during the war. But during the war he really didn't have the option of getting better. Here, he finally does.
I think that Draco and his mother were victims of a sort. They never asked to be thrust into the middle of Voldemort's attempt to seize power. Lucius was just an idiot, although he would up getting in far deeper than he ever intended, I think.
When you're stumbling around drunk, it always takes forever to find something to eat. I remember that clearly from college. What I was hoping to show with Astoria's appearance wasn't necessarily "love at first sight" but rather having Draco see something that he suddenly realizes that he wants very much. At this stage of the story, Astoria isn't as much of a person to him as she is a symbol of a life where somebody cares enough about him to help him out and try to understand the issues that he's living with. Obviously that changes, but for now he isn't really in "love at first sight."
The letter was one of those "moment of clarity" things that most alcoholics go through when they're at the bottom. He knew that he might not feel the same when the morning rolled around, so he felt like he had to do something to make sure that he didn't fall right back into his old ways. It definitely was on the formal side, but I tend to think that's how upper-class pure bloods write.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story! For some reason, this one has been a lot harder to write than my earlier ones, so it's good to know that it's turning out alright. Thanks for the awesome review!