Hey there - sorry about the slight delay in getting this to you - but I'm here with your requested review! :)
Okay, so I have to tell you that I lovelovelove stories about minor characters, so the fact that Padma is the protagonist of this is enough to make me pretty happy already.
I love the way you've created her, though. We really know very little about her - that she was a prefect, that she was Parvati's twin, she's a Ravenclaw, and she liked parties and dancing, and is considered by Seamus to be one of the prettiest girls in their year. It doesn't say anything much about personality, though, so it's a fairly clean slate. That being said, I think what you've done with her really fits in to what we already know. A straight-O student, clean school record, suddenly discovering bravery when it's needed - she's a great character, and you've made her interesting. I liked how you had her reflect on little changes, like Hagrid being gone, because it added to the tension in the story and to her character.
Draco! I really like what you've done with him. He's obviously on the way to changing - he's exhausted, he's becoming disillusioned - but he's still /him/ if you know what I mean. He's still arrogant, he still looks down on others, he's still rude and a bit thoughtless, and clever. But yeah, I like that you've got him stuck in this sort of limbo, and that you made him just explain what the Iron Maiden's for and about it, even though he didn't need to. It's really great characterisation, and something I haven't seen all that often, so kudos to you ;)
The plot was great... I've never thought of the DA using Polyjuice Potion - but now that you used it in this, I'm sitting here thinking 'why didn't I think of that? Of course they would!'. It seems so obvious now, lol. But yeah, it's a great idea - and the mentions of Neville's Herbology skills and Michael and Terry hiding in the RoR with Neville, it just really brings home the scale of what they're doing. Added to the mention of the IM, it really makes it so clear, without needing much embellishment or horror or anything, that they're kids fighting a war in a school, when they shouldn't have to, you know? And that's powerful. You've done it so simply, it almost sort of slips in unnoticed. It's fabulous.
Ah, flow is perfect... slow pace at the start, then fast at the end... perfect... I swear I started reading faster when Padma started duelling Draco, lol. Seriously, though, there is nothing in this which I can find wrong... absolutely nothing.
This was amazing, yeah. Nothing really I can say about it otherwise... characterisation was flawless, pace was brilliant, plot was excellent... I'm running out of synonyms for 'great'! :) Really, really enjoyed it - feel free to re-request in the future! :D
Author's Response: Hi! This review was definitely worth waiting for, because now I have a massive grin on my face!
Minor characters are my favourite, too, particularly when writing, because there's so much to explore with them. Actually, I think out of all the stories on my author's page, Draco is the most major!
Eek, I'm so pleased you liked the characterisation of Padma! We know so little about her from the books and she's rarely written in FF, so I really enjoyed writing about her. You picked up on all the little details I wanted people to notice about her, and it's great to know she was an interesting character!
Draco was more of a challenge for me, because he's much more popular, but I'm glad you saw all the layers in him that I wanted to show. I've always seen him as quite a complex character, and I'm really happy it came through here.
The idea about the Polyjuice Potion kind of came out of the blue, but once I'd thought of it, I could definitely imagine the DA doing it! They could cause a lot of trouble that way, I imagine, and once the majority went into hiding it would have been necessary to have some sort of disguise to get around Hogwarts.
I'm seriously so flattered with this review! I genuinely can't tell you how much this means to me and how happy I am because of it - thank you so much! And I'll definitely re-request when you get a slot free!