Hey! Here for your requested review from the forums!
This was another amazing chapter and I really enjoyed it. I read it a couple days back (when I did my previous review) but thought it'd be better to review this as a 'reviewer' than a 'reader' (if that makes sense) so I was waiting for you to re-request, and I am glad you did.
So anyway, I just re-read the chapter and it has made me really sad; so many feels! I think you have done a brilliant job expressing Simon's pain and I could really connect with him, which is great.
The beginning part didn't seem rushed at all, in fact I quite enjoyed it as it was well-written. The fear, the panic, the confusion, the uncertainty, you showed it all really well. It made me so sad that they didn't realise where they were being taken to until it was too late to run (or disapparate or whatever). What was worse was their cluelessness or their faith - they felt like they were French citizens who fought for their country so nothing could happen to them. It was exactly like how I'd expect them all to react. Especially towards the end (of that memory), Simon's behaviour and thoughts are quite believable. All in all, I think you portrayed the entire situation in a very realistic manner, so good job.
As I said previously, you described Simon's pain beautifully. The way he woke up from the nightmare/memory, and his train of thought afterwards, really conveys the turmoil going inside him and I just wanted to reach out to him and give him a big hug.
The direction of his thoughts definitely suit the context, the way he thinks back to his family and friends (and Johanna). Reading the part about Johanna's father being dead and her being called a *insert non-12+ word here* by the Nazis made me really angry and sad at the same time, and I wonder if it will be further explored in future chapters (from Johanna's point of view). Reading about Simon's dad's death and his uncertainty of his mother being alive was also very touching.
The part about Astrid going away was again a poignant moment and you wrote it well. I loved the 'group' (from now on I shall call them that) fighting like children over the piece of parchment. As I said in my previous review, you really do know how to include some light scenes amidst all the darkness which is remarkable, and something that I love about your writing. The scene made me smile, it was really cute, and then the aftermath immediately had me anxious for Astrid. I do hope the Minister doesn't try anything funny with her.
Anyway, I liked the ending bit too, how it is a change of setting and such. The way you described the school was good and I liked Astrid's reflection later on. It will be interesting how she deals with this stuff further on! As for your concern, her reaction seems appropriate enough to me, and not too distanced at all. You seem to be doing a wonderful job fleshing out your characters and portraying their emotions. It's great how I seem to be connecting with your characters too =)
Anyway, I don't want to ramble further so I'll just wrap up by saying that this was another great chapter and I really liked it. The story is interesting me more and more as I continue reading, so please keep writing =) The only little CC I have to offer you is that I'd have perhaps liked a little more detail and description in the last two scenes as they seemed a tad too rushed - more emotion, more talk, more thought/reflection would have been an enhancing touch.
Apart from that, great job!
P.S. Feel free to re-request! (And apologies for the long length of this review)!
Author's Response: Hi AD!
Simon's sections are so painful to write. The horrors he represents, still today, are something I don't understand -- how does a human being put another through that? How come no one ever said anything? It's arrogant of me to say this, but I feel like I have to write Simon's sections as a reminder of what happened, and I'd feel horribly guilty if I glazed over that aspect of the war.
Astrid leaving is quite worrying indeed! You're absolutely right to hope the Minister doesn't try anything with her, because he is quite a fishy character.
I'll definitely keep in mind to try and include thoughts and talk more -- finding the balance between action and narrated internal monologue is something I'm still struggling with.
Thank you so much for the review, and no worries for it being long (I'd hardly complain about that)!