Hi, hi! Here for Day 12 of the 12 Days of Reviewing challenge! Can you believe it's finally over?! You're my last review I'm giving out for the challenge and I'm so happy to be handing it out to this story!
(First, though, please allow me to apologize before hand for any rambling or nonsensical sentences - it's quite late and I'm a little sleepy, but needed to review you! hehehe)
This was really very good; a wonderful portrayal of how completely a person can be affected by the trauma of war and how deeply it can change them. On the other hand, it's also an excellent example of how some people seem able to handle these situations with ease and are actually able to hold onto the person they've always been on a fundamental level, despite the fact that things around them have changed so drastically. It's two very different reactions to the same experience that we see reflected in both your versions of Hannah and Neville.
Speaking of them...
I love your version of Hannah. She's so real and so very relatable. I think that any person who has ever struggled in the path of their lives or felt less than memorable or was stuck in a job that constantly reminded them of their failure to have succeeded by now or who has simply lost hope can relate to Hannah. I know that I went through some really traumatic stuff a few years ago myself and that I've been on what feels like the very same path that Hannah has been on. I can relate to her situation with such ease, and that's a reflection of how deeply you understood her character and the effects such trauma can have on a person. In the books, before the war, she was this lovely, kind, somewhat shy Hufflepuff who was happy and sweet, but after the war she's lost so much of that warmth she once had and is instead bitter and angry and stuck and hopeless and ah! I have been exactly where she is, and still am some days. I just want to shake her and tell her not to give up and that everything will be okay someday! It's a true testament to your writing that I feel so passionately about her. :)
Neville is just such a sweety-pie! And he is so exactly what she needs; a truly good and hopeful guy with a heart of gold. I love how level-headed he's remained after his rise to fame and how sweet he is to Hannah - especially before he even recognizes who she is. As someone who once worked as a waitress, I can tell you that that sort of treatment is not always easy to come by. I thought he was quite in character and really loved how you worked a lot of Herbology and rare plant references in along side is ever-present clumsiness. He's just as lovable as ever here!
The opening paragraph was actually one of my favorites of the entire story. It started off with a poignant opening line only to end in one that really hit me hard: "The marriages of the great war heroes were all over the papers and it seemed like love was being waved in her face, as if to say, "See what you could've had if you'd been someone great!"" - Wow, what a striking moment.
"The statement was a promise, not just a token of courtesy." - I loved this one here, too. It's just such a beautifully written line that perfectly reflects Neville's kind and selfless nature.
My only real criticism came right at the close: I thought the ending felt just a bit rushed, is all. It was really only this line that felt a bit out of place: " It was enough to make her believe in love again, or at least the distant possibility of it." It struck me as odd simply because throughout the entire story that precedes this moment, we don't really see Hannah undergo any sort of thought process in which she experiences even the beginning stages of a newly-forming crush, let alone enough of an emotional shift to warrant the word 'love'. I think if you either incorporated developing feelings throughout the story or changed that last line to maybe something simply about hope rather than reigniting her belief in true love, that it would fit much better! Does that make sense? It's a little late, I might be rambling nonsense at you, in which case I apologize! :-p
Also, I just wanted to point out that your story information says that this is both a one-shot and a work in progress, so I assume one of those is not in fact correct, as they seem to cancel each other out. ;-)
Overall, this was thoroughly enjoyable! I'm so glad I got the chance to read it! It's a really perfect blend of angst and fluff, and it felt very real and relatable which I appreciated greatly! Really well done! *hugs*
Author's Response: Hihihi!! I'm sorry that I've taken AGES to respond to this lovely, lovely review! I'll try to make up for it with a thoughtful response (if I can stop squeeing, that is!).
Aggh, any review is a good review, and I'd like to thank you a million times for staying up to write such a great one. Seriously, it made my night when I saw it! :)
Aw, thank you so, so much! I'm so glad that you liked Hannah and that you thought she was portrayed in a realistic manner! Of course, I'm not at all happy that you can relate to her--I'm sorry that you had a bad time in your life. :( But bad things, though we don't know why they happen, sometimes make us stronger people. I think that the war made Hannah a stronger person, even though she lost her mother, because it taught her that life goes on. She still misses her mother, though, and that's why she's a bit cynical, which is super sad.
Neville Longbottom was never really on my radar when I read the Harry Potter books for the first time (many years ago, hahaha). I was fascinated by the Trio and I think I had a huge crush on Harry at one point... But I recently reread the books as a sort of marathon reading session, and because I had started this story prior to my marathon, I paid a lot more attention to Neville. I saw that he wasn't lame in the first six books and then suddenly SUPERCOOL in DH. He was always doing things for other people and looking out for the Trio. He's brave, no question about that, but instead of being a loud, in-the-spotlight character, he prefers to do good stuff in the background. He's always been a sweetheart. ;) I think that he would never be mean to a waitress. The restaurants of the world need more Neville Longbottoms as customers. :D
Aw, striking?!?! You're so, so sweet. I didn't mean for that line to be especially powerful, but I was really trying to convey the bitterness and loneliness that Hannah felt. It makes me SO happy to hear that it had an impact. :)
Yeah... That line is sort of out of place. The story was for a Love Quote challenge, and towards the end I felt like I should put some "romance-y stuff" in to sort of justify the quote. It was probably a little too quick--I totally agree with you!! I will definitely take your suggestions when I go back and edit this!
The reason that the one-shot isn't marked "Completed" is because I felt like it wasn't very complete when I posted it. I needed to post it to meet the deadline for the challenge, but I wanted to come back to it and work on it some more to polish it up. Actually, I might turn it into a short story or novel if I find the time! :)
Thank you so, so, so much for your marvelous review. It made me smile so much. :D