Hi Dee! I'm really enjoying this story and wanted to leave a few reviews while I have some free time! (My boss just left for vacation and will be gone until Saturday! Woot!) ^.^
First, touching on what's come before now, I just have to tell you that I absolutely love the characters and relationships you've crafted thus far. Everyone is so very in canon and that's a really tricky thing to accomplish, especially when all four of your main characters are really well-known and well-loved. I mean, really: Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Draco? Could you have made it any harder for yourself? haha But you handle them all with beautiful accuracy. Hermione, ever the professional, fighting for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves with so much determination that her engagement falls through. (I LOVE the entire Dobby's Law thing, by the way.) Ron reacts exactly how I might expect him to. A part of me would hope that for the versions of Hermione and Ron who actually do make it in canon, Ron would learn to overcome these sorts of fits, but the way they fell apart felt very authentic and like the sort of thing that could come between a lot of couples. Harry is turning out to me one of my favorites, to be honest. I really love seeing his leadership still in tact, but with that side of professionalism, where he's not breaking the rules as he might have in school. He's so good at his job without stepping outside the lines, and he (unlike Ron) can look past his old prejudices with Draco for the sake of being a good Auror. Draco is really good, too, and he's a hard one to do right post-Hogwarts, so kudos to you. This chapter in particular showcases one of my favorite moments of him thus far, but I'll expand on that thought in a bit.
The plot of this story so far is just so great! I love the idea behind the Knights of Walpurgis and the kidnapping of Astoria! Since I read ahead, I know some of the new surprises to come, but I'll comment on those later. At this point it's simply intriguing and mysterious and exciting and original! Not to mention a perfectly plausible basis for a Draco/Hermione romance to develop.
Loretta is hilarious here. Her infatuation with Harry makes me chuckle. And Harry is so sneaky; though you have to feel a bit bad for Ron and Hermione here. hehehe
The entire scene that takes place at the Manor is great in its entirety. I love your descriptions here; I can visualize the manor and the destruction within it with ease.
Back to Draco! I love him in this section. You do a really great job at balancing his former self with his new self, especially in regards to his relationships with the trio. This line stands out: "Granger, come away from there..." because, simple as it is, it shows his formality with Hermione by calling her Granger still, as well as his commanding nature without please or thank you's or descriptions of major concern, but it still implies that what happened in that room still remains a distinct memory for him. The conversation that follows stays away from becoming too emotional, which I feel is exactly right, because regardless of what happened there for both of them, they are definitely not ready to have any discussion too in depth about it. I love how slow you're taking their relationship; it's exactly why this story is working. The other line I love is after Hermione calls his act of burying the House-Elves decent and he says, "Whatever, I couldn't exactly leave them could I?" Perfect.
This chapter ended really well, too, with the newest fight between Ron and Hermione, causing her to walk out and quit the case. Can't really blame her, can you? But I do feel badly for Ron too here; it's not an easy situation for either, though he's always quick to act immaturely when in a bad mood.
As far as I can tell, the only grammatical issue you tend to have on a semi-regular basis is with comma's before names. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
"Good morning(,) Loretta..."
Of course, immediately following that line, you do use the comma correctly when you say, "Morning, Hermione!" But I have seen the comma left out on a handful of occasions, so just keep your eyes peeled for those moments in all of your chapters! (Later in this chapter you say, "Morning(,) Harry." For consistency, I would consider revising if you get the chance - but they really are minor things, so always feel free to ignore! ^.^)
"You're not firing me(,) are you?"
"The Ministry could use more witches like you, (semi-colon, not comma) we're not going to let you go any time soon."
"We'll have to do slide-along (side-along, not slide-along)..."
"He took a firm grip of Hermione's arm, who in turn held Harry's hand, (semi-colon or start new sentence) luckily, this left Ron to hold on to Harry. Hermione squeezed her eyes shut waiting (and waited, not waiting) for the uncomfortable sensation that came with apparition passed (to pass, not passed)." - There are other ways to fix the second sentence, that's just one example; right now it doesn't quite make sense because the tenses are flip-flopped here.
"He leant past hear (her, not hear) and pulled the door closed."
"I'm not wanted around here(,) Harry."
All the little grammatical things are just tiny details and hardly take away from this great story at all. I'm really, really enjoying this so far and will try to review more chapters because you certainly deserve it! This is one of my favorite chapters, though, so I wanted to make sure to review it (I can't believe it had none before now)! I'm really looking forward to how this story progresses; both the twist and turns dealing with the search for Astoria and the development of Draco and Hermione's relationship. :-D
Author's Response: Tanya! This is like, one of the longest and nicest reviews anyone has ever left me, thank you so so much.
I can't express how happy it makes me when someone thinks that the characters I'm using are in canon, it's really the biggest compliment I can get, and the thing I worry most about, especially when writing Dramione stories. I definitely chose some challenging ones for this story, I'm not going to argue with you there haha!
I'm glad you mentioned the break up between Ron and Hermione, I've had mixed feelings about it because it's the first time I've written a break up between anyone, nevermind 2 of the main characters. I always thought even in JKR's version of events that they would argue about Hermione's work, she just can't help but throw herself into everything she does 100% and I think Ron would have wanted a far easier life after the war.
The plot is different to anything I've written so far, I'm trying to keep readers guessing and changing their mind about who is behind it and truthfully, I've changed my mind about the end result a fair few times already, I'm happy with the ending I've got planned now though :)
I'm so happy that you chose this chapter to review because it was one of my favourites so far too. I have a terrible habbit of getting myself so involved in the plot of a story that I forget to include description so I really had to focus myself to write about Malfoy Manor in this one. Plus it's the first real interaction with Draco and Hermione (again, so glad you commented on that) I really wanted them to acknowledge the events that happened in the drawing room but without their being an in-depth conversation about it, because as you said, they're definitely not there yet.
I feel bad for Ron in this too, to be honest he's a petulant teenager a lot in this story even though it was ultimately his decision for them to break up, I don't think that would mean he would find it any easier to be around Hermione.
Thank you for pointing out the errors for me too, I admit I am absolutely AWFUL with my comma use, I either over-use them or hardly have them in at all. I'll definitely go back and be more scrutinous with my editing before posting chapters.
Thank you again for this really wonderful and thoughtful review and for the recommendation on the forums too, this story might not have a ton of reviews but just one like this more than makes up for it. I really hope you continue to read and enjoy the story :)