Gaaah this challenge is going to be impossible to judge because all of these entries are so unbelievably fantastic :o If I'm being perfectly honest with you, I thought I wouldn't like this story when I saw it was a Draco/Astoria - not because I have anything against them, but because I've never really read any well-written, memorable stories about them. But this is a well-written memorable story about them and you may have officially converted me to a Draco/Astoria lover.
I'll start with the quote, since that's what this challenge is all about. I think it was absolutely perfect for this story and it really seems like you created the story around it, which is amazing. And I love that you used it with Draco because that's something I never would've thought of. I have a great deal of empathy for Draco, but this - his depression, his inability to let go of the past, Astoria's struggle to help him when she doesn't know how - really made me feel for him even more. I think, overall, your characterization in this was just excellent, with Draco and Astoria and even Narcissa and how she was so cold when she first met her but then she acknowledged just how good for him Astoria was and gah why is this so perfect.
But I think my absolute favorite part of this story is how utterly real it is. I don't know how to properly explain this, but I like that you didn't rely on over-dramatics to tell this story. There's something about the way you write that makes even the dramatic things - like burning a house down on a whim - seem realistic. The slow, normal progression of Astoria and Draco's relationship is another example; there's none of that whirlwind romance or crazy encounters that you usually read in fanfiction, and I love that. You manage to keep everything both realistically simple and realistically complex and this probably isn't making much sense but I honestly don't know what else to say except that you are brilliant. I don't know many writers that can write a real but meaningful story, but you definitely can.
And can I just say that I love the way you write Draco? I love love love that he wanders around in the middle of the night and Astoria has to find him and he has to tell her stories that she doesn't want to hear but she listens anyway. It's something I've never seen before and I think it's such an interesting way for the past to haunt Draco; I feel quite silly actually because it's honestly never occurred to me that he might feel that way after the war.
This is a little thing to comment on, but I also enjoyed how you mentioned the papers and their observance of Astoria and Draco's relationship a few times throughout this story. It's understandable that the wizarding world would follow Draco's life a little considering his surname, and especially understandable that people might react negatively to Astoria because of her relationship with him, and I think you managed to convey this in a very subtle, believable way. You didn't make it the focus of the story, as many authors would've, but I liked that you alluded to it. Again, you kept it real and not overly dramatic. Have I mentioned that I love you? ;)
This is normally about the point where I stop inflating authors' egos and bring them back to the Earth with a little bit of criticism. But this is the only criticism I have and it's just a minor typo/grammar issue:
- in, "The next day we make the papers for the fourth time; but this time we are front-page news," the semicolon should actually be a comma. Semicolons can only connect two independent sentences so they should never be followed by a conjunction. If you took out the 'but', it would work with a semicolon.
Otherwise, I didn't notice any mistakes and I think the writing here was truly spectacular. You have a charming writing style, detailed but not tedious, and - as I mentioned before - you're very good at subtly including the important things. The flow and pacing of this is perfect, and I loved how you alternated between the present and the past and then how they met in the middle because so few authors can really pull that off. On the same note, that transition from the past to the present was very seamless - somehow you manage to summarize her meeting his parents, their wedding, the honeymoon, and their move into Malfoy Manor without boring me; it's very rare that I actually enjoy the more narrative parts of a story, but I did.
So, I guess, overall, I kind of really need to check out the rest of your writing because I absolutely adore this. I want to apologize for the delay in my review and also thank you for entering my challenge, and giving me the absolute pleasure of reading and reviewing this :) You're very talented and I'm honestly flabbergasted that I'm the first person to review this.
Cherry BearAuthor's Response: Thanks so much for your review! I'm glad you liked it :)
Honestly, this is my favorite story that I've ever written. It seemed like once I had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about it just kind of flowed out... I must have been really inspired by the quote!
I was really trying to make this as normal and believable as possible, and it was fun to use Astoria because we don't know much about her. I'm really happy that you like the way I wrote Draco, I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed him.
Anyway, I feel like I've rambled on for a while now but thanks again for creating the challenge and for reading this and leaving me such a wonderful review! Report Review
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