Reading Reviews for Traitorous Hearts
183 Reviews Found

Review #1, by fwoopersong8 The Edge of Insanity

25th August 2015:
Hi Penny!
As I promised, I'm here to leave an info dump on this wonderful story.

The first thing that impressed me about Traitorous Hearts was the first three-five chapters. As I looked back, I couldn't believe that you kept me in the parlour for that long without the story getting even a bit dull. Seriously, I have a lot of respect for that. This story has been fraught with tension from end to end, which, of course, is wonderful.

I'm a deeply empathetic person. It's kind of a bad thing, actually. Makes me more of a human Jell-O than anything else. And it definitely threw me for a loop in this story. Shapeshifting from Astoria to Draco to back again was NOT comfortable as a reader, and by that I mean you did an EXCELLENT job as a writer. I connected emotionally to both characters really fast. I've always had a thing for Draco, as I tend to latch on to weaker characters and have a harder time understanding the strong ones (I'm looking at you, Harry), but Astoria has the right balance of strength and weakness to make her relatable. She isn't invincible; she makes mistakes and pays for them. Legilimency, bonding with Ginny (of all people), trying to avenge her mother. (That part was really sad, by the way. I was disappointed in Lavinia.) I especially enjoy the way she looks down at Gryffindors, because as a slightly-snobby Ravenclaw, I see them the same way sometimes.

There are so many things I could say about this story, that I don't know where to begin. I enjoy the sort-of-romance between Draco and Astoria, but I'm not sure what to expect in the end. Canonically I know where you're going, but the immediate present is different. There are so many scars to think of.

Did I detect a tad of Neville/Luna a few chapters back? That made my heart happy as well.

Draco's detachment is realistic, I think. Going through so much, he'd just glaze over and let it pass by, left with only fear. Of course I've never been part of a Death Eater army (well, this is the Internet -- you never KNOW), but I've been overwhelmed before. I know what it's like to have everything you know fall apart before your eyes while you sit there paralyzed. I know what it's like to feel so overwhelmed that you feel something in your mind shut down. To a minor degree at least -- nowhere near to what Draco must be feeling right now -- but I think it's enough to let empathy fill in a lot of the gaps.

What else did I want to say? Ah, yes. HARRY BATTING HIS EYELASHES. I loved that so much. At first there wasn't much room for humor here, but you've woven more in as the story progressed and I appreciate that. Seamus and the candy, Luna and her "pest control." And oh yeah -- Draco's confusion at Astoria's being "In the window?" That actually made me laugh out loud. Poor characters -- all of them -- they're so confused. What do we authors do to them?

As far as CC goes, I've only noticed a few errors here and there, mostly in formatting. Sometimes a new character's dialogue gets smashed up against the previous character's, making it difficult to figure out who's talking. When Mariane (it was her, right?) was talking about her vacation, some of the words had < i > smashed up against them. I'm guessing most of this is just hiccups from transferring the story from where ever you originally wrote it.

Speaking of hiccups, I applaud Slughorn. Maybe he hasn't done much, but it's definitely something. WAY something.

I know I'm terrible for not leaving reviews at the end of every chapter, but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of reading. Seriously, that's the way it was -- I didn't review because the story was that good.

Weird backfire, isn't it?

Anyway, thanks for posting this story. I enjoy the traditional style (3rd person past is NOT dead!) and the constant suspense.

Never stop writing! (Especially not now; I think a certain fandom would come after you.)

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Review #2, by fwoopersong8 Into The Sanctum

25th August 2015:
AAUGH Astoria found the way to Aberforth! That makes me happy inside. :) I've been reading this from the beginning (obviously; where else would you start?) and I'm a terrible person for not leaving reviews, but I'll write you a small novel about the inner workings of my mind once I reach the latest chapter. :)
p.s. Your chapter length is fine, actually. It never really bothers me, long or short.

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Review #3, by carry on with your knitting The Lady of Greengrass Hall

25th August 2015:
Hey Penny!

I'm here to review another chapter!
Again I loved it! It has a really interesting time to the story it's almost quite flippant and dismissive of everything but still has a cold edge to it which really makes me connect to Astoria's character! I think this is definitely one of my favourite versions I have read of her!
I also love Lavinia! She come across as a really strong independent woman who does things for herself and not to please others and she clearly has a very controlling manipulative edge which is really interesting. If live to know what she found out that got her killed! I also love that Astoria has almost become her mother in a weird way, it's an interesting comparison!
Draco was showing some of his sas that he is famous for here which is nice. I like Draco as a character and feel really sorry for him, especially as he is described as almost I'll here, I kinda want to cuddle him and tell him that everything will be okay! I'm also really looking forward to see how their relationship develops as I know they eventually marry. With such a tense and hate filled start to their interaction I'm really excited to see what happens to turn it all around!

Once again, awesome chapter and I'm already excited to review the next one tomorrow! :D

Katie :)

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Review #4, by Unicorn_Charm A Changing Tide

25th August 2015:

Oh. My. Goodness! I don't even know how to properly word right now. Excuse me for a moment. *runs off to collect self*

Ok I'm back. :p

This chapter was INCREDIBLE! Astoria is one tough chick! I love her! Like I have absolutely fallen in love with her. I mean, yeah, she has her faults I'm sure, but she's such a great protagonist. I love how snarky she is, even when in this really serious situation. "Soulless Minion Grey" love it! She's so, so, so well written!

I absolutely love that she goes after him with the poker. There was something really great about seeing her attack him without magic. It felt more desperate yet brave at the same time. And Draco was pretty much in shock. I'm sure that was the last thing he was expecting.

Oh my gosh, that part when she went to say Voldemort! Draco stopped her! He actually stopped her! Yay Draco for doing the right thing! And there was definitely a "moment" there, too. Wasn't there? They both described kind of feeling something. Wow what a way to start their story.

Their conversation on the floor was fantastic. She finally broke through some of Draco's walls. He's not all bad. I agree with her. There's a soul in there somewhere. I think he was just an easily influenced kid, with an ego too big for his body, who got in way over his head and didn't quite know how to get out. And I think she might be kind of seeing that herself.

I was impressed with how she just seemed to accept that death was coming for her. Yes, she was terrified, and later when Greyback got there, she knew she wasn't ready, but in a way she accepted that it was inevitable. And the way she only really cared about what happened to her family, if they would be ok. You are just smashing down the typical Slytherin stereotypes with her and I love every minute of it!

Ok, my heart was POUNDING when Greyback arrived. The way that you described the smell, his looks, even the drool. Holy. Moly. I was scared! Your description there was way too good. Like, I wanted a blanket to hide under! I could clearly feel Astoria's fear and disgust with him. That was so, so, so well done!

And WHAT?!? What did Draco do?! He lied! I can't even right now. I actually sat up straighter in my seat and had to re-read the sentence. I'm so happy he did that, but so scared for them both now! What on earth is going to come about because of this? Gah!! Loved every last word of this chapter!!

I noticed a small typo towards the end. She heart the front door close behind them.

I think you meant heard. :)

Penny, this chapter (well all the chapters, if I'm being real here) was amazing!! This is one of the best fics I've read in a while! So unbelievably excited to continue on! See you next chapter!!

xoxo Meg

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Review #5, by TreacleTart Into The Sanctum

25th August 2015:
Hey Penny,

I'm here for the last of our three swaps! And I'm also sad to see that I'm almost to the end of your currently posted chapters. (Politely demands that you write more.)

So Astoria is into the secret lair of Dumbledore's Army. This scene went pretty much exactly as I'd imagined it would go. When Astoria first walks into the Room of Requirements, everyone is glaring at her and wondering why a Slytherin would be there. I like that Neville steps in when prompted and quiets everyone down.

I must admit that I was so excited to see Seamus in this. He's one of my absolute favorite characters (and I'm a total Dean/Seamus shipper), so I'm glad that you included him in this piece. I could really see him growing to be useful as a D.A. member and my headcannon for him is that he later becomes a demolitions expert for the Auror's office due in part to his fantastic use of his skills during the Battle of Hogwarts. (sorry I'm rambling away here.)

The idea that Astoria is the one who figured out how to get the room to provide access to food is really cool. I always wondered how they happened across that passage and this explains it in a very believable way.

Now onto a bit of CC.

First, I think I'm remembering this correctly, but don't Luna and Dean show up right after Harry, Ron, and Ginny or somewhere around that time? I didn't think they would be back at the school three weeks before the Battle.

Also, I found a few typos in this chapter.

No, if took this risk now, it would be for her – if she took

her heartbeat as trapped in her throat – was trapped

a warm feeling buzzed and bloom in her chest. – and bloomed

or wait until your friends have my head on a pike? – should have a quotation mark at the end of this sentence

Another fantastic chapter, Penny! I really enjoy this story and enjoyed swapping with you! Let's do this again sometime soon. :D


Author's Response: Wow, you *are* almost caught up; it seems like you've gone so fast! But I have another chapter that's nearly ready to go in the queue, depending on the feedback I get back from Elise, who recently took on the task of being my beta (speaking of beta*ing, I'm getting to Atonement Is Coming soon! It's high on my to do list. But I have a big interview this week, so most of my free time is going to that. After my interview, though, I am *on* it!)

I LOVE Seamus. I love him even more since I started writing TH. He's such a fun character to write, and he'll be cropping up a lot more in the next few chapters. And I think the idea of him becoming a demolitions expert is *brilliant*!

The passage between the Hog's Head and the Room of Requirement has always been one of those things I had so many questions about. I wanted answers, and I thought it was the sort of thing Astoria would be able to manage well. For a long time, it's been a part of my headcanon that Slytherins would be particularly skilled at utilizing the Room of Requirement, because it requires precision in one's wording and is sort of like a magical contract. We know from DH that Neville develops a really good connection with the Room and figures out how to ask for the right things. I'm still planning on that being a factor, but I thought Astoria could provide some inspiration for him, to get him on the right track.

Actually, I have an answer for that first bit of CC, though I should probably put it in my author's note! I make a big effort to keep everything within canon. However, the books and the movies are both considered canon sources, and sometimes they diverge. If it doesn't much matter, I give the books priority, but sometimes I'll just pick whichever canon option works best for my story. In this case, I went with the film version. You're absolutely right that, in the book, Neville calls Dean and Luna to Hogwarts *after* Harry arrives. However, in the movie, Luna says she's returning to Hogwarts when she leaves Shell Cottage, and Dean is already there when Harry arrives. This also makes sense, as Luna and Dean are both wanted, and the only place the Snatchers would never expect to find them would be at Hogwarts.

As for the grammar stuff, thank you so much! I'm about to go through and do a bunch of edits to fix all these things you've pointed out to me. It's really just such a huge help.

Thank you so much. I always enjoy swapping with you, and every time I see more stories on your page that I want to read. Choosing is so hard! Absolutely, let's!


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Review #6, by TreacleTart An Admirable Thing

24th August 2015:
Hi Penny!

Here for another of our review swaps!

This chapter is very mellow in comparison to the last chapter. It sort of feels like the in between where everything is getting set up for some major event to occur.

I like that you gave us a few moments of Draco and his life outside in the Forbidden Forest. To me, it's almost comical trying to imagine a pretty, pampered boy like Draco camping in the woods, but I suppose with everything that he's been through as of late, he's probably hardened up quite significantly. I suppose he also doesn't really have much of a choice. I enjoy the idea that he isn't happy in this situation. He isn't out getting drunk with the Death Eaters or treating it like he's at a party. Instead, he's solemn and trying to focus on memories that can provide him just the tiniest bit of solace.

I had to giggle just a little bit when Astoria is thinking about how Gryffindors are always keeping her waiting. Her thoughts about Neville are quite interesting. Often times, when he appears in fics, people keep him as the goofy, clumsy boy who's good for comic relief, but I like that you made him serious and a bit more brooding. I think war and fighting the Carrows possibly changes Neville more than any other character. There is something in him that comes alive when he's needed and when leadership is thrust upon him. It's sort of interesting really because he and Harry end up being quite similar in that regards.

I do wonder who these mysterious pounding feet that are chasing Neville belong to. Could it be one of the Carrows? Or maybe Snape? Either way, it's a good thing that they get into the Room of Requirements in time.

Now on to a spot of CC because I actually have a little bit to leave this time. If I'm being honest this chapter feels a bit like a filler. It's short, not a lot happens, and it doesn't have quite as much depth as the other chapters do. That being said, I do think it's a good idea to have a slower chapter after the intensity of the last chapter. I just personally feel that you could expand this a touch more.

As always, this story continues to be excellent. I'll be back for the next chapter in an hour or two.


Author's Response: Oh, Draco is *so* out of his depth. The last time we were with him in the camp, he had to collect *firewood*. Draco Malfoy. Camping. Ha! Yeah, this is not his kind of place, even if he has toughened up a good deal.

I feel like it's almost impossible that the Gryffindor habits wouldn't drive Astoria a bit up the wall. However, she also has some things she can learn from them (and they from her, of course).

I love the Houses--they're great fun--but one of the problems with the House system is that it does NOT promote a balanced personality. All the main traits of every House are good, but when they are concentrated like that, and so zealously upheld as the *best* trait, that's when things get a bit wonky. Daring gives way to showboating and acting before thinking; ambition gives way to greed and cruelty. When Gryffindors and Slytherins work together, however, I think they have the capacity to make a great team.

I totally agree. Yeah, I didn't want that for Neville. He was that boy for years, but I think that in DH he really comes into his own. He may still end up having a moment here and there (he's still our lovable Neville, after all), but on the whole I wanted his comic relief days to be mostly behind him. He's become a leader, someone the whole D.A. depends on, and I wanted to show that.

In my head, it was a Carrow--probably Alecto. However, it could've also been Filch.

You know, I think you're right. I had been trying for shorter chapter lengths, because one or two reviewers had mentioned that they liked that. Originally, this chapter and the next were together. I still think that might be too much, though. I'd be grateful if you'd let me know what you think about that when you get there!

I liked the idea of having a shorter chapter that was just a bit of a moment to breathe, but you're right that this is a bit too much of a filler. It's important to the overall plot of the story--the fact that Draco is viewing Astoria's memories will become significant, so there's some necessary set up here. But you're right. After all those chapters that were so action-packed, this one doesn't quite match up, and I'd like to make it better. If you have any further ideas on how I might fix that, I'd be happy to hear them. I'll look through my notes and see if I think there's anything I might expand on right there, as well.

Thanks so much, Kaitlin! You leave the best, most thoughtful and comprehensive reviews. They're really just so great and so helpful, and also incredibly encouraging. Thank you again.


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Review #7, by TreacleTart In Dark Spaces

24th August 2015:
Hi Penny!

I'm here for another one of our review swaps! I must apologize in advance because this review will probably contain a significant amount of shouty words and capital letters. It's probably also going to be all over the place and out of order. Sorry.

Let me first start by saying...




Okay...end excited shouting and now on to a real bit of a review.

As you've probably gathered by my exclamations above, I did indeed suspect that the boy in the closet was Neville. I think Neville is the only person Ginny would trust enough to spill the secret about Astoria to.

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in Astoria when she told him that she had no interest in helping them. That being said, I also understand where she's coming from. She's already risked her families life once offering Ginny some help. What incentive does she have to do it again?

When Astoria was sitting at the dinner table trying to force conversation with the other Slytherins, I kept thinking to myself, this isn't her. She isn't one of them. She is something special and then she proves that in stunning fashion (but here I go getting ahead of myself again).

What happened to poor Amara is just so awful. I have never heard of Boggarts transforming into so many shapes, but I wouldn't put it past the Carrows to have somehow enchanted it for their evil purposes. Watching Amara opening the box repeatedly until she just couldn't do it anymore was horrendous. I think everyone that had any sense of a soul realized that the punishment was far too extreme. And then the kicking of her knee at the end. I seriously shuddered reading that because I did actually break my knee quite severely once, so I could feel the sensation and here the bone crunching sound as you described it. Yikes!

Que Shouty Words:


Seriously, I cheered when this all went down. I think I might possibly have been as surprised as Amycus was. But the thing is, I knew that Astoria had it in her all along. There's something in the way that you've characterized her that's made me believe that she's courageous from the get go. Her unwillingness to participate up until this point has been a courageous act in itself. She's trying to save her family from being punished and that is a noble thing. But I'm glad that she's hit the point where enough is enough. I seriously can't wait to see the clever schemes that she comes up with and how she works within the D.A.

And what a moment of brilliance for Slughorn. When you pointed out that Minerva's seat was empty, I felt like that was really ominous. I was certain that things would get out of hand and there would be no one there to save the students. BUT THEN SLUGHORN STANDS UP AND PUTS THE SITUATION IN CHECK! I think that was possibly the most surprising part of the entire chapter. I mean in cannon we see that he fights the Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts, but he's never really known for his bravery. It just sort of bursts out of him in spurts. Seriously, this was brilliant!

And finally, I absolutely love that Slughorn's momentary bravery is what pushes Astoria across the line. The idea that she can't be more of a coward than Horace Slughorn actually made me chuckle just a little. It was sort of a nice light moment, but there was a lot of depth hidden in it. There is a not so subtle shift in Astoria and I truly cannot wait to see what it brings.

As always, your writing is fantastic. The way you weave words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into stories is truly brilliant. This is easily one of my favorite stories on the site.

And as far as typos or things that I might be able to critique in this particular chapter, I don't have much. The writing was very clean and honestly, I was much too caught up in the excitement to be paying attention for typos. I did notice one tiny typo, but that's it.

The blood was pounding in her hears – in her ears

Another fantastic story! I wish I wasn't at work at the moment or I would rush right over for the next chapter instantly! Either way, I'll be back very soon to read it.

I know I always say good work, but this chapter was truly something special.


Author's Response: Kaitlin. This review. I don't even *know* how to respond. I feel like I should try to, like, walk away for a minute and gain some CONTROL of my EMOTIONS, but I also want to answer it as quickly as possible because it is just so, so kind and wonderful and...argguhsdlkf!

Whew. Okay. Okay, I got this.


The second scene in this chapter is one of my favorites in the whole story, so it means so much to me that you loved it.

It's totally disappointing when Astoria refuses Neville. It disappointed *me* to write it, and I was worried that frustrated readers might give up on her. But I just didn't feel I could write it any other way and be true to who Astoria is as a character. She *hates* putting herself in danger. She thinks through *everything*. And she and her whole family have just barely escaped death. No matter how I spun it, I just couldn't see her immediately jumping to Neville's aid. But you're right; she does have courage. Astoria can be remarkably brave. However, I think it costs her more to be courageous than it does the Gryffindors, who have daring and impulsiveness as some of their primary traits.

The Amara thing was super dark for me. It was both easy to write, because once the scenario was in my mind I could picture just how it would go down, and *really* hard to write, because it was just so *sick*. But I think that the Carrows are sadists, and I think that there aren't many limits on what they would do. Things are definitely becoming dire.

The Boggart thing was definitely a creative liberty, but it was the piece of torture I felt fit best--something more creative and visceral and humiliating than a mere Cruciatus Curse.


I really loved this part because it shows who Astoria is at her core. Beneath all this control, and, frankly, beneath her mother's training, she has an incredibly strong hatred for cruelty and a very real desire to protect the weak. It's strong enough to make wandless magic burst out of someone who prides herself on self-control.

Astoria has been raised all her life to be dispassionate, to observe and not take part, to separate herself from others. But this war challenges all that, and Astoria may be discovering that that isn't the type of person she wants to be. She's been forced into this mold, but she has too much genuine compassion in her personality to remain in that form forever. It will continue to be a struggle to put herself and her family in danger, but she is at the point now where *something* has to be done.

SLUGHORN! I KNOW, RIGHT?! That was one of my favorite twists, because you don't really think of him having it in him. However, I think that Slughorn has to be going through a very similar process to Astoria, in DH. He goes from being a man who will do anything to avoid danger to personally dueling Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts, along with Kingsley and McGonagall (it's only mentioned in one quick line, but when I was re-reading that nearly made me cry because SLUGHORN!). And when everyone assumed he had fled, he had actually gone for reinforcements that changed the tide of the battle. So I think of this as one of his turning points, as well. Because for all his faults, I think Horace Slughorn has always been someone who genuinely cares about (at least some of) his students. I LOVED giving him that moment.

Heehee. I'm glad you liked the "can't be more of a coward" line! I enjoyed that one, too. I thought a little lightness was needed, there at the end.

Thank you sooo much. I cannot tell you how much that means to me, truly. I hope you will continue to love the story as it goes forward.

And thanks so much for the CC!

And thank you for such a lovely, lovely review! :D


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Review #8, by carry on with your knitting An Unwelcome Visitor

24th August 2015:
Hi penny! :)

I'm here for the review swap and the first of what will be many reviews now that I have found your wonderful story again :)

It was lovely to reread the first chapter again and I fell in love all over again! I love the way that you write as Astoria by including her thought process but don't say 'I' all the time, it has a really nice subtlety. I also love that it is written in a way I feel a pure blood like Astoria would have been bought up and fought to behave. The language you use is crisp and proper and it really allows the reader to get inside her head!

I adore your descriptions! Especially if her house: everything seems so beautiful but also has a sad quality too it. It reminds me to the phrase 'money can't by you happiness.' I also think this is added to by the fact it's just Astoria and Draco in the house, which for me exaggerated how large the house felt and almost made it fell hollow and empty, which I guess reflects both he characters in different ways; Draco because he has chosen the wrong path and Astoria because she has to pretend to be someone she's not. Which leads me to my next point, I love that this story shows that not all Slytherins behave awefully! Astoria clearly hates the idea of the death eaters openly in her thoughts and the struggle of portraying something completely different on the outside must be really hard, it show how strong of a person she is!

The relationship between Astoria and her mother at the start is really quite touching and adds a sadness by the end of the chapter when we find out she has died and likely because of the death eaters. It obvious they were close if her mother told her everything. Astoria must had been a much needed outlet for her mother which is a really interesting level to the story as Astoria is just a child and makes me think her mother must have been incredibly lonely, probably Astoria is too! They parallel each other which is a really cool tech night you've used!

I did notice one tiny typo, youve written 'took in all the minute detail' so I don't know if that was meant to be 'minor details' ? But other than that it was pleasure to read it again and I look forward to reviewing your other chapters!

Katie :)
(Carry on with your knitting)

Ps sorry if there is a load of typos I did this from my phone :')

Author's Response: Hey Katie!

I really like writing in the third person for this story. I know there's some technical term for a third-person narrator who only knows what's in one or two people's heads, but I can't think what it is right now. Anyway, it's a style I'm really fond of, especially for my purposes here. You're right, for me that's one of the biggest problems that can arise in first person--sometimes there are so many "I's" that it's just distracting! But third person omniscient doesn't really work for a mystery, because I don't really want the audience to know more than Astoria and Draco do. Third person limited (*that's* the term, I think--thank you, Google!) is a better fit for this kind of story.

Thank you! I really love writing the descriptions. I have a lot of fun with them, and I know the ones in Greengrass Hall were some of my favorites to write. It *is* a sad place. It's hard to imagine it happy, at this point, after everything that happened with Astoria's mother, and her father going mad. Even if Daphne was around to help, I think it would be a pretty lonely place.

That's a really interesting thought, that the house is a reflection of the protagonists! I like it! You're right, there's a lot of emptiness in both of them.

YES!!! Exploring the idea of what it is to be a Slytherin is one of the main reasons behind my writing this fic. It always bothered me that, in the books, Slytherin House was almost always depicted as "evil". I know Harry was biased, but still. And then I gave it all even more thought when I was sorted into Slytherin myself on Pottermore. None of the Slytherin qualities are inherently bad--like every other House, they become problematic when taken to an extreme. But cunning, cleverness, ambition? Think of all the fairy tales and folktales where those are viewed as a hero's qualities! I really wanted to have a heroine who came across clearly as a Slytherin, but who also had really good qualities, and who would grow a lot over the course of the story.

Thank you. That snippet at the beginning becomes even more important as the story goes on. Astoria's relationship with her mother was complicated. She believed that Lavinia told her everything, until she found out that that wasn't at all true. Lavinia was keeping several important secrets to herself. And I think that makes Astoria feel betrayed almost as much as anything else, really. They definitely were close, though. And you're right--Lavinia really depended on Astoria, because there was no one else who could give her the praise she needed and wanted. Lavinia raised her daughter to be the perfect confidante, and to be the sort of person who would appreciate Lavinia's particular skills.

CC! Anytime you have that, I am so glad to hear it! I find it super helpful. However, in this case, minute isn't meant to be like "minute", as in 60 seconds; it's minute like [my-newt], which is a synonym for tiny. I think that's what you were asking about, but if I misunderstood your CC, please let me know.

Thank you so much for this lovely review, and for your wonderful message yesterday that is still warming my heart when I think about it. And thanks for the swap!


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Review #9, by Unicorn_Charm The Stolen Truth

24th August 2015:

My heart! It was racing that entire chapter! Oh my goodness there was just so much tension and you just knew that something was about to happen. I have no words. I'm just... gah!

This whole dance back and forth between Astoria and Draco had been so great to read. The way that you are able to create this heart pumping atmosphere in such a quiet setting is remarkable. I was seriously on the edge of my seat this entire chapter!

Yeah, Draco is definitely a bit intimidated by her. He just was well admits it to himself in the first half of this chapter. She's good, Astoria. She's really good at controlling her emotions (most of the time) and seems to have an answer for everything. It's almost like she's a female version of Draco, and I think that scares him as much as it impresses him. It's so interesting to read!

I think he's unconsciously beginning to feel something for her. He's definitely admiring her face as much as he seems to be studying it. And the fact that he was feeling a bit soft towards her, softer than he has for other he's interrogated at least, says something as well.

I'm so scared for her! From when he first mentioned her name being spoken at the Weasley's until he read her mind, I'm a nervous wreck! And when she asked if he was going to torture her, I was so sad for her. It just came across like, "so this is it then?" to me. :( I would love to know what Draco thought in that moment. After reading your description of his face when she asked.

Ugh and now he knows! What is she going to do? What is he going to do?? I'm dying here! And then you give us that little snippet from the next chapter!

Love it! Still loving it and I'll continue to love it! *worshippy* Great work my dear! On to the next chapter! ♥

xoxo Meg

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Review #10, by Unicorn_Charm The Malediction Perfidious

24th August 2015:
Hey Penny! Back with your next review!

This was amazing! This story is amazing! Your writing is amazing! I'm just in complete awe of it!

It was so interesting see Draco's POV in the beginning section of this chapter. He knows something is off, but he doesn't seem to exactly be able to prove that she's lying. He's also kind of intimidated by her, isn't he? I just loved reading his assessment of her through his eyes. And who is coming?! Why did his Mark burn? What is going to happen? I want to know!

Pansy is such cow. I hate that girl so much. How could anyone be so cool and nonchalant about a housemate of theirs quite clearly suffering in front of them? What a *words I can't say because they're not 12+* Bah! And her sister seems just lovely. Didn't care too much, did she?

I love how you showed us that it was Snape that helped heal her, but didn't flat out tell us. You have a feeling that it's him, but you're not quite sure until you read the part about the oily hair. That was really well done. :)

Yeah, anything that scares Poppy, you know has to be had. Yikes. That spell sounded terrible. And to thing it was her own mother. Just awful.

I really am enjoying the interactions between Ginny and Astoria. They're like two sides of the same coin. I love it. Both so similar, yet also different. And the whole, "I despise you, too," little exchange was pretty funny.

The chocolate is brilliant! That is just pure genius that they would have codes and messages on candy, because that really is so not suspicious. Fantastic! And that's great that they were able to save those people and no one was really hurt.

Just a phenomenal chapter. Your writing is so, so wonderful to read. I didn't even realize that this was 7000+ words while reading it, because it just had me so sucked in and engaged the entire time. There was not one point that I though, "Ugh, is this chapter over yet?" I wanted it to keep going!

I am more and more impressed, awed and in love with each chapter. I can't wait to keep going! Love it! ♥

xoxo Meg

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Review #11, by AlecJamesCaius_ A Dangerous Revelation

23rd August 2015:
3/3 of our swap for now! I meant to review this one sooner, but Real life really got in the way. And it was not pleasant.

This chapter showed a lot of Astoria's character. Ginny was portrayed well, and I liked the dynamic between them. I really think Ginny was like that during her 6th year!
Haha the end bit really reminded me of Snape. "No one will find out about this. Ever." It felt like you drew that parallel on purpose?
Still, you continue to have close to none apparent spelling/grammar mistakes! Good job!

I'm really tired, so I'll have to stop this review now... I hope that's ok. Sorry it wasn't more detailed!

As soon as you feel like swapping again, don't hesitate to contact me!


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Review #12, by TreacleTart Behind the Bleeding Walls

22nd August 2015:
Hey Penny!

Back for the third chapter in our swap! And let's be real, because I love this story and I need to know what happens next.

Something that really stood out for me in this chapter is how brilliantly you characterized Pansy and Daphne. In cannon, Pansy is always cruel, but you give her so much depth with her callous comments. I could very clearly imagine her sitting in the common room like a princess on her throne, tossing out salacious gossip and basking in the feeling of superiority. It's just perfect characterization. Then you have Daphne who is that anxious friend sitting at her side hoping that Pansy's golden light will shine brightly enough to illuminate her too. The part where Astoria felt that she could feel her tail wag painted that picture so well.

When Astoria goes out for her wanderings I knew that something was going to happen, but for some reason I didn't think it would necessarily be bad. I don't know how to explain it, but there's something in the tone of that portion of that story that comes off reassuring. It isn't a bad thing, but I did find that it took away from the surprise of having the actual thing happen.

As for who it is that grabbed her, I'm going to hazard a guess that it's Neville. I've always imagined Neville as being close to Ginny, particularly during the Carrow's reign at Hogwarts. If my guesses are any good, I'm thinking that Ginny either told him previously that if anything happened to her, he should contact Astoria...or after Ginny went into hiding she sent word that Astoria was friendly to their cause. Either way, I think Neville is there to assure Astoria that Ginny is alive, pass on a message to her, and possibly try to get more information from her. But then again, I could be completely wrong. Maybe it's Seamus. He's also a Gryffie and still at school while this is all happening.

Draco's experience in the forest was intriguing. I think this is the first time that I've seen someone address what happened prior to the attack on Hogwarts from the Death Eaters side. It's amazing how like a muggle army they are in their preparations. They've camped out. They're planning their attack. They have the Death Eaters split into regiments with leaders.

The mood in the camps seems really tense. Draco's observations about his aunt, his mum, and really everyone around him are very shrewd. Also, even though Rudolphus was only present for a few seconds, I felt like I got a really clear picture of who he was. Him standing there with his shoulders slumped in defeat as his wife storms off was really good.

I don't have too much to offer in the way of CC. Just two tiny things.

the silence ofeggshells afraid to be broken. – space between of and eggshells

Probably that was another reason she wasn’t a good person, but she was what she was.
- Just a suggestion, but I would take off the word Probably at the beginning of the sentence. It reads awkwardly, but it also comes right after Astoria says that she’s grateful to be alive even if someone else is dead.

You continue to amaze me with the high quality of your writing. This story is fantastically complex and I feel like you've done a brilliant job of fleshing out even the most minor character. Good job!


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Review #13, by TreacleTart The Writing On the Wall

22nd August 2015:
Hi Penny!

Back for review number 2 of our review swap!

Way to set an ominous tone. This chapter in and of itself was pretty light being that it was mostly memories of Ginny and Astoria having somewhat of a friendship, but both the beginning and the end made it much harsher and darker than that. Not to mention the morbid little jokes peppered throughout this. Every time I felt a little bit of happiness break through, something sad would break through and drag me back to reality. That works really well for this type of story.

The scene with Astoria and Ginny and the writing on the wall was really interesting. I absolutely loved that you made Ginny vulnerable for a few minutes. In the books, she's fierce and wild and out of control at times, but here you make her human and the way you analyze how she responded to being possessed was brilliant. Great characterization there. I also thought her insecurities about Harry really make you realize that she is in fact actually a young girl. It's surprisingly normal when you think about everything that's happening.

You stupid, thickheaded girl, I wish you a paper-cut! – Do not underestimate the pain of a paper cut. Those things hurt! I died when I read this line. Nice to see a bit of humor in the midst of all the feelings.

I thought that this chapter added a bit more depth to Astoria too. She's still calculated and cunning, but you give her just a touch of warmth that I've only really felt when she talks about her father and their house elf. It's sort of nice to see her forming this tentative friendship with Ginny..or whatever it is you want to call it.

The way that you chose to end this chapter was perfection. It was very short, but super effective. In fact, I think that had you tried to drag it out any longer than it was, it actually would've lost it's effectiveness. I agree with Astoria in this case. I think her instincts are right and something awful is coming, not just for her, but for everyone. She's going to have to stay on top of her game if she wants to keep her family alive.

Just the tiniest touch of cc:

The odds were good that would be able to sit alone – she would be able

as though the Ginny had broken an appointment with her. – take the word the out

Once again, another lovely chapter in what is increasingly one of my favorite stories on this site. You are a fantastic writer and you should be very pleased with the tale that you are spinning.


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Review #14, by TreacleTart A Family Affair

22nd August 2015:
Hi Penny,

I'm here for the first of our three review swaps! And as always, I'm so excited to get back to reading this. I can't tell you how much I adore this story.

Astoria does really seem shaken by her encounter with Draco. I suppose that she should consider herself lucky, all things considered, but I feel like she's still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I could see that it would be really hard to trust that Draco isn't going to betray her or backstab her at some point.

It was interesting meeting her father for the first time. He was quite a bit different than I had imagined based on previous descriptions. Less hardened, much warmer, and much less prejudiced. I really enjoyed his speech about Muggle writing and how muggles are remarkable for having survived so long without magic. It was a very nice piece of characterization.

The snippet of Draco after the Trio have escaped was a nice way to tie everything back together. I absolutely adore the way you've written Draco. You've made him far more conflicted and deep in this than he ever seemed in the book, which is great. I always felt that there was so much potential for him to sort of redeem himself or that he was a lot more than we were allowed to see, so it's nice to see you expand that concept a bit.

I also thought that the pace of this story was a nice break from the constant action of the previous chapters. I'm in awe of the battle of wits and snappy remarks, but this was nice because we got a chance to see a softer version of Astoria who's let her guard down a bit. Good choice to add this chapter here.

I do have a small bit of CC for you.

mind was a tongue worrying a sore tooth to soothe it where only a drill would do. – So I only point this out because it’s a Muggle phrase. At one point in HP, Hermione mentions that her parents are dentists and no one has any clue what she’s talking about. To me, it seems a little out of place to have Astoria thinking of it that way because I doubt that wizards drill teeth. Maybe where a potion or a spell would do??

It was a proper rabbit hole, to be sure. – This also seems out of place to me because it’s an Alice And Wonderland reference or at least that’s where the phrase comes from. Perhaps Astoria read it as a child and that’s why she uses the phrase, but it just caught my attention because it isn’t something I would expect her to think. (although I suppose after her fathers revelations about his reading habits that might be a bit more negotiable)

more people ought to be conserved with Muggle conservation, - concerned with Muggle conservation

“just below to your great-great-grandmother’s portrait.” – take the word to out

witch,” he said, shaking his head. She was positively ancient – I think you’re missing a set of quotation marks in this. I believe it should be: he said, shaking his head. “She was positively ancient…

Anyway, this was another excellent chapter my dear! Your writing as always is superb and the way you are weaving this tale has me at the edge of my seat. I'll be back for the next chapter later this evening.


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Review #15, by AlecJamesCaius_ The Lady of Greengrass Hall

22nd August 2015:
Back again! Especially since you dared me to, here's 2/3 of our review swap!

Firstly, I just wanted to take a bit of time to response to your author response to my first review.
I wanted to thank you for the response overall, since you cleared out a couple of things I brought up, and also for the quickness.
I'm glad you understood were I was coming from -- I was hoping that my comparison to Hermione having big breasts would be enough -- and I'm believing you if you say Draco could be above average in height. I don't recall though.
I realize I was assuming a bit by drawing a possible comparison between you and Astoria in liking tall men a lot, but gladly you perfectly understood my reasoning; I assumed it since you mentioned Draco's height so much and so positively.
I have to disagree on writing Astoria being the same as writing Next Gen. With NG, you have a lot of family/romantical relationships to go of off, with Astoria you've got nothing. Also, with NG you have personalities to go of off, with characters like James II or Fred. With Astoria, nothing.
Basically her one defining characteristic is that she ended up marrying Draco -- I'm pretty sure that's it.

But now on to the actual review!!

What a bloody great chapter! This chapter got me in to the story!!
I liked how you wrote this one almost like a fairy tale or an old children's book -- or maybe an old Disney movie. You get my drift.

Lavinia's back story was very interesting and well written! You brought up several interesting points and just like her youngest daughter, she seems quite like a strong independent Pureblood woman! Tieing her back story in with canon was well done, and it all made sense. Letting a spy go into battle indeed sounded fishy, her than falling of her broom and later discovering it wasn't so much the 'falling of the broom'... Because she was murdered. Murdered, by the people she worked for. This greatly ties in with how you started the story, about secrets having to be KEPT. Because if they aren't, you can end up like Lavinia.

I'm really excited to know what exactly happened to Lavinia! And Astoria is planning to bring the death eaters down? :o How??
How exciting!! I've got nothing but praise for this chapter! I sure do hope we'll continue this swap after ch3!
Oh, and I have to commend you for lack of grammar/spelling mistakes.

Next review can be expected soon!


Author's Response: Hey there!

I did understand where you were coming from, and I'm glad you pointed it out to me. It's exactly the kind of thing I want to fix in my revisions. I don't really know that it's quite the same thing as if a man were ogling Hermione's breasts--that's automatically sexual in nature, and height doesn't have that same connotation. However, it was certainly mentioned overmuch, to the point that when I re-read it I am uncomfortable with it. I'm happy you pointed it out, because now I can fix it.

Yeah, I do understand. I just caution you to be careful in suggesting that the writer is inserting things because they find them attractive. I get why it came up--I really do--but some people would find that offensive. I know you didn't mean it that way, though.

You definitely have very little to go on when writing Astoria. It's a bit more than an OC, but you're right that it is *more* similar to an OC than a Next-Gen, when I consider it further. We know Astoria's family are members of the Sacred 28--the "real" purebloods. And we know that she has a sister named Daphne who is two years older. And, of course, we know that she marries Draco. There are assumptions that can be drawn from all those things. But, in the end, those are the only "hard" facts, and none of them come from the books, but rather from interviews with J.K., so exactly how much of that is considered canon is definitely up for debate.

(By the way, I wanted to say that i'm impressed that you're writing in your second language. That's quite difficult. I speak a second language pretty fluently, but I still don't know that I'd try to write a novel in it. That's so fantastic!)

I'm glad you liked the chapter! Lavinia definitely bit off more than she could chew, and her death *is* super fishy.

How is Astoria planning to bring the Death Eaters down, or at least make them take a hit? Well, I can't reveal that. But chapter 3 does. :D

My reading list is crazy long right now, between the Dobbys and the Silver Scales (Slytherin awards), but I'll still be doing review swaps on occasion, so when I get a chance we can see if we can make that work.


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Review #16, by AlecJamesCaius_ An Unwelcome Visitor

21st August 2015:
Here for the multi swap!

Nice little intro with the part about secrets. You set up a rather mysterious vibe. I never read Astoria, because in my opinion she's such an incredibly minor and unimportant character that reading her would be the same as reading an OC character, that I'd just rather read about an OC in its entirety. I don't have anything against her though and your Astoria is different from most and she seems very likeable. We have Draco enter the scene and that leaves alot of interesting possible developments open. One thing that I found odd though regarding Draco was your continuous use of calling Draco incredibly tall.
I'm pretty sure that from canon, Draco was never described as being above average in height -- let alone super tall. And the way you wrote it in suggested Astoria (and perhaps you as well) found his tallness too be rather attractive.
Ofc I don't have a problem with Astoria finding his height attractive, but it does seem very odd to add a physical attribute to a canon character to make him more attractive in someone else's eyes.
I hope you understand me.
That would be the same as, if for example you would write Hermione in a story through the eyes of a romantical interest of her and have that interest comment on her big breasts several times.
Think about it.
Also, we learned that something terrible happened with her mom, and I assume she's dead now. This may tie in with that mysterious part earlier in the story, about her mom talking about secrets.

I'll be back with the next chapter soon! G'bye!


Author's Response: Hi! I've just finished with my first two rounds for the review swap and you and Kaitlin are up next! But I thought I'd take a second to answer this review first.

I've never really thought about it that way. It's true that writing Astoria is a lot like writing an OC, just with a few more details to go on, but to me it seems about the same as writing most of the Next-Gen characters. Almost all we know is their names, some family members, and basic circumstances. From there on out we're just elaborating. OC's give you a little more freedom, I guess, but on the whole it's pretty similar.

I don't think Draco's height was really mentioned in canon, tall or short, so I think we're free to imagine it as we will. Harry is said to be quite tall, and I imagine them being of a similar height.

However, I took a look, and I think Draco's height *is* mentioned one more time than it really needs to be. I'd never noticed that. Probably something that got added in for detail during an edit without my realizing that it had been described previously.

I write from the perspective of my characters. Astoria does find height to be an attractive quality. I'd be careful about assuming that writers and their subjects share the same views or find the same things attractive, though. However, if it was sticking out for you as something that was coming up too much, I can see why you might make that assumption. The height thing is definitely not a personal obsession of mine, just an editing error ;)

Astoria notices that Draco is tall not just because in my headcanon he is, or because she finds it attractive, but because he is looming large in her space. His presence is making her feel small, and she's trying to fight against that. But I don't want it to come up too much, to the point that it's a distraction. I'll take a look at that the next time I run through edits.


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Review #17, by MalfoysCarolinaGirl2010 A Dangerous Revelation

21st August 2015:
Hm So Astoria is attempting to sabotage the death eaters. This can't end well...especially since they know that whatever happened she had something to do with it. Or can it? All i know is I'm dying to find out.

I like branching out from what I normally read this is a nice change. I'm really enjoying what you've written and the story you are telling. :)

Sorry this is so short but I'm honestly too tired to come up with a better review for you. :(

I'll have to make it up to you on the next chapters once I've had a decent amount of sleep and feel more refreshed.

My next review will most definitely be longer and more eloquent.

Again so sorry


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Review #18, by MalfoysCarolinaGirl2010 The Lady of Greengrass Hall

21st August 2015:
Hi Penny!

Ok so at first i thought that Lavinia's death was a bit anti-climatic until you revealed where she was and what spell ultimately caused her death. Its easy to see where Astoria's grudge comes from and why she isn't on the side of the Death Eaters.

In my head I kinda feel that the only way for a death eater to prove ultimate loyalty was to die for the cause but it could be any number of things that would raise suspiscion about a member's true loyalty. The Dark Lord would be wise to always question the loyalty of his followers since well most of his followers are kinda sorta insane...and power hungry.

So far I'm really enjoying this :)

Peace, Love, and Tacos


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Review #19, by MalfoysCarolinaGirl2010 An Unwelcome Visitor

21st August 2015:
OK so I'm not the best at leaving reviews mostly because I usually get so into what I'm reading that I simply forget. I think this is the first fic I've read that has Astoria as a main character since I usually wind up reading Dramione or things involving next-gen.

I really liked this and think it will be interesting to see how this develops. There is so many ways you can develop Astoria's character since all we really know about her is that she has a sister named Daphne and sometime after the war she marries Draco and is the mother to Scorpius. You have the freedom to write her however you want and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.


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Review #20, by Unicorn_Charm A Dangerous Revelation

21st August 2015:
Hey Penny!

Wow this story just keeps getting better. I'm smitten with it! :)

You've written such an amazing character in Astoria. She's brilliant, clever, calculating and scarily observant. I love her! She's great with Draco. I love how she is not intimidated by him at all. She's such an amazing young woman.

This conversation with Ginny Weasley was just incredible. You have such a handle on both of their characters. Astoria is no fool, but neither is Ginny, and you showed that beautifully here. I think Astoria underestimated her a little bit. I feel like she left with a higher opinion of Ginny.

I'm really impressed with the fact that she was able to sneak into Gryffindor. How did she do it?! It made her seem powerful. Like really powerful to me.

I think Ginny nailed it. I think Astoria does care. I think Astoria knows that she cares more than she even admits to herself. She's spent so long wearing this cool mask and trying not to feel that I think she's done a good job of convincing herself that she doesn't really feel. But it's completely obvious that she does. You saw that with the little crack in her composure. Just great characterization and story telling!

I'm assuming that she doesn't want anyone to ever know what she has done because of what is happening to her in the present time, with Draco. It has to be more than just her not wanting people thinking she's a hero. She's trying to protect herself and her family.

Ginny was so amazingly written. You did such a spectacular job with her. She's just as strong and the leader I would have hoped her to be while she was still at Hogwarts that year. Great job there!

I'm really loving this story! It's so, so well written, interesting and just has you on the edge of your seat. Great, wonderful, amazing, spectacular work! I'm super excited to continue on!! ♥

xoxo Meg

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Review #21, by RavenclawFTW The Edge of Insanity

20th August 2015:
Oh my gosh Penny. I'll try not to repeat what I've already said in other reviews but it may be hard!

I am so excited to see where the rest of this story is going to go!! I love it so much and I'm just in awe of everything you've put together here. You've done a marvelous job taking canon details and elaborating on them and adding depth and characterization to all of these characters we already know. I seriously love how you write Luna, Neville, Ginny, and the whole DA, how you've made them so in-character and explained some of what we already knew. It's really interesting to read. I always really enjoy when I read great stories that take canon characters and not only write them well, but add to their depth, and you've done both.

Then there's obviously Astoria. Wow, this Astoria is such a great character! Something I love about her is how Slytherin she is, but how she's also really sympathetic and trying her best to do good (even if she doesn't think she's a good person, I don't really buy that)-- you're doing a great service to your House with her representation here! You've also characterized her so consistently and I feel like I understand her abilities and stealth and knowledge so well. I can't wait to see how her relationship with the DA continues-- if it even does, because I can totally see her stepping back now that she's solved this one pressing issue. Or maybe she'll continue her work! I don't know! It could go either way, which is a wonderful thing about a story.

This whole confrontation with Aberforth was really well-done in my opinion. He's definitely in line with how he acts towards the Trio and how he shows up at the Battle, and I loved Astoria's speech that eventually swayed him. The details you include about Neville's reactions to Astoria are also wonderful, because you can see him not wanting to trust her and fighting his prejudices as he tries to figure her out. (Good luck with that, buddy.) You've drawn everything out so realistically and not rushed into anything, and I really appreciate that.

I'm also really enjoying your Draco here, and I can't wait to see how their relationship unfolds. I'm going to guess it has a little while to go, maybe post-Battle, but maybe not. He just seems so haunted by everything that's going around him, but also so in tune with his survival instincts so that he keeps doing what he has to so that he can stay alive. He's sympathetic, but only up to a point, which is something I really appreciate in this story. Even when he does kind things, like saving Astoria's family or hesitating on identifying Harry, it doesn't seem like he's instantly transforming into a good guy or anything. Your hands are probably tied a little by his behavior in the Battle that we see, but it also reads as so much more realistic that he's confused by his own actions and motivations.

I think I've already commented on your writing style but oh man you're such a talented writer!! I was so immersed in this world and all of the details helped me really really understand what was going on so well. I can see Astoria so clearly in my mind's eye. Also, you just have an insane vocabulary and I love seeing how well that's integrated.

God I can't wait for more updates! This is a seriously excellent story and I'm so so so excited to see it continue to unravel. Thank you so much for sharing it!


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Review #22, by RavenclawFTW An Admirable Thing

20th August 2015:
Okay can't leave a long review because MUST READ MORE but I LOVE Astoria's thoughts about Neville so much! She's so unexpectedly hilarious in her own dry, serious way. It's wonderful. And I'm going to start thinking of Neville as Cardigan Boy henceforth.


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Review #23, by RavenclawFTW The Writing On the Wall

20th August 2015:
Hey Penny! Continuing on with this wonderful wonderful story. I loved this chapter so there was just a few things I wanted to comment on.

I love your characterization of Ginny so much here. I have a lot of trouble with Ginny in the books, because I feel like we don't really get to meet her much at all and mostly heard stuff about her. Like I don't think we get many conversations or specifics about her, and she's just kind of around for a lot of moments that Rowling writes around (like Quidditch, and Quidditch practice, when Harry spends a lot of time with her but we never really see). So it's hard to really get a handle on her and reconcile that with her incredible actions during her sixth year, but I seriously love the way you've written it here. Astoria's thoughts back about who Ginny has become, and her motivations along the way, work so well with what we know about Ginny but also add to that.

Plus I LOVE the writing on the wall stuff-- that's such a great tie in and I love that Ginny has thought back to that. I think you've done such a great job showing how Ginny has been impacted by Voldemort possessing her and the after effects of that.

Also, I love how Astoria isn't like all out joining in the resistance, but is doing a little to help out. It's wonderfully in character that she's not going to be dumb enough to just start doing too much to resist, but just little hints and tips. I really like that.

Okay onto the next chapter!


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Review #24, by Aphoride An Unwelcome Visitor

20th August 2015:
Hey there, Penny! :) Dropping by for our review swap! You know, it's strange, this is one of those things I've seen now and then around the forums, in updates and things, but I've just never stopped by, so it's so great to finally get the chance to do it now! :D

I really like the way you've started this off - there's a perfect mix of set-up and suspense. I'm always a big fan of beginnings which just drop you in amongst the story headfirst, so to speak, and this does it so right: the way the first thing is Draco arriving, and we're presented with so many questions through the narrative is just so so good. It's a great hook, and you use it so well :)

Your characters are great, too - I love your portrayal of Astoria. There's something so fascinating about the way you set her up as sort of being in charge/control of her family, and thus their future as a group, and how terrifying that must be, and so interesting to think on maybe how she grew up to be like that and why, you know? Already she's a pretty complex character, which I love because it makes the whole thing that much more alive and real and emotional, you know?

Draco was really good, too, in this - I like how you've brought out how much being a Death Eater effects him - how tired and gaunt from the stress and the fear it makes him. It's little things like that - the details - which make him feel so real, and so perfectly in-character, and make me feel pretty sympathetic for him.

Your writing in this is so great, too. I love how many little details there are in this - from the musing on the colour of her dress, which I loved, to the little things about the way the room looked, how Draco looked - and how complete they make the picture feel. It's so easy for me to imagine this so clearly, because of the description - it's all so so good! :) Another thing I love in this is the aesthetic of it - the way you create the feel of the pureblood society, almost like a kind of era; it really puts me in mind of the Victorians or the Edwardians, you know, with the kind of stiff, cold way of living. It's so brilliant, and so beautiful, and so clear too, which I love.

All in all, this was a brilliant start, and I'm so glad we swapped so I could read this - I've really, really enjoyed it! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hey! I totally know what you mean. There are several stories that I'm always meaning to go check out, but some of them I just haven't gotten to. My list is a mile long.

Those are my favorite type of beginnings, too, so I'm really glad you thought it was done well here! Thank you! :D

Astoria definitely bears the weight of *way* more responsibility than a 16 year-old girl should ever have to. You find out why that is later in the story, and on the whole she bears up well under it, but it requires a lot of strength. And she is definitely terrified that she won't be able to protect the people she loves.

Complexity was what I was going for with Astoria, so I'm really happy to hear that you think she comes across that way from chapter 1.

Yay! Someone's sympathetic for Draco! I get such a wide range of responses to him early on in the story, since so many people have really firm opinions on Draco Malfoy. Especially at the beginning, before we really get inside his head, what people seem to think of him varies a lot. But I did want to convey that he's got some vulnerability. Even if he, like Astoria, is good at covering it up, his appearance doesn't lie.

Thank you! I love working out the details and really trying to paint a picture of the scene. I used to write from a really dialogue-based perspective, so this was the first fic where I ever really tried to dive deeper into tone and setting, and so far I've really enjoyed it. I think it's changed my overall writing style a great deal, because I just have fallen in love with the details.

And I love writing the Pureblood society aspect. That was one of the things I was most excited about when I decided to write this fic. My headcanon was that magical society, well, they're sort of old-fashioned as it is, right? So I thought that Purebloods, since they consider themselves the most magical of all, would cling to the past even more than most. I thought they would be very cold and formal (at least in public), as if they were still in a bygone era. That's been a lot of fun, too, and it really helps ramp up the tension. Muahaha! I love tension ;)

Thanks so much for such a lovely review, Aph! I really appreciate it!


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Review #25, by RavenclawFTW A Changing Tide

20th August 2015:
Okay I'm not going to be reviewing every chapter because I'm way too engrossed to pause and collect my thoughts but I couldn't help it with this chapter and DRACO NOT BEING USELESS OMG
Also I love the lines that you had posted in the "Too Hot" thread-- they're even better in context. Ahh you're so talented and imaginative and I can't wait to know what else is going to happen!


Author's Response: Okay I just had to respond to this review immediately because it has MADE MY DAY and is, I think, the best review I have ever received on this chapter. ALL THE CAPS LOCK!! :D

I am sooo excited that the ship has set sail!

Bahahaha! "Draco not being useless" *cries tears of laughter* I think Draco is quite baffled by the whole thing, himself. Like, "Is this...what it feels like to...DO something? Something that isn't evil?" To quote from timeless Broadway classic, Wicked, "What is this feeling, so sudden and new?" ;)

Not reviewing on every chapter is totally fine. That would be a lot, and I want you to enjoy the story. But thank you for this excellent review! And thank you for saying such lovely things! I hope you continue to like it!


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