Reading Reviews for Full Bloom
  
11 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TidalDragon V: Deep Roots

25th July 2014:
Hello again!

The first thing that jumped out was minor - I had considered it a typo before, but it came up rather frequently here. Bellatrix's husband is named Rodolphus (with an "o" instead of a "u").

In any event, that's a very minor nitpick in a largely well-done chapter. I thought it was incredibly interesting to see the rising War and its sudden end from a different perspective. The reactions, the panic - the shoe was on the other foot, and I thought the way you handled Lucius and Narcissa's flight to her parents' home made it even better. You reminded us that no matter how evil Bellatrix was, she was someone's child. She was a sister. And she would be missed.

Your explanation for how Lucius came out free where others did not was also a nice touch. The fact that he was less overt about his involvement seems very appropriate. Though clearly he was capable of cruelty and extreme violence, he mostly moved in the shadows, trying to work things to his advantage. With Narcissa meanwhile you emphasized her bond with Draco which manifests only in a few moments in the books (because of the POV) and gave reason and feeling to it despite her reserved nature. Well done.

I did think the acceleration through the end felt a bit rushed. You seemed to cram in both Lucius and Narcissa's continued indulgence of Draco and the evolution of the marriage, which I think could have either happened more patiently or been put off to further emphasize how spoiled Draco had been an in all the ways. I'm not sure if you're trying to end the story here, but if so, the hurriedness would be even more emphasized I think.

All in all though you continue to write this story very well. You've surprised me with how well it's kept my interest because in the beginning I wondered if it would. Keep up the good work!

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Review #2, by TidalDragon IV: In the Wind

24th July 2014:
Howdy again! Here filling your review request!

I was happy to return to this story, and it seems you've really built on the strengths you had in earlier chapters. Narcissa's characterization continues to be strong and I thought we got more insight into Lucius with the full entry of Death Eaters into the plot. It gave flesh to his yearning for making all the right appearances you laid out earlier in the story. I also particularly enjoyed Narcissa's father - it was interesting to see that not all purebloods were so assured of Voldemort's cause and to have one be something of a questioning intellectual was nice.

I thought this chapter flowed very nicely and proceeded at a good pace too. You covered a variety of topics and some important feelings and monuments, not least of which was Narcissa and Lucius's fight - a spark of passion perhaps?

I did notice a few things that seemed a bit odd. The sentence where you described Voldemort's appearance for the first time seemed like you had originally written it one way and then changed it, but it got a bit mashed up.

The other was this line: " 'Oh yes, darling, how is that going? Youíre carrying on the Black family name and all that.' " Bellatrix's attitude shone through fine, but the issue is that she ISN'T carrying on the Black family name (as she's now a Malfoy). This was underscored by the discussion with her mother later before Draco's birth.

All in all though a strong chapter (perhaps my favorite yet). I'll see you in the next one!

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Review #3, by water_lily43175 I: Sunflower Oil

1st July 2014:
Hello! Here with your requested review. :) I'm so sorry it's so late!

First off, I love the way you characterise Narcissa. It's very refreshing to come across a Narcissa who doesn't actually believe in love at all, and who isn't taken by Lucius at first. It makes for a very refreshing take on Lucius/Narcissa, at least in comparison with any which I've read before. Likewise, it's interesting to see Narcissa's role within the family, as basically being the third choice behind her sisters. It makes her and Lucius the perfect match, given he's not a "good enough" prospect for her sisters.

I also liked seeing the effect that Andromeda's elopement had upon the family. It's interesting to think about the damage that her actions did to their reputation within pureblood circles. I hadn't really considered that would be the case, once they'd disowned her, but of course while they would pretend nothing had ever happened, other families would certainly gossip and judge. I also get the impression that even after Andromeda left, Narcissa still felt somewhat overshadowed by her.

Narcissa's father is an intriguing character, too. I like how it's his wife who runs the show, and he just stands there in the background wanting to read his books.

I love the overall nostalgic feeling to the chapter, and also the language you use throughout. It feels very pureblood without feeling too try hard.

All in all, a really good first chapter, and I'll definitely read on once I have more time to properly read and review the other chapters. :)

Author's Response: Hi! Thanks for dropping by and sorry for the late response! :)

I like your observations about Narcissa post-Andromeda's elopement. I think part of the reason she's bitter is also because Andromeda is still a huge presence in the family despite not being there -- it's like she's reaping the rewards without having to suffer through it.

Her mother doesn't run the show, per se. Her father is still an important member of the family -- he's really intellectual and makes some of the harder decisions, but Narcissa's mother Druella has total control over their family's day to day life.

"Pureblood without trying too hard" is pretty much what I was going for. Thanks so much for reading and for reviewing :D


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Review #4, by TidalDragon III: Tea Roses

16th June 2014:
A very interesting installment that put a whole new spin on the concept of a chaste pureblood marriage. If the goal there was to drive home the point that there would be no eventual "learning to love" (at least in the conventional sense), then mission accomplished. Obviously I don't know what your eventual endgame for the story is but it would be interesting to know how you plan to fit Narcissa into the war (if you plan to cover it - which it seems like you do).

I thought this chapter flowed well and ended better, so it made for a stronger narrative on the whole. The characterizations remained consistent, despite the changes wrought by Narcissa's pregnancy. Everything still remained calculated and measured - all things done for a purpose and to fit in a certain mold - very realistic for purebloods of the era I think and fitting for the characters as you've written them.

Overall, this was a very well-written story so far. There's the occasional typo, but who can complain when you have mastered setting a mood so well? Your word choice is strong throughout, simple where needed and evocative where appropriate and most importantly, seems to fit Narcissa's character as we know her.

Well done an intriguing tale. I hope my reviews have helped at least provoke a few thoughts and reinforced where you're doing well. If you have any questions, feel free to PM!

Author's Response: Thanks again for dropping by :) I wouldn't say that their marriage will have no "learning to love". I mean, I'm hoping it will, but it won't come off in a typical romantic comedy way. I do hope to fit Narcissa into the war, but more into the second war in Harry's time.

I'm glad that them being as calculated as they were didn't read as unnatural. I was worried a bit that Narcissa being so governed by her sense of self-preservation would come off non-canon (most people seem to read her as part of the fanatic group). I'm glad to hear that you didn't feel that way.

I apologize for the occasional typo -- I do try to catch them, but I tend not to see my mistakes as clearly as everyone else does, I guess :) Thank you for reviewing all three chapters and giving me such lovely reviews. They were definitely thought provoking and I hope you don't mind if I come back to re-request.

Celeste



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Review #5, by TidalDragon II: Honeybees

16th June 2014:
Hello again!

So from the top I thought this chapter was stronger, more cohesive. Again, it had the feel of a polite recollection, slightly tinged with happiness, but I thought that worked much better with fewer players involved. Though many topics were touched on and a lengthy span of time passed, it seemed far less busy and more natural as memories go.

With Narcissa you also continued to develop a different lens through which to see Lucius. You didn't entirely avoid his dark side (spoken of in rumor here), but at the same time, you got across the idea that the welfare of those close to him was a key priority. Ditto for Narcissa as you described her emotions and reaction to her sacrifice.

The reference to Socrates brought me back to something from the previous chapter that raised a question. Are we to believe that Socrates and Plato were in fact magical folk? If not, it surprises me that pureblood fanatics like the Blacks would read them. It's a minor piece in an otherwise well-rendered story, but something that did stand out.

The main thing I'd think about in this chapter though is the ending. Honestly, it feel quite abrupt. Perhaps that's purposeful (I'll see next chapter), but my initial impression was that you had woven a careful stretch of memories that flowed nicely back-to-back, only to terminate it quickly - almost like tearing the tapestry. Just a thought.

See you for the final installment!

Author's Response: Thank you! I really hope that as the chapters pass, they get more cohesive. I can occasionally start a fic with a bumpy first few chapters.

You've surmised Narcissa and Lucius pretty well as people; Lucius's dark side does come about sometimes, even with Narcissa, but I reasoned that he couldn't possibly walk around how he is in the HP universe even with his family or he would have no loved ones at all.

Yes, in this fic, Socrates and Plato are in fact, magical. In my headcanon, the European magical community's most ancient and sophisticated magical society was Greco-Roman. Hence their use of Latin words for magical spells and hence the purebloods naming their children so many Latin names (to tie them back to their ancient past). Of course even in the HP universe, the non-magical Greek ancient world existed and contributed many things...which the purebloods would probably have ignored.

I do agree with you about the ending. While I've been writing this story, I haven't written it with chapters in mind. It just flows on endlessly, so I get in a dilemma on how to post things in a chapter format. I ended up choosing that ending because the next chapter begins with a different tone so I let it be. I'll have to reconsider how I write so as to account for chapters from now on, I guess. I don't want it reading abruptly.

Thank you for your thoughts! :)



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Review #6, by TidalDragon I: Sunflower Oil

16th June 2014:
Howdy! Dropping by to fill your request!

First off, I have never read Lucius/Narcissa before as a central ship, but I'm intrigued what you've done with it just at the start. I think your take was as distinct as it was realistic - there were no pretentions of a pure and immediate connection or over-the-top sell of a love-hate that would evolve into more. That was refreshing.

As far as the characterization goes, I think you did a strong job with Narcissa. You did tell us quite a bit about her, but you also showed us through her actions and interactions. Looking back, I'm not entirely sure how some of those would read on their own, but I'd consider letting a few of them stand alone without the statements that directly follow them describing her for us. Sometimes it's nicer to let some things stand on their own. I'm not saying it would in this case, but it's always something to consider. The others, you told us about more than showed, though you did give us glimpses. I think you were constrained a bit there by your choice of perspective, but if this is going to largely make Narcissa's sisters peripheral as it goes on I wouldn't worry about it much.

As for flow, I'll admit when you were positioning characters in the opening segment of this chapter, it got a bit confusing at times. This was particularly true of Narcissa's position because she was described as being by her father before her father's position was described.

The writing itself had a sort of nostalgic, airy feel that I enjoyed. Reading was a bit like drifting, which I think is a good sense to get from reading a memory. Word choice overall was good, though you had a few occasions of over-complicating things with descriptions and the minor matter of the "Rosier's" and the "Selwyn's", which should be devoid of apostrophes because they weren't intended as possessive (should read "Rosiers" and "Selwyns").

All in all I thought it was well-written though and an interesting start. See you next chapter!

Author's Response: Hello and thank you so much for taking my request! :) I honestly thought you were only reviewing the first chapter, so I was really pleasantly surprised to see 3 whole reviews in line for me!

"Looking back, I'm not entirely sure how some of those would read on their own, but I'd consider letting a few of them stand alone without the statements that directly follow them describing her for us." -- I find this thought interesting, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean here. Perhaps if I rerequest, would you mind giving an example? And thank you for letting me know your thoughts about the pairing and characterization -- I'm glad it didn't start off too over the top.

Also, I'm really happy to read that you found it to have a nostalgic, airy vibe! That's precisely what I was going for tonally! Again, I'd love if you could give me an example of the overcomplicating things with descriptions -- long, rambling sentences have (in a good and bad way) always been my style.

Thank you for such a thoughtful and detailed review! I'll keep some of these thoughts in mind as I continue writing :)


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Review #7, by SilverRoses III: Tea Roses

7th June 2014:
Hi!

I just wanted to say that this is one of the most eloquently written stories I have ever read. Narcissa's perspective is very sophisticated, and I thoroughly enjoy reading it. The direct way it is written is simply lovely for the story and characters, and I can honestly say I have never read anything like it. Your characterization is absolutely brilliant, and I look forward to seeing what happens. Overall beautiful and enticing.

Please do hurry with new chapters!
-Kelsi

Author's Response: Thanks so much :) I love that you enjoyed the characterization and style. I can honestly say I was thoroughly worried about both.

Thanks again for the lovely review :)


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Review #8, by academica II: Honeybees

9th March 2014:
Hey, here for your requested review :)

One thing that really strikes me is how cleverly you've turned the tables on my expectations about Lucius and Narcissa. I usually expect them to be the respective pride of their families, Lucius as the charming bachelor and Narcissa as the delicate rose, the prettiest and most innocent of the Black daughters. I kind of love how they're thrown together here as a last resort. In just a few years, however, it will be clear that they should have been the target of the families' efforts all along, having produced an heir, maintained a vast fortune, and adhered to their families' values. Given the context that you've built up with the Blacks' debt and Lucius's desperate need for a bride, your unexpected characterization makes sense, and I definitely don't think it's out of the realm of canon. It explains the way Lucius and Narcissa seem more closely connected to one another than they had to be given a marriage based on convenience.

I really love the second paragraph because I think it shows the growing affection between Lucius and Narcissa in such subtle gestures. They're reminiscent of the ways in which "normal" people form a connection: teaching one another new things, discovering similarities, building mutual respect. Both of them seem to be growing less awkward as they learn to accommodate one another, and I can easily see where eventually love could spring from that process.

I just really love this and want to read on! Thanks for requesting, and I hope this review is helpful! You're doing an awesome job so far.

-Amanda

Author's Response: Amanda, I am so sorry for how late this response is! Finals popped out soon after this review and well...my time pretty much vanished over the last few weeks. But thank you so much for your review!

I admit to still finding it strange that Narcissa is apparently portrayed as the perfect, delicate rose. I can't imagine it that way at all, so I'm guessing that's why it was so easy to subvert that characterization! Marriage based on convenience is pretty much the perfect phrase for it. As for their later success with their riches and the heir (especially in contrast to Andromeda and Bellatrix, I think), it's something that Lucius and Narcissa are cognizant of and a bit smug about later on.

Ha, well, they were "normal" at one point or another, right? But I am glad their relationship is coming off sort of relatable at least. Love is a far ways off, but respect and mutual understanding is always a good building block.

Thank you so much for this review! And I again apologize for the late response! I'll try to be more timely in the future :)

Celeste


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Review #9, by The Empress II: Honeybees

19th February 2014:
Celeste ♥
I'm going to do my best to be constructive and not just squee my way through this.

Narcissa is all kinds of perfect. I think many of us, myself included, have preconceived notions of who Narcissa is a character, despite the small role she plays in the books. You've created here an interesting, multi-dimensional creature who draws me in as she speaks. Her reasoning and feelings and thoughts about Malfoy and her parents and her sisters. Her character shines, especially in simple lines like when he asks if she is ready to marry and she says yes and "Why ever not?" And in the paragraph just above that when she describes herself as the least important daughter who is her parents' last hope. It says a lot about her family and how she feels about them and how she sees herself as a part of them.

Your description of their living arrangements was wonderful. Separate in every way and the ways in which Malfoy tries to appear important; like two house elves they hardly need. You say so much in so little and it really brings the characters and setting to life for me. The way Narcissa describes the banality of her life and how, in front of company, he takes her hand and they play a game. She's not unhappy as she might have been, in fact she seems so content, and that is interesting to me. It's as if the idea of a fairy tale or even rather ordinary romance never occurs to her.

The plot is engaging and moving forward nicely. I am looking forward to seeing future chapters and I hope you'll keep me apprised as you update! I'd love to review more for you.

xoxo
Shiloh

Author's Response: Shiloh! Thank you so much for so generously taking up my request. I apologize for taking an eternity to respond to this, but school picked up and one thing snowballed into another and I had no time at all to come back to this. :/

Thank you so much! I'm so happy that you seem to take on to Narcissa's characterization. I admit to not having read much of her in fanfic, but I definitely have a distinct idea of who she is as a daughter, wife and especially as a person. I'm really glad to see that you think it's carrying through.

And you're right -- the idea of a fairytale or of romance really never occurs to her. I think it partly has to do with her low self-esteem. I don't think she can really imagine herself being swept off her feet. And it partly has to do with Andromeda's departure. In my head, Andromeda was always the very whimsical dreamer, so with her departure, all of Narcissa's whimsies kind of shriveled up and made her a very practical and hard-headed person. Thank you so much about the lovely things you've said so far about the story. I'll definitely try and keep you updated. I really appreciated hearing your thoughts!

Celeste


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Review #10, by academica I: Sunflower Oil

13th February 2014:
Hey Celestie, here with your requested review :)

First off, I'm so glad you requested this story! I glanced at it a couple of times and wanted to read it but hadn't found much time recently.

So I love your characterization of Narcissa. I don't know that I've ever read her as being insecure or like an ugly duckling, but I think it totally fits because it explains, in part, her fierce loyalty to Lucius and Draco. It's like she's trying to hold on desperately to what she has because she never had much choice or any chance at the spotlight when she was younger. It was also satisfying to see that familiar haughtiness come out when she began conversing with Lucius. It was really unfailing, and I liked not only how she made Lucius seem quite awkward by comparison but also how they make for such an interesting mismatch of "last resorts." You exemplified this image with their dancing.

I also really love the treatment of Andromeda here. Usually, she and Bellatrix live in the shadow of Narcissa's fair beauty, but here they're the stars. Your description of the hole that remained when Andromeda eloped is so multi-faceted and intriguing, and you really show the cognitive dissonance of her parents, despising her choice in one breath and sobbing over her absence in the next. It seems very realistic for that loss to have a significant impact on the family, not only within their household but also in terms of their fate in the pure-blood world. It's interesting to think of the House of Black basically dissolving after the two remaining daughters were successfully married off.

I do think the tense works well here. It's like Narcissa clings to these memories--is it because they were the best days she had, I wonder, or because they continue to trouble her inside? I'm curious about the reference point from which she recalls these events and what state she and her husband have fallen into at that precise point. Perhaps you'll give us a sense of what brings her back to these moments later on in the story.

Overall, I was really impressed with this. I'm curious as to whether Lucius will find a more authoritative voice later on. At the same time, it's clear from little moments in canon, especially toward the end, that Narcissa had a hand in decisions made by her husband and son. The whole piece was very lovely in terms of your imagery, flow and characterization and I would love to read more, so feel free to re-request.

Very nicely done! I hope this review is helpful :)

-Amanda

Author's Response: Hi Amanda! Sorry for the slight delay with the response!

Thanks so much for your thoughts! This is actually news to me that she's constantly portrayed as being beautiful and with Andromeda and Bella in her shadow. Truth be told, I've read very little fanfic about her (though I found her fascinating in canon), and I always theorized she'd have feelings of inferiority what with being the youngest. Bella and Andromeda were always depicted as being popular and charismatic so I'm glad my depiction of her as an awkward teenager makes sense.

I don't know if the House of Black quite dissolves post Anna's leave and Bellatrix's marriage, but I think that the branch with Narcissa's parents is certainly irreparably damaged; there is no going back for that nuclear unit, I think. Also, I'm definitely relieved to hear that the tense works! I feared it could get annoyingly enigmatic to read at times, but I'm glad to hear it's working thus far.

As for the time frame, it's pretty far into the future: think around HBP or DH. I can't yet say exactly when but it's certainly in the midst of a lot of things happening to the Malfoy family that induces Narcissa's thoughtful reflections.

As for Lucius, (I hope, at least) he plays a role different from what you may have seen him as in other fanfics (I'm a bit more familiar with how he's depicted than Narcissa). While he plays the head of the family to some extent, he will be nowhere near the sort of cold and formidable figure he's often depicted as. I do think he is that way in some aspects in his life, but I don't think he could have inspired such loyalty and fondness from Narcissa if he'd been that way with her, so his characterization will be a bit different. He'll be much more present in the coming chapters, after their marriage.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and lovely words :)

Celeste



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Review #11, by The Empress I: Sunflower Oil

18th January 2014:
Celeste it's gorgeous! I love this interpretation of Lucius and Narcissa. Usually they're completely svelte and snooty and perfect purebloods and I just love how you're writing them. :) The interaction between them is so awkward; I can just see a young Narcissa, practical and blunt, telling Lucius he hasn't got a chance with Anna.
I just love how you've written all three sisters. Anna eloping, Bella pursuing a Lestrange. The big, fancy wedding, the shame the Black's felt over Anna. It's interesting to read it all from Narcissa's point of view.

I can't wait to see more!
xoxo
Shiloh

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