Reading Reviews for Full Bloom
4 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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.


Author's Response: Amanda, I am so sorry for how late this response is! Finals popped out soon after this review and 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 :)


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Review #2, 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.


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!


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Review #3, 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 :)


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 :)


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Review #4, 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!

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