I am completely torn between letting Negative Nancy rule this review or Fanny the Fangirl (… I didn't just say that. Yeah, let's pretend I didn't. >.>). I just… Arghhh. Alright, they'll take their turns. Fanny first.
It's not the characterization of Draco that makes me drool is wonder, it's the… narrations. The actual emotions—not just they way they're portrayed—that astonishes me. There are so many moments in here that make me want to squee in fangirl-mode but also sniff in this-happens-all-too-often-in-reality. He comes across as a human being, not a character, and that happens all too seldom in fiction.
Whilst in prison, Draco had fervently hoped that something, anything would happen, and he could be a different person when he left.
This is just so true, and I love how you've phrased it and the following passages. These emotions—the regrets, the bitterness—they're all so consistent and… realistic. It's not overdone, which could have so easily happened when you combine post-war Draco and any kind of angsty plot, and it's not… under-done. Or, I guess, his emotions don't fluctuate so often that it slips into the realm of un-believability.
Also, and minor characters are so often unnoticed because they're… minor, but Oberon Greengrass was just so alive to me. Even though he had so few lines, the manner in which they were put across was very subtle, and yet they really let characterization come through. His 'barking laugh' and 'wild gestures' just made him really pop into view.
But now Nancy would like to share a few words…
The flow of the plot-line, at several places, felt very rushed and even sometimes repetitive. It read, at times, like you were so anxious to get to the big moment that you sort of let the rest of the story go wayward until you got there. It wasn't very present, but… it was there all the same.
The conversation between Draco and Daphnee at the party was what made me realize this. It felt forced amidst such wonderful previous writing.
For the first time, he wondered if he had chosen the wrong sister.
I just didn't… believe this. There wasn't anything significant enough in the conversation that would make me think that Draco would think this. It states, above it, that he was confused and didn't understand what she had meant by "No, it's not" so I don't understand why, all of the sudden, he questions his choice. (and Fanny screams "Just shut up and accept it—you wanted it to happen anyway!")
And speaking of which—Fanny has shoved her way back through—though that particular passage stuck out, the building of their relationship beyond it was very nicely written. From the first glare at the initial dinner you want Draco to stop looking at the pretty sister and notice the mean one: I mean, he's an arse and she's an arse—it just makes sense!
But… (Shut up Nancy!) the main problem I had with this was Daphnee's characterization. We meet her as cynical and uncaring (the diner, the party, etc.) but towards the middle and at the end, she becomes shy, nice, smiling… The change in personality happened too quickly. Also, you say she's the older sister but the party is Astoria's twenty-fifth birthday and in the ending scene, Daphnee says she's twenty-three…
Overall, no matter what Nancy says, I sincerely enjoyed this. Even the parts that felt rushed weren't too bothering because I, too, wanted to get it out of the way and get to the part where Draco could be happy. :-]
Author's Response: Ooh, what a wonderful review! Thank you so much, dear. I am so pleased that you liked it. I was trying to make it a very emotional, powerful fic - I wanted the emotions to be strongly portayed, and I'm glad you realised what I was trying to do. :) As for that scene in the middle, I have my doubts about it, too. I wasn't sure when I put it in there, but in the end I decided it was justified. With Draco wondering if he chose the wrong sister - I put that line in there solely to show that he's decided Daphne is clearly more interesting than her sister. Draco isn't the kind of person to go for nice, like Astoria. He wants slightly bitchy, confident Daphne. As for her character, I don't really believe she changes much at all. She is cynical and uncaring, yes, but she's also always a bit shy - hence why she doesn't talk much in the beginning. She's a bit of a bitch, too, and that doesn't go away throughout the fic - but she likes Draco, and so she's nice to him when she realises that she might have a chance. Wouldn't you be? ^_^ Thank you so much for the lovely review, dear.