Author's Response: oh, I'm glad you liked it. :) Thanks for the review.
Awe. I like it. It's really cute!
Author's Response: thank you. :)
This is so sad. A Finalist, this fic is, and a really good one, and it only has two reviews! Hee. Well, here is your SPEW buddy to save the day! Or something...
So, for starters, I will say that I really enjoyed this fic. Andon is an interesting character and it was fun to see him come out from under his father's shadow. His transition from completely swallowing the family mantras and seeking help from Maliya only because he is desparate, to standing up for her a little bit, to becoming her friend, to loving her, creates a lovely sort of coming-of-age.
The other thing I liked is that, while you didn't have the space to really delve deep into your characters, they are all very well-defined. As a reader, I don't know very much specifically about any of them, and yet I still feel that each one has a definite presence. I can understand what motivates them, even. All their actions make perfect sense.
So the next step is the relationships between the characters. Andon and his father have a clear-cut relationship. He is expected to obey, and for most of his life, he does. So then comes this girl, and he's clearly drawn to her, enough to alter his relationship with his father. What I'd like to see is a little more of what it is about her that he likes so much. All we see is that she's a very good student and tutor, and that she has a good life at home. These are a good start to his attraction, since I don't get the impression that he has a happy home life, but they aren't really enough. Maybe this is just me, but I don't really see the connection between them. They're very cute together, and I enjoyed the nice fluffy bit at the end, but I am still unconvinced about their relationship.
The other relationship was that of Andon and his brother Gavril. I liked this one a lot better, actually, even though it's not the focus of the story. Andon is very older-brotherish around him, the same way that Gavril acts the younger brother, by snitching on him to their father, for example. They fight quite a bit, which is normal, but in the end, they're pretty close, despite their differences. Well, not exactly like her — Father doesn’t deserve to lose both of us. This is one of my favourite lines, mostly because it really encompasses everyone in the fic. It really stood out for me.
Despite my complaining before, I really did enjoy this. Your writing is very relaxed and confident. It's a joy to read, because everything flows through smoothly, and there aren't any annoying errors to interrupt my thought processes. Usually, I'm very nitpicky as I review, but I have gone through this chapter with a fine-toothed comb, and haven't found any! Kudos to you and your beta!
And a few closing comments...somewhere in the second chapter, I think, you used the word 'finagle.' I have never seen that written out before, and I loved it. Just thought you should know! Additionally, I really did like the mistletoe scene. Only the English, indeed! And finally...your note at the very beginning was inspired. *giggles*
Author's Response: You know, I think my deep-seated dislike of romance has come through in this story. That is the only explanation I have for why Mariya and Andon don't have a more clear-cut relationship. I'm really glad you liked this, though, and "finagle" is a really good word. Thanks so much for your lovely review.
Overall, I really liked it. You write very well and you know your OCs well, too, and it shows. Their characterization is very nice and very believable. I liked how Andom was hesitant at first at Mariya's offer to help, and I also really like how you call her the "class outcast." I'm guessing being the only Muggle-born at Durmstrang would do that to you. You might not be able to answer this, but did Mariya's parents pay for her entry to Durmstrang? Also, is Andon related to Viktor in any way?
My only little tiff is that I thought it moved rather fast. I think you could have gone into a little more of Mariya and Andon's interaction before jumping ahead to Andon's angered father. I felt that there could have been a little more interaction before the talk with his father, and that would have rounded things out a little more.
That said, I really liked their interaction at the end. I thought it was very nicely written and very sweet. Your last two sentences are so sweet, I think that was my favorite part! So great job!
Author's Response: I'm sorry; I seem to have a tendency to move fast, but other than that I'm really glad you liked it! I can only guess that Mariya's parents slid a little gold under the table to help her get in - you'd think she could get in on pure talent, but ... *shrug* Andon and Mariya are Viktor's parents. Anyway, thanks again for your review! *D*
At last! A SPEW story with no SPEW review!
To venture upon a fic with no familiar character is no easy task and it's hard to get people to notice it. However, it's somehow more fulfilling because you get to explore and develop everyone from scratch.
A tinsey-winsey suggestion. Given that your characters are Bulgarian, can't you have them speak with a Bulgarian accent? It adds to the feel of the fic. Although I do understand why you chose to forego this the use of normal spelling does make an easier read.
Also I thought Durmstrang does not accept anyone who is not pure of blood. (yes I'm being nit-picky - few months of betaing could do that)
Andon Krum looked despairingly at his Transformation homework, (You repeatedly used Transformation, I think you meant Transfiguration )
My own studies have shown that these Muggleborns have much less magic than we do. (Canon spelling correction: it's Muggle-born)
Now before I annoy you to the point that you'll throw me to those virtual sharks in the forum. I'll get on to the more important points. I like your characterizations the exchange between the two brothers - the snitching and threats exchanged... so brotherly *snicker*.
I'd also like to say that you've written a great ending to this chapter.
Author's Response: Mariya's family is rich. That's all I have to say about the fact that she's a Muggle-born. Actually ... I dunno. But she's Bulgarian, it would be too cruel to ship her off somewhere just because she's not a pureblood.
Durmstrang is a different school from Hogwarts, so it has different classes -- in my other Krum story I should address that eventually. Transformation is the Durmstrang Transfiguration. They have something like a Survey of the Dark Arts and their Defense or something like that instead of DADA. Okay, now I'm just babbling.
Thanks for the review. I didn't think this story would ever get reviewed, and I was okay with that ... it's just for fun, after all. Glad you liked the chapter ending. Wonder what I wrote ... thanks again! Have a nice day! *D*