Your pimping may have paid off, Sarah my dear. Although, be warned, I have a tendency to go on a little, so this may be a rather long review. So, I'll start at the beginning.
Thunder cascaded through the morning sky, smashing through the uneasy silence that always lingered before a storm.
I’m a big fan of imagery, and this is gorgeous, Sarah. I particularly like how the thunder ‘cascaded’ – it’s flowing, almost like water, though thunder is sound. The contrast is fantastic, and I love your suggestion of tension before a storm. Lovely first sentence. It moves smoothly into Hermione’s thoughts and actions, setting the scene for the entire story. I was captivated immediately – I could tell from just a few sentences that I was going to love this piece, and I was right. It’s so difficult to get the beginning of something exactly right, but you certainly nailed it, Sarah.
She wasn’t expecting crisp, fresh pages, but this copy was particularly showing time’s ugly marks. She turned each leaf of rough paper, noticing little stains and odd marks that meant she couldn’t possibly put this up for sale.
Already intriguing – Hermione’s working in (owning?) a bookshop is a lovely concept, but I have to say, I wonder why. Was there anything in particular that sparked this idea? I’ve always thought of Hermione as very motivated and ambitious, and it just strikes me as rather curious that she should end up running a bookshop. It’s not at all a bad idea, it’s just that we saw in OotP that she was looking for something really worthwhile to do, you know? And even being an Auror didn’t really seem to be enough for her.
Every single novel that had passed through her fingers had been treated with the utmost respect and care.
Perfect. Gah. I can’t tell you how much I love this sentence – it’s just, perfect characterisation. It’s so wonderfully Hermione, or at least how I see Hermione as being. You really nailed it.
Suddenly, she heard someone entering the shop and looked up to see a tall man brushing water off his cloak onto the steely blue carpet under his feet.
I’m going to give a little concrit here, but it’s just me trying to be constructive as well as squeeing all over the place, which, let’s face it, is nice but doesn’t make the greatest review. The description, once again, is just lovely – particularly ‘steely blue’, which oddly appeals to me – but I don’t know that ‘suddenly’ sounds right when combined with the following clause. I mean, if you hear something happen, it takes a certain amount of time – it’s not immediate, it’s a gradual process. I hope I’m explaining this properly. ‘Suddenly’ implies an instantaneous occurrence, whereas actually what is happening is Hermione hearing someone enter the shop. She could ‘suddenly’ hear the shop door open, or the bell indicating someone entering, but hearing someone enter wouldn’t really be sudden – she would hear the door open, and then someone’s footsteps. Okay. Hopefully I’m making sense. Ignore me if I’m not.
He seemed to be sliding his eyes over the shelves that stood just to his right in neat rows, a sceptical expression on his face.
Again, perfect characterisation – possibly one of the best aspects of this fic. You have a real knack for portraying characters with only a few simple sentences. Just this description is so revealing.
“It’s funny, I recognised you as soon as I walked in,” remarked Lucius, quite abruptly. “Hermione Granger. You know, I always got the impression you would want to do more with your life than this.”
Hee. I love this line – mainly because what Lucius says is almost exactly what I said. Also because it’s just the sort of thing he would say – a sharp comment, designed to make someone uncomfortable or put them on the spot, but with a hidden curiosity behind it. I think you’ve actually done an excellent job of bringing out the characteristics of both characters which make them the most likely couple. I can see certain similarities between them through your writing, and it is this more than anything which makes your fic so plausible. Excellent job!
“I’m Muggleborn, yes, but that means nothing whatsoever about what I do. And you, Lucius, need to start changing your thinking.”
I find Hermione’s changing of the way in which she refers to him interesting – earlier she addressed him as ‘Mr. Malfoy’. However, you did choose the right point to make this change. In the heat of the moment it seems possible for Hermione to do so.
He didn’t look at her, but she searched his face, compassion creeping into her heart, no matter how much her head protested.
Oh, so very, very Hermione! She tries to put her head first at all times, but cannot prevent the fact that her heart very often leads her. S.P.E.W. is a good example of this – though it seems to be driven by her logic and mind, it is actually based more on her beliefs and compassion. Not so much as Harry or Ron, perhaps, but she is a compassionate and loving person, nonetheless.
He hadn’t meant to say those things. She was making him admit feelings that he had spent so long attempting to conceal.
D’you know what’s great about this? All the feelings between Lucius and Hermione are implied rather than all… hot and passionate, undying love declared, etc. This is probably the best way to handle such a ship – tastefully and believably.
“You know, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, Lucius. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I cannot even tell you how much I adore this line. It’s just… gorgeous. Utterly. And so wise, and meaningful. I’ve just about fallen in love with it. And the ending? Perfect. It might seem a little anticlimactic to some, but I think this fic is all about understatement, and you’ve written it wonderfully.
And lastly I have a couple of nitpicks, I hope you don’t mind. It’s the beta coming out in me. When referring to someone as Sir or Madam, both should be capitalised, I believe, as they’re titles, a little like calling someone Mum or Dad – when you say ‘my dad’, it isn’t capitalised because it’s a relation/position, but when you say ‘Hi, Dad’, it is capitalised because it’s his title. Also – “No thank you,” Lucius Malfoy replied shortly. – there should be a comma after ‘no’.
To be honest, Lucius/Hermione is a pairing I would usually avoid like the plague, but your writing is just so lovely, Sarah. By not overdoing it, you’ve made it extremely believable, which I applaud you for. A fantastic fic!
Author's Response: Oh, it's my dear Kate coming to review my lonely story! Wheeeee! [And what a review, too!] Anyway, yes, I just love writing imagery into my pieces, and I'm glad it worked well in theis inastnce, as I do tend to go a bit over the top on occasion. It's also important for me to get the idea of teh calm befor eths torm across, as that's what the story centralises on. I'm not quite sure why I made her run a bookshop in the end, but I guess that although I don't mention it in the story, in my mind Harry and Ron are dead and Hermione is tired of the drama her life was full of before. Plus, she always loved books. And yay that I got her characterisation right! You make perfect sense [or as far as I can see!] in your explanation of that sentence, and I've changed it accordingly. I had so much fun writing Lucius in this scene, because it is just great to be a little mean to Hermione from his POV, before they end up attracted to each other. I also wanted to establish that Lucius is very much the man he always was, which becomes important in later chapters. I wasn't quite sure how the more 'tender' parts of this chapter would go down with readers, so I'm happy to see you think they worked. As to that line about dancing in the rain? Oh I know, I just love it too. Unfortunately I can't claim it as my own, but since it was anonymous, I really wanted to use it! I'm pleased to hear you liked the ending - it was supposed to round this scene off effectively without completely leaving it all closed, and I hope that came across! This story's not really about cliffhangers, so it just felt good to finish the chapter like this. I've taken the concrit into account, edited the text where necessary and kept it in mind! It's good that I can glean bits of grammatical correctness from these reviews as well as seeing where I've done well. So thank you ever so much for gracing my fic with this lovely review, and please keep reading as I post the next chapters! *hugs*