Well, I am here with that review to thank you for your banner services. –grin-
I loved the writing of the opening sequence between Draco and his mother, with him being carted around Diagon Alley as this young boy. It’s written very well. However, I did feel that Narcissa’s being so put out by Draco might be a bit out of character. She comes across so devoted as a mother in both HBP and DH with such a powerful love for Draco that I don’t think she’d be so aggravated by him. She might be a bit tired of his actions maybe if Draco was having one of those grumpy kid days, but I don’t think she’d be so short with him. In fact, when I read that first sentence where Narcissa ‘guided him forcefully through,’ I thought for sure you had accidentally chosen the wrong word.
Also, I’m a little bit doubtful that any five year old boy would be so extremely taken with a beautiful little girl, having his breath catch in his throat, but it is nice to read. It’s kind of how I feel at the end of the entire story. It was a very gripping read that had my attention until the end. I was feeling what Draco felt, and it was all very powerful. However, I found myself questioning some things throughout. I feel like, upon reflection of those things I had questions on, if you had expounded a little more on each of the scenes and provided a little more for the reader, there wouldn’t be this feeling of doubt for me at the end. It just felt a little bit like you were in a hurry to get to the end of the story (and it does call for being a quick story), but I really could’ve done with more depth and layering so that there wasn’t any room to question things. Those things, in particular, were Loralie letting him know that first evening at Hogwarts that they weren’t to have anything to do with each other; and then Draco just kissing Loralie, Loralie letting him, and then breaking it off and being so firm about their families not approving of a relationship between them.
What a marvelously sad story you have. The plot was very strong and it was exceedingly well written. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Five year-old Draco! What an adorable character! He seems so sweet and innocent – it really contrasts nicely with his far more mature thoughts at the end of the story. I liked how you characterized Draco. Actually, I’ll admit that I was shocked at his apparent naïveté before I remembered that he was only five. The innocent notice of a pretty girl was also very sweet. I’m glad that you didn’t over do his description of Loralie (it would have been so tempting for me to do so). With such a young child, it’s definitely appropriate just to have him say that Loralie was pretty. Short and sweet.
Loralie seems like a very mature five year-old. I almost wanted her to be a bit more like Draco and be a little more childishly exuberant. I thought that her introduction, while appropriate, sounded a bit too formal. Perhaps it was the proper grammar flowing from the lips of a very young child…but that’s a very minor nitpick. With regards to Loralie in this section, I thought that you built up her character very nicely. The hazel eyes and the chestnut hair that you repeat through out was a lovely parallel that held the story together.
Because I feel like making minor nitpicks, I wanted to point out the word choice in this sentence: Draco’s small eyes darted from shop to shop, taking in the splendor and awe of each display. The word that gives me issues is ‘darted’. You are absolutely correct in using it here, but it made me pause for a moment when I read it. ‘Darted’ has a rather nervous and anxious connotation, while Draco is obviously very happy and excited to be in Diagon Alley. Perhaps using a word with a more positive connotation (like jumped, zoomed, or zipped) would make the sentence flow a little better. But, again, that is extremely minor.
Oh, and Narcissa’s characterization is absolutely perfect. She’s a bit self-centered and concerned with blood relations, while expressing her love for Draco in a rather odd manner (not wanting his association with non-purebloods). At the end of the first flashback, when Narcissa mutters about the blood traitors, I couldn’t help but think that this would be a rather Romeo and Juliet-ish plot. It sort of was, in all the best possible ways. The theme of forbidden love is a very appealing one and I thought that you did quite well with it.
The little pieces of sky that could be seen through the forest’s dense canopy were dark and foreboding - not that Draco had expected any less. Ever since that day, it seemed that clouds were sure to follow him. Draco’s mind surged with frustration as he thought to himself, This is not how I had envisioned my seventh year to end.
I liked that paragraph very much. The rather grim and morbid humor really fit nicely and was done well – not overly dramatic. I also liked the line about how the clouds were sure to follow him. When I read it for the first time, I immediately thought that the clouds had been following him since he was five years-old. >.> I was kind of surprised by that. But, by the second read, I appreciated the line as a nice bit of foreshadowing as to just what happens between Draco and Loralie. I also enjoyed the description of the forest. It was very succinct; you didn’t throw in a lot of extra description to pad the word count. I was able, though, to glean a very nice mental picture through the words that you did use. Excellent use of imagery.
You conveyed the pain that both Loralie and Draco felt in the second flashback very well. You stuck to the excellent strategy of showing the reader and not telling the reader. Without any words between them, Draco and Loralie manage to communicate to each other that the potential situation is over. My heart just ached for the two of them during that section, gah.
Oh, speaking of sections. I liked how the story was chunked up, switching between present time and memories. It really gave the story a nice flow; there were no parts that dragged or seemed to be moving suddenly in one direction or another. It really allows the reader to understand where Draco’s pain and thoughts are coming from – in order to understand the present, one must understand the past.
When the Dementors finally found Draco, I was so worried that he wouldn’t have a happy memory! It’s somewhat ironic that his happiest memory is also one of his saddest – she leaves him at the very end. That was really the part that reminded me of Romeo and Juliet: love that just can’t happen. I like how you split it in half – the happy half and the sad half. That really made the second part all the more painful because the reader (well, I was) was kind of lulled into a false sense of security about the relationship between Draco and Loralie.
The section (the first half, mostly) really made me wonder about Loralie and the sorts of things that had happened to her during her years at Hogwarts. Perhaps some sort of actions against her constantly reinforced what Narcissa had said twelve years previously? Maybe her own parents had introduced her to the concept of purebloods who look down on every one else? I think that, to her, Draco merely represent everything that could happen to her because of her blood-status. And that is just horribly sad. I very nearly cried with Loralie when she explained everything to Draco.
Sorry, I’m just kind of theorizing all over your review page.
Draco’s death scene was written quite well, too. In all the excitement about Dementors and Loralie, I had very nearly forgotten about his leg. I was rather surprised that, if it was such a huge wound, that bandaging would have really held for that long, but I will suspend my disbelief, heh.
The ending was simply beautiful. I think that the last line just about killed me, it was so painful. But it was a good kind of pain, the kind that comes when everything has been wrapped up satisfactorily and explained neatly.
I think that I enjoy Draco as a sort of hopeless romantic, who dies thinking about what could have been. I don’t know why, but Draco as the tragic lover has appealed to me. I think that the fits the role quite well. :D
Olivia, this was a lovely story. There were a few absolutely minor issues that I had with the word choice in a few places, but those couldn’t take away from the story. It was elegant, poignant, and you are to be congratulated for a job very well done.
Poor Draco! Narcissa, however, in most stories on mugglenet is treated like an idiot or a mindlessly cruel person. I don't think she is. I think she's just trying to protect her family.
Anyway, your story was great. It reminded me of the book milkweed by jerry spinelli. You've probably never read it, but oh well.
Oh.. so romantic and sad! The very last line is just so bittersweet and perfect. Fantastic job, I'm not much of a Draco fan but I still liked it! In the books we never see Draco have a real romantic interest in anyone (I don't believe he ever had real strong feelings for Pansy) and this is a nice little twist to him having to keep his feelings for a non-pureblood hidden.
PS. Thanks for the wonderful banner!
That was so great!
That was beautiful. I love the way the story went back and forth between flashbacks and Draco in the forest, but we're not quite sure how they connect until the end.
The ending was perfect. It was sad, not all endings should be fluffy and happy. And it leaves an air of mystery because we don't know what happened to Loralie.
Draco's characterization was great. Even though his parents have pureblood mania drilled into his brain, I believe that a childhood crush could lead to something more. My only criticism is that Loralie reminded me a lot of Cho, because of crying over boys, being really pretty and being in Ravenclaw.
that ws so...
but seriously not all good stories need a happy ending :)
and that was a great one
it almost made me cry :'(. Seriously great story you should write more :)
oh my god. i'm crying.
That was sad...
Very, very sad.
The parent's fault. It really was.
What an absolutely gorgeous story! I loved the flashback and repetition, very poetic. The ending was absolutely stunning as well. I like that you ended on a very strong and powerful image!
Oh my god, that was so depressing, but beautiful. You are a great writer, and that was really good.
That...was beautiful. The way everything was worded and the imagery made it all super easy to picture. The flashbacks/memories were written and placed beautifully. Amazing job on this dear. I absolutely loved it.
Wow this is a beautiful story.... it shows a different side of Draco. Great descriptions!
*shakes head* Olivia, you still surprise me, even after the story is up. I loved your choice to switch Hermione with an OC. Not only did it help make the story longer, but it kept Hermione from being OOC. (I love Loralie, by the way. She's attractive enough, but has enough flaws to make her realistic.)
The part where little Draco and Loralie were talking was just too cute. 'She was a very pretty girl.' That just seems as though you took it straight from Draco's thoughts. I also loved the part when Draco says, “Me too! I’m five too!” It was so cute how excited they got.
All I can say about this story is that I am so proud to have been your beta. *salutes*
Author's Response: Oh, thank you Laila! I've loved working with you! You're an amazing Beta. And to anyone else who might be reading this, pureblood.princess is a phenomenal beta, so look to her the next time you need one!
That was a GREAT story... Never thought that I would be feeling bad for Draco. Keep writing!!
Wow! What a powerful story! I always appreciate writers who incorporate flashback without it being cheesy!
That was amazing! I loved it.