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.
You better have at least one companion fic to this, becuase this is amazing and you've let me wanting for moooreee!!! *giggles*
Honestly, Jennifer -see! I even called you Jennifer and not Jenny!- this was beautifully written and though I had terrible allergies that made it extremely difficult to look at the monitor, I couldn't stay away!
Draco is wonderfully characterised. He's perfect! The story around Daphne and Astoria is really well put out.
I only have one little nit-pick:
"Daphne could twist this every which way, and it wouldn’t take long for everyone to know that Draco Malfoy had made a pass on the little sister of his girlfriend." - that should be older sister, not little, though little is more scandalous. *giggles*
And that is all! There was a part that made me think of a certain Tom who must have been some sort of inspiration. >.< Loved it and definitely adding it to my favourites!
Author's Response: :D:D:D Oh, thank you, dearest! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it. It's one of my favourite fics. I'll change that error immediately - when I first wrote it, I'd forgotten who was the eldest sister, and I must have missed that when I changed them later. Incidentally, I wrote this long before I'd even met Tom, but now I'm curious. Which part was it? Thanks again! Jen
i really like this! please write more!
Author's Response: There will be a sequel, don't worry. :) Thanks!
I love Draco/Daphne now. An idea that only you, Jen, could have executed so well.
Your writing in this fic is beautiful. I think, style-wise, this is your best yet. It's still simplistic, yet you provide us with a really vivid image in our heads of the scene you're writing.
I think you characterised Draco really well here. I definitely see him as someone who would not be worried to never fall in love, in fact, I've written him that way myself. You represent his love for Daphne really well, as if he doesn't want to be in love, but, of course, he can't help it.
‘I didn’t come here to see Astoria. I came here to see you.’ I love this. It's a very Draco way of telling her his feelings. He evades being entirely honest, but still gets the message across.
The contrast between Daphne and Astoria is interesting. It's not often you see the eldest sister being jealous of the youngest. This ensures they aren't a cliche. It's interesting that Draco falls in love with the least perfect of the two, and is quite probable because he himself is far from perfect. Your choice to write Daphne as an average girl was a good one, because I think it's more likely that Draco would fall for someone like that; he can hardly compete with someone as lovely as Astoria.
The way you've written Narcissa is quite unique. In the fics I've read that are Post-Hogwarts, writers tend to soften her character based on the scene in DH with Harry, in the woods. You've not done this, and I think your way is a fairly accurate portrayal; you haven't forgotten that she was a Black and would have learned her strict style of parenting from her own parents, no doubt. So, she was a really great part of this story for me.
My only nitpick is:
he Apparated over to the Greengrasses Manor. Earlier you use dining out that evening, at the Greengrasses’ manor. The former should probably be the same as this, or simply Greengrass Manor.
I loved the ending, dear. Very sweet, and you leave us hanging! I also loved how you integrated my prompts. They were fitted in so well I barely noticed them as mine. :D
I can't wait for the companions! Amazing stuff, Jen.
Author's Response: *grins madly* Oh, thank you, Cass! I'm utterly thrilled that you like it, because this is your story, after all. :) What you said about it being my best writing is the biggest compliment you could have paid me. Thank you so much. And I'm glad you liked Daphne, too, because she's one of my favourite characters I've ever written and I adore her. :D Thank you again for the fabulous review!
Very interesting. I really like the story plot. Your a good writer.
Author's Response: Thank you very much!