Reviewer: michal_999
Date: 11/11/11 22:55
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

i thought that this story was really good, and i do really wish that you would add a few more chapters. i really like the fact that you included the fact that lucius and narcissa's marriage was probably arranged, but that they also loved eachother. a lot of stories are about how they really didnt love eachother, but i see them as the most in love couple in the series, apart from the weasleys. so i really liked this vue and i like the idea that narcissa's life wasn't all that good too. (:

Reviewer: Dracoisbeast
Date: 08/29/11 8:06
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

that was engaging!

Reviewer: luinrina
Date: 07/30/09 7:53
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

This left me absolutely – excuse the pun – breathless, Mere. I really, really loved your story. It was very intense in the emotions, so dark and feeling real. I also thought that in relation to what women find in violent men/husbands it was very well described and written; people who haven’t experienced the same can only shake their heads. At first, I found myself doing the same, but your marvellous writing pulled me in and let me experience the story as if I was in Narcissa’s stead. I could understand her reasons and why she kept with Rabastan instead of leaving him.

I very much loved your characterisation, too, especially Narcissa’s. You wonderfully portrayed the duty she feels as a pure-blood daughter of the Black family, but also the allurement that is Rabastan Lestrange. And at the end, it becomes clear why she would leave Rabastan and take Lucius, who she knows for a long time already and who cares about her well-being. I found it all enchanting, educational and at the same time very entertaining in the sense of a very enjoyable read.

What amazed me most was that this story came from the word “breath” alone, and yet it fits very well. The word is interwoven throughout the story, giving it its meaning. Narcissa loves, with love often being seen as the “breath of life”, and yet she loses her breath when Rabastan beats her. I found the plot, the meaning of the story to be exquisitely mastered. You did a fantastic job with this one-shot, Mere, dear. It leaves me in awe.

Very well done.

Reviewer: GringottsVault711
Date: 06/30/09 19:43
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

Her breath fogged the glass, reminding her she was alive.

I like this line for a couple of reasons. One, the use of her "breath" to remind her that she's alive is very nice. It reminds us of the profound meaning behind the simplicity of breathing. I also like how you indirectly attribute a numbness, or apathy of life to Narcissa here. In the previous sentences, we get a sense of coldness, but here you clarify that it's not an arrogant coldness or cold fury, but a lack of warmth.

Unconsciously, she felt herself relax slightly.

I found this line a little contradictory. If you "feel" yourself do something, you are conscious of it. "Unconsciously, she relaxed," would have worked better. Very short and simple, but it's better to be concise than to cloud or contradict your meaning in an attempt to be descriptive.

The first part of the story is very intriguing. Why is Rabastan looking for Narcissa? What is the cause of Narcissa's anxiety? I like how you don't reveal the full picture, and draw the reader in to what is happening.

The interaction between Narcissa and Nott is interesting too. On one hand, it's easy to imagine a male student asking a female student to go to the girls dormitory to ask another female student to come down. But, this seems very formal. And Narcissa's attitude towards Nott, her unspoken dismissal, makes it appear that she has a higher standing than her. I'm not entirely certain what I think of this, though. It seems that a lot of fics make the Slytherins out to behave like they're constantly in "Death Eater mode". Completely aware of social ranking, taking orders from those above them and being dismissive of people below them. I can see that the stiffness could be due to Nott's awareness of the tension, and Narcissa's coldness being due to her own fear and aloofness, but it just comes across… a little too much like Narcissa is a queen being summoned by her handmaiden at the request of the angry King.

"Narcissa squeezed her eyes back together"

A sentence I felt was worded oddly. Squeezing one's eyes back together would, in a literal sense, indicate her actually squeezing each of her two eyes together, rather than the lids of each of her eyes, separately. It seems that, because you're using common imagery (to squeeze one's eyes shut), but applying it to slightly different wording, you haven't actually looked at the sentence for it's actual meaning. I actually do see that mistake a lot – people use ready-made familiar phrases, but they apply them differently, and don't notice that it doesn't make sense because of the familiarity.

As with the "unconsciously, she felt herself relax" sentence, I think that you just need to rely less on familiar language and really choose your own words and pay attention to their final meaning. Because, there are places in your writing where I can sense a crisp originality ("She turned to him, swelled with hope." / "…crying for her to shove him away uncivilly and run" / "Narcissa had trouble identifying the origin as her cheekbone. " / "White. The first thing Narcissa could comprehend was white.") and at those times it’s wonderful and your potential is shining through. But I do read a lot of very familiar phrases - eyes blazing, fiery waves crashing over, etc – and while it's not "bad" writing, it can take away from the power of what you're capable of.

She felt his arms close around her, gently drawing her to him. Narcissa clenched his shoulders in her hands and buried her face in his chest, her body shaking. She felt safe, warm, and protected.

The irony here is so sad, so real, and very concisely illustrated. I like how well the words come together, how there is no need for explanation even though it is, of course, completely… wrong.

I enjoyed the little reference to Andromeda's upcoming wedding. Little details always help make a fic it's own – but not only that, there is so much story loaded into that otherwise insignificant to the fic itself except as a topic of conversation, because as readers we are aware that Andromeda's wedding is not going to be going as planned. Narcissa's concern is also wonderfully written; it shows sisterly love, and I like how it rounds her characterisation out.

Everything else was filtered out as unimportant junk.

This sentence threw me off a little, simply because I can't imagine Narcissa using the word "junk". It's a bit too casual and American, and I can't imagine a high-class British girl using it in what would be the early 70's (also factoring in how "traditional" magical society is). I know she doesn't actually use the word herself, but narration should stick as close to the setting as possible, as well as to the character's point of view. Narcissa's use of "it's no problem" is similar; It's not something I would imagine belonging to her dialogue.

I think for the most part, this fic, and the subject matter, is handled tastefully. However, I don't feel connected to it. For me, it reads too much like clich of an abusive relationship, with the usual characteristics assigned to the submissive woman and the dominant man. It seems two-dimensional. It is well-developed and written enough that it encourages the reader to accept the characters' choices and actions, but not so much that it demonstrates understanding.

I don't believe the only way to improve that is to go become a beaten-woman. I don't believe that one has to experience something to be able to write it, or that one can write something solely because they've experienced it. But I do think that writing something as serious as this means really having to consider the complex psychology involved. As I've said, you actually did this very tastefully, so I don't believe you took the subject matter lightly at all, which is very respectable; but I also don't think it was written seriously enough.

I actually think the part that was the most tangible, easiest to understand, was with the introduction of the sexual side of the relationship. Because, this is something I have very rarely seen mentioned in stories pertaining to abusive relationships – except in the sense where the man is sexually abusive. But you don't write Rabastan as sexually abusive, so much as you use Narcissa's sexual desires as something that ties her to the relationship. Generally, fear and emotional insecurity are what traps the woman, and the originality of this, as well as the fact that it's a less stereotypical trait of the "weak female", is what brings me closer to believing in the story.

On a similar note, as I think it adds to my perception of the subject, the tone of the story, formed by your imagery and descriptive words, is consistent and very wonderfully clear. But, again, there is a drawback, and that is that it feels like a lot of those words and phrases forming the tone feel like they were plucked out of a "Dark/Angsty" fic generator. They were well applied, definitely, but a little too familiar and clear in their intent.

As I've said, and I hope you noticed amidst the critique, is that you handled the subject tastefully, and that your tone is very consistent and clear. This shows up best in the scene where Rabastan beats Narcissa in the empty classroom following the scene with Lucius. The writing here is so incredibly clear and potent; I see the violence, and I am aware of the intensity of it, but it doesn't go "over-the-top". Which is honestly quite incredible given the sheer magnitude of what Rabastan inflicts on Narcissa. I absolutely have to applaud the clarity and power of that scene.

I'm conflicted about the ending. I don't feel the attitude of the matron is serious enough. She's speaking to Narcissa as if she just had a serious Quidditch accident, rather than a teenage girl who had just been rescued from a profound beating at the hands of her (former) boyfriend. Aside from the physical aspect, the emotional and psychological aspects here would be treated very, very seriously, and I don't think that this is communicated by the matron's manner.

Aside from that, I love the ending. I was of course hoping that Lucius would save her, but I'm glad that Lucius isn't predictably sitting by her bedside like a sickening clich. And, I appreciate the way it's somewhat open-ended. We don't know what happens to Rabastan, or how things will happen with Lucius and Narcissa. It's a very fresh ending, in the sense it is distinctly its own and belonging to this story. And, the reader can sense the outcome, too. And despite Lucius/Narcissa having very little screen time, comparatively, you've set up an very tangible, developed foundation for a Lucius/Narcissa dynamic that is also all your own.

Overall, I think this is a great concept for a fic, and the structure and outline of the story is excellently done. I also appreciate that you don't take the subject matter overboard, and that it's easy to believe and accept. I do think that it could be taken a little deeper, but you did quite a good job of it in several places – it's just not quite there for me. My favourite aspect of the story would have to be the depth that it attributes to the Malfoys' relationship despite the fact that it isn't a "pairing" story in a traditional sense. Very well done :)

Reviewer: Hermoine Jean Granger
Date: 06/28/09 5:52
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

Mere! -hugs-

My dear, this was chillingly captivating. Really. Right from the very first line, where you develop the setting the story is set in, till the end, where you leave us wondering about the thoughts going through Narcissa's mind, I admit I was glued to the screen. There's this depth to each and every little plot occurrence in the one-shot, and I did marvel at the ingenuity with which you included the prompt you were given into it. It's there, subtle and hidden, but it just can't be overlooked.

I enjoyed the creative use of dialogue in the story. It's neither too drawn out, nor too short; the conversations are interspersed very, very nicely between the description of emotions of the respective characters. It sort of differentiated the levels of interaction between and within the characters. The simple description in the beginning is rather fitting: it fulfills the need for creating a setting, and I really liked the fact that it didn't prolong.

The one thing that caught my eye right at the beginning was the fact that Narcissa is described as staring out of a window, and then walking down a long hallway to the common room. As far as I can recall from canon, the Slytherin Common room was underground-- therefore, the plausibility of a window being there isn't very realistic, at least, in my opinion.

The emotional turmoil in Narcissa's mind when she walks down the corridor to the common room was well explored; her tiny physical actions betraying her inner fear. She comes across as a very scared person who is aware of the impending danger, and her actions at that point of time, came across as forced; as if she wasn't really doing something by choice. I liked the small suspense that was created when we are left wondering as to why Narcissa feels fear when Rabastan is mentioned.

Rabastan, to me at least, sounded nearly animal-like. He loves power, and likes domination. We don't get to see much of him as the antagonist, other than for the times that he just hurts Narcissa, and well, since we're viewing nearly everything from Narcissa's POV, his character did seem a little underdeveloped to me. Narcissa gives in to him, and though that in itself is sort of redundant in fanfic, I like your justification for her giving in. It isn't because she wasn't strong, but because somewhere, she knew that he would revert to the person she loved, after this short brutal interval.

The part wherein we see Narcissa's true feelings towards Rabastan is probably my most favourite part of the story. The range of emotions evoked by Rabastan had higher highs and deeper depths than those brought on by any one person before him. She was either soaring or sinking, and she never knew which, until it was too late to find a steady course. Beautifully put, to the point, and just wonderful.

The introduction of Lucius brought in a very interesting dynamic to the whole plot. Right from how he is able to confuse Narcissa and make her nearly afraid, to the fact that he saves her from fatal injuries to her body and soul, I liked his part in the overall scheme of things. He balances the brutality that Rabastan Lestrange brought into the plot. I also liked how he subtly prompts Narcissa's mind into revealing part of its nature; to come out of its mask. He prompts Narcissa into thinking deeper, beyond what she has accepting for so long. I liked the way the small talk in the library was so structured that it moved slowly from studies to family dynamics, and then finally, to his questioning her state; her stability. It sort of made me feel that Lucius was somehow aware of something being wrong-- just that he wanted to learn it from Narcissa herself.

The ending to the story was again, superb. The last line, especially, had me asking for more. She needed to put the pieces of herself back together. It was such a wonderful finish to the story that flowed so beautifully right from the beginning till the resolution of the main act. I enjoyed this very, very much, dear.

Reviewer: majestic_ginny
Date: 06/26/09 23:43
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

Oh my god, that was awesome! It was a very good story and the description was well given. The plot was brilliant as well, and the characters were quite believable too! I just think you could have given a meeting between Lucius and Narcissa at the end, that would've been awesome. Overall, the story was just GREAT! Keep it up, I wish to read more from you.--Nadia

Reviewer: 4_leaf_clover
Date: 06/25/09 15:06
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

That was very good.

Reviewer: MadEyeMaddy
Date: 06/25/09 12:28
Chapter: Hey, girl, you know you drive me crazy

This was soooooooo goood. Please make it more chapters!!!!!!!!!! :D

--Maddy

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