awesome! really awesome, this should have been in the book instead of that choppy epilogue. I never felt harry should be with ginny forever. Sure he deserves a family. Why not just go back with cho?! xD Imma go to bed now its 4 am and im still up reading. Lovely!
Author's Response: Aww, thank you. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Hehe. You get some sleep, and thanks a lot for reading and reviewing. ^_^
I was sitting here going "No, don't get involved with those Greengrass girls. Send Ginny an owl." Then it was, "Yes, send that owl to Draco." You're very naughty--this chapter was just a big tease. I'm so excited to see what will happen. Blaise was very tricky about finding out who Draco was interested in. He knows what's going on. I can't help but think that Narcissa's being a little manipulative. She's trying to break Draco out of the rut he's in. Maybe if she parades these girls around, Draco will figure out what he wants and come to his senses. I was relieved that Harry and Ginny had a big fight. There he goes again, saving the world, and leaving Ginny by the wayside. I was happy to see Luna again. Her involvement was unexpected. I love this story. I sure do want to know what was in the note Ginny sent to Drace. Can't wait to find out. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Oh, if you think I'm a tease in this story, you will want to slap me silly for Prelude and another story of mine, Plan B. *giggles* I do love to tease. You will definitely be reading the letter in the next chapter. It's one of those letters written in hurt and desperation -- the kind that makes you shake your head in wonder. Lol.
"I can't help but think that Narcissa's being a little manipulative." -- very perceptive, and you will find out how right you are in the next chapter.
And if you think this chapter was a tease, wait 'til the next one. It's a cliffhanger! Lol. *dodges projectiles* Thanks so much for your awesome reviews. I do enjoy reading them. They make me so happy. ^_^ Thanks!!! ~Lia
this was such a good update!! haha yes, i AM curious. i love reading your stories!
Author's Response: Awesome! I'm glad you liked it, and you like my stories. Is happy. ^_^
Okay, so it's been a while since I checked in (plus, I'm skiving off my own writing for a while, because I'm naughty like that). Brace yourself, because this one is a bloody marathon!
I really admire how you didn't force the dynamic between Ginny [I'm calling her that because it's much faster to type, and I can foresee much more typing in this review, so I'm copping out lazy] and Draco, as many have done, throwing them together in a short period of time. It takes more than a couple weeks to change one's mind about someone, and you took remarkable care with how you shifted their perspectives on one another. It made the whole thing much more believable than most non-canon pairings.
I can't say I'm surprised at what happened to Ginny at Hogwarts that year, because she was essentially locked up in a nest of vipers, all of which saw her as a main target. I wouldn't mind knowing who it was that was the cruelest to her - not in anger so much as morbid curiosity. But hey, I'm a 'Claw, so I'm just like that.
You approached a touchy and conflicting concept with self-injury and 'cutting.' It was a brave thing to do, and I believe you handled it well. I, myself, put an entire chapter of non-con in my current WIP, followed by a chapter full of dubious content, and I had to work damned hard to handle the issue delicately, but without losing its poignancy. I feel you did this with the self-injury, so I'll applaud you for that. I'm not surprised that either Draco or Ginny became self-destructive after their respective life experiences, and I didn't find the addition of this particular subject out of character.
I'm actually surprised at the general lack of sexuality between them, because in my experience, at least, those who experience that particular level of trauma tend to come out the other end lacking in such characteristics as restraint and abstaining from what they truly want because it might not be 'proper.' However, the self-imposed distance between them actually added to the appeal of the story for me, because it wasn't forced or poorly written - they actually fought it, and believably so.
Your characterisation of Harry, in my view, was spectacular. He has always been a 'can't see the forest for the trees' sort when it came to romantic endeavours, though it was, by no means, his fault, as he had not really had a positive male influence in his life in that regard. Even if he had grown up with his dad, I'm not entirely certain that would have been a healthy example, especially considering how much of a 'toerag' (good Godric, I love that word, lol) he was whilst in school. He didn't mean to alienate her, but he did, though I think, with Harry's self-deprecating demeanour, he wouldn't have kept trying to make amends with her; I believe he would have simply accepted his blame in the matter (even if the situation was not entirely his fault) and leave her in peace.
It's interesting how you portrayed George, because I would have thought he'd be a sulky, sullen, misanthropic sot after losing essentially what was his other half, but instead, you made him the one that tried to lift others' spirits. I think I like that, because in my own writing, I made him into a rather self-destructive mess, but I digress.:)
Narcissa was another interesting aspect to the latter half of this story. On one hand, she is every inch of Lady Malfoy as she should be, but on the other, she seems to care deeply for Draco's feelings. It can't have been easy to not only be incarcerated herself, but to be isolated from her son and husband, who would be gone for much longer than I'm sure she would have liked, it must have been agony for her. That would, in my opinion, make her much more receptive of Draco's changes, and more notably, the interest exhibited by Ginny at the tea shop. She does, however, show a little more of her nature when she tried to pair Draco with one of the Greengrass girls.
As for the more minor characters, I liked most of what you did with Blaise. He always seemed to me as more cold and distant, and not so much a friend of Draco's as an ally/acquaintance, purely a social alliance. I can picture how the inner circles of the Slytherins worked, with the higher ranking ones (Draco, Blaise, Pansy) leading the others of their respective social rings, but I really don't think that any of them were every truly friends, which is sad, but not totally unexpected. It may have been beneficial to lend Blaise's relationship more toward this concept, but hey, it's your story, so feel free to ignore me, lol.
I think you might have underestimated Kingsley with the way you characterized him, because he seems much more perceptive than most anyone, which was greatly evidenced by his actions in OotP with his Obliviation of Marietta Edgecombe before she could sell out the DA. I believe he would have noticed the situation between Draco and Ginny much more readily (especially more so than Harry). Whether he would have said anything about it, that remains to be seen, but he most definitely would have noticed. I do, though, think that Kingsley very well would have let Draco go, because to use an old phrase, he had bigger fish to fry; there were much worse threats to the wizarding world than Draco Malfoy, and space in Azkaban would become a precious commodity once some of the latent Death Eater presence was mopped up.
I'm on the fence about your Luna portrayal. She just didn't seem...spaced out enough to truly suit her canonical characterization. She was blunt, as she is, but not as whimsical and odd as she normally is. I don't mind a more serious Luna, because personally, she's not a character I particularly like, but it was a little out of character for her to talk to Ginny as she did.
I just want to thank you for not making Draco actually like Pansy. While I don't imagine she's a truly villainous sort (as JKR unjustly portrayed her in DH), I do think she would have been an annoying shrew with a grating voice and personality. It always sort of made me ill thinking of someone as deep and complex as Draco stuck with someone as irritating as her.
And for the last character - the diary. I was secretly hoping in the first couple of chapters that the diary had secretly belonged to Lily Potter, and she felt trapped and unhappy married to James, because she was secretly in love with Sirius, but hey, a girl can dream, can't she? I knew, though, after some more intense reactions between Ginny and Draco that the diary had to belong to Ginny. I never really took her as the angsting type, but sh*te happens and changes people for better or for worse.
Okay, so now that I'm done with character analysis, I'll move onto mechanics. Your sentence structures are very good, because you use a shorter or longer sentence in the right places, dictating the flow and plot of both the story and the characters' thoughts. There were a couple typos/misuses, which I was negligent in recording so I could tell you which ones they are, but the one I remember is the use of 'faired' instead of the proper 'fared' in one of the chapters (somewhere between 10 and 13, I think...they all sort of blended together for me). A word or two were forgotten (I do that all the time, lol), but in terms of punctuation and structure overall, this is definitely one of the better pieces I've read. It definitely shows that you have experience as a beta.
In the beginning, I found your use of adjectives to be a little forced and at times, way too much. However, it did improve greatly as the story rolled on. Personally, I have an extensive and diverse vocabulary, so I could follow just about everything, but there are points when the use of obscure, flashy words would throw the story for an average reader, because they either wouldn't get what you're trying to say, or they'd lose the rhythm of the story because they're busy trying to find out/figure out exactly what it is that you're saying. For me, I found it refreshing to see some words I haven't used in a while, but after a while, it was a relief when your writing style leveled off and some of the overt use of adjectives subsided. By no means am I saying that I don't like your style or your vocab, but at times, a lower-key word could be used to keep the reader on track with what you're trying to say.
The dialogue, at times, troubled me. The way Draco spoke was very in-character, at least from my POV, but at times, Ginny was speaking as if she was reading lines from an old play, using words, phrases, and vernacular that one would never actually find used in anyone's speech (most notably for me in the part in which Wuthering Heights was discussed), but again, I believe it did get better as the story rolled along. Personally, I have trouble with that very issue, so it's easier for me to spot.
All in all, at this point, I can honestly say I enjoyed the story thoroughly, and I hope to see your next chapters in the queue soon. It's much better than most non-canon pairings in terms of characterization and overall plot. Other than the issues that I had with it as outlined above, this fic is definitely a cut above many others, and it really should have more reads than it does.
Okay, I'm signing out now, and I will be back for a chapter-by-chapter for the last two to go through the queue, albeit in a much less long-winded fashion, lol. Take care and happy writing!
Author's Response: First of all, I am deeply humbled and impressed by your review. I am extremely flattered and a little giddy right now (okay, a lot giddy). ^_^ As you may have noticed, I edit my own work. It's bad of me, I know. I should really get a beta, so I am very appreciative of any errors you find. Ironically, I am not one of those people who throws a fit when someone points out an error I make. Heck, I use .rtf format (no spell or grammar check). I make tonnes of typos! Lol. So, if you want, you can always point them out to me in reviews or in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will go back and correct them. ^_^
To touch on some points you made (incidentally, I prefer calling 'Ginny' 'Ginevra', but I wanted her to evolve her a bit in this fic, so I address her by her full name):
1. I really enjoy writing D/G. It's such a fire & ice combo for me. I would have drawn their relationship out even further, but I originally wrote this for a fix exchange, and wrote this in two weeks. I didn't want to go past 50,000 words. I hate it when a relationship starts out too fast. Prelude starts out fast, but there /is/ an actual explanation for that. Heh.
2. Unfortunately I do not mention what happened to Ginny during her sixth year at Hogwarts. I didn't want to dwell too much on her pain, mostly on the 'redemption' of Draco, or rather the Stockholm Syndrome effect. However, I do plan on focusing on that in another story. I probably should have included something, because everyone is curious, and I don't blame them.
3. The self-mutilation scene was tricky to write. I didn't want it to come off as emo. I, too, wrote a non-con one-shot (about rape), and it was difficult to write, so I feel your pain. I must check out your work. ^^ Are you like me and have a bunch on other sites? =P
4. I know that sexual tension could have been very appropriate in this story, but I also felt that the distance made it more real and any possible relationship genuine. I guess I wanted to make them friends more than anything. ^_^
5. I'm so glad you like Harry in this. I never want anyone to hate him. I love Harry. I just think he doesn't know how to act around girls (because of no strong male role model), and he's always focused on helping others instead of himself. You are right about him being the kind of person who would have stopped trying to make amends and rightly ended things with her. I wanted to show how he can't juggle everything at once (or please everyone at once), even though he tries. Essentially, I wanted to show everyone having real, human faults.
6. I love George, and I totally understand how you would make him a mess. JKR even said that George would, essentially, never be happy again. For this story, though, I needed a family member who would be there for Ginny with no conditions. Also, did you notice how Ron wasn't a complete arse? Lol!
7. Comments on other minor characters: I love writing Narcissa, and I am very glad she came off as realistic. You are right about Blaise should be more of a friend, but I felt that this was somewhat of an appropriate attitude coming from Blaise. There is a bit of a stigma from being in jail, whether it be house arrest or not. I have a feeling Blaise and Draco would have eventually got back into it. Plus, things change between friends after high school. As for Luna, I liked this portrayal of her. I think it is canon in the sense that, they have all grown up a bit. Luna doesn't have to be as flighty. She is a very astute creature, and I like to have her have lucid moments. Of course, Hermione would have been more perfect for this role, but Ginny couldn't go to Hermione. As for Kingsley, you are right about him, but I didn't want to focus on him. Lol.
8. Ginny's speech. Originally, I had her dialogue more forced and stiff because she was in the nest with a Slytherin. I see Ginny (and most late teenage girls) as beginning to demonstrate their 'intellect', especially when feeling threatened or small. Draco makes people feel small. I saw Ginny's easlier speech as her trying to be grown up and trying to impress/intimidate Malfoy. Of course, once the two relaxed around each other so did their speech. As for my adjective use, I just got sick of repeating the same words over and over. Plus, this was originally written for a bunch of people like me, who were familiar with my vocabulary. Lol.
So thank you for this review. Now I can go over it at some point and make corrections with an open mind. I love reviews like yours. They really lift me up and allow for me to grow as a writer. Thank you so very much. ^_^