Hello! It's me from the forums with your requested review--hopefully you still remember doing that because it was so long ago! XD I apologize for the delay; IRL things have been sucking up my life.
Your opening scene is great, it really sets the mood for a tense, darker story. I think we get a really good idea of Astoria's character by the way she decided to go see what was going on in the castle. I'm guessing she was balancing somewhere between being too proud to admit she's wrong and genuinely caring about the welfare of the younger students, when she insisted repeatedly that everything was okay.
I am a little confused about whether or not she really is worried, though. The story goes from saying "I realized that there wouldn’t ever be death eaters roaming about near the common room, it wasn’t as though a bunch of students were really a threat to dark wizards," to this: "I wondered how I was supposed to get back without getting myself killed. Carefully inching towards the room practically holding my breath from fear..." So she is or isn't convinced that there are Death Eaters in the castle? I think that clarifying here would help :)
Ohh, interesting then--I wonder if they're going to think that Astoria killed the boy? Poor little feller :( Aside from the aforementioned confusion, I think you did a great job capturing the mood at the castle on that night in a realistic way. Probably most students didn't know what was going on, or were skeptical. It's much more realistic than everyone immediately knowing exactly what was happening and heroically rushing in to battle. You've created a very believable, very sad introductory scene that way.
I see in your A/N that you have a Beta reader, but I'd consider re-reading over this story to look for errors. I noticed several punctuation errors, such as this one: “You were screaming in your sleep again.” My sister filled in. It should be "You were screaming in your sleep again," my sister filled in (with the comma.) Also there are a lot of places, particularly in the beginning, where your words run together likethis. Probably just a formatting issue. A quick glance-over wouldn't hurt :)
The relationship between the Greengrass sisters is very nice. Daphne is very nurturing towards her, but in a cold, well, Slytherin-like way that I find highly believable. I also like Astoria's desire to prove herself and her shame of still being plagued by nightmares.
There's another contradictory bit in Audrey's introductory paragraphs. It goes from "But the smile didn’t come" to immediately saying "A small smile crossed my face..." Was it a forced smile? Or did seeing her sister really just make it easier to ignore the nightmare she'd just had? A little clarification here would help :)
I love Audrey Greengrass; she seems like the rebel of the family. Having an assistant job that isn't considered worthy enough for the family title, and falling in love with a man that I'm assuming her parents aren't too fond of... brilliant! Astoria seems to be following the same path, approving of Audrey's job and such. I just, ehh, it's so nitpicky, but I wish that Audrey had a unique and almost archaic name like Daphne or Astoria. But it also sets her apart from her sisters, so perhaps you did this on purpose? :)
I think you've done a great job with conveying how students would feel about wanting to go back to school. I think some of them would really want to go back, as a way to heal--I remember reading somewhere that the day after the Columbine High School shooting, they tried to cancel school, but the students all just wanted to be back together for support. But I like Astoria's resistance, it adds some drama to the plot.
Oh my, I love the idea of St. Mungo's having a counseling program for students and others. That's such a believable idea, I'm sure JKR assumed something like that herself. Poor Astoria, being fed to the wolves and having to listen to her sisters talk to her like this! :(
Well I hope my ramblings weren't too horribly long, I wanted to make up for being several weeks late! All in all, I think this is a great start. You seem to have a very firm grip on your characters. Happy writings!
Author's Response: Oh my goodness, I was expecting a long review of course because this was requested, but you really managed to cover all of the bases in this, and I wanted to start off by saying thank you, thank you, thank you for that.
I went back to review those two unclear areas, the one from her concern and the smile, and I think that I managed to clear up the confusion with those areas. Thank you for pointing that out though, when I went back and looked at it I saw what you were talking about and it was a bit hard to follow.
A lot of those little issues seemed like formatting issues, but I went back to take a closer look at them. The whose comma thing was something that my beta reader had pointed out that I had ignored, but I need to go back and look over all of those. I really need to go back over the right punctuation to use as a whole, so thanks for pointing that out to me.
Audrey is probably my favorite character, but I totally get what you're saying about the name thing. But I was trying to stay with cannon in ways, making the mysterious 'Audrey' that Percy marries Astoria and Daphne's sister. But I guess that's something that needed to be overlooked.
I'm glad that you think it's a solid start, I was really unsure about this chapter, and I really appreciated all of the suggestions that you made! Thank you so so so much!