|Review:||Toujours Padfoot says:|
First off, I'm sorry it took me forever to get over here! I wait until the last minute to do absolutely everything.
This was such a treat to read. I knew it would be good because you're such a quality author (and if you aren't a published author/writing original works with the intent of publication, I would be very shocked), and I was pleased to find that I could understand it even though I haven't read CoB. It wasn't like a secret handshake thing where only certain people would get it. I went ahead and read Jami's review to see her reaction to it (something tells me she might have been a little bit excited to see you write this particular story XD), and have gathered that this is the back-story as to how Draco and Astoria's relationship started. Which I was happy to see, because it's brand-new to me and I like seeing the beginnings of things, not the in-the-middles and towards-the-ends, and I'm pretty sure I've stopped making sense, but I just wanted to state that 1) Your storytelling was clear and 2) I enjoyed it a lot.
There's a few different components that go into what makes a story compelling, and you always tick all of those boxes. The descriptions are always so vivid that they give me pause and I have to read and reread them. You set a scene so effortlessly. And on top of that you've got polished spelling/grammar, realistic characterization, believable dialogue, and intrigue. You made me root for Draco here even though I really hate the little vermin, and made me hope he wins Astoria's heart. I haven't read many Draco/Astorias, but most of the ones I've seen have a cold, haughty Astoria - almost just like Narcissa, actually. So to see her warm, kind, and radiating every kind of love was such a pleasant surprise.
Furthermore, I'm glad Draco wrote that letter. I think we've all had that moment of clarity before and didn't jump on it, putting it off just long enough to think it over, and thinking it over long enough to back out. But now that he's taken the first leap, he's put something into motion. He can't undo what he's said. So even if he did regret writing the letter, or woke up the next day feeling mediocre about Astoria and lusting for being drunk again, Narcissa's not likely to let him forget his new outlook on life.
What Draco desperately needed was a goal, and you gave him one. He's just been drifting around, hating himself and hating the world for hating him, feeling like the guy everyone wants to take a swing at, and he's just had an epiphany that it will stay this way forever if he doesn't change people's opinions of him. Therein lies Draco's true redemption. If you want to be respected for the right reasons, you have to take that into your own hands. Take responsibility. Make others see you in a different light because you are standing in a different light. Astoria is the perfect motivation.
Outstanding first chapter. I could tell that Jami really loved it, and you did an excellent job writing something that would appeal to her. Thank you for participating in my challenge!
Author's Response: Hello, there! I've taken shamefully long to respond to this, so let's get right to it with no further ado.
First of all, I'm afraid I'm going to have to shock you. I'm not a published author nor have I ever written any original fiction with the intent of publishing it. My profession is actually 90% technical in nature. I write because I enjoy it and it's a creative release that keeps me from dreaming in SQL. ;)
Detox doesn't necessarily follow the same timeline as CoB, but if it did it would be a distant prequel that makes up a piece of Draco and Astoria's back story. Jami was very taken with the way that I wrote the two of them in CoB, and she asked -- well, demanded -- a story that fleshed out their courtship in the turbulent times following the end of the war. Now that you have the history of why we're here, I'm glad that you enjoyed the story and found it clear.
I'm glad that you like the way I've set up Astoria. I've also seen a lot of fics that make her out to be very uptight and cold and the idea doesn't work for me. There's just no way that two such people could ever make a lasting marriage. As I wrote the two of them through CoB, I really started to think of her as his better half. They're complimentary spirits, each bringing strengths and personality traits that help to compensate for the other partner's weaknesses.
The letter was a huge step for Draco. He's decided that he wants to change and admitted that he needs help to do it. Neither of these things was easy for him.
I agree with everything you said about Draco and his redemption. When it finally dawned on him that he can't have the things he wants in life unless he becomes a person that other people don't loathe, that was the big turning point. Pre-war Draco could never have made that leap. Only the humbling experiences of the war made it possible.
I'm really glad that you liked the story. Thanks for putting this amazing challenge together and thanks for this awesome review!