Hello! Here with a little review for the HC event! :)
This story is so, so good! Sorry if I didn't stop by to review earlier...
I've never been the biggest fan of Lucius, but I really appreciated what he did here. The one good thing about the Malfoys is that they care for each other primarily, Voldemort be damned, and knowing that Lucius can see through Draco and that he's there to give him advice to survive is conforting. He doesn't care that Draco is "betraying" their cause. He only wants his son to be safe.
The fact that Emmaleigh might be targeted as a way to punish Draco and more generally the Malfoys is scary and horrible, but at the same time makes a lot of sense. If anyone would ever find out that she is actually a Muggleborn... I don't want to even begin to think how that would end... although, is she even Muggleborn? I have a feeling there is a reason if Narcissa was so sure to have met her mother before and I bet it's something that will come up in the story soon, right?
Draco's feelings towards her are so sweet. Of course, he hasn't really realized it yet, but it's obvious that he cares for her, and that he's starting to see her in a different light. Surely, it's nice that he can confide in someone. Having to constantly pretend to be someone you are not must be incredibly frustrating and isolating and exhausting, so it's nice that he can at least be sincere with her.
Aaaah! This story is just so good! Remind me to come back sometime!
Lots of love and snowball hug,
I can't believe I've been reading your story all this time and haven't written a review yet! What was I thinking?
This story is wonderful. The writing flows so smoothly, just the right balance of exposition and introspection, dialogue, action, and detail. Every line contributes to the three goals of setting the scene, developing the characters, and propelling the plot forward. Your actors are nuanced and believable with complexity and depth, not stereotypes or exaggerated caricatures. Your scenes are all vivid in my mind's eye.
You keep the tone of the story very steady -- perpetual sub-acute tension, low-level dread. The reader can predict that Draco and Emmaleigh won't find a Horcrux since the story, so far, is not canon-non-compliant, but clearly something else is developing that bodes to be a significant feature of the Malfoy family backstory, yet not outlandishly contrived.
The presentation is plain and straightforward, but full of insight and nuance. That's what I look for in a story -- good storytelling. Not something that is overwrought or elaborated to excess, as one sometimes sees. I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Very nice job.
Hello, I’m here for our swap!
This makes no sense, since it’s a hat, but I’m actually angry at the Sorting Hat right now! It’ll listen to Harry begging it not to be placed in Slytherin, but on the exact same day, it’ll ignore the pleads of Emmaleigh - rude. Judging by what it said though, it has a good reason for doing this, which I assume we’ll find out if I just hold tight and read.
Also, I can’t believe she’s going back to Hogwarts for her seventh year as a Muggleborn, I would be basically anywhere else in the world.
I love that she was in the DA, I’ve never seen it written that there were any Slytherin there at all before.
It’s even riskier that she’s here now that I know her housemates know that she’s Muggleborn - I am so frightened because I can’t see this going smoothly for her at all. Maybe they’ll cut her some slack because of the stakes this time? Or even fall for her cover-up story.
I just realized that because she has a DA coin, she may rejoin it this year, if possible. That’d definitely be an interesting, and of course very dangerous, turn of events for her. I think her loneliness may win out over her self-preservation even.
I love that she’s in touch with Harry in some respect, she’s sort of a double agent, hiding in plain sight because of her house. She’s also aware of Horcruxes! That makes her more in the know than nearly everyone. I’m interested in whether she actually manages to dig something up or not.
The ending is SO good! The cliffhanger is the perfect lead in to the rest of the story because it just feels like it’s leading right into the next chapter - such a hook for readers. Really well done and I cannot wait to see a vulnerable Draco and the direction you go in with him for this story. Really good work with this, it’s really gripping so far!
Thank you for the swap!
i honestly can't even imagine draco enjoying the christmas holidays in the situation he (and emmaleigh) is in but i do hope he'd find a way to do it still!
wow at her aunt's letter - angela burke? how much of a coincidence could it be that emmaleigh's mother's best friend would be a muggle with the surname burke? am i reading too much into this whole surname thing? how come draco seemingly doesn't notice the surname and how come he doesn't think it might be peculiar?
and lol at draco just casually not telling emmaleigh she's supposed to spend the whole of christmas holidays at malfoy manor. i don't blame her for blowing up at him but ah, i want them to be together so i'm definitely rooting for draco's (not so) lovely idea. i'd love to know what was in his mother's letter, though :P oh okay, a new year's death eater party, how wonderful!
(btw it's cute how he doesn't really like being all alone in their dorm)
the second part of this chapter was disturbing but i'm really glad that draco listened to emmaleigh and that she has that influence on him, to make him brave and compassionate - it's really something.
looking forward to the next chapter!
Are you sure Emmaleigh is a Slytherin because she's as brave and reckless as a Gryffindor? Going back to school on almost a hunch that she needs to knowing full well there are several people there who would sign her death warrant. Then telling Draco about the Horcruxes. She is way too trusting of him at this oint and is very lucky if it doesn't backfire on her (and Harry.)
Still, the characters do need to be vulnerable for the story to continue and you've done a good job establishing the need of both of them. Personally, I'm not sure if I believe that Draco was strong enough to even think about standing up to the Dark at this point, but maybe Emmaleigh will support him and get him there.
Overall, looks very promising. I'm hooked and I'll be back.
ooh, and the plot thickens!
i can't imagine why there would be a bunch of photos of emmaleigh's mother in malfoy manor - it's so weird that i can't even think up an explanation. even if she was a witch why the photos???
i'm looking forward to reading the next chapter!
your characterisation of lucius is perfect! he didn't just do a whole 180 and stop believing in something he spent his whole life doing and he's still the same old lucius we know from the books - caring only about his own/his family's wellbeing. and if that means not being 100% with voldy, so be it. i love how you manage to take all this people we know from canon and show us, at the same time, the side we know well and the side of them that we don't know but it's perfectly believable and possible in canon!
and the end with draco thinking about the kiss and coming to a conclusion it's just because she's his only friend...is something he would think to rationalise things to himself but obviously, people don't just go around kissing their friends if there are no feelings (or at least, budding feelings) involved :)
it's awesome that you write this as both an adventure-y (kind of?) and romance-y story, i think that the two genres of it work well in this setting, both of them moving the story forward and having impact on each other.
oooh, so obviously, emmaleigh is possibly even a pureblood or at least her father is one if narcissa thinks she looks familiar! i can't wait to find out more :O
i'm also loving how she couldn't stop thinking about draco's kiss :P and the fact that it seemed like narcissa wasn't bothered by her half-blood status was very canon - nice job!
i must say - i can absolutely imagine draco going through all this you've written during his seventh year. you've written him and his thought process really well and he is believably characterised - which i think is incredibly hard to do when you're writing a canon character, especially in a way that is not how we see them in the books. great job!
how she managed to get him to say a little bit about how voldy hasn't given him another task was hilarious :P
i also love how he thinks 'muggleborn' instead of 'mudblood' - it's one of the little things that you wrote that shows us he's not on the dark side.
and i love your writing. seriously, this line, for example, is amazingly written: 'I know better than anyone that beyond those protective wards is an ugly, deplorable world that's rapidly plunging into chaos.'
oooh, that explanation for torture is so dark and twisty :O i definitely into their whole fake dating thing - not just for the obvious reason of them being together but what it means for them.
(also i accidentally posted this review on chapter 1 so i deleted it from there and posted it here)
so i obviously decided to read slytherin secrets as well as colorblind :D
a muggleborn slytherin? i imagine it must've been really hard for her during the years :( but the sorting hat's question 'are you now?' and the uncertainty about her mother and not knowing who her father is makes me think there might be more to the story (or she might be a regular muggleborn who happens to be a slytherin - why not? :D)
okay, so someone (Rumpelstiltskin i think) recently asked me in my camp nano novel nest about my least favourite cliches in fanfics and i must say that head girl and head boy sharing a dorm was amongst my answers (but i actually love cliches so...) :P but it seems like this sharing of their dorm won't be just for the purpose of them getting together - judging by your summary and the fact that emmaleigh is on a mission - it seems like it's useful to have a place just for the two of them (if i'm right and they're going to fight voldy together (maybe not openly, but in a cunning, from the shadows, slytherin-type fighting :D)
you've got a very interesting premise and i'm looking forward to reading more! (also, hoping that draco won't totally freak out at emmaleigh in the next chapter :P)
Hey there! I'm back again for the BVB, and I'm glad I am.
This really is such an interesting premise, and I like that you've lunged straight into the thick of it. This was such a good chapter because it helped me get to know the characters --their personalities and what sort of issues they're up against-- on such a profound level. And it's only chapter two, so that's impressive! While such an agreement between Draco and anyone may sound a little unbelievable, I think that you've given both of them ample motivation to actually make this work. And after all, you have the fact that Slytherins are opportunistic going for you.
While I'm eager to see what you'll do with the traditional 'fake dating' element in this story, I'm even more eager to see where you'll take this story because I think that it's such an original idea. I don't think I've read any story like it before. And I find myself wondering how canon-compliant this will be/how you'll incorporate parts of the story that we know with your plot.
Looking forward to reading the next chapter!
Hey there! I'm here for the BVB!
So I've been hearing amazing things about this story, so I've had my eyes on it for a while. Therefore, I'm thankful for the opportunity that finally brought me here. I have the softest of spots for Draco Malfoy, and yet, I don't think I've ever read a story with such a premise. I really do love stories that portray him in a good light. And while I don't think you're going to make an angel out of him, at least with how close Emmaleigh is going to have to be to him, you'll get to explore a lot more of his struggle during that year.
I really enjoyed how you've introduced Emmaleigh to us in this chapter. I like her already. A Muggleborn who's scheming practically everyone for a good purpose? At that age? And not completely freaking out and crumbling under the weight of it all (yet?)? I have a feeling I'm going to love her. And I do agree that it was rather cruel of the hat to sort her into Slytherin under such conditions. But the hat does seem rather diabolical most of the time, so it's not unbelievable. And finally, I admire that she at least had friends from other houses. And more importantly, that they were able to put their prejudices aside and trust/befriend a Slytherin.
Honestly, I'm so intrigued by this and I can't wait to read more of it.
Oooh, I really, really liked this.
You capture a lot of the subtleties in Lucius's character - he's clearly still got a lot of his prejudices, but ultimately, what matters most to him is his family. He knows Draco well enough to know that Draco can't cast an Unforgivable and doesn't like being a part of this, and there's no judgment about it - just cold pragmatism about how best to keep his family safe.
I also loved Draco's conversation with Emmaleigh after the fact - you navigated it so, so well. I loved Emmaleigh's reaction to Draco mentioning the "prized possession" - and I loved Draco's confusion, because on the face of it, "Harry destroyed that years ago" is an absolutely insane thing to say, especially since "years ago" = second/third year.
Yeah, Draco, Harry was off being pretty damn productive when you were whining about being mauled by a hippogriff. Not the rub it in, but dude, you've got some shit to make up for! (And he is, in this! Which I love, because reformed!Draco!because!war! is my favorite Draco.)
I love the way you're building their friendship/relationship, too. This is so good!
Also, side note: There are a lot of things you're doing in this story that I usually don't like - I'm generally not a fan of present tense or of OCs who are super close to the trio - but when you do it here, I'm so, so on board with it. IMO, that's a mark of just how strong you are as a writer - is there anything you can't do? <3
I was wondering how you'd reconcile a fair number of people seeming to know her blood status with her not being ratted out, but this makes sense, particularly with Draco in the mix - in an environment like the one that's described as being the case during the SWW, I can definitely see people keeping their mouths shut because they're afraid of seeming like they're not in the know.
I love the dynamic between Draco and Emmaleigh toward the beginning - he's on edge and clearly traumatized, but there are things that he still takes for granted, whereas Emmaleigh is trying to be five steps ahead and overprepared for everything because being underprepared could get her sexually assaulted and murdered in the Malfoys' basement. "Maybe not, but I'm not taking any chances" encapsulates that distinction so perfectly, and it's just another nice touch that makes the world your fic is set in seem so, so real.
I also really, really enjoyed the way you depicted their trip to the Malfoy Manor. Seeing Draco lapse into his old mannerisms made sense to me, and I thought that Lucius and Narcissa's reactions to Emmaleigh were both totally believable. I'm so, so curious to see why Narcissa Malfoy thinks she knows Emmaleigh, because there has to be more to that story.
One tiny note - the formatting seems to have gotten mixed up, because you've got some errant symbols throughout the chapter. It's minor, but I wanted to mention it.
The only bad thing about this story is that there are only three chapters up. You're doing an amazing job. <3
Omggg I did not realize that this would be a duel-pov story! Now I'm even more psyched.
Draco can be so, so hard to handle. He's not a particularly sympathetic character early on in the series, and he's clearly got a lot of prejudice. ("Proud to be a pureblood?" DRACO I AM ROLLING MY EYES AT YOU RIGHT NOW.) The way you walk that line though is, again, really strong - I'm rolling my eyes at Draco, but I love that you included that, because it shows exactly who Draco is in HBP and DH: a prejudiced person who doesn't have the stomach to follow his beliefs to their logical conclusion. "Blatant realization" is a really, really nice way to put it.
He's also grappling with this awful mix of wanting to protect his family and wanting to protect himself, and those two things aren't really compatible. He's a Slytherin, so I'm not shocked that he's come down on the side of protecting his family - and while I sympathize with the struggle, I think that it'll be good for him to have to face his fears rather than hide in a bubble and try to protect himself for what's going on around him. (And not just because I've read a bit out of order. :P)
A+ characterization there, seriously!
I also really like the juxtaposition between his internal thoughts about her and her internal thoughts about him. In the first chapter, I got the sense that there was real and very significant hostility between them, but Draco's thoughts give me a different impression - and between that and the fact that she was literally just thinking about needing to be careful and then jumping in to suggest that a Death Eater seek out the Order for help... and then tell him about the Horcrux...
Objectively, it's not great judgment - but we're not objective, rational people, and I love it, because it fits into the character you've created and makes me really, really like her. It also emphasizes the Gryffindor tendencies she has in particular, and I really like that.
And it really captures how people who are lonely and desperate - like Draco and like Emmaleigh - can really clutch at straws and take risks if it means not being alone anymore - and, for Draco, if it means not being expected to sexually assault Muggleborns/Muggles. (Which - there's such a layer of slime on my soul right now, from your description, largely because it's so horribly and despicably believable.)
Your world-building is excellent, and I'm continuing to really enjoy your writing. Amazing job!
Hey! I came across a chapter of this story in the queue recently, and I found it really intriguing! I made a note of it so I could come back for the snowball fight, and here I am! :P
So there's so, so much that you do so, so well here. The chapter has an amazing flow from the very start. I felt like I was in the compartment with Emmaleigh when she wakes up, and in just a few paragraphs, I know so much about her - including that she's a Muggleborn in Slytherin. Knowing who else is in her year, I'd be hooked on that alone.
I also absolutely adore the way you set the scene. The papers moment on the platform made my blood run cold, and I can totally see that happening - and I think that she's right about her house protecting her there. I can also totally understand her anxiety when it comes to Snape, too, and as soon as I saw that reaction, I knew that there had to be a compelling reason for her to come back to Hogwarts.
Having an OC who's very close to major canon characters can be tough to navigate, but thus far, I think that you're doing a really solid job.
I'm a Gryffinclaw, but I'm a sucker for both a redemptive arc and the idea that "Slytherin" is not synonymous with evil, and in light of that, I love what you're doing here - both with Emmaleigh and with Draco. I love the way you handled the reveal as far as he was considered; her coming across him <i>praying</i> was just such a nice touch, and given what we see in HBP and DH, I don't have a hard time believing that that's how Draco's feeling.
You're an amazing writer, and I loved this chapter. I can't wait to read and review the rest.