Hello there, lovegood27!
This is Kapa, here to review your entry for The Some Chicks Marry Chicks Challenge. Thank you so much for entering my challenge! The results will be up ASAP. : )
As I mentioned in the Challenge thread, I'll be judging the entries based on writing, plot, how well the wedding theme works, characterisation and originality, so I decided to write the review based on the same elements. Here we go!
Writing: Generally the writing does its job, but I feel like this story would have benefitted by someone - you yourself or a beta - going over it an extra time; the writing is a bit chunky at places. (To just mention two examples, "the bride next to her's" is a bit convoluted, I'd suggest something like "her bride's" instead, and "a photographer with the camera" could just be "the photographer".) (Also, minor thing, but some word or another seems to be missing in the sentence "He could still remember everything his first kiss with Luna.")
One minor word choice that also threw me off a bit was your choice to describe Luna's hair as "dirty blonde." It clashes with the other words you chose to describe Luna with here - "elegant," "as pale as the moon she was names after" (lovely phrasing, by the way!), "beautiful"... I mean, I know that's how it's described in Canon, but the books are written from Harry's point of view, and he's not attracted to Luna. Blaise very obviously is - it shows in those other descriptions - and I think (depending on exactly what shade you imagine it to be) it would make more sense to describe Luna's hair here as, for example, "ash blonde," "golden blonde" or "sandy blonde," all of which has a more positive ring to it than "dirty blonde".
I thought you were going somewhere interesting with the avoidance of names in the first part, but then you casually threw them in at the beginning of the second part even though it seems like you're aiming for a sort of build up where the climax is the line "At the top of this cake, the two figures were of Luna and Ginny Weasley." If that was the first time the names of Ginny and Luna were mentioned it would be pretty powerful, but it's not... (Still, this effect could easily be reached by just replacing "Luna and Ginny's wedding cake" with "The wedding cake" in the second line of the second section.)
Other than that, I like the wistful tone you've achieved in this story, and every little section of the story builds up well to the ending sentence in a pleasing way. I especially love the punch of the last sentence of the first little section, "It was the way she used to look at him." standing alone at the end like that. It's a really nice touch! : )
Plot: The plot of this story is pretty simple, which is not at all a bad thing; it works really well. The important thing here isn't exactly what happens - Luna and Ginny get married, Blaise goes to the wedding, talks to Luna and then leaves - but the way Blaise relates to what's happening and his process of trying - and failing - to accept it. That means the "main action" of the story is mostly internal, which is a story type that I personally like a lot, and here it's well executed. As for what actually happens, I like how we get to see different elements of the ceremony and celebrations, while still keeping the story flow and not getting stuck for too long at one particular part. We get little snapshots of the wedding, stopping at the places with the most emotional resonance for poor Blaise, which really draws the reader into both the story generally but also Blaise's point of view specifically. The one thing that is a bit weird to me plot wise is that there's no real explanation why Luna and Blaise have their little talk at Luna's actual wedding, instead of meeting up beforehand to talk things out.
This is in general a story that relies heavily on (implied) backstory, and that backstory is at points a bit hard to follow. We see almost nothing of the former romance between Blaise and Luna (with the notable exception of the little flashback to their first kiss, which works really well - the story would have benefitted from more little snippets like that!), and we have to take the love they shared as a given rather than really see or feel it. In a way that works, as we are in Blaise's point of view and for him their relationship is a matter of course, but I still would have liked to see more of how their romance played out - especially as it's such an interesting pairing!
I really like how there's no real resolution tacked on to the ending - it just ends with Blaise leaving, without reaching any closure or deep insights, I a way that feels very true to life. Not everything in life ends up tied up in a little bow, and that's okay. I like that this story acknowledges that.
Wedding Theme: The wedding theme is present in every part of this story, and it works really well. The fact that Ginny and Luna are getting married is intrinsical to the story's plot, and yet the wedding is handled in an interesting and unique way. As I said in the plot section, this story isn't primarily about Luna and Ginny getting married, but about how Blaise relates to their getting married, and it's compelling to see a (happy) wedding portrayed as an unhappy occasion for the story's main character. As I mentioned above I also really like how the wedding elements are used to move the story forward, and there are some very sweet and romantic and whimsical details. For example, I absolutely adore the idea of Luna putting dirigible plums in her bouquet!
Characterisation: I see in your Author's Not that you worry about Luna being OOC in this story, so I'm going to start out with her and then move on to Blaise.
So, Luna. She's not the main character in this story, and as such we only see her sort of "from a distance," and through Blaise's eyes. Thus it's not surprising if she doesn't come off exactly as in Canon. Still, to me she does seem a slight bit weakly characterised here. I like the very Luna-esque elements of whimsy that you add to the story - her dreamy expression, the dirigible plums, the bottle cap necklace - but when it comes to her actual behaviour I think she lacks some of the kind wisdom that she has in Canon. It's not that there's none of it here - I like the sympathy she shows for Blaise, for example, it seems very in character (as does Blaise's point about her being observant of other people's feelings!) - but to me it seems strange for someone who seems to know herself as well as Luna does to not be able to give a straight answer when asked why she chose to marry one person over another. It's not a decision to be made lightly, and the fact that Luna uses phrases like "I'm not even sure" and "I don't know" when talking about it seems like weak characterisation in general and also not very in line with Canon. (Even an "I can't explain it" or "This is not the right time" would have made more sense than a straight up "I don't know.") As it stands it comes off a bit like Luna chose to marry Ginny rather than Blaise because otherwise there wouldn't be a story...
This also seems especially weird for a character like Luna, who has never been afraid to act outside the norm in Canon. "I had to choose one of you" comes off as just accepting the societal norms in a way that makes little sense for Luna. I mean, I personally headcanon Luna as poly, so this is extra weird to me, but even a monogamous Luna would, I think, use other reasoning than "that's just how it is." If she'd said something like "When I really thought about how I wanted my life to be, I knew I wanted to be able to focus all my love on just one person, and I chose Ginny" then that would show that she still reasoned independently and wasn't just going along with what society says is right. Does that make sense? Still, I don't think your Luna is wildly out of character - I still definitely recognised her.
Now, on to our main character, Blaise! There's obviously a lot less Canon characterisation of him than there is of Luna, so I'm mainly going to go on how strong the characterisation of him is in this story on its own, and it's pretty strong. The reader definitely gets a good grasp about who Blaise is as a person; reserved, bottled up, avoidant, wanting to do the right thing, trying to force his feelings to conform to what he thinks he should feel, and failing, because he's still so in love with Luna. : ( Still, he doesn't come off as completely sympathetic. He's a bit needy, and he has enough of a temper to be unable to stop himself from making a bit of a scene when pushed into a corner and forced to confront his feelings, and there's something a little off putting in the way he still calls Ginny "Weasley." He also seems kind of obsessed with "owning" Luna, with all the references to Luna being or not being "his" - which might be a reason why Luna chose to spend her life with someone else, now that I think about it. She doesn't seem the type to want to "belong" to someone else...
It would have been interesting to see you delve a little deeper into Blaise's character and motivations. As it is we get these little glimpses of someone who, almost against his better judgement up to and loved this one person, this weird woman from the side he was brought up to see as the enemy, and got badly burned. As I mentioned above, it would have been interesting to see more of his history with Luna, how they met, how they fell in love, what their respective friends and families thought about it all... Also, there are two elements of Blaise's Canon characterisation that it would have been interesting to see you tackle in this story: The first thing is how Blaise canonically is attracted to Ginny. I was surprised that you didn't do anything with this little Canon tidbit - it could go in many different interesting directions. The second thing is that I would have loved to see you explore how Blaise's views on weddings and marriage had been affected by the fact that his own mother married (and most likely murdered) seven different men. That would give one a pretty unique view of the wedded state, don't you think? : P
Originality: This is a pretty original story, I think. First off Luna/Blaise isn't the most common of pairings, obviously, but more than that I feel like portraying a wedding through the eyes of an ex-lover is an interesting and pretty original choice. The lack of a tidy resolution at the end of the story also adds to its uniqueness and really works in the story's favour.
All in all, this is a (bitter)sweet little story and an interesting look at a character we don't see much of in Canon, but I feel like it doesn't always live up to its potential. Still, it was a nice read, and thanks again for entering into my challenge!
I'm here to review your story for The Take It Seriously Challenge! I'm sorry it took me ages to get here, but life has been keeping me pretty tied up. I'll break this review down into the categories I'm using to judge each entry. :)
Rarity - Luna/Ginny and Luna/Blaise are both fairly rare, although I have read both pairings before. I even have a Luna/Ginny one-shot on my page. :) But I liked that you included two rare pairs.
Editing - I thought this was pretty good, but one thing that I think you might want to watch out for is repeating names too often throughout the story. For example, in this story, you identify Blaise by name 18 times in about 800 words. I know you were trying to identify who was speaking, but it was just a bit much particularly considering there were only really two people talking...Luna and Blaise. It wasn't a super big deal, but it did throw off the flow a bit for me.
Flow - As I mentioned a bit in the section above, there were some areas where the flow was thrown off for me, but overall I thought the piece moved along nicely. The progression of Blaise's feelings from beginning to end were nice.
Emotional Impact - I did feel a bit detached from Blaise in this piece, but I think that works to your advantage. I don't really picture him as the crying, super emotional sort, so I thought that fit his character well. Maybe a few more descriptions about his inner thoughts would've helped to tie it together a bit more.
Plot - The plot worked nicely. You did a good job of showing the stages of the wedding and how Blaise is feeling throughout. It moved at a pretty natural pace too.
Characterization - I thought Blaise was characterized well. He comes across sad, but sort of detached and protecting his feelings. Luna was a bit OOC for me. I think she was sort of missing that light, floaty, whimsycal persona she carries in canon.
Overall, I thought that this was a nice one-shot and a good look at Blaise as a character! Thanks for entering the challenge!