Hey Mids! It's Kristen with your review :). I'm sorry it took so long, with my senior portraits coming up and with the storm (I hope you and your family are okay!) and just everything that's been going on, reviews had to be put on hold. But I'm obviously here reviewing now!
Before I go into this review a bit more; I'd like to talk about my feelings going into this fic. When you requested this story in my thread, I'm not going to lie, I kind of died inside. Not because of you (you're way too awesome for that) but because out of ANYTHING on the toxic list, Harmony is the one thing I'd avoid like the plague. But I thought about it, and I was going to give it a chance :). I even prepared myself for reading it before clicking on the link to the story. Complete with the Rocky theme in the background (lame I know, but what can I say? I love Hermione with Ron, not Harry).
Then I started to read. Um. Wow.
I was in about 200 words when my jaw dropped in awe. There's something about your prose and the way you write that's earthy, original, simple, magical, and poetic all at once. I mean, the way you strung your words together flowed beautifully. My favorite quote has to be your entire fifth paragraph. I could literally feel the tension between the two.
The song you chose was also exquisite. The English lyrics of your song choice were so lovely and poignant. It also fit into the story quite nicely, it didn't disrupt the flow or anything like that :). What made you decide to use this particular song? The lyrics set the right pace and mood for your story, and I enjoyed it very much.
However, this story does not remain unscathed of concrit. As much as I want to go on and on about the other stuff there are some things I'd like to point out:
Reading huge blocks of italicized text was hard on my eyes when I had gotten to your flashback :(. Because I myself have been working on a story that incorporates flashbacks, I've asked for help in the forum and people agreed that too much italics to describe a flashback isn't the...best way to convey them. Personally speaking, you don't even NEED the italics to show Harry's having a flashback. You already introduce the idea that he's remembering before you go into it, so your readers know he's not in the present. This, to be honest, was the biggest concern I had with this fic xD.
Also, sometimes in your story you get a little casual...which made your sentences a little awkward because where it went casual, it didn't seem to fit right. For example, in your flashback you have this sentence: "If she said yes, well… he’d feel equally as uneasy for obvious reasons." The "obvious" makes it off center, for me anyway :). It makes it seem like that you're cutting in to make sure your readership knows what Harry feels at that moment. There were only a couple other instances like that in this fic, but that's it. I hope that all made sense!
There were also times when Seamus felt like a middle aged blue collar worker drinking at the pub instead of an Irishman. I know, picky, and I'm sorry, but it was just one of those little things that got to me. I think it was the "going" and "nothing" in his dialogue that still had their hanging g's while their counterparts didn't have them.
Oh there's so many things I want to comment on!
Your characterization was great. For once, I didn't want to hit Harry in the face with a frying pan! He was my favorite character in this, actually. I loved his voice, his inner thoughts. Having ot read those was enjoyable as that made me connect with Harry in this more. Plus, those little acerbic quips were delightful! I loved this line:
If he had to continue living a game of hide-and-seek it would be more beneficial to just give up. Olly olly oxen free.
Just overall...I loved how they were short too which added some extra oomf! and power to them. I felt bad for Harry by the end of it. Was there a reason why you wrote him the way you did?
I'm hoping that this doesn't confuse you or come out as an oxymoron, but I LIKE how this piece has a small flavor of American culture in here. While the g's sort of got to me when Seamus spoke, I quite like the rest of it, like the setting of the reunion. It made it more relatable for me in a way. It was like a comfort zone. Like eating chicken wings or something.
Oh, and one more thing; I checked the posted date for this, and this was written well after the release of DH. Why did you decide to make it AU and not necessarily canon? I'm just curious.
Overall, I was deeply impressed with this and I'm truly glad I decided to go for this. You really are a gifted author ^_^.
I'm going to nominate for this as Best Songfic in the morning because it is well deserved :D. It''s also twenty after one in the morning and my internet is being incredibly slow, so that's why my post will have ot wait until then.
P.S This went right into my favorites list!
Author's Response: Kristen! I lost power for a little bit, but we ended up being okay. Thanks =)
I know it's a stretch for you to read this and I didn't mean to torture you, but I asked you to read this because I think that if someone who doesn't generally like songfics or Harmony can stomach this, then I must be doing okay. =)
Thank you! During the time between lives, I figured out that writing simple sentences was more interesting than writing flashy ones, and I'm so glad you liked them =)
I listened to the acapella version of this song (I highly recommend it) and it just...spoke to me. I was so moved by the chord changes, the raw emotion of their voices. I cried while listening to it, to be honest. And I knew that if this song could create such raw emotion in me, I would have to share it with others through my writing =)
Hm, I never thought about that with the italics. I'd always thought that if I wanted to show a flashback, italics would be the best way. I understand your concern. If I didn't put it in italics, though, wouldn't I have to switch to the past-perfect tense? I wanted to stay in the same tense so that I wasn't telling a new story but transporting the reader to another time.
That's a very interesting point you make about casual writing. I think while writing this, I was just flowing with the emotions in me and I wasn't giving much thought to the presentation. I'll think about that from now on. Thank you =)
XD I didn't think about Seamus being out of character, but that's also a valid point. Thank you for bringing that to my attention =)
Harry was a challenge to write because we've already seen so much of him, you know? I didn't want to step on JKR's toes, but I also wanted him to sound like my writing. Thank you! I'm glad you didn't hate him here. I know how annoying his angst can be sometimes =P
I made this AU because Ginny did not end up with Harry, and because it was clear in the series that Harry did not have romantic feelings for Hermione.
Thank you so much! I cannot express how happy this review has made me. Your reviews are always so wonderful, Kristen, and I respect your opinion so highly ^_^