So, guess what? When you posted on my status update earlier, I thought to myself that THIS story is one that I've always kicked myself for not getting around to reading. So, here I am, hooking myself in by writing a review, because I always find that if I write one, I'll eventually write more.
Now, having sat down and read the first chapter, I see that yes, I should have started reading much sooner. Your George is SO well-characterized. From the first paragraph, I felt like I was right in step with how he was feeling. I loved his stoicism, and the conversation between him and Ron was really...well, I can't find the word, but it just seemed right. I can completely picture the Weasleys being worried about George on his own, and the way George kind of brushed Ron off was like evidence of his grief.
I felt so bad for him when he was out with his friends, too. I could just feel how hard he was trying to be strong, but whenever he spoke, it was clear that he wasn't himself. And THEN. When he saw Alicia and you talked about him having to look at himself in the mirror...devastating. AND THEN. Lee's toast. You nearly killed me in this chapter, I swear.
Because of all of that, it was the biggest relief when Angelina showed up and treated him like a normal person, and made him laugh. I assume that's exactly the effect you were trying to create, so...well done. Excuse me while I go try to recover from the emotional trauma.
On a less depressing note, I love the creativity you have with the magical world. The description of "microwave" dinners, The Fizzing Whizbee, the Fuzzy Cauldron--all very clever. :)
Okay, so, as I said, I'm hooked in now--it may take me ages to actually get through the story, especially since I'm starting a new job tomorrow, but I will be back. You are a lovely writer, and I'm really glad I finally started to read With All Things!
Author's Response: Oh my goodness, Penny. I was scrolling through my WAT reviews tonight trying to make a feasible plan for responding to them, when I came across this one! I remember typing a response to it... I'm claiming innocence and blaming the black hole of the interwebz. ^_^
Anyway, sorry this has sat without a response for so long. That looks terribly ungrateful of me. I am so so ecstatic that you decided to read this story, and even more thrilled that you enjoyed this first chapter. George was a very daunting character for me to write -- we all know he's wickedly funny, but I don't consider myself to be very funny at all, and then there's the issue of the effect of Fred's death on him. Needless to say, any praise at all of his characterization (especially in these early chapters when his grief is still so raw) is very reassuring!!
Lee's toast was a huge area of concern for me while I was writing this. I have very little confidence in the decisions I make whilst writing -- and I always worry about whether something was too dramatic or too over the top or too just about anything. Needless to say, Lee's speech fit the too-dramatic worry bill.
Angelina is very good for George, now in 1998... as you'll come to find. :) I'm very sorry, but I'm also not, for all the emotional trauma!
Thank you again for this review, and once again, my apologies for it being unanswered for so long.