Hey there - sorry for getting here so late! I've been looking forward to reading this ever since the pairings went up, but end of exams and my birthday and my mum's birthday kinda threw everything out of whack :P
So, you should know that I adore Albus/Gellert. Beyond anything. They have, as far as I am concerned, the monopoly on tragic boyhood romances in HP :P I love stories about that summer and how they met and so on and so this seems exactly my kind of thing (plus your beautiful writing, which always helps! ;D)!
I love how you've started with a sort of almost prologue-esque letter, and how it's sort of accusing Dumbledore, even if not quite, it's angry and it's bitter and it works so well. Your writing is so brilliant and just gah... so nice! :) Even though we haven't technically met Gellert yet, as such, it still feels like because you've shown us what he becomes and sort of ends up as, that you've kinda let us know him already, if that makes any sense...
Your Albus is so similar to my head-canon young!Albus it's unreal :P I love how you didn't shy away from the harsh elements of his character - the loneliness, how he hates the village and doesn't really like Bathilda because she's nosy and irritating, how he and Aberforth don't get on... it makes him simultaneously sympathetic and not, you know, because it's understandable but also harsh things to feel. But yeah, he's wonderful. I'm so excited to see what else you do with him in this - how he develops and grows.
The last section is so sad. Poor, poor Ariana. I loved how you didn't make her stupid or anything, how she's still capable of understanding things, even if someone has to explain them to her, you know? And the way she's so scared of magic, and compares Albus and Kendra and kinda finds, in a way, both of them wanting, is so sad for all of them... I think it really highlights the tragedy of what happened to her - how she's scared of magic and Albus' gaze scares her and things, how she's barely ever alone... you've kinda taken things which might normally be little and created this debilitating condition with them. It's amazing writing, but incredibly sad.
As always, of course, your writing is stunning. The description is gorgeous and the detail is amazing - I loved the details about Kendra's body particularly (though it's kinda morbid to say) as they're so real and yet you avoid all the cliche things to say. The characters are so, so good before and I'm so fascinated to know what you're going to do with them later on...
So yeah, I'm hooked, and I'll be back at some time in the future for sure ;)
Author's Response: Hello, Aph!
First of all, massive apologies for taking forever to respond to your review. -hides-
And speaking of that, thank you so much for leaving such a lovely detailed review on my fic! Your comments made me incredibly happy, and I love how you analysed the characters.
Albus/Gellert is my OTP of this fandom! I love them together - they're such a fascinating pair of characters - not the easiest to write, but definitely one of the most interesting character couples to read about in fic. And I'm glad you found it to be your kind of thing (I've seen you post somewhere on the forums that you have an Albus/Gellert, though I can't seem to find it, so maybe you haven't posted it up yet? When you do, I'm looking forward to reading!) Like you, adore this pair and I'm always looking for more about them.
Ah, Gellert's letter. He doesn't actually appear in this opening chapter, but I thought the letter would be sort of a hint to his character, or at least to show how the whole relationship has turned out. It also kind of opens up a different sort-of parallel timeline to the main action of the story; I dunno, I might have overdone things, but it was worth a shot, trying stuff out! :P
Albus Dumbledore as a character in the books is like the epitome of perfection. Seriously. Brilliant, witty, confident, assured, never wrong in his guesses, highly intelligent, sagely...beyond any sort of mistake. Until of course, that final book, when his whole perfect image is sort of shattered, and he's brought right down to the level of the average human being. Or as flawed as Dumbledore can get. So I decided to develop his more selfish negative aspects a little more, make him a little more vulnerable as a character. And wow, it sounds great that we both have such similar headcanons of him!
Ariana is the most interesting of characters to write for me. Her characterisation goes places and probably diverges from canon, mostly because I can't stand how she's portrayed in the books. Actually she wasn't portrayed at all, and she's only seen through her brothers' eyes. So she's a very elusive, mysterious figure, which provides me a little bit of free rein with her.
Thank you so, so much for this wonderful review, Aph! I'll be keeping an eye out for your Albus/Gellert, and once again, forgive me for taking so long to respond to all your lovely comments! ♥