“Eighth year at Hogwarts was going to be Hermione’s.”
All You Want by Senlinyu was not as dark as the famous fanfic Manacled. Not much can top that. But Senlinyu brought us another look into the post-Harry Potter world that cried, screamed, ached, and loved in equal measures with as much precision and heart as they are becoming known for.
Frankly, I loved All You Want so much that I read it twice. I couldn’t have survived the heartbreak that Manacled would cause twice.
“I love Harry and Ron, but I can’t explain how lonely it is to have a whole world in your head that no one is really interested in knowing about.”
Firstly, I want to be very clear that this is a very sex-positive review. All You Want is highly erotic. But, unlike many very erotic books, All You Want doesn’t suffer from flat characters. That might be because we have known and loved the Potter universe for years, or maybe because I am older now and require more adult themes, not necessarily “smut” but things like issues of consent, sex, and sense of self viewed through an adult Hermione and Draco lens.
The story’s premise is that there is a rare thing that happens in pure-blood or half-blood wizards that some males go through. Think of it like a second growth spurt. Senlinyu explains that these “Alphas,” as they are called, tend to have a more dominant personality and force of presence. Children are tested at birth to discover what category they fall into so that their families can make arrangements for their coming to adulthood comfortably and without much fanfare. Betas are no less important. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are Betas, but their maturation is different. It is an exciting concept leaning on the heavily used Alpha trope. Everything goes to plan until, very occasionally, a girl who is deemed an omega is born. This girl is usually married off to an Alpha pre-second maturation, 19 or so, or impregnated to skip the whole thing entirely like Molly Weasley did.
Hermione, who is not pure-blood or half-blood, is quite shocked when she learns that she is, in fact, an Omega. Hermione knows nothing about this tiny part of wizard maturation and should never have been affected by it.
Without a better word, she goes into heat, and all the Alphas at Hogwarts and frankly across Britain, if they found out, would not be able to stop themselves from wanting to bond with her.
She is the key to their alpha lock. And while it sounds like an overused trope, Senlinyu makes the situation very interesting in this context. Everything about Hermione’s situation goes against her sense of self and moral code. We know this because we know what kind of person she is. Senlinyu did a great thing here in that she did not play too much with the personalities of the characters we know so well, thus breaking our connection to them. Instead, she acknowledges that they are human beings, struggling, sexual creatures who are trying to figure out what the hell to do now that the war is over. The students have PTSD, and the staff is undertrained and is struggling.
While I don’t want to give everything away, some characters become alphas, and I loved seeing them emerge after the war—specifically Neville and Malfoy. They are men, where we had previously only known them as boys. Senlinyu acknowledges that no one can survive a war like they did and come out completely unchanged, for good or ill.
As I said, this was a very sex-positive review; one of the things that Senlinyu delves into is dominant and submissive play and praise kink. Specifically, it is not that it is structured with safe words etc, but within the magical confines of the Alphas and Hermione as the Omega, it is a fascinating, wholly believable dynamic. If you are uncomfortable with graphic sexual situations, this is not your book. However, even if these are not your kicks, that is ok. Indeed, you do not need to have certain predispositions to enjoy this story. And at 650 pages, there is much meat and character development to dive into aside from the sex.
I enjoyed All You Want quite a bit, and I am sad that works like this cannot be bound in a beautiful hardback although I understand why. However, we have Archive Of Our Own to enjoy Senlinyu’s works, which are pretty abundant. Give it a try.
*I would like to give credit where it is due and link the artist for Senlinyu’s stories, if you happen to know, please DM me.