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WIP The Mind Arts - By Wu Gang - T

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Haze, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Haze

    Haze Second Year

    Apr 5, 2014
    Title: The Mind Arts
    Author: Wu Gang
    Rating: T
    Genre: Romance/Supernatural
    Status: Work in Progress (71,742 words)
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: Harry/Daphne
    Summary: What is more terrifying? A wizard who can kick down your door or a wizard who can look at you and know your every thought? Harry's journey into the mind arts begins with a bout of accidental magic and he practices it and hungers for the feelings it brings.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12740667/1/The-Mind-Arts

    An excellent AU story so far. The focus seems to be a lot of Harry and his ability to use legilimency at an early age. Romance is basically non-existent at this point because so far, the story just reached Third Year.

    Some grammatical mistakes but nothing major. The more this story goes on, the more its revealed just show AU this story is. Harry himself is very competent if not socially somewhat inept? Or rather, he relies on legilimency for most of his social interactions.

    Be warned though. The first chapter throws a massive red flag in the form of physical abuse by the Dursleys which, while shapes him, is never really mentioned again. Nor did it "turn him into a puddle of angst".

    Honestly, one of the best finds in the fandom for a long time for me. 5/5 so far.
  2. Baradine

    Baradine Slug Club Member

    Jul 5, 2012
    I wouldn't call it 5/5 material, but it's alright. Interesting enough premise to keep me going, and executed well enough to not turn me away. It has all the tropes of a fanfiction that has been based far too heavily in fanon, which is not good in my opinion, but it kind of glosses over them well enough that I can find myself not caring. At the very least, I haven't seen a story with a mind magic focused Harry, so that's novel enough to keep the story interesting.

    3.5/5, rounded up to 4.
  3. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    Writing is competent but unfortunately I can't get past the characterisation of Harry - "magically strong, emotionally weak" is a theme I particularly dislike. (It's also a theme which is common in slash fics). I have little patience for panic attacks etc. in a protagonist.

    There's one other aspect to this which is disappointing, which is that it fails on its fundamental premise: that of depicting a talented Harry (particularly in the mind arts). The problem is that the author hasn't put much flesh on the bones of Harry's magical talent. This comes in a few forms:

    - The author skips over a number of important "milestone" items, such as spell creation. One scene Harry expresses an interest in spell creation, and a few scenes later he has already created his first spell. None of his acquisition of this skill was shown.

    - The author doesn't really put any work into depicting how Harry is better at magic than everyone else, and indeed in some areas actively sabotages this point. E.g. the author makes Hermione better at magical theory than Harry but Harry better at casting magic, thus removing "knowledge and understanding of magic" as the source of Harry's superiority. With that removed, Harry's superior magical ability has no real source to explain it. Yes, he has natural talent, but that still needs to be honed somehow, because otherwise he would already be the complete Voldemort-beating package at age 11. But we don't really have any idea of what it is that Harry is improving on, if not knowledge/understanding.

    - The author has Harry's magical skills accelerate in unexplained ways. When you get to third year it's remarked that Harry is pulling away from his peers in terms of magical ability, despite the fact that he isn't doing anything different to what he was doing before, nor has he had any new revelation that fundamentally deepens his connection to magic etc. It's a jump in skill without cause.

    Ultimately, one can't help but feel that the narrative spends so much time on Harry's friendships and the armchair psychology behind them that it forgets about its original premise.


    (Probably a 4 for people who have a higher tolerance than I for protagonists with mental disabilities)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  4. Dario

    Dario Muggle

    Nov 15, 2017
    The Good:

    -The premise itself is very intriguing. I'm surprised I hadn't seen a story with Harry having a natural affinity for the Mind Arts. For that reason alone, if nothing else, it warrants a brief skim through.

    -It seems that the story is looking to largely diverge from canon starting at Chapter 7. So far we haven't seen much of the change, (the happenings in Hogwarts have pretty much been the same as in canon up until this point) but the hints that were given make me hopeful that it will completely derail from the original Third Year plot.

    -IIRC the author seems somewhat aware of a few of the aspects of what makes and doesn't make a good story. That's one step in the right direction I suppose.

    -Starting at the most recent update (Chapter 7) there is a considerable increase in quality. The author mentioned that he aquired an editor - makes sense. The most recent chapter is definitely more than readable and I was able to actually get into the story for the first time.


    The Bad:

    -The grammar and typos from Chapters 1-6 are atrocious, although I admit I may be overly critical.

    -I've noticed the author glosses over most events. As mentioned above by Taure, Harry was thinking of creating a spell and then ended up creating it within a few paragraphs. Things like that occurred frequently.

    -There seems to be much telling and almost no showing. I felt as if I was reading an account of events rather than a story. I suppose this coincides with the point above but I think it deserves it's own space.

    -Harry is first in his class and seems to grasp magic like a second nature. Again as stated above by Taure, his magical talents are unexplained and make theoretical magic feel useless. Combined with his prodigious talent with Legilimency, it seems he's shaping up to become a powerful!Harry. We don't see many instances of his power, (the last two points) but that's just the feeling I get when reading it.


    There are definitely more good and bad things about the story that I forgot seeing as I read it yesterday, and as stated above I honestly couldn't get into it until the last chapter. Overall it's an interesting read, and if the author rewrites his first 6 chapters (he said he might), then I will come back and change my rating accordingly.

    TL;DR The premise is interesting - the idea of a Harry that has a prodigious talent in the Mind Arts appealed to me greatly but I can't help but feel this story falls flat. If you can make it through the first six chapters you might start to like it.

    2.5 rounded up to 3.