Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by froper98, Mar 31, 2017.
It's a good story for when you have nothing else to read. 3/5 in my humble opinion.
It's... interesting. You know, I've read some bullshit in my time (I remember when H/HR was the premier ship to jump on and Manipulative!Dumbledore was in vogue) but this isn't half bad. Yeah, it's kind of a spiteful dumpster fire of a fic... but a ton of my favorite nostalgic and crack!fics are as well. It's a James Patterson - cranked out at a decent pace and of okay quality. Hell, I remember a Harry/Fleur fic that was making the rounds about this time last year that was of similar quality, but it got more of a pass since the author updated it almost daily. It's good for what it is.
TL;DR: It's trash, but it's my kind of trash. 2.5/5
The one major sticking point of the story that I found utterly absurd was how overly politicized everything was. The Hogwarts Express scenes we're so cringy to read. Eleven year olds should not, and do not act this hoity toity and politicaly conscious. Hell the adults in the world really don't care what 11 year olds do because kids are kids, but the author makes their seats in the Hogwarts Express super important to the political landscape? Don't get me started on the team huddles and speeches. If you can look past it you have a fic with a few good moments and scenes, but one you can't take seriously at all. 2.5/5
Was that https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11825585/1/Gods-Amongst-Men
A Cadmean Victory I thought.
Yeah, this fic is this year's A Cadmean Victory.
Yeah, that's it. The name was on the tip of my tongue, but I blanked as I writing the post. Is it weird that while the premise of both fics are absolutely dissimilar (one is centered around a harem while the other deliberately went out of its way to avoid that endgame) that I'm still reminded of it?
I think this fic is much higher quality that Cadmean though.
Cadmean suffered greatly from the author being unsure of his own vision and therefore throwing up chapters that did nothing for the plot except measure the populist winds. It happened in the conclusion, it happened in the retarded Bill-Fleur-notaplot, and it happened regarding Slytherin, to name a few.
It wasn't on the level of the generic Chapter 7 author's note "Hi everyone! Please vote in my poll who you want Harry to pair with!!!!" but it damaged the flow of the story. Bigly.
Say what you will, but DP&SW has a plan, and gives precisely zero fucks what anyone else wants it to do. It probably goes up half a star for that alone.
Dodging Prison and Stealing WItches is about a calculating Harry Potter, driven by revenge and the will to preserve Magical Britain from self destruction. To achieve his goals he prepares A LOT to slowly and steadily one day to usurp his political and economical enemies by any means possible. Yet despite all the planing things go wrong, thus Harry has to adapt himself to the different difficult situations and this is where the story-line trumps over any other fanfic for me personally.
If you do not take this time travel fic seriously and read it for the entertainment value alone, you will be in for one of your greatest rides ever. It is indeed a fanfiction where tropes and cliches are being thrown everywhere, but at the same time they do keep this tale extremely interesting. This whole story is so multifaceted that any summary will never do it's justice and I recommend anyone to delve past the first chapters to see a small part of the brilliance hidden behind this wacky title.
But if you want to read a serious story with a believable plot progression, you should not touch this fanfic, even with a ten foot pople. This story IS about entertainment alone and the author pulls out every possible cliche imaginable to entertain us readers. I guarantee you won't enjoy the story and even tough a growing majority of mindless and simply entertained fans still does it.
Thus my personal rating: 3.5/5
Half a point gone due to stupid grammatical and spelling mistakes. I want to crawl my eyes out each time I see then instead of than among other stuff. Without it would be a 4/5. Another half point because the author is actually using A LOT of tropes to make the story interesting, instead of developing an own interesting plot without them. On the one side it is a genius move, but on the other side it feels cheap. The last half point is due to part of the tropes becoming cliche like and predictable.
Some additional stuff, the OP missed to link:
Ao3-copy of the story: http://archiveofourown.org/works/5058703/chapters/11667607
Author's personal website with another copy of the story: http://leadvone.com/dodging-prison-and-stealing-witches/
Audio version read by Soren Childs: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcCeOtsSOhuwsNgqkiu0SlVI78VhGuc9G
The iron law of karma strikes again. Trolololol.
It's schlock, but it executes what it's trying to do well...even if a whole lot of what it wants to do is dumb/bad.
Kinda the prototypical 3/5, I'd think.
I've caught up with the fic some time before this thread was made, but I had to prepare myself mentally for writing about it.
The thing is that I at the same hate it and like it.
Let's start with hate part because I maintain that pointing negatives is always more important than pointing out positives and well, some positives won't make sense without context.
So there is the main problem - setting. The magic system, the society, everything is awful.
Let's start with magic, where we see LeadVonE's attempt to make it as boring as possible. In going beyond usual bad fanon of the mana-based system with magical cores, we get an over-detailed description of pseudo-physics ruling magic usage. The more "scientific" and energy-based approach to magic clashes horribly with the concept-based magic of original Potterverse. As usual, the conversion is only partial, creating a terrible mismatch.
What's funny is that the added rituals are more conceptual and actually pretty interesting. If the author was able to think of using that then why the hell we have flamelage and the rest of this trash?
There is also enchanting based on runes, executed in generic bad fanon way, coupled with the problem of limited space and no explanation why some objects with complex enchantments are pretty small. Runes are also a base of protections/wards with word stones and all the stuff.
Speaking of "wards", we have this - "I consider it my fondest ambition, as an HP fanfic writer, to find strategically intelligent uses for spells and devices from HP canon that HAVE NOT already been used in Perfect Lionheart's 'Partially Kissed Hero'." Let's ignore being inspired by Partially Kissed Hero (and HPMoR, and Harry Crow, and Badger's Champion) in itself. The problem here is different. Despite what they state LeadVonE doesn't have characters use canon spells in "strategically intelligent" manner. Instead, the author completely changes the spells, so they will fit for the constant abuse by Harry.
It's not that big problem with Imperius, which while not being related to canon one beyond the vague purpose of manipulating others, is not really better or worse spell than the one it replaces. But there is Fidelus and that one got mangled terribly. It's purpose and rules were all thrown into the trash, from interesting (if needing some adjustments) spell used for hiding secrets it was transformed into space hiding ward with the rules of its working changed so it can be spammed and abused.
What's next? Ah, wandless magic. Which is just using the wanded spells but without a wand. And can be easily learned by pre-schoolers if the use Lord Voldemort's Patented Occlumency Method TM (The Hogwarts' Teachers hate him. See how he can make little kids powerful in twenty easy steps).
Which brings us to the occlumency. The whole aspect of misdirection, so crucial to the canon version is made exclusive to the Lord Voldemort's Patented Occlumency Method TM. The rest gets standard fanon occlumency shields. And by "the rest" I mean like quarter o magical British population. Including children, who are perfectly capable of ordering their mind. Why does education even start at 11 years old if you can have much younger kids get super powerful? Oh, yeah - "cores".
I like the idea of patenting spells. We see that patents exist in canon and there are hints that some knowledge is only featured in a very limited number of sources. But the fic overdoes it similarly to how Prince of Slytherin overdoes the magical contracts and oaths (though here is not as plot-relevant).
Not only magic setting makes, even in HP. So let's move onto society. It's very class-divided with all-powerful Lords who have an absurd amount of rights. There is a poor attempt at explaining this disparity by Family Magic, but it's not really convincing especially considering the size of the population (even if its bigger than canon one) and its limited boons. The scale of prejudice against muggleborns was also bumped from canon. Have I already mentioned "generic bad fanon" in this review? Because I need to mention it again.
LeadVonE presents absolute heights of political nuances by having three factions: progressives (The Light), conservatives (The Dark) and the centrists (Neutrals who are later united by Harry as The Grey). I can already see that "I only supported The Dark Lord due to imp... (wait, this version of imperius doesn't work, there had to be other explanation) his Dark Magic. I was completely innocent. Now can you support my political party - The Dark?". Generic bad fanon? Generic bad fanon.
The absurdness of society is also reflected in school. Kids are very immersed in politics and so we have 11 years old school leaders of The Light, The Grey, and The Dark. Of course, that's especially big in Slytherin because they are all well bred, well educated and well mannered political prodigies with unreadable faces thanks to their occlumency Slytherin Masks TM. Do I even need to say it again?
The characters are a mixed bag. On the one hand, we have bashed characters like Dumbledore who is incompetent beyond belief and all his successes are coincidences achieved through following a faulty train of logic. In the same group, we have John, aka Harry's brother.
Then there are characters that despite being important are simply uninteresting and/or annoying. In that group, we have Hermione and Daphne. Both without an interesting character and with Slytherin's Masks TM hiding whatever interesting bits they could show. Daphne is all about being responsible Lady and Hermione is all about "Oh my Lord Harry Slytherin-Potter-Sama-Heika-Dono!" Also, I need to mention that Hermione's parents are named Dan and Emma and add an oh so needed element of muggle-wanking to the fic.
But there are also pretty interesting characters and those are Luna, Ginny, and Alexandra. The mysteriousness and weirdness of the first one and the constant drive to an improvement of the other two make them best characters in the series so far. But I'm afraid that their joining school and putting on Slytherin Masks TM will ruin them. Well, we will see. Worth noting is, that in an unusual move for this fic it didn't go the popular route and didn't connect Lovegoods weirdness with the death of Pandora. So we specifically have her still being alive, only to have her be almost completely unimportant and feature in three scenes, and play a major role only in one of those.
Harry himself is... acceptable. He screws up enough to avoid being Gary Stu despite being Lord Slytherin-Potter-Sama-Heika-Dono and master of various cool magical techniques stolen from Voldemort's mind. Some of his decisions are also shown as morally questionable. Interesting is that among those isn't mentally manipulating little girls into joining his harem army. To the contrary, every time we're shown someone's doubt or outright disagreement with Harry's actions in regards to the girls we have them proven wrong and usually evil.
So with so much bad, what's good about this fic (aside from the younger girls)? Well, the plot is actually interesting and unpredictable and the writing reads pretty well. The over-the-topness can be pretty fun, even if in some cases we are supposed to take it seriously.
Unfortunately I feel that the fic may crash and burn, ruining all the interesting bits. As shown in the fic itself, author notes and existence of "LeadVonE's Curated Harry Potter Fanfiction for Starving Minds and Thoughtful Souls" the author thinks themselves highly intelligent. Of course, creating a work aimed at adults with less consistent and more primitive worldbuilding than a children book it's based on, prove that they are wrong. But I doubt that LeadVonE will ever see their ideas as anything else than great and clever. And without self-criticism or a good editor, it's easy to go a route that will kill the story.
I feel that I rate it too highly, but for now - 4/10
I agree with all of this. Especially the authors high opinion of himself.
Pretty shit fic over all.
Author doesn't understand pacing or plot structure. It goes all over the place with entire plot lines magically disappearing once their main purpose has been achieved. A big glaring example was Dumbledore's frame attempt that vanished entirely from the story once it passed the trial. The author must be pretty fucking stupid to drop that entire thing once it was stated in teh magicz courtz that Harry was clearly being framed.
You also get entire chapters from other peoples POVs to 'fill in the gaps'. For some fucking reason this idiot thought that entire chapters from a characters POV showing events from over the course of an entire year was a good idea?
Harem girls are basically interchangeable except for Luna because hurdur quirkz. (Daphne : Hermione, Ginny : Alex)
Quite frankly this fic is endemic of... whatever the fuck generation of fanfic we're on now for HP.
This guy has clearly been inspired by some of the shit fics that got big from the past and it shows in their story structure and inability to creating meaningful characters.
I was curious about Alex until I realized that she was the token spunky dark artz girl.
I was briefly interested in the Virgo plot line, until the author revealed to me his deepest, darkest secret
He's a fucking hack who doesn't understand how to engage a reader at all outside of meaningless 'plot' contrivances.
Read all of the released chapters over past couple of days. The setup is utterly ridiculous, the level of competence displayed by 11 year old children strains credulity beyond all belief, the rules of the magic world changes from canon are weird and arbitrary, it's very much as trope-y as advertised, and the pacing is definitely odd. But for all that... I did find it strangely enjoyable.
That's not to say there aren't good points - I do like the author at least tried to give a reason for Dumbledore's treatment of Harry (which prevents it from reaching the level of asinine bashing that would make me just drop a story without a second thought), Voldemort is rather more interesting than in most fanfics, and there are a few scenes which had me genuinely laughing like
the Grangers' Lord Slytherin role play spanking.
The (apparently) good update pace is a point in it's favor, so I'll probably continue reading unless it dramatically takes a turn for the worse. So far, I'd give it a 2.5/5... probably rounded up.
Everybody or most of the people knew that Dumbledore was involved in this somehow. But nobody could pin point HOW he did it. That was the biggest problem for Harry's side because they couldn't retaliate in case Harry was declared innocent. There was really no point to dig deeper there and they stopped. But you forgot that Dumbledore lost a lot of political cloud due to his machinations, especially his headmaster position since he did the elf spying, lockdowns, third corridor and whatever happened to Harry. Additionally the Hogwarts muggleborns seem to jump on the Gray's ship and he lost one, really huge, light family. A lot of stuff happened, and it is not as black and white you might want to see it.
Most of those filler chapter's were hinted at before several times. Like Alex's dark adventures or Ginny's dreamland lessons. Only the prostitute chapter was a surprise for me, because the author didn't explain some minor points about magic and used that chapter as a filler of some sorts. Yet it was talked about, that people were signed in those ironclads contracts during the founder's club, but I never connected it to the author actually using that as a plot point. There was this quote: "Never ever ever ever ever sign anything that is written on a normal parchment" or something like that.
Alex is pretty unique in the story. We know that the society is a male world and she does not want to accept it, or literally become a fuck toy and trophy wife to a male pureblood, and her father doesn't seem to help her at all. She even goes as far as doing rituals on herself, despite obvious draw backs or learning Dark magic with her grandfather's portrait to become something for herself, before her father even takes that away from her. F.e. she lost herself completely once she realized that part of her training did nothing to help her, but with Luna and Lord Slytherin there to assist, she could fill those gaps. She currently has the Black magic and control over it, but she'll lose all with a marriage. And she is the Necromancy "expert" in the group.
Ginny on the other hand is different. She was treated like a "princess", but she NEVER felt like one. She was a random girl and had tight ties to the Potter family, but her own family made her nothing special and poor. There were no family magics as far as I can see, 6 older brother's who outshined her and already did everything she could have done. With the help of Harry she could call things in magic her own and is happy about it. Currently she is the duellist and Quidditch player in the group.
Daphne is literally seen as royalty in the wizarding society and embraces it fully, but sometimes wants to let loose. In the group she does divination, because nobody else can do it.
Hermione on the other hand is like a light Bellatrix. Extremely loyal to Harry and fanatical to a point as well. She is the healer in the group.
Luna is weird. She is like the biggest hack in the whole group. Always does the right things, nothing goes wrong. Totally mary sue.
The group is indeed cliche-like, but at least all of them will have some kind of meaningful role the author can work with. Often times multi story line fanfiction fail completely at it because everyone literally can replace the other one, but here we actually have significant differences with the magic, so that everyone will be useful at something at least.
Besides that I reaaaally enjoy the world building. F.e this quote here:
Could totally be canon and this fanfiction has such things all over the chapters. Another one here:
It has this canon feeling, despite being completely AU. The author does a brilliant job there in my opinion.
The story is by no means perfect and has other drawbacks, but it is too good to drop completely. A perfect guilty pleasure.
Not all stories need to be serious and tight, this thing is mostly fun, aside for the flamelage bs and some other filler.
The humor is decent, the aging potion thing makes it barely bearable vs the actual age of the characters. A solid 3.5/5, maybe 4/5. And the most decent harem i have read, (im still reading it after all).
I've laughed so hard from your review I began stalking searching through your earlier posts for more.
You will be disappointed.
Separate names with a comma.