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Old 03-05-2016, 11:46 AM   #1
Unspeakable Merlin
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The Art of Self-Fashioning by Lomonaaeren - M

Title: The Art of Self-Fashioning
Author: Lomonaaeren
Rating: M
Genre: Adventure/Drama
Published: 29 October 2015
Updated: 18 Mars 2016
Chapters: 18
Status: Work in Progress (approx. 100,000 words)
Library Category: The Alternatives
Pairings: None
Summary:
Quote:
Gen, AU. In a world where Neville is the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry still grows up with the Dursleys, but he learns to be more private about what matters to him. When McGonagall comes to give him his letter, she also unwittingly gives Harry both a new quest and a new passion: Transfiguration. Mentor Minerva fic. Rated for violence.

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A story who portrays a studious (Ravenclaw) Harry Potter who at the same time have a strong resemblance to canon. He doesn't study because he likes to study, but because he has a goal in his life. He is very skilled when he puts his mind into it, and average/above average an anything else.

Harry is a broken person and can be ruthless if someone stands in his way. But he isn't evil and still makes friends (even if he doesn't know what "friendship" is). The other characters is portrayed believable, but have strong similarities with the trio in canon.

The pace between first and fifth year is relative fast, but still occur over several chapters. It's a pace that I would appreciate several more authors adopted.

McGonagall's person is well written, and show her compassion and kindness below her stern face. The reason she can seem soft is because we only really hear her inner thoughts and only one some occations get the students perspective on her.

I give it 3.5, and round up to 4. It's not excellent but certainly deserves it's place in the library.

Last edited by Unspeakable Merlin; 03-05-2016 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Unspeakable Merlin View Post
Harry is a broken person and can be ruthless if someone stands in his way. But he isn't evil and still makes friends (even if he doesn't know what "friendship" is). Th
That sounds sketchy as fuck tbh.

I mostly skimmed this fic, but did read a few chapters entirely. The reason for this is that the author is a prolific slash author, and it shows. Though the fic itself has no pairings, it's written in that slash style that most should be familiar with. When a female writer with long slash history behind her writes a non-slash fic, it still reads like a slash fic. As usual, those moments where it showed made me wince and not enjoy the style very much.

The fic is heavy on angst. Calling Harry a broken person is pretty right. It's the sort of... abused, "broken" as a child Harry that has massive trust issues but makes a convincing normal front for people, you know? I know you've seen it in a lot of other dark fics. He's constantly thinking about Obliviating or attacking adults confronting him, and he's the self-reliant, run away from emotional conflict type. I've seen this exact archetype before. Dealing with a main character with such issues can be exhausting.

The ...unique take on magical theory was... better than magical cores, but not very canon compliant, imo.

Pretending to be friends with some serious slash and hurt/comfort undertones in character interactions isn't my cup of tea. Technically pretty well written, though.

The way he navigates around people and deals with them occasionally makes him feel like an unrealistic Gary Stu. The number of manipulative!Dumbledore sections where Harry can be considered a casualty if he interferes with Dumbledore's plans for Neville is painful.

Again, not my cup of tea. But if you like these questionable, broken Dark!Harry fics written by slash authors, you'll probably like this.

I'd probably rate this 3/5 if I'll read it fully sometime.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:03 PM   #3
Snapdragon
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You notice that it was written by some slash writer. The character interaction, especially Harry with other males, feels unnatural. What's interesting is the gimmick of the story and I'm curious where the plot will lead.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:48 PM   #4
MobMentality
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I'm enjoying it despite the sometimes uncomfortable interactions and emotional roboticism of Harry. I had really high hopes at the start of the story, but some of the author's decisions have been a little grating. It's technically pretty well written, but Harry's oscillations between sociopathic levels of detachment and bursts of massive emotional rages make him feel inconsistent. It's like she's going for a bit of a Dexter-like character with him, but she can't quite find the right balance to make it convincing. The fascination other characters have with him also feels forced at times, considering he isn't The-Boy-Who-Lived in this story. It's hard to believe so many people are desperate to spend time with an antisocial weirdo.

I love the concept though, and the author seems to have planned things out pretty thoroughly, so I'll probably follow it through to the end. I'd really like to see a similar story with a slightly better-adjusted shoe-swapped Harry who decides that he's going to do whatever it takes to make his parents well again.

I'd give it a 3/5
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:27 PM   #5
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Clearly this story has some issues. Contrary to the above, however, there is no slow burn slash going on as far as I can tell. (I did read it btw).
In fact the Harry in this story is utterly asexual and furthermore antisocial to such an extent that having a romantic interest would be a complete turn.

The issues are instead the mundane style and lack of a good edit. The author tells rather than shows exclusively. Poor style editing and perhaps a few dozen grammatical and spelling errors missed.

Pretty much on par with the load being voted into the library these days. A real stylistic edit and a some thought could make this one great fun.
Total Dursley abuse cliche is a real downer and ought to be handled with more finesse.

Reads very much like fan fiction.
Not slash verified to ch. 18, and no indication of slash.
Would almost recommend. 3 of 5

Last edited by happyg; 03-07-2016 at 10:16 PM. Reason: For spelling
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:23 PM   #6
Locke
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filled with the most absurd cliches in the Harry Potter fandom, the Dursley's are one step away from twirling mustaches, the authors goes so far as to kill a kitten, when one is killing kittens, you know you probably went a bit too far. Thats not even to mention "broken Harry". The story doesn't even feel like Harry Potter. The author makes bad stylistic choices and all the guys feel like girls. You change Terry's name to Terri and I'd bet anybody'd be fooled.

1/5
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:50 PM   #7
Snapdragon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyg View Post
Clearly this story has some issues. Contrary to the above, however, there is no slow burn slash going on as far as I can tell. (I did read it btw).
In fact the Harry in this story is utterly asexual and furthermore antisocial to such an extent that having a romantic interest would be a complete turn.
Nobody here claimed it *is* slash but that the unnatural character interaction is typical of slash writers.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:54 AM   #8
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Is there a stylist difference between what you define as slash, compared to a fic that happens to have homosexual relationships?
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Old 03-07-2016, 05:10 AM   #9
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I honestly noticed nothing slashy when I read this. You guys are projecting.

I don't think it's library worthy though, Harry's characterization just feels stupid and unrealistic in the extreme. Perhaps almost recommendable if his transfiguration being found out develops into something interesting but for now 2/5.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:28 AM   #10
Snapdragon
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For me slash isn't "really" about homosexuality but about artificial distorted character constructs.

Harry's interaction with Neville and Terry are not how males interact in real life. In this case/story it's obviously asexual but that wasn't really the point. Such characterization style is typical of slash writers as they either have no idea how to or no interest to write believable males.

2/5 is probably a fitting assessment. The story has "issues" but there's also some potential lurking.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:40 AM   #11
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That you think that there is a way that men should act is probably the issue here.

The story was alright in the beginning, but this Harry is boring to read about. I thought he was going to evolve into something more than a machine with only one purpose, but it seems not(so far).

The transfiguration parts were alright, with the potential to be interesting.

Overall, well I did read the entire thing. 2/5, with room for improvement.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:30 AM   #12
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I will check this out tonight, and by jove with a title like that it had damn well better have Lockhart in it.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:48 PM   #13
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This guy is a slash writer just as a heads up.
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Yer a wizard 'arry. First we'll get yeh wand and then they'll be the sortin' - Good fun, tha'. Then it's off to Liberia to transfigure Ebola-stained bedsheets into treacle tart... Ohh shouldna told yeh that. Should NOT have told yeh that. ~ Vlad
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Old 03-07-2016, 05:55 PM   #14
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It's interesting that your "slash-radar" is tingling from the story. Honestly, I didn't even see a hint of it being slash. Poor dialog? Yes. Unrealistic characterization? Yes, but I think we should give the author the benefit of the doubt, instead of simply dismissing the story due to the author's previous slash stories. As long as the story doesn't dissolve into slash (which I hope is not a possibility), the story has a lot of potential.

Yes, Harry's characterization is...cliche at worst, but it's interesting to read about a driven/obsess Harry with dark tendencies, without taking it to unrealistic extremes. Harry is not going around Crucioing people, he's simply learning questionable transfiguration. The gradual change in Harry was also decently done.

The biggest potential in the story, and probably the only reason I'm following it, is the use of Transfiguration and its concepts. It's fun seeing a dark Harry using Transfiguration, rather than a stereotypical Harry that learns dark curses and all those cliche that ruins fics. Seeing dark usages for Transfiguration (creating "monsters", altering his body...) is relatively original, at least to my knowledge.

The writing is decent, and nothing is bothering me about it, so it's readable. All in all, it's not a bad fic, but it definitely isn't a good fic (although, DLP does have a high standard). The author's idea on Transfiguration is enough to keep me interested, even if some of the characters are awkward. I assume it's something that will get better as the fic matures more. Harry's characterization might bother some people, but to me at least, it's tolerable.

A medium 3/5.
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:29 PM   #15
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It's interesting that your "slash-radar" is tingling from the story. Honestly, I didn't even see a hint of it being slash.
He didn't say that his 'slash-radar' was tingling from this story. He merely pointed out that the writer is a slash writer... which, to be fair, this is on their profile at ffnet:

Quote:
Most of my stories are Harry/Draco; I also write Snarry, Harry/Snape/Draco threesomes, Harry/Lucius, Ginny/Luna, and a few Harry/Tom Riddle and gen fics.
However, that said... if this particular story isn't slash then it's a moot point.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
You notice that it was written by some slash writer. The character interaction, especially Harry with other males, feels unnatural. What's interesting is the gimmick of the story and I'm curious where the plot will lead.
It's meant to be unnatural. The entire premise of the fic is that you're in the head of a mentally ill person and it's probably the one thing that this story actually handles much better than most that attempt to do so. Terry's characterization is a bit strange, but it works alright here for what his purpose is in the story.
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Old 03-12-2016, 03:03 AM   #17
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I'm kind of uncomfortable with how most of you are freaking out about the author having written slash and the possiblity of this becoming slash. Reeeal homophobic vibes going on tbh.

Plus it says it the first chapter that this is a gen fic jfc.
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:29 AM   #18
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I went ahead and read it. I was skeptical at first because of all the comments about slash vibe, but after going through it, I can't see it. As far as the story goes, it's pretty interesting. I'm curious to see the transfiguration theory the author has developed for this story and I think the information about it has been sparsely distributed through the text and not info-dumping us, which is a good way to handle it.

As for plot development, I'm not sure how I feel about the last chapter, but I guess we'll see where it goes from there. I feel like this story is very good in its own unique way; we see an abused Harry who is emotionally crippled and doesn't react like a normal teenager should to social convention (such as friends and adults).

I'm torn between giving it a 3 or a 4. I think the next chapter could really change how I view the story. I'll go with a tentative 4/5 for now.
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:34 PM   #19
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I don't know if I'd call this library worthy, but I'd probably say it straddles the line between library and almost recommended. 3.5/5-ish perhaps?

Harry is broken. There's cliche's abound - but the premise is interesting, and I don't mind the magical theory aspects. It might not be perfectly canon compliant, but the Word, Will, Wand type of thing feels like how transfiguration is in the books, just...broken down into components a bit more. It's a far cry from pulsing magical cores, regardless.

I'm not even going to address the rampant stupidity in this thread (slash without the slash? the fuck?), only to say it seems pretty concretely a gen fic, with zero romance whatsoever. Harry is broken, but I'm not remotely getting hurt/comfort broken vibes here - it's serious psychological issues.

You can't take it too seriously, and if you can't suspend disbelief a bit with regards to the magic system, it's probably not for you. But something kept me reading the whole way through this morning, and I don't regret doing so. Only disappointed that there's not more.

This is why I tend to only read completed stories, heh.

TL;DR - it's not slash. I don't think it'll ever be slash. There's an interesting premise based on Harry and Neville effectively switching roles (and their parents switching roles) that I've never quite seen done. I'd recommend it if bored, but it's not one of the 5-10 stories I would recommend with zero reservations.

3.5/5
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Old 03-14-2016, 06:51 PM   #20
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Ok - I moved the Alexeyy conspiracy into its own thread here: https://forums.darklordpotter.net/sh...ad.php?t=32787

Please if you feel the need to discuss it further, do it there, if you can.
If you do it here, you'll get infracted.

You are allowed, though, to discuss if this story has slashy wibes - as long as it doesn't get out of hand again.
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