1. Hi there, Guest

    Only registered users can really experience what DLP has to offer. Many forums are only accessible if you have an account. Why don't you register?
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Hey DLP authors, there's a bit less than a month left to wow us with your story about Daphne or Azkaban.

    The Author applies the words to the paper or it gets the hose. Write or die! The more the merrier.

    Click here for more information!
    Dismiss Notice

WIP A Beautiful Lie by MaybeMayba [M]

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Jrapp106, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Jrapp106

    Jrapp106 Squib

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Title: A Beautiful Lie
    Author: MaybeMayba
    Rating: M
    Genre: Fantasy/Drama
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: Alternate
    Pairings: Harry/Fleur
    Summary: As the threat of Voldemort grows, Harry does his best to prepare for their inevitable showdown. At Dumbledore's side, Harry travels through the mysteries of the past and the conflicts of the present, all while growing into the wizard he was destined to be. The life of the Chosen One is not what he expected, as new challenges and the weight of war test his strength of will.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12792189/1/A-Beautiful-Lie


    I’ve been hesitant to put thisk up for review since I’ve starte reading it because it generally started off as a guilty pleasure fic that felt really similar to “The Half-Blood Romantic”. The author had a way of phrasing things early on that would send my head spinning but by the eight or ninth chapter it got better, or I just grew used to it I’m not quite sure.


    Now for the thick of it, it’s a sixth year AU where Harry not only learns about Horcruxes but also gets extensive magic lessons from Dumbledore. I really like the Harry Dumbledore student/mentor relationship and I like how the Author doesn’t just regurgitate scenes from the books or movies, infact shies away from repeating scenes that weren’t changed or didn’t add to the story in anyway by repeating what the readers already know happened.


    Like I said above the story really hits its stride at after the initial 6-7 chapters. While the story just finished its first arch and the author is taking a break for a little while, he or she has a good update rate recently.


    A solid read makes me want to rate this a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 because not only does the author have a steady update rate but seems to only be getting better and I’m excited to see where the story goes.
     
  2. Crownworthy

    Crownworthy First Year

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    Norway
    There’s a bit of Ron bashing in the first couple of chapters, and Ron and Hermione are really annoying in the beginning. Thankfully we see less of that once the story hits its stride, though it’s hard to say if that’s because the author changed their mind on how to write the characters, or just because they are gradually being sidelined by Fleur, Daphne and The Dumbledore.


    Harry’s relationship with Fleur develops realistically, and I don’t really get the comparison to “Half-Blood Romantic”, seeing as the setup is different, and far more contrived in that story.

    The Daphne side plot is excellent, and if I hadn’t looked at the tags before reading, I would expect Daphne to be the main pairing. It’s not good when the main pairing plays second fiddle like that.

    I didn’t start reading this for either pairing, though, so I don’t really care about that. What interested me most about this story was the interactions between Harry and Dumbledore, and in general, they were excellently done. The magic was more on the mystical than the mechanic side, and while I prefer the latter I don’t have any problems with the former.


    In normal circumstances, I’d give this a 3/5, but good Mentor!Dumbledore is really hard to find, and the rest of the story is decent, too, so I’ll go ahead and grant it a 4.
     
  3. Nexis

    Nexis Second Year

    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Messages:
    50
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Poland
    High Score:
    0
    I'm 100k words in, I like it so far. The Ron and Hermione bashing at the beginning was very worrying, but fortunately it didn't happen again after the first chapter, or at least I don't remember any more of it happening.

    While the story isn't perfect and there are things I don't like, it's still mostly enjoyable. My favourite parts are the interactions between Harry and Dumbledore, they're fun to read. Harry is very powerful, but not on a god-like level (yet). Not much politics which is also a plus for me. The plot is interesting, the writing is solid, I'm going to keep reading this.

    One thing that annoys me a little is the fact that it reads like a harem self-insert at times. But honestly, this annoys me in a lot of fics, so it could be just on my part, I'm sure some people enjoy it. Romance side plot with Fleur isn't too annoying, but also isn't anything special, at least for now.

    I'd rate this a 3.5/5 but I'll round it up to 4 for now, also cause of Mentor!Dumbledore. If the rest of the story isn't as good or gets more of the harem vibe, I'll change it to 3.
     
  4. Sir Snuffy

    Sir Snuffy Third Year DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Messages:
    100
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The country the Queen lives in
    High Score:
    0
    I do agree, the first couple of chapters were a bit of a sour read. Dumbledore is hard to get right, especially when it comes to dialogue. After the third 'my boy' in one sentence my face had already scrunched up enough to be painful.

    There's also the constant tears in everyones eyes. I swear no one can mention anything without someone bawling.

    It does end up picking up after a bit, the action scenes being a very enjoyable read and I have no complains about them.

    I also do rather like some of the romantic side-plots, even if the story makes Harry out to be some pussy magnet. I am however slightly disappointed in the Harry/Fleur pairing (especially with it being my favourite fic pairing) as I honestly can't connect with Fleur at all.

    She has like 4 scenes where Harry has some weird subconcious feelings about her and I've no real clue where they come from. She is generally overshadowed by Daphne, who seems to be a much stronger character.

    The writing itself does get a lot better, even if there are some odd spelling and grammar mistakes here and there. The author would benefit from the WbA section, even if it is just for someone else to read over their writing and point out some errors. Just noticed they made a thread, happy days.

    Other than that, I'd say it's pretty solid.

    3.5/5
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  5. Lion

    Lion Banned DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,011
    Location:
    That place
    I'm about 75% through and it's honestly a guilty pleasure at this point. Feels like the author wanted to combine Half-Blood Romantic and The Merging, but stumbled on the delivery. Starts off with an interesting premise but the first few chapters are a pain, and they only get slightly better. Lots of telling instead of showing. Also feels the need to re-explain everything that has happened so far in canon. That it comes in the form of Harry going on long mind tangents only makes it worse. Also pretty easy to tell where the author's opinion about certain ideas takes over for canon. Action sequences are pretty good though.

    My main problem comes with the romantic side of things. It's what reminds me most of The Merging and HBR. On one side you have casanova Potter going around breaking hearts. Not even noticing how every girl he finds attractive is feeling him. Of course he flirts with them and plays the game, but it's not serious. Then there's the moments with Fluer where he suddenly turns a lovesick puppy. It has been stated that they will get together, but it feels so fucking awkward. Anytime Harry talks to Fluer about halfway through it turns into how he can't resist her, but it's not the allure she's just so perfect. Fluer gives him signs back, but then retreats when they get too close. It plays out like Half-Blood Romantic with none of the nuance or build up. We're told they penpal and they have deep conversations but it feels so forced. All of their scenes later in the story have made me cringe hard.

    That describes a lot of the romance though. Some of it is light hearted and fun, but then it goes full speed ahead at the most awkward moments. The Susan thing is a perfect example. It's full speed ahead and talking about feelings that they have even though we don't get a mention of them even talking until he goes to give her Slughorn's invitation. Though honestly that's a problem with all of the girls around Harry. He doesn't think of any of them unless they're directly in front of him. Then it's immediately to the will they won't they. Even with Fluer. If she isn't in the scene, or that one time he got a letter, she's never really mentioned. Which doesn't fit for the girl he is supposedly in love with.

    So I finished it and I can move the score up to a 3, but there were still some things that nagged at me. Totally called the Fluer twist, but it doesn't redeem the character. Felt like the pacing was off for the later chapters as well. Everything suddenly went into overdrive for the last few chapters. I'll give it a better review tomorrow.

    All in all it's a 2.5 rounded to a 3 for me. A good guilty pleasure, but not Library worthy. Might change depending on how the last few chapters turn out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  6. TieHat

    TieHat Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2017
    Messages:
    392
    Location:
    Your Mother's Basement
    High Score:
    0
    For me this is a solid 3/5 fic. The first "arc" is somewhat lacking technically and is a bit tropey but does mentor!dumbledore well and gets the three based on how captivating it is.

    The second arc is less captivating but better technically, also bring it to a 3/5.

    Still, the author is in WbA and given how responsive he/she(?) is being, I have hopes that the rating might go higher.
     
  7. Inert

    Inert Order Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    841
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hawaii
    This is very much a 3/5 for me. I find the plot engaging, the characters interesting, and the writing, while needing improvement, is getting better.

    Echoing @momo, the author is very receptive in the WbA as well. I'm optimistic for a stronger finish to round out the interesting and realistic character interactions.
     
  8. Zansa

    Zansa Third Year

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    I agree that overall this is a pretty solid 3/5. The big highlight is Dumbledore mentoring Harry, and I think that bumps it up to 3.5/5 which I'll round to a weak 4. I think by the end of this the story will either remain at a weakish 4, or be a guilty pleasure for those who can't get enough Harry/Fleur. I wrote a large post in WbA about my thoughts on the story which I'll copy here for posterity.

    I came for the pairing, and stayed despite the pairing.
    In my opinion, Fleur's existence is the weakest part of this story. I can't empathize with any of her scenes, and I don't understand why there's such an extreme degree of attraction between them. The only thing I can think of that makes sense is soul bond shenanigans, which would add another contrivance to something that already rings hollow.

    Part of it may be that you revealed the pairing to the detriment of the story. From the time you said it's a Harry/Fleur pairing and showed Harry dropping panties on all the girls around him, those girls were destined to die or be haphazardly written off unless the story turns harem. All of the other girls also have better interactions with Harry and have more personality than Fleur has shown. Every scene with Fleur until very recently has been so emotionally charged that it feels like we're only seeing the climax of a scene or series of scenes that have been cut.

    I understand why Harry and Susan connect over their broken families. I understand why Harry and Daphne connect during the course of their secret friendship. I even understand why Harry and Megan had their moment. I don't understand why Harry and Fleur are even potentially a thing. At the beginning of the story Harry smells nothing from the Amortentia, so we know there was no previous really strong attraction there. Fleur even comments that Harry rarely (never?) wrote her even though she asked. Somehow in the space of a school year, Harry went from feeling nothing for her to gifting her Ravenclaw's cloak, forcefully stopping himself from saying he loves her, and implicitly asking her to end her engagement to be with him.

    Everything about their relationship feels almost insultingly contrived, even now I don't understand why they're suddenly on speaking terms and Harry's asking her to leave the ICW to fight a war with him. Just a couple chapters ago he was trying to run from her when he saw her again. I feel like I missed three chapters of interaction between them, and I feel like this for every single scene with her in it. It makes no sense. Why does she love him so much that she's crying when he rejects her? I'm not buying into this relationship at all and I feel like every time they interact I can see the curtain fall away while I watch the author manipulate the story's strings.

    Harry's other relationships were much more believable, and so much more interesting that I'm lead to remember stories of authors who have to rewrite entire stories because a side character is more interesting than the main character, and so the author rewrites that to be the case. Harry and Susan navigating a relationship built upon mutual pain and suffering and familial loss would be interesting. Both knew they didn't love each other and they know it was only their pain pushing them forward and that's intriguing, I want to read more of that, I want to see two broken people finding toxic comfort with each other, but she had to be killed because the story is Harry/Fleur.

    I want to see more of Harry and Daphne's relationship, with all of its complexities and rough spots. She raped Harry, show me the aftermath of that beyond a quick goodbye-i'm-leaving-forever. I want to see that relationship change and develop, I want to know more about this Daphne who resorted to rape for whatever reason. Was she manipulating him? Was it actually love that drove her actions? Desperation? Some plot? I have so many questions, but she had to be written out of the story because it's Harry/Fleur.

    I feel like Megan's scene maybe was supposed to hold some kind of meaning, but it didn't. She was barely in the story at all, I don't understand what her scene was meant to do other than act as a PSA that being gay is okay. You could have left that scene out altogether and nothing would change about the story, but it had to be there because the story is Harry/Fleur and there can't be any threats to the pairing.

    This is a running theme with the story actually - we're supposed to feel things for these characters who have not had the screen time for us to feel much of anything for. You tend to throw in lines telling us how much time has passed - often weeks or months - and presumably Harry is interacting with the supporting cast during that time, but we aren't. Readers won't connect with a character just because Harry was interacting with them over a time skip, and if I had to guess where the missing development is between Harry and Fleur I would say it's in those throwaway lines.

    Pansy and Cho's deaths weren't impactful, they had only a few lines of dialogue apiece. Susan was doomed to be written off somehow, and after the first two deaths that was an easy one to see coming. Dumbledore is obviously not a surprise. Flamel was only present for a brief period.

    I actually think the death with the most impact to me personally was Annabelle. It didn't have impact because I cared, it had impact because that was the death that I realized you're going to keep killing people off for shock value. I guess you're trying to drive home that no one is safe in a war, but you aren't giving us any time to connect to these characters before they're dead. You show us a bit of their lives, give us a bit of an emotional connection to them and then off them. But the emotional connection isn't deep to begin with so it's not very startling, and now you've done it so many times that I'm just assuming any character that appears is going to be killed off sooner or later. I figure Gabrielle has to go at some point, probably the parents too. It's one way to force Fleur to take a more personal stake in the war and join closely to Harry's side. The time Harry is spending with them seems to be fairly happy so I guess they're the next on the chopping block, or near to it.

    In a vacuum, your Harry is very grating to read a lot of the time. He flies off the handle, yells and screams and tears prick his eyes at the slightest provocation sometimes, and other times he's a grizzled war veteran who is apathetic at the gruesome death of someone he went to school with for six years. There's an incongruency in his behavior.

    What kept me reading so long was Harry's relations with the side characters. Harry and Dumbledore was great, easily the highlight of the story. Harry and Ron and Hermione could have been interesting, their relationship was growing strained and yet still remained as strong as ever. Harry and Slughorn was promising - a Harry that likes and wants to spend time with Slughorn? Yes please. Harry's conflicted feelings over Bill? I wanted to see that play out over the long term.

    Yet, each of those things have been written out of the story. Some things will develop offscreen, some things will just be dropped, and many have been written out of the story through one contrivance or another. Now we have a Harry who flops from one emotional extreme to cold blooded manipulation at the drop of a hat, and a bunch of characters who one has to suspect are going to be killed off sooner rather than later. There's nothing to connect to in this story aside from the main character, and he's just not interesting enough to carry a story by himself. Even if there is another relationship as great as Harry's with Dumbledore, you're training readers not to invest in any of Harry's relationships in case they're just another prop to be killed or written off.

    I'm still reading in the hopes of some continuation to the Daphne plot, but I'm expecting her to be killed off too. Harry is still carrying around her gift to him, and they had sex. She's a loose end that the Harry/Fleur train can't afford to risk. I think that just goes to show how fatigued I am of characters appearing briefly before going a different way, and how tired I am of these contrivances to get Harry and Fleur together.

    In a follow up post the author said that a lot of what I had to say has to do with early parts of the story and that he is both a far better writer, and that vast swathes of the story's outline have been changed since then. This is fair, but I can't help but feel the story was in a lot of ways better in the early stages. The story now seems to be in a transitory phase, and how this phase ends and the next begins will be critical to its quality and final rating.
     
  9. TieHat

    TieHat Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2017
    Messages:
    392
    Location:
    Your Mother's Basement
    High Score:
    0
    I have to agree with @Zansa here in saying that the Harry/Dumbledore interactions were the strong point of this fic. Things sort of started spreading apart after Dumbledore's death.
     
  10. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    A Beautiful Lie has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 30
    Words: 295,607
    Updated: 2019-05-15 16:23:36 UTC
    Published: 2018-01-08 05:24:10 UTC
    Previously updated: about 2 months ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
     
  11. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    A Beautiful Lie has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 32
    Words: 305,302
    Updated: 2019-05-25 22:20:49 UTC
    Published: 2018-01-08 05:24:10 UTC
    Previously updated: 10 days ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
     
  12. Shodan

    Shodan First Year

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Germany
    I've just read this in the last two days and wanted to give my opinion.

    As others have said before, the beginning is very rough. There are some small things that could have been easily avoided, like mentioning magical maturity (though that's just mentioned once in the first few chapters and never again afterwards), but there are some bigger issues as well: There doesn't seem to be a clear point of divergence, and so we have to assume that there's no real reason for the things that are different from canon to be the way they are. Why is Harry friends with Slytherins? Why does he achieve better OWLs?

    Moreover, Harry's characterization feels a bit off at first. He makes out with Susan Bones, Daphne Greengrass, Fleur Delacour (and others?) in one year. Now while that wouldn't be an issue, much of it lacks setup. Why are Harry and Susan so close at the start of the year? Why doesn't Harry struggle more with his feelings for Fleur, and why does he apparently have no real issue with acting on them despite betraying the Weasley's trust?

    But the longer the story goes on, the better it gets. I enjoyed the reveal about Fleur and her conflicting loyalties, and Harry's uncertainty if he's doing the right thing by freeing Grindlewald feels believable. Also, the entire plot with Flamel was pretty interesting, and I've never seen the Resurrection Stone used this way.

    I'm looking forward to the next arc. Seeing how Grindlewald and Harry being back in Britain plays out should be interesting.

    Overall, I give the first arc a 2.5/5, and the second arc a 4/5 trending upwards. Overall, I'm being a tiny bit generous and give this a 3.5/5 rounding up.