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WIP A wizard in the family by Serena_Sers

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Lindsey, Dec 28, 2021.

  1. Lindsey

    Lindsey Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Title:A wizard in the family
    Author:Serena_Sers
    Rating: T
    Genre: Drama, Alternative
    Status: Work In Progress
    Library Category: The Alternatives
    Pairings: Unknown at the moment.
    Summary: In 1991, more than just one letter arrives at Number 4 Privet Drive. Petunia and Vernon Dursley are informed that their son is a little bit less normal than they had always tried to convince themselves. Harry, on the other hand, has only one thought: how will he ever survive if Dudley has the power to turn him into a frog?
    Link: A wizard in the family [series]

    Book 1: A wizard in the family. Isn't it wonderful?
    Book 2: I belong in your world, at Hogwarts
    Book 3: Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times

    Don't let the lacklucker titles and summary stop you from reading one of the best HP series started in 2021. The story starts off quite simple, with Dudley Dursley getting an invite to Hogwarts with Harry. Unlike other magical!Dudley fics, the Dursley's (including Dudley) are not instantly redeemed or completely villianized. They, like the whole Hogwarts cast, are characterized incredibly well with the author not afraid to have their characters make mistakes.

    Dudley is still a bully, and suffers for it.

    Harry, refusing to be in the same house as Dudley, is sorted into Slytherin and takes a both darker and more powerful route compared to canon, but doesn't go Indy-Harry nor does he remain canon Harry.

    There is no bashing, and all the characters remain delightfully in character and well written (even Dumbledore). You also have some OCs, which are well characterized as well, and not just Gary Sues.

    The author also takes some twists and turns with the storylines, making the plot feel refreshing and more unpredictable. Without spoiling too much you have mentor!Quirrell, notPossessed!Ginny and troublemaker!Percy (yes, I said that right).

    The children act like children instead of mini-politicians, often make mistakes and then they learn from their mistakes. I love authors that allow their characters to make mistakes and suffer the consequences. The fic is darker than canon, but still has the whimsy feeling the early HP books had.

    The author also likes to take tropes and turn them on their head, such as a 'life debt' not being magical but rather cultural, and often disregarded.

    Harry does start off a little weaker than canon, but quickly overcomes and surpasses his canon self by mid-book 1. By book 2, the tables have reversed, and Harry is formidable and a bit terrifying.

    Lastly, the author writes each book before posting, leading to a much more condensed and balanced story.

    All-in-all, I rate this fic 4/5 with the potential to be a 5/5 depending on where the story goes. The only reason it isn't a 5/5 now is the small typos in the first two stories (the author is likely not a native english speaker and sometimes uses the non-English character names), and the slightly weaker beginning.
     
  2. Donimo

    Donimo Auror

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    How much of a re-hash is it?
     
  3. Lindsey

    Lindsey Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    First year is a bit of a re-hash but with a delightful twist at the end (mentor!Quirrell).

    Second year starts off similarly to canon but goes off the rails relatively quickly.

    It's too soon to say anything about the third year. My guess is it will contain a general outline of the canon plots but the author will twist them and make them far more unpredictable.

    Personally, I felt the plot was refreshing compared to most alternative house stores.
     
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Annoyingly doesn’t seem available on ffnet, aah well. Will check it out regardless, thanks!
     
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I’m about halfway through Year 1 and I agree that it’s refreshing and a bit different, etc. The prose is good.

    I’m turned off a bit though by how incompetent and uncaring ALL the adults seem.

    For fucks sake.

    McGonagall could have easily determined which student had actually done the homework by asking a question or two.

    It’s ridiculous how long Harry went before realizing he was well known and then how he actually found out.

    The unwillingness of McGonagall (or anyone - especially Albus) to look at why Harry appears so poor and his cousin so rich. Especially after it’s been brought up.

    There’s so many signs of things being wrong that are ignored in an irritating fashion. I’d almost wish they were evil instead of it coming off like the Author thinks this makes sense / is just them being lazy when it’s so much more frustrating than that.

    I’ll finish the first year at least but unsure if I’ll continue. It’s at least 3/5 though.

    Edit - finished year 1. Problems mentioned above just compounded, particularly with how Albus sees things. The twist was good but didn’t actually change much.

    3/5. Probably won’t continue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  6. Lindsey

    Lindsey Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Sooo... like canon? :p

    You might actually enjoy book 2 more as a lot of these issues are addressed. Dumbledore and the other teachers do a lot more in book 2 than they do in canon even. You also get the rippling affects of what happened in book 1 influencing book 2.

    I would say book 1 is 3.5/5 myself but book 2 is closer to a 4.5/5, largely for how much the adults actually get involved.
     
  7. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I thought it was worse than in canon, honestly. Adding in Dudley made some things harder to ignore. Adding in some thoughts from like Faculty POV also just added BS instead of leaving it in the air, etc.

    Still a fun time waster.

    I’ll try Year 2 since you suggest it, thanks.

    Edit: Tried year 2 and it is better, but still not a huge fan. Good rec though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  8. soczab

    soczab Professor

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    Hmm. I'm 3/4 through year two now and i'd give this a solid 3.5 rounded up to 4. And its been growing on me. Some spelling splices early on but nothing crazy. And it started to diverge from canon pretty heavily in year one.

    Plot wise... I really like the road this is taking. Harry sorted into other houses (mostly slytherin) is maybe my favorite sub-genre in HP. I really like that this one isn't treading the same old ground.

    Usually most Slyherin Harry stories follow one of two paths. Either 1) He just makes friends with all the gryffindors and is a gryffindor harry who happens to be in slytherin or 2) he turns into either indy harry or dark harry and its all poltiics and maneuvering

    While on the surface this story seems to have elements of both of those (he is friends with neville and hermoine and is experimenting with some dark magic) it actually seems to me to be walking an interesting middle path. Harry's experiments with politics, dark magic (and bullying) don't read like an Indy harry but like a confused kid in a tough situation not coping well with lots of pressure.
    the Sinistra conversation really brought it home and was well handled.
    Likewise while he has some friends in gryffindor this doesnt feel like gryffindor harry in green robes.

    I like the middle path Harry is walking.... and the way the author uses Dudley as the foil that pushes Harry down some paths that would not be considered 'good.' And I like that Harry is still clearly the Harry from the books but that there is an influence of Slytherin that is clearly discernible.

    Or in sum... no this isn't so far one of the 'greats' of HP fanfiction. But it is very good. An entertaining read. And for those of us that like this sub-genre I appreciate it isn't walking down the same well worn paths.

    And I really do think the characters are very well done.
     
  9. Hakairyu

    Hakairyu Seventh Year

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    I don't disagree on the money aspect, but the way McGonagall failed to properly assess and handle the situation... is pretty accurate to how bullying in middle/high school tends to play out in real life, even if the authority figure is smart and/or caring. I can certainly attest to that. If anything I like how Dumbledore ended up becoming aware of the severity of the situation and handled it.

    The story overall is a pretty good take on a tired plot bunny that is usually very poorly executed. It manages to deviate enough from canon to avoid being the usual rehash (earlier chapters of book 1 notwithstanding) and does so in well thought-out ways. Without going into spoilers, the end of book 1 made me raise an eyebrow but not by too much, and I thought the ministry hearing scene and Sinistra's speech were a bit hammy, but Dudley's character arc around the latter? Very well done. I'll generally echo the praise for the characterization and the writing, and agree with Lindsey that this is a 4/5 with potential for a 5/5. Not because of the occasional error (I like how you can tell the author is German from those), but because I don't think it's earned a 5 as it is. It might get there though.
     
  10. CrimsonEmperor

    CrimsonEmperor Squib

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    Characters with actual flaws? Villains with redeeming qualities? Wow. Nothing special enough for a 5. But a solid 4/5.
     
  11. mercuryandglass

    mercuryandglass Third Year

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    I'm not sure how much of it is the rehash that made me bored in the first couple chapters and how much is the lack of thorough editing and obvious ELL grammar mistakes (strange pronoun agreement and sentence structures), but the prose got on my nerves quite a bit. However, the writing shows visible improvement throughout the series, and I'm hoping that with the recently acquired beta (starting after the conclusion of second year), the third instalment (fourth, if you count Ron's side story) won't suffer from such issues nearly as much. That being said, even nearing the most recent updates, the prose has only barely reached the stage of what I would term "unobtrusive".

    Disregarding all of that, the characters are written very well, with minimal bashing, plenty of character development, and extremely believable flaws. Though the worldbuilding is nothing special, it also avoids the pitfalls of the tired tropes and clichés that haunt this fandom. Moreover, the plot of it all, at least after one triumphs over the 50k or so worth of rehash, has been captivating enough that I've subscribed to the series.

    The interesting characters and story would make for a very tentative 4 at best, but I'm marking it down to 3/5 due to the shaky start and the lacklustre prose.

    ETA: Upon the most recent update (Chapter 7 of Year 3), I can confirm that the weirdness of the prose remains, if faintly. It's not even that the grammar is bad anymore, but rather that there's still a rushed sort of feeling to reading some of the scenes. Perhaps my taste in pacing is just slower than that of the author's. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2022
  12. darklordmike

    darklordmike Headmaster

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    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. All the stories are pretty quick reads, and the characterization is really good. Dudley's arc, in particular, is well done, and Harry himself is more interesting than the canon version. Could go any number of directions from here, but for now...

    4/5
     
  13. RFE

    RFE Muggle

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    This is a bit meh. Most of it is cheap rehash with a few very simple twists to get exactly where we were after canon year 2. The beginning with Harry knowing nothing feels exasperatingly stupid. At least it avoids the godawful decision to make Voldemort return in Year 1 (which ruined "Blood Crest") which would have lead to a comically large power imbalance and just opened up issues for the writer, but this doesn't mean you can't/shouldn't diverge more from canon and fill the divergences with your own plot.

    Dudley as a character doesn't seem to have any purpose except for pushing Harry's character growth, and he's overstayed that welcome several times in year 1. Harry's hopelessness for someone to believe him rather than Dudley even in later chapters is seriously annoying and makes him feel stupid. The conlusion of Year 2 with the attempted murder on Harry is the best thing about this story as of now, but I really could have done without the Dudley sob chapter. In general, I feel like Harry's character change from Year 1 to the latter half of year 2 was somewhat abrupt, but I liked the outcome. With the newest arc, I fear the darker take will be reversed again.

    This story feels like it's on very broad rails; sometimes you might see some new landscape, but you still know the destination you're gonna go to, which is going to be the Voldemort Year 4 resurrection scene, having visited every larger canon station by perfecting the art of deviating without really deviating. As a result, you can skip portions of it, which I've sometimes done, because there are several lacking aspects to this. The magic system is bland, the plot doesn't actually lead to things except when it's already done so in canon and the dialogue can at times be witty, but rarely moves anything forward.

    In general, James' backstory is far more interesting than anything between Harry and the useless blob, hope that gets explored more. In general, I'd like the story to turn far away from Dudley, because he's just a hindrance at most times (which is exactly what I predicted him to be, and why so little people read this story despite it being quite decent and regularly updating - Dudley at Hogwarts is NOT an inspiring premise). Hopefully he dies somewhere soon.

    Some ideas in this are fun, like Percy being a troublemaker, gotta give it that, but that's one of these ideas you smirk at and then forget.

    However, I have to say that third year has managed to intrigue me a lot more, mostly because most stories of this kind don't get this far, and because the author has shown promise to do a little more than just "not do/incrementally change" plot stuff this time.

    3/5, because while it avoids being bad, there's not enough that makes this truly good. Quirrell mentoring Harry has become a trope in itself by now, and with Harry's latest Dudley character arc, this doesn't really seem to be about to make a real difference. Rating's subject to change upwards as story progresses, because at least I've got to give the author that they've got me convinced that they're capable.

    However, it continues to mystify me how, after three decades of HP fanfiction, there's still not a significant amount of plots for the first years compared to what JKR did. Taure did something brilliant with year 2, The Sinister Man did something good with year 2 (but needed far too many words to do it), but apart from that, I wouldn't know of anything iconic done with the plot in this time period at Hogwarts. Well, there's "Old Blood" by Oil on Canvas, but the update rate of this is comatose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2022