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Complete Backwards with Purpose by Deadwoodpecker - M

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Taure, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Title: Backwards with Purpose
    Author: Deadwoodpecker
    Rating: M
    Genre: Time Travel
    Pairing: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione
    Chapters: 55
    Words: 287,160
    Updated: July 23, 2008
    Published: February 28, 2008

    Status: Complete
    Summary: AU. Harry, Ron, and Ginny send themselves back in time to avoid the destruction of everything they hold dear, and the deaths of everyone they love. This story is now complete! Stay tuned for the sequel!
    Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4101650/1/Backward_With_Purpose


    This fic had kept cropping up in my trawling of FF.Net; I finally decided to read it after reading Year of Solitude by the same author.

    Yes, it's Harry/Ginny, but I actually liked her character in this. Wasn't too bad. Basically, a redo fic, but a complete one (le gasp) and also rather well written, with good characterisation.

    Downsides are an odd pacing and dodgy temporal mechanics (but then, what time travel fic other than PoA doesn't have dodgy temporal mechanics?).

    Another plus is that Harry is actually proactive in actually wanting to defeat Voldemort, not just live through his school days again.

    Also, this is the first time travel story in which I've been actually interested in the set-up chapter before the time travel occurs.

    Overall I give it 4/5.

    Here is my full review that I left the author, full of spoilers.

    I decided to check this out after being very impressed with Year of Solitude, and I must say that I'm impressed - a completed redo fic! A rare treat. I wouldn't really say that it's as good as Year of Solitude, which is brilliant in pretty much every area, but it's certainly quite good.

    My greatest criticism of the story would be its pacing. You've somehow managed to write a story that feels both overly lengthy and rushed. On the one hand, the story is very long - too long, really, to be comfortably read in one sitting like I did. Reader fatigue set in around chapter 30. On the other, the plot itself feels rushed, in that a huge amount of time is covered in very few words. A few chapters for entire years. It feels a bit like we've been cheated of detail - because you were trying to cram all 7 years into one story, it feels almost like a summary rather that a true story.

    The solution to this problem, I think, would have been to make the story much longer, but to split it into parts. In many ways, the feeling at the end of this story is very similar to the ending of canon: the reader is still desperate for more detail. It would have been nice to see the wider wizarding world a bit more, especially as there was no real reason for Harry, Ron and Ginny to stay at Hogwarts once they had told Dumbledore about what had happened.

    Another disappointment is your temporal mechanics. You seem to understand the concept of time travel, for in the very first chapter Ginny makes a very good point about being unable to change the past, for if they had, then it would already been changed. This is never really addressed in the story, and is countered only with some vague mention of "changing Fate". I presume with this you mean not going back in time to change something, but rather pushing the entire "line of time" into a different set of events. Powerful magic indeed, and I'm still not sure if the same problem would occur regarding "if you had changed Fate, then it would already be changed". I would have liked to see more of this.

    Another thing I would have liked to see would have been Harry, Ron and Ginny realising the huge arrogance of what they had done. They really had no right to change time. In the first chapter it is mentioned how everyone else in the wizarding world is leading Happy lives. Harry, Ron and Ginny effectively put their own loss before of all these people, and eradicated their lives from existence. It was said that they went back in time because Voldemort had killed 40% of the wizarding population. Well, in doing so, Harry and co. killed the remaining 60%. They could try to justify it by saying the people are still alive back in time, just younger, but their lives would be so different that they are effectively different people.

    It would have been interesting to see Harry and co. realise this and deal with it, rather than simply go happily around doing the "no regrets" routine.

    On the plus side, your characterisation is awesome. Each of your characters has a clear and distinctive voice, personality and we really get a feel for this. We can tell who is talking by the patterns of speech. We can see how different characters would react to different situations. There is, despite your great characterisation, also a bit of a disappointment in this area, and that is the character progression of the main 3 heroes. They are effectively the same people they are at the beginning of the story at the end. Same outlooks, same friends, same actions... they don't progress at all. Even their abilities are pretty similar - never once is it mentioned the idea that Harry, Ron and Ginny can use the gift of the extra 7 years as a chance to improve on their magical skill. No, it's "Hermione is the clever one", "Harry is the one good at duelling but only above average elsewhere", and so on. None of the characters attempt to break their typecast. And then, suddenly, when Harry is able to hold his own against Dumbledore, it has come out of nowhere. He shouldn't be able to.

    And that has reminded me of another thing: your "Hermione is the clever one" attitude. Yes, knowledge (which Harry, Ron and Ginny have) and intelligence are two different things. But this does not mean that Hermione at age 11 is as intelligent as Hermione at age 18. Intelligence grows as you develop, and not only because the brain is physically developing: as you grow older as you learn to look at things in a deeper way, you learn to analyse and evaluate properly, To an extent, knowledge and intelligence *are* linked. No 11 year old child, no matter how intelligent, will be as intelligent as someone averagely intelligent but 6 years their senior. Yes, even child geniuses such as Tom Riddle and Albus Dumbledore (which Hermione is not). They simply lack the intellectual maturity. They will be outstandingly clever, yes, but if you hand them something to far beyond them they won't know how to cope, because they lack the knowledge/maturity to utilise their intelligence correctly.

    Anyway...

    Another major complaint, which I suspect you have heard a lot, is the similarity of events to canon. Now, if I understand it correctly, the trio went back in time to stop the final battle occurring entirely. That was the whole point. And yet events happen exactly as they did in canon, and the trio indeed attempt to engineer this. In the end, the only real differences this story has are as follows: 1. killing the prisoners in Azkaban and 2. stopping Voldemort's Fiendfyre and 3. Dumbledore is still alive 4. Snape is still alive. 5. Sirius is still alive. 6. Dumbledore wasn't discredited by the Ministry. This could all have been achieved by going back to just before the end of 4th year, after Voldemort had returned but before Dumbledore announced that Voldemort was back, not first.

    The story just feels so pointless, having everything be the same, and needlessly so. Even if they had lost the ability to predict events as they had changed them too much, the trio still had brought with them so much of an advantage that they really didn't need to keep canon events as they were. The whole point of the time travel was to make events *better*, not to go back and keep events as similar as possible while avoiding the worst of their losses. If they hadn't been so keen to have things play out as they wanted, they could have had all the horcruxes gone within a month (but for Harry), Sirius out of Azkaban within the year, Voldemort dead by 4th year.

    This is a problem that plagues all redo fics but for a select few.

    Anyway, I shall end my review there. I think I've raised everything that I wanted to. Don't think that I disliked the story because I've been so negative in the above comments. I liked the story, and enjoyed reading it. But the purpose of reviews is to help writers improve, in my opinion, and this can only be done by pointing out what you felt could be improved. There would be no real reason for "OMG AMAZING FIC" (which I seem to recall doing for your other story...) except for an ego boost. In short, just because I've focused on the bad doesn't mean this story isn't good. There's plenty of good. It's just the nature of reviews that the bad is focused on.




    The author published two sequels:

    Backward With Purpose Part II: The Book of Albus
    Chapters: 50
    Words: 87,175
    Updated: September 7, 2008
    Published: June 20, 2008
    Status: Complete
    Summary: This is the companion novel to Backward With Purpose. I'd read that one first. This story is complete; the sequel has begun.
    Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4337434/1/

    Backward With Purpose Part III: The Refuge of Hope
    Chapters: 2
    Words: 4,899
    Updated: May 22, 2009
    Published: May 10, 2009
    This is the continuation of both Backward With Purpose and The Book of Albus. If you haven't read either, you are going to be REALLY confused.
    Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5053251/1/




    Checked by Minion, January 6, 2013
    Added the sequels
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
  2. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    As I said in the Year of Solitude thread, I think this one is very readable, perhaps one of the few H/G redo stories that deserves consideration for inclusion in the Library.

    It's got flaws, sure, but it's a fine execution nonetheless. As a finished redo, it automatically gets a +1 from me since there's so many (*cough* S'TarKan *cough*) promising starts that don't follow through. The finale, where Harry goes into Voldemort's camp, was powerfully written, possibly better than canon; it's definitely worth slogging through the rest to get to.

    4.X/5 from me. Not as good as YOS and too much angst in the later chapters, but still worth the time and worth consideration for the Library. I'd note that there's a sequel (The Book of Albus) that just completed and that (I hear--I haven't read it yet) purportedly fills in some of the time-travel holes Taure alluded to. (Hopefully, now that Ella's done with BOA, she can devote more time to YOS).
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  3. Lincos

    Lincos Professor DLP Supporter

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    Since there is nothing left to read, and waiting for lazy ass DLP authors to update is a pain, I'll give this a shot. Even though its H/G R/Hr.

    "Harry, Ron, and Ginny send themselves back in time" does that mean Ron is the pedo in this story?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  4. Kensington

    Kensington Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    It's technically very well written. Another big plus is that he actually makes Ginny a very enjoyable character.

    What didn't work for me was as Taure noted above was the strict adherence to the plot. If you're going to make me re-read all seven years of Hogwarts, it better be damn interesting. I fell asleep mid-5th year in this story due to the fact that it felt like I was re-reading a recap of the Hogwarts years (although in his defense the story did start to dramatically alter at that point.)

    It's hard to rate this story. He does several things very well...but it's one of a very short list of stories that put me to sleep. Ideally, I'd rate this a 3.5 because it's better than average, but I'm not sure if I could justify giving this a 4 since it put me to sleep.

    3/5 for me.
     
  5. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    So it's here after all ... I saw it a few times on FF.net and always almost clicked it. What kept me from actually reading it was the summary. I mean, one person going backwards in time is, well, acceptable, I guess, but Harry AND Ron AND Ginny?

    Does she actually pull that off without sounding completely ridiculous?


    Eh, well ... I'll add it to my to-read list.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  6. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, the group dynamics work fairly well within the three of them. I had the same hesitation that you did - I saw it around loads of times, but was always put off by the summary.

    When I finally did read it out of boredem, actually the bits about it I was least expecting to like I did - the characterisation - and the bits I was most expecting to like I didn't - the actual time travel.
     
  7. Korisovra

    Korisovra Headmaster

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    It was an interesting take on it, that's for damned sure. It was actually a palatable technique, which is rare enough. That being said, the writing style was a little dry for my taste and it quickly became monotonos and boring after the first 10 or so chapters. 3.5/5
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  8. Nukular Winter

    Nukular Winter The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    This is actually a great story, but I'd never recommend it for the DLP library because of the unapologetic H/G...

    On the other hand, it's worth reading just as an intro to the sequel (Book of Albus), which is fantastic.
     
  9. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Really? I've been a bit hesitant about starting the sequel, mainly because I disapproved of the time travel mechanics in the first, and the second looked to be more of the same. That and we already know the end result, which (I should imagine) rather takes away the tension from the plot.
     
  10. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I can think of at least a half dozen H/G fics in the Library as well as a Slash fic. There's at least precedent (if low likelihood) for their getting in.

    Oh, and my tribute to World: :awesome
     
  11. Innomine

    Innomine Auror Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Which was the slashfic?

    Also, I read this back when it was incomplete, and I found it to be...average. I'll go reread the thing, before my rating would of been 3/5, but not higher. Lets see if it changes.
     
  12. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Malignant Objects to name one.

    There have been others.
     
  13. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Harry Potter Return of the First Ones was too, IIRC.

    Black Sheep is heading there (henriette is a slash writer).
     
  14. Lincos

    Lincos Professor DLP Supporter

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    This fic is extreamly boring, and I'm only onto them entering the Chamber of Secrets.

    Oh and when Harry actually gets there.... He's been Obliviated by Lockheart and the author has pretty much copy-pasted that section of HPatCoS. Just like the rest of the fic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  15. Banner

    Banner Dark Lady

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    I had a lot of fun with this one. There were only a few slow parts, and the characterizations (particularly the Weasleys) had real depth.
    3/5
     
  16. Memory King

    Memory King Order Member DLP Supporter

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    Malignant Object has actually been trashed, with a rating far below the 3.5/5 mark.

    My biggest peeve with this fic is the same as Lincos's. It doesn't help the my tolerance for angst is extremely low.

    The beginning was pretty entertaining however,, and the author is extremely competent. I'll probably give this another try some day,when I'm not as uninterested in stories that follow canon closely.
     
  17. Lincos

    Lincos Professor DLP Supporter

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    Just finished year 3 and I want to know if there is any point in continuing reading this?

    Any original plot(s)?

    Does it become an in depth story and not a summary of canon?


    So far, I REALLY don't understand why people are giving this such high ratings.

    Fuck it, I don't give a shit. Hermione in this really pisses me off, amongst other things.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  18. The Sour Kraut

    The Sour Kraut Seventh Year

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    Just read the first eight chapters. It's written well and the characterisation is indeed pretty good.

    I've got one really big issue with this though:
    At the beginning they decide to go back to first year to save everyone. Then, when they are there, they say they have to have everything play out like before until fourth year. Why didn't they go there in the first place?
    It would have spared us from this canon-summary until (apparently, from the other reviews) fifth year.

    EDIT: I like your new avatar, Taure. Different approach to "Dark Lord Potter"?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  19. Breed

    Breed Third Year

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    IMO, It's an average time-travel fic, dragged down due to the pairings. Although I'll admit, it is bearable. I did however, find myself getting bored toward the end and the whole Albus thing is just OTT.

    3/5
     
  20. fuubar

    fuubar Headmaster

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    I read it a little while back and enjoyed it a fair amount. It's not the best piece that I have ever read by a ways but it is much, much further from the worst. Unlike most of the other people here I actually found the time travel mechanics to actually be a bit of fresh air compared to a lot of the other generic crap that people come up with.

    Also I'll say second whoever it was that said it's worth reading as an intro to Book of Albus which IMO is far superior (yeah who would have thought that a story about Albus Severus fucking Potter could actually be enjoyable.)

    3.5/5 rounded up to a 4 for me.