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WIP Carpe Noctem by LeEspionage - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Nerdman3000, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Nerdman3000

    Nerdman3000 Seventh Year

    Apr 23, 2013
    Title: Carpe Noctem
    Author: LeEspionage
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure/Suspense
    Status: In-Progress
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Summary: When Voldemort died at the Battle of Hogwarts, nothing had prepared him to reawaken as Tom Riddle circa 1943, rid of his madness but left with a gnawing sense of defeat. Things may have gone wrong the first time around, but Tom vowed not to let the course of history run unchanged. He could do better, and this time... no one would stop him.
    FF Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13088810/1/Carpe-Noctem

    So yeah, this is a Lord Voldemort time travel fanfic. A rather enjoyable Lord Voldemort time travel at that.

    Honestly I stumbled on this story and it came to a complete shock to me on how much I enjoyed. Like even when the story uses the headcanon that using too many Horcruxes drove Voldemort insane, it makes a point to establish or at least strongly imply that even when Voldemort 'regains' his sanity as it were, by traveling back to right before he finished completing his first horcrux, he's ultimately only as sane as his 16 year old self was, which considering said young Tom Riddle decided to make multiple horcruxes in the first place, is likely not very, but much more compared to the Voldemort we know.

    More than that, the newer chapters have established an interesting dynamic between Voldemort and the younger Dumbledore that I'm really enjoying and a interesting side-plot about Grindelwald and WW2.

    Overall, I'm really enjoying this one. An easy 5/5 for me.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    I find myself with quite specific ideas about how a story like this should go, probably because I have my own Plot Bunny from last June which covers a lot of similar ground. Unfortunately this fic diverges quite significantly from how I think such a story should be written.

    The main problem I have with the fic is Voldemort's characterisation, which is a pretty major point in a Voldemort-centric story.

    I've always hated the idea that horcruxes compromised Voldemort's sanity, ability to reason, intelligence, emotional control etc. Canonically it's nonsense: Dumbledore specifically notes that Voldemort's mind is intact regardless of what happens to his soul, and we know Voldemort is an accomplished Occlumens, something which requires emotional control.

    On top of that, there are various reasons to dislike the idea regardless of its canon status: it makes Voldemort stupid for having made them, rather than accomplished, and a stupid villain reduces genuine conflict; it misses the whole point of Voldemort's characterisation, that he was concealing his true self while at Hogwarts, rather than having somehow developed into Voldemort; it undermines the moral dilemma of horcruxes (would you mutilate your soul and kill someone for immortality?) by making them inherently undesirable instead of desirable but coming with a significant moral cost; it nerfs the power of HP magic by eliminating one of the few genuine paths to immortality.

    So from the very opening moment of the fic, I'm kinda against the base premise. But there's another problem which compounds the first, which is how quickly Voldemort's character changes. If you're going to write a story where Voldemort becomes more reasonable/less obviously evil, then that's your story. The arc of Voldemort's character developing into this more reasonable person is the character arc for your MC. Him reaching that point of greater equanimity is the destination of the story, its climax. This fic prematurely ejaculates in its opening chapter by presenting to us a Voldemort who is already the finished product of that arc, immediately more reasonable, stable and less evil.
  3. quixoticcool

    quixoticcool Second Year

    Mar 17, 2016
    United States of America
    High Score:
    Chapter 1 has Voldemort debating over what percentage of is ideal to keep, Chapter 2 has him start gambling on fucking Quidditch, because of VOLDEMORT's eidetic memory for quidditch match results. I stopped reading about the end of chapter 2 due to an inability to handle this. The main problem is a complete lack of any connection to the actual character Tom Riddle, even if we assume he was driven insane by his Horcruxes (which I agree with Taure is not a good idea). First off if we assume that Voldemort was driven insane and understands that he was driven insane there is absolutely no way he would risk making even a single Horcrux. Second the idea of Voldemort betting on quidditch should be laughable to anyone even remotely familiar with the setting. This is essentially any "dark-harry" peggy-sue with Tom Riddle stamped over it. I give it a 1/5 the technical aspects of writing seem fairly competent but the actual story is fucking bonkers and falls into the most atrocious of tropes so fast you can hardly believe it.
  4. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Moderator DLP Supporter

    Apr 28, 2007

  5. Bernd

    Bernd First Year

    Feb 2, 2017
    Lauer Höhle
    High Score:
    This is basically the story of what happens when 71-year-old Voldemort gets ganked by Harry and wakes up in his 16-year-old body, sans horcruxes. Now sane and sensible, Tom takes the rational approach to world domination, in order to avoid a Death by Hubris.

    The worldbuilding in this fic is solid, the historical detail is well-researched, and it makes the time travel aspect feel genuine -- Tom has been dropped into another era, complete with a World War, the Blitz, rationing, and Grindelwald at large. Period politics plays a part in wizarding and muggle worlds, and Tom knows enough about both worlds to take advantage of it and stay just a step ahead. It's enjoyable for those who like to read Harry munchkin his way into getting the Dursleys arrested by Child Services, if you overlook the fact that it goes against his character for Tom to be interested in the muggle world.

    The writing is acceptable, more workman-like than purely creative, and as a whole, sets the scene and moves the plot along at a decent pace. However, when reading this fic, I was continuously reminded that I was reading fanfiction. It comes off as unpolished and amateur-ish, with the occasional rough patch in the form of overuse of clunky epithets , which grates on you over time if you're the kind of reader who picks up on writing tics and cannot unsee them once seen.

    "The dark-haired Slytherin" is only a few steps away from "the green-orbed teen".

    Referring people, especially OC's, by epithets instead of their actual names... Two in one sentence...

    On characterization: Voldemort reads like Voldemort: arrogant, clever, selfish, and ambitious. Unlike Voldemort, the premise of the story strips Optimized!Voldemort of his classic, character-defining flaws.

    Here's where the fic flops for me. This is a fic about the 71-year-old Voldemort, despite going by "Tom" for most of the story. He's sociopathic, he's murdered a bunch of people (regardless of future timeline shenanigans, the Riddle family and Myrtle are still dead), and feels no remorse about it. He still wants to make Horcruxes this time around, just more efficiently and without the insanity. The fic is told by his point of view, and while it doesn't gloss over or white-wash his crimes, it hardly puts him in a sympathetic light. It's not like I'm expecting Voldemort to be sympathetic or redeemable... but he's just unlikeable as a person AND as a character, and there's no charm or charisma to him. I'm not entertained by him. He reads more like a cardboard sociopath than a nuanced human being, and I can't see where and how the character can grow from here, and that's what I look for as a character reader. Character development.

    It seems like the fic is about what Voldemort does, rather than who he is. He's competent, rational, intelligent, and powerful, and those are the tools he uses to advance the plot. He's not particularly introspective (beyond a certain point), and the writing conveys a cool and in-control attitude at all times, which feels dry and detached. I'm not emotionally invested in his non-existent personal growth arc; I can tell that the only reason why I read this was to see Voldemort throwing Mentos into Diet Coke. It certainly wasn't for the Slytherin Pureblood Politics where I'm half expecting someone to whip out a Marriage Law and give Voldemort a harem of ice princess girlfriends.

    This fic is aimed at Spacebattles users, or anyone who enjoys a good power wank.

  6. Seratin

    Seratin SwoleTroll ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Oct 14, 2007
    Dún na ngall
    High Score:
    This isn't outright terrible but within the first minute of reading Voldemort has used the word "clusterfuck" while talking to himself.

    This does not bode well.
  7. Bernd

    Bernd First Year

    Feb 2, 2017
    Lauer Höhle
    High Score:
    You have to suspend your disbelief if you want to read the story at all. Voldemort who realizes he has made a mistake, and then tries to fix his mistakes instead of deluding himself into doubling down on them, is the central conceit of the premise.

    In no kind of canon universe would Tom Riddle ever say that sentence, but this Tom Riddle says it in Chapter 1.

    Oh, and he also says he has a magical core in that same chapter. Which has to be exercised like a muscle.
    You either have to embrace the suck or drop it from Chapter 1.
  8. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Apr 3, 2006
    Carpe Noctem has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 12
    Words: 76,553
    Updated: 2019-10-10 21:24:04 UTC
    Published: 2018-10-09 22:16:05 UTC
    Previously updated: 9 months ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
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