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WIP Defiance by Dark Lord Slytherin - M

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Sesc, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Methos

    Methos DA Member

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    Quote from rules.
    This fic is better of out there in its genre, it isn't library worthy but sure it is almost recommendable.
    I know there was a thread on how to improve the review section for some reason i can't find it.
     
  2. TRH

    TRH Seventh Year

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    Okay, I'm 11 chapters into this one, and it's not a 1/5, where I'd agree with those saying that that rating should be reserved for genuinely unreadable shit, or at least something with no reason to exist. There's more to this story than that. The mystery involving Harry's magic does seem to be shaping up to something powerful here, and that's definitely the main draw of this fic. Of course, I'm probably an easy sell for stories where the character's head has been messed with and we try and see through their blinkered eyes - Renegade Cause springs to mind - but regardless, there's something promising here that forms the core of the story. So much the good.

    However, the execution is simply not done well. At all. The two problem areas here are prose and characters - the former is a pretentious and sloppy mess, and the latter are something the writer just has no grasp on. To start with technical writing, we have another one of those authors who's seemingly allergic to contractions. This kills your chances of writing realistic dialogue, so in Chapter 4, say, we get gems like:

    "I am going to do some private exploration. I will,"

    "I will help."

    "I will be fine alone."

    Teenagers don't talk like this, and adults don't either. The best explanation I can come up with for why we see fanfics written like this is because the authors' only prior experience comes from writing essays for school, where contractions are discouraged because the standards for written and spoken English aren't going to be the same. On top of this, the author also likes to drop in SAT words, even when they don't fit. What's more embarrassing is that he frequently gets them wrong, so we see "disburse" when he meant to say "disperse", or "imminent" when he meant, uh, "imperative" is my best guess, which isn't even particularly close. Things like this add to the cringe factor of the story. Also, Dumbledore refers to himself in the third person, as in "I, Albus Dumbledore", even though it made no sense in context. Sesc may see some tongue in cheek mentality in this story, but I think the writing takes itself far too seriously for that to be right. It's just a choppy read.

    And then there's the characters. Ron's dickishness is being accentuated here because of course it is. Hermione can at least be defended as being led astray by Dumbledore's suspicions about Harry, but Harry himself sees her as compulsively butting in where he's usually more tolerant of it. Harry himself might be only somewhat more critical of people around him, but what's different is that he's usually more charitable and forgiving towards his friends than this, but whatever, that's bog-standard indy!Harry. Kingsley was only in one scene so far, but he was badly mishandled, the cool and reassuring Auror being reduced to a stammering mess by a few pointed questions from Amelia Bones about the Order. Sirius wasn't so bad for most of this, but at the end of Chapter 11, we get this flashback (oh, did I mention that there's too damn many flashbacks, most of them unnecessary?) where it turns out he's not as okay with saying Voldemort's name as canon led us to believe. I'm not buying his explanation, either, as Voldemort in canon was actually pretty cautious about provoking too much Ministry attention even when Dumbledore wasn't around. Standing out in the open and letting Aurors take potshots at him just because of his Horcruxes doesn't seem in keeping with how things worked in canon. Oh, right, and Prongslet makes its triumphant return. What demented mind came up with that nickname to begin with? Bottom line, it's just as well that the plot seems interesting, because the writer doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the characters at all.

    So overall, like I said, this is more than readable enough to avoid a 1/5 from me. I do think that while there's probably a wide range of stuff that deserves that score, it's not wide enough to include this. At the same time, I don't think the execution's enough to rescue a promising conceit, so I'll have to give this a 2/5. It's simply bad. Not horrible, but bad.

    Edit: Three chapters later hasn't improved my opinion here, especially on the pretentious writing. I love this interaction between Harry and Daphne: "What has Lord Greengrass decided about our arrangement?" "He has, but before I reveal it". Uh, I think that 'what' was a little extraneous, the response doesn't make sense with it there.

    I swear to god, the writer just keeps trying to sound worldly and it's making him trip up over and over again, it's just painful.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  3. Henry Persico

    Henry Persico Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    Nice time waster. Thanks Sesc, I've been searching arround for fics in Scryer, but sometimes the restrictions I use block me from this kind of fics.
    Nothing I can add, though. But I understand Taure's or Sesc's POV and I think they're right, just my 2c.

    3/5
     
  4. kinetique

    kinetique Groundskeeper

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    I think it says something if a potential reader can't get through a few chapters, as to how good the story actually is.

    This one in particular is complete trash. 1.1/5
     
  5. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The author is developing a habit of giving into a cliche one chapter then undermining it the next.

    For example, you have ranty!Harry in the Wizengamot one chapter, played completely straight. Then the next chapter you have Harry facing the consequences of everyone thinking less of him for his immaturity, and it emerges that he was in fact under the influence of a draught of rage.

    And then we have a similar pattern with the Harry vs Dumbledore duel. You have them dueling in an over-the-top manner in one chapter, with Harry very almost winning, and then the next chapter you have this undermined by Dumbledore having a conversation in which it is revealed he essentially let Harry do as well as he did and did not utilise his full dueling ability.

    On the one hand I admire the author's commitment to knocking down cliches. On the other hand I suspect that what is really happening here is that the author is trying to have his cake and eat it: he wants the over-the-top cliches because he likes them, but then to avoid criticism he backtracks on them immediately after.

    I think there's only so many more times he can play this trick before it becomes clear that this is all just a clever way of sneaking bad scenes into the fic without fully committing to them.
     
  6. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    I was actually looking for a purpose. On the face of it, it doesn't seem to make too much sense to write crap when you know it's crap and fix it afterwards ... as opposed to just not writing crap to begin with.

    But maybe I'm looking at this through my lens of perfectly planned stories. At the rate the author is updating, it could be entirely possible that he basically writes live, and indeed needs a next chapter to fix the previous one. (Leaving aside whether that is a sensible approach.)

    Well, or cliché deconstruction. In a way, that's what the entire story is like, isn't it? All the Indy!clichés, except they are given reasons and motivation. I hadn't thought about it that way.
     
  7. Pirazy

    Pirazy Groundskeeper

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    Maybe it's some kind of writing excercise? Writing himself into corners surrounded by shit on purpose and then trying get around it.. :)
     
  8. Agravaine

    Agravaine Sixth Year

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    This author's note at the end of Chapter 10 makes me think the author does not have the awareness to be engaging in careful or thoughtful subversion:

    Incidentally this is also where I stopped reading.

    2ish/5 . . . technically readable, but not sure why you'd want to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  9. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    I couldn't make it through the first few chapters. I tried, but it was too painful. In rating this, I am using the following method:

    Writing mechanics and style/language mechanics: 3.5

    The author does well in the use of the English language. There are places I think sentences should've been broken into two, but that's more individual styles of writing. I won't mark down for that. There are, however, other places where the author punctuates wrong or misses capitals, etc. ​

    Style and language are based on the following criteria: Did the author make use of italics or bold? Was it done properly? (There is no proper use of "bold" in a narrative except for divisions). Are there echoes? Repeated ideas? Telling the audience what the character was about to say or do before showing it in speech? etc. My answer: for the love of God, the bold! If you need to use font-style tricks to identify parts of the story, then you fail. The repeated tags are annoying such as "Sirius grinned," followed by "Harry shrugged," "Harry Grinned," "Sirius shrugged" (chapter 5). ​

    Use of tropes in novel ways (not cliched): 1

    It felt like every trope introduced into this story was a cut-and-paste of the trope from another story. Sure, there were a few inversions, which I always like to see, but even the mention of them were cringe-worthy, such as Prongslet. ​

    Characterization: 1

    Harry's dropping F-bombs left and right. Where, exactly, did that come from? If this story was in an AU universe, fine, but it's not. It begins with canon, and canon Harry does not speak that way. Even when he's pissed off.

    Ron is as two-dimensional and dismissed in the chapters I've read. There's little characterization of him outside of a cardboard cutout of canon Ron. He is given no depth in the chapters I read. ​

    Transitions and overall story telling: 2

    Transitions were horrible. They didn't feel natural at all to me. Instead, they felt like an 80s hair-metal video that flashed several different scenes with no connection except for the overall story. The story itself was flat. While I admit the idea of Harry's magic changing was interesting, everything else mentioned above was so distracting that I just could not get through it.
    So, doing the math from the above scores: the story rates a 1.875 rounded up to 2.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  10. Miner

    Miner Groundskeeper

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    Having read all of it, I can safely say that I absolutely hated it.

    I'm not sure what Joe's Nemesis is referring to, but I personally found the writing mechanics to be pretty bad in the fic. The grammar was pretty atrocious, and I didn't think the author did a good job with italics and bold either.

    There was also the problem that the author would randomly incorporate canon verbatim into the story. Even though the story had drastically shifted away from canon, there were still scenes that were word for word copied from the books/movies. Just take the introductory DA meeting for an example.

    There's also a pretty severe imbalance of power within the story. Harry apparently has the magical power to take down Dumbledore at fifteen years old. And then he acquired the Elder Wand. Which, apparently, can nullify any spell. If I'm Voldemort, I'm packing it up right then and there, Horcruxes be damned.

    The author also appears to be incapable of writing a 3-D character. Every single character is a gross caricature of a particular trait that is magnified and overblown and extremely unrealistic.

    2/5.
     
  11. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    The first few chapters. Or, what I remember of them.
     
  12. Miner

    Miner Groundskeeper

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    Huh. I never got the feeling that they were well written. Like, I distinctly got the impression that either English was the author's second language or the author had never been through grade school English.
     
  13. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    In the first half of the first chapter, for instance, there's just a few outright errors, and several of those are errors I see DLP authors make as well. Errors such as using a dash rather than an em-dash, or not leaving a space before and between suspension points. Otherwise, it's pretty well punctuated, not to mention good tense, person, and number agreement on verbs.

    If you're speaking of word choice, that's not part of my first set of criteria.
     
  14. Jester

    Jester Slug Club Member

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    I was really enjoying the story for what it was up until Chapter 25. It has taken a bit of a nose dive, and lost the more interesting part of the story for me, which was Harry/Daphne plus political manipulation. If you've got time and want a throwback to 2009 Indy!Harry cliche with a bit of spice you may enjoy this.

    It's a decent guilty pleasure or time waster with some decent plot points.

    3/5
     
  15. Darth V

    Darth V First Year DLP Supporter

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    When it comes to rating, I've always imagined the numbers like answers to this question:

    Does it belong to The Library?

    5: OH, GOD, YES!
    4: Yes.
    3: Almost recommended. Almost.
    2: No.
    1. OH, GOD, NO!

    And although it may be quite simplistic, I believe it has been a good way to judge the stories here. I'd only give 4 or 5, if I believed the story belonged in The Library, 1 and 2 if it definitely doesn't and, honestly, almost recommended, to me, is just like that: it's almost there. And this story is not "almost there". It's bad. The story is bad, the grammar is bad, the characters are bad, etc. I'd give this a solid 2 out of 5.
     
  16. Amethyst

    Amethyst Muggle

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    Meh. I read up to Chapter 36, which is the latest chapter. This fic falls into a LOT of cliches. A glaringly obvious cliche is Harry going from "average" to a wandless-prodigy in the span of a month. Furthermore, Ron and Hermione act like jealous idiots. An example is Hermione claiming Harry could never be better than her at anything academic-wise, as he was just an average student. Ron is a shallow jerk. Never seen that in a fic before. Lastly, I must mention the grammar. Though mine isn't the best, the author mixes up words VERY often, which makes the experience terrible. The author uses high-level vocabulary, but in the wrong place. Dumbledore was often written as "guffawing", which was painful to imagine, and words like "too" and "two" were mixed up. However, this is nothing a quick edit can't fix. Oh and Daphne/Harry was a completely forced romance.

    It wasn't all bad though. I found the concept of "guilds" interesting, and the upload speed is really impressive. To be honest, once the author goes further with guilds and moves away from Hogwarts, this story had the potential to be better.

    Rating: 2.5/5

    Edit: Changed the rating from 2/5 to 2.5/5
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  17. Methos

    Methos DA Member

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    It has Hermione dabbling in Dark Arts to compete with Harry, not sure if I saw it before.
    Which reminds me her SPEW campaign, she draws conclusions base on feelz rather realz
     
  18. The.Snorting.Hat

    The.Snorting.Hat First Year

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    Sigh. There are precious few actually good Harry/Daphne fics out there. I was hoping this would be one too, but no dice. I stopped at the end of chapter 23 because the idea of Dumbledore challanging a fifth year student to an exhibition duel in front of the whole school was so bloody preposterous that I simply couldn't take the disappointment anymore. I literally would have spontaneously combusted if I had read another word.

    Pros:
    - Good writing as far as the mechanics are concerned. At least it's cohesive and chapter structure is okay. This is not saying anything about characterization or the dialogues though. That won't be seen in the Pros section.
    - At least offers some explanations for the bashing, without resorting to vilifying every one of Harry's friends from canon for no reason at all.
    - A believable OC in Daphne. Actually all the OCs in general are fine.
    - Sirius. He does Sirius stuff.
    - Dumbledore bashing with some amount of sense. That's so rare that it's been declared endangered species by WWF.

    Cons:
    - Literally all characters are so one dimensional it's not even funny. All the original characters except perhaps Sirius are OOC. Everyone who is bashed (except for Dumbledore- his bashing has a reason.. until a point. Then he suddenly transforms into Harry Potter cheerleader for no particular reason) is one dimensional. Harry is so obsessed with power and looking good and making public scenes that he resembles Malfoy. All the school children are either completely awesome and reasonable and geniuses or they are pompous, witless idiots. There is no middle ground.
    - There is no plot that I can detect. The first few chapters had something to do with Harry's magic suddenly going wandless and how he died and had a secret about the night of the third task. This was never touched again till the point I've read it. That's not how a plot works, that's how a bait works. The rest of the fic was about Harry being super and making fools out of everybody else.
    - Super!Harry is the most useless cliche in existence unless it's for the funnies. Very very few fics have managed to be readable despite it and they all belong to the Almost Recommended section for a reason. This does not deserve to be one of them. The reason for Super!ness (family magic? really? why then were not all death eaters godlike entities?)
    - Politics. According to what happened at the trial, apparently wizarding Britain is controlled by the lords of ancient families who in turn control wizengamot, who in turn control the minister and the ministry. This is with the ridiculous cliches of light faction and dark faction and neutral faction. Politics does not work that way, unless you're Trump. If you are, please do us all a favor and stop writing fanfiction. You've ruined enough lives already.
    - Hope. That was the worst part about it. Every plot twist, every cliff-hanger would make me hope, that yes, finally, something concrete will actually happen, that at least one plot rope left dangling will be tied up without restoring to an overused cliche... but without exception, all hopes were squashed, only leaving sadness and despair.
    Taure made a point about rating fics:
    Yes, the fic is objectively better written than other fics like it. But I would not even take time reading them beyond first chapters, let alone taking them to DLP and bothering to rate them. Since this fic has arrived at DLP, I have to give it the rating that I think it deserves, and such things are always subjective. Therefore, it gets a 1/5 from me especially for giving me migraine inducing frustration from underperforming so constantly.
     
  19. KNOWPEIN

    KNOWPEIN Squib

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    Yes its has elements of cliches. but its difficult for writers to avoid them in these stories.
    I would say once you get past starting arc and his anger with Dumbledore is released say i think chapter 24. it does take slight new route. that is greater then harry vs dumbledore or harry vs voldemort
    I have seen many fics cliched route and end up not completed so here write take a new direction and l enjoyed it till now.
    though i admit writer could have improved bit more.
    so 3.5/5
     
  20. Henry Persico

    Henry Persico Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    I think the author has found his mojo in the last chapters. Maybe because he's developing the story as it goes, IMO. So I'll change my rating to 3.5, rounding to 4, for originality.