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WIP Divided and Entwined by Starfox5 - M

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Dark Minion, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. Dark Minion

    Dark Minion Bright Henchman Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Title: Divided and Entwined
    Author: Starfox5
    Rating: Fiction M
    Genre: Adventure
    Library Category: General
    Pairing: undecided
    Chapters: 12
    Words: 123,055
    Updated: July 9, 2016
    Published: April 23, 2016
    Status: In Progress

    Summary: AU. Fudge doesn't try to ignore Voldemort's return at the end of the 4th Year. Instead, influenced by Malfoy, he tries to appease the Dark Lord. Many think that the rights of the muggleborns are a small price to pay to avoid a bloody war. Hermione Granger and the other muggleborns disagree. Vehemently.

    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11910994/1/Divided-and-Entwined


    The story starts at the end of Goblet of Fire. As the summary says Fudge acknowledges Voldemort’s return and instead of fighting him, he goes for an anti-Muggleborn route to appease him. The first chapter summarises the events of year five, with Umbridge at Hogwarts trying to enforce the Ministry’s policies.

    During the following summer Hermione goes into hiding, together with a few other Muggleborns. They form a resistance group, targeting Death Eaters and their sympathisers, who in turn retaliate. At the same time, Harry and Ron attend their sixth year at Hogwarts where the situation also starts to escalate.

    The story centers on Hermione but also includes viewpoints of Harry and Ron, Sirius, Dumbledore, a specific Auror, certain Slytherin students, and thus covers all sides of the war.

    It’s written by Starfox5, who sometimes tends to become rather radically pro-Muggle(born), though here he didn’t overdo it yet. In fact, I think he used the term ‘mundane’ only once. There is some use of Muggle weaponry, but up to now it’s limited to one spectacular scene and some training. There are hints on further use, though.

    The story is organised in strict chronologically sorted scenes, usually each scene in a different point of view. The writing is ok, and compared to his story “Hermione Granger and the Marriage Law Revolution” written in 2014/2015 I’d say he improved a lot.

    It definitely gains bonus points for the update rate and the huge chance that it might indeed be completed within an acceptable timespan. Thus for a lot of people on DLP it could at least count as a nice time waster.


    I can see its problems, but all in all I rate it 4/5.
     
  2. KGB

    KGB Death Eater

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    I, loved this.

    It just works so well for this type of a story. My favorite part has to be how trapped everyone has become, both through their actions and the reactions of others to said actions.

    Fudge is probably the main instance of this. While in the beginning his anti-muggleborn policies felt forced and he himself felt like a fool, with every new scene he has started making more and more sense. He sort of knows he is trapped and does whatever he can to return to the status quo.

    Also the way Sirius's and Allan's personal prejudices have influenced the progress of the story so far and goals that Harry, Ron and Hermione have. It's far far to rare to see side characters influence on the main actors to be done with just enough restraint for it to feel present, but also not make the main's feel like tools in the hands of others.

    NOt it just feels like I'm gushing, so here are some con's. Some characters, especially Allan and Amelia feel very two dimensional. Harry and Ron have been rather passive so far, Hermione is in real danger and they seem a little to content just sitting there and doing nothing. It's not something I would have expected of the canon Harry and Ron.

    The change in the prophecy feels unnecessary, the way things have been going Harry doesn't need cosmic coincidence forcing him into that direction. It also feels like it's going to undercut everything Hermione has accomplished so far and that would be a shame.

    Than there are the guns. I hold a silent hope that starfox will show the same restraint that he has so far and the guns will only work precisely one time. It's not like the training can't be repurposed to serve magical combat.

    Than again this story has drawn me into the point where I will continue reading even if Hermione sits in a tree and snipes death eaters for the next three chapters.
     
  3. Snapdragon

    Snapdragon Banned

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    The concept is interesting but like all her/his stories before I don't like the characterization and focus. Something just feels too OOC/AU for my taste.
     
  4. Jiraiya's Disciple

    Jiraiya's Disciple Muggle

    Joined:
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    Initial thoughts:

    A Hermione-centric story based around the idea of muggleborn oppression isn't something that I would normally read. The quality pacing and interesting characterizations, however, give a unique feel that sets it apart from other fics.

    Positives:

    The characterization of certain characters are excellent. Characters such as Dumbledore, Sirius, and the OC Brenda are all given valid reasons for why they act as they do. They can think rationally, but their past experiences prevent them from being completely rational.

    The thin line between the opposing sides in the war is very interesting. It's unquestionable that the muggleborns are in the right, ideologically wise, but their slow descent into questionable tactics is clear. It's especially interesting to see their side contrasted with Draco's, and how their rhetoric has become so similar.

    Negatives:

    While interesting, Hermione simply isn't compelling enough to serve as a main character, and it becomes hard to sympathize with her.

    Also, I think it is out of character for Harry and Ron to be so passive in regards to the Ministry's oppression. The author tries to justify reasons for why they should at Hogwarts, but there is no way I believe that Harry and Ron would leave Hermione to fight a war on her own.

    Conclusion: It is a well written fic that is uplifted by several unique characterizations. Unfortunately, it is also bogged down by several of the other characters. 4/5
     
  5. Jazerus

    Jazerus First Year

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    Like Patron, the characterization of the adults and the strength of the world-building make this story better than it should be given its technical weaknesses, though Starfox's style continues to improve. I don't find the premise as compelling so it's a 4/5 for me.

    While I like Hermione as a main character usually, increasingly I think the way to go for this author would be to write stories without significant teenage perspective characters. They are much better at writing life into caricatures like Fudge and Voldemort and I'd like to see where their stories could go if half of each chapter wasn't consumed by the kids.
     
  6. Peter North

    Peter North Dark Lord

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    I agree with what other people are saying about the fic. but Harry's characterization kind of pisses me off. When I read about Harry in this fic he comes across as unbearably naive. It's incredibly annoying.
     
  7. nemdewa

    nemdewa Squib

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    Wow, a lot of Starfox fics in here lately.

    I thought this one better than Patron, but not quite 4/5 yet. My current rating stands at a 3.5 because of how bland the main characters are. Maybe I'll change my mind as I keep going, although it's well past the 100k words mark already.

    That seems to be a problem with Starfox. The setup is nice, the world is great, and even people like Fudge have rational reasons for stupid decisions (people generally have the problem of making characters either ridiculously smart to the point where they make zero mistakes, or so dumb that only plot armor saves them; Starfox avoids that pretty well). But the central characters swim in circles.

    Starfox does have a lot of potential to improve, though. If he/she could just apply the same depth from the supporting characters to the main cast it would bump it up to a solid 4/5.
     
  8. CEA1990

    CEA1990 Squib

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    This is perfect for this fic and really the FF community asa whole. Regardless, this just seemed bland to me. I agree that Hermione isn't a particularly engaging character; at the same time it's interesting to see the oppression from a muggleborn POV. I can't say I'm engaged enough with this to give 4/5, but I do hope he continues to get better. Starfox has some interesting ideas.
     
  9. Sir Snuffy

    Sir Snuffy Third Year DLP Supporter

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    It's an ok story. From what I read it started off ok, despite the fact how I didn't like Harry's characterisation. For how much he cares, he seems content to just ignire the whole crusade against muggleborns.

    A generous 3/5.
     
  10. liquefry

    liquefry Squib

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    Tend to agree with others on this thread. This is the third Starfox5 story I've read in a row, and very similar to the others. The author is obsessed with Hermione and muggleborn persecution. As with the other stories, I found Hermione particularly hard to like in this one, and the powerless Harry very frustrating.

    I would be more interested in reading something with a different focus, Harry-centred rather than Hermione, particularly as written by Starfox. She's just not a sympathetic enough character to be the central focus of the novel in my view. She's both too good at picking stuff up (which greatly lessens the drama by making her superpowered) and emotionally cold - very hard to sympathise with unless you have a more "human" character taking off her rough edges. Alternatively, she'd make a pretty good Dark Lady chasing knowledge and power no matter the cost, but I don't think Starfox could write her as anything but the innocent, driven and annoying loner who is forced to use whatever she can learn to fight the good fight against a world that hates her kind.

    3/5 for this one, better than Patron but not as good as the Dark Lord Never Died.
     
  11. D. P. Throat

    D. P. Throat Disappeared

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    I'm gonna give this a 3.75/5.

    Overall, this is an excellent concept. Really, the thought never even occurred to me that we could go down a Chamberlain/Hitler-Fudge/Voldemort parallel. The idea is shown exceptionally, through a fair bit of worldbuilding and the diverse POVs only add to the complexity and and beauty of the fic. Not to mention that this is some of the finest characterization and development I've ever come across. In particular, Draco, Dumbledore and the Muggleborns as a group all show an exceptional descent as the story progresses. Harry is a bit off, but as he's a minor-ish character in this, I'll let that slide.

    Finally, the last two big positives of this fic are the writing and the creeping descent of almost every character. The writing is spot on, beautiful and well done. Each letter is where it needs to be and the tone is believable and not at all convoluted or unrealistic. The character development, of Hermione in particular, shows how war changes everyone. And, this kind of descend into madness is really hard to pull off.

    However, what's holding this fic back from joining the upper echelons of great fanfiction is the fact that Hermione is boring. So, so boring. She's just not a good main character. She has very few redeeming qualities that make her interesting to read, and while the author does try to circumvent this, her Mary Sue like intellect and ability often holds her back. In truth, if it weren't for Hermione and Harry, I'd give this a 5/5 smack on the arse.
     
  12. Comedy

    Comedy Disappeared

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    First post*

    I rate this story a 3/5, and that's because I love the concept and the writing is decent.
    The big thing that putting me off is that Harry is taking the backseat in this story. Normally this wouldn't irk me much.
    But in this story Hermoine is the main character and for all that's she's worth, she isn't that good for a main character(She's boring as hell).
    This story has potential and it could even be a great one with Harry in the lead.

    * First time posting so don't hang me if the format isn't right.
    English is also my 2nd language, so mistakes can be made
     
  13. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Starfox5 is one of the most popular authors in the fandom right now. His fics are recommended so often in r/HPfanfiction that I finally gave in and gave this one a go, even though the Hermione-centric premise didn't appeal to me very much.

    Also, after browsing Patron and The Marriage Law Revolution, both of which I gave up on in the first chapters, I approached this with a rather skeptical mindset. The first thing I can say is that in comparison to those two, Divided and Entwined is a major improvement as far as writing goes. Patron and the Marriage Law Revolution both started off simply atrocious, immediately giving off typical shitfic vibes. This one seemed to hold more promise, so I plowed on.

    TLDR is that ultimately, Divided and Entwined is like the white goop from Matrix: a meal that provides you with the essentials, but has no flavor and doesn't look very appetizing.

    First thing, on the technical side, the author's writing has improved, but it's still not engaging. It works. It conveys what it needs to. It does the job of letting me know what the story is. But it doesn't draw me in. There's no X factor. No hook. It's bland.

    It's clean, I didn't spot typos, but then you have things like years (as in 1982) typed as such - 1982. I don't mean the scene headers with dates, it's when a year appears in the narrative. It's more of a pet peeve, but I find it unelegant and something to be avoided.

    Another issue that plagues this fic is the structure of dialogue scenes. There's a lot of dialogue in this fic and when it arrives, you have long sections of speech, only broken up by indications of who's talking and the occasional "he laughed", "he sneered", "he did some other generic in-dialogue character beat thing". Sometimes there's a short description at the beginning to set the scene (Fudge's office, Grimmauld Place, restaurant), but after that, you're got characters just talking. No one picks up anything, or squirms in their seat. Granted, not at dialogue scenes are like that, there's some chin-scratching or tea-drinking, but it's a very common feature here.

    Another technical issue ties into the blandess of writing - the author isn't very adventurous with word choice, depending on the same beaten patterns. I'm not expecting Starfox5 to thesaurus the shit out of this, but the fic could be made much better by getting more creative from to time. Also, a lot of things are repeated over and over, particularly in Hermione's and Brenda's scenes. Like, seriously, I've seen it all before, move the fuck on.

    That last thing contributes to why Hermione isn't a very exciting character to follow. She's just going in circles, rarely stepping off the ring she paced into the floor. After the Resistance was formed, her interactions with Dumbledore and Sirius have had little to no variations, scenes she shares with Harry and Ron are either about talking boring war stuff or the love triangle, which is by now so beaten into the ground that whenever this shows up, I wish Hermione would just do something, shag each one, then sent them on their way. It's static. Unchanging. Boring.

    That's not to say that characterization in general sucks. There was some progression (Ron especially stands out here), but perhaps this fic's biggest problem is that things stay too still. It seems like a lot is happening, but I don't see the effects of this on characters. Fudge is still the same. Amelia Bones is the same. Brenda is the same. Her Auror buddies are the same. Dumbledore exhibits some changes that suggest him reverting to an apparently more bloody-minded war persona, but it's agonizingly slow.

    The biggest character development happened in the aftermath of the Malfoy Manor bombing - Malfoy's crowd changed, the Muggleborn Resistance was formed. Cool. But since then, Hermione - I come back to her because she's arguably the central character - has stayed the same. That's most of the fic that's stood in the same spot, character-wise.

    I think my favorite character was Allan Baker, just because he stood out from the bland crowd, but in the end, he was made into a two-dimensional psychopath. Which perhaps was the point, because he was a psycho with a one-track mind - but he could have been written a little better, I think.

    Now the plot. I can accept some handwaves or implausibility to get the setup out of the way. I always took the view that kids in the Potterverse "grew up" quicker than in the muggle world, simply by the virtue of studying in Hogwarts, where sinister events seem to be a feature of life. Thus, it didn't bother me much when a bunch of 15 year olds created a guerilla group to fight a war. Honestly, the fifth year was a good enough setup that, combined with Hermione's (at times somewhat sanctimonious) pointing out of parallels to fascism sold it to me. But the Muggleborn Resistance has a giant, massive problem plot-wise.

    They are infallible.

    On one hand, wizard 15 year olds are more mature than their muggle peers. Okay. On the other hand, they're still a bunch of kids. And yet, from the moment of inception, Hermione has been talking like a seasoned veteran. It's cringey to me, she sounds like a Genre Savvy tvtroper who has read all the zombie apocalypse related pages and then the zombie apocalypse happens and he applies the tvtropes knowledge and it works. The group was formed too smoothly and has been operating too smoothly. Hermione slid into the leadership role too smoothly. The seemingly opposing elements within the Resistance are all tell-not-show, no-consequence artificial flavoring that attempts to pain a more realistic picture, but fails to make me suspend my disbelief.

    I'm told repeatedly that Allan, Dean and Seamus are much more bloodthirsty, but apart from the whole Allan subplot (which in the end didn't cause any internal shake-up), none of that matters. Dean and Seamus drone on an on about wanting to murderkill all filthy purebloods, but all they do is talk. Grown Hit-wizards (one references the first war, so at least that one is like in their 30s) doesn't blink once at Hermione's leadership. The Resistance is entirely monolithic, regardless of any internal differences of opinion. There's no tension there.

    The other thing is that everything they've done has been a success. Their casualties include Martin Cokes who was nothing more than a plot device, Allan who was ultimately inconsequential and the ongoing subplot of the Creevey brothers and the Withering Curse. That's a rather great fucking record considering everything they've accomplished. Because really, they haven't failed once. All their plans work out without a hitch.

    This pattern of excellence has been firmly established, so now I'm conditioned to expect the Resistance to succeed instead of rooting for them to succeed. In a word, boring. Brenda's trap had me excited for once. I thought, this is it. The trap is well-prepared, the Resistance is outnumbered and up against trained Aurors and Hit-wizards. Nope. They all make it out and drop another bomb. Just what they've done every single time. Hit-and-run, bomb. No tension. No conflict.

    This problem is compounded by the book excerpts at the top of each chapter. You already told me that the good guys will win. Okay, wait, that's not a legitimate point. The same is true of most fiction.

    Let me try again. I have the default expectation that the good guys will win, which is affirmed by the book excerpts. In that case, the draw of the story has to be the journey (though that's also more of a general point applicable to all fiction), but the journey here is boring. The good guys have had all the success and their losses have been minor - the most notable is Kingsley, who was in the background of the background in this fic. The Resistance is fine, Harry and Ron are fine, the Order (apart from Kingsley) is fine - why am I supposed to be rooting for these guys again?

    For all the talk of how the Resistance is oppressed and hunted like animals, all I've seen is them being the top predators. The author tells a lot, but doesn't show it.

    So let's see, the rating. Not 5. Not 4. Is it average, or is it bad? It's boring, first and foremost, but it's not atrocious. 2,5/5, rounded down, because it had potential, but squandered it.

    Holy fucking shit what a wall of text. But I had to get all that off my chest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  14. Sataniel

    Sataniel Professor

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    An he himself is directly responsible for around 40% of those recommendations.
     
  15. Warlocke

    Warlocke Prisoner

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    ScottPress gave the in-depth review. Here's the Cliff's Notes version.

    Starfox5 seems to have a deep and abiding case of Hermione worship. Fair enough, I liked her a lot more before the way the movies and fandom treated her like the best thing since breathing started bugging the shit out of me. Still...

    Hermione, a girl who had a tough time scraping together two friends, is the nearly-unquestioned leader of a group of teenage revolutionaries: A group who have taken out slews of aurors and death eaters with scarcely a single casualty. She is skilled, apparently a strategic and tactical genius, and is desired strongly enough by both Harry and Ron that they put up with taking turns dating her so she can pick one and tell the other to go pound sand. She's on par with Dumbledore, Voldemort, and the Ministry as far as influence in and on the (Wizarding) world stage is concerned, in this story.

    If you think I left Harry's name off of that list, I can only respond with, "Harry who?"

    I understand Hermione is the focus of the story, and at least we're not talking about power-ups at midnight on her birthday, or her boning death eaters and calling it "being a double agent," but just because there are worse things out there doesn't mean I can ignore the sunbeams bursting out of Hermione's sphincter, nor how most of the people around her are basking in them.

    Ron is probably more competent than most of his representations in fan fiction, which is par for the course in Starfox5's stories. This is only a problem if you prefer your Rons to be one-dimensionally funny and/or dumb (or bashed for being a greedy, jealous, moron).

    Harry- Oh, hell... Harry goes to his classes like a good boy and can't stay on his broom properly. :facepalm I'd almost call it bashing except that it's sincere.

    Great swathes of the story are as dry as Death Valley toast, proving that 'technically correct,' while having a quality all its own, really isn't the best kind of correct: Starfox5 is a cut above in the grammar and spelling departments. He also gets points from me for more or less coherent plotting from A to Z, which most other fan fic writers (myself included), are hopeless at. However, with this (as in most of his stories) you're going to be chewing through a lot of fiber before you get to any kind of dessert (which may turn out to be a sugar-free hard candy).

    Hopefully I didn't strangle that last metaphor too hard.
    2.6 for moral fiber.
    +.1 for sheer dumb luck.

    If you like muggle weapons, politics, and SunShinesOutHerWhollyHolyHoleyPosterior!Hermione, you might also want to consider Hermione Granger and the Boy Who Lived by DianeCastle, on Twisting The Hellmouth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
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