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Complete Echoes in the Fog

Discussion in 'Dark Arts' started by Ched, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Title: Echoes in the Fog
    Author: BolshevikMuppet99
    Rating: M
    Genre: Suspense/Horror
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: AU
    Pairings: H/G, H/Hr, H/DG. Not multi.
    Summary: Our choices define us. When Harry and his closest friends are transported to an alternate dimension, thirty years after the war's end, and forced to face the results of what would have been if only they had chosen differently, he will discover just how true this is.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13165325/1/Echoes-in-the-Fog

    Okay, look, I enjoyed the hell out of this. It's disturbing and suspenseful but from me this gets a 4.5/5. I just can't quite bring myself to give it an uninhibited 5/5, so I have to round down, probably because there's not a lot of fun in it to break up the other parts, but this isn't meant to be a fun story. Besides, I've always been fond of AUs.

    This is a story that combines canon with two different AUs, each from the author's other stories. All characters are adults and approximately late 40s.

    Canon: Harry is the Chief Auror. He, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione end up traveling to Dark!Harry's dimension after a fiasco with an artifact from the DoM.

    AU1: Harry leads a task force that was initially formed to catch Death Eaters. I'd call this a Grey!Harry - he's on the side of good, but he used some darker magics during the war with Voldemort. This AU comes from the author's other story, For Lack of a Bezoar, in which Ron died during 6th year. Harry, Hermione, and Snape from this AU travel to Dark!Harry's dimension after a fiasco with an artifact from the DoM.

    AU2: Harry is an evil son-of-a-bitch and Voldemort's right hand man. This particular version of Dark!Harry hails from the author's series, The Downward Spiral Saga. The majority of the story takes place in this world, and it is a very dark place.

    You DO NOT need to read those earlier works for this story to make sense. The above basics should be enough to give you everything you need. However 'For Lack of a Bezoar' is relatively short and might be worth your time to see if you like the author's writing style. Downward Spiral Saga is not for everyone but if you legit like Dark!Harry then hey, there you go.

    The story is essentially this: OMGWTF WE NEED TO GTFO! And then both groups trying very, very hard to get back home before Dark!Harry hunts them down and murders them after engaging in a spot of horrific torture. Because Dark!Harry's world is one in which Voldemort controls an empire spanning the globe. And yes - Dark!Harry can be engaging in his own way, otherwise people wouldn't have read an entire series featuring him.

    Go check it out. Dunno if the author had a significant chunk of this pre-written or if they are actually good enough to have churned out 130k of reasonable good quality writing in 3 months, but rock on for complete stories.
     
  2. Arkhan

    Arkhan Squib

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    What I like the most about BolshevikMuppet99 is his story style. I've been fellowing him since when he started to write on Fanfiction.net and I have to say he had improved a lot over the time, but he has always keep his engaging ideas.

    This story, ''Echoes in the Fog'', take place in the same world as his first story, where Harry joins Voldemort. Two others differents Harry travels to this darkHarry dimension and this is where that lays the greatest strengh of the story.

    The difference between the three Harry make you think how different our life could have been given different circumstances. They still kind of feel similar but so different at the same time.

    Their is a lot of new and old characters in this story and while some really feel felshed out and interesting some others don't feel like interesting at all and you don't mind when they die. For exemple Canon!Ginny is really boring and doesn't bring much to the story while the OC Bellona Potter, the daughter of Dark Harry is so much fun. Kind of like an even more crazy Harley Quinn.

    Overall I would rate this story 3,5 rounded up to 4/5. Their isn't a lot of story like that on fanfiction and this author complete all the stories he started so big props to that.
     
  3. Stenstyren

    Stenstyren Professor

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    I have not read either of the previous stories and could easily get into this one, so nothing to worry about there.
    Having said that, my main gripe for the story is that i don't particularly care for the characters, so perhaps that would have been fixed by having read the previous works?
    Overall, the story is a little heavy on the action for my taste. While the first few chapters sets up an interesting psychological dilemma, later in the story it's mostly relegated to Grey!Harry knowing how to cast a few more spells. Perhaps additional focus on the characters would have kept me from getting disinterested during the last few chapters and the climax. Right now it feels as though the premise is interesting, but the story stretches a little to long to only rely on the premise.

    Still, technically solid and I did read the whole thing in one sitting. Think I agree with Arkhan on the 3,5 rounded to 4.
     
  4. MrBucket

    MrBucket Fifth Year

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    It's an alright read for the premise, and the execution is okay, but after finishing I'm sorta left wondering what the point of the fic was. Obviously to tell a story, but what are we left with in the end? Two dead main characters (one of which was boring anyway), some PTSD that isn't really explored, the escape of some rebels I don't care about, and that's kinda it. Nothing significant in the Dark!Harry world really changes. If this is some sort of prologue to a story where Dark!Harry invades the other worlds, then I can see the point, even if this would be too long for such a purpose.

    2.5/5 for me, rounded up to 3.

    I think it could've been a solid 4 if the author focused in one particular perspective. As it is now, we got all these different stories put into one, but none were really explored. The author kinda picked quantity over quality. If the story starts and ends through the eyes of a rebel (Luna?), it would work a lot better imo. And maybe only from the eyes of a rebel. The jumping around with all the different characters got pretty old for me.
     
  5. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    This has too many twists and turns to it for me to really get into or even give it a quick skim to determine its merit. I'm sure someone else on here can go through and take a peak and tell us what you think.
     
  6. Villanelle

    Villanelle Seventh Year

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    This story does what it says on the box. What would happen if canon!Harry and grey!Harry got sent to an infinitely more fucked up world and saw their evil counterpart? The primary draw here is the interactions between those characters, especially auror!Harry and grey!Harry. In particular is the scene in chapter three where auror!Harry rubs it in the face of the other, when he says he managed to get rid of Tom without "losing himself in the process".

    It made me think about my own shortcomings and the arbitrariness of my self, in that I could've just as easily been a more happy-go-lucky version of myself. The horror. But I digress.

    All three HPs believe they've made the best out of a shit sandwich, and yet they still feel somewhat envious of that other version of themselves. Auror!Harry is well aware that grey!Harry and dark!Harry far surpass him in terms of skill, while grey!Harry now has confirmation that he could've saved Ron, and that things would've worked out better for everyone if he had. This leads to another interesting personal conflict for his wife, Hermione, who adamantly tells Grey!Harry that she loves him no matter what, that she couldn't have been any happier. Telling people the lies they need to hear so they don't throw themselves off the deep end and having to live with those lies yourself . (Edit: Grey!Hermione is a pretty good Hermione, esp when compared to the usual fanon fare. She’s strong-willed, supportive and determined, even in the face of abject horror, all while still being very much a secondary character with respect to Harry)

    This story is flat-out unpleasant, and it's permeated by this constant feeling of impending doom, but man is it fun. It's not for everyone, and you kinda have to be a little masochistic to enjoy this. If you're into torture porn, you're in for a treat, but that's not what I'm getting at. It's all the other shit, the "good fucking god, what have I done? and at what cost?" that felt the most horrific to me. Having read most of the Downward Spiral, the edgy shit was a given, but I really hadn't anticipated all that drama.

    The characters, for the most part, have distinct voices and IIRC, it's really just Ron and dark!Harry's children that felt like plot devices.

    The ending felt a bit rushed and flat, and I couldn't help but think that BolshevikMuppet wrote this story so it could serve as springboard for a future story, featuring a redemption arc for his dark!Harry. Especially in light of the drama with Harry and Daphne, and their children, and dark!Harry seeing objective proof that following and making horcruxes wasn't the right move. Ha.

    Echoes in the Fog tends more towards misadventure than it does adventure, although the very many twists and turns @Zombie points out makes it feel a little more adventure-like. There's no trying to figure shit out and hoping things will work out. It's either GTFO like @Ched sa, or getting pushed so deep in the Abyss you lose all semblance of existence having ever been anything but abyssal. (Edit: A Stranger in an Unholy Land, by contrast, is more of an adventure type story, where there’s still some wiggle room and Harry can fight his way through. EiiF is despair al the way through)

    The story has its issues, chief among them being the prose itself, but it's an easy 4/5 for me. Don't get me wrong, the prose isn't bad, and it's actually engaging, but it's far from being beautiful. But you really shouldn't be reading this for the prose. BolshevikMuppet takes ideas and sees them through; I don't think this guy did anything but chain smoke and write for quite some time.

    I'd suggest binge-reading this if possible.

    On a related note, his new story, Phoenix Insurgent looks promising, although there isn't much of any conflict yet. It's all been setup so far, but worth checking out nonetheless.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  7. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    It's an interesting premise. You have canon Harry who is happy with his life and tends to enjoy it, a Grey Harry who hates himself and has a wife that kinda obviously doesn't want him, and a dark crazy as fuck Harry who is a monster. Seriously, dark Harry is a monster and I hated him. I read Downward Spiral, because I can't not know the backstory, and I regret it. It was actually sickening towards the end of the series. Just too much torture that was there for shock value. The whole Ginny thing was just too much, and what him and Daphne did with the Goblin Affairs dude was fucked. Seriously lowered my expectations for Echoes.

    Which is why me liking Echoes so much was such a shocker. Well written, interesting premise, and neatly avoided some of the tropes I was expecting. I called the Traitor, but it was nice that he didn't immediately become some Dumbledore stand in to help the other Harrys and co win. Instead it was just a constant rain of shit. Constant sense of impending doom is right. The two good Harry's come in as the biggest badasses around their parts, and suddenly finds out they really aren't shit. Dark Harry has to deal with realizing that he probably chose the worst of all the possible choices. Along with some family drama. The torture is still there, but it almost serves a purpose here.

    Really I need to write a better review, but Zombie kinda put me on the spot. This is a 4/5, just don't read Downward Spiral first. You'll be super disappointed that dark Harry isn't dead. Seriously I hated him, Draco was more interesting.
     
  8. Villanelle

    Villanelle Seventh Year

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    Yes, dark!Harry is retardedly dark. Spoilers for Downward Spiral ahead. If you absolutely don’t want to read DS, the following should give you a good idea of what it’s like.

    This boy in year five whacking it to people he’s killed, lol wut. He’s got a two-way mirror with Voldemort, and whenever he’s praised, he gushes and stutters his “Y-yes, my Lord.” And this happens under Sirius's nose in Grimmauld place.

    Voldemort is so OP and omniscient that he has Snape stuck in a set of oaths which effectively nullifies him as Dumbledore’s spy, and because reasons, manages to interfere at every possible chance Harry could’ve had to defect. If you’re waiting for a redemption arc, you won’t ever get one. But if you wanna grab some popcorn and watch the world burn, you’ve got the right series.

    Perhaps it’s a larger criticism of the author. I could be wrong, but it looks like he’s doing the same with Phoenix Insurgent, where you know going in who’s gonna win, and there are legitimate reasons for it, but it’s done at the expense of suspense and conflict. The camp on the receiving end will scheme and retaliate in earnest but ultimately in vain. The game is rigged from the get-go and there’s no getting around that.

    I wouldn’t say it’s unreadable, but you’re left with a foul taste in your mouth. It’s disgusting and watching Harry get twisted into this caricature of himself is plain sad, when we know that Dumbledore and friends care more for Harry but that all their efforts end up fruitless because Voldemort is all-seeing and multiple steps ahead. Even Snape, asshole that he is, feels bad for Harry and finds yet another reason to hate himself for his inadequacy in helping him out.

    So why would anyone want to read Downward Spiral? It’s a story of Harry joining Voldemort, but with a twist: you only have to suspend disbelief at how god-like Voldemort is, and Harry’s circumstances to some extent (all the abuse), but not at Harry’s rationale.

    For once, the reasons aren’t contrived, and I’ve read some fucked up shit like Lily cheating on James with Regulus and leaving her son, Izar Harrison, at an orphanage only for him to later become Tom Riddle’s bottom bitch. That’s actually a semi-decent story I chanced upon when stalking FF.net profiles of DLP members, though I can’t recall who it was. Could’ve been Sorrows or Selethe, heck maybe even Sey lol. If you’re curious, it’s Death of Today by Epic Solemnity and for all the weirdness and melodrama, features some interesting takes on the Death Eaters and a charming Tom Riddle, as opposed to insane snakeface.

    But I digress, from Harry’s perspective, not joining Voldemort was never a real option, and it makes sense. If you can’t stomach the edginess, it can actually be funny. I stopped reading this around the time book five started, but now I read it whenever I’m very angry and too tired to blast City Morgue and workout. Pure edge: somewhere, there’s a teenaged kid whacking it to the DaphnexHarry scenes and laughing hysterically at the good guys getting got. DS is firmly in the 2.5-3/5 category, far from unreadable, just so edgy it makes The Denarian series feel tame by comparison. For all its flaws, the story does what it set out to do, and I haven’t read anything in the fandom quite like it.

    (edited for typos and such)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  9. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I never understood people's need to focus so much on gratuitous violence. Torture scenes are overplayed and are one of those things that are over written. Boils down to older horror moves in the whole, "Devil you know" situation. From the bits I skimmed of DS I feel like they could have focused less on showing the act of torture as the way to make him evil when giving the order to do it would have been just as bad, if not worse. It eliminates any kind of finesses an author has. Just like smut scenes, almost.
     
  10. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    I'll echo (ha!) this sentiment and the rest of what @Zombie says here. When it comes to that sort of thing (whether smut or gore), less is often more and the implications of an act rather than the act itself can often be more powerful. It was an issue I had with For Want of a Bezoar as well, which I actually enjoyed for the most part.

    I read the first few chapters of this but ended up dropping it as the world was just a bit too grim, to the point where it was almost a parody. I'm not going to say this is a bad story, it's just not my cup of tea (I'll disagree with @Ched in that I didn't find Evil!Harry at all engaging, but again, that's purely down to personal preference).

    Technical writing, as mentioned above, was good. The dialogue was fine, the characters were internally consistent (at least the canon bunch and the ones from FWOAB), and the 'a mirror darkly' premise is tried and tested across numerous media (as anyone who has ever watched Star Trek can attest). I just found the distopia a bit too dark to be believable, if that makes any sense as it seemed to lack a lot of nuance and that turned me off of finishing it (which seems to be my catchphrase for reviews lately...).

    TL;DR - technical writing was alright and the plot was potentially interesting. However, I'll refrain from rating this as I didn't finish it, not because it was actually bad, it just wasn't to my tastes.
     
  11. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    So I finished this up last night - thanks, insomnia - and it's decent-but-not-great. The preceding stories are take them or leave them - the Downward Spiral series is just torture porn, and not very good torture porn at that - think Darth Marrs' worst stuff, and you've got the idea. Just gratuitous, and it's really better to just skim it to get the idea unless you're a masochist or just really into that sort of thing. For Lack of a Bezoar is somewhat better, and it's only really five chapters to get through for the grey!Harry perspective, but it's really just kind of an exposition - I'm honestly not sure I'd have been at all lost reading Echoes in the Fog if I hadn't read either of the prequels.

    That said, it's still a ridiculously grim world, and the evil!Harry is about as caricature as one can be, but at least it's written well. It's weird that I can't put into words why I'm describing it as kinda shit, but I still don't hate myself for having read it. Fuck it, 3/5.
     
  12. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer DLP Supporter

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    I'm a couple of chapters in now, and will probably finish this at some point this week. It's not 'drop everything to read it', but it's certainly past the guily pleasure point. The author's habit of naming the PoV helps in keeping things straight, though some might think this is a bit too much handholding. I hadn't read any of the other stories by the author beforehand and wasn't lost, so that's a plus as well: there's no real entry barrier and there are enough breadcrumbs to make me wonder about any other works in this 'series', for lack of a better term.

    Pluses: Engaging introductory structure, technically competent (though not flawless) writing, a fairly good sense of urgency once the invaders figure out what the hell is going on and that they're in danger.
    Minuses: Violence is a bit gratuitous, Dark!Harry reads fairly bog-standard.

    It's a step above guilty pleasure, but I don't expect I'll be going back to read this, either. It's probably worth a bit more, but not even remotely close enough to round up even by regular rules (let alone DLP's rounding rules), so 3/5 from me, with slight caveat that a good appearance from Voldemort might make me like it more. Not to the point of another point barring a miracle, though, hence me rating this now.