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Complete For Lack of a Bezoar by BolshevikMuppet99 - M

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Ched, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Title: For Lack of a Bezoar
    Author: BolshevikMuppet99
    Rating: M
    Genre: Angst/Mystery
    Status: Complete
    Library Category:
    Pairings:
    Summary: Canon Divergence from HBP. When Harry fails to save Ron's life in Slughorn's office, he and Hermione are thrust into a search for answers. But the path is thornier than either of them could have possibly imagined.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13108396/1/For-Lack-of-a-Bezoar

    This is an interesting story. It's not one of my new favorites but it gets a lot of things right. For me I'd rate it at 3.5/5 and probably round up to 4.

    The story is complete at approx 35k.

    You know all those tropes/scenes we constantly see where Harry gets mad he's been lied to? And tries to do something about it? And whines about how everyone kept secrets and yells at Dumbledore and gets pissy at Snape and decides to deal with Malfoy himself?

    This is all of that, except done in a more believable manner than normal. It does get a bit dark a bit fast for me, and even with the divergence point it's hard for me to believe they'd go so far so fast, but it's well done and at only 35k there's not much to lose.
     
  2. Silirt

    Silirt Professor DLP Supporter

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    I'll give it a read in the near future. I'd like to see what exactly is meant by having done these tropes in a more believable manner.
     
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Well. I don't know if 'believable' is the term I should have used but it didn't spend much time farting around at least.
     
  4. Jibril

    Jibril Headmaster

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    Instead of believable I would call it more engaging? It still goes quite quickly from "I'm a good person" to "Crucio" on Harry's part but taking into account what was the catalyst for this change I would said that the catalyst is more believable than in other fics of this kind. Also the fact that it does not include any kind of bashing or manipulative-evil!Dumbledore is a plus.

    Plus the quickest way of getting the memory from Slughorn - "Give me the memory and maybe I will not blow your head off" - so refreshing.

    Overall I would give this 3.5 rounded up to 4. It's not great but the somehow fresh POD makes it interesting and worth a read.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  5. Methos

    Methos Groundskeeper DLP Supporter

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    The story was a downer.
    Harry is all rage, Hermione is all skill/plan/rational thinking.
    As if Harry in books 1-4 didn't exists.
     
  6. MrBucket

    MrBucket Fourth Year

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    It was nice for what it was. There were a few Snape moments that might've felt slightly (and only slightly) ooc, but it's a nice revenge story overall. Many of these types of stories never feel satisfying. They just kill the enemy and that's it, lights out, but here the author spends a bit of time describing the pain of people like Malfoy or Umbridge. Certainly a Harry/Hermione story I didn't mind. I was pretty happy with how Harry and Hermione ambush Dumbledore but Dumbledore takes care of them anyway with an absurd amount of ease. That was refreshing.

    It's nothing fantastic, though. Just a nice, refreshing little read that manages to hit the spot, so to speak, in regards to making the antagonists suffer.

    3.5/5, rounded up to 4.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Professor DLP Supporter

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    With the author's UK English conventions, there was only so much I could do on a technical level, so we'll basically just skip that.
    I don't expect a lot in the way of rationality or consistency from teenagers, and here I was not disappointed. At the same time, that can't be used as an infinite excuse for the directions in which the author takes their characters, the chief problem with which was the fact that despite Harry and Hermione ostensibly changing, there was no lasting consequence for their use of the dark arts or torturing people. They're still able to go on loving each other and everyone else in their lives like normal people; no one disowns them or even disapproves of their actions- we have this buildup from Snape, whose chief interest is the dark arts, and then their characters either don't change or they go back to normal. Yes, they're willing to torture people by the end of it, they're willing to separate Lupin from Mrs. Lupin and Lupin Jr, but they were willing to torture Draco in the beginning of the story, and that was before they had started using the dark arts. That initial character change can be explained by the loss of Ron.
    I get the idea of a revenge fic, but the routine of dragging someone in and torturing before painfully killing him or her became a bit repetitive. It happened enough that the Death Eaters should have been able to establish an MO, which they did with Harry's and Hermione's use of Polyjuice, despite their having done that only once. If they're attacking people for suspicion of being enemies in disguise, then they should have set up an elaborate trap, knowing that the two of them would jump at the chance to capture and torture Bellatrix.
    Many of the plot decisions could have gone either way, including the ones I've criticized, so they're mostly fine, but what really characterizes the flaw in storytelling is the author's repeated use of the phrase 'And then'. Grammatically incorrect as the start of a sentence, it belies an understanding and demonstration of a story as a series of events, connected or otherwise.
    One of the things I liked about the story and made me believe that it was moving in the right direction was the odd sort of kinship Harry and Hermione start to establish with Snape, a shared sense of self hatred and abandonment of the possibility of happiness was fertile ground either for the redemption of the potions master or the descent of the hero and heroine. Laughing and joking with a man they hated only a year ago, a man they considered evil and untrustworthy even after learning the truth about him, it seemed like they were on the path further down, especially in this one moment when he cautioned them about going on with the dark arts and another where he exhorted them not to get too crazy with the violence, his concern being that their lives were valuable.
    The way I thought the story was going was that Harry and Hermione were not truly in love; the power that their enemy knows not was something they had lost- rather than dying, Harry would use a horcrux of his own to break off a piece of his soul, taking Voldemort's bit along with it. Dark magic and the way they treated helpless prisoners would continue to corrupt them until they could not truly defeat their enemy, because after they turned him into mincemeat and burned the remains, they would become Dark Lord and Lady. Having long since realized the wisdom of creating horcruxes, those desirous of power would see Harry for what he was and entreat him with their services, which he would only accept as long as he could control them.
    It doesn't do any of that, though; it has an ending incredibly similar to the canon.
    3/5- I didn't hate it, but it could have made more sense.
     
  8. AgentSatan

    AgentSatan First Year

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    I think this fic is quite good. After reading the first couple chapters I thought I was going to rate it 4.5 rounded up to 5, but there are some issues that need to be addressed. The first couple of chapters are done masterfully, and I think the characterization is spot on. At the end of the second chapter however there is no motivation for Harry to throw around unforgivables like candy at Malfoy. Yes, I get it Ron just died, however Harry has had an intolerant approach to dark magic while Dumbledore was still alive. It makes no sense at all, no matter how angry Harry is, for him to start using dark magic even while confronting someone he believes killed Ron. By that same logic I don’t think he would interrogate Snape in that way. I think he would instead stun Snape and Malfoy and give them veritaserum. I think that would be infinitely more plausible. What I do think is plausible, however, is that he would try to use Avada Kedavra on Snape after learning he all but killed his parents. Some people might bring up how Harry learned of this in the books, but still admired Snape after learning he supported the light side. To this I say that since Harry had time to process what Snape did which would calm his anger. This is done much, much better than the casual angst fix, and the author must be given credit for taking such a difficult premise and making it enjoyable. All in all, I didn’t think an angst fix would ever get higher than a 2.5, but I enjoyed it a lot so I’m willing to give it a 4.
     
  9. Cxjenious

    Cxjenious Dark Lord

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    I haven't read this yet but, but like, Harry IMMEDIATELY tried to Crucio Bellatrix when Sirius died, and pretty much did the same to Snape after Dumbles kicked the bucket. I find it very plausible that Harry would go to those same length against Malfoy for killing his BEST FRIEND.

    EDIT: I read some of it. That was a bit of an extreme character shift. Crucio I buy, but cold smiles and hard murder? Tougher pill to swallow.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  10. Red

    Red Professor

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    Damn, I actually can't believe that I've never seen this premise used before. What a novel point of divergence. The story is good, characters, at the start, are believable. Harry's descent into darkness is a little heavy-handed, but given the catalyst is believable and consistent. The middle parts are most interesting, however canon events more or less happen as they need to - I think they author could have diverged the path a bit more or explored characterization more deeply. Perhaps the H/H aspect and they guilt could have been more fleshed out? Who knows - I do like that it doesn't cross over into being an angst fest, so theres that. I think Ched's 3.5/5 rounded to 4 is the right rating. The fic is incredibly interesting and for me there was a very poignant moment towards the end. However, the writing is merely solid and theres a sense that several things could have been done better to elevate the fic to a solid 4 or 4.5. Pacing, tension, charactor exploration are all a tad rushed, expounding on those moments could have given the fic another point easily. That said, I can always respect a completed fic so cheers.
     
  11. pbluekan

    pbluekan Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    I just got finished with this, and it's a fun little read, but not much more. To its credit, the whole change was a reasonable but this was the major issue.
    Dark magic personality warping or whatever, I just really couldn’t justify them gleefully torturing and killing within only the first little while. The anger and the resigned guilt at the end? I expected all of that, however.
     
  12. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Yup - it ramped up quickly, which I liked, but instead of tapering off at an appropriate point it went too far to maintain suspension of disbelief.
     
  13. Jibril

    Jibril Headmaster

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    The author of this has posted a new fic called Echoes in the Fog which is a crossover between canon Potterverse, the reality presented in this fic and another reality from authors previous fics. Right now it's on its second chapter with almost 20k words and looks interesting.
     
  14. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Huh, okay. I haven't read THIS fic yet, but I did go check out their other series.

    It's... not bad? It's perfect for an "almost rec" really, at what I'd say is a solid 3/5. I've read the first three stories now, for years 1-3, and each clocked in at about 50k I think. They go fairly quickly and do a reasonable job of a Dark!Harry. Nothing special but good time-waster.

    I don't think I'll put it up for review since it's a 3/5 imo, but once I finish the completed 6-story series I might change my mind. And I'll check out the story you mention after that.

    Cheers
     
  15. why?

    why? Seventh Year

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    It was put for review a while back. I think I read all the way up to year 5 before taking a break. Things get absurdly evil and edgy, and so does Harry. I enjoyed it, but no more than a very generous 3/5.
     
  16. Jibril

    Jibril Headmaster

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    The only thing you need to know is that:
    Harry is evil, joined Voldemort, killed every good character in Potterverse, tortures and enslaves Muggles for fun because they are animals. And he is Director of Death Eaters i.e. Gestapo/SS

    And he and his children have Horcruxes because why not?
     
  17. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    And yet the fact that you read it all the way through - as I did - to get to that point says something as well, given the length. IMO that marks it as worthy of a 3/5.

    I just updated the review thread for that story and am writing my own review of it.
     
  18. Jibril

    Jibril Headmaster

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    No, I just read the first chapter in the last fic - the rest sounded too much like canon rehash for my taste. And 'lo and behold - last chapter is filled with cringe worthy edginess with every element of what I wrote in the spoiler.
     
  19. Drachna

    Drachna First Year

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    The Downwards Spiral series goes from mediocre to excellent after about book three.

    I greatly enjoyed this story, and I liked the author's writing style. It doesn't deserve a five out of five, but there are very few grammatical errors and the ways in which the characters react to Ron's death is interesting.

    4/5.
     
  20. Goten Askil

    Goten Askil Seventh Year

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    This might actually be the first Harry/Hermione I've finished that wasn't just scratching a smutty itch. And it actually made me believe it, so there's that. Mind you, I still think Ginny should have been a bit more present (well, present at all, frankly), even if in a non-romantic way, but that's personal fanboyism preference.

    @Silirt is quite right in his critics about the plot: it does get a little repetitive and it's unrealistic that the Death Eaters react exactly the same way when they're getting picked up one by one. However, I had no problem with Snape's change. A Snape with absolutely nothing to hide from his interlocutors is something we've never seen, and since he has his objective of Voldemort's death in sight, I can get this new Snape.

    The descent might have been sudden, but with that divergence it's believable, and I find the escalation in their violence quite well done, even though it's seen more in Hermione than Harry (who is unhinged from the start).

    Still, I like this story, and it's short enough that the faults in the plot aren't too bothersome. 3.5/5, and I probably should round down but a competently done canonish dark Harry is rare enough that I voted 4.
     
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