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Complete Lesser Evils by ScottPress - M

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by ScottPress, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    I didn't like this story for many reasons. But my main ones would have to be the characterisation of Harry and the way Magic feels.

    While Rowling never showed it, she presented this aura of an incredibly large amount of Magic in existence in the Potterverse. There was a nigh-infinite library of Spells, Powers, and Esoteric Fields of Magic that the characters had yet to know about.

    Then, she took a complete 180 in the fourth book and the world was suddenly much smaller. Harry couldn't even find a Water-breathing spell for christ sakes. Then we get his sudden reliance on a Second-Year Spell, with a side of Unforgiveables that are abused for no reason. I was hoping with how much praise this story got and how well executed the first couple chapters were, that Magic would once again be this big and wonderous thing.

    But sadly, that's not the case. Harry relies on a few spells just like canon, Magic itself is now limited to extreme levels, and duels are the same old Shield and Curses that we see constantly repeated in every single story.

    And, oh boy, Harry himself. I didn't know writing could get more melodramatic than canon, but nope, this story definitely managed it well. I've seen a lot of minor flaws in the writings. From misplaced words to misspelled things. Though the flow of the story is fairly easy to go along with.

    I give this story a 2/5 for the most part. It's uninspiring and it doesn't innovate in any way, it's just another variation of what canon become in the fifth and sixth books.
     
  2. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Well, okay. Before anything else, thanks for reviewing. I really do welcome all opinions of my writing.

    I've made a habit itt of addressing the points people bring up and I'm not gonna shy away from criticism.

    I concede on the "depth of magic". I have made attempts at trying to evoke a fairytale-like feel of magical ambience before, but not much came of it. I actually posted a couple chapters of a fic concept to WBA but my enthusiasm for it died quickly. I find that I always gravitate towards the opposite end of the mood scale, where the latter HP books sit as well.

    There's certainly a lot of drama in the story - it was pointed out by reviewers that there's too much of it and I'm willing to concede that point too, though it's not how I look at it. I just like having things happen. There's little downtime between action beats, but I just don't like writing such scenes. Well, for the most part. The few I did put in LE usually lead straight into more drama (like Harry and Sturgis' conversation in the Dungeon Keeper before the battle and the Three Broomsticks before Snape). However, melodrama...? I don't know. I think I would argue that point. I tried to develop relationships between various characters in ways that played with other elements of the story. Harry/Ginny relationship could have used more development even, though I probably should have just cut it entirely. But the author is always the worst at spotting the failings of their writing.

    There are indeed typos and other errors that I missed in editing. At some point my eyes just start skipping over the text as I edit. I probably should actually fix all of that at some point, but honestly I wanna focus on writing the next fic now.

    Lastly, when it comes to action scenes and duels, I can only say that I tried my best to gradually move away from blow by blow spell-shield-curse style that's prevalent in a lot of fanfiction as Harry's ability grew and I did have a few opportunities to try and go for something more like the Dumbledore vs Voldemort in OotP, namely with my own Dumbledore vs Voldemort and the fight in the Alpine Mansion. Tbh, I'm rather pleased with my duels in this fic. Guess we're going to have to agree to disagree here, and that's okay.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  3. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    Sorry if I didn't make my point clear. I didn't really care about the lack of fantasy/fairy-tale vibe to it, in fact, I enjoy a good dark fantasy. What I dislike is the lack of variety. It's best summed up in Harry's use and learning of Cursed Fire as if it's the only Cursed Fire spell in existence and the only useful one that Voldemort knows. It creates this air of limitation in your universes magic as if you're purposely holding back for a much bigger version of it in your sequel. And I hope this is true, as you have pretty good writing skills aside from the minor points. I'm not critiquing your ideas, once again, I actually quite like the whole mental connection, I just wonder if you could have done a bit more with it (Harry's magic suddenly gains a more powerful and violent edge due to a sort of emotional acceptance of his Destiny, etc...)

    Harry acting like a teenage girl. Harry winning in a trial with no logic and just asspulls that the Wizengamot should have known. I won't get into the Harry/Ginny, as I tend to just ignore it for my own sanity, sure it ruins the experience of attempting a more mature story, but if you want relationships, I can't stop you.

    My critique was more in reference to how binary and scripted the duels feel. As if someone messes up not because they truly mess up, but because they need to mess up.
     
  4. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    About "limited" magic. Why aren't there a thousand variations of Fiendfyre? One which creates a horde of galloping beasts, then one which makes one giant beasts, then one which just creates a firestorm? Is that your point? My answer to that is: because you don't need a thousand versions of a spell for that. That's the whole point.

    Let me use an example. In the Inheritance Cycle, the MC is learning magic from his mentor. At one point the mentor says that while the MC has to still learn simpler stuff, a true master of magic could invoke "water" and create a crystal, because he would see what links water and the crystal focus their power there.

    Or take Dumbledore vs Voldemort from canon. We're never told what precise spell Dumbledore uses to animate the golden statues, or what spell Voldemort uses to create his silver shield. That's because they don't need to. They've mastered magic at a level where "spells" are more of a limitation to them beyond a few very specific, powerful ones (like the Unforgivables). Both Dumbledore and Voldemort great magical effects that you could probably guess what spell was used, but in my mind Dumbledore just instinctively wanted the statues to become guardians, waved his wand, called on his magic and it was so, in a very "let there be light" kind of way. As in, the better a wizard gets, the more they move away from the confines of specific spells because they start just doing magic.

    That's what I tried to show in little details, like when Harry uses the Levitation Charm like a Summoning Spell, when he manipulates Fiendfyre first as a cage, then as a javelin in the same battle (the one in chapter seven, part 2), when Sturgis explains why a wand can be thrown like a knife enchanted with flight because it has its own magic, when Voldemort animates dead Aurors with prophecy specters to escape from the Ministry. Magic in my (and, I believe, canonical) interpretation is broad not because you have a spell for every possible variation and situation, but because as you master magic, one spell is all you need to do a thousand things.

    Now, if you were referring to something like the magicalness of POTDK or the atmosphere of the AU world in HP and the Untitled Tome, then yes, I'm not good at that. Then again, it's not what I was going for.

    Does that answer the lack of variety question?

    Re: melodrama. Where does Harry act like a teenage girl? The trial is an asspull, yes, though not entirely. In the real world, you wouldn't expect a teenager to represent themselves in a criminal trial. But wizards don't always do things "logically". It's a side of the world much less prevalent in my fic than canon because the story I want to tell wouldn't fit within that atmosphere, but I included hints of what I call magical quirkiness: the squid in the Black Lake is called Doug for no other reason than it sounds ridiculous, the Alpine Mansion has a front door that opens to a chasm, the Floo to the Alpine Mansion is unlocked by going through a specific sequence of fireplaces instead of just, I dunno, a spell or a password. But canon also gives a view of the darker side of the world and that's the side I focus on in this story. The Ministry is exactly the place where I wouldn't blink if I saw a Department of Silly Walks or a Department for the Stacking of Things on Top of Other Things. At the same time, I don't think that eliminates room for grimdark.

    Scripted duels... well, I need specific people to win and I have a tendency to let the plot steer characters because I need something specific to happen at a given time. It's an aspect of my writing I need to work on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  5. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    Not really, I like the idea of having flame that you can manipulate, but why is Fiendfyre considered this singular 'Special Flame'? Of course, this is not to say that specific spells like the ones you said, shouldn't exist, as I imagine many wizards don't want to go through all the trouble of shaping the flame and just want a quick way to throw out a fire arrow from their wand.

    What I'm basically saying is, you're going the whole route of "The Stunning Charm that Harry learns in the Third Year is the only one in existence", but why? It has inherent weaknesses and lacks the natural power of other spells, not to mention there are some wizards who are completely immune to it. You're telling me there are no wizards before or after its creation, that created different stunning spells that do different things?

    What if a Fatal Flaw of Fiendfyre was that someone else could easily take control of the flame? It would give the character more room to learn about different Magical Flames created through the use of Elemental Magic, etc...

    As for your point about Dumbledore. I just assumed that Transfiguration was a field of Magic that required a lot of inherent talent, finesse, and power. Whereas there are only really Five Transfiguration Spells (Animate, Create, Vanish, Transfigure, Switch), and most of the more specific ones used earlier on in the series are sort of "Catalyst" Spells that 'open up' their magic. It sure as hell makes things less complicated when thinking about the logistics of someone memorizing thousands of spells that have a singular effect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  6. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    How about this analogy: you can have a thousand tools to be able to do a thousand things, or you can have one multi-purpose tool to do anything you want.

    That's how I see progression in magic mastery. You go from a big pool of spells to just doing magic, because your mastery cuts out the middleman - fixed spells.

    Why is Fiendfyre special? Because canon says it's special...? Fiendfyre is supposed to be this super fire that can destroy horcruxes and completely wrecks the Room of Requirement. Gubrathian (I'm sure I misspelled that) fire is eternal.

    Why one Stunning Spell? Well, how many would you like? It's a perfect battle spell - knocks out the oppnent. Dumbledore uses it on multiple targets in his office in OotP. This is my point. You don't need a Multi-Target Stunner or a Werewolf Stunner or a separate Dragon Stunner, because if you're good enough with magic, you can mold the basic stunner to create the effect you desire. Spells are malleable. When Harry summons his Firebolt, it has to physically fly to him. When Dumbledore summons mead in HBP, it just pops out of thin air. Dumbledore just animated some statues in the Ministry duel, but Bellatrix couldn't destroy them, because she lacked the understanding of magic that Dumbledore used to create his guardians, so her spells just bounced off. She didn't know how to unmake them, not that her spells didn't have enough firepower.

    Edit: Basically Dumbledore is a Jedi Master, where the Force (magic) allows him to various things without having to defer to basic techniques that an apprentice has to learn first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  7. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    From what I've seen, even multi-purpose tools aren't good for everything. In fact, a lot of people prefer different tools that are the best at what they do, rather than a single tool that does everything mediocre.

    Uncontrolled Fiendfyre*. From what we saw, Dumbledore pretty much used Voldemort's Fiendfyre against Voldemort, so it isn't too far off base to say that Fiendfyre's weakness is that its control can be overridden.

    No, not even close. Not only are there many people/creatures that can resist it, it's blockable by basic shields as well. It's the equivalent of saying Expelliarmus is perfect when there is a Battle Magic variant of it that shreds someone's arm in the process. You're too worried about identifying every single spell that Harry sees/shoots off, then you say that master wizards shouldn't have to use spells? Seven Years of Education becomes pretty useless then.

    Eh, comparing the force to magic is a pretty bad idea. The force is channeled through a Jedi, Magic is both created and channeled through a wizard. It's different on its base levels. I remember reading a fic where "Intent-Driven Magic" was a thing, and I could see that existing, but, Dumbledore himself said words have power. As shown in canon, non-verbal spells are still stated in your head. And I know that might sound a little bit more inconvenient than just saying it, trust me, it isn't, especially since our mind works very quickly, and can process several pieces of information at once. You created a compromise that you don't need, and that in facts takes away from what Magic is.

    It's like I always say, the Fire Charm doesn't heat up molecules, it just shoots fire from your wand. You might say that the only way to make fire is by heating up molecules, but that's untrue to wizards, as they don't apply to our frame of Logic.
     
  8. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I thought we were debating the portrayal of magic in my story and I tried to explain the reasoning behind my decisions. But now it seems you want to argue interpretation of canon magic mechanics and seem to be under the impression that my goal is to negate everything you say with my inferior understanding of canon.

    This discussion has become rather pointless, since we're talking about different things. And in the end, I can try to explain my reasoning, but I know that if, say, the author of Prince of Slytherin debated with me the merits of his writing, I'd still tell them that I don't like it and think their fic is bad. Also, I've realized that I've been trying to get you to change your mind because I viewed your opinion as wrong somehow, which is really not fair in a review thread. For that, I offer an apology.
     
  9. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    We are debating the portrayal of Magic in your story. I'm not saying it's bad, but it has this limited feeling that ultimately makes you feel "Yep, this is it" when you see a Dumbledore V Riddle situation where they're throwing around nothing grandiose and Harry makes no comment about it. You're attempting to take away the Magic from Magic with your whole "a Wizard just does Magic" thing, a Wizard IS Magic, he creates it and he channels it, that's the point. How do you intend to interpret large feats of Power? If not by the complexity and the level of the spell used and the different mechanics involved subtly within the Magic itself and how ingeniously Dumbledore/Tom/Harry uses it and melds it and coherently translates it into Grand-Level Magic. With your variation, the level of the magic used is based on the amount of power placed into the motive of what you're doing. It's utterly boring.
     
  10. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Honestly, you've completely lost me there.
     
  11. LightLordPotter

    LightLordPotter Disappeared

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    From how the story is composed, I can tell that you get lost very frequently.
     
  12. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    Ha! I have to say, that's a pretty good comeback.
     
  13. The Pro

    The Pro Seventh Year

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    Holy fuck but that was cold.

    Ahem. Anyways. Review time.

    I found this story to be quite unusual. Not in a bad sense, but just odd. Nonetheless, it's quite gratifying to see an author complete a story. Kudos to you for that.

    Lesser Evils has pros, but it also has manifold cons as well. All in all, I found it to be slightly above average after weighing pros against cons.

    Lesser Evils has one of the more ridiculous versions of Harry that I've encountered. His shift in personality was quite abrupt and threw me for a loop. I get that he's endured extremely traumatic experiences. Really, I do. But the change was so sudden it stood out, and not in a good way. I felt as though a transition could have been created to smooth the change a bit. From then on he didn't really mature in any positive manner. Granted, he does mature from his teenage angst, but it was a very gradual maturation (and I didn't find it particularly satisfactory).

    Other characters didn't particularly leave any real impact on me. The only thing I found notable was that they developed exceptionally quickly. Sirius, Ron, Draco and others experienced some pretty drastic changes, for example. Shinysavage had the right of it:
    The writing was neither a pro nor a con here. It was technically sound, but that's pretty much it. The grammar and mechanics were good. Not particularly outstanding, but good enough to be far above average on ff.net. There were no glaring punctuation errors, spelling errors, word confusion, etc I normally encounter in fanfics, so kudos. Semantics wise, I found the lexical semantics to be excellent. You seem to have a good grasp of lexical semantics, so kudos.

    The biggest issue I had here was the fact that the prologue wasn't attention-grabbing. It's supposed to grab my attention to the point that I continue reading. That didn't happen here. The prologue was, in all honesty, quite like the typical abysmal fanfic where Harry changes from sarcastic little shit to an angst-riddled teen sociopath. Not good.

    There were some pros though. I liked the world-building you did. You scattered hints of a broader scope than canon here and there. I liked the peeks into new cultures, new ideas and new species. They were quite refreshing and offered a fresh feel to this fanfic. It shows great creativity on your part when you manage such an effect.

    Overall, I'd give this 3.25/5, rounded down to 3/5. Not bad, not exceptionally good, just on the better side of average.
     
  14. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    The Pro

    I agree on the points of things moving quickly and the weak prologue.

    Harry's development doesn't become clearer until the sequel, but that's not an excuse. As for the other characters, the cast grew beyond what I'd originally planned and individual arcs suffered from getting squeezed. The story is plot driven, so character development on the whole took a backseat.

    The prologue and first chapter are the weakest parts of the story, which is reflected in viewer drop after the prologue in FFN viewer tracker. It's an artifact of the earlier version of the story, which was top tier shitfic.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  15. The Pro

    The Pro Seventh Year

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  16. Seyllian

    Seyllian Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Some chapters are already on the WbA
     
  17. The Pro

    The Pro Seventh Year

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    Oh. Don't check WbA regularly, which is why I didn't know that. Thanks.
     
  18. Seyllian

    Seyllian Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    If you haven't read the story, read it first. There are quite a few spoilers. You have been warned.

    Well, Scott, I promised you a review; here it is.

    I guess I am going to start with before I read it (doesn't everything start at the beginning?). So, let's go with what I saw first: the title. Lesser Evils. Now it isn't awful, but it does give me some bad vibes. In short, it feels edgy. It makes sense, though. Your story is anything but happy and joyous. Yet, I couldn't help but feel a bit anxious about the title. Bad memories of indy, OP, angst-ridden Harry Potter came to mind. And I guess that there is definitely an audience for that; however, the common feature of low writing quality makes me approach those stories with caution if I bother to read them at all. Swim's story Circular Reasoning takes a darker tone than your's, yet from his title Circular Reasoning, we don't feel like we have a one-way ticket to an angst-fest. Nonetheless, I ventured into reading this story last Friday as was pleasantly surprised by it for some things it had in it and also a bit disappointed in others.

    I'll start with what I liked and, upon reflection, I liked a lot of what you wrote.

    The first thing that comes to mind is the plot. I don't think I commend enough about how much I liked it. There were so many subplots and things going on at once. It's a far cry from other fanfiction where authors struggle to manage one plot line. And that's what I liked a lot about this story. It felt dynamic. The adults were doing things. The kids were doing things. The Death Eaters were doing things. We weren't all waiting for the protagonist to be the catalyst for action. Other people could act independently of Harry Potter. It was a reprieve from many other stories that don't have this. I will go into more the specifics about what I thought of the plot later.

    Going off the plot is something that I would probably say was one of my favorite aspects of the story: consequence. Things happened. Reactions occurred. And with that, there were lasting consequences. Voldemort possessed Harry and he hurt Ginny; she changed. Dark magic corrupts the person; they act more violently. Harry attacks Snape; he quits and leaves. Dumbledore removes Harry's memories; they break away from him. (Actually, I don't like this one as Dumbledore is my favorite character, but it is still a consequence). Even Harry's condition makes me happy. He received a wound that cannot be healed thus there was a consequence to his actions. This forces characters to change and adapt. It keeps up with the theme of the story being dynamic.

    Next is two, I guess, things that I enjoyed: characterization and dialogue. I grouped them together because, well, they are pretty similar. To keep this short, as I could write an entire essay about each of your characters, everyone felt unique. Each character had their own personality. They spoke differently. They had their own logic, emotion, and thought processes. Remus was a character that shined in my opinion. He felt vastly different than canon, but a welcome difference. He had more emotion than just self-apathy. Dumbledore was characterized well. He talked Dumbledore-like, though I still feel that he was missing... something. In all, the dialogue for each character felt unique and realistic and more important, each character grew/changed in some way across the story which lent to a good characterization for most of the cast. And Sturgis. Sturgis was awesome.

    The world building was interesting. Mal was an interesting character. However, the ICW was where I felt that it really shined. It seemed like you could write a whole nother story just on the incumbent Supreme Mugwump. Beyond that, this Wizarding world just felt more alive. Canon HP feels stagnant. Yet in your story, we see the protests. It sheds a new light to the HPverse that is more active.

    I loved your magic. While Mr. LIghtLordPotter, so eloquently disagreed with it, I feel that magic should be something more than straight up memorization. Skilled wizards shouldn't have to learn a spell for every exact situation, but be able to alter a spell to accomplish other feats. So, kudos.

    The last thing, and of course the least noticeable, was the grammatical mistakes or lack thereof. I don't think I found any mistakes whether it be spelling or usage errors. Good job.

    Yet, despite everything I liked, there was a multitude of problems.

    For one, I felt that, at times, the pacing of the story was completely shot. The summer dragged on and on and on. And, I guess, that the pacing of relationships between characters we also too sporadic. Relationships developed way too fast in certain occasions.

    The prose also wasn't a pro, but I don't know if I would go so far as to say it's a con. It's there. It gets the job done. While it improves as the story progresses, it's never eye-opening. But that's fine. Your story shined through its plot, not its writing anyway.

    The biggest grievance I have was the characters. I will note the difference between characterization and characters. I am referring to characterization as the process by which you revealed their personality. That was good. However, the characters, Harry and Sirius in particular, were, in my humblest opinion unbearable. The problem for me was twofold.

    I guess there were two watershed moments. The first was when Harry attacked Dumbledore. In short, it was insane. I don't care how stressed you are, normal people don't try to kill the person who's keeping them alive. And afterward, the way that Dumbledore casually pushed it off and allowed Harry to be continually influenced by Sirius irked me to no end.

    The next was the way Sirius, Harry, and co. handled the memory incident. Was it a bit out of line for Dumbledore to do it? Yes. But he is Dumbledore. He is the reason the war isn't over. on the first day Harry and Sirius' pride was actively undermining their cause. Even the small interactions between Harry and the other characters annoyed me. He was well, a prick and an unlikeable one that. Shezza's Harry was a prick too, but at least he was funny and loveable in a way. To me, your Harry is just... a buck full of bad decisions and angst.

    So, what do I rate this? I would give it a solid score if not for the characters. No matter how good the plot is, I really struggled with the later chapters. The journey isn't fun when I don't like the protagonists. It's was actually painful for me to finish it. I just didn't care for the resolution.

    I'll give it a 3.5; however, if Harry was more likable I would have given it a solid 4 to 4.25.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  19. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    @Seyllian, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Really solid feedback.

    Re: spag mistakes, they're still there, but I think the number is below the threshold for 250k words, so I just left it alone. Honestly, I'd rather write something new than do yet another sweep of LE.

    Pacing. Yes, a lot happens in the fic and some relationships deserved more time to develop (especially the mentorship between Harry and Sturgis, a lot of which happens off-screen and is only implied).

    Dumbledore. I actually took direction from the movies (gasp!) because I like Gambon's portrayal, DIDYAPUTYANAMEINDAGOBLETOFFIYAH and all. Of course, I still tried to keep the canon seed. Actually, in regard to characters in general, I knew I was going to be changing them, so I threw much of canon compliance out the window and instead tried to do my original developments justice. With some plot threads I wanted to explore, canon personalities wouldn't fit the story.

    Unlikeable protagonists: that's another thing I knew I was going to do since the start of the story. I personally like Harry and Sirius because they're proactive and competent. With what they end up doing, they don't really have ground for being likeable. I would say they're at the extreme end of the antihero scale with potential go beyond it. Those were the characters I wanted to explore.
     
  20. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Don't read this if you don't want to be spoiled. I'm not going to go through and spoiler the entire post because that's not how I wrote the review.

    I never gave this fic much consideration before, but I’ve tried to make an effort and review things that I wouldn’t otherwise normally read.

    Your summary sucks and isn’t really an accurate portrayal of this fic. You can’t be held accountable for that because it takes a certain amount of skill to make an accurate summary that gives just a taste without revealing too much, otherwise you’ve got nothing but a boilerplate of buzzword tags that I would otherwise look over -- for others that might work on drawing attention. But the summary is supposed to sell me and this really didn’t.

    You also say the fact that Crouch Sr not dying has consequences. Consequences for who exactly? I kept waiting for the other foot to drop on this. The only thing different is that he’s alive and his son isn’t -- the fact that his son escapes from Azkaban and impersonates a professor at Hogwarts for nearly the entire year is also glossed over.

    Still not seeing the consequences.

    Politics in the magical world is the least attractive aspect of the entire fandom for me. There are so many people that eat that shit up and I just don’t get it. But that’s beside the point.

    Your political analysis was actually pretty succinct and I don’t really think it needs to be mentioned in the summary. The only thing remotely political in this fic I felt was:

    Voldemort showing up at the ICW
    The manipulations of Fudge
    The fact that you have two groups going off one another
    Civil war, which is an offshoot of Voldemort showing up at the ICW.

    This is a small bit compared to the amount of words and world building you’ve got thrown in.

    So, beginning with chapter 1. You lost me nearly immediately. I get that you need to set up a dramatic shift in characterization, but I legit wanted to grab your Harry by the face and scream at him because of how retarded he was. Your motivations for the shift were valid, and I guess the argument could be made that you were trying to make a 15 year old act like a 15 year old. Good job.

    The typical Fudge denial really had me going for a bit. I just wanted to see where you were going to go with this and it was pretty much canon to my recollection. I forgot how frustrated Fudge made me in the past and to have it reiterated here was a real sell. It was the one thing that made me linger and keep reading the story to see what you would change.

    The Malfoy challenge at the beginning was interesting. There are many things here that I would have maybe done differently, but it set the stage for later parts of the story pretty well. I would honestly have expected Malfoy to have faded into obscurity more than he did, but the fact that he was a central character in some aspects was pretty compelling.

    The shifting POV was a nice touch if a little over done. I didn’t like the shoelace pattern that you wove with this. Because what it left you doing was POV change, another POV, and then back to main POV where you restated some things. I feel like this was a little heavy handed and you could have worked the shift into the action scene or the dialogue without it being a nearly perfect third person summarization. I would give specific examples but this is used throughout the story. It works for the most part so I’m not subtracting points for it.

    The end of the Dursleys was interesting to say the least. Its rare that one of them dies, but its also rare that it doesn’t become a central focus. Harry’s complete detachment from it seemed to indicate something more but I don’t think this was ever realized throughout the entire fic. It was just one aspect of many in the shift of his character.

    Your pacing is super rushed because you’re trying to cover a lot of ground so a lot of what you wrote feels like teasers. Your introduction of Harry inside of Voldemort’s memories was decent, if a bit unexplained. I didn’t quite get it at first because when Voldemort kept talking to him I kept trying to figure out what point this had on the fic.

    Why was Voldemort so caught up in old memories of his past when he’s never seemed like a character to dwell on the past as much -- especially during his figurative “formative” years in which he wants to put as much distance between his old self and his new self.

    Harry’s confusion at the fact further confused me too because it was never explained, I don’t think, the implication of the memories. I think they were just a vehicle in which you were able to move Harry into the usage of the Dark Arts, which in retrospect is rather heavy handed.

    I’ll give you points on the fact that it was through the scar connection and not an aspect of the scar itself that he was viewing the memories I guess.

    The ease in which he learned spells as well -- the fact that he took the memory from Voldemort and was then able to use the spell seemed to indicate some transferall of skill.

    I think I was a bit disappointed with this because it wasn’t ever mentioned again later other than to say “I saw a memory of Voldemort learning a spell and now I can do the spell too.”

    No one said anything about this. It seems to contradict to me how memory works in HP in general and the fact that no one was questioning this? And if the skill transference didn’t come through just straight absorption it should be some indication to someone how much time he actually spent in Voldemort’s head. I mean you spent nearly the entirety of Prologue Pt 2 showing Harry doing this.

    Later when you have Dumbeldore rattling on about how he “needs to know” it would have given further foundation to his argument and justification of his actions to the reader -- instead it comes off as a totally not Dumbledore move. That he has to ask anything, much less fight to get the information from Harry.

    You already show later that Dumbledore’s morals are loosely tied to the Greater Good still. He doesn’t want people to know certain things and he will do his best to control the spread of information no matter the morality of it.

    Why is Harry different? You do nothing to develop the relationship with Harry and Dumbledore. Harry goes from Hot to Cold to back again quicker than a verse in a Kanye song and it leaves me wanting to some degree -- its a minor pick I suppose in the end. So I’ll move on from here.

    Your Harry is retarded. He speaks out of turn, he doesn’t think, and yet he wants to be taken serious. In all the chapters of your story I read this is the only thing I get from him. I mentioned earlier about you portraying a 15 year old accurately, but there comes a time when he should start learning. He’s not. He doesn’t one time learn any fucking thing, and the only time he does the conclusions he makes is … wrong.

    We captured Pettigrew. Okay. So I’m going to beat the shit out of him before he goes to trial. No one says anything about it. “I’m going to make a plan to catch him on his way to Azkaban and kill him because I just had this moral quandary about killing and I had to ask someone else that is a self-proclaimed Hit-Wizard what it meant to kill a man.”

    There is no deep introspection to this, there is no realization. There is only escalation for the sake of escalation. You do very little to establish Harry’s mind set other than he wants to “even the playing field.” Which apparently the Dark Arts is elf hacks for this.

    I won’t even talk about the rest of the Ministry or the Aurors and their dealings with the students. They’re all disposable cogs with how much development you’ve given them.

    Ginny and Hermione vying for his attention was something I felt could have been taken out of the story entirely. I feel like you tried to rationalize canon to an extent here, its summed up with the one line where Ginny and Harry are going to Diagon Alley and he says that he doesn’t know why he’s attracted to her he just is.

    Here is where I feel like you could have began your shift with the rest of the Trio.

    I like that you didn’t focus on Ron too much acting a fool when he starts making out with Ginny. In fact, I liked your Ron. You atleast took the time to make him into something.

    Hermione on the other hand, I feel a bit different about.

    I didn’t need to read your last chapter of Ascended Vices to know the route she’s taken. I knew it because you’ve hinted at it non-stop -- but I’ll say frankly, it makes no fucking sense the direction in which you took her. And if the reveal at the end of all this isn’t what I’ve imagined, or what you’ve hyped it up to be I think you’re going to piss a lot of people off.

    It took you over 100k plus words to establish Hermione’s role in the story through bits and pieces and it makes no sense at all. You kill her parents, and then you have her run off and no one notices this? Not even Dumbledore? Harry pointblank says that he doesn’t see her on the map. The map that sees everything of Hogwarts --

    Oh and the map. I’m jumping a head a bit here, but I wanted to mention this now. You have like four chapters of “whodunit” going when it comes to who is meeting in the forest. When all Harry had to fucking do was remember one simple thing -- he was given a map that his father and his father’s friends made that showed him where everyone was. You mention the map like twice.

    I think this might be intentional on your part because you never indicate that the map is stolen, or why its not being used, but its gotta be, especially with what I’ve already observed about Hermione.

    I’m going to go faster now because this is already approaching more words than I really intended on this.

    Some things that you did that overall that I’m ambivalent about:

    Hermione. The whole thing.
    Harry and his attitude is super one dimensional and I think it detracts from the story.
    Dumbeldore. Others might argue that his portrayal is decent here -- I’ll give you this much he’s alright and by far not the worst characterization I’ve ever seen.

    Snape is literally not a character in this story despite all the times you mention him. He is nothing. I don’t know if this is intentional or not. But if you were looking for someone to antagonize your MC with, he is pretty much the jetfuel to the steel beams as it were. And you really didn’t even utilize that aspect until much later and and I feel like it was much too late.

    Sturgis, Jervis and Sirius. I’m not against OCs, if they serve a point. I but I feel like those three became your swiss army knives for certain things that you didn’t feel like telling a story on. They were antagonist for Harry simply because they were better than him and he aspires to be like them. He sees them as a clear skill gap and something to grow towards/

    Ron and Ginny and the way you handle that is… something. I don’t know how I feel about this. It ties in with Hermione. I don’t get it. Maybe your eventual reveal will tell me something.

    I was lead to believe that Horcruxes were supposed to be something different in this. The only thing I see different is that you try and take the time to explain them and how they originate re: Grindelwald and his soulcatcher.

    You try to steer clear of the whole indy training summer Harry thing, and to put a spin on the indy!Harry in general. But I think your execution could be better. I see you in several places defend that things are happening off scene.

    I get that, its a great mechanic because you can just go on with your story and not have to waste time explaining things. I personally like doing that with magic because I don’t like having to read forty pages of him learning one spell. I’ve said this already. The crux of the problem with telling shit off camera, so to speak, is that you rely way to much on this.

    Its a tool. To be used sparingly because there is only so much unexplained shit your readers can take. And then when they bring it up you use that as a defence. I said this to someone the other day in a review of their fic in WbA. If you have to explain something after the fact then you already failed.

    I should be able to make the conclusion, no matter how complex the situation, because you did a good enough job storytelling.

    The cliffhanger ending. The rushed killing of Ginny and Ron, the other character deaths. The Werewolves and their dynamic. Jervis is fucking annoying, but in a good way. It shouldn’t be so evident to me though as a reader the parts you liked writing more. Your story lacks balance and you carry that throughout. You’re the author and while you can later admit to liking something better, you shouldn’t make aspects of your story suffer. You kind of get a hold of this later on, but you don’t ever really move past it, its just there and I’ve come to expect it.

    Back to the story.

    Something else that was really unexplained to me is the fact that Sirius absorbed a piece of Tom Riddle’s soul. That’s it. That’s all we’re told about it until he sends them all out to find the remainders of his soul. And we see this gradual progression of his character into something else. He wasn’t what he started out to be.

    You play to the readers in a fourth wall type way -- you know that your average reader knows canon and they’re going to see things differently. You don’t outright say the name of something but we know what you’re talking about -- I would say this is your own style in a way. It works even. But you need to know that at any moment I expect Sirius to turn. And if him doing the Knights Argent is a foreshadow move or reading Cygnus’ journals, then consider me fucking not surprised.

    I liked that you have many plot threads going. You do an okay job managing them. One that you didn’t do so well with was Occlumency training for Harry. “Voldemort closed the connection, so now its a non-issue.”

    About 50 pages later you bring it up again when Dumbledore is talking to Sirius right before he gives him the envelope. I think this is a big thing because if its not you wasted the entire first half of your story talking about Harry mind surfing for it to be nothing after this. Its like you forgot about it and you're only answering after the fact because someone probably brought it up.

    I’ve hit the high notes, or atleast things that stood out to me.

    I’ll not review Ascended Vices until its finished.

    Overall your story was good. I wanted to hate it. I really did. There’s something about your writing style that feels like a shitty rip off to Silens Cursor or Swimdraconian (that wasn’t my review btw. I would at least tell you it was coming from me) Because you utilize the same dark, noir style storytelling device that they have used to great success. It makes your story less unique. You started out sooo heavy handed with your story with Harry breaking shit and people dying to later kind of go into a low simmer and then you backed off and started your intrigue. This was okay, because it shows growth, but already you’re five chapters into Ascended Vices and you’ve continued the same thing. Not only that you’ve got this fuck huge prologue that further solidified my belief that you hate Harry and are in love with your other characters.

    But, keep it up man. I’ll keep reading at this point. I’m hooked in. I would hope that you resolve some of the plot inconsistencies at a later point. Your words are rather well polished, nothing grammar related really stood out to me. There were a few words that look like they got overlooked but not story breaking.

    I liked your prelude to the war and how things took time to break out. It was a logical progression and your overarching story fit into this rather well. It was built for it almost. So there were some plot threads that you executed better than others.

    I think its been said already but your pacing is shit. Its like a jittery manual transmission and you can’t get it into gear, but when you do you pull off alright.

    I didn’t outright hate your characters but there are some things about them that made them not as appealing to me as they should probably have been. I wasn’t committed to them and nearly considered skipping a couple times when their POV showed up.

    I tried to keep this pretty linear in regards to plot direction but I think I got distracted in some places.

    Overall, I’ll give this a 4. To rate anything less would be taking the piss.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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