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WIP Phoenix Insurgent by BolshevikMuppet99 - M

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Villanelle, Mar 14, 2020.

  1. Villanelle

    Villanelle Groundskeeper

    Jun 30, 2017
    High Score:
    Title: Phoenix Insurgent
    Author: BolshevikMuppet99
    Rating: M
    Status: In-Progress
    Words: 55945
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: Gen
    Summary: Ousted from Hogwarts by a gang of corrupt, incompetent officials, Albus comes to the understanding that Voldemort is not his only enemy. Now, fighting on two fronts against the Ministry and Voldemort, he finds himself in dire need of an ally. One who, like him, is a wizard of uncommon power and skill. Canon Departure from OotP. Gen.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13320880/1/Phoenix-Insurgent

    Albus busts Gellert out of Nurmengard and they start fucking shit up. Nobody's very pleased, but they're making moves, and giving Voldemort a run for his money. Of course, Voldemort retaliates with a swiftness.

    That's about the gist of it.

    BM99 reminds me a bit of ShayneT, but with more focus and a touch more finesse. The prose is generally serviceable, but every now and again, there's a few great lines like Gellert taking a beat to appreciate his newfound freedom (ey yo, is that a sparrow??) while he's assessing every wizard in the room.

    So far, the story is more about Grindelwald and Dumbledore, and Harry hasn't been very active, but it looks like that's about to change.

    I don't have crazy high expectations for this, but it's been entertaining and I look forward to every update.

    Solid 3/5 for now.
  2. PomMan

    PomMan High Inquisitor

    Jun 1, 2011
    Queensland, Australia.
    So far, this story isnt one I've enjoyed myself, but I'm struggling to really put why into words. To preface this review, I think a 3/5 is reasonable, and the things I dont like I see as being a matter of personal preference rather than any lack of technical skill, but I'm not going to be revisiting this particular story again unless I'm told it gets substantially better.

    The biggest problem for me is that Dumbledore doesnt feel... good enough. Morally speaking, that is. The actions Grindelwald convinces him to do, the way he speaks and acts, to me goes almost entirely against my idea of Dumbledore. And, while I can ignore that for characters like Harry, Dumbledore has a more set character in my mind, as an idealist who would never allow himself to stoop to such low levels ever after the experiences he had in his youth, and reintroducing Grindelwald doesnt seem like enough for such a drastic change in character. Getting Dumbledore so wrong as a character, I just cant enjoy the story. I think I'd really enjoy something of the reverse of this by the same author, the story of how Grindelwald was brought down as told by his second in command, not Albus, because there the acts of torture wouldnt be so jarring to the character and the setting.

    Decently well written, no big problems in the plot, but for me the premise is too against my idea of the main character for me to enjoy it.
  3. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Fourth Year

    Nov 12, 2019
    So far, I have enjoyed this work the most out of all of BolshevikMuppet99's stories. I disagree with the idea that Dumbledore's character isn't captured in a believable manner. Dumbledore is not a pure idealist, in my mind. He is someone who has spent his life in fear of devolving back into the ambitious, power-hungry young man he was. The divergence in the story encapsulates a canonical feature of Dumbledore, namely his love of Harry. It is the thought of Harry and his poor treatment by the ministry that drives Dumbledore to his actions. In fact, the most unbelievable part of Dumbledore's character in the story is that he even considers killing Harry (because of the horcrux) along with his actions to involve Harry in the conflict with Voldemort. Grindewald serves as an effective foil to Dumbledore's cowardice in canon. Grindewald serves to drive Dumbledore forward, preventing inaction on the part of Dumbledore by counteracting Dumbledore's fear of becoming a despot.

    The grammar is good as well as the other aspects of writing, though the author does not really attempt to capture Dumbledore's style of speech. The combat is above average (as can be expected from the author), though it does not leave me with the impression of Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Grindewald being heads above the rest, though there is the saving grace that it is clearly intended by the author. The characterization, besides a few flaws, is there. The plot is intriguing, if a little fast-paced.

    Overall, I think this story deserves a 4.5/5, rounded up to a 5 for my rating.
  4. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Apr 28, 2007
    Can we get some more reviews on this so that we can get it properly sorted. Tons of thread ratings but nothing substantial in terms of feedback to give a realistic idea of how the forum feels about it other than a star.
  5. A Lightning

    A Lightning Seventh Year

    Jun 18, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Dumbledore is way out of character. I suppose it's the premise of the story. Often a fanfic's divergence from canon is caused by circumstances out of control of the main characters, but that's not the case here. Dumbledore is just a different character because the author thought it would be interesting.

    I have some problems with the plot as well:

    Way too much goes Dumbledore's way after he breaks fucking Grindelwald out of prison. Holding the OotP together already stretches my suspension of disbelief, but chief Ministry officials including Scrimgeour voluntarily bringing down the wards totally shatters it.

    I would have expected Dumbledore's letters to have exactly zero persuasive power after breaking fucking Grindelwald out of fucking Nurmengard.

    The author maintains a pretense of realism by having Moody and McGonagall distance themselves from the order, but it's not enough.

    Also, Grindelwald didn't do a single damn thing to help with deposing Fudge. So why did Dumbledore need him at all?

    The prose is dry but competent. I read through chapter 10, and to be completely honest, very little comes to mind that I can list as a plus here. 2/5
  6. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    This is fantastic.

    4.5/5 - round down to 4

    I was actually surprised that it wasn’t complete given that most things I’ve read from this author were. At least that means I can trust they’ll finish it.
  7. Faun

    Faun Fourth Year

    Mar 2, 2017
    High Score:
    This is 3.5 for sure and rounded up to 4 for the novelty of the concept. I haven't read a fic where Dumbledore finds himself on a slippery slope and sliding. The beginning is a bit abrupt, but the continous self-doubt makes Dumbledore feel more like himself.
  8. WierdFoodStuff

    WierdFoodStuff Slug Club Member

    May 24, 2018
    The writing and dialogue are average at best.
    Chapter 1:
    Dumbeldore's thoughts are erratic and makes him seem ooc, you wouldn't expect anger to cloud his judgment so much.
    The shift from canon Albus to This Story Albus is abrupt
    I like the idea but the execution is average at best

    Chapter 2:
    Albus winked."I'm quite certain you'll even have opportunities for murder and torture. I would have thought you'd be jumping for joy"

    What an incredibly ooc line, same problem as the previous chapter: it's not belieavble that Albus would throw his morals so easily

    Chapter 3 and onward:
    If we ignore the previous chapters ooc moments and consider them part of the story than the following chapters are quite good, specially 3.

    I'll say I hated how easily the foreign ministers followed Albus' word where they had no proof of his intentions, almost ruined the rest of the story
    Overall a strong 2 so I'm going with 3.
  9. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

    Nov 11, 2005
    High Score:
    All I can say about this is Yes. Absolutely. Its new, its different, its unusual, and its well written.

    Of course Dumbledore is out of character, that the diversion from canon. This is the story of "what if Dumbledore was a little more passionate, a little more influenced by the elder wand, a little more like the Dumbledore he's hinted to have been in the past". Its not a massive shift in the character, just a small tweak. And with an excellently chosen kick off point to make that tweak appropriate.

  10. kiaq

    kiaq First Year

    Jan 17, 2009
    Reading this now -- it's a novel concept and there's a lot to like, even if the writer isn't quite technically at an exceptional level (I'm not sure how to put it, but it somehow doesn't read the way a professional writer's work would? The best way I can put it is that it's just not very masterful...)

    Plus some great moments like:
  11. Villanelle

    Villanelle Groundskeeper

    Jun 30, 2017
    High Score:
    This updated recently.

    Some funny one liners from Ron.

    The absence of anything interesting from Rufus, Bones and Moody.

    A slow start, with the Albus POV, but things take a sharp turn with Grindelwald. Great twist on the cave-locket horcrux sequence, as well as on the nature of inferi.
  12. valrie

    valrie Fifth Year

    Jan 1, 2018
    I went into this expecting to get an exciting story with powerful wizards doing magic. Sure, Dumbledore is OOC but that's not a dealbreaker for me.

    But now, half-way through the fifth chapter, I stopped reading simply because I was bored. The most exciting thing that has happened is the break-out. Aside from that it's been about sending letters with Fawkes.

    To quote Grindelwald:
    "You said I could kill people," Gellert whined, "I assumed I was being broken out of prison to fight, not to enchant newspapers and explore the memories of house-elves!"

    Idk maybe the story gets really good later on but it didn't capture me at all.
  13. SeverusTheKnight

    SeverusTheKnight First Year

    Aug 21, 2020
    I would give this a 2.

    I don't like they way Dumbledore is portrayed. He seems to conform to some (mistaken) idea of a very powerful person that the Author thinks is somehow readable. Really, a 120+yo guy who was in his 70s when Voldemort was a child shouldn't be having conflicts about action and basic questions of morality. I can fill in gaps in fanfiction when the author can not, like when some knowledge is assumed to be true because you should have already read canon. But if the only two things a fic rests on are action and character conflict, and if the conflict seems childish, then I'm not really going to be very enthusiastic about it. It doesn't boast of any major or awesome interpretation of magic. There's a bit about how legilimency is a "shared" experience, but I couldn't find anything else that was really compelling.

    I've read the 13 chapters that have been posted until now, and I feel as if the author is already writing himself into a box. All I see is the same conflict being circled around to without any new information being divulged. And what little is given up is already known in canon. The tiny additions really add nothing of value.

    IMO Taure did a much better job of portraying the Dumbledore / Grindlewald relationship in the flashback in The One He Feared. being able to properly write Dumbledore is difficult. I don't like how "BolshevikMuppet" portrays Grindlewald either. Their correspondence is not believable. IMO he shouldn't be portrayed as sane, he can be chaotic evil or chaotic good. Reformed, Returned and Really Trying by Starfox5 had a much better interpretation of Grindlewald.

    It could have been decent if the author had made it more concise.
  14. Atram Noctem

    Atram Noctem Auror

    Jan 13, 2015
    It's really not here nor there. I could enjoy this if Dumbledore was like "screw it, I'm just gonna fuck some shit up" by teaming up with Grindelwald, but that attitude goes away very quickly, with Dumbledore trying to make his takeover more "legit", which completely nullifies his zeal for bringing the system down, and just leads back to petty politics and the usual fighting.

    Then there's this horrible back and forth with Grindelwald angsting about what a terrible person he's been, only to go full Voldemort a minute later, again and again, and Dumbledore agrees all too quickly with very OOC actions like
    murdering Narcissa and displaying her gored corpse
    . Basically half the fic is people asking each other "but are we becoming too extreme!? is this really who we are!?" and it just gets old very fast. We get it, moral ambiguity is a thing, move on.

    Other than that, not much interesting happens. Though Voldemort does come off as much more potent and destructive than in most other stories.