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Complete Prince by DrSallySparrow - M

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by lozzamaniac, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. lozzamaniac

    lozzamaniac Squib

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    Title: Prince
    Author: DrSallySparrow
    Rating: M
    Genre: Romance/Adventure
    DLP Category: AU
    Pairing: Harry/Daphne, Draco/Hermione
    Status: Complete (33,938 words)
    Summary: In 1998, The people of the city love gold and silver; they love silks and fine jewels. But they love secrets best of all. PottGrass, Venetian AU.
    Link: FanFiction.Net

    Although I'm rather new to these forums, I have read a lot of Harry Potter fanfiction (I have no doubt some of you have me shamed though), and it is therefore a real treat when I come across something unique, and frankly rather flabbergasting when it is also good.

    Prince is a singularly unique fic, at least from my reading experience, about the Harry Potter story set in the Venetian era, with the two best things being the world-building and prose.

    It is rare for a fic to build an entirely new world in the Harry Potter universe, yet this comes close, with the characters being the same as canon, though adjusted for the AU as appropriate. The world is interesting, unique, and frankly a joy to learn about. For a relatively short fanfiction, it builds up the world well, highlighting various aspects that tie into the plot line for each chapter.

    It is well written, though admittedly it might be a bit too poetic for some. I for one enjoy that style of writing, for the change of pace as much as anything, and as such appreciated the authors effort to try something new, and more impressively, do it well.

    There are some flaws however, it feels like the author already had preconceived notions of what they wanted the characters and relationships to be, but did not build up those relationships during the story. Whilst not unusual in fanfiction due to the prevalence of stories being built around pairings, it felt especially noticeable in this one (with the exception of the main pairing).

    It also reeks of a certain type of Harry Potter fan, with the way characters are presented and the pairings chosen. Whilst not a bad thing, it can feel a little... much while reading, as every expectation of what an author with those charactertics would write is met.

    Overall however I would still give it a 4/5 for sheer style and imagination.

    What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  2. The.Snorting.Hat

    The.Snorting.Hat Second Year

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    Interesting. It definitely gets points for originality in HP fanfics. I'm sure I haven't read anything else quite so... hmm. Your summary of it was pretty much spot on. This reeks of a snape loving dramione sort of an author.

    Pros-
    - writing skills. the stylistic language may be choppy at parts, but A for efforts. It had an interesting flow to it when the author really got going.
    - the AU world was not quite something I'd put HP in, but it was interesting.
    - the author didn't try to stretch it till it broke. It ended before I, as a reader, got tired of it.

    Cons-
    - I don't know if it's the quirk of the style or small size, but character development felt stunted, most of it left to reader's imagination to fill in the gaps. All the characters felt like stock ones for the standard romance novels and there was very little actual evolution of their behavior over time. Daphne was the only one who got some effort put into her, and Draco was the worst. He just went from being usual canon annoying git to prince charming at the drop of the hat.
    - There was very little magic shown or described properly. I don't know why the author chose to do that, it could have added more oomph to the non existing action scenes.
    - I have never seen any 'Venetian AUs' before, so I got annoyed with all those gondolas.
    - Dramione. Even though they behave nothing like canon, I hate that pairing on principal. It's even more incomprehensible than the canon Ron/Hermione.
    - Quite a lot of juicy stuff is skipped over because the author chose to not write it. I don't know if that's smart to sticking to her strengths (descriptions of environments rather than fight scenes) but some things evaded stuck out like sore thumbs, like the way the final Boss fight is just glossed over to go straight to the funeral.

    I think I've overstated the cons there a bit. It definitely is an interesting read with the different style, but it left me.. unsure about it. Feels like the author is copying something else and just sticking Harry Potter character faces on top of it to pass it off as HP fanfiction. Lot of things were unexplained details and therefore needless. What was the church and monk things for? There definitely wasn't a statute of secrecy, so how did magic play a role in this strange society?

    I think I'll give it 3/5.
     
  3. mdatot

    mdatot First Year

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    It's... okay, I think? It's got atmosphere in spades and I really, really like that, despite the prose being kinda clunky in places. On the flip side though it's got far more style than substance and ends up feeling shallower than the Venetian lagoon it portrays. A lot of fanfic spends tens of thousands of words meandering around without getting anywhere, whereas this is wonderfully concise but fails to tell a story I actually care about. Neither the characterization nor the world building nor the intrigue are particularly engaging, and that's a real shame because again, the atmosphere is great and with just a little bit more depth this could've been really good.


    3.5/5 but I'll give it a 4 because I'm a sucker for this stylistic thing.
     
  4. Socialist

    Socialist Professor

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    I liked it a lot. When attempting a story of this style, it's very easy to end up with something ridiculous - but this reads very pleasantly. I think another ten-fifteen thousand words would have done wonders for the story - I felt some things needed expanding, some hints of backstory for a few main characters, the orphanage, the city's politics and the whole situation with the Duke. But it stands quite well as it is.

    4/5
     
  5. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    The Dramione absolutely did not have to exist in this story. The story is part Romeo and Juliet-esque romance, part political drama set in a Venetian setting. The Harry-Daphne relationship was enough, although I think the story would've done better had it eschewed romance entirely. I get that their romance plays a large part in the war, but I feel as though the story's greatest strengths was its depictions of the conflict itself between Harry and the Pretender.

    There's the air of elegance to the writing, the attempt to elevate everything which, while appreciated, probably didn't work quite as well as it could've. Still I can't fault the story for trying something new, and for faring decently in the attempt.

    3.5/5
     
  6. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    TL;DR: If you care about scheming people scheming, and beautiful people being beautiful, about political intrigue, ballroom dances and all other forms of civilised war on one hand, and a typical Fantasy hero going against the grain, later wrapped in remnants of the HP plot, on the other hand, then this might be for you.

    At the heart, however, it is an opulent romance. Read it slowly; it deserves it.


    I loved it. It's as simple as that. From the premise to the execution to the style to the characters, it's all mine. This story is two parts, in some ways -- the first has nothing at all to do with Harry Potter anymore, of course, but while it lasted, I had the feeling of reading a decent piece of aristocrat Fantasy exactly the way I like it. It actually reminded me of the Venetian books of the Kushiel series.

    With the return of the Pretender, it's more what you might call a HP AU, as the plot is more familiar; it's as if you took something original and gave it a HP wrapping. And even though I agree that the Dramione scenes were often superfluous (and not by accident, the second part that featured lots of Hermione POVs is the worse part), the pairing itself was not, and it doesn't detract too much. And it is, of course, entirely eclipsed by the beauty in every sense that is the hero of this story (which is not Harry, because this is not Harry's story).

    So as far as female leads go, this is the gold standard. Half the original Fantasy could learn from this, as far as I am concerned. It's idealised and exaggerated and polished to just the right degree for a dramatised account of someone you might aspire to be (or find), and if I fell just a tiny bit in love with this main character that for some reason is called Daphne, I don't mind stating that at all. She's captivating -- mesmerising. @vlad, go read this, if you haven't.

    Full marks, 5/5.

    (As a side note, this story used "bemused" correctly. That alone should be an extra point, really.)
     
  7. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Unspeakable

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    I pretty much agree with Sesc. 5/5 from my side as well.

    The Dramione, as Miner mentions, did not need to be there, but I completely disagree on the need for romance. The romance defines this story, and it wouldn't have been good without it. I have no inherent bias against Dramione as long as it's not the focus of the story. Draco/Hermione, in a way, is merely a gender inversion of Harry/Daphne in the fandom which makes for good reading if written competently.
     
  8. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    I guess I can agree that as a story with a Venetian backdrop the romance complements the story. And I'll freely admit that I came for the romance.

    But I stayed for the story. The setting. The war (calling it a war feels wrong, but coming up with something better is effort). The writing.

    It's not that the romance was bad. It isn't. But I don't think it defines the story.
     
  9. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Power struggle, maybe. It's really more a typical vying for leadership and power, and some deaths are par for the course. And personally, I think you have it backwards -- the romance is the story, and the power struggle is the backdrop. It's a chronicle of Daphne's life, in that sense.

    But regardless, it really is a remarkable story. A night later, and I catch myself still thinking about it. The canals. The houses. The balls. Fans, and dresses and sugared ice. Scenes, dialogues, images that stay and replay in my mind.

    I couldn't say when the last time was this happened. Probably when I read the last really good original, published fantasy; after you finish it, it lingers and you can't quite let go. And there's this typical mix of sadness because you have to leave the world, the story is over, and contentment, for having read it.

    There are a couple of fics I re-read every now and then, for quite different reasons -- e.g. Reign of Power for the loneliness and wistfulness, Amortentia for joy of a main character so unashamedly vain and scheming, but this is going to that list for the sum of its contents, simply because it stands out on so many fronts.
     
  10. CrackedMind

    CrackedMind Death Eater

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    This issue I have with this story is that the romance is kind of bland. I like the characters, it just felt like both Hermione/Draco and Harry/Daphne was forced.

    I was far more interested in the stuff in the periphery- how Wizards were the ruling elite in Venice despite the Catholic Church being alive and well, Dumbledore as the Duke, etc.

    If the focus of the story had been switched, with the romance a little more downplayed, I would've enjoyed the story a lot more.

    I'd say 3/5, because the atmosphere was incredible and I really enjoyed the author's writing style, if a bit superfluous.
     
  11. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    The way I saw it was: the romance would've occurred regardless of the existence of a war, but the romance would've been simple and sweet instead of complex and bittersweet in the way that Prince turns out to be.

    The language and prose and description of the story is excellent, and perhaps I was too harsh in my original assessment, but I would pose the question of: if it really were a romance story... why is it fundamentally focused on the war for power?

    And, even if we take it to be a romance, its split focus between the Dramione and the Harry/Daphne hurts itself.

    Edit: I will add that yes, it is a chronicle of Daphne's life, but the interesting thing is that Daphne's life revolves around the world and the intrigue and the war much more than her relationship with Harry, no?

    Maybe my viewpoint just wound up closer to Cracked's than Sesc's.

    Although @Sesc if you liked this, you might like Ride or Die.
     
  12. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Hmm. Talking about "interesting" is w/e since that's a matter of taste, but I would indeed say that that the constant from the start to the end is Daphne's relationship with Harry, in his presence and his absence. It's the story of what happens in-between two kisses, at the very beginning, and at the very end.

    The rest is incidental -- she's involved in the way she is because he is, but it's about her life, not his, and thus the plot with the Pretender is the backdrop. It's there, sure, but it's not the point of the story. And I would argue that is actually the reason we don't see more about the orphanage or the ministero, or even the church, even though the latter had a huge impact on her life.


    Also, Ride or Die? The one I found started with "The Death Eaters are an outlaw motorcycle club run by Tom Riddle ..." which had me o_O Throw me a profile message.
     
  13. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    But, but, the story itself is a story about "coming home" so to speak. Its about Harry returning to Daphne, of their happily ever after the war which tore them apart initially. I guess you could say that that's the very ideal of a romance story, and you'd be right, but my point is that, without the war, the power plays, there wouldn't be a romance story?

    Its more of a case of, without the romance, the story would still be great, albeit different. Without the war, the romance wouldn't exist as a story, it would simply be, because there's nothing stopping it from happening in the first place.
     
  14. Socialist

    Socialist Professor

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    But aren't all great romance stories steeped in adversity? Be it a war, a vendetta between families, conflicting personalities, forbidden contact.

    Without the adversity you, at best, get three two-thousand word chapters - how they met, how they courted, how they married.
     
  15. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    Romance stories are, yes.

    But I didn't see it as a romance story. Since it is a Harry Potter fanfic, I'm going to read it as if it were molded after the fundamental conflicts that drove Harry Potter forward. The romance is an important subplot yes, but it's still a story about the conflict between Voldemort as the Pretender against Harry, with Daphne being torn in the middle.

    My point is that without Voldemort, they would've met and fallen in love much like you and I would, with nothing separating them from each other. The whole romance is predicated on the war, and as such the story is focused on the war. And if that's the case, well, then my original point stands. The romance is good, but the story may have been better without it.
     
  16. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    @Miner
    We're probably going in circles, but I truly don't see how you (or anyone) can argue it might have been better off without romance. And I find I very much want to claim the exact opposite of what you said.

    Without romance, there wouldn't be a story to begin with. Daphne meets Harry, Harry vanishes, Daphne marries Draco, the end. The Pretender comes and goes -- or not -- and no one cares, while Daphne sits at home, beautiful, bored, and silent. That's the reverse of the point I tried to make earlier; the romance is the groundwork, the frame, and the motivation, through which the rest of the story exists.

    If you wanted to scrap the romance, but keep the Pretender the focus, you'd have to tell Harry's story. But this is not Harry's story, it's Daphne's. And Daphne's story is not about the Pretender, but about Harry, so without Harry, there is no story.


    Edit: I just realised that you probably meant that, so we argued past each other. Obviously you can take Venetia, the Pretender and Harry and write a story about it. Or the Dumbledore equivalent, or someone at the Orphanage or whoever else. But that would be an entirely different story, it'd have nothing to do with this one.

    I liked it precisely because it was Daphne's story, and full of dresses, balls, etiquette and chafing against all of that. And you can't take the romance away from this story and still have a story. That's not semantics, that's exactly the reason why I enjoyed it and others don't. If you go in this and want to read only about HP in Venitia, you want to read a different story, so naturally, you'll be disappointed.
     
  17. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    @Sesc
    You're right. I came in expecting the Venetian backdrop to highlight the war, with the romance as a mere feature of the story. I didn't expect the story to essentially be dedicated to their relationship. Given the confines of what I was expecting/thought was best for the story, I disliked that the romance took center stage.

    That being said, if you take the perspective that this is Daphne's story, in a world where the war is slippery at best, and that those very details so intrinsic to her life which you mention (balls, dresses, etiquette, secrets) are the draw for you, then yes, the romance carries the story.

    Like I mentioned previously, I was probably too harsh in my criticism. It's different, very different from your standard fic, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

    There's still a sense of "too much" when the prose becomes excessively florid and the story turns towards the "secrets" aspect of Venice.

    But I definitely didn't give it enough credit for how well it creates and sets the Venetian scene. Immersion is the hallmark of any good story, and the author does it well here.

    By the by, rereading it with the mindset of it being primarily their love story (and Lord knows I'm a sucker for Harry/Daphne), the scene where Harry as the thief is caught by Daphne is brilliant.
     
  18. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box Prestige

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    That was thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is gorgeous, the setting intriguing, and the characters well drawn despite, in some cases, minimal development and screen time. That said, I do find myself wanting more, and I'm not sure whether that's simply because I've read a good story and want to see more of it, or whether the brevity short changes it somehow. It might be something I need to read again and reflect.

    For now though, 4/5 if only for the quality of the writing. It's leaps and bound ahead of most fanfic.
     
  19. Armani

    Armani Second Year

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    This fanfiction, if written with original characters, would, I am sure, be a wonderful novel. Alas, it is but a fanfiction. But one of the best that I have read. The writing is absolutely like art and takes my breath away. I am in awe at how someone could ever make writing that alive, that atmospheric. While, sometimes the descriptions may be superfluous and the romance was the main carrying point of the story, which sometimes annoyed me.

    Overall a good story, one that I would recommend anyone in the fandom to at least give a try. 4/5
     
  20. 200206

    200206 Muggle

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    I first found myself drawn into this story for it's elegant opening. It was not something that I had really seen before, the way it attempted to interact with the reader. It was certainly one of the catchiest openings that I have read. Ever.

    The story then snaps back and forth into various walks of life and explains the various intricacies and intrigue that go on in Venice - the elaborate scheming and backstabbing, the lust and the lies, and how magic is used - which the story does in a pleasingly ingenious and simple manner.

    In a way, I'm reminded of The Great Gatsby. The way this author weaves and intertwines the character's lives and fates is simply breathtaking. Furthermore, the author dedicates enough detail to allow the reader to vividly imagine that kind of lifestyle that is endured by both the protagonists (Harry and Daphne), as well as the side characters (Hermione and Draco). One drawback, however, is that the opulence was exaggerated too much. It was written with good intentions, but sometimes words are better left unsaid. I personally felt that the reader should be allowed to visualize more.

    That said, the development of both the plot and the characters was executed very well. The plot concept was very interesting, having an intriguing backstory that slowly is revealed over the course of the story. The characters were executed to perfection, though I felt the author's view of Draco was inherently flawed. Love doesn't always succeed in the end - the love story between Hermione and Draco could've been more realistic and end in tragedy - like Romeo and Juliet.

    However, the concept of magic was seldom used in the story other than to somewhat advance the plot. I felt that the story could've been more intriguing if there was more backstory and more concepts of magic. But I do understand that this is a love story, and thus Romance should be prioritized. There is also something of importance to note for potential readers: This story isn't revolved around a boy's journey throughout the magical world.

    All in all, this story was a fantastic one, although it did not focus on the fact that this was fanfiction.
    5/5
     
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