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Sleet and Hail by Friss - M

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by James, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. James

    James Auror

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Messages:
    684
    Title: Sleet and Hail
    Author: Friss
    Rating: M
    Genre: Adventure/Supernatural
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: The Alternatives?
    Pairings: none (yet?)
    Summary: Desperate and terrified, Lily Potter would do anything to save her daughter. But her dedication is tested when a ritual goes awry, and she is faced with a bleak choice. A pact is sealed, unknowingly ensuring that Violet Potter's life will be a violent one. With ice flowing in her veins, her power will be great and terrible, the siren call of bloodshed never silent. Fem!Harry. AU.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13873456/1/Sleet-and-Hail

    ---

    So, I have no idea why this isn't here yet.

    Lily tries to summon a summer fey, but summons a winter Lady of the court instead. For seven years of service of Lily, little fem!Harry receives a pendant to save her life. When attacked by Voldemort, pendant explodes, giving some powers of Winter to Violet.

    What it does great: Violet is powerful. Voldemort is still a threat. There is even bigger (?) threat coming. It has some mystery. There's very little angst. Sirius is great. Tonks is there. Other side characters are super fun.

    It also includes a Winter Court coup

    It's one of my favorite stories last year
     
  2. Testamentary

    Testamentary First Year

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    I’ve read everything currently posted (through ch36), and this is… good. The writing is technically proficient and the author has a specific tone they’re going for, which they mostly manage. Unfortunately this makes the odd phrase or paragraph where it slips all the more jarring. Violet is obviously very strong, even at the start of the story when she is at the tender age of, what, 8? She also talks like an adult, and largely gets treated like one when she makes it to the human world at age 11. All of this is rather offputting unless you do what I did and age her up a decade in your head. As an added benefit, this avoids the unconfortable situation of an immortal fae fucking a 14 year-old.

    In terms of the story itself, it’s not anything particularly revolutionary in the world of “Harry but raised by different people” but the structure is fine, even if the pacing is a little slow and flat. The author doesn’t weave the two simultaneous plot arcs together as deftly as I would want—it often feels like the story interrupts its own momentum switching between two radically different sets of characters and settings. I think what James calls a lack of angst sometimes feels to me like a lack of emotional depth for Violet.

    Overall, a perfectly readable fic written by an author who seems to have at least a perfunctory grasp of writing, which makes it a solid 3.5/5 by fanfic standards. If the story is completed with the current level of quality or better, it’s probably a 4/5 from me.
     
  3. mercuryandglass

    mercuryandglass Third Year

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
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    Location:
    Canada
    This was thoroughly enjoyable, though it's for stories like these that I wish there were a stronger term for 'alternate universe'. Violet is decidedly not Harry, but that's not a bad thing. She has a solid character and an enjoyable voice. Moreover, unlike many incomplete fics of this genre of 'what if Harry was _______', there distinctly seems to be a plot and a direction to the story, and I maintain high hopes for it not falling apart as the author apparently has a plan regarding endgame (if my interpretations of the ANs have not failed me). As far as the worldbuilding goes, while it is exciting and detailed, it is nothing particularly novel. The way it builds off of canon is somewhat jarring, but the original characters are palatable enough and it ties in closely enough with the plot of the story that its existence is justified. The author's prose is more than readable, and its style is something a little more daring (in a very good way) than the typical minimum standard of 'unobtrusive' that I look for in fanfiction.

    With the less critical portions out of the way, my main problems for this fic are:
    1. As mentioned by the review above me, the protagonist does not act her age. Honestly, it's best to tune out whenever the narrative brings up ages, since it improves verisimilitude by a factor somewhere in the three digits.
    2. The plot, while present, is astoundingly loose; the narrative direction, while distinct, meanders extremely often, especially at the beginning. It took me until about chapter 10 or 12 to start actually caring about the story, not just the f!Harry trope and the somewhat nostalgic premise. (It's been a good while since I've seen someone recycle the fey/sidhe mythos.)
    3. Complete nit-picking now, but beyond the slough of action scenes that made me skim through quite a bit of the story (which I must admit might be a problem rooted more in my reading preferences than the author's decisions), there is also the problem of the protagonist's borderline psychopathy; it seems to infect the characters around her even once she moves into the wizarding world. As such, the story is emotionally underwhelming. Without an addiction to the extended duelling/combat scenes and without any meaningful emotional investment into the character, the only thing driving the story is a somewhat meandering plot. If the tropes chosen by the author interests the potential reader, then this story is indeed very enjoyable. If not, then the story falls flat.

    All in all, this is far enough beyond the average of 'enjoyably readable' that I look for in fanfiction. If it were complete without an utterly disappointing ending, I would be almost inclined to give it a 4/5 despite what I believe to be a somewhat niche appeal. As it stands, I'll still round up from the 3.5 that I would currently rate it.
     
  4. Layzer

    Layzer Squib

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2021
    Messages:
    5
    Wow I am sad that someone posted this before me, I've been eagerly following it for the last few weeks but haven't had time to get onto DLP to check if it had been posted.

    It being posted here doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's incredibly well written, doesn't waste words (the plot has definently tightened in the last 10 chapters, last 5 espscially so), and has some of the most unique/compelling magical fight scenes I've read ever.

    That being said, yes, the fic does require some suspension of disbelief in its earlier scenes. I can somewhat wave it away as a completely alien culture where age has no bearing though.


    Either way, here is a short list of the pros:
    1. Magic feels very magical in this fic. Unique ideas galore.
    2. It has a unique and novel concept that is executed well
    3. Fae mythos is a strong part of the plot, but doesn't detract or overwhelm it, but it rather integrated with it.
    4. It is technically very well written
    5. Fight scenes are some of the best I've ever read

    Some cons
    1. While this fic does have a strong and compelling narrative, if you aren't a fan of fight scenes, this probably isn't for you. They are by in large the focal point of every story arc.

    2. The first 1/3rd isn't quite as good as the following 2/3rds.

    3. Mentally aging up violet or accepting that she was raised by aliens is required to not feel like some of the plot is a bit icky.


    With that out of way, I'd give it a 4/5. If I were to just rate the last 10 chapters, it would be an easy 5/5, but I think the fic in totality deserves a 4/5 as it stands. Given a satisfying ending that suitably integrates the two spheres of the story, I think it would be wholly deserving of a 4.5 or a 5 overall.

    Note: I'm somewhat biased towards fics that have original concepts, I'll generally find something that is original, but not perfect preferable than something that might be "better" but lacks originality in concept or execution. Sleet and Hail has both originality in concept & execution.
     
  5. Harshmate

    Harshmate First Year

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2016
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    Chapter 1: 4.5/5

    So far, my impressions are positive. Firstly, the prose is really good. There’s good use of setting, description, characterisation etc.

    The author strikes a nice balance between the Harry Potter and the AU elements.

    I plan on updating this review as I read further. There’s quite a bit there already. If you like good writing and an intriguing plot, give it a try. I’m giving the first chapter 4.5/5, though I really can’t imagine how to improve upon it.


    Chapter 2 - 5: 3/5

    So, I'm disappointed. It's a step down from the first chapter in every way. The writing is poorer, the characterization is weaker, there are many cliched plot beats, some grammatical errors etc. I'm wondering if my initial impression wasn't so positive just because it's been a while since I read HP fanfic and I was excited to delve into it again.

    I'm gonna continue reading, at least till the story turns to complete shit. It still isn't a "bad" story, it's just....average. So, I'm giving it a 3.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2022
  6. Harshmate

    Harshmate First Year

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    Chapter 6 to 13 -> 3.5/5

    Eh, the story is a bit better now? It may be because we're delving into HP territory and the author is doing something unique (at least when compared to other OP!Harry fics). Heavily agreed with others on mentally aging up Violet. It'll help immensely with your SoD.

    In fact, imo the author made a real mistake not just having Violet already be an adult. She isn't going to Hogwarts as is. Why not get rid of the child protagonist entirely?

    Overall, the story still has many cliche bits, the characterization is still weak, but it's moving along quickly and I'm interested in the plot that is unfolding. The fight scenes are above average.

    PS - I would've added this to the other review rather than just make another one but I can't seem to edit the first one. And I can't delete it either, so I can't copy the contents to this review and delete the former.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2022
  7. Layzer

    Layzer Squib

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    To address the person above me asking why Violet isn't just an adult
    she does go to Hogwarts eventually. I think that's where the plot starts to shine because imo Friss has one of the best characterizations of Dumbledore that I've seen. He isnt wacky and manipulative, nor is he a weak and powerless idiot. He feels VERY magical/dumbledoreish.
     
  8. Harshmate

    Harshmate First Year

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    Chapter 14 to 24: 4/5

    The story’s become so much better. Yes the cliches are still there. But now there’s also more of the original bits that made me love the story in the first place. The action is where the story shines. If you love creative battles, then you’ll have a good time. Consider everything else secondary. Fae magic is more deeply involved and we’re getting to see how it interacts with HP magic - both have strengths and weaknesses. While treatment of some HP characters is eye-roll worthy, the author does unique stuff with others. Honestly, I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it.

    Chapter 25 - 39: 4.25/5
    This story is truly becoming something great.

    First thing, of course, don’t go in expecting anything other than a really good action story. There’s wit, charm, some politics or romance etc. but that is all just enough to spice up the main dish - which is action. This also makes the not-so-good parts easier to swallow. The cliches.

    But by now I’ve formed an attachment to the characters and can’t really give an “objective” review. Sorry about that.

    Hopefully, by the time the story comes to a close, the cliches would just seem like growing pains in some early chapters as the author became more comfortable in their writing.

    Overall, I give this story a recc if you like reading exciting duels and exploring magic. That’s what it excels at, and does everything else well enough to sprinkle in some variety.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2022
  9. Zvohunter

    Zvohunter Third Year

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    I kinda like it, but I swear (well, not really, I can't be bothered to actually check it) some sentences are taken straight from the Denarian Trilogy. The plot progression is similar, too - a lost Potter has a Denarian Lord fae babe helping them master the hellfire Winter's icy magic, only to return and attend Hogwarts a few years later and learn Words magic with Albus.

    Edit:
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2022
  10. Layzer

    Layzer Squib

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2021
    Messages:
    5
    To your first point about plot progression - when you reduce it down to that, obviously it looks similar. What you described is just a basic permutation of the classic Hero's Journey archetype. What makes a story good is how they work within that archetype and make it their own. There are countless stories that have (mentor) teaching (main character) about (magic) and then they learn from (secondary mentor) about (other magic). Look at Star Wars lol.

    To your second point, it's not an uncommon joke to make about Tonks lol.

    Regardless, Friss has said "The Denarian Renegade Series is probably the largest influence".
     
  11. oghianus

    oghianus Muggle

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2021
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    An AU that does not just follow the stations of the canon and is competently written; I quite like it. 4/5.
     
  12. Drachna

    Drachna Seventh Year

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    So, I have mixed feelings about this fic. For one, it feels like a cross over with the Dresden Files, even though it isn't portrayed as one, both in tone, and in the fact that some of its characters are almost direct rips from the series. The author writes Violet in a similar manner to the way Jim Butcher writes Harry Dresden, that is to say irreverent, cheeky and annoying. I don't particularly like Harry Dresden, and as such I don't particularly like Violet as a character.

    Violet is also hyper competent, mastering the higher mysteries of magic in a matter of years, and smacking around champion duellists and fairy queens alike before her 18th birthday. You may find this endearing, or interesting, and you could argue that it makes sense within the context of the story, but a main character who faces very little real challenge or opposition or dilemmas isn't one that I find particularly interesting.

    All of that being said, it is quite well written, and if you're looking for a HP power fantasy type fic that's fairly long, then you've found one.

    3.5/5.
     
  13. Drachna

    Drachna Seventh Year

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    So, after finishing this fic, I believe that I was mistaken. It consistently improves in quality towards the latter chapters, and while Violet continues to be extremely OP, once you embrace that the story becomes extremely enjoyable. I'm going to change my rating from 3.5/5 rounding down to 4.5/5 rounding up.
     
  14. PWIZDUO

    PWIZDUO Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
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    I’ve made it to chapter 6 and we have a 10 year old bribing/ threating murder. Then after she learns all the magic of the hogwarts curriculum in a year we have an 11 year old torturing a murdering a prisoner.

    also the 10 year old is drinking alcohol already.

    Im not sure I can continue with this. It’s sad to read high fantasy and have the place where suspension of disbelief is the hardest be the main characters actions within the context of the story.