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The Boy Who Lived by Gatalicious - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by MuggsieToll, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. MuggsieToll

    MuggsieToll Second Year

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    Title: The Boy Who Lived
    Author: Gatalicious
    Rating: T
    Genre: Mystery/Friendship
    Status: In Progress
    Library Category: Alternates
    Pairings: None.
    Link

    Summary: What if when Voldemort heard the prophecy, he decided that not only would he go after Neville and Harry, but every child born in that year? What if he decided to kill all children born the year before and the year after as well, just to be on the safe side? Harry Potter is the only boy who lived through the Purge, no one knows why. How will a young Harry Potter now cope? No romance.

    4/5 solid fic. The writing is technically proficient, and the twist of Harry's mysterious power (not a superpower, just something that happens when certain people touch him) keeps me coming to this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  2. Wyatt Axford

    Wyatt Axford Second Year

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  3. MuggsieToll

    MuggsieToll Second Year

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  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Well I'll be damned, a fanfiction premise I haven't run across before. Well done to the author for that.

    It is actually what it says on the tin - Voldemort did something and every wizarding child in Harry's entire year, the year ahead of him, and the year behind him... all died. He is literally the only magical child within that three year period in the world (?) that lived. Muggleborn kids are dead, Death Eaters kids are dead, yup, all dead. Harry is the only first year, there are no second years, and there will be no first year next year either.

    So, again, kudos to the author for going full throttle at that.

    Otherwise this isn't great.

    The word economy is poor, like this is the authors first (or at least a very early) work. Similarly a lot of the dialogue doesn't feel natural for an eleven year old kid. Plus there's a feeling of things being shoehorned in because the the author knows that readers need the info, so it's forced. Here's an example of all of those (from the first chapter):
    "I was very confused" is not great. Easy enough to show Harry is confused, but beyond that we already KNOW that by this point as we've been in his POV. The sentence here is just awkward telling that authors do when they start out, not trusting the reader to pick up on things. Same for the rest of that first paragraph.

    Also strange to me that Harry doesn't just ask "What don't I know?" here. Adults or children either this just feels like an awkward way to bring things up - and it's done because Harry and the reader need the info, but it's sloppy. Here and elsewhere too it's like the author struggles a bit more than normal to write Harry like his canon self (though he is basically canon!Harry) or like a kid at all. It's not even that he's too adult either, it's just... stiff?

    Anyway, the author continues to deviate from canon while including some aspects of it - here's a few spoilers for up to Chapter 6:
    Harry goes into Hufflepuff and befriends Cedric. He makes friends with Fred but not George, who seem to be in disagreement about how to feel about Harry given that Ron and Ginny died as infants while he lived. Dumbledore promptly tells Harry about the prophecy - it comes up during the first week of school. Madam Longbottom has as government role. Dumbledore is the one who didn't want to send Harry to the Dursleys but his hand was forced. Harry is basically getting tutored since he's the only first year. The Basilisk is in play and Harry is working with Fred and Cedric, who do NOT get along or agree about much. It kills Filch flat out.
    All that by Chapter 6 - and they're not long chapters! The pacing is fine.

    But the writing just... really isn't.

    I can recommend this to skim because it has an original feel to it. The writing though... wish this author was on DLP so they could revise this.

    3.5/5 for being something different and not wasting time, but I can't see this making it into the library without a rewrite (but then it def could).
    (read up to Chapter 6 and have a good feel for it -- if I keep going I'll come back to edit -- edit: I kept reading for a bit and it brings in even more crazy shit I've never seen... I keep reading just to get the authors ideas)
    Basilisks aren't supposed to live more than 100 years, so what's up with this one? Oh, it's a vampire Basilisk! They close the school.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  5. Villanelle

    Villanelle Groundskeeper

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    Looks promising.

    There was a similar premise posted in WbA a few years ago. I just dug it up, and I surmise it's from the same author, though I haven't looked into it yet. Just putting it out here in case anyone's interested.
     
  6. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Good catch. I glanced through WBA and it’s definitely the same story, albeit with a few edits.
    @Gatonio you still around? If so happy to do a critique of your first chapter to point out the things I think you need to work on. Let me know and can either do it in WBA if you edit your post or a pm.
     
  7. EkulTeabag

    EkulTeabag Seventh Year

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    As Ched said, the writing is not great, but the twists and turns kept me reading despite my dislike for the angsty first person perspective. The author seems to be inserting all sorts of bits and pieces from the first five books that feel shoehorned, and genuinely come off as just there for the sake of being there.

    It's a first year story at the moment, but no Quirrell, no Philosopher's Stone. Chamber of Secrets and basilisk, but no diary and no Lockhart. Sirius, Moody, and Kingsley show up unexpectedly, but nothing else really from books three, four, and five. The prophecy is told to Harry immediately and he panics and runs away and wants to leave the magical world, but after letting him sit around in the forest for a few hours Dumbledore convinces him to be the hero the world needs because Voldemort is still out there. This all happens before Christmas of first year.

    Fred and George are not stuck together like glue, and George is actually kind of a bastard, but I suppose the author felt that Harry needed somebody to be a schoolyard rival due to the absence of anyone else his own age.

    We get appearances from Andromeda and Narcissa. Narcissa is not what I expected, especially as she's on the Hogwarts Board of Governors and wants to play a more active role in Harry's education and protection for purely selfish reasons. What she did immediately after Draco's death came out of nowhere really, and the explanation given by Cedric's father seems to be the author's way of telling the reader that she's meant to be seen as a thoroughly unpleasant character, rather than the sympathetic one she comes across as.

    Chapter 19 gives us a look at Molly Weasley, and between her behaviour and Narcissa's reactions to Harry, mothers don't seem to be coping at all even after ten years. It's... kind of pitiable, but understanding considering what happened.

    Harry is constantly wangsting, and it's made even worse by the first person perspective, especially after the Chamber of Secrets. I won't go into detail, I won't even add a spoiler tag, but based on what happens and how Harry tries to cope with it, I'm guessing the author is a combat veteran? Or knows somebody who is and was deeply sympathetic? Personally, I think first person is a poor way to write PTSD.

    Personally, I'll rate this as a 2.5. The unending angst, the first person perspective, the telling and not showing, and the overall mediocre quality of the writing bring the score down.
     
  8. coolname95

    coolname95 Second Year

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    Agreed with the commenters above. Too much angst and the technical quality of the writing is pretty poor, but the premise is pretty interesting and it's interesting enough to skim through. I think it goes to the "guilty pleasure" category, 3/5.
     
  9. Testamentary

    Testamentary Squib

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    Oh man is this concept intoxicatingly novel. Few writers have the guts to go for such radical, bloody alterations to canon, so the fic gets points for that before I even start reading. That being said, it does run afoul of my dislike for fanfiction in first person. I think it's very hard for inexperienced writers to establish an authorial voice while trying to use first person, and this work seems to be no exception. However, while that does bother me personally, it very well may not bother others so I'm going to put it aside somewhat. In terms of execution, the author has not set an easy task for themselves. There are so few touchstones of canon that remain intact that the author has to do an immense amount of legwork to do basic things like establish relationships and create stakes. It would be difficult for even the most veteran of writers and I suspect that this author is still somewhat new to the craft. All that being said, I think the author does alright. Dialogue could stand to be improved and the pacing definitely needs to be tightened up, but the underlying sense of direction remains interesting. A solidly alright read, in my opinion. 3/5
     
  10. Iztiak

    Iztiak Prisoner

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    As said by those above, I love the concept.

    The writing is a little bit rough - But in a fixable way. I think a few rounds of editing would polish off most of the rough edges.

    It’s not like half the stories I’ve read recently where it’s clear the author is years away from good storytelling.

    I personally enjoy first person stories quite a lot, and there’s no way to improve except through practice.

    I’d give this a 3.5/5, rounded up. With a bit of editing this could be great. I’ll definitely be following it.
     
  11. Gaius

    Gaius Fifth Year

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    I really like this premise, as others have said. It is biblical in scope and for me recalls Moses and death of firstborns in Egypt in OT as well as Herod killing all infants born around Jesus’ birth in NT.

    I agree with some that the writing isn’t stellar towards the beginning (see Ched’s ex. from Ch. 1). I think it has gotten better though. 1st person isn’t my preference, and in this instance I think it adds a bit of immaturity to the voice of the narrator. That is ok given Harry is 11 and I think that some angst is fine as we see Harry live through serious trauma. He differs from canon Harry in this respect since he experiences more gory, violent episodes at a younger age, allowing him to see Thestrals at end of his first year.

    Yes it actually delivers the premise in the summary! I wonder if Truthsayer conspiracists have anything to their theory though. Maybe Lily did do something? Probably a sacrifice as in canon though.

    We haven’t seen the diary but I was expecting it throughout the whole basilisk episode. Especially with George’s behavior and attitude. After what we’ve learned about the Malfoys though, how would the Horcrux come into play? Are there Horcruxes in this AU?

    yeah I agree with this. Pacing and plot kept this moving at a clip despite some of the weaker technical aspects of the story.

    This bit seemed to me to subvert the trope in Slytherin!Harry AUs where Narcissa is exceedingly kind and mothering to Harry. Instead, she is interested in Harry, but for personal reasons (desire to reconnect with Draco), and Harry’s attraction to her (and his ability to shake it off) is given a magical reason (her desire to appear beautiful again also doubles as a disarming technique). The rumor of Veelaphagy could be handled with a bit more mystery and foreshadowing perhaps.

    Yes, Molly’s characterization in this scheme was heartbreaking given our knowledge of her character in canon. Reminds me of the ramblings of Xeno Lovegood in DH and his desire to return Luna to him.

    Another mother I’m interested in is Pandora Lovegood—how did she disappear? Does that have anything to do with the purge? Did she know more than other wizards?

    a final thought: how do Harry’s visions of canon (Draco, Ron) figure into this AU? Is canon an alternate dimension to the AU? Are the kids somehow accessible as Dumbledore hopes? Did Lily’s sacrifice and the blood protection in canon somehow precipitate this Voldemort’s actions to kill all wizarding children under a certain age?

    looking forward to more and hope along with others that this fic appears in WBA.

    3.5-4/5

    edit: fixed some typos
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  12. Gatonio

    Gatonio Squib

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    Well hello, this was an interesting thread to come across!

    For the record - I know and fully acknowledge that the technical writing of this fic is not up to Library standards, it's why I never submitted the fic for review myself. It was written purely as a bit of fun to get me back into the swing of writing and because of lockdown boredom. :D But I'm glad to see it's piqued some of your interests.

    A small point of the 1st Person POV. I've written a few stories before but never anything in 1st Person POV. Tbh, it's the whole reason I decided to resurrect this fic from the dead and give it a second go because it's something I'd never done before and I knew I could never get better at it if I didn't suck a lot and then slowly (and hopefully) improve, word by word and chapter by chapter.

    I also am doing a bit of POV play in this fic. There are short sections written in 2nd Person POV when Harry is seeing visions and I am planning an Interlude chapter that will be entirely in 3rd Person POV - again this makes sense in the way I've imagined the story, to me anyway.

    I plan to do a rewrite of the first 10 chapters after I get the whole story written, which will probably take me many more months. But if you guys have specific feedback for edits and such, and are feeling charitable with your time, please feel free to PM me or write in the WBA thread. I'm more than happy to make changes to earlier chapters as I go along.
     
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