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WIP The Imposter Complex by Notus Oren - T

Discussion in 'General Fics' started by RandyRanderson, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. RandyRanderson

    RandyRanderson Third Year

    Nov 12, 2019
    Title: The Imposter Complex
    Author: Notus Oren
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure/Supernatural
    Status: In-Progress
    Library Category: Dark Arts
    Pairings: None so far? Maybe Tom/Fleur?
    Summary: Tom Riddle escapes at the end of Chamber of Secrets, and is quite surprised to find that nothing about the future is as he ever thought it would be. Soon, Tom finds himself on a globe-spanning quest to follow the path his forebear blazed and perhaps, at the end, to put a stop to him once and for all.
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13275002/1/The-Imposter-Complex

    Frankly, I'm shocked that no one has submitted this for review. I've scoured the forums for any mention of this and have found none. If this has been submitted for review, I apologize in advance for doing so again.

    This story is entertaining with an engaging plot. Essentially, diary Tom Riddle escapes, having gone insane to the point where he's sane again, and is horrified by the actions of Lord Voldemort. He then goes on an adventure retracing his steps around the globe. The world-building is there and the author seems to be on top of his game when it comes to research of the places the character visits (if the author notes are any indication). One of the interesting aspects of the story is the world-building; China, in particular, stands out as a prominent example in my mind. The magic is also entertaining with body augmentation and magical artifacts being very unique. It's a pretty funny story as well, which is the result of the protagonist's perspective. The main character, Tom (basically an OC) is a fairly immoral protagonist who is ruthless but seems to truly care about his friends. The perspective of Tom is honestly one of the most enjoyable parts about the fic as the arrogance adds a lot.

    The writing is there, though there are noticeable minor issues here and there. 4.5/5 for me, rounded to a 5. The uniqueness of the story is what gives it such a high rating for me. I suspect I would rate it lower if something similar had preceded it.
  2. Sowaka

    Sowaka First Year

    Sep 24, 2018
    Northern Japan
    Schlock, but very readable and enjoyable schlock. Or is schlock too harsh of a word? I don't really mean it in a negative way.

    I've read the first eight chapters and yeah, Tom is a pretty much an OC, cut from that somewhat cliche fanfiction cloth of Voldemort being sane until he split his soul to make a Horcrux.

    In the first two chapters the author needed to set up his premise, so he follows the Chamber of Secrets, but the chapters are short and readable enough not to feel wooden. Sometimes I see premise or AU set ups that feel so forced and mechanical that I have to think the author shouldn't have even bothered and should have made a bullet point A/N instead. That's definitely not the case here.

    Chapter three sets the tone for the rest of the fic and it's a less serious one than I initially expected.
    It's almost comical how lucky Tom gets by encountering random wizards. Why would they rob a diner? And it was jarring how easily Garrow accepted everything... and then became almost a non-character in later chapters. And how lucky was it that Voldemort had a random golem machine? And what's up with Tom just going drinking with some witches? And chapter 8? With quips like "Do you have any leads?" No, but I'm me, so it's a matter of time." Or the random cozy Christmas.
    The fic almost feels like a self-parody with moments like these and you have to accept this to enjoy it.

    The author mentions being inspired by jbern among other things. From my point of view, he's definitely channeling that The Lie I've Lived energy. Tom feels like Harry James Potter did in Lie. Now, the literary qualities of Lie are up to debate, but as far as the enjoyment factor goes, it's among my favorites. It has that certain lack of sense and the reckless abandon to march onward I want in fics of that kind. So does this, so I'll continue reading.

    The author also mentions being inspired by LessWrong. I certainly hope he doesn't lean too heavily into Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres type of fedora-tipping. So far he's in the clear.

    Tom nabbing Sirius, impersonating Padfoot to have Fred and George nab Pettigrew in his rat form? Later getting a hint to a mystery from a random song?
    All in good fun, but really stretches the seriousness muscle.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  3. Barzûl

    Barzûl Seventh Year DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

    Dec 31, 2011
    It's definitely not a fic, you want to read if you're in need of a cold-hearted, analytical Voldemort.

    It reads like Tom Riddle on a spring break, which is not bad at all.
    Tom as a character is not at all stuck-up or elitist, which is very much at odds with my view of his canon younger self. He's by no means a Muggle-lover or a kind altruist, but in many way he's what I would expect a 20-something Riddle to be, if he had been more normal.

    I was solidly entertained through all 32 chapters so far and will probably follow this story from now on.

    As Sowaka mentioned, you need to enter this with the right expectations. The author does not take himself too seriously, which the story is all the better for.
    If you expect a serious and grim story, you will be disappointed. If you expect an adventure with some dark elements, you'll be in for a treat.

  4. Murr

    Murr Squib

    Dec 24, 2018
    United States
    I'm currently following this fic and it's quite over the top, but a really fun read. Tom's narrative style and irreverent tone is really addictive, although the writing overall comes across for me as somewhat choppy for my taste.

    The two main OCs introduced (Garrow and Peter Hein) are both wonderful, particularly the latter, and the author takes some delightful turns with the plot of the story. Unfortunately, Tom relies on quite a few unrealistic dei ex machinis to keep up with this wild romp, and while his character lights up the pages of the story, some of the others (notably Sirius and Harry) fall a bit flat for me.

    As others have said above, it's all meant in good fun, but there's just the slightest incongruence between what could be a superb dark adventure story and the humor sans gravitas the narration sometimes presents. But it's original and keeps you on your feet for when an update comes out, and the author seems to have some sort of schedule to his writing. I'm really curious to see the extent to expand this story and the inevitable avalanche with which it will end.

    Its quirky ideas and premise elevate it above a simple guilty pleasure. 3.5/5 for me rounded up to 4/5.
  5. Stenstyren

    Stenstyren Professor

    Jan 9, 2009
    Yeah, this is a fun romp, quite in the vein of Jbern and the like.
    It moves along at a nice pace and keeps things interesting, while borrowing heavily from other fanfictions and other fantasy-IPs.
    Tom Riddle is defenitely not on a straight path to world domination, rather he gets thrown a curveball from time to time that manages to change the path of the story in an interesting way. Although, large portions of the story are essentially like reading a tri-wizard task, and not much of a character-driven storyline.

    4/5 from me!
  6. mercuryandglass

    mercuryandglass Third Year

    Mar 25, 2012
    Solid 4/5: decent prose; fast plot; fun protagonist. Tom Riddle is the only place where OP-ness needs not be explained, and even then he faces very real obstacles that he genuinely needs to work in order to overcome. One of the few times that I've enjoyed first person narration so much in fanfiction.
  7. GrandHighPoobah

    GrandHighPoobah Third Year

    Feb 8, 2010
    I think this definitely falls into the guilty pleasure category for me. Tom's pattern of speech is kind of like what you would expect from an 18 year old American today, not a 17 year old Brit born in the 40s - his characterization is essentially Indy!Harry circa 2010. At the same time, he makes enough amusing first-person observations to slightly redeem his otherwise shallow character. His paranoia regarding death is underwritten as well; he doesn't react realistically to situations wherein he is in mortal peril and the smart thing to do would be to run away or hide. He kind of just fights everyone. Not very Slytherin.

    The random east Asian influences on Tom Riddle's fighting style don't really make sense since the diary version of Tom (ostensibly) never left the British Isles.

    The matryoshka doll-esque body switching hijinks/possessions completely remove any sense of peril for Tom. It's not fair to say that he never fails, because there are certainly situations where he comes up short, but the consequences for failure seem petty. The side characters also lack enough depth or personality to be worth worrying about, so there aren't really any stakes.

    I did enjoy the portrayal of the Australian wizarding prison, which is a unique take, and things move along at a swift enough pace that you never really feel bogged down in any of the somewhat clumsy plotting.

    3/5 for decent prose and a somewhat engrossing plot, despite its crackish tendencies and lack of character focus.
  8. Rain_

    Rain_ Muggle

    May 11, 2019
    The one thing that irks me a bit is the percentages for the horcruxes. Since you’re splitting your soul every time, maybe it make more sense for diary Tom (main POV) to be 50% of the soul, ring-Tom to be 25%, etc? Each one being 14% of the soul each seems a bit weird, since that would mean Voldemort either specifically tore off slivers of precise percentages or parts of the original horcruxes are being transferred as new ones are created (1 horcrux means 50% for horcrux and non-hoecrux, 2 mean 33% per horcrux and 33% for non-horcrux, etc.)

    That’s just one complaint though. From my perspective at least, it seems like it could be a great story, so I’d encourage the author to keep up the great work!
  9. Rain_

    Rain_ Muggle

    May 11, 2019
    Another think I’d like to mention, following up on my comment about percentages of the horcruxes, is that there are a ton of references to the main character having only started with 14% of a soul and gained it in increments of 14% as well.

    I feel like at this point it’d take quite a bit of rewriting to change it to the appropriate 50%, then 75%, etc. but then that would sort of take away from what little actual danger that the other horcruxes possess, as, for example, 14% vs 42% is a bit better than 12.5% vs 75%. If Voldemort made 6 horcruxes (7 including Harry), that means that he split his soul 6 (or 7 for Harry) times, meaning he is now (1/2)^6 of a soul, or 1.5625% of a soul (0.78125% including Harry). The story itself says that the amount of soul someone has doesn't really affect anything in the Real, but if diary Tom were to simply try and absorb Voldemort, it would be almost trivial, so I can see why it was done the way it was.

    It is magic after all, so who is to say it works the way I think it should. It’s really up to the author, and it’s just a minor complaint of mine; overall, great story, and I can't wait to read more!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  10. Cirvante

    Cirvante First Year

    Feb 26, 2014
    From what I remember, Tom is terrified of absorbing Voldemort or any full horcrux (Scar is a proto-horcrux and doesn't count) created after Voldemort acquired the Atlantean Grimoire. I like the idea of Atlantean magic being stronger than contemporary magic by orders of magnitude, as it gives Voldemort a real sense of danger and foreboding.
  11. Notus_Oren

    Notus_Oren Muggle

    May 4, 2020
    Thank you all for your feedback, it was interesting reading people’s thoughts. There’s definitely some valid criticism here which I’ll have to keep in mind, particularly in regards to consistency of tone.

    As for your query Rain_, I’ll explain it here, and make a note that it was unclear when Tom talked about it in the story, because that’d be my own fault.

    I’m planning to spend some time after the story is completed preparing a final edit of the whole thing, so I’m keeping track of issues like poor explanations.

    Tom planned out a seven part soul before he ever performed the first ritual. Unlike with the standard ritual, which is just a straight up halving, he had to make significant alterations so as to ensure each part is equal, for maximum stability. Each ritual in the process was different. The first was designed to take 1/7th, the second to take 1/6th, and so on, so that each Horcrux would have the equivalent of a seventh of his whole soul.

    Of course, then the scar got tossed into the mix, so who knows how much soul Voldemort proper actually has anymore.
  12. valrie

    valrie Fifth Year

    Jan 1, 2018
    Okay, caught up now. I almost wrote a review after the first dozen or so chapter but I'm glad I waited since my opinion changed quite a bit.

    My favorite part of the story is Tom Riddle. Like other people have said he's not canon Tom but that's not really a problem for me. He's an interesting character and his later character development is quite interesting. His interaction with his two good friends feels genuine and is also one of the best parts of the story.

    The pacing improved vastly over the course of the story. I think it's the author's first story so he probably learned quite a bit and you can tell that he improved his writing. After Tom's resurrection the pacing is very fast and lots of interesting stuff is barely mentioned in passing. That improves later on though.

    The only other part of the story that I didn't like is the magic. It's not the canon Harry Potter magic but rather more mechanistic although that might not be the perfect way of describing it. It's kind of hard to describe what my problem with it is. One symptom of the problem is that everyone constantly uses spells in all sorts of languages to achieve powerful effects. I think Tom's favorite spell is in Korean or something like that. I guess it's a bit subjective but I think becoming more powerful in Harry Potter should be more based on understanding complex concept and getting brilliant insights rather than finding an obscure spell and having the "power" to cast it. The best example of that is probably Taure's Victoria Potter. One pretty cool thing about the magic in the story is the author's creativity though. We're seeing all sorts of places from mythology and real historical stuff. Most of it is not common in Harry Potter either so that's good too.

    All in all, I'm definitively looking forward to reading more. The story is getting really interesting and the pacing problems are gone as well. I'm also looking forward to any future writing of the author. The story started a bit over a year ago and the writing has already improved that much so it looks promising.

    4/5 from me
  13. Philly Homer

    Philly Homer What you call elephant cum I call mouthwash

    Aug 16, 2007
    Look at the name, it should be obvious.
    I just read this very recently and it just got updated with Chapter 42 today.

    This starts off with a very enjoyable Tom Riddle (despite his OOCness) to read because of his narration. I enjoyed the Tom takes a vacation/magical travelogue kinda vibe we get at the beginning. It’s kind of fun imagining a carefree Tom Riddle just fucking around the globe with a couple of mates. Considering
    Sirius’ involvement in international artifact hunting and tracking the actual Voldemort’s previous movements, it’s like a homeless man version’s of A Black Comedy (a massive compliment from me) without all the sex.
    For plot purposes that changes later on but it’s a shame because I felt that’s where the fic shines the most, I think.

    Speaking of changes later on, I really disliked the
    Tom coming under the control of Dumbledore/Ministry. I just can’t imagine any version of Tom Riddle being controlled by anyone no matter how much circumstances conspire against him. If he can find a way to squirm out of the Unbreakable Vow, it would go a long way in fixing this flaw.

    The same goes for Tom’s remorse over the killing of OC Muggle. Considering the OOCness of this Tom, I guess it’s possible but it just doesn’t feel right because this fic starts with Tom offing a couple of random muggles just to secure a body. The regret over creating Horcruxes would feel right considering what his future self becomes but man, the whole remorse arc really leaves a bitter taste for me.

    The author has indicated that the fic is winding down so I don’t think we’re going to get that hinted
    Tom/Fleur pairing, it certainly seems too late to develop anything at this point. On one hand, there may not be a payoff to a planted seed. On the other, I actually find Tom’s crush to be....adorable. Tom Riddle doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to do things by half so I can totally see him not acting on a crush or if he did, I think he would be intense/obsessive type.

    The Peter Hein subplot is interesting, the author has a lot of good ideas throughout and the Hein reveal in Chapter 41 was certainly worth the wait.

    Overall, I enjoyed the beginning and middle of The Imposter Complex. If it continued in that direction, I would have been inclined to give it 5/5 but because of the later chapters, I’m going to give it a 4/5 because I do think it is Library worthy.
  14. GravityAP

    GravityAP First Year

    Feb 22, 2019
    I’d have to agree with most of what Philly said. I believe it is a well written and fun story.

    I like the personally but I felt it was abrupt.