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WIP The Malachite Series by Lazov - M

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Sesc, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Title: Malachite Gift/Malachite's Worth/Malachite Path
    Author: Lazov
    Rating: M
    Genre: Drama
    Status: WIP, currently in the middle of third year. Not abandoned.
    Wordcount: ~300k
    Library Category: Dark Arts
    Pairings: Harry/Daphne ... of sorts. Harry/Luna of a different sorts. Neither qualifies as "Romance".

    Summary: Your typical Slytherin AU, the kind of e.g. MiraMirth's story, but Harry's not the BWL.


    So I spent the last 24 hours devouring this.

    The TL;DR of it is that I consider it right now the second-best currently in-progress Slytherin!Harry AU right after On the Way to Greatness. It's sprawling and could be tightened up quite a lot, sometimes repetitive (same events, different POVs) or dragging, and you need to be able to ignore "Hadrian" instead of "Harry" and push past a somewhat slow beginning, but that's about it. The rest is the joy of a good, old (and oldschool) Dark!Harry.


    The slightly longer (and spoilerific) version is that I'm horribly biased, because I'm madly in love with this version of Harry and Daphne.

    She's, to put it simply, insane (like, Bellatrix style, only better able to hide it), and the author IMO does a great job on transitioning between a semblance of normality when she's keeping up appearances, and fits of madness that are sometimes breaking through. Harry's not entirely stable either, so as far as their "relationship" goes, any notion of romance is naturally out of the window -- they need each other and hate each other and hate that they need each other.

    Also great is the relationship with her sister, I don't think anyone ever had Astoria and Daphne loathing each other to that extent. The entire Greengrass family is basically FUBAR.

    Luna is an oddity; her relationship with Harry is somewhere between sister, friends, and more, probably the most normal thing in the entire story.

    As far as the conflict goes, it's partly internal, as Harry struggles against losing himself in the Dark Magic, partly the typical external fare -- tension and struggles in Slytherin, and between Slytherin and all the other houses. The Canon plot is only the background; since Harry isn't the BWL, he doesn't really get involved.

    And for everyone who dislikes Hermione, this story has the most consequent solution for her that I've seen so far. That is how you deal with her without bashing :p

    She gets clubbered up by the troll, since Harry naturally isn't there to save her, finds no friends, since Harry isn't there to befriend her, and then consequently leaves Hogwarts and the story. The end.


    When you're writing Slytherin, there's basically one fundamental decision to be made; that is, whether to write them as children or not. Both can be interesting, IMO; in any case, this one's definitely the latter. Everyone's out for their own gain, and whether you're 11 or 17 doesn't really make a difference in behaviour. I enjoyed it; others might not.

    Style-wise, it reminds me a little of Fayr Warning's stuff. It's the same gloomy atmosphere and the same permeating sense of doom. If you want something lighthearted, this is the wrong thing. With 'Drama' and 'Dark Arts' it is aptly placed.

    And finally, as for updates, I talked with the author, and he's currently writing the rest of the third year. When that's done, he wants to update regularly.


    Rating: In fairness, probably 4/5 if you like the genre, but I love what the author is doing to Harry, Daphne and their relationship, so I have to give it a 5. I couldn't stop reading.
     
  2. NuitTombee

    NuitTombee Dark Lord

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    Yeah, the Hadrian thing I don't like but it's better than Heron.

    On the way to the bank he's feeling comforted by Hagrid's presence but at the mention of the vault key he's done a 180 and excluding him from going with them.

    Afterwards he asks Griphook what his name is and what a muggle is and it leads to this.

    Should I just skip ahead somewhere because this Diagon Alley scene is very much not to my liking so far.

    ---

    This makes me remember with fondness when I still though The Grass Is Always Greener by kb0 was the best Harry/Daphne fic ever. I've sadly grown past that and it hurts to read it. I can't help but wish I was still so easily entertained.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  3. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    You could skip. The Gringotts plot isn't touched upon again, what's important is the introduction of Yvanna in chapter 4, and after that, chapter 5 picks up where chapter 1 ended. Even the wand business isn't that important, Ollivander wand, custom wand, w/e. Wand is wand.

    As I said, the beginning is somewhat drawn out.
     
  4. Russano

    Russano Disappeared

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    Pretty good, definitely readable. Not sure if it's library worthy.

    Some Pro's:

    Smart Ruthless Harry. Some nice character interactions. The writing is dark and decently well written.

    Cons: The whole story seems to revolve around Hadrian (also a con). Not in the "Duh, he's the protagonist" way but it seems like every other character gets POVs just to muse about how intriguing he is. It gives the impression that the universe is centered on him or something.
    Theres a couple other normally annoying cliches, but they don't linger around and aren't in y our face like in other stories, plus its covered up by the rest of the story.
     
  5. Krieger

    Krieger Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Gotta take a break and do some stuff, but I have nearly finished the second story, and while it is good and definitely almost recommended, I don't see it as being anything but a guilty pleasure. Slight spoilers alert.

    Beyond Hadrian :facepalm (queue Harry telling Dumbledore to call him Mr Potter, not Harry) always having the upper hand, even against adults in conversation, the Gryffindor bashing is the most annoying part of this fic. Sure it is not as in your face as most other Slytherin stories, but it is there, and it is irrational.

    The only Gryffindor slightly in character is Ron, and that is because we saw his irrational hate of Slyhterins in canon. It is over the top in this story, but hey he is the closest to being in character, and with that being Ron... well.

    The other Gryffindors though are completely OC to their character with no explanation. Lets ignore Seamus and Patil, because they are side characters so who gives a shit, the two biggest concerns are Neville Longbottom and Minerva McGonagall.

    I never knew being the Boy-Who-Lived and a Gryffindor made you a complete arse, which is where this author has taken their character with Neville Longbottom. The most mild, good-natured character in canon is suddenly a blind Slyhterin hating Gryffindor. The only difference? He is the Boy-Who-Lived. His irrational hate is not expanded upon from there, and it has shown up multiple times so far throughout the story. And guess what? You guessed it! Every interaction with Harry just makes Gryffindors and Co. look even more like fools. Getting cursed/jinxed in the back? An invisible shield that no one sees you cast will save the day! And embarrass those pesky nay-sayers to boot. Cause Slytherins are awesome.

    The nest biggest concern was Minerva. She does not have the same irrational hate of Slytherins as her students, but instead she has turned into blind a supporter of Gryffindor (not canon, she is willing to punish her own students). A fight breaks out and a whole group of Gryffindors have an altercation with a Slytherin? Must be Harry Potters fault. Even though she fully knows and understand how and why it happened, no reprimand is given to the Gryffindors, not without good guy Snape (not OC at all) putting his foot down.

    That is just some of the irratonal Gryffindor bashing going on, without going into the Slytherin is awesome part of the story. I won't go deep into Albus Dumbledore because while bad, his character is not seen as much as others. The worst thing with him is he believes Slytherin house should be removed from the school and there should be no children ever allowed to go into that house. Not joking, that's in the story.

    There are also other problems as well, but nothing that detracts from the story as much as the above.

    Removing the Gryffindor side of things the story is enjoyable, though still not library worthy. The writing quality while acceptable, is no where near great, and the characterization is all over the place as Nuit touched upon. Minerva actually shows signs of having an independent brain now and then, before it gets shut down and she goes into old habits.

    Maybe the characterizations and the reasoning behind the characters get explained, but so far at nearly the end of story two nothing worthwhile has shown up in that regard. I haven't finished reading yet, and if the authors is willing to let bad characterization with no reasoning to go on for so long... then I can't see this being resolved anytime soon, if at all.


    TL;DR A 3/5 of a guilty pleasure. Gryffindor bashing abound but thankfully more subtle then other fics so you can semi-ignore it. I will be reading it, I enjoyed the fic, it just is no where near library worthy. If you enjoy Slytherin fics this is one of the not so bad ones. A decent time waster with credible writing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  6. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Heh. While there's a clear favouring of Slytherin in the writing, don't forget that's a POV thing, at least to a degree. Stuff like Dumbledore handing out house points at the end of the year feast for Harry & co saving the stone -- in Canon, I found it hilarious. Slytherin wins, and then comes Dumbledore.

    But when the shoe's on the other foot, so to speak, you realise it is unfair. They have won fair and square. Dumbledore, as the headmaster, handing Gryffindor just enough point to snatch the victory away is being horribly biased and not at all impartial.

    And I guess like that it's also with the rest.

    Why wouldn't Neville hate Slytherin? In Canon, Snape likes to abuse him in class, and I don't see the rest of Slytherin being much different. He would be made fun of by the likes of Malfoy because they like being dicks. But if you have a Slytherin-biased POV, you'd see less of that and more of Neville's reaction, and what you end up with is "a blind Slytherin hating Gryffindor". And that Snape would be a "good guy" from a Slytherin POV goes without saying. I don't even need to point out the AU to explain that supposed OOC-ness.

    As for "it's all Harry Potters fault" ... dude, you will agree that he's completely out of control near the end, yeah? He basically curses everything that moves. Having a reputation will make people think you're at fault even if you aren't, and Harry's most definitely not innocent here.


    So I dunno, I agree that Gryffindor-Slytherin thing could be toned down by a decent margin and the story wouldn't be the worse for it, however, it's also simply the reverse side of the developments we see in Canon, IMO.
     
  7. Krieger

    Krieger Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, I never had a problem with Dumbledore and the house points. As you said, it's canon.

    And I was going to go into about the POV and the favoritism in the authors writing towards Slytherin, but given how much I had written I didn't want to go into anything more. Plus mainly it is a Slytherin fic, so most people wouldn't mind as much the wanking over Slytherin. As a reader you want your protagonist to be better, I certainly do. The trick is your meant to do that without degrading those around you, because then it comes across as bashing which as a whole not just degrades the other houses, but brings the whole fic down.

    A lot of the differences you can contribute to the POV, which is fine because as a whole we don't see what happens from the Gryffindors perspective, especially when it comes to canon events, but that's not the bashing I am referring to.

    When it comes to Neville, why is he needed beyond the bash factor? There is a ready made hate machine in Ron. Instead we get Neville, someone who as you said was picked upon in canon from the Slytherins, yet in canon he never once expressed hate towards Slytherins (iirc?), and in my opinion he was picked on worse then Harry.

    Harry could stand up for himself, Neville could not. The constant degrading of someone who couldn't stand up for himself should of festered more hate then Harry could ever have dreamed of towards Slytherin, yet Neville never had that hatred.

    In regards to the fic, Neville is a complete opposite in temperament to how he was in canon. And there is no reason for it except to show how awesome Harry is. You could take Neville and the Boy-Who-Lived aspect out of the fic and nothing would be lost, you could easily replace with another antagonist. We don't see from their POV or the canon events they go through, so aren't needed. The only times Neville shows up is for confrontation of the meaningless sort, in which Harry always get the one-up. (Once again, I've only read up to end of book two, just starting on book three now.)

    So if he is not needed in the story, and when he does appear it is for conflict with the Slytherins and then in turn to be made a fool of, what is that if not bashing? A cheap way to make conflict in a story. It could be something as simple as the POV makes it look worse then it is, but since we don't get a different POV and no explanation as for the reason they act the way they do, it's just plain bashing, only made worse by the fact the interactions have a minor role to play in the story so far and as such not needed.

    As regards to the OOCness of characters,it is AU, but there needs to be explanation if you are going to change characters around. If there is no explanation and someone is drastically changed and then subsequently degraded for no reason, that is the definition of bashing. I have no problem with Neville looking like the fool (canon) and hating Slytherins, we saw other characters do that in canon, if there is reason given for it. We don't get that. Instead it's there, Harry is awesome, life goes on.

    In regards to the "It's all Harrys Potters fault," take it thats me talking about Minerva. Harry did lose his shit towards the end, and it was justified for Minerva to punish, yet the favoritism started to happen slightly before that with the attack on Harry and Daphne.

    Your right though that you can contribute that to them being her own students, and Harry in Slytherin. Just annoyed me is all, it's the typical Snape is good and Minerva is bad you come across in a lot of Slytherin fics, but it's no where near as bad here then in other fics. This is probably the biggest thing so far you can put on your POV differences, because we do see it from Minerva's point of veiw as well which softens the blow. Favoritism sure but you can actually put that on them being in difference houses and nothing irrational.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  8. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Two things.

    I thought about it some more, and here's what I figure. First, the stuff of Dumbledore clearly favouring Gryffindor and the BWL in particular is important. Dumbledore handwaving things like the polyjuice incident (I'm not sure I agree that it's illegal to brew and/or impersonate people, but w/e) creates resentment, and the likes of Harry and Snape aren't going to take that lying down.

    The Gryffindors and Neville & co, in turn, suffer from the retaliation, without -- just as Harry in Canon doesn't -- regarding Dumbledore's actions as anything special. In other words, they see only the effect, not the cause -- "Slythering are being Slytherins".

    Second, we don't see Neville in Canon hating on Slytherins, but then we don't see him doing much of anything. The difference here, I'd say, is the BWL status. You get a weird mixture of a Neville that's timid and insecure, enough so to let the likes of Ron dominate him, far more than Canon!Harry ever would, while at the same time, he is the BWL, which does bolster his courage -- but only to stand up against (actual, perceived, or Ron-distorted) slights, not against Ron.

    So what I'm thinking is that in theory, Neville (and any other Gryffindor not willing or able to see the entire picture) despising the Slytherins is fine and can be explained. It's a matter of practical application.

    Whenever Neville or Ron is used as a mirror to show Harry's awesomeness (which ultimately is the flip side of bashing, so you're right there), that's annoying. I think this is the issue you have with it, and I think that's a legit point. If nothing else, it makes them Crabbe and Goyle-level dumb -- getting their asses handed to them in every confrontation ever should make them stop seeking confrontations and wise up. And additionally, the difference to Canon is that AFAIR, Harry never instigated shit, while here Ron, Neville & co actively try to confront Harry.

    I think it's a little better in the third year story, because that one focuses less on the Gryffindors, and more on Harry and Daphne. At any rate, there was a chapter or section from Neville's POV in it (in book 3, I mean), so that might help with the characterisation. I only skimmed that, because I wanted to get back to the main plot >_>
     
  9. Krieger

    Krieger Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    I have just started reading the third year story, and its leaps and bounds better then the first two. As you said, it has less interaction with Gryffindors in it we are finally getting some explanations from Daphne. Plus the story finally feels like it's progressing on its own rather then just going through the paces.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  10. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I detest insane chaeacters and hate Dark magic = Sith. Add that to my number one pet peeve of kids arguing with adults and the all-too-common tendency of making Harry look cool by making everyone else a complete idiot...

    2/5

    I wanted to give it a 1 but the author is at least literate.
     
  11. Anarchy

    Anarchy Totally Sirius DLP Supporter

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    There's too many things I don't like about this story for me to rate it any higher than average. I detest any blown out of proportion (to the point of being unrealistic) gryffindor/slytherin hate, and the way dark magic is portrayed here irks me more than it probably should. I think it's more the way the author has written it, rather than any personal bias. Also, Hadrian. That alone sends up the red flag that things probably aren't going to be what you wish they were - I'm tempted to copy the story and find/replace every instance of it. I also don't care for the Daphne character at all, but I've found that's usually the case with these types of stories; too many people trying to make her interesting, instead of just making her normal.
     
  12. CrippledGod

    CrippledGod Second Year

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    Pretty much this.
     
  13. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    If I wanted "normal", I wouldn't go looking for a story with Daphne in it.
     
  14. dragovitch

    dragovitch Disappeared

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    3.675/5

    It's not a bad story at all, it's just that the premise, while exciting and new (the part about nonBWL Slytherin!Harry), is not done very well at all.

    Some major negatives:

    -Daphne. Her character is not written well.
    -Gryffindor Bashing.
    -Nevile's character.
    -Snape's character.
    -Jesus Christ Hadrian
    -The portrayal of Dark Magic. Slytherin!Harry fics often have this problem, the one that is the exception is OTWG.
    -Hermione's fate. I think he just wanted her gone and pulled a Deus ex Machina on us.
    -Harry can somehow outmaneuver Dumble-fucking-dore. The man who, if he chooses, could take over the ministry before lunchtime. The same man who has spent a lifetime amassing political skill and ability with nothing except his raw talent to back him.
    -Dumbledore's character.

    But, the positives are there... So, I recommend this be moved to the Library.
     
  15. Russano

    Russano Disappeared

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    You mean Dumbledore, the guy who got absolutely politically nullified in canon?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  16. Spyder

    Spyder Third Year

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    Personally I liked it. I really don't understand the issues re: Hadrian - its no more ridiculous than all that "just call me Harry" bullshit you see so much of these days. If I can overlook that, I can overlook Hadrian. I also fail to see the problem with Gryffindor bashing. There's plenty of Slytherin bashing in canon; why people see the reverse as unforgivable is beyond me. The author also doesn't hold back - he shows contempt for Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs as well, in a way that I find believable if I buy into the rest of the story - which I can.

    Its easily one of the best recent attempts I've read - at a time when most of fanon is focussed on author self inserts or regurgitating Harry/Hermione, Harry/Ginny or Harry/Draco ad nauseum.

    Like Sesc, I found it hard to stop reading. Looking forward to seeing the rest of "Book 3".
     
  17. Anarchy

    Anarchy Totally Sirius DLP Supporter

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    The problem is that there are far more stories trying to make daphne "interesting", that in fact, it's a "normal" daphne that would be far more interesting to read about. This particular characterization of her isn't new, isn't interesting, and worst of all, isn't written all that well. So many stories follow into the trap of trying to hard to be exciting, but in the end they consume themselves. Some people just don't care, but I just don't see anything in this story that sets it apart from the rest.
     
  18. dragovitch

    dragovitch Disappeared

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    Daphne's characterization in the third book is 5/5 but in the first two it's horrible. The problem with Daphne/Tracy is that the two are just.... plain. Interchangeable in fact. Authors can play up there own versions on them and they practically become OCs. This version of Daphne is new and interesting to say the least but the story itself is just to... cliche.
     
  19. Radmar

    Radmar Disappeared

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    There are far too many clichés for me to actually enjoy it. Mainly idiotic mechanics of how magic works. Yeah, Daphne is interesting, but not enough so that I would have to continue reading because of it. It kept me hooked until start of third year, which is more that I can say about most of other stories, though. 2/5.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  20. FreakLord

    FreakLord Professor DLP Supporter

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    This is why I get excited whenever Sesc starts a thread in the review forum. Brilliant find dude.

    Instead of posting the whole series, you should have posted only the last part.

    My ratings: 3/5, 4/5, 5/5 respectively for the 3 parts.

    @Others, seriously, just try to start reading from the second part. You won't be missing much. Sesc can even post cliffnotes of the first part if you ask for it.
     
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