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Complete The Never-ending Road by laventadorn - M

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by T3t, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Title: The Never-ending Road
    Author: laventadorn
    Rating: M
    Genre: Action/Drama
    Status: Complete (sequel is WIP)
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: None (fem!Harry/Snape expected in sequel, though it hasn't happened yet)
    Summary: AU. When Lily died, Snape removed his heart and replaced it with a steel trap. But rescuing her daughter from the Dursleys in the summer of '92 is the first step on a long road to discovering this is less true than he'd thought. A girl!Harry story, covering CoS - GoF. Future Snape/Harriet. Sequel "No Journey's End" (Ootp - DH) is now posting.
    Link: FFN Ao3

    I've been yammering on about this fic in IRC for god-knows how long, and was finally convinced to post it For Review.

    The story itself runs from start of Year 2 to end of Year 4.

    In my view this is one of the best stories in the fandom along most traditional lines - characterization, plotting, pacing, and especially prose. The prose is beautiful without being purple or pretentious. Allow me to quote the first paragraph of the story:

    The sheer depth of the imagery being conveyed with so few words is incredible. Of course, the author doesn't slack off on the other important elements of storytelling. Harriet is at once remarkably similar to canon Harry in some ways, and subtly different in others - and the divergences grow naturally over time.

    The author has a very fine grasp on the ephemeral feeling of magic that Rowling invoked in her books, but there's never any effort to bludgeon you over the head with her own cleverness - expansions in worldbuilding flow seamlessly, as if you'd just forgotten a little bit of canon that the author remembered.

    The main downside, for most people, will be the anticipated pairing. Suffice it to say it there is no romantic interaction between Harriet and Snape in the first story (which is complete), and none in the sequel - yet. That's not to say the characters don't talk or think about it - to give too many details would be spoilerish, but suffice it to say Snape has yet to do, say, or think anything creepy. If that is all that is stopping you from reading the story I strongly suggest you forget the pairing exists and read it anyways.

    5/5
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  2. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    I've been on a weird Fem!Harry kick lately so this has come at a good time, especially as most of them are really bad. The future Snape/Fem!Harry pairing in the sequel has me concerned for the author's sanity but I'll give this a chance before making any kind of serious judgement given what you've said about it.

    The word count is also immense, which may be a bonus.

    Will give a preliminary review once I'm a few chapters in.
     
  3. Villanelle

    Villanelle Seventh Year

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    Had T3t not included that quote in their review, I likely would not have given this a go. Not only do I dislike romance (on top of canon retreads), but Snape and Harriet!?

    Superb writing, lovely imagery, somewhat reminiscent of iheartseatbelts. These tidbits are sprinkled throughout (only four chapters in at the moment, mind you), and they are a joy to read.

    Snape is hilarious, his mannerisms, reflections, and reactions on point. Most would agree that it is tough to write a good Dumbledore, and the author does not fail there, but so is a good Snape.

    Indeed, many are the stories wherein Harry is saved by a misunderstood Severus, who upon catching on to the machinations of the "bumbling old fool", finds in Harry a kindred spirit. A true Snake underneath it all! How very boring.

    Through the shifting perspectives, one gets a more complete view of the characters. It makes them feel almost real. You have Albus with his pastries, and Snape wanting to strangle himself at their sight. Even Petunia was done well! While the Malfoys, Narcissa in particular, were a bit heavy handed (?), perhaps that was to outline the extent of their poshness. I can't wait to see how enraged Snape gets at Lockhart!

    The author does a good job at camouflaging the inevitable Americanisms, and even if they do pop up every now and again, that doesn't break immersion.

    It is rather long, and I don't know if I'll tire of it eventually, seeing as I prefer darker stories with more "stuff" happening, but what I've read so far is promising. Most importantly, this feels like a Harry Potter story, with all its whimsy and charm.
     
  4. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Alrighty, I've read the first 10 chapters (half-way through Second Year) so feel I can give this one a preliminary review.

    First off, I'll echo @why? by saying the imagery is superb. The tone is incredibly well done and the characters are very well fleshed out.

    Snape reads like Snape. He's not some misunderstood paragon of fluffy righteousness, he's a complete bastard in the best possible way. He hates children, and the only reason his behaviour (from his perspective only) is different towards Harriet is because he takes his guilt over Lily's death and channels it more productively (but in no less of an unhealthy direction) - at this stage he's completely despairing that she'll get herself killed.

    One thing I love most is Snape's interactions with his colleagues. His conversations with Dumbledore (who is equally well portrayed) are very well done and his internal monologue is hilarious.

    The other thing I like is that, to me at least, the adults read like adults (especially those who have to deal with children every day) and the children read like children.

    I can honestly say I was expecting to hate this, but from what I've read so far, it's thoroughly enjoyable and I encourage any sceptics to give it a shot.

    5/5 for what I've read
     
  5. TMD

    TMD Professor DLP Supporter

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    I can only echo previous comments. I started this yesterday morning and i'm now some 68 chapters in. The writing is superb at times, with Snape's characterisation and interaction with Dumbledore being a highlight. I've never read a fem!Harry story before, and the notion of a future Snape/Harriet pairing still makes me concerned as to where it's going. So far though it's nowhere near that, with Snape still treating her like a petulant teenage girl and her treating him like an obnoxious rude twat. My one complaint would be that thusfar, it's very much a canon rehash in terms of major plot points. While the route in same cases differs, the destination for major events has remained the same. I notice though that the author intends for the divergences from canon to be greater the further along the story moves.

    I expected to have dropped this by now, but instead i'm quite impressed. The last 400,000 words have flown by rather enjoyably.

    No rating yet, since I haven't read the whole thing.

    Edit: I have completed this fic, and have not yet started the sequel. Since this is the one up for review, i'll start by saying i'm honestly not sure how to rate this.

    The writing is technically excellent, the imagery matches the scene perfectly and never fails to set the tone - while simultaneously not falling into the trap of being repetitive or using purple prose. Certain fast paced action scenes or crucial moments in the story are enthralling, and I have that wonderful sensation of being totally immersed (and only realising it after it's over). The fem!Harry is written superbly, not so different from canon!Harry as to be OC, but different enough in a realistic way due to the change in gender. It's easy to understand and appreciate why the character is the way she is, particularly given the psychological differences between adolescent boys and girls, and how a difficult childhood would influence those things.

    The changing perspectives are done very well, with each character having their own distinct voice. The two most common, Snape and Harriet are good examples of this - but even more minor POVs are well written and always useful exploration of the character's thought process and psyche.

    My previous point about there being a lack of divergence from canon of major plot points still stands, but somehow I don't really care about this. Even knowing what might happen, it's the journey that gets there which is important, and the interaction between characters that makes this story.

    Even the progression of trust between Harriet and Snape is totally believable. Not that i've read this pairing before, but usually stupid pairings result from the author forcing characters to fall for each other. Not so here, the relationship progresses from hated teacher/hated student towards a slightly more business-like understanding. Harriet is conflicted about Snape, in that she knows he's looking out for her on the one hand, but still a vile arsehole bully of a man on the other. Snape still sees and treats Harriet like an annoyance he's forced to deal with. Having reached the end of this fic, there's no creepiness at all (at least so far). I still have no idea how the author plans to make the pairing work - and I wish they weren't going to - but at this rate it won't happen for a long time.

    I have one small niggle with this fic that prevent it from being 5/5, namely the melodrama. It is to be somewhat expected in a character driven story like this, where the thought process and emotions of the character in question is laid bare through their POV. While in most cases this isn't a problem, on one or two occasions it did seem to overreach, trying to illustrate complicated thoughts and emotions about relationships via prose - when in reality, people's thoughts are not so nicely organised. I felt this was done for the benefit of the reader, and as someone who can't write for shit, I have no idea if there is a better way of doing this - but it was enough on those one or two occasions to temporarily break my immersion in the story. An alternative explanation could be that I just failed to empathise with that character's thoughts, at those times, seeing as I didn't have this complaint for the other 99% of the story.

    It's rather surprising how much I enjoyed this fic, cracking through all 600k words in just under 3 days. It doesn't set out to do anything extremely ambitious or radically different (think of Joe's Wastelands, or Shezza's Denarian trilogy), but what it does do, it does very well indeed. I expected it to be a nice meaty 3/5 almost-recommended time-waster, but instead...

    4.5/5
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  6. Lord Murtaza

    Lord Murtaza First Year

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    I'll keep this short because a lot has already been said about the fic in the previous replies in regards to which I agree, for the most part. The characterizations have been done quite well, with particular emphasis on Snape and Dumbledore. The pace is smooth and enjoyable, and the various changing of POVs is hardly ever jarring. Fem!Harry is a bit OCish, but that is to be expected when taking certain liberties regarding the gender change. The plot is not all that different from canon, but this is forgivable considering it is a joy reading the events in the book (or their similar counterparts in this fic) from different perspectives.

    OP is correct in saying that if you ignore the pairings (which I personally find to be distasteful), it is a surprisingly enjoyable fic.

    4/5. Author has talent, it's a real shame it's wasted on her interest in Snape.
     
  7. KingRoger

    KingRoger Second Year

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    I'm 48 chapters in and this fic in incredible. Truly wonderful. I'll review fully when I finish, but I assure you that this absolutely worth your time. 5/5 not for technical prowess or prose on its own, but for being so consistently fantastic and now taking any the easy ways out for any plot points.
     
  8. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    I'm trying really hard to like this, because of how well the author writes. The feel of the world in the story is amazing, and the way they express inner thoughts in the middle of conversations is a great touch. I'm a sucker for an well-written Dumbledore too, and this one has it in spades.

    The only problem though, 25ish chapters in, is that Snape is a cunt. And not just the normal, canon-standard cunt, but like you cooked that one down to get the purest essence, and added emo-teen-level emotional response to it as well. A good Snape story (well, to me at least) is best when there's some semblance of at least one redeeming quality to him, or at least a bit of humanity peeking through. The way this version is written makes me feel like everything the Marauders did to him in the course of bullying was understandable, and I despise bullies.

    I'm going to keep reading of course, because it's still damned well-written, and I'll just hope for the turn to happen soon. 3.5/5 for me, rounded up.
     
  9. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    I've now read everything posted, including the sequel, and I'm blown away by it. I could probably talk about it at great length, but to be honest the first story is to all intents and purposes flawless; the writing is very impressive throughout; characterisation is excellent, subtly different from canon where appropriate but always recognisable and the changes are understandable and well done; it's frequently laugh out loud funny (Snape's interior monologue, about half of Dumbledore's scenes, that bit with the dog in year four...); the plotting is spot-on, and while that is clearly helped by the fact that a lot of it is remixed stations of the canon, there's some nice twists to it that are, to my mind, in some ways harder than abandoning it and starting fresh - that ability to take something we've all read countless times before and still make it engaging. I've never had that experience some people did around OoTP coming out, where they thought some fanfic was actually a leaked version of the book, but I could believe someone could mistake this for canon (obvious differences aside, but you know what I mean, I hope).

    It's also sort of tied to one of the more impressive elements of the story, which is the author's restraint. There's no rush to get to the 'good stuff' of the pairing, it's all developing slowly and naturally (at least on Harriet's part*, I'm still not entirely sure how convincingly she's going to get Snape from bastard who cares about a few specific people, namely Harriet and Lily, to actually in love with her), which is obviously the main event, but it's applied elsewhere too. I've read dozens of stories that have character X rescue Harry from the abusive Dursleys, but this might be the most effective version I've read, and it's all done with a single spell, and a focus on the characters over OTT badassery. There's a similar moment when Harriet first starts to learn the truth about what's happening with the Chamber, with one of the creepiest versions of the diary I've seen, achieved purely through two people talking to each other. Or, for that matter, Harriet herself. Although at times a far more aggressive interpretation of Harry, we have here someone who is best friends with Hermione from the start, but hasn't miraculously picked up all her study habits and become badass; someone who gets personal tuition over several months from several talented wizards, but is still believable for her age (although I recognise some will see that as a negative; eh).

    It's all really enjoyable, smooth stuff, one of the best fics I've read in ages. I am, however, a little concerned by some aspects of the sequel, which doesn't quite seem to ring as true to the characters and events as they've played out so far.

    Book one ends with Snape telling Harriet about his role in James and Lily's death, by telling Voldemort the prophecy. In book two...so far she seems to be basically ok with it. Yes, she's had several months to think about it, and she's much more emotionally mature than canon!Harry - and hasn't had the experience of seeing Cedric killed in front of her - and yes, she is in love with Snape, but it still seems like there ought to be more tension between them. Also...Snape agreeing to an international jaunt with Harriet and Sirius, literally the day after Voldemort tortures him for not being quick enough to grab her when she's kidnapped by random interlopers? Sorry, calling bullshit a a bit on that

    Anyway, easy 5/5.

    *One slight criticism of this element is that although Harriet herself seems to view it as an intense crush, some of the adults around her clearly believe her to genuinely be in love with him, because...reasons? It's a small thing, but it does bug me a little.
     
  10. Jarizok

    Jarizok High Inquisitor

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    These reviews are pissing me off.

    Apparently, this is one of those rare must-read well written fanfics universally lauded by DLP, and I can't get myself to read it. I just can't.

    Harriet/Snape?

    Really guys?
     
  11. kinetique

    kinetique Auror

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    I haven't seen too many ways better than that for advertising a room temperature I.Q.

    Well done.

    This fic is incredible, fantastic prose and a genuinely exciting series of events. Easy 5/5.
     
  12. Jarizok

    Jarizok High Inquisitor

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    You live a blessed life.
     
  13. Lord Murtaza

    Lord Murtaza First Year

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    Definitely one of the weirder pairings I've seen out there, and I recently saw a Harry/Narcissa one. Never mind the gender-bender or the age difference, the fact that Snape quite literally transfers his love (read: obsession) from Lily to her daughter is quite disconcerting.
     
  14. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    While that's a perfectly sound reason for not reading it, it might bear mentioning that at no point in the first book does anything romantic occur, and it isn't until the last twenty chapters or so that either of them even begin to consider the possibility. When they do, it's entirely on Harriet's part, and it's in terms of a crush, not full blown love, and much is made by several characters of how weird it is. Honestly, for the most part this could be read as a mentor!Snape fic as much as anything.
     
  15. Moukaboy

    Moukaboy Banned

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    Don't judge it so quick , it's pretty good
     
  16. Jarizok

    Jarizok High Inquisitor

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    That's what's so annoying. I believe you guys when you say it's good and I don't want to miss out, but...

    Why couldn't the author have written something just as good that's not Harriet/Snape?

    I'll give it a try.
     
  17. Villanelle

    Villanelle Seventh Year

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    Jarizok makes a good point. Now I want to read Harry/Severette.
     
  18. Quiddity

    Quiddity Order Member

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    I will say that, whilst I'm not up to the crush-part, the tracks towards H/S are the worst part of this. Whether it's Petunia's comment, or Dumbledore's brief exchange at the start of PoA, it just feels weird that this is where people's minds go.
     
  19. foreveryone

    foreveryone Third Year

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    Despite my low expectations, I quite enjoyed this fic.

    The techncal writing was solid, barring the odd homophone error.

    The fic is mostly canon rehash, with slight alterations, with shit only really hitting the fan in the later chapters, but it does not really tire.

    Where this fic really shines is in its characterizations and in its humor. The perspective shifts to other main characters, but also side characters was good choice on the author's part, the author doing internal monologue / narration well, with surprising amounts of humor. Most, if not all Hogwarts students that are antagonistic towards Harriet are given some screen time to show their motivations and are sympathetic (except for Pansy, she remains a repugnant bitch).

    The pairing still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, despite the author's best efforts to make it more palatable with his (her??) slow burn, but it's not actually present in the first fic, however it does loom over the fic, casting its shadow.

    This is just me, but I'd have liked more more Asteria in this fic, but that's because I'm a sucker for waifish understudies that grow to become their own person. And the lezzie undertones of course :^).

    I haven't read the sequel yet and I'm kind of don't want to because of the presumed tone shift to more blatant shipping, but I'll get to it one of these days.

    3.5 rounded up to 4.
     
  20. Jester

    Jester Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    A lot of what you say is kind of how I feel. I think it's a bit creepy how the author is foreshadowing through other characters that this is a viable relationship. Like a scene with Narcissa talking about Snape looking for a girl to marry whose fresh out of school because they're easier to train, or a lot of the Dumbledore comments on the relationship between Snape and Harriet. The story feels like a very believable genderflip for Harry, and encompasses the character changes I'd expect if Harry was a girl. The dialogue feels mostly great, the one exception being Snape interacting with the Marauders. It feels weird to me, a bit too far to the petulant side honestly.

    Also the implication that Remus and Sirius are in a relationship? I'm not fully grasping that part of the narrative. I'm about 65 chapters in and outside of some minor gripes I'd say it's pretty good. Easily a 4/5 so far. The relationship developing between Snape and Harriet into a full blown romance has the possibility of blowing this fic into smithereens if it isn't handled well in the coming chapters.