Tea with Voldy
Today I have recs for two very original fics that have fairly little in common except the way they characterise Voldemort is fairly interesting, hence the choice of my subject title.
Length: 14 chapters
My opinion: Very Good
Genre: epistolary / mildly disturbing / romance
Pairings: eventually H/D
Spoilers: Written between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince
Author’s Summary: “Hogwarts through the eyes of many of the characters as Harry loses his mind, Draco becomes bitter, Luna gleefully stalks everyone, and Ron and Hermione wonder what's going on. Eventual H/D.”
More detailed summary: Like the genre, the plot itself is not easy to describe as the narration is fairly disjunct (or should I say refracted?): through extracts from letters, diaries and suchlike, the reader is given glimpses of life at Hogwarts. The first few chapters deal with Harry’s first few years in canon, keeping most of the events the same but putting a new darker spin to them through insight into the characters’ thoughts. The story especially focuses on the friendship between Harry and Draco, as well as their eventual friendship with Luna.
Critique: What makes this story original is mostly the way it is told. The fractured mode of narration perfectly fits the fragile (brittle?) nature of the psyches and relationships described, giving the story a certain haunting quality. The author has tried to play the epistolary game honestly, though not strictly: each character is given their own singular voice, but some passages are not actually written down by characters and are merely extracts from their thoughts. One consequence of that method is that some points of view are more convincing than others, but all in all the story is very well told. I admit that this fic appeals to two of my personal favourites: H/D friendship developing into romance and a dark tale exploring the mind of someone slowly pushed to the brink. As such, I may not be completely objective and it seems obvious to me that people who don’t share these tastes (and who enjoy more traditional narrative styles) may not like this story. If you like that kind of things though, Refraction is a remarkable specimen. A very original take on Voldemort and his eventual defeat too.
Where to find it: Available on Fiction Alley http://www.fictionalley.org/authors/meti
Title: Prince of the Dark Kingdom
Status: Work In Progress
Length: 74 chapters so far (divided into 4 books, one per year at Hogwarts)
My opinion: Very Good
Genre: Adventure / Alternate Universe
Rating: Restricted / Mature because of references to violence, but there’s nothing graphic about it.
Spoilers: good question... the story was started the year of Deathly Hallows, so I guess spoilers for all 7 books, but as it’s totally AU, it’s not that easy to say.
Author’s Summary: “Ten years ago, Voldemort created his kingdom. Now a confused young wizard stumbles into it, and carves out a destiny. AU. Nondark Harry. Mentor Voldemort.”
More detailed summary: James and Lily Potter fled England and the wizarding world with their son and Voldemort won the war. After his parents’ death, young Harry Potter is sent to live with his relatives in England. Little does he know that he is actually a wizard and that he is about to stumble into the dictatorship ruled by the most infamous Dark Lord. The story relates his attempt to adapt and survive without losing his humanity in this strange new world.
Critique: This is one of the most original and enjoyable fics I have read in a long time. It is everything an Alternate Universe should be: it chooses an interesting premiss and it tries to draw all its consequences without losing the original spirit of the book and its characters. Prince of the Dark Kingdom is one of the very rare fics that actually try to imagine what a world ruled by Voldemort could be like once the war was truly over. It paints a fascinating portrait of a Dark Lord who is cruel yet capable of restraint when it suits his interests. A lot of attention is given to the workings of magic, society and even religion, which helps giving this invented world credibility. The good characterisation (both of canon and outside canon characters) doesn’t hurt either. If I have to balance my praises with somewhat more negative comments, I’d say the style of writing is not exceptional, particularly at the very beginning. Still, the author can write and this series makes for very enjoyable reading.
Where to find it: It’s available on fanfiction.net: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3766574/1/Pr