Title: The Riddle Chronicles - Year I: Lord Protector Author: papertigeruk Rating: T Genre: Fantasy/Romance Status: Complete (year 1) Library Category: General Fics Pairings: N/A Summary: London, 1938. As the storm clouds of war gather over Europe, a brilliant and ambitious boy escapes London's south docks, for the Scottish Highlands. At Hogwarts, Tom Riddle has the opportunity to master magic and put his lean years at Wool's Orphanage behind him. New friendships, experiences and an insatiable appetite for adventure, help him piece together his shadowy past. Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12840848/1/The-Riddle-Chronicles-Year-I-Lord-Protector The biggest flaw of this story is that it does not feel magical enough. There are points where I’m in complete disbelief — has the author even read the books? Do they even like Harry Potter? Did Tom seriously transfigure himself into a bird as a first year? And worst of all — who the fuck is Gary Box? Christ, it would’ve taken all of five minutes to find out suitable names to use for his very numerous OCs. Dumbledore and Slughorn are written decently enough, and we only really see them from Tom’s perspective. Tom himself is portrayed as being a highly intelligent sociopath who is made. You see him struggling with his morality early on, and you see him make choices that slowly lead to him discarding his more humane attributes. His paranoia and deep mistrust of people feels realistic (read: not at all sappy/angst-y) and that has related consequences too. The writing is crisp. We get to see Tom navigating a world on the brink of war. While the supporting cast is comprised of OCs, they do have a distinct voice and it’s not too hard to pretend that this is in an alternate universe. There isn’t much about politics and there doesn’t appear to be any bigotry among Slytherins. And for some reason, the author decided to model Hogwarts after a muggle English school. First years are called first formers and seventh years are now upper sixth. And there’s 3 terms with breaks in between each, I believe. The subjects offered and their timing also feel jarring. The author could have easily stuck to the canon outline and made their story encompass Tom’s first three years. That’s would’ve made more sense. What the story does do well is showing the downward spiral of a gifted child. When he’s not breaking into people’s mind and instilling fears in them, he’s making decisions for them. Obviously, he knows best. It appears that the author hasn’t read much (if anything) in the fandom, which explains all this randomness. However, this does also mean that there are also interesting takes on things/magic, though nothing that I found particularly noteworthy. Also: I don’t think this is a super!Tom story, in that he does struggle and is acutely aware that Dumbledore could wipe the floor with him without any effort. This story could’ve been great, but as it stands, 2003’s The Broken Victory is superior. However, it’s not unenjoyable. The author isn’t bad or anything. It just doesn’t feels like they’re writing in a fandom they enjoy, which quite frankly, is absurd. It’s not quite a 3, largely for how unlike Harry Potter it feels like, but it’s well written and engaging enough that I’m willing to round up to 3/5.