Complete The Riddle Chronicles - Year I: Lord Protector by papertigeruk - T

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by why?, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. why?

    why? Slug Club Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  2. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The tool's not that smart ;)
     
  3. why?

    why? Slug Club Member

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    Aha, fixed. :)
     
  4. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    So this has several things going against it. Its a year 1 rehash.
    Its Tom centric, and not HP centric. That's like an instant -1 point for me.

    They've legitimately taken everything that was interesting from the HP world and turned it into this steaming, festering pile of dog shit.
    While largely that is the only things I have against it, as compared to grammar, story telling, and structure, I've read much worse.

    This fic doesn't warrant a position higher than 1/5. And that's because of shit story choices.

    The way you arrived at your rating is very confusing, must like this author who didn't seem to enjoy writing this story, you didn't seem to enjoy reading the story.
     
  5. why?

    why? Slug Club Member

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    This doesn’t have a lot going for it, and I did mention all that was wrong with it.

    The main draw for me was reading about a young Tom slowly losing his conscience and doing increasingly shitty things. For all the annoying things in this story, I did keep reading it. There’s nothing to see here for someone who’s not interested in a Tom story. I never expected this to go in the library.

    In retrospect, I was more excited that it was a new, complete story that wasn’t an angst fest written solely to pair Harry up with Tom. I like Tom centric stories, but haven’t found any ones I liked besides The Broken Victory. Hence, my overzealous/generous rating. Next time I come across something like this, I’ll post in the Almost Recommended thread. And maybe sit on it a bit longer.

    I’m sorry you wasted your time reading as much as you did.
     
  6. mistermisstep

    mistermisstep First Year

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    Maybe it's just 'cause I've had a cold since I started reading this fic and reality has kinda lost its hard edges thanks to fever -- feels like I'm typing through molasses right now -- but this story both readable and boring.

    The prose is all right, even good at times: a decent grasp of grammar, vocab, obvious care for research and details, etc., but it's utterly flat at the same time. No spark of life. Just dead, dead, dead. There's something stilted around the edges; some passages read partly like history lessons. Other parts had this weird tendency to head-hop or explain things outside the point-of-view character's knowledge, as if the writer's attempting a go at having an old-fashioned narrative device while completely failing at it. And Tom is sort of blase about this whole magic thing.

    So I'm in agreement with this, deeply:


    Also, it reads like a typical "stations of canon" fic starring independent Slytherin Harry, only minus Harry and his typical indy angst, plus Tom, and with slightly less shitty writing. Tom even has green eyes! Behold:


    But the real problems are the characters.

    Tom Riddle isn't convincingly creepy enough for a loner orphan, and (in a problem common to so many fics) he doesn't quite read his age. He also has signs of being overpowered/super-smart from the start.

    The OCs are ... not very interesting and a few of them have names that stick in the mind, but not for good reasons. Examples: Forbes-timpani, capitalization optional, and Gary Box, who elicited a laugh.

    But where my dislike really deepened into loathing was Chapter 3, with that big list of non-canon school hierarchy. Senior professors? Senior form tutors? First form? The fuck is this shit and why is it here? I thought, right before I realized I didn't care enough to google any of it. Unenlightened heathen that I am, I moved on and was soon rewarded with a song from the Sorting Hat. How very unexpected. And after that, I was met with this delightful gem (paragraph truncated to showcase the really offensive parts):


    A hat character-shilled Tom Riddle and killed any actual interest (not much, admittedly) that I'd had in this fic. I read two chapters further than that, and got to see a lot of tell instead of show and some more super-smart Tom bullshit. Yeah, I know he's a genius, but it feels so unearned when the studying and magical practice scenes are glossed over or skipped entirely or when too much is done too soon.

    2/5 for having a writer who has a grasp of decent sentences, but can't make interesting characters or plots ... Until I remembered this from the beginning of the fic


    and downgraded it to 1/5 for peoplekind-ing a readily-understandable and famous quote.
     
  7. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    No, keep positing on review. That way everyone can determine the merits of a story. Things tend to get lost in almost recd
     
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