Reviews: Dumbledores Army And The Year Of Darkness
A Peck At This
The half-finished finale to the DAY Dverse is a power trip with an ego trip back around. The worst part of the novel-length journey is how enjoyable it had to the potential to be. The wizarding world dealing with the fallout of the families of Death Eaters and economy issues has the trappings of greatness. In the hands of anyone but Thanfiction. Neville, or the Commander, as no one fails to refer to him as, is ceaselessly adored by everyone. He's usurped the DA as "his", he's supplanted Dean as Seamus' best friend, Neville and Draco have an enmity now and on several occasions we're hit over the head with the fact that Neville is More Important and Also Better Than Harry. Two characters explicitly tell him he's the "voice of their generation" even moreso than The Boy Who Lived. Harry is twisted by Thanfiction into a mewling mess at Neville's feet, shooting him envious looks over his parents being able to communicate, looking to Neville for guidance and reassurance, hungering for Neville's spotlight and at chapter 9's end apologizing to Neville for not having been his friend. It's in a bunch of other places as well: Neville's new BFF Seamus is more powerful and cooler than Harry's, since Ron is now the pudgy butt of a joke. Zacharias calls Neville Commander as well, apparently having forgotten he left the DA, and Harry is calling Neville "Nev", so Harry is closer to Neville than he's ever been to Ron or Hermione, enough to use pet names that not even Hannah does. Not two conversations pass in the 200,000 words where Neville isn't reminded that he's the Famousest or that he wouldn't be blindly followed/obeyed. Justin, who's royalty follows him over the Prince! The purplest of prose, the murdering of every named canon character who wasn't there on Platform 9 3/4 in 2017, how utterly 1 dimensional the main character is in that he only exists as a target of masturbatory control fantasies, there's so much holding A Peccatis back. It doesn't shy away from depicting war vets in a grim way, but having Ricky King's coming down being couched in Neville being his Commander and him belonging to Neville through the DA sours it. Not to mention the wildly non-canon Green Man powers Neville got that allow him to fix his wand, something Harry only managed once with a little stick of Elder. "Nev".
If Neville Longbottom Knew Your Name in 1998...
...you were capital-B Boned. That year at Hogwarts from Neville's perspective is a fairly interesting concept, but in the hands of Andrew Blake the main character becomes unpalatable. This review, specifically, is for DAYD and Sluagh. In the former, Neville is shown tackling the burden of leadership and training his peers to be Harry's numbers during the battle. It's canon conforming in that dialog and events are exactly as they were in Book 7 if Harry was there to witness them, but outside of that people are being tortured left and right and Neville himself thinks the golden trio still look like kids when they reunite in the Hogshead at the end of the year. The disconnect in tone manages to not be too jarring, but after struggling with self-doubt, the story doesn't shy away from taking meek and shy Neville and turning his heroism way up past Harry. He's the Commander. People look to him in times of despair while Harry wallows in self-doubt and his emotions without the benefit of canon. This becomes most apparent in Sluagh, where Ron and Hermione are kidnapped and Harry is brutally murdered without seeing a second of actual action halfway through the story. Since it's still striving to be canon compliant, the next eleven chapters are pretty much waiting for the reset button while Neville and Seamus go to the Irish afterlife to be trained by famous figures in mainly nonmagical combat so they'll have a chance. It's a jarring genre switch that only serves to underline the author's conviction that Harry is worthless and Neville is actually the best thing since sliced bread. He's composed, mature, just conflicted enough to have inner demons to battle and even gets to metaphysically travel back in time to stand up to his worst nightmare! Neville wouldn't be nearly as insufferable if Harry weren't bumbling around or challenging him for the spotlight (like outside the warehouse when the Muggles free them) but this Harry is just a completely different person. At the end, while stiff upper lip Neville looks on with pity in his eyes, the Boy Who Lived is falling to his knees and moaning loudly about how impossible it is that Dumbledore could still have machinations in play ten years later. I honestly enjoyed the stories. But Neville is impossible to like and if you were Harry's friend, you were the Chump Who Should Have Died, apparently.
DAYD is Awesome, 'Kay?
DAYD is possibly one of the best Harry Potter fanfics I have ever read. In a fandom full of wierd things and epic ship wars, DAYD stands out as serious, skilled and remarkably well thought out. While there have been some accusations leveled on the subject of chauvinism in the fic which is, to an extent, true. BUT it must be remembered that out of five man characters, three are girls. The level of chauvinism is nothing more than could be expected from a Gryffindor boy (Neville) who is watching his two best friends and his girlfriend fight in a war. Yes, there are some parallels drawn between beauty and courage. This is from a canon that has black-cloaked things that suck out your happy memories as a metaphor for DEPRESSION. Thanfiction is no worse than Rowling herself. Gory and bloody? Neville actually mentions that Crucio and whippings are used against students in canon, as well as imprisonment. Thanfiction simply goes into detail about the war that Dumbledore's Army must fight. Basically, I love DAYD. I think it's amazing. Saying that, I don't belive that it should be undertaken lightly. DAYD is the simply and epicly beautiful story about war and soliders and family.
DAYD contradicts canon and is impossibly dark
My first readthrough of DAYD, it struck me as very well written and thought-provoking. But really, the story is EXTREMELY dark in both tone and events. Snape is a Complete Monster (going against everything we know from canon), even in the dark. He makes Voldemort look merciful, just to give you an idea. The whole "detention with Hagrid" in the book becomes "sent in the Forbidden Forest wandless, WITHOUT Hagrid (???), and straight into a pack of very hungry werewolves...on the full moon. Keep in mind, that punishment was invented entirely by Snape. Powers As The Plot Demands is the only reason they survive, and when they do, Snape is furious. But Snape is just one aspect of the glaring differences between canon and this story. As soon as canon and this story intersect, things are normal. But the moment they don't, things are back to Beyond The Impossible levels of darkness. Other things are very glaring. Like why families even consider sending their kids back to Hogwarts the second term after hearing about their kids being horrifically tortured routinely (seriously, none of this even makes any sense), or why the DA decides that martyring themselves at the end of the school year is the best idea ever heard, and agree to it within seconds. In short, a nice read, but so against canon in so many ways that you should NOT consider this in your "head canon" for outside of Harry's POV.
Good with Conditions
The first story is fantastic, and I really like his short stories - now when I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the Sorting Hat reads out the names I have an actual character in my head for many of them, and that is what good fanfiction does. Other people's complaints about way too dark and edgy and chauvinism are accurate, and while I believe the first story is worth it the later ones are not.
Cautious adding to the recommendation here. It's a very good story, but I do have several problems with it, mostly the "dark for the sake of being dark" tone and notable OOC behavior of several characters.
I agree that Thanfiction's sometimes pushing the maturity bit a lot for the sake of being darker and all, but the story is good enough that you probably won't care that the characters develop to the point of "derailment," if that's even the word to use... JK never elaborated their story properly in canon, and Thanfiction develops the characters consistently. Anyways, the story itself is good, and Thanfiction's hamming and cheesing is, while not being super-duper-realistic, I didn't really find that it detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
It's an amazingly written, exciting story, but if you don't want to permanently damage your soul, I recommend to read it only until the part when Harry arrives, and there switch to his point of view from Deathly Hallows. The majority of he story is perfectly fitting with canon, but unfortunately, at the end the writer really stretches this with assuming that (minor spoiler:) the canonical 50 casualties included almost ALL named characters who are not protected by explicitly mentioned survival in the canon, except for a few main characters of the story. Even some of those die who you would expect to stay alive, like: (massive spoiler:) Cho, or Dean, surely they are important enough that you would expect Harry to notice if they would be dead in DH, or Lavender Brown, who was explicitly mentioned as only injured, so Thanfiction just assumed that she bled to death a few seconds later, etc. In short, it turned the original Bittersweet Ending into an outright Downer Ending. That would be fine, if you can treat it as an original work, but since it is so well fitting with canon, it plants a whole Inferred Holocaust into Deathly Hallows where there was none, and so it can be Ruined Forever if you preferred the happier ending.
Agreed on the "may not be as amazing as promised". The writing is good, but the chauvinism was too much for me. Also, Your Mileage May Vary, but I found several of the characters to be Out Of Character.
Didn't Meet Expectations
Although DAYD is a good read, you may not find it as amazing as the recs promise. I didn't. Not really spoilers involved, but if you want to read more about it: It's pretty self-consciously Darker And Edgier, to the point where you know the torture of random students is just to make them look like amazing heroes; there's some strange Beauty Equals Goodness stuff going on (in DAY Dverse, the more heroic you are, the more grown-up and beautiful you look); and it lauds chivalry to the point of chauvinism on more than one occasion (on the part of the author, I think, not the characters themselves).
Not many stories will make me stay up till 6 AM reading them from start to finish. This is one of them. The ending is heartbreaking — it's very accurate to describe as Kill Em All, and in a brutally detailed manner (Entrail-Expelling Curse, anyone?). Almost all the off-stage deaths in DH are given detail here, as well as more than a few that weren't specified in the book. Review by: Yo Adrian