Reviews: Partially Kissed Hero

PKH 101

The main character suffers from being utterly incapable of empathy and appears able to induce that condition in others (sociopathy as plague?), the author can't stop expositing and openly prefers it over character or plot development through action, even when things do happen they're usually stupid or contrived when thought about more closely, white people are better because they're more attractive than any other race, Muslims are of the devil, nuclear war is good, and military forces do not need supplies (except when they do).

That's the short version.

Partially Kissed Hero is never boring. For a lot of people that's enough. The problem is to someone with a completed high school education, or an unwillingness to suspend their moral compass for a protagonist, or just an appreciation of the storyteller's art, it's also endlessly infuriating. The author's attempts to make their characters seem intelligent show they're not; there are threads of racism and misogyny running throughout; the morality of the heros when examined is frequently worse than that of the villains. Voldemort never brainwashed anyone into thanking him for ruling them with an iron fist. Harry does it to hundreds of people, and insults thousands more for being stupid even as he provides them sanctuary.

The glimpses into the author's mind as the story continues, such as their ranting about how Voldemort mainly tortures his followers so anyone he tortured is obviously not virtuous or their open hatred of Islam, are hard to credit as serious but expressed with the passionate sincerity of a fanatic. There are many ideas in this story that represent a kernel of something creative, but laid in the warped ground of the author such seedlings grow into impossible monsters.

Flawed, but worth reading

The fic is definitely worth reading. That being said it is not without flaws. The most obvious ones are in the characterization of the heroes and supporting characters. Reading the series it seems that there is a single hero that is split between several bodies, as it takes very little time for there to be almost no difference between the voice, motivation and thought-processes of the protagonists. There are behavioral quirks that are unique to each, but after about 20 chapters you could substitute one hero for another without any problems as they are fundamentally identical.

The characters diverge sharply from their canon behaviour and personality, but as one of the premises of the fic is that Harry absorbs the Horcrux in his scar and has to battle it for survival, his divergence is explained and understandable. Several other characters have their personalities evolve and change because of meddling with time.

The fic starts with an interesting "what if" on the Potter canon, then introduce an idea, credited, from Rorscach's Blot as well. A few chapters later it swerves sharply left when we learn that the fairies used for Christmas decorations are part of a larger Faerie realm and HP&CO gets drafted by their Queen.

The Fic is weird but worth a read despite all of this. Harry may be a "lesser evil" hero, but he is also part Voldemort, so his ruthlessness is expected. Several characters gets abused horribly, but mostly those that actively promote evil. Ron and Ginny are mostly ignored. Bashing is there but not horribly excessive. Repeatedly killing villains with horcruxes to keep them off guard and weak is viable strategy. Making sure that one body is digested to make the villain a "walking pile of shit" is bashing territory.

The major saving points are: -intelligent use of minor details from canon and earlier in the fic. -fairly coherent world and rules within the fic. -good use of mythology. -good english, especially for a fanfic.

It has one of the most scary and intelligently evil Dumbledore's I've seen. D has such a control over the ministry that Harry loses a sure thing vote when D is absent and dosed with bad luck potion. D study and plans you to death.

The fic pokes at canon intelligently and is mindbogglingly weird and thus entertaining.

I have read worse novels bought at the airport.

Boring and Stupid

So Partially Kissed Hero is a terrible story and Perfect Lionheart can't write. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The story is essentially a braindead power fantasy full of half-baked author tracts and bitching about how Rowling supposedly ruined her own series. However, reviewing this fic is remarkably easy, seeing how Lionheart's failures as a writer are apparent from the early chapters.

The first chapter seems innocuous enough, but one might notice a few warning signs. Some slight character bashing, a big useless exposition dump and all that, but the real red flag is that the bulk of the first chapter is Harry going on a great big shopping spree in Diagon Alley because he wants to be like Hermione and take his studies seriously. It's completely pointless and a masturbatory waste of time.

Now, the central conceit of this story is that on the train ride during Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is in a different compartment and a Dementor tries to kiss him, hence the title. This causes, like, his soul to become vulnerable or something, and so he enters into a battle with the fragment of Voldemort's soul in his forehead for control or something. It's a grueling, epic battle, one that forces Harry to fix his own shortcomings and man up.

Except we never actually see it. Lionheart is a phenomenally lazy writer, and thus can't be bothered to show us any of this, instead simply telling us about it. As will become clear in his author's notes, Lionheart thinks that exposition dumps are more important than building or developing your characters. This will become clear as entire chapters go by where nothing happens except Harry and Luna rattling insignificant "worldbuilding" to Hermione, who becomes a know-nothing garbage can for them to spout exposition to.

Of course, there are other problems. Harry inherits all of Voldy's powers and memories and gets a "backbone," by which I mean he becomes a complete sociopath. There is no conflict as he effortlessly waltzes through all his problems. Dumbledore is evil (because the author hated Deathly Hallows and can't grasp things like "moral ambiguity") and yet despite supposedly being a diabolical mastermind he is in practice a completely incompetent baffoon. The author abandons the supposed plot to go on tangents about fairies.

Ten Points from

A More Measured Review Than My Previous One

I reviewed this fanfic once before, and I have taken the time to think more about it since then. I have read this fanfic three times, and there are parts I like about it, but there are also parts that are meh and parts that are bad.

I must first note that I do not take fanfics seriously. There are too few that score high enough in terms of command of language, narrative skill and good story for me to have the same expectation to a fanfic as I have to a novel. There are some that are that good, and some novels that are that bad, but on average fanfic falls into popcorn reading like this one do. Non-challenging, easy, leaves you unfulfilled but entertained while you read. I have read worse.

The things I liked in the fanfic was the intelligent plotting in the beginning and the use of small details from the books and earlier in the fic. The ability to keep details straight and use them intelligently is one I prize above all others in a writer. (For a good example read Brandon Sanderson.) The plotting does go to strange places and give no indication of achieving coherence.

The characterization is bland and often bad. The characters seem to grow into people who adore New Harry and nothing else. Harry supposedy changes, but aside from becoming ruthless and aware of romantic feelings, does not really grow either. People are only good when they mindlessly follow Harry.

Hermione is hit with the stupid stick. Not only has she missed all the hidden truth of the world, but also much of the ostensibly common knowledge.

Bellatrix is awesome.

Dumbledore is a planning Dark Lord, and this works in the first half. Harry's victories comes because Dumbledore was dosed with bad luck because of overconfidence. And Dumbledore still wins or draws most of their confrontations in the start.

Evil characters are abused and tormented by the heroes, though mostly for strategic reasons. The author mostly avoids using the universe to punish characters, except Draco. Ron and Ginny are not abused much, if at all.

I found the fic interesting at first because the plot had promise. It shows little to no indication of delivering on that, but it can still happen. The use of previously mentioned details is intelligent, but much is invented as well. Language is decent, but characters and plot is bland and stale.

New opinion: A decent timewaster that may be saved yet.

The Sugar of the Fanfiction Food Pyramid

The first thing you need to realize about Partially Kissed Hero is that it isn't so much a Story as a combination of a world-building experiment and a Soap Opera. The point going into the story isn't the development of the plot, it's watching as the world evolves, and that world just so happens to include the characters.

The problem with this is that it entails virtually no character development. Harry, despite the rather large increase in power he(theoretically) receives throughout the story, acts essentially the same in chapter 99 as he did in chapter one. You have this vast world he's built, with things going on multiple planets, multiple places in time, and multiple groups of people, but even with all that(or perhaps because of it), nothing ever feels sharp, defined, INTERESTING.

Which brings me to the title; no matter how much of this story you read, you'll never feel that satisfaction that reading a truly good fanfic brings. I actually started feeling almost the same way you feel after eating too much sugar; for some godforsaken reason still wanting a bit more, and yet feeling more and more ill with every bite.

So I cannot recommend reading this fanfic.

Another problem with this fanfic is the lack of a competent foe. Over and over we're told how the Dark Lord is the worst enemy they'll ever face, and how he has all these methods of killing them practically instantly, but the trouble is that he's been built up so much that if they DO face him, they'll get obliterated practically instantly, which means they have to keep NOT facing him. Which leads to them basically just running around behind his back and blowing up one wall while he patches another, making the supposedly near-omnipotent Dark Lord seem just as incompetent as the rest.

The trick to making a good enemy is NOT to tell us he's some vast, invincible foe, but to SHOW us how they're dangerous, even if they don't have a fraction of the power. If a new character were introduced that knew that Harry and his friends had entered the game, and used that information to blackmail them while sabotaging their operation and destroying their hard work piece by piece, and who was just powerful enough to fight one of them head-on but with the cunning to run away when things got tough, THEN you have a real enemy.

I don't recommend reading this fanfic.