Reviews: Alexandra Quick
Decent First Installment, Excellent Afterwards
I absolutely loved this series. It's strongest points are world-building (which even it's detractors acknowledge is some of the best in fanfic), plotting, it's varied memorable and well-developed characters, and good, realistic use of moral ambiguity. The main fault line between lovers and haters of this series is their view of the characters, especially the main character. Alexandra is definitely a case of love or hate. Many readers find her a fascinating, relatable and sympathetic anti-hero, while to others she's an annoying brat with a tragic backstory. I fall in the former category, those who find themselves in the latter will probably not share my enjoyment of the series. This is also the case with almost all of the main characters. Although many of the side characters are likable in a straightforward way, the characters important to the plot are almost all dark, troubled, prickly, and above all mysterious. Aside from Alexandra herself no character's true motivations even begin to become clear until book 4, and many are still very murky and the amount of emotional dysfunction among the main cast is evangelion-esque. It's a case of reader preference whether to view this as a positive or negative. Besides that, I'd say the main weakness of the series is the lack of a developed core group. Alexandra has a varied group of friends, but they are rarely actual participants in her adventures, so the team dynamic that was such a big part of canon harry potter is missing. This is partly because Alex has a more solitary personality and partly because she is skilled enough that she doesn't need the help. Another thing to note is that the series improves dramatically after the first installment. 'Thorn Circle' is well written, but Alexandra is at her most unlikable (even many readers who like Alex didn't in the first book), and the plot is largely a rehash of the first Harry Potter book. From the second book on the character, the series and the author come into their own: the writing gets even better, Alexandra becomes more likable through organic character development, the plot (one of the main draws of the series) picks up and the more interesting secondary characters get introduced.
Has issues, but it's readable
Alexandra Quick is the most annoying main character I've ever seen, and that includes Albus Potter from Vekin87's series. The word I'd use to explain why is "entitlement". She doesn't understand why people need rules. She ignores figures of authority repeatedly. She does reckless things for no justifiable reasons. And she thinks she doesn't deserve punishment for it. In canon, Harry Potter did all those things, but he usually had a good reason to break the rules, or ignore authority, or be reckless. Alexandra isn't saving the world. She's just solving a mystery, and screwing over everyone who's just honestly trying to help her. That said, if you can deal with a story with an obnoxious main character (and let me tell you, I can usually handle immature M Cs, but this is just turning it up to 11), the story is alright, but definitely overrated just because the author managed to create a whole new world that felt (almost) as good as the books' London.
Magical America's not all it's cracked up to be
Having only read the first of the three stories so far (as the first one was too good and I'd like to space them out) I can say you'll enjoy this story if you make it through the slow opening chapters. It only gets better the farther you go and the more items come back into play. The story is set in Magical America where you'd think without Voldemort everything would be ok. This is however not the case as the government seems just as corrupt as in Britain and the social ladder just has a different way of being placed. Like Britain Muggleborns are looked down upon, but in this case they are given separate classes rather than the same and told to catch up. A lot of the conflict of the first book is spent dealing with the differences between Muggleborns and the rest of the school. The rest is dealing with the fact that Alexandra isn't sure who her father is and really wants to know. Plus she won't let anyone get in her way. Really well done and the titular character seems to grow a lot more than Harry did in the first book.