Reviews: Firebirds Son
Reserving judgement due to Author's skill
The two arcs should be reviewed separately to do them full justice. The worldbuilding and general writing shows a lot of promise and skill. The author has made a what if and you can trace most of the goals and personalities in the story back to how the world works. This shows a lot of skill. It is also a very painful read. Not because it is bad, but because it is good. It is emotionally draining to read because you feel the pain and confusion of the main characters. The main trio of Harry, Hermione and Luna act badly and hurt each other. In ch. 24, where we are now, there are signs that this may change. But as Game of Thrones can be summed up with "It got worse", this story can be summed up as (where we are now) "emotionally traumatized teens hurt each other because they do not know how to deal with what has happened to them". As context, to avoid being enslaved and killed by the traditionalist families the trio was basically forced to rape each other. We are still dealing with the emotional fallout from the Dark covens' attempt at enslaving Harry. It is painful to read, especially in weekly installments because we want better for the characters. But I can't say if it is bad or stupid until I have seen fully how Darth Marrs handles the characters and their trauma. I expect it to be good, but probably something I will find interesting rather than enjoyable. I applaud Darth's skill, but this is not a fun read. The payoff may well be worth it.
Great potential, great waste.
(Review changed; after the second book, Firebird's Song began, the original, more positive, one no longer reflects my feelings and opinions.) I'm disappointed. The first book was intriguing and interesting — occasionally uncomfortable and disturbing, but in a way that made me want to read more. It was an honestly fascinating look at life in an oppressive and sexist dystopia, and how familiar characters were different because of unfamiliar circumstances. Harry was extremely passive despite being hailed as immensely powerful, but I enjoyed some of the alternate character interpretations and was fascinated by the exploration of a society built up around forced polygamy. I liked the characterization and depth. Even in their altered forms (and occasional gender swaps, such as George being Georgina in this world), the characters were recognizable in personality, all with their agendas and reasons for being the way they were. There were no simple or lazy solutions; positive and negative — mostly negative — sides of the society was explored in detail. Then, the second book began, Luna was introduced and bonded with Harry, and the fic got stupid. The way the bond was written was terrible. Darth Marris is a little too fond of the "magic makes the characters stay in physical contact because if they are forced apart, the girl hurts" ploy — he's used it at least once before. Come to think of it, that was also with Luna. And it was just as annoying then. Seems like Darth Marris just likes to write Luna as obsessively clingy. The guy is a talented writer but he's much better with set-up than with payoff. Maybe that's why I liked Firebird's Son, it was pure set-up and it was interesting. Firebird's Song is where the payoff starts, and everything is suddenly a whole lot more annoying; the characters act like jerks, there's more self-righteous ranting, the Dursleys are violently murdered because... just because, and Luna insists on going naked, using the word "skyclad." I don't know why that word annoys me so much in this context, but it does. Oh well.
A fic that creates an Alternate Universe where the theme of such polygamy is not treated lightly. It doesn't affect just romance, but every day life. To put how much this world changed in a simple phrase would be to say, as this reader has noted from fan reviews, that the story's Breakout Character, its Ensemble Darkhorse, the character the fans want to achieve his goal, is, freaking, VOLDEMORT!