Reviews: Thou Shalt Not Suffer

Religion theme is rapidly drowned out

I'd have to agree generally with the preceding review- the "grand scheme of things" in a theological sense is sadly overlooked- the main character informs us fairly often of her angst re. the Bible and witchcraft but there is no development of this theme and it remains as an arbitrary constant while other plot events happen around her.

In addition to this conflict, there is the introduction of her "outsider status" even in the Wizarding world due to her ancestry- this again remains as a constant, with few serious attempts to "compare and contrast" or indeed interweave these themes. She's not only an outsider for her religious background, she's an outsider on account of being muggle-born- while the two might well be fairly logical consequences of each other, I can't help but feel that more time could have been taken over the central theme if the main character weren't subject to the massively ramped-up (relative to the original works) cruelty of the pure-bloods of Slytherin.

She falls in fairly rapidly with a group of self-declared outsiders and there's a bad taste left in the mouth over the seeming setting in stone of Rowling's already fairly obvious parallels between pure-blood supremacist philosophy and real-world race hate- indeed it seems that our heroine is about the only one willing to treat the black characters/muggle-borns in general with even the most basic of civilities.

That is, in my opinion, due to the story's overarching flaw, though- the characters' dialogues and much of their conduct is pretty jarring and seems to be a case of Robot Devil Syndrome- they immediately get down to business, declaring their position on pureblood/muggleborn relations as a matter of introduction, and where that is deemed insufficient they brutally attack unknown first-years in the middle of the common room. This pureblood/muggleborn conflict really comes to dominate the story and perhaps it is unsurprising that the identities of the characters (including race) reflect to a large degree their position on that theme.

Thou Shalt Not Read This Fic

Seriously, don't bother. It starts out okay, but the fic as a whole is not worth reading.

The theology, when present, is skin-deep. There are no grand arguments on the nature of God and sin, no interesting clash of positions, no slow transformation of a girl's relationship with Jesus; just some people who emotionally quote verses and an aunt which tries to calm down here niece's worries with platitudes about her having a "gift" (which, admittedly, is what a real person would be more likely to do). But no biggie; surely a humanistic tale focusing on the growing experiences of one young religious girl attending Hogwarts will be interesting enough on it's own, right? Except that, no, that angle is dropped halfway through the fic in favor of focusing on a lame Heir of Slytherin plot, with only token references to the character thumbing through her Bible thereafter. In short, if you were shanghaied into reading the fic by the promise elicited from the premise, you are going to feel gypped.

To add insult to injury, the fic is badly written. I'm not talking about the occasional typos; those are easy enough to overlook. But the fic contains little in the way of transition scenes, often jumping from one meaty scene to the next with no more separation than a horizontal ruler. What transitions there are are horrendously lacking in detail, particularly later in the fic where entire weeks will pass by with only a couple of vague sentences to describe them. The author does a horrible job conveying the experience of paranoia and fear that he swears is occurring as a result of the petrification attacks; which is a shame, because that would have been an interesting idea to explore - how the every(wo)man sees the events from canon. Introduction to the routine of classes and teachers is limited to a single scene in charms, which is particularly damming for a first-year-at-Hogwarts fic. And that's without going into the characters, most of whom except for the protagonist are bland and uninteresting.

Redeeming qualities? Like I said, the beginning was nice. Copi is an interesting and endearing addition to the story. And the chess motif from the last chapter was well done. Overall, the fic can make for decent light reading if you have some time to kill... but if you are looking for a high-quality work, look elsewhere.