Your fic has been recommended by an SBBC member, so I came wandering over. I am very glad I did because I seriously enjoyed reading it. I generally love reading fanfiction about Tom Riddle (unless it involves romance with an OC who is more often a self-insert, in which case, I am more likely to roll my eyes a hundred times over), and this was a wonderful contribution to the character.
This fic showed an interesting (and fitting) history for the evilly fascinating Tom Riddle (who I find a bit more complex than Voldemort). The setting of the story was nicely done; his ambiguous popularity, the mystery surrounding the ‘poor but brilliant orphan’ who some didn’t know whether to pity or fear – these were apparent in the little library scene.
He was paying no attention to anyone else, though, and no one bothered him. Even the few classmates whom he called 'friends' wouldn't dare to to disturb him while he had that forbidding gleam in his eyes.
These lines, in particular, spoke volumes about what sort of a person he made, and the uncertain feelings he evoked in his schoolmates. My other favourite part was this:
“I do,” Tom replied softly. He gave Avery one of his knowing smiles, the kind that sent shivers of anticipation and dread through his fellow Slytherins. “Perhaps I'll tell you about it when you come back.” He slid his hands into his pockets, and shrugged. “Or perhaps not.”
For me, this showed a lot of who he was going to grow up into. He leaves others on tenterhooks; he definitely wants to showcase his brilliance, and yet he’s perhaps too greedy to do that; he is arrogant, but he is cunning as well. I don’t know, but this little scene played vividly in my mind. I could see him wearing that handsome smile that can inspire nothing but fear.
The part with Slughorn was another telling piece. We can see him working his way towards something, casting his own spidery web as his Potions master did.
So much happened in this one-shot, and I had to read carefully so as not to miss anything. The scene between Gryffindor and Slytherin was written nicely. I particularly liked the description of the two wizards as they match with the images I have in my mind. The only thing I had a problem with was the Latin (for which I had to get a web translator’s help), though, that is more my fault than yours.
I also liked the interaction between Tom and Riddle, which makes me wish you’d written a bit more. You do say in your Chapter notes that the story seems unfinished. I felt the built-up was fantastic, but when I think about the prompt, the initial narrative and the ending seems somewhat unbalanced.
What better test, than to put him in the very Chamber Slytherin had constructed to weed out the unfit? If the precocious, arrogant boy survived, Slytherin would tell him about his great work, and then help him return to his own time.
This was rather intriguing, and I’d love to know what test Tom had to give. But – alas- I suppose there’s no way of knowing now.
Apart from that, this was a great story about Tom’s days at school.
That was interesting. I wonder if Slytherin knew he was talking to a relative from the future. I liked how you described Tom as basically having everyone in the palm of his hand. His intelligence brings to mind another Slytherin boy, Severus Snape, but somehow Severus retained his soul. Great story.
I really like this, and the idea of 'seeing' the past through his piece of amber is a really interesting concept. It reminds me of Mary Malone's telescope in Phillip Pullman's Amber Spyglass.
Tom's characterisation was well done and you managed to get quite a comprehensive view of him in this one piece. I also liked the brief glimpse of Godric Gryffindor and Slytherin arguing, and the other historical elements, such as the fact the didn't speak modern day English.
One thing though, in his fourth year, Riddle would be just shy of fifteen, not sixteen.
I have read all you stories, I have only one thing to say.......
"Precocious" and "arrogant" indeed! I was excited when I saw that you had written something else...and it was mysterious and dark and an interesting theory on how Riddle might have discovered how to open the Chamber.
Great story, really showed how Tom's character was evolving while at Hogwarts.
Too bad we cannot just write Tom off as being a confused misguided boy, But I really think that there is something truely evil within him. Great one shot!!