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A Certain Slant of Light by Hatusu

Rated: Professors • Past Featured Story

At age fifteen, Regulus Black became sole heir to the largest fortune in Wizarding London. At sixteen, his abnormal intelligence won him entry into the most notorious cult of Dark wizards on earth. At seventeen he made a mistake – one that he would never be able to take back – and his entire world came crashing down.

Enter London, 1979. The story of a boy who managed to defy Voldemort at the height of his regime. But what price did he have to pay?

Reviewer: mean_mr_mustard Signed
Date: 05/09/09 Title: Chapter 1: Colour and Sound

Well, first off, let me say this is the first time I've been moved to actually review any story on this site - I'm a read and bugger off sort of bloke, enjoying society but contributing little to it...

This is quite simply the best example of fanfiction I've ever come across. The writing is intelligent, the metaphors and similies both wonderfully imaginative and beautifully precise ('He used his intelligence like a scalpel', 'uproot morals like weeds' etc.).

The character interaction is fantastic, highly believable and, for my part at least, induced total immersion (so much so that a client had to wave his hand in front of the screen today in order to gain my attention).

I loved way you have chosen to portray the main characters, and how they fit perfectly with the canon. With your story in mind, it seems clearer than ever before how sincerely, and with good reason, Sirius could have despised the house he was forced to remain in by Dumbledore, or how easily Regulus could have submitted to his family's wishes, then seemingly harmless, only to regret it in the future.

His Intelligence is key to your story, and a quite brilliant and surprising addition to his character. You utilise the classic flaws associated with such a character extremely well, allowing his intelligence to blind him from his own potential to be mistaken or wrong (e.g. about his brother and James' motives for fighting Voldemort), whilst at the same time allowing the reader to feel empathy and yet complete separation form the protagonist (akin to Dr Frankenstein as portrayed by Shelly in my opinion). I find many authors attempt to write genii, then fall short of meeting the criteria such a character demands. Writing a child prodigy (especially in the first person) is immensely difficult to pull off, and yet you do truly a fantastic job.

Anyway, others have done a far better (and more concise) job of reviewing it than me, this was just really to say thank you, a day, which could have been consigned to unprofitable boredom at work, was saved by your story! And with that, je vais fumer un pétard.

P.S. I’m English, and thus can be of some assistance and tell you that we generally call them vodka jellies. Oh and kudos on the English mannerisms, use of words like ‘mate’ (and rather more graphically: ‘wank off’) were used perfectly (although we’d probably not refer to someone as ‘kid’).

Author's Response: Wow, I'm incredibly flattered by just about everything you said here. Not sure I deserve it all, but thank you! If this really is your first review, you should review stories more often, because you said some really insightful things. ;) It induced total immersion?! You have no idea how happy that makes me!

Ah, Regulus's intelligence. I had to be sort of incredibly arrogant to think I could pull off this character in the first place: a male child-prodigy (I'm a female non-child prodigy) with a cowardly streak and a large inferiority complex, all in first person XD. I worried a lot about the whole genius aspect, whether or not I was coming anywhere close to portraying it correctly, so it's a huge relief to know that at least one person thinks I did. I decided at the beginning of the story that Regulus simply had to be a genius; there's no other way he could have pulled off what he eventually does. After all, it took Dumbledore, a genius himself, twenty years to discover Voldemort's horcrux secret. So how did Regulus do it in a little over a year, at the age of eighteen (at most), all the while managing to keep his discovery hidden from the most powerful and evil wizard ever? He must have been extraordinary, hence the story. Empathy is another thing I worry about, looking back on the completed story. I definitely do think that readers will feel a seperation from Regulus, a distance, as you mentioned -- after all he does atrocious things, he's a coward, and he's largely a character that is acted upon, at least for the first half of the story, so I don't think readers will have a lot of sympathy. Also I was hesitant to write a boy from first-person because I'm not sure how willing men are to admit emotion to themselves. Depends on the guy, obviously, but I still wasn't sure how likely Regulus would be prone to think directly, "I'm sad I broke up with my girlfriend" or anything like that.

About the English mistakes, I'm painfully American, as I explained to another reviewer, and by beta reader basically deserves any credit where English mannerisms are concerned! Vodka jellies, interesting. I'll change that then! Really, you wouldn't refer to someone as kid? That's such a common phrase in the US!

Again, thank you for the excellent review, it was very inspiring and it helped convince me that the story wasn't total crap. :D Enjoy your smoke then!