August 18th, 2002


Story semi-rec

The Tale of the Shining Prince

Don't let the name throw you. It's not sickly sweet or even a rewritten fairy tale, although it contains rewritten fairy tales.

It's...hard to qualify. It's clearly set in something that resembles the Harry Potter universe - the characters and places have the same names, the same abilities, the same basic language. It couldn't happen in anything but a Harry Potter universe. Even so, taken purely as a Harry Potter story, it's not good. I'd even say it's bad. Which is why this is a semi-rec. The characters do not much resemble the characters we know, do not react like the characters we know would react, do things that make me cry or cringe that do not feel like things characters would do.

So why do I recommend it at all? Because. It's beautiful. The present tense prose flows like a dream, sparse and rich at the same time. Because the characters may not be right, but they are compelling. Because partway through, you forget this isn't Draco or Harry or Snape or Lucius and just accept.

It's not an easy read, and there are times it is confusing - it's non-linear, with events in random order - Draco is eleven, he is sixteen, he is six, he is eighteen, and yet the story advances, with past events filled in eventually. That's a difficult mode and I'm not sure how well the author pulled it off, but it worked. And perhaps she chose to leave some things ambiguous.

It's written in small sections, maybe two or three paragraphs long. Each is a moment in time, or a letter, or a rewritten fairy tale, or a list. Draco, for some reason, makes lists. It's not a story for those who prefer linearity or canon characterization, or who just get annoyed by present tense. But in terms of style, it's lovely.

I found myself lost in this story, even while realizing where it was not right.