Sunday, 1 February 2015

Book Review: James Potter: Hall of Elder's Crossing by G Norman Lippert

What’s it like to be the son of the most famous wizard of all time?

James Potter thinks he knows, but as he begins his own adventure at Hogwarts, he discovers just how much of a challenge it really is to live up to the legend of the great Harry Potter. As if it wasn’t enough dealing with the delegates from the American wizarding school and figuring out the mysteriously polite Slytherins, James and his new friends, Ralph and Zane, begin to uncover a secret plot that could pit the Muggle and the Magical worlds against each other in all-out war.

Now, with the help of Ted Lupin and his band of merry mischief makers (The Gremlins), James must race to stop a war that could change the world forever. His only hope is to learn the difference between being a hero and being the son of a hero.

My Review:
The opening of this book felt more like an imitation of Reservoir dogs where the criminals had colour coded names that they didn't like. In the film Mr Brown complains that he hates his colour and wants to be something cooler. In this book, Mr Grey complains that he isn't a real colour  and wants to be Mr Purple. There seemed little point to the conversation as they two guys were cannon fodder anyway so why it was added was a mystery to me.

The American boy, quite frankly, is the worst steriotype of his country-loud, brash, annoying, with more money than sense. He bugged the hell out of me every time he opened his mouth and I can't imagine wanting to be friends with this asshat. He takes the piss out of everything British and is a self obsessed loser who does not fit into the Hogwarts that I know and love. Had he been a good character, I would have had no problem with an American student at the school. After all, Draco had considered going to Durmstrang. I found the whole Gremlin story to be annoying, weird and irritating. The characters like Teddy who are mentioned fleetingly in the Deathly Hallows final scene, are morons with no real character development to make you like them in any way.

We are constantly told how James has to live up to Harry and his legacy. In fact we get our skulls bashed in about it every few pages until I was sick of hearing about the great Harry Potter.

The worst thing though, was the complete disregard for JK Rowling's writing. For me, if you are writing fan fiction, you should stay true to the world that the author wrote. Yes, add your own spin to the story but don't change things that are part of Hogwarts lore. The house elves were frequently seen and sneered at. No, because a good house elf is never seen in the castle. We know they do the cleaning when the students go to bed. We know the tables are magically filled by house elves in the kitchen who send it up but are not seen during the meal.

The Gryffindor boys of all ages are sharing a dorm room so Teddy is in with James. This would never be happening at a normal boarding school and it certainly never happened at Hogwarts. A rule change like this is unworkable. You can't have 17 year old wizards having to share with 11 year olds! And explain to me how in the heck a first year is having classes with older students???? James and Teddy can't have classes together for the obviou reason of magical experience!!! New students who struggle to learn to float a feather cannot be having classes with experienced students who have six years or seven years learning behind them. It's insane! He rewrites the rules on EVERYTHING: a form of driving tests for brooms, Quidditch on weekdays, changing the laws of apparating, and not allowing people to move into portraits unless it is another portrait of themselves! It all just left me screaming and saying 'that's WRONG' every few pages. Has the author really read the Harry Potter books???

Then we have the new inventions of electronics working instead Hogwarts-well, occasionally working it seems. No no and no. Wizards have magic. Muggles have gadgets, Never the twain shall meet. Wizards don't need all this stuff. One of the reasons we loved Hogwarts is because it was a different world where everything was new and magical. This author seems determined to mugglify and Americanize Hogwarts and for me it does not work in any capacity. Hogwarts is British and if you are going to write about a British school, do your homework on it and not make it some version of an American school just because that is what you know best.

I found it interesting to hear that the author isn't always happy at people saying that he has ruined Harry Potter by making all his changes. 'The Canon Police'? Really? Buddy, it's quite simple. If you write fan fiction where you change established rules and routines that people loved in the original story, and then get yourself as much attention as possible for your work/put it up on Goodreads, you KNOW it will be compared to the original world. I'm not saying don't write it but you must be prepared for people not liking your changes, so don't moan about it. If you go looking for people to read your work, you are going to get positive and negative reviews. Promoting your fan fiction work is even riskier. I have nothing against fan fiction itself, though I don't have time to read much of it, and small changes to plot or giving attention to characters that we never saw much of(ie Neville's parents) is fine. But changing big things will get fans backs up. Go and write something original instead if you don't like the response!

This was not good fan fiction in my book. The author did not refer to the books or in my opinion, honour the Harry Potter world. If you want to read a great example of fan fiction, one that does justice to Hogwarts and the characters, I have provided a link to the work of L Wilt. 

And no, I have no connection to L Wilt. I just loved his/her book! 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

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