Harry Potter and the Erosion of Innocence

By ACI100

Status: Complete, Word Count: 170,500, Genre: Adventure/Drama, Pairing: N/A

Read Harry Potter and the Erosion of Innocence: https://aci100.com/popyear2/

Summary: “Harry Potter saw horrors at the age of eleven that most children could never imagine. He arrives back at Hogwarts for his second year a very different boy than the one who first strode into the magical world. Harry fights intense internal struggles as some of the most powerful men in history whisper in his ear and the school descends into complete and total chaos as a mysterious Heir of Slytherin runs rough shot with no regard for safety or order.”

Note: The Erosion of Innocence is book two in an ongoing AU series called Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity. I have read book one, The Fracturing of Foundations, but I never reviewed it because I didn’t have anything interesting to say about it other than “I mean it’s fine, but there wasn’t much that impressed me”. However, if my review ends up persuading you to read The Erosion of Innocence, keep in mind that there is a (shorter) book one that you have to read through first to get to it.

Harry Potter and the Erosion of Innocence is the best ACI100 work that I have read yet. It’s certainly far from perfect, but it shows a general trend of improvement that I think proves his potential as an author. Although it begins with the same bloating problems that his previous work suffers from, they begin to lighten up as things go on. By the half way point the chapters were noticeably denser than they were initially, without getting all that much longer, a change that I was very grateful for. The dialogue also became increasingly distinct as the book progressed, and by the time it was over, I felt that Harry had a distinct voice that came through in the dialogue.

I was also impressed by the pacing. My last encounter with an ACI100 book two was Harry Potter and the Sacrificial Slytherin, the second book in the Ashes of Chaos series, and the bloated pacing whose pressure Sacrificial Slytherin buckled under is all but gone here. The Erosion of Innocence is a tightly plotted mystery/thriller whose story beats kept me engaged every step of the way. It avoided the vast majority of pitfalls that Chamber of Secrets retellings suffer from (a lack of mystery, cringe-worthy bashing, and severe bloat as the author struggling to figure out how to fill time in one of the emptiest Hogwarts years), instead spending time further developing Harry’s peculiar connection with Grindelwald and taking the Heir of Slytherin storyline in a direction I hadn’t seen before. Not to mention, this book featured a juicy amount of betrayal. It put the drama in adventure/drama, and I loved every second of it. Some of the reveals felt almost soap opera-esque in regards to character writing, and I mean that as a compliment. The main characters are fittingly melodramatic for their age, and the result is the best child characters in fanfiction that I’ve come across since the Alexandra Quick series.

There were a few things I was mixed on, however. The first is the speed at which Harry begins thinking of his Muggle relatives as “filthy creatures”. I understand that this is meant to be a dark!Harry story, and that this could fall into the melodramatic character writing that ACI100 engaged in throughout this fic, but there were times when I didn’t get that vibe, and I’ll have to see how this pans out in the future. If it’s indeed played straight, it will end up giving off an early Downward Spiral Saga vibe that I’m not in love with, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. I also still didn’t love the prose writing. It still often felt detached from the story being told, and it was still somewhat bland. As I said, it started getting better as the fic went on and I’m excited to see what book three has in store from a storytelling point of view.

Harry Potter and the Erosion of Innocence delivers on the promise of a realistic slow-burn dark!Harry story in a much more substantial way than book one did. It breathes life into its entire cast of characters (I was especially pleased with the direction Ron went), and tells a compelling and well-paced story that demonstrates a clear improvement over anything ACI100 has released in the past. Despite continuing to have prose problems, I enjoyed The Erosion of Innocence and would give it a light recommendation to anyone who enjoys stories about moral corruption.

Tier: Great Tier

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