Hi, here for the 12 days of reviewing challenge! Ooh, I actually know the Carol Ann Duffy poem you’re talking about (it was on the GCSE English syllabus for a bit before it was removed for, uh, “violence”).
This was a really interesting stream-of-consciousness type look into the young Voldemort’s mind, and definitely displays a lot of the psychopathic traits we’d expected from him, notably his absolute lack of empathy and belief that he’s a genius, or, indeed, God. I especially liked the line My life’s been stolen so I’ll steal yours - it definitely sounds like something the young Tom Riddle would say and then use as a justification for his descent into dark magic.
At the risk of sounding harsh, I do have a couple of criticisms, but I think they’re the sort of things that could be sorted out if you passed this through to a beta reader or the like. I think the short, sharp sentences in this are very effective, and they do mimic the feel of the original poem, but at points this piece felt a little directionless and lost focus. It could do with a bit of pruning down, maybe, and the cutting of superfluous sentences. For example, People go past shouting and screeching words at me “failure”, “freak”. It makes me angry. The urge rises again… personally, I don’t think you need to clarify that it makes him angry - we can infer that from his reaction. Some of the sentences could also do with rephrasing, such as A house, I enter, it’s easy the door opens at my touch without the need for the keys. - I completely understand what you’re trying to do in this by axing the verbs from some of your sentences (I do it to), but a few need tweaking. That bit should read: ‘A house. I enter. It’s easy; the door opens at my touch without the need for keys’. Or something like that. You also stray a little too close to the original poem in parts, especially the passage about the snowman (which I think actually comes from another poem called 'Stealing') - I really like the influence the poem’s had on the style of this, but it runs a little too close for comfort in that Riddle also steals a guitar, yo-yo and snowman, and speaks to the man on the phone who ultimately cuts him off. It’s the perfect poem for getting inside the head of a character like the young Voldemort, but it would be more effective if you came up with different things for Riddle to steal - he was an orphan in the 1930s, and a magical one at that, and this one-shot feels like it has more of a contemporary setting.
Otherwise this was really good - the stream-of-consciousness style suits it really well, as it’s unclear whether this is actually happening or just a figment of Riddle’s imagination. And ooh, what a chilling ending! This line in particular struck me: Today I am going to play God. He hasn’t helped me at all so I shall make him notice me, by taking control of something. Anything.
A belated merry christmas and a happy new year! ♥
Author's Response: Hello there, sorry for the delay in reply, Uni work has been taking up my life as of late!
Thank you SO SO SO MUCH for your wonderfully detailed review! I totally agree with the points you made, some rephrasing of a few sentences would help the piece to flow and be less 'clunky' in places. (Since posting this fic, I've always used a beta to help me iron out any creases, you yourself appear to be an excellent beta!)
I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading this, I was trying to write something quite different, there aren't a lot of fics that are from Tom Riddle's POV, and I find his personality before he became Voldermort fascinating. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to review :)