Archive for September, 2007
September 30th, 2007
Solace by SecretLily
Summary: Lily Evans remained shadowed and distant from the world she loved so dearly. Control was Michael’s weakness; temptation hers. Yet, when James Potter enters her life, without so much as a warning or brief hesitation, Lily finds truth. For James Potter refused to give up on her. Work In Progress, 23,613 words.
Why You Should Care: This fic isn’t unique in its subject matter. There are dozens of fics where Lily’s dating a guy who totally doesn’t deserve her and treats her badly. But they don’t do this well. What I love about this fic is its subtlety. This fic doesn’t go straight in with domestic violence, but plays on the surface of emotional possession, meaning that (unusally, for this genre) Lily isn’t OOC: she’s soft and passionate and interesting, and SecretLily manages to show her as a supressed character, a masterstroke in my book. Not only that, but stylistically this fic is beautiful and captures moments with soft, unexpected imagery.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s true. This is another fic where Lily’s dating a total arsehole. And it’s incredibly angsty; I reckon this fic could do with a bit of humour to lighten the tone, but the characterization alone should be enough of a draw to read it.Comment (2) »
September 29th, 2007
Great Man by LightGetsIn
Summary: Harry Potter is dead. Drabble, 605 Words.
Why You Should Care: Wow. This is good. This is so simple and so in character and so keenly written that ‘wow’ is the only word I can come up with to accurately summarize how I feel about this little fic. Wow. This little peak into Hagrid’s head and memory as he carries Harry out of the forbidden forest is excellent.
Why You Might Not Care: Did you read the word ‘wow’ up there? Twice? I know it’s Hagrid, but trust me — I wouldn’t lead you wrong.Comment (1) »
September 28th, 2007
Thyself in Me
Thyself in Me by Branwyn
Summary: Whenever Narcissa is alone, she spends long minutes gazing at herself in mirrors. Oneshot, 2,244 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is one of these fabulous character pieces that you sit back from reading and start to see canon differently. It’s a somewhat original view on the Black sisters, particularly Narcissa, and it gives real insight into her motivations. The romance between Narcissa and Lucius is suitably formal, and wonderfully contrasted with the sheer instincts that she discovers at becoming a mother. It’s quite sparely written: unlike many one-shots of its kind it doesn’t overdose on beautiful words, and the emotions, the actions, the decisions: they’re all very real. Beautifully constructed and excellently executed.
Why You Might Not Care: Sometimes this is a little too sparely written and a little of the depth is lost, and Branwyn’s phrasing can occasionally be a little clunky and awkward, but the psychology of the character, even with this awkwardness, is always handled sensitively and delicately.Comment (2) »
September 27th, 2007
Two Men To Make One Brother
Two Men To Make One Brother by Jamesly
Summary: He, Sirius, he is the heir; he is the one to carry the name and the fortune and the status, not Regulus, with his runny nose, curling toes, and doughy cheeks. Oneshot, 3,120 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is an excellent story about two brothers who both love and hate each other for reasons that only make sense to siblings. Mostly, though, it’s the story of the younger of the two; Sirius’ POV provides us with both prologue and epilogue like bookends, but Regulus is the one we get to know the best. They experience the range of emotions most siblings do — jealously, affection, fraternity — and Regulus struggles as he tries not to notice Sirius drift farther and farther away. In the end, though, no matter how much we’d like to hate our family, we still somehow love them anyway, because they are family; Jamesly nails the mix perfectly.
Why You Might Not Care: There is some Remus/Sirius slash used to drive the wedge even further. Personally, I don’t think it was needed — I think the piece would have been more powerful without something so taboo and anvilicious to sink the nail, but if it could have been simply the drift of choice that sent Sirius and Regulus in two different directions. The slash is there, however, for better or worse, though it isn’t the focus by any stretch.Comment (2) »
September 26th, 2007
Need by CherryChalk
Summary: He hates it. He wants it. And maybe, deep down, he’s accepted that he needs her too. Drabble, 326 words.
Why You Should Care: Okay, I’m going to admit, this is an incest fic. But it’s a damned good incest fic which, within less than five hundred words, perfectly depicts the characters of Sirius and Bellatrix, as well as beautifully probing at the sin, the lust, the danger that incest is. It’s tense, it’s frightening — it’s intensely passionate, terrifyingly so. Trust me, this fic will turn your views on incest upside down.
Why You Might Not Care: If you don’t like incest. Basically. But read it anyway — everyone should. It’s fabulous.Comment (2) »
September 25th, 2007
Lost and Found
Lost and Found by Thirty2Flavors
Summary: “They’re scared of us, he thought. They were scared of grief. Perhaps they thought it contagious.” At Peter’s funeral, Remus finds comfort from the strangest of places. Oneshot, 3,082 Words.
Why You Should Care: I secretly adore fics where Remus and Tonks interact when Tonks is a young girl — perhaps mostly because I get a little bit of a wicked grin thinking about how Remus must feel thinking back on times like this once he put a bun in her oven — and, obviously, because I not-so-secretly adore fics by Thirty2Flavors. I really love little Nymphadora here, and her spunky, innocent take on Remus’ situation. There are some incredibly accurate remarks about funerals in general in this piece, and how people never know what to say to real grief. Lighter than you think. Uplifting, even.
Why You Might Not Care: If you’ve read a lot of Thirty2Flavors’ fic, you’ll no doubt notice this is one of her older pieces, and in places the word play and language is not as cunningly created as we have come to expect of her later fics. The story does not suffer from it, however, and the central theme is as solid as ever.Comment (2) »
September 24th, 2007
A Summer in Ottery St Catchpole
A Summer in Ottery St Catchpole by Ashley Donnan
Summary: Everyone in the village knew the Weasleys and their backward kids. Thankfully, they all went to some ‘special’ school up north during the year, so the only time she had to put up with them was during the summer holidays. One-shot, 1,317 words.
Why You Should Care: This fic is wonderful, that’s why. It’s told from the point of view of a Muggle living in Ottery St. Catchpole. Although it’s by no means action-packed, Ashley Donnan absolutely hits the nail on the head of how this character would be feeling. It’s also brimful of wonderful Britishness – it’s marvellous. Being British myself, of course, I end up reading this and thinking ‘My, my, she’s watching Eastenders in the middle of the day. It must be Sunday’, but even if you aren’t that anal a Brit-picker, this fic is still incredibly funny and incredibly real. Every teenage girl in the world either is Nathalie, or knows Nathalie. Just…just read it.
Why You Might Not Care: Yes, I know, nothing happens. Yes, I know, it’s a dreaded OC. Yes, I know, it’s the strangest fic you’ll read. Yes, yes, yes. Your complaints are unimportant. Read it.Comment (3) »
September 23rd, 2007
Secrets by Salt-Rose
Summary: Everyone has their own secrets. Remus and Tonks slowly share theirs. Drabble Collection, 3,262 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is an absolutely lovely series of drabbles about the relationship between Remus and Tonks — the complications of it, the simplicities, and the things you try really hard to keep from happening that can’t be stopped and happen anyway. Glorious little scenes about the process of discovering someone else. Just enough angst to constantly remind you it’s a Remus/Tonks fic, which is what — I think — what makes the ship so enjoyable for most people….
Why You Might Not Care: Had enough of Remus/Tonks yet? If so, this is probably not a good place to go to get away from it. This is exactly the opposite of that. This is 100% Remus/Tonks. Cranky Remus/Sirius shippers beware, though there is a little throwaway for the Remus/Sirius shippers that made me smile. This is apparently incomplete — the author assures us there will be more — but each drabble is self contained, so not being complete doesn’t really affect your enjoyment of it. You’ll probably finish and long for more, though.Comment (5) »
September 22nd, 2007
At the First Turning of the Second Stair
At the First Turning of the Second Stair by Lirazal
Summary: ‘Together they are too much knowledge, all the same memories, almost completely Black as they never are when with anyone else.’ Sirius and Andromeda, the night before he runs away. Oneshot, 1,763 words.
Why You Should Care: What I love about this fic is that Sirius and Andromeda are truly Blacks in it. You read so many fics where they use Muggle slang, and swear, and act up to escape their roots. But here they are just Black children, who’re choosing to take another path. Much of the dialogue is refreshingly natural, and there’s a delicate feel to what’s said, as if it’s only held up by what’s unsaid.
Why You Might Not Care: If you don’t like the Blacks, there’s nothing for you here. And maybe this fic could do with a little touching up here and there, to make the writing less awkward in places. On the other hand, I like the way it’s a little rough and raw. Maybe you disagree. But I still reckon you should read it.Comment (4) »
September 21st, 2007
The Bravery in Staying Behind
The Bravery in Staying Behind by Ms. Spell
Summary: She thinks it’s her fault, somehow. Oneshot, 1,020 Words.
Why You Should Care: Andromeda waits out the longest night of her life, and already knows how it will end before it does. There is a numbness to this piece that seems all too realistic, a sort of absence of emotion until the very end, like something frozen that is slowly thawing. The emotional storm will come — perhaps has just started — but this piece is about the before. It’s about waiting to feel.
Why You Might Not Care: This is one of those fics that is less about a particular person (though this one is that, too) than it is about a human experience. Everyone should take the time and read it. Really. It’s very good.Comment (4) »
September 20th, 2007
Little Paper Stars
Little Paper Stars by EntirelyToo
Summary: The seventh had been the carefree action of opening the door to see who was knocking… Drabble, 782 words.
Why You Should Care: Lots of people write Luna, and lots of people write Luna like this, winsome and angsty and odd, but no-one’s done it quite like EntirelyToo manages to do here. This fic, for me, is the absolute epitome of that old writing idiom ‘show, don’t tell’. The writer shies away from the temptation to just say what’s happening in Luna’s head, and instead leaves us to puzzle it out on our own. On top of all that, this fic has a wonderfully chilling touch about exactly what Tom Riddle does to people, which feels very in tune with canon.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s very angsty, and quite wordy in places, and there’s a point a couple of paragraphs in when you might start thinking ‘enough already!’. And I suppose you might not like it if you’re not a Luna fan. Though, after the OotP film, who isn’t?Comment (2) »
September 19th, 2007
Coming Tomorrow, the Newest Addition to Coffee and Chocolate
It is my great pleasure to announce the arrival of my first co-reccer, Wingless Flight!
She’s a bright and British Harry Potter fan who frequents and mods the Unknowable Room Forum, an absolutely spiffing and regular reviewer and most excellent author of at least fifteen Harry Potter fics including the Hourglass Award winning Whisper In My Ear which was rec’d here on June 20. She may be young in years, but she’s got great taste and real talent.
Wingless Flight’s first rec hits C&C tomorrow during the standard time slot of 8am MST, and will be from here on in taking command of the even-numbered days. I will continue to rec on the odd-numbered days.
As of today, the current total of fics rec’d on this site is a surprising 112, and to date I’ve given out two Gold Star Awards with another on the way soon for the month of September. I’d also like to thank the regular commenters (AML, Christina, Insanguinare, Oxymoron, Kali, and Yuan Tao among the most frequent) for sharing their thoughts on the fics — it’s always great to hear what other people have to say. Keep it up!
I’m keeping the Job Opening up — you never know when another talented soul with the desire to rec and a list of fantastic fic a mile long will show up. Is that you? If it is, apply to join me and Wingless Flight on our mission to rec a fic a day.
Happy Reading!Comment (7) »
September 19th, 2007
The Elusive Snorkack
The Elusive Snorkack by Kethlenda
Summary: There’s something unsaid and unresolved, something suspended in the air between them, and though she’s rarely at a loss for words she’s not sure which ones to use now. Oneshot, 2,200 Words.
Why You Should Care: It was a ship nobody really saw coming — that no one could have seen coming, really — and it didn’t take long for the fic to start. Chance and circumstance threw Luna and Dean together, and while Jo has suggested they might not be forever, there does seem to be a little something sparking there. Kethlenda writes Luna in many of the same ways JKR does, and while this piece would technically be from Luna’s POV, it’s a limited POV that follows her instead of getting inside her head. The “Luna-ness” comes from the dialogue and the details, and I have to say it’s one of the best Luna stories I’ve read in some time; she’s terribly difficult to write well, but Kethlenda seems to do so with ease. This is a story about transition: of people out of war and of people into relationships. Quite nice.
Why You Might Not Care: There’s actually very little “shippyness” in here. It’s there, and it’s sort of the main subject, but I found the subtext more compelling. This is more Luna’s story than Dean’s, but Luna’s the sort of character who naturally dominates almost any scene she’s in, so I’m not terribly surprised. Even in the canon, the presence of Luna has a tendency to shift the focus: we don’t lose Harry, but he doesn’t have our full and complete attention like he usually does. It’s funny how there are some supporting characters that just always do that.Comment (1) »
September 18th, 2007
Field Below by Just Hold Still
Summary: Somewhere behind him the world has juddered to a stop and begun again, but he knows none of it. When he comes back to himself, it’s to the clacking heartbeat of a train with no memory of the station, to the softly falling snow slipping past the grimy compartment windows, and the vague notion that he’s got somewhere to be. Oneshot, 1,273 Words.
Why You Should Care: I love pieces like this, that combine poetic free-association with prose to create something soothingly dream-like. This is Snape’s After, and he is neither a hero nor a villain. Death is the great equalizer of all men, and so instead we have something simpler. I love this. Beautifully written, and as smooth as a stone that has weathered the elements for a long, long time.
Why You Might Not Care: I feel you should read this even if you’re not particularly fond of Snape. But I am particularly fond of Snape, so what do I know, really?Comment (2) »
September 17th, 2007
Getting Ready by Flora Hart
Summary: Each Weasley brings something a little different to Fred’s funeral. Drabble Collection, 8 X 100 Word Drabbles.
Why You Should Care: These killed me. I’m a sucker for 100 word traditional drabbles, and these are absolutely brilliant looks at each of the Weasleys in turn as they prepare to bury one of their own. Everything about this is right, and Arthur and Molly’s in particular broke my heart over again. There’s a little piece of me that feels so betrayed by Jo for having done something like this to this family — to Molly — to George. This piece says everything I would like to say about losing Fred without ever needing to actually say it. Grief, beautifully orchestrated. Cathartic.
Why You Might Not Care: I’m not sure this is angst. It’s too terribly common and simple and normal and broad and true to fit properly into the angst genre of fic. I needed a fic like this — I needed the closure — but perhaps not everyone felt Fred’s loss as keenly as I did.Comment (1) »
September 16th, 2007
And Yet He Flinched
And Yet He Flinched by HLB
Summary: McGonagall’s thoughts as she contemplates the mask Snape wears. Oneshot, 1,339 Words.
Why You Should Care: This was written, I think, prior to the release of HBP and so the author did not at this point know that Snape’s father was a Muggle. However, the sentiment turned out to be (probably) all too accurate, even if the method is a bust. It is a terrible thing that people can be ruined so early in life, and Snape is one of the three lost boys of Hogwarts; I think his, in the end, is the most tragic story, because he isn’t able to chose the path of total darkness or total light, but rather is thrown constantly between the two as only a ruined man may be.
Why You Might Not Care: This may not be entirely canon Snape; we don’t really get enough of him to know for sure. Something about McGonagall is… not quite accurate. But — and correct me if I’m wrong — the details aren’t the point, I don’t think.Comment (1) »
September 15th, 2007
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Lilith Morgana
Summary: Last time, things were different. Oneshot, 2,700 Words.
Why You Should Care: Even Lord Voldemort’s highest ranking lieutenants experience the war, and this is a portrait of the Malfoy family and their fall from grace during the second war as told through Narcissa’s POV. It is too easy to forget sometimes that even the villains have something to lose, and sometimes are that much closer to losing it. There is still love amongst the lowest of us, and while the likes of Voldemort — and maybe even Bellatrix — are beyond it, the Malfoys are not. Dark moments in the life of a dark family as the Malfoys do what they do best — survive and escape.
Why You Might Not Care: This will be best for people who like the darker characters, and who don’t eternally hate the Malfoys for weaseling their way out of trouble again. Let’s face it folks, if Lucius Malfoy tortured puppies in front of five-year-olds twirling an old-fashioned villain’s moustache, he’d somehow find a way to buy himself out of it. Again.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best Drama — Second PlaceComment (1) »
September 14th, 2007
Clouds In My Coffee
Clouds In My Coffee by Lady Bracknell
Summary: Parties like this are for nameless drinks and faceless people, Sirius thinks, and drowning out the world for a while so they can pretend it doesn’t exist. Oneshot, 3,327 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a little interlude in Lady Bracknell’s “Disaster: See Also, Remus J. Lupin, Lovelife Of” told from Sirius’ POV, and it’s hot. This is perfect pre-Azkaban Sirius, and his impressive ego is in full form. This is great little riff, with pretty girls, body language, pop lyrics, and liquor. This is exactly why Sirius obviously had no trouble getting girls. Great characterization of Sirius, and — as always — Lady Bracknell delivers us an OC that could never be called a Mary Sue. I love that this manages to be completely sexy without ever once straying past PG13 territory. MMMmmm, good.
Why You Might Not Care: If you think Sirius has a warm, gooey centre where he’s not arrogant, then you’re wrong. There’s a little Want-Take-Have in Sirius Black, and I for one love it. He’s not a player so much as he’s a difficult person to captivate for a long period of time, and he fills the boredom any way he can. Susan goes in with her eyes open, and that makes her worthy of the attention. This is a “missing scene” from “Disaster: See Also, Remus J Lupin, Lovelife Of”, but it does stand alone very well, so I wouldn’t consider it required reading.Comment (3) »
September 13th, 2007
The Platform by Koonelli
Summary: ‘You must have loved her very much, not many people remember enough to wait.’ Oneshot, 1,861 Words.
Why You Should Care: What’s most amazing about this fic is that it was written prior to Deathly Hallows release (like, significantly prior), but uses some of the same imagery to set up the first phase of the afterlife — it’s actually become even more canon than it was before, which is highly unusual. The use of the little girl who assists the dead on their next great journey is wonderful, and I love the fuzziness of James’ memory. I’m not a very spiritual person, but I liked this.
Why You Might Not Care: Um… ah… *shrugs*. I think most people can get behind this one. Certainly James/Lily shippers will get more out of it than anyone else.Comment (6) »
September 12th, 2007
Sitting in a Tree
Sitting in a Tree by Wild Magelet
Summary: Of the many perils associated with dating Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin discovers that buying her an appropriate gift for Valentine’s Day may be the most daunting. Oneshot, 5,109 Words.
Why You Should Care: A little Remus/Tonks interlude. The dialogue exchange between the two of them is fantastic — Remus is Very Remus and Tonks is Very Tonks. The age difference here is noticeable — even in the conversation — but I like this fic all the more for it, because Wild Magelet finds the ways in which the two of the work despite the gap. This fic has been made fundamentally A/U by virtue of Deathly Hallows, but not in any way that’s really important. It is canon in all the ways that really matter.
Why You Might Not Care: Remus might appear to some to be a little rougher around the edges than canon, but I think this is a fair version of him. I think Tonks is dead accurate. Not quite fluffy, this fic contains the sort of romance that only happens in real life — the boring, simple, basic kind that lives in off-the-cuff conversations and small gestures. There is nothing grandiose or sweeping here, only a comfortable, familiar reality.Comment (2) »