every Starbucks should have a polar bear (scoradh) wrote,
every Starbucks should have a polar bear

Fic Recs

I thought it was beyond time that I do one of these lists. As yet it is far from comprehensive, and while I'm in fandom I don't intend for it ever to be -- but I think it's a good enough spring-board. It's more of a 'What I like' than 'What I think people should read' list, however, so be warned.

I realised after two hours of working in Word that I forgot to list the ratings -- but all the links display them pertinently. Besides, that should be a trivial factor in people's choosing to read a fic (unless they're strongly opposed to explicit sex scenes or something -- and again, these will be clearly labelled as such in the fics themselves).

Another Story About Citrus, by librae

This is far and away my favourite R/S ever. It's a teeny fic at about seven hundred words, but it completely captures a fleeting moment in time. The stream of consciousness style has to be done extremely well to succeed, but L does -- and then some.

An Unlikely Pair, by lunacy

This is my Harry/Draco. That is all.

A Spell To Turn Tigers To Butter, by amanuensis1
Harry/Snape, Harry/Lucius

A's stuff pretty much scares me, and this is no exception. I don't read Death Eater fics as a rule and have only ever done so by accident. The title of this one is what captured my interest; a crafty title for a crafty fic. If you're like me and darkfic!non-con is a squicky area for you, read this just for the ending -- which is superb. If you actually like darkfic!noncon you probably will have read it already. I'll say this for A -- although I don't always like her subject matter, I can tell that she's a master of writing it. There is never anything overdone or pointlessly disgusting about her work.

Checkmate Series, by mad_martha

This is a short trilogy of AUs wherein Harry is in Hufflepuff and Ron in Slytherin, and Harry is not the orphan of murdered parents. Martha has a gift for weaving characters who fit so fully into their surroundings, you'd think she had designed them herself. The minute differences between Harry and Ron in their Gryffindor versus their Slytherin/Hufflepuff incarnations are palpable but not parodic, because Martha has a fully developed understanding of how each House seems to shape personalities. And I loved the detail of Lily's lifestyle.

Droit De Seigneur, by amanuensis1
Harry/Lucius, Harry/Draco

This was, I believe, my very first NC-17 fic and as such it holds a special place in my heart. It manages to contain both non-con and romance (although I could probably find romance between rocks ... or stones). I think it's a standard non-con SFX to have the non-consensual partner end up being an active and willing participant in the sex, but few can pull it off as convincingly as this and still keep said person in character. I was almost siding with Lucius at one point, which says a lot about the hotness of the porn.

Holy Wine, by jinglefairy

One of the few printed fanfics I ever kept. I used to print them all the time, before the idea of copying and pasting into Word and thus reading while not connected to the internet (and the phone bill) occurred to me. I chucked out all those old Mary Sues and crack fics long ago, but this one hung around. I think it's best described as a fic of 'intent'; the sex is of a FicAlley standard, which is to say hinted at and not explained. At the time, it was the hottest thing I'd ever read. It doesn't pack quite such a powerful punch nowadays, but I do still think it's a lovely piece.

How Disney Nearly Ruined My Relationship, by kaalee

Don't be fooled by the title into thinking this is a brainless parody, as it is neither a parody nor brainless. It is, in fact, a wonderfully thoughtful story giving four viewpoints on the same relationship. Each speaker is clearly defined even through the difficult medium of first-person prose, and I thought it showed some great insights. Dean's mother was so convincing. A fic that will be guaranteed to leave you wishing there was more S/D of this standard about.

Idoneous, by spectacular
Gen, Ginny-centric

This is a tiny, tiny fic by this list's standards, but that's because it has compressed potential. It explores Ginny's feelings towards a number of boys in her life and is very insightful in so doing. It quietly illuminates Ginny's character. Hell, it even left me (temporarily) liking her.

If You Are Prepared, by Cybele

This is an absolutely amazing, detailed, well-characterised fic. Despite it being Harry/Snape -- which is far, far from being my favourite ship, or even one of which I'm particularly fond -- I think it's the best fanfic I've ever read. Unlike other long Harry/Snapes, it doesn't go into huge, high fantasy detail. Cybele keeps the story simple but emotionally profound, and the ending is just the biggest kick in the guts. I cried for three days afterwards and even now, two years later, hearing 'Avalon' or 'More Than This' can make my eyes prickle (The Best of Roxy Music was playing while I read). Oh, and make sure you take note of the title. (I wasn't ...)

Impedimenta, by furiosity

F is a bit of a Jedi master at the old Harry/Draco trick, but this is my favourite of all of hers. I liked to see the other characters, particularly Millicent, flushed out. I would not be such a huge fan of war-fics, but if I had to read more I'd hope they'd be like this. Fortunately, F is not too bogged down in the details of war and focuses more on the relationship between Harry and Draco, which is utterly convincing. The ending is special to me too.

Just Add Water, by Cybele

The seminal pornfic, in my opinion. Cybele has a gift for description that, while detailed, never becomes anatomical or mechanical. It is the best story of seduction I've ever seen -- and you rarely do see them, because mostly slash happens to drunken people, or people who are fumbling with their sexuality. Bill is an exquisitely drawn sexual predator and the story leaves you as hopelessly ensnared by his wiles as Harry.

Lines, by kaalee

All of K's stories are open and simple, but that's the basis of their charm. You don't have to write high fantasy or indulge in huge feats of invention to write a thoroughly satisfying tale -- although if you can do these things, I appreciate them too. K can describe the bonds between friends so well that the greater relationship is rightly seen as just another element of it. In this one, the 'lines' leitmotif makes it stand out from the crowd.

Lust Over Pendle, by ajhalluk

I was in love with this fic for a very significant (and embarrassing) length of time. Malfoy Instrinsica and the surrounding area seemed so real to me, I thought if I went to England I could find it. And live there. And play pool with the villagers. That is how in love I was. There is something about rural England that just grabs my imagination -- Calendar Girls or anything by Jane Austen epitomises it -- and that AJ could recreate this in a fic is a beauty in my eyes. Very, very plotty, of course -- this is serious fanfiction -- and with lots of OCs (hardly something I am about to object to, naturally). In my view these two points do nothing but make this another lovely little world that I can hide in, with plenty of characters to populate it. Not to mention that the depiction of Draco and Neville's relationship is touching and unique -- although the story does not hinge on it the way most other long fics do.

My Beautiful Friend, by kabeyk

I hate threesomes. Hate 'em. This is less of a threesome, though, and more a celestial convergence. K writes teenagers excellently well, and this is no exception -- they're all horny and confused and they really do just end up in bed together. Sirius' underhand tactics are the best part of the story, although he has as little genuine self-control as James -- and Remus' reaction is spot-on.

Of Nothing In Particular, by kabeyk

Simple, sweet sex between mates.

Parvati Prevails, by a_linz

Here we have the polar opposite to the explicit sex, which I like just as much. This is also het -- Harry/Parvati. You can always tell when someone has a genuine affection for one character, as opposed to writing them because they are convenient or the fanfic equivalent of a blow-up doll. Linz has this for Parvati and it really shows. This is a story about teenagers where they really act like teenagers, and not miniature sex addicts. A little bit daft, a good bit fun, and all around a sweet and snack-worthy read.

Post Bellum, by backinblack

This is a very powerful story. It reached me on a really visceral level, making me gasp and sending my imagination off into dark little corners (and not just of envy). It deals with memory loss, which is always a strong topic, and I think Ron's characterisation is perfect and Harry's wonderfully obtuse.

Practising The Same Religion, by geoviki

This is the only mpreg fic I have ever read. Thus, I have no idea where it stands in relation to the general quality of the genre. Then again, this is not a fic about mpreg, for those of you who despise it. It is a story that features mpreg. That's a subtle but important distinction. The story has a gentle pace and slow build-up, but there are certain scenes when G's empathy with the impossible position Draco has been put in shines. She makes Draco's character transition (from a snotty Harry-hater to a slightly less snotty Harry-lover) plausible due to life events and Draco's reaction to them. She gets brownie points for tackling a genre that is usually treated with condescension, and making it work.

Quixotic, by spectacular

This is just one of those fics that can transcend all preconceived notions -- for me, my dislike of Remus and my disinterest in the pairing. My love for James as a character is awesome, and this fic is like red roses on Valentine's Day to that love. K has a spare way of writing of which I'm awfully envious, and this fic encapsulates it wonderfully.
The fic itself evades description -- it's just one of those that need to be read to be understood.

Studies Of God, by fivil

This is the most unusual H/D, and possibly fic, that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Harry is a student of theology in Finland, with the attendant introspection and failed attempts to apply it to everyday life. He wakes up in time to realise that Draco is not a philosophical conundrum, but only just. Draco's personality is flippant yet not wholly so -- just the kind I like to see.

Sublimation and the Snitch, by copperbadge

I think this is a very clever fic. I'm not a huge fan of Sam's works, but he really created something special here. When I first found fanfiction, before my opinions had time to congeal, this was what I thought it was all about -- expanding on the known world, not making everyone have sex. There's an almost wistful quality to this as well, but I tend to find this with all happy (as opposed to merely fluffy) Marauder-era fics. It's basically an essay purportedly written by Remus, and it manages to capture his canonical sly sense of humour. The inserts from James and Sirius are also in character and amusing, but reading them whilst knowing that they are now both dead gave me a funny feeling in my stomach.

Sweet Sixteen, by minnow_53

This is a heart-breaking time-travel fic. As suggested by the title, Remus goes back to re-live his time as a sixteen year old. To say more would be to give it away, but it truly shows what a bittersweet ship R/S is and how every happiness they have together is tinged with a touch of frost. M's absolute faith in the pairing doesn't go astray either.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game, by cynicalpirate

From what I can see, people tend to paint Sirius as irredeemably messed up, or blase to the point of heartlessness. (Or fluffy OOC, but I wouldn't read that). S is the only person I know who can do a truly fucked up Sirius who is still normal by the world's standards. He doesn't show it to everyone, but the cracks sometimes get the better of him. His relationship with Remus is never fully defined, but it sure is important -- and interesting to read, natch.

Telling Hogwarts, by geoviki

I read this first a long, long time ago, back before I knew what and who BNFs were. What caught me then and what amuses me now is not the Harry/Draco interaction, but Neville and Millicent. I always think that the sidekicks and minor characters make or break romantic stories and films; this is no exception, and they definitely make it.

The Badger Series, by sarahtales

Maya can swing between two extremes of humour and despair, but in my opinion this trilogy manages to combine both to create something sublime. Although it is superficially almost a parody, that is a thin coating on a vat of hopelessness that soaks through the laugh-out-loud humour. She has created a creature of both pity and admiration in her Zacharias. Out of all her fics that I have read, I think this one to be the best developed in terms of Pratchettian/Austenian characterisation.

The Middle Man, by kabeyk

Both Remus and Sirius know exactly what they feel about each other in this fic (or so it seems), but, being your average inarticulate teenaged boys, they can't acknowledge it. Remus' careless desperation and Sirius' loving-by-proxy give the fic a breathless quality that is very in-tune with the events of the fic itself. I've read it about five times.

The Seeker, by shocolate

Basically? Anything by shocolate is okay by me. Better than okay. It's like eating chocolate beside a blazing fireplace while it's raining outside. The only difficulty was in choosing one fic to showcase her work -- but this is my favourite. A story about the simple, uncomplicated love of two friends who are more.

Two Households Series, by mad_martha

My admiration for this story is unqualified. The premise is as follows: on Harry's first day at Hogwarts, he does shake Malfoy's hand, earning him Ron's scorn. As a direct result, Harry gets Sorted into Slytherin. Seven years later, he wants to make good on the rift between him and Ron. Before I read it I thought this was a good premise; I've seen this sort of thing used before (mainly as an excuse to get Harry and Draco together). I also saw that Sirius was alive and with Remus (in the biblical sense). So far, so good, but I certainly didn't expect to find the depth and thoughtfulness, intelligence and character insight, that this story actually shows. I thought the mis-Sorting (or is it?) was an excellent vehicle for some hot boy-lovin', but it's so much more. In fact, there's very little m/m interaction of the sort I've grown accustomed to, but I'm very glad of it -- it's reintroduced me to the joys of suggestion and anticipation. In any case, the intricate plot and careful construction of a whole new wizarding world left me entranced. So few people bother to do this, and I can understand why -- the audience just isn't there. I'm extremely glad Martha went to the trouble, though, because while her writing does not have the irreverence of JK's, her universe is certainly as well-developed and her characters even more fully-rounded. An absolute pleasure to read.

Waters Of March, by geoviki

There are two main reasons why I liked this fic: the gentle, almost river-like flow of the prose and the descriptions of life in London when Hogwarts is temporarily relocated there. The second is a minor detail, but one of the things I most appreciate in stories is scene-setting. Of course there's a fine line between over-describing (particularly of places JK has depicted fully in the books) and completely ignoring the background, but G treads it with aplomb. There's a very soothing feeling that comes when you have your hair brushed by someone else, and it's no surprise that this fic should arouse that same feeling in me. It's a real comfort-fic. The awakenings of both the characters are a joy to watch unfold.

Point of interest: my spellcheck wants to replace 'fics' with 'faeces'.
Tags: do as i rec not as i say

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