I am continuously switching between "Oh god, so cute!" and "Nooo, make him happy again! Now!".
I really wanted to like it, but it was messily put together. The tone didn't know how to set its self. There was no clear genre 9rbtgeme. And the way characters were killed off seemed lazily done, and there was a lack of significant characters.
There are lots of "Girl Who Lived" fics, where Harry Potter is born a girl. This... is not QUITE that. In this particular fic, Harry is a boy... but he's under some kind of strange curse that makes anyone magical see him as a girl. Most people don't even hear him when he tries to explain that he's really a boy named Harry and not a girl named Harriet. This sounds like the premise of a crackfic, but it isn't really. Oh, the situation's played for laughs more often than not, but the fic also does a lot to explore the situation, trying to take a look at gender-related topics as well as gender dysphoria. It's really fun seeing how "Harriet," despite going through a similar plot, has a very different Hogwarts experience than canon Harry... and how the differences in some ways lead to very different results. Plus, this fic probably has the BEST Padma Patil in any fanfic. The only reason it's not a five-star is that the fic's a little unfocused... but it's highly recommended all the same.
Lovecraft's influence on Bloodborne should be clear to anyone who has played the game, and this fanfiction captures perfectly the feelings that are evoked in game. The cosmic horror, the creeping feeling of impending doom, and a downward spiral into insanity is clearly displayed over the course of both the game and the story, and UnwelcomeStorm masterfully evokes all kinds of goosebumps and shivers with every paragraph.
Honestly, this started as a dungeon fic, but the focus has been moving further and further from that as time goes on. A fun read.
It is a truism that HPMoR is not for everyone. It is rooted in the HP fanfiction community more than in the canon books themselves, for one thing, and that turns some people away; me, I like the idea that "Harry Potter" is turning into a loose folk-memory collection of plot-points and structures akin to Arthurian legend, where there are, to be sure, revered foundational texts, but you are perfectly within your rights to prefer some of the later, wilder apocrypha and mix and match wildly until you get something interesting. For another, the story is very much a mouthpiece for the author's philosophical and epistemological views; if you agree with those views at least broadly, it'll be nice and validating; if not, it will be as preachy as anything that has the author talking earnest about stuff with which you disagree, and that is very irritating indeed. That aside, the story has some obvious literary merit, if one is being objective. It's much better-written than the common fanfiction muck, which is already something; it is massive and complete and tightly-plotted, which is very remarkable indeed. HPMoR contains so much foreshadowing it's kind of mind-blowing upon reread, if you can stomach a reread. It has a terrifically-written villain, whether or not said villain has fuck-all to do with the original's Lord Voldemort and whether or not you think the other characters are cardboard cutouts. (They are a bit, and I say this as a fan of the story.) It has a lot of jokes that land, even if you think some of them do not. Of course, the same "fair critic not as overly concerned with E. Yudkwosky's politics as with the story's quality" perspective will also reveal some very objective flaws. The main character's improbably adult mindset is the setup of a very clever reveal… which would be much cleverer if he didn't have at least two classmates on nearly the same intellectual level. The pacing is all over the place — the story drags painfully in the middle, with the Defence Professor's "mock-battles" which even premier HPMoR fans agree go on for too fucking long. The story starts with the mission statement of teaching you rationalist techniques and theories (which is the only justification for the fairly inscrutable title), but utterly fails to… do that; the handful of times Harry uses particular rationalist techniques instead of embodying the rationalist mindset in general, he does so in not-particularly-educative, and at times actively-mistaken, ways. But overall, if what you're looking for is "a fun, cleverly-plotted anti-deathist fantasy, with a shameless wish-fulfillment main character", as opposed to "the freaking Bible", then you'll like this. If you're not too keen on preference-utilitarianism-based anti-deathism, if a lovable smartass isn't your idea of a wish-fulfillment main character, or if you really really cannot bear a story based on the barebones of the Harry Potter universe but making no attempt to feel like canon — then you probably should give it a pass.
"Hermione Granger and the Serpent's Renaissance" is precisely what you can reasonably hope for a story about 'Hermione wakes up to realize she's the reincarnation of Salazar Slytherin' to be. Such as: — yeah, Salamione is kind of a Mary Sue, though not the annoying sort of Mary Sue, and certainly not the fucking-Tom-Felton kind of Mary Sue, just the "clearly overpowered for the purposes of wish fulfillment" sort of Mary Sue, — no, of course the story gives no serious thought to the implications of a cis man waking up in a female body, let alone to the creep factor of a very old man running around in an 11-year-old girl's body; — yes, politicking involving Lucius Malfoy and Old Families is had, — yes forsooth: boohoo woohoo Slytherin was just misunderstood, he had nothing against mudbloods, oh and Dark Magic isn't evil it's just demonized by the Light Side for no effing good reason boohoo. None of these things are done irritatingly, though. I'm kind of sick of depicting the Dark Arts with a "power isn't evil, men are evil" philosophy, because the Dark Arts are evil in canon. It's the point of them. Dark Arts isn't a random category for powerful magic, it's what you call magic that's evil, whether it's powerful or not. (The Bat-Bogey Hex is canonically, technically, Dark Magic.) But if you start from the premise that the Dark Arts *are* just powerful, dangerous magic, which this story does, then the Dark Arts apology follows naturally from it and you can't sensibly object. It is also a very well-written story, and Hermiazar is the likable kind of Mary Sue, as I said. The kind you can actually have fun imagining yourself in the shoes of, just about. Also, Dumbledore is no ally of Slythergranger, obviously; but neither is he treated as a "manipulative old bastard" or a misguided fool. Salagranger acknowledge that the Light Siders' argument makes sense, especially after a war; it's a political disagreement and no more than that. I have no idea what the flipping hell that weird worldbuilding about souls was about, or why the fuck Slythermione becoming a professional couturier on the side is a prominent subplot. But that doesn't detract from the story being fundamentally a charming bit of fun. 4/5. If this website allowed for half-points I might persuaded to give it 4.5, though then again perhaps not.
"The Parselmouth of Gryffindor" is fun, it is whimsical, and it has its ethical head screwed on right. Its English is workmanlike, if nothing special; a few bon mots to be found and all that, though I'm sure robst contains a few bon mots too, if you look really hard and don't mind the shit that enmires them. The story isn't much for pacing, but that's no real issue. I get the feeling it's meant more for subscribed readers who get a new chapter a week than for bingereaders, though I binged most of it, and here I am, writing a positive review, so you know. At any rate the plot developments are all novel; no protracted graveyard scenes to be had here. I say plot-developments and not twists, because mysteries or arcs are really if ever really set up; it's just The Life and Times of Hermione Granger. I'd call it slice-of-life except things Hermione's day-to-day life is full of things like a Basilisk curing lycanthropy while Hedwig is fighting an evil Hufflepuff for the status of Triwizard Champion, so it's not really an apt descriptor. Aside from the pacing thing, and the inevitable handful of plotholes, I'd say the inconsistent tone is the biggest mistake of Achilles Talon. At times things are Seventh Horcrux levels of insane, and this is clearly the story he's selling first and foremost; but as things unfold, it's quite obvious that he's fallen in love with his own characters and wants to tell an Epic Hero's Journey for his bratty-genius Hermione, even if it's a fairly off-kilter one. I feel that Mr Talon is somewhat less well-suited to that genre than he is to zany comedy, even if he still demonstrates more than basic competence whenever things get serious. By the way, Achilles Talon? Cool name, that; feels like an OC Defense Professor might have that name; which reminds me that while the few OCs in this story are rather nice by OC standards, their names are kinda stupid; Professor Max, seriously? Professor Quirrel, Professor Lockhart… Professor Max? I appreciate shaking up the sempiternal list of Canon Defense Professors, but if you're gonna go up against Umbridge as a character, try harder. Oh, and it's not that there isn't any of that in the story, but it's not nearly as concerned with snakes as the summary suggests. There's a decent number of well-defined snake characters, though Nagini is for some reason not one of them. But Hermione isn't actively pursuing snake equality; it's just one more quirky opinion of hers. The Basilisk is introduced as a major character but kinda fades into the background after a while and never makes much of an impression. (The same can be said of Harry Potter, by the way, but I don't think very many people read HP fanfic, especially ones where he isn't the main character, because they have deep unconditional love of the character of Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a slice of toast. A wimpy one. Who the author keeps telling you is Jesus for some reason.) All in all, not a masterpiece, but a minor classic. I say 4/5. And this is the author's first serious story, so we might expect some great things from Mr Talon in the futre, hm, hm, yes, great things. (This last sentence to be read in Ollivander voice.)
Like most things by Astolat, this fic is amazing. The seemingly simple premise develops into a compelling what-if scenario about the true nature of wizards and their world.
The Saving Connor series is one of the longest and most impressive feats of world building found in HP fanfiction. This first book feels a little rough as the author gets their world and characters defined, but the language and grammar are impeccable. The angst can be a bit thick and the characters can be fairly intense, however, as the series progresses, the character choices in the first arc become more clear and serve as excellent contrast as they grow. As for the world, it is the most well thought out and fleshed out version of the wizarding world that I have ever encountered . The author fills in all of the cultural subtleties that often feel missing in cannon. Dark wizards have a reason to be dark, beyond blind prejudice and inherent evil. They have their own cultural history and tradition that they follow, and dark does not equal evil. The same can be said for the light wizards, they have an equally compelling backstory and motivation. This series also happens to include the most interesting portrayal of necromancy as a sub culture that I have found in any fiction. This series is, for me, truly the gold star of effective and compelling world building in the HP world.
I like the basic premise of this story. Harry being pulled into another world as the Master of Death is one of my favorite tropes. However, I just cannot get into this one. The character interactions feel shallow and underdeveloped, with the author often falling into the traps of having the characters snigger and smirk, or scowl and huff rather than building the dialog to convey emotion. It is frustrating, because the author often comes close to having really solid prose but always falls back into clunky phrasing. This along with wildly out of character and over powered Harry, and undeveloped character interactions kills this one for me. I know this story is very popular and I will add the caveat that I have never managed to make my self read past chapter 5, so perhaps the writing improves as the story progresses. I've just never been able to push through the flaws to make it that far.
The next chapter (if it comes) promises to be very interesting. And it's managed to handle the mindfuck elements well so far, though any form of mental influence over the MC is never going to be my favorite.