Thursday, February 17, 2011

Results of my Harry Potter fanfic rec challenge at FFn

Again, I wanted to thank everyone who submitted recs to my fanfic rec challenge (at! All the recs submitted were of decent quality, and I found some very interesting reading material thanks to all of you. ;) I judged the recs you guys sent in based on several factors, including grammar, punctuation/spelling, overall readability, writing quality, characterizations, plot, and entertainment value, and I came up with some favorites.

So you understand my process a bit better: In the case of multichaptered fics, I read through the first chapter and scored them based on that very first chapter. If the fic interested me, I bookmarked it and went back to read on it some more, and I adjusted the score as necessary as I read further. If it didn’t catch me from the get-go, however, I left the score as-is based on that first chapter.

I’d intended to only post my top five, but there ended up being more because of ties and near-ties, which I then placed in order based on personal preference:

7. Muggle Born Revenge by HeRonFan (Ron/Hermione, complete) The good: Mature, emotional writing, very in-character, a very plausible missing moments scene from Deathly Hallows. The bad: A handful of minor technical errors. The ugly: None.

6. Mirror, Mirror by BlackHawk13 (Ron/Hermione, incomplete) The good: Interesting premise, good writing. The bad: Not quite sure about some of the characterizations, and noticeable technical errors. The ugly: The repeated “Ronalds” and “Miones,” a personal pet peeve of mine. Note: I only read through the first chapter.

5. Care of Magical Creatures by mia madwyn (Snape/Hermione, M for explicit content, complete) The good: Mature writing, and this scored MAJOR points for the characterization of Snape, which is one of the best I’ve read. The bad: Hermione’s characterization, but that’s pretty typical for Snape/Hermione fics. She rarely seems in-character. The ugly: none

4. Burning Down the House by little0bird (Ron/Hermione, complete) The good: Very clean writing, good characterizations. The bad: The writing is a little TOO clean, not particularly deep or multidimensional, and Ron is a little too…perfect, I suppose. The ugly: None.

3. Scenes from Shell Cottage by WeasleyMom (Ron/Hermione, complete) The good: Very clean writing, sweet DH missing moments. The bad: A tad too sickly sweet for my personal tastes. The ugly: None.

2. Hermione’s Worst Nightmare by HeRonFan (Ron/Hermione, complete) The good: Emotional, mature writing, the kissing scenes had me literally swooning. The bad: Minor technical errors. The ugly: none. (Check out the sequel, Australian R&R, which has 4 chapters up.)


My top-rated fic amazingly didn’t even meet my pairing criteria, as I was asking for Ron/Hermione, Snape/Hermione, Snape/Lily, and trio fic recs: It’s actually the story of Draco and Astoria. I haven’t read too many Draco fics since I’ve never felt anything either way about him, although I was vaguely happy that he ultimately turned out to be a dynamic character, but this fic was highly recommended to me by a reader, Triacletart, and I’m very thankful for the rec. I’ll just dive right into my review now:

The writing quality is positively stellar, top-notch (probably the best-written fic I’ve read), and the author knows how to set up a scene, introduce the characters, and draw the reader in. In fact, I was so impressed by the quality of the writing itself that I couldn’t NOT read further, no matter who the story was about. It’s a Romeo-and-Juliet type of tale, and ultimately Draco has to choose between family and love, because though Astoria was raised as a Pureblood, there’s controversy surrounding her and the actual status of her “purity.” As I read, I watched Astoria and Draco grow at a realistic, believable pace of character development, and I was drawn into their story.

The most interesting element, in my opinion, is a subplot involving Snape. I won’t say too much for those who want to give the story a go, but I was touched by Snape in this. Also, there are several cameo appearances from Hermione, who develops an unlikely friendship with Astoria, and it was quite entertaining to read about Draco and Hermione being forced to “play nice” because of their mutual acquaintance with Astoria.

My only complaint about this fic is the author’s frequent word misuse that’s quite noticeable to experienced readers, for example: “grown” in place of “groan,” “quiet” in place of “quite,” “hallow” in place of “hollow,” “defiantly” in place of “definitely,” “barring,” in place of both “bearing” and “baring,” and multiple other such errors throughout. However, the writing quality is superb enough to render these errors (for the most part) forgivable. So, without further ado:

1. Dirty Little Secret by justaudrey07 (Draco/Astoria, M for explicit content, incomplete)

I would also like to add that if you read this story, please be courteous and leave a review when you have the chance. She’s too classy an author to beg for reviews, but I think it’s sort of criminal that she just has over 200, considering the time, hard work, and effort that’s obviously gone into her writing.

(Sort of) Honorable Mentions:

The Guilty Pleasure Award goes to Mistakes Made in the Dark (Snape/Hermione, M for explicit content, incomplete) by TornBetweenSerpents: I stayed up ‘til 3AM one night reading all the posted chapters. If Dirty Little Secret is the filet mignon of fanfic, then by comparison this story is a Big Mac and fries: Though inarguably bad, you can’t help but want more. It’s a fun, admittedly entertaining read, but the premise of this story is more than a bit ridiculous, some of the plot points/character motivations come off as a bit juvenile, and Hermione is grossly out of character (as she is in the majority of the Snape/Hermione fics I’ve read).

The story makes constant allusions to how intelligent she is, yet all she thinks about throughout the story is her sexuality—and not even in a particularly intelligent manner. Even worse than Hermione’s characterization, however, is the author’s treatment of Ron, who gets written off as a complete ogre. In fact, I was so appalled I very nearly quit reading at one point, but I decided to truck on through and was happy (for the most part) that I did (Be warned: Most avid R/Hr shippers will hate this story). Harry is virtually forgotten in favor of Hermione becoming BFFs with Draco Malfoy (who for some unknown reason is Head Boy and teaches her “inappropriate hand gestures” and foul language). Also, though the writing itself is acceptable, there are multiple sloppy technical errors throughout that I found distracting, including consistent incorrect punctuation of her quotations, even though the author apparently uses a beta.

Nonetheless, despite scoring low in most areas, this fic scored very high in entertainment value alone (Why else would I stay up ‘til 3AM reading?) and there’s some great sexual tension build-up, which is why Mistakes Made in the Dark earns my Guilty Pleasure Award! (Which means absolutely nothing, since I’m not handing out real prizes.)

And lastly….

The Popularity Award goes to Watching Love (Ron/Hermione/Harry, M for explicit content, complete) by mugglemama, as it was rec’ed by three different individuals and was, in fact, the ONLY entry I received that was rec’ed by more than one person. Despite its popularity, however, this was actually one of the fics I scored the lowest. I personally wasn’t impressed by the characterizations, particularly Harry’s (whose internal monologue sounded a bit like that of a flamboyant gay man’s), and I thought Ron & Hermione’s love life was more than a tad unbelievable: Ron being a sex god from the get-go, consistent simultaneous orgasms, uncharacteristic boldness/dirty talk from Hermione one of the first times she has sex, the constant bellowing declarations of love during orgasm—all had me rolling my eyes. Granted, the fic itself is smut-based, so some fantasy element is expected, but for me personally it’s more about the BUILD-UP to sex rather than the sex act itself, and there was no build-up here. I found myself skimming through much of the sex, hoping the characterizations would improve.

At any rate, despite the fact that I was personally unimpressed, I can understand the appeal of this fic to Ron fans, what with Ron being a sex god and all in this story. ;P It’s clearly popular for a reason, and I’m not arrogant enough to think my personal opinions are more than just that. I’m keeping it listed under my favorites (even though it’s not) so you all can check it out and form your own opinion if you so desire, rather than taking my word for it.

So that’s it! Again, thanks for everyone who responded to the challenge! FYI, there were some recs that I couldn’t read because they were on other sites, such as Checkmated, where I don’t have access to their Bedchamber, and there were other fics that I disqualified because they were marked as incomplete and hadn’t been updated in 6 months or more, other recs left by others who weren’t signed in, and others still were a bit late in the game. But like I said, this was only supposed to be for fun, and I’m only one person. ;)

All of the above-mentioned recs (except Scenes from Shell Cottage) are listed under my favorites at FFn:


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