Well, it had been a while so here are two new reviews for Harry Potter fanfics. They're both novel-length, but otherwise quite different.
If you enjoy action / adventure and don't mind a bit of slash, have a look at:
Title: The Shadow of His Wings
Status: NOT COMPLETE
Length: 21 chapters so far, meant to be 25 chapters long when complete
My opinion: very good
Genre: Action / Adventure with a dash of romance.
Rating: R (sex and violence)
Pairings: Harry / Draco
Spoilers: the fic is based on the first five Harry Potter books
Author’s Summary: “In which Evil faces an insurrection, Good faces an unexpected betrayal,
and Harry means to find out which side Draco is on.”
More detailed summary: Harry is in his early twenties and teaching at Hogwarts with his former nemesis Draco Malfoy. The final battle against Voldemort never took place as You-Know-Who apparently preferred to go in hiding to prepare his next move carefully, thereby lulling the Ministry into a false sense of security. As the story starts, Voldemort is getting ready to unleash some pretty scary force on the unsuspecting wizarding world, while Lucius Malfoy has plans of his own to become the next Dark Lord. Dumbledore is gone, the Ministry is useless; needless to say, the situation is not ideal.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this fic is that it is equally good on the adventure and romance fronts. Mirabella came up with many exciting ideas about magic: tricky spells, scary wards, devilish plants, horrific necromancy and disquieting visions fill this tale to the brim and keep the story exciting and surprising at every turn. Fans of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade will appreciate the scenes of exploration into heavily protected territory.
For once, overflowing imagination goes hand in hand with great sensitivity: Compared with stories like the Saving Connor series by Lightning on the Waves for example, which has a lot of exciting ideas about magic but a somewhat looser grasp on the psychology of characters, this tale paints rather believable characters.
One might argue that towards the very beginning, the author is slightly too biased in favour of Draco Malfoy, making Harry looking like a bit of a fool in comparison, but the tendency is rather light and soon enough most characters gain in complexity and credibility. Great stories can often be judged from the quality of secondary characters and this is no exception: Ron may be a tad stereotypical, but Lucius is suitably impressive, Percy is strangely fascinating like a car crash on the highway and oh did Hermione break my heart.
The part played by romance is just as it should be in an adventure story: it helps driving the story forward and keeps things more interesting but without slowing the plot in any way. No pointless sex scenes here, the story comes first.
Where to find it: This fanfic is available on the author’s website: http://theguestroom.houseofhobbits.com/h
If you have a craving for a good time-travel story, try:
Title: Backward with Purpose
Author: Deadwoodpecker aka Ella
Status: COMPLETE (+ one completed sequel and another sequel is just getting started; the initial story can be read on its own though)
Length: 48 chapters
My opinion: good
Genre: Time-Travel fic
Rating: R (a little bit of sex but usually not explicit and a good deal of violence, but without disturbing sadism involved so all in all it’s not too traumatising ;) )
Pairings: Harry / Ginny mostly, also Ron / Hermione
Spoilers: the fic is based on a slightly alternate version of canon up to and including the Deathly Hallows.
Author’s Summary: “Harry, Ron, and Ginny send themselves back in time to avoid the destruction of everything they hold dear, and the deaths of everyone they love.”
More detailed summary: Things turned out just as in canon except Harry, Ron and Ginny are pretty much the only survivors among the characters we have come to know and love. Understandably, they’re pretty desperate, enough so to go on a crazy scheme to send their memories back in time to try and prevent things from going to hell.
I must admit I love time travels, but that doesn’t mean I will love any story involving time travel. For that type of story to be any good, I think it needs to outline a convincing method of time-travel, to avoid time paradoxes as much as possible and to avoid the tedium which may come from reliving canon from book one onward. I think this fic deals pretty well with all three aspects. The method of time travel selected is clever and allows the author to avoid most time paradox problems; having three characters back in time keep things more interesting than with just the one and there is enough of a twist to that alternate reality that it doesn’t look like a pale copy of canon. Characterisation is not the best I’ve ever read, but it’s quite good and in particular it captures very well the whole desperate “oh my god I tried so hard and it’s just never enough” feeling that makes so many dark fics about Harry fascinating. At least my sadistic side loves stories where Harry is pushed to his limits and this is one of them.
The sequel is pretty good too but the plot so intricate you might get a headache! Do not attempt reading while tired!