Belated edit: for reasons set forth succinctly here, I am convinced that Claire plagiarized several other works of in fiction in this trilogy. I therefore no longer recommend that anyone read it.
A preliminary note. A while ago, I was surprised to discover that my mother was reading this book log, since Mom and I have almost no overlap in our fiction tastes. It’s not just that we don’t read the same things; except for Tolkien, the appeal of speculative fiction is mostly a mystery to Mom, and if I were in that position, I wouldn’t find most of this log very interesting. So, Mom, if you’re reading this now: you might as well go do something else, because you’re going to find this really strange . . .
On Monday, I saw that some online fiction I’d been reading was complete. After bouncing in happiness, I said, “Oh, hell, this means I have to write it up for the book log, and that means that I have to explain about how I started reading it, and I don’t have time for that.” And really, I still don’t. But I’m very happy with a big practice test we just took, so I deserve a reward (besides, after this weekend and a day next week set aside for roller coasters, this is it for free time until the end of the month).
So. I’ve been reading Harry Potter fan fiction. Some of it’s slash.
Don’t look at me like that—I’ll put the stuff I’ve been reading up against, say, John Ringo, any day . . . (Sorry, Trent.)
It’s true, I am not a tremendous Harry Potter fan—I enjoy the books, but as I mentioned when the movie came out, I don’t spend a lot of time on them. Some explanation is accordingly in order.
It starts with Cassandra Claire’s Very Secret Diaries (start with the first one on her LiveJournal and go forward), which began as a spoof of bad LoTR slash and ended up being wildly popular around the beginning of this year. They’re extremely funny and, like a number of people, I started haunting her LiveJournal to see when a new one would come out. Then, a few months ago, she mentioned that she had a separate journal for Harry Potter things, and, being curious and ever-willing to procrastinate by mucking around on the ‘net, I went and had a look. And then had a look at the “My Website” link, which led to her Draco Trilogy, Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister, and Draco Veritas. And then I was hooked.
The Very Secret Diaries are, indeed, very funny. But they started as short spoofs and they remain that; there’s no place in the current format for much else. The Draco Trilogy is also very funny. But it’s made up of novels; the shortest, Draco Dormiens, would print out at something well over a hundred pages, and the other two are considerably longer. And they’re good.
True, the series uses some rather well-worn plot devices of fantasy and romance—it kicks off with Ye Olde Body Switch, and later on we get prophesied heirs (which confirms what we all knew, that Hermione is really a Ravenclaw), love spells, more mistaken identities, and people being Not Dead After All. But what comes out of this is worth it: fabulous dialogue, complicated characters, and tangled emotional relationships. The characters sound like, not the people in Rowling’s books, but what those might grow up to be. And Draco is made interesting, which at the time I found really impressive, even if it does take temporarily putting him in Harry’s body to manage it. (There are also a number of references to other works that indicate that the author has good taste in reading, including an extended reference to Pamela Dean’s Secret Country trilogy (I didn’t know that The Secret Country and The Hidden Land were originally one book).)
There is a fair share of angst among the silliness, particularly Draco Veritas, which promises to get even more angsty as it progresses. Tasty angst, it’s true, but it might be too much for some people. (I do admit to occasionally wanting to hand all of them copies of the alt.poly FAQ and say, here, now will you all go set up house somewhere and be quiet?) As a work in progress, I’m enjoying DV slightly less than the others: it’s a mystery and a lot of the characters are hiding things, both of which would be fine if I were reading it all at once, but when it’s spread out over months, it makes it harder to stay involved. (Also, there is a legal maneuver in that latest chapter that, well, let’s just say that the wizarding world has a really screwy legal system, to take something that would be a perfectly good default rule and make it an absolute one . . . )
At any rate, it’s been a while since I read the rest of the series, so I can’t quote pieces for you now. Well, I could, but that would mean scanning through it for good quotes, and then I’d get sucked into re-reading the whole thing, and did I mention I really don’t have any time right now? (Besides, this is turning out to be long enough as it is.) Trust me and go read it, anyway.