1. The Human Condition by CK Talons
My rating: 5∕5↔☺☺☺☺☺
I stumbled upon this fic here.The author's plot summery:
Life was never easy for him. Now, Harry is confronted with the only evil he has ever feared; an enemy he cannot see. For the leader of the treacherous Black Order is as elusive as it is powerful. Residing in secret, withholding power beyond anyone has ever known, and capable of penetrating what we thought once as safe, the leader has but one obstacle in the way. But before Harry Potter can confront and rid our world of treachery once more, he must first battle the weakness of his own mind...
If this summery seems like a very old cliché: Harry versus The new Evil, you are mistaken! Cliché is the last word to describe this fic.
If I had to describe it just in one sentence, it would be: Show me Ithaca.
From Wikipedia: Ithaca the island symbol of adventure and longing for homeland but also the symbol of the path to education and self-knowledge.
From the fic: "Ithaca was written about in Greek myth as one of the most beautiful places in the world. It appeared in Homer's Odyssey as the home and kingdom of Odysseus. It was believed to be located south of Greece on its own island. But as far as we know, Ithaca isn't real; it's just a myth."
Living in the mythical Ithaca isn't possible, or is it? Which cost would you be ready to pay to have the thing you want most in your life? How would you define good and evil? Can one mourn for the evil enemy, yet understand that his killing was unavoidable? What is Harry's private Ithaca? Will he ever achieve it & with which cost?
This fic is way better than one can think from my summery. It attracted me for several reasons. First, it has a psychological deepness and a villain able to lure Harry into the darkness in such a way that his death is mourned, while Harry (& everybody else) stays IC. All characters are fleshed out like real, intriguing people, including ones invented by the author, each with a distinctive, unique personality. You won't meet plot robots or shallow caricatures (like 6 book's romances, imo) here. In fact, after reading this fic I fell in love with Vanessa more than with Hermione after 6 books despite her flaws. (And being sympathetic with a character, let alone relatively minor one, is rare for me.)
The fic is long, but it's worth it. There are 2 unexpected yet logically believable twists, which add even more suspense & make this fic original. Imo, only after reading the whole fic one is able to give it full justice.
The added bonus is that the descriptions of places and people are vivid, colorful & originally impressive. In short, if you search for a tale, which would make you a tingle with suspense, surprised, not delving into clichés – this is a fic for you! Btw, if somebody reads it, I would be very happy to hear your impressions about it & whether it's really as good as seems to me now. Which new & old character did you like most and why? Were you caught unaware by the twists?
2. Title: Voldemort in the Loony Bin
My rating: 3∕5↔ ☺☺☺☻☻
Summary: Pretty much what you'd expect from the title.
Wordcount: About 2,000
Notes: There are stories in fandom where the hero wakes up in a mental hospital. Everyone tries to convince the hero that his world is all in his head. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a wonderful episode based on this concept and I've read a terrific fanfic in the HP fandom with the same idea. This is my version of that cliché.