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Another 100 stories post--fanfic, this time. [note: making an alphabetical index here for all of these]

Rageprufrock's Seven Things That Didn't Happen On Valentine's Day At Hogwarts, Or Maybe They Did is a Marauders-era Remus/Sirius fic. It's one of my favorite Harry Potter fics ever, despite the fact that I was never really into R/S as a shipper. It is, as you might expect, the story of the seven Valentine's Days the Marauders spent at Hogwarts, and so it bears some structural resemblance to the ever-popular 5(+1) Things fics. However, the usual assumption of those is that you're dipping into and out of a time line, so that the Things give you snapshots of the characters' interactions at different points during the development of their relationship (or whatever--I mostly read shippy fics, so that's my reference here). Seven Things... is sort of the other way around: you know that characters & relationships develop between the periods of time the fic portrays explicitly, but a lot of the changes are catalyzed by Valentine's Day, so instead what you get is nearly constant evolution in the way the characters interact. It ends up feeling a lot less disjointed than a lot of Things fics do.* (Though that's also because the author is so good.)

What else can I say about this fic? It's very funny in parts; the relationship between Remus and Sirius is excellent; the Marauders gel over a period of several years, rather than the instantaneous friendship that's often portrayed. The first few snippets are short, but there's one in the middle--the emotional heart of the fic, I'd say--that's longer than almost anything I've written. I don't even know how many times I've read this, that's how much I love it. If you're the fanfic type and you haven't read it, check it out.

*not to badmouth the usual mode--disjointed can be the point, of course, and I'm as much a practitioner as anyone.
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Dealing with Dragons is another YA book, though for an older audience than Dragon's Blood. The book is the story of Cimorene, a princess who's frustated by the rules governing her behavior; on the eve of her engagement to a rather boring prince, she follows the advice of a talking frog and volunteers to be a dragon's princess. Dragons usually have to kidnap their princesses, but Cimorene quite likes the job (and has to come up with ways to deflect the knights and princes who arrive to defeat her dragon, Kazul, and thus win Cimorene's hand and a reward from her father). She quickly gets embroiled in the politics of the relationship between the dragons and the wizards, who want better access to magical caves near where the dragons live.

A friend of mine called this "Shrek before Shrek," in the sense that it throws a bunch of fairy tale tropes and archetypes into a blender and comes up with something funny and engaging. I don't totally agree--it's really quite a broad genre, the slightly-meta fairy tale, and this book doesn't go for the same broad humor that Shrek does, instead choosing to give a little more three-dimensionality to the characters. Still, that gives you an idea of the flavor.

a few slightly more spoilery things )

This is another quick afternoon read, with three sequels that are also pretty fun (though I haven't read them in a long time) if you're engaged enough to want more!
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So I thought I'd do the 100 Things Blogging Challenge. Basically: pick a topic, blog about 100 things that fit in that topic. I'm going to blog about stories that were/are important to me in some way--whether that's because I just think they're good, because they changed the way I thought about things, the way I wrote about things, whatever. And stories means I can do books, short stories, movies, TV, fic--see how that works out? :D

First up: Dragon's Blood, by Jane Yolen. This was one of my favorite books as a kid, so beloved I can still quote phrases from it. The book takes place on a planet called Austar IV, an inhospitable world originally used as a penal colony and now mostly a gambling planet--the main economic driver is the dragon fighting pits (the native dragons having been bred up, but not really tamed, by the human settlers). The plot follows Jakkin, a teenage worker on a dragon farm, as he independently raises a dragon from hatchling to her first fight.

I really loved this when I was younger because, one, interesting worldbuilding, and two, DRAGONS! Awesome dragons! (And some philosophical things later on in the books.) However, there are some weirdnesses about the book that I notice now. Read more... )

It's a short book--I think it took me about 3 hours to reread it recently--and the other books in the series are good as well. I don't love this the way I did when I was, like, ten, especially the rather abrupt ending, but it's still a fun little read.


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May 2016



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