Introducing the '*favorites' tag. Stories with this tag not be the best written or most lauded fics that I recommend (though many of them are both), but they the fics that I come back to again and again, either as comfort reads or if I've hit too many crappy fics in a row and just need something that I know I'll enjoy. Most of these fics have already been recced at Epic Recs, but I'll be posting them here as well, because no recs collection of mine can be complete without my favorite stories. Each one will be getting a whole new review; if you'd like to see what I originally said about them check out the memories section of Epic Recs on LJ.Title
: Cambiare Podentes by Jordan Grant Fandom
: Harry PotterPairing
: angst, bonding, romance, action, au, hurt/comfort, virgin, marriage of convenience (sort of), slavery (technically), BDSM (technically), favoriteLength
: 600,000 wordsWarnings
: graphic rape, dubcon (the author adds about a zillion others, but these are the only ones that are actually present enough in the story for me to warn about)Review
Another prophecy comes out, this time stating that Voldemort's going to kill Harry on his first post-Hogwarts birthday. The only way to prevent his death is an arcane ritual known as Cambiare Podentes, which will exponentially increase Harry's power. The downside? It would mean becoming Severus Snape's (sex) slave.
I'll be honest, this particular post is about 25% of the reason why I started this community. Cambiare Podentes was originally recommended by meishali over in Epic Recs a few years ago and while I'd resisted the Harry Potter fandom up to that point, her recommendation was good enough for me to give these fics a try. I was simply blown away. The intricacy of the plot, the depth of the character development and interactions, the sheer *size* of the story (at the time, this fic was about six times longer than my previous long-story record) -- all of them were so much more than I'd ever thought I'd find in the Harry Potter fandom. The novel was an instant favorite for me and I have since reread it more than any other fic. Unfortunately, because it had already been recced at Epic Recs I never had the opportunity to post my own review of the story, which is something I've always regretted. Now's my chance.
First, the premise, which I was hesitant about when I first started reading, but which completely won me over very quickly thanks to the author's deft handling of the matter. The idea of Harry becoming a slave to save the world isn't a unique one, but Jordan does a brilliant job of delving deep into how that slavery would actually play out, without ever skipping past potential emotional minefields or glossing over the unpleasant bits. In the end, I consider this fic to be less of a story of slavery and more of a story about how two people do everything they can to *subvert* that slavery; to me the most fascinating aspect of this fic is how much time and effort Severus (and, to a lesser extent Harry) puts into meeting the technical definition of slavery while at the same time working so very hard to ensure that Harry never actually feels like a slave.
Which brings me to the characterization of Snape, one the most vital parts of the fic. Turning Snape into a decent human being while still keeping him in character is a challenge for any Snape-centric HP story and I think Jordan's Snape is one of the best. On the one hand, he's still acerbic, poor with people, and often cruel. At the same time, he's not a monster and, in the name of enlightened self-interest, can sometimes even be kind. It's a thin line to walk, but is handled so subtly and deftly in this fic that it looks easy.
It helps that Harry's characterization is equally well done. He's still brash and impulsive and at times immature, but at the same time he's someone who has lived a life under siege and who has many times had to behave older than his years. The end result is a consistently inconsistent character who reads very much like a teenager stuck in a crappy position and while there are times that I want to smack him (especially during a section of the novel that cleverly draws a comparison between Harry and Snape's behavior in a specific circumstance), in the end he's deeply sympathetic and his personal growth is fascinating to watch.
It's the relationship between Harry and Severus that is what makes this book so compelling. The plot has enough unexpected twists and turns to keep you reading, but the awkward dance of Harry and Severus learning to cope with each other and with their unwanted bonding is what kept me glued to the page. If you like marriage of convenience type fics with slow building romance, plenty of moments of intense emotion, action and angst, and the occasional flash of melodrama, you should check this one out. If you're like me, you'll find Cambiare Podentes one of the most epic, involved, entertaining stories you've ever read. Cambiare Podentes: InvocareCambiare Podentes: Madurare