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Recent reading

Owning an ereader has been so wonderful in that I have started reading long and epic fic again! I think I lost patience with most long fic in college, due to the strains of reading it on an LCD monitor, but now, downloading them to my ereader means the length is worth it.

I currently grab stuff from AO3 or use Fanfiction Loader to convert things on ff.net. I also seem to be very in gen or gen with sides of romance lately, and I really haven't been feeling the white cis men slash.

Harry Potter

Vera Rozalsky, Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation - A huge (and at the moment unfinished) work about what happens after Voldemort is defeated, featuring Hermione, Neville, and more Draco than I would like. I really love the way the fic takes apart some of Rowling's worldbuilding, particularly the built-in injustices in the wizarding world. Extra bonus points for making both Lavender Brown and Fleur cool, as well as multiple relationships between many women, including many examples of intergenerational mentorship and older women being seriously kickass. Rozalsky isn't much fond of the Weasleys outside of Percy (I am glad he gets something to do), and though I find the characterization of the Weasleys plausible, it strikes me as a bit extreme at times. And I say this as someone who really isn't a fan of the Weasleys. Molly Weasley in particular I'm still thinking about.

I suspect I'd be better with the Weasley characterization were it not for the somewhat slow redemption of Draco. Rozalsky does a great job at examining the hard decisions made before, during, and after wars, but I think she's a little more inclined to forgive the Malfoys than I am. I also very much liked the look at what could happen to Slytherin post-war, which is always one of the things that has bothered me about the books.

I have some quibbles about the pacing which not everyone may share; I found myself getting bored during most of the sexual exploration scenes. I think I'm just really out of the sex mindset of late. In other words: more politics and talk of social injustice and ways to fix the system and banking, less sex!

In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon is a side story that parallels the plot. It's sometimes repetitive if you've read the first fic, but as of my last reading, it went a little further into the timeline and was therefore worth it.

X-Men

Minisinoo, Special and Grail - These are based on the first two X-Men movies. The first is backstory for movieverse Scott Summers, which I greatly appreciate, since I was very annoyed at how one-dimensional he was in the movies. She goes from Scott the teenage hooker living on the streets to Scott right before X1, and I especially love the portrayal of the early X-Men family, as well as Scott's relationship with Xavier. I don't think this qualifies as "hurt/comfort" under most people's definitions, but it does under mine, largely because I very much love reading stories about extremely traumatized people and the emotional and mental work they do to recover. Minisinoo doesn't skimp on the recovery: it doesn't magically restore Scott to the way he was before, it's slow, there are multiple set backs, and the therapy sounds like actual therapy.

Grail goes with the backstory of Special and does a Dark Phoenix saga set in the movieverse that replaces X3. I think it was mostly written before X3, and while it's not quite my canon movie Dark Phoenix—I don't know what is, but I'll know it when I read it?—it's a bazillion times better than the movie. I especially appreciated just how much of the comicsverse gets integrated in both this and Special, and I was happy to see Grail expanding the POV and the cast. I think my main issues are that I'm not as fond of Warren as the story is and that I think it's actually two story arcs compressed into one. The story of Jean's resurrection and reconciliation with the X-Men seems large enough for a story by itself, and the story of her growing powers, (in)abilities to manage that power, and the eventual Dark Phoenix arc is hard to cram in when the first half is about her resurrection. Because of that, it felt more like a Phoenix arc than a Dark Phoenix arc, if that makes sense?

On the other hand, there are medical mysteries, which I always love, and a cool look at the dynamics of the school now that's it's grown so much. I also had an excellent time picking out bits of comicverse Dark Phoenix and Jean Grey lore from the strands of this story, even though I'm not even the biggest comics fan! A lot of my enjoyment has to do with how Minisinoo blends the two canons and adapts them, and this made me miss reading fic more than I have for a while.

Valerie Jones, Betrayal Arc (also on ff.net) - Note: Game of Empires is, alas, still unfinished.

After reading Minisinoo's XMM fic, I wanted something else giant and novel-length and happened across an old rec for this. I first read the Betrayal Arc back in high school, so not only does this hit the "more in a known universe" button that most fic does, it also hits my reread button. (I have really been going for the comfortable and the familiar in my reading lately.) And on rereading, I found that it's been updated a bit since I last read it, though sadly not finished. This is a Gambit-focused series set around the comics canon of the mid-to-late 90s, where the comics were in the midst of a huge "what is Gambit's past" arc. By and large, I very much like the Remy and Rogue in here, but some of my favorite bits are more about the X-Men as a family.

Also, there are people coming back from the future to warn the present, revelations of backstory, mind-boggling time paradoxes, dystopic alternate timelines, original characters that almost seem too much but aren't because they are such X-Men, and plot reveals like whoa. I was really glad to find how well it still held up, though I wish it were longer. My favorite parts are actually the ones with Jones' original characters and original dystopias. There's still a bit of "my favorite character gets all the best powers" and "anyone who doesn't like him sucks," but to a much lesser degree than in most fic (especially most of the Gambit fic I read in that time). I also really liked the portrayals of Xavier and Scott.

I'm not exactly sure where Game of Empires is going or if it will ever be finished, but I still think it's worth the read.

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