Compiled by the Espresso Addict

Espresso Recommendations

Innovative and stylish fanfiction, showcasing the very best across multiple sf, fantasy & literature fandoms. Good writing in all its forms can be found here, including gen, het, slash, OCs, AUs, crossovers, future fics, humour & pastiche

Contents: 912 recs in 209 fandoms; 64 links

Harry Potter

Severus Snape

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Apothecary and Auror by Pasi

'The lab was lit even during the day with torches to ward off the smoky darkness that crept in through every narrow window, every crack and crevice of the ancient fortress.' This intelligent first war novella eschews black and white for smudgy grey shades, as Snape takes his first steps towards Voldemort. It also features a chilling evocation of Azkaban

[Added 12/12/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, James Potter, OCs]

As Beeswax in Summer by Rinsbane

'Sometimes, if it’s an especially long meeting, he makes lines of stars down the edges of his parchment. Not the kind where they’re lines crossed like Xs, but the kind that are drawn without ever lifting the pen, from corner to corner.' An intriguing blend of the poetic and the mundane characterises this haunting war-time piece, set deep in the bowels of Hogwarts [locked to AO3 members]

[Added 12/12/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Hermione Granger]

The Bloody Stare of Mars by Yahtzee

Voldemort's won, the heart of London's a concentration camp & muggle-born witches must take employment where they can... The Potter fandom isn't exactly short of 'Voldemort won' dystopias, but few combine Yahtzee's solid grasp of plot, keen eye for telling detail & light touch with the angst

[Added 01/12/2005; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Firenze, Voldemort, Malfoys, OC]

Cost of Living by Sansa

'After the first week, he stopped putting a second cup out with the tea. A month later, he made Potter's wrought iron chair the centerpiece of a lush potted garden.' This post-War story revolves around an unusual premise which I won't spoil here, but it's the details that really make it shine

[Added 07/08/2008; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter]

The Courtship of Benjamin Jink by Delphi

'So another sharp-tongued young Briton happened to wear the same unfashionable twenty-year-old boots as a man who had died two years, seven months, and four days ago. So he had also had cause to replace the original buckles with bronze. Funny old world.' Delphi's work is always beautifully written, but this novelette is particularly enjoyable for its subtle, sympathetic yet believable characterisation of Slughorn

[Added 18/01/2012; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Horace Slughorn, Severus Snape, OC]

Cursed Artefacts For Sale by Icarus

'…collecting Cursed Artefacts is a registered form of madness in the Compendium of Wizarding Mental Disorders and Other Things That Make You Twitch.' A richly detailed & inventive future fic, with a broad streak of dry humour

[Added 13/02/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Narcissa Malfoy]

The Death of a Soul, A Blowjob Beneath a Table, and the Rain of Toads That Followed by Phaballa

'As reported by the Southampton Soothsayer in March of 1879, the account of the kidnapping of one Alexandra Glass, age eight, daughter to the famous Astrologist Augustus Glass, who invented the Glass-Hayburn arithmantical equation used to calculate the aural patterns of stars.' A hilarious post-war happily-ever-after romp, with asides on coincidence and fate

[Added 12/12/2006; Humour; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin]

Dumbledore, or The Magical Prometheus by Marginaliana

'Mandrake grown in blood and sperm, picked before dawn, bathed in milk and honey in the cauldron.' A dark & powerful look at Dumbledore & his relationships through the lens of the premise promised by the title. Marginaliana deftly reinterprets canon events as they unfold to their inevitable end

[Added 13/06/2014; Drama; <1000; Harry Potter; Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape; Crossover]

Every Day This Week by Predatrix

'Severus, surprisingly enough, hated Quidditch.' In an unexpectedly plausible move, Predatrix makes the young Snape borderline autistic; the result is heartrending, as the eleven-year-old tries to conform to Hogwarts' expectations

[Added 01/12/2005; Character Piece; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Argus Filch, Sirius Black, James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, Minerva McGonagall]

Fool by Kass

'I've always enjoyed the first of April. Only the most moronic of students dare try to play tricks on me, and the day offers tantalizing opportunities for embarrassing my charges.' It's a bit of a clichÉ fic, perhaps, but the Snape voice is spot on

[Added 18/03/2006; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter; Adult]

For To Preserve This Day by Sinope

Snapshots of uneasy relationships during the first war. A delicate, precisely observed piece

[Added 13/02/2006; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Remus Lupin, Severus Snape, Sirius Black]

Goat Song by Delphi

'Albus never was careful with his things. If nothing else, it had made Aberforth a fair hand at mending.' Delphi takes an unlikely pairing and makes it utterly real in this clever and moving story

[Added 27/11/2008; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore, Severus Snape]

A Gramarye of Folk Magic by Delphi

'In what would prove to be the final days of the war, Aberforth's brother entrusted to his keeping a hide-bound book, a stoppered silver phial the size of a finger bone, and a 21-year-old boy of uncertain provenance.' Delicate & insightful joint character study, picked out in vivid details as it slowly unwinds through the seasons. Aberforth's unshowy style of magic is a treat

[Added 28/04/2015; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Aberforth Dumbledore, Severus Snape]

Imperfect by Anne Line

'...it was easier to trust an enemy than a stranger, that's how turned around everything was.' An unusual setting, awkward dialogue & a gritty sense of place set this apart from the Snape/Lupin hordes

[Added 04/01/2006; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin; Adult]

The Journey of a Thousand Miles by Igrockspock

'She could tell it had been printed on their press; the B's were all slightly askance, and the letter Q turned mauve if you looked at it for long. It was unfortunate that Voldemort had seized their printing press; her father must be quite bored without it.' A delicate, thoughtful story of Luna coming to terms with her father's part in the War, which features a far more nuanced portrayal of the character than in much fanfiction

[Added 13/08/2012; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Luna Lovegood, Xenophilius Lovegood, Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy, Fenrir Greyback]

Lies in the Rookery by Thamiris

'...it's entirely possible that, hidden beneath them, his body's no more than the bones of dead birds.' Dark, luscious, twisted picture of a convoluted relationship

[Added 04/01/2006; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin; Adult]

Möbius by Mandy

'Over time, Severus wondered if a wizard could draw out enough memories to leave him an empty shell, with only the most mundane of memories in his head and the ghosts of the past.' This clever novella contains one of the more inventive HBP fixes I've encountered, and also features a believable voice for Snape

[Added 11/12/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore]

Nettle Soup and Gooseberries by Jay Tryfanstone

'On the television, they looked smaller, and rather further away.' The integration of the wizarding and muggle worlds was never going to be straightforward. An unusual future-fic, packed with sumptuous details

[Added 11/12/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter, OCs]

Night-blooming Heartsease by Julad

'His Gran used to say that Voldemort was a silly boy in need of a very sound spanking, but that was before she Disappeared.' Among my favourites of the HP classics, this bittersweet novella is known for pulling off an unlikely pairing with grace, but at heart it's a coming-of-age story. The magical details are a real treat. A standalone prequel to Resonant's Transfigurations, it diverges from canon after PoA

[Added 09/07/2008; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Neville Longbottom, Severus Snape, Ron Weasley, Fred & George Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Minerva McGonagall, Draco Malfoy, Penelope Clearwater, Justin Finch-Fletchley, OCs]

On the Naming of Names by Jay Tryfanstone

'Severus Snape, on a bridge, in Prague.' An unusual post-War piece, densely written & evocative. Jay's better known for some of her other Potterverse stories, but I think this may be my favourite

[Added 04/01/2006; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter]

Once Upon a Time, in Egypt by Josan

In this unusual post-War novel, Snape is employed by goblins to investigate potions discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Though a few of the plot elements failed to convince, it's worth a try for its wealth of fascinating details about goblin society & Egyptian magic

[Added 18/03/2006; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Bill Weasley, OCs]

Playing For Keeps by Vissy

'...She hid the two new boxes towards the back of cupboard with the worst of the best-before tinned apricots and canned soups. Her wand was somewhere back there too, tucked behind a set of cracked glass phials and her old brass scales.' It's a rather darker interpretation of the Snape family dynamics than I usually enjoy, but this twisted tale gives a strong picture of Eileen's life at Spinner's End, and highlights the sheer nastiness of parts of Rowling's creation

[Added 18/01/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Eileen Snape, Severus Snape; Adult]

Reclamation by Copperbadge

'I was wondering what you knew about horcruxes...' From the initial premise to the plausible consequences, one of the most interesting AUs I've read in the Potterverse

[Added 04/01/2006; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Tom Riddle, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Severus Snape]

The Return by Kulfold

'It's from Ollivander. He's inviting you to return your wand.' This original depiction of a wizarding tradition is a little more sentimental than my usual picks, and a touch rough around the edges, but the ending is worth the wait

[Added 11/12/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Ollivander]

Romance of the Age by Livesandlies

'The wizard ... was not by any means a small man. He had, however, a collection of very miniscule attributes – small eyes, a small nose, thin little lips, and a thin little chin – that seemed to suggest he had been sketched out on parchment by a child only just learning to use a quill, who'd had very grand ideas to begin with, and who, discovering for the first time the very disagreeable runniness of ink, had splashed on a few dots for the features and then given up.' The first war, à la Vile Bodies. The Waugh pastiche provides the perfect lens to view the terrible events as they inexorably unfold, and the novella overflows with sparkling wit at the expense of almost all of its enormous cast. A wonderful achievement

[Added 15/01/2014; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Narcissa Malfoy, Regulus Black, James Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, Barty Crouch Jr, Walburga Black, Eileen Prince, Tobias Snape, Death Eaters, Marauders & Order; Crossover]

Round Bottom, Twelve Inches by Penumbra

'Death Eater orgies, my knee. All we got were stale canapÉs and harangues.' Comedy à la Wodehouse, packed with delicious detail

[Added 04/01/2006; Humour; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter]

The Seven Transgressions by Chicxulub

Seven different takes on Snape/Hermione, without a hint of romance. Teeters on the margins of badfic in places, but emerges dark, dreamy, disturbing. My favourite was 'Formalin'

[Added 02/12/2005; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Hermione Granger]

Spiritus, Sanguis et Aqua by Heretical Vision

'And then her sister screamed and when Petunia turned around all she saw was blue glass in the light, a strange wooden stick, and Lily's face covered in Mrs. Snape's blood...' A very dark AU, which escalates from the original premise outwards to encompass the entire wizarding world. Heretical Vision sometimes sacrifices the characters to the idea, but when the idea is as novel & interesting as this one, I'm happy to go along for the ride

[Added 13/08/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Lily Evans, Albus Dumbledore, Eileen Snape, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Harry Potter, Lucius Malfoy, Petunia Evans, Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley, original character; Adult]

The Stolen Child by Delphi

'He had not spent the night out in the weather; his skin was dry and his feet clean, though there were fresh leaves caught in his hair.' A haunting, ambiguous tale where the stolen child of the title is never quite pinned down. Eileen's cameo is particularly memorable

[Added 13/06/2014; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Eileen Snape]

The Sword of Slytherin by Vissy

'Over the years he had come to realise that the Dark Lord's limited ability to see beyond what he expected was a blessedly exploitable blind spot, whereas Severus' streak of perfectionism was relentless and unforgiving.' Vissy weaves in & out of HBP so neatly that you're sure this was exactly what was going on while Rowling's back was turned. Worth reading for the sympathetic characterisation of Slughorn alone

[Added 27/11/2008; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Horace Slughorn, Albus Dumbledore]

The Thin Man by Duniazade

'It reminded Severus of the suspicious landlady of that seedy pub in Spinner's End. Unlike the landlady, the Harpyria fed exclusively on raspberries, and the byproducts were precious.' Snape/Luna is a difficult pairing to pull off, and Snape feels a touch out of character to me. It's well worth a try, though, for the magical background alone, among the most inventive I've seen

[Added 13/02/2011; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Porpentina Scamander]

To Sever the Lining from a Cloud by Textualsphinx

'He would never leave the earth and reach the stars. He was mud, he was slugs, he was worms, he was maggots: worse than maggots, in fact.' A highly original piece, mixing fairy tale with modernity to (cough) magical effect

[Added 18/03/2006; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Lily Evans, James Potter]

Two Lockets by Sinick & Acid

'The candles ... waddled after Harry in a row like ducklings, short and fluffy and dripping wax all over in their excitement at being alight and having company at last.' Worth a try for the world-building alone, with a fantastic evocation of Grimmauld Place and its secrets

[Added 10/07/2008; Drama; >50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Regulus Black, Walburga Black, Orion Black, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Bellatrix Lestrange, Ollivander]

Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree by Duniazade

'It didn't smell of anything. Not of wood, not of dyed fabric, not of greased metal, not of red paint, not of the hot steam billowing out of the engine's stack.' A complex, interesting window into a teenaged Snape's home life, anchored in unsentimental detail. In the same universe as A Rowan in Winter, also worth a try

[Added 25/08/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Eileen Snape, Emmeline Vance, Alastor Moody, Regulus Black, Wilkes, Mulciber, Macnair, Evan Rosier]

Wholly to Be a Fool by Bluestocking

'Eileen thinks that Spinner's End has a way of draining all colour and light from the world, leaving nothing behind but the dried husks and hollowed-out remnants of dreams.' Quietly optimistic DH coda which paints a more nuanced portrait of the dysfunctional Snape family than much fanfiction

[Added 13/02/2011; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Eileen Prince, Severus Snape, Tobias Snape]