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: 1010 recs in 235 fandoms; 65 links

Harry Potter

Original character

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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]

The Blue Flower by Tree and Leaf

'Power harnessed in exactly the right way; steam forced through pistons and driving inert matter swiftly on; passion used with entire precision. That was what magic should be, and what it so rarely was.' An interesting historical casefic, which develops an excellent voice for Phineas Nigellus, the detective. The origin story for one of the most interesting magical objects in the HP-verse is a bonus

[Added 05/07/2016; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Phineas Nigellus, OCs]

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]

Dim Sympathies by Creascendo

'Severus had taken pains to keep no personal effect beyond the functional and impersonal. The dummy frame had been left starved of memories, of letters, of childhood mementos, of any trace of his existence. At his death, Hogwarts would not be able to generate a portrait.' An interesting short on the ethics of magical portraiture. Suffers a bit from short-paragraph syndrome

[Added 26/10/2017; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Harry Potter, Eileen Snape, Sir Cadogan, OCs]

Dissipate by Pogrebin

'A wand is a sign of strength in England, whereas in India it is a crutch, betraying their phoren origins more obviously than their English accents. "Not here," not in India, where all magic is a call.' Parvati & Padma in India, with a rich & unexpected portrayal of quite how different Indian magic might be from European

[Added 25/01/2019; Drama; 1000-2500; Harry Potter; Characters: Parvati Patil, Padma Patil, OC]

An extract from 'The Witch’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby Care', by Alarica Rosier. Chapter Nine: What if my Baby is a Squib? by Nineveh uk

'The birth of a defective child is always a matter of great sadness, and it is only natural to wonder if you might have done anything to prevent it, but you must not reproach yourself. You have not caused this fault in your child by drinking farpleweed for morning sickness, by apparating soon after conception, or through excessive exposure to Electricity.' Nineveh deftly captures the true darkness of the Potterverse in this parody

[Added 09/05/2015; Humour; 1000-2500; Harry Potter; Characters: OC]

How the Dementors Came to Being by Cats in the Attic

'On her thirteenth birthday, puberty did change her. But not into the beauty her mother had hoped for. It merely served to highlight the birdlike features an ordinary Veela would only let slip in real anger.' A dark fable which has that rare thing in HP fanfiction these days, a truly original idea. Well worth a try despite a few slips; English is not the author's first language

[Added 15/12/2011; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Original characters]

The Ladies of Godric's Hollow by Tetley

'Putting her arm around the frail shoulders, she placed a kiss on the wisps of hair, just as she'd done when they still were dark brown and sprang from a bun that always held pencils or quills to jot down a thought or a question, an idea or an hypothesis.' A poignant novelette, thoughtful & rich in detail, which moves effortlessly between the 19th & 20th centuries to tell Bathilda Bagshot's story

[Added 02/10/2012; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Griselda Marchbanks, Bathilda Bagshot, Gellert Grindelwald, Ariana Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore, Kendra Dumbledore, Muriel Prewett, Rita Skeeter, OCs]

Lamp in the Cooling Room by Sansa

'She only wanted some flowers. He has an entire garden of them, after all. Full, bright blooms with stalks so thick they braid together in places.' An unusual take on more than one old trope, with a creepy child narrator, lovely symbolic weather & an ending that's just perfect. Deservedly a Harry/Draco classic, but so much more than that

[Added 13/02/2011; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, OC]

The Loathly Worm by Selden

'The blowjob in question took place back in the Death Eater headquarters, an ancient castle which grew, like a black and broken tooth, out of a bleak promontory on a particularly wind-bitten stretch of Scottish coast.' An atmospheric & magically inventive novelette, with Selden's usual amazing descriptive prose plus just enough plot to support the H/D romance

[Added 25/01/2019; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Kingsley Shacklebolt, OCs]

Lust over Pendle by AJ Hall

'Various far-fetched theories were spun as to what exactly had happened the night Draco Malfoy went out to murder Hermione Granger, and returned some hours later, to tell his father that, actually, he thought becoming a Death Eater was a rotten idea, and he'd rather be excused.' Deservedly a fandom classic: AJ Hall has had a ball with Rowling's universe. The characters are developed far beyond the two-dimensional ciphers of canon (the author's vision of Narcissa Malfoy is particularly memorable). Although the pacing occasionally flags, the light humorous tone works well and the Bond-style finale is a romp. The sequel, Dissipation and Despair, is also recommended

[Added 09/07/2008; Drama; >50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom, Narcissa Malfoy, Mrs Longbottom, Dudley Dursley, Vernon Dursley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Rita Skeeter, Pansy Parkinson, Colin Creevey, OCs]

Marginalia (A Story about Stories) by Magnetic Pole

'No one knows exactly how old the Library is, but legend has it that its oldest books once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw herself. The Library’s gargoyles jeered at Nicholas Flamel when he first visited; its dragon genealogies are the lengthiest and most complete in the world.' Lovely clever story which works on multiple levels. The unusual narrator is a particular treat

[Added 15/12/2011; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Original character, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin]

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]

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]

Picture Perfect by Selden

'He and Potter had had to clear the room by levitating out rack upon rack of cheap port, only to spend almost an entire day dealing with the enormous wheel of cheese that had once been a diplomatic gift from the Dutch wizarding community but which had, by the time they unearthed it, become a kind of Doxy village, practically ready to claim municipal status.' This plotty casefic novella, with a side of H/D, marries Selden's usual lush descriptive prose with excellent worldbuilding & fascinating thoughts on the ramifications of portrait magic. Highly recommended

[Added 26/10/2017; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Teddy Tonks, Narcissa Malfoy, Andromeda Tonks, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, OCs]

PUSH by Tree and Leaf

'"It's the word of God, so if it says magic is bad, then it must be bad" said Amy firmly. "I mean, being a witch probably isn't a sin, because being bad-tempered isn't either. But it is if you do it. It's just a temptation I've got to live with. I don't mind if I get chucked out of Hogwarts, it wasn't my idea to come. But hopefully I'll be able to, um, witness for Christ before I do. Have you, um, you know, thought about asking Jesus into your life?"' Thoughtful & nuanced story that integrates Christianity into the Potterverse via a series of OCs. There's a lovely cameo by Minerva, too

[Added 14/01/2014; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Hermione Granger, Ginevra Weasley, OCs]

The River Child by Ignipes

'It was, without a doubt, the ugliest creature Remus had ever seen.' A simple, moving short in which the parallels between the dark creature of the story and the werewolf are ever present, but never too obvious. A favourite from Ignipes' 'Remus Lupin's Lost Years' series (accessible via this page); all are worth reading

[Added 21/03/2007; Drama; 2500-6000; Harry Potter; Characters: Remus Lupin, OCs]

The Sacrifice of Right by SnorkackCatcher

'There was once a goblin smith of renown, Eretek by name, who was greatly skilled in the working of metal and unusually strong in his magic. In this he was esteemed among the goblins of his age, for none other could match the fineness and delicacy of his craftsmanship, nor the subtlety and power of the enchantments worked into the articles that he made.' The Indiana Jones-style romp of a frame story is a little pedestrian, perhaps, despite starring a most unlikely pair of investigators. Well worth a try, though, for the story-within-a-story, plus some interesting world-building about goblins

[Added 15/01/2014; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Minerva McGonagall, Percy Weasley, Dumbledore's portrait, Cuthbert Binns, Kingsley Shacklebolt, OCs]

Subversive by Kelly Chambliss

'"Griselda" is not what all goblins call her, of course. To many of my people, she is, as we say in Gobbledygook, a haga-maga -- a witch-bitch. Or a wand-stealer. A greens-eater. A short-finger.' This unusual love story creates an interesting original goblin to explore their society and goblin–human relations

[Added 04/08/2015; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Griselda Marchbanks, OCs]

Unseen by Astolat

'He kept it with him all the time, after that, and started wearing it more often than not—he'd forget he had it on, and if he was doing a shift at one of the desks, people would come by and then go away again without asking him to do anything and he'd belatedly realize they hadn't been able to see him.' Strong worldbuilding & superb characterisation of a traumatised post-War Harry who handles celebrity abysmally. The story suffers a bit from St Draco syndrome but don't let that put you off

[Added 25/10/2017; Drama; 6000-20,000; Harry Potter; Characters: Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, OCs]