Whenever I read a fanfiction, I then place it into one of the following tiers, depending on how much I enjoyed the story.
Crusade-Worthy: These are stories that I absolutely loved from beginning to end. I was really able to connect with them on an emotional level, and I reread them frequently. Only my absolute favorite stories end up in this tier, and I highly recommend reading each and every one of them, because they’re absolutely incredible stories.
Top Tier: These are stories that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I reread them every once in a while, and I am very, very glad they exist. These stories are all, in my opinion, very well written, they have interesting, dynamic characters who are incredibly entertaining to read about, and often have several fun twists and turns along the way. I may not connect with these stories in the same way I connect with the Crusade-Worthy stories, but I still think the world of theses stories and I respect the obvious love and care that went into each and every one of them.
Great Stories: These are stories that I enjoyed quite a bit. They are very fun to read, and I’ll probably reread them occasionally. While these stories aren’t as effortlessly captivating as the top tier fics, they still have great characters, interesting stories, and some really unique ideas. I thoroughly enjoy each and every one of them, and I highly recommend giving them all a try.
Good Stories: These are stories that I enjoyed despite one or two rather serious flaws that hold them back from greatness. These flaws can be anything from a bit of sloppy writing, to character arcs that don’t fully resonate with me, to a few too many tropes or cliches. However, these stories also all have things in them that I really enjoyed. While I do not see myself ever rereading any of these stories, I am still very glad that I read them, and I still recommend giving them a try.
Comedy and Parody: These are stories that I don’t think can be justifiably be put into any of the above tiers, but that I also think is very funny or otherwise enjoyable. The majority of the stories in this tier are meant to be sarcastic parodies of an otherwise annoying trope or cliche. For example, this tier features parodies of Independent!Harry, Master of Death!Harry, and the trope where characters from books read the books written about them. It also has straight up bonkers shit, such as Hedwig winning the Tri-Wizard tournament. All of the stories in this category successfully made me laugh, and I highly recommend checking them out if you’re in the mood to read something that’s just very funny.
Average: These are stories that had interesting things going on in them, but that were also bogged down by tropes, cliches, and the occasional spot of poor writing. I definitely enjoyed parts of these stories, but I only recommend them to specific people on more of a case by case basis. Each story in this tier has several redeeming qualities, but I cannot honestly say I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.
Not Good: Lastly we have stories that I read all the way through, but did not enjoy. This is typically because of an over-reliance on tropes and cliches, but it can also be because of bashing, an uninteresting plot, or really anything else that annoys me. I will still link these stories, and try to explain my issues with them in a reasonable, understandable way, and I will never tell you not to read a story, because my opinion is just my own, and it may be that you will find your new favorite fic in this tier. I do not wish to take away from your enjoyment of anything I criticize, I am simply attempting to explain why these stories did not work for me.
A Few Notes About my Reviews:
First of all, everything here is just a reflection of my personal opinion. Nothing here is objective, and while I may point out specific, objective errors here and there (specific spelling or grammar errors, etc.) the specific amount that these errors detract from (or, in the case of parodies, add to) my enjoyment of the stories they exist in is entirely subjective and is, once again, entirely my opinion. Fundamentally, at the end of the day, the archive exists primarily as a fanfiction recommendation database. I link back to every fic I talk about, and if I had it my way, people would primarily come here to get some interesting reading material, and to get a brief idea on what the fics listed here are about.
However, that does raise one important question: why do I go to the effort to write reviews that can sometimes be over two thousand words long, if this website just exists to provide recommendations? Well, the honest answer is because I find it to be fun. Review is something that I’ve been interested in for years, and similarly to how many fanfiction authors are here to improve their writing skills, I am here to get better at writing reviews. But that’s also not entirely true, because I also adore talking about things online with people. That is why I started the Archives’ discord server. I want my reviews to spark a conversation, because I want to discuss things with you. That’s also why I’ve started doing reviews of actual books. Who knows, I might start doing movie reviews as well at some point. Honestly, I’ll review whatever shit people send me, as long as it leads to an interesting discussion with someone, because that’s why I enjoy being online. Finally, and keep in mind that this is not why I started this shit at all, there have been one or two authors who have approached me on discord and asked me to read over their stuff and give some early feedback on it, and while I don’t consider myself to be at all qualified for that sort of thing, who am I to turn down such a request? So who knows, maybe an author will stumble upon this and find it helpful. I don’t expect this to happen, but apparently it has, so….I suppose that’s an added bonus. Anyway, I’m rambling at this point, so without further ado, I hope you find my archive to be a useful tool that helps enhance your fanfiction experience.