Story Title: Follow the Phoenix
Author Name: Rachelme177
Story Url: Story Link 1
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 190,233 words
Story Summary: AU after HBP:Chap2. After OotP, better choices are made: instead of staying a passive influence, Albus becomes an active part of Harry’s life; and Ginny becomes a better friend. And at the end of summer, the hunt for the Horcruxes begins! H/G
Author’s Note: HBP was a good story. But I was unhappy with it right from the beginning. What happened to all that angst from OotP? We were supposed to buy that: Harry accepted Sirius’s death in record time; his stay at the Burrow was beyond perfect; and after successfully manipulating Harry, Voldemort suddenly decides instead to block Harry (at least until the plot dictates otherwise in DH!). If Harry’s summer hadn’t been so perfect, would the people around him have made the same choices? I think not.
I’ve read countless novel-length fics set post-OotP; some written before Book 6 was released, some after. What most of them had in common was a whiny, angsty, woe-is-me Harry who is still in much the same frame of mind as he was in OotP, only worse now that Sirius is dead. So I’ll admit I didn’t have the highest of hopes for this particular post-OotP fic, particularly when I read the author’s note (a portion of which is posted above) in which it is mentioned that the author felt like Harry got over his angst too quickly and too easily in Half-Blood Prince. Because even though I don’t disagree with the author in that regard (I’m too much of a Sirius fan not to feel at least some discomfort at how quickly Harry moved past his godfather’s death!), I really didn’t want to read another boring story in which Harry whines and complains, blames everyone around him, the story is filled with cliches, and all his friends fret over his state of mind and possible suicidal tendencies.
Thankfully, this fic is nothing like that.
“Follow the Phoenix” already rates high on my Fun-O-Meter scale because it is an AU version of one of the published books. In other words, the story isn’t based on Rachelme177’s pre-HBP conjecture about what would happen next in the series; this story was written after Half-Blood Prince was released and takes the basic facts (Horcruxes, Unbreakable vow, etc.) and goes an entirely different, exciting direction. I love stories that play “what-if” with canon, by changing a few things and then seeing how those ripples will spread out to influence the story as a whole. Because of the changes which Rachelme177 makes, we get to see a much healthier and happier Harry benefiting from a solid, familial relationship with Dumbledore. And while this story is solidly in the Harry/Ginny ship, I think it is the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore which is the best part of this fic. Ultimately, the author’s excellent writing skills combine with her creative imagination and JKR’s core canon to give us a truly fantastic story. Oh, and there’s a killer how’d-they-do-that? mystery toward the end of the story which had me completely kerflumuxed. Excellent job. I can’t wait to read the epic-length sequel, “Advance The Phoenix,” once it is completed.