Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Especially nowadays, there's very little of Harry Potter that I still enjoy, so it might seem odd that I just finished (and loved every moment of) a long Harry Potter fanfic series. Though set in the Harry Potter world, Durmstrang Chronicles takes place in not in Hogwarts but in Durmstrang. Durmstrang, though mentioned in canon, was never given much detail, which allowed loupnoir lots of room to write.
But, like all of my favorite HP fics, the HP world is only a background setting. It's the characters and their growth that counts.
Durmstrang Chronicles centers around the Dark Arts professors, an enjoyably disfunctional group if there ever was one. Most were from Russia/Europe, though a couple characters, including the main character, were American. Toss in a group of just as enjoyable Aurors (magic cops), and you have a large cast of fascinating characters.
Rose Jones, the American Dark Arts witch, is one of my favorite characters ever, books included. To say she's flawed would be an understatement, but through the series, she grows and changes and I just love her so. But I loved even the minor characters! Each of the Dark Arts professors were all as interesting and complex as real life people. I want to know more more MORE about them all! (It pains me so to have reached the end of the last story in the series.)
Upon my first reading of this series, so many years ago, I had strongly disliked only one character. Loup Noir (not her real name) was another Dark Arts witch, American but living and working in Paris before she went to Durmstrang to die (a wolf Animagus/shapeshifer, she had lost her mate). I still didn't like her on this reading, but the feeling was much much more mild this time -- if nothing else, she was a great reflective surface to see the changes in Rose over time. My dislike of her was not at all to say she was a poorly written character, I just didn't like the character.
I was so happy that loupnoir offered to let me read the final, unpublished story of the series. It wrapped things up so nicely! It ended on the perfect note, even though I didn't want it to end at all. I went "NOOO!" out loud because the ending just seemed to come too soon! (Just thinking about it again now has me going ARG! I don't want it to be over!)
My rule for including fanfics in my 50 book per year goal was that I had to read it completely and it has to be longer than multiple books, so this one counts. Also, I'm behind on my way to 50 books this year, arg. I keep playing phone games at night instead of reading. Ugh.