Title: Still Life with Skull Author: TheDivineComedian Rating: T Wordcount: 25 000 Genre: Horror/Mystery Status: Complete Library Category: General Fics or The Alternatives Pairings: None Summary: September 1974 and Remus goes a bit loopy, what with the moon, and the teenage wolf, and his friends who are not Animagi yet, and the creepy dead thing that is following him around. Sirius had a horrible summer, too. Link AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/13719279/chapters/31517040 Link FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12841244/1/Still-Life-with-Skull “Oh, go on,” says a soft voice in the dark. “One step will do. I always wanted to see Thestrals.” This is by the same author who wrote Blackpool , and it shares some plotlines with it and some with other stories by the same author. I can’t say what it's about without spoiling it, but suffice to say it’s a character study explored through memories and with focus on several aspects of dark magic. Style-wise we’re talking horror, or maybe a mystery. In a different author’s hands, this might easily have been a gory psychological thriller, and although it has those elements it’s written with beauty and a lot of humour. If you find Remus Lupin a completely unsympathetic character, then this might not be the story for you. Lupin is the main character both as struggling teenager and failing adult, and he interacts with Sirius and Regulus Black, Severus Snape and Madam Pomfrey. To me, they all feel lifted out of canon with some more meat added to their bones and put back into a slightly darker universe. The story is crafted in layers, with a new one revealed each chapter. Therefore there will be things that don't make sense at first. Chapters 1-3 are all different bits of the puzzle of what the story is about, and then Lupin and Pomfrey play detectives together in chapter 4. Chapter 5 is the resolution. I’m completely biased since this is by favourite author in the fandom, and for me it’s an easy 5/5. Its atmospheric, clever and darkly magical. However, I can imagine that the ending won’t seem that great to some readers, since the reveals are evenly spaced throughout the story. The conclusion is huge for Remus’s character, but perhaps not for the reader, especially since we’re talking canon compliant.