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Complete we can't control (watch me unfold) by Annerb - M

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Quiddity, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    Title: we can't control (watch me unfold)
    Author: Annerb
    Rating: M (Explicit)
    Genre: Romance/Porn with Plot
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: Romance
    Pairings: Harry/Ginny
    Words: 73,099
    Summary: It’s a simple arrangement. Between her grueling quidditch schedule and his mysterious auror duties, Ginny and Harry find time to have spectacular sex with no strings attached. It’s incredibly uncomplicated. Except when it isn’t.
    Link: AOOO, unfortunately.

    So this is the logical next stage in Annerb's single-handed quest to turn me into a romantic shipper, following from last years "ridiculously-contrived almost-smut". In some ways, this is the natural next step, as we go from a flirty almost smut to a unashamed porn-with-plot which is apparently too hot for ff.net.

    At this stage, the only real selling point for me is that Annerb has written it. The dialogue is fantastic, and, as always, the characters are exceptionally well drawn. Her Harry, Ginny, and others all feel built from the same reading of the characters, but grown in different directions based on their differing histories - both are in their early-mid 30s, and there is an entirely different canon (no BWL) sketched out with appropriate minimalism.

    I'm hardly a connoisseur of erotica, so I won't recommend based on that. But whilst it's not what I'd turn to if that was what I was focused on, it's written with Annerb's usual skill, and is neither unbelievable nor boring at any point.

    This, in my view, stands up there above some of her more plot-heavy works, (the third part of Armistice, with Harry in Australia), as well as her pure fluff-pieces like the oneshot linked above.

    The basic inciting incident is the two meeting at a one night stand (both know Ron), which becomes longer as the two wish to continue with regular no-strings-attached sex. Predictably, that slowly evolves into something else. But whilst the romantic plot is structurally predictable, it's well-told, and goes in a number of surprising directions for what I began reading expecting to be nothing more than a well told erotica.

    This is definitely structured around the sex scenes - sometimes I could feel the chapters being structured to work one in - but the slow romance is worked in in both a realistic and compelling way. And there is more to the plot than just that, though I won't spoiler here.

    In short, I feel the balance is very well struck. This is Annerb's best work, to my mind, since The Changeling.

    4.5/5, rounded up. Highly recommended.

    (I may round down eventually, when I reread the start, as I feel it improves somewhat throughout.)
     
  2. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box Prestige

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    Really enjoyable. It's very well written, obviously, although for a fic tagged specifically as porn - albeit porn with a plot - I'm not sure it would scratch that particular itch; the scenes are certainly NSFW, but I've read more explicit stuff in theoretically non-porn stories. Then again, it's also tagged 'not sure this is explicit rather than mature but going with it for safety', so personally, despite the tags and summary, I'd put it more in the romance camp than porn.

    Anyway. Like I say, it's very well written, and I was particularly impressed with how the AU is built up without ever resorting to infodumps, or flashbacks, or much in the way of characters dwelling on it. That does, I think, lead to the secondary plot suffering a bit near the conclusion, as it all seems a bit neat, but to be fair it is the secondary plot. The main body of the fic works just fine, the development from strangers to fuck buddies to full blown romance done skillfully enough that it never feels totally inevitable - despite the fact that it absolutely is - while also not feeling underdeveloped; it'd be easy to fall into the trap of just writing a few sex scenes and then suddenly feelings.

    Plus, it's genuinely funny. Ginny's trolling of Ron, right up to the end, and George's t-shirt, for example, both had me actually laughing, not just chuckling.

    I've rated the thread three times while writing this, going from 4 to 5 and then back again, and I'm not entirely sure I shouldn't change it back to full marks, but for now I'm going to stick with 4, for the slightly weak wrap up to the secondary plot. Still a great read though.
     
  3. Jarizok

    Jarizok Groundskeeper

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    Thanks for the rec Q! One can never have too much Annerb in their life.

    I enjoyed this story well enough, but it’s not unique enough to be particularly memorable methinks.

    The story starts off light and fun. It doesn’t really do much more than that at first, and right when I started to get bored with it the pace picks and we get our mystery. The mystery is decent considering it’s really not the focus of this fic at all, and then the story is neatly wrapped up. What carries the story is Annerb’s characterization. The only minor complaint I can really think of there is that the cast didn’t feel 30 something to me. They could have been straight out of Hogwarts just as easily, but maybe 18 and 32 really aren’t that different.

    Well balanced and no longer than it needed to be, all told. Easy 4/5, an enjoyable way to spend an evening.
     
  4. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Between the lack of caps in the title and the premise in general I went into this fully expecting to hate it. I'm glad I was wrong because it's a great story.

    One thing I'll say is that the smut doesn't actually add anything to it. Like, every scene could be cut down and you'd be left with the same great story as before but without the detail. Not that it's too heavy handed in it's own right, it could have been a lot more graphic than it was.

    I'll agree with Jarizok, the characters felt mid twenties more than thirties which leads me into the one glaring issue I have with this story. The whole story pretty much takes place in one year but it feels like it should be spread out over two or three years. Now, that's just a personal issue I have with the pacing in that sense, mainly because the overall pacing is so well done that it feels that is the amount of time that's elapsed within the story only to occasionally be reminded that, actually, it all happened in a year.

    The characters were great, the mystery was solid if not that mysterious, (You can pretty much guess what's going on the very first time Azkaban is mentioned) and at times, it was genuinely funny.

    5/5 because I blew through it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it.
     
  5. Socialist

    Socialist Professor

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    It seems that, when talent in regard to writing romance was being passed out, Annerb robbed ten thousand fanfic authors of their share and kept it all for herself. This is why there are so many shitty romance stories that make you want to gag, while this gets a natural 5/5.
     
  6. Kaeling

    Kaeling Squib

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    As always with Annerb it's very good even for someone who don't like Ginny as a character. I agree with Seratin and Jarizok that both Harry and Ginny felt younger than they are supposed to be, and while the smut doesn't bring a lot to the story it's still a lot better than the trashy porn we are usually served in fanfiction.

    Overall, the characterization is very good, it's funny and the plot is decent. It's a 5/5 for me.

    Also, to address Seratin's review, for some reason Annerb rarely capitalize her titles but in her case those stories are usually very good.
     
  7. kinetique

    kinetique High Inquisitor

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    Annerb's writing is very good, her Ginny irritates me though.
     
  8. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    This definitely isn't just porn, but it also falls short of being a well rounded mystery/investigative fic. With just a little extra here and there it could have fleshed out the Auror investigation and Ginny's Quidditch plot line. With a little build up the last confrontation could have been a lot more impressive too. 3.5/5 but I have to round it down to 3/5 because it could so clearly have been a really good fic with a bit more work, had it not been so focused on being porn plus plot. As it is it's merely decent.
     
  9. KGB

    KGB Order Member

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    Now I am a self admitted hater of romance stories, so take this with a grain of salt. But I constantly found the Harry/Ginny relationship getting in the way of the far more interesting AU and plot in general. And that is with me completely skipping all the sex scenes.

    Also is this based roughly on the Changling universe? I forgot to go back and read it past the first couple of chapters. So perhaps I can do that and save myself the constant skimming of the smut.
     
  10. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    This is not based in The Changeling universe.
     
  11. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Almost certainly going to read this just due to people whose opinions I respect offering strong ratings, but I just want to vent for a second that I absolutely can't stand the AO3 affectation of not capitalizing story titles. It bugs me way more than it should.
     
  12. wordhammer

    wordhammer Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    It's the author's affectation rather than the site. The title is the only bad part of this story. It's odd yet forgettable and doesn't seem to relate to the story.

    As porn with plot, I liked it greatly. The sex scenes are believable and generally fresh in delivery. I enjoyed how the AU factors were seeded into the narrative without the feeling of infodump. The characters breathed with their own attitudes, agendas and preferences.

    Basically, I'm abjectly jealous of the author and the work for all that they achieve, better than I ever have despite my best intentions.
     
  13. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    I've seen more than a few Ao3 fics do that. Maybe it's fandom-specific, overall? Nearly every Carmilla fic I've read uses that convention, for example.
     
  14. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box Prestige

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    It's pretty common on Tumblr, too. At least on AO3 it's just the titles and tags, not the fic itself.
     
  15. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    Yeah, it's a tumblr affectation. I like it, honestly, it has a very specific, soft feel to it.

    I'm less fond of the fact that I can never remember the name of her fics, as they don't relate to the subject matter very well.
     
  16. Sorrows

    Sorrows Unspeakable Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    It was cute, I enjoyed it. The author has a style that works really well with this kind of story. Of course this is cookie-cutter romance with every story beat right on cue. However such stories are popular for a reason and this is a good example of why.

    People who are thinking of doing this competition should read it, it does a lot of things right. The romance element is spot on, if a little humdrum. The mystery was a bit weak towards the end but it wrapped up well enough and it wasn't the point of the story.

    All in all I'd give it a 4.5/5 it's pushing the top end of good but I don't think it quite managed great.
     
  17. Stenstyren

    Stenstyren Groundskeeper

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    Had a good time reading this. Looking back the plot is obvious and has been done before but that's not uncommon for romance stories. The worldbuilding was excellent and the author managed to really show us this alternate universe in a compelling manner. Much more then expected and really makes the story stand out.

    The ending could perhaps have been a bit more interesting. but since I had a good time overall I'm giving this a 4/5.
     
  18. DarkAizen

    DarkAizen Professor DLP Supporter

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    Wow. This story was amazing.

    Skipped the sex part. But the mistery and backstory was so intriguing.

    Would love to read more and maybe a chance to see Harry in action.