Manacled by SenLinYu
Harry Potter fanfic
Review by Jen
This was my first fanfic. I’ve never had ANY DESIRE to read one. A romance reading friend raved about it and I decided to give it a try.
First, if you’re not familiar with fanfic, it’s when a writer uses characters and/or a published popular story, then creates their own story based on the original work. Manacled is a Harry Potter fanfic that centers on Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger. Or, as readers who ship them would say, “Dramione”. They’re like any celebrity couple, but with magic wands and house elves.
Right out of the gate I have to say, this book was SO good. I am still shocked. The writing was terrific, and the characters honestly seemed like true older versions of the original characters. I was so impressed. This particular fanfic has a big following and a ton of great reviews. I’m not sure how other fanfics rate against it, but I can say that the author of this one is crazy talented.
The story follows the next phase of the big wizarding war and has the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter and friends) fighting against the Dark Lord and his army. The Order is losing. They suffer from toxic positivity, Harry refuses to use dark magic to defeat Voldemort. It’s a classic good vs evil with the good guys believing that because they’re good, they will prevail.
The author breaks the book into four sections. Section one is present day, section two is a long series of flashbacks, then back to present day and finally to three epilogues. This is one LONG book- you’ve been warned.
Most of the Order is dead. Hermione has been taken prisoner until the Dark Lord figures out who she is and wants to access her memories. He knows there is someone in the Order left and intends to kill them. He believes Hermione knows who it is. She’s been tortured and has found a way to isolate memories in her brain so they can’t be accessed by magic. As part of her punishment, and as a distraction to other problems Voldemort is having, he announces a “repopulation” program. The pure blood wizards aren’t having kids fast enough and Hermione and several other prisoners are going to be given out as surrogates to high ranking wizards. The whole concept is very Handmaid’s Tale, down to the outfits they’re forced to wear. Hermione is given to Draco with the intention of bearing his children. Draco is married to a mean witch, but to be fair, how could any wife be happy with this arrangement? In this reimagined world, Draco is the Dark Lord’s killing machine and is responsible for countless deaths. Many see him as the future of the organization. Hermione knows Draco, but her memories are fuzzy on things and part of Draco’s job is to dig into her mind to uncover memories. And get her pregnant. TW- he rapes her. It’s emotionless, he clearly isn’t into it, but it happens and she does eventually get pregnant. As a reader you know there’s a lot happening, many things that haven’t been revealed.
Flashbacks. Lots and lots of flashbacks. What you don’t know in section one because of Hermione’s memory loss is cleared up. The short of it is, Draco worked with Hermione and the Order during the war. Hermione and Draco fell in love. Their love was a super slow burn. Neither one trusted that the other was being honest, they questioned motives. Draco knew their relationship would always end badly. Hermione also realized the same thing. They each tried desperately to save each other. Hermione is a total bad ass. She was a healer in the war, and learned how to create potions, spells, saved lives and Draco even trained her to fight. And that quote, “a hero would sacrifice you to save the world, but a villain would sacrifice the world to save you,” that’s Draco. He’s unquestionably done TERRIBLE things. But, he did everything he could to save Hermione.
This is where it gets even better. Pregnant Hermione gains her memories back and realizes that she loves Draco. It’s awkward, she’s not completely well. Despite loving her back, Draco isn’t a big warm hug of a guy and has resigned himself to an early death. Throw in the nasty wife, his demented broken father Lucius coming back to visit and lots of wizardly torture- Draco and Hermione are in for dark times.
Epilogues. These were more like riveting novellas, and definitely not a few pages that wrap everything up in a bow.
If you liked Harry Potter, or are at least have an understanding of the story, I think you should give it a try. Manacled is a very dark extension of the Potter books. Your favorite characters are most likely dead. There’s rape, abuse, and so much angst between Draco and Hermione. His backstory eventually explains why he’s a killer and what he really dreams for most in life. Draco is hard not to like by the end. Or at least feel compassion for in some way. This book was such an interesting, addictive reading experience!!!
It’s free- check it out.