Genres: Fantasy, Fanfiction
Pub. Date: 2017 (read Dec. 2021)
I debated whether I would take the time to review this, but I spent such a lengthy time reading it and I enjoyed it so much, that I have to give it the praise it deserves.
Let’s say off the bat – this is fanfiction. All the Young Dudes is not a published book, though you can buy 3 volumes of it on the Book Patch, I opted to read it for free on Archive Of Our Own. It’s over 500,000 words, which works out to somewhere around 1700 pages. I have never read fanfiction before, but started hearing about All the Young Dudes and was really intrigued, so I decided to read it. I know there’s a lot of bad fan fiction out there, but this was an eye opening experience to me that there’s also some really quality fan fiction and that there shouldn’t be anything embarrassing about reading it!
All the Young Dudes is Harry Potter fanfic about the Mauraders. It’s set primarily in the 1970’s, though it spans some 25 odd years, and is told from Lupin’s point of view. It is totally canon compliant, with the exception being that it is Wolfstar, which features a relationship between Lupin and Sirius. While there’s no indication in Harry Potter that either of these characters is gay, I didn’t find it a stretch or unbelievable. Every other part of the fiction complied with original harry potter canon and I thought the addition of this relationship actually brought a lot of depth to the story.
All the Young Dudes is a substantial piece of work and honestly felt like an extension of the HP universe to me. Every character is well crafted and acted exactly in the way I would expect them to. It was so fun to revisit this world through the eyes of the Marauders and I loved returning to Hogwarts with them. The first part is largely fun, with lots of childish antics and pranks, like what you would expect from a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds, but as the children age, so does the story.
In some ways I thought this was maybe even a more accurate portrayal of teenagers at Hogwarts than JK Rowling. The writer includes a lot of 1970’s pop culture into the story, which I liked because it created a more integrated world with both Muggles and Magic. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe wizards wouldn’t be just as crazy for pop sensations like Bowie and the Beatles and the boys get participate in classic teenage shenanigans, like partying and messing around with alcohol, pot, and girls.
There’s just as much depth to the side characters and I loved seeing so many other familiar characters from the series. Lily and Snape also feature in the story, though I would have loved to get a bit more about both Lily’s relationships with Snape and James. Because this is Lupin’s story, he and Sirius are the primary focus – my ideal fiction would probably have a more well rounded telling of the Marauders, with multiple character perspectives, but this was still great and incredible in its scope.
There’s A LOT of character development and angst and I loved that this focuses on Lupin’s struggles with being a werewolf (and how the wizarding world treats werewolves parallels how the rest of the world also treats gay men, especially in the 70’s). We also get a lot of time dedicated to Sirius’ family and how he struggled with being the black sheep in a family full of dark wizards. It’s a bit of a brutal read in that it’s heartbreaking to spend over 1000 pages falling in love with characters that you know are going to be devastated before the end. The first volume is a fun romp while the second volume is a really meaningful coming of age story during a dark time. I read the first two parts back to back, which covers the boys 7 years at Hogwarts, and then took a break before attempting the third, which I knew would be filled with heartbreak.
The third volume spans from the end of school all the way up to the start of the 5th Harry Potter book, so it has the largest time period and is by far the most depressing. I found the war really interesting, but I kind of wish it had ended when Voldemort was defeated the first time. I understand why the author dragged it out until Sirius got out of Azkaban, but I didn’t find a lot of value in the in between time and would have just preferred an epilogue about Sirius and Remus being reunited. It’s still a great story, but while I would definitely re-read the first 2 volumes, I don’t think I would ever re-read the 3rd. Either way, the whole thing was a really fun experience for me. I’m not sure whether I’ll be back for more fan-fiction, but it was fun to give a try! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read fan-fiction and what you thought, I’m genuinely interested to know!