It was markedly bad in a variety of delightful ways; it needed the usual good edit, but was also based on dimensional travel, gender bending, and a weird incestuous egophilic relationship.
And in spite of being worse than the original Harry Potter, I enjoyed it more than the original.
It had a purity that could not be matched by JK's version, and there was no sadistic glee taken over torturing Harry, although there were some questionable choices about some of these alternate versions of characters which I would guess are a result of not-so-subtle feelings the author has towards said characters. It also fixed MUCH of MANY things that I detested in HP.
Not the least being that the characters were drained from using magic, and the title characters became more powerful and got COOL magic abilities instead of just your regular normal magic abilities, and were able to do a lot more things wandless. And there was romance. And Harry wasn't such a prat. And more phoenixes.
It was quite enjoyable.
And there's a lot of rubbish out there, so I am glad I was able to find a good fanfic to read for the FIRST FANFIC I'VE READ IN OVER FIVE YEARS.
I don't know why I ever stopped though. Fanfiction is spectacular because authors, as a rule, tend to muck up their characters quite badly along the way, or even if they don't, they throw them away after they're done with them to never use them again. It's nice to see alternate storylines, what-ifs and how-abouts, crossovers and genre changes.
And it's especially nice for the characters that never got a good story. See: any non-RPG video game character ever. Specifically see: a site I still know off the top of my head featuring a Mega Man as though the Captain N universe encompassed Mega Man's (http://mmhp.net/TheSeries). This person has written over 20 books in this universe, and to date this is my Mega Man. This is the Mega Man I think of when I see yet another butchering of the series for a cartoon. This is a hero of a Mega Man and not just pixels on the screen.
There's so much good out there it makes you wonder why when video games get turn into movies why do they suck so much?
It's the same for Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon the show, I can't stand. It had some appeal to me in my youth that I can't explain (although I can try: first anime, lots of pretty girls in short skirts (which at the time were the same age as me or maybe older...(Update: just double-checked, 1997 was when these were on the USA Network, I WAS TWELVE WOW), monsters, and actually, now that I think about it, for whatever reason I was addicted to the theme song. Again, I blame the short skirts (update: now that I know I was twelve, I still blame the short skirts, but bear in mind I was 12).
Wow, that's really bad, and yet, the nostalgia fills me with euphoria. Anyway...
What I was saying was that Sailor Moon the show would have eventually been nothing more than an annotation in the story of my life (excerpt from "Story of Zero": Wakes up at 7 AM to watch Sailor Moon. An anime, even though he doesn't know what that is yet. Helps him to learn the lyrics to "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies faster than normal. On track to become a mega-dork), but Sailor Moon the idea has hundreds of stories out there and in some of those stories, how can I say this, they're fucking amazing. There's family and magic and romance (the real kind, not the girls like guys that are dicks to them kind that was in the first two seasons of the show) and alternate history and heroism, again and again, heroism. I am a sucker for heroes, if you weren't aware, and Sailor Moon fanfics have that in spades. Oh, and dragons. Did I mention dragons? There's effing dragons.
I have a pretty broad definition of fanfiction, and I view any sort of AU (alternate universe) as a fanfic, even if it was written by the author. They were such a big fan of their own work that they couldn't tell the story once is how I view it, but the "original" series (or one-off) is the original that all the rest are based off of.
Zelda is interesting in that each Zelda retells the story of Zelda and Link, but they supposedly all occur in the same world and involve reincarnations of the three points of the Tri-force. I'm OK with people classifying Zelda games as fanfic, but also OK with people that don't. If it is a fanfic, then my original is The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (Zelda 3).
Anyway, if you've never given fanfiction a try before, it has my recommendation. Find a site that has reviews and ratings—such as fanfiction.net—there's a LOT of erotica and slash out there, so make sure you know what you're getting into before you invest in a fanfic, and take it from me, don't start reading the chapters of a fanfic book until it's finished. Too many go incomplete. This actually ruined me with Sailor Moon. There were some AMAZING stories that I read that were left incomplete for far too long. Maybe they've been completed now, but I doubt it. Every couple of years I'll try to check back in on the ones that I still remember only to be disappointed. Speaking of which, some of my favorite SM stories are "Guardians of the Star" by Greywolf (which contains the aforementioned dragons, and I think the sequel was never finished) and "Universal" and "Universal B" by Jendra (which went unfinished for YEARS before finally posting the ending!)
Update (7/29/13): After re-reading Universal and Universal B on Fanfiction.net, it was pretty great to read the reviews. There were tons of people that, like me, had read this first 10-15 years ago and just loved the story and the character and were completely thrilled to be able to find it again.
Update (7/26/13): Here's the link for the HP fanfic if you're curious "The Girl Who Lived"
Here's the "Guardians of the Star" link and "Universal" and "Universal B" links also.