Word Count: 442,058
Rating: Teen Audiences and Up
Summary: "Post-Furt: Spinning off from Glee, Kurt begins an entirely new chapter in his life at Dalton Academy for Boys. Blaine, Wes, David and the boys of Windsor House make his life, for better or worse, far more eventful than he imagined."
If you've ever been in the "Glee" fandom, there's a chance you might've fallen down the rabbit hole that is "Dalton." Now, I'm going to say straight up that "Dalton" is a masterpiece. CPCoulter has crafted an entire new world into the existing Glee-verse that is interesting, original and alive!
"Dalton" tells the story of what were to happen if Kurt had decided to stay at Dalton Academy in the second season of "Glee." For the most part, the fanfic is told through Kurt's perspective and each chapter starts with a small monologue from Kurt. "Dalton" introduces a whole new cast and adds a lot more character to the Dalton school than presented in the show—giving it history and a killer ensemble cast. "Dalton's" strength lies in its characters, only primarily adopting two characters from the show's existing universe, our main ship—Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson. The characterization of these two is almost flawless, the best I've ever seen them written in Fanfiction—they're believable. CP explores their relationship dynamic in an interesting and fun way but also keeps a mature air to it, unlike the route the source material took toward the end of the show (I'm salty, and always will be).
However, in terms of characters, CP's OCs were the highlight of the story. The Windsor boys—Windsor being the House in which Kurt dorms—are hilarious, full of heart and feel real. Hell, at some points in the story, I cared more about what happened to the Windsor boys than Kurt himself. Evan and Ethan Brightman, two mischief making twins of an eccentric nature, Reed Van Kamp, a fashion forward artist and massive klutz, Charlie Amos, the prefect who just needs a break, Dwight Houston, an occultist with a heart of gold, and there are just so many more. CP amazed me with the massive cast she had created, all of the characters being extraordinarily well crafted and as stated previously, felt real. So much so, they have spawned over 1000 fanfics based in the "Daltonverse"—seriously, check out the fanworks for "CPCoulter's Dalton - Fandom" on AO3.
One character as such being Logan Wright, the perceived "villain" of the story, a troubled boy from Windsor's rival house Stuart (the rivalry is one of my favourite things in this fanfic and the humour within it never fails to crack me up), who falls for Kurt, which causes a ruckus for both the Windsor and Stuart boys. Logan is a character with extreme depth and makes a great rival for Blaine, and reading through and unravelling his story is one of the best things within the fanfic.
One thing I love about the characters in "Dalton" is that they're all given a nickname based on "Alice in Wonderland," courtesy of the Twins, which acts as an ongoing metaphor throughout the whole story, with constant references to "Alice, or rather Kurt, falling into "Warblerland"—I just thought it was a creative touch that just added another layer of depth to these characters.
Humor and heart thrive throughout this story, there are some lines that just had me in stitches and I was sending to the one friend I have which actively reads fanfiction—she'd never even seen "Glee" but I was messaging her screen caps going "dude, you gotta appreciate this with me." The Brightman Twins particularly come to mind here, with their whacky schemes and playful banter—as well as the continuous mentions of Stuart House's caffeine addiction:
"I heard if you wound a Stuart, they bleed espresso," Wes remarked with a grin.
"Honestly, I've tried to exorcise that House from its caffeinated regime of terror, but it appears I'll need a hunter army to take down evil of that level."
This fanfic wears its heart on its sleeve, essentially being a found family story. The bond that the Windsor boys have, and by the fanfic's "conclusion" (more on that in a moment) the whole Dalton Academy body as a whole, is so amazingly captured in CP's fantastic writing. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy when she wants to you to, but also can tug at your heartstrings when the angst starts.
The fanfic is ultimately incomplete, and ergo hasn't had a real and final "conclusion." The author hasn't updated since early 2014, ending on chapter 28. However, aside from the last few paragraphs, a large arc spanning several chapters had just drawn to a close, almost seeming like a perfect ending (until CP leaves you on a mystery cliffhanger and marriage proposal between two characters). For further talk on fic abandonment, see Rainsaber's article on the site here.
All in all, I highly recommend this Fanfiction to anyone who's a fan of "Glee," it does the show incredible justice, and even if you haven't seen "Glee," read an overview of the first two seasons and check "Dalton" out, it is well worth the time and has thoroughly inspired me as a writer. CPCoulter has created an absolute wonderland for readers to explore, so take a chance and fall down that rabbit hole.