Contemplations of Birth – Saavik13

Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1206067/1/Contemplations_of_Birth

Rating: Acceptable Plus

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF), Romance, 100k

Warnings: Underage, Marriage Law (sort of), Implied DM/RL, Violence, References to Non-con, NC-17 SC

Hermione Granger and Severus Snape are forced into a marriage, though neither is particularly willing.

This was an interesting story.  The beginning felt quite rushed and overwhelming to me, but I later realized there was a reason for that – a non SS/HG prequel (link at bottom.)  Similarly, the ending was a bit of a cliff drop because of an unfinished sequel (link at bottom.) There was resolution in the major romantic arc, but that had happened chapters earlier.  There was no resolution in the war arc, which left me a bit unsatisfied.

However, the ‘middle’ chunk of the story that we get to experience is quite good.  I found the premise unique.  Hermione finds out that she is heir to a member of a powerful, long-lost Slytherin house – the Penwraths.  Her family forces her into an arranged marriage with a Death Eater, Marcus Flint, at Lord Voldemort’s behest – and Severus Snape steps in to marry her instead – if she MUST marry a Death Eater, she can at least marry one who works for Dumbledore and will watch out for her.  The story goes deeply into Pureblood politics and history, which is one of my favorite areas in fanfiction.  The idea of a long-lost house is not one that I had read before, and the author ties it in nicely with the war plot.

Having said all that, the downside of this fic is the romance.  Marriage Law fics are never my favorite genre – when they are forced together like that, the romance just isn’t as fun.  There is a bit of growing and a small romance curve, but not much.  My interest in the fic was more in the (unresolved) war plot and Pureblood history.

Gold Star: Special mention for the Lucius Malfoy in this fic.  This is the best Lucius Malfoy I have EVER read.  This is Classic Era -all that the author had to go on was a few sneers and rude comments.  Somehow she extrapolated a beautifully, fully-formed, totally-canon Lucius Malfoy that broke my heart and made me rage at the same time.  The best scene in the story is a conversation between Lucius and Snape near the end of the story when all seems lost.  Just beautiful.  Honestly, it made me want to read Lucius fiction, which I have never had an interest in before.

The bottom line:  It’s well-plotted and has an interesting premise.  The characters are decently in character (love the mouthy, crafty-when-necessary Hermione) and the action scenes are great.  However, the lacking satisfaction of an unfinished sequel paired with the early resolution of the romance plot makes this fic just above mediocre for me.  Read it for a great portrait of Lucius Malfoy – not for the SSHG.

Non SSHG Prequel: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1569673/1/Convergence_of_Birth
Unfinished Sequel: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1567487/1/Complications_of_Birth

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When Living is No Longer Enough – Sci-Fi Nut

Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1104775/1/When-Living-is-No-Longer-Enough

Rating: Poor

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF), Angst/Romance,  100k

Warnings:

WARNING: PARTIAL REVIEW
As with many of my low-rated fic reviews, I did not finish this story before skimming to the end.
If anything in my review is inaccurate or misconceived as a result, please feel free to let me know and I will amend my review.

Professor Granger, the Charms professor, works together with Professor Snape to create a potion to destroy Voldemort.

This is the kind of fic that I would have immediately stopped reading, before I started this site.  The grammar and punctuation are just awful. I wanted to get a dry erase marker and add commas to my computer screen.  However, I felt obligated to continue reading in order to give it every chance for a good review.  Maybe the author would pick up a beta and things would start to improve.

Unfortunately, further reading only unearthed more problems.  Snape and Hermione are kissing in Chapter 4, about 5% of the way into the story.  They are immediately intoxicated with one another, with no explanation or build-up. The melodrama is at RED ALERT levels – laughably bad.  It’s hard to describe how annoying and distracting the grammar and melodrama problems are, so here is an excerpt -” Snape looked down at the woman lying motionless in his arms and let loose an anguished scream of despair that flew through the night like a bird with wings.  ‘This is my fault,’ he told himself repeatedly, much like a broken muggle record.”  ‘Anguished scream of despair’ is pretty over the top and cliche, but next, we have ‘…flew through the night like a bird with wings.’  Is there a bird without wings?  The next sentence is salvageable, but it needs editing and tightening up; perhaps with ‘he repeated to himself’ and capitalizing ‘Muggle.’  That doesn’t address the incongruity of comparing Snape’s words to a Muggle record.  How about using a Harry Potter reference, or something Snape-ish?  Or, even better, just repeat the phrase a few times, SHOWING US the action, instead of TELLING US.  Lastly, even without all of the other problems, putting two similes back to back makes the action difficult to follow.  Birds, records, anguish…what were we talking about again?  Oh yeah, someone died.

/end English graduate rant. Apologies.  I’m sure other people will find the writing less offensive than I did, but for me it was too bad to continue reading.  When I skipped to the end, I found that the writing does improve somewhat, but not enough.  The above excerpt is taken from very late in the story.

The bottom line:  Bad writing.  There may be some good moments buried in there somewhere, but they are few and far between and certainly not worth slogging through all of the bad filler.  Skip it.

Trading Spaces – by SnippyandSnarky

Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1082327/1/Trading-Spaces

Rating: Acceptable

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF), Humor/Romance,  170k

Warnings: Harry/Draco, Slash, NC17 SC, Original Characters, Underage SC, Drugs

WARNING: PARTIAL REVIEW
As with many of my low-rated fic reviews, I only read about halfway into this story before skimming to the end.
If anything in my review is inaccurate or misconceived as a result, please feel free to let me know and I will amend my review.

Harry and Hermione arrive early to Hogwarts to settle in to their prefect duties.  They are shocked to discover that their houses have been switched – Harry and Hermione are now Slytherin prefects, reporting to Professor Snape.

This is a pretty decent humor fic with lots of unique characters, but here’s the problem – it’s Harry/Draco, with a Snape/Hermione subplot.  I read about halfway before realizing that the Snape/Hermione was not worth pursuing.

There are a TON of original characters.  There are two snakes called Snippy and Snarky who are the Slytherin mascots, a mascot for each of the other houses, a new Muggle Studies teacher, and my personal favorite – The Blackest Magic Ever, a talking book by Gilderoy Lockhart (also known as Sheldon.)  Each of these characters is given a lot of time in the story.  Snippy and Snarky in particular are major characters, possibly more major than either Snape or Hermione.  These characters are fun, adding originality and charm to the fic, but there are just too many of them – maybe it’s a personal preference, but I want to read about Harry Potter characters when I’m reading Harry Potter fanfiction.  And I want to read about Snape and Hermione when I’m reading SSHG fiction!

Snape and Hermione’s subplot takes off when Hermione accidentally Apparates with Snape to the middle of a Death Eater circle (this would never happen) and they have to think quickly to survive.  They pose as lovers, and Hermione pretends she wants to join the Death Eaters.  Everything moves quickly and clumsily after this point – for example, Snape suggests they ‘practice kissing’ so they will be ready to fool the Death Eaters.  It was written as if both Snape and Hermione were young, hapless kids, with Dumbledore as the unfair, non-understanding authority figure.  The story was obviously written by someone very young.  Most scenes are humor-based and do not reference the war effort or the serious negative consequences of a relationship between a professor and a fifth-year.

Another thing I just have to mention is the completely unfair treatment of Hufflepuffs.  The Hufflepuff mascot is a pot-smoking badger who is as  intelligent and useful as the box of rubber ducks in Arthur Weasley’s attic. This was obviously written long before the ‘Hufflepuffs are Awesome, too’ movement, and I found myself a little angry every time a joke was made at the expense of Hufflepuff House.  (And this is coming from a Slytherclaw.)

The bottom line:  Read it if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted original character romp, read it for Harry/Draco, and definitely read it for The Blackest Magic Ever by Gilderoy Lockhart.  But if you’re looking for great Snape/Hermione, you won’t find it here.

Shattered – by Adriana

Links:
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1048155/1/Shattered
http://ashwinder.sycophanthex.com/viewstory.php?sid=8719

Rating: Acceptable Minus

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF with some elements of later books), Romance,  100k

Warnings: None yet, but I didn’t finish reading it.

WARNING: PARTIAL REVIEW
As with many of my low-rated fic reviews, I only read about halfway into this story before skimming to the end.
If anything in my review is inaccurate or misconceived as a result, please feel free to let me know and I will amend my review
This fic was a huge disappointment to me because it started out SO well.  Hermione is a member of an elite group of Healers with closely guarded secrets.  She is called away from her studies in Edinburgh to join the war effort; using her secret Healing knowledge, she assists Severus Snape in creating a potion to destroy Voldemort.

The writing is technically very good, the war plot is interesting, but unfortunately, the interaction between Snape and Hermione is just awful.  It was like a soap opera – so saccharine sweet and melodramatic that I found myself laughing and rolling my eyes instead of being drawn in.   When they meet, they are almost immediately intoxicated by each other.  Hermione spies Snape walking nude out of the water and thinks,  ‘Was it a male version of Botticilli’s Venus?  No, he was a more impressive version of Michelangelo’s David.’  I mean, seriously?  I actually laughed out loud.   Every scene they have together is wooden and cliche.  I enjoyed it much more when I gave them Spanish accents and pretended I was watching a dubbed Telemundo episode.  I stopped reading about 2/3 of the way through when it became clear that nothing else was going to happen in the relationship other than external obstacles, made-up fights, and inevitable reconciliation.

There is some good news here, though – one of the biggest reasons I kept reading as long as I did – Draco Malfoy is totally awesome in this fic.  He is funny, well-rounded, nice backstory, super witty, believable, and just fun to read.  I was far more interested in Draco’s storyline than Hermione’s or Snape’s.  I think this author would be STELLAR with a Marauder humor fic, or maybe an action-focused ensemble fic – she’s great at Gryffindorish wit and group humor.  Unfortunately, Hermione/Snape is a dark, intellect-based romance, and it’s just not the author’s strong point at all.

I skipped to the end of the story, and the melodrama was just as bad if not worse, so I know I made the right decision.  When the dialogue is that cliche, it’s not them, it’s just words on a page.  You know?

The bottom line: For an SSHG reading, this is a pretty lame fic that I would recommend skipping.  It’s a bad soap opera.  Read for the hilarious, well-written Draco, if that’s your dish, but in that case you’d be better off just finding a great Draco fic and reading that instead.

Hinge of Fate – by Ramos

Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/1024910/3/Hinge-of-Fate

Rating: Acceptable

The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF with some elements of later books), Romance,  100k

Warnings: Non-censensual (under Imperius), NC17 SC, Pregnancy

It seems hilarious to categorize ‘Pregnancy’ as a warning, but some people aren’t into pregnancy fics so I thought I should mention it.

Hermione wakes up one morning to find herself pregnant (much to her surprise, as she had done nothing to incite said pregnancy.)  When she learns the circumstances – and that Severus Snape is the father – their lives are forever changed.  This is a similar premise as my favorite fanfiction of all time, For Someone Special by LadyoftheMasque.  I find pregnancy to be sort of an ‘easy way out’ as far as getting Snape and Hermione together, but it works in this fic and the pregnancy is by no means the focus of the story.

This was a nice little fic.  It is one that I would have glossed over, if I were reading what I were interested in and not doing a thorough chronology, because the writing in the first few chapters was not very strong, and it was immediately clear that it was a ‘pregnancy fic.’  As I made my way deeper into the story, I began to enjoy it, and chided myself for my earlier reservations and pre-judgements.  The romance blossomed in a realistic manner and Snape and Hermione are both reasonably in character.

I actually REALLY like this fic’s Hermione. She is level-headed and independent, two traits I strongly admire that SSHG Hermiones occasionally lack.  It is too easy to write bombastic ‘fights’ where Hermione has temper tantrums about Snape’s behavior – this Hermione is above that and never seems to raise her voice.  The Snape is also well-drawn, though a bit too easygoing and well-adjusted for my tastes.  Though I liked the characters’  even tempers and the lack of cheap-writing arguments, their absence (and the lack of anything to fill it) left the romance and passion somewhat bland, for me.

The best part of the fic is the second quarter, as the relationship builds.  It goes a little too quickly, however, and the fully-in-love characters still have half a story to navigate.  We spend about 3 chapters on their honeymoon, with no action to speak of at all – just sex, breakfasts, and witty banter that usually falls just short of witty.  Yawn.  I am easily bored and irritated once that romantic tension is over – I don’t read fanfiction for war plots, I read them for romance.  The war plot is okay, but action is not this writer’s strong suit.  I would have enjoyed it much better if the romance were drawn out more and more focus was put on the emotional and logistical hurdles of their relationshi.

The bottom line: It’s a ‘nice little fic’, as I said.  Worth a read, barely.   The romance is solid, the characters are solid, the war plot is passable – but for me, it lacked passion, excitement, and humor.   It had glimpses, but not enough.   A solid ‘Acceptable.’