Of Troubled Minds and Stolen Pensieves – by Canimal
The Basics: Classic Era (compliant to GoF, adds in a chapterful of OOtP, and some vague references to HBP events), Romance, 250k
Warnings: Original characters as major characters, Non-consensual (Not between SSHG; it occurs offscreen twice and is heavily discussed), Violence
Snape’s grandchild finds his Penseive and is frightened by what she sees; he relates his life story to her to explain and to soothe her fears.
I love the idea for this fic. I have never read anything that started with Snape’s schooldays and proceeded in a linear fashion all of the way to Hermione. The problem with that, however, is obvious – an SSHG storyline is not introduced until about 2/3 of the way through the story, and not really explored until the very last chapters. This is a SNAPE fic; not an SSHG fic. But because this fic is so long and included on so many SSHG lists, I decided to include it in my reviews.
There are many interesting original characters; some of the best I have read in SSHG. In the first third of the story, it seems like the author had really thought things out; offering a detailed look at why Snape is the way he is when we first meet him at Hogwarts. Ursula and Marina in particular are fantastic characters; they are unique women and believable companions for Snape. I found them interesting, but looked forward to them exiting the plot so Hermione could be introduced. However, this did not happen. Characters that had served their plot purpose and exited gracefully continued to show up again later in the story. I felt like I wanted to take a Whack-a-Mole mallet to some of them. No less than THREE PEOPLE come back from the dead. THREE. After a while it became clear that the author had no real solid plan and was just meandering about, recycling plotlines, not sure how to end her fic.
The biggest problem, bigger than recycled plotlines and the mostly-absent Hermione, is that Snape is often grossly out of character. I have a strong suspicion that the author of this fic is a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff (not that there is anything wrong with that.) In this fic, Snape flies off the handle over and over again, charging into danger without thinking first. He makes all of his decisions emotionally and never once does he pause to make a plan or consider the best possible method. Hermione and Dumbledore seem to be the only characters who like to research things, make a plan, and carry it out. Snape spends most of the fic brewing potions and being sad or mad about things, waiting for someone else to solve his problems or inform him of what is going on. Canon Snape is an INTELLECTUAL SPY; right in the middle of the action! He can’t stand to be uninformed, or to rely on others. Ugh, I’m getting annoyed again just thinking about it. These out-of-character plotholes are everywhere and grow wider and deeper as the fic progresses.
Lastly, the author really gives up at the end. There is a hasty last chapter that ties up most of the loose ends immediately; I was looking for something to redeem this fic at the end, some delicious SSHG or warplot payoff, but believe me, there is nothing there. There are several subplots left completely without resolution. If you have read the ‘Wheel of Time’ series by Robert Jordan, you know perfectly well the problem that this author had. The story got away from her, spun out of control, filled with too many characters, and she was totally unable to corral it back to what she originally intended (which I presume was an SSHG fic.)
The bottom line: It can’t function as an SSHG fic because Hermione is basically not in it. And it can’t function as a Snape fic, because Snape is grossly out of character for the majority of it. So why did I keep reading? I’m not sure. I thought about putting it down a dozen times but I kept going. I’d say this is worth reading if you are super bored and not expecting much, and if you like original characters, but that’s about it.