The Ties that Lead to Trust – by Gfeather
Rating: Acceptable Plus
The Basics: Phoenix Era, Friendship/Angst, 170k,
Warnings: Non-Consensual (not Severus), NC-17, Violence, Marriage Law
In Hermione’s seventh year, Snape and Hermione are forced to wed as a result of a new Marriage Law.
This fic is classic Marriage Law, as classic as it gets, written as a response to the WIKTT Marriage Law Challenge when this kind of thing was still fresh. Hermione and Snape marry, slowly come together, and the Malfoys aren’t happy about it. It’s exactly what you’d expect, but somehow I still stayed up all night reading it, so that’s something.
One thing I really appreciated about the fic was the strong, independent, logical Hermione. This is not a woman who will pick fights for no reason or fall in love just because she’s married. She’s stubborn and willful and full of ideas; just wonderful. She’s even MORE independent and traditional-bucking than the real Hermione Granger, I would say, but those are traits that I appreciate so I really loved this Hermione.
The Snape, however, is not quite as on point. Especially in the early chapters, he gave off almost a Pathetic!Creeper!Snape vibe. And it was written intentionally that way; that his eyes would plead and Hermione would feel uncomfortable, or that he would ask her to stay the night and she wouldn’t want to, or that he would ‘spoon’ her in their sleep in the very early stages. Severus Snape ‘spooning’ a Seventh Year he just married days ago is definitely not in character. ‘Curling protectively’ maybe . I know I’m mincing words, but I felt like the language kind of pathetic-ized him and I didn’t like that. He settles into a more traditional Snape as the fic continues, however.
The warplot was disappointing for me. It’s not a Voldemort plot, it’s another agitator. It seemed promising in the beginning, but it kind of petered out to nothing. There was one action packed scene, and then 10 more chapters of recovering/resolving/nothing. It was a bit of a slog to the end. I understood why the recovery chapters were needed for the characters, but as a reader, the action was over, the romance was over, and I was impatient for the end. Major plotting/pacing issues. The author even confessed in her author’s notes that the fic was being steered by the winds of her random plot bunnies – not plotted out in advance.
The romance is decent; that slow-burn is always a little clumsy in Marriage Law fics, by necessity, but it is done well here in the few chapters in which they are becoming comfortable with each other. The majority of the fic, unfortunately, has a resolved romance and the focus is on logistics and the weak action plot. There is an issue that arises about 2/3 of the way through that ‘resets’ the romance plot to give it a little more interest, but not enough.
The bottom line: It’s decent, especially if you like Marriage Law fics. Read it for the academic-based romance and the beautifully strong, independent Hermione. Skip it if you like exciting action/warplots, and insist upon tightly scripted plotting.