Time Travel, Secret Pasts, and Unexpected Love – by barqhorse
Rating: Acceptable Minus
The Basics: Phoenix Era, Romance, 120k,
Warnings: Attempted Non-Consensual (not Severus), Time-Travel, Pregnancy
This story is all contained in one book, but it has 3 distinct parts. Part 1, Severus Snape and Hermione in her first six years at Hogwarts, as we discover their personalities and histories. Part 2, a time-turner accident and an extended narrative stay in the Mauraders era. Part 3, back to the ‘present’ time as Severus and Hermione deal with the aftermath of the time-turner accident, and the fight against Voldemort.
The author has the interesting idea to write a story that contains all of the SSHG ‘cliches’ that she could possibly think of. It’s kind of a fun idea, but it would have worked better in a comedy fic. What is the point of being edgy and exploiting cliches in a traditional drama/romance fic? Doesn’t that just make it another bad, predictable fic? From my perspective, yes. If I hadn’t read the author’s notes, I never would have known that she was attempting to be ironic. There’s no evidence of that in the story itself.
I had a lot of problems with this fic, but the largest are the logical inconsistencies. The Ravenclaw in me was raging for most of the fic. Time travel fics are difficult to write. Careful rules and explanations are needed for tons of different things; if this isn’t done, the plot just falls apart. Hermione knows she shouldn’t interfere with the past, but she interferes with the were!Lupin/Snape/Shrieking Shack deal. She interferes there, but she never whispers, ‘Peter Pettigrew will betray you’ to Lily? Her roommate and best friend in the past? Come on. Unrelated to time travel, but still annoying – The Mauraders never notice ‘Hermione Granger’ on the Mauraders Map?
The Mary Sue is really, really, really rampant in this fic. Every single male character is in love with her, in one way or another. She is paired with Sirius, Lupin, Snape, Harry, Draco…and I’m probably forgetting others. When she finally settles on Snape, Dumbledore pays entirely for Snape/Hermione’s wedding and throws a grand affair, but a few chapters lately, Ginny/Harry are pinching pennies to afford theirs. Where is Dumbledore then? Hermione has glorious hair, radiant smile, hovering face of an angel…just ugh. This is not Hermione.
The writing and perspective are exasperatingly child-like. The author continuously uses catastrophic physical events to bring people together. I think we spend about half of the fic in the hospital wing. This is lazy writing. Isn’t the best part of romance watching a pair come together slowly? That doesn’t happen in this fic. Everyone is ‘in love’ after days or weeks. Another example of naive writing – Snape and Hermione are surprised that Lucius Malfoy is attending a Slytherin ball. ‘Oh no! He will spot us!’ Really? You didn’t think about the fact that he would be there?
The Snape is pretty badly out of character. I could write some of it off as Young!Snape, due to the sojourn in the Mauraders era, but it was really just too out of character to believe. There was no darkness, no reluctance, no hesitance; it was just a Bland Romance Hero. If I wanted to read that, I’d read a more traditional ship. We read SSHG for that academic, withdrawn, painful, carefully crafted Snape. He’s not in this fic.
There is some good here. I did keep reading it, although I considered skipping to the end many, many times. I liked that the author was being ironic with the use of cliches, even if it was only evident through the author’s notes. I liked the idea of a time-travel fic that picked up in the present day; I hadn’t read one like that before (though I’m sure they exist.) And the writing improves significantly from the first chapters to the last chapters.
The bottom line: The time travel aspect of this fic is fun and interesting, but that’s really the only redeeming quality. The characters are incredibly Mary Sue and blandly romantic. The writing is mediocre. There’s not much here, but if you really love time-travel fics it might be worth a read.