Deliver Me – by Lyra_Aphrodite_Moon

Link: http://hp.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=19056&chapter=1

Rating: Poor

The Basics: Phoenix Era, Romance, 100k

Warnings: Underage, Sexual Content

Hermione Granger, overworking herself with studying, takes on a 7th year potions project with Professor Snape.

I was very excited to read this fic, as I am in love with the ‘7th year potions project’ trope (probably because it is the most obvious early trope that everyone used back in the day, and I’m sentimental about it.)

Unfortunately, I could tell right away that it was going to be a bumpy ride.  The writing is very low quality in the beginning, although it does improve.  Then, the romance is rushed – uncomfortably rushed, especially for an underage fic.  When underage fics are rushed, it makes Snape seem like Creeper!Snape or Pedo!Snape and that’s uncomfortable.  Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but it seemed to me that both Hermione and Snape were incredibly irresponsible, to such a degree that it took them both out-of-character for me.

However, that’s not the biggest problem I have with this fic.  The biggest problem is that nobody seems capable of having a genuine conversation with anyone else.  It all seems to be screaming, and fits, and barbs, and tragic misunderstandings.  Just over and over and over again.  I felt like I just continually kept reading the same thing over again – someone gets mad at leaves, someone gets mad and grabs someone, they yell and try to hurt each other, blah blah blah.  That kind of unrelentingly Gryffindor behavior is just not what I expect to read in an SSHG fic – what they have in common is their introverted side, their academic side.  Screaming at each other is just tiresome.  It felt like the adventures of Lavender and Seamus or something; two dunderheads who can only communicate with temper tantrums.

The plotline was pretty weak and seemed to change over time.  It was clearly not plotted out from the beginning.  Then at the end, lots of new characters are introduced and thrown together, and then the whole thing kind of sags outwardly in a quick wrap-up chapter.  The writer even says in her author’s notes that she threw together an ending for the fic 5 years later when people kept asking for an ending.  And it definitely smarts of that tacked-on effect.

The bottom line: Overall, there’s almost nothing worth reading here, honestly.  It smacked of classic-era goodness in the beginning, but gets tiresome because of the childish tantrums continually thrown by ALL of the characters and the lack of a coherent plotline or sense of responsibility.  The writing is decent, but that’s not enough to save it.

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Somewhere I Have Never Travelled – by Savageland

Link:
https://sshgreview.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/savageland-somewhere-i-have-never-travelled.pdf
http://ashwinder.sycophanthex.com/viewstory.php?sid=2981
[Note: Added a link to my personal copy only because Ashwinder is down; I will try to remember to come back and edit it out when it comes back up.]

Rating: Exceeds Expectations Minus

The Basics: Phoenix Era, Action/Adventure/Angst/Romance, 170k,

Warnings: Violence, References to Non-Con, Character Death, Language, Sexual Content, Time-Travel, Original Character

Hermione Granger, now in her mid-50’s, must use a time traveling device to go back to the Battle of Hogwarts.  There, she must work with Severus Snape to try to prevent devastation and alter the course of history.

I had a lot of hope and a lot of excitement for this fic as I dug into the first quarter or so.  The writing is stellar.  It’s a very ‘academic’ fic, which is in my opinion the best way to approach this pairing.  Lots of literary references, scientific references, research projects, philosophical debate, time-travel questions, and careful conversations about the best course to take in order to defeat Voldemort.  Too many fics miss these considerations, but they are definitely the kinds of conversations Snape and Hermione would have together.  This fic also passed  my ‘time-turner fic quality test’ : What effect does the visitor (usually disguised) have on the Maurader’s Map?  Does the author address this?  This fic did, so it passed the test.

So, it’s well-written, well-plotted.  But what about the meat?  Unfortunately, the romance was not satisfying for me.  I don’t want to give the story away, but there are lots of twists and turns that make it complicated, but overall the romance was too fast and love-at-first-sight for me.  I like watching the dark Potions Master persona slowly ebb away.  In this one, the characters rush to romance, presumably because ‘Hermione-from the future’ is so amazing, but I find a rushed romance to be a missed opportunity.  The latter half of the story really suffers from the lack of romantic tension, as it has already been mostly resolved.  The warplot takes over at this point; and while it’s a good warplot, I really missed the romance.

The largest problem that this fic has is that ‘Hermione from the future’ uses a pseudonym, ‘Gwen Hawking’, and the author writes her much differently than Hermione.  I’m not opposed to an older Hermione, a wiser Hermione, or a battle-scared Hermione, but for me, Gwen Hawking no longer felt like Hermione.  I felt like I was reading a story about Snape falling in love with someone else – especially because there is a ‘Hermione from the present’ character to deal with.  Hermione-from-the-present feels like the real Hermione to the reader, so Gwen Hawking feels even more like an imposter, and we share Hermione’s dislike of her.   Gwen Hawking, combined with the early resolution of the what little romance there is, basically destroys the romantic portion of this story entirely.

The bottom line: Read it if you love clever action-adventure plots, and if you love time-travel timey-wimey plots.  There are a lot of interesting twists and the author really makes full use of the time-travel genre.  This fic is extremely well-written and and intelligent.  Don’t read it if you are looking for a scintillating romance.