[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.