Rating: Acceptable Minus
The Basics: Phoenix Era (inspired by OoTP era, with additions from later books) Romance/Angst, 100k,
Warnings: Underage, Vaguely Implied Non-Con (Not Severus), Ginny/Draco
Hermione Granger, in her seventh year, realizes she has a crush on Severus Snape, and in true Insufferable-Know-It-All fashion, comes up with a 4-Phase Plan to win his heart.
What a disappointment this fic was. That tagline is great, right? Sounds like a great fic? Well it WAS a great fic, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, for the first third of the story. At that point, the romantic story is resolved, and the fic just…wanders on. Rather pointlessly. Then the author invents a tragic misunderstanding, which is perhaps the most incredibly idiotic and frustrating tragic misunderstanding that I have ever read, which drags on for an entire third of the story. Then she wraps it up, hastily, many years later, because people had been bothering her to finish it. Sad. Hastily tacking on an ending to a story is really a disservice. It’s almost better to leave it unfinished than dishonor your story with a half-hearted (more like quarter-hearted in this case) ending. It shouldn’t even rank as a “Completed” fic, so people aren’t tempted to read it.
However, despite my harsh words, the beginning of this fic was very fun. I truly enjoyed the super Classic Era feel of the early chapters. I LOVED the early Hermione in this fic. She decides she wants something and she goes after it – isn’t that what the Hermione Granger we know and love would do? She wouldn’t stand by and waste away her crush for Snape. She would roll out a piece of parchment and scratch out a plan. She would weigh the pros and cons. And she would go after him! Hilarious, fun, romantic, and tantalizing, for a few chapters at least.
Even in the enjoyable beginning, though, there were clear signs that the fic was going nowhere. For the entire first half of the story, there is maybe one little line about Severus coming home from a Death Eater meeting and setting his mask down. That’s about the entire existence of the warplot; obviously the author is not thinking or plotting big-picture. The writing is charmingly naive in the beginning, but as the romance continues, it doesn’t develop. There is a ‘We are now in love!’ moment, and then the rest of the fic is exactly the same level of love, until the Tragic Misunderstanding. The same few phrases get repeated over and over – Hermione breaks into a smile, Snape is cloak-swirly and has a jawline…these are all nice phrases, but after awhile it started to feel as though I was reading the same scene over and over again.
The bottom line: The first third is a fun read for classic-era goodness and a charming Hermione. MAYBE the first two-thirds if you like Ginny/Draco. I honestly wouldn’t recommend the last third of this fic to anyone. The quality of the romance peaks early in the story, the Tragic Misunderstanding is unforgivably asinine and frustrating, and the ending has all of the satisfaction of bubble wrap crunching underfoot, only to realize the bubbles are all popped and you’re just stepping on plastic.