The Basics: Half-Blood Prince Era, Romance/Angst/Drama, 110k
Warnings: Seventh Year, Sexual Content, Violence, Dubious Consent (seemed more like Non-Con to me)
The Golden Trio hunts down the Horcruxes needed in order to defeat Voldemort, both helped and hindered by Severus Snape.
More southernwitch69! I have really enjoyed the growth arc that she seems to have had as an author. I rated her early fics badly, but I did insist that they were full of good ideas. I rated a couple others ‘Acceptable’ and was amazed how much she’d grown. Here we are with another ‘Acceptable’. I was tickled to see, when I looked at her Petulant Poetess profile, that she has continued writing all the way up to the present day! It seems as though I can look forward to many more southernwitch69 fics in my chronological journey.
This one was a pretty big miss for me, unfortunately. I think I preferred at least one of her older fics more than this. Like most of her stories, the writing is acceptable but lackluster; usually her fics are saved by her very imaginative and enjoyable ideas. This fic felt very expected for the period. Hermione kidnapped by Severus they fall in love. She learns that there is another side to Death Eaters. The trio hunts the Horcruxes in her absence. I just read a fic in the last week that had almost the exact same plot, down to the Rabastan Lestrange as the friendly Death Eater. (“Shades” by Orm Irian.) Without the author’s usual inventive ideas, it’s difficult to find something to praise in this story.
Her characterizations are off in the way that they almost always are – Snape is extremely commanding and possessive, a hyper masculine version of himself. The characterization has come a long way since her early fics, but it’s still off. He’s very nearly a tough-guy cop trope; always knows what to do, always barking orders, always in charge, always cool. That’s just not Snape. Similarly, Hermione is a bit too passive and timid. She doesn’t even try to escape her kidnapping until Draco comes up with a plan. She lets Ron and Harry bully her into ideas that she knows are bad. She spends too much time worrying about physical intimacy with Ron and Snape, and not enough time worrying about Voldemort, loyalties, and escape. As a positive, the Harry in this fic was quite good. He seemed to be the only one in the story focused on Voldemort and thinking with his head instead of his heart.
The romance was disappointing. They came together physically through lust, time, and proximity rather than coming together cerebrally through getting to know each other. They had to pretend to be intimate for the benefit of the Death Eaters, and they had to sleep in the same bed together. Of course they were going to fall in love! They had ever incentive to do so. For me, that is not interesting. I want to see them come together despite the circumstances because they are drawn to each other’s minds. They are very compatible; you don’t have to stick them in the same bed together for them to fall in love. I don’t enjoy that premise.
Lastly, I have sort of a weird recommendation: skip the first chapter. Snape does something extremely out of character that made me upset and almost made me put down the fic. The writing improves after the first chapter, and the uncomfortable event does not take place again.
The bottom line: It’s average writing quality and a too-familiar plot. The very definition of ‘Acceptable.’ There is a bit of bad (terrible first chapter, boring romance) and a bit of good (Malfoys hiding in the Weasley’s chicken coop, Harry.) It will satisfy that fan-fiction itch for you though, I think.