Of Debts and Debt Collection – by Anastasia


Rating: Acceptable

The Basics: Half-Blood Prince Era, Romance, 180k

Warnings: Violence

Severus Snape barely survives the battle that results in Dumbledore’s death at his hand, and completing this final duty, he finds himself unable to return to the Death Eaters. He staggers back to Hogwarts and throws himself at their mercy, where one Hermione Granger nurses him back to health.

I feel like this is going to be one of the lamest reviews I’ve written, so apologies in advance for that. Every once in a while I run into a fic that I can tell is decently good, but that I really just don’t like. I can’t quite bring myself to skip to the end, but reading it is miserable, so I put it off for months. I’ve just come back to it again, for the third time, and I still can’t read it, so I’m finally skipping to the end. It’s pretty unfair to review a fic that I’ve read in spurts, separated by six months, and finally gave up on, but here we are. So, keep that disclaimer in mind.

This fic was well-received when it came out, and it won some fic awards, and is on most SSHG rec lists. It is decently written (somewhat messily in the beginning, but improves over time.) The plot is fairly basic, but not egregiously so. It’s unique in that it has Snape on the grounds at Hogwarts with the Trio and the Order searching for the Horcruxes. 90% of Half-Blood Prince fics have Snape with the Death Eaters (as he is at the end of HBP) and have to resolve that issue somehow, with a kidnapping or communication device. This one just turns him right around and sends him back to Hogwarts.

The main problem I have with it, other than the blandness, is that everything tilts towards classic romance novel tone, which does not suit this pairing. Snape is ridiculously idealized – great at sex, great at dueling, always has a witty one liner, always supremely confident, knows exactly how to interrogate a prisoner, can get whatever response he wants out of Hermione (or anyone), etc. It’s very predictable and makes it difficult to connect with him, or with the story, on an emotional level. The supreme confidence is the worst of it. Snape is outwardly confident, yes, but inwardly? Not at alL.

It’s not that he’s completely out of character – all of the classic Snape mannerisms and descriptions are there, it’s just this layer of Sexy Tough Romantic Hero Football Player added on top of it. Everything he does is ‘CSI Miami putting on the sunglasses and offering up a one-liner for the camera,’ you know? The worst example of this is Snape’s torturing of Lucius – that’s when I finally gave up on the fic. Snape carelessly, joyously, tortures his friend, with all sorts of great lines – but without a word on what he was actually feeling or thinking. It could have been a great scene of the author had delved in to the emotional level. The tone was completely wrong. This was a scene for character development, for sadness, for empathy, for nostalgia, but resolution to do what was needed. But no, just a bunch of cool one liners and zero emotional depth. A nice summary of the entire fic, as it happens.

As for the romantic pacing, it moves way too fast. The delicious coming-together is basically non-existent. It’s the ‘nursing him back to health, oops we’re in love’ trope that has been done hundreds of times, and not especially well here. They are kissing in the first few chapters. So, we can’t look to the excitement of romance to save this fic.

The bottom line: A fairly interesting set-up for a Half-Blood Prince fic, and well-written – but the supercool/confident Snape, rushed romance, and lack of emotional depth made the fic unenjoyable for me.


5 thoughts on “Of Debts and Debt Collection – by Anastasia

  1. Can’t believe the timing of this. I actually just opened this fic two days ago to read for the first time (having seen it rec’ed in multiple places) but simply did not feel compelled to click on past chapter three. Maybe I’ll give it another try- but I don’t know when. Thank you for your thoughts here!

    • It sounds like your feelings were the same as mine, except that I forced myself to continue reading. In my opinion, it does not get better – Snape remains annoyingly out of character and the plot and romance aren’t interesting enough to make up for it. It’s a shame, because the writing quality is good.

  2. Oh my god! I was reading this the other day, yeah? I kept switching tabs. Reading one-shots. Watching youtube videos. Doing my bloody homework. Anything but actually reading. I thought it was my fault. Clearly wasn’t though. Thanks for the review. Can’t wait for your next one! 😀

  3. I feel terrible spamming your blog- which is why I dropped back one post, somehow it seemed less obnoxious?- but It looks like you’ve been reading SSHG fic for much longer than I and I wondered if you could help me with something that’s eating my brain!

    There was an abandoned fic I read awhile ago that I THOUGHT was called “The Burning”. And I wanted to go back and read the part where Severus and Hermione go down into the Chamber of Secrets and find notebooks and apprentice robes. I remember thinking the world building was fascinating and just wanted to soak that in again despite it being unfinished. I assume that it’s been pulled from archives but I can’t even find enough reference to it to know if I am getting the name right when I search for it. Does it ring any bells for you? I think the premise is that Hermione’s own magic is going to kill her unless she binds it/herself to Severus, and then he gives her an aging potion because of the slower rate wizards mature… after that it’s all pretty foggy in my memory.

    I’ve mostly lost hope of reading again, but at this point I just want to know if I’m even looking in the right places for it 🙂
    I appreciate your time and do feel free to delete this rambling comment from a desperate fic-searcher!

    • Apologies for the long delay in response, I have been getting ready for the holidays in a mad dash of sewing and wrapping, and then traveling (it’s also why my reviews paused even though I am on a fanfic cycle right now and have been reading!)

      I have not read that fic, unfortunately, but I will keep my eyes peeled for it! Because I am going in chronological order, I am only to fics written during Half-Blood Prince’s release (2005-2008) so anything after 2008, I have not reviewed and likely not read. I will let you know if I find it! 😀

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