Archive for the ‘Harry Potter’ Category

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Summary

  • When Professor Snape heals Hermione’s injuries after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, they are both surprised by what they learn. The two must work together to help Harry defeat Lord Voldemort.
  • Sequel to Phoenix Song or, Hermione Granger and the H-BP . By the time of Dumbledore’s death, Hermione and Snape had worked together for a whole year. Now, however, they both have very different and very difficult tasks ahead of them.
  • The battle against Voldemort is over, yet little has returned to normal. Once again, Severus Snape finds himself reluctantly cast as the protector of the wizarding world, with Hermione Granger his tireless ally.

Word Count: 100 839, 120 256, 195 399 (TOTAL WORDAGE: 416 949 – yes, almost half a million words.)

My Review:

This is a trilogy, and I’m reviewing them all together because I’m too lazy to write up a review for all three – and also because if you only read one, you are missing out on the full Phoenix experience. You should note that the first two books are fully compatible with HBP and DH, while the third one functions as a sequel.

Okay this is actually my second time reading this particular trilogy. I’m not, as a rule, much of a rereader – I can just about handle rereading some of my absolute faves once a year, but that’s it – and I read this fic, according to the review I left on ff.net, in May. Of this year. Of course in between I’ve read almost every SSHG fic over 100k words in the entire fandom (except for the ones that were rubbish) and I’d managed to conflate this fic with another one somehow – I was convinced that this was one of the ones where Snape and Hermione managed to stay in contact throughout DH, but then later I realised that I was probably thinking of Camarado, which I would reread, except it has a cliffhanger ending that frustrates me no end.

So, what can I tell you about this fic?

Well, first of all, if you like pining, you’ll like this. Snape and Hermione spend literally two and a half books pining for each other. He steals her hair! She keeps his hankie! (okay she also uses the hankie, which I’m pretty sure is not covered by the Rules of Romance, but still) I’m not even kidding, guys, this is Sherlock-level pining. No, scratch that, Sherlock‘s got nothing on this. At one point, right, he has to massage her hands to help her magic recover, and he has completely inappropriate thoughts and feelings about the whole business, and feels like a disgusting creep about it all because she’s his student and he’s supposed to be helping her, not lusting after her like some kind of pervert! And meanwhile Hermione is over there basically chewing off her lip trying to stop herself from moaning his name, and feeling like an utter creep because he’s her professor, dammit, and he doesn’t feel about her like that, and how disgusting is she that she’s getting this worked up just because he’s trying to help her.

If, by this brief description, you come to the conclusion that they’re both kind of stupid about each other, you wouldn’t be far wrong. The romance is beautifully done and comes to a glorious finale where everyone confesses their love for everyone else, and Cornelius Fudge looks like a tit. It’s long as balls though, so if you’re looking for them to be confessing their love by the second chapter you’re doomed to disappointment. The romance is about 90% desperately unspoken mutual pining, 5% ‘I know you love me and I love you, but I don’t think you know I love you back and this is a problem’ and 5% ‘I’m so noble I’m never going to say anything about my feelings, because they’ll never feel the same way about me’.

The plot is excellent as well. I mean, basically the plot of this fic is completely compatible with both DH and HBP, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t just decide that this is what was going on in the background during the last two books.

The Arithmancy in this fic is magnificent – it’s beautifully done and excellently used – it never becomes a crutch for the story but serves, almost always, to clarify something the characters should already have known.

AND NOW, THE STAR OF THE SHOW: Joscelin.

I do not, as a rule, like OCs much. I’m not, you might say, a fan of the theory. But this character? Her I love. First introduced as a blank-faced Slytherin first-year, Joscelin comes properly to Snape’s attention when he discovers that she’s blocking her magic, and Poppy gives him two weeks to solve the problem before Poppy will be forced to send her to St. Mungo’s. I’m not going to tell you much more about her, except that she’s clever, funny, interesting, and an utter badass. She could be a Mary Sue, but I love her too much.

I have a few minor quibbles with the fic, but those are mostly stylistic. I feel, for example, that once Hermione has shifted to calling Snape by his first name, the only reason she would revert to calling him Snape or Professor, would be if she was angry at him. The name thing is one of the few real issues I have with this author – and oddly enough, she only does it with Snape’s name. Snape’s usage of Hermione/Miss Granger/Granger follows a clear pattern – he uses Miss Granger when trying to distance himself, Granger when they’re being casual and relaxed, and Hermione at moments of great emotion. Hermione’s use of his name, however, has no pattern. She calls him Snape in her head sometimes, and Severus out loud sometimes…it’s terribly confusing.

The author also occasionally refers to ‘Snape’ when writing from SS’s point of view. This may be a matter of opinion, but I’ve always felt that, when writing from a character’s point of view, it establishes a vital empathy with that character when you refer to them by their first name. So when you refer to Snape as Snape when writing from his POV, you’re creating a sense of distance – which I don’t think the author was trying to do here.

NOTE: The author promised an Epilogue to Hermione Granger and the Elder Wand back in 2013, which has not materialised. I don’t feel that its lack really affects the story – it feels beautifully complete to me, but ymmv.

Verdict: Why are you here, reading this, instead of over there somewhere, reading that? Go, go, GO!

Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4407394/1/A-Murder-of-Crows

Summary:  14 yrs post-war: Hermione’s teaching at Hogwarts when an un-aged Snape awakens from stasis and returns to the school. Sparks fly when they meet. Can they learn to trust and love in time to defeat an evil plot bent on changing the wizarding world forever?

Word Count: 152 986

So.

According to the author’s notes at the end, this was apparently their first fic. I’m not sure I buy it, to be honest. There are a couple of awkward bits right at the beginning and a great fucking deal of exposition, but on the other hand I guess I can understand the need for setup, much as I dislike reading paragraphs and paragraphs of ‘who’s done what since the war.’ Feel free to skim those bits if you like – it all becomes very clear later. The story came alive for me (to the intense surprise of nobody at all) around the time when Snape wakes up.

The grammar is excellent and I didn’t notice any terrible mistakes, so if you’re a fussy reader this should make you happy.

As for the plot…well, it’s a delight. The author has managed to set up a delicious series of mysteries right from the start – what happened at Hermione’s previous job? Why is she so scared of Lucius Malfoy? Is Snape evil? Is Snape using Hermione for his evil evil purposes? It’s all, as I believe I’ve mentioned, rather delicious.

The summary doesn’t really explain the story very well, so I shall write my own. Fourteen years after the end of the war, Hermione is living the quiet life at Hogwarts, teaching Potions. Snape has been in a sort of coma since the events of the Shrieking Shack and hasn’t aged a day (I thought this was an excellent way of bringing their ages closer together, although their age difference has never really bothered me.) Snape wakes up and returns to Hogwarts, and they share both the Potions teacher’s quarters and the classes. The sexual tension is thick enough to eat with a fork, and really quite well-done.

There’s a great deal of angst in this fic, a lot of which hinges on whether Hermione can afford to trust Snape – he is an expert liar, after all, who managed to fool the Dark Lord for decades, so ‘can I trust this man to act in my best interests and not, as a random nonspecific example, manipulate and deceive me as part of his evil plot to make a fuckload of cash using Evil Means so that he can buy himself a castle with a dungeon containing no students whatsoever‘ is a perfectly legitimate question to ask.

I’m not entirely sure about one of the central conceits of the fic – McGonagall insists that Snape and Hermione share the (very large, but still) Potions Master’s quarters. I just don’t buy that the terribly conservative wizarding world would be okay with two unmarried teachers of opposite genders sharing living quarters. It’s a minor quibble though, and once I’d decided to ignore it everything went fine.

As for characterization, I think they’ve got it down, really I do.

Snape is an absolute bastard in this, very much in-character from the books. It came as a bit of a shock to me because I’ve been gorging on Subversa’s work, and their Snape is a much smoother, more urbane, certainly kinder character than canon Snape, and canon Snape is exactly what we get from Hogwarts 91. If you’ve just come from the books, though, or you’re into bastard!Snape, you’ll like this one. He’s twisty and kind of cruel, but the author hints (very mildly, it’s really exquisitely done, I didn’t find it soppy at all) at a sort of aching vulnerability to him that hurts my poor heart. I feel I should warn you that Hogwarts91 has a thing for Snape needing reading glasses (he uses them in two of their three fics) and the mental images are…very distracting. Scholarly sexiness inbloodydeed.

Hermione is a delight as well. I can definitely see this as book!Hermione all grown up, and even the mistakes in her past are in character. She’s lovely, really she is, and although I’m not sure I buy how vulnerable she allows herself to be with Snape, it’s not a terminal flaw – after all, people in love are known to be stupid.

Side-characters are excellent too – this author has done an exquisite redeemed Draco whose charm and wit and kindness blows my mind. He’s a dear friend and a wonderful person, and I adore this character from the desolate depths of my shriveled and blackened Snape-fancying heart. I’m not entirely sure about McGonagall, mainly because my mind’s eye waters at the thought of Minerva McGonagall encouraging Hermione to use her feminine wiles to get Snape to agree to something he doesn’t want to do. Mainly because McGonagall and ‘feminine wiles’ don’t belong in the same sentence. It was a funny bit, though, and I enjoyed it despite my doubts.

The Verdict: Well-written with a perfect blend of romance and plot. Give it a go, I think you might enjoy it.