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snarry_reader ([personal profile] snarry_reader) wrote2012-05-20 10:42 am

Reviews for the May, 2012 Snarry Reader Update

Review: "Aorist"
Title: Aorist
Author: [profile] shiv5468
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,500 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *None.*
Summary: Azkaban is no place for a hero, let alone two.

The postwar dystopia of the delicately rendered “Aorist” is evoked through both its sparse, spare language, as well as the things it leaves unsaid. In this world, Snape has been incarcerated in a cold, foreboding Azkaban for his wartime crimes and is visited only by Harry Potter, in whose every visit Snape can read the decline both of Harry’s fortunes at the hands of the Wizarding world, and those of that world itself. When Harry himself is ultimately imprisoned, Snape succumbs to something like despair, and here lies the genius of this deceptively simple tale. One day, Harry is brought to Snape’s cell and there affects a change in the world so profound that the boy assumes a certain terrible greatness in Snape’s eyes. Yet, what he gifts to Snape reflects so many of the man’s most closely held desires that, in the end, it becomes impossible to say what is real and what is imagined. This is a darkly lyrical tale that is at once moving and chilling, and one that will stay with you long after it’s done.

Review: "Best Wishes"
Title: Best Wishes
Author: [profile] shuichi_ai
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 29,800 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *Some het/mentions of het, infidelity (not Harry or Snape) and implied past Twincest.*
Summary: Harry's deepest wish comes true in a way he never expected.

“Best Wishes” is at once a truly touching postwar tale of a lonely, lost Harry longing for a man he thinks he can never have, and a laugh-out-loud farce involving a newly revived Snape’s attempts to discover whether the Dark Lord’s last Horcrux was truly destroyed. When the story begins, Harry is celebrating his first wedding anniversary with a vaguely implacable Ginny Weasley. When she gives Harry the gift of a magical candle said to grant those who blow it out their deepest desire, ostensibly in the hopes that it will lead to a family for them both, he makes a wish and, unbeknownst to him, brings a comatose Snape to life in the basement of Malfoy Manor. Thus revived, Snape embarks on an obsessive mission to discover if a decidedly alive Harry still carries a piece of Voldemort’s soul within him. Along the way, he witnesses Harry’s shock at discovering Ginny’s infidelity and learns more about the true nature of this reluctant hero than he ever had imagined. For his part, Harry is aware that he is being watched, but rather than fearing his strange stalker, he basks in the man’s magical aura. When a polyjuiced Snape reveals himself to Harry, each is inexplicably drawn to the other (although Snape tries to dismiss his newfound feelings as nothing more than persistent indigestion), culminating in a moment of revelation and discovery that is unexpectedly moving. This is a lovely, quiet story – the perfect accompaniment to a warm cup of tea on a rainy day.

Review: "In Perpetuity"
Title: In Perpetuity
Author: [personal profile] starcrossedgirl
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 12,001 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *Angst, consensual BDSM, implications of past dub-con/non-con/abusive relationships (not in Snarry pairing)*
Summary: Some stories in life repeat in the same old patterns. Until they change.

BDSM-themed stories have attained a certain popularity throughout fandom in recent years, and this is nowhere more apparent than in Snarry. Yet, it takes a deft hand to wield a theme not always well-understood or utilized in such a way that it reveals unsuspected, but wholly true, complexities in Snape’s and Harry’s characters. “In Perpetuity” accomplishes just that, and it is for that reason that this is a story for all Snarry readers. This is a gossamer tale of Snape’s utter defeat following the Wizarding war; stripped of magic and discarded by Wizarding society, he is bereft of that servitude which has heretofore defined him, and so he lingers in a gray half-life doing little more than passing the days in a cold, ever-increasingly bleak haze. It is in this state that he is discovered by a sympathetic Harry, who brings him home in the hope that he might be able to breathe life back into his former – and formerly irascible – professor. Snape begins to respond in the only way he knows, interpreting Harry’s every utterance through his own lens of servility; but Harry, recognizing that this is but one facet of a more complex Severus, offers him a way of fulfilling dark needs while at the same time rekindling the spark that had once animated him. Beautiful and delicate, “In Perpetuity” rewards the Snarry reader – and, in particular, writer – with a careful meditation on the liberating power of acts of creation and imagination.

Review: "In Time, Once Again"
Title: In Time, Once Again
Author: [personal profile] avioleta
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 29,800 words.
Content/Warnings: (Chan, 16-18) (highlight for spoilers) *Time Travel AU, Romance/Drama, underage (Harry is 16-18), teacher/student relationship, first time.*
Summary: After the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry uses a Time Turner in an attempt to rewrite history. However, something goes wrong, and he’s thrown back fourteen years into the past.

“In Time, Once Again” is that rare time travel story in which the mechanics and potential paradoxes of altering the past take a backseat to a romance that unfolds in not one, but two timelines, and it is this focus on the evolving relationship(s) between Harry and Snape that makes it accessible even to those readers who seldom venture into the trope. Beginning as a relatively simple effort to warn Snape of Nagini’s impending attack some two weeks before the Battle of Hogwarts, the tale quickly becomes one of Harry’s determination to somehow return to his own time when a time turner miscalculation lands him in 1983, fresh from his defeat of Voldemort. He turns to a young Professor Snape both to warn him of his future demise and seek help in returning to his own timeline. And as teacher and student together tackle Harry’s dilemma in fits and starts, Harry comes to realize that this Snape, though petty and prejudiced, is not the embittered, cynical professor of his past. For his part, Snape’s interactions with a mature, world-wise Harry render the boy’s impetuousness piquant, rather than merely irritating, and the two are slowly drawn into a relationship that will haunt the memories of an older Snape whose interactions with a younger Harry are colored by his past knowledge of the boy. The author uses lush, evocative language to paint the parallels and eventual merging of these two timelines, punctuated by parenthetical asides that offer a tantalizing glimpse into the passion and pain that lurks just under the surface of the faces Harry and Snape show to the world. This is a beautiful, carefully-wrought tale worth savoring.

Review: "Innocent and Faithful"
Title: Innocent and Faithful
Author: [personal profile] suitesamba
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 26,389 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *None*
Summary: Harry’s old fascination with the Half-Blood Prince is reawakened when he unknowingly enrolls in the same evening Spanish class as Severus Snape. When a pointy-nosed Slytherin and a ridiculous promise stand in the way, Harry is not above using his superior foreign language skills and some extra-curricular activity to get his man.

At first blush, Snape and Spanish seem as incongruous as evil bunnies, but “Innocent and Faithful” makes the case for a Spanish-learning Snape and Harry with humor, insight, and a poignancy that lingers long after the story has ended. Harry, an Auror eager to branch out to the Department of International Magical Cooperation, enrolls in an evening Muggle Spanish course, only to discover on the first night that his old professor has coincidentally enrolled in the same class, in preparation for a trip to the Galapagos Islands to collect rare potions ingredients. Thanks to the aliases they each have adopted, the pair are dubbed “Fidel” and “Inocencio” by their teacher and, as the weeks pass, their relationship undergoes an even greater transformation than their names. No longer teacher and student, each discovers strengths and weaknesses that make them ideal study partners. Snape’s Spanish is perfectly precise on paper while Harry displays a natural aptitude for the spoken language and, over the course of this partnership – interrupted and, later, augmented by the unwanted attentions of a Snape-obsessed Draco Malfoy – they come to discover new compatibilities of affection and attraction that culminate in a beautifully touching conclusion. Spanish-speaking readers will enjoy the bilingual wordplay that peppers this tale, and the rest of us have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn vocabulary they never teach in school. “Innocent and Faithful” is a charming, sexy story perfect for a warm summer’s day read.

Review: "Love and (Cupcake) War"
Title: Love and (Cupcake) War
Author: [personal profile] emynn
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 17,800 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *EWE and an abundance of sweets.*
Summary: Harry loves his cupcake shop. But when Severus opens his own cupcake shop right across the street, it's war ... and there's more than just professional pride at stake.

“Love and (Cupcake) War” is a perfect example of how even the most unlikely of scenarios can just sing in the hands of an accomplished writer. Harry is the proprietor of The Cupcakery, a warm, homey establishment featuring Harry’s own creations, each the product of fearless experimentation and an intuitive sense of flavoring characteristic of the erstwhile defeater of Dark Lords. Enter Snape, the new competition across the street, whose own cupcake boutique, Alchemy, features such sinful delights as its signature devil’s food cupcake with chocolate ganache frosting. What Snape doesn’t know is that he has been the object of Harry’s lovelorn affections ever since the night of a missed kiss four years earlier, with the effect that what begins as a less-than-friendly rivalry becomes personal in ways that neither can imagine. When Harry suggests a cupcake-baking competition as a way of increasing the revenue of both establishments, what ensues is a contest that reveals not only the divergent, yet complementary, talents of both, but also each man’s greater stake in the outcome. There’s something that Harry doesn’t know, too, and its revelation is a gorgeous little moment of Snarry that will melt your heart. This is, if you’ll forgive the pun, a delicious tale of love lost and found, sweet and savory all at once.

Review: "Second Hand News"
Title: Second Hand News
Author: [personal profile] entrenous88
Rating: R
Word Count: 9,400 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *Sexual Situations, Brief Prospect of Sex as Manipulation*
Summary: Severus Snape would never help Harry Potter elude an unwanted suitor. Unless, of course, that suitor happens to be the handsome and charming new Muggle Studies instructor Severus despises. But Harry's presumptions infuriate Severus, and his frustration only grows when he realizes he just may want Harry for himself.

The idea of Harry enlisting help in order to coax Snape’s dormant affections for him to life is a familiar one to many a Snarry reader, but “Second Hand News” makes it new through its nuanced telling from the point-of-view of a Headmaster Snape who has all but abandoned any hope of happiness in this lifetime. When young Professor Potter entreats him to help stave off the unwanted attentions of the new, handsome Muggle Studies professor, Snape’s carefully regimented life is thrown into disarray, leaving him confused and not a little irritated at the strangely changeable Harry – now friendly and surprisingly intelligent, now inexplicably piqued by Snape’s observation of the other professor’s pleasing countenance. In typical fashion, Harry cannot bring himself to speak his true feelings, and Snape cannot begin to imagine that they might even exist; and only when Snape overhears the Muggle Studies professor discussing Harry’s dilemma with Neville Longbottom does he realize that unhoped-for happiness lies within his grasp. The way he seizes it is indescribably sexy and utterly Snapeish in its possessive fire, making this story a bite-sized morsel of delectable Snarry goodness.

Review: "Speaking in Tongues"
Title: Speaking in Tongues
Author: [personal profile] abrae
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 7,989 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *8th-year fic, EWE, a little angst, a little UST*
Summary: Harry lost one language in the war, but he finds he’s learning to speak another.

“Speaking in Tongues” is an intricately layered story of defeat and victory, loss and gain, melancholy and joy. At its center is a Harry Potter feeling the loss of his ability to speak Parseltongue and the ensuing loneliness accompanying his victory in the Battle of Hogwarts as his friends move forward, going on with their lives and their recoveries. Harry, however, seems unanchored in this new post-war reality, a “lone bit of flotsam bumping up against sturdy structures of which he was not a part.”

And Severus is having similar troubles.

That the two bits of flotsam bump up against each other is inevitable. That it occurs in such a measured, carefully rendered and intensely lyrical fashion is the author’s skillful doing. The story is told in Harry’s point of view, and the glimpses of Severus—well-spaced, intense and at times emotionally devastating—peel back his carefully wrapped layers and expose them to Harry and just as importantly, to himself.

Interestingly, the individual tomes of JKR’s Harry Potter series are now listed in the most popular “Coming of Age” story lists, but this Harry, going about life after his aborted seventh year, truly comes of age as he slowly learns the language of love—to hear it, to feel it, ultimately to speak it. He is a quiet observer, confronting Severus and speaking up in heart-wrenching scenes, on dark parapets and in shadowed hallways, always alone with Severus so that the focus stays only on the protagonists in this year-long dance, this thrust and parry that somehow manages to feel both accidental and deliberate.

“He balanced precariously on the precipice of manhood, and it would have been easy then to fall backwards into the past.”

“Speaking in Tongues” will leave you with phrases on your tongue that you will not soon forget. It is a wholly believable vision of the detritus of war, of its heroes adrift and searching for their own salvation, their own peace, and finding each other. There is a linguistic subtext that can be wholly enjoyed, (…there were no words to speak his heartbreak… he was mute, in all the ways that mattered…he no longer had the words to speak his difference…) but ultimately, the story is in Harry and Severus, summed up by Harry’s appraisal of a newly available Ginny toward the end of the year.

“She was as she seemed, and it wasn't enough.”

Review: "Street Fighting Man"
Title: Street Fighting Man
Author: [personal profile] gryffindorj
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 17,000 words.
Content/Warnings: (highlight for spoilers) *Blow-jobs, frotting, shower sex, anal sex, and mentions of: wall sex, rimming, and probably a fair few other things.*
Summary: Severus Snape has a very boring job. He assures government efficiency or something overly banal like that. He basically attends lots of boring meetings and fills out paperwork that, if possible, is more boring than the meetings. That's what everyone believes. Everyone but Harry, that is. Despite everyone from the Minister to Ron telling Harry to leave it alone, he can't. Something keeps telling him he's right about Severus this time.

“Street Fighting Man” is a wonderfully original postwar Snarry that treats the reader to a Harry and Snape who are part of the wider world in every sense. Harry is an Auror hot on the trail of an international assassin, and he moves seamlessly between Muggle and magical milieu in pursuit of information and evidence to support his belief that this assassin is none other than his former professor and erstwhile lover, Snape. When he arrives in Brussels intent on uncovering that last bit of elusive evidence needed to bring Snape in, the two instead rekindle their long-dormant relationship in an explosively sensual encounter at a diplomatic cocktail reception. Snape is a revelation here: ostensibly a successful, mid-ranking Muggle bureaucrat sent around the world to improve efficiency at British diplomatic outposts, he proves to be a hard-nosed realist when it comes to the exigencies of both worlds. Harry’s discovery of the truth behind Snape’s overseas activities forces him to face aspects of the man’s life that he has heretofore either overlooked or romanticized, and his decision to either accept Snape for who he has chosen to be, or reject him for falling short of an ideal, constitutes the crux of this compelling tale. Both the Snape and Harry of “Street Fighting Man” are distinctly masculine and unequivocally gay characters, which lends the story an appealing and unusual contemporary verisimilitude.