(1) Lily's Charm (Harry Potter)
By Obsidian Embrace
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 11th January 2010 (2)
Tags: Novel, AU, Reconciliation, Severitus, Different Parentage
Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Summary: In a story spanning two decades, Lily and Severus attempt to control the powers of the Dark Mark after Lily's life is threatened. Seventeen years later, Harry uncovers a long-buried truth about his parents.
I don't know whether this is considered to be a classic, but it is certainly recced by a lot of people. It deserves it.
This is set after Order of the Phoenix, but integrates information from the later books into the plot. It is AU in more than one way; besides changing events post-OOTP, it also changes Snape's background somewhat; it isn't inconsistent with what we knew about him in earlier books, but it contradicts what we found out later. This makes me wonder if the initial part of the story had been written before the later books came out. It would have been difficult to change the plot at that point, since Snape's background provides character motivation which was vital in making his and Lily's actions unfold the way they did.
Unfortunately, the difference in background, as well as what Severus and Lily's relationship really was, that gave me quite a bit of cognitive dissonance when reading the earlier chapters; so much so that I gave up on the story the first time I tried to read it. Fortunately, on the second attempt, by the time I got to Chapter 10, I was more comfortable with the premise. And once I was comfortable, the story got better and better.
There were points in this story which were an awesome angst-fest. Maybe I was just tired, but it made me cry more than once; the love, the hesitancy, the hurt, the fear of rejection on both Snape's and Harry's parts - this was well done. The supporting characters were good, too, especially Remus and Ginny. What was even better about it was that people's relationships with each other were very important to the plot; this wasn't just an excuse for angst or soppiness: the course of the war depended on how these people thought of each other. Another good thing in the plotting was that we weren't told everything; important information came out bit by bit as the various characters found things out.