Walk a While With Me by LadyJanelly (NC-17)

  • May. 17th, 2015 at 2:21 AM
Title: Walk a While With Me
Fandom: The Losers
Pairing: Carlos “Cougar” Alvarez/Jake Jensen
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Canon Divergence, Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Drama, Friendship, Fluff, Romance, Healing, Slow Burn
Length: Long (33841 words)
Warnings: Descriptions of assault and sexual assault

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] ladyjanelly
Author Website: LadyJanelly

Summary:

Jake Jensen left the Army before he ever had a chance to be a Loser. Cougar meets him anyway.

Sometimes what a man needs to have a chance at happiness is losing the battle he’s been fighting his whole life.

Review:

Note: This fic contains descriptions of homophobic violence of both sexual and non-sexual nature committed against a gay character. The violence occurs off screen, but is frankly discussed by the characters.

I'm not quite sure where to begin, when it comes to Walk a While With Me. It's an incredible work that strikes an impeccable balance between a slowly developing romance and the realism of Cougar and Jake's respective mindsets and traumas. Between Cougar's deeply internalized homophobia and Jake's previous sexual assault, it's not by any means what I would consider an easy read, but the friendship that forms between the two men and the quiet weeks they spend together working on Jake's fixer-upper houses cushions the sharp edges. The result is a poignant fic that digs deep into the reader's emotions, but never quite cuts. It's about hurt and pain, but more importantly it's about healing.

Need is a prominent theme in Walk a While With Me. What Cougar needs. What Jake needs. What they need from each other. What they needed from others that they did, or didn't get. LadyJanelly explores the evolution of Cougar's needs as he comes to terms with his homosexuality and how they are affected by his deepening relationship with Jake. It's a stark contrast, looking at Cougar as he is introduced in the fic and then at his decisions at the end of the fic, but LadyJanelly writes his journey with such deftness that the change is fluid and inevitable.

The supporting characters range from the Losers to several original characters. Each is excellently written, particularly the OCs, who are quirky and interesting and stand out without removing the focus from Cougar's narration. They provide texture and richness to the story, interacting with and affecting Cougar and Jake's relationship even in absentia and helping the story move forward in a very organic way.

Walk a While With Me
Title: In Between Days

Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Percy Weasley/Oliver Wood
Categories: AU/canon divergence, war, slash
Length: long, 23,524 words
Warnings: references to injury, torture, wartime setting, minor character death

Author on LJ: perpetual_motion on dreamwidth
Author Website: Perpetual Motion (perpetfic) on AO3

Summary: Wherein book 7 is completely ignored because wars don't tend to happen so quickly; Percy Weasley runs a safehouse [because that's as close to administrative work as you can get in a war], and everyone gets a chance to play minor character bingo. Get your cards and markers ready!

Review: So there has been a reasonable amount of HP on here lately and I would rather post variety, but I read this for the first time only yesterday and I Must Rec, because I was blown away by how fantastic this is.

This is Percy Weasley's war, as he runs his safehouse with a removed precision and attention to detail -- living with the information silences and asking only what's necessary to perform his assigned role in precaution against capture. Character cameos pop in and out, delivering fragments of other peoples' stories throughout, and the Golden Trio are entirely absent from proceedings as we get to see the struggles of other characters fighting in their different fashions, in the longer slog, out of the spotlight.

The sparse style really fits Percy's perspective and state of mind, pulled in so tight to do the job and allowing himself so little, and the way he organises his world, to best offer the people he's taking care of what they need. It's lovely to see this character in an essentially caregiving role, too, a contrast to the administrivia and rule-obsessed focus he so often has (and in this fic he definitely still also has), and recall that he looked after the twins while they were growing up. The characterisation is subtle and glorious, making the moments where characters with an outside perspective on Percy's closed world make observations that pull all the hints together so very earned.

Of course, one of the agents flitting in and out of Percy's safehouse is Oliver, but the romance, while definitely engaging, to the degree that I'm now seeking out more of this pairing to read, feels more like a bonus on top of a very different kind of story.

There are sequels that expand events after the war a little, and I love that there are sequels and you should read those, too, but this fic is where my rec is at.

In Between Days
Alternate link to In Between Days on Dreamwidth
Title: Bend All Your Notes for Me
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Genres: AU, Fuck or die, Romance, Drama, Slavery
Length: Long (15,793 words)
Warnings: Dub-con (fuck or die), period accurate homophobia

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] littlesleepfic
Author Website: halfhardtorock @ AO3

Author's Summary:
From the Kinkmeme prompt:

Merlin is given to Arthur as a pleasure slave (or somehow makes his way unwillingly? into Arthur's possession). He has been enchanted (cursed?) so that he must have Arthur's (or whoever owns him) seed within him at a regular basis or he will start to get sick and eventually die.

They start off disliking each other, and with Merlin resenting and fighting the situation, but somehow they end up falling in love with each other (and eventually breaking the spell?).

A d/s relationship would be preferred and bonus bonus points for collared merlin! I definitely would prefer, despite the situation strong Merlin though and hope for (eventual) BAMF Merlin.

Review:
Merlin, living under the rule of a foreign prince, is given to Arthur as a prize after a victory. Being stuck with a servant he didn't want is bad enough, and then he finds out that Merlin is bespelled. It's a fuck or die situation, where Arthur must have sex with Merlin despite his conflicted feelings about his sexuality and his moral outrage. This could easily have turned into an extremely dark and angsty fic, but Merlin and Arthur's growing regard for each other and Arthur's efforts to be as kind as possible during the situation keep it from going down that road. It's a scorching hot slow burn, with well-written sex scenes that are some of the most sensual I've ever read.

Bend All Your Notes for Me
Title: Where There Are No More Tomorrows

Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Pairing: gen-ish, background Bashir/Ezri
Categories: drama, mystery, adventure, crime, post-canon
Length: long, 27,906 words if you trust ff.net's word counts
Warnings: Medical details and warfare.

Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: CDS on fanfiction.net

Summary: Post-WYLB Bashir and LaForge try to solve a murder in the Post-War Alpha Quadrant.

Review: This is a solid mystery/adventure story set against the backdrop of the post-Dominion War Federation after DS9 tv canon leaves off.

Most delightfully in this fic, Bashir is... Bashir, and even years down the line from Emissary, there's still some part of him that would rather be a detective/spy/adventurer, and that enthusiasm carries through in the more matured portrayal of his character. I'm less familiar with LaForge and TNG, but he seems likeably written as the frustrated straight man to Bashir's impulsivity, and the banter between them is enjoyable.

I'm not expert enough to vouch for the accuracy of the science, Trek tech and medical information, but it all sounds incredibly convincing to me and there's so much of it, and so many *details* in the background this mystery takes place upon. Observations and anecdotes of the war and post-war, and the supply chain issues confounding Starfleet's military and medical efforts, and most relevantly for Bashir, costing lives.

As the header says, there's some Bashir/Ezri, but it's no more than a footnote and touchstone for Julian on his grim posting apart from her, there isn't a lot of time spent on it: the fic clearly supports the relationship but is for the most part gen. Geordi LaForge is along for some of the ride, but it really is Dr Julian Bashir's show. There are a few typos throughout, but they're not too much distraction from reading.

Where There Are No More Tomorrows

Tear A Way In by lady_deathangel (PG-13)

  • Apr. 13th, 2015 at 2:14 PM
Title: Tear A Way In
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Dean/Castiel, Sam/Sarah/Jess, Gabriel/Balthazar
Genres: AU, Omegaverse, Werewolf, Angst, Drama, Romance, Virgin, Family
Length: Epic (41,813 words)
Warnings: Implied past child abuse, implied attempted rape

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] lady_deathangel
Author Website: lady_deathangel @ AO3

Author's Summary:
Omega wolves are so rare Dean Winchester never thought he’d meet one in his lifetime, let alone end up involved with one. But when the strange, enigmatic Castiel comes to Jackson Springs, one instinctive act of kindness throws the two of them together. Bound by instinct and something that runs much, much deeper, Dean finds himself torn between family, duty, and the stranger who's already burrowed deep under his skin.

Review:
I've read this fic so many times. The prose flows so nicely, it has a great balance of drama and romance, and it's not over the top or shoddily written as Omegaverse can sometimes be. It's a fun read with a satisfying resolution. Yes, this is a fic where omegas go into heat and alphas seek them out, but it focuses on Dean and Castiel's journeys to happiness rather than their sex life. There's no healing alpha cock in sight, and in fact Dean is the one who's the most unsure about his path in life.

Castiel is entirely himself in this fic. Though it's implied that he's had a rough or at least very isolated past, he's nowhere near a damsel dreaming of the strong arms of an alpha - he's already made his escape into the wider world and is living happily with Gabriel and Balthazar. It's Dean's issues with pack politics and his struggle with being an alpha that are the main focus of the fic, particularly his relationships with an asshole John, the usurper Azazel and a rebellious Sam who wants to get away from pack life. Though this isn't a groundbreaking fic, it's a solid, easy read that always makes me feel good.

Tear A Way In
Title: Draco Malfoy and the Trials of Single Parenthood

Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: gen-ish, background Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny
Categories: drama, kidfic, diary, angst, humour
Length: long, 26,588 words
Warnings: I don't think so? See the bit about cynical-me and sobbing.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] estora
Author Website: estora on AO3

Summary: Draco Malfoy: ex-Death Eater, former bigot, divorcee, and single father. His wife left him for Viktor Krum, his children worship the Weasleys who clash with the décor, something is rotten at Hogwarts, and he doesn't really know what he's doing. But maybe he's getting the hang of it.

Review: HP isn't really one of my fandoms, but reccing it last week made me want to re-read the previous really good HP fic I remembered reading. This rec is uncharacteristic for me, since I emphatically don't seek out kid fic. Yet evidently this story has some mysterious capacity to melt the cynical and hard-hearted. It has a couple of things working against it, actually, because I'm not a fan of the faux journal/diary style of narrative, and yet I did find that here I could get used to it after a while and still like the story very much.

Harry's generation are now in their mid thirties. As the story starts out it seems that Draco is still a prat, but a prat who loves his kids -- enough to disregard his own dignity and humiliate himself in front of his old enemies to provide parental comfort to them. And over the course of the story we get to see him mellow somewhat through the fronts he has to present and the stands he has to take for the sake of his children.

Perhaps the reason it works so well is that despite putting such an unlikely (and-yet-somehow-not) character in this situation, despite the magical world twist, the problems are real problems and the fic doesn't overplay things for angst, but takes on its situations with a genuineness and honesty. The impact of a parental separation. The way the parents' politics and actions and status impact upon their children. How parents have to fight for their children when they are different.

I suspect this has something to do with why this story reduced me to a sobbing mess in at least three places even on re-read. Really I don't know how to explain that.

Don't let that dissuade you from reading. It's actually a pretty funny story, too. Bring on the running jokes about Draco's receeding hairline.

Draco Malfoy and the Trials of Single Parenthood

the postulate child by CaliforniaStop (R)

  • Apr. 6th, 2015 at 5:13 PM
Title: the postulate child
Fandom: Dishonored
Pairing: Gen
Genres: Pre-Canon, Drama
Length: Medium (14,732 words)
Warnings: Child neglect, bullying, non-suicidal self harm

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: CaliforniaStop @ AO3

Author's Summary:
Treavor and the Outsider.

Pendleton doesn't seem at all fazed by Corvo's use of black magic, and even gifts him a whalebone rune for killing Shaw; so perhaps it's not his first encounter with the Outsider...

Review:
A creepy and sad little fic about poor young Pendleton. Tormented by his horrible brothers and ignored by his parents, he decides to call on the Outsider for help after stumbling upon a bone charm. With the aim of killing his brothers, he tries to conduct his own blood rituals. His interaction with his family, his servants and the Outsider all feel nicely in character, and the tone and setting are suitably creepy for the content of the fic.

the postulate child

Skin Deep by rivkat (NC-17)

  • Apr. 5th, 2015 at 2:53 AM
Title: Skin Deep
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing: Clark Kent/Lex Luthor
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Genderswap, First Time, Romance
Length: Long (27573 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on AO3: rivkat
Author Website: rivkat

Summary:

Clark turns into a girl. Wackiness ensues.

Review:

As a huge fan of pining in romance, I've become pretty familiar with the most common variations of 'I'll take what I can get before it ends'. Typically, it never ends, because there is a grand confession of feelings and blah blah etc, but usually there is a point at which the pining character(s) realize that they're in too deep to pull themselves back out.

Not so for Skin Deep's Clark. This Clark is so thoroughly aware of the transience of his female alter ego's relationship with Lex that the relationship itself seems almost light and airy, not bogged down at all by the feelings for Lex that Clark is simultaneously suppressing and indulging in. There's a kind of contentedness with the superficiality of that relationship, but rivkat takes care to make it seem like genuine happiness. There is always a subtle underlying sense of incompletion on Clark's part that reminds the reader that there is still more to the story.

But what I like most about this Clark is his willingness to walk away from what he has with Lex. He doesn't let himself settle for incompletion or superficiality and instead makes plans to end his fling with Lex as soon as the summer ends. Unlike some characters who seem to lose all rationality in the face of love, Clark holds onto his with a steady, calm grip.

But he's not unfeeling, nor unaffected by his summer with Lex. When his male body is returned to him, he takes a wild risk, betting it all on the favorable outcome of Lex's hypothetical feelings for the real Clark. And Lex, who's spent the entire story being so thoroughly opaque, finally reveals his closely guarded hand. It's at that point that the relationship between the two gains a sense of true depth and honesty.

Skin Deep
Title: The Sleeper Awakes

Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Gen
Categories: drama, character study
Length: medium, 10,300 words
Warnings: none

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] snorkackcatcher
Author Website: n/a

Summary: "It's been coming on for a while," said Percy ... "But I had to find a way out and it's not so easy at the Ministry, they're imprisoning traitors all the time." (DH, ch30). This is Percy's journey to that point.

Review: "But I want to fight," said Percy. He hadn't realised it until that moment, but saying it seemed to crystallise his resolve "What else can I do?

I'm very fond of Percy Weasley for the ambiguous position he occupies in the HP universe, as a character who isn't evil but nor is in the heroes' camp, who both follows his own ambitions and tries to do what he thinks of as right, and never really got the sort of attention in canon to examine that closely. So I'm partial to fic that works to redeem him and show his perspective.

This excellent story, I'd read almost a year ago, and it evidently stuck in my mind to the extent that I've just spent two hours obsessively looking for it again when it popped up from nowhere while I was thinking about what to rec today. It focuses on the subtle, creeping helplessness of Percy's position as he watches the ministry unravel around him and realises he's surrounded by a system he once believed in, now completely infiltrated and controlled by the enemy, and that the choices he made were the wrong ones... and then how he reacts once the truth becomes clear.

I am particularly fond of the manner in which Percy finally starts to fight back from within. It's so very him, after all.

The Sleeper Awakes

Branching Out by kikikryslee (NC-17)

  • Mar. 29th, 2015 at 10:06 PM
Title: Branching Out
Fandom: One Direction [Bandom/RPF]
Pairing: Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson (side Perrie/Zayn, Liam/Sophia)
Categories: Romance, Dram, Angst, AU
Length: Super Epic [266198 words]
Warnings: Drug Use, Overdose, Atempted Suicide, Near Character’s Death Experiences, Triggering Experences, Betrayal and Alternative Endings.


Author Website: kikikryslee(on AO3)

Summary:
“Congratulations on your recovery, man.”
“So you do know who I am,” Louis smirked.
“Am I supposed to? I mean, I can just see it in your eyes. They’re brighter than the last time I saw you.”
“When was that?”
“The night I first met you,” Harry answered. “You were wasted out of your mind, no life behind your eyes, whatsoever. Your buddy Zayn came stumbling in and threw me against a wall because he thought I took photos of you to sell to a magazine or something. Why would I take pictures of you drunk off your ass? You famous or something?”
---
Or, the one where Louis is the star of a reality TV show and wants Harry to be on it, and Harry still hasn't forgotten the drugged out Louis that he met in a restaurant bathroom four years ago.
Also featuring Liam as an up and coming party planner, Zayn as Louis' best friend and greatest trigger, Niall as Harry's roommate and local bartending legend and Eleanor, Sophia and Perrie as design students who bring them all together. [original summary]

Review: I’m starting this review by giving a hug for all 1D fan’s reading this, this week was a roller coaster, so just hugs and I’m here if anyone needs someone to talk.

It was really hard to finish reading this fic, not because of it, but just because it was a really a week full of news and it made me think a lot about how much this fic fit perfectly with how I felt with the whole deal of Zayn leaving the band and Louis breaking things off with Eleanour.

The reason this fic is so good is that the author makes great points about the life in the spotlight. And this is so relevant this week that I felt I needed to review it anyway, even if I wanted more than anything to pretend this fandom didn’t exist for a while. Basically Louis is a reality show star, and his family was kind of like the Kardashians. It’s an AU, but we see all of the band, plus significant others and Ben Winston, the guys’ producer.

Imagine a reality show, but shown from the inside, with how things are recorded and how invested people end up being when their lives are filmed and edit and dished out. This fic is an AU, but it’s so true to what we see of the band, that I thought it was very genius. It makes you think about the pressure the boys are under and how we never really get the real version of them, even when they try being as truthful as possible. The fic also highlights perfectly how gossip columns can create the most incredible stories to sell more: the story is full of stunts, drama and fights, all generated by the public view of them.

While it is centered in Louis and Harry, the author managed the show all characters and to create plots for both the story and the show.The best part for me is how endearing Sophia, Perrie, Eleanor and Danielle are, which is super rare in the fandom. There isn’t bashing, and they are very significant in the fabric of the plot. Liam, Zayn and Niall are a bit out of character, specially Zayn, but you still see some great scenes that are almost canonical. Louis is perfect, even at his bottom , while he deals with his addictions.

I’m in a angst phase, and apparently a drug use one, but I promise is not a fetish thing. I just been completely in love with how people developed flawed characters that I still want to hug and cherish. Harry is very adorable here, thought escaping the more visible flaws, and almost the perfect guy. He has quite a temper, but I think the author really mixes cute and loveable Harry with fierce and angry Harry.

Zayn steals the scene for sure, and how hard it was to see him in this fic and imagine him out of the band. *cries silently* Anyway, he is the best character in my opinion, full of ambiguity and layers. Be aware he really triggers Louis, he is one of the reasons for Louis to spiraled so far into addiction and he is probably the person that continues to pull Louis right back into it.

At last, I warned for Alternative Endings, and the reason for that is that the author gives two possible endings, I liked both of them, but I know she comment that a lot of people didn’t like the lighter ending, so be warned that you won’t have a definite version of it, but will have to choose from one of them.

Title: Marry Me A Little
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Pairing: Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Harlequin, Marriage of Convenience, Fake Relationship, Coming Out, First Time, Miscommunication, Romance, Family, Fluff, Angst, Drama, Friendship, Domestic
Length: Super Epic (154814 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] bessyboo, [livejournal.com profile] thisissirius
Author Website: bessyboo, thisissirius


Summary:

When NHL star Patrick Kane's off-ice antics finally get him into trouble for the last time, captain and best friend Jonathan Toews has one final trump card to keep him from being traded: marriage...to each other. But between being the first openly gay hockey players, facing down a lockout, and the fact that Patrick has been in love with Jonny for years, will these two ever be able to work past their miscommunication to realize that their marriage may not be as much of a sham as they think it is?

Review:

First things first, a disclaimer: I am very new to hockey fandom. As such, I consider myself utterly unqualified to review the authors' characterization of the people appearing in this fic. I'll be reccing this almost as an original work.

But if you're fine with that, and if you love the fake relationship trope and all that it entails, then Marry Me A Little is the fic for you. It features such timeless classics as 'I've been in love with you since we first met', tooootally platonic sleep cuddling, emotional constipation, 'all our friends/family are surprisingly unsurprised by our relationship', fear of exposing one's unrequited feelings, the angstful suppression of said feelings for the sake of the fake relationship, running hot and cold in the attempt to suppress said feelings, and more communication failure than you can shake a hockey stick at. And let's not forget the dramatic reveal of fully requited feelings and the ensuing Happily Ever After.

But seriously, folks. So much communication failure. So much communication failure that multiple side characters in the fic make a point to tell the two of them to pull their heads out of their asses and actually communicate about important things. In fact, my only serious gripe with the fic is how bafflingly resistant Patrick and Jonny are to calmly talking things out. They go through multiple cycles of conflict and resolution throughout the fic, but with so little genuine discussion going on, the resolutions to their issues feel superficial and incomplete, provided that they're resolved at all.

What makes up for it is the sense that other characters notice and have opinions on the miscommunication roller coaster that is Jonny and Patrick's marriage. bessyboo and thisissirius don't just make the rest of the cast silent or blindly supportive bystanders. The vast majority of the people that appear in this fic have their own observations and opinions on the marriage, and though they're all supportive of the relationship, that doesn't stop some of them from expressing reservations about this or that consequence of the two of them being married and out while still being prominent hockey players. That level of detail and consideration creates a wondrously complex narrative that keeps the fic from becoming hyperfocused on Jonny and Patrick and their respective emotional struggles.

But that attention to detail isn't restricted to the people that appear in the fic. Even various news outlets offer their two cents on the relationship through a series of mock articles. Personally, I doubt that the media would be as kind to the first out and married hockey players in the league as they are in the fic, (which is probably why there's no mock FOX News article), but hey, this is fanfiction. We're only required to abide by reality as much as is necessary for the purposes of the story.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this fic to every hockey RPF fan out there, because obviously YKINMK and I won't assume that everyone is a fan of the fake relationship trope. But if you are, and you've been hesitating to read this because of reasons that may or may not include its prodigious length, then I would definitely say to take the leap. Don't worry, I won't chirp you (much) for taking more than four days to finish it.

Marry Me A Little

Global and Eternal by tricatular (PG13)

  • Mar. 25th, 2015 at 11:11 PM
Title: Global and Eternal

Fandom: The Queen's Thief - Megan Whalen Turner
Pairing: Eugenides/Irene
Categories: angst, political intrigue, romance, drama
Length: medium, 3264 words
Warnings: references to mutilation and torture as per the books

Author on LJ: n/a?
Author Website: tricatular on AO3

Summary (mine): The tale of a coup upon the rulership of Attolia. (I think that the summary attached by the author is actually somewhat spoilery. Jump right into the fic! Be bold!)

Review: “You have had your time,” she said, coldly. “I want you to understand: this was always coming.”

Eugenides choked. He put his head down, shaking his head to try and clear his eye like an animal in a trap. “Irene,” he said again, “no, please. Please.”

“You did not steal me,” she said. “I was never yours.” She withdrew her foot, and fastidiously tapped it against the floor as if knocking off dirt.


I do seem to be failing on the 'epic' part of my recs lately, but here's a story that certainly feels more epic than its ~3000 word wordcount.

Megan Whalen Turner's name could almost be attached to this and I wouldn't be surprised. The author manages to capture the intensity and subtlety of the romance and politicking in the books, the chasm between the public and private faces of the king and queen of Attolia, and the layers of buried intrigue that take multiple readings (or at least the odd double-take) to unravel.

The two leads of this series of novels and their unconventional love story are long favourites of mine, and particularly in this fic I love the absolute composure of the Queen who reveals nothing, holding the threads of the plots while appearing submissive, contrasted with the King whose past trauma is all painted on the surface, and who manages to be awesome in spite of his deficit of dignity.

This is probably a primarily Yuletide fandom in terms of fanfiction production but is pretty energetic in its own right, so if you've read the books but you're not familiar with its presence online I suggest checking out [livejournal.com profile] sounis on livejournal. (A bonus free community rec thrown in!)

Global and Eternal
Title: Five Districts, Five Drugs
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Sam/Dean, Sam/OMCs, Sam/OFCs, Sam/Jess
Genres: AU, Pre-Canon, Angst, Drama, Family, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Hooker, Dark
Length: Super!Epic
Warnings: Incest, drug addiction, prostitution, underage, dub-con

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] rei_c
Author Website: N/A

Author's Summary:
Dean goes to pick Sam up from Stanford and ends up finding more than he bargained for.

Review:
The clue is in the title - this is a series of five fics, set in five different parts of San Francisco, wherein Sam is addicted to five different drugs. Instead of finding his brother at Stanford as we see in canon, Dean finds him in all sorts of places facing different challenges, both mundane and supernatural. Every fic has the same beginning paragraph and the same summary - and it's awesome to see how different the direction of each is despite this. The common theme of the fics is that Sam is taking drugs to deal with his psychic powers and their effect on his psyche.

rei-c's worldbuilding is amazing. The fics feature a wealth of different mythologies, and the author does justice to every one, despite how different they are. Hindu, Chinese, Vodou, Irish, Norse, and Wicca mythologies are all written with confidence, and if rei-c isn't an expert on all of them I certainly can't tell.

The other common theme of the series is Wincest, and healing brought to Sam by the arrival of Dean. Their relationship is definitely always a welcome comfort after the hurt, and there is a bit of the old being saved by true love trope - though the fics are too well-written to be called anything near saccharine.

Though drugs are a big part of the series, they are never glorified or portrayed as glamorous, and we clearly see that they aren't doing Sam any good. I wouldn't describe this series as depressing despite the heavy theme of drug addiction - because thankfully, there's always a Dean-shaped light at the end of the tunnel.

The warnings apply to the whole series rather then all of the fics, so make sure to look at their individual warnings.

Five Districts, Five Drugs Masterpost

Mar. 22nd, 2015

  • 8:34 PM
Title: All Tired Talk
Fandom: One Direction [Bandom/RPF]
Pairing: Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson
Categories: Romance, Drama, Angst, AU, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Epic [268655 words]
Warnings: Constant Vomiting, Drug Use, Overdose, Self Destructive behavior, Suicide Thoughts, Near Character’s Death Experiences, Unhealthy relationships.


Author LJ: N/A
Author Website: ourloveisgod (on AO3)

Summary: In which Harry is the dying front man of a dying rock band, Zayn has finally given up holding his hair back in dingy bathrooms, Niall and Liam are holding up the fort, and Louis comes along with eyes the color of the sky to remind Harry that there is still more life to live. [original summary]

Review: Harry is a wreck in this story and it hurts to read, I’m serious. This story made me cry and it made me pound the bed in pure anger, and I can say it’s one of the best stories I ever read in this fandom. It is a highly dramatic story, full of anger, fights and characters breaking down.

The band configuration doesn’t have Louis on it and there is a big introduction of it where he doesn’t appear. 5 Seconds to Summer(Opening Act to One Direction on real life) and George Shelley make appearences, though quite later in the fic, and 5SOS plays a quite villainous role, which is refreshing, since they are usually seen as uber cute and nothing else. Sophia is a really important character, and Perrie, Eleanor and Nick are all there.

Harry and Louis relationship are both the central plot and the side plot, entwined with Harry addictions and his troubled relationship with both his suicidal thoughts and his band that is completely overwhelmed with his destructive behaviour. The emotional depth of this story is quite powerful and agonizing.

I really like stories that drawn out, this story pushes a bit the limit, but if you are not impatience as me, you will probably be more focused on the fact that this story deals seriously with addiction and how it repeatedly shows the relapses and the importance of healing by oneself and not for the “love of your life”.

Great story for the days of rain, but maybe with a cup of water and some chocolate? It’s really rough to read.



All Tired Talk

follow me down by DivineProjectZero (PG-13)

  • Mar. 22nd, 2015 at 1:30 AM
Title: follow me down
Fandom: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Pairing: Harry Hart/Eggsy Unwin
Categories/Genres: Post-Canon, Fix-It, Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance, Fluff,
Length: Medium (4490 words)
Warnings: Descriptions of violence

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: DivineProjectZero

Summary:

Harry Hart has seventeen years worth of mistakes.

Of all the mistakes he made, this is the one he regrets the most.

Review:

When I first read this fic, I knew that I had to rec it. DivineProjectZero is a master of the cunningly placed detail, fostering an increasing sensation of surreality with an escalating series of details lifted right from the movie itself. It's a true joy to watch Harry slowly piece together the odd inconsistencies he stumbles over until he finally fits them together into a person-shaped gap that he knows he must strive to fill.

Another thing that gives me extreme joy is DivineProjectZero's backstory. It's unflinchingly brutal at points, never shying away from the violence and danger that come part and parcel of being a Kingsman agent. But for each of those there are also quiet moments, humorous moments, happy and sad moments that truly flesh out the life of a Kingsman in ways that the movie simply didn't have the time to touch upon.

More importantly, they offer glimpses into Harry's wholly ignored tenure as an agent that are entirely in character. In fact, the only part that didn't feel entirely true to the character's canonical representation was the romantic confession at the very end. Yet even as I say that, it feels misleading, because the emotional attachment to Eggsy that haunts Harry through the fic feels entirely natural for the character. It's only the outward admission of it that feels out of place, because the characterization otherwise mimics the original with such remarkable precision. Which feels like such a strange thing to complain about, considering that I'm unrepentant shipper trash.



follow me down

Class Of Conduct by fideliant (NC-17)

  • Mar. 8th, 2015 at 12:08 AM
Title: Class Of Conduct
Fandom: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Pairing: Harry Hart/Gary “Eggsy” Unwin
Categories/Genres: Post-Canon, Fix-it, Humor, Action/Adventure, Hurt/Comfort, Drama, Romance
Length: Medium (13102 words)
Warnings: Explicit Violence

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: fideliant

Summary:

Or, Six Things Eggsy Has Learned About Being A Gentleman

“Lesson number one,” Harry says. “Manners matter.”

Review:

One consequence of primarily reading romantic fanfiction is that, after a certain point, I began to feel as though I'd read almost every possible iteration of falling in love that exists in fandom. Everything seemed to be just a variation on a set number of themes. But then along comes a fic that makes it all brand new again. Class Of Conduct is one such fic.

This fic is no firestorm of passion, nor the low and steady warmth of hot coals. This fic is like the hotplate that you don't even realize is on until you're bellowing in alarm and lunging for the sink. fideliant consistently underplays the depth of their emotions for each other without letting the reader question that they are, in fact, falling quite deeply and, perhaps more significantly, quite permanently in love with each other.

There's definitely a sense of the evolution of their relationship from mentor-mentee to soppy in love. I found it quite subtle, so much so that I didn't even fully register it during my first reading, but when events in the fic conspire to force their holding pattern of sass and veiled amusement to buckle, there's a significant shift in the tone of their interactions. Their growing attachment to each other finds new forms to manifest in, which in turn allows the two of them to connect in new, previously inaccessible ways. By the time the damn finally does burst and they reveal their fully requited feelings to each other, their relationship feels so well developed and mature that you can almost hear the “And they all lived happily ever after” when the final paragraph comes to a close.

Class Of Conduct

Unsettled by AxeMeAboutAxinomancy (NC-17)

  • Feb. 23rd, 2015 at 2:18 PM
Title: Unsettled
Fandom: Sherlock BBC/His Dark Materials
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Genres: AU, Fusion, Sci-Fi, Drama, Angst, Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Long (33,879 words)
Warnings: Past child sexual abuse, torture

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: AxeMeAboutAxinomancy @ AO3

Author's Summary:
Sherlock's dæmon hadn't settled. Once John realised that, so much made sense. Though so much else didn't, because it practically wasn't possible.

Review:
I absolutely love daemon!fic. Seeing what reasons different authors give for their decisions about what daemons characters should have is something I find interesting in and of itself, and daemon-related angst and hurt/comfort pleases me even more. The presence of daemons gives an extra dynamic to any drama, being an obvious physical avatar to look at matters of the psyche and the soul through.

It's HDM canon that intense trauma can cause a daemon settle early, or in this fics case not settle at all. John struggles with his growing feelings for Sherlock as he finds out just how strange the man and his daemon are. As expected, Sherlock's daemon is far from normal, even aside from being unsettled, and the gradual revelation of all their idiosyncracies was a compelling read. I loved all the daemons in this fic, and thought that the authors 'casting' decisions for them were fitting and well-reasoned. The inclusion of a daemon-specific crime to solve adds a new avenue for drama, and is just as tense and horrifying as it should be when we're talking about toying with peoples souls. The romance is gradual as Sherlock's past and with it the reason for his daemons unsettled form are revealed. The author is careful to show that not all wounds can be fully healed, and the ending is all the more heartwarming for its realism.

Unsettled

Fix You by Zurik 23M (PG)

  • Feb. 21st, 2015 at 10:55 PM
Title: Fix You
Musical Artist: Coldplay
Fandom: Person of Interest
Pairing: Root/Sameen Shaw, Joss Carter/Cal Beecher, Joss Carter/John Reese, Grace Hendricks/Harold Finch
Categories/Genres: Drama, Action/Adventure, Angst, Friendship, Romance
Warnings: Canonical Character Deaths

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] exampleusername
Author Website: Zurik 23M


Review:

So the other day, I was looking at the tvtropes page for Person of Interest, namely the Analysis page, and I was struck by how Zurik 23M's video characterizes almost all the major themes of the show. The vid showcases the cameraderie that forms between the members, witting and unwitting alike, of Team Machine. But while it demonstrates how the Machine's mission has healed and/or empowered the characters, it doesn't hesitate on the theme of loss, and how even as they've done so much good, they have all lost people important to them both in the past and along the way. Zurik 23M also captures the tone of the show with the choice of song, the lyrics hitting home without fail.

If you don't already watch Person of Interest, and you don't mind some pretty serious spoilers, I would definitely recommend this as an introduction to what the show is about and the remarkable cast of characters you'll get to know.

Fix You

a bird in a gilded cage by othiara (G)

  • Feb. 11th, 2015 at 10:01 PM
Title: a bird in a gilded cage

Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Veronica (Audrey Parker)/original female character
Categories: drama, historical, pre-canon, femslash
Length: medium, 12,100 words
Warnings: None really, although I'd up the author's G rating to a PG13 for mentions of violence and minor character death. Downbeat ending.

Author on LJ: n/a?
Author Website: Othiara on AO3

Summary: "How many secrets can one town have?" The story of Veronica, Audrey's 1901 incarnation.

Review: This is an interesting one, and as far as fanfiction goes, it's probably not going to be the most-read story ever, not having any of the major characters in it as such, but I thought it was worth drawing a little attention to for being something rather different from anything else to be found in the fandom.

It's the tale of one past incarnation out of Audrey Parker's many lives fighting the Troubles: the canonically bisexual Veronica. And with the ancestor of Vicki Dutton (with the drawing Trouble), and a female Crocker heir, Veronica's time helping to fix Troubles in this story carves out a particularly female space in Haven's mythology.

It's sparsely detailed but well told, with many parallels drawn along the way to how things have clearly played out, over and over again, across the centuries, with Haven's guarded secrets and cagey townsfolk and Troubled cycle.

a bird in a gilded cage
Title: Cloud on My Tongue
Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: Zabuza/Haku
Genres: Pre-Canon, Drama
Length: Short (1,315 words)
Warnings: Underage (thoughts, nothing is acted upon.)

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] des_solace
Author Website: desolate butterfly @ FF.net

Author's Summary:
Zabuza's stopped touching Haku, and meeting his eyes. Haku tries to puzzle out why.

Review:
A melancholy little fic outlining Zabuza and Haku's strange co-dependent relationship. It's just as disturbing and unequal and yet somehow sweet as their canon relationship seemed to be.

Cloud on My Tongue

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