Hold It All At Bay by psocoptera (NC-17)

  • Oct. 18th, 2015 at 12:03 AM
Title: Hold It All At Bay
Fandom: Check Please!
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Psychic abilities, Soul Bond, Drama, Romance, Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Epic (49957 words)
Warnings: Consent issues by way of emotional projection

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] psocoptera
Author Website: psocoptera

Summary:

The theory of extrapolative synchronization of the mirror neurons was debunked back when he was still in his teens, so Jack is reluctant to mention that he can smell Bitty's pies baking from across campus.

Review:

As odd as it may sound, I really enjoy a little realism in my fantasy. Not realism in terms of how the fantasy world's people behave, but realism in the scientific sense. If a fantasy setting has magic, then there should be rules that the magic follows. If there are mermaids, then it would only make sense for them to have gills. And et cetera.

psocoptera takes the soul bond trope and dissects it through two differing perspectives: the scientific and the spiritual. Jack, who is extremely empathic, takes a controversial medication to dull his receptiveness to others' emotions. Bitty was taught as a child to redirect his attention in order to control his emotions, as they tended to reach out and influence others'. The contrast of their respective regimens alone is, for me, the most fascinating aspect of a story with a vast but lightly explored backstory.

Contrast in general is the name of the game in Hold It All At Bay. Not only do Bitty and Jack's upbringings contrast, but their reactions to their respective feelings differ in the extreme. They even contrast with their canonical and fanonical characterizations. Though Jack is canonically prone to anxiety, Bitty calms and centers him in psocoptera's story, and Jack accepts what he feels for Bitty with considerably more ease than Bitty does. A pivotal portion of the romantic plot is actually focused on Bitty's anxiety regarding Jack and the possibility that Bitty's forceful ability has accidentally forced an emotional attachment that Jack believed to be genuine.

The alternating POVs provide vast insight into Bitty and Jack's respective thoughts, but I found the outside POVs to be especially charming. They're well written with distinctive voices that give a strong sense of the personality behind them. The original characters that are introduced have flavor and depth, and while I personally disagree with psocoptera's decision to make Shitty not believe in ESMN, him and the other canon characters read so remarkably true to Ngoizi's vision.

Hold It All At Bay
Title: You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While)
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing: Jim Kirk/Spock, past Nyota Uhura/Spock
Categories/Genres: Post-Canon, Drama, Romance, Angst, Pon Farr, Bonding, Friendship
Length: Long (33465 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] seperis
Author Website: seperis

Summary:

"Spock. Just say 'I don't trust Starfleet not to mess up the only captain in the fleet who I can train up to my expectations and enjoys running into danger wearing a blindfold as much as I do'."

Review:

The format of this fic is a little confusing at first, jumping back and forth between two progressing timelines until they meet in the middle. Not to mention, seperis refuses to hold the reader's hand and explain everything in small sentences with smaller words. You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While) demands that the reader think as they read and slot the pieces together. It's not always easy, and there are some recurring threads that are not particularly obvious as such, but in the end, when the story pulls in its loose threads and weaves them all together, there's a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that few authors manage to create in their fic.

The thing is, I can easily imagine this fic being written chronologically, rather than alternating between the immediate post-movie and the onset of Jim's 'pon farr'. It would still be good reading, but it's unlikely that I'd find it fascinating enough to rec it. Its format creates a tension that vibrates like a plucked instrument string through the entire length of the fic, a quiet hum that grows in intensity right up until the climax, when the separate timelines resolve into a single chronological narrative.

seperis also makes the conscious decision not to include any sort of internal contemplation of emotion through the bulk of the fic. As odd as it was to read a romance fic where there was no mention of romantic emotion between Jim and Spock, it gave the climax that much more energy by contrast, their emotions distilled and crisp rather than worn smooth by repetition.

Unfortunately I can't give any sort of recommendation on the rest of The Reboot Series, as I haven't had the opportunity to read it. But going by the quality and complexity of You'll Get There, I'm guessing it's definitely worth checking out.

You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While)

/multishippingcardboardbox by indehart

  • Jun. 7th, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Title: /multishippingcardboardbox
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Blaine Anderson/David Karofsky
Categories: Romance, Fluffy
Medium: Art
Warnings: No warnings apply.

Author Website: olsnaggletooth (Personal Tumblr) | indehart (Art Tumblr)

Summary: No original summary.

Review: I was watching season 6 of Glee, yes finally! And I kind of got all fuzzy feelings about Blaine/David; I’m not happy how they portrayed it, but I’m glad it happened, because at least we get more canon slash and inspiration for fanworks.

This is my first art rec, and obviously I chose a Blaine Anderson/David Karofsky fanart. I loved it because it’s funny and sweet and Blaine isn’t gelled to hell. He is however adorable in one of my favorite Blaine outfits, the one he used in Rachel’s Party, back in season 2.

It is a lovely half bust drawing, colored and pg-rated. The artist’s style is super cute and the blush in their cheeks gives such a depth to the drawing.

/multishippingcardboardbox

Life Sentence by Astolat (R)

  • May. 27th, 2015 at 11:21 PM
Title: Life Sentence
Fandom: Fast & Furious
Pairing: Brian O'Conner/Dominic Toretto
Categories: AU, Action/Adventure, Case Fic, Romance
Length: Long (29k)
Warnings: Threatened Dub-con

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] astolat
Website: Ao3 Website

Summary: “Sit down,” the doctor said. He took blood, three vials filling up dark red. “Any medical conditions?”

“No,” Dom said, and then his mouth kept going and said, “What if I want to volunteer for bonding?”

The doctor peered at him over the glasses. “Do you want to volunteer for bonding?”

It hung in the air. Dom felt it like a noose around his throat, squeezing. Twenty-five to life. “Yeah,” he said.

Review: An interesting take on bonding fics. In a world where bonding is one of the only way to get out of prison, Dom is desperate to get out of Lomac and Brian isn't given much of a choice but to agree, or risk the lives of a lot of innocent civilians.

Despite the complete change in worlds, and meetings, this fic manages to keep the high-octain action of the films, while keeping the characters from becoming too Out of Character. There is a large threat of 'Morality made them do it' sex throughout the first half of the story, but it is resolved before anything is forced on the characters. And their relationship is allowed to grow organically into a happy ending.

Even if you aren't very familiar with the fandom, this fic is self-contained it might be worth giving a try if the premise appeals to you.

Life Sentence

A Mile Away With Their Shoes by Aralias (G)

  • May. 19th, 2015 at 9:58 PM
Title: A Mile Away With Their Shoes

Fandom: Blake's 7
Pairing: gen
Categories: friendship, sad stories
Length: medium, 5956 words
Warnings: downbeat ending

Author on Livejournal: [livejournal.com profile] aralias
Author Website: Aralias on AO3

Summary: Gan and Orac are stuck together for a while.

Review: This is a sweet -- bittersweet -- fic and the oddest of odd friendship stories, focusing on two characters most often overlooked in fanfiction or on the show: Gan a strong man who couldn't fight in a world of spaceships and technology, and Orac the computer more normally used for punchlines and plot device than as a character. In this story, they form an unlikely rapport when they're forced to spend time in each other's company. And there's canon basis!

The idea of these two trying to converse and find any common ground is such a charming one, and the voices ring so true I can hear the actor's speaking the dialogue. The characterisation of Gan is particularly painfully resonant in context of where this is set in canon.

I also love the story behind the title, which is both hilarious and so fitting with B7ish philosophies on life.

A Mile Away With Their Shoes

Wee!Doctor Verse by American Jedi (PG-13)

  • May. 8th, 2015 at 7:50 PM
Title: Wee Doctor
Fandom: Sherlock(BBC)
Pairing: Gen
Categories/Genres: De-aged, Time Travel, Homeless
Length: 229,000
Warnings: Major Character Death, Graphic Depictions of Violence

Author/Artist on LJ: americanjedi

Summary: Dr. John Watson is turned into an eight year old child, dealing with Sherlock who doesn't know him in a world where he was never born. He's a little stressed out, but he's got his priorities straight.

Review:
This story will forever stick in my heart as my favourite Sherlock fanfic. I rarely read gen but the emotion in this story makes me wish that there was a completely separate label for fics that have the best kinds of family love even when there is no romance.

And John is so uniquely lovable you can't even blame Sherlock for loving the grumpy eight year old wrapped in a woolly jumpers.

I've read a lot of fics where John gets to go back in time and redo all the cases and impress Sherlock with his foresight. But this fic tops them all by making you forget it's copying the episodes.

It is it's own true story with original characters that will become special to you and a storyline that makes you fall for John and Sherlock like you never even knew them. You ache for Sherlock who is presented with a tantalising puzzle in the young John that can never be solved. And John, who keeps major pieces of the puzzle to himself so that he can keep Sherlock as his and keep him safe at the same time.

I thought as I was reading this that it would be one of those fics that would go on forever until the writer lost their way. I thought there could never be an ending that would satisfy the height on which it had been brought to. I was wrong on all accounts. The ending made so much sense and I would never have thought of it in a million years. While with a fic this good I would have wanted it to last forever, no one can deny it made sense to end it where it was.

Wee Doctor

Farther Along [FANVID] by Ant3ka (unrated)

  • May. 6th, 2015 at 9:38 PM
Title: Farther Along

Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey/Duke/Nathan
Categories: OT3, friendship, romance, angst
Length: media: vid, 2mins 49
Warnings: none standard; covers seasons 1-3 only, religious imagery in lyrics.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] ant3ka
Author Website: Ant3ka on YouTube

Summary: Farther along // we'll know all about it // farther along // we'll understand why. Nathan, Duke and Audrey realize that they're stronger together.

Review: A while back I did propose to occasionally rec media, and since I posted earlier than usual, I figured I'd post a media rec, too.

We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I have seen...


Vidded to a beautiful song by Josh Garrels, this vid begins slowly showing Audrey alone with her personal mysteries, but soon opens out into exploring her relationships with Duke and Nathan, separately and together, their own t(T)roubles and mysteries, and the connection between the three of them... And how very important they are to each other, together through thick and thin, arrayed against the backdrop of the Troubles and the other less supernatural tensions of the town of Haven.

It's a couple of years old now so it doesn't cover the recent seasons 4 and 5(a). In fact, I think it makes quite the taster for the show, skirting the mysteries without too many concrete spoilers (just confusing/unreliable ones), and yes, these people are beautiful together and, yes, this show has one of the most convincing potential OT3s on television. Definitely a favourite.

Farther Along

Twice Shy by sarkasticfics (NC-17)

  • Feb. 16th, 2015 at 4:42 PM
Title: Twice Shy
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy
Genres: AU, Angst, Romance, Soulmates, Creature, Supernatural, Pining, Friendship, Bonding
Length: Long (20k words)
Warnings: None

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

Author's Summary:
Written for the following prompt, over at part eight of the StarTrek XI Kinkmeme:

Bones is a werewolf.

The moment he meant James Kirk, got a good whiff of his scent, he knew he was fucked.

He had thought those stories about werewolves scenting their mate were all bullshit.

But the stories about mating for life have got to be fake, right? Right?

Review:
Werewolf!Bones, his species a secret, finds out Jim is his soulmate the first time they meet during their training. Cue angst and pining, as Bones has to deal with the fact that his mate is a slutty commitment-phobe who has no idea werewolves exist. The dynamics between the rest of the crew are also a feature here, giving more depth to a familiar trope. The friendship between Bones and fellow werewolf Uhura is lovely, as is the rallying of the crew as a whole around their non-human members. This is first and foremost a great romance fic that doesn't fall too deep into melodrama, as well as a great retelling of the growth of friendship between all crew members.

Twice Shy

Club Wales series by pocky_slash (PG)

  • Feb. 9th, 2015 at 11:52 AM
Title: Club Wales series
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Gwen/Rhys, Jack/Ianto
Genres: AU, Friendship, Humour, Action/Adventure, Bonding
Length: Epic (69,530 words)
Warnings: None

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

Author's Summary:
In the wake of Jack's disappearance, Gwen finds comfort in a new friendship with Ianto. Gossip, bonding, and other hijinks of understanding ensue.

Review:
Pretty much what it says on the tin; Gwen and Ianto become kickass BFFs. This fic did what the show itself failed to, making me actually like Gwen. In this fic she's a much more fully fleshed out character, rather than the ordinary-yet-somehow-special-because-reasons one I felt she was in canon. She and Ianto bond over their Welshness, their mutual love/exasperation for Jack Harkness, and the sheer weirdness of working for Torchwood. They pick each other up when they get down, they kick ass together, they have in jokes; they're simply awesome, and it's so satisfying to read.

Club Wales series
Sorry, this is late guys. Headaches seem to wait for no one.

Title: There's Monsters at Home
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: AU, Bonding, Dark, Romance, Supernatural
Length: Epic (84k)
Warnings: Past Sexual Assault

Author on LJ:
Website: Calrissian18 Ao3

Summary: “How did you get past the wards?” Derek had put them up, with Peter’s grudging assistance, after the Alpha pack had made themselves at home a few times too many.

The guy pulled a face. “You mean the wards a five-year-old girl with the mental ability of a goldfish could deconstruct?” He blinked wide eyes at Derek. “Gee, I don’t know. It’s bound to go down as one of life’s great mysteries.”

Derek despised him.

Review: In a world where Stiles got his magical abilities a lot earlier, it changes the whole course of the Teen Wolf Universe.

This is a fast-moving case-fic that will keep you scrolling. The romance is sometimes dark, but it fits well with this darker version of the Teen Wolf Universe.

There's Monsters at Home
Title: Male Bonding
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Pairing: Gen
Genres: Friendship, Humour, Bonding
Length: Medium (2,146 words)
Warnings: None

Authors on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose and [livejournal.com profile] rawles
Author Websites: Wildgoosery @ AO3,
glamaphonic @ AO3

Author's Summary:
As much as she intensely dislikes it, Katara understands why Zuko had to join them. What she doesn't understand is why he and Sokka have to spend every waking moment in each other's company.

Review:
This is a delightful fic wherein Sokka and Zuko bond by doing stupid things together (with the quick-tempered Zuko goaded by Sokka), try to one up each other when boasting about their girlfriends, and pretty much become BFFs. Katara is an exasperated witness to their strange boyish bonding rituals, and her reactions to the two are hilariously and touchingly in character.

Male Bonding

"Now Until the End" by Dira Sudis (R)

  • May. 13th, 2014 at 10:08 PM
Title: Now Until the End
Fandom:  Teen Wolf
Pairing:  Derek/Stiles
Categories:  Hurt/Comfort
Length:  Long (17,737)
Warnings:  Graphic depictions of violence, underage (because Stiles is a teenager)

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] dsudis
Author Website:  Dira Sudis

Summary: AU from 1x04, "Magic Bullet."

"Why the hell did you do that?" Derek demanded. "Why would you bond with me? You were going to leave me for dead, you didn't want anything to do with helping me."

"Okay, first of all, that was like two hours ago and I've grown a lot as a person since then," Stiles said.


Review:  In this universe, soul bonds are a well-known (though rare) occurrence, though werewolves are still a secret. Stiles binds himself to Derek to lend him strength during the wolfsbane-poisoning incident in "Magic Bullet." Afterwards, the two try their best not to consummate the bond, despite every instinct drawing them both towards it. There is some lovely hurt/comfort in Stiles initiating the bond to save Derek's life, and Derek fighting against something a bond that the terrified, lonely part of him desperately wants in order to keep Stiles from becoming a target of hunters. also enjoyed the discussion of the consent issues in Stiles initiating a soul bond with an unconscious Derek. There were also some nice cameos from Scott, the sheriff, and Melissa. In the end, it is a satisfying story of two strangers coming together to create something whole and good.

Now Until the End

In Any Language by Enterprisingly (R)

  • Apr. 29th, 2014 at 9:08 PM
Title: In Any Language
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Categories: AU, romance, pining, light angst, Pon Farr, bonding
Length: Medium (5,995 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: favicon Enterprisingly

Author's Summary:
A love story in 10 parts. Based on a tumblr post about relationship words that do not translate to English.

Review:
I was really impressed by how effectively the author really captured the essence of each concept and created such a moving, deeply romantic story out of a list. Each vignette ties perfectly to the corresponding word/phrase...so much so that it almost feels as though the list was made with them in mind. From this we are able to see a wonderfully complete picture of the love that Kirk and Spock share.

Their story follows a logical progression from word to word, building to a profoundly satisfying climax in the heat of Pon Farr, and it was this scene that was the highlight for me. The author beautifully conveys the intensity and depth of Spock's need and Jim's utter refusal to lose his closest friend and love.

I was also very affected by the final glimpse into their lives together, as Spock reflects on the inescapable fact that his lifespan will be much longer than his human bondmate's and the loneliness he will someday endure. That he loves Kirk so fiercely, without holding back despite (or perhaps because of) the knowledge of this future loss is clear and poignant.

While this rec is centered on this particular fic, I do want to mention that the author has a handful of other stories in this 'verse, all of them beautifully written and well worth reading.

In Any Language

Art: Bonds by Synnesai (G)

  • Apr. 1st, 2014 at 1:32 PM
Title: Bonds
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Categories: Fanart, romance, soulmates
Length: N/A
Warnings: none

Artist on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] synnesai
Artist Website: SeaTeas

Artist's Summary:
I always liked how author’s described (t’hy’la) bonds in fics and each fic is a bit different, but a lot of it is the same idea. That they are, you know, bonded already they just don’t know it yet (till they touch). It reminded me a lot of the Red String of Fate deal.

Review:
I love the idea of using the red thread of fate to symbolize the destined connection between Kirk and Spock. It seems so appropriate, so them. This gorgeous art depicts Kirk and Spock close, but not touching, as the red thread loops around and over their bodies. It feels as though at any moment, they will touch and wake to their fated bond.

Bonds

How High the Moon by Kyliselle (NC-17)

  • Mar. 18th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Title: How High the Moon
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Categories: Angst, first time, hurt/comfort, romance
Length: Long (38,757 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] kyliselle
Author Website: kyliselle @ K/S Archive

Author's Summary:
After the destruction of Vulcan, Spock shielded his mind to protect it from his broken bond with T'Pring. Little did he know another bond had already formed in its place. For a [livejournal.com profile] st_xi_kink prompt for soulbonding.

Review:
For me, angst is a means to an end. Or, more accurately, a means to a happy ending. Of course, the happiness of the ending must certainly be at least commensurate with or better yet, greater than the misery suffered by the characters. How High the Moon meets that standard and then some. The pre-destined bond Kirk and Spock share and its prominent role in the story ticks all the boxes for fans of the soulbond trope.

It goes without saying that to have hurt/comfort there must be a need for comfort, and the author crafts this scenario to perfection. Spock's callous demeanor toward Kirk is almost painful to read at times, so vividly is Kirk's despair portrayed. The physical effects he suffers as a result of Spock unwittingly blocking their bond are chilling, and Spock is entirely, painfully oblivious.

I like to see a Kirk with some vulnerability beneath the brash exterior. He's positively wrecked and his condition elicits strong reactions from his crew, particularly McCoy, who is perfectly characterized as the gruff but deeply supportive best friend.

Leading up to Spock's discovery of the bond and his reprehensible treatment of his bondmate, we see the cracks forming in the wall of his indifference and the gradual progression to the ultimate realization that he has done a terrible, terrible thing. Even after this revelation, it's no easy fix but Spock perseveres and at length we come to a satisfying conclusion that provides a delightful payoff for all the angst that preceded it.

How High the Moon

Widdershins by lurkdusoleil (NC-17)

  • Feb. 15th, 2014 at 2:42 AM
Title: Widdershins
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine
Categories: AU, romance, supernatural, modern fantasy
Length: Long (23,759)
Warnings: Alcohol usage, minor background character death

Author's LJ: n/a
Author's website: lurkdusoleil on tumblr

Summary: Blaine is completely and utterly unsatisfied with his charmed life. But a rainy night, a bar, and a beautiful, frustrating man are going to open up his definition of the word charmed.

Review:
I've recommended fic by the wonderful Riah lurkdusoleil before, and with reason. She has a mind that comes up with all these amazing worlds and storylines that I can only aspire to. Widdershins is a perfect example.

I'm a humungous sucker for fantasy, old and modern, and when I come across a story that not online combines old folklore and a modern setting but my OTP as well? There was no way I wasn't hitting that read more button as fast as possible. Widdershins is a bar in New York, run by the magical Fae, under the rulings of one very sexy Kurt Hummel. Blaine wanders in off the street and we, just like him, are hooked.

As I like to read, there's a good dosage of sexual tension sprinkled throughout the first half of the fic, culminating intensely and hotly and making me have to leave to room to find a glass of cold water. The fact that Blaine is a reverse empath and telepath, able to open his mind and thoughts to those around him (cough Kurt cough), just makes every part of his story even more thrilling. His relationship with Kurt is so well handled and grown that it feels organic, just like it should, and makes the ending even more satisfying. I won't spoil you, but let's just say that there's a scene in the last chapter or so that I had to read at at least half my usual speed, just to fully capture the beauty and intensity of the writing.

Kurt is clever and sexy and witty and absolutely perfect, and Blaine is eager and open and loving in all the ways that make him such a wonderful character. The background characters are funny and have depth and meaning. The world is perfectly constructed and seated so well in the Celtic mythology on which this fic is based that I'm surprised it's not real. This fic is so good that as soon as the last chapter was posted today I had to rush over to this site and recommend it immediately. So please. Sit back, kick your feet up, take a sip of your mana-spiked wine, and enjoy.

Widdershins

A Hell of His Making by ObsidianEmbrace (R)

  • Nov. 12th, 2013 at 5:40 PM
Title: A Hell of His Making
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Categories: Soul Bonding, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, First Time
Length: Medium (12,533 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: (This author does not appear to be on LJ.)
Author Website: ObsidianEmbrace

Author's Summary:
To harm one's t'hy'la is an unforgivable offense.

Review:
As much as I like the Kirk/Spock pairing — and it’s one of my favorite pairings across all fandoms — I didn’t really get into it until Star Trek XI came out in 2009. (William Shatner just doesn’t do anything for me, unfortunately.) For that reason, I don’t have an extensive knowledge of original series canon and I don’t know how much the concept of t’hy’la is really covered there. I do know how prevalent it is in Star Trek fan works, and that it is often used to great effect as it is in this story.

The author offers an interesting take on the possible repercussions of the scene in Star Trek XI where Kirk provokes Spock into attacking him to demonstrate that Spock is emotionally compromised so that Kirk can take command of the Enterprise. Spock became aware of the connection between them the moment they touched, and his life thereafter became (as in the title), a hell of his own making.

Spock and Kirk are each hurting in their own ways — Kirk, of course, is recovering from the events at the end of Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Spock is dealing with the intense remorse and self-hatred engendered by strangling Kirk nearly to death only a few months before. These emotions, the pain, the need — they are portrayed so clearly.

Both characters are written perfectly, and the author does a brilliant job of showing just how much they need each other. There is hurt/comfort, angst, misunderstandings, and a Kirk who won’t take “no” for an answer. Spock is stubborn and determined to pursue the course of action he thinks is best…until Kirk turns the tables on him in a way that is just so perfectly “Jim Kirk.” (And very, very hot.)

The voices (including those of the supporting characters such as McCoy and Uhura) in this are perfect; it’s a great example of the use of the soul bonding trope — one of my favorite tropes, too! — and everything feels very in-character and just really well done. It’s the perfect coda to Star Trek: Into Darkness and gives the Kirk/Spock ending I wanted so much. Highly recommended!

A Hell of His Making

Dead of Knight by jsea (NC-17)

  • Oct. 15th, 2013 at 2:52 PM
Title: Dead of Knight
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Categories: Modern Magic AU, Vampires, Supernatural, Crime Drama
Length: Epic (43,212 words)
Warnings: Violence, Minor Character Death, Crime Scenes

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] castmeaway
Author Website: jsea

Author's Summary:
Merlin Emrys, supernatural expert and consultant for the local police, knows that going to the opening night of a vampire bar isn't a good idea, not with anti-vampire sentiments running rampant. So when he draws the eye of the bar's charismatic owner, and the new Master of the City, Arthur Pendragon, he's not exactly pleased.
When a series of murders, seemingly the work of vampires, forces them to work together anyway, Merlin unwittingly finds himself falling in love. Suddenly, the lines between work and love are not as cut and dry as they seem.


Review:
Fans of vampire-themed stories have a plethora of interesting and well-written fics to choose from in the Merlin fandom. Of all that I've read, Dead of Knight is one of my favorites. It features strong characterizations, both of Arthur and Merlin, as well as the supporting cast, and excellent world-building.

As the author mentions, it's apparent that she drew inspiration from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, as well as the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, but it never feels derivative. The author blends these elements with BBC's Merlin to create a modern magic/vampire AU that serves as a really interesting setting for the story, which is part romance, and part mystery/crime drama.

The author's interpretation of Arthur as a vampire feels very spot-on; he's a chivalric medieval knight in the modern era with just a shade of darkness that makes him believable as a vampire without compromising his innate nobility and goodness. I really liked Merlin in this story too -- although he holds a degree in Supernatural Studies and a doctorate in Forensic Pathology, his dislike of the crime scenes at which he consults shows a more vulnerable side despite his expertise. The friendships he has with Gaius and Will are obviously very important to him, and lend authenticity to his characterization as well.

The romance between Arthur and Merlin is well-developed and very engaging. Merlin is understandably wary about getting involved with a vampire, not only because of the perceived risks associated with such a relationship, but because of the necessity to keep his magic secret. It's obvious that there is a connection between them from the moment of their first meeting, and Arthur pursues Merlin with an intensity that is both very in-character for this interpretation of Arthur, and also hows just how strongly he desires him. For his part, it's clear that Merlin has feelings for Arthur as well, but he has a bit more to overcome before he can accept it, which is also very in-character for this Merlin.

This story ticks all the boxes on the checklist for a great vampire story without ever feeling formulaic or trite, and is highly recommended.


Dead of Knight
Title: And I'll Tell You No Lies
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Draco/Harry
Categories: EWE, Post-Canon, Veritaserum, Bonding, Coming out, Romance, Suspense, Aurors, Interrogation, First time
Length: Long (23,600 words)
Warnings: Some verbal expressions of homophobia.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] annafugazzi
Author Websites: On FFn, On FictionAlley, favicon AnnaFugazzi (This story is not on AO3)

Author's Summary: It all started with a stupid interrogation. Or: Don't ask a question if you're not prepared to hear the answer.

Review:
And I'll Tell You No Lies drops you in the middle of an escape swiftly followed by an interrogation in which Harry is, surprisingly enough, trying to protect Draco while being questioned by Ron. (And if you like Veritaserum and the tension it brings half as much as I do, you'll be very happy.)

There's the suspense of revelations and forced confessions; there's the negligent behavior of senior Aurors who fail (twice) to provide the antidote when they should, and the fallout afterward heightens the drama. Plus, the bond spell between Harry and Draco makes everything feel more intense.

I loved the quick and spare pacing of the interrogations, and the way the author tackled homophobia and what it means to be loyal to the Ministry while staying true to what you believe is right. I also loved how this slows toward the end, and the way Draco initially misunderstands Harry in the hut that serves as a locker room. The narrative keeps unfolding into something new all the way through.

And I'll Tell You No Lies On LJ, single page.
On FFn
On FictionAlley

Desiderata by stereobone (NC-17)

  • Feb. 4th, 2013 at 8:05 AM
Title: Desiderata
Fandom: Avengers (2012)
Pairing: Loki/Tony
Categories: AU, action/adventure, romance, bonding, spell, drama, humor
Length: Long (30,428)
Warnings: No author warnings, but to be on the safe side for comm. rules: possible dub-con of the spell-made-him-want-to-do-it variety.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chibifukurou for letting me rec in one of her claimed fandoms.

Author on LJ: NA
Author Website: favicon stereobone, stereobone's tumblr

Author's Summary: Tony doesn't know anything about love. He's convinced himself it's for the best.

Review:
Amora hits Loki with a love spell, and Tony's in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's the gist, but the plot serves the characters, not the other way around, showing off Loki's self doubt and wet-cat disdain and Tony's stubborn but sometimes rudderless drive to do everything his own way.

Stereobone gets a lot of emotion across without letting anyone slip character for a moment. (Impressive given that, for both men, the choice between expressing their feelings and drinking bleach might be a stumper.) Desiderata's got pitch perfect Tony, Loki, Thor and... everyone, really. From snarky humor to suspense to angst -- there's a brisk pace and great dialog that make it feel as though you're there.

Desiderata

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