#kidsthesedays by wsswatson (PG)

  • Sep. 19th, 2015 at 10:14 PM
Title: #kidsthesedays
Fandom: N/A
Pairing: Gen
Categories/Genres: Time Skip, Historical, Drama, Family
Length: Medium (6049 words)
Warnings: Some homophobic and racist language

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: wsswatson

Summary:

A play about parents, children and the passing of time.

Review:

I recall, in high school, learning about European immigrants coming in droves to the United States in the mid-19th century. They were the victims of severe discrimination and racism at the time, and as a person of mixed heritage living in this current era, it shocked me to consider the idea of white people being racist toward other white people. How could such a thing be possible, when in this modern day it seems to be all whites against all non-whites?

Perhaps someday, if we are fortunate, when my children are grown, my grandchildren will come to me, bewildered by the idea that people of color were discriminated against.

But as #kidsthesedays so unsubtly points out, perhaps it will be so because my children's and grandchildren's generations will have found some other group to discriminate against. Perhaps the media's talking heads will have found some new thing to blame for massacres perpetrated by 'troubled' youth. Perhaps fathers will have found some new aspect of their daughter's wardrobe or behavior to be distressed about, or some socially aware young man or woman will defend the rights of extra terrestrials to their xenophobic parent.

Perhaps life will continue on, cycling endlessly through variations of a thousand familiar themes, even after we have evolved beyond the scientific classification of "homo sapiens."

Perhaps that is the best we can hope for.

#kidsthesedays
Title: The Book of Vices and Virtues series
Fandom: D. Gray-man
Pairing: Allen/Kanda, Kanda/Alma, Allen/OMC, Allen/OFC
Genres: AU, Romance, First-time, Adventure, Drama, Historical, Prostitution, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Canon, Pre-Canon
Length: Super-epic (214,460 words)
Warnings: Attempted rape, past and present child abuse, child prostitution, dub-con

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

Author's Summary:
Story 1: In which Allen travels from India to England in search of Black Order Headquarters.

Story 2: "Whenever there is hatred between two people, there is a bond of brotherhood of some kind" - Oscar Wilde, /De Profundis/

Review:
This lovely and long series contains two stories. The first is an AU version of Allen's journey from India to the Black Order headquarters in England. The second is a post-canon story about Kanda, Allen and Johnny being on the run.

The series has a pleasing circular nature. All the people that Allen meets or reunites with on his way to the Order are met again by Kanda on their way from the Order. While the first story is firmly a study of Allen, his character and his bisexuality, the second story is definitely Kanda's. As he asks around about Allen's character in an attempt to understand him better, he also gains much more knowledge of himself, both as he is now and as he was before he was reborn.

I did feel it got a little too philosophical in the middle, dragging the pace down, but I'm always impatient for the happy ending to happen. And it does, in a sweet, hot, and in character way. A great read.

The Book of Vices and Virtues series

The Leonardo Effect by phoenike (NC-17)

  • Jun. 22nd, 2015 at 7:48 PM
Title: The Leonardo Effect
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Pairing: Leonardo/Ezio, Ezio/OFCs, Leonardo/OMCs
Genres: AU, Romance, Drama, Pining, First-time, Mystery, Prostitution, Historical
Length: Epic (67,378 words)
Warnings: Dub-con, prostitution, period-appropriate homophobia

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

Author's Summary:
To Ezio’s best knowledge, Leonardo's idea of debauchery was staying up until morning with a bottle of wine and too many sketching supplies. But why would the gondolier have lied? It was a heavy accusation. In both Firenze and Venezia, mere allegations of unnatural conduct had condemned men to be pilloried or hanged.

Review:
After overhearing gossip about Leonardo having apparently been on trial for sodomy, Ezio is tormented by the revelation and determined to find the truth. It's a familiar plot, and this is a well-written and historically minded version of it. It's well-paced, with their budding romance a very slow burn as Ezio struggles to make sense of what he's feeling while trying to uncover Leonardo's past. His preconceived notions of Leonardo as wholly bookish and naive are challenged, leaving us with a much more three dimensional character that is an awesome read to slowly find out about. This is also a fic about Ezio's own horizons being broadened as he gains some maturity.

This fic is a series, accompanied by some equally well-written flashbacks. They contain spoilers for the main fic though, so are best left till after it.

The Leonardo Effect

Thistledown by Violette_Royale (NC-17)

  • Jun. 15th, 2015 at 8:37 PM
Title: Thistledown
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Genres: AU, Genderswap, Romance, Historical, Adventure, Cross-dressing, First-time
Length: Epic (90,547 words)
Warnings: None

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

Author's Summary:
South-west England, 1140. Sixteen-year old Merlin is a novice nun. One day, she finds a wounded knight, and offers to hide him from his enemies. When she falls to temptation and shares a bed with him, the consequences are more far-reaching than she could ever have imagined, changing her life forever.

Written for this KMM prompt: Arthur/Merlin historical AU. Merlin is a [nun]. Arthur is a knight who asks Merlin to hide him from his enemies. At first he is happy to sleep on the floor, then he asks to sleep in Merlin's bed, then he cuddles close to Merlin to keep warm.

Review:
This is a romance through and through. Watching Merlin and Arthur's relationship develop is a delight; they're unable to keep their hands off each other, and yet they are also still the bickering pair we know and love. Girl!Merlin, for all that she's a nun, is still completely in character. Both of them are completely clueless when it comes to sex, and the way they learn and mature together is sweet and funny, and always equal and respectful.

Most of the fic is about their pilgrimage to return a holy relic to its place of origin, and their subsequent travels through the holy lands in the period between the First and Second Crusades. Their journey is wonderfully described and just as fulfilling to read as their romance. A beautiful fic in all aspects.

Thistledown

Amour by Viola (PG13)

  • Jun. 10th, 2015 at 10:43 PM
Title: Amour

Fandom: Angel: the series
Pairing: ~gen, ~Holtz/Justine
Categories: dark, angst, drama, flashback, sad stories
Length: long, ~20,000 words
Warnings: abusive relationship, canon character death, written prior to season 4

Author on Livejournal: [livejournal.com profile] viola_dreamwalk
Author Website: Viola_dreamwalk on AO3 (not all her stories are archived here) | Viola on fanfiction.net

Summary: An un-love story, happily never after.

Review: She looks at him the way Sarah did. The way Caroline had, at least at first. As though he's a poet and a prophet and a pilgrim soul. As though he's the hero of the piece, as though he could do no wrong. She looks at him and sees exactly what she needs, exactly what he wants her to see. He sees this and knows just how to make her love him. He finds he likes it.

This is the story of the antagonists of Angel: the series' season 3; Holtz, the archaic vampire hunter adrift in time, and Justine, who fought vampires like a cut-price slayer and will be remembered by most for slitting Wesley's throat. It's also the story of Holtz' wife Caroline and Justine's twin sister Julia, and the losses that forge Holtz and Justine's single-minded quests.

Viola is the author of my previous rec Percy Weasley, Rogue Demon Hunter, but the two works couldn't be more different. There is no light-hearted humour and quirkiness here, only velvet darkness and damaged, deeply flawed people, hampered judgement and loss. The prose is very beautiful.

This is a fascinating, lyrical exploration, filling in the gaps of who Justine and Holtz were and the skewed relationship between them.

Amour

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

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

Seasons by nocleversig (M)

  • Nov. 1st, 2014 at 1:47 AM
Title: Seasons
Fandom: Sanctuary
Pairing: Helen/John
Categories: angst, romance, pwp, historical
Length: Long (18k in five parts)
Warnings: canon typical violence (including themes of abuse and domestic violence), mild blood/knife play.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] nocleversig
Author Website: on sanctuaryfiction.net

Summary: The beginnings of Helen and John's romance, Winter through Fall, from Innocence to Darkness.

Review: nocleversig is one of the best authors in the Sanctuary fandom, I recommend reading everything they've written. I've never been disappointed. I'm reccing 'Seasons' in particular though because of how it honours the canon by showcasing the journey of Helen and John's relationship. nocleversig uses the structure of seasons to create the structure for the passing of the narrative, starting off with firsts - kisses, glances, love, etc, the wonderful feels it gives you of just how perfect they were for each other and how happy they could be. The rest of the stories (its a series btw) follows the slow progression to winter, symbolizing the painful death of their relationship. Following the degeneration of their lives, their love, but never their passion, is heart-wrenching and compelling as all heck. If you ship these two, you love their angst. The extremes they go to from light and happy to all-encompasing darkness.

Seasons

'Lines in the Sand' by grav_ity (M)

  • Aug. 16th, 2014 at 12:08 AM
Title: Lines in the Sand
Fandom: Sanctuary
Pairing: Helen/James/John (referenced James/Declan and whispered Helen/Nikola)
Categories: angst, historical, poly
Length: Medium (6k)
Warnings: drug use, canon character death (James)

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] grav_ity
Author Website: on ao3

Review:
This may be my first Sanctuary rec here, but it will not be my last for this pairing. Helen/John/James is my OT3 of All Time and this fic is just gorgeous. It's heartbreaking, it's not a happy story, but it's not a sad story either.

Told from James' point of view, 'Lines in the Sand' is a collection of vignettes-pseudo-episode-tags that give us glimpses into the lives of The Five throughout their long history. If you're a fan of this 'pairing', you love the confusion and the angst that plague their lives and how truly dysfunctional they are; and that is full on display here. It beautifully showcases the way James and Helen find each other as a result of the betrayal of John to them both; both of them are so broken and damaged, it will take a century to heal and they find a way to heal together. It's not about love really, but about the consequences of choices and being immortal. Plus it's all poly-queer awesome.

The best part of this fic might be how it's really just a taste of the larger picture. You know how in canon it was frustrating because we only got tidbits of their story and their poly romance...well this story is very much the same, but instead of being frustrating it teases you and leaves you wanting more, but also feeling incredibly satisfied because its *so* on point.

Lines in the Sand

Seventh Christmas by Victoria Hughes (G)

  • Jul. 7th, 2014 at 1:45 PM
Title: Seventh Christmas
Fandom: D. Gray-Man
Pairing: Gen
Genres: Friendship, Historical, Pre-Canon
Length: Medium (5,627 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Victoria Hughes @ FF.net

Author's Summary:
He was an abandoned child with no direction in his life, until he met the clown. Before Allen was a gentleman, he was a street rat.

Review:
This fic is rare in that it's one about Allen's childhood. I loved the urchin!Allen we saw glimpses of in canon, and this is a realistic look at what his life was like as a poor kid in Victorian London. Sick of working dangerous jobs in horrible conditions, he runs away to the circus. All the circus OCs are wonderfully realised, with the Bearded Lady being a man named Daniel, and the three Zulu Men actually from Wales.

Allen's relationship with Mana is understated and beautiful for it, with a jaded Allen slowly opening up to the prospect of an unconditional friendship. This is a lovely fic with an author that really masters the adage of 'show, don't tell.'

Seventh Christmas

Readers' Recs -- Epistolary / Historical

  • May. 25th, 2014 at 7:10 PM
Our Epistolary / Historical theme week has come to an end and we would love to hear from you. Do you have any favorite historical fiction or epistolary fics you recommend? We'd be so pleased if you'd share with us!
  • Recced stories can feature any pairing as long as they match the theme. Fan art, podfic, and fan vid recs are also welcome.
  • You don't need to write a review (unless you want to). All you need to include are title, author, and a link to the story.
  • Fic or media as a single file are preferred, if available.
  • If you'd like to use our reccing template, you can find it under the cut.

    WE'RE CURRENTLY SEEKING A NEW RECCER! Invitations to rec for the comm are issued based on responses to these RR posts. If you're interested in reccing once each week, please respond to this post (or another recent RR post) with a full rec, including everything in our rec template: Title, Author, Rating, Pairing, Genres, Length, Summary, and your Review. Gen, Het, Slash, and Femslash are all welcome.

    If you'd like to use our reccing template, you can find it under the cut.

Totally Optional Rec Template )

Previous Readers' Recs topics can be found here.


Title: Something Worth Fighting For
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Categories: Historical AU, epistolary, friends to lovers, first time, romance, pining, angst, war
Length: Long (20,921 words)
Warnings: Non-explicit references to off-screen violence

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

Author's Summary:
Set during World War II. Arthur is sent to the front lines to fight for Britain, while Merlin is left behind, struggling to cope with the absence of his best friend. Seeking to give Arthur some comfort, Merlin begins to send him pieces of a story, which tells of a legendary King and his devoted manservant.

Through their letters, Arthur and Merlin grow closer, and perhaps begin to discover feelings that they could not put into words before. But will Arthur make it through the war? And what will happen if he does?

Review:
It begins with goodbye -- with Merlin's painful farewell to Arthur, as Arthur departs to serve in His Majesty's Armed Forces. The emotions are readily apparent, and while Arthur and Merlin are "only" friends at this point, the potential for something so much deeper and more intense is quickly revealed.

While not told exclusively through letters, the correspondence between Arthur and Merlin plays a key role in this story. We see the depth of Merlin's emotion expressed through the letters he lovingly crafts for Arthur to give him comfort and succor as he endures the horrors of war. The stories of the King and his Wizard that Merlin creates are my favorite element, and I loved the parallels that were drawn between both the events that Arthur was experiencing as well as Merlin canon.

The highlight, of course, is the emotional reunion between Arthur and Merlin when the war finally ends. After experiencing Merlin's realization of the true nature of his feelings for Arthur and his deep longing to be with him once more, I found myself on the edge of my metaphorical seat as Merlin rushed to see a newly-returned Arthur. The integration of Merlin's story into the revelation of their true feelings for one another was a lovely touch and an excellent way of tying everything together.

At long last, seeing the reunited men consummate their love was the perfect ending. If you love historical AUs, letter writing, and/or pining with a happy resolution, please give this one a try.

Something Worth Fighting For

And Seven For A Secret (R) by Aeshna

  • May. 19th, 2014 at 11:53 PM
Title: And Seven For A Secret
Fandom: Torchwood (Dr Who)
Categories: gen, historical, action/adventure, war story, science fiction
Length: Epic (58,000 words)
Warnings: Character death (it is Jack), secondary character death (it is a war story), violence and coarse language (ditto).

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] aeshna_uk
Author on AO3: favicon Aeshna

Summary:
If you are reading this then I am dead, and with my death dies a promise I made a long, long time ago... When Ben Haldane is left a cryptic note in his grandfather's will, it leads him to a story far stranger than he could ever have imagined.

Review:
Somehow it seemed fitting for that my review for Epistolary/Historical week is a WW2 story that commences with a letter.

This story would have made an excellent Torchwood special. It involves Jack Harkness on a mission to a Nazi PoW camp, a castle that conceals more than just bored prisoners, and the men who get caught up in events. It's not a pretty sight; this Jack is not infallible, and his small screw-ups do cost lives. The main threat is credible, particularly in being a threat to Jack that he might not recover from, and the finale is suitably action-packed and bloody.

It goes without saying that the writing and pacing are excellent. (Disclaimer: I've known [livejournal.com profile] aeshna_uk since her first con, and she is responsible for getting me writing, so I would say that.) A particular grace, and one of the reasons it would make an excellent episode, is that the story is told from the point of view of a third party, Private Bert Fletcher. This helps the pacing by removing any strain in not knowing the details of Jack's mission until as late as possible. Bert is also an amiable viewpoint character, as much as anyone could be under the circumstances, and I found it quite easy to identify with his reactions.

Eminently readable, and highly recommended.

And Seven For A Secret (multi-part)

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Epic Recs

Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words

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