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Msg# 8377

MEFA Reviews for November 4, 2007 (Part 1) Posted by Ann November 04, 2007 - 5:51:17 Topic ID# 8377
Title: Gentlemen's Night Out · Author: Oshun · Genres: Humor: Gondor
or Rohan · ID: 181
Reviewer: Fiondil · 2007-10-14 13:22:50
In a letter to his son, Erchirion of Dol Amroth describes one certain
night after the Ring War in which he, Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir
discuss the merits of LACE and just how true it's description of
elvish sexuality really is. A rather humorous, fast-paced discussion
that had me laughing out loud in some parts ensues. Legolas describing
how young elves in Mirkwood were "initiated" into elvish sexuality was
quite the funniest part of the whole story and the Elrondion's
disgusted reaction to just who Legolas had enjoyed himself while on
the Quest was also hysterical. An interesting take on whether LACE
actually is a credible piece of literature or pure bunk.

Title: Maitimo and Findekáno · Author: Oshun · Genres: Romance: Second
Age or Earlier · ID: 57
Reviewer: Ignoble Bard · 2007-10-14 14:45:38
Those familiar with the Silmarillion know the histories of Findekáno
the Valiant and Maitimo, eldest son of Fëanor. What they might not
know is that their epic, and ultimately tragic, love story began in
the days of their youth on Tirion and Formenos. A lifelong friendship
becomes something deeper when, forced to spend a summer apart,
Findekáno finally has the courage to tell Maitimo what he has wanted
to tell him all along - that he loves him.

What follows is a timeless story, freshly realized, of the yearnings
of youth and the courageousness of love. The sense of innocence and
promise is beautifully captured in Oshun's story. The descriptions are
lush, the characters, especially Maitimo's large, boisterous family,
are recognizable and as varied as a group of siblings are inevitably
bound to be. It is also a nice touch that Fëanor sees his son's
relationship as a way to subtly dig his half brother, lending credence
to his acceptance of their, shall we say, unusual situation.

In the first blush of their relationship, Maitimo and Findekáno become
the metaphor for an idyllic world that will, all too soon, be
shattered by war and loss. The progress of their relationship though
this story and its sequel mirrors and deepens Tolkien's rendition of
friendship tested and victorious through catastrophic circumstances.

And besides, how many stories inspire one to put their feelings into

Raven hair, and eyes of blue,
The loyalty of a friend so true
Is a gift the Vala cannot equal
My breath is bated awaiting the sequel
For how can love so fair, divine
A love to stand all tests of time
Fail to spark within a reader
The poignant yearning of souls so tender
Fingon, Maedhros, from the start
Through all the ages, heart to heart

Title: He Came To Meet Me · Author: sophinisba solis · Genres: Romance
· ID: 33
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:02:57
Elegant and understated writing which seems very apt for the setting
of the story.

The land itself helping in repelling and hindering the invasion of the
Ruffians was a fascinating topic and it was described very vividly,
creating a real landscape in the North of the Shire that seems to fit
with what little we actually know canonically, and which clearly also
shaped its inhabitants.

You created an interesting background for Diamond, and I like it how
Pippin and she find together by walking through the wilderness, with
nothing said between them, but the undercurrent noticeable, until
Diamond's sudden but somehow inevitable ["please"].

Title: Fourth Age, Year 13 · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Fourth Age
and Beyond: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 628
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:04:31
A fast-paced story that captures well the concern and rush parents
might often feel seeing their children grow up, a time that seems in
hindsight to fly by so fast. The wistful tone of the narrative is
particularly apt.

The moments chosen to highlight each stage of growing up are
meaningful and vivid, at once universal and at the same time highly
personal and individual for Aragorn and his daughter.

And then - oh horror! - puberty has come, and everything that worked
wonderful until now between parents and child is suddenly wrong and

I also like the brief allusions to events in the wider world, showing
that nobody grows up in a vacuum, and that in this New Age, children
are far more likely to be *allowed* to grow up in peace (in all senses
of the word), rather than be forced into adulthood and adult concerns
all too soon.

Title: Renewal · Author: Tanaqui · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 - 3017
TA: Drabble · ID: 692
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:06:19
This is an absolutely beautiful word-picture that you paint in this

Nature restored, with an abudance of plants and flowers in a multitude
of colours, like a tapestry. The colours of the rocks complement those
of the flowers, and even the buildings the people have erected are
interwoven smoothly into this natural landscape.

Everything seems to live in harmony, a concept strenghtened by the way
the different noises seem to blend to a melody, regardless of whether
they come from nature, from artificial sources like bells, from
animals or the people who tend them.

Framing this impression as something that Bilbo experiences with
surprise and, I imagine, delight, was a graceful touch at the end.

The accompanying photo fits perfectly - what a breath-taking view!

Title: Journey Home · Author: Dot · Races: Elves: With Mirkwood Elves
· ID: 102
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:07:05
The point of view of the young warrior is used very effectively, it
lets the readers experience what he experiences and feels very
directly, especially at the beginning when his circumstances gradually
reveal themselves.

The tight, narrow focus which widens to take in more of his
surroundings as he begins to heal fits very well with what someone in
his situation would actually register, I think, and so supports the
narrative wonderfully.

Nendir is an engaging original character I felt immediate sympathy
for, in his desire to prove himself a worthy warrior, but feeling just
so inexperienced and helpless.

It was interesting to see Legolas as a good, caring leader of the men
under his command, comforting and bracing, taking their minds from
their injuries.

Title: Who The Sword Devours · Author: Nancy Brooke · Races: Men · ID: 364
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:08:56
Resonant, compelling prose, employing evocative imagery that seems to
give life even to inanimate things and concepts.

The descriptions are at once very visceral and immediate, down to the
most gritty and base details, and at the same time, the language is
tantalisingly elusive.

Boromir's pride, his "masterfulness", his confidence almost bordering
on vanity, his fierce possessiveness where Gondor is concerned,
communicate themselves from the very first lines onward, but also his
supreme skills as a commander and leader of men, who knows his
soldiers and knows how to handle them.

The story of David, Uriah and Bathsheba is transposed smoothly into a
Middle-earth context; I could really see how the Boromir you were
drawing might be led to such a dark path by this searing temptation.

The description of the terror the Nazgűl evoke was one of the most
spine-chilling, scary and affective depiction I have read.

Title: The Love of Lore · Author: Oshun · Races: Men: Gondor · ID: 271
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:10:37
Two sweet little interlinked pieces, showcasing in a touching and
engaging way Faramir as the scholar requested in the prompt for the
story, in two different stages of his life. The story exemplify well
the ["love of lore"] of the title.

The descriptions are evocative, conveying individual appearance and
actions vividly.

First, we are shown Faramir, already a curious and bookish person when
very young. Later in life, he bequeathes these characteristics to his
own son Elboron.

The short but memorable cameo by an obviously already failing
Finduilas, added much to the poignancy of the tender scene between the
two brothers.

I like how the persons he interacts with clearly support and
appreciate this side of Faramir, first Boromir, and later Aragorn.

Title: The Case of the Purloined Mushrooms · Author: Inkling · Genres:
Mystery · ID: 298
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:13:05
A really delightful, witty story; well-paced, and well-plotted; with
lively dialogues.

The narrator is a marvellous original character, in all senses of the
word "original". He is a complex, engaging character, opinionated,
entertaining, fond of his leisurely job and the news, recipes and food
it provides him with on his rounds, and rather accidentally takes on
the role of sleuth.

The other characters are equally wonderful, regardless of whether they
are orignal or canonical ones. The portrayals of the known Hobbits,
like Bilbo, Frodo and Sam were spot-on, and Dora Baggins's character
was credibly extrapolated from what little there is written of her in
the books.

The customs and pecularities you built around the Hobbits' known
fondness for mushrooms and show in actual detail or just in brief
allusions or references were a constant highlight of the tale,
especially in showing to just which extremes Hobbits will go in this
regard, and interwoven smoothly into a believable picture of Hobbit
society in general.

And a tasty-sounding recipe as an extra service - yumm!

Title: A Game of Chess · Author: Altariel · Genres: Romance: Gondor ·
ID: 609
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:17:01
Formal but flowing language, very realistic, complex characterisations
and relationships.

I like the way this story is set up, with the three narrators taking
turns in telling a chapter: it makes it easy to see how their
different experiences and attitudes contribute to misconceptions and
misperceptions and thus to the problems in the marriage.

The story depicts in realistic stages how a relationship can (nearly)
founder due to too little communication or miscommunication. It also
shows how much patience, tolerance and will is needed to repair the

It is also a very good portrayal of PTSD (and I thought
["war-fettered"] was a clever description), not only of the symptons
themselves and how they influence those that suffer them, but also
what a strain it can be on their environment.

I personally don't see Denethor as physically abusive, and Faramir
less shaped by his disapproval, and also by his war experiences, but I
can accept the way it is laid out consistently here and in other
stories of the "Unabeauverse".

Title: A Hobbit's Tale · Author: Pearl Took · Genres: Poetry: With
Hobbits · ID: 253
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:18:00
Engagingly told. I like how the story of TH was "summarised" in the
poem and framed by the story of Bilbo as the old story-teller. The
flashbacks and on the other hand foreshadowing to events of LotR that
are alluded to give the poem an ominous tone, in particular the last line.

The first stanza, with direct speech by Bilbo, is like an invitation
to the readers themselves. The narration then goes on to describe the
actual story-telling, seguing more and more into the tale itself. And
towards the end, the foreshadowings enable a look to the future,
before it ends again, in full circle, with Bilbo.

Title: Better Days Ahead · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Humor:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 51
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-10-14 15:19:05
Marvellous use of language! The character of Shagrat comes truly alive
here, and it really really reads like a pep talk for his fellows. You
used what little Orcish expressions and slang can be found in the
books, and expanded on it logically.

This unusual point of view on how the West vanquished Sauron seems
perfectly understandable - hey, Sauron himself *did* use the proper
forms of engagement, for example when he sent the Mouth of Sauron to
parlay! Frodo's and Sam's task must, of course, look like an
underhanded sneak attack to Shagrat and his ilk.

His plans for the future sound very ominous, and if through Arwen's
descendants something of the Elves still lives on in Mankind, then it
seems reasonable to assume (if horrific to contemplate) that also some
Orcish traits might have been passed on.

As one who likes black humour, my favourite passage was the one near
the end beginning with ["Nah,"].

Title: Temptation · Author: Linda hoyland · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851
- 3017 TA: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 419
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-14 15:44:34
A very nicely written drabble, in which Thorongil's compassion leads
him, seemingly, towards temptation. It's good to see Aragorn in a
moment of human weakness (almost), though Aragorn/Arwen purists need
not fear for his honor.The descriptive details, though they deal with
scenes of a "less than savory nature" are well written – the young
courtesan's hair smelling of jasmine was a very nice touch.

Title: A Rohan Tapestry · Author: shirebound · Races: Hobbits:
Hurt/Comfort · ID: 96
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-14 15:49:33
I'm not sure that I've encountered many stories involving the hobbits
during their stay in Rohan, on the way back to the Shire, so I found
this an unusual and enjoyable read. I particularly liked Eomer's
interactions with the hobbits, and the observation that the new king
of Rohan was younger than Pippin! My heart ached for Merry as he
suffered recurrences of the Black Breath due to his emotional
fragility over King Theoden's death;it was good to see that
relationship drawn out a bit.

A unique touch was the vivid description of the visit to the caves of
Aglarond - it sounded exactly like the caverns I've visited here in
Virginia. A nice, additional surprise in a deftly written story.

Title: The Green Hill · Author: Baranduin · Races: Cross-Cultural: The
Fellowship · ID: 562
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-14 15:50:50
Even for no other reason, I would have loved this story just for the
line [It was not a laugh he'd heard from Aragorn before—young and
carefree and barely tinged with sorrow.] which absolutely stopped me
in my tracks. When have we ever seen Aragorn laughing and playful, so
bewitched and besotted from falling in love that he can't remember a
word that was said?

[It wasn't a smile on Aragorn's face now; it was a grin, a big toothy,
goofy grin. And young, oh his face was so young now.] I was deeply
touched by this vision of slightly-lovesick Aragorn recalling joyful
past days on the hill of Cerin Amroth. And Frodo, dear Frodo, sounding
both wistful and wise as he confides his vision of the future. At the
time in which they are speaking they have no idea what the future
holds, save desperation and sorrow and pain, but the gift of hope that
Frodo holds out to his friend is precious and heartwarming to both
Aragorn, and us as well.

Title: Soap · Author: Aliana · Genres: Alternate Universe: Gondor or
Rohan · ID: 552
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-14 15:52:53
This startling and imaginative post-modern gapfiller to 2006 MEFA
Award Winner "Fallen" showcases Aliana's droll humor and sense of the
ridiculous. It's actually like a M*A*S*H/ Return of the King
crossover, featuring one of the unnamed nurses we see running in the
opening credits, and an ambulatory (and semi-talkative) young patient.
Professor Tolkien would be scratching his head down to the scalp if he
read this, but Larry Gelbart, et al, would be standing and applauding.
The description of Crazy Lou's Fast Food and Sushi Bar is priceless –
we've all been there, and we recognized it instantly, whether it was
called Santeremo's (in Alamosa, Colorado), or More Than Coffee (in
Blacksburg. Virginia), or just plain Cheers in Boston. It's the place
where everybody goes.

Aside from the perfectly realized absurdity, though, there's a beauty
and lyricism to Aliana's writing that is unmatched anywhere in our
fandom. Beren's analogy of his pain to a soap bubble [beautiful soap
bubble of denial, little rainbow patches swimming around on the
glycerine surface] is heartaching, as is that climactic moment when
his carefully constructed facade all comes apart: [Outside, he falls
to pieces. It's like being cut with a very sharp blade; for a second
you know it's happened but there's no pain, and then… The bubble's
popped, the rainbow swirls are gone, and the inside of his mouth
tastes like nothing but salt and bitterness.] Nobody, NOBODY, writes
like Aliana, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to watch her
develop her writing gifts and talents, to take risks, to discover and
nurture her unique voice.

Title: Charms of Wisdom and Grace · Author: annmarwalk · Genres:
Drama: Ithilien · ID: 460
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-14 18:07:27
A lovely Faramir and Eowyn ficlet with a delight image of Faramir at
the loom weaving a coverlet for his son in the hope it will protect
him when he becomes a soldier.

How appropriate a man like Faramir should want to share the weaving
with his wife.

This story conveys the depth of Faramir's love for his wife and family
and Eowyn's too in a few words.

Title: Freddy and the Thain's Rabbit · Author: grey_wonderer · Races:
Hobbits · ID: 251
Reviewer: pippinfan88 · 2007-10-14 22:24:32
This brilliant artist and author has once again out done herself with
this most lovely story. Grey Wonderer has created the world of one
stuffed toy rabbit, an original character named Errol, and has
chronicled his own adventures through several stories with a
well-known hobbit that we all know and love - Pippin. However, this
curious story takes a different turn where Pippin is not directly
involved with Errol this time, however, another child is and the
reader grows to love this child throughout the story.

Without going too deep into the details of this wonderful story, Errol
once again expains where he is, why is there, and does not hesitate to
speak his mind on a particular subject or of a particular person,
whether they be good, bad, or beloved. Whenever Errol is involved in a
story, I can be guarranteed that I will be using a handkerchief at the
end! As with all of her stories that are Errol-centric, Grey Wonderer
can make a reader laugh and then cry within the same paragraph. Her
character, Errol, can take his readers on a virtual emotional
rolercoaster throughout the story.

This talented author's stories are always well written and well
crafted, enrapturing the reader from the first word to the last. And I
especially love her Errol series.

Title: First Flight · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Times: Mid Third
Age: 2851 - 3017 TA: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 513
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:54:27
Oh, this is a lot of fun! It was nice to see Radagast in a "normal"
interaction with his birds, and nice fleshing out of Gwaihir's name as

Title: An Expansion of the Family Influence · Author: Auntiemeesh ·
Times: Early Third Age: 1-2850 TA · ID: 819
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:54:38
This a nice fleshing out of an important chapter of hobbit history. I
particularly liked the attention paid to the economic situation that
would have led to the expansion; it made the events seem plausible and
hilighted hobbity perseverance and generosity quite nicely.

Title: Inroads · Author: Raksha the Demon · Races: Men: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 45
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:56:42
[Warning: This review has spoilers for some plot details.]

It's really nice to think that at least some Gondorians recognized the
good that Eowyn did at Pelennor. Though the image of the girl's mother
being surprised that Eowyn could speak Sindarin was priceless, too.
Excellent writing all around.

Title: No Escape · Author: Aranel Took · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 324
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:56:59
I'm a sucker for original characters. And dwarves. And especially
dwarven characters. So obviously there's a lot about this drabble that
appealed to me, and when I realized what exactly the author was doing
I definitely smiled. Yet, I'm not sure that my personal tastes fully
account for how much I liked this drabble. It's a nice gapfiller, and
really gets at the dwarven spirit well. But there is also something
more fundamental going on here: at a base level, it's about a mother
protecting her children, and that seems to transcend every culture.
It's very affective both at telling a uniquely dwarven story and a
moment that could have been many different characters at different
points in Middle-earth's history. Brava, Aranel!

Title: The Far Corner of the Garden · Author: annmarwalk · Genres:
Drama: Ithilien · ID: 554
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:58:07
[Warning: This review contains spoilers for some plot details.]

Oh, this was gorgeous, Ann! There is a lot of healing going on here:
first for Ithilien, but also for Eowyn, that she would plan this kind
of thing rather than thinking of grand plans to save her whole
country. It takes a lot of psychological healing to be able to take
such joy in the small every-day things. And I found it a glorious
touch that she could think of grave-flowers as not *just*
grave-flowers. All and all, a lovely slice of life for Ithilien's
first couple.

Title: A Song of Silence · Author: Nessime · Races: Men · ID: 156
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-10-15 00:58:58
This story has so much of what I always love about Nessime's stories.
There are only peripheral mentions (and one brief scene) with canon
characters, and the people that populate this story are for the most
part her own invention - yet they are every inch Rohirrim, in Eohere's
ability to handle horses, the warrior's ethic, and the importance of
weaving tapestries. This piece really captures the pathos of the women
of Rohan, and it made me identify with the sacrifices of Tolkien's
characters as well.

Title: The Rose in the Fisted Glove · Author: Jael · Genres: Drama:
Second Age or Earlier · ID: 240
Reviewer: Ignoble Bard · 2007-10-15 02:30:49
This was one of the first of this author's stories I read and I was
immediately impressed with her command of language and the profundity
of her plotting and characterization. Since then I have come to expect
stories that not only entertain but are thought provoking as well.

In "The Rose in the Fisted Glove" what might have been a simple pwp in
the hands of a lesser author - Thranduil's servant and squire offers
him "warrior's comfort" on the eve of battle during the Last Alliance
- becomes a tale of wisdom attained and nobility affirmed in the face
of unexpected tragedy. Along the way Thranduil learns some unforeseen
lessons about himself and his squire, and a bitter life lesson as
well, all on his way to becoming the king who ruled Mirkwood during
its darkest days without the benefit of a ring of power. Mirkwood and
its history does not have much canon background outside of "The
Hobbit", yet it comes wholeheartedly alive in this and the author's
many other tales.

The universe Jael has created, centered around Thranduil and the Elves
of Mirkwood, rivals, and in most cases, surpasses that of the some of
the best fanfiction authors and even, dare I say it, Tolkien himself,
in its scope and depth. A feat made all the more amazing when one
considers the comparatively short time she has been crafting her
tales. This is a pivotal moment in that universe and one well worth
adding to your wish or favorites list.