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Msg# 8409

MEFA Reviews Digest for November 12, 2007 Posted by Ann November 12, 2007 - 5:21:48 Topic ID# 8409
Title: Sunshine and Roses · Author: shirelinghpc · Races:
Cross-Cultural: Gondor · ID: 531
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-26 05:07:32
Faramir's status as something of an outsider, though a valued one, to
the post-Ring War Fellowship, and his observational skills, come well
into play in this gentle, sensitively written story. I really like the
relationship that develops between Faramir and Sam; it is a natural
follow-up to the mutual respect that sparked between them in
Henneth-Annun. They are both survivors of a conflict that they
believed would kill them; and they both love green and growing things.
The ending is as warm and sunny as the gardens that the Steward and
the future Mayor both treasure.

Title: Lost in Translation · Author: sophinisba solis · Races:
Cross-Cultural: With Pippin · ID: 31
Reviewer: Garnet Took · 2007-10-26 10:09:47
How frustraiting it must have been for the hobbits who didn't speak
elvish to be left in the dark as to what is going on those first days
in Rivendell.

This is something that most authors don't touch on. That is one thing
that makes this story especially interesting.

Title: Foray · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA · ID: 55
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:18:21
Father is too busy to see his younger son go off on the first
overnight training trip for youths preparing for their days as
warriors, so it is up to the older brother to fare him well, finding
himself experiencing all the anxieties and plans to keep him safe in
the future any parent might know. A wonderful look at the love between
the brothers "Mir."

Title: Marbles · Author: grey_wonderer · Genres: Humor: Children · ID: 197
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:31:55
This time That Wicked Baby is into Merry's marbles, and there are
seven--no, six--missing. Will they all show up in the end? Does Merry
truly hate little Peregrin Took? Frodo's not so certain....

Another gem from Grey Wonderer, who gets more giggle per byte than
almost any other author I can think of.

Title: For All Things a Cost · Author: Súlriel · Times: Second Age:
Drabble · ID: 268
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:35:21
When is it wrong to teach your child the meaning of love and beauty?

But for an orc, such knowledge could be fatal.


Title: Hope Unquenched · Author: White Gull · Genres: Poetry: With
Hobbits · ID: 410
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:38:38
The loss of love draws from him, until a different hope calls.

A wonderful poem from White Gull.

Title: When the King Comes Back · Author: shirebound · Genres:
Alternate Universe: The Shire or Buckland · ID: 361
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:48:51
I've very much enjoyed the "Quarantined" stories in which the Ranger
Estel finds himself visiting with young Frodo Baggins, usually at Bag
End. But this time things fail to go precisely as planned when an
accident involving fireworks and a barrel of strong drink leaves Estel
and Frodo both injured. Can Halbarad negotiate with Dwarves while his
chieftain recovers (if he manages to do so, of course)?

Wonderful, as always.

Title: The Waves' Song · Author: Branwyn · Genres: Drama: General
Drabble · ID: 6
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:52:49
A most interesting drabble. Arwen in fading Lorien at the end of
winter, looking to the return of her Hope? Or another?

Delightfully eerie, as is the accompanying picture.

Title: The Dryad · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022
TA: General Drabble · ID: 71
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:55:27
The idea of a Dryad seeking to protect Ithilien and its Rangers is
such a charming and enticing one, particularly when she chooses the
proper champion for the land. As usual, Imhiriel has produced a gem of
a drabble, perfect in mood and imagery.

Title: My Sword Sings · Author: agape4gondor · Races: Men: Gondor ·
ID: 426
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-26 10:59:18
A most fascinating AU, as we watch treason take Denethor and threaten
his two young sons as well as the peace and stability of Rohan. But
can Denethor's sister Indis, whose husband has died so recently,
manage to protect the sons of the Steward and the realm until Boromir
is ready for Rod and Chair?

Full of intrigue and engagingly written.

Title: Reconcilation · Author: Dwimordene · Genres: Drama · ID: 86
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-26 14:16:27
While the rest of the world was reading Harry Potter, I treated myself
to a gift I have put away for just this occasion: Dwimordene's latest
installment in her Swan Knight saga. These tales wander all over the
timeline, so it was quite interesting to find a younger, less assured
Andrahar and his companions to be the focus here.

It's been a very long time since I've read a good adventure tale, and
"Reconcilation" would be memorable from that standpoint alone. Dwim's
battle scenes are well presented and choreographed so that it's very
easy to visualize all the action. Peloran and Andrahar's stand against
the Corsair raiders, with the help of hastily assembled and trained
townspeople, was very vivid, and the scene of Andra's last rites for
the dead Corsairs was quite moving.

The description of Andrahar falling in love with his native language
was very lovely, and gave me a new insight into his character. How
frustrating for him that he could not teach the language in its
beautiful and poetic forms, but had to use sterile accounts of warfare
instead! It was also a wonderful twist that Elethil ended up a
statesman and scholar of Haradric language and culture – my heart
ached for that boy all through the story.

More than action-adventure, "Reconciliation" works very well as a
coming-of-age tale, thoughtfully exploring the issues of young
manhood: pride, loyalty, jealousy, pack-mentality, finding one's
proper place. Adding racism and xenophobia to the mix gives a timeless
element to the tale – I see young men grappling with these same issues
and concerns every day.

Title: A Useful Skill · Author: EdorasLass · Genres: Humor: Children ·
ID: 46
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-26 14:18:54
This is quite an endearing story – I'm loving the fact that, although
the Faramir and Boromir are growing up, they still manage to be quite
winsome. There's never a dull day for Nanny, that's for sure!

In this tale, Faramir, prince of small motor skills, is caught out by
his father mending his own socks. Denethor takes offense and Faramir's
lip trembles, just a bit, yet he holds his own very well in explaining
why he's performing what Denethor considers his Nanny's task. In a
priceless moment of guilt and embarrassment, it dawns on Denethor
that, rather than engaging in a useless hobby or whim, Faramir is
actually learning a valuable skill. I really liked the brief glimpse
of flustered!Denethor when he realizes that at some point he, too, had
to do his own mending while in the field; even better is his
discomfort at not being able to remember who taught him. You can
almost see him frantically worrying over forgetting such a tiny
detail, the way senior citizens panic over the idea of Alzheimer's
when they've forgotten to write something down on their grocery list.

And I laughed out loud over the fact that, once again, Denethor has
underestimated Nanny. The score stands: Nanny 482, Denethor 3. Nanny
for the win!

Title: Drawing Straight With Crooked Lines · Author: Fiondil · Genres:
Drama · ID: 76
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-26 14:19:46
In this thoughtful story, a grief-stricken and remorseful Boromir,
newly arrived in the Halls of Mandos, is forced to examine the
consequences of his recent actions.. Considering various scenarios of
what might have happened, had he not spurred Frodo to immediate
decision and action, leads him to realize that his purpose was far
greater than anything he had ever imagined, and he is able of find a
new measure of peace within himself.

I really like the way RecentlyDeceased!Boromir hasn't had the
opportunity to change very much yet from Live!Boromir. After his
initial confusion and discomfiture, he recovers his wits quickly
enough that in his Socratic discussion with Namo, Gatekeeper and
Doomsman of Arda, he is able to discourse with his characteristic
forthrightness and passion. It's quite intriguing to see him faced
with the uncomfortable truth that his own death was the key to many
others moving on to meet the fates that were appointed for them. I
also like that he finds such a warm and compassionate listener for his
fears and insecurities. Would that he had had such a wise and generous
confidant while he lived! An unusual tale, very well-told.

Title: A Thankless Task · Author: EdorasLass · Genres: Drama: Youth ·
ID: 49
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-26 14:21:06
A companion piece to [A Useful Skill]. What fun to see Boromir the
Bold as a spoiled, temperamental, self-centered git! He's just at the
age here to be very full of himself, just discovering (and quite
pleased to discover) his Rightful Place In The Universe. Faramir and
Nanny are there to burst his bubble, just a bit; but to the surprise
of those two, and the wide-eyed readers of the story, things do not
turn out quite as expected.

The characterizations here are perfect: Boromir pulling a hissy fit
over being forced to do something he's not good at, Faramir being an
obnoxious prig as only a little brother can be, Denethor being overly
indulgent of his darling firstborn, Nanny washing her hands of the
whole matter. It's an interesting conflict, and a symbol of what most
certainly would have come about more often, had Nanny stayed around
just a bit too long with her boys. I really like Nanny's insight and
instinct as to how to choose her battles - she knows just when to
speak up, and when to pull back and let the chips, and learning
experiences, fall where they may.

Title: Elf Interrupted · Author: Fiondil · Races: Elves: Incomplete ·
ID: 77
Reviewer: Ellie · 2007-10-26 20:49:46
This story is easily one of the best Silmarillion stories I have ever
read (and continue to read). I have been an avid (or should that be
rabid?) reader for months and look forward to each update. Fiondil
does a wonderful job of painting a picture of what Mandos is like for
the reborn as well as what newq life is like for the reborn elves both
in Mandos and as they are reassimilated back into life in Aman among
both other reborn and among the "once born" (love that term). Fiondil
achieves this by beautiful imagery and characterizations not only of
the Valar but of the elves as well as he presents the new lives of
Glorfindel, Finrod, and other reborn original characters. The
adventures of the reborn as they assimilate are interesting and
nail-biting as well. The kings of Aman, Ingwe, Olwe, and Arafinwe, are
all presented in great majesty as well as great "humanity" as they are
depicted in their rolls as leaders. Fiondil also brings to light their
fraility as well in his depiction of the kings as fathers, brothers,
uncles, and grandfathers. The Valar are exquisitely brought to life as
being both beyond mortal and immortal comprehension in their
greatness, and yet as if they are mere children playing with the elves
in bemused wonder as if the elves are new toys or cute pets.

The descriptions of the land, the cities, the halls, and clothing and
food are all so vividly expressed, the reader is treated to a lesson
in many sciences just by reading a chapter for Fiondil's notes at the
end of the chapters are very informative. The amount of research that
goes into the fine details of this tale is awe inspiring. I have been
recommending this story to others to read for months now. I was
thrilled to see it nominated for an award.

Kudos to Fiondil on a job that is continually well done!

Title: Romance · Author: Greywing · Genres: Humor: Other Fixed-Length
Ficlet · ID: 375
Reviewer: Gandalfs apprentice · 2007-10-26 23:11:33
Greywing's special talent with words is in evidence here: funny,
moving and delightful! I particularly like the adverbs, the clever use
of the mundane (dessert) and the last three lines. It's really hard to
believe English is not her first language. I'd like to see one of her
drawings with this one!

A refreshing change from overly serious romance or the merely silly.

Title: The Boatbuilder · Author: DrummerWench · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond · ID: 536
Reviewer: Gandalfs apprentice · 2007-10-26 23:24:54
DrummerWench has a gift for the magic of everyday life, and the
telling of fables and tales in clear, simple language. In this one,
she evokes the sparkling bay and the white sails of San Francisco Bay,
and makes it a wholly natural environment for the last of the Elves
and the Shipbuilder, still doing his job after all these Ages. Dan
belongs in Sausalito, somehow, with the ponytail and silver hair.

I particularly like the AU reference to Narya and the palantir--no
complaints about canon from me. It's so carefully done, and brings
such meaning to the story. And the explanation--the Little People
didn't get it quite right--is exactly to be expected from an oral

Title: Honor Unabated · Author: Linaewen · Races: Men: Gondor · ID: 570
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-27 05:02:17
This story was new to me before MEFa and I'm delighted I discovered
it.Although, I'm not a fan of Denethor,this story made me feel for him
as he embarks of a journey of self awareness.A Very well written story.

Title: Taking Leave · Author: Soubrettina · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 326
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-27 05:04:05
This was a deeply moving story,which I just found through MEFA.
It was heartrending to see poor Eowyn thus.
I loved Aragorn's kindness,wisdom and compassion.
Uncomfortable and harrowing reading, but so it should be.Very well

Title: Seeking to Please · Author: Gwynnyd · Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring
War · ID: 193
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-27 05:30:30

This elegant vignette pre-supposes Aragorn's returning to Rivendell
between his departure at 20 and return at 49. Though Tolkien didn't
mention such a visit; Gwynnyd spins an enchanting tale of Aragorn,
somewhat older and wiser, encountering the she-Elf of his dreams once
more and responding to her in quite a different way than he did as a
callow, awestruck boy.

Eminently readable and quite enjoyable.

Title: The Young Knights · Author: Soledad · Races: Men: Gondor · ID: 98
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-10-27 11:53:13
The Youth of Gondor and Rohan meets in Lord Forlong's town for a
tournament and the knighting of a new Swan Knight. 13-year old Faramir
attends as guest of his grandfather, Prince Adrahil, and Boromir gets
a holiday from his duties to attend also, although Denethor thinks
tournaments are a waste of time. Readers of Isabeaus stories will find
some more familiar figures. I love Liahan as an earnest young page.

The story paints a vivid, colorful picture of a medieval tournament
and fair, Middle-earth style. It is told mostly from the point of view
of the children and the young man who gets knighted, which gives the
whole event a fresh, innocent flair, since it is for most of the young
people the first time they attend such an event. Although the fair
itself is a yearly occurrence, there is usually not a tournament and a
knighting. I love the children's game of who can name the various
coat-of-arms and the special competitions for the children during the
tournament. The tournament and the customs around it are very well
described. In the details it becomes clear that these are different
and rougher times than ours. Nobody minds bruises and the occasional
broken nose or dislocated joints or concussions during the games. It
is all for fun.

Title: Conversion · Author: Pentangle · Genres: Drama: With Aragorn ·
ID: 169
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-10-27 11:55:34
This is a very short story, but it conveys a profound Tolkienesque,
epic feel. A non-military survivor of the war who doesn't care which
army ruins his crop this time meets King Elessar and has an
eye-opening experience. I love the way the OC works up his resentment
and courage, and then, when he meets the Kings entourage, his
expectations are first met until Elessar turns everything upside down.
This encounter is very touching. Elessar is portrayed the way I think
Tolkien envisioned the King Returned to be. I love this sentence:
[Elessar is a fine name—a name steeped in history and portent—but they
should have named him Hope.] The character doesn't know what the
reader knows and that gives this statement even more impact.

Title: Green No Longer · Author: Allee · Genres: Drama: Vignette · ID: 666
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-10-27 12:00:14
This short vignette brings into stark relief the aftermath of the
Battle at Helm's Deep or for that matter all battles with a clever
play on the meanings of the word "green". I like the interplay between
Aragorn and Gimli.

Title: Concealment · Author: Marta · Genres: Romance: With Rohirrim ·
ID: 649
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-10-27 12:01:07
Boromir and Theodred are lovers in this story. But nobody knows in
Gondor, and Boromir is at pains to keep it that way. In his position
he can't let anything slip. Rohan seems to be more open to this kind
of thing, and Theodred lacks the understanding for Boromir's need of
concealment. But they are on Gondor's territory, and Theodred is
diplomat enough to play along. I like it that you show them as not
only lovers but also very good friends who care for their emotional
well-being. I love the solution to their dilemma of having no place to
meet. The description of the culture clash is very believable.

Title: Even Quicker Than Doubt · Author: Keiliss · Genres: Romance:
Second Age or Earlier · ID: 365
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-10-27 12:03:27
In this story the main characters Elrond, Erestor, Gil-Galad, and
Glorfindel meet, some for the first time, and the reader can watch
their relationships evolve. Elros stays more in the background,
although the parting from him is a major influence on Elrond's
development. I had tears in my eyes in chapter 18 watching Elrond's
grief after Elros is finally gone and was happy that at least Erestor
was there he could turn to. I like the way the reader encounters the
characters with their public face and then during the enfolding story,
like peeling back the layers of an onion, discovers what surprises lie
behind the public face (especially Glorfindel was not what I expected,
but I liked his flaw) and what causes them to act the way they do. The
Valar and their Herald play a rather chilling role in this tale. I
never looked at the story of the twins choice to become mortal or
elven quite this way, but it makes sense. This gives the fate of
Elrond and Elros an even more tragic flair.