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Msg# 8415

MEFA Reviews for November 15, 2007 (Part 1) Posted by Ann November 15, 2007 - 5:05:41 Topic ID# 8415
Title: Fair Folk and Foul · Author: Adaneth · Races: Cross-Cultural ·
ID: 222
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:54:26
As the first part of the series, this, too, is a wonderfully intricate
exploration of clashes of opposing, or at least differing, cultures
and races: Dúnedain and Rangers, Elves and Dwarves, women and men
etc., amidst a fully-realised and very present landscape.

The new element some Rangers bring to this already heady mix gives
opportunity for new misunderstandings that for a time threaten the
still wary understanding the Dwarves and Saelon's people had reached
(and the Elves, too, begin to take an interest in the people settled
on their land).

It was very poignant that the Dwarves - the strangers - could
appreciate Saelon's qualities more than her own people, who either
held them in little regard, or took them for granted.

You show well the effect of many people circumstances force to live
together; as well as how the unlikely friendship between Veylin and
Saelon is not or wrongly understood by both races, and thus poisoned
by malicious or merely thoughtless insinuations, which force them to
self-consciously distance themselves from each other.

The hunt, fight and defeat of the mysterious "raug" was plotted well,
and had me holding my breath more than once.

Title: Tamer's Tale · Author: juno_magic · Races: Cross-Cultural · ID: 41
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:55:17
Evocative, elegant prose; a wonderful original character; and a
believable, moving and sensual romance. The unusual premise is handled
artfully, convincingly, and with a sensitive touch.

The introductory chapter perfectly sets the mood: the readers are
going to read a tale between truth and legend. The somewhat distant
PoV and and quickly passing time between episodes recounted in more
detail increases the feeling of reading a myth.

I like the idea of Gandalf having a small home somewhere for the few
times he allows himself some rest, and such a remote spot like Himling
seems the perfect place for him.

The story makes clear that Gandalf is both "human" and Istar, but
still it takes experiencing the most profound emotions and sensations
- love and desire - to really reach the deepest understanding of what
it means to be more than spirit, to be a Child of Ilúvatar.

Title: An Alphabet for Middle-earth · Author: Dreamflower · Races:
Cross-Cultural · ID: 231
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:55:34
A kaleidoscope of very different and varied views of Middle-earth,
giving insight into both familiar characters and situations and
exploring "nooks and crannies" or unusual viewpoints.

All are intriguing (even if I think some miss some inner tension), and
I especially enjoyed the prompts for F, Q, W, and X.

Title: A New Reckoning · Author: Dreamflower · Races: Cross-Cultural ·
ID: 308
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:56:13
A sweeping, well-paced plot (although some passages seem a little
choppy). The constantly shifting PoVs work well here to paint an
intricate picture of a great many plot threads.

The great cast is handled expertly, all characters are distinct and
appropriate for their respective cultures. The appropriate moods and
emotions are conveyed very well, from suspense to action, from drama
to humour (I very much enjoyed Sam's plight concerning saying
"proper"). I also liked how you wrote the more unpleasant Hobbits.

The story contains some of my favourite subjects in Hobbit stories:
other Hobbits learning of events in the outer world & the four
Travellers' contributions, and the Shire coming into more contact with
this wider world.

There are also some other thought-provoing topics: long-time results
of the Travellers' injuries and of the Troubles, what to do with
Saruman's "leavings" in Orthanc etc.

Title: Property Rights · Author: Salsify · Races: Cross-Cultural · ID: 74
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:57:14
An unusual look at and interpretation of the acrimonious encounter
between Thorin and Bard in TH. The story explains credibly why both,
Man and Dwarf, were so unyielding in their demands and not given to
reconciliation. And yet, once each side has persevered over the other,
they are prepared to become allies once again as in the past - this
fact lends the story even more edge.

Taking this almost overlooked passage from the Appendices, this draws
a believable history between Dragons, Dwarves and Men, and how
prejudices and merely using one's own limited viewpoint can influence
decisions and behaviour between different people.

Title: The Horses of Eorl · Author: Branwyn · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Drabble · ID: 477
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:58:16
A very imaginative gapfiller. I had never thought that it might be
possible the horses abducted from Rohan could be recovered after the
war. A very hopeful outlook, despite the present difficulties!

And yet, it is understandable that these horses would need much time,
care and affection after their surely terrible experiences. It shows
the particular Rohirric culture and the bond the Rohirrim have with
their horses that they are as concerned about them as about the
healing of their people and their lands. I like the sudden detail of
Éomer being touched by their plight.

And Radagast seems a logical choice as a helper and healer for these
traumatised horses, as evidenced already by his name: ["tender of
beasts"], and the fact that in FotR he is described as having ["much
lore of herbs and beasts"]. Reminding the readers of the connection of
Radagast living in Rhosgobel and the prior home of the Éothéod in the
vicinity gave the drabble an additional layer due to the combination
of relatively obscure canon facts.

Title: Maiden Voyage · Author: Fawsley · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Drabble · ID: 654
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 15:59:02
Wonderfully descriptive. As each new landmark appears and is evoked
with just a few brief words, and then passes as attention is drawn to
the next one, the readers can really put themselves in the shoes of
Legolas and Gimli as they the boat slowly glides by and they sail past
for the last time on their way to Valinor.

There is a melancholy and wistfulness about this last view of the
outer edges of Middle-earth, but also a subtle and very quiet
expectancy and excitedness as the thoughts slowly turn away from what
they leave behind toward that what lies in front.

The drabble also conveys that this is for both an extraordinary
journey, not only for its final destination, but also because they are
both in unfamiliar territory.

I very much appreciate that you leave the specifics of the "working"
of the Straight Road to the readers' imagination; just using a few
carefully chosen, poignant words to convey enough of the picture. It
strengthens the mystery of this "process", and is a very graceful and
dreamy conclusion to the drabble.

Title: Multicultural Interactions · Author: annmarwalk · Races:
Cross-Cultural: Gondor · ID: 18
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 16:00:14
Excellent characterisation and an entertaining and evocative narrative

I can clearly see the heritage of their parents in the children, as
well as the cultural influence of their different races, and yet they
are uniquely their own, individual persons.

Elboron is so delightedly adolescent: uncoordinated, over-eager,
oblivious to what's going on in front of his nose and yet curious
about a great many things. His voice has this tone of one very much
wanting to be grown up, but who has not left the last traces of
childhood behind yet. He is his father's son in his courtesy and his
interest in words, and in the elegant way he tells his story, and his
mother's in forthrightness.

And Elanor is a pure delight; so much a child of the Shire that Sam
and Rosie exemplify so very much: down to earth, friendly and polite,
and interested in nature; and her voice, too, sounds completely authentic.

Title: Dissonance · Author: EdorasLass · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor
· ID: 450
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-02 16:00:44
The readers are immediately right along the narrator, wondering with
the narrator about the mysterious patient, experiencing the story
through all her senses.

She is characterised well, not only by happenings in the main story,
but also by her asides, which evoke her world in swift little details.

The beginning paragraphs serve to establish her as a perceptive
observer, so it is entirely natural that through her eyes, we get such
a detailed picture of the Southron - not only as a subject observed,
but as a character in his own right.

The open and melancholy end resonates long after this brief story is

Title: Wind of Change · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Crossover · ID: 669
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-11-02 16:08:57
Relentless time and the constant development of new world conflicts
had made me forget much about this moment in history until I read
["Wind of Change"]. The fall of the Berlin Wall happened during a very
impressionable time in my life, yet it's hard now to recall that this
important city was once divided; it is a joy to remember the
jubilation and satisfaction that came with its dismantling. In this
story, Imhiriel adroitly captures the generous nature and heart-felt
rejoicing of a population reunited. Historical details and snippets
from photographs of the event are smoothly blended into the narrative
and turned to her own use, giving this a solid feel of reality and
possibility. Who's to say it didn't happen just like this?

Maglor is placed into this background with firm certainty and
credibility of purpose: alone in the world, he seems to be drawn
almost against his will to share in a celebration where he will not
stand out or be commented on. His description is brought out gradually
and naturally, until there can be no doubt as to who he is even though
his name is never stated.

The distant third-person PoV is handled very well, and makes me feel a
bit like I am watching a documentary, lending to the historical
atmosphere of the piece; the other effect is to leave Maglor's actual
reasoning and feelings open to interpretation, but the author still
gives us much insight into this enigmatic being. His interactions with
the people around him are wonderful, particularly the family, and it
is through these that we catch glimpses of both his past and his present.

The final scene of him singing is simply beautiful and extremely well
described. I particularly love the imagery surrounding his voice, and
that it did not drown out the human voices but uplifted and enhanced them.

Title: 13th Birthday · Author: stefaniab · Races: Men: Gondor · ID: 138
Reviewer: Altariel · 2007-11-02 16:18:24
Charming and funny story about Faramir's coming-of-age, abetted by his
older brother, and with a touching portrait of their father.

Title: First Among Equals · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Adventure:
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 564
Reviewer: Altariel · 2007-11-02 16:23:39
I like these glimpses of Faramir's transition from untried to blooded
soldier, with [fear forgotten].

Title: Seeing Red · Author: Linda hoyland · Genres: Humor: Drabble ·
ID: 121
Reviewer: Altariel · 2007-11-02 16:26:37
Very funny! I can picture movie!Faramir's bottom lip wobbling.

Title: Measures of Time · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Romance:
Gondor · ID: 50
Reviewer: Altariel · 2007-11-02 16:34:47
How hard for Eowyn, to feel that she is slipping away from Faramir;
how hard for Faramir, to see her ageing and slipping away. What I like
most about this beautifully characterized short piece is that Faramir
does not comfort or coddle Eowyn: he simply continues to treat her
with the respect, love, and admiration that have always been her due.

Title: Gondor's Sons · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Drama:
Vignette · ID: 728
Reviewer: Altariel · 2007-11-02 16:39:42
["Unlikely brothers"] touched me very much. I'm glad that the two
kings were there for him, when Boromir could not be, even if Eomer
couldn't stop talking about horses! And then he sees his brother in
his son - and hence the name. In the second piece, I loved Aragorn's
generosity, to be pleased that Faramir's son - named to commemorate
Boromor - was born in the city first.

Title: Heart of Lamedon · Author: Nancy Brooke · Races: Men: Gondor
Drabble · ID: 288
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-11-02 18:59:41
It has been a while since I read this drabble, but it still gives me
the chills. Nancy writes a very powerful, rightfully so angered Angbor
who feels that this [this ragged eagle of a man] initially has no
business to challenge him so. In a way this immediately reminded me of
proud Boromir who so desperately tried to rally Aragorn to aid Gondor.
Lamedon as a province in Gondor enjoyed a somewhat more secured
position and Angbor realises that as his opinion slowly turns, still
his ire and strenght is there, but I think Nancy sets up a great
premise in this drabble for what will follow next. Aragorn aims truly
for the heart of Lamedon (Nancy handles the metaphors in an incredible
manner, but not too much) and knows how to play this character very
well. This is a nice gapfillerish drabble that also serves as a
characterpiece with beautiful language which gives this story that
elegant touch.

Title: A Ranger's Love (Song to Arda) · Author: Michelle · Races: Men:
Eriador or Rivendell · ID: 112
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-11-02 19:20:18
[this review contains spoilers]

This piece conveys so much that at first I thought that this could be
any ranger that served Arda and her inhabitants. This ficlet stands
out in its poetic elegance and meter (with a perfectly balanced
pacing), where the character of this piece paints a beautiful portrait
of mistress he serves. I found it a marvellous reading experience
because it gives you the feeling you are reading a poem. The woman
Aragorn so loves can either be forgiving and cruel, and Michelle
portrays this by letting Aragorn reflect on every season and at the
same time captures a deep longing within him as well: he knows he has
to wait, to stand by and serve. To frame this moment and the moments
within, this ranger finds himself in comes with such visual strength:
it is as if you observe the world through his eyes. Michelle achieves
this with well chosen words, perhaps to some it might be too
enomically written, but for me the words serve their purpose extremely

[He has fallen in love. And he has been embraced.]

This is such a great line! This ode to Arda is such a treat that you
don't want to miss!

Title: A Princeling Lost · Author: Cuthalion · Genres: Humor: Gondor
or Rohan · ID: 795
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-03 02:17:45
A pleasant romp in the woods of Ithilien; as little Elboron plays
truant from the ghastly chore of getting dressed up for the King's
visit. Intriguing use of an OFC and Damrod. Excellent characterisation
of Elboron, and nice descriptions, too.

Title: Domestic Crisis · Author: SurgicalSteel · Races: Men: Eriador
or Rivendell · ID: 729
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-03 02:40:56
A charming look into the family dynamics of the household that
Serinde, Surgical Steel's Gondorian surgeon OFC, has set up in Bree
with Halbarad. Here, Halbarad's scapegrace brother Thalguron is trying
to do something right for a change, and actually pulls it off rather
well. I liked the interaction between Thalguron and little Tarie;
there's a bit of the big kid in the immature-for-his-age Thalguron,
and that enables him, along with some native cunning, to look after
his small niece even though he is not used to babysitting.

Title: Firelight · Author: Songspinner · Genres: Drama: Ithilien · ID: 817
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-11-03 16:46:28
Beautiful story with lots of nice character moments for the Fellowship
in Ithilien. I particularly liked the many ways fire was used - that
was very cleverly done, and a good way to drive home the diversity of
the many types of situations these characters have faced.

Title: Circumstances · Author: Marta · Genres: Drama: Gondor Drabble ·
ID: 621
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-03 20:21:07
In this drabble, Denethor's semi-canonical older sisters watch Captain
Thorongil dancing, and offer thoughts on the enigmatic outlander.
Marta paints the ladies well; complacent in their [high lineage] but
attracted to Thorongil nonetheless. The tone seems rather Austenesque,
but it works very well here.

Title: Wings · Author: ErinRua · Genres: Romance: With Rohirrim · ID: 9
Reviewer: Deandra · 2007-11-03 22:35:05
The author considers this work a bit fluffy, and so it is, but
delightful fluff for certain. Eomer is often portrayed as gruff and
stern, and possibly he was during the bleak war years, but I prefer to
believe that peace and finding love would change that. I can well
imagine the setting of this piece, and we share in his discovery of
why he loves. The tale also presents a nice glimpse of his gratitude
for life and those around him. We cannot help but see a shining future
for Rohan's king and his bride, and we are not surprised that he will
eventually be labeled Eadig - blessed.

The story is simply written but rich in details, and a most enjoyable
read, particularly when life is harried and you need something to
uplift you.

Title: The Tragedye of Leaflet, Prince of Mirkwood · Author: Jael ·
Genres: Humor: Parody · ID: 243
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-04 02:28:54

A masterful slight-of-literary-hand, with various characters and
history from Middle-earth transposed onto "Hamlet", with Legolas in
the starring role. Lots of innuendo and plenty of amusement.

My favorite bit is this, which I find a rather hilarious notion:

[FIRST ELF: Aye, mad as a Gwaeron hare! He runs in the snow in light
elven-shoes, sleeps with his eyes open, and removes the saddle from
his horse. At wits' end, our King Thranduil sends him to Imladris, as
it is supposed 'twill not be noticed there.]

Title: Counsel · Author: Alassiel · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor ·
ID: 292
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-04 14:20:11
Written in a gentle, elegant and restrained way. There is a fine
balance between giving details to bring the scene to life, and a
tantalising, dreamlike vagueness, which fits so very well with this
mysterious, improbable encounter between Aragorn and Finrod.

I also like the balance between awe at this momentuous time, and
downright friendly companionship between the two kings.

Obscure (semi-)canon details are woven smoothly into the narrative.

Finrod's thoughts on true kingship show his greatness, and I feel sure
Aragorn will heed his advice and follow in his footsteps.

Title: Tea and Seedcake and the Influence of Hobbits · Author: Baggins
Babe · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor · ID: 492
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-04 14:20:27
Detailed and evocative descriptions of the appearance of Minas Tirith
and the teeming life within.

It was fascinating to see through the eyes of your original character
what a few years of peace under the reign of the King have wrought of
changes in the city.