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Msg# 8423

MEFA Reviews for November 17, 2007 (Part 2) Posted by Ann November 17, 2007 - 5:08:50 Topic ID# 8423
Title: First Flight Author: Isabeau of Greenlea Times: Mid Third
Age: 2851 - 3017 TA: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet ID: 513
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-11-07 00:35:45
I have always enjoyed the great Eagles from Isabeau's Hethverse. We
haven't seen them for some time in the current storyline, though, so
little episodes like this are a wonderful fix for me. Isabeau has
fleshed out both canon and semi-canonical individuals, giving them
unique personalities without overly anthropomorphizing, IMHO: they
are, in the end, still the majestic Eagles of Tolkien's vision, with
their own separate and consistent racial characteristics.

As so often, Isabeau mixes humor into a touching and uplifting story,
one that backfills a bit of history for a well-known Eagle family. The
light tone does not override the lovely character development,
however. Radagast is very well utilized and given an ideal personality
for his Maian role; his insights into the family dynamics and
exchanges with the Eagles are delightful in their own right.

But best of all, we see Gwaenaur, her husband and their sons at a very
critical moment in the life of a young Eagle. The different ways that
these much-loved brothers approach it are completely in tune with
their very disparate personalities, and the highlighting of Gwaihir's
name a perfect ending. Although it does make me wonder what
"Landroval" might mean...

Title: Wings Author: ErinRua Genres: Romance: With Rohirrim ID: 9
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2007-11-07 05:28:44
[Spoilers for plot details]

This is a lovely piece of work; lyrical and credible. Eomer, in love
with Lothiriel, sees the sea for the first time, in Dol Amroth with
Imrahil.

Eomer is a son of a kingdom that prizes the spoken word as much as the
written; and here we see that he has hidden depths of poetic fancy
within him, called forth by the sight of something so grand and
mysterious that he finds it hard to fully comprehend it, but yet
embraces it fully, much as he embraces his love for Lothiriel. The
literal and figurative broadening of Eomer's horizons is well-handled
here. A nice additional theme is the mutual admiration of Eomer and
Imrahil that deepens here into a son/father relationship.

I love the way the first and last paragraphs mirror each other with
the mention of the gulls; and the following line is particularly pretty:

[He hurled his heart to the wind and the sea, and the laughter of a
king spiraled skyward on the tilting of gulls' wings.]

Title: The Dancer Author: annmarwalk Genres: Drama: Minas Tirith
ID: 150
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2007-11-07 05:57:02
[Warning - Plot Spoilers Ahead]


This is so sad; poor Irilde, loved Denethor, saw him love another,
built a good life with a worthy man, and then lost husband and sons.
At least Denethor had two sons that survived, something to delight his
old age. And yet, Irilde is not a pathetic victim; she seems to accept
and go on and fail to despair.

Great descriptions of Denethor as a handsome and charismatic young man.

Title: Heart's Blood Author: ChristineX Genres: Romance ID: 709
Reviewer: stefaniab 2007-11-07 07:02:36
Ah, nothing like a heart pounding romance between a lovely Noldor
elleth with a death wish and Sauron. That's right, Mr. Dark Lord
himself. "Hearts Blood" is a Middle Earth version of the currently
popular dark romance genre, in which an innocent young girl finds love
in the arms of a mythic villian. You can't get much better (worse?)
than Sauron, who at first courts lovely Lithiniel only in her dreams.

ChristineX isteeps her prose with lush descriptive text appropriate to
this gothic, over-the-top tale. Though the love story sometimes gets a
bit too predictable, Christine's description of every day life in
Barad-Dur is quite imaginative. This is a good story for those hungry
for villian lover romances and anyone who wished Christine had chosen
the Phantom.




Title: Elements: Dreams of the Dead, Visions of the Living Author:
pipkinsweetgrass Genres: Alternate Universe: The Shire or Buckland
ID: 202
Reviewer: Marta 2007-11-07 14:48:24
[spoiler warnings]

I really enjoyed this series of vignettes about Pippin, Merry, and the
rest of the Fellowship. Your image of Pippin's and Merry's care for
one another was touching in its own, and I loved your discussion about
what Boromir learned from the hobbits. But where the story really
takes off is your treatment of Tolkien's claim that it was rumored the
Tooks had taken a fairy wife at some time. Tolkien says that the blood
of Numenor ran true in Faramir and Denethor but not in Boromir, so I
found it fascinating that a very similar thing was happening with
Pippin. And the consequences of that blood were well-handled.

A most enjoyable tale - first-rate Fellowship writing, but with a twist.

Title: Graceful and Green Author: Alawa Genres: Drama: Ithilien
ID: 62
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-11-07 15:33:29
Even now, over a year since I first read this, the mere sight of the
title conjures up beautiful and moving imagery. It is one of those
stories that fits so seamlessly into Tolkien's universe that I'll be
imagining it in the background whenever I read the books. More, the
author has filled a gap that I didn't even realize was there, and yet
is obvious in hindsight.

Sam is perhaps one of the most poignant and revealing PoVs that could
be chosen to tell this tale, with his unflinching honesty, plain
"working-Hobbit" speech, and his personal war demons to come to terms
with - some shared and some wholly his. Alawa has taken this character
and made him her own, giving us a pitch-perfect voice that brings me
to tears by the end, and has me repeatedly nodding in agreement,
sniffling or chuckling over his observations. And he is not the only
one: all the characterizations are uniformly well done.

This is also a story that bears several rereadings; at least each time
I read it I have been gifted with more insights. It is densely packed
with details and references, but still flows along smoothly:
uncontrived and clear connections being formed and reformed through
Sam's meandering but brightly truthful perspective. The reflective
tone of the story is consistent and beautifully managed throughout,
leading up to a wonderful moment within Henneth Annun and an ending
that binds the various elements together into one shining, brilliant
whole. The entire story feels right and perfect - something like this
must have happened, and Alawa's vision is one marvelous possible answer.

Title: In This These Days of Glory: From Spring to Autumn Author:
Dana Races: Hobbits: Gapfiller ID: 568
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 19:05:49
Ah, but it's been a time since I read this--the Time of Troubles from
the points of view of Lotho, Rosie, Folco, and several others, as
Lotho sees himself rising and foresees himself falling; as others see
the changes wrought by Lotho's giving himself to the evil pressed on
him by "Mr. White."

Yes, a dark time darkly told, the feelings of each individual palpable,

until the Light returned and Frodo came back, the one event each had
found himself or herself hoping for, even in the end....

Title: Drink Down the Sun Author: Michelle Races: Men: Eriador or
Rivendell ID: 355
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 19:15:17
Perhaps the best Aragorn's birth story I've come across--how does one
feel when a child is born safely? For Arathorn, who has foreseen his
child as an adult, it is as if he has indeed drunk the sun, filling
himself with Anor's light....

Very real, very heartwarming.

Superbly written.

Title: Stone from Above Author: Thundera Tiger Races: Men ID: 284
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 19:28:52
A marvelous tale of sacrifice, even if Hama was indeed already dying
as he recognized. But if his own death would leave the Light of a King
Returned for the future....

The desperation to see that last boulder dropped to the consternation
of Saruman's Uruks and Aragorn's safety is so well written!

Title: The Dryad Author: Imhiriel Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022
TA: General Drabble ID: 71
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-11-07 19:30:22
The entire concept of this drabble rings right and true. The author
manages once again to take a single curious allusion and weaves an
entire lustrous image out of it, with depth and beauty and a
compelling resonance with my personal vision of Arda. These may not be
Tolkien's words, but to me they capture the elemental nature of his world.

Although Imhiriel notes this is potentially AU, I'm not thrown off by
the idea of a dryad in Tolkien's universe. My goodness, with canon
spirits as ambiguous as Bombadil and Goldberry, and the Ents taking
care of partially sentient trees? The dryad fits right into the
mythology. Best of all, her existence provides a reason behind the
resolute loveliness of Ithilien. By all rights it should have been
completely despoiled by centuries of being hard against Mordor: Orcs
roaming throughout, streams that pour right off the Ephel Duath,
perpetually in the Shadow. The dryad's determined resistance not only
offers cover to her land's more mobile protectors, but no doubt
permeates even into their subconscious understanding. (And I love the
symmetry of Ithilien's tree-like guardian guarding her human Guardians!)

Then at the end, Tolkien's own words about Faramir echo through the
dryad's impression, perfectly capturing the Captain's character. It
makes it even more appropriate that this cherished Man becomes Prince
of her realm, for surely to him and his people the dryad will grant
blessing and benediction. Truly a magnificent work, Imhiriel!

Title: Magical Mystical Cave Author: Lily Races: Hobbits: Children
ID: 213
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 19:41:30
Once Frodo led Merry, age five, through mystical caverns of the
imagination, facing great falls, dragons (Merry would have preferred
unicorns), and trolls (or is it a centaur?).

A marvelous look at how Frodo's imagination fired that of both, and at
how play is as natural in its way to adults as to children.

Lovely work.

Title: Are You Going to Leave Me? Author: Llinos Genres: Drama:
With Merry ID: 142
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 20:04:41
How it was that Merry, in movie-verse, came to be found under the
troll, healed by Aragorn, and to run at the side of Pippin, first
after Aragorn at the Battle before the Black Gate.

Not Llinos's usual humor; marvelous in its telling nevertheless.

Title: Woven in Friendship Author: SlightlyTookish Races:
Cross-Cultural: With Pippin ID: 290
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 20:09:59
A tapestry of Eorl the Young, come to lead his folk to the needs of
Gondor, leads Pippin to memories of Boromir's horn, and a wish that
sparks a gift from Eomer and Eowyn to their smallest Swordthain.

Quiet yet powerful moment well told.

Title: Beginnings Author: Gwynnyd Genres: Romance: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlet ID: 503
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 20:21:47
The healers of the Houses of Healing are most skilled and learned, but
it appears there is much they could yet learn from the folk of Rohan;
and perhaps a better brew for willowbark tea is among them. And so
Eowyn offers her first gift beyond her company to Faramir.

Lovely!

Title: Kissing Hope Author: Linda hoyland Genres: Romance: Drabble
ID: 574
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 20:24:56
Yes, Hope he has been and continues to be, and now he is her Hope as
well. A gentle moment between future King and Queen as they take leave
of one another--with a kiss.

Title: Bathing Boromir Author: Marta Genres: Humor: Drabble ID: 645
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-07 20:26:56
Ah, but he would be a delectable sight--and experience! No wonder so
many wish to help him bathe! But there's always one to insist on
decorum! Rats!

A joy to read.

Title: Journey's End Author: Altariel Genres: Drama: Ithilien
ID: 442
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-11-07 20:48:04
Ah, this story is so lovely and understated and beautiful, with the
trademark Altariel ability to turn out a plethora of magical phrases
and descriptions: ["impossible courtesy", "fellow fools and hopefuls",
"soft grey speech", "a smile of unusual and vivid beauty";] and the
entirety of the heart-breaking paragraph that starts ["Oh, but these
new songs..."], to name a few. Marvelous tone and writing throughout,
and an ending that leaves me deeply contented.

Eilen's voice is extremely well done. She is calm and matter-of-fact
about the tragedies and triumphs of life, still sympathetic and kind
despite the trials she and her husband have endured. It is the mindset
required of someone brave and (yes) foolhardy enough to help resettle
once-abandoned and still dangerous lands. The piecemeal and casual way
that her own full story is told fits perfectly with her characterization.

I didn't guess at the identity of the rangers until the end, and my
suspicions (borne out by the responses of the vast majority of readers
*g*) do add an additional layer of enjoyment for me, watching two
well-loved individuals interact. But in the end, it really doesn't
matter who they are: for me, the emotional impact comes almost
entirely from Eilen and the settlers' stories and daily courage, and
the blessed peace of the Fourth Age they "woke up" to one day. Such a
wonderful, wonderful ground-level view of the Average Man meeting
adversity head on and still wanting to ["begin the dance again"].

The ends of many journeys are contained within: the end of evil, and
peace finally realized in Ithilien; the victorious struggle of
tenacious settlers from war to prosperity; and of dreams accomplished
for our beloved pair of Rangers.

Title: Perturbation of Fate Author: Rhapsody Genres: Drama:
General Drabble ID: 428
Reviewer: Marta 2007-11-08 01:54:55
This story has some exquisite imagery, from [Osse's sheltering arms]
to the whisper of the sea - it makes for a very vivid image, which
works very well for Maglor's role as bard. Nice work, Rhapsody.

Title: A Mother's Touch Author: Raksha the Demon Genres: Humor:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlet ID: 44
Reviewer: Marta 2007-11-08 02:53:08
Cute! This is a fun image of Smaug, and a good job of getting in lots
of dragony details. Truly the maternal instinct runs in all kinds of
species - even dragons.

Title: In Shadow Realm Author: Legolass Genres: Adventure ID: 266
Reviewer: aralas 2007-11-08 03:48:01
I have to bow to Legolass' genius in creating this almost epic tale.
The most outstanding feature of her writing is that she has woven a
fantastic yet believable story around one tiny detail in the books
that most people would have glossed over and not given a second
thought. The premis of her story is supportive of those in the books,
and the one AU element she incorporates into the story, even if
clearly AU, does not offend the canonical premises at all. It
astonishes me how she has incorporated several events from canon into
her original plot, bringing the readers back along well-trodden paths
we all love, revisiting the deeds of Aragorn, Legolas, Sam, Frodo and
the rest of the Fellowship during the Quest of the Ring, while letting
us revel in the excitement of new and unexpected developments. The
love she has for the well-known characters shines through every word,
while her OCs are wonderfully alive. As in her other stories, the deep
friendship between Aragorn and Legolas is not only poignantly
portrayed but is central to the story. In this story, their bonds with
numerous other characters - notably the other members of the
Fellowship, as well as Celeborn - also play an important role. The
active involvement of Celeborn in particular delights me, as we hardly
see him in a significant, meaty role elsewhere. The dialogs between
the characters - especially those between Aragorn and Legolas, between
Legolas and Celeborn at the end, and (I must mention this) the one
between Gimli and Elladan earlier on in the story - are superbly
articulated to drive home important points about unique
characteristics of each Race and the inter-racial relationships. This
is SO much more than an adventure story. All in all: a MUST READ!

Title: The Days of the King Author: Randomrattle Genres: Drama:
With Aragorn ID: 399
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-08 05:08:32
A sweet tale, if somewhat sad, and filled with mysticism. Love that
I'm not the only one to consider the manner in which water is
introduced into the city of Minas Tirith.

Title: Conjuror Author: Branwyn Races: Men: General Drabble ID: 432
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-08 05:11:59
Ah, Denethor fails to recognize the greatest difference between
Mithrandir and Sauron, that the former offers choice while the latter
would steal all choice away, imposing his own will on all. Like the
old story, the Wizard sells not solutions but seeds the purchaser must
nurture himself to bring them to fruition.

A good deal of punch once more in a small story.

Title: An Apple for Your Thoughts? Author: Demus Races:
Cross-Cultural: The Fellowship ID: 716
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-08 05:15:10
Wonderful to see another who has been as inspired by Baylor as I was.
A wonderful tale in the mode of ["The Care and Feeding of Hobbits"] in
which once more Boromir learns the intricacies of Shire relationships,
this time from Frodo. I've had folks offer a blossom for thoughts,
while Frodo offers an apple.

And the interaction between Merry and Pippin as they work out the
anxieties of the day is marvelous.

Title: Summer Daze Author: Marta Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring War
ID: 471
Reviewer: stefaniab 2007-11-08 06:11:16
This boy's deflowering tale is sweetly charming while taking on the
very controversial topic of sexuality in Middle Earth. Marta presents
us with a Gondor that has houses of prostitution and a young Faramir
painfully in the throes of teenaged boy horniness. The world of
"Summer Daze" is not a world of the ideal of courtly love or of
Victorian morality, which some Tolkien scholars have attributed to the
works of JRRT. Instead, in "Summer Daze" Marta creates a realistic,
not mythic, world, where people have occupations and Steward's sons
don't wait until they marry to lose their virginity. I applauded
Faramir in his awkward attempts to deal with his urges.

And thank you, Marta, for taking on the honorable Faramir, fairy tale
chaste Gondor fanon. I strongly agree with Marta's approach, myself,
but any fanfic aficionado with an open mind can appreciate this fine
story.

Title: Of the Silmarils Author: Isil Elensar Races: Elves:
Fixed-Length Ficlet ID: 111
Reviewer: stefaniab 2007-11-08 06:21:35
Am eery drabble series that deftly captures the beauty of the
Silmarils and their deadly affect on those that saw them. Feanor feels
their power as he creates them and their pull as the Valar endow the
jewels with a frightening fate their creator never could have imagined.