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Msg# 8440

MEFA Reviews for November 24, 2007 (Part 2) Posted by Ann November 24, 2007 - 6:02:19 Topic ID# 8440
Title: For everything, there is a season · Author: Tanaqui · Genres:
Drama: Gondor Drabble · ID: 696
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-11-18 22:53:02
There is a simple beauty to this drabble about how the statue of the
king Sam and Frodo see in Ithilien got its crown of flowers. The
natural imagery is beautiful, but it is also symbolic, hinting at how
Gondor is healing itself and remembering the heritage of the kings.
It's a fine example of the author's skill at drabble-writing.

Title: The End of Dark Days · Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass CoAuthors
· Genres: Drama: Minas Tirith · ID: 56
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-11-19 03:18:12
[slight spoilers]

This is an endearing story, cowritten by two of my favorite authors
and involving two of my favorite of their original characters.
(Mormegil would give Mag and Nanny a run for their money, though I
can't imagine anyone ever displacing those two. *g*)

It's a fun reunion to see, but it also has much to commend it for
people who aren't always looking for more with these delightful OCs.
The first chapter especially has a great sense of the despair and
angst that comes from lack of information, as we moderns can testify
to (in a more limited way) who have had to wait for news of family
members in the wake of Katrina, 9/11, the Virginia Tech shootings,
etc. And then in the last chapter we see a lovely commentary on the
Faramir/Eowyn romance. Really nice stuff throughout! I think all fans
of Gondor and especially of Mag and Nanny should check this one out.

Title: A Mother's Work · Author: Dreamflower · Races: Hobbits:
Vignette · ID: 134
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-19 03:32:26
A lively quartet of vignettes about the childhood of the 'Fab Four' of
the Shire, from the viewpoint of their mothers. Dreamflower is an
outstanding writer of hobbits; I love the rich details about the
halflings' home life. All of these are wonderfully written; but my
favorite is the chapter about the overworked but sensible and
good-humored Bell Gamgee.

Title: Twice blessed is help unlooked for · Author: Tanaqui · Times:
Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA: Gondor Drabble · ID: 631
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-19 05:36:21
Splendid little drabble that conveys, in a brilliant first paragraph,
the sheer weariness of desperate battle, and then brings hope in the
person of a long-gone hero.

Title: Blades of the Downfallen West · Author: Tanaqui · Genres:
Drama: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 441
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-19 05:52:31
There's a beautiful symmetry to these two linked drabbles; one from
the viewpoint of the Witch-King and the other from Merry's, as Merry
raises the West-forged blade and strikes the demon lord. A powerful

Title: Just Deserts · Author: Gwynnyd · Races: Hobbits: Drabble · ID: 505
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-11-19 15:01:39
Sweet! And it's so like Merry and Pippin --especially Pippin-- to be
frustrated with having to wait. You fleshed out this scene really nicely.

Title: Subdivisions · Author: Aliana · Genres: Alternate Universe:
Gondor or Rohan · ID: 551
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-11-19 20:39:19
I never would have thought I'd enjoy post-modern Middle-earth stories
until reading Aliana's versions of it. It doesn't hurt that I'm deeply
smitten with her serious fic, ["Fallen"], from which these spring. But
her spin-offs are funny and thought-provoking even without that
previous familiarity; they touch on universal human truths, sneakily
couched in a delightful blend of M-e and current times.

In ["Subdivisions"], the characters who were once involved in the Ring
War are faced with a common modern-day trade-off: prosperity bought at
the price of a land's soul. The disposable society has led to a better
life for many, but it often also seems to cheapen things; there really
is that sense of nostalgia for the "olden days", which hindsight
renders in glowing colors. Of course, the olden days had their own
problems, and Aliana uses her characters to great effect to explore
the complex issue of accepting the cost of progress and the different
viewpoints of those involved.

Well-constructed and written with a light but insightful tone, this
blends humor and profundity in just the right mixture, leaving me
laughing out loud even as the voice in my head says, "Too true - all
too true."

Title: Helping Hands · Author: Llinos · Races: Hobbits: Drabble · ID: 615
Reviewer: White Wolf · 2007-11-20 00:54:13
These four little stories feature a different hobbit in need of
comfort. While not connected by plot, they come together to
demonstrate how much solace can be given by the simplest acts of kindness.

Title: No Pain, No Gain · Author: annmarwalk · Genres: Humor: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 435
Reviewer: White Wolf · 2007-11-20 01:07:51
These little stories show how you can take identical dialogue and
apply them to entirely different situations. Either alone would be a
cute story, but together they are unique.

Title: Counsel · Author: Alassiel · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor ·
ID: 292
Reviewer: Marta · 2007-11-20 01:52:16
Oh, now this is a fascinating story id! I never would have thought
about the connection between these characters, but you flesh out that
relationship nicely. Even more than that, you walk the line between a
sympathetic Aragorn and one who is weak. I really liked this snapshot
into his psyche.

Title: Stricken From the Book · Author: Larner · Genres: Drama: The
Shire · ID: 348
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-20 06:01:58
A bittersweet vignette of legal and personal consequences of the Ring
War to Frodo and some of the remaining Baggins clan. Meticulously and
realistically written.

Title: Go Out in Joy · Author: Larner · Genres: Alternate Universe:
The Shire or Buckland · ID: 145
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-11-20 06:59:01
[warning - some plot spoilers]

A sad but quite worthwhile story that follows the course of what would
have happened had Frodo decided to remain in the Shire to die rather
than accompanying Bilbo into the West. Frodo's reasoning is entirely
credible, and his fierce determination to live and die as a hobbit of
the Shire quite touching.

Interesting, though rather horrific, bit about the legacy of Shelob.

Title: Iron to Iron · Author: mrkinch · Times: Second Age: Drabble ·
ID: 662
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:24:29
The premise of this drabble caught me quite by surprise - and it was
executed fantastically!

I always love reading stories from unusual perspectives, but it is
difficult to get right, and you have caught exactly the right tone for
the light: the readers can almost feel the yearning of this imprisoned
light to be free, and the original "goodness" twisted by captivity to
hate against any of the captors, making no difference between Fëanor
and the "ultimative evil" Morgoth.

There are some lovely descriptions in this drabble that really bring
out and emphasise the beauty of the Silmarils, and then the contrast
to their dark imprisonment.

I especially liked the emphasis that Fëanor did *not* make the light
itself, he merely used it as part of his creation.

Title: A Very Rain of Sparrows · Author: Dwimordene · Races: Men · ID: 440
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:24:41
An unusual perspective on the Kin-Strife. The PoV from the bottom, of
some poor, common people, many of them young ones, is used
consistently and effectively. The "pig picture" of politics and civil
war impinges only indirectly on their daily lives - or if it has
direct effect, they are unable to set it in context.

Using the few existing snippets of canon, extrapolations and new
creations are integrated smoothly and convincingly.

I admit it was difficult to really get close to the characters because
I had to work so hard to understand the dialect. Nonetheless, they
provide a moving insight into the universal theme of common people
getting ground under the wheels of decisions by those ruling over them.

Title: Reunion · Author: Fawsley · Times: Fourth Age and Beyond:
Drabble · ID: 489
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:24:58
Wonderful juxtaposition between the past of the original characters as
soldier and his present as an old man. My favourite passage was the
second paragraph, with the contrast between having dealt quick death,
and now receiving a slow death of old age in return.

The depiction of his aging is conveyed in evocative language. You
don't omit the indignities or shortcomings that come with failing
senses, and yet his still clear mind and proud bearing come shining

A wonderful notion that Faramir would want Aragorn to visit his old
comrade. The soldier's attachment to the Steward's family is evoked in
just a few brief words.

Title: The Stranger · Author: mistycracraft · Races: Men: Eriador or
Rivendell · ID: 89
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:25:23
Appearances can certainly be deceiving! A suspenseful look at
"Strider" at his most grim and sinister, reminiscent of the Hobbits'
first impression in the Prancing Pony. And just as they, the OC, too,
has a lesson to learn about "seeming foul but feeling fair" as he gets
to know this mysterious man better.

Title: No Escape · Author: Aranel Took · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 324
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:26:00
A powerful drabble, compelling and wrenching.

The repetition of the phrase ["There was no escape."] increases the
tension, gives the drabble a driving rhythm, and evokes the
hopelessness and inevitable doom of the situation. It also reminds me
of the Moria chapter in LotR, where Tolkien uses the drums heard in
the deep to increase the urgency and danger the Fellowship is in.

The way the characters are described makes them immediately
recognisable as Dwarves, without the need to belabour the point. The
emotions are conveyed in a very tangible way.

What also moved me was how you indirectly included even the fate of
the Dwarven men in the drabble, and how this fate was conveyed so
tellingly in an absence, their voices no longer audible, whereas those
of their foe (the Balrog?) is all the more present and loud.

The last paragraph - together with the final ["There was no escape."],
which here takes on an utterly tragic double-meaning - was delivered
with flawless timing, all the more effective for being left unspoken,
but seemingly seen as inevitable.

Title: Ten Thousand Years · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA · ID: 565
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:26:22
Excellent descriptions of settings and mood - Boromir's moody
restlessness in the rain is conveyed very vividly.

The interaction between Arwen and Boromir in all its nuances, from
awkward and wary to more open and friendly, was written very well, the
easing tensions built smoothly into dialogue and description.

Arwen unveiling the banner was a powerful moment, especially in front
of Boromir of all people, who has so obvious doubts about Aragorn's
claim. Her own hard-won certainty of the rightness of the claim must
have cleared his own rather confused feelings and preconceived
notions, the better to analyse them with calm and reason.

Also an unusual twist was that Boromir would sooner acknowledge Arwen
as Queen than Aragorn as King. It showed that he recognised her as the
strong character she is, that she is more than a "trophy bride", that
she, too, has a part to play in making the Return of the King possible.

Title: A Little Knowledge Can Be A Dangerous Thing · Author: Tanaqui ·
Races: Men: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 352
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:26:39
Wonderful character portraits, written in an engaging, precise style,
with carefully chosen, vivid descriptions.

I love the idea of Arwen and Aragorn "bonding" with Faramir over the
books Arwen brought from Elrond - it is really a pity Faramir never
saw the centre of lore and learning that is Imladris (at least in
canon), and that there must have been little opportunity for him to
converse with Elrond.

It's really moving and (amusing in places) how both Arwen and Aragorn
enjoy Faramir's enthusiasm and try their best to encourage and support it.

A further plot thread introduced smoothly into this sequence was
Aragorn's in fanon well-established dislike of fancy court clothes. A
cunning trick, to divert the funds for more pleasurable expenses...

I especially like the image of a nervous Arwen in the first drabble
and, predicatably *g*, that of Faramir drying himself after sluicing
["away the day's dirt with cool water"].

Title: Glimpses from Cormallen · Author: Marigold · Times: Late Third
Age: 3018-3022 TA: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 614
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:27:01
Sweet, but not too sweet, snapshots of Pippin's recovery from
Cormallen. I like the sense of deep friendship between the member of
the Fellowship appearing in the series, in particular, of course, that
between Merry and Pippin.

Telling little details of Pippin's injury and the healing process.
Nice incorporation of Merry's (future) interest in herblore mentioned
in the prologue.

Title: Brothers at Heart · Author: Radbooks · Times: Mid Third Age:
2851 - 3017 TA · ID: 330
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:27:55
I still stand by my last year's review, but have tried to not repeat
*everything* for this year's MEFAs *g*.

This is a thoroughly engaging, exciting, well-plotted and entertaining
story! Wonderful characterisations all round, with a host of OCs that
feel distinct and real, each with their own motivations and foibles,
showing a broad range of reactions to their returned Chieftain with
his Elvish upbringing far from his people.

Aragorn in his first months of taking up the Chieftainship of the
Dúnedain, his gradual maturing as he comes to to get to know his
people and his place among them is depicted believably and
evocatively, and with a real character arc. His bond with Halbarad is
especially important for him, not only because of their friendship,
but also because Halbarad provides an intimate link to his heritage.

Your version of the village life in the Angle (although I still have
reservations about some details *g*) is plausible, and rendered with
an intricate, descriptive depth of detail.

Title: Holding onto Hope · Author: Alassante · Times: First Age and
Prior · ID: 368
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2007-11-20 12:29:01
An evocative beginning that sets the scene very well, showing Maedhros
inner condition that Celebrimbor has come to change. It's an
unexpected, but believable twist to have Celebrimbor be the one to
rouse Maedhros from his self-imposed exile, not his own brothers
and/or Fingon. I can well believe that Maedhros would be too proud to
let himself be seen by his brothers other than at his best, and
Celebrimbor gives him the incentive he needed to actually want it again.

Title: Triolet: The Weaver's Song · Author: annmarwalk · Genres:
Poetry · ID: 553
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-11-20 18:31:28
Oh my gosh! I thoroughly enjoyed these. I loved Boromir's cloak, and
the flowers - which is which just still makes me giggle; and dearest
Imrahil - yes indeed, time for a pony.

Oh dear - I'm still giggling - delightful triolet. Thank you.

Title: Soap · Author: Aliana · Genres: Alternate Universe: Gondor or
Rohan · ID: 552
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-11-20 18:31:29
Excellent, excellent and evocative look at grief, in wartime or any
time. It really is a missing scene from ["Fallen"], but the themes are
so universal that I don't think any knowledge of that storyline is
necessary. This is representative of anyone dealing with a great loss,
and it's a wonderful bonus that it additionally fleshes out Aliana's
wonderful OCs for those of us who already love and root for them.

I loved the interactions between Beren and his future wife, and his
reflections about how they are both being rather boring. It's very
funny and true-life to me that they had such an awful first date, and
yet ended up married. Crazy Lou and his restaurant are just... awesome.

Beren's attempts to encapsulate his grief over Tarondor and hide it,
to carry on in a fantasy world, speaks clearly to all of us who've
been there. The breaking of his bubble is handled very well, with
inspired imagery used throughout. It's bittersweet and moving, and I
love the bleak way he starts to come to terms at the end. Tarondor's
death will always leave a hole in Beren's life, one of those things
never truly filled no matter how terrific future friendships may be,
but Beren is at least learning to live with it.

Title: Fruition · Author: EdorasLass · Genres: Alternate Universe:
Gondor or Rohan · ID: 7
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-11-20 18:33:14
Edoraslass has managed to take one of my all-time favorite LotR
characters and completely, totally twist said character into Evil.
Augh!! It speaks volumes of her writing skill that she pulls it off
with brilliance and that I still enjoy this story so much.

The premise is scary, and quite likely something that *was* brewing in
the background during various points in Gondor's history. The lust for
power can lead to truly atrocious deeds, and - if one is willing to
step away from Tolkien's Ideal Society for a moment - who more likely
than one of the most powerful families in the land? So close to the
ultimate authority, yet not quite there... A situation that could be
rife for envious greed.

Excellent writing, with the true villains only coming to light well
into the piece, and just enough detail and interaction to enhance its
plausibility - I sometimes think that "less is better" with the more
outrageous AUs, and the author carries this off well. I am left avidly
speculating afterwards.