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Msg# 9534

MEFA Reviews for Saturday, November 8, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 08, 2008 - 20:52:28 Topic ID# 9534
Title: Wave-Singer · Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · Genres:
Alternate Universe: Drabbles · ID: 33
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 01:53:44
Aaah, I think I remember this from a previous Hallowe'en - and I loved
the concept then that the last of the Feanorians still walked beside
the sea singing of all he had lost. Your last line is particularly
plaintive and wonderfully expressive in so very few words.

Title: Handy With A Sword · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Romance: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 437
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 02:03:49
I loved the lead up to that verse, with which I was not familiar, but
yes, it is the perfect ballad to equate with Faramir. It certainly
made me smile when I read it!

Title: Spiced Wine On A Snowy Day · Author: Nieriel Raina · Races:
Elves: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 558
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 02:26:13
This is a very thoughtful and well considered picture of friendship -
apart from putting potpourri in wine, that I can't imagine *g* Apart
from my reaction being much the same as Glorfindal's. The descriptions
convey a great sense of peace and restfulness, but my chief reason for
commenting is the final line - a sentance that brings the whole text
alive with meaning, and puts the conversation into a poignant context.

Title: Pippin (Paladin) Had a Little Lamb · Author: Cathleen · Genres:
Humor · ID: 629
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-08 02:28:46
Cathleen has created a lovely world for little Pippin and his family,
and the chief OC is Pippin's knitted piggy, Tulip. But in this story
we learn of another Person of the Fabric Persuasion, as Sammy-Lamby
comes to join the family.

I think the most delightful part of this is how clearly the saying
["like father, like son"] applies to Paladin and Pippin, and how
Eglantine loves to indulge both her lads!

Title: Galdor: An Elf By Any Other Name.... · Author: Marta · Genres:
Non-Fiction: Character Studies · ID: 475
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-08 02:29:04
I love the way Marta shows the process she used in coming up with her
conclusions about Galdor's back-story. I think that extrapolating from
canon is the best way to devise a strong "fanon" assumption. She uses
the very few hints JRRT gives us to extrapolate a plausible, if not
necessarily probable, story-internal explanation for who and what
Galdor was! A very good job, and a classic use of scholarship. It's a
very good way for a fanfic writer to approach a minor canon character
that they wish to use.

Title: Candles · Author: Gentle Hobbit · Races: Hobbits: Post-Ring War
· ID: 460
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-08 02:29:26
A warm story of caring and giving between Frodo and Sam, I love the
imagery of light, and how very important it must have been to both of
them after their terrible encounters with darkness. Tender and
slightly melancholy and touching.

Title: Bibliophile · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Romance: Drabbles ·
ID: 370
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-08 02:29:44
I enjoy this little scene on a couple of levels--the hints of the
story Eowyn is reading and its connection to Faramir's mother is one
level, and the other is Faramir distracting her from her reading--a
turnabout from what would normally be expected, as we are told
*Faramir* is the scholar. That makes it even more amusing. And
husbands will do that.

Title: Things as they were in all the days of my life · Author:
Tanaqui · Races: Men: Pre-Ring War Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 393
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 02:33:27
I very much like the contrasts you've woven into this drabble series,
showing aspects of Denethor's character previously undiscovered by
many authors.

Title: Care to Ride My Hot-Rod Fell Beast? · Author: viv · Genres:
Humor: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 180
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 02:40:47
Luuurvalley! Beautifully focussing on the absurd, the author writes
both with pen in hand and tongue firmly in cheek! A very droll and
amusing take on that famous seen of derring-do, here given a wonderful
twist one might even say was a case of 'derring-don't'! Great fun,
seemingly so simple, but a little parody like this needs real skill to
pull it off successfully - kudos!

Title: Broken Star · Author: pandemonium_213 · Races: Villains:
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 54
Reviewer: Elen Kortirion · 2008-11-08 03:00:11
This story is achingly painful to read, but gives glimpses of a past
relationship, formed from friendship, that makes the present
circumstances even more gut-wrenchingly awful. The author creates the
mood with spare, stripped down prose that conveys evrything the reader
needs to know - even if they are only vaguely familiar with the canon
story refered to by the text. I for one enjoy the discipline of the
drabble form and cherish it for making an author really think about
every word they put on the page, or the screen, rather than take the
sometimes easier course of letting mind and vocabulary run riot - when
what is so often needed is a large red pencil.
Strictly speaking - I'm only going into that arguement in order to
increase the word count and therefore score for this story. My own
inclination is to be short and to the point, so please forgive me
rambling in an effort to give the story the score I think it merits.

Title: Second Best · Author: Tanaqui · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 384
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-08 06:30:29
A very clever drabble which reveals, through a nifty twist at the end,
an ironic and frankly tragic reality in the House of Húrin.

Tanaqui crafts what could have been a monotone list of admirable
qualities bordering on bragging, into a very sympathetic appeal for
recognition, justice and love.

The ambiguity in identifying the protagonist was, to me, actually more
effective on my second read, when I was more conscious of the "punch"
of the drabble and could appreciate in just how many ways the
descriptions *did* fit for both potential characters, because it
brought it to a very succinct and telling impact.

What I also found interesting was that almost to the end of the
drabble, it was not completely clear from if the PoV was that of an
observer or of that of the protagonist himself - meaning that it was
left an open question for the readers to decide how much bias they had
to "adjust" for in judging the claims made.

Title: Before You Go · Author: Nancy Brooke · Races: Men: Minas Tirith
· ID: 506
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-08 07:00:11
Elegant prose, and very clear descriptions of the surroundings that I
thought reflected Boromir's personality very well.

I have to admit that Denethor's observations of Boromir crept me out a
bit because they seemed over-the-top and almost like adoration - so I
found this a very effective way to show that Denethor's state of mind
may at that time already be not quite clear anymore.

But it was very moving to watch how this relationship between father
and son was shown, with obvious love but also an awkwardness that was
painful to witness, as well as the grudging crumbs of thought Denethor
spares for Faramir. What I found especially fascinating was just how
vulnerable Denethor seems and how powerful a hold Boromir holds over
him. A thought-provoking take of a man who normaly is seen as cold and
hard and unbending - once strong emotions are involved, the impact on
him seems all the harder.

Title: Aftermaths and Consequences · Author: Gwynnyd · Times: Fourth
Age and Beyond · ID: 268
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2008-11-08 07:01:23
The aftermath of a war can, in many cases, bring worthwhile
opportunities to those who willing to leave behind the conventions of
the past. Gwynnyd takes that scenario and runs with it in this
excellently textured story of people of different backgrounds uniting
in mutual respect and taking a gamble to obtain a better life. I
really liked the two OC's and would like to know more about their
lives. And I liked the reference to the actions of the King and
Steward that are encouraging new ideas and new social mobility.

Title: Feelings of Superiority · Author: Gwynnyd · Times: Multi-Age:
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 362
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2008-11-08 07:12:30
Six drabbles illustrating the irony and folly of arrogance in the
characters' feelings of superiority. Gwynnyd skillfully evokes
different places and times in the Arda-verse, from Taniquetil to the
shores of Middle-earth in the Second Age, and the camps of the
horse-trader lords of Rhovanion.

Title: Miquan Melave · Author: Marta · Genres: Romance · ID: 319
Reviewer: Isabeau of Greenlea · 2008-11-08 16:29:07
A short, but profoundly powerful story, touching upon grief, the
difference between love and lust, and cultural differences. Marta's
Boromir and Theodred are among my favorite "slash" couples in that
their relationship is fully drawn and not merely for the sake of the
physical release. In this story, however, Theodred has his doubts
about that. Having ridden all the way to Dol Amroth to comfort Boromir
in a time of mourning, he has questions about their developing
relationship and desires reassurance from Boromir that it is not
simply one of physical release.

Riders of Rohan are permitted the sort of release the two young heirs
indulge in as a matter of course. Gondor is not so understanding,
though there are outlets for such things in the shadows, as it were.
Boromir does not fear parental retribution or scorn in this story, but
he does seem to be genuinely wondering about where they are going, and
in his desire to reassure Theodred finds himself verbally expressing
his feelings on the matter for the first time.

The ensuing discussion between the two men ranges through a number of
subjects besides the obvious one, but by the time they are done it is
obvious that what they have between them is not merely lust. Beautiful
characterizations and lots of sensory detail make this a wonderful read.

Title: Wayward Sons · Author: Jael · Races: Elves · ID: 408
Reviewer: Isabeau of Greenlea · 2008-11-08 16:55:01
One of the greatest pleasures of this year's MEFAs for me was getting
to read the rest of Jael's beautiful stories about Thranduil and his
family. Like I have done with Imrahil and Dol Amroth, Jael has devoted
her attention to a character who has but a minimal canon presence, and
given him a family and friends, including some very well drawn OCs. In
the process, she has given Thranduil a much more vivid existence than
the Professor ever did.

This story is sort of the crux to her Thranduil stories, for it
depicts his moment of utmost despair. Rivendell and Lorien are long
gone, the Elves departed, except for the holdouts who have come to him
in the forest, the last stronghold of Elvenkind. Despite his efforts
to hold everything together, Thranduil wakes one morning to find that
he is fading. His reaction to this is one of the most interesting
things about the story. Fading is the ultimate end of being for Elves
and he regards it as a human might a diagnosis of incurable cancer.
Horrified, he is contemplating his ultimate doom when the forest
brings him a message of hope.

The other thing I like about Jael's stories is that the Valar, upon at
least one occasion have a bit of mercy and compassion to them. The
results of their decision arrive at the forest and these new arrivals
give Thranduil new strength and life, for being a true king, he is at
his best when he has someone to protect.

A lovely, lovely story. Highly recommended.

Title: Look Not With Longing · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Fourth Age
and Beyond · ID: 479
Reviewer: Isabeau of Greenlea · 2008-11-08 17:02:50
One of the greatest members of Gondor's Greatest Generation reflects
upon what has been won and lost in this beautiful story. Faramir, ever
thoughtful, can appreciate the peace that has been won for his
children while acknowledging that desperate times are the forge upon
which great men are made. With both Sauron and the Elves gone, the
World of Men is a lesser, paler place, and he feels that lack while
acknowledging that it is best that things have turned out as they
have. A lovely, lyrical story. There were several beautiful passages I
started to quote in this review, until I realized that I'd pretty much
be putting the whole thing into square brackets! Just go read it!

Title: Dark Dreams · Author: Avon · Races: Men: Steward's Family · ID: 282
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 17:22:49
The dream of Numenor's drowning provides fertile ground for
explorations of the Steward's family. Avon picks up on the tension
between Faramir and Denethor later in life and interpolates it back
into the past, suggesting a certain elven influence over his two boys
as rubbing Denethor the wrong way. Boromir already has assumed the
role of surrogate father, at least where matters of care and comfort
are concerned in Faramir's life, and Imrahil finds himself wondering
why it must be so. That tension makes for a great atmosphere and draws
the reader in quickly and decisively.

But the family tension is not the heart of the story: Imrahil's own
prescience comes into play on the back of Faramir's dream, casting
doubt on his promise to two frightened boys that the doom of Numenor
will never happen again. This opening out onto what will be some of
the most memorable and tragic events of the Ring War is a fantastic
close that leaves you with a sense of anxiety and foreboding, despite
(or perhaps because) we know precisely what will happen.

Well done!

Title: A Sleep Over · Author: Phyncke · Times: First Age and Prior:
House of Finwe · ID: 160
Reviewer: stefaniab · 2008-11-08 17:23:06
This tale is both humorous and ominous. Youthful Galadriel "sleeps
over" Uncle Fingolfin's house and, in playing a predict the future
game, reveals to her insistent cousin Aredhel the terrible future that
awaits her. This story has a very contemporary feel. Fingolfin's home
seems more 21st century than FA 50. Galadriel and Aredhel amusingly
behave like modern tweens, Fingolfin a peeved parent. But you believe
Phyncke's story, especially because Galadriel unknowingly is telling
Aredhel the truth.

Title: Summer Heat · Author: chaotic_binky · Times: Modern Times · ID: 363
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-08 17:32:37
This is certainly one of the more unique premises I've seen in a
Tolkien story! The flashbacks provide a very welcome glimpse of the
characters' lives in Middle-earth while the modern-day chapters are
fast-paced, suspenseful, and, at times, wickedly funny.

Chaotic Binky manages to nail the tone of a crime thriller spot on. I
loved the greasy diner scene, as well as lines like, ["It was still
raining and the drops of water mixed with the blood as if to wash away
his sins"] for capturing this genre so well. At the same time, the
characters' Elvishness shines through--the love of nature and the
sensitivity to life and death--that keeps this story from being an
unexpected plotline filled in with the names of Tolkien characters.

Erestor is an intriguing character that--even more than wanting to
know the outcome to the who-dunnit? storyline--I was in suspense
about, wondering how he would turn out, whether Glorfindel's
re-emerging love for him would transform Erestor or turn him to evil,
as it had in the past. This was definitely a fun and entertaining
story to read!

Title: Only Water in Your Veins · Author: Michelle · Races: Men · ID: 154
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 17:49:08
Aragorn and Harad are an unbeatable combination - politics make for
tension, personal encounter for a chance to overcome the political.

The in media res beginning is effectively written - one feels for and
with Aragorn from the start, as he goes through the painful process of
waking up, and then moves on to the even more painful process of
surviving the desert's trials. Michelle depicts slow death by thirst,
heat, and dehydration very well, and the ambiguous hallucinations and
dreams refer back very well both to Aragorn as foresighted, but also
to Arwen who would [watch over him in thought] while he was away on
his journeys.

The arrival of Rajal gives us a glimpse into the hearts and minds of
the Haradrim, and their love for their harsh land. He functions as a
savior on two levels: rescuing Aragorn from the desert, but also
providing a human face and concern that are needed in the face of the
impersonal 'malice' of the desert.

Title: Reparation · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Races: Men · ID: 296
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 17:59:27
The difficulty with unforeseen plot developments and new characters is
the trouble it makes for older stories that didn't include them, even
though they occupy the same timeline. How to integrate (or whether to
integrate) the old and the new is always a challenge.

Isabeau handles it well, however, using Brand to show another side to
the story of [Dol Amroth Yule], in which Andrahar and Hethlin suffer
probably one of their worst (if not the worst) failures of their early
student-teacher relationship, and then in a whiplash reversal, find
that same, rocky relationship bearing fruit when Heth saves Dol
Amroth's royal family from an assassin using Andrahar's training.

There is already the beginning of a shift in the Heth-Andra
relationship in that story, but [Reparation] enables Isabeau to use
Brand to handle another side to amending that relationship. Brand's
sensitivity to unjust, even abusive family relationships puts him wise
to an unhealthy and unworthy side of Andrahar's motivations in
treating Heth as he has. It's a necessary revelation if a just
resolution and a real chance to move forward is to come through and
it's good to see that Andrahar needs people in his life to keep an
even moral keel.

Great fun, Isabeau!

Title: Tangled Webs · Author: Ribby · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 100
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 18:07:39
The use of lace or of weaving to symbolize human relationships is not
new, but it is used to great effect here. That Aragorn understands,
and that he is not afraid to hold onto and to depend on that broken
thread in his life is a great testimony to his character.

Thanks, Ribby!

Title: Second Best · Author: Tanaqui · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 384
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 18:10:23
Nice reversal of expectations, and a terrific paralleling of
Denethor's relationship with his father and his own relationship with
Faramir in later years. What a pity that Denethor wasn't gifted with
the kind of insight that Faramir was, so as to learn pity and
generosity rather than to recapitulate that relationship. Well done!

Title: Pulling the Wool · Author: Elen Kortirion · Races: Men: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 95
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-08 18:15:41
An interesting set of drabbles around blinding and deception. Classic
comedy in that first drabble - well done, Boromir, avoiding the
pitfall that is Pippin's innocent eyes.

The turn to far more somber moments makes a sharp contrast, as it
seems Boromir goes all too gently down the way to confidence in his
own ability to discern and to 'enjoy', perhaps, being blinded.

The ending fits nicely, therefore, as a sort of final judgment on his
own judgment: Boromir dies eyes wide open to the truth, desire for it
once more untainted.