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Msg# 9540

MEFA Reviews for Tuesday, November 11, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 11, 2008 - 22:00:44 Topic ID# 9540
Title: Some Seasons · Author: sophinisba solis · Races: Hobbits:
Post-Ring War · ID: 199
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:21:29
I love this brief series of vignettes, set in post-Quest Bag End,
where Frodo, Sam and Rose are all set on taking good care of one
another. Each little vignette is connected to the others by the very
hobbity element of food and drink. It's lovely to not only see Rose
and Sam taking care of Frodo, but to see Frodo taking care of them as
well. This is a heartfelt and touching piece, and made me feel warm
all over.

Title: The Portrait · Author: agape4gondor · Races: Men: Pre-Ring War
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 288
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:33
In this drabble, Agape has created a crisply characterised snapshot of
the Steward's sons, especially Boromir, whose restless energy,
impatience, wit and kindliness shine through. A charming insight into
one of the more functional moments of a somewhat dysfunctional family.
(And my own reaction – perhaps I'm mistaken! - is that that the
titular picture, a gift for their father, is of their mother Finduilas.)

Title: Fit for a King · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 217
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:37
I love the quiet intimacy of friendship that Imhiriel creates here
between her three protagonists -- Aragorn, Eomer and Faramir -- which
makes Eomer's teasing in the punchline to the drabble seem very
credible. An amusing and well-drawn moment. Bravo!

Title: Pulling the Wool · Author: Elen Kortirion · Races: Men: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 95
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:41
In these three linked drabbles, Elen Kortirion provides different
interpretations of the titular phrase in a clever interplay that moves
from light-hearted jest to tragic ending. Each individual drabble is
complete and effective in itself, but the final line is made all the
more powerful by what has gone before. Well done!

Title: Sour Milk · Author: Linda Hoyland · Genres: Humor: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 521
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:45
This is an absolutely hilarious ficlet clearly written by a true
cat-lover (as I know the author to be). I love the way Linda Hoyland
has extrapolated from the dreadful picture that was the prompt (what
was the artist thinking?!?) to create a laugh-out-loud story. I
especially like the form of action taken by the cats and Aragorn's
initial response, as well as the cameo role given to one of the
author's wise cats. Simply delightful!

Title: Forfeit · Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · Times: Late Third
Age: Gondor Drabbles · ID: 401
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:49
I love the nobility with which Branwyn invests Beregond in this
drabble, evidenced not just in the big events of the drabble but
through small gestures such as the care for his gear which she
describes. Beregond's response to the opportunity to escape justice is
convincingly of a piece with his actions in deserting his post to save
Faramir: a man who takes the right course, and accepts the
consequences unflinchingly. And his love for his son and desire to not
shame him further shines through. I note this was penned for a
[Characters You Have Never Written] challenge, and I hope this will
not be the last time Branwyn writes about Beregond. Bravo!

Title: The Roses of Imloth Melui · Author: Aervir · Genres: Drama:
Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 435
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:56
Aervir has cleverly woven the motif of roses through each of the
drabbles in this series of ten. The trick is pulled off admirably,
never feeling forced in any of the individual drabbles as Aervir uses
these snapshots to tell the long and eventful life of Ioreth. Very
nicely done -- bravo!

Title: Epiphany · Author: Larner · Races: Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length
Ficlets · ID: 293
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2008-11-10 22:21:59
I love the glimpse that Larner has given us here of the great changes
wrought by the Ring War, as seen by Elladan and Elrohir. The sense of
the familiar become unfamiliar, and of the sudden awareness of the
passing of time for those who are immortal is tangibly expressed. Very
nice work!

Title: Dead Steward's Gift · Author: stefaniab · Genres: Mystery · ID: 572
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:22:55
This AU is an intriguing blend of movie-verse and book-verse,
something that often does not turn out well. However, in this case,
the author has created a fascinating and suspenseful mystery and
explains some of the things that were neglected in the screenplay,
such as Denethor's use of the palantir.

I really like Faramir in this--I think he would make a fine detective,
the way he digs into this particular mystery! And the ending was very

And I got a chuckle out of the Epilogue in Cirri's POV!

Title: The Flute · Author: Golden · Races: Hobbits: Post-Ring War ·
ID: 150
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:23:42
This is a beautiful little story, in which a special flute enables
Pippin to communicate with Frodo, far across the Sundering Sea. The
whole story has a sweetness to it, which is only enhanced if the
reader listens to it on the link provided by the author. That is the
way I first encountered this story, and the dreamlike soft voice of
Golden, in her gently accented words really will transport the
listener into a special place.

Title: The Elanor Bloom · Author: Claudia · Genres: Drama: Incomplete
· ID: 194
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:25:50
I really enjoy cross-cultural "getting acquainted" stories. This one,
detailing the journey from Bree to Rivendell, as the hobbits get
acquainted with the mysterious Strider, is very good indeed. I love
the portrayal of Strider's instant feelings of loyalty to Frodo, and
the show of determination and devotion from Frodo's friends. Although
there are only two chapters, I do hope that Claudia will update this
again. It's a very promising beginning.

Title: Where Shadows Lay No More · Author: Cathleen · Times: Fourth
Age and Beyond · ID: 358
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:26:26
I love stories in which Boromir watches over his friends from beyond
the circles of Arda. This story is very touching, as the Steward's son
is a ghostly witness to Aragorn's coronation. I love the fact that
each member of the Fellowship is aware to one extent or another of his
presence, and most especially, I love the reactions of Merry and Pippin.

Cathleen did a very good job with this story.

Title: Wind of Change · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Drama:
General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 47
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:27:05
I love the idea that storms would announce the various stages of this
particular prophecy's fulfillment--especially the birth of Eowyn!
Beautifully evocative language, and a skillful use of atmosphere!

Title: Not Quite Any Other Day · Author: Pearl Took · Races: Hobbits:
Family · ID: 631
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:28:39
It's always fun to read a story that takes me back to those earlier
names on the Family Trees of Appendix C. Pearl's description of
Esmeralda's pensiveness at her brother's marriage and her subsequent
re-introduction to Saradoc Brandybuck, heir to the Master of Buckland,
is delightful. I love the easy and fond banter of brother and sister,
and her own taunting flirtation with Saradoc. A delightful look at the
beginning of the courtship of Merry's parents.

Title: Saruman of Many Colours · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama:
General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 439
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-10 22:41:09
Seven well-crafted drabbles explore the evolution of Saruman from the
Istari who thought too highly of himself to the traitor who created
his own doom because of his hubris. A chilling examination of a true
waste of potential.

Title: I Ain't Got Nobody · Author: Ignoble Bard · Genres: Humor:
Valar & Maiar · ID: 568
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-11 01:54:04
Elves are so often either exaggeratedly joyous or else exceptionally
solemn. In fanfic, this translates into pranksterism or moroseness
often enough. Ignoble Bard manages to take on that most serious of
matters, death (and reincarnation), and explode all expectations.
Glorfindel could be the victim of pranksters, but it's not as if he's
trying to be funny (or to get himself killed - it just happens).
Namo's magic reincarnation chamber has me imagining Woody Allen's
[Sleeper] and a very warped Dr. McCoy for some reason - it's a
combination I never thought I'd have to imagine, but it works
surprisingly well for this story.

I love Namo's impeccable reasoning against sending Glorfindel back out
to the perils of an ordinary (or extraordinary) day in Middle-earth
(or Valinor) using Glorfindel's own amazing list of ways to
accidentally die. Rationalization achieves a new high, here.

The soul-up-the-nose solution to the problem that death separates a
perfectly beautiful body from a fëa that needs it was wonderfully
irreverent. If anyone needs a good laugh, this story should do the trick!

Title: Bad Idea · Author: StarLight9 · Genres: Humor: Elven Lands ·
ID: 610
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-11 02:16:23
[Perhaps Elves and Dwarves were not so different after all.] Along
with [bad idea], Starlight9's story twists and turns but always
returns to the refrain: maybe those Elves and Dwarves are far too
similar for their own good!

Legolas's sincere belief that Thranduil and Glóin can not only
reconcile but even become friends has everyone, including one prince,
a king, and an entire settlement of Elves, running scared and looking
for somewhere, anywhere to hide until Armageddon passes over. Gimli,
of course, gets a front row seat, despite his misgivings and the
reader spends much of the time cringing and laughing at what he has to
put up with.

Thranduil and Glóin end up paralleling each other perfectly - alike,
indeed, and as sons, so fathers. Quite amusing!

Title: Rivendell International Airport · Author: Primsong · Genres:
Humor: Elven Lands · ID: 345
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-11 02:38:38
Dear Lord, I think I've been through Rivendell International - it
sounds like O'Hare!

Other readers have commented on it, but the fact that Primsong plays
this one straight, just inserts the Fellowship into an airport without
having anyone bat an eye, and let airport regulations take their
course, makes for grand entertainment. Everything from the loudspeaker
announcements ([This is a nonsmoking terminal. If smoking is an
integral part of your being, please follow the signs to the smoking
area to await your flight] and the all too appropriate [Flight # 3019
with service to Gondor has been delayed due to inclement weather]) to
adventures with metal-detectors, and the joys of arguing what
constitutes one item of checked baggage contributes to the harried
hilarity of the Fellowship having to make it through check-in.

The background flights and other little refer-backs to Middle-earth,
several of them transformed into commercialized slogans, are
priceless. [Lembas-on-a-stick] is particularly memorable.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable juxtaposition of modern day and
Middle-earth that gives a new meaning to the tale of the "epic" flight
home. If you need a laugh, give this a read.

Title: Autumn · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 489
Reviewer: stefaniab · 2008-11-11 06:46:43
Reading this drabble reminded me of how the cowboys and Indians in the
westerns of my youth reacted to the encroaching niceties of
civilization on their former way of life. This precisely written
drabble depicts a swift moment during which Aragorn contemplates how
his life has changed since becoming king and husband. Which life is
better? Linda lets the reader decide.

Title: Stabat Mater · Author: iorhael · Genres: Drama: General
Drabbles · ID: 666
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-11 09:30:58
A very moving drabble. I'm sure Primula wound indeed weep if was able
to see how her son suffered.

Title: Shall We Dance? · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Races: Men:
Steward's Family · ID: 93
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-11 14:36:52
Nuanced and insightful characterisations. I like how the inner
reflections of the characters is manifested outwardly (or no)t; how
they are mirrored in little details that often can only be seen by
shrewd observers; to see the contrast between inner/private individual
and public persona. The handling of the cast is done very well,
particularly the transitions between PoV-characters, or generally the
way the focus keeps shifting without making the plot arc lose cohesion.

Isabeau managed to imbue her self-described "fluffy" story with enough
depth that I'm not certain the label actually implies: She skilfully
explored some thought-provoking issues juxtaposed against the maybe
frivolous backdrop of a ball and therefore all the more effective.

As ever, it is lovely to see the close relationship between Imrahil
and his family (including his nephews); Lothíriel was not only lovely
but also insightful, compassionate and wise. But what I loved best was
the take on Denethor, which showed him as stern, yes, and stubborn,
but also as very human, strangely vulnerable in his loneliness; and it
was very moving how Lothíriel managed to make him reach out to her
almost against his will.

Title: Old Man Willow · Author: Nath · Races: Other Beings · ID: 314
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-11 14:55:07
A very unusual but strangely compelling premise. Very good handling of
PoV - the motive of the "protagonist" is conveyed clearly.
Particularly effective was the balance between a certain greed or
obsession with conquering everything, and the utter matter-of-factness
and lack of emotion of the narrative voice.

It was creepy to think about just how reasonable Old Man Willow's
strategies and plans were, and to contemplate the question who might
be more powerful, he as represention of nature, or Sauron, as
representation of something beyond the natural order of things.

The story also is a very good represention of the ambiguity of the
"nature of nature" (pun only half-intended), especially the nature of
forests in Tolkien's work - they can be good or bad or neutral, imbued
with self-awareness or not, actively intervening in the story or only
exude a certain presence etc.

Title: Black Memory · Author: mrkinch · Races: Villains: Fixed-Length
Ficlets · ID: 603
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-11 15:11:15
Fascinating premise, executed very well, with excellent use of
language and grammar and density of prose. The build-up to the
unexpected climax of the drabble is very effective.

The point of the drabble is compelling and very insightful. The very
effect of negating all the points enumerated before the last line
naturally evoke them all the stronger, of course, and yet, they serve
equally well as intended in juxtaposing and therefore exposing the
final contrast.

The drabble has a driving rhythm (particularly in the repetition of
["black as..."]) that sucks in the readers immediately, together with
the curiosity in wondering what could be more memorable (and
potentially horrific) than the things Lúthien first begins listing.

Title: The Waker · Author: Nancy Brooke · Races: Villains:
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 287
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-11 15:25:25
Uuuuh, that was chilling! And utterly fascinating. An excellent,
excellent drabble which fulfils the difficult challenge perfectly. The
language - sometimes even approximating poetry - is used with utmost
care and precision, doubly important here where the point of the
drabble was about lack of language.

Despite the vagueness and ambiguity in the descriptions, and the
open-endedness of the drabble - which I thought were very important to
preserve the mystery of this character - Nancy Brooke gave it enough
reality and character and awareness for the readers to see it taking
shape in what the words evoke, sometimes in the very sounds of the words.

Words like ["plop"], ["plunk"] and ["slish"] seem here not only as
background fillers and noise, but meaningful factors in evoking and
giving shape to a very unusual, amorphous figure.

Title: The Dark of Night · Author: Ellie · Genres: Horror · ID: 484
Reviewer: Fiondil · 2008-11-11 16:14:51
Something is attacking the elves of Imladris, swooping out of the
midnight sky, leaving them drained of blood and spirit. No one knows
what the creatures are and even the trees can only speak of the `dark
of night' to describe the attackers. To make matters worse, it seems
the attackers are very selective in their victims, a fact that may
spell both doom and salvation for the elves as they battle against an
enemy not seen in two ages. Ellie weaves a masterful plot of darkness
and terror as Elrond seeks answers to combatting the encroaching
menace, unaware that the attacks are motivated by revenge for a deed
done by his own father, Earendil.

For anyone who enjoys reading stories that keep you on the edge of
your seat wondering what will happen next, this is definitely a must-read.