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Msg# 9553

MEFA Reviews for Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Posted by annmarwalk November 18, 2008 - 20:13:19 Topic ID# 9553
Title: A Moment in the Morning in Bree Author: Budgielover Races:
Cross-Cultural ID: 731
Reviewer: Dwimordene 2008-11-18 03:22:20
[the 'getting to know you' period during which strangers become
friends] reads the tag line. Alternatively, one could find new
temptations to strangling certain traveling companions!

Amusing - I can sympathize with the sentiment in that last line, even
as I laugh.

Title: Heart of the Wood Author: Kenaz Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship ID: 60
Reviewer: Dwimordene 2008-11-18 03:48:23
Spoilers!
Although I don't generally go with this interpretation of Elves, the
writing and the power of the emotional sweep of the story are
impressive. The pieces of the story tumble by and down the way to
consummation, and one can believe that despite Trin's infamous
temper, pride, and sullenness, Beleg would still love him.

The shift from a linear perspective, that builds towards the
anticipated climax or at least establishment of the (limited)
relationship of the two to a retrospective is well-done. Kenaz uses it
to great effect and reminds us of the burden of memory, but also that
sometimes we love our burdens and cannot easily relinquish them - not
even if we are Elves.

Thanks, Kenaz!

Title: The Revenge of Curufin's Horse Author: Moreth Genres: Humor
ID: 139
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland 2008-11-18 04:13:08
A delightful story concerning a horse with more horse sense than
anyone might guess! One usually only remembers the hound in stories
about Luthien and Beren so it is high time the horse got its fair due.
I don't usually read Simarillion stories but I enjoyed this.

Title: Tolo Dan Na Ngalad Author: Elwen Races: Hobbits ID: 735
Reviewer: Dwimordene 2008-11-18 04:14:20
Spoilers!
Three days while Elrond tries to determine what is wrong and how to
cure it are three days worth telling of - the story picks a good gap
to fill!

Elwen makes good use of what Tolkien gives us canonically, and then
fills in with a sort of telepathic set of healing sessions that are
about as much fun as surgery without anaesthesia for poor Elrond. The
stakes are higher than we think, even, as elven rings come into active
play for the first time since Elrond became Vilya's bearer.

Good job of infusing suspense into an interval that might have lacked
it just because we know the final outcome!

Title: Black Memory Author: mrkinch Races: Villains: Fixed-Length
Ficlets ID: 603
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland 2008-11-18 04:15:36
An interesting drabble.We love reading of Luthien's heroism ,but
sometimes forget the horrors she must have witnessed.This drabble
provides a clear and chilling reminder.

Title: Boromir at the Bat Author: White Gull Genres: Poetry: Late
Third Age ID: 632
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland 2008-11-18 04:18:31
A delightfully amusing poem which I have to admit reflects some of my
own feelings about Boromir whom I pity but cannot say I exactly like.

Title: Dol Amroth Yule Author: Isabeau of Greenlea Genres:
Adventure ID: 295
Reviewer: Dwimordene 2008-11-18 04:34:12
Spoilers!
No matter what point in the Unabeauverse you start with, there is one
constant (okay, there are more constants than that, but this one is
magnetic north): being Andrahar's pupil is a trial that will make or
break you. Here, we have Andrahar and Hethlin at their absolute worst
with each other - or at least, Andrahar is at his worst. Hethlin is
just trying to survive his tutelage and barely managing it on native
talent, endurance, and native stubbornness that won't give in if he won't.

So when she steps right into the middle of an old feud one dark Yule
night, things explode, believably and messily. One of the things we
tend to forget because we have the luxury of it is that all our heroes
(and heroines - well, in this story, anyway) are violent people. They
can and will and have killed others - to survive, to render justice,
but sometimes also because they want to on top of all of that.
Andrahar shows that darker side of a killer's constitution with Heth
and it would all be just part of a day composed of good and bad in
measures Heth doesn't try to specify, but that there's an
assassination in the offing this Yuletide.

At that point, Andrahar's work with her, despite all their troubles,
bears fruit. There are layers of irony to it, especially thinking of
later stories, where we know more of Andrahar's background - obviously
it's his own training that saves the day in the person of the student
he least likes, but there's more than that. Unlike Heth, he can speak
Khandian, yet he doesn't hear what Heth hears; that 'deafness'
resonates well, actually, with the fact that that night, their
troubles started over language and Heth's refusal, as it were, to
weaponize what should be used to create understanding. Then there's
the fact that Hethlin, as a woman and warrior, is able to recognize
another woman warrior, where Andrahar's culturally-inculcated bias
blind him and everyone present.

It's a nice, cathartic little sidebar story, and though I know Isabeau
has always planned a few alterations to it, I quite like it as it
stands. It's bitter and angry where it needs to be, and the come-down
from those emotions is believably handled and shot through with a
violence appropriate to the temperaments of those involved.

Thanks for the great story, Isabeau!

Title: The Librarian Author: Jay of Lasgalen Races: Elves: Family
ID: 700
Reviewer: mbumpus_99 2008-11-18 04:37:35
Raising an intelligent child is always a challenge, but when Legolas
is aided in his flights of imagination by a librarian like that... No
wonder Thranduil was tearing his hair.

Very nicely written, Jay. Thank you.

Title: Best Three Falls, No Gouging Author: Brigantine Genres:
Humor: Gondor ID: 587
Reviewer: stefaniab 2008-11-18 06:25:08
Spoilers!
Purely fluff and a total howl. At the tail end of my hefty quota of
MEFA awards, it's so nice to read a story that is nonsensical,
whimsical, and simply a lot of fun. Brigantine has Merry and Pippin
provide commentary to a totally implausible brother/sister combat
between Eomer and Eowyn, the latter with her arm still in a sling.
Matters get even more ridiculous as Faramir stolidly enters, wondering
if he should try to end the battle.

The dialog, particularly the banter between Merry and Pippin, is what
drives this story. It gets devilishly racey, but never in bad taste,
as adding Faramir to the mix really increases the riotous hobbit
commentary.

Title: The Wanderer Author: Lackwit Genres: Adventure: Incomplete
ID: 627
Reviewer: phyloxena 2008-11-18 07:24:08
Spoilers!
A wonderful beginning. Faramir returns to Ithilien after the long
absence, unrecognized, unexpected, and largely believed to be dead.
The story is very well written, very tense, abundant with beautiful
details. I hope there will be more of it. "Odyssey", of course, is one
of the best stories ever - I wonder how close it is possible to knit
it with what is plausible for the Middle-Earth. One of the obvious
questions a reader wishes to see answered is why the king wouldn't
take care of Ithilien in the prince's absence: is he deceived,
oblivious, incapable?

Title: The Pillar Perished Is Author: Imhiriel Times: First Age
and Prior: House of Finwe ID: 356
Reviewer: Inkling 2008-11-18 07:57:30
Spoilers!
This is a devastating glimpse of the anguished mind of Fanor as he
departs Valinor, his inner turmoil mirrored by the wonderfully
evocative images of storm-tossed ship and raging elements.

By focusing on the death of Finw rather than the loss of the
Silmarils as the driving force behind Fanor's disastrous behavior
(and citing the canon passage to back this up), Imhiriel has made him
much more sympathetic than he otherwise would be. We see him oblivious
to the death and destruction he leaves in his wake, to his confused,
exhausted sons [ghostly shades], even to his precious Silmarils...all
pale compared to the loss of his father; all guilt, regret, and drive
for vengeance emanate from this one obsessive grief.

His hubris is perfectly captured here, as he imagines himself equal to
the challenge of battling Morgoth--making me think of Mandos' laconic
prophecy: "To me shall Fanor come soon."

A fine portrait of a complex, tragic figure.


Title: One Step More - The Heroism of Frodo Baggins Author:
ConnieMarie Genres: Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 395
Reviewer: Inkling 2008-11-18 08:31:50
This essay should be required reading for anyone--inside or outside
the fandom--who "doesn't get" the appeal of Frodo. It's not the
unrestrained gushing of a rabid fan but rather a rational, clear-eyed,
footnoted analysis of the nature of Frodo's heroism, contrasted with
popular culture's predominant action heroes.

ConnieMarie explains it better than I ever could, with elegant clarity
and simplicity, and in deeply moving personal terms. She expresses
what I think many of us feel but may not have clearly articulated,
even to ourselves: how a character in a work some dismiss as escapist
fantasy (be it Frodo or so many others in Tolkien's world) can be such
a profound real-life comfort or inspiration.


Title: I Stand No Longer Alone Author: Larner Races: Men: Minas
Tirith ID: 62
Reviewer: Inkling 2008-11-18 08:36:27
The old adage "If walls could talk" gets a new twist in this cleverly
imagined glimpse of Aragorn's ascent to the throne from a most unusual
POV. I like the allusion to Thorongil in the almost-familiar tread.
No, no mistake there...it was just the timing that was wrong. And I
love the idea of [the stones of the city itself ringing with joy!]
Nicely done.

Title: Jewels of Light Author: Larner Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship ID: 394
Reviewer: Inkling 2008-11-18 08:40:07
This is lovely. Through just a few beautifully drawn metaphors Larner
has conveyed so much about the budding friendship of Elf and Dwarf,
and about each member of the Fellowship observed. I especially liked
the passage where the light of Frodo and Aragorn is caught in the
faces of Merry, Pippin, and Boromir, as planets reflect the sun. And
Gimli and Legolas as perfectly matched twin stars!

Title: Wave-Singer Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) Genres:
Alternate Universe: Drabbles ID: 33
Reviewer: Robinka 2008-11-18 08:56:31
An evocative glimpse at what might have been Maglor's ultimate fate.
Powerful writing, and I love the narrator's voice in this drabble.

Title: Cuts Gone Wrong Author: Dwimordene Times: Mid Third Age:
Eriador ID: 156
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke 2008-11-18 14:45:39
Spoilers!
When I began this story I thought 'well this will be a charming tale
of growing-up Aragorn. Nice' though I noticed particularly how well
the dialog was done. But as I continued I realized it was that and
much more. This story incorporates wonderful, true-feeling, imaginings
of Ranger heirarchy and practices, as well as Dunedain society. The
characters are real and three dimensional, while still fitting neatly
into useful archetypes. This is an excellent story, endowing a fairly
common story - lessons of growing up learned - with extraordinary
depth and richly, uniquely imagined details.

Title: Taking Roots Author: Imhiriel Genres: Romance: Drabbles
ID: 367
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-18 18:22:37
Spoilers!
Imhiriel has captured an unusual look at Galadriel, to say the least.
"Uncertain" is most definitely not a description I'd normally pull out
of my readings of Tolkien's works, but I think it works really well
under these circumstances and with this particular witness.

In the first place, it is an arrogant individual who never feels the
need to question; while I definitely characterize Galadriel as proud,
that's a different thing. While all Elves have an affinity for Arda,
and I've always assumed that meant a deeper tie to *all* of Arda's
aspects, it's an established and natural precedent that some Elves are
better at some things. Here, Galadriel is acknowledging that she's in
the presence of a Master of his craft, which she is dabbling in.

Second, if there was anyone she would feel comfortable revealing this
lack of sureness to, it would be her husband of... how many centuries?
Reading this from Celeborn's perspective, I get a lovely sense of his
mingled respect and love (and yes, perhaps a bit of indulgence *g*).

The whole work both fleshes out Galadriel a little more for me by
showing a less-than-typical aspect of her, and provides a marvelous
snapshot moment that encapsulates much of this Middle-earth couple's
marriage.

Title: Call of the Wild Author: annmarwalk Genres: Romance:
Drabbles ID: 94
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-18 18:23:27
Spoilers!
Oh, magnificent! I got shivers reading this: from the description of
Thengel, yes (woohoo! *swoon*), but most particularly from Morwen's
emotions at the end.

The descriptive writing is wonderful and lovingly employed, well
befitting the thoughts of a would-be lover. Thengel's characteristics
come across perfectly; I especially adore the animal imagery, because
it captures my impressions of the Rohirrim so well (admittedly a bit
influenced by movie-Eomer's hair) and highlights what makes him stand
out from the crowd.

Other maidens might see such an untamed and untamable being as
threatening or worthy of dismissal. Morwen's opposite reaction is
excellently captured, and leaves me wondering what has made her so
different from her peers. She's a female character I wouldn't mind
knowing a lot more about.

I love how all of it also leads to thinking of another Gondor-Rohan
alliance that will come further down the road for kin of these two,
and whether there was a similar fiery attraction.

Title: The Waker Author: Nancy Brooke Races: Villains:
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 287
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-18 18:24:32
What an awesome take on the prompt that inspired this... The drabble
is subtle, with some truly inspired writing that definitely carries
the feeling of instinctual response versus any intellectual capacity,
and lends a distinctive voice to this voiceless one. The sounds we do
get are not even of the creature's making, but what wakes it. Somehow,
the connotation, phrasing... I can't put my finger on it exactly, but
the author manages to place me right where this happens in the books
or movies, almost immediately, even though it's never explicitly
stated either in the drabble or in any author's notes.

The rhythm and rhyme of the words, the careful structure, are all
extremely well employed; it feels nearly poetic. The author also does
a good job of expressing everything from this foreign being's
perspective. (The clever inference about shallow water injuring the
eyes, and the remembered flavor of certain prey, for example.)

And the last section to the ending - I can only say again: inspired.
The one true temptation for this creature and how it is unveiled is
simply brilliant. Great writing, great PoV and a neat final twist.

Title: Gone Amiss Author: Raksha the Demon Genres: Drama: Ring War
Drabbles ID: 44
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-18 18:25:04
Spoilers!
Wow, such a believable and wrenching outpouring of grief and regret...
While certainly they shared their differences of opinion, and may have
found themselves at times opposing each other in the future, I agree
very much with what Raksha shows: that Aragorn at the least respected
Boromir as a warrior and as a man capable of the Stewardship of
Gondor, and deeply mourned his death.

Aragorn's shock at this part of the battle's outcome is written
exceedingly well, the phrasing and pacing of the words expressing his
disbelief, thoughts tumbling on to his feelings of having failed as a
leader, as a healer, as a fellow fighter. The quoted line is fleshed
out and given real life here.

And finishes up with a superb last line! Just a single mention of that
name invokes a palpable overshadowing presence... Well done!

Title: Dreamscape Author: Tanaqui Races: Dwarves: Drabbles ID: 442
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-18 18:25:52
I really enjoy that this is from our beloved Gimli's perspective,
still a young dwarf and not yet tested by the trials of the
Fellowship. His excitement at joining his father must have been
tremendous on its own (the recovery of an ancient home!), but I can
clearly sense the adrenaline rush when he spies the glitter across the
newly-opened room.

One can't forget the relative poverty Durin's people faced in the Blue
Mountains, as Tanaqui gently and naturally reminds us. The contrast
between images Gimli knows from his youth and what he now beholds is
artfully presented: not just new veins of ore, but something even more
precious.

Perfectly chosen title, too, encompassing Dwarven dreams of returning
- from finely crafted replicas to what Gimli sees before him in the
opening quote. Yes, I can well imagine that this is exactly what
springs to Gimli's mind as he stands with Legolas and names those
mountains once again...

Title: Fennas Haradren Author: Linaewen Genres: Adventure ID: 280
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke 2008-11-18 18:26:25
This is an excellent story and I greatly enjoyed reading it. It tells
a ripping good story, with true-feeling characters, suspense, and
action, and was nicely written. For every clean, uncluttered and
straightforward statement ["Boromir did not like waiting."] there is a
lovely, lyrical, liesurely description ["The early morning breeze
quickened and there was a soughing and sighing in the trees. The
leaves fluttered overhead, their undersides flashing silver in the
light of the sun as it rose above the clouds that hung over the land
of Mordor."] sometimes in the same paragraph creating a nice rhythm
and balance.

Great Boromir characterization.

Title: The Kindly Airs Author: Dwimordene Times: Late Third Age:
General Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 480
Reviewer: Imhiriel 2008-11-18 18:42:59
And another one of the beautiful gems I received for my birthday - as
unique and sparkling as one could wish for and more!

The drabble opens up with a sweeping glimpse of the wide-ranging
purview of Middle-earth's winds, providing us with a broad picture of
the land showcasing its diversity.

No wonder than that the East Wind, too, obviously would love to have a
part in this, to range and roam freely.

But she is bound, bogged down, burdened by the malice happening on her
"watch" she is helpless to prevent, just as she is helpless to prevent
it from spreading through her, and to be associated with it.

All the more great is her delight when she is freed at last -
literally able to take a fresh breath of air after so long a time, and
lift herself up. And what a completely fitting recompense and reward
that she is allowed to carry the messengers of the glorious tidings to
spread the news. I can certainly feel her pride and her joy.

I also found it an interesting twist that Dwimordene changed the
neutral "it" from the poem to a "she" in her drabble, thereby
increasing the feeling of the winds as personlities.

Title: Renewal Author: Elena Tiriel Times: Late Third Age: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 208
Reviewer: Imhiriel 2008-11-18 18:43:10
Spoilers!
I have been so exceedingly lucky in my "harvest" of birthday stories
this year, and a fair number of them have ended up in the MEFAwards to
be exposed to a wider readership who might appreciate them as much as
I do.

This drabble evokes the power and heat and passion of the process of
sword making, at once violent and creative - and also healing in a way
- which the striking form and its particular, driving rhythm evokes
perfectly. The melding (pun half intended) of describing the process
while bringing alive the sword as an aware personality which reflects
this process on a different level is done very effectively.

The readers can follow how, step by step, the sword comes alive and
regains its former strength and purity. IIRC, it was old custom to
quench the sword with blood - it was an intriguingly reverse touch
that here the sword had to be purified by heat from the taint of
Sauron's blood.

And my hat off for extra geekery *g* in the author's notes: I love
reading details which revealing something of the creative process
before and during the writing - the more the better. I especially
appreciated the explanation about ["the resilience of Isil"].

Title: One Step More - The Heroism of Frodo Baggins Author:
ConnieMarie Genres: Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 395
Reviewer: stefaniab 2008-11-18 23:25:56
This essay is more moving than you would expect a nonfiction piece to
be. Connie Marie draws comparisons and parallels among action heroes,
Frodo Baggins, and real people with great problems. The essay makes
the case that small heroes, though not the stuff of archetypes, are
more the types of people (and hobbits) that we can relate to. We can
use Frodo's horrendous quest and dogged determination as inspiration
for moments in our lives that are full of trials. In these trying
times, the conclusion that the essay draws is particularly uplifting.