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Msg# 9568

MEFA Reviews for Monday, November 24, 2008 (Part Two) Posted by annmarwalk November 24, 2008 - 19:31:13 Topic ID# 9568
Title: Alqualondë · Author: Moreth · Genres: Drama: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 220
Reviewer: Keiliss · 2008-11-24 02:26:05
Incredibly visceral. The first part made a very deep impression on me,
to the extend that I was actually close to tears while I read it. I
keep thinking that death was almost a new concept back then, that he
was so unprepared, that he seemed so young, too young to die without
even understanding what was happening to him. The second part just
made me angry.

This is Alqualondë, but it is also every war that has ever been fought
where one side is better armed and better prepared than the other,
where young people fight and die without really understanding the
reasons and other young people do the killing and only pay the
emotional price later.

Very well done.

Title: The Lowest Circle · Author: Tanaqui · Races: Elves: Drabbles ·
ID: 449
Reviewer: Keiliss · 2008-11-24 02:28:24
Eerie, dark, distressing are the words this brings to mind. A soul
that once knew freedom, open air, the lights in the sky, broken down
to where memory fails and the only reality is the brutal here and now.
I think it must have been very like this, the making of orcs.

Title: Upon the Pebbled Shore · Author: aranelgoldenflower · Genres:
Drama: Final Partings · ID: 171
Reviewer: Keiliss · 2008-11-24 02:29:07
Elrond and Elros chose to join themselves to different kindreds, it is
part of canon, I have known it for years, and yet the suggestion that
Elrond's sons might make the same choice feels somehow shocking. Very
sad, but also in a way it does them far more honour than all those
stories that refuse to allow they might have been individual enough to
have chosen separately and have sufficient respect for one another to
accept the final divide.

Title: The Tower Hills · Author: DrummerWench · Genres: Drama: Final
Partings · ID: 608
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-24 02:29:34
Drummerwench's [The Tower Hills] reads as a seamless extension of the
final chapter of [The Return of the King]. She captures the Tolkienian
"voice" so well here yet it is not a self-conscious imitation, but
instead flows in a natural style which stands in great contrast to
those stories that attempt to be so canon-compliant and
Tolkienomimetic that they become stiff and uninteresting. This is not
the case here.

DW creates a pensive atmosphere, a time of transition and melancholy.
This is a journey of farewell as the elves look out from the height of
the tower east over the lands of Middle-earth which they will soon
depart. DW emphasizes this further with the use of her poetry. That
melancholy song (and a well done poem, it is) strikes the chord of
[The Tower Hills].

I also liked the fact that DW gave Sam those dark discomfited feelings
while he was inside the tower. That adds a sense of reality -- that
Sam would be affected by his experiences on the journey to Orodruin
and might translate these to other situations. DW captures Sam's real
and abiding fear, but then Frodo reaches out and reassures his boon
friend within the darkness of Elostirion. The haunting voice of the
sea - a mysteriously anthropomorphized chant -- is also an excellent
touch to add to the atmosphere. Finally, I relished each and every
detail of the architectural features of Elostirion, from the metal
bound doors and arrow-slit windows to the stairs to the stone walkway
to copper half-dome and the contraption of metal and gears.

An excellent gap filler!

Title: Miquan Melave · Author: Marta · Genres: Romance · ID: 319
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-24 03:09:31
I am picky when it comes to slash although I think the term for the
genre is about as misused as "AU." Sometimes, it can be rather forced,
but the type I favor rings with authenticity. That is the case for
Marta's vision of Boromir and Theodred, who are now OTP in my mind
thanks to her stories about these two men. In [Míquan Mélavë], we
first find Boromir ruminating on the implications of an ancient
Rohirric (Anglo-Saxon) expletive, one that is identical to that used
as vulgar and vocal equivalent of a comma in New York, Boston and much
of the Northeastern seaboard of the US.

There are any number of things I appreciated about Marta's depiction
of Théodred and Boromir's relationship depicted here: that they must
keep it clandestine within Gondorian society, the nature of their
feelings beyond physical attraction, and her well-written eroticism.

Boromir's yearning sears in this story. He wants more than the
intensity of the physical with Théodred, and the melancholy song,
[Miquan Mélavë] acts as the touchstone for Boromir to try to
illustrate the need for love, the search for the loving kiss along
with those that burn with physical passion.

As an aside, Marta's vision of the tale of Imrazór and Mithrellas is
an interesting touch, a seed crystal for a story in and of itself.

Title: A Dainty Dish · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship · ID: 722
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:12:52
As a mushroom lover myself, especially on pizza or in soup or Italian
dishes, and of course stuffed with delicious fillings and baked, I can
appreciate this story, and those hobbity hobbits Meriadoc and Peregrin
wanting to show Gondor how wonderful mushroom dishes can be. Nobles
and common alike cannot turn up their noses at this delicacy! I had a
soup once that was made of various mushrooms, onions, and other good
things that is one of the best soups I have ever eaten, and the
mushroom lovers in this story would surely enjoy it. I also like the
idea of the recipe-sharing. One imagines how wonderful it would be to
own a copy of a Middle-Earth cookbook. I'd probably try all the
recipes at least once. I would hope that Mrs Maggot's recipe for
mushrooms cooked with bacon would included, as well as Mr Butterbur's
for his blackberry tart, Elvish concoctions from Arwen, and all of
Aragorn and Farmir's best recipes for cooking wild game. That would
truly make a wonderful cookbook! One can imagine people using it to
throw dinner parties and for other special occasions. You could
prepare a whole feast of just mushroomed themed dishes. But please, no
recipes from the orcs, as we already know what their favorite food is,
and we do not want to eat it, or be it, for that matters. One wonders
if any recipes Sauron contributed would be for barbecue, since he
loves flames so much! Loved this story, mushrooms for all!

Title: Star of Hope · Author: Linda Hoyland · Times: Mid Third Age:
Eriador · ID: 34
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:20:24
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear
Aragorn-Estel-Strider-Wingfoot-Thorongil and all the rest of your
names! This was a very nice birthday fic for you, telling a nice
romantic story of Arathorn and Gilraen and how she told him that she
was expecting their child. I also liked this story because it showed
how Gilraen made sure some human customs were preserved for her son
when he was growing up in Rivendell, such as celebrating his birthday,
since the Elves did not do that, but rather celebrated their
begettting day. It was nice that Elrond was understanding, but then he
might have been used to it from the other heirs to Gondor that he had
fostered, It is nice to think of Aragorn celebrating his birthday and
enjoying himself as a child, considering all that he had to face in
his life.

Title: Sour Milk · Author: Linda Hoyland · Genres: Humor: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 521
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:28:48
This fanciful, humorous Alternative Universe story never fails to
charm me each time I read it. It reminds me very much of fairy tails,
in particular, the Emperor's New Clothes, one of my favorites as a
child. I also love the pictures and the idea of the cats teaching
Arrogant Aragorn humility. Good touch also adding Eomer's army of
Rohirrim as strongmen there to stop any resistance the people of
Gondor might have showed. The ginger tom in particular looks very
familiar. This story also reminds me of a much darker tale by Neil
Gaiman, in which the cats of the world plot to take over from the
humans and be masters of the earth. Good of the cats to want to bring
back the Steward Faramir too, as that can only bode good for the King,
the cats, the milk, and all of Gondor. This is, overall, a very clever
and entertaining piece of fiction.

Title: No Regrets · Author: Linda Hoyland · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 490
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:35:52
This is a great little drabble. You figure Aragorn must have wondered
about this question sometimes, given Denethor's attitude about the
Ruling Stewards. Not like I think Aragorn doubted Faramir's loyalty.
Faramir gave a very honest and heartfelt answer that perfectly suits
his character. You know that he would rather have had the King come
back and restore Gondor to her glory than to be ruling Steward over a
failing country threatened by the Shadow. Aragorn's return not only
freed Gondor, Arnor, and the rest of Middle Earth, it freed Faramir to
find a real and lasting love and to have a much happier life than he
would have had if Aragorn had chosen not to take the throne of Gondor
and Arnor.

Title: The Vase that was Broken · Author: Linda Hoyland · Genres:
Humor: Gondor · ID: 417
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:47:25
Oh poor Aragorn, he can never seem to get a break! This is a
delightful and humorous tale of one of the perils of fatherhood that
all father's face, no matter if they are king or not, where something
of their wives gets broken and they must either replace it before it
is noticed or risk the displeasure of their loved one. This story is a
wonderful little snapshot of how Aragorn and Arwen's life might really
have gone in the Fourth Age. One can easily imagine Aragorn being the
sort of warm and involved parent he is shown to be in this fic, taking
time from all the pressing duties of the kingdom to play with his
beloved firstborn son. I love picturing him looking at all the
different vases and trying to decide which was the best replacement
for the broken one. Arwen was just perfect in this too, she was her
sensible self who, of course, would put the priceless vase up as soon
as her son started walking, which of course meant he was old enough to
romp and play. Nice kiss at the end too, and a good conclusion drawn
by Aragorn. I also liked the title of this story's play on words, from
the sword that was broken, very familiar to all of us who so loved the
books. I think that Arwen was also clever enough to safely put away
any other heirlooms too, but just to be sure, Aragorn should probably
ask her!

Title: Home is where the heart is · Author: Linda Hoyland · Genres:
Romance: Drabbles · ID: 505
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 03:59:39
A very sweet little Arwen and Aragorn drabble that I really enjoyed
reading. I love Arwen and Aragorn, they are my favorite Middle Earth
couple and always have been.This is a lovely little outake from what
feels like fairly early on in the Fourth Age, as one senses that that
was when Arwen might be most likely to experience a moment of doubt
and a longing for the soft flowers of her home at Rivendell or her
grandmother Galadriel's refuge of Lothlorien,where Arwen spent so many
happy visits. She's feeling this, standing in a ballroom in Minas
Tirith, probably all dressed up in a wonderful gown and wearing
beautiful jewels. But when the reassurance comes, when her love sweeps
her into the dance and she realizes that everything she gave up is
nothing to what she gained, it is a perfectly wonderful moment. Arwen
has the love of her very long life, and how can she ever regret that?
Very lovely story!

Title: Deliverance · Author: Imhiriel · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 285
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-24 10:00:15
Imhiriel's drabble, "Deliverance", is a prime example of just how much
can be said in the one hundred words of the true drabble form. It was
a gift for my birthday, and I savor it, re-reading it frequently.

Imhiriel does a wonderful job of setting the scene in just a few,
powerful words. I feel so much sympathy for the mariner, shipwrecked
on an island... formerly hallowed by his people, and long sought-for,
but now barren... and feeling beaten up and completely abandoned.

You can feel the reverence and fascination he has held for downfallen
Numenor, and how much he hoped for a glimpse of his people's land...
but there is none. Poignantly, he thinks he is going to die because of
his failed quest.

And the ending is so hopeful! A sign from the Valar, and help
unlooked-for shows up from a direction unwatched.... As I've said
before, sailors are supposed to be superstitious, and I'm sure this
mariner is just superstitious enough to treasure the lucky eagle
feather and keep it with him forever.

This is a multi-layered vignette, beautifully written and enchanting.

Title: Cold Be Hand and Heart and Bone · Author: Imhiriel · Races:
Villains: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 286
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-24 12:03:45
This drabble truly gives me the creeps. *shivers*

I mean that in only the most admiring and complimentary way, of
course! The spooky atmosphere is well-wrought and chillingly successful.

Something that I especially appreciate here is that Imhiriel digs up
an obscure, forgotten quote buried in the middle of the Appendices,
dusts it off and illuminates it so deftly that you look at the
original quote in a completely different way.

Oh, and I really liked the mention of the blue jewelery that sent Tom
Bombadil into quiet remembrance when he unearthed it after freeing the
Hobbits from their captivity... score one for yet another quirky and
often-overlooked corner of canon.

The tone of this vignette is especially effective. It begins as a
dispassionate description of the tomb and of the finery with which the
prince was buried, as befits his station.

Then the reader begins to get uneasy at the spooky description of the
unearthly illumination, and then alarmed at the vivid description of
the words spoken by the presence.

And the vision of the [groping hand] evokes the sensation of the
prince being violated... until the last, short sentence leaves the
reader gasping in shock.

This is a terribly disturbing scene... I do not recommend that you
read it in the dark!

Title: The Waker · Author: Nancy Brooke · Races: Villains:
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 287
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-24 12:35:19
It is an rare and extraordinary challenge to write a drabble - so
dependent upon evocative language - about a creature without language;
but NancyBrooke rises to that challenge, and far exceeds all expectations.

I really enjoy how the vignette is told from the point of view of the
Watcher in the Water, who is unable to explain in words what is
happening or why he responds as he does. It is almost as if we are
watching this creature learn how to perceive, how to think, how to
express itself in its own inimitable, and verbally limited, way.

It certainly knows concepts like [hunger] and [prey], but its poor
mind is being stretched by concepts, by longings, that it cannot quite

Nancy's way of describing things that the Watcher cannot describe for
himself is compelling, and the last two paragraphs left me in a
thoughtful mood, trying to figure out just how the world would look -
or smell or taste or sound or feel - to a non-verbal creature that
bears far more resemblance to a squid or an octopus than to our
big-brained, awkwardly bipedal, land-dwelling, lumbering selves.

This is an extraordinarily perceptive view of a creature that is far
beyond our knowledge or experience. It gave me food for thought. Very
nicely done!

Title: Epiphany · Author: Larner · Races: Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length
Ficlets · ID: 293
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-24 13:04:34
Elladan and Elrohir are seeing Aragorn in a new light on the day of
his crowning, and are finding it a shock that he has grown into the
fine example of nobility that he is. I can't help but wonder if they
see a crown of flame over his head, as Legolas did when the Three
Hunters met Eomer?

Larner beautifully captures the moment when the brothers realize that
Estel has grown far beyond their little brother who needed their
support, training, and protection... and that he is not just
full-grown, but mature, accomplished, and kingly in his own right.

I imagine the surprise at seeing what was in front of them for a while
is similar to the shock of discovering that their younger sister was
going to give up her immortality to marry this man.

This drabble gave me a strong emotional response, especially empathy
for Elladan and Elrohir, who are losing their younger brother (and
their sister) at the same time as Aragorn is gaining the reunited
kingdom and a marriage.

Title: Reflections in the Smoke · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times:
Late Third Age: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 294
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-24 14:43:59
The tremendous relief and weariness that Gandalf must have felt at the
end of his two-millennia-long mission is very nicely depicted in this

I was especially taken by the evocative description of [the flick of a
wrist, the spinning of a small circlet of unholy metal into the fire];
so few words, but such a clear image wrought in my mind. And it refers
to a small, almost insignificant act, yet one that is the culmination
of thousands of years of preparatory work by Gandalf - despite not
having the knowledge or powers that he could take for granted as one
of the Maia in Valinor.

I cannot help but feel empathy for Gandalf, a tired old man, sitting
by the fire and puffing on his pipe. And perhaps he can't help but
wonder what it was that was so different between him and his brother
Maia, Sauron, that they took two such diverging paths.

Very nicely done!

Title: Possessing the greatest powers · Author: Tanaqui · Times:
Multi-Age: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 387
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-24 17:47:05
This drabble series combines lush, poetic prose, emotionally-engaging
snap shots, and deeply insightful philosophical allusions. I love the
tight bond between metaphors and actual physical realities - water for
Galadriel, air for Elrond, and fire and flame for Gandalf.

The fragile and fluid balance between one's own power of sub-creation
and the spark of true divine creation is explored in thought-provoking
ways and yet - rightly - left an unfathomable mystery.

Tanaqui's take on the origin on what the the Rings represent is very
convincing. The way she ties each Ring's individual name and
properties to their respective wearer's personal history and
disposition is brilliant and deeply moving, setting the loss of power
by the destruction of the One Ring in the right context of victory
over evil and triumph after a long, hard-fought struggle in body and mind.

I'm hard put to name a favourite, but I think my choice would be the
lovely portrait of Galadriel in ["Not Waving But Drowning"], and I'm
also partial to this line: ["Elrond grasped Glorfindel's shoulder,
anchoring himself down"] in ["Air Pressure"] which is shows the
meaning of their friendship in such a subtle way.

Title: Faithful · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Second and Early Third
Age · ID: 105
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-24 17:53:49
Intriguing look on what might have occured on the eve of the Gondorian
Kin-Strife. I can feel how difficult it must have been for this Prince
of Dol Amroth to weigh between the conflicting loyalities, when a
decision either way might put the people he is in charge of in peril.

We know his decision will put him on "the wrong side of history", but
as we see here, it certainly wasn't a decision made lightly, or with
betrayal in mind.

Title: The Heart of a Knight · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Drama:
Incomplete · ID: 335
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-24 22:48:04
It's not often that you see Imhiriel put her formidable talents to
work on longer fanfic pieces, but HoaK makes me want it to happen more
often. As opposed to the challenges of the super-short form, there's a
different set of skills required to carry a plot over multiple
chapters and develop an assortment of main and supplemental
characters. The author is doing a bang-up job of convincing me of the
"reality" of this little corner of Tolkien's world that's being
focused on, and has me eagerly (and impatiently!) tapping my fingers
waiting for the next installment.

The relationships between the various individuals are obviously well
thought-out and believable. Life is not all rosy for the newly-made
Captain of the White Company; naturally he has friends and family who
support him (including a truly lovely and wonderful appearance by one
particularly height-challenged comrade), but there are a lot of issues
to Beregond's situation that keep it from being a "happily ever after"
story - one or two of which I'd never even considered before. Imhiriel
deftly explores these with a very nice nuanced approach that never
weighs the narrative down, yet gives a balance to the judgement
Aragorn has passed.

Very well done, and when can we expect more? :)

Title: Kin-Strife · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Genres: Drama:
Incomplete · ID: 92
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-24 22:48:35
I know that Isabeau often laments the number of seemingly never-ending
WiPs that beg for her attention, but frankly: I would hate for any one
of them to not be posted. Even as we're hanging on (begging and
pleading and making "Elf-puppy" eyes at her to work on our particular
favorite), each and every one of them is just so darn good as it
stands that I'd hate for it to still be relegated to the privacy of
her hard drive, awaiting unveiling until it was finished.

Kin-Strife is a perfect example to hold up. Yes, we want the last of
the details worked out and committed to the final chapters, but the
interactions between Imrahil and Andrahar (one of the absolute best
OCs in the fandom) are all emotionally engaging, enlightening and
entertaining. I love these scenes of the two of them in their youth
with their successes and failures, and the growth and healing that
gradually takes place.

Isabeau's writing is always superb, with humor and poignancy both in
ample supply. There's awesome conversations, stirring plot lines, and
wonderful connections and interweavings with Tolkien's canon and other
stories in this fanon universe. And the characters: Isabeau imbues
each and every one, from major to minor, with a vivid and compelling
voice. Small wonder they've all started clamoring to have their own
story told!

Title: Autumn · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 489
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 23:43:45
This is an excellent story, that I particularly enjoyed, as Autumn is
one of my favorite season, with the leaves, the crisp nights, the
pumpkins, and the holidays. It was very nice to how Fourth Age Aragorn
is enjoying his life in this little fic. He no longer has to spend the
cold nights of fall and winter wandering Middle Earth as a Ranger or
in one of his other guises. Instead, he can spend them indoors, by a
bright fire, with his loving wife and family. Just one of the perks of
being King and marrying the woman you have loved for decades.

Title: Drawing the Eye · Author: Linda Hoyland · Times: Late Third Age
· ID: 569
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 23:47:16
A very tense, somewhat melancholy story of Aragorn, Halbarad, and the
Palantir. A good portrayal of what might have actually happened when
Aragorn had to confront Sauron with the Palantir.

Title: Music hath Charms · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men: Minas
Tirith · ID: 361
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 23:52:13
Come down, lady come down! This playful fic reminds me a great deal of
the Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Reese Witherspoon movie of Oscar
Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest. In that movie, the gentlemen
attempted to win the favor of their angry lady-loves by serenading
them, just as Aragorn and Faramir successfully did in this story. It
was cute romantic, and a very sweet snippet from Fourth Age Gondor.

Title: Seeking the Sun · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men · ID: 488
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 23:55:48
I really like the outsider\\\'s point of view used in this story, as
the reader is able to see the familiar Tolkien characters from another
angle, one that is not initially postive. I was so glad that the poor
lady got to see that Aragorn, Arwen, and the like were not as she had
thought them to be, and that the story had a happy ending at last.

Title: Playing with Fire · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men: Minas
Tirith · ID: 21
Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2008-11-24 23:57:30
An excellent story showing one of Aragorn and Arwen's many moments of
being parents as well as King and Queen.