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Msg# 9581

MEFA Reviews for Friday, November 28, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 28, 2008 - 18:09:16 Topic ID# 9581
Title: Fidelis · Author: Pentangle · Genres: Drama: Hurt/Comfort · ID: 612
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2008-11-28 04:54:38
I seem at a loss for words to describe my heartfelt joy at finding
this tale and my heartfelt sorrow at the reading. Yet, I will try to
communicate something of this to you, in hopes it will propel you
towards reading it. And I am kicking myself for not reviewing this
earlier (I had read it about two months ago but dallied in the review)
when it will hardly give you the time to review it yourself…. Stupid
woman that I am!

It is not that long in the telling, just about ten chapters, but every
one is a gem and well worth your time reading.

The first thing that caught my eye about this tale was the decidedly
unique location. I won't give it away, but I've never heard a story
located in such a place – though that does not mean it is not a
plausible place – just very different.

The second thing was the writing – the descriptions of places, people,
and things were very good. I'm not a description-reading person. Not
much at least. And yet I found it easy to read the author's
descriptions. I didn't quickly move on to the dialogue, passing over
the descriptions – which is a complement to the writer. The dialogue
is crisp and the characters are easily identified as they speak.

This story revolves around two Elves who are wound into the ribbon
that is Aragorn's life. Not only Aragorn's but Legolas' too. The Elves
are a conundrum for the Healer of the North; whilst one is a challenge
for the Wood Elf.

The category is hurt/comfort. I've not read many stories that so
embody the `ideals' of this category. My heart broke from about
chapter three onward, not because one or two were poorly written, but
as one is drawn to these two wounded Elves, the heart becomes entwined
with their fate. Thus the inevitable outcome of ownership and love for
the characters.

Aragorn is superb in this tale. Exactly as I would think him. I don't
oft read much Aragorn, but I `know' him, if any can, and he is truly
`royal' in his demeanor, his heart, and his caring. Legolas is beyond
tender, not with over affectation, but with pure-heartedness.

I really don't think you should read this if you do not want to pull
out a tissue now and again. Yet, it is not `sickly sweet' in it's
telling; but the telling of any story as tragic as this tends to draw
forth tears. I really, really recommend this. Not often have I been
moved, of late, so thoroughly!

Title: Young Fëanáro Makes A Stone · Author: Oshun · Genres: Humor:
Valar & Maiar · ID: 77
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 05:10:42
A delightful account of how the Elessar came to be created which
appeals to me as an Aragorn fan,though I know little of the
Simarillion. I loved the idea of the jewel being inspired by moonlight
on a leaf.The characterisation of Aule brought him vividly to life as
never before.

Title: The Blessing · Author: Mews1945 · Genres: Drama: Featuring
Frodo or Sam · ID: 228
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 05:15:04
A touching moment at Cormallen when Frodo,Sam and Aragorn visit the
wounded.It was interesting to see these events through the eyes of an
ordinary soldier.

Title: The Skills That Keep You Alive · Author: Gwynnyd · Times: Mid
Third Age · ID: 434
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 05:26:51
I greatly enjoyed this when I first read it and enjoyed reading it
again. I'm not quite sure that Aragorn as Thorongil really work as a
half naked juggler but it was great fun to imagine,a clever use of the
prompt and a good lesson that sometimes skills you never dreamed would
be useful;are! I loved Glorfindel as a wise and patient teacher while
young Estel was very believable.

Title: Five things that never happened to Nerdanel · Author: Meril ·
Genres: Alternate Universe: Angst/Tragedy · ID: 389
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 05:30:40
I found this list of things that never happened to Nerdanel made me
realise just what a wise and strong woman she was!

Title: Night Terrors · Author: Gwynnyd · Genres: Drama: Gondor
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 433
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-28 05:39:46
I found this story very moving and true to life. As Faramir and Eowyn
have both suffered so many losses in their lives it is very natural
that they should be nervous about their baby.I see Faramir as a
wonderful loving father and hope his fears will prove groundless.A
touching,well written story.

Title: Wild Swan · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama: Gondor
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 328
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-28 07:46:21
Tanaqui's fortuitous drabble series, "Wild Swan", is a collection of
vignettes about Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, and many of the people
he touched throughout his life. I call it "fortuitous", because
Tanaqui wrote each of these drabbles as part of the Tolkien
Drabble-a-day self-challenge; they were not originally planned to be a
standalone series, but they fit together very well and beautifully
illustrate so many key moments of Imrahil's life.

The interactions between Imrahil and the other characters are very
clear and evocative: his unease when Denethor becomes overly familiar
in a manipulative way, his anxiety and then relief when Thorongil
survives the swim to the docks of Umbar, his solicitous nurturing of
very young Faramir and Boromir (and, by extension, his own children),
his skill as a warrior and as a military strategist, his love of his
wife and admiration of her capabilities, his staunch loyalty to and
respect for the adult Faramir, and his easy rapport with Elessar and
presumably Eomer.

What I especially enjoy and appreciate is how Tanaqui wields language
like a scalpel, to incisively lay bare the heart of the physical and
emotional scene that the drabble depicts. For example, [feeling the
weight of Denethor's arm around his neck] works on both the concrete
and metaphorical level. And [Faramir dived, and Imrahil followed him
down, close but not crowding him.] directly describes the ability of a
adult to nurture a child, but also hints at a possible approach of a
respected commander at fostering military talent. And [I think Éomer
King is minded to put a stallion of Rohan to a filly of Dol
Amroth....] displays a delightfully wicked sense of humor....

The talent displayed by this series leaves me in awe, and I really
enjoy re-reading it.

Very nicely done!

Title: In absentia · Author: Robinka · Races: Elves: House of Finwe ·
ID: 84
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 09:12:16
This vignette still has me going: now how about that! It doesn't
matter how often I read it (this time for the awards) and I really
cannot think of so many superlatives that will do this story justice.
Chilling, angsty, vivid, stunning, scary… what more Binks, it just
doesn't seem to cover what you did with this post-Thangorodrim story.
It starts at the beginning, the setting of the scene and the
introduction of the plot. It simply pulls you in and does not let you
go. You just want to know what will happen: will they erupt in a
physical fight, will Fingon manage to get through to Maedhros. What
does this elf has to do to bring out that spark within Maedhros while
his spirit fights just as well to return. It rather wants to remain in
absence than to acknowledge his current state, the deed done and the
situation of his people. And that is just Maedhros, but what about
Fingon? From despair to utter stubbornness, he just will not give in
so easily, his valiant nature will not run away from his cousin's
anger. And oh wait, yes you as a reader just feel as if you're in the
room. What a tension in that room, it's very palpable and the outburst
is just, well timed. I think, personally, that this is one of those
angst-ridden vignettes that strikes you at the heart and before you
know it, you want to stoke up the heat as well. There are so many
details in this vignette that I would love to discuss or which needs
the praise, but then I probably will end up typing an immensely long
review. Others who might read this review: read it and set your mind
wide open for a most enthralling and immensely well-written story. You
won't be disappointed.

Title: In Dreams · Author: Phyncke · Genres: Romance: Elven Lands ·
ID: 609
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 09:28:13
[In Dreams] is just as the title suggest an utmost dreamlike story
that is immensely beautifully written. To start with I just love the
opening paragraph: [It was a field of golden flowers, long stems
swaying in the wind, a fire-like ripple effect.] Now even when you are
not sure what is to come (a second or a third read of this romance
will make your smile bigger which also makes this story a treasure to
re-read), this is perhaps one of the most gorgeous opening sentences I
have read. The tone of this piece is light with just small touches
upon angst, but the manner in how Phyncke brings this to its
conclusion: it so elegantly with humorous touches. Especially the
dialogue is just witty and makes you chuckle. It is not too much, not
too many: just perfectly balanced. It is just how a happy dream should
be with the small reminders woven into it: ["You already know in your
heart."]. Besides that, what I so love about this piece is how Phyncke
describes how a lingering love becomes reality to not only one pairing
but to two. The gold flowers at the start just seems to bud and open
to you. At the end it is revealed how this has come to be and how
fitting it is that the Valar of dreams after some nudges would grant
those elves who have sacrificed so much the love they deserves. I find
that a great way to bring the story to full circle: answering those
small questions the reader might have.

Title: On Canon and Fanfic · Author: Marta · Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 123
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 09:58:29
This is a thorough essay that as a starting point defines the nature
of canon, the role of the fan fic writer as he or she takes on writing
a piece based on an existing story.

The initial discussion about AU at various places which was the cause
of this essay mainly mirrored the frustration of injustice done to
those who write AU, but felt like they never got the appreciation they
deserve. If you happen to think AU's do not contribute much, please do
read this essay, it might change your mind. Marta's work rationally
dissects all variations of what is canonical and what is not, giving
every variation on it the praise and insights it deserves. The essay
is built up quite logically points out that no matter how you look at
it: almost every ff out there is AU or perhaps not canonical. While
(re-)reading this essay once more, I found myself nodding and agreeing
with her reasoning and points. I do not have more to add to her
sharply written analysis of stories within our fandom, just reminding
us all that we all write stories for our own reason even those who
take up the challenge to write this genre within fanfic. For why it is
such a challenge, I do refer to this piece and I hope it will make the
reader and writers amongst to pause, think and appreciate this genre
with all its gems it has to offer.

Title: Five Things that Never Happened to Serinde of Dol Amroth ·
Author: SurgicalSteel · Genres: Alternate Universe: Angst/Tragedy ·
ID: 222
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 13:34:56
After reading [The King's Surgeon] a few months ago, these five
vignettes gave me the chills, except for the last that is.
SurgicalSteel took out five events of the many in Serinde's life and
gives us a different view on the what if thoughts. What I find so
amazing in these series is how a different turn out of events changed
her OFC, from a meek and silent daughter and oh my: a gentle natured
surgeon? Serinde has many qualities but that one had me going like: oh
my! Every vignette in that sense has been written in a different voice
with their own (bitter) consequences, but most certainly a must read
for all Serinde fans!

Title: Some Confusion in Accounts · Author: viv · Genres: Humor: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 276
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 13:43:56
Oh my goodness, yes I can most definitely imagine such an interview on
TV, with the reporter just wanting to ask that question where one has
never dared to do so before. Yet she prompts it and there you have it:
a reader's anticipation. I just love the tiny details like: [frothy
pink drink] (pink Viv??? *snicker*), [she raised one arctic eyebrow
and hinted at a smile.] or [Mr. The Wise lolled in incandescent
beauty], this just alone makes reading Viv's fusion of modern earth
with Tolkien such a magnificent read. And no, I wouldn't have waited

Title: Heavens' Embroidered Cloths · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama:
Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 292
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-28 13:43:59
The Numenoreans were sea-farers; they must have navigated by the
stars. But even those who always dwelled on land feast their eyes on
the splendor of Varda's sparkling jewels, and make up stories to
explain their patterns... and pass these stories down through generations.

Tanaqui's drabble series, "Heaven's Embroidered Cloths", sees a newly
wedded Eowyn reviving a Mettare tradition from Faramir's childhood...
the early, happy part, when he felt loved and safe, before he lost his
mother to illness and his father to the grimness engendered by the
bitter struggle with Sauron.

The tradition is to hang fabric representations of the constellations,
and to tell stories about the origin of each. Faramir becomes lost in
remembering the legends told by Denethor and Finduilas (and young
Boromir, though the credibility of his version is somewhat suspect!).
Each drabble presents a new tale, many adapted from Tolkien's
legendarium, explaining how that constellation came to be. The
descriptions are rich with detail and fascinating bits of canon, as
well as creative bits of imagination.

The stargazing aspect is an absolute delight, but in addition, the
glimpses we get of Faramir's interactions with Eowyn and with his
family of origin are rich with love and nurturing. Tanaqui's language
is so evocative that she paints vivid pictures with few words. And the
star stories are effectively framed by drabbles with Faramir and Eowyn
together, enjoying their happy state as a couple.

I especially appreciate the hopeful outlook of this series; Eowyn
revives the tradition to please Faramir, and it serves to remind him
of early, happy days with his family... and gives us hope that the
happiness and the traditions will continue on for the rest of their
lives, and for the succeeding generations.


Title: The Least of Rings · Author: Marta · Genres: Alternate
Universe: Drabbles · ID: 621
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke · 2008-11-28 13:45:14
This is terrific. Not only does the author take on a complicated
subject in drabble form, one other authors have only been able to
touch in near novels, but she finds a remarkably pinpointedly clear
angle from which to say something very fresh. The idea that Boromir
should 'sacrifice' his wedding ring to gain the one ring, is a perfect
metaphor for all desire of the ring makes one devalue. Well done.

Title: With Hope and Without Hope · Author: docmon · Genres:
Adventure: Incomplete · ID: 466
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 13:52:49
As others have commented here, I also wondered at first if this would
turn out to be simply another story in this venue with a typical
ending. Docmon has proved to her readers that is not the case! I like
AU stories in general because it's fun to follow the writers'
imaginations to find out what kinds of events might have taken place
if things had gone even a tiny bit differently. "With Hope and Without
Hope" executes a wonderful exploration of the theme 'What if?' What if
Merry and Pippin had not been the only ones captured by the orcs, and
what if other members of the Fellowship were also captured? Docmon's
story examines each character's feelings in detail and shines the
spotlight for a time on each one as they struggle to escape and help
their fellow travellers. I particularly love the way she's portrayed
Pippin and Merry in this. They have a definite part in making things
happen and in changing the way things are going to work out. One
person is not taking care of everyone, they all have an important part
to play. This is an angsty H/C tale that still portrays a ray of hope
for our weary travellers. Well done!

Title: Sharing Good News · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Humor: Drabbles
· ID: 216
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 13:52:56
This is such a wonderful drabble that in such effective way describes
the unique and warm friendship between Aragorn and Bilbo. I just love
the thought of this ranger racing to the Shire to share that bit of
immensely well news; especially after waiting so long to find out to
begin with (I mean forty years!). One can only imagine the huge smile
on Bilbo's face that will follow suit and the almost expected fussing
over matters and the man that will come after that, perhaps making tea
and discussing more. What a great snapshot Imhiriel, simply wonderful!

Title: Bibliophile · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Romance: Drabbles ·
ID: 370
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2008-11-28 14:02:42
I really love this drabble because it gives you so much to think
about! Why would Éowyn for example still read a lament, but answer so
down beaten when Faramir asks her about it. Would it have remembered
her of her own unrequited love towards Aragorn: a parallel is most
certainly there. This leaves me glad to think that in the end Éowyn
found her Gwindor in Faramir, someone who loves her so much. Still at
the end of the drabble, we're not sure how far Éowyn was while reading
the lament, leaving me as a reader to ponder if Faramir will tell her
how it ends or if she returns to finish it after all. This is a great
drabble Imhiriel, it is wonderfully constructed (also that you tied
the LotR characters to Silmarillion characters/events) and it leaves
it to the reader what might happen next.

Title: Homecoming · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Genres: Alternate
Universe: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 706
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke · 2008-11-28 14:19:42
I appreciate this kind of AU - where only one critical aspect of the
story is changed, and so we see something familiar in a new way.

Title: The Skills That Keep You Alive · Author: Gwynnyd · Times: Mid
Third Age · ID: 434
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke · 2008-11-28 14:22:22
Isn't it interesting where a prompt can take you? This is like the
best shaggy dog story, in that I didn't see the punch line, as it
were, coming.

Title: Faithful · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Second and Early Third
Age · ID: 105
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke · 2008-11-28 14:24:56
I liked ths vision of Dol Amroth. The Author really gives the reader a
rich sense of place, both physically and politically.

Title: The Blessing · Author: Golden/Pearl Took CoAuthors · Genres:
Longer Works · ID: 511
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 14:31:49
I hardly know exactly where to begin with this story's review! Quite
honestly, I find myself in awe of the tremendous amount of effort and
thought that went into writing "The Blessing", and I feel that two of
my favourite writers have truly outdone themselves. Again, I've said I
very often like AU stories in that it's great fun to explore what
might have happened and how each writer envisions her universe in very
individual ways. "The Blessing" has made me cry, laugh, cheer, smile,
wince, hope, and wait impatiently for more, among other things, but
never has it made me disappointed. Pearl Took and Golden put a great
deal of time into research for this story in order to make it as
realistic as possible. I'm sure it was also a challenge to take a
disorder we know so much about these days and write about the ME times
equivalent. They somehow managed to get inside each character's head
and express their multitude of mixed emotions the problem presented
for them.

The "What if" question in this case is, "What if Pippin did suffer
permanent physical damage from being crushed by the troll?". I have a
hard time imagining that he didn't, but of course, Tolkien did not
write it that way. The very idea of our beloved Pippin having a
seizure disorder and going through so much with adjusting to it was
hard enough for many readers. And the authors go on to take the
youngest hobbit through a great many trials before the end. I liked
seeing Merry portrayed as having a very difficult time dealing with
it, and I felt that was very realistic. I also like the way Frodo and
Sam took care of Pippin and Merry both throughout the ordeal.

The tale is thoroughly angsty and dramatic, taking the reader to new
heights of angst as we worry about what will eventually happen
because, after all, this *is* an AU. I also appreciate the way the
writers resisted the temptation to magically "heal" Pippin before it
was over. As much as many of us yearned for that, it simply wasn't
realistic to the tone of the story. The best parts of "The Blessing"
are obvious when we see the way Pippin's undauntable spirit carries
him through and helps him, if not be cured, at least conquer his
feelings and grow to the point where he learns he can accept the blow
fate has dealt him as long as he has the precious support and
understanding of his family and friends.

Well envisioned and excellently written, "The Blessing" is a must-read
for AU and angst-lovers alike! Bravo ladies!!!

Title: Dirty Jobs · Author: Pearl Took · Genres: Humor: Shire · ID: 232
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 14:59:10
For some reason, this little story has become one of my favourites! I
love the way Pearl has portrayed Pippin in this tale as a resourceful,
hardworking youngster who is not afraid to tackle just about anything
to reach his goal. In this case, the goal is to make enough money on
his own to purchase a "just because I love you" gift for his mother.
He doesn't want to ask his father for money, he insists on earning it
himself, and this shows him as having the very admirable trait of
being self-motivated and ambitious. That's one thing about the way
Pippin was portrayed in the movies that I have never liked, and
honestly, he's so often shown as being hyper and/or overly energetic
that I can't understand why anyone would show him as lazy? That just
doesn't fit in my view of this wonderful character and I love the way
pearl has taken his trait of resourcefullness and carried it to new
heights as the lad cheerfully takes on every job he can find, no
matter how foul!

Of course, his behaviour then leads to the suspicion that the Took's
are going broke! Naturally, this is not the case and after a time the
gossip reaches Paladin Took's ears and he confronts his son about what
he's been up to. The story finishes with some touching father and son
interaction. I highly recommend "Dirty Jobs" to every Pippin lover who
likes seeing him portrayed as the clever, ambitious and thoughtful lad
he is and not some layabout character who "never did a hard day's work
in your life" as movie Merry said to him.

Well done, Pearl, and I'd love to see another story along these lines!!

Title: Not Quite Any Other Day · Author: Pearl Took · Races: Hobbits:
Family · ID: 631
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 15:06:43
This is a lovely, touching exploration of the beginnings of
Esmeralda's and Saradoc's courtship as Paladin prepares to marry
Eglantine. Poor Esmie. I remember, as someone here has already
mentioned, my own wedding day and my brother's reaction and feelings
about it. It's hard when relationships change, but we just have to
look forward to what is to come! Very sweet story, and I do enjoy
tales that look at the early relationships of some of my favourite

Title: A Taste of Home · Author: Pearl Took · Races: Hobbits:
Friendship · ID: 138
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 15:15:28
I'm not usually all that fond of stories that take place in Merry and
Pippin's later years because they make me sad. For the moment, I am
still very content in reading and writing the younger years of all the
hobbits. Maybe it's because I see so much angst in my RL job that I
gravitate towards the younger, happier times. Anyway, this is a
charming tale depsite the underlying current of the pain and dread of
old age and the loss of loved ones. I cannot *abide* fruitcake, hee! I
admit even reading about how it's made makes me feel ill <wink> but
this is a lovely and touching story about a very special friendship
and the lengths Merry and Pippin will go to for one another. I enjoyed
it very much!

Title: Yule Tails · Author: Pearl Took · Races: Cross-Cultural · ID: 303
Reviewer: Cathleen · 2008-11-28 15:22:27
This bright and cleverly written story was created for the G-Fic
group's very first Yule Fic Exchange last year, and what a lovely
example of contrast and comparison between the characters of Pippin
Took and Faramir of Gondor, who is the namesake of Pippin's son.
Certainly these two must have shared a special bond to have caused
Pippin to name his son after him. Pearl's story is excellent and takes
the reader from each character's childhood Yules to later ones, and
centers around a much-desired gift of a pony or a horse. From toy ones
all the way to real ones, each phase of their lives is accompanied by
something special happening on Yule, and brings us to a very
delightful conclusion!

MEWD, Pearl!