Yahoo Forum Archive

This is an archive of the MEFA Yahoo Group, which was shut down by Yahoo in 2019. The archive can be sorted by month and by topic ID. You can use your browser to search by keyword within the month or topic you have open.


Msg# 9589

MEFA Reviews for Saturday, November 29, 2008 (Part Two) Posted by annmarwalk November 29, 2008 - 20:33:40 Topic ID# 9589
Title: Summer Nights · Author: Marta · Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ·
ID: 344
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2008-11-29 03:15:00
Marta is a master of elegant language; and she does not disappoint
here, where in a hundred words, sinister signs in the heat of summer
give way to the start of the Ring War in Gondor. I absolutely love the
last line- [A lone arrow fled its bow, an orc's cry split the sultry
air: war had finally arrived.], it's exquisite!

Title: Scholarship · Author: Raksha the Demon · Races: Men: Steward's
Family · ID: 43
Reviewer: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · 2008-11-29 03:18:14
In this fic, Faramir comes face to face with his son's coming of age.
The setting under the cherry blossoms, symbol of youth and transience,
is perfect, and Elboron is adorable in his forthright awkwardness.

That the boy and his father can speak so openly and with such trust is
so different from Faramir's dealings with Denethor. Faramir wisely
realizes that, if he rebukes his son, the lad will find another
teacher who may not be so learned or so honorable. And even if, as
Faramir no doubt hopes, Elboron does not indulge in these pleasures
outside of marriage, some day Elboron's wife will benefit from this
teaching! How very much like Faramir to remind his son of his
responsibility to protect those who are vulnerable because of their
age or sex. And I was glad to see that his son seems to take the
advice to heart.

I love the invented languages and the Rhunic version of "Kama Sutra,"
though the captions don't sound very helpful, lol. This is yet another
marvelous piece of writing from the pen of Raksha.

Title: Moon Over Water · Author: Avon · Genres: Drama: Final Partings
· ID: 518
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:21:05
I think what I like most about this story is that it doesn't attempt
to explain everything. Avon presents a magical, mystical scene - one
that fits beautifully with Middle-earth - and then simply lets it go.
What is occurring and why is never explained, nor is Boromir's behavior.

The ending therefore comes as a surprise and a kind of reward for
Faramir, who seems to hold onto his sense of the reality and perhaps
the importance of the Night of the Gallants long after Boromir
relinquished both.

The writing is, as ever, beautiful. Thanks, Avon!

Title: Before the Black Gate · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Late
Third Age · ID: 45
Reviewer: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · 2008-11-29 03:23:45
Poor Pippin is truly a stranger in a strange land, very far from the
woods and fields of the Tooklands. I like the hobbit's eye viewpoint
of this fic--Beregond towers over him. Yet despite their differences,
it is clear that they are friends. Beregond is looking out for him,
considerate of a hobbit's need for a good breakfast. The need for
short rations is a nice realistic touch; certainly they couldn't
forage in those desolate lands, so they would have to carry provisions.

[He hopped up briskly, ready as he would ever be for what was to come.]

I especially liked this line; it seemed very hobbit-like and reminded
me of Samwise's commonsense heroism. A fitting fic to honor the battle
before the Black Gate.

Title: The Prisoner of Time · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Alternate Universe: Steward's Family · ID: 313
Reviewer: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · 2008-11-29 03:30:44
Ooh, a chilling but plausible AU! Denethor has enough wisdom to turn
away from immolation but not enough wisdom to accept the restoration
of the King or even Aragorn's help to heal his remaining son. This
fits very well with canon, where Denethor does waver before the end
and Imrahil does remark that Denethor's mood has been "strange."
Personally, I find this version of events, where Denethor's fall is
only partial, more believable than canon.

Having Denethor realize that he doesn't know the words to the
fashionable, new songs is a nice touch. He realizes that the world
outside is changing even if he refuses to change. How his own
irrelevance must have galled him, almost as much as Aragorn's kindness!

An original view of an often-discussed subject.

Title: In absentia · Author: Robinka · Races: Elves: House of Finwe ·
ID: 84
Reviewer: Alassante · 2008-11-29 03:32:23
Robinka has taken a turning ponit in Maedhros' life and written it
with the understandable emotions of a once strong warrior - now
weakened. Her imagery is wonderful and I loved Fingon's love for his
cousin. Maedhros had very realistic and authetic Feanorian pride as
well. I don't like it when Maedhros is written as a perfect hero - for
he was flawed like all of the Feanorians. I really enjoyed her take on
this point in time of the First Age.

Title: Bears With Honey · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres: Humor:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 243
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:33:01
Most sane people - women or otherwise - would probably run screaming
if someone close to them suddenly changed into a bear or something
large and fanged and furry. Mrs. Beorn, however, is made of much
sterner stuff, and even finds advantage in the occasional fit of
unearthly transformation. I love the absolute ordinariness that
Gandalf's Apprentice brings to this little interlude - the language
and the affectionate, down-to-earth atmosphere of the piece make it
evident that this is simply one of those days when it's a good time to
break into that stash of honey while Mr. Beorn is away and won't be by
to commandeer it.

Great fun, GA!

Title: Incarnation · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres: Humor:
Drabbles · ID: 242
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:36:51
Humorous juxtaposition of immortal endurance and the indignities of
the flesh. That Gandalf gets berated by Pippin, of all people, no
doubt just makes the day extra miserable and ironic for him.

And you know, I'm sure that the Valar mean well, but they don't have
bodies, so I'm inclined to think that there's a reason they overlook
these little 'trials' that our bodies put us through. One hopes Olórin
will put a memo in Manwë's cosmic inbox about the oversight...

Title: The Sky Is Over · Author: Robinka · Races: Elves: Drabbles · ID: 83
Reviewer: Alassante · 2008-11-29 03:40:28
I can honestly say that I have not read any stories with Finrod and
Galadriel's sibling bond explored so this was a rare treat. Robinka's
choice of quote to write about is wonderful one for everyone loves the
story of Finrod's love for Amarië. I liked her focus on Finrod trying
to retain the warmth of his sister's touch. Beautiful thought and a
wonderful drabble. Good job Robinka!

Title: House of Ransom · Author: Robinka · Races: Elves: Drabbles ·
ID: 657
Reviewer: Alassante · 2008-11-29 03:43:27
Since I cannot stand Turin, I particularly liked Robinka showing how
stubborn and foolish he was through Beleg's eyes. Poor Beleg went
through so much for his friend and ended up being killed by him, which
is so heartwrenchingly sad. But it is nice to see a nice display of
Beleg's loyalty to Turin, only out of friendship. Once again, a
beautifully written piece by Binka.

Title: Love at First Sight · Author: Gwynnyd · Races: Elves: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 432
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:43:57
I think I've been reading too much psychoanalysis, but my brain
immediately leapt to a very different first love scenario, the second
Míriel was brought into the picture.

So for me, this drabble read like a protracted drawing out of what
should be a very awkward moment of humor, potentially something
darker, until those last few lines, at which point the whole picture
upended itself and slid out of the frame to make way for a very
different situation. Which was delightful, whether or not that was
what Gwynnyd intended.

The image of gummy-mouthed baby Feänor raptly staring at the Light was
just terrific.

Title: The Other · Author: Dana/Lindelea CoAuthors · Genres: Horror ·
ID: 27
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:47:45
I was quite stunned by this truly amazing collaboration. In this
chilling AU, it seems that the Brandybucks suffer from a horrible
curse, that comes all unexpectedly upon them every few generations,
ever since one of them made it back alive from the war against the
Witch-king of Angmar.

And now, ironically, the curse has visited itself upon Meriadoc, who
was one of the Witch-king's slayers--a really intriguing bit which is
allowed to pass without comment, which the reader appreciates all the
more for its subtlety.

We see Pippin's growing horror as the true state of things gradually
becomes apparent to him, and his despair as the only solution is
presented to him.

It is clear to see the hand of both of the authors in this story. Dana
has a way with writing darker themes with compassion and
believability, and a knack with horror AUs, as her story ["Turned
Earth"] proved, while Lindelea is skilled at constructing solid plots
and building up the suspense for truly trying cliffhangers. Both of
them know how to use angst skillfully, without going overboard on it.
There are certain turns of phrase in which I think I can spot the hand
of one or the other in, but the narrative itself is seamless, and I
have no clue as to which of them actually *wrote* which part.

The denouement is presented as a very plausible ending--it played out
beautifully, indeed! (And I adored the inclusion of Aragorn.)

Title: Reflections in the Smoke · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times:
Late Third Age: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 294
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:47:59
Apart from hobbits, Gandalf is my favorite character in the stories of
our heroes. We are seldom allowed to see what he is thinking, unless
he chooses to tell us. That makes it all the more interesting to read
fic from his POV. There are so many possible interpretations of his
actions and words. This little bignette, in which he ruminates on his
task has a tone of melancholy and resignation about it wholly
appropriate to the circumstances. Indeed, he's earned his rest.

Title: Homecoming · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Genres: Alternate
Universe: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 706
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:48:20
With everything Boromir gets put through in the Unabeauverse, the poor
man would need years of therapy to have a chance at a peaceful life -
almost as many as his poor brother, to say nothing of dear Denethor.
So it's good to think that in an AU, in some utopia within fictional
space, he actually gets a future where he could end happily and in old
age, with the one he loves.

Thanks, Isabeau!

Title: Symbols of Love · Author: Larner · Genres: Adventure · ID: 130
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:48:38
This is such a touching story! I could just imagine the quilt as
Aragorn describes it so affectionately!

Title: With Many "Fond" Acknowledgments · Author: Thundera Tiger ·
Genres: Humor · ID: 472
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:48:52
This story had me chuckling all the way through it! I could so
identify with poor Sam's dilemma. And Faramir was just sneaky! Poor Sam!

Title: Five Turnings of the Year · Author: Dana · Races: Hobbits:
Post-Ring War · ID: 685
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:49:11
I will have to confess to more than just a little bias for this lovely
set of vignettes. Not only did I beta them, but Dana was kind enough
to include some little inside touches which were meant just for me
(such as the names of songs and dances), which always make me grin.

But these ficlets are marvelous. Five different Yules: the year before
the Quest, the year of the Quest, and the three following the
Quest--including at the last, the Yule after Frodo has sailed. Each is
in Pippin's point-of-view, and his personality just shines--you see
not only his good cheer and optimism and determination, even in
difficult circumstances, but also the depth of his heart--in his
kindness for others and his love for Frodo. As always, Dana's prose is
tight and evocative--she has a knack for getting deeply inside not
just the head of the characters, but their hearts as well.

What I love most of all is seeing this exploration of the friendships
of our Travellers in all their nuances and permutations: Pippin and
Sam, the hobbits and Boromir, Pippin and Merry, Pippin and Frodo--and
most of all how Frodo's absence affects those remaining. I have to say
that the last one made me tear up along with the hobbits--yet it made
me smile as well!

Title: Tulip's Tale · Author: Cathleen · Genres: Humor: Shire · ID: 615
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:49:25
One of the things about Cathleen's OC, Tulip the Knitted Piglet, who
is little Pippin's devoted companion--is how much of her personality
comes from the perceptions of her devoted little master. Pippin is his
sweet and chattery self in this little vignette. I love the
affectionate reactions of his cousins to his breathless recital in this.

Title: Call of the Dream · Author: Queen Galadriel · Genres: Poetry:
Drama · ID: 402
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:49:40
Queen Galadriel is a young author, but her heart is anything but
young--she has a way of clearly plumbing the depths of Frodo's
post-Quest angst, which shows up even better in her poetry than in her
prose. She has written several poems, but I think that this one is
probably her best one ever.

This poem is very skillfully and carefully modeled upon JRRT's own
poem ["The Sea Bell"] using a very difficult rhyme and meter scheme,
in which every third line contains an internal rhyme at the caesura. I
am one who truly loves structured poetry, as opposed to free verse,
and the poet has managed to use the form without a single mis-step.

The imagery, also, is very true to Tolkien's own. Queen Galadriel
riffs off many of those images, giving each a slight twist.

For example: in the original ["Then I saw a boat silently float/ on
the night-tide, empty and grey./ `It is later than late! Why do we
wait?'/ I leapt in and cried `Bear me away!' "]

While Queen Galadriel uses that final phrase here: ["But I found
myself on a lonely shelf,/ And there were none beside me./ By a golden
gate a ship did wait./ To it I cried, "Bear me away, "] There are many
other instances which she mirrors his imagery without copying it. It
is very evocative. The sea, the sand, the sounds are all conveyed in
well-crafted phrases.

She captures Frodo's loneliness, and his longing and deep love for his
friends, from whom he now feels separated by his experiences in lines
so poignant that they make my eyes sting--and all this without losing
the structure of the poem.

Title: Long Memories · Author: Bodkin · Times: Second and Early Third
Age · ID: 310
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:49:54
I have long enjoyed Bodkin's tales of Fourth Age Valinor, even with
not a hobbit in sight, and this story which explains just why (other
than the usual fatherly overprotectiveness) Legolas' father-in-law
Taryatur has such a dislike for him.

["Long Memories"] indeed! I suppose that being immortal brings about a
whole different level of carrying grudges.

Title: The Five Rules of Cooking · Author: GamgeeFest · Races:
Hobbits: Childhood · ID: 523
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:50:15
This is such a sweet and hobbity story! While GamgeeFest's favorite
hobbit is Sam, she does a very good job on the others as well.

I have to say, I just love her young Pippin--he's a little hyper
(which is always fun) but he's cheerful and helpful, and when he gets
into trouble it's almost always not out of mischief but out of being a
little over-enthusiastic. And Merry is delightful in this--competitive
and bright, and he has confidence in Pippin's ability to help him win,
which is very Merry. Frodo is delightful as well, keeping a wise eye
on his younger cousins.

And of course there are Gamgees as well.

The cooking competition seems very hobbity; I can easily see such a
thing in the Shire. And the stew sounds wonderful.

Title: Tulip Takes a Tumble · Author: Cathleen · Genres: Humor · ID: 616
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:50:54
Poor Pippin, in trouble again because he would not listen to his
little Tulip. His father tells him a story of his own childhood
naughtiness. I love the warm picture of little PIppin snuggling with
his father and listening to the story.

Title: The Birthday Blessing · Author: Larner · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 687
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:51:14
How beautifully touching, that all three Trees bloom at once, in Sam's
honor! I love the notion!

Title: Maglor's Song · Author: Robinka · Genres: Poetry: Drama · ID: 398
Reviewer: Alassante · 2008-11-29 03:51:30
What a wonderful poem! I have not read this before and it was just
beautifully written. Robinka has a special talent with poems I think
the first thing I ever read of hers was a poem about Haldir. This is a
beautifully tragic and haunting piece about Maglor that really speaks
to his pain after losing everything, including his family, the
Silmaril, and his special gift of song.

Title: Of Old It Was Not Darksome · Author: EdorasLass · Races:
Dwarves · ID: 70
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:51:31
Sometimes you read a ficlet, and find yourself saying *Yes!" Yes,
because this is how it could be, should be. Yes, Gimli *would* go to
do such a task, and yes, he would react that way if they found such a