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Msg# 9590

MEFA Reviews for Saturday, November 29, 2008 (Part Three) Posted by annmarwalk November 29, 2008 - 20:35:30 Topic ID# 9590
Title: Letters From Faramir · Author: agape4gondor · Genres: Drama:
Featuring Boromir or Faramir · ID: 425
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:51:48
I really liked the concept of this, of Faramir keeping up a
correspondence with his brother, even after there was no chance that
Boromir would ever read them. I loved the ones in which Faramir
dictated them to Pippin. The letters were sad and funny, angsty and
happy. The final letter was just perfectly lovely.

Title: Labour Pains · Author: Aratlithiel · Genres: Humor: Shire · ID: 483
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:52:12
I laughed so hard that I not only cried, but my stomach hurt. This is
one of the funniest AUs I've ever read. And it's all too believable!

Title: A Moment Away · Author: Elen Kortirion · Races: Men: General
Drabbles · ID: 474
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:52:30
What a touching notion, that Morwen Steelsheen would keep watch over
her granddaughter at such a time!

Title: Pippin and the Incredible Shrinking Piglet · Author: Cathleen ·
Genres: Humor: Shire · ID: 241
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-29 03:52:51
One of the things I love about Cathleen's Wee!Pippin and Tulip
universe is the sweet relationship he has with his older sisters. Yes,
they do fuss a bit with one another, but it's clear that his older
sisters cherish their baby brother and do their best to spoil him. I
love Pearl as the indulgent older sister in this one!

And Pippin's childlike worries about Tulip shrinking away are so cute!

Title: Tying Notes · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age: Gondor
Drabbles · ID: 378
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 03:59:31
I'm not a musician, and am more or less musically illiterate, alas; I
thus appreciated the explanation of what a "tie" is, and was glad to
see that I wasn't wholly wrong in my guess at how the title fit in.

What I most appreciated, though, was the way the POV worked out. At
first, I assumed I was in Faramir's perspective, but that last line
turned it around and made it a host's perspective. That transformed
the description from one that emphasized how different the Haradrim
are into a description that comes of a host's careful attention to the
details of providing welcome and hospitality of an important guest.
That shift imbued the piece with a sense of hopeful waiting and
watching to see if said guest feels in fact welcome and wanted.

Nicely done, Imhiriel!

Title: Cold Be Hand and Heart and Bone · Author: Imhiriel · Races:
Villains: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 286
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 04:03:10
Imhiriel manages to find one thing scarier than a barrow-wight on its
home-turf. The 19th century fear of being buried alive gets a revival
here, though in point of fact, the drabble is ambiguous: is the Prince
alive and about to awaken to a barrow-wight that will remedy his
condition? Or is the Prince stirring because of the barrow-wight's

It's not looking good, whichever way you view it. Gets a nice "Ew...!"
reaction from this reader. Good job!

Title: Forsaken · Author: Imhiriel · Races: Elves: Drabbles · ID: 369
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-29 04:06:32
Great choice of moments, Imhiriel! That episode in Nargothrond, when
no one would stand by Finrod but a few companions was just bitter - as
is so much of the Silm. Finrod is a warrior who has managed to
overcome the basic fear of death enough to risk it voluntarily, so his
death, however "ignominious", seems likely not to rank as high on the
list of pains as betrayal.

Title: Wars of the Valar · Author: Fiondil · Genres: Longer Works · ID: 3
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-29 04:32:47
Namo is my favorite of the Valar for precisely the reason that his
foresight would seem to present such burden, and his role in Arda is
one that is hard to understand sympathetically. I am enjoying
Fiondil's novel immensely for its portrayal of this mysterious Vala
during what amounts to Namo's "childhood": his growing understanding
of his role and his powers, his feelings of inferiority compared to
his more powerful brethren, and, of course, his flourishing love for

The mixture of canon with science--particularly astronomy--appeals to
this science geek immensely! It is an ingenious presentation and, at
times, alternatingly clever, funny, and beautiful. Likewise, when
Fiondil takes readers "down to earth" (literally!), the descriptions
of the different worlds he imagines are lovely.

I started this novel uncertain that someone could write this era of
the Legendarium convincingly and while sustaining interest. Fiondil is
proving me wrong--thank you! :) I really look forward to reading more
of this.

Title: Duty, Honour, Country · Author: Rhapsody · Races: Elves: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 81
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-29 04:37:31
["None shall understand me"]: This thread runs throughout Rhapsody's
drabble series about Maglor. Maglor is frequently depicted in stories
as being the softest of the Feanorian brothers, a view that I contest
and know Rhapsody does as well. In "Duty, Honor, Country," Rhapsody
thwarts two persisting fanons about Maglor: that he was evil, driven
solely by his oath, and that he was a wimp unwilling to face his duty.
Rhapsody writes Maglor with a voice of resolution, one with which I
can easily imagine him speaking as he faced his obligations to his
people and his family. Lovely work, Rhapsody!

Title: Out of the Blue · Author: Jael · Races: Elves · ID: 205
Reviewer: Ignoble Bard · 2008-11-29 04:49:52
The second in Jael's series of Elves in the modern day, [Out of the
Blue] is a fun, humorous follow up to the excellent [Not Fade Away].
In this installment Thranduil is again beset by those who think that
no one with his alter ego Aaron Rivers' money and influence can be
entirely on the up and up. This time a complaint is lodged with the
local Child Protective Services agency by the inept FBI agents Duncan
and Fitzhugh. An overworked and underpaid worker named Jane is
assigned the case and gets more than she bargained for at the strange
Mr. Rivers' compound. The events unfold through the point of view of
this worker as she meets the family and the precocious offspring of
"Leif", the child suspected of being abused and brainwashed by his kin.

The story has many funny touches, such as the youngster Galen's
archery lessons, and "Hal" the guard's obsession with NASCAR and
attraction to Jane. There is also a bite your nails moment as Galen
innocently mentions the fall of the towers which leads Jane to wonder
if there isn't something more sinister at work among the Rivers clan
than is readily apparent.

Jael's modern Elves stories are filled with a myriad of delightful
little moments and insights that make them excellent reads and stand
up to multiple rereadings as well. A day in Chicago with the Rivers
family is always a great way to spend an afternoon.

Title: A New Day · Author: Oshun · Genres: Longer Works · ID: 35
Reviewer: Gandalfs apprentice · 2008-11-29 04:51:23
"A New Day" is part of Oshun's ongoing tales of Fingon and Maedhros
(pardon me, but try as I may, I can't navigate the Quenya names), a
quasi-love-story-political-drama. It might most pithily be described
as the Silmarillion as told in the bedroom—or Tolkien a la Henry
James, the intimate story.

Oshun's specialty is to delve deep into the minutiae of Middle-earth
and give them a deeply personal spin. Thus on page one we find out how
Fingon experiences the new Sun, as opposed to the seemingly kinder
light of the Two Trees. It is very much an otherwordly sensation,
rendered in mundane terms. In this way Oshun makes Middle-earth very
much her own place. She achieves what I think of as the very best
fanfic: it's recognizably Tolkien's world, but also entirely Oshun's.
This is the melding of the legendarium with the author's own vision.
Thus we also learn what that new Sun did to Maedhros's brilliant red
locks as he hung on Morgoth's walls.

I am not a big Elf buff, but Oshun draws me in and makes me see the
all-too-often missing "human" side of these immortal beings. In this
case, Maedhros is going through a quite understandable episodes of
PTSD as he attempts to bring the madness that is the Noldor under
control. The reader ends up feeling sympathy and admiration for the
character, as well as enjoying the well-written and erotic love scenes.

Title: Fit for a King · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 217
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-29 05:02:55
There's a very funny punchline at the end of this piece, but I have to
say that I don't think it would have been nearly so effective without
the excellent setup. Knowing the ending, I love how the title has a

The easygoing atmosphere is thoroughly set: First, there's Aragorn's
casual "Ranger" persona, followed by Eomer's knowing smirk. Faramir
comes across as slightly more formal in a sense - what I would expect,
actually - but we get a nice taste of the whole "master of beasts and
Men" thing. (In truth, I will confess up front that one of the most
appealing aspects about this drabble is the divine image Imhiriel
constructs of these three particular nobles lounging about together.)

Wonderful description of the horse and his attitude towards the
two-leggers who are appropriately admiring him. And the last line is
terrific, both by the clever application the author makes from past
history between these two, and by Eomer's gleeful delivery of the
news. I can just picture this playing out frequently in future
communications between the kingdoms!

Title: Cuts Gone Wrong · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Mid Third Age:
Eriador · ID: 156
Reviewer: Gandalfs apprentice · 2008-11-29 05:03:34
If you're wondering if you want to read this story, there's only one
thing you need to know: It's Dwimordene. And nobody writes Aragorn better.

Here we have a young Aragorn in trouble with a Bree farmer--in and of
itself a dramatic situation fraught with interest. Add to that a long
riff on Ranger business, full of fascinating detail and references to
Middle-earth far and wide, so that you imagine yourself there at the
table with them, beer and pipeweed in hand, and we fans of the
Northern Dunedain are in heaven. I won't say more for fear of spoilers.

Of course, I especially love this one because it was a birthday gift
for me.

Title: The Blessing of the Waters · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Romance: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 61
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-29 05:04:32
["The Blessing of the Waters"] is a gentle but bittersweet look at one
of the last happy moments between two long-time partners. Their joy is
presented against the husband's long record of deep, aching losses of
so many of those he has loved. This serves to both sweeten our glimpse
into his current contentment and happiness and to throw the ending
into stark contrast, heightening our understanding of how it must have
impacted him.

There's so many beautiful descriptions that evoke the emotions of the
reader: it really feels like we share this intimate moment, can know
both the passion and ease between these two. (I particularly liked
this sentence: ["She fit easily into my waiting arms, with grace and
the comfort of long practice."] It neatly and perfectly illustrates
the length of their bond.) The water theme is gorgeous and
well-utilized, tightly knitting together many strands of the man's life.

Title: Handy With A Sword · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Romance: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 437
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-29 05:05:16
This is a wonderfully entertaining series that touches on one aspect
of Eowyn and Faramir's relationship you don't see explored too often!
I like it best, though, for how it gives Eowyn's shieldmaiden skills a
chance to shine - and perhaps helps develops a better appreciation in
Faramir for certain facets of her personality.

The author does a good job with the action descriptions while
observing the limitations imposed by the wordcount, and each drabble
both stands on its own and flows naturally within the series. Stellar
interactions throughout, and an absolutely perfect capper with the
final drabble.

Title: Full Brothers in Blood · Author: Oshun · Genres: Humor · ID: 212
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-29 05:07:56
Turgon does not often get a starring role in Silmarillion
stories--surprising when one considers the importance of his character
to the histories--but he is often overshadowed by his impetuous
siblings in his family and his handsome, courageous lords in his own
city. It is perhaps fitting, then, that Oshun's story about Turgon
shows a young boy trying to find his place in the world and always
certain that he's somehow not good enough to be noticed among the many
notables in his family.

In "Full Brothers in Blood," Turgon is still a small child, and most
of the story is from his point-of-view. Reading it, I have many
flashbacks to childhood and the uncertain and irrational way that
children tend to look at the world. Certain details of this story are
brilliant for getting a child's PoV exactly right: for example, his
urge to blurt out anything to keep Fingon's interest, his inability to
perceive the horrid tone in which his excessively polite words are
uttered, the fragile hope of such small joys in life as a good dessert
or a fun afternoon. At the same time, in the dynamics between the many
members of his family--which Oshun always writes exceptionally
well--one can see how Turgon will develop into the character we know
in The Silmarillion, a character who is not entirely sympathetic as
Tolkien writes him but who becomes much more relatable after a story
like Oshun's shows the many small hurts and misunderstandings that
shaped the adult he would become.

A brilliant story of character and family dynamics, "Full Brothers in
Blood" comes with my highest recommendations!

Title: The Revenge of Curufin's Horse · Author: Moreth · Genres: Humor
· ID: 139
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-29 05:16:32
I sometimes wonder how events, songs, and conversations that stood no
chance of being overheard made it into the loremasters' accounts. In
Moreth's vignette, she describes one way that the "Song of Parting"
made it into (in the author's own words) the public domain, and how
Celegorm and Curufin get their small comfort after being humiliated by
Beren and Luthien. Original and clever--definitely worth a look and a

Title: Solid Frodo: Hobbit Espionage Action · Author: Princess Artemis
· Times: Modern Times · ID: 413
Reviewer: permilea · 2008-11-29 05:20:07
Hobbits + War Video Game? Wha?

I don't remember what led to my first reading this story years ago, in
the flush of my movie-inspired LOTR obsession. It was probably in the
favorites list of one of my favorite LOTR authors. I doubt it would
have ever caught my attention without such a recommendation. And that
would have been a shame.

This story is funny, adventurous, and frightening. You Frodo h/c fans
-- there's stuff for you. Want Sam's love and loyalty and good hobbit
sense? You got it. Pippin's curiosity and mischief, Merry's
practicality and cleverness? All here.

The thing about this story is, they are still hobbits. The author,
with great skill, humor and impressive LOTR-savvy (yes, she knows her
Tolkien!), has inserted them into a tale where their hobbity nature
shines even more. Frodo is still Frodo -- "the broodingest hobbit
ever" (as Merry says in the story), burdened by the ring, fiercely
protective of it and his fellow hobbits, a reluctant hero. Sam is
still Sam -- fiercely protective of Frodo, risking his life to lead
the others through wolf-infested regions with a wolf-cub in his arms
licking his face. Our practical Merry is the planner and scavenger,
and our Pippin is as curious and mischievous and hungry as ever. Their
banter is delightful to read.

But it isn't all banter. The world they've been plopped into is
violent, and the author does not flinch from showing that as well.

Yes, the title might put you off. Don't let it! If you adore our
favorite hobbits and love to see them not only cope but rise above yet
another quest that the 'Big Folk' reluctantly hand over to them, then
try this one. Hobbits are most unexpected creatures and they are
always surprising you. Rather like this story.

Title: Lessons from the Mountain · Author: MithLuin · Races: Elves:
Incomplete · ID: 221
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-29 05:22:18
Although he was the last of the sons of Feanor and Nerdanel to enter
the Halls of Mandos, nevertheless Maedhros, as the eldest of the six
who suffered death as the result of their sharing in the oath made by
their father, was the first to admit the lessons he learned when
fastened to the mountainside by Morgoth and thus the first to accept
both the judgment of the Valar and the healing offered those whose
spirits were wounded perhaps worse than had been their bodies.

Now accepting his own punishment, it is now Maedhros's intent to see
his family restored as much as is possible; but how it is to be done
is the question. Even his mother has died of the grief engendered by
the knowledge of the acts of her last two sons. How is he to assist
them to heal, his parents and the five brothers who are there in
Namo's domain?

I now hope we are not kept waiting long for the final chapters of this
tale. It is very well researched and imagined, and told in beautiful

Thank you for this one! And glad to see Fiondil is offering the beta work.

Title: Circle of Silver · Author: Keiliss · Races: Elves: House of
Finwe · ID: 717
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-29 05:36:05
Keiliss writes Gil-galad and Cirdan at the end of the First Age with
such insight and compassion, and "Circle of Silver" is a fitting
addition to her work. Aside from brilliant characterization, Kei's
writing brings to life the culture of the Elves of Balar and paints a
beautiful scenic backdrop. In this story, Gil-galad learns that
Gondolin has fallen, and he is High King. It is a simple premise, but
what the story reveals is anything but simple. High King of the Noldor
seems, if anything, a perilous honor. None after Finwe held it for
more than a few hundred years, and all met violent or dishonorable
ends. Yet Gil-galad's kingship spans many *thousands* of years--years
that were not without their share of trials. Why, one might ask?

Here, Keiliss's Gil-galad still possesses much of his youthful
innocence. But he also has almost an instinct as a leader and is drawn
foremost to compassion in a way that Tolkien's writings show few of
the Noldor, especially their kings. As Gil-galad struggles to grasp
what is perhaps the most significant event so far in his young life,
he decides to start simply, with empathy and understanding, to make
life better for one person at a time.

This is a profound and lovely story, typical of this author's work. I
recommend it highly.

Title: Kementari · Author: Marta · Times: First Age and Prior · ID: 99
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-29 05:43:47
Marta's short story, "Kementari", is a moving glimpse of Yavanna's
melancholy reflections as she spends time in solitude in the gardens
of Lorien.

She has a compelling need to create, yet her exquisite masterpieces,
the Two Trees, were destroyed by unrelenting evil, and she doesn't
believe she has the capacity to re-create them. Her sorrow is profound.

And in her melancholy, she envisions that all of the flora she has
created in Middle-earth is also at risk, and that even the Ents, the
guardians of the trees, will not be able to protect them.

Her sadness is that of any creator who sees the work of their hands
and thoughts and talent destroyed, and it is heart-wrenching to read.

Very powerful work!

Title: DISGUISE: Emissaries · Author: Fiondil · Genres: Humor: Valar &
Maiar · ID: 56
Reviewer: rhyselle · 2008-11-29 05:52:49
Fiondil takes a pivotal moment not actually seen in canon and gives
the reader a different view of just what happened when the Valar
decided to send emissaries to Middle-earth to teach the Secondborn and
the Elves what to do in order to deal with Sauron. The initial
discussion between the Powers allows the reader to quickly pick up on
the established characterization of each Vala and Valië through just a
few snippets of description, speech patterns and personality. Like all
of Fiondil's fics, there is a generous amount of humor incorporated
into the tale to counterbalance the serious issues addressed therein.

Námo's report of what Isildur told him before leaving Mandos to go on
to his final destination beyond the Circles of the World is
intriguing, and an interesting way to look at Aragorn's ancestor
beyond the tendency in most fics to blame him for all the grief that
the ring caused in later days.

Like most of the Valar-verse fics, the POV is in Námo's head, and his
evaluation of the first four Maiar selected to participate in the
planned mission succinctly provides the background the reader needs to
associate the powerful Maiar with the Istari they become when they
agree to take on the tasks asked of them.

Pallando and Alatar have weaknesses of resolve the Vala worries might
mean that they fall down on the job. He sees that Curumo is proud and
arrogant, reminding Námo of the Maia who became Sauron. And he is at
least slightly antagonistic when interacting with Aiwendil, who
appears to be the only one who seems to fit the job.

The choice of sending Olórin is almost an afterthought, his name put
into the field by Námo, although it is Manwë who announces him as an
addition to the group. Although Olórin is one of the People of Manwë,
he has served Námo in Mandos, and learned from Nienna. His humility
and cheerful nature is very apparent as he accepts his new calling,
and in sharp contrast to Curumo's haughtiness.

It is when the issue of disguise comes in that the real humor of this
story comes through. After Curumo gripes about having to take on an
incarnate form, Olórin teases him about being out of practice and
proceeds to change into a variety of shapes from an elfling to a Dwarf
to a horse! In the end, it is Olórin who chooses the disguise that
they take on and offers the suggestion that will affect him directly
years later, in Moria.

["How can we truly understand them and help them and win their trust
if we do not suffer with them, both in joy and sorrow?" Olórin answered.

"In other words," Námo said gravely, "you wish to suffer the
possibility of bodily death."

"It seems only fair that we take the same risks as they do simply by
being born as Incarnates," Olórin replied with a shrug.]

The final interaction between Olórin and Námo is guaranteed to elicit
a chortle of laughter from any reader.

Title: A Fitting Occupation · Author: Radbooks · Races: Men: Pre-Ring
War Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 601
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-29 06:04:09
Radbooks' drabble series, "A Fitting Occupation", is a study of Bard
the Bowman, now King Bard of Dale, as he considers what training is
appropriate for his youngest son, Baird. Apparently, Baird does not
seem well-suited to the scholarly role of diplomat that Bard had
envisioned, so Bard must come up with a creative solution to the dilemma.

I really enjoy the glimpse we get of the father and son when they
interact; Bard's long-suffering and patient manner with his wayward
son -- honed by years of dealing with wayward councilmen and townsmen,
and Baird's initial wondering what he did wrong this time to warrant
being summoned to his father, his overreaction to the idea of being
sent away, which makes him inattentive to the rest of his father's
speech, and his confusion, then joy, when his father's shrewd proposal
finally registers.

These drabbles are well-written and truly a treat to read. Nicely done!

Title: The Houseless · Author: Jael · Genres: Horror · ID: 178
Reviewer: Ignoble Bard · 2008-11-29 06:15:54
Returning from a hunting trip during the annual festival of the dead,
remarkably like our Halloween, Legolas finds and befriends a young Elf
woman who appears lost. Brightening at the fact she does not recognize
him as the king's son, Legolas engages her in conversation, finding
her easy to talk to and enjoying her company. But when he escorts her
home, he finds her reluctant to face her parents. She's afraid they
will be angry with her for being out so late. So, gallant lad that he
is, Legolas intervenes on her behalf. The ending may or may not be a
surprise but suffice it to say it is chilling nonetheless.

No one writes the Mirkwood Elves quite like Jael. She manages to
infuse her stories with details of the culture that are as riveting as
they are entertaining. A most unusual tale is this ghost story set in
the Lord of the Rings universe and it is a treat for both fans of the
Mirkwood Elves and fans of the eerie and atmospheric.

Title: Burdens · Author: Meril · Genres: Drama: General Fixed-Length
Ficlets · ID: 219
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2008-11-29 06:19:20
Meril's drabble series, "Burdens", is about the encumbrances -- both
tangible and emotional -- that the self-exiled Noldor took with them
over the ice of the Helcaraxe on their journey from Aman to
Middle-earth, as told by the thoughts of individual original characters.

What I especially like is the hard-nosed but heart-wrenching view of
the guilt, shame, sorrow, and sense of betrayal of each of the
individuals after the first Kinslaying and the burning of the ships at
Losgar. Though they started out with high hopes and dreams and faith,
no one is left unmarked emotionally by the later events, and this
series makes that clear.

A very powerful and touching series of vignettes. Well done!