Return of The Key.

Author: curiouswombat

Nominator: curiouswombat

2010 Award Category: Genres: Crossover

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mention of sex, violence, and death - but nothing graphic.

Summary: At the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series Dawn Summers, teenager and infinitely old mystical force The Key, attempts to stave off an apocalypse and ends up, seriously injured, under a pile of bodies in Middle Earth. While Dawn comes to terms with her new surroundings, her sister and friends are trying to get her back... This is NOT a Tenth Walker story or a Legomance.

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Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

As a fan of the wonderful television series "Buffy, Vampire Slayer", I have read or browsed through several crossover fanfics where Buffy lands in or is sent to Middle-earth and falls in love with either Legolas or Aragorn between battles. Not so in this one. The heroine of the story is not Buffy herself, but her younger sister, the mystically-created Dawn, a teenaged girl who has known only a suburban California lifestyle that includes heavy exposure to demons, vampires and end-of-the-world scenarios. I really liked the way CuriousWombat made Dawn, who in her years on 'BUFFY', was alternately a bratty kid and a demon-victim and then a motherless young girl trying to grow up in a dangerous world, fit very easily into the fabric of Middle-earth mythology, not as a normal human girl, but as an immortal creation of the Valar - which isn't too far from her original conception. The writer takes Dawn out of Buffy's shadow and makes her interact believably and intelligently in Middle-earth at the end of the Ring War, and beyond. And there's even a very good reason why Dawn does fall into Middle-earth, which fits in with the "BUFFY" series finale; and there are physical consequences for that fall. And may I say how delightful it was that the Elf for whom Dawn develops feelings is neither Legolas nor Glorfindel or either of the twins? Wombat's style is perfect for both Dawn's evolution into a lady of Middle-earth and Buffy, who is frantically trying to arrange her sister's return to a home that she doesn't know that Dawn is outgrowing. The ending is very touching, especially for "BUFFY" fans... A very entertaining story!

Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 10

Girl from California drops into Middle-Earth? Crossover fic? I'd normally be wary of either of those elements, but Return of the Key pulls them off in style. I've no idea how this fic would work for a BtVS fan whose only exposure to LoTR was having once seen the movies; but as an LoTR lover who saw a few episodes of Buffy years ago and has a vague idea of how the Buffyverse works and who the principals are, I enjoyed this enormously. Firstly, if you're going to drop your heroine from 21st century California through a mysterious portal into Middle-earth and then have her turn out to be conveniently immortal and thus able to bond with an immortal Elf, the Buffyverse is a more convincing scenario to do it from than many. And even without knowing BtVS inside out, the portrayals of Spike, Buffy, Giles et al rang true for me and were warm, convincing and funny. (And with regard to the references to Pratchett's Elves, my only quibble was "They've read Pratchett and yet none of them has ever apparently heard of The Lord of the Rings?" ;-) ) But it was the writing of the characters of Middle-earth, particularly the Elves and above all my beloved Legolas, which made this fic for me and kept me reading. The fact that Dawn/Tindome at least begins as a human (she thinks!) made for some thoughtful explorations of plausible differences between mortal and Elven cultures (note, "cultures" - one of the pleasing things about this fic is that the Elves are also different from each other!) such as how and with whom emotion is expressed; fear and hroar; attitudes to the body; and of course, sex (the chapter in which the Twins and Legolas treat Dawn to a critical read-through of LaCE had me suppressing howls of laughter that would have been most inappropriate for work!) I've always enjoyed curiouswombat's Legolas in shorter fic and I loved him here - wry, funny, thoughtful, sensitive; preferring never to be called by a title, a friend and a warrior first, but absolutely the Prince of the Greenwood when required; calm and gentle, and yet perfectly capable of leading the [party of cold-blooded killers] when necessary. Oh, and *completely* buff (the scene when the discussion of Mirkwood silk-weaving causes him casually to strip to his tunic? Phwoarrr...) (As for the ["You're late..." "You look terrible"] exchange, I wanted to laugh, punch the air and cry simultaneously!) This is a feelgood, witty, well-thought-out and entertaining fic; one of the more enjoyable explorations of Elven culture from a modern-human's point of view that I've read. I'm looking forward to reading some more of the series now!