Author: Aeneid

Nominator: Meril

2005 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Epic

Rating: R  ✧  Reason for Rating: Gore and violence. Minor to moderate het sexual situations.

Summary: AU. One less arrow at Amon Hen and things go much differently for beloved good-bad son of Gondor. A veritable odyssey for Boromir ensues, complete with manipulative Valar, exiled elves, Radagast the Brown, and a helpful chorus. Action, adventure, angst, humor. Mixed writing styles (prose and poetry), with a Greco-Roman feel. Rated for violence and adult themes. A warning to the squeamish.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

I swore I wasn't going to attempt this monster at this late date in the awards, but... gah, I am weak of will and so started it anyway after some intense staring at the URL. Now, ususally, I'm not so much into the "Boromir lives!" AU scenario; I love him, but he's slated to die, and his death, to me is integral to the meaning of his character. However, occasionally, the whim will take me and I will pick up such a story based on reactions from others in the fandom, if the AU elements are said to be very well handled. "Adraefan" has been getting some rave reviews for quite some time, and I've enjoyed reading other works by Aeneid, so I finally broke down. And lo, the other readers (and the pointer works) were right! The heavenly chorus that makes the characters playthings of the gods is an excellent way of playing with that sense of there being a multitude of options, only some of which are realized—the contingency of events takes on the character of the whim of the chorus, that can't bear to see Boromir die, but which will put him through chapters of excruciating moral and physical agony with three bizarre Elves who feel more elven to me than most elves, strangely enough. Properly enigmatic and emblematic, I should say. In any case, Aeneid puts the question of what sort of powers are they that govern so many fates, and who have surely condemned others to fates as bad as Boromir's, if not worse. It's one of those unanswerable questions, but it makes for great drama, as Aeneid proceeds to demonstrate. In terms of characterization, Boromir is magnificent, Radagast is a joy to read, and Pippin-! Pippin. I don't usually find Pippin terribly interesting, particularly in fanfic where he seems so often cast in a childish light, but here he is successfully both the youngest mischief maker but also the consummate and wise, and courageous forgiver--it's a thing of beauty. Speaking of Pippin, the Fellowship members are hard to read because we see their friendship repeatedly tested, found wanting at times, rejoined, and then cast down again. We see, in the end, love that does not always require liking; and liking (or rather, dislike) that painfully betrays what love demands (sometimes subtley, sometimes obviously), only for friendship to be reknit again. This is an endurance match: can they outlast Boromir's crisis, or will they be overthrown by it? Anyone who has had to deal with a relative or friend who has been incapacitated by grief or dementia will recognize him- or herself in one of the Fellowship members at some point in this story. It's agonizing, but it rings true. Both comic and serious, heart-rending and maddening, "Adraefan" has its own unique style to it, and a wonderful way with words and poetry. If you've read Aeneid's "110" or "Imladris Interpreted", you'll have a sense of what the poetry is like; now imagine it cleverly integrated into a story as commentary from on high (or at least, from outside the original story and outside the particular struggles of Boromir) and you'll have an idea of the style. It gives a unique form to this story, helping to break us out of the timeframe and world of the books and displace us into a convincingly alternate universe. Have I raved enough? Probably so. In closing, do not read this story if you value your sleep patterns. I was on chapter 28 yesterday, and I made it to chapter 48 in a feverish reading spree that started sometime around 10:30 at night yesterday, I'd say. It's 2 in the morning my time as I write this. Yeah. I thought several times of stopping when I found a break, only to discover that I couldn't put the thing down because Boromir was breaking my heart along with everyone else's who ever loved him. However, if you're less enamored of a good night's sleep or have patience that I lack, click on the link. I think you'll find you won't regret the ride.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 9

What an amazing tale Aeneid has spun, as intricate as a spider’s web! From the rather common fanfic conceit of “Boromir Lives!” she has concocted a rich mixture of high drama, interspersed with adventure, some humor, and romance. Major and minor canon characters as well as well-drawn and fascinating original characters provide rich detail, and some welcome lightness, to the dark tale. So many elements come into play here– prose; poetry; Tolkien’s immense and well-loved creation; The Odyssey; Aeneid’s own amazing storytelling skills. Boromir’s pain and guilt, of course, are at the forefront. Shocked beyond belief by his own betrayal of the fellowship, and then his survival of the orc attack, Boromir descends into madness and drink, what we of a more analytical age identify as post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. Aeneid’s depiction of this was so terrifyingly painful and realistic that I was left breathless, in tears. The reactions of those around him – the hobbits, the King, his brother Faramir – are entirely realistic, in that they are enabling, rather than confrontational. It is Boromir himself, when he reaches his shocking “rock bottom”, who must choose to fight for his sanity, and to regain his lost honor.

Reviewed by: Aliana  ✧  Score: 8

The first time I was reading this story, I didn’t know quite what to make of it, and to be honest, I still don’t know if I do—but that’s okay. “Adraefan” is ostensibly a member of the vast Boromir Lives! genre, but it’s also a study in contrasts. It wheels from poetry to prose; from the supernatural intervention of the Valar to the gritty realities of battle and post-traumatic stress syndrome; from the claustrophobia of being inside the main character’s disturbed, ravaged mind to a sweeping look at the Arda-verse, full of well-written canon characters and memorable OCs. That Aeneid has incorporated all of these elements into her A/U epic is a testimony to her inventiveness, and that she is able to weave them all together into a story that is thoroughly engaging and enjoyable is a testimony to her skill as a writer. Another striking thing and admirable about “Adraefan” is that the author never downplays Boromir’s trauma and the aftereffects—there is no “quick fix” for him, no foolproof source of recovery, even up through the very end of the story. Thanks, Aeneid—it’s been a great ride!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

A sprawling epic tapestry that takes a quasi-Homeric look at the Boromir Lives! genre of AU fanfiction. And it works; thanks to the whoosh-bang pacing, alternating with pathos and quiet moments, and the author's considerable flair for conveying both pain and humor. The basic humanity of Boromir, the hobbits, Faramir, even the exiled Elves, is never forgotten. And the scenes in Barad-dur, and the flashbacks to Boromir's torment there, are terrifyingly vivid, yet not gratuitious...