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Title: Greatly Approved
Author: damular
Fandom: Dragon Age (Dragon Age II)
Pairing: F!Hawke/Varric
Categories: Romance, humour, friendship, book clubs, meta
Length: 35k
Warnings: Subtle R
Summary: An apostate's guide to popular fiction. (Or: Hawke runs headlong into Cassandra's book club, Varric comes along for the ride.)

My thoughts:
Damular's rendition of Hawke perfectly illustrates why I can never not play Purple!Hawke. This story is fun. The characters play cards, cavort in a tavern, and read one of Varric's pulp novels.

"That's great, everyone's caught up!" said Dagna. "If we're all good with it, I thought we could start by going around in a circle and reading our favorite part out loud, just to get a feel for the rhythm of the story. It can be a scene that you thought was funny, something that struck you about the characters, interesting development of the novel's world...anything!"


Hawke cleared her throat and read: "'Shit shit shit!' said Knight. 'Shit shit shit, what the shit!'"

Which is not to say that it's all fun and games. The author builds tension very well, partly through the use of dramatic irony and partly through the use of these really well constructed sentences that just perfectly capture the self-loathing and misery of unrequited love without belabouring the point. I felt my stomach lurch emotionally at five or six different points during the story. It was great. I love it when the understated emotional anguish of fictional characters makes my insides contract in sympathy.

And fuck, it's so nice to see Hawke happy with someone who has their shit together. The contract scene - well, I thought that the contract-writer was being kind of unrealistically pragmatic until I read a line in it that I love - "He bent his head and ran one hand over his hair; Hawke suddenly realized that he was nervous. ". The tone of this whole fic is generally light-hearted but the blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments like that become so much more poignant as a result.

To end this rec post, I present two more of my favourite spoiler-free quotes:

"It is a masterpiece," said Cassandra. "And a clear allegory for Andraste and Maferath—"

"What?" said Dagna. "It is not! It's a radical political tract disguised as a post-imperial meditation on chance versus divine decree!"

"Excuse me," said Dorian. "If I may cut in, what is this book we're supposed to be reading?"

Cassandra shot him a black look. "It's about two elves—"

"Ah," he said. "Genre romance for the niche market, say no more."


"What I believe Lady Pentaghast is trying to express," said Dorian, "is her dissatisfaction with the ending."

"Why, is something wrong with it?" Varric pulled away from Cassandra and circled around to the head of the table; there wasn't a chair, but he set his tankard down and leaned against the wooden post there.

"Yes," said Dorian.

"Everything," said Cassandra, who managed to pack as much passion into that one word as most poets did into entire epics. Hawke was impressed.

Varric sighed. "Ah, fans. Always thinking they know better."

duinemerwen: (extra happy)
Title: Unmanifest Destiny
Author: Vain_glorious
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: None
Categories: Alternate Universe, friendship
Length: 8k
Warnings: None, PG-13
Summary: Following the events of 5X01, Team Sheppard goes to Earth and takes a roadtrip across the US. Goes AU after the infirmary scene in 5X01 with Sheppard and Teyla

My thoughts
Well, perhaps you are wondering exactly what makes this AU? Heh.

I won't spoil anything specific. This is an amazing fic about a road trip that the team takes. They get into some shenanigans. Rodney gets cranky, Ronon rampages, and Teyla visits museums. Sheppard feels it all ends too soon and the author managed to make me feel the exact same way, sad and a bit in denial and kind of desperate, and then it's all over. A fic has never made me feel the same way its protagonist feel before. The author is a brilliant, manipulative sadist. God damn, I'm not sure any other fic will ever make me feel this way again, but I'm not sure I could handle it.

duinemerwen: (guh)
I'd like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to an excellent fic in progress, that I happen to be beta'ing.

Title: The Half Life of Element Zero
Fandom: Dragon Age and Mass Effect crossover
Pairing: Lady Inquisitor/Solas, Lady Inquisitor/Cullen
Categories: ADVENTURE
Length: 10k and counting
Warnings: Violence, swearing - nothing that would be out of place in canon.
Summary: After being discharged from the Alliance, Commander Helen Trevelyan joined the Andromeda Initiative, thinking to leave her personal tragedies and a psycho ex-boyfriend behind her. She expected to sleep for 600 years, and wake up in a med bay. Instead, she crash-landed on the side of a snow-covered mountain, ten-thousand years later. She is alone, confused, and dying from eezo radiation. And the only sign of civilization is an old church in the distance. A Post-Modern Girl on Thedas fic.

What I thought: God damn, fish-out-of-the-water crossover fics aren't usually my thing but this one is really good. The author does a good job of exploring the consequences of Helen's crash landing in Thedas. Balding, medieval-quality hygiene, translator problems, and culture shock abound. And there's a reason why an Andromeda Initiative biotic landed in Thedas, of all places. Problems are fully explored and not handwaved away with space magic. I particularly appreciate the author's Solas POVs.

[x] linguistic stick up the ass
[x] kinda racist
[x] obviously up to things
[x] not the only one whose friends are all dead

I'm a beta for this fic and I can't spoil anything but this fic is going places.

duinemerwen: (garrus)
Title: Scenes from an accidental courtship
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Sam/Daniel
Categories: Friendship, romance
Length: 25k
Warnings: None
Summary: "No, not that way. We were really, really good friends." And maybe just a little bit more. Season 7 behind-the-scenes friendship and romance.


What I thought:

OH MY GOODNESS, I don't think I've had so many FEELS to deal with since, like, Kirk/Spock.

This fic hits soooo many points for me. I didn't even know I shipped Sam/Daniel until I read this fic. But what do I know? When I started out reading HP fanfic I was only into canon pairings. And here, having only touched the tip of Stargate fanfiction, I thought that the SG-1 team members had the sexual chemistry of four pumpkins all spaced a polite distance apart from each other. I've tried a few shippin' fics already but none of them have really SOLD their pairings to me yet, y'know?

Well, the characterization of this fic is believable. Which makes the friendship component believable, and the friendship component of this fic is what makes it goes down smoothly. If the friendship aspects of the fic are believable, it's only a gentle slide down to being open to the romance aspects of the fic. But thank goodness the fic is only rated T because I might have not have been able to suspend my disbelief otherwise. Maybe another time, yes? But small steps first.

I also love way that Sorrel draws out the friendship aspect of the fic to add tension so that every time the romance aspect steps it up, I'm more than ready to accept it. Also, UST is delicious.

The last two paragraphs are a kick in the teeth. There is a sequel (Winter). I need a sequel between this fic and Winter in my life, but there isn't one!!!

Anyways I now find Sam/Daniel utterly obvious and natural and all other pairings are ruined for me temporarily.
duinemerwen: (Default)
Title: Pieces tossed aside
Fandom: Firefly
Rating: R
Words: 9230
Characters: Mal, crew. A touch of Mal/Simon and Kaylee/Jayne, although I would consider this genfic more than anything.
Summary: Paquin goes radio silent. Everything else follows. AU. Set after the TV series.


Why I liked it:

This is the best apocalyptic Firefly fic I've ever read. In this fic, the apocalypse is quiet - where you watch worlds go silent, one at a time, and no news is bad news.

This fic is a perfect blend of despair and hope. By that, I mean it's mostly despair and any hope I picked up on was magnified by own denial about how bad the situation actually was. Also, the end was fantastically ambiguous. I want a sequel but Pieces tossed aside is perfect the way it is. 
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
Title: Variations on a Theme, with Tank and Gunfire
Fandom: Mass Effect
Categories: AU
Length: ~38 000 words
Warnings: M for language, occasional sexual situations.
Author: servantofclio
Author's Summary: Shepard finds herself reliving the last few years, from the beacon on Eden Prime to the battle on Earth. Again, and again, and again. How much can she change? How much should she change?

My thoughts: I think I figured out why I find the Witcher series less compelling than other series. It doesn't inspire me to read fanfiction or ask "what if?" as much as other franchises because:
a) The Witcher 3 is already very fleshed out, as a world. You could add more to it but it feels like there's less room.
b) Geralt is relatable but based on the games he's not the sort of personality I really want to read novels and novels about. I'm aware the game is based on the books. But Geralt clearly doesn't really want to be IN the world he's in. Same with the supporting cast.
c) The ending is very, very final.
d) Wandering around is kind of a lonely experience and somehow it feels there iisn't THAT much interaction with allies or finding out where they're coming from.
e) The game's given me more than I can handle already. Too much!

Whereas. Well. Looking at the fanfic bookmarks I can see the following characteristics that make a fandom good for writing:
a) Loads and loads of characters of protagonist-of-another-story caliber. Many of whom we actually like. And interactions with them.
b) Juicy what-if implications
c) I like space and sci fi and stuff. And magic. And space magic. All over the place. Yep.

d) Leaves fans craving more: Big dangling unresolved plot point / vague and unsatisfying ending / etc

And if any game ending left me unsatisfied, it was Mass Effect 3.

Anyways the first two chapters of Variations on a Theme with Tank and Gunfire touch brilliantly on the fourth wall and the video game experience because of the time-travel component.
Her memories from the first time are still the sharpest. She knows there are some little things that are different every time: casual conversations, inconsequential interactions.
And the other 21 chapters? They're pretty excellent too and address things like
- Why is there only ever one squad on the ground?
- Why is there no Mako in ME3?
- How could characters X and Y both survive?
- Why does everyone and their mother have an excuse for not rejoining the crew, even at the very end?
- What is up with the Starchild?

Admittedly none of it is as good as the first two chapters but, well, that was a really high bar. More importantly, the ending of the fic brings back the team building aspect that was missing from the third game (assembled a team? learned to delegate? nope, you're gonna face the end sequences by yourself!) and if Shepard's plots are execute a bit too smoothly, and the ending is too happy... no. A dozen iterations later, I'm OK with the way the plans were carried out and the fluffiness of the final ending. I always knew that original ending choices were bullshit. This fic fixes everything and makes it all better. It's one of my favourites of all time. On the unwritten Top 5 list, for sure. It just makes me so happy when I read it.

Variations on a Theme, with Tank and Gunfire
duinemerwen: (garrus)
Title: Eurybia
Author: Annerb
Word Count: 1273
Links to Fic: On AO3
Pairing: Elizabeth Swann/Will Turner, Jack Sparrow/Elizabeth Swann
Rating: PG-13
Author's Summary: A love story. Elizabeth Swann and the sea.
My comments: I have some issues with the style of the fic but I love the idea that Annerb explores here - what if Will wasn't meant to be a pirate after all?
duinemerwen: (pretty ok)
2015.02.22 16:42 - fic rec: Song of the Seer
Title: Song of the Seer
Fandom: Tortall (Tamora Pierce) - The Song of the Lioness
Categories: AU
Length: ~12 000 words
Warnings: Rape, violence, and major character death

Author: Ankhiale

Author's Summary: What if Thom had refused to switch?

Review: Song of the Seer is a nightmarish and brilliant take on what might have happened if Thom had trained as a knight and Alanna had gone to the convent instead, as per the original plan. It's a lot darker than one might imagine, but not hopelessly so. Additionally, Ankhiale addresses the Sarain problem in canon - because really, would Thayet have abandoned her people to civil war?

Song of the Seer
duinemerwen: (Ampersand)
I read Circles of Power this week, which is unusual in several ways.

  • It features a Harry/Ron pairing. Sure, it's the 5th most common relationship on AO3, but for whatever reason, I don't read much of it, and I don't see it recommended often. I don't know why.

  • The main pairing is established, and relatively angst-free. I've never envied the potential Harry/Draco relationship, but I envy Harry/Ron's dynamic.

  • Draco is the tritagonist, he behaves more or less rationally, and there is NO THREESOME.

  • Ron is a seer.

  • It's rated T for Teen, meaning there are no explicit sex scenes in text: the author elects to fade to black instead. It's not as if mad_martha can't write a sex scene. But I was surprised how much I didn't miss reading it.

  • It was written before Order of the Phoenix, leading to a nice, refreshing, horcrux-free Voldemort. Two Households is even more creative in that respect. I won't spoil it for you.

Conclusion: Circles of Power is one of the best long fics I've ever read, and a definite contender for the most fun fic. 
duinemerwen: (draco malfoy wishes you a happy holiday)
2012.10.01 23:51 - gossip fic
Fic: Disorganized Crime (PG)

Ooh my gosh reading about Harry and Neville gossiping is so close to home. 

the excerpt )
> Three years later, I finally own a CD of Transatlanticism.

> My highest voted comment on reddit is a description of how having a vagina feels.
duinemerwen: (pretty ok)
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