Reviews for Friday, October 30, 2009
Title: Diplomatic Relations · Author: Ignoble Bard · Times: Ring War · ID: 597
Reviewer: Jael · 2009-10-30 01:43:08
I'm always amazed by Ignoble Bard's ability to turn the elements of a swapfic assignment into a work of art. Last year if was a pineapple, this year a hot tub, but oh my, what a hot tub! This author has written Thranduil's stronghold as an enchanted underground word right out of classic Celtic mythology, and his description of the mighty Elvenking is worth the read alone: intelligent, canny and dead sexy. What's not to like?
Ignoble Bard can always be counted on to deliver elegant and stimulating erotica, and this story is no exception. For fans of Haldir, for fans of Thranduil, and for fans of my favorite wizard, who makes a cameo, this one is not to be missed.
Title: Behold your King · Author: Cairistiona · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 822
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:10:12
I love the underlying themes in this double drabble. The first is obvious: appearances can be deceiving, especially on first impressions. But the others are not as obvious and yet are integral to the way the Rangers live their lives. The ability to see deeper than the surface and to be stirred by those sights is something that I think has kept hope alive for these people. And Cairistiona clearly demonstrates that as Halbarard realizes that this is indeed hope. And the ability to put faith and trust into that which can only be felt and not seen is another trait that has enabled the Rangers to not just endure but to live.
And I love the character touches Cairistiona brings to Halbarad. I enjoyed watching him try to figure exactly what he had expected. In the end, even he can't say, but he knows it's not what stands before him. It's a very humanizing touch that helps readers relate to Halbarad before the stirring return of hope brings him to his knees.
Title: Healing Time · Author: Gwynnyd · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 820
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:11:14
I loved seeing the changes in Aragorn over the course of these drabbles. I was particularly taken with the drabble in which he discovers the water bottle and rediscovers beauty. The swell of emotions must have been overwhelming, and Gwynnyd does a spectacular job of showcasing them in that moment. It extends into the next as Aragorn realizes that even though the elves haven't made up their mind about him, they're still thoughtful enough to provide comfort to a bedraggled wanderer.
The elves were also brilliantly written. I love the wariness that guides their movements and how Celeborn himself eventually comes out to ascertain the identity of their guest. Haldir's less-than-perfect accent and grammar was a superb touch for the Marchwarden, and his interest in Westron provides an explanation for how he is able to greet the Fellowship many years later. Finally, Galadriel's rather subtle hint about finding beauty on Cerin Amroth was wonderful and much appreciated. Fantastic drabble series!
Title: Beauty For All To See · Author: Mysterious Jedi · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 739
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:12:05
This is such a Sam thing to do. Enthralled with Bilbo's stories of adventures, he crafted a very entertaining poem about a troll (though he himself called it all nonsense), and having now had many experiences with elves, it's only natural that he would do the same. But being the practical gardener that he is, he's not looking to give himself airs, and he's running into the same problem that Pippin did when Denethor asked if he could sing: these are fancy halls and fancy folk, and he doesn't feel that his poetry is up to such finery.
At the same time, this is also such a Faramir thing to do. Having lived beneath the shadow of Mordor all his life, if he sees beauty, he's not going to allow it to hide. He's sensitive enough to understand Sam's reluctance, but he's stubborn and bold enough to go ahead with his own plans. So the poem is given anonymously, and we as readers are given much to think about in the end.
Title: Keeping Watch · Author: Cairistiona · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 342
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:13:14
Stream of consciousness is difficult to write. Too little form and it's incomprehensible. Too much and and it's too structured to be what it intends to be. I think Cairistiona hits a good balance here. By keeping each ficlet short, each scene can be realized and understood with a minimum of form, so it truly does feel like a stream of consciousness from Halbarad. His emotions, from relief to exhaustion, come through brilliantly. The spots of mirth in between are shadowed and have that hysterical edge of those pushed too far. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Elrohir and Elladan cannot agree on whether Aragorn is worse or better. It feels like a turning point for all involved (with the possible exception of Aragorn), because the disagreement could escalate or they could turn their energy toward tending the sick. And the power of these ficlets is that we don't see the whole story, but we do see the results, leaving the rest to the imagination. Brilliant use of a difficult style.
Title: Heroes · Author: Marta · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 32
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:14:04
A lovely wistful tale that does a beautiful job of expressing childhood fantasy and how, for some, that fantasy never completely dies, though it may fade over time. And perhaps that's the mark of heroes. They're still capable of believing the impossible, even if only in their dreams. Their conscious mind may tell them otherwise, but that faith in the fantastic (which, for heroes, ultimately translates into faith in themselves and in their friends) insists otherwise. I can see this evolving in Bilbo to the point where he is able to play a pivotal role in the quest to free Erebor. And I love that the ficlet closes on musings about Gandalf, who will also play a pivotal role and who will eventually teach Bilbo not only how to dream again but that those dreams are often real.
Title: Wishing · Author: Marta · Genres: Ficlets: General Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 468
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-30 02:16:00
For a very short ficlet, this manages to probe some rather profound depths. In the first part of the ficlet, we catch a glimpse of the things that might be tempting to Aragorn. And given the circumstances, they're not all that surprising: his mother, the woman he loves, more comfortable surroundings, etc. Basically, more or less what one might expect of a man struggling through foreign lands. But the deeper theme behind these temptations is the wish for things to be easier. For things to be within reach. And it's a hint of what the Ring might later tempt him with. As a result, the spurning of such temptations is also a hint of how Aragorn views himself and his role in Middle-earth. It's a fascinating characterization, and I'm reminded of Gilraen, who kept no hope for herself but gave it all away. Aragorn seems to have his mother's feelings on the subject, because rather than *taking* an easy way, he's looking to *give* others a solution. And in Aragorn's mind, this giving must come from something within himself rather than from any external source. A very interesting statement on hope, and a fantastic little ficlet!
Title: Bridal Bouquet · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Elves: Drabbles · ID: 483
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2009-10-30 04:00:07
I love this idea of Galadriel preparing the bridal bouquet for her granddaughter; in the absence of Arwen's mother, who better to do so?
Title: The Palantir · Author: dancingkatz · Genres: Character Study: Angst · ID: 767
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2009-10-30 04:00:53
Indeed, Pippin's encounter with the Palantir had to have haunted him for the rest of his life. He was in contact with the mind of Sauron himself-- a horrific experience. I think what I really love about it is the evidence that it is the love of his wife that helps to keep the memory at bay.
Title: A Matter of Perspective · Author: Cathleen · Genres: Humor: Family · ID: 653
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2009-10-30 04:02:39
Cathleen's OFC, Pippin's eccentric Great-aunt Pringle is an intriguing character who's featured in a few of her stories. Pippin always displays a certain amount of both trepidation and annoyance around her, and Cathleen explores the reasons for his fears in this story.
I hope someday to "hear" the rest of Great-auntie Pringle's backstory.