/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

[Z Nation] Small Mercies

Z Nation70k words, complete  @Ao3 by 
Genre/What to expect: Two scared and broken people in a horrible, cold world. Neither of them trust easily, but they both need it. Slow burn. Horror. Side of blood. Zombie Polar Bears!
Rating: M
Pairings: Citizen Z/Female Original Character (my new Simon OTP)

The man formerly known as Simon Cruller is on the verge of losing his mind from solitude and the burden of being the self-appointed narrator of the end of the world.

When he meets Faye Keneally, a conservationist stranded in the Arctic, who’s as lonely and messed up as he is, he starts to think there might be hope for him after all.

But winter is coming, which means two months in total darkness, and in the long Polar night some of the shadows have teeth.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes, though some of the references to what is happening in the rest of the world may confuse.

Who should read this? Anyone who likes post apocalyptic/zombie stories, with a well crafted romance plot. Expect some foul language, a bit of smut, and plenty of action in the later arc.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


Slap on some extra layers of clothing, because this’ll be equal measures wild and oh so very cold.

StopTalkingAtMe has an incredible gift. She marries believable characterisation with beautiful scene setting, and draws you in real close. Right from the start you’ll be dragging your feet through the icy tundra alongside Faye, and share in her desperate solitude in a world trying to buck the living off its shoulders. Soon after, you’ll be yanked about by the emotional roller coaster that’s Simon’s and Faye’s slow dance around each other, and it’ll be both heart warming and heart wrenching.

Faye starts out alone, her sanity brittle with how lonely she’s been, and oh so vulnerable. It’s human and close to perfection, and she grew on me right quick. Though I might be biased, because she’s just my type of girl:

That long weekend in Reykjavik with the dick who worked in the city. What was his fucking name? For the life of her she can’t remember, but she can picture the way he stubbed out cigarettes as though he’d been mortally offended by the ashtray. The two of them on the balcony of their hotel room, staring up at the sky, their faces illuminated by the shimmering lights. Just for a little while the differences between them were swept away by something that was older than humanity and–

No. She’s remembering it wrong. Because they hadn’t seen a thing.

And once she follows Citizen Z’s call across all theCitizen Z white on white an
d then some more white, you might end up wanting to shake your screen, because listen up people, not everyone (except their dog) is out to hurt you. It’s okay to trust and heal, even if your demons stalk you day and night, and whisper harshly in your ear.

They work it out though. Eventually. Only for StopTalkingAtMe to dial up the heat (entirely figuratively), and even Zombie Polar Bears start to look a lot like a comfortable alternative for what’s up ahead.

So, in summary: Faye is a wonderfully written original character. Simon is on point, and true to his canon characterisation. The writing is superb. The pacing just right. And you’ll even get a villain to hate on, and oh god yes, will you hate him. (I’m still seething.)

Review examples from Ao3:

Why did I ever stop checking out Z Nation fics? This is so good! A shame I didn’t read it sooner. I love it. I love the additional background he gets and I love her and I love how real and feral she is, how slowly she opens up and how patient yet broken he is. I love it!

This chapter– this chapter 28 has me wonder just how the fuck you managed to do this. How did you drag me from chapter one, all the way to here, with a constant undercurrent of tension? Even in the quiet moments it still sat right at the edge of the words. Never went very far.

And now I’m about ready to snap, because I need to know how this ends, and… I somehow doubt it will end well.

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

[Power Girl] Evening Coffee

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1.8k words, complete  @Ao3 by 
Genre/What to expect: Outsider POV, Slice of life with a side of delicious coffee.
Rating: T
Pairings: none

A superhero walks into a normal, ordinary coffee shop and does normal, ordinary things.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes

Reviewed by: Tafferling


I’m smitten.

My brush with Power Girl up to this point, were image hits on Google that mostly made me question her style of outfit. But don’t judge a book by the cover, right?

Right.

Because what you might miss is the beautiful intrepetation of a lovely woman, who sometimes just wants to relax away from her duties with a nice cup of coffee in her hands.

Straumoy did well with using an outsider POV to characterize her, and oh boy do I love the writing style.

“Yes Alfred?” her tone had a stiff and forced politeness to it, “No, that wasn’t me. Uh-huh, well you can tell Mr Wayne that he can kiss my-”

She picked up the cup as her eyes asked Edward if the payment was in order and he gave her a thumbs up. Mouthing a ‘thank you’ the woman rolled with her eyes at the other half of the conversation before she retreated to a small table by the window.

It leaks character and motion, and I’d recommend people to check it out, even if they don’t know a thing about Power Girl.

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

[Supernatural] Waiting in Samarra

spns3

21k words, complete @Ao3 by StopTalkingAtMe
Genre/What to expect: A casefic that fits itself perfectly into the source material with an incredible OC placed into the brother’s path
Rating: M
Pairings: No real pairings, this reads very Gen, though there is a hint of UST

With three months left on Dean’s contract, the Winchesters find themselves in a small town investigating a case involving the butchering of psychics. There they meet a young psychic woman, who may or may not be the next victim. But she’s terrified of something, and maybe it’s not the killer that she’s scared of…

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes Background might be missing, but I can see this working fandom blind

Reviewed by: Tafferling


More often than not I don’t read a fic in one go, mostly since my tendency to stop and review every single chapter is a bit taxing. This one though? Oh boy.

StopTalkingAtMe shares an incredible seven chapter case fic with us here, and she starts it off with an intriguing introduction of Emma, a psychic whose life has been unkind to her under the weight of her curse.

Emma comes well formed and layered, and with a narrative voice that easily stands apart from that of the brother’s.

While the fic stands very well on its own, we also get to see how Sam and Dean cope (or don’t) as Dean’s last few months slowly tick by.

He’s looking tired, Sam thought. Shadows under his eyes, new lines at the corners which Sam was sure hadn’t been there a couple of weeks ago. Too many nights spent in bars, and too much alcohol. Too many women whose names he could barely remember. And nowhere near enough sleep. It seemed like the closer he got to his last day on Earth, the less Dean wanted to rest. Like he didn’t want to waste a scrap of time. And still he wouldn’t admit that he wanted to fight this. That he was scared.

What sets this piece apart for me though is the visceral and vivid writing style. Emotions are very palpable throughout the whole thing, and StopTalkingAtMe made it easy for me to slip into Emma’s skin and share in the experience of being a psychic. Which, by the by, I do not recommend. Brrr. By the time I was halfway through the fic I wanted to wrap that poor thing in my arms and squeeze her real tight. Only to remember that’d make it worse for her, so I guess I’d have to pad her with pillows first.

“I’m…” She exhaled. Not okay. Not okay. Both hands now against the wall. The texture rough. Cold. Fingers numb. The cold kiss of snow on her cheeks, but she welcomed it. The smell of her vomit mingled with the stench of death on Rafe. Reapers gathering. Watching. She could hear their whispering, like an itch in the middle of her skull. If she could, she’d reach inside her head, claw at it with her fingernails to relieve the itch. Her legs crumpled. Rafe caught her.

And the ending? It made me have emotions. Bit like this?

emotions

If you would also like to have emotions, I would greatly advise reading this. And don’t forget to Kudos and Review 😉

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

[Star Wars] Lost Valor; Forgotten Stars

lostvalor

105k words, complete @Ao3 by rinskiroo
Genre/What to expect: X-Wings! Romance! Cocky Poe! Mystery!
Rating: T
Pairings: M/F Poe Dameron/OC

Prior to “The Force Awakens,” Poe Dameron accidentally discovers a lost starship graveyard and an unknown woman entombed there. With questionable connections to the Galactic War, Poe and his comrades on D’Qar attempt to unravel hidden and forgotten secrets. Though cautioned otherwise, Poe finds companionship and the need to protect this strange, yet strangely familiar, woman.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Maybe. Rudumentary Star Wars knowledge helps with background information, but if read with an open mind and a great deal of disbelief suspended, it would stand on its own.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


Star Wars and X-Wings. Oh boy.

It’s been years (and with that I mean more than a decade), but I’ve once nursed a crush on pretty much every pilot in Rogue Squadron, in particular after I got done reading X-Wing (The book series by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston).

So when I got done watching The Force Awakens, and failed to feel even just a tickle for Poe, I thought my days of flapping my arms around cocky pilots were over.

I was wrong. Or better yet, rinskiroo proved me wrong. She went and wrote Lost Valor; Forgotten Stars, and gave me so much more than just the thrill of X-Wing dogfights.

Poe smirked, “Just don’t want to be standing around answering questions when I’d rather be seeing lines.”

She gave us– wait. Hold up. No. This isn’t just about Poe. Quite the contrary. It also isn’t about X-Wings (except it sort of is), or about the Resistance (except again, it sort of is). It isn’t about great heroics (while very much being just about that) either.

Lost Valor is about two people. Euli Avedis and Poe Dameron. Individuals in the grand scheme of things, who find each other (in a quite literal sense, really) while the world ticks on around them.

Euli is introduced not only as a compelling and well layered orignal character, but also as a focal plot point to the the story. She brings mystery, and rinskiroo did an excellent job making the slow unravelling of her secrets interesting.

There’s life between those two characters, and through them we get to experience the Star Wars verse with all its nuances and flavours. Literally, at point, since rinskiroo has done her research and we even get to dine a little. Her writing clearly reminded me of how vast and detailed the lore is, and it’s done a great job at feeling like Star Wars, rather than a generic Science Fiction story.

We get a decent amount of techno babble, if you’d like to even call it that. It’s consitent and it fits into the narrative. The supporting cast is excellent as well, easily standing on their own, without giving the impression that they’re just here to faciliate the main characters. Especially Leia. And I’ve just got to mention this, because it does sit close to my heart: Rinskiroo has done Leia Organa right.  There isn’t a sentence in there that wouldn’t have made me think of her, or reminded me of the amazing character that many of us had the honour to grow up with. Considering the recent loss we’ve had to suffer, what with Carry Fisher getting herself drowned in silver moonlight and strangled by her own brassiere, I’ll freely admit to almost. Almost, because this Taffer doesn’t cry easy. Shut up.

Anyway.

This piece is great. You should check it out. If not for the X-Wings, then at least for Poe. Because. Yeah.

“I’m a little stubborn, it’s a character flaw. I don’t have many, but there it is.”

I remember now how much fun it was to gush over characters like him.

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

Post Traumatic Repair [Jessica Jones]

posttraumaticrepair

25k words, complete @Ao3  by Detective_Animator
Genre/What to expect: Hurt. Some comfort. A little more hurt. Recovery not made easy, but made worth the effort.
Rating: M
Pairings: Jessica Jones/Patricia, WalkerJessica Jones/Zebediah Killgrave

He’s gone, he’s dead.

But she’s broken, parts don’t work how they should. Like code wiped clean, she doesn’t know how to operate. She’s a fragile machine who needs to be rewired to think normally again.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Somewhat. It might be necessary to know the show for later chapters and to help with background information about the characters involved.

Reviewed by: Tafferling 


This one is a bit of a wild ride. It follows Jessica as she breaks away from Killgrave, her body and mind still fighting his entrapment, and the whole world no more than a playground for her fidgety, torn nerves.

“Trish.” Her voice is hoarse, scratchy. It hurts to speak. He told her not to speak. She feels sad for betraying his order. She’s afraid. She feels worthless and stupid and ‘God damn it, she couldn’t follow one fucking order correctly?’

At times we might think Hey, she’s getting there! but there’s always more, and we’re left with a bit of a bleeding heart for Jessica’s struggle against her own mind. Or what she’s trying to make hers again.

It’s a virus that crawls through her system, worming it’s way into important files, deleting ones it finds useless. It inputs one thought, one single file spread throughout her body. She loves him.

Detective_Animator does a great job depicting the subject matter of Post Traumatic Repair, and more than once I’ve been left with an uneasy feeling in my gut brought on by an accurate depiction of suffocating panic leaking from the words. The analogies drawn against machinery and computer code fit the tone and give a fantastic comparison.

While Jessica is certainly the focal character of the piece, Trish is the protagonist, and we’ve still got Killgrave as the villain, ever present as his memory whispers in Jessica’s head. But Trish– Trish, she shines. She’s patient. Compassionate. Patient some more, because Jess is not making any of this easy. Not for herself, or her loving friend, who stubbornly follows her through the grueling steps of recovery. Even if at times she’s being pushed away.

At the point of reviewing this, Post Traumatic Repair is not yet finished, but it leaves off at a point where you’ll definitely be wanting more. I won’t spoil it though. Go find out for yourself!

Review examples from Ao3:

By LetaDarnell: We’re getting somewhere now. Or are we?

This is pretty accurate for anyone who’s been through something traumatic, especially feeling violated or ‘invaded’. It looks like you did a lot of research for this, which makes the story much more readable and easier to connect to the characters and situations, unlike stories built on cliches.

 

By Christyflare: Read this same day it came out, but I didn’t want to comment until I had read the first five chapters again to see what you meant in the top notes… Stuff happened, and I ended up just reading them like now.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh dear… Poor damaged Jessica. REALLY hoping it’s just a hallucination and she’s safe and not actually with Kilgrave after he tells her to imagine being without him or something…

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews

To Raise a Triclops [Dragon Ball Z]

tienxchiaotzu-screenshot-chiaotzu-x-tien-23732858-465-338

39k words in progress @Ao3/@Ffn by SatuD2
Genre/what to expect: extended hurt/comfort: an exploration of separation and eventual reconciliation of two soulmates.
Rating: T
Pairing: Gen | Tien & Chiaotzu

A pale telepath is given an unexpected assignment in the middle of the night: to raise a triclops baby in the way of the Crane. If only he was old enough to protect him properly. Rated for safety. Potentially slightly AU.

Suitable for fandomblind readers? Yes
Reviewed by: commanderAIK


Imagine two inseparables who met at a very young age, to the point where they are practically brothers. Picture they grow up together in a school that brutally trains its students to swear by it as assassins. There’s the brother larger in size, the one that’s more combative and therefore utilized by the school. Then there’s the smaller one, quirky but more incapable and ignored. Naturally, the taller one rises in rank, soaring past the smaller. It’s easy to assume the smaller brother is the younger, cared for by the older, and the the taller one is the older, naturally more worried about the younger.
Reverse that, and you get To Raise a Triclops.
The story, written by SatuD2, goes against the traditional background of Dragon Ball characters Tien and Chiaotzu. It introduces a new headcanon: Chiaotzu, the smaller character in the anime, being given the baby Triclops Tien by the school and told to care for him. Satu excels in leading up to and following the canon events, but does it all from Chiaotzu’s point of view, unlike Tien’s. And as the technical older brother here, he cannot stand his incapability to prevent Tien from slowly drifting away as he is brutally trained to become a skilled assassin. Satu takes those moments of dread and helplessness and amplifies them. By the end of those chapters, I feel as if I myself am Chiaotzu, or better yet, an older brother so out of control of protecting my own kin. As an older brother myself, I am touched deeply by it.
In short, it’s a beautiful examination of what tears the two inseparables apart and eventually begins to bring them back together. The character development is stellar, each chapter giving a bit more information. No information is unnecessary, and it allows for concise, juicy chapters that I look forward to every week.
I like to split it into two arcs: the hurt arc, where the separation occurs, and the one we are currently on, the comfort arc of reconciliation and restoration. The writing is crisp, descriptive when necessary, and conveying of all the essential emotions for the plot. The dialogue is also amazing and completely in-character, making the story all the more believable!
We currently just got over a very heavy scene, which has certainly hit me emotionally. I specifically remember my heart skipping a beat upon finishing this most recent chapter. It was not the only time. Throughout the work, Satu, while still staying true to the story, sprinkles in scenes that show what it feels like to have someone there for you, and they have driven me dangerously close to tears.
So even if you aren’t a fan of Dragon Ball and don’t know the first thing about Tien & Chiaotzu, I recommend you read To Raise a Triclops. There are many ways in which this story is more than just two students of a martial arts school, and anybody can enjoy it.

Example review from FFN:

Tafferling’s review for chapter 28

Great entrance, as I have gotten used to.

And while I am not connected to this fandom at all, and cannot say I know what happened, you’re not making me wish I did, because it all feels like it makes sense. No need for details, because [Chiaotzu was sure that if their minds had not previously met that the deep sadness and regret the old man felt at the death of his pupil would have been completely obscured. And completely private.] already says so much.

But but but.. wait.. rice cooker?! Oh god, what? 😀

[The air was hot and dry, a brisk wind blowing stinging sheets of sand against the three of them as they wandered through the seemingly abandoned town.] Wordporn. Argh. Your scene setting had come such a long way since you have started this. I am so proud.

*flails at you:* [All he could manage was a low hum in the back of his throat, an involuntary reaction to being asked a question.]

Oh my, what’s happening? Police! Guns! Oh Tien 😦 He’s offering the man to break an arm or a leg OR TWO?! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO! You cannot truly be held responsible for what you’ve done, brainwashed by Shen as you’d have been. Not.. fully.. anyway.. I mean.. okay, nevermind. I suppose you are right. And that you’re willing to accept whatever, that tells a lot about how far you’ve come.

What a soothing ending to this chapter, even if you’ve given us a sense of urgency and revealed how much is really at stake in their search for the balls. It was still beautiful to see that man forgive Tien and have them stay for food :).

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews

The Crafts [Harry Potter]

 

1,271 words, complete @AO3 by Hermit9

Genre/What to expect: Exploration of Malfoy family relationships with some fluff
Rating: G
Pairings: Gen
Suitable for fandom blind readers? Somewhat, although knowledge of the source material would better the experience.

Draco Malfoy and his mother, post-series.

Reviewed by: Concept101


dracomalfoy_wb_f7_dracoandnarcissafacingeachother_still_080615_landDraco Malfoy, in the Harry Potter books, is an antagonist to Harry Potter and a character whose complexity often goes woefully underappreciated.

From an entitled brat, to a teenager angry with the world around him, to an individual conflicted in his beliefs, to someone who learned to trust in his conscience and remakes himself as an individual, Draco Malfoy’s many portrayals through the Harry Potter story is one of the best done redemption arcs I have ever seen.

And it is the latter of those portrayals that Hermit9 manages to nail so well in this one-shot beginning to her Crafts’verse series.

The far wall was stacked with crates and rigid translucent, muggle-made, plastic tubs. Strips of parchments with his mother’s beautiful calligraphy labelled everything.

As soon as you start the story, two things will be obvious to you.

Draco’s lukewarm dislike of muggles, a viewpoint ingrained into him since childhood that he is trying to shake off, is one of them. The other is his love for his mother Narcissa. It is delightfully subtle how Hermit9 portrays Draco’s admiration for her. Every thought he has of her or something related to her speaks of a gentle tone, almost as if you can close your eyes and imagine Draco smiling softly as he thinks of her.

It had started, of course, because of Potter.

This one line tells you more than enough about the relations between the childhood nemeses. Despite the passing nature of Harry’s presence on page, his influence on the events of the story is felt throughout in the form of Narcissa’s new favourite pastime.

Astoria Malfoy as Draco’s wife was done very well by the author. Her dialogue flowed well, and her words about the passing nature of flowers as a gift are a highlight of the story. After reading the story, if I ever had to describe her in two words, it would be ‘nonchalantly wise’.

Yet another character making a brief appearance was Hermione Granger, an unlikely ally to Draco in his quest to satiate his mother’s curiosities. The way she talked about Narcissa having been defined by those around her for her entire life spoke subtly of her having been through a similar experience in her past.

(I wanted more of this Hermione Granger, and apparently the author did too because she is writing a sequel revolving around the relationship between Draco and Hermione. But that is a discussion for another day)

‘The Crafts’ is a story not defined by plot, but by its succinctly written characters, who despite being on the page for mere lines, make their influence felt throughout. It is a story of relationships. It is a story of a broken past and a hopeful future. It is a story about rebuilding.

But at the root of it all, it’s a story about a mother and her son.

One worth reading.

Review examples from AO3

Cute!
Also I was thrilled to see you included the signification for the flowers as a note. I was curious about it and it shows you researched the combination beforehand ^-^

I adore the scene where Astoria explains the meaning of giving flowers to Draco. There was something just so homey, so idyllic about that scene, I really, really loved it. Like a little snippet into their relationship.

A few grammatical issues with the dialogue section, but overshadowed by how lovely Draco and his mother’s relationship is. Him going out of his way to make her happy, it’s just lovely. He really, really does love his mother, and I enjoyed seeing their lives post-war and seeing how they amuse themselves and put themselves back together. Also, loving that it’s Hermione who helps Draco buy the flowers. I bet Ron grumbled about that!