/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

[Fire Emblem Fates] Earthborne

Fire Emblem

 Here’s part two of Taffer reviews Self-Inserts, and this one couldn’t be any different from the one before.

84k words, complete @FF.net by Mixed Valence
Genre/What to expect: Adventure, a little science in the face of magic, and a very important wallet.
Rating: T
Pairings: none as of yet

Driving in the rain is dangerous – your car could hydroplane, or, if it’s really not your day, plane into another universe entirely. The second was what happened to me.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Not specifically, having knowledge of the fandom would help with identifying critical plot points.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


Having your car aquaplane into another dimension is one hell of a thing, and it’s what ends one Harrison in the unknown, with nothing but an electric torch and a wallet to his name. And then he almost gets himself picked to pieces by a pack of Faceless.

Before I read Earthborne, I knew nothing about Fire Emblem, but Harrison is a great guide, and gave me a decent insight in what to expect from the characters and the settings. He’s also rather resourceful, and he has to be, as there’s natural mistrust surrounding him that puts him on the spot frequently and has him struggle to prove that he doesn’t mean any harm.

What stands out most to me? How Harrison makes friends with the cast, but how he isn’t unconditionally liked. There’s still mistrust, and sometimes showing off your otherworldly wallet contents simply isn’t enough to quell that.

Ontop of that we’ve got his analytical mind, and an affection for science, which shows just how different he is to the fantastic setting he’s been thrown into. And since Harrison comes pre-equipped with knowledge of the Fates story line, and ends up right in the middle of it, we see him carefully attempting to steer things. With… well… you should read to find out what sort of results it has.

This is where my fandom blind reading doesn’t help the review much, as I’m not familiar with the consequences of either possible paths, but I trust that Harrison has reasons for what he’s doing. Which, at the end of the day, echoes his good heart as he’s torn between two groups of people that have both shown him kindness.

Mixed Valence is very invested in this piece, and you can tell. He updated regularly, stays engaged with his readers, and you can visible see how his writing is shaped with each passing chapter. There’s humour, quite often at poor Harrison’s expense, and there’s emotion, and a good amount of combat and action that’s well written and easily followed.

Give it a go!

Review examples from FF.net:

I love how you aim to expand on the story, and add so many things new to it. Most retellings, let alone self inserts, just follow the main story with the same number of chapters as chapters in the game, more or less. However, you’re on chapter 26 and only at the in-game chapter 6. The amount of detail and love you’ve given this is spectacular.

I also like how your character is not generic, or over the top, or bland. There’s enough emotion and personality, with several hindrances that make him interesting. I understand your fear of making Harrison a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. I’m glad you’re keeping that in check. I also find it pretty funny how your character curses so much around people who tend not to.

 

Your story is really a fine piece i bloody love every bit of it.
Harrison is not a OP Gary sue of darkness and light but more of your average guy with luck.
The world building is strong! I can imagine the world you are in a lot better with every chapter.

/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

The Servant of Time [Final Fantasy VI / Discworld]

 

kefka

2.2k words, complete @Ao3  by Literary_Disaster 
Genre/What to expect: Kefka getting told off by DEATH. What’s not to love?
Rating: General Audiences
Pairings: None

An entry to the December Prompt Challenge on /r/FanFiction.

The god of Death finds Kefka in His realm after Kefka’s defeat at the hands of the Returners. Will Kefka’s crossing go smoothly? Or are there going to be a few hiccups along the way?

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


Contrary to what the name might say, Literary_Disaster isn’t really that. There’s nothing disasterous about their writing, not from where I’m standing anyway.

Kefka might disagree though, because he’s getting the short end of the stick, and it’s a bony stick and served with the beautiful (and classy) snark of your DEATH truly. I’ll spare you my fangirling over that gent here, since I’ve done it already in the previous one.

Death merely continued to stand His ground and silently wondered if perhaps Mister Palazzo had not heard Him. Perhaps Mister Palazzo didn’t understand his current situation. Perhaps Mister Palazzo didn’t care. Death produced a gravelly sigh and leaned heavily upon his scythe. He really disliked dealing with the difficult ones. They’d give Him a headache if He had a head that could ache.

LD (can I call you that?) does the character justice, but does more than that. We get a nice, brief introduction to how DEATH works. A bit of a starter, really. The entré easing us into the main course: Kefka not getting it, and DEATH not really having any of it.

Though even most of it made me smile, there’s still a good deal of finality to it, and a lot of introspection from the narrator’s end that shows the finality of things by the time the end rolls in.

But go on and take a look yourself. It’ll be worth it.

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

RARE [Criminal Minds / Discworld]

rare_by_shortlocke-das2kuq

3.3k words, complete @Ao3 by Deejaymil
Genre/What to expect: Grim humour. Cruel reality. An adorable reaper of souls. And tenacious, fate defying BAU agents.
Rating: T
Pairings: None, Gen

An entry to the December Prompt Challenge on /r/FanFiction.

Humans, as a whole, are always interesting. Sometimes, the wrong kind of interesting. Death is pretty fond of them all.

But then, there are the heroes…

Suitable for fandom blind readers? No. It might start off as such, but to be able to fully grasp the rest, Criminal Minds knowledge is a must.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


Before we get started, I’d like to introduce you to DEATHHe’s been one of my favorite deathcharacters throughout my history of favourite characters, and ever since I’ve first met him in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, I’ve known I’d want to be able to write a character as compelling and funny as him.

I’ve collected a few of his likenesses and scattered them around my place (see exhibit a), but aside of that I haven’t gotten anywhere with cozying up to his likeness.

But Deejay has gone and shown me that it can be done.

It hadn’t happened yet; however, he had met some humans who were rather… well, interesting, yes, but not in a good way. Not like kittens or astrophysics were interesting. More in the interesting way of slimy bugs or many-legged spiders or even a dark hole in a wall leading to gods knows where. The kind of interesting that came with a big neon sign declaring DANGEROUS, DO NOT TOUCH that you felt oddly compelled to touch and yet also strangely betrayed when it touched back.

So. Yeah. I adore her DEATH. And I hope that during the first section of RAREyou’ll learn to do the same, and that even if you aren’t familiar with Discworld, Dee does a splendid job building DEATH and who, or what, he is before delving into Criminal Minds.

From there on out this fic shines with how DEATH interacts with the familiar characters from the procedural crime show, and we’re getting to see past the veil and get to be intimately familiar with all those moments in which one of the BAU should have died. But they’re just too damn stubborn to let go– and after they’ve come face to face with him one too many times, I think DEATH ends up a little smitten with them.

Find out for yourself though. If you know Criminal Minds, go read! If you don’t– go read anyway, it’s still good!

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews, Tafferlicous Reviews

Seriously, this isn’t exactly Ghostbusters… [Mediator Series]

the-mediator-by-meg-cabot

1.700 words, complete @Ao3 by Somecallmemichelle
Genre/What to expect: A young woman introspecting about a questionable curse in her life.
Rating: T
Pairings: None, Gen

An entry to the December Prompt Challenge on /r/FanFiction.

Suzannah Simon (or just “Suze”, to everyone but a few of her closest aqquaintances) has a secret…she can see ghosts, now she reveals that truth to the world.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Somewhat, though it is likely easier enjoyed with knowledge of the source material.

Reviewed by: Tafferling


I’ve had no idea what fandom the Mediator Series belonged to, not until I started writing the review and had to go hunting for a header image. And yet I’m left feeling sympathetic to Suzannah as she rambles on about her life– and what’s beyond. Because damn, her job can’t be an easy one, what with her daily dealing with unruly ghosts.

By the time I got done reading, I had a fairly decent grip on Suzannah’s personality, and I wouldn’t be adversed to reading the series she’s from.