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MEFA Reviews, Morning, January 1 2008 (Part 2)

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    Title: Night of Love · Author: Linda hoyland · Genres: Romance: Gondor · ID: 617 Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-12-29 22:06:22 Score: 3 [Spoilers ahoy] Those
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2008
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      Title: Night of Love · Author: Linda hoyland · Genres: Romance: Gondor
      · ID: 617
      Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-12-29 22:06:22 Score: 3
      [Spoilers ahoy]

      Those two will have a hard time adjusting in this new place and from
      the way Linda addressed both concerns, Arwen the most. Luckily enough
      comes Galadriel to the rescue and they can get past that moment both
      had wondered for so long how it would be. Very sweetly written,
      although I hope that they will get adjusted to this stone city.

      Title: Glimpse of Glory · Author: Linda hoyland · Times: Late Third
      Age: 3018-3022 TA: General Drabble · ID: 575
      Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-12-29 22:10:58 Score: 3
      It isn't easy to capture the thoughts of Galadriel in just 100 words,
      and this drabble has that book feel over it. I found this a lovely
      interpretation of the challenge, just the combination of a [gasping
      Galadriel] combined with the offering of the ring by Frodo gave me a
      nice visual of the scene. Nice work Linda!

      Title: The Perfect Girl · Author: nikara · Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 232
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:20:14 Score: 5
      Well-written and comprehensive look at the dreaded Mary Sue. It was
      one of the first terms I learned after discovering fanfiction, and I
      was surprised at the virulence surrounding her existence. It didn't
      take me long to realize that as a fantasy/SF reader I'd always had my
      own Mary Sues - I simply hadn't had a term for them before.

      The point that many Mary Sues are the product of immature writers is
      well-taken. It is also true that "Mary Sues are in the eye of the
      beholder". I've seen well-loved OFCs, generally thought wholly
      believable, be labeled "unrealistic" by other readers. We all bring
      our biases to the table and should strive to be aware of that in our
      judgments; and most of all: Be Kind.

      Title: No Escape · Author: Aranel Took · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
      3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 324
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:20:48 Score: 4
      Chilling and powerful, this drabble does a superb job of capturing the
      demise of the Dwarves' colonization of Moria. Their combined
      desperation and bravery is evident, and the tension inexorably builds
      until we get the shock at the end: they will kill themselves, children
      and all, rather than allow anyone to be taken alive.

      Excellent descriptions and characterization of the female Dwarf, and
      of the sounds they hear in the distance signaling the approaching end.

      Title: The End of Dark Days · Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass CoAuthors
      · Genres: Drama: Minas Tirith · ID: 56
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:21:56 Score: 9
      A very moving look at the aftermath of the war from the ground level.
      Nanny has a unique perspective with her tight ties to the Steward's
      family, but we see her interact with her own family as well, and these
      are in fact among my favorite scenes. (And how wonderful it was to see
      her and Durvain together - I love the story behind how they met and
      their newly-fragile relationship in ["Under My Wing"].)

      Edoraslass does not spare her protagonist from the war's effects, and
      her shock and dismay at her first sight of both Tirith and her damaged
      family are very effectively written. The same goes for how annmarwalk
      utilizes her practical Mag's thoughts and descriptions of the horrible
      events she witnessed: it is all the more chilling for the immediacy
      they held for her character. Their combined effort is well-blended and
      an excellent addition to their personal MT universe.

      However, there is *no way* this can be "Complete"! I want to see Nanny
      and Mag figure out the King is Thorongil-who-Nanny-didn't-like. I want
      to see Nanny visit Faramir, and ambush Eowyn, and meet Pippin and
      Merry, and most particularly: bump into Prince Imrahil. Please?

      Title: Mighty among both Elves and Men · Author: Tanaqui · Times:
      Multi-Age: Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 606
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:23:13 Score: 7
      Each of these drabbles is self-contained and succinct, and yet
      features a wealth of detail. Tanaqui is adept at spinning the lyrical
      phrase, the simple but breath-taking description, the masterful
      connection that I had previously missed; and these repeatedly deliver.
      It is a bonus for her readers that she still has a long way to go on
      this personal tour of the lore-master's life. (Hint, hint!)

      One of my favorite themes may be Elrond's caution about his Noldorin
      heritage. I can see it sing to him in ["Laying the foundations"], and
      the stab of anxiety over it in ["Bloodline"]. His meeting with a
      certain colorful figure of M-e might be the most delightful for me,
      although I also loved his earnest proposal to Celebrian with its
      mention of a ring that would not weigh on him. However, my favorite of
      the bunch (so far) is probably ["Echoes"]: there are so many layers
      and emotions and links to his past, and the imagery and allusions are
      all incredibly tight and poignant.

      Title: Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady · Author: Marta · Genres:
      Romance: Gondor · ID: 604
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:24:01 Score: 4
      I love the interaction between Faramir and Hurin in this, and the way
      it is Hurin's idea to have Faramir give Eowyn the cloak. It is
      extremely practical, even with the romantic underpinnings, and
      certainly something that would appeal to a woman of Eowyn's strength
      of character. It's good that perceptive Hurin shows up, in fact:
      Faramir could use advice from someone who cares about him, but who is
      also at the same time somewhat removed. Hurin aptly suggests a
      stealthy approach to the former Ranger, as opposed to an outright pursuit.

      Title: The Dancer · Author: annmarwalk · Genres: Drama: Minas Tirith ·
      ID: 150
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:24:51 Score: 7
      Augh! This is devastatingly sad. The narrator's voice is extremely
      well done. I was drawn right into her narrow world, her hopeful and
      then hopeless feelings for Denethor... her brave - so brave -
      acceptance of Vinyarion's invitation (and I love that he is gentle
      with her distress). She would have indeed made a worthy wife of the
      Steward.

      The descriptions of Denethor were wonderful. I adore the way he is
      brought to life as a graceful, virile, handsome and charming man; it
      gives his later despair and descent into madness an even more horrible
      cast. The writing is excellent, too: even though we know the end to
      his story, I was as impatient as the lady when he was slowly and so
      tantalizingly building up to asking for her correspondence.

      Denethor's love of Finduilas takes on a complex bittersweetness
      because of my total sympathy for Irilde, and the end of her own
      story... That was terrible. I wish she could have had at least one son
      left to bring her joy, and I do hope that her marriage was happy in
      its way.

      Title: The Accidental King: Five Reasons Why Finarfin Deserves an
      Appreciation Month · Author: Dawn Felagund · Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 5
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:26:06 Score: 10
      Dawn Felagund has written a highly-organized, intelligently-explored
      essay that is also extremely entertaining. I love the description of
      Finarfin as ["the accidental king"], as it highlights one of his
      greatest accomplishments touched on further in the text.

      Dawn is an excellent writer, and she puts her talent to good use here.
      The tone is conversational and personal, with appropriate quotes
      smoothly worked into the narrative itself. The scholarly effort is
      obvious, but the result is enjoyable and easy to read. I also liked
      the non-Tolkien quotes used at the beginning of each section - they
      set up the following points very well.

      Each argument is made clearly and reasonably, and the author notes
      personal interpretations and extrapolations, although none are out of
      line. The conclusions drawn from the sources make perfect sense to me,
      and in truth I remembered most of the Silm quotes from my many
      readings of the book - but I had never quite put them together so
      succinctly. I am especially thinking of the specific time at which
      Finarfin left Feanor's host to return to Valinor, and the conditions
      under which he took up the kingship.

      I had neither negative or positive opinions about Finarfin before
      reading this, but am now convinced: He deserves *at least* his own
      month, and a great deal of respect.

      Title: The Anglo-Saxons and the Rohírrim · Author: willow_41z ·
      Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 585
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:26:39 Score: 5
      Very interesting and well-composed review of one of the common
      possible sources of Rohirric culture. The discussion is intelligent
      and easy to follow, and the conclusion is completely reasonable.

      I appreciate the author's personal opinion that Tolkien envisioned the
      Rohirrim as what he wished the Anglo-Saxons could have been. He
      borrowed what he liked of their culture (particularly from a
      philological standpoint) and went on to compile the remainder in the
      same light as the rest of the cultures: in the manner of a grand epic,
      in which the best and most noble is highlighted.

      Title: Tolkien's Usage of "Thou" and "Thee" · Author: DrummerWench ·
      Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 443
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:27:39 Score: 9
      Like the author, I grew up believing "thou" and "thee" were formal
      variations. It was a bit of a shock to realize that the opposite is true.

      This is a subject I could have easily become confused over, but the
      author has generated an extremely clearly written essay that truly
      enlightened me. As someone with a rather intuitive approach to grammar
      in general, I immediately appreciated the initial section that
      outlined the correct terminology.

      Even better, DrummerWench's examples from Tolkien and subsequent
      explanations have thoroughly deepened my appreciation and
      understanding of those scenes. Despite many previous readings, I would
      have never caught on by myself - Tolkien's note in the appendices
      notwithstanding.

      The culling and presentation of book quotes is unbelievably thorough,
      and are expounded on through the author's discussion in a very
      readable and well-developed way. The writing is flowing and
      entertaining, and successfully keeps the work from becoming at all
      dull. This is an excellent contribution to Tolkien fanfic, and an
      important resource for both writers and readers.

      Title: In Body and Mind · Author: Nessime · Races: Cross-Cultural:
      Drabble · ID: 759
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:29:13 Score: 7
      What a lovely, evocative drabble... There are many details that help
      spin the background out with a minimal use of words: the Halflings'
      presence gives us a placement in time, the Hall of Fire, Aragorn and
      Arwen's story. Wonderful writing and construction, also, bringing me
      right into the scene. The mysterious, unknown Elf is very compelling;
      I hope that her tale does get told in full one day, especially as she
      seems to feel a connection to Men that at least somewhat parallels her
      neighbor's.

      I love the descriptions drawn from her memory as the minstrel's song
      pulls her thoughts back in time. Given the powerful and
      never-diminishing force of Elven memory, it is no wonder that she
      opens her eyes to what she thinks is a waking dream. Excellent,
      excellent use of the relevant quotes to connect the dots between
      little-known Elendur and Estel. It reminds me that the Northern line
      was ever unbroken, and bred true. Well done!

      Title: Celeborn's Trees · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Races: Elves:
      Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 514
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:32:14 Score: 5
      A lovely and inspired response to the Tolerance Challenge. There
      likely was a great deal of superiority complex flourishing among the
      Noldor when they rejoined their long-sundered kin. I have wondered how
      Galadriel's "intermarriage" with Celeborn was viewed among her
      Noldorin kin; and it would figure that her relatives would manage to
      offer insult, whether intended or not...

      I love the characters of Galadriel and Celeborn here, and their
      exchange is marvelous. Celeborn might get ticked off over callous
      remarks about his people, but I think he is well-grounded enough to
      shrug them off personally - and he knows who mighty Galadriel turns to
      for her own comfort. Nicely done!

      Title: The Eagle's Gift · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Drama:
      Minas Tirith · ID: 591
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:36:03 Score: 6
      Very humorous but also telling exchange between two intense rivals.
      (The author's reference to them as ["two alpha males"] is decidedly
      spot on and had me laughing before ever starting the story.)
      Denethor's irritation under the circumstances is perfectly
      understandable, and his private thoughts about Thorongil made for much
      amused snickering on my part.

      The set-up is nicely constructed, and the characterizations are
      enjoyable. I particularly love Denethor's constantly tender thoughts
      and concern over his waiting bride. I was glad that he came out ahead
      in this little meeting, for he surely deserved it this time. One tiny
      characterization that jumped out at me was his reflection about
      Thorongil's "imperfectly spoken" Quenya - the obvious error of it (in
      connection to a student of Elrond's) made me chuckle, and it spoke
      worlds about Denethor's Gondorian pride and superiority complex.

      Title: Marking Fours · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Multi-Age:
      Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 1
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:36:38 Score: 9
      A deft handling of Faramir's struggle to come to terms with his
      father's legacy, post-pyre. I love the way the author has structured
      this drabble sequence; her vision of Faramir's grieving process feels
      very real. The repetitive "four" not only helps place the events in
      the timeline (and they all blend wonderfully into canon), but aids in
      the smooth transitions through jumps in time and attitude.

      There's also something about the specific moments that Raksha has
      chosen that feels very right, although I'm finding it impossible to
      adequately frame it in words. Suffice to say, each drabble seems to
      ring out like a clear bell, one crystal note that encapsulates the
      individual moments perfectly and also contributes to a harmonious whole.

      The writing certainly carries the weight of this subject well. Every
      word is carefully chosen, phrases beautifully sculpted, and Faramir's
      excellent characterization is carried throughout it all in wonderful,
      touching details. I find it perfect that his own son, his own foray
      into fatherhood, finally allows Faramir to connect to Denethor and
      properly grieve.

      Title: Who is this Gil-galad, of Whom You Speak? · Author: Erunyauve ·
      Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 250
      Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-12-29 22:38:17 Score: 9
      A very eloquently reasoned and concise collection and discussion of
      what little (and I had not realized *how* little) information exists
      on Gil-Galad. Relevant quotes are noted, and the author does a good
      job of extrapolating and expanding on the final High King's character
      from the sparse evidence. The conclusions are reasonable and fit well
      with Tolkien's overall vision of Middle-earth I also like that
      Gil-Galad's limitations are laid out plainly; rather than diminishing
      his character, they serve to make him three-dimensional.

      My favorite facet of the arguments may be the delineation of Gil-Galad
      as an active king. He paid attention to portents and feelings of
      unease, he laid out plans and made allies - all when, truly, he did
      not have to, with the eventual destiny of the Firstborn to fade and
      pass the baton to Men. The author's vision of him is especially suited
      as a "bridge" between the Elves of the First and Third Ages, and this
      smooth continuity is perhaps what convinces me most of the accuracy of
      the interpretations of the quotes. I wish the author had included what
      little we know of his childhood, as additional foundation for the
      adult he became.

      Title: Blooded · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Drama: Youth · ID: 3
      Reviewer: juliaaurelia · 2007-12-29 22:45:45 Score: 10
      This is a very fine story, detailing Faramir of Gondor's first true
      battle when he was but a young man and known only as the younger son
      of the Steward Denethor. As his battle companions sit by telling tales
      of the fight, Faramir reflects on the horrors of the battle and how
      different it had been compared to what his older brother Boromir had
      told him it would be like. This story illustrates how different
      battles were until modern times, as in the old days, you had to meet
      your enemy close up in order to vanquish him, to fight within arms
      length of someone who was trying desperately to kill you, just as you
      were trying desperately to kill him. Faramir's horror is real, but he
      knows it is his duty to serve Gondor as the Shadow of Mordor comes
      ever closer. The ending of this tale is particularly good as Faramir
      wishes for the return of the King, never suspecting that he will live
      to see it, and will see the Shadow vanquished and Gondor returned
      again to glory with himself as Steward. The grammar and spelling are
      unimpeachable, and the language is very Tolkienesque, with no jarring
      modern phrases to take the reader out of the story. A very
      well-crafted piece of fan fiction. The author shows a good
      understanding of the character of Faramir as well as a good knowldege
      of the tactics of warfare in Tolkien's world.

      Title: Steward and Thain · Author: agape4gondor · Races:
      Cross-Cultural: The Fellowship · ID: 87
      Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-12-29 22:51:48 Score: 3
      This is an endearing story of Boromir's and Pippin's friendship.
      During the quest they discover they have a lot in common. I like the
      way they get to know each other by telling tales of home and past
      exploits. Although it was mostly Pippin doing the talking. But Boromir
      is always there with his comments. A very enjoyable read.

      Title: Sarn Gebir · Author: agape4gondor · Genres: Adventure:
      Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 398
      Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-12-29 22:53:52 Score: 4
      This ficlet recalls the desperate minutes on the Anduin when the
      Fellowship unexpectedly came across the rapids at Sarn Gebir from
      Boromir's point of view. I like the characterization of Boromir. He is
      a man of action. He doesn't care how they could be already that far.
      They hit the rapids and he wants to get out of there immediately. But
      Aragorn is their leader and so he waits in frustration.

      Title: Reconcilation · Author: Dwimordene · Genres: Drama · ID: 86
      Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2007-12-29 22:56:06 Score: 8
      (Possible spoilers within:)

      A fascinating, intricate story of two trainees in the Swan Knights of
      Dol Amroth who return to training after having been punished for an
      attack on a Haradric colleague by the name of Andrahar.

      This is a sort of coming-of-age story for the young men, who face
      overwhelming obstacles in rejoining the insular and tight-knit Swan
      Knight community. They must prove themselves worthy of respect and
      finish their training, despite being the targets of anger and informal
      retaliation among their peers, which is not acknowledged or helped by
      their commanders until much later.

      There are a number of adventures along the way, including hitting the
      depths of despair, and rallying to protect a defenseless village
      against overwhelming odds from a major Corsair attack.

      This story keeps me transfixed each time I read it; the plot is
      intricate and the author makes the interactions between characters
      rich and real-life and messy, not cut-and-dried, so the situations
      seem as complex and ambiguous as they usually do in reality.


      Title: Letter to Frodo · Author: AmandaK · Genres: Alternate Universe:
      Gondor or Rohan · ID: 540
      Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-12-29 22:57:05 Score: 4
      Boromir has survived the War of Rings in this AU and regrets that he
      never could ask Frodo for forgiveness. Instead he writes a letter to
      Frodo. It is endearing to see him struggle with this letter. I know
      well the feeling of agonizing over the 'right' address to a letter. I
      liked Faramir's idea of sending the letter in a 'spiritual' way, since
      there is no post office in Valinor.

      Title: Mentor · Author: Nessime · Times: Second Age: Drabble · ID: 653
      Reviewer: Marta · 2007-12-29 22:57:48 Score: 2
      Poor Aule. I could see the dread he'd feel over Numenor, and it was
      affectively captured here. You made him sound suitably Valar-ish, but
      still gave a real connection to Numenor.

      Title: Lily of the Valley · Author: Baranduin · Times: Late Third Age:
      3018-3022 TA · ID: 682
      Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-12-29 22:59:09 Score: 3
      Oh, Frodo and Aragorn could both win prices for stubbornness in this
      story. Although Aragorn has the advantage of being bigger than Frodo
      as he pointed out. I like the warm friendship with strong hints of
      more at the end between those two. It gave me a warm and cozy feeling.

      Title: The Green Hill · Author: Baranduin · Races: Cross-Cultural: The
      Fellowship · ID: 562
      Reviewer: obsidianj · 2007-12-29 23:00:31 Score: 3
      This is such a beautiful, sweet little ficlet. Aragorn and Frodo's
      friendship comes through loud and clear. I loved the imagery of the
      cloud threatening to darken Aragorn's mood, after he relived his most
      dearest evening on Cerin Amroth. And then Frodo's assurance. It is the
      perfect ending to this little gem.

      Title: Wings · Author: ErinRua · Genres: Romance: With Rohirrim · ID: 9
      Reviewer: Elena Tiriel · 2007-12-29 23:07:09 Score: 4
      (Possible spoilers within:)

      A delightful vignette of a King of Rohan learning to love the sea of
      his betrothed; Eomer becomes almost drunken and exultant with the
      thought of the love of his Lothiriel, and her bemused father Imrahil
      witnesses it all.

      Good thing that he approves of the marriage.... and is not overmuch
      concerned with the possibility of madness in his grandchildren.
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