Intricate Relations Review

Title: Intricate Relations                                   Author: Teagarden

Source: Brothers x Conflict                               Characters: Ema H. & All Asahina Brothers

Genre(s): Drama / Romance                              Rating: T

Chapter(s): 36                                                  Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Ema Hinata joins the Asahina family at age eleven. As Ema grows she offers the brothers support in their dreams, care when they’re down, and cheering when they succeed. The brothers all come to adore Ema, but as time goes on they have to ask themselves: do they love her as their stepsister, or as a woman?


Welcome Readers, I felt like I was on a movie kick with my reviews lately and I needed to change things up.  So, I returned to a story a found a couple of months ago when I was on a Brothers x Conflict binge.  It was one of the few stories I found that featured the series’ focal character, Ema, and the multitudes of stepbrothers rather than on just one or two brothers; so, it caught my attention.  Now, after reading this story twice I can properly give it a review that it deserves.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Today we are entering the world of harem fan fiction – well, reverse harem fan fiction – with “Intricate Relations.”

For those who may have never heard of Brothers x Conflict it is an Otome game, there are manga and light novels available, and an anime.  The premise is that Ema Hinata an only child of a world renowned adventurer, she gains 13 stepbrothers when her father remarries.  Ema begins living with her stepbrothers and over the course of the game, novel, manga, and anime several (all 13) of the brothers come to feel romantic feelings for Emi and vie for her heart.

That is not a typo, there are 13 potential guys for this girl.  Well, 12 in this story because the story didn’t bother with the youngest (thankfully) who is 10 in the anime (13 in Season 2 of the novels).  Still, that is 12 guys to juggle and build potential relationships with in the story.  It’s hard work and the story puts in an admirable effort, however it still has its flaws.  Let’s start there, with the balance of these 12 suitors and their quest for Ema’s affections.

This story was not a slouch in how it handled the brothers.  The brothers each made a different impact on Ema and had their moments with her, and while the balance was pretty well maintained there were still some characters who ended up falling to the way side during the course of the story.  Hikaru didn’t get much of an opportunity to try his luck at Ema’s heart due to the fact that the character moved out of the country and was mostly kept out of the picture; in the end, he became the voice of wisdom to Ema.  Not a bad change.  Iori suffered though.  His potential romance was built as strictly one-sided and his sudden departure then return left no room for anything to potentially take root between him and Ema.  Louis was another one that got regulated to “friend” despite having a decent beginning and would have made a strong contender had his character and attentions been maintained.

Otherwise, the other 9 siblings had pretty solid romance opportunities with Ema.  Each one being cultivated over time from Ema at age 9 to Ema at 18.  The story maintained several of the rivalries from the game / novels / anime and used those to help generate tension between the brothers.  Unfortunately, this made these characters seem narrow sighted for not seeing all their brothers as rivals.  The few brothers who did not have rival to be pitted against normally had to compete with their jobs and the age difference.  Those were probably the most interesting characters as they often acted not out of jealousy (except for 2 instances) but out of the desire to make the most of their time with Ema.

It’s a difference in terms of how the characters approach their feelings for Ema but still the 9 brothers build up strong potential romances with Ema.  Strong enough that it’s hard to know who she will eventually choose.  I will touch on the ending later, for now I want to dive into Ema’s side of this romantic harem.

Ema Hinata is one of those characters who is meant to be the “every girl,” very few defining personality traits and quirks in the game and while she has a bit more in the anime, she lacks a bit of depth.  This story gives her that depth and actually tries to shape her away from the “every girl.”  She doesn’t have a strong personality but she does have one, enough of one that when as her brothers start confessing their feelings to her and (some) becoming aggressive with their affections she reacts.  She doesn’t just take their actions or words; she reacts to them.

Everything that happens as the brothers make moves on her causes Ema stress and the pushier they become, the more she retreats from them.  In the anime, Ema kept pointing out that “they’re family” and in this story she clings to the idea of “Family” even more firmly because she grew up side by side with the brothers then suddenly – it would feel sudden to her – how her brothers feel for her has turned from familial to romantic; it causes her to eventually lash out and say how she sees them as family.  In the anime, it feels like the “family” reason is more of an excuse for her to not analyze her feelings but in this story it makes sense given the history it builds between her and the brothers.

Actually, because of how Ema reacts to the brothers’ aggressive behavior leads to my favorite moment in the story; the part where she leaves Japan with Louis (the brother regulated to friend/family zone) to spend the summer in France.  It’s my favorite part of the story because unlike the anime where Ema tries to family-zone the brothers and they all decide to still pursue her; this story shows that there are consequences to the brothers pushing so hard for her to return their affections.  Ema leaving is also the best point because it allows the character to analyze her feelings and what she wants for her future – a subplot in the story.  It’s the only time where Ema is able to focus on herself instead of the Asahina brothers.

Now, as for the end; much like the game, there are multiple different endings.  There is an ending for Tsubaki, Azusa, Natsuem, Yusuke, Fuuto, Kaname, and Masomi.  While I think this is genius because it allows just about any Reader to be happy with the various endings, it also pisses me off.  Note the number of different endings – 7 – note how many brothers I said had strong romance potential with Ema – 9.  Yeah, two of those brothers did not get an ending, Ukyo and Subaru.  Why I’m mad about this is because the Ukyo had a strong build and was on the same level as Masomi yet for whatever reason he was never given an ending.  Just nothing.  Apparently the story didn’t bother with giving Ukyo a happy ending beyond him just being happy that Ema’s happy.

Truthfully, I’m more upset about Subaru not getting an ending because out of the 9 potential romances his got dropped a bit earlier than the others.  Not completely dropped but enough to signal that the story was done trying to wiggle the basketball star back in.  He had a strong beginning, a weak middle, and then he disappears near the end to pursue his career only to return when Ema returns.  There’s concessions made for the other brothers to try and tie up loose unrequited ends but Subaru gets nothing.  I understand that he’s hard to write – whoever created Subaru’s character did not bother trying to go past “he’s a basketball star who’s awkward with girls” – but this story could’ve given him a bit more potential.  It certainly could’ve – at the very least – given him an end where Ema goes to watch one of his first games in the pro and…well, time makes the heart grow fonder.  This story could’ve gone corny and made it work.  Instead, it ignored the potential.

Overall, the story is very good.  Despite my grievances about certain characters not receiving an ending or a chance at romance, I still enjoy it a lot.  I appreciate how the brothers’ feelings slow eat away at Ema until she breaks down and must literally leave to find herself.  I also enjoy the amount of time devoted to each brother’s feelings and their interactions with Ema.  Personally, my pick would be for Kaname or Yusuke but I’m biased.

I do highly recommend the story, it’s a good one to read and it does a great job of maintaining the harem aspect of the story.  I seriously could see each one of those endings happening and when Ema returned from Japan it was wide open as to who she would end up with.  It was a great story to read and I hope other Readers take the time to check it out.


Stars: 8.5 / 10


Chasing Methuselah Review

Title: Chasing Methuselah                                       Author: Sandra E.

Original Source: Inuyasha                                       Character(s): Kagome & Miruko

Rating: M                                                                 Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 13                                                           Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: NA


Welcome Readers, I am your reviewing host, Idunwanaprofile, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  What I have for my dear Readers this time is a treasure that I had discovered years ago.  I’ll kind of date myself but I found this story back when still had the rating NC-17 and before they said “nay-nay” to stories containing descriptive sex scenes.  I know that stories with sex scenes still get posted but this story I found before the whole drama with the ratings and content.

As anyone can see with the URL I provided, I didn’t link this to FFN.  I couldn’t.  This story has been removed from FFN despite the fact that the scenes weren’t posted on FFN but on a different site.  That’s neither here nor there.  The important thing is that I did find a place where this story still exists and the link above is still good as of August 18, 2017.

As for what drew me to the story, it is a Miroku x Kagome fan fic and when I first found it I was relatively new the world of fan fiction and didn’t realize that fans mixed and matched character romances.  That concept blew my mind at the time!  So when I found this story and it was NOT Inuyasha x Kagome I was pleasantly surprised.  This story was my gateway into exploring non-canon couples.

Enough of my relationship with the story, on to the actual content!

In this story Kagome discovers Miroku’s reincarnation in the form of a transfer student in her class and he has memories from his past life.  In an effort to try and glean as much information as possible about the future from him, Kagome spends more time with the reincarnated Miroku in modern Japan.  However, she ends up spending more time with the actual Miroku in Feudal Japan, setting in motion a series of events and situations that open the characters up to romance.

There are several things that this story does right (and thus set the bar kind of high for other stories), but it does have its flaws.  Flaws that while I overlook while I am reading still need to be addressed.  Unlike A Dangerous Game (see my first review ever), this fic is not the type where I had loved it growing up and now that I have reread it, I find that it doesn’t live up to my fond memories.  Nope!  I am grateful for not having another repeat of that disaster.  Nah, this story still meets my expectations even though I do pick up on aspects of the story that need work.

I guess I’ll start with some of the things the story does right.  There’s so many so I’m going to limit myself a bit otherwise we’ll be here all day.  So I’ll focus on: the romance, the characters, and balance of the story.  Those three areas will be plenty.

Anyone who has read my previous reviews of romance fics have probably figured out that I’m very particular when it comes to romances.  Read some of my previous reviews, I get up on my soapbox quite often – I haven’t lately but I will soon.  The romance between Miroku and Kagome is the type of romance that I can really get behind and believe to work out despite any dysfunction.  It takes its time to shift the relationship between the characters from companions/friends to lovers and when the shift happens it’s not sudden; instead it comes softly.

What the story does NOT do, is make Miroku the rebound guy turned romance.  Nope, Kagome is gradually recovering after Inuyasha has chosen Kikyou and is not on the hunt for her next crush.  Nor does the romance start as some scheme of Miroku’s to get into Kagome’s pants…er, um her skirt.  Nope, because for the better part of the story Kagome is under the distinct impression (like most fans) that Miroku likes Sango.

The romance is a slow build up and is a bit complicated.  I’m trying to think of a way to describe the romance without spoiling the story.  …It’s a romance that buds from an accident.  Remember the synopsis and Kagome discovering Miroku’s reincarnation with memories intact?  Yeah, it all starts because of him!  Kagome realizes that the only way there can be a reincarnation of Miroku is if Miroku died and since the reincarnation nonverbally communicates that he dies sometime before they defeat Naraku, Kagome makes it her personal mission to try and prevent his death.

So, it’s not that Kagome instantly realizes she loves Miroku (in fact she doesn’t realize that until chapter 8 or 9) and Miroku isn’t instantly in love with Kagome; he goes from being curious about Kagome’s sudden attention to his personal health to curious about her life in modern Japan (particularly about this “he” she keeps referring to) to jealous over having to share her with another time and an invisible romance rival.  It’s a slow yet seamless build.  I love it!

Kagome and Miroku (original and reincarnated) make this story.  All of the other characters are great in building out this world and bringing depth to the two worlds Kagome interacts in, but the leads absolutely steal this story.

Kagome is a bit different from the anime / manga; she truly asks as a girl out of time as she brings up science and facts that she would know from the future.  There is a point where she literally explains out a math problem to Shippo while she’s studying – you’ll never see that in the anime.  There’s another point where she uses her knowledge of science and biology to form a plan to take out Naraku; I’m pretty sure the anime doesn’t bother with science in Naraku’s downfall.  Then in her time, she’s brings up knowledge that she only gained from her time in the Feudal Era.  I appreciate this change because Kagome’s knowledge should be slipping into the two worlds.

There’s some other OOC (out of character) quirks and traits that make Kagome different from her anime / manga counterparts, but the essence of Kagome is still there.  She wants to help her friends, collect the shards, defeat Naraku, have everyone find their “happily ever after,” etc.  The core of Kagome is there with a few embellishments.

Miroku (original) is amazing.  The changes to his character are in reaction to changes in Kagome’s behavior.  Like her increased interest and concern in his health causes him to start hanging out with her a bit more.  This in turn makes him unfazed when Sango is engaged to another man.  Instead, he becomes jealous about the unknown suitor from the modern time who has Kagome all to himself.  I don’t normally like the jealous characters but Miroku pulls it off well in this story; he subtly stirs the conversation away from Kagome’s time and to more immediate topics in the Feudal Era.

Just like with Kagome, the core of Miroku is there but now it’s enhanced due to the interactions with Kagome.  The two characters play off each other easily.

Miroku (reincarnated) holds his own in this story.  It would so easy to make this character as someone who just sets things in motion but doesn’t truly make an impact until the end.  That is not this character!  No… This reincarnated version of Miroku actively inserts himself into Kagome’s life when she’s home and pursues her (romantically).  He’s not necessarily aggressive with his romantic advances but he certainly makes it obvious to onlookers that he has feelings for Kagome.  He lets Kagome know enough to set in motion key events while not sharing everything until she finally reaches critical points.

For example, the bath tub scene.  I’m not going to spoil the entire scene but I will say that this scene really shows how much reincarnated Miroku was holding back – emotionally.  Realizing that the past has finally reached point X, he “finally” acts on his emotions.

The reincarnated Miroku is very much his own character.  There is enough that ties him to the original but his past and upbringing is different and it shows in his character.  It’s refreshing and it causes confliction in Kagome as she tries not to think of the reincarnation as the original yet can’t help but feel attached to him like she does to the original.  It’s a great addition and allows for further depth to Kagome and the romances.

Finally, this story has balance!  It’s not purely romance, action, slice of life, etc.  It is a combination!  There are times when Kagome is in the Feudal Era and romance is developing, the gang is attacked, there’s questions about what comes after Naraku’s death, etc.  The romance reigns supreme but there’s plenty of time devoted to action scenes and the characters – particularly Kagome – figuring out what to do after the adventure is over.  Then in the modern era, there’s a balance between school, romance, and more action.  Nothing feels like it’s encroaching on each other, it all weaves into this story.

There’s a bit of everything for everyone.

I mentioned flaws in the story and indeed there are flaws.  I will address the elephant first, the very end.  What the fuck?  It’s not a bad ending but the logic behind defeating Naraku is both genius and questionable.  I don’t want to spoil it but let’s just say that on the one hand the logic seems feasible but on execution is questionable.  It’s the difference between hypothesis and results.  The hypothesis can make sense and seem solid, but the results make you question “how is this possible?”  That’s the final fight with Naraku.  Then there’s the ending after the final fight which makes sense and doesn’t.  Like, it makes sense because why wouldn’t there be demons in modern day, but how they all get there makes zero sense.

It’s a flaw but it doesn’t deter me from reading this story and recommending it to others. Oh and I recommend this story; I recommend it so hard!  Regardless of the end, the journey is amazing and the characters are such a joy to read.  The romance is wonderful and it’s one of those things that when it finally comes together you just want to cheer.  Oh yeah, this story is great and worth reading.

Go check out Chasing Methuselah, it’s worth the read.


Stars: 9.5 / 10

A Breach of Etiquette Review

Title: A Breach of Etiquette                     Author:  Ponygirl7

Source: Secret of Moonacre                     Characters: Maria Merryweather & Robin De Noir

Rating:  K (G)                                          Genre: Romance

Chapter(s): 1                                           Status: Complete

Synopsis: Admit it; you wished Maria and Robin were established as a legitimate couple in the movie. We all do. Well, I have continued their little romance into the next day. I hope it meets with your standards of excellence. I apologize if it’s rather long compared to my others; if you’re only reading this for the romance, skip to the latter part. Please enjoy, and please review! Thanks!


Welcome Readers, I’ll start with an apology.  I have not been posting my reviews for almost a month now.  I am sorry.  Things turned hectic at work and I just never got an opportunity to truly sit down, read a fan fic or two, and type up my review.  I am sorry and I will strive to do better in the future.

In the meantime, I’m happy to talk about this cute story I found for a little movie called Secret of Moonacre.  If anyone is not familiar with the movie, it’s about a cursed land – Moonacre – and the two dominate families that have brought upon this curse through their greed and pride.  To save Moonacre (and everyone living there) the destined Moon Princess must find the moon pearls and return them to the moon.  It’s a cute movie that is similar to Secret Garden and A Little Princess.  I happened upon it on Netflix.

To my delight there is a decent sized community of fans out there who have written fan fiction for the movie.  Thus I was able to find the piece for today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Let’s dive into A Breach of Etiquette.

The Author’s synopsis doesn’t provide any information about the story other than that it’s a Maria x Robin romance.  So, I’ll give my own synopsis.  Moonacre has been saved yet for some reason everyone is trying to keep Maria away from the Merryweather mansion.  What secret is everyone hiding?  Thankfully, Robin is willing to keep the Moon Princess distracted.

Cheesy synopsis but since there wasn’t one available for me to build off of I figured I’d write one that should be available.  Plus, that is the gist of the story.  There is a secret that everyone but Maria knows about and they are determined to keep her away from the mansion until the appropriate time.  So, Maria ends up spending the day in the forest with Robin.

I’ve already said this a few times but this is a cute story; it’s a bit of fan service in that it’s about a romance that never happens in the movie.  However, unlike the MirrorMask story, From Here to There, this story doesn’t toss out storytelling to get to the fan service.  Instead, this story cultivates a narrative that weaves in the romance and awards fans with the long awaited kiss.  It’s thoughtful and does a great job in keeping the characters in line with their movie counterparts.

The interactions between Robin and Maria are in line with the movie and are sweet.  There are moments that are meant to be subtly romantic like Robin catching Maria when she slips on the cliff, but there aren’t back-to-back heart fluttering moments.  Instead, it’s very much like two friends going off to play and bantering.  That’s not to say that the romance is out of nowhere, it’s woven in through looks and bits of dialogue that have deeper meaning – like when Robin asks Maria if she meant what she said to his father (that Robin is clever, handsome, and would make a good husband).  It’s those understated moments that really help to build the romance.

Maria doesn’t act like a love struck teenager towards Robin.  Rather she approaches him like a friend (or a friendly-rival) – much like near the end of the movie – and isn’t above teasing him about his “fans.”  She takes the views of the other women in stride and doesn’t turn irrationally jealous; instead, their comments just make Maria consider her own thoughts about Robin.  It’s a characterization that I can appreciate; a teenage girl who doesn’t burn with jealousy because another girl thinks her friend is attractive.  It’s something that I think gets overlooked by many fans; jealousy doesn’t need to be part of the equation to indicate attraction.

Robin’s feelings are more easily discernable but he’s not blatant with them.  He’s not stuck in the limbo of trying to discern his feelings – at least not completely; he knows what he feels but he hasn’t quite figured out how to express it.  While there are moments he experiences embarrassment (during lunch as his father and Maria talk about him) and possessiveness (writing his name in all the blank spots on Maria’s dance card), Robin doesn’t try to cage Maria.  This is an important part of the story to me because it is easy to write teenage boys as – unintentional – abusers.  It would have been easy to write Robin as someone who intimidates the other men away from Maria and as someone so insecure that he snaps at Maria for her teasing.  Instead, he doesn’t do any of those things.  He lets her dance with another boy and doesn’t fill up Maria’s dance card until she asks him how to get out of so much dancing.  He takes her teasing in stride and returns it with his own.

The characterizations of Maria and Robin make for great chemistry and makes the journey of the story enjoyable.  And the ending worth the wait.

I’ll wrap this up by saying that it’s a cute story that is worth checking out.  I also highly recommend watching Secret of Moonacre, it is a cute movie with whimsy elements more associated to A Little Princess and The Neverending Story.


Stars: 10/10

From Here to There Review

Title:  From Here to There                                              Author:  SkyeRose

Source: MirrorMask                                                       Character(s): Helena & Valentine

Rating:  T                                                                      Genre(s):  Romance / Angst

Chapter(s): 1                                                                  Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: When Helena bumps into Valentine’s real world look-a-like, she realizes where she belongs…and who she belongs with.


Welcome Readers, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Once again I have delved into the one-shots as I decompress from The Air that I Breathe and it’s good to know that I can still find some pretty bad stories out there.  There are the stories that are bad in the sense of poorly written and then there are the ones that make me wonder why they were ever written.  This story lands in the latter category.

This is simply a Helena and Valentine get together and finally kiss story.   This is pure, unadulterated fan service but it’s servicing only the fans that want instant gratification.  Like, I’m a Helena x Valentine fan but given the direction of the movie and how it ended, I’m not sorry that they didn’t kiss or have an “I love you” moment.  To me those things are unnecessary for the story and would have been out of character for Helena given her age and personality; she was not thrilled with her “evil” self snogging boys in her bedroom.  As such, I would rather have my Helena x Valentine romances occur a bit more naturally; give them some time to nurture a romance and have the story begin a year or two after the movie when Helena might have an interest in snogging boys.

This one-shot tries to provide a foundation – a motive – for the events but in the end it was useless.  For instance, the story unnecessarily switches to the perspective of Valentine’s real world counterpart (Max) to get his view on Helena’s behavior.  I say this is unnecessary because Max never shows back up in the story and his perspective provides zero insight – I think Readers can figure out that Helena’s behavior towards him seems odd without his perspective.  It’s parts like this that make me wonder why it is in the story.

Valentine in this story is not the Valentine from the movie.  Where is the juggler who was trying to make it big and was too stubborn to say he was “sorry”?  He’s not in this story.  In fact, the Valentine in this story is so unlike the one from the movie that I can’t say that this story is based on the movie.  No, the Valentine in this story is one pulled from another person’s fantasy and has no relation to the one in the movie.  I understand that as fans we like to romanticize certain characters, make them outwardly care more than they did in the original and make them easily accept and return romantic sentiments, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of the character’s core personality.

Then there’s Helena who…I don’t even know how this version of Helena came to be.  She seems less attached to world of the circus and her family.  Not to the point where she abandons her family for the Mirror Realm but her ties to them feel weaker.  She chooses to hide in her room and sob rather than seek comfort from her mum.  Her parents do not come to check up on her which is strange given how in the movie her mother would actively seek out Helena when something was wrong and push to know what was going on while the father would swoop in to play peacekeeper.

Plus, Helena – as shown in the movie – has a hard time verbally expressing her feelings; she is able to express her anger and frustration but not the cause behind it.  Yet, in this story, she somehow figures out that the ache in her chest is from her love for Valentine.  This is yet another romanticized version of a character and it hurts the character and story.  This story would have been more compelling if Helena actually had to take time to sort out her feelings rather than just knowing.

I wish I could say something positive about the story but in the end I feel like I just wasted 10 minutes of my life on this fan service fan fic that failed to service this fan.  If anyone wants to check it out, go for it, but I think there are far better stories out that fan service and worth the time to read.

Fuck this story for wasting my time.


Stars: 1/10

The Air that I Breathe Review

Title: The Air the I Breathe                                                    Author:  Chellerbelle

Source: X-Men Movies                                                          Character(s): Rogue & Gambit

Rating: M                                                                             Genre(s): Drama / Adventure

Chapter(s): 122                                                                    Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis:  Rogue copes with near isolationism when her powers return. Gambit accepts truths about himself he has tried to ignore. In this sweeping, multi-lifetime spanning tale, Rogue and Gambit circle each other like two immortal celestial bodies, waxing and waning, but will they ever find a moment in time to come together, or are they destined to live forever, just out of arm’s reach?


Welcome Readers, it’s the end of the week and I’m ready to review this monstrosity of a story; 122 chapters!  It’s been a long time since I read something this long and for a moment I was contemplating giving up on the story – I’ll delve into the why later – but I didn’t so now I can honestly say that I’ve read this story and can review it.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.

This is a lengthy story and it has given me quite a bit to talk about but for sake of my sanity and to not bore everyone I’m going to limit what I talk about to my synopsis of the story and four main aspects of the story.  I’m going to be delving into the story’s connection to the Marvel-Fox movies (X1 – X3 and “Wolverine Origins”), the overwhelming amount of subplots, the characters, and the romance.  There are multitudes of other things I would love to touch on but I think keeping this review focused will be best for everyone; myself and you, the Readers.

This story chronicles the events and lives of Rogue and Gambit a few years after “X-Men: The Last Stand.”  Rogue regains her powers (as suggested at the end of the film with Magneto) only now they’ve been turned up exponentially; it’s no longer limited to skin-to-skin contact, now it’s being exposed within an X radius of Rogue and the abilities she drains are permanent.  This drastic increase in power and Rogue’s lack of control cause her to live a life of near isolation.  During her isolation she befriends Gambit and they strike up a relationship that lasts hundreds of years.

There’s a lot that happens in this story and I’ll touch on several of those points when I get to the subplots, but needless to say, Rogue and Gambit live very interesting lives in this story.  Each adventure weaves into the next part of the story and becomes more inventive as the technology changes and the expansion of humans from Earth to the outer reaches of space.  There is a lot of care that went into making this story and the events flow fluidly and connecting back to the movie foundation.

Speaking of the movies, this story holds to its source pretty well, particularly in the beginning with the cure and the events of the movies.  Even Gambit’s backstory is crafted using a mixture of Wolverine Origins, the comics, and original adaptation; the flaws from Origins are explained not as throw away excuses but as future subplot developments.  For instance, the reason why Gambit’s eyes are normal in the movie is explained as a byproduct of mutation experimentation he went under by Mr. Sinister.  Things like are nice nods to the movies while making a feasible, geek foundation in the comic lore.

The story makes several call backs to the movies.  At one point it’s to the kind of love triangle from X2 between Bobby, Rogue, and Pyro when Rogue reunites with Pyro on Asteroid M.  The relationship does not move beyond platonic but it’s nice to have the story rebuild the relationship and make it far better than the one in the movies.  At another point it’s to Hank McCoy’s role as a mutant liaison for the for government which the story expands out to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D., this story subtly mingles the Marvel-Fox world with the MCU.  Most of it is in the form of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s involvement, Rogue joining Stark Industries, and Gambit befriending Tony Stark as a stockholder.  However, other MCU characters are mentioned or make brief appearances such as Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Vision, Scarlett Witch, and Captain America.

Despite the roots being in the movies, the story does not limit itself to the world of the movies.  For instance, it ignores “Days of Future Past” entirely and implements events from the comics such as Asteroid M, Mutant Town, the Mutant Registry, the war/alliance between Skrull, Kree, Brood, Shi’ar, etc.  There is so much that happens that have no basis in the movies but show up in the comics and other media versions.

A lot of the events that I mentioned are among the many subplots – and there are many subplots.  The subplots are all events that take place during Rogue and Gambit’s lives, they don’t always directly affect Rogue and Gambit but they all create some impact and get wrapped up at various points in the story.  For instance, there’s an entire portion of the story (several chapters) where Rogue’s desperation takes over and makes her suicidal; she attempts various (some very creative) suicide attempts only discover she has absorbed some mutant’s powers that counter her attempts.  It’s very heartbreaking and powerful, but makes the resolution even more heartening.

There’s the subplot of how involved should Rogue be in global/galactic events since her powers are so strong and she’s accumulated so many mutant abilities.  It’s a very long subplot that carries from the middle of the story (Apocalypse part 1) to the very end.  There’s the continual debate over if Rogue should be on the front lines of military operations and wiping out the enemies entirely using her absorption powers versus her using the powers in defense.  Rogue chooses not to kill others and actively uses her powers only to send aggressive enemies back to their home or away from endangering others.

The subplot with Candra, the Thieves Guild, and the Exilir of Life is lengthy and comes up periodically throughout the story until the end draws near, then the story becomes hyper aware that the subplot needs to be wrapped up.  It’s an okay wrap up but in some ways I forgot some of the build up to it because so many other things were going on like Mojoverse, the Cult of Apocalypse, everything with Hope Summers and the M’kaan crystal…

There are a lot of subplots and for most of the story it’s fine because events (world events) happen and Gambit and Rogue would be expected to somehow get involved or be informed of those events.  However, much later into the story the number of subplots going on is almost too much and it becomes difficult to keep track – much less interested – in everything going on.  Like I honestly don’t remember much about what happened in Mojoverse because it was the least interesting among the subplots.  I also didn’t care for the Shi’ar empire’s royal line, who married whom, and Katherine’s capture then rescue.

I need to take a breather because just mentioning all the various subplots has tired me out.  Plus, I need the breather before moving on to the next exhausting topic, the characters.

Alright, I’m back from my breather.  Let’s talk about the characters, I’ll start off easy with Rogue and Gambit.  Rogue is…nothing like the Rogue from the movies.  I know that the movies don’t really allow viewers to get to know Rogue on the personal level of Wolverine but the Rogue in this story feels galaxies away from the Rogue in the movies.  By no means is this bad, the Rogue in this story is very engaging even though she seems to carry her own soapbox.  I like that she’s really smart (x2 masters’ degrees in Environmental Engineering and Aerospace Engineering) and she’s an engineer.  It gives Rogue more to rely on than her mutant powers.

Gambit is similar to movie counterpart although far more badass.  He’s an actual thief in this story and he’s quite the lady’s man.  This story takes its time in developing Gambit’s character and establishing who is at the beginning and the changes that occur over the course of the story.  I will say that the Gambit at the end of the story is not nearly as badass as the Gambit at the beginning, but I guess that’s to be expected once a man has settled down once with kids.

Now as for the other characters, there are too many!  There are characters from the MCU Avengers, Thieves Guild, Externals, X-Factor, Starjammers, Deadpool, etc.  The list is endless!

The good part about all these characters is that it truly fills out the world and helps to showcase that time passes not in months or years but decades.  So, most characters who get introduced are there shorter periods of time until age catches up to them or they retire to the background.  On the flip side, there are so many characters getting rotated in and out of the story that it becomes hard to keep each of their stories straight and how they connect with characters from other subplots.  It’s especially bad near the end of the story when there are so many characters that I started wondering if these characters were necessary.  Here are some examples of characters who I have to wonder why they were included in the story.

First one up, Dust.  She’s in the story for one scene where she is confronted by Apocalypse and his horsemen, and then never seen or heard from again.  I think she died.  Anyways, the scene does nothing for the story except showcase Apocalypse and his horsemen but they show up later, and the terror that the group causes was already hitting home without this scene.  It feels like a waste of a character.

Next up is Quentin Quire.  He’s in the story for a good chunk of the time that Rogue is the Warden on the moon prison where he is an inmate for years and gives Rogue a hard time.  The next time he appears is when humanity is preparing for its first attempt at space exploration.  He’s the communication link between the ship and the headquarters as he’s the only telepath that can use the ship’s cerebro system to communicate across the galaxy.  During this time, he and Rogue have telepathic sex a couple of times but no real relationship forms and he suddenly drops out of the picture entirely.  About the only role he truly played is giving Rogue class 5 telepathy.

Finally, there’s Rachel Summers.  The story jumps to her a few times but then she suddenly disappears from the story once she reaches the safety of Sanctuary.  She’s used to set up the conflict between Hope Summers and Rogue but due to her sudden appearance then absence I wonder if she was truly necessary.  She feels like a throw away character and someone I didn’t need to spend any time following for this story.

With the number of characters in this story I know there are more that I could name who I wondered if they really were needed for this story, but I need to move on to the last topic; the meat of the story, the romance.

Normally, I’d say “slow build” for romances like this where the characters start off as friends and through the progression of time become more than friends, but “slow” seems too light of a word for this romance.  This romance is like the human evolution type of slow; small changes and takes centuries to see results.  This is not a flaw; I appreciate that the slow build is over 100 years.  I just find it a bit funny that this is a literal slow build romance.

What hurts the romance is that it’s the main plot of the story and the climax for it (Rogue and Gambit finally get together) happens with 30 chapters left to go.  Normally, following the climax is another chapter or two of falling action to wrap up loose ends and subplots, but this story took 30 chapters of falling action to wrap up every single subplot and to create new ones (Rogue finally touching Gambit).  It over stays its welcome.

Near the end, if feels less like a story about Rogue and Gambit coming together and more about all the subplots that need to get resolved.  The last 30 chapters focus more on anything else going on and when it returns to Rogue and Gambit it’s to show more scenes of Netflix and chill (literal and euphemism) and dinners with Gambit’s family.  The scenes begin to feel like filler while the story pieces together the conclusions for the subplots.

Hell, even the ending has nothing to do with the romance but everything to do with not abusing power and Rogue saving (x) people by taking them to a new universe.  It just falls flat so hard that I really started to not care.  I no longer cared about the Rogue and Gambit romance because they were already together, what the hell did I care if they could touch or not?  I didn’t care about the Mojoverse subplot or what Mystique was doing.  I didn’t care about what Hope Summers was up to or the Cult of Apocalypse.  I just ceased caring because the climax had come about a bit too soon.  At least it did for me.

Readers, this has been an exhausting experience to read this story and then review it.  I’m not touching on all the great things in this story or all the things that bothered me because there is just sooooo much in this story.  So, instead of going into a rant I will simply say that if you are an X-Man fan (comics and movies) and you have the time to spare to read this story, go for it.  It is a lengthy story and I don’t regret reading it.  I have been taken on a roller coaster rise and this story entertained me, made me cry, made me angry, and made me smile.  It’s thought out and thorough; maybe just a bit too ambitious.  But at the end of the day, it’s worth checking out.


Stars: 7.5/10