I Think I Love You Review

Title: I Think I Love You                                                                    Author: Ejays17

Original Source: Sinbad                                                                  Character(s): Anwar & Rina

Rating: K+                                                                                              Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 5                                                                                          Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Sinbad 2012 – Anwar / Rina. A Doctor and a Thief.  Spoilers for ep 7 & 8, then my imagination after that.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8785511/1/I-Think-I-Love-You

Welcome Readers, I’m back from an extended week/end and ready to hit the ground running with some more fan fics to review! Sorry I’m posting this a day late, it seems that my body needed a day to recover from the convention.  Anyways, I’m your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer, I review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.

I started noticing a bit of a trend with my reviews lately and decided to diverge a bit and find a story based off something that I hadn’t read a story for before.  So I searched under the Sinbad fan fics.  Having watched the whole series during a marathon last year and finding that I enjoyed it despite inaccuracies and such.  There wasn’t much to choose from but I found a couple of fan fics that piqued my interest.  This one that I found to review, I picked it only because it featured a couple that I was keen on in the series.

The description doesn’t give much information, sadly.  Sure, it makes a point of saying the couple and the spoilers featured in the story but otherwise nothing else.  Sadly, I don’t know how to really describe the story either.  It’s…it’s not necessarily a real story…  Like… *Sigh.*  If this story is meant to be a real romance story that builds to a conclusion that involves Anwar and Rina becoming a couple, then the story dropped the ball on the build up.

*Ponders.*

I suppose that the best way for me to describe it is: It’s a series of one/two-shots that focus on specific episodes and scenes then ends without bothering with the second half of the series.  That’s really about it.  The chapters detailing episode 7 were fine, I think, as a stand-alone but when put into the same context and story as the chapter(s) that detail episode 8 then it feels…disjointed.  Then the anything post episode 8 drags and I think it’s because it’s no longer following the on-going adventures of the crew while there’s this romance tension.  Instead it’s them trapped on a ship together and trying to avoid each other until the other crew members have an intervention that forces Anwar and Rina to work things out.  It just doesn’t flow as well as the other disjointed chapters.

Personally, I think that the romance and story would have had a better payoff if the story had continued into the later episodes of the series where the wolf-chick is brought in.  That way there is even more tension and drama being created with the romance as Anwar continues to doubt Rina’s interest in him and “sees” Rina get jealous over the blatant Sinbad and wolf-chick pairing.  So much that could have been done!  Yet…it never came to fruition.

Then the story is obviously written for people who have seen the series because if someone had not seen the series and read the story, s/he would’ve had a very hard time understanding what was going on and the context of the chapters.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all the point of fan fiction is so that other fans of the original source will read the fan fiction.  I just know that if I hadn’t seen the whole series I would’ve had a much harder time with the story than I did.

Otherwise, the story is neither great nor bad; it’s middle of the lane.  The writing is good if a little bland and the characters are in-character.  There’s a lot of exposition but it’s broken up with some dialogue (depending on the chapter) from the episodes.  It’s…just an okay story(ish) type fan fic.  Nothing that really stands out to make me go “wow” and gush over it, yet nothing so horrible that I need to pull out the soapbox.

Would I recommend the story?  Only if Readers have seen SyFy’s Sinbad and like the couple Anwar/Rina.  If either criteria is not fulfilled then I’d say just pass on it.  Reader’s aren’t going to miss out on anything.

Stars: 5/10

Notice!

I will not be posting a review this Friday (February 14, 2014).  Not because it’s Valentine’s Day but because I’ll be away at a convention and will not have access to a computer for 3 days.  I will resume regular postings on Monday, February 17th.

Sleep Talking Review

Title:  Sleep Talking                                                            Author:  flutterbywings

Original Source: Harry Potter                                      Characters:  Hermione G. & Harry P.

Rating: M                                                                               Genre(s):

Chapter(s): 6                                                                         Status: On Hiatus

 

Description:  It starts with a memory of the nights Hermione spent alone with Harry in the Forest of Dean.  Who thought that remembering something from the past could change everything happening in the present?  AU.  M to be safe.  Harry/Hermione Ron/Hermione

 

*Inhale* … *Exhale* … *Inhale* … *Exhale*

Okay, I think I’m calm enough to tackle this review.  So, we have a Harry Potter fan fic based off the movies and it’s meant to be a Ron/Hermione, Hermione/Harry, Harry/Ginny romance type.  Now, I think it started off as a one-shot, taking place during the time after Ron has abandoned Harry and Hermione and they are on their own.  Harry has a wet dream and cries out Hermione’s name, which she hears, and it brings to the foreground some building sexual tensions between the characters and it eventually results in them sleeping together.

Fine.  Cool.  I can handle that.  If the story had been left there it would have been fine.  It would have been a one-shot that fills in the behind-the-scenes.  I can dig that.  What I can’t abide by is the bullshit of a story that follows after the first chapter!

What was a decent one-shot story became the basis for a horrible, lengthier story. The rest of the story picks up about three to five years after the movies ended with Ron proposing to Hermione in front of the Weasley family and Harry (who is Ginny’s boyfriend).  From the proposal on, the story spirals down as the proposal brings up buried emotions and memories between Harry and Hermione, Hermione feels conflicted about marrying (more like ‘settling for’) Ron, there’s temptation to try having a relationship with Harry, and lots of the unnecessary sex. *Groans.*

Each of those things I mentioned happen after the proposal.  Ron’s proposal was like the catalyst for bringing the story down.

What I find interesting is that the “current” relationship between Hermione and Harry is described as they’re friends but not on speaking terms; they avoid each other yet they see each other often at Weasley functions; they have agreed to be “just friends” yet they act as possessive lovers.  Essentially an unhealthy relationship that is doomed to explode and create causalities in the process.  It’s the type of relationship that I cannot fathom Hermione and Harry having for so long without one of them taking the initiative to sit down and figure things out.

Anyways, so Ron proposes (whoopee…) and Harry confronts Hermione about her answer (which was ‘yes’).  The confrontation leaves Hermione questioning if there’s still a chance to be with Harry.  *Rolls eyes.* I think the answer is “yes” if he’s choosing to be all jealous and demanding why you’re marrying Ron.  Anyways, the confrontation stirs up conflicting emotions within Hermione that mix with stress from Mrs. Weasley nagging about the wedding (which had no date and was not being planned yet) and Hermione’s mom expressing her wariness about this union.  On top of that there’s the stresses from Hermione’s work and Ron’s constant whining about his feelings of inadequacy (mostly in comparison to Harry)… It all begins to take its toll on Hermione.

Man, Mrs. Weasley would’ve hated me for a future in-law because I would’ve told her to shove it.  I tell my mom to back off IRL when she starts planning my wedding, and I’m not even engaged yet.  The entire situations surrounding Hermione in this story seem to be from one large pot of “what else can give Hermione ulcers?”  They just stack and none of them get resolved, nor does Hermione seem to find solace somewhere or with someone.  I’m not kidding.  There isn’t a single character she seems to spill her guts to throughout the story!  It makes me suspect that she’ll eventually have a mental break down.

Moving on!  So, Hermione decides that the best way to deal with things (at least where Harry is concerned) is to ‘clear the air’ with Harry.  Good!  I like that idea.  Let’s sort things out early on.  Please do. While Ron is out of town for a few days she invites Harry over for dinner.

…Excuse me?  Who sees this as a “good idea?”  This sounds like a recipe for disaster—like a disastrous end to a relationship (or two).

I’ll give credit as far as the date was one of those “the reality does not always work out like the fantasy” dates. Hermione imagines candlelight (who the hell does that with someone they have a complicated/undefined relationship with?), elegant food, and Hermione looking all dolled up while Harry watches her with eyes that are storming with desire.  In reality, she ends up with no candlelight, half of the food gets burnt, she’s not dressed up, and her hair’s a mess.

Personally, when I read this part I kept thinking, “Why don’t you just order pizza or Chinese take-out?”  Hear me out on that thought, in my mind if Hermione and Harry are meant to be close friends despite their currently strained relationship then wouldn’t it be better to provide food that is meant for a more relaxed atmosphere and tends to induce talking rather than seduction? *Shrugs.* All the dinner scene accomplish was set the stage for the sex scene.

No one can say that s/he didn’t see a sex scene coming because it was practically spelt out in  bold letters from the moment Hermione started planning the date.  I’m impressed the color of Hermione’s panties weren’t mentioned.

The dinner date leads to a sex scene and very little is established by way of where they stand in their relationship.  Huzzah for zero progression!

So, the date-to-sex just complicates Hermione’s emotions even more to the point where she boils over and erupts at Ron, bringing up the taboo subject of him abandoning them.  Ron runs away and goes to cry on Harry’s shoulders.  *Blinks.*  I already hate Ron as it is, story, you don’t need to give me more reasons to think ill of him. Anyways, Harry scolds Hermione and she does a turnabout on Harry and directs the conversation to “them.”  Admittedly, I’m happy(ish) to see that there is a moment where Harry and Hermione have to sit down and talk (instead of having make-up sex in the kitchen) about where they stand with each other, what their feelings are, and what they want to do.  Too bad that moment is short-lived and still ends with them having sex.

I need to pause for a moment here.  *Grabs a wooden crate with the words “Soap Box” written upside down and in red permanent marker on the sides.  Flips the crate upside down and sets it on the ground, then steps up onto the overturned box.*  Whoa… It’s a bit high up here…

I am aware that this story is rated M.  I am aware that there are going to be sexual situations.  I am aware that there will be times when characters are put into compromising situations.  However, just because I know these things will/do happen doesn’t make it okay for any story to have characters having sex every time they see each other and then still claim that the characters “love” each other.  No!  You are not showing me, the Reader, that these character “love” each other; you’re showing me that they are attracted to each other and apparently can’t keep their hormones in check! That *points at the sex scene* doesn’t equal “love!”

When I read stories (fan fiction or published novels) that have these type of sex-driven romances and the characters claim to love each other, I feel uneasy and queasy about the relationship because what will happen once the novelty of sex wears off?  Or what will these characters do once major issues in their relationships come up?  Have sex and never talk about it?  There’s little foundation, zero to little growth, and attempts to make it a serious relationship go up in flames with a sex scene.

Now, I’m pretty certain that a lot of Readers will misunderstand me and believe that I hate the constant sex scenes.  This is not the case.  I don’t care how many sex scenes a person puts into their story (wait until I review Shi-Chan’s Roommates) as long as there is a motive behind the sex.  You need some examples?

  1. The characters are in a romantic relationship (dating, fiancées, or married). – Harry and Hermione are any of those as they are dating/engaged to other people and they are cheating on their significant others.
  2. The characters are labeled as “friends with benefits.” – Harry and Hermione can’t even define what they are.
  3. Prostitution or sex slave.
  4. Rape.  I detest this reason but it’s a motive for sex in a story.
  5. Nymphomania.
  6. Spell or curse that causes the character/s to have sex.
  7. Character/s was drunk.  If you use this motive then you had better include some sort of consequence for having sex while drunk.  I don’t care if it’s pregnancy, vomiting on partner during the act, the awkwardness during the morning-after and beyond, or whatever. As long as there is a consequence.

There’s no reason for the sex scenes between Harry and Hermione, or the sex Ron and Hermione have later.  There’s the excuse of “love” but without a foundation it’s a pathetic excuse, particularly since Hermione is knowingly and willingly cheating on her fiancée.  I’m impressed that her cheating habits don’t bother Harry since it’s him she has her eyes on being her next boyfriend. *Shrugs.*  Although, to be fair, Harry’s cheating habits should bother Hermione as well.

Thus endth the lesson.

*Steps back, off of the crate, then bends down and picks up the “Soap Box.”  Steps off to the side and hides the crate.*

Sorry for the soap box moment.  Back to the story!

During their pre-sex discussion Hermione and Harry agree to stay away from each other long enough to break it off with their current significant other (three months) and to see if they truly want to be together.  Admirably they are trying to spend time apart and have plans to break up with their current significant others rather than cheat on them (like they are currently).  However, personally, I don’t think this was the way the story should have gone.  I say this because I, the Reader, have not seen Hermione and Harry interact enough to actually be convinced that they should call it quits with Ron and Ginny to be together.  *Shrugs.* It’s just my opinion though.

Also, when I read this scene I got the sense that Harry actually doesn’t want to break up with Ginny.  In fact, the way he keeps dodging the topic of him and Hermione and their significant others just tells me that he might have only wanted Hermione at that time because Ron had her.  It’s the whole wanting something (in this case, someone) you can’t/don’t have just because you can’t/don’t have him/her and someone else (Ron in this case) does.  So, once Harry has Hermione and she starts talking about “them,” he wants out.  Note: This is not what is stated in the story, it is merely the impression that I got from reading the conversation between Harry and Hermione.

Or perhaps Harry wants to have both Ginny and Hermione.  Either way, in this scene he’s like this emotionless brat who would rather play pretend then confront reality.

It seems to be a recurring theme in this story; having two people that you love but not quite the same.  I mean Hermione expounds upon that topic in regards to Ron and Harry; how she loves them both but she loves Harry just a little more and a little different than the love she has for Ron.  Same thing with Harry, or so he claims.  Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds like an excuse for not being able to make a decision.

Alright… *Takes a deep breath* Okay, we’re almost at the end.  Last chapter or at least the last chapter that is currently available.  I can do this!

After this lovely yet inadequate heart-to-heart, Hermione decides to pay Ron a visit to apologize for bringing up the abandonment thing and to break things off.  Well… *Squints while trying to read the chapter.*  I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely certain who actually “broke” the relationship off.  It’s rather unclear.  Actually, I cannot say that Ron and Hermione have called it quits (despite Hermione’s presumptions) because of the phrasing.  Here’s the “break up” scene (Ron begins speaking):

 

There’s not a “we need to break up because this is not working” or “I don’t want to be your fiancée or even your girlfriend anymore.”  Saying, “I think we should hold off the wedding for a while,” signifies taking a step back in the relationship, taking things a little slower, but not breaking up.  Hell, if one of them said, “I think we should see other people,” I would be more convinced that they are legitimately no longer a couple.  Sure, Hermione gives Ron the ring back but then she has sex with him!

Excuse me for a moment.  *Grabs “Soap Box” and positions it upside down on the ground then stands on it.*

What the hell is wrong with this version of Hermione that she must have sex with Ron and Harry every time things get serious?!   I’d hate to use the word “slut” but she’s not getting paid so I can’t call her a “whore.”  I– *Groans in frustration* I just don’t get it!  Is there an appeal to making Hermione a slut who can’t decide if she wants to be with Ron or Harry so she must sleep with both?  This fic is giving me a headache trying to make sense of it, particularly Hermione…

And for Readers who want to point out that the story is labeled as “AU,” I have a few words on that subject.  AU is not a pass to do whatever you want; no matter what people think.  AU gives authors a lot of freedom but authors also limit themselves when they decide to AU a story that stays within the realm of the original source (i.e. the Harry Potter movies).  If the setting, the characters’ backgrounds, and everything else had been changed then I couldn’t find as much fault with the slutty behavior.  Alas, the story was kept it within the movie-verse then “AU” was added cover its ass.  I’ll forgive Hermione’s slutty personality under “Creative License,” however, I will say this:  I think the story would have been better if it had not gone in the direction of slut Hermione.  *Steps off soap box* I’m not even going to move it this time.  I might need it again.

Back to the story.

Yay!!!  Another sex scene out of the way and the story ends with Hermione feeling more relieved at having gotten the burden of being engaged to Ron off her shoulders and the pity sex (I can think of nothing else to call it) out of the way.  Now she just has to wait for Harry to do the same thing to Ginny.

*Pants* Oh my God, I made it through the story!  I’m surprised I survived.

This story is…horrible!  And the worst part is that it didn’t have to be.  If it had been left it as a one-shot it would’ve been a nice little insight into the behind the scenes and nothing more; just a little something for the Hermione/Harry fans out there. *Raises hand.* Instead it was a good one-shot that became this disfigured, grotesque monster of a story turning Hermione into a slut, Ron into a hacky-sack (it seems like he just gets kicked around), and Harry into this self-centered, emotionless prick.  I can honestly say that I spent the better part of the story being pissed at all the characters and their actions, and if there had been a death scene I would have cheered; that’s how unlikable the characters were in the story.

Let me recap everything that is wrong with the story.

1). The foundation of a relationship between Hermione and Harry is weak and unexplored.

2). The suddenness of Harry’s ‘need’ to interfere and persuade Hermione not to be engaged to Ron is never explored.  Not to mention the timing is just feels off.

3). The indecisiveness of Hermione.

4). The indecisiveness of Harry.

5). The lack of romance building.

6).  The lack of motive for the sex scenes.

7). The characters’ (Hermione in particular) lack of scruples in terms of cheating on their significant others.  How certain characters lead others on emotionally (I get that impression from Harry. Then there’s the “pity” sex with your new “ex” (I’m not convinced Hermione and Ron broke up).  I’m not even going to mention the lack of safe sex etiquette.

8). The pacing.  Why is it that no one asks why characters, like Harry, decide that now is a good time to act on past emotions/attractions?  He had a few years to make a move yet he didn’t, why not?  If the reason is “he didn’t want to hurt Ginny” then here’s a newsflash, he’s going to hurt her anyways! Probably more now because he has cheated on her.

The only redeeming qualities in this story are: the first chapter and the formatting.  That’s it.  Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

If you’re looking for a fic that’s got a plot used to provide excuses for sex scenes and the characters are idiots, then give this one a read.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stars: 2/10

The Forgotten Game Review

Title: The Forgotten Game                                                               Author: Angela Jewell

Original Source: Ranma ½                                                             Character(s): Akane Tendo & Ranma Saotome

Rating:  M                                                                                               Genre(s): Supernatural/Romance

Chapter(s): 11                                                                                        Status: On-Going

Author Synopsis: Based off L.J. Smith’s The Forbidden Game trilogy: Ranma and co are transported into a Game where everyone must face their worse nightmare, as ordained by Gabriel the Shadow King, who seeks Akane as his prize.

http://ranmaromance.com/game.html

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/222691/1/The-Forgotten-Game

 

This is a fan fic that I discovered years ago when the first few chapters were posted—Note: it was started about 10 years ago if that gives Readers indication how long ago I discovered this story—and decided to revisit it to do this review and because I wanted to see if it had been updated recently.  Let’s get started!

For as many times as I have read some of these fan fics I keep finding new things every time I read them; granted, those new things aren’t always good things.  In the case of The Forgotten Game I am noticing the revisions within chapters 1 and 2 (which Angela Jewell has been actively editing).  For example, in the original version of chapter 2 one of the cards that was read was-to the extent of-“you try to open the door but find it won’t open” and Ranma goes to a screen door and finds that it won’t budge, but in the revised version the card says that the directionally-challenged person, Ryoga, will get lost in the house and to prove the card wrong Ranma chooses to escort Ryoga so he doesn’t get lost.  The two are stopped by Akane pleading them not to leave the room and the next card says—to the extent of—that she was preventing them from leaving.  It’s a subtle change but little things like that I’m noticing in the story and I must say that the revised version makes more sense than the original; although the original sequence was very eerie.

This story does a very good job of creating a realistic scene within the Ranma ½ universe (which does not adhere to the complete rules of reality) as the gang is pulled into this alternate world and must “fight” their worst nightmares.  I know it doesn’t sound “realistic” but I think it’s the amount of detail and thought put into the story and characters that flushes everything out, making it more real versus it being obviously fiction.  Kind of like how some fantasy movies or books really immerse and pull people in, making it seem like the world in the movie or book could be just as real as the one people live in.  This story has that quality!

The characters are so well done too!  I know some fans would cry, “OOC,” but to me any OOC-ness makes sense given the situations presented in the story and given the fact that these characters do (and have) grown.  So it gets a free pass from me.  If the characters had been over-the-top OOC then I would call, “foul,” but as it is, I see nothing wrong with it.  In fact, I love how these characters are portrayed!

Akane is awesome!  I’m not saying that she suddenly becomes an amazing fighter or a genius—I would have taken issue if that was the case—but rather it’s the fact that Akane is not super amazing that appeals to me.  She figures out some situations a bit more quickly than she probably would have in the manga or anime; for example, there’s a situation where she and one of the other fiancées are tied down to these lab tables with fluorescent lights laminating them.  Akane realizes that her light dims the more that the other fiancée struggles and as the light dims her bonds loosen.  These things don’t happen often, which is part of the reason why I’m not as bothered about it as normal.

Ranma is written well, with one part arrogance and self-assurance and another part hidden sensitivity and awkwardness.  I love it!  He still raises the hope that he can show that he cares but then stuffs his foot into his mouth in the next breath.  He has that off-kilter logic that can (and does) bite him in the arse.  Seriously, who thinks that the best way to make a man not want a woman is to list all of that woman’s faults?  Ranma Saotome, that’s who!  Then, there’s the way he acts towards the villain, Gabriel, that is just so Ranma; confident in his own skills and frustrated that he can’t defeat his enemy.

I don’t want to keep doing this with every character, but know that most of them are written very well and stay pretty true to the characters (with a little TLC).  The only character, thus far, who I feel a bit of a disservice has been done to would be Ryoga and it’s because he kind of disappears into the background.  Like he has a few lines and he’s mentioned as being there but he isn’t given the feature time like Shampoo or Ukyou.  Hell, Kasumi has a larger role and is more part of the story than Ryoga!  *Shrugs.* I hope that this changes in the coming chapters but as it is, I kind of forget that Ryoga is even trapped in this Shadow Realm with the group.

Moving on!  I have to talk about the OC (original character) of this story, the villain, Gabriel.  Original characters are double-edged swords; they either hurt or help the story.  In this case, the OC helped the story.   Gabriel is the kind of villain that I love; he’s the “bad guy” without truly being evil.  He’s clever, holds his cool, is single-minded, and dangerous.  He’s like Jareth from Labyrinth!  In fact I’d dare say that was the basis for Gabriel!  This is the type of villain that I admire and I love his demeanor when he explains the rules and prize to this “game.”  There’s just this coolness about him that would make him almost Bond-villain worthy.  I love it!

Instead of me continuing to wax on about Gabriel’s greatness I’ll move on to what this story revolves around; the characters’ nightmares.  The nightmares are creative and go beyond the obvious.  This is what sets The Forgotten Game apart from similar stories; other stories will be content in creating nightmares that revolve around the obvious (Akane finding out that Ryoga is P-Chan, the fiancées discovering that Ranma doesn’t love them, Nabiki having an empty bank account, etc.) but this one goes beyond!  Even when the nightmares are the obvious the way they are enacted is creative.  Two good examples are Ukyou and Kasumi’s nightmares, even though they are very obvious choice nightmares they are enacted in a creative way that it doesn’t matter that it is obvious.

The characters with the best nightmares—I think—thus far are Shampoo and Kasumi’s nightmares.  These nightmares present the most amount of danger and were very interesting in how they played out, particularly the aftermath.  Not to say Nabiki’s nightmare isn’t interesting, because it is, but hers is a bit confusing and hard to follow.  It’s a lot more abstract in comparison to the other nightmares.

It’s not just in the nightmares that this story goes up and beyond the norm.  The story takes the time to flush out Akane’s family, particularly her mother and mother’s side of the family.  I love this because there are very few details given about Mrs. Tendo making her an author’s dream, a character that can be molded and built to suit the story.  Now, I don’t like it when that’s done to established characters (Ranma or Akane) but to characters that are left in the dark (Mrs. Tendo) I tend to give a lot of leeway.

Anyways, by flushing out Mrs. Tendo it creates the history behind the events of the story and it’s such a great tie-in!  It’s done so well and so naturally.  *Applauds.* This story deserves a round of applause for all the things it does right.

I’ll point out one last thing that this story does really well, the romance.  This is a romance that I can get behind because it’s not bashing me over the head with “Akane loves Ranma” and vice versa.  Instead the romance feels like it belongs in the manga and anime, there are moments of concern and tenderness before it falls apart because of a few choice words.  It is apparent that Akane and Ranma feel something for each other and they both like to deny it (Ranma a bit more than Akane).  However, it is also obvious that Ranma is not so callous to the other fiancées (sans Kodachi Kuno—crazy woman!) as he attempts to not hurt anyone.  Akane is a bit more…open(?) to admitting that she feels something for Ranma, even though it crashes and burns once Ranma sticks his foot in his mouth.

Again, the romance is awesome in this story!  It’s not too strong and while it’s obvious that it’s an Akane x Ranma story, it doesn’t ignore the feelings of the other fiancées.  Kudos!

Despite all these great things that the story does well, it has a few weaknesses.  A couple chinks in its armor.  One chink is the formatting.  It’s inconsistent as far as display between the earlier and later chapters.  This is a very minor weakness though as Angela Jewell has been actively going through and revising the chapters and reformatting the story to make it consistent.  Unfortunately, life gets in the way and has made these changes happen slowly.  *Shrugs.*

The second weakness, and my biggest complaint, is the lack of Ryoga.  I love Ryoga and as much as I love him, my complaint isn’t based upon my love for the character.  The basis in my complaint lies in the fact that this is meant to be a story where the fiancées, major rivals (so sans the Kunos and Mousse), and the Tendo girls must face their worst nightmares.  As Ryoga is included as a major rival for Akane, he is present in the story while everything is happening yet he doesn’t get as much…literature time (I couldn’t say “air time” because it’s not TV) as Shampoo or Ukyou.  If Shampoo and Ukyou are going to be so involved then Ryoga should have been just as involved as them, in my opinion.  As it is, he is like the furniture, there but ignored.  I actually forgot that he was even there for a while.

I know that will change once the story gets to his nightmare, but in the lead up to the start of this “game” he tends to fade into the background.  I just would have liked to see him more involved, especially once Gabriel makes his intentions clear, Ryoga should have been all over that yet he’s oddly silent.  *Shrugs.*  This is all simply my opinion, to other Readers this may not be an issue at all but to me I prefer there to be a fairly equal literature time between some of the major supporting characters, especially love rivals.  It just weakens the “love rivalry,” in my opinion.

Now we come to the end ultimate decision, would I recommend this story?  Yes.  It’s a great read and the story is eerie yet exciting, creative but within the realm of Ranma ½.  This is a great story for fans to read.  I will warn Readers though that if you are the type who cannot abide by reading a story without an ending then shy away from this one because the chapters are very slow to update (again, it started 10 years ago and it hasn’t been finished).  If that doesn’t bother you though, then give The Forgotten Game a read.

Stars: 9/10

The Joining Review

Title: The Joining                                                                                   Author: jujube

Original Source: Dragon Age: Origins                                       Character(s): Alistair x Fem. Tabris

Rating:  NC-17                                                                                        Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                           Status: Complete

http://games.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600084814

Author’s Synoposis: The immediate aftermath of the “tent scene” with Alistair COMPLETE, M/F, OC

Another “First Knight” fic and…well, what makes it stand out from other “First Knight” stories is that it’s not a detailed account of Alistair and the female warden’s (in this case a female City Elf) first night of sex but the aftermath—the pillow talk portion of the night.  It’s short and cute.

I actually like how in character Alistair is, particularly when he reasons why pillow talk is a long-held fantasy of his.  “Because I love pillows, and I love talking.”  That part got me!  I also like how he laments having turned down the Warden’s (Rose in this story) 15 previous offers to spend the night.  Then there was the whole planning out the night and tricking Zevran into covering their watches during the night.  That was pretty funny as well.

So it’s a cute and short story but I think it was posted on the wrong website.  Adult Fan Fiction meant for “adult” fan fiction, the types of stories that have detailed sex scenes and other less than comfortable types of content.  This story doesn’t quite fit in that because there isn’t a detailed sex scene—round 2 is described in abstract terms making it less “sex” and more like a poetic waxing.  That’s really the only issue I have with the story and I was a little iffy on showing the rating as NC-17 when the story doesn’t qualify as NC-17.  Alas…

This is another one if Readers are looking for a way to burn time and are diehard Alistair fans.  Otherwise, it’s not a must read type of story.  Still, it’s not bad and there really isn’t anything extraordinarily wrong with the story to make it unreadable.  So, Readers if you have time to burn, are Alistair fans, and 18 years or older then give The Joining a read.  Otherwise, this story can simply be ignored.

Stars: 5/10