Title: Timing Author: Kiryki
Source: Labyrinth Character(s): Sarah & Jareth
Rating: T Genre(s): Romance
Chapter(s): 1 Status: Complete
Author’s Synopsis: Sarah never expected her ex’s flippant Words to bring Jareth back into her life, but being friends (let alone friends with benefits!) was something neither of them could have anticipated. Between both of their busy lives, can they find time to make a relationship work, or is it all about timing?
Welcome Readers, it’s the beginning of the week and I just got back from vacation so I went looking for a short story to read and review. I decided I wanted to see what the Labyrinth community had to offer and I found this pitiable story. 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 story chronologies the first 6 times Sarah and Jareth have sex starting when Sarah’s boyfriend wishes that the Goblin King would take her away. It kind of touches on their “friendship” and their “busy lives” but it doesn’t contribute much to the conflict – “can they find time to make a relationship work.” So, the author’s synopsis makes the story seem a bit more complex, but the story comes up short.
The plot is typical but interesting; Sarah and Jareth reuniting because of her ex-boyfriend’s words and striking up a friends with benefits relationship. It’s the type of story that I normally eat up but what makes me sour on this one is how it’s written. It’s written as exposition with thoughts interjected now and then. So, the Reader gets the general events of the story but not the emotional connection between the characters. For instance, the “romance” between Sarah and Jareth is 1 dimensional since the Readers are treated to just a summary of the characters’ interactions, not the dialogue or the emotions behind characters’ actions.
Speaking of the events in the story, why is Sarah okay with Jareth trying to befriend her? The story claims that it’s pent up sexual frustration but that would explain the sex, not the friendship. Sexual frustration doesn’t make someone want to comfort and support another person. This isn’t the only time this happens, Sarah is apparently a stage actor and she puts on a show that Jareth attends – how does Jareth know about the performance? Does Sarah invite him or mention her work at some point? Did she want him there? These sorts of details are lost in the story because of its exposition nature.
The romance suffers a lot because of the writing style. I get the feeling that by the end of the story, Sarah and Jareth are meant to be in a relationship rather than “friends with benefits” but I have no idea. See, I didn’t get the impression that they were “friends” to begin with, I got the impression they were simply fuck buddies. The normal buildup of two people becoming friends or friends with benefits to lovers normally involves things like exchanging personal information and dating; Jareth does take Sarah out on a date but they don’t seem to exchange anything personal things like where they want the relationship to go, their past, or anything else! It just isn’t there, it’s implied to take place but it’s not actually mentioned.
Jareth suffers a lot in this story. I get that as fans sometimes fan fiction will over romanticize characters making any character flaws or horrible actions seem “okay” or out of character. In this story, Jareth’s actions from the movie are never addressed and he’s made out to be a decent guy; supporting Sarah’s occupation and initiating romance. I’m not saying that things traits aren’t great, but how they come about is very unlike Jareth.
Jareth is the fucking Goblin King! Yet he doesn’t seem to hold any of that cockiness and patronization that he had during the movie. He’s not nearly as vindictive as I’ve come to expect, instead he seems very mellow. The only time he seems affected is when he expresses his melancholy in how everything aboveground had changed in ways that make the underground suffer. That is the only time when Jareth acts like the Goblin King, any other time he’s just a guy trying to woo his fuck buddy. It’s super disappointing.
So…the synopsis implies that there’s a point in the story when Jareth and Sarah try to find a balance between their busy lives and each other, but that doesn’t come up until the end and the story makes it out to be a bigger problem than it is. Sarah group wants her to travel and perform with them, and she’s unsure of how to make it work with still trying to see Jareth and whether if Jareth would let her travel and act, or if he’d require her to stay in the Underground as Queen. In the end, it’s not a problem at all and any worry is moot. This point in the story should have been explored and examined more – Jareth should’ve appeared to Sarah at inconvenient moments and Sarah should’ve tried getting nooky when Jareth is busy with his kingdom. Things like that would’ve helped to show that they were trying to find a balance. Anything would’ve been better than the route that was taken.
I’ve touched on a lot things with this story and in the end it’s just written poorly. For what the synopsis promises, the story doesn’t deliver. Some of the elements can be made out but it falls short of what the synopsis sets as expectation. The exposition writing style does far more harm than good by limiting how invested Readers can get into the characters and the romance. There is too much OOC-ness from Jareth that he’s barely a shadow of the Goblin King from the movie. The romance is inconsequential despite being the story’s focal point. All in all, this was the wrong writing style for this story.
My final recommendation is to not bother reading the story. Even the most ardent Labyrinth fans will not find joy in reading this story. This is not to say that the story will insight rage, it just adds nothing of value to the fandom. I cannot think of a reason to tell others to waste 20 minutes of their time by reading this story.