Title: A Garden of Roses Author: Enchanted Daisy
Original Source: Teen Titans Character(s): Raven & Robin
Rating: T Genre(s): Romance / Drama
Chapter(s): 6 Status: Complete
Author’s Synopsis: [RaexRob] She was alone and institutionalized. Only one achingly familiar doctor could help her…
Welcome Readers to another fan fic review. I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Review; I review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. I kind of stumbled on this story while searching for alternate universe “Teen Titan” fan fiction. The synopsis didn’t give me much but I had figured that it was worth a shot.
The premise is Raven wakes up and to find herself in an alternate world where superpowers and superheroes don’t exist. Due to her public meltdown in a police station, she is institutionalized where she is surrounded by familiar faces in new roles. Unfortunately, even if the faces and names are familiar she is not familiar to them. I like the premise and it has promise to be a psychological drama-romance. However, the story doesn’t quite live up to the premise.
Let me start with the few points about the story that are done well. The parallel characters and their new roles are great with some of the cast becoming staff at the institution and others becoming patients. It helps to tie the two worlds together and the new roles suit the different characters. The only issue I had with the new roles was Robin’s “professional” relationship with his patients. It felt less like a doctor-patient relationship and like the type of relationship Hollywood B movies present.
The writing is also decent, some grammar errors but nothing that takes the Reader out of the story. However, it’s not nearly as engaging as it should be for the premise. Which leads me into the story’s weak points.
Pacing, pacing. This story started off fine with the pacing but then it ramped up like it felt the need to fit everything into a few days. I think it totaled three days, during which Raven is institutionalized, she meets all the alternate versions of people she knew, Robin falls for Raven (his crazy patient), and Raven convinces Robin that she’s not crazy. It’s a lot that happens during this short time and it’s a bit of a detriment to the story; it makes everything feel contrived.
Another weak point, in my mind, is that Slade is built up to be the villain but he doesn’t do much. His bark is worse than his bite. I think almost all his interactions with Robin were limited to “keep it professional” warnings. Robin never receives any form of disciplinary action (write up, license removal, job loss, etc.); it would have been a relief if Slade had actively interfered with Raven’s treatment (overdosing her medication, prescribing the wrong medications, overruling Robin’s treatment decisions, etc.). The fact that he isn’t a threat cheapens the story.
Finally, my biggest grievance with the story is the ending. The story leads to this climatic showdown between Dr. Slade and Dr. Robin over Raven’s sanity and doctoral ethics, but nothing happens. This climax leads to Raven waking up to find it was all a dream. I’m upset about this ending. I wish that it had done a Sucker Punch type of ending where I question which reality was the real reality. Not to say that the movie’s ending made a lick of sense but it doesn’t upset me like this story’s ending.
Now, how could this story be improved? Well, slow down the pacing and space it out so that it takes place over several months. Have this be a slow build; a natural build. This will allow more time to build a romance between Robin and Raven; rebuild in Raven’s case. Plus, it would provide internal conflict as Robin is ethically conflicted about his feelings for Raven and Raven struggles to be so close to her love without being able to tell him the truth. These things would help the story take shape and become complex.
Next, the story should have Robin not believe Raven’s story and instead think of “logical” excuses as to why she knows details about his life. This is part of that slow build process, and it would help to show Robin going from not believing Raven’s story to believing her. For good measure, improving this part of the story can help the romance aspect; Raven can get upset that Robin’s not believing her and keep finding new details for him to investigate and contradict. Meanwhile, Robin could be forced to delve deeper into the institution and its staff, particularly Slade; alternative, he could find some evidence that supports Raven’s stories.
Finally, change that ending. The ending is so horrendous that it has to be rewritten. I’m for this alternate world to be a figment of Raven’s imagination or one hell of a hallucination brought upon by some sort of drug Slade pumps into her veins. That kind of ending I’m all for, but I’m not for the “it was all a dream” ending where she wakes up to the comfort of her bed. Have Raven wake up to realize that she was legitimately in danger the whole time that she was stuck in this alternate world. Waking up to that comfort just makes all the psychological, emotional trauma she goes through seem irrelevant because she was never in danger.
I can’t say that I would recommend the story in its current form. The premise is cool but the story doesn’t live up to it. If the story underwent heavy revising and editing, I might recommend it to Readers. However, I can’t recommend it based on what it could be, I can only make recommendations based on the current state. In the current state, I cannot recommend this story to other Readers.
I will challenge others to take this premise and write a better story. I know it can be done and I look forward to reading a better version of this story.