Christmas Review

Title:  Christmas                                                          Author: gypsywriter135

Source: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles                         Genre(s): Family / Friendship

Rating:  K                                                    Character(s): Leo, Raph, Don, Mikey, & Splinter

Chapter(s): 3                                                               Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis:  Christmas is a time for togetherness.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4732845/1/Christmas

 

Welcome Readers, I’m continuing my trend of reading holiday fiction with a TMNT Christmas story.  Not “Christmas story” like the movie but a story that features Christmas.  It called to me because it’s TMNT – I feel the nostalgia – and I wanted to read a story that was not based on anime fandom; I read a lot of those and wanted to change it up a bit.

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 time I am reviewing this heartwarming story about Christmas with the Turtles.  It is a small offering but definitely encapsulates the Turtles’ personalities and the sense of family during the holidays.  Without further ado, let’s dive into Christmas.

The synopsis is rather on point after reading the story but to entice readers it’s a bit weak.  Here’s my synopsis of the story.  It’s the first Christmas since Leo came back from the jungle.  Now the Turtles can finally celebrate like a family.

My synopsis isn’t really catchy but that is the essence of the story.  It is the first Christmas since Leo returned home and all members of the mutant family are excited to celebrate as a family again.

The story has simple offerings but it does so well in capturing the heartwarming experience of celebrating Christmas with family.  Chapter one is about Christmas Eve and the brothers trying to sleep but Mikey’s excitement won’t let them sleep.  Chapter two is about Christmas Day and the family opening thoughtful gifts from each other, exchanging words of appreciation, etc.  The last chapter features the Christmas party with friends and closing out Christmas with some family time.  Everything that happens in this story is so cheery and warm.  It made me go “Awww.”

I know it sounds a bit dull as though the story just describes the turtles’ Christmas but it’s not dull.  In fact, it’s engaging.  I found that it was fun reading about Mikey creeping out of his room to sneak a peek at the presents only to be caught by Leo over and over again.  Reading the different perspectives of Christmas Eve and the holiday season was interesting; Donnie enjoyed it for family, Raph liked it because it was the one time of year where he and Leo got along, Mikey enjoyed it for the presents and general cheer, Leo enjoyed being back with his family and the familiarity of the holidays, and Splinter – like the proud papa he is – enjoyed having all his children home.

Even Chapter 2 when everyone is opening presents isn’t boring like it should be.  Instead, it feels like you’re watching a tender family moment as each member takes a turn opening gifts and there’s a reason behind each gift.  Plus, Raph and Leo’s gifts are great; predictable but still great.

Every part of this story just screamed “Family” and rather than it being annoying, it was rather endearing.  Kind of “Bad Mom’s Christmas.”  I know that plug came out of nowhere but it’s true; what should be annoying actually turns out to be heartfelt.

I don’t think there’s anything really missing from this story.  It’s not trying to be a lengthy tale that just happens to take place around Christmas, but a story about how these mutants celebrate a holiday.  It doesn’t need an enemy attack or a squabble between brothers; it has everything it needed to foster the feeling of family.

Would I recommend this story?  As a short, stirring holiday story about family; yes.  If anyone is looking for some with more meat to it, then this is not the story to read.  It’s a good story that stays true to the characters and focuses on the characters individually and as a family unit.  There’s plenty of joy and goodwill to gladden the heart and get Readers pumped for the holiday season.

 

Stars: 8.5 / 10

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Brouillard Review

Title: Brouillard                                                                       Author: BandGeek58407

Source: A Knight’s Tale                                                           Character(s): Geoff & Wat

Rating:  T                                                                               Genre(s): Romance & Angst

Chapter(s): 1                                                                           Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: In which Chaucer’s emotions and society’s norms clash and a confession must be made. Slash. Oneshot.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4855992/1/Brouillard

 

Welcome Readers, it’s been a while since I visited a slash/yaoi(ish) story so I thought to dust off the catalog and take a look.  I certainly did not find the cream of the crop but at least I didn’t find trash.  I found this one that’s just mediocre.  The story tries to get great, it does, but I think it tried a bit too hard and as such it didn’t pan out.  I’ll explain what I mean in a bit, but needless to say, that this story is not quite as impressive as the potential.

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.  Brouillard is about Geoff running off into the streets of Paris on a rainy night only to be accosted by gamblers. Underneath the basic plot the story tries to offer a glimpse into how homosexuality might be approached in the 1370s using the characters Geoff and Wat.  It’s…it’s an okay short story; it’s a good one for Readers looking for some lean storytelling.

Where shall we begin with this story?  I guess the writing style.  Brouillard is written from Geoff’s point of view and it shows through the theatrical and sometimes illusive descriptions.  The Reader is never just told what is happening but is carried on this journey with Geoff as he tries to escape in the rainy Parisian night.  It’s a style that suits the character and is reminiscent of his Sir Ulrich’s introduction.  However, the tone this style adopts does not seem to match the character.

The story’s tone is very depressing.  Depressing to the point where Geoff begins to contemplate death (via suicide or murder).  It’s not that I don’t think Geoff can be depressed, I just never got the sense from the movie that Geoff was someone who would allow his grief to consume him to the point of contemplating death.  If anything, he’d be likely to be depress while trying to make the best out of the situation.  I mean, when the group found him, he was walking butt naked despite having lost everything to gambling.  Then when he lost everything again after joining the group, he didn’t wallow in his shame but rallied to make Sir Ulrich appealing to the crowd.  That’s why – to me – the tone doesn’t quite match up with the character.

As a commentary of societal norms in the 1370s towards homosexuality, I don’t think this story goes as far as it should.  There is some mention of societal expectations but they seem less grounded in historical fact and grounded in perceived facts.  A lot of the expectations and anti-gay sentiments feel less like they come from the society of 1370 Europe, and more of what modern society assumes that society believes.  Plus, it all comes from Geoff and his own imagined “betrayal” of the group.  As far as the story indicates, nothing actually happened to oust Geoff and there isn’t mention of others (debtors, gamblers, etc.) knowing his preference; yet, Geoff seems to have this paranoid assumption that everyone knows or will know soon.  Why?

This story would have done better to show Geoff somehow interacting or witnessing someone else engage in homosexual tendencies and be ousted.  I actually think having Geoff witness someone else be punished for a perceived homoerotic exchange would be enough fuel to put Geoff on edge and give him the motivation to leave the group.

That leads into my number one grievance with this story!  There is zero groundwork that leads up to the story.  Why is Geoff suddenly so eager to be away from the rest of the group and even contemplating suicide?  If it was because of his sexuality, then why join the group at all?  If it’s due to the gambling problem, then why is there so little focus on the problems Geoff’s gambling habits cause the group?  The only hints I can glean are: Geoff’s sexuality and a fear that discovery of his sexuality will make people question William’s noble claims.  This all leads back to the first question though, why would he bother to join the group if this is a concern?  If this question had been answered in the story, then I let it slide but as the question is left unanswered.

Other than that, the story is short and an easy read.  I think it could be better, but conversely it could be a lot worse.  I like the writing style and how it reflects Geoff’s speaking style.  The depressing tone is not a deal breaker but it feels out of character given what is shown of Geoff in the movie.  However, the lack of set up – a motive as to why Geoff is running away – weakens the story.

Ultimately, it’s an all right story and if Readers are looking for a time filler without having to delve deep into a story then Brouillard is a good choice.  Would I recommend the story?  Sure, it’s a decent story and is worth a read through.  Definitely not a top recommendation, but it’s not a bad time filler.

 

Stars: 6.5/10

Not Just an Uberdyke From Romania Review

Title: Not Just an Uberdyke from Romania                             Author: Star2717

Original Source: Bring It On                                                  Character(s): Missy & Jan

Rating:  T                                                                              Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 1                                                                         Status: Discontinued

Author’s Synopsis: A retelling of Bring It On.  How does Missy view the world?  MissyJan, eventually.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1788072/1/Not-Just-An-Uberdyke-From-Romania

Well, this is a story I had read a long time ago and thought to revisit it.  I believe I’ve admitted this in the past, one my guilty pleasure movies is Bring It On.  The movie isn’t that great but it’s fun to watch and really has that upbeat cheerleader energy.  Out of all the characters in the movie, Missy is my favorite and I tend to read the Missy stories (not necessarily romances).  So, it should come as no surprise that I decided to read this retelling of the movie from Missy’s perspective.

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.  Full disclosure, I was a bit wary about returning to this fan fic; in the past when I’ve returned to a story that I had found years ago, I end up hating it.  It’s the natural course of things that as I grew older my tastes change and I start seeing a lot more of the flaws in the stories.  I still saw flaws in this story but I find that I don’t hate it –thankfully.

The story has been discontinued (the last time it was updated was in 2004) so the only parts of the movie featured are the beginning of the movie through Missy taking off once she realizes that the cheer routine was stolen.  Not much to work with however, what is there is still fun.

What I like about the story is that it’s told from Missy’s POV and the writing reflects her sassiness and her way of acting the opposite of what she’s feeling.  For example, being snippy with Jan (before she knows it’s Jan) even though she wants to introduce herself and tell him that he’s a “fine piece of ass.”  Bits like that are what I like because it makes me think that I’m really following the character around, versus just reading the movie as it stalks Missy.

I also like the additional scenes.  Whenever I am reading a retelling of a movie, TV, or game, I am always looking for additional and expanded scenes that help to build the character beyond the original source.  What this story provides is interaction between Cliff and Missy, Missy’s encounter with Jan, talking with the guidance counselor, and Missy waiting for her turn at the tryouts.  What the poor girl has to endure makes me believe her plea for temporary insanity.  The additional scenes help to shape the different aspects of Missy’s life; home life, school life, and social life.  It just helps to bring a few new layers to this character that was overlooked in the movie.

Another thing I like about the story is the interaction between Cliff and Missy.  The relationship is two siblings who live to give each other crap yet have an understanding that none of it is personal.  Nice and simple without being too extreme or out of character.  A very nice balance.

The only compliant I truly have is (and I’m really nitpicking here) the second sentence.  “It’s six o’clock in I’m DJ the morning, and Adam, spinning some great tunes for you to wake up and start your day with.”  Yeah…not a great start to the story.  Thankfully, this is the only time such a tragedy occurs in the writing, but it does make for a poor first impression.  Again, I’m really nitpicking on this one.

Now, is this the best-written fan fic ever?  No.  It’s decent and it’s fun to read.  The strengths in the story come from the POV, the additional scenes, and the story’s ability to provide information to the reader without it feeling forced or expositional.  Otherwise, the story is kind of middle of the road; nothing bad but nothing extraordinary.  I do wish it had been completed though so that I could read more; it’s a fun story.

Would I recommend the story?  Sure, but only if Readers don’t mind being left hanging because I doubt this story will ever be finished.  It’s been 10 years, there is no way that the author will ever return to this story and finish it now.

 

Stars: 7/10

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!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11726519/1/A-Breach-of-Etiquette

 

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.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4082169/1/From-Here-to-There

 

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