Beast and the Harlot Review

Title:  Beast and the Harlot                                  Author: penpaninuSessh

Source: Beauty and the Beast                                Character(s): Belle & Beast/Prince Adam

Rating: M                                                            Genre(s): Romance / Angst

Chapter(s): 1                                                        Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: A different take on Beauty and the Beast inspired by the Disney film and the 1964 film.  Belle is a courtesan, working to pay her father’s hospital bills.  The Beast forms a tentative relationship with her; love and lust develop over time.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7699511/1/Beast-and-the-Harlot

 

Welcome Readers, I know I keep teasing this 122-chapter story but I’m almost done with it – just another 20 chapters to go then I’ll be ready to review it.  In the meantime, I went looking for one shot stories and found this AU version of Beauty and the Beast.  It’s an…interesting take on the story that combines elements from various versions (Disney, original story, Broadway, and live action movie) and melds them together.  For a full list of what parts were taken from each, look at the very end of the story in the Author’s Note for details.  Without further ado, let’s get this review underway!

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.

For this story, Belle is a harlot (although she acts more like a companion from “Firefly”) and she gets an unusual client – “Prince Adam” – who turns out to be a massive beast.  After initial reactions, Belle comes to find that the beast has not paid for tumble in the bed sheets but for Belle’s time to…talk.  It continues as such where every so often “Prince Adam” makes an appointment with Belle and they simply spend their time conversing.  There’s more to the story but I’m certain that Readers can figure out where the story eventually leads without me going through it all.

This story has several things going for it; the added characters, the reasoning for Belle’s profession, and the characterization of Belle.  However, there are a few things that brought the story down for me.  One of them is just a personal grievance and the other is a concern with the ending and romance.

Instead of the story trying to squeeze in the recognizable characters from Disney films, it uses either original characters or characters from the ‘60s film or Broadway. For instance, the Madame and her husband, a bouncer named Dick, and a client name LaFrac.  None of these names are from the Disney version.  Then there’s characters like Gaston who are from the Disney version aren’t given preferential treatment; in fact, Gaston doesn’t have much of a role.  He’s given a more cursory mention rather than a focus.  So, the lack of notable characters from the Disney version makes the story very interesting and changes the environment a bit.

Now, it would be so simple to provide Belle a copout motive to pursue a profession as a harlot; like her being left at the brothel to pay off Maurice’s debt.  Instead, her father is being treated for a rare illness and the treatments are costly.  So, to pay the bills and make sure her father is well attended, Belle willingly pursues the lucrative career of courtesan.   The story does a good job in making sure that the Readers understand that Belle’s profession is of her choosing and that no one forces it upon her except circumstance.  In fact, the story even acknowledges that while Belle would have preferred making a living through non-sexual means, she wouldn’t make nearly as much money.

I enjoyed this motivation because it gives Belle more character; she is actively choosing how she will handle difficulties in her life.  There is nothing forced upon her and she is very much in control of her actions within the circumstances.  I find so many stories take the control out of the character’s hands and puts it into the hands of a character Readers – and the character – are meant to blame.  It’s refreshing to find such a change.

Belle’s characterization in this story is excellent.  She is not meant to be a character who is to be pitied because of the circumstances that have led her to the bordello.  Instead, she is a woman of pose and class; she knows her profession and does her best to learn how each of her clients’ ticks.  There’s the attention to her clothes, her makeup, and how she preps for clients.  As a Reader it becomes apparent that Belle has the profession down to a science as with the mention of a client’s name she adjusts her dress to best suit that client’s preferences.  Plus, there’s the relationship between Belle and the other bordello occupants; each one is different but it’s very apparent that the men working there are protective (albeit obsessively) of her while the other women see her as a rival.

Overall, the story is pretty good but I won’t ever go back to it.  There are elements of the story that make me uncomfortable.  For instance, the sex between Belle and Beast.  I’m not a fan of it mostly because it resembles bestiality to me and bestiality is an area that I am uncomfortable exploring (even in literature).  So, the scene doesn’t make the story bad and it’s written in a non-raunchy way – I’ve read filthier and far more carnal sex scenes before – but the image of Belle and Beast fucking makes me uneasy.  Again, this does not make the story bad and it’s just a personal aversion.

The other thing that makes me a bit concerned is that Belle prefers Adam as a Beast rather than as a human.  I get the idea of the fact that she fell in love with the Beast and having Adam as human makes it hard to reconcile that they’re the same person, but it also suggests that it’s going to be a constant uphill battle in their romance.  I mean how can Adam compete with a form he can no longer take?  It’s a personal grievance though.  It by no means detracts from the story.  It just leaves me a little uneasy about the future of their relationship.

Would I recommend the story?  Yeah.  It’s a nice, refreshing, adult retelling of a beloved, classic fairy tale.  It’s a quick read with enough meat to truly engage the Reader without making it a skeleton of a story.  If Readers are looking for a tale with more drama and a major showdown between Beast and Gaston, then look elsewhere.  This is a story that brings an adult setting while holding onto the brevity of movie story-telling (time is suggested to have passed and more summaries than showing progression).

Stars: 8/10

Seek Not to Alter Me Review

Title: Seek Not to Alter Me                                         Author: Lorata

Source: Much Ado About Nothing                             Character(s): Beatrice & Don John

Rating:  K+ (PG)                                                       Genre(s): General

Chapter(s): 1                                                             Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: (Beatrice slitted her eyes at him. “You’re talking about my friends.” / He took another long drag of his cigarette. “Am I?”) It’s the big school dance, and Beatrice is utterly fed up with everyone. Worst of all, the punch isn’t even alcoholic. Beatrice/Don John UST. Modern AU, high school setting, because I have no idea why this isn’t a teen movie yet. Yuletide 2013.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10021799/1/Seek-Not-to-Alter-Me

Welcome Readers, it’s been a stressful week for me and my husband as he takes steps to find a new job.  So to help combat this stress, I felt the need to read some Shakespearean fan fiction.  I found quite a few but I didn’t want to further my stress by reading fan fiction on the tragedies and the historical plays; no, I went for the comedies.  I actually went to my favorite comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing.”  To me “Much Ado About Nothing” is more about the wit than the romances; who really cares about Claudio and Hero getting together?  Not me, I care more about the war of words between Beatrice and Benedict, and less about if they finally get together.

This particular fan fic I found is a modern, high school version taking place during a school dance (i.e. the masquerade).  Beatrice stands aloof from the rest of the crowd until she cannot stand the dance anymore and retreats for fresh air.  In the parking lot she runs into John and they strike up an interesting conversation.

That is the gist of the story but the meat of it is in the conversation between John and Beatrice which showcases the flaws of the characters.  Pedro’s necessity to insincerely include his bastard brother builds John’s resentment towards him.  Hero’s lack of independence makes her the trophy girlfriend for any guy (she wasn’t dating yet).  Claudio’s insecurities make him jealous and pressure him to try and be someone he isn’t (taking an art class to show his “sensitive side”).  How Benedict treats Beatrice signifies that he doesn’t actually care about her, he just likes to have the last word.

It’s quite insightful.  Not just about the characters John and Beatrice provide commentary on, but also about each other.  Why is John such an ass?  Why is Beatrice very vocal about not wanting a boyfriend?  How constrained does Beatrice feel being the principal’s niece?  These are the things that are explored in the conversation.

The conversation is also leads to a very chemistry-driven scene that leaves me rethinking my normal sentiment (Beatrice and Benedict make an awesome couple) and wishing that this story was longer with a John x Beatrice romance.  I had never considered a John x Beatrice coupling before but after reading this story I really want to see it.  Who needs Benedict when there’s this story’s version of John who shows more chemistry with Beatrice than most versions of Benedict?

I honestly don’t think I ever read a story where I was so disappointed that these characters didn’t at least kiss—and this isn’t even really a romance!

Otherwise, the story is short and concise.  Despite its brevity, it gives the Reader the necessary information in order to form parallels between play and story without being longwinded.  The information given doesn’t feel out of place and it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the story.  It has the correct balance between telling this story and nodding to the original source.  The characters are a bit 2D, but that’s to be expected from such a short story.  Even though the characters are 2D they are well crafted and have translated well into the high school setting.

In closing, I think the only things I can say about this story are that it’s interesting and provides a new perspective on character romances.  I do recommend the story for interested Readers and no one has to understand Shakespeare in order to understand the story (hurray!).  Just know, it may end up creating John x Beatrice fans.

Stars: 10/10

Thinking Etcetera Review

Title: Thinking Etcetera                                                                  Author: writewhatyouwantto

Original Source: The King and I                                                    Character(s): King of Siam

Rating:  K                                                                                             Genre(s): Romance / Tragedy

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                      Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Such puzzling things that he could not comprehend – monogamy. And however, that look. As if it were magic, or at least it was to her. He had heard stories of love, etcetera. Monogamy. Such a silly foreign tradition. Etcetera. Then again, listening to her talk was entrancing in itself…The King’s point of view, his thoughts on Anna and their dance, no direct interaction.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9941729/1/Thinking-Etcetera

Welcome Readers, I am your reviewing host, Fan Fic Reviewer. I review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. Anyone who has been reading my posts for the past week know that I’ve been on a trend of finding some pretty bad (in my opinion) fan fics.  I needed a good (at least decent) story to bring me back to some sanity.  Thankfully I found one.  Today I decided to go a bit old school and find fan fiction about a lovely musical I love, The King and I. I adore this musical and the chemistry between Anna and the King of Siam, but what I love the most is the unrequited love story. It’s there yet it’s a romance that can never be which is what makes it so endearingly tragic (suck on it Romeo & Juliet).

What I found is this fan fic that is the King’s ramblings from the point in the movie that I affectionately call “Culture Clash Night.” It’s the same night as the dance scene. The ramblings do not start exactly when the King and Anna share a dance, but before it. The King rambles about his and Anna’s differences in views on monogamy and polygamy. To the King the concept of monogamy is completely foreign as he cannot understand how a man cannot love more than one woman or think he’s satisfied with one woman.

What I love about this part of the ramblings is the allusion made between women and food.

“Many women could of course satisfy a man’s appetite, but he had never considered that one woman could offer him the entire banquet without even trying that hard.”

It’s so poetic and well thought out. I just love the comparison between women and food because it’s relatable. How many different dishes does a person sample when sitting down to eat? One or several? How many dishes until the person is full? Same thing with women (in the King’s mind), how many women does a man require in order to be satiated? It strikes a profound chord in its simplicity.

The ramblings move to the lead up to the dance while Anna describes how a woman can end up in the arms of a stranger for an entire night in dancing. It’s great because it’s one of those moments when it suddenly strikes the King that Anna has known that feeling in the past and there’s this sense of jealousy in not knowing (and not wanting to ask) how many men Anna has danced before Siam. Of course, the King recognizes that there must have been at least one man as the proof (Anna’s son) exists. To me it’s a great little moment because even though people can understand things happen, we don’t think it happens to someone we love (unrequited or not) until it’s brought home. In this case, even though the King knows of the tradition of dancing, he had never thought to associate it with Anna dancing with other men.

It’s in the subtleties that I love.

The rambling goes into the actual dance where the King realizes that the dance feels off due to the proverbial wall that exists between Anna and him; so for the dance he decides to strip away the wall and bring them closer—physically and emotionally. The ramblings are well done and quite beautiful as the King realizes that he would have enjoyed spending the rest of the night dancing with one woman. In those moments of time he was not seen as the King of Siam and Anna as a foreign teacher, but as a man and a woman. As I said, it’s quite beautiful.

Sadly, it the beauty in the dancing and in the King’s relationship with Anna crashes and they revert to who they were before those moments; him, a heartless barbarian, and her, a teacher. It all ends with the King reflecting on the ring he gave to Anna and that has been returned to him. It’s a somber and almost sad reflection.

“And seeing his Prime Minister returning that ring, the one he had given to her, was not right. It was less right than them dancing far apart. It was not a ring of promise, not of enticement or of sworn chastity. Yet he considered it a ring of hope. Hope that maybe she would not remove it as it reminded her of him, and the kinder aspects of his character.”

Overall, the rambling is cute and sweet. It touches on a lot of topics but that’s to be expected in a rambling—just like the shaky transitions. However, overall, it’s a sweet story with a bitter ending. As a King x Anna fan, I do deep down root for a happy ending, but I realize that cannot be with the original story. So, I didn’t expect there to be an ending where the King says how he could monogamous for Anna (it’s be way too OOC). However, I am satisfied with the fact that the King gets lost in his dance with Anna and finds that he would be content to just remain there with her until dawn. It’s enough.

Do I recommend the story? I don’t see why not. Granted I will say that Readers should know the original source before reading or the ramblings may not be quite as impactful. I will also warn people to not expect a romantic ending but a realistic ending.

Stars: 7/10

I Think I’m Sorry Review

Title: I think I’m Sorry                                                                                        Author: Fang-delight

Original Source: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers                           Character(s): Pontipee Brothers & Girls

Rating:  K+                                                                                                                Genre(s): Romance / Family

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                                            Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: We all know each brother got their girls in the end.  But the story never tells how they finally solved they’re differences and decided to finally be together! (each pairing)

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9060404/1/I-Think-I-m-Sorry

*Takes a breath.*

Hi Readers, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  *Sighes.* Maybe I should give up on trying to find good musical / play fan fics.  I just can’t seem to find much.  Well, admittedly this one was light years better than that POS I read for… *Thinks.* I forgot what I read!  *Refers to past blog posts.* Oh right, the Mary Poppins fan fic, The Chimney Sweep.  Yeah, this story is far better than that one, which I will once again erase from my mind.

So the story is ultimately how the brothers and their girls get together and it goes through 6 different stories of the girls apologizing to the boys and sharing a kiss with their boys.  *Pauses.* This is yet another story where I like the idea; the idea alone is interesting and captures my attention!  However, the execution is shaky at best.  There are points in the story where the story tries to keep within the time period, and other times throws the time period out the window.

I need to get a few grievances out of the way first.  These are nitpicking items but, man, I read them and it took me a bit to be able to move past them and make progress with the story.  Note!  All of these things are on the first 2 pages of the story.  *Sighes.* Here we go!

1. How did Ben buy Dorcas “the prettiest dress he could find” when they’re closed off?  That was part of the whole point, the family is closed off for the winter until the snow in the pass melts so the girls can’t escape or be rescued!  So where did Ben buy this dress?

Also, how would he know her measurements?  It’s not like department shopping.  He can’t walk into a Target and search the women’s department for a size Large dress.

2. “Dan sometimes won’t eat til he was sure Martha did.”  First off, grammatically incorrect.

Secondly, they ate separately!  Milly kept them separate that would include for meals.  There is no way that the kitchen would have fit everyone for meals!  So I’m certain that Milly and one (or two) of the girls would bring food to the barn for the boys.  I’m just saying, how can these boys know of things going on with the girls if they’re not there to witness these events?

3. “Ephraim would always walk at least by Liza whenever she went out for a walk.”  That doesn’t make sense!  Leave out the “at least” or say that he at least joined Liza on her walks and would sometimes walk at her side.  To say that he would “walk at least by Liza” means that there are better ways for him to walk with her.  Is in front of her better than by her side?  Or is behind her better?  I think walking beside her is the best option and certainly the options Ephraim would enjoy the most.

Could have included what Ephraim thinks would improve the walking arrangements if walking by Liza’s side is not enough.

*Takes a deep breath.*

Alright, I’m done.  These are just a few items from the first few pages of the story that I had to nitpick.  There were more items later in the story, but I just gave up because the number was getting too high.

I need to address the writing.  If I was doing the CinemaSins (search it on Youtube) of Fan fiction then there would a sin for every sentence due to the number of times that the wrong version of a word is used or there’s a word missing (particularly articles).  It’s so bad that some of the sentences do not make sense!  Remember, “Ephraim would always walk at least by Liza whenever she went out for a walk.”  That’s for the entire story!  After a while, my brain did the mental translations for me so I could figure out what the sentence is supposed to say rather than what it does say.

Then there’s the methods for these “apologies” and kiss scenes.  The methods are weak and typically the girls find their boys alone at some point—Frank actually sought his girl out—words are exchanged and there’s a kiss.  Although, hardly any of the girls actually apologize to their boys so the whole purpose of getting the boys alone is null and void.  Here’s an idea, use the scenes from the movie during the montage sequence when the winter thaws and the girls begin to interact with the boys.  *Sighes.* Whatever…

Alright, enough with the negative comments.  I need to give props to the story for trying to give the boys and girls individual personalities.  It’s the only redeemable quality of this story.  Well…that and there’s at least some thought put into making the exchanges more personalized but even so it kind of became cut and paste.

Moment of truth, would I recommend this story?  It’s not really something that has to be read and about the only people I can think who would enjoy this story are ubber fans and Readers who can ignore the fact that some of the sentences do not make sense.  Otherwise, I can’t say that I recommend this story.  It’s 15 pages of unnecessary.

Well, that’s it for now.  Man, I hope the next story I review is better than these last two stories.  This is Idunwanaprofile wishing all Readers happy reading.  Until next time.

Stars: 2/10

The Chimney Sweep Review

Title:  The Chimney Sweep                                                                                        Author: Everyone’s a Mortal

Original Source: Mary Poppins                                                                             Character(s): Bert & Mary P.

Rating:  K+                                                                                                                         Genre(s): Romance / Friendship

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                                                     Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: I wrote this after watching the movie.  “He was a street performer, a chalk artist, a kite sailsman, a chimney sweep.  He wasn’t rich, but had freedom.  He was free to sing and dance and play all day.  But, Bert wondered, was he free to love?”  Review if you’re not crabby!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8952472/1/The-Chimney-Sweep

Welcome Readers to another review presented by the Fan Fic Reviewer.  I review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  I had a craving to read some musical/play related fan fics so I went looking and gathered a collection to read. I found some Mary Poppins fan fics and decided to pick one to review.  *Sighes.* Sadly, I did not pick a good fan fic to review.  *Puts a hand over the chest.* Ow!  This hurts to read.

The synopsis above is far better than the actual story and I have to say that the synopsis is meant for a much better story than this POS I have before me.  Needless to say, from the synopsis this was not what I expected to read.  I was expecting an introspective piece where Bert contemplates if a chimney sweep is allowed to love given the obstacles and the harsh life style that comes with living in poverty.  After weighing the pros and cons of a chimney sweep falling in love, Bert could ponder if he’s allowed to love someone who practically perfect in every way.  If he is, then is he worthy of being loved by someone who is practically perfect?

Now that sounds interesting!

Instead the…story (?) is anything but introspective.  It picks up during the Chimney dance (Chim Chim Chiroo / Steppin’ Time) and goes to the end of the movie.  It’s a very skeletal retelling of the events of the movie only with the addition of some romantic thoughts from Bert and Mary.  I do mean thoughts and not anything deeper than that.  It’s simply Bert thinking, “I love you Mary” or “she’s beautiful.”

Nothing more!  There is no build up to this sudden realization and no progression made after the realization has been made.  Nope, it’s…fluff (?).  Okay, I can’t even call it fluff because it does nothing!  It doesn’t add anything to movie or the characters, there is no development, and no resolution.  So what is the point of adding in the romance to the movie?  Well, there isn’t a point when there is no progression in the romance, no build to the romance, and no effing resolution!!

*Flips the story off.*

I doubt that I need to pose the question if I’m going to recommend the story; the answer is hell no!  Readers, I beg you, just skip this story and move on with your lives.  It’s not worth wasting the 15-20 minutes it would take to read this POS, waste of time.  It has a great set up but deplorable delivery!

I shall proceed to erase any memory of this story from my brain.  I can use the space for more purposeful things.

Well Readers, I hope the next story I review will be worth something.  Until then, I am Idunwanaprofile, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.

Stars: 1/10