Happy Hannukah Swan Review

Title: Happy Hanukkah Swan                                    Author:  imhookedonaswan

Source: Once Upon a Time                                        Character(s): Emma S. & Killian Jones

Rating:  K                                                                Genre(s): Humor / Romance

Chapter(s): 1                                                             Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: The Charmings discover that Killian is Jewish and decide to surprise him with a Hanukkah dinner.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10884944/1/Happy-Hanukkah-Swan

 

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.  Here’s my second Hanukkah story review for today.  I seem to have saved the better one for last.

The synopsis is spot on, the story is about the Charmings finding out that Killian is actually Jewish and decide to surprise him with a Hanukkah dinner for the first night of Hanukkah.  It’s actually a sweet story because it’s not just Emma and Killian celebrating, but the Charming family, Killian, and Belle.  This is obviously not meant to be a romantic evening but one that celebrates family and acceptance.

See, it starts with Henry asking if there were any holiday traditions in the Enchanted Forest.  David and Snow give the standard answer of Winter Solstice but Killian mentions the Light Festival.  After further explanation, it is revealed that the Light Festival that Killian celebrated is Hanukkah.  Snow and David have never interacted with someone who’s Jewish, so they are unfamiliar with the holiday traditions.  In an effort to show Killian he’s a member of the family and to expose themselves to new traditions, Snow offers to make a Hanukkah dinner for Killian.

I actually think this is a better Hanukkah story than the Danny Phantom one because it’s not just a group of people gathering for the first night of Hanukkah.  Instead, there are two characters (David and Snow) actively learning the traditions of an unfamiliar holiday and just diving in with guidance from Emma and Henry.  Killian going through the process of lighting the candles (shamus and first candle), the songs, and prayers is touching.  Sure the story doesn’t include the actual prayers or song lyrics, but the writing makes it just as effective.

The best part about this story is that it builds on from the series.  When Killian is explaining how Jewish traditions ended up across the realms, it’s something that fits the world of Once Upon a Time.  It matches the history of Judaism in that 10 tribes were expelled from the Holy Land but adds in the fantastical element of the tribes being given a portal to another world where they could practice in peace.  It’s a concise explanation that doesn’t require further explanation.

In the end, if anyone is looking for a Hanukkah fan fic for this holiday season, I would recommend Happy Hanukkah Swan.  I would definitely recommend it more than the Danny Phantom story because this one tries to build up a story of understanding and family around Hanukkah; instead of going through the motions.

 

Stars: 8 / 10

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As Luck Would Have It Review

Title: As Luck Would Have It                                       Author: shukishi

Original Source: Gokusen (J-Drama)                           Character(s): Yankumi & Shin

Rating:  T                                                                  Genre(s): Romance / Humor

Chapter(s): 5                                                              Status: Hiatus / Discontinued

Author’s Synopsis: It’s been five years since Sawada Shin left for Africa and now he’s back with every intention to make Yamaguchi Kumiko his.  Shin feels the need to change his ex-student/teacher relationship…Wait a min-Shin!  Where are you putting your hands on Kumiko?!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4648460/1/As-Luck-Would-Have-It

 

Welcome Readers, we’ve made it through another week and to close out the week I decided to revisit a story for this review.  This is a fan fic for the J-Drama version of The Gokusen that I had read a while back.  I thought that maybe revisiting the story with fresh eyes I could find some redeeming qualities I missed the first time around.  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.

I am a huge fan of The Gokusen; I loved the manga (still one of my favorites), I enjoyed the anime for its wackiness (even the dub), and I love the J-Drama even though it’s following a completely different story.  One of the things that I love in all iterations is the romance between Shin and Yankumi because (especially in the manga) it never played out as a typical romance; Yankumi is always in denial and dense that the romance is an uphill battle for Shin. The J-Drama didn’t end where the manga had – Shin confessing and Yankumi punching him for such foolishness – but it at least had hinted that Shin was in the running for Yankumi’s heart until he disappeared to Africa.

I understand why the J-Drama took that route but at the same time, I want to see Shin return and pursue Yankumi again.  So fan fics that have that plot for its basis tend to draw me in.  Unfortunately, not all can be gems.

This particular story is about Shin returning from Africa and ready to win over Yankumi.  Unfortunately, the path to romance with Yankumi is blocked by a new rival and Yankumi’s own obliviousness.

It’s enough to bring fans like myself into the story but the execution can quickly turn fans away from the story.  The story is loaded with flaws and missed opportunities; tense and POV (point of view) changes, narrative/story-telling potholes, and out-of-character (OOC) issues.  Issues that make this story hard to read and enjoy.

I’ve harped on this type of issue in the past, the interchanging of tenses and POV in stories.  Just don’t do it.  Stick with one tense and one POV type.  This story can’t decide if it wants to be written in the past tense or in the present tense.  Rather than me just talking about the tense issues, I’ll just give Readers a taste of what the story offers.

“Who?” Was what Shin asks and even without being face to face, Kuma knows that Shine was not pleased and would be scowling.  Poor Yankumi, making a man like Shin loving her to such an extent in which he’ll be willing to do anything for her, except letting other men capture her attention.  She’ll never know what hit her; Kuma fully knows that Shin would do anything to make Yankumi fall for him.” (Chapter 1, Paragraph 5).

This is how the whole story is written.  Then to compound the issue is the POV shifts.  I’m not saying that it switches from 1st to 3rd and so on – Thankfully! – but it does switch between which character the POV follows.  Initially it starts with Shin but then the sentences switch to reflect Kuma’s feelings, actions, and understanding; this happens before Kuma actually appears in the story!  When the switch in POV happens, Kuma is a voice over the phone talking to Shin who has recently arrived in Japan.  Why is the story suddenly being told from this voice’s understanding?

Next, the storytelling is typical; short scenes that are normally straight to the point and then done.  In another context this would be fine but how this story handles those scenes leaves a lot to be desired.  For instance, there is a scene where Shin and Yankumi have dinner at his apartment – in the story that part didn’t make sense – and it abruptly ends with Shin saying that he has a crush on a girl in Japan.  Really?  Why end the scene there?  If the next scene picked up with Yankumi planning to help Shin out with wooing this mystery girl or planning to find out the girl through Shin’s friends, then that ending would’ve made sense.  However, the next scene is Shin waking up the next morning.

Which reminds me – this bothered me as I was reading, why doesn’t Shin have a job or try to obtain a job?  The only thing that he does in the story is meet up with Yankumi and go to the Kuroda residence.  The story seems to have forgotten that Shin did more than just crush after Yankumi and that apartments are not free.  When he was in high school, his parents paid for his flat but now that he’s an adult (23) and returning from Africa, he would be expected to seek employment.  Hell, Yankumi would expect him to seek employment; she didn’t teach slackers!

This ties in with my final compliant, the OOC-ness featured in this story.  Some of the characters are spot on or pretty close to their original carnations; Yankumi, Kyo, and Kuroda.  Then there’s Shin, our lead character, who acts nothing like his J-Drama or manga self.  Shin is always a bit of a smartass and likes to project the appearance of a slacker, but he’s not a slacker and he’s willing to stand up for what he believes is right.  The Shin in this story is more like a puppy-dog; he shows up where Yankumi is just to hang out, he tries to get in good with her family (although that seemed unnecessary), and he’s almost territorial against his rival.  It all feels unnatural.

I know this story is based on the J-Drama but this is one area where I wish the story would’ve taken a few cues from the manga specials for The Gokusen; in the specials, Shin is shown to have his own life with college, friends, and a part-time job, but he takes the time to set up “dates” with Yankumi (dates to him, not to her), takes candid – unattractive – photos of her, and openly tells her how he feels without mincing words.

This story could have infused some of those characteristics to its Shin and made him palatable.  He could’ve had a job or interview lined up, Kuma could’ve been getting his apartment ready when he landed, he could’ve bought tickets to a movie that only Yankumi would’ve wanted to see, etc.  Things like that would’ve developed him a lot more and made him less of a one-tracked stalker.

I’ve ripped on this story a lot, but I will give it the small credit I feel it deserves.  The silver lining of this story is in Chapter 5 when Shin and his rival, school doctor Natsume, finally meet and have an exchange of dialogue.  It’s the only realistic interaction between any two characters and it’s the only time when Shin is in character.  Chapter 5 is the best delivered chapters in the story despite the tense swapping.

Still, one chapter doesn’t make the case for the story as a whole.  Thus I recommend that Readers don’t bother with this story.  The concept is nice but the execution is not great.  Each chapter presents a challenge just to make it through the writing.  Plus, from the author’s notes it sounds like the story doesn’t get updated often (if at all) so there’s not much point in getting invested in a story that may never reach an ending.

 

Stars: 3/10

Perspective Review

Title: Perspective                                                                                          Author: chraezanty1317

Original Source: Doctor Who & Twlight                                            Character(s): Rose T. & Bella S.

Rating: K+                                                                                                       Genre(s): Humor

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                                   Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: After a dimension jump gone wrong, Rose finds herself in the same room as Bella. At first glance, the two of them seem fairly similar. As Bella tells her story, however things change as Rose tries to talk some sense into her. Includes Twlight- and Bella-bashing (kind of).

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10287614/1/Perspective

Welcome Readers, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. I decided to go in a bit of a different direction and review a crossover. Not just any crossover but a Doctor Who and Twlight cross over. Two things that should not intersect but they do and a conversation ensues.

I can’t say what I was expecting when I saw this crossover but I’m rather happy with the results.   Rose ends up in Bella’s room after ending up in the wrong dimension and while she waits for the Dimension Cannon to work, she converses with an oddly calm Bella. I need to hug this story’s version of Rose for saying to Bella what I wish someone would say to Bella. Note, I would have slapped Bella for the BS dramatics she puts on.

The story takes place during New Moon after Edward has left and Bella is mourning the loss of her boyfriend. Rose comes in and hears out Bella’s breakup story only to discover that Bella is refusing—not having trouble but refusing—to move on with her life post breakup. Not only is Bella refusing to move on, but her reasons for “loving” Edward are shown to be very superficial (Rose even calls her out on it) and she doesn’t care.

*Sighes.*

Thank God, Rose is featured in this story to point out how Belle’s relationship with Edward probably would have failed, how Bella needs to move on, and how Bella is too young to know what she wants. I mean it when I saw “thank God for Rose.” Without Rose I would have wanted to strangle this story.

Even when Bella tries pulling out the “you don’t know what I’m going through” card, Rose flat out tells her that she does know and how Bella is handling the situation is not helping Bella. Thank you Rose for pointing out that Bella’s heartbreak is nothing unusual no matter how “unusual” her ex-boyfriend may be!

The saving grace for this story is Rose and the fact that Bella’s self-pity is not praised. It also helps that how these two sources cross makes sense and why Bella doesn’t freak with a woman suddenly goes poof into her room. If this was just a story with Bella’s oh woe is me bit, then it wouldn’t have been as interesting and I would have flipped a table.

In the end, would I recommend the story? It’s not an essential read but should anyone wish to read someone speaking sense to Bella then go ahead and read it. Otherwise, it’s not necessary to read. The story did not fill a void within my life, but it certainly helped to make me interested in watching Doctor Who. I like characters with sense.

So that’s it for today’s review. Thank you reading and I’ll catch Readers soon. This is Idunwanaprofile, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction; so long and farewell.

Stars: 7.5/10

Terror Beneath the Sea Review

Title: Terror Beneath the Sea                                                                    Author: MLaw

Original Source: Man from U.N.C.L.E.                                                 Character(s): Illya K. & Napoleon S.

Rating:  K+                                                                                                       Genre(s): Drama & Friendship

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                                    Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Is Illya dead? Napoleon fears it’s true. Originally posted for the PicFic Challenge section7mfu, live journal. Pre-saga, very mild language.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10253192/1/Terror-Beneath-the-Sea

Welcome Readers, I’m the Fan Fic Reviewer, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  This time I have found something interesting and that I have never heard of before: Man from U.N.C.L.E.

I had to do some research on this one because I was getting confused with the character names. From my research, I discovered:

  1. Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a spy show in the late 1960s and 1970s.
  2. The main character names are: Illya Kuryakin (Russian) and Napoleon Solo (American).

The second point was my main reason for researching the show because I from reading the story I couldn’t tell that Napoleon and Solo were the same person. The story interchanges between using the first and last name so much that I was reading sentences wrong. For a bit I thought Napoleon had a split personality named Solo. Now that I know it’s just the first and last name of one character, things began making far more sense.

The story is like a small portion of an episode. I would have a full episode except that there wasn’t enough to go off of to make a full episode. The potential is there, just not the execution. Thus, it’s like a partial episode.

In the story, Illya has to go diving for a device only to be attacked by a bull shark and seeking shelter in a grotto. He loses radio contact with Napoleon who is left on the yacht trying to determine whether his partner is dead.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the story it’s just that I think the story was a bit minimalistic. It’s mostly dialogue and quick actions; the only time the story slows down is to describe the scenery (ocean, aquatic life forms, and Illya putting on his scuba gear). Otherwise, everything feels very quick. Even during the dramatic scenes (shark chase scene, Napoleon waiting for Illya, etc.) everything happens quickly and there’s little emotional development. During the shark chase scene there should the sense of terror! I should be able to sense Napoleon’s emotional uncertainty over Illya’s unknown fate! There should be something for Illya while he’s waiting in the grotto on borrowed time and without communications to Napoleon! Something!

Instead it’s straightforward and the sense of emotional drama is limited. This is why I cannot imagine this being a full episode from the show.

My only other comment is that the first 2 paragraphs need to be moved or deleted; it seems as though the story’s going into a flashback but then it never stops being a flashback. The fact that the flashback never ends and just flows into the present makes the first 2 paragraphs unnecessary. I can think of a couple different ways to resolve this issue:

  1. Delete the first 2 paragraphs.
  2. Delete the fight scene and instead summarize how Illya ended up being the one underwater.

Either way will work.

Otherwise, the story is all right. It is written for fans and non-fans may have some issues reading the story (confusion between the names and such). *Raises hand.* However, thanks to this story, I’m now going to look into this TV show and check out more fan fics for Man from U.N.C.L.E. This story has piqued my interest.

Would I recommend the story? Well, it’s not a bad story but I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone but fans of the show. Mainly because non-fans may not be able to fully understand or follow the story. Not to say that non-fans can’t read it, but then research may be necessary. As I said in the beginning, I had to do research in order to understand who Solo and Napoleon are in the show (apparently the same person).

That’s it for today. I am Idunwanaprofile, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. Thank you for reading and I’ll bring more fan fiction reviews soon.

Stars: 6/10

Destiny Review

Title: Destiny                                                                                                                  Author: Outtie

Original Source: Once Upon a Time                                                                    Character(s): Rumpelstiltskin & Belle

Rating: K+                                                                                                                       Genre(s): General

Chapter(s): 1                                                                                                                   Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Maybe Zelena wasn’t the first female to get her hands on Rumple’s dagger and maybe there is more to the events in “Skin Deep” then we know.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10290488/1/Destiny

 

Welcome Readers, this is your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  I have to say that I’m a fan of Once Upon a Time and it’s always been less because of the main characters.  Nah!  I prefer the supporting cast.  I think the supporting cast tends to be more interesting and have more fascinating stories that should be told.  This story is one of those fascinating stories featuring a young Belle and Rumpelstiltskin (my favorite couple, by the way).

This is a very short one-shot taking place during the time that Rumplestiltskin lives in his castle but years before Belle comes to live with him. Think of this as a re-imagining of their first meeting that is rather cute and fans of the series (and couple) will see some of the hints of the future couple in this meeting.

Rumplestiltskin realizes that someone has found his dagger and goes out in search of the culprit by returning to the spot where he hid the dagger. The culprit turns out to be a young girl who finds the dagger while excavating the area where a castle for The Great Uniter once stood. She finds the dagger along with pottery shards and animal bones and refuses to give the dagger back to Rumplestiltskin because he can’t be old enough (+200 years old) to be the dagger’s owner.

The story continues as Rumplestiltskin tries to coax the child into returning the dagger to him and even plots to snap the child’s neck until he discovers that he can simply trade the child the dagger for a spade since the child has been using the dagger to dig. Making the trade, the child leaves for home and leaves Rumplestiltskin with her name; Belle.

Now, I skimped quite a bit on the interactions between Rumplestiltskin and Belle, but it’s because there’s quite a bit of interaction between the characters. The interaction is interesting and well done with Belle not seeming too brilliant for her age nor lacking understanding. Belle acts her age while being the type of child who enjoys books and going exploring, yet she must have some sort of knowledge that not everyone is to be trusted; she doesn’t believe Rumplestiltskin to be the dagger’s owner and she takes up a defensive stance when Rumplestiltskin first shows up. Personally, I like how Belle is characterized and the flow of exchange between her and Rumplestiltskin. It’s not out of place and it’s nicely paced.

Another thing that I like about this type of story is that I believe this could have happened within the cannon. I mean neither character would necessarily recall the event off-hand because Belle was young and, well, what are the chances that the child Belle and the woman Belle are the same person? Sure there’s a lot to suggest that child and woman are the same person but given how long Rumplestiltskin lives it would be hard for him to recall everyone who has crossed his path. So the story fits within the canon while still being its own stand-alone episode.

Would I recommend the one-shot? Sure. It’s cute and other than watching season one, a person can easily dive into the one-shot and understand what is happening with the dagger. Ultimately, it’s worth a read and doesn’t take much time.

Stars: 7/10