Title: In the Silence Author: InoFan
Original Source: Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing Character(s): Wufei Chang & Relena Peacecraft
Rating: M Genre(s): Romance & Drama
Chapter(s): 10 Status: Complete
Author Synopsis: 5xRelena. Wufei and Relena are at odds, but they might discover something together neither of them has ever had.
Welcome one and all! This is the Fan Fic Reviewer, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. This time around I returned to my roots within the Gundam universe and found this story that features a couple whom I have never considered, Wufei Chang and Relena Darlian. Honestly, this coupling never entered my imaginings and apparently only a handful of people have ever considered these two characters as a potential couple. It’s not like they interact a lot during the series (if at all) and if they came to know each other post the series and movie then it would probably have been on professional terms, so the idea just never occurred to me. Thankfully, it occurred to InuFan and thus why I was able to read In the Silence.
The basic premise of the story is, a traumatic event happens during an escort mission that establishes a bond between Wufei and Relena that opens that door into the realm of romantic possibilities but there are internal shadows that hold one of them back. *Pauses and rereads sentence.* I know I’m making it very vague and actually I can picture several different stories arising from that description but I’m trying to avoid spoilers. On to the meat of this review!
This story has many good points so I guess I’ll start with the basics. The formatting is excellent and makes it very Reader-friendly, spelling and grammar are great (nothing too bothersome). I know that these are basics but it really helps me when I’m reading a story then I can concentrate on the plot and characters rather than being distracted by the constant misuses of commas, quotes, periods, lack of spaces between words, misspellings, etc. Those things distract me after a while and make me nit-pick a lot more than normal.
Another thing this story does very well is the characterization of Relena and Wufei. I realize that fans know these characters from the manga and the anime, but since the story takes place years after the events of Endless Waltz the story had to expand and restructure the characters a bit to make up for the passage of time and maturity that (usually) occurs with people as they gain more life experiences. So, the Relena in the story is the overdramatic, strict pacifist, stalker—NOTE: That was never my impression of her from the series but other fans would disagree—and instead she’s a self-possessed woman who recognizes her strengths and weaknesses, and strives to be independent. This is a version of Relena that I love and I think is among the most realistic. Wufei on the other hand is a minimalist who does stray outside the realm of work and does not seek out the attentions of other people.
I like the reboot of these characters and I like how the character development is handled in the story. It’s not just a long exposition as to who the characters are in the story versus how they were in the manga/anime. Instead bits and pieces are dropped here and there throughout the story, providing another piece to the puzzle and a bit more insight. It’s spaced out so well that I don’t feel overwhelmed with the details or lost due to a lack of detail. There’s a nice balance!
Another thing this story does well is keeping a relatively even pace. The event flow from one into the next with ease and I don’t get the feeling that things happen too fast or slow. Even the chemistry between Wufei and Relena actually fits which is weird because typically when stories try to pull what In the Silence pulls with the romance, I call BS on the romance. In this story it fits and I think I know why. The biggest difference between the romance in this story versus other stories is that neither Relena nor Wufei say that they “love” each other. It’s attraction, infatuation, lust, and any other synonym. It’s never called anything more than that, yet the story suggests that perhaps in the future it could grow into love. *Applauds.* I can get behind this kind of a romance!
See, when other romances do the same thing and attach the word “love” to the romance then I take great issue with the story and tear down the romance from the status of “love” to “lust.” It bothers me when stories use the word “love” when clearly the relationship is not based upon “love” but rather sexual desires or attraction built upon a common interest. When I read those romances I get pissed and I typically write off the author as a teen whose only experience with love has been a boyfriend of 3 months or teen-romance movies. In the Silence depicts a very adult (not necessarily sexual) relationship between the characters where it starts as attraction and has the potential to become something more. I love it!
Then there’s the sexual tension. Some stories don’t build sexual tension quite right. Sure stories provide the sexual tension moments where someone’s up against a wall, someone’s wet from something or other (rain, shower, whatever else), someone gets pinned to the floor, and so on. What those stories fail to do is provide this sexual tension where one or both characters are actively trying to maintain control and say “no” to urges. It’s the whole carrot and stick method. In the Silence does this well with the sexual tension between Wufei and Relena. There is enough that happens (or suggested to happen) to keep the Reader on edge with bated breath with each encounter.
Going along with the sexual tension build, a lot of stories will have the tension explode into a wild sex scene. Not this story! There is a sex scene but it’s elegantly written (it’s like watching a tastefully filmed sex scene in a movie), and it’s not all passionate kisses, roaming hands, fumbling fingers, and cries of “harder.” No, the sex scene is actually more relaxed. In fact, it really shows that these two characters aren’t just striving to reach their climax and the ecstasy that comes with it, but they are attempting to make it more…intimate and personal. *Pauses.* Those may not be the right words for what I’m trying to describe but they’ll have to do.
Finally, the story closed on a realistic note that was also very optimistic. It has this tone of contentment that I don’t read often in other stories and I’m pleasantly surprised to read in this story. Seriously, the ending is exactly what it should be given the mature relationship the story builds. I love the ending and it certainly brought a smile to my features.
From beginning to end In the Silence hits all the right notes and really convinced me that this odd couple could actually be a legitimate couple under the right circumstances. I hope that I can find more stories like this one in the future.
Would I recommend In the Silence? I think the obvious answer is, yes! I highly recommend this story, even if you know very little or nothing of Gundam Wing. It’s a well written romance that snatches the Reader’s attention and keeps it throughout the story.