facetofcathy: multicoloured faceted shapes (Prism)
facetofcathy ([personal profile] facetofcathy) wrote in [community profile] facetsoftext2012-06-17 11:22 am

SPN J2 Big Bang 2012 Part I

It's that time again. This year should prove very interesting. We have an old fandom that's not really gaining new fans, but is certainly losing fans to the latest thing.

We also have a fandom that I find myself increasingly at odds with. I actually liked season 7 of SPN a lot, and I like the current Sam and Dean dynamic. I like that they are finally more adults than dudebros. I seem to be in a very small minority.

This year I'm doing my reviews a bit the same and a bit different. Here's the highlights:

• I'm copying the entire author's summary and warnings into each review.
• I have nothing to say about fanart; in fact, I read the Big Bang with images turned off. Speaking of: learn to use alt text, people, it's not that hard.
• I have 0 interest in Angels or Demons in sexual relationships.
• I like stories about grownups.
• I am only reviewing things I finish. I tried doing everything I started, but it became a wall of negativity.
• If I don't mention it, assume the SPAG is fine.
• I read some underage, but some of it squicks me.
• The chance I'll read a superhero AU is significantly less than that I'll read a Dean/Cas schmoopfest.
• I'm sick to the teeth of season 1 or 2 stories. I really want a good season 7 fic.
• I'll read anything that's Dean/Victor or Dean & Victor.
• Rapefic is not my thing.
• A/B/O or anything else where the summary starts out, "In a world where," is an immediate pass. Unless someone is honest enough to say, "In a world where there's this flimsy excuse so the men are men but the bitches aren't women, so it's totes okay." That I'll read just for the novelty of truth.
• I also like Gen, some Het and F/F, but I mostly read M/M.
• I'm reading on Opera with an extension based on the Readability code. I'm avoiding AO3 until it works logged in reasonably well. I will note only those stories that the extension or similar script can't make readable.

On with the show:

Tilting at Windmills by [livejournal.com profile] riyku
Jared/Jensen - NC-17 - 30,000 words

Author's Summary:
As a student of folklore and mythology, Jared is more at home in dusty libraries than in remote mountain villages, but curiosity and the lure of adventure have him following a path laid out in a centuries old journal. He chooses Jensen - or perhaps it's more like Jensen chooses him – as a guide, the only man off-kilter enough to buy into his plans. Each and every step takes them deeper into a world Jared never knew existed outside of fairy tales; a place where people still believe in magic and it's important to never forget to feed the dragon.

I enjoyed this story very much. It is about adult relationships between real people, which is ironic given the fantasy components of it.

The descriptions of Sofia and the Bulgarian countryside and various people in both places are vivid and realistic. The world presented is so real, so very not the inside our relationship bubble of a lot of fic, that it really makes the story a joy to read.

The ending is rushed and not terribly satisfying, but it didn't spoil it for me. I would have happily read this story without any of the fantasy element, but I get why that's unlikely to happen.

Good story and unusual enough in unexpected ways that I easily forgave its shortcomings.

The War Prize by [livejournal.com profile] meri_oddities
Jared/Jensen - Adult - 67,000 words

Author's Warnings: issues of consent, past child abuse (mentioned), violence

Author's Summary:
Jared, Monarch of Valdesco, did not want to get married. He especially didn't want a political marriage to someone who was part of the negotiations for peace. There was no way he could deal with a spouse whose culture was completely alien to his own.

Jensen Ackles was appalled to be the War Prize his country offered up as reparations. He sincerely did not want to go from being the High Chief's youngest son to being without status. And mostly, Jensen did not want to live in a country that was so technologically advanced that he had no hope of beginning to understand it.

But, like a lot of things in life, neither one of them was going to get a choice about it.

This is close to an anti-trope take on this, well, trope. It's absolutely not about kinking on the power imbalance or fetishizing Jensen as an object.

I enjoyed the story a lot, it was well paced and the characters interesting even when they were behaving in less than stellar ways. It's mostly focused on and about Jensen, the fish out of water, so we learn about Jared's world along with him.

The cultures of the two nations are well drawn, but the believability of the two solitudes on one planet is hard to hold on to at times. It's a plot device, and it can be just accepted as such.

What struck me after I read this story was the women OCs, and the men, are never these weird fic creations of "friends" that have no function other than to be overly invested in the relationships of the main pairing. Because they're people, the scenes with Jensen and various members of Jared's family are compelling and not just plot devices.

The style is a bit reserved and dry, so if your thing is emotion dripping from every word--why are you reading my reviews if it is?

Good adult story that kept me entertained from beginning to end.

Never Stuck Around Long Enough for a One Night Stand by [livejournal.com profile] beckaandzac
Jensen/Jared - NC-17 - 26,000 words

Author's Warnings: (internalized) homophobia, HIV-positive character

Author's Summary:
Jensen has been driving big rigs for eight years, crisscrossing the country in his truck, living on the road and keeping his life simple. Someday he figures he’ll meet a nice girl and settle down with a regular route and the kind of life his family wants for him, but right now he likes moving, and blowjobs from guys at truck stops are enough to take the edge off. He’s not looking for a relationship, and he’s definitely not gay.

Then he meets Jared, a short-order diner cook and exactly the kind of guy Jensen’s used to hooking up with once. But Jared loves Jensen’s stories about the places he passes through, and before long they’re talking on the phone all the time, and Jensen’s looking forward to jobs that take him through Jared’s part of Indiana.

This is another story that can only be called adult. Three so soon! I enjoyed this a great deal. The depiction of working class people was well done, and Jensen is a believable guy struggling with who he is and how he feels about who he is.

There's some nice OCs, a ubiquitous sister's wedding scene that I could have done without--what is it with people needing to put these heternormative displays in the middle of fics like this? I guess it's all part of the gay people can be mapped directly onto straight people meme that seems to be all the rage right now. (Says the smug person who lives in a country that will never ever have to talk about gay marriage again.) I get it, but it makes me so tired that there isn't more of a variety of types of people in stories of all sexualities. This may shock the fic reading population, but not all straight people are married.

It sounds like I didn't like this fic, but I did. It's got a quiet almost melancholy tone to it that rings true for the characters. This is a very, very well-done depiction of falling for someone slowly.

The HIV issue is very low-key, realistic, and this is so not a safer-sex meta fic. The sex scenes are very good despite their adherence to the fandom prescribed dynamic which seems at odds to me with the realities of living with HIV. This is the only place I thought fic conventions were taking the characters somewhere they might not really go in reality.

Very good story that stays in the couple bubble, but that's appropriate for a story that's really all about Jensen's state of mind.