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facetofcathy ([personal profile] facetofcathy) wrote in [community profile] facetsoftext2011-07-01 09:45 pm

SPN J2 Big Bang 2011 Part IV

It's a long weekend and Civ V now has hotseat--apropos for the weather too--so I think this is all I'll finish up this week. I would love to see non AU J2 or season 6 Sam and Dean, but so far, not so much.

To the Day We Burned Maps by [livejournal.com profile] dayadhvam_triad

Gen - 20,000 words - Rated R

Only on LJ in multiple parts, not in site scheme.

So, clearly I was full of shit when I said I never like SPN Gen.

This is a non-linear story with prose mixed with some epistolary elements, and the prose itself is dense at times. I had to force myself to slow down to read this, and I liked it a great deal, but I do think the prose is just awkward in places, that the style fails and it becomes clunky or incomprehensible with strange usage. A few places only.

But, the story is really engrossing and the characterizations are interesting. Plus! Henriksen and Claire and a set up that gets us John interacting with Castiel--which is very thought-provoking.

I'm not 100% sold on the Dean characterization, but the author's take is not unbelievable, just not quite how I see him given After School Special.

Deeply engrossing story.

All the Waly Home by [livejournal.com profile] peggy_lane

All the Way Home (35999 words) by faviconpeggy_lane

Jared/Jensen - 36,000 words - Explicit

On LJ in multiple parts, in downloadable PDF from LJ link or AO3 with all attendant formats.

Okay, I have the start of a nearly identical story in my WIP folder--Jensen is running a ranch as a way of hiding from his past and he meets Jared and they figure each other out--so I should really like this, right?

I should, for more reasons than the truly excellent plot idea, and I do mostly, but I'm having a cranky day or something, because a couple of things pushed my irritable button hard.

One thing I'm sick to fucking death of is authors who are not gay men putting in the now damn near de rigueur scene where our very straight-acting, masculine heroes have a conversation about how doing X would be just so gay. And, yes, I do know gay men say that very thing, and your characters are gay and it is occasionally realistic dialogue. But I'm still done with seeing it because that is crossing the line for me of who gets to decide when a slur gets reclaimed. It is often not realistic and just reads like mindless imitative homophobia or effemiphobia. It's not clever, it's tedious. /rant

The main issue I actually had with this story is that the bulk of part 2 is taken up with a massive info dump of Jensen's prior fucked-up relationship which reads like the TWOP summary of a soap opera. The tone is off from the fairly restrained and subtle present-day story and the details don't really add anything to the characterization of Jensen. This could have been doled out in bits the way Jared's backstory is, and the story would have worked better for me. The other problem is that Jensen and Jared's blooming relationship is what interested me, and a lot of that got told in those scenes I hate where the POV character reflects on all the things that have happened in the recent past--that the story didn't show. This is the worst kind of telling, not showing. Tell me what Jensen thinks, how he feels, sure, but don't have him stare at the film on his coffee and ruminate about how Jared acts toward him or all the fun they've had hanging out to try to sell the relationship.

What I liked was the mild D/S dynamic to the sex with subtle negotiation that never got into a difficult to believe dialogue scene lifted from some how to write kink correctly post. I also liked the way JDM as a side character actually seemed believably himself.

So, good story with some technical flaws that most readers likely won't call fatal.

Wow, er, I am cranky--bear that in mind and take this with a grain of salt. If this sort of writing issue isn't a big deal for you, you may love this.

You Be the Prom Queen, I'll Be the Malcontent by [livejournal.com profile] poor_choices

Jared/Jensen - 20,000 - Rated R

On LJ in multiple parts in a layout (I believe) optimized for mobile devices. Links to subsequent chapters are images with no hover text. (Readable turned it into a layout optimized for me, and guessing got me each new chapter.) Also available in downloadable PDF and mobi formats.

This is exactly what you expect from this author--snappy dialogue, Chad with just the right amount of humanity to make him tolerable, Misha just wacky enough to still be believable, and a romance that is going to end well, but has enough conflict to keep things interesting.

But I was surprised at how affected I was by Jared--kicked out before he's finished high school and getting by with a little help from his friends. Jared is actually a little annoyingly naïve and immature at first, and I kept getting irritated at him, but he's coming by his lack of confidence honestly here--and he's only 20-years old.

I have to say, straight Misha utterly unfazed by even the personalized hypothetical of gay sex was a nice antidote to the above, that's so gay business.

Lighthearted, but grounded in reality romance, with a bit of schmoopy sweet Hollywood ending. I'm still not sure why this story is so emotionally affecting and effective, but I'm not the only one saying that it is.

A Strong Confederate (In My Bold Design) by [livejournal.com profile] obstinatrix

A Strong Confederate (In My Bold Design) (25557 words) by faviconObstinatrix

Jared/Jensen/Misha - 26,000 words - NC-17

On LJ in multiple parts in site scheme, AO3 and downloadable PDF.

The story fridges Katie, who is Jared's wife for the first few paragraphs, if that bothers you, I'd skip the whole thing.

I enjoyed this for the first two thirds. I like threesome fic that's more than a PWP, and this AU of guys working in the news business--which is used primarily to set up a work-living situation similar to canon--takes the complications fairly seriously. Like most of these stories, it ends before there's any question of social costs or difficulties.

The story has a great deal of Jensen, the sole POV character, ruminating at his coffee cup, and I am getting utterly fed up with this. I found, in this fic, it interfered with me buying in to the Jensen/Misha part of the equation. We just never see it. For that matter, the Jared/Misha comes out of left field just as hard.

I can usually buy into any sort of Jared/Misha, the filial relationship in poor_choices' fic, the very physically affectionate friendship I've written myself or any sort of sexual relationship. I need some selling on Jensen/Misha. This story doesn't do that--they change from a decade of friendship to sex partners in the blink of an eye and Jensen, out gay man, doesn't know Misha is gay or bi? It never ever came up? The out of time sync opening scene would have done better to have been in order--it has the only Jensen attracted to Misha moment in the entire story prior to their first time.

There's some very good stuff in the first few sections, the friendships are well written, and the story has enough going for it that the over-narration by Jensen is not a big deal. When the relationships come into play, it lost me. The closing sex scene is good--no issues of it sounding like a description of naked twister--but it felt emotionally disconnected from what came before.