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facetofcathy ([personal profile] facetofcathy) wrote in [community profile] facetsoftext2012-08-16 02:55 pm

SPN J2 Big Bang 2012 Part IV

I stopped posting reviews there didn't I? Well, I hit the doldrums of the SPN J2 Big Bang, where most of what was posted was either not for me, or not of a readable standard. I'm not sure if the overall quality standard is lower this year, or if I'm just changing my tastes and less interest in ships equals less willingness to read unedited first drafts.

This is the rest of everything I finished out of this year's Big Bang, including some gen RPD, Dean/Victor and Dean/Sam.

standing on the edge of nothing by jay tryfanstone

Sam/Dean - NC-17 - 41,000 words

Author's Summary:
San Francisco, 1924. Five years after the worst day of his life, Sam Winchester's still hustling for a living, still searching for his missing brother, and on the track of a story so big it might just break him.

Notes: please be aware that this particular story takes a jaundiced view of certain religious concepts, necessarily contains period-specific instances of racism and homophobia, and illustrates an unsympathetic portrait of Castiel.

Warning: major character death, Castiel.

PDF and text + images download available. Website is clean and simple.

I really enjoyed this story a great deal. I'm usually a fan of this author, with some notable exceptions. You have to just accept going in they'll be Britishisms in unfortunate places (which means dialogue or character thoughts). There were fewer this time.

I thought the period setting was really well done, if a little less than convincing on the climate of California hill country, but surprisingly good on the agriculture stuff.

I quite enjoyed this take on a Castiel and the ambiguous ending really worked for me.

I liked all the OCs, but there was too much preachiness to the themes of race and sexuality and historical attitudes. This kind of story can be done much, much more subtly.

I found the Sam/Dean to be interesting and compelling and the way the tangle of obsessions and jealousy was shown (subtly, like the issues weren't) was excellent. I generally don't like Castiel is human AUs, but this one worked.

Top quality writing, interesting idea, works well with the canon while providing a whole new setting. Very good read that people who love Cas in an uncritical way will hate.

Enough of its Glory Remains by [livejournal.com profile] balefully

Sam/Dean - NC-17 - 22,854 words

Author's Summary:
Every war has casualties, and Sam and Dean are nothing if not warriors. Scarred both mentally and physically, they find themselves settling into civilian life in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia among the charming townspeople, local history, and peaceful mountain views. Sam finds work at an auto shop and Dean stumbles into a job at the occult bookstore on Main Street with a familiar gimmoire in the window. Things are deceptively quiet as they patch each other up and come to terms with domesticity, the only contact with their old life a quest to rebuild Bobby's library -- until a case crosses their path, the kind they thought they were done with forever. They find themselves once again fighting a vengeful spirit as well as their deeper feelings for each other. Only one is a battle they can win.

Notes and Warnings: Written for spn_j2_bigbang. Contains casefile gore and violence. Some mental illness and physical disability. Vague spoilers for Season 7.

PDF or on LJ in multiple parts.

This was a pleasant enough story. The only part not right from the recipe book of post-hunting future fic is the professions revealed in the summary. Nothing unexpected happens and all the tropey beats are hit in a good rhythm.

If you love the trope and ship the ship hard, you'll love it. If you want a good story, it'll suffice, but you'll feel like you've read it a hundred times.

But, fandom, oh fandom: could you stop with the instant mechanics? You don't make Sam into a lawyer without a trip back to school do you? So stop with the Dean (or in this case, even more unlikely, Sam) drops in and is hired on instantly cuz he just has a way with cars.

Auto mechanics is a profession. One with a major educational requirement. Along with apprenticeship, tool ownership and a bunch of exams and certifications you have to get. Just because they don't teach it at Stanford, doesn't mean it's not a real profession.

Classism, it's a real thing.

Silver Bullet Blues by [ao3.com profile] glasslogic

On AO3 only at the time I read it.

Author's Summary
Sam's life at Stanford is falling apart. One day it's clear skies ahead, the next his fiancée is dead in an apartment fire and he doesn't know how to even start picking up the pieces. The tragedy brings his estranged father back into his life, only for John to vanish again weeks later, gunned down on a street corner halfway across the country. Security footage shows the crime, but Sam doesn't understand how it happened and the search for answers will take him far from the California coast as he uncovers family secrets and buried lies -- learning the hard way that some doors you open really should have stayed shut.

Interesting idea this story, but somewhat poorly put together.

I don't get at all what the Dean has to rape Sam for ~plot reasons~ scene is even doing there. It's not written to any kink trope I've ever seen, it doesn't make a lot of plot sense, and it serves to manufacture some conflict when we should be in the resolution phase.

There's also an inexplicable bit of Dean changing how he acts towards Sam that is never explained. He doesn't know yet the thing that would make him behave this way. I'm guessing some bad reordering of scenes on edit there.

This could be a really good melodramatic action story, but there's too much wrong with it to call it a rec.

Tornado Warning by [livejournal.com profile] dear_tiger

Sam/Dean - R - 28,000 words

Author's Summary:
A failed attempt to restore Sam’s soul leaves roboSam with a demonic infestation. He and Dean set off across the country, searching for a way to reverse the damage. Elsewhere, an amnesiac ex-con lands a job at the Winchester Meat butcher shop, gets harassed by local monsters and falls in love with the sheriff. There are two stories that develop independently, and the connection is a name, and the name is a memory, and memories are hard to come by. But what you gotta remember first and foremost, sonny, is to watch out for the tornado.

On AO3 and LJ in multiple parts.

Excellent story with an intriguing structure that means it's two stories twined together.

I loved all of this, the surreal world of Danny who works at Winchester Meat for a John Winchester who seems haunted by his past, and the canon world of soulless Sam (with a thousand times better explanation for how he got that way) and Dean trying to cope with their new realities.

This is just so well done, and all the characters are so well realized and do things that are true to their characters. The romance is very plausible and all works well with the story, while not being the point of the story. This could never be gen, but I never wished it was either like I often do with pasted on Dean/Sam.

Top of the heap for this year for me, I think.

Dignity of Dragons by [livejournal.com profile] etrix

51,000 words - Gen (with a bit of Jensen/Danneel) - PG-13

Author's Summary:
Technically, Harley found the lizard (which was actually a dragon!) and Jared took it home because it was hurt (even though his mama had said no more pets). It was okay though, because Jared didn't intend to keep it. In fact, it had to have escaped from one of the government zoos (and having it in the house was probably dangerous), so Jared planned on returning it (but the dragon had plans of his own).

Characters: Featuring a (nearly) 17-year-old Jared, his family, and his family's pets (which include 2 dogs, 1 bird, 1 gerbil and 2 turtles) and Jensen as the dragon (of course). Also starring Kurt Fuller, Misha Collins, Charles Malik Whitfield, Samantha Ferris and Rob Benedict. With appearances by Jim Beaver, Katie Cassidy, Mark Pellegrino, Demore Barnes, and Lindsey McKeon.

Charming fantasy story where a very realistically teenage Jared finds a dragon. I loved the set up and the characters--Jensen is very recognizably Jensen even as a dragon--and the AU world building is smoothly done without a lot of info dumps.

The action is a bit movie of the week implausible, but still fun, and there's some delightful touches like Jared's crush on Malick Whitfield that is both sexual and not, as well as the family interactions.

The charm ebbs as the resolution of the conflict flows over it in a big wave of issues. It's still a good read, but I enjoyed Jensen and Jared as people, yes I know Jensen's not, and when it became politics and action it started to lose me. Also the psychic link thing needed more exploration and less quick acceptance.

Misha is the whacky!Misha version that I usually hate, but the dosage here is small.

Very fun and charming story, and interesting enough even through the rough patches to be worth recommending.

Lingering in Quiet Places by [livejournal.com profile] delanach

Dean/Victor - NC-17 - 41,393 words

Author's Warnings/Spoilers: Major character death.

Author's Summary:
Sam Winchester was killed on a hunt the day after his fourteenth birthday but he'd made a pact with his brother that it would always be the two of them against the world, so he stuck around. Victor Henriksen has been fascinated with the Winchesters since he first joined the FBI, but when he finally catches up to Dean, nothing can prepare him for what he finds.

On AO3 or LJ in multiple parts.

I love Dean/Victor, and it is a rare, rare thing. I wanted this to be good, and I can't help but think that coloured by response to the fic.

I really enjoyed this, but the Dean/Victor is actually not the best part of it. Sam as a ghost is the interesting bit. I think it needed to be longer to work up to the pairing in a more natural way, without it becoming the interruption to Sam's story. Or else it needed to be all just from Sam's POV.

But, it's a good read. It's an interesting take on a ghost that can work with the now-loose as a goose canon on the topic and a fresh look at Sam as a kid. John is very well done here as well.

Definitely a rec, if a less enthusiastic one than I had hoped for.

From Himself Can Fly by [livejournal.com profile] sagetan

Sam/Dean - R - 21,000 words

Author's Warnings:
AU loosely inspired by His Dark Materials. Temporary death, mind reading, interspecies UST (but all friskiness happens between adult, human-shaped beings).

Author's Summary:
Dean is twenty, ready to take on the world and make Dad proud. It's just him and the road and the hunt these days, and his grumpy late bloomer of a daemon. Okay, so Sam is still a wolfhound one minute and a corn snake the next, so what. They can worry about Sam finally settling into a permanent form after they've dealt with Dean's freaky new mind-reading powers. Now if only Sam would stop being so damn uncooperative. What's that dodgy fucker so worried about, anyway? It's not like he could possibly have anything to hide from Dean.

On AO3 or LJ in multiple parts.

This starts out as a fabulous fusion with a really compelling story and well drawn characters, and then goes all to hell. The ending is incomprehensible, rushed and utterly meaningless. The start is so good that where it goes is really disappointing.

Read this if you're into the daemon thing, or if you want to read half a good story. Don't read it if you want a satisfying ending.