Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Lambs Review Only For You by Claerwen

Monthly Fic Pick

When Demetri saw Bella and Edward, he was confused. But years later, he finds himself following their footsteps, doubting his pledge to the Volturi. A girl wanders into Volterra, stumbling upon the Volturi. Will she help them against the Cullens? Demetri/OC Rated T

So our group review story for Volturi Month is Only For You, by Claerwen. Before I get to my actual review of the story, I just need to say that I think this month was a great success. The authors who participated in the I Get Off in Volterra Contest gave us some really great one shots, My Vamp Fiction gave us some incredible recs, and TLYDF had their character exploration series for the Volturi at the beginning of the month.

All in all, I think that a few of us out of this passionate group of ladies have found a story or two to read that shows us there's more to Twilight fan-fiction than Edward/Bella or Jasper/Bella. I know that, personally, I welcomed the change, and every single one of these unique stories. I also admire these authors, who are 100% devoted to their fics because they ENJOY writing them. Look at the review counts, people. They're not doing it for reviews, THAT much is obvious. So, yes, every single one of you authors who have written a story centered around any Volturi character and doesn't let it fall by the wayside gets a standing ovation from me.

So, Only For You. This story is simply original. It is a perplexing story, that's for sure, but the author is so very creative in throwing a few twists here and there, while giving us very little familiarity (I mean that in a good way). I put this story up for a group review choice a few weeks ago. I had read the first three chapters and simply found it fascinating. I still do, but there are some issues. First, though, let me say that the author is writing a Demetri/OC tale. So, it is safe to say this story is very unique and the overall concept was well thought out.

Our heroine, Victoria, finds herself in Cecina, Italy, studying abroad. Victoria has seen and been through some unfortunate circumstances concerning her family. Her brother, Rehan, is dead, having committed suicide after his trip to Italy 4 years before. Her mother is in a coma. Now, of course, this tale takes Victoria on a journey where she will no doubt discover the existence of our vampires, the Volturi... But there are also a few mysteries to solve concerning her family and those she only thought were gone.

I, for the most part, enjoy this story a lot. I simply love the air of mystery surrounding Demetri, and the author does so well at describing him and some of the actions and the emotions, and she really gives her characters some depth, and um... some really well thought out backgrounds. I mean, Caius...Cassius? Caesar? Seriously?

When it comes to the detail of the elements in this story, whether it be character-related or scene-related, the author is very good at her descriptions, as well as her writing. Claerwen has a really unique writing style. It could be confusing to some who don't generally like to see fics switch back in forth when it concerns elements or topics that need to be covered, but it just makes this story that much more intriguing.

Okay. What I didn't like. Now, please don't take this the wrong way, but this story has some issues. I mean, there are just some things in here that are a little irritating, and maybe I'm a picky bitch, but there are just some things you don't do. Author's notes within the actual content of the chapter itself - it's distracting. I'm a firm believer that you should leave them for the beginning or the end, or not at all. In the last chapter posted, she has responses to actual reviews that contain spoilers. I was, of course, the idiot --> I didn't think anything MAJOR would be revealed...WRONG! Right then I think I caught on pretty quickly to where this story was going. This story is better if the secrets are revealed in time, with her characters, and not by way of author's notes.

The other thing is that there some inconsistencies: with the times that are labeled; I think I caught a name or two messed up; Victoria’s stint on Broadway (that just came out of left field for me); and there's one issue I'm not sure is an inconsistency issue anymore, but it definitely needs to be executed better. Claerwen, the chapter where Victoria and Demetri are discussing his age, Victoria is back in forth with just how old he is. It’s 700, 800, 700, and then 600 years old. I think you were trying to reflect just how shocked she was, and this was supposed to be humorous. In which case, I can only suggest adding more to it, to reflect Victoria’s inability to grasp the situation. Right now it looks like you are inconsistent.

Believe me, though, this story is unique and beautiful in its own right. Claerwen has created some wonderful characters and it’s quite easy to fall in love with her Demetri, her Felix, and even her Victoria. I simply think that if it was given a better read-over, or perhaps even beta’d, it could be one of the best Volturi centered fics out there. At any rate, I’m going to keep reading.

Whoa, boy! Volturi month has been all kinds of WIN... and lose at times. What I loved about it was our contest, I Get Off in Volterra, its wonderful entries (especially the fact that there were authors who typically ship one kind of pairing contributing here to an area outside their comfort zone), as well as the several great stories I had the pleasure to find... and read... and recommend on this blog!

It's not easy being an author who ships outside of the typical realm of popular pairings. And, as we know all too well from Emmett month, really great stories are hard to find within such realms. It takes a really great author to pull off the believable introduction and embodiment of a character 'created' by Stephenie Meyer, but who she left languishing within the depths of her Saga. Jasper is an excellent example, but he's also an example of a character who has proven to give Edward a run for his money in the land of fan fiction.

The Volturi, like Emmett, however, tend to truly be overlooked as a main pairing possibility. But, there are so many possibilities when it comes to the Volturi, people! Aro, Caius, Marcus, Felix, Demetri, Alec, and any possibility of newly created characters are at your doorstep, and ripe for the taking to do with as you please!

So, here we are. We submitted our votes for this month's Group Rec, and it was... a heated debate amongst us Lambs. But, be that as it may, we had to go to the polls and vote for the final story of the month. Not an easy task, I tell you!

Only For You is an interesting idea. Claerwen spins a mystery here, and a compelling one at that. It pairs Demetri with new character, Victoria, who is studying medicine in Italy. Victoria is attempting to both hunt down her estranged grandfather, Lawrence, and understand the reasoning behind her twin brother's suicide following HIS own doomed search for their grandfather in Volterra. Victoria ends up being snared within the world of the Volturi, where the secrets of her family's past are kept hidden from her initially, and where she develops a curious relationship with Demetri. Also, as you can tell by the story's summary - yes, the Cullens will be involved (or already are), and I think it's interesting how Claerwen plans to bring us there.

Is this story puzzling? You bet your ass it is. In both good ways... and bizarre ways. But, I kind of like it like that. I have so many questions in my head while reading this, like Demetri's interest in Victoria... and his link to her comatose mother, Allegra. For some reason, I get this bizarre feeling as if Demetri is (or was) drawn to Allegra... like a mate. But, maybe not... But if so, how does this explain whatever it is he feels for Victoria? There is a protectiveness prevalent in his dealings with her, and I like the quiet interactions played out between both characters.

There is a subtlety to this story that may not work for everyone... It works for me, though, because it has a quiet charm, and a drafty feel to it, and you read it as though you are there, watching the scenes unfold... but like as if there is some kind of gauzy material hindering your sight completely... and hindering your ability to grasp what it is exactly that is going on in this mystery.

Now, the writing is good. It's different. But there are times where you are left scratching your head. Maybe it's the beta in me that causes me to fall off balance when I see blatant inconsistencies in a story... and if I had the time I would honestly beta the shazizzle out of this story, gift-wrap it, and courier it back to its author. Because with any story, you can easily ignore the odd spelling or grammatical error. But, when it comes to consistency, that's a whole other ball game. Some examples (and this is more for Claerwen to use as a guideline to help her clean up some areas):

-I don't think it's necessary to indicate that the sound of Demetri's laughter can be compared to a chorus of angels as many times as you indicate it as such. I think just the first time is the only time it should be described as it is... and then move forward, possibly - if you so decide - describing the sound of his laugh in various OTHER ways... using other imagery.

-I can't wrap my head around the fact that at 21 years of age, Victoria wanted to be a graphic artist, but is now in medical school, has somehow managed to get her school to allow her to work with 'Lawrence' as a curator of old books - how this applies to medical school is confusing - Victoria has also performed on Broadway... AND she has interned with the CIA... somehow... I don't know how... but she has.

-Do not use author's notes within your text, only at the beginning and/or end of each chapter.

-You need to establish the date in which your story takes place... knowing it is currently the year 2028 would help to establish or cement certain ideas in your readers' minds for future revealings, such as Allegra's date of birth in Chapter 13.

-My biggest issue with actual consistency, however, stems from the following passage in Chapter 11:

"How long have you been..." I asked, trying not to say "vampire."

"A vampire?" Demetri asked. I nodded. "Roughly seven hundred years." I blinked. I felt a mental blow to my head. Eight hundred years?! Eight hundred he was born in the


Seven hundred years?!

Demetri noticed my shocked expression and smiled.

"It's really not that old," he said, glancing at me. "The masters are about a fifteen hundred years old," he said, looking at me. My mouth dropped open. Demetri continued, "We are immortal. Frozen in time, really"

" don't change?" I asked. "At all?" Demetri shook his head.

"Nope," he said, smiling at the shock on my face. I stared at his artfully chiseled face and body, his pale white skin and dark hair. That was six hundred years old?!

I think it's pretty clear that your reader will just be confuzzled... Is Demetri 600, 700, or 800 years old? Not that it entirely matters what age you DO give him, but you need to pick an 'age', and stick with it.

I gathered from Kaylene (IdreamofEddy) that you are in the process of revising your story, and I think that that is an excellent idea (although I get the impression from Chapter 13 that what is now posted to IS the revised story). So, go through it and look for discrepancies like the ones above and fix them... because I do believe you have a good story here. And it deserves to be read cleanly so that your readers are not questioning things that, in the end, shouldn't even be disputed. The elements I list above become unneeded distractions, and I think your story would be all the more lovely without them.

Good job on an interesting idea, Claerwen. As I said at the beginning, it's not easy penning in the realm of the Volturi. And I applaud you for having the creativity and desire to contribute to that area, which is woefully lacking with decent material.

Good Volturi fics are few and far between... but they ARE there, lambchops... And Claerwenmanaged to pique my interest. It is a good story, even if it needs a bit of work.

I’m going to try not to repeat too much of what the other Lambs may have mentioned regarding Volturi Month. I absolutely loved it AND hated it.

I loved it because with all the Lambs searching for fics, we found some really great ones. I got to add a few good ones to my 'read' and 'to be read' lists. In addition, it gets the Volturi name out there so that hopefully it will inspire others to write more Volturi-centric fics for us to rec on our next go around.

I hated it because I can’t tell you how hard it was to find ‘good’ fics – whether they be one shots or multi chapters. This has been my biggest problem with Volturi fics. I do believe the release of New Moon helped bring the Volturi to the forefront with regards to writing them in fics, but it is still hard to find a good selection of quality reads. We came up with some really good ones this month, but it was a challenge, for sure.

My hope is that our sponsoring the I Get Off in Volterra Contest and doing this Volturi Month will result in more fics down the road. I, for one, would like to read them!

Now, on to our Monthly Fic Pic, Only for You. I don’t want to reiterate too much, again, what the other Lambs have said. I’m sure they have expressed things more eloquently than I ever could, but I will touch on a few things.

Overall, I thought this story had such potential. However, there were a few things I had problems with. For one thing, I got dizzy trying to follow the timeline. She bounces back and forth between what is happening and when, and I think she gets her times mixed up quite a few times. It was so hard keeping up with where I was chronologically and being distracted by her timestamps that the actual story was lost.

Another thing was the song lyrics and such. I’m not a fan of these, although many authors like to use them. I prefer the story tell me things and only use lyrics when it actually fits into the story (i.e. someone is actually singing/dedicating them to someone else).

Now, what I think I found the most intriguing was her description of Chelsea’s power and how it seems to dissipate the further away you get, and continues to do so the longer you stay away, it seems. I love when authors find original ways to work in something from the books.

I like the idea of the storyline, or at least what I could make of it. It seems like an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it is overshadowed by other things and I hate to see that. I would love to see her revamp her story and make it easier to read. If she did, then perhaps I could have gotten through more than half of it. Also, if she did, I’d pick it up again and try again.

The story is set post-BD. Victoria's brother and closest confidante, Rehan, allegedly committed suicide. Her mother, Allegra, has been in a coma for years. According to her father, her grandfather, Lawrence, will give her all the unanswered questions she needs. She never met her grandfather, nor does she know anything about him, but she goes looking for him anyway. She is hoping that by finding him, it wil bring closure to Rehan's sudden demise. Along the way, she meets Demetri, who knows of her grandfather. Her search ultimately leads her to Volterra.

Demetri and Victoria's storyline is very akin to Bella and Edward's storyline in Twilight. You'll notice a lot of similarities, like the Port Angeles scene or how Victoria discovers Demetri's secret. Somehow she manages to write those scenes as her own, so kudos to her. That is really cool.

It has a great premise. The writing is exceptionally good, BUT the way it is written had me so confused. The timeline is all over the place. Then again, I guess that's a good thing because I found myself going to the next chapter, hoping that the next chapter wasn't as confusing as the previous one. I really have high hopes for this fic. This has the makings of a great fanfic if it's fixed.


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