Aug. 17th, 2016

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Warning for bitchiness ahead. This also almost became a rant, so beware on that.

Actually, I take back about the series I was going to cover, because this... needs to be seen and said. Why? Well, I found a fic recently on Ao3 and recent YnM works? VERY rare nowadays.

I was also boggled by the amount of comments on this work. Skimming through the YnM section on Ao3, very few stories had more than 4 comments (This is discounting author replies btw) unless it was multi-chapter, multi-fandom, or older than a year. And this story was less than a month old! So curiosity compelled me to take a look at it.

I am FLOORED that this fic got as many comments as it did and NOT ONE FUCKING PERSON pointed out a GLARING mistake in this fic.

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Closer to Me
Author: Veleda_k
Genre: Flangst
Rating: T
Warnings: A good idea that falls flat (Is that even a warning?), bland writing, Misspelling the MAIN CHARACTER'S name
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka

Plot: 7/10 - Okay, I'm going to give the author credit here. Basically, we see flashbacks of Tsuzuki and Hisoka interaction covering each of the anime arcs where one character visits the other. I thought it was creative idea and showing the reader how their relationship changes over the course of the anime. A perfect set up for build up fic or just random drive by fluff.

Now, if it was well written, this actually would be a better example of how to write fluff than the previous story I reviewed.

Le sigh...

Writing: 2/10 - The biggest mistake an author can make, and that instantly takes me out of a story isn't boring writing. Not common word spelling errors. Not period misplacements or comma splices. Not bad characterization.

It's spelling the canon character's name wrong. Worse, the main fucking protagonist. And yes, 'Clean Kill', I am ESPECIALLY looking at fucking you.

I counted a total of THREE times that this fic spelled Tsuzuki as 'Tsuzki' (2 times) and 'Tszuki'. And two of these are near the end of the story and one of them is the LAST FUCKING PARAGRAPH of the GODDAMN FIC! There is no excuse for this, like none. It's like the author just threw this up and didn't either read it herself or get someone to read it over for her.

Shame on you readers who left comments and failed to point this out. Because if this was my story? I'd be beyond embarrassed and would fix it asap!

This isn't going into how bad some sentences sound, how flat the story runs, too much 'noun verb' sentences, Surgatanus (It's Sarganatas and I looked it up on anime news network to make sure it's correct) and just... how overall bland this fic runs.

A few examples:

"(Hisoka had never used a computer before the Shokan division, but he was learning just fine. He wasn't an idiot. Unlike some people.)"

For some reason, the first sentence didn't translate properly into my head, and I realized it was because my mind kept trying to put a verb inbetween 'before' and 'the Shokan division'. It is grammarly correct, but it just... doesn't sound right. Also, this doesn't need to be in parenthesis, mostly because it doesn't add anything to the sentence before it. It wrecks the overall flow of the story.

And this isn't the first time this story has interrupted/overall bad flow, trust me.

"Tsuzuki's joking tone and expression faded. “Sorry. I wanted to talk to you,” he said again"

A period is missing at the end of 'he said again'. Not to mention, you don't even need it, because we already know who is speaking thanks to the beginning part of this.

"Tsuzuki needed comfort, that was clear. The problem was that Hisoka was terrible at comfort. It wasn't that he never looked out for Tsuzuki, but he did it by shoving antacids in his hands when he was hungover (or by nearly killing him to prevent the demon possessing him from killing everyone Tsuzuki loved, but Hisoka was trying not to think too much about that), not by saying the right things. For a mind reader, Hisoka was shit at knowing the right thing to say."

I'm going to admit right here, I had to reread this entire paragraph several times before it finally translated into my head. And then it took another read for me to understand just WHY it wasn't catching with me. And I found the answer: the parenthesis sentence interrupted the flow of the original sentence.

The sentence in the parenthesis doesn't even need to be in parenthesis yet again. It could exist outside of it. The sentence flow is way off, it almost feels like a really bad run-on sentence and I blame the sentence in parenthesis for that. This story has a pattern of interrupted flow thanks to the parenthesis that doesn't even need to be there.

Also, Hisoka isn't a mind reader, he's an Empath. While Telepathy and Empathy can co-exist with each other and there's canon evidence that Hisoka does have a bit of telepathy, his powers lean to reading emotions.

And really, did we use 'shit' as a description? Not to mention, that last sentence sounds really awkward.

"But he knew that if he had called in advance, Tsuzuki would have insisted he was fine. (It was what Hisoka would have done if Tsuzuki had ever called him before showing up.) Luckily, Tsuzuki was home, which meant Hisoka didn't have to feel any stupider than he did already."

An example again of a parenthesis that isn't needed. And again, another paragraph I had to read a few times before it made sense in my mind, because a lot of the sentences in the parenthesis? Really badly interrupt the flow of the story.

I'm going to stop because if I had to point out every goddamn nitpick at this story, this would turn into a beta read. And I'd be repeating the same problem over and over again. Basically, the writing flow is a complete mess.

Characterization: 5/10 - The characters are flat as pancakes and this is more tied into the flat writing rather than characters acting OOC. For the most part, the author was on par with the characters, but the writing makes them... flat. I also think part of the problem was me having to reread parts of the story because it didn't seem to translate right in my head. And having to reread the same paragraph 3 times or more totally threw my mind out of the story.

It's a shame, because I find a lot of fics that are decently written are wildly OOC. I don't come across too many fics where the characters are IC, but it doesn't feel like them because of the writing.

Negatives: Flat writing, canon names are misspelt
Summary: Sniplits of Tsuzuki and Hisoka, covering each anime arc, and how they fall into each other
Overall: 4.6/10 - Flat writing can destroy a really good idea. This fic is a perfect example of this.

Again, shame on you commenters who didn't point out Tsuzuki's name being misspelled. We constantly complain about quality of fanfiction. Well, how are we going to improve the quality of fanfiction when we can't point out obvious errors like this and not be called a 'troll' or whatnot??? Yeah, it's a hobby and what not, but have some mother fucking PRIDE in what you post up!

Anyways, I'm going to stop before this becomes a rant. NOW next time, I'm really going to do a series I promised last time!
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And here we go on the promised fic series I wanted to cover. And boy, this is going to be a very unpopular opinion from me, because this story gets a lot of praise, as in 'Best YnM fic ever!' type of praise. And I'm like, 'yeah, it's okay, but that's it, it's just... okay.'

A friend of mine recommended me this fic WAY back when it was being written. I recently gave it a reread and I'm going to say this about it:

The first two parts of this story almost made me give up on reading part three. Moreso on part 2, which I'll eventually cover. That's... not a good thing. Like at all. But I did continue and unlike the other trilogy that I covered on here, part three is vastly superior to the first two. I'm also not going to count the fourth story in this, because it doesn't need to be read and can stand out on it's own.

And here we go. The Mercy of the Fallen series!

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Exorcism
Author: gaudior
Genre: Angst, general, casefic
Rating: M
Warnings: Boarderline OOC Hisoka, mentions of sex, mentions of rape
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka one sided (!!!), it's more Tsuzuki + Hisoka

Plot: 7/10 - Okay, I'll say this on the plot. The casefic itself? Fits the YnM universe perfectly. Wonderfully researched as well, and a better example of how to use fucking cliffnotes. We don't need the background info, but it's there incase the reader wants to see how it ties into the story. This won't be the only example in this series.

However, the problem isn't the plot itself, it's really Hisoka's character, and it somewhat drags the plot down with it. Like I can understand him wanting to be alone with his own thoughts and emotions, more so because he's an Empath. But leaving RIGHT after the Touda incident? Yeah, no. Hisoka would damn well know better than that, even if you claim ignorance on his behalf. And then debating to send Tsuzuki back? At least he caught on that would not be a good thing.

Also, if Hisoka could feel anything coming from Tsuzuki, it's a wonder he survived with him up to this point. Maybe I haven't read the manga/watched the anime in a while, but couldn't Hisoka only pick up strong emotions only if he was touching Tsuzuki, at least pre-Kyoto arc? I remember him picking up some of Tsuzuki's emotions, but near the beginning of the manga/anime. I'm assuming he got better as using his powers over time, and I'm pretty sure Konoe was training him in the use of his powers.

Again, don't know if it's a fanon thing about Hisoka's powers or derivived from canon. I decided not to dock any points for that, because I really can't remember if it's a canon or fanon thing.

Not to mention, Hisoka is down right cold to Tsuzuki. I'm going to cover this in the characterization part more deeply.

Overall plot is okay, but the lead in to get there? Not so okay.

Writing: 7/10 - There's nothing wrong with the writing besides maybe an awkward sentence here and there. It doesn't derive from the story and that's what's good about this series. The writing only seems to improve more as the series continues and that's how it should.

Characterization: 3/10 - This is where the story suffers in my opinion and it's all on Hisoka here. I don't like the characterization of Hisoka in this series at all. I dislike it a lot in this part, and moreso in the next part, but we'll get to that later.

Like I said before, Hisoka is down right cold to Tsuzuki. I mean, like I said, I can see him wanting to be alone to get his thoughts and emotions in order. But even I know that just up and going and not telling Tsuzuki where he's going directly AFTER the Kyoto Arc??? No, not going to happen, sorry. This story would've benefitted more if it took place a week or two AFTER the Kyoto Arc, but it doesn't. And Hisoka would probably either tell Tsuzuki about needing alone time to think, and maybe put an empathsis on his powers as the reason why (And it would actually be truthful too), or be really sneaky and take time off when they're allowed to work again, because he knows Tsuzuki has little to no vacation time due to him blowing up the library again and having to pay it back.

Also, Tsuzuki comes on WAY too strongly, but in a way, I can see why. Hisoka basically tells him to live for him and then RIGHT after, up and walks away. So Tsuzuki's character is believable. I could also see Tsuzuki guilt tripping and hiding as well. So Tsuzuki's character isn't really the problem.

This is just... really uncomfortable to read sometimes, and it's mostly because I feel like Hisoka is on the cusp of being OOC to remaining somewhat IC. Basically, when the focus of the story is the case fic itself, Hisoka's perfectly IC. The only time is when they want to sync up to each other (aka, Hisoka is being stupid and illogical, when he's usually the logical one), but the reason behind it, I can let it pass, for plot's sake. When it comes to focus on Tsuzuki, it's cold and clinical.

Negatives: Boarderline OOC Hisoka, rape mentions
Summary: Post Kyoto Arc, Hisoka wants time to think and reflect. Surely a deserted mountain is the perfect place for that? Too bad life (or afterlife) doesn't work that way...
Overall: 5.6/10 - Not a good start to the series. If you're looking for casefic and don't care about pairings at all, this actually is probably one of the better ones. I'd recommend it only because the casefic itself is very well written.

Next up, is probably the weakest part of this series. And if you thought Hisoka's character was bad here? Nope. Part 2 is what almost made me give up on reading part 3.

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