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Taking a break from my power leveling in WoW. You know how some stories start out good or just all right and then just descend into badness? Well, this fic doesn't descend into badness. Mediorcity is more the word I'm thinking of, I think, here.

Also, I normally HATE AUs with the FF characters in high school, but I still read this fic regardless. It's not really a FF7 fanfic, but since the two main characters are from FF7, I consider it FF7 fic for the most part.

Series: Final Fantasy 7 crossover (Final Fantasy 8, 10, 12)
Title: Behind Blue Eyes
Author: zacks.little.puppy
Genre: Fluff/sap/sometimes melodrama/slice of life?
Rating: MA
Warnings: Lemon, story dragging it's feet (?), OOC Cloud, author has not played FF7 (!?!?!?!?!?!)
Couple (if applicable): Zack/Cloud and various other pairings

Plot: 6/10 - I'm not going to lie, the summary attracted me to the story and perked my curosity. Thought it didn't help that there were spelling AND grammar errors in the summary. However, I decided to give it a chance.

Basically, it's a AU High School fic. Cloud is apparently in a high 'level' class and gets assigned to tutor a student in the same grade that's having problems and is in the 'deliquent' class. I have no idea why the author worded it this way, because the students in the 'lower' level classes aren't really deliquents. It reminded me how my high school was divided, the 'smarter' students were in 'higher levels' while the students who were average or below average were in the 'lower levels'.

So the premise is basically these two, Cloud and Zack obviously, hooking up. And it happens about 15-20 chapters in. But you'll notice that the total count for chapters is 39. Why is that? Because of the warning I gave. This story drags it's feet REALLY badly after they hook up. I mean, we have a perfect premise to do conflict with, Zack's past, his parents, and how it would affect his current relationship, and it's TOTALLY IGNORED. Not to mention, his mom is in a mental hosiptal and his dad is in jail, and yet, at one time, they were a picture perfect family. WHY IS THIS IGNORED!? This would've made a great conflict to deal with when the two finally get together, and how Zack doesn't want his relationship to turn out like his parents. And it seems Zack cares for his mom, so why doesn't he go see her??

I don't understand why the author didn't end the story around chapter 20 or why she had almost no conflict (Though you could argue 'slice of life!' genre for this) after they hooked up, even though there were plenty of chances. And when conflict did come up (Penelo, Zell's crush on Cloud, talk about kids/marriange, Cloud's feelings on his father getting remarried), it's briefly brushed on and nothing comes of it.

And some of the conflict is silly, like the parents bringing up kids. d00d, they're 16 and 17 years old, let them date a few years before you even consider marriage/kids. Also, Zell's crush comes out of nowhere, and what happened to the Squall plot in previous chapters. That ended... very oddly.

There's also a subplot with his dad and Zack's... you know, it's NEVER said what his relationship is with Rick. And it's never said WHY he's living with his aunt too. Normally, guys don't live with a woman unless they're related or dating. Even a hint, like his aunt is a good friend or childhood friend of Rick's would've been better than nothing. This subplot is rushed too and comes to no conclusion since the story just... ends. It can't really come to a conclusion when the main plot had concluded like 20 chapters ago though.

Writing: 7/10 - The writing is okay. A few errors here and there, but nothing really wrong about it.

Characterization: 5/10 - It wasn't until like the last 2-3 chapters that I found, to my horror, the author never played the original FF7 game. BUT this author did play Crisis Core. Uh, you DO know you can buy FF7 on your PSP and play it on the memory card, right?

Besides that, there's no excuse NOT to play this game anymore. It's available on the PC again, there's a PSN version of it that you can buy for your PS3 or PSP. There's probably 'Let's Plays' out there if you're desperate enough. And don't give me the time issue, if you have the time to write a fanfic about something you like, you better damn well have time to research the origins of your fandom.

Moving away from my bitch rant, Cloud is seriously OOC here and I blame it on the story being WAY too sappy for it's own good after Cloud and Zack get together. Even then, the conflict was kinda melodramatic to begin with.

Cloud is also very very girly in this and there were some parts I really thought he was a girl (And even he admits acting too 'girly' in the story too!). YES, Cloud does dress up like a female in the original game, and yes, it's the 'lawlzorbeam' part of the game. But beyond that one thing, there's no indication that Cloud is a weepy wuss. He's emo, that's for sure, but not someone who would be clingy and want to wear jewelary beyond maybe a pierced earring.

Zack is mostly IC in this, though I think both could've toned down the 'I love yous' a LOT. I mean, sometimes in one chapter, they'd say it to each other about ten different times and Cloud would STILL blush at it. Or at just about anything Zack calls him.

The other characters are either IC or really OOC and some of the other FF characters serve little to no purpose. Penelo is one, why even include her at all. What happened to Seifer too? He just kinda... vanished. Tidus isn't even a scene, just mentioned briefly. Tifa gets dumped for the most part. Barret and Cid aren't even in the story at all and neither is Reeve.

I think the big problem for the OCC is that this story is just way too sappy and because of a lack of conflict, it doesn't go anywhere. So there's nothing for the characters to really 'hold on' to, and they come and go as they please. I mean, I could eat an entire bag of sugar and this story would still be sweeter than that beyond chapter 20.

Negativities: OOCness, WAY too sappy, little to no conflict in the second half of the story
Summary: It's hard to be one of the smartest kids in the school. For Cloud, his world gets turned upside down when he's assigned to tutor a student in the 'juvenile' classes...
Overall: 6/10 - Again, a perfect example of a story that should've ended 20 chapters before it did. I wouldn't really recommend reading this fic past chapter 20. If you desperate for an AU fic that's light on conflict, this story would fit the bill.
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Remember what I said about the last post? Yeah, I spoke too soon. :(

I had a choice between two of this author's stories. I picked this one cause the other one was so horribly bad, my brain threatened to leak out my ears again. :( No really, the other story written by this author is one of the worse ones I've read, on par with that Tatsumi/Watari story I read so long ago. This one... isn't too bad, but it's far from one of the 'best AUs' I've ever read.

Series: Final Fantasy 7
Title: The Last Goodnight
Author: DamagedWorth
Genre: WaahAngst/Drama
Rating: MA
Warnings: Language, drug use (!?), lemon, AU
Couple (if applicable): Zack/Cloud

Plot: 6/10 - Obviously this is an AU, so it's not canon at all to the game plot. But the characters are there or make an appearance from game canon.

But the plot itself... It's a real mixed bag.

So apparently, Cloud is a lead singer for a band. Supposedly this story is based on a real band and the story uses real songs (From said band?), but lord knows if I know about them. Aerith, Vincent, and Yuffie play alongside Cloud while Cid and Barret are like the 'bodyguards' to the band. Cloud's dream was sing to the whole world and he finally obtained his wish. But at a heavy cost. Along the way, he bumps into his childhood friend, Zack. And so begins the angst ridden train to hell.

Seriously, if you read this fic, you will think this is a 'Gravitation' AU, cept instead, after a 'certain incident', the main character goes down on a spiral to angst land. And yes, the drug use is a real warning, because Cloud becomes addicted to it. The others can't get to him, but maybe a childhood friend from his past can. Oh, of course he does, it's Zack. >.>

The story is believable enough, but does it fit with the FF7 characters? Not really. And we'll get to that later.

Writing: 7/10 - The writing isn't too bad. It's a godsent compared to the other fic this author wrote. There's some whacky scene changes that aren't seperated, so you may get confused. And sometimes the story goes to first person as well. But the flow of the writing is there and it looks like it's been beta-ed.

Characterization: 4/10 - This is where the fic fails though. There's Tifa bashing and it's such a shame, because the last fic dealt with the Tifa situation so freaking well. Here, you can tell the author doesn't really care much for the 'canon' pairing and just basically skips it. It would've been better if Tifa was another childhood friend of his instead of the way the author wrote her, and they tried romance, but Tifa couldn't stand how Cloud was, so she broke up with him, but on a good note. Or even give her a minor role like being the woman who owns the bar. Instead, she's made into a greedy money loving whore, which is NOT her character at all. ~_~

Reno isn't exactly in character. I know he doesn't care too much for the characters in game, but to stoop this low? I don't see that at all. I know the story needed a villian, but really shouldn't that go to Sephiroth? Though I don't think it would fit given the plot. And Sephiroth does appear, but in the oddest role. Also, we know Reno had something to do in the murder of Cloud's parents. I was expecting maybe Zack to play PI or something and Reno getting his just desserts and have HIS career ruined that way, but instead, it turns into 'Beat the shit out of him' instead.

Cloud suffers the worst from this. I mean, I thought he was emo in Advent Children, but he's downright angst ridden in this story. I see where the author was going with this, but it doesn't work for Cloud's character. Cloud is a stronger person than how he is here, and using drugs to avoid his problems isn't something his character would do. And it drags the story down, which is a shame, because Zack is perfectly in character and the others are as well.

Plotwise, if these weren't FF7 characters, it makes sense for this to happen, but given the personalities of the FF7 crew, in Cloud's case, it doesn't work, it'd be better if it was original work.

Negativities: Heavily angst ridden, character bashing, OOC Cloud
Summary: Cloud's dream has finally become a reality. But reality never matches up with dreams...
Overall: 5.6/10 - AUs can be good. But the characters have to retain their core personalities in order for an AU to work. While the writing is there, and the plot is a bit clever, the OOCness drags it down. A decent AU, but not really recommended.
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Yeah, this is very unusual for me. I've stopped reading FF7 fanfic before all these prequels and sequels for the game came out, which was maybe around 2001. And this story really defies ALL my FF7 preferences, because at one time, I told myself I wouldn't read any sort of yaoi pairings and I would only read fics that support my OTP.

If I wasn't already okay with the pairing featured in this fic because of a friend, after reading this would've gotten me into the pairing.

Series: Final Fantasy 7
Title: Too Good To Be True
Author: Miko No Da
Genre: Angst/Sap/Drama
Rating: MA
Warnings: Spoilers for the entire game and Advent Children. NOT canon to Crisis Core, lemon
Couple (if applicable): Zack/Cloud, one sided Cloud/Tifa, past mentions of Zack/Aerith, hinted Sephiroth/Cloud and Sephiroth/Zack

Plot: 8/10 - Okay, so the plot isn't really original. Basically, Cloud comes upon a lab run by Hojo and lo and behold, finds Zack inside of the mako testing tubes. So friendship is rekindled, unresolved feelings come back, with some drama in between and all that, but sadly, Sephiroth is trying to muddle in affairs again.

It's a simple plot with a twist here and there, but it's not bad and it suits the story well enough. Though I find it funny that the game and the movie canon is followed to some degree while Crisis Core isn't. I personally don't have a problem with that, and Zack is pretty much in character regardless.

The only thing this story lacks is an epilogue. Most of the main plot is resolved near the end, but there are a few lose strings. There's no resolution about the files that Cloud found, even if it was nothing, it would've been nice to see this. There's no real resolution to the Tifa thing either, though you can kinda guess that a resolution between Cloud and Tifa is peaceful since it's strongly hinted on near the end.

Writing: 9/10 - Just enough descriptions and enough dialogue to keep a person happy. The only problem I have is the characters using the summons' names as cursing. It's just odd and I don't know if it's a fandom thing or maybe a prequel/sequel came along and started using them and it became some sort of trend in fandom. It doesn't distract from the main story though, and the flow of the writing is near perfect. Though I will admit to laughing out loud when Zack said, 'Ifrit's Balls!' >.>

Characterization: 10/10 - There is one thing I must give this author compared to any other authors out there. The author managed to write a Yaoi pairing and still being respectful to canon, aka, Cloud/Tifa and Zack/Aerith. SO many fanfics when it comes to yaoi pairings will resort to bashing of the females, but not in this story. This story, Tifa is as strong as she always is, and stepping aside to make the person she loves happy. Kudos to the author on this.

Even though this doesn't follow Crisis Core canon, Zack is perfectly in character from how I remember him in CC. A very cheerful guy who can be serious at times and cares deeply for the people he's close to, in this case, Cloud. Cloud's character is actually done fairly well too, and the relationship between Zack and Cloud is more on equal terms rather than your typical Seme/Uke pairing. Which I adore. I also love the banter between the two, it flows very naturally. The way they both interact with each other and the way Zack notices little things that Tifa didn't or even misunderstood shows how deep a friendship they had.

In fact, I think every character that's in this story is true to their characters from the original game. I mean, to be honest, I'm shocked at how the author pulled off the characters so well.

Negativities: Unless you're a canon whore to Crisis Core...
Summary: When Zack comes back into Cloud's life, things couldn't be better. Too bad that's not how life works sometimes, especially when it involves Sephiroth....
Overall: 9/10 - If you're not a Zack/Cloud shipper, this story could very well convert you to be. If you're on the fence about this pairing like I was, this story will get you over that fence. In fact, I would just recommend this fic on the basis on this is how you write a slash pairing for a fandom that has canon hintings of hetero pairings. Very well done.
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Remember what I said to the last fic? Yeah, this is why you sometimes don't need a sequel. Or maybe write the whole story instead of half the story!

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Time After
Author: ErrantFeather
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: M
Warnings: Minor Sophia and Maria bashing, lots of OCs, NSFW stuff, confusing plot
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt, one sided Fayt/Sophia, Albel/Alternate(!?) Fayt

Plot: 4/10 - I gave this a low score because of one thing: This story feels like half of a story. The author made a huge mistake and wrote this entire story from Albel's PoV when it would've really benefitted from third person or Fayt's PoV in every other chapter. He gets one part in one chapter, but it's short and Fayt's PoV is not spoken about again and Fayt doesn't even appear till near the end of the story.

Again, the gang is going after the rest of the Programmers, but because of ebil!Sophia, she makes a deal with one of them to get rid of Albel. However, it backfires and Albel gets stuck in 4D space. The only way for Albel to get back is to cooperate with the Incantarix and find an alternate universe and try to find someone with the connection gene to send Albel back.

Yeah, I probably lost people there. In the alternate universe, Albel comes across alternate Fayt and things proceed to get confusing from there.

And this is the story's problem. Maybe the author was trying to explain the 'alternate dimension' that you see in the Lava Caves, but it's not pulled off well. Not to mention, the story is already confusing enough with the genetic part of it and all these programmers and OCs and now we have to deal with an alternate universe that basically is a parallel of the Eternal Sphere?

Meanwhile, something is taking place in the Eternal Sphere and we're left in the dark about it. Which is why this story should've either been third person or have interludes featuring Fayt. When I finished the story, I felt like I missed half the story and went back chapters to see if I missed anything.

Also, the ending is kinda cheesy.

Writing: 9/10 - Again, nothing is wrong with the writing. Except the lack of paragraphs. But it has a lot of dialogue, so it doesn't matter too much.

Characterization: 2/10 - Okay, I know Sophia can be immature and sometimes a bit of a bitch. But I don't believe for one minute she would try to send Albel to 4D space out of jealousy. I believe that Fayt and Sophia were close childhood friends. But that's all I think they were, just friends. Believe it or not, male and female friendships do exist. I don't think Sophia might be too happy with Fayt's choice, but to go as far as destroying his happiness? I don't think so.

Albel just doesn't seem like Albel and neither does Fayt. Just like the last story, they seem to suffer from the 'love starved' sydrome. Especially Albel, but then again, this is from his PoV. The author just doesn't do a good job of keeping Albel in character, I don't feel like this is the Albel from the game or a very sedated Albel from who we know. He also seems very 'emo', which I don't doubt Albel is, but I see him as more of a snarky guy trying to hide being emo from others.

Negativities: Indirect Sophia bashing, OCC Albel and Fayt, feels half told
Summary: The quest to restore peace from Luther's programmers continues. Only there's a snag along the way...
Overall: 5/10 - Good writing cannot save a story, sadly. Probably best not to bother with the sequel unless you really want to know what happens from the first fic on how they deal with the enemy. That is, if you can manage to follow the plot from both stories.
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This next story though, is a really mixed bag. I don't think it's bad fic, but I don't think it's the greatest fics I've ever read. A confusing one... Ya, if you haven't played SO3 by now and are worried about spoilers... Don't read this. :P

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Time Will Tell
Author: ErrantFeather
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: M
Warnings: Minor Sophia bashing, lots of OCs, not canonly correct(?)
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt, one sided Fayt/Sophia, one sided Fayt/Maria, Nel/OC

Plot: 7/10 - The only reason it scores this high because the plot itself is very very creative. But it's very very strange. We start post-game with Fayt staying on Elicoor II. Then we have Albel's family thrown into the mix.

I really think the author plays with canon a bit too much here. Albel's mom is apparently from Aquaria and his parent's marriage was political (I think it was to explain why Albel looks a little like the Queen of Aquaria, red eyes and her hair is black with blonde highlights too), and that he's the nephew of the Queen of Aquaria. Then you have Albel's younger brother, who had a twin, and a sister and... Yeah, this is NOT cannon at all. Period.

Meanwhile, we have people from 4D space interferring. There was a rumor going around that Elena was actually a 4D being, but in this story she's not. But there ARE 4D beings, specifically programmers that worked under Luther, messing around with the Eternal Sphere and... it's really damn confusing. Meanwhile, we have another plot going on behind the scenes about Albel taking his mother's place in something called the 'Circle of Voices'. Then we have a bunch of confusing ass flashbacks trying to explain how Albel got his 'Wicked' title, and then we have something about transferring Fayt's powers because of what happened in game and it's just...

It's really damn confusing.

Writing: 9/10 - Nothing wrong with the writing at all except it lacks paragraph structure a bit. It's perfect here.

Characterization: 3/10 - This is where the story really flunks because of the plot, too many OCs, and the minor Sophia bashing.

First of all, I really don't like how Albel is portrayed in this fic. And I think it's more to do with the back history than the way he's written. I know where the author was going with this fic, but it just... really didn't work out, in my opinion. Giving Albel family was probably the first mistake, moreso with his brothers and sister, though the sister plays a very minor role. Helgrave is a very important character and I honestly thought he shouldn't have been related to Albel, maybe like a close friend or something. Albel also falls victim to the 'love starved' sydrome, which throws his character off a bit too.

I'm also not too fond of Fayt's portrayal here either, and I can't really pinpoint why. I think it's because he's too focused on Albel, but he also seems sort of love starved as well. I think his feelings develop too soon for Albel and the plot behind Maria transferring the destruction gene to Albel to keep him alive just... lacked something. It might be again, it's not canon, because Fayt's father died, and I think his father was more his focus, not Albel.

I like to think Fayt developed feelings for Albel near the end of the game. Technically, you could make a case for it before the end of disk 1 if you really wanted to. To me, though, that's too soon because Fayt doesn't really know Albel too well, near the end of the game at least gives time to it to develop.

Nel plays a huge role, and while there's nothing really wrong with her character, something seems off as well. Maybe it's how her relationship with Helgrave developed or maybe she's sedated from normal, I don't know.

The other characters play minor roles and I really don't like the indirect bashing of Maria and Sophia here either. You can tell the author doesn't really like them, so they suffer a little bit from OOC sydrome. In fact, I think all the cast does to some minor degree here.

Negativities: Really confusing plot, too many OCs, not cannonly accurate, OOC sydrome
Summary: Fayt tries to start a new life on Elicoor II with Albel. Too bad things never work out how they should...
Overall: 6.3/10 - If you're REALLY desperate for Albel/Fayt fics and want some substance to it, this fic might be good to read. It's confusing plot and it not being cannonly accurate sort of spoil what could've been a great fic. However, don't real the sequel to it, it's 100% beyond a doubt, horrible.
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Joy... :( This author seems to be popular and she streams out stories pretty fast. She's written a LOT of SO3 fics and Death Note fics. The problem? They're pretty much ALL bad. Or horrid AUs. I started with her supposed first fanfic because it's like one of the only fics on the actual game timeline, but... urgh

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Death and Destruction
Author: crematosis
Genre: Angst/Humor(?)
Rating: T
Warnings: Sophia bashing, massive amounts of OOCness, PwP
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt, one sided Fayt/Sophia

Plot: 2/10 - Seriously, what plot? There's like... nothing to work with here. I'm assuming it's before the game ends, but even I can't exactly tell. Basically, it's a bunch of Albel and Fayt bonding moments, alongside the other main cast acting like a bunch of crazed Yaoi fanbrats. And lots of Sophia bashing. Reading this fic makes me WANT to write a Sophia based fic.

The only interesting concept is how Fayt wants someone to look at him 'normally' instead of a weapon, but Albel's stubbornness tries to get to the bottom of it. In fact, in my fanfic, that's how Fayt feels. The problem is if the characters weren't a mangled mess, it could work.

Writing: 2/10 - There are a lot of spelling errors here that a simple spell checker could pick up. There's no excuse for this. Open Office is free and does the same thing Microsoft Word can do, it also has a spelling checker in it. There's even grammar errors like forgetting to put the quotation marks at the beginning or ending the dialogue, commas missing or being misplaced. The Author even mispells canon names wrong.

It's a mess, to put it simply.

Characterization: 1/10 - Without a doubt, every character is completely OCC. A perfect example:

Albel jammed his claw back on and slumped back into his seat. "My father dove in to save me from a worse fate. Because of me, a pathetic weakling like me is allowed to live and my father died."

"That sucks," Fayt said with a bitter laugh.

Do I even need to say what's wrong with this one part? Fayt can be a douche sometimes, but here, he's a total dickwad. Albel pours his heart out and all Fayt can say is 'sux2bu'????

Not to mention, when Fayt goes to Arias, he's beaten up and spit on. Um, after I got Maria in my group, when I went to Arias, no one said anything nasty or punched Fayt in the balls.

Let's not forget that everyone in the group is like a yaoi fanbrat from Cliff to Nel to even freaking Maria. And Sophia bashing of course.

I don't like Sophia myself, she's a very bland and boring character that never really gets developed too well (I believe she was just added in SO3 because it lacked a total Symbology user. In the original, Mirage and Adray were not playable characters, and considering Sophia isn't obtained till Disk 2 and if your mana hits 0, you die... Yeah, you don't really need a Symbology user). But good fucking lord, she's practically Fayt's BEST FRIEND. She would not treat him like dog poo if he developed feelings for someone, wheither it's Albel or someone else. She isn't THAT flat of a character and she was never truely bitchy unless Fayt was an insensative jerk first.

Negativities: OCCness to the max, lots of spelling/grammar issues, no real plot.
Summary: Fayt is angsting about the terrible powers he wields. Too bad a certain swordsman won't leave him alone.
Overall: 1.6/10 - Probably one of the worst Albel/Fayt fics I've read outside of this fic. It had an interesting idea, but the author cripples it completely.
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Here's a fic I found that actually is really good and of all places, on It was originally on the Fayt and Albel community, but not every part was posted. This is the case of a 'under-appreciated' fic sydrome.

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Eye of Apris
Author: [ profile] mishaelamk
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: MA
Warnings: A bit of violence, NSFW obviously
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt

Plot: 9/10 - For a story that may not seem to have a plot or very little main plot, it has a lot of very interesting ideas. Unlike the last story, this fic pulls those ideas off really well. We have Albel seeming to 'drift' after the events of SO3, when Fayt suddenly makes an appearance on Elicoor II and of all places, picks Airyglyph. Only Fayt isn't exactly there for a visit. Then while that's going on, we got character development between Albel and Fayt along with a side-plot with Nel and then off in the background, we actually have another political plot brewing. Believe it or not, the OCs that are in the fic are also well written and likeable too.

I love how the author incooperated ideas like the Air Dragons having a pact with the Nox family, and the Mid-Winter holiday being like Christmas. The plot isn't grandiose, but it doesn't have to be and makes for good reading.

Writing: 9/10 - Pretty much picture perfect writing here. I was always kept on the edge of my seat and the smut bits were written well. The story flows naturally from start to finish.

Characterization: 9/10 - This is probably the only Albel/Fayt fic that I've read where both of them are in character. Albel/Fayt fics tend to have a problem of either making Fayt too submissive or Albel becomes too gushy. This fic has the perfect balance of keeping both Fayt and Albel in character.

The ONLY problem I have with the fic is Fayt is a tiny bit too submissive to Albel, especially somewhat near the middle, but it's explained in such a well manner that I can pretty much forgive it. Also, unlike in a lot of fics, Fayt takes an active role in the foreplay, which is exactly what I see him doing.

Albel is wonderfully written in this fic, having a sense of honor, pride, and duty mixed in with a snarky nature. He's blunt and to the point, but isn't overly cruel like how a lot of fics make him out to be. In fact, this story may actually be my favorite representation of Albel I've seen in any Albel/Fayt fics. Nel also makes an appearance and is remarkably well written as well. There's a few other characters and OCs that appear, but they only add to the story and strengthen it.

Negativities: Simple plot
Summary: After the fight with *spoilers*, Albel goes home to Airyglyph, but feels restless. During the Mid-Winter festival, Fayt mysteriously shows up at Airyglyph's castle. But why has he come? And why does he insist on staying with Albel?
Overall: 9/10 - Probably one of the better Albel/Fayt fics I've read that manages to keep both characters in character. If you love this pairing at all, this fic is right up your alley.
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Today I return with Star Ocean 3 fic. One good one and one bad one. First, the bad.

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Subjective or Ideal
Author: DeadKidRising
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: M
Warnings: NSFW, wangst, angst, indirect Sophia bashing
Couple (if applicable): Fayt/Albel, hints of Cliff/Nel, one sided Fayt/Sophia

Plot: 4/10 - You know those stories that start off with a good idea, but then decend into horrible fic? This is it. The fic starts out with a really good idea, what if one of the characters just didn't want to come back from *spoilers*, but Fayt forced them to come back anyways? I loved that idea, and though Sophia wasn't really the ideal choice, I could accept it.

How horribly the fic decends from there.

The fic then tries to incooperate the famous Romero from Albel's ending, along with the Federation knowing about Fayt, Sophia, and Maria. It has some other interesting concepts like going to the world of the dead and having certain characters helping them out. But the plot is so beyond bizarre and the characters are so OOC, you forget it's a SO3 fic if Cliff didn't call Fayt 'kid' or Albel spew 'fool' and 'maggot' every so often.

Has a few good ideas, but executed horribly beyond belief.

Writing: 5/10 - The writing itself doesn't have any problems besides the spelling and grammar mistakes you see from time to time. The biggest problem with this story is constantly switching from first person to third person. KEEP the PoV in one or the other, don't flip-flop through the story. Sometimes, I got confused at who's PoV I'm looking at.

Characterization: 1/10 - Everyone is pretty much OOC here. Fayt going uber uke and Albel just... not being Albel. I mean, Albel is a really hard character to grasp and having feelings for Fayt wouldn't just all of a sudden give him a 180 in personality change. Fayt is very weepy and whiny here, and while he had his whiny moments in SO3, it's been multiplied by about hundred to the third power.

Their 'romance' scenes are your typical scenes you see in every clean cut seme/uke yaoi fic out there, which demeans Fayt and Albel's relationship. I don't think their relationship can be defined your typical seme/uke roles, more so than Tsuzuki and Hisoka from YnM. Fayt is strong in his own right, and I don't see Albel submitting to anyone unless there is a clean cut trust between them. I see them as more equals than anything, which pretty much goes against your typical seme/uke setup. Putting either of them in this setup and you either have Fayt being too emo or whiny or you have Albel being way too lenient and open than how he is.

Negativities: OCCness up the asshole, confusing PoV switches
Summary: After a certain someone's demise, the group doesn't want to split up just yet. Also, Fayt has something he's been keeping from everyone. And other weird stuff happens...
Overall: 3.3/10 - A perfect example of a story that has good ideas but horribly executed. This could've been a good fic that explores ideas and concepts that aren't explored, but is wasted.
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The overall conclusion to the trilogy! I'd really like to say that this story got better at the end from the last two parts, but... it fell backwards on itself. Not as much emo!angst as the first two parts, but the same mangle characterizations, the same fanpoodle-ness, and this time, not such a nicely neat plot.

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Falling Is Like This
Author: Kouri Arashi
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: R
Warnings: NCS hints, wangst, angst, more angst
Couple (if applicable): Basically all the pairings as the previous fanfics, but mostly Tsuzuki/Hisoka and some hinted Muraki/Oriya

Plot: 6/10 - Okay, unfortuantely, the plot isn't nearly as good as the other one. The first part to this story is stupid. Basically, Hisoka is losing his powers that he gained as a Shinigami, but he doesn't know why. Tsuzuki and all the 'older' Shinigami know, so basically, Hisoka and Akimiya are in the dark. Later, it turns out that Hisoka purposely lost his powers (Control over his Empathy, Jitsu powers, healing powers) due to a test. So basically, Hisoka has to fight possible demons and psycho magic dealing humans with NO powers but what he was born with.

It really makes no sense. Shinigami got those powers in the first place so they have a CHANCE to deal with powers that no normal humans could. Why TAKE them away and leave them defenseless? And what about Shinigami that may not have had 'natural powers' when they were alive? Yeah, they are so totally fucked...

So Muraki comes in and messes up the test, because Tsuzuki won't have Muraki touching his man! As it turns out, Tsuzuki wasn't supposed to interfer whatsoever, causing Hisoka to fail his test. When Shinigami fail the tests, they are 'sent on'. Of course, Tsuzuki and Hisoka don't want that, and they run away. First they go to Hijiri, which was pointless, then off to Oriya's place where they find Muraki and ask him how to 'hide' themselves from the rest of the Shinigami, which makes sense because the Shinigami can't track Muraki for some reason. But it doesn't make sense cause it's MURAKI!

While trying to deal with Muraki's molesting and spell casting, a man appears. And at first guess, Hisoka knows that the man is Tsuzuki's father.

Well, as it turns out, Hisoka's guess is right on the money. But more importantly, Tsuzuki's father is not only a demon (Surprise!), but is the Prince of Hell who broke out of his imprisonment. And he's come back to get his son and merge Hell with the living world. Of course, Hisoka can't have that, and when fans really say that Hisoka would go to Hell and back for Tsuzuki... Well!

Add in a little bargain with Muraki (Who has an actual believable reason to go besides wanting to be in Tsuzuki's pants) to tag along with him. Yep, Muraki and Hisoka working together after what happened in the previous two parts. Urgh, but it works.

I won't spoil the rest of the story though, because there's some things that work and other things that really don't mesh at all.

Okay, I will give points to the author for trying to put in Tsuzuki's hertiage and trying to explain why he became a Shinigami and the like (Plus going through the levels of hell were interesting). Because, let's face it, I can think of maybe 1 other fic that does this that's finished. So it's not a theme that's commonly written about. But the first part of the story makes no sense.

Another thing wrong is Tatsumi's description, which I hope was just Tsuzuki trying to throw his father off, because it's so totally wrong. Besides 1-2 people, no one in the division is above the age of 30 when they died.

Also, the levels of Hell and how to get past them are really well written. That's about the only thing I liked though.

Writing: 7/10 - Fanpoodle japanese is STILL present in this story, though it's not nearly as bad as the last. But most of the phrases yet again can be translated into perfect english. There's still no excuse for this though. The only thing I can say is that it's gotten less frequent than in the previous one where there was a lot in a chapter.

Other than that, the writing pretty much stays the same as the first two stories.

Characterization: 4/10 - Okay, I don't know what series everyone else was watching, but when did Hijiri ever BLATENTLY flirt with Tsuzuki? I mean, I haven't watched the anime 20 times, but I don't remember Hijiri ever coming onto Tsuzuki, period. I don't even remember that in the manga.

Oh wait, it's your typical stereotypical fanon thing. It doesn't often appear since Hijiri rarely if ever shows back up, even in fanfiction. But in a lot of them, especially the 'love triangle' ones, people assume that all those worried moments Hijiri has about Tsuzuki was his way of 'flirting'. And that is where I seriously get out my /facepalm emote. Being worried about someone who doesn't know you but risking their neck for you and flirting are TWO different things.

And you know, I really like a sarcastic Hisoka. Face it, if you read the manga or watched the anime, Hisoka has a snarky side. But I have to admit now, it's overboard. He's just WAY too snarky and sometimes, I don't feel like it's him. Most of what comes out of his mouth are either emo moments or snark. And his snark does get him into trouble too, and I don't think Hisoka would embrace his snarky side if he knew that it would get him hurt or even worse others and moreso Tsuzuki. He is also emo, but I think Hell would make just about anyone emo.

Plus snarky!Muraki, while amusing, doesn't quite fit his character. Could I see Muraki being snarky a few times? Yeah. But could I see him being about as snarky as Hisoka in this fic? I really don't think so.

What is kinda sad is Akimiya isn't really present in this story much, considering how much of a role he played in the two previous stories. Also Oriya is in this story briefly and feels sort of off on his character, might be because he caught some of the 'snark virus', but it's not nearly the level as it is to Muraki and Hisoka.

The one interesting thing is Tsuzuki fooling his dad in one scene, but from Tsuzuki to go to one extreme to the next (He is still ubberly wussy, I'm sorry) doesn't feel right at all. I don't mind Tsuzuki even being uke, but here, he's so ubber uke that it makes me weep. I really can't decide what's worse, uber!snark Hisoka or uber!weak Tsuzuki. Both are a big mess...

Negativities: Snark up the bumhole, emo angst
Summary: Hisoka starts losing his powers and doesn't know why. Neither does Akimiya. The other Shinigami do, but they're not saying anything. When a case comes in soon after, Hisoka has to solve it only using his wits and his empathy. Easy enough? Too bad life isn't that easy...
Overall: 5.6/10 - Probably the weakest of the trilogy, which is a shame, since this should've been the strongest story of them all. The ideas were there, but they weren't pulled off well. Honestly, if you're looking for a story that covers Tsuzuki's background, this is a so-so job. If you're looking for this series to go out with a bang, you're probably better off skipping this part all together. Part two concludes in such a way that this series really didn't need another part save to prolong it's lifespan.
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Here you go, part two of the trilogy series! I wish I could say this part was better than the first...

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Somewhere I have Never Been
Author: Kouri Arashi
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: R
Warnings: NCS hints, wangst, angst, more angst
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka, slight Tatsumi+Tsuzuki, OC/OC

Plot: 8/10 - Luckily no more 'my summaries suck'. Sometimes, stories need a long summary. And sometimes, a short summary is good enough. Short, simple, and to the point.

Basically, the story tries to build up some characterization around the OC, Akimiya, from the first story, by using Muraki's 'infamous revenge plans' to do so. I will say, the plot is fairly well thought out, and it flows very naturally from the beginning to it's cheesy conclusion. The only problem is the premise has been done to the death. I can count on both my hands and toes how many Tsuzuki/Hisoka stories that tried to rip them apart because Muraki wants revenge on them or more so Hisoka.

Writing: 6/10 - Again, this story falls to fanpoodle japanese. It's not nearly as much as the other story, but there's still quite a bit and it gets annoying especially when nearly everything can be translated into perfect english. STOP IT!

I take that back, it's REALLY annoying. Why 'Sayonara' instead of 'goodbye'!? Okay, I can really let that slide since people say that in real life. But COME ON! Gomen ne (I'm sorry), Ohayo (Good Morning), Aaa/Hai (Yes), Tadaima (I'm home)...

It goes on and on and on, seriously. There was one line about 'genki genes' (Happy genes possible?) that I really couldn't figure out the context at this point. Try running that through Goggle (Or just genki), you get a ton of different things.

Also what's amusing is the writer got Tsuzuki's name messed up around chapter 8. Asato is his FIRST name, not his last name. Almost everyone in YnM calls each other by their last name save for Tsuzuki to Hisoka. It's actually insulting to call someone by their first name unless you're really close to them.

There's also a problem with scene changes, so I dunno if it's because keeps changing it's damn freaking format system for breaks or not, but it can get a little confusing. However, since can be funky with it, I didn't really take off points for this.

Characterization: 4/10 - Sadly, this is where the story fails short yet again. Only instead of me complaining about Tsuzuki and Hisoka, I'm going to be bitching about Muraki.

And yes, the melodrama angst monster comes back around chapter 8, only Muraki is the main cause and he's the 'I want in Tsuzuki's pants, mwhahaha!' mode as typical.

Spoilers )

Negativities: Fanpoodle japanese plague, flat stereotypical Muraki, enough angst to fill a freaking pool
Summary: Sequel to 'Live Through'. Muraki is out for revenge, only this time, it's not just Tsuzuki and Hisoka he's targetting...
Overall: 6/10 - Suffers the same problems as 'Live Through'. Honestly, nothing is really improved from the last story, so if you like melodramatic angst and don't mind littered fanpoodle japanese, give it a least one read.

Part three coming soon!
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I was rereading old entries in my LJ and decided to touch on some fics that I wanted to review but with a less 'fanpoodle' mind and more of a 'neutral' mind. The fact that I picked YnM fic after I swore off the series is... wtf am I thinking!?

If you read my Zelda review, Sehnsucht, I said at one point, I loved said fic, but years later, I was like 'wtf was I thinking!?' I was also visited by the author randomly too. :X I kinda hope he's working on something because his writing was really well done, but his melodrama story failed.

Well, this fic sadly falls into that category. And the funny thing is that I reviewed it years ago with gushing praise, only years later, I should've really known better. For the record, yes, I reviewed this author before. Yes, I know she's popular, but really, her characterizations for both X/1999 and YnM fics are a big mixed bag.

This series is a trilogy that I'll eventually cover in three seperate reviews.

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Live Through
Author: Kouri Arashi
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: R
Warnings: Violence, NCS, wangst
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka, slight Tatsumi+Tsuzuki

Plot: 8/10 - You know, I skipped this story for a long time in the past because of it's summary. I really hate saying it, but a summary is what draws a reader in, not your name. Sometimes, you can't sum up everything but I seriously think you can say more than 'My summaries suck, just read'.

Basically, the story is Hisoka trying to sort out his issues about himself, his feelings for Tsuzuki, and Muraki while trying to deal with his 'afterlife'. Add in a lot of emo shit (Hell, a lot of it crosses into melodrama, but we'll save that for later) plus a pretty well thought out plot, whacky dreams, and you got this story.

If it wasn't for the overly dramatic moments that are constantly displayed in the story, it'd actually be a really good read.

The only real striking problems are:

1. Emo!Hisoka + Emo!Tsuzuki = PAIN!
2. An OC that only really serves to bring Tsuzuki and Hisoka together. Basically, he's just there for filler and to keep the plot going.

But overall, it's interesting enough to keep you reading.

Writing: 7/10 - Fanpoodle japanese really needs to die in a fire. But I guess I can be somewhat okay since it's old. But STILL, you can EASILY translate stuff like 'Baka' and 'Sugoi' into perfect english.

It's not cool, it's not going to make you cool, it's distracting, especially to someone who may not watch a lot of subbed anime. Then they have to either pick it up by context or go look it up.

If it's prefixes or words like 'Senpai', that's different, since they don't translate well. But when you leave in OBVIOUS words, there's so much rage in me that I can take...

When you're writing a story in english, WRITE IT IN ENGLISH!

Other than the littered fanpoodle japanese at the beginning (Which is gone in the middle of the story, thank god, but picks up again near the end, urgh), the story is well written. It's First Person, but it really adds to the story. Although, the run on sentences may make you go crazy and there's so many of them that you may end up screaming at Hisoka. However, it really adds to the atmosphere more than it takes away.

Characterization: 4/10 - Okay, let the word be known: 'Muraki is not a one-dimensional villian, for the love of cheese!' This is a big problem in nearly every single Tsuzuki/Hisoka stories that I've read, and it's no exception to this one. This isn't so bad in the first story since Muraki doesn't really appear in this story much. But the same, 'Muraki wants to fuck with Tsuzuki and Hisoka' plots are really old by now that you've seen them all. The saving grace is that the plot-twist used is unique to this story.

The problem isn't even the OC, who is somewhat interesting and I was loving his snark through the story. The only problem with him is that he doesn't serve much of a purpose at least in this part of the story.

The big problem is Tsuzuki AND Hisoka are turned into big piles of freaking angst monkey balls. And this is REALLY a first story where both are so emo to the point where I want to shoot both of them.

Some spoilers )

Negativities: Melodramatic Tsuzuki and Hisoka, littered fanpoodle japanese, emo after emo, boo-hoo sobs
Summary: Post Kyoto Arc, Hisoka has to overcome his feelings on his after life and his feelings for Tsuzuki. The path is anything but easy, especially when a certain psychic doctor is around the corner...
Overall: 6.3/10 - Despite the wangst and melodrama, it's still worth a reading because the plot and writing save it. If you like melodramatic angst, this would be the story to read. As for me, I think I'll pass on a third reading...
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Ya ya, I said I'd update more, but I've kinda lost touch with reading/writing in the fanfiction world all together.

I wish I could say that I'm bringing good fic, but sadly, not... It really saddens me as I love seeing FF novelizations that actually get past Sabin's scenario too.

I don't know what's worse though, the fic or the fact I actually read the entire damn thing.

Series: Final Fantasy VI
Title: Final Fantasy VI: Novelization
Author: EdgarAndTerraFigaro <--Should already be a bad sign when an author names themself after a pairing...
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Rating: PG-13/Teen
Warnings: Some sexual situations, abuse both physical and mental, some violence and swearing
Couple (if applicable): Kinda one sided Edgar/Terra, Locke/Celes and various other pairings ranging from MC/MC to MC/OC
Plot: 3/10 - It's a novelization, so it's basically the game plot that we know and love. That's what it's supposed to be, with maybe a few touch-ups to main game plotpoints or a bit of fleshing out. Right? Not with this fic!

The problem with this fic is that it changes important plot points, twists them around or skips them all together (aka, Sabin's scenario is totally absent and only summarized while the other two are accounted for). The author's name should give the favored pairing away and while I enjoy Edgar/Terra, the problem was the author completely changed events to fit around their pairing. An example of this is Edgar going with Locke and Terra to find out where the other Espers went after the Empire gets attacked by them.

Some of the plot is there with some touchups, but at other times, the author completely changes important plot points (bringing Terra to Narshe with Banon, Phoenix Cave conclusion, Cyan and Lola, Gerad situation) that shouldn't be changed at all. Main plot points are there, but minor and fairly big but not main plot points are warped when they don't need to be or they're changed to fit around the author's obvious favored pairing.

What's funny is at first, the dialogue to the game was followed, but after some time, I noticed it stopped and there's a problem with that that I'll cover later.

Writing: 2/10 - There is seriously no excuse for not getting your hands on a grammar and a spelling checker. At first, the errors in the fic were something a spell checker might not have gotten, so I let it fly. Then after a while, I noticed spelling errors that a checker would definitely pick up on.

There seriously is no excuse for this when there are FREE checkers on the internet. Seriously, have some pride in what you write at the very least!

The writing itself isn't impressive either, a lot of telling and no showing. There's a lot of 'noun-verb' sentences that put me to sleep that I had to take a break away from the fic for some time before coming back to it.

The problem really is all the numerous errors in the fic that eventually drive you crazy because it's so noticable if you reread what you wrote once. Obviously the author rushed to put the fic online.

Characterization: 2/10 - Most of the characters are OOC. Terra is a very naive girl who cries and whines too much. Locke sounds like he's from down under, and while that was creative and adds some flavor to his character, he doesn't sound like Locke from FFVI. And we won't get into Shadow and the fanpoodle japanese that's put in the fic.

There's Setzer and his hornball self. I kinda figured Setzer was flirtly, but he's beyond that in here and forcing himself on Terra...? I don't think so. There's Cyan and his obsession to prove that Terra is weak (I didn't know Cyan was mentally abusive...).

Probably the only one who is remotely the same is Edgar and that's pushing it with his obsession with Terra. Strago, Gau, and Relm are the same, but they rarely if ever speak in the fic that you don't notice them at all.

The worst part is the author, at one point, follows the dialogue from the game, and the game dialogue doesn't mesh with how she wrote the characters. Biggest example when Terra points out how 'other girls would've found him(Edgar) dashing.' Like she knows that he's flirting with her, but it's having no effect on her and emos about it. Then later on, she plays the naive act and when Locke or someone points out about Edgar's flirting, and sometimes, she laughs it off. Same goes for Setzer and the whole 'coming on' to her deal.

Negativities: Horrid spelling/grammar errors, OOC cast of characters, changed plotpoints

Summary: It's a novelization of FFVI. Simple and to the point.

Overall: 2.3/10 - I love novelizations of FFVI. I love FINISHED novelizations even better. This one, just... no. Even if the author went back and fixed all the typos, spelling/grammar mistakes, the story still flunks based on trying to change stuff that's better off not changed and changing character's personalities to fit their pairing. It would've been nice to see an Edgar/Terra pairing while respecting the main part of the game, but this fic does not deliver.
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Only this time, it's a much better one.

Series: The Legend of Zelda: OoT
Title: Legend of Zelda: The Return
Author: Rose Zemlya
Genre: General
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Violence, occasional swearing
Couple (if applicable): Link/Zelda, Link/Malon, some OC/OC and OC/Malon
Plot: 9/10 - Honestly, I'm surprised I found gen-fic, let alone good gen fic. Basically, this takes place post-OoT, only Link doesn't remember anything that happened to him or his adventures from OoT. Basically, he's living a normal life, until a few months before he's 18, getting swept up in an array of conflicts that mesh fairly well and are done in a very well thought out manner. I won't spoil the story too much here, keep some of the surprises

Really, it shows the author put a lot of thought into the plot (Well, spanning over 40 chapters) and it actually feels a more 'adult' version of Zelda, dealing with issues that the original game didn't cover and introducing a variety of old and new faces.

Be warned though, this story is heavy on OCs. Most of the OCs are tolerable and even lovable at times.

Writing: 8/10 - There are a few spelling errors here and there, but they don't distract from the story.

There's only a few minor nitpicks. First off, the length of the story itself can be daunting and there were times I actually had to take a break, even though I am a speed reader. The story is mainly from Link's PoV, but sometimes switches to little interludes involving other characters. Some of them are good, but some of them are just not needed, especially some near the end where they only serve more as a distraction than helping the story come to a closure.

Secondly, the OCs. There's just too many of them, especially near the end, where I lost track of just about everyone save a few of them, like Hunter and Neesha.

Luckily, the nitpicks I have don't break the story.

Characterization: 8/10 - It's kinda hard to score this section really, because Link's personality is gonna vary from author to author. Luckily, his 'core' personality is kept in the story. Using First Person also helped, because the reader gets a better sense of who Link is and how he thinks and feels about the events around him.

Zelda is, sadly, but not surprisingly, absent after a certain part in the story. For the most part, her character is quite enjoyable and is a great deal better than the 'Wah, I can't marry my tru luv cause he's a common boy!' deal. But this story doesn't really focus on romance, which could be a gift or curse, depending on your tastes. It's a shame Zelda drops out of the picture for half the story though.

The OCs play very large roles, like Hunter and Neesha, who become deeply involved with Link's adventure, and form deep special bonds with Link that he probably couldn't have formed even with Zelda. In some parts, some of them skim the boarderline into the 'Mary/Gary Sue/Stu' department, but for the most part, the OCs don't cross the line.

Negativities: Not enough romance, too many OCs

Summary: Takes place Post OoT. Link has no memories of what took place during OoT after Zelda sent him back in time. He basically lives a normal day life under the care of a man called Bruiser, who runs the Archery shop in Hyrule Town. While delivering a mysterious package to Hyrule Castle, Link is caught up in a whirlwind of events that turn his entire world upside down. The mysteries of who he is and was come to light and now he must cope and fight for survival while trying to restore Hyrule once more.

Overall - 8.6/10 - Definitely worth a read if you're looking for some gen-fic. This ranks up there as one of the best gen-fics I've read in a long time.
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I've returned! This time around, the fandom is one I've only seeped my toes in on and off, but been a big lurker since the Prodigy boards back 15 odd years ago.

Unfortuantely, most fic I find is trash, and since Zelda is a huge fandom (Spamming over 10 games and a few cartoon series), it's not surprising you find a lot of bad fic.

The irony of this fic is that I liked it when I read it when it was still on, but when I read it today, I wanted to smack myself for EVER liking it.

Series: The Legend of Zelda: OoT
Title: Sehnsucht
Author: The Unnamed Author
Genre: waahmublance drama Angst/Romance
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Angst, violence, suicide, more angst, explict sex, more angst, more suicide...
Couple (if applicable): Link/Zelda, past Link/Malon, some hinted Link/Saria
Plot: 4/10 - Honestly, there really isn't a big plot to this, just side stuff which is all waahngst from a character in the story. Really, it's just a big 'cwymoren00b!' feast that just went WAY past melodrama and into 'wtfbbq' land. If I thought the last story I reviewed was too dramatic, this story manages to make the SO3 fic seem very tame with angst.

Okay, we start off with Link boo hoo crying and trying to kill himself. Yep, sadly, in MANY fanfics, Link turns from this courageous hero to a whining self-pity ball of mess, which makes me want to vomit in my trash can. How the hell does a hero who looked death in the eye go to being a whiny emo brat??? But lo and behold, by a stroke of luck, the King and Princess of Hyrule manage to ride by and save Link at the last minute! Link manages to recover from his angst under the 'divine healing' powers of Zelda. Urgh...

The Ruto side story is stupid, pointless, and could've been cut out completely. But we can't have our angst without more suicidal moments, can we?

Then there's the batshit insane psycho prince storyline. Urgh, just urgh, another pointless angsty rollercoaster just to throw Zelda and Link into.

In the end, Zelda and Link elope, run off to the forest for their 'truluv' affair, abandoning the kingdom they tried to save from Ganondorf. Meanwhile, said King dies, cue political drama. Pretty much, Hyrule ends up imploding on itself.

Okay, so Zelda and Link save Hyrule from Ganondorf, only to have it destroyed on the inside because they felt giving the finger to it was better since they got treated by shit. Give me a fucking break, and I don't mean a kitkat bar either.

Basically, the story is a big drama angst feast, one after the other. Be prepared to drown in angst.

Writing: 8/10 - What baffles me is the writing itself is actually pretty good. If the format of the site doesn't kill you, that is. But otherwise, the story is fairly well written, despite the angst ridden crap that's in it. It's a shame, this author has talent in this department, but not in the plot or characterization department.

Characterization: 2/10 - All of the characters suffer from the 'omgANGST' sydrome. It's hard to characterize Link, because, face it, Nintendo made it so you sort of become Link in the game. He has a core personality, like fighting to protect something, he's courageous (Which is a duh!), he's kind to most people he meets, expert swordsman, etc. That's about it you can tell canonly unless you go by the cartoon timeline, which this story doesn't.

But in this story, Link sort of loses his core personality traits and instead turns into a 'woeisME!' angst monkey.

Zelda suffers from the angst too, her hatred for her father mainly, and her 'ohsoROUGH' life as a princess. While she has her tough moments, she's more there as a symbol to save Link from his 'ohsoangstpast', losing what flare she had.

Negativities: Too much angst to fill an ocean, OOCness, no really existant plotline

Summary: Link tries to commit suicide, he's saved by Zelda, and both try to cope with their 'omgANGST!'

Overall - 4.6/10 - The angst really destroys this story, big time. The author definitely has talent in the writing department, but the angst after angst waahmbulance destroys what could be a good piece. Stay away unless you really honest to god like melodramatic stories.
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Here's a perfect example of how NOT:

1. To write an AU
2. To write Albel/Fayt

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Dead by Christmas: A Christmas Special
Author: Tolanya
Genre: Romance/melodrama
Rating: R
Warnings: Violence, sex, more violence, dark adult themes
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt
Plot: 1/10 - AUs have always been the bane of my existance, mainly because not many have the talent to throw the characters we know and love into an entirely different universe, keep the characters true to themselves, and write a half-way decent plotline.

This story is no exception.

The story starts off with Fayt and Albel already in a relationship. The two of them are in high school, and apparently, Fayt's father and brother (?) are very very homophobic Christians and basically beat Fayt bloody till he's nearly or totally unsciousness. They also threaten to kill him on Christmas.

Oh, and apparently, Albel has an Uncle who molests him on every ocassion. Eventually, Albel kills him. And tries to kill himself, but lo and behold, a girl scout comes and recuses him from certain death. O_o

So Christmas comes and right before the father and brother kill Fayt, surprise (Or not), Albel comes to the rescue, killing the entire family.

Yes, that's the entire story, with some sex (In McDonald's, of ALL places!), character bashing, and dirty talk coming into play. Excuse me while I vomit in my trash can.

Pretty much, it's like an adult soap opera gone bad. The plot is beyond bizarre and goes into 'Welcome to Strangeville'. The fact that scares me is that this is a prequel to a previous story, which doesn't give me any sort of want to read the original, not to mention the Sophia bashing that reeked from the summary for the original story.

Writing: 4/10 - Chapters are very very short. The lemon is beyond tacky along with the plotline. The only reason it doesn't get a lower score is because it's readable and looks like it was run through a spelling/grammar checker.

Characterization: 1/10 - Basically, you could slap different names on these characters and pass it up as original fic. BAD original fic.

We got Christian bashing. Check. Sophia bashing. Check. Mangled Albel and Fayt. Check. A tard plotline. Check.

Basically, the characters don't sound like themselves, Albel and Fayt act like teeny bops, the happenings in the story are beyond bizarre, the characters don't even retain their core personalities...

Why a 1 and not a 0? Because thank godfully, most of the cast is absent from this piece of filth.

Negativities: OOC to the max, stupid AU plotline, christian and Sophia bashing, tacky lemon, pointless violence...

Summary: Fayt's family finds out his 'gaytruluv' is Albel and threaten to kill Fayt on Christmas. Will he survive? Do you really care?

Overall: 2/10 - I think this was one of the worst SO3 fanfics I managed to come across. I cannot understand why people like this author so much, because her AU plotlines are melodrama after melodrama. There is angst, wangst, and melodrama. This is pure melodrama to the max. Stay the hell away from this story.
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Sadly, I think I may give up on finding a decent Albel/Sophia fic.

The good news is that, while this author says that Keeki and allmysensesfail's fics are better, hers is much much better than theirs.

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: BitterSweet Motivations
Author: Dragon Chyld
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Sophia, implied Fayt/Sophia, implied Fayt/Maria, implied Cliff/Mirage
Plot: 5/10 - There isn't much plot, it takes place pre and post game and tries to build up Albel/Sophia's relationship, but does it too fast and it ends into marriage much too quickly, like most het romances seem to do.

Up around chapter 10, Sophia gets mistaken for *spoilers*, which is sort of a cheap cop-out, really. It doesn't really affect anything till the end of the story.

Unfortuantely, the story suffers from 'love triangle' sydrome, aka, making one or more people to be 'bad' or seem to get in the middle of our pairing in the story. If anything, the love triangle thing is a even cheaper cop-out. Luckily, it's done without character bashing.

And the marriage in the end is very very rushed. Whatever happened to old fashioned woeing? :/

And what happened with the Federation incident too? That sort of vanishes completely from the storyline.

Writing: 7/10 - Sadly, this story is written fairly odd. It's supposed to be a narrator telling the story to the audience, but a lot of the time, it goes back more to third person and then ocassionally comes back to first person. It's important to keep everything in the same PoV, but it flip flops and you sometimes forget that this was ever written from someone else's PoV.

Sadly, parts to this fic are written like the world is a game, with mana and health bars. This makes the fic look silly at times where it tries to be serious.

There are a few errors here and there, but they're not noticable. The fic is fairly well written and flows rather nicely.

Characterization: 5/10 - Up till around chapter 6, the author was doing a fair buildup between the two. Until the 'truth serum' incident.

Spoilers for the fic )

Negativities: Not enough build up on the main pairing

Summary: A certain swordsman has caught the eye of Sophia, and she's determined to get to know him, wheither he likes it or not. Sadly, while the first parts show promise, the story deludes and rushes into their relationship too quickly.

Overall: 5.6/10 - Much better than the previous two stories, but not by much, mainly from a not so strong plot and mediorc characterizations. There were times where characters were spot on (Cliff, Mirage), but when characters were off, they were off the mark, big time. You could give this story a whirl, but unless you are originally a fan of Albel/Sophia, you're not gonna be won over to this pairing with this fic.
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Here I bring good fic. Too bad it's not Star Ocean 3, but a very obscure fandom.

Series: Shadow Hearts
Title: Shadow Killer
Author: MikoNoNyte
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Romance
Rating: R - NC-17
Warnings: Violence, some swearing, sexual content, Spoilers for Shadow Hearts 2
Couple (if applicable): Yuri/Alice, Yuri/Margaret
Plot: 8/10 - This story's plot can be a bit complicated and it manages to keep you on the edge of your seat till the end fill in some fluffy bunny moments, Yuri dork moments, and battles.

The story keeps true to the game's 'genre' by not taking a cheap route and just getting Yuri and Alice together and living happily ever after, but manages to show real complications to their relationship and how they deal with them and adding in some darker themes as well.

Also, the wedding at the end? I really liked how the author took some time out to research how they were back then too.

Be warned, there are a few spoilers for Shadow Hearts 2. While it follows the 'good' ending to SH, it contains a few spoilers to SH2.

Writing: 8/10 - The writing flows fairly well. There's very few grammar/spelling errors. Some parts in the story can be a bit overwhelming to people who aren't used to long multi-chapter works.

The format is a bit weird and sometimes, you might get clobbered with the giant wall of text, but it doesn't distract too much from.

Characterization: 8/10 - At first, I was about to give up on this story because I had something against Yuri's character. But later, I realized that parts in the story were true. We have a guy who comes from a totally different country and most likely a totally different culture (This isn't counting what Yuri's life was possibly like after *spoilers*). So it wouldn't be surprising that the culture in Europe would be very very different from the way Yuri is used to.

There would also possibly be a language barrier, something the series really doesn't cover, and it's very likely that the sort of life Yuri had would be a 180 from the life Alice has.

Although not a big fan of this pairing, I like how Margaret was thrown into this as well as how she deals with her emotions with Yuri. The author doesn't just brush them off.

The only characterization I really didn't care much for was, surpringly, Alice, but it wasn't bad enough to distract and destroy the entire story. Most of the time, she was spot on save a few moments.

Negativities: None unless you are a canon!whore (This doesn't follow Shadow Heart 2)

Summary: Post game. Alice takes Yuri back to her mother, introductions and such. But things never turn out how they expected. While Yuri tries to adjust into a society totally different from he knows, he ends up getting pulled into a mysterious murder case...

Overall: 8/10 - Definitely worth a read if you are a Yuri/Alice fan and want something after the game ends. This story manages to pull off the romance and throw in a fairly good plot along with it.
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Yeah, I know I said I'd go back and forth between good fic and bad fic. But I figured since I'm getting a little tired of Albel/Fayt fic and I don't see much luck with Suikoden 5 fic (Current obsession), I might as well try something else. The goal: Try to find a decent Albel/Sophia fic.

Sadly, this is a failure too. Really, I should've known, given this author's homophobic attitude, how she put up 'flames' on her profile (Now it's just pairings she liked and story progress), how she flaunted at some people at deviant-art, the fact that she's 15 and writing lemons on a site that doesn't allow them, and... Yeah, I'd try giving her fic the benefit of the doubt.

What is good is that at least it's a bit better than the last one. Just a bit.

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Kill the Silence
Author: allmysensesfail
Genre: Romance/Drama/Suspence
Rating: R - NC-17
Warnings: Lime/lemon, some cursing, adult themes
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Sopha, Fayt/Sophia, Cliff/Mirage
Plot: 3/10 - Basically, the story goes like this: Rejection, sex, blackmail!Albel and emo!Sophia, naked stuff, more blackmail, more emo!Sophia, more sex, battles, Fayt finding out (o noes!), emo!Sophia, almost sex, jealous fits, boring battles, death of *spoilers*, more sex, more blackmail, more emo!Sophia, plot 'thickens', time passes (They spend 3 months in a hotel room!?), emo!reunion, more sex (WHY is this on, more obvious foreshadowing, little knowledge of 'age of consent' law and any other laws, cue court room drama music, more emo!Sophia, the official return of *spoilers*, more threats and violence, more sex (Le sigh), death of... urgh, marriage, endage.

Basically, while this plot is original, it's so bizarre, that I can barely make heads or tails of it. The story begins pre game with Sophia walking to Albel's room casually asking him for sex. Later you find out that she asked to have sex with Albel because Fayt rejected her, cue projection, pissy + jealous!Albel, and more off the wall drama.

For a few chapters, that's what it mostly is, a bunch of emo!Sophia moments and lots of sex. Then the story turns post game and our heroes are places on trial because they've broken the UP3, even though up to this point, no one really cared they broke the UP3, let alone if the Federation even exists anymore.

Cue lots of sex and sexual content, a psycho Fayt, a court case that turns up NOT to have anything to do with the UP3 at all, more sex, and happily ever after. Unlike the other Albel/Sophia fic, this story tries to have some sort of plot going alongside the sex scenes, but it turns out to be tacky and the laws themselves not being properly researched.

Sophia IS above the age of having sex, at least in this state. In many parts of the country, the legal age of having sex varies. And you could say that Sophia may have turned 18 in the process of their journey. So the whole 'Albel slept with a minor!' thing would only apply if the legal age was 18, but in many parts of the US, it varies. In fact, outside the US, it can get as low as 12! So in Star Ocean's world, it would probably be likely to have the age of consent fall in the middle, along the lines of 15 or 16.

Plus, Sophia's father AND Fayt's mother are alive, cue paired Fayt and Sophia ending, and while Fayt is above the age of 18, I'm not really sure he could become Sophia's legal guardian, because mainly, he can't support her, he has no job and no income to speak of, even if it was part of the will. Most courts would laugh that a 19 year old wants who has no way to support a young child, wants to be their legal guardian, let alone a 17 year old child.

Let's get into the romance... Or what romance? Seriously, it starts with sex, some plot, more sex, and that's about it. There's little to no build up, very much on Albel's side more than Sophia's, since girls do sometimes do what she did. But even after that, there's just... nothing.

Writers, you cannot write on a pairing that has little to no build-up in canon and expect fans to think that the pairing somehow works in your fic with little build-up.

Writing: 6/10 - Okay, one sentence does NOT equal a paragraph. Neither does two. It's three sentences that make an entire paragraph, save for dialogue, and let me tell you, finding a paragraph in this story is rare save lemon scenes. I'm a paragraph freak myself, where if I see the wall of text, I will skim right by it. But there is no need to make every single sentence into one pargraph.

And people, STOP writing the world like it's a game with talk of 'levels', 'heath bars' and the like.

What IS funny is the paragraphs suddenly appear around chapter 6. Where the lemon scene comes into place. On a site that does NOT allow lemons. By someone who is 15.

There are quite a few spelling and grammar errors, but surprisingly, the lemons are written well. A little too well, compared to the rest of the story, really, which makes me a bit suspicious, mainly because the lemons stick out from some parts of the story all together.

Characterization: 2/10 - Rule one, do NOT let your personal feelings for characters soak into a story.

Example: 'And Peppita, the freaky carnie one, was wriggling and struggling to not get up and dance around like the dumbass she was.' = BIG freaking no no, and this was in Chapter 2 alone!

Story spoilers )

Negativities: emo!Sophia, horny!Albel, Satan!Fayt, OOC!Cliff, courtroom drama, melodrama

Summary: Albel blackmails Sophia after she came to him with the offer for sex. They then somehow realize their 'truluv' for each other. People find out, get angry, but go defeat *spoilers*. *spoilers* is defeated, now everyone save Nel, Adray, and Peppitta are on trial for breaking the UP3. However, it doesn't even turn out to be that at all, and Albel is now on trial on account for raping Sophia.

Overall: 3.6/10 - Really, I wonder about the lemons, because they're written fairly well compared with the rest of the story. And only during the lemon scene and a bit of the courtroom scene do we see that the author uses paragraphs. The writing isn't too bad in the story, but the plot and characterizations ruin it, for the most part. And the way the romance is handled.

Okay, tomorrow, a good fic, I promise this time. :D
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I have one non-LJ friend who apparently likes Albel/Sophia. However, she avoids fanfiction like the black plague. I think I know why.

I should have known what to expect, because everytime an author has a 'couples I hate/characters I hate' on their profile tend not to write well (Not to mention coming off as immature). And I had a sort of bad dealing with this author. I decided to read her fic anyways, since it seems so popular and has a fair number of reviews.

Lots of review =! good story. Especially when a good half or more are written by the same 3 people who review every chapter.

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: A Light in the Darkness
Author: Keeki
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Some sexual content, some violence, Other Characters (OCs)
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Sophia
Plot: 3/10 - To make a long story short, Albel and Sophia somehow land up on a different world due to her *spoilers*, they run into some problems with a demon ironically called 'Romero', they find out Romero cursed Sophia, they go to put a stop to said demon, emo moments, trials, boring action fights, love pookie moments, more emo, OC deaths, Romero gets Sophia, Albel defeats Romero, everyone thinks Sophia is dead, but lo and behold, love revives her. There's tears, kissy poos, and the end.

Simple, to the point, and still manages steal content from OTHER games/stories. Yeah, you heard me.

First, we have Axel, the red haired guy from Kingdom Hearts 2. Sadly, that's all I know of him since I haven't played Kingdom Hearts 2 (But I have friends who have and the author admits her taking this from KH2), so I can't rant that. Then we have the 'Al Bhed'. I seriously wanted to scream when I saw this. Should I be thankful there was no Al Bhed spoken in this fic?

And of course, there's a village called Kalm.

NEVER take stuff from other games, it's crude and you'll get people mixed up/angry unless you mention it in your notes, which this author mentioned near the END of the chapter where it first appeared. You could've named your 'race' something other than stealing one from FFX. You could've called the village something else. AND you could've named Axel something else.

I don't mind the mythology references and the like, but stealing stuff from other games... no.

Oh, and the 'legend' in the village? I felt like slapping Sophia upside her head because the foreshadowing in this entire story runs like it was written by a fourth grader. You could guess what happens fairly easily before it even happens.

And when you write game fanfic, it's best to avoid it running like a video game. Like simply telling that a character shouted out using a skill, talking about 'levels', and the like. Big no-no.

The romance runs like a teen romance novel. Okay, for some bizarre reason, Albel finds Sophia attractive and wants to bonk her 3 chapters in. Whatever happened to emotional build up? And Sophia, for some reason, wants to cure him of his emo angst. Oh, and there's crying, lots of crying. This is including a guy who pretty much GRINS during a fight and a girl who lost her parents at the age of 12, faced a near death situation, and had to come to terms that she was experimented on. Oh, and another girl who didn't cry a single time in the game either.

Overall, the story was predictable, pointless characters, pointless character deaths and the power of tru luv... the entire thing runs like a teeny romance. And Albel is in his 20's. ~_~

Writing: 3/10 - This is where the pure joy of having either having some sort of spelling/grammar processor or better, a beta reader, comes in. Many errors in the story could've easily been found by running this thing through MS word. There is no excuse for not running your fic through a simple spelling/grammar editor. If you don't have MS word, here and here. There is really no excuse for this, and both these sites were off of google, I got over a million sites for spelling and grammar checkers, it takes a total of 5 seconds, tops.

But even with that, there are still many errors that only a beta reader would be able to catch.

The author also has a thing against of putting periods and commas after someone speaks:

Example: Peppita walked up to Fayt, “I hope you find then soon” she said and smiled at him.
Correct sentence: Peppita walked up to Fayt. “I hope you['ll] find the[m] soon,” she said and smiled at him.

And the writing is as boring as that. Tons of Noun-Verb sentences, lots of telling instead of showing, and really akward sentences like, 'Albel quickly scrambled off of her and glared at her evilly, like he was going to slice her up like a thanksgiving turkey.' You don't even need to put the 'like' part in, not to mention the lack of capitalization.

Another example: 'She opened the closet and found some simple stitched sleeping shirts. She took out a medium sized one and put it on, it was a little too big , and one side kept falling off her shoulder.' The 'too big' could be eliminated all together in place of a description of how it's too big.

The entire story runs like this that I found myself skimming parts and had to stop and go back and reread it, only to have the same thing happening again.

The author tries to foreshadow some stuff, like hinting on who the dragon is, but it's seriously so obvious that anyone would pick up on it. And the locket idea, a reviewer apparently guessed what would happen several chapters before it happened. That's usually not a good sign either.

And the weeping. Oh, the weeping!

This is a story that really needs a heavy beta-read through. Or an entire re-write. I'd vote the second.

The reason why it doesn't get a 0 is that at least it looks like it was written with some form of coherency. And the trials were well thought of, although considering how the story runs and how she took stuff from other games, I wonder...

Characterization: 2/10 - URGH!

Spoilers for the fic )

Negativities: Teeny bop romance, OOC!just about everyone, poor writing, missing commas/periods, stealing from other games, OCs with 'oh so tragic' pasts, boo-fucking-hoo weeping

Summary: Albel and Sophia get 'teleported' to another planet, along the way, they have to deal with a demon and realize their 'truluv' for each other, even though they have never really spoken too deeply before this story!

Overall: 2.6/10 - I tried so not to be snarky here, but after I finally finished this story and starting writing this review, I gave up and embraced part of my snarky side. Unless you want to torture yourself, stay away from this fic.
starzafandomblog: (Default)
Here's some Albel introspective~!

Series: Star Ocean 3
Title: Hollow
Author: Iggy Lovechild
Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Warnings: Implied male slash
Couple (if applicable): Albel/Fayt
Plot: NA - Er, there's no real plot, it's more of a character introspective. So this category sort of doesn't apply here.
Writing: 8/10 - There's a few typos and sentences that should've ended but didn't, but overall, it's well written. The flow of the fic is done fairly well.
Characterization: 8/10 - Albel introspectives aren't rare. GOOD Albel introspectives are, however. The author manages to cover how Albel feels about Fayt, both in general, and then leading up to the romantical ties. The only problem with this is that this concept has been done a few times before, so if you're looking for something new, you may not find it here. But if you're looking for a different outlook from Albel's PoV, it may be worth your wild to take a look at this fic.
Negativities: Unless you're looking for something original, none
Summary: First person PoV Albel interspective piece that focuses on his relationship with Fayt using in game events.
Overall: 8/10 - A short introspective, what can I say? If you like Albel/Fayt and like pieces from Albel's PoV, you should give this fic a shot.


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