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Review: The Missing One by ICMezzo

The Missing One by ICMezzo

Summary: Carlisle got home from the hospital, he toed off his shoes, draped his jacket over the top of his favorite chair, then went upstairs to wait. Vamp. AU.

This was written for the VampSlash Halloween Fest, and the first time I read it I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. So, naturally, I read it again. And again. I probably read this 5 or 6 times when it originally posted, and then again when ICMezzo posted it on FFn. (And again just before writing this review.) Every time, I’ve been left with that heart ripped out of your chest pain, longing, sense of loss.

The Missing One is just over 1000 words long, but each sentence is packed with such emotion. The story captures mere minutes in one of Carlisle’s days, but it’s painfully obvious that the event stays with him always. While Carlisle is waiting, even though you (the reader) don’t know what he’s waiting for, you can feel its absence. Carlisle has suffered a great loss and continues to suffer for it.

A promise broken cannot be unbroken and this is the pain Carlisle must endure for his mistake.

ICMezzo is a brilliant writer who understands the economy of words, and not one word is wasted in this story. I won’t quote anything in this review because I don’t want to spoil it, but give the story a chance. It’s a quick read that won’t let you go.

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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Review: The Whipping Boy by Fr333bird and beckybrit

The Whipping Boy by fr333bird and beckybrit

Summary: Edward and Seth are captured by the Volturi, but the experience brings them together in a way E never expected. This is ultimately a love story albeit a dark one. WARNINGS: contains graphic torture and some elements of sexual abuse. AU.

The Wipping Boy was written for the TwiKinkFest but it’s so much more than the kink it fulfils. It’s a surprising love story, borne out of despair and necessity, but nonetheless beautiful. The Whipping Boy takes place in an end-of-Breaking Dawn alternate universe where Bella was killed by the Volturi. The Volturi want Renesmee, but she is safely hidden away with Jake while Edward is on the run with Seth. Eventually the pair are captured by the Volturi and that’s when and where this story takes place.

Told in alternating points of view, The Whipping Boy shows the fresh hell that Edward and Seth are in while in captivity in the dungeons of Volterra. Upon capture, Marcus assesses the bond between Edward and Seth and uses it against them. The Volturi – Marcus, Jane and Demetri – try to get Edward to divulge Resnesmee’s location by whipping and beating Seth.

As the whip cuts through skin and muscle, Seth’s groans echo from the unforgiving stone that surrounds us. The sound of his pain is trapped within these ancient walls, deep in the bowels of Volterra.

I don’t want to watch, but I can’t look away. I feel that I owe it to Seth to witness what they’re doing to him.

I watch helplessly as Marcus brings the whip viciously down on Seth’s naked, shackled body. “Tell us where she is Edward, and I will stop torturing your pet.” His voice is cold and devoid of emotion.

I wouldn’t even call whipping the kink in this one, and maybe that’s the way the original prompter meant it. The kink in this, to me, is the healing, Seth’s pain, both physical and mental, and the gaping wounds of Edward’s loss. The pair find strength and reason in each other, need each other more than they could have anticipated.

I welcome the marks that I know he’s going to leave on my skin. They’ll fade soon enough, but not before erasing every other mark that’s come before them.

Fr333bird and beckybrit do a fantastic job with the imagery and emotion in this story. I can see the unforgiving stone walls of Volterra, Seth’s wrists, raw from the shackles, blood running down his back as he is being tortured. I can feel Edward being torn apart with guilt and loss and longing. But more importantly, the safety and peace they find with each other is obvious.

This was a great story, and I thank whoever left the prompt at the KinkFest for dropping this little nugget of a plot bunny into the brains of these two authors.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Pack Slash, Reviews

 

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Review: Getting By, by sadtomato

Getting By, by sadtomato

Summary: Edward and Bella are gone, their families left to deal with crushing grief in their absence. The Cullens have moved away, but Carlisle comes back to Forks to check on Charlie and prevent another tragedy . Grief/Loss. M for Mature Themes but not Lemony.

Carlisle and Charlie certainly isn’t a pairing I’d go looking for by choice. But Getting By is written by sadtomato, and sadtomato is one of those rare AH authors whose fics this anti-AH reader* will run to, no questions asked.

*Yes, I am fully and completely aware that I am a huge hypocrite because I write both AH and also the most bog-standard pairing out there next to E/B. But I write other stuff too, so :p

Sadtomato is also an author who is not afraid to write the less popular pairings either.

Respect.

But I’m getting distracted. Yes, Carlisle and Charlie is a pairing with great potential for squick. sadtomato does it in a way that makes sense in the slightly altered universe she creates.

Getting By is not a story about sex. It’s a story about grief. About loss, and about dealing with that loss. We get to see both sides of this story. Through Charlie we hear what he believes happened to his daughter and her new husband, and then later, through Carlisle we discover what really happened.

It’s Alice who pushes these two men, who have lost something so similar, together.

The pain each of these men feel is palpable in the way sadtomato writes.

I love this version of Carlisle. He drinks with Charlie and admits his family is not okay. He admits that he, himself is not okay. And he says ‘fuck’ 🙂

Vampires can’t get drunk, but by acting that way he loses his inhibitions and allows himself to not be the strong one for a change.

When Carlisle climbs into Bella’s bed in search of the last trace of Edward, I felt his loss keenly.

I lift up the comforter, exposing sheets that haven’t been changed in two years, and I find exactly what I’m looking for.

Edward. It smells like Edward in here. The sheets, and especially the pillow. I crawl on my hands and knees into the bed and bury my face in the bedding, breathing him in. Somehow I end up curled up on my side, clutching the pillow to my face and trying to inhale every trace of Edward’s scent.

This is all that’s left. All that remains, after we cleaned out the house on the Island and moved out of the house in Forks. We still have some of his things-the ones Rosalie didn’t burn-but we’ve all handled them so much that they don’t really smell like Edward anymore.

This is all that I have. And I know it will dissipate now, especially since I’ve disturbed the bedding. I know that someday Charlie willcome in here and clean things out, or he’ll sell the house and someone else will do it.

This is my only chance. I hold the pillow tighter, gasping and taking great, heaving breaths. I miss him so much. He was my brother, my friend, myson, and I’ll never see him again. He just left me without giving me a chance to say goodbye.

I lie there for hours, just breathing.

I tell myself I’ll get up when I’ve had enough, but I realize around two in the morning that I’ll never have enough. I whisper my goodbyes to the last trace of Edward left on Earth-I tell him that I miss him, and I’m sorry, and I love him.

Awwwww 😦 Stop me before I get all gushy about Edward and Carlisle 😉

So why does this qualify as a slash story? Because when Carlisle wakes Charlie from a nightmare, they take comfort in each other. It’s not graphic, it’s not romantic. It’s desperate and confusing and scary and you grit your teeth and feel kind of mortified for Carlisle and what is happening to him.

The desperation and surrender with which these two men come together is ridiculously hot. And even though they only have one orgasm between them and no clothing is ever removed, this is easily one of the most erotic sex scenes I’ve read in twislash.

It’s hot, and it’s real, and it fits. It’s not a sex scene slotted into a story for kicks. This gritty realness gives me story orgasms. True story. (Not really, but you know what I mean.) sadtomato never steps past the point of believability. This is something I strive for in my own stories, something I expect from the fics I read. Possibility. Authenticity. Reality. sadtomato brings us such an unlikely pairing and makes it completely believable.

One of the most interesting things sadtomato does in this story is the way she deals with bloodlust. This here is why I’m into vampfic. The desire of a vampire for the blood of his human lover is the very basis for Twilight and so many other vampire/human romances. It’s why I love the vampire genre, and it is the thing I hope to find in any vampire/human pairing. And I was very pleased to find it here where with Carlisle as a character it had to be handled well (or not at all).

I’m so glad sadtomato wrote a vampfic because she is truly one of my favourite twific authors and I’m so pleased to be able to write a VampSlash review on one of her works. I’m hoping like hell she decides to write some more vampfic in the future.

For the Halloween Fest, perhaps? How’s that for a challenge? 😉

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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Review: A Light Exists in Spring by shoefreak37

A Light Exists in Spring by shoefreak37

Summary: The Volturi find a new prospect in Forks. “All I know is, I think I’m gay for Edward Cullen, and in two days I’m supposed to die.” Slash Backslash 3.0 entry. Post Breaking Dawn.

Are there pairings rarer than Mike/Edward? Not many, if any (kiwi joke). So when this SBS3.0 entry appeared in my box, I squeed, loud and for real. VampSlash! Mike/Edward! Volturi! All my wildest dreams have come true! And I’m exhibiting a blatant author bias here, but I knew that because it had been written by shoefreak37, it would be right up my personal alley (and doesn’t that just sound filthy, no?)

Anyway. shoe. Mike. Edward. Volturi… vamp is a happy girl.

The story is post-BD, and as far as I’m concerned, entirely permissible as canon. Ahh, I do love a canon slash fic. The curtain rises on Edward as he descends into the depths of the Volturi dungeons, flanked by Felix and Demetri. Mike Newton is being held as their prisoner.

What on earth could the Volturi possibly want with Mike Newton?

The people who took him thought it was odd when Mike asked for a notebook and a pen. Once he got over the shock of being kidnapped, he grew bored. So bored he began to be afraid. Mike feared he would never be free again, feared he would forget who he had been entirely. He begins each page like this:

I am Mike Newton. I sometimes wish I were taller so I could slam dunk a basketball. My hair is blond. My birthday is in _ days. I will live to turn twenty.

In A Light Exists in Spring, shoefreak37 creates an addition to the Twilight mythology that fits seamlessly, and intrigued me right from the first mention. It’s impossible to share further without being a Spoily McSpoilpants, so I won’t, but I will say that the gift shoe gives Mike—and the reason the Volturi want him—is so entirely perfect for his character that I am once again rendered almost speechless by her insight into her characters.

Almost 😉

Now, this is a slash fic of course, and shoe doesn’t disappoint on the action. For 21 days, Edward and Mike are locked in a cell together. Oh my god but isn’t that one of my all time fantasies 😉 With no one else to talk to, these boys get to know each other very well. Mike comes to realise that Edward isn’t as bad as he once thought…in fact, he might actually be quite fond of him.

And Edward…

Edward is amazed by Mike. He wonders why Bella clung to Jacob when he left her, when she could have enjoyed the company Edward is enjoying. Here is Mike, days from death or an eternity of servitude, and he strives to keep Edward entertained. Would she have even missed Edward, had she really gotten to know Mike?

Edward has a couple of unique advantages. He can read Mike’s mind. He has also seen the visions Alice had before he left Forks. He knows what’s going to happen between them. And happen it does. shoe’s sex is lovely, as ever. It did remind me of my all time favourite VampSlash, Tracking Redemption, by the same author. The couples are entirely different, in completely different situations, but the language she uses is wonderful. She makes angry sex beautiful, and then when angry sex becomes tender and sweet it transitions nicely. She’s not gratuitous about sex, either. The story comes first and foremost, which I honestly cannot say for yours truly 😉

My name is Mike Newton. There are only two more days until my twentieth birthday.

For the last six days, I have spent most of my time having sex with Edward. I’m pretty confused about that.

The truth is, I have no idea what to think, can’t even begin to think about what to think. Was I into guys before? I don’t know.

All I know is, I think I’m gay for Edward Cullen, and in two days I’m supposed to die.

Mike draws a picture of a wooden stake going into a cartoon heart.

I might love him a little.

A Light Exists in Spring lived up to everything I have come to expect from one of shoefreak37’s VampSlash fics. It’s a wonderful addition to the unusual Mike/Edward pairing.

ETA: A Light Exists in Spring took out the two top spots in SBS3.0, First Place Judges Choice and Winner of the Public Vote. I wrote this review well before the winners were announced and I had no idea a vampfic and a Mike fic would do so well in this usually AH heavy contest. I’m so pleased, I’m so pleased for shoe, congrats love, you completely and utterly deserve it!

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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Review: Fire and Ice by HoochieMomma

Fire and Ice by HoochieMomma

Summary: “No mutt is going to outrun me. I’m Rosalie fucking Hale.” Rose / Leah femmeslash, Canon. M for mature content.

I love canon slash. It really is the beauty of The Twilight Saga spanning just a couple of years in Bella’s life. When the vampires have existed for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years there is so much canon time to work with, not to mention the possibility of future fic.

But when an author manages to write a canon slash fic that takes place within the time span of the saga, it’s just that little bit more delicious.

Fire and Ice is one such fic. It’s femmeslash, not my usual bag, but femme + vamp + canon + Leah (who I might have a wee bit of a girl crush on) is totally something I’ll read.

HoochieMomma drags us right into the middle of things without boring us with set up. We get the information we need, and only the information we need to explain the situation.

Me.

In a car.

With Leah Clearwater.

I know, right? It doesn’t compute. Anyway. This is all due to stupid Alice’s stupid visions and stupid Edward’s stupid infatuation with the stupid human (if I have to go over it all again, I swear I’ll pull what I’ve heard Jasper slyly refer to as ‘an Edward’ and book a one-way ticket to Volterra). So, to spare us all, the brief version is that fate has conspired with the cartload of stupid to mean that I am, indeed, stuck in my car with Little Miss Furry Ass over here. I check the mirrors then cast a sideways glare. Annoyingly, right now her ass is looking far from furry. In fact it appears to have been poured into pair of faded denim shorts instead, but still. Hello, shorts? In this weather? Let’s hear it for keeping your wolf problem on the downlow with seasonally-appropriate fashion choices. Anyway, between those and the fact that her top is riding up, exposing a flash of toned midriff, the upshot is she’s totally working the accidental slut look.

The sexual tension between Rose and Leah is brilliant. And I just adore Rose’s snark. Stephenie made me dislike Rose in a way that not even her overshare in Eclipse could save. But HoochieMomma has made me like her again. This is canon Rose, but with likeability.

The sight of her has literally stopped me in my tracks. She’s brought me to a standstill at the edge of the trees while I stare and stare. She’s alive; I can hear her heartbeat. She’s built of a smooth mixture of sinew and curves, like she’s been carved. As she turns into the breeze, a fresh wave of her scent reaches me. Just like it did in the car, I find it unsettling, but now it’s mixing with my scent, it’s not entirely repellent. It’s earthy, reminiscent of the woods and of living things. And, oddly, it smells familiar. Where have I smelt it recently…?

Rose makes almost constant reference to the fact that Leah is alive. Her heartbeat, her warmth, her scent. So in character, because it’s the one thing Rose would give anything for—to be alive.

The sex is where I usually glaze over when I’m reading femmeslash. I don’t when I read Fire and Ice. It’s not endlessly drawn out, it’s concise and very hot. The contrast between temperatures is a significant feature, and one of the things I love about a vampire/wolf pairing.

HoochieMomma’s parting gift is the suggestion of Emmett/Jacob. What I wouldn’t do for a companion fic to Fire and Ice 😉

Fire and Ice was Best Canon in The VampSlash Contest. It’s true, we didn’t have many canon entries, which is a great pity, but HoochieMomma definitely deserved this win. It was one of my favourite entries.

Now, just a reminder about the Halloween Fest we’re running. 100 words minimum, no maximum, more details here. Next week I’ll be launching a new feature on the blog where we get obsessive fans experts to profile their favourite character. It should be no surprise that I’m starting with Alec 😉

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Contest, Femmeslash, Pack Slash, Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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Review: Windows by shoefreak37

Windows, by shoefreak37

Summary: I put my hands against the spots, understanding the dark masses were what kept Rosalie alive. They might as well have spelled out ‘The End’ because that was how I felt—not just a chapter was ending, but my story was done. It began and ended with her.

I’d like to be able to say that I’m sort of an advocate for femmeslash in the fandom, but truthfully, I fail at it. I try, but it really isn’t easy to find the kind of story in this genre that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you all warm and squirmy at the same time. They certainly are few and far between, so I find myself shying away from them more and more lately.

Regardless of my scepticism, I was excited to see some femme come in with this contest, and thrilled that one was actually able to capture me the way that it did.

I love it when stories of friendship bloom into something more, but the way shoefreak brings us into the past without the burden of a huge backstory was fantastic. We only get small hints of the childhood Rosalie and Bella shared, but the way this writer weaves her words, there’s more than enough to draw you in, making you feel almost as if you’re there with them.

She was like skinned knees and grass stains, part of my childhood. Unforgettable, she was, like the first breath of Autumn sneaking in on a summer breeze. Like markers that smelled of fruit, a glue stick colored purple, she was different and she stuck out to everyone…

In so few words, we travel down a road with these characters, watching as they experience true friendship, comfort, exploration, a first kiss…but just as they’re discovering what lies beneath the surface for both of them, all of it is snatched away. Shoe managed to hold on to some of the canon aspects of Rosalie’s would-be death, making this story all the more heart-wrenching.

Bella has never known life without Rosalie, and none of the small details included here fail to convey that loss to the readers.

Glancing at the pictures—high school graduation, packing for college, my first apartment—I can’t help but see the empty spot Rosalie should have inhabited. Each photo features me huddled to the side, leaving a gaping space that has no hope of being filled.

Such beautiful descriptive throughout this story, something I’ve come to expect from this writer. What I didn’t expect, though, was her incredible knack for creating a piece that’s both full of beautiful, undying love, and laced with gruesome gore at the same time. Not a feat easily accomplished by many, in my opinion.

I can’t say much without giving away the entire ending, but I will definitely say that this is very much worth the read. Beautifully written, perfectly paced, different in an unexpected way.

Windows won both best femmeslash, and third place judges vote in the vampslash contest. Be sure to check out the wide array of equally beautiful stories by shoefreak37. She’s certainly got something for everyone.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Contest, Femmeslash, Reviews

 

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Review: Amid the Lucid Stream by ArcadianMaggie

Amid the Lucid Stream by ArcadianMaggie

Summary: The wolves don’t bother the solitary vampire who sits on the cliff’s edge, night after night, looking at the stars. Edward/Jasper, AU, Slash. Rated M.

I’m ridiculously excited that the other girls let me do this review. One of the last entries in the contest, and also one of my very favourites, Amid the Lucid Stream ticked all the right boxes for me. I’ll be very shocked if any of the readers of this review haven’t read Amid the Lucid Stream, but I offer my thoughts on it anyway (and of course the review is part of ArcadianMaggie’s prize for coming second overall in the VampSlash Contest).

Amid the Lucid Stream is a beautiful story. Heartbreaking, tragic, yes, but gorgeous. There seems to be a little bit of madness there in Edward’s thoughts and experiences, until as the story unfolds we begin to understand what has happened.

Edward seems to be isolating himself. Alice hasn’t come out of her room in weeks. Carlisle offers to listen, but Edward doesn’t want to talk. And it appears that he can barely stand to be around Bella. He spends days, it seems, on the cliffs looking up at the stars.

Looking at the pairing, it’s not long before you notice that there is one person missing and wonder why. We’re kept somewhat in the dark, not knowing what happened until near the end, but we know it’s significant. I like that. The author assumes we can think for ourselves and she doesn’t coddle us. The entire story is written with brevity and an economy of words that makes this word count snark jump for joy 😉 ArcadianMaggie does it so well that she has room within this very full story (and the intentionally restrictive word count limit) for something a little extra.

I must admit that when things get a little intellectual I often glaze over (I refer to myself as ‘woefully uneducated’). ArcadianMaggie wove astronomy and myth into this story in such a way that I was still interested. She made it part of the story, linked it to the characters; she made it relevant.

I love how ArcadianMaggie dealt with Bella in this story. Using their youth and inexperience, the way she represents Edward and Bella’s relationship seems very logical and could be completely canon. She makes the Edward/Jasper pairing not only plausible, but obvious. I’ve often wondered why Jasper is so often paired with Edward. It was never obvious to me, never ‘hinted’ at in canon (or perhaps I was simply blinded by the far more obvious Edward/Carlisle pairing), but this is one of those stories that shows that despite their very different beginnings, Edward and Jasper do have rather a lot in common.

Amid the Lucid Stream is a close-to-canon story that doesn’t quite stick to all that happened during Breaking Dawn (I would call it a Breaking Dawn AU), and we see a very different outcome of Bella and Charlie’s first meeting after Bella was changed.

They were on the front porch, laughing as Bella recounted pictures Renesmee had put in her head. Jasper was leaning against the railing, a bemused smile on his face. The sound of a truck could be heard from the distance, growing louder as it came up the drive. Edward should have been listening, should have been paying attention, but he just assumed it was Jacob. Again.

Charlie’s scent reached them at the same time. Impatient with the vague information he had been given, he had come to insist on some answers.

Edward was slow to react, not yet processing the full situation. But not so Jasper, who had spent years among newborns and knew their deadly strength and speed.

It was only fractions of a second, their movements a blur, but when Bella lunged for her father’s throat, Jasper used every last ounce of strength he possessed to throw himself between Bella and Charlie.

Amid the Lucid Stream was also voted Readers Choice. Check out the other winners in The VampSlash Contest and read all the entries here.

Irrelevant Aside: One scene in Amid the Lucid Stream brought to mind an experiment supposedly conducted by Antoine Lavoisier at his own execution during the French Revolution. I find this kind of thing (link contains possible spoiler—and potential ickyness) utterly fascinating, perhaps I’m a little morbid, but I love that it appeared here in this story.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Contest, Reviews, Vamp Slash

 

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