|Reviews for Competing for Second Place|
| Maydn 4/19/10 . chapter 1
This was an amazing read! I really enjoyed the insight into how regular days at the camp might have been, the friendships and rivalries between pages and soldiers and also the people's different ideas about relationships and love and what was seen as 'normal'.
I also really appreciate the little bits that show the men's true feelings about the mixing with the Persians. And it's very much fun to observe through the eyes of Euxippinus: being the ideal young, beautiful man and totally failing to even imagine any kind of love independent from looks. (though it's not his fault, it's his society, the poor...)
The dialogue works very well and makes me really care about your characters. And there are so many of them and yet it intrigues, impressive.
The love between Alexander and Hephaestion was shining through all the story although they were so much in the background, and even the peeping was more about their love than sex... so beautifully done.
Even if the ending was borderline cheesy (maybe only because of the the shortness of the one-shot it seemed a bit too fast that he became so close with Bagoas), it was still sweet. And definitely some character development could be seen. ;)
I'm a bit late in finding this gem, so maybe you don't really care anymore but I enjoyed reading it immensely and wanted to let you know. :) Wonderful work!
| Loves Kantarou 9/7/08 . chapter 1
This fanfic is one of my favourites out of your A/H fanfics. It's just so sweet. Amazing writing as well. :]
| Barsines 2/13/07 . chapter 1
Beautiful and poignant, this story. You have rendered the love and the suffering of Euxenippus (I found this version of his name... but as I can read there are many other ones) in such an intense way, and the psychological insight of all the others characters, the more marginal ones too...
And the masterly description of the love scene between Alexander and Hephaestion, so impregnated with love and sensuality at the same time...
Very very good. Attagirl! _-
| Tastytime 2/10/07 . chapter 1
I can't believe I have never reviewed this before. I should be shot for such foolishness. I was rereading it, when it suddenly struck me, how wonderful it was. The interactions, the pages, the quotes everything so goddamn good. It may surprise you my favourite character in this, (though possibly not) since it happens to be Narcissus. He amuses me very much, and I absolutely love his superficialness. Amazing work as always (added to C2 now, and favourites.)
| Lysis 10/13/06 . chapter 1
Another story by you, I can't believe my good fortune! This is what comes from being sick and bedridden and straggling to the computer to stanuch the boredom, something good - an undiscovered story of yours.
I really enjoyed this. It's a bit like a little Alexander/Hephaistion soap opera, I wanted it to just go on and on. I really liked your depictions of the various pages and their little likes and dislikes, etc. I liked best though the ending, or the scene of Alexander with Hephaistion. I know I'm not feeling too well, I usually don't get all teary eyed and start crying when I read a love scene between Alexander and Hephaistion, but this was so beautiful. I hated to see little Euxippinus' hurt, but the world can only be right when Alexander and Hephaistion are together. I think I'll read this again.
| Joyeee 7/5/06 . chapter 1
What a fitting name for Narcissus. Although he's not ... nice, I like him and his insight, and he's certainly got guts too - just for example, saying Alexander's self-promoting, and Hephaestion's "usually useless!" I always like those intriguing, ambiguous characters who aren't predictably "good" or "bad."
Nireus and Helenus are so charming; the subtext between them is great. Euxippinus too - good-hearted, shy when it comes to Alexander ... all those comments about how "it wasn't Nireus' fault that he was ugly" and "Why would [Helenus] ever want someone ugly?" was a really good touch - he thinks he knows a lot, but is really innocent. I felt sorry for him as he thought things over after his time with Alexander ... and for his father. War wounds shouldn't be a mark of shame, even in that society where so much depended on a man's ability to fight.
And then I felt really sorry for Alexander. Of course there would be that look of loneliness in his eyes, and of course he wanted something Euxippinus couldn't give - he wanted Hephaestion back! But let me go on before I turn to mush over that (as if I haven't already)...
The pot boiling over between Euxippinus and Narcissus was brilliant, especially when they're reduced to name-calling!
Everyone's pitying or scorning everyone else - I think that's actually very realistic - until finally Euxippinus realizes, when Helenus and Nireus finally reunite, that it's real love they have ... Of course Alexander goes out "preened, oiled, fragrant and beautiful" (wonderful line). The companionship between the all the pages and Bagoas after is very nice too, all the more so for its "strangeness," and I thought it very in-character for Hephaestion's pages to ask Bagoas so much about the politics of the Persian court.
P.S. Craterus' "you walk like a girl, while Hephaestion only fights like one" is priceless!
| Trust No One 3/13/06 . chapter 1
This was hot and yet a little bittersweet as well. Bagoas and Euxippinus watching the two lovers made me think not of second place, but of the distance between the sky and the ground. And as usual, you populated your world with colorful, distinctive characters. You are single-handedly responsible for re-connecting me with which I now check very often in the hope of finding a story from you. And what a delight when I do!
| jros1746 3/13/06 . chapter 1
Another great story! I'm glad you wrote a story about Euxippinus; it was interesting to see how you developed the story and contrasted him with Bagoas. Looking forward to future stories. Thanks
| parisad 3/12/06 . chapter 1
Oh, I forgot to review your new fic...I read it and I liked it, but I didn't put a review...*sorry* ! Beautiful like always and the characters are very interesting. I always wondered because Elpinicus (Euxippinus? where did you find this translation?) was so neglected by the author of ff ;) About being "effeminate"...I think you're right intending it as "not very masculine", in modern meaning. The exact word is not effeminate. Here's the original latin text: "cum specie corporis [Elpinicus] aequaret Hephaestionem, ei lepore haud sane virili par non erat" (VII,9,19). Now, the literal translation is: "he [Elpinicus] equaled Hephaestion in body's beauty, but he didn't equal Hephaestion in manly grace" (the translation is mine). The word is not "effeminate, effeminacy", but "body's beauty" and "manly grace". So, we can entend that Elpinicus was effeminate and Hephaestion was masculine. Interesting, indeed...!
Now I will read your fic "The substitute", I missed it!
| angstman 3/12/06 . chapter 1
Very nice story. It is very good POV right in the middle of jealousy but also very swet love between Alexander and Hephaistion. Love it.
| Mara202 3/11/06 . chapter 1
Wow! Brilliant story! I really liked the way you portrayed Euxenippus and Bagoas, and - although I'm usually not really a fan of OCs - I really liked the pages, especially Narcissus. Helenus/Nireus was really cute. I also really liked the way you described A/H from Euxenippus' point of view.
| MLygia 3/11/06 . chapter 1
You made it again. More a great story. What a beautiful love that of Heph and Alexander. I liked too your pages, Helenus, Nireus and the others very loyal to Heph. I liked so much your story that even liked Bagoas, after all he seems to understand his true role in Alex's life. Want more...
| Fredericka 3/11/06 . chapter 1
Wow! Ditto for Coraldawn’s comments (and thanks to her for inspiring this story).
I particularly enjoyed the contrast between the two groups of pages: Hephaestion’s, like their commander, strong, intelligent,much more “manly”, Alexander’s, naïve and often behaving like silly teenaged girls.
Your trademark character definition shines! I particularly like Narcissus, whose conceit seems a ruse masking keen insight, ulterior motives and great tenderness for his brother, wise little Helenus. A bit of a Cassander-type, albeit much more personable. Wonderful moments, some humourous, some poignant: the “cat fight” between Bagoas and Euxippinus; their discovery that they will never be offered the “best wine” , the realization that Alexander is using them to appear more of a “real man”. (I once held a theory that Bagoas was a smokescreen to divert attention from Alexander’s lifetime physical relationship with Hephaestion, but I have come to agree with Bagoas, that “he is Great Iskander” and felt no obligation to hide whatever he did)
Your descriptions are so vivid they give the story a magical, dream-like quality. Reading it, I felt I was actually “there” observing those long-ago events, hearing the conversations and noise of the camp, feeling the dust and the heat. It was a fascinating journey; I hope you'll take us on another very soon.
| CoralDawn 3/11/06 . chapter 1
I was expecting a great story about Euxippinus, but this far surpasses anything I could have thought of! I am truly in awe after reading it straight through twice. I know I'll read this one many times more. Thank you so much for writing about Euxippinus, a sadly neglected page boy in fanficdom, may his shade rest happy.
The different pages are some of the best characterized OCs in the page corps I have seen so far! They are caught as teenage boys on the verge of manhood and that strange mixture of boyish naivete and awakening maturity and disillusionment is captured so well. Astonishing myself, I truly felt sad for Bagoas's lost youth here, even more so than Euxippinus, who at least has a career in the army to look forward to. However, I can see how the pragmatic Bagoas would manage to remain close to Alexander for so many years - he matured quickly and was a true professional. Hephaistion's pages seem a much more mature, caring lot and they seem to have found love and happiness just like their commander. Narcissus is very compelling - he seems cynical, enjoying himself, making use of his good looks and keeping his heart intact - I predict he will do well in his military career by sleeping his way to the top. Poor Euxippinus, on the other hand, thinks to win Alexander's love with his good looks (the highest ranking Erastes indeed!), loses his heart and has to suffer a rude awakeing. I found Bagoas' words highly poignant and so applicable to both of them.
"It is a mistake to love a man like that. He feeds off your love and in return he seems to fill your cup to overflowing with sweet wine. But when you look down you see your cup is filled only with water. He saves the good wine for… that one."
How sad for these young boys. At least we know Alexander was generous to his lovers, friends, army. But it does explain why quite a few Macedonian Kings were killed by their pages/lovers!
The story begins with Alexander's pages being immature and catty with each other and ends with them and Bagoas coming to near friendship. Beautifully done! Though I am a A/H fan, I have to say that the original characters completely held my attention in this one; for once, A & H seemed almost selfish in their self-involvement and mutual total happiness.
Thank you for a wonderful story, Moon, and for the dedication. If stories like this are the rewards, then I am happy to be a second "brain"!
| Queendel 3/10/06 . chapter 1
A really nice piece of work that I like very much. It was most refreshing to see how Alexander felt about Hephaistion through the POVs of both Bagoas and Euxippinus, even as they were the main subjects of the story.
You did a wonderful job of protraying Alexander's need for Heph despite the fact that he bedded others. It was also great to see how devoted Heph's Pages were to him.
You know, Narcissus was handsome and desired by many but he was unhappy as he really had no one who really wanted him, and he used his bitter wit to hide his lonliness. I am glad that Helenus had Nireus to love him.
Hope you write more fics soon.