Reviews for The Rage Inherent Trilogy
AlfaVictor chapter 25 . 1/3
I said I was going to get around to reviewing The Rage Inherent Trilogy/Cenotaph, and I guess I'll start with The Rage Inherent. Full disclosure, I read up to this chapter before taking a break, and that was 3 weeks ago, so I might misremember some things in the review.

I think better than anyone, you already know most of the flaws in this fic. I will say that I enjoyed the darker take on Shepard's reawakening in ME2, and I can appreciate how AU you made your story, at least in the first act. As someone who has read too many novelizations of the game (and enjoyed most of them at that), reading a unique take on the game's events was definitely a breath of fresh air. And at least until the Tali being taken as a hostage by Cerberus as leverage was resolved, the AU was pulled off convincingly well. I will say that I didn't fully agree with the decision to cut off Cerberus/kill off Miranda/Jacob, because I think that it removed one of the layers of added complexity that ME2 strove to include (if a little unsuccessfully).

While I do agree with your assessment that most readers wouldn't care much about killing off Jacob, and Bioware did go a little overboard in making Miranda appealing, I think there's more depth to at least Miranda than that. I'm not the biggest fan of her, but I think what Bioware was trying to get across is that there are people in even evil organizations that have more depth to them (Miranda with Oriana, and generally having the crew of the SR-2 being decent people). I will say that it is a little odd that Bioware chose to protray everyone on the SR-2 is a relatively humane person, while Cerberus outside of the SR-2 are nearly entirely evil. Anyway, I guess my point is that by making Shepard escape Cerberus's clutches, and making Cerberus an entirely evil organization, this AU lost a bit of the political depth that the source material was hinting at.

Like many readers, I did enjoy reading about Shepard being a cyborg, and the inevitable conflicts that brought. However, just as you admit, making Shepard a Cyborg made him a little overpowered (especially with him literally destroying an entire station by himself in the opening), which hurt a lot of the combat tension (readers basically knew that Shepard would come out on top in every fight). I know that you did try to remedy that in Act III with a new villain (which I didn't read) and with the disruptor ammunition (which kinda worked).

The strongest conflict and plot thread in this fic is easily Tali's reaction to Shepard being a cyborg. By and large this conflict is well written and well paced until Shepard gets his new layer of skin. I really enjoyed the whole Tali rescue plotline, and that part of the fic kept me glued to the screen, so kudos.

Unlike most, I don't have many issues with Shepard getting the new layer of skin. Honestly, it probably would have gotten fatiguing to have Shepard being an inhuman cyborg the entire time, and a big appeal of Shepard's character is that he is inherently human and flawed (and uses diplomacy and war to get the job done). I do however, have issues with how the fic handles Shepard getting the new layer of skin. As far as I understand the skin in the fic is simply a very fancy layer on a robotic shell. However, the fic treats it more like Shepard becoming human again, while still having all the benefits of not feeling pain and having a robot body. If the fic used Shepard getting a new layer of skin as a step toward gaining his humanity back, rather than a total solution, I think it could have struck a balance of retaining the unique premise while also not making it overstay its welcome. For example, Shepard getting the skin could make him feel more human, and it's hard to tell he isn't from a layperson pov, but to himself and to people who know him very well, it's still unnerving (which could have implications on romance).

And this is where I get into the bulk of my criticisms, which really begins in Act II. While ME2 attempted complexity by protraying the Alliance as lawful good (if ultimately a little flawed), with Cerberus being the only ones who were willing to do anything about the Collectors, albeit using evil means, this fic protrays the Alliance as nearly entirely upstanding and Cerberus being nearly entirely evil. I have my own issues with how Bioware portrayed Cerberus (IMO, they go from being good from ME2 and bad in ME3 way too suddenly and quickly), but I still think their attempt had increased depth. Additionally, the Alliance throwing their weight behind Shepard and giving him a small flotilla of ships felt a little much (and also hurt any tension). I think there's definitely something appealing of Shepard being in command of one frigate, that uses technology, strategy, and expertise to come out on top rather than sheer numbers and resources.

Thinking about it, I think it would have been cool to see this fic start off with Shepard being a cyborg, but being resurrected by the Geth. Then, it makes sense for Shepard to be a cyborg, increases conflict by having Shepard come from the Geth (and increasing the initial conflict between Tali/Shepard), and still retains some of the depth that ME2 was striving for, after all, unlike Cerberus, the Geth aren't necessarily evil, just naive and misunderstood. Speaking of the Geth though, our favorite Geth's lack of inclusion in the ME2 storyline is sorely felt.

The choice to remove most of the ME2 ground team to focus on a select few characters isn't a bad one. Many fics have pacing issues when they try to novelize all the ground crew loyalty missions, it just doesn't translate as well onto paper when fics are trying to focus on the relationships and feelings of just some characters. People like Jack, Miranda, Samara, Jacob, Zaeed, and even fan favorites like Grunt and Thane aren't necessary to the plot of ME2 or ME3. However, their lack of inclusion makes the Normandy feel empty, and the conflict between Legion/Tali is missed (and could have provided interesting commentary of what it means to be alive and synthetic).

And finally to the romance. Honestly, I liked it, but I'm also a fan of Tali/Shepard romance, no matter how cheesy or well written. I will say that it felt that Tali moved beyond "Shepard is a cyborg" phase a little fast. The pacing issues are most felt between Shepard leaving Tali on the migrant fleet, and them meeting up again. I think Tali and Shepard parting ways with Tali understanding that "Hey, this might be the real Shepard and I might want him in my life again" was a good choice, but I think there needed to be more time to reestablish that friendship before jumping into the relationship phase. However, I did enjoy how they stumbled around their feelings a little bit, and the awkward reveal of feelings was pretty unique. After the beginning of the relationship though, it feels like most of the relationship development is accomplished through summarizations rather than character interactions, which hurts the legitimacy of the relationship.

Overall, I think you knew all of these things, you didn't need me to say them. This fic has some good ideas, a unique premise, and a couple of standout moments, and I still think it's a pretty good piece of work, and your newer works definitely show how you've taken lessons from this fic, which is the best a piece of work can accomplish anyway.
Tactical-Magician chapter 1 . 10/4/2020
Fantastic work.
Guest chapter 30 . 5/19/2018
what well legion is dead , yessssssssssssssssssss
Guest chapter 37 . 8/3/2016
GODDAMN IT ROB!

Overall it's a very well thought out and very well written story of love, hardship,war and lost. Since the Beginning I truly had no clue what would happen later on in the book besides the little dream foreshadowing as you took a completely different approach killing off Jacob and Miranda (GOD she was such a bitch) from the start and having to where shepherd never joined Cerberus (really wish they had that in games) and making the whole story feel like I was experiencing the Original Mass effect story all over again for the first time. It seemed a little predictable at some points then UNEXPECTED PLOT TWIST!

Some things seem a little off with the characters at certain points and events like Tali killing KI but you later (unknowingly or not) written it to fit with the characters as a "dark side" to them. The last chapter where it seemed like talis and shepherds reunion in the afterlife was quite a pleasant ending to the story as a whole for they both got what they truly wanted in the end... Each other.(I can see all the other stuff as a bucket list kinda thing like the building a House on raanoch as no one truly knows what happens after death.) and also it seemed to save your ass from a lot a bad reviews and a really small angry fanbase if you left them stone cold dead. 10/10 overall rating
Guest chapter 34 . 8/3/2016
Damn. Storytelling wise that's a bold move killing off some very important characters. It might be one of the turning points that could reflect badly on the series/novel as a whole, it going to take nothing sort of a GENIUS for this to end well. It been a very interesting and entertaining read so far but a good ending (one that pleases,satisfies the fan base and brings closure to the story( either by a happy ending or everyone dies by sacrificing themselves for the greater.) is always a challenge to not sound cliché or basically kicking the fanbase in the balls at the end *stares intently at bioware*

I hope to see it plays out for the better. Otherwise your gonna have s angry fanbase
But hell its you story
Guest chapter 21 . 8/2/2016
Holy hell. That was good. At first it seemed a little rushed but then I thought. Half the mission on the collectors base was getting the Normandys crew back in game and that crew was Cerberus so it made sense that it was shorter because shepherd never joined Cerberus in this. (Really wish they had that option)

But God damn it I would have been satisfied with Kaiden's death if it was a little more bad ass then just him hitting Li with a botic blast and charging him. Still good though

Man I'd never thought tali would have a dark side. But you changed my mind on that and written it so well.

You sir/ma'am deserve a pat on the back
Guest chapter 20 . 8/2/2016
Well... I did not expect to be reading a very detailed written narration of mass effect porn today.

Now I wonder what else to expect in later chapters
Guest chapter 19 . 8/2/2016
Very well thought out and and written just like the earlier chapters. I feel like this story so far is what would have happened in canon if they had to replace Shepards body and he rebelled against Cerberus. And my god shepherd commanding he's own fleet...just wonderful!

You clearly took your time to reaserch all of the ME characters and wrote them perfectly into story without breaking their personality.

Though I do believe Garrus would be a little more cocky and wise ass towards shepherd on their downtime talks with him being "the only turain with a sense of humor."

Also joker seemed a little too calm
About EDI. I'd picture him trying to cross some wires in the AI core and getting nearly into a fight with a alliance soldier about it. It seemed he would most likely do but that's just my opinion

Overall 9.5 out of ten
c4boose1 chapter 37 . 9/2/2014
Wow. That is all I can say. That ending was amazingly sad and perfect.
lunchmeat5000 chapter 37 . 8/16/2014
Man, that was rough. Good, but rough. Bittersweet describes the ending perfectly, but in a good way in my opinion. War is ugly, never fair, and the characters were given a warrior's death. Shepard found peace from war, indoctrination, the return of his humanity, and of course, his soulmate in death(or is it?).

But if they're dead, why the envirosuit? Projected self image maybe on Tali's part? Or Shepard's mind's eye?

All in all, this was a damned good story. and I'll be rereading it in its entirety again soon.
cryoburn72 chapter 36 . 8/16/2014
Okay, my heart lies shattered in pieces.

It's nice to see Shepard and Tali being together again, but the fact that they are both dead does leave a sour note to it. Oh well, I should have expected it with Liara and Garrus' deaths, yet I still foolishly held hope. :p

Nonetheless, this was a very beautiful story. I do hope you consider writing some more!
Guest chapter 35 . 8/15/2014
I can't keep reading now...
Fleightfire chapter 35 . 8/15/2014
Okay I now have no idea where this is going, time to find out soon
lunchmeat5000 chapter 35 . 8/15/2014
Damn good read, but man what a kick in the feels.
TITANJC chapter 35 . 8/15/2014
yeah not gonna lie... shot to the end when you shot Tali, saw that she wasn't ok... quit reading
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