Reviews for Irreparable
AlfaVictor chapter 19 . 12/31/2020
So I read this story right after I read "An Interval of Calamity" and it's interesting to see the similarities and differences these two stories have.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ANY READERS, READ THE FIC FIRST

I'd sum up my experience reading Irreparable, as expecting to see "An Interval of Calamity" 2.0, and getting Westworld Season 1 or Spec Ops: The Line. I definitely can see the inspiration you took from different shows and media at both hinting at the eventual twist and how the twist was executed.

The first thing I'd like to say is that the storytelling in this fic is top notch. It's one of the best Mass Effect fanfics I've read from a storytelling perspective. The twist is intelligently hinted at from the very beginning (I started guessing that all the hints were just hallucinations beginning with the first Illusive Man call, and it was basically confirmed by Aria's comments). While I wasn't surprised at the twist, I wasn't unsurprised, and I'd rather a story be a little too clear in its hints (allowing readers to solve the puzzle themselves) than pull a twist out of thin air. Other minor twists like Tali gunning down a bunch of civilians were hinted at, and readers with an attention to detail could definitely guess that Tali was really committing a massacre. It's even hinted at in the titles "An Interval of Calamity" tells readers that the conflict will be resolved, while "Irreparable" hints at the opposite. I will say that the way that the twist was revealed and hinted at works better in a visual media (either videogames or a show) because text does make it very obvious where the hint lies, but that's a limitation of the medium, rather than the writing style.

Another thing I have to commend you on is the action/fight scenes. They're just excellent in this fic. Every engagment and fight feels violent, visceral, and sudden: closer to Sicario rather than Transformers in tone and atmosphere. They're easily some of my favorite in fiction. Weapons and hits carry a good sense of impact, and while there aren't that many fight scenes, their brevity and rarity makes them more of an event each time. I absolutely loved the action scenes, especially those involving guns.

The tone is consistent throughout this fic, and I definitely applaud you at taking the route of a mature ending, and making no character a villain. I especially appreciated the subtle tragedy that in the pursuit of getting her own love back (which ultimately fails), Tali ends the potential happy endings of both the Quarian and Turian hunters. And while I rooted against the hunters throughout, I could definitely empathize with them, since they're not bad people.

The ending, what can I say about the ending? I will say, from a storytelling perspective, it's excellent. It sticks with the trends and themes followed in the story, and isn't scared to be a bittersweet ending. I especially appreciate that while the ending is tragic in its own way, it's not overflowing with tragedy. Tali still ends the story in a better place than where she started, and Garrus gets his own happy ending. You could have easily ended the story with Tali killing herself, and Garrus dead (a la Spec Ops), for a truly tragic ending, but I appreciate the restraint you showed: this ending walks the fine line between being true to its themes while also being a satisfying ending for the characters we got so invested in.

I can definitely see why you consider this fic one of your definitive fics, and there's a lot to be proud of. Many of the previous faults in your writing are fixed, the crew of the Normandy get a bigger role, and the conflict is deeper and more complex. I don't even mind the relentless misery throughout the fic, the content here is darker than your others and I can forgive it for being fatiguing to read.

However, I think my opinion of the fic is a bit soured by the fact that I'm soft hearted, even though I could guess at the twist and conclusion, it sucks that the characters that I'm so attached to don't get their happily ever after. I wouldn't hesitate to say that this is one of the best Tali/Shep fics from a storytelling perspective, but as someone who is honestly pretty happy with Disney-esque endings, it'd be hard for me to revisit this fic. This isn't a knock toward the fic or writing, but I think it's a result of the different goals that this fic has.

I will say that I think you could have had Tali/Shepard reunite and still not have a simple Disney-esque ending. Shepard is a good man, and having to face what Tali has become in pursuit of him would have been a mature source of conflict. However, I also understand what the fic was hinting at from the very beginning, and I don't fault you for not choosing this approach.

I really appreciated this fresh, Tali centric take on the romance, and even though it does have a sadder ending than I would have preferred, it's a great piece of storytelling. You've got a great knack for writing, and there's no doubt you've only gotten better from this.
dogboat333 chapter 19 . 8/30/2020
Well, since I have to wait a while for your next story, I figured I might as well hop back and see some of your earlier stuff. I picked a really good one to start off with, it seems!

I really enjoyed the darker tone that this story took. I could tell that Spec Ops The Line was one of the big influences in this story, especially as we got later and later into the order of chapters. I figured out the twist or where it would end up going early on, but I enjoyed the ride to get to that point. I really enjoyed the darker tone of the story and the way that it panned out. Tali's slow descent into madness is really, really captivating and I enjoyed the dichotomy with Garrus growing more and more reluctant as the story goes around. I also really enjoyed the characters of Paav and Nitherius and I felt really bad for the former with the way his story concluded.

The set pieces were really cool, from Prague to the prisoner ship to the reaper husks around the black holes. The action was really intense and stands up to some of your more recent work. If I had to criticize something, I guess I might say that the epilogue is arguably a bit too nice for this story, though I don't mind since I 1. enjoyed it and 2. if I didn't, I can just pretend that it all ended when Tali finished her conversation with the Illusive Man. It also felt a bit contrived that the Prague gang members showed up to the Reaper hull, but it led to a decent action scene and it wasn't weird enough to take away from the rest of it, so I'll go with it.

Good stuff, man. I really have to take a look at the rest of your stories now.
ThePilotArchangel chapter 19 . 4/3/2019
I was wondering why this story seemed familiar to me, then I realized that there was a very similar story. In an old episode of NCIS; Gibbs' old CO thinks that their old XO is alive and that he's being held by terrorists. Gibbs is suspicious to say the least because he's pretty sure that the LT. is dead, but checks anyway. Things spiral out of control until
Gibbs confronts the man and tells him that he saw the LT. die, at which point the Colonel realizes he's been hallucinating and misremembering the whole time. They get him to a mental hospital, and the doctors say that he was suffering from Schizophrenia and PTSD, And that he would probably never fully recover from it. Of course the episode ends with the usual twist that the LT. might very well be alive; as they never found the body, and Gibbs wasn't too sure himself that the LT. was dead. (But they never follow up on it.)
The Cubist chapter 18 . 9/1/2018
Damnit, this shoe hit me on the head ages ago. There’s gotta be another one up there, waiting to drop...
ivandundalov7 chapter 4 . 7/24/2018
Love it so far!
FlyorFight chapter 19 . 11/20/2016
Fantastic story! The twists at the end were on par with The Usual Suspects! Loved it! 10/10
Heartless demon wolf chapter 19 . 10/9/2015
You'll always have a place here my brother. Your stories are incredible and very well made. I'm alwaya eager to read your next story. Speaking of which I need to finish your Metroid stories. Any chance of you maybe stepping into Legend of Zelda territory?
CecilTheSeahawk chapter 19 . 10/8/2015
Well...that was certainly harrowing. I think I've read all your Mass Effect fics and let me just you have my utmost respect as a writer. I haven't always enjoyed them (you seem to enjoy torturing Tali just a bit too much) but they always had me gripped. I love fluff as much as the next guy but you're right. Fluff is easy, we'll always have fluff. It takes true skill to take a character that both the writer and audience loves beyond compare, have them go through totally arduous trails both physically and mentally draining and still give them an emotionally fulfilling ending. This is the first time in a while I've actually cried reading one of these and I'm not at all ashamed. To drive the point further I will leave you with a quote from one of the greatest character's of all, Samwise Gamgee. Good Luck to you in your future projects and in life:

"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why."
ExtravagantRain chapter 19 . 10/8/2015
When I first happened upon this fic a few months back, I was absolutely enthralled. I found myself getting incredibly angry, because you were so in-character with Tali; it truly isn't too far of a stretch to think she might go berserk like she did in this story and commit indiscriminate atrocities just to get her way.

I must also admit that I suspected that you were going to throw the wrong twist in there and have the Illusive Man and Shepard waiting at Harbinger's core. I'm very thankful that you didn't take that route, that you stayed the course and confirmed the suspicions I had from the very beginning of the tale. I really enjoyed Tali's fantasy becoming unraveled by what was ultimately a part of it.

You do great work, sir, and I hope to see many more great stories from you in the future.
rangersleadtheway chapter 19 . 10/8/2015
A good ending to this story, people have to face reality that when someone you hold close, be a friend, family member, or a lover. When they leave for the next life it's always hard to accept, the pain of losing them will never go away. With time the pain dulls but it's the memories that you've made together with them is what yo should cherish for the rest of your life. And when the time comes you will be able to be with them once again.

For myself I always look forward to the day I would regroup with my brothers in arms. For the USMC marines never die, we just go to hell to regroup. That may sound bad, but I already been through hell more than once. If I have to go through hell again to see my childhood friends again. So be it.

Great story as always! Looking forward to your next project!
Guest chapter 18 . 10/5/2015
What? Oh come on man! Tali deserves to be happy! After everything she went through, doesn't she deserve to be happy? Cool story though. You have an amazing writing talent and am looking forward to reading more of your stories.
rangersleadtheway chapter 18 . 10/5/2015
Really well done chapter, PTSD at it's most extreme. Saw a lot of veterans who lost friends or family members and refused to accept the fact that they're gone. I myself still see all the faces of fallen marines, looking forward to the final chapter! Keep up the good work!
Watcher chapter 18 . 10/5/2015
I like that twist you made in the end. And one of my assumptions was right: Shepard was missed in action and never found.
Overall, I give your novel 8 out of 10. It was interesting to read and possesses good intrigue and high level of suspense (which is good for us readers). Unfortunately, in chapters 14-16 the plotline was weakend and Tali was slighty out of character (in games, as i remember, she was less aggressive). I also recommend you change a genre of your fiction from "Sci-Fi and Hurt/Comfort" to "Adventure and Suspense".
Guest chapter 18 . 10/4/2015
Deep
RedCenturionG chapter 18 . 10/5/2015
I said I was looking forward to the climax. I take that back, you evil bastard. Why must you make me tear up so? That entire chapter was depressing as all hell. To know that in the end, Shepard really was dead, just makes it worse. And Tali singing to him? You evil, evil, evil, bastard. Brilliant, but evil.

I won't call this bittersweet. In all honesty, it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth (or maybe that's the beer I just drank), but its a great way to end a story. Sad, really sad, but brilliant, regardless.

I'll admit, I just KNEW the Illusive Man talks were hallucinations. It just seemed too...convenient. Too convenient that he was able to track her across an entire galaxy just to verbally torture her. By the end, I wasn't that surprised. I'll admit, I thought you were working up to tell us Tali is indoctrinated, but I'd say what you gave us was definitely very well thought out. I love it

This was dark. Which, to be honest, is why I like you as an author in the first place. You don't needlessly sugarcoat everything with impossible deus ex machinas, disney-grade happy endings and wonderfully flawless character relationships. It's realistic and gloomy, and I love it. Sure, Tali/Shep love-dove moments are all good, but you accompany them with not so fluffy moments, which really does improve the story significantly. Not many authors left on this site like you, I'm afraid. And with Archive of our Own expanding, I bet that list will get smaller and smaller.

If you haven't read it yet, strongly recommend the Of Heroism stories by Setrus. Tali/Shep romance, but unbelievably gritty, realistic and dark as fuck. The guy is a brilliant writer and his stories are on par with A Song of Ice and Fire. Its bulky reading though, so be prepared for that.

Start with Shell of Heroism, then Spirit, then Death. Death is by far the darkest (Spirit isn't as dark as the others). Otherwise, I can't wait to see and read your next story! I need myself more Tali/Shep!
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