Reviews for Snowblind
sueb262 chapter 4 . 3/20/2006
The opening flashback to the scene in the teagarden was quite moving and poignant-it reveals so much about Kenshin, both by contrast with Yamashita and with echoes in him of bits of Kenshin.

Kenshin's decision to sleep shows remarkable craftiness-sometimes his stubbornness can seem to get in the way of his savviness, so it's fun to see him "get it right" once in a while. (REALLY liked the childish "vindictiveness" of the wish for a "miserable day"!)

Your way with detail is almost ... sexy or something. Just the description of Kenshin "snatching the remainder of his clothing deftly from the air as Saito threw it to him"-I don't quite know how to express why, or even how, I find this so affecting, but you do it all over the place. I'd considered sort of listing my favorites, but there are too many. (If you are particularly interested in this kind of feedback, I'll email you a copy of the chapter with these places highlighted-just let me know.)

"left to bleed out in the snow"-wow! What a powerful, heartbreaking image, all the more moving because you just know this is exactly how this kind of thing went during that brutal, desperate time.

Kenshin's response to this-to his certain knowledge that his "life would be forfeit", that he'd "earned it", that it "wasn't particularly frightening"-also cuts to the heart, for the boy who at such a tender age has been pushed to this inhuman level of self-condemnation and callousness about his own life.

Saito is just SO goddamned arrogant and confident and ... and ... and IRRITATING! His behavior as they leave their campsite is perfect: "done daydreaming?", "the wolf knew exactly", "already turn away, picking a careful path"-what a consummate asshole. And why does this make me adore him so? ! ?

This statement from him made me laugh right out loud: "I haven't killed you yet." He really is wonderfully insufferable!

I was quite unprepared for the suddenness of their parting-you wrote it to be read in just about the same number of seconds it must have taken for the situation to make its quick turn. Masterful.

The consummate stealth and tactical abilities of each in the cat-and-mouse game, their reading and predicting of each other, Kenshin "hiding" in the trees and Saito moving "with an almost lazy tread" below, just took my breath away-it was tense and riveting and immensely satisfying. (Although I have to admit to a moment of small panic as Kenshin inadvertently revealed a small hint of his past to Saito-the brief guess of "Had Battousai grown up out here?" The more Saito knows, the more vulnerable Our Hero...)

It's hard to write action stuff-and here I'm talking generally about physical movement, spatial relationships, etc.)-and have it understandable, much less literary, but you are especially good at that. An excellent case in point is the bit where Kenshin ambushes Saito, their not-quite-a-scuffle, and Kenshin's almost magical re-disappearance. It was perfect, not one extra word, not one ambiguous phrase, and the whole thing plays out in the reader's mind like a well-cut movie.

In this last part of the chapter, you've really spotlighted the master swordsman's absolutely vital skill, that of flexible, extemporaneous invention, the creative ability to respond to the unexpected and, even more, to _create_ the unexpected. You gave neither one an overwhelming advantage in this-after all, both of their reputations are well-earned-so the scales of possibility are quite delicately balanced, although I loved it that Kenshin's "unexpecteds" were so remarkably out of Saito's realm. I also loved Saito's improvisation with his saya-this is a real match between equals!

Although I was almost _certain_ that Kenshin was going to manage to re-arm himself, I had believed him about Saito's daisho, so it wasn't until he "plunged his hand intot he snow beside him" that I figured out what was going on-I was as shocked as Saito! "One more detail", indeed!
sueb262 chapter 3 . 3/20/2006
You have such a gift when it comes to exposing these character's innermost vulnerabilities and motivations-yes, even Saito's, whose we see really only through Kenshin's trying to figure him out.

This is beautifully written and tensely structured-such a pleasure to read!
Hitokiri-san chapter 5 . 3/19/2006
Sorry about the late review. I just read the chapter thrice and...forgot about the whole reviewing thing.

Nice action chapter. I would agree with you that, given that they are each other's arch nemesis, Kenshin and Saitou aren't going to "play nice and head for home", as you put it. There's this thing of duty and honor, after all. So the long drawn-out fight is entirely justified.

Somehow I have the intuition that Kenshin is going to get stuck with the cooking duty. Saitou doesn't seem to me the type who can cook...while we all know that Kenshin is the master chef . but there may be a chance that they are going to make their own food, too. No use arguing over petty matters before the duel.

I must concede that Saitou arresting Kenshin is something like mission impossible. You've made the point rather clear, too.

Until next chapter, then. Ja!
anaemicfaeries chapter 5 . 3/19/2006
Awesome chapter!

Insightful flashback, poor Yamashita. Great action too, and we love how well you write these two! A truce?

Wasn't expecting that!

Can't wait for more.
Hidari chapter 5 . 3/18/2006
Brilliant! I must confess I can't begin to imagine HOW those two will handle the journey together. I can't wait for the next chapter. Kudos!
Arukou chapter 5 . 3/13/2006
For one who once dreaded writing fight scenes that was extremely well written. Never got lost between who was doing what, the action didn't seem forced nor did it drag, and I found the fight to be true to both characters' fighting styles. This makes me happy because bad battle scenes tend to make my eye tick. As for plot, the little tidbits you did leave make me curious. As in I want to know what happened and is going to happen. As in now I'm going to be sitting waiting for updates. I do so love Saitoh's sarcasm. He is a man after my own heart. Looking forward to the fight that will most likely ensue over who has to cook and who gets to mooch. I have a feeling it may make me laugh.

Sincerely,

Jade Lightning_Wolf
Sirona chapter 5 . 3/13/2006
Personally, I think that the action and the wary tension between Saito and Kenshin made it more realistic. I'm really enjoying this story, and can't wait to read the rest of it!
LadyRhiyana chapter 5 . 3/13/2006
Hi, I've been a great fan of this fic for a while, but (shame on me) haven't yet reviewed. I love the action and the character interaction both, especially the philosophical/mental debate they're waging over Yamashita. The images of them both lost and trying to kill each other in the cold, snow-covered wilderness are truly powerful.
SaitouuRyuuji chapter 5 . 3/13/2006
This is awesome, I really love your writing style. I can't wait to read the next chapter. I'm really glad that you haven't given up on this fanfic.

~Saitouuryuuji~
Terry-McElrath chapter 5 . 3/12/2006
Hi, Nekotsuki!

That was a very satisfying chapter. The action was superb and the explanations regarding Yamashita clear, although tragic. I'm very much looking forward to the next chapter, but don't feel like you need to rush. I understand how real life gets in the way, all too well. Thanks for posting this excellent story!

Terry
Terry-McElrath chapter 4 . 3/12/2006
Hi, Nekotsuki!

An excellent chapter! I loved the cat and mouse game. Like you, I have always believed that Kenshin is just (or at least almost) as dangerous unarmed as he is armed. Hiko's training would have seen to that. His only problem is that he doesn't have the body mass to take full advantage of some of the more effective kenpo moves. However, that little difficulty can be overcome with tactics, as you've so clearly shown. It always bothers me to read stories where he is basically helpless without his sword (even though I used that little gimmick in chapter 9). I loved the way you addressed that issue in both "Tanabata Jasmine" and here. Anyway, can't wait to read the next chapter!

Terry
Terry-McElrath chapter 3 . 3/12/2006
Hi, Nekotsuki!

Oh, you have such a wonderful grasp of Saito's personality! I loved this chapter! The dialogue between Kenshin and Saito was wonderful. I particularly liked the doubts that Saito raised about whether or not Kenshin had been told the truth about what would happen to Yamashita. Kenshin's inner thoughts about whether Katsura had been honest with him were great, especially the logic that led to his final decision. I love how you write! And this is a wonderful story! Now it's on to the next chapter!

Terry
omasuoniwabanshi chapter 5 . 3/12/2006
"Your romantic ideals mean nothing."

Interesting comment from Saitoh, considering that the shinsengumi were formed for the romantic ideal of safeguarding the shogun and the old way of life from the forces of change! Though Saitoh always seemed to march to the tune of his own personal code of justice rather than any list of rules the shinsengumi thought up.

The treatment of the female spy was a chilling reminder of the utter lack of gallantry towards women during this period of Japanese history. It was hardly the idealized courtly love of Medieval Europe, that's for sure.

Of all the outcomes to the battle, the one I least expected was a voluntary truce! Your plot twists always surprise me. Nice to see Saitoh (eventually) seeing sense. Can't wait to see him divvy out cooking duty with Kenshin.

Great chapter!
Terry-McElrath chapter 2 . 3/12/2006
Hi, Nekotsuki!

Again, I know that I reviewed this chapter, too, but I couldn't resist letting you know how much I enjoyed it. Hee! This chapter was just as good as I remembered. I love the images of Saito and Kenshin reduced to their fundoshis! Your research into snow survival techniques was in-depth and showed clearly in the chapter. Can't wait to read the next chapter!

Terry
Terry-McElrath chapter 1 . 3/12/2006
Hi, Nekotsuki!

I know that I reviewed this chapter already, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading it again. As always, your prose and imagery is breathtaking, and I stand in awe of your skills as a writer. I decided to take a short break before continuing with chapter 11. What better way to rest, than reading some truly excellent Rurouni Kenshin fan fiction?

Terry
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