|Reviews for Spirit of Snow|
| VampireNaomi chapter 51 . 10/17/2008
Wow. Just... wow. This was by far the best chapter in the entire story. There were so many good scenes and bits of dialogue that my head is still spinning from having read all this. I'll try to make the review as coherent as possible, but it might be a bit difficult. You really captured strong emotions with this chapter.
I guess I had better start from the beginning. I'm glad that you decided to use the Cuddle Buddy idea and make Amy send Michio some toys. It gave you a wonderful opportunity to include some humour about Monty's opinion on her, his dislike for Cuddle Buddies and Yuki's reaction to the whole thing. I just loved it when she teased him and called Amy his ex. XD This scene also continued the work of the previous chapter when we found out that Amy is not upset about not getting Monty and has found a man of her own. It would have been so easy to make her some sort of vengeful harpy in order to underline the Monty/Yuki pairing, but I'm so, so glad that you decided to give her character the respect she rarely gets.
What I absolutely loved about this chapter was that you had done a lot of research on pregnancies and giving birth. I actually learnt something new here, and yet it never felt like you were just cramming the info down our throats. Everything that came up was related to the context and didn't feel out of place at all. I particularly liked that bedroom scene and how Monty was wondering if it would be safe to have sex. And of course you know how much I like the "Monty on bottom" syndrome. ;D This was a great way to use some of that in the story.
Despite that the chapter was very humorous, the more emotional moments didn't seem jarring at all. The scene in which Yuki examines Monty's new scars was very touching and a great parallel to the similar scar scene you had previously in the story. This one felt much lighter because in the previous one they knew they were about to say goodbye and possibly never meet again, but here they're going to be together forever. I also liked this scene because it was another reminder of the horrible things that happened to them because of Monty's actions. You've done a good job of not letting the reader or the characters forget about that no matter how well they've dealt with the issue.
One bit I especially liked about the chapter was how Yuki was encouraging Monty to go on that expedition. Too often I see women acting like clingy fools who want to be the centres of the universe when they're pregnant. They certainly have the right to demand attention, but it was very considerate of her to think of him as well. Besides, they had no way of knowing that Michio would get impatient.
You captured Yuki's shock and determination really well in that bathroom scene. It was almost chilling, and it certainly made me go "Aw, crap", even though I had guessed that this is how it would go.
Haha, you made me fall in love with Arthur Brenton right away. He was amazingly funny in those few bits that he appeared in. XD He was also the perfect reason to have Monty share a jet with Kim and Ron - he just might have been stubborn enough not to do it otherwise. And talking about Kim and Ron, their reactions were perfect! I can just imagine Ron dropping his soda can like that! It certainly must have been an awkward flight. It was good of you not to give us all the details about that, just enough to show how strained things still understandably are between them - and will probably continue to be so.
The birth scene was very believable and touching. Again you included enough details to make it seem real, but at the same time you concentrated more on the emotions of the characters. I'm not a huge fan of childbirth scenes in general, but I loved reading this one. It felt somehow real and not cliché at all, probably because the doctor was there to keep things focused. Monty and Yuki's reaction to Michio was just adorable. Reading about Monty holding his son just got me somehow. In a way I think I felt like them because the baby first came up in the story months and months ago, and we've all been waiting for him to be born. It's been about nine months in real life, too, hasn't it? :P Now Michio is finally here.
With that much happiness, there must be sorrow as well, I guess. You completely surprised me with that twist with Sensei. I simply wasn't expecting that at all (I didn't read the title because I was too impatient), so after the happiness of Michio's birth, it felt like a punch to the stomach. This was a great effect and the conversation between Yuki and Sensei was probably the scene that affected me the most in the story, right after the death of Matthew. You somehow made me from very happy to very sad in a matter of minutes. Be proud. :P
That final scene was an excellent way to end the chapter and essentially the story. It showed all three of them, Monty, Yuki and Michio, happily together and bantering, so it represented everything that they have gained. They had to suffer so much to get to this point, but it has certainly been worth it.
I can't wait for the epilogue, but at the same time I'm dreading it because then the story will be over. It has been such a great read that words can't express how much I love the story. It has involved all of the things I love to read about. Maybe the only additional thing that I would have liked to see is having Kim and Ron meet Yuki and Michio. I would have loved to see their reaction to that Monty got himself a Yamanouchi ninja. But oh well, one can't always have everything. ;)
| Jane Poirot chapter 50 . 10/10/2008
Great chapter, but just a bit scary, because I can actually picture DNAmy and Duff Killigan as a couple...(shudder)
| LilyHellsing chapter 50 . 10/10/2008
Aw! That was such a fluff filled humerous (yet still in character) chapter! Sorry Im not being all detailed and such (I love when you and VampireNaomi do it because it makes me feel all warm inside and smart XD) but theres not much to say...I loved it! Lol. The ending made me go "aw" out loud just as my dad walked by...he gave me a O.O look lol.
| VampireNaomi chapter 50 . 10/10/2008
This chapter was a blast! As much as I have loved the angst in the previous chapters, it was a relief to read something more light-hearted and happier. It was clear that you had a great time writing this chapter, and I certainly had lots of fun reading it!
I'm not sure why, but I loved the beginning scene with Yuki waking up and going to the dojo. There's something very soothing about how Monty is following the familiar routine even after the shocking events of the previous chapter, though I guess a few days have passed since Yuki came back, which would have given him at least some time to get used to the idea. Still, I liked it.
The brief martial art practice was also a nice scene because it illustrates how Monty has changed the way he treats the monkey ninjas. True, it's not a massive change by any means, but since he has learnt to know how much they care about him, he's not as hard on them as before. I liked it how Yuki took notice of this as well and mused how he would never really hurt his minions just because of practice, even if he keeps snapping at them constantly.
Another bit I liked was how Monty suggested training to Yuki, forgetting that she was pregnant or not realising that she shouldn't be that active in her state. It was a nice way of showing how he still isn't used to the idea of becoming a parent at all.
The playful banter worked well at breaking the tension between them. I really like it how they have these uneasy moments every now and then, even though they're clearly becoming more at ease with each other and returning to how their relationship was at its best. It's very realistic and adds some excitement into the story. There were also other brilliant moments that illustrated this. My favourite was perhaps the whole thing with Crandall and how Yuki couldn't trust Monty right away. It was obvious that she wanted to, but given how he had betrayed her last time, it was understandable that she was afraid and had doubts. I'm glad this situation got at least partly solved here, though, and that they could move on to happier things.
And talking about that, I loved those shopping scenes and how awkward Monty felt at the store! XD The Cuddle Buddies were a great addition and foreshadowed Amy's appearance later on. As I said earlier, it makes perfect sense that they're selling Cuddle Buddies for children, even babies. They're kind of adorable in their own, freaky way, and I guess they have that "Gotta catch 'em all!" vibe that Pokémon had. Anyway, it was a good decision to make Yuki the more experienced one here, even though she was also uncomfortable with the whole shopping idea. She has had much more time to think about the issue and consider just what a baby might need, so it makes sense that she'd have a clearer idea of what they were supposed to be doing. And as you know, I just love it when people put Monty into situations in which he's not in control.
The brief scene in which Yuki was tired felt very weary and somehow melancholy, even though she also told him that she should have believed him about Crandall. I don't know. That scene was such a clear contrast to the almost bubbly humour from the previous scene that it was like being yanked down from the sky. :P I liked it because it was another reminder of how things still aren't picture perfect between them.
Monty wanting to keep the child downstairs really reminded of how Matthew was acting like in that story bit you let me read. XD Looks like Monty is a lot more like his father than he even realises. It's also comforting to know that he's battling with some of the very same issues his father was. It kind of gives hope for that he just might turn out to be an alright father after all.
I can't express my love for the phone conversation with Killigan and Amy! It was by far my favourite moment in the entire chapter! Firstly, it was great to see Killigan, and I loved it how jealous and protective he was of Amy! :3 It was super adorable and romantic, and it really shows what a cute couple they can be when they're written right. I doubt I would have even though of this pairing without you, so thanks for bringing it to the spotlight. And Amy! XD She was really funny and in-character in that scene. I just can't help it but laugh at the idea of her getting so excited about Monty becoming a father. I'm sure she's going to send Michio many Cuddle Buddy brand baby items as gifts - much to the horror of Monty.
That nightmare really caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting it at all, but it was good that you added it. It was a great sign of that even though things seem to be alright, there are still some issues that both Monty and Yuki have to deal with. That talk they had and how Monty still stayed in the room show that they're on the right way, though.
As usual, I can't wait for the next chapter, even though I'm also a bit sad that the story is about to end soon.
| Donteatacowman chapter 50 . 10/10/2008
Aw! So when are the two going to tie the knot? :D
Great and indeed, partially lighthearted chapter! Pleasure to read- please, keep it up!
| DJ Dubois chapter 50 . 10/10/2008
Glad to see Monkey Fist and Yuki getting back on track. Like how you're making him earn it too! ;)
Thankfully you handled the DNAmy thing the way you did.
| Donteatacowman chapter 49 . 10/5/2008
Good job. Sorry, out of words. :P Great chapter, though!
| Jen Rock chapter 49 . 10/4/2008
As usual, this is very well-done. The awkwardness and need between Yuki and Monty was just perfect. She still hesitates to trust him despite her feelings for him and he can't believe she'd actually want to be with him. The ninja monkey's reactions were cute. As always, I look forward to the next chapter.
| LilyHellsing chapter 49 . 10/4/2008
I was giggling when I read the Monty is shoes and the kilt thing XD I wonder if someone would draw that, don't you wonder too? Lol. I loved just how...teenage-ish they were. They were both timid and hesitant to believe the fact that both wanted each other. It was so cute! Esp. the part where she was about to run off and he grabbed her!
XD Lmao; leave it to Monty to jest about a beard during pregnancy! Plus the eating habits...I swear, the eating habits are always the most comical of the whole nine months! Well, for the woman, not for anyone near them if they get weird combinations lol.
Ugh, this makes me want to try and write my third story but I'm still toying with the idea of how to begin it XD
| VampireNaomi chapter 49 . 10/4/2008
Man, how I loved this chapter! I can believe it that it was very hard to write, but you did a simply awesome job at it. At no point did it feel forced or implausible. Both Monty and Yuki behaved exactly like I was expecting them to, and there were numerous moments when I thought that you had picked just the perfect description or piece of dialogue for the scene.
The beginning was wonderfully awkward, as expected. It was really funny how Monty simply said exactly what she told him to when she wondered if she had fallen asleep. It was a fun twist, especially since it was a great way to show how shaken Monty is by all this. In a normal situation, he would have said something sarcastic, but now he didn't have a single clear thought in his head and gave just the reply that isn't expected in that situation.
Yuki's next question about his clothes was another great moment. At this point the two of them started sounding more like themselves, the first shock having faded a little. I absolutely love their small witty banter in this chapter. It brought some humour into what is a very intense chapter, but it didn't feel out of place at all. As I said in the PM, they're both the kind of characters who just can't keep their mouths shut for too long. To expect them both be entirely serious through this would have been dumb.
I love their conversation about everything that has happened and what they're about to do now. It was a good thing to keep the humour mostly out of it. I'm especially glad that you gave them time to come to their conclusions and dance around the main issue a little. As Yuki kept thinking, she couldn't just blurt out that she had changed her mind. I loved seeing the two of them in agony when they tried to voice their thoughts. And of course, Monty's pleading hope to have her back was very enjoyable! ;D
My absolute favourite moment in this chapter was when Yuki thought Monty didn't want her to stay, and then he pulled her back in near panic over possibly losing her again. It was such a great and intense moment that I had to read it again and again. This is certainly a scene worth fanart! This scene also functions as a good tension breaker because once they have realised that they both still want each other, they can talk about their other issues more freely.
It was a great idea to make them both forget about the baby for a moment. It makes sense that Monty especially would have a hard time coming to terms with that. Yuki has understandably got more used to the idea of becoming a parent, and she has known from the beginning that Michio is going to change her entire life. Monty, on the other hand, has lots of dealing to do because he thought he might never see his son at all. His doubts were well portrayed here, and it makes sense that he'd be careful around this issue. Also, having Yuki admit that she can't come back to him if he's not ready to take them both was a good addition and very true to her character. I've been so fixated on seeing the two of them together again that I almost forgot about the implications a baby is going to have.
I loved the mention of the beard, especially after we saw one possible bearded look for Monty in that German magazine! XD
Another moment I loved was how Monty was resting his hand on Yuki's stomach and how he mused how he had almost killed his own son. That was another strong and emotional scene, also worthy of being drawn. Yet another bit I loved was how Yuki admitted that she is never going to forget about what Monty has done to her. It would have been very unrealistic if she had just got over it and pushed it to the past. That's exactly what I can imagine most authors doing, even though this kind of betrayal is not something that can be forgotten. It shows just how strong her love for him is since she is willing to go back even though those memories will always be with her.
Hehe, I'd actually love to see the two of them go shopping for baby stuff! XD I'm sure it would be very amusing.
Finally, it was another touching moment when Yuki showed her doubts about Monty's job and whether what he's up to is legal or not. It makes perfect sense that she would be wary of him, especially now that she has only been back for such a very short time. Yet Monty is right; she needs to be able to trust him if they want to make this work. I like it how they both have work to do before everything is alright, not just one of them. The fact that Yuki is sleeping in the guestroom for the time being is a great way of showing this.
The ending of the chapter was just brilliant. It was both happy and sad at the same time, but it gave them all hope of a better future.
| VampireNaomi chapter 48 . 9/27/2008
You can't imagine how happy this update made me. I've been feeling a little down lately, but this chapter filled me with bubbling glee, if you excuse such an expression.
It's so satisfying to finally see happiness in Monty's life after he has suffered and gone through so much. While it doesn't remove the pain of those events, it makes it all worthwile and soothens the ache. He wouldn't be here now if he hadn't completed his journey first.
That whole scene with Crandall was brilliant! I was ready to jump up and down together with him when he got really excited about the Obsidian Monkey. Monty's observations about how little Crandall trusted him were amusing and believable, but they also made the end of the scene all the more satisfying. If we hadn't seen how scared and doubtful Crandall was, his sudden excitement and willingness to work with Monty wouldn't have felt half as strong. This arrangement they have probably isn't going to feature in the story very much, but it's very significant for Monty's future. At the surface it looks like he's helping Crandall, but when you look closer, you see that they're actually helping each other but in very different way. Without Crandall and his offer Monty would have probably remained moping at his castle.
If it wasn't for Yuki, that is. Even though I was happy about that she finally decided to go back to him, I was also sad about her leaving Yamanouchi. The majority of the story and some of the most significant scenes have taken place there, so it felt like a great part of her life has been torn away. It isn't like that, of course, but goodbyes such as that are always bittersweet.
The baby blanket and this new information about Yuki's past was highly interesting and further deeped her character. Even though she has had a very happy life at Yamanouchi, I guess part of her has always wondered about her past. That could also explain some of her doubts and fears about giving Monty a second chance.
That cliffhanger in the end was pure evil, but at least you went on a little longer than I would have suspected. Most authors would have ended the scene with Monty freezing at the door upon seeing Yuki, but it was a good decision to go a little further than that. This gave Monty the chance to think and calm down somewhat before facing her.
Needless to say, I cannot wait for the next chapter! It makes me sad that the story is coming to an end, but at the same time I'm very eager to see how it will go and what you might write after this.
| Donteatacowman chapter 48 . 9/26/2008
Haha! Very good! Monty just walked in whisting to find Yuki napping in his chair... And I noticed the two doorbell scenes seemed to have similarities. Like I said, very good! Thanks for writing.
| Jane Poirot chapter 48 . 9/26/2008
It's almost over? Aw, darn. :-(
| LilyHellsing chapter 48 . 9/26/2008
Geesh, if I was in Yuki's position, Id be having a heart attack because Id be so nervous XD Poor girl.
XD Lmao, the Ultimate Thumb Sucker. Oh yeah, that reminds me; I cant recall if it was you or someone else I was discussing shirts about but if I get some shirts made up, what should they be called? Monty's Monkey Lovers or something? Lol
Aw he found her sleeping! XD That is so cute in "wtf are you doing in my house" kind of way!
Omg I cant wait for the next chapter! Im terrified of what will happen next but so excited as well! Update when you can!
| VampireNaomi chapter 47 . 9/18/2008
There were again numerous bits that I absolutely loved in this chapter. The fact that your mind was already going on about the next one promises that it is going to be even better, so I'll be eagerly looking forward to it.
It made me so happy to see that Monty is feeling a little better and is no longer wasting his time doing nothing but feeling miserable. The best part about this whole thing was that he wasn't even fully aware of it himself. For example, when he orders the monkey ninjas to make dinner and then later when he's eating. It's like he has somewhat fallen back to a routine.
And yet the sadness and worries remain. I like it how you were able to be subtle about this whole thing. You didn't mention Yuki at every turn, only when it was natural that Monty would be thinking about her. I also like it how he was bothered by others things as well, such as the fact that returning to a life of archaeology wouldn't be easy because of his past as a criminal and people's doubts.
Haha, I had the laugh of my life with that phone call! I reacted exactly like Monty did and went, "Okay, what the heck is this? Where did this random phone call come from?" XD I had to stop reading because the name Bennett felt so familiar, and it took me a while to remember who he was. That whole conversation was absolutely amazing! I find it hilarious how Monty starts feeling better about himself after he has had a chance to gloat at someone. So like him. :D I adore this bit,
"Monkey Fist grinned as he reached to grab the phone again. 'I assume you finally managed to put a sentence together,” he said, sitting comfortably on his armchair “fascinating…I’m listening.'"
I can just imagine the way he's sitting and possibly tilting his head to the side with that grin on his lips. That would be an awesome picture.
The bit with Crandall was both very fascinating and somewhat sad. On one hand, it was awesome to see Monty receive some credit for his help, but on the other hand Crandall's reaction, however understandable it was, brought the melancholy air back into the story. Monty has a long way to go before people are going to learn to trust him again, and in some ways he's never going to be able to put the past behind him. Then again, Crandall's obvious enthusiasm about the Obsidian Monkey could definitely lead to something, and I'm hoping that their meeting is going to be fruitful.
And yay, Yuki finally made the right decision! :D Having her fear be the biggest obstacle was very realistic. I think everyone would have those same doubts in that situation. The fact that she has to think about the child was a good addition, too. And I'm glad you mentioned the possibility that Monty might not want her back; though we all know that this is not the case, it's a logical possibility that I've had in mind for a while now.
It was wise from Sensei to keep her in the dark about the Lotus Blade until this. It was the nudge she needed for making the correct decision, and had he told her about it earlier, the impact might have been lost in the mix of emotions she was feeling back then. Now it was a shock to her and made her think.
There are two more bits I want to mention here. Firstly, Michio finally announcing his presence was awfully cute. :3 I also liked how Yuki's decision made Sensei a little sad, even though this is what he wanted and he knows it's for the best. It's perfectly understandable that he's going to miss her, but this is really the only way for Yuki to be truly happy.