Reviews for River of Blood
bhoney chapter 5 . 3/23/2009
Oh crap. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. Uh...did I mention that you're doing an excellent job with the descriptions and stuff? I feel like I've just been at war.

Loved the image of Dean coming over to the two little brothers at the tree, giving tactical advice to Leamon "as if he was a big-brother-substitute for Lew". I think Dean is really good with battle strategy and I was happy to see that showcased.

The whole section where Leamon is loading his musket, going through the 9 steps and you have things in there like flinch when bullet strikes nearby, in amongst the steps was really well done. The way you interspersed the second person POV in there really brought the reader into the action and let them feel how that moment would be. Very suspenseful.

This was a powerful description: "The pale gray smoke didn’t float away; it seemed to hover over the battlefield, like a curse in the air. Some soldiers buckled under the weight of it, hands to knees and gulping for air. Others tried to raise their arms over their heads in triumph but lacked the strength." Wow. Intense image of the aftermath of the battle.

And then Dean's panic as he dug Sam out from under the tree was cool too. Love to see the boys worried about each other.

And can I just say-I LOVED the image of Dean laying behind the hollow log, giving covering fire, rolling onto his back to re-load his musket-which he'd only watched someone else do once and picked up, even though it's 9 steps!-gave me chills. Dean is good at this. He's a good soldier, a good strategist, cool under fire, and deadly with a weapon. That's our boy! :)

Loved that he took down the guy trying to shoot Sam at the beginning of the chapter. Oh, and loved Sam checking him out after that, making sure the blood on his face wasn't his own, while Dean was reloading. Nice brotherly moment.
bhoney chapter 4 . 3/23/2009
Loved this glimpse of them as just a normal family: "But he remembered walking the trails that still wove through the National Battlefield Park, remembered holding his little brother’s hand as they trotted beside their father. He remembered Sammy’s delight at seeing his first deer at dusk in an open glade. Dean remembered the stories their father told over a campfire that trip, not just about monsters but American history, too." So sweet.

But holy crap! That battle scene made me super nervous. I can't imagine having to form a line like that and hold it with weapons that take so long to reload-let alone for the boys, who don't plan to use theirs at all. To just stand or kneel there, in the heat of battle, virtually defenseless except for one bullet a piece. Man. That takes guts. And I could feel Dean's dismay at having chosen the spot in front of Sam, which he naturally would, and figuring out it was the wrong choice, left Sam a big target. I did kinda wonder why they didn't try to hide out somewhere nearby until the battle was over, and then check to see if Leamon had made it through. I mean, people are SHOOTING at them, and they only have ONE BULLET a piece! *whimpers*
bhoney chapter 3 . 3/23/2009
This was a fantastic simile, very period-appropriate: "hunger gnawed at his belly like rats gnawing on a bag of feed". You did a great job with the description of what the rations would've been like, and the gear. Very realistic. I had to giggle at Sam and Dean's reaction to the hardtack. I think I'd have passed too. LOL

Loved Leamon's reaction here: "Get the memo?" LOL Nice bit of reminder that they're in a different time and place and some of the phrases that would habitually come to their lips would be foreign to those they meet.
bhoney chapter 2 . 3/23/2009
Wow. This was a fantastic chapter. You did an excellent job of setting the scene. Loved all the details and the picture you painted, I felt like I was really back in Civil War times. You obviously did a lot of research to pull this off.

Loved the flashback in the beginning of the chapter. I'm really hoping we'll get more of that story from the past throughout the course of this story.

I loved this because it SO sounded like Dean: “Tell me it wasn’t on the same Toxic Waste Dump shelves as those damned Do-Not-Touch-Under-Pain-of-Death curse boxes?” And Sam's guilty response. *shakes head* Oh, Sammy. I'm curious as to what he'd hoped to accomplish, since he seems as surprised by this turn of events as Dean.

Loved this: “I will always find you, Sammy.” *sniffle* And he will too.

I have to say, I this made me smile: “It was Dad’s idea. It had Audie Murphy in it. He was a big Audie Murphy fan.” My dad's a big Audie Murphy fan, too, and has made us watch a bunch of the movies. He's also a Civil War buff, and I can't tell you how many battlefields I can remember visiting as a kid. It makes reading a story like this one even more fun.

"Wouldn’t it be funny if Sam got some of his geekiness from their dad after all?" I love that idea!

I'm really interested to see where you take this. Glad Dean found some clothing and stuff for them so they can blend in, but I couldn't help feeling a little bad for poor Tiny. No coat, with winter a comin'.

I LOVED that Dean is the one who's supplying so much of their "research" type info for this job-telling Sam about the battle, knowing his way around. I think Dean is smart, and especially about tactics/strategies/military-type stuff and things like that, and too often authors portray Sam as the only smart one, so I really liked that you are showcasing Dean's strengths. And to tie it in to a trip he took with his dad is just perfect.
bhoney chapter 1 . 3/21/2009
Loved the name of the motel "Limberlost Motel". Seems very fitting. ;)

And I loved this: “How many prime numbers between 25 and 50?” (Because Dean totally could have been a mathlete in school, too, if he’d wanted.)

I think Dean is really smart, and I love fics that portray him that way.

I also loved this glimpse into their shared past: "Dean felt like he was 10 years old again. Fiercely pretending to be more brave and strong than he really was, so that his little brother would feel safe." Aw...

And this cracked me up: "Dean would never admit this, but sometimes he just lets the Impala pick a direction. He trusts her. And suspects she has a nose for good pie." LOL And I have to admit, I loved the idea of Mrs. Wick’s Pie Shop (especially the sugar creme pie, which sounds delicious). Oh, if only there really were such places...And this made me giggle too: "Besides. Dean has his priorities. There’s pie."

Great description of the town. You really set the scene well. LOVED Dean's enthusiasm over the idea of a zombie hunt, so endearing.

And this was a beautiful description, and so telling:

"Sam doesn’t think Dean even realizes he is doing it - savoring the taste and smell and touch of the most mundane activities. He’d expected his brother to be in a constant hurry, rushing to fill each hour of his last year with as much action as he could. But Dean isn’t...Dean … is lingering. As if letting go of each moment hurts.

That thought hits Sam like a punch to the heart, stealing his breath for a moment." Oh, boys. *sniffle*

And I loved this from Sam: "Because brothers – they belong together, right? They’re supposed to fight the enemy side by side." Wish that sentiment would creep into Season 4.

It makes me a little nervous that Sam's keeping the book a secret and has been looking for a spirit without bones. He definitely has something up his sleeve. And then you go and end this on a cliffhanger? Cruel. LOL that's why I only read completed stuff, this would've given me an ulcer. LOL

Great start. Intriguing and very well-written, and the boys are really in character. I look forward to reading more.
CB Walters chapter 14 . 2/24/2009
Wow, another great fic! First off, I gotta say, I think it's so cool that you did all this research with family history and all that. That's a great family story, and I'm thrilled that you chose to share it with us. :)

Sort of along with that, I loved how well you used historical details. I'm a total Civil War geek (though my area of interest is Gettysburg), so I was so excited to see how historically accurate this fic was! The way the army worked, the types of weapons they used (and how to shoot them!), even some of the speech patterns ("seeing the elephant") were so spot on that I really felt like they were back in time.

Which leads to...the boys! :) You did such a great job capturing the essence of their brotherhood, which is really what makes them so interesting. When Sam said he'd rather stay in 1863 (and either die a long painful death or be horribly crippled), I almost started crying. That just seemed like such an in-character offer for him to make. And I was just as pleased with Dean's reaction, and his insistence that they go back to their own time. Sam's motivations seemed spot on all the way through it; I could really see him exhausting every single possible way to save Dean, even if it meant dipping into black magic. It was a different, more desperate take on the "Sam trying to get Dean out of his deal" idea, and I really liked it for that reason.

There were some other details that I really liked as well. The first was the idea that Sam getting shot had some lasting effect. Considering the fact that he was cursed at the time, that idea was interesting, made sense, and put a darker spin on the hilarity of BDABR. Another detail I thought was interesting was the idea that the boys saved things from John's lockup. The show highlighted a few interesting bits and pieces, but that place was huge, and I could see them finding all kinds of things, including something as dangerous as that spell book. It made me wonder what else might be in that lockup.

Anyway, I'm totally rambling now. This was great, and I can't wait to read more from you. I hope you're hard at work at your next fic. :)

-CB
kalina-blue chapter 14 . 2/18/2009
This story was absolutely amazing. The fact that you did all the research really showed throughout the story, lending credibility and realism to it.

I also like how ic you portrayed Sam and Dean. Your story would settle into canon nicely.

Thank you for sharing such a brilliant fic.
Narelena chapter 14 . 2/16/2009
Wonderful story! And what a neat personal connection you have to the events and people. I enjoy historical fiction in the published world, and was thrilled by your excellent combination of fanfic (because who doesn't love Sam and Dean?) and history. Your pacing of the plot was very nicely done, and your characters were believable and well-developed. In short, your fic kept me up past my bedtime-probably my number one indicator of interest. Thank you for sharing your work!
Linnie McCary chapter 14 . 2/15/2009
I suspected there was something personal about those Griffith brothers, partly because your fic began in Indiana, and I know that's in your profile. What a great job you did bringing your kin to life, and leaving "River of Blood" as a kind of legacy for those who come after. You did a great job with including the horrific details of those terrible days of bloodshed, including the wounded soldiers frozen to the ground by their own blood, and the wild boars feasting on human flesh. (Did I say a great job? Yes, but...ew!)

When I was tramping around Chickamauga, it felt odd to be both starry-eyed at the 'romantic history' of it, and appalled and sickened by what it must have been like on those two days. At one point, as I traipsed across one of the fields in my silly little sandals, the woods at my back, I couldn't help but shudder, picturing the carnage, hearing the screams of the injured and dying, knowing I was on ground that once had been soaked in blood. It's really quite a place.

Terrific work, Harrigan. You should be proud, and I'm sure you are!
Linnie McCary chapter 13 . 2/15/2009
Well done, my friend, and right up my alley! Again, lots of fabulous history, great job parallelling (is that a word?) the two sets of brothers, with their mirror effects, and tying the whole megillah to the Crossroads Deal. (btw, I met Scott Bakula last year. He's a very, very charming man.) My kitchen has yet to be cleaned, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my Sunday afternoon with your fic!
Linnie McCary chapter 12 . 2/15/2009
Some lovely (horrific) images in this chap: "The light from the lantern cast a small pale puddle of light that scraped the forest floor as Lew joined him" and "the darkness of night drew back over a soldier’s face like a shroud."

But most of it? Just broke my heart. What beats these brothers' love for one another?
Linnie McCary chapter 10 . 2/15/2009
re Chapter 9: Butterflies-now I know this is a dream, somehow (so intriguing!) because, if memory serves, the days of the battle were actually unseasonably cold. Oh, and then you SAY it's cold. Huh. Maybe I always just equate butterflies with warming weather.

re Chapter 10: I wonder how many of your readers besides me recognize that song. In fact, along back at about Chapter 2 or Chapter 3, I almost added "Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching" to my comment, but decided you wouldn't get the reference. I believe now that I was wrong! :)

Interesting parallels you're making here, between the sets of brothers. Also, I appreciate the irony that Lew mistakes the toxic spellbook for a Bible.
Linnie McCary chapter 8 . 2/15/2009
The first part/half of this (Dean's musings about being in Sam's dreams) was FASCINATING and FABULOUS.

Great shiver: The quote from Isaiah.

Great chuckle: John Winchester, master of the stick-figure Wendigo.
Linnie McCary chapter 7 . 2/15/2009
Oh, now we're getting to what I've been waiting for! *rubs hands in gleeful anticipation* Oh, Sammy, this is SO dangerous! Great job, these long chapters with barely a mention, building the suspense, and now bringing Sam's plan back amidst the carnage of war.

WONDERFUL anxiety raiser: "Sam wondered, belatedly, if the owner had attempted the spell and disappeared. If he’d never returned."

This, too: "But with this ritual, ‘summoning’ apparently didn’t mean what he’d expected. Sam worried now what else ‘binding’ might mean, and how this might go wrong too."
Linnie McCary chapter 5 . 2/15/2009
"Winchester was sitting on his haunches next to the dead man, calmly re-loading his musket. Sam loomed over him, and tucked a finger under his brother’s chin to better see the blood on Dean’s face. Dean shook him off and wiped his jaw with his sleeve." There's love and heroism and stoicism, all right there. I adore these boys.

Lovely, in a completely unheroic way: "The pale gray smoke didn’t float away; it seemed to hover over the battlefield, like a curse in the air. Some soldiers buckled under the weight of it, hands to knees and gulping for air. Others tried to raise their arms over their heads in triumph but lacked the strength."

Great job with the skirmish!
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