|Reviews for A Shoulder to Lean On|
| TheAnafront chapter 1 . 3/9
Godangit, I forgot that I reviewed this ALREADY in 2015 - so I hope you enjoy the follow-up, I owe it to you. What a happy accident! XD
| TheAnafront chapter 1 . 3/9
Okay, so...first off, I owe you an apology. And I don't owe you just a review...I owe you a critique. Not on the one-shot, but on the original story you wrote.
I found this fic many years ago and meant to sit down and write a proper review for it - and I mean, a proper, fully-fledged review for each chapter when it was in a multi-chaptered form. (Later, I would look for it again and not find it, as it had been cut down to a single shot, and deeply regret not doing this when I had the chance. "TV Tropes" had it listed in its recommended fanworks section!) Exams, life, etc., I have no excuse for not doing this sooner and possibly sparing the elimination of the other chapters, so I apologize, and will do my best to CRITIQUE what I can recall from memory IN ITS ENTIRETY. (Note: My memory is fuzzy, but it stands as a testament to your writing skill that the moments you wrote, that no longer exist in this form, stayed with me all the way to 2017. So please forgive me if I'm misremembering something, and I hope you see this...albeit, a few years too late. ;) )
No one likes OC's by default.
Writing an OC is one of the most difficult and risky things to do in a fanfiction, because an OC can (and often does) take the focus off of the main character that everyone came to see. Usually created with the best of intentions, it is too easy to accidentally give that character more detail and focus than it needs, and therefore either grind the story to a screeching halt, or completely change the story into, well, not a 'fanfiction' anymore. I still have a bit of a phobia anytime I see an OC tag or warning in the Author's Notes, and immediately click away from it, because more often than not, it's a waiting pothole for derailment.
Dash(?) the KG Medic is the first and only exception I've ever come across. I'm not exaggerating when I say that not only was this the best OC I'd ever seen, but it restored my faith in reading any fanfiction where they should appear. No joke - it is a character that SERVES A PURPOSE to the MC's development, has just the right balance of focus and detail, and when he isn't needed, [i] does not show[/i]. It is a character that never once upstages Torn - the guy we all came to see - and never overstays his welcome. He's funny, relatable, and I genuinely found myself wanting to see more of him when he was gone. Of course, I don't really - for that would risk derailment! - but I DID hope that he reappeared further down the line. He served as a grounding, emotional anchor and advisor to compensate for Torn's lack thereof, and was used sparingly, but to great effect. It says A LOT that an OC would make me WANT to see more of him/her in a fanfic not centered around them. 10/10
Torn as the main character.
Torn's portrayal is one of the most unique. In the hundreds of fanworks I've had the pleasure of reviewing, there are many different interpretations of his character, and very few that actually work. This is a version that I hadn't yet seen, and one that I appreciated more than most others. Honestly, I think this version is on my Top 10 List in Torn-centric categories for how he was written.
In this story, Torn is an asshole. Straight up. No one likes him. He's imperfect. He's harsh. He's flawed. And deliciously complex: he seems to toe this line between being hyper-aware of what he is, has done, and is doing, yet also being rooted firmly in denial. His interactions with Ashelin are fascinating; she can see straight through him, and seems to have given up on him, and the two couldn't be further apart. It's a relationship that's held together by less than a thread, worn down by war and the difficult decisions they must make every day. This is brilliant because it gives Torn a (in his mind, inconceivable) goal to work towards: for how can there be anything between them when there's nothing left of him to give? His journey in finding himself again, and in finding something to care about, is implied to be a long, hard road with no easy answers and rife with failure. Which brings us to...
Torn's relationship with Daxter.
...By far, the true heart of this story is entertaining the idea of an unlikely duo that never really gets its time in the light. There couldn't be more polar opposite forces in all of the J&D universe, a poorer-matched team in all of fanfiction, and yet here, there is something that I found truly special.
I remember mulling over every interaction and being genuinely confused. By all rights, this was a matchup that SHOULDN'T work. Both personalities, presented in both this story and in canon, stood at odds with each other; everything about the other was something for the other to despise. There was no readily-seeable way for the two to ever bond in a way that would change them for the better, or make them a stronger team than with his late partner. I had to put the laptop down and sit back to think: seriously, WHY did it work? HOW did it work, where so many others had tried and failed? What was the connection-point between these two?
And then it clicked for me: because Daxter [i]isn't[/i] Daxter.
When Daxter returns to the HQ, he's emotionally dead. Anything that made him who he was, at least, to Torn: confrontational, loud-mouthed, sarcastic, rude, annoying...all of that was replaced with everything that he WASN'T. Daxter spends the first few chapters in complete and total SILENCE, becoming less than a person in his most vulnerable state, and therefore appealing to something Torn would prefer, and even appreciate. Essentially, Daxter becomes something of a pet, a responsibility, and the resulting, quiet imagery of the two broken fighters (all with no dialogue between them!) was some of the most poignant and thought-provoking pieces I'd ever read in literature, period. For a FANFICTION to nail this was seriously mind-blowing. 1000/10
On reading your note about worrything about the characters being too OOC, I couldn't disagree more - this relationship existed in the only way that it [i]could[/i] exist, where the characters believably and relatably were in a situation where they [i]weren't[/i] themselves. Their point of connection, being two heroes that had tried and failed, was an ingenious base to build themselves back up from, and the reason I would keep this story in mind, almost a DECADE after it was written. It's the sole reason I elevate this one above the rest, for its careful attention to detail, subtlety, and managing to bring attention to their flaws without making the audience stop cheering for them.
I hate to say anything negative about this (outside of my deep regret over this being a one-shot now), and really the only thing I have is more of a pet-peeve. So, this is only my opinion on a story I love very much, intended for encouragement and improvement, as no fic is perfect but it's no reason to stop trying. :)
Everything about this story is great, EXCEPT for the direction it eventually turns to. Don't get me wrong - I am 100% on-board for the two running missions together and snapping at each other; I even really enjoyed the seriously very-neat idea that Daxter can regulate/channel Dark Eco as well, a theory I'd wondered about, given that Daxter never seems to suffer any ill effects on Jak's shoulder when he transforms or releases a ton of DE in an attack, or when DE is automatically absorbed when near. It gave him a practical purpose for riding his boi's shoulder, besides talking for him and shooting while driving. I also really liked their new, cynical dynamic and tactless back-talk. The "Eat your bug" line from Torn had me in stitches.
The problem that I have lies in that I personally feel that Daxter regained his voice just a little [i]too soon[/i]. Like I gushed about above, the true heart of the story, and the best scenes, centered around Torn nursing Daxter back to health and their introspective thoughts during the whole thing. There was a nice balance of having more look into Torn's thoughts, whereas Daxter's were brief, and more fractured and scattered from sickness and grief. The blow of not having Jak anymore was deeply and heavily personified in the silence that followed and in the subtlety of the characters' actions, instead of just their words.
So the way that I [i]thought[/i] and hoped this was going to go was that Daxter had shut himself down, like Torn, but in this case, would LITERALLY relinquish his humanity in an attempt to protect himself. It would have been fascinating to see that, when he woke up, he was just an Ottsel - and nothing more.
It's never been something that's really been addressed in the games - the entire premise of "TPL" was to get Daxter's body back. In "Jak3", he's given the opportunity to return, but humbly requests for just a pair of pants, choosing to remain an Ottsel even though his existence has to be a difficult one at only about 2-feet high. He's constantly seen, treated, and referred to as an "animal", but being who he is, rolls with it, and constantly proves that he is, in fact, more human than anyone on the inside.
As an Ottsel that doesn't talk - a pet - he gets along surprisingly very well with Torn. It would give Torn something to think about and work towards - learning to care for an intelligent, quiet creature without being annoyed by him, and for Daxter, a means of therapy (even though he doesn't recognize or remember himself), and opportunity to view his new partner/temporary-master in a different, more personal, light without hating him. I imagined the advantage like being able to tell your cat or your dog something you would never tell a parent, friend, or a sig when you're alone, because they won't judge you, and who are they going to repeat it to?
Over time, as this grows, Torn could begin slowly trying to help restore Daxter's broken mind and spirit (in his gruff, jerkass way), and in turn, Daxter could do the same, eventually regaining his v
| A Passing Reader chapter 1 . 11/5/2015
I remember reading this fanfiction years ago, and meant to drop a review. After scouring the internet for it, so much time later, I've finally decided to not be a bum and give it the proper critique it deserves (based on memory, so if I've missed something or incorrectly recalled something, let me know!).
The Good Stuff: I review a TON of fanfiction. Literally, a ton. It is, to me, one of the most important literary outlets of our time, and the life's-blood of a fandom. Out of the hundreds of thousands of works for nearly as many separate fandoms and franchises, THIS FIC was one that I remembered the most, because it managed to do some things that I'd honestly never seen before, the most impressive being...
#1: The introduction of an OC that was actually LIKABLE and served a PURPOSE. This may not seem like a big deal, but oh man, it is. I instinctively hate OC's. If they are mentioned in the summary, I will often flinch away from the work without reading it, because by design, most of them are ill-fitting and take away too much attention from what the fans originally came for...the main characters. NOT some gal/guy that could morph into a Sue and steal the spotlight. The Medic from the KG (and I'm sorry, it's been so long that I don't remember his name!) is one of the best OC characters I'd ever come across - like, in my TOP THREE of any fanfiction ever, because he is used sparingly, serves a specific purpose to both Torn's development and the plot, and is truly and honestly likable. The writing around him was so relaxed, and flowed as though he were an actual character in the franchise.
#2: Silent Daxter. The first few chapters of this story were spun gold to me, because it focused on a different kind of relationship between a pair that usually never gets the spotlight, and not in a romantic way. I remember reading another story where Daxter was told to shut up nearly every 3 sentences, and couldn't figure out why it bothered me. Yes, he's loud, but he also served as Jak's voice since the series began. Therefore, without anyone to speak for, the first few chapters of Daxter being SILENT somehow managed to speak entire VOLUMES. I LOVED the idea of him retreating so far into himself that he became, essentially, an animal; the implication that, with the most important tether in the world to him gone, he had given up on everything, even himself. The interaction between Daxter and Torn without dialogue was a tricky and ambitious idea that was handled with such ease that, by the time he DOES speak again, it honestly felt kind of like someone interrupting in the middle of an art gallery. Or farting in church. (Shhh!)
#3 Torn's development. This guy never gets a break. He's got 99 problems, and likewise is so removed from anything that he can't understand WHY he doesn't understand, can't seem to grasp the obvious that everyone else can so clearly see. He's imperfect; he's an asshole; and through nursing Daxter back to health, is given a lot of time to think. To go from initially despising Daxter to forming the grudging sort of mutually-respectful, quiet bond you would with a stray cat was a beautiful progression for him, and though he didn't seem to think he was making any progress, the audience could see that he really was.
The Not So Good Stuff: Honestly, this is probably more of a nitpick. The story's strength came from it's slow and quiet pace; it's delicate and unique relationship b/w Torn and Dax. So when Daxter starts talking again, it's meant to be a crowd-pleaser - nothing wrong with that - and the humor is legitimate, but the suddenness derailed the story for me. In my opinion, if this had taken a bit longer, and the ramifications of his best friend's death given the time to, not just "wear off", but actually HEAL, this would have been a stronger telling. And don't get me wrong, the banter between the two was impressively in-character, memorable, and oftentimes, priceless ("Eat your bug."); Torn unintentionally assuming Jak's role by having Daxter ride on his shoulder (and if I'm remembering it right, helping to channel the Dark Eco?) was also a brilliant move. But again, the broken silence really threw a lot of that off. Daxter changed the dynamic by speaking as though he were perfectly fine and nothing built up from the past few chapters had ever happened. In time, this would have been less distracting, and flowed much better further down the road. His, AND Torn's, return to the human race after so long should have felt rewarding, for both the character AND the reader.
Conclusion! Taking Daxter around on missions implied a series of adventures/misadventures, where the new dynamic of "Torn and Daxter", instead of "Jak and Daxter" could be explored, was again, a brilliant idea, that I feel should have been more prominent as the story progressed. How would this team succeed/fail in comparison to the original duo, or when they were both solo? What advantages and disadvantages would we see? There was no need for the typical fanfiction routes to be taken (that somehow always manage to derail a good fic, no matter the fandom. Weird.) - like making Daxter a human and needing to save him, thus leading into fan-service / ship-service (so sick of seeing this one). What made this story stand out in the sea of so many others was its ambition to deviate from the norm, to feed the fandom ideas they'd never considered, and give something new and fresh and full of possibilities.
I was in awe of the multi-chaptered version, and I wish it were still around. Hearing that it's in the midst of a rewrite makes me so happy, and can't wait to read it when it's done! :D
| Guest chapter 10 . 6/5/2014
Aw, it's too bad that this seems to be done with. Whatever, I personally enjoyed reading it very much. I'm afraid I can't really judge on OOC-ness one way or another, I'm pretty out of touch with the games myself. Gah, I really wanted to know WHY Daxter wasn't with Torn anymore. Too bad. Well, it was really a great read, so thanks for writing what IS here.
| Guest chapter 10 . 9/23/2013
TV Tropes recomended this fanfiction. And its awesome if you continued it. It's such a waste of a perfectly good premise. Nice job and very well written.
| Psychotic Chipmunk chapter 10 . 6/23/2013
PLEASE PLEASE continue this! PLEASE! I love this story, I think it's amazing!
| thread chapter 10 . 3/6/2013
You are a very good wrighter. i liked how torn was thinking ways to get the baron mad. I say you should continue on with this story.
| DarkEcoFreak chapter 10 . 3/3/2013
Aww it's not finished! I really liked was there was of this story (even though Jak "died")! You should really continue this!
| Laurho chapter 10 . 12/3/2012
Aww. That's so depressing...
And sad that you haven't updated in forever. Double depression D:
| Guest chapter 10 . 7/11/2012
I'm pretty sure all of the cutscenes are on YouTube, if that would help you with the characters.
This is a really great fic so far. Keep up the good work!
| 999 chapter 10 . 6/24/2012
Please update soon. I can't wait for everyone's reactions when they discover that Daxter was originally an elf!
| Oblique Strategies chapter 10 . 6/16/2012
I read all of the present chapters before starting this review, so this is my summary of all of them.
You write very well; I think your main strength is your choice of descriptive writing, using periphrastic language to describe the characters. Sometimes it is like reading Old Icelandic poetry, which is full of it! As a descriptive writer myself, this sort of stuff really appeals to me.
Your chapters are quite littered with grammatical and spelling errors though, which is your main flaw. It's not unreadable, which is good, but as a prescriptivist I advise you to better check your chapters before uploading.
The story is progressing well. I'm surprised that Tess has not showed up yet. I hope she appears at some point.
Well done, and keep up the writing.
| FYI chapter 1 . 6/14/2012
Just a warning to all, a group called Critics United is currently going around and mass reporting on Any story they deem to be breaking FF rules. This includes, but is not limited to: stories with MA or above rated content, though now they're claiming any kind of lemon is breaking the rules, Songfic's, and any stories with polls, authors notes, or otherwise in place of an actual chapter update, you could even end up accidentally put your story into what they view as being the “incorrect category” and they’ll report you for it. These stories are being deleted with little to no warning given, often within hours of one of their members locating it. If you want try to help stop the "cleansing" of this site and protest their bullying go to: www . change petitions/ fanfiction-net-stop-the-destruction-of-fanfiction-net and sign the petition in hopes of helping to stop the destruction of FF . net.
| Bookworm Gal chapter 10 . 6/11/2012
Things just keep progressing from bad to worse for Daxter. I hope that someone, regardless of it is Torn or Jak back from the dead, shows up to help soon.
| OrangeSkye2772 chapter 10 . 6/7/2012