Reviews for Dagger of the Mind
lismrox chapter 1 . 3/2/2014
This was so beautifully written! I fell in love with the characters all over again! They were all so funny and believable :)
MileyHannahFan chapter 12 . 5/7/2013
Wow what an incredible story! I loved all of the relations to Shakespeare, it made for such an interesting read.
h2pi chapter 12 . 8/16/2011
Wow. I loved this story a lot. I love how you worked in part of Wash's opening dinosaur monologue at the end. I also loved the macbeth reference about screwing courage to the sticking place. Wash and Zoe are my absolute favorite couple to read with fanfiction and this one was just so well done. Bravo :)
TheLadyW chapter 12 . 8/2/2011
Very well done story. I appreciate all the effort you put into including literary references. And your use of Chinese. Not all 'Firefly' stories pull it off, but you did very well.

Thank you for sharing this.
57-Heinz-varieties chapter 1 . 6/4/2011
Really powerful, definitely explores the darker side of Zoe in particular.
rijane chapter 12 . 4/16/2011
/"Who I look at is my business, sir," Zoë said with cool finality. "I ain't sexin' the man, and he hasn't crashed us, yet. So I reckon 'til one of those scenarios changes there's nothing to discuss./

Very Zoe - nailed her voice perfectly here.

/Mal lived in Serenity Valley. She hadn't had cause to think on it before, but now it struck her that, like Callum, he'd never really left there. /

Now that is spot on for Mal. I think he began to move out of it during the series, but by the movie he's back to basics and returned a bit. I can only imagine during the time this story takes place, it's that much worse.

/Speaking of belongings, she still had his shirt. That was a good sign, right? Don't women take the shirts of the men they like? Wear them around the house. Sleep in them, 'au naturel', as it were, with nothing separating their soft, supple cocoa skin from the shirts of the men they like. Oh how Wash envied his shirt!/

:D Love this bit - and such a great contrast to Zoe's thoughts. Sigh. People are stupid and should always talk to each other!

/"This is a betrothal necklace." /

Great detail! Especially since the Firefly 'verse is a future one and one that has been influenced significantly by non-Western cultures, it's very important not to lean on American tropes. Plus, Zoe is a hard-working soldier of fortune type and rings are not really good for that shenanigans.

/And Zoë thought, 'Once you've been in Serenity, you never leave.' Well, hump that all to hell! She wasn't going to stay and lose pieces of herself, like some. Behind her closed lids, she looked once more around the Valley, engulfed in dark and death. And then, feeling mighty, she climbed the hill and saw a fertile plain stretch out before her. For the first time in two years, the dawn rose, yellow with a hint of strawberry. The sky was endless blue. Yes, she would build her new house here, in this land, and she would thrive.

And Wash? He thought nothing at all. There was only a warm, velvety silence and the endless evening sky. And then, enveloped in her kiss, that's when it happened. That's when he saw it – the Southern Cross. He was home./

(I'm a quote-whore if you haven't noticed ;)

Love this ending - it's sweet without being schmaltzy or otherwise inducing a diabetic coma. And it pulls from the themes you've established throughout the story without being heavy handed.

You've done fantastic characterization (not only our Serenity crew, but Callum as a layered villain), awesome dialogue and solid plotting (great use of tension and setting). Thanks very much got such a great story!
rijane chapter 11 . 4/16/2011
The opening fight scene is very well done- great beats, paired against the scenery - fits very well to Callum's sensibilities. And I like that it's "brutal, ungainly" as there's going to be nothing pretty about the two of them hobbled and at each other.

The exchange between Mal and Wash makes sense and it gives a foundation to some of Wash's difficulties with Mal and his wife's willingness to follow orders. I also get why he'd conceal this backstory from Kaylee, but his lack of participation still troubles me :\
rijane chapter 10 . 4/16/2011
/Without warning, Callum drew his pistol and shot Mal in the right calf, not far from where the other bullet had grazed him earlier./

Great touch! I love sudden hits of violence to ratchet up the tension and to provide serious stakes.

I like that this chapter shows his unbalanced mental status even moreso - the crazy explains so much. Also, I think it contributes to his newfound willingness to kill the crew and not just Mal and Zoe.

PS - I messed up in my review on Chapter 4 - I forgot that Zoe's maiden name was Alleyne and so the comment on Alleyne vs. Callum will make no sense.
rijane chapter 9 . 4/16/2011
Zoe being unashamed of her actions is very soldier-esque, but it's a hard thing to deal with as a civilian. And I appreciate that you have Wash dealing with his part in their less-than-savory dealings since joining Serenity. He may not hold the gun, but he plays a role.

This chapter is solid, particularly in terms of Wash dealing with the shooting, and this comment is probably better suited on the previous chapter, but I have some characterization issues:

/"Mal. Ordering you to kill those men. Cowardly tzang-huo! Should have done his own dirty work!"/

Wash is spot on here, *but* I don't think I buy Mal's behavior with the POWs. I can definitely see Mal ordering Zoe to fire, but I honestly believe he would fire along with her. Mal has never seemed above doing the dirty work and he's certainly killed on the battlefield and off. Can you expand on your reasoning for Mal having her do it but not himself?
rijane chapter 8 . 4/16/2011
General comment, for all the not liking Mal much, you nail his dialogue style!

/Mal felt he'd rather take his chances with the revenge-crazed lunatic than have to explain to Kaylee's sturdy, honest dad why he'd made his little girl cry./

Hmm, this line screams for a story with Kaylee's family :D

/Jayne snorted in disgust. "Ya couldn't just piss off some gangster, huh? Had t' go with the ruttin' drama queen!" /

Trust Jayne to size up the situation right :)

As for the sin for which Callum is attempting to hold Mal and Zoe accountable, I think it's a right and bold choice for you to make it that wrong. I like that it's a little excusable, but not much. Zoe murdered them, even if they were dying. I see now why Callum has *righteous* anger.
rijane chapter 7 . 4/16/2011
/In the end, he took a page from the Malcolm Reynolds' Guide to Mechanical Engineering – close the doors and bang the panel until it short-circuits./

LOL

/The veins in Zoë's neck were near to mutiny/

Fantastic turn of phrase!

/"Tell me they got earplugs in the afterlife." She smiled weakly./

:) Nice!

/He was in the Black, amid an endless field of stars/

Great metaphor here!

/But there were sharp spasms when she tried to shift position to invite him in./

Ah, tragic realism.
rijane chapter 6 . 4/16/2011
/Not Captain Speaks-with-Fist. Not Hillbilly Cobb, even./

Heh. Love the nicknames :)

/...but when he actually brought some attention to the task he found his fingers were tracing the scars./

Great moment of intimacy here - and a good detail. Mal and Zoe emerged from Serenity Valley remarkably unscarred.

/She hated, hated his flowery shirts/

Okay, I love this image of Wash's dirty, inappropriately bold shirt around Zoe's broken body.

/Wash now felt like the furthest thing from a hero. In fact, he felt like a complete failure./

Yes, precisely. In the midst of the crisis, I think few people feel like the hero - they are on the verge of failure until it's all over.

Solid ending - very much like the plan to hide, though I'm a bit concerned about how Zoe is going to survive the process...
rijane chapter 5 . 4/16/2011
/"He said you 'n Zoë was war criminals."/

Ah, and here we have the source of his righteous rage. And I never thought about how Kaylee might react to the truth of the war - I know Jayne wouldn't bat an eye and Simon has his own troubles (plus his general Alliance sympathy), but Kaylee - man, to lose her admiration must be a hard and unhappy thing.

Great choice of location for this story - makes it all the more disturbing.

/Wrong way for a soldier - for a human being - to die. Helplessly, by inches./

Solid line - especially the last bit.
rijane chapter 4 . 4/16/2011
Sorry for the delay on response - I read this in bed and didn't stop to review as it was a bit on the intense side, but I am rectifying! :)

/There were so many things about the war that she'd tried to forget. This man must have been one of those things./

I like how you've positioned Callum here - and you've addressed the dark that must be inside Zoe. We see a lot of that with Mal but less so his compatriot - good to see you taking it on.

/"Ah, better." Callum smiled faintly, apparently relieved./

Authorially, I think this is a great touch - switching from Alleyne to Callum as she recognizes him - has great effect!

/ But she could feel the panic rising up, almost as another being/

Love this line

/"Mal." She took a breath and shook her head to clear it. "Will come for me. And there's no corner of Hell dark enough." She blinked hard to focus her eyes. "To hide you from him."/

And that is some damned fine dialogue!
rijane chapter 3 . 4/11/2011
/"I never did get a chance to tell you, you look shiny without the mustache."/

Amen, Kaylee. A-fricking-men.

I like that you've worked this relationship out to a comfortable friendship.

/I'm still an officer and I still have a Code./

Ah, makes him the better villain - layers, complexity, very Firefly

/Not the big damn hero you need, but I'm afraid I'm the best I can do./

I think he'll do pretty well :)

Solid chapter - great to see Wash be the hero for once (other than War Stories - but this is a very different kind of heroics - more traditional and with delightfully less torture).
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