Reviews for Death is Part of the Process
Jason Tandro chapter 3 . 8/25
Okay, so I hope you don't mind marathon reviews like this but it's just how I keep my thoughts organized. I spot one or two minor grammatical hiccups in a sea of incredible writing (example:
"you'll never heard from us again".) The story began in such an odd way and has in a mere three chapters evolved into a love letter to the Turks and a wonderful case study. I get the feeling that the first couple of chapters were more of "set up" to the main plot as seems to be evidenced by us finally getting into it and that's totally fine. Some people will say you need to jump right in, but I say in a story like this where the central drive is the characters (the kinds of stories I prefer anyways) you want to spend time digging into their motivations.

You give particular attention to Reno, who I think is everyone's favorite Turk, but you've also done wonderful work with Veld (a character who I am only passively familiar with having never delved into Before Crisis), Tseng, and especially Rufus. What you did with the teenaged tyrant in this chapter was absolutely brilliant.

I hope you take this as a compliment because it's how I mean it, but you've got a very George R.R. Martin style of writing characters, where even if a character is a "bad guy" you bring out the humanity to the point where all we can see is moral shades of gray. I'm still not 100% certain if Veld is a firm but loving father figure, a sadistic drill sergeant or some lovely combination of the two. Rufus in particular is on the cusp as he's at an interesting age in his development (being a teenager) and I am looking forward to seeing what you do with him.

This has been an absolute joy to read and I can't wait to continue on to more! I'll be featuring this as the Fan Novella in the next Roundup if you don't mind! :-)
Team Wingless chapter 2 . 7/21
So I've done the impossible and come across a decently written story in this sesspool of a fanfic site. Although I'm probably not being fair in that most of the people who write on here are probably kids. You have a good style and I can tell you're educated, but I have a few criticisms. Since you actually know what you're doing, I'm sure you can handle a hard review. I've been using a prompt to critique ppl's first sentences but I'm going to apply it to your entire story as far as I've read. I'll follow and critique more later as I read.

1. Catchiness (scale 1-10) - 6. It's catchy for a fanfic because it's well-written. However, I'll note that this rating would probably be lower if it were posted on the Fiction Press side of this site because there is so much more competition and the standards are higher. If all you're going for is fanfic standards, then this marginally hit it. My standards for exciting and enticing in general were not met though and I'll explain why below.
2. Word Length (") - 4. Your sentences are incredibly long and drawn out. Though you've nailed sentence structure and write with a certain grammatical grace, it makes your prose heavy and weighs down the narrative, making flow virtually non-existent. This may have flown pre-Internet, but now in the days of Twitter you have to consider electronic overload and how media has conjuncted readers' attention spans. Mine was lost almost on the first paragraph.
3. Issues that stick out - Aside from "heavy" writing, what comes with the weighted narrative is an overdescription of menial things, like how people are moving around or little details about their posture. It's okay to describe these things, but you're taking 3 or four commas to do so, and most of what you're saying is just reiterating something you already said. It adds to word length, and to the "weighted" issue that this narrative is already suffering from. The little details are also getting in the way of the intense action that is supposed to play out in scenes like a shoot-out in chapter 1. I feel like you're trying to write Die Hard in Jane Austen's writing style. I mean, that's an interesting twist, but it probably wouldn't go over well. It makes exciting things incredibly boring, which is why I scored your catchiness factor low.
4. Grammar/Punctuation - 10. I'm giving you a perfect score because you know what you're doing, but I'll note that I don't like your style of using long sentences with many fragments.
5. First-Sentence Test ("I'll bet he did" "I'll bet it was") - Fail. (many published novels fail). This is the big part that you tripped up on. I can't really decide whether you passed or failed my First Sentence Test actually, but if it wasn't a strong pass I give a fail. I decided to fail because your true first sentence was "Reno and Cissnei were sent on a mission." After that, I can say "I'll bet they were" and roll my eyes. It's bland and menial, and I want to read a story that starts off with something exciting. So it was a bad hook, but it was hard because the whole rest of the paragraph was well-written.
6. Cringe Factor (")- 1. Nothing cringe-worthy except Final Fantasy 7 in general.
8. Suggestions - I don't even know if I should give suggestions because you obviously have a style, and it's probably just that it's not working for me rather than there is actually anything wrong with it. My suggestion would be think Twitter over Shakespeare, 140 characters or less a sentence. And though I can tell you read heavy lit, this subject is a pleb videogame, it wouldn't hurt to brush up on your genre fiction for writing action scenes.
9. Overall Grade - B Congratulations you are the first on this site to achieve a grade over C!
farfromdaylight chapter 86 . 5/10
This fic. Good heavens, this fic was such an experience.

I'm not entirely sure how I hadn't read it before, but I'm so glad that I took the time to read it, because it was an absolute thrill from start to finish. Your characterizations of each of the Turks was fascinating and such a joy to follow, especially Tseng, Reno, and Aviva - good heavens do I love Aviva, I think she's got some of the best character development in the whole story. You manage to weave together pieces of the original canon with BC and CC in such a deft way that it was wonderful seeing everything come together even though I already know how both stories ended. (Also: Rufus. I love how your Rufus is so clearly a child, and we see him do many childish things despite his knowledge because he simply doesn't know better yet, and slowly learn.)

Most importantly, I really feel like this fic takes Before Crisis and makes it your own without going AU, which is what makes it such a good retelling. Your writing is superb and your characterization is what truly made this a story worth spending an entire day and evening reading. I didn't enjoy every character and subplot, but on the whole it's excellent.

Also, I clearly caught up at the worst possible moment, augh. I can't wait for the next chapter.
Guest chapter 86 . 5/4
Okay, i want to be sincere: this is one of the most beautiful fanfiction i've ever read so far.
Sadly, my english isn't perfect, so i don't know if i'm able to fully express my appreciation. I will try :-)
In the first place, the characterization: wow! I mean you seem to know the character better than Square. They are deep, with thousand shades and stories. Despite the great amount of your personal creativity they are IC and believable.
I loved your Reno, because is cynical but at the same time funny without fall in his Advent Children idiocy. He has suffer, and his pain change him. I liked the Ressnei relationship and how they hurted each other. Reno and Cissnei are the perfect example of the dark side of love: even if it hurts they want to be together.
Every other Turk is wonderfully depicted. I grow fond to Aviva, she's strong and frail. She loves someone who doesn't love her in returns, she had been broken by life but she keeps fighting. She is so sweet that i want to hug her.
And then Tseng and Rufus. They are complicated, and many peolpe tends to see them superficially. I have read fanfiction where these two are described as sadistic, expecially Rufus. Tseng behave like a bad is supposed to be: wicked. But he has done that for push Aerith away because it was more simple to bear her hatred than her pity. And you got it well. On the other hand Rufus despise sadistic people, and he may be cold but he is clever and responsible. He thinks about people more than his father, he is rational and... his love for Tseng is tender and burning. I hope they'll be together in the end, because they both deserved a happy ending.
Well, i ll be waiting for the next chapter. Pleasepleaseplease, update soon :)
Spikey44 chapter 86 . 4/29
Hi! Just read this whole story in two days. All I can say is 'wow'. Lacking in eloquence, but what else is there to say? You've absolutely written an epic and I loved every minute of it. Thank you. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends. (Though I must admit all thru reading this I kept thinking about Reno dropping the plate in the original game and trying imagine how the Turks as you write them would deal with those orders - these characters as you write them are so real it makes me see the old game in new light.)
OwMyFace chapter 86 . 3/13
The writing here is just gorgeous. The whole scene has a kind of dreamlike quality - "it was that sort of night, where everything goes right". This extends even to the prose. If I'm not mistaken, you've slipped into a slightly more formal, old-fashioned style than usual. I was initially a little confused by this, and it wasn't until right at the end that I got it - this whole scene actually kind of is a dream. It's too neat and good to really happen, and the tone of the prose reflects this. It's kind of like a fairy tale or something.
The way you delivered the line that changes it all ("And when they came to Checkpoint Beta...") is just so goshdarn brilliant. A real gut-punch for the reader. I didn't see it coming, but once I recovered from the shock of reading it I realised I was silly not to have. The whole scene had been leading up to it, in a way. What a read!
OwMyFace chapter 85 . 3/13
Another superb chapter. I'm sorry I didn't review it sooner.
I totally approve of your decision to keep the fight with Zircionade relatively short; although it's kind of the climax of BC, (at least, that's my understanding) there's not really anything personal at stake for the Turks, and a drawn out description of the action probably wouldn't have been very interesting.
The snow linking all the different scene's together is a really amazing storytelling device. It reminds us of where all the characters are at, while at the same time linking everything together. It also suggests a bunch of arresting visual images, and it's a great way to weave BC/this fic into the wider compilation. As I read this section it hit me that all these characters would be dead if not for the Turks, which is a nice subtle way of rendering the significance of what they've done.
If I may be so bold, I can't help feeling the next section might have benefited from being tied more closely to Aviva's viewpoint; it's kind of hard to picture the individual Turks when they're described from the omniscient perspective you've employed here. But that might just be a personal thing - don't take me too seriously.
This scene, though, is a terrific piece of work. It shows us how much has changed since the start of the story; Tseng coordinating everyone and being obeyed instantly, while Veld lies helpless in the truck. It's an exhibit of just how much Tseng deserves the title of Commander.
I particularly like Elfe; the fact that even after everything she still holds to the same principles that informed her activity within Avalanche speaks volumes about her character.
She contrasts nicely with Rufus, who just wants to smooth everything over, ensure everyone - right down to Tys' biker friends - get their happy ending. His fight with Elfe kind of problematises the happy ending though, which foreshadows the next chapter nicely.
The Veld/Verdot name switch is a very cool idea, as is the thing with the dead earth - very chilling.
Thanks so much for creating this!
GreyRemnant chapter 48 . 3/11
Loving this story so much!

Off to read some more... Hoping some new chapters will start showing up before I get to the end cause I don't want it to stop!
TrinityAyame chapter 86 . 3/10
Can I tell you how much I loved this chapter. I just had a marathon session, reading this story and I absolutely love it. This chapter has to be my favorite. It's lyrical and beautiful and finally a respite from everything that's been happening. Can't wait for the next chapter.
redcherryamber chapter 86 . 3/2
This whole chapter feels like a wonderful respite from everything Rufus and Tseng have been through, and from Midgar and the badlands. It’s lovely to be reminded at this point how beautiful the rest of the planet is – how much there is to treasure and to save.

Rufus behind Tseng on the bike ‘idly stroking his fingertips up and down Tseng’s inner thighs’… fans self frantically! I’m surprised Tseng didn’t crash…

I love the whole idea of the change in their sexual dynamic, and the way it shows how their experiences have changed them both, as well as them as a couple. Rufus ‘not prepared to go on being the junior partner any longer’, and Tseng accepting that by ‘quite deliberately’ not telling him to stop brings them to a point of equality which is a perfect balance. I wonder whether this is the moment of equilibrium and if that will swing the other way in the future, or whether things are settled now? I do think that the trust they have found in each other will endure.

Rufus’ vulnerability after sex is fascinating, and psychologically astute. I suppose part of growing up is learning that such moments can only ever exist in the moment – valuing them for what they are, and accepting the ‘dry and insipid’ parts of life as well: not mourning those heightened moments as gone, but being happy that they existed. The Rufus of AC has reconciled himself to that, perhaps, but I’m glad that your Rufus hasn’t. I love the passion of his youth.

“Reno’s newfound talent for frogging” – lol! When it’s Reno it sounds like something very deviant!

(There’s a ‘Wolf Hall’ he, in “He gave the suggestion some thought”. I assume that’s Rufus because of the paragraph break, but I think it flows better with the name.)

I like the double meaning too, Rufus. The bunker was where Rufus did most of his growing up. He’s outrage at its destruction feels very genuine.

It makes me very happy that Tseng and Rufus have the discussion about manipulation, and the fact that Rufus believed Tseng’s story about his father ordering their relationship until Reno put him right. I’m sure Rufus can remember every word Reno said, but it’s good that it no longer matters. Rufus’ metaphor of the vase is lovely. The whole conversation framed as a kind of tender business negotiation is just perfect. I’m very glad Tseng agreed to Rufus’ terms – but then Rufus always was a skilled negotiator…

The colours returning to the world is a beautiful paragraph. I can see it so vividly – those shades of red, purple, pink, gold, and green – ‘the hint of ginger in Rufus’s blond hair’. Lovely writing.

What ought, perhaps, in a more conventional love story, feel intrusive – Tseng’s thoughts of Aerith – seem entirely appropriate here. There is a wonderful sense of peaceful acceptance – a feeling of oneness with the planet and the universe – in this chapter. It fits beautifully with the spirit of the game. I love Rufus’s idea of a happiness materia.

I love Rufus’ plans for the future – I’d like to see a story about his time in the military, and the idea that he’d invest in sustainable energy seems entirely right.

The ending of this chapter is so sad – Tseng’s gift to Rufus – not spoiling their perfect day, keeping the knowledge from Rufus so that he can’t anticipate the future correctly. But it doesn’t spoil the moment they had together. As Tseng says ‘Whatever happens next, we will have had this’. I’ve always found that thought comforting. I loved this chapter.
redcherryamber chapter 85 . 3/2
“Nothing remained to do but take the summons down” – Oh, that’s okay then! I love the physical details you include here – the increasing cold as the summons absorbs energy.

Villain though she is, I was very happy to see that little glimpse of Scarlet. Her impatient reaction is great – I like the idea of a few snowflakes being almost the last straw for her! All the reactions are perfect here. The sentence for President Shinra contains so much in such a small space – all his superstitious irrationality and yet his genuine love for Rufus. Reno’s total disillusion is very sad.

Aviva’s sympathy for Elfe is lovely. One of the things I admire most about this story is your ability to show almost everyone as “just a normal person, after all”. Elfe’s fury at Rufus – her need to blame him for Shears’ death (and everything else) emphasises her humanity perfectly, which makes her so much more real and empathetic than she seems in the game.

(In the part where Tys and Hunter go off on the chocobos, I would change ‘She leapt expertly onto the back of the nearest bird’ to ‘Hunter leapt’ to avoid “Wolf Hall” syndrome!)

That little touch – that subtle moment of perfect understanding between Rufus and Tseng – is just beautiful, and I lol-ed at Elena’s flustered speech. All these moments when you reach forward to possible future relationship dynamics and the on-going lives of the characters are brilliant.

Veld telling it like it is had me mentally cheering. Just accept thanks for once, Tseng!

“It is a very big shop, and it does take rather a lot of keeping” – wonderful line. Everything about Rufus is wonderful in this chapter – his need to touch Tseng, his outrage at being called an accountant, his ‘rash of scruples’ that will ‘soon pass’.

The discussion of Veld’s real name, and the exchange between Rufus and Tseng after it, is one of my favourite passages of the entire story. It has that perfect combination of moving emotional truth and gentle humour that I love so much in your writing.

“You say that, because you love me.”
“No,” said Rufus, “I love you because it’s true.” That exchange shows exactly how far these two have come together – how much Rufus has matured, and what formidable men they have both become.

“In moments like these, Tseng felt liberated from doubt.” Perfect line. The way the balance swings between them here is fascinating – Tseng’s experience, Rufus’ intuition, Tseng’s insistence on the truth about his actions, Rufus’ new-found ability to let some things stand, the embrace that’s equally a wrestling hold, Tseng’s physical strength, Rufus’ manipulative skill turned at last to yielding… I can’t tell you how much I loved this whole exchange.

And then the dead earth at then end and the chilling weight of everything that it implies for the future… Rufus’ yearning for grass and trees and sunrise is so powerful – contains so much pure longing – that I caught my breath. Wonderful, wonderful writing.
redcherryamber chapter 84 . 3/2
Ah my heart! Reno! Rude’s quiet observation saves the day: “I think it was Rufus Shinra”. This little scene is perfection – the cold earth; Reno’s entirely emotional reactions; Rude’s rational ones. Lovely.

That moment between Rufus and Tseng – ‘skin speaking to skin’ – is beautiful – Tseng recognising Rufus on an unconscious, physical level. His response to Rufus’ anticipation of praise is a great moment! It needed to happen, but I still feel a bit sorry for Rufus here – he was so very pleased with the success of his plan!

It’s very interesting that Tseng still thinks in terms of being rewarded for right choices, while Rufus has moved beyond that. A lot of food for thought in that idea. Their characters are so beautifully complex in your story, and always completely believable.

“He had truly believed he would not live to see Rufus again” – and never thought he deserved to? I love that moment of understanding, and then of Tseng gathering himself; regaining his control.

Rufus’ happy explanation of his plan and its success is lovely; I’m glad he still has that boyish exuberance. I can practically see his eyes glowing!

That moment of stillness when Elfe and Tseng are both touching Vled, and it’s clear that he needs them both equally, feels wonderfully right. A lot of Tseng’s demons have been exorcised today. Elena’s ‘you told me Tseng was old’, and Rufus and Veld’s reactions to it, are brilliant. This chapter may be short, but it’s perfect.
redcherryamber chapter 83 . 3/2
Yay chocobos! I love the idea of chocobo hoods, and the little detail of Tseng recognizing the Turks’ photomanip in the guard’s magazine is a brilliant touch. The whole escape from Midgar is a rush of breathless action, and having Reno and Veld share a chocobo, followed by all three Turks having to support Veld as they approach the truck, is a great way of ratcheting up the emotion in view of what’s about to happen.

Tseng’s feelings at Veld’s reunion with Felicia are heartbreaking. “Anyone could see that she’s his child”…

The whole build up to Tseng’s key scene is thrillingly tense – Veld’s frustrating and entirely human focus on his daughter, Tseng’s anxiety and anger, the sense of time running out. Reno’s “We were so fucking close” echoed my feelings, even though I know what happens!

I love all the hints to the characters’ real identities when the second truck arrives: the captain who ‘carried himself with an air of authority’, and the ‘under-sized’ regular troopers. That observation ‘the Shinra Army liked to take them young. As had Commander Veld’ really brought me up short. It’s perfectly placed to remind us of both how young many of them still are, on both sides, and also how far they’ve come over the course of the story. I have flashbacks to young Reno and Cissnei finding the cat right back at the beginning – so very poignant to be reminded of it here.

‘Tseng’s thoughts leapt to Rufus, and hope rose with them… He took it, and read it, and hope died.’ So cruel! The decision to keep Tseng ignorant of the plan is genius. I’d always assumed in BC that he was in on it, and that made him coolly controlled throughout, but this is so much better, dramatically and emotionally. Tseng’s choice here – and his refusal even to discuss it with the others – is the perfect culmination of all the decisions, feelings and choices we’ve seen him make throughout this wonderful story.

Reno’s total confidence in Tseng – his complete inability to see Tseng’s quiet, hopeless, “I must do it… That’s what’s written here” as anything other than irony - and Tseng’s “You will not die” – all of Tseng’s feelings about Felicia/Elfe… this is amazing writing.

I’ve read this chapter several times now, and I just can’t make up my mind about my feelings about the switch to the present tense here. I understand why you’ve done it; this moment is the climax of the whole story, and using the present tense does create a very cinematic feeling of slow motion which is really powerful. I very much like that aspect of it. It also gives an immediacy to Tseng’s thoughts and feelings that takes us inside his head more intimately than past tense narration can. There’s just something jarring about the switch that, as well as giving an effectively abrupt change in ‘camera’ angle, has the effect of interrupting the flow of reading that I find detracts from the impact of what follows. Perhaps it’s just my lit crit side taking over and focussing too much on techniques, but I did find myself wondering about the effects of past versus present tense rather than concentrating on the story at the very time when I should have been concentrating most. Now I’ve read the chapter again (and again!) that feeling is lessened, and I’m coming to appreciate the very positive effects of the switch, but I’m still not completely sure. I think that the narrative is powerful enough not to need this kind of heightening of focus, but that’s not to say I think it would be better without it. I’d be very interested to read a past tense version, if you have one, for comparison. Perhaps it’s the placing of the switch that gave me this feeling? I like the opposition between Elfe and Tseng – ‘She gathers her strength’ – ‘He will make this quick’ – that’s an effective piece of positioning, so I wouldn’t want to she ‘She’ become Elfe, especially because of the significance of her being ‘both her names’ as you’ve already highlighted. Perhaps the ‘solution’, if one is needed, is as simple as inserting an extra line break between the past and present tense sections? That might provide a hint to the reader that a change is coming, which would lessen that jarring I felt. Sorry I can’t give more definite advice – I’m honestly torn. The slow motion effect of the present tense really does work brilliantly.

As for the content of that section – wow. The echo of Reno’s ‘stop’ in Tseng’s head, and in his heart, is a perfect moment. Veld’s ‘it’s all right’ is just heartbreaking.

“Rude’s suffering, left to the imagination, is in some ways worse.” Yes. This is great writing: wonderful character observation. Rude, the quiet one, having to be strong to save Reno from himself, feeling everything at least as intensely, but too disciplined to show it – Rude is a hero. Veld’s steady resolve is perfect, as is that soft “Oh!” from ‘the boy trooper’, and the fact that Veld’s final ‘do it now’ needs no exclamation mark.

I love the fact that we don’t see or hear the shot because Tseng doesn’t remember it – that’s psychologically fascinating and feels very realistic. Tseng’s attempted suicide is also perfectly placed – at this point it feels utterly like his only option, and the inevitable outcome of the fate he’s always believed in. The way you let us imagine Rufus’ panic at this moment is wonderful, too. All of this section is just masterfully written.

I felt so exhausted after the first half of the chapter, I was expecting not to be able to concentrate on the second half, especially because the action parts of games don’t tend to hold my attention anyway, but the way you focus on the Turks and their relationships is so compelling I was drawn back in immediately. Cissnei is great here – I loved ‘Fuhito was nothing to be scared of, just a scrawny nerd with a compensatory mako gun’ – and I also loved her new-found restraint in not saying it aloud. Tys and Hunter are wonderful, as is Cissnei’s response to their kiss and that lovely memory of mocking romantic movies with Reno, and her envy, and Hunter’s ‘happiness and panic’ at Tys’ proposal. The whole build up to the battle is brilliantly done.

Having Cissnei alone in the mist works so well, showing her perceived isolation from the ‘new’ Turks, and the way Aviva (I always cheer for Aviva when she appears) refuses to let her be alone. “Was she just trying to be a good Turk?” Always. And she is a good human being, too. So’s Cissnei, if only she could believe it! That just makes her slap in the face ‘Surely you, of all people, understand about puppy love’ all the more painful for everyone, the reader included.

The teamwork needed to defeat the humbaba, and Shears’ rescue, was absolutely gripping. I love the fact that Cissnei saves Aviva’s life, and that we have that moment with lovely Skeeter looking after her. Even in such peril, seeing all the Turks working together is so heart-warming!

You make Fuhito’s transformation genuinely terrifying, which is quite a feat given that in the game he just looked a bit daft! The idea of his bones becoming his cage is wonderfully creepy – your descriptions here are fantastic in both senses, which really succeeds in emphasising the horror of Fuhito’s fanaticism. The moment that Cissnei feels Shears’ humanity – ‘she would have done anything to save him’ – is beautiful. This whole chapter is marvellously written – thank you.
redcherryamber chapter 82 . 3/2
The contrast between the functional design of the rest of the building and the old-fashioned opulence of the President’s apartments is a telling one. The addition of the portrait of Rufus’ mother is a great touch – her absence is so rarely mentioned anywhere in canon, but it must have had a big part in the development of Rufus’ personality.

Rufus’ feelings are interesting here – his assumption of ‘amiable blandness’ and his noting of his father’s weaknesses, his use of the word ‘Dad’, his cryptic comment about homecomings. He’s furthering his own agenda, of course, and his overriding aim is to save Tseng and the other Turks, but there seems to be some tension there, beneath the workings of his plan. When his father starts listening and becomes the ‘canny businessman’ again, Rufus’ relief suggests that, at some deep level, he still can’t deal with the fact of his father’s genuine feelings for him.

But then the callousness of President Shinra putting all the Turks’ lives in the balance for a wager is breathtaking, and making Tseng do it… I’m glad you keep reminding us that, as well as being a father who really loves his son, the president is a man capable of great evil, who sees no value in the loyalty he’s been given, and that Rufus had just laid out for him! Your portrayal of these hugely complex characters is a key element of what makes this story such a wonderful read.

I love the whole paragraph about Tys and his old ‘Devil Ride’ buddies. All the Turks’ back stories are wonderful.

It was good to be back in Aviva’s head for a time; I’ve missed her. Her idea of the world becoming ‘loveless’ is so very bleak – more than the emptiness or barrenness, the lack of human love is the key to why Fuhito has to be stopped. “Death could not be the answer to death”. Yes. This is why I love Aviva. She’ll keep going, because the alternative is Fuhito’s future: no future at all.

Cissnei is the very best person to deal with Fuhito. I almost cheered aloud when she told him the summon was “like a really big Dorky Face”. “Big wet fart of a failed summons” make me laugh. Then, when the desperation of her situation became apparent as every plan she made failed, I was completely absorbed in the action again. I love the description of the flash “so intense that she could see the outline of her fingers through the skin of her eyelids”. From part of the game that I found a bit silly and difficult to follow, you’ve managed to create a convincing and exciting episode that really had me gripped. The procession of the monsters converging on the summons was wonderful – so many memories of the original game!

The meeting between Cissnei and Aviva was lovely – Aviva coming to an understanding of Cissnei’s strengths, and that she as much a Turk as Aviva is. Aviva’s selflessness reaches new heights here. I believe in her resolution to protect Cissnei for Reno’s sake absolutely, but I’m sure she’ll feel more complex emotions when they’re actually reunited, whatever happens. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is finding out how you’re going to end the Reno/Cissnei/Aviva triangle. It’s a testament to the quality of your plotting and characterisation that I don’t know what you’re going to do, or even what I want to happen! I love all three of them.

(Aviva’s ‘probably definitely’ really made me smile. She’s still so young, despite all she’s been through!)

Shears is so much in love with Elfe – I don’t think I can bear what’s going to happen…
redcherryamber chapter 81 . 3/2
Cissnei’s assessment of the whole situation at the start of this chapter is a great way of recapping while moving the story on at the same time. The reference to Natalya and Charlie is very poignant, and I really like the way she can’t help but admire Rufus’ handling of the situation while remaining wary of him. Her belief that the summons won’t destroy the whole planet is also very level-headed, although she could be wrong about this one…

The realisation that ‘her’ has Shinra become an organization whose separate branches can’t trust one another or work together is very hard-hitting.

“Villains were never as big as their reputations” – brilliant line. The action here is thoroughly gripping – even though I know what happens, I was still feeling the tension when Cissnei realises she shouldn’t have thrown the shuriken, and when she has to make all the decisions about whether to keep trying to kill Fuhito, or to kill Elfe, on her own, with no backup in view. Her choice to kill Elfe seems the only moral one in balance with the lives at risk, but it takes a true Turk to do it with Cissnei’s level of simple resolution.

That Cissnei’s ‘dying’ wish is to tell Reno she’s sorry makes me love her even more. Your description of her struggling to live in the Raven’s grip is utterly compelling.

“He spoke as if he were standing at a lecture podium, simultaneously bored and irritated by the dimwittedness of his students.” That line sums up Fuhito’s apparent attitude throughout BC perfectly. Cissnei’s view of him as a ‘blowhard’ is wonderfully deflating!

Your description of the restlessness caused by the combined materia - Cissnei’s linking it with her memories of sexual anticipation – works brilliantly. You make the summoning very menacing and very beautiful at the same time. Action sequences in films and games don’t usually hold my attention for long, but this is really exciting writing. Your Fuhito is convincingly fanatical – truly frightening.
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