Reviews for Childhood's End
Dr. Leslie Thompkins chapter 1 . 1/23/2014
So I totally had to change my Growing Up In Gotham community to general after I found this gem. There was NO WAY I could not include it.

The people in this fic are very real, uncomfortably so. Sherry-and especially Bo-aren't cruel villains or comic book baddies. They're just ordinary people who forget or don't care that at times their actions can wound others. They expect Jonathan will be alright after this, Bo might even think the prank did him some good deep down inside, teach him to grow up, laugh, live a little. Sherry is easily swayed by his humor and his charm. He's a teenaged guy, popular, and handsome, with no idea what demons Jonathan faces until it's just too late.

The last couple lines before the final paragraph, so short, succinct, and full of impending dread and slow actions read almost like poetry. In the movie of our mind's eye, we see the slow-motion movements of the Scarecrow in the darkness. It's quite chilling.
Lasgalendil chapter 1 . 1/23/2014
So your Sherry wasn't in on it, but she finds it funny anyways? I like that twist on the tale. It almost makes her worse in a way, that she sees him hurting and she cares enough to try to do something about it but let's her boyfriend talk her into thinking it's funny. The ending, "a tree rushes up, filling her view, growing larger and larger and…" is just fantastic. We never see the moment of her death, we see death-experience death-with her. Sherry Squires is there, and then she isn't. As abruptly as that.

Turns out she's not the only one who can be convinced to change her mind.

One question-Do not go gentle into that goodnight. You've got to be referencing Jonathan here, rather than Sherry, right? The goodnight of moving away, of adulthood, of suicide or silence.
Crow's Talon chapter 1 . 12/28/2012
This is a very impressive piece - for starters, I'm intrigued by the idea that Sherry was sorry to some degree for what she'd done to Jonathan. Of course, by that point Jonathan was too angry and too far gone to listen. It adds an extra sense of tragedy to the whole thing. Bo was a jerk, and very in-character, but I liked how you went into Sherry's point of view, which isn't something I see very often and which was wonderfully done here - how she goes through with the plan but feels genuine pity and concern for Crane. the conversation about how she was worried how he might go off and kill himself or do something reckless was great foreshadowing and a sad nod to another common result of school bullying, adding a note of realism.

As for Jonathan, his nervous, pre-Scarecrow personality was done well here, and I felt a sense of pity and sympathy for him despite knowing what he'd do and what he'd become. I loved the nods to the Year One backstory, too - particularly how Sherry is frightened by Crane's granny and how they all live in Arlen, Georgia. I always thought that the two Crane origins could work excellently if meshed together. The ending was geninely frightening, especially when Sherry recognizes Jonathan's eyes behind the mask and sees how he changed. The last line was very sudden and cacophonic, in a good way, and closed off the piece excellently.

Great work - this is an excellent story, one of my favorite Scarecrow pieces.
Matchet Hatchet chapter 1 . 10/19/2011
Holy-I can't believe I haven't gotten to this one until now! I can't really describe how much I like this story.
The Illegible chapter 1 . 8/2/2010
CHARACTERIZATION: Good lord, I don’t even know how to address this. XD I was blown away. I basically squeed the entire time over dialogue, show-don’t-tell characterization, the awkwardness between Jon and Sherry (pedophilia line felt like something Sherry might say in conversation, with the expected results…and of course loved that he was reading Carroll for the Hatter reference), the lack of malice in Bo and Sherry’s scene, and so forth. Actually, what impressed me most may well be that you really made the characters feel like individuals—if that makes any sense. Sherry isn’t just a popular girl with questionable morals, she’s the kind of person who pays attention, tries to make conversation, recognizes when someone can’t and has a sense of humor that sometimes overrides her empathy. Bo’s got mischief and charm, which together make it very easy to see him bullying Jonathan for a laugh. And poor Jon’s insecurity comes across clear as day without being heavy-handed at all—liked that you kept him mostly stoic before Sherry shattered his composure. Besides being in character with adult!Crane, it also makes sense that he’d use that as a means of protecting himself.

Speaking of which, I like that he didn’t immediately agree to accept Sherry’s invitation…or even clearly agree to it at all. Suggests that he really doesn’t know how to react to kindness, implying he's abused/harassed without spelling it out.

INCORPORATION OF CANON: Like the way you worked in the Halloween party and adjusted the prank/revenge to suit characterization. It feels more realistic, I think. This Jon felt a bit like a blend of BB and SC: Y1 to me personality-wise (which was fun), the Lewis Carroll was of course a fun bonus, and you managed to weave your own ideas and interpretations in very well so everything felt unique.

MECHANICS: I squinted real close at the monitor, but no mechanical oddities to be seen. It all read smoothly and properly. :-)

IMPACT: This piece stuck out to me for having an exceptionally powerful impact. It’s actually one of very few oneshots (not just this contest) that impressed me to the point that I ended up at a loss for words. BUT I AM DETERMINED. The whole thing had such exquisite dialogue, the tension came across marvelously, and I found it entirely believable. It also made me feel really sad even before I started analyzing, then got progressively more sad when I went in for my re-read. I suspect a lot of this relates back to showing rather than telling, and the fact that you really nailed it.

STYLE/TONE: I think "Childhood's End" might be one of your most polished pieces stylistically—great use of close third person, nice repetition (“They chatted on, about school, about relationships, but most of all about the party she and Bo were throwing on Halloween” for an early example), good sentence variation…just all around excellently written. I also thought the Gotham/crime capital/mob city bit was well done.

OVERALL: Found this to be an extremely high-quality piece across the board. Your attention to characterization and style made it interesting, memorable, and complex. Not to mention the psychological depth you gave everybody. Major, major props.
Pierides chapter 1 . 7/24/2010
CHARACTERIZATION: Sherry was less snobbish in this one. She’s more of the kind that played along with all of this, and found it funny but regretfully so. I can sympathize with that. She’s not mean, she’s your average girl and I really enjoyed that side of her.

You are one of the few thus far that have shown Jonathan’s character as much as you have. A horrible conversationalist, I agree. And I see his nerdy glasses and appearance. It fits him, it really does. He is awkward, intelligent and thus he sticks out in Arlen. He is an odd ball and you showed that through both action and words. And when he went Scarecrow: stupendous! “His eyes weren’t sad anymore,” that really stuck out to me. He made the change.

Bo: he is such a smooth talking child. I picture certain guys from my high school graduating class. They think they’re all cool, but soon enough they’re nothing but guys who end up in dead-end jobs. You caught his bully side and made him as well, just another young man. He acts appropriate for his age. All your characters do in differing ways that fit them. Wonderful job!

INCORPORATION: Toccata, I feel is more of the canon judge over me, so I’ll just speak of events. You included a number of the canon events, the Halloween party, and the way in which Sherry dies. What I am unsure of is whether her death occurs immediately following the Halloween party or during prom night. It didn’t seem like Prom night, so I’m more apt to say the first. This doesn’t detract from the story, I like that you didn’t stay totally canon. So great job!

MECHANICS: No a word, period, or comma out of place. You have an eloquence with words. The story read smoothly and every sentence leant to the tone and feelings that were meant to be expressed. There was nothing out of place. Excellent.

IMPACT: What an ominous ending. Your heart lurches as you read those last words and they never finish. It makes your stomach churn because you know the ending. Even though the sentence never ends, you know the end. Shocking, but in such a delicious way. You really see that everyone isn’t as horrid as they appear nor as sad, in the case of Jonathan and with that ending, your heart falls.

STYLE/TONE: Third Person Limited for Sherry. This tone was very appropriate. The contest was about Sherry after all and the story exuded that brilliantly. No words were used carelessly and the tone was fairly light until the end. You could feel the awkwardness during Sherry and Jonathan’s conversation. You could feel the tension, guilt, and amusement when Bo and Sherry were talking, and then you could feel the horror and surprise at the very end. The story was neither too light in tone nor too heavy. You did wonderful.

OVERALL: I’ll repeat myself. What an ominous ending. Outstanding, you caught school life, revenge, and even hints of a relationship. The ending still has me spun. You want the sentence to end, but you understand why it doesn’t. Your characters were amazing, word choice was excellent, and what an ending! Wonderful job.
olivia chapter 1 . 6/30/2010
wow,that was...AMAZING!and even that word may not amount to how wonderful this is.
Matt the Batman Fan chapter 1 . 6/29/2010
Like The Natural Balance, I'd like to offer my apologies for not getting to this story sooner. Things have been pretty busy and I'm doing what I can to catch up.

I have to admit that I was surprised when the "reunion" thrown out by the boyfriend character wasn't brought into the picture but the rest of the irony was nice and appropriate (if a little positively obvious). I'm not certain about the rules behind the contest or if there were length minimums but I probably would have suggested a day in the life style story for Sherry that came to its tragic end but this worked well for what it was. Good work, mein freund.