Reviews for Just Beneath the Surface
LoveNeverDies8 chapter 46 . 6/16/2014
Dear Shembre,

Your story had crawled its way into my bones, never to be forgotten. This story is unique, interesting and beautiful, and I can never cease to admire you for your talents. Though there were countless items on my to-do list, the pull of this story was simply too strong to let me think on my own. I can't say I regret doing so, even if I try, for the reading experience was truly amazing. Thank you so much for the story you've written and...

Keep writing!

(You can PM me for I do have an account)
Guest chapter 46 . 5/18/2014
Omg pleeeeeeeease make a sequel I HAVE to know what happens!
AshWolf Forever chapter 46 . 3/25/2014
This has quickly become one of my favorite stories. I truly love it and sincerely enjoyed every update. Thank you for a great story.
readsmanyfavsfew chapter 46 . 3/25/2014
Lots of different ways to to look at this ending. It's quite...polarizing.

Kovu's arc was tied up, his character development was complete. This story has always been with him as the focus, even in chapters he wasn't present his actions and agenda were always manipulating everyone from the shadows. It starts with the shadow of who he was being hidden to all but himself, and ends with everyone knowing who he is and how he had changed. This chapter resolutely completes kovu's arc.

Asuma's...definitely not. Which is disappointing. While it would have been easy for him to just sway completely to one side, it would have been too quick to really feel accurate. This middleground is where I agree he should be. But it's damn disappointing not to know what happens next, or ever know. Still, open ended-ness isn't a bad attribute, and Asuma's character development has always been somewhat of a reflection of Kovu's. I agree if the story were to go on without Kovu now, it would be another tale entirely. And it looks like it would be, with a completely fresh start for him and his antichrist-lion-brother.

I liked the themes of free-will, respect, identity, and change that are rippled throughout this chapter. I believe you when you say you never expected the story to be this long. Reading it from start to finish was like watching your writing style mature and grow more assured. I've said many things about this story in many reviews, and I don't know if I can say much more other than I looked forward to every chapter, and in the occasional empty moments of my life I would ponder over it and be happy. It was an honor.


(Ohhh I wanna postulate what the plot line of the next story would have been...Hmm..
Tanga's evil antichrist son has to be a son, because the crown would only be inherited by a male. And they didn't know they were sending Asuma back as an extra sibling yet. Worse than scar. Scar's pretty damn terrible on the awful meter. I mean, he managed to cause a drought. A DROUGHT. Murdered his brother, basically salted the lands, and caused a schism in the population that ended in civil war, and essentially this story. This cub would literally need to personally murder every lion in the pridelands and a cannibal or something to be worse than that. Given Chaka's odd bloodlust, I suppose this is a possibility. Chaka is immensely unstable, and would likely be the one to teach the potential child his monarch responsibilities, and would likely do an awful job of it, potentially encouraging blood lust. Tanga would be able to temper that, unless she died in giving birth. Which she might, the council was pretty adamant to say anything about her influence on her evil child. What a giant middle finger that would be to Asuma though, given his only reason to go back was for his sister.)


Zero Unit RGB chapter 46 . 3/24/2014
Wow, I can't believe that that was the ending. I honestly have no words for it and its kept me muddled on what to expect in other TLK fics from now on. I've barely read any new fics lately because of my pickiness and I just end up neglecting to read others completely unless I'm already following it. So I just stick to writing but that doesn't help me much considering how bored I get sometimes. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this entire story and as hopeful as the ending is, I still feel depressed. Mostly because I just realized, I'm not that big a fan of stories centered around OCs. But this was fantastic nonetheless and as usual, excellent work!
tmh1022 chapter 46 . 3/24/2014
I can't believe its over! Wow! I had a great time reading this wonderful piece of work. I would like to thank you for writing such a captivating, thematic story. The ending is, of course, perfect LOL and fits the whole "full-circle" theme. I love it! Once again, great job!
Incarnate Firefly chapter 46 . 3/24/2014
Wow, this story is finally finished, after nearly four years in the making. I feel like I should write a VERY lengthy review here after your efforts, so here goes.

To start, well done. This is one of the most unique Lion King stories I've ever had the pleasure to read ever since I stumbled across it in 2012. I've read many "dark" fanfics in this genre but none of them have been delivered as thoroughly as yours when it comes to the themes of betrayal, condemnation, self-conflict, and the inherent evil that this story is immersed in. I started reading this because the idea of Kovu's darker nature returning, but by the end of it I got much more out of it than I could have expected. And for that, you have my commendation.

The plot, needless to say, is excellent. You've done a fantastic job of incorporating the world of The Lion King with the very believable and sometimes unpleasant elements of reality. When it comes to The Lion King fanfics, I usually read them as a form of escapism (my own stories are depressing enough as it is, haha), and I don't usually care for anything too bleak or murky. I have made an exception in your case, and I hope that speaks volumes about how much I've enjoyed reading Just Beneath the Surface.

I'll talk a bit more about the individual characters now. I feel like Asuma and Tanga make up the core of this story's driving force. The first sections of the story overlooking their cubhood make them out to be deceptively "normal" characters. Following the revelation of Kovu's involvement in Simba's death, you gradually led them into becoming two very different characters who exist as living proof of Scar's destructive legacy and the different outcomes it can have on different individuals. At times it seemed like they weren't even siblings. And one of the most memorable aspects to the story is the way in which both of them were forced to wake up into reality and how their actions followed after that.

The way in which you handled Kovu is also outstanding. He is one of the numerous characters in Just Beneath the Surface to have his own conflicts to resolve, but you've made every single one of them to be unique to themselves, and Kovu's is no exception. His constant state of uncertainty of whether he is "good" or "evil" is rightfully blurred throughout the entire story, and it's good that you've indirectly emphasized the difference between "evil" and "wrongful". This is a very important part of any good story, because really, no character is interesting when they're simply black or white.

I do confess that Chaka and Kiara's characters feel a little inconclusive. It was important that Chaka was able to see Kovu's final struggle for redemption, but perhaps a little more light shed on where his character is going next, and what Kiara is going to do following the recent events would have felt more conclusive to the end of this story. But perhaps that could wait until anything that may follow this last chapter, so I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Regarding a potential sequel, I would love to see where this somewhat open-ended conclusion will lead to, as I'm sure many others will. But perhaps you should take a break for a while (you certainly earned it!). You're free to come back and write the sequel at whatever later point that you feel inspired; take Kiara32 for example, she wrote her first Lion King fanfic in 2004, a second in 2006, and a third in 2012. Writing should be a pleasure and not a burden, regardless of how serious your plot is. So whatever your decision, I encourage you to be happy with it.

As a final note, I just wanted to thank you for letting me create a "trailer" for Just Beneath the Surface. It was a lot of fun to make, and I'm glad you like the way it turned out. I'll be keeping an eye out for you on deviantART, and I'll add you to my alerts list here for any stories you may put out in the future. Until then, give yourself a pat on the back, I'll see you around!
Emerald dreamer96 chapter 46 . 3/24/2014
Funnily enough I found my way to your DA page just before opening this story.

Kovu's change and the reasons for it felt well done, he really seems much more complete and settled in his skin than he has throughout the story. In general this was a calm but meaningful ending to a great story.

I really did not expect the danger to be *that* does that family have an evil gene or something? But I kind of guessed how he would come back into the world after a bit of course I can think of multiple worst case soul crushing endings based on that. I prefer this one.

Although a sequel with a Asuma MkII and his secret duty...or danger could be good in all kinds of ways.

This really was a fantastic story and good luck with any future projects.
AshWolf Forever chapter 45 . 2/8/2014
Good luck Shembre Thanks for making my day!
Zero Unit RGB chapter 45 . 2/5/2014
I've always loved Kovu but I will accept his death like the immature adult I will become. And to prove that point, I shall go cry in the corner while munching on Popeyes' fried chicken.

This chapter was certainly exciting. I have to wonder about Chaka's thoughts and how and if he will change by the last/next chapter. If not, hopefully we'll see differences in his attitude in the epilogue. I'm also wondering about Kovu's next decision, siding with Council or son...Very difficult. On one hand, if he sides with Asuma, Asuma will either just agree with him or think that that was his father's way of saying he couldn't do it, like he never had faith in his son in the first place. But disagreeing will just seem like he doesn't even care for Asuma's feelings or he has a lot of faith so it can go many ways. Great stuff, can't wait to see what comes next.
Emerald dreamer96 chapter 45 . 2/5/2014
Well that was tragic. Them both dying does make it all seem so pointless and they aren't even done yet. I'm curious about Asuma and Kovu and how they interact. Not much to say really since death isn't quite the condition it used to be and this seems more a stepping stone to the real resolutions to their stories than anything else.

On a side note that scene with Kiara, Kovu and the babes was very sweet, hard to imagine that it all went so wrong later.
readsmanyfavsfew chapter 45 . 2/5/2014
Ah, the legacy of the progeny of Scar. Every one of his lineage was a snack for other creatures. Bit of dark humour I realized while reading.

So Kovu is dead. To be honest this wasn't that shocking to me, when Kovu said "I'll do it" last chapter I said aloud to myself "Whelp he's a goner". Not to say that it was a bad ending for his life. In retrospect I think it was one of the only ways his character development could be completed while remaining true to the story. Even if I was a big fan of team "Kovu Lives to the End". I guess I'll put the t-shirts and memorabilia for that ending away, sorted next to my superbowl broncos champions jerseys.

Well who knows, maybe the council can do some weird freaky jesus magic on Kovu too. (Re-reads the brutal scene of Chaka finding Kovu's dessicated corpse.) Actually, thinking about it, It's probably logistically for the best that he stays down...

Kovu's last words. "I wish I hadn't been so reckless. I'm sorry." They felt out of place until I realized he probably wasn't actually talking to Fola. And with more thought, they're rather a potent summary of Kovu in general. 10/10 This is one of the things I like about reading your stories, there's alot of analyzing and subtext to be gleamed by examining things more closely. Although that's fairly obvious given the title. Aaaand I'm pretty sure I've said the same thing in a past review, so now I'm just being redundant.

So now Kovu and Asuma are dead. The council of plot is demanding Asuma go back because plot, and Asuma is having none of it. It's kinda funny in a way. Asuma is so developed now as a character he isn't even going to obey the plot if it goes against what he'd do. And the inevitable climax with Asuma and Kovu is in the next chapter.

You really put quite a burden on yourself with this one didn't you? You've got 100,000 words of conflict coming down to one last conversation between father and son. I can't imagine the tremendous weight of writing even a single line of it. And to be honest, I can't really imagine what the outcome will be.

There are two major betrayals in Asuma's life. That of Kovu, and that of his pride.

Kovu's fairly obvious, but his pride is the other, equally depraved and sinister and somewhat hidden betrayal. Asuma was manipulated by everyone he knew in an effort to protect him. Rather than face a harsh reality with him, his family choose to manipulate, and pull strings with him in an effort to get him to turn out for the better. He always had his suspicions, so he grew up with a constant mistrust and it's kinda a no brainer that it would backfire like it did. Not to say that Tanga who was fooled by it wasn't just as equally betrayed, but it was kinda like a double whammy with asuma.

To me, it appears the council is essentially trying to manipulate him again. He's being forced against his will to go back and be the king that they want, and he's telling them "No, I'm done being manipulated. Not again, not ever." And to me, I wanna give asuma a standing ovation for really, truly standing up for what he wants now, and refusing to be manipulated again.

It'll be...interesting. To say to the least, what Kovu says to his son, and what the ultimate outcome of the story will be. I can't wait to read it. But I understand if you need to take your time.
readsmanyfavsfew chapter 44 . 2/5/2014
Late Review! My apologies!

Great chapter. Kovu's character arc is nearly completed by this act. It's undeniable and irrevocable proof that he is not the character he was when he was desperately seeking simba's trust like he was in the start of the story. He's come to peace that he might not have a happy ending, and he's embracing it while remaining true to his family. I foresaw this type of ending for him. Being a martyr. It doesn't villify him, but it's not a total redemption for him either. There's one glaring relationship that he needs to attend to, and that's asuma. I'll be honest and say I have already read the next chapter at the time of writing this review, so I know now that the inevitable talk between Kovu and Asuma is coming, and the final stages of Kovu's developement will be completed by how that discussion between the two come out. While I'm not usually a fan of afterlives, I do look forward to what will happen there.
sue chapter 44 . 1/20/2014
Well I just LOVED this fanfiction, one of the best I've read. I'm looking forward to the next chapter! :)
tmh1022 chapter 44 . 1/18/2014
Oh no...both Asuma and Kovu dead? Could it be? I hope not...
As stated, very intense and well-written! Looking forward to seeing how this epic story comes to an end! (I don't mean that pejoratively if it sorta sounds like that lol...)
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