Reviews for The Spirit of Redemption
PNova chapter 161 . 4/24
So finally, I finished this. It took me about a year of on and off reading to get through the entire monster of a story. It's good. Very good. To those who seem daunted by the sheer size, don't be intimidated! It's worth the month or so you'll have to ration it over. Or weeks if you're a fanatic reader. Seriously this is over 3 times the word count of the entire Harry Potter series.

Length aside, I found myself captivated by the characters, and the story is true on the motif of change, all the characters change and it's always interesting. The characters and the imaginative extension of the universe were the best parts of the series, as the plot did seem to follow very predictable and cyclical patterns, no huge surprises as far as the overarching story goes. The real stories are with the relationships between characters, and they organic and intriguing, even "fluff" is fun to read. I am disappointed that some of the later characters (Madison Dempsey and the hybrids) didn't get fleshed out aside from hasty exposition, I was intrigued by the way the plot started to pick up in the end, and was actually really excited because everything was getting high-stakes and exciting with the "husk wars". But the author was very obviously done and wanted to move the hell on and basically wrapped up the adventures of the next generation,what could have been an entire "book" on its own, in essentially two chapters. Which is completely understandable, and the multiple epilogues give you a sense of where the story could have gone if a few more arcs had been written. But it was clearly time for this work to end. The ending, the final part of the final epilogue, is left wide open to the imagination, which is fantastic if you like that sort of thing.
And here I am, 3 years after this is finished, leaving a review that probably won't be read by the author. However, in the spirit of honesty, I am still captivated by the sheer imaginative potential of this world and feel like I must address the few, but very existent issues. Biotics are insanely off-canon and incredibly overpowered, in a good way that weaves into the story but makes you essentially obsolete if you aren't some kind of biotic. The science. Hand-wavy in an amount that was reasonable and made sense, didn't try to explain the unexplainable, it worked and was pretty good when it did try to explain stuff. However there were moments of extreme suspension of disbelief, for example when humans had to wear radiation suits on Palaven, when in-game they have kinetic barriers that block harmful radiation. (I'm assuming this is how mass effect ships deal with cosmic rays? Considering the plating of the Normandy isn't tens of meters thick and they have windows. If this is not the case, at that technology level an electromagnetic field just strong enough to shield from radiation wouldn't be too hard to envision.) I pointed this out in an earlier review, but blue, hemecyanic, blood is not good for endurance, it is much less effective at oxygen transport at normal temperature/pressure than hemoglobin, and is only more efficient at very cold high pressure environments, such as the pacific sea floor. (The giant pacific octopus is a great example of an organism that uses copper instead of iron structures to transport oxygen.) So turians shouldn't have greater endurance, considering humans were essentiall made for endurance. The turian culture is basically roman with a twist (estrus is weird and doesn't make sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but it is original). But... that's being VERY nitpicky. The sheer amount of enjoyment to be had far outwieghs any of the flaws, and the flaws are just minor annoyances that are bound to appear in any work, nothing is perfect, and something written over several years is bound to have minor inconsistencies and the author even addresses this herself in a later authors note. So buckle up for a hell of an experience, because I firmly believe this is a must-read for any fan of mass effect, or simply good world building.

Everything passes. And so has this review.

P.S. I highly recommend checking out the Edda-Earth series, the author's original work.
Garrus V chapter 145 . 1/9
That joke is so bad it's funny
Solara Xen chapter 103 . 12/26/2016
I love the idea of a committed threesome or triad-bond but I worry this is not for love. Eli using the excuse of estrus just doesn't make sense. In species that ARE induced ovulaters such as domestic cats or alpacas, artificial insemination can still easily occur using digital stimulation prior to insemination. The ACTUAL phallus used does not matter if it is fake or flesh. Also, do Turians not have lesbians couples or males that lose the ability to have an erection due to illness or injury? I bet there are resources available for Eli to help his mate through estrus without relying on another male. Logically, there would have to be other solutions available especially since the average Turian is not poly-amorous but there will be times when either the mate can not have an erection or the mate is female. I wonder what Turians sex toys are like LOL
levelwhat chapter 162 . 11/17/2016
Okay, so:

I was a bit hesitant about posting something. What’s the point of leaving a review about something that’s almost five years after it finished? The author has moved on to grander things, and the traffic on this story looks to be a ghost town, where stragglers like me (and you, reading this!) were late to the party.

Because The Spirit of Redemption is just that good, something that raises the expectation of what fanfiction can actually be. It takes months long to thoroughly enjoy this story and no reader in these other reviews seem to mind. It is also a glowing beacon of hope for aspiring authors that, yes, writing fanfics can lead somewhere afterwards. If Mass Effect were books and not video games, this could easily get published independently in the same vein as Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality or Fifty Shades of Grey (yes it’s gross but the point still stands). With all that said, SoR deserves the same type of critical retrospective that those do.

Its relatively played safe to create original characters than to focus on pre-existing ones, making the gripe of “That’s not how [beloved character] would act!” not noteworthy. Basically, I came for Shepard/Garrus and stayed for everything else. It’s enough for me that the new Spectres are cool, and the kids are cool, and then those kids grow up to become the Young Guns, and the Youngs Guns are cool, and everyone has an easy time to get along with barbecues and fun while doing some amazing world building.

Everyone changes in this. When a character is done with their arc, they don’t die or get put on a sideline, they find a new way to change and so start a new arc. I love that! In fact, change and people’s reaction to it become a quickly established theme that applies towards the entire story, and especially towards the antagonists. The AEC and Lina Vasir want their change even if for personal and immoral reasons. The Lystheni and Batarian Hegemony want a change that’s perfectly commendable by any other right, but use atrocious methods.

There are so many characters to focus on, that everyone is bound to pick favorites. And unfavorites. This led me to an interesting system; I would read only the POVs of who I was interested in (Shepard, Garrus, Elijah, Siara, Seheve) while I skipped POVs that I wasn’t and learned about later through context clues and conversations (Rinus, Harak, Dempsey). Then in re-reads I would flip these lists and it was like experiencing the story for the first time!

Eventually I started asking myself why I liked doing this. When I was beginning to see the same rhythm in conversations, how the self-reflection characters did began to follow the same patterns, how they would say the same curses at the same time, sticking tongues out and hitting shins became quirks that everyone shared… Everyone is the same. To me, characters became definable by their race or what their side story was about. Which is ironic considering the amount of differentiability that the Spectres place importance on.

A few reviewers before me had pointed this out. That the distinction between the characters’ beliefs and the author’s personal agenda were blurry to the point of being one-to-one. And I can’t help but agree with this. It sounds like a simple issue, but it’s actually a drastic one that shapes every aspect of they story. Whether or not you can see the author’s perspective could make the difference between liking this story and hating it.

I think that’s why Seheve is my favorite character. A drell assassin that is the cast’s only representative of the species, who also totally goes against the majority of the cast’s views of justice and methodology to the point of making everyone uncomfortable being around her, even the author. She’s so different, even if her inclusion was to fill some sort of quota. I’ve searched high and low for the exact chapter to confirm this. but I swear the author claimed that writing Seheve was, along the lines of, “like passing a kidney stone.”

I think that’s also why I take issue with the epilogues. Sure, tying up certain loose ends was necessary, like the Yahg and Batarian Hegemony. But starting and finishing arcs for the next generation of characters, canonizing some RPs, and refrigerating the characters for a hundred-thousand years that immunes them to the theme of change is unnecessary.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t read the Author’s Notes.

Here are some other notes I picked up, enough that’s worth mentioning, but not influential to my overall opinion, positive nor negative:

Characters using ‘turian’ was funny. To me, it was enough to see italicized sentences to denote a change in language. I know that turians are heavily reminiscent of Rome and the dead Latin language, but does that mean I too know a bit of ‘turian’?
Those first hundred chapters really wanted characters to convince each other, and readers by extension, that Dara/Rel was going to stick. Misdirection for a planned twist, or a change of heart by the writer?
“D’aww, those two love each other! Now they’re kissing. Why are they taking off their clothes..? Skip ahead, SKIP AHEAD—”
Seventy-four is a whole chapter dedicated to RP and codex stuff. That’s technically against the rules of , but eh, I’m not that big of a party pooper.
Seventy-five is where a significant four year long time skip happens, and I like to split SoR into two halves here.
Grey-songs not a main character. Maybe Sings-to-the-Sky calls it that because he spends time with and knows the main characters really well?
I know people are a bit upset about there being only straight couples, but I honestly don’t mind. With an overarching theme about change and reacting to said change, I’m okay with that displayed by a geth trying to use paints, not by a homosexual relationship from a heterosexual author.
Lots of biotic characters show up in the second half and really display how overpowered and ‘space magic-y’ they ended up turning out in this expanded universe. Even more so in that epilogue.
At chapter one-twenty-seven, a big point is made about how everyone groups into three’s, and I think that’s untrue. They group into two’s! Like, there’s only a handful of named and relevant characters that aren’t married to someone by the end, and that group is dominated by rachni and geth. Count the number of twins, for Pete’s sake!
Dara was being called a Mary Sue before she encounters Joy-Singer, and all that change did was add fuel to the fire. That being said, rachni workers are sickeningly cute… and marketable.

It’s a bit hard to go over this, because no matter what, it sound like I didn’t actually enjoy it. I did! Just look at how long this review is! The author has a wonderful way of analyzing characters and scenes that surpasses some hardbacks. Gunfights and melee don’t feel tacked in, and are handled with a surprising amount of knowledge and expertise, while being easy to visualize! And while I would have wanted it to end way sooner, the epilogue did hit me with an existential feeling I can’t say anything else has ever done yet. It took me two months to read this story three times to completion. So if the Edda-Earth series the author advertises has any of these things to offer then I’ll probably end up reading that too.

Besides, we can still be critical about the things we like, right?
levelwhat chapter 156 . 11/15/2016
In the spirit of (haha, geddit?) harmless poking fun, and a parody response of sorts to one certain reaction I keep seeing... I have rewritten the first paragraph of the infamous My Immortal fanfiction to be about Dara Jaworski. More or less for my personal amusement. Enjoy:

"Hi my name is Dara Elizabeth Jaworski Velnaran Sidonis and I have long brunette hair that sometimes glows in the dark, my eyeballs are completely blue thanks to rachni DNA mixing with mine and I have really pale skin with no body hair because of rachni DNA. I’m also a Spectre, and I live at their Mindoir base with Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian (A/N if u dont know who they are GET OUTTA HERE). I'm twenty-three years old. I’m really good at sniper rifles and I’m a trained doctor. A lot of people tell me that I have a southern accent and I do because I’m from Texas. When I was exposed to rachni offspring I became really good at reading people’s minds and a lot of people say my aura is white. Today on Mindoir it was snowing in July which I was very happy about. I was wearing comfortable jogging pants and a white tank top with a black jacket that had the red Spectre logo on the back. I was wearing purple paint on my jaws because it was what my current hubby Eli wears because he is a major hottie. A bunch of grey-songs stared at me. I put up my middle finger at them."
Myron23 chapter 4 . 9/1/2016
Vasir is such a misunderstood character.
She's an honorable Asari, as she pays her debts. The SB gave her information that turned her into a hero, and now the SB has called in that debt, by ordering her to kill Liara, because hey, he doesn't want her to find him.
Elizabeth.Electrica chapter 105 . 6/22/2016
Is impossible not fall in love with a volus! They are so fuckin cute!

"Fors Luka Spectre" OMG! That sound so good! 3
Elizabeth.Electrica chapter 93 . 6/19/2016
OMG! Es imposible no amar a Fors Luka!
Elizabeth.Electrica chapter 70 . 5/16/2016
Definitely you are insane! And I love that!
Elizabeth.Electrica chapter 38 . 5/1/2016
"How does Shepard stand it, night after night, no more expression than an iguana in a terrarium?"

OMG! I laugh so hard!
dekuton chapter 162 . 4/30/2016
Holy...the entirety of this story took me...2?3? Months to read. And I am not slow at all. I was drawn in and it wouldn't let me go...now that I've finished it I honestly don't know what to do with myself. I shall miss all your original characters as tho they were long time friends. A lot of your canon threatens to overwhelm the established canon by bioware in my head and I don't mind cause yours is simply better. That last chapter...the last page...I felt a piece of me grieve with each internment in the Mausoleum . My big tough manly self cried no less then four times. Probably more. Its been an emotional ride for me personally. I will cherish this story for as long as my memory retains it and I thank you for every written word and chapter
From the bottom of my heart. Thank you so very much for this. Its been an honor to bread it.
Elizabeth.Electrica chapter 2 . 4/23/2016
Wow! This is amazing! A new council more inclusive with the other races, the idea of create new reles, the new place for the council or even the hybrids babies, they are all greats ideas! God I love your imagination!
PNova chapter 1 . 4/11/2016
So, I haven't finished this, but as of chapter 85 it's still amazing and has absolutely believable and likeable characters. But one thing bugs me a lot. The science. The main nagging thing for me is the fact that a lot of the characters decisions and the plot is based upon the physical superiority of the Turians in terms of strength, speed, and endurance. Canonically and in this story, Turians have blue blood due to hemocyanin, which means that they use copper in place of iron to transport oxygen to their cells. This is a perfectly viable method of oxygen transport, and many terrestrial mollusks and arthropods use hemocyanin. If there was a scarcity of iron and an excess of copper in the environment of Palaven, it would make sense for the majority of Palavens land animals to have hemocyanin. However, hemoglobin is far far more efficient. Hemocyanin only outperforms hemoglobin in very cold, low oxygen environments. So while more efficient muscle connection sites and semi-hollow bones would make turians faster and stronger than humans, humans would literally be running circles around the turians in terms of distance running. For example, with genetic modifications for endurance, both Dara and Eli should have finished the 40km runs far before their turian counterparts because they would be able maintain a steady pace without having to rest or stop at all, and should finish only lightly winded due to the fact that humans are literally designed to be incredibly efficient distance runners and hemoglobin performs incredibly well in the high temperature and oxygen rich environment of Palaven, especially after training a mile above sea level on Mindoir. So yeah, humans should blow turians out of the water in all aspects of endurance except in very cold low oxygen environments. (Aside from the whole chafing thing, 16-18 hours of physical exertion should be far easier on a human than a turian in terms of exhaustion, if you know what I'm referring to ;).) Other than the science, this story really is an amazing exploration of a group of absolutely fantastic characters and I praise the author on her ability to create such lifelike characters and relationships that I actually care about and am invested in, which is saying a lot considering that they are entirely made of text and half of them are of a fictional species. (P.S. Elijah is one of my all time favorite male protagonists because of his evident flaws and his growth despite them, plus he's also really likeable for some reason.)
Sleep chapter 132 . 3/28/2016
People need sleep y'know. Second time reading and I still cry about Rellus and Dara, would be cool if Biowa- nevermind, the evil EA should totally adopt the culture because you gave (in my opinion) a better backstory and development than the entire dev team of Bioware. Mass Effect Andromeda is something I hope has some references to the community, especially this fic. You should try posting the sequel or an alternate verse where the first (or second) sims were true. I.E Kella lives, Eli dies, or something like Serana and Eli break up rather than poor ol' Rel. When I re-read it, the transformation for Fleet Rel was more than implied, although I do not say this as a critic, just pointing out that Eli would've been a much more suitable candidate for combat-addiction, since Lantar has to basically beat his head in to get him to split between his life and military life. It does seem odd that while most people realized that Eli had a problem, nobody noticed that Rel had a problem until Tal Mae was screwed all over to hell. Would be nice to see a chapter where instead of Eli, Rel helps Dara through her transition to Rachni Broodmother. #IshipDara/Serana
Aelund chapter 162 . 3/15/2016
So it has come to my attention that apparently I forgot to leave a review after I finished reading this masterpiece.

I read it quite a while ago already, but I must say that this was probably the best story I ever read, since I was literally glued to my kindle reading it every free moment I had for about two months. I do not think anything else has ever managed to capture my imagination like this story did. It is on a whole another level of quality compared to most fan fiction out there, and possibly quite a large amount of published literature(though there are a lot of crappy published works, especially since self-publishing became easy, so this is not really surprising).

I cannot really write out in detail exactly how great this fic is, because it was a while since I read it and it is not fresh in my head, so I will just say that it was a wild ride and everyone who loves Mass Effect should give it a try.
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