Reviews for Shadow Play
RheasHelm chapter 29 . 8/26/2014
This story was excellent, but it has also left me a bit dazed and confused.
On the plus side, Abigail and Asura's tale has come to something of a successful conclusion, after you sent them, and us readers, on something of a roller-coaster ride with Abby being unable to make up her mind if she really wanted to go live with Asura or not. But there was a believable evolution in Abby's thinking as she slowly came to realize the implications of that decision, even though it was also frustrating at times because she did not seem to have any good reasons for her hesitation until the end when she and Asura had a talk and Abby finally voiced her problems with the idea - that Asura was essentially a stranger to her, despite how much she felt drawn to her, and that she had some issues with having a female as a partner. Not that that seemed to deter her when they were in bed together on the Shadowbroker ship...
The part that I am still not sure about is the Shepard - Liara relationship, which really seemed to be the center of this story. You offered a number of reasons for their fallout, but none of them appeared to be the main cause. That was a moving target - something was offered up, then replaced by a different reason, only to be resurrected a while later. To me it looked like it was mostly unrequited love on Liara’s part (probably made worse after Shepard revealed that they could have been more, if only Liara had gone to her before Ilos), but at one point Liara sounded like she was essentially mad at herself for relying so much on Shepard, for allowing herself to be dependent on Shepard. But then she was also pissed at Shepard for not liking what she had become and trying to fix that. And then there was the "you can't give me what I want from you" talk – but what is it that she wants? Quite confusing.
I was slightly disturbed to find out how far Shepard was willing to go to try and repair her relationship with Liara when she allowed Abby to be taken by Vasir so that they could track Vasir’s ship to the Shadowbroker’s main base. And then it didn’t even help. At least she had the decency to realize this (“’how far I have fallen,’ Jane thought bitterly”).
The funny thing is that Liara also feels that Shepard isn’t the person anymore that she used to know.
So maybe this is all a case of a daughter rebelling against her (step) mother, with neither side wanting to give ground. Shepard sure behaves like a mother, e.g. when she contemplates Jack’s future - "what will happen to you if something happens to me?"
There were some good observations about Shepard – Miranda confronting her with "you hear what you want to hear", Shepard realizing that she may not be that different from an Ardat Yakshi in the way she’s binding people to her and making them do the things she wants them to do...
Her threatening to hold Asura responsible for Abby’s safety was just stupid though. She of all people should know that there is no such thing as perfect security, especially on Omega.
You did a good job making Asura a generally likeable character, but to your credit you never lost sight of how dangerous she is despite her best intentions. She could have killed Liara, could have killed even Aria and Shepard (strangely enough, she never went after Vasir). I thought “Asura shivered with delight and horror" was a great description of her personal nature vs. nurture conflict.
Asura is frightened by Shepard’s personality? That is certainly an interesting idea.
Her and Abby going to Omega sounds like a bad idea. Aria might be willing to leave them alone for a while, but she has to start using Asura soon, which can’t be good for Asura’s self control, without Abby she won’t have a means of controlling her.
Unless the two of them have children. Those should be fine, shouldn’t they? Since one parent would be an alien.
And what will Asura do while Abby’s busy playing vet? Or after Abby dies? It sounds like they may not have a lot of time together. I guess it doesn’t matter since Samara has vowed to go after her once Shepard’s permanently out of the way.
That Abby could have been taken over by memories is a bit far fetched, I think. Lenelle tried to kill her, not move her consciousness over to her, so this should not be happening. I can see certain triggers causing a memory to surface, but to then act as that person even outside the scope of the memory? It made for good drama though. I also liked how you showed Abby fighting for control of her own mind against Lenelle’s memories.
Your portrayal of Jack was great again. She had some good lines, such as "thinking about things sucks". And when you described her as “"her eyes bright with murder and delight" on the SB ship, that was neat as well. Plus, it was cute to watch how protective she had become of Abby.
EDI smugly telling Abby that she should have paid more attention when Kelly explained the omnitool was hilarious.
As was Mordin’s "I've been meaning to talk to Dr. Gable about her future acts of copulation."
Although after I stopped laughing about that one it turned out that this was actually a serious issue as Abby is being injured by Asura during a meld. You’re really making things difficult for them!
Varren are terrified of cats? The same way some people are terrified of spiders?

One thing that I noticed is that you tend to overuse "the woman", e.g. "she had not seen the woman in almost a week although the change in the woman's face... she doubted the woman would be so kind." (ch. 2).
You may also want to watch how often people’s mouths go dry. I’m sure it happens on occasions, but here, it seems it’s all they ever do.
You really ought to stop calling Liara “the archeologist”. She has not been one in a while. :)
Sky66 chapter 29 . 7/5/2014
When I initially began reading Shadow Play, I was actually very skeptical due
to its summary; mainly because there was no mention of Abby. Of course this
was put to rest within the first two paragraphs.

Martin Fen, what with his whole character and fashion, reminded me of Rubel
from the manga/anime Claymore. Martin even had the hat.

From chapters 22 onward ... the pacing felt kind of strange. From the
beginning there was this rising tension of: "partying on Omega ... oh,
the plot begins to roll ... off to Illium! ... slows down for some romance
... Running! ... Chasing! ... Abducting! ... Saving! ... Bad Assery!" And
now there are 8 chapters of cool down time dealing with lots of talking,
thinking, and emotions. It just seems kind of jarring, though not in a good
or bad way. (shrugs) It's just something I felt.

Mordin slipped my mind again. Since there were so many sub plots and emotions
between characters, I entirely forgot about him. So when I got to "Wait,
wait, wait, wait!" I was thinking Jack. But then you pulled the rug and it
was Mordin. And I was thinking, 'wtf! How the heck did I forget you ...
again! At the very end of the story again!' Never change, okay? Never
change.

I do have some fear for the future of this Alternate Universe. If Vasir
cannot be shifted from her course of being a bad ass and dead, then what
other Mass Effect points in time cannot be changed? What outcomes for certain
characters cannot be shifted from what we know? I know that the Reapers are
coming, but how soon? I know that Omega gets attack by the Reapers (from the
comics that I've skimmed), though I don't know when they attack and whether
or not Abby and co. will get caught in the crossfire. So I put my faith in
you (the author) to see where the sequel (All Creatures Great and Small) will
go.

At first I really didn't think of Abigail Gable as a Self-Insert, I just
considered her as another character with an interesting background. Only
about half way through Shadow Play did I begin to think of certain aspects of
Gable being a SI. I mean, you don't state that the story is SI, but there
are elements that can be seen that way. It creates questions as to how much
of Gable is the author and how much is just fiction. I don't have any bias
against SI, but I will say that most aren't very well written. And I think
that the style of using multiple perspectives throughout the chapter makes
the difference. SI stories usually only stay in the SI's POV and no one
else s. This may or may not be relevant, just typing out what I observe.

So many "Let you go, let it go, let go, etc." stated throughout the story,
especially after chapter 22, that I kept thinking 'Let it go, let it go,
that perfect girl is gone. Here I stand in the light of day ...' d*mn you
Frozen! Now I'll never be able look upon this phrase without thinking of
that infuriating song!

Overall: a worthy sequel. (Almost 150k words for a side mission ... makes
you think, how much expansion will there be in this AU? And we haven't even
gotten to ME3 yet.)

Best of luck, stay healthy, and update soon!

-Sky66
Ravenhold Ivy chapter 29 . 12/28/2013
I love how you manage to end these stories with a sense of... continuation. It is that feeling that, to put it in military terms, the battle is very much over but the war is waiting. I think I'll take a break before starting the next one though. Can't wait!
Soluskrios chapter 29 . 7/21/2013
Witnessing the Commander's inner struggle to accept the things she couldn't change and let go was heartbreaking. But necessary for healing. I just love your characters. Fantastic sequel!
AlsoKnownAsMatt chapter 29 . 4/28/2013
I usually don't stop to review a series that I'm catching up on in the middle but ... just wow.

I'm not *certain* that you know Abigail and Asura's pain yourself but as someone who does,(though not due to your Abigail's reasons) I envy these characters terribly. To know that there is someone in the world who can "cure" them and who is willing to do so at terrible risk to themselves would be unspeakable. the need to protect this opportunity would be unquantifiable and the fear of being this resource...unimaginable, particularlly when each is that resource for the other, even if only one has the true power to protect and ensure the well being of both. Your characters are truly deep in a way that few can match and your thought in writing this tale truly deep and impressive.
Thank you.
Impressed chapter 13 . 3/29/2013
Loved the character interactions in this chapter. You write a good Jack. Different, yet believable. Love your character developement.
Impressed chapter 10 . 3/24/2013
Have not read in a bit, my apologies. I liked this chapter, lots of action. I'm interested in the fact that you are writing such a hostile Liara.
But, it fits well with the general tone of the story. Loved how Abby reached to Jane.
Such phenomenal characters.
S. Imp chapter 6 . 3/17/2013
What I like is how you subtly weave science into your work. It's all almost believable with a touch of imagination required for science fiction.
Interested to see Abby's reaction to Dr. T'soni.
Really enjoying this.
Still Impressed chapter 4 . 3/17/2013
One of the things I like is how subtly you cange scenes. You can feel every character emotion, see every scene. I have high hopes for this one.
Your Jane is very driven, very focussed on the mission. I think it comes at a great cost to herself, something I hope you'll explore further.
Impressed chapter 3 . 3/17/2013
Chilling. I loved this chapter. When I started on the second story I was worried that you might not be able to keep my attention but so far, that worry is unfounded.

"I'm in mass effect."

You write your characters very well. What I appreciate with Abby is that the focus has never been on her per say. She does not take priority above that main characters. And, she can, because she is such a well rounded character that I've come to enjoy just as much as the main cast.
So, thank you for this.
I look forward to reading further.
fan-rei chapter 29 . 11/6/2012
bad ending. good and logic for the story but still...
i did read all of it so i should stop complaining.
i really really love mordin solus.
fan-rei chapter 28 . 11/6/2012
"There are a lot of cats on Omega. Varren terrified of them." good to know :) i always love mordin.
too bad asuna doesn't like jack. abby should have asked her to come with her , then it would be jack 's choice to be with abby or jane.
i miss kasumi.
fan-rei chapter 26 . 11/6/2012
didn't aria sold abby to the agent?
fan-rei chapter 25 . 11/6/2012
"She gave you a chance because of you Asura. From my understanding, you were the biggest victim in all of this. Shepard would've seen that from the beginning." pfff
if liara doesn't think much about feros, she will really be all alone... she seems to have found her equilibrum but i worry for her.
are you implying jack has a thing to the doc?
fan-rei chapter 24 . 11/6/2012
"I'm not just going to leave with you Asura and run off into the sunset just because my damned body tells me to. I want more than that and so should you."
thank you for adressing that.
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