Reviews for Struggle
Charles Vaughn chapter 90 . 12/5/2015
This will be about both Mass Effect 3 and this fan fiction.
On this story, this is, as many people have already said, a great adaptation of the Mass Effect Trilogy. Particularly, good job on using the original ending while also changing it. Kaidan and Terra used the logic bomb to reliese that the being claiming to the Catalyst was lying to them. This way Shepard can much more believably survive despite her injuries. More generally, great idea that the Thorian Spores protect against Reaper Indoctrination. Too bad Doctor Chakwas or somebody else didn't find a way to like inject them into people to try to protect everybody. Though, they would have to probably make a synthetic version of the spores for that. Also, in your story, no one even thought of seeing if more spores could be recovered from the remains of the Thorian. I am now going to transition into talking about Mass Effect 3.
Ela11, you did a good job integrating the Leviathens and their artifact into the main story. Though, there were probably more of the species left than the three we just saw. The Leviathon DLC is one thing that should have been part of the original game like the Prothean character. All though, the original concept was someone who was more helpful than Javik so it's one of the missed oppurtunities of the game. Good way of explaining why almost no one else tried to use the beam after Shepard. Also, nice that the Crucible was really activated by a hidden panel. I am next going to only talk about the game.
Mass Effect 3 was, at least in some ways, a disappointing end to the trilogy. Kind of like Command & Conquer 4. The DLC mentioned above should've part of the original game. The Citadel DLC is the opposite becase aside from being a satisfying sendoff to Shepard and friends. It was the least appropriate under under the main plots curcomstansises. Omega is the middle because aside from the fact that it doesn't have any of our usual squad mates and a few other things. It's a story arc that seemed to be missing from the original game. There were probably at least a few more like that but one is better than nothing. Related to what I said above, another missed opportunity was making Mass Effect 3 be the most alabret in terms of choices if you know what I mean. The one that many fans focused on was the ending. One of the mistakes Bioware made with dealing with the controversy wasn't listening to people wanting a completely new ending. It can be also said that Bioware wasn't so smart because they didn't think to ask their customers for money to help them redo the ending. Like some other examples that can be thought of. You might think that it was EA's fault that the game was released so soon. However, if you read the Final Hours of Mass Effect 3. It was in fact the developers who got too confident with themselves.
I have said more than enough here. You can hopefully come up with more comments yourselves. Sorry if this was mainly Kind of off topic but I wanted to say stuff like this online. I'm looking forward to your sequel, Ela11
Charles Vaughn, we're done here!
magicklibra chapter 16 . 8/26/2015
Ok, so I've been reading this story and really love it. Your writing style is great and the characters complex. I was going to finish this story and write a review but I had to leave a comment for this chapter. After the whole tense situation with Kaidan and Shepard, when Tali asked "what's a dick?" I'm weak. That was so funny. Can't wait to read the rest of this story and the next two i see that you have.
R3dRaven chapter 1 . 8/11/2015
A damn well written one. I may not like some of the things going on here, but seriously. Your style of writing is awesome.
ii Crispy Critters ii chapter 90 . 7/31/2015
This is my favorite Shepred and Alenko story I have read so far. I love your way of story telling and tweaks you made to an already great story. You have ruined all other Sheperd-Alenko stories for me but I enjoyed this one so much I'm not even upset. Thank you for sharing.
therealrumena chapter 90 . 5/28/2015
I finished it. I actually finished it. And I have never been more satisfied with a story than I am right now - 90 chapters of awesomeness behind me.

To read stories like this (and to have a more or less permanent copy of the story itself), I have an app called Fanfiction reader which downloads the fanfics for me (though when I connect back up to the internet, if the fic is taken down and I refresh the app, the fic leaves my phone to - PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GODS DON'T DELETE IT) - makes it a hell of a lot easier to read at night and I've found black backgrounds with white font more comfortable for me to read. I also screen-capped important moments for me to either comment on or just because they're special in some ways. It also makes it easier for me to comment instead of having to remember tiny details.

So be warned. This is likely going to be an incredibly long review because it'll include stuff I forgot to add in my last review and for that I apologise.

Okay. Starting off, I loved the inclusion of Aethyta. Unfortunately I'd never encountered her in Mass Effect 3 (though I have been told that she's in it and that I'm probably blind if I've missed her all the times I went to the Citadel before the coup). Because of the limited interaction with her, I only knew bits and pieces about her and her personality. She is one of the most hilarious characters that causes a lot of embarrassment for not only Kaidan, but Javik as well (though, much to my disappointment, this is only referenced as happening 'off-screen', which is fine, but the teasing would have been great to read). Cortez made me laugh when he explained how he stopped her from teasing him - best thing ever.

Miranda - the Cerberus bitch that she was. Had the Archangel loyalty mission gone another way in the ME2 arc, and if Shepard was around, I'd be a tad skeptical about her ending. I guess, however, since both events occurred the way they did, I'm more understanding. Shepard herself ultimately addresses this. If it was completely left alone, I'd have been disappointed, but I'm glad it's picked up and at least given some explanation, especially since (if I remember correctly because this is one thing I DON'T have a screenshot of) he disobeyed an order from Kaidan. He's not Alliance, sure, but still.

This book makes an effort to not drag out moments that are meant to be serious by adding the occasional humor. For example (and I have it screenshot - actually, who am I kidding, I have everything I want to mention screenshot like a crazy person) was the Collector base with Garrus, Shepard and Miranda. Rummaging through Garrus' pockets, anyone? Its things like this that keep the fic interesting to read, rather than going straight to the full on seriousness of the entire situation - it also makes it its own thing, which I think warrants a reward for the author.

Speaking of humor, there's a lot of it. Not so much that it's a comedy fic, but it just adds to the feeling of comradery. I'll admit that a large majority of this humor comes from Garrus and Vega (James needs to be clopped around the head occasionally for interrupting moments and Garrus unfortunately gets caught saying things that can be easily twisted into something dirty). Again, it's not over the top and actually compliments the story quite well.

Speaking of the ceremony, amazingly well written. You'll find that a lot of those sorts of things unfortunately spoil what is a great fic. Having had that experience - where every one of these sorts of scenes I've read in other fics just ruined the entire thing - the author steers clear of making it embarrassingly cheesy. It works well - incredibly well to the point where the vows had me tearing up. (Joker was pretty great too, though I was ready to punch Vega out when he called out.)

The final battle scene was skimmed over. In the game, it's this long trek down to the beam, where the book here has all the dialogue that you may encounter spread in I think two different scenes - before the Normandy actually gets there and during the trek. It was a good decision, it read great, and I cried. The author made me cry.

Like I said in my previous review - I played ME3. I knew what was going to happen to Kal'Reegar, and since the author had broke me apart by building up and then killing Thane, I knew that there was going to be no miracle here. What happens to Tali, however, reminded me of what could have happened to Cortez in the game. I think if you don't befriend Cortez or have a good relationship with him, he dies in the shuttle crash. Tali died on the way to the beam - I'm not entirely sure if the similarities are deliberate or if they're just pure coincidence, but the two reminded me of each other so much at this point. It also makes me wonder if Tali deliberately put herself in harms way to go to Kal. I also feel that her death was sort of just glossed over - Shepard didn't have time to grieve her death immediately, but after it happens, it gets mentioned that they had a ceremony for her and that's basically the extent of the mourning Shepard does.

The ending of the ME3 arc. Wow. Just . . . wow. This author will get you on the edge of your seat. Shepard and Kaidan are separated, Shepard gets to the crucible, and holy crap. "'Let her go,' demanded a wonderfully husky voice." Reading that line made me feel so relieved.

I am a bit confused, however (and I've probably misread in the mad dash to the end of the fic). It's stated during Kaidan's part on the Crucible that his com is busted beyond his repair, but that an Engineer could probably fix it later. But after getting to Shepard and Anderson, after dealing with the Illusive Man, when Hackett calls up, he's suddenly able to talk to him. It's just a nitpicky continuity error (if I haven't read incorrectly, and I probably have) that had me scratching my head, because it's not made clear how exactly he either took the com from Shepard or Anderson, if there was a com on the Crucible, or if he'd managed to sort-of fix it on his way to them. I'm not sure why it's bugging me, but it is. Anyway, moving on.

Birth of Aurora made me freak out and laugh at the same time. Again, like things such as the ceremony, birth scenes tend to ruin a good fic. This one isn't bad - and everything that makes you cringe is deliberate by the story. This has you wishing for a slight change of circumstance (Kaidan, location, who's there - all deliberate, and you wouldn't have it any other way by the end of it). There is also a thing here (a typing error) where Chakwas says, and I quote "#Everything looks normal". I had to do a double take. It was one of those hilariously random typing errors.

Kasumi Goto - before I forget. The decision to have Kaidan take Shepard's role in the Kasumi missions was definitely a brilliant one. It gives Kaidan someone he can fall back onto - Shepard has the entire Normandy crew and more, while you'll notice that, when you don't include Shepard's associates, he's only got about two friends he made himself. And one of them is RAHNA. So I'm hoping that Kasumi is one of those characters where, I don't know, maybe he can call up one night and just ask a favour or just talk or something. I know Kasumi isn't a simple character and isn't at all easy to contact, but still. And having her pop in unannounced was an amusing scene - Kasumi decloaking, and then Shepard behind her uncloaking with her omniblade. Priceless.

On the brief mention of Rahna - I feel that her sudden reappearance was rushed in execution, but impacted the story all the same. She showed up out of nowhere with no warning. It was a rather short encounter with a quick ending - an ending of which I'm not entirely comfortable with. I can understand Hackett's anger, I can understand the feeling of violence, but I don't see Kaidan letting that stand. It's one of the few parts of the book where the situation feels out of character, feels like it doesn't belong there.

But as a whole? Wow. Just . . . wow. It needs to be read. It deserves to be read. Hell, the author deserves a medal! Someone make this author a medal! ALSO - if the Mass Effect franchise is going to be adapted into film form, this is the way to do it. Kudos on a job amazingly well done.
therealrumena chapter 63 . 5/24/2015
In my review, I said I'd read everything up to the destruction of the Normandy SR2. This is an error of my own - I meant the SSV Normandy. My bad - should really quadruple read my reviews. DX
therealrumena chapter 62 . 5/24/2015
I started reading this series by reading the third book (they're long enough that yes, I'm calling these fics "books" because you could definitely bind them and sell them for money) - which was a huge mistake. I hadn't known it was the third at the time, and I was confused with a few things, but otherwise I caught the jist. Well. I was directed to the first book.

I should have started reading the first book first like a normal person.

There is so much to comment on that I seriously can't remember all the little notes I'd made. I'll admit that I skimmed everything up to the destruction of the Normandy SR2 (haven't played ME1, so everything that wasn't explained in the next two games I currently consider as spoilers, so you'll have to forgive this oversight for now). This review is going to be spoiler-full for this book up to chapter 62 (I've only read up to this chapter) because I feel I really needed to start commenting on this now rather then when I'd finished.

I'm impressed with the characterization of all the key characters. The relationship between Kaidan and Shepard is so obviously strong and works well, as is the relationships with other characters. For those who've played ME2 and ME3, you'll immediately read the scene and know where in the game it is, or you'll be treated to the scenes that aren't present in the game - a high majority of the scenes feel canon.

Miranda Lawson will be everybody's hated enemy by the time you finish the Mass Effect 2 arc of the story. At first I wasn't entirely happy with this at first - I played the game and Miranda was basically my best friend despite her being quite annoying - but by the time you get to the Collector base in this book, you just really want to rip her to shreds. She just ends up being such an annoyance that I definitely understand the hatred for her. Because of this, however, I feel that Jacob's character is sort of overlooked - he gets his moments where she sort of shines through I guess, but ultimately, he could fade into the background and no one will notice, which is disappointing, but I'm hoping he'll have a more major part in the ME3 arc.

Archangel's loyalty mission did not go at all as I expected it to in the book. The thing I like about this book is that it is not entirely true to the games - if the author sees an opportunity to branch out and change something, they'll do it, which is rare for me to see. Something like that happened here (I'm not entirely sure why it stands out to me, but it does) and it happens frequently with role swaps or splits between Kaidan and Shepard (this comes into play most noticeably on Rannoch), and this also happens with Garrus; where Shepard would, in the game, take on a mission, the book will see Shepard giving this to Garrus or Kaidan with a couple of other team mates while Shepard does another mission at the same time. And it works well. This book also brings in all squadmates on a mission (not just two), because lets face it. The games never explain why you can't have more than two other team members at a time.

RAHNA. FUCKING RAHNA. The amount of times I just wanted to . . . beat her over the head with a newspaper, I would be freaking rich. Again, I haven't played Mass Effect 1, so it took me a few chapters to actually understand who the hell she was (not the fault of the author), but she just kept getting in the way. Constantly. And it is written so well. When you first encounter her with Kaidan, she sort of just . . . somehow glues herself to him, and it just gets so awkward for Kaidan - he tries his best to sort of nicely push her away; he's tried telling her he's not interested, she still doesn't back down despite saying she will, and its very, very well written. The whole altercation between the triangle (Shepard, Kaidan and Rahna) took up a few chapters in the ME3 arc of the story, and I sad there cringing and freaking out, yelling at Bailey and Kaidan and Shepard and Garrus and holy crap that resolution with them falling off the edge of the- ugh. It's intense. You don't see the sharp turns that show up out of nowhere. It's impressive work by the author.

Currently minor characters (of which I assume will get bigger as the story goes on) that have intrigued me, impressed me, or have just made me smile currently include villains. Kai Leng killed Thane (despite my hope of an alternative - well done for crushing my hopes, for you did not fall into the pit of "I'll save this character and make everybody happy", author, consider me doubly impressed), and did make me feel severely uncomfortable whilst almost killing Shepard. Kal'Reegar makes a happy addition to Tali's life (everybody loves Reegar), and you learn about how he and Tali are going - the issue I'm having is that I played ME3. I know what happens to him in canon, so I'm just . . . dreading the chapter where they find out he dies. Another addition would be Billy (which is more recent).

Billy's showing up out of the blue in a Cerberus base made me smile. You get a message in ME2 from some random after getting Jack out of Purgatory, saying that they'd kill people and carve names into them and that he was going to kill Shepard later because she shot at him. Now, in the games, there's never any resolution to this (or, at least, none that I'm aware of) and Shepard doesn't take much notice. Surprise surprise when he shows up in Sanctuary, under Miranda's nose, killing people. And now I get the feeling that his showing up will not just be for the amusement of the audience - I have a really, really bad feeling that he's going to show up again.

There are few words for me to explain how impressed I am with this so far. I look forward to reading the rest of it - at which point, I'll be sure to put in my closing review.
tlcinbflo chapter 4 . 3/30/2015
The citadel missions are always so frustrating! Back and forth and back and forth. I like that you had them split up, makes sense and makes it go quicker. Another great chapter of back story and character building. I liked the banter between Ashley and Kaidan, very brother/sister like and believable. Nice job!
tlcinbflo chapter 3 . 3/29/2015
I enjoyed the reluctant flirtation here, and the easy banter. It shows how natural and instant their connection is. I like the twist with Toombs, having Kaidan know him. It will be interesting to see that play out later. I also like that, at least internally, they're not denying the attraction. They have acknowledged it to themselves, and accepted that nothing can happen. It's nice to see them portrayed so adult with it. I think it may be side effect of having a Spacer Shepard. I'll admit, I haven't come across many stories with a Spacer Shepard and I'm liking how it changes the dynamic.
tlcinbflo chapter 2 . 3/28/2015
I really like how you did this chapter. How you gave us the important parts of the mission, and the events leading up to it without getting bogged down in minute details. Also, the way your building the characters and their relationships is very natural. Clearly, I'm reading this very slowly but that's because of my schedule not the story. Hopefully, I'll have more time to read soon.
tlcinbflo chapter 1 . 3/7/2015
Loved the start of this. Great twist with Hackett, it will be interesting to see how that effects the story. I like the different points of view. It really rounds out the scene and gives a good picture of what's happening.

It was cool to see Shepard have relationships with people outside the Normandy. That is something that I think is missing from a lot of stories.

All in all, a great first chapter!
Bint-Lilith chapter 89 . 2/1/2015
As a law student majoring in human rights I winced a little at Rahna's departure. ;) Glad that crazy girl is gone though. Btw I wanted to say earlier: having Rahna as Kaidan's doctor was a perfect idea.
Bint-Lilith chapter 82 . 1/31/2015
Not that it does not fit the way you put it but may I ask why you decided to kill of Tali and leaving out the part with her and Garrus? I'm just curious to know why you decided to do it your way. :) no offense! Btw still great. As you can see almost finished reading in a few days. Thank you so much for providing us with your work.
Bint-Lilith chapter 56 . 1/30/2015
This is very beautiful. Not at all too cheesy or too erotic. Just the perfect mix.
Bint-Lilith chapter 46 . 1/30/2015
Really, I love Sabine. :D the parts from her perspective always make me laugh.
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