Reviews for (Short Story) The Gifts
Guest chapter 1 . 9/12/2014
Can you make stories with Rico in them she is my favorite character in gunslinger girl
countingthenights chapter 1 . 4/10/2013
This is a really lovely story! To begin with, the whole story gives the feeling of "cold": cold from the season, cold from the emptiness, cold from revenge. It's interesting how each of them are eventually resolved, and how Jean's "Buon natale's" go from being empty parting words to genuine compassion.

Next, the characterizations are clearly well thought out. Rico's simplicity and devotion to Jean, Priscilla's cheekiness, and Jean's apathy and obsession with revenge. I can really see this happening on some day, and even how he can be reluctantly overcome by the spirit of Christmas to show compassion to people who are simply enjoying the company of their families, something that he misses. The build-up is appropriate as well, with his tip being entirely business, sparing Bruno entirely heartfelt, and saving the child in between.

I also love the attention to detail, the small details that flesh out Jean's personality and state of mind at different points in the story. Overall, I love it for how it makes me believe that people can be forgiving and the world can be a better place, which is what Christmas does (even though it isn't Christmas now).
Chronic Guardian chapter 1 . 1/5/2013
While I would love to complain at length that this seems a little too nice for Jean, it seems a moot point when you pulled it off so well. I find it remarkable how quickly you drew me in and made me see it your way.

Paragraph 16 has a little awkward of an opening sentence for these reasons:
1. Using the title Jean Croce instead of just Jean of "he" seems a little over the top. The subject has been established so using his full title feels superfluous.
2. His described actions seem to repeat the actions at the end of paragraph 14.
3. Phrasing like "for he saw the sign announce the train was due imminently" seems just a tad too old-fashioned for Jean. I agree, it would be difficult to rephrase so it might be better off the way it is.

As I said at the top, I'd more see Jean gritting his teeth in frustration at not being able to grab his target for questioning but you still made it work, and powerfully at that. Following that thought, his next words to Rico would probably be "Not a word about this to the others, got it?" but that would throw off the flow of the story.

However, there is evidence that this side of Jean you show does exist, he is just veeerry deeply buried and usually not present while on the job. That this job is impromptu makes it much more believable that he can "go soft" like this. Usually he's all "swift death to Pandania and anyone who gets in the way." but staying his hand of judgment and breaking professional protocol by giving away his position somehow feels natural here. Of course, maybe he's just saying "Bah Humbug. I may not be able to act now and capture you alive but I can still interrupt your Christmas." It's a stretch, but it's possible.

Ah well, you get the idea. If I continue on like this I'll likely go in more circles. The end point is that you did an excellent job. Some might say that this fits Jose more than Jean but for a number of reasons Jean was the better choice for this story. I'm glad that you saw this and brought it out to those of us who otherwise would not. Truly, this is the essence of good writing.
Corinne Tate chapter 1 . 12/31/2012
I sometimes like to peek at forum writer's stories and drop a review of something short. I'll confess from the beginning I am not at all familiar with this fandom, so take any comments with a shaker of salt. Also, don't mistake my criticisms for knowing what's best for your story; they're only suggestions.

The first paragraph almost put me of with some of your word choices. Your writing is good-almost too good here. Maybe those already familiar with the characters would be drawn in easier, but when added to the Italian, which is unfamiliar to me, words like 'ubiquitous' and 'mien' were a little off-putting. The action at the cash register was a little unclear as well, and I sort of wanted a translator to simplify the action there (He saw a distinctive reflection, and felt the need to hurry up and follow it.) This character must be remarkably observant.

Buon Natale must mean some form of Merry Christmas. You don't translate it anywhere, but by the second time he says it, I get the meaning. This is a key to the way you wrote this story-patience. By the time I finished the story, I was glad you didn't insult my intelligence by translating.

Rescuing the child from the tracks, while the crowd and the guy he was following applaud, makes me wonder if the guy even knows him, or did he see and recognize him, but feel he himself is still an unidentified face in the crowd?

Okay there are some things I might not have right, but the story subtly hinted at them. The flowers were for family members who recently died, and the person he was following was associated with the ones who killed them? The middle school aged sniper has a serious crush on Jean; she's just way too nervous for simple intimidation, and she keeps trying to chat with him. He's absolutely not interested.

He's part of a pretty well-oiled team, and he seems to be in a position of leadership, as they all jump when he calls. He's got a lot of good intelligence as well. His memories of a holiday past are very sad. Since he's buying flowers instead of going home, I assume they're all gone

This ending scene reminded me of a gangster movie, where a wedding or other family celebration becomes the scene of an attack. Usually there are a lot of casualties, and they end with blood, bodies, screaming, and a wailing widow. This was a pleasant surprise.

He could have just walked away; that would have left a nice, warm, fluffy feeling. But this ending spoke of a man who knows loss. This was more like counting coup. This said "I could have taken you out, but I let you live. Your lives continue, because I am the better man." Truly he should have walked away, as now they know their home has been compromised, and he probably won't get a second chance.

But he gets to make his mark on them. This sends a message, 'you're not safe, even at home on Christmas Eve; I can get to you.'

Overall, I liked this story, and you wrote it well. The pacing was really good, and all the details were necessary. My only concern is that some of the early word choices made it feel a little esoteric, as I mentioned. It's quality writing, but without being familiar with the fandom, I'm not sure if the readers will appreciate it. A little simplification might keep readers from being intimidated. As is, it raises the bar on your reading audience.

I hope this review doesn't insult or anger you; that wasn't my intention.
Asukaforever92 chapter 1 . 12/30/2012
This was a very well write and detailed story and I liked your portrail of Jean here. Not too one-diamensional with hints of humanity. Well done.
Bishop.AG chapter 1 . 12/27/2012
That's a very human face to some otherwise cryptic characters.

And the way you wrote it, its not forced or contrived.
Guest chapter 1 . 12/26/2012
As always, first-rate scene-setting.

First gift: The 'cyan hue' that arrested his attention was, I presume, a reminder of the sea.
Second gift: having the train stop in time anyway was a great touch. It's the thought that counts...
Third gift: He couldn't just turn away, could he? he had to let Bruno know he'd been spared ... this time.

Your Jean is a complex character, not the one-dimensional hardcase depicted so often in fanon. Don't know if I could ever like him, but he has my sympathy.