Reviews for Trick of Hearts
Flame Falcon chapter 3 . 11/24/2015
I really enjoyed the way you wrote the characters and what they are fully capable of doing in the right circumstances. Instead of having a few two dimensional characters as in the original tale, we have a set of characters who are supposed to be filling their roles but they are fleshed out. I really don’t know who should I be ‘rooting for’. But the characters are showing their stripes and it is an enjoyable sight.

For example, you have Cora revering Rumple as the way out of her particular situation but also conniving enough to get a secret out of him. Accomplishing that is no small task on a normal human, one can only imagine how hard it would be to get it out of a jaded magic user like Rumple.

The description of magic like Obfuscation was very well put and it shows the true nature of magic: it is very valuable, hard to comprehend, and knowing either too much or too little can destroy a person. And oh, how that phrase is being played out before us in this story!

The story is moving along at a very lovely pace, and though you are updating this story/putting your own unique spin on it due to the Once Upon a Time franchise, the story of Rumpelstiltskin and the spinning of golden thread has to be my favorite fairy tale for all time and I enjoy seeing a grain of familiarity in it. Rumple being able to make the gold thread, though I am sensing some hubris within him as he makes the thread. Hopefully you continue to expand upon that and much more in the story. Job well done and good luck with your future updates!
Crow's Talon chapter 9 . 11/23/2015
I continue to really enjoy this story and the character of Rumplestiltskin - I like how you balance the sympathetic elements of Rumple's character while keeping him frightening, especially when he confronted Cora at the end. He's a compelling character and you write him very well, especially the way he and Cora play off one another. The scene in the opening, where Cora questions Rumple about Gwynnie and how much she can be trusted, demonstrated this well. I found it interesting how shocked Rumple is at the notion that his apprentice and Gwynnie are untrustworthy, and I like the little detail about Gwynnie baking him pecan tarts. I'm interested to see the master-apprentice relationship between Cora and Rumple continue to develop, especially after the events of this chapter.

I'm interested to see when and how the issue of Cora's firstborn child comes up, especially since Rumple has expressed his intent to press the bargain. I like the character of Gwynnie - she seems insightful, especially with her note on how Cora's influence has made Rumple more merciful and her suggestion that Rumple take back his deal with the baby. I thought Rumple's anger on learning that Cora is starting a relationship with Prince Henry was well-written, particularly his feelings of betrayal. I like the way you continue to follow the fairy tale's plotline, albeit with Cora marrying Henry instead of Wilhelm. I'm interested to meet Henry as a character and see if he's as bad as Wilhelm, and if Cora's being pragmatic in marrying him. With the revelation at the end of the chapter, I think she is.

Great confrontation at the end between Rumple and Cora - Rumple was very angry, and you did a good job of making him frightening, but it looks like realizing that Cora was serious and sincere about being in need may have sobered him. I love the description of Cora's mother - she's reduced to a "thin figure writhing on a narrow cot" - and how protective Cora is of her, even in the face of someone as dangerous as the Dark One.
Flame Falcon chapter 2 . 11/10/2015
Glad I managed to tag you again, and the universe must be in alignment as my sister has begun to binge watch it again, so figure I sit down for an episode or two with her.

Anyway, this chapter blew me away with the details you managed to pack into the small package size. There was strength in telling what was going on, but you also managed to show as well. Too often I am saying show, don’t tell. It is nice to see that someone can find the perfect balance between the two. “Grey sea serpent pants”… descriptive but also leaves some to the imagination as to what they really look like.

And who knew that the imp would have friends, especially the mad hatter’s parents! How can something sound so funny but so right at the same time? Upon making that conclusion, I laughed for a good few seconds that I got a few odd looks from my roommate. I also like how you are making the intrigue with the wizard’s guild/council an interesting plot point. Rumple probably has more magic in his pinkie than most of them put together.

Also, it is very nice to see the music box again. I hope it isn’t made of McGuffinite, but at the same time I hope to see it more and have it explained.

Another good chapter to what is shaping up for a good story. Hope to read more soon!
Flame Falcon chapter 1 . 11/7/2015
I’m going mostly blind to this story, though I have caught a glimpse of the show when my little sister binged watched it.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere you built with this opening chapter. It seems so fantastic, both literally and figuratively. For a story based on fairy tales, it is always nice to see that fantastic element in such a story. You really have done an excellent job with that.

Now on to the characters, I can see the magnificent bastard that Mr. R can be/is. He certainly reminds me a lot of the chess player in any good story. Always behind the scenes, making all of the pieces move to his tune as he sees fit. Playing the king and looking for the right moments or people to serve his needs. The other characters are fitting in their parts and really make the chapter shine like gold.

What really got me, however, was the fact that this chapter really made me question if this was just a simple prologue chapter or something more. It seems like a blunt chapter that drags you by the hand and introduces the characters and situation… but it is very graceful and execute with a precision that it doesn’t feel like that. Very well done!

I hope to catch you again and read more, as this story has a very promising future. Good luck!
Ominae chapter 5 . 11/5/2015
Reading up the fifth chapter, I had a chuckle when Rumpelstiltskin was addressed by some woman as an ordinary stable boy. It's kinda minor, but that part was a comedy moment for me.

Getting into the midparts of the chapter, it's either me or the chapter's getting into story references of Alice in Wonderland, which I'm familiar with. Nice to see some familiar characters being talked about, such as the White Rabbit. Although the only major AIW story I've seen was the one made by Disney, so the original story may be a bit lost to me.

I enjoyed reading how the chapter portray Rumplestiltskin to see a place that has no means of the supernatural in existence as a concept. Specifically, it's written like a slice of life for him while he visited someone he knew for a long time.

Otherwise, the ending of the chapter ends with a good stinger, which is also good to read about. Keep up the good work in doing the other chapters. Although it kinda reminds on how traveling in real life is an ass, especially if you go to a place that requires a tourist visa.
Ominae chapter 4 . 11/3/2015
Hey, haven't reviewed this story for a while now. So I apologize if something is off to you. Here I go.

To start things off, I liked the introduction part of the chapter where Rumplestilskin brooding and thinking in front of the windowsill. I enjoy scenes where characters go and think about something that previously happened. It allows you to get into their mindset and figure out what they're thinking right now.

Cora pacing around during her meeting with Rumplestilskin brings out the nervousness of the reader in trying to understand what she's gotten herself into now. Although despite the tensions that took place a while ago between the two of them, it's nice to see the latter take a step forward to do something about the situation.

Reading up to the end of the chapter, I don't find it odd that Rumplestilskin's being asked if he wants something from Cora when the situation is over. And he gets a mild shocker when he realizes that she's savvy about him having specific demands. For a few seconds of reading that, I thought that Rumplestilskin would say that he doesn't have anything to have in return.

It's kinda short, but it's not bad all the same. Good work with this chapter.
Agent Unwritten chapter 8 . 11/2/2015
Rumpy No!
Oh hello there, so upfront I have to say that I'm familiar with the stories these characters are based in but not the show they are from. So Semi canon blind? Whatever you spin a tale well enough that I don't think me being a smidgen canon blind is going to matter awfully much. On another note cause you didn't summarize the previous chapters I couldn't jump past the beginning to review a middle chapter like you'd requested. Next time you'll probably need to do that if you want people to review past the first chapter. Anyway onward to the review!

So, I adore your characters or rather how you portray these characters. Are they close to their show counterparts? No idea, but I hope so, given opat's popularity and the breadth of these characters. You do a marvelous job of veering in between having Cora act innocent and act suspicious though from the first time she appears I had a sneaking feeling. Partly because I'm familiar with the story and partly because her behavior is almost too damsel-ly to be one hundred percent a natural thing.

Rumple comes off as both slightly insane but utterly lovable or perhaps worthy of sympathy. I think it was a wise choice to tell it from his perspective, and also adding in all of what I'm assuming are his quirks. It gives the character a unique and endearing quality.

Gwynneth and Jeffery oddly enough provide a near perfect balance to what I assume to be our main leads. Both appearing moral and fair minded without being one sided or without faults of their own.

For the eight chapters I read of this I do like the structure of your plot, I'm assuming the pay off will be marvelous given how the build up is progressing. The pacing is swell too, and the content interesting enough to keep my attention beyond the first chapter I was originally intending on reviewing. And this isn't even a fandom I know so if anything that's got to count for something.

I also did see any errors in terms of grammar or spelling. Which isn't to say that there absolutely aren't any so much as it says the text was engaging enough that my brain didn't want to pause long enough to notice them.

Now for the knit picks, because endless adulations are nice but generally not helpful.
Your descriptions seem to bounce between nonexistent to pretty but seemingly reused if that makes any sense whats so ever? For instance, not in this chapter but an earlier one Rumple and Jeff travel about to all these fabulous lands and they each get a cursory description upon entry but that's it. On the one hand I wonder if anything else might have distracted from the story itself but on the other it felt as if the lands they went to were blending together to the point were the names were the only real way to tell them apart.

On another note, I'm guessing this is how it is in canon but Rumple seems pretty nonchalant about his weaknesses and inner workings. That may just be Cora's pull on him and the fact that he is comfortable with Jeff and Gwyn but it still seems fairly odd. Even if Cora is the prettiest thing he's seen in a century it comes across as mildly baffling.
Ckorkows chapter 1 . 10/31/2015
Well if that wasn’t super sweet... perhaps too sweet? Hello, I caught you in Review tag and decided to pick this fic because it’s Halloween and the word ‘Trick’ was in the title. Now you know how I made all the decisions in my life. ;) Just a disclaimer to start the review off, I am unfamiliar with the canon material so will not be able to comment on your story in reference to that.
On to the review.
Wilhelm isn’t a very likeable sort, is he? Locking maidens in rooms with straw and forgetting common courtesies are not very Kingly gestures. I suppose you took his character from the show and applied his distasteful personality to your rendition? Either way you certainly did a good job of showing me his personality through Rumple’s inner dialogue. “Yes, you would, you ungracious snob…” was probably my favorite line in that regard. It showed that Rumple does not respect the King but is respectful enough of the situation to keep comments like that to himself.
While I liked the first part of this chapter – with Rumple playing the King like a fiddle and musing internally about the state of affairs that caused him to play the role of ambassador – it was the second part that really shined. Rumple clearly did not need to enter the barred room, but he has a playful and meddlesome personality that led him to find out who was behind the door. He also didn’t need to help Cora. Although I like how you combat his kindness with the slamming of the door and his sticking to the rules of magic by obtaining payment for his services.
It’s sad that he thought Cora was merely playing the role of flatterer. Perhaps she was, what do I know, but you portray her as very sweet and innocent in this scene. Of course, sweet and innocent portrayals have two routes to take and one of them is pretty self-serving. While I want to take Cora at face value, by making Rumple skeptical/cynical about her kind intentions you bring to mind the idea that her whole story was contrived in some way to serve a purpose that we do not yet know. This line here is what gave me that feeling: “I’m seldom in the little realm…. Fortunate I was here tonight.”
If I have one complaint it is of the description of Cora. For as loud as her crying appears to have been, the way you described her as having no redness or blotchiness from her tears, only a “flawless almond color”. Everyone gets ugly when they cry. I might let you get away with a pink tint on her almond cheeks, but ‘flawless’ is rather high praise from someone as seemingly analytical/realistic as Rumple and just rubs me the wrong way. Of course, perhaps this is intentional… part of a ruse?
I like that this chapter made me ask a lot of questions. On one hand it all appears to be a straight forward introductory chapter. But underneath that innocence are phrases… moments that make me wonder if things aren’t as they seem. And of course, your summary gives me that hint too.
Before I end my rambling review I wish to thank you for an excellent job with editing. It is rare that I come across a fic that has no glaring errors attacking me as I read and when I do read one it’s always worth mentioning. I am not a grammar aficionado by any stretch of the imagination but nothing popped out at me so thank you.
Thanks for an interesting introduction into a new fandom. Ckorkows
concisponci chapter 7 . 8/17/2015
Hello again! It’s pure pleasure to read this story, so on to the review!

Finally we find out what’s up with Sarastro. Looking for a land where Rumple may be vulnerable? Risky, risky! I like where this is going- it means conflict and adventure, and that is always exciting and good for a story.

[“You told them I’m harmless?“ Rumplestiltskin frowned. Building his reputation had required a lot of menacing. Starting all over would be a bother.] Gosh, how this line made me grin. Of course Rumple isn’t harmless, no, he’s the exact opposite, and everyone should better know that, so I thought it funny that it might be hard work to gain an evil reputation. I guess it’s not as simple as burning a few villages or something like that.

[“I don’t want you getting hurt.”] I loved this, because it shows that there is someone who really cares about Rumple, knowing full well who he is and what he is capable of, and even Rumple himself is a little surprised about that, as the next sentence proves, and I know I go on and on about you making Rumple human, but you do it so well, and it gives the character so much depth. I’m not such a big fan of him on the show, but here you really make me like him. And you still keep him true to character by making him fair but selfish, always plotting ([I won’t harm him on the basis of what you told me. That’s the deal. I have to wait for him to do something else.]), and a little naïve- when he’s with Cora for example. Then he acts like a little boy with a crush: how he swings her hand back and forth, and how he doesn’t realise that she isn’t actually at Gwynneth’s to see him, but the client Gwynneth’s been waiting for.

Cora just plays with his mind so well that I’m starting to get scared. [“Sarastro. I’ve heard of him.”] I don’t know yet whether that is good or not, but I have a feeling it won’t be, especially now that Cora knows where Rumple is at his weakest. It just… I wouldn’t trust Cora with that information, and it’s worrisome that Rumple thinks his intuitions are infallible, as proven by this line: [Rumplestiltskin knew he couldn’t be tricked into seeing something that wasn’t really there.] Even the Dark One can’t see everything.

What made me smile as well were the references to Agrabah and Granny and Red! (I really miss Red on the show!)

Amazing chapter! Now don’t know whether I want to know what Gwynneth is about to tell Rumple- because then Cora will know as well!
Rose Rain 7 chapter 1 . 8/15/2015
Fandom blind

(As soon as Rumplestiltskin caught his eye, the king snapped the lid shut.)

That's such an interesting name.

(Despite the dozens of ogre truces they'd concluded over the decades, Wilhelm reacted as if the sight of his visitor was a shock. The look on his face said, Hideous.)

How many decades are we talking about here? And wow... I wonder why he is giving him the nasty look.

("Do my ears deceive me? Was that 'Froggie Went A-Courtin'?")

I feel like I'm one of the rare few who probably heard less than 10 nursery rhymes in their life and this is not one of them.

(She'd been dead nearly two hundred years, but the simple old tune was impossible not to recognize.)

What the heck?! Two hundred years? How old are these men?! I thought they would be 40 at most.

("Yes, that was 'Froggie Went A-Courtin'.' My mother used to play me the song when I was a boy. What does that have to do with the ogre truce?")

Nobody mentioned anything about the truce O.O and by orge, are we taking this literal? As in a monster?

(Rumplestiltskin tipped his head from side to side.)

I don't know why I'm imagining a man with beautiful long hair as Rumplestiltskin. Maybe because of the name? It reminds me of Rapunzel.

(When he'd visited the local ogres for parley, they'd made him the guest of honor at a grand feast followed by a night of traditional drumming and howling.)

Well, that confirmed which orge you meant.

(Not that King Wilhelm knew he was—had been—human. Rumplestiltskin closed his eyes a moment.

So he is no longer a human being.

("If you've found another envoy who speaks the twelve ogre tongues and dialects—or even one of them—then dismiss me. I have a thousand other deals I could be making instead.")

Rumplestiltskin sound like a badass!

*whisper* And a bit offended.

(Abruptly, Rumplestiltskin halted his dance. "You're lucky I reached that settlement after you broke last year's truce.")

You sure? That sound like a lot of sheeps O.O but that's none of my business...

("Last year's? Whatever are you talking about?" King Wilhelm lifted his pointy aristocratic chin.)

Aristocratic chin? That sentence helped me feel inferior. Thank you.

(After a thousand trampled villages, legions of squashed knights, and an entire populace screaming for royal blood, fools like King Wilhelm might realize the value of his services.)

XD he make a good point.

("It's this little item or no deal." As the song ended and started again, Rumplestiltskin began swaying to it.)

So manipulative :O

(Rumplestiltskin paused. "You could always try talking to the ogres yourself.")

Lol what a crafty little swine.

(On the stool beside it, huddled a young woman, head in hands, weeping. Her brunette hair fell over her face and cascaded into her lap. Behind her lay a heap of straw.

Rumplestiltskin hopped inside, cocked his head and cleared his throat.)

OMG! OMG! I KNOW THIS STORY! IT'S IN CHILDREN BOOKS! I'M GOING TO LOOK FOR IT NOW! I just remembered a goblin(?) named Rumplestiltskin.

*Few minutes later*

My grandma admitted that she threw them away. And here I was hoping to remember how the story went.

(The sight of her startled Rumplestiltskin into silence—but only for a moment.)

Is he in... love? o.o I remembered that he chose to take her child in the future or something.

("Your skin sparkles like gold and your eyes are green like malachite. Your appearance is too… pleasing to be the Dark One.")

I want to see him. I wanna see him, I wanna see him *whines*

(No doubt there. The full round breasts pushing up from her white laced bodice bore out the truth of that claim.)

I trusted you Rumble! I trusted your age... XD

(Quickly, Rumplestiltskin looked back at the wheel.)

Ahem! ( ͡ಠ ͜ʖ ͡ಠ) did you stare at her?

(Exacting a personal keepsake might be the only way to ensure an equitable deal from the likes of King Wilhelm; he didn't want to deprive gentle Cora of something she cherished.)

D'awwww! How cute.

("And I don't even spin. My mother thought it a peasant's occupation. My domestic accomplishments are pastry making and embroidery.")

Peasant? XD ummm Rumble, are you okay?

(Cora's hand returned to his shoulder, spreading warmth through his body like honey.)

Don't think I didn't notice the physical contact cause I did. I find odd how she is able to do such thing. I would never dare touch a stranger's shoulder informally like that.

("Timothy, Ichabod, Benjamin, Jeremiah?" Cora leaned toward him and smiled into his face. "Demosthenes, Erichthonius, Ted?")

These names are equally odd but that helped me remember the story!

Chapter Review: I didn't know there was an adaption(?) of Rumplestiltskin. I'm familiar with the kid's story so I disliked Rumple. He was quite nasty and vicious. Living up to his 'Dark One' name (proclaimed by Cora XD) but reading this elaborate version of his character made me like him so much. He's quite the gentleman O.O I didn't expect that and I definitely enjoyed the way his thoughts and words didn't match each other. That's a reality check right there. We have to wear a mask in order to survive. But it was just funny to see a non human throw snide thoughts toward the so-deserving king. I really enjoyed that. Not to mention his sarcastic/mocking comments were my favorite XD that level of confidence boosted his Amazingness to 169000 times! Yes, Amazingness with a capital A.

("If you've found another envoy who speaks the twelve ogre tongues and dialects—or even one of them—then dismiss me. I have a thousand other deals I could be making instead.")

See how he worded his sentence? Such a boss! He knows that it's highly unlikely for someone to even speak ONE of them. This dude is more confident than the king of animals.

("You could always try talking to the ogres yourself.")

THIS EPIC RESPONSE! It managed to bruise someone ego without insulting him directly. I can only applaud him for his intellectual replies.

I can tell Rumple is easily frustrated when it comes to people's ignorance or maybe just the king arrogance. I can only say 'humans' tired him out. On the other hand, he appears to be very fond of the orges. Their hospitality must be generous and kind if he would even miss them if he went on a hiatus. Says a lot about their character.

(Maddening! The more years Rumplestiltskin maintained the peace, the less everyone understood about why painstaking negotiations were necessary.)

Amen! The truth in this statement is killing me. *claps*

Rumplestiltskin origin is a mystery I wished I knew. It seemed like his son had passed away(?Fell to be specific) and I'm hoping to know how he became... ummm this (non human)? But I managed to know why the King thought Rumplestiltskin was hideous. He doesn't look like a human at all but I would get used to it if I were the king. Talk about being RUDE! I WANT TO SEE RUMPSTILTSKIN! Send a link to his picture in PM because Tinyurl is blocked in my country so I couldn't see him / don't make me feel alone.

As for Cora, you seem to be stressing the fact she is sweet and innocent. I'm naturally a distrustful person so I'm not buying her innocence. She's acting way too naive and friendly for a intelligent person but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt to prove me wrong.

There is one part though were I was amused. The way they were speaking to each other... Like this for example.

"And you do not suffer fools easily?"

The use of suffer was excellent in here. It didn't occur to me that it can be used that way either. Wow, just wow. I had to search 'suffer' up because it seemed off and I'm pleasantly surprised by the result.

Rumple though *sigh dreamily* he is such a charming man. He was so sweet and cute when he was talking to Cora. Did he not know love? Or had it been a long time since he last fallen in love? Regardless of the answer, his naivety in love is so adorable to see.

With a personality like that, I would even marry him LOL we could start by being friends :D

Ahem, ignore me. Seriously though, I kinda hate you for making me sympathize with him. He appears like a character I wouldn't have liked if I read it from a third POV. You are very evil, you know that? I'm anticipating more of Cora in the next chapter. There seem to be something up her sleeves.

Also, this story is so well written so I have no complaint about it. I absolutely loved the lines you gave Rumple. Good job! I may learn a thing or two from you.
bkwrmnlvnit chapter 10 . 8/9/2015
Howdy heydy! Here for your review for the Block Party over at Hostile Takeover. I know the general premise of Once Upon a Time, but I would hardly call myself familiar with it. I suppose I could effectively be referred to as canon astigmatic. In any event, hopefully that won't be a problem.


I love how you set the tone for this piece instantly with this description of Cora's mother. She's battered, she's bruised, she's far from in good shape, and automatically, even though I'm totally blind to this story, I can see that she's a victim. I don't know of what, but it's clearly something very bad and painful and dark. It sets the scene and the chapter tone beautifully - right from the get go, I know that whatever we're going into, it isn't pretty.

Boom, there it is. This line about how this is a happy marriage just hits me right off the bat and it characterises everyone a bit for me in this wonderful pattern. It shows her mother as a victim, her father as an ass, and Cora as a survivor, and it's really poignant in the way it does that as well because it's not like there's some waxing on about all of these traits. It's just that that one line says it all so clearly and just wow. I'm impressed.

Speaking of characterisation, you get Rumplestiltskin perfectly. From what I know of him, it seems like he's always the man with the plan, making deals and manipulating the world to his whims and that's demonstrated so well here. He isn't cruel, but he's not some compassionate benefactor either. He does what he does, and he does it in the manner he wants to and you just have that perfectly here.

Cora is also a fascinating character. I love these hints of devotion to her mother that you drop - making deals for her safety, wishing to end her pain. It's clear she loves her mother, but she's never quite learned how to help her in the way she needs but that hasn't become what defines her. Even as she's standing here hoping for a way to make her mother's pain go away, she isn't weak or a damsel in distress. She's still a fighter and I can just sense that in a way and yeah. Very unique characterisation of her. I like it.

Speaking of devotion, is that a bit of unrequited romance I detect or am I seeing things? I love these little hints that you drop that Rumple somewhat fancies Cora. It's not this dramatic and burgeoning tragedy, though - you just present it as little tip-offs. The way that he doesn't care to have her unless she actually wants to be with him. The fact that he has to school his face to seem indifferent. I could be wrong, but from what I know of Rumplestiltskin in the show, that's not something he'd have to do for a lot of people. In any event, I love these little hints that there might be something more to this relationship here.

And again, this conversation hits very strongly on an emotional level and I see it clearly in my head. Cora just strikes me as incredibly brave. She's having a conversation with the Dark One while her mother lies recovering from a beating from hell compliments of a father who undoubtedly treats Cora no better, but she's not some damaged shell of a person. She still holds her head high and talks to Rumplestiltskin on his level, unafraid and meeting his eyes. That's amazing.

I also admire the way you seem to capture a sort of odd gentleness on Rumplestiltskin's part. It's not anything obvious or some glowing display of compassion, but there's a definite undertone of warmth or at least genuine interest in his dialogue here. He's not just talking to her to get information, he's talking because he wants to know.

Speaking of talking, as a general whole, this conversation is great. The dialogue flows incredibly naturally, and it winds up feeling poignant due to how open and blase their speaking is. Nobody's trying to hide any secrets or be overly dramatic. They're just having an honest conversation and stating facts, and somehow that has the end result of being incredibly poignant because, for as emotionless and even off-hand as their tones seem to be as their speaking, the scene still winds up with a definite feel of something implacable to it and I don't know why.

The friendship, if it can be called that, between Rumplestiltskin and Cora comes off as both intriguing and painful after reading this conversation. There's a certain tone to it that I can't quite describe where neither of them know everything about each other and they don't quite trust each other, but at the same time it seems like they both know a lot more about the other than they think they do and it's clear that they obviously believe something of each other, though I don't know that it's trust. It's a beautiful contradiction and I don't quite know what to make of it, but I definitely like it. This adds a really unique twist to the stereotypical friendship paradigm and I like the way that comes off.

On somewhat of a side note, I like the way this page-break functions in the same manner as like a commercial break. We pick up where we left off, but it doesn't feel like the break was arbitrary. I don't know if that's what you were going for or if that even makes sense, but either way, it had a nice effect and I definitely liked it.

And then...Mood. Whiplash. Here's where it gets so intense for me because you just casually hit on some killer truths about how people give themselves power over others and how that seems just like magic and that's just incredibly true and amazing and whoa nelly wow. I'm really impressed with that, but even more I'm amazed at how you showcase the power that the miller holds over Cora, not by just being like 'oh, he made her feel afraid' or something but by painting her so that we genuinely feel her terror. As the reader, I can /feel/ Cora's fear, and it is so terrifying to me because A) I have personal connections to this and B) Just DAMN. Watching someone who through this chapter has just been this stone-walled source of kickass bravery and nonchalance break down into this girl who is crying and stuttering and so very afraid is intense and painful and I'm reading not just because I want to find out what happens next, but because I'm so genuinely concerned and I need her to be okay. WOW.

Oh dear God, this scene where he has her backed against the wall is just...Words cannot describe my mute horror. For someone to be that cruel as to do that, to his child nonetheless is just...Wow.

I'm so glad that Rumple's here and there is a definite cathartic feel to how he so suddenly turns the tables and makes the miller afraid for once. I'm glad that Cora has someone like him who's willing to stand up for her and fight for her and help her kick her father's ass up between his shoulder blades like he so clearly needs to be done. This scene is just so emotionally intense because of the whiplash of how fast things changed and just everything is yes. Rumplestiltskin's rage is palpable and understandable and it makes every part of this moment bleed emotional intensity.

This moment here after the miller has become a snail is just as powerful, not only because of these wonderful interactions between Rumplestiltskin and Cora again but because of another little sidenote you have here, how it's more of a struggle to reign in the magic after letting it burst out than letting it burst in the first place because that connects so well not just to the magic but to the referenced rage - getting pissed off is easy. It's the calming down that takes effort.

I love how to the very last moment, Rumplestiltskin is still being surprised by Cora - by her apparent desire for mercy then to the minor plot twist of her simply wanting to do the honors herself, it's clear that he still doesn't know what to make of her entirely and she still knows how to surprise him, and that's both cool from the emotional standpoint of it leaving the chapter on a very unique tone and from the more intriguing standpoint of exactly how she manages to confound the Dark One, of all people.

All in all, this chapter is amazing and emotionally intense and well written and just hot damn YES. In hindsight, I may have to come back and pay the first nine chapters a visit after all! Great work Djinni! Bravo and keep it up! Thanks for posting,

NeoMiniTails chapter 10 . 7/29/2015
Hey Djinni!

I was planning to do your review request, but I was beat to it. lol.

Thank you so much for joining the Block Party.

Anyways, I literally ended this saying to myself, "Oh My GOD!" This chapter was so wonderful and powerful, incredibly interesting, and just WHOA! Your ending was especially powerful and was my favourite moment. The development given to Cora and Rumple along with how everything came along to be worked especially with everything that's happened in the past nine chapters prior.

Its clear to me that Cora is a trickster of hearts, cunning enough to be a kitsune with her words. Even as she's corned to the wall, she fancies herself smarter than him and while I'm sure there is honesty in her story (I question fifty percent of it), I am also sure that she knows what she should and shan't say.

But the major moment came with the appearance of the father of Cora. With Rumplestiltskin invisible to his eyes, the man coldly tries to take his daughter and do unspeakable things to her. What makes this part so significant to me is the foreshadowing used prior to introducing him with the line: "Living with such a father, it was a wonder she had no scars." - It was a brilliant phrase to use prior to revealing what he actually does to her. In my head, I imagined that her knack for magic was used to heal herself (but I also wondered to myself that if she had that kind of power, why wouldn't she use it on her own mother...)...

The moment really had me thinking. I tried to imagine what the cause could be (without going into the darkness nor imagining that you had made some kind of plot hole.)

When this line was said aloud, I had to read it three times to confirm that what he said meant what I thought it meant: "I'm the only reason you get suitors, girl. I taught you everything you know. I don't spend my valuable time giving you lessons just so you can give that sweet honey to someone else." - My heart slowed to a stop for a moment. I'm sure that I died a bit inside. I hadn't even thought that it was possible that he was so despicable that he'd do something so terrible, but that revelation was done with massive power.

Then the miller dropped his trousers. "You need a lesson, girl, to remember I'm the master." - Such a sickening and well-put line. Like Rumplestiltskin, I went numb reading this part.

I think, out of all the chapters, your emotions are most potent here.

My favourite moment would actually be this line because that is a revealing moment and so wonderfully strongly put: Cora nodded, her dark eyes glittering. "Yes. He is. Let me step on him." - I mean, that is one way to end a chapter. OMG! Your way of showing how cruel she could truly be is this here. She's reveling in the idea of killing her father, herself.

What's even more perfect about that ending is because it brought me back to the earlier line mentioned by her about the pure-hearted having no reason to worry about the Dark One. This line: "Pellinore told me the 'pure of heart' had nothing to fear from you." Cora's forehead pinched together. "Can you see why her scheme had me worried?" - Its funny how much of an actress that she is and yet, in that moment, it shows that all that pretending to be this and that way was just folly. The way that her eyes glittered at the thought of killing him gave me the shivers.

Like the kitsune, even they can't pretend to be one way for too long. Soon enough, they have to show their true colours, and she definitely did.

I'm so excited for your next chapter!
Until Next Time,
Update soon,
Edhla chapter 10 . 7/28/2015
Really love the use of "inspected" here - it immediately puts Rumple in a position of superiority over the situation, perhaps a bit removed from it all. You undercut that almost immediately with his sharp inhalation and the "aroma of agony", which works, and then zig-zag back again with "the only power here is me."

"Truly, truly." I love the bitterness in this, and so much implied by "what choice have we ever had?" This is on fire, Djinni, and it's only a couple of paragraphs in.

You've done brilliantly to keep Rumple in character (so far as you've portrayed him; I'm still canon-blind.) In a situation that would turn most people's hearts (what's Cora's mother ever done to him, anyway?) he's driving a hard bargain and knows she won't refuse him.

"At no additional charge" - love this, too. The subleties in your work are amazing.

This isn't anything wrong with your writing, but I live quite near a suburb called "Fairy Meadow" - there are neither fairies nor meadows, it's quite a grim suburban hole. Dragged me out of the scene somewhat, but that's not likely to affect most of your readers :)

"Bully's whelp" - love this turn of phrase.

"That worked?" A naked, lovely, helpless lady worked on a prince? Duh, Rumple! I love the characterisation of Pellinore (a character I'm not familiar with) - that she was the only person who actually galvanised into action and did something to help. The slight adjustment to the "fairy tale come to life" - that the handsome prince sat slack-jawed and did nothing - is a nice twist.

The dialogue between Rumple and Cora is golden in this section - the way they finish and cut off each other's sentences to form a cohesive narrative that doesn't sound like they're telling each other what they already know.

[She noticed] Always surprising that men think they're invisible when they do this ;)

Oh, the scene between the miller and Rumple was deliciously satisfying (in some primally cruel area of my psyche. It's always nice to see a bully and abuser get his, and a snail is nicely 'fairy tale'!) And good job of showing Cora both as the victim of abuse and as her usual self, angling to be the one to step on him. Great chapter. xx
Midorima Kazunari chapter 1 . 7/28/2015
Warning! I am completely fandom blind! (Although I am familiar with the premise of the show and the basic literary value of the characters.)

“…he twisted around the source of the song.” I like that picture. Carlyle is a lithe individual and I can see him dancing around song like a male ballet dancer.

“Happy to see you, too.” Rump’s (shorten that for the sake of my fingers) inner monologue is fantastic! It’s droll and sarcastic with a lovely edge of fangs. I’m surprised he doesn’t come right and say what he’s thinking, but perhaps I’ll understand why soon enough.

Roast Chimera?! Sorry, my mind sputtered to a few of my fandoms.

The contrast between the ogres and humans when it comes to parlay is a really eye-opening and stunning revelation. It’s amazing how non-human creatures are always the best at treating people right, while humans are the worse. Is Rump actually human? I thought he was an imp in the original fairy tale. I guess this must be a fandom thing I don’t know. Never mind, you explained that a little farther down.

The Basilisk-skin boots are a really nice little touch.

The humans breaking the treaty by cutting down a few trees is a priceless plot point. “What did it hurt?” You, you prig! That’s the way of humanity, isn’t it? Everything is of such little consequence until someone does it to you. Sounds very much like our history with the Native American people.

The shout out to the spinning wheel was a good idea! It gives even the fandom blind something to grab onto.

“Rumpelstiltskin could recognize the sound of desperation.” At this point, I wonder if it is both because he’s caused it and he’s felt in enough in his own life…

“Wailing is for banshees.” Oh, all that is holy, that brought an actual laugh out of me, and I’m sure it was supposed to shock the girl into laughing as well.

Oh? He looks like a reptile? Is that canon? Because I really wish you’d mentioned that a lot earlier. I’m picturing Full Monty Carlyle, not a Face Off version of him, lol. I remember the bit about talons at the first, but I thought you using that as an alternative to really long finger nails or something.

Her sweet talk is smooth! You go girl.

“I haven’t set my price.” Sometimes I wonder if magic can even be done without setting a price? It’s an interesting thought. Maybe it would be even stronger?

I love that he takes the necklace, but it means nothing to her. That’s got to be a clue for what’s about to come? I hope so.

“…and squeezed his shoulder.” I think Cora’s a bit of a tease, ain’t she

“…his throat tightened.” Whoops, Rump’s smitten and falling quick!

“My fathers a fool (,) but I love him.” This is just a suggestion.

“Fortunate I was here tonight.” Hm, I would either make that ‘fortunately’ or I’d combine this sentence with the previous one with a colon.

“…at least not more than relief…” That ‘not’ makes the sentence a little awkward. Maybe ‘no more’ would be smoother?

This is a lovely step up for a romance. I’m sure Rump’s going to have to come back and help her again, given that anyone as greedy as that guy would force her to keep spinning that gold. It was well written and executed. Great job!
Dejsha's World chapter 1 . 7/26/2015
I think this is a good story. I like how in your authors notes, you considder people (like me) who are unfamiliar with the fandom and give an explination of what it is about.

I liked the first line of chapter one, because you generally wouldn't see the description you put in a story and it was a short but explinatary and yet mysterious sentence.

The story is very descriptive and you seem to know alot about music.

I like the style you write in, it is elligant but easy to understand even if someone isn't familiar with the fandom.

I gather from the story that the king and Rumplestiltskin don't get along but deep down they actually enjoy the bantering between them.

You have great grammar and spelling and even though I'm not familiar with the fandom, I really enjoyed chapter one.

I'll continue to read the rest of the story.

Happy writing,

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