Reviews for Vaster Than Empires
AI chapter 17 . 5/11
You've done a fantastic job transporting the characters from Bakumatsu ( end of the Edo period ) to the beginning if the Edo period. It makes sense that Kenshin is peasant class and untrained for running Hito, and makes sense that Kaoru would take over. I love your gentle, unsure Kenshin. I also love your pragmatic, political astute Kaoru. The politics are wonderful, as someone from Japanese descent. Thanks for writing and sharing!
8oclocksleeper chapter 17 . 4/26
I love this story! You wove words beautifully, and the way you fleshed out the story was compelling. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.
8oclocksleeper chapter 9 . 4/25
"Truth us the enemy of desire... It cannot withstand the knowledge that the object of your desire is human, a creature of flesh and blood with all the sins that accompany that." Beautiful words :)
animaniacal chapter 17 . 4/21
Ugh, I put of reading this one knowing I wouldn’t be able to put it down, and of course, I couldn’t… So, so great. You are such a talented writer. Thank you so much for writing and posting this! Some random thoughts (too lazy to review every chapter, one day, I’ll become a better person, I beg your forgiveness…)
- Wow, it is sad to go about rereading this (which I did the minute I finished it), especially the very beginning bit where you mention Kaoru’s extended family. Are they all executed/banished in the end? Or just Yahiko’s branch? I can’t imagine Yahiko’s feelings over that…
- What an expressive horse. Get that horse a prize! :) Mouse for Best Horse of the Year.
- Sexual tension. While. Organizing. Documents. AHHH… you are my favorite person ever.
- Mr. Sato… is that a reference to Takeru, perhaps?
- I loved your mention of the "rabbit in the moon" during the Jine'h scene; a great idea, an attempt at distraction... It was beautiful. I always saw a rabbit in the moon, though, from a children's book I had about it.
- I am curious as to whether you intended to imply that Tokugawa knew of Kaoru’s reputation as an independent and “wild” woman, and thought Kaoru and Kenshin would be well suited for each other? Both wanting to give his old friend Koushijiro’s daughter a good husband, and thinking that this actually was him doing better by Kenshin than in his last marriage? (I’m imagining him as the Emperor from Mulan, wrong country and situation, but whatever… ‘you don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty…’). Just a stray thought. You’ve probably answered this question elsewhere.
- “Soft-sharp” sound of his name, what a lovely description.
- “Both a’ya are a couple’a lucky stiffs.” Pshaw, Sano, saying what we’re all thinking (goddam, the two of them are just too beautiful to live).
- Also, where is Sano supposed to be from? The way you write him works well, but I’m wondering if you had a specific sound in mind.
- Your Suzume and Ayame scenes gave me a toothache.
- The changes you made to Kaoru’s character in this story are fantastic. Still “in character,” at least IMO, but just great. I know the “respect for all life” aspect of her philosophy is pretty ingrained into the canon story, but wouldn’t fit in the world you wrote. And honestly… it can get a little tiring, the absoluteness and naivety of that view, at least in some adaptions (specifically thinking the second live action movie, felt a little over-emphasized). Not to say the philosophy itself is naive, just… as we see, things get complicated: Shishio’s death had to be Disney-ed for that storyline to wrap up, for example. In your story, I just loved the “kill him” command in the first kidnapping, and then the actual wielding of the sword herself during the second… They were really strong and great plot choices.
- You write ever one of your POV characters with such earnestness, it’s really fascinating. Even in Invictus, where Megumi was the “world-weary” character, she still had this undercurrent of purity and childishness that I was captivated by. I think sometimes the earnestness comes on a little strong, especially in Kenshin, but it is lovely to read, being in the mindset of good people who almost only ever hope for good things for others… I would be very interested to read an apathetic character from you (and you've probably done so, I haven't read everything of yours yet), but maybe that’s not what you’re interested in.
-Play within a play and symbolic board games… Kaoru is a fast learner… You’re really switched around some of their character traits, which I loved! Kaoru, the master (in training) manipulator, Kenshin the hopeless open book :)
-Thanks again! This really made my weekend.
TOSoldtimer chapter 17 . 4/16
I've read this epic several times now, and I still think it is one of the best RK A/Us ever. Among those set in the past, it is the best. Past and future combined, top 10 for sure. I like your version of Kaoru better than the manga version who can't hold her temper and keeps bashing people. I do hope you write a sequel someday. I would love to see how all the relationships work out.
Lady NeverAfterNon chapter 9 . 4/11
The writing is beautiful, and I admire the amount of research and/or knowledge that you've put in here. It's a very well constructed piece and I find myself exited for every new sentence. It's both funny and poignant- you are an excellent writer. Thanks for posting!
nothing but blue chapter 17 . 4/2
ahhhhhhh this was such a wonderful story! you are a fantastic writer. your words and story-telling were so beautiful. my heart is warm and full after reading this. thank you very much and great job!
ForeverRainingFire chapter 17 . 3/29
Great story! I really enjoyed it! I thought you did a great job with all of the characters - I especially liked Kaoru - and I also feel like I learned at least a little bit about the end of the Warring States Period and the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate. You've made me realize what an interesting time period it was, and that I should probably go to the library to pick up a book on the subject. Anyways, thanks again for such a great story! New favorite!
Kinsutenekochan chapter 1 . 3/25
Very well done! I really enjoyed how you captured the (forgive my rudeness) absolutely droll amout of ceremony and careful wording that made up the court of ancient japan. The manga fanatic in me would like to see the traditional titles they used as well (such as -san instead of mr. And -Sama instead of lord) but I know that not everone is familiar with them or would know what they mean. (-_-); you have created a rich world to step into while still managing to give Kenshin his sense of humor and Karou her inner strength. I look forward to the rest! Keep it up and Thank you!
Jileel chapter 17 . 3/15
This is a masterpiece, if ive ever seen any.
orchid14 chapter 17 . 3/5
Congratulations, you've written a fantastic piece of work! It is magnificent and it brought me great delight reading it. The plot is thick and well-written, original characters were well designed, intimacy is depicted in good taste. I'm more than happy to see Kaoru as an "iron lady" type of woman here, and it makes sense in this context for her to have a soul and mind of a samurai's daughter. Kenshin was devoted and very caring, just the sweet, good-hearted person he always is. I'm delighted to see your alteration of Tomoe in here. You gave her personality more grace and sense than that of Watsuki-sensei's (because I hated the real canon Tomoe). Here, Tomoe died like a samurai and at least her death wasn't senseless, as she chose to tell Kenshin the truth about her predicament. You are a great RK fanfiction writer and we're lucky to have you! Please write more when possible. Thank youu!
Guest chapter 17 . 2/28
This is a really really great story even if it's deep and too serious. I can feel the sincerity, honesty and love of kenshin for kaoru. Though it's hard to read whenever sano's the one talking but amazing story nonetheless. I so love kenshin and kaoru's character here. It so like kenshin to be submissive to kaoru, however i didn't anticipate kaoru's personality here. It felt like she's the husband, after all, all the authority rests on her hands. But i actually prefered her personality in this fic instead in the anime/manga. It's refreshing!
Guest chapter 10 . 2/28
Woah i never expected a lemon in this chapter
dor chapter 17 . 2/19
I LOVED your story! The intelligence behind it was smoothly written! Your writing is amazing :) I was completely wrapped up in its realm without feeling uncomfortable! The way you portray the character's hesitations, thoughts and personality was amazing! HRGH I couldn't put the story down! I also loved how kaoru such a strong individual here but she still kept her feminine touch. I may find myself reading this story again in future because i liked it so much. Thank you for the story!
Kintora chapter 17 . 2/8
This story has vividly captured my imagination like none other in a long while. I'm just sorry I had not stumbled upon it sooner! Your ability to twine fact and fiction together was not only clever, but impressive. Your accurate knowledge in Japanese history and culture really shine through - you show a very deep understanding of what the life was like during those tumultuous times. A lot of what happened then is not not always comprehensible to our society in today's culture, but your prose and ability to depict that understanding throughout the story allows the readers to sympathize with the characters and understand their decisions, when we could have easily dismissed it all as uneccessarily cruel.

I have to say that chapter 15 really blew me away. I knew Kaoru wasn't a strong character in the canon, but here in this fanfic, she couldn't prove to be any stronger or braver. And Kenshin's humble character is far more progressive than his canon self. It's something I found refreshing to follow as the plot unfolded. Although I love his canon self, this story only makes me appreciate him even more (or at least this particular portrayal of him). Here, he treats Kaoru as his equal in every way instead of always sheltering her without truly consulting her first (canon - May 14th departure scene... seriously?)

There are parts I wish were elaborated more on or were given scenes to. For instance, I would have liked to see Kaoru finally receiving Kenshin's true bridal gift. And while I found myself plowing through the chapters after Kaoru was taken by Enishi, there wasn't really a chance to focus on the absence/sacrifice of Tae and Shirojo. They were very important characters to Kaoru for much of the story, so it was tragic to see them go. I know the story pace after that really sped up and they were lost to the chaos, but I had hoped there would be more acknowledgement there for them.

Overall, your story was concise and beautifully crafted - truly brilliant piece of work! I'm shelving this bright gem under my favorites and revisiting it often.
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