sotto_voce: Hellboy and Liz Sherman hugging ([hellboy] heard your voice)
Lexie ([personal profile] sotto_voce) wrote2016-12-30 07:17 pm

YULETIDE #2

Every year, I'm like, THIS IS IT, THIS IS GONNA BE THE YEAR WHERE I'M NOT THAT ASSHOLE WHO RECS BUT TAKES FOREVER TO COMMENT, and every year, I write the recs first and comments second. Which is to say: I still owe comments for a number of these fics. But I really, really loved them, and I think you would love them too, so you should read them.

HOT FUZZ
Christmas Comes to Sandford
(This is marvelously in-character, for everyone, up to and including the Andes' amazing cameo, and so, so funny. I just stuffed my face into my scarf and laughed and laughed. It's fabulously understated, and has exactly the right touches of surreal humor, just like the movie.)
"Dad, none of those things you said happened," Danny said. "I mean, we did have that book release a few weeks back, but it was all good fun. I saved you a bottle of butterbeer."

Frank sighed. "Danny. Son."

"Only then I remembered all the rotten things you'd done so I drank it," Danny said. "So there."


HAIL, CAESAR!
Saps and Swishes
(Apparently what I wanted, this Christmas, was 33,000 words of communist Channing Tatum and all-American cowboy each trying to convert the other in the 1950s. Watching them reluctantly fall for each other, in a story packed with period detail, was a delight! The characterization for Hobie was a particular highlight -- I loved how straightforward and sure in himself he was, and loved watching him slowly learn to succeed in the acting role that he started in the movie. It was just right, and so satisfying.)
Hobie Doyle couldn't be a day over twenty-five, if that. Young. Impressionable. With a smile that charmed millions. And from what Burt knew of his background, muscles enough to wrangle a raging bull into submission. Brute strength and a blank mind. Burt could work with that. After all, Hobie couldn't turn in Burt as a queer Communist if Burt turned him into one first.


GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)
The Golden Ratio
(Abby's inability to get the correct ratio of wontons to broth was one of my favorite running gags in a movie full of them, and I love the resolution for it here! Abby's character voice is great and her wonton soup trials and tributions are hilarious. I fist-pumped on her behalf when things finally start going her way.)
At yet another new place, she tells them, "Light on the broth." The container is filled only a third of the way, and still only has two wonton. She slam dunks it into the wastebasket. It doesn't even splash in a satisfying way.

It's enough to make her tear at the pockets out of her lab coat in frustration. They're getting a little frayed. On the other hand, she's learning how to say "Take it back" in Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien.


"GLADIATOR" - DAMI IM (MUSIC VIDEO)
would my heart be changed
(This is, in a word, stunning. I don't even know what to say, honestly. Warrior Min trains her whole life to rescue the princess, and then, instead, she finds Eun-jeong. The mythology and the whole world created was incredibly inventive, immersive, and beautiful. It felt like the sort of story you'd been told your whole life, while still incredibly original. And the romance was just ... everything. I read as slowly as possible because I didn't want it to end. It was beautiful as a fic, and I would watch ONE MILLION episodes of this as a kdrama.)
"I went to the Shadow King's fortress," Min says, "to rescue the sacred princess, who is pure in heart and mind; who is pious and gracious, and beautiful beyond compare; who will defeat the Shadow King, if only she is freed from the prison he tricked her into a thousand years ago. It is prophecy." She draws out a second spirit stone and stands, to move to put it in place, and as she does she looks up.

Eun-jeong is staring at her. Eun-jeong's eyes are very round, and her face is very pale; and she has wound her hands around each other again, again, taut as a strung bow. "But the only thing there was me," she says, very low.


FANTASTIC FOUR
Central Park in June
(The kids want to break up Peter and Johnny's established relationship. The banter, and the family of it all, is just so good. It has heart but is, also, screamingly funny: my very favorite combination.)
“She’ll get bored!” Peter hissed in a mocking whisper. He’d been sleeping off a long night out swinging on the town on Johnny’s significantly nicer mattress and he was bleary-eyed and scowling. Johnny tried to kiss him and shove him towards the closet all at once. “How long can she possibly hold out for? I wonder who said that!”

“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” Johnny whispered back. “I’ll fix it, just not right this second, I don’t want her to think I’m a liar –”


DUMBING OF AGE
Tidings of Raptor and Joy
(This was my gift, and it is GLORIOUS. Dina and Becky are apart for Christmas, but Dina's got a plan to make it easier for them to talk. The character voices pack such a punch; both the Dina and Becky narration are, and I don't say this lightly, completely perfect, but what especially got me was the look into how Dina thinks. And as a huge nerd for paleontology, all the dinosaur details were brilliant!)
I have a rare visual image in my memory: our hands linked. Hers large, pale and freckled, with square knuckles and bitten skin around the thumbnails. My own smaller, browner hands, with the small, shallow-set fingernails -- vestigial claws, still of some use for defense and climbing. Holding on as she drags me along the corridor.


CRITICAL ROLE
you can fake it for a while
(VEX AND PERCY FAKE-MARRIED FIC, SOUND THE ALARMS. It's just gorgeous, honestly. Every single sentence is a revelation, in terms of characterization; the author's grasp on every member of the party is killer. In addition to the Vex/Percy, which seriously hit the spot, I especially loved the exploration of the twins' relationship and Vex's friendship with Keyleth.)
"I hate being like him," Vex says bitterly.

Vax sighs and takes her by the shoulders. "I'm only going to tell you this once, because I hate talking about that prick." He shakes her a little and then gives her a smile, the kind that only people who've known you for years can give you. It's a smile you can only give someone you love. "Sister, you never were."

A Promise in the Sky
(This is a gorgeous five times fic. I love all of the vignettes, but I think my favorite might be the one dealing with Vex and Vax being separated -- Vex's grief hurts like a physical wound, and Percy's insights are lovely and so very Percy.)
"The thing about growing up in a family as large as mine was," he says, his words drifting a little like he's already lost in thought, "is that it becomes very obvious very early on that people are always going to be leaving."

She makes a low sound, more for his sake, at the moment, than for hers.

Love is Love (is Love)
(The solution of my heart for the Keyleth-Vax-Gilmore love triangle!!! Gilmore's reactions, in particular, hurt so good; resignation turning to something else entirely.)
Shaun Gilmore kissed like he did everything else: gloriously.


CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND
Why Is Josh's Friend's Uncle Talking to Me About Vampires?
(I almost didn't read this, because I wasn't sure that a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fusion was something that I needed, and I'm so glad I did not make that colossal mistake. A lot of what I want to say would be spoilery for some of the more delightful surprises, but: I loved the author's take on the Buffy universe after Sunnydale, and all of the characters are SO THEMSELVES, it's beautiful.)
“Being a Slayer is more of a hobby. A hobby someone else told me I have. I'm a lawyer during the day. And sometimes at night, but the work load in West Covina is pretty light compared to New York so I usually have time for other things.”

The smile on the demon's face was a lot more welcoming than anything Rebecca had expected to feel from a mouth full of fangs.


BLACK BOOKS
A Christmas Carol
(Fran's calculating, airy, self-involved narration gave me life. The understanding of all three characters is perfection. I laughed for days at Manny getting a bloody nose from the force of being crushed to Fran's sternum.)
Fran had had her hand over Manny’s mouth throughout this, so it probably wasn’t that surprising he looked a tad green when she released him. And the nosebleed had a nicely consumptive look. She glared at Bernard. “This is what you did, Bernard Black. And if he dies-“

She tried to think what would upset Bernard most. Spoilt for choice, but she went with, “You’ll have to fetch things from the airing cupboard alone.”


ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE - BENJAMIN ALIRE SÁENZ
Leave the Light On
(Wow, man. It is so hard to capture the feeling of a particular canon, especially when you're working in a different structure, but the author managed to make this fic feel like a perfect sequel to the book while working in third person instead of Ari's very distinct first person narration. The writing is gorgeous. The characterization is wonderful for everyone. The treatment of grief is nuanced and deep. I cried like a baby over Ari processing the loss of his father.)
Dante tipped his face back to look at the breaking night sky, so Ari did the same. It was so expansive. It went on and on and on. There were so many stars, just beginning to flicker awake. How was it that Ari was almost twenty-eight years old and he still didn’t know any of their secrets? He thought he’d figured them out, once. But they didn’t keep. The sky was infinite. They were not.


ANNE OF GREEN GABLES - L.M. MONTGOMERY
All three of these fics are wonderfully in-character, with characters getting into and out of perfect Anne-esque scrapes and with beautiful prose that sounds like an extension of L.M. Montgomery. I accept them all as my lord and savior, and also as new canon.

A Peppery Idea
(This reads like a lost scene from the first book! Diana's narration is lovely, and Matthew's concern for Anne was so sweet.)
“The soup, Anne. We should start the soup if we want it to be ready in time for supper,” she gently reminded her friend. She loved Anne more than anything else in the world, and was used to her role as Anne’s earthly tie back to the workaday week.

A Storm by the Sea
(Anne and Diana still getting into mischief, despite being many decades older and wiser. Anne's grief over Walter's death is so painful, and that makes it all the more satisfying to watch Diana appeal to Anne's imaginative nature as she tries to help her.)
Diana kept a close watch on Anne as they ate: her appetite seemed better now, but she gave no sign of telling any of the fanciful stories that rose out of that imagination of hers. Well, that idea had probably been silly -- it wasn’t as though Diana herself hadn’t gently chided her beloved friend for such things in the past. It was enough, Diana told herself, as her eyes grew heavy, that Anne was out here with her.

The Tree Of Avonlea
(Anne's grand plans go a bit awry, as usual, and I love all of her friends and family, and the whole town, coming together to fix things. Particular shoutout to Davy gleefully chasing the "skirrel" that almost ruined the day -- I laughed so much. What a nostalgia bomb straight back to my childhood spent devouring these books.)
Marilla surveyed the chaos in front of her, with hands on hips. Outwardly she appeared unruffled, though inwardly she felt a keen sense of disappointment on Anne’s behalf.

“Well, let us see what we can rescue from the tree,” Marilla said, ever pragmatic. “Come, girls. Many hands make light work.”

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