Sunday, May 16, 2010

Guest Fic Rec: The Dame Fades Away

Dame Nellie's

I've been reading Twilight fanfic for almost a year now and in that time I've probably read more than a thousand fics. I've read dozens of canon fics, scores of AUs and hundreds of AH stories. I've read high school fics, porn without plot, non-canon pairings, anything I could get my hands on. I'll give anything a try because I'm not too attached to the source material or to the characters as they were originally writen. Give me vanon character or give me OOC, I don't really care. What I'm really looking for is great stories with complex characters and interesting premises.

And what I love most is to read something completely different from anything I've read before. And this, my friends, is one of those.

The story starts off in Phoenix, before Bella moves to Forks. I found this rather disorientating at first because it wasn't what I was expecting. But I soon realized that this is an author who is interested in giving her characters real depth, who is committed to telling a story with layers and complexity. She doesn't hold back at all and this story has real tragedy almost immediately.

It's when we get to the third chapter that things really get interesting. This is when we first meet Edward. And he's a complete and unmitigated arsehole. Now, I'm usually not a fan of douchewards at all. I really dislike seeing Edward getting away with being a prick only to be magically redeemed at the end of the story. I assure you this is nothing like that. Edward is unapologetically horrible but fantastically charismatic. He and Bella clash immediately. While the other students at Forks High steer clear of Edward, Bella refuses to let him frighten her. And despite his professed loathing of her, Edward manages to save her life more than once. Nevertheless, Bella knows that there's something abnormal about Edward and when officers from the Forks Police start being being killed, she seeks to find out who Edward Cullen really is.

Edward Cullen had the aspect of a man who spent most of his life underneath a rock, yet still managed to display a joie de vivre."

He's one of those charasmatic villains you just love to hate. He's not the usual Adonis that is so ubiquitous in fanfic, however he makes up for it with a razor-sharp British wit that is so entertaining to read. Derdriu oFaolain has written this Edward the best back story of any I've seen in Twific. It's full of intrigue, history and real poignancy. Despite the darkness of his personality, this Edward seems to have a sense of humour about himself which is really endearing. Unlike canon Edward who struggles with his nature, this Edward has come to accept himself for who he is and has chosen self-decrecating wit over tortured brooding.

"I never knew I was so deep," he whispered in reply. "Edward Cullen: steeped in shadow, metaphor and sexiness."

"I didn't say anything about sexiness."

He grinned. "No, I added that part so I didn't sound like the first line of an emo poem."

And forget what you know about the rest of the Twilight characters. Some of them make only fleeting appearances. Others, like Carlisle and Jasper, are so different that you'll find yourself struggling to work out who's good and who's bad. It makes the mystery so much more interesting because the normal character markers of a Twilight story just aren't there to guide you.

The story is infused with twists and turns to keep the reader interested throughout. The author quotes Checkov in her profile "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." It's clear she's of this school of storytelling because the plot is tightly wound and perfectly paced. The characterisations are complex and interesting. She doesn't stick to Stephenie Meyer's vampire mythology, instead choosing to mix it up with traditional vampire mythology and added her own unique twists. She subverts the genre by making fun, at times, of the usual Twific cliches.

"Bella," he said, his voice suddenly serious. "I have written you a poignant lullaby through which I hope to express the gravity of our relationship."

...After a dramatic twisting of his wrists, his fingers hit the keys, producing a progression of notes which sounded like they belonged in a lounge somewhere. And then he sang, in a smooth jazz-style voice. "Bella… Bella… what the hella? If you want normal, don't choose an undead fella."

An even more exciting thing about this story is that it's already complete. The story is so tight from start to finish that it never loses its impact or pacing towards the end. This story had everything I look for in a fic - enteratining characters, wit, mystery, depth, originality and fantastic writing. It provoked some great discussions, particularly in regards to the ending. I'd recommend this story to anyone who is looking for something a little outside the box and who isn't afraid of something different and complex. I'd challenge anyone to not be thoroughly entertained.

This is the kind of story that provokes passionate reactions from readers. I've never seen another story so aggressively pimped by its fans (or which I am definite one). Derdriu oFaolain has a phenomenal talent and I really look forward to reading whatever she does next. Let's hope she writes more in this fandom.
DameNellie is the author of the one-shot A WellMade Mistake and is currently working on Conversation on War, for the Twilight 25. Check her out. Run, don't walk.


  1. I stayed up an entire night to read this fic when I found it by accident on someone's Favorite page. It ruined me for so many other stories, because this is quality story telling and now I automatically compare it to other vamp stories. Completely different from anything I've read, no character cliches, insane use of Esme, Jasper, Alice, Emmett, etc. I nearly cried when it ended, even though I understand that a good author knows when to end a story. Now it's being pimped nearly every day at A Different Forest. Several times daly. GO READ THIS!

  2. I just finished reading this story and was completely blown away by it. The writing is superb, the story suspenseful and dark - I love the way the vampires are written here. The author intertwines humor and drama skillfully. I found myself laughing out loud and biting my fingernails all in the same chapter. There is so much to this story but it never loses its way. There is a back story that makes the entire tale even more compelling as you understand why this dark Edward is the way he is. This Edward is very snarky sometimes even mean but Bella holds her own and gives as good as she gets. I really like this Bella - she stands out from the cliche fan fic version she sometimes can be in so many stories. This is a fic that you can't put down until you have completely consumed it - because it consumes you. As soon as you start reading the story you know you have found something unique and quite amazing. I can't wait for the author's next effort. I am a Twi fan fic devotee but would read anything she writes. I am happy to see TLYDF highlighting this story - it deserves to be known.

  3. Indeed an excellent choice! This story may have ruined me for others.

  4. "Edward is unapologetically horrible but fantastically charismatic." <- This

    I adore this story, for all of the reasons you've listed. In particular, I love that she makes him "horrible" yet gives us enough backstory to explain why and to give us a reason to sympathize with him. Really stellar.

  5. Spent last night reading it. Even my husband was giving me hard time this morning because I overslept thanks to going to bed at 2 AM! Great read!


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