Reviews by Naneth
Ever and Ever by Whisper Rated: R [Reviews - 57]
Summary: Rohan is withering under the weight of the war. Calahdra Medlinniel, however, is falling in love. A Shieldmaiden of Rohan, Calahdra is young, damaged, and driven by duty. Yet how could she give her life for her people when she suddenly has so much to live for?
Categories: Book-verse, Movie-verse Characters: Legolas
Genres: Romance
Warnings: Violence
Series: None
Chapters: 44 Table of Contents
Completed: Yes Word count: 123142 Read Count: 57070
Published: Jun 21 2009 Updated: Jan 14 2011 [Report This]
Title: Chapter 17: Chapter 16: Rendition Reviewer: Naneth Signed
Whisper, this is far and away the best romantic fan fiction I've yet read!
Your story, its sweetness, its profound sensuality, takes my breath away.

Calahdra and Legolas have some very intense chemistry ( I think due to the way you so skillfully interweave physical passion with love, as well as the many other facets of human experience, so that they seem real to us, rather than cardboard characters invented to write a love scene), and it fairly ignites the screen. I'm cheering them on.
Your dialogue is authentic and true to the characters and their individuality, not an easy thing to do. Further, you make it work for you, as in the classic writing rule 'show don't tell'-- in that your characters reveal themselves, and the story's details, to us in a natural and sense-rich way, rather than you downloading huge descriptive paragraphs to tell us backstory.

Lucky me, I discovered your story only recently with 16 chapters to read at once, and I did nothing else for a day and a half, I was so riveted. I'm sure you have many other readers out there who were likewise under your spell -hint, hint people-- reviews mean a lot to writers. If this story moved you as well, please let Whisper know.

I'm loving this! I hope you continue working on this one for many chapters to come-- it has rare magic to it. Thank you.
While there may be a few rough spots, they don't stand out, and time will smooth those as you continue on this path.
You have a gift for language, and I'm so grateful you found the courage to share it online. Brava! Keep going...

Author's Response: You have no idea how much your thoughtful and kind review means to me. Messages like yours really push me forward, and they certainly make my day. And I'd like to commend you in your "hint hint, nudge nudge" to the other readers. Reviews are essential to a story's development. Like you said, there are rough spots, and no matter how many times I go back and try to smooth things over, I'll always miss something. With out the support and vocalization of my readers, I can never achieve anything close to perfection. So please, everyone, take Naneth's advice and drop me a review, even if it's only a word or two long! Once again, I am very glad that you enjoy my work so thoroughly and I hope that as the story progresses, I don't dissapoint! -Whisper

Author's Response: You have no idea how much your thoughtful and kind review means to me. Messages like yours really push me forward, and they certainly make my day. And I'd like to commend you in your "hint hint, nudge nudge" to the other readers. Reviews are essential to a story's development. Like you said, there are rough spots, and no matter how many times I go back and try to smooth things over, I'll always miss something. With out the support and vocalization of my readers, I can never achieve anything close to perfection. So please, everyone, take Naneth's advice and drop me a review, even if it's only a word or two long! Once again, I am very glad that you enjoy my work so thoroughly and I hope that as the story progresses, I don't dissapoint! -Whisper
Date: Sep 24 2009
Title: Chapter 19: Chapter 18: Silence Reviewer: Naneth Signed
This story just gets better and better. This is a long review – I got to read 16 chapters at once and have a lot to say! I’ll keep reviewing in the future, and yes, I’ll restrain myself from now on. So bear with me…
The most important thing: it sings! Your tale is a living, breathing success. You have achieved the kind of magic that has readers gripping their chairs for dear life as the plot cascades forward, bringing us into… well, your Middle-earth.
You write really well about one of the most difficult topics for many writers (our sexuality) because it is one of the most private aspects of our lives as human beings… the sensuality and chemistry between your main characters is totally authentic and accessible, riveting. It burns with incredible heat that will not be denied. I for one will admit to a rapidly beating heart at times throughout the story.
One thing I’d caution you on: I’ve read a couple stories (and ultimately stop reading them because they become annoying) in which the strategy seems to be to avoid an actual consummation of the relationship indefinitely, while the two characters are desperately desiring it. You can do that only for so long before it loses its piquancy and becomes a gimmick … no worries, you are not at that point yet, and you’ve done a great job of maintaining suspense realistically and letting them progress small increments at a time –it’s very effective at this point—I could weep with anticipation! Just trust your characters to figure it out for the sake of the love they bear each other. The first love scene between a couple is not necessarily the end of the story of chemistry, giddiness, anticipation, romance and the give-and-take dance of feelings and quarrels and reconciliations.
Side note, I don’t think you need to warn readers about a chapter having too much sensuality (unless it falls under the ‘graphic sex’ category): at this point I think you have a loyal fan following precisely because of the deeply sensual territory you have led your characters into, and the eloquent way you paint them for us on this journey, showing their inner experience with such depth. I also don’t think you need to maintain a PG-13 rating for every chapter if the story your heart wants to tell calls you outside those boundaries. (This may be a question for the webmistress). People offended by the direction your tale is going would have dropped out long ago, and that’s fine—they are not your tribe. You can’t please everyone.
Related, you write love and tenderness very well too – sweet and deep, and skillfully interwoven with the physical desire. Although you have them falling for each other very fast, it rings true and works for them. It’s hard to keep interested in stories where the author has not demonstrated WHY the characters even like each other, beyond physical attraction. In your fabulous tale however, it is brilliantly apparent in every exchange what they see in each other. It’s quite a compelling symphony you’ve set in motion and I’m hooked for the long term.
Your characters are so very lifelike, complex, and ultimately lovable, which is the most important thing: as I heard one author say at a writer’s conference I attended, “your hero can be battling giant alien ants from outer space, while hanging off a cliff by one hand, but if you haven’t built a believable character that we can sympathize with, NO ONE CARES”. Take pride -- you have avoided that particular downfall of amateur writing with impressive skill.
As for adding in more about other characters, especially the fellowship, good choice there --it really does enrich the story. Especially because it rounds out Legolas; it would be a little hard to reconcile how such an honor-bound, devoted friend-of-Aragorn, etc. completely forsakes time w/ his companions even if he is falling in love. Bringing others in more fully, through their interactions with the main two, gives you opportunity to explore new facets and motivations of your lovebirds & makes the whole thing flow amazingly well! Also brings the flavor of Middle-earth in more fully. Nice touch.
Your chapter titles are spare, poetic, and right on.
There are a few small technical tricks of the trade I can share with you that would make your writing even stronger than it already is:
Try not to use the same word/ phrase twice in a paragraph if possible— like “his eyes”. The reader is pulled out of the story if that happens too much.
Proofread because spellcheck won’t catch this -- homonyms like too and to, there and their – to make sure you’re using the right word (I always have to check my own work for this particular issue)
Always use a direct verb when possible; it avoids the passive language that plagues much writing (this is not a huge problem for you; your language is far from passive and you make good use of powerful verbs in your writing… but since we all get caught by it sometimes, especially when we’re lost in the thick of writing an amazingly cool story, I just thought I’d throw it out there for your awareness). Having people do things, rather than describing things happening to them, makes for a more powerful sentence. Here’s an example: “Theoden looked at me for a while, his eyes looking quite sad, I thought.” Strengthen with a verb like “…his shadowed eyes piercing mine.”
Most recent feedback: as the battle for Rohan heats up, you’re doing a wonderful job of showing the cycle of fear to rising courage to battle preparedness. So much more effective than just plunging into swinging swords and gore. The thing that makes it interesting after all, is the psychology going on inside people who are about to participate in a level of violence they’d never consider on an everyday basis. Their world is in the balance and both fear and bravery are at extraordinary intensities—you’ve imagined quite powerfully for us what must be going on in your characters’ minds…
You create this reality so masterfully, I felt I could breathe with, touch, smell, hear each character in every chapter you’ve written so far. I could still smell the smoke of the campfires and see the lovely hair spread intertwined upon the pillows, hear the ring of swords and shiver at the undercurrents passing silently between eyes, held captive in this world long after I stopped reading…
Please, keep up the fantastic work!

Author's Response: Thank you, as always Naneth, for your review. Your advice and praise is exactly what I'm looking for! I certainly hope to hear more from you as the story progresses. -Whisper
Date: Oct 02 2009
Title: Chapter 20: Chapter 19: Siege Reviewer: Naneth Signed
So glad you've updated! Again, well done, vividly painted scene. It helps that you're skilled with Tolkienien language, grammatical style, phrases... the spell the story casts is stronger for it. While I miss the departure from the idyllic days of Legolas and Calahdra exploring new feelings, I sense you will weave this battle and darkness into opportunity for them to love and know each other more deeply. Such is life in tumultuous Middle-earth!

Great first line-- The madness of war was born at once.
Draws your readers right in: no bones about it, this is going to be one dark and painful ride ...
Other strong lines stand out:
"One stair from the greatest fight of my life"-- good storyteller's tone here, and counting down the stairs revs the tension up.
"the minutes of my life began to race in a way that skewered time into a sort of macabre waltz": brilliant description of an almost indescribable feeling, of a patter of hope-fear-despair-hope-anguish held in check, forced waiting to hear of her love... creepily effective!
I was confused by this line: "guffawed with honor," When one feels a great honor being done to them wouldn't it be more natural to cry in release of the intensity? But, I love the gesture and the scene, and the symbolism of the naming. That one still resonates...
I can't wait to see what happens next as they ride out.

You seem to have yet another gift for writing action suspense-- I was definitely clenching a fist as one relentless scene stampeded into another. That's hard to maintain, and you've figured out how. Also I thought you kept a good balance between violence and psychological reaction.What a chapter!

& On the introspective side, when Calahdra has a chance for that, she's going to have a hard time with her conscience after using her dark mind power, isn't she. That's what makes her an interesting character. I imagine she'll be especially reluctant to tell Legolas. Hmm .......

Feel free to ask me pre-posting questions if you ever have them... while I don't have the time to commit to be a full-on beta reader, I can offer my two cents as I'm inspired. Would love to support your efforts here; This is a work of great worth, don't doubt it.
Looking forward to more soon. Nice going.

Author's Response: Thanks for the great review. I'm glad you enjoyed those lines you mentioned (the one about the macabre waltz is one of my personal favorites, if I do say so my self). And I'll be sure to send along any questions I have for you. thanks!-whisper
Date: Nov 02 2009
Title: Chapter 22: Chapter 21: Inexplicable Reviewer: Naneth Signed
thank you again for a well-written, satisfying chapter. Your intricately imagined bits of description-- of cool water on skin, of scents that paint in the nighttime landscape, and so on-- bring your readers into the story vividly. The return to small, nuanced interactions between characters is delightful and refreshing; a necessary counterbalance to the big sweeping action scenes of the war. I also think your dialogue and depiction of the canon characters has become deliciously authentic. Which enriches Calahdra and her experience all the more. Nice cliffhanger by the way!
One suggestion; let your character falter and dwell in uncertainty sometimes... while she is eloquent, she is also young and troubled... she will feel more real to us if she doesn't always know the right thing to say, or say it so beautifully every time. It is inspiring to watch this story deepen its roots and blossom, as you obviously are as a writer.

As for the previous reviewer, who saw fit to denounce your story after having read only the first chapter:

Steinbeck wrote about "fine print men", who focus their zealous concern on enforcing the letter of the law, the exact, literal interpretations of rules, and have no understanding of or sympathy for the spirit the rule was written in to begin with. Your critic reminded me of one of those.
I think I'd take this review more seriously if the reviewer had written anything else besides this one dissatisfied review in the three months he or she has been a member here. In particular, I mistrust critics whose feedback is mostly negative; it speaks to their own internal issues.

Clearly most people have not been hitting the 'back' button as evidenced by all the enthusiastic reviews Ever and Ever has been getting.
As it is, with all due respect, Malfinnien seems to be thinking as if he/she is the 'canon police' ; those who read a story with an inflexible template in mind, almost looking for any small (real or imagined) infraction of the rules, a fingerprint match to the Marysue profile. This is no way to read literary works! As with Steinbeck's fine print men, you miss the whole point and miss out on the meaning of the story.

We have all read obnoxious Mary Sue stories which revolve around a self-obsessed character for whom all the canon characters are a cardboard backdrop; fanfiction that could have been set anywhere. This is not one of those fiascos.

As for not fitting within the borders of Tolkien's original depictions of hair color, and other pointless minutiae, that is a clear example of not seeing the forest for the trees. Key word here is fiction. The fun in it is that you get creative liscence, to create something of beauty and meaning. In school we cross our t's and dot our i's. In fanfiction, we make up our own new alphabets if we want to. No one wants to read the same old, same old time and again. Except maybe those fine print men ! : )

What we have here is a young writer who is putting her heart out there in this story, admitting freely in the process her own fears, her story's flaws, and still going forward to craft a story for our enjoyment (no one's getting paid here) that has matured and deepened each successive chapter. That takes a lot of courage and I respect her for it. Those who actually write know this.
Here's a quote to put it in perspective:

Ken Robinson, one of the world's leading thinkers on creativity and innovation wrote,
"what is true, is that if you are not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original,"

And thus, as any true scientist knows, "mistakes" become valuable lessons that clear the way and appreciated stepping stones to amazing discoveries. Mucking around is necessary to excavate the great works we are capable of. I highly encourage it.

Whisper, at the risk of sounding like a mother, or a teacher (both of which I am!), don't give this reviewer any more credit than is due, or any more power over your will to write.

Get back in the saddle and finish this fabulous story, "see it through" as you said. Do it for yourself, foremost. Do it for your admiring fans (might be a good time to write a review if you're one of those, Hmmm?). Threshold guardians like Malfinnien rear their heads from time to time on any Hero's Journey... it's part of what makes us strong and know our own hearts .... nod in appreciation (I'd say you've more than done that already), take whatever grains of wisdom are somewhere embedded in their naysaying, and keep on down the road!

Life is learning, and to enter a public arena with something as personal as your writing and bare that process to everyone realtime, open to critique, is a brave and audacious undertaking. Whisper, I honor your glorious, and yes , sometimes human, efforts which have resulted in a moving story that you have told with integrity and beauty.

I look forward to the next chapter in the journey -- yours and Calahdra's.

Good Hunting!


Author's Response: Thank you very, very much for your review. It amped up my motivation tenfold and I am deeply grateful for it. Everything you said was so eloquently put and touching that I jumped straight off of my desk chair and wrangled up my withering and well-loved copy of The Two Towers in order to get cracking on the next few chapters. In regards to your comment about allowing Calahdra to wander in uncertainty, that will certain come in to play in the next few chapters ;) I will remember to tone down her eloquence, though. I don't think she's carrying a pocket thesaurus around with her, nor is she a philospher. She is, after all, a very confused and young individual. Thank You! -Whisper
Date: Feb 17 2010
Title: Chapter 42: Chapter 39: Truth Reviewer: Naneth Signed
Well, Whisper, after having been away for quite a while, what a treat it was to read 10 chapters of your wonderful story at once.
Well done!
You have come such a long way and this story has gained such depth since you began (though I loved even the first chapter)
The struggling between compassion and pettier emotions in your characters is such a refreshing shift on the classic good guy/bad guy -- there is light and dark in all of us and it's a far more authentic tale for delving into that basic fact of life. The ambivalence is so real in each chapter... and beautiful.

Lovely long awaited love scene. You captured it perfectly. Human and transcendant at the same time...

The foray into 3rd person was seamless, well-written, and the only way you could have bridged that gap. That chapter really added a level of enrichment the story would gave missed, otherwise.
Also, the theme of redemption is a welcome departure from the Hollywood mold. What is the point of being here after all if we can't fumble around, mess up royally, act like jerks and be forgiven, learn something from it, evolving into better people. Yes, even elves.
It was so nice to see Calahdra and Legolas pass through this fire and emerge better for it. And Lenwe-- I didn't think you could pull off redemption for him but you did. These were particularly sweet chapters.

Love that you gave your story a cake! Fun. That loyalty & dedication is reflected in the ever emerging quality of the tale. Richly deserved.

Life and work dictate now that I have less time than I used to for exploring the fanfiction world but I will definitely see this story through to the end, because as a reader I feel so much a part of it-- which means you've done your job as a writer amazingly well...

I am so looking forward to seeing how Calahdra and Legolas overcome their last hurdles -- they've come so far... they're almost there! No wonder you're feeling emotional.

Good luck!

Author's Response: NANETH! I have missed you indeed. I will admit that there were moments that I doubted you return to Ever and Ever, but I despise pestering people so I refrained from contacting you. I am SO overjoyed that I have your attention again :D I appreciate all that you have said quite dearly. I'm also glad that you picked up on some of the themes I've been attempting to weave into this: redemption, pride, and fate. Redemption has always been a point that I've been intrigued by. And you're absolutely right... Hollywood and the Media have lost all concept of those virtues like honor and duty. I wanted to portray those things here in a relatable way. I hope that I've succeeded. I apologize for your busy-ness. I too have just started work and school and my life is utter chaos. But I only have one chapter left to write, and soon it will be completed. When I've finished, I'm going to take a holiday for a while, for I think I deserve it. But it won't be a very long holiday... writing fanfiction has wound itself far too deeply into my heart for that. If you do have time, please read some of the pieces I've posted over your hiatus (chiefly 'Exceptions' and Wildflowers'. I'm hoping to continue both.). Thank you as always! -Whisper
Date: Sep 07 2010