December Break

Epic Recs will be on a break for the month of December.

Each December posting is optional for our reccers, who spend the rest of the year posting every week. Many thanks to our past reccers listed in the tags, and to our current reccers -- popkin16, roseveare, gezana, piscaria, flyby311, raktajinos, sheepnamedpig, and co-mod and reccer chibifukurou for writing excellent, thoughtful and detailed reviews week in and week out. Also thanks to our readers for supplying us with great recs in our Recs By Our Readers.

We will resume daily reccing in January.

Have a lovely month!

chibifukurou & ekishou

Tags:

Title: Which I Am Forbidden To See
Fandom: Dishonored
Pairing: Gen
Genres: Post-Canon, Drama
Length: Medium (5,280 words)
Warnings: Whale related gore

Author on LJ: smaragdina
Author Website: Smaragdina @ AO3

Author's Summary:
"He is surrounded by the Marked, once again. As always. He has always been so close. (He considers sketching another self-portrait and setting it in the center of the room, to complete the image, but that would be melodramatic.)" Sokolov still doesn't have the Outsider's attention - but the being quietly and viciously begins letting him know he's watching.

Review:
A darkly funny little look at poor Sokolov and his endless quest for recognition from the Outsider. His attempts to make himself interesting remain predictable. They bring him ridicule rather than true attention from the Outsider, who proceeds to make fun of him and creep him out by turns. It's nice to read a fic where the Outsider is wholly IC, and as amoral and alien as that implies.

Which I Am Forbidden To See
Title: Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)
Musical Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Fandom: Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard
Pairing: Matt Farrell/John McClane, Thomas Gabriel/John McClane
Categories: Action/Adventure, Angst, Alternate Universe, Crack, Drama, Established Relationship, Fluff, Humor, Romance
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: talitha78
Author Website: talitha78

Summary:

A John McClane/Matt Farrell slash vid set to a Kelly Clarkson song. I don't know what else to tell you.

Review:

So I've been sitting on this vid for, oh, a good two years now, perpetually thinking I'd already recced it. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I discover that I had not. No, imagine it. Imagine my wide-eyed cry of shock and the brief but unexpectedly intense spiral into contemplation of the fickle nature of memory. Are you imagining it? Yes? Good.

This is one of my favorite fanvids ever, not just because of the incredible skill with which talitha78 creates a genuinely plausible and definitely enjoyable story out of a mediocre movie and a Kelly Clarkson song, and not even because the clips are extremely well placed to narrate that story within the context of the lyrics. No, this is my favorite vid because John McClane is Kelly Clarkson. He is.

Go watch it. You'll see.

Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)

Home by Cassatt (M)

Title: Home
Fandom: Star Trek Voyager
Pairing: Janeway/Chakotay, Belanna/Tom
Categories: angst, family, friendship, romance, post canon
Length: super epic
Warnings: issues with criminal justice system/arrest, mild depression, canon-typical themes of political upheaval

Author on LJ: n/a
Author Website: For Love of Art

Summary: The crew of Voyager is back in the Alpha Quadrant, but all is not coming up roses; Chakotay is in prison, Janeway is under review, and the entire crew is struggling with being back home.

Review:
For those of us who belong to old fandoms, you remember when reading fanfic meant trolling through pre-google days of selfhosted websites. I commend and thank every single one of the Old Guard writers who took the time to post their stories, their actions becoming the literal foundation for online fandom that we have today. We owe them a lot. Cassatt is one such writer and one of my favourites.

I've been a fan of their stories for nearly fifteen years, all of their stories are amazing and helped shaped my own fanon of STV. So I recommend you reading all of their works, but I've recommended 'Home' here because its a BEAST of a read. It's a novel really and reads like one.

It is set post finale...sortof, where Voyager is back in the Alpha Quadrant but Cassatt ignores quite a bit of the elements of seasons 6/7 (y'all know which parts I'm talking about lol). One of the most delightful elements is how Cassatt writes the rest of Janeway's family - namely her mother and sister. They've been touched on in canon, but it's really the work of fanfic writers (like Cassatt) that brought our fanonization of who these women are. There are political ramifications, complications, acts of illegality and of course, Janeway and Chakotay finally FINALLY getting their shit together and realizing they love one another.


'Home' by Cassatt

To Live by Jambajunkie (R)

Title: To Live
Fandom: Pacific Rim
Pairing: Aleksis Kaidanovsky/Sasha Kaidanovsky
Categories: AU, Family, Domesticity, Hurt/Comfort,
Length: Long (28k)
Warnings: Mentions of Past Sterilization

Author on LJ: jambajunkie
Website: Jambajunkie

Summary:What if the Kaidonovskys had survived? Sasha and Aleksis learn how to live again in the aftermath of the war - together. This is the story of their happily ever after. Shameless fix-it fic.

Review: This is a great fix it fic for Pacific Rim, where Sasha is a big mother hen to all the younger pilots while still being her kick-butt self and taking on issues of sterility, dog training, and the occasional assassination attempt.

It's great to see the pilots move on with their lives and start families after the end of the movie. And I have an admittedly large soft spot for domesticity and the Kaidanovskies

To Live

Peripeteia, by Sylvia (NC-17)

Title: Peripeteia

Fandom: From Eroica With Love
Pairing: Dorian/Klaus
Categories: first-time, romance, drama
Length: long; 27,562 words
Warnings: suggestions of past sexual abuse/underage

Author on LJ: rheasilvia
Author Website: Sylvia on AO3, By the Pen

Summary: Klaus attends a cousin's wedding at Schloss Eberbach. So does Dorian, for very different reasons.

Review: The above summary? Tells you nothing important about this fic whatsoever. So Dorian is undercover at Scloss Eberbach trying to steal the painting again, surrounded by Klaus' family and old family friends, and Klaus encounters someone he has a History with, and Dorian sees Klaus' encounter, and lots of conclusions are eventually drawn and remarkably little is particularly solidly confirmed (I was astonished on re-read to realise how open this remains, and how little is said) but an awful lot of things shift in the relationship between Klaus and Dorian as a consequence.

This one is an old favourite, which I stumbled across anew by accident recently, and which promptly returned me to reading in this fandom again.

I guess that the driving factor of a lot of the fics in this fandom is getting to that moment when Klaus' epic restraint and uptightness crumbles, but this time around the journey is so intense and that moment so earned, and I think that's the thing that stuck in my head about this fic for fifteen years. Klaus and Dorian are both taken very seriously, and the background is deadly serious for all that those events are not discussed explicitly, and it just has such a weight to it, in a fandom which is often not particularly serious. Also, the progression of Klaus re-evaluating his life and taking his choices in hand is as glorious as the single-minded way he insists upon doing it.

Note that there are some consent considerations in the unfolding of the relationship which are also left somewhat open to interpretation, which are a part of the fascination of the scenario that plays out here, but may prove unsettling for some depending on how they are interpreted.

Peripeteia

"Untouched" by GarGoyl (NC-17)

Title: Untouched
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Canon AU, future fic, horror, angst, casefic, master/servant
Length: Epic (52,547)
Warnings: underage (13-year-old boy/ancient demon), dub-con, drug use

Author on AO3:  GarGoyl

Summary: After failing to collect Ciel's soul in strange circumstances, Sebastian returns home in Underworld to brood over his misfortune. But little does he know how their fate will change now that he is no longer the butler...

Review: One of the primary strengths of "Untouched" is GarGoyl's version of the Underworld where Sebastian makes his home between contracts, not to be confused with the Victorian underworld where Ciel and Sebastian solve cases for the queen! A lesser demonic noble, Sebastian (or the Black Crow as he is known in his own world) is charged with occasionally advising and carrying out tasks for the mysterious Council that rules the Underworld, much like Ciel in his role as the queen's watchdog. This role reversal between Sebastian and Ciel is one of the primary motifs in this story, playing out in some interesting and entertaining ways, though I can't elaborate much on that without spoiling the plot.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say "Untouched" is not without its flaws. I wasn't a fan of the author's use of epithets, and Ciel's characterization didn't always work for me, although those things are, of course, subjective. However, the plot kept me engaged enough to keep reading despite those quibbles. I really enjoyed this take on Sebastian's demonic life, which is very different than anything else I've read in this fandom. The minor characters were also entertaining. The Undertaker is especially great in this, and I also found myself surprisingly fond of the OC who serves as Sebastian's housekeeper. This kind of imaginative, plotty story was exactly what I was hoping to find when I first started reading Kuroshitsuji fic.

Untouched

Ho'oponopono by ember_firedrake [NC-17]

Title: Ho'oponopono
Fandom: Hawaii 5-0 (2010)
Pairing: Danny/Steve
Genres: Romance, First Time, Repeating Time
Length: Long (17,092 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: ember_firedrake
Author Website: ember-firedrake @ AO3

Author's Summary:
Groundhog Day AU. Danny finds himself trapped in the same day over and over again.

Review: This was one of the first fics I read in the fandom. I really love Groundhog Day AU's, and this is a fine example of that. I love how Danny changes each day, taking advantage of what he learned the loop before to try and make things better the next trip around. For himself and for his friends. The solution for ending the time loop makes me laugh, because of course. Ember's writing style is easy to read and the story moves along briskly. This fic reminds me why I'm so fond of all these characters.

Ho'oponopono

Affliction by tolakasa (PG-13)

Title: Affliction
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Gen
Genres: AU, Samcentric, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Family
Length: Epic (45,280 words)
Warnings: Chronic disability

Author on LJ: tolakasa
Author Website: tolakasa @ AO3

Author's Summary:
AU of season 5, veering off from canon after the end of 5.04, after Sam and Dean are hunting together again. In a diner one day, Sam notices that something's missing. Something kind of important.

Review:
Reading this fic was gut-wrenching. Written from Sam's POV and often delving into his inner thoughts - and his inner self-loathing - we get a front row seat as he starts to lose his senses one by one. It's a trope I've read before, and this fic is up there with the best. The author takes her time torturing poor Sammy, though she thankfully stays out of whump/woobie territory, and the fic is as restrained as something about a happening so horrible can be.

The relationship between Sam and Dean is so touching here. With Sam unable to even feel his own body, it's a return to Dean as a mother figure, taking care of him when he can't do it himself. Even as this is obviously humiliating for Sam, it's always heart warming when the brothers actually act as close as we know they are. Dean is Sam's anchor in a dark world, and that had me sobbing. A lovely, well-paced fic that's perfect if you're in the mood for a tearjerker and brotherly hurt/comfort.

Affliction

Readers' Recs -- Friendship or Family

Our Friendship and Family theme week has come to an end and we would love to hear from you. Do you have any favorite stories about family and friends that give you the warm and fuzzies? We'd love it if you'd share with us!
  • Recced stories can feature any pairing as long as they match the theme. Fan art, podfic, and fan vid recs are also welcome.
  • You don't need to write a review (unless you want to). All you need to include are title, author, and a link to the story.
  • Fic or media as a single file are preferred, if available.
  • If you'd like to use our reccing template, you can find it under the cut.
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Previous Readers' Recs topics can be found here.


Title: The Reese-Finch Home for Wayward Boys
Fandom: Person of Interest
Pairing: Harold Finch/John Reese
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Family, Parenthood, Humor, Established Relationship, Domestic
Length: Short (1869 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: the_wordbutler

Summary:

Harold tells John to find a hobby.

John does, just not the kind of hobby Harold'd hoped for.

Review:

John is an ex-special forces, ex-CIA clandestine agent. Harold is a reclusive billionaire programmer who singlehandedly created a nationwide surveillance system and genuine artificial intelligence. Neither subscribes to the socially dictated idea of privacy and the boundaries that go with it. So of course any sort of family they end up creating would be... unconventional.

The Reese-Finch Home for Wayward Boys is an AU fic, but with the feel of canon, as though it might take place in a hypothetical post-canon, or even simultaneous with future canon, if you can suspend your disbelief far enough. Even though their attention isn't focused on saving New York City one victim or perpetrator at a time, there's still a palpable sense of their devotion to the cause of helping these stray kids however they can. Carter and Fusco are inevitably dragged into it, and of course have their own two cents to share. Even Zoe Morgan and Will Ingram, oft ignored in fanfiction, lend their own talents to the odd, (likely illegal), group home. As a result, there's very much a 'it takes a village' vibe to the fic, a group of unlikely co-conspirators working together to help make New York a little better, one runaway at a time.

The Reese-Finch Home for Wayward Boys

Replaced Verse by Reflex (R)

Title: Replaced Verse
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Gen
Categories: AU, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Super!Epic(160k)
Warnings: Past Torture, Sex as a precursor to Blackmail

Author on LJ: thoughtreflex
Author Website: @ Wraithbait | @ Fanfic.net

Summary: They may not have tried to hurt him intentionally, but their actions could not have cut deeper than by confirming his suspicions–he was tolerated because of the things he could do, but he had no real friends on Atlantis. Replacing him was enough of a hint

Review: Gen Hurt/Comfort which is just plain awesome. Add in a conspiracy series, and two cats named Bert and Ernie and I just want to cuddle the Atlantis Team.

When they screw up they learn from their mistakes and help each other. Also Ronan and John are great big brothers.

Replaced
Conspiricies Investigations and Exploration Oh My
Title: Five Times People Were Utterly Oblivious to Their Relationship and One Time It Was Too Obvious to Ignore

Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey Parker/Duke Crocker/Nathan Wuornos
Categories: humor, romance, threesome
Length: medium, 14,835 words
Warnings: Authors warn for homophobia and biphobia.

Author on LJ: Rabbitt on Dreamwidth
Author Website: Lovesrogue36 on AO3, Rabbitt on AO3

Summary:

“And I just thought you should hear it from a trusted source first, before it gets all over town.”
Nathan pauses with his cup halfway to his mouth. “What do you mean you saw Duke and Audrey… together?"
“Together.” As if that clarifies everything. He must still look mystified because she lowers her voice and elaborates: “Kissing.”
He chokes on the cookie, coughing and grinning as she slaps him on the back.

Review:

This one was hot off the presses last weekend and I wanted to rec it before I'd even finished it. And for this reason I am reccing Haven again this week instead of introducing more variety.

Explaining to a town full of busybodies that you're in a polyamorous relationship? Not easy. Explaining it to a woman who's been like a grandmother to you most of your life? Nathan finds that's next to impossible.

This is a wonderfully lively five-things format story, which humorously covers the misadventures of sustaining an unconventional relationship in Haven under the misunderstanding eyes of the well-meaning, helpful, nosy, or occasionally just plain offensive residents of the rest of the town. The stories are all quite different, exploring the relationships between the central trio in a variety of combinations and situations as all and sundry completely and utterly fail to grasp the right end of the stick as to the nature of the Audrey/Duke/Nathan relationship. There's a bit of danger and a bit of smut thrown in at points along the way. Duke gets kidnapped by thugs in one story. Epic car sex occurs in another. And Nathan Wuornos faced with trying to explain his threesome relationship to nosy old ladies will never not be hilarious.

There is a slightly darker side to this one, where the part that's often glossed over in Haven OT3 fic, that not everyone is going to take this style of relationship well, is portrayed here, and the trio don't exist in a world where their lifestyle is comfortable and acceptable to everyone else and the issues are addressed head-on.

NC-17 for the last part(ficlet) only. Set in a vague future where the current season's issues are resolved.

Five Times People Were Utterly Oblivious to Their Relationship and One Time It Was Too Obvious to Ignore

Event Horizon Books by daughtershade [R]

Title: Event Horizon Books
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Categories: Alternate Universe, First Time, Drama, Romance, Humor
Length: Long (~25,000 words)
Warnings: None

Author Website: daughtershade @ AO3
Author's Livejournal: daughtershade

Summary: The unique thing about Event Horizon, and something Rodney was quite proud of, was that the store itself was a physical representation of the mind of its owner. The filing system that had so amused Sheppard served a greater purpose. The problem was that Rodney hadn't yet figured out just what that purpose was. He only knew that he liked things a certain way. If one took a moment to piece the filing system together, they would realize that it told the story of one man, perched behind his counter, trying to fend off the world.

Review: I discovered this fic long after the fandom had gotten quiet. There had been no announcement posts on livejournal so I basically stumbled on this fic, and was astonished it wasn't being rec'd anywhere. I love every moment of this fic. John and Rodney's first meeting is so entertaining, as is every subsequent meeting between the two. I really like the original characters the author uses. They feel like real, fleshed out people and are so interesting on their own. I really love the detail and thought the author put into Rodney's little bookshop, too - especially the organization. John and Rodney's relationship progresses nicely.

This is a well written, entertaining fic that never fails to make me happy. It's a quick read, too - even if 25000 seems like quite a bit (I know some people prefer shorter fics) it'll go by fast.

Event Horizon Books

"Chasing Butterflies" by haldolhs (R)

Title: Chasing Butterflies
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Dark, angst
Length: Medium (12,063 words)
Warnings: Angst, bondage, spanking,

Author Website:  haldolhs

Summary: Ciel is held hostage by personal demons. Sebastian vows to do whatever it takes to recover his lost master.

Review: Ciel, now twenty, is determined to take out a serial killer on his own, having ordered Sebastian off to France on a wild goose chase. This works out about as well as you'd expect.

Where to even start with this story? I found it during an idle sweep of AO3 one lazy morning while only grudgingly awake and not quite ready to get out of bed yet. I clicked on "Chasing Butterflies," read the first two paragraphs, and immediately got out of bed to make coffee because I could tell I'd stumbled across something good and I wanted to be awake for it. And, yes, it was worth getting out of bed for!

As the tight third-person limited narrative dances around the story's central question of why Ciel sent Sebastian away, it reveals new questions, and new facets of their relationship. Haldolhs lays out a tantalizing path of crumbs that hint at Ciel's life from thirteen to twenty without ever losing the present conflict in drawn-out backstory. The end result is that Ciel is recognizably himself, but more so, his forceful personality and reckless streak rooted in an adult's sense of self. If Ciel manages to survive to twenty in the manga, he will probably end up something like this. Sebastian, too, is beautifully characterized in this, though I feel I can't say too much about his role without giving away the plot. His dialogue is spot-on, though, as are the power dynamics between them. I also appreciated that this is one of the few Kuroshitsuji stories I've read that lets Ciel top. "Chasing Butterflies" is one of those stories that reads like a jigsaw puzzle, every new bit of information sliding another piece into place until we're finally able to see the whole of Ciel's relationship with Sebastian. The final picture it forms is breathtaking -- dark-edged, surprisingly romantic, and layered with symbolism. This is absolutely a must-read.

Chasing Butterflies

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Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words

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