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At Hope's Edge  by Cairistiona 12 Review(s)
MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/14/2013
I've gotten this far along and just HAD to remark.

First off I love your Aragorn.

Secondly, I love your voice. You have a very fluid style that carries the reader along, pausing now and again to reveal some thought, or emotion, then moving along into action. It's rare in Fanfic to get a writer that does that and I am SO glad to find one who does. (Yes, you've made the "Top 10 List") :) Your descriptions are very rich and full, tackling the locale, the people and their appearances and giving just enough to fill in a picture without bogging down with details (sometimes Tolkien would wax poetic over the sky and grass and frankly that does not carry a story along. Sorry Prof!) I felt I was there, in the mountains, in the valleys while reading this, be it a mountain side or a dark, cozy inn, and filled each descriptive element with just enough history to make it feel lived in.

Favorite quote thus far had me rocking with laughter: "Oh ho! Lock up your daughters, all you fathers That handsome rascal Strider's a'prowlin' these parts!"


Author Reply: Wow, thank you, Miko! Goodness, you're making me blush. I'm so glad you enjoy my style of writing--I've always tried hard to avoid what I call "info dumps", preferring instead to weave details with dialogue and action. To me, that's the heart of "showing" vs "telling", and I do think it keeps the pace of a story from bogging down. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story... I wrote this many years ago now, and it was my first stab at LOTR fiction on a novel scale. There's many parts I read now and cringe (I'm planning on a revision someday, to post at ff-net, because I do want to keep the original as posted here). In fact, in this chapter, when I reread it just to re-familiarize myself with it (funny how you forget what you've written), I found a giggle-inducing error where I used "hoard" instead of "horde".

*facepalm*
*imagines Smaug's treasure taking out the town*
*facepalms again*
*makes correction*

Thanks again for your kind words! Made my day!

DreamdeerReviewed Chapter: 4 on 8/3/2009
(From Dreamdeer) The author took great care in balancing the horror in this passage with just enough light touches to make it bearable. The warmth and vividness of the characters keep us reading with concern, for by now we care about them too much to turn our backs when the going gets rough. Very rough--as it should be.

Cairistiona does not shy from writing what the soul needs said, no matter how dark. And the sould does need to read horrific passages now and then, for life does not spare us, we feel lonely when others pretend otherwise, and we trust most the writers who can face that in their fiction. As much pain as Aragorn goes through in this novel, the thing that makes it all bearable is that even when he thinks himself all alone with his burdens, he never is. In a good book, even in the most hideous passage, the character has some consolation of love, even if it's for someone far from the scene, even if it's love for something as abstract as humanity or Good, and the reader can carry that into daily life. Cairistiona does a good job of making that happen.

Author Reply: My goodness, where do I start? Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful reflections on this chapter. I do think that a good story must explore the dark as well as the light--while I don't think the detail need go so far that the reader is repulse, to skim over the horrific parts too vaguely can leave a story unbalanced and the reader unfulfilled. I'm glad you found I hit the right balance between light and dark in this chapter. I must admit it was a hard one to write.

Thanks again for a lovely review!

LarnerReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/10/2009
Ooh--a cliffhanger!

Nazgul, searching for Bagginses and the Shire, I'd wager. And not finding either, they burned the place to the ground!

Now, to find out who or what is still alive down there!

Author Reply: "Nazgul, searching for Bagginses and the Shire, I'd wager. And not finding either, they burned the place to the ground!"

Could be, could be ... but I'm not saying. *grin*

Silivren TinuReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/8/2009
Those poor people! I think I really would have liked Bilfen Broadbow, and Kenevir sounds interestingly mysterious. The plot definitely thickens here. I loved the moment when Aragorn touched that boot track and felt... something. A mysterious figure wearing a long cloak and nailed boots combined with the quote at the beginning of this story certainly stirs my imagination. ;-)

I liked how you managed to convey the dreadfulness of what has happened in that village without ever having to resort to describing gory details. I also enjoyed all the humorous moments you managed to squeeze in there (horse balm, Sauron's footprints, Halbarad's comment about women). Last but not least it's nice to be taken to a part of Middle-earth I've never been to before (I'm tracking their progress in the 'Atlas of Tolkien's Middle-earth'). I'm already looking forward to next Monday! :)

Author Reply: Thank you for such a nice review! So you're tracking this in the Atlas, eh? Whew, glad I worked on my geography! LOL I went by the maps in the Trilogy, because I've only gotten the Atlas this Christmas and the story was already finished, so be aware that there is a possible discrepancy about the name of the Hoarwell River. In the maps in the Trilogy, it's the Hoarwell even north of the Last Bridge, but there's a map in Atlas that calls it the "Hoardale" as it goes up between the Ettenmoors and Coldfells. I stuck with Hoarwell, since that's what it is in the Trilogy, and they don't go that far north in this tale. So many tricky details, writing LOTR fic. ;) I'm glad, geography discussion aside, that you liked how I handled the less savory details. It definitely was a matter of balancing enough vs too much in this chapter, and I'm glad for you it swung to the right side of the scale. And interesting too that you liked the boot track bit ... I *almost* cut that out as being a bit too "out there". And if you want a bit more of Bilfen, he appears in my story No Greater Comfort (which I really need to get posted to SoA). It can be found at NaN. The town was originally called "Bracken's Ford" in that story, but it's the same place. Thanks again for your review!

inzilbethReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/7/2009
It's hard to imagine the full horror of finding a whole town destryed in this way, but you do an excellent job of conveying just that. Also you can really feel the pressure to solve this weighing heavily on Aragorn. You just know something awful is going to happen!

Author Reply: Aragorn is definitely feeling the pressure of leadership in this one and the full weight of the sorrow of his people in this entire tragedy. Not a good place, that! I think this will test him as nothing else has to this point in his life (or at least that's my intent). Thanks for your review, and as always for your help in smoothing this story out. :)

EstelcontarReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/6/2009
Another most gripping chapter. It was a very sad one too. Your eloquent prose brought to life the despair the Rangers must have felt at the destruction of Bracken's Ferry. Not only that, but since you managed to individualize Bracken Ferry's inhabitants, especially Bilfen, Kenevir, and a bit less Telvor, you made us empathize with them much more than if they were just names on the pages. So, their deaths and the destruction of their village was much more of a tragedy than it would have been otherwise. I remember Bilfen and Kenevir from your "No Greater Comfort", so, maybe, for me their deaths were even a bit harder than they would have been otherwise. Anyway, you made a most wonderful job of characterization here.

I loved to see Aragorn display his tracking skills.

Furthermore, I'm glad to see underneath it all, the dry humour of Aragorn's and Halbarad's contrariwise companionship, acting as counterpart to the tension and the sorrowful mood.

Author Reply: Ah, thank you so much, Estelcontar! Your reviews always make my day, they're so detailed. I'm glad to know I was able to impart a realism to the victims such that you felt empathy for them and for the Rangers' grief at their loss. This tale is a bit of a microcosm of the grief of the Dúnedain as a whole, in a way. They had to deal with these sorts of losses so much--it's little wonder they had grim faces and made Gimli feel they made the Rohirrim look as boys next to them. Anyway, thank you for the review, and hope you enjoy the next chapter as well. :)

Szepilona10Reviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/6/2009
Is it a baby? Great chapter! Update soon please!
God Bless!

~Szepilona10~

Author Reply: Now, now ... if I answered your question, why would you keep reading? *grin* You'll just have to wait for Sunday's update. Or Monday morning. But thanks for hanging in there with this and for your kind review!

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/5/2009
Uh-oh, is there a Ringwraith out there? Several, perhaps? Or just one Witch-King on some terrible mission?

Harrowing chapter. I hope they can save the survivor.

Author Reply: Thanks for the review, Raksha ... and, um, well, I'd like to answer your question, but best to let the story do that. *grin* I'm glad you found this harrowing--I was definitely going for harrowing. Thanks again!

MarethielReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/5/2009
Thank you for your chapter update. You write so well! Very evocative imagery, and powerful. Unsettling, but I'm pretty sure that's what you were shooting for... (tongue firmly planted in cheek. :D)

Thanks again... I look forward to the next update.

~Marethiel

Author Reply: Yep, unsettling is definitely the aim with this chapter. I'm glad it worked. :) And thank you for your kind words! I'll be updating again next Sunday or Monday. Thanks again for leaving a review!

Linda HoylandReviewed Chapter: 4 on 1/5/2009
You captured the horror of the aftermath of the Orc attack very vividly and made me wonder how anyone finds the strength to deal with such events.Poor Aragorn must be close to breaking point.I do hope they have found a survivor.

Author Reply: Aragorn and his men are definitely being tested, aren't they? Glad you found this chapter vivid... I was definitely trying to make the scene as real as I could within the bounds of, well, not grossing anyone out. We'll find out Sunday or Monday what happens next. Thanks for reading, and thank you for your review!

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