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Elf Academy Part Deux  by Fiondil 1245 Review(s)
Agape4GondorReviewed Chapter: 86 on 1/31/2016
It has been quite some time since I read the Elf Academy books, so I decided to start again. I'm now finished with book two and I must tell you it was difficult. difficult because Fiondil put so much of himself into his books and we learned so much about him that reading these again made my heart ache. I always learned so much about myself as I contemplated the Elves and their relationship to ERU and the different beings they lived with. My heart goes out to his beta readers. if I, who only giggled with him occasionally over what he did to Finrod and Glorfindel, cried so as I reread these first two books, how much more his betas must be suffering as they post his weekly chapters. Though with suffering can come joy and everything that Fiondil did oozed joy. My Eru, I miss him.

LJdXpXpQG0Reviewed Chapter: 4 on 12/2/2015
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Sweetpea BagginsReviewed Chapter: 43 on 10/23/2014
Amroth grinned. "Someday, when this is all over, you should ask Glorfindel and Daeron about their time in fourteenth century Florence spying on the Ghibillines for the Guelphs. The tale makes for interesting hearing." With that, he ushered them out the door, bidding them good-bye, leaving them both standing there gaping in disbelief.

WOW, I want to read that story! :)

Seriously, I have greatly enjoyed your work, and in particular the Elf Academy tales. I'm sorry I haven't left a review before. Keep it up!


Author Reply: Hello Sweetpea. I'm not sure you'll ever read that particular story about Glorfindel and Daeron but you never know. I'm glad you enjoy my stories, especially the Elf Academy series. Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate it.

MikoNoNyteReviewed Chapter: 86 on 8/23/2014
I'm of two minds about this right now. First off, and don't take this wrong, I find criticism with Alex as spy. He supposedly has done this job since college, 15 plus years. That would make him nearly 40ish. Anyway, he acts not so much like a mature spy but a teenager. Not because he's in school but because of how he wanted to identify the other spies in Wiseman. What spy .. oh, excuse me, "intelligence officer" *giggles* would set up a trap and not have a clue what to do? Hullo, earth to Alex! It just seemed very unprofessional of him. Of course as stated earlier he has others "working on him" but seriously!

Second item that popped into my mind while reading is the nearly Gary Stu-ness of the character. Spy, athlete, linguist (points at you) and now, Numenorean descendent. What's next, super powers? Elvish love interest?

Like I said, don't take it personally. These two things crawled out of the closet as I was reading and I kept telling myself, "Fiondil did not self-insert; this is not a Gary Stu, Alex is out of his element, it will work out." I hope.

Honestly, I like Alex. He really does come off as a bit Ethan Hunt, James Bond (sans suavity) proto-Jason Bourne. Not a bad thing, just that I can see it. Or see that he could have been any of those with a bit more darkness inside him.

Having pointed the critical finger I will say this: the many small details utterly win me over. The descriptions of Edhellond, the named rooms - very British!, but something that when I see it in real life here Stateside is way too ostentatious. But here it works beautifully to show elegance, grace and memory (an honoring of the Past).

The interplay between the characters, both Elves and Men as well as the depth you gave your main cadre, is superb. I feel I know these folks by the vision you give through your words and descriptions. Always a pleasant encounter!

The confrontation at the Steiner home and the different reactions, from Derek, Alex and the Three Amigos, was intense, brought to a head with the excellent escape and recapture. It was a relief to see the elves at rescue and - here it caught me out yet again - their method of selection. I had to think on this a bit and become comfortable with the idea that of course they would take their time - Time means little to them and a game is a (to quote C.J. Cherryh) "baji-naji" affair.

Finally, The Court. I am not sure what to make of that. I am still trying to find the logic. Yet at the same time I can see that this afforded two things: that the elves would be recognized as civilized beings with an idea of Law and Justice and the opportunity for the Valar to interact - methinks that was the main idea here anyway.

All and all, I really loved this story, nee, Novel (1000 pages on my Kindle). It held just the right amount of action, adventure, comedy, pathos and resolution.

Author Reply: Hi MikoNoNyte. I can appreciate your criticism of Alex and his actions. Part of his problem is that he's walked into a situation for which his life in the Agency has not prepared him. In his wildest dreams he would never have suspected that Ambrose was an Elf, what he would call non-human. "Elf" was simply not in his vocabulary, so he walked into that situation under false assumptions and he simply couldn't deal with what he was finding, because it made no sense to him, so I think, in spite of his training, he was floundering about and not thinking straight.

And no, Alex is not a self-insertion (I don't speak any language but English, though I can read my way through French and Spanish), and I'm a physical clutz, nor do I see him as a Gary Stu, since he's not perfect, doesn't have a clue half the time and can screw up big time. He's just a mortal thrown into a situation for which none of his training has prepared him. I'd like to see any of us do any better under the same circumstances. *grin*

At any rate, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for taking the time to read and review. And I think you will see that Alex does have a darker side to him in Elf Academy 3.

LindeleaReviewed Chapter: 86 on 4/3/2014
Whew! Great ending! (it's like an ending that's also a beginning)

Finrod's Court was interesting. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what he hoped to accomplish at first, but it became clearer.

It's nice to see the reinforcements, but they're right, it might have been better to sneak into town in twos and threes rather than in a grand "Close Encounters of the Elf Kind" entrance.

Comparing this to your Part 3 (which I started reading first, simply because it was easier to read the new story on my phone than to dig down through menus to find the older stories) reminds me a little of Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders" series. Lessa brings the Oldtimers forward in time to help save the planet, and everything is hunky dory, and then the next book starts and the honeymoon is over. A lot more is making sense, and I will likely re-read your Part 3 after I finish the Christmas story, just to make sure all the pieces are fitting into place in my mind. (I'm assuming that takes up where this one leaves off.)

Alex has a unique opportunity, when I think of it. He found a mentor, lost him (he thought) to death, and now has the chance to walk beside him once more, comparing notes from the perspective of fifteen years of experience and maturing (less than a blink from a Firstborn's perspective, perhaps, especially a newly arrived one, but significant for a Secondborn. Here's hoping I got the terminology right). How I would love to be able to talk to some of my mentors now, from an adult perspective.

Alex sounds like a... what is the term. Touchstone? Lodestone? Pivot on which events turn? As if Someone was watching over his ancestors and preserving his line down through the years, and he is the last, somehow, (or appears to be the last of his line, the last hope) like another Man some ages back.

Oh, there may be other descendents somewhere in the world, but Alex is on the spot, and the Enemy is just as aware. I'm sure the Enemy would have delighted to turn Aragorn to His side, or to destroy him, in the Third Age. Sure glad that Alex has friends in high places. I am rambling, only on my first cup of coffee, so I hope this makes sense.

And I wonder what the Thing in the tarn is? I was discussing it with someone and was guessing a Balrog -- she said that didn't make sense, but I reminded her that the Balrog that Gandalf fought didn't die when they plunged into the water at the bottom of Moria, but turned into a creature of slime. It also sounds like the Watcher in the Water outside of Moria -- shudder -- all those tentacles, and the thought of Caleb falling in and that creature, whatever creature, there. Anyhow, it gives me the creeps that people just hike by that place without a second thought, apparently. (Still, what could the Elves do about it? I seem to remember Legolas being terrified in Moria when the Balrog appeared... and even though Glorfindel slew a Balrog, didn't it take its toll on him? Have got to re-read the Sil, it's been decades since I read it and when I was introduced to fanfic in 1993, I got kidnapped by hobbits and know all too little about Elves, sorry to say. Am learning. Slowly. Can you recommend some good authors who are true to Tolkien?)

Author Reply: Hi Lindelea. Yes, this story leads directly into "Christmas in Edhellond", and yes, the honeymoon is over pretty fast between EA2 and EA3.

Alex is a key character and we will see him throughout the Elf Academy series. He is indeed in a very unique position to be able to reconnect with Amroth after all these years. And everyone wonders what's in the tarn and the answer to that is: I don't know, and frankly, I hope I never find out. As long as it's sleeping, I don't have to deal with it. *grin*

Glorfindel did indeed slay the balrog but died in the attempt. He was later re-embodied and sent back to Middle-Earth. You may want to take a look at my "Elf, Interrupted" series and spinoffs (The Findaráto Diaries and A Long-Expected Wdding)which feature Glorfindel (and Finrod) and how they readjusted to Life after they were reborn.

I am assuming you mean authors who write mostly about Elves and in particular Silmarillion-based stories about the Elves. Unfortunately, there are too few who bother and some whose stories I enjoyed no longer write for the fandom or at least they no longer write for SoA. The only other person I know who writes Elves almost exclusively is Ellie. You might check out her stories. I highly recommend Marnie's stories about life in Beleriand, also French Pony. These two no longer write and you'll want a computer to go looking for their stories rather than trying to find them through your phone.

You might also check out the following authors whom I enjoy (not in any particular order): MJ, Mirach, Cairistiona, Haleth, Larner, Jay of Lasgalen and Thundera Tiger. Not all of them write about Elves but I like their stories.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for sticking with it and I hope once you finish with "Christmas" it will all make more sense.

LindeleaReviewed Chapter: 81 on 4/2/2014
Thanks for the clarification. It's pretty much what I thought -- Alex didn't sound old enough to have known Amroth for a long time, if his mentor "died" fifteen years earlier, and yet it seemed odd to me that they'd known each other less than a year, considering how deep and close their relationship "felt" on the reading. I suppose I think of a mentor as a longer term relationship than just a few months, but then, I've mentored young people in writing and speaking classes over the course of a semester... it makes sense now. Thanks again!

Author Reply: Not a problem, Lindelea. I'm glad I was able to clear this up for you. I don't think that time is a factor when dealing with relationships. Alex/Artemus felt a deep bond with Amroth/Ambrose probably from the very beginnng. Amroth was the father Alex never had and that probably helped him to form that bond, especially when Amroth admits that from the beginning he'd felt that Alex was special. It was apparently a two-way street.

LindeleaReviewed Chapter: 81 on 4/1/2014
Whew, am finally approaching the end of this one! Exciting story, exciting enough that I read most of it on my phone while we were out of town and had virtually no internet access. (A laptop without internet access... imagine it...)

Home now, and on the computer, and so I am able to cut and paste a quote. Woohoo. And so I ask this question, when Alex is giving his deposition. I thought his mentor had died fifteen years before? But he says in this chapter, "I am Artemus Gordon Meriwether, who is known also as Alex Grant. I am an intelligence officer for an agency with ties to Homeland Security and the CIA. I first met Ambrose Elwood fifteen years ago. He was my primary instructor and...."

Sorry to nitpick, and please feel free to delete this review. I will try to leave a better one when I reach the end of the story.

Author Reply: Hi Lindelea. Glad you've been enjoying this story. In answer to your question, 15 years is about right. Alex is in his mid-thirties, 36 actually. He joined the Agency directly after college, and that was about 15 years before, and Amroth "died" sometime in that first year that he was with the Agency, so what he says is true. Hope this clears things up for you. Looking forward to your final review of the story.

DianaReviewed Chapter: 86 on 3/26/2014
whew!! Hi Fiondil.
Finally finished part 2 today. Here on vacation with my kid at the coast, and this was a great way to enjoy the trip while my daughter plays with new friends. Thank you for a wonderful tale!!! The characters were believable and well within their personalities but were still able to grow and change. Your details were well drawn and you obviously researched them well. I can't get over your stuff.
There are still some loose ends to make room for plenty of more EA, which I know you're already on 3. Do we find out who sent those pictures? Will Alex/Artemus be able to recover from the darkness of "The Game"? Will Glofindel and Daeron find love among the pretty ellyth? And what the hell is in that damn tarn?!!!
Be sure to tune in next week for "As The World Burns"...
If I sent you a poem would you be able to translate it into Sindarin? If so how would I get it to you?
That's enough outta me. Take care, Diana

Author Reply: Hi Diana. Congratulations on getting to the end of this story. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Now you have to continue with "Christmas at Edhellond" which isn't quite a long as this one and then you'll be ready for EA3. Some of your questions will be answered along the way, others will remain a mystery for a time.

Thanks for letting me know how much you've enjoyed this story. I appreciate you taking the time to do so very much.

DianaReviewed Chapter: 58 on 3/20/2014
Hi Fiondil,
Slowly, ever so slowly, catching up. Enjoying the story very much! It would have been just the right slam if Alex or Derek could have said something like "Oh, I'm so relieved you are all safe! I know such mighty lords would probably be safe but we know that our world can be dangerous to anyone not familiar with it. Alex refused to leave the valley in vigil for your safety!" You get the idea, although it might not be in character. But could you imagine the SHAME?
As it turned out I thought the punishment was pretty fair. BIG dishonor for a warrior to have their sword taken away (wonder what Freud would say) by daddy because they're too foolish to have earned them.
I see Finrod is living up to his title! I'm happy that Glorfindel has his friend by his side again. The Vangelis song that is his theme is hopeful but lonely as well (it tore my heart when I read the words). It feels safer now that there are reinforcements in the neighborhood.
I'm also glad for Vorondur's comments about Elven fallibilities. It would be hard to be a Human around those people no matter how polite they are.
Thanks again for the wonderful tale!
That's enough outta me!
B. B. Diana

Author Reply: Hi Diana. It is a big dishonor in a feudal society such as the one the Elves live in for the "youngsters" to have their swords taken from that. Sort of like your dad lifting your license so you can't drive. The reunion between Glorfindel and Finrod has been long overdue; they really need each other and Vorondur is very wise about a lot of things, which is why he's a psychiatrist. *grin*

I'm glad you are enjoying the tale. Thanks for reading and reviewing. It's much appreciated.

DianaReviewed Chapter: 38 on 3/14/2014
Beautiful chapter.
My friend got a card from a friend of his after a bout of "justifiable" self- pity that said on the outside " Wallowing in self-pity is a bad thing...(and on the inside) but it's OK to stick your feet in and swish them around a little!"
*grin* It sounds like they're all entitled to a little swish time about now.
That's enough outta me.

Author Reply: Hi Diana. Love the self-pity sentiment. LOL! And you're right that they all deserve a little swish time right now, especially poor Glorfindel. He's going to be doing a lot of swishing soon. *grin* Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

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