1. What exactly *is* this?
This is the Fushigi Yuugi fanfiction spotlight, hosted by the Fushigi
Yuugi Fanzine "The Quill." This is a place where good fanfics are highlighted each month.
2. Who's running it?
Well, the fanfic spotlight is written by Kristi Brownfield (email:
firstname.lastname@example.org). Kristi has been on the Internet
since 1994. She first watched Fushigi Yuugi in 1996. Kristi and her partner-in-crime started one of the earlier Fushigi Yuugi webpages, The
Shrine to the Almighty Chicken of Doom. The Shrine to the Almighty
Chicken of Doom hosts the Fushigi Yuugi Fanfiction Archive, which Kristi has
run since 1998. She also write Fushigi Yuugi fanfics herself.
3. What gives you the authority to judge fanfics?
Nobody. These reviews are my opinions only. They are not paid for,
nor do they represent the opinions of the entire staff of The Quill. Think of me as something akin to
a literary critic. The fanfics that I highlight are ones that I think are good and that I enjoyed. You are perfectly able to disagree with me, or even to send
suggestions to me.
4. So what makes a fic "good"?
I judge fics according to this criteria (in no particular order):
1. mechanics (spelling, grammar, sentence structure)
2. characterization (are the characters believable?)
3. plot (is the plot well constructed? is it believable?)
4. flow (is the fanfic choppy, or does it flow smoothly from one scene to the next?)
5. gut instinct (how does this fanfic make me feel after reading it?)
Okay, that was the Not-FAQ. ^_-
Now for the actual review.
Fanfic: From the Ruins of Childhood
Author: Cindy Franklin (Cind-chan)
Being a person driven by characters, when I read something I look for strong
and believable characters. I look for characters that I can see, and
feel, and touch. Characters that I know. It's a personal idiosyncrasy,
and I revel in it. So when I read a poem, story, or fanfic with strong
characters, I'm a happy camper.
Characterization is exactly why I chose this fanfic for my
first review. Cind-chan's five part fic, "From the Ruins of Childhood" shows
a Tomo that we as readers and viewers don't see either in the series, or many other fanfics.
Rather than the strong, confident, evil person that is presented for the few episodes that he is in, this fic portrays Tomo as a person who used these
character traits as devices. Tomo uses his evilness to hide his
vulnerability, caused by an abusive childhood. It's an interesting
character analysis, and the fanfic supports it. The characters are
strong and believable within the bounds of the plot. I like that.
Speaking of the plot, it's also interesting and easy to follow. It also can easily fit into
the Fushigi Yuugi timeline, because the fanfic starts *before* the Fushigi Yuugi timeline
begins. It tells the story of Tomo's first encounter with Chinese opera through his first
meeting with Nakago. It shows character development nicely as the plot unfolds believably, showing Tomo's past as an abused child, and how he discovers his powers as a shichiseishi.
The flow of the fanfic is also good. It moves quickly, and doesn't digress from the main plot
sequence. Reading one paragraph you are pulled right into the next one, without your attention
being drawn to details that are not necessary to the plot.
And yes, the mechanics are good. The sentences are neither run-ons, nor
choppy. The spelling throughout the fanfic is consistently correct. The
fanfic is easily recognizable English.
And as a plus, I *love* yaoi. I write yaoi. I read yaoi. And the fact
that "From the Ruins of Childhood" is a yaoi fic helps too. Tomo's
characterization as "liking boys" is well written, and poignant.
I like this fic. Plain and simple, it's a good, quick read. It gives you
a perspective on one of the more "evil" Seiryuu shichiseishi, and it's
something different. A delight for anyone to read.
Article copyrighted 1999 Kristi Brownfield