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Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:13

Please make sure to read the EXPLANATORY NOTES before reading these reviews.

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Known for her originality, Nene brings us a very unusual tale that reads a lot like the stories of old. On her way to meet with Gabrielle, Xena happens upon the home of a former captain in her army. She stops to rest and reminisce never suspecting the evil she has stumbled into it. Eerie and powerful. [Part of the CHAMBER OF HORRORS SERIES] - 4 pgs., 12/29/97

**CHALLENGE (THE) by T. Novan
Xena is forced to protect the throne when the Amazon Queen receives a challenge for it - a development which in turn finally brings things to a head between Mel and Reena. This latest entry in the RAISING MELOSA SERIES is intense and suspenseful. DO NOT MISS! - 9 pgs., 3/21/99
[Palm Pilot version available at XENA FAN FICTION FOR THE PALM PILOT]

**CHAMBER (THE) by Mayt
At times utterly heartbreaking, this emotional story unfolds as a series of flashbacks while Gabrielle is held captive in a dark chamber by a warlord intent on ransoming her to the Amazons. Suffering from sensory deprivation, the bard keeps herself going through the weeks of captivity by remembering and retelling the tales of her life with Xena, from their initial days together to the more difficult times of the past few months, their crucifixion, Eve's birth and the sometimes painful changes that has brought to their relationship. Mayt's writing style has a subtle quality to it that greatly enriches the story, relying on simple, to-the-point dialogues carrying quite a punch. The second half of the story is particularly effective, addressing some important issues the TV series has generally ignored and giving us a very compelling, poignant look at the love these two women share and the power this gives them to sometimes wound one another deeper than any sword could. This is an insightful, well-crafted character piece certain to pull those heart-strings. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 55 pgs., 7/24/00

**CHAMBER OF HORRORS SERIES by Nene Adams - featuring consistently excellent stories, this series gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

**"I" OF THE BEHOLDER - [Uber]

**CHAMPION by Melissa Good - [Alt]
This 16th entry in Missy's much-loved A JOURNEY OF SOULMATES SERIES picks up the story after Xena and Gabrielle's visit to Athens. The trip home is interrupted by a forest dweller with an urgent message for the two - Lestan is dying and he needs to see Xena. What they find when they reach their old friend is a devastated community and a people in turmoil - torn between their more violent nature and the soul bonds which have formed such an integral part of their society for so long. Some of the younger forest dwellers are determined to undermine the power of the soul bonds. Certain that love only weakens warriors, they have vowed to bring back the more savage traditions of a people long devoted to the God of War. Unbeknownst to them, Ares' Chosen and her soul bond are about to show them just what love can do to warriors. Throw in a precocious toddler that is VERY much her parents' kid - and the forest dwellers are in for a much WILDER time than they ever imagined! With some of the most intense cliffhangers Missy has ever written, this tale is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. The story spotlights not only the strengths of our two heroines but the uniqueness and magic of their relationship. Moments of humor combine with moments of insight along with that trademark Merwolf mush to provide a thoroughly satisfying read. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [unfinished] - 127 pgs., 1/2002.

NOT a fan of the post-FINS genre, based as it is on what has to be one of the most disappointing, poorly-written, illogical, depressing series enders in the history of TV, I have to say that FlyBigD inspired a temporary "change of heart" in me with this CHARMING story I simply could not put down. Set three months after the Nippon debacle, the tale finds Gabrielle wandering around with her ghostly partner who has gotten a bit frustrated at the day to day reality of not being able to touch anything except the bard. It's a frustration that becomes even more disconcerting whenever Gabrielle seems in imminent danger which is precisely what the Warrior Princess senses during their visit to a bazaar one day. A confident warrior in her own right now, the bard deals with the danger but something else continues to stalk our heroic twosome - a cloaked figure which the two soon realize has one thing in common with the warrior. Dead for over a thousand years, the stranger, named Omrond, eventually reveals herself as a ghost doomed to walk the earth far from the forest village she once called home but desperate to make retributions for the wrongs she feels she brought upon her people so long ago. To this purpose, she enlists the aid of Xena and Gabrielle - needing their help to try to return a mystical sword to her people. It's a quest that will offer warrior and bard the opportunity to go on one last adventure together as true partners when Omrond reveals that she can help Xena exist for brief moments as a solid being. In exchange, the troubled forest dweller will find her spirits lifted by the easy banter between the two companions and her soul warmed by the magnitude of a love unlike anything she's witnessed before. In a journey that will take them from one of the most dangerous cities on the Barbary Coast, across the sea to northern lands - these three will forge a strong friendship as warrior and bard help to make the impossible happen and an ancient soul finds redemption in the most precious gift of all. With a lot of light-hearted moments and humorous teasing, this is a fun story but it's one that goes beyond that exploring the emotional struggles of these characters. FlyBigD does an outstanding job with the depictions of Xena and Gab touching on their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their compassion, and most of all their love of life and one another. Omrond is similarly well-developed joining the rather exclusive club of original characters in fanfic the reader truly comes to care about. The plot is beautifully designed to incorporate a sense of adventure and mystery while never loosing track of the human emotions and relationships that are at the heart of the story. VERY effectively transitioning our grrls away from the nightmare the TV series left them in, this fine post-FINS contribution comes with my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! - 64 pgs., 10/13/01

As this fandom enters its fourth year it is very nice to see the fanfic talent pool continuing to grow and get better and better. Definite proof of this is the SPECTACULAR debut of Susan Smith tonight with her first-ever XWP story - a long, magnificent tale of political intrigue, adventure, prophecy and the undeniable power of the heart. The story begins with Xena getting a summons from the Babylonian City of Har, where the Great King lies near death and chaos is imminent. Upon arriving with Gabrielle, they are informed by the High Priestess that the goddess Har has not yet revealed who will inherit the crown but that she did reveal in a dream that Xena would be the one to keep order until a choice had been made between the dying king's many heirs. Thus warrior and bard are thrown into an explosive situation - trying to keep the peace while at the same time, struggling with the feelings they have for one another - unable to deny these anymore but still too scared to give in to them - tempted at ever turn in a city where love and passion are celebrated. The goddess' choice eventually revealed, the two must then fight to protect the rightful heir - all the while protecting also a love which rivals their own and which at last encourages them to face the truth in their hearts. Susan gives us here a brilliantly written and executed story with fantastic descriptions of exotic locations. The Xena/Gab relationship is explored in detailed going from amusingly strained, to poignantly fearful, hopeful, loving and finally - fiercely passionate. The subplot and supporting characters are terrific, presenting us with a second drama that is just as compelling. An incredibly entertaining and satisfying novel that comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! [See the sequel THE AMAZONS OF DAHOMEY] - 75 pgs., 10/4/98
[Palm Pilot version available at XENA FAN FICTION FOR THE PALM PILOT]

CHARON'S FROGS by de Bonheur
A story about missing frogs, a frustrated bard and a very determined Warrior Princess :) This is the second installment in the LONG IS THE WAY SERIES - 8 pgs., 9/11/97

Considering the outstanding body of work this bard has already treated us to, it should come as no surprise that her latest is one of the best new stories to come out this year. B.L. just keeps getting better and better, delivering some of the most entertaining and original stories I have ever read - period. This latest tale introduces us to B.L.'s version of Charon - Hades' ferryman, who in this story becomes a character you will NEVER forget. CHARON'S TROUBLES begins when Sysiphus, the former king and master magician whose plans have often been foiled by Xena, puts in play a new effort at revenge. He throws Charon into the world of the living and starts sending back as well all of Xena's dead enemies. Unable to locate his wayward ferryman Hades appeals to Xena for help. With Charon having the time of his life, however, Xena and Gabrielle soon have their hands full just trying to keep track of him...while others are keeping track of them. Before long one of the warrior's greatest fears becomes reality in a twist which may at last force her also to admit a truth she has been keeping secret for much too long. This is a combination comedy, first-time tale and hurt/comfort story which succeeds in every aspect of these three different types of fiction. Charon's antics are in a word HYSTERICAL! His characterization is well-developed and clever. As far as the romance is concerned - few can capture the connection between warrior and bard like B.L. can - in this story it is sweet, loving and almost desperately passionate. CHARON'S TROUBLES is NOT to be missed guys! It receives my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!! - 73 pgs., 12/8/97
FANFIC ART: B L Miller Story Cover

CHIAROSCURO SERIES by SL Bowers [Read in the order listed below]:
FANFIC ART: Ciegra Story Cover

Interesting story that examines the concept of light and darkness in a person's soul. While fighting a gang of thugs, Xena and Gabrielle meet a mysterious warrior - a beautiful Amazon whose haunted past makes the Warrior Princess reconsider her own. This is the first story in Bowers' CHIAROSCURO SERIES. Note: This story is not explicit. - 18 pgs., 8/10/97

Bowers brings us an excellent continuation to her CHIAROSCURO SERIES with this new part which has Xena and Gabrielle traveling on official Amazon business to the kingdom of Pellos. The journey and the time spent on their mission will mark a turning point in the lives of both women as they begin to acknowledge feelings they have been ignoring for much too long. For the bard it will be an awakening to new possibilities. For the warrior - a time of turmoil as she struggles against passions just recently stirred and fears of the darkness these could unleash. Bowers is doing a wonderful job in developing the Xena/Gabrielle relationship slowly - with an awareness of WHO these characters are and how they are likely to react to a deepening connection between them. Nicely written and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! - 20 pgs., 9/15/97

The third entry in the CHIAROSCURO SERIES has Ares playing a cruel trick on Xena as he tempts her with the allure of power and lust that were central to the warlord she once was. Xena finds herself in an alternate world - a world in which the Warrior Princess rules as the conqueror of much of Greece with a beautiful lover by her side and power in both their hands. Deep within her heart though, Xena senses something is missing - a presence from another life she goes to search for in a little village called Poteidaia... - 21 pgs., 9/97

IV. **THIS FIRE by SL Bowers
This latest entry in SL Bowers' CHIAROSCURO SERIES is excellent! The series has been slowly tracing the evolution in the Xena/Gab relationship as they've moved from friends to the initial awareness of being more to the acceptance in this fourth story of the love and desire they both feel. Bowers' characterization of Xena is particularly noteworthy, depicting a warrior torn between the darkness she knows is within her and the light calling to her from the heart of a gentle bard. This story is precisely about that struggle. Set immediately after the events in PART THREE: INNAMORATA, this tale begins with a nearly dead Warrior Princess trying to recover from the vicious beating received at the hands of the god of war. At her side constantly is the bard, trying to mend the warrior's body and her soul - aware of the fears still residing within Xena's heart...and her own. Together they will try to conquer those fears as they take the first tentative steps down a new path in this emotional, passionate story. This latest part is VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! - 21 pgs., 10/22/97

V. **TIME OF GRACE by SL Bowers
Bowers' excellent CHIAROSCURO SERIES continues in this latest entry which has the developing relationship between Xena and Gabrielle finally culminating in a sweet, sensual surrender of the heart. For the bard it is magic. For Xena it is a bittersweet moment when at last she can glimpse a ray of light amidst the darkness that is her life - but it is a feeling all too brief as soon the two once again find themselves enveloped in that darkness and heading toward an uncertain future. This series continues to get better and better. Bowers' enigmatic, dark warrior and determined, sensitive bard are wonderful depictions of Xena and Gabrielle. This is a MUST READ only you miiiiiiight want to avoid it at work ;-) VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 20 pgs., 11/25/97

Bowers' extraordinary CHIAROSCURO SERIES finally comes to an end with this VERY worthy final installment. The story has Xena, Gabrielle and the Amazons traveling to the city of Argon where they will join other troops in a combined effort to try to stop the advancing forces of Imperial Rome. For Xena the past and the present come together as finally she has a chance to avenge the wrongs done to her so long ago - but remembering the gentle bard who now loves her, the warrior cannot help but wonder at what cost that revenge will come. For Gabrielle it is a moment of decision when she might at last find herself facing the darkness within the warrior whose light she so loves. Masterfully written, this story and the entire series features a very insightful look at who Xena and Gabrielle are along with a fascinating exploration of the dynamics at work in their relationship. This is passionate, and wonderfully entertaining. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! - 20 pgs., 1/5/98

An amusing little vignette based on an old joke. It may take you a while to figure this one out but just think about it - eventually it will come to you ;-) - 2 pgs., 5/5/98

On a visit home to Amphipolis Xena spends time bonding with her mother and doing some serious self-examination, coming to terms with both her past and her present just before she's reunited with a certain bard she's missed terribly. This is a fascinating character study featuring very honest, realistic portrayals of the relationships between these three characters and a WONDERFULLY sensual treatment of the Xena/Gab pairing. - 77 pgs., 5/11/99

**CHILD (THE) by WordWarior
At last we have the anxiously anticipated sequel to one of the BEST XWP alternative stories written to date - TRUTH OR DARE. Like WordWarior's first story, this is EXCEPTIONALLY well written and edited. Taking place shortly after the events in TRUTH OR DARE, this story has Xena and Gabby coming upon a gruesome murder scene - two bodies, that of a man and a woman, travelers from the land of the Norsemen, tortured and killed. In shock, nearby, the Warrior Princess discovers a little girl, three years old, whose fate then becomes interwoven with those of Xena and Gabrielle as the two struggle to return her to her people even as the child becomes a bigger part of their lives with every passing day. This story features the return of Widgie - the wonderful healer we first met in TRUTH OR DARE and Xena's first-ever encounter with the mighty Thor - Viking God of Thunder. Long, NOT TO BE MISSED and a definite kleenex alert!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [Do not miss the sequel THE EMPTY HEART] - 63 pgs., 3/97
FANFIC ART: Ciegra Story Cover
[Palm Pilot version available at XENA FAN FICTION FOR THE PALM PILOT]

**CHILD OF LOVE by BlackFox
This sequel to the stories BONDED FOREVER? and THE WRATH OF APHRODITE is absolutely DELIGHTFUL - very possibly BlackFox's best work to date. Having struggled through a number of trials, Xena and Gabrielle are together at last and happy, although in recent days the bard has not been well, lacking her usual voracious appetite and often feeling nauseous. Soon they receive a visit from the mischievous goddess of love who has a little surprise for them! BlackFox depicts the Xena/Gab relationship beautifully in this story with lots of love and tenderness. CHILD OF LOVE also exudes a wonderful sense of family featuring most of Xena and Gabrielle's friends and relatives. This is the PERFECT story for those of you who've been feeling a bit depressed after the events in GABRIELLE'S HOPE. Nicely written, it is guaranteed to warm your heart. It is long and stands on its own although a familiarity with the first two stories will enhance the reading experience. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! - 93 pgs., 11/1/97

CHILD'S PLAY by Catherine M. Wilson
Yet another of Catherine's early pieces, this one set on an evening full of doubts as a troubled heart fears what it wants most of all. Poignant piece written in Catherine's uniquely passionate style. -- 2 pgs., 8/18/98

**CHILDISH GAMES by Ella Quince
This is a long-time favorite of mine which with its release now on the Web will likely become a favorite of many other readers as well. It is a beautiful, POIGNANT story that in revealing a part of Gabrielle's past Xena had previously not known about, opens up a whole new future for them. It begins at an inn where the warrior and bard come upon an old acquaintance of Gabrielle's - a childhood friend from Poteidaia whose presence unnerves the bard and has Xena wondering why? Wonderful writing, a solid presentation and original, well-defined characterizations combined to make this an exemplary read. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 8 pgs., 11/17/97

CHOICES IN LIFE by Jamie Boughen
A very emotional story which presents a somewhat different side of the Warrior Princess. It is a side that begins to come forth as Xena and Gabrielle discover a young orphan in the woods - a little girl who seems to immediately form a connection with the one-time feared Destroyer of Nations. Faced with a decision that could change her life, Gabrielle's and the girl's forever, the warrior finds herself revisiting the past and desperately wanting to avoid the pain she experienced in that former life. With some of the most poignant scenes I've read in a long time, this story warrants a definite hanky alert. It is well-written and very moving. - 46 pgs., 1/4/98

CHOSEN (THE) by B.S. Barber
Xena and Gabrielle must finally face their feelings for one another when another protective warrior comes into the bard's life with a mysterious agenda. - 15 pgs., 4/28/98

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