LUNACY'S FAN FICTION REVIEWS
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Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:01
Please make sure to read the EXPLANATORY NOTES before reading these reviews.
Alternative stories are designated as such with an [Alt] at the end of the title line.
This file features reviews of stories written by Jim Kuntz. For any other fiction by this bard please visit any of the Xena fan fiction indexes.
**BATTLE OF THE ZAMA RIDGE TRILOGY - read in the order listed below:
BIRTHRIGHT by Jim Kuntz - [Alt]
Set about six weeks after KEOLA'S STORY, this new novel from one of our veteran talents immediately plunges Xena, Gabrielle, their friends and family into a desperate new crisis when Sula, the warrior and bard's adopted daughter, is kidnapped and Lila is critically injured in the process. While the enraged Lion of Amphipolis and the Queen of the Amazons track the kidnappers, Keola must look after the safety of those left behind in Poteidaia, aware now that Sula's kidnappers had helped from a very dangerous enemy. For all involved the coming weeks will test them as never before, plunging the Warrior Princess into a dark place she hoped never again to visit, leaving the bard to fear for both the safety of her daughter and the emotional health of her partner, and sending Keola on a difficult quest to uncover the danger lurking closer to home. Fast-paced and intense, Jim's writing moves the story along quickly while once again bringing these characters to life. He uses extended flashbacks to add some lighter moments to the tale, revisiting the happier days surrounding Xena and Gab's joining ceremony. This is a solid start to what promises to be yet another exciting adventure-drama from a writer who certainly knows how to deliver those. [unfinished] - 54 pgs., 7/24/00
**CITY (THE) by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
This follow-up to THE FORTRESS picks up the story as Xena and Gabrielle arrive at the kingdom of Xora to return the Scepter of Athena. For the bard it becomes a learning experience as Xena decides to take a back seat so that the Queen of the Amazons can shine, convincing her partner of how advantageous it can be for the Amazon Nation to form such ties, and finding herself strangely content to lie in the shadows for once. Jim deepens the characterizations beautifully in this story. He explores the psyche of an ex-warlord now finding contentment in the growing peace of her life and the love of her soulmate. He also looks at a young woman coming into her own as queen. Top-notch writing in another terrific story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [See the sequel THE JOURNEY] - 23 pgs., 1/2/99
[German version: DIE STADT translated by Greyfax at http://www.KronachOnline.de/~biblio/xena/usadeutsch/stadt2.htm]
**DREAMS LOST AND FOUND by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
This talented writer returns with a deeply emotional, heartwarming tale of love and family, regrets and lost dreams that has the Lion of Amphipolis and her bard traveling to Poteidaia to visit with Gabrielle's family. Ever observant, Xena notices immediately the distance between Gabrielle and her father. It's a situation she senses hurts her partner deeply and when something hurts Gabrielle, it concerns the Warrior Princess so with the determination that once turned a village girl into the feared Destroyer of Nations, she attacks the problem head on, stripping away walls of silence a lifetime in the making and revealing the misplaced bitterness a taciturn old man has been clinging to instead of his family for so long. Jim's characterizations are all outstanding but particularly noteworthy is his treatment of the Warrior Princess. His Xena has that fascinating mixture of tenderness, raw power, danger and singleminded resolve that is at the heart of what has made this character so appealing for so many. The relationship between warrior and bard is fun and sexy, caring and fiercely committed. Touching too is Jim's depiction of Herodutus whose story holds a lesson for us all. Beautiful tale folks. A MUST READ! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [See the follow-up story THE WILL OF THE LION] - 30 pgs., 5/7/99
AWARDS: "Getting Serious" Swollen Bud Award (Aug. 15, 2000)
**FORTRESS (THE) by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
An impressive debut by a new bard, this exceptionally well-written, fast-paced tale has the warrior and bard sneaking into a fortress to secretly retrieve the Scepter of Athena. It is a mission that becomes more of a challenge then either had hoped for when the bard is injured and Xena finds herself struggling to save them both and struggling with the knowledge of how her life continues to endanger the woman she loves. Jim uses a very "tight" writing style that is a delight to read - with every action and every piece of dialogue conveying a wealth of meaning. His characterizations are outstanding, bringing us the no-nonsense, determined warrior and the gutsy, devoted bard that so many in this fandom love. The relationship harks to the pre-rift days of this partnership, with trust, respect, and a very powerful love forming its foundation. In parts an action-adventure, in parts a hurt/comfort story, this is a definite MUST READ folks! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [See the sequel THE CITY] - 18 pgs., 1/2/99
[German version: DIE FESTUNG translated by Greyfax at http://www.KronachOnline.de/~biblio/xena/usadeutsch/festung.htm]
**JOURNEY (THE) by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
This talented writer delivers yet another first-class storytelling effort with the sequel to THE CITY - a RIVETING character piece that includes a confrontation I would pay GOOD MONEY to see in the TV series! On their way to the Amazons after their stay in Xora, Xena and Gabrielle finally face issues they've been avoiding for much too long as a VERY brave bard incurs the rage of warlord to uncover the secrets of a heart full of shame. Outstanding writing, compelling characterizations and a very sophisticated, sensitive treatment of the relationship make this tale one you will NOT want to put down. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! [See the sequel MEG'S] - 29 pgs., 1/2/99
[German version: DIE REISE translated by Greyfax at http://www.KronachOnline.de/~biblio/xena/usadeutsch/reise3.htm]
KEOLA'S STORY by Jim Kuntz - [Alt]
Having made a reputation for fanfic with a very distinct flavor, Jim brings us a sequel to his BATTLE OF THE ZAMA RIDGE TRILOGY which once again stands out both in terms of quality and originality. Xena and Gabrielle are seemingly not at the heart of this story - this is the tale of Keola - a young Amazon warrior we were first introduced in ASHES ON THE WIND but the beauty of this story is that in helping us to get to know a very courageous young woman it also reaffirms how special the Golden Lion and her Amazon Queen are and how much nobility of spirit graces the family they love. Crippled after the Battle at Zama Ridge, Keola does not hesitate when Xena and Gabrielle offer her the opportunity to help the Nation with a new project. They want her to work with Gabrielle's father in designing an artificial leg so other warriors with similar injuries can be better rehabilitated. With this mandate, Keola travels to Poteidaia to spend time with her queen's father - never suspecting just how deeply the experience will change her forever as she finds herself surrounded by people who care, people who love and people who are willing to help her deal with the hidden demons of a past Keola has not yet fully come to terms with. This is a beautifully written tale with a very endearing original character and a story guaranteed to pull at those heart strings. DO NOT MISS! [See the sequel BIRTHRIGHT] - 54 pgs., 2/7/00
**LION'S WALL (THE) by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
The culmination of the story begun in THE FORTRESS and continued in THE CITY, THE JOURNEY and MEG'S, THE LION'S WALL is an emotional roller coaster that will have you experiencing the gamut of emotions right along with the characters. Starting shortly after where MEG'S left of, the story has Xena and Gabrielle feeling decidedly romantic as they prepare for the wedding of two good friends. It's an occasion that inspires warrior and bard to dream of their future together and to the ex-warlord's amazement even make plans for a family she never thought she would have. Too soon, however, that future is in peril as the past Xena has struggled so hard to escape comes back to haunt her, this time endangering not only her bard but all they hold dear and threatening at last to fulfill the promise of an evil shamanes. With no choice but to face those mistakes of the past, the Lion of Amphipolis rises again with the Amazon Queen now at her side as they place themselves between Greece and the greatest threat their land has ever known. At times one heck of a difficult read, this is a well-written powerful tale that holds no punches as it faces head on the reality of these brutal times and the sacrifices exacted from those history would call heroes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 40 pgs., 3/17/99
MEG'S by Jim Kuntz -- [Alt]
A sequel to Jim's THE JOURNEY, this story finds the warrior and bard continuing to grow closer as they visit an old friend and become determined to help her find the happiness they themselves have discovered. Jim gives the Xena/Gab relationship a charming easiness and tenderness, made more so by the steeliness which he nevertheless maintains in the warrior's characterization. Entertaining with some nicely dramatic moments. [See the sequel THE LION'S WALL] - 18 pgs., 3/17/99
[German version: BEI MEG translated by Greyfax at http://www.KronachOnline.de/~biblio/xena/usadeutsch/meg4.htm]
**WILL OF THE LION (THE) by Jim Kuntz - [Alt]
The first in a new series by this gifted bard, THE WILL OF THE LION is an epic war story of courage, strength and love and the indomitable will that makes heroes into legends. Ruling the Amazons now with Xena as her military commander and Ephiny as her successor, Gabrielle prepares to meet the greatest threat the Amazon Nation and Greece itself have ever faced. It's a threat warrior and bard are determined to see through together as the two work hard forging alliances, forming an army, and finding a new understanding between them in a world where Xena and Gabrielle must now often give way to the Lion of Amphipolis and the Queen of the Amazons. Jim has become known in Xena fanfic for his very different, but very sophisticated, mature and deeply loving treatment of the Xena/Gab relationship. It's a quality in his writing already in evidence in this new series. He is also incredibly adept at weaving complex stories and building the suspense for those climactic battle scenes. Featuring a solid supporting cast with some familiar faces, Jim's latest is an engrossing, often emotional MUST READ. DO NOT MISS! [See also the earlier story DREAMS LOST AND FOUND] - 170 pgs., 7/20/99
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