LUNACY'S FAN FICTION REVIEWS
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Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:03
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 Planet-solin. For any other fiction by this bard please visit any of the Xena fan fiction indexes.
**FAMILY by Planet-solin - [Alt]
For those of you who've been waiting for this one as eagerly as I have - let me say the wait was WELL worth it! Planet-solin's latest addition to her Conqueror saga is another 3am'er. Start it early or you're going to be up well past that bedtime revisiting the Empress and her bard. This fifth installment in the series finds the two on their way to Poteidaia where Xena is going to leave the bard to celebrate her sister's wedding while she goes searching for her lost son. The journey starts off through the streets of Corinth where the innocent bard accepts a gift seemingly offered in gratitude. Unbeknownst to her or her fierce protector, there are forces at work all around them threatening the fragile happiness warrior and bard have found. In the days to come the Conqueror will fight a frantic battle to save the woman that has come to mean more to her than her very empire but the biggest battle of all will be with her own fears and doubts as she's forced to make a choice between accepting the impossible...or loosing the other half of her soul. Planet-solin has taken her two protagonists on a journey from being strangers in that first novel to what has become one of the most tender, moving and passionate interpretations of the Conqueror/bard pairing in XWP fanfic. It makes it even more poignant when this fifth adventure has them experiencing what is essentially an alternate version of the rift. Dahak, Ares, Callisto, Krafstar and other familiar faces are all cleverly incorporated in a plot designed to challenge the love between warrior and bard. The result is a tale with many of the same riveting elements the TV arc gave us but which honors the integrity of the characters and ultimately delivers a much more satisfying resolution. Make place for this one right at the top of your MUST READ list. It gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! [Fifth entry in the CONQUEROR SERIES] - 94 pgs., 8/1/02
**HOME AGAIN by Planet-solin - [Alt]
The SPECTACULAR sequel to IF...THIS HAD BEEN THE BEGINNING picks up the story where the first one left off, with the Conqueror on her way to fight the Horde forces in the North, while back in Corinth Gabrielle spends time learning about her partner's government. These are lessons that will serve her well in the weeks ahead when, too lonely to stay in the palace without the Empress, she decides to pay a visit to Poteidaia. The fateful trip will unleash a series of events that will have the young bard making a heartbreaking choice between her past and her present and will have her embarking on a new adventure into Amazon territory where a new future awaits her. Meanwhile, Xena will be tying up several loose ends, dealing with enemies both outside and within her empire, all the while looking forward to a reunion with her bard. When ultimately that reunion is delayed, it is a VERY determined Conqueror who will go looking for the blonde storyteller, intent on destroying whoever has kept Gabrielle from her and about to realize just how much trouble the young woman can get into. Planet-solin gives us here an absolutely MARVELOUS re-working of the Xena/Gabrielle story we fist saw in the TV series, expertly weaving in many of the same major elements of the story but massaging them to better fit the Conqueror timeline and to develop further the captivating relationship between warrior and bard depicted here. These are two of the best characterizations of Xena the Conqueror and Gabrielle the bard I've ever seen. Planet-solin makes Xena a very appealing character despite the Conqueror's brutality - a warrior but also a woman in transition, rediscovering her humanity and reaching out toward an emotion she never thought she needed. Gabrielle is delightful - smart, sometimes foolishly brave, insightful and with that penchant for trouble that was an endearing hallmark of the character as she was first conceived in the TV series. This story DEFINITELY proves that sequels CAN be every bit as good as the original stories they're based on. Put it at the top of your MUST READ list folks - it gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! [See the sequel SURRENDER] - 72 pgs., 6/18/00
**IF...THIS HAD BEEN THE BEGINNING by Planet-solin - [Alt]
Nothing satisfies that fanfic addiction quite like a good Conqueror tale and guys - this one is FABULOUS! In a departure from the more traditional Conqueror tales which usually have Xena and Gabrielle in an adversarial role following the canon established by the ARMAGEDDON Hercules episode that introduced this alternate reality, Planet-solin's story has the two becoming unlikely friends early on. An independent young woman determined to make her own way in the world, Gabrielle has cultivated a strong reputation as a talented storyteller traveling the countryside and earning the respect even of the Conqueror's own troops. Despite the relative peace the Conqueror's rule has enforced, however, life on the road can be a very dangerous place as the bard comes to learn one fateful day when she draws the attention of several ruffians. To her great relief, a stranger saves the day - a tall, beautiful warrior with eyes like blue steel whom Gabrielle is immediately drawn to and with whom she soon finds herself sharing frank opinions about the ruler of the land and the state of affairs in the Conqueror's realm. Having saved the girl while on her way to visit some of her troops, the Conqueror is both intrigued and unsettled by the young bard, knowing she should be outraged by some of the things Gabrielle is saying but feeling instead utterly charmed and surprisingly challenged by the insightful arguments. Reluctant to see any harm come to the young woman the Conqueror shadows her as Gabrielle goes on her way but in the days and weeks to come their paths will cross again as they continue to seek one another out - sensing a connection that transcends the impossibilities of a friendship between them and drawing the attention of those waiting to exploit whatever vulnerability surfaces in the life of the feared Destroyer of Nations. Planet-solin has drawn here two of the most compelling characterizations of Xena and Gabrielle in the alternate Conqueror time line I've ever come across. The Conqueror here is not a monster. She's an incredibly focused, driven warrior who's survived and built an empire by cultivating a fearsome reputation but underneath that cold exterior remains a yearning for the one thing power and wealth and victory have never brought her - a true friend. Gabrielle is an independent spirit with uncanny insight despite her innocence and an admirable drive to pursue her dreams no matter the odds. The relationship these two nurture is electric and sweet, funny and poignant, passionate and decidedly romantic. The first part of a planned trilogy, this tale establishes an engrossing premise guaranteed to keep you reading 'til the WEEEEEE hours if you start it late so plan accordingly :) A MUST READ, this gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! [See the sequel HOME AGAIN] - 80 pgs., 6/13/00
**PROMISE OF TOMORROW (THE) by Planet-solin - [Alt]
One of the fandom's finest Conqueror series continues with this sequel to Planet-solin's SURRENDER which finds the feared Empress of Greece and her Amazon bard on the field during the final days of a fierce campaign again the Roman armies of Julius Caesar. It's a battle made easier on Xena's soul by the presence of the young woman who has come to mean everything to her. Together for a year now, the two have discovered in one another a love, a passion, a sense of trust and completeness neither has ever known before. That happiness will be tested in the months to come as insecurities plague the warrior who wants nothing more than to give Gabrielle everything in the world...but knows she can't quite do that. On her end, Gabrielle will have to deal with her emerging role as Amazon Queen and consort to the Conqueror, as well as with some powerful figures from Xena's past once again targeting the beautiful Empress of Greece. All the while, immortal hands are setting in motion plans of their own for warrior and bard - one based in darkness, the other in love - and both as equally capable of destroying them. Planet-solin's treatment of the Xena/Gab relationship is a pleasure to read with a Conqueror made so much more human through her love for another and a bard whose inner strength cements this partnership. The plot itself is INCREDIBLY compelling in that it is developing as an alternate version of the "rift" we saw in the TV series. Planet-solin will further that even more in the planned sequel to this novel. Most of the outstanding supporting cast from the first three books in the series return here once again giving us secondary characters who elicit our interest and make us care about them. One of those you'll gladly stay up 'til 3am reading, this is one for the MUST READ list guys. It gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! - 82 pgs., 4/28/01
**SURRENDER by Planet-solin - [Alt]
The latest in Planet-solin's spectacular Conqueror series, this third tale finds a reluctant Conqueror and a reluctant Amazon Nation in the unlikely position of having to bargain with one another all thanks to the efforts of one...little bard ;-) No longer capable of denying her growing feelings for Gabrielle of Poteidaia, Xena is willing to make a truce with the race of warrior women, and with the bard-turned-Queen who thanks to some incredible circumstances now leads them. Having done away with some of the intrigue and conspiracies among her own troops, however, the Conqueror will now have to deal with a similar situation among the Amazons, for not all within the Nation look kindly on the new queen or the idea of peace with the Conqueror. Anxious to resume their relationship, the Empress and bard will first have to address a deadly threat to that peace and to their own happiness - a threat which may require something from Xena she's never given before and is not sure she can give. The Xena/Gab relationship here is increasingly charming with the two expressing fears and getting past those, no longer caring about previous roadblocks in their way, growing more confident about themselves and what they feel for one another. Planet-solin never depicts those changes as weaknesses but rather as strengths allowing these two women to better deal with the many challenges in their lives and to gain a new perspective on the greater good they're fighting for. A page-turner if I've ever seen one, this story keeps you riveted to the screen and looking forward to more from this gifted writer. Yet another for my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION list! [See the prequel HOME AGAIN and the sequel THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW] - 70 pgs., 6/18/00
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