The Edged Lexicon

57000 words, incomplete @Ao3 by raunchyandpaunchy
Genre/What to expect: Exactly what’s on the label. #Porn with Plot and #The Porn is the Plot. It’s not inaccurate. Watch the tags.
Rating: E for very explicit
Pairings: It’s a sex club. In Skyrim. People bang.

Sharp of blade and sharper of wit, Nadine Rielle has a thirst for adventure and a lust for life – she’s never found a mead or wine she hasn’t loved; never heard a bard’s tale or tune she hasn’t clung to every line or note of. When she crosses paths with a charismatic stranger who offers her a chance at procuring an item of near legendary value, she can’t resist. But when she meets with the man for the first time, she ends up discovering more than she bargained for…

In which Nadine fights for bliss, one denied orgasm at a time.

The Edged Lexicon is a ride. And to be perfectly honest, I would probably not bother reviewing porn, because what are you supposed to say about it? Except then Edged Lexicon is more than that. More than the really well crafted and universe appropriate BDSM dungeon that has taught me more about consensual kinks than I had expected going in.

It’s Nadine who I’m writing this review for, really. She’s the original character that carries the entire thing on her shapely shoulders. The moment she’d been introduced, I adored her, and when she was taking a shower under a waterfall and we got to admire her little paunch from her love for Breton cuisine, I feel heads over heels in love.

She starts out so deceptively innocent and blooms so willingly soon after, and continues to grow from, ah, you know, *gestures* to *gestures*. I’d have honestly not thought that character growth can come so easily between the proverbial sheets.

Return of Cinnabar

Steven Universe: Return of Cinnabar

232000 words, complete @Ao3 by Platon
Genre/What to expect
: Hope around every corner, hearts brimming with love, and a boy struggling with what it entails to grow up and to find himself past what his destiny has in store for him. Also, Amethyst is the f***** best, okay.
Rating: T / General Audience
Pairings: m/f  Stevidot

When a Gem Commander from before the rebellion is found on Earth, Steven Universe and The Crystal Gems have to convince her that Earth is still a loyal Homeworld colony. Yet as Steven learns more about Earth from before the war, he must struggle with the truth of his mother, newfound emotions, and whether or not every enemy can be defeated with love.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Difficult, I’d say.

There’s a bunch of things that can make a piece of Fan Fiction great. The plot. Its style. The editing work. Or something as simple as your favourite pairing because no one else is bothering to write it for you.
Return of Cinnabar has a lot of the above. It stands on well written shoulders, includes tropes that I adore (We can’t let her know!), and it made me watch Steven Universe.


So, yes, there are a bunch of things that’ll make a fic great, but there is one thing that will set it apart by miles: Getting you so invested in the world, the characters, that afterwards you just have to go check out the source material. Because up until I’d finished reading Return of Cinnabar I hadn’t watched a single episode of Steven Universe. It didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and if you’d told me that I’d be one day mourning how I can’t get my hands on anything past Season 1 without having to buy a stack of Blu-rays, I would have laughed right into your face. Probably.

Others agree:

I can’t wait for more please continue

– comment on Ao3

This is an amazing fanfiction I hope you continue

– comment on Ao3

Platon introduced me to Steven, who, as I found out later, does this thing where he steals your heart and makes you want to squish his cute, chubby cheeks for being the most precious and sweet and loving and compassionate creature that can possibly exist.

He also brings an original character to the table, Cinnabar, who I would not have recognized as an OC if I hadn’t known about it already. Cinnabar blends in perfectly, and after watching the show itself, I could easily see her being an established member of the cast. Which shouldn’t come as a big surprise, considering how flawlessly he captured each of the canon cast Gems.

But while the characters are familiar, and Steven’s unfailing love, compassion, and young enthusiasm are tangible, the similarities kind of start to fade once we look at how much more impact the plot has than the short, mostly lighthearted, instalments of the show. Suddenly, there are consequences that cannot be erased with a quick break between episodes.

See exhibit A:


– crimsonherbarium

Return of Cinnabar starts out as I’d expect any other Steven Universe episode to. Light and love and song and omg, the people of Beach City must be used to the weirdest of things. The Gems head off to their missions, Steven grows and grows (literally too), and everyone in generally having a relatively good time. There’s even a first date. I love first dates. Watching Peridot slowly climb out of her shell had me clap my hands together and make very unflattering noises.

The peace does not last though, and we are left clicking NEXT CHAPTER as the characters are faced with their fears, their weaknesses, and, yes, their mortality.

No spoilers though. You should go read it yourself.

Silver for Monsters

108000 words, complete @Ao3 by 
Genre/What to expect: Very Witcher. Much Monster. Wow.
No, for real though, I can’t quite decide what I prefer. Is it the monster hunts? The combat? Or maybe Lambert and Aiden being two horribly stubborn idiots? 
Rating: Explicit
Pairings: m/m  Lambert/Aiden

Lambert has been walking the Path for half a century. Wraiths, drowners, ghouls–another day, another shit contract for shit pay in some shit village for some ungrateful bastard.

That is, until he accepts a lucrative contract in Ellander and gets more than he bargained for. The Continent proves to be a dangerous place as Lambert sets out with Aiden, a witcher from the School of the Cat.

Monsters, war, love, sex, angst, revenge, silver, and steel. Lambert must fight to leave the Path before it destroys him.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes, if you have a general understanding of how fantasy works.

I don’t know much about the Witcher Series, I’ve got to admit that. Played some of the first one, forgot all about finishing the second, and have attempted on multiple occasions to get further in Witcher 3. A never-ending quest, that, since there are just too many ? to explore on that map and I barely ever get anywhere.

But then there was Silver for Monsters, written by Plague (or  on Ao3), and Lambert

Who the fuck’s that? was my initial reaction, so I went over to Google to refresh my memory.

Image result for lambert witcher 3
Ooo- that guy!

Armed with a bit of eye candy, I threw myself right back into Lambert’s life as a Witcher. Which, arguably, isn’t exactly rosy.

Unfortunately, he’d managed to piss off just about every armorer worth his salt in the gods-forsaken cesspit of human shit and drowners that was Velen.

To be fair, neither is Lambert. He’s a bit crass. He’s crude. He has violence in him, and he fights like a man possessed. Speaking of fighting: the combat in Silver for Monsters is wonderful. Not once did I lose track or feel the need to skim. It’s remained engaging throughout. 

Speaking of engaging.

Aiden fought like he was dancing. His feet barely touched the ground as he whirled and spun in a rapid, insistent ballet that only he knew the steps to.

Aiden is, too. While Silver for Monsters is written out of Lambert’s POV, I think Aiden is my favourite of the two. Mostly because he comes with a hint of softness that contrasts Lambert- and challenges him. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a sort of softness that’d indicate weakness, but more of a nuance to his hard edges that make me want to read more about him. Especially since we see him through Lambert’s eyes, and oh boy does he end up having eyes for him.

Which brings us a step away from monster hunting, and to the two Witchers and the bond they form. A bond shaped by a handful of delicious sparks.

I said, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Aiden hissed angrily. His face was mere inches from Lambert’s own. Lambert could feel the heat of Aiden’s breath against his neck, the brush of his curls against his forehead. Even in the dim light of the passage, his golden eyes burned like coals. Lambert slowly began to realize that he might have fucked up. He’d never seen Aiden like this before.


Seeing the tug and pull between them in the first few chapters makes for a great buildup when that smouldering spark finally ignites. Though even then the tension doesn’t break away, and we’re led on a merry chase of WHY THE FUCK, LAMBERT, until they finally catch up with each other again.

It’s great, okay?

Silver for Monsters, if you’d ask me (and you are, you are reading my blog), brings the best of three worlds together. Monster hunting. World building plus character development. And the occasional Rrrrr between Lambert and Aiden that ties it all together perfectly.

Plus, it comes with one of my favourite tropes, so how can I not recommend it? As evident by me losing it while reviewing:

That’s an instant Taff-slay right there, though even without it I would have adored this fic. I do adore Lambert, too, even if I get a little grouchy at his stubborn ass at times. And yeah, so I’m an absolute sucker for Plague’s writing style, and how I get adventure, action, smut, romance, and a fat serving of humour to go with it, all in one delicious dish.

So. Yeah. Read it!


Reviewing Fan Fiction ?


Have you ever wondered how to go about telling your favourite author how amazing their work is?  Or would you like to be able to help a budding fan fiction writer improve their craft?  Preferably without chasing them off the pasture?

If you have, read on.  If you haven’t- well- uh- have a puppy.


I read a decent amount of Fan Fiction.  Maybe not as much as others, but there’s a good reason for that:  While someone else might go and consume everything out there with their particular OTP in it, or dig into the trenches of their fandom’s archive, I read what I’m being given on the /r/FanFiction Discord server.  Sometimes that means I will read a short.   Sometimes a single chapter of a novel length piece.  Or, at occassion, the whole 350k word behemoth.

And I read to review.  Hardly ever will I leave a fic without dropping a comment / review on my way out.  Most often than not multiple ones, since I firmly believe every individual chapter deserves my attention.

Depending on my relationship with the author, or their explict wishes, I may even try to leave constructive critisim.  Though at the end of the day it is not my job to try and edit their work, or mold their writing to fit my taste or standard.  Considering that they are doing this for the joy of it, and not for profit, throwing unwanted advice their way can have a very discouraging effect.

So, what do I do if I am being asked to review / beta / callitwatchawant a piece that doesn’t live up to the quality I am otherwise used to?  Yeah, I might think Oh boy, but-

That. Does. Not. Mean. It. Sucks.

All it really means, is that the author has picked writing fan fiction as a hobby, but isn’t necessarily very good at it. Yet. We’ve all been there, an universal truth that we sometimes forget.


Let us assume that I’ve read a fic by someone who does not have English as their native language, therefore obviously has grammatical errors in them.  They are also rather new to pacing and to character development / introduction, and make mistakes such as using the word orbs for eyes and mentioning everyone by the colour of their hair.

I’m being given ten chapters of all those clumsy little words, and asked to tell them exactly what I think.

What do I do?

Pick my battles. 

Throwing myself in there and lumping it all together would likely feel like I’m absolutely slamming them.  And that would have the opposite effect to what I am trying to accomplish.  It’d drive them off.  Maybe even make them want to stop writing.

We do not want that.

So what I tend to do is, for each chapter, I pick up things that I believe should be addressed. I might mention specific grammatical mistakes in each, a handful at best. Sometimes I correct them in detail two or three times, before only mentioning them in passing.

Then, I mention what I like.  I highlight sentances that were good.  Show them what they are doing right, because not only will that take away the sting from before, but it’ll also provide a comparison to what they did wrong.

In short: This is how you shouldn’t do it, but look, this is right!  Keep doing this.  But stop doing that.

Then I move on to the next chapter, giving them the same treatment there, but focusing on a different set of errors.  If I talked about grammer first, I might now touch on the epithet elephants in the room.  Or hand them a few alternatives for orbs.  Like actual eyeballs.  Squishy, squishy eyeballs.

Before too long, we are back on what they did well, and by the end, I hope to have a tall stack of nicely layered critique sandwiches.


Mmmm… tasty tasty sammiches.  After all, they deserve the good stuff too, more so still than the advice I have to give.  If anything, I prefer encouragement, and to show them that however bad they think their writing might be, it is not a lost cause. No writing ever is.

From there on out, it is up to them.  Do I hope that they’ve learned something?  Sure, why wouldn’t I.  Would I feel dejected if they decide to disregard what I’ve told them?  Yeeaaah- probably, though since we assumed that they’d asked for help, we’re more entering “How to accept advice.” territory here.

What I’ll never do though, and what gets my blood boiling if I see it done, is throw their writing under the bus.  It’s not my place to do so.  It’s no one’s place to do so.  To think a writer (or any artist, really) would abandon a craft they love because someone couldn’t keep civil, breaks my heart.

*The above is written with Fan Fiction in mind, and not meant to represent the job of a paid editor working with an author preparing a book for publishing.  Neither does it cover betaing or editing agreements between Fan Fiction writers who want to get their work torn to pieces.


[Z Nation] Small Mercies

Z Nation70k words, complete  @Ao3 by 
Genre/What to expect: Two scared and broken people in a horrible, cold world. Neither of them trust easily, but they both need it. Slow burn. Horror. Side of blood. Zombie Polar Bears!
Rating: M
Pairings: Citizen Z/Female Original Character (my new Simon OTP)

The man formerly known as Simon Cruller is on the verge of losing his mind from solitude and the burden of being the self-appointed narrator of the end of the world.

When he meets Faye Keneally, a conservationist stranded in the Arctic, who’s as lonely and messed up as he is, he starts to think there might be hope for him after all.

But winter is coming, which means two months in total darkness, and in the long Polar night some of the shadows have teeth.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes, though some of the references to what is happening in the rest of the world may confuse.

Who should read this? Anyone who likes post apocalyptic/zombie stories, with a well crafted romance plot. Expect some foul language, a bit of smut, and plenty of action in the later arc.

Reviewed by: Tafferling

Slap on some extra layers of clothing, because this’ll be equal measures wild and oh so very cold.

StopTalkingAtMe has an incredible gift. She marries believable characterisation with beautiful scene setting, and draws you in real close. Right from the start you’ll be dragging your feet through the icy tundra alongside Faye, and share in her desperate solitude in a world trying to buck the living off its shoulders. Soon after, you’ll be yanked about by the emotional roller coaster that’s Simon’s and Faye’s slow dance around each other, and it’ll be both heart warming and heart wrenching.

Faye starts out alone, her sanity brittle with how lonely she’s been, and oh so vulnerable. It’s human and close to perfection, and she grew on me right quick. Though I might be biased, because she’s just my type of girl:

That long weekend in Reykjavik with the dick who worked in the city. What was his fucking name? For the life of her she can’t remember, but she can picture the way he stubbed out cigarettes as though he’d been mortally offended by the ashtray. The two of them on the balcony of their hotel room, staring up at the sky, their faces illuminated by the shimmering lights. Just for a little while the differences between them were swept away by something that was older than humanity and–

No. She’s remembering it wrong. Because they hadn’t seen a thing.

And once she follows Citizen Z’s call across all theCitizen Z white on white an
d then some more white, you might end up wanting to shake your screen, because listen up people, not everyone (except their dog) is out to hurt you. It’s okay to trust and heal, even if your demons stalk you day and night, and whisper harshly in your ear.

They work it out though. Eventually. Only for StopTalkingAtMe to dial up the heat (entirely figuratively), and even Zombie Polar Bears start to look a lot like a comfortable alternative for what’s up ahead.

So, in summary: Faye is a wonderfully written original character. Simon is on point, and true to his canon characterisation. The writing is superb. The pacing just right. And you’ll even get a villain to hate on, and oh god yes, will you hate him. (I’m still seething.)

Review examples from Ao3:

Why did I ever stop checking out Z Nation fics? This is so good! A shame I didn’t read it sooner. I love it. I love the additional background he gets and I love her and I love how real and feral she is, how slowly she opens up and how patient yet broken he is. I love it!

This chapter– this chapter 28 has me wonder just how the fuck you managed to do this. How did you drag me from chapter one, all the way to here, with a constant undercurrent of tension? Even in the quiet moments it still sat right at the edge of the words. Never went very far.

And now I’m about ready to snap, because I need to know how this ends, and… I somehow doubt it will end well.

[Fire Emblem Fates] Earthborne

Fire Emblem

 Here’s part two of Taffer reviews Self-Inserts, and this one couldn’t be any different from the one before.

84k words, complete by Mixed Valence
Genre/What to expect: Adventure, a little science in the face of magic, and a very important wallet.
Rating: T
Pairings: none as of yet

Driving in the rain is dangerous – your car could hydroplane, or, if it’s really not your day, plane into another universe entirely. The second was what happened to me.

Suitable for fandom blind readers? Not specifically, having knowledge of the fandom would help with identifying critical plot points.

Reviewed by: Tafferling

Having your car aquaplane into another dimension is one hell of a thing, and it’s what ends one Harrison in the unknown, with nothing but an electric torch and a wallet to his name. And then he almost gets himself picked to pieces by a pack of Faceless.

Before I read Earthborne, I knew nothing about Fire Emblem, but Harrison is a great guide, and gave me a decent insight in what to expect from the characters and the settings. He’s also rather resourceful, and he has to be, as there’s natural mistrust surrounding him that puts him on the spot frequently and has him struggle to prove that he doesn’t mean any harm.

What stands out most to me? How Harrison makes friends with the cast, but how he isn’t unconditionally liked. There’s still mistrust, and sometimes showing off your otherworldly wallet contents simply isn’t enough to quell that.

Ontop of that we’ve got his analytical mind, and an affection for science, which shows just how different he is to the fantastic setting he’s been thrown into. And since Harrison comes pre-equipped with knowledge of the Fates story line, and ends up right in the middle of it, we see him carefully attempting to steer things. With… well… you should read to find out what sort of results it has.

This is where my fandom blind reading doesn’t help the review much, as I’m not familiar with the consequences of either possible paths, but I trust that Harrison has reasons for what he’s doing. Which, at the end of the day, echoes his good heart as he’s torn between two groups of people that have both shown him kindness.

Mixed Valence is very invested in this piece, and you can tell. He updated regularly, stays engaged with his readers, and you can visible see how his writing is shaped with each passing chapter. There’s humour, quite often at poor Harrison’s expense, and there’s emotion, and a good amount of combat and action that’s well written and easily followed.

Give it a go!

Review examples from

I love how you aim to expand on the story, and add so many things new to it. Most retellings, let alone self inserts, just follow the main story with the same number of chapters as chapters in the game, more or less. However, you’re on chapter 26 and only at the in-game chapter 6. The amount of detail and love you’ve given this is spectacular.

I also like how your character is not generic, or over the top, or bland. There’s enough emotion and personality, with several hindrances that make him interesting. I understand your fear of making Harrison a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. I’m glad you’re keeping that in check. I also find it pretty funny how your character curses so much around people who tend not to.


Your story is really a fine piece i bloody love every bit of it.
Harrison is not a OP Gary sue of darkness and light but more of your average guy with luck.
The world building is strong! I can imagine the world you are in a lot better with every chapter.