Oh, man. I can't believe I accidentally stumbled onto an abandoned fic! I'm normally SO careful about it because this is honestly just the worst feeling in the world. But it's been years since I've wandered back onto this site after having a bout of nostalgia and missing me some good old Bella angst and I'm a little rusty with the filters on here. Not to mention this site is NOT mobile friendly, lol. And I'm probably talking to myself anyway because you've surely changed email addresses by now and won't even see the review alert. However....on the small chance that you will read this, here goes. I'm a 38 year old mom of 4 who's main addiction in life has been reading fanfiction pretty much daily for the past....ummm....how long ago was Stargate Sg1? Lol...let's just say it's been more than a decade but probably less than two. And in that time, I've read a little bit of everything from all corners of the fanfic universe. I read the Shades of Gray series back when it was a Twilight fanfic! I remember actually encouraging the author in a review to get her work published and she told me she'd think about it, lol.
So all of this to say, I know what good writing looks like. With four kids at home, I don't have time to waste on garbage or even "meh" writing. I seek out and find the good stuff and I've become a master at it. So good, in fact, that I don't even bother watching much TV or movies anymore because NOTHING can compare in my mind to the intensity of a well written piece of fiction. Which brings me back to you. Nothing I say can really do this justice but you have to know that this was among the most incredible stories I've ever read. And not just because literally every aspect of your plot was the jam to my bread (even though...god, was it ever). I honestly think you could have written in ANY fandom about ANY characters and I would have been just as enthralled. You narrated Bella perfectly.
I loved loved LOVED that you made the choice to keep the whole fic in her first person perspective. And you captured her voice so well...giving it a richness and depth that only the very best fiction can do. I loved the level of detail you included too. Your pacing was flawless and, even though I am a complete action-junkie, I never once got bored or even mildly disinterested as you built the plot and fleshed out the characters. Even the things that I somewhat skimmed through in the books (like the wedding, for example) I absolutely ate it up here. Nothing felt rushed, either. It just flowed so beautifully and that is SO rare....you have no idea.
And the cool thing about fanfiction in its absolute finest form is that it can take these characters that we love so much and, without losing the essence of who they are established as being, actually breathe NEW life into them! Putting them into these unexplored situations that test them in entirely new ways allows us to learn so much more about them without ever once feeling like they are a stranger to us. If the books are the whirlwind romance then fanfiction (really really EXCELLENT fanfiction) is the enduring, ever-deepening love that comes after it. So when I read a fic...even a good one...where Bella just doesn't sound or think like Bella, it completely spoils it for me. For the same reason, it's really hard for me to read "all hunan" Twilight fics because what are the Cullens without their vampire-ness? So you've managed to not only capture Bella's essence (and her clumsiness, her intelligence, her dark humor, etc) but you've done it for ALL of them. You've even managed to keep Edward totally in-character without making him insufferable like so many other writers are prone to do. And of course, through the experiences in your plot, you've grown them all beautifully as well and made them completely your own. That's not something that can be learned or taught. None of this is. This is just bone-deep, pure talent.
And lord, I haven't even gotten into that final few chapters with the battle and Bella's subsequent transformation. I swear my heart was beating out of my chest that whole freaking time! It was truly a visceral reaction that only the very best fiction can draw out of me. It was almost painful! Lol. And can I just add that I loved how you wrote Rosalie at the end? I think I could read your version of Rose all day long, which is saying something considering she played a pretty small role in this fic.
And I know I'm jumping all over the place here but your backstory of Irina and Tanya was just so....captivating on every possible level. I WAS Bella during that story. I was sitting there listening to them tell this heart-wrenching story and I could not have stopped reading in that moment to save my life. In fact, I basically spent my entire Saturday in bed reading this story and ignoring the world around me completely. Which made me want to scream at the universe when I got to the bottom of this screen and didn't see any "next" button to click on. I was beyond devastated! Your version of Bella's transformation was complete brilliance....her developing powers and the way you illustrated her sort of bouncing around in everyone's gifts was just so incredibly fascinating. I absolutely hate that I'll never know where you were going with that or what will happen with Irina and the Volturi and all of the other plot elements you were so masterfully juggling here.
God, there are not enough unique words in the english language for me to describe how good this was without sounding like a babbling idiot but I hope you hear me anyway. Even though I never meant to read and get hooked on an abandoned fic, I can't find it in me to regret one second of this incredible journey you've taken me on today. Thank you for all the late nights and long hours you surely poured into this so many years ago. Thank you for that gift that you were brave enough to put out for the world to scrutinize. It was truly a thing of beauty and depth.
I hope somehow, even if it's a crazy long shot, you get to read this long, ridiculous, rambling novel I'm writing. I hope that, wherever life has taken you these past years, that you are still finding a way to feed this incredible talent of yours. I'm not trying to flatter you...I'm being 100% honest. You have a rare gift for writing and something like that should never be wasted. I read from your bio that you're a mom now (congrats!) and I know how that changes your life and priorities in many wonderful and unexpected ways. But please....PLEASE....find a way to keep writing creatively. Even if it's not anything that others will get to read...keep writing. Use that beautiful brain of yours to create an entire new world, breathe life into it and then...someday...find a way to publish it even if it means doing it yourself. You have the talent, trust me.
What can I say about this review that makes you understand the impact that it had on me? Not enough, that I can guarantee. I'm a mother of two now. I love my babies with everything I have, but I'm sure you'll understand how much of yourself you lose along the path of motherhood.
I haven't written anything that has made me happy in such a long time. I abandoned everything I had started. Feeding babies, I developed new obsessions: Divergent, Hunger Games, Outlander, The Mortal Instruments...and a million plot lines that I would love to play with. I even created some of my own that I dance with from time to time.
Only this past few months, we moved across the country. I became involved in a writing group again. My first steps toward my own identity after so long. It was painful, and terrifying. I was afraid that I had lost any originality and power in in the creation of words that I'd like to imagine I once had. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I was literally one day away from quitting the writing group and giving up trying to get back into it.
And then this review showed up.
I'm still not there yet. I still don't have the power that I'm hoping to get back, but you encouraged me to take the first very tough steps. It also gave me my jumping off point. I have always wanted to finish this story. It is the perfect place to start again, and though it will probably be slow and painful (my writing group is only once a week, after all), it is because of you that I will finish it. And it's because of your review that I am enjoying writing again. Whether or not you find me talented enough to take that as something amazing, please understand that the power to give a person back something as impossible to return as a piece of their own soul is an enormous thing, and with your review, you did that to me.
That's about the best I can do in words to describe how much I thank you for it. I'm sorry if they don't even come close. I'm getting better.