Friday, May 15, 2009

"Over the Top" by Starfish422

Our Guest Reviewer this week is Mozzer0906!!

This week's Perv Pack Recommendation is...

Title: "Over the Top "
Author: Starfish422
Chapters: 17
Words: 66,988
Reviews: 1578
Summary: Slash: Edward is an unabashed pleasure-seeker, one of the club kings of the Seattle gay community. One night at his favorite club, he meets an enigmatic man who rocks the world he has created. JxE AH AU Rated M for language and explicit lemonsplosions.

Guest Reviewer - Mozzer0906 -

When starfish422 first published Over the Top, I told her it was my mission to get as many people in the fandom to read it as possible.

What would motivate me to take on such a challenge? One word: excellence. This work encompasses so many things I look for in a story: rich characterizations, great plot, super hot smut, and most importantly - fantastic writing. When I find a story like this, I am compelled to promote it at the top of my lungs. I have to thank the Perv Pack for asking me to be a guest reviewer, because not only does it aid me in my mission to get the word out, but I have the honor of discussing her story with such a wide audience.

As the story begins we meet Edward, who seems to be a smug, arrogant club boy whose main focus is finding someone to pleasure him. He is used to getting whomever he wants, whenever he wants them, and rarely does he grant anyone a repeat performance in the bedroom. This first impression of Edward is based on the character Brian Kinney from the television show Queer as Folk.

In the opening chapter, Edward spots this beautiful blonde boy at the edge of the dance floor and is drawn to him. Here we meet Jazz, who unlike most of the boys in the club seems impervious to the many charms of Edward Cullen. Jazz is the one in control this time, and by the end of the evening Edward gives himself over to Jazz in the bedroom. We are drawn in to what lies beneath the armor that has so carefully guarded Edward, and can’t help but cheer when he relinquishes the control he has obviously tried to maintain.

As the chapters progress you learn that the initial impressions of Jazz (who turns out to be Jasper) and Edward are merely the facades both of them have built to protect themselves. Starfish422 continues to peel back layer after layer of these characters, each time showing you more of the internal struggles these two have faced in their lives. We glimpse how they became the men they are today and how they continue to change and grow due to the influence of the other. The similarities to the show Queer as Folk are stripped away – except one. Queer as Folk was often heralded for accurately depicting the relationships between gay men; I believe that Over the Top delivers this same intimate accuracy to the fandom.

This Jasper (or Mathsper as I like to call him because he was a mathlete in high school) is one of my favorite characters in all of fanfiction. His capacity for patience, kindness and love seems limitless. Jasper is not a cliché or the perfect man. He has the same insecurities and worries that we all do, but the way she writes him you want him to emerge from your screen and become your gay boyfriend. Jasper sees the good in Edward; he knows there is so much more to Edward than anyone else is willing to take the time to see. In the beginning Jasper’s huge heart has to beat for both of them, but as each chapter progresses you see Edward’s heart start to show signs of life after years of solitude and loneliness. Jasper coaxes him back into life little by little, never pushing too hard for Edward to become something he isn’t.

Where to start with this Edward? Watching Jasper resurrect his heart has been a treat. You want Jasper to heal him; you want Edward to say all of the things that Jasper can say so freely. Starfish422 does an excellent job showing the internal struggle from a man who has held everyone at arm’s length for ten years to a man who is finally starting to understand what he has sacrificed by not letting anyone in. In every scene you find yourself willing Edward to embrace love, begging for him to say those words, hoping against hope he will finally be whole enough to truly give his love to another.

The writing of the story has such a beautiful resonance. Starfish422 often finds the words to convey emotion or feeling that are so powerful they wrap around you and claim your heart and soul.

“His unassuming voice is a scalpel, carefully cutting away the dead pieces of my soul, never doubting that underneath he will find living flesh worth saving.”

This very well may be my favorite line of the entire story. Picking just one is nearly impossible because all of her prose carries such incredible power and beauty. I believe that is why this story owns me. It’s not because of the sex – which I am about to get to – but rather because of the way her words make me catch my breath when I read them, overwhelmed by their ability to say so much with so few words. No review of Over the Top would be complete without discussing the sex, which is as powerful as the story itself. Did I mention Edward has a sex ledge in his shower? A sex ledge, people! A custom made ledge in his shower for the sole purpose of ridiculously hot sex – and yes, it is used in the story. The writing of the sex scenes is so smoking hot that I’m surprised my computer hasn’t combusted from reading it. Starfish is able to convey so much of the raw unbridled passion these two share with her words.

The sex is just so ung-worthy I can’t even find the right words to discuss it without drooling all over my keyboard. Suffice it to say, the sex is very well written and smoking on fire hot.

In promoting this fic, I’ve found the biggest obstacle this story faces in growing its readership is the Jasper/Edward slash. Some people admit to just not reading slash at all because of the subject matter. If you are one of these people, read the story. You will not be disappointed. Skim over the sex if it makes you uncomfortable. Stay for the love, the beautiful strong emotions the story conveys, the accurate portrayal of young gay men in today’s society, and the rollercoaster of watching these two on their journey that we hope will end up with a happily ever after. Whatever road these two take as the story continues, I have no doubt that starfish422 will deliver. I also have no doubt if you give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Give it a chance.

Bri- So, I'm normally a B&E kinda girl. I don't like to stray from that too much, but there are a few fics that I've taken the plunge for. The Trip Home , The Arrangement and All I Ever Knew
by our very own pervs are three that I've ventured out for. Since reading those, I have been more inclined to accept Edward/Jasper pairings and actually - dare I say - get turned the fuck on from them. Yep, I'm a slash lover I've found. Well, good slash, that is. Forunately, OTT falls into that category. It's a different take on the "man-whoreward", but the premise is much the same. Edward's been hurt and he's fairly damaged. He fucks around - sleeps with all the "twinks" as they call them at the hot Seattle gay bar. Then, enter Jasper. Immediately, they have some sort of connection - they are drawn to each other and we watch as almost all of Edward's walls come tumbling down within the first 48 hours of their meeting. I will say, I found it a bit unrealistic how easily he welcomed Jasper into his life - and the intimacy he found with him, given his stance prior. It didn't seem to me that someone as hurt as Edward would have given in so easily.

I'll admit, I read the following chapters with apprehension. I just couldn't quite wrap my mind around him dropping his facade so easily and so quickly. Well, turns out Starfish had a reason for that - enter the heartfail. It was apparent to me in the last couple of chapters that Edward wanted to be this other man for Jasper so badly, but with how quickly his "old self" emerged, I'm certain that it wasn't a permanent thing with Jasper. Edward has issues that he needs to work out for himself before he can truly be the man he wants to be for Jasper. And, Jasper has some 'splainin' to do...and that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Now, what about the fucking smut, Bri?!?! Shit, sorry... Yes, the smut is....delicious. Hot and sensuous and loving and wild and hungry. It's tastefully done, yet still gets the juices flowing, if ya know what I mean. This baby gets 4/5 panties (or boxer briefs in honor of the boys) from me.

Emmy- I used to be a secret slash smut loving slag.. Now I am a public one! ;) Thanks firstly to the darling Hopey for that & of course the smashing Kathy... Hopey was the one who told me to read OTT. Dear god am I glad I did... (but I might blame her for some of the heart fail ~ just because I can! lol!) Like Bri - I am the ultimate B/E shipper. But there is something about Jasper & Edward when done well that is just erm plain magnificent....

This is more than plainly magnificent. Its sodding (!!) fabbio. What gripped me (apart from the accompanying tingles) was the amazing emotional connections and the brilliant development of both characters... This story really makes me think. Right from when first cotton on to their being more to Jasper's fascination with Edward than just seeing his bod writhing in 'Spin'.. (who can blame him?!) Ah Starfish's Edward is magnificent. A horribly tangled and vulnerable mess of beauty, talent, sex-appeal, lust, money, brains, OH and fucked-up, locked down emotions.... Yup as I said to Starfish in my last review he is an Ice King... Beautiful but metaphorically he is The Beast from Grimm's Beauty & the Beast... So if he is The Beast: Then Jasper is? Yup Beauty...

Jasper is beautiful, Edward's angel who touches him and finds a way through the ice and in like no one else has... But I don't think Jasper is really aware of what lurks beneath for Edward.. Or what the implications of his promises to Edward are... When things get complicated (Angst alert!!) Jasper doesn't know how to sort it out.. And Edward? His angel as Jasper is to him, becomes his fallen angel - wingless, unable to save him & without peace.. Without Edward Jasper feels wingless too..

Will they find their way back to each other.. Like Beauty will Jasper return & vow to tame the beast (that is symbolic of Edward's locked away emotions and vulnerability which are almost teenage in terms of his emotional development and approach to anything more meaningful than just fucking)? Will we get to read and feel their intense connection whilst reading some of the hottest sex...?.... Their sex has been hot, heavy, hungry, desperate, intense, tender, romantic, blazing and always more than just fucking.... Its intense and brings me intense pleasure!!!

I really cannot recommend this story enough.. If you are normally not sure about slash - do go read this its a very talented blend of emotions and tingles.. & their tangled love-affair is captivating due to the strength of the characters and the incredible development Starfish has written.. Until they get happy and horny together again I can only give it 4 missing knickers (or tighty whities if you prefer!) out of 5.. I will happily increase that to 5 out of 5 once the happiness returns. LOVE THIS STORY!!!

Hope- Just to be upfront about it, I am a fan of this story; i've linked the pack, featured it as my deviant pick of the week, rec'd it on the Ficster and told anyone who would listen and a few who wouldn't about OTT. So I would say i'm a fan, and all that follows is why. So I think I was the first in the pack to take notice of this gem of a story, but I'm not quite sure on that fact. I know it first came to my notice via an alert for the 'Graphic Lemons' C2 on when there were only 2 or 3 chapters. Usually I read the summary and delete, as I have become pickier in my smut perusing. But I was highly intrigued by this one; a multi-chaptered, Edward & Jasper slash with smut, oh hells yeah. At the time that OTT first posted I was amongst a small few that tackled this pairing and the genre. Yeah, if you didn't know I too write an Edward/Jasper slash multi-chaptered story, but that is where the comparison of the two ends. So I was all for having some company in that little corner of the fandom. There are a lot more slash fics out now, some of them great, some of them not so great. I think the greater number of slash fics in the fandom now is due in large part to OTT and Starfish's writing and tackling of the subject matter. I am an unabashed fangirl of slash, but good slash. It has to be good. And OTT is one of the rare good ones.

Anyways back on topic Hopey, OTT is more than just smut. And like my other reviewers I too think it takes a very realistic look at what a gay relationship in today's society looks like. Edward is a pleasure seeker of the highest order; he cares about nothing but his next fuck, of finding and bedding the next hot boy that crosses his path. He's a 'top' and the hottest one on the scene. Then one night he sees a blond across the room and is instantly drawn to him, blowing off the twink he had set his sights on previously. Going up to the blond and giving him his never failed him before line of “I want to make you sit on my nine-inch cock.” Yeah, right there I knew this was going to be fucking good. The blond we come to find is "Jazz", silent, cool, calm yet confident. The night progresses the boys end up at Edward's loft with Edward thinking this will be just another fuck for him. How very wrong he is. I must admit I had a little penis envy when Jazz kneels before Edward and takes him into his mouth. After some coaxing and one mother of a blowjob Edward relents and 'bottoms' having a life-altering experience in the process. We soon find out that Jazz is not who he claims to be and that there is a shared past between the two.

Thus begins the tale of Edward and Jasper in 'Over the Top'. I'm not going to give you a blow by blow (snicker) of what happens next, read for yourself and uncover the beauty of this story. Needless to say Edward and Jasper become "Edward and Jasper". A concept so foreign, yet surprisingly welcome for Edward. He repeatedly calls Jasper a 'dangerous subversive boy' for changing or altering his outlook or views on himself, relationships and what it is to be a 'Gay' man. Edward and Jasper have very different experiences with coming to terms with their sexuality, coming out and their first forays into sex. It shapes them into who they are and offers two very complex and opposite views on homosexuality and being Gay in today's society.

At one point a sense of loneliness takes over Edward "I wished for the balloon to return to my chest; but now that it’s there, I’m absolutely aware that the balloon, expanded and taut, is also empty – completely vacant. I have spent so much time by myself; yet I have never felt so utterly alone. How could I have wished for this?" But what Edward doesn't yet realize is that the balloon is filled, it's filled with love. Love, such a foreign and alien emotion that it takes forever for him to recognize it. Its passages like this that set OTT apart from the rest. And I am not just talking in the slash genre either. Starfish mixes and meshes words and imagery rarely found in fanfiction with emotions, actions, dialogue and some hot fucking smut to create a beautiful, lush and rich story of love between two men. I'm not gonna lie, the story is in a bit of heartfail at the moment, but Starfish assures us that all will be righted with our boys soon.

I haven't talked about the smut yet, but it is fucking hot and makes me want to be a gay man for a quick minute so I could experience some sexing like the sexing that Starfish writes. There is a sex ledge and I am pretty sure that all fics need sex ledges now in some form or another. 'Viva La Sex Ledge'. Starfish writes the man lovin ' the proper way, and I don't mean grammatically, though that does apply. What I mean is that she takes the steps to properly portray what it's like for two men have sex. The first rule of slash is proper use of lube. For the love of all that is holy use the fucking lube, people. And Fishy does so props and kudos to her!! My favorite smutty scene, besides the first one is in Jasper's tub during a bubble bath engineered by Edward. guh. Panty ruining at its finest.

But what I think I love the most about this story is that it helps to break the stereotype that all Gay man are simply out to fuck. That gay men are sluts and only care about getting off. OTT shows us how a homosexual relationship can be loving, committed and monogamous, and bravo to her for doing it. For giving us a different view on how it can be.

Seriously I could go on and fucking on. Just go read it, trust me on this one. Even if you are not a fan of slash I can almost guarantee that you will love this story. 4.5 out of 5 boxers from me.

Kathy- One of the nicest things about this story is the style of writing. For some reason, it's sometimes difficult for me to read present tense and have it come across properly. Starfish422 has managed to write in a beautiful, luxurious manner, in present tense, and I don't find my brain catching or snagging in any parts. Saying the writing style is one of the nicest things here is saying a lot, considering the smexin' good times and emotion packed in.

Often, I find a story is either really good at conveying emotion or really good at conveying the naughty times. It is a rare gem that combines the two in a thoughtful way; this is one of those rare gems – straight, gay, what-the-fuck-ever.

Yes, the story is currently in a state of heartfail. Will it always be there? I don't think so. I have no clue where Starfish422 is going, but I do have faith and confidence in her ability to do this story justice, no matter the outcome. I really don't like angst, but I can generally do okay with heartfail. One of my favorite lines so far has been from Chapter 16, "The colors that have illuminated my life for the last two weeks – they all smear and run into one hideous, nameless shade of desolate." Who hasn't felt that way? Again, gay, straight, whatever, you can relate to this story, and that is a critical component, IMHO, to an excellent story. 4 out of 5 boxers.

Miya- I love slash and loved the first two chapters I had time to read. Sadly, even with loading it onto my iPod, real life is getting in the way. 5 out of 5 panties for what I've read so far.

Nina- I am wholly unapologetic in my infinite love of slash, good slash that is. Being a fan of Queer as Folk (which this is loosely based from), when Hope told me of this story I immediately jumped on it, because I know Hope knows her slash. Holy hot Edward and Jasper slash ladies.

Edward is the strong, confident, sexually agressive and passionate man, until he meets Jazz. A man from his past that completely turns his life on it's ear but in a wonderful way. Now don't get me wrong, Edward doesn't lose ANY of his sexy hotness, not in the least. Instead he channels into something infinitely sexier by embracing his new life with Jasper.

Meeting at the club, the first chapter leads you to believe that it's just going to be Edward getting his way and continuing his usual escapades. What he doesn't realize is that Jasper gifts him with a new found lease in life. He breaks down the walls that Edward has buillt and shows him the true meaning of being in a relationship.

I agree with Mozzer that one of the biggest misconceptions with slash fics is that they're just smut. Many readers don't give slash stories a chance but honestly, do as she says and skip the smut (though I'm quite sure you'll enjoy it too) but just read it for the way that Starfish portrays their relationship. I'm sorry but the gay community isn't just about one-night stands and getting high rosters of partners. It's such an awful stereotypical view of gay relationships and honestly? It fucking drives me insane. But Starfish, with OTT, debunks that those narrow minded views with OTT. Yes, there is smut and yes it is passionate, hot, sexy and all around fucking fantastic BUT, they're still men in a relationship and honestly, it makes it the smut that much better.

I'm not saying that there aren't other stories out there that embrace a true and realistic relationship. Trust me, I can rattle off numerous ones, but I really appreciate the way Starfish writes this story and I know you'll love it too. 4/5

I need to mention that as part of the Friday Free-For-All on Twilighted, Starfish participated with a fantastic o/s called We Three. Trust me you will not be disappointed when reading it. Guh. 5/5

Steph- I completely and utterly adore this fic. I was totally screwed up this week and reread the wrong fic, so I will have my proper review added as soon I have reread OTT. But for now, I will say that I FUCKING LOVE this story and drop everything to read the updates. Well written Jasper/Edward slash is a huge turn on for me and this story is the epitome of well written. 10 out of 5 from me, hush, I can do it if I want to! (And Katie- you share a name with my daughter, btw- I will be back with my adoring, fangirl squeeing review as soon as I finish pulling my head out of my ass.)

In addition to our Round Table Review above, we've also asked the author to share with us a bit about herself...

Hello, fellow Pervlings! I'm totes excited that Over The Top is this week's featured story in the Smut Shack.

So, a little about me - I'm Katie, a happily married mama of two bbs, ages 9 and 5 (and I've caught my limit). In December, I left a 14-year career in the insurance industry and decided to take a couple of months off. I thought it would be nice to just hibernate, especially in the midst of an Ontario winter. Little did I realize how fortuitous the timing would be. I'd read all four Twilight books in the month of December. My girl Shannon knew from prior discussions that I'm a big fan of Queer as Folk; she thought I might be interested in some Twilight fic, and particularly slash. It coincided nicely with the beginning of my self-imposed unemployment, and gave me the chance to devote a *lot* of time to fanfic (you know, the important stuff).
When I started writing OTT, my only intention was to write a smutty Twilight-QAF crossover, a one-shot slashfic. I shared it with my girls Shannon and Gen after I was about three quarters through what is now Chapter 1; and Shannon said, more than once, "I would totally put this on my alerts if you wrote more than one chapter..." And honestly, it just kept flowing. As I've said in my chapter notes, Jasper had things to say in this one - I couldn't leave it at one chapter.

The reaction to OTT has been overwhelming for me. For whatever reason, slash tends not to get the same following that hetero fic does; despite that, the massive heartfail that was Chapter 16, has received 183 reviews as I write this. So many readers have shared their insights and personal experiences with me, and it's a huge honour to have male and female readers, gay and straight and various shades between. I've gotten the chance to get to know some of the amazing authors whose work we love; as well as the readers who show so much love and support for us and for these characters we create.

I've been into fanfic for a while, most notably for QAF; and a little bit of Prison Break fic (don't laugh too loudly, bbs) when the hiatus between seasons felt too long. I am firmly convinced, however, that with Twilight, the world of fan fiction has gone from "fringe community", to much more mainstream. The very existence of fan fiction in general has seeped into the consciousness of many, many more people, IMO, than before the Twilight series. And I'm very much honoured to be a part of it.

Please check out my blog, which is a companion to OTT and other projects.

Mad props to Hopey, Nina and Steph/Purdueliz, the PPSS chicas I've gotten to know; and the rest of the Pack. You do an amazing job of shakin' the Shack, my darlings.


tby789 said...

I have to go on record and agree with these ladies. OTT owns me. I am so in love with these two boys that the recent heartfail nearly did me in. It has everything- beautiful, descriptive writing, amazing emotional intensity, realistic depictions of loving same sex relationships, the harsh truth about the club scene and earth shattering, mind blowing smut. Hold on, I need a minute….

Okay, back. Brilliant reviews as usual and a perfect fit for the awesomeness that is the PPSS.

Well done Katie. I fall harder and become more invested in these two crazy kids with each update.

Beth Sabatino said...

Katie has the ability to make you love and empathize with her characters even when they are at their worst. She has taken these two emotionally extreme characters, and made us believe that they are the most perfect match for one another. Jasper, who bravely puts his feelings on the surface basking in the glow of excellent and shattering in the face of dejection. Yet his world of love is there to wrap him up and help him heal. Then there is Edward who is an emotional shut in, who despite how much he thinks he let Jasper in, was always holding him at arms length, and didn't hesitate to push him away at the first sign of awkwardness.

As this story has progressed, Katie continues to impress me with her writing style and her use of form to help convey the mood and spirit of these characters. I will follow her and them to the end of this beautiful, and currently tragic, tale.

michelle said...

You ladies have never disappointed me so far.....I think I may have to break my no slash rule. Try everything once, right??

melooza said...

OK i would like to say thanks for this story!! I love it and can't wait to read more!