Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mirrors by adorablecullens

This week's Perv Pack Recommendation is...

Title: "The Mirrors"
Author: adorablecullens
Chapters: 22 (complete)
Words: 94,797
Reviews: 2431
Summary: Teddy's secret and magical childhood is lost when a family heirloom is destroyed, changing his life forever. Now an adult, can Edward open himself back up to magic and love when he meets a beautiful - and hauntingly familiar - woman in real life?

Guest Reviewer - Lolaphilologist/ philadelphic

When Adorablecullens posted her first chapter for The Mirrors I was incredibly excited to see a new story, and definitely intrigued by how different this new chapter seemed to be than her previous stories. She had more than won my respect and affections for her previous stories. Her first, Silence & Security, has a very realistic and well-told love story with some really hot scenes. She truly won me over in writing Behind Enemy Lines, a rather muscular, epic love story. Besides impressing with her clean, flawless prose, in BEL Adorablecullens united one of the (if not THE) hottest Edwards in the fandom with a truly fearless Bella. These two prideful hotheads don’t know whether to fight, fuck or save the world, so they do all three, and I completely fell in love with them.

Witnessing Adorablecullens go from this electric badassery to the delicate, intricate fairy-tale that is The Mirrors seemed a bit like watching The Rolling Stones finish up a rousing set of Sympathy for the Devil, only to turn around, break out stringed instruments, begin to play Mozart, and excel at that too. It’s rare to watch someone switch genres so completely and still maintain a distinctive literary voice, but AC certainly manages to pull it off. I think it has to do in part with her inventiveness as an author. For BEL she invents two countries and the fragments of languages and culture to go along with them. For The Mirrors she proposes a new mythology with a decidedly ancient flavor. In both, she doesn’t just tell a story in a nice, descriptive setting. She pulls the reader in.

The Mirrors is a fascinating weave of fantasy and realism. It begins as story of two children named Swan and Teddy, who meet in a magical mirror world every night. Here they share an enchanted dream-life, falling in love innocently, as only children can. After disaster tears them apart, they search for over ten years, only to lose their own identities as well as each other. I love the juxtaposition of harsh reality with the trace threads of enchantment these two carry into adulthood. The grown-up Bella keeps her hair long, and Edward is subjected to wicked spells. Just as there is no instant recognition between the two, there’s also no abrupt change from the vocabulary of daily waking life to that of enchantment. Rather, they first recognize in each other certain magical elements in those words. He compares her long hair to a comet’s tail; for example, in what may be one of the most subtle canon references I’ve seen in a fic, if it was intended to be so.

If Behind Enemy Lines contains the fiery red and blazing gold of the sun, The Mirrors shines in lunar shades of ethereal purple and glowing silver. Mirror Edward and Bella are both gentle and brave. They are more hypnotic than demanding, as characters, and become increasingly compelling with each chapter and re-read. Their obstacles are both real and imagined, and sometimes difficult to tell apart. The monster of the mirror world, a mysterious creature, could easily come from the shadows in a child’s closet, and haunt the mind of anyone, at any time. It’s also not the scariest thing in the woods.

Bri- I finally, finally, finally took the plunge and read The Mirrors just this week. The PP girls have been going on and on about this fic for as long as it was updating, but nothing seemed to strike me about it. I wasn't pulled in by the summary as this sort of "fantasy world" schtuff really isn't my bag. And, while I enjoyed BEL, I wasn't enthralled with it like the rest of my pervy friends, so I assumed it would be much the same with TM. Oh my fuck was I wrong.

How AC is able to come up with these amazing, unique and utterly captivating storylines is beyond me. During so many parts of the story I would stop and think "how in the hell did she even think this up?? or think to include this??"

Her storytelling is thought provoking and mesmerizing and you find yourself reading this story and becoming as wrapped up in the world she has created as you would if you read a full-fledged novel. Just as with BEL, I saw this story as a movie in my mind. I always do with fics, but with this it was as if all the other stories I've read have been in black and white and this one was in brilliant color.

The storyline was amazing - it was a short read, though nothing felt left out. It was the perfect balance of everything. Just enough to make us happy and content. The angst? Well, Kas said there is angst and as a Wussperv, I'm going to give this my stamp of approval. Yes, it's there, but to me it was more a push to read that much faster and devour it that much more. It was nothing that ripped my heart out, but more propelled me to get to the bottom of the mystery.

And, the epilogue? Oh my fuck, the epilogue. I rarely cry in fics. Honestly - probably have done it in maybe 5 and my fic totals have to be cranking close to 500 by now. But this story had tears rolling down my cheeks. Not out of sadness, but out of sheer joy and the beauty of her words.

Fuck, I'm fangirling, aren't I? Meh - whatever. AC deserves it. This beauty gets a 4.5/5 cause, really, I coulda used a little more smut. What? I'm a perv.

Emmy- I think its pretty much universal knowledge by now that I really am the sappiest date in the box -certainly the pack. I cry at almost everything - heck I even cried reading these reviews & thinking about mine! So I most certainly cried during and at the end of The Mirrors. But this wussperv says its so worth the ride. I cannot, repeat, CANNOT praise this story or adorablecullens enough. After every chapter I was rendered speechless. It came to my review and I would parrot the same things back to her - check my reviews if you do not believe me... Lots of' I love you's', 'this story', 'oh my goodnesses' and 'publish this' - I must have done AdorableCullens's nut!!!! Every chapter, I was moved beyond compare, transported to this highly visual world that stirred my soul and simultaneously broke and repaired my heart.

I really struggle to unpack on reflection, what about this story kills me so. What is it that I couldn't get enough of? What facet was key in my complete submission and worship of Teddy; Swan; and both their mirror and real worlds? In all seriousness I don't think i can say. What I can say is that this piece is the sum of all its parts and then some - it is as if it is sprinkled with magic. The writing shines off the screen - like Bri says The storyline is epic. The twin worlds AC created are just faultless and so very real and so much of both worlds is symbolic of the hopes, struggles and issues in the real world - not just in relation to matters of the heart.... But her characterisations are just faultless.... Whether it be the innocent Teddy exploring the mirror world and his feelings for Swan, the Edward who goes into lock down or the Edward who's scarred emotionally beyond recognition who finds hope again in Bella - they all own me... The journey of Swan to Bella back to Teddy's Swan is no less heartfelt, powerful or perfectly poised... Additionally the supporting cast are used perfectly: The pain of Carlisle as a failing father, fighting first for what his medical training tells him to to and then for what his heart says is particularly impressive and emotive.

So lets cut to the smut.. It almost seems wrong to call it smut. Its certainly delicious but is so meaningful to the characters and the story that its almost sacrilege... AC's scared, virginal Edward being shown by Bella how to release some of his locked down emotions and physically love her.. Gah its just beautifully hot and stirring. The love that burns from within the very depths of this story appeal to me as an out-and-out proud romantic.. But it also provides the heat for some serious soul searchingly sensuous sexing..

I have banged on and on about the love in this story - & I suppose it is one of the most important themes of this story to me... but this story has so much more to it than just that. Its magical, tense, and almost scary at times, and deals with how we cope with the horrors that befall us I suppose....

There is so much to love with this story - but there is one thing I take away from it more than others and it is a dialogue involving Edward and characters in the mirror world near the end of the story, as a gift is tried to be presented to Edward and is asked what is this stain? The answer is quite resonating “It is a mark of their world and its incessant desire for sameness".I absolutely adore this story, cannot recommend it enough.. I award it 5 magical knickers out of 5 - its faultless, stirring, beautiful and unique - with some of the most beautiful sexing in the fandom. :*

Hope-As she was editing thispost for publication Hopey realized that she hadn't added her review...she's stupid like that. Being that she is away from her home computer at the moment (with the review on it) she will post her review when she gets home. She loves The Mirrors and Teddyward and adorablecullens and gave The Mirrors 5 out of 5 panties.

Alright kids, so being that I love everything that adorablecullens writes (as I consider myself a hardcore fan-girl of hers) I squealed when the 1st chapter of The Mirrors was published. As a Harry Potter/Narnia fan, the fantasy factor drew me right in. Add my favorite love story (Twilight - duh!) to the mix and PRESTO! We've got a winner. Not to mention the fact that AC writes like a mad genius and can easily bring out emotions in the reader with her brilliance.

Okay, okay, so let me stop gushing for a minute and give you the lowdown...

It's still very much Twilight. Very much Edward and Bella. They meet as children in a most unconventional way but never really know each other's identities (or much else). Nevertheless, their bond is inextricable and permanent. However, fate separates them and ANGST appears (WussPERVS, there is indeed angst, but you can't NOT read it -- you simply must put on a brave front and READ).

But never fear. Fate (and a bit of magic) sets things right - it is a HEA fic, after all. And Pervlings, the UST and subsequent lemons are YUM-MY! Edward and Bella find each other again (as adults) and are instantly drawn to one another - both physically and emotionally - so of course, the intensity of their desire for one another is perfectly written into the story and so palpable and rich and evocative.

When I read the last chapter, I cried. I didn't want to be done with it. But that's the kind of talent that comes from AC's writing. It makes the readers so invested that it's hard to part with characters that have carved their way into our hearts as TM's Edward, Bella, and even Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Carlisle have.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that Daddy Hot Bitch plays an important [and always loving] role in it, so SQUEEE for all you fellow HB lovers. Maybe we should talk AC into indulging us with a Hot Bitch-centered story to drool over. *le sigh*

But I digress...The Mirrors...6 out of 5 panties from me. What? Did you expect any less? Not happening! So, GO, RUN, READ!

Kathy- Okay, I have a confession: much like Bri, the fantasy genre does not tend to blow my skirt up. Under duress and pressure from others, I have been known to pick up a fantasy book and read it, but the truth is, I just normally can't get into it. Something about the way my brain works and the suspension of reality required. Now, I can hear you laughing – and thinking, wtf, MsKathy? You do realize we all write and read about vampires all day, right? I know, I know. Like I said, it's most of the time, not all the time. Thus, we come to The Mirrors.

The first chapter of this story chokes me up, even on a re-read, because of the great detail and thought put into the back story (and, we all know by now that I'm just a big crybaby). We learn of Mary and Jack, separated by circumstances beyond their control, but never forgetting each other. We hear of their lives apart, and their unending longing and love for each other. We are introduced to Esme, Carlisle, Teddy and Alice.

Chapter two brings us Swan, and the first trip into the mirror. The way these two interact is really lovely, and age-appropriate for their eight years. They discuss the Black Monster. We watch as Teddy and Swan grow up together, learn about each other, and fall in love. Chapter three brings disaster and chaos, which spills into chapter 4.

The arc of this story spans several chapters where Bella and Edward become acquainted. I don't want to spoil anything about the details and events that happen, but just like BEL (adorablecullens' other masterpiece of suspense), you are sucked into this world and these characters, under her spell of storytelling. A cute misunderstanding gives reclusive and shy Edward the fortitude needed to ask Bella out for coffee. We learn so much about Bella's history during this afternoon they share, and it is amazing how the journey picks up from there.

There honestly was not a single chapter of The Mirrors that left me feeling unsatisfied or that fell flat. Every time a question would be answered, more would spring up, only to be elegantly answered later. The intimacy in this story is just that – intimate. At times, I felt as if I was peering in on something intensely private, which isn't often the feeling I get when reading FF. Their first sexual moments together are realistic and well-written, to say nothing of the first time painfully-shy virgin Edward has sex with more-experienced Bella.

Having utterly no clue how the story would wrap up, I was supremely gratified with the way adorablecullens brought things full-circle. Did I want the story to end? Fuck no. It had to go, though, and it was brought to closure in an even better way than I could have ever hoped. The magic of everything weaving together was spectacular and far beyond what I could have ever imagined. The epilogue had me in tears, just like everyone else.

While this story is sexy and has several lemons, it was never about the sex for me. Some stories you can tell, the author takes great pride in the sex-factor and essentially writes a plot around it. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, I might be accused of it myself. The Mirrors is different in that the sex is like a nice bonus to an already hefty paycheck. No one will be shocked to read that I give this story 5/5.

You know how in the Bellie's there is a category called "plot you wished you came up with?" Yeah, this is another one of those that I wish I did. I'll be honest though and be confident in saying that I wouldn't have done it a quarter as well as AC has done. She has masterfully created three stories, all completely different and more importantly, completely captivating.

Yes, I'm jealous as hell of AC and her talent. But, even though I'm painted green from head to toe, I can't say enough about how exceptional her story "The Mirrors" really is. I too am not normally a 'fantasy' story fan but I don't care whether you are or not. You are taken in from Chapter 1 and glued to the screen through to the end. Each chapter is intricately woven into the plot in such a way that you literally question every tiny, little detail (twice). I found myself thinking out loud in my reviews just praying that AC would humor me and throw me a frickin' bone!

From the beginning this is a love story, even if there was no smut at all it's still at the heart a truly beautiful story of that young first love that you remember your entire life. For Teddy and Swan though they meet through their mirrors where they lay in the grass beneath the twin moons and over their formidable years they fall in love. There are the little details in each chapter that just stick with you as she's building their back story. Their hair, the moons, the black monster (that I did really hope was named Jake). All these gems that stay nestled safely in your mind as you enjoy chapter after chapter.

Until the mirror breaks. I read that chapter at least 5 times and I still can't shake the chills I get from it. Not just because of what it smashing means to Teddy and Swan but the way she wrote his anguish. How it breaking and separating them broke both their spirits in completely different ways.

When they finally do reunite, it's profound and sad to see how dear Teddy has grown and suffered and how Swan had a truly hard life but they've found each other so it's clear sailing right? Yeah, no it's not but that's what makes it so good. While the fantasy aspect keeps the realism at bay, she manages to create their relationship into something that could really happen. That's some hard shit to pull off.

It's not just Teddy and Swan's love story though. Their story is paralleled with that of Jack and Mary, their relatives that were separated too beyond their control but their history frames the lives of other generations. Alice receives 'The Sight', the Cullens receive the wealth and stature while Bella's family is not so fortunate but their family is strong nonetheless.

Now, onto the smut. I usually get squicked at the word penis in fics. I know, I know I sound like a 12 year old girl but I'm a fan of cock (yes, I said it). AC uses proper terminology and it doesn't bother me. In fact, I would venture to say that if they were in the throes screaming fuck, cunt, pussy... it would make sense for her characters. That's what is golden about AC's work. She tailors the smut in the story around the characters. Just another exceptional quality of her writing.

In closing (yes, I am going to stfu now), I just ask that even if you don't think the fantasy genre will entice you, trust us. AC and her masterful storytelling will draw you in, make you cry, pant, cheer and sigh at the perfectly crafted story "The Mirrors." 5/5

Stephie- After reading and simply adoring BEL, I knew I would read anything from AC; if not just to give it a chance. Upon reading, I loved it. From the get go, The Mirrors pulled me in. Some may find that the fantasy aspect is hard to take in. For me, it was such an original aspect on the very common theme of Edward and Bella romance. It's hard to come up with something fresh and exciting, and AC has 100% managed to do that.

The slow build of Bella's and Edward's relationship is done so well. Because of hardships in each other's past, both are nervous, scared, and just generally not very well versed in healthy relationships. It's beautiful to watch how both grow up, overcome obstacles and all around just come to really know themselves through their love of the other person.

The sexin' is real and sweet and hot.

I could go on and on about how great and amazing both AC and The Mirrors are. But I don't want to waste your time. You really need to. Truly. 5/5

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

Adorablecullens is quickly (as in next week type of quickly) approaching her 40s, and lives in the progressive country of Canadialand, the one with national healthcare and legalized same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, while Facebook quizzes consider her 65% ghey, AC considers herself 0% and refuses to avail herself of the right many gay Americans would like to have.

When she's not writing fuckawesome fic, she wrangles one small child, one grown adult-child (the soon-to-be ex-Mr. AC whose stubborness has led to the premature greying of AC's hair), and a bunch of nerds all day at work (who may be more than 65% gay judging by the way they stalk each other online when not in the office). She works for a major Internet property we all love
(and sometimes love to hate) in Marketing, meaning she deals with nerds, crazies, and lawyers all fucking day. Who wouldn't need a little Balticward intervention after that? It's a miracle she ever lets her screen leave a browser tab open to Chapter 25 of Behind Enemy Lines, but she did - to bring us The Mirrors.

AC loves chocolate, bad 80s music, sushi, her daughter, RPatz, Ms Kathy and Algonquinrt - but not necessarily in that order.