Friday, July 17, 2009

A Rite of Passage & The Way Back by Caracol

This week's Perv Pack Recommendation is...

PPSS OldsKool ReC

Title: A Rite of Passage / The Way Back
Author: caracol
Chapters: ARoP 16, TWB 21
Words: ARoP 33,685 TWB 77,028
Reviews: ARoP 837 TWB 1736
A Rite of Passage: AU All Human. Bella and Edward are best friends. A story of self discovery and the loss of innocence. This story is about how two people deal with sex, love, trust, friendship all while growing up. Very OOC.
The Way Back: Sequel to "A rite of passage". All human. Very OOC. A story about becoming adult, dealing with your past and your future.

Guest Reviewer - Isabel0329 -

I have two words to describe A Rite of Passage and The Way Back: absolute and brilliance. I read these two companion stories back summer of 2008, making them one of my first forays into the land of Twilight fanfiction, especially the all-human genre. And if I was being perfectly honest, they spoiled me for all future fic. My personal favorite style of humor is quirky, well-written, well-timed, somewhat sarcastic humor and the author caracol gave me just that. The dialogue in these stories is just so perfect and completely on that I have trouble describing exactly how perfect and on it is. The story line, writing and characters bring me back to one of my favorite movies ever Juno, which is possibly why I picture a very witty Ellen Page playing bella here. Matter of fact, I believe the author at one point indicated this actor was who she imagined Bella as sin these two stories.

There are so many touching, poignant moments in these two stories I couldn't begin to pick them all out and tell you why I love them. I believe one of my favorite ones though is in Rite of Passage after Bella's schoolmates figure out she's pregant, she is being ridiculed while Edward is being left alone. Because it's always the girl's fault and never the boy's .... riiiiiiight. Regardless, Edward busts out a beater t-shirt in the hallway at school with "I'm pregnant too!" scrawled across it to deflect attention from Bella. Forgive me if the exact wording is off, it's been awhile. The way caracol has written these characters she makes you believe Edward would do something like that and even though you don't expect it, you love him all that much more for it.

I'll be straight with you though, The Way Back is not for the angst-phobic reader. There is a lot of heartache and as the name implies, it takes awhile for the characters to learn from their past mistakes. So much had been done wrong that it isn't an overnight, snap of the fingers fix. But at the same time, that's what makes it real. Real life isn't easy and repairing horribly damaged friendships and relationships is an arduous process. That is precisely what makes these two stories so damn good.

I could very easily see this entire story line as a screenplay and subsequent movie which makes my little visual heart flutter with envy. I wish I had the kind of talent caracol has for writing. The ability to make the reader run the gammet of emotions, but ultimately end up right where she intended to take you. Anybody looking for a more well-written and thought provoking story would be hardpressed to find it than with A Rite of Passage and The Way Back. Since reading these almost a year ago, I have been constantly trying to push these upon people because they simply could not be better. Read, enjoy, possibly prepare yourself for hardcore angst on the way, but you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

Bri- I read ARoP way back when I first entered the fandom and I loved it. It was short and an easy read and it had one of my all time favorite plotlines - the bff's turned into lovers. But, caracol manages to do this differently, throwing in twists and turns in the story that you might not see coming. Above all else, the friendship/love between B/E shines through the chapters and gives you something to ground yourself. That particular thing was what I remembered from my first read-thru. I knew I needed a refresher, so read this in a couple of hours while driving home the other day and enjoyed it all over again. Everything that I remembered was still there - the love, the connection, the humor and the friendship. However, this time through the errors in the story were very distracting and had me wishing she would grab a beta and polish that up - it would definitely rank up a few more notches if she did. If that shit doesn't bother you and you just like a good story, this one's for you. I giveARoP 3/5.

TWB was - quite honestly - as painful as I remember. It is NOT an easy, lighthearted read. And, in fact, if it wasn't for the review this week, there is no way mypussified heart would have taken another beating from it. It is NOT for the Wusspervs . True, I am one of the three founding members, and I managed to get through it, but that's not to say it wasn't painful (break ups? time apart sex talks? *shudders*). But, it needed to happen. It was definitely a way forcaracol to make the characters grow from your "typical" HS sweethearts story, but what was more likely to happen as the two people grew and matured. However, my one qualm withARoP stands for this one, too. Call me a grammar/writing/word snob, but errors are like nails on a chalkboard for me and they definitely caught me up in this story. Because of that, I'm rating this one at 3/5 as well.

Emily- ARoP and TWB were a couple of the first fics I read and I have to say that I was hooked from the very beginning. It was a pleasure to re-read them again for this weeks rec and they were just as good the second time around. I unlike mywussperv friends like angst as long as it is well written and has a purpose in the story and not just angst for angst sake. And whoa doesCaracol deliver the angst. I felt myself getting teary as I read *spoiler alert* about Bella's pregnancy and her miscarriage. When Esme talked to Bella about her own loss and the emotions behind it I found myself nodding my head in agreement. I too have walked the road and my heart broke for Bella, Esme, myself and the countless women that have been through it.

TWB also felt real and genuine about how a relationship can die without the two people even realizing it is happening and you wake up one day and say "WTF"? The journey these two take to find each other as adults, as partners and lovers is messy and angsty and beautiful. Just how real relationships ebb and flow and I was really rooting for them to make it. The smut is minimal but is done well and not over the top, and it fits in perfectly with that story.

So grab some tissues when you read these two stories but settle in for a lovely read. 4/5

Emmy- I was lucky enough to venture into the angsty waters of AROP/TWB once it was complete - thank fuck! I am telling you this for nowt! ~There is no way that this WussPerv would have ever made it out of these as WIP alive. Never in a month of Sundays! But - thankfully I devoured these once Caracol had completed them. If I am very honest with you - it still affected this softie. But therein lies it strength. Its blood emotive - it leeches an emotional response from you... like salt on an aubergine - I do not believe there is a heart or soul dark/hard enough to not feel for these characters, to not respond to them.

To me a good author makes the reader feel what they intend for them to feel, be it laughter, desire, fear, joy, paranoia, despair or anger. If I feel nothing or weakly about characters or their plight then I know the author has not succeeded. I am telling you here & now that Caracol is a brilliant author - as she nails you every chapter, fuck every line!, to feel what she sets out for you to feel.... No sentence is wasted. No thought or expression from the characters a throw-away. On re-reading to refresh for this review I was sucked back into it rapidly - & I am not ashamed to admit - the angst affected me quite intently and physiologically all over again. You go on this journey with Bella & Edward. They don't run away from you - even when you don't understand the what, why, how they inflict upon one another or themselves you feel it and experience it and you stay right there with them. Its very impressive and takes a true writer to achieve. LikeBri I would start a wee bit sometimes with the grammar - but the magic of the writing is alive and flaming..

Talking of flaming, lets talk flaming passion.... This is not graphic, nasty smut - this is real loving. Its often messy (emotionally), ill-advised, angry or heartfelt. Its always genuine. It always stays true to the characters and like a good lemon should it illustrates through intense pleasure and pain where the characters are and where they are headed... It brings to life their love and hurt and makes it all have ten times the impact....

A dear author friend of mine told me years ago that the best story ending is not complete and tied up prettily with satiny soft ribbon, it is not a brick wall. A proper and fitting end for a story leaves the reader able to dream and think ahead with just the scaffold provided by the author. The author sets them up where she wants them but the reader - they take them where they want them to go. The last chapter ofTWB is the perfect non-brick wall ending. This is a brilliant, brilliant series. Beautifully conceived and most definitely stirring. 4.5 out of 5 knickers from me.

Hope-Fair warning these stories are angsty, but in a good way. Not in a drag it all out, create drama for the sake of drama way. It's angsty in the way that it needs to be. There needs to be the angst for the characters to grow and learn and fall apart and come back together stronger than before. It's angsty in a way that makes sense and that the reader can appreciate, it's real. Well, shit I made these stories sound like something straight off of Lifetime. I assure you they're not. The angst is balanced out, very well I might add, with humor and sarcasm and wit. Theses stories are serious, but the humor and personalities of the characters keep it from weighing it down. Bella and Edward are snarky, sarcastic and always ready to sling barbs are each other. It's their verbal foreplay of sorts. It's not malicious or mean the things they say to each other, but it;s said with love and affection. They have an odd relationship at best, but one i can relate too as well. It's the interaction between the two that really drew me in. When I first readARoP I did it in one sitting and then quickly moved on to TWB, because I simply could not wait to see the further adventures of this Edward and Bella.

And I was not disappointed with TWB. **Spoilers Ahead** It's an more grown-up and having their shit together a bit more, even if they are not together at the beginning of the story. It truly is the way back for them. The way back to each other, to where they belong, to where they are whole. Now, their separation was not just to create drama andheartfail , it was needed. The love was always there between Edward and Bella, that wasn't the problem. They needed to be apart from one another so they could grow and learn and experience what life was like without each other. That is what makes this storyabso-fucking-lutely killer and a must read in the TwiFicdom.

Now lets talk smut. The smut isn't plentiful but what smut there is, is stellar and amazing. It's not graphic by any means, but the experience is profound for the parties involved and for the reader as well. It's about the emotion and pleasure and intimacy they are feeling in that moment. My favorite fromARoP is in the chair sex after they both realize and admit to the experiment changing. It's almost primal and you really feel Bella's overwhelming need to just be and connect with Edward in that way, no barriers, no hiding, no complications, just the two of them together. My favorite fromTWB is their second first time. They banter and egg each other on, but it's also tender and sweet and fucking hot as they lose themselves in each other again. The smut gets a 4/5 and the stories get 5/5 from moi!

Funny enough, I had passed on ARoP time and time again because the summary didn't draw me in. But being that my girl Izzy thought it good - no, GREAT - was enough to get my arse reading it. And WHOA, WHOA, WHOA. Did I say, "WHOA" enough? Wow. So good. No - so great. I almost wanted to slap myself for not having read it sooner.

Like Izzy mentioned, two words really describe this story for me: touching and poignant. I mean, sure, lemons are yummy, but when you can have a piece of writing move you (and not just your nether regions), you have to really pay attention. And this, dearPervlings is one that demands attention. It's that good. And the angst - oh the angst. Yeah. it's not for you WussPERVS , that's for sure. But let me tell you, that's where the brilliance lies. It's through those heartaches in which we find triumphs and joy, andcaracol interweaves this flawlessly into her storyline. Her storytelling is lovely and evocative and thought-provoking.

In short, I'm in love with ARoP and TWB. Goes right up there with my love for adorablecullens' BEL (which is saying A LOT because BEL is my all-time fave piece of fanfiction).

So, what does this Perv rate AROP? A big ole 5 out of 5 panties for wonderful storytelling, tear-jerking, smutty goodness. And I don't hand out 5s like Girl Scout cookies,ya'll. This one earns it, big time. So GO, RUN, READ!

Nina- As Kasey said, ARoP and TWB are not for the faint of heart but they are required reading nonetheless, so I suggest a bottle of Volpolicello to ease the angst. I don't like to read angsty stories unless I know there is a HEA, yes, I am a pussy and I am okay with that. So I waited to read this until both parts were complete and Izzy said it was safe for me to read it. I reiterate myWussPerv status proudly.

The beauty of Caracol's writing is that it's simple, clean and eloquent. She manages to express heartwrenching details with such poignant and easy phrases that your heart melts with her words. Not your typical friends turned to lovers equal guaranteed happily ever after. No, they've got realistic ups and downs, pain,heartfail, remorse, other lovers in between etc. It's a magnificent and truly possible tale of first love gone horribly wrong.

Thankfully, Caracol chose to write The Way Back which is just as it sounds. The angst riddled journey back to where they belong, going over their mistakes, their failures but more importantly their love for each other.

Neither story is profoundly smutty, but, what is there is so good and profoundly well done. My thoughts on why it's such a good example of smut is that they grow and the relationship changes and it's written as such. Their encounters as highschoolers is completely different than their adult relationship and that is a true testament to how good Caracol's writing style really is. She captures both eras perfectly and realistically.

For both stories I give them 4/5. 10/5 for the angst that made my heart hurt but I still read it and love these two fics.


Ericka said...

Is this love triangle angsty? I have serious aversions to love triangles, but I love all other forms of angst :D. Plus my queue of stories to read next is dwindling under 5 stories, so I need to fill that up. Thanks for the recs!

AmoreTwilight said...

So glad you picked these 2 stories. Even though I read a year ago...I still go back and re-read on occasion. Well written and thoughtful. I love how Edward and Bella grew up throughout the two stories and found their way to each other as adults.

Great selection for PPSS recommendation.

Anonymous said...

So glad you showcased these two amazing fics. They are some of the first I ever read and what drew me to the fandom.

I haven't read these fics in FOREVER!! I'm so glad you helped me find them again!

If you have not read them, please do ... now.

Beyond said...

These were so good. I'm relatively new to fanfic reading so I have mostly been guided by what is widely recommended and/or has a high review count. As such, I've read a lot of pretty good fics.

I stumbled upon these two which sadly are lacking the fanfare of other great fics. This one is right up there with the best of them, however. Despite some editing issues (she could have used a beta), it was the perfect combination of sweetness, drama, humor, friendship and angst. The characters were well developed and believable and the story was just so good and quite unique.

If you haven't read this, please do. I strongly recommend it.