Friday, September 18, 2009

Just One of the Guys by SorceressCirce

This week's Perv Pack Recommendation is...

Title: Just One of the Guys
Author: SorceressCirce
Chapters: 26
Words: 223,599
Reviews: 3076
Summary: Scarred by events in her past, Bella relies heavily on her best friend and roommate, Jasper. When Jasper falls in love with a girl named Alice, Bella is excited for him but can’t help but wonder – where will she fit in? Canon pairings, AH/AU, OOC

Guest Reviewer- americnxidiot

I found "Just One of the Guys" on Twilighted and decided to read it because it had a cool banner and the promise of some geeky Bella/Edward fun. That's really all I was expecting. But then I actually started reading it and... hell, I was blown away. It has so many aspects that are seen all over the fandom - Bella as a victim of abuse, Edward as a reformed manwhore, a close friendship between Bella and Jasper. But the way SorceressCirce writes them just puts this fic so far ahead of the others.

This is one of the best Bellas I've ever read. She is a victim of horrific sexual abuse, but she doesn't let it destroy her life. We meet her several years after the incident happens, so she has partially come to terms with what has happened to her. She is incredibly damaged, actually afraid of having girl friends thanks to her past, but she gets by with the help of her guy friends (particularly her best friend Jasper). She knows what sets her off, and she knows what she has to do to keep herself from breaking down. She's comfortable, if incredibly lonely.

Then Edward comes into her life, the brother of Jasper's new girlfriend who has been having a crisis of his own, and it finally shakes Bella out of her stagnant life. Like in lots of E/B fics, the two feel an instant connection, but this time there is a serious thing keeping them apart. Bella thinks Edward doesn't date, and is almost afraid to let herself try to connect with someone romantically. Edward knows something is very wrong with Bella, but is afraid to push her away from him. SorceressCirce develops their relationship beautiful, understandably slow but still very passionate. We cheer with Bella with each step she takes with Edward (holding pinkies has never seemed so groundbreaking and sensual). Edward himself makes me melt with his absolute devotion to her. Jen's managed to make him both incredibly understanding and human. He is flawed, and he is absolutely not a saint, but he's willing to give all he has for Bella.

This story captured my attention so much that I read almost half of it at the airport in Italy on my blackberry; I actually got angry when I had to stop reading so I could fly back to London. The build up is intense, the UST is strong but still very sweet, and when they finally have their first kiss... yeah, it's a powerful moment.

I don't feel right giving this story a panty rating. Can I just hug it and hold it's pinky instead?

Bri- Never has a story captivated me - even with the lack of sex - as JOotG has. I am completely and utterly in love with the characters Jen has created. I actually love each and every one of them - and that's a hard feat to get me to admit. Generally I just want to get to the B/E times, but Jen has created such wonderfully three-dimensional characters out of the entire cast that I find myself equally enthralled with their airtime as I do with the B/E interactions.

And, let's just talk about those interactions a little bit. We are 200k+ words into this fic and we have yet to see any "real" action between the two of them. Does it matter? Nope. Not to me. And if it doesn't matter to me - largest perv in the history of the world - it won't matter to you, either. The UST that Jen builds between those two is more than enough to pacify your thirst for the sexy times. And their kiss? Their first kiss was........intense. And I don't mean "intense"....I mean I-N-T-E-N-S-E. Like, my-face-is-flushed- my-breathing-is-rapid- my-heart-rate-has-accelerated intense.

Now, for those of you who are wusspervs, this story is deep. There are some instances where you may be uncomfortable reading. Jen does a great job informing you when the tough chapters are coming, but on my advice - just get through them. They are beautifully written and really help to illustrate the troubles Bella is going through.

I shall wait...patiently (sort of)...for these two crazy kids to move their relationship forward. But, I trust Jen completely in knowing when that right time is. I give this 4.5 out of 5 panties.

Emmy- I don't know what made me read this story... Probably Nina! (my own personal dealer).. I am so bloody glad I did... This is a story that I cannot praise enough. Seriously cannot. Its wonderful. SC has the most beautiful of touches with her writing. It is always balanced - never too much, never over-kill and is a masterclass in subtlety and realism.

As my learned friends say - this Bella is lovingly written and realised - her horrific past is essential to her character development but is never glorified and gratuitously detailed, nor is it glossed over & conveniently "forgotten"! Her Bella struggles, tries her hardest and has her own coping mechanisms to living, shutting down much of her life in the process.. Jasper her bff is one of the most beautiful characterisations I have ever read. He's everything you would want in a friend and a brother. His struggle to hand over protection and first-to-turn-to status is written so brilliantly its insane. So believable - so heartbreaking... for Jasper needs to move forward with his life too. So much of what he does is for Bella - and he has a new relationship now too, and although his GF has no issues with jealousy or impatience Jasper needs to put his own life first. Again this is all magnificently conceived and executed. SC's perfect touch coming to the fore again.

Edward? Woah! Her PinkyWard is brilliant again. Battling his ever-increasing desire versus his need to keep Bella safe, secure and un-threatened.. His own battles with himself and his own past decisions and lifestyle plus his reactions to the "guys" in Bella's life and the important role they played in her recovery.

As I mention repeatedly SC's has the perfect touch and pacing - showcased in how she develops their growing relationship, intimacy and desires. Never rushed or pushed forward for the sake of it. The little steps these 2 take are beautiful and gorgeous. Their exploration and Bella's need for normalcy and her need for him tempered by her fears and insecurities. I have so many favourite scenes in this fic but maybe the one where after Ed has found out what Bella's trauma is and they spend their first (innocent) night together and things change immeasurably for Edward, Jasper and Bella... I also love the scene when Bella interrogates Edward and is delighted and fascinated to learn what she drives him to do...Or THE kiss in the rain!!

I adore this story. As much as I love lemon tart, I love the gentle lemonade that this story is serving up instead. I don't want to rush or fast-forward their action. (as much as I know it'll be fantastic!!) I love each hurdle and mile-stone they crash. I love how each little act brings them closer and closer and closer together and deepens their love. It certainly deepens my love for this story & SC's amazing writing. 4.5 pink cotton innocents thrown off whilst sleepy to haunt PinkyWard's dreams -out of 5.

Kathy- Just One of the Guys starts with Jasper getting ready for a date with Alice. We learn that he lives with Bella, and they've been friends since second grade. Alice discovers something traumatic has happened to Bella during high school. Bella allows Alice to believe it relates to her time in Arizona with her mother, but her internal thoughts show us otherwise (while not revealing the truth nature of the grief). By the end of the chapter, we're in Jasper's POV and we learn about Bella's ongoing nightmares. Chapter two has far too many references that I get – raiding, pandora, tanks, WoW... *sigh* We also learn about “asexual” Edward.

Chapter three brings a lot of Edward explanation, but more mystery as well. It's interesting, Edward and Bella are both torturing themselves over the past (over vastly different things, obviously) and both have devil/angel internal monologues. Neither dates, both had traumatic incidents with people of the opposite gender. Edward seems to channel his angst in working out, Bella in losing herself in her computer.

We get an extended multi-chapter, multi-POV view of their non-date together, which was lovely. They each clearly struggle with their budding feelings for each other, spending the entire night lost in MST3K watching.

Over the next few chapters, we learn more about Edward and Bella. We see their first official date, we find out what happened with Edward and Tanya, and then a few chapters later, the big reveal on Bella's backstory happens.

Not only are Bella and Edward well-rounded characters, but I really love everyone here. Alice is funny, Jasper is sweet and Emmett usually makes me laugh.

This story does so much for me – it gives me hope, it feeds my romantic side, and it has allowed me to appreciate the slow building burn of difficult love. Nothing feels trite or contrived, I don't think anyone is cockblocking me unnecessarily, I just feel like these are complicated characters who cannot jump into bed on the first date. They just would never have felt genuine had SC not laid them out exactly as she has, and so I thank her, and offer endless kudos for that.

4.5 out of 5 pink cotton panties

Miya- I'm coming out of blog lurkdom for this story. I'm a gamer. I love Twilight. This story is my god.

As most of my ficfriends can attest to, I have repeatedly sent bold and underlined text-filled emails to them- ordering them to go read this fic. I resisted reading it for ages because I doubted that there were actually other gamer/fic writers. I was expecting someone who knew only what the wiki article on DnD had. Instead, I'm met with inside jokes that only another gamer girl would truly appreciate, yet they're subtle enough that non-gamers are not missing out.

From histories that both Edward and Bella need to overcome- I've never been so freakin' happy for two characters to just lock pinkies. The UST is rockin' and I must admit to being so bouncingly obnoxious at the almost lemon between Bella and Jasper from their past. However, I am resigned to accept that he is "only" bestfriendSper and he's with Alice- although I've been working on Alice to share. ;)

I can't give this story panties, as five are not enough. Instead, I give it a nat 20, auto-confirmed critical hit, and a set of diamond dice. Perhaps I'll even write Circe her own Twilight/Dragonlance crackfic after a discussion about hot DnD characters. Oh wait....

Seriously, run (at Edward speeds) to this story. Walking is not an option. Oh, and you'd better review or we'll give your address to James.

Nina- I agree with Rachel about the banner, it's what drew me into the fic. Plus, because I'm old, I remember the movie from the 80's of the same name. I figured it was about that. It's not, and I couldn't be happier.

I love this story SFM it's insane. The pinky porn, the education in the D&D? It's not porn star boobie size, I'm still not really sure what you do but I think it'd be fun to watch.
Bella and Jasper's relationship in this story is one of the best I've ever read, it breaks my heart and makes me happy at the same time. Bella's history is tragic and painful but honestly, for such a profoundly awful subject, it's done with eloquence and compassion.

She is in pain, she's scared and she's vulnerable emotionally, but, she's also snarky, and smart assy and an all around great woman. This is one of the few Bella's that not only do I not hate her but I actually like her a lot.

Edward. *sigh* Another one of my favorites ever. He's understanding and generous and fucking hot as all hell, he quotes poetry and he's got the hottest fucking pinky in the fandom. You KNOW it's the truth!

I agree with Bri, 200k and no smut? Who cares, the UST is top notch, the fucking kiss in the rain was amazing. They're just getting into the horizontal loving, the bases are being rounded one by one and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.


Steph- So I sit here writing this at 3:30 in the morning. I started the story awhile ago, though I can't remember how I first found it. Probably one of the girls here since that's where I get the majority of my recs. I was about 5 chapters behind and thought I should reread so that it would all be fresh for me.

I'm so glad that I did. All 220k+ words were worth reading again. I knew that I loved this story, but had forgotten how much I truly did. And reading it again allowed me to see all the wonderful details again. SC's writing is so beautifully full of detail, but it never drags, never weighs the story down. It's integral to the storyline.

There are few stories that I feel such a strong connection to the characters. JOotG is one of these. She pulls you in while weaving Bella's heartbreaking tale. You just want everything to work out for her, you want her to be happy. Enter Edward and you want HIM to be happy too. You root for them with every new development that happens between them. The UST is through the roof. It's phenomenal and completely believable. I swear to God, the slow build just might fucking kill me though.

The situation warrants the slow build and SC tells that story beautifully. I have no doubts that when Bella and Edward finally do take that step, it's going to be explosive, in a beautiful, loving way. I look forward to continuing to watch the emotional journey these two take as they progress their relationship further into the physical realm. I know it will be as amazing as the rest of the story. 4.5/5 blue lacy panties from me

Stephie- I hadn't started this story until this week, when I realized that it was the coming up rec. So of course I had a lot of catching up to do. I don't exactly know why I hadn't started, since so many people were rec'ing this left n right (it seems I say this every week...such a trend of mine). I'm glad that it was a rec because it helped push me into reading it sooner than I thought I had time.

The beginning of the fic you meet Bella and Jasper, one of the greatest b/g friendships in the ficdom. Normally I find it really hard to believe a guy and girl are legitimate friends without a one sided unrequited love thing goin' on, but with JOotG, it's clear how Jasper and Bella are so close they are basically family. I love her Jasper, almost as much as her Edward, for how he took/takes care of Bella.

Edward, despite how he thinks of himself in the beginning, is the sweetest guy. He's very understanding and patient and sexy and sweet and sexy. I'm with Bella on the whole geek chic glasses.

There are some deep things going on in this fic, which is why the relationship between Bella and Edward is at first tentative and then slow moving. But it's all very real and believable. And, like the rest have said, despite the lack of smut, the feelings are intense. I'm patient because I know there is a reason for the waiting. And when Bella does gain emotional and physical control, when she is able to heal completely and move on with Edward, it will be completely worth the wait.



Jennifer said...

I cannot believe you ladies did this! You completely blew me away, and I am still blushing at all the sweet things you had to say. Rachel...I have no words! Thank you all so much - and I hope you continue to like it just as much :) I'm all blushy and stuttery and just all-out overcome with squee.

Melissa said...

I agree with you all. It is just about my favourite FF ever. Certainly my favourite AH.

Sue Isaacson said...

This fan fiction is one of my absolute favorites. It is so well written and just lovely. I squee every time I get an e-mail telling me the story has been updated. Great selection.