Monday, October 11, 2010

Team Anything Goes: Neverending Math Equation by Twanza


This Month's Team Anything Goes Pick is...


Title: Neverending Math Equation
Author: Twanza
Banner by: Zigster
Chapters: 33
Words: 203,083
Reviews: 1,472
Summary: Based in Brooklyn. Edward & Jasper are brothers dealing with ego, passion and the pursuit of art. NEME is a love story of Jasper & Bella, a lust story of Edward & Bella, and a journey for all.

Chele - I’ve been hearing of large groups of people making pilgrimages to Forks to see the birthplace of a story that dramatically changed their lives. While everyone else was headed to the Pacific Northwest, I set my sites on Brooklyn, the birthplace of Neverending Math Equation by Twanza. That’s right. I, who never had a moment’s interest in New York for the first several decades of my life, fell madly in love with a city because of its description in a story; so much so that I got on a plane and spent several days wandering the streets in wonder.

This story is that good. I am not fucking with you. It is viscerally erotic, and the passion and realism are stunning.

Edward, genius musician and mathematician, shows up on the doorstep of Jasper, his estranged artist brother, after casting aside his academic path to pursue his passion for music. Though he arrives with trepidation, prepared to confront a sibling who abandoned him to his fate with a dogmatic, focused father, he’s met with the open arms of a brother who seems as desperate for the connection of a like-minded soul as he is.

Just when it seems like this sibling reunion could end in rainbows, enter Bella, the girl across the street, who has been in a friendship/pseudo relationship fraught with unresolved sexual tension with Jasper for the past three years, and whose instant chemistry with Edward is palpable.
Jasper tries to dismiss his own connection to Bella, but it is obvious to everyone, including Edward, that there is something there.
"This can’t have been the “nothing” he’d mentioned earlier. This was clearly not “nothing.”
The characterizations in Neverending Math Equation are amazingly real, intense and beautiful. Every player has positive traits that make them compelling and failures that make them acutely believable. Each gesture is loaded and purposeful; every touch screams something to me.

Jasper is masculine, justifiably deep, and worthy of obsession. His narrative is flawless and at no time does the feminine voice of the author become obvious. Despite his being a man of few words, when he speaks it is poignant, and cuts completely to the heart of things.
“I fucking die every time I say goodbye to you. Which happens to be every day, twice a day.”

Bella is enthralling, and while I never came to love her, I understood completely why Edward and Jasper both did. This is Twanza’s gift. She makes you want something for the characters that you would never want for yourself. She makes you believe it.

This story tested my loyalties and I vacillated along with Bella as to which of the brothers Cullen could bring her happiness and satisfaction. In the end? It didn’t matter. What was important was that the relationships survived, that everyone came out alive and better for the growth from the experience.

Generally, this story is classified as a love triangle, and won an Indie Award for that category, but it would be foolish to simplify it that way because it is so much more. It is a story about being brave enough to reach for the love you’re desperate for. Brave enough to fail, in relationships and life, because needing something or someone is more important than being right. It’s being brave enough to hold on to the people who mean the most, even when it hurts, because they keep you grounded to who you are when even you have forgotten.

Note: There is a scene that separates the weak from the strong. Push through it. It is a brilliant illustration of character and a moment of intense sexuality, and it opens up an entire world of motivation and emotional complication.

I have a deep, aching love for this story and I never hesitate to give it my highest recommendation. Throw away your preconceived notions of relationship pairings and lose yourself in it. You will never be sorry for reading this, and if you’re as fortunate as I am, it may change your life.

Jeanne - There's a calculation that you can use to map the human soul. A tangled, magical, neverending math equation. Twanza is the brave and talented author of this heartfelt odyssey, that begins with a life defining choice. Edward abandons his career as an esteemed professor to peruse his passion for music, but much like everything in life it is not as simple as that. Edward is on a quest, searching for freedom from the life his father has conceived for him and the key to himself. He seeks out his brother, Jasper, the prodigal son (who never returned) for help and so much more.

This story is set in New York, a city that I know little to nothing about, but that I can completely visualize from the details in this story. Twanza breathes life, and a soul into the city that becomes more than just a backdrop to the story. The city is a character in it's own right, as is The Cape (Cape Cod). To be very honest, before reading this story I never much like the East Coast. I thought of New York city as dirty and crime-ridden, and Cape Cod seemed like a lame tourist trap for rich people. NEME showed me a different side of both these places. This story transformed them in my mind. Painting them into comforting and familiar homes, filled with meaning, and memories. It's a romantic, intimate picture of places where complicated people can live simpler lives.

In this magical, urban setting we see two brothers who are essentially strangers discover who they are, in every sense of the phrase. I know that I haven't said anything about Bella yet, and there's a reason for that. This story, at it's heart is about the Cullen men. How they have struggled, succeeded, and crashed through their lives, but most of all how they love. From beginning to end, from heartbreak to transcendence this story has one constant, these men.

Don’t get me wrong, despite the fact that this fic is about the Cullen men, it has sex in it. Holy shit this fic has some of the most intense, intimate, soul shaking sex that I have ever read. It will leave your panting, conflicted, and aching for more (even when it’s between people that you never thought of in a pairing). Cullen men don’t do anything half-assed, and that is especially so with sex. Edward, Jasper, and even Carlisle Cullen* are sensual, passionate, and skilled lovers that will melt your bones.

*There are two outtakes for this fic that are about Carlisle that I insist you read after you finish NEME. Consider it homework, there will be a quiz. *cracks whip*

When I started reading this story, I went in with a lot of preconceived ideas, that I'd gotten from over a year of reading Twilight fan fiction. I looked for patterns, pairings and HEA's that I'd seen a million times before in other fics. In the end all of those ideas were useless, just like they are in life. People don't always say the right thing, they make mistakes, and they don't always get what they want. However, NEME taught me that sometimes not getting what you want can be the most wonderful gift you've ever received. As I read, like a ravenous beast, through this story I felt half voyeur, and half archaeologist. I dug through the scatter remains of the past, and watched the present unfold sometimes in rapture and sometimes in horror, but always in fascination. This story is a journey through deep emotional pains, past mistakes, and current miscalculations all leading toward an ending that is enviable as it is completely unpredictable.

I couldn't have dreamed up a story as wonderfully detailed, intricately constructed and eloquently executed as this one. It truly transcends the genre of fan fiction. Remember this when to sit down to read it. Forget what you know, or think you know. Just let Twanza weave the story around you, and learn, like I did, that life is so much better when you don't know how it's going to end.

Jen - This is definitely a story I will read again--as much for the richness and depth of the characters as for the absolutely amazing sex scenes. This is the story of complex individuals who had to cause each other more hurt before they could put themselves back together again. I can’t quite put into words the amazing feelings this story evoked in me; there were so many chapters where I couldn’t contain the joy I found in Twanza’s words that I was compelled to tweet or email about it.

This is the story of a girl who's always done what she's supposed to do. She follows rules, does what's always been expected of her, and imagines that someday in the future she'll have a chance to find her happiness. She knows what she wants, or rather who she wants, but is afraid to make her desires known. She won't make her desires known because of her loyalty to the past.

This is the story of a boy who didn't want to live by anyone's rules. He lives in the moment, not worrying about the future, grabbing happiness now. He knows who he wants, but that's the one part of his life that he's been afraid to make a move in. In a way, he's constrained himself with rules of his own creation more than anyone else's rules could have.

This is the story of another boy, a boy who tried to live by the rules, but eventually had to break out and try to find out if there was something more fulfilling out there for him. He'd tried to straddle the line drawn between his father and his brother out of love for each of them, but ended up hurting himself and both relationships.

This is a love triangle, but it's also a very intense story about two brothers and their relationships with their father and with each other.

From the start Jasper draws you in, and you find yourself rooting for him, even if you don't know exactly what the contest is just yet. He's brash and sexy, bold and confident. As soon as I started reading, this Jasper shot right onto the short list of my very favorite Jaspers. I may or may not have said I wanted to fuck him.

Bella lives with the ghosts of her father and grandparents. She's sacrificed her life to allow their lives to continue through the bakery that’s been in the family forever. She's pushed the idea of going after her own joy so far into the background, that when Edward offers her an opportunity for pleasure after a dinner in her backyard, she can't help but take advantage of it. The real drama begins when Jasper realizes that he's been a fool not to act on his feelings for Bella. Bella is attracted to Edward in his own right, but wonders if she's settling since Jasper has never given her any indication that he wanted her as more than a friend. She finally starts to question her default of waiting till someday in the future to figure out what she wants.
I did know. I had seen the evidence of his feelings, but they were locked up inside of him. I also had the evidence of Edward's feelings, which were etched on my skin, on my nerve endings.
Edward came to NY to claim his happiness. The plan seems shot to shit before he even sets it in motion. Jasper and Edward have a complicated relationship; they haven’t seen or talked to each other in years. Their mother was dead, Jasper left home, and Edward remained behind with a very demanding Carlisle. Jasper and Edward hardly have a chance to get to know each other again before everything blows up. Carlisle's relationship with each of them shifts as the story goes on. Some of the events of the past that are revealed as the story goes on will take your breath away. You feel for all of the Cullen men, but I think I was most sad for Edward. Edward is the most vulnerable of these very realistic characters, despite being a genius.
They were stunning, more magnificent together than apart, powerful and dangerous. It felt as if, without warning, a tornado and a hurricane were about to land at the same time in the middle of my front room.
So much of this story resonates with me in a personal way. I grew up in Brooklyn, and my family visited this neighborhood regularly. Twanza's descriptions made me smile and wish I could simply hop in the car or the subway to head down to the Promenade. I can hear the sounds and see the people walking on the street; more than that, I see Bella, Jasper, Edward and the others living and breathing. Later on Twanza describes Edward walking from the Upper West Side all the way downtown to NYU. He muses about how different the NYU music students look compared to the Julliard students, not to mention how they compared to the students he taught at MIT. I myself was drawn to attend NYU because the atmosphere is so different than any other school I’d considered.

This story vibrates with sexual tension. The sex scenes are amazing and will leave you panting as though you were living it. As I said, I fell in love with Jasper right away and wished he'd show Bella exactly how he felt. Then Bella and Edward have sex and I was gaga for Edward. Both guys are so believable and desirable. There’s love making and completely wild and unhinged sex. There are hot sex dreams and sex marathons. The sex is explicit, but even the less overtly sexual scenes are erotic.
"I can't just watch you anymore. I am aching and I know you feel it, too. I can't do this. You can't do this. I won't let you." She smelled moist and floury, and her hair was stuck to her neck. I pulled the strands away and felt the tension in her neck.

I moved down and kissed her throat, which was hot against my lips. I moved away and bit the other tie from her dress and pulled it loose. Her shoulders shone in the moonlight and I moved my mouth back to hers and my hands closed over her plump tits. They were heavy and warm and I pulled against them.

"Jasper," she whispered…

My thumbs rubbed over her nipples and she groaned into my mouth.
All I can say is UNF!

Teal - Every once in a while, you stumble upon a story that is just so poetic and beautiful that you find yourself salivating for more, grasping at something intangible, and just fucking needy as a reader. That’s how I felt about Neverending Math Equation, at least. This story is heavy. It’s complicated. It’s lovely and smash-your-heart-to-the-pavement-with-someone’s-boot-heel and addictive. Simply put, it’s amazing.

To be completely honest, this story is so heavy, so smart, that it took me several sittings to get through. I would read, and I would just be so overwhelmed by the content or the intensity of the characters that I would need to step back and take some time to process. Everything is just so damn complicated . . . but that’s the beauty of it all. Life is complicated. Life is ugly. Life is wonderful and fucked up and we fall in love when we shouldn’t and try to be good when we want to be selfish, and in the end we all hopefully end up where we’re supposed to be.

I can’t help but ramble. Blame Twanza.

Wracked with emotion, NEME will keep you wondering how things can ever turn out right . . . if there will even be such a thing as right in this story. Again, that’s life, right? We all bring so much more than our appearance and surface personality to the table in friendships and love. Past experiences, damage, family, the places we’ve been, the struggles we’ve faced -- they all make up who we are. The lives of Jasper, Bella, and Edward become a caustic blend, but in the end, you have to admit that this desperate, complicated, heart-wrenching journey really was something they all needed to experience, no matter the consequences. I’m a firm believer that we, as humans, learn more from the tough stuff and mistakes than the easy roads.

And holy hot hell are these characters sexy. Just throwing that out there. For their minds and bodies and everything that makes them them.

Siblings, lovers, lusters, friends . . . there’s a lot to keep up with, but I’ll be here to hold you as you press though. I promise.

So I’ll leave you with one last quote. Twanza makes words fit together in such a pretty way, and to me, this is just the essence of it all. If you need me, I’ll be over here, slayed:
Perhaps this whole time Bella and I had fallen in a little bit of love because we were both a lot in love with Jasper. We both needed him, and in the end, maybe we both had him.


Anonymous said...

Your words about this story are only more encouraging to read it! I am dying to read this story, as I have told the author Twanza! I have heard amazing things about it and can't wait to start it.

Thank you for writing such a wonderful review. You ladies did an amazing job and only pushes a reader to read this! If it wasn't on my list before, it would be now!


LyricalKris said...

W-O-W. This is ... like... a WOW review.

I am resisting the urge to drop everything and read RTFN.

Anonymous said...

I've read NEME, and that story cannot be recommended enough. You have not exaggerated one tiny bit in your praise of it!
I found myself often going back to read certain sentenses or paragraphs again just for the sheer beauty of them.
Everyone should read NEME. It's THAT good!

xo Purringtiger
(I didn't mean to be anonymous, but I couldn't make my password work... :/)