Thursday, September 29, 2011
Scylla and Charybdis (Annie/Finnick)
Scylla and Charybdis is an Annie/Finnick story that centres around Finnick's mentoring of Annie Cresta during her Hunger Games. It is told in nine parts, and was written by the fabulous duo puella_nerdii and mithrigil earlier this year.
Summary: Finnick decides that, come hell or high water, he is bringing his tribute home from the seventieth Hunger Games. That tribute is Annie Cresta. But Finnick never thought that he would have to choose between bringing her home and keeping her safe, and he wants both. How Annie Cresta crept up on Finnick Odair.
I love love love Scylla and Charybdis.
This story is told from Finnick Odair's point of view - and wow, what life and absolutely brilliant characterisation Puella and Mith bring to him. Finnick's voice and pov is exceptionally well done, because not only do we see the charming man we know from canon, but we also see a District 4 boy who is indebted to his mentor Mags, abused by the Capitol as an object of sexual desire, and desperate to bring a tribute home from the Games. In Scylla and Charybdis, Finnick has just become an adult and it's obvious that he's still settling into his life post-Games, where his family is unknowing of the Capitol's manipulation of Finnick and where he begins to understand what it means to be a victor and mentor of the Games. Finnick's obvious want to help Annie as his tribute is played out wonderfully - and it's always tinted with romantic tension between the two (but this is possibly me reading between the lines because we know they end up soulmates.)
Finnick and Annie's story is not a whirlwind, highly charged romance like Katniss and Peeta's - which is why I admire how these two authors have portrayed their relationship. As I mentioned previously, there's more a sense of romantic tension than sexual.
There’s one more angle Caesar will play. I hesitate. I know how self-absorbed it’ll sound if I mention it, and how unprepared she’ll be if I don’t. “He’s probably going to ask you something about me,” I say, the words fouling up my throat.
“What about you?” She looks genuinely confused. “Haven’t they asked enough?”
If only she knew. I take that back almost as soon as I think it. “You know, something horrible. Something like, ‘So what’s it like to get private training from Finnick Odair?’” I drop my voice at least half an octave, waggle my eyebrows.
She gapes, and then mouths, oh. And then her lips curl up into a smile I haven’t seen on her before. “He’s very attentive,” she says. “I think I’ve warmed up to him a lot since we started training. He makes it very easy.”
She’s going to ruin my reputation. Well, actually, she’s going to give it exactly what it deserves. “Easy how?” I can’t resist asking.
“He makes me think I have a chance. And when Finnick Odair thinks something, you have to believe him.”
She had to be sincere, didn’t she. But I can’t find it in me to tell her to stop and start over.
Her cheeks flare up just slightly. “And we’re very comfortable together. Most of the time, he doesn’t even wear clothes.”
This isn’t exactly a revelation--between the company I keep and the broadcasts, I think everyone in Panem has seen me naked, or close enough to count--but the way she says it makes me look down and realize I haven’t bothered to put anything on other than my underwear. It’s not like Drusus minds, I think, jumping to my own defense.
“Is that too much?” she asks.
“No,” I tell her, trying to keep a straight face, “that’s just enough.”
She laughs and covers her cheeks. I can see the blush spreading. “Actually it’s a bit much for me.”
I choke on--well, I’m not sure what I choke on, but I choke. “Well, he can be hard to handle,” I say when I can breathe again. No, I haven’t seen this side of Annie Cresta before. I wonder what the cameras will think.
They won’t be able to see behind the hands covering her face, though. It’s different than what I first saw of her, even if the shape is the same. She laughs, and pulls her hands down just enough to look over her fingertips at me.
I think I love her eyes.
Click "Read More" to read the rest of this in-depth review :)
I think this was a smart move by the authors. Scylla and Charybdis doesn't stray from the matter at heart, which is the seventieth Hunger Games.
In this fanfiction, Annie Cresta slowly transforms into the farwaway, anxious person we know from the book series; and it is nice to see a theory of how Finnick stayed with her, and to see how their love grew despite her ubrupt change in personality and outlook on life. However, what I really enjoyed about this fic was that we see what Annie was like before the Games from Finnick's point of view. It's not love at first sight, or anything trashy.
They draw the girl first, like always. Her name is Annie Cresta. She was a few years behind me in school, but I stopped going after I won the Games, so my memories of her are blurred at best. She's grown up well. Her hair is long enough that Drusus can’t do anything with it without changing her, and her eyes remind me of how mine used to look, back when they held the sea.
Annie is shown to be a young girl who knows the reality of the Games - I'm guessing that most people do unless you live in the Capitol. She faintly hopes that she can survive, and takes every word of Finnick's advice to heart. Viewing Annie's interview with Caesar Flickerman and her terrible Games through Finnick's eyes, we really do feel his sense of helplessness. He knows how bad it can get - and bad it does.
Puella and Mith don't shy away from the horror of the games, and I think that perhaps the most compelling parts of Scylla and Charybdis are the moments where we and Finnick watch Annie become the girl we readers know.
Here's an excerpt from chapter two:
Varin screams, but Annie’s scream drowns his out. His head falls at her feet; his blood splashes across her face, drips from her spear, mats her hair. Varin’s scream has stopped, but Annie’s hasn’t, and it’s the kind that rings, the kind that even the sharks can hear. She hurls her spear--not at the girl, and not at the trap either--and takes off for the dam, chest heaving as she runs.
A passing camera catches her eyes. They’re not her eyes anymore.
Another selling point I'd like to mention - but won't go into detail about - is Puella and Mith's employment of minor characters. It's so interesting to see people like Mags, Haymitch, Johanna and Snow before things started heated up in Panem. We see Johanna become more aware of life outside the Games, just like Finnick does. There's a few scenes with Haymith that I just adored reading. I believe that instead of merely focusing on Annie and Finnick, and showing Finnick's interactions with all the other district mentors, adds depth and variety to this fanfiction. It certainly helps to show how Finnick grows as a person. It's always nice to read a fic where the protagonist goes on a personal journey, instead of just going through a set of events.
Finally, I'd like to highlight another one of my favourite aspects of this fic: word choice. Holy Haymitch, these two authors know how to use their words. I particular love their purposeful lack of conjunctions, letting gorgeous descriptions run along in sole sentences. The oceanic imagery conveyed by emotive language in the first chapter contrasts nicely against the short, sharp sentences that give a sense of violence and time moving fast in the Games. There's a lot of primal, violent descriptions that fit the horrific tone of Scylla and Charybdis. For example: "The sky is reddening now, streaks of crimson spreading under the gold, bleeding from the land into the ocean. Gulls circle above me, swoop down to snatch their morning meals and call out to the sun and sky in thanks."
Puella_nerdii and Mithrigil also use an abundance of Greek mythology, references symbolically scattered throughout the fic to describe Annie, Annie and Finnick together and the Games themselves. Even the sentence mentioned above, how the seagulls thank the sky gives of a very primordial vibe that alludes to the ideas of gods. I am such a mythology lover, and I love it when authors manage to bring in motifs that run as an undercurrent to the story, and aren't completely obvious. There's references to naiads and other oceanic greek mytholgical creatures, but the main one - the title Scylla and Charybdis - refers to two sea monsters on opposite sides of a strait, both who were once beautiful and will each bring harm to others.
Scylla and Charybdis is an amazing piece of fanfiction that fully realises Annie and Finnick's backstory and the seventieth Hunger Games. Stories like this are ones that inspire writers to write. There is a sort-of sequel called A View From The Lists that I'm about to start reading, so be sure to check it out too.
Little Miss Mionie