Saturday, August 25, 2012

Waxing Nostalgic AU Fics

Howdy, folks! This month I bring you two stories that evoke nostalgia in wonderfully different ways.

Title: "When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun" (Katniss/Peeta)
Author: Mejhiren
Rating: M
Summary: "It's something out of an old tale: a golden young man in a white bearskin, striking strange bargains with desperate souls on the cruelest night of winter." AU fic, based on the fairy tale "East of the Sun & West of the Moon." Peeta Mellark, winner of the 74th Hunger Games, returns from his Victory Tour to make the starving Everdeens an offer they can't refuse.

Recommendation: Mejhiren had me at "fairy tale" in her clever yet subtle universe where the Hunger Games exists, but with a folk-taley spin. The premise of the story assumes the Everdeens are never involved in the Games, but Peeta becomes the Victor and earns himself fame and fortune. The story follows the plotline of the fairy tale from which it draws inspiration from. I took Mejhiren's advice and read the original tale, and I found myself regretting not having discovered it sooner; it's a gem. I love the way the original fairy tale lends itself to such an unexpected mashup. Further, I also really like how the author keeps the first person narrative, allowing us to see how a conflicted Katniss sees the kind yet vulnerable Peeta. Mejhiren wraps her story around the fairy tale, lending mysticism to the Hunger Games universe while humanizing the stock characters that often populate fairy tales. What we are left with is a doubly comforting world of decidedly human characters––lovable with their achingly familiar conflicts––and an enchantingly intriguing storyline that is a sure read.

Title: "Violets in the Mountains" (Katniss/Peeta)
Author: PenelopeWeaving
Rating: T
Summary: "The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." -Tennessee Williams. Katniss and Peeta in North Georgia.

Recommendation: I love AU fics that highlight how well The Hunger Games fits in Americana. PW's story, which alludes to playwright Tennessee Williams and is set in Georgia, does just that. The prologue alone was enough to reel me into the story, depicting the often reinterpreted scene where Peeta saves Katniss with burned bread. I really enjoy how PW has written our main protagonists as children: little Katniss is so stubbornly proud, it's interesting to watch young Peeta chip away at her pride with his altruism. I was so excited yesterday, to find the story updated and the time frame sped up a few years. It is so delightful to read this narrative from Peeta's perspective, and his efforts to win over Katniss with charm and sincerity. The characterization of the characters, both major and minor, are spot on. I really enjoy the parallels drawn to the book, especially how Peeta and Katniss find each other again unexpectedly after spending a number of years without contact. I'm looking forward to seeing where this story takes us, and how PW will take the characters through adolescence in the '90s... because, you know, some of us have been through it, too.

Happy reading!

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