Flipped the Script on the Superhero Narrative
Stories of superheroes and forbidden love stories are a dime a dozen, which is why I think you're story about what happens after the happily ever after is so engaging and subversive.
The prologue emphasizes right at the beginning that simply getting together isn't the end, but the beginning of a new conflict. As an ex-supervillain, Soul never truly sheds his instincts to throw conventional morality to the wind and fight tooth and metal blade to achieve his own goals. Loving Maka didn't suddenly make him a better person, and being with her didn't suddenly make all of his problems go away. His real struggle is to learn how to channel all that inner bitterness at the world towards something positive.
I was taken aback by Soul's constant tunnel vision when it came to helping and saving Maka, even when he was thinking of something unrelated to her, but I soon realized this was another subversion. The entire superhero genre is about good and bad guys nurturing their obsessions, but they almost always include death and tragedy (ie: Batman and his dead parents). Soul's backstory is actually about love and rebirth, he will do anything to preserve his happy ending.
Your homages to Soul Eater canon were really fitting, particularly Kid's role as the up and coming ADA (another homage to superheroes?).
In terms of technical things, your writing style glides the way through. If there were grammar errors, I didn't notice because I was sucked into the story.
Thanks for sharing your story on Inkitt, and I hope you win the fandom contest!
The Fic to End All Fanfiction
I've avoided reading this story for a long time because I do not enjoy grimdark stories or zombies. I guess I'd like to start this off by apologizing for putting this story under those labels when it clearly deserves a category of its own.
"If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" transcends the post-apocalypse/zombie genre through solid worldbuilding and meticulously developed characters. Marsh doesn't waste time creating dystopic governments or pandemic viruses. The zombies are here and rampant, and that's all you need to know to follow Maka's journey from lone wolf to grim reaper. Instead, Marsh fleshes out the world and creates firm rules for how the zombie infection operates to show what it's like to actually live through a zombie disaster, not just read about it. I found the details about technology, the overrun parts of Las Vegas, and the hair and eye color changing very clever because they grounded the story in our reality and in Soul Eater's canon at the same time.
Marsh's writing style is a perfect merger between the concrete and the metaphorical. Through Maka's distinct narration, the reader is right alongside for the action and privy to her most abstract thoughts and insights. Marsh doesn't go for low-hanging metaphors either. One sentence that stuck with me was "Maka feels empty, a jar with only dregs and ash at the bottom." The image is unique and profound, yet it effortlessly captures Maka's feelings at that moment without spelling them out for the reader. The entire story is full of these artful sentences laden with meaning.
The plot confronts all the nitty gritty of a zombie apocalypse, from character death to inconvenient periods, but is also explores the messiness of human emotion. The progression of Maka and Soul's romance is heartfelt, but also tempered by the constant grief of losing their friends and, nearly, each other. I found Maka's self-eulogy in the final chapter to be particularly wrenching because it showed how every character mattered to her story--not just Soul--in a really emotional way.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful story on Inkitt!
A Thrill Ride From Start to Finish
FMG's story fully commits to her steampunk universe, not just the steampunk aesthetic. She uses authentic Victorian terminology, mannerisms and social structures to ground her story in realism and descriptive worldbuilding to explore how an alternative true steampunk universe might operate. While her setting is immersive, it doesn't wholly define the story. Every facet of steampunk woven into FMG's narrative serves the distinct purpose of moving forward each character's journey. You will find no extraneous window dressing here!
You would think that a story that contained so many action sequences would not lend itself well to the written word, but then again you haven't read FMG's writing. She is meticulous in her word choice and detail, yet doesn't go overboard or indulge in purple prose. The result is a visual, dynamic story that constantly keeps the reader engaged in the action, whether it be a motorcycle race, fight scene, or masked ball. There is no scene that leaves you wanting for imagery or lush description, even in passages that include many characters.
I can't end this review without talking about the growth between the leading man and lady, Soul and Maka. The gradual development of their relationship from rivals to partners, partners to friends, and friends to lovers is organic and believable. 'Aetherion' reminded of what made me ship those two characters in the first place.
Thanks for sharing your story on Inkitt, and good luck in the contest!
No badges received yet