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Children of Time reviews: New Who - 10.5

These reviews cover six of the eight stories nominated in the New Who - 10.5 category: "Winnowing," by Karenor; "Behind Closed Doors," by Zephyrhawk; "A Change in the Weather," by Englshangel; "Both," by Wishiknewwho; "Thirteen," by Aibhinn; and "Two Is Yes," by Rosewarren. (Reviews for the other two stories in this category appear here: Home Is an Old Brown Coat, by Sensiblecat; and The Man in the Moon, by Orange_crushed.)

Title: Winnowing
Author: Karenor
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Dark/Angst, New Who - Ficlet

Review: I had a hard time accepting the premise of this story, which is that Handy is so overwhelmed with guilt about being with Rose while Ten isn't that it's beginning to interfere with his sex life. (Ten has plenty of angst and guilt, but not about being with Rose, so perhaps Handy's reaction is Donna's compassion for Ten at work.) But if you buy into the premise, there are some solid emotional moments here, as well as nicely written, explicit make-up sex.

Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: Zephyrhawk
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Dark/Angst

Review: I tried to make it all the way through "Behind Closed Doors" and finally started skimming about 40,000 words into this 86,000-word story, which alternated between boring me due to lack of plot, and confusing me due to Rose's surprising nastiness to Handy. Rose does warm up to him after a while, leading to sex scenes that would be mostly fine were it not for phrases like "tongues jockeying for supremacy" and the sadly memorable "For an indefinite moment, he loses track of everything which is not hard and pulsing and currently engulfed in the slick heat of the beautiful girl beneath him."

Eventually, a plot about the baby TARDIS and an unexpected turn of events for Handy does develop, but there's no reason the reader should have to wade through 40,000+ words to get to that point.

Title: A Change in the Weather
Author: Englshangel
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Alternate Universe/Parallel Worlds

Review: In the first few weeks after Handy has been left in Pete's World, he has a hard time adjusting to his human side, suffering from allergies, moodiness, insomnia, and a full-blown identity crisis. Rose helps him come to terms with who he is and what life with her could be like. There's some wonderful characterization in this story, and though it could use some typo cleanup, it's a great read.

Title: Both
Author: Wishiknewwho
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Romance

Review: One and a half chapters into this, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish this story either: the overly talky, possessive, "come for me, love" sex scenes just about did me in. I kept going, and three chapters later found Ten's speech to Rose about how she was his favorite out of all the people he traveled with. Since hurling my computer across the room in disgust would have been unwise, I finished the story, and realized what was bothering me most was that it relies on an idiot plot: in order for the plot to progress, Rose has to behave like an idiot. First she steps through a window between universes to see Ten again; then she has sex with him; then she decides not to tell Handy; and finally, she continues to do this even after it's clear that Handy is angry with her for her actions. It's a pity, because the author does seem to know their way around a sentence, yet somehow produced this story anyway.

Title: Thirteen
Author: Aibhinn
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Dark/Angst, New Who - Ficlet

Review: This is a slightly different twist on the "time vortex made Rose immortal" trope, and with less pathos, it could have been very effective. Unfortunately, both the Thirteenth Doctor and Rose's dialogue is overly emotional at times, and I simply didn't buy it.

Title: Two Is Yes
Author: Rosewarren
Category: New Who - 10.5, New Who - Alternate Universe/Parallel Worlds

Review: Although "Two Is Yes" combines two fanfic elements I hate -- babyfic, and stories involving the TARDIS coral -- it's actually a sweet-natured look at Rose and Handy awaiting the birth of their first child, and never strays into the overly twee territory that always makes me want to run screaming from babyfic. Important note: "Two Is Yes" is part of a longer series, and though either CoT or the author has provided a summary of the series, it's so bare-bones that several references and characters in the story will be completely unfamiliar without having read the previous stories. (Good thing I had.)




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