“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” My apologies for a late posting — I wasn’t feeling well last night and fell asleep unexpectedly. But never fear – we are here with a fabulous-sounding rec by FluffyLiz. As always, please share with everyone what you’ve been reading. –Loving40s
The Penitent by counselor (Complete)
Reviewed by FluffyLiz
I have recently discussed with my fellow administrators here at Twi-Fic Reviews, Loving40s and EdwardIsAVilf, the fact that it is getting harder to find well-written, originally plotted Twilight fan fiction – you know, the ones that make you want to keep reading into the dead of night, fueled by too much caffeine and tobacco, only coming up for air when the birds start singing and the dawn slides inexorably across the sky, leaving you wondering how you’ll stay awake at work that day. The conclusion I came to is that, after some four years, there is very little that is new or surprising anymore, and all that sets one fic above another these days is the quality of the writing. But still holding out hope of finding those hidden gems, you can imagine my delight when I came across today’s spotlighted fic, The Penitent by counselor, which was rec’d by one of RAoR h00rs over on Facebook.
Let me come clean right from the outset – for maybe the first third of the story, perhaps more, I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on! Was Edward a vampire? An alien? An angel? Nope, no clue. As for Bella, was she real? And if she was, why was she so stuck, so isolated… so unseen? And what was happening in the outside world? Now, before I succeed in putting you off, let me just say that, despite my confusion, I was totally drawn in and held fast by the amazing writing – yes, I had found that dazzling gem, a story with a highly original premise, told in beautiful, spellbinding prose. To say I was hooked from the very first few lines is no exaggeration:
I think of an aerial view, a gray geometric grid of lines, angles and ants. Focus down. I am a speck, seated in St. James Cathedral, located in the center of the highest crime area in this gritty city that smells of oil refineries and burning hops.
A celluloid of four seasons moving through a clicking projector. We are at late winter. A calendar torn, months blowing rapidly past. Stop on February. A pocket watch, cracked glass face, through it the hour shows midnight.
How do I précis such a story without giving away major plotlines? Bella lives inside a crumbling, vaulted cathedral in what seems to be a city which has descended into disease, anarchy and chaos. There, where she serves Father Charles as he stumbles and rasps his way through mass to his dwindling and sickly congregation, she is safe but utterly alone. But one night, crawling on his knees, a penitent slides into her sight and her life and nothing will ever be the same again. There are transformations, but not in the way we have become familiar with – in fact, the most significant changes are those wrought upon Edward by Bella… or perhaps it was ever thus.
But this is not just a tale of love, it’s about so much more than that. I don’t want to go into further detail, as that would be a significant spoiler, but little, at first, is what it seems. All the usual suspects are present, with the notable – and welcome – exception of Jacob, and this is, by turns, a supernatural love story and a gothic horror tale. In all honesty, I don’t know if it will appeal to the majority; all I know is that you are unlikely to read anything else quite like it and that if you decide to try it you should just give yourself over to the lyricism of the words – and completely suspend your disbelief, something we have surely all learned to do since Twilight smacked us between the eyes!
SUMMARY: A Cathedral at midnight. Bella never celebrated. Edward never seen. She’s dried leaves. Is that his trench-coat flapping or a pair of broken wings? The world is ending. It’s time for her to come out of her cocoon. It’s time for Edward to fly.
Have you read Penitent? If yes, click HERE to rate the story.
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