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Fallen Star by Alydia Rackham, loki/jane + some thor & jane + background thor/sif + other asgardians, loki falls to midgard au, 116.9k
    All Loki wants is revenge-the Cube may be his key. But when he hides his identity to get info from Jane Foster, something inside him shifts. And when the Cube is stolen, Loki must choose between vengeance, and the woman he fears he can never have.
    I have been eying this fic for months, never quite able to bring myself to read it, because I always felt I wanted Loki and Jane interaction on a platonic level, not as a ship. Now that I've had more time in fandom under my belt, now that I'm more open to genfic and other pairings, I was curious enough to give this fic a try. And then promptly spent several days sucked into the first fic in the series because, oh, I could not put it down! I hardly read anything else for awhile there because I just needed to get to the next scene of this one!

There are a few caveats I want to get out of the way first, though. Despite the length of the story and the way it absolutely does justice to the idea of Loki and Jane falling in love, the ending of their relationship is rushed--their falling in love is perfect, but they do pretty much immediately hop into marriage as soon as they admit they love each other. I'm not terribly fussed about it, because I was so absolutely sold by this fic, because I wanted this Loki and Jane to end up together, but I still recognized that that part was rushed. There's also more Norse mythology being worked into the fic than I'm usually comfortable with, as well as some semi-intense descriptions of torture. They only make up a fraction of the length of this fic, but they are there. There both is and isn't Loki apologia in this fic. The way events pre-movie unfold are fairly well designed to make you feel sympathy for Loki, how unfair life has been to him, how cruel circumstances are to him, yet... Asgard is not a horrible place. His family loves him dearly. I don't think the fic tries to justify Loki's actions, but neither is it interested in punishing him further than what he has been by the end of the movie already... quite the opposite, really.

Those warnings mentioned, boy, did this fic deliver on what I was hoping to find from it! Fantastic writing, the kind that's so smooth that I very nearly didn't even notice the words themselves, because I was too busy reading reading reading, always wanting to get to the next scene because I wanted to know what happened next, always inhaling chapter after chapter because the pacing was so beautifully done and the scenes so perfectly unfolding. This is the kind of writing that I am most envious of, because it's smooth and professional and I just sink right into the story. And, oh, the story was so very good. The author takes her time with Loki falling to Midgard and slowly mending, both in body and in spirit, taking her time to really establish his relationships with the people he falls in with. The relationship between Loki and Jane doesn't just happen overnight, it takes real time and real conversations and real understanding of each other to happen. It also takes so much time for Loki to come back to himself (and this was written before The Avengers, so it's a divergent timeline, but works brilliantly with what was in the first movie), as he's filled with so much vicious anger and jagged edges after he falls. This is not a quick fix it fic.

Nor is it without plot! The author uses what we knew of the Tesseract pre-Avengers (and I find that this still works in that sense) to keep things moving forward, to rouse both Loki and Jane's curiosity and give them a reason to interact with each other--as well as Jane being curious about Asgard, Loki just wanting to figure out where he goes from here. It gives them a reason to have conversations, ones that build a relationship slowly, bit by bit, ones that do so much of what I want for Loki--putting him into a situation that uses his intellect and his magic in helpful ways, in ways that people appreciate! He is useful here, he finds Midgard to be full of people who can benefit from his skills! The author does justice to these things without pandering to Loki's character--all the more so because Jane is brilliant as well. And Tony Stark is in the fic for several scenes, also brilliant. It's not about pandering to Loki's character, but instead finding better cirumstances for him.

And, oh, this author does brilliantly with Jane as well. She's so, so smart and curious and has all these motivations of her own, her own dreams and wants, she's a fully realized character here! For all that I picked up the fic, because it was about Loki on Midgard, for all that I was reading for Loki characterization, I really loved how strong a character Jane was as well. She's brave and brilliant and it's not hard at all to see why both of them fall in love with each other, over the course of the fic. She's compassionate and refuses to be left behind, but also has moments of not knowing what to do, of being afraid and out of her depth and I loved her dearly for all of it. The dialogue for both her and Loki (as well as the supporting characters, but especially these two) is pitch perfect for them both and it's so very satisfying to see them working together to accomplish something or solve a problem.

On top of all of that, there were scenes that brought actual tears to my eyes, when they eventually had to deal with Asgard again. Loki's bone-deep grief over everything and how much he misses Asgard set the stage for it, but the eventual return, the desperation and heartbreak he felt, only to find his family truly loved him and missed him? Tears, tears all over my face. I was wary of how his family would treat him, because there are scenes that seem like they might not understand him at all, there are times in the fic when I nearly felt like they had ruined him for the way they treated him, but then there's the eventual reunion and I actually had tears in my eyes for how much Odin loved his son and wanted him back and cherished him. I ached for how much Frigga missed her sweet, darling boy. I had tears again when Thor and Loki finally had a real conversation about everything. By the end, I was so in love with Loki's family that I practically wanted to smooch the author all over again. And, oh, oh, oh, did I love how the end of the fic dealt with the Thor/Jane relationship, it was pure fucking perfection.

Basically, this is the fic that convinced me that, yeah, Loki/Jane could happen and it could be really good. I'm kind of surprised that this fic didn't set off a whole movement in the fandom, because that's the level of quality it is! And, really, even if you're not a big fan of the pairing, I would still recommend this fic because it's excellent just for the character stuff and I think the romance could win over more people than might initially think they would be won over.

Overlapping Spaces by khilari, Persephone_Kore, loki & jane + thor/jane + other asgardians, mental health issues, 106.6k
    Thor returns to Earth a month after the Chitauri invasion to keep his promises -- to see Jane again, and take her to see Asgard, even if the rainbow bridge is still undergoing repairs. Not that Jane is complaining about watching the repairs. But she wasn't expecting Loki to be haunting the palace library, even in psychiatric care; and Loki wasn't expecting to make friends with Thor's mortal girlfriend.
    I've done min-recs for this fic before and I probably shouldn't even be attempting a full one now, as I'm still only 2/3rds of the way through it, but I'm doing a set of Jane-friendly recs and this is one of the ones I've loved a lot. And the reason I'm only two thirds of the way through it is because every time I pick it up again, I start tearing through the fic like it's the first bag of Halloween candy of the year and I can't stop, only to realize that I'll finish it at the rate I'm going and I can't hardly bear that. There are two things that really make me want to hoard and ration this fic, one of which is the developing friendship between Loki and Jane that's very nicely balanced and very much at the center of the story, even as other things are going on. The second is the way Asgard treats Loki, that they realize he has some very serious mental illnesses and they're doing their best to treat them, which is actually working, but of course it's going to be slow. I don't think I've yet found another fic that takes this path, in the depth and weight that this fic has given it. It's like... it's ouchy and the road to recovery feels like it's two steps foward and one step back, that it's crawling along, that there are so many dangerous things here and so much bitterness and anger... but it's also the fic where I really, really love everyone. I love how clear everyone is that they love Loki and want him to get better, that they're trying to respect his boundaries and yet they love him so much.

That Loki knows there may be things wrong with him, but it's a struggle to separate out the lies and the truths from what his fucked up brain is telling him, oh, it's something I never knew I wanted as much as I do and I'll probably never find another story quite like this one. Watching Loki struggle to figure out which of his memories are false, the struggle to deal with believing Thor simply because he's Thor and Thor actually doesn't lie and yet Loki's memories tell him differently, oh, it's heartbreaking and lovely. Plus, for all that it's centered on Loki and Jane's friendship, that it's about them also doing other things apart from each other and they both have relationships aside from this central one, there really is a satisfying amount of Thor & Loki interaction, because that too is such an incredibly vital relationship, it's just... so fraught with bad shit right now that it's incredibly slow going and they maybe need a bit of space from each other for awhile. And that's not bad! Neither of them is bad! This story is not about placing blame and that alone makes me want to love it forever and ever.

But it's also a post-Avengers fic that does a lot of world building and it's sort of amazing how much detail is worked into Loki and Jane's researchings, together and separately, and how the Dark Elves are written here, even if I'm not yet sure how all of that is going to work out. I can't speak for the ending, as I've not yet read it, and I admit that I start skimming emotionally when the Thor/Jane scenes come up, because it's when the fic focuses on the Loki stuff or Jane/her exploration of Asgard's technology and theories, that it's at its best, but! No matter the ending, the journey there has been wonderful and I love just how well all these characters are done here, including Frigga and Odin, who clearly care very, very much about Loki and want to help him get better, but aren't sure how to do that.

This is all while it's wrapped up in balancing personal issues with greater plot machinations, in balancing the feel of Asgard as an advanced alien race with their old world stylings, which is another thing that I will never get enough of. Give me the technology mixed with Norse myths with a new twist for this world, give me all of it! And so I picked this one up for the treatment of Loki's character, but wound up also sticking around for the background world-building, which was so very satisfying. If you're like me, read this one for the gen aspects, because the pairings are fairly minor and not at all the point of the story!

Flew Away by boombangbing, bruce/jane + background dealings with bruce/betty and thor/jane + other thor characters, mildly nsfw, 32k
    Bruce comes back to New York eight months after Tony dropped him off at a ferry terminal, with a nasty cough, no money, and nowhere to stay. Jane answers his shot in the dark phonecall, and suddenly he's helping to build wormholes while S.H.I.E.L.D. are quietly watching his every move.
    I was browsing fic recs on the ffa meme and there were some MCU recs, where someone mentioned these two Bruce/Jane recs. I stopped to think about the idea of the ship for a couple of seconds and found that my instant response to the idea was HOLY SHIT YES. And these two fics were exactly what I was hoping for, because the author makes it clearly about the developing relationship between these two characters while not forgetting that they did have feelings for others at the same time. The first fic deals with the ending of Bruce and Betty's relationship, which was lovely for what it was, but it was ending already and that had nothing to do with the Bruce/Jane relationship. That was fucking perfect. The second story touches a bit on the Thor/Jane relationship, but the resolution isn't as strong, because they're just simply not around each other enough to get any resolution and, as much as I want to see Jane deal with that, I also appreciate that the fic doesn't tie everything up with a neat bow, because that would take away from the utterly natural, organic feel the writing has.

This is a perfect building of a relationship, it doesn't ignore that Bruce has a whole shitload of issues, nor does it make Jane a saint or overly angsty. She is incredibly solid and brilliant and interesting here! You see why they develop a friendship first, then realize their attraction to each other, the author spends all these little moments building that up, whether it's a shared love of science or their mutual difficult relationships or simply watching crappy movies together. The second fic even had a moment of them just simply hanging out, being utter fucking NERDS together that had me putting my reader down to shriek with laughter a bit because, yes, the nerd is strong with both of these and you can feel that that's another brick in the foundation of the developing relationship. Not that it's all smooth sailling, because there are definitely missteps and occasional awkwardness and the age difference is a bit of a thing, especially when Erik doesn't entirely approve, but neither is Jane so young that she doesn't take charge of her own life.

The writing itself is exquisite, the kind of smooth prose that's just easy to get sucked into and realize, oh, shit, I just read 15k like it was nothing, because it pulled me so completely into the story. It balances both of these characters and paces everything beautifully, so that you see why this relationship works, why it's not just a crack pairing, and it delivers on all the promise of how great their interaction can be. My only complaint is that there's not more of this series, because I would love a third fic to see where they're going and just to get more of their fantastic, science nerd interactions, where the balance of how they counterbalance each other and have so much in common is perfect. If you enjoy either character or like adorable nerds being nerds together or just simply lovely writing, these fics are for you.

Beneath by ninepen is one that Iím only, like, 1/6th of the way through it (because itís long, holy shit) but so far itís some pretty stellar Loki & Jane characterization fic, where Loki is dropped onto Midgard and his magic can only be used to help people, while Jane is studying the stars at the South Pole and Loki tries to use her to help him (unknowingly) build a new Bifrost so he can fuck off wherever he pleases, and itís a very, very slow build but Iím really enjoying it and itís nice to read something that I can just sink into and read and read and read. Itís very solidly detailed and really gave a lot of thought and care to the setting theyíre in, which is also nice to see!

Mating Rituals by Omnicat
? pairings/characters: Loki/Jane, 2.5k

    Every time Loki tries to say "Will you marry me?" he instead says "I want to bear your children". It's getting to be a little disconcerting.

    You just have to roll with the pairing on this fic, as it's never really given context or background, just that Loki and Jane are together and move on from there. It's a humor fic, though, so it didn't bother me terribly, especially when the author is good at humor and Loki trying to keep his cool, but forever getting flustered and words slipping out before he realizes it, no matter how hard he tries to keep control of himself. It's surprisingly adorable to see Loki fumbling over his words, the author managing to pull it off without being ridiculously OOC. It's fluffy and cracky, but it's not just randomness, either, it walks a fine line that ends up being more humorous than cracky, I'd have to say. It's cute and adorable and funny, meant to be a feel-good fic that had me smiling or outright muffling giggles the entire time.
Stjarnasdůttir by Lise, jane & darcy + thor, some background mentions of pairings, thor 2 spoilers, sad ending, 4.2k
    The one where Jane finds a dying Dark Elf after the Greenwich Incident, and experiences personally the price of heroism.
    What a gorgeous post-Thor 2 fic focusing on Jane coming across a dying Dark Elf and how perfect her reactions are. I love this Jane so very much, her passion and determination are her own and they absolutely sparkle here! Darcy is also a delight and her lines are also perfection and Thor's brief scene was breathtaking for me, it nailed the blend of this connection Jane has to him and yet how alien they are to each other in a way that's neither good nor bad. The ending nearly had me in tears it was so perfectly written, it's a gorgeous follow up to the movie and it's ouchy but utterly bittersweet and so good. I'm not always a big reader of Jane fic, but this one is absolutely worth reading even if you're not usually one, either.

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