Title: The Gilded CageAuthor:
Sherlock (BBC)Author's summary:
In a world where Omegas are the property of the elite Alphas, locked away and treasured by those wealthy enough to buy them, John never questioned his flatmate's secondary gender. Sherlock Holmes was an Alpha through-and through. Wasn't he? A chance discovery turns the world on its head, and John is left grappling to come to terms with Sherlock's past as events conspire to threaten their future.
Reccer's comments: This is an epic. Not just because of the length but because of the intricacy and the multiple layers. First and foremost, this is a story about Omegaverse, but a very, very smart Omegaverse. There are many iterations of the Alpha/Beta/Omega alternative biology AU, and this author has taken it in a political direction. The worldbuilding is both sprawling and in-depth, encompassing legislation, the economy, social stratification, mores, education, and medicine, among other aspects. It tackles issues that resound in the real world like human rights, domestic violence, gender roles, contraceptive rights, and self-determination, and all that without ever becoming dry or getting distracted from the plot engine, which is the case.
The case, involving a serial killer, is deliciously complex in its unravelling, with unique and engaging original characters and a constant ramping up of tension. What I liked the best about it was that it’s not just something that was added to make this into a casefic; it is intrinsically linked both to the world which the author has created and to the life and situation of Sherlock and John personally, which means that as the case unfolds we get more insights into how the society works (and doesn’t work) as well as character development and progression in John and Sherlock’s relationship.
And oh boy, what a relationship! The pining and UST is fantastically rendered and at the same time devastating to wait through. Both Sherlock and John come into the story with a ton of emotional, physical, and psychological baggage that they need to sort through as they try to grapple with their undeniable attraction which is, for various reasons, impossible to consummate at first.
Beyond all that, this is just an absolute pleasure to read. The imagery is poetic yet vivid, the language erudite yet accessible. The 300k+ words go down like water, and the only thing stopping me from reading this in one sitting was the occasional need for sleep. It did take me a few days, but that just means more pleasure to be gotten out of it.
There are some passages which may be sensitive for some readers, especially the ones involving domestic violence (not between John and Sherlock) but overall this does one of the best jobs I’ve seen of discussing consent issues in an Omegaverse fic.( Excerpt... )