Apr. 9th, 2014

[identity profile] rachelindeed.livejournal.com
Title: A Study in Crimson: Press Gang, with the missing scene sequel Reparation
Author: [livejournal.com profile] gardnerhill
Pairing: Gen
Length: 28,000 words; the missing scene sequel is 8,000 words
Rating: T
Warnings: none
Verse: Author lists it as Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle & Related fandoms; it is an historical AU, not specific to any 'verse
Author's summary:It's Sherlock Holmes and pirates. Pretty much.

Reccer's comments: This is the Pirate AU to end all Pirate AUs, in my opinion: intelligent, entrancing, at times harrowing, and uniquely romantic. The author effortlessly immerses us into a rich historical adventure. The language captures an 18th century elegance and a convincing nautical slang, the details of ship-board life feel authentic, Watson's strength shines through as surgeon, mentor, fugitive and most importantly as a confidante to his complicated captain. We feel the terror of Moriarty with the authority of the Royal Navy behind him, and the brilliant charisma of Sherlock as first privateer and then full pirate, fiercely defending his crew and especially his stormy petrel of a fugitive surgeon.

I love this story for mixing realism with high melodrama, for the camaraderie of the Baker crew, for noble sacrifices that are repaid in kind, and for the respect and love that grows between Holmes and Watson. Their feelings for one another are complex and not fully defined, and while keeping their relationship physically platonic the narrative also hints at the presence of (possibly one-sided, possibly reciprocal) romantic love or romantic friendship. They find ways to save each other, but also to put each other at greater risk, and they navigate side by side through shared dangers. At the same time their relationship is shaped by the hierarchy and formality of Watson's subordinate position onboard the ship that is their world.

Overall, this is one of my favorite historical AUs in the fandom, and I don't get the impression that it has been very widely read.

Readers may want to be aware that these stories include torture and also scenes of shipboard surgery, though they keep a PG-13 rating.

(Note about the series: "A Study in Crimson" is, in fact, a longer series than the two main stories I have linked to in this rec. If you enjoy these, you may want to read some of the shorter ficlets and vignettes set in the same 'verse. The author is also slowly working on a sequel ("Part 2: Rache"); but please be aware that it is a WIP last updated almost a year ago, and also it is darker and has the main characters behaving more violently. I personally find these earlier entries in the series satisfying in themselves, and I don't quite have the stomach to continue on through the darker material, but of course different readers will have different tastes! All of the author's works are well-written and convincing. I have rec'd these two stories in the series because they provide the main narrative, they are complete, and they hold a special place in my heart.)
frozen_delight: (sharp)
[personal profile] frozen_delight
Title: Silver Blaze
Author: LittlePippin76
Pairing: John/Mary
Length: 35,000 words
Rating: Teen and Up Audiences
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: Based on the ACD story Silver Blaze, but with the BBC characters, and my own spin. Sherlock is called away to investigate a double murder and a missing race horse, while John's marriage is foundering under the weight of real life. Ten chapters, some hurt and comfort, some angst, some humour, some friendship.

Reccer's comments: LittlePippin is a prolific writer who, amongst other things, devoted herself to updating the original ACD stories and introducing characters like Mary Morstan into the modern world of BBC Sherlock. This story was posted a long time before Season 3 and any talk of having Amanda Abbington on the show and finds a solution all on its own of how John can be married and have a child and still solve cases with Sherlock - a solution that feels real and believable.

There are no grand betrayals, secret villains, tear-jerking character deaths or anything similarly sensational and sentimental, just two ordinary people with their ordinary marriage problems. Plus a small baby in the flat that's keeping them up all night. I really admire LittlePippin's firm grasp of these little domestic quarrels that slowly build up into a bigger fight - all because these two people who basically like and love each other are too tired and annoyed to tread carefully and constantly manage to say the wrong thing.

In ordner to take a step back from his marriage troubles, John joins Sherlock on a case, but not even the great Sherlock Holmes manages to concentrate on the case 24/7 when he has an upset John by his side. Especially since said upset John finds himself in a situation that's usually reserved for Sherlock - meaning that Sherlock has to try and be the John to his John.It's incredibly touching to see how hard Sherlock tries to be a good friend to John. It's clear that he's not happy with the fact that John moved out and started a family and that he'd prefer it if things were back to how they used to be, and yet he still tries to help John save his marriage and gives him some genuinely good advice. Mostly, though, he can't help but be Sherlock Holmes, so while he means well, he often gets things wrong in a way that's hilarious, exasperating and heartbreaking, all at the same time. But John sees that Sherlock's trying and that's enough for him. And for me too.

This is in many ways a charming, warm-hearted and moving story with an interesting case happening (and being solved) along the way, but most of all it's a celebration of Sherlock and John's boundless friendship and for that I love reading it again and again.

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