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WIP Keeper by Aubergine - T - Worm

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Nemrut, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    High Score:
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    Title: Keeper
    Author: Aubergine
    Rating: T
    Genre: AU/OC
    Status: In-Progress/Abandoned
    Pairings: none so far
    Summary: The story is about Elizabeth Clark, an OC, who is a trump who can make an emotional connection with one parahuman at a time, which boosts said parahumans powers and in turn gives her some off-shot of those powers. She tries to be a hero in Brockton Bay, trying to help as many people as she can.
    Link: SV
    So, this is an interesting story, because for roughly the first half, it's fantastic. Raved with @Jarik about this story (who was supposed to recc this weeks ago =P). One of the better Worm fanfics out there. Great stuff, at least at first.

    Elizabeth, referred to as Liz in story, is a compelling enough character. After the death of her parents, she triggers and goes to live with her uncle in Brockton Bay, reconnecting with her best friend and the person she has an immense crush on, Claire.

    Her powers are interesting enough (but more on that later), her relationship with Claire is great as is the conflict that comes from this, since Liz wants to be a hero and Claire has some issues.

    In general I was rather fond of the portrayal of the E88, especially the kids in school because they never came across as this super manipulators like in so many other fics but rather just like kids who swallowed this ideology and were not very convincing because of that (not that that line of belief is particularly convincing anyway). It was a nice departure from those failed E88 recruitment fics where you had this one E88 guy in school who was apparently a master in manipulation.

    As Rayndeon said when he first recced this, Sophia also plays a larger role. Her budding friendship with Liz is also a lot of fun.

    That said, a minus point on Sophia was her changed backstory to include rape, which, WoG, didn't happen. Felt really unnecessary as it is the "to go" tragic backstory for female characters. Happens often enough that one doesn't need to change the backstories of the few who don't have that.

    So, the first half of the story is Liz getting her foot in as a hero. She helps the homeless, really connects with a homeless girl named Mika, who is a pretty engaging character and I adored the relationship the two had. Liz really caring about the little people if you will, while using the powers she had from connecting to Claire.

    That relationship made her engaging the E88 more complex as she had to argue with Rune about it afterwards and see her defending them. All of this, was fantastic.

    The small stuff, the street level stuff. Fighting against muggers, rapists and gangers, helping people on that scale, individuals as a solo hero with the occasional team-up with Shadow Stalker and her trying to reform Sophia.

    But later on, we got more elements. The whole Taylor deal was...unwise, I feel. Basically, Liz very quickly figures out that Taylor is a parahuman, and Skitter to boot. It's a real killjoy to see Liz lecture Taylor on all of this stuff.

    Then the story forces Madison into this, pretty much just to get one over Taylor, to hold her actions against her even more. Meanwhile, Emma is pretty much thrown under the bus, which is weird, since the story goes out of its way to redeem Madison and Sophia.

    Then she joins the Wards and it's a mess. The Wards killed this story, they kill most stories. Joining the Wards is just unbelievably lame at this point, what with the power testing and whatnot. Kills momentum.

    Coming back to her powers, which becomes relevant now. Of course a power that strengthens other powers is going to be used in a larger fashion eventually. So, we get Triumvirate involvement and that, well, the story pretty much died afterwards.

    So, the first half, maybe a bit more, is easily a strong 4/5. Fantastic stuff. But the later things 2/5.

    Rounding this to a 3-3.5/5
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  2. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,447
    Location:
    Melbourne
    As Nemrut said, this story needs to be split into two halves when reviewing it. The first 25 chapters, and then everything that has come since.

    One of the selling points to me is that this story has a pretty different feel to most Worm fics. It keeps everything very local, very personal and generally avoids making anything big. We don't see the protagonist take on Endbringers, Cauldron and the Triumvirate. We don't even see her directly clashing with Lung, Kaiser and the Undersiders.

    Instead Elizabeth spends most of her time trying to deal with issues on a smaller scale - how her best friend (and secret crush) seems to be falling in with the wrong crowd, giving a random homeless girl a coat and hot meal, starting a charity movement, making friends with Sophia, but then finding out what Sophia is doing to Taylor, debating with E88 supporters at school, etc. Most of the time, the only conflict she sees is with random thugs.

    It makes the whole story quite unique and the character quite endearing. It actually gave me a very strong Dreaming of Sunshine vibe.

    I'll also add that I loved the friendship between Liz and Claire, and the one sided crush that existed on Liz's side. What an adorable pair.

    One of the rare times I think it actually works better without them actually getting together in the end.

    I really liked Emma's role in the school, which is definitely unique. In a school ruled by ABB, Merchants and E88 wannabes, Emma stands at the top. Society doesn't care if gang members beat up a bunch of nobodies, but if you touch a hair on the daughter of a respectable lawyer, you're absolutely fucked. And the Capes themselves are very hands off that sort of low level thuggery.

    What I didn't like was Emma herself, who comes across as cartoonishly mean. The source of all the bullying problems. One who is almost forcing Sophia to go along with it.

    Sophia herself was quite a different character to who we usually see, but one that was done really well. I liked the team ups with Liz, and then the attempts to reform Sophia. Rape back story didn't really ruin that for me - it seemed an appropriate way for constructing Sophia's current character.

    I completely disagree with Nemrut on everything he said regarding Taylor though:

    Liz became Sophia's friend, even before Sophia stopped bullying Taylor. Taylor had a good reason for being distrustful and hostile to Liz.

    Liz met Lisa while Lisa was still under Coil's thumb, making threats against Mika on behalf of Coil and generally doing her Tattletale thing. Hence Liz is hostile to Lisa.

    Taylor has no idea about Coil, or that previous encounter. She just sees Liz being judgmental to one of her new friends, while taking the side of Sophia, the person who caused her trigger. Liz thinks Taylor has run off with E88 equivalents to try to solve her bullying problem.

    Is it a wonder they're at each others necks?

    This phase of the story all builds up quite well to a cool climax.

    Her kidnapping.

    Then the story makes the same mistake a large number of fics make - a plot device that has been used again and again, without every having been pulled off even once.

    She joins the Wards. And as Nemrut said, we have chapters of her just working out how her power works with each Ward. We get the obligatory patrol and team bonding scenes. Then we had that Alexandria saving Claire scene and it barely felt like it was taking itself seriously anymore.

    Ultimately, she does have a pretty fucking useful power. The moment she allowed it to become widely known, it propels her from being in that small time, local world to dealing with the Triumvirate. Meh.

    So the first segment of the story was a very strong 4/5. Absolutely adored it, and lived it for days after I got up to date.

    Then it goes to shit, and becomes a disappointing 2/5. What a waste. I'll give it a 3.5/5, rounded up, because what it did well, it did really well and I'd recommend giving it a go anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
  3. Vesvius

    Vesvius High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    566
    Just read through this. Did not realize it was abandoned till I got till the end and saw that it hadn't been updated since 2015. A shame; the first arc was head and shoulder the best part, but the rest was still a decent time waster.

    I'll give this a 3/5. Solid, but not spectacular.
     
  4. Bernd

    Bernd First Year

    Joined:
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    I was looking for good OC-centric fics to read, and since fics have to pass a bare minimum to be recc'd on DLP, I gave Keeper a go. I finished it, and while the ending felt lackluster because it wasn't an ending at all, I actually did enjoy it.

    I was gripped immediately by the traumatic backstory first chapter. While I think it's cheesy to start a story with a trigger event in order to get readers to sympathize with the newly introduced OC, it worked, and I wanted to know more about Liz. So I won't count a cheesy beginning as a bad thing, since it did what it was supposed to do.

    The writing was technically proficient. Well-written mostly, however, I did notice a few times where words were missing. And "Wards" and "Protectorate" weren't capitalized as they should have been. Nothing bad enough to jar me from the plot. The world building for the street level was good too, with some poignant moments at school and at the shelter. Stories that don't solely focus on cape stuff and fighting make for richer, more thoughtful reads.



    My thoughts:

    The characterization was well handled. Clair, initially assumed to be an OC, but then turning out to have a story of her own. Shadow Stalker's backstory, which I didn't think was canon, was slowly revealed and it fit with this AU version of her character. Liz felt human, troubled and idealistic, but still a teenage girl struggling with how best to do good and be a hero. The writing got across her mental state and thought processes quite well, and in some parts, the writing really shone.

    Beautifully creative, vivid imagery.

    I enjoyed a story that didn't feature Taylor as a central character, and cheered on the bits where Liz called her out for wallowing, and joining a villain gang. That was refreshing. Taylor-centric fics usually run by Taylor-centric morality, which is basically, "Taylor can do nothing wrong". It was good to see the Undersiders and Tattletale viewed from fresh eyes.



    My nitpicks:

    Some of the characterization made me roll my eyes. Cartoon villain Piggot. Exhausted, "I need to do better" woobie Amy. Maybe I've seen it done, and done poorly too many times. At least Glory Girl was called out as "Collateral Damage Barbie". That made me laugh.

    Liz, formerly just another high school student, seemed to know too much about trigger events straight away, which I stretched my suspension of disbelief when it came to worldbuilding. Not sure if the PRT would let that information go public, enough so people knew where powers came from. It would just encourage them to try to trigger themselves. Taylor didn't even know the term until Tattletale told her in Worm. Liz also called herself a "rogue", which is the wrong definition that I had to nitpick. Rogues are capes who make money lawfully through business, like Parian or Canary. Keeper is an independent hero, a vigilante. Not a rogue.

    The story's "indie hero" arc seemed to end after Chapter 23, and the new Wards arc picked up a completely different tone, leaving the street level stuff behind. Then the story dies at Chapter 29, which I assume is somewhere early on in the plot arc, and it's why it feels so disappointing and unsatisfying to me and other readers.



    Overall thoughts:

    Keeper was much better than the average Wormfic. As a character, Liz felt human and nuanced, and she was likeable. The plot stuttered by the end, which I took to be more due to its abandonment rather than bad plotting. I'd to see more, but I probably won't. However, I did like what I did read. This was an OC story decently done, but it will never be one of the best due to its lack of closure.


    I'd give it a 3.75/5.
    Up to 4/5, because I liked it.