1. Hey Guest,

    Are you handy with Photoshop? Do you feel the DLP Anakin logo is tired and old? Do you want to win a special as of yet undetermined prize? Join the DLP Banner Photoshop Competition! Fame, fortune, and the respect of your peers await those that enter. Sadness, despair, and a deep self-loathing await those that do not.

    Enter the competition.
    Dismiss Notice

Complete Mad Love by AmberZ10 - M - Batman TAS

Discussion in 'Other Review Board' started by Nemrut, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    984
    Location:
    Department of Post-Mortem Communications
    High Score:
    2,101
    Title: Mad Love Series
    Author: AmberZ10
    Rating: M and T
    Fandom: Batman The Animated Series
    Genre: Romance, General
    Status: Complete
    Wordcout: ca 390k in total with the first story being 89k and the second one being 302k.
    link: AO3

    Summary:
    So, this is a bit of an interesting and strange story, or rather stories. The first one is rather simple. The summary describes it basically perfectly. On her first day in Arkham as a doctor, Dr. Quinzel becomes interested in Poison Ivy instead of the Joker and falls into her orbit rather than his. The first story is the mind games those two characters play on each other and the interest they take, slowly culminating in a relationship, which, in turn, kinda redeems Ivy.

    Basically spoiled the first story right there but don't think this was any surprise there. As you can see, that is not really what this story over all is about. This is merely the prequel to the main body, to set that story up. On itself, it's really nothing amazing. 3/5. Decent story. Read it or don't. If there hadn't been the second story, which makes reading this one a necessity.

    The real meat, the truly interesting and fascinating part of the story is the next part which focuses entirely on the family life of Harley and Ivy. All the usual stuff that is happening in super hero stories? Fighting villains, defeating world ending threats all the drama in the shows and cartoons and movies? That's all happening off-screen. We barely see it. That's their jobs, really. At most we get snippets of someone in costume fighting some gangster but even there it is not about the action but rather focusing on why that person has put on the costume and why they are out there instead of being at home.

    There isn't really an overarching plot, just character development and interaction. And the most important thing? There is a clear progression of time. It's not 300k about a year or two in their lives. Instead, its about their whole life. Harley and Ivy move together, have children, these children grow up, later on get their own children and these children grow up as well and start to fight crime.

    And honestly, this story got heartbreaking at times. I basically burned through this story in one night without sleep and it fucked me up because the end is just haunting.

    As you can see, their children are (I think) mostly OCs (unless the author converted existing minor DC characters into the children but if so, no one I know but doubt it) and are rather fleshed out. The relationship between Ivy and her eldest daughter is just pure tragedy.

    One more fascinating aspect is the fact that Ivy doesn't age, being a whatever she is. So we have her being relatively immortal but having to watch her wife grow old and die, same with her children. And honestly, their deaths, all natural due to age and sickness, were honestly some of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever experienced in a story. The farewell letter that Ivy's eldest daughter had written before her death, which Ivy got after she had died, nearly made me cry.

    And honestly, I have never read a story like this. To see that progression of time mercilessly affect the characters and their family was powerful to read. We get to know each character, see their lives play out and ultimately end.

    And to see their daughter Jo grow from a cute, precious child, to a proud and positive athlete, to an angry teenager who hates the fact that her biology disqualifies her from her dream and which creates a rift in the family that will never be truly bridged, to making mistakes and pursing goals just to antagonize her mother, to a hero in her own right,then to a mother herself, finally retiring as well but still dealing with all the family issues and then ultimately dying has been a harrowing and fascinating journey.

    Another big thing is that the relationship between Harley and Ivy is not all roses. They are both intrinsically messed up people, have some rotten personality traits and hurt each other at times, as despite the love and family they share, they still have traits of personality that clash wildly and make this relationship not something that works without effort but rather something more tangible and real. Yeah, things can be cute and romantic between them but also vicious and damaging.

    The writing over all is rather solid, it has its weaknesses at times as the grammar is a bit wonky from time to time, some arcs aren't as good as others, not every conflict feels natural, and the last two chapters or so and the stuff with Supergirl was a bit meh but overall, it works. The other DC characters that appear are written competently, although the story was rather unkind to Jason Todd and it's engaging from beginning to end.

    Another weakness would be that Jo is a bit the exception when it comes to memorable OCs. The rest work in the context of the story and the emotions the story wants you to feel but the getaway character from the story is definitely Jo, as a lot more effort was put into her than in anyone else.

    It also needs a while to get going and the first story is unfortunately a bit meh and doesn't really give you the energy to push further into the second story but you absolutely should.

    So yeah, it's a long read and probably not really for everyone but it has been without a doubt one of the better stories I've read this year and if any of what I wrote sounds appealing to you, I urge you to give it a try. As of my writing about this right now, the story has nearly 1300 comments and about 900 kudos and it deserves every one and more.

    Maybe a bit high but honestly, can't do anything else but give this a 4/5. Read this months ago and I still think about it from time to time.
     
  2. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box Prestige

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,070
    Location:
    UK
    High Score:
    2,296
    So I've spent most of the day reading the first story and about a third of the second story instead of the writing I'd planned to do - because I was engrossed, not just because I'm terrible about writing. It's a fascinating AU, even before you get into the character stuff about Harley and Ivy, which is portrayed really well. At present, I find myself actually slightly preferring the first story, possibly because I'm at a point in the second where particularly Harley is moving through some very murky waters
    IE: subtly manipulating Ivy into publicly opening up about her rape, which is at least as much to do with Harley's need to prove herself as a psychologist as it is about helping Ivy, which coming not long after (in terms of word count) her own abuse of that knowledge to hurt Ivy...
    but I'll perhaps feel differently about it by the time I've finished, and however uncomfortable it is, it feels undeniably real.

    Anyway, I'd currently put it at 4/5, will definitely finish once I've slept.
     
  3. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box Prestige

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,070
    Location:
    UK
    High Score:
    2,296
    So I finished. Absolutely fantastic, I've genuinely never read another fanfic like it. Several moments that nearly had me in tears, and I never thought I'd be laughing my ass off at Damien Wayne and his OC partner. 5/5, for sure.
     
  4. Silly

    Silly First Year

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    49
    High Score:
    0
    So I read the first story a month or so ago, and I'd say that Nemrut's assessment of it is mostly accurate. I'd rate it roughly a 3.5/5 story. It's has some cool ideas but it didn't feel like I was fully engrossed in it. It does set the stage for the second story though, which I've recently started reading, and have finished roughly 1/4 of so far. The second story is a lot better. It's very slice of life so far, focused on important moments and cute interactions in the lives of Ivy and Harley. What makes the story shine is that the characters are all super interesting, including the OCs (a rarity for fanfiction), which is really what carries these kind of stories (if your story is mostly focused on character dynamics instead of plot, your characters damn well better be great).

    I haven't finished the second story yet, but as of now I'm comfortable giving this a 4/5. Roughly 3.5/5 for the first story, while the second story is a 4.5 or 5/5. If this opinion changes as I finish the second story, I will revise this review.
     
  5. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    UK
    I don't know how you read that all so quickly, it's taken me days.

    Proper review to follow once I've digested it but that was incredibly powerful. And is now the third story I've ever read in my life to make me blub like a little bitch. And has made me miss my partner like we were teenagers again because every moment is precious etc. etc.

    I'll just plug, if you like this sorta feel, of a life lived and the bittersweet melancholy of time, one of the other two was the PJ fanfic three - which I think we have in our library.

    But yeah 5/5 rating for now due to sheer impact and I'll review what it did well, and where it let itself down soon.
     
  6. The.Snorting.Hat

    The.Snorting.Hat First Year

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    It's under Fidelius.
    High Score:
    0
    Ahh so much angst!
    I liked the relationships, especially when wrapped up in the floral writing. I enjoyed reading it.

    That said, to do justice to the basic idea behind it, there was no need for such a large and wordy piece. After a point, you're reading because you want to see more character interactions and their individual plots. Maybe some people will not like that it is so stretched. They will probably rate it lower. But from me: 5/5
     
  7. Silly

    Silly First Year

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    49
    High Score:
    0
    I just finished the second story, and having finished it I have to say its an easy 5/5 for me.

    Also, this might contain spoilers, but...

    I have to say, of all the ways a character can die, the most depressing way is definitely death by old age. It's not a typical way to go in stories, where characters tend to die dramatically, for a reason or to make a point. But I feel like the fact that it's just an ordinary and human way to die makes it all the more impactful.

    I'm still highly upset at the depressing amount of feels in the home stretch of the story, but I guess that's what makes it special. The sad moments accentuate the happy ones, and in the end life goes on.