Title: Hell is Other People Author: amitai Rating: T Genre: Adventure/Drama Status: WIP Fandom: Alex Rider Pairings: N/A Summary: After a series of attacks, Alex's entire class is sent to be trained at the SAS training camp, to give them a degree of self sufficiency to help them defend themselves. Unfortunately for Alex, he has to go with them... and not get noticed as different. Link So, this fic. Let me preface my rec by noting that no knowledge of the Alex Rider books (I think there was also a movie?) is necessary. The concept is easy to make out, relevant facts of the past are exposition'd when necessary, and (most of) the canon events have, as I understand it, already happened and aren't too relevant to the fic as it is. It can be read with no knowledge of even who Alex himself is. Take it as original fiction if you want, all that you need to know is adequately explained inside. Now, on to why I think this is worthy of the Library. First of all, the technical aspect. The author is a skilled writer insofar as the language itself is concerned. She (I think) writes long, clean chapters and the update rate, while slowed, hasn't stopped or entered into the realm of taking years. The fic is technically sound and has a wordcount more than solid enough to form an opinion on. Now, as for content. I'm pretty sure I found the fic from DLP but a title search of the Library didn't reveal anything related to this, so I assume it was the Almost Rec section. I can see why it was posted there instead of For Review. By that time, the plot was still stuck on the camp. Don't get me wrong, the Camp premise and situation isn't terrible, but depending on one's point of view it can be argued that it dragged on, that it went to some unnecessary places, that perhaps it wasn't particularly interesting even if they author did a great job at presenting it. I don't quite agree with that as I (mostly) liked the camp arc. Having said that, I probably wouldn't have put it up for review before they left the camp. Because they do. The camp is not simply the basic premise to create a new situation, it's part of a larger, over-arching plot that's well thought out and executed. The real worth of this fic, it's real shine, comes after the camp and on the conspiracy/situation that escalates from there. I won't spoil, but it was reading those chapters that made me convinced that this fic deserved a chance. The author's real writing skill, I feel, shines most in the latest few chapters. She manages to maintain the mystery of the plot while balancing several PoV characters and unique situations and keeping a firm grasp of all of them. It is very hard to maintain characterization and attention to detail at this level with this many characters involved, but the author manages it while at the same time advancing the plot at a decent pace and keeping Alex firmly in the protagonist role. If anyone began reading this and gave up at some point, reconsider picking it up. The last several chapters are worth, and they retroactively paint the camp sections in a better, more interesting light. There's some stuff that could be labeled child torture involved at some chapters. This should be expected considering it's a spy story based on spy novels, but I felt I should put a disclaimer in regardless. It's nothing too graphic and certainly not gory, but yeah. The author is also skilled at keeping the MC's skillset relevant while also exploring the darker aspects of having a child be part of something as dangerous and traumatizing as a classic spy agency. 4/5 from me, mostly because it's still not finished and because the camp section could probably be written in a more condensed fashion and not include quite as much stuff.