Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fic Review: For Whom The Bell Tolls by CyraBear

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Description:There's a dusty old bookstore in Seattle where the proprietor keeps odd hours and knows the location of every book in his stock. What surprises hide in its stacks?

I was browsing the nominees for the Twinklings Walk of Fame Awards the other night when I came upon this story. This fic captured me immediately with a unique twist on the traditional Twilight vamp story. I have never read an AU story where there is no treaty in place between the Queleute tribe and the vampires. This adds a layer of suspense and danger that sets this story apart.

What I like about it: I love stories where Bella isn't a push over, constantly bending to everyone's will. In FwtBT, Bella is in her early twenties and has a bit of life experience under her belt before she meets Edward at his old bookstore. Edward, for his part, isn't pretending to be a 17 year old high school student, in fact he doesn't seem to be a teenager at all. We start the story with Edward as an isolated bookstore owner, but it is soon revealed that Edward has experienced terrible loss in his life, leading to his separation from the Cullen family.

I am also drawn to this story because it has a cerebral feel. I love the way the author uses literature and art, music and more to color the characters, the environment, and the plot.

She reached for the nearest bookcase and pulled out a slim volume. Let it fall open to a random page. "The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep," she murmured to herself. "You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch."

"The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep."

She turned, startled. There he stood, leaning on the railing where the loft overlooked the main floor. "Oh," she said.

"Do you like Rumi?" He asked, nodding towards the book in her hands.

She looked down at the volume and flipped it over to see the cover. Selected Works of Jallaluddin Rumi. "I, ah, can't say I've read much Rumi," she mumbled, blushing.

"Was it the subject matter that caught your eye, then?" He asked, a humorous glint in his eye.

"Huh?" She looked up, and realized with mortification that the sign above read Erotica. "Oh! I don't know…I wasn't…" she frowned down at the book. "This doesn't sound like erotica."

"Hm." He stepped closer – Bella's heart accelerated abruptly – and took the book gently from her fingers. Opened to the page she had been reading. "I would love to kiss you," he read. "The price of kissing is your life. Now my loving is running towards my life shouting, what a bargain. Let's buy it."

She stared at him, her mouth slightly open, her heart galloping. He took another step closer. "Daylight, full of small dancing particles and the one great turning, our souls are dancing with you, without feet, they dance," he whispered. His eyes held hers, though he held the book open. "Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?"

"Yes," she whispered back.

He laughed and closed the book, reaching around her to slide it back onto the shelf. She turned, keeping her eyes on his, feeling the solidity of his body boxing her in, cornering her against the railing and the shelf.

Another thing that I like is the witty comments and the refreshing take on the characters. For instance, instead of having a completely self absorbed Rosalie, she is much more supportive of Edward. Instead of regretting her life as a vampire, circumstances have forced her to come to terms with her fate and she doesn't begrudge Bella's humanity.

For Whom The Bell Tolls is funny, suspenseful, and romantic. CyraBear is a talented author and if you are interested in something different, give this story a try.