Review- A Distant Light

Story: The Raven’s Blade, part 1: A Distant Light

Author: Valandhir

Genre: Fan fiction

Written:2013

Link: http://archiveofourown.org/series/36072

It is very rare I read fan fiction of any type, let alone find one worth reading and/or sharing. Valandhir is one of the rare few. I was first told about it by a good friend of mine, and was so intrigued by the premise, I had her send me the link. I will warn you, as it does deal with an altered universe, there will be spoilers from here on out for both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

A Distant Light is based on the premise that Kili survived the Battle of Five Armies, but lost the throne to Dain. Years later he meets Boromir as he is traveling to Rivendell, and the two become friends. Kili joins the Fellowship, and, along with the remainder of the 13 dwarves who set out in The Hobbit, helps in the battle against Sauron and his forces.

As I said, I was intrigued by the idea, though cautious, as I am a bit of a Tolkien purist. Once I started reading, however, my fears were abated. The story itself is excellent. Valandhir, for the most part, did an excellent job of capturing the characters personalities and translating them into her story, resulting in a tale that draws the reader in and makes it difficult to stop reading. I absolutely loved it, and am excited to hear that she is working on a sequel. Now, if only I could stop there and give it a 6 out of 5 pages. Unfortunately, however, that is not possible. As much as I loved the story, the spelling and grammar errors left quite a bit wanting. I understand that this is a fan fiction, and as such is not subject to what should be the rigorous standards of book editing, but the mistakes I found in some of the chapters went well beyond nitpicking. There were points where the author would start a sentence, change the direction of the sentence, yet never remove what had been started. Words were frequently misspelled or misused, and at times it was a bit difficult to follow who was speaking, acting, etc. It was as though the author wrote the story, yet never went back to edit it before publishing, even though the footnotes indicate there was a test reader. I think my inner editor nearly went into hysterics upon seeing all of it. Still, if you can suppress your inner editor (I bribed mine with coffee and the promise of finding something else to edit), and push past the grammatical mistakes, there is a gem of a story to read.

To be fair, I am going to break this into two parts. The story itself gets a 5/5 pages. It was awesome, even to a Tolkien purist like me, and very much worth reading. Grammatically, it gets a 3/5 pages. As bad as it got in some spots, it is still readable, and, sad to say, I have seen worse (Grammar Basics for Dummies anyone?).

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