Review of MINDFIRE

Reviewed by Morrigan.

The author notes right up front that she never intended this story for publication, but after sharing it with friends, it took on a life of its own and was broadly pirated. Fortunately the author consented to publication so that the rest of us can get our hands on a cracking good story. The story takes off and rarely relents in pace, pulling the reader on an incredible journey. A real strength is this author's ability to portray alien/non-humanoid life in rich detail. The reader sees it in "Mindfire" and particularly in "The Quibell Abduction" which was written under another pseudonym, Lillian Shepherd.

It would be impossible to easily encapsulate the plot which gradually reveals itself. The affection between Blake and Avon strengthens and deepens when Avon is gifted/burdened with the ability of total empathy. Avon undergoes a number of harrowing experiences, devotedly supported by Blake and Cally, that involve Avon's 'gift' and something with the potential to alter the fate of the galaxy. While the Avon/Blake/Cally relationship is a central motif, there is danger, adventure, subterfuge, and the Federation too. The rest of the Liberator crew - Jenna, Vila, and Gan - are not as prominent but are not entirely in the background. They play a major role in the latter part of the story.

I enjoyed the author's portrayal of Avon and Blake; both were richly drawn and quite human. Although Cally was well done, I would have preferred to see a more action-oriented Cally. It is a minor quibble that "Mindfire's" Cally is not as well done as "The Quibell Abduction's" Cally since "Quibell" is without question the best Cally I have seen in fanfic. Gan and Vila were more broadly sketched than in most fanfic, particularly Gan who is often overlooked. I felt that Jenna was a bit harsh and obsessive. The original characters were plausible and three-dimensional, another treat.

Having owned this edition of "Mindfire" for nearly two weeks, I've read it through twice and have reread sections several times. There are adult situations that would classify this more as "adult" than "gen," and a m/m relationship is alluded to without explicit scenes. Recommended.

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Last updated on 16th of August 2000.