WIP of the Week: 2/13/12

February 13, 2012

Fox Fire by WoodLily
Review by Honorella

Rating: M
Genre: Romance/Supernatural
Characters: Edward & Bella

Summary: "Bella Swan had become beautiful to me. The pain of that realization stung worse than venom ever could." Nominated for an Eternity Award: Edward's Twilight, but not Midnight Sun. AU detours/missing moments. The slow burn begins with the flight to Alaska.

Are you a canon lover who wishes that that Twilight was, well, better? Are you kind of annoyed at how Edward is sidelined as the saga progresses? Then Fox Fire by Woodlily is for you. The Edward of Midnight Sun is redrawn and a bright light is shone on every detail of the early days of his bloodlust turned ardent love for Bella, as all of the key chapters of the first Twilight story are faithfully retold.

 Edward’s fascination with Bella bewilders him. His life is turned upside down and we’re reminded that despite a century of existence, there is so much of regular experience that is plain confusing. “I was the seventeen year old boy whose body I still inhabited, and I had no idea what to say next”. There are moments of loveliness where the reader aches for this lost boy “I sat in the flickering darkness, hugging my long limbs to myself — gangly, scarecrow limbs that never did fill out. Scarecrow's limbs and spider's fingers: who would welcome their touch?”.

It is not only desire which is new to him, but more simple emotions such as loneliness. He suddenly realises what his life is missing. Yet all of these new, overwhelming feelings raise dark questions which Edward struggles to contain.

But for me, normality existed on the surface only. Carlisle was right that I had experienced a great change. For want of a better metaphor, I felt like a cheap snow globe that had been shaken up and thrown across the room. I had been lucky to land right side up, but the pieces on the inside were not falling back into place. 

I would have been all right. I could have kept up the fa├žade, had Bella not rapidly wormed her way under my skin. To put it bluntly, my battle against her was lost before it had even begun.

Woodlily’s skill is in effectively slowing down the action of Twilight and forcing the reader to focus on Edward and his terrible situation, without the distraction of Bella’s voice:

For I had fallen in love with my natural prey. Alone, in the dark, there could be no more denial. I had loved her for weeks. I loved her . . . despite the basest instincts of my nature. Though it appalled the cynic in me, I felt there must be some truth to the notion of love at first sight. 

How else had I found the strength to leave her alive that first day? 

Something had changed in me that moment we met. I had been irrevocably altered, and fighting it ever since. I'd believed that pride and curiosity had drawn me back from Alaska, but it was her allure that tipped the balance. Her eyes, her voice had never left me, nor had they since.

 His anxiety about Bella’s safety and need for control, so often parodied, is borne out of experience. His memories, particularly of Rosalie’s changing by Carlisle are foregrounded to illustrate this and also to remind the reader that he truly sees himself as The Monster, beyond redemption.

Bella is also given a depth and detail missing in canon. She is fascinating to him - starting with her scent and her unwitting refusal to give up her thoughts, through her fearlessness and intelligence. She is a worthy mate.

She was… intriguing. Her responses to my questions had been cautious – that wasn't surprising, given my behaviour last week. But their measured thoughtfulness revealed a maturity beyond her years that I had not expected. I had never come across another seventeen year old like her in all my years. 

And, she was perceptive, too. She had pointed out some of the little markers that made me different, which no other human here had ever done. Without a doubt, she would have noticed them in the others, too. For instance, had she seen that we never seemed to eat? What else had she picked up on? No wonder she made Rosalie uncomfortable.

 As the story progresses, the tension grows as Edward gradually overcomes his fears.

 Softer, sweeter-tasting than I'd dreamed, her lips were twin pillows of flame against mine. I was prepared for that. It was bearable—it was more than bearable—it was good. I was prepared for the rising blood haze. I knew how to keep myself in check. 

But I was not prepared for her response. She gasped wildly and her fingers were in my hair again, twining, pulling, knotting themselves in. Had I been human, it might have hurt a little. She clutched me to her; her breasts pressed and moved against my chest. I found myself grasping the collar of her shirt; my knuckles rasped her collarbone. 

With a soft moan her lips parted, and I breathed in the scent of chocolate and flowers and blood.”

Life is about to intrude on the two lovers, as this story is 26 chapters in. If your fancy is for (not quite) AU, go back to basics and spend some time with Edward again. Fox Fire will not disappoint.

1 comments:

  1. renee aubin said...:

    Thank you for this review - I just adore this story. You're right that it takes its time and offers us deeper insights into both Edward and Bella. Of course I love hearing from Edward, but what surprises me is how much I like this Bella. She is thoughtful and insightful, and unlike canon Bella is able to draw a line rather than whining. I think SM just kept repeating that Bella is smart and kind and self-sacrificing, etc., but this story actually shows us those character traits in action. Also Edward makes some wonderfully snarky observations about their high school companions - hilarious.

    If you haven't read this story, you're missing out on a thoughtfully imagined and beautifully written take on these beloved canon characters.

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