The Flames Series
|Title:||The Flames Series|
|Date(s):||June - August 1999|
|Fandom:||Star Wars: The Phantom Menace|
|External Links:||The Flames Series (Keelywolfe's Fanfiction)|
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- Sacred Flames Within -- (Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan. NC-17) -- Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are witnesses in the Midsummer Rite on Alderaan. 6/99
- Embers Burning -- (Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan.NC-17) -- Sequel to 'Sacred Flames Within'. 8/99
Recs and Reviews
This month's review is of the Flames series, comprised of Sacred Flames Within and Embers Burning, by Keelywolfe. These were my introduction to the world of slash fiction, and I remember them fondly. The fandom is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
The stories, set previous to the events in The Phantom Menace, describe an Alderaanian Summer Solstice ceremony that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent to witness. Sacred Flames Within deals with the ceremony itself, while Embers Burning details the effects of the ceremony on Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. The stories are rated R and NC-17 respectively, and are categorized as First Time, PWP, and POV.
Keely creates a very vivid, multidimensional world in a very short space. She combines sight, sound, smell and touch to tell the stories, creating an exquisite feast for the senses. She moves smoothly from description to characters' thoughts to dialog, never distracting the reader from the flow of the story. Exposition of what is happening and what led us to this point are handled with a mixture of thoughts and dialog.
The arc of Sacred Flames Within is well coordinated, the ceremony synchronized with the actions of the lead characters. SFW is told in third person limited, centering on Obi-Wan, which very effectively draws the reader into Obi-Wan's thoughts and feelings while retaining a certain mystery regarding Qui-Gon's actions and the ceremony. This allows Qui-Gon to explain the ceremony's purpose and symbolism without the reader feeling like they are being lectured. The climax of the ceremony and story is delectable, I nearly slid from my chair when I first read it.
Embers Burning is set immediately after Sacred Flames Within, and really requires that you have read SFW first. It diverges in POV quite drastically, being in first person from Qui-Gon, and unveils the mystery created by the POV in SFW, throwing the reader right into Qui-Gon's mind. The shift in perspective is delightful, allowing the reader to see past the Jedi Master persona that Qui-Gon projects. We get to see Qui-Gon as an ordinary human, with fears, loves and hopes. Quite refreshing, both in comparison to the movie and to a great deal of the fan fiction. The only drawback is that this POV necessarily excludes Obi-Wan's thoughts and feelings, which would have enriched the story. Nevertheless, the passion and eroticism is quite effectively expressed.
On the technical side Keely is generally quite good. She rarely has either spelling or grammar errors. However, she didn't have a beta for the second story and it does show just a little bit. Nothing massively wrong, but a few awkward sentences and word choices that could've been smoothed over with the right beta.
The tone of these two stories fluctuates from intensely erotic and sensual, to hopeful, to somewhat foreboding. The ending does not guarantee a fairytale future of happily ever after, a theme that was lost fairly quickly in the fandom as more people decided that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were 'meant to be'. Keely manages to capture the joy of acting on their feelings while still hinting at the possible negative repercussions of expressing those feelings. It moves the stories out of the fluff category into a more realistic place; there will be consequences to these events, they do not exist in a vacuum.I highly recommend these stories for the intense imagery, the passionate and believable emotions and the realistic ending.