Sunday, January 27, 2013

Advocated! A Place Where No One Lives and sequel by Habetrot

"A Place Where No One Lives" by Habetrot
Jessica & Rosalie, Fantasy/Parody, AU Pre-Twilight, T, Complete
Summary: Maureen Stanley has just moved to Forks, and is thankful for it...when she doesn't want to throw a knitting needle at her cousin's head. Meet the Mary Sue who knows exactly how contrived everything is-and refuses to buy into the angst.

Maybe I'm cynical, but at much as I love The Twilight Saga, I also love to pick it apart. Making the occasional jab at a character flaw, *cough* Edward *cough*, or pointing out holes in a story line is great entertainment. After all, in the world of fan fiction, many writers change the character's attributes and personalities (a more-ballsy Bella, or a less-jackassy Edward) whether they realize it or not.

Habetrot is an expection. In A Place Where No One Lives, the main character, Maureen Stanley, routinely points out everyones' flaws in a blunt, matter-of fact fashion. So let this be your warning, if you love Bella and Edward and can't stand to see them get ripped apart, (figuratively of course) this is not the story for you.

I happened upon A Place Where No One Lives as I was searching for a particular genre; a parody. The summary reeled me in immediately. I'm a total sucker for a good original character, and Maureen promised not to disappoint.

Maureen Stanley has just moved to Forks, and is thankful for it. Feeling compassion for human beings can be very painful—especially when human beings go out of their way to damage each other through horrific acts of murder, rape and theft on a small scale…or extortion, slavery and genocide on a grand scale. Being somewhat unhuman herself, Maureen doesn't feel obligated to live in a world like that. So she's moved to Forks, Washington…a place where the only suffering people feel is the kind they inflict on themselves, which they blow out of proportion in order to pretend that their pain is real. It's the perfect place to focus on her personal passions, and let the world go past her. The only problem is actually living, second by second, with people who make their lives into a pointless drama.
As you might have noticed from the excerpt above, Maureen isn't the most loveable of characters. In fact, there are times when I really don't like her, and yet I continued to read the whole story, the sequel, and a companion piece. Though Maureen is abrasive and tactless, her perspective and insight is highly entertaining. Not only that, but she's a mystery. Maureen is not exactly human, and Habetrot does an excellent job of stringing you along for the big reveal. Just as we, the readers, are trying to find out what type of supernatural creature she is, Maureen Stanley is trying to figure out what type of supernatural creature the Cullens are.

A Place Where No One Lives is actually a prequel, as it begins before Bella Swan comes to Forks. Maureen is a fifteen year old girl who is traveling across the country to live with her Aunt, Uncle, and cousin in the small town of Forks, Washington. Though her reason for leaving her parents in Sacramento seems like normal teenage drama, it isn't. Maureen chose Forks for a reason. Her parents are now a world away.

Forks is supposed to be a refuge. A simple place with simple-minded people—no real pain and suffering, only the contrived, manufactured type of pain. Maureen isn't here to make friends, to make waves, or even ripples in the small town. She's here to weave a life for herself where she's free to do what she does without having to concern herself which much else. Fork's however, has something different in mind. Something is coming, something important.

"The Spinner In Forks: Twilight"
Original Character: Maureen Stanley, Fantasy/Parody, AU, MA, Complete
Summary: "What condition? Nauseated and ineffectual? I've never *seen* someone so dramatically helpless." Meet Maureen Stanley, the Mary Sue who understands how contrived everything is...and prefers it to the alternative.

You know the old adage that a sequel is never as good as the first book or movie? Okay, well maybe it's not an 'old adage', but it usually rings true. That's not the case for this sequel, though. The Spinner In Forks: Twilight has what everyone's been waiting for; Bella. The belle of the ball has arrived, commanding the attention of everyone in the town including the Spinner. She doesn't want to care about Bella, she doesn't want to be drawn into the doe-brown eyes full of mediocrity like everyone else, but Fork's has found it's Swan.

Like a train wreck—or in this case a car accident—Maureen can't pull her eyes away from the budding relationship between a douchey vampire and a remarkably uninteresting girl. We all know what happens in Twilight, but seeing it through Maureen's unique mind changes things considerably.

I've highly enjoyed the different take on Stephanie Meyer's characters throughout these two stories. Rosalie is Rosalie. She doesn't pretend to be anyone else, outside of pretending to be human. Edward is a know-it-all who can do no wrong. Bella isn't as multifaceted as we usually make her out to be, and Maureen is there to let everyone know exactly what she thinks about them.

I'd also like to mention the companion one shot to these two stories. The Fairytale Truth is a fun little story that goes into Maureen's past to explain a little bit more about who she is and what she does. So, unless you want to spoil the surprise, I wouldn't read it before A Place Where No One Lives.

A word of caution, though The Spinner In Forks: Twilight is complete, the author has not completed  Maureen's perspective on the events in New Moon or later. So, in essence, the series is incomplete. Still, I really enjoyed this unique read. While I'd love to hear more from Maureen Stanley, I'm happy with the way this story ended.


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