Turning the Wheel
I'm at a loss as to what to write here. The thing is, this is a recommendations site, right? I'm supposed to tell you which stories out there, in my esteemed opinion, are going to make you a true Xenite. As in, you *have* to read them.
In the first month AXD I read a few post-FiN stories. Then I stopped. In all honesty, it was in part because most of them just plain sucked (sorry guys), but more importantly because, when well written, the stories just proved devastating. It truly is one thing to experience Xena's death in the ultimately unsatisfying manner via Rob Tapert's sadistic vision, and something completely different to be faced with the aftermath of Gabrielle's climactic loss and pain and anger and emptiness and... despair. Especially when brought to you by a talented writer. By someone who truly knows how to twist the knife just so.
So. Here comes my dilemma. I love Miss Morgan's writing. I honestly do. The woman hasn't written a single story which I'd qualify below the mark of 'excellent'. She also hasn't written anything in years. It would be just my luck then, that she breaks her dry spell with a post-FiN piece.
Now, if you've read Mary's work (and I'm sure you must have, after all, I *did* already recommend a story of hers), you know that she doesn't write what you would call 'light and fluffy' fiction. As a matter of fact, if you look up 'light and fluffy' in the dictionary, you'd find Mary's name under the 'Antonym' section. I think the reason I enjoy her stories as much as I do is that her style of writing closely reflects that of Angela Carter (for those of you who are confused, Angela was a 'real' writer, though I do suspect she would've gotten a kick out of Xena, had she been around to experience it), somber and even bleak at times, but always, always grounded in the overarching connection between Xena and Gabrielle.
In any case, what I'm getting at is that if Mary drew such wonderfully dark tones out of the strength of the Xena and Gabrielle relationship, I was truly worried as to what she did with such a tragic end of the relationship. I really didn't want to read the damned story. Honestly. But it's Mary Morgan. Which really made me not want to read the story. I mean, I just finished the twelve-step, constructive-anger-management, getting-over-the-death-of-Xena program. I was doing well. I had no need for a Mary Morgan post-FiN story.
But I'm a sucker for punishment.
So. Why you should read this story:
Why you shouldn't read this story:
In conclusion, though she did combine a number of themes from her previous stories here, the final twist is wonderful and, after a moment of "Wait, what? No way!" it actually makes perfect sense and fits quite nicely with the show's time line.
I'm verklempt. Again. And I love it. And I hope this is not a final farewell to Xena fiction by one of the best writer's out there.
Go drop her a line or seven, ok?
Turning the Wheel