Reviews: Oxfordshire 1942

A Truly Tedious Fanfic

I once read that a Mary Sue isn't defined by their powers, but by the challenges they face. Peter Pevensie retains all his Narnian strength and cunning in this fic, which I really don't mind. However, he's stuck in a world where everyone his age (the Tril's) are incompent idiots. The competent characters, who are much older, spend the entire fic worshipping at Peter's feet. In fact it's so bad that there are a few chapters where some of the characters comment on the pedestal that Peter is put on, and how much pressure he must be under, and try to get to the bottom of how magnificent he is.

The overall conflict that Peter faces is how to live like a good Narnian and a child of God in modern England. However, I was never worried or concerned because Peter was never tempted or seduced to the dark side. The story is set out as a bildungs roman of a sort where Peter comes into his own. However, when we first meet Peter, he's already a warrior King from Narnia who has grown up and knows who he is. The whole storyline of whether to be a scholar was tedious because nothing really changed in the end and Peter never strayed from his original decision. To be quite honest, I almost wanted to see him fail in Latin and get taken down a peg or two.

In conclusion, Peter is a boring Mary Sue. The reader gets tired of hearing how he is continually congratulated for bieng Wise and Strong and Not-Racist because anyone who had his experiences would be. The OC characters were slightly more fleshed out and I would prefer more focus on them if they hadn't spent so much time talking about how amazing Peter is.

The Stone Gryphon series gets progressively worse. The second book is written entirely in the author's code and I did not care enough about the story to work it out. The third has more pontificating, this time including Peter's entire Mary-Sue family.

Oxfordshire, 1942

A meticulously-researched Narnia fic about what happened to Peter in Spare Oom (or, the mundane world) over the summer of the Dawn Treader, when World War II was underway. It doesn't shirk on the difficulties of the war, but it's not dark by any means; one can tell that Peter is guided by Aslan, and his convictions are strong. Rthstewart reinforces and fills out the vivid, strong personalities for every character, including her original characters, which are so well-written you wonder why no mention of them is made in the books.

This is book-based, and is very strongly Original Flavour, which means that there will be religion (albeit to Aslan) and very, very little shipping. Oxfordshire, 1942, can be extremely Christian, so there's a warning for that, but that's solely because of the POV characters, Digory, and Richard. Later stories in the series are much less religious.

On the upside, you get to see what people in Spare Oom who don't know about Narnia think about Peter Pevensie, a 'young' man who shows the qualities of a High King of Narnia. The reaction is usually very heartwarming for the reader.

Oxfordshire, 1942 is Part One of a series called The Stone Gryphon; in the main series, there are two sequels.

Part Two is called Queen Susan In Tashbaan, which focuses on a capable Susan who has not rejected Narnia. Susan goes to America in order to help persuade them to join the fight against Axis in World War II. Her role there is weaved smoothly in and out of real-world events, using a Narnian code. Part Three is Apostolic Way, which is unfinished.

rthstewart has also written a number of other stories which focus on the Narnia that defines her Pevensie siblings, and all are equally recommended. Comedic, heartwarming, thrilling, made of awesome, and heartbreaking by turns, The Stone Gryphon is a fantastic read. If there's one series you read in the fandom, make it be this one. Et cetera and so on, old chap.