Sonder is a Pokémon fanfic written by LacePendragon set in the original region of Altera, which seems to be based on Scotland and Canada, and takes place in an alternate universe after the events of some of the games.
The story follows Jude Farr, an autistic, non-binary, sixteen-year-old who has no interest in being a trainer, but goes on a journey, regardless, to get away from their close-minded, small town. Jude plans on a relaxing travel in their year as a trainer, but their plans are changed as violent Pokemon attacks begin to sweep the region and it becomes clear that a mystery is afoot.
Can also be read on Fanfiction.Net, though it should be noted that supplementary information, such as a map and worldbuilding facts, are only available on Archive of Our Own's version.
This show provides examples of:
- Actually, I Am Him: When Jude first meets Nolan, they think he's a regular trainer. In fact, he's the fourth Elite Four member and the second best trainer in the region.
- Aerith and Bob: The main characters are named Jude and Lark, arguably normal, while members of the League include King and Domino.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Jude's autism, abrasive personality, black irises, and imposing figure prevented them from making friends in their hometown. In fact, their local church accused them of being a demon.
- All There in the Manual: There's a ton of information in the end notes, as well as on the author's Tumblr under the "Sonder" tag.
- Ambiguously Brown: Jude falls into this. They are described as brown, but without obvious connection to a real world ethnicity. By contrast, other character descriptions make it clearer what real world location their appearance is inspired by.
- Animal Talk: As is standard in the series, Pokémon can understand one another and humans, though humans don't seem able to understand them. Like in the games, Pokémon use a variety of animalistic cries, unlike in the anime, where they speak their names.
- Berserk Button: Do not misgender Jude or insult those they care about.
- Darker and Edgier: Not as much as some other fics, but Sonder is notably darker than the source material. Early on in their story, Jude comes across a dead Pokémon, and even from chapter one, random Pokémon attacks plague the region.
- As of chapter nine the characters have come across a dying Luxray with deep lacerations and taken in its orphaned cub, hinting that there is an even darker story brewing in the background.
- Elsewhere Fic: While Sonder takes place in the Pokemon world, there are no familiar places or characters. The story is set in an original region with original characters. However, all the Pokemon species are canon, as, so far, there are no fakemon.
- Eyes Always Averted: Jude does this, due to autism, instead focusing on other points of the face or behind a person to give the illusion.
- Friendless Background: Jude comes from this. No one in their hometown liked them, due to its close-mindedness.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arguably Jude, the main character.
- Kids Are Cruel: Many trainers perceive Lark to have advantages over them, due to Genevieve, the current Champion, being their older sister. Because of this, most trainers don't like Lark, and several have gone out of their way to insult, belittle, or physically harm them.
- Lack of Empathy: Semi-averted with Jude, despite common autism stereotypes. It's fairly clear that Jude has the capacity for empathy, but lacks the understanding required to read other people's emotions. Once they know what someone else is feeling, they begin to empathize.
- Mundane Utility: Jude uses Rex's fire breathing moves to set campfires, dry off themself, their things, and the sticks used to build said campfires, as well as for a variety of other things.
- Oh My Gods!: Like in other stories, Arceus takes the role here.
- Opposites Attract: Lark and their starter, an Alolan Vulpix named Snowdrop. While Lark is a Shrinking Violet, Snowdrop seems to be a bit of a Genki Girl in Pokemon form.
- Pokémon Speak: Averted. All Pokemon make animalistic noises, such as barks, yips, growls, and so on.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jude is red to Lark's blue, so far.
- Shrinking Violet: Lark. They abhor meeting new people, seem terrified of strangers and crowds, stutter when faced with new situations, and often hide behind people or things when uncomfortable.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted, one of the end chapter notes explains that therapy is free and widely available to all those who need it.
- To Be a Master: Sonder focuses on Pokemon journeys and the Pokemon League, thus this is the goal of many side and background characters. Averted with Jude, who cannot stand the League and wants nothing to do with it. Played With with Lark, who is aiming to be a master, but not for the usual reasons.
- Transgender: Jude and Lark are both non-binary and use they/them pronouns.
- Aella, the sixth gym leader, and Cora, in chapter nine are trans women.
- Kai, the second gym leader; Zain, the fifth gym leader; and Domino, the second Elite Four member, all use they/them pronouns.
- Walking the Earth: As a journey fic, Jude spends a lot of time walking from place to place, and Altera is notably largely than any regions appear to be in the games.