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The crossover story I never knew I wanted.
Praise: The AU premise of Amber being a personification bloomed into an epic tale of betrayal, war, peace, friendship, victory, and failure. I was invested in every plotline, from America's internal and external conflict, to its version of Ruby and Silver Eyes. I was never bored or impatiently waiting for the plot to end so the next could begin.
I love the heroes (with one exception), despise the villains, and sympathize with the sympathetic antagonists. Everyone's characterization is spot on. America is the perfect pick for the main protagonist of this tale. He's interesting, likable, sympathetic, has good qualities and flaws, has moments where he succeeds, has moments where he fails, is shown in the right but can also be wrong. There was never a moment I rooted against him. I wanted to see him get his happy ending. I am meh to canon Ruby but love this version. The characterization of Ozpin is amazing. You need to experience it for yourselves.
There is a great variety of baddies. Want a monster, sympathetic Anti-Villain, morally-gray Well-Intentioned Extremist, or redemption and rejected redemption? It's here. I have hated, loved, and loved-to-hate these baddies.
There is no romance in this series except a bit of Arkos but their relationship is far in the background. Friendships and family are allowed to flourish without romance getting in the way. You know how it is sometimes hard to believe the crossed characters are friends? Not here. We see them hanging out, bonding, and growing to care for each other. They may argue but they love and will stand together against any who threaten them.
Grief and mental illness is handled with surprising realism and respect. Characters do not brush off their trauma. For example, a character goes to therapy. It helps them. It feels good to see therapy help instead of being demonized or rejected.
The balanced tones of hope and angst is great. I love angst but often stories that go angsty or have their characters suffer are too dark and depressing. Not this fic. Even the darkest book has elements of hope in it. I never had to stop reading because the story got too depressing. Adding to the theme of hope is the series' underlying messages. The author subtly weaves a tale of peace rather than war, forgiveness not vengeance, and cooperation not cruelty.
Sky is very skilled at describing scenes. I can picture what is happening in my head. Emotions are written very well. I laughed and cried many times. Bonus points for the heartpounding suspenseful scenes.
1. The pacing is rushed for the first few chapters of Book One.
2. Blake. She's in character but awful. I wanted to slap her. Thankfully the author realized Blake wasn't liked and put less focus on her. Blake won't ruin your enjoyment.
Better Than Canon. 9.98 out of 10. -.02 because of Blake.
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