Hell's Half Acre (hells_half_acre) wrote,
Hell's Half Acre

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Fic Rec: All The Angels and the Saints by Speranza

I'm supposed to be asleep right now, but I don't feel tired enough, so you get a midnight post instead.

Along with the "favourite scenes" suggestion for what I should post in the summer, a few people mentioned that maybe I could do fic recs, and talk about why I like the particular fic I chose.

Now, of course, the first problem with this suggestion is that most of you read my blog for Supernatural content, and I don't read Supernatural fic anymore (haven't for years). I SOMETIMES, make an exception for an AU, but for the most part, those really don't reach the level of "favourite fics" (sorry, I just, for some reason, am not drawn to SPN-based fics anymore.)

The second problem with this suggestion is that I'm actually not one to reread fics a lot, or to save them forever. It's true, that when fics are REALLY GOOD, I will bookmark them on AO3 and leave myself a little note to remind myself why I liked it (which I will use as the cut-text below)... but even though I do that, I rarely go back and read them again. For instance: when I scrolled through my AO3 bookmarks to pick a fic to rec, several of the fics I have previously bookmarked have since been deleted - which is sad indeed - especially since I have no idea what fics they possibly were, because I only read them once and then moved on with my life. 

BUT, there are a few exceptions to my "never thought of again" tendency, and so I figured if I were going to rec any fics, it'll be the ones that occasionally pop into my head out of the blue months or years later, and have me think "goddamn, that was a good fic."

So, in no particular order, I'm going to start with:

All The Angels and the Saints by Speranza 
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Summary: In which Steve Rogers loses God and finds God and loses God, and also: Bucky.

My longer summary is that the fic follows Steve Roger's relationship with religion, socialism, and love, and how the three cross paths with each other (or don't), from his youth in the 1920s to the present day. (And if you're worried that it's a whole "internalized homophobia" story, don't worry - it's really not.) 

Speranza is an author that I've been reading since my very first online fandom (due South, back in the 90s) - needless to say, I love her writing.

All the Angels and the Saints is really a master class of a character study. Although, of course, the contents of the fic is a headcanon, it's so well researched and sounds so accurate, and movie moments are so delicately woven in or referenced, that you can definitely believe every word - and it's such an amazing accurate character portrayal of Steve's decision making, conviction, and principles, that it FEELS true. 

But the most brilliant aspect of the fic for me is how Speranza can show us both the good and the ugly of Steve, and have us understand how both can be true at once. AND, how all while she's doing this, quietly in the background, she's also painting us a quiet portrait of Bucky Barnes... both in moments that Steve understands, but also in moments that Steve doesn't. 

Speranza never pulls her punches either - there's some absolutely fantastic lines in the fic, but I think my favourite is the sentences where Steve is called "brutal" - followed closely by "but now, it's Thursday, and you've had an idea" -  and the fact that we can read an entire fic from Steve's point of view, understand all this thoughts, his pain, everything that is leading him to the decisions he is making - his reactions are all perfectly understandable... and at the same time, as soon as you read that word, you're like "yes, Steve is BRUTAL" and you are pained, both in sympathy to those that Steve is brutal to, and also sympathy for Steve, who for all his love and thoughtfulness, does not understand just how brutal he is... or, arguably, not at first... and when he does begin to understand, it doesn't necessarily soften the blow of that same brutality.

AND YET, you LOVE him. It's just an amazing work of having you love this character, while also having him be an imperfect character... and that's not necessarily something you see done well in fic, usually, people just make their characters nearly perfect, so OF COURSE, you love them, and any character who disagrees with your main guy is OBVIOUSLY the one with flaws and the one that is in the wrong... Speranza meanwhile, says, "here is this guy, and here are all his thoughts, and here are all his faults, and it's perfectly acceptable to love him anyway."

Tertiary to all that though, Speranza is just amazing when it comes to historical accuracy in her Captain America fics... I'm never jarred by anachronisms when I'm reading her stuff, and it always feels so real, and even better researched than the actual source material. Her fics feel researched and crafted with care.

Anyway, if you're looking for fluffy romance, this fic is not for you - if you're looking for an accurate portrayal of Steve Rogers though, I'd highly recommend it. I'd even go so far as to say that you don't necessarily need too much knowledge of Captain America to enjoy this fic just as a STORY (you might get a little lost as it gets to the more sci-fi parts of Steve's life, but really, as long as you know that understanding those bits isn't necessarily crucial to the story, you're good.)

(and now I'm exhausted, so definitely time to sleep.)
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/560078.html.
Tags: captain america, other shows, recs

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