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Yuletide 2015 recs (books)

I still have, uh, several dozen fics I meant to reread for possible recommendation (some of which, on looking at my list, almost certainly will be recommended, arrgh), but if these recs don't get done tonight they won't get done before this year's reveals. Still, 77 is a quite respectable number even if I didn't read as widely as I usually do!

As always, I dumped everything I might theoretically want to read into Evernote before reveals, so these were all read with "anonymous" still as the author. They are organized into multiple posts by type of source, with cut-tags and section headings, to reduce tl;dr. Also I have proofread this as carefully as I can but my eyes are literally crossing from fatigue, so apologies if I missed a coding error or typo.

Here are the books recs!

12 Dancing Princesses

Princesses, Dancing (5038 words) by ForsythiaRising
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 12 Dancing Princesses (Fairy Tale), Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Retellings, after the end
Summary: “What was it like, your majesty?” asks the youngest and boldest of her handmaids one morning, “To be cursed, I mean.” --- An Afterword in 12 Parts

Fascinating multifaceted retelling.

Coming Home (2099 words) by isabeau
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 12 Dancing Princesses (Fairy Tale)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Retellings, POV First Person
Summary: A retelling of sorts.

I really like this narrative voice and the way it ends.

The Last Dancing Queen of England (2487 words) by meretricula
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 12 Dancing Princesses (Fairy Tale), Tudor History - Fandom
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Elizabeth I of England & Catherine Parr
Characters: Elizabeth I of England, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr
Summary: On her wedding night to King Henry VIII, Katherine Parr discovers that a strange curse has been laid on all the queens of England...

This is a really cool idea, well-executed.

Aaronvitch, Rivers of London

Experto Crede (8368 words) by Sixthlight
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Grant, Thomas Nightingale, Sahra Guleed, Abigail Kamara, Molly (Rivers of London)
Additional Tags: Post-Foxglove Summer, Canon Compliant, background Peter/Beverley
Summary: I went to sleep thinking that a week trapped in the Folly might not be that bad. This was a mistake.

All of them trapped together, oh yes indeed. This is a great gen slice of life.

A Most Unusual Find by entropynchaos, 4k words, gen, general audiences. "Some behind-the-scenes wanderings for Beverley, Sahra and Abigail. On a chilly winter evening in central London, there's something strange moving around in the Institute of Physics."

The three of them together is much fun.

Addison, The Goblin Emperor

Further Extracts from A Handbook for Travelers in the Elflands (2696 words) by kitrinlu
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Worldbuilding, travel guide
Summary: Published by the Press of the Crooked Stair for the Royal Merchants Guild of Pencharn

This is excellently plausible.

Three-part Invention (4993 words) by sigaloenta
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Deret Beshelar, Cala Athmaza, Csevet Aisava, Csethiro Ceredin, Csoru Drazharan, Kiru Athmaza
Additional Tags: Loyalty, Rumors, Canon-Typical Sexism, Canon-Typical Homophobia
Summary: The emperor's nohecharei are extremely protective of him. But so is the empress-to-be.

Court intrigue, plus Csethiro and Kiru being awesome!

Peace & Purring (2167 words) by bigsunglasses
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csethiro Ceredin/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Csethiro Ceredin, Maia Drazhar
Additional Tags: Fluff, Yuletide Treat, Cats, Post-Canon
Summary: Csethiro and Maia escape the tenth iteration of their wedding rehearsal, and relax a little.

A charming bit of understanding and comfort.

Heart's Ease (3730 words) by wintersweet
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csethiro Ceredin/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Csevet Aisava, Ebremis, Csethiro Ceredin
Additional Tags: Recipes, Letters, Comfort Food, Post-Canon, Slice of Life
Summary: Csethiro presents a gift to her granddaughter; master chef Ebremis recruits Csevet into an unconventional birthday scheme.

Kindness and happy future fic and recipes!

Hull is Other People (4847 words) by Aansero
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison, Sunless Sea
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csevet Aisava/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Maia Drazhar, Csevet Aisava, Csethiro Ceredin, Cala Athmaza, Deret Beshelar, Kiru Athmaza, Eshevis Tethimar
Additional Tags: Crossover, Emotional Hurt/Comfort
Summary: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU THAT CAPTAIN VARENECHIBEL IV HAS PERISHED AT SEA STOP AS HIS NEAREST RELATIVE YOU ARE ENTITLED TO HIS REMAINING GOODS AND CREW STOP PLEASE COLLECT SAID ITEMS AT EARLIEST CONVENIENCE END

I think this probably works if you only know one of the canons? But it's inspired, truly, do try it.

Bradbury, 'There Will Come Soft Rains'

That Day and That Hour Knoweth None (3080 words) by Merlin Missy
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Characters
Additional Tags: Prequel, Technology, Misses Clause Challenge
Summary: The McClellans lived in the house and no one knew what was coming.

Two excellent stories in this fandom this year, the before...

When She Woke at Dawn (1433 words) by kalirush
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: The House, The Martians
Summary: he Martians are returning to Earth.

...and the after.

Bujold, Vorkosigan

The Iron Gates (10131 words) by sunsmasher
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Ekaterin Vorsoisson Vorkosigan/Miles Vorkosigan
Characters: Ekaterin Vorsoisson Vorkosigan, Miles Vorkosigan, Nicol (Vorkosigan Saga), Armsman Roic, Admiral Vorpatril, Security Captain Brun, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Book: Diplomatic Immunity
Summary: Miles is dying, nobody is listening, and Ekaterin is doing her damndest. // "It's alright," she says to Nicol and to Roic beside her. "We'll find a way through this. Even if I have to dangle Miles like a marionette in front of the comconsoles myself.”

I wanted Ekaterin's POV on the end of Diplomatic Immunity SO BADLY and now I have it and I'm delighted beyond further words.

Orbit (2514 words) by karanguni
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Aral Vorkosigan, Simon Illyan, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan
Summary: Cordelia put one finger on the far edge of his plate and nudged it closer towards him. 'For all love, Simon,' she said, with accusingly gentle tones. 'Is ImpSec so poorly paid that we could ransom your honour with one warm meal?'

This is really great Simon POV.

Collaboration (2083 words) by vass
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Helen Vorthys/Georg Vorthys
Characters: Helen Vorthys, Georg Vorthys
Summary: Helen Vorthys and interdisciplinary studies, through the years.

This is a little sad, acutely observed/speculated, and mostly very comforting.

Riva; Yuell. "Energy generation via five-space oscillation: Evidence and implications". New Journal of Five-Space Physics. (2694 words) by hollimichele
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dr. Riva, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Ekaterin Vorsoisson Vorkosigan
Summary: She watched a small boy of no more than three run in wobbling elliptical loops around his patient older sister, who had tied a length of ribbon to his overall strap as a preventative measure, and considered orbital mechanics.

A nice snippet of sequel to Komarr, about the future of Sergyar and the Nexus through these three women's actions.

Cho, Sorceror to the Crown; Oliphant, Miss Marjoribanks

win me, win me, an ye will (5374 words) by Fahye
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho, Miss Marjoribanks - Margaret Oliphant
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Lucilla Marjoribanks
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat, Fae & Fairies
Summary: "I am forced to admit," said Lucilla Marjoribanks, holding the magical sword firmly with both hands, "that this is somewhat removed from my sphere of expertise."

Don't really need either canon to read this intensely delightful story of a clever woman rescuing her man from faerie in an unusual way.

Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

mirk mirk night, nae stern light (6001 words) by indigostohelit
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: John Childermass/Jonathan Strange
Characters: John Childermass, Jonathan Strange, John Uskglass | The Raven King
Additional Tags: Folklore, Kidnapping, Dancing, Mind Control, Fae & Fairies
Summary: "John Childermass!" said a voice behind him, very pleased, and Childermass turned to see the person he had met in the pub. He could still not make out whether they were a man or a woman, or their age, or indeed any feature of their face; but he could see, now, that they were wearing a long, long coat the color of moss. (Too like moss; he thought he saw insects crawling within the fabric.) // In which there is a visit to Faerie, an unexpected reunion, and a bargain made.

An elegant post-canon piece. Because I have an infidelity squick, I note that the relationship in the tag is at most a hint of potential.

Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

26 December 1170 (1350 words) by Fabrisse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Murder in the Cathedral - Eliot
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Thomas Becket, Henry II of England
Additional Tags: sermon, Blank Verse, playing with history
Summary: Thomas Becket does not give the usual Christmastide sermon.

This is just really, really impressive.

Leckie, Imperial Radch

Dark Watch (2270 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq/Mercy of Kalr/Seivarden Vendaai, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq/Seivarden Vendaai
Characters: Seivarden Vendaai, Mercy of Kalr
Additional Tags: Relationship Negotiation, Character Study
Summary: Something broke in her a thousand years ago, or maybe it broke when she came out of stasis. Maybe it was always broken and she just didn't know.

This is contemplative and rather lovely.

And, because there's so many of them that I feel bad just reccing one, here are the Imperial Radch fics that I enjoyed enough to set aside and try to say something useful about—I only just finished canon so I ran out of time even more than for everything else here: Launchday (673 words) by smilebackwards; Reconaissance (1000 words) by FifteenDozenTimes; The Flower of Tisarwat (1461 words) by Idhren; Fragments (1817 words) by Sholio; What the Body Doubts (4333 words) by autoeuphoric; and The Story of a Tea Set (1349 words) by ariadnes_string.

Madame C- C-, The Comfortable Courtesan

Lady B- and the Poor Dusky Brethren (10911 words) by Ankaret
Chapters: 9/9
Fandom: The Comfortable Courtesan - Madame C- C-
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Madame C- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Miss D- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Mr N- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Mr MacD- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Lady W- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Ajax (The Comfortable Courtesan), Hector (The Comfortable Courtesan), Phoebe (The Comfortable Courtesan), Docket (The Comfortable Courtesan), Celeste (The Comfortable Courtesan), Prue (The Comfortable Courtesan), Euphemia (The Comfortable Courtesan), Mr J- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Miss M- (The Comfortable Courtesan), Miss A- (The Comfortable Courtesan)
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, Character(s) of Color, Black Character(s)
Summary: These pages, found in the archives of the Hereditary Princes of W-, were long thought to form part of the third volume of Madame C- C-'s Memoirs, being placed directly before her departure to Naples. Though the weight of critical opinion is now that they are by Another Hand, they may yet be of some interest.

Very satisfying in the same manner as canon.

McKinley, Damar

The Hero's Road (3628 words) by Beatrice_Otter
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Damar Series - Robin McKinley
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Aerin/Tor, Aerin/Luthe
Characters: Aerin (Damar), Tor (Damar), Luthe (Damar)
Additional Tags: Growing Old, Epilogue, Family
Summary: She had put the Meeldtar's gift aside these many years, but it would not be denied forever.

I really like the pace of this story looking at these transitions in Aerin's life.

Novik, Uprooted

New Growth (1642 words) by tuesday
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Agnieszka/Kasia (Uprooted)
Characters: Kasia (Uprooted), Agnieszka (Uprooted)
Additional Tags: background Agnieszka/Sarkan, Polyamory, Post-Canon
Summary: The Wood had changed in Kasia's time away.

Yesssss this is how it should be.

a lesson in cartography (7187 words) by novembersmith
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Agnieszka/The Dragon | Sarkan
Characters: Agnieszka (Uprooted), The Dragon | Sarkan
Additional Tags: Fluff, Awkward Flirting, Magical Shenanigans, Bed-sharing, UST, Oblivious Pining, Accidental Magical Transformations, Baby dragons - Freeform
Summary: “I will never cease to be amazed at your unequaled talent for creating chaos out of the simplest components. You were meant to be scrying and map-making. What were you doing?”

This also should have happened, because it's ridiculously adorable and also it is only right and proper that Sarkan be totally (though reluctantly) goopy over Agnieszka.

and take my waking slow (3102 words) by the hyacinth girl
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Agnieszka/The Dragon | Sarkan
Characters: Agnieszka (Uprooted), The Dragon | Sarkan
Summary: In the aftermath, the tower needs renovations. Sarkan greets change with all his usual grace.

This has really good magic, which is also a development of their relationship, as they do.

Cultivated (19680 words) by LookingForOctober
Chapters: 3/3
Fandom: Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kasia & Agnieszka
Characters: Kasia (Uprooted), Marisha (Uprooted), Agnieszka (Uprooted)
Summary: Some seeds planted by the Wood take a long time to grow.

This is a nice meaty Kasia-POV story about aftermaths and constraints; it's possible the pace is a smidge off in spots? But it still has the same concerns and virtues as canon, and is satisfying as a result.

O'Brian, Aubrey-Maturin

Burned Letters (2712 words) by Orockthro
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Stephen Maturin/Diana Villiers
Characters: Diana Villiers, Sophie Williams
Additional Tags: Pregnancy, Ashgrove Cottage, Mentions of past abuse, Mentions of Abortion
Summary: My dear Maturin, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that my belly continues to grow, this incipient lump of a thing, and the physician Sophie consulted during her own pregnancies is confident in its progress. My little Arabian is settling into the stables on my cousin’s property, and does not seem to mind the confinement. My own confinement, however, is... // She crumples the page again, jams her pen onto the block until the nib splinters and she has to cut it anew. // (Or, a pregnant Diana Maturin, nee Villiers, spends her confinement at Ashgrove Cottage, writes many letters, and sends one.)

Painful and precise.

Sayers, Wimsey/Vane

Kitty (2208 words) by mrsredboots
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alexandra "Kitty" Climpson, Honoria Lucasta Dowager Duchess of Denver, Peter Wimsey
Summary: Something of Miss Climpson's life before "The Cattery"

I love Miss Climpson, and here is a sympathetic bit of backstory for her.

Christmas at Duke's Denver (2501 words) by Persiflager
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, The Dowager Duchess
Additional Tags: Christmas Eve
Summary: Contrary to her own expectations, Harriet found the various huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’ types remarkably easy to talk to. She asked after the huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’, they asked after the murder-writing business, and everyone agreed that the weather was very fine for this time of year and wasn’t the salmon good, what?

A peaceful bit of holiday happiness (with bonus non-evil queer people).

Stevermer, When the King Comes Home

Portless (321 words) by misura
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: When the King Comes Home - Caroline Stevermer
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Andred/Istvan/Julian
Summary: "Where do you think we are going?"

Tiny, perfect epilogue for this rarest of fandoms! *clutches to heart*

Virgil, The Aenid

So Sick of That Same Old Love (3562 words) by Iphys
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Aeneid - Virgil
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Aeneas/Lavinia, Juturna & Turnus
Characters: Lavinia (Ancient Roman Religion & Lore), Juturna (Ancient Roman Religion & Lore), ??????? | Aeneas (Hellenistic Religion & Lore), Turnus of the Rutuli, Camilla of the Volsci
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, References to Canonical Character Death, references to canonical rape, Vaguely Implied Suicidal Thoughts, narrative poetry, Misogyny, Asexual Character
Summary: Juturna, Aeneas, and Lavinia, at dinner, five years later.

This is just stunningly good. Being vaguely aware of who Aeneas is will suffice. The language is amazing and what it does with the characters is remarkable and welcome. Seriously, read it.

Wells, The Element of Fire

Midsummer Masque (3328 words) by Northland
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Element of Fire - Martha Wells
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Thomas Boniface/Kade Carrion
Characters: Thomas Boniface, Kade Carrion
Additional Tags: Original Fay Characters, Post-Canon
Summary: In which Kade's somewhat impetuous actions have repercussions in Fayre politics, and she receives an invitation.

A nice snippet of them working together to face some of the post-canon complexities.

Okay, two more posts. Let's go.

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