This review by Darrell Whitney originally appeared on Orakio of the Domes's now-defunct site Phantasy Come True. It was archived and donated to me by Joel Fagin. Many thanks to Joel for the donation.

Here's one of Mike's that I bet not a lot of people have read (seeing as how it's buried deeply into the Phantasy Star Ultimate section of the PS Pages -- a casualty of bad web site placement *sniff*). If that's true, it's too bad, because this is a nice one, the story of Rhys and Maia's first meeting in PS3.

It's becoming self-evident after reading several of Mike's fics that here is a romance novelist waiting to happen (no, that's NOT meant as an insult ^_^). Mike manages to handle the thorny subjects of love and attraction without clumsiness, without giggles, and without Beavis and Butthead snorts in the background, instead focusing on characters. Solid characterization is vital in a romance plot when I read a "romantic" subplot and the characters aren't well-defined, I tend to write the whole thing off as hormonal. This is fine in an action story where the characters happen to get snuggly between gunfights and vehicle chases, but not in a story built around romance. This is what makes the story excellent.

Rhys is the key to this story, and Mike does a perfect job of portraying him. He comes off just as he's supposed to be...young, heroic, and emotional. My favorite quote is:

"Rhys quickly administered the Dimate to the girl (the beautiful girl) and soon afterward, she opened her eyes, which Rhys immediately saw were a (lovely) blue, just like her (gorgeous) hair."

The reader can immediately picture this scene. How many of us haven't, at some point in our lives, been attracted to someone and couldn't keep thoughts of how cute they were out of our minds? The parenthetical references, while not always the best technique, really do a good job of implying that these are thoughts that are leaping unbidden into Rhys' mind while he's trying to help Maia.

All in all, this is a nice, short little piece which does a good idea of setting up just why Rhys and Maia are getting married at the start of PS3.

Darrell Whitney
September 24, 2000

Darrell's a good reviewer but he's an even better storyteller! Be sure to read some of Darrell's fantastic Phantasy Star fanfics, including his incredible novel Freedom's Price, at The Phantasy Star Pages.

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