Heyo! Today, I’m going to be reviewing, or rather just discussing, my thoughts and emotions on The_Blonde‘s series ‘do what you gotta do‘ (or more commonly known as the art thief fic), which is available to read on ao3, and is essentially a two-part fanfiction not named after Kanye’s infamous ‘famous’ but rather on the original- Nina Simone’s ‘Do What You Gotta Do’. The name of the two stories are “i can’t blame you much (for wanting to be free)” and “the part of you they’ll never see (is the part you’ve shown to me)“, which are controversially longer than usual book titles; however, these were also the reason I first fell in love with the story.
It’s about an art thief and a security guard, and how their unexpected combination results to something beautiful but bittersweet and tragic. This story touched my heart in so many unanticipated ways, I loved it, and sadly even related to most of it. This is the type of story which is addicting and leaves you wanting more.
It’s the reason I haven’t been studying for my mid-terms. This discussion will definitely contain spoilers so, I highly recommend reading it (even if you’re not huge fans of Dan and Phil).
This narrative is so well-written, other than a couple spelling mistakes here and there, with such clever and explicit uses of flashbacks and in res media which was extremely impressive. It is slow-burn and has quite some angst but it’s managed so well. Y’all know I’m a sucker for beautiful writing styles (see my love for Tahareh Mafi), and this author absolutely nailed it. From the dialogue to the descriptions of all the paintings to the way the character’s self-conflict and feelings are portrayed, it is so pleasing to read.
“I couldn’t get enough though, you know that. I loved you so much. I couldn’t – the first time I saw you it was like……there you were. But I couldn’t keep you, it’s like I was always chasing you, that you were always just a tiny bit too far away from me. But sometimes you weren’t and that’s when I would think oh, here you are, finally, with me, it was like a shade coming up.”
– i don’t blame you much (for wanting to be free)
Repetition, as a technique, is used quite a lot in this book, which can go horribly wrong and can be very annoying, if not done correctly, but it was so carefully placed and had such an emotional hit; not gonna lie, I did cry a lot because of repeated phrases and scenes and actions and words (every time i look at ‘rescue’ i cry now). Things such as “I’m happiest when I’m around you. I don’t want to be anywhere you’re not.”, “There you are. Found you at last.” and “No, wait, stay.” were used so many times to highlight Dan and Phil’s relationship, and you bet your ass I’m going to use her quotes as my Instagram captions for the next year.
In the second book, there were two accounts running parallel, Dan and Phil’s and also Jack and Mark’s, which was mainly written through ‘Missed Connections’ which was so unique, and a bit confusing to follow for the first couple lines. But when I got the hang of it, the words had such a different impact on me. It was sort-of written in second person voice which I’ve never read before and was so refreshing. My favourite of these was: “Me. Me. Me: heart isn’t breaking but slowly cracking, splintering. Like the top of an iced over lake. Just wait for it to cave in completely. Would You notice.” It was mainly an insight into the timeline and conflicts in Jack’s (or Sean’s) head and it gave us so much knowledge about his past and how that was affecting the current events. This story is interlinked in so many small, intricately detailed ways which was incredible to read and look for. There are so many various dimensions and layers to it.
you deserve to be happy, no one has ever deserved to happy as much as you. do you know how happy you made me? of course you do, we never shut up about it. if this has happened, whatever it is, then i’m glad, for however long, that i got to be with you.
– the part of you they’ll never see (is the part you’ve shown to me)
The obvious, glaring problem present in most fanfics is that the characters usually go OOC, which I didn’t find as much in this series. They were all so loveable and I was instantly attached to them (that may be partly because of my pre-existing unconditional love for Dan and Phil). There were moments when I thought that ‘oh, Phil in real life would never do this’ and those instances exhibited the author’s own interpretations of Dan, Phil and all the other people, which was so interesting to see.
Each person’s individuality shined in this series, as though the author had put so much time and care into moulding each one’s quirks. This book isn’t perfect obviously, and it has unnecessary annoying characters which the story would have been so much better without.
In most books with a romantic subplot, the principal thing I look forward to is the build-up and how they got together which was so strangely explained in this book. It was a deconstructed meet-cute, with only flashes of it shown through the course of the story which got me hooked on the storyline. However, in most books, they don’t show the life of the couple after they’ve gotten together unless it’s in a tiny epilogue, which is always disappointing but that didn’t happen this time! The romance was so adorable, making my smile radiate and my heart glow, those scenes made me happier than I’ve been in a while.
He’d actually wanted to say I don’t want to not speak to you again. I want to talk to you all the time. I want to know everything about you, everything that you like and dislike, I want to stand here in the rain with you even if I am probably going to catch pneumonia, I probably wouldn’t even care.
– i don’t blame you much (for wanting to be free)
It was so realistic, especially since the second instalment showed the insecurities and problems even a tightly-knit couple can face, which was heartbreaking but necessary and I’m grateful to the author for including all the obstacles and hardships as a vital part of the story.
Finally, the main reason I loved this series so much was the heist, the paintings and the thrill. The way they planned and calculated all their actions, the anticipation of whether they’ll get caught or not, and the escape routes. I don’t know how much of it was accurate but it was really engaging for me, personally. I like stories with a higher plot than just romance, and this was such an imperfectly perfect balance. The paintings played such a big role, and their descriptions and the selection didn’t disappoint. I saw all of the paintings mentioned and had a clear idea of what they looked like while the separate jobs were happening, which added so much to the story.
This series also has many underlying, tiny messages hidden beneath the cute boys, stressful thefts and ethical implications. One that stuck with me was that you can’t pick and choose parts of someone to love and ignore the rest. You should love people wholeheartedly and accept the things you may not like. It’s so important to know this, because of the miscommunications and misunderstandings it can cause. Another one was, everyone is worth rescuing, everyone is worth saving. No matter what they’ve done, most people deserve a second chance.
Even though these stories were slow-paced, every minute of it was entertaining and in some way captured my interest. I’ve been in a huge reading slump, and despite that, this book was persuading me to read it. I would definitely recommend reading it- and it’s free! Shoutout to all writers, fanfiction or otherwise, thank you for writing on these free online platforms. It takes so much effort and thought, we don’t deserve it honestly.
thank you for reading
au revoir, ciao and sayonara
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