Here’s a premise for you. Imagine Bag Girls series one through three, still set in Larkhall, still with Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart, still with the same incidents that occurred in the original story line (give or take a few changes) but Helen is the prisoner and Nikki is the wing governor?….piqued your interest has it?….Well you’re in luck, because somebody has written it and it’s called Exit Wounds.
It might seem a hard premise to imagine – under what circumstances would Helen Stewart find herself in jail for killing Gossard (yes that remains the same) and how would Nikki Wade end up in charge of G Wing? It’s easy really, when you have a very capable writer like Estraven.
Exit Wounds is a much harder edged version than the original series in my opinion. The Helen and Nikki in this story are not the ‘naively idealistic’ characters they appeared to be sometimes in the original. A lot has happened to this Helen and Nikki in their personal lives and their journey towards one another, but Estraven keeps their core character and values true to the original.
A lot of effort and research has gone into this piece – evident by the facts Estraven gives us about prison practices. She also shows us, in more detail than the original, the machinations of prison life, not just from the inmate’s point of view, but also the bureaucratic obstacles Nikki has to face as Wing Governor. We know how difficult it appeared for Helen in the show, but here you get a better understanding and it makes it all the more frustrating for the reader to know what the characters have to face.
There are added plots twists to Exit Wounds with journal entry snippets, depicting Helen’s thoughts that give an insight into her psyche and are at times deeply profound and deeply touching.
Estraven builds the emotional element between this Helen and Nikki brilliantly, it’s allowed to simmer and grow at a natural pace, and as mentioned, she captures their personality and characters wonderfully.
Apart from the in-depth characterizations and descriptiveness in this story, the other most remarkable thing about it, is that once you become immersed in it, you actually forget the show and start to believe this was actually the original. That’s quite a feat to pull off, with a show as popular as Bad Girls was and still is in the fan fic world.
And it shows just how gifted Estraven is as a writer that she succeeds in convincing you that this is how it should have been.
This review really doesn’t do Exit Wounds justice, so don’t miss out on reading this story!
Exit Wounds can be found by clicking on the link, which is the Bad Girls Riot site, and finding the story under the Potted Plants thread.
I just spent an hour compiling this story from the message board. But, if it’s as good as Dark Coda (also reviewed here), it’ll be well worth it. I also realized that I’ve already compiled Dark Coda’s sequel, Reprise, and another of Estraven’s, Written on the Heart. So I’m going to read Reprise since I read Dark Coda not that long ago. But I’ll have This one ready!