Let me preface this with how I've lurked RR for some time now. I've never really felt the need to create an account or write a review until now, as my browser bookmarks work fine to keep track of stories and most of the places I would comment are all oldies where everything that needs to be said has already been said. Borne of Caution changed that.
This story is a breath of blessedly fresh air in a fandom full of trashy shipfics where the pokemon are just accessories or decorations. No one wants to read about Ash's friends betraying him in a laughably OOC fit or some grade school level romance story that has OCs with pokemon names slapped on them. They want things like this, a real story where the pokemon are just as complex as the humans around them. The fact that this is an OC focused isekai with such a level of expertise is just a cherry on top.
Fuggmann can make scenes come to life with just a few sentences, enough to set the stage and let the reader's mind fill in the details if he doesn't go into detail himself. I will admit that 3rd person limited in present tense took a chapter or two to get used to, but it helps make scenes and emotions more impactful as it imparts a sense of everything happening right at that moment.
Potential spoilers for the first few chapters here. The story revolves around Lee Henson, an accredited career zookeeper, who finds himself in the world of Pokemon following the annihilation of his home and all his animals in what should have been certain death for him. Unlike most other stories where our hero would shake off the event, Lee reacts in a very human way and is deeply traumatized, sometimes needing help from his friends to put the worst of his episodes behind him. With little else to do, he becomes a pokemon trainer, and puts his childhood knowledge of pokemon together with his earth-learned zoology education to raise his pokemon in a loving and splendid manner. The story is wholly original and executed wonderfully.
This is where I have to deduct a little bit. Borne of Caution does have minor writing imperfections sprinkled about. Most are so minor that most people won't notice unless they have a keen eye and education specifically tailored to English and writing, but they are there. Considering Fuggmann has admitted to having dyslexia on other sites, this is wholly forgivable considering how few and far between they are.
This is where I would give six stars if it were possible. Every character, be they main, minor, pokemon or human, all feel alive, and the best example is with our main trio and their pokemon. All of them behave in a organic and logical manner. Not to say that they'll all logical robots as some stories fall into, but they behave how a normal person might expect within the circumstances presented by the story, even Ash's short parts so far are how you might expect a 10-13 year old with his experiences to behave. The biggest pleasure is how the pokemon are just as three-dimensional as their trainers. All of them have distinct personalities and traits that they remain consistent to unless changed by personal growth. This is a fantastic showing of characterization that I wish I saw more often. I worry that some might be a little too static, but we're still early in the total story I think, and this is probably an unfounded fear.
Borne of Caution might be the best pokemon fanfiction there is. It's not 100% perfect, but it's so close that I can hear other fanfic writers biting their nails. I'll be following this story for certain. If Fuggmann ever writes an original work, I'll be there to see it take off.