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for History Repeats Itself

4/22/2020 c62 Wolves the Author
Holy shit that’s all that I can think to say right now as a first impression. Just holy shit… Like obviously we knew stuff like this was coming. It just… this whole thing. It did not go down at all how I expected. Like Sammy I too though it would be more of an Endgame sort of confrontation. But my god did this pack an emotional punch for so many reasons. I have never cried so much for fictional characters in a story, let alone a fanfiction. How dare you Ice! You have no right to be this brilliant and mess with our emotions like this! When this started, I had no idea what I was signing my tribute up for, though I wouldn’t change a thing. Oh my god there’s just so much to say here so I’m sorry in advance for the rambling. Now on to the POVs
Kale: Kale’s alive! Praise the writing gods! I tried not to let myself hope but I mean so many other HRI tributes survived plenty of gnarly injuries, so it was only fitting that Kale had his moment to survive against the odds. Finding out that Kale was alive let me release the breath I didn’t know I was holding. So hallelujah! But geez can I just say that the fact that Kale and Tesla had something akin to a proper conversation was kinda tripping me out. And go Kale, I mean it seems that Tess will never best the 5/11 alliance in the battle of words department. But anyway that whole conversation was just great to read, if not totally terrifying. I mean there’s just so much there that I’m not sure I’m in the mental space to articulate it properly. And then just as I was about to feel the most conflicting emotions the fives come barreling like wannabe action heroes… no like actual action heroes because that is what they fucking are! The actual fight between the four of them -well the kinda fight with Kale’s escape- was completely epic. Here was at least part of the Sam/Tesla showdown. I can’t say that I was expecting this, I don’t want to say it was anticlimactic because I don’t think that is even close to the right word but it definitely caught me off guard and threw off my expectations. Not in a bad way wither. Honestly the visual of Tesla and Sam having a proper brawl is kinda comical, okay more than comical it was kinda hilarious. Also the fact that Tesla was even somewhat able hold her own in a fight to the death is kinda insane to me, even through the others probably weren’t trying to kill her as intensely as she was, if at all. And I’m sorry but Dale is everything. Just all of the moments. I ship them and I will sink with that fucking ship. And then shit the Greek Fire comes out and OH FUCK Del you brave, stupid motherfucker! Saving Sam like that! He’s gone so far from that cold, emotionally closed off and distant boy on the train rides. Full disclosure I was never the biggest fan of Del in the beginning of HRI but since he joined up with Sam and Kale I absolutely fell in love with him. He’s totally tied with Kale for best boy. And the fact that he tried to take Tesla down with him to protect the others, what a BAMF that’s all I can say. Then Sam sacrificing herself and swallowing that key so that Kale could get out shows how much she has grown even from the last chapter where she was so genuinely afraid to die. I just oh man that just makes me want to cry. There was too many lines of dialogue in this POV that just sucker punched me in the feels in so many different ways. The three of them were just the perfect team, they were actually willing to die for each other. That’s like the most ultimate, loving thing you can do for someone in this kind of situation. Oh man there’s just so much emotion going on right now. Sorry if this isn’t making any sense. Just that whole interaction really cemented for me that my top choices for Victor are Kale and Tesla. Kale deserves the win for what he has gone through as well as sending a well deserved fuck you to the Capitol. Though as awesome as that would be I’m not sure the Capitol, and if being honest Andromeda is most likely the acceptable victor but I have no idea. This story has taught me to only expect curve balls that defy expectations.
R.I.P. Del I thought you were a shit in the beginning but somehow your poor angst-ridden self found Sam and Kale and you managed to make me absolutely love you in just a handful of chapters. You went out as a fucking action hero. You proved yourself a genuinely good and brave person. Rest well, you more than deserve it.
Tesla: Oh my god. Just wow. I now this was really a showdown without being a showdown. So first can I say that I respect the hell out of Sam for going out on her own terms and screwing Tesla over a bit in the process. I would say she actually got the last laugh because she came to her end as arguably a much better person than when she started. She rose above the game and put someone else over herself, which was more than Tesla could do. I love Sam more than I already did because of it. What I absolutely adored about this POV that it was a conversation, no really super obvious insults -though most of it was because Sam wouldn’t play along-, most of it was just talking and sort of waiting for things to end, it was even pretty amicable… all things considered. While it could be considered underwhelming considering what a rivalry the two of them had since the games started but I think it was honestly the perfect way to handle it. I love that you drew it out and gave such meaningful interaction when a lot of other SYOTs would’ve just ended it quickly. I also really liked how it started out with Tesla trying to be as vindictive and cruel as possible to seek her own vengeance, which makes sense for the situation, but that seems to sort of change as time goes on. At least in the way were Tesla doesn’t exactly want Sam to suffer but is at the same time cold and detached about it. It was also so sad to me that we got to really get to see one of the root causes of why Sam hated Tesla so much. And Sam’s whole backstory before it shows what an unfair situation she was put through and what her reason for being put in the games probably was. I never really thought I’d cry this hard over Sam but goddammit I did and I’m not ashamed. But I digress, I also really liked that we also got to see some low level kinda philosphisizing from Tesla a bit too. I mean if it weren’t for the war it’s possible that they would’ve studied or worked together, they may even have been friends. It’s just sad to think about how these guys’ lives would’ve all been so different if the war hadn’t happened. There seemed to me there was a bit of understanding or even some commiserating going on with Sam on Tesla’s side closer to the end, just like they both had their future dreams snatched away and those dreams were both so similar... and while there was definitely a kind of cold detatched kinda tone going on towards the end, I don’t think Tesla was as unaffected or apathetic as she seemed to be trying to portray. Especially towards the end, but we can kinda see she was at least listening more than she probably wanted to. And when Sam started to go in a pretty messed up way Tesla just put an end to it. I wouldn’t call it a mercy killing exactly, but while Tesla could’ve just left Sam as she was and let the pills do the work but she didn’t have the stomach to finish watching that. Even the rage she felt towards Sam was gone by the end… I don’t know maybe I’m reaching but I’m also willing to look for any sign that Tesla isn’t a COMPLETELY irredeemable monster. No matter how minuscule.
Sam: Okay this is the part that had me SOBBING. This it was just so fucking brilliant I’m tearing up again. I just- this was the absolute perfect way to handle that situation. To me this really shown a light on Sam’s full development as a character, Del as well honestly. She went from someone selfish and pretty petty who seemed willing to step on anyone she had to so she could get on top. And it was similar with Del who wanted to cut himself off from people to lessen emotional pain in the hopes that those tactics and being alone would help him survive better. But because of Kale, and more specifically Kale leaving, Sam realizes that she cares for someone as much as she does for herself, or even more and then she snaps Del to in the absolutely most intellectual, sassy SAM way possible and they just go for it. They go to find and save Kale knowing that there will be consequences that will leave them all dead, but they don’t care because Kale is more important to them then themselves. It just shows how the three of them together ultimately bring out the best in each other (well mainly Kale brings out the best in those two but that’s not important and I digress) and again proves that they are the best alliance in my opinion. Just seeing Sam and Del laughing about the past and stuff and just comparing them to how they are now versus how they were then it’s both heartwarming and gut-wrenching since you know what’s coming next. The way you made this into a past tense POV was also an EXTREMELY effective way to punch us in the gut with feels. I swear my heart stopped for a moment when I saw Sam’s name at the top of it, and I thought by some miracle she managed to survive. But then it picked up form the end of the last chapter and the tears started again almost immediately after. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this tactic used in SYOTs before but I absolutely love it, it is legitimately brilliant! So massive kudos to you with that strategy. This will probably sound weird but Sam was just so herself at her best in this POV still snarky and funny but also just good and brave and loyal. It just made me love her so much and just gutted me considering what happened earlier in the chapter. We know she couldn’t play the game as well as she initially wanted to but she didn’t have the heart to become a monster and in the end she put Kale above herself , which if I’m being honest I was split fifty-fifty on the way Sam would go. It’s heartbreaking but I think you resolved Sam’s arch amazingly well. You actually made her a hero and she actually deserves that title without a shadow of a doubt.
R.I.P. Sammy you made me laugh more than any other tribute, I can’t say that I always loved you every chapter but I loved you overall and I certainly respect you, especially now. You got the last laugh in the end and you ended up a better person than you started... rest well Samalana Banana you definitely deserve it.
Holy shit this was a really long and rambling review. Sorry if none of that makes any sense. Probably a lot of that was just processing and word vomit more than anything else. Sorry again but there was just a lot to get out. So again this was an amazing- if not totally heart crushing- chapter but I mean we know what to expect with the hunger games. So as much as my heart is broken this was a fantastic chapter overall. There are only six tributes left I’m not ready for more death, but I still can’t wait to see where the story goes from here because I really can’t make a guess at this point. Stay safe and stay healthy and I’ll finally shut up now lol.
4/22/2020 c62 2AaronIris34
Well...that was brutal. I don’t think two tributes have died in the same chapter since the Bloodbath. Regardless, it was a great chapter.

So, first it seems appropriate to talk about Kale. I think a lot of us guessed that he was alive and so it wasn’t surprising that he made it through the chapter. It was even surprising that Sam and Del came to save it. What surprised me was the fight was as brutal as it was and that Tesla managed to kill two tributes fairly quickly. As late as last chapter I had completely written Kale’s chances of winning off, but he seems to have a great story arc going. He managed to survive the Capital’s trap, his two allies sacrificed themselves for him and you set up a good redemption with him and Tesla. Even if he does win, I’m curious how the capital would let him live back home. He killed the President’s brother and I don’t think she is going to forget that. While I still probably don’t see him winning, I could see him making it to the Final 4 event that you set up earlier.

So that leaves Tesla. Wow. She is really playing the game and I’m not sure how it’s going to end. Villains don’t normally win, but this is the Hunger Games. I know that at the beginning of the story she was hesitant to kill directly. Even after Reese and Vesper, I thought she might have some reservations. Apparently not. It might be breaking her sanity, but she clearly doesn’t care. I think if she completely loses it, she’ll end up dying.

That leaves Andromeda, Chase, Tully and Adia. I’d imagine that the next two deaths will involve them. Andromeda still probably has the best shot at winning, but we’ll see.

Great chapter as usual!
4/22/2020 c62 1Dictator Mags
One thing that this story accomplished quite well is establishing a permanent love for District 5. It already had Foxface, who was an early inspiration for Samantha, but the way Samantha and Del were fleshed out along with the politics you gave to them really solidified 5 as my District then same way I call Ravenclaw my Hogwarts House. Thank you so much for taking Samantha and truly bringing her to life, Ice.
4/19/2020 c60 2Idalove2read
Late on my review, but I just wanted to make sure I spent enough time on this one, considering the fact that this chapter is an absolute monster and deserves a hopefully equally-detailed review.

We start out with the President, and I can already kind-of tell there are cracks in the way she's controlling the country. I love the way how you incorporated elements of early-stage Panem in there, like how there's just NOT enough goddamn electricity... even for the rich people. We all know how that changes eventually, but it's interesting to see how after a war, even the fortunate are impacted by it. Also I absolutely love the statement about how the eight remaining tributes don't need motivation. Like you're absolutely right, they're motivated alright. Man... I'm not getting good vibes from Octavian, that guy is gonna betray his sister *hard*. Run Julia!

Kerri- This was sad... really terrible to see this already-frail family fall apart even further as they watch Reese murder and then die at the hands of Tesla. I absolutely LOVE what you've done with the interviews. Someone already mentioned it but it was a stroke of creative genius to view the interviews from the perspective of the family members of the people that were killed. And it's horribly sad that it ends on the inevitability of Kerri shouldering the burden that Reese carried previously with their father... just awful. Very cute seeing Tesla's family wanting her to come back at all costs.

Percy- Again, incredible delivery here, showing us just how the post-war Panem operates. I can't really pinpoint exactly what I thought of Percy because he's quite elusive, but you kind of see him crack a little bit at the end and it was so sad too. It was very powerful how he ended up realizing that people who "fought" for the other side got the same treatment his rebel family did and how there's no winning. It's a tough pill to swallow, no doubt.

Byron- Ouf... this was another tough one. The mom realizing what they're broadcasting, and it being the first words she says after Jeannette died... heartbreaking. Again, what a cool addition that you're subtly including the fact that most of these people don't come from the district they're in now, and how they're bringing these new flavours and skills that will eventually all be beaten out of them to form a more uniform district culture. Amazing. How are you this good? I also loved the call-back to Riley, and how this little boy is probably going to end up with behavioural problems for the rest of his life because of what he witnessed with Jeannette.

Again, I keep repeating myself but the fact that you highlight these small things where kids are homeless and parentless but you know... huge televisions to broadcast stuff for everyone to see? SIGN ME UP. I could really understand the resentment that Terra felt for Adia, and it was very bittersweet seeing the damage that her rebellion had caused, back in her District.

Oh my god, I had to reread this part twice to understand that Ceria is freaking 13 for GOD'S SAKE ! This is just... it was disgusting and revolting and it's a testament to your incredible skill as a writer. You're an absolute mastermind at writing flawed and villainous parents, and this one really topped the cake for me. Honestly, this whole family is just so screwed up. I literally have nothing to say apart from the fact that this whole scene made my skin crawl, so like all of the compliments to you for writing it so effectively. (Shudders) So sad.

Okay what the actual hell, this one was literally the saddest one of the bunch. I can't believe you made me tear up for a death I literally witnessed an odd 4-5 years ago, but this just broke me. AHHHHHH. Poor Caragh... poor Cordelia, tangled up in her own regrets and not being able to let go... Like, I just can't stress enough how beautifully you wrote this heartbreak, this resolve to help others despite being absolutely battered down into the ground... AFKSMKSMFG. I LITERALLY CAN'T WITH YOU AND YOUR COMPLICATED WONDERFUL CHARACTERS, I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. And at the very end, where she asks about the rebellion... ! NO CARAGH'S MOM, PLZ DON'T GET KILLED. But it's also so beautiful, because she has nothing to lose... wow, this review degenerated into some nonsense didn't it?

Another incredible segment that really nails the idea that these characters are so complicated and have layers upon layers of motivations, feelings and goals. It ws really interesting to see all of these parents just discuss their children so apathetically, and then all get shot like... I got whiplash from this scene. If Cordelia's was the saddest, this one was definitely the most shocking because I did NOT expect all of them to get shot. Really epic that Sabrina escaped though, and now she has the seeds of doubt about the existence of District 13 planted in her mind.

And of course, Kale's mother's interview has to finish with Octavian watching COURSE. JUST Let THE BOY BE, YOU STUPID OCTAVIAN. GAAAAAAH! No but truly, what an amazing window into Rye's mindset, where she's basically the opposite of the Capitol but also kind of the same? Brainwashed and convinced in her righteousness with a complete disregard for anyone's safety as long as her cause lives on... yikes. Also um! Holy shit, I'm so dumb, but upon rereading this I realized Octavian was the black-cloaked figure with the whip, Jesus Christ THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE! For a reader who usually picks up on this stuff, I really really missed that, so it all clicked now and aelkgmhkmgrhkmrfhm. Just speechless.

The chapter ended on a very ominous note that just contextualizes further what happens next. You do an absolutely magnificent job rounding everything and making things make SENSE. You're amazing. I love this story more than you could possibly know. This chapter murdered me. K THANKS BAI you absolute genius!
4/15/2020 c61 Wolves the Author
Wow okay this chapter was... a lot. Like not gonna lie it was emotionally rough. Beautifully written, completely gripping but it was emotionally difficult to get through. Honestly I was shaking when as I read this whole thing. Which is a testament to your skills as a writer. There’s just so many thoughts and emotions going on right now. But I’m gonna do my best to be coherent here. So uhh let’s get to the POVs.

Tully: Wow so I’ve always liked Tully well enough but she never really cracked my favorites list. I always thought she was a very narrow minded character, and maybe narrow minded isn’t even the right word but she was very focused on her own view point and that it HAD to be the right one which meant every person that was on her side HAD to be good and everyone on the other side HAD to be evil. It was overly simplistic when the situation was obviously much more nuanced and complicated. Which is realistic and what most people do. But in this POV we now see that Tully’s viewpoint has developed become more understanding and I would even say forgiving in some ways. While this of course heartbreaking because we all know that the sadism of the Capitol and the hunger games has beaten the conviction out of her and we can see how she’s changed from combative and strong willed to questioning and resigned. I also loved how you worked in more world building with that funeral tradition from 8. And the pile of bones in the monster’s lair dear god that was chilling. Especially considering that those skeletons were probably dead rebels. Eww. Yeah that’s just fucked. Nothing more to said about it.

Del: Okay yeah this... This was sad. Like you can just FEEL how hollow and broken down Del is feeling. But at the same time he’s being so vulnerable. The walls that he’s worked so hard to build to keep himself safe are just completely decimated at this point. All because of Sam and Kale (mostly Kale I think, just saying). Honestly everyone still in that arena just really needs a hug, or a lot of hugs. The conversation with Sam was just so sobering. It just seemed that Del has given up. I also love how you handled giving us so much of Del’s backstory, you balanced it perfectly. It just really shows that the arena has broke Del, more than he was already broken anyway, and Sam too, but i think she may have a better chance of pulling herself out of it? I could be wrong though. I think it also shows just how integral Kale was to both of them. So again just a heartbreaking POV and wonderfully written.

Kale: oh man. I don’t even know where to begin with this. I mean the set up for this chapter was pretty clear before but I still wasn’t prepared for this. Okay before we get to the grisly stuff because it’s fucking grisly I just have to say that Kale is just the best boy of the bunch. Even with how things were left between that alliance Kale still has moments where he thinks about or expresses concern Sam and Del and ugh it was just sweet and heartbreaking... then he goes into the trap and we were all thinking “don’t fucking go in there!” And the stuff with his former team, Octavian and the whip, then the shit with the vulture attack and the... last thing... just it was all horrifying and I just. The fact that it was Kale just makes me want to cry... again. I mean if I want to be realistic and just say that this was a Capitol kill some they’d make sure it was done “right” but I mean Sam got her chest cleaved open, Tesla got lit completely on fire, and Del almost got sliced to pieces. Maybe it’s just Kale’s turn to get super injured and survive...? Unlikely but maybe...? He’s not dead until the cannon booms or the Capitol plays the anthem so we’ll see...AHHHHHH! Okay I’m kinda fine now, not really...

Okay so while this chapter was an emotional downer and pretty heart-twisting but it was beautifully written and conveyed everything so well and realistically. It was a fantastic chapter, I absolutely can’t wait for the next chapter even though I am more than slightly terrified! Stay safe and healthy and happy (belated) Easter!
4/13/2020 c61 2AaronIris34
Oh boy.

Great chapter, as usual. The way you ended it reminded me of when Vesper died. At the end of the chapter there was a cannon that we all thought was for Tesla, but ended up being Vesper. It gives me those vibes but I can’t think of a way that Kale isn’t dead or at least seriously injured beyond any hope of winning.

I know that Del’s POV was supposed to be the sad one (and it was), but Tully’s was the one that I found to be the most emotional. It had less trauma, but the overwhelming despair that seemed to cloud her was hard to read. I’ve loved her and Adia, but they are both in a bad spot and if they don’t snap out of it they’ll be dead for sure.

Del’s journey has really been a roller coaster. We’ve gone from hating him (or at least I did), to understanding him and now to pitying him. As unlikely as if seems, the Games have seemed to draw his real self out. He is more vulnerable than he was before and I think is just desperate for any sense of security.

And of course, Kale. I knew that he would probably die, but it’s still kind of horrifying to see him go through that. There wasn’t any pretense. This wasn’t an escape trap. This was simply the Capital deciding to kill him. Whether or not he is actually dead, the message is clear.

Again, great chapter. Update soon.
4/13/2020 c61 A M4D TE4-P4RTY
I’m sorry in advance, this review is probably not going to be my best. I’m still feeling pretty emotional about this and I don’t even know what I’m going to say about Kale’s POV. Your writing is so good that this chapter was so painful.

Tully – The Capitol are so psychologically cruel. And to teenagers. Poor Tully, coming face to face with those bones and just as she’s already unable to cope with what’s happened to her allies and to the other tributes. No wonder she feels utterly defeated and insignificant in the face of that display of indifference towards the lives of others. Her POV really built, echoing her mental process, until I think she’s probably just broken. I want to hug her!

Del – Del’s desperately looking for Kale, probably at around the same time he’s being tortured by the Capitol. That just broke my heart all over again. Who’d have thought in that first POV of Del and Sam on the train and their interaction there that they’d somehow end up here. I don’t know why that struck me just now, but it did for some reason. The contrast… It’s so sad how much the Games have actually brought them together.
Sam’s hair made me feel better though. The goofy orange, even under all the muck. It felt symbolic for Sam – even through all this crap the Capitol have thrown at them, there’s still some tiny moments of old Sam shining through (but I think she’s become a better person for knowing Kale and Del). But even those are vanishing. It feels like reality is starting to hit home for Sam and she’s got no Kale to ground her or argue with her or for her to make stupid jokes to any more.
And Del’s backstory… I need to hug him. Like physically need to comfort him right now. The way you wrote it... Rather than him speaking directly it’s almost like reported speech, so it feels kind of detached, like Del’s still not able to talk about it, even when he is talking about it (if that makes any sense). And then it switches back to Del actually speaking when he reaches the bit about Kale – like the only thing that’s not distant and detached is what’s happening in the area (or at least that’s how it read to me). It’s so clever.
That final sentence… ‘God, I just hope one of us can manage it.’ It’s heartbreaking. It really is. Del’s still thinking about them as ‘us’. How can there not be an ‘us’ any more? Somehow it never felt real until now. Like, Sam and Kale and then also Del were always a group. It just felt like they always would be, you know? We always think of them together, as a team. I don’t think I’d ever accepted (even though I knew there could only be one winner) that something would happen to them. I just wasn’t ready.

Kale – He’s not dead. I may be in denial, but we don’t know he’s dead. He’s very hurt, but he might not be dead. We might still get some more time with him. He might be ok. He can’t be dead. I’m not ready.

You’re writing is too good, Ice. What have you done to us?!

And on a happier note, Happy Easter! And thank you for this. It’s more than just a SYOT. Thank you for writing a story we all care about so much and for making every single character into the star of the story and everything that happens to them meaningful and emotional!

Ah, now I sound all sappy and emotional again! Sorry! Happy Easter! 3
4/13/2020 c61 asadderandawiserman
Okay, it's probably kind of depressing for me to be constantly comparing everything to coronavirus, I'm sure lots of people come here explicitly wanting a distraction from real world stuff right now, but that's just where my head's at. And I've realised that these chapters of HRI are the the first fictional things I've read (or watched, or listened to) that have been written since this whole crisis kicked off. It seems like this is going to change a lot about the ways we all think and tell stories, and HRI is, for me, the start of that. And I don't think I've ever felt more like some of the people in charge of our world are actively trying to manipulate the population to cover up their own greed, or like my life is on unstable ground, so I guess I'm saying that this feels very relevant at the moment.

And I guess it also feels tonally appropriate to have a chapter where no one is trying to win anymore, because that's not really possible for any of our tributes at the moment. Aside from the fact that all three tributes in this chapter seem like they have very low chances of surviving, even if they did it wouldn't be a happy ending for them personally or the world in general. I think Andromeda is really the only tribute left that seems like she could win and live a reasonably happy life afterwards, but even then we know that the world's in for 74 more years of ritual murder and oppression. I think there'll be places in the rest of this story where you find room for small chunks of hope and dignity (like with 13 last chapter), but this is after all the 'dark night of the soul', and I'm here for that mood today.

Actually, I guess in a way this chapter does offer a little hope, if only in the fact that no one here is playing anymore. Tully choosing to spend what can only be some of her last hours in rememberance, rather than scrambling for survival, feels like maybe the closest she can get to winning at this point. And the contrast between Sam and Del's conversation here with Caragh and Del's disaster earlier is sort of the same. They're making better use of their time than playing in the Capitol's game.

It's nice to finally get Del's full story, to be honest I hadn't even noticed that we hadn't got all the pieces of his puzzle yet, it's been spread out over such a long time. I feel like there probably would have been a way to tell his story in a different order that gave us a better understanding of his motivations earlier, but really we understood that his 'betrayal' of the rebels was due to torture since at least his first confrontation with Andromeda, and I guess that was sort of the most important part. Exactly why he was hopping between districts didn't matter so much. And Sam's comment about her life during the war was the part about about this that really struck a chord with coronavirus vibes for me, that feeling of knowing that awful things are happening in the world, but not being able to tell whether paying attention and feeling bad about those things does any good for anyone. There's a short poem called 'We Lived Happily During the War' which feels similar to me that I've been thinking about recently. (I might have ascended to entirely unheard of levels of pretention here by talking about poetry in analysis of hunger games fanfiction.)

And Kale, I don't know what to say about Kale here. I don't know whether to hope he's alive or not, because it's difficult to imagine that more life could do him much good here. On the other hand, I can't honestly say that he in any way 'got the better of the Capitol' in the end. There were moments, like with the apple and rolling under the table, where he was clearly trying to find a good death, but really the only good death comes after a good life. He, like everyone, deserved to live a good life, and that's been taken away from him, and it's hard to try and spin that into a happy ending. So yeah, it's nice that he got to spend his last days making some real emotional connections rather than constant torture as was a possibility, but he deserved more. Maybe we'll see more of him, and maybe we wont.

Thanks for this chapter as always, and happy Easter aswell.
4/12/2020 c61 1Dictator Mags
My heart! /3 Kale's just unconscious, right?
4/12/2020 c61 9MeganCK
welp. there goes best boy.
4/8/2020 c60 asadderandawiserman
I can see you've put a lot of work into this chapter; not just with the length but getting into the heads of 7 people you haven't before, certainly a special chapter. And you definitely made our peek out of the Games worth it! With the family members/friends we saw, the ones being interviewed, we really got a comprehensive picture of what's been going on in Panem and the situation all the tributes have left behind. I have to say though, given that we saw someone related to so many of the tributes, it made me extra curious what's going on with the one's we didn't see. It's been a few days since I've read it, but I don't think we heard anything from Soren's sister, Milo's parents, and probably a few others, which would have been nice. But I can see how they didn't fit in, you managed to make pretty much every POV here about 2 tributes, and I guess those one's didn't fit.

I'm not gonna go through each section one by one, but they were all good, even if lots of them were pretty horrible! Especially Reese and Vesper's families, it's pretty dispiriting to think that everything's just going to get worse for them from here on, but I guess that's all you can expect. I really enjoyed Caragh's mum's section, it felt very realistic and a nice tribute to Caragh. Even though she died quite a while ago now, it definitely felt like you really had a handle on her as a character from quite early on and she definitely stood out among the rebels (even if her whole gimmick for a while was that she didn't stand out :P). I guess also an overworked and stressed medical professional feels like a particularly relevant character at the moment, who can say why? It's pretty impressive that you managed to find a good balance of characters and tones in this chapter, since basically everyone is in the same situation of "watched a loved one die on TV and now everything's awful", but they all felt different enough.

I found Sabrina's section particularly interesting, especially cause I've seen people in the reviews interpret it differently to me. It seemed to me that the parents were probably working with Thirteen the whole time, and 'sold them out' so that the citizens could hide underground when the war had been basically already lost, and start to plan the resistance against the Capitol that we eventually see in Mockingjay. It seemed like they drove their children out because they knew they would face consequences eventually, and then we saw them get killed by the Peacekeepers. I don't know that it fits perfectly with the chapter, or if it's what you meant, but it was my immediate reaction by the end of the chapter and it would be a surprisingly hopeful little nugget if true! I guess that's how I'm gonna carry on seeing it :P

I'm also worried about the final section, cause I remember earlier on, just before the Labyrinth began, we saw outside the games and I think Regina mentioned that she'd been fighting to keep Kale alive for a specific reason. It seems like there's a good chance that reason's coming up now, cause whatever Octavian's 'starring role' is has got to include him. And honestly, it feels pretty unlikely that Kale's going to survive this, because I still feel like there's no chance he could possibly win the game. I just hope that him, Sam, and Del manage to find a way for Kale to escape most of the trauma that Octavian has planned for him, that would feel like a victory at this point.

You also managed to do a good job of showing the families and the districts turning against each other rather than blaming the Capitol, which I guess in the end is the main point of the Games, far more than anything that's actually happening inside the arena. Almost all of the tributes will be gone by the end of this, but the effect they have on the rest of Panem will stay.

Thanks very much for all the work you've put into this chapter! Pleased to be caught up, and looking forward to whatever comes next!
4/6/2020 c54 1Sulimo
Ok first of all, god DAMN my dream team is assembled. All my living favorites in one place. My disaster bi with his clever district partner and our favorite protective pyro. I am enjoying this immensely. So now Del’s tragic anime backstory is pretty much all out there. Kale is an angel, putting up with Del’s and Sam’s respective shit. I missed Sam’s teasing and deviousness so much, and I especially missed seeing my boy’s reactions to her, though Kale is so endearing I wasn’t too broken up about it before. Kale’s past with the rebellion and with Sorrel clashing over Del’s prone body isn’t an image I’ll soon forget. Del’s still on his cryptic bullshit when it comes to revealing his thoughts, holding cards too close to his chest even after spilling his guts like a sinner in confession, but that’s only understandable given his position. A few bandages and not-unkind words aren’t enough to get him to trust people, and I think you’ve done a great job of portraying that. And I’m glad you’ve kept up with the subtle touch-aversion descriptions. With so many tributes to keep track of it’s impressive how faithful you’re able to keep to each characters’ fears and quirks. Makes me wonder how many subtle things you’ve woven in for other tributes that I haven’t picked up on simply because I didn’t create them.
I wonder what’s going on with Chance and his map of the Labyrinth during all of this.
I’ll call it a night here, if only because I have online class in the morning and shouldn’t really be up at... 2:00 AM reading fanfic.
4/6/2020 c48 Sulimo
“ My stomach lurches at the thought. I'd almost forgotten Octavian's plan was to make this a yearly thing. / No, it won't be necessary. With the results from the districts that we're getting, everything will be back to normal by next year. He'll see. / And if he doesn't, well, you're the president.”
Oh, Julia is for sure going to die like Julius Caesar and Octavian will take her place. The symbolism was already there with their names, but this just solidifies it in my mind. Octavian may love his sister, but he’s fucking crazy and isn’t going to let her just end his vision like that. I’m sure he’ll find some way to justify her death and his seizure of her power as necessary, for the good of the Capitol. History repeats itself and all that jazz
4/6/2020 c45 Sulimo
Well, I went to comment on Chapter 44 that it seemed familiar and maybe I was wrong about having already past the point where I stopped last time, but when I went to send the review I got roadblocked because I “already left a review on that chapter”. So lol I WAS wrong about that. Sorry to spam you with reviews, but while I’m typing this might as well hit on some points in chapter 44 and 45.

Comments on 44:
Caragh... I don’t remember her death, but I really felt it this time. Every time things seem to be looking up for these kids, something immediately kicks them back down again. But maybe that’s a sign Aemelius is gonna last longer—he doesn’t get optimistic, so he’s not accruing bad karma. He ain’t doing well, that’s for sure, but so far the kids who get optimistic get dead so. Hang in there, buddy. Back to Caragh though. I think a lot of us expected her to win, so for her to come in on the back half of the pack is surprising. A nice change of pace from most SYOTs where the shy one undergoes a great personality overhaul and comes out strong and on top, but still surprising.
What’s not surprising is Del’s issues, but since apparently I already reviewed this chapter when it first came out I probably already talked about that. Again though, he was written exquisitely here. Just *chef’s kiss*
Riri finally recognizing the problems with her attitude is excellent. Hope she can turn herself around before she dies too.
Bangs my fists on the table I Love Riley. I love reading his POVs. He’s such an entertaining villain. And it would be SO fitting if this juggernaut was brought down by infection; especially with Stanley dead a couple chapters ago, I’m not sure that anyone but maybe Andromeda could take him down, and I don’t see Andromeda attacking him when he’s been the one killing off rebels. He would absolutely hate dying from disease, too.
I’m excited for the Greek Fire scheme Sam and Kale are cooking up, but at this moment it’s unclear to me why the Capitol would want them to kill the Ones when Tesper is prime time soap opera drama. If the Ones really are on the way, though, maybe this is where they die instead of Vesper killing Tesla and then himself like I thought he might. Maybe the Capitolite viewers are getting bored of them.

Anyway, onward to Chapter 45...
Andromeda’s getting desperate. And still holding onto the thought that the Capitol sent her in as their personal assassin, though I’m not entirely sure that’s the case at this point. From the beginning it felt more like the rebel children were chosen on purpose, and the rest were chosen as proof that nobody in the Districts—not rich, poor, neutral nor Capitol supporter—was exempt from the Hunger Games.
Oh Tesla. You don’t seem to understand that you’re already farther gone than Vesper. At least Vesper is upset over what he’s done.
Oh, Sam. The Greek Fire plan didn’t quite go as you wanted. But Kale! Damn was he good in this chapter. He’s been a favorite of mine for quite a while, and that status really solidified with this chapter. At this point in time I wouldn’t mind if he won. Even calling himself a supervillain? Damn. That’s spicy. He really said “Mick Rory” in this chapter and I am living for it. His protective streak over Sam, his struggle with reconciling Vesper the Murderer with Vesper the Scared, Abused Teenager, his willingness to help Vesper save Tesla if it means he can save Sam... this is the good kush right here.
And neither of the Ones died in this chapter. Color me surprised.
4/6/2020 c43 Sulimo
I just left a longer review so I don’t have anything new to say but. Aha! REESE is the sewer dweller I wanted to see five years ago!
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