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7/8/2021 c5 15LeonPianta
Man, this is intricate. I can tell it's gonna be hard to remember all these characters! You've clearly done your work at embedding them in the world and the narrative.
7/8/2021 c4 LeonPianta
Yeah, I think your view on Three's perspective of Capitol rule makes sense. I've seen a few fanworks where tributes say that they hate how cruel the Capitol is for forcing them into the Games, and that's truly just gonna get them killed. Thanks for more interesting characters
7/8/2021 c3 LeonPianta
Well, heck, it's hard not to root for these two as well. You're already doing a great job driving home just how brutal and lifewrecking the Games are.
7/5/2021 c2 LeonPianta
Hmm, I can see that I'm going to be rooting for a lot of these kids. This fic really is gonna be a sharp reminder of what all is lost in the Hunger Games, huh? And I'm betting each district is its own kind of hell, especially after reading how it is in 1.
7/5/2021 c1 LeonPianta
These two did a great job of setting the scene. I can't say I'm usually a fan of Capitol characters, but this is a fitting start, great writing style, and I'm excited to see where this goes.
10/14/2017 c38 2Sukkar
I reread the first post-Games chapter of THG after I read this, sort of in disbelief because I thought you handled the immediate aftermath of the Games so well and believably - I'm not gonna pass judgement on the canon, but this is really good. I enjoy that you continually build up the world to make sense to you, because what makes sense to you tends to be interesting.

Another thing - it's rare to see post-Games the same length (longer on sum with all the chapters after the PG titles) as the Games themselves. Your ability to get inside the brains of the Capitol as you've created it is absolutely incredible. I honestly think you have the best-developed portrayal of the Capitol that I've ever read - you've absolutely raised the bar.

The depiction of the action, here, was also very well-handled, especially given that it was from Mercury's perspective, an observer who couldn't be expected to completely understand what was going on but, in the aftermath of the trauma of the Games, responded very realistically.

I'm interested to see how you're transitioning towards a fully canon-compliant world - I read one of your first A/Ns that noted that Snow's presidency was a principal element of the 'alternate' nature of this AU, so it's cool to see the importance of that deviation actualized. You really were playing the long game, with the Capitol backdrop. It paid off beautifully.
10/11/2017 c37 Sukkar

Now that I'm a liiiittle less amped up than I was after last chapter, genuine thoughts - as someone who's done two of these final scenes - they're hard as fuck to write. But they also come faster than pretty much any other piece of the story once you figure out where they're going, and they just HAPPEN. I'm reading this with that frame of reference - knowing that final scenes, the decisions that go into it, the trajectory - there's a point at which it just Happens because you've already spent 160,000 words putting all of your cards in order and this part is just the logical culmination of all you know of these characters, including the Gamemakers, the arena, your universe-sandbox.

I'm iffy on Yolo's sacrifice, and some of that is because I was also thirteen, a little over seven years ago. That's a lot of introspection and a lot of foresight for a thirteen year old, especially one established as somewhat impulsive - I'm rereading it now, and I'm a little more with it, I get it a little more, but ... sacrifices take a lot of justification for me, a lot of mental gymnastics, even in the arena where death is cheap.

I've been, like, generally pro-Mercury since the beginning, though with time she ended up eclipsed a bit by other characters who were a little more interesting and a little less classically principled. I'm not sighing with relief at her winning but I'm also not mad about it. She makes more sense as a victor than Yolo from a Capitol perspective, I guess. Her Mesmer-fueled turmoil about her friends not accepting her didn't resonate too much for me, but overall I get it. She's a solid victor. Like ... I get it.

I'll be curious to see where things go with her and Aster, but ultimately more curious about how all this works out in the Capitol. Some of your strongest chapters have involved people being interviewed so I look forward to more of that.

Overall, this was satisfying. It ultimately did make sense, and I see where you were coming from - loose ends tied neatly, a solid conclusion. I'll be mulling this over for a while.
10/11/2017 c36 Sukkar

I cannot IMAGINE reading this chapter and not immediately being able to read the next one. Back when this was originally posted this was cruelty. Here's my hot take: AAAAAA! Good call back to Mesmer's district of origin! Interesting interactions between him and Mercury! Victor's death: too bad! Great conclusion between Aurora and Corsair, lots of loose ends tied up! AAAA! Interesting payoff from the Aurora-Yolo alliance! Predictable with Mesmer but less predictable how things went with Yolo!


I've gotten quite invested at this point and I WILL be finishing the next chapter. Oh my goodness. I can't believe 1) I made it this far without cheating and skipping ahead 2) I made it to the end of the Games already! AAA!
10/11/2017 c35 Sukkar
I like the check-in with Corsair, it clarified a lot of my confusion pretty quickly. A little more insight to him and his thought process - it makes sense to me that volunteers should pretty thoroughly buy into whatever the Capitol propaganda of the day might be, especially regarding other districts. As a character, that makes him stronger by my view. As a person, obviously, he's pretty warped beyond any recognition, but - as a character! Poor Victor.

Mesmer and Mercury work in tandem with each other very well - their dialogue fuels itself. It'll be interesting to see how Mercury's plan to essentially set Mesmer on the pair from D2 bears out.

I really, really like Yolo, and he definitely reminds me of my little brother in a way that's very sad. It's luck of the draw that you pull on my heartstrings quite this way every time you write him, but ... you do. I really hope he's going to carry through. I feel like this is sort of a setup for Mercury someone else in the final two after Aurora, Corsair, and Mesmer duke it out - I don't necessarily want to see Yolo in that position, but he's done darn well for a thirteen year old thus far and. I should. Call my brother. I need to not be projecting onto a MURDER STORY with MURDER GAMES right now. But anyway you write his dialogue with Aurora very well, to the extent that their pairing off almost makes sense to me.

Good to check in with Victor, too, knowing that he's being tracked - it seems everyone is being brought together, so I'm going to forge on to the next chapter even though it's midnight here.
10/11/2017 c34 Sukkar
Interesting to check in on Aurora and Corsair - I can't honestly say I fully understand how that particular moment was the breaking point. I'm not entirely sure why Corsair would just suddenly realize that particular motive of Aurora's, or why several other rejections wouldn't have done the trick in light of all he knew about her - this wasn't some special sponsor moment, which he seemed to be prepared to wait for, earlier. My take on the scene is less that he finally realized/got tired of it and more that he somehow decided they ought to be apart for the final parts of the Games, though even that is kind of loose, because in any part of the Games they're both better of with each other as allies, so ... hm. But I guess from a narrative perspective it had to happen eventually.

Of course, it's in Aurora's perspective and she seems confused as anything, so it makes sense I'm a little all over the place as well.

And Georgie's time was definitely a long time coming, even with that incredible last chapter that focused on her friends - they were more compelling than she's been for the vast majority of the story. Mercury's call makes sense, in a sad way - I'm sorry she had to make that call, of course. You gave her something very difficult to do. I hope it's not going to drag her down too hard as the last parts of the Games go on.

Bringing Yolo in, in the aftermath of that Aurora-Corsair fallout, was an interesting call on your part - another instance in which tributes separate like magnets and then immediately succumb to another, nearer magnet and sort of clap together. It's a little abrupt, but it gets the job done, and I guess solitude and contemplation is not an easy task in third person. I hope this isn't the move that gets Yolo killed. He's a little piece of work but his portions of the story always go down easily - you write him very well. Potentially a compelling duo. Honestly, I'm just going with it at this point.

The arena change is interesting! This interpretation of the feast is a new one, and potentially a cool one.

Back to Victor, who I don't like as much as I like his mom's voice but I don't hate. He's having a tough time with the alone time and I see how that is, and his response to Georgie's death made some sense but mostly just seemed sad. Like, I get how in this situation he got attached really quickly and made her an abstract moral arbiter and like ... it makes sense. Still, an interaction with Corsair that doesn't reveal a huge amount about either of them, but does give some context as to Corsair's state post-breakup which is ... hm. Nice callback to Victor's mom, though. Love ya Moxie.

Aaaaaah at this point I don't want to stop reading, things are picking up!
10/11/2017 c33 Sukkar
Ahhhhh. I love this chapter. I adore the way you've revisited some key characters and elaborated on some periphery ones, I have nothing but good things to say about the stylistic decisions and the pacing and the decisions you made about how the whole thing was structured. This is exactly how the final eight (or so) family interviews ought to make a person feel - I know more about each tribute, but not nearly enough.

Aurora's, Corsair's, and Mercury's sections were not the strongest, but less because they weren't good than because the later districts were positively jaw-dropping. Aurora's felt like a continuation of her story, which was much-needed and well-delivered. Corsair's, though it didn't exactly reveal anything new about him, was an almost-humanizing perspective that provided a lot of the rationale for some of the decisions he's made. It was nice, also, to get an outside perspective on his feeling's for Aurora, as the subjective third person makes both of them somewhat unreliable narrators and I've been a little antsy about what exactly is going on there. Mercury's mentor is fine - she and her relationship to Mercury make sense, her character and Mercury's are fleshed out, it's a strong piece of writing.

But oh MAN Victor's mom was so achingly well-written and I had no idea you could make me feel sympathy for someone like her - someone who raised a person like him! But you just understand her so well, and you made me understand her the way you do in this chapter, and I enjoy every second of it.

Yolo's little sister was very sweet, and her perspective was a different direction in a way that was still a home run for me - she does observe a lot, and because of that she makes a solid observational narrator despite her age and lack of comprehension in some areas. You made it feel organic and still managed to worldbuild. Just. Wow.

Fuller and Lacie, as well, were unexpectedly effective. You get into their perspectives very well, flesh them out just enough to make their concern and their helplessness affect the reader. They just make sense - as children of the district, trying to help out their friend as best they can despite the difficulty and the tension of the situation. They're also smart - people sometimes forget that children of the districts can be smart, can figure out an angle to actually - maybe - help their friend on a little. Just great.

Then, finally, Zephyranth, who I had no particular feelings about from Mesmer's intro - her characterization there just wasn't as strong or as much on prominent display as it is here. and it IS on display! She has a compelling voice to match her compelling story and the strength of her interview is matched by her understanding of the mechanics behind it and what she has to do and what she can get away with - ah!

Just, what an excellent chapter. What a show-stopping chapter. I say this in the best way possible - there is just no comparison, especially between the early introductions, and this caliber of writing. The dialogue is spot on - you can read it aloud and it sounds right. Your intentions with this chapter ring through crystal clear. I'm kinda just floored.
10/11/2017 c32 Sukkar
The narrative can get really messy and all over the place when big groups collide as they did here, with the accompanying loss of life - pour one out for Paloma, pour a sip out for Rachel but save the rest to drink. I was grateful for the clarification at the end of the chapter. While it makes sense that the chaos would translate to the reader's experience of the action sequence, it was also a huge number of moving parts, and in subjective third-person POVs there are little places where clarification is definitely needed (Mesmer getting hit - especially since Yolo's POV suggested strongly that he didn't)

You're going through characters at a breakneck pace at this point, which makes sense this late in the Games, but it's a lot to process! I'm still not totally 100% on whether Paloma is genuinely into women or pulling an angle with Rachel, but there's an extent to which it all blurs together in a situation like this. I liked her reflections back to Lynn. It'll be sad to move on without her.

Then there's Mercury, Georgie, now-unconscious Mesmer, and the components to explosives - again, I'm not sure I'm completely 'with' Mercury as she comes up with the plan, but I'm sure that will unfold as it goes. It sort of makes sense to keep Mesmer around - I get why he'd be hesitant to go after Georgie and Mercury while in their care/in contrast to the remaining pair from D2 - though I wouldn't necessarily attribute that to simple 'showmanship' as Mercury does. I worked as a magician's assistant for two summers after high school and spent a lot of time with the general sort of people one would expect to run parallel to a character like Mesmer, and I'm thinking that may contribute to some of my skepticism of him throughout his arc. He doesn't always go the way I'd expect him to go despite the fact that I feel like I should understand and like him more than I do.

But a thing that's really held true with his character is that a magician needs a straight man to stand opposed to him to be likable, as an intermediary between the magician and the audience. If the audience is always the fall guy and the one being proved wrong, they'll hate the magician and undermine his capacity to do what he's gotta do. That's more the tenant of showmanship to which I see Mesmer appealing - his 'straight man'/assistant was Victor, but now, in lieu of an immediate confrontation between himself and the Careers, he needs a 'straight man' as an intermediary between himself and the Capitol. Audiences love to watch someone be fooled, but they hate to be tricked themselves.

Finally - guess that's really all there is left, Victor, Mesmer-Mercury-Georgie, Aurora-Corsair, Yolo. But finally, there's Yolo, who I still like, and still harbor a small spark of hope for as he continues to make his way through the Games. Very small. But he continues to be likable and make a good deal of sense and his voice is distinctive and he really does sound like a relatively-mature-but-still-thirteen year old, exactly as he should. He has weapons now and I hope he'll be okay.

Of course I'm curious to see how things go for Victor, but I have no doubt the answer to that is 'not well' with Corsair - even wounded Corsair - and Aurora coming after him. We'll see!
10/10/2017 c31 Sukkar
Sad to see Georgie leaving Mesmer and Victor - glad to see that they can stand and function on their own. There were some really powerful exchanges, here. It's interesting to see characters from such opposite ends of the class spectrum interacting as, more or less, equals. The Games is a terrible sort of leveler. I wonder where Georgie has gotten herself, but I figure more of the chapter may answer that question.

Every time you start in with a heartwarming interaction at this point, I get suspicious. It's like the danger music to a television show, or seven minutes from the end of the episode of Bones, where you just know something is going to happen and it's not going to be pretty. Drake is not my favorite, but I do still like Mercury. I may have to go back and read her intro again and reevaluate what I thought about her then - aaaand here's Carnelia, there we go. What a sad way for Drake to go. You really sold me on him, in his last few interactions. Carnelia's getting taken out makes sense at this point, since she's really run through her arc, but you made it feel like there was more for Drake to do. It was sad to see Mercury's helplessness, and interesting, the further characterization of her relationship with Aster even in the arena. That's very much in keeping with canon.

One device that seems a little off for me is the way tributes seamlessly shift from interacting with one alliance to being assimilated into/interacting with another - like, I guess I can play it off as Gamemaker machinations, but no one but Rachel - and then not anymore Rachel - ends up spending a substantial amount of time alone. I get that your writing particularly shines in interactions - one of my favorite parts of reading through this so quickly is that I get the sense of your progression as a writer with such immediacy and it's very satisfying to see you master the voices of the remaining characters when initially my main criticism was dialogue that seemed a little stiff - but also I'd love to see more reflection and solo time, draw things out a little, introspection rather than dialogue.

Like, Capitol's gotta have some time to run adds and cut together footage - even in canon, there's rest time and movement time and a whole lotta alone time going on.

The interaction between Victor and Mesmer at the end is more solid and interesting character building - you do a lot of introspection with interactions as a vehicle, I guess, I'm really less criticizing than observing at this point - and was a good ending to the chapter. Onward!
10/10/2017 c30 Sukkar
Harrow and Rose are sadly realistic - I mean, Rose more than him, because she's realistic about the dying deal whereas he's realistic about what it would theoretically take to win, and well.. going into this chapter with 13 people still milling around in the arena, those remain long odds for pretty much anyone except for the Careers. It was still a sweet interaction. It felt sort of like a goodbye for Rose - I'm very worried about her, now.

YIKES okay so it really was sort of a preemptive consolation. Too bad. This chapter really emphasizes the potential wrench in the whole thing created by the recaps of the deaths - I'm not sure why the Gamemakers would want to give away so many of Mesmer's secrets/his full plan, though I guess more poisoning deaths wouldn't be super high-octane. Starving deaths aren't either, though. I like Mercury, I'm eh on Drake at the moment - together, though, I hope they're doing okay and will continue to do okay.

And against all odds Georgie and Mesmer and Victor remain the most long-lasting of the alliances, which is bizarre but not like, a narrative fault or anything. They are a funny bunch. I liked the elaboration on what makes Mesmer compelling - he has felt a little one-note, tragic-but-deceptive-but-survivor smashed into one, so it's nice to be reminded that he has less murdery and more charming talents.

Paloma-Rachel was... a little unexpected, not gonna lie, but also I liked that you called back to the identity established in Rachel's intro chapter and figured out a way to make it more than window dressing. I'm curious to see where this will go, as I wouldn't have expected Paloma to glom on to a new ally so quickly - she seems very competent on her own, and frankly, the same with Rachel. So either this could go very well or very poorly.

Then closing out with Aurora and Corsair - a solid closing portion of the chapter, more elaboration on Aurora's backstory in a way that develops her in a coherent direction and also leaves her a little more relatable than she was before. Her push-pull with Corsair is still interesting, both because it's rational self-interest and because it's really not, to an extent. I don't think it'll end pretty.

Also, an aside - as in the past A/Ns have mentioned changes to the Careers in particular in post-production on your part - I do get the impression that a Career probably won't win, and it does shape my expectations of the story a little, but I sort of hope I'll be pleasantly surprised. The Careers are very strong contenders, particularly the 2s Paloma, and I don't want to be discounting them, but also I feel myself discounting them a little.
10/10/2017 c29 Sukkar
Before I even start this chapter - the title made me very much want to just keep powering through and read it last night at 4 am but I did not permit myself, despite the additional impression I've been getting that the narrative is leading up to something big and dramatic. Especially with the goats. I hope Yolo and Bryony are okay but also they're very young so I'm not holding out too much hope.

I like the fleshing out of Georgie and Victor - reluctantly, I found myself enjoying their interactions, though I was also worried they were bothering Mesmer what with the talking. You made a really good call pulling them together - they're much more likable together than they are separately, and just leaving Victor with Mesmer is a recipe for a difficult scene, as neither of them is especially forthcoming. Now with Mesmer heading out to Rose-Harrow-Mercury-Drake, I get the sense this four-person alliance can't last long, which is sad but also I have been seeing them sort of plateau in terms of what they're doing, so I don't doubt a Capitol observer would also be getting tired. The deal with Mesmer joining-up-ish is interesting - I hope he doesn't just turn around and kill them.

Okay, Messenger down - didn't not see it coming, though it really was a spectacularly stupid move he pulled with Aurora and he must have known that. I wish I knew more about his allegiance to Rachel - I didn't get the impression that they were close, at all, during training, so it has been a little bit of a 'hm' moment to see him risking his life and his security in the alliance for her over and over again throughout the Games. Yikes re: Corsair and Aurora going all in with the torture thing, but can't say it's not unexpected.

Aaaaand finally the goats appear - Armagnac! I swear I didn't read ahead, but totally saw this coming, which is excellent and extremely subtle foreshadowing on your part. There really was a long term setup to this moment - both the goats and Carnelia and everyone else, including Paloma and her interaction with Carnelia as they parted ways - and you delivered on the payoff.

I'm glad Rachel didn't end up immediately falling into an alliance with Yolo, though I'm sad to see him lose Bryony and end up alone. I think he'll be able to maintain viewer interest for a while at least on his own - at least I hope so. I like seeing Paloma's composure as The Good Career continually shaken up by the actuality of what she does in the arena.

All in all - this chapter really delivered on the setup you'd been crafting, amazing job honestly.
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