this is the most interesting, original, fiction I've begun in years! How very inticing.
Howdy Gina! I'm stopping by after the POGS - and as a congrats and welcome back for returning to staff - to leave my detailed thoughts on this amazing work!
When I read this story for the first time, I was gripped by the quality of the description and inner thought we got from Teddy. You put us in his world very well and though his thoughts were rather - unmoored - your handling of him made it entirely clear why. From my perspective it immediately evoked solitary confinement and the effect it can have on one's perception and indeed, their sanity. Here that last bit actually becomes interesting - sanity. If he has no memory. If he has no identity - other than that which has been constructed in this place - is he truly struggling with sanity or is he a product of his environment. The clue perhaps is in his acknowledgment of the number of days. He knows that much - how is unclear even to him - but he knows and so in some sense his clinging to the place, his discounting the memories as flashes he doesn't understand carry the hallmarks of a destabilized mind.
The story became even better when I read the project proposal. Frankly, I want to lock this guy in his own prison in the shade realm. The level of clinical cruelty on display really is staggering. He has the occupants of the prison banished to a place where they have no memory and essentially know true existence. Time is meaningless because even as a construct, theirs is distorted and cleaved from reality. But it isn't meaningless to those on the outside, who seem fine inflicting many lifetimes of suffering on its occupants while they wile away their days in the real world. What's to stop the horror really? Will there be another proposal? More advancements in the types of magic referenced that will allow four lifetimes to be served in the space of one outside? Where does it end?
What seems really troubling though is the depths to which they allow Teddy, Victoire, etc. to sink. The timing seems to indicate that they may be the "willing and able participants" based on the twenty to thirty year implementation. This would be right about twenty and you wonder how much time they're willing to steal from even volunteers to accomplish what is - even in the service of law enforcement - a truly twisted goal.
In the end, this story really reminded me of an episode of Outer Limits called "The Sentence". In there a doctor thinks he's revolutionized criminal sentencing using a VR device to simulate years of prison in an even shorter time. Fortunately in that instance when the guy escapes from his own invention he destroys it, having realized how horrible it truly is. Here, we get no such comfort and no certainty that Teddy and Victoire ever escape. Even assuming they do, they would arguably be even more unmoored in the real world - a place they think they've never been and know nothing about. Not even a sick idea of "home" could stabilize them then so their fate would seem dependent on recovery of their memories. I'm intrigued to know what happens.
Thanks for sharing this, Gina! And congratulations on the POG!
Hi Gina! I'm trying to stop by and read and review some of the POGs nominations. I've heard so many wonderful things about this story already, and I know you were excited to write it, and I have to say that this first chapter certainly doesn't disappoint!
This was such a fascinating opening chapter! Your writing was, as always, really compelling, and the description here was great - even though I wasn't entirely sure what was going on at the beginning, I had a very clear picture of the surroundings and what the protagonist was going through.
There was a sense of confusion and desperation at the beginning of this chapter which was almost tangible - it had me asking questions with the protagonist and wondering who on earth they were, as they didn't seem sure themselves. And then of course, we find out it's Teddy, and he's in Azkaban (in some form), and he's not in the best mental state. The flashes of memory or traces of his former life were so poignant and so effective in showing us that whatever's happened to him, he once had a very different life.
Even though there was a sense of confusion, it didn't blur the story for me - I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing the characters' mental states and the lost sense of where they are. I'm so, so intrigued about what's happening to them and why they're there - my first thoughts were that Teddy must have been wrongfully imprisoned for something - and I have so many questions. There's no way that I'm not reading on when you update this because I need answers.
I wasn't sure whether or not Teddy was imagining the person escaping at first, but then the discovery that he was able to leave his cell and meeting the other prisoners, some of whom have familiar names, just made me even more curious about what on earth has happened. I can't tell if it's an actual prison break at the moment, or some sort of simulation they're running as torture.
It was so effective to have the project proposal at the end of the chapter, rather than the beginning. It meant I was asking all these questions and then found answers in some form - but in a form that's terrifying and has only made me ask more questions.
The project is terrifying. I can imagine, in a way, looking at the date, why someone might propose something like this as an alternative to the Dementors guarding Azkaban, but equally, it's absolutely chilling - particularly the idea that they're enabling people to serve multiple life sentences, bending time and space, or to treat people in a way that amounts to torture.
Looking at the date on the proposal is terrifying as well - it's been submitted just when the war ends, so it seems to me like this Emmanuel Brandt who submitted the proposal has been working on it for a while and just seized the opportunity of the chaos that existed at the end of the war to use it for his own means. It's just horrifying - and the fact that it's ready in twenty to thirty years means, of course, that the next generation are the prime targets. And I don't even know whether to trust that they volunteered for the project or if it's even more sinister and terrible than that...
This was amazing, and I was completely gripped reading it - I really hope you update soon because I have so many questions that I need answered!
It's really been way too long - like WAY too long - since I read one of your stories. However, I definitely didn't forget how talented you are and how much I enjoy your writing.
There's so much happening here in this first chapter, but you've really pulled it off - rather than being confusing or overwhelming, it builds up from being just intriguing to being both intriguing and exciting. I have so many questions! Teddy's in Azkaban?! What happened?! And Victoire's there too? Are the effects that the prison has had on Teddy (thinking he's alone in the world, forgetting his name, forgetting his life) intentional, or has something gone wrong with the project?
I really like that you ended the chapter with the project proposal. I think that without it, the chapter would border on being confusing, whereas its inclusion keeps everything intriguing and interesting. And I like that it's at the end rather than at the beginning, because that allows the tension to build without the reader's perception of events being coloured by the proposal and without them prematurely jumping to conclusions about what's going on.
This is a really unique story and you've pulled this first chapter off extremely well. You've definitely left me VERY curious and wanting more! Fantastic job!
Kayla! *major hugs*
You are so sweet. Thank you. Reading this review is a huge relief because I was so nervous this first chapter was just a great big ball of confusion. I’m glad it was the correct amount of confusing with some intriguing thrown in. I’m really enjoying this story so far, and I’m so happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed it too!
Whaaaaaaaaaat?! Gina. This. Is. Awesome.
I mean, I'm not surprised that it's awesome. Reading the beginning I really felt like Teddy's confusion and altered mental state really came through. He was grasping at straws mentally and you described everything so beautifully. I feel like I'm just repeating myself but the mental exertion Teddy goes through just to hold onto his identity is jarringly painful. The description of his cell being as a both mental and physical is very hard hitting. When he heard the voice I wasn't sure at first if it was real which was brilliant. After reading the dossier/proposal in the second half, all the temporal distortion makes complete sense but it's even more sad knowing what he's going through.
Teddy's reaction to Cal and Lysander really show how mentally unstable prison has made him. I'm glad that movement and conversation seem to be getting the cobwebs out of Teddy's head. What a cliffhanger you ended on!
Okay, the proposal. It's so unique and original and I love it. It's heartbreaking to know what they've been going through but I'm dying to know if they are locked up or trapped by accident.
I can't wait to read more of this.
Hi! Here for Gryffie Review Tag (and also because I've been looking forward to reading this since you originally mentioned Teddy Lupin prison break fic and was in the middle of reading anyway so would have defintiely been here regardless!) :)
Oh my gosh this was such a thriller! You've created such a unique world and I am so excited to read more of it. This first chapter has me on the edge of my seat wanting more and I absolutely can't wait to know what happens.
I think you really characterized Teddy well as he sits in this prison for 123 days (or 24 or 125) and that part especially really showed how difficult that life can be. The little game he plays where he counts his breaths to 1000 was kind of heartbreaking and also how he didn't know his name until it just came to him one day! I loved how he made sure to check for others and kind of rallied the group and gasped when he saw Victoire (which seems like it may be the only name he knows besides his own?). I totally want to know more about the two of them.
The Project Azkaban file was a really neat way to give us more information about the story without giving everything away. I'm super intrigued by everything now and absolutely can't wait for what happens next!
Wow! This is super intriguing! Call me VERY intrigued about the whole setup. I don’t think you have anything to worry about with the action. It’s GREAT action, with all kinds of suspense thrown in. I love it!
Firstly, the first scene. Haha. Well, duh. I think the first scene was a fantastic way to show what’s on the inside of this project and how the project is coming along. Clearly, these people have been brainwashed in a very thorough way, and it’s disturbing how well that worked. I’m very nervous for all the people inside, and also nervous for the person who imagined that he could break out of a place like that. Like… are they gonna recapture everybody and make it WORSE!!?? That would be a nightmare.
The whole concept of this is disturbing and frightful. And of course now, I wanna know more!
Great first chapter!
Hi, Gina. I stopped by grabbing a chance, Gryffindor Review Tag. I thought of dropping a review at your Amelia I read the other day, but your new story title showed up on this front page and I chose this first.
Wow, it's a thrilling read. I remembered the film titled, 'Escape Plan' we watched on TV in my country. The beginning shot is just like the film. Someone let Teddy stay in the cell where it seems hard to escape. Many wonders spinning in my head. Did he do a sort of horrible crime? Why did he forget his memory? The woman he could barely remembered must be Victoire. It's sad two people were forced to live parted.
The latter half seems to explain all for readers. So recruits agreed to jojn the experiments. They tried to let them be safely in the cells. But I had fear. From the first of this chapter, three people apparently try to run away. What is the kill switch? I hope the recruits would be in no danger.
As a whole, it's a really cliffhanger. When you update this, please twitter at Gryffindor CR. I'll come back.