There's some lovely description in this chapter that I think we need to talk about before anything else. These two are my favourite lines so far - they're so beautiful and poetic, but the imagery was still so vivid in my mind. Seriously Rumpels, you should be really proud of these - they're something else.
"like I would be some ghost of a memory, playing in the far corners of his brain, poking its head up through a blanket of medication like the first gangly plant breaking through the ashen remnants of scorched earth"
"it was the first time I saw anything quite as ethereal as he looked in the dim fluorescent lighting as the steam emanating off the sewage pipes danced past him, clinging to denim in his jacket."
Aha! So Mark and Cy were together then! Yay! But also - poor Mark! Imagine the person you love being right there....but not. Agh - you're so cruel! Again - a really brilliant idea though, and I can't wait for it all to be revealed...or not!
Amelia's not taking her meds either, wellthat makes a lot of sense considering she was calling him Cy in the first chapter. I wonder if Mark and Cyril will try to escape Brighton, and maybe take Amelia with them?! I hope so, and I hope whatever's ourside is a lot better than what they're having to go through now.
The plot really has thickened in the best way possible!!!
Agh!!! Oh my goodness! There's so much intrigue to this story and I'm so excited to read more!
I'm really intrigued by Cyril. I think it's clever that, even though this story is written through his eyes, we don't know all that much about him. I want to know more though and I can't wait to find out!
Mark is such a bad influence! Still, I think it's best that he is given that without him Cyril might not have started questioning the society he lives in.
This fic is like a cross between Alice by Christina Heart (which is essentially a dystopian AU of alice in wonderland where alice and her friend 'hatter' were in a mental asylum and they only start remembering things once they stop taking their medication and escape the institution) and a really sinister version of chitty chitty bang bang - because of the children's district. I think it's very interesting that they put the children somewhere separate. Why do they do that? To indoctrinate them? Experiment? Or are they really there at all? Agh - I need to know more!
Not forgetting what I hope will eventually be Cyril x Mark - because they seem like a very cute pairing. I'm lowkey shipping them already so you can't stop me :P
This is an amazing start Rumpels, I'm really glad I started reading this!!
Ajfjdksksn the shoutout made me cry. Rumpels, you are too sweet <3 I have to tell you that I nearly screamed when I realized that this was finally up and I’m SO. HAPPY. I’m going to keep this a bit short because I’ve already shared so so many of my opinions with you and you know how much I loved this. But I had to come by and give you some love <3
Okay, so I think I’ll just make a list of everything I loved about this!
1. Cyril’s voice. I know you said you were a bit worried because your voice here is different from what you’ve written before and yes, it definitely is different—but I think this just shows as evidence of your versatility? You might think you’re bad at fluffy romance but let me tell you, this was tooth-rotting-ingly sweet. Cy’s voice was so clear, so dramatic, so amusing. I loved every second of it. Really, Rumpels, somehow you’re astonishingly good at EVERYTHING, from poetry to angst to now, fluff! I’m amazed. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS. <3
2. The development of this world. This is such a creative idea. When I first started to understand what was going on, it really made me think—in the way that all good dystopians should. I mean, it’s sort of a compelling idea, isn’t it? To be able to forget all the pain of yesterday each day, to get a truly fresh start every day. That would eradicate a lot of sadness and a lot of the negative emotions that plague us. I really like how you described these emotions as like a physical disease that Cyril was worried Mark would contract. But I also loved how you showed the flip side to that—that Cy’s life is actually quite repetitive and stagnant, that he doesn’t have very meaningful relationships with anyone (aside from Mark, obviously). It made me think about how that sort of memory loss also means forgetting the really good emotions too, the love and the joy that form the foundation of a person’s life. It’s a really fascinating idea and you’re so creative and I am, once again, amazed.
3. This sort of builds off of my previous point, but I love the techniques you used to build this world. I know that world-building is SUPER HARD and I know that you have all of these ideas about this world that you want us to know, like, NOW. But I think you did such a great job at slowly teasing out information; I can already envision the world, see a framework of it in my mind. You’ve given me enough information that I’m not completely lost, but that I still have questions—and more importantly, I have hypotheses for these questions. That’s really really good because it makes me feel like I’m starting to solve the mystery with Cy, which makes me much more invested in the story and in Cy as a character (though, lbr, he’s such a cutie, it’s so difficult not to love him with all your heart hahaha). I’m most curious about the children. We already talked about how this might bring an edge of darkness into this story, and I’m really excited to explore that. Whenever I think about dystopias, I think about something that is inherently dark, a future we’re trying to avoid—that doesn’t naturally go well with fluff, but somehow. You make it work!
4. Okay. Now my absolute favorite part: Mark and Cy! What’s their ship name? Cyark? Markril? This is an urgent question that I need answered immediately hehe. These guys are so freaking cute. Mark is genuinely the best boyfriend ever?? I love his candor with Cy, but what I love more is that he’s coming from a position of support, to guide Cy to the realizations he came to on his own and let Cy make those conclusions himself too, without telling him everything. That really puts them on equal footing. I love this sense of trust between them and moreover, how enduring their connection is. Even after Cy forgets most of what he knows about Mark, he’s still attracted to Mark. I love this idea of love being permanent in a world where almost everything else is ephemeral. It’s really fascinating. And did I mention that they’re so freaking cute? One of my favorite moments in this chapter was Cy’s third journal entry—pretty short, but he highlighted that Mark touched his hand. What an adorable, lovesick fool. Ugh. They’re so gay for each other and I love them SO MUCH.
5. My last point is half-analysis, half-you’re-so-smart-Rumpels. I really really love the format that you chose for this chapter. It helped us to follow the mystery with Cy, but more importantly, it raised really important questions about truth and information. In a world where people forget everything they know each day, their view of the world is largely shaped by what other people tell them. Cy’s understanding of the world was so controlled by whatever was written in those pamphlets that he read in the morning; the government was able to hide the truth from him. But when he finally started using this journal, slowly he could find the truth. I love this idea of writing being simultaneously a weapon to hide the truth and a means to discover the truth; I think it really speaks to the power of writing. Also this whole emphasis on truth makes me love Mark more for his candor. AND OKAY. FINAL THOUGHT. A good dystopia should be scary because it shouldn’t seem so far off into the future, like it shouldn’t appear to be this unimaginable future because then it’s just fantasy. This doesn’t actually appear so implausible because so much of the content we consume right now might be false. Think of fake news, for example—people can twist and hide the truth in so many ways with their words, and we’re already seeing evidence of that. That just brings this dose of realism to the story that I appreciate so so much.
Okay so this was fluff, but fluff with underlying substance—AND I LOVE IT. <3 I’m so eager to read the next chapter, you must tell me immediately when you’re done reading it.
Loved it beyond words. Ugh. Rumpels, you killed me. <3
(P.S. Did I say this would be short? Hahahaha. Nice one, Shreya. Sorry for the rambling. :’) THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH TO LOVE.)