Hi Rumpels! Here’s another birthday review for you. Brace yourself for another long one, I have SO. MANY. FEELINGS. (Again.)
Okay, first off, that first diary entry literally took my breath away with all its cuteness. Mark is so adorable, I want him for himself. I love how adorkable the two of them are, so awkward. And omg, Cy is freaking savage. “You’d assume that a Peacebreaker would be more careful so as not to be caught peacebreaking.” BURN. But most of all, I just loved how sweet anx how open they are with one another; there’s comfort and warmth there, and the entire section felt like a hug put to words, if that makes sense. This line kind of summarizes now that entire entry made me feel: “His tenderness seemed to flood the entire room, stealing my breath as the weight of it crashed over me.” (Ugh, Rumpels, your descriptive writing steals my fucking breath, I gotta report another murder, you’ve stolen my breath and stabbed me in the heart. Well, I was definitely not complaining.l
And as I went onto the other sections, I really valued that lighthearted, sweet moment. The other sections were so angsty, goodness gracious—which I probably should’ve expected, on second thought, haha. But throughout it, I really grounded myself to that sweet moment in the beginning of the chapter—kind of like how Cyril grounded himself to Mark while the Peacekeeper was talking about the war.
I really loved that Cyril chose to write down his conversation with Mark as his permanent reminder to himself to not take his medication. I think that was perhaps the first time he recognized how much he stood to lose by forgetting—and that entire section built up so wonderfully to that heart-shattering climax. It is so emotionally potent, and I can totally understand why Cy would choose to kind of immortalize that feeling in his journal.
The rest of the chapter was honestly so fascinating and a perfect reflection of your worldbuilding and descriptive skills. In every chapter, it seems, you present an idea about the system of the Sovereignty that might seem very compelling and reveal the underlying and honestly destructive ramifications. In this chapter, the idea of having no questions felt sort of compelling at first. I’m plagued with uncertainty about my world, plagued with questions about why things happen the way that they do, etc. Somedays I think it’d be nice to just turn off my brain and let all those thoughts go for a minute. But maybe this is just me as a Ravenclaw, through and through, but I simply cannot imagine a life without questions. Even those painful questions—they inspire me and drive me. Honestly, sometimes I feel this fic serves as a warning to people to never lose their curiosity; the moment we stop questioning, we become vulnerable to being molded and shaped and lose our identity, which is obviously a major theme in this fic. SO BASICALLY, this fic serves as evidence that everyone should be a bit more Clawsome ;D (#RavenclawRepresent. I’m not even ashamed hehe).
There was another bit in this chapter that sort of reflects this idea too, when Cyril is describing his fuzzy feelings when he’s starting to slip. First off, your description there? Stunning. Honestly. I felt in a haze myself, like all the ugliness of the world could sort of be magically brushed away—and I love how Cyril physically held onto Mark throughout it all, to ground himself to reality. You do such a good job at acknowledging how appealing complacency can be. And I really feel that now, in our world with the current political climate. Somedays, I really just want to lie in bed and float away, to escape; that sort of escapist desire is perfectly human. But this fic reminds me to ground myself to my reality and all that it encompasses: the bad, but more importantly, the good.
(I feel I’m being quite repetitive, I’m so sorry. I just really appreciate this nuance; this fic makes me think about my own life so much, despite being a dystopian world that’s drastically different from my own. There’s such a dose of realism in it, though; I really appreciate it).
And then the whole description of the war exhibit... god, what do I even say? I should just bow down to you, because you’ve got mad skills, Rumpels. Your descriptions transported me there, and the propagandist language really truly convinced me. I had chills. Especially, “We are strong when we are in control!” That struck me so hard. Maybe it’s because I’m so accustomed to the weakness and instability I feel in my own mind when I’m in a depressive episode. The idea of blocking out emotions feels so so compelling. I loved that again, Cyril physically grounded himself to Mark. It made me think about how the war might have been avoided if everyone had someone to love to ground themselves to, to hold onto, to remind them of what they’d lose. It’s this really heartbreaking, fascinating idea.
The best thing about this fic is that it makes me question my world and my life. I think that’s a really essential quality of a good dystopia.
Okay, final note that’s a bit of topic change: I really appreciate the bit of cuteness that followed the peacekeeper’s presentation. It was a dose of lightness and I felt so so grateful for it after all the surrounding darkness. Gosh, Rumpels. You’re a master at using structure to really manipulate emotions. I learn so much when I’m reading this fic because I see so many good techniques employed so effectively. Like, geez, I’m nearly on the verge of tears here!
Okay. I’m controlling myself, I promise. I just...really love this fic. Feels a bit inadequate to say that and only that after everything else, but it’s true. If you ever want me to beta read (or just plain read) a chapter for you, I’m so here for it. I would fall over myself hahaha. So so impressed by you, Rumpels. And pleeease write more. For me? :P
Loved it. <3
P.S. Mark’s a morning person? Yikes. Never mind. Cy can have him. (By the way, this makes him a disgrace to Ravenclaws; funnily enough, I’ve never met a single Ravenclaw who’s also a morning person. My theory is that we stay up too late thinking about everything and nothing, hehe. Okay. Shutting up now <3)
(Ugh, Rumpels, my phone died when I was first writing this review, and I was positively devastated T-T. I thought I’d tell you that so you can commiserate with me. But on the bright side, this review is far clearer the second time around, so, uh, perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise? Also, you might have received two notifications about this review, but that’s because the first time I submitted it, the review was too scrunched up and you deserve the best for your birthday. So there. That’s the saga about how this review came to be. Scintillating, right?)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUMPELS. I’m here to shower you with reviews and love because you’ve done so so much for me and are a generally amazing human being. On a more selfish note: I’ve been looking for an excuse to catch up with We, Lawbreaking Citizens, and this is the perfect opportunity. So really, this is entirely self-serving; you’ll just have to sit here and listen while I ramble. (What’s new?)
Hello, I would like to report a crime? Um, yes, Rumpels has broken my heart. Stomped it to pieces, in fact. This chapter was honestly devastating. Let me count the ways you’ve broken my heart in this chapter.
Well. The entirety of Mark’s section is a good place to start, isn’t it? I think this was such a creative mini-plot twist, and really elevates Mark and Cy’s relationship; knowing that they had a past relationship makes their newly (re)blossoming relationship even more heartbreaking. Adds a nice dose of angst, which I always love.
But on another level, including Mark’s perspective was an ingenious decision. For one, you’ve added another layer of mystery to the story. There’s already mystery surrounding the Children’s District and why Mark went off his pills and Amelia and everyone else—but now there’s mystery surrounding Cy’s past too, and I can anticipate all these mysteries sort of interweaving, like puzzle pieces. That’s how I know this fic is a spectacular mystery: you leave all these little clues, enough that I’ve been playing around with the pieces, trying to fit them together and make some predictions—while still hiding enough that I desperately want to keep reading to uncover more clues. Honestly, Rumpels, this fic is a masterclass in mystery writing, (Okay, so you can write romance, fluff, angst, mystery, horror, and poetry? Is there anything you can’t do? You continue to stun me, my dear Rumpels <3).
BUT ALSO. Mark’s perspective shed new light on the different characters. Hearing Mark’s perspective makes me appreciate just how Clawish he is; he hates complacency and stagnancy and is disgusted at the idea of “a life of mundane repetition”. I think that’s such a Ravenclaw feeling, wanting your mind to be challenged constantly, and as your resident Ravenclaw, I can inform you that you’ve done my House great justice. #ClawsRepresent (Actually, there’s quite a few Ravenclaws in this fic! Leads one to ask where all the Slytherins are... hehe).
I loved discovering more about Amelia too. She’s such a feisty, bold, courageous character. A true Gryffindor, in my opinion! I’m really excited to learn more about her in the future.
But I think my favorite consequence of this decision was the new dimension added to Cy’s character. Cy’s journals really paint Mark as a sort of swashbuckling hero with an inherently rebellious bent (no wonder Cy has such a big freaking crush on him??), but Mark’s perspective reveals that in fact, CY was the OG Swashbuckling Hero, which I think is a fascinating role reversal. It also makes me feel deep sympathy for Cy and anger at the system they’re in, because the pills have effectively erased his personality. You’ve done such a brilliant job at conveying all the negatives of the Sovereignty. This fic is also a masterclass in dystopia, let’s be real.
Okay, now onto the second time you basically obliterated my heart: Cy’s journal entry. At first I was somewhat thrown aback by the reintroduction of Cy’s voice, but ohmygod, it was such a good decision, because you really upped the ante on the angst. Knowing how important Christina Rossetti and books in general are for Cyril and Mark’s relationship, Cy not knowing Christina Rossetti is so depressing, like... here, just have my heart. It’s all tattered at this point, anyway.
And I think that you really continued the theme of all the things they’ve lost due to the pills, throughout Cy’s journal entries. Cy doesn’t even know the actual truth about what happened in the war, to result in the creation of the Sovereignty. What’s most shocking to me is that he’s never cried before, or doesn’t remember crying, at least. That idea just stunned me, oh my god (maybe because I’m a crybaby). But I think it served like this terrifying little reminder of how the complacency in this seemingly painless world results in a general lack of emotion. At first, the idea of being able to forget all the times I’ve cried feels so compelling. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried out of pain and just a deep, existential sadness. But I remember that in blocking the painful memories, I’d also be blocking all the times I’ve cried out of pure joy, or have been moved to tears by someone else’s kindness.
I also really loved the journal format for Cy’s section. It’s really such a versatile format; in the first chapter, that format helped build the mystery, but in this chapter, it reflects all of Cy’s internal conflict.
And ugh, the romance still kills me. The devotion they have to one another just stuns me. Mark can’t bear the thought of forgetting Cy; Cy wholly trusts Mark, which is SUCH a big deal in this world where, clearly, truth is sort of wielded as a weapon for maintaining control. And the two lines you chose from I loved you first (which is one of my favorite poems) just seems a reflection of this: it’s really them against the world and I love that.
One last thing. You’re still killing it with the humor. My favorite bit: “If You Think She’s Spunky, Cover Your Monkey.” Thats all the sex ed anyone needs, lbr :P
Ugh, I’m so so sorry for how loooong this is. I really tried to restrain myself, I promise, but I have SO MANY FEELINGS. To reiterate: this was simply spectacular, and I’m frickin obsessed with this fic. Loved it so so much <3
HI RUMPELS I’M SO PLEASED TO BE BACK.
[I would first like to apologize for the fact that this review is coming so much later than I’d anticipated; it’s been a long few hours and I just kept having to do other things. *sobs* But I’m here now!]
Ever since I read this story for the first time, I’ve been sooo curious to find out how the relationship between Mark and Cy would develop, and how Cy would slowly break out of the mold that this world has forced him into. I love that Mark was just hanging around Cy’s house, and that Cy invited him in!! And that Cy was so confused about his feelings for Mark (but honestly, my man, I 100% understand your feelings; you have a cruuush). All of it was so cute, even if it was a little sad. The mention of the poetry and the marked-up poem was honestly this amazing moment of something – like, it was important and I could feel it.
When Cy woke up the next morning and got distracted from his pamphlets by the smell of Mark cooking, I was so genuinely happy for a good few minutes – until Cy said that saddening question of “Who are you?” You wrote Mark’s small little heartbreak so well; I could feel the joy leaving his body as all the sweetness and good humor from before disappeared.
And the fact that they go to a museum! And hold hands!! And hold each other close!!! What a perfect date, honestly. (That totally counts as a date, right?) AND CY’S GOING TO MEET AMELIA?? But no, Cy, don’t misunderstand Mark. Amelia’s just a good friend of his eeeeeek. I’m so stressed out that there’s going to be this huge misunderstanding, and hopefully Cy will ask Mark about it before things get out of hand ahhh.
Every little tidbit you give about this world, I eat up hungrily. The worldbuilding is amazing, and it’s not quite like anything I’ve ever seen before. The way you’ve got your characters set up is amazing, too.
I can’t wait for you to post more! Pleaaase poke me once you do!! <3
Hey! Back to review your second chapter! <3
WE GET MARK’S POV. YES. And from his POV it’s pretty clear that his relationship with Cyril goes much deeper than I’d imagined. I’m wondering exactly what point in time this moment is depicting? Oh wait, you answer this question like in the fifth paragraph haha. (I should stop asking questions mid-chapter, really, because they’ll all be answered in due time.) But, wow. Okay. So Mark’s panicking because he doesn’t want Cy to get caught keeping a journal, which is why he mentioned being off the medication, but also he’s worried that Cy doesn’t trust him enough not to go screaming to whoever’s in charge.
But omg the fact that this has happened before is so scary, that Cy once went through this exact same process before, except he got caught. What happened to him? Rumpels! How are you so creative!
I love that we get a Cy/Mark backstory, and that they met in a rebellious book-reading area of all things. Ahhh I want to know more about how they met, what they did, how they got to know each other better! The fact that a number of books are forbidden is just so tragic (censorship is, uh, not good), but I’m glad that it gave them the chance to meet. I’m soo curious about their story.
THE PATISSERIE WOMAN’S NAME IS AMELIA. HI, AMELIA. She’s so funny, I like her a lot. “Seduce and Recover” is a hilarious name for what Mark’s trying to do haha. She’s excellent comic relief.
I loved reading the section where we expand on this undercover group a bit. The Underground is a really cool name for it, which is very fitting considering they’re literally underground, in the sewers. And the fact that there are people from outside is very, very exciting!
Also. Now I understand the title. And the fact that Mark and Cy bonded over Christina Rossetti, and that Cy can be touched by poetry like this makes me happy. Because art and words are so often the first things banned in these harsh, strict societies, because they’re that powerful, and I love that you mentioned the effect that they had on Cy. “What does it mean to love a person, though?” CY, YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE A PERSON. MARK IS LITERALLY RIGHT THERE. RIGHT. THERE.
This is such a beautiful OF! I can’t wait to read more. <3
Thank you for entering in my challenge!
Rumpels! Hi! <3
I’m finally here to judge the entries for my challenge; thank you for your patience!
I was so excited to read this, especially because you mentioned that this is the first major OF project you’ve ever posted. And the fact that we’re in a dystopian-type setting with purely original characters, ahhh! It was so interesting reading this because every single word helped create an entirely new world, which I found fascinating. The many details about how the world is organized, to how the government was created, to the general cultural attitude towards individualism and such? It’s all so cool. The fact that I knew nothing about anything made it even more interesting.
This world has me feeling slightly nervous. It seems to work efficiently, but the fact that there are so many documents detailing Cy’s personal information, and the fact that the general assumption about human nature is automatic evil, makes me worried. I probably wouldn’t want to live in this world, but we’ll see.
Now, I wonder who Mark is. He seems to generally disagree with Cy haha. But also another aspect that’s a little worrying is that Cy doesn’t seem to know who he is, or where he is, or why he’s even here. At the very least, he seems to be rather confused about who the people around him are. (If I’m totally misinterpreting this, I’m so sorry. Just know it’s not your bad, I’m just not good at reading between the lines lmao.)
OH WAIT. You literally answer my question in the very next paragraph, whoops. Oh my god, that is literally the coolest thing ever. I mean, it’s not cool that their memory gets wiped through the medication they receive, but it’s such a cool idea. Rumpels, you’re a genius! Anyway. Back to the story. Mark seems to have a better grasp of what’s going on than Cy; he seems more familiar with Cy than vice versa. I wonder if he and Cy have gotten together at some point, except they’ve just forgotten it due to the medication? Does Mark write down his memories at some point to remember them?
And there are so many rules in this society omg. Yep, definitely do not want to live here. The scary thing about this is, it’s entirely plausible. Worlds where the government controls their citizens’ lives way too much have most certainly happened before, just not in this specific way. Your world-building is excellent!
OH. Mark does keep a journal! Wow, that’s really smart of him. But now he has to share what he’s written, because I’m curious haha. (And there are only four hours between the end of work and curfew? What a horrible life omg.) DOUBLE OH. So Mark inspired Cy to keep a journal! And that’s what we’re reading right now! I was wondering how Cy would be able to remember his day-to-day experiences, given the discovery of the medication, and, well, now we know. This is so clever, Rumpels. (And I also ship Mark and Cy, and I’m pretty much positive at this point that they’ve been romantically involved at some point.)
Reading his second-day through fifth-day journals was so interesting, too. I’m trying to put myself in his shoes and think of what it would feel like to not actually remember yesterday, but to be able to read my own account of what happened yesterday. It’s a strange feeling. (Also, who is that woman at the patisserie?) THIS WORLD IS SO AMAZINGLY-CRAFTED, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE NEXT CHAPTER. (More thoughts then!)
Hello! I'm finally here with your requested review. :)
So first of all, this concept is so intriguing. I really love the world you've built so far in this first chapter, and to bluntly answer your areas of concern from my review thread, I think you've done a wonderful job showing just enough of this universe so that the reader has a general understanding of what's going on while still leaving a lot of questions unanswered for now. I think the journal entry style is perfect for this - we as the audience really only get as much information as Cyril himself is getting, so we're discovering things at the exact same rate he is.
Basically, what I've been able to glean from the story thus far is that we're in a dystopian society that was a result of a war. In this new world, this particular society, the Sovereignty, is insulated from any other societies (if any others even exist at all), and the leadership of this society - Alissa Cartwright and the Overseers - have propaganda running that suggests all humans are inherently bad and diseased, which is why they have to be on a constant stream of medication. The major side effect of this medication, however, is that these people lose their memories of the days before and can only really understand who they are through files they're given about themselves. Ultimately, this serves to keep them submissive to the Sovereignty, because if you're only living day to day, there's not really any time to develop dissent or create a revolution.
And of course, I also have so many questions. Who was Cyril before this - what parts of his personality and past aren't being given to him in a daily folder? Why did Mark start questioning everything - was it an independent decision or was there someone who encouraged him like he encouraged Cyril? Why does the lady at the patisserie still know who Cyril is? What does all this medication actually do (besides wipe people's memories)? Why are the children kept separately? (And on that note, if your memory is wiped daily after having a child, do people even know they have kids?)
I actually really love your characters, particularly in the way you've shaped Cyril and Mark's relationship. You've appropriately captured some serious skepticism on Cyril's part, in both directions. He's questioning not only Mark, who's doing some serious 'peacebreaking,' but also the Sovereignty as a whole, thanks to what he's heard from Mark. And also, I just really like how the two of them interact, and Cyril stealing Mark's badge so he won't forget what Mark looks like is a great little detail that adds to what I'm assuming (hoping?) will eventually be an actual ship. I love that there's an entire day's journal entry dedicated solely to the fact that "Mark touched my hand today" because that's just so precious.
Anyways, the worldbuilding you've done in this chapter is absolutely phenomenal, and it's left me so curious about where the story will go from here. I had so much fun reading this!!
I meant to review this last night but Mr Curls distracted me with _things_ ;)
I'm so excited you're writing and posting OF!! You're such a talented writer and this is a super exciting step. :D :D
I love that your dystopian future still has patisseries. So far I don't mind this future, lol. I also like that the dystopian future gov gives Cy the feeling his job matters and is a key position in society. I mean, purpose is essential in any org. Ooh, I love the idea that violence and other darker elements of human nature are a disease and that medicating the population is the approach.
At first I was all "who is Mark" but then I learned and realized that Cyril is about to get his first exposure to dissent. *popcorn* My initial feeling is that Mark and Cyril really have known each other for a long time but due to medication, Cy doesn't remember. *more popcorn* Mark broke free of the medication impacts and remmebers their years of friendship. At least, that's what my fanfic will be about.
ALL OF MARK'S POINTS ARE 10000% VALID
Having Mark start down this pathway is a super effective way to tell the reader about the nature of this distopian future without making it all exposition. <3
"an entire four hours after work and before curfew to have frivolous conversations" that's so generous of their benevolant overlords. I only give my people 3.
I will say that Cy has definitely proved that the power of attraction > the power of authoritarian mindwashing.
I'm pretty curious how the patisserie lady remembers Cy's order. Is Cy the only person who has his mind wiped all the time? Or is everyone equally confused but medicated to the point of not caring???
It is pretty strange that Cy doesn't even remember Mark's face day to day. That's a lot to make someone forget.
I love how it just takes a few days for Cy to see how strange the world is and begin to mistrust the institutions he's been instructed to run to.
AAAHHH! I WISH CY WOULD TELL MARK ABOUT HIS FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELS.
Alright, I keep getting sucked into the story and forget to write comments. but, you killllled me at the postpartum woman wringing her hands and the realization that children are taken to another area. :( :( :( :( :( I'M DEAD.
I'm so hooked and can't wait to read more of this amazing story!!!!!!!!!!!
ROSE YOU'RE READING MY OF! *panics* *frolics* *panics* *falls over*
Things are important to be distracted by. *cough*
Patisseries are also important things! Yes, I wanted the controlling regime to be truly believing that they were doing [some sort] of good by stopping violence and whatnot -- at the price of free will and free thinking. Their system falls apart later when we get into the different districts, though 8). Silly ruling class.
Mark is important. BUT. You will not be ruining my little plot twist!! I shall tell you nothing! O.o "...at least that's what my fanfic will be about" ahahaha! Mark and Cyril are important to each other but that's all you're getting out of me. You're too good at reading between the lines -- stop that! :P
*cries* It was so hard to try to world build and set the scene and tell the backstories in this format... especially since Cy knows literally nothing every morning. And only three? You should take note from the Sovereignty 's Peace Keepers -- four is the way to go.
The woman at the patisserie will also be important but that's all I can tell you right now. That, and her name is Amelia.
Yeah, it doesn't take Cyril long to start questioning strange occurences. :D Cy can't tell Mark about his feels because Cy doesn't understand his feels. Shreya and I decided that the ship name would be Cyark, since Markril sounds too much like the fish.
Oh -- yeah, the Children's District. This is one of the darker themes of the story [the children are fine] but yeah, separating parents from their children is an area of the plot that makes me squirm :( . And you're pregnant to boot -- I'm sorry, Rose! I do promise that the children are fine!
:D Thanks so much for the swap -- I'm so happy you stopped by this one! :D :D
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!!!
O/ Hi again!
Awe, thanks! I'm glad you like the descriptions! I wanted to add some more into this chapter since there is so little when showing things through Cyril's eyes. <33 Thanks so much! Especially because of Mark's attraction to poetry, I thought it would be okay to add in some more poetic descriptions! :D YES! A miniature plot twist, lol. And, yeah, I do feel bad that Mark has to sit idly by while the person he loves doesn't really remember who he is (or, not idly, I guess, as he's still trying to help him).
Thanks so much again!
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!!
HI BEX! O/
I wanted to release information a little bit slowly, especially because Cyril doesn't even really know who Cyril is yet. :D Mark is the best kinds of bad influences! Alice sounds pretty cool -- I'll have to check that out. The children's district will be looked at more/explained in more detail later on :P. It's one of the darker themes of the story and I've been debating on exactly how much I want to show/reveal and to what extent. It's not...terribly sinister. Shreya brought up a couple ship names, and I have a particular fondness for Cyark ;). No need to stop shipping Cyark -- Cyark away!
Thanks so, so much! <3
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.)
HOW DO I EVEN RESPOND TO THIS!? *cries* When I first scrolled down from 'this will probably be short' I just had to laugh -- :P It's beautiful! <3 Now to try to not respond in all caps because I swear it's hard not to.
1. YOU KILL ME! I'm most certainly not good at anything BUT I'M SO HAPPY YOU THINK MY FLUFFY ROMANCE IS SWEEEEEEEEEET! Poor Cyril! He's just so overwhelmed and confused by Mark -- heheheh.
2. While the people who run the Sovereignty will always be painted in a negative light -- because what they're doing is inexcusable -- they believe what they're doing is for the good. And the reason I bring this up is because of your point here. They truly believe that they're helping the citizens by created a forced state of peace and compliance. While no wars are about to break out with these people all hopped up on the medication (and the people, more or less, are in a state that they believe to be 'happy' or at least 'satisfied'), each of them with their own purpose and such, there still lacking their basic freedoms in life. One of the things that I think is the most tragic, which you've also brought up before, is their inability to maintain any kind of meaningful relationship because of the drug-induced amnesia. They don't have family or friends (that they can remember). Each day is just another brand new day. Once we start hopping into those lower districts -- especially the Slogs -- it'll be shown how this system has already begun to fall apart.
3. World building, especially through Cyril's journal entries, has been especially difficult!! Hopefully Mark's perspective will help fill in some of the questions but I'm really happy you like the way it has been set up so far. I hate feeling like I'm dumping information on people, but I'm also super nervous about not giving enough information and that everyone will be completely lost when they read this. And, yes, the children will most definitely be talked about.
4. Cyark is a wonderful ship name! It's got a nice ring to it. Cyark. Markril's good too but I keep seeing "Mackerel" hahahahaha! And hooray! I'm glad you're digging the Cyark! There's so much more I want to say here to respond to some of this, but there is also a plot twist in the second chapter and I'm not prepared to give it away! Ahahah! Yeah, something as minor as touching hands sends Cyril overboard right now :P . And I do also love that Mark is open with Cy, but he's still taking baby steps as he's not 100% certain of how Cy will react at any given time. They're SO GAY for each other, you've got that right :D.
alkjdflakjdfl;kasjdf lkj I'm so glad that you liked this! <3 Thanks so, so much for all your help and feedback with the first chapter (and all THIS extra feedback too)! I nearly fell out of my chair when I first read this review!
THANK YOU <333