Hi Rumpels! Here to give you some love (and for the magical menagerie ofc, #WyvernFTW)!
It was interesting to read this fic, a fic with effectively an amnesiac as the main character after a few months and having forgotten quite a few details hahaha. It was a really interesting effect, kind of like I started gathering the pieces just as Cyril did and oh, man, when I pieced everything back together...PURE PAIN.
Reading this fic still feels a lot like coming home. Every time I read it, I’m reminded of all the reasons I love it. As always, your balance of humor and darkness is just so spectacular. I found the scene with the horrid stench to be rather amusing but then it was followed by an emotional attack (my feels are pretty dead now, thanks), and neither felt too overwhelming. They were just perfectly balanced and I think that takes serious skill.
Speaking of an emotional attack...I’m still reeling. I think this chapter has been the rawest examination of Cyril and Mark’s bond and how the meds has fractured that bond. I’ve always been fascinated by the effects of forcing people to forget each other on relationships and this chapter just makes me sick to my stomach at that thought—and all the more attached to Mark and Cy, for how their love seems to be strong enough to overcome even that. I just really can’t imagine what Mark must be feeling right now, with Cy’s ridiculous comment about how they were friends (UGH. STAB ME IN THE HEART) and then the claims about Amelia...heart-shattering, honestly. I like that you put in part of his POV, but not too much. Like I said: you strike the perfect balance.
The last moment in tbe chapter warmed my heart and I might’ve actually cooed out loud. They’re just so adorable?! I can tell that this chapter is setting up a lot for their relationship in the future and I’m so so excited to see what comes next. I feel this review has been underwhelming but let me just tell you that this fic continues to be one of my absolute favorites and I was beyond excited to see a chapter that I hadn’t read yet published <3
Loved it, and looking forward to more <3 Thank you for sharing!
Hey, Rumple! I'm here for your Christmas review present a day late!
I know you said you were nervous about putting your first multichaptered original story up, but it's amazing.
There's definitly some editing that can be done. I caught a couple of typos and it was a bit confusing at first when you broke up dialogue from one person into so many lines, since usually it breaks for a new speaker, but other than that I loved it.
For some reason I thought Cyril was a girl in the first chapter, and I was very pleased when I realized he wasn't, though I would have liked it either way. I'm always a slut for more LGBT+ rep, and they're just...so cute together. I love you you started hinting at things in the first chapter, and how you reveal things a little at a time instead of dumping it all at once on us. It keeps you wanting to read and find out...evendenced by me reading all four chapters when I technically should be doing other things. (She says, as she's also been on Twitter) :P
I'm usually not a fan of the medication approach to dystopian stories like this, since there's a lot of stigma surrounding taking medication (which I need myself), but I really do like this story. I forgot the name of the short story, but it reminds me of one we read in school where people had ear pieces that would make loud noises whenever someone started questioning things, which would shock them out of thinking. It was the one where a couple was watching a ballet proformance and it turned out their son got shot killed while they were watching? Because he and a girl took off the limitations the goverment had forced on them. This was years ago.
I'm also always a slut for characters that love poetry, at least when done right and doesn't come across pretincious, which this doesn't. It always makes me sad how many people don't like poems.
The wall idea makes me think a lot of the book series Uglies, and the Divergent series as well. Actually, this reminds me a lot of the series Uglies. Have you read those books before? If not I'd recommend it.
Anyway, I'll be looking foward to reading more of this, and I hope you start feeling better soon!
Hi Rumpels! Popping back in to this story to spread a little holiday cheer. :)
I love this first little entry, because Cyril is still really confused by Mark and his feelings for Mark (since, ya know, he’s forgotten that he has them) and they both sound like two kids who have mutual crushes on each other and turn super awkward around each other as a result. I love all the ways you describe emotions here, without the words for them since Cyril himself doesn’t have the words - especially this line: “It's no wonder that the Peacekeepers have deemed such strong emotions dangerous because something quite diabolical was happening to all of my insides.” And omg the little detail about Mark knowing where Cyril keeps his linens is great.
And the start of the second entry is hilarious, because I can definitely imagine how finding a man you don’t remember just moving about in your home would be alarming - and I LOVE how Mark’s just talking a million miles a minute and Cyril’s just standing there and completely alarmed. But then Mark’s response was heartbreaking, as was Cyril’s reaction when he figured out who Mark was. And then this line - “I don't want to have to read to remember Mark. I want to remember him always.” - was just SO CUTE.
I liked the museum scene a lot - it gave a ton of background and world building without feeling like some massive information dump. But all the background about the war and all the actions leading up to it (which…. sound quite a lot like modern times, in a way) was really well-placed amongst the interactions between Cyril and Mark.
And Cyril’s going off his meds!! This is big!! I wonder if he’ll get all his memories back at once, or if it’ll come back in pieces. I guess that’s something I’ll figure out the answer to soon enough.
Also, Cyril interpreting Mark’s mention of Amelia as his wife or girlfriend is such a massive misunderstanding, because MARK’S IN LOVE WITH YOU AND IT’S SO OBVIOUS. I imagine that misunderstanding will get cleared up relatively quickly once Cyril actually *meets* Amelia, but for now, poor guy, haha.
Another really lovely chapter, Rumpels! This world you’ve managed to build in just these first three chapters really is incredible. :)
Hi, Rumpel. Thank you so much for sparing your time for beta reading.
Though I read this chapter before, I had so many questions and then I ended just making a graphic of Mark. I was not ready for leaving my review.
Then I read some reviews by the fellow authors trying to understand your fic. Okay, now I think I am ready. Here we go.
From the start, mystery began.Why do patisseries make Cy's stomack churn? Does he sense they had once poison or something bad cause that let him allow to stay in the place he lives now? I feel conspiracy is going on.
From the title I guess the protagonist and Mark broke the laws in the world in this story and their memory, at least Cy's has been deleted with some tricks. I remembered one HP fanfic themed the cursed place which let people forget their past. I am not sure, my guess may be wrong.
Mark's smell is familiar to Cy. And he has a special feeling, calmed down everytime he was near Cy. Mark must have been a very important person before Cy lost his memory. Mark seems to know what is coming observing Cy. It seems that he watches and observes Cy and protects him.
A very intriguing story!
Hey, Kenny o/
There's a lot going on with the dystopian spin, so it's understandable that it might've been a bit confusing at first. A conspiracy surrounding poisoned pastries is a really clever idea, but I was more or less using the sweets angle as a device to show that Cyril struggles to understand what he likes and doesn't like due to the medication he's being given. He decides he doesn't like sweets because the thought made his stomach churn (much in the way that the idea of anything sweet in the morning makes my own stomach churn -- just a general dislike for things like that in the mornings).
And yes, the title does imply that Mark and Cyril are lawbreakers in their own regard, as the civilization that they live in might not be what it seems. And yes, you're right, Cyril's amnesia has much to do with the medications he's been given, and is more purposeful than not.
I was experimenting with the idea of certain memories and people leaving imprints on people, even through medicated-induced amnesia, which is why Mark seems very familiar to Cyril. And you're right again, Mark knows Cyril better than Cyril knows Cyril at the moment, and does watches over him and protects him in his own way.
Thanks for the lovely review, Kenny! o/
You tease! you give me just enough to keep me wanting more without giving me too much. I'm sitting here going wha? Bu... bu... *insert random gestures* I want more chica. The questions and confusion of Cy made my heart hurt and ache particularly knowing Mark's side of things. I'm so scared you are going to break things for our dear boys. I mean I'd love the story if you did and I'd love the story if they get a semi-happily ever after.
Ug this is not fair! I need more lovely. Your writing pulls me in and it is hard to pull back out.
Anyway lovely job, do want to mention that there are a few typos sprinkled in the story like there is a time where the word his is and it should be this. (Just little things) Your writing is beautiful just a few techincal glitches that I know you'll get to in time. Thank you for such a lovely tale and I cannot wait to to read more from you.
Carrie O/! <.< I'm writing more -- sorry, sorry! ;) The Mark and Cyril dramatics ran away with the plot for a minute here, but I'm pulling it back in. The boys needed their moment, I guess -- can't stop them sometimes. And yes! I desperately need to edit this chapter (I've just been terrible about getting around to it, but it's something that definitely needs to happen soon. I'm awful at spotting my own typos <.< grammarly save me. I'm hoping to get back to this story soon, my muse is forever poking at it...I just need the time now <.< or to not focus so much on other things.
Thanks so much for your lovely reviews <3
I read this ages ago and then I failed to leave you a review. I love the story you are crafting here it is so unique and beautiflly written You have such vivid characters and a strong world in which to work. I loved the moments between Mark and Cyril. There is a lot of power here and I am so excited to see another chapter for me to read and review. Thank you for writing this for my challenge! This is one of the reviews that you've earned for getting second place in my challenge. Again it was not easy judging and it came really close.
Then ending though when Cyril gets upset that Angie maybe more to Mark than what she actually is is subtle but powerful and it does not bode well for the next chapter particularly considering the chapter title. Can't wait to start reading the next chapter!
Carrie! O/ I'm terrible at responding to reviews in a timely fashion -- sorry <.< <3 I'm so happy that you like the characters and the Mark-Cyril moments. There was meant to be a subtly Angie vs Cy moment two chapters from this one, but Mark and Cyril's convo took a little bit of a side-trip down in the sewers so the outline changed slightly <.< haha! Thanks for your lovely review, dear <3.
Let me start by saying what I forgot to say about the last chapter - awesome descriptions!
Now onto this one. The restraint finally broke didn't it? It's kind of miraculous really that he was able to last this long - MONTHS - working right next to his love who doesn't even recognize him or remember anything they shared. But I'm very interested to see how things develop from here - even if you've left me BITTERLY disappointed that we didn't get to see the whole interaction with Amelia I was hoping for. (:p)
I could've just put this down here I suppose, but I'll repeat it - awesome descriptions. You really put us in the gloom, amid the foul stench and that absolutely helps show the "follow him anywhere" thoughts shining through in Cyril. It also shows the incredible thought you've put into this world you've created and I think it works out well. As before you actually have a REASON that things are the way they are and why people are where they are, living how they live. I feel like that's something that often just gets plopped down when it occurs in a dystopian setting and I was glad to see you continue to have an explanation for all these things.
The symmetry continues in this dance to drag Cyril back into the light so-to-speak and Mark makes it more literal - that Cyril saved HIM before and now the shoe is on the other foot. I like it.
Thanks for sharing your awesome story with me Rumpel! As my "official" pesterer, I fully expect you to poke and prod and remind me to read more so that I don't forget (because I'm always forgetting these days :( )
And yeah, this is the chapter where Mark's discretion begins to crumble. I can imagine that it's been taking a toll on Mark, having Cyril right there and yet still not right there. I know! The Amelia scene was IN the chapter outline for the next chapter, but something strange happened while writing this chapter in which I decided to take that part out. I had planned this entire dramatic meltdown of Cyril's inner workings as he watched Mark and Amelia interact, thinking that there must be something between them. I'm not sure why it ultimately came out in this chapter, but the conversation between Mark and Cyril in the sewers got a little more intense than I had originally intended.
It was important to me to have a rhyme for my reason ;) I'm glad that you appreciated that fact... There's so much going on, I just need to make sure it all falls into place when it's supposed to and not let Cyril and Mark's dramatics take some of that out (they're attention hogs, what can I say). But, as the Cyril x Mark plot thickens, so will the rest of the plot, I suppose.
Thank you for coming here and giving me feedback! I'm having a lot of fun writing this but am truly a newbie to the extensive world of OF, so I feel like I'm struggling to stay afloat. Offical pesterer duties are important o7 . <3
I have returned!
The re-developing chemistry between Cyril and Mark is shown nicely. I like the way that Cyril simply...does...things that he doesn't even truly understand around Mark. The way they happen is sort of beautifully awkward too in that as a reader you know they've been together before and that (I think) this was all very commonplace between them, but here Cyril is reacting like a high-schooler feeling THE feels for someone for the first time and not being quite sure how to handle everything new while a more experienced individual takes it all in stride.
I'm glad we got the exposition of the Sovereignty's account for the record and beyond that it was a solid read if for no other reason than we get to meet a Peacekeeper for the first time, see how they are, and breathe in a tad of suspense along with Cyril while he worries about getting caught.
Short thoughts from me on this chapter, but I'm pretty geared up for this trip to the UG and seeing how Amelia and Cyril interact since it seems like they "know" each other as well based on the previous chapter.
I'm glad that the chemistry and the "doing of things" is coming across nicely -- I'm still trying to work out that imprinting angle of how specific memories and people can be somewhat recognized through the medication. However, since Cyril doesn't really understand what that's all about, I think you're right, where he's very much in a state of adolescent love that he's not quite sure WHAT it is or what to even do with or about those feelings. Peacekeepers are something I certainly want to show more of -- there's a love of societal and political elements between both the Sovereignty and the Underground and the Outside that all have to be more fleshed out in the story. I'm trying to balance the introduction of information so that the reader knows what's going on without turning things into an infodump -- the struggles of writing :/ .
Thanks again for taking a loot at this for me! You're awesome!
Hello. It's me. I was wandering the archives for reviews I should complete. So I read: We, Lawbreaking. They say those meds are supposed to heal you, but Cy hasn't got much healing.
ANYWAY... This gives some background as to the pace. Naturally, I never should've doubted you had a clever, well-planned purpose to it all and it definitely shone through here. I like the jumping back to Mark's perspective right off the top to do that as well. He gives us a little background in there yes, but there's so much symmetry that comes from it too that it's just great!
One of the things I also love about the characters themselves is their personalities. While they all have degrees of uncertainty in them - even those (partially) free - mixed in with their current emotional blends, they have ways of interacting and delivering their "lines" in particular that help distinguish them. The only thing I'd consider here is the parentheticals, which I think I've seen out of both Cyril and Mark.
I definitely like the way that you wrote Cyril's emotions as coming through stronger and less stable than the others given that they're basically warring with his medications at the moment. It also mirrors the war in his mind about the truth of his life, though I'm wondering if he'll make the connection between the weapons at the museum and the medication. It calls me back to the speech in "Scent of a Woman" - the contrast between physical injury and damaging someone's identity - "[t]here isn't nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit...there is no prosthetic for that."
I am rambling now so I'm simply going to stop and move on to the next chapter. Know you've got a great thing going though!
O/ Hi again, Kevin!
Shhh, don't let people know that sometimes I know what I'm doing -- they'll come to expect it of me! ;) I'm glad the pacing does make a little more sense once Cyril's past has been a little more revealed! In my original outline (ick) before I got everything fully planned out, I had intended to tell the story through Cyril's journal entries only, but playing around with Mark's perspective allowed me to reveal things that I couldn't with Cyril and was also pretty fun, so I am happy that you liked Mark's perspective thrown into the mix! Ah yes, the parentheticals are something that I have a natural tendency to write in everything -- so I'll definitely have to keep them in mind (that's a lot more of me and my wordiness shining through than the characters themselves, so I'm glad you pointed it out). Also, I'm glad that Cyril's emotions are making sense through his medication vs memory imprinting!
Thanks so much <3
RUMPELS. Here for your wishlist. I hope you have a wonderful month, because you are a lovely person and you deserve it. ♥
I saw the slightest hint of the Cyril I once knew. My Cyril. -- I knew it! haha. Aw, this is so sad though, because the thought that Cyril can't remember what they had (whatever it was that they had) is heartbreaking and must be so hard for Mark to live with, knowing that.
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. -- This. I don't know if this is meant to be funny, but in some twisted way, it is. Like, Mark sees it as this magical, ethereal moment, seeing Cyril for the first time - but the fact that he goes on to describe steam coming off of sewage pipes makes this significantly less romantic. But the image itself is lovely, if you ignore that they are sewage pipes. Love at first sight, plus sewage in the background. Omg, I just love this. XD
Calcium enriched bread product sounds incredibly unappetizing. As long as it's not made of people. I did see your tweet during NaNo that referenced Soylent Green and now I'm like lowkey worried that Bread Pproduct is the same thing XD
A+ for the names of those sex-ed pamphlets, hahaha
I really love the way you highlight the surroundings in this fic almost like it's a character in its own right, and the juxtaposition between the leafy tree-lined streets where everyone is a sedated drone, versus the dark sewer where everyone has autonomy. I know I laughed before about the steaming sewage pipe but in a way I can now kind of see why Mark thought that was such a beautiful sight, because in this world, that's freedom? It's such a weird thought, and I love that.
the Outside is totally not a wasteland, I call BS on the Peacekeepers. Based on what I know of this society so far, and my experience with other sci fi, the Outside is probably gorgeous.
The line about Cyril not knowing what tears were and having to get a pamphlet about it to explain what was happening was so heartbreaking. Oof. I can't even imagine. Just the sheer amount of things he must have to learn every day must be exhausting - it's like learning how to live all over again every day. I'm really glad that he retains the feelings about this book and about Mark even if he can't understand or remember them. And even if he will have forgotten about reading this book by tomorrow.
Gah, this story is so good and creative, once again I'm crazy impressed. This was such a great chapter. You're amazing. 10/10
KRISTEN! <3 I'm terrible at responding to reviews, I'm so sorry ;_;
Ah my Mark-Cyril mini-twist! :( In the positive, now Mark gets to try to get him back, but I can imagine that it's frustrating, lonely, and heartbreaking to watch someone you were in love with not be able to even remember who you are. :/
That's actually a very important point about the sewers and how it was sort of funny because, while it was a "magical moment" it was...in the sewers. I kind of wanted to put emphasis in the price of freedom and free-will here, in terms of this particular dystopia: if someone were to stay on their meds, follow the lead, and do what they're told, they get to live a very utopic-like society; if they want to be free of the meds and see the "utopia" for what it is, the only place they can openly do that is in the Underground, which is not as an ideal place, but it is free. But yes, it also gave me a bit of a chuckle to do the love at first sight bit plus sewage pipes <.< . That's real love. Haha!
*dies* the bread product is not people, I swear! hahaha! While there are terrible things happening here (but you didn't hear that from me), they aren't resorting to cannibalism this time!
o7 Sex-ed pamphlets were ridiculously fun to name ;)
The Outside might be more than what the Peacekeepers are saying :D . Hehe.
And I definitely wanted to the explore the idea of strong emotions/certain people being able to leave impressions through the medications -- in the same sense that the woman outside the wall knew there was something missing, even if she couldn't remember her child.
<3 Thanks so much for the amazing review! <3 <3 <3 You're always so awesome!
Howdy Rumpel! After a storm, a "going-through-it", and a series of fails, I am finally here with your reviews!
I know your chief interests are the storytelling mechanics and the worldbuilding, so I'll focus on those before jumping to other things. First, the journal to third to journal to third change is, I think, perfectly fine. I think it works very well in this context and comes across perfectly naturally the way that you've set it up in the initial exchange between Mark and Cyril (whose very beginning I really enjoy). You can definitely sense the shift between factual and confident initial entries to facts juxtaposed against independent thought to generalized uncertainty as it moves forward too.
Obviously I'm in Chapter 1 so I don't know for sure where or how long or what path the story is taking, but I do feel like this emerging consciousness, the questioning, the acting on it, the "subversion" if you will occurs quite rapidly. I think that pace would make a lot more sense if CYRIL were off meds too, but ATM it just feels a little fast to me on a visceral and intellectual level.
I like the worldbuilding you've done so far, which opens really strong while also developing Cyril and his place within it nicely from the word go. You seem to have created a world that is a nice little blend of dystopias - I notice a parallel primarily with A Brave New World, but also allusions to potential Hunger Games and/or 1984 situations with the Districts and the children. I'm very interested to see how it unfolds.
Of course I'd also be remiss not to give a shout-out to my boy Big Daddy Dingle because, well...obviously :p
Thanks for being brave enough to share your OF with the world! I hope to come back to the next three chapters tomorrow (but for real this time)!
Heya, Kevin! Thanks for coming by and taking a look at my concerns! :D
That's excellent news -- I was hoping to be able to make a discernable enough difference between Mark and Cyril's voices to show the signs of being on the medication versus being off it. I think the pacing has a lot to do with the being on the precipice of coming to and Cyril's past (which isn't revealed as of in this chapter), as well as trying to keep this around/under 15 chapters, but I will definitely take a peek at the pacing and see what I can do about the onset of realizations. Big Daddy Dingle is the man ;) . Thanks so much for stopping in to look at this again! <3
Hi Rumpels! I'm back!!
Ahhhhhhh omg they had a relationship before this! That explains so much of their chemistry, and why Mark knew so much. But gah, that's so heartbreaking, especially because Mark remembers it and has to look Cyril in the eye and act as if there's no history there, other than the occasional dropped hint (the angst!!!). On that note, I really love that you've started this chapter from Mark's POV - I think it helps establish a lot of really important details that we couldn't get from Cyril's POV due to the meds situation, like aforementioned previous relationship, and the Underground, and whatever event happened before this that had gotten Mark and Cyril in trouble.
And Amelia! I had a feeling that the woman at the patisserie end up being significant, since she knew Cyril's name and all, so I love that you've introduced her properly in this chapter. She's clearly got a lot of spunk, with her whole 'seduce and recover' comment - I'm curious to learn more about her as the story progresses, especially how she knows Mark and Cyril, and how she fits into their newly revealed backstory.
Unrelated to the actual review, but 'if you think she's spunky, cover your monkey' is freaking hilarious. I'm dead, Rumpels. Dead.
As for the leap from Mark's POV to Cyril's journal entries, I think the transition is smooth enough - the heading makes it obvious that we're looking at journal entries again. If you wanted to make it even more distinguishable, you could throw a line break in there to fully break them into two pieces?
If I recall correctly, you mentioned something in your response to my previous review about there being some sort of emotional response to things you've got a strong connection with (like children), even though your memory is wiped. You've really written that wonderfully here, with Cyril's response to the poetry that Mark gave him. He can't figure out why his body's reacting in the way that it does, but it happens nonetheless; your descriptions of the swell of emotions and his heart and the tears that he doesn't understand - it perfectly captures that combination of powerful emotions and confusion about the source of said emotions. Seriously, that whole last section was just really beautifully written.
Gah, okay, I know I was supposed to provide guidance for editing, but I genuinely have nothing helpful to add other than my general squealing about everything. I like that you've teased the concept of both the Underground and the Outsiders - two very different alternative societies to the Sovereignty - in this chapter, and I hope that they'll get explored a little more in future chapters, because they seem incredibly interesting! Like, why have neither of them attempted to overthrow the Sovereignty yet? (Or have they tried and failed?)
This was such a wonderful and emotional second chapter, and I love how you've continued to build this world out in a way that still leaves room for plenty of questions.
Taylor, your reviews are always awesomesauce.
Aha, one miniature plot twist! o7 I've always thought of plot twists best served towards the latter half of a piece because it changes the entire perspective of the first half, which is essentially supposed to be the brilliance of them, isn't it? I decided not to play by the rules. But, yeah, it does make for a sad life in Mark's book. I kinda felt like I had to switch back and fourth between Mark and Cyril because of the meds. I mean, I could have just kept moving forward with Cyril and filled in the blanks as we went along, but I really wanted to establish Mark's motives right off the bat, and it makes it so much easier on me for worldbuilding purposes.
Amelia's my Gryffindor. :P I've had a lot of fun with her, especially because I have tended to lean on her for a bit of comic relief, but she's one of my favorite female OCs I've written so far. I've always loved a good, strong female OC, but I generally also pair them with an awkward, misfit side, whereas I explored more of a comedic, intelligent, strong female character with Amelia and have really loved the results. Unfortunately, I haven't written much of Amelia off of the outline, so I'm anxious to really introduce her in all her glory. I just hope she's received as well as I'd like her to be.
:D I'm so happy you liked my Sex Ed Slogan. (I totally came up with that before I even finished outlining this thing...I was determined to slide it in somewhere.)
Ahh, a line break is an excellent suggestion. That'll probably help smooth over the transition, thank you :)!
And yaay! I'm really glad that you thought the unknown feelings were well done. I was sort of nervous that that part was going to feel forced (almost cliched in the amnesia trope), but I definitely want the concept of some sort of imprint to be shown in this -- that there's something stronger than medication and government and being told what you should be thinking and feeling and knowing.
Yes, I will definitely be delving into the Underground and, eventually the Outside -- though to be perfectly honest the Outside won't be revealed as much until the sequel, which I also have outlined but until I force myself to write, it is nothing but a motivator to finish WLC. And I do explain more specifically about why they haven't revolted, and it does have a LOT to do with there being so many innocent people that would get caught up in the mix (plus a truth about the Children's District that puts a damper on things).
O/ Thanks so much, Taylor! <3
Rumpels, I came across this while validating, and omg. I'm completely in love with it. I wish I had time to leave a better review, but I feel like if I wait, I won't get around to reviewing for like months, and I'd rather just... you know, review now. :P I love the dystopian feel, I love your premise, I love their dynamic, and I love literally everything about this omfg.
Hi, Branwen! O/ This review is lovely -- thanks so much! I'm so happy that you like it! <3333
Another lovely chapter Rumples dear. This story keeps gaining more depth and it's kind of a 'be still my heart' moment. Mark omg Mark. My heart goes out to him - the love and passion there it just gets me. I also adore Amelia she is fun and spunky.
I also LOVE your use of poetry here too. I honestly am in love with story and do not like being pulled out of this story. It is something that I just want to dive into and never leave.
Please know I don't say these things because I
o/ Hello again <3333
I'm really happy that you're enjoying the characters... they've been very fun to play with. THANKS SO SO So much! I'm so happy that you are enjoying the story!
Rumple, you have a gift. Seriously you do. While this is a new voice for you, you land it perfectly. Your voice just drew me in and did not want to let me go.
You have crafted a vivid world one that has me begging for more. I want to know more of this story and am excited to go to the next chapter. While I've seen a lot of dystopic stories and some of similar nature to yours you still have a unique twist and world and I love it.
You also do a wonderful job of layering in the story and your world so that it isn't an info dump but I can pick of the piece and start running with the character. Brilliant work lovely!
Seriously you are gifted in this and I feel like I've entered into a professionally written novel - and I don't say that lightly.
<3 THANK YOU SO MUCH, YOU'RE TOO KIND! I'm so glad you enjoyed Cyril's voice -- he's been entirely fun to write. And I'm glad you like the woven-in bits of worldbuilding and characterization. I'm worried that creating the mystery will create too many questions, so I'm really glad that it's working so far! ;_; again, you're WAY TOO KIND. I'm just going to go cry over here now.
RUMPELS HI. I feel like it's been ages since I visited your page, so I'm really glad the House Cup 2018-19 opener has reminded me to seek out authors from other houses and profess my undying love for your writing.
And this is OF! Omg, I'm so glad you decided to share your first multichap OF with us. This story, based on the one chapter I've read of it so far, is honestly just fascinating. I love it. The dystopian setup, the characters secretly rebelling against a system that is trying to keep them under control - I get a similar feeling reading this that I did reading 1984, which I absolutely love. Ahh. Just... It's already such a high anxiety feel and I'm so worried about what happens when someone gets caught, because... They're bound to at some point, right? I mean I don't want them to, but, yikes. I know it's coming.
I also want to draw attention to your phenomenal world building. At first, you provide is with just enough detail to let the reader know that something is /off/. Notably, Cyril mentions that Mark says they've been talking for three months, and just these little mentions of why he knows things and they are all because a sign or a pamphlet told him so, today. And then when the truth is revealed, it's simultaneously shocking and also not surprising at all because you hinted at it all along. I can't imagine how crazy that must be, to only know a day's worth of information about yourself and then to lose it all. How can people be ok with losing themselves like that? It just seems terrifying to me. On the bright side you'd never have to remember your awkward hookups or the fact that you went to work with jam on your shirt yesterday because those memories all get erased :P
But, speaking of the way people can't build up memories or longer relationships -how are people married?? You mentioned a married couple and I can only wonder how they ever got to know each other well enough given that they have only a day of memory.
It does seem like some things remain, though, and can't fully be erased - the woman who had the baby clearly knows something is different about her life even if she can't remember having the baby. And omg wow that's so awful.
I wonder what made Mark stop taking the meds. Was he just too independent to be continually sedated by the meds and he decided on his own? Or, like Cyril, did someone tell him and he stopped because of that? I'm sure i'll vfind out more about him later but I'm just so curious! He's an intriguing character.
Also I have a theory that Cyril and Mark had a thing in the past that Cyril has forgotten. Or maybe one earlier time Cyril figured out he has feelings for Mark, which he has now forgotten about but Mark still remembers. I'm really looking forward to knowing more about their history.
I'm not sure whether this is due to a typos or Cyril forgetting, but in the beginning he gives his surname as Bernard and then later it is Bertrand..
Anyway, this is honestly so interesting and I can't wait to read more!! Wonderful writing, Rumpels. <3
KRISTEN HI! IT FEELS LIKE FOREVER SINCE I'VE LAST VISITED YOURS TOO! <3
Yay! I'm glad you like it so far! It's more fully explained what exactly getting caught entails later on ;). I'm so glad you like the worldbuilding! How can people be ok with losing themselves like that? I think it largely has a lot to do with 1) what people are willing to sacrifice to not feel pain, 2) propaganda and scare tactics used from the nuclear fallout of "the war", and 3) not really knowing any different. This concept was generated by listening to my husband's conspiracy theories about "Big Pharma" and subtly controlling the masses with medication. And, yeah, no jam-shirt embarrassing memories, haha! How are people married? You've caught it! That is explained later but I will leave you with only certain people are married. Because in reality, even if you had your pamphlet explaining who the other person was, how would you react waking up next to a stranger, who also has absolutely no idea who you are? It just doesn't work, but the explanation to the newspaper couple is a secret, and yet revealed directly in their occupation -- they run the newspaper. It does seem like some things remain, though, and can't fully be erased - the woman who had the baby clearly knows something is different about her life even if she can't remember having the baby Yes, exactly. I wanted to play on the idea that things that you care about (especially people that you love) can leave some residual feeling of familiarity, even through the medication. Mark's backstory will also be more fully revealed later on. Cyril and Mark had a thing in the past that Cyril has forgotten. You are way too observant, but THAT is for the next chapter, hahaha! And the Bernard/Bertrand thing was a typo/oversight. I changed his last name to Bernard while plotting, but must've slipped back to Bertrand while writing. O.o I'll have to edit that out.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review <3!
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)
Your lovely birthday reviews are amazing!
Mark and Cyril being cute is the highlight of my day O/ hahah! <3 and you're still too kind! I'm very glad that the moment Cyril has where the meds are causing him to lose his grip on reality a bit stood out to you. I really wanted to show how it's affecting people, on how it's easy to fall into the trap of complacency. I'm glad you're finding comparisons to draw to real life (and I don't mind the repetition whatsoever, you're amazing). I drew a lot of inspiration, especially surrounding the medicine, from some of my husband's conspiracy theories. Really, I should listen to them more, as some of them make for some epic plotlines -- hahah!
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. -- that's a lovely idea, that war could be irradicated if people could see what they have to lose. I think that those responsible mainly see what is to gain, unfortunately, which is not a fantastic way to look at things, if you're not looking at what you could in turn lose.
<3 I'm so so glad you like this! It's been a lot of fun for me to write (and continue writing) so far. And maybe Mark is less of a morning person and more of a Happy to Be With Cyril person ;) . I hope you're doing well <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
I don't know how you managed to keep calm and re-write this massive review (I don't know how you had the patience to write it on your phone in the first place). I would've given up wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy before then, haha! But you're amazing -- thank you so, so, so much for this birthday present <3 it's amazing and so are you.
;_; I'm sorry I've broken your heart! But I am glad that you liked my little tiny plot twist! While I was planning out the basic plot, I needed a motive for Mark to try talking Cyril off his medication. Since the two had such good chemistry, it felt kinda right to have them have a previous relationship -- and then their past really just unfurled from there (which I'll be getting more and more into as the story progresses).
I'm totally using Mark (which I do feel slightly bad about). Adding his perspective allows me another angle to better explain things that Cyril really cannot. I had originally intended to write solely using Cyril, but Mark's POV just sort of... happened, haha! I'm really not used to writing mystery elements, so I'm VERY happy that it's working out :D. My main issue is trying to figure out where to drop breadcrumbs, which you're really awesome at picking up on. Everything gets explained in time (bum-bum-bummmmm). Ahhh *blush*!
I'm glad Mark is coming across splendidly Clawesome and that Amelia shows off her Gryffindor side! All the Slytherins are in the Underground, where it's cool and dark ;) hahaha! That's where we like to be, isn't it??
YES! That's exactly what I was going for -- Cy sees Mark as his hero (while Mark is just wonderfully Mark, haha ;) ), and Cyril is really the one who saved him. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE YOU'RE TOO KIND I LOVE YOU.
I am glad that Cyril's voice is sticking out independent of Marks (and that you thought it was a good choice to do the POV swap there), but I am sorry it caught you off guard! D: I am sorry about your heart!! AND YES THE NOT CRYING BIT. There is, without a doubt, that Cyril has cried before, just not that he remembers. And forgetting pain absolutely does come hand-in-hand with forgetting happiness, in this instance.
I'm glad you liked If You Think She's Spunky, Cover Your Monkeybecause I laughed wayyyy too much at it when I was writing it and was afraid my 12-year-old humor was shining through, bahahaha!
Thank you so so SO SO SO so so sosososo 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
Mark, the lurker :). I needed Mark and Cy at Cyril's house for the morning scene (and as a way to get them together on Sunday morning for the museum, as Cy has no idea where Mark lives). Having Cy invite Mark over would have gone over awkwardly, especially since Cyril doesn't really have a concrete concept of what having company is meant to be. So...having Mark lurking in the shadows seemed to be a less awkward transition, as strange as that is to say, haha!
Cyril definitely has a crush ;). I think he felt that in that moment, too, but was at a complete loss to what had transgressed in that moment. But, you're right -- it's certainly something.
D: I hate myself for breaking Mark's heart a little. </3 I'm usually fine with unrequited love and heartbreak, especially in my own stories, but they're just so cute together :( it made me very sad to make Mark sad.
This absolutely counts as a date ;). Cyril might not know it's a date, but close enough. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha! The Amelia bit :D :D . That's going to be fun to write.
Thanks SO much for all your wonderful squee <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!
Welcome to my tiny plot-twist! ;) Hahaha! Sorry about the questions! I was trying to weave things into the story as I went :P. And, yeah, that's pretty much what happened -- Mark's worried that Cy will tell someone, which means that Mark will be forced back on the medication. That would put a damper in Operation Seduce and Recover. Haha!
Haha, when I was plotting, I definitely wanted them to be bonded over one of my passions -- so I took it to poetry. Contraband books were a pretty easy avenue to get them to meet. I get a bit deeper into Mark and Cy's previous relationship later on!
With the Underground, I was inspired by the underground LGBTQ+ movement in NYC during Sylvia Rivera & Marsha P. Johnson's time. Something about the movement and the Stonewall riots gave presented this very unique atmosphere that I modelled the Underground after.
Amelia! I'm glad you like her and her comic relieving ;).
And EXACTLY -- artforms can be something astoundingly powerful and moving, which is why I wanted to focus around those things being 'forbidden' in the Sovereignty -- they're too powerful in evoking emotion.
Thanks so much, Eva!
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!)
There is a distinct benefit to living in a society like this -- everything is organized, you have your job and your role laid out before you. You can't remember, you don't generally feel pain (emotionally), and if you do you won't remember it the next day. However, it is in this society that free choice and thought are dampened to the point of being nonexistent... unless someone like Mark Van stumbles across your path ;).
No, you've got it. Cy doesn't really know anything about himself -- he can remember. I am playing off of imprints here -- so, people who have a strong bond to something or someone might be able to then recognize them (in some sense). Maybe not in the sense where they can know who or what that person is, but experience and feel a sense of familiarity.
The Mark/Cy ship has been dubbed "Cyark" since "Markril" sounds too much like the fish. :P
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!!
Thanks for looking at this for me, and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back with a response!
I'm really happy that you think the worldbuilding was done decently -- it was a foreign concept for me to try to tease it in rather than provide the reader with some form of structured background information as to what was happening and what the society was meant to be like. I'm also really pleased that you were able to pick out the main topics of the world that I'd provided so far -- that was extremely relieving to see.
(And on that note, if your memory is wiped daily after having a child, do people even know they have kids?) This question in particular is a minor theme that I'm weaving in through the plot. Essentially, I'm trying to establish that bonds created can be strong enough to at least seem familiar. IE: A woman who gave birth might know or sense that something is wrong when her child is taken away. Or, in another instance, Cyril might be inclined to speak to Mark if he senses that he knows him from somewhere. Stuff like that.
Yay! I'm a bit (unabashedly) in love with Cyril and Mark. I don't usually fall in love with my own character creations the way I have these two. I really enjoy writing with them, so I'm very happy that you have enjoyed them, too. They're cuties :D .
Thanks so so so much for looking at this for me! I'm kind of terrible with responding to my reviews...and tend to do them in large chunks. :/
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