Reviews for Beneficially Instructive Tribute Creator's Handbook
House Elf Liberation Front chapter 25 . 9/18/2021
I really enjoyed reading this finale. Thanks for sharing this story with us! I'm looking forward to the epilogue 3

Remus98 chapter 25 . 9/15/2021
Hi! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?

This feels very bittersweet. I think B.I.T.C.H was the first story I submitted to after immersing myself back into the community last year, so Althea will always have a special place in my heart. She rekindled my love for this type of story, and without her I might’ve never stayed around, nor met any of the wondeful people I’m so lucky to call friends today.

Thank you for writing my spoiled brat, she was a joy to read. You set out to make a story about character development and with her you truly accomplished that task. I’ll miss her sass, but will have a smile on my face every time I think about how much drama she’ll stir up in the capitol now that she’s been given a second shot at life.

Congratulations on finishing your final story!

All my best.
House Elf Liberation Front chapter 24 . 4/6/2021
Wow I was not expecting an email for an update but what a pleasant surprise this was! I really liked the chapter and the chance to check in with each of the remaining tributes prior to the finale! Poor Sharif, but it had to be someone I guess. Anyway, hope the finale comes quickly so we can have a Victor!

sophia chapter 24 . 4/5/2021
i’m still out here. still reading. hope to leave a roper review soon.

this shit keeps me GOING. i’m on my toes. keep it up babes.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 23 . 11/14/2020
Althea— The dragon is tearing the arena a new asshole as it pursues the remaining tributes. I once considered Althea to be determined — that was an understatement. This proved that killing Valerie had more of an effect on Althea than we realized. Althea is very much willing to kill to go back home, and we knew this already but here, she didn't give a second thought about doing it. The Games have properly desensitized her and turned her into a formidable threat. It's sad that Althea refused to listen to Malek's pleas, but was Althea in the wrong for doing so? A tribute dead is one step closer to home, in Althea's eyes. I'm saddened that Malek, who had spent so much time trying to protect Inaya, and Sharif, her own District partner, were right there when she died and they still could do nothing to stop it.

Shelby— They tried their best here, but when there's a goddamn dragon flying around, and tributes in every direction shouting at each other with flames shooting out of the floor, it's kind of hard to stay focused in combat. I was hoping the post-coitus clarity would have given her a bit more focus, but they also had Althea running around causing havoc. What the hell were Malek and Sharif doing? But I can't blame them — honestly, if they were smart, they'd have ran away as far as possible while the Careers killed each other. As a fan of hedonistic characters, Shelby was definitely a fun one, though I never had any strong feelings for her. At first she seemed pretty dumb, but then fell into the background, but as she gained more agency throughout the story, I was then starting to warm up to her, but she never quite topped Cyrus for me.

Sharif— I'm really starting to embrace Sharif as a character, who has bloomed in a way as the Games have progressed. He's not combative, or aggressively insinuates himself into fights like Althea has done, he kind of just finds himself in these situations and he endures silently, like a casual observer. He failed Inaya, and had to comfort her dying ally as well. Two people he had been watching for the past day, now lie dead before him. Sharif did the best he could, and comforted Malek as the breath left his body. I'm enjoying the various roles the survivors have taken on — particularly Sharif as this 'invisible observer' character. In a story comprised of all of these deadly combatants, it's interesting that Sharif uses his anonymity as a kind of weapon.

Cyrus— The culmination of all that he's been holding in came out pouring here for Cyrus — for the second time if you know what I mean. Failing Shelby wasn't something Cyrus had ever anticipated — to try so hard only to fail, it must sting. Add that to the fact that Caelle didn't even finish the job, letting him stew in his misery. The Games have turned Cyrus into a monster, he killed Malek which is something he would have never considered days ago. His inability to kill led to him sparing the life of Gareth after the Bloodbath. Honor was his shining characteristic and it led to his failure. The arena tempts Cyrus with the Lady of the Lake, who vows to bestow him power in return for his blood. Then, he sees a vision of his recently deceased ally in the waters. Cyrus knows there's no going back to who he was before, but he's also still retained his sense of honor with his refusal to wield any sort of power that has to tempt him with images of his dead friend. Although, I think Cyrus will end up using this power at some point.

I'm sticking with the belief that the dragon just eats the tributes. If Kepler's weapon is being too boring to be involved in feasts, I hope he uses it more often. Maybe he'll bore the rest of the tributes to death with lectures on astrophysics. If there is a victor, I believe it's Cyrus or Althea. I suspect this sword to be Excalibur, and it will appear when Cyrus needs it most, to strike down the dragon or Caelle. If I had to kill to gain victory, it would be difficult to live with that fact. Everyone has something to live for, and it would be a lie to say I'd rather die — I wouldn't want to.

And so my mission ends here. I've caught up, though it appears I may be too late. I have no place to be urging you to hurry up and finish this story, but if you conclude this great story, I'd be overjoyed. But, if not, Chaos, it was a pleasure to read this story, to submit again to you after so long. You're a very talented writer and made me laugh at least once a chapter throughout this story. From Melody to Kepler (and Syko), you brought them to life in the most authentic way possible and I am grateful. Thank you. :)
Cosmic Corsair chapter 22 . 11/14/2020
Kepler— Strangely, and I didn't even think it possible, Kepler has retained some ounce of lucidity in the midst of his breakdown. For the first time, it seems like he's become fully cognizant of where he is and what he's done. It's like he's learned to accept what he had done. He tried to beg for forgiveness from whatever god or goddess was up there listening — wandering through the halls like a starved creature waiting to be put out of its misery. Then here, through his book of science and astronomy, he attempts to use it as a vehicle to put things in perspective, to remind himself of who he is and why he is. While those old, garbled notes won't present him with the answers to winning, it does help Kepler put things into focus, like survival. He shouldn't be alive, and somehow he still is, and he can pray to the gods or try to explain it through science all he wants, but it simply comes down to sheer dumb luck.

This was my favorite passage you've written for Kepler — I believe it's the greatest representation of who he is. The eternal question of "why?" The science/religion dilemma and the meaninglessness of it all in the face of death. It's a lot of information but you boiled it down to its heart in the best way possible and I appreciate it.

Caelle— This was a good scene to see some of Caelle's insecurities about herself, and also a brief look into her past that is probably just an embarrassing memory but also strengthens the theory that she has a deep inferiority complex. When she lacks control, it feels like her world is falling apart. And she's not in control and she's alone. Caelle, who prides herself on being the absolute best, is all alone and has nobody to control. How can she be the best when there's no one around to bear witness to it? Before in the story, Caelle was outshone by characters like Eliana and Cyrus. It really seems like she lacked control until she took ownership and killed Eliana and Andros. It's quite paradoxical how Caelle operates, but in the Games nothing really make sense.

Cyrus— Cyrus and Shelby are happy and comfortable. I mean, really happy. I think this is a first-ever? I honestly have never seen two tributes get it on before in a SYOT — I can barely recall any propositions of sex in SYOTs and I can see how some people might cringe at scenes like that, but for me, I've always wanted to see something like this and I appreciate that you had the guts to just say fuck it and write it in. Breaking new grounds, I like it. Two people like Cyrus and Shelby, who've lost all fucks to give long ago, faced with the possibility of dying at any moment, hey why not bang? The Capitol gets a show, the Districts get a show, ratings skyrocket, this is true avant-garde for true cinephiles. It would be funny but insanely cruel though if the Capitol decided to send a mutt after them at that moment.

Malek— A literal dragon, damn, honestly I'm more surprised about the dragon than the sex scene. Well, the inclusion of both those things in this chapter kind of bumps it up to being one of, if not my favorite chapter so far. Whatever concerns Malek had over trusting Inaya don't even matter now. They not only have to deal with a dragon, they have to somehow work together to fight a Career in a circle of fire. It's also really hilarious to me that Sharif was sleeping on the stairs outside their encampment the entire time.

Puff is the only name that makes sense. I believe Caelle and Malek die, as well as Shelby and Kepler.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 21 . 11/14/2020
District One— This was tragic to see and very well-written for how brief it was. Ishan waiting to be interviewed, knowing her brother is still alive and hopeful inside, knowing that Andros would never break a promise. And then the crushing realization when Ishan sees the camera crew stop to pack up their gear.

District Two— The Lovage family is expectedly proud of their daughter, beaming and confident. Caryne, appropriate of her namesake, can't quite force herself to smile and wishes her sister well in the most passive aggressive of ways.

Cyrus' family is huge and unsurprisingly patriotic, filled with Peacekeepers and military workers. Interesting that Cyrus' parents are not involved in Peacekeeping, but rather work as shopkeepers. This was a pretty realistic scene, and I liked how different members of the family expressed different feelings on the circumstances of Cyrus volunteering, from the disappointment of his mother to the promise of Simon that he'll beat the shit out of Klaus if Cyrus dies.

Klaus and Bellas' reactions were sort of awkward and remorseful, which made sense. A lot of people are angry at them, and they won't even leave their house. Klaus seems to think that if Cyrus wins, everything will be as it was between them. I'm not so sure about that one.

District Three— Mr. Biachi gives a short history lesson on his daughter, though it may as well be a business pitch. Maybe his stockholders will be generous and sponsor her a weapon or two. Mrs. Biachi can't even offer more than a sentence to describe her daughter, but it's a compliment at least. Alysse makes an offhand insulting comment, and then gives a very rehearsed statement to the camera, before changing the subject to promote her upcoming wedding. Althea's family sucks.

District Four— The Capitol were not prepared to meet such an ordinary family for this interview. That's the best thing you can say about this one, the fact that Shelby actually comes from a decent, blue collar home. It's funny that the parents don't really have much to offer about Shelby, since she's never around that much. Shelby's girl squad saves the day, however, and interrupt the show to tell stories of Shelby's wild and unbelievable escapades. At least the Capitol will have plenty of material to work with here, though how much of it is even appropriate for television?

District Five— Kepler's family is predictably sort of creepy. Elliott is stern and devoted his life to religion, but he can't exactly mention any of it, so instead works around it but sort of talks about it anyway. The interview turns into a Sunday school sermon, with Kepler being sort of a footnote. It's less about him and more about faith and the holy spirit. The fact that neither of them have noticed that their son has killed two people and become a raving lunatic is pretty telling.

District Seven— A very tense and awkward interview for this family. The big elephant in the room is Leopold and of course the Capitol goes ahead and mentions him anyway. The family drama sadly overshadowed any of the positive recognition for Malek. The thankful moments of interjection from Rania and Dell are enough to save this interview from being a complete disaster.

District Eight— The Stratton interview was probably the most informative and authentic interview out of the bunch so far. It seems like Inaya's family actually watched the Games, invested in her life. Her brothers were entertaining and her family had nothing but positive things to say. The Capitol got everything they wanted but it's never enough. The predatory and slimy nature of the Capitol took hold and completely killed the mood of the room, making everything uneasy and awkward. Nice going.

The Naftis aren't used to the spotlight, and suddenly having their lives being broadcast on camera made them quite timid. Though they didn't say much, you could tell they cared a lot about Sharif's wellbeing. Amira had the most to say, and even revealed that Sharif had a crush on her. Finally, after all the controversy and turbulence surrounding some of the other families, there is a genuine moment of tenderness there at the end.

Family interviews are great, since usually there is so much drama and untouched backstory that can be showcased with the surviving characters. As a result, it can make even the most mundane of families interesting to read about.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 20 . 11/14/2020
Andros— There's already some discord between the more adept half of the Careers, Andros is hungry and grouchy, eager to end the hunt and retreat back to camp, while Caelle is more concerned with appeasing the Gamemakers. Caelle's concerns are valid, and it probably wouldn't have hurt to keep hunting, but the plot demanded them to go back and discover their absent companions. It's clear that Andros is the slightly more reasonable of the two, but Caelle is no dimwit. They're both cunning people and realize that sooner or later they'll have to make the first move. But for now they're faced with more immediate problems, like defectors and nightmarish mutts.

Caelle— Caelle's fears of Gamemaker boredom were affirmed with this latest mutt appearance. What the hell is this mutt anyway? It's like some gigantic snake crossed with a wolf, but isn't really either of those things. This is how mutts should be though — bizarre, undefined, indescribable, and absolutely terrifying. Somehow, during this clusterfuck of a fight, Andros takes the opportunity to size up Caelle. I'm not sure why Andros made it so obvious, because Caelle noticed it immediately and was having none of that. You could almost hear the announcement of "DOUBLE KILL!" as Caelle crossed Andros and felled the mutt in one smooth sequence. If there were a rankings chart for the tributes, Caelle just went from the bottom to the very top. The Careers have effectively been crippled and for now at least, Caelle shouldn't have to worry about keeping the Gamemakers happy.

Inaya— The fire heats up and erupts between Malek and Inaya. Earlier, Malek made a compromise and threw the knife in the center of the room to foster that trust between them. Only for Inaya to take the knife for herself instead. I can't really blame her, though she's likely never heard of the saying "trust is a two-way street". It's interesting that Malek says he hasn't actually been hearing this "scraping" that Inaya is apparently hearing, and starts to doubt her intentions after seeing the missing dagger. Even if they patched things up at the end, Inaya still has that dagger in her pouch. Hopefully Malek wasn't crossing his fingers behind his back when they made that pinky swear. It's probably a safe bet to leave the room at this point — regardless whether or not Inaya is imagining the noises, sitting still for too long is one way to frustrate the Gamemakers.

Althea— This was a nice way to tie up the first half of the Games before segueing into the final Eight portion of the Games. Like I said before, there's something a little different you do when it comes to writing Althea that makes her seem so authentic and transparent in spite of her glaring superficialities. This scene was like a grappling contest between Althea spiting her family but also feeling guilty for what she did to Val. It was a really great moment showing the contradictory nature of Althea and how the Games have magnified her insecurities and shame.

The map is really interesting — it's the first time I've seen an author going out of their way to draw an actual layout for their arena and it's really helping me imagine what Andros was talking about with the deceptive quality of the arena. It's a small but labyrinthian tower with numerous stairways and doors. Not having all of the open space their familiar with seeing must distort the tributes' sense of time and ease, causing them to feel more 'trapped' and paranoid of stumbling into people.

For the finale, I see Althea, Cyrus, Malek, and Caelle making it. Games; I like open-world stuff, RPGs, simulations, fighting games, but I'll play anything if it has a good story and intrigues me.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 19 . 11/13/2020
Shelby— There's no way Andros and Caelle aren't also having the exact same conversation that Shelby and Cyrus are having. If Andros/Caelle were smart, they would have never left the campsite. Aside from a misunderstanding, Cyrus and Shelby seem to be on the same terms. They genuinely seem to trust each other, and that's why I think they'll have a better time surviving as a team. Andros and Caelle are friendly but they're still looking over each others' backs. I don't really know which translates to a better team — caution vs trust. I enjoyed this scene for its break from all the drama and horror — at this point Shelby and Cyrus are the only two people somehow still laughing.

Calandra— She's starting to express the same doubts about herself that I predicted. There wasn't much here of note, but the descriptions of the chapel was haunting, and as she encountered a broken and feral-looking Kepler, all the hopes I had of a lukewarm reunion with these two shattered into a thousand pieces. Kepler is a mess, and Calandra has no words that will diffuse this situation, since she doesn't really have an excuse. Kepler is a broken boy, and Calandra in some ways was the catalyst. I think I have a feeling where this is going to go.

Kepler— This sequence was absolutely heart-wrenching. It's difficult to watch when characters you like start fighting each other fisticuffs to the death — or when they spiral into insanity and start reciting Bible hymns. It's like you wish you had the magic words to prevent this horrible situation from happening but you're forced to watch it unfold behind a glass, soundproof box. Kepler, once brilliant and full of hope, reduced to something akin to a ghoul, speaking in tongues and killing innocent girls. It's arguable whether Calandra was in the wrong for what she did to Kepler. She was concerned for her wellbeing after seeing the state of him after the Bloodbath. Maybe she was right to leave, or maybe she could have prevented the downward spiral Kepler is on. Hypotheticals are hypotheticals. What if Calandra took self-defense classes like Althea?

As I started re-reading this story, I thought to myself, "You know, I have hope that Kepler might actually pull through." Nope, not anymore. I should be used to seeing my characters spiralling into insanity, since that's usually how it goes. But there's always still a glimmer of hope, like if they won it wouldn't be so bad. Not in this case. I kind of hope someone puts him out of his misery, and fast. Or he's going to end up like that old chick in the bathtub from the Shining.

Sharif— In between, just existing. That's Sharif in a nutshell. So it looks like Sharif decided to turn away from his ally instead of going to her — rather than tempt fate and potentially ruin everything. So he placed fate in his own hands, and he made the choice to let her be, to give Eight that fighting chance. Sharif might have made the biggest mistake of his life or saved them both from a horrible death. I found it very difficult to get a read on Sharif before, but now I'm starting to vibe with him as this person who just kind of wanders and exists, observes, choosing his own destiny.

I'm enjoying the emotional journey of Althea, seeing her rise to the occasion instead of slumping over and waiting to die. Conversely, watching the gifted mind of Kepler plummet into despair and insanity as he searches hopelessly for spiritual atonement, is fascinating in its own ghastly way.

The Interviews — Well I fucked myself here I'm afraid. A bit too late for that, but I'm taking a page from Kepler's book and atoning, so I'd like to see the reactions of Althea's parents, and Cyrus' friend.

Great question; I guess I'd devote more time than I already am to playing games, writing screenplays, and exploring some strange or forgotten places around the world.

Final four reviews coming shortly.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 18 . 11/13/2020
Althea— I didn't think she had it in her. I mean, she did what she had to do in this situation. Valerie was almost literally dead weight — if she left her there, she's dead meat. If not, they're both sitting ducks. Either way, this was a bad situation. Concussions can be pretty scary — who knows the long term damage and the side-effects Val would have suffered? I've seen a few tributes like Althea on my time here, but it's the authentically charming and candid way you write Althea that makes her such a standout character to me.

She's superficial, entitled, and fussy, bemoaning the elegant lifestyle she used to live — similar song and dance to many other characters in the past — but the fact that she's willing to actually fight for her life to go back to it, instead of constantly bitching and being annoying, makes me root for her? Althea literally, in the span of several minutes, decided to kill a girl she spent days getting to know and relate to, because she'd suddenly fallen unconscious. I don't know if I should be proud of her or sickened by her but...the fact that this is the first time I've felt such strongly divided feelings for a tribute in this story is a testament to how clearly you've perfected her narrative voice and I actually hope Althea can somehow pull off this victory, even if her incentives to return home are fucking monumentally inconsequential compared to characters like Cyrus or Malek.

Caelle— I really had a feeling like Andros was hatching a plan like this. Andros cleverly used Cyrus' admission of killing Shark to justify what he'd planned to do to Eliana. He didn't even need Cyrus himself to do the job — only his secret. The reason I didn't expect the plan to work though, was because typically these sorts of plans never work. At least, the plans you actually know about. When a character lays out a plan, generally it never goes according to that plan. Somehow I expected Eliana to somehow have knowledge of this plan already, which really doesn't make any sense but it's a standard trope I'm used to seeing. But, for the first time, everything actually went according to plan! So I enjoyed how you cleverly subverted expectations by just having her die as opposed to there being some twist. Now the only person in the dark is Shelby — but honestly, at this point, if Shelby can't connect the dots, nothing can save that girl.

Cyrus— It's interesting that, despite how much Shelby trusts Cyrus due to his apparent innocence, he's also killed and she's still unaware of that. Once she finds out, will she even trust Cyrus anymore? I have to admit, Shelby is breaking down and becoming more human, and I'm enjoying her a lot more because of it. When Cyrus and Shelby bedded down again, right after the massacre they just witnessed, and whispered to each other, it felt so realistic and sad, especially when Cyrus said he felt like he was in hell. The horror of this scene was palpable.

Malek— This was a relief segment from everything that had happened this chapter, but this scene was still creepy in its description of the mysterious rustling noises and the spontaneous combustion. I wonder if it's not the tributes themselves, but actually the food that's burning itself. Maybe the arena is trying to starve the tributes? Or the whole place is going to burn itself down room by room until only the Great Hall remains. There is tension between Malek and Inaya where there wasn't any before. Malek is becoming stressed, and Inaya is closing herself off from everything.

This was my favorite chapter in the arena so far. Just fantastic tension and horror. I think it depends on the Gamemaker I guess, but in general I'd imagine they prefer shorter Games but with non-stop action and death. I'll be a little biased and say I miss Syko the most. My prediction, is that only one tribute will live and the rest...will die. I think the Careers are safe for now, but Kepler, Calandra, and Sharif are in danger.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 17 . 11/13/2020
Sharif— A great passage on the themes of guilty conscience and fear. Sharif isn't a bad person but scared for his life, he made the in-the-moment decision to flee instead of playing hero and dying. He can do nothing for her now other than wait and pray that her death was quick. In this situation, Sharif is doing what a rational human would have done. It's not callous, it's being realistic. It was very easy to get inside Sharif's chaotic thought processes here. Enjoyable and fascinating read.

Loren— I really liked how instead of just having Sharif encounter Loren in his own POV, we instead learn that Loren is alive by seeing "LOREN ASOU, DISTRICT FIVE FEMALE". That was amazing. We knew that with Loren's grave injuries, there was no logical way that she would be able to recover quick enough, even if she survived. The fact that Loren even survived is evidence that Shelby barely stabbed Loren hard enough to pierce through her shoulder and should never be an executioner. It's practically sadistic how you finally gave us this wonderful, long-awaited reunion between Kepler and Loren, only moments before her death! Damn you. RIP Loren. I think this may even do more damage to Kepler's psyche than Aviva.

Shelby— This is probably one of the few wholesome scenes we're going to get from the Careers' perspective. There's usually a couple of these in every story, so enjoy them while you can. Shelby laments over killing Loren — feeling sick to her stomach. Funnily enough, she teases Cyrus about being the only member of the Careers not to have killed anyone yet. So far, Andros has kept his promise. I wonder if Shelby would trust or like Cyrus less if she knew what he had done to Shark. It seems like, while guilty, Shelby is still able to crack jokes after what she did to Loren. What difference would it make if Cyrus killed the lunatic from Four? I'm more curious than I should be about what's going to happen with the Careers. I feel like Andros is planning something. But if anything major does happen to the group, it's going to be through Capitol intervention.

Calandra— An encounter with an actually terrifying, vicious mutt ends with the tragic death of Calandra's young ally from home. Calandra likens herself to some sort of hero, and it seems though she tried her best to assist Redmond, but ultimately she failed and I wonder how she'll view herself after this. The reason this is interesting is that she views those like Kepler negatively for killing tributes in self-defence, but by that logic, Calandra played some role in Redmond's demise and thus, can she even trust herself now? I really liked Redmond — I thought his emotions, logic, and behavior was delightfully appropriate for someone of his age. He wasn't fragile or petulant but you could tell he was still 'young', but he certainly wasn't immature or dumb. And that's why I really liked the kid and thought he still could have offered more to the story because of his flexibility. At the moment, I'm not sure I get that from Calandra, but this death will no doubt push her in a new direction.

Without cheating and looking ahead, the final eight I predict is going to be Eliana, Cyrus, Althea, Sharif, Calandra, Malek, Kepler, Shelby.
Cosmic Corsair chapter 16 . 11/13/2020
As part of my review redemption quest, I knew that coming back to review the great "BITCH" was going to be one of the most crucial goals for me. I looked back in my history and realized it's been since June since I shared my thoughts about this story. I'm not sure why. Frankly, I stopped reading a lot of the stories on my follows list and I ran out of reasons to explain it...I don't really have a good reason, and I hate to admit that but it's the truth. It just isn't fair to you for all the hard work you did to up and disappear. I mean, you drew literal maps. Maps and blueprints of the arena. That's insane dedication!

As one of the submitters, I feel I'm morally obligated to actually read the rest of this story and leave my thoughts about the chapters that I missed. I don't expect any sort of gratitude for doing this — it's just something that I feel must be done.

Kepler— Last we saw Kepler, he had been abandoned by his allies, Redmond and Calandra, while he was sleeping. He hasn't been in the best of states since the Bloodbath, where he was forced to defend his life against Aviva. But in putting an end to Aviva he committed the most cardinal sin — murder. It was either kill or be killed, but being raised by overprotective, religious parents kind of makes it difficult to come to grips with that sentiment. And ironically, Kepler, who had tried so hard to rebel against his father's religious teachings by turning to science, finds himself alone in a chapel. He's not the same chatty, endearing Kepler from the Capitol — he's a sobbing mess, begging for forgiveness from anyone and anything that will listen.

At this point, Kepler is at the lowest of lows and I'm not sure what will happen to him now in his state of despondency.

Inaya— Last we saw Inaya, she had just met Malek and the two of them agreed to keep each other company for the night. Inaya is lonely and shaken, on top of suffering a stomach wound from the Bloodbath. Malek is seemingly unscathed, but underneath he's playing Rhea's death over and over again in his head, watching her blow to smithereens. And the more he thinks about it, the less it seems to really affect him. One interesting thing confirmed here — apparently there are indeed toilets in the Games. I wonder if they're all holes in the ground, and if a tribute has ever fallen into one...

Malek and Inaya are looking pretty good right now — Malek is armed with a dagger, and they have an abundance of food. I feel like Malek is the safer bet of the two, though. Inaya shrinks away at the sight of weapons and can't shake the thoughts of the Bloodbath out of her head, whereas Malek has learned to cast those thoughts away and is even making jokes. Though it may seem unnerving for Inaya, Malek is coping with the Games the best way a non-Career possibly can.

Eliana— The Careers are definitely in a good spot, obviously. But there's some opposing dynamics at play; a lot of false smiles, lies, and tension brewing. Eliana literally went insane in the Bloodbath, killing Mary Sue with her teeth or something like a werewolf. Ever since then, the other Careers have been basically tiptoeing around her, afraid that she may snap on them too. Eliana basically rolls her eyes throughout this entire passage. Eliana feels like she's surrounded by a bunch of idiots, though she does her best to bite her tongue and let her allies stumble around in the dark, while occasionally issuing out a sharp command. Ironically, Eliana isn't able to deal the first blow to Loren and through some mental gymnastics decides that it would make the most sense if Shelby kills her. So for all her posturing, Eliana may not be as stone-hearted as she thinks she is.

Loren bites the dust? If so, it's more sad when you realize that if Loren hadn't had teamed with the fillers and listened to Kepler when he was trying to warn her, this would have probably never happened. RIP? No cannon, so perhaps she may not actually be dead. Praying Kepler finds her!

Valerie— So far this is one of my favorite alliances in the story, though that's mostly due to Althea. Not that Valerie's uninteresting, but Althea's character has a lot of big energy to it, and it tends to drown out the spotlight of anyone else in the scene with her. But it was funny reading this, seeing Althea from the perspective of an average person, and realizing how ridiculous Althea actually is as a person. The scene with Gareth was pretty nuts. I didn't expect him to lose his marbles this soon. I think as a character, I don't know what more you could have done with him, though. He was a tall, awkward kid that didn't really stand out that much. The moment with Cyrus should have become a "come to Jesus" moment for him, and maybe he got lost on his way to the chapel because what he really needed was a nice long confession. But Gareth instead saw it as a moment of weakness, and wasn't going to allow himself to be weak again. He underestimated the grit of a prissy girl from Three.

Cyrus— Anticipating the massive threat that Shark posed to the group, Cyrus decided to save his teammates a migraine and betrayed Shark while his back was turned, putting an end to the neanderthal. Since then though, he's been keeping that secret close to his chest. If Andros hadn't been annoying him, Cyrus may have taken the secret to his grave. At least he was able to get this off his chest. The question is, will their talks together continue to be this awkward? I'm betting on yes. Andros is a difficult one to predict. Whether he'll keep that promise is up in the air right now. But since Andros might be planning on betraying Eliana at some point, he'll need Cyrus' help in doing that. Breaking that promise means no chance of getting Shelby and Cyrus on board with his plans.

This is of course the first review of many more to come. Difficult to remember some bits of the characters and the plot, but necessary as part of my mission!
BradiLain chapter 23 . 9/16/2020
altheaaaaa she got another kill on her belt now, doesn't she? good for her. this dragon really is out here stirring up some drama. i love that for them. i didn't see it coming, for sure, but i also didn't think we were inviting the whole dang family to this reunion! bye bye inaya, sorry fam.

Out of shelby and Cyrus, i would've thought shelby would make it farther. i just like her better. i like cyrus and all, but shelby was more interesting to me. i'm glad the pair of them is finally split up tho bc this late into the game they were too powerful together. poor shelby, using her dying breath to self deprecate. what a mood.

malek and sharif make an odd pair. i definitely thought we'd lose malek and then have the district pair back together, but now i can see that we are stuck with these guys that barely know each other. that's probably for the best since their final moment here was so sweet. can't imagine watching people die, whether you know them or not. what a quiet sadness.

aghhhhh the lady of the lake? mad. i can't believe he's getting this big boy magical weapon. it's like he's pulled the sword from the stone except instead we pulled it from the lake and have to make a blood sacrifice. that's much more exciting though, i'm into it.

victor predictions? i'm thinking althea. i want it to be cyrus but him receiving a potentially OP weapon makes me think that he'll be somehow outsmarted in the end. Although i don't really like althea and would've chosen, like, almost anybody else, i will admit that i'm sure she's got a following of her own that will be happy with it. I just feel like she's been handled particularly well, so hat makes me assume you've got a soft spot for her. haha. and do i think victory would be worth it? i mean, probably. it's hard to say that dying would be worth anything.

Panem's Next Top Victor: Althea, Cyrus, Sharif, Caelle, Kepler
BradiLain chapter 22 . 9/16/2020
mannnnnn i wish kepler would bring us some ACTION! sitting on his thoughts is so depressing, he's so melancholy. i feel like i can see him tearing himself apart. i'm not going to lie and say he's an awful character - the concept of someone wanting to have their religion and their curiosity of the unknown is nice and is unique, but i'm just not very invested in his dilemma. I feel like he's so close to cracking the nut, so close to realizing what he needs to forgive himself, but watching him inches from grasping the ability to get a grip is so infuriating to me. It's like an itch that I just can't scratch.

Caelle, on the other hand? I'm invested for her. I hate the hotheads, but she feels like a realistic version of a girl with a temper. it doesn't feel like she's trying too hard, she's effortlessly good at what she does from the outside but has so much more nuance when you're in her head. i believe in her , but at the same time i think she's played too much of a villain's role this story to have a satisfying 180. She's interesting, I like her, but I am not rooting for her to actually win.

yessssssssssssss i knew this would happen eventually, but i'm still tickled pink. the way she asked was so awkward yet fitting for her? lmao. who asks if someone wants to 'hook up' that's such a weird way to word it. Is it weird that I lowkey am stanning for a Shelby victor now in the hopes that she comes out pregnant in a epilogue? maybe i've been watching too many dramas.

OH man we love a dragon plot device. that just screams capitol. it wouldn't be as exciting to burn them up, making them murder each other is much more exciting. love that, what a brilliant idea. the dragon's name... hmmmmmmm, i'm awful with names i probably would've named him something basic. his name is smokey bean now. and which of these character is going to die? I'm actually thinking a double death tbh, and i think that one of the pair from inaya and malek has to go. If i had to guess, i'd say malek will die out of the two of them and they will kill caelle together, leading sharif to join inaya to fight cyrus and shelby.

Top Three: Shelby, Kepler, Sharif
Others: Inaya, Althea, Cyrus
Next to Go: Malek, Caelle
Josephm611 chapter 23 . 9/16/2020
Ok I'm back, about to be caught up. I have a bit more time now? Hopefully I have more to say.

Althea... I'm not a fan, sorry. But if this is the "Feast" chapter... I have so many thoughts where this could go.
Okay, so Althea, Shelby, and Cyrus. I feel like you wouldn't bring them together just for Althea to die alone? I'm predicting that either Shelby or Cyrus will die and then Althea.
Wait. Never mind. Alllll the kiddos are together... this is gonna get bloody...
Ugh. Althea. I'm not super attached as a whole, but my favorites are probably Inaya, Malek, Sharif, and Kepler, so... get away from the Eights. Right now.
Rip Inaya. :(

Shelby... Ooooh a Career showdown! Let's knock out Caelle, alright? I feel like she'll take down one of the two with her, though.
REVEAL! Shelby knows! Now I'm thinking that Caelle will go down alone and these two will turn on each other.
ALTHEA? UGH! I really have no patience for you right now. Okay...
CAELLE? Rip Shelby... I actually didn't like her too much? It's just that she and Cyrus were the less insufferable ones...

Sharif... Poor boy. I doubt he's just gonna hide all POV though, why else would he get a POV?
Althea is gone. Effin'— erghhhh I really want her out of the Game right this second. She'd better not win. She'd better.
No! Malek! The two of them really did go down together, did they.
NO! CYRUS TOO? Wait... what's this? Ok, stop teasing me... I just caught a glimpse of "Cyrus" as the next POV—of course he has the next POV. Welp, gotta find out then.

Cyrus... Plot Twist—Caelle has a sense of loyalty? Andros would beg to differ, except he can't because he's DEAD because of her.
Now he's breaking too. Aww... what is it amount me? Tears make me feel even when I don't love the character.
Lady of the Lake! Woah! Now this is cool. Yet he's too broken to use it... Oh dear. Is Althea gonna get it? Is Caelle gonna get it?

Remaining tributes: Caelle, Cyrus, Althea, Kepler, Sharif
Sharif and Kepler have had their arcs, but they're the weakest of the bunch physically. Caelle and Althea have taken on the villain roles. That's doesn't quite rule them out, but I doubt it. Cyrus seems to have the best combination of physical strength and character arc, so he's probably the frontrunner imo.
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