Reviews for Beneficially Instructive Tribute Creator's Handbook
Josephm611 chapter 19 . 8/8/2020
Shelby's analysis of Andros and Caelle is seriously entertaining, even though it probably shouldn't be because they're freakin' in the Games. This is life and death, not some reality tv sho—
Aww are they a couple yet? They almost act like one. Shelby's keep on being entertaining to read but I'm still struggling to treat her as a Panem character because I actually know a Shelby irl and that name is distinct enough to not just be a generic throwaway name.
Honestly... I'm not sure if leaving is a good idea so early yet? They haven't factored the horrific mutts that are everywhere, but that's because they haven't seen them.

Oh dear Calandra...
The Arena is so confusing and I'm worried for her.
Aaaaand she's being depressive. Sounds like a recipe for a cannon.
KEPLER omg uh oh

Gah Kepler you're insane but I can't get mad at you.
And Calandra's gone...

Sharif's been pretty low recently and that's not good for a tribute in an SYOT.
MUTT oh no is he gonna go? So far all the mutts have killed at least one, and he's the only one.
Never mind lol that changed fast
And he's not wandering aimlessly anymore! He may survive yet!
Josephm611 chapter 18 . 8/8/2020
Welp we're back with Althea and I clearly remember not liking her. What happened to their dynamic again? I don't really remember what happened after they killed Gareth. But Val is being a softie and I'm a sucker for softies.
Woah. That's a bit of a yikes. That's thought process was kinda freaky to read honestly, the way that the Games get to people.

*sigh* she's all "I'm the best" and it's grating.
"Necessary Adjustments" is freaking me out. Gosh, girl. They're gonna kill the others, aren't they?
Welp, just Eliana. But Caelle didn't get her kill—is that coming back later? I completely expect it to.

Cyrus, bro. Stop arguing. It's asking for problems. Plus Eliana was a mess.
And abusive to her partner! Woooooo that's a backstory.
I'm a little conflicted in this entire situation. My favorite is probably... Andros? Mainly because I like calm kids? And also bc Cyrus and Shelby are a little too loose-tongued for me. But I like the two as a whole more than Andros and Caelle.

That's so rude of the Gamemakers to shove inedible grain in their faces. Like how infuriating is that?
OH GOSH I suspected mutts were in there but GAH I liked this pair too and one of them is gonna die now.
TRY AND GO BACK TO SLEEP? WTH ARE Y'ALL OFF THE ROCKER? this is like watching a stupid horror movie.
Josephm611 chapter 17 . 8/8/2020
Well... hello. I'm not dead. Just a huge procrastinator. Plus I've been busy on my current and upcoming SYOTs. (I guess I'm an excuse maker too). And since I didn't want to read and not review... I haven't read four chapters. Sorry if I don't remember some things; it's completely my fault.

Oh dang—I vaguely remember Loren as the one that got caught in that room with the cots? Oh gosh... it's messing with him mentally... and he's falling for it...
Cannon. Was this one... Gareth's? I think? Dang, this setup really is something.

"Loren's gone."
Ha! I love that. But I don't think she'll last much longer, not wounded like this.
WOAH! KEPLER! D5s are back together! I should've expected this with how it was hinted at, but I didn't expect it.

Yikes. Did we already know that Shelby didn't actually kill her? I don't remember. Either way, she isn't having a good time...
Eliana's really getting on my nerves, and I find myself siding with Andros here. I don't even like Shelby that much, but the other two Career girls are a fat no in my books.
Her conversation with Cyrus is just great.
Ok Andros and Caelle? Was this hinted at before? This is the first I remember hearing about something between those two.

Aww the D11s. I definitely remember liking them. I'm scared that one of them's gonna go. And she's feeling bad! Y'all are too nice...
Rip Redmond. Mutt deaths are always so sadly impersonal and cold. Now Calandra is about to have a bad time...
House Elf Liberation Front chapter 20 . 8/8/2020
Excellent chapter! I love all the nuances with different relationships and how tributes are navigating those in the arena at this stage. I love Malek lots, and I'm also a big fan of Sharif...haha I hope that one of them is in the finale at least! I do wonder how soon the Games will come to a close, since it's day 3 and we're already at the final 8. Can't wait till we get there so we can see who the lucky winner is! And the Final 8 Interviews will be so great-I love reading them for more character building and behind the scenes stuff of the tributes that we don't really get a lot of. It gives me more of a reason to root for people too, when I see what they have to come home too. Anyway, I'm so excited for the update!

JabberjayHeart chapter 19 . 8/2/2020
I am late but here I am!

I honestly never expected to like Shelby this much in the end, but here we are, repping Shelby who enjoys threesomes. Her section proves that the Career split is here — Caelle/Andros vs Cyrus/Shelby. One pair has a lot of strength and bloodthirst, the other has the peoples' vote! The section was probably the most realistic we've seen Shelby and I enjoy her attempts at disconnecting. Andros as an alien over a human. Eliana has the villain in a bad movie. It helps her keep relatively grounded despite the fact she puked over spearing Loren.

Calandra really doesn't have the strength to carry a solo POV.
I know this part well — the reflections of home signal the end is here. Her thoughts were cute and humble. She misses what she knows now that she's alone, despite the fact that Calandra has run from both of her allies. She's self-preserving whilst not being malicious and I respect it, but it weakens her likeability for me.
Meeting with Kepler was a nice way to tie up their stories! Kepler is basically full psychosis at this point. He's so traumatised and stuck in his religion in that creepy chapel that it's basically warped him.
Moving straight into Kepler's POV signals that. He's hurt by Calandra's abandonment, his own guilt for murdering Aviva, and his confliction being right/wrong versus choices out of his own hand.
Calandra's death was probably the most fascinating so far. Through the window? Poetic. It highlights Kepler's full descent into chaos. The kid is focused on sinning and sinner that where he felt terrible for killing Aviva, he doesn't feel anything for killing Calandra.

Tying Sharif back into Malek and Inaya is a smart move! Sharif is a very internal, grey character. He seems to teeter between logic and instinct, highlighting by the fact that he's just existing sometimes. Melancholic, hard to understand, an almost dreamy character that doesn't feel human. I quite like Sharif and as a loner, he's still got punch.
The fact he's happy for Inaya being alive proves there's more emotion than even Sharif realises, I think.

Ugh! I would say Kepler for this question. From fan favourite to crazy-induced guilt is a real plummet. He's written so well for his descent into sin and I love how far and drastic he has come. I feel he's set up to be an antagonist of sorts now — the unintentional bad guy.
I'm also invested in Shelby and Cyrus purely for their fun journey, but also the fact that guilt and realisation has slapped these kids so hard that they really are regretting their choices.
Inaya and Malek, too, whilst have been quiet have also come a long way since the beginning. Together, almost, fraying at the seams.
Sharif has also had monumental characterisation from his early, doomed alliance with Loren which was so short-lived to now finding Malek and Inaya once.
And lastly, Althea! From being disliked to enjoyed tremendously. Another journey I didn't expect to be invested in but love all the same. She's really come along way from bitchy, angry rich girl to badass girl fighter in the Games.

In a nutshell, I like and am invested in everyone apart from Caelle and Andros because, whilst their stories are fun, neither has an inkling of development or change in personality yet. They're the most stagnant, for me, in terms of growth.

I eat this story up so hard.
Acereader55 chapter 19 . 8/1/2020
hello miss Chaos! We're really down to the wire here, narrowed down to single digit tributes left! Very exciting, very interested to see what you do in the home stretch of this story that I've loved so very much reading.

Shelby: Yup could see this coming from a mile away that the second that Caelle and Andros left to hunt this the other two would then abandon them and do their own thing. I think in the grand scheme of things it makes sense, 4 careers in the final 9 is very constricting and these two know that they just are not as skilled as Caelle and Andros are so if they had to face them in a fair fight they would never win, it's just if they do run into them after the others realized they abandoned them it's going to be death for the two of them. I really liked the hesitancy here from Cyrus, he wasn't diving deep into a rash decision like Shelby was but instead took his time to decide what was the best path forward for him as an individual. Their relationship and banter has always been a lighter point to balance out some of the more serious, heavy, action driven Careers in their alliance so I appreciate it for that, and I do like the development of Shelby finding her own in the Arena and having a little more agency and being reckless here which ties nicely into when we first met her and her volunteering on a whim. I do think in an inevitable Career showdown she's toast, but she's been a pleasant surprise for me making it this far and her development.

Calandra: This was a great POV for her, probably my favorite of all of hers in this story, so it's a shame it was her last one but alas that is how it goes. I really liked the dilemma she was having in her head about wanting to find someone to help her because she can't do it alone which makes sense seeing as everything we've seen from her in this story has been with her attached at the hip to Redmond. I also liked her talking herself into forgetting what she did in the Arena and dismissing it as survival as best as she can in order to make it home to her family and to her friend. I thought it was a lovely way to tie it back to her first POV when we saw her with her friend in the orchards and then falling asleep looking at the stars in the sky. Her finding Kepler was always going to happen in my books from the moment that she abandoned him earlier on, and with him unraveling like he has been this conflict was for sure going to happen. She had no way to tell how damaged he'd become through the Games and she just so desperately wanted someone to rely on and to be with because she can't stand being alone in the Games that her desires just blinded her to who Kepler had become in that moment. Great final scene of her lunging for the knife, and this was a solid POV overall for her.

Kepler: This complete transformation of his character is INSANE. Like I honestly would have never seen this coming when we first met him but it works so well and you write it flawlessly. I could sense the anger, the hurt, and the sheer confusion that comes with losing your sanity in this POV. He was trying his best to rationalize what was going on, what Calandra did to him, and then rationalizing why he shoved her out of the window but it wasn't making too much sense in his deluded state. I thought the conversation between him and Calandra (in her POV and here a bit) was fantastic and did a good job at highlighting the different states of mind that the two different characters are in at this moment of time. I thought that the fight scene that we had between the two of them was really well written, and I also love that the fight involved no weapons despite one being right there. Often times fights in the Games revolve around weapons and such but this was a great departure from that and made it feel even that more tension filled. Him entering a dungeon at the end... phenomenal. Fits so well with where his mental state is at feeling like his God is punishing him for what he has done in the Games, and just can't get enough of the transformation you've done on his character. I feel like he's likely safe next chapter given how much action he's had here and just how big of a character he's felt throughout the entire story, which I'm happy with cause he's one of my favorites.

Sharif: What a great way to end this chapter on a potential cliffhanger of what is going on between Inaya and Malek and if there's going to be a conflict next chapter that Sharif steps in to solve. I feel like when we look at the journeys that some of the other characters have been through, he sort of falls a bit behind in the sense that the biggest thing he has gone through is leaving Loren, who he was only with for half a night, behind to let the Careers kill her. While that definitely spurred some sort of growth in him by way of feeling guilty and doubting if he made the right choice, it feels like it isn't as much as what the Careers have went through, definitely not what Kepler went through, so I worry he just doesn't have as much in that department. However, if there is a fight scene with a mutt or with Inaya and Malek and he kills one of them, I think that could really boost him up in my eyes. I like that we got more of his background and hearing about his friend/girlfriend and about his family and remembering talking to Inaya about her family and that pushing him to want to find her and help her in any way that he can. My gut tells me either the mutt makes a reappearance and kills one of them and Sharif goes to help and maybe dies? Or Malek and Inaya start to fight and Sharif steps in to help. Either way, I think some sort of conflict happens here since these 3 haven't seen any real action directly themselves outside of the Bloodbath.

The most intriguing emotional journey thus far is for sure Kepler. Going from such a cerebral person who focused on science and fact to someone that wants forgiveness from a theoretical being is a fascinating journey and I do love a good dip into insanity.
I'd love to see Andros' sister, Cyrus' friend that he volunteered for, Kepler's father, Sharif's girlfriend person, and maybe one of Shelby's one night stands? One of Althea's parents, one of Caelle's friends, and one of Inaya's siblings.

In terms of winner equity, I think Kepler, Althea, and Cyrus stand out the most to me as winners. Caelle, Malek, and Shelby fall to the middle range for me, and then Inaya, Sharif, and Andros fall to the bottom right now for me.

Overall feelings heading into the chapter where the Top 8 is determined:
Mine: Caelle
Like: Cyrus, Althea, Shelby, Kepler
Neutral: Andros, Malek, Sharif
Dislike: Inaya

Can't wait for next chapter and then to read the interviews which I feel like are never a thing in SYOTs anymore so I'm excited to see them make a reappearance!
bobothebear chapter 19 . 8/1/2020
no one asked but im giving a life update! i just scraped the FUCK out of my car on a pole that's outside of my parking spot and i'm so emo my parents are like O_O_O_O_O_O anyway

this story is truly so exhilarating i obviously frantically read this at 3am or whenever u posted it and am now just getting around to catching up on all my reviews,, sowwy hehe! anyway let's go.

shelby: this is the right call for sure. like we know i GUESS that caelle and andros weren't actively plotting to kill cyrus and shelby (although in retrospect that probably would've been a smart call while they were vulnerable) but still how can u trust them after they bEhEaD ur other ally! u simply cannot. u simply cannot! i still think cyrus is the odds-on fave to win the games - splitting here will set up a cyrus v. caelle moment that i can'tttt picture him losing.

calandra/kepler: WOW this was not at ALL what i expected. i really thought calandra was easy finale but katie be keeping us on our TOES! kepler with the biggggg spike in visibility w this pov bc his spiral and his background really came together quite nicely (terribly? idk ykwim) and manifested in his panicked attack on calandra. the comparison of kepler to a feral animal is pretty fitting, and i'm just like? is someone going to put him down soon? honestly i can see a crazy deranged finalist in him and i would LOVE to see that. exciting tingz

sharif: the end of this pov was super profound and warm - sharif's veritable concern for inaya with his own fear of how his presence will compromise her safety was a sad thought that really captured sharif well. at this point i really have no idea who's dying? and who's? living? calandra's death SENT me i would say sharif feels finale-bound but I SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW!

guesses! my confidence w these is approximately 0

Cyrus, Kepler, Sharif

Andros, Caelle, Shelby, Malek

i rEALLY think a career is dying to even out the numbers but also IDKKKKK.

- emotional journey hmmmmm i think it has to go to kepler! king has gone THROUGH it
- i wanna hear from kepler's family like the infidelity? that sounds WILD. the religion? WILD! also would love to hear from cyrus's friend like the one he volunteered for yk!
- i would love to do nothing! like no job. just vibe all day. i have despised every job i've ever come into contact with i am simply not cut out for the work force!

update soon!
Remus98 chapter 19 . 7/30/2020
Shelby: she literally vocalized everything i’ve been thinking about this alliance for the last few chapters. Not only is there a clear rift in the careers, but one more death and they’re half the tributes left. I think that them splitting it up is not only good for their chances of survival, but for the narrative as well. The four strongest picking off the outer district tributes and then turning on each other isn’t as interesting to read as them splitting up before that can happen. The ”we got bored”-angle is a bit weak, though. I think that if they bump into Andros and Caelle in the castle, a fight will definitely ensue. Maybe even next chapter?

Calandra: there were so many things I loved about this POV. First and foremost, there are few things I enjoy as much as getting into worldbuilding in these types of stories. The author’s take on the Hunger Games universe I always so interesting, hence why I loved the inclusion of Fallon’s time in the arena. The part about Ardith, too, was a nice touch, and added to Calandra’s confidence in being selfish about getting out. I think she’s come a long way from drunken nights in the orchards of district 11. And though it didn’t take her all the way, she should be proud of how far she’s come. As she said, many of her peers didn’t make it out of the bloodbath. She not only did that, but she made it to tenth place. That’s seriously impressive! She will be missed. Calandra was never a favorite of mine, but I appreciated her nonetheless.

Kepler: suddenly, he feels like the big bad. He’s almost taken over the spot of Eliana, as the wildcard who can’t be trusted. That became very clear this chapter. He’s hella dangerous. I can’t help but admire the transformation you’ve made him go through, though. He started as a sheltered boy who wanted nothing but to escape the religious claws his father sunk into him. But now that he’s gone through the ringer, religious has become like an aid in murdering. It guides him in a way. I liked how it played into his confrontation with Calandra, their showdown did need to happen. It was the best way for Calandra to go. And the imagery of her being thrown out the stained window… the metaphors here are crazy good. Omg!

Sharif: he’s cute. His new tactics does feel like proof that he won’t be the victor, though. It feels like foreshadowing to him sacrificing himself to save Inaya. But whether that is a throw off or not is yet to be determined. The foreshadowing you’ve done so far has been very sneaky, especially in the case of Eliana’s death. Could this be too obvious of an hint? Seeing as both Sharif and Malek/Inaya has gone through the games fairly unscathed so far, I could see them all being thrown into action next chapter. Perhaps one of the career pairs will find the three of them? I want to see these three in a conflict of some sort. I’d like that.

Congratulations on hitting 100k! It’s been a wild ride so far, and the emotional journeys has definitely been one of the major highlights. On the top of my head, I think Kepler and Althea come to mind first (the latter of which might be biased, but whatever). They’ve both changed a lot, but in ways that are still reminiscent of the people they were when we first met them. It’s been a lot of fun to see them develop.

The top 8 interviews are not something I’ve thought of for a long time. I’ve not seen them a lot in SYOTs tbh. Something I’d like to see, I guess, would be family members and/or friends that we didn’t get a glimpse of in their first POV (Althea’s brother come to mind). I’d also love to get an insight into the people we’ve heard about and seen (i.e. Kepler’s father and Amira). That might be an obvious answer, thoooo.

In my mind, I’ve always seen myself publishing a novel at some point. I’m very passionate about writing, despite me not having dared to publish anything on this site 0_0. Maybe at some point. We’ll see.

Can’t wait for next chapter! See you then :)
House Elf Liberation Front chapter 19 . 7/30/2020
I really loved this chapter! Sharif is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and I loved his musings about's something I've always wondered as well! I feel for Calandra and Kepler, but boy has he gone south in this arena. Can't wait for the update to see who makes it into the top eight!

jakey121 chapter 19 . 7/30/2020
I feel like the end is just setting it up for them to bump into Andros and Caelle and for them to not believe at all that Cyrus and Shelby were bored and wanted to hunt. Which means we’re going to get some more Career deaths.
I actually was shocked to realise that there are only 6 other tributes inside the castle other than the Careers. I forgot what number we were at and like… I don’t blame these two for wanting to leave because yeah, if Andros and Caelle do get some kills, they will turn their focus on them and it would probably be quite an easy fight tbh. Shelby is still very gung-ho about things, very emotional but almost dismissive in a way. I love that she’s comparing what’s going on to petty things that happened at home – she’s still focused on the teenage drama that she used to be a part of, but I love her bond with Cyrus and always have done. I just don’t see both, together, lasting much longer. Something is going to happen.

I absolutely adored Calandra’s last POV. I think it did wonders to her character and to what you’ve done for her. She was never the loudest personality but there she is, feeling guilt over her decisions, but using it as fire to fight to survive and to make it home and to try and make a new life. It’s literally the complete opposite to how Kepler is dealing with what’s been through. Calandra is finding strength from it, Kepler has completed SNAPPED. Like actually snapped.
I loved the fact that she was pleading, but Kepler is not mentally there anymore, and it turned into a fight that sent Calandra out the window.
UGH. Just as she was finding strength to survive. I’m actually sad. Like… I’ve disconnected myself a lot now reading stories with my own tributes because I never expect them to win so I’m ready for them to die, but Calandra… I think it was just her last POV I loved it so much and now she’s dead and I’m sad.
Kepler is too far gone. I’d be shocked if you took him to the end because I don’t think there’s any of the old Kepler to save.
The imagery in this POV was fantastic and his thoughts unravelling… so good. RIP Calandra. I’m sad.

I know some people probs don’t because ‘oh he hasn’t done much!’ but I just get so entranced by his inner thoughts and the way you weave them together that I just… love him. Love him.
Literally he’s me because I’d be so anxious with the cameras even tho it really does not matter. Then he’s thinking about periods and yes queen that’s so funny and very important to consider. And I love that he’s giving points to his own apathy but is still torn up about it. And then with Inaya and Malek – it opens up a new plotline for him following them where I see either Sharif coming to Inaya’s aid, being with her in her final moments, or fleeing entirely as she dies. Or they end up fighting. So many possibilities and I’m excited for this.

I’m going to do a tribute chart because why not!:

Love: Caelle, Althea, Sharif
Like: Andros, Cyrus, Shelby, Inaya
Neutral: Kepler, Malek

Most intriguing emotional journey? Cyrus with it all starting from killing Shark. Kepler’s is a huge stand-out… I’ve never quite got on board with him like so many others have, but his journey has been so interesting to see.

I’ll be honest I don’t really know who I’d be interested in seeing for final eight interviews. Sharif’s friend that he mentioned? Oooo maybe Kepler’s dad! Shelby’s one-night stand no.785?

I would like to say I’d do something really creative and groundbreaking but I’d probably just eat lots and watch tv. I’m lazy.

UGH update. I’m loving this story so much.
BradiLain chapter 18 . 7/26/2020
Poor Althea. I imagine that must have been a brutal moment. Slightly anticlimactic for little Val, but being injured is a death sentence in itself in the arena. I like Val, so it'll be sad to see her gone, but more importantly, Althea will be a huge target with nobody by her side. That makes me see her demise in the near future.

Our Career pack is in absolute shambles. Nobody really trusts each other, the two of them that are dead have both been from within their own alliance's hands... A hot mess, aren't they? I feel like they're divided right down the middle with Shelby and Cyrus being buddy buddy and then Andros and Caelle being the more brutal of the pack. How much longer will they all last together? Will the Careers lack of trust between each other bring them all to their knees?

Longer or shorter games? I feel like the Capitol would be pretty split, to be honest. I imagine that a lot of them don't have the attention span to really enjoy a slow burn sort of game, but there are also some that i'd think revel in every moment and never want it to end. Depends on which end of the Capitol you get to, I suppose. Personally, I love me a long game, but to each their own!

Filler tributes... There were so many that I enjoyed very very much. Probably Mary Sue, if we're being real she was the biggest MVP i ever did see. Loved that gal. All of the fillers gave me life, though, so I miss all of them.

My Top Five Predictions: Shelby, Caelle, Cyrus, Inaya, Sharif
The Next to Go: Althea, Calandra
The Others: Kepler, Andros, Malek
JabberjayHeart chapter 18 . 7/21/2020
I'm so surprised that I'm beginning to like Althea so much? When you strip away her pompous background and go to the route of her issues, she's rather appealing. She's cut, blunt, dry, damaged, sarcastic. She's a blend of so many cool traits that, for me, it was lost amongst her background and now she's in the arena, she's much more fun to understand and read about. This whole section with Valerie was good. The conversation on Gareth and Althea's thoughts on it — he's a stranger, it's survival — was very good reason and so on brand for her. The "Bitch, what?" had me rolling.

Anyway, it makes sense to kill Valerie in her sleep but I am shook by it. I did not expect it coming. Althea just straight up decided that, after the jokes, Valerie was dead weight and ended her life. I won't miss Valerie — you know my thoughts there. But this will definitely propel Althea into becoming a frontrunner.

Firstly, what the fuck? Secondly, what the fuck?
I did NOT expect to see this coming, at all. Eliana was the wildcard. She could not be trusted. Did I expect her to be killed in her sleep? Not at all. But, thinking logically on it, we are at Top 10 already. It's a move most of us would've chosen about here to thin the Career pack out. Still, I'm mad. Besides Cyrus, Eliana was probably my favourite Career. She was so different! She was a wildcard, she felt imperfect, she was so unhinged in a certain type of way and so antagonistic without being over the top... I can see why you did it, but I'm just shocked. She was one of the more original Careers in the stories at the moment. The betrayal and anger and confusion as she died...

On that note though, fuck Caelle and Andros? Cowards. I get why they did it... but they are definitely both going straight into the hate pile until they even attempt to redeem themselves.

Caelle is definitely more callous and dangerous than she believes. She's killed with zero emotion. She egged Shelby on to kill Loren just like Eliana did. They are both cut from the same cloth, except Eliana owns her madness, whereas Caelle believes she's better than it. As for Andros... he's basically a henchman to her at this point.

This Career alliance is now effectively the Careers (Caelle and Andros) vs the Pretenders (Cyrus and Shelby) and, frankly, I hope the Pretenders murk the shit out of Caelle and Andros and kill them in their sleep.

Cyrus' passage reminds me why he is one of my favourites in this entire story. I'm also digging his relationship with Shelby. On that note, it's clear that the divide is set — I just hope Cyrus and Shelby survive over the robots. Caelle implying Eliana was a lunatic whilst twirling her sword... ugh.

Anyway, yeah. Cyrus is a yes. Shelby is a yes? Andros has fallen from grace so hard and Caelle couldn't be anywhere nearer the bottom of my shit list. So many emotions. So many feels. I'm loving it.

Lastly, Malek and Inaya! Very quiet duo. Somehow, Inaya is still here. Malek is doing a good job at holding onto sanity but, like most reviewers have said, I'm expecting another Mutt in the castle and a dragon seems the most plausible. Especially if you're sticking towards Arthurian themes. I like this pair — but I know one will die soon for the development of the other and I'm leaning towards Inaya biting the dust.

Okay, so! Predictions! Careers vs Pretenders at some point. Hoping and praying someone kills Caelle in her sleep for that sweet irony. Inaya most likely dying to further Malek. Calandra dying relatively soon after finding Kepler, perhaps? Althea and Sharif running into each other as they're the loners without contact. Or, Sharif finding Inaya once more and making a plot out of that.

Clear frontrunners at this point seem to be Kepler, Althea and, upsettingly for me, Caelle. I see that as a final three from right this second.

For the fun of it, an updated chart as we're at final ten!

Love: Cyrus, Kepler, Malek
Like: Althea, Shelby, Inaya, Sharif
Neutral: Calandra
Wow, Dude: Andros
Burn: Caelle

Okay, update soon!
JabberjayHeart chapter 17 . 7/21/2020
I am late to the party and so behind on reviews but this story owns me so here I am to drop these reviews like they're hot.

Sharif's fight or flight reaction is very realistically, particularly to his character. Solitary, self-preserving, an enigmatic character who just needed to keep himself alive. I had a suspicion he fled the room when the Careers came to find them.

Loren's entire scene was so raw and sad. I'm very, very, very happy that she found Kepler in her final moments. I was always a bit mad that she straight up cut off their alliance in favour of the littles but the conclusion to their story — and, in turn, giving Kepler another edge — really makes me feel content. Loren's last moments were full of emotion, ah.

Shelby's resistance is shaping up nicely. I'm... beginning to like her more and more. Especially after the next chapter. Her and Cyrus are really away from the group. Both volunteered without understanding the real weight of the situation. Both naive to a certain sense. Both unprepared and unwilling to just... kill so easily. I like it. Shelby is shaping up to go down multiple routes but I do feel her head is the next to fall on the Career chopping block.

Calandra and Redmond are okay? I'm very neutral on both and, whilst I respect and understand Sharif's decision to abandon Loren to her death, their abandonment of Kepler purely because they didn't see him as okay any more left a sour taste in my mouth. Maybe that's why. The whole scene was fantastically written. The monster is wicked. Redmond dying to it felt rather apt, in a way — I'm not too upset but the imagery was ghastly.

Next chapter!
sock-feet-and-stirring-sand chapter 18 . 7/20/2020
oooookay i’ve put off reviewing this for long enough. I just know it’ll be a long one so brace yourself!

I was expecting val to go sometime soon but I was still surprised to see her die here. i think i’ve grown so attached to the people still in that seeing them die is just so weird to me! like everyone’s going to live the entire story right? right?
anyways there’s so much funny shit here to comment on even though val was dying at the same time but like. althea getting concussed from getting slammed into a headboard? i’m dead. and all her little comments that give her such a memorable tone. “she’s drooling. ew.” she doesn’t care if she’s in the hunger games, she’s still calling maybe-dead val out for being gross. go off sis.
mad respect for althea though. she gave val so many chances to wake up... and truthfully it didn’t seem like she was going to. so althea probably made the right move in terms of sponsor support and putting herself in a better position to go far in the games. as for her mental health? I think she’s going to manage alright after this. some guilt is to be expected but it was almost a mercy kill. she thought it through so so many times. really loved her complex thought process here, too; you covered all the bases it would have made sense for her to consider.

oh boy.
listen. I don’t know how many days it’s been. like, 4? I put this off for so long so I could try to work through everything and try to figure out how to put words to what I felt about this and I still have no idea how i’m gonna do it. like, how do I be chill while also expressing that this POV did things to me I didn’t even know writing could do to me?
I think it started with the fact that there were hints throughout the beginning of the chapter— caelle’s obsession with eliana’s vulnerability in sleep, for instance— that make more sense now but even knowing what’s about to happen, they still aren’t too heavy-handed. maybe it’s just my oblivious brain not picking up hints when they’re there but I think it was really nicely done where there was just enough lead up for it not to be totally out of the blue, but also it was still a HUGE ass shock to my system.
even rereading it again for the 10th time is so surreal because absolutely NO part of me expected it. not because eliana was a career, god knows i’ve got careers in stories right now i’m just waiting to have die, but because like a lot of people said, she felt like an end game character. no bias there; that just seemed like where she’d end up. not as a winner but like top 6? so yeah it still feels like i’ve dreamt it when I reread this chapter because it doesn’t fit into my conception of this fic in my head. does that make any sense? not in a bad way I promise it’s just a mindfuck every time lol!
i truly think caelle’s just trying to convince herself that she’s a better person than eliana. I don’t think beating mary sue to a pulp is what pushed her over the edge entirely, although it harkens back to her thoughts during the bloodbath (way to tie that all together!). but caelle is clearly a little psychotic if she doesn’t feel anything for killing these people either. she’s shifted the blame onto eliana and made her a scapegoat— ok OBVIOUSLY eliana is far from innocent but the more caelle keeps saying “eliana is bad! she didn’t feel anything!” the more i’m like hon you’ve barely flinched this whole time! maybe people will realize it with eliana gone... but maybe not!
and god the tension here. people slowly waking up! yikes! caelle misses the killing blow and i’m like “maybe maybe maybe” and then eliana’s going for her spear but caelle fucking KICKS it and we know eliana has no chance and I think at this point I legitimately became lightheaded from shock i’m not kidding. caelle gets her through the CHEST this time like. no chance for her.
and she’s so scared because she knows she’s gone and that’s so scary because we’ve never seen that from her... tbh only you & I know the shame in her heart and seeing her be human again is actually heartbreaking because it’s been buried this entire story in her anger and pride and stoicism.
and andros brings up ADRIENNE which is the last thing eliana wants to hear about when she’s being murdered. I love this district partner connection... so much more interesting than having two entire strangers with no part in each other’s pasts. andros as opposed to caelle has a personal reason to despise eliana so it makes sense for him to think of it as a means of almost avenging what was done to adrienne. and tbh i’m imagining adrienne watching this go down at home like fuck I hope she’s okay and not totally overwhelmed by all of this.
and then. fuck. this part... they were just waiting to see eliana get mad again for an excuse to hit her again. and she barely reaches toward him, like she’s got no weapon, she’s bleeding out. he didn’t need to step in. and yet! he pulls his damn battle axe and lops her head off her shoulders which is an absolutely grotesque mental image even if she weren’t, ya know, my tribute. I literally felt sick at this point I was like... that did not just happen... no effing way dude!
and then they just turn around and shelby and cyrus are like that patrick meme where he’s sitting there like :O. and we finish with the revelation that only shelby doesn’t know he killed shark, and i’m interested to see what comes of that point!

just wanted to reiterate that you crushed it with her and even though i’m heartbroken eliana’s dead, it’s ultimately about what will make the best story and to be honest that twist just changed the whole game. it’s also become much more evident how we’ve got two main camps in the career alliance; eliana was the one who didn’t fit into either and she was either going to strike off on her own or fall victim to one of the other pairs. we’ve worked off this assumption that andros and caelle are the most competent when compared to shelby and cyrus, but as we saw here, anyone can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. the strongest careers don’t always win and I think cyrus and shelby will continue to surprise us.
(but then again, we’re running out of time. people are going to die and keep shaking this up. so who knows how long anyone’s gonna last?).

but yeah. super well done here. I got what I wanted to see from her and more and it makes sense that this was where her story ends! still gonna miss her though. even if she was a complicated, confused, abusive bitch she was /my/ complicated, confused, abusive bitch. rip miss eliana!

alright now onto cyrus before I get cut off LMAO.

caelle and andros have obviously talked over their talking points here because they’re way too much on the same page. I do still think there’s some exaggeration going on. besides, “we could have killed you but chose not to” doesn’t exactly make me want to trust andros, so I don’t blame cyrus for feeling a little iffy about that.
oh yeah and I guess they didn’t know about the abuse— that conversation was between caelle and andros only. there’s so much not being said in this alliance and it’s both painful and exciting. there’s so many ways for everything to explode and I am so here for it!
andros just picking up eliana’s head... I hate him so much now LMAO. focus on yourself buddy.
and yeah. okay so the two of them are gonna stay back while the others hunt. that’s the perfect opportunity to leave! like, what else are they going to do? stick around and wait for everyone else to die so that they have that showdown with caelle and andros? that’s not what they want. i’d love to see them fuck the others over and leave. but i’m not sure if they have the guts to do that at this point in the games.

what is going on with inaya?
firstly, i’m impressed she’s still alive at this point. top ten? never could have guessed that from her bloodbath accident.
secondly, what’s this business with the knife? what does she want with it? she’s not going to turn on malek... is she? (hoe don’t do it)
the first time I read this I was like “nah malek there’s definitely something there but inaya took the knife.” now i’m like. is there something there? I mean no doubt inaya took the knife, but why? we better hear from her next chapter. I need to know what’s going on!

question time:
1. the capitol would definitely prefer longer games. both in terms of entertainment— as someone said it does only happen once a year, so better make it count!— and in terms of boosting the economy. all the hunger games related events, parties, sponsorships? the longer the games, the more of that we’ve got going. I don’t see a downside to having longer games in the capitol unless they start dragging on and getting boring, but even in that case the gamemakers have the technological ability to speed things up via shrinking the arena, introducing mutts/other arena disasters, etc. look at katniss’ games for instance; there’s no reason they should have lasted that long, but the gamemakers kept the rain coming so katniss and peeta could recover as well as keep that romance going in the cave (at least that’s my take). even if a hunger games is several weeks long, that’s still 2-3 weeks out of the year. imagine your only sport being like, football or basketball or something and it’s played once a year. wouldn’t you want it to last as long as possible? that’s the capitol, to me. the hunger games is the only sport they’ve got so they need to make it count. unless they’ve actually got some sports. maybe severed head basketball? it fits the murder vibe. hey, eliana lives on!
2. god I almost said shark again but tbh it’s mary sue. lil hoe would have SOBBED over val’s dead body and probably stabbed herself in the chest in regret and that’s the kind of melodrama i’m here for.
3. predictions! I can’t be wronger than thinking eliana had endgame potential, so here goes: althea and kepler are top 6. malek also has potential to make it there unless inaya does something crazy but I don’t see her lasting much farther as she’s not one of the central voices of this story. either cyrus or shelby are in danger, as they can’t last forever. I think andros/caelle will survive at least another chapter and then some shit will explode the chapter after that. and then sharif and calandra... not as sure about them. i’d like to see more from calandra now that she’s seen redmond die, but i’m not sure if she has it in her to kill. suppose it depends who she sees next!

overall a tremendous update. loving this story so much and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

see you next chapter :):)
District11-Olive chapter 18 . 7/19/2020
Althea: I'm scanning these POVs to jog my memory and OH YEAH THAT HAPPENED. I definitely see someone like Althea just offing her ally, like yeah she was pretty squeamish about the whole deal but girl is strong. She is right too, this seemed like a nasty concussion and that is not going to make Val a very helpful ally. I can't say that I will miss Val because she's always been a bit of a shadow to Althea in my opinion, but I did like the little bits of conversation she brought out of Althea. The fact that she is being reinforced for killing is a good move on her mentor's part. I think she has some real promise of getting far, her mindset is strong enough to kill but vulnerable enough not to be happy about it. I like.

Caelle: Honestly this was the biggest shock I think could have happened. I don't exactly blame them for being wary of Eliana and also a bit threatened by her, especially after the stuff about Adrienne came out. I still must say that I loved Eliana as a Career because of her instability. I feel like a lot of Careers are perfectly rehearsed (probably because they're trained to be like that) but Eliana was off the rails. I enjoyed her for how different she was and I'm sorry to see her go. The fact that she was killed basically in her sleep was BRUTAL though, like smart but I hurt to know that she didn't even have a chance to defend herself. A well thought out, safe plan from the robo-Careers but like ugh I wish it had ended differently. Cowards.

Cyrus: Eliana's death really does throw a wrench into the Career alliance and I wonder if this is something that's going to finally spark that collapse we're searching for. I think Caelle and Andros are banking on the fact that Cyrus and Shelby are too weak to stand up to them, but I doubt that will be the case. I can see them either dipping in the middle of the night or having a fight. I'm excited at the potential to have Careers loose in the arena full time and not just when hunting. As much as I hate that she's gone, I think we are going to see a lot more facets to the alliance. Also the way they just carried away her severed head so casually got me.

Malek: I'm sensing dragon in the castle. If there is not a dragon I will be very upset so please make it so. This alliance is cute, like I didn't expect Inaya to still be alive at this point but like the little bit of sweetness left is kind of nice. I love the different areas of the arena that we are learning from this duo but I feel like they are destined for some action fairly soon. If Inaya took the knife I would be straight up shocked but also like 'good for you girl, get it'. A mutt that needs a knife, like I don't even want to fucking know what that means. Do dragons even have thumbs?

I think a good inbetween would be ideal for the Capitol. Long enough to really root for tributes and see them have some good old breakdowns, but short enough that there aren't several days without deaths. I'm thinking like 6-8 days? I don't know though, that's probably biased because that's what I like.

I miss Neon ugh. Everyone else is over the D3 nerd type but I will never be. This is my roots right here and I both love and am embarrassed by this.

Malek/Inaya are in danger I think. Either there is a dragon or another tribute down there and whichever it is it has a knife. I think the Careers are due for a blow up as well because there is clearly no trust between the two sides. There have been a few people/groups that I think are due for some action so I think anything could happen. After Eliana like I will no longer be shocked.
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