Reviews for In The Core
ManateeFanatee chapter 38 . 1/28
So, my predictions may have been a little bit off /lh

This was such a wonderful story and I'm glad I decided to spend an afternoon reading it and getting to know the amazing characters that you rendered so perfectly. You again chose the perfect victor, and I'm happy that at least a handful more of this amazing group of characters got to survive. Depressing yet chaotic? That's a perfect way of putting it. Aside from the perfection of Vito, Levan's arc, Rory and Valentine, and everything involving Nora's descent was told so brilliantly. I'm so glad to have read In the Core and you can expect to see me reading In the Clear sometime in the future as well!

Thank you for writing!
ManateeFanatee chapter 22 . 1/28
Hi again! I had the day off and decided to read through this story next because I've heard good things and I loved In the Cut, and I'm super glad that I did! I really liked In the Cut already, and this fic is taking that up to 11. This is one of my (maybe even my #1) favorite casts of characters I've read in an syot. They're all so interesting, and then you went and brought them to life and wrote all of these interweaving character arcs that has me caring about each and every one of them. I have a feeling next chapter is going to be a very light bloodbath, because I just can't imagine saying goodbye to most of these characters yet. While I love all of them, special shoutouts to Jules, Nora, Layla, Valentine, London, Rory, Vito, Aviv, Kasper, and Jared (is that literally half the cast? huh, yeah, it is.) Especially Vito, Jared, Aviv, and Layla. All of that said, I just wanted to stop by midway through my read-through to let you know I'm loving the story and am incredibly torn on who I want (or expect) to win. I'm not normally a fan of survivors in fics, but I would make an exception for this one time XD

Because it might be silly and fun for you to laugh at how wrong I am (or be in awe of my accurate eye for foreshadowing and arc development /j), I'll post a prediction: Nora wins, with Layla, Rory, Kasper, and Jules rounding out the final 5.

Also: I love the way you write your intros and pre-games. It was such a smooth and easy read and I love how I feel like I can just dive right through your prose without resistance, yet you still manage to write things with detail and poetry. (I don't know if that makes sense or not. Basically: I like your writing. It's good.)

Thanks for writing!
david12341 chapter 38 . 1/15/2023
Hey, so I'm super super overdue for a review on this, sorry bout that. Picking up from where (I think) I left off: the middle-end of these games were fucking fantastic. Just absolutely everything from the moment of the attempted escape and onward kicked this story from being *really fucking good* to *absolutely fucking phenomenal.* I was reading along for most of it (only had the last handful of chaps to read still just now) but I never felt like I had the time or energy to give it the type of review that it deserved because just wow. I love this cast of characters, it's genuinely one of if not the absolute best cast I can remember in an syot. All the betrayal and heartbreak in the last few chaps was just perfection. You wrote London so very well right down to the very last moment, and I couldn't be happier with how you wrote her. I never expected her to win and even seeing her go as far as she did was a shock, and you wrote her completely to justice. Jules, Aviv, and so many of the others still live rent free in my head but nobody lives there more completely than Vito (who is just the perfect and only choice for victor and I'm so happy he won) and Lev. Lev still being alive actually shook me to my core (ha) and the entire epilogue was just the perfect wrap up to (like you perfectly said) this depressing yet chaotic story.

Thank you so much for writing London, for writing this story, and for writing this whole verse into existence. Genuinely some of the most fun I've ever had reading an syot, and I'm super sad that I closed up enough of my irl stuff and revived myself in this community just a week too late to sub to the sequel. Regardless, I'll still be reading and following along (and not in the "just saying that" way, like I'll actually be reading and reviewing bc this verse is just so fascinating and perfect to me) the whole way through and am excited to see what you've got planned next!
ladyqueerfoot chapter 27 . 1/2/2023
Y’know, if this damn story is all I’m capable of thinking of, I might as well be productive with it. I know I’m not posting this under the actual epi chapter because of my initial rambling, but yes, hi, hello, make yourself comfortable and welcome to my review of the epilogue.

Even typing this review feels unreal. It’s almost been a month and I still haven’t fully comprehended the fact Vito’s alive and at your manipulations forevermore. He’s here though – for better or for worst, my son is alive. Thank you for that, again. I genuinely don’t know how to structure my review of this absolute masterpiece but I’ll just… talk about things in the order they appear in my mind.

Right away, I knew this was going to be a very different epilogue compared to Matt’s. Fitting since Vito’s a very different person after his time on the cut, but wow you made that known right away. The way he just refused to drop his weapon? And he was so damn afraid as a whole? It hurt to read that, just the knowledge that these people saw him as the monster he became and not the good boy he’s always been. I was genuinely so anxious for him – I felt just as attacked and invaded upon. And then there were the bad looks in the ambulance and even though you didn’t directly say it until a bit later, it was clear from this point onward that Vito wasn’t the victor they wanted.

The first week in the hospital was just so so upsetting. The fact he couldn’t play with his hair or wipe away his tears and then he’d have these violent impulses? Just so incredibly upsetting even though it makes sense considering what he did in there. The way Vito kept wanting to apologize too, that’s so genuinely fucked up of you. I knew he wouldn’t get to for a while but just… he’s so desparate. Overall, this epilogue really hammered home one of Vito’s core traits as a character, his desire to be a good person, which we talked about together a lot. Of course, this meant that he was being very self-loathing, and that’s because the Vito in the arena really isn’t the whole Vito. It’s just the part of him that’s desparate for his freedom, another of his core traits. Epilogues are in a way, just extended character studies, and that’s why this all worked so well with Vito. Having not one but two of my kids explored so intimately by you is an honor and a privilege. Another great thing was just… immediately the Vito in the epilogue was far more remorseful than the arena. He immediately knew what he was doing was wrong and wanted to atone, which is exactly what I thought would happen.

There’s other things about the first week that I hate but are fucking brilliant of you. One is the whole “you were the villain” and the fact they tried to put him down. I just know that hearing the world villain applied to himself was so awful for Vito, because it was just as awful for me. He just felt so unwanted early on, and I’m very sad just thinking about it. Speaking of unwanted, the other thing I hated was that his parents refused to talk to him. Like every upsetting thing in this epilogue, it makes perfect fucking sense and I hate it. He didn’t email Damien yet, but I have a good feeling it’ll happen during Vito’s prologue, or in 3TC at some point. It’s going to be very gratifying to me as the skank whore than had the audacity to create Damien because I just… yearn for his comeuppance and now it’s only a matter of time.

So the next thing I want to discuss is the gaslighting and shit, but first I wanted to talk about his note to himself. Fucking killer instincts on his part, I’ve never been so proud of him for doing that. I knew that it’d come back eventually, and yeah I’ll elaborate later.

Everybody was just… so fucking awful once they knew Vito wasn’t going to drop dead. As soon as Dr. Onai showed him the pictures and I realized what was happening, I was just so… anguished, for lack of a better term. I just wanted to kick everybody else in that room, but I of course could not. And then despite what Vito was saying and how it was the truth, they had no reason to believe that it wasn’t him that did the shooting. He was already seen as sick and twisted to them, of course they’d think he’s lying. And that just made the whole thing more upsetting to read. Everything else only got worse. Like they’d threaten to and then actually physically harm him unless he gave in and said what they wanted him to say? That’s so fucking horrible and fucked up and just… gah! No wonder he started believing what they’d tell him. There wasn’t any other choice. It was also so fucked up that they’d basically reward him whenever he “behaved” by giving into their mindbreaking. It’s like these bitches looked into a textbook, read every definition of psychological abuse, and said “let’s try all of them!”

For a lot of an epilogue, it felt like Vito was in this odd haze between life and death, and it was haunting. The repetition of “They will make me better. I want to be better.” into “I am better. They made me better.” was upsetting as fuck. He just didn’t seem like himself, and he knew it too. He just didn’t know how to approach it because of how awful everybody had been to him. At times, he felt rigid and robotic, never quite human. It was so fucking sad to see my sweet boy who wears his heart on his sleeve turn into this.

I wondered how he’d fit in with the other victors, and I’m honestly a big fan of the trio of him, Gigi, and Matt. Gigi is just such a ray of light and exactly the sort of person Vito needed during this terrible time for himself. Everything about her was just… so good. Like her suggesting that Vito pick a new birthday to separate himself from Damien? So fucking good of her and thank you to Vito for choosing fellow best boy Calsin Verrillo’s birthday. The found familification process is beginning, especially now that the cats are here. One thing about the Cut Verse epilogues is there’s going to be a cat, huh? Keep this trend up please. Matt is just… he has great vibes. He is such some dude and I adore him so much. I know he’s also emo, but it’s just always nice to see him.

You may have noticed I haven’t discussed Vito’s new job. That’s because I have been putting it off for as long as possible, since I’m fucking infuriated - that shit is just so fucking sad. I will admit I had no idea what the “cursed role” of the 2TC victor would be after all of your warnings, but I sure as fuck was not expecting this. I only semi-understood what Elise was doing and I get the feeling that’s your doing. It makes sense now that she was specifically targeted by the rebels - miss that girlie! Yeah… things do not look great for Vito because of this, but of course he takes the job, because Dr. Liu (HATE HIM!) phrased it as “helping people” and didn’t like… explain what the job truly does entail. Like he knew that Vito would want to help people because of how guilty he is about everything he did in the Games. This makes a disgusting amount of sense and I am infuriated by Dr. Liu for doing this to my perfect perfect son. Like Vito falls for this shit so easily and Dr. Liu just said “perfect!” And this is the same bitch who didn’t want Vito to win. He sees this kids as tools and its disgusting and I just cannot even. At least Vito felt sort of disconnected from the work but like we saw in the 3tc prologue, he’s still participating and I am simply miserable.

Now to address the elephant (or 4) in the room. Hellaur survivors. Or… that’s a really kind word for it. Hello slightly less dead, dead kids. Dr. Liu’s audacity for doing this is just too much. Why didn’t he think about how I would feel? I feel ill, in case he was wondering. The slow-reveal of the 1TC kids was so fucking fun, but also not fun at all. It took me a second to understand what was happening but as soon as you dropped Eden’s name, well you know how I feel about this. Dr. Liu is just so yucky disgusting for not letting my besties just die. OH! Dumb thing – I mean umm.. Genius thing that I just came up with aka reason #18283802 that Vanya is still alive. All three of the 1TC survivors are related to her. A bitch she killed, a bitch she killed with, and a bitch that killed her. I cracked the code! Get dunked on! See you soon baby girl!

(As soon as I finished that sentence, the song I was listening to went “I think I’ve gone mad.” and like yeah…. ya’ don’t say)

The Vito/Lev “reunion” was so sickening. I was almost 100% certain Lev would be back because like fuck phobie lives ig. Vito does not know this shit though, so yeah it’s understandable that he lost his shit. Like congrats babes, the bff of two people you axe murdered is alive. And we now know that Lev has no idea who Vito is. I’m simply waiting so patiently for the whole “so I killed all your friends. I’m sorry but I’d do it again” talk, but we have a ways away before we get there considering Lev is, as Brooke so eloquently said, “a chicken nugget.”

The note was so fucking smart! Like it coming back – just so smart. Because yeah he’s been acting so different this whole thing and thinks he’s a school shooter, but like surprise shawty you were gaslit! It was just so clever, and it simply took me out. Your writing always wraps itself up so neatly and satisfactorily, and this was such a good example. He just… realized. And it’s put him in such a good position for more development while also wrapping up the arc he experienced in his epilogue where he like had such a loss of identity and an overall crisis. It also leaves me wondering what’s going to happen to him in 3TC. Like he knows to some extent that he’s being fucked with, but assuming the 3TC prologue takes place after this, he still is visiting with the survivors. I know it’s only been a day and I’ll know in a week, but I’m itching to get in my son’s head again. I will regret saying that.

This whole epilogue was sheer brilliance, as was everything you did with my boy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing as special as somebody loving your character just as much and in the same way as you do. Even if he didn’t win, I’d still be so honored that you loved him so much, because yeah I really love him too. It just now occurred to me that 2TC is over, but like… it’ll never be over for me. And by that I mean I will eventually write a mega-review of thoughts on like everything and not just Vito. By eventually, I mean not at all soon. Like… my To Coda one took until over a year post completion.

This verse is very special to me, Vito is very special to me, and you are very special to me. Thank you for being a great friend and always keeping me on my toes this year. Cheers to doing it all over again!

Much love,
Linds
dyloccupy chapter 38 . 1/1/2023
i rebuke this.
geologyisms chapter 38 . 12/31/2022
i feel fucking sick to my stomach as i type this out. like. holy fuck. holy shit? you really fucking pulled this absolute shenaniganery and im insane. deranged. i feel like youve hit me over the head with a cast iron skillet. no real thoughts other than oh my fucking god. this is incredible. everything works so perfectly and VITO AND LEV YOU NEED TO FUCKING GET OUT OF THERE PLEASE ohhhhh my goddddd im losing my mind. youre a maniac. this epi upset me so deeply but it was fantastic. im like shaking in anticipation for the 3tc prologue and the general insanity of 3tc in general. dude. oh my god. yeah. congrats linds or maybe not because vito is fucking trapped and miserable BUT I HOPE HE IS FREE NEXT FIC... OHHHH I NEED HIM AND LEV TO BE FREE. oh my god. sorry this is absolutely incoherent. holy fuck
ladyqueerfoot chapter 38 . 12/31/2022
cool, gonna pull a vito and puke!

love u, vito, and this story so damn much xoxo. i will at some point come and review this epi extensively but i am sorta overwhelmingly miserable now.

anyway, eden sorrenti supremacy ! congrats mr dyldo :pleading:

i know you said the other girl in the cell isn't vanya but i will pretend i dont see it and decide that you're allergic to killing my kids! can't wait for vasi to live too !

really fucked up they're making vito be lev's like... normalizer. im not excited for the realization from him that vito fucking anihilated his little buddies. vito lev bromance is real methinks! vito eden bromance real!

fucked up that talian had a crush on him - eden is for da ladiez

fucking lior though, i swear to god

so sorry vito's parents dropped him, ig im his new parent now.

if damien isn't dead a year from now, i'm mailing u a bag of my own shit covered in glitter xx (that felt like the least threatening thing i could send to ur house that is actually a bad thing) (if u think abt it, vasi's form is a bag of shit covered in glitter)

a brilliant capstone to my year of misery at your hands ! u are my fave and i am so excited to see how u make me wish i was dead next year ! because you know who isn't dead? vanya. she's just not idk what to say. i know you said over and over again that she is dead but if vito can survive the government's nuke, vanya can too. the cut verse ends with a vaden wedding so true

vito zirensky i love you so much ! you are my favorite little meow meow and i am so glad you are alive. see you in prologues bc i cant rest apparently and also... WHERE TF IS RU? U SAID I'D SEE THEM SOON? im good if i dont tho. if i cant see them he cant hurt me

but... now i get to say the thing that's been on my mind ever since vito's parents dropped him: vito, you're on your own kid

THIS
ISN'T
ME

xoxo, linds
SYOT Verses Discord chapter 31 . 12/26/2022
(The following review was written as part of the 2022 SYOT Verses Discord Server's Holiday Fic Exchange)

surprise! It’s me, a Moose! I’m so excited to read this I only hear amazing things about it

First off i have to say im obsessed with the blog? Like its absolutely amazing in every way wtf how do you do it

The previous winners all seem rlly interested - ik we talked about Zoe in dms so I’m watching her carefully….they seem like they got a lot going on ill have to check out the success stories fic soon!

OKAY FIRST IMPRESSION KID THOUGHTS
Alaina - i mean i cant help but feel bad for her, it was an incredibly stupid decision and then to flee the scene? yeah …bad idea Alaina. But we’re all dumb when we’re that young. She literally seemed like she had her whole life ahead of her just perfectly laid out….oh sweetie
Jules - I thought i had Jules vibe down and then he just went and said “it takes longer than that to heal a broken bone” like okay i see u. But honey it is ur fault u injured the boy 3
London - I have so many feelings about her I can’t even begin to put them into words…i feel incredibly bad for kent tho like…how do you recover mentally and physically from something like that?
Aiden - ooh did someone say anger issues? Honestly though i was very much expecting this to turn into a drunk driver incident, so i guess yay he didn’t accidentally commit manslaughter? Regardless this is a shitty situation for him and i kinda feel for him
Valentine - umm val and sophie are so cute agh i hate reading this knowing its going to end badly for them! “val told them they cant be disappointed in their daughter because they're not their daughter at all” um slay! God i love them sm i can’t-
Kasper - the fact that kasper’s reaction to everything is just simply murder is frightening to say the least - also if he didn’t kill his father…did his mother? Was it actually a random attacker? So much to unpack here
Rory - jordan 0.0 wtf….this pov is so messed up in so many ways….rory girl if u see something u gotta say something!
Nora - did she really get arrested for kidnapping her sister? Thats messed up in every single way…what a poor kid…shes still a kid herself! Wtf legal system!
Aviv - aviv baby…..ack im in tears with this little lad why would he go out and do it to me like this
Vienna - Vi, I feel so bad for them, especially after seeing her with Ingrid. They deserve happiness, not jail
Jesse - well, she is definitely one of the more mild criminals here so far, I guess she should’ve listened to her teacher better
Clara & V - oh boy these two are fun! Not what I expected at all but a very interesting duo here…V is kinda deranged isn’t she?
Vito - vito! Now y would you try to kill ur own brother thats so mean. I’ve heard a lot about u so far and im very thrilled to meet you pls dont kill me
Layla - oh no you’ve really gone and done it to yourself you poor thing…and damn the court really had no mercy and said she has bigger lessons to learn…harsh
Dewei - oooh nooo sweetheart the one thing you don’t do is hack into classified systems and steal info you will literally get caught so fast, well, ig you know that now aha good luck bby 3
Savannah - i literally smelled trickery as soon as brooke started talking to her and agh i knew it would end bad but this is so bad for her, and she didn’t deserve it one bit
Jared - oh no he literally might be the most cinnamon roll out of them all and i cant believe goldie would make him do crime like this its so sad and unnecessary hes just a baby and now im sad
Celene - she really went and did a 180 on sebastian and his fam like that like damn girl ur family is kinda brutal.
Lev - oh my god he’s literally part of the illuminati is he crazy getting implanted with a literal bomb? Also is that JARED’S FIRETRUCK? The baby himself? Lev u little shit-

Ayo I’ve met all the kids! Time for pregames!

The fact that Aviv is grateful for jail and the meals and feeling bad for his mom is the saddest thing ever and this kiddo is going to continue upsetting me.

Also this jail area and how the kiddos are signing up for In The Cut without knowing that is really neat! I love how u describe it and how they’re all reacting to it

Alaina acting as the jail greeter is actually rlly funny to me and idk why. Like I get why she’s doing it but I think it’s funny everyone else is ignoring her

Lev and Jared just make me feel even worse for Jared he’s precious and he doesn’t deserve this

“You’re home now.” It’s so ominous and I love it-

HELLO JESSE AND AIDEN WHAT? Um no em I’m sorry you cAN’T LEAVE ME HANGING LIKE THAT well at least I can keep binge reading

Oh my god Vito :crying: literally why are you upsetting me like this I can’t take it

LOL I’m sorry but Val trying to make friends and Rory just telling them to fuck off makes me laugh harder than it should and then accidentally pointing Rory in the wrong direction oh my god it’s so sad to watch. It’s like the awkward new kid at school I just want to hold them and tell them it's okay

The tension between Clara and Vi is so much and big props to Layla for just…killing that while it’s ahead LMAO she’s like ‘do not get me involved in this nonsense’

Ooh some super secret tech shenanigans are happening here too…

LEVAN’S REACTION TO JARED IS SO FUNNY I’m sorry Jared is precious and needs to be protected at all times but Lev makes me laugh

Wait who was in the house with Kas? Hello? em I thought I told u about leaving me hanging

Oh I guess it was Jules and Vito in the house – ty em!

Jared….happy birthday bby boy. Ur so sweet

Is that a friendship I see forming between Jared and Lev? Lev is finally accepting Jared’s babiness?

o.o what is happening to Rory? Rory buddy, you okay?

Jared, bringing people together since 2003 3 I’ll be honest the Clara/Vi alliance isn’t what I thought would happen here but now I’m just hoping it doesn’t go completely south

“Why would they lie?” oh Alaina you sweet innocent child

Oh my goodness it’s the birthday party chapter and I just am :pleading: why do you have to do these sweet moments when I know that everything is going to go to shit so fast

OH MY GOD JARED THINKING THE PARTY WAS FOR LEV IS UPSETTING ME KNOWING BAD THINGS ARE COMING FOR HIM EM AND GOLDIE ARE THE WORST (AFFECTIONATELY) seriously can you be any more PRECIOUS THAN THIS KIDDO

Ah yes, in contrast to the joy of the last chapter, this chapter is depressing af!

I’m really curious about Levan and him being tied up in this side plot stuff – like it makes sense based on his intro but I want to know more

Bloodbath time! First off I love love love how you wrote this, a few sentences in each person’s mind and keeping it flowing so well – obsessed. Okay back to our regularly scheduled murder!

V’s ruthlessness combined with Aviv’s pureness is so contrasting and already just emphasizes how freaking amazing this arena is going to be I can’t-

Every fight scene is so intense I’m literally on the edge of my seat even though I do kinda know who wins it doesn’t matter the tension is so good and so strong and I’m so engaged

RIP Clara.

What I love most about this entire chapter is how realistic it feels. An announcement like that, you’d expect an immediate bloodbath (ha) but in reality that’s quite unlikely. They’re all basically kids after all, and none of them are heartless serial killers. They would all be hesitant. It feels very much like Belko Experiment and I am so here for it and the cast you have is perfect for it

“I want to see if they’re okay” Jared has caused too much trauma to me and I’d like to cry now

“Maybe I can help” STOP THIS IS NOT OKAY

RIP Vivienne. Whew, that was a hard one to read.

On an unrelated note I like the individual announcements after a death. It’s very different from the normal Hunger Games but I like it and I think it works well in this world!

Nora you bitch-

JULES REALLY SAID CLARA WAS AN EASY KILL OH MY GOD

Ooooh this Lev backstory is really interesting and the attempt to stop the Cut is…hopeful. I very much have a feeling this is going to backfire on them all.

“Can I trust you? Please, just tonight” stop cutting onions in here asdfghjkl;

Vito and Dewei are very much upsetting me thank you em

Well Dewei’s death was even more depressing than I thought it could be

Jules and Celene acting as the Career pact is certainly a strategy-ack I know bad things are coming I can’t stop reading

Aviv stop trying to be a dang hero an Jules is fucking ruthless my god

Vito breaks my heart

Man this doesn’t feel very much like a reward for aviv I gotta say

RIP Celene. The Jules/Celene alliance was certainly a fun one, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did but it was incredibly well written.

Vito bby you gotta forget about Jules 3

RIP Alaina, I really enjoyed her intro and her character was always more of a breath of fresh air in here, she did about as well as I’d suspect but I will miss her

“He’s never gotten in so much as a playground shoving match” JARED

Oh my they’re tying up jules he’s not gonna like that-

OH THE SET IS EXPLODING I REPEAT THE SET IS ON FIRE

How so very interesting The Scene is…i have so many questions

YOOO VALENTINE AND RORY SURVIVED? LETS GOO

Another phase? This’ll be good

& the way the Cut handled the explosion was smort on their part

(Levan’s not dead, right?)

Oh god but Jared doesn’t know that and now I’m grossly upset

Ngl I know who wins but I’m rooting for Aviv this whole time

RIP Savannah. I really enjoyed her and I think her reason for being here is one of the worst. She will be missed

The whole fight scene and Vito with London was so tense. Like on the edge of my seat the entire time. But rest in peace London.

Jared searching for Lev is so sad. I’m so sad.

And the fight between Kasper and Nora was amazing and very tense and Kasper and Aviv saying goodbye was also incredibly sad and this story is so depressing em help me im sad

AND JULES MURDERING AVIV BREAKS MY SOUL like obviously I knew Aviv was going to die but it DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY EASIER EM.

I don’t think I can put into words how I feel about Jared’s death like I think if I try I will literally be unable to finish writing this review. Jared was 100% my favorite little guy. He was just a little guy.

AND A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO VITO! Linds I know how excited you were to get ur first victor and you literally couldn’t have had a better one to kick off the linds victor train. Thank u for submitting this fic and letting me meet him and everyone else in this season of the cut. Very very excited for 3tc!

Happy Holidays from ur favorite neighborhood Moose
dyloccupy chapter 37 . 12/13/2022
delete, a lot of people asking you to delete, its triggering for so many people, there are people that faint and feel sick, please im begging you to delete it, delete this post right now, its forbidden and illegal in many countries to post something like that, people are crying.
ladyqueerfoot chapter 37 . 12/4/2022
what is dis hunny
ladyqueerfoot chapter 36 . 11/30/2022
Ah, here we are. I know this review is going under I4 even though it has nothing to do with it, but you already know how great this interlude is and what I loved about it because I told you. I just wanted a space to talk about the kiddos and just sort of gather my thoughts before the finale. That’s not me saying that my opinions on the story are going to change depending on who wins, but two big arcs are coming to an end this weekend and I’d like to form coherent thoughts before they do.

(Oh, and like… I guess there’s Vi, but we all know who I’m here to to talk about. This isn’t a slight at them, they’ve been a fun read, I just don’t see them winning and think their arc pretty much ended after losing Jared, with the climax being when she realized people don’t like her, they just vaguely tolerate her. If they win, I will be shocked and maybe a bit disappointed? I’d be curious how you execute it for sure and obviously I’ll reserve any severe judgement until then.)

Anyway, da boyz! I think it’s really fucking funny that Dyl and I collabed for 1TC, and probably joked about a Vaden (miss them) finale at some point, but that obviously didn’t happen now here we are with Vaudrensky, which was always sort of a bit to me, but then the story progressed and they just have such interesting parallels that are completely unintentional on Dyl and I’s parts. It’s just fucking wild to me how intensely they’ve flip-flopped ever since G7, and how much sense it makes for both of them as a character. Like in any other situation, there’s a chance they’d maybe be normal functional people, yet the Cut has been such a perfect location for them to flip flop their two extremes - not that Vito’s extreme was as severe as Jules in the beginning.

I know Jules was at surface level, a smug arrogant bastard up until maybe 3 chapters ago, but there’s been signs of that part of him breaking I feel ever since he went ape-shit on Celene and then especially in G7 when he was left on the dock. I always knew there’d be more to Jules than evil bitch, and I love how slowly you drew that out. And then the fact it was Aviv of all people that was able to fully deteriorate him? That makes so much sense and I’m almost angry at myself for not seeing it coming. When Jules approached Aviv at sunrise, I was nervous he was going to absolutely demolish him, and while he did do that, it was so much more emotional than anything Jules has ever done. It almost felt like killing Aviv was a relief for the both of them, because when the scene started, it was clear that Aviv dying would be the outcome and it would be at Jules’ hands, but it happened in such a cathartic way, I was sort of in awe. We’ve established by now that there’s actually not always a choice, but the illusion of choice is a powerful thing. I definitely agree with that, but people can still decide how they make the choice they’re forced to make eventually, and that’s the real illusion. I really loved the message of that POV and then Jules’ following POV in 34 was fucking phenomenal as well? I especially was a fan of how he directly said that he wasn’t trying to have a redemption arc for himself. Like obviously Jules wants to get out, no matter the measures he takes to get there so of course he wouldn’t change anything. Even if he was sort of horrible, he did what he felt was right to get to this moment, so it did work.

He’s just such a nuanced, complex character, and everything about G11 and G12 has really made him shine, though not in a glowstick way because he sorta unsnapped. He’s like… a lamp. Was all dark till Aviv showed him the light (ouch that hurt to say). While it may be a bit late for Jules to unpack all of the trauma and guilt and pressure he experienced since his family died, I’m so glad he did. Even if he does die in the finale, at least he has that burden off of his shoulders now. At least he’d die with a full understanding of himself and who he is at his very core (ba dum tiss). I remember reading G7 and thinking Jules being left on the dock would somehow come into play later. The fact he had this moment where he just came to his senses in the exact spot where he was arguably at his worst? Fucking genius, Em. Truly. I’d say he’s now at his best, but that was probably when he was a child and didn’t have to deal with all this shit. But Jules is at his best in recent years, and that’s a great mindset for him to go into the finale with. I do wonder if this is the end of his arc, that realization the context we’ll be getting from his uncle during the finale, but he’d be a fascinating victor because he for sure goes with FFNs goal of like reforming criminals so they leave the show and then the hospital as a better person that’s more fit for society. But then we all know that winners of the Cut have an awful fucking time, and maybe Jules desereves to finally rest as a treat. He learned his lesson and after everything awful he’s gone through already, it would be a bit fucked up if he still had to go through hell and continuously suffer.

And then there’s Vito. God, I’m down horrific for that kid. I’m so obsessed with him, it makes me look fucking stupid. You knew that though. You’ve dealt with me being completely insufferable about him for a year and a half now. I know there were lots of ways you could have interpreted his form and many ways in which you could take him, and as much as I would have loved for my sweet boy to die the soft good man he once was, I was sort of hoping you’d put him down this dark path because of how much sense it makes for his character, especially now that he has Jules and that arc as his foil. Everything about him has just been stellar, and I’m beyond thrilled with how you wrote him and how many emotions you’ve made me feel that range from sadness because he’s lost his sense of self to bliss because you’ve given me such a consistently beautiful and stunning arc for a child I’ve always adored, and it’s always special to see an author love my kid and see them in the same way I do. There’s just so much about him as of now that’s ironic yet terribly fucked up”

Like going back to his nigh before POV:

“Things change. That's something that Vito knows with more certainty than his own name. Things change between people that never should. His own brother. His best friend. Whether it's his fault, and often it was, at the end of the day it hardly matters. Time's taken some of the best parts of his life away and molded others into knives to slash him open. Even if time's always shared his name.

But even if he doesn't deserve it, maybe time will let him keep this one.

At least until the bitter lies melt between his teeth.”

The way it’s now actually his fault that he’s done everything bad in the arena and he’s now viewed as a monster because of it how time’s taken the worst parts of his life and molded him into a knife to slash others open? God that’s fucking incredible, as is the fact the bitter lies are, I’d say, melting between his teeth at this point.

There’s also “Then, he promises that he won't stop looking until he finds Jules. It's just that Vito hopes to feel human when he does” at the end of the bloodbath which is fucked up because because he does not in fact feel human anymore. I really should’ve known Vito was going to snap eventually, the clues were right there, for fucks sake. Even him helping Dewei echos the part in G12 where he flashbacked to Elan helping all of his dying friends, which was also of course a parallel to Jared helping Vi.

And then of course, there’s everything he said in G6 about not wanting to be like Jules and how badly that backfired. “The world doesn't need more people like Jules. The show might reward people like him but it shouldn't. There's no place for someone that can walk the halls with someone then murder them a breath later.” He was so determined to repress the part of him that really wants to win, but now it’s come out and he’s became his worst nightmare and he so desparately wants to live despite all of his anger now. I really should have seen this coming too like “ This isn't his come to Jesus moment where everything changes. He doesn't have that overwhelming urge to hurt anyone.” you wouldn’t say this unless he did have a come to jesus moment eventually, and he sure as fuck did and it sucks in a great way.

His resolve to kill Jules was so well-justified for Vito’s character too. Like he just didn’t want to be a bystander in his own life and as much as he’s sort of obsessed with Jules, the projection of Damien onto him makes it make complete sense. God, I just want Vito to make it out of there and give Damien a piece of his mind so badly. I want Vito to recognize his mistakes and just be able to heal. I also want Damien dead on my doorstep, wow he sucks.

He knows that he’s not himself anymore too, like his G12 pov ended with “This isn't me. Vito shakes his head, once, twice, then a third time as tears start to build behind his eyes. He wants to prove it right, desperately wants to find a mirror and see someone else because then it'd be okay if he hates who stares back. Vito knows this is the only option. He's another step closer to redemption, to leaving this place and this monster behind him” As brutal as he is, he doesn’t want to win for the sake of winning. He wants to win because he knows that he was treated unfairly because of his own stupid actions and he knows he won’t be able to see himself as human again if he dies here. It’s just such a good arc, I cannot stress this enough.

Before the GC finale I said “lio’s suffered so much, death would be kind for him. i just think there's so much more to explore with a esper victory” and then went on to say “i think lio dying would hurt more than esper dying because like statistically, lio should win. he's a career and he's so close, whereas esper is basically losing his shit and he's taken such a dark turn, it'd be less emotional if he came in 2nd.” Of course, Jules isn’t a Career, but I’d say him and Celene were the closest thing this story had to them. This whole time, Jules has been hyperfixated on not coming in second, and if he did, it’d be devastating especially now that he’s had this catharsis (as did Lio). And then, like Esper, Vito started the fic with such whole motives. Esper wanted to win for his siblings and Vito wanted to free himself from his brother’s clutches because he just wants another chance at life. Esper, and now Vito, both maintained their primary motives, they just became semi-awful people in the process. It wasn’t until Esper won that he was able to process everything fucked up that he did and heal as a person while having to atone for his sins which made for such a stunning arc. I’m not saying you should copy RB to any or no extent, just that my reasoning for Vito winning is similar to my reasoning for Esper’s victory, which I predicted successfully. I’m also not saying that I think Vito should win. Like it is not socially acceptable for a “school shooter” to be free from prison and FFN would probably get shit if he won, and also his post-Games would likely be more immediately depressing that Jules, so I would be very sad. I have no idea which route you will take because either would make s0 much sense, and I feel like outright saying “I think Vito will win” is arrogant of me, but he obviously has a chance and I’m anxious because of it. I’d obviously be thrilled if he won, as awful as it’d be post-Games, though he sort of would deserve it.

Regardless of what happens, my one hope is that Vito’s last memory of himself whether it be in the finale or many years from now isn’t that of a monster. If he dies in a few days, I just want him to die knowing that he was at his heart a good person, and while he did make many many mistakes, he’s always had a good soul and his actions are forgivable from the reader perspective because we’ve seen moments of his tenderness and humanity on several occasions. I love him with everything that I have and would hate for him to die at his lowest point when he really does have such high potential to be the good man he always aspired to be. But he also deserves death in this mindset, I just think having to grapple with his atrocities would actually be a worse fate and maybe one you don’t feel he deserves. Whatever happens, know that I’m grateful for you and the story you’ve told with him.

So yeah, that’s basically what I have to say for now. I think Vito’s going to kill Vi and then it’ll be him vs Jules as the final two, but you never know. Or I guess you and Laney and RB do know, but I don’t. I will soon! This is without a doubt, the end of an era, and as excited as I am for Vasi dearest and 3TC, I’ll always miss this story the same way I miss 1TC.

You’re amazing. I’m so fucking lucky we’re friends and you’ve fed me so well this year. As upset as 2TC (and AST) have made me, I wouldn’t trade either for the world.

Much love,
Linds
ladyqueerfoot chapter 35 . 11/29/2022
rip jared. you were a-head of your time.
dyloccupy chapter 36 . 11/29/2022
rorentine my beloveds i will never get over you. this is romance.

separating the winners was fucking sick you’re evil. but also a genius. bc we get to see how sketch both factions are! yes i hate the good ol’ dr but like commander is pissing me awwff! levi bby help them escape pls.

super hype to see susplot stuff in the next installment!

as for finale…

if jules has a million number of fans i am one of them. if jules has ten fans i am one of them. if jules has only one fan then that is me. if jules has no fans, that means i am no longer on earth. if the world is against jules, i am against the world.

i rest my case.

much love emeerrrsss!
dyloccupy chapter 35 . 11/29/2022
you know my thoughts on this chapter…absolutely terrifying stuff here. down right despicable. truly abhorrent.

i loved it.

jared bby you didn’t deserve that shit. vito wtf you actual crazy animal ;-;

vi giving annie post-decapitation ruined me. fuck you.

jules having his come to jesus moment like wow! we could’ve had this realization if you went to therapy and dealt with your grief earlier but no! he had to get his hands bloody first and you know what, i can’t blame him.

v excite for finale! slay on emerrrsss!
geologyisms chapter 36 . 11/27/2022
i miss rorentine already

please don't be mean to them they deserve to kiss kiss fall in love ... hoping they aren't miserable by the time 3tc starts! levi based also stan levi

vito 4 victor agenda still stands xx
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