Reviews for Gaming the System
Tricia1985 chapter 1 . 7/9/2014
First off, I’d like to say that you’ve got a very interesting concept here. I think that the global potential for something like Light’s power trip would definitely be a topic worth delving into. I especially like how you’ve created a “believable” OC with only a tangential connection to Light/Kira. I’ve got nothing against OCs in general, but in a lot of cases they tend to feel somewhat unnatural in the world they were introduced to. The fact that Ardwell only has passing knowledge of Light et al really lends credibility to this.

I also think it’s just plain interesting to see how people react (and in this case, misuse) circumstances that are beyond their control.

I would have liked to have been given a little more information about Ardwell’s bosses and the reason why he was on this particular case (I know that in a lot of works covering this sort of thing, the hit men aren’t always informed about the “why.” It’s a personal curiosity thing, so feel free to disregard.)

On the whole, I thought Thomas Ardwell was a relatively interesting character, and although we aren’t given too much background on him, he still feels true to life. I think you’ve done a decent job of establishing him as a convincing hired-killer, and you really did a good job of giving him a certain sociopathic feel. In a lot of stories, hit men sometimes come across as stereotypical “wise guys” types – and I think you successfully avoided that trap.

There were a couple of elements – especially his casualness about plotting his next gig – that were genuinely creepy. He actually kind of made my skin crawl.

I thought that the overall narrative flow was good. I think I understand what you were trying to do with the parenthesis, but I’m not sure if it was really necessary. I think his “action” moments would have stood out enough from his “inner” moments (or rather the moments that we’re peering into his head) that it wouldn’t have been a problem. Again, that’s just a personal thing. I think it works either way.

There were a few parts that seemed a little unnecessarily verbose. For example, the line about functional equivalents in many other flavors of organized crime felt a little awkward. There were also a couple of sentences that I think could have been split up a little. For example, in the last paragraph, there is a sentence about the Sarasota cops that I think was a little clunky and could have been broken up or shortened. This didn’t negatively impact the readability of the story, but I personally think that a couple of lines felt long-winded (or long-written).

Again, I think it was an interesting concept that you’ve executed successfully. I enjoyed it.
Sirius-Black-is-not-dead chapter 1 . 11/11/2012
What a kick in the gut it would be if Yagami ever found out!
Singollo Lomien chapter 1 . 6/6/2011
I love it. That is so true.
One percent chapter 1 . 10/31/2009
Oh how I am pleased to read this!

Of course, humans adapt! everytime a new way of finding criminals is discovered, people presume that criminality will diminish, but it never happened. There is always loopholes, ways to crack the systems. Kira did not think about this eventuality, and it's surprising considering his pretended abilities.

But a Kira would have been better than putting someone in jail for murder or rape, then freeing them to repeat the same horrors again and over again. Well, justice is blind.
magdilen chapter 1 . 6/28/2009
Great job. I can so see this happening.
severineyung chapter 1 . 6/6/2009
Hi I've never watched Death Note before, but I'll try my best to review!

First of all, I thought it was really creative to use shifts between Ardwell's general thinking, and his specific actions. But it might be a little clearer if you put the specific action scenes in italics rather than brackets-when a reader glances at the text, it's easy to miss out the parentheses and see these parts as the same part as the 'general thinking'.

I thought it was quite effective in making the reader imagine and wonder at Kira's character, the way the POV character constantly refers to him to describe his many 'miracles'. (Or maybe a fan very familiar with Deathnote might not 'wonder' as much.) In fact, I really liked how you changed to Kira's POV in the last paragraph...this is finally the moment where readers can meet him at last! Using his other name, "Light Yagami" also added to the pleasant impact of meeting the character-he seems to be put in an even more 'legendary light'. Hope you know what I mean.

There are also some interesting, original perceptions of the world implied or stated in this fic.

" And much faster and more decisively than that old nonsense of undergoing a “trial by jury” and then “paying your debt to society” by vegetating behind prison bars."

-I especially liked the use of the verb "vegetating", a very spooky insight to imprisonment.

"Kira was now cleansing the gene pool of murderers and other violent criminals who were clumsy enough to get caught"

-As eerie as this seems, this does make a good point. The phrasing "cleansing the gene pool" intensifies this sense of unease.

"I always thought Light Yagami was extremely deluded in his theory that killing off a bunch of criminals would somehow coerce the rest of the human race into being much better citizens in the future. My basic attitude is that “gaming the system” is what humans naturally do. Granted, most humans aren't murderers, but in the cases of those who already have a cold-blooded attitude towards murder, or even a deep affection for it, just threatening to kill them isn't going to change their behavior more than superficially."

-"Gaming the system", hmm...Another interesting idea!

In general, you were successful in enwrapping Kira and the other police in a petty, mocking light: Both in showing Ardwell's astuteness in evading the police and framing someone else; AND in giving occasional side comments, e.g.

"Whoever this Kira really was, he was downright lazy about target acquisition. He didn’t find the sinners in the first place; he merely took it on faith that the cops, the courts, the media, and anonymous tipsters on the Internet would correctly identify the hardcases and then bring them to Kira’s attention."

AND HERE’S MY FAVORITE Mockery part:

“Kira would have created a society in which virtually all premeditated murders either went unsolved or were never spotted as murders in the first place, because smart and determined killers had simply adapted to superficial changes in the environment…When that day came, Kira would probably convince himself that there were virtually no murders taking place at all…. Kira would feel very proud of himself at having finally “changed human nature.”

“Meanwhile, Ardwell would still be raking it in!”

-Liked your use of a short sentence here to press in the impact and probably cynical laughter from the protagonist.

Yet I have one last there was a lot of ingenuity and originality in plot set up and character revelation, you could add in a little bit of description, for example in portraying Ardwell’s would help draw the reader in more and more genuinely ‘participate’ in seeing through the POV character’s eyes.
AbCarter chapter 1 . 6/6/2009
I like your view on the Kira situation, and I agree on your assessment: some would become more cautious and abstain from murdering themselves; others would see a market opportunity. And Light didn't think things through logically.

I like how Ardwell's position on the situation was off-set against his actions on a job (and you've also made a rather good argument against entire population DNA databases), but putting the actions in parantheses perhaps didn't set them off enough. I tend to interpret things in parantheses as things that don't necessarily have to be read to understand the main text. I don't think that is the case here. Perhaps you could use italics instead. I saw that recently used in another story, and that worked quite well.
SakuraCa chapter 1 . 2/28/2009
Pretty good one-shot. Interesting a criminal still profits under Kira's rule.
Totalitarian chapter 1 . 1/25/2009
An absolutely excellent story.

The presentation here is top-notch. Each paragraph is spaced and stretched out just right to make digesting the story as informative and worry-free as possible.

The execution is also handled perfectly with a quality introduction to the 'protagonist', 'Ardwell'. Who he is, why we should both fear him and not worry about him (for lack of a better term), his prowess in simply understanding the changes in the system - never mind his own ability - and other facets are well illustrated and aptly timed. The technique of describing his 'hit' occurring simultaneously to the narrative is quite moving and gives us strong insight to the character's talent and just what world he lives in and represents. The use of exclamation marks is very well timed, appropriate, and carefully avoids abuse. Ardwell's own opinion - which in essence, represents the true brains of the underworld here that Light would always have failed to exterminate - is also well expressed in the narrative.

The overall expression of the story has succeeded on leaving its imprint on me. To me it was obvious how philosophically and psychologically childish Light was from the very beginning (he was calling himself a god, for pete's sake), and it is one of Death Note's greatest weaknesses as to how feebly his ideals are questioned; he is, in essence, gaping with weakness, and nobody ever even pretended to argue with him on it (the closest two being Ryuk at the beginning, when he said that Light would be the only villain left, and Near at the end when he simplifies things for it [though Near missed out on a chance for a Crowning Moment of Awesome].)

Thus, what I mean with the above, is that the plot of this is well deserving of its very own episode (from someone who followed the animé version of Death Note). I was waiting for someone like Ardwell to appear and reveal the childishness of Light's ideals, but it never actually happened and the ethics question was abandoned in favour of further expansion on the mindgame battles - never mind that true ethics and who was in the moral right would be one of the greatest mindgames of all. Imagining Thomas Ardwell and others reshaping the world, silently laughing at Yagami as he only helped their bounty, is a very characteristic notion for Death Note - at least in my interpretation of it.

A story like this is exactly why I bother with fanfiction - the dear diamond in the rough. It gives great food for thought, the people (or person) expressed here being well translated from mind to page, and has both great impact and commentary on the fiction which it follows. I both perfectly understand your own feelings on the matter in question and compare them comfortably with my own - that being a fine literary accomplishment.

It was worth seeping through all the rubbish and yaoi garbage on the site just to find this one good plot. Thanks for the great read, good sir.
Hat O' Doom chapter 1 . 1/23/2009
Yeah totally agree. The killers would only get smarter...natural selection and all that. Good idea, and good story. Congrats!