|Reviews for It's All in Their Hands (7th Hunger Games)|
| Katrace chapter 43 . 10/24/2014
I kind of sort of love this story. ;) I can't decide who to root for, but Oliver and Paiton are pretty badass. I have a feeling one them is going to win. I know that Ashwood isn't going to win, since there was only 1 victor in District 12 before Katniss and Peeta. I like Ariella and Maverick, since they're not the District 1 stereotype. I personally prefer the latter. I ship them in a platonic way; I'm not really for a romantic relationship between them. Oh, Imogene, I feel so bad for you. I like how you revealed who her father was (I'm probably really dumb for not guessing it, though :/). Rex's death has taken such a toll on her. So sad that it had to be taken out on Ashwood. The eyeball part was a little gross, but hey, it's the Hunger Games! Update soon, friends!
| Nrrrd-Grrrl-Meg chapter 35 . 10/11/2014
The Arena Switch?! OMG! WTF! BBQ!
Ariella - Oh, darlin' dear. The good girl from District One with the highest kill count. I love your view on things and how badly you want Maverick as your best friend and how deeply she cares for him. District loyalty only takes you so far, but these two go beyond that. They didn't know each other before the games and they came from two different worlds and yet, they have so much in common. She's a reluctant killer and feels actual guilt over all she has done. I just love her to pieces!
Maverick - Seriously, Salt, why do you do this to me? You make me feel all these feels that I do not want to feel. While Ariella has guilt, Maverick is just SWIMMING in guilt. So much so, that he is dreaming about it. The fog fudged him up and is making him see things and I love it mucho. The way you word things amazes me. Well done! I'm pretty sure Maverick is taking over as the killer of feels.
Jake - When in Rome, indeed. You are another one that I love, you are the darlin' of the games. Jake is like an old man trapped in a kid's body and I just love it. I also like how the section of the new arena that they are in seems to fit their districts; they go from an urban area, very Five and Six and are moving along to Imogene's homeland. And Metro...NO! SAY IT ISN'T SO! He's the underdog and he was...eaten. By dogs. Now I'm sad in my pants.
Metro - Oh man...how I didn't cry when I wrote that is BEYOND me. RIP Metro, your parents are proud of you, as is Rex.
Oliver - No shit, Sherlock. Priceless. I don't think I can say this enough, but I love Oliver. Honestly, I do. I just want to eat him up. But now, he is starting be a bit more human and it is making me love him even more. The horror he is witnessing, I feel it just as much as he is and that's just says loads about your writing. I also love Velvet in your POVs.
Paiton - Paiton and Clay are the little alliance that could. It's like a train going up hill and struggling. I think I can, I think I can. And Paiton, I love that she doesn't seem to give two shits about anything. It's all just, "I'm here. Deal with the fact that I am here". She is the token bitch of the games and you can't help but love it. I also like how most of the fog POVs have people losing their shit. Kill or be killed? CRAZY! LOVE IT!
Imogene - Ah, jeeze! Rex, Metro's dead. Feels.
Ashwood - Oh, Ashy boy. You never fail to amaze me. I love how you are making Kristen's death personal, despite never really having any feelings for her. I guess its the district loyalty. I like that. Ariella needs to watch her back now, or else! And the fish! THE. FISH! GET OUT OF THERE, BUDDAY! NOW! RIGHT MEOW!
Eight chapter reviews to catch up on.
| ILOVEWAFFLES chapter 43 . 10/11/2014
I'm rooting for Paiton
I hate D1. Very part of it, so yeah.
Paiton Rais is who I want to win.
| Nrrrd-Grrrl-Meg chapter 34 . 9/1/2014
The confrontation we've all been waiting for! We've all expected Gemini and Imogene to fight to be the bitter end and...they didn't! I like that, it wasn't expected. I would have like to of seen Estoma give Gemini a fitting end, but Cookies did good with what she was given. Damn foxes!
| Nrrrd-Grrrl-Meg chapter 33 . 9/1/2014
Awesome writing, as always. ;) This story is turning out amazing and I'm thankful to be involved.
Maverick - Your P. are so raw and just drain me. I love that the two youngest Careers are such friends and try to be typical teenagers. Annnnnnd now Hero's dead. RIP Hero. Your last line just got to me. "District Two won't have a victor this year." Yeah, that was my feels.
Metro - Hey Metro buddddddy. Good stuff here, because I wrote it. Lol.
Oliver - We have a stone-cold killer from the Lumber District. Part of me wants to believe Johanna is your descendant! But anyways, I always love your P. , same as Maverick, because you bring such emotion (or, in Oliver's case a LACK of emotion, lol). Once again, RIP Hero.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 13 . 8/30/2014
Nitya's costume wasn't bad, although the lightning bolts on her face and nails may have been a bit overkill. . .There really isn't much to say about her POV. I didn't care for it, but I didn't hate it either; it was just a typical chariot prep scene. Although, 'Ratveer' for a Capital citizen?
Surprisingly, I kinda' liked Metro's POV. Mainly for one reason: An intelligent, humanized prep team. Hallelujah. However, I took a slight issue with this bit:
"'I don't need [a prosthetic arm]!' I say through gritted teeth. [I'm] perfectly fine [and] skilled how I am now.'" Okay, Metro, it's your funeral. I'd actually like this bit of defiance if Metro explained his thought process. Is he rebelling against the Capital changing him, since it's the Capital who forced him to work in that factory, and the Capital who put him here?
While I liked Oliver's costume description (that's what a real District 7 tribute should look like), as well as the fact there were two men in Catalaia's prep team, instead of the usual two-woman-one-man setup (Bravo!), I wasn't comfortable with Catalaia's reaction to Maine's comment about last year's female tribute.
It definitely wasn't right for Maine to criticize the tribute for being pain-sensitive, but all she did was remark how she thought her job last year was difficult. Catalaia responded by doing enough damage to make her nose bleed, possibly breaking it. Then to make matters worse, Jorgin said Catalaia was in the right. It's nice to see a prep who isn't lock-step with Capital thinking. . .but he didn't think Catalaia went overboard? She's annoying, so you hurt her?
My feelings are less ambiguous when it comes to the prep team's names; they definitely left something to be desired.
And then there was this:
"I'm handed a white shirt, covered in dirt and fake blood. . . .[As] an accessory, she gives me an axe. A real one. Like my outfit, it's covered in blood and dirt." She's supposed to represent lumberjacks, furniture-makers, paper factory workers, forest. Not axe-murderers. And giving a tribute a real axe, when she'll not only be surrounded by her competition and may want to get a few of them out of the way early. . .but also Capital citizens. And District 7 tributes probably know how to throw these things. What could go wrong?
"look broken, angry, and battle[-]worn" She's from the LUMBER district! Not the MILITARY district! I don't care if this is the Hunger Games; that's -not- the purpose of this event!
I decide to go ahead and like Brandon. The worst thing about his POV is that while I liked this bit, and could semi-understand it:
"Is this what all the creatures [I] cut apart. . .felt like? I know their pain. I pity them. But not enough to not want to keep doing it."
. . .I still can't help but wonder -why- he doesn't pity them enough to want to stop. Other than that, I liked that the prep team's names were Roman (squee!) And Brandon didn't take into account all the. . .hm, what's the word for it. . .exhibition and pandering (not the right words, exactly, but it's the closest I'm going to get right now) that goes on before the actual killing, and so that came back to bite him.
His Opening Ceremonies outfit was good, but what was better was the demonstration of how any 9 citizen can weave grain together, easy as pie. (Although I doubt many have spare grain lying around to use for an art project.) Paiton and Brandon's exchange was excellent. Emotionally charged, believable, and kinda' humorous.
Not much to say about Imogene's POV, either. The description of her outfit was nice, and I liked the bit where she said, "[I cringed], thinking of. . .the cows that [died] to make my boots. (One, maybe two?)" I felt for her with the whole being stripped-without-warning ordeal, but I couldn't help feeling like that aspect of her life (being a victim and a prostitute's daughter, etc.) was brought up too often in this POV, over-used for drama. It looks as though Imogene and Rex are going to decide to play up a romance for the Capital audience, and I'm not exactly a fan of that. Not just because of Imogene, but because it's similar to the book. (When I wanted them to get together, I was hoping it would happen just because.) Just -what- does dressing Rex up as an Indian and giving him a bow have to do with livestock?! And 'Frazier' and 'Tagger' as Capital citizens? Also, I really, seriously doubt any stylist would have a 'one-man prep team'.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 12 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. I really liked Ashwood's POV's opening quote. And how his mother fought in the rebellion. And sleep syrup making an appearance.
A district citizen (especially 12) selling out their people to the Capital during the rebellion. That's a new one.
I liked Tyronius's speech at the reaping. It was chilling, ominous, and dramatic. Imagine having that event in your district's history, as part of its first reaping. . .
"on the third day[,] the fourteen-year-old [District 12] girl stabbed [her twelve-year-old district partner] in his sleep." :( I wonder what led her to that decision, so early in the Games. Was she being merciful—sparing him being killed by someone worse?
"'Well, looks like I can't go,' I announce. I turn around and start heading away from the stage. . . ." XD That is so me.
THE NEUTRAL. Not crazy about the names Harry, Kristen, or Lionel for District 12 citizens. But could be worse.
'Lazaro' for the escort. Um. . .could be worse? o_o;
There are. . .less poor sections of the Seam? Where might one find these fabled places?
An outlying tribute refusing volunteers. This should be good! Technically, this guy is kinda' District 12's first volunteer.
I like how Ashwood and his siblings get by with thievery instead of hunting. . . .Okay, I spoke too soon. But the thievery is new!
"Thievery is typically frowned upon in this society." Ashwood is saying this ironically, right? He's aware that the penalty for thievery is death?
"the year after the first Hunger Games" . . .So the second Games.
I like the fact that Tirk, Ashwood, and Ayma thought going into the woods was a game at first. But why did Jarshal go off by himself? Wasn't he worried his younger siblings might be caught, or found by a wild animal, or get hurt, etc.? It's his fault they're out there.
How did Ashwood's father find out about he and his siblings sneaking into the woods?
"As I hid behind a collection of barrels near the fence" Barrels of what?
Tyronius. May or may not be Latin, but close enough!
Drunk Dad's visit was kinda' different, I'll give it that.
"you would think there'd be a rule against sending people like me to the Hunger Games. . . .[How] entertaining is a guy in a wheelchair going to be?" Hear hear! Excellent point. Why -do- they let him go? There are plenty of able-bodied children to take his place and fight.
I'm lost. What would the Capital's motivation for rigging Ashwood's reaping be?
THE BAD. Freya and Nova. I really can't see those as District 12 names.
"In the Seam. . .people [are] probably the [black market,] trying to sell last-minute goods, because who knows; their children, sisters, brothers, maybe even parents could be at risk" At risk for what? If parents are at risk, I doubt she means the Reaping. I don't get it.
Since when does District 12 have a nursery? There may be someone in the Seam who takes care of peoples' kids. . .Is that what Kristen calls 'the nursery'?
Why is District 3 the only district that has a 'Capital-sent mentor', and the rest that haven’t won yet are all mentored by escorts?
That "hmmmmmmmm—" is way too drawn out.
. . .*tally mark* And that's two drunk stepfathers and three drunk fathers in this fic! Yay, alcohol!
Where did they get a wheelchair in 12? For a Seam resident, no less?
"I recognize [the freelance surgeon/chiropractor/medicine man] by his coat, which has dozens of tiny pockets[. They] hold anything from spare change to nightlock berries." Er. . .why does a doctor have nightlock? And where did he get it?
What do District 12 citizens know of movies?
"He was rewarded handsomely. . .but thanks to his addiction to alcohol, we were living in the slums. . .within a month." A month. A. month. What did Ashwood's father do—buy alcohol in bulk and hoard it?!
"As I hid behind a collection of barrels. . . .I stayed in that barrel. . . .I finally got out of the barrel" But he was never -in- a barrel; he was -behind- them.
Girls and boys are not separated at the reaping! Curse the movies to hell for perpetuating this myth!
"'This,' he announces, gesturing to Jarshal, 'is Jarshal Greenley. Age eighteen, male.'" Now, it doesn't really seem necessary to me for Tyronius to even state Jarshal's -age- (who cares?), but does he have to say he's -male- too? Doesn't the audience have eyes? Even if Jarshal were so badly wrecked that you couldn't tell, what does his gender matter either? Or his name? All that matters is that he broke the rules, and he's being punished. In fact, if you don't give his name, you further hammer in the point that This Could Be You. Just start out with, "'One might ask, Why is that boy tied to the whipping post?'"
"Her hair is done up in an ancient fashion from before the Dark Days. Greek, perhaps?" And this fashion looks like. . .?
"Today[,] we dive into the ever[-]glorious leftover venison" Oh goody. Another hunter. *eyes wall*
Egg carton. Their eggs. Are in an egg carton. Like from a supermarket. What the—
"Those gloves give me a fantastic grip on my bow." On his. . . .*pushes self away from wall* On his WHAT? Where the hell did he get a bow—the local sporting goods store?! Same place he got the arrows?!
This author did not just literally call the District 12 mayor ‘John Doe’. . .
Aww, so Ashwood isn't not selfless. He just didn't want a family member to volunteer. Typical. *shrug*
'Visitor bursts into the goodbye room' cliche.
Oh goody. Another goodbye room visit from Drunk Dad. I wonder if this one will go well. . .
| Dances With Vampires chapter 11 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. Lily is a pretty good District 11 name; it's nature-related, at least.
And 'Cornelius' for the escort. I think that's actually Roman! Good job!
Clay's POV has nice imagery and detail, especially his description of Cornelius. Clay seems likable enough, if a bit stupid (ex. eating a harvested apple when he could be shot for it).
"when District 9 shows up, a twelve-year-old is reaped. I quickly turn off the television, but the damage is done[;] Lily and I. . .sit. . .horrified. Just when I think Lily will [cry]" Awww. :(
Awesome to see a Capital citizen cursing loudly, when they're usually portrayed as so well-mannered and proper.
THE NEUTRAL. 'Parry'. While it reminds me quite amusingly of weaponry, the name could be worse.
‘Clay’ is an okay name for a District 11 citizen, I guess.
How did Miranda’s grandmother get to trade with a District 4 citizen?
THE BAD. Not crazy about the name 'Miranda' for a District 11 citizen.
'Jennifer'. Not exactly a name I'd put next to Rue and Seeder.
'Crooz'? Um. . .*coughs*
'Visitor rushes toward tribute when they enter the goodbye room' cliche.
'Visitor throws themselves into tribute's arms when they enter the goodbye room' cliche.
"Because that angry man is going to get us home. I know it." Clay knows this because. . .?
. . .*puts a fourth tally mark in the Drunk Step-Fathers/Fathers category*
"my hand reaches out to find my sister. When my fingers don't touch her. . . .Lily must have crawled into Ceol's mom's room sometime in the night. . . .Lily turned twelve. . . .she's always been on the optimistic side, while I've been mostly on the pessimistic side" Book much?
"Unfortunately, I still have to spend a few hours at my second job in the orchards." Why. . .?
"I told Crooz I would help. . .in the fields for a few hours before the reaping." -Why- are these people working on Reaping Day? I understand it's to give them something to do and pass time, but IT MAKES NO SENSE.
How did Ceol help Jennifer and Lily get away from their father?
"'Because you have no worries.' — 'That is true.'" Other than. . .you know. . .starvation. And Peacekeepers. And the Reaping. And stuff like that. It's District 11, for crying out loud—even the worries have worries.
"Ceol's mom buys. . .fresh fruit and vegetables. We're lucky to be able to afford food like that." Why is she able to?
"I remember the war. We should have won. He finishes the video and goes to the bowl, wasting no time." . . .Nice to know you feel so strongly about your district's oppression.
"[Dad] sways and says, 'Win and you can buy me a lot of beer.'" Cliched drunk father is cliched.
"I laugh at him. . . 'If I win, you won't get a cent'" Cliched retort against abusive father is. . .you know the drill.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 10 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. I can't find a single thing to hate about Rex. Not one. He is my favorite tribute thus far, with Imogene in second place. This chapter was. . .incredible. Freaking. Incredible. -Outstanding-.
At first I wondered how I would even begin to be able to write this review-I didn't want to nitpick Imogene's POV, I just wanted to read it. For me, that's practically unprecedented. Her POV is detailed, realistic. . .and Valentina isn't just a stock parent character: She's actually -likable-! She and Imogene have a strong, tangible bond.
To think about what Imogene's fate might have been if she didn't win. That she might've become someone like her mother, whether she liked it or not. Yeesh. I think every great victor has to have a great backstory ('you might not know it to look at them now, but this is where they used to be'), and she does.
And the way Imogene and Valentina daydream about food. Ordinary food, like fruit and grain. I loved how Imogene was willing to give up "luxuries" like non-tessera bread and cheese, and eat the same thing she always had, just to save money. And how painful that sacrifice was for both of them. It's just a very sad, heartbreaking situation.
"'Even in the most beautiful of fields, you can find cow shit.' The beauty in my cow shit, so to speak, is my mother."
"'Live it up,' I whisper, a grin sliding across my face. 'We can worry about tomorrow's problems when they come.'"
A vegetarian in District 10. Verrrry interesting. -
I love it when outlier tributes discuss their thoughts on Careers. (Given that I am a Career fan.) And this chapter definitely didn't disappoint on that front.
"Those tributes. . .the Careers. . .have 'received no special treatment'. Yeah, and I'm President Cross's long[-]lost daughter!" OMG, the president's last name isn't 'Snow'! I think I love this author.
I liked that Imogene's reaping outfit was very plain, nothing special. It's a nice change after all the fancy outfits from other districts. Granted, said districts were wealthier, but still. . .
"Meanwhile, my arm and hand are killing me[,] and my nightshirt is. . .a tattered mess[,] and he gets all the credit. . .Nice." :( Sucks to be a woman sometimes, don't it?
Starving children being paid to prepare the stage for their own district's Reaping. OMG, that is awful. At least they're paid, and the Peacekeepers don't threaten to kill them if they don't do it, just because.
Holy crap, a nice Head Peacekeeper. o.o I think I may die of shock.
Imogene finds the escort's voice a "[surprisingly] lovely" departure from the mayor's. Interesting. This is unique, given that every other tribute I've seen flat-out hates the Capital accent, period.
"With fists clenched and a glint in my eye, I march. . .to the stage. They want a sobbing little girl, a Bloodbather waiting to happen. I am no such girl." Great line.
Oh my God, an actual reason for Imogene missing the name of her district partner. An Actual Reason. Is it Christmas?!
Awww. . .Rex's little sister comes to ask Imogene not to let him die. "He's my hero, Ms. Guthrie." *sniff* ;;
"I can't come back if it means Aelita growing up with her big brother. I'm sorry, Mama, but I might have to break my promise." Okay, Imogene gained back some of my respect.
"When [I'm] feeling particularly daring, it's President Cross himself, and. . .in that moment[, the] club comes down a little harder" My hero. c:
"[There are few ways to get by in] District , and one of them is [working] for. . .slaughterhouses that plump up those flamboyant [Capital] bastards. . . .As long as my sisters are fed and my father doesn't have to kill himself. . .working twelve-hour days as a Cattle Rancher[, I] can live with the horrors. . . .For [them], I will do anything." So sad. TT_TT
I liked the bit where Rex talked about the circumstances of Samara's death. How she proved no one is safe. How she died horribly in the Bloodbath, and she's Flint's sister, so imagine having that for a brother. . .
"She can't see [me] like this. . .reeking of slaughtered animals that once slept in [my] sister’s bed. She's a vegetarian, for crying out loud! Plus, she hasn't even made eye contact with me in years" / "With. . .luscious crimson locks and large olive eyes, she was a beauty fit for the Luxury [district], not. . .the district of cow dung and pig's blood." At first, I hoped Imogene and Rex might get together in the arena (which is odd, because I've never hoped something like this before-Normal Me wanted to kill Current Me), but after seeing the way she treated him. . .and here, the way he's so considerate and dejected. . .Rex should have lived. WHYYY.
"Show those Career bastards that it's District Ten's year to shine!" Yay, Career mention. c: Go kick some ass, Rex.
"We can hide you!" Definitely never heard that one before! -
"I know you, Rex Kingston. You will try to protect everyone[—]to save everyone. It is the hero complex that lives inside of you. Please. . .don't do it. Save yourself and only you[, promise] me?" And the award for Best Parent Dialogue in a Goodbye Scene goes to. . .!
THE NEUTRAL. I'm not sure why Rex is working on Reaping Day, but. . .it's a good intro all the same. Sunlight illuminating the 'dark task at hand', of slaughtering pigs like it's another day at the office.
Not that I find it -too- unbelievable, but where did Imogene learn to fight like this?
Hm. The Reaping was rigged, as a result of her attacking a Peacekeeper. Not very original, but it works. "You think you can leave me?" . . .Wait. So the Reaping. . .wasn't rigged? I'm confused.
THE BAD. Not a huge fan of the name 'Synthe' for a Capital citizen.
Why didn't the Capital kill all the surviving rebels, to send a message that you won't live if you don't toe the line? Were there simply too many rebels? If so, then why not just kill the leaders—like Jorge?
Who the heck is Marlene Jones? 'the girl I grew up with'? What does that mean? We've never heard of her before.
Is this an AU where Peacekeepers are allowed to have children? Because I don't see anything wrong with that. . .but I'm not sure.
"not even my mother was allowed to touch [my only toy]" . . .Brat? She probably gave you that toy.
How did the Dark Days change Valentina and Imogene's life to where Valentina's prostitution was in the open? We aren't told why it was like that, just that it suddenly was.
Imogene kicking Rex and his sweet, adorable sisters to the wayside, just because other people were assholes to her. They didn't do -anything- to her. Rex deserves better than Imogene.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 9 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. I liked Ethan's acknowledgement that Peacekeepers aren't Pure Evil.
And how Paiton tries to convince Ethan not to become a Peacekeeper by reminding him that they kill people, rip apart families, etc. They may not be monsters, but they often follow less-than-noble orders.
Paiton's intro was amusing: "6 a.m. Wow. [I've] broken last [year's] 7 a.m. record. I wonder how early [I'll] get up next year. Damn Games." And so was the part where she was burned by hot water. Definitely original.
"'Okay then. . .what do you want to become?' — 'I don't know yet, I have enough time to think.'" Nice line. Ironic. And kind of sad, in a way.
"Better [a] victor-less district than a dead sibling." Hear, hear!
I'm not quite sure what to make of Brandon's POV. Should I dislike him because he's an insane, sadistic murderer? Or should I like him because he's entertaining, and-if he didn't mutilate and torture animals to death-rather adorable? His cheerfulness, and how he said hello to everyone he met, etc.
Brandon's POV is well-detailed and descriptive. And while I've seen psychopathic outlying tributes who were eager to kill before, I don't know that I've ever seen one who wasn't sullen and hateful, just giddy. Props!
Lissa talking with a lisp, and actually showing that lisp, was a nice touch. As was the detail about Desaree patting her wig as if showing it off. I also particularly enjoyed the bit about Brandon imagining himself imitating a Capital accent.
THE NEUTRAL. This may sound odd, but. . .I'm not sure why Brandon's family loves him so much. Do they not realize something is seriously wrong with him? Do they not understand he could be dangerous?
I'm not sure I'd call a district's industry its 'belief'. The pale yellow walls reflect its 'purpose', maybe. Or its 'function'; 'mission'.
I liked how Ethan and Paiton's mother—as a doctor—taught them first aid (how to treat burns and whatnot), so that they could help others. That was a nice touch. However, why didn't Paiton think to put that cream on her hand?
"Don't make me fall asleep." I thought Paiton was annoyed that she got up so early?
'Kleon' as the Games Announcer, huh? Probably not Latin, but what the hell. Close enough.
'Desaree' as the District 9 escort's name. Well. . .could be worse?
"PAITON RAIS!" *covers ears* GAH! O_x "I repeat. Paiton Rais." *uncovers ears* Okay, that's better.
"And please don't get into an alliance with your district partner. He seems a little unstable." I dunno'. At least you'll probably be able to tell if he's trying to pull one over on you; he's not exactly subtle.
"Every month[,] we have to. . .work a few hours in the wheat fields." Like how District 12's kids have to tour the mines every year. Interesting. I like it. But then Paiton says, "some. . .students use a scythe almost every day", which -isn't- like District 12's kids, who don't work in the coal mines (for some reason). So if most of them usually work in the fields. . .what's the point of making them work for a few hours during school? I could kinda' understand the wealthier kids, but. . .all of them?
That thing with Brandon cutting up the sofa cushion and arranging it into a 'nest' was. . .interesting. No idea what he was thinking, given that we don't see his POV of the train ride, but. . .okay.
THE BAD. I don't think you sign in at the reaping for the first time when you're twelve; Katniss says that the Capital uses the reaping as a way to keep tabs on the population.
"Either they want to show that they believe in her, or [they're] glad she might die, and [I think] it's the latter, judging by the suppressed fire in Paiton's eyes." You know, despite his insanity, Brandon has quite a few clear-headed, serious moments. . .and yeah, I'm thinking it's the latter as well—given that they don't generally cheer tributes on—but how could it be? Why would they want her dead; what has she ever done to them? Don't give me that 'she's rich' excuse—she's not -that- rich. She doesn't even shove her privilege in anyone's face.
'Visitor bursts into the goodbye room' cliche.
"Me reaped[;] Clara. . .reaped[;] . . .Ethan reaped[; me] and Ethan both reaped[;] Clara and Ethan reaped. Me volunteering for Clara[; her] volunteering for me[;] Ethan volunteering for someone. My friend Anthony reaped[; both] of us reaped[;] Ethan volunteering for him. And the other way around." Jesus CHRIST, that was annoying. x_O
Paiton's reaping lacks detail. Quite a bit of it is meaningless exposition, without much emotion or a clear, logical train of thought. First she's talking about how Clara's a light sleeper—next, she's talking about how many reaping slips she (personally) has, and how her family's well-off—then she's talking about how the district is still asleep, and the view from her kitchen window. . .et cetera.
"I bet [I'll] have no luck. . .seeing. . .last [year's] Games footage. Or something about this [year's] bets." It's reaping day. While I can understand that no one may be betting yet, why would she expect not to see something about last year's Games? Now is the perfect time to show them—to remind everyone of what happened last year, and get them fired up for this one.
"'You're not as quiet as you think you are.'" How was Paiton not being quiet? Nothing she's done so far seems like it could qualify as loud, even to someone else.
Since when does District 6 make medicine? They're the Transportation district.
Why can Ethan be a Peacekeeper? How does Paiton know that they usually come from District 2, when the district citizens are meant to believe they're all Capital-born? While it may make sense that the Capital would allow people from any district to join their force (thereby gaining a larger force). . .this requires explanation. Is this an AU where that is, indeed, the case—they hire anyone?
"But if I stay here, people will know how good I am[, and they'll] respect me." Actually, they'll regard him as the Capital's lapdog. And despise the air he breathes, even if he doesn't use brute force. (Which he'll probably have to at some point; it's either that, or die for not following orders.) Seriously, where is he getting this from?
"He stands. . .just to turn on the TV." It was never turned off.
"Endless bets on kids. Who will live longer[; who will make it into the final eight;] who will win. It's never about who will die first[,] or won't make it past the initial Bloodbath." I'm -assuming- that by this, the author meant endless bets on -districts- (a.k.a. 'District 2 will live longer than District 7', 'District 10 will probably win', etc.) And why would it never be about who dies first, or who won't make it out of the Bloodbath? I see no reason why they wouldn't talk about those things all the time.
'Character describes themselves by looking in a mirror' cliche.
"leads me to our car. It's small, but it’s a car. . . .So yeah, we have a car." Yay. o.o
"people have tried to make a couple out of us, but it never worked." -Why- did people try to get them together? -Why- did it never work?
"He has blonde hair and grey eyes. Another chance for the district to have [its] victor." Because he's blonde and has grey eyes, he has a chance at becoming a victor? And better a victor-less district than a dead friend, right?
"I hope that one day[,] someone will win[—]and it won't be me, Ethan[,] or Anthony." Because. . .you don't want yourself, Ethan, or Anthony to become victors and have a good life?
"She's. . .tall. . .with a puff of magenta hair. She always wears colors like bright pink and purple. Who could actually think [she's] beautiful?" . . .Because tall women wearing bright pink and purple are hideous?
"What the hell? Me? No, no, NO! How the fuck did I get reaped? But that's okay. I can't. . .show that [I'm] scared. [I'm] not even sure that I am scared." This makes so much sense. I am so emotionally invested in this character right now. (/sarcasm)
"Many people. . .cheer and clap. . .when I get to the stage. Soon [the cheering becomes loud]. . . .This is no Career district[;] there should be no cheering. No, what are you doing, people? You should be sad! Stop that right now!" Precisely. Why -are- they cheering? Paiton recognizing that they shouldn't be doesn't make it okay.
'Desaree. . .I can't believe that she will be my mentor now too.' Why does District 3 have a 'Capital-sent mentor', and District 9 doesn't?
'Visitor rushes toward tribute when they enter the goodbye room' cliche. That's been done quite a few times in this fic. May as well start pointing it out, even though we only have seven more reapings left after Paiton's.
'Visitor asking "how could this happen"' cliche.
'Visitor confesses to having crush on tribute' cliche. And the visitor kisses the tribute. . .for the third time in this fic. At least this time, the tribute isn't 12.
If Paiton didn't tell us that her friends Rye, Amaranth, Farro, Cereali, and Hay existed, we would never know.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 8 . 8/26/2014
Ah, I see you're still experiencing technical difficulties with the male. Don'tcha' hate when that happens? All right, here's my review of Velveteen's POV at least:
THE GOOD. 'Velveteen' and 'Thimble' are good District 8 names; they fit the pattern.
I liked this bit:
"I exited my room. . .prepared for nothing yet everything. Okay, more likely nothing."
Whatever her faults, Velveteen had the best reaping and goodbye scenes thus far. I don't even care if a lot of it didn't make sense; it was fresh and new! I don't think I've ever seen someone who habitually paid attention to the mayor's speech (instead of always ignoring it), or a tribute (anyone for that matter, actually) vomiting. Hooray for originality!
THE NEUTRAL. 'Leila' isn't a bad District 8 name. :)
"how I wouldn't have time to try clothes on. Which didn't faze me as much as it should have, me being from [District Eight] and all." Try clothes on for what? I don’t -hate- this bit, but it's confusing.
"The world spins. . .and black dots begin to fill my vision, the blood in my head pumping." Wha? What's wrong with her?
Why are there no actual doors or windows in her house? Not the worst detail imaginable, considering this is District 8, but how did that come about?
"'Are you trying to kill me?! Or worse, maim me?' I shout, drawing attention to us." As much as I like that line, and this reaping in general. . .isn't she worried about attracting -Peacekeepers'- attention? "The mayor pauses a moment before resuming, his eyes glancing toward the girl on the ground." Ohhh shit. . .
THE BAD. "'I'm hungry!' I whine. . .giving a childish stomp. . . .'Blah!' is my oh so intelligent response." Um. . .are you sure Velveteen's 15? It's not even that funny if she's just joking.
Velveteen's brother is selfish. . .for demanding the largest bedroom for himself and his wife. . .instead of letting Velveteen have it. I'm willing to bet those two bring in most of the household income. Even if not, they're the heads of the household.
"I must be by Leila by the time our escort opens his or her mouth." Velveteen doesn't know whether the District 8 escort is male or female? What? "A white, ruffled collar chokes its neck" What is their name? If she doesn't know their gender (for whatever reason), she can at least call them that, instead of 'it'. "Their hand dives in, him not even bothering to look" So. . .the escort is a he? Why does she refer to them as 'A'—where did that come from?
"Their voice is a mixture of a pre[-]pubescent child and an elderly person." What exactly does that sound like? Because I have no idea.
"clockwork[-]like hat" What?
"Leila looks at me with shock. . . .Her head follows my stumbling legs as I keep on going" She should really get that checked out, lol.
The paragraph about Velveteen trying not to vomit is. . .rather disgusting. x_o And considering that she did not in fact eat breakfast. . .shouldn't she say it's last night's -dinner-? Then again, it's noon; that should probably be digested by now. . .Oh, whatever.
"With a sudden burst of energy, I rush. . .to the stage" Typically, when someone vomits, they feel weak and have -less- energy. Where is this coming from?
"It goes over to the males['] bowl, but all I can do is stare into space." Because. . .? If you're going to do the 'Tribute ignores district partner's reaping' cliche, at least have a reason.
"When my brother was 15[,] and I was 9[,] our parents left." Left? Left where? To fight in the Dark Days war? What?
"she propelled toward me, throwing herself on my sitting body" Very similar to the 'Visitor throws themselves into tribute's arms when they enter the goodbye room' cliche.
"You can run, sure." How does Leila know she's good at running? What is she referencing?
"Do you know anything about plants[,] even?" Does -anyone- in District 8?
"The boy. . .gave me a creepy smile. . . .'Oh!. . . .You know the dude who was reaped?' [Leila] asks, leaning forward a bit. She gives a brief snap like she figured something out. . . .'Well, his name’s Isaiah or something.' . . .She leans in with her hand cupped to her mouth[,] and whispers. 'And he's creepy.' . . . . 'Um. Okay?' I offer, feeling slightly confused. [I'm not sure what she means exactly. For all I know, I'm] creepy myself." My reaction exactly, Velveteen. Why is Leila acting like this is some amazing revelation? The only creepy thing he's done so far (to the best of the readers' knowledge) is that smile, and we don't even know if it was -actually- creepy or Velveteen simply perceived it that way. What is the point of this bit?
Why didn't Thimble visit? Or her sister-in-law?
"[Isaiah's] eyes seem. . .snake-like." In what way? I'm not going to dislike this kid until you offer me proof he shouldn't be liked.
"'A' [opens] the train door, [Peacekeepers] pushing people back as we board. . . .I feel bad[;] the [Career] districts must get many people. Colossal amounts[,] probably." Wellll. . .that thought came right the fuck out of nowhere.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 7 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. Alma, Bailey, Catalaia, Dara, Eller, Gail, Oliver, and Yuko aren't bad names for District 7 citizens.
"Language!" "Ugliness!" I'll admit: Once I worked out what Catalaia meant by that, I thought it was a little funny.
"I shake my head and try not to judge myself for lying here, pondering the wonders of dust." I was just inwardly remarking how pointless his thoughts about the dust 'coming to light' were.
"[My reaping shoes] once shined, but nothing good lasts forever."
The fact that Oliver and Alma's relationship is mostly physical is unique.
"Hey there, buddy! Ready for some fun?" [Charlie smirks], though. . .fear is evident in his eyes.
Oliver doesn't know Catalaia before the reaping.
"Dude, I. . .fuck. . .you know. . .you're gonna' be okay." Best line in a goodbye scene thus far. It's so. . .natural. Realistic. You know, I like Charlie so much that I don't care -what- his name is.
THE NEUTRAL. 'Clementina'. May or may not be Latin, but it's the best escort name I've seen thus far (including Clover).
Veronique is an okay name for District 7, I guess.
We need to talk about this character being named Kevin. . . .I'm sorry, I had to. XD Oh well, it could always be a worse name.
Not a huge fan of 'Charlie' for District 7, either. Not sure why.
"oddly enough[,] she's laughing. Well, all right." So he admits that her laughing is odd. . .but all he says about it is, 'Well, all right'?
THE BAD. Yuko received fifty lashes for being late to a reaping. 'Late to'. Not 'absent from'. That amount of whipping could have killed him; how late -was- he?! And Catalaia says 'we were late'. Why was Yuko the only one whipped?
"If [my pants] are dark, the dirt shows. . . .This is where [it's] good to wear a lighter color." How is it better to wear a lighter color. . .when you're trying to avoid dirt on your clothes being noticeable? This makes no sense.
"I see [Alma's] father. . .chopping wood." On reaping day? Why? "It seems that no one will take the one day off they are allowed." Be. . .cause. . .?
Oh, good. Another drunk step-father/father. Yay. . . (/sarcasm) What is that—three now?
Your drunken step-father is yelling at you to wake up. . .and you're thinking about how you live in the rich part of town. . .because it means you have your own room. How does having your own room matter in the -slightest- at this moment?
"'Cat? I'm scared.' — 'I know. I am too. . .You'll be fine. Three slips out of thousands'. . . .She gives me a smile, a quick 'Thank you,' and bounces out of my room. I then pick up my reaping outfit." O.O; Uh. . .uh. . .*speechless* There. . .there are no words for this level of pointlessness.
Despite Catalaia considering her family rich simply for having separate bedrooms. . .they all seem to have pretty nice reaping clothes.
"Although she doesn't have to attend the reapings, she insists on looking as though she does" . . .Because she does. She doesn't have to -participate- in them anymore, but she does have to -attend- them.
"I have to walk with Vero, since we're not eligible." Since when is it a rule who you have to walk to the reaping with?
'There comes a point in life where you know you're going to die' . . .Except if you die suddenly and unexpectedly.
It. . .it goes straight from Catalaia walking to the reaping. . .to literally stating, with no dialogue whatsoever, that the escort called her. In the very next paragraph. Um. . .wow. . .
"I do the only plausible thing right now, and give a loud laugh. There." Actually, that's one of the -least- plausible actions to take when you've just been selected to die. Crying. Screaming. Running. Curling up in a fetal position. Grabbing onto someone and begging them to volunteer. Stealing a Peacekeeper's gun and shooting yourself. Every one of those things is more likely to happen than a reaping winner -laughing-. Catalaia doesn't even say -why- she laughs; -why- it's the most plausible thing. Just that she does. Because. . .reasons.
Why doesn't Bailey come to say goodbye?
'Visitor reminds tribute of the things they're good at' cliche.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 6 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. 'Metro' is a pretty good name for a District 6 boy.
Aran has an accurate tesserae count. Cool!
Aran doesn't know Metro before the reaping. Always a point in my book.
I don't know that I've seen a tribute missing a limb. If he weren't a Katniss clone, I might actually be interested in him.
"Metro, try like hell to make it back[,] but. . .if for some reason you can't. . .I'll take her in" Wow. That was rather unexpected. :)
THE NEUTRAL. 'Clover': Best escort name I've seen yet. It's not Latin, but. . .close enough!
To be honest, both Aran and Metro are Katniss clones. It's just all of Aran's aspects in this regard, I find tolerable:
Aran signed up for tesserae as soon as she turned twelve, to support her family, and to stop her sister from signing up at all costs. (This has to be a rather common scenario, so. . .whatever.) Aran is less emotional than her mother and sister. (O. . .kay. Sure. Nothing wrong with that.) Aran and Kiva's father is dead. (Um. . .) "Kiva. . .has probably gone to sleep with our mother. She's [scared], as usual." Okay, now -this- veers dangerously close to 'copying the book' territory. At least Kiva is thirteen, not twelve.
"How many times is your name in today?" Tanya [Metro's best friend, who's aware of the fact he hunts] asks. It may be a common-enough question, but that exact wording? And I suppose I can understand the butcher giving Metro back an entire rabbit because it's the reaping. . .but Peeta's father gave Gale a loaf of fresh bread in exchange for one squirrel because it was the reaping.
THE BAD. I'm not even going to mention the POVs' pacing and uniqueness (or lack thereof) anymore. I'm just repeating myself.
"then suddenly her eyes snapped open" As opposed to gradually snapping open.
"Kiva forgot to close the blinds. -Again-. I groan, as I remember the day ahead" If I were a betting woman, I'd say the author was trying to get across that Aran was woken by sunlight because the blinds weren't closed. Instead, because she doesn't say this and we're left to -assume- (yay, assuming!), it looks like two separate trains of thought randomly strung together. 'The blinds are open. . .Oh, God, it's the reaping.'
A hunter. Metro. . .hunts. *bangs head against wall*
Why does Metro have 25 slips? He's 16. That means 5 default. With just himself and his sister to look after, that’s 10 extra; a total of 15. Where does he get the other 10?
Tanya says nothing to Metro's "Twenty-five", which means that line was only there to inform the readers of how many tessera he had (somehow). Nice.
Metro lost his arm working in a factory. What factory? What happened?
"People show no pity for me now." Even if he looks like he doesn't care about losing an arm, I imagine there will always be people who look at him pityingly, imagining themselves in that circumstance.
"working with the butcher has skilled me with knives, cleavers, and axes". . .How convenient that Metro acquired those skills. -And- knows how to hunt.
"I ponder what kind of tribute I would be with these skills" . . .No comment necessary.
"'Metro Davis,' shrills Clover Prinkle." You cannot -shrill- something. You can say something -shrilly-, but you cannot -shrill it-.
'Visitor throws themselves into tribute's arms when they enter the goodbye room' cliche.
"I'm not worried about being caught [hunting] by Peacekeepers; the [Peacekeepers]. . .in [Six] don't care, and even if they did[,] I am given lenience that [isn't] questioned." Hunting carries severe penalties, and District 12 Peacekeepers turned a blind eye because despite their privilege and power, they couldn't get fresh meat otherwise. They did nothing, permitted that said law-breaking wasn't flaunted in their faces. But how can Metro (in a far wealthier district) never worry about being caught or questioned? Why do its Peacekeepers not give a damn about the law?
| Dances With Vampires chapter 5 . 8/26/2014
THE GOOD. Grace received a decent intro. Good amount of detail: Eyelids burning red from sunlight; sister normally sleeping in as late as possible, but always up early on reaping day; Grace conversely always sleeping in on reaping day; water running down Grace's neck and soaking her nightshirt; trying to scrub away her feeling of hopelessness; how she and her mother pretend they bought her a new dress just because they liked the color; Bailey thinking that if she pretends it's a normal day, it will be; her family holding hands in silence, enjoying peace. . .etc.
As an atheist, I liked how God was viewed as the enemy in Panem, or at least in Grace's eyes. (I've always seen him praised in HG fics.)
"I'm cold, because I'm dead. Clarence Thomas just killed me." The escort as good as killed her by calling her name. I like that.
"Don't betray fear." A decently original line, especially for a goodbye scene.
"I. . .have to work [a second job] to pay off the bills for my grandparents' medicine[, if] I want them to [live] long enough for me to turn eighteen." It's a nice detail, explaining why Jake needs to work so young. I'm glad it was included.
"I have seen plenty die - electrocuted. . .burned to death, even with [fireproof rubber] gloves." Also a nice detail.
THE NEUTRAL. The District 5 escort's name is Clarence. How dull and not-Capitol. But it could be worse.
While I can believe that "the power plants have to be operated 24-7" (who am I to say no?), I'm still wondering why Jake has to work on reaping day. (Especially when Grace didn't.) -Why- do the power plants need constant maintenance? Explain.
"Don't leave them alive if they try and kill you" Unless. . .of course, they succeed in killing you. . .then that's different. (It's a bit odd, but I get what the author was going for.)
"And please, for all of District 5, make it to the top five!" I can see someone asking that of a tribute. Of course, I hope Jake dies in the Bloodbath, but to each their own.
"Let's see if you stay alive, Wires-for-Brains." I want to like that line. . .but I'm not sure I get it. Is she saying Jake's brain is a jumbled, knotted mess?
THE BAD. 'Character describing themselves by looking in a mirror' cliche.
Bailey tackling Grace is similar to the 'Visitor throwing themselves into tribute's arms when they enter the goodbye room' cliche. As is Isabella and Kate immediately rushing to hug her.
As usual, Grace's goodbye and train scenes are rushed and perfunctory.
". . .exquisite food that I never knew could even exist. . .bring myself to eat even if I tried. . .he waves awkwardly, even though. . .I wave back shyly, even though. . ."
"If I [were an unprotected minor, I'd] be sent to the orphanage[,] forced to stop my extracurricular job and simply work for the power [plant] and [do] mindless chores. I swear. . .I won't live that life. Never." So. . .Jake thinks working two jobs is a better life than guaranteed meals and shelter, and working one job instead of two. Okay then. *twirls finger in a 'He be crazy' gesture*
We're actually told what the machine shop is. Cool. It's. . .(fixing?) cars and 'broken-down things'. I guess they have one of those in District 5 just because it's easier than sending said junk to Districts 6 or 3 for repair. . .?
"high-tech goggles from District 3[,] made to see heat temperature and electromagnetic fields" Why does he have these? Why is he the -only- person who has them?
"Peacekeepers make it mandatory that I keep [my room clean]." Why?
Jake never went to the power plant, despite talking about how he has to work there every day, and dressing for it. He just went to the reaping like normal.
"Apparently the reaping is bigger than I thought" What does he mean? He's been coming to these things for years. Just because it's his first time being eligible doesn't mean he's never seen a reaping before.
"I'm kind of excited as I stand with my fellow twelve-year-olds in the male section, all terrified" Why is he excited?
"I can’t have this[—]he's going to represent the [district] I live in[. He's] a coward, a fool for running when he. . .should have accepted his fate and went on with his life[,] doomed to die fighting in the arena. He should have been more brave. . . .[Other] districts are watching[;] if they see him. . .the other tributes will kill him like a mouse. If I was in his shoes. . ." Jake is almost speaking like a Career. What leads him to think that Gregory should just lay down and die? That he's in the wrong for running, not the Capital for taking and killing him? What does it matter to Jake what the other districts think of 5?
"without thinking about the consequences[—]about [Grandpa] and [Grandma (who will miss me); how] my friends will miss me[—]I've decided to take a chance, to prove that District 5 [is] Hunger Games material." . . .Okay, this kid has officially moved from Stupid (for being excited at the reaping, and thinking like a Career for no reason) to Despicable. All along, he's talked about how working two jobs is the only thing allowing his grandparents to afford medicine they need to survive. Without that income, he's killing them. Literally killing them. And he doesn't even think about that. All he cares about is District 5 pride. I am SO glad that he ends up dead—serves the little bastard right.
"[Gregory goes] back to his seat" What seat? Everyone stands at the reaping.
"I also keep my gloves[—I'll] need them in my [Games], if [I build] with hot material or something along those lines." The Capital had better confiscate those gloves. They're a tool; an advantage.
"[My grandparents] are so depressed. . .they're crushed" I wonder why. No. . .no guilt over the medicine? Nothing? You just wanted them alive so you wouldn't have to go to an orphanage and not work two jobs? Are you really that heartless? Sociopath.
"Your father was. . .the same as you[;] he wouldn't have stood by. . .and let that boy be tribute[. You] have brought great honor to our district and our cause[,] my boy[," my] grandfather says with pride. (What about the medicine? Does he think it's worth it to die, if Gregory gets to live? And what cause is he talking about?)
"the only place that was safe was for one person" . . .What? I have no idea what that means. What sort of safe place can there be in the midst of a rioting crowd?
'Visitor confesses to having crush on tribute' cliche. The second person who's done so in this fic. And both of them kissed the tribute. And both of the tributes were 12.
. . .I get that Clarence might be offended by Jake's lack of table manners. But to literally try and stab his hand with a knife, and only tell him -afterward- that he was offended? I hate the kid, and even I think that's going too far.
Why do the power plants give rice as a staple food, and not bread? This is Panem we're talking about. Land of tessera.
"[Clarence laughs, then pulls the knife out of the table. 'It's good to see you have a positive attitude.'" . . .And all of a sudden, he's no longer upset by Jake's table manners, and doesn't mention them again. Just moves straight to complimenting him out of the blue, for. . .snapping at him. . .*blink* What?
"if you have an alliance[,] stick by them" Even if they'll probably end up betraying you later. . . .Actually, that's wonderful advice, Clarence. Keep up the good work.
"avoid Careers at all costs" Gee. Great advice, Clarence. I'm sure he would have never thought to do that.
"I realize now I'm a smart ass" When did Jake say anything that would qualify him as a smart-ass?
"a black leather jacket and white [long-sleeved] shirt[,] with dark blue jeans. This is Capitol fashion" I'm afraid you are sadly mistaken.
| Dances With Vampires chapter 4 . 8/25/2014
THE GOOD. Hoooooly crap. The majority of Gemini's POV was. . .I haven't seen a reaping (especially a pre-reaping) that good in a long time. I liked her intro (about the sky reflecting the ocean's moods, and both being gray because of the reaping).
The level of description. (The wind being so strong that it threatened to unbraid her hair, and blow the reaping slips away; the waves being heard in the square during silence; the capital city's bay having a name, and a reason for said name; the boat not having a name, and its painted code being worn away.)
This bit here: "If the wind and [ocean]. . .were our friends, they wouldn't aid [our]. . .boat in its journey. It's taking us[—the] children from the northern peninsula where I live[—]to the capital city, Drift, for the reaping. Maybe the wind and. . .ocean do not know." Excellent writing.
And these: "Whatever happens. . .no district can take that away from us; we won the first time."
". . .when the words leave my mouth, I want to take them back. I even raise my hand [toward] my lips, but the words are gone."
I wondered why Leo and Shar were fighting. (Because they're hot-heads? Because they hate each other? Because it's what they're good at? Just for entertainment?) I didn't expect to receive an explanation, given this fic's general lack of detail, and was pleasantly surprised when I did. -And- by what it was. "Just trying to decide who gets to mentor the girl this year." I can so imagine two male victors fighting over that.
Gemini's goodbye got at least one memorable bit, which is more than I can say for the previous tributes: "Caspian starts telling a funny story about a seal pup that nearly got away from him, but he cuts off halfway through when he remembers the story ends with him splattering the little creature's brains against the rocks."
I like how Kai had the same intro as Gemini. ("When I was younger") Ties the POVs together nicely.
THE NEUTRAL. Caspian, Dagon, Kai, Lila, Milah, Sara-D4-ish enough, not bad. 'Molly' is all right too, I suppose.
'Bae'? Like 'bay'? A bit too obvious. . .but as always, could be worse.
"It's true that [Leo] wasn't the strongest competitor [in the first Games]; he was just the one who worked out the rules the fastest." Not a horrible line, but it lacks detail. What rules did he figure out? The Games only have three (unofficial) rules—Don't be boring. Don't eat other tributes. And a single tribute will make it out alive.
"we all. . .call [the District Four escort] Merman. Partly because his hair is [waist-length, threaded] with artificial-looking seaweed that glitters when he moves his head[. And partly because] the back of the suit he wears each year tapers into a bright green fish tail." This guy. . .enjoys his job, doesn't he? Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just. . .doesn't quite seem like Capital fashion.
Why does District 4's capital city only have a few businessmen? They're a fairly rich district. Quite a few people could afford to patron shops. Not a terribly distracting detail, but. . . .
So there -is- an Academy in District 4. In fact, there are three (at least). Why is Maverick aware of 2's, but not 4's?
Kai and Milah’s flirting is kinda' cute, if not particularly original.
"my sword acting like the teeth of a wolf that [hasn't] eaten in days" What does a District 4 citizen know of wolves? Why not a carnivorous marine animal, like a shark or barracuda? It doesn't bother me -that- much, but. . .still.
THE BAD. Not crazy about the name 'Lilac' for a District 4 citizen. Seems more like a District 11 or 12 thing.
"Merman. . .sashays back to the microphone. . . .he walks like a woman" Why must all the Capital men be women in drag, just because they wear bright colors and (occasionally) makeup?
The end of Gemini's reaping scene is rushed, like the others.
"We're not a very emotional family. My fifteen minutes passes without many words exchanged" How convenient. If Gemini's family doesn’t tend to talk much, you don't have to make up an emotional goodbye. They seemed decently emotional on the boat ride. . .
"I ask them to say goodbye to [Mother] for me, just in case" Where is her mother?
"We sit in silence after that. . . .My first thought about the train is that it is nothing like a boat. I can barely feel the movement under my feet, and it makes me stumble." While that's good writing, there isn't even a line break between those paragraphs. She just teleports straight from the Justice Building to the train.
"sneak out of our house in [the] Victor's Village" Maverick knows Dazzle personally. Supernova's brother Mason is a victor. Shar and Gemini grew up on the same peninsula, and Shar knows Gemini and her siblings. Now Kai lives in the Victor's Village.
"My house, one of the biggest. . .in District 4 after [the] Victor's Village" Wait. . .does Kai live in the Victor’s Village, or not? It doesn't seem like it, given that there are no victors in his family. . .
Kai never explains who Bae is. I'm going to assume it's his sister, but again, I can only -assume-.
Why are there only four Careers in the Academy on reaping day?
"[That's] one of the reasons. . .I fell in love with [Milah: she's] as deadly as I am with swords, but only with [throwing knives]." Is Kai in love with every District 4 girl who's especially talented at throwing knives, then?
"on the battlefield" Kai's never been on a battlefield.
"the dummies are. . .pieces of cloth and metal. That's [what will] happen to the tributes when I'm finished with them." They'll be pieces of cloth and metal?
". . .cocky. That’s exactly what we need in a victor." No. That's exactly what you -don't- need in a victor. Arrogance gets you killed.
"No one in the district knows [the escort's] real name." How can they not? Surely it was announced. He may even be introduced by name every year.
Kai's pre-reaping is rushed and perfunctory like most of the others.
"At first[,] no tribute moves" That may be because there are no District 4 tributes yet this year.
'Visitor throws themselves into tribute’s arms when they enter the goodbye room' cliche.
"When I was younger, my father [told] me and my sister that there [are] two kinds of people: [Ones] that were born with [the] sea [in] their blood, and [ones that weren't]." Kai never explains what his dad meant by this.
That first similarity between Gemini's and Kai's reapings (their intro) was nice. But after that, it just gets annoying:
"Sara must be the daughter of one of the few businessmen in town. . .because she's plump[,] and her face doesn't have the same tan as most others[;] she clearly doesn't spend. . .time outside" That's almost exactly what Gemini said about her. And "The Justice Building is quite nice[, and] the only place in District 4 that isn't full of sand.” She said that as well, only in more words. Does Kai have an original thought in his head?
GEMINI’S FATHER: "Looks like you decided to volunteer"
KAI’S FATHER: "Looks like you decided to volunteer after all"
Same 'cut from the Justice Building straight to the train' thing as Gemini's reaping.
"My first impression of the train is that it's nothing like the ground full of sand from District 4" Similar to what Gemini said, only replacing a boat with sand. And he doesn't even say how it's different than 'the ground full of sand', like she does with the boat.