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11/15/2020 c5 8Serina Truscott-Duvall
I’ve said it before but I really am enjoying the awkwardness and tension between Janelle and Sam. Every scene with them is just so well done. It all feels so relatable and believable. It’s that sort of angst that feels real and never cringy. I hurts my heart, but it’s soo good :P Anyway, I quite liked Sam’s trip down memory lane as she’s thinking about her childhood with Thomas. That was really sweet, if heartbreaking. I was really concerned that they wouldn’t talk before she left, considering how easy it would be for something terrible to happen while they’re apart. So I was very glad to see them have that moment together before she left. They obviously still have a lot of things to unpack and deal with, but they can do that when Sam comes back… barring any sort of brutal murder occurring in the interim of course :P I also loved the visual you gave of Janelle standing on the beach watching until they reached the Island. That was a really great image all around.

Moving on, I’m very excited to see Sam and 256’s interactions as they continue on their journey. They have so few scenes together and are ultimately such different characters that this should be a lot of fun. My favorite moments are often when two characters just sit down and talk, so I quite liked the scene with them sitting around the fire. You can learn so much about characters in scenes that this and this one was no exception. Hearing 256 talk about his reasons for staying was very sweet. I’m glad he’s realizing how fulfilling a life outside the Gifted can really be. Looking back from where he started, he’s had quite the journey to reach this point. He’s earned it. And while I’m glad that Sam is seemingly optimistic about their chances to convince the Gifts of Earth to join based on 256 doing so, I’m with 256 in that it won’t be nearly so easy. At the end of the day, they’re still Gifted. They’ve still spent their whole lives being indoctrinated into the idea that the Gifted are superior. I definitely think there’s a chance of this working, but I feel like it’s going to be a very tough challenge to pull it off. I’m still going to stay hopeful, however. I’ve been told that rebellions are built on hope, or something like that :P

After this short battle, I’m more worried about Sam than I already was and I was already quite worried. Victor really broke her, didn’t he? I knew it was bad, I mean you could easily tell that much, but I thought a real fight might snap her out of it. She doesn’t need to be out here. She’s in no fit state for field work and honestly, I can’t blame her for being affected as she has. After what happened to her, how could she not be? Hopefully, she’ll be able to work through her issues perhaps with 256’s help. He was there with her, after all. I’m sure he would be a great partner to help her. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing what these two get up to and where their adventures take them. As usual when the gang is separated I’m very worried for everyone right now.
10/17/2020 c4 Serina Truscott-Duvall
So, you want to know the worst part about taking medications that negatively affect your memory and the website you’ve been using to leave comments on goes down? Remembering which chapter you commented on last :P I had this comment nearly finished and the Word doc saved, but for the life of me I can’t remember if I already sent this one and I’m actually on chapter 5 or if Sparkatale went down before I sent this one. So, I’m starting here and hoping for the best :P Also, sorry for taking a while to get to this. Even without the obvious reasons of Sparkatale going down, I’m later with this than I’d intended. I’ve been super busy this week with wedding related planning. Covid threw our plans into chaos, so we’ve practically been forced to start from scratch. And if you’ve never planned a wedding, I don’t think there’s anything more exhausting :P Anyway, moving on swiftly.

I swear, I’m sure I’ve ever found Janelle as relatable as I do in this chapter. The poor thing is struggling with so much. The ghosts of her past are quiet literally haunting her, that’s… yeah, that’s really tough. I really loved that scene, by the way. I know it’s weird to say that, but I thought it fit in really well with what we’ve seen from Janelle so far in this and the struggles she’s having with taking charge of the rebellion once again. Having so many appear, people whose deaths she feels responsible for… just gut-wrenching. Especially Reagan and Brooke. I wasn’t ready for that. I’m also still really worried about Janelle. She’s under so much pressure and she keeps lying. She’s going to crack one day… or her secrets are going to come back to bite her.

“What’s wrong with me? I said I’d forget. Sam said she would too, so why am I still so cold about her? Why can’t I just comfort my best friend?” I love this so much. The meaning behind that, the feeling behind it… that was without doubt my worst fear when Claire and I got together; that we’d end up kind of like that. I have to say, I’m really liking how you’re handling these two so far. It all feels so genuine and real. It breaks my heart to see them like this, but it is spectacular storytelling so I have to praise it regardless of it hurting me xD

Anyway, I’m a bit nervous about this plan to recruit new members to the rebellion. No matter what they do, they run the risk of someone outing them to the Gifted. But they do need recruits, so… yeah, what else can you do? Honestly, I don’t expect them to have much success. I mean, most people view the Gifted as unstoppable so recruitment isn’t going to be easy. I feel like they need a major victory. They need to show, once and for all, that the Gifted can be beaten. Much like the Rebel Alliance became a real, viable threat to the Galactic Empire once they destroyed the Death Star, Janelle’s group needs to prove that the Gifted aren’t invincible and that a group of plucky heroes pledged to a common cause can beat them. Regardless, I’m very interested to see how their attempts to recruit go. I’m fully in favor of some sort of symbol to rally behind; an image that signifies the rebellion. That’s pretty cool.

Ah, so 256 is the map thief! To be honest, I was nervous something really serious was up with the missing map. That set off warning bells for me when Janelle couldn’t find it so I’m glad it was only 256. I can already tell I’m going to love Sam and 256’s adventure together. Just the scene with Sam telling 256 that of course you’re coming along and by the way, come help me pack was hilarious xD Not that I’m expecting all of their interactions to be humorous. In fact, I’d imagine we’ll have plenty of emotional moments between them as well. They seem like an interesting pair and I’m excited to see more of them.

I’m not going to lie, I agree with Sam. This is war. If you’re going to fight a war against an enemy that will not show mercy, you have very little choice but to kill. I definitely admire 256’s approach though, I must say. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to live by that philosophy, especially if Sam can’t recover from everything that’s affecting her ability to fight at the moment. But I’m glad he’s holding onto that for a long as he can. I may not agree, but I respect him more than I ever have.

While I have no idea if they’ll actually be able to convince the Gifts of Earth to join, I’m super excited to see them try. If the rebellion can’t win a major military victory, gaining the Gifts of Earth still certainly be a victory of a different sort. And I’m with Sam that 256 is absolutely their best hope of convincing them. I don’t know if it’ll work, but he’s definitely their best shot. Okay, so I’m coming back to edit this bit of the comment. I’d written out this piece about how much I loved the end of this and the idea that 256 might be able to convince 256 to join the rebellion and how him holding onto that hope was so sweet. And then I thought that I’m pretty sure that 913 is dead. And yeah, I went back to Stories from the Island, and… yeah, that made the ending to this dark as all hell.

I remembered that scene of her stepping off the bed and I was like ‘oh shit…” But correct my memory if I’m wrong, but outside of Stories from the Island, there’s been no confirmation of her death, yes? If so, this ending creates two very different emotional responses depending on whether or not you’ve read Stories and I really like that. If you haven’t, it’s almost hopeful. Maybe he’ll find her on the mission and bring her around. If you have, you’re dreading that maybe he’ll find out she killed herself. Wow, I like that. I know that’s a really weird thing to appreciate, but I can’t help it :P Anyway, this is a really solid chapter that’s only making me more excited to see Sam and 256 adventures together and dread what Janelle has gotten herself into. I’m looking forward to see what’s coming next.

Also “I know I’m not nothing”, oh my heart! He’s starting to believe.

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