Does the thought of one woman controlling another woman's mind thrill you beyond measure? Do your favorite dreams come wrapped in latex or rubber? How do you feel about robots? Here I am. I'm waiting.
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Liked Shara more in this chapter, though she's still hilariously overconfident.
I'm glad you like her more now. :-) She's definitely overconfident, but she would have taken more time to plan if she weren't so worried about Wizard, and so guilty about putting Wizard in that position. She thought she'd come up with a good balance, but she made a few miscalculations.
Ooo an action-packed chapter!I think I'll file this as...the least of the best (as I love each chapter and the pacing), but this was definitely *just* the step up to the cliff that I'm sure is the conclusion.Shara kinda exceeded my expectations of her really, I knew she was clever, *but* on the fly she came up with a plan, played 4 Level O's loyal to Hawthorne and Hawthorne herself, *but* a little too well.She kinda dug herself into a hole feeding Hawthorne's paranoia it seems like, and she might need to...artfully ease off. Unless Hawthorne's just gone beyond bent...but in any case I still have no clue what'll happen so that's great :).As for Wizard...that's a heck of a cliffhanger her going into a room :p, I'm guessing it's not a supply closet or anything. I loved her using her *body* to get through her predicament, because she's been relying on her mind the entire story, it was a really nice contrast.So overall, the weakest chapter for me but not unenjoyable by any means, a ton of action, the setup is just aching to be knocked out :p, and I think like Paul in the lab, I'm just terrified/intensely curious how it'll turn out.
Yes, you're right that this is just the first half of the conclusion. I originally thought I'd be able to cover it all in one chapter instead of two. Silly me. Chapter 11 turned out to be even longer than Chapter 10! ;-) And that explains why Wizard's cliffhanger isn't a huge cliffhanger (although you never know; the room could be full of alligators ;-P). It's an odd place to pause her storyline, but it was the best I could do without radically altering the plot and/or timelines. Anyway, I'm glad you appreciated the fact that Wizard's unasked-for cure has become a blessing. I wanted readers to notice that, but I didn't want to beat them over the head about it.As for Shara, she might wish she *could* "artfully ease off," but the hole she's dug herself is even deeper than you realize. };-P
Surprised by the lack of comments here, so I'll weigh in. I'm finding myself in a strange meta-position of being more invested in the story turning out to be the story I want it to be than I am in the actual events. It's that real agony of serialization - is she going to stick the landing, is this going to be the story I wanted it to be when I got invested in it, does the author want it to be about the same things I do. The question of exactly what happens is one I can go any number of directions on (though ultimately, I think I'm likely to be unhappy with any resolution that does not give all of Wizard, Paul, and Shara a partial victory). But there's a lot of thematic baggage I'll be a bit disappointed if doesn't get some sort of resolution.For me, at least, what I'm hoping this story is about is one in which the odd and awkward line between good control and bad control is explored. I love the fact that the Resistance has had to resort to many of Hawthorne's techniques to stay alive. I'm really hoping that dismantling Hawthorne's empire isn't straightforward, and that Dreamer remains in use at the end. I want an ending that's morally ambiguous and disturbingly hot, much like the fantasy that animates it. The existence of loving forms of control in the story - Paul's imprinting by Melora, and everything involving Charlotte - is really fascinating to me. I really hope that makes another appearance at the end, in some key regard.I mean, I'm not going to be outraged if thrall has a different story in mind. This is her story, and the things I'm getting invested in as a reader aren't her responsibility to appeal to. But equally, there are so many fascinating engagements with the underlying fetish here that I'll be a bit sad if the story doesn't provide some interesting final comments on them.-Aaronhalt
Aaronhalt, comments like yours make me want to sit on my hands to keep myself from typing all the answers to your questions! It's hard for me to keep secrets about this story, especially since I know lots of readers are just as invested in these characters as I am. I'm also nervous about "sticking the landing," myself, and it doesn't help to know that the French Judge could give me a 10 while the Russian judge might only award me a 9.5. I'll be very surprised if everyone is 100% satisfied with the conclusion, but I believe that those of you who've stuck with me this far will be happy with how Chapter 11 plays out. And I guess that's as much as I should say, eh? Let me go back to sitting on my hands again.
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