|Reviews for Ceramic Flowers|
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 9 . 2/7
I really enjoyed this story, the build-up was great and I got pulled into the drama right away. It had this feeling of impending disaster this entire time, I kept screaming "NO COREY NO" in my head.
Thank GOD nothing happened to Hailey or Zoe, I was positive they'd be the victims. Billy... maybe didn't deserve to die in the way he did but he was a lot less sympathetic. That death scene was so gruesome though and I love the way you described it (I mean, it was horrific but really well-written.)
I wonder how much of Billy being secretly gay might have actually been a thing, and how much was Sebastien being an unreliable narrator and projecting.
Another thing I really liked about this story was how convincing the characters were and how accurate a portrayal this was of an unhealthy relationship. This story could have come straight from the headlines, but you really fleshed the characters in and showed their internal lives. Corey with his anxiety and good-heartedness leaving him vulnerable, Sebastien and his need for control, Zoe being sharp and able to see what's going on, Hailey being a good friend on the surface but selfish.
My only real criticism is that the ending felt a little... anti-climatic. I feel like a good climax should have the main character doing something. But Corey gives almost no sign that he isn't stuck in the same rut he was in before... on the one hand I like how Corey, despite having wanted freedom, is now anxious about the lack of communication from Sebastien and warm to him when he sees him again, because that's a realistic behavior for an abuse victim. But the part when Corey makes the decision to go to the police, his turnaround, is almost completely skimmed over. The part when Corey realizes the effect on him is also mostly told, and I think it would be more powerful if you'd spent more time fleshing in their relationship in earlier chapters and showing it, so the reader can see the effect on Corey better and Corey doesn't have to tell in this chapter.
Overall, it's a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed; kept me on the edge of my seat. Good work.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 3 . 2/5
I think I may have too much experience with creepers, because I was cringing about Corey not picking up on the huge red flag of a guy refusing to talk about himself!
Also seems realistic that Corey wasn't even considering that his admirer might not be attractive... that is such a human way of thinking.
I liked the dialogue in this chapter, it felt realistic and showed how Corey was so awkward but also excited. Also Hailey and Zoe and the way friends can be short-sighted and get on each other's nerves.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 2 . 2/5
Okay, this was the chapter that totally pulled me into the story. Nicely done.
Backing up a bit, I'm really surprised to learn that you are also LittleAlchemist. The style of story is so different and you pull them both off pretty well! :0
But anyway, this chapter was great. I guess part of it is that I took interest in Sebastien's character and dilemna so much. He's one of those people that doesn't seem to care about anything... but for most real people, that's just a front and there are things they care about deep down. In Sebastien's case, whether it's due to depression or a personality disorder or just the trauma of being unwanted... you can see how deeply this not-caring runs. Well, I think he does care about things like his bugs and his freedom, he doesn't want to be controlled, that's an important part of him, but the way he sees other people?
It's subtle. It's like it seems reasonable on the surface (why should he care about his abusers?) but then there's also something off about the way he views Corey, who is such an innocent woobie, and the discrepancy from how he thinks about him and how Corey views it.
Anyway, this was an excellent chapter, off to read the rest rn
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 1 . 2/4
[Entirely self-absorbed and not very self-aware. She was fun in small doses though]
Sounds like literally every teenager!
Anyway, I like the characterization you’ve managed to bring out so far even in just this opening chapter. I like the trio of friendship between the MC and these two girls. And of course we all can relate to a socially anxious teen writer. I think anyone who wants to be lived will have their hearts melt about the idea of a secret admirer getting to know them from their blog...
That being said, I wouldn’t start the story here? The blog entry, the friends, the school, even the interesting tidbit about the bear-wolf aren’t interesting enough by themselves to catch interest. I think you should start right at the note and put the exposition bits after.
| acumashindorballomu chapter 9 . 11/4/2019
At long last, it's all over, and you chose a highly satisfying ending, realistic too!
It was more than obvious that Corey's mental state would only end up wearing on his frail body eventually. The fact that his grandma finally took notice only went to show how much of a husk he had become. At the very least his secret was still safe.
Meanwhile at school, the repercussions of Sebastian's fucked up actions logically showed up, and it's ironic that for how cunning he was, he dared scoff when the murder was mentioned, ignoring the risk of being caught. Then again, only Corey knew, because it was an obvious crime made out of jealousy. Sebastian's quietness after the murder proved to truly be his undoing, as he unwillingly gave Corey enough space to breathe so that he could assess the situation he was in AND finally grow a spine. The fact that he remained as stoic and careless at the end of that school day, not even bothering to put on even a small facade of being a caring boyfriend, was the last straw. Corey finally did the right thing and put an end to his nightmare.
The epilogue, while short, was satisfying. It gave the just-desserts to our two main characters. The abuser was discovered for what he did and locked up, while the abused finally got the treatment he so desperately needed, despite him still having to go on with his social anxiety. And I can so sympathize with Corey, after so many relationships that ended badly, I too preferred remaining single for a while.
Overall it was a really enjoyable short story for what it was. It definitely was on my taste, as it had 3 of my most favorite things when it comes down to prose: romance, drama and an exploration of the monsters inside our minds. As such, my only complaints would probably be that it wasn't exactly what I expected from the description. But that's just nit-picky, and I won't get into such feeble details. And now that I look back at it, I'm glad it took a different direction from what I was expecting, for the element of surprise is always a great thing!
This is your friend, acumashindorballomu, signing off after another fun RxR.
| acumashindorballomu chapter 8 . 11/4/2019
And it happened... at last, dare I say. All this time Sebastian was like a ticking time bomb, awaiting eagerly the right moment to detonate all of his pent-up anger, and in what a way it finally came too!
It came to no surprise that this fucking maniac had no remorse or care whatsoever about Corey, he wanted him and kept him close exactly because of his weak will and how he barely fought back. And as I suspected, he finally had enough of it all and wanted their breakup, but all it did was to trigger Sebastian even further.
Personally, if I knew my boyfriend was like that, the LAST thing I'd do is still keep my diary with my former crushes. It would only upset him further and truly make things even worse. And oh boy, worse they became. I really liked how we got to peek into his fucked up mind and saw just how emotionless, petty and yet sneaky he really was. The killing scene was well-executed, and it had the right amount of tension and release.
And as a side note, I can sympathize only a slight bit with Sebastian here, mostly because I too view random people I don't know as "standing in my way" when it comes to shit like crowds or lines. But then again, that's pretty much a justification for killers who aren't necessarily sadistic. It's pretty sad that due to all those circumstances he ended up like this, but then again, he didn't really have much of a choice, now did he?
| acumashindorballomu chapter 7 . 11/4/2019
Fuck, things are really going downhill from here, and it seems to be the point of no return. There's a few things I am going to address first:
1) Zoe is the only voice of reason in this downwards spiral of insanity, she has read the situation excellently, but sadly she's not trying her best for Corey. Had she been a bit more confrontational, she probably would have helped him out of that horrible mess he's in, but that's not the case. At least she's more aware than him.
2) I like how you mirrored Corey's attitude at the beginning with the one he has now. All from his little mantra, to how he thinks he is perceived, and overall his social interactions having dwindled a lot. It served to showcase how things really haven't gotten better, even if he believed that a relationship was all he needed.
3) Sebastian is growing closer and closer to being a downright psychopath, as I previously stated. From all of the allusions to classical monsters like werewolves that have been sprouted throughout the story, him stalking Corey and not caring at all for his feelings despite him being miserable, and now it seems that Billy might just truly be the last straw that will break his camel's back, where his uncle and grandma could not quite yet.
Needless to say, at this point the story reminded me of my first gay relationship, because I started recognizing the patterns which Sebastian started taking in my first boyfriend. You know, being pushy when it came to sex, being possessive and awfully suspicious. And unfortunately it also came to threats of murder. But unlike me, unfortunately Corey still doesn't seem to have much of a spine. Hopefully he will be able to find a way out, before it really is too late.
| acumashindorballomu chapter 6 . 11/4/2019
Last time I said that things had gotten quite dark, and now I stand corrected. It seems that all those years of abuse coupled with his poor environment had finally led to Sebastian popping and unleashing his killer tendencies. Although he didn't do anything elaborate, the fact that he had the guts to lock his grandma and send her to a watery grave like that was still chilling.
The same can be said for his mentality overall. He doesn't care for Corey's feelings at all, their dates are mostly awkward monologues carried on by Corey, and now things are only getting worse since he is growing all the more desperate when it comes to both money and sex. And as expected, his 'boyfriend' did not have a pleasant reaction when he saw in what kind of squalor his house actually was.
Then again, the somewhat pleasant surprise was that at least Sebastian took him easy when the time came for sex. As it should be, one must accommodate the other and make them crave for more. And the way he's started to manipulate Corey, using even intimacy as an advantage, really shows how much of a cold selfish prick he is. It's funny, both keep saying that 'boyfriends do this and that', but in actuality they don't seem to grasp much of what actual romance is like. One is too idealistic and the other too selfish. Truly it's nothing but a sick parasitic relationship, and I love every moment of it. Heavens, I think I might be turning a bit sick too. :v
| acumashindorballomu chapter 5 . 11/4/2019
You put it very eloquently, Corey was "splashed with ice water", and that was basically this entire chapter. Poor guy finally awoke to the realization of who he is dating, if it can be called that.
While at the start of the weekend he still seemed rosey-eyed with his perspective, that little lake trip slowly unraveled the truly unpleasant person that Sebastian actually is, unraveling his antisocial and possessive attitude in a very uncomfortable yet constant way, like an arrow rising up a diagram. The fact that he chose to stay with Corey even when the poor guy was starting to feel sad, uncomfortable and didn't have much to say served only to showcase how much of a stalking creeper he was. And of course, since he has no sense of when enough is enough in a social gathering, he kept doing so, even following Corey back into his house, only having to leave due to an excuse.
Overall the shy fellow seems to be in a pretty tight situation right now, he can't come out to his grandparents due to his fear, his friends all dislike Sebastian for his attitude and even his own blog, the e-diary where he at the beginning of the story felt he could truly be himself is now stalked, forcing him to be on the fence all the time. It's sick in a way, he is so desperate for a relationship that he is willing to stick with someone not right in the head, and due to his weak will he probably won't leave out of his cage and thus keep on his cycle of suffering. Be careful what you wish for, kids...
| acumashindorballomu chapter 4 . 11/4/2019
Fuck, the guy's a psychopath. I'd normally end the review here, but there's way more to discuss, so buckle up, kiddies, this is gonna be one long ride with good ol' uncle acumashindorballomu. :P
First of all, I have to say that it's indeed quite smart how he manages to dispose of his uncle's body by feeding it to those spiders in his shed and leaving it there for days. It truly must've been a disgusting sight, as described at the end of the chapter.
Secondly, his lack of social skills really showed here. Instead of understanding that people have other needs and require the company of friends too, he grows all the more possessive and jealous at the mere prospect of Corey not spending all of his time with him. And I definitely see this getting problematic in the future, but seeing how desperate and dependent Corey seems to grow (he doesn't even realize the dude is zoning out whenever he talks!), things can only take a turn for the worse.
And lastly, while I can sympathize with him wanting that annoying hag out of his life, Sebastian is clearly plotting bloody murder, and who's to say he won't attempt this on others? Overall this chapter was nothing more than a dark omen of things poised to unfold...
| acumashindorballomu chapter 3 . 11/4/2019
What a tense chapter! No, really, it felt so realistic that I almost pictures myself in Corey's shoes as he went on his journey to meeting the date. All the way from the heat of the moment and panicking, to the constant imagining of who his secret admirer might have been, and ultimately the slow walk to the destination, the meeting of said admirer and how it all went sort of flat as his excitement faded and he got accustomed to the other person. As always, in real life we never truly meet our expectations. But hey, we have to work with what we've got, no?
Besides, this chapter highlighted their differences even more. Corey had entertainment in his life, he could stimulate his intellect, while Sebastian was unfortunate in that department. While personally I can't relate to him, since I'm mostly in Corey's shoes, I can't help but both feel sorry and be a little wierded out by Sebastian's hobbies, since they almost resemble those of our primal ancestors who were in touch with nature and wished to study it more.
Nevertheless, that's not to say that he seems backwards or stupid, as he clearly gave signs of intellectual curiosity when he listened to Corey talk about what he has read or played. I have a feeling that their interactions might turn into something positive for them both, but knowing you, I'll have to keep my guard up.
| acumashindorballomu chapter 2 . 11/4/2019
Oh boy, I got the answers to my questions, and I'm not sure how to feel about them. Let's find out, shall we?
Sebastian seems like the total opposite of Corey. At least our little intrepid blogger has caring parent-figures and a clean home above his head, but this guy is just... wow. How he manages to still appear as civilized among his peers remains a mystery. Then again, if I were him with those 2 crazies in my home, I'd have probably run off years ago and considered living on the street.
Needless to say, the reveal of his fascination with those bugs was shocking, but in a good way. And you know I'm an arachnophobe! By the way, while the Wolf Spider isn't necessarily poisonous, its bites are still extremely painful. How he managed to carry it back without being painfully bitten is anyone's guess.
And the ending was a tad bit predictable, having in mind his uncle's shitty attitude overall. I can see this soft form of abuse molding him in the future into an abuser too, if only in bed. Still, his fascination with Corey is slightly endearing, although you can see he doesn't see him as a romantic partner since he can't understand what romance actually is. Quite the tragic character in his own right, really.
| acumashindorballomu chapter 1 . 11/4/2019
Another day, another story, and I'm back to pester your reviews sections once more. Here we go again... (PS: I'm sorry :P)
The first chapter followed a pretty classical trope of introducing a first-person view story, one of your favorites. I know, I sometimes tried it, and I like how well you made it flow, going from the 'inside' (the safe room of Corey, the interactions with his grandparents, the description of his home and that breakfast), to the 'outside' (his really small social circle, the descriptions of the surroundings and even a bit of showcasing his actual social anxiety in the school environment)
But perhaps the most intriguing thing so far was the actual chapter's intro where we get a delve into the lonely soul of Corey, as well as the seemingly pleasant surprise of him having a fan who actually finds him beautiful. Well, can't say I'm not hooked, I'll check the next chapter to see what's going on.
| DaddyLauBourgeois chapter 8 . 9/10/2019
I called it! The last marble has left the building ladies and gentle bottoms. Please let Corey be okay my little smol bean doesn't deserve this... Sebastian is still my favorite nut though... Wait... That came out ALL wrong
| DaddyLauBourgeois chapter 7 . 9/10/2019
Let's all bow our heads for the asswipe formally known as Billy because he's toast. No one insults bae!