Hi! :) I'm finally here for your requested review and I'm so sorry about the wait, RL has been so hectic. But I'm here now! :)
I really enjoyed this story, and I think you have a great balance of humour, witty symbolism and entertaining characters. First of all, I like the no-romance challenge idea and how you're playing up the whole love-hate competetive relationship, yet turning the usual signs of forbidden love into poor terror. There's some really hilarious descriptions, like the girl's foul breath, and the Rose and Scorpius reference, which I loved. I thought you could even play up the no-romance aspect in the first section (the original Gobstones game) a little more, since it's so prominent and ironic in the following sections. :)
The bits about Freud and psychology are wonderful as well, and I like how while Lysander seems to be the sole believer in romance in the school, this is mostly founded on science and theories. With this story, the more you lay the ridiculousness on, the better, I think, and the last line of the story just summed it up perfectly. You might think about including a line about Lysander's obsession with psychology in the first section, just to tie it in even more thoroughly, even if it's just a passing sentence or thought of Lorcan's.
As for characterization, I really enjoyed all of the details and clear personalities. The contrast between Lorcan and Lysander is great, and I feel like I have a really distinct understanding of their individual personalities: Lorcan is the quiet, more self-conscious one who takes out his annoyance and anger only around his brother, and his excessive fear and fainting is quite funny. Lysander just doesn't care what people think and is going to tell them what he thinks regardless. It's great! Cassiopeia (that's a mouthful!) is hilarious as well, and one of the most terrifying females I have ever read about. I wonder if Lorcan and Cassie will be able to overcome the imposed fear of romance and find love from their disgust and hate somewhere down the line? :P
I thought the story flowed very well and logically, and was just the right length. There was a strong mixture of action and description, and the each bit of dialogue fit well and enhanced the effect of the story. The writing felt very natural, and was a pleasure to read! :)
I think this is such a wonderful beginning and I can't wait to read more! Feel free to re-request and I'll try my best to be a bit more prompt. :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your review! :)
I'm so glad that you liked my over-the-top approach to this topic. I thought that adding in a jab at Scorose couldn't hurt, even though I secretly like the pairing a lot. :) The thing about this piece is that I look back at it and see so many places where I should emphasize certain points so much more, and that'll just have to happen when I edit it in the future! :D
Lysander is such a ridiculous character. The truth is, I didn't even plan on him liking psychology when I started writing--during that time, I had been studying for my psychology final and Lysander became a bit of an outlet for all of the crazy terms. I could definitely stand to tie it all together a little better for consistency's sake!
Lysander and Lorcan are such opposites. I'm surprised that I wrote them that way, because sometimes I feel like my characters all turn out the same. However, I'm very pleased with the way their relationship turned out. Cassiopeia and Lorcan are enemies for life, I'm afraid. This is a No Romance story, so the perceived "feelings" are just a lot of tricky signs and signals that add up to nothing. Sometimes, hate is just hate, and that's exactly what I wanted it to be for this one. :)
I'm so glad that you liked it, and I'll be re-requesting soon, definitely! :D