"Welcome everyone to the Literature of the Duchy of Skibbington. It is a collection of the finest one-shot literature in the Duchy, written and selected by me – The Duke of Skibbington himself. In other words, it is a compilation of all the one-shots that I wrote."
Hello Avatar Wikians! Bomochu here and I'm back again with the pleasure of reviewing a collection of the Duke of Skibbington's one-shots here, collectively titled, 'Literature of the Duchy of Skibbington'. The blurb above is what appears on the central hub for the one-shots, welcoming readers to a diverse range of fanons written by Duke. For easier reviewing, the nine one-shots to be reviewed will be split into two parts and given a score for each, and then a total score, and the mini-series titled 'Honour' will have its own review and score. Let's dive in shall we?
Note; as requested by the author 'Sokka Repercussions of Zuko' will not be reviewed.
While the ending to Book 4 of the Legend of Korra did bring a lot of unique and interesting elements, many fans could at least agree that there were improvements that could have been made. And this very challenge is what Duke set out to do in this one-shot. Set out in a script style, it is closely based on the final few scenes of Book 4 but adds in a couple of unique elements.
Overall, the story largely follows the plot of the Book 4 finale, however there are some places where this differs. The first scene we see Zuko going to bed and mentioning 'uncle' before going to sleep, however, it is very unclear as to what is going on. There is no mention of him hearing a voice, or seeing Iroh, and for all we know as readers he simply could have lost his mind and started saying random phrases or names. Apart from some line changes the script progresses much like the original until Asami's excuse for sending Tenzin away when she wants to talk to Korra at the entrance to the island. In the finale, apparently Varrick was wanting to try out a wingsuit and jump off one of the temples (which is not exactly a great excuse anyway) but in this story it makes even less sense, as this time Asami tells Tenzin that an old man has lost his son and is looking for Tenzin. If any parent or grandparent has lost a family member then most people would try and help them look for them, not just pass it off to another (Tenzin), but also it isn't quite clear why Tenzin is needed. Further expanding and fleshing out these moments as well as thinking of them in terms of relevance to the story would boost the score in this category.
The other part of the plot which was an issue was the new ending to the story. Now, I must commend Duke for attempting to tie in the Avatar's past lives into the story, as this is something the series has failed to do so far. However, the relevance and sequence of events in the ending are vague at times, and who is speaking or where Korra or her spirit is gets slightly complicated and hard to follow. Perhaps looking through the ending and trying to reformat it into a more readable version would help with this. But all in all, this story was relatively easy to follow and interesting to read.
For similar reasons to above, the organisation behind the one-shot was an issue at times. Now the use of a script-style format isn't something I've seen a lot of in wiki fanons, but that in itself is not a reason to deduct marks. What was an issue with this category in this story was mainly the flow and transition between moments in the story, like the ending and the past lives being introduced. Some possible solutions are mentioned in the Plot section, but in relation to the organisation, perhaps try to think about what purpose the ending serves, or what you want readers to take away from the story, and let that guide the progression in a clearer way.
I don't recall seeing many mistakes, so good job on that one!
Writing Style: 6.7
There were a couple of odd word choices and vague sentences, but overall it was written fairly well. Again, just to put emphasis on the final scene, perhaps rewording parts or characters' lines would have made things a lot clearer. In particular, the progression of some conversations and often responses to things said (or lack of) didn't quite follow how one would expect.
There were some good moments where characters behaved or sounded like themselves, particularly the Gaang at the end, but there were some other times where it didn't quite work. One of Prince Wu's new lines is practically an insult to Mako, something Wu probably wouldn't say even if it makes him look better. And worse, Mako keeps on conversing without even reacting to it. And why would Mako not show any uneasiness about accepting Prince Wu's offer to make him a Prime Minister, given how badly Mako wanted to leave his bodyguard job before the battle? And why, knowing that he wouldn't want the offer, would Korra encourage him to? There's a difference in Mako beginning to befriend Wu and him becoming a Prime Minister of the Earth Kingdom and working with him. What was good about these lines however was that Wu didn't just dissolve the monarchy and make the Earth Kingdom states independent, but it took a different turn which was interesting. While some lines like Wu's above were changed, there were other lines kept in this one-shot – like Korra's statement about her needing to have compassion and know true suffering – which could have been changed. While it worked in the original to a degree it also lacked depth and was a little convoluted, and this could be an area worth differing from the original as well.
Probably one of the biggest issues with the Legend of Korra in general (at least in my opinion) was the fact that there were new characters in each book, and simply not enough time to develop them all in a believable and interesting way. Perhaps then it would be worth to extend this one-shot a little more so that characters like Asami or Korra can have more space to express themselves and to really dig deeper into their characters, or Bolin and other characters having a little screen time as well, rather than the current ending we have for Book 4. This one-shot is quite short as it is (though obviously similar to the finale) but because it is fanfiction you can always extend things if need be and flesh things out that weren't covered in the series.
Largely, this was done well in this one-shot, and often there were times where it was easy to picture what was going on. There were a couple of misleading verbs or adverbs which could be changed to express what was going on a little better, but on the whole it was pretty well done.
I could see this alternative ending taking place in some ways. It does fix some of the issues present in the original, however, at times the believability side of things was lacking. As mentioned before, some of the character's lines and reactions did seem a bit odd, and perhaps it would be good to revise these sections. As for the Spirit World scene at the end, I'm not sure if the Gaang would necessarily look like their younger selves when dwelling there. Given that Iroh passed into the Spirit World and resides as he was at the time of his death presumably, it doesn't make too much sense that Sokka, Zuko, and the others would dwell in the spirit world in teenage bodies. On the topic of the Spirit World ending, there is no explanation for how Korra did even connect to her past lives again, aside from her inner reflecting before she and Asami left to the Spirit World. Simply taking a little more time to flesh out these moments would make the whole new ending a lot more believable.
Overall Score: 7.23
Why Read This Fanon?: While the Book 4 Finale of the Legend of Korra did do some justice to the series as a whole, there were a fair number of faults that most fans could agree on. What this fanon does is try to mitigate some of these problems, in particular, bringing in the past lives of the Avatar, and makes for a different and interesting alternate ending to the series.
Just how would characters from Avatar fit into the Doctor Who universe? Well, Avatar Who is a parody of just that. With Aang playing the Doctor, Katara as Rose, Sokka as Captain Jack, and Zuko the Lord President from the Doctor Who episode, ‘Parting of Ways’, this cross-over fanon combines these stories in an interesting way.
Overall the story was quite different and exciting; it starts with Aang, Katara, and Captain Sokka inside the Tardis and an incoming call from Lord President Zuko, who asks for their help from an incoming army of Pyrodroids. While the story is interesting the pacing is something that hinders reading experience in that the story moves way too fast. There's no explanation of who the pyrodroids are, why they're attacking Lord President Zuko, or why Zuko and this group of men are in the Spirit World in the first place. The story itself is rather short, and considering it features an invasion and mashup between two fandoms there's no reason it couldn't have been a lot longer and fleshed things out a bit. Maybe Zuko explaining who the Pyrodroids are and why they are attacking them (wherever they are), or just fleshing out these aspects of the plot would greatly improve this category for this fanon.
The ending in particular was a nice touch; I haven't seen Doctor Who for a while now, but even someone who hadn't seen it before could have enjoyed what happens to Aang at the end, and for those of us who have seen both shows, it was quite funny. The beginning too introduced the characters in their new roles fairly well, though with further expansion it could have had been detailed a little better. The other deductions come from how the two fandoms were organised together, or how well they fit each other, in which there was room for improvement. There were some really cool moments, like the ending mentioned above, and also moments like when Aang had to say 'yip yip' to start the Tardis, which were clever and funny. But there were many moments (which will be touched on later as well) where the two series didn't fit well together, such as the characters and the story itself. It's important when doing a crossover series that there is sufficient time devoted to introducing new concepts, and I would argue content we already know from the Avatar series, to make sure that readers who even haven't seen Doctor Who can still read and enjoy the story. I think it comes down to the length of the fanon in some ways; with a longer story, more time could be devoted to gelling the two series together, and so perhaps this is something to think about in improving this story.
The other issue is that Aang and Katara, seemingly the only survivors of the encounter, do not even care about what happened to Zuko and Sokka, and whether the Pyrodroids survived the explosion or not. While the whole fanon itself moves too fast the events in the ending particularly could use some elaboration. Did they go back to find Sokka and Zuko’s bodies? Or try and help the injured men from the Pyrodroid attack? All these questions are left unanswered and it leaves an undesired effect after reading.
Only a couple of mistakes here
Writing Style: 4.9
Most of the time this story was written in an easy to follow and interesting way, however, there was a severe lack of description of many aspects of the story which accounts for most of the deductions in this category. We don't actually know very much at all about where it is all taking place. We know it is in the Spirit World, Zuko has an 'office' there, but we have no idea of where that office is, what the building is like (if there is one), or any other setting-related details. The problem with this is that it becomes harder for readers to enjoy a story where they are doing all the work with trying to come up with these details as they read. As an author you really want to guide readers through a story, giving them enough so they can clearly picture what is going on and have an investment and interest in what happens, and this can happen much easier if things like the setting are fleshed out sufficiently.
This was probably the biggest issue with this story; none of the characters really behaved in a way that seemed believable consistently. To be fair, there were times where some characters did show some similarities to how they are in the show, like when Katara protested about Aang wanting her to stay in the Tardis, but for much of the story this was an issue.
Starting with Aang, while his appearance and clothing were described, his actions did not match his personality at all. First, Aang's comments about Katara's attire seemed out of place, and his over-protective attitude towards Katara was strange as well. Of course, it is normal to be concerned about loved ones, but Aang knows that Katara can hold her own and has entrusted her with missions before; with Zuko to find the person who killed her mother, and with Zuko again to go face Azula. Aang seems to have no problem leaving Katara to go and fight by herself, so why was it an issue now? Her bending would have been more useful against droids who shoot fire in some ways anyway, yet she was forced to stay with Aang and help him build an EMP. Unfortunately, Aang's characterisation only gets worse, with many further lines of his feeling way out-of-place, but also his actions. Being an Air Nomad, Aang chooses and believes in a life on non-aggression, yet he decides that blowing up an entire building/city and killing everyone, including Zuko's men, a possibly-still-living Zuko, and Sokka who is missing (while we know what happened Aang didn't necessarily know) is a good idea. Surely Aang would have tried a different approach to stopping the Pyrodroids. And if his new violent nature couldn't get any worse, he decides to throw Katara with a blast of his airbending into the Tardis when she wouldn't leave him. Remember how upset and guilty Aang felt when he accidently burnt Katara with his firebending? It was something he carried with him right up until he met the Guru and opened his chakra, and possibly still affected him afterwards. So it makes no sense, even if it were for her safety, that Aang would lay a hand or use his bending on Katara in such a way.
Sokka as well felt out-of-character for much of the story, but to a lesser degree than Aang. Most of his lines felt like him speaking, though his responses were often strange. He makes a deal about his bending not being an issue for him fighting, but it shouldn't have been anymore; he went to train with Piandao for that very reason, and has proven that he can hold his own and so there is no need for him to try and convince them. Being the 'ideas' guy as well, why didn't Sokka go and help Aang with the EMP? It would have made more sense for Katara and Sokka to have reversed roles, not because Sokka can't fight but because he is better suited to the planning role. And his death scene felt anti-climactic; he basically gave up which didn't feel like Sokka at all. Even if he were to die, he would do so charging with his sword in the air right up until the bitter end.
Zuko suffered from a lack of description too, and felt only like a means to an end. Although he has shown to be the 'self-sacrificial type' by saving Katara from the lightning, Zuko wouldn't just throw his life away like he did in this story. And as mentioned Katara too felt like a useless character. She could have done a lot of good against the droids but instead was kept on a leash by Aang.
Unfortunately, the antagonists were also lacking. These Pyrodroids came out of nowhere, and apart from some description of their appearance did not really feel like an adequate opponent. They have no backstory as to why they're attacking, no reason to attack, and the only real depth they have is the fact that they have a 'leader' of sorts. Because of the missing backstory and vague characterisation, these villains felt like they had no real purpose to the story, and could have been easily replaced with something else.
Now, I know that there is a lot of critique in this section, but I think it all comes down to a single issue which could be fixed fairly easily. Think of it this way, if one writes an OC fanon what remains constant? The characters are new, but the world of Avatar remains the same or similar. In AU fanon then, what remains constant? The characters, who are placed in a new environment (at least with this sort of AU that uses canon characters). That's one of the cool things about AU fanon; you can really dig deep into characters' personality and quirks, but if the characters from Avatar don't feel like themselves then it may as well have been a story about Doctor Who and not had Avatar in it at all. I'd suggest thinking about these characters and who they are, and rewriting scenes to fit with their personalities, but also provide enough backstory and description to make the story feel more complete.
Aside from the spelling and grammar, this was probably done the best in this story. While there was a lack of investment in the story due to issues mentioned above, the action scenes helped mitigate this and would keep readers hooked through much of the story. Deductions mainly come from again, the pacing of the story and action scenes as a whole, as they moved too fast and therefore lost a little excitement. Some of the other issues include some of Aang's actions being a little unclear, Sokka's death scene lacking effect or meaning (mentioned above), and also a couple of word choices in the action scenes, like the word 'airbended'. This is never a particularly good word to use in an action scene as it doesn't really tell the reader what is going on. All we know is that Aang used air to knock Katara into the Tardis. Did he shoot forth a gust from his right palm? Sweep his arms around and created a swirl of air which did that? Or form a mini-tornado which picked her up and spun her around until she landed in the time-machine? All of these possibilities are 'airbending', and while some are more plausible than others we don’t know which one Aang did. Like I said however, the action scenes were done fairly well in this story.
Many of the same issues mentioned above also have flow-on effects for the Believability category. Things like the plot holes and lack of backstory for the Pyrodroids that make them an unconvincing enemy, the characters and their behaviour, but there are also some deductions in this section from other issues. The story features an electromagnetic pulse, which in the world of Doctor Who is quite plausible, but in Avatar, at least in Aang's time, this was not something that had been invented yet, or something that could have been made in the Spirit World necessarily. Of the device, the only description we get of what it actually looks like is a 'rudimentary device' which also doesn't make the device any more convincing. Further elaboration of this element of the story would go a long way in improving the score here. But the biggest deduction in this section comes from Katara's response to her brother, which is not necessarily a Characterisation issue which I'll explain further. Neither Aang or Katara know what happened to Sokka, yet neither of them seem to care enough to go back and find them or at least find their remains. This not only made the ending rather convoluted, but also doesn't make much sense as any sister with a similar relationship with their brother like Katara and Sokka, would have tried to find out what happened. The same goes for Zuko and his death as well.
Overall Score: 5.81
Why Read This Fanon?: As mentioned, I don't believe I've ever seen a crossover between Doctor Who and Avatar, and it makes for an interesting mashup of the two series.
It seems series crossover fanons are a common theme in Duke's one-shots, and this time Avatar is crossed over with Adventure Time, another cartoon series. There aren't any Avatar characters in this story this time, and instead, Finn plays the role of the Avatar, and must use his mastery over the four elements (Fire, Ice, Candy, and Slime) to bring balance to their world.
Overall it was an easy to follow story, however, there are two main issues that seemed to hinder the plot. The first was the pacing. Things simply moved way too fast. Battles were over in a couple sentences, and there was very little resolution after each fight, or the main characters even talking to each other or checking they were okay. It can be much harder for readers to invest in a story which has a plot that is too fast to follow clearly.
The other big issue comes from confusing moments in the story or plot holes which made it difficult to follow. Unlike the previous fanon, this time an explanation was given as to why the antagonists were attacking, however, it was very confusing. Even Finn in the story didn't understand yet Jake dismisses it. There were some other minor things, like the fact that Finn and Jake were sent to lead Princess Bubblegum's Banana guards into battle yet we never see these guards, and also the fact that Finn is called the 'master of all four elements' yet doesn't even use them all. I can't recall a single time where he used 'candy', granted it may not have been effective against Fire Elementals, but it still would have made the connection to Avatar a little clearer if he behaved like an Avatar.
The beginning intro mirroring The Last Airbender was a nice touch, and a great way to lead readers into the story and the crossover between the two series. Unfortunately, there was little beyond the intro that really kept the connection clear. The element of 'candy' was never really explained, nor demonstrated (as mentioned above), and in some ways it didn't really feel like these elements were in the place of the others. The ending of the fanon also suffered in this category, particularly because there was little to take away from it. The good guys won in the end, but there was no kind of 'wrapping up' or such of what had happened. Were there any other areas the Fire Kingdom had invaded? What about the possibility of another attack? For this category, making the one-shot a little more complete and well-rounded would help the story feel more organised in terms of having things thought out and flowing clearly.
On the whole, like the other one-shots so far, this was done well. There were a couple typos, incorrect word choices, and a tense confusion in the first few paragraphs, but other than that this was done well.
Writing Style: 5.3
There were a couple of strange word choices this time around, like calling peace 'tedious' or stating that a character threw a fire ball at the 'camera', which is kind of 'breaking the fourth wall', but a lot of the time things were easy to follow and understand. This one-shot did have a little more description of the surroundings which was nice, and perhaps a little more could have helped things feel more fleshed out. Some of the elements like candy or the moves like 'ice-lightning' could have been described a little clearer, especially for readers who do not know what these moves are supposed to look like. The dialogue between Finn and Jake was probably the most pressing issue for this category. A lot of it is exposition, and the whole scene felt like a script rather than a story. Perhaps intermingling bits of new information as narration with what is said would help the moment feel less tedious or dry and be easier to follow, and as mentioned the details of how the war began could have been fleshed out a little more.
Although I haven't personally seen a lot of Adventure Time, I think most people who have at least heard of the show will know that Finn and Jake are quite the characters, and at times in this fanon it really came out. There were moments which highlighted their friendship in an entertaining and believable way, which was really cool. There were other times however where their friendship was a little hard to understand, particularly in the conversation they had about how the war began. Another issue with the main characters was that there was no real development throughout the story. Of the few episodes I have seen, there usually seems to be some kind of 'message' the episode is trying to send, or something Finn realises by the end of an episode. In this story however, there wasn't anything he really took away. Maybe he could have doubted his role as the Avatar? Or something else he could have tried to overcome? Even though Finn and Jake are entertaining characters, if they don't have any real character development they can get in the way of the story, or what you want readers to take away.
The other major deduction for marks in this category though came from the antagonists. Similar to the Pyrodroids in the last fanon, the Fire Kingdom are really a faceless army (not in the literal sense). They feel like a means to an end, a convenient group who are simply there to serve the purpose of getting beaten up. Their characterisation was done better in this fanon to be fair, but it was only really because of their history in the war. The so-called 'Fire Count' died only a few sentences after he was introduced. The problem is that there is no real accomplishment in beating a faceless villain who we know nothing about. Even Ozai, who was nothing more than a silhouette for most of the series, seemed incredibly powerful and threatening to Aang. And this wasn't because he was present in the story as mentioned, but it was because of how he was characterised. We knew what he did to Zuko to give him the scar, Aang had nightmares about him, and so when Aang defeated him we all felt his accomplishment. With the Fire Count haphazardly inserted into the end of the story we don't get the same feeling. Fleshing out the antagonists in this story would not only help the plot related issues and characterisation, but also make your readers have more of an investment in the fanon and feel that accomplishment when Finn wins.
Many of the issues for this category have been covered already, so there's no need to go into too much detail, but some of these included the pacing and characterisation. As mentioned, there isn't that feeling of accomplishment when Finn defeats the Count which makes the whole battle a little lacklustre, and the scene as a whole does move a little too fast to feel complete. Some of the other issues exclusive to this category include the choppiness of the writing. Often the sentences were simply structured like, 'so and so did this. So and so did that' which can be dry and lose an audience's attention, so sometimes mixing it up a bit with narration or dialogue, or what characters' are feeling can add a lot more excitement to a battle. With the exception of a number of vague or misleading verbs many of the movements characters' made were clear, and easy to follow. It would have also been nice to see and have a better grasp of how the candy element worked, since all we have of it is the intro where Princess Bubblegum moves a wall, and in general some of the movements didn't quite reflect how the elements are bended in the Avatar series. But all in all this was one of the better categories for this story.
A lot of these issues here could have been mitigated by the plot and characterisation. The backstory for why the Fire Kingdom were attacking was quite confusing, and therefore didn't make a convincing plot aspect. Also, there seems to be a lack of concern for each other's safety between Finn and Jake; simply checking on each other after each fight would have helped this score a lot. Many of the aspects of this story could be believable, but with further fleshing out and expanding on the plot and characters it would make the one-shot feel more complete, and feel more plausible in terms of believability.
Overall Score: 6.14
Why Read This Fanon?: Both Adventure Time and Avatar are popular cartoon series, and seeing them together in a crossover fanon is something I haven't seen a lot of on this wikia at least, and is rather unique.
Introducing an original character from his other fanon series, Phillip Helene from Polybender Saga, this one-shot features the student's last few days for the year at his university.
Overall this story was easy to follow; Phillip Helene is in his last few days at his university, and decides to hand in his thesis before heading home for the holidays. He also displays some... interesting bending (which will be discussed later) which is presumably what his thesis is about.
While the plot was fairly easy to follow, there were a number of moments which were hard to figure out or understand why they were there. The first scene goes into great detail about Phillip popping a pimple, which is frankly kind of off-putting, without drawing any characterisation or meaning from the whole scene. His professor accidentally dips a ball-point pen into an ink pot and the same feeling is there; these two scenes feel like they have been slapped into the plot without a real purpose. Even the bending scene is like that; though there is a little explanation there isn't any real justification for why what is happening is taking place. It also doesn't make sense that he would want to try out his form of bending two elements in front of his professor's office window yet we are told Philip checked that no one was watching him. And why is it a problem that he be seen doing that? Is polybending (I assume that's what he was doing) a rare or unknown trait? There are missing details that could make this scene and the story make a whole lot more sense. It can be problematic for readers when this happens because it makes a story much harder to follow, and perhaps reworking these moments to convey the message you want to or at least make them flow a little better would help here.
The other issue comes from pacing, especially towards the end. It wasn't a big deduction in this category, but events like the final moments of the story where Philip receives his graduation gear could have been spaced out or elaborated on a little further. Again, it's just a matter of really guiding readers through a story with a clear plot so they can stay interested throughout the story.
This fanon was an improvement in the way it was put together than the previous two fanons, so it was nice to see that. There were issues with the intervals between scenes feeling a little rushed, similar to what was described above, and perhaps fleshing these moments out would help this category as well. The ending to the fanon also caused a deduction here as it didn't fully wrap up the story as well as it could have. It finished with Philip saying, "I am a man now!" which is nice but it was never indicated that manhood was an issue for him in the first place, nor do we get to see a lot of what his thesis actually was that got accepted. If readers knew a little more about what his work meant to him then the ending would carry more weight to it, and perhaps give the desired reaction of us readers rejoicing with him. Because we don't know much about the thesis or Philip's motivations it is harder to be as invested in what happens at the end.
Only a handful of mistakes I can recall seeing. Nicely done!
Writing Style: 6.3
There were moments where the writing became rather repetitive, where some paragraphs began every sentence with 'he did this... he did that...' kind of format, which became a little tiresome. It often pays to change up sentence structures from time to time to keep readers engaged, and in some of the other one-shots reviewed I have seen this, so it would just be a matter of keeping that standard across all your one-shots. There were a couple of word choices which were a little odd and perhaps didn't quite capture the appropriate meaning, like a 'crack' of a pimple would probably be more of a 'pop' or 'burst', and given the dual meaning of the word 'cyclonic' it might not have been the best choice to describe Philip's airbending with, and in this context almost felt similar to calling wind 'windy', and so was a little redundant. But there were some nice descriptions in here of the surrounding campus, which was an improvement from some of the other one-shots as well. Perhaps including a little more of the other settings in the story and what they were like would also add to the story, including where in the Avatar universe this is taking place (if it is).
Philip Helene is the main character in this story, though despite this it was quite difficult to be invested in what happens to him. Some of the reasons why are mentioned above in relation to the pacing, though it could also be using the scenes already in the story to draw some kind of characterisation out of it. For example, why does Philip spend that time in the bathroom popping a pimple? Yes, because they're gross, but maybe he's nervous about meeting his professor to hand in his thesis and wants to look his best? Maybe he spends a great deal of time there going over every facial feature to make sure he looks alright? And why does his professor accidentally dip a ball point pen into a fountain of ink? A simple mistake? Or was he over-worked and sleep-deprived, making several mistakes throughout the week? Yes, some of these examples are probably over-the-top, but the point is that it is a good idea to use moments with characters to show us who they are, not have these things happen without a real reason for telling us.
As also mentioned, it is harder for readers to be as invested in Philip if we don't really know what's at stake. Yes, it's his thesis being accepted, but what does it really mean to him? Why is his work that important to him? If you let readers into your characters' heads it can make readers appreciate their hardships and goals, and ultimately care what happens to them, which is always a good thing for a story. His mannerisms were also rather strange. He constantly calls his mum 'mummy', which makes him sound like a toddler rather than an adult going to university. It would be worth really pinning down just what sort of character he is, and portraying that to readers clearly, and also thinking about why he acts and says the things he does.
The other thing is just to characterise the minor characters a little more, especially in regards to appearance and personality. Dicaeopolis and the rest of Philip's family (who aren't mentioned) have very little physical description, and it is very hard to picture what they're like and what mannerisms they have. Now obviously they don't play a huge role, but nonetheless expanding on their personalities a little more would help give the story a more well-rounded feel to it.
A lot of the word choices used in the action scene or movements have been discussed already, but one other area which incurred a deduction was the moment where Philip tries out a particularly strange form of bending. This moment as a whole was very vague and repetitive; as mentioned, most of the sentences in this story started exactly the same as each other, 'he did this' or 'he did that' sort of format, and this was particularly evident in the bending scene. While the movements and what was going on here were unclear, the other thing affecting the score is why it even happened. Action scenes are cool, but if there's no real reason behind them it can make it seem pointless, and there's no real reason shown as to why Philip would test out a particularly weird bending technique in the middle of a university where many people would see him/potentially get hurt by his bending. Rather than simply throw in a moment of flashy bending into a story, justify why it happens, and even if it is a little unclear readers will be able to resonate with it a whole lot more.
A number of the events in the plot didn't quite flow well, making the story seem a little less believable. Especially moments like the bending scene, there needs to be sufficient justification as to why they're happening so they seem believable and relate to readers. Other than that this was done pretty well in this fanon, with only a couple of other details that seemed a little odd. One other area of note is that it isn't clear at all how this story fits in with the Avatar universe. It seems like these characters are living in a rather advanced time, yet we don't know when or where they are, and for all we know they might be in an entirely different universe, and so elaboration on this part in particular would help the story feel more complete and believable.
Overall Score: 6.41
Why Read This Fanon?: The world of Polybender Saga is a different and unique one, and this fanon provides an introduction to the series and its main characters.
Iroh sure is a wise man, and throughout the series we saw many of his proverbs and reflections that made him such a cool character to watch. In this story, Iroh joins Jinora and another guest and the three contemplate deep philosophical ideas with each other over tea.
The progression of this story flowed much clearer than a couple of the other one-shots reviewed thus far, and so it was nice to see some improvement. Kudos! It was a shorter story but it fulfilled the purpose well, which made a whole lot of difference. However, there was one moment which incurred a large deduction here. Socrates literally appears out of nowhere in a cloud of smoke, offering his wisdom on the philosophical discussion going on, which was incredibly jarring for a number of reasons. There was little mention of the setting, and it is only later on where we begin to realise that this is taking place in the Spirit World, and so it was also unclear whether Socrates simply shared the same name as our real-world counter-part or if he were in fact and this was an AU story. Either way, this moment could be expanded on, or at least justify why a Greek philosopher appears so suddenly in the story.
Apart from the sudden introduction of Socrates as was mentioned already, each moment in the story seemed to flow nicely in a clear manner. The only other area to talk about here was the ending; the joke itself was good, but in some ways the ending seemed to drag by describing all of their laughter in too much depth. The ending itself would be a much cleaner and clearer finish with simply saying that they all laughed rather than go into that much detail about their laughter. But all in all, the ending wrapped things up quite nicely. One final thing would be to watch the replies made in the conversation in that they progress well too, but this will be discussed later on.
This time around there were a couple of grammar mistakes; improper use of commas at times, missing quotation marks, and a couple typos to name a few. The most pressing issue though is the use of figures instead of the written form of a number; what I mean is using '7' instead of 'seven'. In short, numbers '1-100' should be written as 'one to one hundred', though there are a whole heap of other rules which I discussed in a previous review, so if unsure take a look there. It can become rather distracting using figures instead because we often see them in other fields to writing, such as math or chemistry, and using a fully written form for these numbers is a little more familiar to readers.
Writing Style: 6.8
Intermingled throughout the story there were some nice descriptions of the setting, and even though it wasn't explicitly stated for much of the fanon, it was clear that this story was taking place in the Spirit World. Probably the biggest deduction here comes from the dialogue in the story. When delving into philosophy, things can tend to become rather... abstract, for lack of a better word, and at times it was quite difficult to understand the progression of conversation and what each member was actually saying. One other area to look at would be the first few descriptions of the plants and air; although the meaning was carried across clear enough, these descriptions were a little clumsy, and didn't quite gel well with the rest of the story, and given that these were some of the first few sentences read it can have a big impact on the story and how readers gauge with the rest. The conversation itself did have some clever moments, and despite what has been said already the ending joke was actually quite funny, and made for a well-written ending.
Another nice improvement from some of the previous one-shots was that Jinora and Iroh both for the most part, felt like themselves. Jinora came across as eager to learn and wise for her age, and occasionally Iroh's wisdom shone through what he said. With a little more description of how these characters appear sprinkled throughout the story they would feel a little more complete; obviously we know how they look, but when they speak or perform actions or even just listen to one another their expressions and the way the hold themselves will be changing, and including this in your fanon may make them appear a lot clearer. Also, a number of Iroh's lines were rather strange, and although along the right lines it didn't quite reflect the same manner in which he usually speaks; although he does speak in a wise and articulate manner, he's also very down-to-earth at times, and a couple sentences like the one he says to Jinora early on didn't quite fit this side to his personality.
While the issues above were relatively minor, the problem with Socrates incurred the biggest deduction here. We have no idea who is or where he's come from, has no reason to be there and appears out of nowhere (literally), and while there only gets in the way of Iroh's character portrayal as less time is given to him and more to Socrates. To be quite honest, many of the issues already mentioned could have been fixed if Socrates simply wasn't there at all. If he is going to be a part of this fanon then flesh out his character much more. Did he just happen to be walking past when he saw them? Did Iroh invite him earlier to meet Jinora? Is he 'our' Socrates or simply shares the same name? How exactly does he know Iroh? What kind of friendship do they share (this one should be shown more not told)? Also, many of the dialogue issues about being vague or unclear come from Socrates' lines, so also knuckle down on his mannerisms and quirks and figure out exactly how he would act.
For the most part this was done well in this story. Socrates arrival also was a problem in terms of action, and should have been expanded on at least so it wasn't as out-of-the-blue. But one other area which was a little jarring was the second paragraph, where different pronouns were used and it becomes quite confusing. The problem here was that it was a little unclear as to who was doing what, and it took a couple goes reading through to fully grasp what was happening. Other than that, the movements and actions in this fanon were fairly clear and easy to follow.
Many of the issues with Socrates' appearance have already been covered, but some of the other issues exclusive to this category are to do with the mechanics of the Spirit World. It was unclear exactly what state Jinora was in; she could have been in her earthly body and have travelled through a portal, or in spirit form, and this would possibly affect whether Iroh could wake her when he returns. Again, there’s issues with some of the Spirit World mechanics that Socrates describes; there’s no indication that those in the Spirit World can watch the mortal world at will, and perhaps only certain spirits can or certain places where it is possible, and so if that is going to be something novel brought into the story it have to be justified or elaborated on to make it clearer for readers. But with the characters themselves, except for Socrates as mentioned, the story did seem fairly plausible indeed.
Overall Score: 7.34
Why Read This Fanon?: If you’re into philosophy or delving into the more complex ideas of the Avatar world, then this story is for you. It is rather unique on this portal, and is an entertaining read
Overall Score for Part 1: 6.59
Overall Advice: It was nice to see an improvement in many aspects overall while reading through these in the order they were published, though it would be worth going back and fixing some of the earlier stories and fleshing them out. In particular, many of these one-shots tackle storylines and themes that need to be elaborated on, and having some of these one-shots far too short for the story they are trying to tell impacts greatly on reading experience. There are many great ideas within these collection of one-shots, it's more the execution that could be reworked or improved, but the diversity and unique elements in many of these stories is something really neat about them. You've got some really cool ideas in your head! It's just a matter of getting them down onto paper in a clear and well thought-out way.