Please note: This is a review on behalf of an application for the Fanon Review Squad, and all feedback is followed by critique. Take no offense if the review is negative; positive criticism is in accompany. So on that note, I, Bray, present you with my interpretation and evaluation of Heiress of the Nile by Lady Lostris.
Set in a world that bears resemblance to the time of the Ancient Egyptians, Egypt is divided in the four nations, with the great river Nile running through the country and this story. Three months before her coronation as Fire Lord, Princess Lostris finds herself suppressed by Lord Naja, Grand Vizier of the Fire Nation and her legal guardian until she comes to age. With Taita at her side, Lostris is forced to meet him head on if she wants to keep the throne. A clash of political power and the blood-given right to rule will determine the fate of the world.
When the dark truth about her past is revealed, Lostris is forced to rediscover herself. Meeting friend and foe, trust and betrayal, peace and war, Lostris embarks on a journey towards destiny.
Many of you know Lady Lostris to be a very diligent, capable administrator who knows this wiki's ins and outs. But let it be said that she can write, and what a writer she is. Heiress of the Nile is a story that grows on you as you read it. It causes you to know the characters, to understand them, to feel their emotions; it keeps you enticed by the ever-changing description and situations. If at first glance you find the chapters to be lengthy, don't fret: the length is disregardable, as you won't even notice it as you scan the page, craving more.
Plot - 9.7: This story intrigued me from the start, that's for sure. The story sets itself up steadily and takes off smoothly, making for an all ready gripping tale! There's not much to discuss that greatly affected the story, but the one thing that left me slightly puzzled in the beginning were the Shrikes. Further on, they were shown a little more light, so that became much less of an issue. The antagonists seem to be outweighed in terms of development compared to protagonists in early chapters in general, so the deduction I made stemmed from that. Providing a back story, explanations, and general information would help out the balance between the protagonists and the antagonists. Other than those little things, this is one unique story.
Character Development - 9.6: The author has a way with characters; I feel as if each one could be walking among us, showing natural human emotions and processes. Lady Lostris knows exactly who each character is, who they are becoming, and how they are going about getting there. The small subtraction here comes from the antagonist and protagonist balance I spoke of earlier. The Shrikes are developed well starting from the early chapters, yet characters like Naja are still in the dark. I can see why he, or any antagonist for that matter, does something, but what I don't really understand is the motivation behind it all. Naja is a cruel character and loves the evilness in actions, but why? An inspection into his background earlier on in the story would improve this. Later throughout the story though, Naja does becomes more identifiable and understandable. In total, each character was different and interesting to read about; the author doesn't fail to impress here!
Organization - 9.9: I can't say much regarding this, as the content was well plotted and executed, making the story easy to follow and comprehend. If anything, remember to create smooth transitions into flashbacks and back stories. Rarely, it'd jump into something new, and I'd have to take a second to realize what was happening. Besides that, separating those scarce block quote passages would help the flow of the plot too. The minor deduction came from both of those tiny issues. There isn't anything else to say about this really: the author organizes the story wonderfully.
Creativity - 9.3: The idea of the Avatar Universe combined with Egypt is one of the most original, and creative, ideas I've seen. It's not the main idea that holds responsibility for the deduction, but rather the plot scenarios. By that, I mean to say that the whole dark figurehead aiming for the throne bit. The author takes the plain themes and adds her creative twist, which allows for more creativity to flourish, but the base is still there. An antagonist's job is to be unpredictable, and as far as the story goes, most of the moves are fairly predictable. A way to improve this is to think ahead and create plot twists, or go more in-depth on as to why Naja wants the throne, and things of that nature.
Mechanics - 9.3: Lady Lostris has a well-developed use of English, as I spotted very little to no mistakes in terms of spelling and only a few minor instances of grammatical errors (excess commas, punctuation misuse, etc). The only real reason for the deduction here was the usage of words that have similar meaning, but don't exactly apply as they are tried to be. Just for exemplary purposes, one would write, "Will Korra's injury affect her Avatar abilities?" versus, "Will Korra's injury have an effect on her Avatar abilities?" It's just something I noticed, which is why there's a deduction. Nothing really takes away from the story, so all of these said circumstances can be easily edited to be fixed.
General Writing - 9.4: The writing that accompanies a great story such as this certainly lives up to its standards. The author really fleshes out the descriptions and creates works of art in every aspect of the plot. The sheer amount of dedication I could sense permeating through the writing really spoke for itself. My first issue here, albeit being both small, was the occasional overuse or blandness of literary devices in the writing. Sometimes, the repetitive use of similes began to draw away from what was happening. This is something small that could be changed; it would make the flow of the writing more smooth and easier to appreciate. As for the next part of the deduction, and I touched on this earlier, was the block quote passages. In some circumstances, I felt like it was becoming too narrative, taking away from the story. Every person has mannerisms, so an easy way to fix this would be to break the passages with said mannerisms. A sigh, a twitch, a yawn, a glare, anything really. It helps readers stay attentive while still getting the information out of the passage they need. As I said before, they're small issues, but the main aspect is that Lady Lostris creates vivid imagery and life-like realism that is incredibly remarkable. The writing in general was absolutely marvelous.
Style - 8.9: The author creates a world from the very start that both intrigues and captivates me. She writes so that I can envision what I see and feel the emotion that is present. My major area of concern (and my only one for that matter) is that the motives behind certain character's actions aren't there in various parts of the story. The action scenes are another part of this. Rather than having other characters critique each other in battle, bring out the feeling of those participating in the altercation. Get in their minds and flesh out that emotion and thought process. Make the readers feel as if they can see exactly what's happening and sense the characters' pain. The style was wonderful, despite those two drawbacks.
Captivation - 9.2: Lady Lostris has crafted a work of art, in my opinion. It's amazing that she so fluently fuses both Egyptian culture with that of Avatar. Still, my area of concern was that it began to drift. Based off my comments in the sections above, it was the little things like large passages of dialogue, word usage, and lack of antagonist detail that caused me to lose interest here and there. With a little editing, small issues like that can be fixed. All in all, it's one hell of a story: I love everything about it.
Emotion - 9.4: This is one of my favorite aspects about Heiress of the Nile. Using poetic descriptions and vivid imagery, I can literally feel the emotion in the writing. Just for purposes sake, in the first chapter Lostris witnesses the death of Tayla. It was so true and painful that it tugged at my heart. I could feel the sadness twist in my stomach as if a bottomless pit. There weren't a lot of those instances, which is why I made a deduction, but nonetheless, the author really gets behind those emotions and drives full-force.
Believability - 9.0 Due to her character expertise, Lady Lostris makes the story very believable. In regards to characters, each one is life-like and realistic. The location of Egypt is also very believable when matched with that of the Avatar world. The main reason for a deduction here is the unexplained actions I touched on earlier. It made it hard for me to believe why certain events were taking place or why a specific person was acting a certain way. Other than that, this story is easily believable, and I could see it actually occurring.
Final Score - 9.37
The author has a great story brewing and writes the aspects of it very well. It's certainly different in the best kind of way.
The characters, for the most part, are brilliant. They're well-written and realistic; Lady Lostris knows exactly how to handle them.
I love the setting. I mean, Egypt? Hell yes!
Advice for the Author
Lady Lostris is an amazing writer already, so I really don't have much to say here. The only thing I can say is to focus on background explanations and remember the various points I made throughout the review. Use your arsenal of characters to your advantage; get behind that excellent emotion and make it a driving force. Maybe have an editor look more closely at possible small grammar mistakes and word usage, too. This fanon is great regardless, and if the author continues writing, it will go even farther than it has as of now.
Everyone who has the time needs to read this. It's amazing, simply put. There's character development, there's action, there's twists and turns; but most importantly, there's a riveting story behind it all. It's packed full of emotion and realism. Please, do yourself a favor and just check it out.