This review was conducted by the Fanon Review Squad and reflects our best judgment of writing and fanon authorship quality. Please don't take offense if the review wasn't positive. We always give advice!
Life in the Fire Nation's Royal Family is comfortable, but it's not a picnic either. Crown-Princess Ma-Tin learns this lesson at sixteen years old when her father dies and she must become Fire Lord. Little 'Tin has a lot to learn and needs help of her cousin, Rishu. Along the journey to learn what it is to be a ruler, she finds love. Unfortunately, this love could never be allowed to grow.
Crown Prince Kuir has had a life of proving himself. He now must learn from a Fire Nation elite about more than fighting and finds more than war. As the tip of the spear in the coming war, Kuir has to weigh his own feelings over the need of his Kingdom.
The Night Spirit of the infamous Spirits mercenaries has been captured by the brutal face of bending oppression. Broken and defeated, she has no hope of escape, yet her tormenter persists in taking everything from her, even her sanity. For all her hatred for him, she can't help but feel something for this brutal man who outmatched her.
Lya is the mother of a great prodigy, but at what cost? Her forgotten journals have been recently found, showing a new leaf in what made the Black Dragon.
The story of life in the Fire Nation, Kuir makes an addition to his on-going fanon series, one of which is focused on the development of the Fire Nation before, during and after the Fifth Nation War. Characters that play key roles are elaborated on and explored at large.
Plot - 6.9: I like the idea of this, but I have to say what I think makes a story great, first and foremost. A good story has to be original and -- more importantly -- gripping and creative. Fates and Vows has a good central idea, but there's not much there that makes me say "Oh wow, I really like this!" I'm enrolled in a class for creative writing right now, and on the first day we discussed how to think up good ideas for novels and stories. My instructor said, "I go by the motto that a writer needs to come up with 21 ideas before deciding on one for sure, let alone beginning to write. Chances are, the first 20 ideas are going to be ones that have already been used, but your 21st idea will be your most original; so, roll with it." All I'm saying here is to make sure your idea for the plot is one that will keep readers interested, and for the majority of the plot thus far, it's pretty much dialogue. I feel like there's openings for creativity, but the doors are blocked. Really focus on making the story one that pulls readers in!
Character Development - 6.8: The issue that I have with the characters is that I don't see a clear drive moving them forward. When they're introduced, I feel like I was meant to know of them beforehand. You have to go in-depth on each character as they're introduced (if they're key aspects of the story), or else I don't even know who they are to begin with. Normally, I would be so harsh on this, but because of the bulky amounts of dialogue, I couldn't see any development. As a writer, go into the minds of the characters, create emotions, memories, anything that opens them up to readers. I remember Ty wrote something in one of his previous reviews, quoting one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, that really stuck with me: "Every character should want something, even if it's just a glass of water." As of now, I'm not seeing what I want to see: the description and writings depicting the characters are severely clouded by the high amount of dialogue. Instead of a long drawn out conversation, show the readers what is going through Ma-Tin's head, even if its implication of body-language.
Organization - 7.8: Like I said earlier, there's a lot of dialogue to this story, and that's not always a bad thing. In terms of organization, the dialogue takes away from the purpose in multiple places. It left me thinking "Wait, what's happening again?" Anytime that occurs, it reflects on the organization of the story as well, due to the fact that unorganized dialogue drabble clouds the meaning that an organized story establishes. Other than that, the main idea of the story was put in an understandable order.
Creativity - 7.3: I think the most appealing aspect of this story is the notion that it's a back-story to a previously written fanon by Kuir. Fans of The Journey of Tala will enjoy this because it shares information withheld in said fanon. Despite that, there's no real definite part of the story that catches me off-guard or sparks new interest in the story line. The Fire Nation is developing and going through trials, I get it, but that alone isn't enough to maintain a story that will pull in readers. I'm a big quote guy, and I like to throw them around where I see fit; for this topic, Robert Frost sums up my point eloquently: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."
Mechanics - 8.5: Overall, things like grammar was sound as well as spelling and the like. The deduction here isn't for mistakes, necessarily, but rather lack of devices such as metaphors, similes, and similar literary techniques. They bring out the best in stories, and they were lacking here, to put it plainly, a comparison here or a literary device there really can increase the flow of the story too, which is lacking as well.
General Writing - 8.7: Similar to the mechanics portion, the writing, in general, was fine as well. The big issue here is the quality of the descriptions that supports action. There's great description on certain parts of most chapters, but a long line of dialogue could be benefited by a descriptive passage regarding reactions, thought process, and such. The reader only knows as much as you care to share with them, so make sure you write with all you have, one-hundred percent of the time. Slacking off and just having extensive conversations breaks the flow of the story and makes it difficult for the reader to follow along.
Style - 8.4: Another area that's hard to judge, and maybe I'm being biased here, but the large deduction comes from the unorganized story flow due to the extensive dialogue that needs to be written out to hold reader interest. I found it to be recurrent in most of the chapters, and I found myself losing track as well. Dialogue is a useful tool for any writer, but you can actually over-use it; this is what I think happened here. Just note what I've told you above, and this issue can be improved.
Captivation - 6.9: I liked the idea of the story, but when reading, I felt that there wasn't much there that held interest. As the author, a responsibility in creating a story is to make it as gripping and enticing as you possibly can. Pull readers in while telling readers the story you want to tell. This fanon isn't very strong in this aspect. I constantly found myself lost and confused after meetings and links between chapters I couldn't follow.
Emotion - 8.0: When dealing with death, I can tell the emotion that is being conveyed, but when dealing with something as complex as death, really delve into the minds of characters and create much more than you think is "okay." Taking it to the next step, I want to feel the tears that are shed, the fathomless pits in their stomachs, the pounding in their heads. Make me feel as if I am experiencing your story as a character, not merely a reader.
Believability - 7.9 This is something I feel that can be improved on both easily and skillfully when time and creativity are infused and put into the writing. Stray away from abstract ideas and unrealistic story inclusions to allow believability to flourish. Make the characters realistic, make mannerisms natural, and create a story with human relation: these are key steps towards believability.
Final Score - 7.72
The back-story is good for readers of The Journey of Tala.
The characters have a ton of room for developmental progress.
The death of a fire lord was an interesting concept.
Advice for the Author
Focus on what I said throughout the review; keep the dialogue in check and keep it creative and original. Do this, and I know this story will go from good to great.