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FRS - Crossfire, by Omashu Rocks

Fruipit May 23, 2014 User blog:Fruipit

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FRSimage
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!

Crossfire


http://i1367.photobucket.com/albums/r784/Fruipit/Crossfire_zps1e6352d7.png

The only ones safe from me are the ones already dead...

Now that, my dear users, is the tagline for Omashu Rocks' latest fanon, Crossfire. It's an edgy tale of a young woman who only has one goal in life—take back from the Fire Lord what he stole from her. The maturity and complexity of the plot isn't something to be scoffed at, and while still very early in its development, Crossfire is shaping up to be one of the most creative and intriguing fanons on the wiki—and not something I expected from this author. I had expectations. He surpassed them.

Scores


Plot = 9.1: Oh wow. Where do I even start? This is seriously one of the most badass plots I've ever come across (and I read Toph). A powerful girl who is being used by the Fire Lord (who has her sister as leverage), and forces her to be his personal lapdog is pretty awesome. My only concerns are the pacing. It's important to get it right so the readers get the full effect of the story, and on occasion, I feel like the events move too fast, barely giving the readers a chance to breathe and understand what is happening before the next even occurs. Really, though, that's my only criticism.

Characterisation = 8.9: OR has set up his characters to be extremely strong. This doesn't just apply to physical or psychological strength—these characters stand up to scrutiny. They all have different personalities, and this is reflected in their actions and their manner. Hitting the characterisation of other characters in a first-person-story can be difficult, as the author cannot move the reader into someone else's mind. OR does a wonderful job at showing the readers who the other characters are through Nalia. My only concern with their inception is that I can never predict what Jirou is going to do because, as he was introduced as a minor character, sometimes his actions aren't explained in enough detail. He is in the main spotlight, and yet the readers know very little about him and his motives.

The actual development of the characters, however, is lacking slightly. At the moment, the characters have not changed a lot, which is understandable. They are learning, though, and I only say 'slighty' because character development can talk about a lot more than personality. If OR had already had a significant change, it would be too fast and thus unbelievable. However, he hasn't done that. He has introduced the reader to Nalia the Assassin, who will kill without flinching, however he has kept us asking 'how far will she go?'. This is, in this story, a good thing. The ambiguity is not detrimental at all, because even she is unsure of herself. I personally find myself wondering if and when the time will come where she doesn't spare the lives of a farming family.

The story is only in its early days, and thus development of a character's personality will be a bit slow. But, we're already seeing it occur in the character's actions; Nalia's relationship with Jirou is of particular note. From being afraid of him killing her to sleeping with him, and the confusion and fear that comes with both, the reader is watching Nalia grow. My only thoughts would be to develop Jirou a little more. We know his story, but we don't know him. The opposite can be said of Nalia, and her character is far stronger than his.

Believability = 9.5: What really stands out in this section is the believability of the characters (see my notes on them above). This story is created not through events but by actions taken in response to those events. At first glance, there are several moments that seem unbelievable, like Nalia suddenly being able to kill without blinking and the Fire Lord using a 19 year old, untrained firebender to kill for him, however OR has scattered minute justifications for each action throughout his story, making the reader think again as to what seems real and what doesn't. Fantastic job, OR! The thing that brings this category down is the fact that we don't yet understand all the characters, and sometimes their actions don't align; Jirou is working for the Fire Lord because he wants to return to his wife and a position of power in the city of Taku—the wife part is notable because he sleeps with Nalia without a second thought. His justification for killing in the name of the Fire Lord becomes questionable, and the believability suffers.

Technical writing = 8.3: This category, unfortunately, will be the let down. I know that OR can write—I've seen it myself in his other stories—however in his excitement to release chapters, he occasionally forgets to double-check the spelling and grammar. The spelling is not a big deal—there were very few errors in that category—however I noticed several grammar and punctuation errors per chapter. The grammar was usually due to run-on sentences, and can be avoided by reading aloud what you've typed to see how it sounds. The use of semi-colons is helpful when you don't want to use a connecting word (and, or, because, etc.) and dashes are used when there is more information about a specific topic given in the same sentence. Just read over your work carefully and this can be avoided. The punctuation is mostly just a regular omission of needed semi-colons and commas.

Non-technical writing = 8.6: It is hard to judge this category in this story. It's written from a first-person perspective, and thus the writing takes on the voice of the main character. The sentences are blunt and there's very little elaboration, as that's not something that Nalia as a person notices (which is okay. OR is telling this using her voice, and Nalia just isn't one to care about that). However, there is a slight discrepancy in the fact that she is an assassin, and thus should take note of her surroundings. The descriptions fall short sometimes, and the reader has a hard time envisioning what the author wants them to see. This goes for both settings and other people. We know how she feels—one of the best aspects of this story, actually—and Nalia's voice resonates through it completely; however, while OR focuses on the actions of the characters, and how they feel about said actions, the readers are still missing important description—such as Nalia lighting the messenger on fire.

Organisation = 9.2: At the moment, there is one main goal of the story; save Ming. A noble goal, to be sure. In order to achieve said goal, Nalia has to do certain things. It's pretty easy to follow exactly where this story is going. The deduction comes from the occasional confusing moment in a scene. They didn't come often, but when they did it was distracting. It usually happened in the more fast-paced scenes where flow really is important, otherwise the reader can trip up. That being said, it only happened on a few occasions, and the general execution of the action was absolutely marvellous.

Total score = 8.93


My advice: There isn't a great deal of advice I can give here. The characterisation will come as more content is released and their actions begin to have a greater affect on the plot. The best advice I can give is to suggest you read over your chapters carefully—aloud if you have to—and pretend that you have absolutely no idea what is going on, save for what is written on the page. That way, you will see what the reader sees, and be more likely to realise if something—a sentence,a scene, a twitch—is missing.

Why I enjoyed this story: For me, the prologue was one of the best chapters, and really set the bar for the entire story. It does what a good 'pilot' should do; it establishes a baseline for the characters and introduces the story. OR did this spectacularly. Everything about Nalia is justified, and she's probably... well, I could see myself getting into Nalia-inspired fanfic, let's put it that way :P I love how much OR loves this story, and loves Nalia, and I think it's awesome that he could write a female character in such a way. To be perfectly honest, the level of skill and maturity Omashu Rocks has displayed in his writing of this story has, quite simply, baffled me, as I had never thought he could, or would, do something like this. You've proven me wrong, OR. Congratulations :) Anyone who is into something a little different—little edgier—will love this story. Of that, I have no doubt.

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