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!

The Gift

Southern Water Tribe ships

In AvatarIonathan's debut story, The Gift, the Earth Kingdom is at war with itself, and the city of Omashu has requested the help of the Water Tribe. A gifted female waterbender, Tunerk, defies her people's traditions regarding women and war, and goes to help fight. Through this experience, she learns who she is, and the person she is destined to be.

This was an interesting story, and I can can certainly see AvatarIonathan's ideas bubbling onto the page. He has three solid ideas, and has created this story in an attempt to weave them together. Let's see how he does.


Plot = 7.9: I really will elaborate on the plot as I go through the other categories, as it all ties in together. I do want to mention, though, the the author has got some wonderful ideas; the only problem is that I've seen them before. Male-dominant Water Tribe, plus a new Avatar, and a war; these ideas, while perhaps not together, have still been done before. That being said, I do admire the author's attempts at joining those points together, and look forward to see him exploring each one within the story.

Characterisation = 7.1: Only five chapters and a prologue has been released thus far, making it hard to just the characterisation. What I can look at really is how they've been introduced. In sum, all men are superior, women inferior, and they like to announce such social differences very loudly and rudely. These characters are all the same. I don't care about them because I don't know them. They are names on a page because I can't tell them apart by anything other than their title. There was very little description of the main character, and even less of the supporting roles, and the reader is given no indication of their age—something I feel is quite necessary in this story.

Believability = 6.8: Okay, the Chief demanding a girl be arrested for trying to volunteer for a war effort does not sound particularly believable. The theme I got from the story initially was a chauvinistic point of view, cultivated through generations of custom and tradition. However, this attitude shown by the Chief was one more similar to an Orwellian type of oppression. I have no idea how old the characters are, but judging from Tunerk's way of speaking, I would have guessed that she were early-teenager. The follow up of that scene with the line, "Even some of the citizens don't think much of you" confused me because, usually when a group of people witness the oppression of a child (including attacking her when she doesn't even fight back and arresting her) by someone in power, they fight back. Remember that scene in 'V for Vendetta' when a Fingerman shoots and kills a young girl? Yeah, that kind of community solidarity is one I expected to be present in this story, and without it, the entire culture of the Water Tribe seems unfeasible.

Technical writing = 8.1: In the dialogue, I noticed a number of simple grammar errors. These mostly related to using a comma instead of a period, or vice versa, and I also noticed a few missing apostrophes in certain words (using 'your' instead of 'you're', for instance). The big reason for the deduction is simply the way the tenses shift throughout the story. This is, in part, due to the interesting way the action is written. When the tense shifts around from past to present, it distracts the reader from the actual content, and breaks up flow quite a lot. Aside from that, though, there are no major spelling errors, or other technical mistakes. All in all, a solid effort.

Non-technical writing = 6.9: I felt as though more justification was required for certain lines, such as the Chief's remark at the end of the second chapter. There has been very little talk regarding the social status of women, until he suddenly makes a jab at all the women in his tribe. That isn't how a chauvinistic society works (see above). In short, some lines and scenes seemed out of place when put into context.

Another aspect I found to be difficult to understand was how sudden everything seemed. We start the story on a prologue, in which the current Avatar dies, and then jump to the Water Tribe, where they start talking about a 'gathering' and a war. Frankly, there isn't enough padding. There is some description of certain events (usually action, but not always), however there's no filler. Instead of a sandwich, the readers get two pieces of bread and some butter—the bare minimum to call it a sandwich. We want salad and ham and cheese and all the good stuff that isn't strictly speaking necessary, but it turns something that is 'okay' into something that is 'fantastic'.

Finally, in regards to flow. As I mentioned in the above paragraph, this story doesn't have a lot of description. This then tends to lead the way sentences are constructed, and they too mis valuable description. For instance;

"He lets go and I spin around. I jump and the water pushes me up into the air. The water is levitating me. I can see the entire boat. Joy fills up inside of me. I rush around the boat on my whirlpool. The other crew members run from me playfully. I felt so free. It was a feeling I had never felt before."

This segment, taken from chapter five, is difficult to read; not because it's too long or boring, but because the sentences are short and choppy. It becomes very hard for a reader to visualise when entire paragraphs are constructed in this way, and even harder for them to submerse themselves in the story. On that same note, it also becomes difficult for the reader to actually care about the characters—feel something for them—when the characters themselves aren't feeling anything. In short, the story is just lacking description, both the external and internal.

Organisation = 7.1: The organisation, chapter-by-chapter, is rather good. The overarching plot, however, lets this down. I have no idea what this story is about. Is it about the Avatar (whom I believe is the MFC, only we haven't learnt that yet)? Is it about the Water Tribes and their customs? Is it about the war in the Earth Kingdom? Or is it all three? I have no idea who the antagonists are, or the point to many of the actions. When a reader develops this type of confusion, they project it by doubting the author's ability to tell a story. I know this author has a story, however it is hard to see it sometimes. Elaboration would not go amiss.

Total score = 7.11

My advice: Really work on that description. Let the reader see what you see, and try to explain why they're seeing it. I would also like to see less stereotypical behaviour from the men of the Water Tribe. I can see in Chapter 5 that this is already being displayed, however it doesn't hurt to go over and revise past chapters, either.

Why I enjoyed this story: This story was a breath of fresh air, honestly. It was nice coming to a story that was, in essence, a completely Avatar based fanfic. I didn't see any outside elements that might distract me ('Hey, I know that reference!'), and it allowed me to focus completely on what I was reading. Any of the more traditional fanfictioners will really get a kick out of this story, I think.

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