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FRS Test Review - The Lost Air Temple, by Kuzonkid7

Fruipit September 13, 2012 User blog:Fruipit

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Fruipit here, for her very first (test) review for the Squad! Today, I'm reviewing Kuzonkid7's fanon, The Lost Air Temple. This fanon is an action-packed thriller of murder and intrigue, with conspiracies around every corner. A wonderful story, I recommend everyone read it. It may not be a classic, but it certainly has a charm that other stories lack.

The idea for the story has come from the Unnamed fire Avatar, the avatar before Yangchen. The story features murder, death and destruction, amazing new techniques and some very greedy Fire Sages. I have never read a story focussing entirely on the Guardians of the Temple of the Avatar, and I must say, Kuzonkid gets it right. He understands exactly how power-hungry priests would act, and how the avatar would respond. Overall, I think the plot is wonderful, but the execution is slightly lacking, particularly, I have found, in the action scenes.

There is a lot of action in this story. A lot. This helps the story move along, and makes it more interesting to read. Sometimes, however, the action is executed in such a way that the fight is almost over before I realise it has begun. Some scenes are relatively well developed, but others seem to be a complete mess. "He directly returns the fire at her burning her clothes slightly and gives her a second degree burn on her skin " (chapter 7) is one such example of a poorly executed fight scene. The monotony negatively impacts the believability of the story, but not to a huge degree.

This is a fairly believable fanon. It is entirely possible that the Fire Sages become corrupt with power, and wish to exterminate the Avatar. Being the bad guys, they fail, spectacularly, and the Avatar is able to save the day with his grandkids. That's about as believable as it gets, though. How could the Fire Sages overthrow the Fire Lord? Also, how could they overthrow him if two children can defeat them? Gatton's grandchildren are both prodigies with an amazing knack for firebending and sword-fighting, but these talents have never been spoken about before. I had no idea that dragon teeth could absorb fire. Couldn't the merchant have told Baizken that when he bought it? The "show don't tell"* principle would be very helpful here, as, from what I have gathered, Gatton is the Unnamed fire Avatar. So, he is the Avatar before Yangchen, but Kuzon has implied that the next avatar will be a "dark Avatar". So, that kind of ambiguity really messes with the score. It appears unorganised and out of place.

Overall, organisation is good. The story is well written, and I'm not often confused with the storyline. When I am, it is because there are no distinctive headers or gaps in the early chapters to state that there is a new perspective or scene, however the ambiguity does not ruin the story, it merely slows the momentum, uh… momentarily. When this happens, the characters come to the resuce; the are well created and co-ordinated, and really help the story to move along.

With so many people names, it does become easy to confuse characters with each other, yet Kuzonkid has given the characters such different personalities, one does not remain confused for long. I know exactly who is talking/fighting/(insert verb) without needing a name. What brings this score down from perfect is the lack of any form of character development. The whole first book takes place over two days, so little character development is inevitable, and in this case, excusable. The characters already had strong personalities, and so the two days they are fighting does not negatively impact this score. The only other issue I had was the few characters who have not had a proper introduction or resolution, such as the Fortunteller. What happened to the mouse? Will they be reintroduced again at some point, or were they a deus ex machina, a means to an end? The dialogue appeared to be.

The conversations, on the whole, are fairly well written. Kuzon employs dialogue to continue the story, and while that isn't always the best device, the writing tense makes it very useful (and helpful). But, like I said, it isn't the best device. If Kuzon were to implement the "show don't tell" method, the dialogue, the writing and the story in general would be more effective.

Kuzonkid does a lot right. He adds in great adjectives (what the spirits is a Praetor???), and the present tense writing is different, and rather quirky. I like it. There were, however, several issues I had, particualry with punctuation and his writing style.. The questions without question marks and repetitive use of verbs, such as "said" and "asked" distracted me from the story. I also feel as though his writing could be more eloquent; some sentences are not as smooth as they could be. There is an abundance of comma's that need not be there, and although I said I liked it, I was also confused at the tenses of writing. Most of the time it is written in the present tense, yet other times it is written in past tense, or a jumble of both. The last thing I'm going to mention is spelling. While Kuzonkid does a fantastic job, there are a few misspelled words, and words out of place, such as "led" not "lead" and mixing up the "there's" and "to's".

Action - 7.2/10
Believability - 7.8/10
Dialogue - 7.9/10
Organisation - 9.2/10
Idea - 8.5/10
Writing - 6.3/10
Score = 7.76/10


Positives: This is a great story, with an original idea and characters. It gives a fresh perspective on Fire Sages, and tells the reader that, while not all citizens of the Fire Nation is evil, it is a country where it is easy to give into greed.

What he could improve on: The writing. My advice, spend a little longer working out the wrinkles. Try to find more dialogue verbs, such as shouted, yelled, responded, retorted, snapped, or cried. Adverbs and synonyms would also be beneficial, and try different types of punctuation, like semi-colons, dashs and brackets, not just commas.

Who would enjoy this? Anyone interested in Fire Nation History or the History of the Avatars would find this an interesting story. Also, people who enjoy fast-paced action, and mystery is likely to enjoy this story.

Notes
* Show Don't Tell is a literary device employed by writers. Instead of saying "The Fire Sage ran from the girl with the purple flames. I can't let it touch me, the legend says it is the only fire to burn you from the inside out! he thought." a writer could say "He was wary. Lunging forward, the Fire Sage attempted to strike the young girl in her abdomen whilst still avoiding her strange, purple fire. He managed to push her back, an especially strong stream of fire erupting from his knuckles. She threw a fire ball, and it struck him in his chest. Crumbling to the ground, the Sage was dead before his fire had evaporated. Walking slowly over the still man, the girl quickly covered her eyes at the sight of his body, split open and charred, his heart and lungs as black as one would expect from a traitor. Where the fire had struck, the outside barely singed; only his eyebrows had been burnt off. So, this is the power of the purple fire… She ran from the body, her guilt, unable to push the sight from her mind." See the difference? The second paragraph also gives insight into both characters personality, and leaves a little to the imagination, so the reader isn't inundated with all the information, rather they work it out for themselves at their own pace.

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