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Test Review: The Lost Air Temple

Kamigati September 13, 2012 User blog:Kamigati
FRSimage This review was conducted by the Fanon Review Squad and reflects our best judgment. Please don't take offense if the review wasn't positive. We always give advice!
Roku bending the four elements
The Lost Air Temple
ThailogAdded by Thailog

Holas, Kamigati here with a test review that hopefully puts me in the FRS! May the ashura watch over me and give the strength to DESTROY......uhh, I mean make the best review I can do! ...Yeah....that's totally it.

Anyways; today I am reviewing The Lost Air Temple by Kuzonkid7, a fanon chock full of sages, rhymes, humor, action, and conspiracy (And don't think I didn't find the Pokemon ones too! Latios? Baizken ---> Blaziken? I'm onto you!). Though marred by grammar and other pitfalls, the story does keep you interested, though mostly by it's (probably) unintentional humor and strangeness.

Now; before I actually give the scores for the review, I should list what I look for in each category. But will I?.....Well yes, of course I will.

Story: Here I look for mainly two things: originality and good storytelling. Now; I love stories that have original looks on the world of Avatar, and I especially love when usually common ideas are spun on their heads (Like Alone technically being an "Avatar's Journey" with an amazing spin, or Energy Saga being an "After The War" fanon with a cool and interesting concept within). However; that doesn't mean that fanons whose ideas are based off of the common "after the war" or "avatar journey" stories or other common fanon ideas will be lowly scored, as long as they are done right. The best example is Guardian. At it's core, the story is a basic "after the war" fanon. Some factions don't like the way the world is after the war, and when they try to change it it's up to the Gaang to stop them. But the Bos used this formula (I say perfected the formula) so well that it has become a classic. However; originality can be a problem if the story is so outrageously different that it feels like something that makes no sense. Of course, there's the obvious bland fanons that don't either (or neither) take a spin off common fanon ideas or just do them so blandly or badly.

Organization: This score comes from how well and cohesive the story is, and that it flows well. This includes a strong main story that keeps both the reader reading and the story itself from becoming boring or all over the place, transitions and/or scene shifts that are clearly visible and make some sort of sense, and that the pacing of the story isn't overly fast or slowed down to a crawl. Also; the important parts of the story must be elaborated on, though how focused the elaboration is or how long depends on the pacing of course (Like revealing a sword that can save the world should be elaborated on, but only as hints at first until the protagonists actually have to find it).

Writing and Grammar: I think this one kind of explains itself. Good grammar, clever and colorful language, and intriguing descriptions all improve the grade greatly. Now; that is not to say that you have to be good as J.R.R. Tolkien in order to get a high score, cause that's near impossible. But it does have to be at least good enough so that the reader won't sigh in boredom and feel that it's more like work to read the fanon then enjoyment.

Character Development: A high score from this category can come by answering these three answers:

Did you create interesting and unique characters, people that we can connect to (whether this connection is positive or negative?

Did you create dynamic characters, that change and learn from their problems?

Is your character NOT a Mary Sue or robot in disguise as a human?

If all three are yes, then you got the high score! But seriously now, this is a very important part of the fanon. You can't have a good plot without characters that make the plot actually happen, it's like having the stories of King Arthur and his knights...without any of the characters doing anything. But even more importantly, these characters have to connect with the audience and make them feel emotionally close. Now this doesn't mean that you have to make every single character someone who the readers adore. In fact, this actually can make the story boring because all the characters start to feel unrealistic. Sometimes; you have to make a character hated, and I mean hated as in despised. In stories where the plot includes one of the characters changing over time, it would make sense to have the character be despicable in the beginning, only to slowly change his ways into a respectable person. Or you could go in reverse and show how a good soul can become corrupted and as dark as night. Either way, characters must have at least some connection with the readers. If they don't; then they simply become plot devices that advance the story, and that is something no one want's to read.

Believability: This is one category that is always hard to grade, because fanons aren't canon and yet you have to believe it. So, I grade this based on reality. Now I know what you're saying, how can you grade this on reality when the series these fanons are based on is basically about some kung-fu jesus who can control rocks, fire, water, and air who is trying to defeat some evil bad guy who can shoot lightning from his fingertips like some pissed off deity? Well it obviously has to make some sense in the world, but also make sense in general. Like if someone made up a fanon based off of a new bending named Fartbending, I think we would all call BS on that. This score is also based on whether characters are believable. Now if there is a 5 year old walking around the fanon spouting facts only Guru Pathik should know, either that child is possessed or you have the most unrealistic character ever made. People must speak and act their age, or at least the way their personality portrays them to be. Like some jerk cannot just suddenly be nice to everyone for no explanation at all, nor should a wise old mentor act like a 10 year old on a sugar high without explanation. Even then, those explanations better be spot on and make sense. Basically; make sure your fanon sounds at least reasonable and could work were it real.

Well finally done with those explanations! Now onto the main show: THE SCORES!

Scores

Story - 8.5: The idea of the story is a very interesting and creative idea. Though I have seen some stories about dark or evil avatars and such, I have never read a story about an uprising in the Fire Nation..at least not like this. Unfortunantly, it does have some holes (mostly due to organizational problems that I will discuss later in this review), and then there was one gaping hole that I could not ignore: where the heck was the Fire Nation Army when this was all taking place? I mean, didn't they see all this occuring? Especially if the Fire Sages were ruling the Nation at the time. This uprising would be over in seconds if the army was doing it's job. Just think about how they would've taken this:

Fire Nation Army Captain: (rushes up to the Army Commander) Sir, I have some bad news!

Fire Nation Commander: What's wrong?

Captain: Some of the sages are revolting! They're planning to conquer the nation!

Commander: (alarmed) What?! How many men do they have?!

Captain: Well, considering those in the temple fighting the good sages...and the rest out in the street.....about 200.

Commander: ......Captain, how many men are in your regiment?

Captain: About 700, more or le-.....

Commander: (gives him a look)

Captain: Right, right, i'll get there as fast as I can.

See what I mean? It's a very big hole in the story. But, besides from that I didn't had any major complaints.

Organization - 7.0: This was hard to grade. The story could've flowed very well, but it was hindered a lot. Half of the time it was writing and grammar (which I will talk about next), and the other half was the pacing of the story. It felt like I was watching a show where someone kept either fast fowarding it or slowing it down to a frame per minute randomly. The first 3-4 paragraphs could've been 3-4 chapters in and of themselves. There was so much you skipped there, it raised a lot of questions that remained unanswered. How did the sages guess Gatton was the next Avatar? How did the parents raise him those two years afterwords? Were his siblings jealous? Why did they have to keep him being the Avatar a secret? Did any slip-ups almost occur? Didn't Gatton bend other elements besides fire by accident? There were tons of questions I had, and most weren't answered. Then, you never hear from Gatton's parents or sibling ever again. His training is skipped as well, and that is bad because apparently something happened during his waterbending sessions that was skipped over. Later when this was called on again, I had no idea what they were talking about untill I realized it was that part of the sentence about how he glanced over some incident in the Northern Water Tribe. That at least should've been elaborated on. After the first chapter or so, things start to become really slow. The basic whole of Book 1 was a period of two days. Two days?! I mean, I can understand a few chapters around that event cause it is important. But a whole book? I can't imagine how many books it must take to write a whole war.

Writing and Grammar - 6.5: My goodness, this was...bad. I don't mean to hurt you feeling kuzon, but this really slowed down the story. Half of the time I had to read sentences twice to know what they meant. Your biggest problem in this category are commas. Almost every sentence either had too many or too little, not to mention many times you used a comma where you should've used a semicolon. Also, there was never a distinction between to, too, and two. It was always to. In addition; many sentences were structured clumsily, and often times it was hard to understand how to read it. Also; many times when your characters were speaking they referred to the wrong person, usually themselves when it was another person they were referring to, though I believe there was one case where it was the reverse. Along with the occasional spelling mistake, this part really smacked you in the face. Thankfully; these problems were much less noticeable in the last three chapters, so i'm hopeful you and your editors are working on these problems.

Character Development - 7.5: This was an....interesting category to grade to say at least. The characters don't really grow much, and their personalities are very sporatic and strange. Most of the adults act like children, and the children act like adults. They even speak in this way, with the children having better vocabularies than most people older than them. Also, many of their skills are bizzare or random. Take Finosa's purple firebending for example. It's said by the evil sage that that type of firebending is rare and is very hard to control. And yet after two tries she's able to bomb the stable with the head assassin inside with the same purple fire. I know she's a prodigy, but even they can't learn that fast. What about Baizken and his sword? Besides the fact that the sword cannot absorb fire (Even if the tooth could, the metal around it wouldn't because it doesn't have the same properties. The whole sword would have to be made out of the tooth in order for that to work), how can a kid who only reads all day possibly use that sword skillfully enough to beat probably dozens of trained assassins. I mean, how lucky can one kid get? Like I said before, most of the older characters act like children, while the youths act like adults. It's quite strange and unrealistic.

And yet, as much as I complain about them, I LOVE these characters. They are freaking hysterical! I know you weren't trying to make them like that kuzon, but they're just really funny. Bard's rhyming, it just keeps me dying! (See, I can do it too :P) Raingeous is planning his speech like a little kid about to give a speech in front of his class, and the other sages are just so clueless you can't help but laugh. The assassins are also great comedians. I don't know why they don't just quit and do stand up comedy. Maybe it's the comedy, or maybe some other charm kuzon has up his sleeve, but I love these characters, even with their huge flaws.

Believability – 7.0: There are alot of plot holes and conveniences in this fanon, with most either under-explained or implausible. I've noted some above, like purple firebending, the sword, the army, and the waterbender incident, but there's lots more. There's the people not really reacting to being taken over, Grandma herself is just...i'm not sure, just doing her own thing I guess? There's lots of others, but they would be redundant. Basically; this fanon has about as many conveniences and plot holes as swiss cheese.

Average Score: 7.2

What kuzon does right: Well the story is interesting on it's own. If there had been no writing problems, or so many plot holes, this would be a very unique take on how the Firelord became ruler. I also really like the comedy, maybe the next fanon kuzon writes could be a comedic one (just a suggestion :P).

Advice for kuzon: Though I have seen much improvement in the latest chapters, there still is work to be done to fix all the problems. I would suggest better pacing, keep everything at the same speed so that you don't miss something that us reders need to read. As for commas, there are two basic rules for them: You use them when you list, and you use them when there's a new idea in the sentence and you have to seperate the two ideas. You use a semicolon when you are using words like however, but, fortunantly, and so on. Basically you use them when you're transitioning or starting and there's a bigger pause than normal.

Like you wouldn't say: However there was a lot of ice and that's why I slipped.

You would say: However....there was a lot of ice and that's why I slipped.

Just replace that pause with a semicolon, and you're good. As for the rest, I just suggest re-reading over your chapter a couple of times. Run it through Microsoft Word Spell and Check if you're not sure, and always have your editors read it. Besides the commas, most of the other grammar mistakes can easily be remedied by re-reading, as well as many of the organizational problems. Also, I can't elaborate enough that you ELABORATE your story. It's a good story, but you can't rush through it, nor can you crawl through it either. Make it fast enough so that we won't get bored of the same old, same old, and don't make it so fast that we can't understand what the heck is going on. There's a good fanon here, it just needs the rough edges polished off in order to make it great.

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