Hi all, Minnichi putting together a test review here. Before I start, here's an overview of my approach:
Writing and Character Development are heavily stressed. In my opinion, writing is by far the most important element of them all. A plot may start off simple and unoriginal, but writing with a carefully planned and sophisticated approach will bring any story far. Character development brings emotions alive, allowing readers to become attached to the protagonists (created or not). Combined, writing and character development therefore become more powerful than originality because we're able to see and feel everything the characters do. We understand them, and no matter how cliche their problems are, we sympathize with them, and we want to see how they handle things; we're interested. (Which is the main goal of any fanon) Likewise, a lack of these two elements can ruin a wonderful and creative plot. The best ideas won't get across if they're delivered badly.
It might be unusual for creativity (and everything else) to come in 3rd for importance, but this has always been my personal belief. Because of it, writing scores are weighed three times while character development is weighed twice. The others will all be counted once.
Review of Avatar: Energy Saga by AvatarRokusGhost
Energy Saga takes place after the end of the television series. It's about Aang fulfilling his duties as Avatar and rebuilding the world which has been devastated by a hundred years of war. In order to help make the world he lives in now more like the one he grew up in, he starts learning energybending, one of the capabilities which the Avatar Spirit has; however very few incarnations of the Avatar have ever used it. Without the instruction of his past lives, he's essentially on his own. However, as he discovers what energybending is capable of, he learns that all of his actions have consequences. The series begins at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but some darker themes become introduced as it goes along and it becomes more PG-13 than the canon show.
I was devoted enough to read all 34 chapters of Energy Saga, even while dealing with many academic demands this week; it's definitely a fanon worth the time. I'll admit that Book 1 tended to drag for me, but the story overall was very nicely laid out. ARG displays thorough knowledge of the canon series, and he beautifully expands its concepts. His powerful and realistic descriptions will keep any reader checking for updates in this wonderfully written story.
- Plot - 9.5: The only flaw I see here is that there're times when ARG tends to give away surprises without intending to; I can see clear effort to create suspense, but more than once I've been able to predict the outcome a little too easily. That being said, though, it's only a very slight issue. This story easily catches (and keeps) the attention of any reader with its rich and well-rounded plot.
- Organization - 9.8: The story is very carefully planned and executed well. We can see that ARG has thought through everything, and that he has a clear idea of what he's doing. He returns to the central idea without overdoing it, and leads us further and further into the heart of the plot while keeping us eager for more.
- Creativity - 9.5: ARG has risen to the challenge of writing an after-war fanon, and I believe he's probably done it better than most other authors. He holds strong to the canon foundation while providing us a new and refreshing twist of its concepts. There's a little room for improvement when describing the antagonists, though. They could use some more unique description, something to make them stand out on their own; there're times they sound a little like stereotypical villains. Again, just a very small flaw.
- Writing - 9.0 (x3): A general summary of the problems here can be collectively called 'naming.' A single term is often used to portray something requiring complex description (eg. "he sent a fireball" can mean many things). This tends to show up in action and emotional scenes. Also, explanations rely a little too heavily on the assumption that readers have thorough knowledge of the concepts in the show. Many times a good explanation is cut short by a simple reason (e.g. "because he's an airbender"). Most of the time the reason is obvious enough for anyone - hardcore fan or not - to understand, but I could still use a little more elaboration overall. Other small issues include repetition and slight grammar mixups. Nonetheless, ARG shows phenomenal improvement as the story progresses, and he's definitely a talented writer.
- Character Development - 8.9 (x2) ARG's several OCs have developed very nicely throughout the plot. However, they tend to sound a little like each other at times. Children and elderlies sometimes use the same sophisticated vocabulary. Don't get me wrong, ARG does a wonderful job of portraying the individual qualities of every character through their dialogue; what they say can easily identify them. It's how they say it than can be similar. There's also a slight lack of physical description. We're provided wonderfully clear images of everyone during their introductions, but it's important to remind us from time to time, especially with OCs. Like always, though, all of these things are minor in ARG's case. We can feel the characters' struggles and really connect to them, which shows that he's done a very fine job of development.
- Action - 9.5: There's plenty of exciting action throughout the story, which ARG plays out beautifully. Again, the naming issue is the only fault I find here, but it's almost nonexistent in the later chapters. Fight scenes are very vivid and engaging, and I always look forward to them in this story.
- Believability - 8.5: A lot of the canon characters don't sound too much like themselves. Most of the times I find them a little meaner than I'd imagine. The later chapters reflect their personalities well, but it's still somewhat off every now and then. The realistic qualities of everything else are fantastic!
Overall Score: 9.16
My advice for AvatarRokusGhost: Look into your descriptions a little further, and you can really bring everything to life more than you already have. Aside from that, just make sure to keep in touch with the canon characters' personalities. You've got a great thing going on here!
Who should read Avatar: Energy Saga? Anyone who's a fan of A:TLA will enjoy this story. The new ideas are so true to the canon that we can enjoy Team Avatar's adventures here as much as we did watching the show.