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Fanon Review: Chi-Blocker by A True Fire Ferret

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!

Greetings again to the fanon portal. Minnichi is signing in this lovely Saturday night of wonderful sleep-deprivation and resulting half-vision (my apologies if it oddly affects my tone in this blog post @_@). But I shall not sleep just yet, because I must share the awesomeness of this tale with the rest of the world first. So here’s my commentary on Chi-Blocker by FireFerret.

Equalist attacking

The story focuses on a 15-year-old girl named Akari, who has had her sister kidnapped by Equalists. In order to get closer to the Equalists, Akari disguises herself as a chi-blocker. Akari is also an airbender, simply by the chance that her ancestor happened to be in the right place at the right time.

I had the pleasure of reading this action-packed, intense tale today, and even my lack of sleep didn't do anything to hinder my alertness throughout the chapters. I don't often see fanons that focus on the details of chi-blocking, and it was a pretty intriguing experience...and when I say intriguing experience I actually mean in the sense that it's an intriguing experience that not only I should have, meaning you other readers should probably go see what it's about too, meaning this may actually be a message to command you to read it (cough) andddd...anyhow, onto the numbers!

The Scores

  • Plot - 8.0: The way things are set up is pretty cool, and kudos to the author for being able to fit airbending (that's not from Aang or his family) smoothly into the craziness of Republic City. However, I do feel like the protagonists and antagonists aren't elaborated on quite enough - but it's not just them. It's really hard to find the words to explain this, but I think a decent summary of the plot's shortcomings may be that sometimes...that's just what the story is: a plot. Events do connect to one another and make sense, but they don't seem to build up to something greater. The plot starts feeling more generic when each new event has kind of the same vibe as the last, which makes the overall story appear more dull than it really is; as a plot flows, each new event should feel like a more powerful and deeper extension of the last. Like I said, this is complicated for me to elaborate on...but note that the score is an 8, and that the plot is by no means less than average (it's actually above average, on that same note). I just think the author could dig a little deeper in every chapter, make the the reader really feel the gradual progression of epic intensity...alright, I should stop rambling in this area. Tis a good plot anyway! Moving on!
  • Organization - 9.0: I had no trouble understanding anything while I was reading, and things all flowed together pretty smoothly throughout. My only comment here is maybe some of the scene shifts felt a little unclear, in regards to literal change of location. It's mentioned where things take place of course, but I could just use a little more clarity for setting. Maybe it's just me though.
  • Creativity – 8.0: Surviving airbender stories aren't super rare, and journeys to rescue loved ones from Equalists are kind of common, but the way the author combines those two elements is what makes this story creative. Most of the deduction here comes from the fact that much of the story takes place in Equalist environments, in which things begin to sound very much like the original canon storyline.
  • Writing – 7.5 (x3): A grammar issue I'd suggest fixing for better flow of dialogue is not to capitalize the noun representing the speaker that follows the quotation marks when it's not actually their name (he/she), and to use a comma instead of a period inside the quotation marks when you're about to end in "said." (Basically, the format right now looks something like..."This is bad." He said.) The period creates the need for the capitalization, which just makes reading the dialogue a little more confusing (I'm accustomed to a format like..."Avatar Wiki is awesome," he said. Or "You mean awesome possum," said Minnichi). Most importantly though, I personally feel an awkward pause when I see a period instead of a comma before the words like "said," "laughed," "scoffed," "interrupted," "(any word describing speech)," etc. I usually don't get into specifics about grammar in the writing category, but this in particular hinders the flow of conversation betwen characters, which is something very important for a good reading experience. The other element of ATFF's writing that could be improved on as well branches somewhat from the organization category; the scenery feels kind of vague to me, and it's stated more than it's described. I still don't truly know what the setting looks like at times, especially for things that are quickly mentioned like parks, trolleys, and alleyways. Still, the writing was well done and pretty easy to read overall. There's no reason not to give it a chance over some comma issues.
  • Character Development - 6.5 (x2) It really hurts me to have to deduct from this category, but I truly feel like the protagonists do not develop much. They're great characters with colorful pasts and with so much potential to shine, but their personalities are so rarely elaborated on that it's hard to imagine what kind of people they even are sometimes. The most I might hear is a word about what specific emotion they're feeling when something new happens, but the story focuses so much on what they do physically that we don't really know what goes on mentally. This leads to some serious misconceptions for the reader, such as how Akari appears a tad bit too calm about her sister being kidnapped and almost seems to treat the invasion of the Equalist hideout like another errand in her daily schedule. I know for sure that she doesn't feel that way, but the way she carries herself throughout the day after finding out her sister's gone creates all the wrong implications. It's alright for her to be doing common things while waiting for a right time to strike, and this is why it's so important to keep the reader in touch with her mental state the whole way through. As they say, no one knows what's inside your head except you, regardless of what you're doing. Akari could very well be feeling restless, wanting to vomit, or having the urge to blast the first bending protestor she sees during that whole stroll through the park, and no one would know - it's just not indicated to the reader at all. Her feelings towards her missing sister in general are rarely mentioned after she discovers the kidnapping, and that's something I strongly advise ATFF to improve on. This will apply to her sister as well, who could still use some more personality description even if she doesn't have very long an appearance.
  • Action - 8.5: The action scenes were very straightforward and engaging for the most part, but like I say to many other fanon authors, I would suggest that ATFF rely a little less on using the actual term "(insert element)bending" to describe an action. This always makes things more vague since bending takes on countless different forms. Also, describing an attack based on what it actually looks like would eliminate the need to tell the reader what kind of bending it is (e.g. off the top of my head, an attack using looks alone might be something like uhhh "she whipped her arms gracefully through the air, and the long, snake-like streaks of water slapped the evil wrongdoers backwards and something something, etc"). Describing rather than naming would make fight scenes more vivid in general and less reptitive sounding. So most of the deduction here is just for some clarity issues, but ATFF writes action pretty well nonetheless. I'll look forward to more butt-kicking in later chapters!
  • Believability – 7.8: I know that the two sisters are talented benders, but how fast Akari picked up on her airbending training seemed pretty iffy to me. I know that there are benders who can learn things quickly, but in my opinion that was really quick in her case, considering her circumstances. Everything else is pretty believable, but I could use more backstory on them. We don't really know yet how her sister is so good at bending, either. Things are believable, but the actual explanation isn't there sometimes, so there's a lot of assumption going on for the reader. But no worries! Pretty believable fanon overall.

Overall Score: 7.68

My advice for FireFerret: The best thing you can do right now is to focus on your characters and open up their minds to the reader. I can see them becoming very memorable and legendary characters here in the fanon portal, but you've just gotta show us! Your story is set up wonderfully, and I'll be looking out for what happens next in the whole Equalist mess. Great job, and keep writing!

Who should read Chi-Blocker? Tired of Aang and family hogging all the airbending spotlight? Read this fanon! It's a good chance to see an untraditional air nomad/non-avatar who still kicks butt with the epicness of airbending. The tie-in of Amon and the Equalists will definitely keep you interested as well.

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