Oh hey fanon portal, just signing in for another late review here! But this story is the very first one I ever heard of on Avatar Wiki, as this author was the very first person I spoke to... (Random trivia!) Anyway, I've heard a great deal about Heiress of the Nile by Lady Lostris, and I'm happy to tell you that all of those good rumors are true! It was exciting to finally be able to read this wonderful piece of work - you definitely don't wanna miss it.
When the dark truth about her past is revealed, Lostris is forced to rediscover herself. Meeting friend and foe, trust and betrayal, peace and war, Lostris embarks on a journey towards destiny.
Well - this adminstrator sure knows how to write. That I'll tell ya! Her handling of characters and their various traumas impressed me to no end. Perhaps some of you pay attention to chapter length and are turned off by extreme length, but in all honesty you won't feel it here; it's much too interesting! Now to take a closer look...
- Plot - 9.7: I was pulled into the story from the very start, for sure. Things just seem to come alive instantly, and it's so darn engaging! I hardly have anything to gripe about here, but as a word of caution I'll suggest expanding on the background of the Shrikes (excluding Seraphine) as much as you do the background of the Fire Nation royals. The antagonists just seem to have a little less detail than the protagonists, with only a select few characters with full stories and personalities. Expanding on things like their habitat and culture would make the Shrikes even less cliche than they already are (it's already pretty unique to begin with), and that's really all I have to say here!
- Organization - 9.8: Crystal clear, for the most part! The only thing I would suggest here is a slightly smoother transition into the various flashbacks that the characters experience. You do a pretty good job whenever it's shifting to their own personal memory, but if they're telling the story by mouth, remember not to make the dialogue sound too much like the narration of the fanon. Sometimes I notice a speech drags a little longer than what I'm accustomed to seeing from the character in order for them to finish their story, and naturally I would think they'd use less detail than the narration and simplify it a bit in their dialogue. Overall a very tiny thing for me to be picking at, since LL organizes everything else so wonderfully!
- Creativity – 9.4: The author's combination of ancient Egypt with the Avatar world is one of the most impressive forms of creativity I've ever seen. It's really the individual scenarios that seemed somewhat common, such as an evil politician plotting to take over the throne and such. The author manages to turn all "common" themes into her own thing however, so it's not much of a deduction. There's still a slight one nonetheless just because I think said politician could've been a little less predictable than he was so far. This'll be discussed a little more in detail soon, however.
- Writing – 9.5 (x3): The writing quality of this fanon was just beautiful, really. The author really takes the time to dig into all those sensory details and vividly paint for readers every single scene. In addition, the amount of effort put into emotional descriptions was beyond impressive. Since I have nothing left to comment about but super nitpicky things, however, I'll point out that the use of similes and metaphors in descriptions can be balanced out a bit. They're great methods to utilize when visualizing scenes for readers, but remember that even presentation has to vary at times. There were instances in the fanon where descriptions were listed in one simile after another (i.e. something like "She leapt like an antelope"), and it created the slightest bit of repetition - not in terms of context, but just in sentence structure. So basically, not every visual detail has to be shown to the reader as a comparison to something else. Aside from this, however, I think it would really boost the dialogue if the author included more breaks between the quotations. As I mentioned earlier, the characters can have pretty long chains of speech at times, and it's important to update the reader on the status the listener while the talking's going on. You could elaborate some more on how the listener reacts to certain statements (more than you already have), or include little details about what they're doing in the meantime. No one stays completely still during a speech, after all, and it'd just make things even clearer if you could include those little extra elaborations. Like I said, though...extremely small things I'm getting at here. The writing itself was wonderful, hands down.
- Character Development - 9.5 (x2): This definitely has to be my favorite part about the fanon. Each character had such a unique, well-rounded personality that I felt like they could believably exist in real life. The only, and literally the only thing that I can get at here, is that thing about the antagonists that I poked at earlier. I can understand the antagonists' motivation for what they do, for instance, but the way they act at times comes off as just a bit sterotypical. Naja in particular seems to reflect this the most, because of the way he's described literally as loving everything that's cruel and evil to others. I'm aware that there are people like that, but to lessen the cliche effect I suggest giving a bit of insight into his background, a little something that can explain exactly why he is how he is. The Shrikes, for the most part, were pretty good with development but I'd say do the same for characters like Hahn. Overall though, every character was an amazing one, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them.
- Action - 8.9: Maybe this score looks like the oddball out of the rest, but the author does an awesome job at writing action scenes, really! The issue I have here is just that I believe most of visual details of fight scenes are fine, but it's the action parts that I see more room for improvement in. To clarify, I feel like some needed descriptions of literal motions and body parts involved are somewhat missing. Bending, for example, is described mostly as a series of "fire jabs" and "earth pillars/walls," and I'd like to see more visuals on what we actually see from the show: the complex movements involved, the different shapes and sizes each element takes on as it strikes, and where it lands if it misses. Another thing I'd advise the author to stray away from, however, is the characters' evaluation of each others' skills. I think the action scenes could be played out more realistically if they don't spend too much time making comments about an opponents' prowess, or about how shocked they are when someone doesn't react to an attack as they should. In my opinion, people generally focus on the reason for the fight more than they do the presentation of the fight, so they'd probably discuss said reason more than skills. Like I was saying in the writing section, however, all of this is just me getting at really small details. The author doesn't fail to impress me in this section, either!
- Believability – 9.3: I don't really count the issue of whether or not the Egyptian environment is believable; it's only a matter of which universe you decide to place your fanon in, after all. As I said once before in a review, each fanon is its own universe, no matter how big or small, and what counts is really how well you develop it after choosing it. And well, this author does a pretty good job! She's very knowledgeable about her Egyptian influences and incorporates them well into her writing, and it just seems to flow with the Avatar world naturally. The only reason for deduction here is due to a slight lack of elaboration on character background, namely how they developed such advanced fighting skills. This might be due to the fact that the fanon still hasn't progressed too far in character history yet, but I'm just holding back for now while there's no explanation of those things. The circumstances help the believability, of course, but I'd still like to hear more about the extensive training it took for Seraphine to become as pro as she is, for instance. It's all just a matter of waiting, I think, and I feel like this elaboration will come soon enough.
Overall Score: 9.46
- (Fanfare) That's author number 4 on the 9-ners score list of my reviewing history! And honestly I saw this one coming. I think I'll stop listing it after 5 haha, but nonetheless it's a notable thing to mention. This doesn't happen every day, guys!
My advice for Lady Lostris: Just look into those minor details that I mentioned, especially when it comes to action scenes, and your fanon will flow even better! Not that there's much work to do at the moment, anyhow. This was definitely a pleasure to read!
Who should read Heiress of the Nile? Any fan of Avatar. And fans of good writing, really!