Still troopin' my way through them reviews! In less than a week, the crazy Dai Li-girl's gotten to evaluate a second story; in other words, the world must be ending o_o But if this is indeed the end of the world, it's not so bad because I did quite enjoy reading the works of our fanon portal's airbending lurker, . Today we'll finally be seeing my commentary on , the tale of Aang and Tenzin during their younger days together. Pick up a tissue and get ready to embrace all the feels of this story, guys!
- Plot - 8.3: This story has a nice, warm plot with so many moments that want to make you go hug someone because of the feels between Aang and Tenzin. However, I find that the focus on this father-son duo tends to overshadow many elements that would have made the plot more fulfilled. While I understand that there is no true antagonist in a story such as this, there are some major conflicts I sense that could use some more attention aside from the burden of Tenzin having to uphold his father's legacy. Kya and Bumi, no doubt, are probably feeling envious of their brother, which also proves to be a notable conflict even in the canon storyline. Tenzin's family life outside of his time with Aang should not be neglected, as the story focuses on his personal relationships in general. This is the main point that I would advise the author to look into, but overall I like the mood of the plot and its very dramatic vibes.
- Organization - 9.6: Overall a very, very well-organized story that I really can't say much about. However, it's not so much the events that can jump fast every now and then, but the characters' emotional conflicts that seem to resolve a tad too quickly to be natural. It's a minor thing to critique, for sure, but I would be careful of moving on too fast from reactions to major 'news flashes' in the story. I will elaborate on this further in the review, but in general there wasn't anything organizational that was notable enough to disrupt a nice story flow.
- Creativity - 8.0: Filling in Tenzin's entire past with his father is a harder feat than it looks, and Bray has done a wonderful job putting his own touch on this arc of the young airbender's life. However, my deduction here does come from the fact that this story is very much driven by canon plot points and characters. I understand that the story needs to parallel the canon storyline for obvious reasons, but I do believe that there is more the author could've done to improvise. Not that he hasn't done a fine job already, but I would encourage more liberty with creative elements like the personalities and conflicts of the characters outside of Aang and Tenzin.
- Writing – 8.3 (x3): Bray has a very thorough coverage of setting description and beautiful scenery in general. I'm going to say pretty much the same for emotional and abstract descriptions, though there are some points in that regard that I'd like to critique here. Now I'm not one to nitpick at random punctuation patterns or technical organization, but a trend that does actually stick out to the average reader (which is why it's worth mentioning in this case) is a very constant dialogue sentence structure. Try to vary the way you express your characters as they speak; "[insert speech verb], as [insert complimentary physical gesture]" does tend to feel repetitive after a certain extent. Also beware of overused words such as "croaked," which others aside from me can likely recall off the top of their head :P On a more important note, expressing somber emotions can go so much further than the word 'croaked'; try to look at every sad situation as if it has its own identity with its own unique of descriptions, too. Aside from the technical stuff though, I would advise the author to have more variations of moods; the heavyset vibes of responsibility and emotional burdens are becoming a slightly imbalanced majority in this story. Still, Bray has done wonderfully with what he has and I applaud him for his writing quality.
- Character Development - 8.2 (x2): The relationship between Tenzin and Aang is elaborated wonderfully. But even so, I would strongly advise the author to provide a little more development before the emotional scenes. The way they're presented currently makes them feel frequent - slightly unnaturally frequent. I understand that Tenzin could very well have been a different person as a teen, but be sure to have some balance. Also as mentioned in the plot, I feel more need for development from the characters outside the father-son duo. The emotions of Kya, Bumi, Katara, and even Lin require some more attention for them to be complete characters in this story. Their interactions with Tenzin are great but are lacking buildup, the way I see it. Be sure to give other characters the same kind of attention you give the airbenders!
- Action - 8.8 Pretty minor things to pick out here, 'cause Bray sure knows how to write his fight scenes. The first thing that comes to mind for me really is to remind the author that 'action' pertains to more than just the fight in regards to specific description. I notice you elaborate on the motions very well in combat, but not so much for casual moments of bending. The need for these visuals to be clear to readers, however, is present both during combat and casual scenes and thus avoiding the vague "s/he [insert element]bended" description is always important. As for the actual fight, the only thing I'd advise is for you to be a little more specific with physical gestures; element movement is tied very strongly a person's motions, so you might want to dig deeper than, for example, "stamping feet" for the preparation of hurling earth pillars. The foot-stomping can be generic and can be 'viewed' in many different possibilities in the mind's eye if you're not careful. Other than that, well done with the action scenes!
- Believability – 8.5: I can pretty much see all this happening, yep. Nice take on Tenzin's past you've got there! The only questionable thing in my opinion, however, is Aang keeping his Avatar identity a secret from Tenzin. I would imagine that to be a pretty difficult feat for someone who's already famous as the last airbender and ender of the 100-year war. Tenzin no doubt would wonder why he hasn't seen other airbenders, and in addition I'd assume it's difficult not for him to hear rumors and gossip from his peers whenever he travels to Republic City. These circumstances can be pulled off believably, I think, but only with more elaboration and explanation of the 'how' than there is currently.
My advice for ByBray: Try to tone down on the teary moments every now and then or provide more buildup for them to feel natural, and remember to give other characters or important plot points the same kind of love you have for Aang and Tenzin ;)
Who should read Inheritance? I deem you insane if you haven't figured out by now that you should read this immediately, airbender fans.