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Fanon Review: The Legend of Korra: The Prodigy by Waterbending Prodigy

Minnichi November 29, 2012 User blog:Minnichi
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!

I can almost sense those evil eyes coming from the authors in my FRS schedule, now that I've shamelessly updated my fanon in the midst of a huge review delay! But it wasn't on purpose, I swear! I couldn't make progress here because of internet issues, so I utilized the time to write instead! Believe me D': (sobs uncontrollably) ...Nah, I'm level-headed enough for this post. Delays? You just gotta deal with it! >:P (Though my story is true fyi)  ANYHOO, I'll finally move onto my commentary on The Legend of Korra: The Prodigy by Waterbending Prodigy - oh hey, look at the nifty resemblance!  
Korra freezes smoke grenades
As we all know, the Avatar is the master of all four elements, but he or she isn't the only person who brings balance and peace to the world. Before the extinction of the Air Nomads, the world was blessed with four master benders, which each were the rightful leaders of their nation. These Prodigies were supposed to aid the Avatar and to create a certain unity within their nation. After the tyranny of the last known Prodigy Azula, it was clear that the world was unstable and out of balance, and that the Prodigies would be feared and hated, so they went into hiding or they concealed their true nature.

Until the day that Korra visited the Northern Water Tribe on her tour around the globe to introduce herself to the people of the world.

Water. Air. Earth. Fire. 

It's always interesting to read about these spinoffs of the Avatar concept in fanons, because we're all so used to the idea of just one ultimate spiritual bender. Perhaps there are some in the fanon portal who aren't too keen on reading about "second" Avatar-but-not-really people, but truth is these fanons take some of the biggest risks when it comes to new ideas, and I always admire them for that. I'd rather see this kind of originality over canon-parroting fanons any day! (And I mean the fanons that sometimes literally sound like the canon articles...) Anyhow, a wonderful pile of ideas we've got here! Let's take a look. 

The Scores

  • Plot - 8.0: The plot of this story has a very nice and solid plan, which I like. Each of the standard elements can be spotted almost instantly. However, there's a tendency for said elements to stand out a little *too* much, as in they're presented sometimes in almost a list format. Now I'm not saying it literally sounds like a list, but I'm talking about the way the characters can sound like they're telling us the story instead of living in it themselves. They muse out loud about things like who the enemy (antagonist) is, what the real problem they're dealing with is (central conflict of plot), and what their goals to solve it will be (standard timeline of plot). While it's true that every story's characters will talk about these things at some point, I would just advise the author to do it less often and not to make the dialogue so specific. This will preserve the element of surprise for readers, and it makes the characters sound much more natural as well. 
  • Organization - 7.7: I believe that rushing was the biggest issue when it came to organization for this fanon. Things move along extremely, extremely fast, which would be fine if there weren't so many new concepts and characters being introduced. These things take time to sink in for the readers, and extensive elaboration is very important in order to keep the whole thing feeling smooth and natural. The events tend to kind of fast-forward to ambush scenes, which I could see the motivation behind (writing action scenes > rambling about emotions in the fun ranking). But nonetheless, this fanon needs to address its new ideas some more. The rushing affects all the other categories in this review a bit, too, since there was a limited amount of time spent on surrounding details (which seem small but add up to become significant). In the end, though, the straightforward plot kept me away from any confusion while reading, which was a nice plus. 
  • Creativity – 8.3: Like I said earlier, we're looking at a whole new kind of spiritual bender here. There's some resemblence to the Avatar, but the author puts a nice twist on it that makes it unique. However, I believe this idea could go much farther with the amount of potential it has. Right now, the fated 'prodigies' that the plot centers around are too reliant on what we know from the canon story. They conveniently seem to pick up after existing conditions in the show, such as how Toph, Katara, and Azula were the respective prodigies of their nations. That actually makes sense when you think about it, but the way the idea was incorporated seemed a little too similar to the canon, down to the whole drawing-of-the-four-elements-in-the-dirt gesture that mirrored Iroh while he was giving Zuko a spiritual lecture. So I'm just encouraging the author not to hesitate to step out even further! I personally love this idea and think that it would do great without such strong ties to the show. 
  • Writing – 7.5 (x3): I'll briefly go over grammar for a second, since this instance does create a notable impact on readers. First: "I like the Dai Li," Minnichi said. Not "I like the Dai Li." Minnichi said. Putting it shortly, well...this needs to be fixed immediately, if possible. ^^" Commas before said, not periods! If you think about it, commas are used there for a reason. Periods end things. As in they create pauses. Like how this series of sentences seems to be pausing randomly a lot. So when you put one in the quotations, it creates a pretty strange pause on the reader's part as he/she imagines the conversation. So point being, use commas and keep the natural flow going. Anyhow, I'd also advise the author not to use abbreviations like "U" instead of "you," since it's important to keep a sophisticated style that shows off your writing at its best. Now moving onto non-grammatical things, I'll return to my point earlier in that descriptions tend to be simplistic due to the rushing. Details are listed in kind of the same, general way as the plot, and extra elaboration should fix it. Before moving on to the next category, I'll remind the author not to forget about the setting and time of day. But I really do enjoy the quality of writing so far, nonetheless. You could really do wonders if you let us see some more of those beautiful details you've provided! 
  • Character Development - 7.0 (x2): Again, this is probably due to the rushing. A lot of nice inner emotions were described within the characters, but not the kind that really contributes to development. I haven't been able to see deep growth yet, or how the events truly impact the characters. Character development isn't necessarily the 'change' in a person, but really how your plot affects them emotionally. For the major events in this fanon, I'd like to see more elaboration on those kinds of impacts and some more personal reflection. Doing these mundane descriptions will pay off, since any emotion you depict will become real and believable, and your characters will get lots of love from readers. On a last note, it seemed to me like Korra acted somewhat out-of-character at times, sometimes reacting to things woefully instead of bringing on challenges with the firey spirit that I'd expected from her. I also can see that something's starting between her and Mito, so be sure to take extra time to elaborate on that as well. I'm likin' that unique cast of original characters you have, though, and would love to hear more about them soon. 
  • Action - 7.0: I've run out of ideas, so to skip straight to the point this time... "He/she (insert element)bended" = bad. "He/she (insert elaborate body motion), causing (insert fancy epic description of literal element)" = good! The (insert element)bended thing is rather common in the fight scenes here, and I think it's such a shame to be missing out on all the details we could have been provided. Now onto my routinely example of why you should avoid this... "Minnichi used her earthbending on Omashu Rocks since he made a ridiculous poll in the WLS newsletter, and he was knocked out cold." What could "earthbending" mean in this case? For all we know, OR could've been taken out by anything from a landslide to a pebble. Instead, how about we specify... "Upon seeing the ridiculous poll, Minnichi slammed her fists against the ground with such terrifying impact that the earth itself exploded beneath Omashu Rocks and sent him flying across the air, and he was knocked out cold upon hitting his head hard against the wall behind." (Yeah that's right, OR, I'd be the better earthbender) Anyhoo, if you actually understood the point I was making, it's that you have to make sure the readers are on the same track as you. Specifying those visual details is what ensures that they see what you see in your head when you're writing those action scenes. But (ahem) that aside, I also notice that your fight scenes are a little short due to the quick descriptions. More elaboration would do good, as I always say. Still a pleasure to read though, don't worry ;) 
  • Believability – 8.5: The idea of bender Prodigies wasn't too hard to swallow, with the strong ties to the show I mentioned earlier. Nonetheless, it could use more explanation in order to be fully convincing. There were just some things that were left unanswered, as to why Aang would want to see if the world could be ruled without Prodigies, or why the whole concept happened to be so secretive to begin with. If you touch on these things, it'll just be all the better for your wonderful ideas. 

Overall Score: 7.60

My advice for Waterbending Prodigy: More details, that's all. I think this can apply somewhat to all the categories I discussed above, so just take a few moments to slow down and fill us in on them, and you're good to go. 

Who should read The Legend of Korra: The Prodigy? Legend of Korra fans most likely, and anyone who wants to read more Republic City-era stories (I notice they're much smaller in ratio all the A:TLA world/post-war fics). Go for it!    

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