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As Minnichi signs in for another review, a new gloom approaches the fanon portal...called school. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks it's getting way too close >_> In just a few weeks (or perhaps currently for some members), our reviews will suddenly be so difficult to keep up with, and chapter updates will be done in our extremely limited free time. Everything will slow down...but OH WELL. I'm still here and I'll keep trying my best! Today I present my commentary on The Lost Air Temple by Kuzonkid7, an intriguing fanon that explores the lives of Fire Sages and their influence in the world of Avatar.
An ever-changing world keeps the Avatar busy, as the Fire Nation changes power from the sages to the Fire Lord. As the Air Temple's children disappear, the Avatar must stop the kidnappers, even if it kills him.
This fanon was a nice wakeup call for me, in the sense that those minor groups in the world of Avatar aren't always as minor as they seem. The Fire Sages have much more influence over the Fire Nation than we may think, which Kuzonkid clearly shows in this action-packed tale. Royalty is not the only group that contains bending masters - go on and read all about it to see what I mean!
- Plot - 7.0: The story is standard with several creative ideas, but the way they're presented makes the plot a little hard to find. There's a pretty good distinction between protagonists and antagonists, but I believe the idea of there being a "good" group of sages should be made a litte more obvious (because I was under the impression for a while that all of them were in on it). The overall fanon could be better united as a single plot if each event builds up to the next. Right now, things just seem to...happen. This sounds confusing, I know, but the best way I can try to explain it is that the story seems made of one event after another, with little connection inbetween. Each incident could use more elaboration to establish its connection to the next, as well as why each is important. Also, as of now there are more dialogue and action scenes than there are actual events. All of this makes the plot feel much simpler than it is, and I think that all the writing needs in this area is to actually focus on talking about the plot some more. Other than that, it's still a collection of great ideas, no doubt.
- Organization - 5.0: I'm really sorry for having to assign this kind of score here, but I truly believe that organization is one of this fanon's worst enemies. It's the main issue that stops the reader from being able to see all of those wonderful ideas I mentioned above, and improving the clarity could dramatically change the quality more than we can imagine. The scene shifts were the first things that stuck out to me, because they're hardly indicated. Only occasionally would I see a statement such as "Back at the (insert location)..." Even so, scene shift statements should really stick out, either made into italics or replaced with separate divider (some people use "...", "--------", or even a new header). The lack of that bold indicator made events seem to jumble together every time I read a chapter, especially when it came to switching POVs. The other major organizational issue was in the dialogue. Aside from causing a lack of speaker details (which I will soon elaborate on), I often lost track of who was speaking at all. There were lines and lines of quotations without anything outside of them, and this became most confusing whenever multiple new characters were introduced. Finally, the plot became unclear since events didn't flow very naturally together - but like I said earlier, that can be mended easily with a little extra detail on the non-action/non-talking scenes. However, the fanon can still be understood by any reader, and it just took me a little effort personally. It's still definitely worth the read, so I'll slap anyone who gets discouraged by this score!
- Creativity – 8.5: Fire sages revolting and taking over the Fire Nation...hmmm, where have I heard of this in a fanon before? Oh wait, that's right - I haven't. This fanon has presented one of the most creative ideas I've ever seen, and I applaud Kuzonkid for that. The only non-creative part I could mention is the way the antagonists act, which feels a little stereotypical at the moment. Protagonist/antagonist interaction in general seems slightly cliche, but it's not anything major.
- Writing – 6.0 (x3): Again, I have to apologize deeply for this. There's a mix of grammar mistakes, most of which were ignored in my deduction decision...but they occur often enough to slightly hinder the reading experience. One of the most prominent areas of improvement, however, is the inconsistent use of past and present tense in the writing. It seems like a simple issue, but you'd be surprised how choppy everything sounds when the writing doesn't keep a constant tense. It changes the most where action-related statements and dialogue come together. The format often ends up like "...and then Minnichi types this review about a totally cool fanon. She's annoyed because she posted it late - again. 'I'm never on time. I'm a fail reviewer,' she sighed. Then she went into an emo corner. But then she gets hungry." The writing needs to stick with a tense to avoid that confusing effect, and I'd suggest using past tense since much of the action is already so. The other issue I must mention is a general lack of detail. I currently have no idea what each setting looks like, other than what it is (a school, a cave, a temple, etc.) I also usually don't know what time of day anything happens or how long it takes for anything to happen (such as trips, imprisonment, fights, etc.). Furthermore, the way new ideas are presented feels random without enough elaboration, such as the Avatar's dark self and Finosa's purple fire. More time needs to be spent on the details, and I feel like too much of the effort has been placed into dialogue and action scenes instead. I think all the author needs to do is sit back a little and take more time to explain everything; set the scene before having the characters rush in and fight, show us who's speaking when quotations are used, and just make the picture clearer to us in general. The flaws I list here in the writing category basically go hand-in-hand with organization. It's still an interesting fanon though, and don't think I'm suggesting that the writing is difficult to read or something. These are just pointers for the author that would improve the reading experience - the experience itself is already there, and it's still positive.
- Character Development - 3.5 (x2) I don't know how many times I can say sorry...but to the readers, this author is one who tries hard on this fanon, and I do not assign these numbers to discourage any of you from acknowledging that effort. Furthermore, my writing standards are not necessarily the same as yours and should not be used as a factor in your decision to read or not. If I tell you to read it, that means you should READ IT. Ahem. Now about this score, there are very few signs of character development in this fanon. This doesn't affect the fact that they're all great characters, but I just can't say that their personalities have grown or changed much throughout the story so far. Also, their actual personalities aren't elaborated on too much to begin with. My suggestion to the author is just to think about them for a moment - is there anything that you know a certain character would say/do that another wouldn't? If so, then go ahead and put it down - and don't talk about it just in the dialogue. The more details there are about how different they are from one another, the better. Most importantly though, there's almost a complete absence of "conscience" in the characters. Their emotions are listed only occasionally, and I see no elaboration on their philosophy or what motivates them to do anything in general. The characters move, talk, and battle...but we don't really know who they are yet. They still need to be developed into people that have definite personalities, people you can easily identify just from words or attitude without being told their name. From what I've read though, I already know that they're all great characters. Just a some more elaboration would do wonders!
- Action - 7.0: My reviews are getting repetitive in this area... "(Insert element)bending" will not tell the reader what the character is doing, aside from the fact that they happen to be using an element. (It's like saying "She made the goal by playing soccer" instead of talking about what she actually did with her feet...I think that'll become my example statement from now on). Like I always say, an author needs to specify how they're using the element; just look at all the different things they can do in the show! The term is used to describe action very often in this fanon, which makes everything sound very general and kind of unclear. Also, the action has a very biased tone when it comes to describing the antagonists. I see more of the writer's point of view than the character's, in the sense that the reader is directly addressed a little too often during fight scenes (e.g. "you could see that it was impossible...") We are not meant to be a part of the fight, and neither is the author, and it's important to keep the fanon world separate. When making opinionated statements (such as when something's hopeless, too easy, or lame), make sure it applies to the character in focus; make sure it compliments their inner feelings and POV. Overall, the action is presented nicely, to the point of there being a little too much actually. But I still enjoyed reading it nonetheless!
- Believability – 6.7: The deductions here also result from that general lack of elaboration I mentioned earlier. So many unique ideas are presented, but they're just not explained very much. Also, many of the little things seemed hard to grasp. Why was the fortuneteller at the beginning of the story reliable, and why did Gatton take her so seriously? (she sounded like a scammer to me, if anything) The enemy also fell for some common tricks (bathroom excuse) kind of easily, and the smoke-disappearing technique didn't have any details about its origin ot how it's possible. Believability is lacking simply because there seems to be no explanations for the readers to try to believe in the first place, but this isn't too hard to fix. Just start explaining, that's all. But I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Overall Score: 5.92
My advice for Kuzonkid7: Detail is the solution to probably everything I mentioned above. Just take the time to elaborate on all your ideas, why they're possible, why one event is related to the next...yep, detail is your best friend. Grammar improvement will boost the quality as well, so an editor who has a firm grasp of it wouldn't hurt either. Your fanon was worth every second of my time though, so please don't be discouraged by anything I said. I just really want to see these improvements happen, because your ideas are truly great.
Who should read The Lost Air Temple? Action lovers will definitely appreciate this one! Also, the story is very unique, so those looking for something new won't be disappointed. It's a thrilling adventure the whole way through, and I invite all of you to be in on it! Ignore my ranting in the above paragraphs and just read it, seriously.