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!
"Once, a glorious city was built on a Fire Nation island designed to be inhabited by peoples from all four nations. This city, known as Kisah, was to be ruled by whomever the people elected, and a Firebending man named Wang Chao of the Angkara family was placed into power. A power-hungry leader, Wang Chao immediately established a dynasty by appointing his son, Zhang as governor of the Kisah. This act also resulted in Zhang becoming the de facto ruler of the city. On the night of the family's ascendance to power, an Airbending monk named Ohk discovered a newborn child abandoned on the front steps of his monastery."
In The House of Angkara we follow Shen, a curious girl who has been raised in a monastery her entire life. Once she crawls to the other side of the fence, she discovers a world of cruelty and evil. Along the way, she meets new friends, rebels who seek to tear down the Angkara family. As Shen unravels the truth about the Angkara family, she learns the truth about herself.
Spelling/Grammar 8.5 - Omashu Rocks has a strong control of technical writing skills. I saw misuses of "who vs. whom," "us vs. we," "whole vs. hole," and direct objects, but the mistakes are nothing a few proofreads can't solve.
General Writing 9.1 - The author makes use of sentence variation and clauses, and the general writing is quite impressive. In some cases, I noticed linking verbs, which is all fine, but in most cases action verbs do a better job of relaying the message. Substituting action verbs for linking verbs cuts down the "wordiness" of a sentence.
Style 9.4 - Out of the all the writing scores, I was most impressed by the author's style. Style is the hardest aspect of writing to master, but Omashu Rocks does a great job with his descriptions. In the first chapter, he sets the tone beautifully with an artistic portrayal of a thunderous night. The details and word choice place the reader right into the thick of things as Ohk discovers the orphaned Shen on that fateful stormy night.
Creativity 9.0 - As a writer, it is impossible not to draw inspiration from different sources. The House of Angkara is an original story of a girl's discovery of the world and herself. In my opinion, however, the Iluna Rebels too closely resemble the Freedom Fighters. The secret hideout, raiding, and orphaned backgrounds make it hard for me not to think about Jet, Longshot, The Duke, Smellerbee, Pipsqueak, and Sneers. Other than that, this is a very creative story that draws from politics and morality.
Plot/Organization 8.5 - The action and events of the plot are very straightforward and easy to follow. Omashu Rocks knows exactly where his story is going. My problem with the plot is the connections. To me, it seems like each raid or mission is connected sharply with the next. The flow between events isn't explained as much as it should be. For example, the Iluna Rebels plan a mission to rob a corrupt tax collector, but immediately after it seems like they are already attacking more Angkara sentries. There's so much action in this story; sometimes it's best to slow down and make sure the reader can completely understand everything. When I say everything, I mean everything: setting, thoughts of each character, mood. The plot is concrete, but it needs a bit more fleshing out. Please message me if you need me to explain more :)
Character Development 8.1 - The mysterious firebender, Amber, is by far the most complex character in The House of Angkara. Her backstory is very dark and deep. I was infatuated with her demeanor and actions right from the start. The story is told through Shen, an orphaned girl trying to understand a world that was withheld from her. My problem with Shen is that while she is curious and adventurous, those qualities don't justify her leaving the monastery and joining a rebellion that she barely knows about. The story skips from her infancy to a being fifteen year old.There isn't enough evidence or flashback to show how much she hates the monastery or reason why she became so infuriated with Ohk in the first chapter. Building Shen's base is so crucial because the readers experience the story through her. If her character isn't believable, the story becomes that much more unbelievable. The rest of the Iluna Rebels have epic backstories that justify their hatred for the Angkaras, but Shen seems to tag along just for the thrill of being a part of it. She doesn't really pay any attention to life threatening situations at all. I advise adding more interaction between Ohk and Shen during her earlier years to rebuild that base between the two characters.
Interest Level 9.0 - The fast paced plot really kept my attention. There are some intense battle scenes and the action starts right from the get-go.
Reaction 8.3 - I preach it over and over: reaction is the hardest criteria to score. My heart pounded during the revelation of the Iluna Rebels as I watched it alongside Shen. Tenang's backstory ended with a great reveal.[SPOILER ALERT] I read that part, but I didn't really feel a reaction, even though I thought I should've been a bit choked up or teary eyed. I just didn't relate enough to Tenang's character to feel his pain. It's such a horrible event, truly gruesome, but I think it came across as a bit forced.
Believability 8.6 - Omashu Rocks does an excellent job with writing a believable story. He uses examples and explanations to detail the situation of Kisah. I can totally believe the society's hatred of their ruler. Many times, I was impressed with the author's perfect reasoning for the way the story's plot unfolded. The only reason I deduct here is because of the character issue with Shen.
Total Score = 8.72
4. My Thoughts
I am a big fan of Amber's character. She is a mystery, and perhaps what drew me into the story the most. The other members of the Iluna Rebels are unique in their own right. I loved how each had a distinct personality, but they came together for a common cause. They truly are a family.
I think everyone loves this kind of action-packed, fighting, conspiracy, rebellion type story. "One does not simply become bored while reading The House of Angkara!" XD
Well written villains add a whole new dimension to this story. Kriyel, the wife of the de facto ruler of Kisah, is the kind of villain you love to hate. She is cruel and terrible in every way. In a way, she reminds me of Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations except she's far more evil. If she walked into the room right now, I wouldn't hesitate to defenestrate her: outstanding villain OR!
5. What stands out?
The greatest strength of The House of Angkara is the story-telling. Omashu Rocks makes use of all kinds of plot devices and flashbacks to weave together a heart pumping story. With each new turn is a new mystery. The story seems to get more and more serious as time passes. I can feel the action boiling. There is a constant charged atmosphere and anticipation.
6. Advice for Omashu Rocks
Focus on developing Shen. The reader experiences the story just like her, a blank slate to all these dark discoveries: "Tabula Rasa"(a term I learned in AP American History). The reader feels the rush of joining the Iluna Rebels and the warmth of friendship. It's crucial that Shen is a complex character because the readers are complex people. Once again, please contact me and I'll elaborate more on this.
7. Who should read this?
The House of Angkara is an action-packed adventure. Anyone looking for a thrilling story with all kinds of bending, fighting, and rebellion is in for a treat with this one!