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!
Hundreds of years after the time of Avatar Korra, in a future where benders are the outcasts of society, the world has fallen further out of balance than at any previous point in history. It is up to a band of rebels and the Avatar to bring peace to the five nations.
The Last Avatar is a fast-paced, heart-pumping story that combines the traditional world of Avatar with futuristic innovation. The author, ZadocPaet, has a real knack for story-telling that hits you in the gut.
Spelling/Grammar 8.9 - For the most part, the grammar and technical writing was sound. The author writes with confidence and maturity. The reason for deduction here is unexpected typos and misspells of words that the author clearly knows how to spell. Really, it's just a matter of proofreading and revising; however, when the word "Aang" is spelled "Aaang" multiple times, and I spot consistent typos within a chapter, something has to give.
General Writing 9.2 - ZadocPaet's writing is characterized by simplicity. He does not overwhelm the reader with overly verbose word choice. Instead, the writing adequately conveys the story. The fact that I almost immediately fell into the action seamlessly speaks to ZadocPaet's writing getting the job done.
Style 9.0 - The author does everything correctly - a testament to his skill. What separates good writers from great writers is the style, and ZadocPaet certainly has a unique style. In my opinion, the cold simplicity of the writing brings out the tone of the story. The bluntness of descriptions are conducive to the bleakness of the story's situation. Even the short opening prologue made me shiver. This style fades a bit as the story continues, in part because the author tries to introduce plot developments a bit too quickly. I suggest letting your awesome style be the focal point of the story - everything else will follow suit.
Creativity 9.2 - I think the story-telling is creative, while the subject matter has been written about before in some way shape or form. There's not such thing as a completely original idea: let's be honest here. We all derive our ideas from inspirations within the world and in our lives. I see remnants of dystopian novels and sci-fi throughout "The Last Avatar," but it is the way in which ZadocPaet combines the old with the new makes the story creative.
Plot/Organization 7.5 - While the writing is well-done and the story compelling, the plot is rushed. There is simply too much happening at once and within such a short time-span. The best example of this is when the author introduces the Lionraptors Rebellion. When I read this part, I thought "Interesting idea. I like where this is going." I feel like rebels always have heroic story arcs to get attached to (i.e. Jet). I was disappointed when each rebel was introduced extremely quickly - and by that I mean each rebel was mentioned by another character or simply name dropped. The author's job is to leave nothing to speculation and make it as easy as possible for the reader. I found it difficult to grasp which new character was which, whether or not someone was a water bender or fire bender, and if someone was even male or female. It is not the reader's job to create a character map with each branch of relationships splitting from one another to keep track. I highly advise introducing each new character with all of their variations and differences before moving ahead. Also, this problem was compounded by the fact that the story rushes from one place to another. One moment we are in the Avatar's prison, then we flash to the Lionraptors' hideout located in the futuristic equivalent of the Great Divide, and finally, only a few paragraphs later we find ourselves confronting the main villain in Republic City. By jumping from place to place, the story loses its sense of travel and adventure - the element that made Avatar: The Last Airbender so epic. Take time to immerse the reader into the world.
Character Development 7.5 - The character development is hindered by what I talked about regarding plot development and organization. Since the plot progresses too quickly, the characters don't have time to interact and express what makes them unique. I hate to say it, but I never became attached to a single character. None of the characters had enough extended dialogue time to make an impact, and even when they spoke, there wasn't much separation. The characters' reactions to certain situations were unnatural. [SPOILERS] For example, Aang's reaction upon rising from the dead was mundane, pedestrian even. For such a dramatic point in the story - the previous Avatar literally gets shot down amidst escape, and then Avatar Aang splits open the earth and emerges from the lava-filled inner crust of the ground. Imagining this moment, all I could think of was epic music from the Avatar soundtrack and the picture of Aang mastering all four elements during Sozin's Comet. The characters' reactions were rather anti-climactic. They had NO IDEA that Aang would be reincarnated again, not to mention the fact that he is literally the messiah of their dystopian world. In one of the later chapters, the author introduced a romantic subplot between two characters that seemed forced. My advice to ZadocPaet is to write about the characters and let the story unfold instead of building a story and trying to make the characters fit.
Interest Level 8.7 - The prologue is marvelous - perfect. It hooked me right from the get-go. After reading that opening section, I sat back and thought to myself "This is going to be one hell of a story." That attention grabber immediately captured my interest. Uncharacteristically, I began to lose interest as the story progressed. I didn't recognize that same spark in the later chapters, the spark that initially drew me in.
Reaction 8.6 - I have mixed feelings about this section. There were moments when I felt stone-cold, shocked by the awesome plot-twists that the author created. There were times when I saw the greatness in the writing. Many times I felt a deep feeling of admiration because it really is a great story. Other times, I had to put down my iPad and try to make sense of everything. Sometimes I was confused, almost hysterical after reading some of the crazier parts. My reactions were the epitome of polarizing. I suppose The Last Avatar is marked by an element of inconsistency. At times it's legendary - other times it's a head-scratcher.
Believability 7.8 - I have no problem with surprising plot-twists - the crazier the better. On the other hand, if one wants to introduce a major undertaking, it is vital that he or she goes to great lengths to explain this. I had a real problem with a few of the plot points in this story. [SPOILERS] First of all, the basis of the action revolved around the nonbenders wanting to eliminate the Avatar by killing off all the air nomads (again) and then the Avatar - effectively ending the cycle. When Avatar Houyi dies and becomes reincarnated as Avatar Aang, who rises out of a chasm in the ground, I was skeptical. I thought to myself, "There better be a good explanation to this." Unfortunately, the explanation was "Since there are no air nomads left, the Avatar has been reincarnated into the last air nomad Avatar in the state of life when he died." Because of this, we are left with elderly Aang back from the dead. I refuse to accept that explanation as the basis for the rest of the plot.
Total Score = 8.48
4. My Thoughts
The beginning of this story is sublime. It hits you right there in the feelings. If the story continued with the tone from the beginning, it would be among the very best on the fanon portal. I see so much potential here, but it falls short in a few ways - mainly pacing.
[SPOILERS] At one point I thought, "How many Avatars are going to die within the first few chapters?" It's a ruthless world that ZadocPaet creates, and that's very good for a story. The bleaker the situation, the more the characters have room to grow, struggle, and fight their way to freedom.
5. What stands out?
The author's voice stands out the most here. In the first few chapters, the bluntness in describing the way in which Avatar Houyi is captured as an 8 year old and subsequently spends his entire life imprisoned pierced me in the heart. It is cruel, inhuman, and inexplicably horrible. I was completely and utterly shocked. In fact, the narration reminded me vaguely of an episode of 60 Minutes I watched a few months ago. A North Korean man was born a prisoner of war and spent his entire life hidden from the civilized world. The psychological and moral effects of his upbringing were tragically astounding. I felt a similar vibe to the actions of the villains in The Last Avatar.
6. Advice for ZadocPaet
You've got a great talent for writing and a unique style. I urge you to write to your strengths. Study your prologue and apply that type of story-telling to the rest of your story. Maximize your particular talents. I feel like you begin to deteriorate later in the story because you try to stick to a certain plot agenda and add certain points into the story. This starkly contrasts to the beginning in which you write from the heart and with emotion. In any story, the feeling and power has be the primary source - you need to keep sight of that source. If you do this, your story will be that much more compelling. TyNirvana 16:55, March 1, 2014 (UTC)
7. Who should read this?
Anyone who is a fan of the dystopian genre and/or Sci-fi.