Yesterday, after two long months, Flash finally released the conclusion to the exciting two-parter titles Forigve Me, Lord, For I Have Sinned. And, as I promised him, here is a full blog review on both chapters. However, I would also like to use this blog to review three other chapters that were recently released: The Wall, Origins Part 1: The Lady of Death, and Ursa's Story.
Forgive Me, Lord... ~ Well, the two-parter began with your typical Better World introduction: Lee doing something interesting. And boy, is it interesting. We see Lee is regretting the recent murders he has committed. From this, we see that he is not the murderous douchebag that his apprentice seems to be. Instead, he seems to be a lost individual, which makes you almost pity him. This makes Lee, in my opinion, one of the most well-done characters that has come out of BW so far. However, my favoritism actually goes to Slythrin, who seems to have no remorse or kindness under his skin. However, this chapter also reveals the the relationship between the Council of Five and the mysterious group known as "The Dogs". I very much enjoyed their conversation, as Flash was able to actually give them all unique personalities, adding to the dramatic tone the story always has to offer. But what was most shocking was Sokka attempting to commit suicide. Now, at this point, it is almost impossible not to pity Sokka, the once meat-loving, sarcastic guy, who now has gotten to the point where life is meaningless. The chapter was, overall, excellent from start to finish. It definitely kept me dying to read the second part, and boy, was that a surprise.
...For I Have Sinned ~ Let me just start my saying this was, by far, my favorite Better World chapter yet. What made it so amazing to me was not as much the action (which was toned down to a minimum), it was all the surprises and revelations that came with the chapter. Despite that, the action scene with the burning temple was wonderfully crafted, and very easy to visualize, including the description of the bludgeoned monk. Now that was what I call descriptive, an adjective that I'm sure we can all agree completely describes Flash's writing style. The whole "Lee walking through the ruins of Gaipan" sent chills down by spine. It made sure that you knew an attack would be coming. And then we meet The Dogs, the main villains of the series. Instead of being fueled on rage and power like most villains, they believe that murder is holy. And then we find out Slythrin was part of The Dogs, and that he was playing Lee the entire time. I always knew Slythrin was gonna turn out to be evil, so him being a member of The Dogs was one of the only things that didn't totally shock me. Now, the main thing that took me completely off guard was the Council of Five assuming power after the resulting explosion turned Kuei insane. I feel like I should have seen it coming, but alas, I didn't. And in my opinion, it was probably one of the most well crafted surprises of the entire series. Of course, with the way Flash is, we'll definitely have more to come.
These chapters have sealed their positions as my favorite Better World chapters. They were A+ chapters from start to finish. But with Bathe With the Dogs coming out, that may change.
However, I feel inclined to review some other newly released chapters. Now, here's two that really caught my attention with their similarities.
Origins Part 1: The Lady of Death ~ In this flashback chapter of Wanted, we finally learn the complete truth of how Ursa, a loving mother and the Princess of the Fire Nation, became a killer. Twilit always has a few tricks up his sleeve, tricks that never fail to surprise me. First, we learn the truth behind Fire Lord Azulon's death. Ursa did indeed kill him, and she was assisted by Tengu himself. Tengu's presence came as a big surprise to me, but it did make it all the more thrilling to have Ursa accompanied by someone. The Fire Lord's death itself was brutal, yet wonderfully crafted. Azulon writhing in pain did make me feel bad for him, yet it also gave me a hint of satisfaction. I never really cared for the old guy that much, and apparently, neither did Ursa. Her final line before finally murdering Azulon ("For my son!") showed that Ursa wasn't doing this for murder, she was doing this for her son. And her conversation with Des was also very real, and I was more than happy when she bitch-slapped Des. This chapter has made Ursa (Or Lady Sa) by far one of my favorite Wanted characters, only a few surpass her. Overall, I found this chapter to be incredibly entertaining and revealing at the same time.
And then, there's also Guardian's Ursa-centric chapter, which coincidentally came out around the same time the Wanted version came out.
Ursa's Story ~ Now that the Omashu battle has concluded, Bos decides to treat us to more than epic action. He gives us a good ol' reunion chapter, where we finally get to meet Ursa. Like in Wanted, we also learn of her past. The murder of Azulon is revealed in less detail, and gives us room to speculate, but Ursa's backstory following her banishment was clear, concise, and well though out, for sure. We learn that Ursa actually stayed with Toph, at her house. Except Toph didn't know. Her reaction to that was classic Toph. And Zuko finally get to see his mom was great. He's been spending months fighting crazy rebels, so finally meeting his mother is a well-deserved break for him. And now, we get to see how Ursa's character is going to influence the next half of Guardian. Overall, I thought the chapter gave us an excellent break from the main action that has been occuring throughout Book 2.
And, there is something else I realized both chapters had in common: Ursa loving Azula. Though said topic was carried out more in Guardian, Wanted did a great, subtle hint to imply it ("She had meant what she said about killing Ozai, and she didn’t care what was said about her, but the minute Des brought Zuko and Azula into it the line was crossed.") Guardian actually starts up an entire plot about Ursa fearing for Azula's life, and having the desire to see her. Though this may be minor, I did find it interesting how both writers made it clear that Ursa did (or does, since Azula is actually alive in Guardian) love her twisted, psychopath of a daughter. Both chapters were also A+ in every way.
The Wall ~ Avatar has asked me to review the following chapters involving an attack on Omashu, though me, being the pushy person that I am, decided to review the chapter anyway. Overall, I thought it was a very good way to build up to the upcoming battle. We are treated to pure comedic relief with Tia, and we also get to see Mizu (hint: you can tell he's Sokka's grandson). Respecting Avatar's request for me to hold off on reviewing the wall, I'll save the grade for the following chapters. ;)
Well, that's it for this blog. In my next one, I'll be reviewing the Omashu battle chapters of The Phoenix Chronicles, and I'll also try to review some of the other amazing stories on the wiki, like My Own Savior and Child of Destiny.