Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith
The Last Avatar: Review Topic
Posted Aug 12 2012 - 09:15 PM
When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .
I know I am ready to start my voyage.
Posted Nov 14 2012 - 10:01 PM
Posted Dec 15 2012 - 09:02 PM
Nick Silverpen here with your ECC Review:
Now, I’m not a diehard fan of Avatar the Last Airbender, and I haven’t gotten into Legend of Korra yet; I mean I watched the originals, and so this seems like an interesting modern day take on it. From that, let’s start with the plot: an interestingly enough beginning, and the opener is definitely a hook for the reader. I like the modern take, and you still keep that Avatar comic relief in there (“My cabbages!”). The storytelling position, I kind of like it for the fact that it is almost a sideline storyteller- Whereas not a third person narrator, who sees all, and the hero(ine) doesn’t have the pressure of telling the story, it shows some thoughts you wouldn’t see coming from most sides of the story. I’ll cover this more when I get to Jacob’s character. Through setting it up like this, you don’t get a standard story. What I did notice is that your story was pretty deep. For having a twelve and a fifteen year old as the main protagonists of your story, there was so much philosophy around this. It worked well when they were finding their chakra, but wow. At twelve, some of this stuff would be beyond my comprehension. I think that clashed with the realism behind your story; while the story overall wanted to put a modern interpretation on the Avatar tale, it was a bit of a take from reality. As time went on, the philosophy of bending became easier to see a preteen and an early teenager plunging themselves into, as Jacob’s thoughtful asides were occasionally applicable. With the realistic factor coming into play, I saw that it wavered in and out, and ultimately the story ended on that note, as a whole experience Jacob could learn from. In the darkness of the training room it seemed to fit, the combination of mystic and realism, and I could see your characters growing with each scene in there.
Onto Characters: Jenny does seem mature beyond her years, and while Aang was portrayed as the same age, she seems to be his opposite. Whereas he was all about goofing and fun, she wants to act mature, and be strict toward her duty. She was a good enforcer for Jacob. With Jacob in mind- I wasn’t fond of his style of narrating, the constant sarcasm and cynical attitude that he brought to the table. His lack of faith, in thinking that it was all a dream, was a bit of a damper on his character, but he came along in later chapters, particularly as he participated in Wuqing’s meditations. His approach on fear, in his lectures to his friend, seemed pretty rational and were appealing. Being fifteen was one of the best years of my life, and I could identify what he said with I had thought at that age. His development as they accessed their chakra was a scene I felt strongly for. Kudos, to writing a deep story with such innocence in these characters.
Wuqing, I am confused on- he is from the Spirit world, but he can collect scrolls and physically move objects? Maybe this is something that is Avatar canon, but it is just a tad confusing. He seemed like a mature teacher, and very Irohish, if that makes sense coming from my limited viewings of the old show... As far as Tobi goes, she also carries out maturity for her age- star student turned to assistant for another. She is pretty patient and understanding too, making up for Jacob’s occasional lack of faith. But Korra... she kind of seemed bland, a mere Spirit version of Tobi. She didn’t seem to show any unique advice on her part, and seemed a little too kiddish for the threat that was at hand.
And Koh... I felt he was a pretty sophisticated villain here. He was cunning, very intimidating at times, and I myself was scared at times. He was smooth, and very interesting, to see the characters interact with: I found it particularly odd that he was watching Wuqing’s training. It’s good psychology around this villain. My only disappointment was that he did not get more screentime, though he was excellent during the climax. As with Wuqing, you wrote some excellent psychology around this character.
And now for Nick’s Nitpicks, the part of the review where Nick finds some oddities in the writing:
There was not much wrong with this epic in terms of grammar, but I did find some storyline inconsistencies. In chapter seven, this did not seem to make sense:
Wuqing had learned to ignore me by this time. "Water is the element of willpower." Most people do. "Like the ocean, it pushes and pulls." When they get used to me. "You must work with it while maintaining control over it." And realize that half of what I say isn't worth listening to, anyway. "Hit the target."
I understand that outside of the dialogue is Jacob’s sarcasm, but it doesn’t seem to correlate with what Wuqing is saying at all. Actually, it feels like Jacob’s asides here are out of order. You the author might understand this, but to the reader it is slightly confusing.
In Chapter 12, can a past Avatar come back as a ghost? I thought it was all mental, something that only the current Avatar could see.
One thing that I felt during much of the training was that thoughts were omitted in your writing. There seemed to be jumps from sentence, and it seemed a bit disconnected. Might want to go over that and review those passages again.
But that’s basically all I could find; other than the occasional jump, the story was pretty clean and entertaining. A big thing I noticed all throughout your epic- it was a far different style from your flash fiction and other shorts I have read from you. While it was a surprise, it was pretty good to see. You still were able to tell a great tale in the manner of a child, and it played out pretty well. Again, I am reminded why I’m a fan of Nuile: Whatever he may call himself this week. Good writing!
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