Reviews for Distorted Reality
shadowyshadow chapter 1 . 11/14
I have read a lot of atla fanfic. I think the reason I took so long to read this one is that I usually don't enjoy AUs. This has been an exception to that rule. Fantastic story. I look forward to reading the conclusion soon. Thank you for all the hard work and time you have put into this :)
Snowleopardcheetah chapter 64 . 11/2
I've spent weeks working my way through this fic, and all I can say is wow. You've written such an awesome story, building up this alternate world so deeply and balancing more different plot threads than I could ever do. You're great at keeping concepts from the canon and making them your own. I really think this is the best Avatar AU I've ever read.
Dr Sphee chapter 64 . 10/24
I just finished reading this story in it's (current) entirety for the first time. I'm amazed at how well this shifted from a "Zuko and Azula swap with Sokka and Katara" into what it has become now. While there were definitely a few points of the story that don't fit within the original story of ATLA/LoK lore, especially where the spirit world is concerned, as well as a few holes in the story itself, this story still remains as one of the best fan fictions I have ever read, even if that list consists of only a few stories. Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading how this story concludes.
Roth Prime chapter 44 . 10/2
"My brave soldier boy..."

Oh, come on man...
ak rokka chapter 64 . 9/28
for a moment there I thought we lost yue there for a sec I'm glad she survived in this timeline
victor nazare chapter 61 . 9/25
capitulo 61: nossa eu não tenho palavras para descrever o quanto esse capitulo foi incrível, a luta e os diálogos entre xai bau e seus oponentes foi impressionante, fico muito feliz que yue tenha se juntado ao time d mai e os tenha ajudado a escapar da prisão, espero que haru se recupere logo do tempo que passou preso e que todos consigam fugir do polo norte junto com a yue em segurança. no mais, estou curioso sobre como a azula vai se explicar pros outros o porque dela ter atingido a katara com um fim, estou adorando cada capitulo dessa fanfic que pra mim e uma obra prima, espero ansiosamente pelos lançamentos dos próximos capítulos, de seu leitor e admirador do brasil.
Guest chapter 60 . 9/22
muito bom capitulo, ele foi muito impactante e envolvente , de longe foi um dos melhores desta historia incrível. por favor atualize a fanfic o mais rápido possível estarei ansioso por mais desdobramentos dessa saga tao espetacular.
blanababie chapter 13 . 9/1
I thought the young woman at the inn was Ty Lee. lol.
Carrotine Clara chapter 64 . 8/19
Hate it when my religious dad turns into a bird...
CowTrain chapter 64 . 8/12
Two words describe this chapter for me: curious and convoluted.

Curiosity comes from "The Puppetmaster's" subversion of the state of the antagonist Water Tribe and what seems to be the quick resolution of the Northern Assassins' mission. The play on the theme of a "puppetmaster" is littered in the South pole story. Instead of having the Crab-Spider Tribe with Hama and Katara (a name appropriate for those pulling strings) being an unexpected adversary impeding the Southern Invaders' mission, like water, they surprisingly change sides and join the Southern Invaders, albeit out of political necessity. With Katara critically injured and lacking any miracle cure for her injuries, she joins forces with the invaders to accomplish her mission of ending Hakoda, enacting a coup d'etat, and uniting the Water Tribes. In this state, as Rocket had mentioned, Katara is in a state of despair and mental deterioration, similar to when OG Azula's fall from grace during and after the OG ATLA finale. Putting Katara's character further into the her abyss at this stage of the story, in addition to her not recognizing OG Katara as OG Katara, suggests possible redemption or an upturn for her character, something big to look forward to in the finale

Yet Hama also has her own motivations for switching sides: Controlling Katara for her own political power as the ultimate puppetmaster. With bloodbending, a power that goes against waterbending's philosophy by being a power of force and strength, being the big element of this storyline, especially in the three-way battle for dominance between Katara (who impressively bloodbends her legs while while fighting the other two), Kanna, and Hama, the theme of manipulating others for one's political power and recognizing such threads of control restricting one's freedom and thus gaining control over one's destiny in general resonates throughout this chapter.

I was surprised that the Northern Assassins had already defeated Arnook and the Nightseer. I get that the North Pole affairs are low on the priorities of things to resolve in this work, but I was surprised that it wasn't important enough to make the finale. Does that mean the entire gang of Aang's allies are going to get together for something bigger, a final battle for the existence of the multiverses? That we will see.

Speaking of spiritual entities, as you mentioned in your reddit post, I really like the idea of Seiryu and Suza with their respective celestial bodies being a part of a set of four celestial being spirits, one for each element, each respectively inspired by the Four Gods of East Asian Mythology. That was a nice touch for this work's worldbuilding.

Convolution comes from the story not feeling like the true pre-finale chapter in the South and having a large murky spiritual battle up in the North. The Southern Invaders make their way towards Aniak'to via the Howling Canyon, yet the action of this story is focused on Katara and her personal mission and struggle, thus pulling the focus away from what is to come in the finale. In the North, what exactly happened was rather difficult to understand. It seems that with the help of the Ocean and Moon spirits as well as the Great Iceberg Spirit Noona, the Northern Assassins make their way to Aurora Gompa. There, the Nightseer appears, Arnook shows his power as the main acolyte of the Nightseer, the High Spears become infused with spiritual primal power, and Mai is taken to a dark realm. There she sees false images of people, both those already dead and those still alive, telling her to give up and die. When Mai refuses, the Ocean spirit seems to give her the power of fire spirit purification. Back in the real world, Haru, who seemed to be taken by the Nightseer's power, somehow self-purifies himself with earth spiritbending. Yue transforms into the embodiment of the Nightseer. Mai purifies Yue of the Nightseer, which kills both Yue and Arnook. OG Yue somehow appears, most likely as an embodiment of the Moon spirit, and returns DR Yue's life, thus seeming to have ended the North's Nightseer crisis. Not only was there a lot that seems to have happened, much of it involving spiritwise, this story seems all over the place with the exact focus being obscured by the disconnect between action and story arcs and the amount of deus ex machinas seeming to appear out of nowhere. While the North seems to have all their issues resolved, the manner in which it ended, both Mai's character arc and the Nightseer crisis, was rather messy.

Overall though, I appreciate that this episode was not a filler Ember Island chapter. I believe that this story has already had enough dialogue and slow moments like "Night of One Hundred Revelries" to constitute the role of filler episodes However, this chapter did not make the story feel like it is on the brink of beginning the finale. It feels like another chapter in the regular progression of the story rather than the rising action towards the climax and conclusion. Nevertheless, as the final "regular" chapter, I did not mind the length of this story, for the political intrigue and spiritual showdown of this chapter needed it. Hope these comments help, and I'm looking forward to the finale!
NuclearMex chapter 64 . 8/11
What an amazing chapter. The end is near and I cannot wait to see how it ends. I will admit that I wanted to see more regarding the night spirit as well as similar lore, however, this story has progressed amazingly. Perhaps it is time for me to read it again from the beginning and marvel at how far it has gone. I did like the Legend of Korra reference regarding Yakone, though I thought he was not a bloodbender in this world. I may have remembered incorrectly. As always, take your time, I hope someone makes a fan animation or game out of this some day. Take care.
Rocket Axxonu chapter 64 . 8/11
HAMA NO

Oh man. Oh man oh man oh MAN, I have SO MANY thoughts and I have no idea what I want to say first, so I’m mostly going to hurl them at you all at once:

Bloodbending (opening): Well, you probably knew I was going to be all in for a in-depth discussion on the theory and philosophy surrounding bloodbending, and it completely makes sense that this is something Aang needs to learn and be thinking about, as otherwise he could potentially be rendered helpless against Hakoda. However, what I loved most about this was that it not only draws attention to it as foreshadowing for later, but brings out some new interesting points about bloodbending that aren’t brought out in the show, yet feel like such realistic considerations. It’s always been implied that bloodbending takes a lot of precision and control to use, but there’s such a thematic elegance in the notion that one needs to exercise control to avoid catastrophically harming the person they are controlling. And the idea that most often bloodbending wouldn’t be used for killing because it takes a lot more bending power and effort and is much less efficient than other methods makes so much sense—it serves as a warning to Aang to be careful of his own power, yet it feels like there could be an additional implication Kanna doesn’t say, that one might choose bloodbending as a method to kill primarily out of cruelty.

Also I just loved Kanna’s description of bloodbending, in it being fundamentally opposed to the normal philosophy of waterbending. On a surface level, bloodbending would seem to fit perfectly, as it is literally using an opponent’s strength against them, but in fact it requires raw force of bending and will to overpower an opponent. (Also just love how this kind of dovetails with what we know of Katara as well, in spite of her manipulations ultimately much of what she tries to accomplish, when the well of cleverness runs dry, she resorts to brute force.) AH I love it.

Spirits/Noota/Mai-team: I have to admit, I loved this as a transition scene for everything that was going to happen, even though they’re stranded there’s a sense now that they have spirits on their side taking care of them, from Haru’s recovery to the mysterious fish and driftwood they need to keep alive. Also given how dark and emotionally heavy this chapter is I found Noota a nice fun spot to break up the tension. (I thought he sounded from his description and dialogue like a canon spirit, and I kept trying to look him up but I couldn’t find him? For some reason I had the impression he came from Yangchen [going to read it before long, still holding back for the moment lol], but now I can’t remember why I thought that, lol. In any case, he sounds like he would fit just perfectly into the pantheon of canon spirits with their colorful personalities, and I loved that.)

Also I loved the dialogue from Yue, hoping that her father was being influenced by dark spirits rather than acting of his own volition, and her clear desire that no harm come to him. Given what Mai’s objective has been all along, it sets up the team for conflict when the fighting starts, I loved seeing those two opposing goals juxtaposed that way.

HAMA-TEAM AVATAR TEAM UP: Okay, this is the part where I had to stop myself screaming a little. Considering where this story started and where it’s been going, the last thing I would have expected was to ever see Hama along with Katara join forces with the Avatar, and it’s an unexpectedly wonderful twist. Hama’s reasoning seems entirely sound, of course if it seemed that the Avatar would win she would want to get in on it and preserve her clan and status if she can, plus Katara certainly has no allies among Hakoda’s forces. Yet there’s also a sense that she may be scheming something even now, or else might turn on them in a moment if she sees the greater advantage there—but Hama’s threats ensure the Avatar team doesn’t have much choice but to go along and hope for the best. It’s all the backstabbing politics of the fractured clans of the distorted Southern Water Tribe, and I just love it.
(And whatever anyone says, Hama will always most definitely be a player in the game to me)

Oh, and I forgot, I’d been looking forward to finally meeting Hama’s ‘halfwit sons,’ Hama of course never had a family in canon so it’s so great to see her have one here. (I kind of love how they’re basically just her enforcers who do her bidding, naturally Hama would be in charge.)

Katara: Somehow I didn’t expect to see Katara so soon (even though it’s been, like, three enormous chapters and weeks in between since then), but it was just so fascinating to see her dealing with the aftermath of the events of the Blood Moon. She’s bitter and more emotionally unstable than we’ve ever seen her, and it makes sense—Katara has spent her entire life trying to prove herself to be as powerful or more powerful than those around her, trying to keep people from looking down on her, and in having lost that fighting power she seems to have lost her sense of identity, her sense of purpose and worth, but instead of reaching out to others for support, much like canon Azula she spirals down into a state of paranoia and blaming everyone but herself. She hates people looking down on her, yet what makes it sad to see her this way is more her reaction than her physical impairment, and she can’t see it. Rather than reach out to others or take her canon self’s advice, she doubles down on reclaiming her power back as her only means of reasserting herself and escaping her helplessness, and its both terrifying and sad and doesn’t bode well for anyone going into the final chapters. Ah! Just so much happening here, it’s complex and painful, and I just can’t wait to see where things go in the finale.

Hama/Katara relationship (yes this is getting its own separate section): This is something I’ve been curious about for the longest time, from as far back as before the end of the hiatus—the nature of Katara’s student/mentor relationship with Hama. How much actual affection might have been there on either side, what Hama’s goals were, what Katara’s attitude was—here we finally see more of the full picture at last. On Katara’s side, it feels like she has always been using Hama to further her own power, though seems not to have ever fully trusted her, even back before. Hama, meanwhile, seems to have latched onto Katara as a means to achieve influence and power over the entire Tribe where otherwise she wouldn’t. It’s always been an alliance based in mutual convenience and benefit, and so with Katara feeling physically powerless, it feels like, without power to maintain some level of superiority and dominance in the training relationship, Katara feels disrespected and just can’t stand it. On Hama’s side, once she realizes she has lost influence and control over Katara, she seems to have no more use for her either.

Ah! I have to admit a part of my heart always wanted Hama and Katara to somehow care about each other in some small way, but the fact is that Katara abandoned her training with Kanna in pursuit of power, and realistically sharing a desire for greater power may inherently preclude forming a real attachment, because those goals will ultimately eventually clash, as one tries to gain power over the other. And perhaps, going back to what Sokka said about those who lose themselves to bloodbending, maybe there’s something about the process of accustoming oneself to using such a power on others without hesitation or guilt it’s necessary to abandon most common senses of empathy first. I love how, in a way, Katara seems to recognize this in the end, as she realizes she can only be an effective leader in times of war, recognizing Sokka and his kindness and willingness to forgive as the better leadership qualities in times of peace.

Mai: We have been building toward something with Mai for a long time, and here I loved how it was only in death that she was able to recognize what was really important—that revenge was empty, and all along it was her friends and people around her that she cared about, and wished she had focused more on. Her friends put voice to all her deepest fears and guilt and insecurities, the scene is so dark and heavy and surreal—I had the same reaction as Mai when they started talking about how her family had been slaughtered, I was horrified and confused and trying to remember if this was something we were supposed to know had happened, and given that she’s talking to her warriors who we already knew had died, at first we’re led into believing it might actually be true. I was glad to see Mai survive in the end, and through such an interesting reversal—we’ve come to see Mai as counterpart to Suki, yet here her storyline parallels Yue’s instead, being saved by spirits, and granted a new spiritual power. It will be so interesting to see what role all this might play in the finale.

Yue: Yue’s character arc here has been so fascinating to watch, starting out as simply Katara’s friend who does her bidding without question, believing strongly in loyalty and duty to the tribe, yet ironically seeming to hate violence, then getting to know friends of the Avatar and having her eyes opened to what the Water Nation has done, and in spite of her disposition to timidity we see her show the ultimate bravery, choosing to face the enemy even knowing she might well be lost in the battle. Again I love that strange unexpected contrast/parallel to Mai, she, like Mai, attempts to strike down Arnook when she realizes he is not acting under influence of a spirit, but her motivations are completely different. I was glad she was able to survive in the end (even if I will miss the black streaks in her hair), the moment when the Nightseer declares she revokes the life she gave was so chilling, but it was so great to come full circle and see Yue saved by the spirit power of her canon self.

Side note about Arnook: I’ve been loving the way the distorted Arnook comes to life visually, from the black feathers to the ceremonial staff he carries, but I was surprised to find how much I liked his portrayal as a person and ruler in these final scenes for him. In a way, he makes for the ultimate contrast to Hakoda—Hakoda tore his family apart in order to gain power, using his own wife as a scapegoat and sending her away, where Arnook seeks power because he wants to restore his family, and be reunited with his wife. At the beginning of this story the idea of the Northern Tribe seemed nebulous and far away, and we might have imagined Arnook as simply a lesser version of Hakoda—instead he is not only distinct but perhaps a direct contrast, and I love that irony.

Hama/Kanna/Katara fight: What can I say, it was a three-way bloodbending fight, among three master bloodbenders. It was destined to be epic. (Katara using force of will to fight in spite of her injuries was just awesome, you can just feel the depth of her anger and emotional turmoil.) On Hama and Kanna’s side, you get a sense for their very different attitudes toward Katara, Hama turns on her and attacks her when she realizes Katara is no longer useful to be what she hoped she would be for her, while Kanna sides against Hama to save Katara, even though Katara has rejected every attempt to reason with her or make her understand the truth about her mother. While comparing Katara and Kanna, even though Kanna killed her husband in the past, here she is the one to initiate mercy in sparing Hama, even though Hama is the one who stole her granddaughter away from her, poisoning her very character and soul, while Katara doubles down on her harsh judgement. Sparing her life, yet condemning her to no longer be remembered. They are all connected and similar in various ways, yet also draw striking contrasts. There’s such a powerful and painful irony in the fact that, between Kanna and Hama, who were both ideologically trying to win Katara over, in banishing Hama she seems to have chosen Kanna, yet the cold and ruthless way she does it still feels like Hama’s way of doing things.

.

So, I can’t lie, from the moment I started reading this chapter one of the biggest questions on my mind (as probably on most people’s minds) was, ‘Is Hama going to die?’ And soon after that, ‘Is Katara going to be the one to do it?’ I still haven’t decided whether the ending feels like a kinder one given that Hama does survive, or worse, given what Taboo-breakers suffer—to be shunned, intentionally forgotten, it’s a fate that just seems so cruel, especially in the Tribes where community and family is so important. This feels like the last we will probably see of Hama this story, but of course you know I will always be on the lookout for clues as to Hama’s continued behind-the-scene influence. (It was truly a horrible way to end things for Hama, but by now you may have guessed how much I love horrible things.)

Just amazing chapter, so many twists and turns. I love how Katara’s injury from the Blood Moon came back to add so much to her internal struggle, and we also seem to be seeing the resolution to Mai’s arc, where her own death finally shows her how meaningless revenge is in comparison to those she cares about. Thanks so much as always for sharing this incredible work, can’t wait for the finale to see how it all unfolds—this story has been such an amazing journey and it’s so hard to believe we’re nearly at an end. Thanks so much again!

(Oh, I hate to leave off on a downer, but unfortunately I also feel compelled to offer a critique this chapter. I felt the chapter was a bit shorter than it could have been, but you probably already knew that.) In any case, you know I also would have totally been down with a Hama retelling of the series with puppets putting on a show for the troops, because let’s face it, Hama would make a master entertainer in any universe.
zigzagdoublezee chapter 64 . 8/10
1.
I saw the reference to that "Bear" joke from the canon series.
Only this time, it's a Goose.

2.
I remember Hama mentioning her "halfwit sons" back in Sorrows Of The Moonlit Mother.
Judging by how you described them here, she's spot on.

3.
The part about the Nightseer was rather confusing.
I think it's a battle within the minds as the characters (especially Mai) have to face their innermost demons.
But Arnook didn't make it in the end, apparently.

4.
Hooray!
Yue lives!

5.
Poor Katara.
Her state right now is like a darker version of Korra's in early Book 4.
Eragon135790 chapter 5 . 8/9
For the summary saying Aang is bitter and cynical, he is way too 'nice', or rather caring? can't find that right word, but you get what I mean.
Eragon135790 chapter 3 . 8/9
But why would he need to learn bending again? bending isn't about power but about skills/knowledge, and skills are mental and not physical, therefore he should still be able to bend as well, or at least nearly as well, as he has less power in a less trained body, as before the dimension travel.
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