Reviews for Scorched Earth
raining-down-hearts chapter 7 . 8/30/2014
Okay, this is majestic. How the HELL do you only have 105 reviews? This is so obviously a labor of love, it's such an interesting, unique and complete take on the Avatar world, complete with amazingly unique, fullbodied, enticing, realistic characters- I'm gonna leave you a damn review on every chapter. Just because I love this. I mean, the WORD COUNT alone- I am so fucking excited. I already love the characters madly (Siensao! God! amazing!) and can't wait to learn more about them. This is just... I'm stunned, and you should be really proud. This is beautiful and I'm going to read it slowly and savor the journey.
Andartha chapter 2 . 7/13/2014
No sun?

Oh boy, they're one and all going to develop vitamin D deficiency and osteomalacia as a result...

Hmm...wonder if Takano realizes that. After all, workers seem increasingly hard to come by and it's his duty to keep the place up and running. Hard to do with sick workers.

Also, nice try with the chopsticks there Reki. _

And yes, this as well as the bit about the garrison's soldiers being happy to have a woman around they don't need to pay for to bed added a nice bit of chilling realism.

"Womb of Fire"...nice expression. Me likes.

Also, to think that the outlook on life of a people is shaped by the environment they live in... .YES.


Now that's interesting. And yeah, I think they're going to be in some major trouble for this later on.

Also, again nice bit of realism with miners memorizing the way out.

Hmm...should Kanetsu's biggest worry at this point really be their quota?

Heh. Have I mentioned yet that I really like Takano? And his (in the truest sense of the word) fiery disagreement with Kanetsu amuses me to no end.

And the way they plan to solve it is so very Fire Nation of them. I love it. _
Andartha chapter 1 . 7/12/2014
Oh my.

First of all, I love your writing style. Lots of show, only little tell where needed.

Also, I'm really exited about the Jomei/Takano/Kanetsu dynamic you're setting up here.

Each of them has a believable, understandable motif...and given their respective positions and histories, it sets them marvelously at odds with each other. This looks like it's going to be good. _

Also, I'm a total sucker for Fire Nation background, especially where it comes to motif (and even more so where it comes to the military) so you're hitting all my buttons with that one.

Reki is intriguing too and I'm really looking forward to finding out her secrets in the future chapters.

As for Jomei? I suspect he might not be who he thinks he is.
algebra123230 chapter 64 . 4/13/2014
I lol'd at this one. Seems like high treason, but still funny.
Lunatique chapter 66 . 4/13/2014
Some of these stories are starting to read like Siensao's pipe dream. She gets a pet Selfless Warrior! And becomes Grand Secretariat! Also Earth Queen! In which capacity she proceeds to cuckold the Earth King! I'm pretty sure that last part is called treason. I briefly amused myself by imagining a sequel where Siensao as the evil Queen Dowager whom the heroes, led by Nerrivek, must depose of.

The most interesting of these sequels so far is The Guardian of Order with Xiaohu Xin. It's fun to imagine that he might have had a partial hand in Azula's recovery. I'm pretty sure he'd have a thriving practice as a mind-healer if he wanted in the post-war world. I was also glad to see Hama spend the rest of her days in reasonable happiness. As for Kyuzo, there could have been an interesting story in his failure to inform his kin of his survival (maybe Zuko's Fire Nation isn't all rainbows and daisies after all), but the story cut out before we got to find out.
megan chapter 62 . 4/11/2014
Well it looks the second epilogue is the last so I'll say goodbye now. I agree with lunatique that Sienslao not killing Hoshiko was a bit of a copout but otherwise everything was fantastic. All the characters had something to do and you fit in some surprises like the crazy engineer rebelling. The epilogues were very well done and I find myself wanting more of them; I would've liked to see Zoukani, Nerrivek and Karida as well as post-war Jukana and the Tumen.

I read fanfiction to see more of the canon characters; this is the only time where I've grown attached to a story of oc's using the canon setting which you expanded on so beautifully to the point where I wished I could read the scroll Donszhou had given Jomei as much as I wanted to read the story.

Hope real life treats you well.
Lunatique chapter 60 . 3/16/2014
Do I get the 100th review? It seems fitting, given how I seem to be responsible for 20% of the reviews of Scorched Earth, lol. It's not often that I come across long and thought-provoking stories like this, so it's been a pleasure.

One of those pleasures has been to watch your writing improve in leaps and bounds, and the last five or six chapters were noticeable in the leanness and tightness of the prose. The improvements were happening earlier on - I think I commented as early as Ba Sing Se that you were getting less wordy and were cutting your scenes better - but these changes really seemed to come together for the final few chapters in a way that jumped out at me. You learned to cut commentary and let the story tell itself, and to pare down the descriptions to let the action flow. One thing I noticed was a tendency toward using some words like "scream" and "catapult" repeatedly, but I call out just about everyone on repetition, including me.

I also liked how in this final, crucial battle at last there were indeed dramatic choices, like Siensao's weighing of risk and benefit for survival and victory in the airship sequence. Which. Was. Goddamned. AWESOME, by the way, I was reading in the subway and was clutching my phone so hard. While I was pretty sure Siensao et al. were going to get out of it alive, you nevertheless kept me guessing enough that it didn't feel like a foregone conclusion, and the amazing action sequences were a thrill in themselves.

Another great example of consequence occurred in the airship sequence where the engineer turned out to be no good after all. (Never turn your back on a mad scientist!) It was particularly effective because it was Siensao's choices - to destroy his ships, to keep him on - that led to that moment, at least in his twisted mind. Now that is choice and consequence. It was hugely entertaining to see Siensao scrabble out of the hole she'd dug with a bit of brilliant reverse psychology, she really is a master of manipulation. Also good job lulling us into complacence about the guy, he seemed harmless and just happy to be where he was, until he turned out otherwise. His language also had an almost poetic feel, something else that made him seem harmless I think.

A truly wrenching bit of drama, a few chapters back, was with Jomei and Jura in Teoro. Both the siblings made choices with real consequences in deciding not to stay at Teoro, and the result were scenes that had real emotional punch. It's a testament to the quality of the story that the decision seemed inevitable despite the danger. Though the ties holding them to Teoro seemed less substantial, I still got a feel of what they were leaving behind and it worked for me. Teoro was also one of the places where I noticed how much livelier your writing had become; if you'd developed the characters so well there in the first go the story would have had a lot more life from the start. Still, Jomei's scene, from his refusal to see his family to his tasting the bitterness of defeat in his scene with Mitsuko, largely worked even if they could have been built up better.

One missed chance for drama seemed to be with the volunteer firebenders who stayed behind to defend the airship in the final ramming sequence. That would have been a great time to use some firebender characters. It's a situation that screams drama, and I was immediately curious about the people who would stay behind and what their motivation might be. It would also have been a good opportunity for It Has Been an Honor farewells and More Hero Than Thou tussles. I half expected Kyuzo to be one of he volunteers, actually - Jura was a visible target in her stone giant, and if the Fire Nation had an airship left they could very well go for her and other large threats. And he certainly gave enough morality speeches that this sort of thing was expected of him. Even if these factors weren't enough to override his driving need to survive and return to Jura I expected at least a heartfelt, if rushed, farewell with the remaining volunteers. I'd have liked him to have put his money where his mouth is, or at least to have dealt openly with the fact that there were limits to the sacrifices he was willing to make.

There was only one part that actually sucked in the final Omashu chapters, and that was the bit with the hostages. I'm sorry, that was unforgivable and it actually got me angry for a second. I'm fine with the fact that Spike didn't latch onto the kids, that was just speculation anyway. But not killing the kid? Getting all this buildup with making Hoshiko this adorable and scared kid caught in war and then giving us the moment of her murder - and then making it fake?! That is some cheap BS. It doesn't even make sense because there is no way the FN troops wouldn't check on the "corpse" to see if it was actually Hoshiko. It was an opportunity to show just how far Siensao is willing to go, just how dangerous she is, to really bring home what the war has made of people - and you threw it away in a giant cop-out, letting Siensao have her cake and eat it, too. That is the very antithesis of drama, and it was an insult to the reader's (not to mention firebenders') intelligence. True, being a child murderer would have lost Siensao a place at the diplomatic table and would have kept her from ever exercising her power openly again, but isn't that the choice you were setting her up for? In my mind the kidnapping plot becomes pointless if Siensao can simply sidestep that choice.

Those quibbles and one serious objection aside, I truly enjoyed the battle for Omashu and loved the big, destructive scenes. Kind of felt guilty for liking them so much, in fact, seeing the appalling slaughter of human beings. On the other hand they're fictional human beings and not ones I've been introduced to or have reason to care about. The set pieces were great, from the way the defenders used the terrain to the way the attackers overcame the obstacles thrown in their way, in a matchup of cunning and viciousness that is at the heart of all entertaining fight scenes. Toward the end it had the feel of a horror story with the barricades of bodies and the child hostages, row after row like some ritual of human sacrifice.

I also love how you're giving the Earth people their due as being just as brutally effective as their Fire counterparts. Seeing them fight this way I can make sense of the Fire Nation's fear of these people, as I've always suspected that fear of the slumbering giant was part of what drove them on their path of conquest. I think a Fire Nation character even alluded to something like that during the Tumen arc. (Did she never show up again? Was she a guard that had died back on the homeland? All confused now.) For all their racist posturing I think Fire Nationals are at heart deeply afraid of a united and strong Earth Kingdom, and they may start seeing their nightmare become a reality due to their own war.

So it is done! Once again congratulations, and I wish you all success with your original fiction, too. Though not perfect, Scorched Earth is quite the tour de force of a war novel, big and audacious in its ambition. You should be proud. I may have left things out in this review through sheer forgetfulness, so feel free to ask if you have questions about my take on specific things. Feel free to argue, too, since I've said quite a lot of critical things. Thanks for sharing your story and putting so much effort and time into it despite your busy schedule, especially toward the end.
Lunatique chapter 55 . 3/16/2014
I read ten chapters this go instead of five because wow! I couldn't stop! Congratulations on finishing the story by the way, it must be as rewarding as it was exhausting.

I loved the nonstop epic action in the Fire Nation arc. The strategies, the calculations, the spectacle, and the aftermath, it was all awesome and I can't compliment you enough. I thrilled at the big battles, at the clashes of the titans you've built up so well for this universe, and the sense of an inexorable if not inevitable forward march toward a conclusion. You're doing an excellent job wrapping this story around the canon, and I find it completely believable that these much bloodier and more morally ambiguous engagements were going on while the Avatar and his circle acted against the head of the regime. Great idea and great execution on bringing those aspects to fruition.

On the other hand, I also felt the lack of a certain... drama? As though the characters didn't have to do anything to win on the dramatic level. I mean they obviously strove and worked mightily and I respect them for that, but there were no choices, no sacrifices from a dramatic viewpoint. Kyuzo and Jura lament losing their moral compass, which is a valid sacrifice, except who are the people they've been killing? Basically meat from a story point of view, because they weren't developed into real characters we're capable of caring about. In a way it's even sort of horrible that Kyuzo and Jura are making these deaths all about them, and that the story fully supports that view because that's the way it's been set up; Kyuzo and Jura and the others are people to us. The people who die at their hands aren't. And so the sacrifice of morality doesn't really hit home, making these victories by and large are events that happen because our heroes are awesome enough to win, not story that happens because they've made choices that say something about who they are.

In that sense, this new development with kidnapping children is something that could work out brilliantly for dramatic purposes. I mean it's already been sort of spoiled because there again doesn't seem to have been much in the way of choice or conflict, Siensao said they were doing it and that's that. Still, it could work out for drama down the line depending on how the kids are developed and whether meaningful choices are presented between victory and morality. I hope this becomes an occasion for Spike to strike again, because the specter of children being used as pawns in a war should hit close to home for her.

Speaking of Spike, I was of two minds on her plot during this arc. On the one hand I was very glad to see her character development, and on the other I was confused about the way it was handled. First, credit where credit is due, I'm happy to see that she did indeed have actual damage from fighting a dirty war as a child soldier. On the other hand, I thought she had a point that Siensao is dangerous but couldn't see the real hurry just in the middle of a big offensive, since no matter what else Siensao is she is at least useful for the war effort. So I thought it had to be Spike's subsumed anger at Xing for taking her childhood away and turning her into a murderer. But then Spike is insta-cured, as therapy goes, and yet she still keeps on doing the exact same thing - so what exactly was the point of bringing up the whole mental issues plot? So far it looks more like going through the motions to acknowledge that she is indeed a traumatized child soldier, without real story consequences for the damage done. She was all in pain and stuff but yay! she's all right now, and no! it doesn't change a thing because challenging Siensao was due to immaturity and not trauma. I'm a bit let down on both counts, since mental illness for most people isn't so quickly done away with and I wanted Spike's story to have actual meaning in the overall tale. Well it's not too late with six chapters still remaining, I guess.

That said, despite the problems I see with some parts of the craft (and again this is all entirely the subjective opinion of one extremely opinionated and fussy person), I'm excited by the story and characters. I particularly like how much of the conflict is a clash between powerful women, something one doesn't see enough of in war stories. Excellent portrayals of canon characters like Azula and Hama, too, I felt the menace and power in both of them and liked how Hama's background was developed. Ironic how they feel like guest stars when they show up in this story, showing you've built something that is of canon yet beyond it. I look forward to reading to the ending!
Nervos Belli chapter 60 . 3/6/2014
I've followed this story for about eighteen months now, and I think you have done a fantastic job of telling your own story wrapped around the canon one. Sad that this is over, but I hope you can do something of a conclusion for the other characters. Jomei's done his bit, but I want to know what happens to everyone else. Good luck with your for-profit endeavors, if you can do as good a job managing so many different characters as you did here you should be good.
Lunatique chapter 45 . 3/4/2014
It would seem the Si Wong arc is nearly at an end. I had assumed Jomei would be learning the Fire aspect of earthbending here, though maybe that's not happening after he offended Sharif. I love your way with dialogue in this part: you seem to have a particular aptitude for archaic and courtly speech, something that I recognized in the White Lotus code phrases and which really shines with the custom for flowery language that you've given the desert tribes. The politicking scenes showed Karida in her element and proved exactly why she has this shot at becoming the first Queen of the tribes,

The spirit scene and Reki's ultimate healing were beautifully written and profound. I enjoyed the exploration into Reki's memories, and the image of the two halves of the spirit becoming one on their swords was an apt and visceral one. I guess I have as much explanation as I'm going to get about what's going on with the BD and Reki, though I could have used more insight into why the split happened in the first place. Wasn't the split proof that the Reki half was refusing to accept responsibility, too, by externalizing and distancing this evil she was committing? And now that they are one, the excuse that she's not the same person as she was back then doesn't hold anymore, except in a figurative sense that she's come a long way since then. And without so much as a Freudian Excuse, I see very little to indicate the BD or even the Reki half is redeemable.

In the end, much like Mahir I kind of hate this conclusion for Reki. It galls me that she will go on to enjoy honor and love while her victims died horrible deaths for her pleasure. Her "I have suffered enough" speech seemed unbelievably self-absorbed in that she could even think to equate her self-inflicted suffering with that of the people she tortured and killed for fun. She's not making any real amends to her victims and doesn't even seem particularly sorry - all her pain has been for her own memories and her own suffering, not the actual people she hurt. Plus, she didn't even have the excuse of split personality when she chased Karida down in cold blood and further maimed her. I'm not sure what her redeeming characteristics are, other than being a really good fighter, and since her original motivation was so thin I'm not convinced she's really a different person than she was when she was committing her crimes.

I mean, I know that in reality ruthless warlords go on to live in comfort and renown all their lives, but that doesn't mean I have to like it and I'm uncomfortable that it's presented as justice here. At least I can take comfort in the fact that Karida has beaten Reki in every area that matters, proving herself to be so much more than what Reki did to her. I can't believe I ever shipped them; clearly Reki and Jomei deserve each other. I mean, "deal with it?" That's their response to torture and murder? At this point I'm hoping they both die horribly in battle, because clearly they're not fit for civilized society and throwing around their strength is all they know how to do.

Sorry for writing what is in effect a long rant. Your writing really has improved and I enjoyed much of these five chapters. it's just that the Reki plot and character really bugged me. (This may be the height of hypocrisy on my part, since I once wrote a very similar character myself.) And now with the desert tribes united in their opposition, it's a long push toward the end of the war. More epic battles!
Lunatique chapter 40 . 2/23/2014
Wow, all your work in character and plot developments paid off magnificently in the fall of Ba Sing Se. I also like that the writing is growing tighter and more economical. Part of the pleasure of reading long works is watching the author improve, and you definitely show that here.

I also like this more in-depth and bloody look into the conquering of Ba Sing Se. In contrast to the sanitized events in canon that focused on a few exceptional individuals, this story casts the event in terms of a seething and dangerous polity with a far more complex political structure composed of myriad different interests and factions. I find this version more realistic and egalitarian, since far more people are usually involved in power structures than just monarchs, Chosen Ones, and their allies and adversaries.

I'm glad to see Xin survived and find it interesting how he increasingly seems the voice of reason and humanity in this whole mess; his character is both believably flawed and highly sympathetic. He works much better for me in this role than Kyuzo, who always seemed to me acting out of his own desires rather than any particular conception of universal justice so the story's elevation of his actions never particularly worked for me. Xin is even more openly selfish, of course, but the logic of the story gives him no special moral authority leaving me free to evaluate his choices and perspectives. I pretty much agree with him on Spike (while finding Xin's knowledge of the human psyche highly creepy, considering its source), and am thrilled to see her continued development.

Speaking of Kyuzo, I know I gave you a hard time about him but his outburst in the throne room was just perfect. I could feel his anger, stubbornness, and his desperation to survive and return to Jura. Now that's what I like to see, simple and clear action without excessive editorializing.

Speaking of which (yay, the free-association review!) there was some editorializing in the battle with Dong Zhuo at el. which I found distracting, but maybe it was a necessary evil, I don't know. I'm rather pleased they survived, though I'm surprised they'd actually come to Siensao and that she'd let them live. Maybe the fall of Ba Sing Se changed things so much that the Black Lotus doesn't matter as much anymore, or (more likely) the BL no longer has any use for compromised agents so Dong and the others are free now.

Also kudos for the judicial cutting between falling through the throne room floor and watching the Avatar die. As always, great job filling out the story around the story, as it were, depicting how the events of canon are impacting the surrounding world and the perceptions and calculations of its denizens.

Jomei and Reki's upcoming nupitals have all the hallmarks of a wartime wedding, the sort of match I would call ill-advised or at least rushed in peacetime but hey, with death around every corner, especially for Reki, why the hell not. Except I have a feeling Reki is going to survive and these two are going to live happily ever after, skipping over the very real challenges of serious mental issues, culture clashes, and their own headstrong personalities, all for the demands of conventional storytelling and not because it makes sense for the characters. I'll happily eat crow if I'm wrong, of course.
Lunatique chapter 35 . 2/10/2014
Aww. For all my reservations I can't help but be touched at these two finally recognizing each others' feelings. I do see problems with a story structure where the guy basically gets the girl by saving her life, but I can criticize the implicit, unintended message while enjoying the story. I like how Jomei's love for Reki (and it's Jomei's stories, not Reki's - so far she's the passive prize when it comes to this romance, not the active agent) is a story of possibility over pragmatism no matter how foolish it seems. That has resonance for the story at large, I think, given how desperate the situation is.

And yay Karida makes a reappearance! And awesomely overcomes her fear! Now that's character growth. I wonder if her story is going to tie into the BD's ambition to take over in the Si Wong. Maybe Karida will be the one to bring the armies of the desert into the war, defeating the BD morally, politically and on every level that counts. I look forward to Karida and Reki's next meeting at any rate.

Oh, and also I can't leave out praise for the way you used Reki's murder of her brother for Siensao et al. to finally trap the Blood Drinker. Nice way to resolve that bit of background, for all my past complaints of dragging it on too long. Though you might not have intended it this way, I liked how the psychological helplessness paralleled the physical trap Siensao had planned with Spike. The Blood Drinker is entrapped in the murky waters of her past which she cannot navigate, etc. (Siensao probably knew the freezing wouldn't work, though, since she knew Reki's preternatural reflexes as well as anyone still among the living. I think the planning session was a maneuver to win back Spike's trust by entrusting her with something crucial. Plus it served as a good diversion and might even have worked if they were incredibly lucky.)

Speaking of Spike it kind of shows that you didn't do a lot of planning with her, as you discussed in an earlier message. It was a good development for her to blow up at Siensao, but as with a lot of things about Spike it didn't seem to have adequate buildup. I would have found the scene much more believable if Spike had muttered about Siensao wasting their time with useless plots, showed frozen disapproval even while she dutifully carried out orders and so on. Going from zero to sixty in two seconds flat is an admirable quality in a car, but jarring in fictional characters. At least show us that thing can run first.

The Black Lotus and Siensao seem to be engaged in a very complex dance, and Ba Sing Se seems a fitting place for their wheels-within-wheels to play out. Also, yay the Avatar is coming to town and yay Siensao meets Iroh! I found it very enjoyable how the Avatar is just part of the overall story for the denizens of this world, another factor in their calculations and interests. It's a nice change of perspective to the world of grownups to whom war and governance are not matters of principles or ideals but a bloody, gritty reality.
Lunatique chapter 30 . 2/2/2014
So Siensao comes home. Her background isn't unexpected, but then again not everything has to be an unthinkable reveal. Mostly I'm interested in what you're going to do with it, and while her private conversation with her father seemed to be a first important clue, I read it with about as much enlightenment as a dog watching a tennis match. Siensao seems to have a big choice ahead of her, that's for sure.

I liked the Dai Li guy's tutelage of Jomei (I'm assuming this is Scar from the show?). I've never thought of the Dai Li as the earthbender's earthbender, mostly because their style seemed so atypical, but I can see the point that precision can be the major strength of earthbending.

I have no idea why Jomei gives a damn about the printer's marital troubles. I know I don't care, since I don't know the guy at all. And maybe it's my cultural background (being used to loud, even boisterous, confrontations) but from the dialogue I didn't get the impression of any irreparable discord. Maybe Jomei just has relationships on the brain, what with the Reki situation.

The moments of illuminating or witty continues to be a strength of this story. "If you die you'll die very cleverly" was funny, and Siensao's reassurance that Reki is her friend rang true while providing a revealing glance into a woman who, for all her resources and power, is fundamentally lonely.

Good job bringing the Blood Drinker back and having the situation on the edge of the precipice rather than straight into apocalypse. This "I know you know I know" tension has a lot more nuance than an out-an-out bloodbath from the start. I look forward to how this precarious balance will change and break.

I'm scratching my head about Spike, though. I haven't seen much indication that she's either particularly messed up or in pain. As far as I can see she does her job and keeps out of the way, so Siensao's suggestion of conditioning seems to come out of nowhere. As damage goes Spike's seems neat and convenient for the most part, not like Reki's. I'm looking forward to that changing, though I wish there were more buildup.

The ironic part is that, dramatically speaking, Spike actually has more reason to turn into a bloodthirsty hellhound than Reki did. I see the BD as more of a mental illness than any broadly applicable statement about morality (other than the account of how she was allowed to rise to power, which was a good one), whereas for Spike becoming an amoral, uncontrollable killing machine would have seemed a natural outgrowth of being a child soldier in a dirty war.

I like the clever bit of worldbuilding that the earthbending response to fire is actually the more immediate threat than fire itself. It fits well with Ba Sing Se's ruthlessly utilitarian ethos, too. Running toward the fire was a good character moment for Kyuzo, I tend to like him much better when he's doing than when he's talking.

Looks like about I'm halfway through the story now. From this point I plan to review every five chapters rather than every two, to speed things up.
Lunatique chapter 28 . 1/17/2014
So that's Jingzao. It was a big, energetic struggle, though for whatever reason I found the battle at the North Pole outpost more affecting. Maybe because the deaths in that earlier battle felt more real and visceral, while here they were largely summaries. Maybe it was simply because I've become desensitized to these big battles. I certainly wish you'd used more of the setup from earlier on, with the various constituencies of Jingzao including Fire Nation citizens involved in the fight. I'm given to understand they all suffered horrific losses, but it's sort of out of sight and out of mind.

What baffles me most about these two chapters, though, is the Reki-Karida dynamic. Karida goes from avenging angel (or demon, whatever), to a terrified young woman who is actively fleeing from Reki... and Reki goes out of her way in the middle of a major battle to track her down and deliberately put her eye out? And Karida for some mysterious reason needs to apologize to Reki now, despite having been tortured for the Blood Drinker's amazement and then having lost her eye (in a battle she was not seeking at the time) to a purportedly no-longer-evil Reki?

It seems Reki doesn't need to make any amends for her crimes other than being self-destructive and violent so you know she feels bad, while Karida needs to seek out Reki across a continent for an apology even though even Reki admits her quest for vengeance was justified. That ought to be a strange conversation, to say the least, and I'm honestly curious how you're going to pull it off. My sympathy for Reki is pretty much gone at this point, that's for sure. Either this is protagonist-centered morality at its worst or I'm misreading something very badly.

At least Karida seems to be going in positive directions. I liked her travels through the Earth Kingdom and a more in-depth examination of the Great Divide. Taken together with the lovely little story you wrote for me, it seems Karida has a habit of being rescued by spiritual men from crises in her life. :)
Nervos Belli chapter 59 . 1/14/2014
I really like your description of the war here. You have a good understanding of conventional military tactics and how things like bending impact them, and the assault here really demonstrated that.

Siensao's character development is very interesting, and not always the most obvious, as she is often the one driving changes in others, not the one being changed. Yet it's hard to imagine her at the beginning of the story launching a suicidal attack with no guarantee of winning the war, and it's nice to see some of the selflessness of her other party members seems to have rubbed off on her.

Finally, the ending. Zoukani has been a fantastic dark horse the entire series, and despite the subtle hints along the way I was still floored by the last sentence. Can't wait to see him at his full power, although I'm also sad as he clearly doesn't want to do it. Reminds me a bit of Jeong Jeong in that way. Great story, and I'm sad it's nearly over.
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