Reviews for The Alchemy of Fire: Arc I
JESUSFREAK-And-Proud-Of-It chapter 27 . 3/14/2009
What more can I say that hasn't been said already? It's been a magnificent ride!

This was a good place to leave off, it was as satisfactory as the end of an episode, yet still left me yearning for more. It wove some answers together, yet left some still to be sewn. Ultimately, these characteristics make this story what it is: intriguing, exciting, and undoubtedly brilliant.

I look forward to accompanying you on the next arc of this journey, and I hope many more people are able to delight in your writing as I have!

Farewell for now but never Good-bye,

~JFAPOI :D~
Nicky-Pickle-25 chapter 26 . 3/13/2009
I really enjoyed reading this story so far! You're writing style is unique, and extrememly entertaining. Your OC's are interesting, and the plot is extremely complex; it definitely keeps me guessing! I am dying to see Zuko and Katara be reunited, but the (long) wait is still full of enough interesting plot to make it worthwhile. Keep up the good work; I'm looking forward to the next chapter. XD

-Nicky
Ellarose C chapter 26 . 3/12/2009
Hey! Me again. Sorry it took a while to review - I wanted to have something art-wise before I did.

First on the agenda is beta-to-writer advice. I like your grammar and word choice, sentence flow, etc. Sometimes your message gets jumbled up in the delivery, but that happens to everybody. (It's been a few days since I finished (I've had this open in a tab, waiting) so all of the details aren't quite fresh in my head. ;)

Writer-to-writer advice: I love the whole Shen Li-Mai interaction and how you've made Mai more. I've mentioned this already.

This plot is a bit different than most after-the-finale Zutara stories. Of course, it is an AU finale (which is a step I approve of, btw), but even without that it would be different. I like that Mai turned Zuko away - it makes sense. I feel sorry for Zuko in his nest of vipers. I love that Taang takes over Ba Sing Se - the two characters that hate it the most rule it xD

Katara's return to the Painted Lady is a cool choice. I like it, obviously, since I offered to fanart it.

SPEAKING OF FANART. I started doodling for that scene/line I told you I liked and ended up with THIS - i139 .photobucket albums /q282/ IamInTheWrongCentury/ paintedlady2 .jpg

(stupid made me take out the spaces C)

I'm going to color it traditionally at school tomorrow because I'm going to get really bored and I'll need something to do, but the better version will most likely be the PS version I'll do later. You like the rough lineart right now? (On a side note, if I never have to draw pebbles again it will be too soon.)

Fangirl-to-author advice: DAMMIT I WANT TO SEE MORE TAANG. D

Cheers -

~ Caroline
olivebirdie chapter 26 . 3/10/2009
good reading but too mysterious. fanfics tend to be short. te plot is still unknown
Kirihana chapter 26 . 3/9/2009
Marvelous story. I read all twenty-six chapters in one day, and I look forward to more. Keep up the excellent work!
libraflyter chapter 20 . 3/9/2009
I would like to say that you have made me a Shen Li/Mai shipper. Because Shen Li is like the spawn of the best parts of Zuko and Jet with a dose of superhero. He rocks.

He's an OC to be proud of.
libraflyter chapter 13 . 3/9/2009
Found this story recced on katara_zuko on lj - and it is wonderful! You're doing a very good job of working to pull together the storylines of the finale into something more complex than "they all lived happily ever after"

I particularly like your Mai. Mai's always been a cipher to me - a character I wanted to like, but never had enough to go on. An especial favorite moment:

"She still cared enough, maybe even loved enough. But the betrayal and the hurt and the anger had taken its toll. And with the time spent contemplating what kind of future she wanted in that hellhole of a prison, she knew that she wanted something more. Deserved something more."

It's the "deserved" that does it for me - that Mai knows her own self worth outside of what other people want for her. Now that's a character I can respect.

Looking forward to continuing this!
Ellarose C chapter 16 . 3/8/2009
Hey there.

Well, I've been reading your story all day - it's how I spend my weekends, reading Avatar fanfiction - and I like it a lot. I really like the emphasis on Mai, so much that I've been itching to write a first-person Mai/OC after-the-finale story - and I don't write Avatar fanfic! It's been a strange day.

The reason I'm reviewing now instead of later is because one line in here put such an image in my head that I just HAVE to draw it. The whole part where the guy's describing Katara's badassery and all, and he says "She... she walked across the water and ice spread where her feet touched"...

that's hardcore. I hope you don't mind if I attempt to embody that image into a drawing If you want to research, I'm luna-wannabe on deviantart. :)

ONWARDS TO THE REST OF THE STORY! (I'll leave a giant writer's-review on the last chapter)

~ Caroline
XyoushaX chapter 26 . 3/8/2009
Woaw. Yue-hair. That was successful in proving an awkward moment with Yuki. I wouldn't be surprised if a little complex formed in her about that... She never met Yue, but the girl is literally a divinity now. Hard to compare your mortal self to a former girlfriend like THAT.

I could totally see Suki taking a first strike before Sokka. Not on him, but on someone else - probably a general of a rebel group. It would technically begin a war, unless they silence the news from getting out...

Oh, by the way, I realize now why I was confusing different characters with each other, especially the ministers. It's because I really don't KNOW them as people.

I recommend that you make a short list, with the ministers' names and titles. Then write down 2 or 3 things for each minister, that you know make them unique and interesting.

Then write about them.

By showing each minister as an interesting person in himself, readers will become really engaged in the political discussions. Is there a person who is having to deal with family drama while all this is going on? Who treats the servants like trash? Who is actually studying and collecting data? (This can be funny, or serious, or both, depending on your preference as you write it.)

I think there is a real opportunity for you show the ministers as individuals, each with their own quirks and personalities. Do this especially during the discussions. I'd like to know: Who is talking the most? Who is usually silent, and amazes people when they finally give their two cents? Who doesn't talk AT ALL, and why? Who is the youngest (aside Zuko, of course)? Who is changing sides during debates? Who is staying their ground? Does anybody act like they're being ignored or left out?

Working in government can dehumanize people, but in crises, their real personalities tend to manifest themselves in interesting ways. The movie "Thirteen Days" is a really good portrayal of this.
indigochipmunk chapter 26 . 3/8/2009
I love your long chapters! Also, you write politics really really well. Its interesting without being needlessly confusing. And, Shen Li is one of the BEST OC's i've ever read. Cant wait till the next chapter!
J. Idanian chapter 26 . 3/7/2009
Inspiration is good, but I'm perfectly willing to wait as long as it takes for you to be satisfied with what you're giving us. Don't feel any need to rush on my account. Though I do think this is still good stuff.

The hair dye bit was a brilliant way to really shake up the whole scene. I had no idea what was going on until you explained it and that's got to be uncomfortable and eerie to come across. One thing bothers me a little, though. Suki found out that Sokka had had an interest in Yue, or at least the Moon Spirit, in The Ember Island Players and seemed more amused than anything. So her reaction here feels a little odd. Unless you're just ignoring that episode, which is good too. Never let the facts get in the way of the story. It's a good development, just not quite what I would have expected.

The second scene with Zuko and Shen Li was definitely hinting at things to come, I'm sure there's a lot of subtle references I missed. But I like that Shen Li is becoming different. And of course I'm looking forward to see what happens at the Eastern Air Temple. Take your time, I'll be waiting.
MoonClaimed chapter 26 . 3/7/2009
This chapter was a little different than your usual (maybe because you rushed so it had a different style?), but was still very well done.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how you handle all the political intrigue circulating in this story. You're a natural at it though.

I was especially fond of the Water Tribe section this time. It was well put together (And more than a little disquieting).

Keep up the good work!
JESUSFREAK-And-Proud-Of-It chapter 26 . 3/7/2009
Hey, NICE chapter. I can't believe you wrote this all (in such excellent quality) in under four hours! That itself says something about your devotion to this story. There's nothing better than seeing a writer so passionate about what they are doing. It warms my heart. :D

I loved the imagery and detail, especially in Shen Li's section. Nonverbal expressions so often are the body of communication, and the way you describe them, from the advisors in the Fire Nation Court to Sokka and Suki's interaction miles away...it just brings out the absolute beauty of the writing as a whole. When someone can paint images with words as you do, that's when they know they've got the makings of a fantastic writer. :)

Good job on this chapter (as always), until next time,

JFAPOI :D

P.S. I have yet to find something palpable to criticize in your writing...rest assured, when I do, you'll be the first to know!
arizony chapter 26 . 3/7/2009
As you piece a puzzle together, and find only more pieces that are needed to get the whole picture, so your story is speeding along.

I'm still enjoying it, and am looking forward to your next update.

-arizony-
Kryptocow chapter 24 . 3/4/2009
Oh Zuko. Watching him by himself trying to grow into his own while still being his awkward self.
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