Reviews for Embers
Galaya chapter 91 . 1/21/2021
First off, I have to say that this is an amazing story. I remember coming across this story a few years ago, but I didn't end up finishing it then, though I can't remember why. I've also listened to the podfic version (up to chapter 43 so far) of this on AO3 which is a wonderful adaptation of this story. I'm a naturally fast reader, so listening to it forced me to slow down and really pay attention, which in turn allowed me to fully appreciate your story and what you have accomplished with this.
I have only two complaints about this story. One, that it makes watching the actual show really hard, partially because I don't connect well to the show's sense of humor a lot of the time. But honestly? It's hard to watch the show knowing that you'll never get to see Zuko become yaoren, or meet the absolutely fantastic original characters you created for this story. (The first time I read this, before I listened to the podfic, I had kind of skipped over the chapters with Langxue and Saoluan, because I tend not to have much patience with original characters in fanfic. That was a mistake. Amaya, Huojin, Shirong, the Wen family, Langxue, Saoluan, Teruko, Shidan, and the many other original characters are fantastic. That cannot be overstated, in my opinion.)
My other criticism of this story is that it can. e an exhausting read at times. Having watched the show and enjoyed the characters, and wanting to like them because they are the protagonists (of the show, at least), how harshly the story deals with Aang and Katara's characters can be frustrating. Anyone who feels the same way reading through this, I would advise to keep going. It is hard, but seeing how much they have grown is worth it. And I find it to be very realistic. We tend to view ourselves as right and anyone who disagrees with us as wrong. To accept that you are wrong, even just sometimes, is extremely hard. The show, I believe, does not portray the consequences for these characters as Embers does for a reasonthe show and Embers have very different purposes, and who you choose as protagonist changes the way you wrote a story. The show is written from the perspective of a happy kid who wants to have fun and make the world right, and the tone and style reflect that. Embers is written with a much more jaded protagonist who DEALS with consequences all the time. Thus, the tone and style reflect the protagonist. You have done an excellent job there. As much as the seemingly endless conflict between Zuko and either Aang or Katara can get tiring, it fits well the story you are writing, it rings VERY true to life, and it makes the moments where any conflict between them is resolved very, very satsifying.
As I, in my own works, enjoy playing with how perspective is what really shapes conflict myself, I truly appreciate the time, care, and dedication you have put in to researching and then writing how different people can be entirely at odds with each other, but still be good people at heart. The world is not good people fight evil people. All too often, the reality is that good people fight good people, often for valid reasons. That is a difficult thing to properly potrag, and I feel you captured it masterfully here.
I would say without hesitation that I prefer Embers over the actual show. I don't think I would say it is betterthey are different, with different purposesbut I find your work more to my tastes. Excellent and deep worldbuilding, fascinating characters who have vastly different perspectives (not to mention goals, motivations, and values), and a conflict that is inherently tied to people being people and not good versus evil.
I also appreciate that, while this is fanfiction, and therefore inherently an adaptation of another work, you made this story your own. You didn't translate the show into text with a few added scenes/situations/characters/themes/et cetera- you took the foundation of Avatar and ran in a different direction to tell your own story while stillfully honoring the original. That is difficult to do, I find.
So I'll ammend my earlier statement: my only complaint about this story is that there is not more of it for me and other readers to delve into. (Also, sorry for the essay of a review. I think this story is well worth it.)
Nova Cachou chapter 91 . 1/20/2021
I really, really love this story. The amount of research is amazing, the characters you made are so well fleshed out, I wish the story would go on forever. This is one of my favourite fanfics of alle time, so I am sad to see it end. The ending is great as well, everyone happy, apart from maybe Zuko at that exact moment. But I'm sure he'll be happy for them, as long as Amaya does not make him witness the birth. Anyway, I love your writing. You took everything ATLA already was and made it even better. Dragons, culture differences, new characters, realistic war, spirits, yaoren, you name it.
I am not very good at writing reviews, but I at least wanted you to know that you're amazing and great at writing and worldbuilding. You made my week, spirits/agni/monkeyfeathers, maybe even my month
Detsella Morningdew chapter 36 . 1/8/2021
I don't know how you managed to capture the show's style of creative action scenes in written form, but you managed it, and it was excellent, only magnified by the rarity of said scene.

You also managed to make it feel cathartic without undercutting any of the opponents' ability.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 35 . 1/8/2021
While I loved the scene when I watched the show, I did get disappointed that they did not at least bring up the possibility that the Fire Nation could take revenge against the North Pole for the Avatar's actions after he left. I knew that a kid's show, even as mature as Avatar is, would not dwell on mass scale death like that, but they could have at least touched on the tactical consequences, given that they liked to bring up tactical scenarios, especially with Sokka.

The reason that nukes were feared was because a country could make MORE of them. And they only got to the MAD situation once people started putting them in rockets to increase the range and not rely on bombers. (Thanks for the info about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. I didn't know about that. It's still horrible that a lot of innocent people died, but much less of a "war crime" level act than I thought it was.)
Detsella Morningdew chapter 30 . 1/7/2021
The entire ending of Avatar seemed quite rushed to me. Including the Aang/Katara relationship. That ship could work... if a LOT of issues were dealt with first, many of those issues also seemingly cut for time restraints.

Seriously. It always seemed to me like the time limit on the Gaang was a cathartic release for the creators' own time limits. A "we have to get all these plot points done before Aang fights the Fire Lord, and we only have this many episodes to do it" type of thing.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 25 . 1/7/2021
Yeah, the reason I like your work so much is that you add a realism to it. Not to say the original show wasn't grounded at all (it was far, far better than most cartoons and my favorite for a reason), but you have a way with psychology that most writers don't. You keep (previous) events mostly canon, but apply real-world logic and don't villify the Fire Nation. You don't even villify the entirety of the Dai Li. The original show did a token effort at that (at least with the Fire Nation), but it did kinda assume that people weren't intelligent enough to do it subtly.

(The Sun Warriors were neat, but it kinda undercut the theme that firebender culture isn't wholly bad, just the newest regime. And while there were some instances of Water and Earth cultures having flaws, we don't actually get that with Air. At all. I mean, there's the whole nonviolence thing, but even the ending reinforces that Aang was obviously right all along because he had a Deus Ex Machina ability given to him.)
Detsella Morningdew chapter 23 . 1/6/2021
Absolutely love your realistic culture clashes.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 21 . 1/6/2021
Yeah, Katara is... well, the type of person who has to learn things the hard way.

I mean, Zuko *did* learn everything the hard way, but he at least has the capability of learning from others, even if his trauma makes it a trying task.

Huh. Well, now that I think about it, they are remarkably similar. Zuko arguably had more trauma, but that doesn't necessarily matter psychologically. And they obviously have different personalities.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 19 . 1/6/2021
I have no honest idea why all of the Avatar fandom doesn't know about this fic already.

Seriously. I don't think I've found a single flaw so far, except maybe, like, a typo.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 14 . 1/6/2021
Absolutely love an unreliable narrator. And you do it so well that I wasn't entirely sure if you were just demonstrating possible consequences of Aang's naive decisions or if it actually was just paranoia. Because I could totally see Aang making a broad decision like that that sounds good on paper and might work out great a few generations down the line but has horrible consequences for families in the moment.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 11 . 1/6/2021
Now that I've seen how it can be done, I am very disappointed that Avatar did not go more into detail about how your element affects *you* on a spiritual level.
Detsella Morningdew chapter 10 . 1/6/2021
I absolutely love your take on Avatar. I never thought I might say this, since the original Avatar series is the best, but you might have actually done a better job.

(I know that adapting something is not the same thing as creating it. But you still have done an excellent job.)
Detsella Morningdew chapter 6 . 1/6/2021
"Only imperial firebenders are that precise."

I hate you. I hate you so much.

On a side note, I've never liked a story more.
WildlyLaughing chapter 33 . 1/6/2021
Is Zuko the Dragonborn?!
Detsella Morningdew chapter 1 . 1/6/2021
Oh my god. I didn't know I needed this, but I'm glad I found it.
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