Reviews for The Problem With Zuko
Lady Azar de Tameran chapter 1 . 10/8/2010
Very nicely done. I don't know how I missed this earlier. But somehow, I did. A crime, that one is.

Anyway, I love the interweaving elements from canon. The thought of how different things could've been but how much they stay the same. Iroh is both similar and different. Still loving. Still devoted. But to his son and not Zuko. Ozai is still a bastard, and Azula isn't much better. And Ursa is the mother who loves her son but isn't quite strong enough.

And of course, there is Zuko himself. Trying to do the right but not knowing what that is until the end. I'm glad they came back for him, but I had no doubt that they would. He's become both a friend and something of a family member. And it's rather sad in a way that they already treat him better than his own relatives. That he isn't forgotten and shoved to the side. I want to know what happens next, but at the same time, I like this how it is. It lets me imagine all their awesome adventures without being contradicted. And I have to say that Zuko being there as Aang learns the elements would certainly be amusing. Hopefully, he can keep a better leash on the group than they had in canon.

All in all, very well done. It almost makes me feel inspired for my own long one shot with Lu Ten and Zuko (which won't nearly be this length). But then, I'm lazy and prefer just to read. I also have this strange desire to go read Another Brother yet again. :)
Carpe Ominous - Seize chapter 1 . 10/7/2010
wow! you've realy captured the essance of the story. I just love Zuko.

If your planing to write a sequal *hint hint* you should have Zuko fight Lu Ten and win, symbolising him becoming the true prince of the fire nation.

Love your work.
new moongirl chapter 1 . 10/6/2010
I LOVE D im a little sad that you ended it here, but it was a good ending none the less. Zuko was (in my opinion) very much in character. w and i can't believe Iroh and Lu Ten would be like that! D how could they? the betrayal! DX

thank you for this~! 3
SunnyCharm chapter 1 . 10/6/2010
This was completely and utterly amazing - despite the length I was completely drawn into the story. Everyone was perfectly IC, and I really loved what you did with developing Lu Ten's character. The end line was perfect :)
BundleofContradictions chapter 1 . 10/5/2010

Okay, I know reviews here are supposed to be long, informative and constructive, but the only criticism I can think of is that the betrothal of Toph and Zuko was a bit too convenient, and the story itself seemed too long and detailed for a one-shot. Breaking it up into chapters or even adding more humor would have evened things out.

But otherwise, it was a perfect, speculative AU, with every character *in-character* and every detail carefully thought out.

I'd love to see a follow-up on how the story ends with this AU scenario in-place. The GAang have more Fire Nation royals to defeat, less allies to find, and just as much growing up to do. Also, the potential for "Zuko and Toph are engaged!" jokes from the rest of the GAang makes a follow-up worth it in and of itself!
Maze2010 chapter 1 . 10/5/2010
That was epic. Probably one of the best stories I read on this site.
donahermurphy chapter 1 . 10/3/2010
This was a truly awesome story.

LOVED the Zuko and Toph friendship, and how it came about.

Loved Ursa's initial chilliness toard Toph- defending her son doesn't always make her a nice perosn. Liked that Ursa seemed a little broken, although I think you could have shown a spark or two of that fire, or a reason it seemed smushed out. Still, it does seem IC for Ursa, canon-wise, and your interpretation was consistent and works well for the story. (Becuase a good part of the story is Zuko not really being able to trust anybody, and then having to make a decision of who to place that trust in- becuase it's clear he has to go to someone.)

And you do see idealistic!Zuko, becuase he really does believe that, if he asks, Aang won't kill his people. Canon!Zuko seems waay too messed up to trust anyone that much, with so little evidence.

Again, Toph rocks. (The person Zuko tells first! He does trust her! Yay!)

I kind of like that Iroh wasn't really all that great a person, especially before his son died. (Canon, we see him chuckling about the possibility of burning Ba Sing Se down to the ground, and giving his nephew the knife of some guy he just captured. (Killed?) I'm pretty sure this is the only bit we see of him bfore his son died, other than when he's playing with Lu Ten.)

Liked the Kuzon mention. Liked the Ozai still being an abusive father/prime tyrant material. Like the court reactions.

Loved Toph and Zuko being friends. Loved that picture in the Avatar Big-Bang, although on second thought, that probaly wsn't you. But if it was, I loved it.

Aang was cool, too.

Sokka was smart and kick-butt, and just the right shade of sneaky-manipulative. Katara hitting him with the water whip was a GREAT scene, especially becuase it was an accident. I liked showing the different ways they resist.

Lu Ten- he was interesting. You did a good job with him, and he was very realistic. He worked well for the story, too- a nice foil for Zuko, as well as a good character in his own right.

I initially had problems before I realized I had unintentionally digested Vathara's Lu Ten from Embers as canon. (Reading too much fanfic CAN be bad, after all.) Once I managed to separate the two, he worked very well. He was a coward, but he wasn't malicious. But his fear prompted him to do very evil things.

A good contrast to a lot of the canon Fire Nation villians (Zhao, Azula, and Ozai, and Azulon and Sozin) Very different from all of them, in that he had no fortitude, effectively negating any other virtues he might possess.

Thumbs up for a very good story!
Kiomori chapter 1 . 10/1/2010
This story was amazing. It's hard to think that Iroh and Lu Ten could be like that, but they really could if the events at Ba Sing Se didn't happen like in the show. Wow.

I loved how the story was set up too, with the cliffhanger at the beginning and gradually explaining what happened.

I'm glad Zuko had a happier ending though!
Tellytubby101 chapter 1 . 10/1/2010
Ahhhhh! *roffles around happily - pauses - and roffles around again* That was /brilliant/. One of the best AUs ever - and such a clever idea! Iroh's son never dying... I've never thought about the outreaching consequences!

You characterized Lu Ten well; I thought he was a really good guy (so nice to his cousin) until he was painted darker than Azula possibly... Even Iroh, I think; you handled him rather brutally - then again, he would've been that way if he never felt the pain of his son dying... And Zuko is such a momma's boy, and I like the bitterness of her...

The whole idea is just marvellous - though I wonder how you got struck with the brilliant way of smuggling Toph into the city. I liked her dynamic with Zuko here. They were so understanding of one another.

Katara waterbending in her cell and Sokka making the rudimentary hot air balloon - I like how it echoed the canon should've-been-but-isn't-here.

*flails around* I can't seem to describe the awesomeness of it all. The way you told the story - present, past then present again - was well-delivered and you used it effectively. I kind of wanna see it continued - but you left it on such a high note that works with canon that I can see its end, sort-of.

Definitely happy you're on my Author Alert list; otherwise would've missed this gem. *Happy dance*

-Tubby. :DD
Given Up chapter 1 . 9/30/2010
Have you ever heard of the wow factor? Well, this story has it. As do most of your stories. I looved the way you portrayed Iroh and Lu Ten and even Mai. I don't like Mai, so I am definitely all for the annulment, but I like the reaction she had. It was very IC. But what I liked best was the court feel.

It's hard to portray a circumstance like an aristocratic court and make it interesting. And yet you beautifully painted the detail and intrigue involved in a court like the Fire Lord's. You made it seem real. And I love that Zoku took Lu Ten's win at face value. Only unscarred Zuko would believe all those lies. Mostly cause he's so inept at politics, at least at this age. He's an honest person, and that honest nature even shines in canon. So I'm glad you brought it out.

So, even though I would love to see new chapters to your already existing stories (*cough* "Another Brother" "In His Shoes" *cough*), I'm really really glad you wrote this! Thanks!
fingers-falling-upwards chapter 1 . 9/30/2010
This was just delightful. Your grasp of Zuko and the way he views the world are more than accurate, they delve even deeper. This was well represented in this story but it's also seen in bits and pieces through out your own stories. Keep up the stunning work.
CalliopeMused chapter 1 . 9/30/2010
My first reaction was a vehement "oh WOW that was cool," because this is the kind of story that makes it hard to remember to breathe. I loved how you started with the ending, then let it change into something entirely different- Lu Ten and his plum wine fit in perfectly, unchanged!Iroh was entirely his father's son, and Ozai was perfect as the angry non-Fire Lord brother. Most of all, Toph and Zuko and Aang and Sokka and Katara had an amazing dynamic throughout, and I would adore seeing what comes after this.

This is the kind of story that I'd read about eight times in a row, because I absolutely love it when all the tiny pieces fall exactly where they need to go.
twigcollins chapter 1 . 9/30/2010

I think my favorite line was Zuko wondering about Sokka and accidental prisoner dismemberment. X D

Just great. Great in every way.
aka Arashi chapter 1 . 9/30/2010
I dunno how you do it. I mean, you are - in my mind - the Absolute Queen of AUs. I read this last night on my phone after getting in bed 'intending' to sleep. But I couldn't until I read the whole thing. I honestly thought you were going to kill Zuko, and maintaining that level of suspense through a fic is no easy feat!

I love LOVE what you did with Lu Ten. Your version of him is my new canon - if, y'know, he'd actually lived. Just look at what we know of Iroh! Odds are good that Lu Ten would have been all about wine, women, and song (the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of any good fantasy-verse 3). His lies to cover his mistakes and build his own reputation are just a natural side-effect of his lifestyle.

You kept everyone amazingly in character. O' course, Iroh wasn't the free spirit we know and love, but that's what happens when your son doesn't die and you don't have a breakdown and you end up on the throne. I admit, I expected him to still show Zuko more favor, especially in the face of Ozai's constant mistreatment, but politically, there's only so much you can do for the adorkable underachiever. I love that Zuko was still very much the immature, naive boy we saw pre-banishment, and pre-Ursa's departure. With constant coddling, he'd really have no reason to Man Up, so to speak.

But then, he ends up making the ultimate sacrifice for good, anyway. I guess that's the "problem" with Zuko. XD

I really enjoyed the subplot of the marriage contract and annulment. That little bit of Toko REALLY hit the spot, and bringing Toph in to the story that way was pure genius. I actually really felt bad for Zuko and Mai, to boot!

Anyway, amazing story. It's been a while since we talked, but I'm glad to see you're still writing, still kicking ass, and still taking names! Wish I was active on LJ (the one site I've never gotten into). I keep seeing and hearing about the Avatar Big Bang and I can't help but feel that all the talented Avatard writers and artists are over there having a big party without me. :(

But yeah, hope that things are going well with work and life and all those things that get in the way of what we really enjoy. Thanks for a great read!
Lord Shade chapter 1 . 9/30/2010
Every time I read one of your stories, I find myself shocked beyond belief by how amazingly talented you are and the EPICNESS of you stories.

I thought you did a great job keeping Zuko in character. The unscarred Zuko you created in this AU is DEFINITELY the same Zuko that spoke out against Ozai's plan to sacrifice soldiers. And the way you were able to portray his feelings about the things going on around him was nothing short of remarkable.

The Iroh that yor portrayed was fascinating. Colder and less sympathetic about needless suffering and uncaring about balance. I always thought that Lu-Ten's death had humbled Iroh to some extant, so this AU version of Iroh was great. But he's still Iroh, and he's trying to win the war through negotions and strategy, rather than brute force like Ozai did.

The end really had me going. I didn't know if he was going to die or they would come back. Suspenseful up to the very end, it had me wanting more.

And the flashbacks that you used to mark the passage of time were a stroke of brilliance. To see this all happen in 2 and a half months was incredible. I honestly didn't believe that Zuko could turn from loyal prince to escape accomplice in only 10 weeks, but without making him OOC, you did it. And it was spectacular. You did a great job of sucking the reader into Zuko's internal struggle between his country and the right thing to do.

So, yeah, I liked it.

P.S. So can we be expecting anything else from you? 'Cause I don't think I'm the only one that's been waiting for a LONG time for the next chapter of "In His Shoes" & "Another Brother". But no pressure.
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