|Reviews for Imagine the Ocean, Book One|
| Gracekim1 chapter 2 . 1/17
Wow! What a plot twists with the alternative universe idea! Keep going!;)
| thedoctor11th chapter 27 . 12/9/2014
when will book 2 start
| Righteousham chapter 8 . 8/22/2014
Hello and good day,
I'm glad that I was be able to return to this story again before the end of the month. As per the usual, it's late at night and due to circumstance quite beyond my control, I'll most likely not finish writing this in one sitting. To preserve a sense of balance, I ask you to read this over the course of an hour; getting up first for a quick run to the store then family dinner. Now on with the review.
For brevity's sake, I shall refrain from repeating my arguments concerning your author's notes. In future chapters I'll simply skip them, which is a shame because I typically love reading them. Getting an inside look as to the inner working of a particular writer's mind can be revealing and I do enjoy seeing how some authors think around their own stories.
An interesting consequence of having no Aang (well, no corporeal Aang in any case) is having no Appa. Without the ability to fly and quickly lose one's pursuers-namely Zuko-Team Avatar is having much more difficulty escaping their enemies. Ah, the inexorable progression of technology. Even the most powerful benders on the planet need rest, but an ironclad running on steam power has no such weakness. It seems that even in the Avatarverse technology will always win out in the end.
I really liked that you showed that despite Katara's best efforts the ship was continuing to gain on them a little at a time. Really, it's good that Zuko's ship was running at less than peak capacity or our hero's would've been overrun within a day.
Once upon land it seems our hero's have leapt from the frying pan right into the fire. That was some feat: sneaking around a battalion of soldiers. I felt this section could've used some more exposition though. For one thing you never established what the battalion was doing, you simply mention their presence. Were they, for instance, making camp? patrolling? setting up for an assault? I know you go over this a bit later in the chapter but it was odd not knowing how to picture them in the moment. Another thing: a battalion is comprised of several hundred to over a thousand soldiers, so I find myself wondering exactly how they snuck past them. In my mind when you introduced them I was picturing roughly five hundred men in armor milling around.
I enjoyed the whole palace scene as it demonstrated Sokka's unique genius, showing exactly why he is a good contributor to Team Avatar. So many stories simply have him there, perhaps he makes some funny comments, but Sokka was always more than the comic relief and I'm glad to see you've understood this. Also, you use the scene effectively to give Sokka some concrete evidence of Aang's existence. This goes back to something I wrote in an earlier review: Sokka won't just accept such a notion without something to back it up and now he has his proof. I suspect going forward it will still be difficult for him to come to terms with Aang's presence but the first solid step has been taken.
On Aaang: I've reversed my opinion on his presence. When I first saw that you planned on keeping him around I feared that, much like the show, his character would dominate. Aang is just so energetic and effectively disarming that he tends to become the center of attention and in many cases less charismatic characters (read Katara and Suki) tend to fall into the background. Obviously, as Katara is your central character here, I felt that this would cause your story to drag and lose focus. If this chapter and the preceding ones since I wrote that review are any indication though, you've successfully shown how he might still be a meaningful member of the team but not completely overshadow the other characters. If this trend continues, I don't see having any further issues with his presence.
Until next we meat. (Sokka Joke; he'd find it hilarious)
| Righteousham chapter 7 . 8/11/2014
Back for another chapter, and so soon. Trust me I'm as surprised as you are no doubt. The dishes are done, and everyone else is in bed asleep. The only noises to be heard the clicking of my keys and what might be a cricket somewhere outside. Let the review begin.
To your author's note: I hadn't realized it was your sister who was the artist. My compliments to her once again on some really well done drawings. I've always loved it when an author draws or commissions pieces for their stories. It lends just a bit more life to the narrative I find.
I really enjoyed this chapter. Much happened but it never felt crowded or poorly paced, and none of the breaks were badly timed. Though I did notice a minor curiosity. You've a section where Suki is applying the war paint on Sokka and you specifically call attention to Katara entering the scene. Shortly after that you break, only to have her reenter the scene while the narration makes it clear many hours have passed. She contributes nothing to the first scene which makes it seems as if we're missing something; perhaps you'd initially intended a bit of dialogue that was later cut. In any case, this is the only area in which the something felt out of place throughout the whole chapter.
I don't think I've ever encountered a story where Suki leaves with Team Avatar. I must say I approve of this change wholeheartedly! Suki was a character I really liked and thought she was underutilized in the series. It will be interesting to see how her presence affects the coming events.
As for "shipping" in general: I don't really have preferences. As long as what you're writing is properly fleshed out and serves the greater story in general, you could pair anyone with anyone. Sokka/Suki is fine and I'll be interested to see how you handle a relationship that has much longer to develop.
The idea that Zuko's crew would keep a stock of Earth Kingdom garb on hand makes perfect sense, and is something I've never considered before. After all, they can't always be stopping in the colonies for their supplies now can they?
Finally we get some introspection from our heroine concerning her role as the Avatar. That the shock has yet to wear off, or indeed fully set in, makes perfect sense. I would've appreciated seeing more of Katara's interactions with the citizenry of Kyoshi Island as this was really the opportune moment for the reality of everything to begin to hit home. I imagine that much like Aang as she draws closer to having to kill the Fire lord panic may begin to set in. I especially noticed the line where she casually (internally) mentions killing Ozai; she doesn't seem to have the least bit of moral struggle with the idea of killing. The reality of having to take a life is a very different matter though. I do wonder what will happen when first she has to make such a choice.
I liked the fight scenes and the flow of the battle in general. It was well constructed and easy to picture as well as being excitingly written. Writing action that feels dynamic is no easy task, so feel proud you did so well.
Much better chapter overall than the last, and I'm glad that I had many more positive things to say than negative. I imagine as I read further my reviews will continue to vacillate, hopefully by the time I've reached story's end this will no longer be the case.
| Righteousham chapter 6 . 8/11/2014
I'm back much quicker than expected but I had the day off work and an entire evening to myself. What better task to set myself but to come back to your story? OK, honestly I may also be avoiding the dishes in the sink, but it was mostly wanting to read I swear! In any case, on with the review.
Right off the bat I find myself annoyed with your authors note. I probably don't need to explain why. However, what I found truly baffling is that after you spent effort laying out the changes to the world in the note, you reference them in the narrative. Further more, the explanation within the narrative is just as clear as the one within the note so I don't know why you've done this.
Your original explanation as to why you put world building and setting details into your author's note made sense. In the context of new readers whom may feel strongly about following canon, having such a note in your first few chapters let's them know as to whether or not this story will be something they may like. I personally don't agree, but you convinced me of its logic. Now we're on chapter six and I don't feel that explanation still applies.
I understand that this is a completed story and you may not wish to return to it for editing, and that's a reasonable position to have especially so many years after its been finished. However, in future stories perhaps you could place such notes at chapters end rather than opening with them. That way the notes would still be there for those readers that didn't feel you properly addressed the changes in the body of your text.
I liked the introduction of Suki and the Kyoshi warriors here more than in canon. I felt you had Katara ask some important questions (such as why the famed warriors are so young) that the canon episode never bothered to address. I also thought the changes you made to Sokka's mentality regarding his sparring with Suki made sense given the changes you already introduced in the Southern Water Tribe culture.
A point of contention I have with many AU stories that simultaneously barrow from canon, is many authors forget about the Butterfly Effect. In such stories some events receive next to no change when in fact they should be nearly wholly different. Many of the events in this chapter are mirrors of what happened in canon, but crafted in such a way as to remind the reader that this isn't cannon. No scene should take place in a vacuum basically and you've thus far done a good job of keeping that in mind.
Aang here is problematic. Basically he's next to useless in his incorporeal state except as an airbending teacher or spiritual guide. Airbending will be the last element Katara needs to master and there was no need for spiritual guidance here, so I question his presence. What exactly is he adding to the story at this point besides word count? Look, I like Aang as a character but unless you've designed a purpose you've yet to show for him, I really think he'll make your story drag. Katara needs to discover how to be her own Avatar and what that means for her and the world, just as Aang did in canon.
This is my most negative review to date on this story, but I still like it. I'm still enjoying the interplay between Katara and Sokka, and I do think you handled the subject matter wisely considering the changes you've made to the avatarverse. Suki and her girls were handled well, and I look forward to reading more about them in the future. The names you made up for the girls and the island fit naturally into the world as well.
I suppose I've put the dishes off long enough. Until next time.
| Righteousham chapter 5 . 8/9/2014
As you titled these chapters as two parts of a whole, I opted to read both. I'm reviewing as I read, which means that I've not read ahead, and subsequently I sometimes have to reference previous chapters to remember the little details that can matter in stories. I've found that reading ahead encourages me to review less frequently and with perhaps dulled enthusiasm.
Good stories, such as yours, deserve every review they can get (and yours has hardly any reviews as it is) so if that means that it takes me six months to read a story that I could otherwise finish in a week, so be it.
starting with your authors note again: Seeing that you're an artist I decided to briefly back out of the story and check your profile for the images in question, and I must say they're astounding! You're a talented artist. I had to mentally reprimand myself to keep from checking images beyond the chapters I've read, lest I spoil the story.
I liked the interaction between Aang and Katara here and Sokka's skepticism. In the show he was always the critical thinker and the one least likely to believe something without evidence and I'm glad to see you've kept that aspect of his character here. I do hope you don't overplay this in future chapters though. There's a fine line between skepticism and ignoring reality, and I'd hope Sokka comes to accept the truth of their situation before too long.
The interactions between Katara and Aang seemed natural and flowed well as they did on the show, so points for that. I'm not particularly pleased with Aang accompanying them on their journey though. Honestly, it feels a bit like cheating. Ruko only showed up on occasion, and that was appropriate as having him around for the entire journey would've eroded Aang's agency within the narrative. Having Aang here in such a capacity seems like it will do the same to Katara. How is she to learn and grow as a character; to truly embody the spirit of the world, if the previous one is always hovering nearby?
I really enjoyed Katara's thoughts regarding how she pictured the story of Sozin's massacre. It very appropriately showed that we all interpret reality from our limited scope of understanding. Seeing her horizons expand in that scene when the mental image changed was very good. This was a great character growth moment for her and I hope to see more of these as she travels the world and learns of her role within it.
Finally the narrative switches back to Zuko and we see what he's been up to. Also you introduce us to a new character. From the little bit of screen time she had, I found myself liking this Mizan, and I look forward to whatever you plan to do with her in future chapters. A small note regarding her name: even though it's not a name we heard in canon it fits seamlessly into Fire Nation naming conventions. I highlight this only because I lambasted you about the last two names you came up with that I felt didn't fit well. So bravo this time.
I like that you went more into Zuko's reasoning for chasing Katara in this chapter. I still think it a bit forced but you've alleviated the majority of my concern with it here. After all, successfully ending the threat of southern water benders for good, would be quite the feat. In Zuko's mind I can totally see him thinking this might garner his father's approval and love. (spoiler warning: it won't) Also, they're all very lucky that the ship didn't explode! Ice falling into the boilers like that? Funnily enough, I didn't even consider that when Katara dropped ice on their ship. Had I done so I probably would've mentioned the fact that most people below deck would be dead and the ship itself would be fit only for the scrapyard. As it is, both Iroh and Mizan are correct; Zuko stands little chance of catching the siblings if he manages to see them. To borrow a phrase: they're going nowhere, slowly.
Despite what I feel is a bad decision regarding Aang hanging around for the duration, I'm still enjoying this story and will continue to read and review in the coming weeks.
| Righteousham chapter 4 . 8/9/2014
Hello and good day,
So once again I've returned to your story after an prolonged absence. I do wish I was better at getting these out in a timely manner but yours is not the only story I'm reviewing, and real life has this bad habit of not going away when it would be most convenient for it to do so. In any case, on with the review.
To address your authors note first: Aang said reaching the air temples was impossible without knowing how to fly. Moreover, he made such a statement as someone who speaks with authority on a subject they only think they know everything about. The line was meant to be a bit of ironic foreshadowing.
I know you mentioned in one of your PM's that pacing problems would crop up again at some point, as it's something you have issues with, but at least in this chapter I never felt like I was getting whiplash by the events presented.
There's one minor housekeeping issue I wish to address. At the top of the chapter you have Sokka speaking and you end his dialogue with the typical "he said" tag, and that is fine. However, the follow up dialogue by Katara ends with the same tag. While this is technically correct, one should attempt to avoid repetitiously using similar tags so close together. I feel it would've been a bit better if you'd used another tag, such as "asked". This really wasn't a problem for the rest of the chapter but as this instance popped up in the beginning it was easily noticeable.
The banter between our two hero's remains one of my favorite aspects of your writing. Sokka is again in top form; perfectly in character and wonderfully full of his trademark sarcastic wit. Katara, I find is different from her canon counter-part, and as of yet I'm not quite sure what to make of her. In canon much of Katara's character was defined by her interactions with Aang and you've yet to show many of those. I don't dislike her, but I'm not enamored of her either.
However, it's early and she's hardly had to do anything "avatar-y" yet so I'm looking forward to how she deals with Zuko, Iroh and the people of the continent. Without Aang as a constant presence in her life, I'm eager to see how she grows and changes over the course of your story.
A minor niggling issue: You had Sokka remark that Aang was in the iceburg at the time of his people's fall. There's no way he could know that. All Hakoda, and thus anyone else knows, is that the airbenders were killed and Aang was found in the iceburg a century later, for all they know he could've fled the battle or been on the run from the Fire Nation for some time. Yes, I could rationalize that Sokka made an assumption, but it still jumped out at me when I read it.
In conclusion, I'm still really enjoying your story and look forward to reading the next chapter.
| Righteousham chapter 3 . 8/2/2014
And again I swoop in from the darkening void of the internet to cast my eyes over your story! Sorry for taking so long to get back to this. I'd intended to write up this review several days ago, but alas, life being what it is decided to pull my attention elsewhere.
I really enjoyed this chapter, much more than the last two by far. The pacing issues I noted for the previous chapter are all but eliminated in this one. It's not unusual to see a writer improve over the length of a story, especially the longer ones such as this, but the improvements don't typically come about so quickly. Frankly, I found it refreshing.
I love how you're writing Katara and Sokka's interactions. Sokka is one of my favorite characters from the show and at several point I felt you captured him perfectly. There is no greater compliment I can give but to say I heard his voice in my head as I was reading. I even chuckled a few times; well done and bravo. Ad for Katara's character, I'm hoping that as the story goes on well see more of her inner thoughts. From the show I recall she can be quite high strung and I don't anticipate her handling the pressure as well as Aang. Of course it will take time to sink in, but expect that when it does her reaction will be anything but happy or fun.
Too, Zuko and Iroh were handled well. Though I do feel as if the plot point of Zuko chasing Katara without knowing she's the avatar is a bit forced. It fly's in the face of his singular obsession of returning home. His father's word is law, and Zuko knows this, I doubt if he single-handedly won the war Ozia would let come home without the avatar and I suspect that Zuko knows this too.
Speaking of which: those soldiers knew Katara was the avatar, they had to have, and yet they failed to inform Zuko. They must be aware of his mission, I'd bet everyone in the nation and colonies was probably made aware; at the very least the military would know. Those sneaky rat-bastards!
In my last review I mentioned that I didn't agree with you revealing world building in author's notes. I bring this up again because I felt that within this chapter you actually proved my point on how it's not necessary. In the show we know that the female soldiers of the Fire Nation only serve in the Home Guard, however here you introduced us to the concept that they serve around the world. Also, you mentioned blue fire in a context as to show that it's not unique to Azula. (Not quite sure how I feel about that.) Both of these points can be considered setting details, and neither needed an author's note for clarification or introduction. I hope to see more of this.
A minor niggling detail: at one point you referred to the war as the one-hundred year war. This is a name that would've been given for historical context after the fact. Or do you think that the previous year everyone was calling it the ninety-nine year war? Seems a bit silly is all.
Final thoughts: It was your prologue that garnered my interest and this chapter that sealed it. You've a remarkable improvement in pacing and your characterizations are nearly spot one. The prose is pleasant, clear and lacking in pretension. Spelling and grammar are passable with no mistakes noticeable upon a first reading. All-in-all, I'd say you've some skill and I'm looking forward to reading more.
| Righteousham chapter 2 . 7/24/2014
This chapter was much more satisfying in length than the last, a trend that I hope to see continue for the balance of your story. I liked the content of this chapter and there is much to praise but I first wish to start with some constructive criticism.
The pacing was a bit erratic I felt, especially when one compares the start of this chapter to its end. The scene with Zuko, for instance, could've been cut and you'd lose nothing, but in truth it really should've been expanded. Then while your audience is still thinking on Zuko and his truncated introduction you whip Katara and Sokka into a confrontation with the Fire Nation raiding party and confirm Katara as the Avatar.
All these scenes were good and made sense but you wrote them with no room to breath and little time for your audience to consider their implications. Finally after the children return to the village things are allowed to slow down and we get some introspection from our heroine. The dream sequence was especially intriguing and I love the idea of of Katara being mentored by Aang, Roku and Kyoshi.
You mentioned by name two new characters but haven't done anything with them yet. My guess is that you have a plan to utilize them at least in some minor capacity or you wouldn't have bothered naming them. I'm interested to know what that plan is. I do have a point of criticism regarding the names you've chosen: neither name is inuit in nature, at least as far as I can tell. I did a bit of research and Shotora seems to have a Japanese origin while the best I was able to locate for Mitika was Indian. In either case, forgetting my research, both names felt wrong for the culture.
I do hope the the tribe realizes that the Fire Nation didn't attack most likely due to their regrouping with reinforcements. If Kya was able to recognize that Katara was the Avatar, the Fire Nation will as well. Which means that when they do return it won't be as a raiding party, but a full blown invasion.
When you said this would go sharply AU, you weren't kidding!
Now to address your authors note. I never have, and never will, appreciate story or setting details revealed through such notes. All such changes should be introduced within the narrative framework if the change is a vital one. If not, and your audience won't notice the difference, what then is the point of telling us? Authors notes are not the proper place for world building.
This review turned out a bit more negative than I first thought it would. Rest assured I am enjoying what you've written. I wouldn't be leaving reviews if I loathed it, I can assure you.
| Righteousham chapter 1 . 7/24/2014
Hello and good day,
I've just gotten back into the fandom and with a bit of searching came across your story. The idea of Katara as the Avatar is interesting and not something I've seen done before. It's also rather convenient as water is the next element in the cycle, which allows you to make the transition from Aang to Katara without any mental gymnastics or retroactively rewriting canon. As an example I read an excellent story in which Azula was born the Avatar but it required a lot of restructuring of the past to make it work, some of which was more successful than the rest.
As I begin this tale I see that you've already completed it, and done so some years ago. From the obvious sign within the title one can tell this is meant as the first in a series of stories, but looking upon your profile reveals you've not posted anything from your next work. Are you still planning on continuing this idea, or have you moved on?
As this chapter is so short there is little else to comment upon. A few observations though: How would Hakoda know what an Air Nomad looks like? They would've been gone since the early life of his grandfather, and from the looks of the Southern Water Tribes village I highly doubt they've a historical archive.
While I liked the inclusion of Kanna carving Katara an ivory tiger and the scene that it concerned, I do think this contradicts the canon gender roles the were shown in the series; women weren't trained to be hunters in the Southern Water Tribe. In fact I believe I recall Katara and Sokka arguing this very point in the first episode.
As my review is now longer than the chapter itself, I shall end it here. See you in the next chapter.
| Jon chapter 27 . 6/14/2014
| h84th3win chapter 27 . 8/11/2013
Awsome and amazing story this is the third time I've read it since I discovered it a week ago its that good my favourite line "I believe in you, invisible guy" cracks me up every time
Can't wait for book 2 make sure toph is awsome because she is my favourite character. Please bring book 2 out soon.
| willam and jack and jake chapter 27 . 4/30/2013
nice can't wait to read the next book!
| willam and jack and jake chapter 26 . 4/30/2013
time for the koizila to appear
| willam and jack and jake chapter 25 . 4/30/2013
cool so soon she will prove to all the she is the avatar