Reviews for A Box of Pearls
scorchedtrees chapter 1 . 2/2/2013
I really liked this. You pulled it off really well, good job :)
rain-and-smiles chapter 1 . 6/19/2012
I won't lie, I totally teared up about Nyla. And it was a really suprising pairing, but honestly that made it even more amazing 3
Carolnuts chapter 1 . 6/9/2012
headcanon approved

( I'm NOT crying. there's something in my eye, that's it)
FairladyZ2005 chapter 1 . 2/9/2012
I thought I had read this one, but I hadn't. Lunatique was nice enough to bring it to my attention. I've always liked the way you handled Jun in your shorter fics. So I like seeing a longer one that gives her resolution after the war. I quite enjoyed the list of criminals, the rewards, and Jun's bringing in of each one. I liked Jun and Mai's interaction and Zuko's reaction the seeing Shu again. "Remember me?" Princeless!

(Btw I've been thinking about writing a piece about Shu, would you mind my using the name you game him, Bujing? I'd give you full credit of course.)

Jun's transformation in this fic was believible and moved at the right pace. I was a little disapointed at first she didn't get Xi, but by the end of the fic I realized that wasn't the important thing that needed to happen in this story to find satisfying resolution. The promise that she would get him one day with Piandao as her new partner was the important thing. They make a nice couple. Ursa showing up was nice too. (I'm a little partial to Ursa/Piandao actually.)

Great fic, and great to see the focus on Jun.
Lunatique chapter 1 . 12/9/2011
Wow! I love how you took this crack pairing and made it into something that could actually happen.I like how the beginning is set out like a quest in a videogame, with the rewards all on the table (literally). The way Jun treats it as a game is in keeping with her character, and makes the story the kind of rollicking fun you'd associate with the character. Even so, the undercurrent of moral outrage, plus the impermanence Jun feels in her own life, promise further character development which is delivered on as the story takes on a decidedly darker tone. Change is difficult, all the more when your own flaws cost you and those you care about, but it's heartening to see Jun emerge from such disruption stronger than before-and mature enough to recognize her former life as "lost" without aim or foundation. It's quite a dynamic change, and you made it believable.

Other things I liked: Zuko's mom making an appearance (yay!), Mai's absolute lack of apology, Zuko's mix of kingly dignity and dorky awkwardness, the little descriptive details that bring the whole story to life, the matter-of-fact way you handled the romance in non-saccharine, snappy dialogue, the sensitive and nuanced writing of Jun's grieving process, the unflinching look into atrocities during the war and how it affected the characters and the world.

What I didn't like: too many adverbs. "She hadn't realized she'd been thinking silently for an awkwardly long time," for instance. I've been trying to kick the adverb habit and make my writing sparer and leaner ever since I read "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein, and let me tell you it's HARD. It's one of the reasons Shadow of the Dragon King was delayed so much (though the next chapter is almost done, hurray!). So I understand reliance on adverbs, and I'm far from a militant anti-adverbist. But I do think adverbs can become a crutch, a shorthand (though sometimes a necessary one) in place of precise image and language. I would advise leaving out unnecessary adverbs, and using actions and metaphors or similes instead when possible. It usually leads to more vivid writing. Thinking, for instance, is silent by definition so you could probably leave out "silently."

Overall, I think the best thing about this story is that it's a character piece set in the larger context of culture and history, not really a romance piece. It's a splendid look into the post-war Avatar world, through the eyes of an interesting character with far more depth than evident in the original show. Well done.
OmniSchreiber chapter 1 . 12/8/2011
This story really has it all: pacing, interesting characters (and on-target characterization of canon folks), proper balance of description and dialogue, along with a good mix of action and plot development. And of course, it has all the evidence of the obligatory proofreading/grammar checking.

Of course, that's just what makes it good. What makes it exceptional is the amount of detail you put into Jun's character. From her internal struggle to remain emotionally distant/professional when Zuko is describing her targets, to the symbolism of the state of her hair in regards to her worldview (burned when the world nearly ended, long when she's returning to normalcy, cropped short when she's starting a new life), to her deep bond with Nyla and a well-developed family background, to her almost pragmatic sexual attitude, you really put a lot of time into Jun and it shows.

Speaking of Nyla, well, you took a brave step with that choice and I think it really paid off. It was far more poignant than most human fates. Sad, but moving in the way really good writing is supposed to be.

My only real criticism is Jun's immediate admiration of Mai. Don't get me wrong, Mai is awesome and one of my favorite characters, but Jun (despite being a tertiary canon character at best) doesn't strike me as someone who is easily impressed with anyone, let alone jealous of them. Jun's perceptions of Piandao, Fat, etc. seem much more tempered and IC by comparison.

Oh and, hah, I do find it slightly amusing that (according to your profile) you have a problem with Ursa "just showing up" in stories, but you pretty much cameo-d her in here in precisely such a manner. Unless you mean specifically that you hate the "Deus Ex Ursa" phenomenon, in which case I completely agree with you.

-OS
Tar Irene chapter 1 . 12/8/2011
This is beautiful. I always like it when a fic can make crack pairings less... well, crack. :) You're such a good storyteller, as always, and reading this was an exciting treat. Absolutely beautiful!