Reviews for Retroactive
Data Seeker chapter 30 . 11/19/2015
Hi

This is a strange, but very interesting AU. I can’t give a very detailed review for your story, but I will do my best.

The Quality is Good in many areas, good narration, depth, suspense, action, complexity, scope, emotion, humor and quality. You did the paragraphs well.

The Basic Plot with Suki never existing and Azula being brainwashed into having a fabricated identity called Suki was a strange, but interesting story. A few details were slightly confusing, namely red hair and black hair, but I don’t hold that against you.

I do think some of the story structure needs work, but for the most part is very good. The main plot and various subplots are creatively complex and interconnected.

The Avatar Characters and characterizations are great too.

Making Long Feng the antagonist was well done, namely his conspiracy to make the Colonies independent nation under his leadership. His plan to use Azula to spread chaos as part of a ploy was good. Also, his new brainwashing program was excellent too.

The story with Sokka and Ty Lee, namely how they were part of a morally dubious plan to help Azula that has backfired was excellent. It’s interesting how Sokka bonded with Azula after becoming Suki, and how he doesn’t want to give up on her, though things have gone wrong.

You did Azula’s character well; namely how she has undergone several transformations and becomes largely the same but a little different. Her persona has changed several times. Though revealed in brief flashbacks, she was broken, sad and cationic and dying. Then her brainwashing makes her Suki and her history and evil traits are wiped clean.

Then her brainwashing is broken and while she remembers her identity, her life history is gone, leaving her confused, betrayed, and very angry. I like how while on the run she is still Azula though her character is different. She is vengeful, yet she reconsiders her goals. She even makes friends, and evolves.

Her spiritual treatment from Iroph was great, namely the damage done to her mind and heart is healed, though her past is still gone.

All the other characters: Aang, Mia, Katara and others (who have smaller roles in this fic) are good too.

Your original characters are excellent too: namely the doctor who created the brainwashing, Azula’s friends/allies, and the evil water bender who becomes Azula’s rival.

The Main Plot with a secret organization manipulating Azula/Suki into regaining her real identity and escaping kyoshi as part of a scheme of international proportion was very complex and well developed.

The War is over, but the scars and divisions the war caused are still around, the primary issue being Fire Nation colonies.

Azula is on the run, has an array of adventures while Zuko, Sokka and others are concern. And then Azula gets brainwashed again, only this time by Long Feng, but later is rescued by Iroph who treats her, undoing the brainwashing and healing much of the damage in her.

It’s an interesting plot twist where Azula forms a group to take down Long Feng, becoming a hero- with a bad past and a world that hates and mistrusts her.

It was dynamic when Sokka finds Azula and she surrenders his custody. Its interesting how they have a truce: Azula still embittered by what Sokka and the others did to her, but decides to trust them to take Long Feng down.

The continuation was great, full of complexity, scope with Long Feng escaping with a very ambitious plan and such.

The final battle with Azula fighting Long Feng and they both died was…well I have mixed feelings. Its by all rights excellent, full of action, drama, suspense, great interaction. I’m not a big fan of Azula dying in the end. Despite my preference, its good and I like that she died a hero.

The aftermath scenes were excellent.

Long Feng is gone, but the World is still unbalanced and has ways to go.

Azula has a funeral, and Ty Lee and Sokka feel her loss greatly and have plans for the future.

Zuko and the Earth King have a long task to restore in the world.

Aang, Katara and the others have their own plans for the future.

And now there are Long Feng’s brainwashed victims. They can’t be restored, but they can still be helped.

This is what I think of the wholesome standards.

The language is clean.
Nothing is suggestively offensive.
The violence is dark and slightly graphic, but not repulsive.

The mature themes surrounding brainwashing are dark, well defined and emotional.

The moral themes are well define too, namely dilemmas, the issue of ends justify the means, nationalism, betrayal and forgiveness.

I hope this review brightens your day. God bless

Data Seeker
Ivar Hugo chapter 31 . 12/29/2014
An ingenious concept, executed brilliantly. I find myself struggling to find things to criticise, so I'll just say one thing I would have liked to see a little bit more: it would have been nice if you could've explored the character of Shingyung a little further.

Anyway, fantastic read. Favorited.
Maran Zelde chapter 4 . 11/7/2014
I'm finally re-reading this fannovel and I'm noticing how many plot threads you started setting up early on, like Captain Toru and the fake Azulas. It's very well-planned.

I can't help pointing out this typo: "Or I'll you'll learn first-hand what I did to my father." Should be just "Or you'll learn..."

Other than that, it's flawless so far.
erisol chapter 3 . 10/15/2014
wasn't expecting this. This is a real psychological fanfiction.
Righteousham chapter 31 . 3/26/2014
So draws to a close a surprisingly engaging and taut read. I say surprising because once I figured out who Suki was, I knew it would take some clever writing to both resolve the conflict of the story but also hold my interest for the long run. I submit that you've achieved both of those things in this story.

The former demonstrated your skills as a storyteller and showed that this was a thoroughly well planned adventure leaving nearly nothing to chance, while the latter-admittedly a more subjective point on my part-showed you had the chops to actually take on this tale with creative flair and dynamic prose.

That's not to say that your story is flawless. I found several instances where you used a word in its incorrect form and several more places where a certain word suggested that you'd written one sentence, changed your mind deleted (most) of it and rephrased, only to leave part of the previous sentence in place. While certainly annoying, these issues stacked atop one anther were not nearly tall enough to overcome the rest of your work and disappear into the shadows of the positive aspects similarly stacked.

This is certainly one of the most ambitious projects I've read in the Fandom and to see that it was finished as I began reading was a delight as well. Far to many stories with strong potential end up stagnating as the authors either move on or lose interest 's hoping that you decided to stick with this fandom for a long time to come.

Going back to the ambitious part; I felt that there were certain sections that weren't as fleshed out as they should've been. The period where-let's call her Azuki-was moving about the Colonies gathering her army. I felt this would have been a great time to further delve into both world building and character development. As an example the Rough Rhinos, for all their importance to the story hardly felt like characters at all. In fact, the only reason I could picture them as individuals and pick them apart was due to being somewhat familiar with them from the show.

Too your original characters, while certainly having had more development and screen time felt underutilized. The long march presented you with the perfect opportunity to really let those characters out to shine. I felt this was a missed opportunity.

That section could have also been used to better define the feelings of the colonies in general. You could have shown us what amount of people Azuki was getting through to and which ones thought her still a monster. As the colonies was at the heart of the matter and what, ultimately, all major parties were zoning in on I felt more time should have been given over to their development. I will say that what development was there made me hunger for more. I especially enjoyed the names you came up with.

At the heart of your story is the character of Suki/Azula. This is the singular area in which you were allowed no leeway in which to fail. Happily, I can declare you handled her development and screen time brilliantly. Her character is clearly where you expended the most effort in your craft and it shows profoundly. Azuki's emotional turmoil was horrendous without straying into overwrought. Her physical struggles harsh without bordering on the ridiculous, and despite what she herself believes, she's very clearly not perfect.

It would have been so easy to stray into an endless world of angst with the tale you sought to tell for her, and it's something I've seen lesser authors do on many an occasion. I felt you handled the troubling waters of Azula's death, Suki's birth then death, and the rebirth of someone not quite the same but no lesser than the previous two magnificently.

This entire tale was covered in a near delicious amount of moral ambiguity, and for the most part I think you did a job in presenting the varying sides evenly. I do feel as if you had some personal bias for the Fire Nation though as it seemed their side was the better represent throughout the story. This is another area in which further developing up the colonies and your side characters would have been beneficial. I recall Azuki gaining an Earth Bender army at one point but outside of a single section nothing is really done with them. I felt, this too, was another missed opportunity.

Sokka and Azuki's relationship deserves special mention. I love what you did with it and I'm not referring to your epilogue here. I knew throughout the story that there was going to be a moment when Sokka finally caught up to her, and I wasn't sure how you planned on handing it. Many of the more, let's call them ship-centric writers, on this site would have eroded Azuki's agency and character in favor of having her fall back head-over-heels for Sokka.

However, you had her get mad, slap him, and make it very clear she felt violated; and rightly so as what Sokka perpetrated, welling meaning as it was-was rape. That she then went on to claim her life for herself was a beautifully fulfilling character moment for her and I silently cheered. That moment is something she'd earned by that point and it was hard won. Her whole life she was never anything but a puppet to other people's desires and whims, and finally here in the streets of Yang she declared the cycle broken.

I'm ambivalent about the Epilogue. On the one hand she lived, and while I'm happy that she was able to escape a past that was no longer, by any rights hers, I feel as if thematically it would've worked better for her to have died. She sought Freedom and rest, and death symbolized that best here I felt. On the other hand, the years traveling helped her further develop into a fully realized human being. A process that only began after her experience with Iroh, and while we aren't privy to who that person is truly, we're given a glimpse well enough to see a healed soul. That Sokka finds her, that she lets him, and his subsequent introduction to her shows that both have moved into phase of their lives were acknowledging and exploring the mutual feeling between them is now possible.

Some might suggest this is an excellent redemption story, but I submit that is not the case. It is however, a remarkable exploration of identity and what exactly that means on a personal level.

Bravo; keep writing.
StrangePointOfView chapter 31 . 3/13/2014
Okay, so this is amazing! This is off the charts fantastic! It takes some true skill to pull off a properly suspenseful thriller like this. And the gambits and schemes going on between Azula and Long Feng were first rate. This is great enough to be canon.
TexasDreamer01 chapter 31 . 2/25/2014
That was such a lovely, lovely story to read, and I am glad to have spent the time reading it.
themergitonian chapter 1 . 2/22/2014
good start
William X chapter 1 . 2/18/2014
I was brought here by TV-Tropes and this looks like a good idea. It's interesting to see Suki and Ty Lee's interaction which we did not see in canon. I'll keep reading.
POKESPE-FAN chapter 31 . 1/13/2014
This story is absolutely stunning! The description, the action, the world building..:

I especially love the way you describe the characters and there struggles and your word choice seems lovely!

Wonderful Job!
joegood2003 chapter 12 . 11/24/2013
Nicely done! Of course Long Feng wasn't going to tell Azula the truth. Or at least much of it.
joegood2003 chapter 10 . 11/18/2013
Wow! Just Wow. Another great chapter, and you just keep surprising me, although Long Feng really shouldn't have been a surprise, considering the brain washing. Too bad about June, but her death showed just how dangerous these people are.
guyw1tn0nam3 chapter 31 . 11/14/2013
Ah, now I see why there's an epilogue. Hmm...can't say I'm too happy about it considering the last chapter ended so well. I think it's interesting to see all these pieces fall together and at the very least see that there's ONE of the Victims that turned out to be just as badass as Azula (I'm assuming that's what you were getting at).

I guess what I'm saying is Sokka finding the Helping Hand was the most interesting, but everything else in between was kind of...eh?

Anyway, I've been debating with myself whether I like Retroactive more or if I liked the Last Stand of the Freedom Fighters more. This one had tons of more content, so I'm hard pressed to say no to Retroactive, but regardless of my final decision, both of these stories are definitely top fanfics in my book.

Great job. It was a pleasure to marathon this FINALLY.
guyw1tn0nam3 chapter 30 . 11/14/2013
Great ending. It's great how a story ties together into canon at a time like this. Really liking the progression that caused everyone to come to the conclusion that Republic City was a necessity. I can always admire good political intrigue when it's multifaceted as presented here. So many factions with different goals, and some of them have noble intentions too. That's good writing in my opinion.

I'm actually quite surprised that Azula's "goodness" is so believable. I would have thought that halfway through I would've been like "Yeah no she wouldn't act like this at all." Her legacy is also super impactful. Even with her death Azula manages to hold great influence over people, and including Iroh at the very end was a great cherry on top of an already wonderfully baked cake.

I don't know why there's an epilogue as I think this ended the story near perfectly, but I'll provide a few last thoughts there when I read it right now.
guyw1tn0nam3 chapter 29 . 11/14/2013
Oh snapppppppsssssss...

I know there's two chapters left...but damn what a way to end this thing on a high note. Long Feng was a pretty good villain in the series but you've managed to capture that and so much more too. Things varying from his insecurities, wily ways, and tactical maneuvers all came together and I loved how Long Feng kind of stuttered in his final fight against Azula. A rare slip up from our austere friend.
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