|Reviews for Dragon of the West, Phoenix of the West|
| lantur19 chapter 7 . 8/4/2012
So I finally got my internet back today, and I was thrilled to see that this had been updated! I don't read a lot of A:TLA fanfiction anymore, and I've never read much Tyzula, but this story is just GOLD. Your characterization of everybody is just perfect, especially Azula and Ty Lee. Azula's lines in this story are so incredibly sharp and on point with what she's like in canon. You have a fantastic grasp of her character, and you do a great job getting into Ty Lee's head as well. I can't quote exactly, but the whole scene in which Azula told Ty Lee to go and drown in the ocean just gave me chills because it was so well executed.
This applies to all of your fics, not just this one, but I love your writing style, and it really shines through here. It's just so clear, concise, and clean, with nothing superfluous. I really admire how you do introspection - it's enough to get the point across and give you the character's thoughts, without being excessively wordy or ever becoming unclear.
I can't wait for your next updates! (Also, Lychee Tree? I am going into withdrawals and slowly dying of suspense D:)
| WARLOCK2552 chapter 7 . 8/4/2012
It seem's like Azula's current relationships are a bit touch and go. I like where your story is going my only complaint is that the chapters seem a bit short. But, that is just a small problem every thing else is excellent. I'm not that big pairings simply because I feel like the people who ship them are shoving them down my throat. You however have managed to avoid that.
| Aurelia le chapter 7 . 8/4/2012
Cool, another quick update. This was a short chapter, but interesting...
"The whole bed radiated beautiful, familiar smells: soap, clean laundry, the perfumed oil that always anointed Azula's hair." This is some really evocative description. The only thing I would suggest is more of it, especially visual description. We know Azula is situated upstairs from last chapter, but not much more than that. What kind of bed is she sleeping in? (I assume a canopy bed, based on what we've seen of the royal palace, but I don't know.) Is her room big or small? How many windows, and what is the view? Whose room was this? Her old room? Her mother's? etc.
You wouldn't necessarily have to address this all at once, if you wanted to address it. Just throwing the occasional detail in passing can do a lot to set a scene. Then again, my beta recently pointed out to me that Ty Lee would probably only tend to register details that resonated with her emotionally (as opposed to Azula, who would catalog everything all the time, and file it away for later review). So this may just be a function of Ty Lee's POV and familiarity with the surroundings.
"It wasn't common knowledge that Azula had been moved to Ember Island. No one but the royal family, Ty Lee, Mai, and a handful of servants had known." And yet an assassin shows up anyway, probably indicating an informant in the palace. I'm sure we'll learn more when we learn who is sending assassins and/or what they want with Azula.
We don't know that the poison on the darts is lethal, or even if they are poisoned. Azula and Iroh seem to assume so, and it's a good assumption generally. (Otherwise, why bother with darts? A bizarre choice of weapon in itself, and could tell them something about who's behind the attempts.) But it's just that, an assumption.
It would be better to bring in a poisons expert to analyze the darts from the first attack. (They probably have poisons experts, even at the technological level of Avatar-world.) If the poison was plant-based, this might even tell them where it was from, which would narrow down the list of suspects. And if the poison was not lethal but (for example) some kind of sedative, this might indicate other motives, like someone intending to kidnap Azula and (again, for example) make her the figurehead of some oppositional government or counterrevolution.
The assassin holding back this chapter and breaking off the attack when he/she/it found Iroh with Azula the first time seems to indicate something less clear-cut than simply "kill her." At the least, the assassin doesn't seem to want to do to bystanders whatever he/she/it is trying to do to Azula. Of course, if the darts were only tipped with a sedative, it's hard to see why the assassin would feel qualms about knocking out any bystanders to get to Azula. (This seems to support the poison assumption.) Then again, it's hard to see why an assassin would feel qualms about hitting any bystanders at all, unless he/she/it was somehow connected (emotionally? financially?) to Iroh and Ty Lee ... or someone close to them, since we know from their POV that Iroh and Ty Lee are in the dark. Or maybe we just have a Hitman With a Heart of Gold...
Of course, Zuko/Iroh may not have had time to time to track down a poisons expert yet. This seems reasonable, given the tight time-frame of the story so far. But it's something you might want to consider for the future, if you haven't already. (And you probably have. Short chapters just mean I am getting ahead of myself again.)
Awww at Ty Lee protecting Azula by endangering herself. And Azula repays her by apologizing for earlier. It may seem like a disproportionate return, but for someone as damaged and deeply jaded as Azula ... not that much.
"Did you betray me at the Boiling Rock because you thought my rules were stupid? Because I wasn't a good enough leader to follow?" An interesting hint of self-doubt from Azula, and we see here again how badly that betrayal shook her, and (part of) the reason why.
"I thought you were really smart and pretty and perfect! I've told you a jillion times: I only stopped you because I couldn't let you kill Mai." This is probably just a result of the colon, but Ty Lee's statement seems to indicate she's told Azula "a jillion times" that "[she] only stopped [her] because..." Whereas we saw in a previous chapter that practically the first thing Ty Lee had to do on being reunited with Azula was justify her betrayal at the Boiling Rock. And another quote from a previous chapter ("Truthfully, she'd tried not to think about Azula much over the past year") seems to indicate Ty Lee has not been visiting her in asylum to justify this over and over again.
But Ty Lee did tell her all the time what she was "really smart and pretty and perfect," since we saw that in canon. Just changing the colon to a simple period would make the statement applicable to the previous sentence, and keep her exclamation intact. (This has been a public service announcement from your neighborhood grammar police...)
"And now? Would you still kill for me?" So Azula probes the boundaries of Ty Lee's loyalty. It's easy to assume this is just Azula being Azula, seeing how and to what extent she can still use Ty Lee. But I think there's more to it than it. That Azula openly searches her out seems to indicate she is at least willing to reestablish the bond of trust they enjoyed before the Boiling Rock. And that is encouraging.
"According to [Iroh] ... women shouldn't be allowed to fight in the army." Ah, interesting take on his character, as I always thought (for all this wisdom) that Iroh would probably still hold some old-fashioned notions, being so much older than the rest of the main cast. I can definitely see this (and similar issues) being a source of conflict between Azula and Iroh.
Loved Ty Lee's reply though, and the figurative language that closed the chapter was perfect. (Another reason I'd like to see more description; it's a great opportunity to incorporate some well-placed metaphor.) I look forward to more, and hopefully soon!
| hopelessromantic34 chapter 6 . 8/2/2012
good luck with that
| WARLOCK2552 chapter 6 . 7/31/2012
well I would not be surprised if Azula was eaves dropping in that conversation. I guess I shall find out how she deals with things latter on. And to be honest she kinda does need some one to prick her ego once in a while.
| withoutmarbles chapter 6 . 7/31/2012
Love this story! For the most part, your writing stays very in-character, especially Ty Lee. Azula is also very well done, although I think the swearing is a bit out of character. I understand that you're using it to display how far gone she is in that she struggles with her eloquence, but I feel like it disrupts the narrative because it just doesn't seem like something Azula would say even if her mind is disturbed. You have displayed her breakdown perfectly elsewhere, and I just don't see where swearing really fits in with what you're doing with her character.
Anyways, I will continue to follow this story with eagerness! I can't wait to see how this unfolds. :D
| Led Feynman M.D. D.D.S. Ph.D chapter 6 . 7/31/2012
Azula needs help finding her HONOR.
| Aurelia le chapter 6 . 7/31/2012
Yay! My ISP has stopped being a *#&%, and I can read your story at home again!
"she was pretty sure this was the comfortable house in the whole Fire Nation" I think you mean "the most comfortable..."
Azula's swearing is ... well, I guess you might justify it as her lashing out, a result of her loss of control, etc. It's just a little jarring, coming from someone usually so controlled and eloquent in their speech. I've always heard cursing is what people fall back on when they feel they can't adequately express themselves otherwise, and that fits here to a certain extent, except ... Azula already knows just the right words to say to achieve her ends (as we saw with her dismissal of Ty Lee this chapter) without cursing. I feel like she doesn't need it (at least not so often), and it's a little disconcerting.
"The people hated you, even before you banished them all..." Iroh makes a good point subsequent to this, but I think he might be overstating here. The servants probably did hate Azula. (I seem to recall one of them glaring at her during the "royal hair combing" in Nightmares and Daydreams.) But the people at large had no reason to hate her (her not having interacted with them, that we know) and more likely admired her for her firebending process and political acumen. (It seems likely Ozai would have promoted awareness of her skills as his chosen heir.)
She was probably a darling of the military establishment especially, given her tactical genius and high-profile accomplishments like the coup of Ba Sing Se. Yeah, she had/has an abrasive personality, and probably made a reputation for herself as a hard-ass (there I go ignoring my own advice) ... the rule through fear that you mentioned. But I also think there would be a lot of respect there, because they saw that she gets results.
If it was only Azula who thought "my subjects worshiped me," that would be one thing, but Zuko admits rather bitterly in the first season finale that "everyone adores [Azula]." I think it would take more than just Ozai telling him that for Zuko to be so resentful about it.
Of course, Iroh is not likely to admit any of this (even to himself), given the point he was trying to make. And that may have been your point. I just felt the need to dissect this admittedly secondary plot point.
"...but she's only trying to get a reaction from us. She needs the attention." Very astute of Ty Lee, and I also tend to think this is a lot of the reason Azula said (and did) the sort of provocative things she caught flak for from Ursa, in the flashbacks from Zuko Alone. She may have felt that negative attention was better than no attention at all, so that's what she was forced to aim for. And seeing that she has in some ways regressed to a state of childlike immaturity here, I guess it's appropriate that she be doing this more often.
"It didn't happen very often until her mom left, but after that it was a weird night if she didn't have an accident ... Oh, and her hair falls out in patches sometimes, but only when she's really stressed out." Wow. It kind of seems like more people would about know these two in particular, especially the servants. I guess you could argue Azula scared them into silence, but ... I kind of wonder why you felt the need to attribute all this to her. I seem to remember a link between bed-wetting in childhood and psycopathy (and also cruelty to animals, which is canon for her), but wow. Not encouraging. Going to be honest, I don't particularly like this. But your story, your prerogative. And I trust you to make the most of it.
"I do not know if it is such a good idea for you to pursue a romantic relationship with someone like Azula. You deserve someone who is much less cruel and insane." Haha, life advice from Iroh, and unusually straightforward. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and somehow, I doubt Ty Lee will listen to him...
"'I wasn't planning on dating anyone like Azula.' She definitely didn't know anyone quite like Azula, and even if she did, they probably wouldn't have any of Azula's neat traits. Why was Iroh telling her this?" ... if she even gets what he's trying to say, and she doesn't. Her misunderstanding here was cute (and in-character), even if you've already pegged this as TyZula.
"Particularly not when you are a teenage girl who is hated by most of your country." Hm. That he says it again here to Ty Lee (and out of earshot of Azula) seems to indicate he actually believes this. Which again, I disagree with.
"'She acts like she's lost hope. I think she's given up on everything.' ... 'Yes,' Iroh sighed. 'She's just so different than her brother.'" Oh Iroh, how quickly you forget. Zuko lost hope too, early in their flight from Fire Nation pursuit, to the point where Iroh explicitly had to tell him not to give in to despair. The chief difference being here that Zuko actually had someone he loved and trusted, who had always taken care of him, to help pull him out of it. And Azula didn't. (She might have someone like that in Ty Lee though, if she can get over the betrayal at the Boiling Rock. Until then ... not really.)
But it's not like Iroh could ever admit Azula had anything of either personality of circumstances in common with his golden boy Zuko, is it? *sigh* I continue to love the premise of this story, Iroh attempting to help out Azula. I respected him for taking that on, even if he did it primarily to help Zuko. But the more he talks about Azula like this (even if it's perfectly IC for him), the less I like him.
Good on Ty Lee though, pointing out Azula's similarities with Iroh. Someone would almost certainly have to do this explicitly before he'd ever see it, but at least he can admit it when it's pointed out to him. And perhaps even grow from the realization.
"I doubt she will ever quite be herself again, and maybe that is a good thing." And then he goes and says something like this. Again, very in-character for him and brutally honest, but not a sentiment I can readily support.
I probably I complained a lot this review, and sorry for that. Even if there was much to frustrate me here, that was (strictly speaking) not your fault. And there was also much to intrigue. I continue to look forward to watching this develop, and thanks again for sharing such a unique story. :)
| Led Feynman M.D. D.D.S. Ph.D chapter 5 . 7/29/2012
Damn. I like this.
| Guest chapter 5 . 7/23/2012
I usually don't read fanfiction for my fandoms (ask no questions), but this story caught my interest and I'm really glad that I started to read it. You have translated the characters from animation to 'paper' wonderfully, which, in my opinion, is very difficult. I will await every instalment eagerly. :)
| Anonymous chapter 5 . 7/22/2012
Poor Azula can't breath! I bet it's helping her figure out a little though.
Zuko is a bit too touchy, but I'm enjoying the Iroh interaction.
| Aurelia le chapter 5 . 7/22/2012
Have not been able to review, because for whatever reason my home wireless blocks this story ... but, interesting developments.
Iroh remains almost comically suspicious of Azula, just like I would expect. This also gives her a lot more opportunity to snipe at him, not that she needs it. Still amusing to watch their dynamic, and wonder what changes you plan. So far, he treats her disappointingly like Ursa did, only paying attention to her to show suspicion or criticize. Their brief discussion of Azula's conquest of Ba Sing Se showed promise though; more honest conversation like that, and they might reach a better understanding.
Zuko has been surprisingly reasonable (for him) about allowing Azula some freedoms so far, especially this last chapter. He must realize that Azula has no reason to invest in this rehabilitation scheme unless she can anticipate tangible improvements in her life. He seems to genuinely care for her well-being though, and his kiss on the forehead to her was extremely cute.
I still wonder about the wisdom of sending her to Ember Island though. Yeah, she needs to get away from Zuko, the palace, and bad memories associated with them, but it's an obvious security risk. Hopefully Ty Lee and Iroh will be enough to hold off any attempts on her life, but considering what a concerted effort that is likely to be, I doubt it. Perhaps Azula will break loose of the corset and show them she can use her firebending for legitimate defense (maybe even, dare I speculate, of Ty Lee and/or Iroh themselves) and not just world conquest. That might prove instructive, for Iroh especially.
Not much to say on Ty Lee, except I think your portrayal is pretty accurate. She seemed a lot closer to Azula than anyone else on the show, and her insights into the Fire princess reflect that. Thank you too, for not making Azula degenerate into a raving lunatic around her, but act believably cold and hurtful toward Ty Lee for her betrayal at the Boiling Rock. This is a lot closer to how I think their reunion would happen, and Ty Lee's justification and Azula's rejection felt real to me. We'll just have to see how they proceed.
I'm also really enjoying the short chapters - a nice change from my own style - and quick update speed. I look forward to reading more from you, and thanks!
| Guest chapter 1 . 7/22/2012
This is just sad to even read.. You got them treating her like an abused animal.. And ty lee is going on with it like she cares..its sick
| WARLOCK2552 chapter 5 . 7/21/2012
Well Frankly I don't blame Azula for being so craby. if I had to where a corset like that all time I'd be angry too. then again im a guy.
Anyway i hope you update soon because this story is realy grabing my curriousity.
| WARLOCK2552 chapter 4 . 7/19/2012
things are getting interesting.