Reviews: Bringing Out The Blue

Starts out great, then turns into Embers

The fanfic started out with an original and interesting concept, but over time the story has turned into a copycat of canon, with the only difference being that Zuko gets acquainted with the Gaang far earlier (and is also much more self-righteous and blindly patriotic than he ever was in canon, essentially making the author's version of him border dangerously on unsympathetic).

Perhaps one of the biggest sins in this story is how Zuko (so far) has always been able to justify (and convince himself) time and again that the Air Nomad genocide was justified... while blasting Aang's actions for going into the Avatar State and wrecking the Fire Navy in defense of the Northern Water Tribe. Mai also gets involved on the overly drawn-out "Fire Nation is the justified side in the war" self-righteous shtick that happens in almost every other chapter starting from Chapter 10 onwards. As I said in my review on the Fanfiction site itself, this story has now become an only slightly-better remake of Embers.

Another beef to have with the story is that Iroh, even with all the changes made to canon in this AU story, seems to be carrying out his own plans at snail's pace. It worked in canon because he was much more in control there, but here, he fails to strike up a solid alliance with the Gaang even when they grovel to him for the opportunity. Oh, and his personality also gets tweaked a bit by the author to once again sugarcoat and somehow add a little bit more "justification" on the Fire Nation's side for the war. And he's really not trying hard enough to convince Zuko that Ozai and Azula hate him.

I mean really, 26 chapters in and Zuko still believes his nation his right, and his father and sister love him, and that Aang is a murderer and the rest of the Gaang are fighting for the wrong side. It's *slightly* like canon - BUT way more flanderized and unnecessarily elongated.

And the writer also has a tendency to make Toph a constant voice of reason for the Gaang. Seriously, the excess fan-love for Toph has hit a major nail in this fic. She still acts out horribly entitled and lazy like she did in "The Chase", and is at one point said to be wonderfully unique and strong for doing so. She believes her instincts and abilities are elite and despite having found out Zuko and the Blue Spirit are one and the same, she doesn't feel the need to alert her teammates. Oh, and she acts much more friendly to Zuko and Iroh than to her own teammates. It wasn't too bad in canon, but here, Toph is Mary-Sued to the max.

Because of these flaws, the story is ultimately reminiscent of Embers, which is NOT a good thing at all. In Embers, the Fire Nation is glorified, brashness and power is endorsed, and fan-favorite characters are mutated into Mary Sues who can do no wrong.

All in all, the verdict on Bringing Out the Blue? It starts out good, but by the time you get to where the author has last left off, the story has turned into a monstrously bad fanfic.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=FanFic&target_title=BringingOutTheBlue