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Repeated Excellence
"Burning Deadfall" is completely stunning. While flawed, its greatness outshines the flaws with a brilliance similar to Guy's tooth-ping.

Characterization wise, Kisame is definitely the best done, despite the story being from Iruka's POV. Kisame is bloodthirsty and ruthless, but also has a sense of humor and is extremely engaging to speak to. He holds your attention not for being blue, but for being incredibly dangerous and somehow friendly at the same time. Iruka comes across as much colder than he does in canon, and while it is true that the setting makes this almost necessary, it is difficult to see Iruka's old warmth shine through during bits with Naruto and the Epilogue Scene. Itachi is difficult to characterize in general, so that's fine, but Kakashi is much more serious than expected, lacking a lot of his usual dry wit.

Action is one of this fic's strongest aspects, however. Kicks, punches, ninjutsu, gore; all are expressed to near perfection in just enough detail to be engaging without going to far and causing Nightmare Fuel or getting boring. Any fight is excellent, the climactic battle especially so. Really, there isn't anything more to say that won't completely ruin the story.

Greatest, however, is the sheer ability of the author to draw you in, however. The setting, and the way the characters interact with it, is incredible. The way the trees, in all their dead glory, are ever present, how the air feels against your skin, the burn of the Kyuubi's chakra, all this is conveyed with the vivid brilliance 1080P vido while being as subtly excellent as the Mona Lisa's smile. The way chakra flows, the way blood dribbles from wounds, and the way humans shatter under excessive strain are all treated like blown glass: delicate but profoundly beautiful.

In summary, this fic is too awesome to be missed. It grabs you by the lapels with a fury reminiscent of a wild beast, but then lays its lips upon yours with a delicacy and passion seen and felt only in the most heartfelt embraces of two lovers. Passing over "Burning Deadfall" would be a folly so massive in scope that not even the most massive conceptions of the scale of the universe could encompass it.
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  • Comments: When I first started reading fan fiction way back in the day, I imagined stories like this one. It's a mature, well thought out fic where Iruka has to decide between saving Naruto and following orders. Friends become enemies, match-stick alliances are made and every action has a consequence. I really wish there were more like this.
    • Akatsuki Daybreak: YMMV. It started off very well written (despite using the Council cliche I have come to loathe) and has an interesting premise. However, I found my Willing Suspension Of Disbelief broken by just a few too many shocking revelations about Iruka's past that just don't work. The author tries to handwave it by calling it an AU, but it's still too much change for no plausible reason.
    • koukatsukoneko: I really do recommend this fic. I don't often read non-shipping stories, but as Iruka was a favourite of mine, I decided to give this one a try and I'm really glad I did. The plot is gripping and the characters stay true to themselves. While it is true that there are a few shocks about Iruka's past, he's got so little backstory in the manga that it works, and works well. It is excellently written and it keeps you in suspense, with lots of unexpected twists in the plot - I for one did not expect Iruka to kill Kakashi, and the way in which the author pulled it off, with Iruka nearly dying himself- I have to say, this fic is well worth it.
    • Seconded, it was really good, and seriously? What is with the obsession with ICness? I liked the new Iruka more than the IC one, besides, Kishimoto's universe kind of leaves his background open to interpretation. Fanfics are called "Fan" fics for a reason you know, an opportunity to make changes and rule over a fictional world as we like. That aside, definitely recommended, and contains a lot of raw, emotional scenes that pulls on your heartstrings, as well as unexpected twists.

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