Reviews: Scorched Earth
Enjoyable "Lower Decks" Story
Worldbuilding is a real strength here, and makes the story's setting feel lived in. While it doesn't reach the achievements of fics like The Golden Power (Zelda) or 100 Years(AtLA), it still does a good job. For fans of intrigue, there's a lot of it going around this fic. The protagonists are knee-deep in criss-crossing plots involving factions of the White Lotus, Dai Li, and some sort of Fire Nation assassins' guild call The Academy. Despite being low-ranking fish, the protagonists are doing their best to influence the course of the war and defeat their enemies, foreign and domestic. It'll be interesting to see how canon events tie into this. We know the White Lotus eventually does become openly militant in the series finale, but here the advocates for that policy are an unpopular minority, so it's quite a road to how they'll convince their leadership to go to war. Unlike pretty much every fanfic author that stops their story to do major revisions, he actually finished them. And not just minor grammar edits. A major supporting character was worked into the mix, whole chapters were broken up and extended, and more time was devoted to character development and worldbuilding. This recommendation does come with a few caveats, though. The author occasionally uses the same word twice in short order. There's the rare typo. The big one, however, is the lack of scene breaks. Whether he just doesn't trust FFnet to not eat his scene breaks the next time they revise their formatting method or if he simply writes in a looser style as far as narration-goes, the result is the same — you're going to need to be careful picking up when scenes transition. It's not a major problem in the first ten chapters or so, when the cast is small and traveling close together, but later on, as the cast expands and they start doing their own subplots within various chapters, it can get tricky keeping track of thing. I had a few "wait, back up" moments myself. That said, I still strongly recommend it. It's a good Avatar fanfic, with an interesting story and solid worldbuilding. The "lower deck" mentality of it is a real draw. The author also puts a lot of effort into battle scenes and sword fights.
Red Cedar's review
The best thing about this story is the description, which is quite vivid without bogging the reader down-most of the time. It is an OC-centered story, but honestly, the characters are worth looking into, all of them have a sense of realism and individuality. The plot is a tad generic, but it gets better and better as the story goes on. There are some dark and serious themes, but they never entirely take over the story.