ljlee: Queen... er, Lady Misil (misil)
Loopy's excellent essay on why ATLA-Ursa and Search-Ursa are two different people got me thinking about how little The Search has affected my headcanon, probably for the reasons Loopy discussed. The Search simply doesn't seem to be about the same Ursa.

My own Ursa headcanon is and will remain, until an even stronger contender comes along, Qwi-Xux's Guide Me Home which I have reviewed at length on this journal. The fic's Ursa feels like the same woman from the show, and her story fits neatly with canon events. The character has an inner life and character arc that I find compelling. The Hakoda romance, while handled well, is distinctly secondary to Ursa's own character development as far as I'm concerned.

So what's your Ursa headcanon? What fanwork or series of events describes your idea of her story, and why?
ljlee: where I work & play (workspace)
Once in a while I just glom onto someone's archive and go through it with the dumb determination of a housecat dismembering a beetle. No doubt this is a horrifying event for said person, suddenly inundated with overly long and often nitpicky comments from some stranger they don't know from Eve, so I understand if I don't get replies. No doubt the author is busy turning off her email notifications, hiding under the bed, or moving to Timbuktu. (Random example is random. I'm sure it's a lovely place.)

For the past few months my victim has been one meltinglacier (Lynn), who has posted numerous short stories for fandoms including Teen Titans, Harry Potter, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. I've gone through her ATLA archive and found some real gems. I won't do a full profile since there's no longer story to serve as a flagship title and because the author is probably in Timbuktu by now, but I did find three stories about Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee that I particularly liked.

Life Lessons, Saving Face, and Airhead show the author's talent for psychological exploration )

I found meltinglacier/Lynn's archive really interesting with lots of good stories and a few outstanding ones. It's a great pleasure of archive-trawling when I discover stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise. And now I can recommend these stories to my friends, and tell them to scare the author with comments from strangers. How's that for psychological horror?
ljlee: (Default)
The orderofthelotus's 2012 fic exchange concluded in October. I've just read through them all, and here are my favorites:

Best Served Cold )

Caribou )

This lonely world without you )
ljlee: (Default)
A Box of Pearls: FFN link | AO3 link

amanda91's profile: FFN | AO3

Jun from Avatar: The Last Airbender is hands down one of the coolest characters in the show. Not only is she a more than capable fighter in her own right, she also has a unique sidekick and asset in the form of a shirshu (an Avatar-style chimera that stole the snout from some poor star-nosed mole) that can find anyone in the world with its sense of smell.

She seems to enjoy Korra-levels of strength, emphasis on "enjoy."

Perhaps her defining characteristic, though, is that the lady don't give a damn. The backdrop and central problem in the show is a world war, a war that most of the cast is invested in one way or the other, but that's none of her business. She gets her money and lives her life, and that's enough for her. She helps out both sides of the conflict in "Bato of the Water Tribe" and "Sozin's Comet" arc respectively, and mostly for selfish reasons. She wants money in the first instance, and in the second, she presumably doesn't want to burn to death in Ozai's genocide (and was probably promised money). She's a Lovable Rogue much like Han Solo in the Star Wars movies, but unlike Han she doesn't get a character arc that puts her firmly on the side of the White Hats.

Enter [livejournal.com profile] amanda_violet's one-shot fic A Box of Pearls and character arc with a vengeance. Pearls is an [livejournal.com profile] atla_crackfic exchange story that Amanda wrote for [livejournal.com profile] amyraine, and I don't know about you but for me these two names by themselves are enough to catapult any project into the awesomesphere. It is also a Jun/Piandao story, which I'm guessing was Amy's request because Amy herself has written a story with that pairing called Can't All Be Heroes.

The strengths of Pearls lie in Amanda's skill in developing the central character in a believable and sympathetic way, giving the character new dimensions while keeping the qualities that make her interesting. Before I go into more detail I should note that I have kept the review spoiler-free, sticking to the content of the summary, but it may make more sense if you read the story first.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it... )

Overall, I found A Box of Pearls to be a fascinating read about an interesting but unexplored canon character. The unusual pairing is also believable and made a part of the main character's development. Pacing and story structure need some work, but the story does a solid job of portraying character development and the struggle for healing in the post-war world. I highly recommend it.
ljlee: (Default)
Here follows the author interview with [livejournal.com profile] amyraine. See also her Featured Fic post. There's some swearing (bad Amy!), which I decided not to censor because I don't think it's a big deal.

You'll have to speak to my attorney.
- Amy Raine

On fandom, writing, feminism, and fanfic archives )
ljlee: (Default)
This feature is one whose subject thought I would never write. I beta-read for [livejournal.com profile] amyraine, and she does the same for me much to my delight and gratitude. She thought I wouldn't write a profile on her because of this relationship, but she didn't count on my blatant cronyism. I waited to do this profile because I wanted her to develop a body of work that I could say real things about. With Mirror the Sun, one of her recent stories and certainly her longest, I believe that has happened.

What strikes me about her stories is the quiet. )

[livejournal.com profile] amyraine's LiveJournal
Interview with Amy Raine
Amy Raine's AO3 Archive
Amy Raine's FanFiction.Net Archive
ljlee: (Default)
This Open Review is on The Boy from Babel by [livejournal.com profile] lavanyasix (fanfiction.net profile, though this particular story is not in her ff.n archive plus ff.n link. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] somariel!). Written in response to the "Language Barrier" prompt at the Avatar Spirit forum, it takes off of what many fans might have thought of--namely, the different Nations and in some cases, regions having different languages.

The entire globe speaks the same language? Really? )

Stories like this is one of the many reasons I love fan fiction, because fanfic makes possible kinds of storytelling that are simply not possible in original fiction. The Boy from Babel is another example in a long line of examples why fanfic, far from being an inferior reflection of original fiction, opens up innovative avenues for new kinds of stories and expression.

Long story short, I highly, highly recommend this story just in case you can't tell from my ramblings so far. If you haven't read it, go read it! If you have, go read it again! That is all.
ljlee: (Default)
As discussed in Part 1 of this review, Guide Me Home by Qwi-Xux is an inspiring and well-plotted story that gives much-needed depth to the character of Ursa. Now I will discuss what I see as the flaws in that story.

On the fierce warriors of suburbia and other complaints )
ljlee: (Default)
There's an old saying in Korea, "It's the widower who understands the widow." In many ways, this seems an apt way to describe the Hakoda/Ursa pairing. Who would understand each other better than two people who lost spouses under traumatic (if very different) circumstances, and who know the complications of dating after the end of a prior marriage? Done poorly, this can be a "pair the spares" situation where an attractive widower and divorcee find Twu Wuv simply by virtue of being single.

And then there is Guide Me Home by Qwi-Xux. )

- Fanfiction.net profile: Qwi-Xux
- Guide Me Home
- Tropes Page

ljlee: (Default)
Open Review: The Azula Trilogy by MasterGhandalf

Part 2: Story, Executed

Previously, I discussed The Azula Trilogy stories Heart of Fire, Path of Fire, and Soul of Fire by MasterGhandalf and how the story was made meaningful by a merging of the outer action of saving the world and inner character growth of Azula's redemption. In this post, I'd like to discuss the specifics of the story's execution.

The story is made all the more exciting by the writer's skill... )

tl; dr version: In sum, The Azula Trilogy is an exciting yet meaningful adventure story that redeems Azula's character in a believable way. It has its flaws and blind spots, as all stories do, but overall I highly recommend this fast-paced, action-packed and moving epic.

MasterGhandalf's ff.n profile

The Azula Trilogy:
Heart of Fire
Path of Fire
Soul of Fire

TV Tropes fanfic recommendation page (under "General Fics")
The Azula Trilogy Tropes Page


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L.J. Lee

June 2016

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