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WIP Traitor's Face by Loopy777 - T - Avatar the Last Airbender

Discussion in 'Anime, Cartoons, and Comics' started by buzzer, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. buzzer

    buzzer Slug Club Member DLP Supporter DLP Bronze Supporter

    Jun 25, 2016
    High Score:
    Title: Traitor's Face
    Author: Loopy777
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure/Supernatural
    Status: In-Progress
    Library Category:
    Pairings: Aang/Mai
    Summary: Aang awakes from his century-long hibernation to look up into Fire Nation eyes, and Mai finds that her trip to the South Pole has taken a turn for the exciting. In this Alternate Universe, the only thing more powerful than love is the call of betrayal. (This is going to be a long one, and WILL NOT rehash the cartoon.)
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10942328/1/Traitors-Face

    This is a fire nation won AU with a few points of departure before the timeline of when the show would have started. The one that has had the biggest impact so far is that Iroh choose to join the navy rather than the army.

    The author nails the characters in my opinion and they all show a lot of growth. The plot is completely original with absolutely no rehash of canon. The climax of each act is wonderful and includes some great twists.

    There are also a few new things added in, my favourite being the non-bender version of the Agni Kai which featured prominently in the middle of the third act.

    So far the author has just started the fourth act with five acts planned in total and has a pretty good update rate.

    It's honestly the best A:tLA fic that I've ever read. 5/5
  2. Nuit

    Nuit Dark Lord

    Feb 14, 2010
    The Peach State
    I really want to like it, but I'm always apprehensive about possible betrayal plots. I always get to about the fleeing part shortly after the correspondence, but the possible future scares me off.
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    Edited your thread to put that it's AtLA in the title.
  4. fire

    fire Unspeakable

    Dec 25, 2011
    Read this some time ago. Solidly good, and pretty original, as one can expect from loopy777.
  5. throwaawy

    throwaawy Fourth Year

    Apr 26, 2014
    A pretty nice story with (very important) an original plotline. Yep, no canon rehash here. There's still a few stations to hit simply because of geographical proximity, such as the Southern Air Temple and Kyoshi Island but after that much of the destinations are more varied, even if they end up hitting some of the significant landmarks.

    My closest comparisons to the world building would be between Three Families and Embers when bringing in the expansion of spirituality aspects as well as cultural. Where Three Families heavily introduced shamanism as the not-Avatar people's answers to spirits Traitor's Face has the Weapons. Where we also get a lot of Fire Nation worldbuilding, TF feels a lot less heavy-handed than Embers' does, and also balances it out with the near total collapse of every other society since this setting takes place post-Sozin's Comet.

    With the changed circumstances a lot of the characters are introduced in different ways from canon, with believable alterations to their personalities if warranted. Things like Katara having spent most of her life in a waterbender prison instead of with her family, Jet having legitimate backing as a Freedom Fighter, or even Long Feng having as many resources as Ba Sing Se's infrastructure can give him are given due description and affect the plot in a variety of ways.

    Those who know Loopy's preference for Mai as a character probably won't be surprised by his characterisation of her once you get past her snark and indifference, but it's a fun journey to see Aang being the one to draw it to the surface. Their relationship is not a smooth build even if he's naive enough to trust her implicitly from the very beginning, if only because Mai is very much not, and that doesn't even get into the adventures this version of the GAang gets up to.

    From the prologue, it appears Koh will—at some point—feature heavily in the plot, but the title of Traitor's Face also seems to refer to the many many characters who are working at cross-purposes to each other. Of course the obvious one is Mai, who starts out completely loyal to the Fire Nation and will at some point shift allegiances towards the GAang. That said, there's plenty of other characters who swap sides, but what's interesting is that there are far more sides at play than simply the Fire Nation vs everyone else.

    The Good:
    As mentioned above, the world building is very interesting. It features a lot of what I enjoyed from other expansion fics, in bringing in tidbits of culture, Spirit World shenanigans, and altered character paths. I'd liken it somewhat to Embers (which also had some changes I really enjoyed, but some I really hated), but I felt like it was much less ambitious in scope, which is a net positive for me. The political intrigue angle in most fics always has the potential to be mishandled badly much in the same many way authors can't write believable "smart" people, but I think using Zhao as the primary POV for these segments was a stroke of genius because anything that feels off about the situation can simply be attributed to him bungling it rather than the author. If it feels overly convenient, Zhao's probably misreading it and it's about to smack him back in the face within a few chapters.

    The biggest thing I enjoyed was how much I questioned everybody's motivations. There are some characters which remain relatively straightforward, like Aang wants to save the world but isn't quite sure how to do it and still make everyone happy. Then there's Azula, who has the dual impulses to be rub Fire Nation superiority into everyone's faces while still seeking approval from Ozai. However, with Ozai being rampantly off the rails [for good(?) reason] her resulting actions are twisted around and remain somewhat fresh. Finally we have Iroh, who I still have no clue what he's up to. He's had plenty of time to explain his actions and on the surface he still seems to be the gentle, well-meaning but resolute soul we love from canon, but his actions and allies introduce enough ambiguity that I can't be confident in his game plan. The rest of the characters fall somewhere in between, some being self-serving and others being a bit more big picture-y in ways that felt believable.

    Also, King Toph. 'Nuff said.

    The Meh:
    I'm a bit on the fence about the whole Weapon of the Fire Nation thing. On one hand, it provides a nice mini-shounen scaling for the heroes and some quantified marker between the various combatants. On the other, it added a bit more complexity to the Fire Nation hierarchy that I don't think was entirely kept to consistently. At the beginning it felt like Mai (as well as Piandao) was "a nonbender with the ability to fight on par with elite benders" and some sort of high political rank outside of the normal command structure. However, later when we are introduced to the remaining Weapons (with the inclusion of Sparky Sparky Boom Man and other benders) they seem to be more "exceptional special assets" and their authority seem to be subservient—and heavily linked—to whomever was holding their leash at the time.

    I was also kind of meh about Suki's subplot. Having the Fire Nation blackmailing her into their service was an okay twist (that happens early enough that I don't feel like it deserves a spoiler), but I would have preferred to either keep her family in the distant background or have it be more of a general (I'm gonna raze your entire island if you don't do what we say). This opinion could be coloured by the fact that we met Suki's family and I really like Suki got the short end of the stick. It did provide a bit of nice contrast between selfless and selfish people, but I really, really think we could have done without that situation and had her doing her thing for some other motive.

    The Bad:
    Not a real 'downside' since it's mostly about something that hasn't happened yet, but at the moment we really have no idea why Koh is important enough to the plot such that his interaction with Avatar Kuruk in the prologue was significant. I'm sure it will become clear in some of the final acts of the story given that dealing with Iroh seems like a good segue into Spirit World shenanigans, but for now I'm having Embers flashbacks where the whole plot was set off by Koh crying about his mommy. With The Search and the Mother of Faces being canon to this universe, that's not quite as likely to happen but not knowing is still a significant fear in the back of my mind.

    tl;dr — Traitor's Face: it's metaphoricaaaaaaaaal. ahem. easy 4/5 from me
  6. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Sep 1, 2010
    Germany occupied Greece
    High Score:
    It's competently written for what it is, but I couldn't really get behind the premise or how it went about it. 3/5
  7. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Apr 28, 2007
    I was never a fan of the fire nation despite everyone else love of it, this did a pretty decent job of converting me into it. There isn't much to say other than I didn't outright hate it, it also did a good job on selling me in regards to the premise, but I felt like I'm missing out on some finer details. Its been a while since I've actively engaged in the fandom.

    I liked it. 3.5/5
  8. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Apr 3, 2006
    Traitor's Face has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 81
    Words: 715,391
    Updated: 2019-11-29 23:47:57 UTC
    Published: 2015-01-03 01:26:53 UTC
    Previously updated: 29 days ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
  9. throwaawy

    throwaawy Fourth Year

    Apr 26, 2014
    So, it's done. Story complete. Denouement had.

    I really enjoyed Koh's and the Mother of Faces' eventual inclusion in the plot (which had really been bugging me until he actually did return to the story), even if I didn't like what happened, but it was really unique. The eventual fates of many of the characters were also really interesting, I felt, and Loopy did a good job of making the mysticism of the Spirit World feel... well, mystical. The stakes of the final battle felt really engaging and the threat felt very real, especially with the fact that with Iroh proving himself to be the primary antagonist, the White Lotus went off on the deep end alongside him. Together they felt like a much more credible threat than canon!Azula and Ozai combined (not to downplay Azula, just an army of Master-level benders feels alot scarier than even two relatively OP ones.)

    Anyhow, this is just my kneejerk response to the final chapter. I may come back and edit this down but maybe I'll wait and just comment to see what other people who've been following this thought about it.