The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

Fantasy, 442 pages, published in 2019

Synopsis: 400 years before the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kyoshi is an orphan, abandoned on the streets of the Earth Kingdom. She ends up working in the household of Avatar Yun, a boy around her age who is claimed to be the Avatar, despite his inability to bend an element other than earth.

Spoiler Free Review:

As a huge Avatar: The Last Airbender fan, I knew I had to read this book when I heard about it! I usually have mixed feelings about prequels, and while this one is no exception to that, I did enjoy it for the most part!

It was hard for me to separate my feelings and nostalgia for the show from my feelings for this book. To be honest, I don’t think you could read this book and understand it fully if you hadn’t already seen the show. Since I did already know the world, it didn’t feel redundant while reading it.

I think the weakest part of this book for me was the pacing. It felt a little slow in the beginning, but at the end, there was so much more that I wanted, but there just wasn’t time. I know there is going to be a sequel, but there was still just a whole lot of lose ends tied up very quickly at the end.

I was a little worried that the bending wouldn’t translate very well to words, since it is such a visual thing in the show. I do think Yee did a good job not trying to really describe how people were moving when they were bending, but instead showed the result of the bending. If the bending was described more in terms of what the benders were doing, it would have bogged down the action a lot.

I really, really enjoyed Kyoshi as a character! It was hard for me to separate the 16 year-old Kyoshi the book from the fully realized Avatar in the show, but once I got over that, it was really fun getting to learn about her. I also enjoyed her romance, but I just wish there was more of it!

There were so many references and nods to the show that would be lost on anyone who hasn’t seen the show. I really appreciated those! There were also some things, like some of the humor, that felt very similar to the show.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I did want a little bit more from it. I am really looking forward to reading the next book and getting to know Kyoshi more! I think you would definitely enjoy this book if you are a fan of the show!

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