What you do when no one is guiding you determines who you are.
For old fans and newcomers alike, The Rise of Kyoshi is the perfect book for you. It’s sapphic, amazingly visual and expands on the Avatar universe in a wonderful way. I highly recommend it if you love badass female characters even half as much as I do.
Rating: 5 stars!
Trigger Warnings: violence, death, murder, grief.
About the book:
F. C. Yee’s The Rise of Kyoshi delves into the story of Kyoshi, the Earth Kingdom–born Avatar. The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. The first of two novels based on Kyoshi, The Rise of Kyoshi maps her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice who is still feared and admired centuries after she became the Avatar.
What did I think?
I had heard all the hype about this book, with the entirety of sapphic book twitter collectively going wild for it last year, and I finally got hold of it for Christmas. And hot damn, everyone was right about this book. I absolutely adored it. I was a little worried that I might be lost as it’s been a few years since I last watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it was easy to get straight into the story. The information you need is very clearly laid out, so you only need the most basic knowledge of the Avatar world to thoroughly enjoy this book.
Kyoshi is a wonder in this book. I absolutely adore her. She’s different from Aang in almost every possible way. She’s also a giant bisexual disaster. In The Rise of Kyoshi, initially nobody believes that Kyoshi is the Avatar, and then she has to flee for various reasons that I won’t explain – spoilers – and it leads her on this secretive sprint through the Earth Kingdom to avoid someone who is out to get her. And the people she finds on this sprint? If you love found family vibes, you’ll love them. The relationship between Rangi and Kyoshi is flawless and I cannot express enough how much their first kiss made me scream.
I love the way that this book is written. The action is incredibly visual and powerful, even with my aphantasia I felt like I could see each of the fight scenes and the way they’d look on screen. The war fans in particular were a fantastic touch, and I loved dust-stepping and all its visuals. It’s darker than the TV show, but still firmly YA in my opinion, and I would recommend it for any fans of the show or newcomers alike. It explores ethics and morality in a really interesting way, particularly for YA. In the show we just see Kyoshi, the adored Avatar, and seeing how she started out as a young and ignored servant girl and rose into her power makes me want to shriek. I just adore it. And I absolutely adore the way that the daofei are portrayed, and the commitment that Kyoshi displays to her vows. When it comes to this Avatar’s companions, it’s be gay, do crime all the way.
Release Date: 16th July 2019