The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee and Michael Dante DiMartino

Information

Goodreads: The Rise of Kyoshi
Series: Kyoshi #1
Source: Purchased
Published: July 16, 2019

Summary

Kyoshi is on the run.  After she is revealed as the Avatar, forces array against her, each seeking to control her for their own gain.  But Kyoshi has her own agenda: to uncover her past and to revenge herself against the man who destroyed her world.

Star Divider

Review

The Rise of Kyoshi is a fast-paced and emotionally compelling read, one that will be welcome to readers eager to return to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  F. C. Yee expertly takes elements of the world readers know and adds his own twist, making the story come alive in a way I have not seen since the original series.  But those who have not seen the TV series can take heart; the book provides all the information a reader needs to be able to jump right into the story.  With its bold protagonist, gripping plot, and carefully-crafted world, The Rise of Kyoshi is sure to appeal to any fan of YA fantasy.

The story starts with a twist, showing how Kyoshi, far from being raised in honor as the new Avatar, is abandoned, abused, and overlooked.  This makes her journey across the world feel very different from Aang’s, even though they are both racing to train in secret before their enemies find them.  Kyoshi, it turns out, has fewer moral scruples than Aang; she was raised in the dirt and she is willing to get dirty to enact justice.  Those who seek to control her for their own power are in for a surprise, because Kyoshi feels no need to play by the rules of a world that discarded her.

Kyoshi’s characterization is very strong, and readers will no doubt fall in love with her strength and her determination.  It is thus a pity that some of the other characterization feels weak in comparison.  The villain, in particular, seems to have a very sudden change of heart to provoke drama.  Revelations about the villain’s background do little to make their characterization seem consistent, but instead feel like belated attempts to convince readers they should hate this person. The issues raised by the villain about power and how it is wielded prove interesting, but seem to overshadow the actual character.

The ending, too, seems a little rushed; I was expecting the conflict in this book to carry farther into the next.  Instead, it seems like The Rise of Kyoshi might be following The Legend of Korra by choosing to focus on the Avatar’s difficulty accessing the spiritual world as the story moves forward.  The sequel will prove as gripping a read as the first book.  But I am disappointed that Yee really never forced Kyoshi to confront her demons in this first read; readers are left wondering exactly how far Kyoshi is wiling to go for revenge.

Despite a few weaknesses, however, The Rise of Kyoshi is ultimately a strong addition to the YA fantasy market, one with a beautifully-detailed world, a feisty protagonist, and a plot that will keep readers turning pages long into the night.  Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender will definitely want to pick this one up.  But fans of YA fantasy may want to try it, too.

4 stars

13 thoughts on “The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee and Michael Dante DiMartino

  1. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Great review, Krysta! I remember reading Briana’s review for this one a little while ago, so it’s wonderful to hear that you were satisfied with this read as well! I’m a huge fan of the Avatar: the Last Airbender television series, so I cannot wait to read this one soon. It’s comforting to hear that Kyoshi has a strong characterization, even if some of the minor characters pale in comparison.

    Like

  2. MetalPhantasmReads says:

    I’m SO excited for this book, since I just finished the TV show for the first time. Great review 🙂 I love the idea of learning more about her. I know there will be at least one more book after this one.

    Like

  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I am intrigued that a recurring theme of becoming the Avatar is one of difficulty accepting this role and taping into the spiritual side of becoming the Avatar. I have only seen the original TV show, but that’s a theme Ang struggled with, too. This seems to be universal. Does Kyoshi have a mentor? Poor Avatars… always being born into times of strife. But, this is why we need them, I guess?

    While the ending felt rushed, did it feel complete? Or was there a cliffhanger? I imagine it was a cliffhanger… but… I am hopeful that at least a story was wrapped up in the first book. YA fantasy seems to have a lot of cliffhangers as of late.

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    • Krysta says:

      I guess it makes sense for it to be difficult to tap into the spiritual side of being the Avatar. The show and the book kind of portray it as needing a lot of introspection and self-awareness, as well as a certain detachment. Those are things it takes time to acquire!

      Sadly, Kyoshi does not really have a mentor because she is on the run. She has to figure out a lot on her own!

      I think the ending is complete. It’s more of a huge plot twist than a cliffhanger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        You make a great point about introspection and self-awareness as something necessary to tap into the spiritual side of the Avatar — this is probably why Ang and Kyoshi struggled; they had to learn this while they were still growing into themselves. I cannot imagine being successful at anything spiritual at that young an age, honestly…

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