The Shadow of Kyoshi by F. C. Yee

Shadow of Kyoshi Cover Image


Goodreads: The Shadow of Kyoshi
Series: Kyoshi #2
Source: Library
Published: July 2020


The Four Nations have finally accepted Kyoshi as the Avatar, but a new threat is rising. The Fire Nation is undergoing political turmoil as rival factions fight for power–and a threat from the Spirit World is taking advantage of the chaos. Can Kyoshi maintain balance in the world? And will she lose herself in the process?

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The Shadow of Kyoshi immerses readers in another action-packed adventure as the teenage Kyoshi attempts to find her place in the world. Now finally accepted as the true Avatar, Kyoshi spends her days avoiding the summonses sent to her daily from various nobles wanting to curry her favor. However, when an invitation from the Fire Lord arrives, Kyoshi suspects that he has a truly urgent problem. She arrives in the Fire Nation to discover rival factions vying for the throne. Only she can keep the clans from starting an all-out war. But Kyoshi fears that doing whatever it takes to maintain peace could mean that she will have to lose both her honor and herself. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed by this powerful follow-up to The Rise of Kyoshi.

Avatar Kyoshi has long been a favorite among fans of the show, and F. C. Yee brings her teenage years to life in a way that feels like a true continuation of the TV series. All the little details are there, all the familiar places, all the bending action that fans love. But, at the heart of it all, stands Kyoshi, an Avatar perhaps both notable and refreshing in how different she is from Aang. Kyoshi is angry, she is lost, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the people she loves safe. Where Aang feared violence, Kyoshi embraces it.

This is because Kyoshi is, at heart, a survivor. Abandoned by her parents and left to starve by uncaring villagers, Kyoshi understands that true justice exists for very few. The rich in the Earth Kingdom exploit the poor, and the desperate poor turn to criminal actions if they want to live. Kyoshi does not judge. She has done the unimaginable. But her experience has given her a fierceness Aang lacks, as well as a desire to fight for those the world has forgotten. Whereas Aang has his sights set on one goal–defeating the Fire Lord–Kyoshi has appointed herself the impossible task of rooting out corruption literally everywhere. It is a fight she knows, deep down, that she can never win. But she still feels the need to try.

The conflicts within Kyoshi are perhaps the most gripping parts of the story. Even though she is embroiled in Fire Nation politics, even though she has a horror from the Spirit World to face, and even though she is in the middle of developing romantic relationship, Kyoshi’s inner journey is really what makes the story work. Every choice she makes will have consequences, and she is keenly aware that those consequences, more often than not, tend to turn out badly. She is desperate to help even as she fears she is not capable of rising to the occasion. That inescapable self-doubt is what makes Kyoshi seem so fully human–and what makes her story so powerful.

The Shadow of Kyoshi is at its heart a book about trying to make the right choices when no right choice seems possible. It is a book about continuing on, even when it seems pointless. It is a book about fearing that, despite one person’s best efforts, the world will not be better off. Kyoshi embodies the human desire to do good, to be needed, to make a difference. She also embodies the possibility that none of it matters. That tension is something that feels real, and true. And it makes the story so much more than an adventure across the Fire Nation. It makes it the story of a soul.

4 stars

11 thoughts on “The Shadow of Kyoshi by F. C. Yee

    • Krysta says:

      I think the show and the book are both excellent, in their own ways. The books are geared towards teens rather than children, for instance, so they have a bit more romance and are a little darker. You don’t need to be familiar with the show to read the books, though, because they explain the rules of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Shans_Shelves says:

    I am so excited to read these books. ATLA is my favorite show EVER and I loved the tales of Kyoshi anytime she was mention!!


  2. Nicole (Nicole's Book Thoughts) says:

    I read the first one in this duology a few months ago and just haven’t picked this up for some reason and I’m dying to!


  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I’m impressed at your ability to connect these two volumes together after a year. I won’t lie — I wouldn’t be able to recall the first volume after that much time… XD

    I won’t lie– It never occurred to me that Kyoshi would be a teenager in this book! In the TV show, she’s definitely an adult in spirit. But that makes sense, as she has lived her life fully as the Avatar and passed on once Ang starts to interact with her. This changes my perspective on her spiritual troubles quite a bit.

    Does this volume conclude the Kyoshi series? There isn’t another volume listed for future publication on Goodreads, but that might not mean much. Do you think there could be more coming?


    • Krysta says:

      Oh, I looked up a summary of book one before I started book two, to refresh my memory! I was worried I wouldn’t remember everything I needed to know!

      I think Kyoshi’s a teen because the book is YA. But it is really different to see her that way instead of as an adult because she hasn’t grown into that self-assured Avatar yet!

      As far as I know, it was a planned duology. But I’m open to future installments! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        This makes sense as to why we’d want a teenaged Avatar. It makes me wonder how many Avatars end up growing into their own alone. Or even end up doing real Avatar-style work as a teen. That cannot be the most common way they interact with this universe or there would be generations of endless war!


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