Goodreads: The Shadow of Kyoshi
Series: Kyoshi #2
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?
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.