This series/continuation of the original Avatar series is truly wonderful: the art/coloring exquisite, storytelling fun, and the characters are captured perfectly. Each of these books has really been a present to Avatar fans and I highly recommend them. With this new series, readers won’t need to have read the Smoke and Shadows arc books to jump right into this story. It’s self contained and takes place not long after the Avatar series and just after Smoke and Shadows.
Story: Sokka and Katara return finally to the Southern Water Tribe – only to find it quite changed. Their father is now the head and has begun to integrate the innovations of the Northern Water Tribe. Unfortunately, that means some Southern traditions will be sacrificed – something that many do not wish to see happen. Caught between two worlds, Sokka and Katara will have to make compromises as each sees the picture very differently.
Although the above summary sounds fairly straightforward, this first book gives us quite an adventure as some building plans are stolen and the siblings will go racing after the thieves in order to return the stolen property. This leads them into the heart of the ‘rebels’ and causes Katar to wonder if modernizing the Southern Water tribe is really the way to go forward. True to the Avatar world, the villains aren’t evil and there are many nuances to ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’
There are some genuinely funny moments that perfectly capture the cute relationship between Katara and her brother. Katara is always questioning things while Sokka just jumps in head first. The illustrations nicely match the action and help create the perfect punchlines. Katara is always thinking and Sokka is wide eyed and bouncy through most of the book. I just adored their dynamics and was reminded why the original Avatar series was so good. The only nitpick is that each of the books has been very short. With this part 1, we end on a cliffhanger just as things start to get rolling.
Really, this is a must have for those who want to continue the Avatar story. Everything is true to the original series – and illustrated in clean and colorful palettes just like the animation. The only thing missing is the images actually moving. Kudos to the group putting out such quality work. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.