Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search

Authors: Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Artist: Gurihiru
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Released: February 5th, 2014
Received: Own

4 kitties

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search is the second plot arc to stem from the animated series fans have fallen so in love with. After the popularity bump that came when Avatar: The Last Airbender moved to Netflix, I was inspired to read through as much of the comics as possible. So far, it’s been absolutely worth it!

The Search is more than half the reason why I wanted finally sit down and read the comics, if I’m being honest. This is the story of Zuko’s mother – where she went, and why she left. It’s more than that as well, as readers will quickly find out.

Looking back on it, I’m glad that I read Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search in a complete collection. Likewise, I’m pretty happy to be binging the entire series right now. It really lets one delve further into the material, and all the potential implications.

It’s safe to say that some of the subject matter in The Search is a bit…heavy. After all, it does predominantly focus on all of the reasons why Zuko’s mother left in the first place, and why she stayed away.

Some of the answers were not what I was expecting. Yet, at the same time, I do have to admit that they make sense, and fit in nicely with the larger world that is Avatar. I’m not going to say more than that, on the off chance that spoilers are still a risk (I know it’s been six years, but better safe than sorry!).

Most of the artwork looks exactly like what I’d expect: the characters we know and love have been carefully transported into comic format, and it shows. Gurihiru did a fantastic job of staying loyal to the character designs and thematic styles of the series.

Overall, Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search is absolutely worth diving into, especially for those fans that still have lingering questions from the series. While this won’t answer all of them it will go a long way in doing so.

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Review: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Series: Between Earth and Sky #1
Publisher: Saga Press
Released: October 13th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Graphic injuries, self harm

I received a copy of Black Sun in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rebecca Roanhorse is back, and this time with an all-new series, Between Earth and Sky. The first novel in this series is Black Sun, and it is not a novel you want to skip.

Serapio has known his destiny since he was a young child. Now, with the solar eclipse looming ever closer, it is nearing the time where his destiny will rise up. All he has to do is get to Tova.

Xiala is a Teek, one who has fought and struggled to make a place for herself in a world that is far less than accepting of her gender and race. Yet she’s not one for giving up either. Naturally, when opportunity knocks, that means she’ll answer. Even if the job is for her to carry a strange man across dangerous waters.

“As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.”

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Blog Tour & Review: No Place to Hide by Opa Hysea Wise

Author: Opa Hysea Wise
Publisher: Success Publishing
Released: June 11th, 2020
Received: Blog Tour
Warnings: Abuse, mental illness

4 kitties

I received No Place to Hide in exchange for a fair and honest review.

No Place to Hide is Opa Hysea Wise’s debut novel, a thriller set in Hawaii. It’s worth noting that this is a thriller like no other, instead opting to delve into the more philosophical questions of life, crime, and consequences.

Smythe’s life was forever changed the day she witnessed a murder. That should probably go without saying, really. Her stubbornness (and refusal to acknowledge danger) resulted in her turning down the protection offered by the FBI.

Protection that she probably would have been better off accepting. Now she’s facing danger, and a litany of unanswerable questions.

I meant it when I said that No Place to Hide is a thriller unlike any others I’ve read. I dove into this book expecting a fast-paced thriller, and instead got a feast for the mind. This is a novel that comfortably raises questions of all philosophical bends, all while putting the main character through so much.

As such, I think it’s worth mentioning this slight deviation from the norm. I can picture many a reader enjoying the change (like myself). Likewise, I can see other readers being a little bit thrown off by the lack of common threads found in thrillers. So keep these key differences in mind before picking it up.

Smythe is a complex character, as one would expect, given all of the moral, ethical, and philosophical debates she couldn’t help but begin. She saw something horrible, and it changed her forever. Just perhaps not in the ways that one might expect.

The pacing is interesting, it has high moments of action, followed by introspective moments that fill chapters with ease. It really gave me a chance to understand the character and all of the dilemmas she was facing, that much is certain!

On that note, I would like to mention that No Place to Hide does deal with some pretty intense subjects. On top of the murder itself, there are conversations about childhood abuse, mental illness, and more. It is far from being a light read, though it is an extremely intelligent and informative one!

No Place to Hide is available for pre-order on Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble.

Website Links

Author Website

Book Website

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Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise

Authors: Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Artists: Gurihiru
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Released: February 19th, 2013
Received: Own

4 1/2 kitties

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise is the first full-length graphic novel to come from the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. After the popularity bump that came when Avatar: The Last Airbender moved to Netflix, now seemed like the perfect time to dive into the comics that I’ve neglected for so long.

The Promise is set almost directly after the animated series came to a close. The war has only just ended, but there are still so many things that require resolution. That is the focus of this particular series.

The Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation are still on rough terms, made all the more complicated by the fact that the Fire Nation can’t simply pick up and leave the Earth Nation. Not without tearing families apart, at any rate.

The Promise is a rich and intense read, showcasing all of the characters that we’ve come to love over the years – and the struggles they still face. As it turns out, ending the war was really only the first step in a long journey towards peace.

This graphic novel did an excellent job of showing all of the dilemmas that would rise after the conclusion of the Hundred Years War. After all, a hundred years is plenty of time for alliances and friendship to form, and families to be born. It isn’t so easy to untangle them.

I really love that the series worked so hard to show how difficult it would have been, not just on all the affected families and individuals, but on Aang and Zuko as well. Promises were made, and keeping them is far from easy.

Likewise, I’m thrilled that the series seems to be going back and answering a lot of the questions fans still had towards the end of the series. Not all of the questions have been answered, not yet any way. But I have hope that future plots will do exactly that.

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Review: Horrid by Katrina Leno

Author: Katrina Leno
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: September 15th, 2020
Received: Own (OwlCrate)
Warnings: Animal death

3 1/2 kitties

Katrina Leno’s latest novel, Horrid, is a novel getting a lot of buzz this Halloween season. Personally, I ended up coming across it thanks to it’s inclusion in OwlCrate’s September box, though the roses on the cover would probably have been enough to pique my interest regardless.

Jane North-Robinson just lost her father, and now she and her mother are moving from warm California to cold and dreary New England (in the fall, at that). While her life hadn’t exactly been perfect before that moment, Jane’s life seemed to get infinitely more complicated and horrible after.

Now she’s stuck in a big mystery, all revolving around her family and the secrets trapped within a small town. As it turns out, both her mother and the entire town had been keeping secrets from her. Secrets that could change, or ruin, her life.

“No, she couldn’t remember the first book she’d eaten, but she could remember the first book she’d eaten purposefully. And that was maybe more important.”

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Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Author: Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: September 15h, 2020
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Kidnapping, mental health

Susanna Clarke, most famous for her Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell novel, is back with a whole new world. Piranesi is a standalone novel of breathtaking proportions.

Piranesi is not his name, but it is what he goes by in the House. The House is not truly a House, but a labyrinthine setup of rooms. They are full of statues and memories, with the tides and other elements doing as they will.

Piranesi would be alone in this world, if not for The Other. The Other is a man who Piranesi meets with regularly, to research and understand this great House, and the Great and Secret Knowledge it contains. That is, until something happens in this world, in the House, that changes everything.

“The House is valuable because it is the House. It is enough in and of Itself. It is not the means to an end.”

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Review: Bitterburn by Ann Aguirre

Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Gothic Fairytales #1
Released: October 31st, 2020
Received: ARC
Warning: Animal death, starvation, illness

4 kitties

I received a copy of Bitterburn in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Bitterburn is the first novel in Ann Aguirre’s newest series, Gothic Fairytales. As you might have guessed, that means we’re about to dive right into another fairytale retelling, but with a few iconic twists.

Amarrah Brewer has lost nearly everything in this world. She lost her mother, and then her lover. Her father, while present, does not provide the love she so desperately needs. Nor does her stepmother, for that matter.

That is why Amarrah agreed to be the town’s sacrifice to the Keep at the End of the World. She agreed to travel there, by herself, in place of the harvest the town couldn’t afford. There, she met a most extraordinary beast.

“How ironic, I went all the way to the Keep at the End of the World to meet someone other than Owen who cares if I finish my food.”

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Review: Gods & Lies (Season One) by Elizabeth Vail

Author: Elizabeth Vail
Narrators: Cary Hite, Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Publisher: Serial Box
Released: November 13, 2019
Received: Own
Warnings: Animal death, sacrifice

4 1/2 kitties

Gods & Lies is the latest Serial Box adventure that I decided to dive into, and man was it worth it! Written by Elizabeth Vail, and narrated by a combination of Cary Hite and Sarah Mollo-Christensen, this is an iconic read (or listen, depending on what you decide to do).

Has there ever been a tale involving multiple gods where they didn’t make things more difficult for their human worshipers? In this world, there are gods everywhere, and in order to survive, you generally have to pick one to primarily worship, and hope that they keep the other gods off your back.

Enter Justix Iris Tharrow. She believes in the Goddess of Justice, and it’s her job to investigate human crimes and bring justice to them. It’s a tough job, but it is also certainly her calling. As opposed to Andy, a demigod trying to go clean from his life of crime, and struggling to do so.

Yet thanks to a murder, these two unlikely allies are about to end up working together. It is never easy to solve a murder, a fact that could never have been more true when the gods and their faithful get in the way.

“I knew something was wrong the moment I stepped out of the car.”

Spoiler Warning
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The Vela (Season One) by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huant

Authors: Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huant
Narrator: Robin Miles
Series: The Vela Season One
Publisher: Serial Box
Released: March 6th, 2019
Received: Own
Warnings: Racism, genocide, graphic violence, resource competition, death of a planet, refugees

The Vela is a bold new series about one dying solar system, and the people struggling (and fighting) to survive. Like many series available on Serial Box (more on that in a moment), it’s written by multiple authors. Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huant all helped to bring the first season to life, alongside Robin Miles (narrator).

Asala is a Hypatian refugee, yet she’s made a life for herself on her new homeworld. A life that is about to be shaken beyond repair, as she’s sent out to find a vital ship that has gone missing. The Vela is a symbol as much as anything, thanks to the people on board. It’s also one of the last ships sent out to save those in the outer system.

What is happening to the outer system? It’s freezing. Dying. The whole solar system is slowly dying, right alongside the sun. It just happens that those farther away from the sun are feeling the devastating effects that much sooner. But soon, it will be everyone’s problem.

Serial Box is a newer platform, one that allows fans to buy season passes to stories they love. They update in episodes (chapters), usually once a week, with the options to read, listen, or a both. The whole thing makes for a unique experience.

“Desperate Hypatians still ran from their withering planet every seventeen years, unwilling to die by staying in place.”

Spoiler Warning
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Review: The Old Guard Vol. 2: Force Multiplied

Author: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: September 16th, 2020
Received: Own
Warnings: Slavery, torture, graphic deaths

3 1/2 kitties

The tale of one group of immortals (or nearly so) continues in The Old Guard Vol. 2: Force Multiplied. This is a volume I had been looking forward to, because I still had so many questions about the series.

Andy, Nicky, Joe, and Nile are still together, and still undying. They are in the middle of a hunt against human traffickers, when several new complications rise up, none of which they are prepared for. Least of all Andy.

Andy may be the oldest, but that doesn’t mean she’s the most emotionally equipped to deal with dilemmas that cross her path. Especially when said dilemma is from her past. If anything, she’s grown more tired by the day.

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