The Shadow of Kyoshi is an introspective sequel about letting go of the past, and figuring out what kind of leader to be. I loved seeing the progression of Kysohi and Rangi’s relationship. Kyoshi has to put her ghosts to rest, trying to overcome our mistakes. Keep reading this book review to figure out how The Shadow of Kyoshi was more introspective!
Kyoshi’s place as the true Avatar has finally been cemented—but at a heavy cost. With her mentors gone, Kyoshi voyages across the Four Nations, struggling to keep the peace. But while her reputation grows, a mysterious threat emerges from the Spirit World. To stop it, Kyoshi, Rangi, and their reluctant allies must join forces before the Four Nations are destroyed irreparably. This thrilling follow-up continues Kyoshi’s journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice still feared and admired centuries after becoming the Avatar.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
While The Shadow of Kyoshi is jam packed with action, what ended up resonating with me is Kyoshi’s quest to become the Avatar. But wait, isn’t she already the Avatar? Yes. But it’s about her becoming what kind of Avatar she wants to be. What decisions will she make, what will her choices mean? When we are inheriting this legacy, we can want to make the ‘right’ choice. We see the past and wonder how we can avoid it, improve it, and how we can be the best. But in the moment, we never know what the right choice is.
Resisting falling into old patterns, to be more than what we are taught, are all things Kyoshi struggles with in The Shadow of Kyoshi. And that’s why the title is so perfect! It’s not only about what kind of shadow Kyoshi wants to leave, but also her journey, and struggle, to get out of the shadow of the other Avatars. Another theme that I loved in The Shadow of Kyoshi was Kyoshi’s struggle to put the past to rest. We can agonize over our past, but then we give it the power to keep us from the future. To let it immobilize us. Together, Kyoshi struggles with both of these issues, making her journey in The Shadow of Kyoshi feel more introspective, even if it’s grounded in action.
I, of course, loved seeing the relationship of Rangi and Kyoshi on the page. I need more of this please. And I loved how in the sequel we were able to see the characters grow, especially as they are forced to re-navigate their choices. In The Shadow of Kyoshi it becomes necessary to confront some hard truths about both our past and our current actions. How do we become a good leader without lapsing into cruelty? To vanquish every foe who bends and breaks the rules without resorting to tricks? We have to stop looking for approval and let go of looking for the conviction our choices are the right ones.