Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Part Two by Gene Luen Yang et al.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise - Part Two written by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru, lettering by Michael Heisler

The gang goes to see Earth King Kuei to broker a meeting with Fire Lord Zuko over the halted repatriation of Fire Nation colonies. On the way, Sokka and Toph stop off at Toph's metalbending academy to check on things. Metalbending is an advanced form of earthbending that is virtually unknown. Her three students are ready to leave the school, mostly because the firebending teacher who used the school earlier is back with his students. Sokka talks them out of a death-match over the building (which would probably just destroy the building anyway). They all agree to meet in three days for a fight to the sit (whoever is forced to sit first loses) between Toph's students and the firebending students. Toph's students have not mastered any metalbending yet. Sokka has some "get trained quick" schemes, but will they work out?

Meanwhile, Zuko is secretly meeting with his deposed father (who is locked in a dungeon). The father elegantly argues that Zuko should be strong and defend the Fire Nation's interests--right and wrong are determined by the ruler's decision. Zuko counters that an objective moral order exists but his resistance is crumbling. Aang's negotiations with the Earth King have no good results--the Earth King has decided to take a stand and send his army to force out the final colonies. Zuko's spies have discovered this and he leads his army to the Earth Kingdom. Can Aang and Katara find a way to avert war?

At first reading, the metalbending school story seems like filler, but maybe it is a foreshadowing of what will come in the final third part. A good balance of action, comedy, and drama is maintained in this book, setting the stage for a big finale. I can't wait to read it!

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